Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Our baby is now 16 !!!!!!!!!!

K's birthday has come and gone - who would have thought that 16 years ago Al and I were driving to Ouma's home from the hospital with this tiny little thing who was too small for any clothes we had so we had to stop off at Reggie's to buy some premie clothes that fitted her !!!! Now she has her learner's licence and is raring to get on the roads !! Thank you for all the birthday wishes you sent - she will be mailing you to say thank you herself as soon as she gets a chance.

Life is extremely busy for all of us - with the accelerated learning that K is doing, she really doesn't have much time to herself. I do feel very sorry for her at times - I would hate to have to do the work that she is doing - but she is doing it well and accepting the challenges thrown her way and I do believe it is the best thing that she could have done. This system has extended her in ways none of us would have thought possible.

Work is going well - long hours over month end are the go right now although I am hoping that once I get the job under control, it won't be that bad. It is a case of getting my head around the terminology, the costings, the departments and the different systems that each hospital uses. I have four hospitals - each using 3 different systems and a joint venture which is included then excluded and then included somewhere else - all to be accounted for each month - not an easy task I have to say but certainly a challenging one !!!

My studies have been on hold last week and this week as we are having a mid-semester break. It has allowed me to get my assignment finished - now I just need Al and K to finish proof reading it and then I can get it printed and bound and handed in next week. I have done no studying for my exam in two weeks time - will tackle that this coming weekend.

Next weekend we are off to Sydney for a friend's 40th birthday. Al and I fly down on Friday morning and are going to Taronga Zoo for the day. Then K flys down in the early evening and we will pick her up from the airport. We will be there until Sunday night when we fly back to Coolangatta - hopefully it won't be too cold down there !!!!

I hope you are all well and that things are going well wherever in the world you are - take care and look after yourselves !

Sunday, 27 April 2008

April (nearly May) update

Who would have believed that it is nearly May already. Before we know it K will have her licence and be out on the roads !!!!! She has already arranged for my folks to take her for her learner's licence on Monday 12th May and wanted to know who was going to pay for her licence when she passes !!! It is $17.50 to write the learners exam - we said we would pay for one learners test - and then $65 if you pass to actually get issued with your learners licence - I guess we will be paying for that when she passes as well !!!! Then it will be up to Al to teach her because I don't think I will be any good at it. According to the new laws the kids now have to have a certain number of hours with a driving school, so many logged hours of day and night driving as well as some other things which I can't remember !!!

I started my new job on Wednesday - what a different environment it is - so much more dynamic that the school (or any of the other jobs I have had come to think of it) but it is certainly a challenge and one that I am looking forward to meeting. The hours are longer but at the moment that isn't a problem - I am happy to put the hours in for the challenge that this job presents. I guess if it gets too much I can always look for something else but for now I am really happy that I made the move.

It was ANZAC Day on Friday so we have had a long weekend - which has been great. I spent Friday working on my assignment for anatomy and physiology and then on Saturday we went up to Redlands Bay (where K plays softball) as there was the Southern Cross Tournament on - between some Qld state and club sides and some sides over from NZ - they are hoping to have the tournament every year over the ANZAC weekend. So that was all very relaxing except that I landed up with the worst headache ever - it is just hovering at the back of my head at the moment - hope it is all gone tomorrow as I have lots to do at work and don't want to have to put up with a headache at the same time.

Today we went for brunch with one of the ladies who used to work with me at SSC - she invited us over before I left work. We had a great time there - chatting away about all sorts of things. Al gets on very well with her husband who used to play baseball for Australia so they have lots in common to talk about and of course the two of us could talk the hind leg off a donkey given half a chance. The good thing was that apart from the initial conversation, work at SSC never even came up although I did get to hear all the goss on what has happened since I left - who would have thought that so much could have happened in two days !!!!!

Well - I am off to watch the last of the footy - take care and keep in touch !

Sunday, 30 March 2008

March post

Well, I am once again sitting at a softball field – seems like the only time I get to sit down and catch up on some news. Kaitlin is playing in the State Softball Championships U19 tournament. They started on Thursday – Alan managed to get down for a couple of her games – I wasn’t able to as I was beuy finalising the financial statements from the auditors. Mom and Dad also managed to get down and see some of her games. We both had Friday off and so have been here since then. The weather hasn’t been a little miserable – raining on and off most days. Today is the last day of the tournament and the sun is out and shining brightly !!! no doubt everyone will go home looks like lobsters. The tournament was held on the Gold Coast last year so at least we did not have the expense of having to travel and just the long hike from home to Pizzey Park each day. Kaitlin’s team finished the pool games in 5th spot – I think last year they finished 6th – so they are in the playoffs between 5th and 6th this morning.

About 3 weeks ago my Mom stood on a needle in their sewing room and it broke off in her foot. Dad found half the needle but couldn’t find the second half. They didn’t know if it was still in her foot or if it had just got lost in the carpet. Anyway, she continued with her 2.5km walk to meet Dad when he comes home from work and so thought that it was out. On Easter Friday they came over for dinner and Mom was limping a little – I asked her what the matter was and she said that her foot was sore. I had a look and it was little ball on the ball of her foot. Anyway, the next day she tried to see the dr – not there – so went to Gold Coast hospital – the long and the short of the story is that they had to get an orthopaedic surgeon to operate (at about 4pm on Sunday afternoon) and she came home late on Monday afternoon. It is all still bandaged up and she has to go back to the hospital on 4th April for them to take the stitches out. Mom told the dr that she walks around bare foot in the sewing room so that she can find the big headed pins !!!!!!!! He told her to walk around in the sewing room with shoes on in future !! She seems to be managing OK and of course she has Dad to look after her to it is all good.

Kaitlin seems to be settling into life at QAHS. It has certainly been a huge adjustment for both her and us. There seems to be a lot more running around that we have to do but that may just be because we have to travel in the opposite direction to drop her at the academy before travelling up to school and work for Al and I. This year she has to do 100 hrs of volunteer work between community, artistic and sport activities. She has been teaching refugees on a Monday afternoon in Southport so normally catches the bus there after school, then on Tuesday she catches a bus down to Emmanuel College to go to softball training, then on Wednesday and Thursday she is doing a year 12 subject after school from 2.20 – 4.30 and on a Friday she goes to extra maths tuts at school. Then on Saturday she works at Bakers Delight the whole day and Sunday afternoon she has softball training again – so as you can see she has a rather busy schedule at the moment. Thank goodness school softball will finish today and then it is the start of club softball up at Redlands Bay (about 1hr 15mins north of where we live) – they have training on a Tuesday night and games on Sunday morning sometime. Everyone mentioned that year 11 was a big jump from year 10 and I think with the changing schools and being taught in a completely different way, it has certainly been a challenge but one that she has risen to and made us proud. I think it will be good grounding for when she goes to uni as it is based very much on how they teach at uni compared to how they teach at school – they are expected to use their initiative heaps more than what is expected of them at school – plus they have to be motivated to get on and do what needs to be done. They have about 3-4 hrs homework each day on top of assignments / studying for test / volunteer work so it really is a full on programme.

Work for Al and I is the same old same old. I am looking to move now that Kaitlin is no longer at Saint Stephen’s – it isn’t the same working there without having her pop in during the day. The only problem is that the hours are good – 8-4 – I love finishing at 4pm and don’t know if I could handle the 5pm finished. There are times whenI do work late 0 finished at about 7pm on Thursday so that I could have Friday off but on the whole, 4 – 4.30 finishes are what I have. At least if I have to leave at 4pm I can without it being an issue for anyone. Oh well, will wait and see what happens. When I win Lotto (which may be very soon) – I won’t have to worry about working at all and can do all the other things I want to do !!!!!!!!!!!

My studies are going well – I passed my first prac exam with flying colours and got 100% for the first theory exam I wrote. It was good confidence booster as it is many years since I wrote exams. Next week we start anatomy and physiology which is something I am looking forward to but not looking forward to the exam bit !!!!

We had a quiet Easter – Al was fiddling around in the garden and I spent some time visiting my Mom in hospital. Then on Easter Monday we went down to Pacific Fair as Kaitlin wanted to go clothes shopping so we had a full day down there in and out of most of the shops – she managed to find a couple of things to buy so was very happy at the end of the day – I was glad she found something to buy so that we didn’t spend the whole day in out of shops and not buy anything !!!!!

Well that is all the news from the family over here – would love to hear any news from you out there.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Happy New Year to You !

Well another long drinks between posts although I am sure that everyone has been too busy to have read anything I wrote anyway.

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas wherever you were and whomever you were with and that 2008 brings you everything you wish for yourself.

Our surprise party for Dad was very successful - he was surprised so that was a good thing. This is the link to the photos from his party if you are interested Everyone seemed to have a good time - there was plenty of food and drink and most importantly we had a great time.

We had a lovely Christmas day lunch with our family and our extended family. We had family from Perth and South Africa share the day with us and all had a good time. I did eat too much food (actually I think we probably all ate too much food). Luckily the weather was good to us - normally it is as hot as Hades - this year we had a much cooler day with a nice breeze and not the blazing hot sun we have got used to since we arrived here 8 years ago. This is the link for the photos from Christmas day

I haven't had any time off over the Christmas period. Al had the two weeks over Christmas and New Year. Kaitlin was working on and off back at Bakers Delight and seems to be very happy there. Everyone was sad to see her go from Muffin Break and happy at BD to see her back.

Kaitlin starts at QAHS on 29th January. She has found out that there are a couple of children who live in the neighbourhood who are also going there and has met up with some of them so at least they won't be going to school not knowing anyone. Their uniforms are very smart - white shirts and charcoal skirts to the knee with 3 knife pleats over the left knee. Their sports uniforms also look very smart. They do have the option of wearing long pants in winter as well. I will post some photos once we have them taken. She is very happy playing with her computer - it is so tiny - not sure that I would be able to work on it for umteen hours a day.

Well it is just about time to be on our way to Coles - take care everyone and go safely.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

First day of summer

Can you believe that today is the first day of summer - where has the year gone to ?????? I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that we are getting older - I think time is going quicker for everyone.

There hasn't been too much happen since the last time I posted. We went to Kaitlin's speech night last night and came home, once again, very proud parents. She received academic honours for semester 2 and came first in Spanish - really, what more could we ask for. I think it was a bitter sweet day yesterday - her last day at SSC. While she is very excited about the new opportunity which awaits her next year, I think she is also a little anxious about what it will be like. We are off to buy her uniforms next week and should take delivery of the new beaut all bells and whistles computer before Christmas - that will give her a couple of weeks of playing around with it prior to starting school so when they do get to school it won't be "Hey - look what this can do" - although I would imagine there will still be a little of that until they get used to a paperless school !!!

Work has been quite hectic - for both Al and I. The children broke up on Friday but we still have another week of teachers before we can settle down to some peace and quiet.

The renovations are very slowly creeping to completion - with just a few things left to do - moving of water tanks, finishing the servery, finishing the pub, a couple of plants to be planted and the last bit of painting to be done - hopefully by Christmas it will be all finished and we can sit back and relax and enjoy what we have accomplished.

Rhona arrived from Perth today and we are all off to Outback Spectacular on Tuesday night - from what we have heard it promises to be a very entertaining evening. Roy, Kathy and the children arrive from Perth on 24th and we will all be having Christmas at our place this year. Heather and I were busy sorting out the menu for Christmas day tonight so that is all taken care of and under control.

We are going to be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks time - who would have thought that we could have had so much fun in 20 years !!! I know we have had our ups and our downs but it has certainly been a fun ride - here's to the next 20 years together - I love you Al. We have decided to combine it with a surprise 70th birthday for my Dad - he won't suspect a thing as his birthday is on 26th but we thought that it would be a bit much to have a huge Christmas lunch and then the next day another huge meal - so have decided to combine it with our anniversary and the official opening of our pub.

This is the link for the photos from my Mom's 70th birthday which we had at our home on 30th October

We have been having some good rain here lately - not enough is falling in the catchment area though which is a problem and not helping the drought at all. We are on level 6 water restrictions - thank goodness we have the 4 tanks which have certainly helped to keep our plants growing nicely. As soon as it stops raining long enough I will be out there with the Weed and Feed on the grass to get rid of the weeds and help the grass grow where it has died off due to various items - like crates of pavers - being dumped on it.

I hope you all have a great Sunday - take care and will post some photos and an update after the celebrations in a couple of weeks time.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Long time between drinks

I can't believe that it is over two months since I last posted - where has the time gone to ????? I know we had a month in Spain but it certainly doesn't feel like we have been home a month already - tomorrow will be 4 weeks since we got home and it feels like we were never away !!! (As is usual with a holiday).

You can read all about our holiday adventures in our Holiday in Spain blog if you are interested in what we got up to. For those who want the abridged version - we had an absolutely fantastic time - I truly loved Madrid, Toledo and Morella (and left a little of my heart in each of those places) - we drove 6400kms in the 4 weeks excluding bus trips and were approximately 88 hrs in transit on our holiday.

We got home and the next day it was back into work - luckily we had taken Monday night off from Coles work as I am not sure we would have managed that too well. We didn't seem to suffer from jet lag which was good. A couple of longer days at work saw me get the September accounts out the way and then we were pretty much back to normal.

Well except for the 7-1am shifts which we were doing at Coles as the night fill manager was off on compo and the lady who normally stands in for her was on leave and Al was running the fill each night - those couple of weeks weren't funny. The window of time to get things done between work and work wasn't really enough to do anything so we seemed to find ourselves running around like headless chooks (at least that was what it felt like some nights) and thank goodness it was only 2 weeks. The extra money came in useful but, quite honestly, I would rather not work those hours and not have the money.

Kaitlin has, once again, done very well at school - her results continue to be of a very high standard and last night we went to the Sports Award dinner where she received full colours for softball and was voted Most Promising softballer for 2007. She is very excited about going to Queensland Academies for Health Sciences (QA) next year. We still have to buy her new uniform and get her tablet / slate. I still can't really get my head around a paperless school - no doubt it is something which works otherwise they wouldn't be going ahead with it but I can't read more than two pages on a computer screen never mind study from books which have been downloaded onto the hard drive !!!!!

My aunt (Mom' sister) arrived from Durban on the Tuesday after we got home from Spain and we have had some lovely jaunts with them - either when K has been at work or all of us together. We took Cynthia down to Bangalow to the markets there (on a Sunday) as we were looking for a grass tree to replace the one which died after we moved him from the driveway - he didn't like his new home and so cacked it !!!! Very miserable of him because he was a lovely looking plant. Anyway, went down to Bangalow (about 1 3/4 hrs south of here into northern NSW) to see the grass tree guy who is normally at those markets but he wasn't there - bugger !!! We did manage to find another guy who only had one very sad looking grass tree but he mentioned that he had a nursery about 20 mins north of the market and gave Al his card. So the following Saturday we took all the oldies down to that nursery - what a lovely place and so many different plants to choose from at really reasonable prices. We landed up buying two grass trees (young ones which had been seeded) but he said that they should have good foliage within 6 months and should start to trunk in about 2-4 years (hope it is 2 rather than 4 years !!). We still have to decide where we are going to put the second one. We have moved a couple of those big pots we had placed on the pavers around but are still not 100% happy with where they are so will be moving them around again before Christmas no doubt.

It has been so lovely to see my aunt again - we haven't seen her since we left 8 years ago and we always seem to have some good laughs when we get together.

For all that it's been so long since I last posted that is about all the news from this side of the world. We have just got back from working and K is off baby-sitting - not sure what time she will be home but I am sure that unless it is in the next hour or so, I am going to be fast asleep.

Take care everyone, have a great weekend and drop us a line when you have a chance - we would love to hear what you have been up to.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Making progress

Today has been really productive - we have got the front yard just about there. Today we went and hired another high pressure cleaner and cleaned the pavers on the front entrance and up the side of the pub. AL, Dan and I moved the last of the stones to the front yard and then used the pressure cleaner to wash the sand off the stones - I should have taken a photo when the stones were wet as they look so much nicer than when they are dry. Thank goodness we have had a fair bit of rain lately as we were able to use the tank water to do all this cleaning - otherwise we wouldn't have been able to do it. Here's hoping that the weather stays fine tomorrow as the pavers will all be dry and I put a coat or two of sealer onto them.

When we went out at lunch time to take the pressure cleaner back, we stopped at a nursery to have a look at some plant pots and saw some nice little plants we could use around the water feature - came very close to buying them but then thought it would be better if we waited until we get back in case they don't get enough water and die. We have already had two lots of mini mondo grass in the water feature (at about $80 a pop) which have died so don't want to tempt fate by putting anything in the week before we leave and then expecting it to be alive when we get home in 4 weeks time.

This afternoon we mulched and put pine bark on the plants in the front yard and Al was busy changing some plants into bigger pots and putting new plants into pots. Once the sealer is all done we can get the plant pots where we want them so I think that before we leave we will be really close to having the front yard and all the pot plants sorted out which will be great as it will mean only the back yard and the painting of the garage (I still haven't gotten around to doing that - was going to do it today but the plants have taken longer than expected) and the front wall. Oh yes and sorting out the grass / garden in the front of the front fence and alongside the driveway. We are thinking of growing a bit of a hedge along the driveway to stop the postie from driving across the grass and driveway each day !!!! They are supposed to drive up your driveway and not along your property but none of them ever do - it would make their postie round so much longer if they did.

These are the latest photos taken after all the work done today (well some of them are from before we starting moving the stones on Sunday / Monday night / Tuesday night !!!! ) - I feel really good about what we have managed to accomplish to - it has been a really productive day. Here's hoping that tomorrow continues in the same vein - and that the weather continues to be good to us -

Tonight we are off to friends for dinner - Kaitlin is going to a party with some people from work so we will spend the evening catching up with our friends before we leave IN 8 SLEEPS TIME !!! Gosh but it has come around so quickly - when we booked our accommodation months and months ago - it seemed like forever away - now it is next week that we leave.

This week we managed to book our 3 nights accommodation in Madrid - will worry about where we will stay in Barcelona and the last night in Madrid when we get over there. Now if we could only find out which of the (seems like a gazillion) Hertz pick up locations is closest to our hotel - we would be able to book our car hire. I did e-mail the hotel but am not sure if they will have someone who can read English receiving the e-mails. Think I will take the address of the hotel and the addresses of the Herz places to school and see if the Spanish teacher can help me out. This is the website of the hotel in Madrid

Well I am off to make dessert for tonight and then have a shower so that we can be on our way - have a fantastic weekend everyone and go safely !