Diary of a geek

December 2014
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Andrew Pollock

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Day 322: Suspected chicken pox and laying low

At bath time last night, Zoe had some spots on her torso. Interestingly, he first reaction upon seeing them in the mirror was "Chicken!". I was more sceptical, because she's been vaccinated for chicken pox, and wasn't showing other symptoms. I thought it may have been from crawling along the tree branch. So I put her to bed and said we would check them in the morning.

After a good night's sleep, but a ridiculously early start at 5am, she still had spots, but was otherwise fine, so I decided to make a doctor's appointment. I managed to get one for 12:15am, so we just hung out at home in the morning, and Zoe watched some TV. It was ridiculously hot, so it was a good day to be indoors with the air conditioning cranked up.

After an early lunch, we went to the doctor. She said that Zoe had a slight fever, but she was also doubtful if it looked like chicken pox. She said to give it 48 hours to see what happened. She said if it was chicken pox, it'd be a mild case, given she's vaccinated.

I guess the school holidays is as good a time as any to be out of commission. Hopefully we both won't go too stir crazy.

She also said that given how Zoe was presenting we didn't need to go too overboard on isolation, so we made a quick trip out to Westfield Carindale to pick up some birthday cards, before heading home again.

Zoe's temperature got a bit higher in the afternoon, and she ended up taking a long, late nap on the couch. I used the time to work on the next unit of my real estate licence course, and made some good progress.

I pretty much had to wake her up when it was time for Sarah to pick her up, and she still had a low grade fever, but was otherwise in good spirits.

[20:21] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Day 321: Some tide pooling and tree climbing, park fun and a haircut

Zoe slept all night and even slept in a little bit, which was nice, given her late night.

I thought that given it was a nice day and the tide times were well suited for it, that we could go out to Wellington Point again, and walk out to King Island. I suspect the school holidays are going to be a bit of a "best of" things that we've done throughout the year.

I whipped up a quick picnic lunch after breakfast, and we made it out there in good time for low tide. We didn't end up walking all the way out to King Island. Zoe had a great time looking at all the baby crabs running around and went fossicking for shells instead. After a while doing that and not making a lot of progress towards King Island, she'd had enough, so we turned around and had a bit of a play in the park, which included some climbing on the big climbing tree. Zoe wasn't particularly confident this time around, and was resorting to shimmying along the tree, which wasn't terribly compatible with her choice of clothing.

After that, we pulled out the picnic blanket and had a lovely picnic in the shade. The weather really was beautiful today. Not a cloud in the sky, not too hot, and a nice cool breeze.

After lunch, we went back to the playground, and Zoe had another go climbing the tree. This time, after I pointed out that it was just like the balance beam at Tumble Tastics, she veritably charged up the tree walking upright.

She was actually a little too confident, and once she reached the trunk headed up the higher branch running perpendicular to the long low one. I lost my nerve once she got about 10 metres above the ground and out over the concrete and picnic tables, and asked her to come back down. She was doing fine, but I was more worried about how she was going to turn around, and if she was going to lose her nerve and get stuck up there.

I was glad when she made it back down safe and sound. I'm proud to have such a confident and capable daughter, but sometimes it's hard being a free range parent.

We headed home after that, and did a spot of grocery shopping for dinner on the way home. Zoe wanted to go to the park, so after we got home and unpacked, we biked back to the park for a little while, before biking to our haircut appointment.

After that, it was dinner and bed time. I'm hoping we'll have another good night's sleep.

[02:36] [life] [permalink]

Day 320: Home handyman stuff and visiting relatives

The screws had pulled out of the door frame on the bottom hinges of Zoe's door. I'd found a pretty straightforward looking Instructable on how to repair the situation. As I had a lot of dowel left over from when I built a couple of clothes lines for Zoe, I cut a few short pieces from the long length I had.

Unfortunately getting an exact length was impossible, so I had a bit of dowel sticking out that I needed to sand down, so after Sarah dropped Zoe off, we headed over to Bunnings to get a small drill-mounted sanding disc so I could sand them flush with the door frame.

After I successfully fixed the door, I thought we should go visit Bryce, since it's been quite a while since we've seen him. He wasn't feeling up for an outing, so we just visited him in the Masonic Centre at Sandgate and took him some mince pies.

Since we were relatively close to my parents, we dropped in on them for lunch afterwards, and we watched the photo slideshow DVD that Zoe's Kindergarten had given me on her second-last day, and flicked through her "yearbook" and portfolio.

Zoe napped in the car on the way home, and based on some behaviour in the morning, I figured she could do with it, so I let her nap a bit longer and we drove into the city to pick up her lunchbox from Biome. I probably blew the benefit of shaving on shipping by using their "click and collect" option by paying to park in the Myer Centre, but Zoe was certainly perkier after her nap.

After that, we went home, and I made a quick dinner. I wasn't going to attend my final Thermomix branch meeting because I had Zoe, but I decided in the morning, that given it wasn't a "school night", and the meeting was closer to home than usual. that I might try getting her all ready for bed and bringing her with me.

Fortunately I still had her Trunki all packed with amusements from our US trip in July, so I brought that with us, and that kept her sufficiently amused. She came up for a few cuddles at various points, but was otherwise happy to play quietly at the back of the room. She was really well behaved, and my Group Leader again complimented her on how well behaved she was.

That made for a bit of a late bedtime, but she did well. The nap in the car definitely helped.

[01:46] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 12 December 2014

Day 317: Doctor again, final Tumble Tastics, a good deed and general fun

Zoe slept solidly until 6:48am. It was overcast and cooler, so I dare say that helped. Uninterrupted sleep is always nice. We had a nice snuggle in bed before we started the day.

First up, we had another doctor's appointment so the doctor could have another go at freezing off the wart on her hand. Despite some initial uncertainty, Zoe was much braver this time, and the doctor got to really hit it this time. Zoe was very proud of herself.

After the obligatory Freddo Frog for bravery, we headed home via the Valley to clear my PO box.

After a little bit of TV, we scootered to Tumble Tastics for her final class.

Tumble Tastics has been really great for Zoe. Zoe's always enjoyed gymnastics, and has definitely enjoyed this. She was very fond of Mr Fletcher, her teacher (she seems to really like male teachers) and especially loved the rope swing they had in the classroom. I was personally impressed by the theme that they did each week, and their ability to keep the activities in the relatively small room fresh and varied each week. They use the limited space that they have quite effectively. The fact that it was an easy distance from home was a bonus.

On our way back home, we discovered a stray dog on the side of Hawthorne Road. I checked its collar, and it had a mobile phone number on it, so I gave it a call. It turned out the owner was down at the supermarket, and his wife was at home with a baby, so I offered to return the dog for him.

It was only about a 500 metre walk, but it was very back-breaking, as the dog was pretty dumb and wouldn't follow us, so I head to lead it by the collar all the way, which involved me having to walk bent over all the way. Zoe wanted to help, but he was a bit to big and heavy for her to lead.

He was an interesting cross-breed. He had the markings of a blue heeler, but the head and general body shape of a terrier of some sort.

Due to some ambiguous letterboxes, we ended up at the the wrong house (off by one) and this house had a black Siamese cat that emerged from a boat parked in the front yard when I knocked on the door. Of course the dog decided to chase off after the cat, and I thought all was lost at that point, but he came back after having chased the cat away.

We then proceeded to the right house, returned the dog and went home for a well earned lunch.

After lunch, we went for a walk in the rain to post a letter. Zoe had a great time puddle jumping in her rain boots. We also made an opportunistic Christmas present purchase, and then went home again.

We had an unplanned afternoon of silly play for a while, with lots of running around and tickles and laughter. It was nice. Our downstairs neighbour, Deana, popped up to hang out for a bit as well, which was nice.

Zoe watched a bit of TV after that, and then Sarah arrived to pick her up.

[17:05] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Day 316: Bike riding play date and picnic

Zoe woke up at around 1:30am. I think the fact that her nightlight had gotten unplugged didn't help matters, and despite fixing that up, she jumped into bed with me at 1:50am.

We had a slow start to the day, but that said, I did manage to bake a batch of mince pies and make pastry for a quiche before we headed out at 9:30am, so it wasn't an unproductive morning.

I'd organised with Kelley to have a bike riding play date with Chloe at the Minnippi Parklands. I figured that since Chloe can already ride a bike, it might encourage Zoe.

It was a pretty hot morning, and not a lot of attempted bike riding happened before Zoe had had enough. No major breakthroughs happened, but it was very handy having a second adult. I think I need to put Zoe's bike seat up, as she's grown a bit since she first started trying to learn.

After we gave up on the bikes, the girls went and played on the pretend aeroplane and air traffic control tower for the rest of the morning, and we watched a storm roll in.

By early afternoon, the storm was looking a bit ominous, and Kelley had to be back at school, so we dropped them back home, and Zoe played for a bit at Chloe's place before we headed home to get ready for swim class.

In the mean time, the storm hit and appeared to pass, so we drove to swim class, but there was still lightning around, so swim class was canceled.

We headed back home so I could finish making dinner. Zoe was pretty tired from the day's activities, so I'm hoping she has a good sleep tonight.

[02:31] [life] [permalink]

Day 315: End of Kindergarten

Well, the day finally arrived. Zoe graduated from Kindergarten.

I started the morning failing to go for a run again. I should just give up until after Summer I think. I had my chiropractic adjustment and did some blogging, before heading out to Zoe's Kindergarten for their farewell morning tea.

The morning tea was nice, and we were free to take our kids home afterwards, so we were out of there by about midday.

The Kindergarten year feels like it's flown by so quickly. I've been really happy with the Seven Hills C&K. I'm grateful my friend Kim told me about C&K while there was still time to get Zoe a place, and that I've been able to have the year off to allow her to go. I think it's definitely a better environment than long day care. The transition statement, which I guess can best be described as an exit report card for Zoe was absolutely lovely. Time will tell, but I think it has prepared her well for Prep next year.

It was also great to be able to serve on the Kindergarten's Parent Advisory Group committee this year. That gave some insight into how the Kindergarten, and C&K in general operate.

Seven weeks of school holidays lie ahead of us, which I'm sure will fly by pretty quickly.

Megan came over with her Mum in the afternoon for a play date, and I prepared some more mince pies.

Zoe and I went out for dinner with my cousin, Renata, to celebrate Zoe's graduation from Kindergarten and we had a nice dinner out.

[02:17] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 09 December 2014

Day 314: Kindergarten, startup stuff

I wanted to start the day with a run, but like so many mornings before this one, I just couldn't be bothered. I've really fallen out of the habit.

Instead, I managed to knock over another unit of my real estate licence course by 9:30am. It turned out to be a short and sweet unit, which was great. I'm happy to be down to only four units to go by the end of Kindergarten. It's not the highly optimistic progress that I'd hoped, but being down to the last quarter of the course is still a nice milestone to go into the school holidays at.

To atone for my lack of running, I ended up wandering all over the neighbourhood instead. First in one direction to drop a dish back to Kelley, then in another direction to the post office to mail off the assessment, and then back the other way again to put a brochure in a prospect's mailbox. Google Fit was very happy with me.

After doing a bunch of random stuff at home, I caught a bus into the city for a lunch meeting, and then a taxi home in time to pick Zoe up from Kindergarten.

We popped out to Bunnings to pick up a tap timer for the common area gardens, and then got home before the storm of the day hit.

I did a spot of baking for Zoe's Kindergarten end of year morning tea, and Sarah arrived to pick Zoe up.

The storm didn't really produce much other than a spectacular light show. I haven't seen so much lightning since being back in Brisbane, and it was very impressive. I did miss a good electrical storm living in California...

I closed out the day with a nice yoga class.

[15:30] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 08 December 2014

A geek Dad goes to Kindergarten with a box full of Open Source and some vegetables

Zoe's Kindergarten encourages parents to come in and spend some time with the kids. I've heard reports of other parents coming in and doing baking with the kids or other activities at various times throughout the year.

Zoe and I had both wanted me to come in for something, but it had taken me until the last few weeks of the year to get my act together and do something.

I'd thought about coming in and doing some baking, but that seemed rather done to death already, and it's not like baking is really my thing, so I thought I'd do something technological. I just wracked my brains for something low effort and Kindergarten-age friendly.

The Kindergarten has a couple of eduss touch screens. They're just some sort of large-screen with a bunch of inputs and outputs on them. I think the Kindergarten mostly uses them for showing DVDs and hooking up a laptop and possibly doing something interactive on them.

As they had HDMI input, and my Raspberry Pi had HDMI output, it seemed like a no-brainer to do something using the Raspberry Pi. I also thought hooking up the MaKey MaKey to it would make for a more fun experience. I just needed to actually have it all do something, and that's where I hit a bit of a creative brick wall.

I thought I'd just hack something together where based on different inputs on the MaKey MaKey, a picture would get displayed and a sound played. Nothing fancy at all. I really struggled to get a picture displayed full screen in a time efficient manner. My Pi was running Raspbian, so it was relatively simple to configure LightDM to auto-login and auto-start something. I used triggerhappy to invoke a shell script, which took care of playing a sound and an image.

Playing a sound was easy. Displaying an image less so, especially if I wanted the image loaded fast. I really wanted to avoid having to execute an image viewer every time an input fired, because that would be just way too slow. I thought I'd found a suitable application in Geeqie, because it supported being out of band managed, but it's problem was it also responded to the inputs from the MaKey MaKey, so it became impossible to predictably display the right image with the right input.

So the night before I was supposed to go to Kindergarten, I was up beating my head against it, and decided to scrap it and go back to the drawing board. I was looking around for a Kindergarten-friendly game that used just the arrow keys, and I remembered the trusty old Frozen Bubble.

This ended up being absolutely perfect. It had enough flags to control automatic startup, so I could kick it straight into a dumbed-down full screen 1 player game (--fullscreen --solo --no-time-limit)

The kids absolutely loved it. They were cycled through in groups of four and all took turns having a little play. I brought a couple of heads of broccoli, a zucchini and a potato with me. I started out using the two broccoli as left and right and the zucchini to fire, but as it turns out, not all the kids were as good with the "left" and "right" as Zoe, so I swapped one of the broccoli for a potato and that made things a bit less ambiguous.

The responses from the kids were varied. Quite a few clearly had their minds blown and wanted to know how the broccoli was controlling something on the screen. Not all of them got the hang of the game play, but a lot did. Some picked it up after having a play and then watching other kids play and then came back for a more successful second attempt. Some weren't even sure what a zucchini was.

Overall, it was a very successful activity, and I'm glad I switched to Frozen Bubble, because what I'd originally had wouldn't have held up to the way the kids were using it. There was a lot of long holding/touching of the vegetables, which would have fired hundreds of repeat events, and just totally overwhelmed triggerhappy. Quite a few kids wanted to pick up and hold the vegetables instead of just touch them to send an event. As it was, the Pi struggled to play Frozen Bubble enough as it was.

The other lesson I learned pretty quickly was that an aluminium BBQ tray worked a lot better as the grounding point for the MaKey MaKey than having to tether an anti-static strap around each kid's ankle as they sat down in front of the screen. Once I switched to the tray, I could rotate kids through the activity much faster.

I just wish I was a bit more creative, or there were more Kindergarten-friendly arrow-key driven Linux applications out there, but I was happy with what I managed to hack together with a fairly minimal amount of effort.

[17:04] [tech] [permalink]

Day 313: Kindergarten, errands and podiatrist

I had a pretty busy morning. Zoe woke up around 12:45am complaining about a sore foot or something. I never quite got to the bottom of it, but I resettled her and got her back to sleep.

She then woke up at 6am for the day, and we managed to breeze through the morning super easily (for a change), with enough time for me to put laundry away and pump up the bike tyres and still arrive at Kindergarten right on opening time. It was all rather amazing.

The Kindergarten director asked me if I happened to have 40 CD sleeves "because I was a computer person", so I offered to go pick some up for her.

I biked back home, and fixed up one of my real estate licence course units that I had to resubmit due to a couple of mistakes, and then headed out in the car.

I debated going to OfficeWorks, which would have resulted in more back and forth, or trying K Mart at Cannon Hill. I ended up going for K Mart, and they didn't have any. Neither did Dick Smith or the post office. I got lucky at one of the cheap shops, and managed to get a pack of 100. I did manage to pick up some cheap plain t-shirts for Zoe to wear under her sun dresses to protect her shoulders, so it wasn't a completely wasted trip.

I dropped the sleeves back into the Kindergarten, and then mailed off the corrected coursework and headed back home.

There was another storm looming at around pick up time, so I drove back to Kindergarten. They've already started end of year clean up stuff, and they've taken down all the stuff from this year from the walls, and the Kindergarten looks shocking stark now.

My health insurance covers podiatry, so I figured I might as well get Zoe checked out before we buy school shoes. I'd made an appointment for 3pm at the myFootDr headquarters over in Camp Hill, where my neighbour Meg happens to work.

Zoe was initially not keen on going, but once we got there, she was fine. They were running a bit behind, so we watched some TV in the waiting room. After watching Wild Vets, Zoe's decided she doesn't want to be a vet any more.

We had a really nice podiatrist, and Zoe was very comfortable with her, and happy to go through the examination. The podiatrist was very impressed with Zoe's physical abilities and general balance, and said she was well ahead of her milestones, which was pretty impressive. I chalk that up to all of the varied physical activities she's done this year.

She said normally she wouldn't try and put a 4 and a half year old on the treadmill for video gait analysis, but given how good Zoe had been, she gave it a shot. Zoe did fine.

I'm really glad that I took her to the podiatrist, because I got some good general advice about what to expect with Zoe's growth given her body shape, and we bought a more appropriate shoe type for her foot than I'd have otherwise bought at the uniform shop. I also got a pair of running shoes for her as well. Zoe had heaps of fun to boot.

The storm hit while we were there, but fortunately there was no hail in it. It had mostly receded by the time we left. We popped in to the post office on the way home, and then the weather turned a bit foul again, and we timed it just right to pick up Anshu from the ferry terminal on the way home.

Sarah arrived not long after that to pick Zoe up.

[16:35] [life] [permalink]

Sunday, 07 December 2014

Day 310: Doctor, shopping, Tumble Tastics and a washed out Movies in the Park

Zoe slept solidly until 7am, which was lovely.

I'd made an appointment with Zoe's doctor to have some funny looking spots on her chest looked at. The spots were nothing, but the doctor decided to try and freeze the wart off Zoe's hand, which I hadn't been prepared for. Zoe was very brave about it though. The doctor wants to give it another hit in a week.

I've been wanting to get a portable shade tent for the beach for a while, and at BCF it's a seasonal item, so I had to wait for them to come into season. We headed over to BCF after the doctor.

BCF really is a poor cousin to REI. I miss REI. We did run into one of Zoe's Kindergarten teachers at BCF, so that was a bit of a treat for Zoe.

By the time we were done with that, it was getting close to time for Tumble Tastics, so we headed back home to get ready, and then Zoe wanted to go by car because it was hot.

We just chilled out at home after lunch, and I was watching the weather radar while debating the virtues of trying to go to the Hawthorne Markets and Councillor Shayne Sutton's last Movies in the Park night for the year. There was a pretty decent looking storm brewing.

In the end, I decided to wing it, and we headed off to the markets with umbrellas and blankets and camp chairs. I felt like a bit of a pack horse. As luck would have it, it started to rain a little bit half way there, and more earnestly once we arrived.

The upside was the line for free facepainting was non-existent, and Zoe also got to do some free craft activities without too much competition. Santa arrived not long after that.

The movie screening was moved inside the Morningside Panthers clubhouse, but the weather had turned most people away. There were probably only about 40 die hards that bothered to stick around.

The movie was Arthur Christmas, which wasn't something I was familiar with. It was pretty good though, if a little over Zoe's head. She enjoyed it nevertheless.

It was still raining lightly at the end of the movie, so we walked home with our umbrellas, and I got Zoe to bed.

[02:54] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 04 December 2014

Day 309: Seaworld

My friends Alec and Christine were holidaying on the Gold Coast with their daughter Eloise this week, and I'd made plans to rendezvous with them at Seaworld for the day.

Sarah dropped Zoe around in the morning, and we departed not long after, with a side visit to the post office to clear my post office box.

We arrived at Seaworld just after 10am, and Alec and Christine were already inside and had secured some seats for the Seal Detective show. They saved us some seats and we joined them.

After that, we tried to watch the dolphin show, but they had to cancel it because someone had managed to trip over a stroller that was past the stroller parking area and had injured themselves. It seemed like quite the incident management, with a lot of Seaworld people descending on the scene, and erecting screens around the injured person. I have no idea why they weren't able to quickly move them and proceed with the show.

We grabbed some lunch and had the obligatory ride on the Vikings Revenge Flume Ride (that thing is such a Seaworld institution). It was getting hot, and Eloise was a bit tired and cranky from a full week of vacationing, so we decided to go back to their hotel and have a swim in the pool.

Zoe wanted to take the bus back with them, so I drove back to the Marriott and availed myself of their free valet parking, and we had a swim. The Surfers' Paradise Marriott certainly has a very impressive swimming area. We had lots of fun.

We ended up staying for dinner before heading back. Zoe fell asleep in the car on the way back despite my best efforts to prevent it. She had quite a meltdown when I had to get her out of the car when we got home, so I had to basically get her into her pajamas and pour her into bed and she fell back asleep easily.

It was a really nice day out.

[19:55] [life] [permalink]

Day 308: Christmas shopping in the city

Zoe managed to slip and fall on her bottom trying to get out of bed at midnight last night. I resettled her back in her bed and she was up for the day at a delightful 5:45am.

I thought we could take the bus into the city and do some Christmas shopping.

After a lot of procrastinating, we finally got out of the house, and managed to walk straight onto a bus, which was pretty good timing.

Our first stop was Officeworks to get Zoe's Kindergarten transition statement (which I'd received the previous day and was absolutely fantastic) copied, and then we dropped into biome to attempt to look at PlanetBox (unsuccessfully, they were all out of stock).

Then we headed over to the Myer Centre, to check out the Santa offerings. I was on a quest to find a real bearded Santa, as all of Zoe's original Santa photos were with real bearded Santas (except for last year, which was a major disappointment). I got lucky, and the Myer store Santa had a real beard (or as it turned out, one of them did).

Myer runs a pretty tight ship with their Santa, and it turns out the reason they have him sequestered away in a tiny room, is they actually run two Santas in parallel, and having him out of sight helps to not ruin the illusion for the kids.

After the photo, Zoe went and had lunch with Sarah, and I did a spot more Christmas shopping and grabbed some lunch myself.

After Zoe was reunited with me, we made our way back to the bus and headed home.

After we got home, we just chilled out at home until Sarah picked Zoe up.

[02:55] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

Day 307: Kindergarten, startup stuff, swim class

Zoe woke up at 1:48am. Something about not liking the colour of her bed (we're back at that one again). I didn't have the energy to try and put her back to bed, so I let her jump in with me.

Zoe ended up having a big sleep in, I think until around 7am. I let her sleep, since I figured she needed it, but coupled with some spectacular procrastination, it meant we needed to drive to Kindergarten.

I had an appointment at 9:30am, so I didn't get started on my real estate licence coursework until after 10am, and I wasn't feeling particularly motivated. I managed to procrastinate my way through finishing off last week's unit and got it in the mail by the time I had to pick Zoe up.

I'd shifted Zoe's swim class to this afternoon to free up Thursday for a day trip, but the class wasn't until 4:45pm. After a bit of TV, we headed off anyway. Zoe wanted to ride her scooter, and wanted me to rollerblade, and as we had plenty of time, we took a more indirect route.

Even with all that, we still had an hour up our sleeves, so we stopped off at the park for a play. We ran into Flynn, who Zoe met at her pre-Prep afternoons at school, so that was nice.

We went to swim class, and I ran into the parents of one of the girls from Zoe's Kinderballet, so I had a bit of a chat with them while Zoe had her swim class.

After that, we headed back home. I gave Zoe a bath while dinner cooked, and that got everything back on schedule. We actually ended up with time up our sleeves, so we sat out on the balcony and watched the fruit bats taking flight at dusk.

[14:44] [life] [permalink]

Day 306: Running, Kindergarten visit, Christmas party

After helping out with Saturday's New Farm parkrun by being the timekeeper, I felt additionally motivated to get out and go for a run again. It was overcast and cooler this morning, so that helped. I managed to get out and running pretty early.

Annoyingly, my phone decided it had a completely different idea of distance than reality (I think it decided my approximately 7 km run was 20 km, which was very annoying) so the record of the run is pretty much useless. I hope this isn't a sign of further problems with Android 5.0 on my phone.

After that, I pottered around home for a bit before getting ready to go spend a chunk of time at Kindergarten. I had to pick up some stuff from the supermarket on the way, and I ended up getting there a bit later than I'd intended, but it seemed to work out well with the schedule they were running to at Kindergarten.

I've been wanting to go and spend a day with Zoe at Kindergarten all year, it's just taken me until the second last week to get my act together and make it happen. I know some of the mothers had done baking and stuff with the kids, but I thought that I could do something technological instead. I'll go into all the technical details in another post.

I had a really fun morning with all the kids. Initially it was just with the kids from Zoe's unit, but after all of them had had a bit of a turn, Zoe's teacher asked me if I wanted to do it with the kids in Megan's unit as well, so I moved over to the other classroom and they all had a turn too. It was lovely to properly meet all of the kids, especially the ones I didn't already know by name.

I stuck around until Zoe had lunch, and then left when they had their rest time, and went home for a bit of a rest myself. Zoe was super happy that I was able to spend some time there.

I drove back for pick up time, and we just hung out at home afterwards.

It was my Thermomix branch Christmas Party, and I'd booked the same babysitter that had nannied for me previously. That seemed to work out pretty well.

[02:18] [life] [permalink]

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Day 303: Baking, Tumble Tastics and TuKindergarten Christmas party

I've left this post too long, and I can't remember how Zoe slept.

We did some baking in the morning, and made our first batch of Christmas mince pies. As usual, the shortbread pastry dough is going to require some tweaking to be workable enough for my liking, but I was fairly happy with the first batch.

We made a quick foray at the supermarket for more baking ingredients before it was time to leave for Tumble Tastics.

The weather was looking a bit dubious, so we walked to Tumble Tastics, and Zoe did lots of puddle jumping with her rain boots.

After lunch we made another batch of mince pies, and then headed over early to Zoe's Kindergarten Christmas party, as I'd said I'd help with set up.

The party went really well. I got roped into doing emcee duties with the local politicians for the raffle draw, before the kids performed.

The kids' performance was very cute. Zoe went home with Sarah and I stayed behind to help with the pack up. It's hard to believe Zoe only has 5 more days of Kindergarten. The year has gone by so quickly.

[01:31] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 28 November 2014

Day 302: Playdate, swim class and a supercell storm

Zoe managed to sleep all night for a change, and instead, I had Smudge going mental on the doormat outside my room at around 2am. It's a conspiracy to not give me a solid night's sleep, I swear.

I'd organised another play date with Chloe, this time at our place. They were a bit late arriving, so we just hung out and watched some DVDs until they arrived.

The girls had a good time playing together, and I made some breadrolls for lunch and gave Kelley a bit of a one on one Thermomix demonstration.

They hung around after lunch until it was almost time for Kelley to pick up her older daughter from school, and we biked over not long after that to go to swim class.

Hampton Swim School was having their SwimSAFER week this week, and instead of normal classes, they had a bunch of different stations set up around the pool where they did different safety activities. It seemed pretty cool.

Unfortunately not long into her class, Zoe came over to me complaining of ear pain at the top of her ear. On quick inspection, it turned out that somehow a large ant had gotten trapped in her ear (fortunately it wasn't the ear canal) and had bitten her. I have no idea how it got in there.

I managed to fish it out with one of my keys, but it must have been hurting a lot, as she was very upset, and didn't want to go back to her class. I tried using some Stingose from Hampton's impressive first aid kit, but she was done and wanted to go home, so we did.

We biked back home, and I gave her some ibuprofen and a more surgical application of Stingose. Our downstairs neighbour, Deana, popped up with her baby daughter for a chat, and I think that served as a good distraction as well.

Meanwhile, a massive storm rolled in, with some very impressive thunder and lightning, and also what was possibly Zoe's first hailstorm.

It was a crazy loud storm, and Zoe handled it pretty well. She initially thought the hailstones were Mentos. I managed to catch some of storm on my phone, and I've uploaded a video to YouTube. I've never heard anything quite like an approaching hailstorm on nearby tin roofs before it hit locally.

The storm passed pretty quickly, as it was moving pretty fast, but with all the excitement dinner was a bit late.

[03:51] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Day 301: Kindergarten, self-care, errands galore

Yesterday felt like a bit of a blur, probably because I had a late night the night before.

I was up pretty early. I had my chiropractic adjustment and did some tidying up before the cleaners arrived.

I popped out to OfficeWorks to do a test print of my Christmas card while the cleaners were here, and then went straight to my massage appointment.

From there, I went straight to the Kindergarten to chair the last PAG meeting of the year. It's hard to believe there's only a couple of weeks of Kindergarten left. The year has flown by.

We popped over to Bunnings and the pet shop to get some more kitty litter, before dropping in at Hannah Photography to pick up the photo on canvas from our photo shoot. Zoe had fun playing with Hannah's cat, Charlie.

Sarah dropped in to spend a bit of quality time with Zoe, and I used the time to tweak my Christmas card a little bit. After Sarah left, we did another run to OfficeWorks to get them printed.

After that, it was time for a late dinner and off to bed.

[02:29] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Day 300: Kindergarten, startup stuff, errands

I started the day nice and early courtesy of the sun.

I finished off the unit of assessment that I should have finished last week, and get it into the mail. I made a start on the next unit, but was feeling a bit unmotivated, so I walked down to the post office to mail off the previous unit.

My current unit is all about the different styles of homes in Queensland since pre-Federation, and it's actually really interesting. I could spend a lot more time reading the course notes than I really should. It did cause me to look at the homes I walked pass with a new eye.

It was pretty hot again, and I didn't feel up for picking up Zoe from Kindergarten by bike, so I drove over.

I wanted to head out to the Brisbane City Council's regional business centre at Yeerongpilly to see if they had any plans for my apartment building. It turns out it was a bit of a wasted trip, because I could have requested the archive retrieval over the phone if the call centre person I'd spoken to had have known better. Zoe enjoyed collecting brochures from the counter anyway.

The return journey took us close enough to West End, that I decided to make a side trip over there to grab a few things from the food wholesaler I like over there. Zoe had a milkshake, so she was happy.

We got home from that trip and didn't have a lot of time left until Sarah arrived to pick up Zoe.

[16:53] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 24 November 2014

Day 299: Kindergarten and a demo

We had another bad night's sleep last night, with Zoe waking up at 1:30am. Her bedroom was 27-28°C all night. I've got a pretty good amount of data on her sleep habits now, and it's pretty safe to say that if her room is over 25°C, she's going to wake up between 1:30am and 3am. Time to get some more quotes for air-conditioning I think.

Zoe did have a bit of a sleep in this morning, which allowed me to get ready for the day before she got up. Given I had a Thermomix demonstration to get to, that worked out well.

I half-packed the car for the demo and dropped Zoe to Kindergarten by car, and returned home to finish preparing and practice before I headed over.

I was fairly happy with my delivery, given it's been a little while since I've done one. My main goal today if not a sale was to get a booking for another demo, as I've been weak in that area, and I was successful in the latter, so that was good.

Timing worked out well that I got to Kindergarten right for pick up time. We drove home, and I unpacked the car and got changed into something cooler, and we headed out to try and get some more whole wheat grains from the Indian supermarket that Anshu had shown me. As luck would have it, they were out of stock, so it was a bit of a wasted trip.

We headed home and Zoe watched a bit of TV until Sarah picked her up.

[02:41] [life] [permalink]

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Day 296: The day of walking errands

We did a rather huge amount of pedestrian travel today.

I had the car booked in for a service, so after Sarah dropped Zoe off, and she'd watched a bit of TV, we drove over to Newstead to drop the car off.

I'd packed Zoe's scooter in the boot, and once we left the car dealership, we headed over to the Teneriffe cross-river ferry, which is currently conveniently depositing passengers at Hawthorne. Even more conveniently, the ferry was waiting for us as we arrived.

I'd booked haircuts for us at 10am, and we comfortably made it to the hairdresser with about 10 minutes to spare.

After that, it was time to head over to Tumble Tastics, which was quite close to the hairdresser's. We ended up getting there about 20 minutes early, but that was fine.

After Tumble Tastics, we headed home for lunch, and the car was ready to be picked up, so after a brief rest, we headed out again.

This time, Zoe said she wanted to walk, rather than ride the scooter, so we headed out on foot, reversing our trip.

We were in no particular hurry, so we stopped for a little play in a park over at Newstead that we'd discovered in the morning, and then picked up the car. It was a very hot day, so it was nice to get out of the heat.

On the way home, I discovered that the Hawthorne Markets were on. I had some paperwork to drop off to Zoe's school, so after I filled that out, we walked over to her school, dropped it off, and then walked back to the Hawthorne Markets.

I bumped into one of my fellow Thermomix Consultants, Katia, and got introduced to one of her friends, who it turns out, was at the very first trial Tumble Tastics class we went to. She also had a daughter named Zoe. So my Zoe knocked around with this Zoe and Katia's kids, and we grabbed some dinner there. It was a nice night out.

I love the feeling of community that I have now. I don't think I've had this feeling of being so well established in a place, within such a walking distance, ever before. I am truly grateful for living in such a wonderful neighbourhood and community.

[02:12] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 21 November 2014

Day 295: A big long play date

I met Kelley at the first P&C meeting I went to, and she immediately took me under her wing, and later gave me a bit of a tour of the school, and some tips on Prep teachers and whatnot. I then proceeded to run into her nearly every time I went near the school.

She has a daughter, Chloe, starting Prep next year, and an older daughter in Year 3, and she's fairly well entrenched in the school community.

I thought it'd be good for Zoe to get to know Chloe a bit better, so she's one more person she knows at the start of school next year, so we had a play date at her house.

The girls seem to get along well, and Kelley's really nice. We have similar views in a lot of areas, and her husband works in IT security, so I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

After lunch, due to the heat, we decided to bike down to the Colmslie Pool together. Kelley has a bike adapter trailer thing that couples a normal kid's bike to the back of hers, with the front wheel slightly elevated.

Zoe made me very proud at the pool, doing a kneeling dive into the water and swimming half the length of the indoor pool. Her swimming continues to progress in leaps and bounds.

We had a good time at the pool, and then biked back to school so Kelley could pick up her other daughter. We just hung out at the pool a bit early for swim class, and then biked home afterwards.

Sarah picked up Zoe, and then I headed out for the second Thermomix cooking class I've had to help out with. This one was a bit more fun for me because we had a great number of consultants on hand to share the workload, and I wasn't on washing up duties this time.

[02:45] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Day 294: Babysitting play date, final Prep introductory day and an afternoon play date

Wednesday was yet another full day. It's no wonder I'm feeling so tired, and have a backlog of blogging.

Mel had asked me if I could look after Matthew and Olivia for a couple of hours in the morning. Matthew and Zoe get along fabulously, and the time worked well, so I was happy to help out.

Zoe seems to be going through a bit of a nightmare phase at the moment. I'm sure the heat isn't helping. Zoe woke up with a nightmare about Smudge dying at 2am. Her room was 27°C at the time. 2am seems to be the nightmare time. I got her resettled within about half an hour. I really think I'm going to have to look into air-conditioning her bedroom sooner rather than later.

So I was a bit of a zombie when Mel dropped the kids off at 9am. Fortunately Matthew and Zoe just went off and played together, and Olivia was happy to just hang out with me. She's such a sweet little 2 and a half year old. She kept calling me "Lucy's Dad" or "Sophie's Dad" or something not quite right. It was very cute.

Mel was going to stay for lunch, and I'd been feeling adventurous, and made some hamburger buns and hamburger patties throughout the morning, with everyone running amok around me.

I improvised a bit on the hamburger buns, using a mix of baker's flour and whole-wheat flour and buckwheat. The result still turned out quite satisfactory.

After lunch, Zoe and I headed over to school for the final Prep introductory afternoon. Zoe wanted to walk today. It was a "best of" day for the fine motor skills activities, and Zoe was rather chuffed to get picked as a leader for the gross motor skills activities.

One of the Prep teachers (the one I hope Zoe gets next year) who had remarked on Zoe's timidity on the first day remarked today about what a different girl she was now.

Walking home, there were a ton of ibis on the football field we walk past, so Zoe had a great time running across the field chasing them all. She's getting a lot better about walking longer distances now.

Eva and Layla came over for a play with Tanya in tow after school, and the girls had a fun afternoon. A massive storm rolled in, and so I went and picked up Anshu from the ferry terminal. Once the storm abated, Tanya left with the girls, and then Sarah arrived to pick up Zoe.

Anshu tagged along with me to the P&C meeting. Not the most fun "date night", but I was glad to have another opportunity to attend a P&C meeting before the end of the school year.

[22:22] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Day 293: Kindergarten, Property Occupations Act Roadshow

Zoe woke up at some point in the night. I have a vague recollection of a conversation with her, and lacking the willpower to get out of bed to put her back to bed in her own bed. The next thing it was 5:30am and she was sleeping sideways in bed with me.

Despite all that, I felt more rested this morning, which was good. We managed to get going quite early as well, without really trying. I had to be out at the Sleeman Sports Complex at 9am for a roadshow by the REIQ about the new Property Occupations Act, which kicks in on December 1 to replace the current Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act.

It also rained this morning, which doubly made it necessary to go to Kindergarten by car. We were actually running so early that we got there before opening time, which I've only managed to do a few times all year.

I ended up getting to the Sleeman Sports Complex about 15 minutes early. It was fun playing "spot the real estate agent's car".

I didn't learn anything earthshattering in the briefing, but it was useful to get fully up to speed on the new legislation. I just hope that being half way through a course that has covered the old legislation isn't going to be a problem.

I got home from that with enough time to just chill out for a bit (I ended up doing a bit of tinkering) before it was time to pick up Zoe. The weather was still a bit questionable, so I picked her up in the car.

Zoe wanted to watch Megan's tennis lesson again, and I had to be at home for a 3pm video chat, so I left her with Jason and popped home.

After my video chat, I went around to Jason's and helped with a bit of painting before heading home to start on dinner.

I had enough for Jason, Megan and Megan's little sister, so they came over for dinner as well.

I got Zoe down to bed at the normal time, but her bedroom is ridiculously hot. I'm not terribly confident I won't get another uninterrupted night's sleep.

[03:04] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 17 November 2014

Day 292: Kindergarten, return from Sydney, groceries and general malaise

I felt pretty exhausted this morning. In fact, I felt exhausted before I flew to Sydney for the weekend. It hasn't gotten any better.

I managed to get on an earlier (by an hour) flight back, which gave me a comfortable amount of time to unpack, put away the laundry and generally tidy up before picking up Zoe from Kindergarten.

After I picked her up, we popped over to the supermarket to do some grocery shopping and escape the heat, before heading home.

I had a crack at making sushi for dinner tonight. It turned out so-so. I'll tweak it a bit more next time.

Zoe seemed pretty worn out by bedtime too, and went to bed easily. I'm looking forward to a long night's sleep.

[02:38] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Day 288: A day of vomit, canceled play dates and bus excursions

I'd made plans with Kelley, the mum of Chloe, who is also starting Prep next year, to go on a day trip over to the Redcliffe lagoon for a swim and a picnic. Despite it raining overnight, and it being overcast in the morning, I was confident we could still make a good day of it.

Then Zoe threw up rather spectacularly before breakfast. At least she had the decency to do it in the kitchen on the tiles, so it was easy to clean up.

At that stage, I wasn't sure if it was a gastro bug or what, so I canceled the play date to be on the safe side. Zoe kept breakfast down, and after doing a bit of craft (we made a really awesome little castle out of a tissue box and some toilet rolls), I decided it was okay to venture out.

Zoe's Kindergarten is doing some sort of Christmas production, and she was asked to provide a plain green t-shirt for it. Big W was apparently selling such t-shirts for the bargain price of $3, so I thought we might as well head out there. Zoe was keen to take a bus. We've never tried a multiple bus excursion before, but I figured it would be a good way to pass the day. There was a bus due in 10 minutes of hatching this plan, so we hastily headed out the door.

We took the usual city-bound 230 bus from Hawthorne, and had to change for a Carindale-bound bus at Woolloongabba, which struck me as a really inefficient way to travel, but it was what Google Maps said to do, so we did it. On the bus to Carindale, my friend Steve called me up because he had an hour to kill, and we arranged to meet up at Carindale for a coffee.

By the time we got there it was pretty much time for an early lunch, so we grabbed some lunch in the Glasshouse precinct of Westfield and Zoe had a play in the play area. I also tried out the selfie stick I'd picked up a few weeks ago. Zoe thought it was pretty cool.

After Steve departed, we bought the t-shirt, and headed back to the buses. It was nice to just wander around Carindale without a particular agenda for a change.

Having been the first time we'd traveled to Carindale by bus, we got on the 204 bus going in the wrong direction, and I didn't realise until we reached the end of the line. We had a brief wait for the next bus to leave going back the right way. I had a bit of a chat with the bus driver, who had a granddaughter about Zoe's age. I learned that 6 bus drivers a week get bashed, which seems rather dreadful. I also learned that they've been told it causes less fuss to just let passengers travel with a Go card with insufficient credit, so I'm not sure why I'm bothering to auto top up mine.

With the unplanned extra delay, we got home running late for swim class, so we drove to swim class, and Zoe had her swimming lesson.

After a brief side trip to the Hawthorne Garage to grab some stuff for dinner, we headed home, and Zoe watched a bit of TV while I put dinner on.

Bedtime was nice and uneventful.

[03:10] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Day 287: Kindergarten, another Prep day and a big dinner

I was up and about very early again this morning. I started the day off with my chiropractic adjustment and got stuck into the last part of the current unit of my real estate licence course.

The cleaners were about 15 minutes late arriving, and I had to race out the door as soon as they arrived to have a one-on-one with my group leader.

That went okay, and I got home and did some more of my coursework before heading out for my massage. I was feeling really sore after my run and my yoga class, so I really needed it this week.

After that, I had enough time to grab some lunch and race over to pick up Zoe from Kindergarten early to take her to Prep for her third introductory session. We introduced ourselves to the Mum of a little boy who was also heading to school and recognised Zoe in her Prep t-shirt.

The session went much better than the first one, probably because we were less rushed getting there on time and Zoe was well and truly with the program by now.

After school, we went back to the uniform shop to return one dress too many, and then ducked over to the supermarket to get some stuff for dinner. I'd arranged for Megan and her sister and Dad to come for dinner, as Laura was out of town. At school, I ran into Eva and Layla's Mum, Tanya, and Justin was out of town for a funeral, so I invited them over for dinner as well.

Five kids in a small apartment was quite the zoo, but everyone had a good dinner, play and bath (I need a few more towels to deal with that many bathing guests). Zoe was pretty tired, and with all the excitement I didn't get her down to bed until a little bit late.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite get the unit of study completed that I was working on today. I'll have to try and finish it off over the next couple of days.

[02:52] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 10 November 2014

Day 286: Kindergarten, startup stuff, uniform shopping

This morning was a bit cooler on account of it being overcast, so I managed to leap out of bed and go for a run. I realised afterwards that it's been quite a while since I've gone for one. I mustered 7 km this morning before blowing up, mostly due to a lack of willpower to keep slogging on in the heat. I was happy I lasted that long.

I made up for last week's lost progress on my real estate licence course and knocked over a unit and put it in the mail. I managed to get through the first two parts of another unit, and hopefully I can finish off the third part and get it into the mail tomorrow.

I also did some productive procrastinating and may actually have a successful backup of daedalus currently getting written out to virtual "tape". Who would have thought the TCP keepalive interval would be the cause of all the problems?

I biked to Kindergarten to pick Zoe up, and then we went to the post office. I thought we should get Zoe's school uniform shopping out of the way, so under protest, we headed to the uniform shop on the way home from the post office.

For some reason, Zoe hadn't been excited about the prospect of going uniform shopping. Every time I'd asked her if she wanted to do it, she'd declined. Once we got into the store and were trying on uniforms though, she wanted to wear one home on the bike. So that's the uniform shopping out of the way, we just have to get some shoes, which I'll leave until the last minute in case her feet grow.

After we got home, Zoe watched some TV and I had a crack at making a herb and garlic pull-apart that I've been wanting to try and make for a while. It's smelling delicious in the oven as I write.

I'm looking forward to closing out the day with a yoga class.

[23:22] [life] [permalink]

Sunday, 09 November 2014

Day 285: Kindergarten and some tinkering

I've felt exceptionally flat today, despite having a good night's sleep. I'm blaming the heat, or treking around Saint Helena Island in the hot sun yesterday.

We biked to Kindergarten this morning for drop off, and I left the trailer there. I was feeling pretty flat just after biking there and back in the heat.

I'm trying to rig up something to bring to Kindergarten one day, which uses a Raspberry Pi and the MaKey MaKey. I spent the day fooling around with it, and not much else.

I biked back to Kindergarten to pick Zoe up. Zoe and Megan wanted to have a play date, and Jason had to run some errands, so we biked home, and he dropped Megan off.

The girls had a good time running amok, and I made a start on my first batch of fruit mince for mince pies of this Christmas season.

Jason came over to pick up Megan, and Sarah arrived not long afterwards.

[23:20] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 07 November 2014

Day 282: A day with a nanny, REIQ course, family fun night

The REIQ was offering a one day "Starting an agency" course, which seemed too good to pass up. Unfortunately, being on a Friday, and not wanting to cause Zoe to miss out on Tumble Tastics, I had to get a nanny in, instead of just sticking her in day care for the day.

After getting some recommendations from friends on Facebook, and doing price comparisons, I went with Nanny's R Us.

They had to do a last minute swap, but everything worked out fine, and even with a 30 minute late start due to traffic, I got to my course on time.

The course was well worth it, and I got some useful information that I'd been lacking to date. The course instructor also happened to be the trainer who is marking my next four units of my real estate license course, so it was nice to meet him in the flesh.

The course finished a bit earlier than the advertised time, so I used the time to run some errands I was planning on doing on Monday.

Zoe's future primary school had a "family fun night", which started at 3pm, so I'd asked the nanny to take Zoe to that and met them there at 5pm. It was a pretty good night, and Zoe had lots of fun on the rides.

[03:26] [life] [permalink]

Day 281: Movieworld

My friends Chris and Kelly were holidaying on the Gold Coast with their daughter Alyssa, and I made plans to catch up with them at Movieworld on Thursday.

The day went super well. We timed our arrival for right on opening time, and quickly found them. Zoe and Alyssa got along really well.

The highlight of the day (for me) was that Zoe managed to be allowed onto the Scooby Doo ride in the morning. I think technically she was still a tiny bit under the height restriction, as a different attendant didn't let her on again in the afternoon.

Zoe was initially too scared by the dark in the queuing area and wanted to leave again, but the attendant talked her into going on the ride, and we had a great time. It's my favourite ride so far, in terms of length. Zoe turned around and went on it again straight away.

The other ride that we got heaps of mileage out of was the Hall of Justice ride, which Zoe has been on the first time we went, but the second time was too scared to go on. This time, her and Alyssa probably went on it 10 times in a row.

It was a really great day out, and I even got to go on the Green Lantern ride with Kelly, which was all over surprisingly quickly.

I expected Zoe to fall asleep instantly in the car on the way back, but she stayed away chattering away and playing with the Scooby Doo toy that Alyssa had bought her.

We got back with enough time to do a couple of post office runs and pick up Anshu from the ferry terminal, before Sarah arrived to pick up Zoe.

[03:04] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 05 November 2014

Day 280: A fairly quiet day, some exploration, and another Prep day

I felt absolutely trashed this morning. I was completely oblivious to Zoe coming in and sleeping in my bed at 1:20am. The first thing I knew of her being there was at around 5am when she woke me up.

We eventually got going in the late morning. I wanted to go check out a wholesale kitchen place I'd heard about, Kitchen Discounts. Like every other wholesale direct to the public place I've found out about recently, this place was also awesome. Zoe and I had a great time browsing the store.

We had lunch when we got home, and then started pulling apart the old garbage disposal, which ended up being a bit of a job. They really weren't kidding when they said it wasn't serviceable. It had some weird screws that I couldn't undo, so I drilled them all out, and we got as far as pulling the motor apart. It was definitely leaking, the bottom of the grinding plate had corroded through.

It was then time to head to Zoe's future primary school for her second Prep introductory session. Zoe scootered to school with lots of time to spare so we wouldn't be late, and I made sure Zoe was fed and watered, and things went much better than last week.

The format was pretty much the same as last week, just different fine and gross motor skills. Zoe participated much better than last week, so the challenge will be to have a smoother early departure from Kindergarten for next week's session.

On the way back home, we stopped off at the park for a play, and then continued home in time for Sarah to pick up Zoe.

[02:59] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 04 November 2014

Day 279: Kindergarten, Grandparents Day, lots of minor annoyances

Yesterday was just full of annoyances.

Zoe had a brief wake up at 11pm. I think it was a bad dream.

I woke up at 5:30am with the light and decided to get up and get things going. Zoe on the other hand, decided to sleep in until 7:20am.

We got going to Kindergarten on the bike. The sky looked really ominous, and sure enough, it started to rain by the time we'd gotten half way up the Hawthorne Road hill. I figured we should just cut our losses and turn around and go in the car instead.

So we eventually got to Kindergarten. It was Grandparents Day, and all of Zoe's living grandparents and great-grandparents were going to make an appearance.

I got home and made a start on the current unit I'm working on for my real estate licence. After finishing Part A, I took a break, and doing some cleaning up, caused the garbage disposal to trip the earth-leakage circuit breaker, killing power to my unit and killing a multi-day backup of daedalus that I had running.

I discovered the garbage disposal has been leaking water under the sink, and that was probably what caused the circuit breaker to trip. The model I have isn't serviceable, so it needed to be replaced. After some calling around, Bunnings were the cheapest, so I picked one up and proceeded to spend the rest of the day installing it.

After much swearing, I got it installed successfully. It was not how I wanted to be spending the day.

I got it finished with enough time to clean up before driving over to Kindergarten to pick up Zoe.

Zoe wanted to watch Megan's tennis class, so we stuck around for that, and then popped into Megan's for a little bit before heading home.

Dinner was quick and easy tonight, so we used the extra time to go out for a babyccino before bedtime.

[16:04] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 03 November 2014

Day 278: Kindergarten, a trip to QCAT, and a very social swim class

Again, I failed to start the day with a run, despite that being my intention. I think I'm officially out of the running habit now, so it's going to take some work to get back into it.

I'd decided that since I'd just finished the dispute management unit of my real estate licence course, that it might be educational to go and sit in on some residential tenancy dispute hearings at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, so I donned my suit, hopped on a bus and rocked up at the hearing rooms in the city.

As they only publish their daily hearing list the night before, I kind of had to wing it as to the suitability. As luck would have it, Tuesday's list looks way better than Monday's list.

I ended up sitting in on one residential tenancy hearing, where the respondent was a no show, but they still proceeded with terminating the tenancy due to massive arrears. The next two were public housing hearings, which weren't relevant to me. One, where the respondent did show up, was particularly messy.

I didn't get as much of an educational benefit out of it as I would have hoped, but I did get to see how the process worked, so if I ever wind up there it won't be totally foreign to me. I may go again another time for the heck of it.

I caught a bus back home with enough time to bike down to the post office to collect some mail before biking to Kindergarten to pick Zoe up.

I'd switched Zoe's swim class from Thursday to Monday this week to free up Thursday for a trip to Movieworld to catch up with some friends visiting from Adelaide, so we biked directly to swim class, getting there a bit early. We hung out and had a snack before her class started.

One of Zoe's friends from Kindergarten was having a class at the same time, so Zoe got to say hi to her before their classes started, and then Eva and Layla arrived for classes after Zoe's. Zoe got to hang out with them individually, because they had back to back classes, and Justin and I got to have a chat. Zoe had a great old time playing with a bunch of kids, and we didn't end up leaving the pool until 4:30pm. It was a really nice afternoon.

[12:43] [life] [permalink]

Saturday, 01 November 2014

Day 275: Baking fail, Water beads, TumbleTastics, Halloween

I forget what time Zoe woke up, but I'm sure it was earlier than I would have liked.

I've been wanting to do some baking for a while to get away from Zoe snacking on store-bought processed snacks, so I thought I'd have a crack at making some "40 second cookies" using a combination of macadamia nuts and almonds. I also tried milling some whole wheat into flour, but I didn't do it up front, I did it after I already had the nuts in the bowl. Long story short, it was a total fail. The dough came out too moist, and the wheat didn't mill down completely, so when I baked them they all just ran together into a large tray-sized slab of cookie. I cut out a few "cookies" with a scone cutter after they'd baked, and Zoe liked them anyway.

I had a few packets of water beads that I'd acquired recently, and we had a few errands to run. I got Zoe to put a few of the water beads in some water before we did the baking, and then headed out. After we got back from running our errands, they'd started swelling up, but not to their full size.

We got ready for TumbleTastics early for a change, and Zoe scootered down to TumbleTastics with a good 15 minutes to spare. It was nice to not be in a mad rush for once.

After TumbleTastics we came back home, and had some lunch, and the water beads had swollen up to their full capacity. Zoe had a bit of a play around with them.

The big highlight of the day was our local Councillor, Shayne Sutton, had her Hocus Pocus Halloween in the Park event, which started at 3pm. Sarah had bought an Incredibles costume for Zoe, which she was very excited about. She'd managed to break the elastic strap at Kindergarten on Wednesday, so after lunch I did a bit of a repair job on it.

Zoe was dying to wear her costume, and I needed to grab a few things from the supermarket for dinner, so I let her wear her costume to the supermarket. She thought that was pretty awesome.

After we got back from the supermarket, we headed down to the park, a little bit early, so Zoe had a play in the playground.

Once things kicked off in earnest, we did the rounds, picked up candy from all the stations, and went on the various rides. It was a good free outing. I do like Shayne Sutton's family activities. She spends her allotted funds well.

I never got into Halloween in a really big way when we lived in the US. I'd carve a pumpkin every year, for the novelty value, but after Zoe was born, I realised how much fun Halloween was for kids. One of the things I miss from the US are all the traditional holidays. Halloween is getting quite big in Australia, but it's just not the same in mid-spring, which lately seems to be becoming an extended summer.

Sarah met us at the park to pick up Zoe, so I left them to it, and headed home to start dinner.

[23:21] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 274: Errands, friends old and new, and swim class

In researching ways to try and help Zoe sleep for longer, I learned that there's basically two triggers for waking up in the morning: light and heat. Because Queenslanders hate daylight saving, the sun gets up ridiculously early in summer. Because Queensland is hot, it also gets very hot pretty early. Our bedrooms are on the eastern side of the apartment to boot.

I already have nice blackout curtains, and I had pelmets installed last summer to try and reduce the light leakage around the curtains. I also had reflective window film put on our bedroom windows last summer in an effort to reduce the morning heat when the sun rose, but I don't think it's made a massive difference to a closed up bedroom. I think Zoe woke up at about 5:40am this morning. I'm not sure what the room temperature was, because the Twine in her room decided not to log it this morning. Air conditioning is the next thing to try.

After breakfast, we ran a few errands, culminating at a trip to the carwash for babyccino. After that, we headed over to Toowong to pick up Geneal, who was a friend of my biological mother that I've kept in loose contact since I've been an adult. We went over to the Toowong Bowls Club for lunch, and had a nice catch up.

The Toowong Bowls Club has a rather disturbing line on the wall showing the height of the 2011 floods. It's probably taller than my raised arm from the ground level of the building.

After lunch, and dropping Geneal home, we headed over for a play date at the home of Chloe, who will be starting Prep next year at Zoe's school. I met Chloe's Mum, Kelley, at the P&C meeting I went to earlier in the year, and then proceeded to continue to bump into her at numerous school-related things ever since. She's been a good person to know, having an older daughter at the school as well, and has given me lots of advice.

Zoe and Chloe got along really well, and Chloe seems like a nice kid. After the play date, we walked to school to collect Chloe's older sister, and then to swim class. We were early, but Zoe was happy to hang out.

I am just so loving the vibe I'm getting about the school, and really loving the school community itself. I'm really looking forward to the next seven years here.

After swim class, we walked back to Chloe's house to retrieve the car, and say goodbye to Chloe, and headed home. It was another nice full, but not too full day.

[04:17] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Day 273: Kindergarten, more startup stuff, and another Prep day

I had another busy day today. I've well and truly falled off the running wagon, which I really need to fix rather urgently. I would have liked to have gone for a run this morning, but it didn't happen.

I started off with a chiropractic adjustment, and then a bit of random cooking to use up some perishables, before the cleaners arrived.

While the cleaners were here, I managed to knock over another unit of my real estate course, which I was pretty stoked about. I'll try and get it in the mail tomorrow, and that's the last one from the first half of the course done.

I grabbed a massage, and then headed over to pick up Zoe early from Kindergarten to take her to school for another Prep introduction session. I really like Zoe's school. This year for the first time they're running a four week program where the kids can come for a couple of hours.

Today it was fine and gross motor skills. They divided the group in half, and Zoe's half did fine motor skills first. The kids rotated through three different stations, which all had three or four activities each. Zoe did pretty well with these.

Then the groups swapped over, and we returned to the hall where we started, to do some gross motor skills. I would have thought this would have been right up Zoe's alley, since a lot of it was similar to TumbleTastics, but she was very clingy, and they kept rotating between stations faster than she got warmed up to the activity.

She was a bit overwhelmed in the larger group setting in general. Hopefully next week with a bit of preparation before we come (and no Kindergarten) she'll do better.

After we got home, I showed Zoe a balloon full of water that I'd put in the freezer. She had a great time smashing it on the balcony. I'll have to do that again.

It's a hot night tonight, I hope Zoe sleeps okay. It was definitely time to bust out the fan.

[03:41] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Day 272: Kindergarten, startup stuff

I had a great, productive day today.

I got stuck into my real estate licence coursework this morning, and finished off a unit. I biked down to the post office to mail it off, and picked up the second half of my coursework. After I finish the unit I started today, I'll have 8 more units to go. Looking at the calendar, if I can punch out a unit a week (which is optimistic, particularly considering that school holidays are approaching) I could be finished by the end of the year. More realistically, I can try to be finished by the time Zoe starts school, which will be perfect, and well inside the 12 month period I'm supposed to get it done in. We shall see how things pan out.

I biked to Kindergarten to pick up Zoe, and she wanted to watch Megan's tennis class for a while, so we hung around. She was pretty wiped out from a water play day at Kindergarten today. We biked home, and then she proceeded to eat everything in the house that wasn't tied down until Sarah arrived to pick her up.

I used the rest of the afternoon to do some more administrative stuff and tidy up a bit, before heading off to my yoga class. I had a really lovely stretch class with just me and my yoga teacher, so we spent the whole class chatting and having a great catch up. It was a great way to end the day.

[04:24] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 27 October 2014

Day 271: Kindergarten, lots of administrivia and some tinkering

Zoe woke up at about 6am, which gave us a bit of extra time to get moving in the morning, or so I thought.

We biked over to the Kindergarten for drop off, and I left the trailer there to make biking back in the afternoon heat easier.

I had a pretty productive day. It was insanely hot, so I figured I could run the air conditioning more or less guilt (and expense free) courtesy of my solar power. I should check just how much power it draws to see how "free" it is to run.

I mostly cleared lots of random stuff off my to do list, and made a few lengthy phone calls. I also did some more tinkering with my BeagleBone Black, trying to get it set up so I can back up daedalus. It's been fun playing with Puppet again. I now have a pretty nice set up where I can wipe the BeagleBone Black and get it back to how I want it configured in about 5 minutes, thanks to Puppet.

I biked over to Kindergarten to pick up. I got there a few minutes early, and received a very heartening phone call regarding an issue I'd been working on earlier.

Zoe and Megan wanted to have a play date, and since it was hot and I'd left the air conditioning on, I suggested it be at our place. I biked home, and Jason dropped Megan around.

The girls played inside for a bit, but then wanted to do some more craft on the balcony, so I let them get to it, with instructions to put stuff away before they took more stuff out, and the balcony ended up significantly cleaner as a result. I used the time to do some more tinkering with my backups and to book a flight down to Sydney to help a friend out with some stuff.

A massive storm rolled in, not long after Anshu arrived, so we all went out on the balcony to watch the lightning, and then Sarah arrived to pick up Zoe. Megan hung out for a bit longer until Jason arrived to pick her up.

[19:12] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 24 October 2014

Day 268: Science Friday, TumbleTastics, haircuts and a big bike outing

I didn't realise how jam packed today was until we sat down at dinner time and recounted what we'd done today.

I started the day pretty early, because Anshu had to be up for an early flight. I pottered around at home cleaning up a bit until Sarah dropped Zoe off.

After Zoe had watched a bit of TV, I thought we'd try some bottle rocket launching for Science Friday. I'd impulse purchased an AquaPod at Jaycar last year, and haven't gotten around to using it yet.

We wandered down to Hawthorne Park with the AquaPod, an empty 2 litre Sprite bottle, the bicycle pump and a funnel.

My one complaint with the AquaPod would have to be that the feet are too smooth. If you don't tug the string strongly enough you end up just dragging the whole thing across the ground, which isn't really what you want to be doing. Once Zoe figured out how to yank the string the right way, we were all good.

We launched the bottle a few times, but I didn't want to waste a huge amount of water, so we stopped after about half a dozen launches. Zoe wanted to have a play in the playground, so we wandered over to that side of the park for a bit.

It was getting close to time for TumbleTastics, and we needed to go via home to get changed, so we started the longish walk back home. It was slow going in the mid-morning heat and no scooter, but we got there eventually. We had another mad rush to get to TumbleTastics on time, and miraculously managed to make it there just as they were calling her name.

Lachlan wasn't there today, and I was feeling lazy, and Zoe was keen for a milkshake, so we dropped into Ooniverse on the way home. Zoe had a great old time playing with everything there.

After we got home again, we biked down to the Bulimba post office to collect some mail, and then biked over for a haircut.

After our haircuts, Zoe wanted to play in Hardcastle Park, so we biked over there for a bit. I'd been wanting to go and check out the newly opened Riverwalk and try taking the bike and trailer on a CityCat. A CityCat just happened to be arriving when we got to the park, but Zoe wasn't initially up for it. As luck would have it, she changed her mind as the CityCat docked, but it was too late to try and get on that one. We got on the next one instead.

I wasn't sure how the bike and the trailer were going to work out on the CityCat, but it worked out pretty well going from Hawthorne to New Farm Park. We boarded at Hawthorne from the front left hand side, and disembarked at New Farm Park from the front right hand side, so I basically just rolled the bike on and off again, without needing to worry about turning it around. It was a bit tight cornering from the pontoon to the gangway, but the deckhand helped me manoeuvre the trailer.

It was quite a nice little ride through the back streets of New Farm to get to the start of the Riverwalk, and we had a nice quick ride into the city. We biked all the way along the riverside through to the Old Botanic Gardens. We stopped for a little play in the playground that Zoe had played in the other weekend when we were wandering around for Brisbane Open House, and then continued through the gardens, over the Goodwill Bridge, and the bottom of the Kangaroo Point cliffs.

We wound our way back home through Dockside, and Mowbray Park and along the bikeway alongside Wynnum Road. It was a pretty huge ride, and I'm excited that it's opened up an easy way to access Southbank by bicycle. I'm looking forward to some bigger forays in the near future.

[04:40] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Day 267: An outing to the Valley for lunch, and swim class

I was supposed to go to yoga in the morning, but I just couldn't drag my sorry arse out of bed with my man cold.

Sarah dropped Zoe around, and she watched a bit of TV while we were waiting for a structural engineer to come and take a look at the building's movement-related issues.

While I was downstairs showing the engineer around, Zoe decided she'd watched enough TV and, remembering that I'd said we needed to tidy up her room the previous morning, but not had time to, took herself off to her room and tidied it up. I was so impressed.

After the engineer was finished, we walked to the ferry terminal to take the cross-river ferry over to Teneriffe, and catch the CityGlider bus to the Valley for another one of the group lunches I get invited to.

After lunch, we reversed our travel, dropping into the hairdresser on the way home to make an appointment for the next day. We grabbed a few things from the Hawthorne Garage on the way through.

We pottered around at home for a little bit before it was time to bike to swim class.

After swim class, we biked home, and Zoe watched some TV while I got organised for a demonstration that night.

Sarah picked up Zoe, and I headed out to my demo. Another full day.

[14:53] [life] [permalink]