Diary of a geek

January 2015
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Andrew Pollock

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Day 359: I guess I'm not a stay at home Dad any more

It's just occurred to me that this will be my last "stay at home Dad" post, because this morning was the last time I'll have Zoe until after she's started at school.

I woke to quite heavy rainfall. Zoe slept late, in think due to a combination of the cooler temperature, lack of direct sunlight, the rain, and the busy previous day and slightly later bedtime. I used the extra time to get ready for the day.

After a quick breakfast, we got straight in the car to get to Sarah's place, because I had to be back home again by 9:15am for a video interview with Google. It was tight, with the wet road conditions, but fortunately my interviewer was a few minutes later than me, so everything worked out okay.

Since then, I've been wandering around in a bit of a daze. I collected the last unit of my real estate licence course from my PO box. All I need now is the actual bit of paper saying I've achieved all of the requisite units of study, and I can go and apply for my licence. Oh, a business name will help too. Coming up with a name/domain name combination is proving phenomenally difficult.

I guess this lull in proceedings before a whole bunch of new stuff starts is a good time to stop and reflect.

I've had a fantastic year. This would have to be the sustained best year of my adult life. On a personal front, I've got to take a break from work, and go off and explore a bunch of other things. I did a barista course. I did a top rope climbing and abseiling course. I've finished my real estate licence course. I've had the opportunity to explore a few different startup ideas, and meet a bunch of different people.

My running has fallen off a bit, but I'm trying to fix that up again now. Maybe this year will be the year I do the Gold Coast Half Marathon. In fact I think I will actively work to that goal this year, since I shouldn't have any date conflicts like I ended up having last year.

On the fathering front, I had an irreplaceably wonderful year with Zoe. I have cemented my relationship with her, and I'm very confident in my capabilities as a single parent. I'm grateful that Zoe got to have the benefits of a proper Kindergarten program. It will give her a strong foundation entering Prep this year.

I'm also glad I managed to keep up the blogging for the whole year. It'll be nice to have this record to look back on.

As for 2015 for me, it's still a bit of a blank slate. I'm open to returning to Google, if that works out best for everyone. There's also a local job that I've found that I believe I'll be a good fit for, which I'm interviewing for next week. I could, if I was feeling really game, just freelance, and do a whole bunch of different things, but I think after a year of living off my savings, I'd prefer the security of a stable income for a while.

Right now, I think I'll try and clean up my desk, so I can start whatever comes next with a tidy desk.

[20:12] [life] [permalink]

Day 358: Doctor, class lists, shopping, swimming, haircuts, dinner

Yesterday was a rather jam packed day. I'm not surprised Zoe's sleeping in, although the rain is probably helping.

We got going in the morning, and first off was the weekly wart freezing at the doctor. We're going to have to take a different approach once school starts next week.

After that, I checked my PO box, and got back one more unit of my real estate licence course (marked competent). So I'm just waiting for one I had to resubmit then I've officially completed everything. Hopefully that will come through early next week.

After that, we popped over to Chloe's place so we could all walk around to the school together to check the class lists, which were published.

Zoe did really well. She got the teacher that I'd wanted her to get, and Chloe is in her class, along with a boy, Flynn, she got to know through the Poppet program they ran last year. I met the mother of another little girl, Milla, who will be in Zoe's class too, and introduced the girls to each other. I'm very excited to see how Zoe's going to go at school next week. I think she's going to do really well.

After that, we went out to Carindale to do some birthday present related shopping for Eva and Layla's upcoming birthday, and some other general shopping. We also bumped into Mackensie's dad.

We ended up at Carindale for quite a while, so by the time we were done, we had enough time to race home, make a batch of hummus for dinner, and race out again to swim class.

Straight after swim class, we had haircuts, so we had to hurry over to the hairdresser, and then head back to Chloe's place for dinner.

Zoe had a great time playing with Chloe and her older sister, and I got to put my feet up for a bit and hang out with Kelley and Mark. It was a nice evening.

We got home to a welcome letter in the mail from Zoe's new teacher, which was nice. We made that the bedtime reading, as it was getting late.

[13:06] [life] [permalink]

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Day 352: Camping again, beach time and visitors

We were camping underneath a wattle tree, and this wattle tree seemed very popular with the rainbow lorikeets, so we were up at 5:30am, literally with the birds. Zoe was still very excited about camping.

We had a shower first, and then I cooked some bacon and eggs for breakfast before heading down to the beach. Eva and Layla were coming to visit us for the day, so I thought we could just meet them on the beach before coming back to the camp site for lunch.

Zoe had a great time playing around in the waves, and then we did some sand play, making sand castles. I showed her how she could dig down to the sea water in the sand above the wave, and we found heaps of small bivalves. Zoe thought they were pretty cool.

Eva and Layla were running a bit late, so we finished up at the beach and met them at the caravan park, where we cooked some hotdogs for lunch, before having a swim in the pool and then heading back to the beach. It was a really nice afternoon.

After they left, we took it easy for a while before going out for fish and chips for dinner and then calling it a night. Zoe was fast asleep by 7pm, despite the light outside the tent.

[14:47] [life] [permalink]

Day 351: Camping set up

Today was the big day. Pack up and drive to Bribie Island for two nights camping. This was the first time I've attempted camping since moving back to Australia (and being on my own). I like camping, and Zoe absolutely loves it, but I've found the idea of trying to do it all on my own a bit daunting, and it's taken me this long to get around to tackling it.

We managed to get the car packed up and be on the road by about 9:30am. Zoe was really helpful, and was able to help carry some of the lighter, less bulky stuff down to the car for me, that that was an unexpected bonus. Everything fit reasonably well with half of the back seats folded down.

We made good time getting there, and arrived at the caravan park by about 10:45am, but check in wasn't until 1:30pm, so we pottered around, and ended up back on the calm side of the island and had some lunch in the park there. After lunch, we caught up with Zoe's Great Aunty Pam for an ice cream before returning to the caravan park to check in.

We'd just started pegging down the tent when it became apparent that the very large caravan that was trying to maneuver into the site next to ours wasn't going to fit, so I offered to do a swap with them before I got any further invested in our site, so we had to pull up the tent and start over on the site next door.

This was the first time I'd put up this tent, so there was all the attendant trial and error of putting it up. I've learned all the lessons now, so I'll be better next time. Zoe was again super helpful, and we were able to put the tent up together successfully. It was ridiculously hot, and very sweaty work.

After we got the tent up, we went for a swim in the pool to cool off, before I started on dinner. The first night's dinner was just some spaghetti bolognaise. I'd pre-made the bolognaise at home and frozen it, so I just had to reheat it on the stove. The caravan park had a pretty decent camp kitchen, but I was trying to see how much I could be self-sufficient, so I did all the cooking on the gas stove I'd brought with me.

I got Zoe to bed a little bit later than normal, but she slept pretty well, despite the heat. It took me hours to get to sleep, despite being exhausted, because I found the tent uncomfortably hot. I was really happy with how the set up day had gone though, and Zoe had an absolute ball. It was totally worth all the effort.

[03:19] [life] [permalink]

Day 350: Doctor, laying low, camping preparation

We didn't have a lot planned for the day, and given that we were embarking on a camping trip the following day, I decided to keep it that way. As it was, we still managed to have a pretty busy day.

I started the day off with a run, and managed to do 10 kilometres for the first time in ages. It was a dreadful time, but I was going for progress over perfection.

I didn't realise I had a chiropractic adjustment, so I had to go straight to the chiropractor after my run and sweat all over everything. I felt so bad, but I haven't had an adjustment since before Christmas, so it was great.

Then Sarah dropped Zoe off, and I finally got to have a shower and some breakfast. After that, we headed over to the doctor for the obligatory weekly wart freezing appointment. I think it's been the production it has been because the doctor hasn't been able to give it a really decent hit with the liquid nitrogen, but it's definitely shrinking. She was super brave and even let the doctor give it a bit of a scrape with a scalpel to take off some of the top layers of dead skin. I'm grateful that we have the relationship that we do, because she was a bit scared, but she trusted me anyway, and it all worked out fine.

On the way home, we picked up some mail from the post office. I have to resubmit one unit of my real estate licence course, because I made a mistake, but I passed the other one. I think I'm waiting for one more unit to come back.

After that, we just hung out at home until after lunch, and then went to Woolworths to do some grocery shopping. We ran into Lachlan there, and Zoe and Lachlan had a great time hanging out while we did the grocery shopping.

Instead of getting ready for camping, I decided to have a crack at baking one of the things I want to put in Zoe's school lunchbox, some Hidden Veggie Lunchbox Scrolls. They turned out pretty good, like something you'd get from Baker's Delight. The challenge now is to make space for them in the freezer.

[02:59] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 08 January 2015

Day 344: Lego Discovery Centre, shopping in the city

We had a really nice, busy today, much more so than I'd envisaged when we set off in the morning.

Zoe woke up at 2am and ended up in bed with me. I forgot to open her bedroom door when I went to bed, so I have no idea if that was a contributing factor or not. Her room was 26°C, so she may have been too hot. She then proceeded to have a pretty decent sleep in in my bed and not wake up until around 7am.

The plan today had been to check out the Lego Discovery Centre. It's been something I've wanted to take Zoe to for some time now, and I finally got around to booking in for a 45 minute session at 10am.

We made a pretty quick departure after breakfast, and caught the bus in, and arrived with plenty of time up our sleeves. Zoe didn't have a particularly good breakfast, and was hungry, so we hunted around for a croissant nearby.

Zoe was initially apprehensive about me leaving her there (it was a parent-less activity), but once we browsed the store before it started, she quickly became excited.

I went for a bit of a wander through Southbank and ended up in a deck chair by the river watching the world go by for half an hour. It was nice.

I went back to collect Zoe, and found her playing with a little Duplo-style remote controlled car that she'd built, and having a ball. It turned out that there were three different 45 minute sessions, all back to back. They had capacity in the next two sessions, and Zoe was keen, so I figured she could do all three. I just wish I'd remembered to bring a book. I ended up wandering over to the art gallery to amuse myself.

I came back a bit before 12:45pm to pick her up. I managed to stay out of sight for a while and observe her without her seeing me. All the kids were playing happily with a massive amount of Lego. She definitely looked like she had a good time. For a total of $36, it definitely seemed worth it. Apparently they run the sessions every school holidays, and change the theme every time. The >10 year olds were doing full on robotics with Mindstorms, which seemed very cool. I'm really excited that Zoe seems into Lego. I'm looking forward to doing lots of it with her as she gets older.

We grabbed some lunch from a convenience store next door, and then walked over to Southbank. I wanted to do a spot of shopping in the city, and for something different, I thought we could take one of the bicycle taxis over to the city. Zoe thought that was pretty cool, and it was nice to not be the one pedalling her around for a change.

We did a spot of shopping in the Myer Centre, before heading back to the bus and going home.

By the time we got home, it was time for me start dinner. Zoe watched a bit of TV, and then it was bed time. And I'd been thinking we'd be scrounging for something to do by 11:45am.

[02:32] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 07 January 2015

Day 343: Yet another doctor visit and The Workshops Rail Museum

I started the day with a 7.5 km run, the longest distance I've managed to run lately. I'm slowly clawing my way back to 10 km.

After Sarah dropped Zoe off, I prepared a take away lunch, and we headed over to the doctor for another round of freezing the wart on her hand. She's getting really good about it now. This is one persistent wart though.

I'd made plans with Mel to go to The Workshops Rail Museum with Matthew and his brother and sister. Matthew had wanted to ride in our car, so after the doctor, I swung by Mel's place to pick him up.

We had an uneventful drive out there, and it was lunchtime by the time we arrived, so we had lunch first.

Matthew's older brother brought a friend with him, so we had five kids in total, in three different age brackets, so it was somewhat challenging keeping them all together and interested. Zoe was used to getting to go where she wanted, when she wanted, so had to learn to compromise a bit.

She was dying to get to the Nipper's Railway section and also the dining car play area and do a heap of role playing, so once we finally made it over there, she was in her element. Matthew played well with her as well.

It turned out to be a great day for going, because it was grey and drizzly outside all day.

Matthew wanted to come back to our place for a bit of a play afterwards, so we drove directly home. Both kids fell asleep on the way home, so to stretch their naps out a bit, I swung by the Valley to clear my PO box.

By the time we got home, there was less than an hour before Mel was going to pick up Matthew, and they mostly just watched a bit of TV. I used the down time to prep dinner.

After Matthew left and we had dinner, we went for a walk around the block to pick up some fruit from the Hawthorne Garage and kill some time before bedtime.

It was a nice, if somewhat tiring, day.

[03:41] [life] [permalink]

Sunday, 04 January 2015

Day 338: A funeral and a shave

Zoe slept well. Opening up her bedroom door when I go to bed seems to be helping prevent the heat build up enough for her not to wake up as often.

It was Bryce's funeral today, and Anshu kindly agreed to look after Zoe for me so I could go on my own.

It was a nice service, and the photo slide show that they played at the end was really lovely. They even included the photo of the three of us that we got when we went to Underwater World, which I thought was a nice inclusion.

I briefly dropped into the wake at the pub nearby before heading home.

Zoe had had a nice morning with Anshu, doing some painting and going to the park.

In the afternoon, we all headed over to Bou's for Men at Portside to officially remove my Decembeard. I didn't get around to blogging about it, but I grew a beard for Decembeard to raise money and awareness for bowel cancer, since my cousin is currently battling it. It was a spur of the moment decision on the first of December. I managed to raise almost $500, which I was very happy with.

I had a lovely cutthroat shave, and I'm still trying to get used to my reflection.

[13:45] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 02 January 2015

Day 337: New Years Day, another movie outing

The long awaiting Penguins of Madagascar had come out, and I'd made plans with Kim for us to see it with her family.

After breakfast, we biked down to Bulimba and watched the movie together. It was really well done. I'd go so far as to say it was a great adult comedy that also happened to appeal to kids, but that could just be me. I've always enjoyed the penguin characters in the other Madagascar movies.

After the movie, we biked back home and had some lunch.

After lunch, we went out and did the grocery shopping. Woolworths was a ghost town, which made the shopping nice and easy.

After that, Zoe watched a bit of TV while we started on dinner.

[01:47] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 01 January 2015

Day 336: New Years Eve

It was a hot day, so I figured getting out of the heat and seeing a movie would be a good idea, so after Sarah dropped Zoe off, we didn't spend too much time at home before walking down the road to the cinema to watch Big Hero 6.

Zoe had already seen it with Sarah, but I was pretty keen to see it anyway, and Zoe didn't seem to mind seeing it a second time. She gave me a bit of a running commentary throughout.

After the movie, we dropped into Ooniverse for lunch. I learned that Nicky Noo is pulling up stumps next week, and moving to Western Australia to manage a bar in the mines. She said it's time for Nicky Noo to take a bit of a break. Ooniverse was nothing fancy, but it was a nice thing to have within easy walking distance of home, and Nicky always remembered us whenever we dropped in. I'm glad we got the opportunity to say goodbye.

After lunch, we went home, and Anshu came over. We went and picked up her new bike from the bike shop, and went for a little test ride at home. Zoe's been asking for her training wheels back on her bike for a while, so I finally caved in and put them back on, and she did a lot of pedaling.

After that, we got some pizza for dinner, and settled back to wait for the 8:30pm fireworks. Zoe and I watched them from the balcony, but Zoe didn't seem that into them, and went to bed after they finished.

I was nodding off on the couch watching a movie, so we went to bed before midnight ourselves, so much for seeing in the New Year.

[23:14] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 26 December 2014

Day 330: Christmas

Zoe slept all night, which was nice. She woke up at like twenty to five, needing to go to the toilet, and afterwards claimed that she'd checked for Santa and he hadn't come yet. I thought the jig was going to be up for sure, given that the presents were all out.

I managed to get her back to bed and she slept until 6:30am, which was a much more civilised time to be opening presents.

After opening presents, and breakfast, Anshu prepped the dish she was taking for Christmas Day lunch at my parents, and we headed over there.

My sister called and asked me to get some ice along the way. 7 Eleven were obviously anticipating a run on ice, because they had multiple insulated pallets of party ice bags. It was slightly crazy.

We had a nice Christmas Day lunch with my entire immediate family, which was a bit of a first since I've been back in Australia. Zoe got along really well with one of my brother's step sons, and generally had a good time.

After lunch, we headed down to Palm Beach for a quick catch up with some more family. Zoe had a nap along the way, and then we headed back to drop Zoe off at Sarah's place.

Anshu and I went back to my place, and we went for a nice evening stroll to walk off the Christmas lunch.

[02:51] [life] [permalink]

Day 329: Christmas Eve

I didn't have an awful lot planned for the day. Zoe finished watching the Nightmare Before Christmas, after she was dropped off, an then we made a bunch of dips for Christmas Day lunch.

Zoe really enjoys helping me in the kitchen, and today was no exception. She also has taken to helping with the washing up, and loves putting on my washing up gloves, so we made all of our dips together, and then she lost interest when it came time to make the plum pudding, so I did that myself.

Kelley had told me about a Christmas pantomime called Spaced Out Santa, on at the Studio Theatre and Cafe over at Morningside. I didn't’t even realise there was a theatre over there. They had tickets, so I thought that’d be something different to do.

We biked over there, via the post office, so I could deposit an offline donation I'd received for Decembeard.

We got to the theatre pretty early, and the "cafe" part of it was rather tiny, but we managed to snag a table. We had a drink and a snack while we were waiting for the theatre to open.

The theatre itself turned out to be not a lot bigger than the cafe. It was probably about 10 seats wide. We managed to get into the second row from the front. The play itself was nothing spectacular, but Zoe seemed to enjoy it. Most of the actors were children, and I thought they did quite a good job. It was hard to tell if the singing was lip synced or not.

Zoe was hungry by the time we got out, so after some photos with the actors, we grabbed some lunch nearby and then biked home.

I can't remember what we got up to in the afternoon, but Anshu came over, and we had some dinner, and then Zoe got all ready for bed, and we went for a drive around the neighbourhood to check out the Christmas lights. It was really nice driving around with some Christmas music playing on Pandora. I really like the Bing Crosby channel. It really helped set the mood.

Zoe has been super excited about Christmas this year. She's been counting down the sleeps until Christmas, and was very excited to leave out some egg nog, a mince pie and a cookie for Santa, as well as some water and carrots for the reindeer. I had just as much fun making them all look eaten. It really is a lot of fun looking at Christmas through the eyes of a child.

[00:24] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Day 328: Park fun

I didn't have a lot planned today, except for showing my first customer my favourite food wholesaler at around lunch time, so after Sarah dropped Zoe off, we gave her free reign over what we did.

She said she wanted to go to the same park we went to last time, which I misinterpreted as Love Street park in Bulimba. So we set off on foot for the park.

It turned out she really wanted to go to the West End park again, which was fine, because we could go there in the afternoon after lunch. At the Love Street park, we ran into one of the boys who will be going to her school next year, who went to her day care last year, and one of the boys from her Kindergarten, so that was nice to run into some familiar faces. It was while we were at this park that I received the sad news that Bryce had passed away.

After a bit of a play in the park, we walked back home again, and drove over to West End, picked up my customer, showed her the food wholesaler, dropped her back at work and then returned to the food wholesaler to grab a few bits and pieces and have some lunch.

After lunch, we went to the park at West End, and then we went back home again.

Anshu went home, and then I put the Nightmare Before Christmas on for Zoe, which she watched until Sarah came to pick her up.

Since I've been failing miserably to go for runs in the morning, I thought I'd try going for an evening run, so I did an atrocious 5 km run.

[19:37] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 22 December 2014

RIP Bryce Harper

I received a sad phone call this morning, while we were at the park.

It was from Bryce's son, Russell, and he informed me that Bryce had had a fall and hit his head yesterday morning, and not regained consciousness before passing away today.

It was a bit of a shock for me, given I'd only seen him on Monday of the previous week, and I'm so grateful that I did, because it had been several months since I'd last seen him.

He was particularly weak and wobbly on his legs, so the fact that he had a fall wasn't particularly surprising, and in a lot of ways, it was a small mercy that he had a quick and presumably painless demise.

He made it to 91, so that was a pretty good innings.

I know he was looking forward to spending a few days with his family over Christmas, so it's a shame that he didn't get to have one more with them.

[22:01] [life] [permalink]

Day 327: A trip to the Museum and Science Centre

Zoe slept all night (for a change), which was nice.

We hadn't caught up with Chloe for a while, so I'd made plans with Kelley to spend the day at the Science Centre. Anshu was on Christmas holidays from work, so she tagged along with us as well.

We all caught the bus in, along with Chloe's older sister.

Before lunch, we all went to the Science Centre, and after lunch, we did the rest of the museum. The girls had a good time together, and Zoe seems to get along well with Chloe's older sister, Emma too, which is nice.

Kelley had to go to the Valley to get some stuff, so we parted company at the bus stop and took the bus home.

Laura dropped by with Megan and her little sister, not long after we got home, to drop off a Christmas present for Zoe from Megan, so the girls did a gift exchange and had a little play date.

They left just before Sarah arrived to pick up Zoe, and Anshu and I took a walk down to Bulimba to check my post office box, and we discovered a new watering hole on Oxford Street, so we had a drink on the way back home.

[21:46] [life] [permalink]

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Day 324: Christmas in the city

I got a bit of bonus time to myself in the morning, because Zoe had a late breakfast out with Sarah for her birthday, so I used the time to finish off another unit of my real estate licence course and get it into the mail.

After Sarah dropped Zoe off, she watched a bit of TV before we headed off to the doctor to have another go at freezing off the wart on her hand, and to follow up on the suspected chicken pox.

Zoe's fever had resolved itself, and her spots looked like they were starting to fade. The doctor thought she probably just had a viral rash, and it definitely wasn't chicken pox.

Armed with that good news, I definitely wanted to get out of the house in the afternoon, because Zoe had been watching far too much TV.

Zoe said she wanted to go to the park over at West End, and I wanted to take her into the city in the evening to look at the lights, so I thought a good way to achieve both goals would be to take public transport over to West End and then back to the city.

As the Hawthorne ferry terminal is closed for some upgrades, and I didn't fancy walking home with a tired Zoe from Bulimba late at night, we drove as close to the Bulimba ferry terminal as we could find a park, which was incidentally right next to the Love Street park. Zoe had a bit of a play there, before we walked to the Bulimba ferry terminal and took the cross river over to Teneriffe, and jumped on the CityGlider all the way to the park at West End.

Zoe had a great time playing in the park, which was nice and cool and shady, before we jumped on a CityCat back to the city. We got off at North Quay, and walked down to the Mall and into the Myer Centre to escape the heat.

I'd promised Zoe a bubble tea the next time we were in the Myer Centre, so we went to the bubble tea place and shared one of them.

After that we were just sitting on the Mall taking a break, and Anshu's Mum happened to wander past, so she hung out with us. We went and grabbed some sushi for dinner and then Anshu met up with us.

I wanted to catch the Myer Christmas Parade and Pantomime while we were in there, so we assumed a spot where the parade was due to turn right onto Albert Street and head to King George Square.

The Mall was absolutely packed by the time the parade made it up to where we were, and if Zoe hadn't been on my shoulders she wouldn't have seen anything. I'm glad she got to see though. It was pretty impressive, and even had a Santa sleigh with a couple of deer.

After that we headed over to King George Square with the intention of seeing the Christmas tree get lit up. First we had to sit through the pantomime, which wasn't really worth it. Visibility of the stage was poor, but we sat (or rather stood) through it. Then we had to watch the Gold Lotto City Hall Light Spectacular, which was actually pretty good. All sorts of stuff projected onto City Hall.

That all finished, and everyone started leaving, but the tree still didn't get lit up. Upon enquiry, it seemed that it hadn't survived the most recent storm or something. So that was a bit disappointing.

Anshu and her Mum had headed home during the pantomime, and we headed back to North Quay to get a CityCat back to Bulimba. There was quite a wait. I think the CityCat was running behind schedule or something, and Zoe was getting quite tired and having a bit of a meltdown. Then the fireworks started as a welcome distraction. I didn't even realise there were fireworks scheduled, so that was a pretty cool added bonus.

Zoe fell asleep on the CityCat when I was staring out the window. I had to wake her up when we got to Bulimba, and that didn't go terribly well either, and we had a messy trip back to the car.

We made it back home, and I managed to get Zoe into bed without too much more fuss.

[03:49] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 19 December 2014

Day 323: Another day of laying low and far too much TV watching

I started the day off with my last yoga class of the year. It was a really nice one.

Zoe still had a bit of a low-grade fever when Sarah dropped her off, but her spots didn't look any worse.

We watched Frosty the Snowman on Netflix, and then had some lunch and popped out to the library to refresh Zoe's library books. After we got home, we watched The Polar Express on QuickFlix.

Zoe then took another longish nap.

After she woke up, she watched a DVD from the library for a bit.

Sarah arrived to pick up Zoe just before the latest storm of the season was about the hit, so they made a hasty departure.

[03:47] [life] [permalink]

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]