Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lost and Found

2010 was a year of lost and found. I lost some friends, and found some long-lost ones. I lost a job, then found a better one. I lost my direction, then found new focus.

My business progressively slowed during the year. This wasn't a major drama, as I was finding it not as enjoyable as previously, so letting it go seemed the thing to do. I was increasingly enjoying the volunteer work in disability care at WALCA, so I decided to do a Certificate III course in Disability Work at Tafe in June. It is a 1 year course, but I decided to do half online so I could finish in 6 months. After the course started, I went on staff at WALCA as a casual key worker. The pay was just above minimum wage, but I enjoyed the work and the clients.

Throughout the year I continued to do volunteer work at both Leah and Caelin's schools, and pursued my hobby of boardgaming. Siew Fong pursued her hobbies of craft: pottery, quilting, and knitting. Her work was mostly consistent, although there was a worrisome slow period. Leah became enamored of manga and online self-published novels. Caelin continued her academic, artistic and musical endeavors.

Caelin performed a solo of 'Flight of the Bumblebee' on the flute at her school's May Fair.

In June we were blessed with a temporary extra teenage daughter, from Senlis, France for 5 weeks. Jos├ęphine was Caelin's school exchange sister. She was very pleasant, and seemed to enjoy all the activities we organised, including a road trip to Melbourne.

My high school class had it's 30th reunion. Much of the organising was done through Facebook, so I was able to reconnect with quite a few long-lost friends and acquaintances. It was a bit much for me to travel there for the party, so I posted a video cheerio online instead, and enjoyed the post-function photos afterwords. There were a number of people I had fond memories of, and was able to catch up to answer those mysteries of how their lives had transpired.

In August, my friend Ulli left our earthly domain. We were very sad to lose him.

Leah performed at the Opera House.

I joined a Masonic lodge. My maternal grandfather had been a Mason, but I know very little about that. One of my gaming group friends invited me to the 'Festive Board' after his raising to the 3rd degree, where I found the camaraderie engaging and the mystery compelling. So far it has all been quite enjoyable. My lodge is mostly made up of fellows younger than myself, and the lodge focuses on accuracy and vitality in the rituals. I have also visited a few suburban lodges where the average age was around 80.

In September I wrote a memo of programme suggestions to my supervisor at WALCA, which unintentionally and apparently, impaled a few of the CEO's sacred cows. I was given the heave-ho the next day. They were quite abusive, and I was very shocked, given that I had no intention of criticizing anyone. A valued lesson in tact and politics.

I made a YouTube video of some of the local wildlife on our balcony.

In October my father-in-law came to stay for 3 months. Usually when he visits Australia, he stays with Siew Fong's sisters in Melbourne, but we were lucky this time for him to come and stay with us. He has done all the gardening and weeding I should have done.

The lady who sat next to me in my Tafe class passed away in her sleep one night. She was only 2.5 months older than me.

November had Caelin boarding an A380 to fly to France to stay with Jos├ęphine's family in Senlis for 7 weeks. She reported that she had a delightful time.

One of my masonic brothers, a man who I had just begun to know, and really liked, died. I visited him in intensive care a week before, and thought he was improving, but no. He was an impressive fellow, and well liked. He lived respected, and died regretted.

One of the requirements for the Tafe course was some work experience. The work at WALCA would have qualified, but my teacher suggested I try an unpaid placement at a different kind of service. After a week or so, they asked me to interview, then offered me a job as a vocational trainer. In January I start working with school leavers that have a significant intellectual disability, training them in skills to enable them to gain meaningful employment.

We went to see Jersey Boys at the Theatre Royal. Much better show than expected, and in the audience was a friend I hadn't seen in 7 years.

If you want my Christmas card this year, I have put it online for you to print yourself, because:
  1. I don't want to waste paper, postage & carbon for those that may not want it; and
  2. I'm cheap & lazy.
For those intrigued, here are the options:
For you, I want you to repeat and live the following oath: "I, YourNameHere, will have the most wonderful 2011 for myself, my family, and my community".

It is now mango season, so I must go.