Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011, A Year Before 2012

What can I say about 2011 that would be interesting, pertinent, and accurate (e.g. what I actually remember)?

Leah enjoyed year 9 at her school, which is very competitive and has high standards. Being a selective school, her cohort is a tough crowd to study with. She performed above average in her subjects, so we are quite pleased with her performance. She doesn't put as much effort into studying as Caelin, but has broad interests and activities, including a new penchant for manga (reading and drawing).

Caelin was in year 11 at school. We didn't see much of her, as she holes up in her room, presumably studying, from the time she arrives home to when she leaves, only slipping out for meals. She had a number of accomplishments this year:
  • Her team won it's debate in a model UN in Canberra (they were representing Israel, and were accused of being Jewish, which is pretty funny given that they were mostly girls of Asian descent attending a Presbyterian school). She also got first prize for public speaking at the event.
  • She passed an assessment for a speaking qualification that allows her to put some official letters after her name.
  • She is the captain of the speech team, and won an award for maths.
  • She also placed first in her year.
This coming year she is preparing for the HSC. There is no indication of a career preference yet.

This week Siew Fong is finishing 23 years at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She is moving into private consulting (project management). It is a bit daunting, becoming a contractor, but she has always had successful experiences with her clients, so her reputation has some value.

Craft has been a significant distraction for Siew Fong. Many quilts were produced, a supply of pottery manufactured, and garments sewed/knitted/crocheted. Her craft group is a very vibrant and warm collection of ladies.

I continued my masonic journey, being passed to the third/sublime degree of Master Mason in November. It is a lot of fun, I have met numerous interesting people, and have experienced some great cuisines (such as haggis, complete with sword, bagpipes, recitation of 'Salute to the Haggis', and a whiskey bearer).

I started my new job at Jobsupport in earnest. I am a Vocational Training Officer in the Transition To Work (TTW) program. I train people with moderate intellectual disabilities (IQ < 60). In TTW, we do on-the-job work experience training, train independent travel on public transport, and eliminate barriers to employment in the regular workforce (endurance, behaviour, response to supervision, personal presentation, etc.).

My new career is very satisfying, although the pay is just above minimum wage. Most of my clients this year moved into employment, and I have contributed to creating some new opportunities. My IT skills have also been utilised from time to time.

Also I wasted a lot of time developing Android apps for myself. I don't really want to maintain them for the general public, so I am unlikely to release them on the market. I wrote a Yahtzee game, a password generator, a tool to help find lost clients, a flashcard/hymnal app, and a tool for filing my timesheet/planner at work along with recording my travel expenses.

I still do most of the cooking. My new pie is very tasty.

So that was 2011. There were some dramas, none worth mentioning though. Time passes quickly now. What's in store for 2012? The HSC effectively precludes us from taking any big family trips. I hope to create some good opportunities for clients, and perhaps some effective tools to assist in their training. Siew Fong's career change may be a bumpy ride, so we are being financially cautious/conservative. I feel the world as a whole is on the edges of some large social, economic and environmental changes, so I feel safe to make the following predictions:
  1. Hollywood will release a number of comedy and action films that are neither funny nor exciting.
  2. Industries (energy, gambling, tobacco), businesses (News Corp), and political groups ('The Right') that do great harm will continue to lie.
  3. Justin Bieber will release a new album.

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: