The Anzac Day march

Look out for the 2nd/14th Aust field regiment section. #AnzacDay #adelaide

My son is part of his local scout group and every year they get the opportunity to take part in the Anzac Day march. JJ wasn’t going to do it but then decided that he would. I’m so glad he did.

We got hold of his great-great uncle’s medals so he could wear them on the day. Uncle Alf was in the army in Papua New Guinea in World War II and JJ got to hold a banner for the 2nd/14th Australian Field Regiment, also part of World War II. I don’t know what unit Uncle Alf was in.

We had to get there at 8am, so we didn’t go to the dawn service this year like we did last year as we had plans for afterwards and it would have made a very long day.

Before the march

Holding the banner for the 2nd/14th Australian Field Regiment

After a while they line up in the order they’re going to march in. As his scout group was holding the 2nd World War signs, they were towards the front of the march. Unfortunately there were no soldiers left from their regiments to march with them. Uncle Alf died about 14 years ago and he was in his early 80s, and when you consider that the 2nd World War ended nearly 70 years ago, there wouldn’t be too many of them left.

Marching

Marching

Finally at around 9.30 they started marching. It’s about a 1.5km march – not too long for young legs, or the older ones. I walked more or less alongside so I could take photos.

We will remember them  The Anzac Day march 2013 The Anzac Day march 2013

 

 

The Anzac Day march 2013

I got a real buzz from being there and watching my son march. I could tell that he was really getting into it and I was really proud of him. The ladies below caught my eye and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of them.

The Anzac Day march 2013The Anzac Day march 2013The Anzac Day march 2013The Anzac Day march 2013

As I’d never been to a march before it was great to see so many people go along and support the participants and clap as people walked past. I think this helped JJ feel a large amount of pride at participating.

Then before we knew it, his part of the march was over and the SES volunteers collected their signs.

Finishing

Then he plopped down on the ground as though he’d run a marathon.

Relaxing after the march

Here’s a close-up of the medals. As far as I can tell they’re service medals. They’re pretty heavy and they didn’t fall off. I was so worried that he’d somehow lose them.

Uncle Alf's medals

The smile on his face sums up how he felt about the whole experience.

After the march

We walked back towards the start and the march was still going so we got to see more recent soldiers from Vietnam, Afghanistan, East Timor etc before we ducked across the road to head home.

Putting things in perspective

Sunset at South Port. Day 235/365.

When I wrote the post on Monday about mourning, I had no  idea of the events about to unfold in Boston. Terrible, terrible news.

It makes the petty annoyances in my life quite insignificant.

At the moment I’m waiting on Telstra to come to my house and do some work. They’ll be here between 8 and 12 they said. I’m supposed to be at work today. No they can’t narrow down the time or give me the technician’s number. Perhaps I could have someone wait here for me they said. No I can’t. And I want to be here to make sure things are done as I expect. Yes, a petty annoyance, but at least I’m alive.

I caught the tram into work yesterday. We have a new ticketing system and the tram conductors are no more so it relies on the honesty of people. Yet, many people just hop on the tram and don’t even try to buy a ticket from the machine. This really annoys me as a paying commuter. And I’m a standing commuter too. Perhaps I would have a seat if none of these non-paying people were on the tram. Yes, petty I know.

My contract at work runs out in ten weeks and there’s been no indication that it will be extended. Okay, so this is a bit more than a petty annoyance because I hate being out of work. It’s not the best time to be out of work so I’m not looking forward to potentially not having a job to go into after this contract. I was optimistic that something would turn up until a friend talked doom and gloom to me about the job market. I wish he hadn’t!

My petty annoyances aside, I wish that people would stop shooting, bombing and killing other people. I’ll never understand it. It just makes me sad. But as always the good people shine through in situations like this. I’ve read in more than one place about people running towards the injured in Boston after the bombs went off instead of running further away. That’s the good side of us humans and I like that.

 

Mourning

West Beach

I think yesterday was probably the last day I’ll stroll along the beach wearing summer clothes. It was an unseasonably warm autumn day.

I will miss summer but I do love the change of seasons.

Digging

The lad put his bathers on, but didn’t go into the water to get them all wet. See his short hair? It hasn’t been short for a while. That itchy head he’s been complaining of for the last week resulted in this haircut because of nits. I found them on Saturday as I was trying to prepare for a dinner party.

So I had an unscheduled extra load on my day of washing, cutting and combing hair, and making beds. I’d caught it early so there weren’t too many bugs to comb out. But my head’s been itchy ever since.

Running

I’m so glad we get a guest dog staying over every now and then. I really really miss having a dog around the place ever since Monty died. I dreamed about her the other night.

She was lying on the floor and I walked up to her. She started talking to me. I can’t remember what she said but just the fact that she talked to me, and that she appeared a lot younger than my last memories of her.

I woke shortly afterwards and cried. I had to get up just to calm down a bit. I hadn’t expected grief to hit me unawares in my sleep like that. It’s also a bit weird getting used to talking about her in the past tense.

Nine blogging years

Today is my nine-year blogging anniversary. I’m a veteran in the blogging world and this is how I’ve seen it change over those nine years.

I started because I came across the Bloggies awards who were then in their fourth year and noticed blogs like Loobylu and Dooce and thought it was a great way to write and share.

Blogging platform

The Windows 7 login screen. Day 199/366.

When I started this blog I chose the Typepad platform and informed everyone that I had some peace and quiet that day with my first ever post. It got two comments, which is more than I get on some of my more recent, much better written posts. But more about that a bit later.

I was happy with Typepad for a time but I wanted to tweak my templates more than Typepad would allow me on the plan I was on. WordPress seemed to be the blogging platform of choice even then, so I made the move.

It was a lot harder to install WordPress then than it is now. I had to use FTP to transfer files and updating WordPress was a bit of a nightmare, not the one click wonder we enjoy now.

Technology

For two years I maintained my blog using a DIALUP connection. I can’t believe I held out that long to get broadband. I’m about to move from ADSL to cable internet. I can’t remember my first download quota when I moved to broadband but I’m not on 30Gb per month. Previously I thought 5Gb was a lot.

I hadn’t heard of an RSS reader then. I merely linked to my favourite blogs on my blog and visited them faithfully nearly every day to see if they’d updated. When I did start using RSS to collect my blog reading all in one place, I also used it to create a blogroll. That is already one for the archives as it’s no longer supported, and Google Reader is being turned off on 1 July 2013.

Social media as we know it today was a few years away yet so I was able to concentrate more on blogging without getting sidetracked by checking my Tweets or Facebook newsfeed.

Social media also, for me, and I suspect many others, meant that the community within the blog platform itself has largely dwindled unless you’re a popular blogger I think. The amount of comments I now receive has diminished even as the stats show that I am getting more visitors.

Of course, social media, is another mechanism for getting visitors to this blog, and when I use it to publicise something then I do get some drop-ins. Some comments might be made via Twitter and not this blog however.

Parenting

Clean face

When  I started blogging my son was two years old. He’s nearly twelve now and I don’t write as much about him anymore. Mummy, or mommy, blogging wasn’t even a term then thank goodness. Even when it did get introduced, I never considered myself a mummy blogger.

When he was three, he was a pain in the ass, but he also showed me bright moments in drudgery that parenting can sometimes be.

There’s still some stories I share but they are much more general. They’re all in my parenting category.

Brands working with blogs

Flower phone

Blogging has changed a lot in the last nine years. Advertising on blogs hadn’t yet really begun that I was aware of, and brands working with bloggers was a mere twinkle in someone’s eye. People used to do top 50 or top 100 lists of bloggers and I made the Australian top 100 bloggers list which helped put on the PR radar.

In 2008 I was offered a mobile phone to trial. It was my first foray into product reviews. I could have kept the phone but decided not to as my Nokia was doing fine for the moment, so I decided to give it away.

I don’t do that many giveaways for a few reasons. The main one is that I don’t get that many offers for giveaways and don’t actively seek these opportunities. I think the brands working with bloggers thing has some way to go. I do switch off from reading blog posts from different bloggers that are offering the same giveaway unless it’s something I particularly want to win, then I’ve got a good chance of winning with multiple entries. I’ve recently won a couple of things.

I do know that my Lego reviews are still visited regularly so brands shouldn’t discount the long-term effect of blogs writing about their products and they shouldn’t discount blogs that don’t have as many page views as larger blogs, ie me.

I’ve been running ads on my blog for a few years now and barely make enough to cover the hosting costs of the site. I think a better way of making money via a website is to offer some sort of service or product. I haven’t done this but plenty has been written about it elsewhere.

Photography

Sunrise at Vivonne Bay

When I started blogging nine years ago I didn’t yet have a digital camera, my blog posts were all words, like my spinach and bean pasties one.

Back in 2007 I upgraded my mobile phone to a Nokia phone. It was a forced change because the phone network was shutting down CDMA. It would be another three years before I got my first smartphone and started my first photo project.

Now, all my posts  include at least one photo. This helps with sharing content on social media like Pinterest and Facebook which are both quite visual. But because I take a lot of photos I may as well share them.

I put the photos I want to use on Flickr, and share them here that way.

Last year I had my first photography exhibition. Don’t know if I’ll ever have another one but it was definitely a learning experience, and despite the anxiety it caused, I’m really happy I did it.

I’ve gone through a few point and shoot digital cameras and a few years ago bought a digital SLR which I still have. Although many of the photos I use here are taken with my phone as that’s the camera I have on me at nearly all times.

Where to from here?

I don’t have any plans to stop blogging. I enjoy the creative outlet, and unless I come up with some business plan to take it to the next level, then I think I will continue along my winding path. I see how the blogging ‘scene’ has really taken off first in the northern hemisphere and more recently here and I’m a bit like the tortoise in the race. The hares have taken off and racing ahead while I plod along slowly behind enjoying the scenery. But I don’t care if I win the race or not. I blog for the love of it.

But who doesn’t also love to be loved? Please leave me a comment. Tell me about your blogging experience – loves and/or hates. Or you just might want to ask me something – anything? I know a shit load about blogging and the technical stuff which you might not know from reading this blog, but I’ve never had anyone help me with the technical stuff here because I’ve always done it myself.

 

His place in the house

Waiting while the floor's being cleaned

I read A very blended family post about getting teens to clean and I was going to leave a comment but realised it would be too long, so I’m writing here about it.

When I grew up with my two sisters we always had chores to do so it’s been ingrained in me that that’s what you do.

I didn’t really get pocket money until the last couple of years of high school and that money had to last me – I think it was $20 per month. Don’t forget we’re talking some years ago now. It wasn’t much for what it was expected to be spent on so I also learned to be frugal which isn’t a bad thing.

Then  I had my own child and have had to make up my own rules about what he does around the house, and what compensation will be awarded – if any.

He’s nearly 12 and this is what I expect from him and what I give him.

I put $10 per week into his bank account which he can’t touch. He knows about it and I’ve said that this money might help him buy a car some day.

He has certain chores to do around the house like keeping his room tidy, filling up the water container as we filter our drinking water. He cleans the bathroom sink when I ask him to – about once a week. He’s responsible for doing the recycling and part of this is that he separates the 10c containers and he gets to keep the money from that for his spending money on items that I won’t buy for him. There’s sometimes additional jobs on top of these like vacuuming or sweeping.

If he doesn’t do his jobs then he loses privileges like watching television or playing video games or going on the computer. That’s his currency and as mentioned in the A very blended family post I linked to above, finding your kid’s currency is a good tool to have in the parenting arsenal.

He notices when kids he knows don’t do jobs around the house and he’s admitted to me that he’s better off having to do these things around the house so he can contribute and so that he knows what to do once he’s out on his own. Parenting win right there!

The photo at the top is an old one. I can tell because I’ve had the flooring replaced – it’s ripped here, and Monty is no longer with us. Towards the end she didn’t get the hint that when I was vacuuming and mopping that she was supposed to go outside and wait.

Psst, listen

 

Listening at the Whispering Wall

It was beautiful weather on the weekend so we spent one day doing domestic things, and the next day getting out and being the tourist in our area thing.

I love being a tourist in our town. It was a bit of a drive from our place to the Whispering Wall at Williamstown but a lovely one.

Whispering Wall

I went to the Whispering Wall when I was in high school – so some time ago now. I had visions of it being an old stone wall. I don’t remember the dam at all. My, how time changes memories.

Whispering Wall

One of you stands at one end, and the other at the other end and the acoustics of the wall allow you to talk to each other. It’s really amazing. The trouble is you can’t think of anything good to say, so there’s lots of hallos, and, can you hear me?

We met some Ukrainians, and we were surrounded by other Adelaide visitors also. It must be in the guide books as a place to visit.

Williamstown is pretty too, and it had a market on the day we were there but we didn’t stop as we were on a geocaching mission.

IMG_1047

We didn’t do very well with a count of one in four geocaches.

But we had a great day apart from one meltdown when JJ wanted me to stop on windy roads for geocaches and there was nowhere to park.

We ended up dropping in at a friend’s place on the way home, and then went to a nearby pub to listen to jazz music. Another friend’s dad plays in a jazz band which just happened to be playing that day.

We had fun.

See how they swim

I always get a kick from seeing dolphins swim in the water. The sight never fails to make me feel good, and I’m even more happy when I can capture some photos.

Dolphins at Pennington Bay

Dolphins are natural surfers.

Dolphins at Pennington Bay

And it appears as thought they get enjoyment from surfing some waves.

Dolphins at Pennington Bay

And when you get a photo of them jumping out of the waves? What a sight.

Dolphins at Pennington Bay

Fantastic. Love it.

See that dolphin jump