And the beat goes on…

There’s been plenty going on in the last couple of weeks.

Last Saturday we went to see Sting with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in his Symphonicity tour. The concert was held at Sandalford Winery in the Swan Valley and was fantastic. It was perfect weather and it’s a lovely venue for a concert. There was lots of music, there was even an intermission half way through the show. Sting sang everything you’d want him to sing and  his rapport with the audience quickly got us involved. We had reserved seats and could have done with a small cushion to sit on, but that minor discomfort was well and truly made up for by the entertainment. The worst part of the night was the 45 minutes in the log-jam waiting to get out of the car park. We’ve been to a concert at the winery before but parked in a different area and got away very quickly. This time we ended up stuck in the traffic in the furthest corner. We won’t do that again. Santana is playing at Sandalford in March and we have been trying to decide whether or not to go, but Stephen’s work travel plans are still not confirmed so we don’t want to book anything else just yet.

I’ve been plodding along getting my tutorials made up. At this stage I’m focusing on what clients are asking for and will gradually build up. I’m concentrating on the tutoring for older adults at the moment and will probably follow up on training groups when I have my resources ready. I’m not totally happy with the computer room that’s available to me. It would be perfect except that the computers are running Windows XP with Office 2003.  The price comparison that I’ve done so far makes the alternative less than palatable. The one alternative computer lab that I’ve investigated so far is at least five times the cost to rent.

The drawback to the type of tutoring I’m doing  is that it’s almost impossible to prepare materials and session plan because the learners often don’t really know what it is that they want or need to know. I’ve found that I also need to allow time for a cuppa and a chat. That will restrict the number of clients I can see in a day (particularly as there’s also travel to allow for) but I think it’s an important part of what I’m doing if I want multiple booking with the one client and if I want my business to spread by word-of-mouth. It’s also a good way to find out exactly what they want to learn.

I’ve made good progress with my Cert IV TAA upgrade. I still have to do a presentation and deliver some training to a class. I should get it out of the way before the end of Feb, I don’t have too much to organise. Then it’s apparently quite easy to get RPL for the upgrade to the newest qualification, Cert IV TAE.

The weather hasn’t been too hot in Perth for the past week or so, but is heating up again now. We’re back into the high 30’s again (up around 100F). We’ve been seeing a bit of the resident blue-tongue lizards. I think the live between us and next door. Stephen was tidying up down the side of the house to prepare for the new fence and he found a shed blue-tongue skin. Speaking of the fence, we finally have our new fence down one side of the house. It looks great, so much better than the old fences. If only they’d fall down too and we could get them replaced! Though it has been quite a drama and I don’t want to deal with it again too soon. There were really no disputes and real issues getting it done, it just took quite a few phone calls to the contractor asking when it would be done. I was starting to think we should have selected a different contractor, but it’s all finished now and they did a good job, so we’re happy. Now when the wind is blowing we don’t  listen to the sound of the fence moving and creaking and wondering if it will still be standing when next we go outside.

The garden is looking great, but we’re a bit worried about some of the holes the dogs have dug under them. On the hot days they like to dig a hole in the cool shaded dirt to lay in. The trouble with that is that we’re worried that some of the shrubs are being undermined. There’s some distinct damage caused by trampling when they chase each other through, but it’s their yard too and it really is a good garden for dogs. This weekend we’ll probably try to get some soil and top up some of the holes. I’ve also ordered some mulch from MulchNet so that should be here by the weekend. I got an email to say a contractor has picked up the job so I’m just waiting for a phone call.

Yesterday was Australia Day and a public holiday. We spent it quietly at home. Stephen did quite a bit around the yard, putting things back in place after the removal and installation of the fence. Kaz just laid around and dozed for most of the day, as she does, after an initial bout of vigourous play with Anzac. With Anzac you only need to add water and you’ve got fun!

Dog-paddling on Australia Day

Notice how he gets out to watch the water running along the grooves between the pavers!

Oh…and I almost forgot to mention the bread.

The sliced bread we like to buy was on sale so we bought a couple of loaves last week. We don’t eat much bread so when we get it home it usually goes straight into the freezer. This time we put one loaf in the freezer and left the other out so we’d have fresh bread for lunch. Then we decided to duck out to buy something at another shop. When we got home there was just a little piece of plastic bag on the floor – and no sign of the bread. The rest of the shredded bag was in the back yard. No sign of the bread. You’d think that after ten years of living with Kaz we’d know better than to leave food anywhere within her reach when we go out. She has a particular fondness for bread. She never takes anything when we’re home, but you have no idea how many loaves of bread we’ve lost in the last ten years!

Right click, left click…

My New Moon Eclipse horoscope, by Kim Falconer, today said:

The New Moon Eclipse is all about creating a powerful new intention for the upcoming year and you ‘eclipse’ is happening in your 10th house of career and public image. If you ever thought you could vision your dream-come-true occupation, now is the time. You could fly to the moon with this energy. Get up and go for it!

Wow!

I received an email from the Community Development Officer at one of the local councils. He wanted to discuss my ideas for hiring their computer lab and offering computer classes that would complement the basic classes that they already run. I went over and met with him. He was very enthusiastic and encouraging and is certain that there’s a big demand for the types of courses I want to offer. I’ve offered to do some volunteer training for them and he’s offered to work with me however he can to support my business. He sees it as part of his community development role to offer his community options that the council can’t actually provide by linking with a provider who can offer those options.

Their computer room is bright and airy and the hire is very reasonably priced.

Now I need to put together my bread-and-butter course. I’m going to start this slowly and make sure I get every stage as right as I can before moving on to the next. I also need to set up all my business stuff – business name, insurance, business cards and brochures. I also want to sit the MS Word exam that I’m eligible to sit thanks to the course that got me moving in this direction.

There’s learning  to be found in every experience and there can be good outcomes from even negative experiences.

Hindsight – a wondeful thing…

Another disappointing day today. We could easily have finished at lunch time. We briefly covered macros and master documents this morning. I have never before created macros (have used them, not created them) so I knew nothing. Well the trainer knew less than nothing. She tried showing us things that didn’t work and she didn’t know how to make them work. I figured that out and showed her and the class. That gave me quite a buzz and certainly rekindled my interest in computer training. One of the other students thanked me for my help in class – she was very annoyed with the trainer’s obvious lack of experience, planning and knowledge. I must also mention that the trainer did acknowledge that the class obviously didn’t live up to my expectations and she thanked me for my help.

Three of us (the other two students who had also been in the intermediate class and I) went to Jaws for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed our food and each others’ company. That was my third lunch there this week. Why try something else when the food is so good and it’s a healthy option? The lunch vouchers were the best part of the course! I waited until I got home then logged onto the website and filled in the course evaluation form. I wanted to take my time and make sure I gave carefully thought out and complete feedback.

I really shouldn’t have been so impatient to do this course – I should have waited for an available space in a course with my first choice in training provider, but that would have meant waiting until March.

We finished up early and I travelled part way home on the train with one of the other ladies. It was nice to get home a bit early and have a chance to relax before heading to the airport to pick up Stephen.

It’s good to have him home.

Learning? Ah, not so much. Squeaky, squeak…

Today’s Advanced Word class was a real disappointment. I had high hopes after Wednesday’s Intermediate class. The presenter wasn’t very knowledgable at all. I wonder how advanced her Word skills are. Much of what we did covered what I’d class as basic skills. Formatting, Mail Merge (which we covered much more succinctly on Wednesday), Word Art, Text Boxes – all basic stuff and she didn’t use styles at all for text formatting, just the format buttons. We also covered interactive forms, but she showed us the way to input the legacy field controls rather than the 2007 Content Controls. I think I knew more than she did; I had to tell her how to do a few things, and those I didn’t know I was able to figure out and tell her, before she could. No doubt we’ll cover printing and dictionaries and more formatting before we get to the things I enrolled for e.g. Macros and Master Documents. And even then, I get the feeling we’ll only touch on those things, not go into the depth I need. I doubt there’ll be much more than I already know or could figure out myself. All of these things are listed in the course outline, but I thought they’d touch on the more advanced aspects and cover the things I’m interested in, in more depth. Not so. Though I do wonder how much of this is due to the trainer. I really do think the trainer we had the other day was more capable, more interested and interesting, and a far better trainer. Two of the others in the class of four were in the Intermediate class with me and they were saying the same thing about the trainer.

I will be able to sit the Microsoft Certified Word Specialist exam for no additional cost, for what that’s worth. Perhaps it will be worth something on my resumé.

I had to go to the supermarket on my way home and bought the dogs a couple of new soft squeakies. They have other soft squeakies but these have been a real hit with Anzac in particular. He’s been racing through the house, jumping over the sofa and over our bed and teasing Kaz while he’s been almost constantly squeaking one of them. He seemed to favour one for a while but then swapped for the other and tore around with it. It was also involved in a doggy tug-of-war and survived, so all in all a very good buy.

Our veggie and rose gardens are thriving now that they have targeted water supplies. The roses are looking so healthy and all sorts of seeds are germinating in the veggie garden. The seedling that we planted are growing like crazy as well.

Learning…

Stephen went up to the mine for the last time this morning and I went off to an Intermediate Word course. I wasn’t sure whether I’d made the right decision doing Intermediate Word, but the course outline described a few things that I wanted to be able to do better; a few things that I had questions about. It was well worth it. I really enjoyed the course. The facilitator was very knowledgable and the day’s pace was perfect. I’ve been in a few courses where the knowledge has been good, but the presenter has been a bit slow, dragging on where he/she could have upped the pace. We reviewed a lot of stuff that I already knew, but much was clarified. I now understand why some things don’t work (or don’t work as expected), and know how to do a few others things that I wasn’t sure about.

I was also impressed with the lunch arrangements. Catered lunches at courses are often less than impressive. We were each given a voucher that we could use to buy lunch from one of five or six nearby cafés. I went to Jaws East Perth Sushi Restaurant. Yum!

I’m doing an advanced course on Thursday and Friday and really looking forward to that. It will cover quite a bit that I’ve never done before.

I got home and, of course, the pups were extremely happy to see me. Anzac went out into the garage later in the evening when I left the door open and laid down behind the car, refusing to move. I left him out there for about half an hour (with the door open so he could come in) and he wouldn’t move until I offered him some treats. I think the problem was that my handbag was on the kitchen bench and that usually means I’m going out in the car!

I finally got around to filling in the enrollment paperwork for the Graduate Diploma in Information Design that I’ve been accepted into, only to discover that I need to include a verified copy of my passport. I’m studying through Christchurch Polytechnic and so I’m an International student. I’ll have to see if I can get a verified copy tomorrow so I can get this paperwork sent off.

And now it’s time to watch Black Books and write my Christmas Cards!