Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Happy St Patricks!

Posted: 17/03/2015 by Toby in Funny
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patmainpic We will post some pictures of us having green pancakes a bit later. but until then, enjoy this funny photo of Sir Pat

Gigi’s Baptism

Posted: 14/03/2015 by Sharole in Gigi, Informative
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We decided on the last day of February for Gigi’s special day, 28th. It’s amazing to me how much time, organizing a well orchestrated event can take. She was so excited about it and nervous and anticipating the event, she even made herself a calendar to count the days down from TJ’s birthday. The thing about having your kids so close is they remember exactly what the other one had the year before, so I have to keep on my toes to make sure they are all treated equally. Not that I would deliberately, but from absent mindedness. Thankfully I have TJ to remind me of every little detail :) And photos which helps also when it came to the food, seeing what I’d done last year. It’s hard to know how many to cater for, for such an event, since many people don’t RSVP. I had to take a guess and hope for the best. I spent the week getting food sorted and baking Thursday and Friday so I didn’t have to worry on Saturday other than picking up the cake and sandwiches which I decided not to make myself. Wendy’s (ice cream cake) and Costco (sandwiches and wraps) do a great job, so why not let them do their thing :)

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The kids and I arrived 30mins earlier to get all the food inside and set up the tables and chairs. Thankfully my Visiting Teacher Becci helped me, the Relief Society President and counselor, during the event so I wouldn’t have to worry about the food.

Marlies (Gigi’s cousin) and Toby did the talks, which were great. Toby baptized Gigi and she liked that the water was nice and warm. Toby made sure to take her down low so no second dip was needed. Gigi was lucky to have her 3 girl cousin’s Baptismal dresses that Aunty Nicky had made for their baptisms and so she picked 2 for her to wear. One for the beginning and the baptism and then another for after her Baptism. Gigi was so happy, and felt very loved for all the family and friends and ward members that showed support, for her decision.

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When they came back in Marlies and Bronte sang acapella “A Child’s Prayer” which was beautiful, I really felt the spirit. After Brother Scott and Bishop Cox spoke we went in for the luncheon. I was really proud of my mini quiche’s I made from scratch (Jac’s recipe) and the number 8 biscuits I made, they both came up great. It especially felt good that everyone was impressed with my spread and kept on eating, there was just the right amount of food, hardly anything left. Gigi picked a chocolate ice cream cake with honeycomb, she then didn’t want the honeycomb ice cream part so swapped it out for Toby’s favourite, mint choc chip.

It was so lovely so see my family gather together, my 2nd cousin Gillian had just moved back from the UK so came and brought my Aunty Marleen, both of my brothers in NSW came Gregg and Seth and my cousins Alex and Charlotte came also, along with my Aunty Helen and Uncle Malcolm. So we felt quite blessed for such a family show up, we took a family picture. It was nice to see them all happy to see one another.

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Accepted to UNSW

Posted: 10/03/2015 by Toby in News
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Some of you are aware the last year I spent 7 grand getting myself a Waste Management post grad cert from Griffith University. As you can see from the link, I only just squeaked in. It was ideal in two ways: online (commute to Queensland? ah, no) and it was closer to what I wanted to do than, say Environmental Science, which is a bit broader.

This whole ‘what I want to do’ thing.. have I blogged about this yet?

Actually if you don’t want to read my digression you can skip straight to the point of this post.

Here is an example, hot off the presses: KU Leuven (Netherlands) is implementing a recovery system for extracting rare earths from end-of-life (i.e. burnt out) fluorescent lamps. How cool is that?!? About 3 years ago, I latched on to the idea that we should be recycling electronics rather than sending them to landfill. Think about it: Moore’s Law has been in effect for at least a century; how much new technology has superceded old technology? At that time, I knew literally nothing about recycling electronics. So I started reading. Much to my surprise and delight, I was actually fascinated by what I was reading, and I wanted to know more. It wasn’t just a passing fad. Attention was holding!

For those who don’t already know: puppies and kittens have better concentration skills than I do.

I created a separate Trello board to organise what I was learning and take notes. I’m constantly adding to it. Literally. I find old notes and chuckle to myself, what a noob I was. Now, after several years, I am starting to get familiar with what is out there. Occasionally I’ll find something new and it’s already there. If you’d like to see it, I’ll invite you.

I created a website http://beemout.org and a Twitter account @beemout_org. I also have http://elementalrecovery.com. In theory, the Beemout side is the collection of electronics and the Elemental Recovery side is the processing.

I started a business case. It’s pretty but it has lagged. I’m finding that numbers are really not my thing. Every time I try to do the numbers, there are too many variables, and I’m not sure what to simplify in order to create a justifiable profit model. Justifiable being the key word.

For the first time in my life, I have something concrete that I could say to my younger self. This whole process has led me to believe that I am much more fascinated by problems of the “scientific” and “logistical” kind rather that problems of the “financial” kind or of the “getting the project done on time and on budget” kind.

Delving into this world of electronic recycling has also raised my awareness of how much friggin waste people make. We are literally destroying our host.

The point of this post

UNSWSo, after lots of reading of cutting edge research (thanks to my university access while working for the Uni of Western Sydney, plus access while a student at Griffith), I started looking into Masters and PhD programs in order to get more education and practical knowledge. This is the work I want to do – stuff like in the link to KU Leuven above. As it turns out there are some great researchers in NSW particularly at UNSW. I went to talk to Veena Sahajwalla, who has been on TV a number of times, and has multiple honours and awards, and also has practical experience in implementing innovative improvements to material recovery. She heads up the SM@RT centre at UNSW.

She was so positive about what I wanted to do, and she agreed to be my supervisor! I could not believe it! I figured something would happen to shatter the dream world I seemed to have entered.

I applied for a Masters of research within the materials science section in the School of Chemical Engineering. I had to provide a research plan, references (thankfully I knew the UWS Chair of Academic Senate, and an expert on waste and e-waste and adviser to the UN), and other documentation.

Just last Monday, I was accepted!

I am already plotting ways to use my student discount.

This year we decided that we’d take our very first trip to Luna Park, for TJ’s birthday, the longest running and first fun park in Sydney. Was also my parents very first date, that took place there. Turns out that the price of your ticket is determined by your height. So we had 3 ranges of tickets. 3 yellow, 2 green and 1 red. Turned out my brother was going to be down from Queensland and so we invited him and his kids to come with if they’d like.

We hadn’t heard from them and so took off for the park when we were all ready. Once we got there, we got our bands took a few rides, Edgar called to ask where I was, I replied, at Luna Park like I said. He said where about in Luna Park, I said why are you here? behind Coney Island having lunch, he said ok we are on the other side. That was a pleasant surprise. So we met up and 10 hrs later, Toby all tuckered out, we headed off for dinner at Toby’s favourite restaurant Dos Senoritas (Mexican). Rocky was toast (asleep) by the time we arrived so he was no problem whilst we ate. Yum…  Delicious.

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Edgar, Dakota and Owen had a sleepover. And we had a nice time in the morning with the cousins all playing together, and with Uncle Edgar. Granddad joined us for lunch before they moved on.

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All in all a nice birthday treat for TJ and all the kids. At the end of the day Edgar said it was my turn to do the rotor as Dakota, TJ and William loved it, I wasn’t too excited as I felt so sick last time I went on that ride in 2007. Thankfully I did better this time round. Molly you’d love this ride. Did you go on it?

Gran called with a nice surprise, she and Ezra were going to take the train down to spend some time with TJ on his birthday. They arrived at lunch on Monday and headed home the next day. The kids all had a lovely time playing at the park, eating TJ’s birthday cake and catching a cheap flick at the local club – Mr Peabody and Sherman. Before we knew it, the time was gone, and we dropped them off at the station to take the train home. Ezra’s first train ride.

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Somehow the boys all ended up with red shirts on, that day!

Fixin’ Stuff and Savin’ Money

Posted: 08/01/2015 by Toby in Informative
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Well most of you should know by now that Australia is the land of astronomical prices for various things particularly car repairs. We have never been quoted less than $400 for anything, except for changing a headlamp on the VW they only wanted $120 for that. (By the way side note, the engineering on the headlamp assembly on the VW is so simple and easy, it was $2 for the bulb, I pulled out the whole light, swapped out the bulb and put it all in, and there was only one screw! I should do a youtube of it, but so far I haven’t taken the time.) So, over the years we’ve saved a lot of money over the typical Aussie by simply doing it ourselves. There was the…

  • Volvo side mirror
  • Volvo keyless button
  • Volvo side rails
  • Camry mud flaps
  • Camry headlight
  • Camry radiator overflow
  • Camry window winder upper
  • Chrysler spoiler
  • Chrysler keyless entry (x4 or more)

and so on

This time it was the side door handle. TJ was yanking on the wrong side and snapped the hinging side of the door handle so it was just floppy on one side. We were quoted $350 for the part and $350 for the labor of putting it in. So I looked online and found it for $65 plus $17 to ship. Way better. I then went to Youtube U and tried to get an idea what to do. There were some videos but not exact, so I just had a rough idea before I started taking everything off. Luckily I think I did it right and the handle is in there now, working perfectly. Now the only issue is putting the inside panel back on, there are a couple of plastic clips that are only one time use, so I need to get new ones. I might have to order that online since the auto pars stores don’t seem to have a compatible one.

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We also managed to save a little money on Sharole’s iPhone. She was not getting good reception and we thought we were going to have to get her a new phone. We looked at the phone plans, and none of them were as good as the one she was on. So we thought well, let’s see how much it is for an antenna. I was feeling pretty confident after having swapped her cracked screen (thank you youtube u) and fixing two other friend’s screens. The instructions I used, they identified all the different parts that I was pulling out, so I already knew about the antenna. The part itself was 6 bucks and free shipping. I swapped it in without a hitch. Sweet!

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Rocky’s 3rd Birthday

Posted: 08/12/2014 by Sharole in Events, News, Pictures, Rocky
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This is how happy Rocky was about it being his birthday!

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Our little man turned 3. The best part of this gift was that Gigi brought it out of her own hard earned money for him, Rocky loves it. I really liked seeing Gigi wanting to do something nice for her little brother. She also bought William a gift for his birthday also. Hopefully this will provide a good example for the the boys that they can do nice things for each other and Gigi also.

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Toby took the morning off and we (meaning Toby, Rocky and myself) took a morning bike ride around Olympic Park. It was very nice. I love getting time with my hubby. We then went for brunch at the cafe there. This being my birthday also, Toby allowed me my request ;)

Rocky’s crazy about Lego presently and Batman, so this was a logical conclusion, a Lego Batman cake, home made, so tasted much better, yay!

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All in all a good day!

Family Holiday in Eden, NSW

Posted: 08/12/2014 by Sharole in Events, Family, News, Pictures
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We took a rendezvous to Eden in October about 6 hours south, over Williams birthday. I remember going down there when I was a young girl with my sister and mother on a girlie camping trip, we took. So when I saw an awesomely cheap deal come up for a villa for a week, I snapped it up.

The kids were so excited, and I admit I enjoy seeing their happy faces, what mother doesn’t! The weather wasn’t as hot as normal for that time of year, but that said I like it not so hot anyways, so perfect for me. 2 things we wanted to do was go to the Killer Whale Museum and go Whale Watching, both of which we got to do.

Playing at the pool! It wasn’t heated and so no one really wanted to be in there, good job we had a spa bath, that was the next best option.

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We went to Merimbula for the Whale Watching because we couldn’t get in at Eden, which worked out fine since that boat came up to where we were anyway, whilst out on the water. It was quite exciting getting to see these massive humpback whales and their babies in the water. One of the babies gave us a great water show, which was beautiful. It was amazing just how big they are, easily 3-4 of me.

Somehow Toby ended up being the photographer and didn’t manage to get in any shots of himself, oops! Rocky, Gigi and I got a tad sea sick, thankfully I managed to get a seat at one point because Rocky fell asleep and was starting to get very heavy, I was glad he went to sleep because it prevented me getting thrown up on, which would have set me off. So glad I took my scarf out there, it got quite cold, between Rocky and my scarf I weathered it Aok.

A tick for my bucket list, yay!

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When we went to the Killer Whale Museum, we ran into one of my old work mates. Talk about a small world. It was lovely to catch up with Darren and Angela. The museum sure had grown and been improved, since I was there last, full of information and stories and videos, the kids enjoyed it.

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We finished off the week at Merimbula at Mandeni Family Fun Park. The kids got to try archery, paddle boating, we did a family bike ride on their bike tracks, and they had a massive pillow also, the kids and my big kid Toby said it was better than the one at the Villa, he was jumping so high and they were all having a blast. We even got to do an 18 hole mini golf. I’m pretty sure I won that. Toby won the archery! Toby took the 2 older boys for the paddle boats and I had Rocky and Gigi. Gigi wasn’t coping and so we dropped her off and went without her. Gigi was loving the local dog there, Sally, which is a big step for her. Gigi wasn’t coping with the archery either, finally she got it and did a good job.

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Up, up and away Toby!!

We all had a lovely time, then back home for Rocky’s and my birthdays.