Greetings once more from the Schmidts @ Sandy. Another year has passed, we're all another year older, and it's the silly season again. And I'm sending you another one of those bloody yakety yak catch up spiels!!
I guess we all tend to collect a bunch of friends on the journey through life that we can't bear to lose contact with completely, even when in the average year your paths just don't cross like they used to.
did manage to catch up with a few people here and there in person
during 2005, which was great. Always an aim.. just time and distance tend to
always, I tend to babble on a fair bit, but I'm just no good at putting it all
in a nutshell. Maybe it's just a desperate attempt
to look back on the year through rose coloured glasses.
Maybe it's because a single web page can be neverending! Or maybe it's just a
good excuse to play around on here and not do housework.
the kids breathed a sigh of relief, and Marc has gritted his teeth and got on
with the frustrations of working with Greenspan/Tyco... and I've gritted my teeth
over the continuing absences.. and the pressure I see him under. Two more years
and he gets long service leave - something to look forward to.
In April we lashed out on a houseboat holiday.. something I've always had a hankering to do. Spent a week and a bit chugging around Myall Lakes, and really enjoyed it. Not sure if it was quite enough to satisfy the kids, who were a bit wussy about swimming in the lake.. even in the crystal clear waters of the most northern lake. But Marc and I loved it more than any resort.. different view every night.. dive off your back verandah for a swim.. and sunsets, scenery and 'serenity' to die for.
It was a bit of a shame to use up annual leave to try out another job, but that's what he did with Canberra in July. We left the kids with the grandparents in Sydney for a week while he worked, and I tried to familiarise myself with Canberra real estate. Not the most romantic of kid-free escapades, but it was rather novel, for me anyway. Then they joined us and we took them down to try out skiing for a day at Mt Selwyn. I decided I was still more of a cross country fan, but it was fun to get on the downhill skis for a day.
Meanwhile the kids have trundled happily enough through another year of school. Cait (12 now) has taken well to high school.. found it easy to make new friends, doing well academically (except for being a bit 'blonde' with her maths.. a lot of which is teacher related...), and collecting all the appropriate awards for effort, participation, behaviour and the like. Looking back on the year now, I think she has been happier than her last year at primary. She is pretty independent about it all, except for getting up in time to catch an earlier bus! She's inherited some bad genes in that department. Combined with a "feisty attitude" it's been .. um.. interesting, and I hope against hope that she'll calm down when the hormones hit rather than the opposite. She's waiting for a growth spurt to happen..a bit miffed that she's earned the nickname 'Munchkin' amongst her friends. But she seems to have gotten a bit taller in recent months, so I daresay it will happen soon enough.
She has made the rep squad again for next year.. we'll see in March whether she gets in the team. Meanwhile I've had to convince her that there's more to life (and exercise) than just netball. She's just started playing touch on Wednesdays, and I've just managed to get her back into swimming by getting her to join one of my adult squad classes. She's really 'over' the training for butterfly, backstroke, etc..which I guess I understand, so I'm making it a mission to convince the swim school to start up swimming for fitness for kids like her.
Alison (10 and in Year 4) has
continued to thrive with sport and school. She got to regional level with her
school swimming again (where she felt like a fish out of water amongst the serious
competitive swimmers).. And again she got to Zone with her cross country running.
Her heart is really in netball though (she likes the team sport aspect) .. and
she had a good year with her local comp; in the winning team again. She has been
riding her bike to school this last term, which has inspired her to get herself
ready and out the door in time to meet up with friends- so no complaints there.
Plus it keeps her fit!
Zoe has shot up this year - turned 7 in October. She's going well in Year 1.. no dramas, enjoys school, and continues to amaze us with her growing self confidence. She was so shy when she was 3 or 4, (and still a bit reticent about some things) that you keep expecting her to be the same with everything. Then she doesn't bat an eyelid having to speak into the microphone as the narrator for the class play. (She's a bit more like Cait in that she doesn't mind performing in front of others.) She's improving all the time with her swimming and revels in each milestone she makes (like swimming 20 laps non stop (x 25m) for her assessent this week.)
She and I (and sometimes Alison) were doing the Tuesday afternoon cross country run (2.5 km).. and she was surprising herself with her ability to keep going (and doing it easier than Mum.) That's all over during summer, so we'll have to see how we both go next year. She's pretty keen to improve again in the school cross country. She did Nettas as well; it remains to be seen whether she ends up a passionate netballer like the other two. It's a tough gig following in their footsteps, particularly when it comes to sport. The challenge might be to find her something completely different. She would have liked to have continued her ballet, but we had a break from it all this year.
Marc has continued to play Touch when he isn't away, and got selected in a Mens over 40s NSW team to play against QLD. They won that, and he was then selected for an Aussie side to play against NZ in March next year. Sounds impressive doesn't it! He's pulled both hamstrings, and dislocated his shoulder once, but otherwise has had a better injury run than last year. He had a weekend in Brisbane in October to meet the QLD teammates, and have a practice run.. so we tagged along for the weekend and had a girls shopping day. Sadly the surfboard hasn't seen much action this year.
I've kept up my swimming squad twice a week - and was missing it terribly when the swim school shut down over 2 months in winter. I did the 'Jetty Swim' in March, 600 m around the jetty at Coffs.. a 'pseudo' ocean swim. I was really happy that the swimming fitness wasn't an issue at all, and I coped surprisingly well with the southerly 'wind chop' hitting us broadside. I'd do it again next year except that we'll be otherwise occupied that day. Disappointingly the girls wouldn't do it with me. Too freaked at swimming in deep water. Wusses!
I was quite chuffed with myself managing to build up to actually running 2.5 km at cross country. Have never been able to run in my life, and it's only the swimming that has built up my ability to do so. I'll never be fast, and probably sound and look like a heffalump thudding along the track, but it's been good (at over 40) to manage to start running just a little bit.
In January Marc picked up a tandem (bicycle) on eBay.. and then bought a second one from the same person (she had another one on the Gold Coast) It's the fulfillment of a childhood dream, I think, as he used to ride one around Blackheath with a mate. Plus he had a ride of one a few years ago, which I think reignited the passion. So, why not go the whole hog? - buy two, and, with Zoe hitched on to the back of one with the trailer bike, we have instant family bike riding.
After a few test rides locally (and up in Brisbane that weekend) we went in the 50km Spring Cycle in Sydney in October (North Sydney to Olympic Park), and have now thrown caution to the wind and entered the NSW Big Bike Ride next year. It's a 500km catered and supported ride over 9 days - this year it's in the Eastern Riverina (Holbrook, Jingellic, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Gundagai, Junee, Cootamundra...) so we're starting to gear up for that.. literally, as well as physically and mentally. Most people we know think that we're craaaaa-zeeee... but it's a Marc 'n Trace kind of challenge (harking back to our Murray Marathon days, I guess), and the girls have decided they're up for it. Our combo is Marc and Cait on one tandem, towing Zoe, and Alison (the turbo !) and me on the other. Occasionally I wonder if I'm mad.. it's a helluva way to have a holiday without cooking. But it's a good way to make sure you do a bit of exercise/training, so hopefully I'll manage to drop a few more kgs between now and then.
Oh, and the ride raises money for the Heart Foundation, so if you're up for armchair support here's a shameless plug taking you to the sponsorship page link !!!
I'm still aimlessly unemployed... in a bit of a bind as to what sort of work I could do around here that would be flexible enough for when Marc is away. I did a one-semester TAFE course in Web design first half of the year. It was 2 nights a week, which proved to be rather insane. I managed to pass without attending much of the second term. The more you learn in this field, the more you realise you don't know, and I don't know if I really have the aptitude to be a proper web designer. I have put it to some use though, doing a web page for the kids' netball club. (I'm upgrading it over new year, so check out the improvements sometime.) I'm now secretary as well for 2006, so that will keep me out of mischief a bit, especially as we just won a campaign to keep the club playing in Woolgoolga. (That means I'm secretary of a new Association as opposed to a club.)
We lost Rattles in February this year, which was really sad. Her legs gave way on her, and she had heart problems. She was still alert to the end, which made it more difficult to make the dreaded decision. Rags has coped ok..(probably relishing being able to eat her food in peace) but she's showing her age as well. It is a lot quieter round here, as she is a bit deaf and doesn't hear all the things that Rattles used to bark at.
We finally sold the V Dub (the Caramel Caravelle.. the 'Mars Bar') only last week. Not for much.. bottom seems to have fallen out of the second hand car market. Bit sad, end of an era; we've had it since the year Alison was born. Plan is to buy a 4WD and get out camping off the beaten track a bit. We bought a canvas family touring tent, finally.. but have yet to christen it.
After all his eBay purchases, Marc just sold his first item - the cement mixer we used building the house at Burrawang. He may have just hit on my new career!
At this point in time, we have
no plans to go to Sydney over Christmas or New Year. (However we're not reknowned
for our long term planning!)
Marc is still pining to do a canyon, but with him having only the two weeks off, we will possibly only go away a couple of nights camping locally, and the rest of the time enjoy living 'a stone's throw' from the beach. And try and get some of those 'jobs' done around the house. Next mission is to buy a 4WD, but heaven knows when that will happen.
So, anyways, here's cheers to
you all, as one year ends and another begins.
from us at Sandy...
Tracey (as ever the family scribe).. Marc.. Cait.. Ali.. and Zoe