Monday, September 27, 2010

Our new house...

So a couple of weeks back Jason and I shifted house. At that time I promised some photos for you all... here they are. One of my favourite parts about the new house is the back lawn, with the new BBQ, outdoor table and chairs and outdoor couch. Its a fantastic back yard, at any stage of the day you can have sun light or shade and in the evening the sun just drops away so it will cool off nicely for the summer nights. For those NZ readers out there, the house profile looks a little like a marae to us :-)
We have a massive lounge out the back as well and have had to get a little more furniture. The tiles keep the room cool as well, which I am looking forward to over the coming summer months.
Here is our kitchen and dining area... did I mention lots of space in this new house??
The spare room (for anyone who wants to visit), Jason's computer room and the "exercise" room (a.k.a. the room with nothing in it yet).
And finally our bedroom... trust me it is as big as it looks as well.
So there you are, our new house for the next year or so. There's a room and a bed for anyone wanting to visit WA as well.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Advanced Management Programme

For 6 days of last week I was on a residential Advanced Management course run by the Australian Institute of Management and the University of Western Australia. It started on Sunday at 10am and finished on Friday at 4pm and there wasn't a lot of time off in between. They told us about the importance about work-life balance but warned us that it wouldn't be demonstrated during the course.

Sunday: Started with introductions and a team exercise (building a lego tower in our syndicate groups - My syndicate group started off as a challenge- 5 male engineers and me. I was worried that it was going to be a very long week with this group). Following this we had a couple of leadership sessions. We were also introduced to our case study for the group assignment. Mine was BP and Global Climate Change.
After returning to the hotel we had 30min free time and then it was a formal dinner with David Wirrapanda as our guest speaker. We were asked to fast after dinner for blood tests for Monday morning.

Monday: Started with reviewing the case study and making notes at 5am, then blood tests at 6.30am, breakfast at the hotel and then back at Uni by 8.30. We had strategic thinking sessions and a number of group activities. Monday was also a nice lunch at Matilda Bay Restaurant. We had about 30 min of personal time on Monday afternoon, then back to it. Syndicate case study discussions, strategic leadership, a bbq dinner at the university and then an executive health session. 5am to 9pm today.

Tuesday: It was a group exercise session first and then another full day at uni. Topics were Strategic Finance, strategy and more syndicate case study discussion. We also got the results of our change questionnaire and no surprises... I still have a preference towards more structured change processes :-) This shouldn't surprise any of you at all. At the end of the day we had 30 min spare time to get ready for dinner which was at the UWA Club with Colin Becket from the Gorgon Gas project as a guest speaker.

Wednesday: This was the shortest day of the lot, just 7am through to 5.45pm (managing human capital and strategic marketing). I did have a swim in the hotel pool to wake up and try and get a bit more energised the 20 m lengths made me really dizzy while tumble turning. There was nothing planned for dinner and most on the course were having their partners join them for the evening. Unfortunately Jason could only stop in briefly on his way to water polo but it was nice seeing him all the same. By this stage most on the course were feeling pretty tired, as I was. I had intended to do another exercise session, but when it got round to it I had a massage in the hotel spa instead and it was the best choice. Following that I had room service for dinner and it was an early night for me.

Thursday: This was going to be the biggest day of the lot. We had to finish our syndicate assignment and presentation for Friday. By this stage our group was working quite well and I was strategically leading from behind. Just doing little things to keep them going but not being an overt leader as they didn't respond well to that. We had another couple of strategic thinking sessions, then a negotiation skills session. We applied the negotiation skills in an exercise which I did well at (surprising me). We had some personal time allocated after lunch but my group decided to work through on our presentation. The afternoon session was a health de-brief, my fasting glucose, cholesterol and iron levels were all normal. Others had a few shocks though. Finally we had 4 hours to finish the presentations. During this time each member was taken out for an hour session with an executive coach where we went through some 360 degree analysis. Finally at 10pm we were done and the bus was there to take us back to the hotel.

Friday: The day of presentations. Ours was last so I had the nervous wait watching all the other fantastic presentations. However, ours was also a resounding success and we had VERY good feedback. So all in all a success. The rest of the day consisted of personal and group learning reflection. The group learning reflection was very innovative, with an interpretive acting/musical group playing out what we had learnt or achieved during the week. A fun way to do it. Finally there were the group awards- I got Ms Conscientious reflecting the extra group work I did to keep it all running.

So all in all it was a great week, tiring but great. I was very pleased to get home at the end of the week and very pleased to have a three day weekend.

The Pinnacles

Two weeks ago Jason's parents visited us in our new home (another blog to follow on that later today or early tomorrow). Jason took the week off to spend with them but I was unable to take time off due to work commitments. I also had a work course starting on the Sunday so we only had Saturday together. We decided to head north to the Pinnacles for a day.

The Pinnacles are limestone formations contained within Nambung National Park near Cervantes (a small fishing town about 3 hours north of Perth). Before we went to the Pinnacles we checked out some local wildflowers (wildflower season is August to November). See below for some of the photos. They weren't as good as usual as the flies were irritating us all and early on in the day I had disrupted an ant nest and I felt like the ants were all over me- hehehe.
The pinnacle formations are best viewed in the early morning or late afternoon as the play of light brings out the colours and the extended shadows of the formations delivers a contrast that brings out their features. So following the wildflowers we had a late picnic lunch at Jurien Bay. This meant that we arrived at the Pinnacles at around 4pm. The day had been very overcast but the sun was trying to peak through. It was way better than I expected but we missed out on the most spectacular sunset- we were driving home when the sky broke open. It would have been great to capture it at the Pinnacles, but we still got to experience the sunset!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

From Claremont to Tuart Hill

After nearly 2 years (yes we have been here nearly two years) we are moving out of Claremont (and our one bedroom apartment) to Tuart Hill (to a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom duplex).

We may be without internet for up to two weeks so I thought I would do a quick update today and then post a bigger blog (with photos) of the move once we get internet back.

So- a few things about the suburbs.

Claremont, established in 1898, is located 10 minutes' drive southwest of Perth's centre (more in peak hour traffic). Claremont covers an area of 4.9 square kilometres and is nestled around Freshwater Bay on the Swan River, in the midst of beautiful parks with an abundance of mature trees.

Claremont is an attractive and sought after residential suburb, noted for its village atmosphere, shopping and entertainment precinct, educational establishment and facilities such as golf, swimming and yachting.

Shopping includes upmarket retail, particularly clothing and designer boutiques, home ware and designer gifts, jewellery, collectibles, arts and crafts and bookshops. In Claremont you can be parked at a set of traffic lights with a Bentley, Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi and a Porsche and no-one bats an eyelid. So there is lots of money in fancy Claremont.

In Claremont we are 1km from the Swan River and 2.2km from the beach.

Tuart Hill, established after WWII with rapid growth through the 1960s and 1970s, is a tidy, mostly-residential suburb, about seven kilometres north of Perth’s CBD. From the centre of Tuart Hill, it’s a quick drive into the heart of the city... it’s only nine kilometres or so to some great beaches, such as Scarborough, Trigg and Floreat, and just three kilometres from extensive recreation areas around Herdsman Lake and Lake Monger. Like most Perth suburbs, there are swags of open areas and parklands throughout Tuart Hill.

So we are definitely making a move into suburbia. But we get 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a separate dining room and laundry and a back yard for a BBQ and some outdoor living. I will miss the boutique shops of Claremont and neighbouring Cottesloe. But I will really enjoy having a house again and no longer having to have 4 bikes in our bedroom!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Updates from Perth

Just a couple of updates from Perth (and no photos sorry)...

Last weekend I ran the City to Surf half marathon. I wasn't particularly fast but it was nice getting out there and just running. There were thousands of competitors (40,000+ over 4 races) and I felt a bit claustrophobic to be honest. I am not sure that I like running with so many people and my next race will have a few less I think.

As the race was a point to point race there were always going to be some logistical issues. But we had an inspired idea... the night before we planted one of our cars at City Beach (the end point of the race). The morning of the race I took advantage of the free train travel for competitors to get to the race. The 10 min walk/jog either side of the train trip served well as my warm up as well.

I arrived at the race start in time to see my good friend Sandy come through half way in the Marathon looking strong and heading towards an AMAZING 3.05 debut marathon.

For the first time in the race I didn't jostle for a good start position, I just started where I ended up. The first KM along the terrace was fast (a bit too fast for my fitness levels) but that's always the case at the start of a race. My first 5km were great, but then it went a bit pear shaped with a couple of toilet stops... so after that I pegged it back and just enjoyed the run to the finish without pushing at all. It was very weird doing a half marathon and not racing it, but nice all the same. Quite a different experience.

Jason biked from home to watch the race and then we got to drive home. I was sooooo pleased we had the foresight to park a car near the end of the race as I didn't fancy battling the shuttle buses with 40000 other people.

The second bit of news from Perth is that after 2 years (I know I can't believe that we have been here two years either) we are moving out of the 1 bedroom apartment and into a 4 bedroom duplex. In addition to the 4 bedrooms the new place (in Tuart Hill, Perth) has a separate laundry, dining room, big lounge, storeroom, 2.5 bathrooms, and a great little back yard and outdoor living area. What will we do with the space??? One thing is for certain, our 4 bikes will no longer reside in our bedroom that's for sure!!!

So our moving plans are to pack up and move all the little stuff ourselves next Saturday/Sunday. We will also but a new bed on Saturday as well and get it delivered to the new place. On Monday we have a removal truck arriving to take the big things- bed, dining room table, couch and fridge etc. Jason is taking the week off to finish the moving and spend time with his Mum (arriving in Perth on Sunday evening).

So that's about it from Perth for the last couple of weeks.