Wishing all Friday’s were like today. The sun was out all day without rain. I got the last bit of laundry done and hung before Deb and I took a walk around the neighborhood. I rushed in after to take a quick shower and get online for a noontime Elluminate session Steve and Kelvin were leading. We finished getting ready and went into Lismore to meet up with them.
Before we headed out of town for a drive to Minyon Falls we stopped at the Lismore Pie Cart for lunch. I had the steak, tomato and onion; it was flaky and perfect for lunch.
The drive through the countryside was amazing, and the falls were beautiful. We also had the opportunity to find a carpet python and watch four kookaburras gather in a tree to watch a group of people around the barbeque. One even swooped down and grabbed something to eat before sitting up in the tree to mock them.
Steve took us to a few different scenic views including a look toward Byron Bay where we’ll go tomorrow for a closer look.
I think I would be okay working half-days. I got up and washed and hung a load of laundry before I left for campus. I spent some time with Allan Ellis who is currently Director of Research and Research Training for the School of Commerce and Management. He teaches and supervises post graduate students in the field of learning, training, technology implementation and change management. We geeked out a bit, first about my hack-in-tosh then about Moodle and Second Life.
I left his office and headed to the Teaching & Learning Centre to meet with a few of their staff.
Kelvin & Steve came to collect me for lunch. We met up with Deb at the Left Bank Café; we tried the sweet potato chips, complete with chili salsa and sour cream to dip and I had veal on sourdough. We walked through the adjoining gallery before heading home.
We changed into running clothes and headed to Ballina for the afternoon. We walked along the river all the way out to the ocean. Kelvin got some running in and then walked part of the way with us to dry off a little. A quick stop at Shelley Beach let us put our feet in the water though Kelvin stood up on the beach and watched us; maybe if we go to Byron Bay before we leave he will have his Crocs on and join me in the water.
After quick showers and gathering Steve, we went back to Ballina for dinner at la Cucina di Vino. Kelvin and I both had the chicken with mushroom risotto after sharing a pizza and some calamari. Kelvin and Deb also polished off two bottles of wine; they both slept well last night.
I started the day with a walk to the gym where Deb is a member; she had given me one of her 7-day passes so I wanted to take advantage. As I walked back, it began to pour, but there was something nice about walking in the rain. Once I got back I put on a load of laundry and took my time in the shower and getting ready. Laundry has been fun, strategizing on how to hang things on the line so they are the least wrinkled and most dry when I gather them later.
Deb and I picked up her friend Lesley and headed to Ballina for a late lunch at a nice café. My salad came with huge strips of salt and pepper battered calamari and I tried my first decaf half-white. We walked along the water after lunch until we needed to get Lesley to the airport.
We stayed in Ballina a little longer, stopping at the butcher to buy marinated lamb for dinner. We felt right at home with Steve on the computer in two Elluminate sessions at the dinner table.
I started searching information for Melbourne and Sydney. I think we will be sad to leave the pace of life here, but it should be fun to see two of the major cities before we head home.
I consider today professional development, and an opportunity to once again realize that many things in our field are absolutely universal. Steve arranged a few meetings for me during the day so I went to campus with they guys.
I first helped them get things set up for their session, and it was typical technology debacles. Kelvin was using the Mac but neglected to bring the right connector with him so Steve went down to borrow one and came back with the older one that doesn’t fit the newer MacBook Pro (thanks Apple). So back to swap it for the newer one; that worked so the image was displaying on the projector. Next hurdle was connectivity. They use Cisco here but the wireless requires the VPN. For some reason Kelvin’s SCU network credentials didn’t want to work so we fought that for a while even including trying all six Ethernet ports in the room. I finally wrangled the VPN, had someone else login, and the world was right again only about three minutes late.
Leaving them starting the session I went down and met a few of the FLDS staff in the secret garden. We talked there a while and I met one of the faculty members in the College of Indigenous Australian Peoples. We made our way to the FLDS office space and I sipped hot tea while we talked around their conference table. They wanted to know about our use of Moodle, WordPress and how our organization is structured. We talked about motivating faculty and helping them negotiate the technology decisions they face teaching in such a rapidly changing environment. And we talked about the future of lecture capture, the iPad in education and the difficulty of teaching Camtasia. It’s nice to know I can always find my geeky people wherever I go.
After excellent seafood chowder and great conversation with Steve, Di, Keith and Kelvin we returned to campus for a full afternoon. I was able to tag along in a meeting with Janet, the Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre and Di, the project officer for blended and converged delivery.
We finished the day by walking to the tavern close to the house. They were renovating the kitchen so the menu was limited; bee and I didn’t mind being forced into eating a hamburger with beet, pineapple, lettuce, tomato and a yummy balsamic sauce with a nice salad on the side.
forcing myself to stay up helped. we went to be around 9 i think and didn’t officially crawl out of the bed until around 9 this morning. i won’t tell you the number of trips we each made to the toilet during the night, but i will say kelvin outnumbered me and the bee.
it rained several times during the night, and we think a possum took refuge from the rain in the eave space just above our room; actually, i hear it shuffle now even as i type. something so relaxing about the rain hitting the tin roof; we stayed in bed and listened to the chorus of birds outside. their colors are amazing and their sounds so different from home. the banter of the kookaburras made us laugh like kids.
after we finally got out of bed, we enjoyed a lingering breakfast in the kitchen. kelvin tried a pineapple muffin, cereal (with heated milk) and later a croissant while i stuck to weet bix, fruit, and a few picks of his croissant.
steve and deb took us for a drive through the countryside. we passed macadamia and sugar cane fields, and i saw a kangaroo steve spotted in a cow pasture. we found our way to Tucki Tucki nature reserve in hopes of finding a few koala in the trees. at that we were unsuccessful, but i did get a few pictures of other nature.
we ended up on the Southern Cross Uni campus where there is a koala rescue/rehab center. they have a koala there named Constable who is blind; he was hit by a car and lost an eye and the other is gone from age. he was snuggled in his tree. the volunteer there told us about a mother and joey who live in the trees by their center, and was able to point out the joey high in the tree. as we looked at him, Deb spotted the mother in a lower branch so we spent a good 20 minutes look at her from different angles. she let us know she wasn’t amused by turning her butt to us and letting a long stream of pee flow down out of the tree.
the uni also has an herb garden just a few meters away so we walked down to see the flowers and sniff the herbs before we headed home.
made it here safely. lucked out on the flight and had a row of three seats to ourselves. long flight, but we slept on and off. i’m tired tonight, but trying to stay awake as long as i can to get in the right timezone. the bee is obviously confused too and didn’t appreciate the loud flight on the prop to get from Sydney up to Byron Bay; bee was kicking me almost the entire flight.
steve and deb, the people we are staying with are great. they took us along the coast on the way to their house. we also took a walk in their neighborhood and saw two kookaburras sitting on a fence; unfortunate that it wasnt in an old gum tree. the house is tucked neatly in the jungle as steve refers to it. their yard is amazing. somany tropical plants — bananas, starfruit, jackfruit, macadamias, limes, mandarins. the also have six chocks (hens) in a pen in the back; their eggs are yummy. i had part of a boiled one on a ham and veggie sandwich when we arrived. it was great to have fresh veggies and fruit.
after a nice hot shower we relaxed a little before a dinner of lamb chops, mashed potatoes and peas, corn and broccoli. creme caramel for dessert; i may gain my entire pregnancy weight this week.