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Goodbye 45...

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Exchanges...

So, my busy week is still busy, but the past couple of days have seen an exchange of one busy activity for another.

Everything with the event I was project managing for Thursday fell in a heap over Monday and Tuesday when the other party we were working with didn't foresee a problem that cropped up and bit them in the arse. It changed our investment in the event and we decided to take a rain-check as it would be worth our while to outlay the cost for the change in event. Two months worth of preparation down the drain, but I guess it is all experience. It was very frustrating, especially as I spent all of Monday trying to manage the other party in rectifying the oversight on their part. The solution was unsatisfactory, so I pulled the pin. I suppose part of project manage is knowing when to let go.

However, one project was immediately replaced with another when I was asked to do an interview with ABC television in the lead up to the make-a-thon on the weekend. Luckily, I was given …

Oh, this week!

Well, it's finally here. THE WEEK.

This week is the week I host a City of Melbourne Metro Access Officer, and a City of Melbourne Councilor.

It is also the week I go to Adelaide and present my latest paper.

AND

It's the week where I spend 72 hours at a make-a-thon with a team of people creating some awesome technologies to assist people with a vision impairment.

Oh, and did I mention it is the week I work as a mentor with a group of engineering students from RMIT as part of the global 'Common Purpose Program', aimed at building more accessible cities?

It's going to be a big week and the only thing giving me a bit of nerves is the paper presentation. Funny, hey?

I guess so much more hangs on that 20 minute presentation than on any of the other things I'm doing. I find I'm second guessing myself a lot on my argument. I'm haunted by the criticisms of my ex-supervisor. Is my contention strong enough. Do I have valid references. Will it be okay that I combin…

Education Misconceptions...

On the train this morning I overheard a conversation between two men, it went something like this...

Man 1: Yeah, so my son needs a good score in Math for the course he wants to do at Uni. The thing is, math is the class he's struggling with. I'm going to have to get him a tutor.

Man 2: That's no good.

Man 1: Absolutely. I rang the school yesterday afternoon and am expecting them to call back this morning. I'm going to tell them that I'm not impressed considering I'm spending $27 000 a year on the kid's education.

Man 2: Good! I'd be pissed, too. You'd expect they'd get the kid up to speed.

...

There is a misconception out in the community that private schooling guarantees a better education, or more precisely a better outcome in terms of higher scores for getting into the best course of choice at University.

Education doesn't work like that.

Private schools market themselves on the scores of their students and their ranking on sites like the…

Working with Children...

In the past couple of weeks I've had the benefit and pleasure of working with a few classes of children, doing information presentations. The first was with a group of three 5/6 classes and the second with a group of three 3/4 classes. It was great to be able to talk about what it is like to live with a disability, how compassion and consideration work, and of course, what it is like to have a dog guide.

The kids are full of questions and there are some really thought provoking questions in there like 'How do I help a blind person?' and 'When did you realise you were blind?'

Kids are so open and curious. They all loved coming up and petting Harlem after the talk and loved telling me about their dogs. There were a few who were a bit shy or afraid of dogs and it was good for them to be able to have a go at petting a calm dog. Harlem absolutely had a ball. His tail wagged so much I half expected it to fall off in the end.

Kids make a great audience, they laugh on cue …

Giving...

Giving, it's not hard.

It doesn't have to be material giving.

I've been thinking that I need to give more.

I need to give more presence. I often find myself trying to do several things at once. Sometimes that soothes the restlessness in me. In the long run, though, it's a selfish habit. Giving something your full attention is a sign of respect for the thing or person who has your attention at that moment. It shows that this exercise, or this person is important. That they come first in that moment. It means you are more likely to remember what you've done and said, and with people, what the other people have said. I've read that listening should be hearing the other person, not preparing your next response. I'm guilty of spending the gaps between one thing I say, and the next thing I say, preparing my response instead of really listening to what is being said to me. I need to work on giving more presence.

Giving patience is another one. Patience and its cou…

Thank goodness!

Ah, the relief!

Yesterday's crisis has been resolved. Paypal made a mistake and charged me twice for something, and rectified the problem yesterday afternoon! Which is just as well because the high school bills started rolling in last night.

Luey came home and told us one of the music department administrators had told him we hadn't paid for his music tuition this year and that we couldn't pay next year's tuition until we had paid this year's tuition. Well, first of all, we have already submitted and been given a receipt for half of next year's payment - that was the money which was unexpectedly withdrawn from my account last month, putting me $500 in the red in my own budget. Secondly, we were pretty sure we'd paid the tuition. Finally, why on earth wasn't the administrator contacting us directly?

As it turned out an invoice did turn up in the mail yesterday afternoon, and that stated that of the $450 tuition fee we'd paid $425, so we actually only…