It's definitely autumn. Yes, the days are still warm and sunny, but there's enough chill in the breeze to make me close the windows. There's enough chill in the pre-dawn air to warrant wearing a jacket to work. Which I then have to carry home because it's too warm to wear it by mid-morning. There's enough chill in the air to turn my thoughts to beef casseroles, roast chicken dinners, apple pies, warm brownies. I bought new flannelette pyjamas and got my fluffy slippers out from their hiding place in the wardrobe. The chill in the breeze makes sitting in the sun in a sheltered spot a longed for treat, after months of avoiding the sun as much as possible. *brushes the dust and cobwebs off the lawn chairs* It's so lovely to finally be cooler. Dammit!! I want my paragraphs. This edit had better work......
Some time ago, I wrote about the Disqus comment thread; the problems it was causing; why I hated it and would never use it. Several commenters agreed with me and a couple had said they no longer had Disqus as their comment option. Well, since then I've read a blog or three where I felt I just had to leave a comment. They had Disqus for their comments, so I prepared to wait the necessary length of time to leave my comment. Only to find that was no longer the case. The comment box opened quickly, my comment appeared as I was typing and entering my name and password took much less time than before. After clicking submit, my comment appeared in the thread immediately. I don't know what happened to cause this beneficial change, but I'm no longer avoiding Disqus.
Checkout six is now open for your shopping convenience.... As most of you know, I'm a checkout chook, but I've been on light duties around the store due to a shoulder injury. (for 7 boring months) I've been seeing the physio for a few weeks now, and have several sets of exercises to do. These have brought on a whole new series of aches....... Anyway, the shoulder has improved quite a lot, so last week after seeing the physio, I waited in the waiting room (where else), to see my doctor for a review. I think this must be the only waiting room in theworld that doesn't have magazines, not even old ones. I asked if I could possibly have a trial period back on the checkout. I'm pretty sure the shoulder is as good as it's going to get, and I won't know if I'm able to physically cope with checkout work unless I try. The doctor agreed with me, yay!, so next Monday I start back on the early morning shift, (it's the easiest one), for two weeks to see how I go. I'm going to be super careful about how I lift things and how much weight I pack into customers bags. I want this to go well. I've discovered that the light duties aren't so much light as different. I'm still lifting items, (to restock the shelves), so I don't see it as being much different from checkout work, apart from being able to take it as slowly as I like, and walking around the store instead of staying behind my counter, while on checkout if people start lining up and looking impatient, then I'd better work a bit faster. My supervisor has agreed to me keeping the restricted hours until I readjust so I'll still be doing only 16 hours a week for a while. Which leaves me plenty of time for the exercises. I'll probably do them in between naps....
Well, not much anyway. My kitchen and bathroom must be presentable, my bed made, most things that aren't being used, are put away. I used to do silly things like sweep down the walls, dust my furniture daily, polish it every week, vacuum the carpets a couple of times a week. (I hate carpet, if this unit belonged to me I'd rip it out faster than you could say rip) My kitchen floor was washed daily. Heck, I even polished it every few weeks. Then the kids grew up, and I grew lazy. Now, I only sweep down the walls if I notice the dust build-up, or if there's an inspection due. I'll dust the furniture if I'm expecting visitors. Polish it? Hah! The carpets are vacuumed rarely. A dustpan and brush takes care of the crumbs that fall around my chair. So why was I excited to see several packets of Kleenex cleaning products in the swag bag from the Bloggers Conference? Who knows? There are glass and mirror wipes; shower wipes, (cuts through soap scum), and stainless steel wipes. I don't have any stainless steel items, but one of my girls does, so I'll give that packet to her. There's also a dusting cloth from Guardsman, I've used that already and I'm pleased to say it doesn't leave an oily film on the hands like many other impregnated cloths. It rinses clean quite quickly and easily. But, it does fray around the edges, so I'm going to have to stitch a hem on it. I'll get around to trying the other products, when I give the bathroom its weekly wipe down. I'm curious to see if the glass and mirror wipes really do a streak free job. Will the shower wipes cut through soap scum as stated on the packet? But I'm not in any hurry to buzz around and clean like I used to.
You know, I was so excited to be coming here to Sydney, then once I got here I found myself too shy to actually talk to many people. Gave myself a kick up the bum, but it didn't do any good.....
The event itself was fun, the dinner dance was even more fun, yesterday's ferry ride was heaven, but now I feel a little like a deflating balloon.
Last night I'd made tentative plans to go out and about a bit, maybe visit a nearby Chocolaterie, "Kakawa"; 147 William Street; just a few minutes walk from the Bayview, it was given a 5 star rating for its chocolates and caramels and its hot chocolate is listed on the brochure as "THE BEST I've ever tasted.
I scrapped all plans in favour of going back to bed after taking a few pre-dawn photos and seeing that even more rain was threatening.
The lightening sky, grey with rain clouds still.
Early morning traffic.
A bus in a hurry.
So I made coffee, (urk! it was awful!) and took my book to bed and actually read a few chapters.
By now it was raining again and I was thinking of home.
My own coffee, my own kitchen, sleeping in my own bed, having all my things around me, logging on to the lovely (not so anonymous now) internet.
Looking out at the rain a little later, I thought, Bugger this, I'm going home!
I'll head to the airport and just hang around until my flight.
Packed, checked out, got a taxi to the airport.
On the way we passed a little cafe (chocolate shop?) with this interesting name:
"Strangers with Candy - Food for Temptation"
6 hours hanging around in an airport!!
There's an experience never to be repeated.
My flight wasn't until 5:10pm, so with two heavy bags and a handbag I wandered through shops, sat on seats, wandered through more shops....
I ate pastries and drank enough hot chocolate to float a boat.
I looked at books in the bookshops and wrote down the titles and authors of those that looked interesting, so I could find them at my local libraries back here in Adelaide.
I found a long bench table against a huge window where I could watch planes coming and going.
So naturally I took photos. Lots and lots of photos.
Here's a few of them.
JetStar seen through a rainy window.
When I was a little tacker, there was only TAA, Ansett and Qantas; now there are so many airlines.
The tail of the tiger.
Virgin blue proudly flying the Gold Coast Suns.
A sporting team?
Up, up and away....
Look at the size difference here!
Those big international airbuses make the little ones look like toys.
Here's something we don't see too often; propellers!
The flying kangaroos of Australia.
More propellers and another tiger.
I don't want to bore you, so here's just one last photo.
Taking my plane for a walk......
By the time I boarded I was so desperate to be home, I cried on the plane.
15 minutes out of Sydney, we flew out of the heavy grey clouds into bright blue skies above us and a sea of foamy white clouds below.
I wiped away tears and tried to read my book, but couldn't help gazing out at that gorgeous blue sky every few minutes.
Touching down in Adelaide......a gentle bump as the wheels kissed the tarmac, then we were down, taxiing to the gate and leaving the plane.
Once inside the terminal, tears flowed again as I texted my kids to let them know I was home, then I went to find a taxi.
Technically, the next two posts shouldn't come under the AusBlogCon heading, since the conference and dinner dance are well and truly over.
But today there are still a few of us in the hotel, some eating breakfast, probably a few upstairs sleeping off the champagne and dancing of the night before. I hope there aren't too many hangovers.
I woke early and went down to the Seasons Cafe for breakfast, a plate of yummy sliced fruit and some apple juice. Back upstairs in my room I was overcome with tiredness so went back to sleep for a couple of hours. On waking for the second time, I discovered it was still raining, so walked to Elizabeth Street where I knew I would find some shops, thanks to Helen, who had emailed me this information before I left Adelaide. I bought an umbrella,
so I could wander around a bit without getting too wet and also a jacket, because I knew it would be cold out on the harbour.
Back at the hotel, I met up with Carly in the lobby. She'd just checked out and was waiting for her ride to the airport, but had some time to spare so walked around a couple of blocks with me to a cafe where we each had a drink and chatted for a while. Chocolate milkshake, yum. Carly had something apple-y and very green.
Heading back to the hotel, we said goodbyes and went our separate ways. Carly heading to the airport and me catching a bus to Circular Quay.
I bought a ticket for a harbour cruise, but had almost an hour to wait, so I bought one of these chicken-on-a-stick thingys to munch on,
then wandered around taking photos of buskers,
and just generally enjoying the atmosphere.
It had stopped raining soon after I bought the umbrella, so I wasn't worried too much about getting the camera wet.
Once on the ferry, I took photos of some of the other ferries coming and going,
and the water taxis that were busily taking people across the harbour.
Here's a couple of photos of some of the really tall hotels standing behind Circular Quay.
This one easily dwarfed all the others.
On the boat with me were a few people who had already done the cruise and were staying on for a second go-around and a large group of Japanese tourists most of whom had cameras clicking away madly, just like me. A few stayed down on the lower decks, but most were up on the top sundeck where I was. I like being up high and I figured any spray from the ocean wouldn't reach that high so my camera was safe.
We cleared the docks area and the water out in the harbour was very choppy and the wind felt like a gale. Taking photos wasn't easy with the wind buffeting me and the ferry bouncing up and down on the waves, but I took lots and deleted the blurry ones later. I had to keep a really tight grip on my camera! Maybe I should invest in some kind of neck strap?
As we cruised around, there was a commentary over the speaker system about the various landmarks as we passed them. I would have liked to listen and learn what the landmarks were and a little of their history, but it couldn't be heard unless I stood right beside the speakers, and really, who wants to do that when they can stand right up against the railing and feel the wind and waves.
Missing the commentary means I have no idea what these two islands are,
but I know one of them was a prison back in the convict days.
These are some of the sailboats we saw, (me and the tourists),
heeling over, coming around, whatever it is they are doing......
and a bit further around we spotted these rowing boats.....
....out for some practise.
Now for a few photos of some of the homes situated around the waterfront.
Imagine living with those views every day!
This is one of the original cottages built so very long ago.
Not sure if this is a home, a hotel, or an apartment block.
One of these homes is a politician's residence,
but I don't remember which home,
nor which politician. Don't particularly care either, I was just admiring the architecture.....
I had a lovely time out on the water but the cruise was soon over.
An hour and a half; gone just like that. * (fingersnap)
I was planning to wander around Paddy's Market at Haymarket tomorrow, (Monday), but learned from the brochure that it isn't open on Mondays. Hmpf!!
Having to check out of the hotel by 11am means that anything else I choose to do will be restricted time wise, so I'll decide in the morning.
Saturday got off to an early start, with quite a lot of us already in the breakfast room by the time I got downstairs. Tables were already mostly filled with groups chatting and eating, so I found a tucked away table for two and ate breakfast (mmm, bacon) while I watched others. (not in a creepy stalker way) I was soon joined by Denyse who was also looking for a place to sit and had noticed me on my own. Denyse is a retired school principal who writes about schools, talking to teachers, assisting parents and also does guest posts for blogs. We got on quite well and I was happy to have met her.
I was part of Veronica's Meet and Greet team and was looking forward to saying hello to absolutely everybody, not just the people I had met the day before, and handing out swag. In reality this didn't happen.
Over the years I've become used to greeting people at the checkout, saying hello, how are you, blah, blah, blah and I thought this would be similar so I'd be okay. Well! Clearly I don't know myself as well as I thought I did. I tried and I did manage to hand over a couple of swags, (goodie bags), but I was very glad to be partnered in this with Naomi. Naomi is a cheerful little livewire who isn't at all shyand wanted to meeteverybody before handing over a swagbag. We soon worked out a system where Naomi checked people for name tags, said hello and handed each one a swag bag from the table.....
...while I kept the table stocked with bags from the huge pile on the floor.
A few people walked past and picked up their own bag only to have Naomi call out, "hey, come back here, I want to meet you before I hand you a bag. Have you registered? Do you have your name tag? I want to know who you are!" Then she'd hand them the bag they'd picked up!
Then we played "People Bingo", which was a speed networking session designed to get us moving around the room asking questions until our sheet was completed. A good way to get everyone talking to everyone else.
Soon it was time for the first panel of speakers, so we all settled down and prepared to pay attention. 95% of women were paying attention to Twitter as well. Tweet, tweet, tweet.....
First Session: Creating Content.
A subject I wanted to know more about, since I'm often at a loss for words and fall back on using photos. This works well enough for me, but I feel I should be writing more and was looking for ideas on creating content.
All spoke about how they'd decided to write about their subjects, how they'd found the passion that interested them the most, how that impacted on what they chose to write for each post.
Each spoke eloquently about their blogs and were interesting to listen to.
But, not as helpful to me as I'd hoped, since I don't have a passion for any particular thing which I can use to build consistent content.
I'll have to rely on random thoughts and subjects that occur to me at work or in the dead of night. And my photos.
Morning Tea time!
We all crossed the hall back into the cafe where we'd breakfasted and once more tables quickly filled with women chatting, laughing, eating, exchanging information and tweeting.
Groups did break up and re-converge, but I was still hesitant about joining in. I'm not good at conversation and it didn't seem right to join a group and say "hello, I'm River", then sit there like a bump on a log.
(Hey look at that, I linked myself!)
Still I was happy to listen to bits of conversation going on all around me and I did reply when people spoke to me. It seems it's the initiation of conversation that I'm unable to do.
Another very interesting session touching on bloggers using Facebook and Twitter as well as their blogs to get their messages out to people all over the world. For myself, this is not important as I'm not using my blog as a platform to promote a business or anything else.
But I could see how these two things, Facebook and Twitter, could be used to help things along for someone who has just started up a small business and wants to increase customers or just get the word out there in the quickest way possible.
Invented something that fills a need in a particular demographic?
Advertise it on your blog, then link the blog to Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter is a fast growing medium that many, many, people skim past daily. Create a page there that will catch people's eye, with a link back to your blog and business, then sit back and (hopefully) watch your business grow.
Hot food and dessert. I was so ready for some hot food. So much food in one day! I think I ate more food on Saturday then I would in three days at home.
After lunch came the My Story, My Blog Session.
Speakers were Tiff, (her speech made me cry a bit), Kelley, (again I cried a bit), Karen,Kim,Carly and Lori; all moderated, introduced and hugged by Veronica. Each told us about themselves, what they do, what it was that strted them blogging and how the help, support and friendships they'd found online gave then incentive to keep going, to hang in there, to keep writing; they were no longer alone in their joys and sorrows, their troubles and their isolation.
The Building Your Blog Community was another session I was interested in, but by now, my neck and back were getting really uncomfortable, so I couldn't give this session the attention it deserved.
Keeping the content interesting and posting on a reasonably consistent basis were two of these. For example, there's no point in putting up a fabulous post and then not posting again for months. People will stop checking your blog and you might as well write your stuff in an exercise book and stuff it in a drawer. Having something in your post title that will draw people into reading it is another good idea.
I was glad I was wearing elastic waisted pants!
Crowdsourced Keynotes had several people read out their favourite posts from their own blogs. Most were funny, a couple were sad, all well worth listening to.