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Uncategorized 17 Oct 2016 11:53 pm

The gates come down!

When Chloe was born, we purchased a baby gate. Not that she was mobile at the time, but more to allow us to leave the family room door open so we could hear if she was crying, but stop the dog wandering through the house.

Once Chloe started crawling it stopped her wondering off. The same with Isla.

Once they were mobile we got an additional two gates – one to prevent access to the kitchen (too many hot and sharp things), and another between the playroom and the formal lounge.

All three are now ineffective, as both girls have worked out how to open them. So we took them down on the weekend.

And it has been very weird. Having lived with the gates for the best part of five years, every time I try to leave the living room my hand instinctively goes to open the gate, only to find… thin air.

So they have been donated to one of my work colleagues, John. John was married earlier this year and wasted no time, if you know what I mean. I’m just happy that the gates have found a good home.

And to Chloe and Isla? Well done on mastering the gates!

Uncategorized 23 Jan 2016 10:37 pm

Commitment Not Met

So in the previous post I committed to putting up a post before I turned 40.  Yep, a big fail right there.  I’m more than half-way to 41, so it’s not like I missed it by a whisker…

But such is the life in AD (After Descendants) vs BC (Before Children).  And I’ve been informed and also witnessed that we’re still facing the thin end of the wedge – as the girls get older, time to update the blog will deteriorate even further.  So I’ll make a soft commitment to do another blog post before 2020.

We’ve recently returned from a visit to Scotland for John and Sasha’s nuptials.  It was a great day, not just for the happy union of two wonderful people, but also the family contributions including Ben on the ‘pipes and Lion on the chanter.

As well as McKenzie clan family get-togethers, we were also fortunate to catch up with the Strangs and the McIntyres.  Cullen was the MC for the evening and taught us all a few cracking jokes as well as belting out a few tunes on the piano, while I tried to come to terms with how much he, Mack, Amber and Astrid had grown.  Little people becoming big people.

And of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  We flew into Edinburgh just a couple of days before it’s release.  In the past I haven’t had too much of a problem with jet lag – just force myself to be awake or try to get to sleep in the local time ASAP and it’s normally a quick adjustment.  Not so much when there are two children under five, who don’t really understand the concept of time, let alone time zones, and trying to explain it to Chloe at 2:30am when she’s adamant that she’s not tired doesn’t really work.

As a result, our sleep patterns didn’t settle down for a few days, so I got to thinking that if I was going to be awake at, ahem, sparrow fart, I might as well take advantage of the fact and go see an early morning screening.  So I saw it on the first day of release, in 3D IMAX, at the 7am showing.  Noice.

Ben, Harry and Max saw it a few days later, after which there was a big McKenzie family do to celebrate Jenny’s birthday.  Eddie was keen to see it, and there was some concerns that there may be some spoilers at the family do in the evening, so I was tasked to taking him to see it.

And then Cullen needed to see it, so I met him and Gordon to see it for the third time.

So I think I’m done.  Spoiler alert:  Mark Hamill, I spend a lot of the day looking concerned and confused.  You probably made more in under 5 minutes than I do over, well, my LIFE, for doing the same thing.  I need to become a Jedi… “I’ll be in the movie, but I kinda don’t want to talk, and I’m a tad busy so if you could keep it brief?”.  Wave of the hand, the weak willed agree with you, deed done.

Hats off to you sir.  Looking forward to seeing a bit more of you in VIII.

Uncategorized 21 Nov 2014 12:17 am

Hello again (again)…

 

So re: Last Post, not doing so well.  It’s been over a year since the last update, and while I’ve set a monthly alarm to remind me to update, time is always the enemy.  We’re all still here though, as you can see:Family inc Toby

 

WILL  try to make an effort to get updates more regular (the photo above is almost 12 months old, Chloe has her hair in pig tails these days and Isla is walking and a backyard commando.  The girl has no fear whatsoever).

I commit to putting up another update before I turn 40.  The in-laws (or Ken and Joan, as I like to call them) are coming for a visit early next year, may try to get something up then.

Cheers,

Clayton.

Uncategorized 02 Aug 2010 12:58 am

Welcome Tobermory!

So we’ve been thinking about getting a dog for a while.

We were in the pet store over the weekend, and they had a couple of Cavoodles.  At least, they call it a Cavoodle, I call it a “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Poodle Cross”, the former being a fad/designer dog/yuppie/Paris Hilton description, and the latter being a reflection of reality, which, in times past, would have been referred to politely as a cross, but more accurately as a mongrel or a bitsa.  Great excuse to charge exorbitant amounts for a mongrel dog with a fancy name.

Had a think about it over the rest of the weekend, and on Monday morning I went out to pick him up.  He’s a lovely little lad, and after discussing it with the better half, we’ve given him the name “Tobermory”.

Tobermory is a little town on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.  Katie and I did a trip to Mull – it was our first trip together as a couple and so has some significance.  Plus it makes a decent single malt…

So we now have a new addition to the McGuire family, Tobermory (Toby) McGuire.  And he’s just lovely.  Except for not knowing where the toilet is.  It’s a bit of a free for all.  So house training is the flavour of the day!

Sleepy Bo Bos

Uncategorized 12 Oct 2009 01:16 am

Workshop up and running

I love working with wood.

I did a fair bit of woodwork in high school, and actually took out the woodworking prize in year 10, for a bedside table project I put together.  Still have the table, although it’s now looking a bit tired and battered in our hallway, but still intact.

After highschool, I started focusing on studies for a career.  Still did a bit of woodwork – during Uni I made a Backgammon board which I still have and very fond of. But then I started “life”.  Moved to Sydney and got a full time job. As part of the life change, I went from living in a house with a dedicated workshop, to a one bedroom flat, with, well, one bedroom.  And I spent pretty much the next ten years in similar digs. Opportunities for working with wood were very limited.  We had an office reshuffle while I was living in Manly and I built a shelf on the balcony for my new desk, but other than that, I didn’t have many opportunities or facilities to do anything creative with wood for the best part of 10 years.

It’s something I’ve really missed.  I spend my days at work staring at a screen most of the day.  The bulk of my work is spent with minor wrist and finger movements, as I try to develop solutions in the software we use, without using the mouse.  Most of my output from a work perspective is by its nature electronic.  You can’t pick it up and inspect it.  No-one is ever going to say “the corner between cell C6 and C7 is a bit rough”, as Excel has perfect corners.

Which is why I love the fact that we’re now living in a house, and I have a workshop.  It wasn’t a workshop when we moved in, it was a teenager’s bedroom.  The garage had a stud wall installed at the 3/4 mark, with the larger area being carpeted and having a bed and football posters (during the inspection). Thankfully, the love of my life was kind enough to not (a) not convert the garage back into a garage, and (b) allow me to convert the teen bedroom into a workshop.

And today, I can finally say that I have a workshop. Up until now, I’ve had workshop space, but it was always a bit of a “work in progress”. But today, I have all the bits and bobs that I can see me needing in the foreseeable future, they’ve all got a good home in the workshop, I’ve got vacuum systems in place to protect me from dust hazards, and have started my first “proper project” (first “project” was to build a workbench so I could then build something “useful”.  Apparently the bench doesn’t fall into that category…)!

Main workbench

Main workbench

My main workbench, built the bulk of it outside, moved inside for final assembly with the worktop.  Still need to fit the quick release vice, and the “bench dog”, but otherwise my first completed woodworking job in the last 10 years.

P1010524 Main workbench is on the left, with my secondary workbench ahead.  It’s a cheap and nasty thing from the local hardware store, but it was so cheap it was a good deal, despite the low quality.  Still populating the peg-board.

Flooring

Flooring

A member of the ACT Woodworkers Guild was downsizing, and needed to get rid of a few things from his workshop as he didn’t have room at the new digs.  One of the things on the “get rid of” list were these lumps of flooring.  Weren’t always flooring, and in fact aren’t sold as flooring.  They’re actually conveyor belts from mining sites which are past their prime – they get carved up into manageable bits and sold off.  Rubber outsides, with a compressed cotton inside, makes for a pretty robust and also tool-friendly floor surface.

P1010525

Purchased this table saw off Dad when he upgraded to some VERY fancy gear.  For what I’m doing though, this is a great bit of kit.  Used it for the first time today, and very pleased with the results. P1010526

This is the router table, based on a Triton Mk3 table with a router top that Dad put together – the Triton top was Ok, but wasn’t great.  I managed to get my hands on a Triton router on Ebay (very limited availability due to multiple takeovers), and after only a couple of hours use, I’m a big fan. P1010527

And then there’s the drill press.  Another hand-me-down, I’ve mounted this onto the old frame of our first BBQ when we move to Aus. P1010531

The ACT Working With Wood show was on at Exhibition Park In Canberra (EPIC) about a month ago, I purchased a Givkin dovetail jig, despite not owning a router which is kind of a requirement for using the jig.  Picked up a router via  eBay a couple of weeks later, which is now fitted to the router table shown above.  This is my first crack at it.  There is room from improvement (on my part – I was a bit stingy on the depth setting, resulting in joints a bit shy instead of a touch proud – I also managed to create dovetails about 1/2 mm thick, which are a touch flimsy…  .These are the sort of things you gain through experience…), but other than the measurement errors, the joints are fantastic.

Uncategorized 11 Aug 2009 10:40 pm

Sydney Weekender

We braved the Canberra cold early last Saturday morning and set off upto Sydney and warmer climes.  It’s amazing that a journey of 3 hours can bring a change in temperature of 18 Degrees (-1 when we left Canberra, to 17 in Sydney).

We started the weekend with a lunch at the Bavarian Beer Cafe in Manly – it seemed appropriate to take advantage of the opportunity to try beers that we can’t get in Canberra and catch up with good friends. 

Our next stop was King Street Wharf via the Manly Ferry.  I know that people wax lyrical about the beers at James Squire – and although I have always partaken in the beer, I have never been completed satisfied with all facets of the beer (taste, colour, smell and after taste) that is, until now… This weekend I discovered ‘The Highwayman’ – it must be new.  It was everything I was looking for – fresh, fruity, nice golden colour, and most importantly – tastes great.  If you are ever in James Squires, give it a try.

To top it off – we had dinner at Wagamamas (ok so that wasn’t really the highlight, but I thought it important to let you know we did eat!), and breakfast at Balmoral beach.  Balmoral is definately a view worth writing home about and worth returning back to Sydney for…

Sun, beer and good friends – got to put that in the top 10 things to focus your weekend.  Can’t wait ’til our next weekend adventure.

Uncategorized 24 Jul 2009 08:41 pm

More on Katie’s cakes!

Katie did a post a while ago about her cakes.  We’ve managed to pull our collective fingers out, with Katie providing content while I worked on the presentational aspects.  So, the new “Katie’s Cakes” section is now available, you can get there from the link in the top right of the site.

The monsters are cool, but in my book Roddy and Alex’s wedding cake is the most impressive.

Uncategorized 19 Apr 2009 08:57 pm

The Eagle Has Landed! (and promptly flown away…)

So I got an email from a good friend a couple of months back, saying that she was going to be in the land down under for a bit on a trip.  Never been to the Nation’s Capital, so was keen for a visit.  She’s American, but I get along with her because she has a passport, so she realises that there are places OUTSIDE of the US of A which are worth seeing.  Makes her alright in my books.

Easter Monday had us driving down to pick up Caz and her sister from the Jolimont Centre in Canberra, where all the interstate buses end up.  Except Caz’s sister was crook, so wasn’t able to make the Canberra leg.

The bus arrived late afternoon, so we went up to Telstra (Black Mountain) Tower to view Canberra.  Scoring this one off my “Places to take people” list.  It’s a good view of Canberra, but poorly placed – with Canberra being a planned city, the view from Black Mountain doesn’t do it justice.

What does do it justice is Mount Ainslie.  The view looks over the War Memorial, down ANZAC paraid, to Old Parliament House and New Parliament House.  If you stick that view into a photo with a born and bred Canberra boy and a LA based Lass you get this:

We spent the day going through the War Memorial, Blundell’s Cottage, the Carilion, Old Parly House, New Parly House, National Museum and KoKo Black (hot chocolate fix was apparently a neccessity.  Not for me – sweet enough as it stands…).  All good.

What can I say?  To catch up with close friends that you haven’t seen for a long time?  Fantastic.

‘Nuff said.