yeehah! we will have a high school in Coburg!

On Tuesday night while wishing a friend happy birthday on Facebook, I noticed that my friend Cate had already typed a message under her birthday wish "Some of us got you a little something today for your birthday - a High School for Coburg!" I nearly fell off my chair. 

Apparently Cate (the woman G and I have always said will be responsible for getting us a high school) received a call from The Age asking if we were celebrating yet? The journalist revealed the exciting news that the Minister for Education, Martin Dixon was about to announce the decision to expand Coburg Senior High School to include years 7 -12 in 2015. An hour so later she got another call from the DEECD who confirmed this great news including a process of community consultation. So on Wednesday morning I got up early to read this article in The AgeCampaigners win fight: Coburg will have a high school. Tears streamed down my face. Grace came in and gave me a cuddle and told me how great she thought it was that she'd be able to go to high school with her friends from primary school. I posted a link to the article and was surprised at how many people are online at 6.30am.

hsc campign
Mosaic showing some of the HSC working party and some of our protest actions
This exciting news has rippled through our community with hugs and celebrations. There's an afternoon tea planned at our primary school, a working party drinks next week and then a family and community celebration on the 29th. There wasn't any warning of the announcement, no bureaucratic softening that I was aware of and in some moments it doesn't seem quite real yet but really, it is a total game changer. Grace and all the kids at her school will have the option of going to a well equipped high school a 15 - 20 walk away and a  5-10 minute bike ride away. No 40 minute commute. No catching the school bus to Reservoir, the bus and tram to Brunswick or Carlton, the tram to Northcote or the train to Collingwood. All these schools have great things going for them and if we decided that Grace should go there it would now be because of what they offered being the best choice for Grace at the time (there are also likely to be more spaces for entry on curriculum grounds too now). But suddenly the local option is there and it feels like a great choice. The right choice. Funnily enough having the local high school option is also making me feel better about some of the things I don't love about her primary school. I don't know how that works, but there it is. It seems the news has also spread like wildfire amongst the local real estate agents. Not that it makes any difference to us because we have no plans to move, but I expect house prices in the area will rise. And also people will be less inclined to leave. It's all good.

I've also been reflecting on my part in all this. Coming on the back of the pool campaign, I initially resisted becoming involved with HSC. In the end though, I really thought they needed a more easy to update website and I liked hanging out with Cate and I wanted a high school, so I put my hand up. Over the last few years, I've tended not to be one for meetings and as I have discovered, I actually don't much like meetings. But I do like taking photos and messing about with blogger, scribd, flickr, Facebook and Mailchimp. The good thing about having a website is that it gives you a way to collect your history as a group, to positively express what the group is about and to tell your story. Using Mailchimp enabled us to get more of that story out to more people but I think it was Facebook where our supporters really engaged. I didn't know that much about Facebook pages in the beginning and neither did Cate but she took to it like a natural. I guess the website was like the library and Facebook was like the common room. You need both. I've learnt heaps and I'm thinking that by doing those things I like, I've made a contribution. And I'm going to stick my head out here and say that I'm proud of that. However, I do recognise that we absolutely need the people who tirelessly go to meetings and talk with politicians and bureaucrats. People who don't give up when the meetings are difficult or unpleasant. Without those people and their efforts, nothing changes. Cate and the others in the working party have done that brilliantly and I'm tremendously grateful to them. But I'm quite pleased to have been in the background doing my thing too.

Yeehah! High School for Coburg in 2015!

good things, not so good things

good things
I know I'm being repetitious but making a new doona cover for Grace out of two old sheets last week was pretty ace. Not only does she love it but it involved an afternoon with Nana with chicken sandwiches and banana cake for lunch. And she got to have a go on the little sewing machine and be helped to make a matching pillow case.

- There is movement on the extension front, our loan application is in (after huge amounts of paperwork that I found totally daunting which is weird because I do heaps of paperwork at work) and we have had the initial meeting with the council. I'm picking the heritage approval will be the trickiest but I am optimistic that we could start work before Christmas or early in the new year.

Eating brussels sprouts with potato and tinned salmon for lunch. The brussels sprouts were on special at the supermarket and they were smallish and very sweet.

- Putting the blanket I've been crocheting on the bed and realising that a) it is more than half done and b) I like it. This has seen a renewed interest in finishing the project which will mean I can then do something else. I've realised I can't focus on multiple projects on the go.

Lots of reading so far this year. At the moment I am reading Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow and quite enjoying. Before that I read Kate Grenville's The Secret River and loved it, reading it in big page skimming gulps - will need to reread. Also pleased to know that there are sequels to look out for.  Grace is reading chapter books now so among other things, I am buying books I read as a child - Little House on the Prairie and Famous Five. Also enjoying reading some kids books we didn't have, like the Rowan of Rin series.  Haven't written up my reading yet, and all the read books are in a pile beside my desk, but my goodness I feel better for reading.

not so good things
Eating lunch in the tea room upstairs (I am one of the few downstairs people who eats there) and having the thought that I could just climb up onto the balcony edge and topple face first into the street below and then I wouldn't have to go back for the afternoon hell shift. I dismissed this thought as a stupid fantasy but it was disturbing nonetheless.

- Worry about what I am going to do next. Are my ideas plausible and realistic? Will I be able to get another job if my other plans don't work out? Knowing that things need to/will change and being totally fearful about it. This gets worse as time goes on - there is something to be said for just taking the plunge I suppose.

It's cold and damp. Feck, I loathe winter. Lord knows how I would go living somewhere that has a real, utterly cold winter with ice and snow.

* * *
I think it's important to note here, that there are more good bits than bad.

school holidays, so far

Sort of snuck up on me these school holidays did. When I had the negotiation about leave at work, I really didn't think that I'd be there still. Anyway I am glad I asked for them, as my evil plans to leave seem to be moving and developing very slowly. Oh well.
- On Monday, we launched right into the school holiday activity plan with a trip to the Aquarium. Grace, me and mum. It was bitterly cold that morning as it has been every morning this week - so much so that I resist getting up to the most stupid degree. Grace was extremely excited to be going to the aquarium for the second time (ever) and I had never been so I was quite keen. Once we got there, it was OK. I mean I like fish and sharks well enough but the aquarium kind of lacks the wow factor of the zoo, or even the museum. It was also confusing to work out what was where, the map was shite and unlike Australia Zoo there never seemed to be anyone to ask. But yeah, it was OK. I liked the sharks swimming overhead and the big rays and the jellyfish. And I got a good deal with tickets online so I didn't feel ripped off.

- My camera battery died half way through the excusrsion which was a pity as I was enjoying that aspect of it. But I am pleased to have captured the jelly fish. And one of the many visitors taking pictures with their iphone.

On Tuesday we went and had our first meeting with the council about the extension which is at present being designed by the age old method of yelling and fighting. The meeting will be one of many I suspect. Yikes. Yesterday we went to Preston market and made a banana cake. Today we had Nana over for some sewing. I made a doona cover and Grace sewed a pillow case. They turned out pretty well with the absolute minimum of swearing.She was extremely happy to have them on her bed tonight. However I would have to say that this holiday is not as relaxing as I thought it would be.