The restructure

For the last blogjune post I wanted to say something about the work restructure but it is tricky.  The plan to proceed with phase 2 was scheduled for the 28th of June but with a large amount of feedback and potential adjustment to the proposal put to us May 22nd that has been postponed.  The paperwork that has been presented to us is labelled as confidential so I am l loathed to put too much out there in public on a blogsite.  Added to this in the proposal put to us I was affected with my position made redundant so my viewpoint and commentary on the restructure might be slightly tainted.

This is the third restructure I have experienced at my workplace in the ten years I have worked here.  The big one was in 2014/2015 which coincided with an all of University restructure.  The big changes as a result of this one largely driven to reduce staff numbers was to change our librarian status from academic equated to professional staff, lose our titles as librarians, and to adjust the service structure to align with the University to have a separate Teaching and Learning, and a Research section.  For me the big change in transitioning to a job on the other side of the restructure and being part of the Research Team was also to change from being science librarian (for over 20 years) to be the Coordinator for Arts Social Science and Commerce (ASSC) team for the adjusted University two school structure of ASSC and SHE (Science Health and Engineering.  This restructure is just the  library however there have been other departmental restructures happening.  It seems like academic institutions are under constant review and restructure.   The original message was that there would be no job losses and it wasn’t about money however as time has gone by there are redundant positions and there has been an adjustment to demonstrate money savings to the University probably as a result of the election, result of election, and lack of funding support being mooted by government in the foreseeable future.

The restructure started a year ago as section review of different departments within the library and snowballed to become an all of library review and then restructure.  The first phase saw the rollout and change of the management structure and department structure and the alignment resulted in 3 managers resigning.  Two retired and one got a job elsewhere.  There was an announcement on Friday that there has been an appointment to one of the positions, and post interviewing they have readvertised for the other manager position.  The primary ideal of the new structure  is to set up more of an Outreach and Engagement to the University community and our clients and to have more joined up services.

The process of restructure is disruptive and changes your self-perception, particularly when you are affected.  Those not affected often have a survive guilt for having been transitioned into the new structure without having to undergo an interview process.  It is still business as usual whilst in the midst of the process.  After the phases were displayed to library staff there has been a period of feedback and response to the feedback. It has been a long drawn out process and it continues.

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Kangaroo article with cyclist slant

I’m loosing my blogjune momentum so thankfully nearing the end of the month. Thought I’d reflect a little on this article from The Age on ‘We can’t keep pretending they aren’t there’: Roo mob stuck in bureaucratic battle

When I first quick glance read the article via Twitter I saw the parallel in the writing and the objections posed similar to ones cited about cyclists. Like the quote

“We can’t just keep pretending they aren’t there,” she said. “The roos are at risk, train passengers are at risk and drivers are at risk.”

My reaction, which I passed onto a cyclist group, was the fact that like a roo, a cyclist is far more at risk when being hit by a car or a train than the driver or the train driver/passenger. Also this quote in the article has another side to it.

“It’s dangerous. Not just to the kangaroos but to the public. These roos have caused some significant damage to the cars that they’ve hit too.”

Like cyclists, I don’t think the roos chose to be hit by the car and the damaged caused to the cyclist/roo I’m sure was more significant than the car.

I was talking to someone from the Eildon area and he said, as well as kangaroos, they are also at risk when driving of encountering wild/feral deer. He said he spotted around 71 deer on the local oval a few days ago. Apparently, deer farms that went bust in the area just released their animals to the wild and like rabbits have bred and are in ideal conditions to survive.

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Brimbank Leadership Alumni Networking Event – World Cafe

I attended a Brimbank Leadership Alumni Networking Event. I undertook a Brimbank Leadership course in 2011. It was fantastic and gave me some good grounding for advocacy, event management, and consideration of making your point and working out the right channels to get your message across. Some who have participated in the leadership courses have gone on to become Councillors for Brimbank.
The night was run as a World Café which I had never participated in before.

It was run by the amazing Tathra Street A futurist

TatheraStreet

She introduced the idea of leadership past present and future and the The Four Pillars: Leadership, Management, Command, & Control

We then at our tables discussed the initial question What does it mean to be a leader in the Brimbank Community? We discussed this for 10 minutes making notes and then each table presented to wider group. Papers were collected and then all but one moved to another table to discuss the next question What can we do to improve the leadership in our community? Again 10 minutes to discuss and take notes, present to wider group and then all but one move to another table to discuss the final question How can we work together to increase community leadership? At the conclusion Tathra took all the work we had done to collate it and make a report that she will share with us and the council.  There was also a decision to create a facebook group and to create an ongoing newsletter for the group.

groupshot

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In memory of Jerry

Jerry came to us when he was 2 years old.  Via primary school our daughter’s teacher announced to the class that she was moving house so her cat had to go.  We already had one cat Tiger Lilly.  We got her from the Greensbough Cat Shelter and she must have had a hard 9 months before we got her.  She was timid and a bit aloof.  We agreed to take on a second cat.  We got our vet’s advice early on as to how to assimilate them both into the family.  His sage words at the time were they will get on fine.  This was NEVER to be the case. I blogged about them both in Blog June 2013

Jerryboy

 

From the word go Jerry asserted himself as the ruler of the house particularly when it came to food.  However Tiger Lilly held her ground and on a daily basis hissed and growled when Jerry came too close to her.  Jerry had quite a piercing meow and he made his presence and feeling felt.  He was also quite a boofhead being able to push our bedroom door open whenever he chose to.  However when visitors came he would hid in the cupboard and only reappear once visitors had gone.  It was a rare day he would actually come out to see guests.  Sometimes if he was in the garden he might be spotted by passing visitors but it was rare.

Jerrystair

As the kids grew up the cats seemed to gravitate to a more favoured one.  Tiger Lilly to my son and Jerry to my daughter.  When it came to feeding they both became my best friend.  And Jerry being more affectionate and wanting more attention than Tiger Lilly would often sit on you or with you.

Jerry1

He was a healthy boy having only a handful of vet visits that I can remember.  A few visits with eye drops and antibioitics but nothing too major.  One morning after staying out all night he was not around for his morning breakfast.  Quite unusual and out of his normal routine.  Later that day he was found in our garden very lethargic and was carried inside.  He sat not his usual self.  We took him to the vet and he could only suggest that he was attacked overnight by another cat.  He was given medicine and some antibiotics to work through with a booking to see the vet a week later.  He didn’t make it through the week.  During the week he was totally off his food and it was a sad morning raising the covers under the bed to find he had passed away.  I recall in the night he died he gave a bit of a cry out.  I regret not responding to him as this was most probably his farewell call.

I rang up the vet and made arrangements that they had a service where by for a fee they would take and bury Jerry in a grave down by the coast in a humane and environmentally friendly way.  I was not comfortable burring him in the garden for fear of him being uncovered by other animals.  This occurred in the late part of my recovery from cancer, so I was able bodied enough to drive to the vet and to carry his body.

It was hard news to give to my daughter who is an animal lover and particularly as Jerry had been such a companion to her over the years.  On the night of the day I had discovered his death and had passed him onto the vet for his burial my daughter and I had arranged to go to the comedy festival to see Cal Wilson.  We saw it as good therapy to go out, have a laugh, and after the show have a meal and a drink to Jerry’s memory.  You would not believe it BUT as part of Cal’s comedy routine that night she joked about pets dying and hiding the truth from your kids.  It was all a bit too raw.  The next day I made contact with Cal via Instagram saying how we liked the show but it was a bit too soon for us to laugh at this point.  Cal was lovely and as a fellow cat lover she was sympathetic and lovely to us.  It was much appreciated.  For all I know she might have used that in future routines 😊

cal

After Jerry’s departure it has been quite remarkable to see the change in Tiger Lilly’s personality.  After being bullied by him for 10 years she has now come out of her shell and is friendly sits on our knee and seeks affection.  As well as Jerry’s departure it does coincide with both kids having left home so that might be an added factor.

tigerlilly

 

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I have not always been a SAABophile

I have not always been a SAABophile.  It has grown on me.  My first car love was Alfa Romeo.  Influenced by a grade 5 teacher who changed from having an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV and upgraded to a new Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT.  We had to do a class talk and I did it on the Alfa.  I hung around the local Alfa Romeo car dealer so much that they offered me a job to clean cars and their offices on a Saturday morning and school holidays.  It was not until years later I realized the exploitation.  I did a lot of work for them for very little money.  The bonus and thrill for me was that one of the salesmen lived around the corner so I got a ride in the car he had selected to drive home that night.  At one stage on the lot they had an orange SAAB 99.  Riding to work one morning in this I encountered the quirky seatbelts clamp and the ignition between the seats.  Around that time one summer a friend and I did the rounds of all the new car dealers asking for brochures of their latest car offerings.  This was another early SAAB encounter.

 

Fast forward to the 2000s and my wife had had a SAAB desire.  She like the shape and style.  In the year 2000 we had two Toyota Corollas.  One we had bought from my father’s estate so was reasonably new and in good condition.  The other an older one we had had for about 6 years was 13 years old and clocking up lots of kilometers.  Our kids were getting older and we needed more a family car.  We had done a Queensland driving trip in the newer Corolla but it was squeezy with all our luggage.  We got our first 1989 SAAB 900i Combi in 2001 second hand from a lovely couple in Caulfield.  They put us onto Swedish Prestige in Huntingdale where they got it serviced.  Although a distance to travel to and on the other side of town I knew the value in dealing with good reliable mechanics’ who knew the SAAB quirks and had the parts and knowledge.  The added factor that they gave you a loaner SAAB for the time they serviced your car so it made the trek worthwhile.

Keeping SAABy well maintained we had a trouble free ownership.  One minor accident in 2013 where I went into the back of another car at traffic lights.  And one instance I can recall where the car’s computer had to have some work done on it as it was making the engine run rough and misfire.  Over 7 years of ownership, a Queensland driving holiday, and clocking up around 150,000 kilometers when we acquired my father in law’s 10 year old Corolla with low kilometers and good condition we were a car in excess.  We tried but could not find a buyer for SAABy so it was a sad day handing her over to a wrecker when it was not required in 2009.

The SAAB love was passed on to the next generation and my daughter sought out a low kilometre traveled 900i sedan for her first car in 2017.  As she was studying I agreed to fly interstate to pick up, buy, and drive it back from Wagga Wagga to Melbourne.  My SAAB love was rekindled and as our Corolla clocked up kilometers and deteriorated I started my SAAB search as a replacement.

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A couple of years later kindled by the life is too short thinking and wanting to have more of a safe feeling whilst commuting on the Ring Road I acquired our 1996 SAAB 900s at the start of 2019.  The trip to Canberra to pick up Barb the SAAB was an adventure with an overnight stop over in Albury Wodonga to catch up with a work colleague.  And this was a revisiting of the stop over for lunch with my daughter’s SAAB a couple of years beforehand in the same town and with the same colleague.

As Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear said once SAAB owners have a certain smug smile.  There is a knowledge that you have a unique and quirky car that is very safe.   It has been well engineered and thought out and when well maintained it is reliable.  It’s the shape, it’s the style, it’s the car I like.  Happy to be a SAAB owner and maintain the marque even though the company has ceased production.  And speaking of quirky here is a SAAB song

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Videos, Youtube and Netflix

During my recover I mentioned that I watched a lot of Netflix, catch-up tv and youtube. I thought I’d outline a little of what I watched. Not too long before the surgery and recovery period I had started searching Youtube for historical footage. I have quite a fascination to watch original footage from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, of Australiana. At one point I stumbled across the National Film And Sound Archives & their Youtube site.

 
Before and during the recovery time I was explored this site and stumbed across fascinating documentaries and footage to entice migrants to come to Australia in the post war years. This one for example The Way We Live Is a quaint video of British migration in 1959 setting up in Sydney Australia. It’s interesting to watch and hear aboutcontinental vs British food tastes, exotic fruits & it’s okay to leave baby at the checkout when supermarket shopping. 22:15- 25:30

Mainly For Women shows a country girl coming to the big smoke in the 70s to train to be a fully qualified calculating machine operator. Primarily the intention seems to be to come to the big smoke to find a potential husband
I found a wonderful 9 part series from 1967 of how to drive. The fundamentals are just as relevant today. What I really enjoyed was the driving around Melbourne and the suburbs and the emphasis on learning to drive with a manual 3 on the tree. Road Observation. How To Drive drives around areas of Box Hill and Dandenong Road.

A 9 part series from 1973 of the Skills of Defensive Driving.  The 7th episode includes a rolling FJ Holden and an XM Falcon crashing into a tree.  Who’s To Blame? Skills of Defensive Driving Episode 1 includes staged minor accidents including an original  Corona stopping and sliding sideways
The  series of the ABC show Torque with Peter Wherrett from the mid 70s

Torque V1 driving VC Commodore BMW 528i

Torque V2 XD Falcon & Bolwell project car

Torque V3 Chrysler Sigma

Torque V4 Corona & Datsun 200B

Torque v5 Porsche 924& VW Golf petrol, diesel, turbo diesel

Torque V6 4WDs International, Jeep, Toyota Hi-Lux, Subaru Leone wagon

Torque V7 Jaguar XJ6 & Suzuki Hatch

Torque V8 Rally driving with a Daihatsu Charade Datsun 280 ZX Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint

Torque V9 Mazda 626 & Safety cornering

Torque V10 Mazda 626 & Being affected by alcohol testing

I had ideally wanted to find episodes of Homicide, Division 4 or Matlock Police but I could not. On 7 plus I found the complete series of Blue Heelers from the 90s.  Blue Heelers follows the lives of the police officers stationed in fictional small country town; Mount Thomas. There were lots of episodes to watch. I got through the first series and mid way through the second series.

 
On a daily basis I watched an episode of Touched by an Angel which is always heart warming when the angel is revealed and often has a good message in the episode. Also on a regular basis I watched episodes of Escape to the Country  which I seem to have a fascination for and which I can watch constantly.

 
On Netflix I watched a number of movies such as Highwaymen, Roma, The Lady in the Van, Isn’t it Romantic and series such as Sex Education and Campus.

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Return to work, two month check up and the epilogue- life goes on- I am blessed.

After 4 weeks post the operation I was more or less recovered.  From a work perspective the bombshell came as the first phase of the library restructure was released changing the departments and spilling the positions of the existing managers to potentially apply for adjusted higher duty manager roles with a bit more responsibility.  After a coupe of weeks of consultation and feedback the additional bombshell was to find that 3 of the existing managers were leaving and not taking up new roles.  Initially it looked like all three were retiring but then within minutes of the announcement my manager announced that she had a new job at another institution to go to and was leaving almost immediately after almost 30 years at La Trobe.

In week 5 of recovery I still had another week before returning to work.  However I used the reality  of my wellness to come to work for half a day to attend a farewell luncheon for my department and for my manager,  and to have an informal handover with my colleague who had been acting for me,  and was about to go on long service leave,  so would not be present when I returned to work the following week.   Many people commented about how well I looked and how well recovered I seemed.  The mixed blessing was being away from the work chaos during this first phase of restructure.

With a growing confidence in my recover the last weeks of recover were almost a taste of early retirement.  Catching up with friends and family.  Doing what I liked when I liked.  Continuing with my video, youtube, and Netflix watching.  I returned to swimming starting tentatively at a local pubic pool doing just a few laps.  But then returning later in the week to work towards my pre operation usual swimming pattern.

I returned to work full time on April the 7th.  The option was there, from an at call doctor’s certificate, to have a phased part time approach to return to work.  However apart from low energy in the afternoons in the first couple of weeks I adapted back to full time work fairly well.  The bonus factor on returning to work at this time was coming back at a time with a couple of shorter weeks due to the Easter break and ANZAC day public holidays.

Life goes  on and I had my two month check up with my urologist.  This was per-empted with a blood and urine test.  Thankfully it was all clear.   My PSA at zero and not issues.   Having had the full prosectectomy there is no ongoing treatment, no radiation or chemo,  just monitoring.  My next check up is 6 months post surgery. The week before this I was  confident enough to discontinue wearing incontinence pads.  Quite an achievement and something post prostate surgery to be thankful of and not taken lightly.  For many patients this continues to be an issue for a long period post-surgery.

On my urologists advice I returned, very tentatively at first, to bike riding.  Given the location of the surgery this was deemed, by my doctors, to be the last thing to undertake.  At least 10 weeks post surgery.  My inaugural post-operative bike ride was on the 13th of April.   This was awkward and felt a bit strange.  However it went so well that I pushed it a bit too far and went for a longer ride the next day resulting in some back strain.  Too much too soon.  Slowly slowly.  I attended some physiotherapy a couple of days later to get some advice, therapy, and strengthening exercises.   A month later and I have invested in a new and more comfortable seat on my bike.  I have also signed up with my daughter to do around the bay in October so a big fitness recovery to work towards.

So there you have it.  My cancer and post cancer story so far.  There is one ongoing issue which I won’t go into here but which is perfectly normal and a standard longer-term post prostatectomy issue.   One to talk about at the Prostate Cancer Support Group.  Of course too the additional bombshells, from a work perspective, was finding out, on the 3 month anniversary of my surgery, that my position at work is redundant.  Still currently working through that at work so will not go into that here either.   Also on the home front over this time period was the very sad death of a dearly loved pet cat.  On a happier note,  and a blog post next week,  will be the story of the acquisition of a SAAB and the selling of the old Corolla.

It has been a remarkable journey.  A testimony to my good fortune, faith, and support from my loving family and friends.  Also a testimony to the good professional services that I have been privileged to have access to.  And  at this point in history,  to the technology, and in a country and location where it is available, and to be in the position and stage in live where I could afford it,   And to be in stable full time work where I had sick leave available and work colleague support during this period.  I am blessed.

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