Thoughtful Considerate Bus Driver??

Seems it’s a thin line between Thoughtful, Considerate Bus Driver and Scary, Stalky Bus Driver!  This week I have had 3 incidents with passengers that have led me to feel that I am balancing precariously on that tight rope between the two!

On Tuesday I spotted Passenger Pink Straw on the other side of the road. There was a lot of traffic on Clayton Rd, so she was waiting to get across to the Bus Stop. I gave her a wave, pulled up at the Bus Stop and waited a couple of minutes for her. I have some time on this part of my route, so it seemed the right thing to do. When she got on the Bus she gave me a big smile and said thanks for waiting. I gave myself a pat on the back for being Thoughtful, Considerate Bus Driver. 

The next day I saw Passenger Long Hair running down a side street that connects to Clayton Rd. She often runs the last 20 metres to the Bus Stop but isn’t normally that far away. Obviously, I pulled up at the Bus Stop and waited for her. She was puffing as she got on the bus and thanked me for waiting. Another pat on the back to the Thoughtful, Considerate Bus Driver. 

Today I picked up Passenger Light Hair… He was the only passenger on the bus and as he likes to stand, he stood in the middle of the bus near the back door. We were one stop back from his usual stop when I heard the bell. I was a bit distracted as I knew it wasn’t his normal stop. He then called out that he had hit the button too soon as he can’t see very well in the fog. I replied that’s ok I know which stop you get off at… I looked in the mirror and saw his face. He was frightened…. like Scary, Stalky Bus Driver scared. I couldn’t say anything – Where could I go after that? I pulled up at his usual stop and he got off… he thanked me but there was also a nervous kind of look in his eyes!

Ooopppss! Crossed the line there, I guess! 

Happy Friday!

Thursday’s and Friday’s are the days that I am most likely to try and take my work home with me – which is kind of weird given that I drive a bus…. 

Over the years I have often taken my work home with me. When I worked in Administration, I would go home with thoughts of what I needed to do, who I needed to call, emails I needed to send, spreadsheets to be amended.

As a Personal Trainer I would have ideas about client’s goals and how to achieve them, options for injuries, ways to make training functional and fun.

As a Business Owner I added marketing, finances, franchisee support, weather conditions, rules and regulations – it was never ending!

I was convinced that as a Bus Driver I wouldn’t take work home with me, as there is nothing to take home! Turns out there are 3 things. As it’s always at the end of the week it’s most likely due to sleep deprivation from the 4.40am alarm. I do try to be in bed by 9pm – but that doesn’t always happen. I do try to have an afternoon nap – but that doesn’t always happen. Maybe I need to try harder… 

1. On a bus the indicator and wiper are on the left. On our car it’s the right. Driving home I occasionally turn the wipers on. Haven’t we all done that? 

2. When you stop the bus for more than 3 seconds you must pull the hand brake on. The hand brake is on the right. Often in the car I go to reach out with my right hand… Surely anyone who has driven in Europe has done that? 

3. Driving along Warrigal Road I notice the Bus Stops. If I see someone waiting, I check the mirrors, take my foot off the accelerator, gently brake and flick the indicators. Lucky they are wipers as it breaks my thoughts, makes me realise I am in my car, gives me a giggle and leaves the waiting passenger alone!! DOH!!

We’ve all tried to pick up people at the bus stop right??? 

Goodbye Training Wheels

After 6 weeks on my new bus route, I have finally become a grown-up bus driver!
Do you ever find yourself resisting change due to procrastination and/or fear?
Then the decision is made for you and you are forced to change?
That happened to me last week!

We have this groovy tool called BusMinder. It’s like Google Maps for Bus Drivers. When the bus is started the visual display comes on, along with the MYKI screen, then you select if you want the audio on as well. (Passengers can also view where their bus is via the Ventura Tracker app.) It provides directions, handy tips about intersections, turns, roundabouts, and lets you know when you are approaching the next Bus Stop. After the first week, I didn’t need the audio directions anymore so switched them off. I decided to keep the audio announcement on to know where the Bus Stops were. It was useful, as there is so much to focus on that the reminder was helpful to make sure I didn’t drive past a Bus Stop. I also felt that I could never remember all the Bus Stops – DOH!
Last Wednesday I turned the bus on, the MYKI screen came on but BusMinder didn’t – PANIC Stations! I phoned Control and was super glad I hadn’t used the radio as Rod ever so nicely (he is a sweetie) asked if I had turned it on… no, I hadn’t as I thought it was automatic!! I flicked the switch and turned on BusMinder and it fired up. I was so glad to see it working as I was telling myself this story about how I could never remember all the stops and I was bound to leave passengers behind. I drive “Not in Service” to Oakleigh Station and start from there. By the time I got to Oakleigh Station, BusMinder had tried to restart several times but had then closed again. I was a bit of a wreck when I realised, I would just have to do my best and remember as many as possible. That was a tough morning. Seeing passengers in the dark and picking them up, when I was also trying to find the stop was a challenge. It was even more challenging finding the Bus Stop when a passenger had hit the bell to get off – they know where the Bus Stop is but I wasn’t 100% certain. By the end of my shift, I realised that I hadn’t left anyone behind, surprisingly I could remember most of the stops, I didn’t crash or hit anything……… that I know of!

On Thursday I decided that I wouldn’t turn on the audio…. and to my surprise, I remembered the stops.

Third time lucky on Friday and I was fine.

Today was a new week and I decided that I was never going back to having the audio on. I was Doubting Donna and when forced to remember I could. It was a good reminder that often FEAR is just False Evidence Appearing Real.

Bus Driver to Phone Saviour in a heartbeat!

Driving South on Stephenson’s Road out of Mount Waverley around 8.50am, I had a cyclist just in front of my Bus. He was cruising along at around 45km/hr – so he was quick!  As there are a few Bus Stops along this part of Stephenson’s Road I decided the safest option was to sit behind him.  He crossed Waverley Road and the lights stayed green, so I crossed with him.  Here the road gently declines down towards the Monash Freeway. The cyclist started peddling extremely fast! His pace quickened to 47km/h, 50km/h, 55km/h. I was still sitting behind and had sped up on the incline as well but maintained a safe distance from him.   He then stopped peddling, lowered his upper body over the handlebars and stuck his backside up. I was instantly jealous as I love that feeling of flying along, not peddling, the wind blasting past – I could feel his bliss! And then his mobile phone came flying out of his back pocket, hit the road to the right of me and bounced a couple of times – DAMN!!

I had two thoughts and two thoughts only – stop the cyclist and keep my passengers safe!

Thankfully, no one wanted to stop at the Bus Stop just after the freeway and with relief I saw that there was no-one there. The hill then has an incline and the cyclist slowed down. Unfortunately, so did my bus! I was able to overtake him and drove to the next Bus Stop with the cyclist behind me. I stopped the Bus – handbrake, open front door, hazard lights, seat belt, driver’s door – all done in record time! I jumped out of the bus and ran to the back – damn he was not in sight. I ran to the front of the Bus and there he was – maybe 30 metres in front of the Bus. Using my voice that I could project across a football oval I yelled out to him to STOP and waved my arms like a crazy woman…which he clearly thought I was! He looked back and then in one fluid motion got off his bike, put it on the ground and stormed back to me. I started yelling out YOUR MOBILE PHONE – still waving my arms around. Finally, he heard me, touched his back pocket and his anger was gone as relief sunk in. When he got to me, I told him what had happened. He was so grateful – ran back to his bike, crossed the road, and headed back the way he had come.

I got back on the bus with adrenaline coursing though me, relief that I had stopped him. No-one on the bus even seemed to notice that they had a loud, crazy Bus Driver…..or they were too scared to look up!

As I drove off, I wondered if I had made the right decision – letting him know or letting him go. I hope he was able to retrieve his phone and I REALLY hope that I did not run it over 😊

13 weeks down!

Had my 13 week assessment yesterday and they asked me back today, so I must have passed 😄
Driving a bus is fun and boring, challenging and routine.
The actual driving is probably the easy bit. The 3 week training and induction program was intense but prepared me well. The regular performance assessments help keep me on track.
Ventura are a fantastic company to work for. They really look after and support their drivers. The other drivers are awesome – so welcoming and considerate.
The really hard bit is staying focused and present through the whole shift. Some mornings it’s like a really long meditation! Focus on the road, traffic, passengers, stops and starts, crazy drivers, pot holes… the list is endless 😱
It’s been a strange career shift and not really one that I picked – one that was almost forced on me as I couldn’t find anything else. At the end of the day it gives me a reason to get up in the morning, gives me something to focus on, I have a laugh with my colleagues and the uniform is pretty comfy 😂

What a woman!

This turned up at Tai Chi yesterday. Some of you may know the brand, some of you will know Audrey. In fact many of you will know Audrey as she used to own the wool shop in Cheltenham. Ahhhh – I hear you say! 
Audrey first started training with me back in September 2004. She was in her late 60’s and had never done any kind of planned exercise. She trusted me to be her trainer and I felt incredibly grateful to have her trust. I was inspired by her determination to do something positive for her health and fitness – not despite her age but because of her age. Almost 15 years later she has joined me for Tai Chi sessions. Once again I am filled with gratitude to have the trust of such an amazing woman. She is in her 80’s now and is still determined to try something new if it will make a positive change to her health and fitness. What a woman – courageous, determined, focused and so incredibly sweet and lovely. So blessed to have her back in my life

We had her back…

My baby gal is 5 today!
She came for a sleepover with us on 14 Feb 2015 and never went home. The first 5 weeks were a NIGHTMARE! Funny enough she finally bonded with Elly and I after she was attacked at the dog park. Curious by nature, she had gone up to a dog (who was on a lead) and the dog had bitten her nose and was literally swinging Daisy backward and forwards. She was 5.8kg’s and had no paws on the ground. I swooped to the ground (on my stomach!) and literally pulled her from the other dog’s jaw. Elly went ballistic barking at the dog and the owner, while some of my dog friends had a crack at the owner.
Shaken, we stumbled home with me trying super hard not to cry. This little dog that had kept us awake nearly every night for 5 weeks, was using the lounge as a toilet, wouldn’t eat, was being walked 4 times a day and still seemed to have boundless energy – had not bonded with us in any way. She had just been in a terrifying position and wouldn’t let me hold her close. I remember sitting on the couch and Elly laid down beside me. Daisy was on the floor, in what had become her usual aloof position. At that point, I started crying wondering what on earth I was going to do. She then jumped up on my lap and started nuzzling Elly and then me.
She hasn’t stopped loving us since. She is a dog that has so much love to give, a joy to be around and is always searching for fun. Love my Daisy Girl!

Hierarchy of Functional Aging

How often do you read a fitness blog or magazine, see something on Facebook and it’s a gorgeous girl or a hunky guy in their 20’s or 30’s and the fitness tip/exercise given is a blanket example for everyone – age is not considered. It happens all the time, right? This is my biggest frustration with the industry that I have been a part of, for over 15 years.  This is also why I was drawn to become a Functional Ageing Specialist.

Adults over 50 fall into a broad range of functional categories. We all know 70-year old’s who don’t go anywhere or do anything. We also know 80 years old’s who are energetic, having adventures and enjoying their life.  Their chronological age is irrelevant. Their functional age is important.

Where do YOU sit on the hierarchy?

14 years as a group outdoor Personal Trainer

Hard to imagine that 14 years ago I started group, outdoor, personal training sessions at Le Page Park. (My Number One member, Joanne Link started training with me that night.)  In some ways the years have flown. In others, they have dragged by at an excruciating pace! So many ups and downs – I have learnt so much about myself and those around me. In the beginning I thought I was starting a Group Outdoor Personal Training Franchise. In those early days I never understood that what was being created was long lasting friendships and a beautiful community.  It’s the community and the people that keep me grounded, give me a reason to get out of bed every morning, and give me the strength, drive and determination to be a better person every single day.

My LEGEND members have been training with me for 10+ years. They came to me looking for exercise and we have created this wonderful decade long bond with each other.  I’m looking forward to our annual Legends Lunch in November. Joanne, Margaret, Dagmar, Bill, Linda, Tor, Colleen, Graham, Tracey, Judy, Tamara, Viv, Chris, Cheryl, Marcia, Jeannine, Graham, Kate, Elizabeth, Greg and Anne.

Next year there are 8 new Legends joining the party. Chris, Meredith, Kaye, Ron, Jeanette, Glynn, Belinda, Monique. I am so grateful for your faith in me and your trust to take care of your fitness needs.

Cheryl, Chris, Jen – Thank you for sticking with us through the dreadful months of having cancer. Today I feel so grateful for your strength and health.

More babies are on the way with Raquel and Clare due early next year. It’s such an honour to be given the chance to train members through this important stage of their lives. So many babies over the years! Michelle and Kate stayed through 2 babies. Alice through 3!

We have had many ups and downs over the years, but every time we get a little stronger, our ties strengthen, we support each other and get on with it. It was devastating last year to have our beautiful Jane taken from us without the chance to say good bye. I am sure she would have been smiling to see 18 of us at her memorial service, paying tribute to the gorgeous woman she was.

To my current members thank you for continuing to trust me with your health and fitness.

To those members that have come and gone it was an absolute privilege to share our community with you.

Looking forward to the next year and all the trials and tribulations it brings, along with all the laughs and good times.

Let’s Crumple!

Have you ever thought about how you fall over? We don’t really like to as our brain will assume pain!

Have you ever watched kids fall over? They tend to crumple. They hit the ground, their hips touch their feet and they bounce back up again. Their brain isn’t sending their body any messages about previous falls. Their joints are flexible, their muscles can spring back.

Watch an adult fall and they tend to go down like a tree being felled. They go rigid with fear and the thought of pain. Muscles and joints are tight and don’t have much flexibility. Often the hands come up and fingers are damaged, wrists and broken, noses are knocked, glasses are smashed. This is something we really want to avoid right?

Have you heard the story about the man walking in the bush with some friends? An experienced bush walker who, one day, felt a stick scratch his leg. This was the message his brain told him. A few kilometres later he dropped to the ground. It wasn’t a stick but a deadly snake bite. His friends got him to hospital and he survived. A few weeks later he was out in the bush and felt a snake bite his leg. He panicked and went to hospital before the venom poisoned his body. Except it wasn’t a snake – it was a stick. Our minds are powerful. They can find fear – whether it is real or not.

So back to falling. Can you stop yourself from falling? Possibly. If you are strong enough, co-ordinated enough or balanced enough. It can still happen. It happened to me 4 years ago when I had a nasty ear infection. There was nothing I could do about it! If it is going to happen you want to be able to fall with the minimum amount of injury and bounce back up again. You want your mind to see the situation for how it really is and not play to the fear of how it might be – like the snake bite story.

The best way to do this is to practice. Every chance you get have your ankles close to your bottom. There are heaps of ways to do this. To get started try these options –

  • Think Asian squats whenever you can. If you can’t get down there do a modified version to help loosen up your ankles and hips. Stay there for as long as you can.
  • Hop off the ground from a seated position without using your hands. If you need to use your hands that’s still ok.
  • Fall in love with Turkish get ups. Lay on the floor and come to standing without using your hands.
  • Squat low and deep with a straight back, bringing your bottom as close to your ankles as possible.
  • Pop your shoes on by lifting your foot up to your hips – that’s a good balance exercise in itself!

Give it a try. I would love to hear about the things you do to get your bottom to your ankles and the difference it makes to your flexibility.

May we learn to crumple like kids 😀