Gym buddies

Sebastian has decided to join me at the gym this year and seems to be enjoying it. He’s mastered bosu squats (better than me) and has even done sets of 20kg bench press.

I was very excited to finally deadlift 100kg…the best thing about lifting the heavies is how easily quantifiable your progress actually is.

I did manage to injure my back, but tried not to let it completely break my gym habits. One of the bonuses of having a gym buddy is that on the mornings when you don’t feel like it, you have a reason to get going, and then you still feel better at the end.

Back is much better now, and we are back to usual – and having mornings where sometimes we just feel trashed. But we do love #gymlife.

Grief and the second circle

Over the last few years I have been through a few deaths – not of my nearest and dearest, but of the second, or even third circle of people you know. An aunt by marriage who I never really knew well, a colleague I had worked closely with from time to time but seen irregularly, an old family friend who I hadn’t seen for year, a friend who I would talk to at parties and connect with on social media but not invite out alone…

When these deaths happen one feels grief and sadness, but it is odd and can be mixed with other feelings? Am I being self indulgent? Do I really *deserve* to mourn these people. It is made more complicated because in many of these cases there are people close to me who were closer to the person who died, who have a deeper connection, a greater grief. I often avoid mentioning these deaths directly on social media, because the compassion from friends you receive sometimes makes me feel like an imposter, taking the attention from those who probably deserve it more. As if compassion is finite.

But these deaths do impact on me. Sometimes it is the grief of others – watching the sadness and grief of those you care deeply about is a great multiplier of grief. Sometimes it is regret – regret that you didn’t have that chance to get to know that person better or learn more from them. Sometimes it is guilt – that you didn’t take the chance to spend that time, so say that thing. Sometimes it is shock – the method of death, the suddenness, the sense that the world is less ordered than you think. Sometimes it is the sense of mortality – yes I may die, or anyone may die, sooner than you think or expect or hope. Sometimes it is the sadness for the loss of what could have been. And sometimes it is a realisation that no matter how small a detail that person may have been on the tapestry of your life, that detail is forever gone and your life is changed, no matter how minutely.

I think I need to let myself feel what I am feeling and recognide the need to mourn, that whatever I am feeling is the appropriate way for me to feel. That death matters and we all need room to process it, no matter how close we were or weren’t to the person we are mourning. 

Further experiments in baking

Sebastian decided to make some “pineapple” buns, which, to my surprise, contained no pineapple. The name relates more to their appearance.

They have two levels of baking. Buns which had to proof…

…and a biscuit -like top.

Baked up, they look like this

And tasted delicious.

Beach holiday week

Nothing like a week at the beach to relax and recharge and live the Australian dream. We swapped houses with John and Jackie for a week in Merimbula.

The boys spent time boogie boarding when the surf was appropriate.

I actually gave it a go at the end of the week and was delighted to actually do it effectively for the first time in forever. I guess that means more boogie board tome for me in the future.

We also spent a lot of time at Mitchies Jetty, taking advantage of the calmer waters for swimming and other things.

There was a lot of jumping from the jetty. Here is Sebastian doing some sort of flip.

There was also stand up paddle boarding and kayaking to be done.

Jude and Zac managed to get themselves sunburnt through poor sunscreen application, so Sebastian, James and I went shopping then walked the boardwalk.


We had a visit to Magic Mountain to do the tree climb. I spent the entire time mildly terrified and eventually had yo be rescued when I found an obstacle my brain just would not let me climb. I did regain some dignity by being told I was less terrified than most people they rescued and managed to abseilung down on the first go. There are no photos of this event.

There were a number of other activities undertaken. Jude created a paininting for his Ga.

Sebastian baked a cake, but didn’t quite crack the sponge.

Ribs got eaten.

As did icecreams.

And, of course, there was sleeping in.

It was a lovely break, all in all.

And then it was time to drive home.

Back in the air

Under Sydney Harbour Bridge here. This week I got back on a plane and did a quick three day, three city tour. 

My current job, unlike my usual one, doesn’t involve a lot of travel, so it was just under two months since I had been on a plane…and may be another two months (or more!) before I get on another.

I had to give presentations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane about the application process for our new program. Two identical presentations in each city. Six identical presentations in three days. I was glad we had questions as it was the only time I got to make a joke.

There was lots of work in between presentations and I reverted back to my mobile office set up. Fizzy caffeinated beverages weren’t optimal.

We flew to Sydney and back Tuesday, then to Brisbane first thing Wednesday. From Brisbane we went directly to Melbourne where we got stuck in traffic at 9.30pm and didn’t make it to the hotel until after 10.30pm. I was very tired.

But it all went well – no major dramas, no questions too difficult, no people too belligerent. It was nice to get home again though.

January foods

The boys have been expected to do something creative each day during the holidays. Quite often, especially for Sebastian, this has been cooking.

Above is his orange trifle – using a cake he made specially, left over orange custard from eclairs, jelly and meringues he also made. It was pretty delicious.

Sebastian also helped out with dinner, cooking collaboratively with James. For our fish, he whipped up a leek and cream sauce.

We did some late night cooking together. I was preparing pork for slow roasting in milk, he was testing out a hot cross bun recipe (it wasn’t the best).

I attempted to get in on the act and make chocolate pavlova – it didn’t really work well, but it tasted good anyway.

Zac decided he would get ambitious – after helping Sebastian with eclairs last week, he cooked his own from scratch, including the choux pastry and custard for filling. They were impressively good.

Sebastian also whipped up another delicious lemon tart. I could get used to all this cooking.

Small boys who cook

I must say it is rather nice to come home to dinner and dessert prepared by the small (well, not so small any more) ones.

Tonight Sebastian whipped up some Texan chilli beef for dinner.

It was pretty delicious.

He and Zac also worked together to make eclairs, filled with orange custard. Sebastian sis the paatry work and Zac helped him out with the rest.

Fabulous!