Weeks! #21: Sydney, sports, books and other literature

2014-05-19 09.20.21Up early on a Monday morning and off to Sydney to talk to migration agents. Fortunately it was not a super early flight.

The migration agents meet at Cockle Bay, so I had a chance to catch up on work at the Lindt cafe and enjoy some chocolately goodness before I had to speak.

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Nothing like a sunset over Botany Bay as you are about to fly home.

2014-05-19 18.39.03And who can object to a 2004 Rockford Cabernet Sauvignon?

2014-05-20 11.23.56SebastVarious stresses and tiredness lead to the need for caffeine and chocolate.

Our second high school open night – this time at Campbell High School. Jude came along too as he is only a year off high school contemplation himself. I liked the feel of Campbell – smaller than Lyneham and the principal seemed more dynamic plus there was a lot of engagement by students. We are lucky though because both are good schools and the boys will be in a good place whatever their choice. Sebastian and Jude’s very good friends Oscar and Ezra were also there so we did our own tour together.

2014-05-21 08.15.54Foggy autumn morning. I walked Jude and Zac to school in the fog, while James and Sebastian headed off to a day of schools’ hockey.

2014-05-21 19.38.58Both Jude and Zachary are doing enrichment writing this semester at school. Here is a poem from Zac, though he insists it isn’t a poem but sentences. But it feels like a poem to me.

2014-05-22 08.12.06Another early morning walk to school with Jude and Zac for Thursday choir. I think Jude still has some of his breakfast on his face.

I was back at Turner later in the morning for the 5/6 book awards. It was a lovely little event, and the award winners won beautiful hardback versions of classic children’s books. Jude was nominated in the category of Best Plot. Sebastian’s best friend Oscar won his class award – even before he won I loved to see how proud Sebastian was of his friend’s work, telling me he should read it. Each of the winners read a little of their “novella” and there was some really lovely writing. The ‘Turner Children’s Book Council” did very well.

Sebastian and Jude were off with the two Andrews for a Magic tournament Friday night, so it was an early dumpling dinner for us all.

Then I went to training. Which was hard work. But fun.

2014-05-23 20.54.35Saturday morning football. Jude scored the coach’s award for player of the round for his dogged persistence particularly in defence.

Then, off to Zac’s football…

And straight from there to junior derby training.

I didn’t have to catch up on any work, so in between watching the boys skate, I had some time for reading.

2014-05-24 15.36.25This was a lovely book which I think Lucy gave me for Christmas. I started reading it on Monday and finished while I was sick in bed on Sunday. Written in the form of a series of letters, it balanced romance and humour with some fairly dark history particularly of Guernsey during German occupation in World War II. I wouldn’t claim that it is a work of towering literary genius, but it is a completely engaging read with an interesting story and an insight to a corner of WWII history I knew almost nothing about. Definitely worth it.

2014-05-24 16.49.21After the day of almost non stop sporting action, it was time for a trusty g&t.

2014-05-24 18.25.12Sometimes I think George just really wishes he could handle a Wii controller himself.

2014-05-25 12.15.46Instead of going to training I stayed in bed because I was sick. George decided to join me. Later I slept for three hours on the couch, which was when I felt reassured that I wasn’t just being slack, I really was sick.

2014-05-25 22.40.12And because I finished my last book, I am now onto Century Rain, but this means I need Alastair Reynolds to write new books because I think this is the last of his novels I have to read.

Weeks! #20: just the usual

2014-05-12 08.31.59Sebastian has his new “Leadership class” ie “we’re in Grade 6” shirt. He’s getting so old!

2014-05-12 13.12.30Canberra continues to show its autumn colours.

2014-05-12 13.24.49Lunch with James at LSR is always a nice treat.

2014-05-13 13.57.11I took my shoes to Redpath to get repaired and discovered the perfect solution to my football wet feet. Aren’t they pretty?

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Wore my France Men’s Derby team t-shirt to training. Francophile derby! All my favourite things!

2014-05-15 08.18.12Zac decided he could go without his jumper. And without a long shirt. Or long pants. It was about two degrees.

2014-05-15 18.40.24When I met Natasha last week, I had a very belated birthday gift for Cordelia and a Darth Vader t-shirt for Conrad. This week I received lovely thank you notes.

2014-05-16 09.14.42My new blue toenails match my blue fishnets!

2014-05-16 17.39.58Sometimes, Zac is overcome by fits of uncontrollable laughter. Somewhat like his mother who was occasionally labelled a Giggle Pot in her extreme youth.

Football! We were on oranges duty which we didn’t realise until shortly before we left for footy, so there was a stop at the IGA and I cut them up at the ground.

It was a nice morning for it though. I wore my new football shoes which kept my feet dry, and enjoyed the sunshine.

2014-05-17 11.14.56Collected on the walk back by Team Minkey, we headed to LSR 23 for brunch or early lunch or something.

It was then back to Reid for Zac’s game. Sunshine and sausage.

2014-05-17 12.01.32George did not make himself popular by making himself at home on my velvet jacket.

Then off to junior derby where I caught up with work while watching. Jude and Zac relaxed during Sebastian’s training session. It is great though to see the boys improve from week to week.

2014-05-17 17.33.27Time to open another birthday bottle of gin. This one was from Michelle and Steve. Delicious.

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D&D time with the old gang.

It was World Whisky Day, so took the chance to sample some of my Caol Ila.

2014-05-18 08.52.29To finsih the week: “I don’t know” Man! A superhero for the ages.

Cinderoller: Sophomores vs Murderous Crows

2014-05-03 16.11.32It was Demo’s birthday and her first run as Line Up Manager so cake!

It was my second game, and rather than being the newest, least experienced player on the team, I was definitely in the middle. We have been growing as a League and nearly have the numbers for a full independent second team, so we decided to trial the idea and give some newer players a go, with a few cross overs from the usual DHR team. We knew that Wagga had lost a couple of their experienced players, and given that we had beaten them reasonably well last year with the DHR line-up, we thought it would be a good match for the newly christened Sophomores.

Because I was playing I didn’t take any photos, however you can see the whole game here.  And I have borrowed a couple of photos here from David Mackie and Steven Craddock.wagga game cinderroller team

It was a really fun game. Lasseration again showed what a dominating player she is, while Cherry did some awesome jamming and Jo Dirt really rose to the occasion with a magnificent debut. In the end the score was Sophomores 326 to Wagga’s Murderous Crows 85. We think the Sophomores have a strong future ahead of them!


Weeks! #19: consumables, Melbourne, football

2014-05-05 13.20.42Started the week at Jamie’s Italian catching up with Mathew which was lovely. So was the tiramisu.

2014-05-05 17.45.43And in the evening a rather nice shiraz durif. Because we could. Also because we are starting to run low on quaffing wine.

2014-05-06 09.40.01Bacon sandwich, no egg, no sauce, no toast. Even though I only have one for breakfast once every couple of weeks, the women in the little cafe downstairs know exactly what I want when I come and order it.

2014-05-06 11.39.35Some more #yourtightsatwork. I love these ones which I bought over a year ago shopping in Brooklyn with Frederique; makes me think of her and Eric every time I wear them.

2014-05-06 13.29.14James and I had lunch at the Cupping Room. I can’t resist the Salted Caramel and Popcorn milkshake, even if I felt more than a little full at the end of it.

Sebastian is going to high school next year!! Eeek! How am I that old? [side note: when my parents were my age I had already finished university, so I am definitely that old and then some] Anyway it was off to Lyneham High School open night to check it out. Sebastian, true to form, was most interested in the gym, science labs and cooking area. I was super impressed with myself that I could recognise the chlorophyll extracting experiemnt after all these years. Although, I will admit that experiment is burned on my memory from year 10 as I remember everyone setting the lab on fire with methylated spirits while people took turns distracting Mrs Mayfield at the front of the classroom by getting her to show us the rocks which lit up under ultraviolet light (we were the top science class, mind you). Also, I think empires could rise and fall and yet To Kill A Mockingbird, Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies will still be on the year 10 English curriculum. Did anyone not study them at high school?

2014-05-07 06.17.14It was up early the next m0rning and off to the airport. Flights to Melbourne are frustrating – if you need to be anywhere  by 9.30am you really need to catch the 6.40am flight. Qantas and Virgin, I would so love you if you could introduce a 7.30am flight.

2014-05-07 08.34.00Melbourne from a taxi.

2014-05-07 09.33.18Because 6.40am flight I actually got to have breakfast before my conference day started.

2014-05-07 15.26.41It was a day about VET teachers and teaching. Given I have to talk about these things all over the world, good to stay up to date. Really interesting in the way social media can be used, but I always do worry about presentations which focus on “here is the cool techonology” rather than engaging with why and how the technology can contribute to or improve teaching outcomes. But always nice to spend a day learning. And thinking.

And after the conference, a visit to the Gin Palace…for gin.

2014-05-07 20.28.02I I actually really like Melbourne. As I wandered along Southbank I thought that I might indeed prefer Melbourne to Sydney. Different cities, different attractions, but I think I prefer Melbourne’s style.

2014-05-07 20.29.33The view from my hotel room the next morning didn’t hurt my Melbourne preference.

2014-05-08 07.36.12 2014-05-08 17.07.44I was speaking at E-Oz’s conference about Women in the Trades. Very pleased they asked me again because I do think it is important. It is fascinating that, while there have been significant advances in gender equity in traditionally male dominated professions – even engineering – women still represent something like 2% of all electrical apprentices. Vocationally trained occupations are still incredibly gendered – the traditional trades are significantly male dominated (except for hairdressers) while women are clustered in child care, aged care, retail and hospitality (but not chefs usually). The choice of traditionally gendered occupations have massive implications for wage potentials – those caring occupations are amongst the lowest paid while being an electrician or a plumber can lead to quite significant earnings. So it is great to have the opportunity to hear about approaches to overcoming these gaps, and to hear the wonderful stories of those who have. I really liked hearing from Maddie, a current electrical apprentice, about her experiences and her enthusiasm for what she is doing. it is a pity that more young woman don’t even realise these career paths are a possibility for them – and that not all jobs in the trades are dirty or dangerous; many are highly skilled technicians. Not that there is anything wrong with a bit of dirt and a bit of danger.

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In a magnificent coincidence that Natasha and I have been trying to make happen for over a year now, she happened to be in Melbourne at the same time. So she made sure we had nearby rooms and booked us a pedicure. I took a short break from my conference for feet indulgence and gossip.There is nothing like some solid Best Friend Time to debrief about the challenges of life. And to get blue toenails.

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The conference dinner included cocktails! It is funny how when you have worked with people and met at conferences and other things over years you really do develop friendships. Conference dinners are a nice place to catch up.

2014-05-08 18.05.08I had to get up early to fly back to work, so I watched the sun rise from the 28th floor of the Metropol. i couldn’t take a photos that captured how spectacular that was, but I tried.

2014-05-09 06.49.17I got a lovely surprise at work. But apparently I nearly spoiled it. I had popped up to see my wonderful boss Craig to tell him about our latest drama and I noticed that on his desk he had a bottle of the D’arenberg Peppermint Paddock sparkling chambourcin. I assumed he had it as a present for someone and I told him it was an excellent choice, one of my absolute favourites. About five minutes after we had our meeting, one of my friends who has an office near Craig came down and presented the bottle and note to me. It had not even occurred to me that it was actually a gift for me. It was a token of appreciation for my professional handling of my appearance at the Royal Commission. It doesn’t take much to feel appreciated, and this was certainly something that helped.

2014-05-09 16.35.32At the moment weekends are all about sport. Football, hockey, football, derby, derby, derby.

Friday night I watched Zac play his second game before heading off to my own derby training. Saturday morning was Jude’s footy – they had a whole pink thing going on because it was Mother’s Day.

Even though it wasn’t raining my feet got a bit wet. And I was happy to be at Reid, where there were sausages! Jude and Zac both have good c0aches this year. Jude’s coach and his wife, who is the team manager, are particularly organised and lovely – they make special awards for the players each week and include mini figures and footy cards of players from their favourite club. Jude has been designated the nickname Danger – it is his middle name, apparently – in homage to Patrick Dangerfield. Given Jude doesn’t watch a lot of AFL, it probably doesn’t mean as much to him as it might, but he still thinks his coach is wonderful. The football at Ainslie has always been great. The coaches that all three boys have had over the years have been lovely and the various cohorts of parents have been great – everyone claps the opposition, can be both fondly deprecating but also wildly proud of their kids, love and encourage the girls’ participation, know most of the kids in the team and cheer them equally. I must admit that I am not one for creating massive social engagement with other parents at sporting events, but I like the feel of the parents and the encouragement of the kids. There is something joyful about watching the players do something great and the genuine pleasure the parents get out of it. I feel really lucky that at football we really haven’t had to deal with ugly parent syndrome at all. And I have enormous thanks for the people who have put lots of time into coaching football and managing teams and giving my boys something to look forward to each week.

Jude and I walked home from football. Our street is so pretty at this time of year.

More sport! Junior derby time. I took my iPad and some work to catch up on while watching the boys improve their skating skills. They have started getting certificates for reaching various achievement levels in their skills.

2014-05-10 18.15.31I finished off my lovely bottle of Blackwoods. This will be a gin I invest in again.

Bronwen was in town from the coast, so she and Rachel joined us for dinner. Sebastian (with some help from his father) whipped up a delicious lemon tart.

2014-05-11 15.39.11Sunday was my turn on skates. Also, if you have read last week’s post, apparently you notice I am quite fond of these socks.

2014-05-11 19.39.17And to end the week in appropriate fabulousness, we watched Eurovision with the Andrews.  I was a little disappointed by the voting for France.

5×5: Dishonour Rollers vs Western Sydney

2014-04-26 14.32.27Here is some of the team before our bout versus Western Sydney. This was the second round of 5×5 however we had had a bye in Round 1, so it was our first foray into the competition. While Western Sydney had been beaten fairly well by S2D2 in Round 1, they had won the B Division of ERRD  last year, so we were not planning on underestimating them. Conversations with some S2D2 folk had suggested, however, that they had beaten them with superior fitness and speed, so this was something we thought about carefully while devising our game plan.

To our delight, the plan came together and worked really effectively. When our jammers didn’t get lead, we ran the pack away and our jammer ran them down. Blocktopussy in particular did some excellent work in this respect, and while she didn’t score the most points on the day, she had very few scored against her. Lasseration jammed brilliantly as usual, as well as putting in some very effectively blocking to be named MVP by WSR. We led from the first jam and maintained a strong lead the entire game. It was a great game to line up manage and there really wasn’t a weak link. I was really proud of the team and how well they played together.

Final score was DHrs 189 to WSR 121.

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Weeks! #18: the cold sets in

2014-04-28 08.48.22-2The boys headed back to school for term 2. The cold term.

2014-04-29 11.34.00Mum and Dad sent me some lovely earrings for my birthday which they had acquired on the South American extravaganza. Didn’t stop me being jealous of their epic journey.

2014-04-29 17.25.06We

With the colder, darker months upon us I am seeing more of the funny plastic spikes in all their multicoloured glory as I regularly head home after dark. Also prompted me to buy a new super bright bike light for riding home.

2014-04-29 19.49.55Back at training. It gets slightly harder in winter when it often seems colder in our training venue than outside. But on the upside, things don’t get quite so sweaty.

2014-04-30 13.53.57I think Tine, my EA, was deliberately trying to tempt me with all my favourite mini Easter eggs. Except the Turkish Delight ones; those are erk.

2014-04-30 14.06.53At an SES training course. I had to exercise all my restraint here.

2014-04-30 18.17.20Schnitzel night at Edgars. Always a family favourite.

2014-05-01 08.07.30First morning of frost on the car windscreen.

We got to school early on Thursday morning. I hung out with Sebastian and Zachary for a little bit while Jude headed off to choir. Zac’s started 15 minutes later.

2014-05-01 11.15.31Hairdresser visit. I was feeling a bit poorly, so I went for green tea rather than the usual hot chocolate.

2014-05-01 13.20.46New hair looked good, but I still felt bad so took it home to bed.

2014-05-01 14.48.00Some trees have turned to autumn colours completely.

2014-05-02 08.41.16Others are still hanging on to their summer leaves.

2014-05-01 13.34.44When you aren’t feeling great, bread which is still slightly warm from baking and cheese helps cheer you up.

2014-05-01 13.56.48-1I wasn’t the only one to visit the hairdresser – the boys went too. And after a couple of years of long hair, Jude decided to go the radical chop. He looks so much younger with the hair short.

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Zac had his first official footy game on Friday night.

2014-05-02 17.43.31Fortunately it was just across the road at Ainslie, so despite having spent the day on the couch, I wrapped up warm to go and see him play. I had forgotten how adorably chaotic and hopeless under 8 footy is. Very cute.

Jude had football in the rain on Saturday. My boots didn’t cope that well with the wet.

Jude played well and managed a great goal which bounced and dribbled at the end across the line. He got Goal of the Round for that.

I was playing derby that night and the boys were restarting their junior derby classes, so there was some skate maintenance time.

2014-05-03 11.25.53Then the boys got on wheels – fortunately this was inside out of the rain.

2014-05-03 14.17.20Our derby game went well – I will blog about it separately. Here I am looking a bit tired out after the game.

2014-05-03 19.58.44Sunday was a day for quieter activities. Well, at least for me and Jude and Zac. Sebastian had to go and play hockey.

2014-05-04 12.53.38And when your back and ankle hurt from post game injury, what better way to finish the week than a g&t.

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Weeks! #17: days off with a bit of work in between

2014-04-21 12.17.43The presence of Easter meant Monday was a holiday so we walked into town to see The Lego Movie. Which we all enjoyed a lot. The grown ups were especially big fans of Batman.

There were beers (for grown ups) and food at Shorty’s post movie before heading home for our own Lego construction extravaganza.

I was particularly proud of my construction effort.

2014-04-21 18.15.40The boys also discovered stop motion animation apps and became completely absorbed in the effort of bringing their Lego to life. Some of their efforts weren’t half bad either.

2014-04-21 19.12.50Tuesday I stayed at home to hang out with the boys. We had the compulsory stop at the park after visiting Ainslie shops.

Then Jude and Sebastian had Oscar and Ezra over for an afternoon of boy hanging out. Strangely I think it was entirely less of a hassle to have five boys in the house than it was to have three. There was lots of Magic, stop motion animation and hitting each other with swords. As you do.

George was not amused.

2014-04-22 15.38.46The boys went and stayed at Jackie’s house Tuesday night, so we took advantage of the opportunity to go and finally try out Pulp Kitchen at Ainslie. Food was fabulous and we had a lovely time.

I have more than the usual number of excellent scotches at home at the moment. Have tried out both the Talisker Dark Storm and the Jura Superstition recently. Can report that they are both very drinkable.

2014-04-22 21.24.19This week we tried Eldritch Horror rather than Arkham. I believe we were horribly consumed by Cthulhu.

2014-04-23 20.22.42This week we tried Eldritch Horror rather than Arkham. I believe we were horribly consumed by Cthulhu.

A blue day!

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I had Japanese visitors at work recently and they gave me a lovely ikebana calendar. I finaly got it up on my wall this week. I  do love ikebana – I did classes at school nearly once a week while I live in Japan and was very close to achieving what was essentially a black belt in it before I left.I will never forget my ikebana sensai who spoke virtually no English but pounded into me the three basic elements of ikebana arrangements: shin, soi, juushi.  I still love the sparseness of these flower arrangements so much more than most Western arrangements. Anyway, nice to have a reminder on my office wall.

2014-04-24 12.17.07Friday was ANZAC Day and we headed off to the Blue Mountains (see previous post for all the photos).

2014-04-25 10.24.45The traffic once we got to the Mountains was dire – completely crawling, so eventually we pulled off the highway at a nearby town for some hot chips.

Once we got to Blackheath where we were staying it was time for afternoon tea and hot chocolates…as you can see from Zachary’s markings.

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With some local advice sourced from Twitter, we found a very nice breakfast venue in Katoomba the next morning.

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After some sightseeing chronicled earlier, it was off to the roller derby venue for the afternoon. The boys found ways to enjoy themselves including balloons and facepainting.

The next morning it was hipster brunch in Blackheath before the drive back to Canberra. The boys wore their derby shirts.