Hobart Hockey!

2014-08-04 10.16.36It was off to the u12 school hockey carnival in Hobart – Sebastian’s first big representative gig. There was an opening ceremony with political banter, so we all knew it was real sport. The format was that each team played each other once and the tournament winners were determined by win/loss points.

2014-08-04 10.38.42As the Northern Territory didn’t send teams, the ACT was never going to be a strong contender and in the end, they didn’t win a game – although it was very close against SA at one point. The boys did play well though, and they improved their team play throughout the tournament. It was a pity they played Tasmania first, because if they had played against them the way they played in some of their later games, the result could have been different. The Tasmanian Hockey Centre was a nice location though, and while a bit cold, we were spared any real rain.

It was a good week of hockey.


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Weeks! #31: busy then Hobart

2014-07-28 16.59.33Back to work with lots to do. It is the way of sickness.

2014-07-29 21.30.20Even though I was still not close to fully healthy again, I made it out to training.

2014-07-30 09.39.03Wednesday I got a chance to have that thinking time – the US Embassy was hosting a “round table” on innovation at Questacon which I was invited to. Interesting to hear about things that are happening in industry and science and collaboration.

2014-07-30 17.30.55Still leaving work after dark.

2014-07-30 18.03.58-1Very pleased to receive another delivery of exciting tights.

2014-07-30 19.33.43Zac and Jude brought home school photos. Zac’s featured his typical Zac look of mild disdain.

2014-07-30 18.49.07-1Schnitzel night. Zac has decided to choose salad over fries in some advanced sign of maturity now with his schnitzels.

Some Arkham Horror for Wednesday night.

On Thursday it was up to Melbourne and back for a day at the airport Parkroyal. Haven’t done that for a while. This is what being back in the Commonwealth-state relationship space does to one. Did get to fly on my new favourite planes, the Qantas 717s though.

2014-07-31 20.08.30Reluctant to be caught in his onesie.

2014-08-01 08.34.52-2Friday was a chance to walk the boys to school.

2014-08-01 14.10.23I hosted a lunch on Friday for the four vocational students and the one teacher we sent to China earlier this year for an APEC youth camp. They then gave a talk afterwards about their experiences. They are all such impressive young people with great stories. For most of them, this had been their first trip out of the country – and it is a long way to China from Mildura or Burnie. Anyway, it is always nice to see soemthing really direct and positive come our of your work and also to see exactly why we do want to try and make the vocational education sector the best it can be – and to help other countries to build their own sectors.

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Since James’ injury, in particular, Jude and Zachary have really stepped it up in the kitchen and are enormously helpful when making dinner and so forth. They are the salad making specialists, and it can be hilarious to hear Jude bossing Zac around like a chef would a kitchen hand. All three of them also do a lot of the preparation of their lunches now, and their breakfasts and somehow we get out of the hosue so much faster in the mornings.

Saturday morning footy – Jude gets player of the round. And a snake.

Fritha came over to hang out for a while, and we got to see her brothers on the way through.

Zac also had his friend Sienna over. They seemed to spend most of the afternoon fighting it out in the backyard.

2014-08-02 16.31.47 2014-08-02 16.31.53Except at afternoon tea time.

2014-08-03 07.06.52The next morning Sebastian and I were up early and onto the plane and off to Hobart for his Primary School Hockey Championships.

It was a lovely afternoon in Hobart, so we did some wandering about.

2014-08-03 12.59.32With inevitable fish and chips for lunch.

Sebastian was also quite impressed to see the Aurora Australis in port, and, to continue the Antarctic theme, we went to the Douglas Mawson Hut museum.

There is no slacking off while on holiday with Sebastian, so after a little break in the afternoon, we went for another walk.

Then it was dinner and bed and ready for an early start for the first game of the tournament on Monday!

Weeks! #30: delegations, derby and more sickness

2014-07-22 10.54.47The beginning of the week was dominated by a visit from an important Indian delegation. It is nice though when you are on good enough terms with the Indian leader of the delegation that he asks you solicitously about the health of your children when you have to excuse yourself to tend to sick people. Judewas at home sick, and James and I were playing tag team parental care because we both had work obligations. Modern parenting.

2014-07-21 11.11.15The sick boy himself, clad in his Tigger onesie. Medium sick days can involve quite a lot of computer gaming.

2014-07-21 18.23.26Before going out to dinner on Monday night with the Indian delegation, I also managed to pick up Sebastian from his hockey training for the ACT team. Hockey pick ups also serve as excellent fodder for conversation with Indian delegations – several of the Indians had themselves played hockey, so there was lots of comparing of notes. I can be always grateful for my knowledge of hockey and cricket because it is a major upside in the Indian diplomacy space.

2014-07-22 19.07.54-1Here is a gratuitous Zachary in his dragon onesie shot. He has become very fond of wearing this at home and to bed and now the challenge is removing it to wash it.

2014-07-22 19.07.59-1Jude had recovered enough to go to school on Tuesday – and practice the viola.

2014-07-23 08.07.13On Wednesday it was up early and off to Melbourne for more meetings with the Indians and others. They had given me a beautiful scarf as a present, so I wore it.

2014-07-23 08.35.20I also wore my fishnets.

2014-07-23 08.29.29The offices we were in in Melbourne did have a spectacular view. Apparently there are attempts to introduce AFL to India so the MCG was a double discussion point.

2014-07-23 12.29.04I had been getting increasingly sick with a coldlike thing during the week. It was particularly annoying that I went straight from the gastro to a cold, but such is life. I struggled into work Thursday morning for a couple of important meetings, but by lunchtime-ish I was completely smashed and essentially went home to pass out in bed. And I stayed there for most of Friday with George as company. Except when I went to the doctor and he told me I had a nasty respiratory infection and to take all the antibiotics and ventolin.  I had kept hoping right up to 6pm that I would be well enough to make training and hence play the next day, but it was not to be. Not even close.

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I was spared Saturday morning sport due to sickness, but was out of the house in the afternoon. We went for coffee with Jude and Sebastian while Zachary was at his skating session. You know I am sick when I drink tea over a hot chocolate.

The boys’ training spot had moved to Woden CIT. I liked the wall-art.

2014-07-26 15.50.15And then it was the big boys’ turn at skating.

2014-07-26 15.51.49It was then off to Tuggeranong for the VDL double header. While I was far too sick to skate, I did manage to line-up manage for the co-ed bout. James bench managed the other team. My team (red!) won.

It was weird to watch the other game from the stands and to have no active role to play. And we won convincingly. At least I got a star biscuit with my name on it.

2014-07-26 20.30.49-1Sunday I continued to rest. The respiratory infection meant there was no chance of training. while I was resting though, others cooked and we ended up having a lovely dinner with Helen, Sean and the two Andrews.

Weeks! #29: Sri Lanka and sickness

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So on Monday morning I got on the lane I thought I was catching all along,even though I should already have been in Colombo. Oh well.

It all went smoothly and there was time for a massage and breakfast at the Qantas First Class Lounge.

2014-07-14 10.11.13And then a gin and tonic between flights in Bangkok.

2014-07-14 20.03.18The view from my hotel room was fabulous.

2014-07-15 08.27.58Although apparently I wasn’t supposed to photograph it.

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As I had to pack a three day program into two days, it was pretty busy. The main reason for my visit was to speak at a conference on vocational education and then I was fitting in a bunch of meetings when I had a free moment. I loved the campaign the Sri Lankans were developing to show people that skills study is a good option for young people.

We also got to see some spectacular dancing at the conference reception.

With me in Colombo were Melinda from one of the Industry Skills Councils, and Markeeta who was last year’s Aboriginal ad Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year. After the dinner, we went to a place they had spotted the day before (they caught the right plane) called the Ministry of Crab.

I ate the chilli crab which was delicious but hot hot hot.

2014-07-15 20.54.05-1 - CopyThe old Dutch Hospital complex where the restaurant was, was also home to a number of other restaurants and bars. We found one that served mojitos which helped to deal with the aftermath of too much chilli.2014-07-15 22.05.58-1The next day started with meetings, had conferencing interspersed with more meetings. I did have to leave the hotel for some of the meetings and got to see the sun sinking in the sky from the back of a hotel car.

2014-07-16 17.49.04 - CopyI was also pleased to fit in a quick swim – some time to float in the pool, listening to the sea and allow the stress to ebb away. At least a bit – and then the English school boy cricket team came and started doing synchronised jumps into the pool. On the upside, it was a big pool.

Free from official responsibilities, Melinda, Markeeta and I headed back to the Dutch Hospital for dinner and more mojitos.

The restaurant had super funky light-up menus.

And mojitos!

2014-07-16 22.08.20Here we are.

2014-07-16 22.01.46Then it was Thursday morning and time to fly home.

We had six hours in Bangkok. At the end of hour two, I started vomiting.  I did that regularly for the next four hours.

2014-07-17 17.18.51I can assure you that gastro and international flights are not a good mix. For the first time ever on an international flight I did not watch anything, eat anything or drink anything. I lay there and slept or tried to sleep. The Qantas staff were lovely and looked after me. I felt terrible.

Then arrived in Sydney and heard about MH17 before I was even off the plane and decided mine wasn’t the worst flight experience of the last 24 hours.

I couldn’t believe that there was a reporter waiting a international arrivals who asked me if I’d flown in from Malaysia. I couldn’t even.

Anyway, once I got back to Canberra, I spent the day in bed. I was supposed to be going to Sydney the next day to line up manage our final 5×5 game against S2D2 on Saturday, but there was no way I could stand for that long.

I did manage to sit at the football and watch Jude though.

The boys had a lego-a-thon over the weekend.

It was still very cold.

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And George was pretty relaxed.

2014-07-19 17.56.48-1By Sunday afternoon I was well enough to bake a banana cake.

2014-07-20 16.58.27-1And then, inescapably, work beckoned – I had to frock up and head to dinner at the Indian High Commissioner’s residence to welcome a delegation of Indians we were hosting for the next week. The gastro had gone at least, but a cold was emerging, but work…

2014-07-20 18.38.00

The Labours of Zac-ules!

2014-07-05 10.33.00Zac was adamant that he wanted a “12 tasks of Hercules” themed party this year. Never ones to turn down a challenge, we went for it and devised our own 12 challenges.

There was fighting a lion (well, tiger)…

Cleaning some stables (well, moving some small rocks from on spot to another)

We also had to pin the net on the boar.

2014-08-11 19.30.26 And there were a number of chasing, fighting, throwing, following and stealing games to make up the rest of the labours.

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Except for the slaying of the hydra. That was up to Zac-ules alone (although his brave companions helped with the eating)

Weeks! #28 high stress levels ahead

2014-07-08 08.11.33So the week started grey and foggy. It was always going to be a hard week – work busy and with some highly stressful things I can’t talk about here going on, about to go overseas, school holidays and James now with a broken collarbone which meant neither of us was sleeping particularly well. Usefully, mum and dad were in town so could take the pressure off with the boys and do things like cook the odd meal, but sometimes having extra people in the house has its own stressors – more washing up, less space etc particularly as our house is now a huge one. The weather reflected the week’s outlook.

In the busy busy week I did manage to escape for half an hour for coffee with Natasha. We were both at Parliament House in between meetings. She gave me a cute friendship band from her recent trip to Thailand. These little things add to a week.

2014-07-08 16.51.54It would be nice to have some time to sit and contemplate.

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However, the week was relentless with much coming home after dark.

2014-07-09 17.27.20In bright spots, on Wednesday we went out to celebrate Zac’s birthday belatedly – dinner had been originally planned for Sunday night, but James’ mishap had delayed it.

There was also the news that James’ step sister Sarah had had her baby – Isaac. I bought a present in case we had time to see them.

2014-07-10 13.30.38And some nice wines that Mum and Dad brought over with them got drunk before they headed home on Friday.

The weather was very cold, but that did give me the chance to wear some new stockings.

2014-07-10 13.26.23-1The cockies were out and about in force.

2014-07-11 08.43.59My boys all came and had lunch with me on Friday which was very nice.


Paul came over to play games with the boys and James on Saturday…

2014-07-12 15.06.33..while Jude and I went and had afternoon tea with Jasmin who couldn’t make it on Wednesday night.

Then, the impact of a non stop week of stress and events came home. I had Sunday all planned – shopping, making food to leave in the fridge for while I was away, packing, training. As I went to leave for training I picked up my work phone and discovered a text message from the people with whom I was travelling to Sri Lanka asking me if I was at the lounge. I freaked out. i had been absolutely certain I was travelling on Monday. Absolutely certain. I was planning to read my briefing on the plane, so hadn’t looked at it. When I did, indeed my flights were for Sunday. after some moments of panic, I rang our travel people to get me on the next flight (which ended up being on Monday) and rang my staff to start the process of reorganising my program. No photos after that point because I was too angry at myself. I got to training in time to scrim because there was no point staying at home.  I realised though that I had pretty much reached my stress limit.