Weeks! #34: planes, food, skates,bikes and tights

2014-08-18 16.43.42-2Another week, another flight. This time it was up to Sydney for the night.

2014-08-18 17.28.34And a gloomy day in Sydney it was. This was the view of the harbour from my hotel room window.

2014-08-18 19.19.42Part of my new expanded responsibilities are overseeing our contract for Skills Week – this was the NSW launch. It was great to see Jessica Martin who came to India with us last year in action as co host. Jessica won a silver medal at Wordskills in restaurant service and since has been offered amazing jobs in top tier restaurants all over the world. Markeeta Douglas who was in Sri Lanka with me a couple of months ago also gave an inspiring speech. I do enjoy seeing some of the outstanding people in the vocational education sector and the opportunities that their skills education have provided them.

2014-08-19 06.56.15-1Up ridiculously early and back to Canberra for a full day of work.

2014-08-19 11.04.22I met this disturbing thing at the hairdresser. Fortunately I didn’t look like that post visit.

2014-08-19 13.36.28I actually managed to cook dinner – one of the boys new favourites, my take on chicken tikka masala.

2014-08-19 18.39.21Sebastian and the magic cards.

2014-08-20 19.53.54Who wouldn’t love having the viola played to them by a tiger?

2014-08-20 19.56.46-1Work selfies.

 

 

We drank this one just because we could. It was delicious.

2014-08-21 18.36.54Having run out of Arthur Ransome, bedtime stories is now firmly focused on Joan Aiken. I am enjoying this one because it was written after I had stopped reading children’s fiction so it is all new to me too.

2014-08-21 20.29.57As I am now on hiatus from derby, time to launch back into riding. And it is a beautiful time of year for it.

Still stocking time of year though.

2014-08-22 09.36.19And hot chocolates.

2014-08-22 13.52.32Work is pretty flat out, so still leaving the office at sunset. It is just that sunset is a bit later now.

Friday night was another dumpling night with Paul and Chung Ling – I came home to find the boys covered in flour and helping out.

It was Zac’s final footy game for the year – last time to voraciously consume oranges, sing the team song and kick the footy to teammates.

We then had to rush to pick up Jude from skating…

2014-08-23 14.43.14…to be back in time for the football presentation.

2014-08-23 16.18.37It had rained in the meantime so the presentation had been moved inside. But the rain didn’t last.

2014-08-23 16.10.56The boys were then skating at a closed doors bout.

While it was great to watch the boys demonstrating their skills, it was a bit hard to watch the serious derby so soon after deciding to take a break. Made me want to be on my skates and bouting.

2014-08-23 18.36.41Jude’s footy coach this year was really awesome. We have been lucky at Ainslie because the coaches have all been great, but “Sporter” goes above and beyond – always encouraging and positive and with added extras such as writing the match report each week and providing special awards. His final touch for the year – he made each of the boys their own football card.

2014-08-23 20.09.07We finally got around to watching the Veronica Mars movie. James wasn’t necessarily going to watch, but he was on the couch before the title came up. It was wonderful and definitely makes one hope for more.

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Washing weather in a stockings household.

2014-08-24 12.20.59I went for another long ride which was lovely. Well, it was lovely for the first hour, then the final half hour started to get a bit tough. Have to work on that fitness. Here’s views of the fountain from opposite ends of the lake.

To complete our Sunday it was off to hear Commander Hadfield and friends talk about space. It was excellent. I still want to be an astronaut. Made me wonder whether I should have stuck to 11 year old me’s plan.

 

And what better way to top off some inspiration about space travel than with Chinese food?

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Weeks! #33: All’s well that ends well

2014-08-12 08.32.35Started the week walking to work and remembering how gorgeous Canberra can be, especially on a bright, nearly spring day.

2014-08-13 11.30.54Here I am, managing to look relaxed and reasonably happy to be back in the office.

One part of my job that I enjoy, and that I believe is very important, is mentoring. I currently work with three women, both older and younger than me, to provide support, ideas and, hopefully, some inspiration. I strongly believe that as a feminist and a woman who has managed to achieve a few things and be moderately successful I should try to help others to climb the ladder and even go past me. I have been lucky to have some great women offer me advice and support throughout my career (both at work and academically) and I think it is incredibly important to try and help other women, and to build networks of mutual benefit. Of course, if a man asked me to mentor him, I would be happy to do it, but I also think it is important that women build the ties and networks that men have always had. It is also an extra benefit when you can catch up with mentorees at a coffee sop – and I did that twice this week.

2014-08-13 21.00.14-1Argh! Not mini Cthulhu!

2014-08-14 18.22.18So this week got stressful quite quickly. I learnt, inadvertently, that I was going to be expected to retest for my orange star because I hadn’t quite made 50% of training for the period.  If you follow this blog, you’ll know that between sickness, travel and other commitments, it had been really tough in the last eight weeks. Apparently a rule that had been created for one purpose, was suddenly and unexpectedly being used in a different way. Not that there would have been much I could have done had I known it – I had only missed training when I was physically unable to go, either through extreme sickness or because I wasn’t in Canberra. Anyway I was upset by this – two and a half years of making training attendance apparently don’t count for anything if you make 40% in one cycle. I was also feeling frustrated with some of the politics and with some other decisions. And I couldn’t emotionally face doing another test. My confidence has been a bit battered this year and I hate those tests. It is funny – five hours of questioning by a Royal Commission I can take in my stride, but being tested on my derby skills…. I guess while I was President I should have thought about better ways of doing it – some people do well at single summative tests, but for others perhaps we could have instituted other approaches like progressive ticking off of competencies or something. And I still hate the 27 in 5 test (and can’t do it). Never in derby do you have to skate for five minutes at top speed so I really don’t know what derby skill it is supposed to test. Anyway, given all this, it was surprisingly easy to make the decision to have an indefinite sabbatical. Made me sad, but I figured it was the best thing for the moment. Finding myself dragging myself to training, being frustrated and upset is not the part of derby that I enjoy, and it was starting to outweigh the fun quite heavily. I thought about staying on to line up manage, but I realised it would be too upsetting to see everyone skating and not particpate. So sabbatical it is. And it left me pretty tired and wrung out by the end of the week.

2014-08-15 08.29.11Went to see Jude and Seb’s pop up STEM Festival displays on Friday. Here is Jude and the seed experiment.

Sebastian and his partner had won the engineering challenge – creating a “boat” which could hold the most weight. I believe theirs took three kilos.

2014-08-15 18.37.21The boys have been good helpers in the kitchen for a long time, but since James broke his collar bone that has stepped up another notch. Jude and Zac have become excellent salad makers, and sometimes in the morning I get up and find that they have completely organised their breakfast – including chopped up carrots and all. It is amazing how much easier it makes life.

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With everything that had been happening this week, Friday night called for a g&t-sparkling red double.

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Been trying to find more time to read (other than just on planes). Reading this was helping with that. I was actually surprised how closely the book and the series were for this season, with a few obvious differences. I guess it is easier to leave a character out for an entire “season” in a book than it is in tv you have to find something for them to do.

Saturday football with Zac. Sometimes I think they are in it for the oranges.

2014-08-16 21.36.40There are few better ways to spend a cold and gloomy Saturday afternoon than killing monsters.

And there can be no better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon than being at a Hugh Hamilton lunch at the Boathouse with good wine, good food and good friends. If only the whole week had been like the last part of it!

Weeks! #32: Hobart Happies

2014-08-04 11.06.45One of the great things about the Tasmanian Hockey Centre is that it is only a 10-15 minute walk from the Newtown Jackman and McRoss. So on Monday and Tuesday when Sebastian had hockey games both in the morning and the afternoon, we spent a fair portion of the time in between enjoying the pastry and other delights Jackman and McRoss had to offer.

2014-08-05 12.08.21We had quite a spectacular view of Mount Wellington from our apartment, and we got to see the snowline slowly recede over the course of the week.

2014-08-04 14.13.48-1The sunsets were also rather beautiful.

 

When in Hobart, best to drink Tasmanian beer.

2014-08-04 17.43.53It was lovely to spend some time alone with Sebastian and really appreciate how much more grown up he is now (though there is still plenty of the boy in him). We had a couple of lovely dinners and lunches together with pleasant conversation, but also enjoyed curling up on the couch – him with the iPad and me with my book – and enjoying some quite time together.

2014-08-04 18.35.20Even if he isn’t always happy about having his photo taken.

2014-08-05 16.21.09Wednesday was the non hockey playing day, and Sebastian spent the morning with his teammates on an “educational outing” while I spent it mostly in bed reading. Bliss! In the afternoon we headed to Salamanca for some late lunch and a wander about.

We also popped into the Tasmanian Museum for a visit and were quite impressed by it.

James arrived Wednesday evening.

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We went out for dinner at one of the restaurants Sebastian and I had been eyeing off – beautiful local Tasmanian produce. James and I shared a lamb shoulder.

2014-08-06 19.33.28Out for breakfast the next morning before heading to the hockey centre.

2014-08-07 10.40.58Once the game was done, there was time to visit MONA. Again a great place to visit – terrific curation, interesting things to see, fabulous building.

Thursday night we had the fun of catching up with Sam and Tracey in the Coincidence of Us All Being In Tasmania At The Same Time. It was nice to be able to wish Sam a (slightly belated) happy birthday in person and consume more fabulous Tasmanian food.

It was up early for the final hockey game of the tournament.

2014-08-08 08.03.25After the hockey game, we took James to experience the joy of Jackman and McRoss for an early lunch.

 

Then, once the hockey was all done and the closing ceremony over, we hired a car and headed up Mount Wellington. Sebastian was keen to encounter snow for the first time. He enjoyed that experience.

We had Japanese for dinner and couldn’t resist the beer.

Saturday morning featured a compulsory visit to the Salamanca markets. I bought a new skirt, and the boys later surprised me with the gift of a gorgeous bag I had spotted at one of the stores.

While I have been to Hobart a number of times, I had never really been out of the city, so after Salamanca we headed to Port Arthur. It is an absolutely stunning spot – hard to imagine it has been the site of such violence both recently and in the past.

We started back before the sun set.

2014-08-09 16.13.59For our Saturday night entertainment, we found local roller derby action. The Van Diemen Rollers were playing the South Island Sirens, followed by a combined women’s team versus the Bass Strait Brawlers men’s team.

Sebastian was particularly impressed when he won a giant jar of lollies in a coin sliding competition.

2014-08-09 19.44.49Sunday morning we brunched at Salamanca before we had to say good bye to Hobart and head back to the mainland.

And while it was sad to end my week off, it was lovely to be reunited with Jude and Zachary.