Weeks! #50: goodbye primary school and other events

2014-12-08 20.12.52In my striving to get fit again, I went to SkateFit again Monday night after some time off. It was a lot of fun, if exhausting, and I was the two-times winner of the wheels game, maintaining the family pride.

2014-12-09 13.31.18At the hairdresser on Tuesday with work to do.

2014-12-09 14.40.09Bought myself some coloured pens – I do like to make my comments on people’s work in happy colours.

2014-12-09 18.45.43Dinner out with the family. Clearly it was a two-drinks-simultaneously type of night.

2014-12-09 22.35.48George does love to sit on me while I am watching television.

2014-12-10 06.58.30In the continuing fitness attempts – up early and riding by the lake. Always happy to see the balloons out.

2014-12-10 08.33.02We all walked to school together for the morning of Sebastian’s farewell assembly.

Goodbye primary school. At assembly the teachers all said something about each student who was leaving which was quite lovely. Then it was time for photos with friends and teachers and some cake. I only cried a little. Sebastian seems so grown up and it does seem like a long time since he was a tiny baby, but it is still hard to think of him leaving primary school and heading off to high school – is he already that old? And now we have all the teen years ahead of us. Such a transition.

2014-12-10 17.48.51With a new hair cut, Sebastian was looking suave for his school farewell dinner (and disco!). See what I mean about looking grown up?

2014-12-10 21.16.52Notes from all his friends.

2014-12-11 10.41.33Back to normality on Thursday with a day trip to Melbourne.

2014-12-12 07.04.40And Friday morning was another morning ride – though if I’d known how blustery and slightly wet it was I probably would have stayed in bed.

2014-12-12 11.23.13For #derbyshirtfriday I got out my Victorian Vanguard t-shirt.

2014-12-12 13.29.50Friday afternoon was our branch Christmas party. I got to tell the branch how proud I was of all they have achieved this year – and have a few drinks with them plus play pool really badly.

2014-12-12 14.33.26My Secret Santa gift giver understands my priorities.

Saturday morning Zac and I headed to the Regatta Point to hang out with “Internet People” as Helen so succinctly put it. I got to meet and cuddle baby Wren and Zac got to play with lots of small people but, as always, especially enjoyed hanging out with Alice.

Saturday afternoon was the final junior derby training for the year – they got medals and the odler kids had a session long scrim. Lots of fun.

2014-12-13 17.39.30Out of tonic, so it was emergency (double) negroni time.

2014-12-13 18.13.37We went for sophisticated entrees with sashimi and seared tuna. The boys ate more of it than us.

2014-12-14 13.54.46On Sunday I finally finished Blue Mars which bring the Mars trilogy to a close. I must say it has been a bit of a long haul. They are all great and contain some really interesting political and social ideas and the depictions of the implications of settlement on Mars are insightful. But they are quite dense and often repetitive and can be quite hard going at times. I’m pleased I read them, but I am also pleased I never have to read them again.

2014-12-14 16.33.24The boys got into a bit of D&D.

2014-12-14 19.40.52And the whole family played some Munchkin.

2014-12-14 17.19.05Finally for the weekend, I did a bit of cleaning up and out of stuff, but depsite its faded-ness and that it is stretched out of shape, I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to my Sonic Youth t-shirt from New Year’s Eve 1995.

Weeks! #49: work and play and things in between

2014-12-01 15.58.32Getting back to training meant I knew I would be hungry during the day. For once I actually had the time and foresight to prepare for that eventuality. Don’t be deceived however, most of the time I am not this organised.

2014-12-01 20.04.36As we have become tropical Canberra, the sunsets have become more and more impressive. And their is a lot of excellent cloud action.

2014-12-02 15.23.53There is nothing better than when your EA brings you a cupcake in the middle of the day.

2014-12-02 19.47.17Games night this week, we played some Munchkin which we hadn’t played in ages. Young Andrew beat us all.

2014-12-03 05.25.54Early morning flight to Melbourne – it was so pretty it was almost worth getting up that early. Almost.

2014-12-03 05.35.52But yes, time to get on another plane. Just a day trip this time.

2014-12-03 05.39.04Melbourne was a bit wet and trafficky though.

2014-12-03 08.28.36Zac got an award for being the best chess boy in years 1 and 2! Hooray Zac.

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Thursday was a dark and stormy day. Here’s my office window view.


2014-12-04 17.02.51Didn’t stop the boys wanting to spend some time at the big oval playing French cricket (a small recent obsession).

2014-12-04 18.30.33James was away again Thursday night, so George knew well at whom he had to stare to get fed.

2014-12-04 19.19.06I got up the following morning for a ride. The lake is still as beautiful at that time as ever.

2014-12-05 07.24.03Back at Zac’s cricket in the afternoon.

The clouds were spectacular.

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On Saturday I made it out to Sebastian’s cricket for the first time this season. I didn’t time it well. First, Sebastian got out for 1 (most of the season he has retired in the high 20s or 30s). Here he is looking forlorn post wicket.

2014-12-06 09.20.45Then, after one ball of the opposition’s innings, it began bucketing down and the game was abandoned, so I missed seeing him wicket keep as well.

2014-12-06 10.52.27Oh well, at least skating was indoors.

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I love this art at CIT.

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We also had some table top D&D action while trying to take over a castle.

Sunday morning everyone was up early to watch Australia play at the roller derby world cup. I must admit, I was too tired to get up at 2am to watch Australia win by enormous margins, but the game versus New Zealand was worth being up at 8am on a Sunday. Even George joined us to watch.

2014-12-07 08.28.42And then in the afternoon it was off to our own derby training. I was a bit hot and exhausted after scrim. But happy.

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Weeks! #48: this is normal, well mostly

2014-11-24 08.45.06After my two weeks away, back to normality and walking the boys to school.

2014-11-24 12.51.04Was feeling more than a little tired at work though it must be said.

2014-11-24 20.07.54We also got to have stories. Sebastian has (finally) decided that he is no longer on the story team, so it was just Jude, Zac and I now.

2014-11-25 19.10.22-1It was James’ turn to be away this week – he was off to Adelaide for a conference. So I cooked boys bolognaise – our go-to meal when James isn’t home.

2014-11-25 19.50.18Continuing tired and more than a wee bit stressed.

2014-11-26 17.40.02On Wednesday I went to the skatepark with Jude and Sebastian while Zac was at cricket training. I even got on my own skates (though briefly).

2014-11-26 18.14.39There were some spectacular clouds about as evening storms seem to have become the thing in Canberra.

2014-11-26 21.01.09Even though James was away, it was Eldritch Horror night with the Andrews. We got horribly beaten.

2014-11-27 11.14.29Had an SES forum on Thursday and got to spend a bit of interesting time doing some future scenario planning. We got the above as a possible set of future scenarios. I didn’t rate it.

2014-11-27 19.02.09I never cook this much in a week. That’s what happens when James is away.

Friday evening was spent watching Zac play cricket. With Phil Hughes’ death, it was hard not to be a little sad and thoughtful watching the boys play. They had a minute’s silence at the beginning of the game and all had Phil Hughes’ test number 408 on their arms. Zac’s team was victorious.

2014-11-29 11.02.55While his brothers were at cricket the next morning, Zac and I played some of his extra special Uno game with added bells and whistles.

2014-11-29 16.15.44And then it was off to supervise some junior derby time.

2014-11-29 19.17.36Saturday night we got dressed up for Dave’s birthday. I guess I could look more excited. It was a lovely night.

There was team effort cupcake making on Sunday. Zac and James did the baking, while Sebastian lent his icing and decorating skills to the endeavour.

2014-11-30 17.54.57

Then the big news for the week – I went back to derby training. I have had a lot of time to think about what I want. I may never play publicly again (stoopid 27 in 5) but I love the game and I love scrimming and I want to be involved in teams and so forth. And I have come to terms with that. So, there I was for an exhausting but super fun scrim with specific people I love playing with. Hooray for roller derby.


Weeks! #47: more planes, more cities, more work, more derby

2014-11-17 05.21.55Waking up ridiculously early in Ipswich to this hotel window view in order to catch my 7.30am flight back to Canberra and an afternoon of back-to-back meetings.

2014-11-17 09.48.48I managed to scrub up all right despite the early start, and the crazy nature of the last week. Hooray for lipstick.

2014-11-17 10.59.00Being allowed to keep our phones on on planes now means lots of chances for in-flight photos. Here we are taking off out of Sydney.

2014-11-18 08.52.14In excellent timing, Jude’s end of year concert was before school on Tuesday morning. He played the Game of Thrones theme music which is has been practicing (somewhat) diligently most of the year.

2014-11-18 10.47.52-1Then it was a brief meeting in the office, before heading back to the airport and onto another plane, off to Adelaide.

2014-11-18 12.54.42Here’s my set up at the Business Lounge in Melbourne between planes. I thought back to those first times when I travelled for work – no phone, no ability to log on to email. Perhaps we actually got to relax while travelling then. Although I also do remember once having to fax things from a Qantas Club back to the office and hope that they arrived safely.

2014-11-18 14.18.54Wide brown land between Melbourne and Adelaide.

2014-11-19 09.19.37

We were in Adelaide for the Training Awards and I was spending all day Wednesday judging the Australian Apprentice of the Year award. One of my staff saved me from myself with a gigantic can of fizzy caffeinated beverage.

2014-11-19 18.13.49-1I felt pretty wrecked at the end of a full day of judging with all the tireds and a scratchy throat. But it is wonderful listening to the stories of the finalists and seeing what they have achieved. And there is something particularly wonderful about seeing the results of the system I have spent eight years working to improve. Vocational training, like other forms of education, does open doors and help people achieve some quite amazing things.

2014-11-19 16.58.21The view from my 18th floor room window at the Intercontinental was pretty impressive.

The walk along the Torrens at night is equally lovely. We had dinner at Jolley’s so got to admire it as we walked back to the hotel. It was funny spending so much time in this locale with it all redone and made lovely. I had spent so much time in the area over the course of my life – I worked from time to time at Adelaide Oval when I was still at school, and then spent four years at uni just along the way while also working at the Adelaide Casino. The footbridge would have made it a lot easier to get from my sometime sneaky parking spot near Adelaide Oval to the Casino, and it was certainly never so beautiful to look at around there at night.

2014-11-20 14.09.12Had a meeting at SA TAFE in Light Square on Thursday after I had had a lovely lunch with the parentals. Some student art work.

2014-11-20 15.53.28I was super excited to find this in the bottle shop. My favourite RTD to date.

2014-11-20 19.30.44We went across the road to Parlamento for dinner. Part of my role for the week was hosting dinners for the judges while my team was off managing all the finalists. A pleasant duty!

Friday was spent across the road at the Playford for a meeting with other state officials. I loved the art deco grandeur of the hotel.

2014-11-21 18.07.53Then it was time to frock up for the big night – the Australian Training Awards.

2014-11-21 18.17.36These were last year’s individual student winners who had been with us during the week as judges – they sit on the panel for the award they won. They were good value with great stories. Patrick was on the Apprentice of the Year award panel with me – he’s 23 and now owns the business where he did his boiler-making apprenticeship. Joel was one of the young students we sent to China for the APEC Skills Camp and Markeeta went to Sri Lanka with me earlier in the year. Kate and Ashlee also have great stories. This is just before they were ready to hand over their titles to the new winners.

The Awards night went well – I did all my duties and then all the networking and then just could have a few drinks. And time to catch up with Melinda and take some selfies.

2014-11-22 00.03.53Saturday morning there was time to breakfast with Lucy, Rowan, Sam, Tracey and of course the small girls. Lovely to have a chance to catch up. I’m not sure Emilie was as convinced – apparently she was disappointed I didn’t have the boys with me.

Then it was back on a plane and off to my sixth city in the fortnight.

Made it in time to see Sebastian (SeaBash) and Jude (Beathoven) play against each other.

The boys had a great time and acquitted themselves well.

James was reffing so we stuck around to watch the Blue Mountains be narrowly defeated in the very final jams by the Empire, S2D2’s B team.

2014-11-22 19.15.18-1Next day we had a bit of time to hang out in Sydney.

2014-11-23 10.38.30First it was breakfast in Redfern where the boys bonded with the wait staff over Star Wars and roller derby. They also got special breakfast mocktails.

2014-11-23 11.07.07As it was going to be 39 degrees or so, we decided some time at the Powerhouse was an excellent idea. I was a bit disturbed when Sebastian had no idea what a Walkman was.

When then headed over the other Sydney bridge…

2014-11-23 14.31.11…to Luna Park.

The boys engaged in challenging each other to go on the scary rides. In the end, Sebastian dragged Jude onto the vertical drop ride of doom so as not to be outdone by Zac and then they held hands in fear while it dropped. Zac went on the Wild Mouse (for SAers, Mad Mouse) eight times while I recovered from my one time experience (I am clearly too old for Wild Mouses).  Much fun was had. Jude got a temporary tattoo.

2014-11-23 16.37.02Then it was time to head inside the Big Top and watch some derby.

2014-11-23 17.39.35It was great to see the DHRs beat the Brawling Barbelles and then to watch some great derby in the SRDL grand final.

And then it was time to drive home. Goodbye Luna Park, hello long road back to Canberra. But at least I was going home to sleep in my own bed.

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