2015 weeks! #21: all the fun of the first week of June

2015-06-02 08.33.24Jude looking resplendent in his Tasmanian Devil hat as we walked to school together on a frosty Monday morning. There was plenty of ice everywhere as I made my way from Turner Primary into work.2015-06-02 08.53.29George enjoying the heater and the new couch. 2015-06-02 21.33.42Winter had definitely arrived in Canberra, but at least winter was starting with the lovely blue skies and sunshine of our favourite types of Canberra winter days (unless it is possible to stay in bed with a book, then the foggy winter days can be quite attractive too.) 2015-06-03 07.48.38That regular exciting part of work life which seems to regularly occur on Sebastian’s birthday happened again on Sebastian’s birthday – Senate Estimates. 2015-06-03 15.15.44On the way out of the building we took a wrong turn in the basement and found the secret cache of Australian flags, ready to be wheeled out whenever an announcement about terrorism is made. 2015-06-03 16.37.00Fortunately I escaped from Parliament House in time for a birthday dinner with Sebastian et al at Akiba. 2015-06-03 18.15.54It was world negroni day, so I had to have a special one. 2015-06-03 18.09.47And for dessert, Frugii. 2015-06-03 19.19.38It was an orange night. 2015-06-03 17.58.44For Sebastian’s birthday celebration with his friends, we had a night of shooting and pizza at Zone 3. His first birthday party of high school was the first chance to meet his new friends, and it was strange after so many years of knowing all the kids at the party to have a band of completely new friends to contend with (as well as a couple of regulars). I also learned that gifts for high school friends tend to run to gift vouchers and indeed cash, which will make birthday present purchasing a great deal easier!

The weekend was all about sport, with the Quad Save the Queen tournament on and the DHRs competing as well as Sebastian playing in a regional hockey tournament. We started the weekend with a DHR team brunch. 2015-06-06 10.49.22Jude stole my phone and took selfies… 2015-06-06 11.14.52…so I figured I needed to take one of my own. 2015-06-06 11.15.05 HDRWe had a tough draw for QSTQ but that never stops us playing hard.

On the first day we just lost to S2D2 and got beaten by Perth, but in the Perth game particularly we played really well for two thirds of the game and pretty much went point for point with them in the second half which was a pretty good effort against the seventh best team in the country. 2015-06-06 15.45.45Zac bought himself some new sunglasses and was pretty damn happy with his purchase.

Back at the other end of the Tuggeranong Parkway (which I would travel 12 times in the course of the long weekend), Sebastian was playing hockey. His u13 team was playing the u15s – this seemed like a grossly unfair match up. The difference between 12 and 13 year olds and 14 and 15 years in terms of height and strength and subsequently speed etc is gigantic. The boys put up the best fight they could, but struggled constantly.

Sunday at QSTQ the DHRs ended up playing the SRDL Assassins twice – technically the third best team in the country, but ultimately the winner of the tournament. We played brilliantly in the first game and, while being thoroughly beaten, achieved what we wanted to – we scored twice as many points against them as S2D2 did, and kept them to a lower score. In the second game we played against them, the number of points we scored was the only thing that mattered for progression into the next round, so we tried some different tactics. We actually ended up scoring quite a lot of points, but people didn’t feel good about preferencing offence over blocking and it was a challenging game from that point of view. Everyone was pretty exhausted in the end, and not unhappy that we didn’t manage to progress to the next round. It was a good weekend of derby though, the team acquitted itself well against some tough opposition and the opportunity to learn was not wasted. 2015-06-07 18.58.55After all that though, a g&t never goes astray.

2015 weeks! #20: it all ends with a birthday

Starting the week the right way – lunch and then coffee with James.

2015-05-26 07.57.48Couldn’t go too long without being on a plane again – this time to Sydney for the morning.

2015-05-27 18.19.04Finally got around to wearing my burgundy coloured fishnets.

Sebastian whipped up some delicious lemon tarts.

2015-05-27 21.24.50George and I watching some TV.

2015-05-28 08.41.35While the trees may be bare, they are livened up by some visiting parrots.

2015-05-28 08.53.10Walked Zac and Jude to school. I do still enjoy the walks to school – lots of time for conversation and ideas.

2015-05-28 11.47.37The week had turned out to be way more busy than we had expected – the Indian Minister for Skills, Minister Rudy, decided to join a delegation with only a couple of days notice. Which meant we had to swing into action and organise a range of skills related activities. Here he is meeting Minister Birmingham and exchanging gifts.

2015-05-28 11.58.54I do get to spend quite a lot of time in Parliament House and enjoy its beauty and utility. Here is the reflecting pool.

2015-05-29 14.26.15Friday it was back to Sydney for a Australia-India Skills Working Group with Minister Rudy.

2015-05-29 16.52.35Managed a post meeting negroni with one of our Minister’s advisers while discussing work before it was back to the airport.

2015-05-30 08.15.26All the plane-time has made it rather easy to rip through another book, despite its many pages. I really enjoyed Tigana – terrific story and very readable. I am a little dubious about the way the women in the book were handled, but that was my one small reservation.

2015-05-30 10.26.34A bright Canberra (nearly) winter morning, so it was time for Jude’s hockey.

We stopped for hot chocolate and cake on the way home.

2015-05-30 11.31.12That day was a special James birthday, so it was out to dinner as a family. It was a lovely evening.

2015-05-30 17.51.27Baked eggs for breakfast the next morning.

2015-05-31 09.59.26And then a rare opening to get to the shops and buy small boys the new shoes they so desperately needed.

2015-05-31 14.10.13To end the week, testing a range of wines and eating fabulous food with friends to celebrate James’ birthday properly.

2015 weeks! #19: hard to encapsulate everything going on this week in a few words

2015-05-18 10.55.51So most of Monday morning was free before flying home (and a catch up lunch with Australia’s senior official for APEC). I actually managed a 45 minute swim in the ocean. It was gorgeous – and I was pleased to have actually managed to have time to put more than my toes in.

And I bought a new hat.

2015-05-18 11.20.30Then it was onto the ferry, goodbye beautiful Boracay and time to start the journey home.

We got delayed out of Caticlan, but managed to just get onto our flight home.

2015-05-19 10.43.18Back in Australia I put on my tights and headed to Melbourne for a roundtable the Minister was hosting – managed to get through that before finally getting hoem to Canberra.

2015-05-19 15.29.40It was rather wetter and colder in Canberra than Boracay.

2015-05-19 17.11.38Discovered a tragedy on my return home – a bottle of tonic syrup sent to me by one of my Twitter friends had exploded in the mail into a sharp sticky mess.

2015-05-20 11.37.01Back to normal life after a couple of frantic weeks – walked Jude to school in time for his choir on Thursday.

2015-05-21 08.15.31It was definitely winter weather now in Canberra – I hid my coloured tights under a long skirt and boots.

2015-05-21 17.54.09Canberra can also turn on the spectacular views – who needs Boracay?

2015-05-22 17.21.11Friday and things were a bit out of control on my desk, made worse by the fact that work-James was off in Melbourne training for the Wizards.

2015-05-22 17.17.53At home, George was keen to hang out.

2015-05-22 20.38.31Saturday was off to Richmond near Sydney for 5×5. The Dishonour Rollers played and exceptional game to beat Sydney Snipers much to our collective delight.

2015-05-23 12.59.59Sunset on the road home.

2015-05-23 17.25.16George sticking with his recent theme of sitting on me.

2015-05-23 21.16.14The next morning we were up super early for Eurovision breakfast. It was very exciting that after our many years of Eurovision devotion, we were finally getting to vote. In the past we have never worried about the morning broadcast, but this time it was essential. So the usual crew assembled with a vast amount of breakfast food and enjoyed the usual wonders of Eurovision – and then it was all phone action afterwards as we put in our votes. Those of us with Optus phones were successful in the voting, but Telstra couldn’t handle it apparently. And after all the fun was over, some of us needed a nap.

2015-05-24 06.05.46After a nap, one is good for a glass or two of red wine with dinner.

2015-05-24 18.01.06

2015 weeks #18: If you thought last week’s sunsets were good…

2015-05-10 22.43.53So I woke up ready for a little light reading. This is what happens when you borrow a 4 year old’s bed. 2015-05-11 09.30.34Said youngster and the cat, who seemed pretty relaxed about this somewhat awkward position.

Declan, Liz and I had an excursion into Perth on the train which was fun. Best was getting to reconnect with Liz as it has been years since we’ve seen each other and longer since we’ve had a day to just hang out and talk. 2015-05-12 11.43.17Back at home, I had one day for tights and for being in the office. 2015-05-13 08.12.01One day for admiring the progression of the Canberra autumn… 2015-05-13 09.10.25Then onto a plane and off to the Philippines. 2015-05-13 20.06.09I stayed overnight in Manila at the very stylish Nobu hotel. They were also very helpful when a small burst of food poisoning made me vomit all over the equally stylish bathroom in the middle of the night. I must admit I was a bit concerned about how I would fare the next day as I knew a small plane and a ferry awaited me, but apparently I had gotten it all out of my system.

Goodbye Manila, hello Caticlan. 2015-05-14 07.23.08I was in the Philippines for APEC related meetings – we found we were very welcomed repeatedly.

Boracay, where all the meetings were being held, was a short ferry ride away. 2015-05-14 07.48.36It was rather nice to arrive right here. 2015-05-14 14.01.28Of course, the main part of the time spent on the island involved being in a windowless room as usual in long meetings sitting behind an Australia sign. And discovering the locally available flavour of fizzy caffeinated beverage to help get through the day. 2015-05-15 14.11.40My hotel was rather nice, and I did manage to go to the gym and have a quick morning swim in the pool most mornings. I wasn’t quite as fortunate as the room next to me which had its own horizon pool on the balcony.

The magic of Boracay though really was its sunsets. Our official dinner was held on the beach to take advantage of this, and fortunately we finished each day in time to walk the five minutes to the beach, grab a drink and enjoy the spectacular views.

There was a spectacular sand castle at the official dinner. 2015-05-14 17.59.46   I got to see some exciting electrical maintenance.   2015-05-15 17.54.35 I also got my toe nails painted. 2015-05-16 08.00.58 and generally the weather, while super hot, seemed to suit me. 2015-05-15 08.47.52The local conveyances were pretty cool – there weren’t many cars on the island other than the ubiquitous APEC vans.

We finished our four days of meetings just around lunchtime on Sunday.

In the afternoon, I found our friend Jono who was attending meetings in the room next door and we escaped for a pleasant afternoon at the super fancy Shangri-La.

2015 weeks #17: PNG n Perth

2015-05-04 07.58.40My one day in Canberra for the week began foggy┬á – very Canberra late-autumn weather.

2015-05-04 12.31.40In a busy day I met with East Timorese who gave me gifts and videoconferenced with Korean friends and got through everything else in between.

2015-05-05 05.26.13It was up early the next morning and en route to Port Moresby.

We got delayed in Brisbane. Apparently this is par for the course with Air New Guinea.

2015-05-05 09.50.44And then there we were.

2015-05-05 15.40.31I was in Port Moresby for an APEC policy dialogue on Human Capacity Building. It was being used as a taster for when PNG hosts APEC in a couple of years time.

2015-05-05 15.49.06We went and had dinner with Korean colleagues. They were quite enthusiastic about sampling the local beers, so we had a few to drink.

2015-05-05 18.51.19The hotel I stayed in was quite nice and very new. I was a bit disturbed by the super secure balcony especially when we were already behind barbed wire, but my favourite signs at the hotel were the ones about betel nut.

2015-05-05 20.48.13Our two days of meetings went well. They increased the degree of organisational difficulty by having lunches at different venues from the conference. We all got into buses and were escorted by police and everything. The first day we visited the PNG Parliament and lunched there.

2015-05-06 14.16.00We had an official dinner so I got frocked up.

2015-05-06 18.13.17I was super impressed that the orchids they gave us on arrival completely matched my dress.

2015-05-06 19.10.05The best part of the dinner was the dancers…

..although the dessert was pretty good too!

2015-05-06 21.03.25I gave my presentation on the second day. This was the view from the speaker’s seat before everyone came in.

2015-05-07 08.52.09On Friday morning before our flight we had a little bit of free time and I finally managed a swim in the pool.

2015-05-08 07.43.59We also got a bit of a tour around Port Moresby. This may be the only time I go on a tour with a police escort.

We also got to visit the markets for a quick bit of shopping.

I managed to finish my book before the flight home – i did enjoy its vision of the future and some of the ideas within it.

2015-05-08 08.58.13Back in Australia I met up with James and the rest of Capital Carnage at the airport in Sydney before we got on a flight to Perth.

2015-05-08 19.32.29The Carnage boys were in front of us.

2015-05-08 19.35.46We had a lovely day in Perth, starting with breakfast in King’s Park catching up with the Carnage team.

Then James and I headed down to Fremantle for a lovely afternoon.

It was then time for Carnage to take on Perth Men’s Roller Derby.

The boys played really well and were only just beaten, but as bench manager I was super happy because we had generally executed the game plan and played really well over all.

2015-05-09 21.28.18We stayed and watched some of Light City taking on Swan city until it became clear that Light City was going to win easily and the need for proper food overcame us.

The next morning was a boot camp with the visiting teams and Thuggernaut and I took the Carnage session which was lots of fun.

After the derbying was over, the team headed off to the beach for a few drinks and a bit of hanging out.

Scarborough Beach knows how to do a decent sunset.

2015-05-10 18.43.24

It was then time to head to Liz’s house for dinner – I was staying over night while James was heading back to the airport and home on the horror red eye which I refused to take. I knew I was accepted into the family when Attia presented me with a kitten sticker.

2015 weeks #16: of games and tights and drinks

2015-04-27 18.35.06It is always fun when you discover your local wine shop has your favourite wine. And then you get to drink it.

2015-04-27 19.05.01Fast becoming a family favourite, we played some more Firefly board game. I love the art work on the money.

2015-04-27 21.27.45Sebastian brought home his school photos. He wasn’t impressed, but I thought they were all right.

2015-04-28 07.52.43Zac and I walking to school together in time for a Trebles practice. He enjoys the singing, I enjoy the en route chats.

2015-04-28 09.25.03

Tights season has definitely arrived.

2015-04-28 13.25.06Getting back into work after a week off requires some caffeinated assistance.

2015-04-28 19.48.27Very excited to try out my new skates. Completely different as they are and with new plates with a slightly different set up for wheel-to-foot position compared to my Antiks, I definitely felt a bit like a baby gazelle – rather awkward. But i got through scrim without falling over too much.

2015-04-29 12.16.22More tights weather, more interesting tights.

2015-04-29 12.32.46Lunch with Anne at Akiba – I find these pork buns impossible to resist.

2015-04-30 20.07.53More games – this time back to the other favourite, Arkham Horror.

2015-04-30 22.20.26Apparently lime and chilli combinations are the thing in high end chocolate this year.

2015-05-01 09.40.54Autumn is looking as beautiful as usual in Canberra this year.

2015-05-01 20.34.19Another rose sort of night.

2015-05-01 21.21.21..but this time accompanied by D&D.

Jude has chosen to play hockey this year instead of AFL, and this was his first game back. He did well and seems to have decided that he really enjoys playing at full back.

The boys were also back rolling about at derby training.

2015-05-02 17.18.04Sunsets are getting earlier and just as lovely.

2015-05-02 18.53.54James was off in Wollongong at a WFTDA Officials Clinic so the boys and I made our own pizzas for dinner.

More hockey Sunday morning with Sebastian’s game – sadly all the way out at Tuggeranong. Sebastian is pleased his good friend Martin is continuing to play hockey with him this year.

And the boys and I took advantage of a quiet Sunday afternoon to go and see Age of Ultron which was enjoyed by all.


2015 weeks #15: holidays! coast! rain!

2015-04-20 13.41.39It wasn’t an auspicious start to a week at the beach – rain and gloom and more rain. But we hoped for the best as we headed to Seven Mile Beach for our holiday.

The weather continued wet so we were pleased that our large cabin was a good spot for games and sitting by the fire.

The rain wasn’t much better the next morning, but we took advantage of a small break in the weather for a walk along the windy, raining beach.

2015-04-21 11.24.24Zac managed to fall in while playing in the shallows.

2015-04-21 11.38.28Jude took to collecting rubbish and was disappointed by how much there was to find.

2015-04-21 11.54.50

The boys tried swimming in the pool in the afternoon, but sadly as its heating was solar only, it wasn’t very warm…

2015-04-21 12.26.33They decided a bubble bath in the spa was rather more enjoyable.

2015-04-21 15.38.17More rain = more game playing opportunities.

2015-04-21 18.40.24We did escape the cabin to head into Kiama for some wonderful Japanese food.

2015-04-22 11.51.38With the weather still against us, we headed into Gerringong for brunch and for some browsing of the local surf shop.

The boys tried out their new wetsuits in the pool.

2015-04-22 17.03.46But Sebastian couldn’t wait to get into the sea, no matter how bleak it was.

We walked along the beach and discovered some of the things that had been washed in by the storm.

The next morning we woke to beautiful sunshine and a lovely day so it was, naturally, back to the beach for lots of boogie boarding.

2015-04-23 13.23.27A walk along the beach let me find the fragments I so love.

2015-04-23 15.52.06Sebastian and I also took advantage of the calm and sunny weather for a kayak…

2015-04-23 16.34.08…and a late afternoon swim in the waves. Despite all the rain and onset of autumn, the water was actually quite lovely.

The people at the surf shop in Gerringong had recommended the new Mexican place in Kiama, and we discovered that it was an excellent recommendation. It came with its own special shelf of hot sauces which got more deadly the higher you went.

Another beautiful day lead to more time on the beach and more discoveries.

2015-04-24 13.18.08We had burgers from the beach takeaway for lunch.

2015-04-24 14.47.10And Zac and I took to the river.

2015-04-24 16.31.59The pool was still a bit cold.

Jude and Sebastian and I went for a sunset walk to explore the rockpools and the strange foam left by the churning seas.

2015-04-24 17.27.06The sunset was truly stunning.

2015-04-24 18.17.56I tried out the excellent Bath gin as it was in an ideal travel size bottle.

Another glorious day, more time on the beach and the boogie boards. I am, still, a complete failure at boogie boarding it must be said.

I am, however, much better at kayaking and Jude and I kept a sharp eye out for pelicans during our paddle together.

2015-04-25 14.42.11It was icecreams in the afternoon.

2015-04-25 14.52.42 HDRAnd then we spotted a snake friend in the tree right next to our verandah. After much rapid internet research, we discovered he was completely harmless, so were happy for him to stay and keep us company.

2015-04-25 16.26.04Then the rain started again and so did the board games.

2015-04-25 18.19.45Nothing like a bit of pizza for dinner though.

Weather was bleak again in the morning, so we took another walk on the bleak beach.

After that, we headed to Berry for some lunch where we discovered interesting shops and strange gin.

2015-04-26 14.53.04-2And then the road trip home.

2015-04-26 18.05.24I was very excited to find my new skates had arrived.

2015-04-26 18.50.15And to drink some gin and soda and tonic syrup.

2015-04-26 21.48.45And George was very happy to welcome us home.