2015 weeks! #39: lots of grown up time

2015-10-05 11.31.07Public holiday Monday morning, WFTDA playoffs on the internets, some lazing about.

2015-10-05 12.48.18Followed by Monday afternoon beers at Bentspoke with a revolving array of friends. Sometimes it is nice to be child-free.

In the child-free theme, on Tuesday we went for dinner and dessert with Rachel. We rather liked trying out White Rabbit, the new dessert and cocktail venue. Much deliciousness ensued.

Wednesday it was back to training. With the all-clear on my ankle, I am keen to at least start getting back into the skating habit.

Utilising child free time to the max, it was Thursday night dinner at Pulp Kitchen. My food was lovely, but James’ was not really up to scratch, so a little disappointing.

2015-10-09 10.50.59Day off on Friday to drive to the coast and collect the boys again. James is enjoying the compulsory road trip selfie, apparently.

2015-10-09 12.16.19I hadn’t down the trip down Brown Mountain before. Some lovely rainforest.

We had a bit of beach time with the boys.

2015-10-09 16.01.01Jackie had been busy with cthulhu production.

There was some spectacular cloudage on the way home.

Saturday involved some baking.

2015-10-10 20.43.59The baking and the rest of us were then off to try champagne cocktails at Dave and Caroline’s while watching classic 1970s British comedy. There were lots of giggles – both from the champagne and the comedy.

2015-10-11 14.44.16A stop at the market after Carnage training for fish (not these ones).

2015-10-11 15.36.02With the return of warm weather, the boys (including James) have started an ongoing backyard cricket campaign – tally of wins on the kitchen blackboard.

2015-10-11 16.57.38Gin and tonic time.

2015-10-11 17.49.28And finish the week with a lovely Noons.

2015 weeks! #38: mostly Manila

2015-09-28 07.16.54Monday morning and the view from my hotel room. I was staying in the Intramuros, in fact right next to the remains of the old wall. Manila is such a contrast of wealth and poverty and pretty much everything in between. Around where we were staying there were a lot of schools and colleges, so you could see the constrast of the students in their crisp uniforms, with the four year old urchin bottle feeding a baby sitting in the middle of the street. It is a strange and confronting place like that. Of course, I was spending most of my visit in the hotel.

The first two days were largely our Transport and Logistics APEC project wind up. It was great to see how much work each of the countries had done and how successfully the project worked over all. It is brilliant to see an idea a few of us had shared turned into a concrete and successful outcome. We’ve now got a methodology for developing transnational occupational standards and getting them validated by five different countries. Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council are owed a lot of the credit, as well as my team who steered everything along. Days like these make work enormously rewarding.

2015-09-28 11.51.24We got a lot of food during lunches and breaks and how can you go past a “gelatin fruit mould”. One thing I can say for Manila – it isn’t the culinary capital of the world.

2015-09-28 12.46.35Cthulhu came with me. I think he had some thoughts about devouring school children. I didn’t take him with me for my walk around the walls.

I went for an initial walk around the fortifications I could see from my room. Some very old cannons and lots of moss covered stone.

2015-09-28 17.52.21Pre dinner drink at the roof top bar. You could see the sea – and the port.

TESDA, the Philippine vocational education government body, took us out to dinner at Barbara’s – in one of the oldest surviving buildings in Manila. There was traditional dancing and music and, apparently, hats.

On Tuesday, In addition to the Transport and Logistics workshop, I popped out to speak at a VETASSESS information session, and see a demonstration of how they undertake their skills assessments.

2015-09-29 14.25.15The tropical weather brought out the curly in my hair.

Got up the next morning and went for a walk along the length of the remaining old wall. There isn’t a lot of it, which wasn’t terrible because it was so hot and humid I was soaked after a half hour walk.

Some sunset photos from the roof restaurant. Despite rain during the day – and the threat of rain that evening – we managed to convince the hotel staff that it would be fine to have our dinner for our second workshop on the roof –  very pleasant after a day inside.

2015-10-01 09.15.54Wednesday and Thursday was our workshop on developing an integrated referencing framework for skills recognition. This is another idea we have been toying with and it was really exciting to have it embraced and built upon by 13 different APEC countries. The workshop went well, and we came up with a range of ideas to take it forward.

2015-10-01 08.49.18The hotel breakfast wasn’t amazing, so Thursday morning I decided to have churros from the cafe downstairs instead.

We finished a little bit early on Thursday, so I had an hour or so to wander to the nearby mall and do some shopping, and see some more sights of Manila. And for my hair to get curly again in the rain.

2015-10-01 16.26.55There was so much rain the roads started to flood. Fortunately it didn’t get worse. And then it was time to head to the airport and head home.

During the week I finished two books. A Feast for Crows was slow going in parts (I really couldn’t care *at all* about the Iron Islands, nor much about the goings on in Dorne) but picked up towards the end. It was interesting how much it and the series have now diverged. I think the Brienne adventures did need some editing – those bits got a bit slow and dull as well. Then I completely devoured The Wolf Border. Beautifully written and entirely consuming I read it in no time flat. Great characters and interesting ideas.

2015-10-02 16.26.19

Back home again. The boys had had a pretty chilled first week of the holidays.

2015-10-02 18.02.09James, Zac and I had dinner on Friday night while the bigger boys played Magic.

2015-10-03 15.11.27The boys and I went and saw The Scorch Trials together on Saturday. Choc Tops and all.

2015-10-03 20.13.57And there was time for some family Colt Express. I am still terrible at it.

2015-10-03 21.02.08Jude and Zac and I also made some progress on Dido.

James took the boys down to Merimbula Sunday afternoon where they were staying with Jackie and John for the week. So I had some quiet time to watch the DHRs play at ERRD and to paint my toe nails.

2015-10-04 18.48.58It felt like that during the five days I’d been in Manila, all the leaves had returned.

2015-10-04 19.51.43And then a civilised dinner for two for James’ return.

2015 weeks! #37: successes and food

2015-09-21 08.20.29 - CopyIt is Monday morning – that must mean walking to school with Jude!

2015-09-21 17.55.17 - CopyEvening falls.

2015-09-21 17.59.50 - CopyAnd I can’t resist a good cloud photo.

Out for dinner Monday night – we had visitors from the Philippines and Vietnam on our big capacity building project, so it was official dinner and welcome time.

2015-09-22 08.45.07 - CopyTuesday morning and walking to school with Zac.

2015-09-22 18.06.58 - CopyTuesday night was the junior hockey presentation for Sebastian and Jude. The end of another successful hockey year.

2015-09-22 20.40.09 - CopySebastian also did well in computational thinking – only 30 or 40 kids in Australia scored higher on the test.

2015-09-23 13.13.47 - CopyIced chocolate season is upon us.

2015-09-24 13.28.27 - CopyLovely lunch with Mathew to which he brought me a bottle of one of my most favourite gins, recently procured on a trip to Kangaroo Island…

2015-09-24 15.21.39 - CopyA good hair day.

2015-09-24 16.37.14 - CopyWe got back to our main D&D adventure (and chocolate) after some break.

2015-09-24 22.40.35 - Copy

Time for further blonding at the hairdresser.

2015-09-25 17.07.09 - CopyAnd a quick Friday afternoon beer with James.

2015-09-25 18.06.42 - CopyThe boys had to do a 27 laps in 5 minutes test to allow them to play full contact in an upcoming tournament – Sebastian got 28+ first go, Jude 26. Jude came back on Sunday and managed 27 which is super impressive.

Sebastian got his braces and expander put on during the week. He had been somewhat (understandably) grumpy since then. But by Friday he was feeling good enough to give creme brulees and his new torch a whirl. They were very good, though his custard needs to be slightly firmer in parts.

Zac did some more jewellery making on the weekend. He really does enjoy it. Meanwhile, the rest of the household was off playing Magic.

2015-09-26 12.09.43Some yarn bombing in Civic.

2015-09-26 13.01.07We met up with the rest of the family + others for post-Magic lunch.

2015-09-26 13.36.03It was then getting ready for my next overseas trip – checking through the foreign currency tin.

2015-09-26 18.33.46We tried out the new book shop-restaurant, Muse with friends Saturday night. I think the bookshop part was slightly better than the restaurant, but my short rib and blackbean sausage roll was pretty tasty. I also bought a few books…

Sunday morning I said goodbye to the blossoms..

2015-09-27 06.17.48

..it was off to Manila.

Manila is so full of people.  A walk to the shopping mall also revealed a bunch of people all excited about some pop act we had no idea who they were.2015-09-27 19.45.10But the view from the rooftop restaurant was lovely.

2015-09-27 20.08.47

2015 weeks! #36: grand finals and other stuff

2015-09-14 08.33.43My Monday morning walk-to-school companion. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to school and then it takes me about 20 minutes to walk to work, which makes a decent morning walk. And much more pleasant now the spring is here.

2015-09-14 08.58.16And the Turner Parklands were looking especially magical.

2015-09-14 18.14.41Long day in the office. This week was to be super stressful at work as suddenly all the incoming Minister briefs had to be updated and somehow coordinating the whole thing fell to me for skills.

2015-09-15 08.43.00It was raining a bit Tuesday morning, so umbrellas for everyone.

Some time out of the office to take Sebastian for his final mould for his braces to go on the following week. He’s been very stoic about it all.

2015-09-15 20.30.06On the couch, watching the tv.

2015-09-16 12.16.09A crazy busy day at work. my new unicorn shoes helped me to get through it. Sebastian had made fun of my shoes, and told me that he was “sure your friends in kindy will like them.” Teenage sass.


Quick escape from the office Thursday for Chinese National Day celebrations. Got to hear the speeches, say hello to the appropriate people, but didn’t have time to stay for lunch.

Thursday night with most of the incoming Minister briefs done and dusted it was off to Adelaide where I caught up with the folks and then had a senior officials meeting before heading home less than 24 hours later.

2015-09-19 09.38.33Here are the boys. Serious business time as we headed to Jude’s grand final. He had already played, and won, the semi final that morning.

It was a close game and ended in a tie. Hockey ACT declared Joint Premiers, though we think Jude’s team should have taken the honours because they were higher on the ladder. But Joint Premiers is better than no premiers!

2015-09-19 10.58.40The medal presentation was after the match.

Jude was pretty pleased with the results of his first year back in hockey!

2015-09-19 11.16.302015-09-19 11.17.39When then had celebratory morning tea at LSR.

2015-09-19 11.31.39Meanwhile, the cthulhus were gathering. Who knows what plans for world domination they were hatching.

2015-09-19 12.41.45I got introduced to the household’s newest board game, Colt Express, which is rather fun, even if I appear to be somewhat hopeless at it.

2015-09-19 15.11.09

Jude and I then headed off to the CRDL derby so Jude could participate in a half time juniors demonstration match. Sebastian would have played too, but his ankle was playing up and he had a grand final of his own the next day.

2015-09-19 19.08.19Then it was home to watch some tv with George.

2015-09-19 22.23.47

Grand final number two for the weekend. Nick was there on godfather-equivalent duties to watch.

2015-09-20 10.02.10-1It was nailbitingly close for much of the game, but in the end Sebastian’s team took it out.

2015-09-20 10.10.002015-09-20 11.13.39Again, the presentation followed on quickly.

2015-09-20 11.33.04 2015-09-20 11.43.22And so both brothers came away Premiers!

2015-09-20 11.45.20After taking derby training for Carnage, it was back to end the week with some D&D.

2015-09-20 17.42.22

2015 weeks! #35: this week had everything

Walking to school with funster Jude.

2015-09-07 11.56.08Up at Parliament House for appearances before Parliamentary committees in which I don’t have to say very much which makes the public servant in me happy.

2015-09-07 13.37.21Parliament House toilet selfie.

2015-09-07 13.40.14I love the reflecting pool at Parliament House. It is a great building.

2015-09-07 13.53.22#Yourtightsatwork walking edition.

2015-09-07 14.09.46It has been a bit tough at work recently, so this card from Tracy, one of my Directors, made me a tiny bit teary. I completely appreciated the sentiment though.

2015-09-07 22.00.23James and I had our Monday night post mental health first aid course time out together which was lovely. There is something so important about taking that time out together to be together without distractions.

2015-09-08 08.41.35

Tuesday morning and it is walking to school with the terrible twosome.

The Turner parklands are pretty magical in spring – a bit like a fairy forest.

Learning journey for Zachary. Great to see his art and read his work and see how much enthusiasm he has for school.

Jude, Zac and I went to a candlelight vigil for refugees and the Syrian refugees in particular. The boys articulately expressed their concerns about refugees and refugee policy articulately to a reporter and ended up in the Canberra Times the next day. Why would you send people back to somewhere that is being bombed?

Jude’s learning journey – equal enthusiasm for learning and showing us what he has been doing.

2015-09-09 15.16.17Cthulhu helped me out with some email management at work.

2015-09-09 18.19.28And then it was off to Tasmania. A flight attendant poured a glass of wine over me on the plane, so she made up for it by giving me a whole bottle.

Hobart is quite pretty at night.

2015-09-10 07.59.45View from the hotel room window.

2015-09-10 10.41.25Having some stocking troubles.

2015-09-10 13.15.12I did find my favourite fizzy caffeinated beverages within a five minute walk of the conference venue so that was a plus.

2015-09-10 15.14.53Conferencing. I gave two presentations, one at the Sino-Australia forum and one at the TAFE Directors conference, so kept me busy.

2015-09-10 17.46.43A lovely Tasmanian dusk.

2015-09-10 18.47.04-1Ready for the conference dinner….which was opened by Chinese dragons.

I had to take a photo of masts because those are compulsory.

2015-09-11 13.26.17It was then off home late Friday afternoon.

2015-09-11 17.11.04The wattle was out in force as more spring action in Canberra.

2015-09-12 10.40.00I was quite excited to be able to go to the hockey in a t-shirt.

2015-09-12 10.49.25And there was a lot of hockey, starting with Jude’s game.

2015-09-12 11.06.52We then went to see James’ semi final which they just lost.

Then we switched sports to derby – James was playing and I was benching for Carnage.

It was a great game against SMASH – the scores were tights and we even led at one point. Considering we were beaten by 100 points last time we played, a five point loss was super fantastic.

It was up early and out to the hockey to see Sebastian’s semi final which they won easily. Sebastian scored five goals and was quite delighted about it.

2015-09-13 09.55.37Zachary got in some beading time.

Meanwhile James and I got changed and then headed to Pod Foods for a lovely Pfeiffers wine lunch.

Food and wine were excellent, and even better was that I won a carton of wine for signing up to their mailing list!

We didn’t need much dinner that night – this was it for James and me.

2015-09-13 20.10.21