2015 weeks! #23: what happens when it rains all week

2015-06-15 12.56.28My right arm, well, elbow has been troubling me for a while, and has gotten a lot worse recently. So much so that my physio sent me off for an ultrasound and, if necessary, steroid injection. Apparently two injections were needed – in addition to tendonopathy I also had tears to my elbow tendon, it was super inflamed and the nerve was thickened. It is fascinating to watch the needle go in on the ultrasound – distracted me from the accompanying pain. The rest of the week I was resting my arm essentially in the hope I’ll be able to get back to using it properly again soon.

2015-06-16 15.06.23A day for fun stockings though.

2015-06-16 17.42.22Natasha and I got a chance for quick drinks between meetings and flights and so forth. We always make the most of these squeezed in opportunities.

2015-06-17 06.10.18Off to Brisbane for a presentation to an Indian delegation.

2015-06-17 08.46.22We were talking skills and the resource sector and links between India and Australia.

2015-06-17 11.17.07 HDRAnd it was a gloomy day for it.

2015-06-17 12.48.13On the theme of things Indian, I finished the Indian chick-lit novel I had picked up at the airport in Delhi last year. It was very entertaining and readable and I enjoyed it enormously. Also quite political.

2015-06-17 20.55.24The weather was awful this week, raining for days. I put my footy shoes on for walking in the rain because the ground was so wet.

2015-06-18 08.58.56One of the fun parts of meetings in Parliament House is getting to wander through the basement – so much quicker than having to go through the public entrance.

2015-06-18 15.33.06As I said, it was raining almost all week.

2015-06-18 16.18.29Another day trip, this time to Melbourne.

2015-06-19 06.08.35I can’t remember whether these were sunsets or sunrises as travelling…

Back at home, Jude was helping prepare fish for dinner.

2015-06-19 18.22.26-1Saturday morning and time for Jude’s hockey.

2015-06-20 11.14.39It was then off to Jude and Zac’s music recital – both played very well.

Lovely Saturday night dinner commencing with home made salmon gravlax.

2015-06-20 18.41.21After webber roasted pork and beef in the middle, we finished with caramel dumplings.

2015-06-20 20.15.44And some Eldritch Horror.

2015-06-20 21.32.34Sunday and Sebastian and I got our baking on and made spinach and feta tarts. Yum.

2015-06-21 14.34.34

Weeks! #41: of bakeries, blood moon, brisbane and bikes (oh and other stuff)

2014-10-06 11.22.28Another week beginning with a road trip. This time, all five of us were in the car and we were heading home to Canberra. Sebastian didn’t enjoy the hilly bits in the Macedon Ranges and there were a number of vomit-stops before we got to the freeway.

2014-10-06 12.49.50We stopped at the Beechworth Bakery though for lunch. I have been wanting to visit for a number of years since I saw its somewhat renowned boss Tom O’Toole speak some years ago about training. It talked about how training people had added value to his business and helped him expand and he said something which I have often quoted and never forgotten: “People say to me, what if you train people and they leave? I answer them by saying, what if I don’t train them, and they stay?” It is always great to see people who understand how training staff helps their business. And the pies were good too.

2014-10-07 09.25.16First day back at work and guess what? I’m on a plane. Not the plane pictured above, but off to Brisbane for the day.

2014-10-07 12.09.25Hello Brisbane.

Then back on another plane home.

2014-10-07 19.19.57-2Sometimes you just need a glass of wine.

2014-10-07 19.48.07I finally managed to be in Canberra and available to play with my Branch soccer team. Of course, it is really hard not to shoulder check¬† – soccer’s OK with that, right?

2014-10-08 12.15.09All the boys got new cricket gear ready for the season – Zachary’s first. His cricket gloves are so tiny.

2014-10-08 18.10.34It was Blood Moon night so there was compulsory viewing, including with the two telescopes the boys own.

2014-10-08 21.23.31The weather has been turning increasingly beautiful so I am figuring there are not many #yourtightsatwork days left for the year.

2014-10-09 07.56.41

The boys, still on school holidays, spent Thursday with Ga and Katie, so we went and joined them for dinner for Katie’s last night in Canberra. All hands on deck for the helping out. The boys were also pretty sad to say goodbe to Katie who was heading off to Sydney for a couple of days before returning to London.

2014-10-09 20.52.05 2014-10-09 20.57.51-1Friday was moving day in the office. Fortunately, others had done most of my packing.

2014-10-10 11.37.14Escaping from work early meant I could catch up with the boys for pub afternoon tea.

Saturday we were off to Skate Nation for some eight wheel action. Zac managed to go lowest on the limbo.

And when you have the ingredients, why not enjoy a cocktail? The Bombay Amber is perfect for a negroni.

Meanwhile, Jude discovered the ultimate in multi-tasking – knocking in his cricket bat while watching Minecraft videos.

2014-10-11 16.45.38-1Dinner – a lovely piece of Jonai Farms pork shoulder and some equally excellent wine.

Sunday and Sebastian and I did a monster visit to the supermarket.

2014-10-12 12.22.46I also helped Zac on his bike. He has ridden a little bit but just needed some final concentrated attention and help. Didn’t take long.

2014-10-12 16.28.42Look, it is excellent that the boys help with hanging clothes on the line, but sometimes the results do make me wince slightly.

2014-10-12 17.30.07Finally, some baking with Jude – peanut butter cookies.

2014-10-12 17.50.45

Weeks! #38: skating, learning and success

2014-09-15 20.00.01I got myself back on skates this week by venturing to SkateFit. It was fun, even though it did prove that my winter of illness and travel has left me with a little to be desired in the “fit” category.

Learning journey time! First up was Jude – we wrote fast stories together and looked at conductivity.

2014-09-16 10.10.45Then there was me with some rare office time.

Zac showed us all the things in his classroom, including his political critiques. His teacher, David, told me that the day after the budget Zac came in, went to David’s desk and asked “so David, how did the Budget impact you?”

Then Sebastian showed us simple programming along with the rest of his work.

2014-09-17 18.44.41I had cunningly scheduled in the learning journeys before I headed up to Brisbane for a couple of days.

2014-09-17 21.40.38I was staying again at the hotel with the disturbing bears on the bed. They stare.

My two days of my learning group also gave me time to catch up with friends for breakfast and a little bit of alone, contemplative time.

Flying home at sunset.

2014-09-20 10.23.07Zachary got into some lego Saturday.

There was more skating Saturday afternoon with a trip to Skate Nation.

Then it was off to the derbies Saturday night to see the CRDL teams. The ghoulish face painter was there again so Zachary and Alice ended up looking quite disturbing. More disturbing is that guy behind Alice….

2014-09-20 22.16.12After the derby, James and I headed to Molly to meet up with Dave and Caroline and down a cocktail or two.

Sunday morning was fancy Pod Food brunch. Here is Zachary drinking his tea.

We then headed to ANU to have lunch with Sebastian where he was in the middle of the Tournament of the Minds ACT final. A magpie chose to join us as well.

2014-09-21 17.14.11 2014-09-21 17.34.48-1And lo and behold, proving he is just as good with Language Literature as Maths Engineering, his team won and it is off to the national finals. Watching them perform in the afternoon, the Turner team went last. Part of the topic was “heroes” and after the first two schools featuring super heroes, and the third doing something totally random, we were extremely pleased to see Sebastian’s team focus on Nelson Mandela. After that, it was less of a surprise that they won. But very well down to them. Three of the four ACT winners at the primary school level were Turner teams – a big tribute to the teachers at Turner who guide TOMs there.

2014-09-21 17.36.15And so, another beautiful Canberra day, and busy busy week ends.

Weeks! #15: even the worst of weeks have good bits to them

2014-04-07 08.38.43In some ways, which I don’t always talk about here, this year has not been that easy for us. There have been a lot of stressful things going on in the present, and a number of stressful things from the past looming large over the now. We have mostly been getting by day-by-day and they aren’t the worst things – we still have good jobs, a house and the boys are healthy and happy. But this still hasn’t been the easiest of times, and this week proved to be one of the most unpleasant of the year to-date. I cried quite a lot during the week.

But even when many things are crappy, there are good things. And we started the week with Jude’s birthday and walking the boys to school.

2014-04-07 08.38.48I decided I could get away with wearing my fun shoes to work.

2014-04-07 09.24.09And we had dumplings with friends to celebrate Jude’s birthday.

The next morning it was off to Melbourne early for meetings and the beginning of the surrealness of the week.

2014-04-08 06.21.43The meeting finished early so I went back to my hotel to read transcripts of the Royal Commission hearings. It was raining and not terribly nice outside, so hiding in my room in my pyjamas, looking at the view and reading transcripts was an acceptable way to pass an afternoon.

2014-04-08 08.53.17I did wander out to eat at Rosa’s Kitchen and walk through the rainy streets.

Two very nice opportunities presented themselves during the week – one in Melbourne and one in Brisbane. I finally got to meet two people from Twitter (and more recently Facebook) in real life who I had only know electronically – but for a long time and they are both people I like and admire. So James and Andrea, thanks for being highlights of a somewhat bleak week.

I also had a chance to catch up with my old friend Lee when I got to Brisbane – seeing old friends and meeting new ones is a nice balance.

2014-04-10 10.18.20Another highlight was breakfast with another different James who brought us back t-shirts from the Men’s Roller Derby World Cup. It was lovely to see him.

So there was lots of horrible on Thursday. I was in Brisbane and spent the day waiting to be called to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Home Insulation. This was fairly stressful, especially when I got to see the person in front of me warned that not being truthful is an offence. In the middle of all this, some derby drama reached its peak, and I felt I had no choice but to resign as President of the League, something I really didn’t want to do. Much of the day was hard, it was horrible, it was stressful and I cried quite a bit.

2014-04-10 18.50.40Fortunately the evening held beer and more importantly, friends. Did I mention beer? It was absolutely lovely to hang out with Simon, Bondy and Viv, drink beer and talk about stuff. Of course, I still hadn’t made it into the witness box, so I did have to limit the beer a little because I wasn’t sure that having a hangover was the best way to manage my appearance.

2014-04-10 23.03.23Brisbane is pretty at night.

2014-04-11 11.13.56Here is the courtroom in which the Commission hearings are held. I had nearly five hours in the witness box. Six different lawyers, all representing someone different, asked me questions. The Commissioner asked a couple as well. All in all it wasn’t a terrible experience. It was interesting to see the various different strategies lawyers use – trying to lead me into agreeing with a proposition I wouldn’t necessarily agree with, implying I was stupid, complimenting me, giving me complete statements of fact to agree with. I didn’t let them bother me terribly, told them what I knew, provided a few lectures on the nature of the training system and in the end was reasonably happy with my evidence. I was very happy though when the commissioner told me I was dismissed.

2014-04-11 15.35.20

Then it was time for wine.

2014-04-11 15.38.43Here is me hoping that all the crappy parts of the week were over. Spoiler: they weren’t.

2014-04-11 17.44.25I flew to Bathurst via Sydney. The boys had all already headed up there for the derby boot camp we were attending Saturday. It was so nice to see them all and get hugs and be back with my family after the stress of the week.

2014-04-12 13.35.48

So Saturday was boot camp. It was exciting because all of us but Zac could participate. I was really looking forward to a day of drama free skating to make me find the joy after the past week. The day started well. The first few seasons were fun and straightforward. The boys were having a good time.

But after lunch it all turned bad. I am not that confident in the end about my skating ability. It has taken me quite a while to get where I am and there are still skills I am trying to master. I am good at most of the things i do, and derby is the one thing I have to really work at. When I get stressed therefore, I think some of my confidence and insecurity gets poured into self-criticism around my skating. So when someone decides to tell you you can’t participate in something essentially because you aren’t good enough, it is devastating. Especially because I knew that there were people who weren’t as good as me still taking part. I still haven’t been able to work out exactly what it was that led them to single me out – I had only fallen over once the entire day and they were claiming it was to do with my stability. Maybe it was my age and size, maybe someone just didn’t like the look of me. I have actually written to the League who ran the event, but I haven’t had an answer yet. Anyhow, I was beyond distressed so Zac and I headed back to the house where we were staying, leaving James, Jude and Sebastian to the rest of the boot camp and to participate in the bout.

Zac and I went for a walk down to the river on the beautiful property where our cottage was which helped me regain some serenity.

We also had Thai food for dinner – Zac’s choice – before going back to the bout to see James reffing and Sebastian and Jude acting as on-skates scoreboard guys.

And I got a cupcake.

2014-04-12 20.09.45The next day was a chance to forget all that stuff and hang out as a family.

2014-04-13 09.21.25After all, the view was beautiful.

There was some more exploring.

Then, we went into Bathurst for some lunch.

We also took some time to visit the Mineral and Fossil Museum which turned out to be pretty impressive.

On the way home, we saw a lovely wind farm. I was completely impressed that Shire and Country Energy had put up a viewing platform and notes around wind power. The wind farm did look great – renewable energy both beautiful and clean.

So that was the week. I am enormously grateful to my friends who helped me get through the week – our “urban family” who joined us to celebrate Jude’s birthday, the two James Hs, Lee, Andrea, Simon, Bondy, Viv and Natasha and to Demo, Jess and T-Ref who all gave me hugs when I was a mess on Saturday. Thanks to my staff who kept my real life running while I was incapable of engaging. And once again I am ever so so grateful to my family – my lovely boys and my wonderful James who help to put in all in perspective.

Hoping all the weeks after this are better!

The week that was…week 33: Brisbane, feet and food

2013-08-05 18.17.04Another week, another view of sunset from the air. This time I was off to Brisbane for a couple of days training.

I was a little disturbed by the teddy that was on the bed in my hotel room. I think he was a bit shifty-looking.

2013-08-05 19.55.08So glorious BrizVegas. It was nice to be out of the cold for a bit.

2013-08-06 16.43.02Our second day in Brisbane was interesting with behind-the-scenes visits to all the Customs activities in Brisbane. I got to wear high-vis, meet customs dogs and visit various interesting sites at the airport, international mail exchange, port and Customs House.

I also took the arty shot of the Ports.

2013-08-07 13.07.26Came home to discover that Sebastian and Jude have been working on their ensemble version of Ode to Joy.

2013-08-07 19.40.32I also finally bought myself the new skates I have wanted for some time. The fact that the whole family (including James using my old skates) was going skating on Thursday night was a useful prompt.

2013-08-08 12.58.49Saturday morning proceeded as usual.¬† Cornucopia…

2013-08-10 09.06.51then off to hockey.

Sebastian decided to branch out into savoury dishes, cooking lamb korma for dinner.

2013-08-10 18.32.10 2013-08-10 19.02.39Sunday we managed to fit in a quick Science Week activity, heading off to the CSIRO for Experimentathon where we saw the crowd pleasing liquid nitrogen and hydrogen explosions and other fun things.

The week finished with James trying out a Heston recipe and making some delicious roast potatoes. Yum.

2013-08-11 18.35.46


The week that was….week 25: a bit of normality

2013-06-17 15.18.56Nice to be back in the country and to have the chance to escape from work briefly for afternoon tea with the boys at LSR.

2013-06-17 15.19.03 2013-06-17 15.36.04Sebastian is continuing with the cooking.

2013-06-19 19.50.12-1 2013-06-19 20.26.07George has his spot waiting for us to get home.

2013-06-19 20.11.22

Travel isn’t far away – this time a day trip to Brisbane.

2013-06-20 11.20.04I had to pick out new glasses.

2013-06-21 13.16.16The boys became enthralled by a made up role playing game that they played together for hours on end with much enthusiastic discussion and very little dispute.

2013-06-21 18.03.40 2013-06-21 18.03.44



Winter continued to be cold.

2013-06-22 09.40.39So cold in fact that Sebastian had to play half a game of hockey before the frost melted from the field.

2013-06-22 10.11.20I had to get the tyre fixed en route to Jude’s hockey. We all found ways to amuse ourselves while we waited.

2013-06-22 12.27.35Zac continued to entertain himself similarly at the footy.

2013-06-22 13.24.422013-06-22 13.24.51 2013-06-22 14.25.39And another night at the derby.

2013-06-22 19.26.31Steve and Shell and Fritha came over Sunday night. Jude got into the swing of cooking this time.

A nice normal week.


A year in the life…day 121: Brisbane


Spent this afternoon at the Southbank campus of Griffith University talked about the future and technology and tertiary education. Not a bad spot.