A year in the life 2016 #163: all the children


It was a pupil-free day for a lot of schools including the boys and their cousins. So everyone was at our house for the morning. Fortunately it was beautiful weather.


Jude, Zachary, Emilie, Scarlett and I went to the park while Sebastian stayed at home with his new ice cream machine and made delicious raspberry sorbet. A good morning.


A year in the life 2016 #155: Happy birthday Emmie


Birthday season comes in force in June. We went out for pizza for Emilie’s birthday. It was too dark to get a good picture of the birthday girl, but I couldn’t resist this picture of Scarlett. You go girl – enjoy your food!


A year in the life 2016 #153: a tale of two birthday parties


Sebastian chose a paintball party for his birthday with a bunch of his friends from school. Much sweaty, shooting fun was had.

We then got to Emilie’s birthday party in time for the cake. Turning half Sebastian’s age at 7!


A year in the life 2016 #95: all the cousins


Today I picked up Scarlett and Emilie from school and had them over for a couple of hours. While Jude had his viola lesson, the rest of us went to the park.



A year in the life 2016 #64: grandchildren


Apparently it is near impossible to get all these troublemakers looking at the camera and smiling nicely at the dame time.


All the photos should just have been of Scarlett and Zac who were composed throughout.


And clearly Sebastian is the worst offender.


A year in the life 2016 #43: breaks for food


It was not the best Sunday ever. With a change of Minister I spent almost the entire day working in order to get change of Minister briefs down. Brief break to visit the Holland St market for lunch, then back to work.

At least it was all finished by dinner time so I could enjoy that with the wider family.


A day in the life 2016 #6:cousins in a pool


How much do kids love a pool? Chucking a bunch of cousins in together is a recipe for fun.

2015 weeks! #34: life, Cthulhu and death

2015-08-31 08.43.01Usual Monday morning walk to school with this guy. Jude is a very chatty walking companion. Often I get a fairly continuous stream of chat about things he has recently learned – Zac got a big book of facts about stuff for his birthday and Jude has been reading it in between voracious consumption of Skullduggery Pleasant books. But Jude always remembers to ask me about what my day has in store.

2015-08-31 18.17.12Another week of Youth Mental Health First Aid – mostly talking depression, suicide and non-suicidal self injury.

2015-08-31 21.08.45It was a good moon night to wait for James to pick me up.

2015-08-31 21.23.41James and I took some “self care” time out after my course to go and have a quiet beer and chat at Bentspoke after each session. It is lovely to have those quiet relaxed moments to yourselves. However, this time Cthulhu came too.

2015-09-01 10.08.35Off to Melbourne for the day. Ended up spending a lot more time than expected at Canberra Airport with fog. Fun though to bump into Dave Sag and provide refuge in the Virgin Lounge.

2015-09-01 16.25.25Eventually we were off. And then back in virtually no time later!

2015-09-02 08.40.04Spring is definitely in town in Canberra.

2015-09-02 13.42.16Getting the last days out of #yourtightsatwork – though there are always those mid spring cold snaps.

2015-09-02 18.35.50We did schnitzel night at Edgars for the first time in ages.

2015-09-02 20.14.19George is not impressed by your fancy wines.

2015-09-03 07.49.45Sebastian decided to wake up early and walk into Braddon for breakfast with me before my physio. I think he was mostly in it for the Autolyse croissants, but it was lovely anyway.

2015-09-03 19.56.00Cthlulhu plays Edritch Horror with us! At this point I must pause and explain that Cthulhu was crotcheted by Jackie, James’ mother after I had posted pictures of cuddly Cthulhus on Facebook. I am very fond of him. Of course, the whole family was keen so Jackie has been set to work.

Friday afternoon it was back to Melbourne for a trip I would rather not have made – my aunt, Maggie, had died, so it was off to the funeral.

2015-09-04 19.38.20An upside was catching up with the family – I stayed in Melbourne with Lucy et al on Friday night before driving out to the Gippsland on Saturday morning.

2015-09-05 12.53.44Funerals are terribly sad things. i didn’t actually know Maggie that well – she had gotten together with my uncle Andrew when I was pretty much a grown up and we’ve pretty much always lived in different cities, crossing over at family events along the way. The funeral made me sad that we had never gotten to know each other better -many of the things Maggie had done in her life were things that I think are important – fighting against a culture of domestic violence, improving opportunities for young women offenders, baking – and it was both lovely and sad to hear from those closest to her. But apart from the sadness for the inidvidual, there is all the contemplation if makes you do – of the deaths of those close to you, past and future, of your own death, of what you have achieved in your life. Of how the world continues.

At the end of the service we released balloons into the sky. Goodbye Maggie.

But as with most things, there is an upside, and it was nice to catch up with family.

2015-09-05 15.41.35I was flying home that evening, so a bit later in the afternoon it was back in the car and the two and a half hour drive back to the airport.

2015-09-05 16.22.17-1There was some spectacular cloud en route.

2015-09-05 18.09.20And the familiar view from the Qantas Business Lounge at Melbourne airport.

2015-09-06 09.38.56Sunday morning Sebastian was competing in Tournament of the Minds. his team did all right, but there was some line fluffing, and they didn’t manage to progress to the enxt round. After two years at the national competition, sometimes you need some setbacks to improve for next year.

2015-09-06 10.00.48

I took training for Carnage and actually got back onto skates – and even better had an excuse to wear my awesome new leggings!

2015-09-06 14.24.10

2015 weeks! #26: holidays versus work with added cousins and derby

2015-07-06 18.36.43Monday was Zachary’s birthday and it is much more fun celebrating when your cousins are in town. Even if they do make silly faces. 2015-07-06 18.36.44But a very pleasant evening of Jamie’s Italian was had. Here is the yearly compulsory photo of Zac and Andrew, his godfather equivalent. 2015-07-06 19.40.15 I left the cousins to it on Tuesday and went to work. We had a goodbye lunch for tow of my Directors who had left – although one ended up sick sadly. There have been a lot of farewells over the last couple of years with so much downsizing of the public service. 2015-07-07 13.26.09It was a #yourtightsatwork day. 2015-07-07 13.55.29-1Left the small boys in the care of Lucy and Rowan and went to scrim on Tuesday night. I also practiced score tracking as I was rostered to do it for a game on Saturday night and it has been a long time since I have done any NSO role, let alone keeping score.

Another #yourtightsatwork day. 2015-07-08 08.40.57I had a quick trip up to Sydney to give a conference presentation and got to see the University of Western Sydney’s campus at Parramatta very briefly. 2015-07-08 13.47.09And then it was home again in time for dinner.

Sebastian and James organised an Indian feast of leftovers including making home made breads.

The next day Lucy and family headed to the snow early..but we knew there wasn’t much snow so the boys opted for a quiet day mostly at home. I had the day off as my contribution to school holiday hanging out and so got to sleep in with George. 2015-07-09 12.37.01I had lots of suggestions for fun activities, but the boys had had a fair bit of action in the past few days and so chose to chill out. We did walk to the shop for supplies though. 2015-07-09 13.52.28And took a quick ride to Braddon for afternoon tea at Autolyse.

Jude shared one of his poems with us. 2015-07-09 16.57.38Meanwhile, James had Sebastian in training for his penalty box duties on the weekend. 2015-07-09 19.26.38On friday I was fortunate enough to host a NAIDOC week forum at work with three indigenous winners of training awards last year – Sally Moylan the winner and Chris Medcraft the runner up of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award and a representative from the Salvation Army Employment Plus who won the Industry Collaboration Award alongside Wesfarmers and Thiess for their Oothungs (sisters) in Mining Program. Sally and Chris have great journeys and the Oothungs program is terrific, giving training and employment opportunities to indigenous women in remote areas. It was terrific to help facilitate them telling their stories.

Friday was also Work James, my wonderful EA and friend’s birthday, so he and I went and ate all the dumplings for lunch. See, they’re gone. 2015-07-10 13.14.42I also made him a birthday cake whihc he seemed quite pleased about when I gave it to him in front of the branch. 2015-07-10 15.27.22 Friday night was our last night with the small girls (and Lucy and Rowan) before they headed back to Adelaide the next morning, so we invited the Reids and tried out the Thai at Kinn. 2015-07-10 19.13.15Can report that the food was excellent, but the service left a little bit to be desired. 2015-07-10 20.52.35Walking home through the park. 2015-07-11 08.35.56Zachary was keen to work on his beading using some of his birthday gifts. 2015-07-11 11.16.16-1he was also pretty taken by his new onesie, so it was cello onesie practice. 2015-07-11 13.34.10I, on the other hand, was excited by my new Cons.

Saturday night was derby time and we started with a Carnage versus Light City game. The boys did an excellent job and James was super happy with his zero penalties.

Next the Smackademics had their first outing and also comprehensively beat Light City. James double-downed on the zero penalty count. Unlike my usual roles of benching, line up managing or (very occasionally) playing, I was score tracking. Luckily I had the lovely Ginj to keep me company. 2015-07-11 18.30.32Sunday morning was a boot camp with Light City.. 2015-07-12 09.31.06…and straight from there to the airport. I was off to Adelaide (via Melbourne) to spend a night hanging out with Nat before heading off on a China-Korea Ministerial travel adventure ridiculously early the next day.

Weeks! #52 and a half: Adelaide and home again

2014-12-29 12.24.35This was exactly what I needed to spend some time doing while on holidays. Absolutely perfect.

Sebastian spent some time learning practical skills from Rowan. He was very excited to do some welding.

2014-12-29 18.25.24Zac and Emilie’s hanging out continued.

And Jude entertained Scarlett.

2014-12-30 13.36.44James and I drove home on Tuesday. It was uneventful and reasonably quick and painless.

2014-12-31 18.05.18New Year’s Eve involved gathering at Steve and Shell’s for drinks, food and conversation. We started with whisky sours made by Rachel…

…and ended the night around the fire.

2014-12-31 23.02.55