A year in the life 2016 #229: best lunch of the year

As usual, there was a lot of lovely wine and excellent company. We were a bit disappointed with the food that didn’t make it up to the standard of previous years at the Boat House. But we didn’t let that stop us having a good time – and inevitably buying more wine than we should!


2015 weeks! #30: in the end there is a lot of wine

2015-08-03 08.33.59Another Monday, another walk to school with Jude.

On Tuesday it was both Jude and Zachary.

2015-08-04 08.44.36And still jolly cold.

2015-08-04 09.03.45Tuesday I flew up to Sydney for the farewell for the Skillaroos – our Australian team to compete at Worldskills. There are 26 of them competing across everything from hairdressing, restaurant service, IT and manufacturing. It was lovely to see Jessica Martin, a former silver medal winner at Worldskills – Jess has come to India with us to demonstrate her skills – as well as a bunch of other people from the sector. Fingers crossed that the team will do well – we have usually been in the top 10, but slipped to 13. In order to be selected, the competitors have to go through regional and national competitions, then spend a lot of time training outside their usual training to ensure their skills are honed. There was also a wonderfully entertaining speech from Paralympian Sam Bramham – I recommend hearing him if you ever get the chance.

Still wearing my brace when I could get away with non-standard work shoes, I went usually colourful. It is also a year since i was in Tasmania with Sebastian and bought this skirt.

2015-08-05 10.41.12In the continuing-cold theme, Sebastian found a chunk of ice when leaving the house.

2015-08-06 08.20.43Thursday was a meeting and lunch with the Chinese Embassy folk, so I thought I had better wear appropriate footwear. My ankle does seem to have gotten a bit more back to normal.

2015-08-06 08.53.36Walking home – at least the sunset is getting later now.

2015-08-06 17.25.55Zac spent some time constructing his birthday Bionicles.

2015-08-06 17.53.38D&D! Although we are still less regular than we used to be, we are managing to play still reasonably often.

2015-08-06 21.53.02Friday night Jude and Sebastian were off at a birthday party, so I met James and Zac for Grease Monkey burgers. Very good but not the amazingly amazing burgers I had been led to believe. Still would definitely do again – especially once they have the outdoor area licenced.

2015-08-07 18.06.10A surprise thank you bottle of wine in the mail from Hugh Hamilton was rather a bonus.

2015-08-07 18.48.25George does rather enjoy lolling on the couch. I think he was as appalled by the cricket as we were.

Saturday morning and Jude, Sebastian and I walked to Jude’s hockey. His team have been doing very well this year.

2015-08-08 11.18.06Then it was derby training time.

A big highlight for the week was the annual Black Sheep lunch at the Boathouse with lots and lots of Hugh Hamilton wines. It was a glorious day, the food was outstanding, the wine excellent and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

After a brief snooze on the couch, Jude, Zac and I caught a taxi over to the Indonesian Embassy for a shadow puppet show: Gugurnya Gathutkaca – The Fall of Gathutkaca. The boys have been studying shadow puppets at school, so when I got the invitation I figured it wa an excellent opportunity. The performance was quite entrancing and it is interesting that the tradition involves the same kind of slapstick fools to lighten up the mood as you see in a Shakespearean tragedy. Much fun.

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.

Weeks! #33: All’s well that ends well

2014-08-12 08.32.35Started the week walking to work and remembering how gorgeous Canberra can be, especially on a bright, nearly spring day.

2014-08-13 11.30.54Here I am, managing to look relaxed and reasonably happy to be back in the office.

One part of my job that I enjoy, and that I believe is very important, is mentoring. I currently work with three women, both older and younger than me, to provide support, ideas and, hopefully, some inspiration. I strongly believe that as a feminist and a woman who has managed to achieve a few things and be moderately successful I should try to help others to climb the ladder and even go past me. I have been lucky to have some great women offer me advice and support throughout my career (both at work and academically) and I think it is incredibly important to try and help other women, and to build networks of mutual benefit. Of course, if a man asked me to mentor him, I would be happy to do it, but I also think it is important that women build the ties and networks that men have always had. It is also an extra benefit when you can catch up with mentorees at a coffee sop – and I did that twice this week.

2014-08-13 21.00.14-1Argh! Not mini Cthulhu!

2014-08-14 18.22.18So this week got stressful quite quickly. I learnt, inadvertently, that I was going to be expected to retest for my orange star because I hadn’t quite made 50% of training for the period.  If you follow this blog, you’ll know that between sickness, travel and other commitments, it had been really tough in the last eight weeks. Apparently a rule that had been created for one purpose, was suddenly and unexpectedly being used in a different way. Not that there would have been much I could have done had I known it – I had only missed training when I was physically unable to go, either through extreme sickness or because I wasn’t in Canberra. Anyway I was upset by this – two and a half years of making training attendance apparently don’t count for anything if you make 40% in one cycle. I was also feeling frustrated with some of the politics and with some other decisions. And I couldn’t emotionally face doing another test. My confidence has been a bit battered this year and I hate those tests. It is funny – five hours of questioning by a Royal Commission I can take in my stride, but being tested on my derby skills…. I guess while I was President I should have thought about better ways of doing it – some people do well at single summative tests, but for others perhaps we could have instituted other approaches like progressive ticking off of competencies or something. And I still hate the 27 in 5 test (and can’t do it). Never in derby do you have to skate for five minutes at top speed so I really don’t know what derby skill it is supposed to test. Anyway, given all this, it was surprisingly easy to make the decision to have an indefinite sabbatical. Made me sad, but I figured it was the best thing for the moment. Finding myself dragging myself to training, being frustrated and upset is not the part of derby that I enjoy, and it was starting to outweigh the fun quite heavily. I thought about staying on to line up manage, but I realised it would be too upsetting to see everyone skating and not particpate. So sabbatical it is. And it left me pretty tired and wrung out by the end of the week.

2014-08-15 08.29.11Went to see Jude and Seb’s pop up STEM Festival displays on Friday. Here is Jude and the seed experiment.

Sebastian and his partner had won the engineering challenge – creating a “boat” which could hold the most weight. I believe theirs took three kilos.

2014-08-15 18.37.21The boys have been good helpers in the kitchen for a long time, but since James broke his collar bone that has stepped up another notch. Jude and Zac have become excellent salad makers, and sometimes in the morning I get up and find that they have completely organised their breakfast – including chopped up carrots and all. It is amazing how much easier it makes life.

2014-08-15 18.46.11

With everything that had been happening this week, Friday night called for a g&t-sparkling red double.

2014-08-16 08.38.27

Been trying to find more time to read (other than just on planes). Reading this was helping with that. I was actually surprised how closely the book and the series were for this season, with a few obvious differences. I guess it is easier to leave a character out for an entire “season” in a book than it is in tv you have to find something for them to do.

Saturday football with Zac. Sometimes I think they are in it for the oranges.

2014-08-16 21.36.40There are few better ways to spend a cold and gloomy Saturday afternoon than killing monsters.

And there can be no better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon than being at a Hugh Hamilton lunch at the Boathouse with good wine, good food and good friends. If only the whole week had been like the last part of it!

The week that was…week 32: Sydney, wine and fantasy


Started the week with a night in Sydney. For fun, James came along and we had dinner and cocktails and a nice walk and pleasant grown up time.

2013-07-30 17.22.27The next day I saw another sunset from another plane – this time with puffy clouds.

D&D was made more entertaining as we got to check out the HUGE box of figures Andrew had recently received. Go Cthulu!

2013-08-01 17.12.26My zen garden at work. An old favourite for rearrangement when one just needs some contemplation time.

2013-08-01 19.14.42 2013-08-01 19.59.33Thursday night was the Hugh Hamilton Black Sheep Club dinner. it was at the Canberra Golf Club which did mean that the men had to wear ties (to James and Andrew R’s chagrin) and the lighting was bright – but the food was good and the wine delicious and generously supplied. More wine orders ensued.

2013-08-02 15.42.32I came home from work early on Friday and James made scones for afternoon tea.

2013-08-03 09.05.37Saturday, Sebastian and I went for our usual pre hockey coffee stop at Cornucopia this time.

2013-08-03 09.32.37The wattle was out….

2013-08-03 11.54.37but it was still so cold that Jude huddled under me when we were watching Sebastian’s football.

2013-08-03 14.10.42New unicorn dice! A present from Andrew. Perfect for my holy sword.

2013-08-03 16.17.30And the rest of my weekend was derby or post derby recovery, which I will blog about separately!

The week that was…week 19: autumn and its many delights

2013-05-06 19.28.11Zachary and Jude decided to immortalise in art the soft toys I brought them back from Jakarta. They did a pretty fine job I would say.

2013-05-06 19.35.56It was another week of another beautiful Canberra autumn.

I wasn’t as appreciative of it as I may have been – by mid week a cold had struck hard, and I took the day off on Wednesday. In the end though, that just meant I spent the day working in bed, or at least in my pyjamas.

2013-05-08 10.19.07George did like my being at home though.

2013-05-08 11.09.12

I wasn’t too sick to enjoy this though.

2013-05-08 19.26.41

Despite being less than 100%, the show must go on. I walked Zac to school early on Thursday for choir. While his older brothers have lost interest, Zac has embraced choir with enthusiasm.

2013-05-09 08.23.18There was more cooking from Sebastian. He made shortbread one evening.

2013-05-09 19.39.07 And, with Jude’s assistance, lemonade.

2013-05-11 15.48.52Saturday morning was the first morning for Saturday winter sports for the year. But first, Sebastian and I had morning tea at LSR.

2013-05-11 09.06.06Then time for hockey. Sebastian is really playing very well – all the extra playing time with grown ups over summer and with the regional team is paying off.

various 191And then, with a bit of help from Ga, it was quickly over the football where we were joined by the rest of the family post-minkey.

Finally, it was Mother’s Day. While I still firmly believe it is a Hallmark Holiday and there are no presents in our house and I spent most of the day in bed, it is nice to have my boys to cuddle.

A year in the life…day 209: The Chairman and Hugh

How better to spend a Tuesday night than eating Chairman and Yip food and drinking Hugh Hamilton wine at a Black Sheep dinner. A fabulous combination. The only challenge is not to spend too much on the wine order afterwards.