A year in the life 2016 #22: goodbye house

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Today I woke up in our house for the last time. It was the day of the big removal of all our stuff. After this, the next step will be demolition.

My day was spent cleaning the fridge, packing final things in boxes, watching as the removalists took our lives and packed them in a container.

I also spent the day retrieving things from the debris left behind. Most of all, Lego helmets – a favourite toy of George’s to skitter across the floor before they inevitability disappear under  a bookcase.

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I spent most of the day covered in dust. The removalists took about four and a half hours to get it all done – our stuff fit into one shipping container, just. It will stay in their until we have a brand new house built to house it all.

Goodbye house – we had just over four years of good times in you. There will be lots of memories, even when you are distributed between rubbish tips and recycling.

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2015 weeks! #33: we’re number two!

2015-08-24 10.06.21One of the things I quite like about our work building is the living wall. Particularly nice when it is in bloom.

2015-08-24 19.22.46Sebastian’s high school was offering a “Youth Mental Health First Aid Course” over four Monday nights. With three boys about to hit adolescence and all of their friends and cohort, plus the young people I know through derby, I thought it might be useful knowledge to have. The presenter was very engaging but I was shocked to learn that most of my fellow course participants had never planed for the zombie apocalypse and, worse, some of them didn’t really even know what zombies are….

Walked to school with these two troublemakers Tuesday.

2015-08-26 18.28.09Some nights you need a g&t and some codeine to go with your at-home work.

2015-08-26 21.30.30George does love the new couch.

2015-08-27 06.40.54Early morning flight to Melbourne.

I love the sight of the Melbourne ferris wheel (whatever t is called) as you go over the Bolte Bridge.

2015-08-27 08.43.35Early morning in a busy week and a day full of conferencing, including giving a presentation = lots of fizzy caffeinated beverage.

I really enjoyed the presentation by Rachel Botsman on disruptive technologies and the new world of trust.She is a very engaging speaker, and her ideas about trust and the way the new economy is starting to work were really thought-provoking.

2015-08-27 17.03.57Then there was time for doing all the work in one’s hotel room before the conference dinner.

2015-08-28 16.19.21After another day of conference, broken up by having to go and do work, it was off to the airport and back to Canberra.

2015-08-28 18.38.55Time though for a quick #yourtightsatwork at the Business Lounge.

2015-08-28 19.07.41And flying home.

2015-08-29 10.56.57Saturday was a lovely spring morning for watching Jude play hockey. His team continued on form.

2015-08-29 11.12.07While we were at the hockey, Sebastian whipped up some chocolate cupcaes for the….

ROADTRIP!

2015-08-29 13.00.54We were off to Sydney for the 5×5 grandfinal – Dishonour Rollers versus S2D2’s The Force.

It was a great game by a great team but sadly we didn’t quite get there – WE’RE NUMBER TWO! WE’RE NUMBER TWO!

It was a quick drink, medals and some commiseration before we headed home again. On the road trip back, Copter and I greatly disturbed Jess and Sebastian with at least two renditions, in a row, of Charlene’s “I’ve never been to me”.

2015-08-30 13.25.18Sunday and reality and supermarkets.

2015-08-30 14.00.03…and complex lego wars!

2015 weeks! #25: things you can do in the cold

2015-06-29 08.31.51Monday morning and walking to school with Jude (after earlier dropping Zac off at choir practice). Always a lovely start to the week.

2015-06-29 18.01.49Random serene selfie.

2015-06-30 10.27.36Another book finished. I absolutely adored this. Such a lovely central character in a beautifully imagined world. The writing keeps you fully engaged and the intrigue and politics are outstandingly rendered. Go read it.

2015-06-30 17.00.29I ended up quite sick. The head cold that had started on the way to Seoul and blossomed while there had really managed to completely take hold of my body and I was completely incapable of much for two days. Unlike many sick days I hardly even checked my email and did pretty much no work. I watched a lot of Arrow on Netflix with George as company – a bit of Shirtless Exposition in a silly but engaging story line seemed important for my recovery. That and sleeping and reading. I keep trying to put a timeframe on how long it has been that the pace has been relentless at work – the last few weeks, months, year or two – anyway it has been a while and every now and again my body signals a need for a time out.

2015-07-01 18.03.02Sebastian is still very much enjoying his cooking. Here he is preparing some tuna, both for sashimi and for lightly seared yummy morsels. He and James whipped up a delicious seafood fest that night.

By Thursday night I was well enough for some games – super hero deck building it was.

2015-07-02 20.20.59For the last day of school it was Crazy Hair Day. Zac had wanted some colour but with all my sickness there had been no time to hunt down spray. We were pretty happy though with the results of our hairspray intervention though.

2015-07-03 08.31.05Time for a quick lunch and then coffee with James. Always nice when we can squeeze that into a day.

2015-07-03 13.08.19And then, there was much excitement when the Cousins arrived on Friday night! Lucy, Rowan and Emilie and Scarlett were in town for a week! In sub 5 degree temperatures we visited some of the outside sights of Canberra, including lunching at the Hamlet.

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The grown ups got to explode some Cows Saturday night.

2015-07-04 20.49.09Sunday was another cold day and declared Onesie morning (someone needs to get Lucy a Onesie).

2015-07-05 11.13.48James and I went off to training – I was pleased to be on skates as I have been struggling to get on-skates time in this year.

2015-07-05 15.42.37It was a beautiful sunset.

Lucy and the gang had headed off to friends’ house – we came home to find Sebastian and Zachary deeply embroiled in a lego war. That’s how you do holidays.

2015 weeks! #3: injury and recovery (and lots of codeine)

2015-01-20 17.49.27So after a couple of weeks of getting myself focused on regular exercise and getting ready for the start of derby training, I pushed myself too hard early Monday morning and managed to do some disc damage to my lower back. I knew I’d hurt it, but I think my muscles and everything were so warmed and stretched after my cardio session (yes, what was I thinking) that it really wasn’t until the end of Monday I realised just how badly injured I was. Tuesday was physio, doctor and codeine, codeine, codeine. And working from home, although having a red hot go at resting in between emails. I tell you, skipping with a rope is clearly the wrong thing to do.

2015-01-19 22.17.51George quite liked hanging out with, or on top of, the convalescing.

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When having back problems, it is important to remember that gin is an excellent muscle relaxant.

2015-01-21 10.48.09So look, I know that going to work when I am actually injured is not an excellent idea and I know I should really just rest and all of that – but I also am in the middle of extra responsibilities and super busy times and it is amazing how much you can cope with on fizzy caffeinated beverages and super doses of codeine. Nonetheless, at times, it was clear that my resilience was rather lower when in severe pain than it is at other times.

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On Wednesday night I gritted my teeth through the pain and we played Sebastian’s D&D version of The Hunger Games. He’d had a bit of a shitty day through no fault of his own, and had done a huge amount of work on the scenario, so we spent some time playing it. He’d done a pretty good job, although there was a lot of focus on food gathering (which I guess would probably be a thing).

2015-01-21 23.45.28At least having to spend some time lying down and resting meant I did get to finish The Peripheral. I really enjoyed it – it reminded me a lot of Virtual Light, but most subtle and clever. Very easy to read and great story with some interesting political and social commentary (as always with Gibson).

2015-01-22 10.06.24Then there was the question of what, of these and other books, to read next (I chose Wolf Hall for a change of pace).

2015-01-22 12.23.31Still school holidays for the boys, and Jude took some time out with lego.

2015-01-22 17.31.19Gin, still a great muscle relaxant.

2015-01-23 11.02.43After being a little less than my most robust on Thursday at work, one of my lovely team, Wendy, brought me flowers on Friday. It is lovely that I have a team who pitches in when needed and without fuss – while I was a bit delicate, they were all willing to pick up extra things and make sure that everything kept running smoothly. With the change in Minister, there have been a few times where one area has had a huge unexpected workload, and other teams have jumped in to help. I’m really proud of my Branch and the way that they are supportive and can pull together and will find solutions that will suit everyone rather than just themselves.

2015-01-24 13.44.41There has been quite a lot of backyard cricket these holidays. The boys will pop outside for a quick round quite regularly.

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While at the Bont International, I had ordered some customised Bonts. The only problem – the sales dude forgot to write down my size. So when James got his shiny new skates, he also sent me through several pairs to size myself. Of course, the worst thing was that for most of the week I couldn’t bend over to try them on. By Saturday I was able.

2015-01-24 18.23.04My back was repaired enough by Saturday to make laksa. Delicious, delicious laksa.

While James was at training on Sunday, I took the boys to Casaurina Sands where we enjoyed some river swimming. It was quite a lovely day, and quite a strong flowing river.

2015-01-25 18.03.08Some more resting after our river adventures, finding Wolf Hall very enjoyable (and comparing the perspectives with those from the Tudors!).

2015-01-25 20.55.32To end the week, games, cheese and roller derby gossip. A most excellent combination with excellent people.

Weeks! #39: all sorts of fun things

Fun start to the week with a visit to the Chinese Embassy for Chinese National Day celebrations.

It was followed in the evening by an invitation to see the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra play. I tool Jude, viola specialist, along with me. We went out to dinner first and then Jude got to experience the Diplomatic Cocktail Party before we got to listen to the music. He was blown away by the first piece – a Chinese  piece using the pipa. it was indeed awesome. I think he enjoyed the chance to see musicians in action. It was a lovely night together.

Tuesday night I had a date with Sebastian – well, he and I went to his hockey presentation night. He got a medal for being a representative player and, even better, got to hang out with Martin.

2014-09-24 20.59.34Lunch.

2014-09-25 08.24.06Due to rain, walking Zac to choir was replaced with driving him. Jude was sick so stayed at home.

2014-09-25 08.31.50Despite the rain, spring was clearly upon us.

2014-09-25 09.08.10It was then off to the airport and off to Adelaide.

It is quite odd to go to Adelaide and stay at a hotel, but it happens sometimes. This time I was there for the Ministerial Council meeting, and was at the office printing papers til 8pm, at a pre meeting dinner until 10.30am and then at the venue to prepare at 7.30am, so the hotel was by far the best option. So here is my hotel room view.

2014-09-26 06.54.50After the Ministerial Council meeting was all over, I moved into the second phase of my stay. Sebastian had flown over by himself earlier in the day and been picked up by Mum and Dad. He was in town for the junior roller derby nationals and Team Australia trials. They had a BBQ at the beach to kick off the fun, so I picked up Sebastian and we headed off.

2014-09-26 17.56.03Here’s the group photo from the BBQ.

Sebastian was pretty keen to take the opportunity to enjoy the beach, even if the water was a bit cold.

As we were already at the beach, we headed off to see Natasha and family. Conrad convinced Sebastian to play Question Time with him, while Cordelia just wanted hugs.

2014-09-27 09.40.27Saturday morning Mum and I took Sebastian to the derby clinic – I was more than a bit jealous when I saw the clinic line up.

I got to watch Sebastian being coached by Godjilla and Skate Pilgrim and Rogue N Josh before Mum had to take me to the airport, leaving Sebastian to do his thing. I had to fly to get back for the big celebration….

Jackie’s surprise 60th, including with a surprise visit from Katie.

The next morning James was up before I was awake and off to see Sebastian skate in bouts. Jude, Zachary, George and I had a very lazy Sunday.

2014-09-28 14.39.58I did get an armed escort to the shops.

Then it was time to open some gin and try out some tonic.

Clearly attracted by the smell of gin, Tess and Frank popped over for a g&t or three and stayed for homemade pizza with the boys and me. A lovely end to a week…except when Frank struggled to get over the hiccups.

2014-09-28 19.00.08

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! #29: Sri Lanka and sickness

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So on Monday morning I got on the lane I thought I was catching all along,even though I should already have been in Colombo. Oh well.

It all went smoothly and there was time for a massage and breakfast at the Qantas First Class Lounge.

2014-07-14 10.11.13And then a gin and tonic between flights in Bangkok.

2014-07-14 20.03.18The view from my hotel room was fabulous.

2014-07-15 08.27.58Although apparently I wasn’t supposed to photograph it.

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As I had to pack a three day program into two days, it was pretty busy. The main reason for my visit was to speak at a conference on vocational education and then I was fitting in a bunch of meetings when I had a free moment. I loved the campaign the Sri Lankans were developing to show people that skills study is a good option for young people.

We also got to see some spectacular dancing at the conference reception.

With me in Colombo were Melinda from one of the Industry Skills Councils, and Markeeta who was last year’s Aboriginal ad Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year. After the dinner, we went to a place they had spotted the day before (they caught the right plane) called the Ministry of Crab.

I ate the chilli crab which was delicious but hot hot hot.

2014-07-15 20.54.05-1 - CopyThe old Dutch Hospital complex where the restaurant was, was also home to a number of other restaurants and bars. We found one that served mojitos which helped to deal with the aftermath of too much chilli.2014-07-15 22.05.58-1The next day started with meetings, had conferencing interspersed with more meetings. I did have to leave the hotel for some of the meetings and got to see the sun sinking in the sky from the back of a hotel car.

2014-07-16 17.49.04 - CopyI was also pleased to fit in a quick swim – some time to float in the pool, listening to the sea and allow the stress to ebb away. At least a bit – and then the English school boy cricket team came and started doing synchronised jumps into the pool. On the upside, it was a big pool.

Free from official responsibilities, Melinda, Markeeta and I headed back to the Dutch Hospital for dinner and more mojitos.

The restaurant had super funky light-up menus.

And mojitos!

2014-07-16 22.08.20Here we are.

2014-07-16 22.01.46Then it was Thursday morning and time to fly home.

We had six hours in Bangkok. At the end of hour two, I started vomiting.  I did that regularly for the next four hours.

2014-07-17 17.18.51I can assure you that gastro and international flights are not a good mix. For the first time ever on an international flight I did not watch anything, eat anything or drink anything. I lay there and slept or tried to sleep. The Qantas staff were lovely and looked after me. I felt terrible.

Then arrived in Sydney and heard about MH17 before I was even off the plane and decided mine wasn’t the worst flight experience of the last 24 hours.

I couldn’t believe that there was a reporter waiting a international arrivals who asked me if I’d flown in from Malaysia. I couldn’t even.

Anyway, once I got back to Canberra, I spent the day in bed. I was supposed to be going to Sydney the next day to line up manage our final 5×5 game against S2D2 on Saturday, but there was no way I could stand for that long.

I did manage to sit at the football and watch Jude though.

The boys had a lego-a-thon over the weekend.

It was still very cold.

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And George was pretty relaxed.

2014-07-19 17.56.48-1By Sunday afternoon I was well enough to bake a banana cake.

2014-07-20 16.58.27-1And then, inescapably, work beckoned – I had to frock up and head to dinner at the Indian High Commissioner’s residence to welcome a delegation of Indians we were hosting for the next week. The gastro had gone at least, but a cold was emerging, but work…

2014-07-20 18.38.00