2015 weeks! #31: views from the 40th floor and other glamourous places

I started the week with three days in Melbourne, staying on the 40th floor of the Sofitel. The views were spectacular.

On my second night in Melbourne I had no official functions so was lucky enough to catch up with Jess, who has recently relocated. We began at the Gin Palace…


…then moved on to the exceptional deliciousness (and large serves) of Ombre.

2015-08-12 08.21.13I was still feeling full the next morning when I caught up with Melanie aka Scary for breakfast, so hipster crumpets did me.

2015-08-12 11.01.09I was in Melbourne for the ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) forum to talk about our international work. I enjoyed the discussions in the Connectivity Working Group, particularly about the oysters who are connected to the internet.

2015-08-12 17.24.13I managed to finish the wonderful SevenEves shortly after I got home. It is a fabulous book, I loved it, even if occasionally Neal Stephenson got overly explainy about things in the way that he does. It is definitely worth it.

2015-08-13 11.03.55Time for some red fishnets.

2015-08-13 11.37.23I spent much of Thursday at Parliament House, most of it at the Roundtable on International Education. There were lots of people there with whom to catch up, and it was lovely to finally meet another one of my internet friends in real life for the first time.

2015-08-13 17.14.27There was a bit of back and forth across Commonwealth Bridge as I went up to Parliament House for a second time on the same day. Been a regular up there when it is sitting time.

2015-08-13 19.32.41Jude and Zac have been doing some practice together and are starting to get much better at playing duets. Well, sometimes they do playing horribly out of step with each other, but when they do hit it, it is great.

2015-08-13 19.55.35New Arkham Horror expansion, new fun times. And we won which was outstanding.

Sebastian has been playing indoor cricket with his usual cricket team on Friday nights. Usually James takes him, but I did my first time this week. I truly didn’t understand what was happening at all, but Sebastian’s team won.

2015-08-15 08.56.46Here’s Jude making breakfast for himself before hockey and waiting for the toast to cook. He was really enjoying this book.

Jude and I walked in to ANU for hockey and where they won, and then headed past this creek-side art on the way back home via Lonsdale Street.

2015-08-15 11.23.34We stopped at LSR. Jude had recently tried some coffee gelato and really liked it, so he wanted to try coffee (decaf version). I suggested that a mocha might perhaps be a better option. Jude discovered that coffee is really strong and really bitter. I think he might be reverting to hot chocolates for a while.

We hadn’t done a big supermarket shop for a while, so Jude and Zac and I did a mammoth one. I think we will be fine if the zombocalypse happens soon.

2015-08-15 17.19.20The days are definitely getting longer.

2015-08-15 17.24.47Jude went a did a bit of busking late Saturday afternoon. On our first attempt, we found that his spot had been taken by a younger girl with a violin. We came back an hour later and he spent 40 minutes. He picked a good time – I had thought he had done well last time with a haul of $4oish, but this time he made over $60 in 40 minutes.

2015-08-15 17.45.57On Sunday I decided that despite my various injuries, I should rouse myself from my sloth and go for a ride. So I did 24 km of lake.

George is funny sometimes. He doesn’t get to come into our room at night, but our bed and its afternoon sun is one of his favourite spots. I’m pretty sure this look means “I thought we had a deal, yours at night, mine in the afternoon.”

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2015 weeks! #22: games and brothers and animals and derby

2015-06-08 10.39.18Public holiday Monday morning and Jude and Zac and I had a short break from the endless derby and hockey of the weekend. Here they are playing an Indonesian game they learned at school using the game board I was given as a gift when I visited Malaysia this year.

2015-06-08 12.24.09It was long before I was out at Lyneham watching Sebastian play hockey.

Then straight back down the parkway to a junior derby bootcamp. Here PureNRG from the SRDL Assassins is sharing her wisdom with the kids.

2015-06-08 15.42.25Clouds.

2015-06-09 12.10.17I was off to Melbourne Tuesday for the first meeting of a new committee I had helped establish, the Australian Industry and Skills Committee. Very impressive bunch of people on the Committee to spend a couple of days with. I was also pretty impressed with my dessert when we went out to dinner.2015-06-09 20.25.44Compulsory hotel room view – staying in the centre of Melbourne.

2015-06-10 08.24.13Back in Canberra, walking Zac to school early for choir.

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2015-06-11 08.35.58Fun new maroon fishnets.

2015-06-11 18.33.35There was much excitement with the arrival of Sam and Tracey on Friday. Jude was especially happy to get his new Star Wars chess set.

On Saturday we left Sam and Tracey to play Weekend Sports Parents, while James and I (and an extra James) did a quick road trip to the Blue Mountains.

2015-06-13 10.37.51James got his elite athlete napping in en route.

2015-06-13 12.43.14We also got to see a giant teddy.

2015-06-13 13.49.17Aren’t my Jameses lovely?

2015-06-13 14.17.44I got in a quick sighting of the Three Sisters.

2015-06-13 14.49.42Then it was time for a bit of derby action.

Saw PureNRG again for the week – unlike when she was with the kids, with SMASH she looks like a tiny person.

2015-06-13 15.56.15Carnage played well, but SMASH are much stronger and we lost by around 100 points. but we scored over 100 points, so we were reasonably pleased with the result.

2015-06-14 11.52.15Back home Zac built some of the lego he’d received before we headed off on an Arboretum excursion.

We also enjoyed a visit to the bonsai collection.

After a lovely lunch, James and Sebastian headed off to indoor cricket and the rest of us followed up with a trip to the zoo.

And to end the evening, there was some Firefly playing.

2015-06-14 20.16.47

2015 weeks #13: birthdays, derby, Melbourne and more!

2015-04-06 14.48.04


A quiet Easter Monday + board games with friends and family…2015-04-06 18.39.49-1…a delicious dinner of ribs…

2015-04-06 19.38.25…and hanging out with George.

2015-04-07 06.56.47The latest addition to my range of fitness activities has been resistance interval training at F45. I really enjoy it (except when there is push ups) and it does make me work super hard. Generally I try and go once a week – I have been avoiding the cardio sessions since I bunged my back skipping and sadly there is only resistance training on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I have to find time to fit it in around the rest of life. But I have taken some of it home to do with the small boys in the comfort of our lounge.

2015-04-07 14.49.14 HDRBack at work and continuing to benefit from the whole new interest in beading. This is a creation that Jude whipped up while staying with Jackie on the weekend.

2015-04-07 08.43.32And here is the happy birthday boy!

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To celebrate the auspiciousness of Jude’s birthday, it was dinner at the regular favourite – the Elk & Pea. The boys couldn’t go past the donuts for dessert.

2015-04-08 08.20.36Jude’s new knitted cap from Rachel was a major success (just don’t try to tell the boys it is a viking helmet because they will expend a lot of emphatic energy explaining that in reality vikings didn’t have horns on their helmets and that is all a myth).

2015-04-08 22.07.00-1Managed to get some D&D in. Someone tried to burn us all in a inn.

2015-04-09 10.06.17 HDR-1Off to Melbourne. Here is me looking disgruntled about having to ride in a maxi-taxi. I hate those things (though obviously very important for accessibility – why do I always get them in line. This was the second time for the week).

Disgruntlement didn’t last long as, in between meetings, I got to catch up with Victoria and then I was staying at one of my favourite Melbourne hotels, the Crown Metropole. The 27th floor pool is spectacular as the sun starts to dip.

I was attending the Transport and Logistics Skills Council annual awards dinner. As I have mentioned before, I really do enjoy seeing the outstanding work some training providers and employers do in the training space, and hearing the wonderful stories of many of the people who have gained training and the impact on their lives – it does make it all feel real and worthwhile. I also learnt that while trains are easy to drive, there is an enormous amount of skill in getting them to stop!

2015-04-10 20.22.20Friday included attending Nick’s Dad’s funeral, and then going out for drinks with Nick and family to appropriately say goodbye. I was ready for two drinks at that stage.

2015-04-08 09.08.18 HDR-1

Autumn has been looking its usual beautiful self in Canberra this year.

Saturday was bout day and with Capital Carnage playing the Dishonour Rollers I was left with very mixed loyalties. This time though, the boys won out and I ended up benching my first game for Carnage. Lots of fun and the boys won, though the Dishonour Rollers certainly made them work for it.

2015-04-12 15.09.31Sunday was Jude’s birthday party – George and I were hiding in the kitchen from all the noise of an afternoon D$D campaign conducted by a horde of small boys under James’ supervision.

2015-04-12 14.36.16-1The adventure called for fighting a dragon-turtle. Rachel delivered a fabulous chocolate version for the boys to slay.

And a happy birthday was enjoyed by all adventurers.

Weeks! #50: goodbye primary school and other events

2014-12-08 20.12.52In my striving to get fit again, I went to SkateFit again Monday night after some time off. It was a lot of fun, if exhausting, and I was the two-times winner of the wheels game, maintaining the family pride.

2014-12-09 13.31.18At the hairdresser on Tuesday with work to do.

2014-12-09 14.40.09Bought myself some coloured pens – I do like to make my comments on people’s work in happy colours.

2014-12-09 18.45.43Dinner out with the family. Clearly it was a two-drinks-simultaneously type of night.

2014-12-09 22.35.48George does love to sit on me while I am watching television.

2014-12-10 06.58.30In the continuing fitness attempts – up early and riding by the lake. Always happy to see the balloons out.

2014-12-10 08.33.02We all walked to school together for the morning of Sebastian’s farewell assembly.

Goodbye primary school. At assembly the teachers all said something about each student who was leaving which was quite lovely. Then it was time for photos with friends and teachers and some cake. I only cried a little. Sebastian seems so grown up and it does seem like a long time since he was a tiny baby, but it is still hard to think of him leaving primary school and heading off to high school – is he already that old? And now we have all the teen years ahead of us. Such a transition.

2014-12-10 17.48.51With a new hair cut, Sebastian was looking suave for his school farewell dinner (and disco!). See what I mean about looking grown up?

2014-12-10 21.16.52Notes from all his friends.

2014-12-11 10.41.33Back to normality on Thursday with a day trip to Melbourne.

2014-12-12 07.04.40And Friday morning was another morning ride – though if I’d known how blustery and slightly wet it was I probably would have stayed in bed.

2014-12-12 11.23.13For #derbyshirtfriday I got out my Victorian Vanguard t-shirt.

2014-12-12 13.29.50Friday afternoon was our branch Christmas party. I got to tell the branch how proud I was of all they have achieved this year – and have a few drinks with them plus play pool really badly.

2014-12-12 14.33.26My Secret Santa gift giver understands my priorities.

Saturday morning Zac and I headed to the Regatta Point to hang out with “Internet People” as Helen so succinctly put it. I got to meet and cuddle baby Wren and Zac got to play with lots of small people but, as always, especially enjoyed hanging out with Alice.

Saturday afternoon was the final junior derby training for the year – they got medals and the odler kids had a session long scrim. Lots of fun.

2014-12-13 17.39.30Out of tonic, so it was emergency (double) negroni time.

2014-12-13 18.13.37We went for sophisticated entrees with sashimi and seared tuna. The boys ate more of it than us.

2014-12-14 13.54.46On Sunday I finally finished Blue Mars which bring the Mars trilogy to a close. I must say it has been a bit of a long haul. They are all great and contain some really interesting political and social ideas and the depictions of the implications of settlement on Mars are insightful. But they are quite dense and often repetitive and can be quite hard going at times. I’m pleased I read them, but I am also pleased I never have to read them again.

2014-12-14 16.33.24The boys got into a bit of D&D.

2014-12-14 19.40.52And the whole family played some Munchkin.

2014-12-14 17.19.05Finally for the weekend, I did a bit of cleaning up and out of stuff, but depsite its faded-ness and that it is stretched out of shape, I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to my Sonic Youth t-shirt from New Year’s Eve 1995.

Weeks! #49: work and play and things in between

2014-12-01 15.58.32Getting back to training meant I knew I would be hungry during the day. For once I actually had the time and foresight to prepare for that eventuality. Don’t be deceived however, most of the time I am not this organised.

2014-12-01 20.04.36As we have become tropical Canberra, the sunsets have become more and more impressive. And their is a lot of excellent cloud action.

2014-12-02 15.23.53There is nothing better than when your EA brings you a cupcake in the middle of the day.

2014-12-02 19.47.17Games night this week, we played some Munchkin which we hadn’t played in ages. Young Andrew beat us all.

2014-12-03 05.25.54Early morning flight to Melbourne – it was so pretty it was almost worth getting up that early. Almost.

2014-12-03 05.35.52But yes, time to get on another plane. Just a day trip this time.

2014-12-03 05.39.04Melbourne was a bit wet and trafficky though.

2014-12-03 08.28.36Zac got an award for being the best chess boy in years 1 and 2! Hooray Zac.

2014-12-03 19.44.48


Thursday was a dark and stormy day. Here’s my office window view.


2014-12-04 17.02.51Didn’t stop the boys wanting to spend some time at the big oval playing French cricket (a small recent obsession).

2014-12-04 18.30.33James was away again Thursday night, so George knew well at whom he had to stare to get fed.

2014-12-04 19.19.06I got up the following morning for a ride. The lake is still as beautiful at that time as ever.

2014-12-05 07.24.03Back at Zac’s cricket in the afternoon.

The clouds were spectacular.

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On Saturday I made it out to Sebastian’s cricket for the first time this season. I didn’t time it well. First, Sebastian got out for 1 (most of the season he has retired in the high 20s or 30s). Here he is looking forlorn post wicket.

2014-12-06 09.20.45Then, after one ball of the opposition’s innings, it began bucketing down and the game was abandoned, so I missed seeing him wicket keep as well.

2014-12-06 10.52.27Oh well, at least skating was indoors.

2014-12-06 14.55.50

I love this art at CIT.

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We also had some table top D&D action while trying to take over a castle.

Sunday morning everyone was up early to watch Australia play at the roller derby world cup. I must admit, I was too tired to get up at 2am to watch Australia win by enormous margins, but the game versus New Zealand was worth being up at 8am on a Sunday. Even George joined us to watch.

2014-12-07 08.28.42And then in the afternoon it was off to our own derby training. I was a bit hot and exhausted after scrim. But happy.

2014-12-07 18.21.18


Weeks! #40: Big city, beautiful country

2014-09-29 09.00.02So on Monday morning Jude, Zac and I loaded up the car to head off to Melbourne. James and Sebastian were flying there from Adelaide, so we had the car.

The drive wasn’t too bad – half the time, with Zac and Jude watching movies or playing on the iPads, it felt like I had the car to myself and could sing along to my music as loud as I liked.

2014-09-29 12.56.02We stopped for the traditional lunch break at Holbrook and arrived in Melbourne before dinner to reunite with James and dine on Italian food in Lygon Street.

Tuesday morning it was breakfast at James’ favourite hipster Brunswick cafe, Industry Beans.

2014-09-30 11.10.19-1We then went to see Sebastian play in his hockey tournament. Sadly, the ACT team was significantly outclassed and the week involved a number of thumping losses. But the boys played as hard as they could.

2014-09-30 15.15.27-1Jude, Zac and I headed off to see The MazeRunner at Melbourne Central while James had to fly back to Canberra to give a speech.

Next morning we headed off to visit Annabelle – while she and I gossiped, the boys had a lot of fun bonding.

Then it was off to zoo.

We liked the butterflies…

…and lemur island where we could walk around with the lemurs was cool.

The gorillas managed to elicit many sounds of disgust from small children as one gorilla proceeded to eat its poo, straight out of its bum.

2014-10-01 14.30.48We spent quite a lot of time looking at the reptiles.

2014-10-01 15.28.31-1And I always love a good seahorse.

2014-10-01 15.33.15Penguins are always a big hit.

2014-10-01 16.22.55-1And who doesn’t love a giraffe….

2014-10-01 16.24.41-2…or a zebra bum?

2014-10-01 19.19.15-1Zac tried another Lygon Street restaurant’s lasagne for dinner.

2014-10-01 20.08.41And both boys were excited to try the churros.

2014-10-02 08.32.29I caught up with Melanie my former roller derby buddy who has been living in Melbourne for a year or so now for breakfast. Afterwards I didn’t feel well and ended up sleeping all morning while James took the boys to see Sebastian play.

And then it was Luna Park time.

The boys particularly liked the giant floating balls.

Jude came for a ride with me on the ferris wheel – here we are at the top.

2014-10-02 16.30.17We all had quite a few rides on the purple dragon.

2014-10-02 16.48.42-1Zac didn’t like the dodgem cars at all (but James did)..

2014-10-02 16.59.33…but he won the day by going on the scariest rides – including the ride that just drops you from heights, and the wheel thing that goes from the horizontal to the vertical. Jude and I were both like “No. Way.”

2014-10-02 17.14.04It was then off to see the filming of The Project – as Natasha’s guests we had front row seats, then the boys, along with Conrad, got to try out the desk for size. And be taught how to shoot baskets with paper balls by Rove and Peter Helliar.

It was also lovely to catch up Natasha and Conrad afterwards.

2014-10-02 19.39.48On Friday we watched Sebastian’s last hockey game…

2014-10-03 09.12.25-1…before heading back to Industry Beans.

The boys in Brunswick…

2014-10-03 12.03.05-1Once we collected Sebastian finally, we headed for the hills…stopping in Daylesford for refreshments.

2014-10-03 15.25.32It was then off to the farm of the Jonai and some wonderful farm times and excellent foods.

It was wonderful to finally get a chance to visit Tammi and her family at the farm. It is an absolutely beautiful spot, and wonderful to see the happy pigs and their beautiful surrounds. And to eat such fabulous fresh food and enjoy such lovely hospitality.

The boys absolutely loved the dam and spent many hours playing on it with Atticus. My job was to supervise which suited me fine.

2014-10-04 14.16.23-1James helped out with the moving of the old chook shed. Here is Tammi looking delighted by its absence.

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The boys were also pretty keen on the trampoline.

There was also the great installing of the dam jetty which involved much drilling and nailing and all hands.

And as evening comes, time for a gin and tonic and some beautiful sights.

2014-10-05 08.48.28Tammi made us some absolutely delicious baked eggs on Sunday – just a sample of the many wonderful foods we ate.

2014-10-05 12.23.58And we spent some more time visiting the pigs. It was a lovely couple of days – great friends, great spot, great food – and such a stress antidote!

Weeks! #30: delegations, derby and more sickness

2014-07-22 10.54.47The beginning of the week was dominated by a visit from an important Indian delegation. It is nice though when you are on good enough terms with the Indian leader of the delegation that he asks you solicitously about the health of your children when you have to excuse yourself to tend to sick people. Judewas at home sick, and James and I were playing tag team parental care because we both had work obligations. Modern parenting.

2014-07-21 11.11.15The sick boy himself, clad in his Tigger onesie. Medium sick days can involve quite a lot of computer gaming.

2014-07-21 18.23.26Before going out to dinner on Monday night with the Indian delegation, I also managed to pick up Sebastian from his hockey training for the ACT team. Hockey pick ups also serve as excellent fodder for conversation with Indian delegations – several of the Indians had themselves played hockey, so there was lots of comparing of notes. I can be always grateful for my knowledge of hockey and cricket because it is a major upside in the Indian diplomacy space.

2014-07-22 19.07.54-1Here is a gratuitous Zachary in his dragon onesie shot. He has become very fond of wearing this at home and to bed and now the challenge is removing it to wash it.

2014-07-22 19.07.59-1Jude had recovered enough to go to school on Tuesday – and practice the viola.

2014-07-23 08.07.13On Wednesday it was up early and off to Melbourne for more meetings with the Indians and others. They had given me a beautiful scarf as a present, so I wore it.

2014-07-23 08.35.20I also wore my fishnets.

2014-07-23 08.29.29The offices we were in in Melbourne did have a spectacular view. Apparently there are attempts to introduce AFL to India so the MCG was a double discussion point.

2014-07-23 12.29.04I had been getting increasingly sick with a coldlike thing during the week. It was particularly annoying that I went straight from the gastro to a cold, but such is life. I struggled into work Thursday morning for a couple of important meetings, but by lunchtime-ish I was completely smashed and essentially went home to pass out in bed. And I stayed there for most of Friday with George as company. Except when I went to the doctor and he told me I had a nasty respiratory infection and to take all the antibiotics and ventolin.  I had kept hoping right up to 6pm that I would be well enough to make training and hence play the next day, but it was not to be. Not even close.

2014-07-25 19.18.59

I was spared Saturday morning sport due to sickness, but was out of the house in the afternoon. We went for coffee with Jude and Sebastian while Zachary was at his skating session. You know I am sick when I drink tea over a hot chocolate.

The boys’ training spot had moved to Woden CIT. I liked the wall-art.

2014-07-26 15.50.15And then it was the big boys’ turn at skating.

2014-07-26 15.51.49It was then off to Tuggeranong for the VDL double header. While I was far too sick to skate, I did manage to line-up manage for the co-ed bout. James bench managed the other team. My team (red!) won.

It was weird to watch the other game from the stands and to have no active role to play. And we won convincingly. At least I got a star biscuit with my name on it.

2014-07-26 20.30.49-1Sunday I continued to rest. The respiratory infection meant there was no chance of training. while I was resting though, others cooked and we ended up having a lovely dinner with Helen, Sean and the two Andrews.