A year in the life 2016 #160: a day at The Great Southern Slam


There we were with three Leagues to support – LCD, VDL and CRDL. So that meant a lot games and a lot of cheering.

It was great to see how enthusiastic the LCD guys were in supporting the women’s team – a whole cheer squad in fact!


And it was even better to watch the Sabres win their first two games at TGSS. They were so happy!


It was a little weird watching the DHRs and being nowhere near the bench, but it was great to cheer for them as well.


They won one game and lost one – as expected and not a bad record for the first time in Division One.


We also got to see and cheer for CRDL as they one their first pool match. So a pretty successful day all round!


Especially successful for Zac who got an exciting new pair of skates!

Junior derby nationals!

2016-04-09 09.42.22A weekend in Daylesford with two days of derby for the small boys. It started with a day of boot camp with coaching by Mad Mel and Sausarge Rolls.

The boys were super happy to meet Sarge – a bit of a hero. They have also generally been coached by women – which isn’t a problem – but getting to be close up training with such an outstanding male skater is still a bonus when you are the minority gender in a sport.

2016-04-09 17.12.26Day 2 was bouts. ZeeQuack got his first outing as a bouting skater, albeit in a positional blocking only bout. But eight scoring passes!

2016-04-10 13.10.20SeaBash and Beathoven also got their chance on the track -some great jamming from both. Beathoven had Mad Mel has his bench coach and she kept putting him on to jam. He was a big fan by then end.

2016-04-10 11.39.26It was a fund weekend. ZeeQuack and Beathoven’s teams won their division – but there had to be one loser as SeaBash was in the team opposing Beathoven.  The boys also got to be part of two groups of skaters – the Little Adelaide Rollers…

2016-04-11 05.10.40and, even better, catching up with their CRDL buddies.

2016-04-11 05.09.33

A year in the life 2016 #53: skating


Training again. Definitely happy to be back on skates, even if it is stupidly hot.

But the lipstick stayed in place.


A year in the life 2016 #46: back in training


I went to my first roller derby training for the year. I have decided to take my time and do Freshmeat sessions for a bit to re-practice skills and rebuild confidence after a very sporadic year of derby last year. Injuries, such as my sprained ankle, really dent the confidence, but it is also amazing the extent to which having to deal with a rather negative climate and a level of bullying and snark    (even when not directed at skating skills) had eroded my will to skate and my confidence when I did so. So a bit of time re-practicing basics, especially while I am working and travelling regularly seemed like just the thing. And do you know what – a night of doing all the things again and remembering how long it took me to master some of them, and being able to do them well did help a lot with that confidence thing.  I am looking forward to next session, andd to having more time to skate and ending up better than ever.

A year in the life 2016 #17: skating


One of the things that the boys have been looking forward to the most about living in Adelaide has been getting to train with the Lil Adelaide Rollers who are the best junior roller derby team in the country. Today they had a welcome back skate and we all went along angld got our skates on – and collected all the forms for membership. Twice a week training and once a week scrim – the boys are super excited. Of course, a 35 degree + day might not have been an ideal time to put the skates on, but a bit of sweat never hurt anyone…


2015 weeks! #45: awards and other sparkling things

2015-11-16 10.34.38Monday morning in Hobart. James dropped me off at the hotel which was to be my home for most of the week and went to MONA, while I went to work in these quite pleasant surroundings. It was Australian Training Awards week in Hobart – two days of judging, three nights of hosting dinners for judges, a day of functions with finalists and the Minister, the Awards themselves…and then a Ministerial Council meeting on Friday.

It was all in a lovely location though – everything was happening in and around Salamanca and the harbour.

2015-11-16 13.09.45I also got to enjoy the luminous local mineral water.

2015-11-17 19.11.46After an enjoyable, but long, day of judging School Based Apprentice of the Year, we had a lovely dinner at T42. The oysters were so fresh and delicious and everything else was lovely as well.

2015-11-18 16.24.18Wednesday involved a morning of judging International Training Provider of the Year and then a two hour video conference with the Minister and other senior staff and so it was then nice to have time for some chips and wine with Jasmin who had been judging an award as well.

2015-11-18 21.59.12Gratuitous selfie.

2015-11-19 10.37.59The venue for the Awards was really coming together – it was being held at Pier 1 and I walked past it all the time so I got to see it in its various stages of preparation.

On Thursday, the Minister came and met our Awards finalists and heard some of their feedback about their experiences in the training system. And there were compulsory photo shoots.

2015-11-19 13.39.21We then had rehearsal/demonstration of the Awards ceremony, getting everyone prepared for the real thing.

2015-11-19 17.56.36Frocked up and ready to go.

2015-11-19 18.05.49And it is time!

2015-11-19 18.19.17James was struggling with doing a tie, so had to recruit one of the finalists to do it for him.

2015-11-19 20.44.14It was important he looked neat for his role of Barrel Girl for the evening – I am sure it is a hazing technique for the section to make the newest recruit do all the handing over of awards and certificates on the night.

The night went well – I always love to see people get their awards and the value and importance of the vocational education sector recognised. As a judge you meet such passionate and impressive people – both the student finalists but also the employers and training providers and it is terrific to see such commitment.

2015-11-20 01.01.18-1Grant convinced me to go for drinks afterwards, but I managed to make the very sensible decision to go home not too late as I had a Ministerial Council meeting to manage the next day.

2015-11-20 09.51.50Look, I wasn’t feeling my absolute best the next morning.

2015-11-20 11.06.48Here are all the Ministers.

2015-11-20 16.03.59And then it was all over and it was drinks at the airport before the long trip home.

2015-11-20 18.50.31Saturday morning and back to regular life. Jude and I went and picked up Zac from a party.

2015-11-21 14.01.32While Sebastian and Zac were busy elsewhere, I took Jude to the skate park where his derby friends taught him to drop in. He did quite well for his first attempts.

2015-11-21 14.43.46Giant tiger prawns for dinner.

2015-11-21 17.41.36Jude and Zac lent a hand with the cooking.

Sunday I took Zac to sing at his Christmas concert for the Turner Trebles and other singing groups run by his conductor.

2015-11-22 16.00.08And here is my face when we reach the compulsory audience participation part of the concert. why can’t I just listen to them sing, why do I have to sing?

2015-11-22 15.57.20Meanwhile Jude was cooking up a feast with his interpretation of the Elk & Pea jerk chicken. It was super delicious.

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.

2015-07-04 11.08.02

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.

Weeks! #48: this is normal, well mostly

2014-11-24 08.45.06After my two weeks away, back to normality and walking the boys to school.

2014-11-24 12.51.04Was feeling more than a little tired at work though it must be said.

2014-11-24 20.07.54We also got to have stories. Sebastian has (finally) decided that he is no longer on the story team, so it was just Jude, Zac and I now.

2014-11-25 19.10.22-1It was James’ turn to be away this week – he was off to Adelaide for a conference. So I cooked boys bolognaise – our go-to meal when James isn’t home.

2014-11-25 19.50.18Continuing tired and more than a wee bit stressed.

2014-11-26 17.40.02On Wednesday I went to the skatepark with Jude and Sebastian while Zac was at cricket training. I even got on my own skates (though briefly).

2014-11-26 18.14.39There were some spectacular clouds about as evening storms seem to have become the thing in Canberra.

2014-11-26 21.01.09Even though James was away, it was Eldritch Horror night with the Andrews. We got horribly beaten.

2014-11-27 11.14.29Had an SES forum on Thursday and got to spend a bit of interesting time doing some future scenario planning. We got the above as a possible set of future scenarios. I didn’t rate it.

2014-11-27 19.02.09I never cook this much in a week. That’s what happens when James is away.

Friday evening was spent watching Zac play cricket. With Phil Hughes’ death, it was hard not to be a little sad and thoughtful watching the boys play. They had a minute’s silence at the beginning of the game and all had Phil Hughes’ test number 408 on their arms. Zac’s team was victorious.

2014-11-29 11.02.55While his brothers were at cricket the next morning, Zac and I played some of his extra special Uno game with added bells and whistles.

2014-11-29 16.15.44And then it was off to supervise some junior derby time.

2014-11-29 19.17.36Saturday night we got dressed up for Dave’s birthday. I guess I could look more excited. It was a lovely night.

There was team effort cupcake making on Sunday. Zac and James did the baking, while Sebastian lent his icing and decorating skills to the endeavour.

2014-11-30 17.54.57

Then the big news for the week – I went back to derby training. I have had a lot of time to think about what I want. I may never play publicly again (stoopid 27 in 5) but I love the game and I love scrimming and I want to be involved in teams and so forth. And I have come to terms with that. So, there I was for an exhausting but super fun scrim with specific people I love playing with. Hooray for roller derby.


Weeks: #42: things anew

2014-10-13 09.21.30New week, new office, new view. This is the first time for nearly four years that I have actually had a view from my office. And I get an iconic bit of Canberra too.

2014-10-13 09.25.12Of course, there was a bit of unpacking to do too.

2014-10-13 12.35.22Turkish lemonade!

2014-10-13 19.38.58More SkateFit – mostly being tortured by Shorty.

2014-10-14 08.30.18I met this guy at the physio. Physio is a pretty regular part of my life between my dodgy neck and my dodgy hip and all the other dodgy bits in between. I have been going to Atlas Physio for about 13 years now and it is a bit like family.

2014-10-14 09.20.34-1Despite high hopes for continuing good weather, it turned cold and wet this week. I wore my footy shoes walking to work.

2014-10-14 09.37.04I was pretty excited to discover this, but then when I had some I discovered – aspartame. Blergh. Oh well, it can come with me overseas for those times I can’t find fizzy caffeinated beverages and am in need.

Hairdresser before and after.

2014-10-15 18.02.35Had a meeting with the Secretary. She remarked on my phone.

2014-10-15 18.46.49Schnitzel night!

2014-10-15 19.10.46Sometimes Ainslie is a very beautiful place to live.

It was up early and off to the airport – not for me this time, but to farewell Sebastian who was off to Melbourne for the Tournament of the Minds final. We had considered whether one of us should fly down on Saturday to see their presentation and so forth, but Sebastian was more than happy to have his weekend away with his friends and we have travelled so much recently, it was nice to not go anywhere.

Off to see the ballet Thursday night. Was rather fun, though I thought the choreography for the men was a lot more interesting than for the women. But very enjoyable nonetheless.

2014-10-17 13.02.16Played in another work soccer game on Friday – this one was the semi final and we managed to win in extra time, taking us to the grand final. I am not sure that my sporting prowess really lies in soccer, but it is fun to have a bit of a run around in the park at lunchtime.

Cricket season is well started now and Friday evening I got to see Zachary bat in his first ever cricket game.

2014-10-17 19.36.31Afterwards, Jude, Zac and I headed to the Dickson Noodle House for dinner.  Up to the usual standard.

2014-10-18 11.54.29Zac continued his biking practice on Saturday with me and on Sunday headed off on biking adventures with Jude. It has been hard to get him off the bike since then!

2014-10-18 15.17.57Skating started up again on Saturday afternoon and Jude and Zac were super happy to be at training.

2014-10-18 19.16.46Bit of adventuring Saturday night. “Quick, beyond the guacamole, I see the dragon!”

2014-10-19 11.20.44

The weather was beautiful again and so I couldn’t resist a ride.

Sunday afternoon we headed to Pod Playgroud to meet up with Jillie and the mini-Peppers. Lots of fun all round.

2014-10-19 15.57.13Jillie couldn’t resist the acorns.

2014-10-19 16.04.42And then it was time to collect Sebastian from the airport – they hadn’t won, but they had had a good time.

2014-10-19 16.42.46

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