2015 weeks! #51: and then it all ended

2015-12-28 10.05.12(I think I must have miscounted a week somewhere, but there you have it)

Started this last week of the year on the beach at Merimbula with a new book. Perfect.

2015-12-28 11.55.58The boys had the boogie boards out.

2015-12-28 14.06.05James and I went for a sneaky cocktail while buying fish for dinner. This is what holidays are about.

2015-12-28 14.29.37Totally summer with beach curly hair and all.

2015-12-28 15.51.22Some more kite flying, though the wind was a bit swirly for it to be totally successful.

2015-12-28 17.31.41James had a whole set of kitchen hands for dinner preparation.

But Sebastian took on the chef role for dessert…which turned out beautifully.

2015-12-28 20.11.24A gorgeous sunset for our final night at the beach.

2015-12-29 15.25.58Strange car companions.

Then to packing up the house. Sorting through boxes in the shed I found some old treasures.

2015-12-30 17.43.35But there is always time for a g&t. I was trying to finish off some of the gin bottles from the freezer. A hard task.

We finished the year is our usual way, with friends and food and alcohol. An added dimension to our New Year’s Eve fun – writing on the walls of our soon to be demolished house. Happy 2016 everyone.

The week that was…week 53 (not sure how that happened): winding down

Bunnies! The rabbits around the neighbourhood are getting bolder and bolder. One seems to quite happily be living on the front lawn next door. Well, we know what we’ll be eating a lot of when the Zombocalypse comes.

2013-12-23 17.25.51The last two days of work for the year meant casual clothes and lots of shopping breaks.

2013-12-24 08.55.22And I had to wear my new t-shirt for my last day of work.

2013-12-24 10.32.32Christmas Eve also involved morning tea with the much diminished Branch.

2013-12-24 12.30.07And then lunch with James and the boys and Sean and Alice.

2013-12-24 16.37.42When Zac and I walk to the shops together there is the inevitable stop for a quick play in the playground.

The boys had been somewhat neglectful of the Star Wars Advent calendar, so there was a big catch up session.

2013-12-24 19.22.28Watching Doctor Who Christmas Eve to make sure we were up-to-date for the Christmas special.

2013-12-24 20.03.57And a beautiful sunset.

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Also the traditional drinking of the delicious sparkling red received as a Christmas present.

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Then a day of Christmas.

2013-12-25 15.47.12Boxing Day involved the now traditional viewing of the Peter Jackson film. We rode into town for that – the boys discovered this giant fluffball before we left.

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Sebastian and I tried to fly his new kite, but the wind really wasn’t being cooperative.


2013-12-26 15.49.06And we did lots of washing.

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The 27th brought Nana and Poppa – and more Christmas presents!

2013-12-27 14.06.11Sebastian was very pleased with his new Cricket Australia top – thanks Auntie Lucy.

2013-12-27 18.26.39We took Nana and Poppa out to the favourite restaurant – the Elk and Pea.

2013-12-27 18.41.38The next day Jude got to finally spend his K-Mart voucher which was possibly from his birthday (it has been months and months and months since I had been to Belconnen Mall).

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Meanwhile I bought some new shoes for $6 at K-Mart. The price is actually one reason I don’t shop at K-Mart too often – it is really hard to imagine that shoes can be produced for that amount without some kind of horrible exploitation of someone somewhere along the line.

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The boys and Nana and I went to the Gold and the Incas exhibition at the National Gallery. It was an interesting exhibition (who knew the Incas were only around for 100 years) and we took some time out in the very good kids’ activity room.

We finished the week with a lovely afternoon at the Reids – bbq, pool, cricket watching, beer, wine, friends – living the Australian dream!

The week that was…Week 52: not quite the last week of the year

The week began with a lunchtime visit to Turner Primary School for the end of year assembly and to see Sebastian get inducted as vice captain. There was quite a ceremony and Sebastian was definitely as proud as proud can be.

Backyard cricket season is truly upon us. There has been a lot of cricketing in the last couple of weeks.

2013-12-16 19.49.01Tuesday night we went and checked out Jamie’s Italian with Steve. Verdict was positive, and it is very kid-friendly.

Jasmin did a fabulous job or organising the giving tree at work – and everyone in the building did a fine job of donating presents.

2013-12-18 13.50.41Wednesday night, Sebastian went off to the yr5-6 end-of-year disco taking a box of Wookie Cookies he had made for supper with him.

2013-12-18 21.41.18We played Ascension instead.

2013-12-19 08.12.07Thursday morning Zac and I had our last early walk to school together for the year.

2013-12-19 08.14.56Thursday night was martini night! We went to the Ox at Kingston and took full advantage of their extensive gin list before heading to Penny University for dinner. It was good to catch up with Dave, see Caroline who I hadn’t seen since Delhi, see Anna for the first time in ages as well as Rachel, Jasmin, Young Andrew and Steve. A very enjoyable night.

On Friday we had morning tea to bid farewell to my wonderful ex-EA Krystal (now working for my boss) who is about to have a baby.

2013-12-20 10.52.08Here is a random Jude picture – school’s out!

2013-12-20 18.19.50James had been to the market so we got some lovely seafood for dinner.

2013-12-20 18.40.26Saturday morning was some casual skating at ANU.

2013-12-21 11.10.04And then it was an afternoon of Friend-mas! We ate lovely food including blinis and scallops, turkey breast and roast pork and a huge selection of desserts. It was an extremely pleasant way to spend Saturday late afternoon and evening.

It was super hot on Sunday, so it was a good day for the boys to try out their slip and slide.

George wasn’t entirely amused.

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And I was most happy with my book and a beer.

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The week that was…Week 50: back, sick and busy

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We had one last day of meetings in Delhi, with government and the like, formulating plans for further collaboration. Once that was done, it was briefly back to the hotel before heading to the airport.

2013-12-02 16.36.12We managed to have a drink or two in the bar with some fellow Australian skills types, but had to stop – there was an election in Delhi and for that reason no alcohol was to be sold for 24 hours. We discovered that it was the same in the bar at the Singapore Airlines Lounge, and we weren’t even allowed alcohol on the plane until it was airborne – no welcome champagne.

2013-12-02 19.07.00Anyway, it was goodbye Delhi after a productive and busy week – with a little bit of fun added in.

2013-12-03 19.26.42Arrived into Sydney in time for sunset and got home to find I’d been missed.

2013-12-03 22.15.08A sore throat which I had carried all the way back on the flights turned into a raging respiratory infection so Wednesday was antibiotics and bed. George likes it when you spend a day at home.

2013-12-04 14.22.02Did manage to stagger to Ainslie for schnitzel night. Jude and Zac wore their new Indian shirts.

We have the Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar again this year.

2013-12-04 18.55.42Games night! The boys got to play a new game Paul had bought – “Walk the Plank” before the adults got down to some Arkham Asylum.

Thursday I was back at work and, in addition to catching up with everything, we had a delegation from Korea (including some of the people I knew from Korea – in particular, the delegation leader). Given we have always had such good hospitality in Korea, we took them to Water’s Edge for dinner. Food was fabulous, and it is a great location for visitors.

More staff gifts of food.

2013-12-06 10.45.23And here we are with the Korean delegation after a day of meetings on Friday.

2013-12-06 16.57.32Zachary took it upon himself to teach me Walk the Plank on Friday night.

2013-12-06 20.22.15Saturday morning involved a tennis tournament. Not just any tennis tournament, but Evan’s genius invention – the Wooden Racquet Tournament where players were required to dress in whites and use wooden racquets – found or purchased in op shops. Naturally, as a 60s-70s style tennis event there was Pimms and gin and much food. I didn’t manage to play given my ongoing respiratory troubles, but am looking forward to doing so next time as this will now become a regular Canberra sporting and social fixture.

Sebastian and James in the meantime went and skated around the lake and then skated up to Reid where we were.

2013-12-07 12.44.20And Zac managed to save a strawberry from the Pimms.

2013-12-07 13.32.33Here’s some more George.

2013-12-07 15.05.28Saturday night we took to boys out to the Elk and Pea to celebrate the fact that Sebastian had been voted school vice captain on Monday.

Sunday was Paul’s 60th birthday, so we were at Craig and Fiona’s for a BBQ lunch. If it looks familiar, yes, that is where we used to live.

It was then time for derby training. I really wanted to get back on skates after nearly two weeks and I did, but I limped through training and had to sit out because clearly my lungs were not quite up to it yet.

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The week that was…week 48: mostly normal

Not a hotel room window but a plane. Yes, surprise, the week began with a day trip to Sydney. The weather was pretty horrible. Spoke to a Chinese delegation and received a very finely packaged gift. I am a distinguished person, apparently.

2013-11-18 17.17.53I also used another gift this week – a lipstick I was given in Korea. I don’t usually wear hot pink, but I think I pulled it off.

2013-11-19 09.15.31-1Better than the space invader look from the hairdresser later in the week.

2013-11-21 12.54.45I had to use all my self control to stop myself buying this glow in the dark unicorn.

2013-11-19 13.02.41On Wednesday which had a special Dishonour Roller training session – at Charlie Blacks. Our training venue had been booked out by volleyballers (damn you volleyball!) so instead it was a chance for serious strategy talk. And some beers.

2013-11-20 19.05.21-1Zac and I did the Thursday morning walk. We hada deep conversation about many things from conjoined twins and reproductive health through to the reproductive strategy of reptiles. It is funny where an inquiring mind will take the conversation.

2013-11-21 08.29.31I really have guilted my whole Branch into bringing me cake. Here was Friday’s offering.

2013-11-22 11.13.18I was out to lunch on Friday and followed it up with an iced chocolate from Koko Black. Delicious.

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Friday night I had to finish a bunch of work because I was out of the office for the next week, so I ended up catching a taxi to see Sebastian at the cricket. My chair was waiting for me. The game was at Dickson, so we ended up walking home from there.

Saturday was mostly about derby with our Blockter Who bout. I’ll blog about that separately, but here is a little preview.

2013-11-23 16.27.27Sunday was post bout recovery, packing, skating, shopping and a delicious lunch cooked up by James.

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The week that was…week 44: the finger of fete…or something like that.

2013-10-21 07.59.58Sebastian’s team’s victory meant he got to go to school wearing his team shirt and his medal. He was pretty proud.

Warning to the squeamish – finger photo below.












2013-10-21 09.51.57Went back to see the plastic surgeon to have the finger checked out. It looked like it was healing well so was sent away with instructions to get the dressing changed every two days. So some significant portion of the week was spent at the doctor’s surgery, getting dressing changed or just waiting about.

2013-10-21 10.45.39I liked my welcome back to the office. They really do know me.

2013-10-21 13.24.52And of course, being hopeless, I got lunch on my nice white bandage the very same day I got it. Whoops. But it is hard to not have that finger get in the way.

2013-10-21 18.33.38The cat being comfortable.

2013-10-22 15.30.14And the favourite sitting spot of the birds outside work.

I got to enjoy the sculptures of Ainslie while waiting to go to the doctor’s.

2013-10-23 15.22.33New bandage! At least I could bend my finger now a bit.

2013-10-23 08.07.21Sebastian got his NAPLAN results and seems to be doing OK. His persuasive writing has crept up from year three so he got less of a hard time from his parents who both earn a living from persuasive writing.

2013-10-23 18.46.03Wednesday night was Dishonour Roller training and we struggled to lay a track right.

2013-10-24 08.09.11On Thursday I was back to the usual routine of walking Zacky to school early for choir.

2013-10-24 17.18.21And there is nothing like an unexpected opportunity for a quick beer after work.

Saturday was super busy – we had assessments for swimming lessons and then it was off to the Turner fete where we bumped into Steve and Shell and Fritha.

I then had a baby shower to attend before heading off to our bout. Sebastian took the fuzzy photo.

2013-10-26 20.21.35And after a bout, and an after party, and a long week back at work, I had a very relaxed Sunday, except for the washing. And watching small boys play Candyland.

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The week that was…week 42: all sorts

2013-10-07 10.58.26A sleep in and a good breakfast was needed by everyone after our weekend at ERRD. We then decided to check out the beach before heading Canberra-ward and the end of our little trip away. It was a bit on the windy side though.

Back in the real world, it was time for another visit to the hairdresser.

We also partook of Schnitzel Night at Edgars where the boys were excited to see the ultrasound of the twins-to-be.

Whenever I ride my bike to work, I have to cross through the bus interchange to our offices. Canberra as a big government town is probably less diverse than many of the cities in Australia. So I love the bus interchange because it is one of the places one sees Canberra at its most diverse, particularly as people wait for the bus home. I like to think we aren’t all white anglo middle class people here.

2013-10-10 17.36.33With the weather getting warmer there was no excuse not to get on my bike for a morning ride. And it was beautiful out there.

2013-10-10 07.33.40Had a slightly frustrating day at work on Thursday, so it was lovely to come home to a receiving line of small boys with rose and drink in hand for me.

2013-10-10 17.49.55And what better to follow than a delicious 1998 Noon Eclipse.

2013-10-10 18.41.16Sebastian spent thee week at the Questacon Technology Learning Centre making things and finding engineering solutions. He seemed to really enjoy it so he may get to go again! Anyhow, it did mean getting him out of bed in the morning.

2013-10-11 08.00.06On Friday Jude and Zac spent the day hanging out with James and came to visit me for lunch.

2013-10-11 12.39.082013-10-11 13.00.45We also bought some new outdoor wheels and bearings.

2013-10-12 11.04.18….so on Saturday afternoon there was some skating around Garema Place with other Varsity folk to advertise our next bout on 26th October.

2013-10-12 13.41.42Saturday night it was Steve’s birthday dinner out at Mezzalira. Lovely company but i was a bit underwhelmed by the food…but perhaps I chose poorly.

2013-10-12 19.43.12 2013-10-12 22.39.55Sunday had the highs and lows of derby. Extremely nervous, i completed my orange star test – orange star level means i can bout publicly. In my first attempt at doing 10+ laps in two minutes i fell which was totally shattering. but i recovered myself, did the rest of the test passing all the other elements and so I got to try my laps again. And with the encouragement of the whole League, made it comfortably. And so got my star! This has been a huge journey for me, from barely being able to stand on skates at the beginning of last year…

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After testing and training we had scrim. I was having lots of fun, and then i fell and got my finger caught in the wheel hub of a fellow skater and…argh. My finger got ripped open and it was off to the hospital. It hurt like hell, but Sebastian and James looked after me, and it got bandaged and I got the good drugs. But with the news that I would have to have it operated on, the next week was clearly going to be different to previously expected!

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The week that was…week 41: holidays

2013-09-30 14.17.57-2School holidays and time for me to take a break from work. A public holiday to kick off with not a whole lot to do.

Jude and Sebastian both spent some time reading while Zac had some lego fun.

2013-09-30 11.52.29Jude also did some baking.

2013-09-30 17.37.07Steven and Shell came over for dinner so there was hanging out with Fritha.

On Tuesday we had morning tea at Cornucopia before physio and shopping.

2013-10-01 11.48.40And then it was off to ANU for some skating.

2013-10-01 15.16.52The next day we set off to Ettalong Beach.

2013-10-02 10.05.29There was the compulsory stop for McDonalds en route.

2013-10-02 12.04.49And then things started to go wrong. The car started shuddering at high speeds, especially when we tried braking. By this time we were in Sydney so we pulled of the M7 and found a Bob Jane. They checked the tyres while we wandered about Mt Druitt, before they recommended that we replace our front two tyres. So we waited around why they did that.

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We then got back on the freeway…and sadly once we had been driving for a little, the car started shuddering again. We pulled over and managed to find a nearby Thrifty, which was handily near some brake repair places. So time to hire a car and drop ours off for repair.

2013-10-02 16.21.38And then we were on our way again. The magic of smart phones meant that it wasn’t too hard to work out where to go and we found places nearby and it was all sorted without too much stress – although there is an inherent level of anxiety in these things. It did mean we arrived at Ettalong Beach about three hours later than expected, but at least we got there.

The next day was breakfast out and a walk near the beach.

We also checked out the pool until lightning sent us inside.

Time then for afternoon tea at the funky Hatters Tea House.

It was a lovely sunset after the storm.

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The next day Jude, Zac and I went back to the pool while Sebastian and James headed back to Sydney to pick up the now-fixed car.

We found a fabulous little Spanish restaurant for dinner called Menhir. Fabulous food and and an impressive gin and tonic menu.

2013-10-04 18.38.01The next two days were spent at ERRD which is covered off in my last post. It was two hot days in a great big tin shed, but lots of fun, fantastic derby and I was really proud of my team who played really well.

The week that was…week 39: learning and travelling

2013-09-16 10.19.59Someone anonymous had obviously gotten to my daily folder.

It was Learning Journey week at school. We started with Jude’s.

Later in the week it was Sebastian’s.

And finally Zachary’s.

It was good to see all their work and the fact they are still enjoying school and learning and improving. They are all writing creatively and doing well in maths and take great pleasure and pride in showing us their work – and that is the most important thing.

2013-09-19 18.09.16Another sunset (or rather moonrise in this picture) from the air – this time en route home after a day trip to Melbourne. I didn’t quite capture how spectacular the moon rise was with a pink moon at sunset, but you probably get the idea.

2013-09-18 19.58.10Zac found an unbuilt lego birthday present and went about building it.

2013-09-21 13.27.57Jude spent some time enjoying the sunshine and his book.

2013-09-20 10.46.34The week involved finding out about our new Minister and our new Departmental structure. Time for an all staff meeting. We are still going to be a huge Department but will have a new experience as skills and vocational education are separated off from the rest of education as we stay in the Department of Industry.

2013-09-21 15.23.52Saturday afternoon Sebastian and I rode down to the lake to join some of the Dishonour Rollers for a team picnic in the sunshine.

And then Sunday it was off to Timor Leste. Here is the view from my hotel window.

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The week that was…week 34: beverages, weather and domesticity

2013-08-12 13.11.03I have been making a concerted effort to find time for lunch with James or afternoon tea with the boys each week to make up for the amount of time spent in travel/derby/work. So this week started with lunch with James followed by hipster coffees.

2013-08-13 13.12.21My attempts to use tea as a replacement for fizzy caffeinated beverages have been progressing apace. New teas help too. I do not wish to give up the FCBs entirely, but not to rely on them as a daily (and sometimes twice daily) occurence.

2013-08-14 09.34.21What is better than a visit from a friend/fellow derbier/former staff member with a rainbow cupcake. And the rainbow goes all the way through! I love these kinds of visits. Thanks Sass!

2013-08-14 22.15.48 2013-08-14 22.27.10I got distracted at D&D and attempted to create a Brady Bunch family with beholders and other monsters. Yes, I admit it, I am a giant nerd.

2013-08-15 15.02.49With the quiet of caretaker (the period of the election where the public service is limited in what it can do), I finished early on Thursday to pick Jude and Zac up from school. Sebastian had a Tournament of the Minds meeting. Zac showed off some of his work.

2013-08-15 16.04.43 2013-08-15 16.04.47The three of us then went out for afternoon tea which apparently had to include gelato. Well, you know, it isn’t all bad.

2013-08-16 07.09.18 2013-08-16 07.10.04Firday morning I got up early for a ride around the lake. My first in ages, I chose a particularly cold and foggy morning for it.

2013-08-17 12.09.14Saturday was sunnier, but still freezing for the usual hockey and football regime. Both Jude and Sebastian managed to get awards for their playing in one week.

2013-08-17 15.04.14The jonquils are trying to say that spring is coming, but seriously the freezing winds say otherwise.

2013-08-18 10.55.04Before hours and hours of derby Sunday afternoon-evening, it was time for some domesticity. Our dishwasher has still not been replaced and we are all getting pretty sick of handwashing dishes.

Sebastian and James set about sorting the pantry. Well, James did, and somehow Sebastian (and me, to a lesser extent) got sucked into the task. Life is a lot more organised now though.

2013-08-18 11.06.32Zac fell off his bike onto a wall and scraped his neck (yes, we wondered too). After the initial tears, the pain seemed to ebb away quickly enough.