A year in the life 2016 #280 and 281: time to fly

After my two weeks in South America it was time to head home. I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit – it had been a very successful trip from a work perspective and I also got a chance to see a very small amount of a continent I had never visited before.

Of course, business travel being what it is, our flight was late into Sydney and I literally had to abandon my suitcases and run to get to the last flight to Canberra, or I would have been stuck in Sydney for the night. And by now, i wanted to get home and see the family.

Anyway, here is a last view of the Andes as we flew out.

A year in the life 2016 #279: a day out in Santiago

As I couldn’t get a plane home til Sunday, I had a day to explore Santiago. So I set off on the tourist bus.

Santiago has lots of lovely street art.

I hopped off the bus to wander around the centre of Santiago.

And visited the cathedral.

The plaza del arma was filled with people enjoying the sunny Saturday.

I then wandered through the streets to La Moneda Palace.

The square near the palace was less busy.

La Moneda Palace is the home of the President, right in the middle of town.

I then did a big walk, stopping for lunch on the way, across to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.

This was a really powerful place to visit. It tells the story of the rule of the junta in Chile, from the 1973 coup onwards. There is a lot of fairly distressing stuff – about torture, about killings, about disappearances, about the things that happened to the people who tried to fight back. In the ended, the people took back control of their country, but it is easy to see how the things that happened over the nearly 20 years must have left a deep scar on the psyche, as well as everything else, in Chile.

After that, I deserved an icecream.

Saw more of Santiago as I walked back to where I could catch the bus again.

It is quite a lovely city.

And a mix of old and new.

I rewarded myself with a glass of wine as I watched the sun set over the Andes from a roof top bar.

It is a spectacular sight.

Finally I took the advice of the Chileans I met in Peru to eat Peruvian food in Chile and ate my last ceviche for the trip. A perfect end to the day.

A year in the life 2016 #270: hotel window view

This was the view from my hotel room for thr duration of my stay in Lima. Nice to look out over the beautiful old olive grove.

2015 weeks! #43: getting to the end of things and more

2015-11-02 08.31.18Everyone else had left the house in Adelaide when I got up on Monday morning, but I did have some furry companionship, purring extremely loudly.

2015-11-02 09.31.54Goodbye beach.

2015-11-02 12.35.58Because I only had one real thing to do while in Adelaide (this wasn’t a work trip as such), I got to wander the mall and catch up with Sam, Lucy and my friend Karen. It was a pleasant day.

2015-11-02 19.22.55But then it was time to fly home.

2015-11-02 21.25.09James picked me up and we went for a Bentspoke debrief.

Back in the office – the new office. We moved again but fortunately this time it was only twenty metres down the floor.

2015-11-05 13.34.46The colours of moving.

It was Beer Week, so we headed to 86 for a Beer vs Wine matched degustation. With 9 courses of food, that was 18 courses of alcohol and the staff didn’t stint on the top ups. The beer, all from La Sirene, was excellent and I highly recommend it.

2015-11-06 10.58.21I was a touch hungover the next day, yes, why do you ask?

Another chance to watch the sun set while watching Jude play cricket.

2015-11-07 11.38.43Lazy start to a Saturday.

2015-11-07 12.57.06Sebastian got inspired to make chocolate icecream.

Saturday night we had an end of year DHR celebration, with awards to best players, presents for all and a wonderful cake by Demo. There was also a fair bit of drinking and time in the pool.  It was a great end to a terrific season – the team worked really hard this year and their play reflected that. Next year though, they’ll take out number one, I’m sure.

2015-11-08 13.38.28My other team, Capital Carnage, were still busy putting in the hard work for upcoming Nationals and a firm intention to beat our number 7 position last year.

2015-11-08 15.02.27For some inspiration we watched the end of the magnificent tussle between Gotham and VRDL. So close Victoria! Bonnie Thunders is amazing though – and the way she holds it together…

Time for a picnic by the lake to celebrate Sean’s birthday. Lots of friends and food and drink.

2015 weeks! #42: constant motion

2015-10-29 08.46.52Managed to get some walking to school in – this time with Zac.

2015-10-29 15.17.59A busy day of running about all over town. Had a half hour between things so managed to do work while refreshmenting.

2015-10-29 18.53.22This is what my hair looks like when I have put my bike helmet on and off about four times during the day.

2015-10-29 19.46.28Dinner at the Elk & Pea. Jude took the opportunity to go and chat with the chef to compare notes on the almond sauce that goes with the jerk chicken. Jude made his own version while I was in Manila, and the sauce wasn’t quite right, so he needed to compare ingredients and approach.

2015-10-30 15.29.13It is full spring at the moment. Flowers everywhere.

Friday night cricket with Jude. And my laptop briefly to finish a few work things. And a lovely sunset.

2015-10-31 12.16.34

Saturday it was Turner fete and Zacky singing in the Trebles. I think maybe the performance was a bit high concept for a fete, but lovely singing at any rate.

2015-10-31 19.47.03George selfie time.

2015-11-01 16.11.45After a few weeks of trying to line up a time, Zac got to skype with Sienna his best friend who has moved to Jakarta. Small children are weird to watch talk to each other.

2015-11-01 19.25.15Flew to Adelaide Sunday night. But not actually back to the 1970s.

2015-11-01 19.55.09The beach at night – I was staying with Natasha so saw the last of the sunset.

2015-11-01 22.28.47On the flight over I finished this. Strange and thoughtful. I thought the lead character was a bit of an idiot at times, but then I think you are supposed to.

2015 weeks! #34: life, Cthulhu and death

2015-08-31 08.43.01Usual Monday morning walk to school with this guy. Jude is a very chatty walking companion. Often I get a fairly continuous stream of chat about things he has recently learned – Zac got a big book of facts about stuff for his birthday and Jude has been reading it in between voracious consumption of Skullduggery Pleasant books. But Jude always remembers to ask me about what my day has in store.

2015-08-31 18.17.12Another week of Youth Mental Health First Aid – mostly talking depression, suicide and non-suicidal self injury.

2015-08-31 21.08.45It was a good moon night to wait for James to pick me up.

2015-08-31 21.23.41James and I took some “self care” time out after my course to go and have a quiet beer and chat at Bentspoke after each session. It is lovely to have those quiet relaxed moments to yourselves. However, this time Cthulhu came too.

2015-09-01 10.08.35Off to Melbourne for the day. Ended up spending a lot more time than expected at Canberra Airport with fog. Fun though to bump into Dave Sag and provide refuge in the Virgin Lounge.

2015-09-01 16.25.25Eventually we were off. And then back in virtually no time later!

2015-09-02 08.40.04Spring is definitely in town in Canberra.

2015-09-02 13.42.16Getting the last days out of #yourtightsatwork – though there are always those mid spring cold snaps.

2015-09-02 18.35.50We did schnitzel night at Edgars for the first time in ages.

2015-09-02 20.14.19George is not impressed by your fancy wines.

2015-09-03 07.49.45Sebastian decided to wake up early and walk into Braddon for breakfast with me before my physio. I think he was mostly in it for the Autolyse croissants, but it was lovely anyway.

2015-09-03 19.56.00Cthlulhu plays Edritch Horror with us! At this point I must pause and explain that Cthulhu was crotcheted by Jackie, James’ mother after I had posted pictures of cuddly Cthulhus on Facebook. I am very fond of him. Of course, the whole family was keen so Jackie has been set to work.

Friday afternoon it was back to Melbourne for a trip I would rather not have made – my aunt, Maggie, had died, so it was off to the funeral.

2015-09-04 19.38.20An upside was catching up with the family – I stayed in Melbourne with Lucy et al on Friday night before driving out to the Gippsland on Saturday morning.

2015-09-05 12.53.44Funerals are terribly sad things. i didn’t actually know Maggie that well – she had gotten together with my uncle Andrew when I was pretty much a grown up and we’ve pretty much always lived in different cities, crossing over at family events along the way. The funeral made me sad that we had never gotten to know each other better -many of the things Maggie had done in her life were things that I think are important – fighting against a culture of domestic violence, improving opportunities for young women offenders, baking – and it was both lovely and sad to hear from those closest to her. But apart from the sadness for the inidvidual, there is all the contemplation if makes you do – of the deaths of those close to you, past and future, of your own death, of what you have achieved in your life. Of how the world continues.

At the end of the service we released balloons into the sky. Goodbye Maggie.

But as with most things, there is an upside, and it was nice to catch up with family.

2015-09-05 15.41.35I was flying home that evening, so a bit later in the afternoon it was back in the car and the two and a half hour drive back to the airport.

2015-09-05 16.22.17-1There was some spectacular cloud en route.

2015-09-05 18.09.20And the familiar view from the Qantas Business Lounge at Melbourne airport.

2015-09-06 09.38.56Sunday morning Sebastian was competing in Tournament of the Minds. his team did all right, but there was some line fluffing, and they didn’t manage to progress to the enxt round. After two years at the national competition, sometimes you need some setbacks to improve for next year.

2015-09-06 10.00.48

I took training for Carnage and actually got back onto skates – and even better had an excuse to wear my awesome new leggings!

2015-09-06 14.24.10

2015 weeks #17: PNG n Perth

2015-05-04 07.58.40My one day in Canberra for the week began foggy  – very Canberra late-autumn weather.

2015-05-04 12.31.40In a busy day I met with East Timorese who gave me gifts and videoconferenced with Korean friends and got through everything else in between.

2015-05-05 05.26.13It was up early the next morning and en route to Port Moresby.

We got delayed in Brisbane. Apparently this is par for the course with Air New Guinea.

2015-05-05 09.50.44And then there we were.

2015-05-05 15.40.31I was in Port Moresby for an APEC policy dialogue on Human Capacity Building. It was being used as a taster for when PNG hosts APEC in a couple of years time.

2015-05-05 15.49.06We went and had dinner with Korean colleagues. They were quite enthusiastic about sampling the local beers, so we had a few to drink.

2015-05-05 18.51.19The hotel I stayed in was quite nice and very new. I was a bit disturbed by the super secure balcony especially when we were already behind barbed wire, but my favourite signs at the hotel were the ones about betel nut.

2015-05-05 20.48.13Our two days of meetings went well. They increased the degree of organisational difficulty by having lunches at different venues from the conference. We all got into buses and were escorted by police and everything. The first day we visited the PNG Parliament and lunched there.

2015-05-06 14.16.00We had an official dinner so I got frocked up.

2015-05-06 18.13.17I was super impressed that the orchids they gave us on arrival completely matched my dress.

2015-05-06 19.10.05The best part of the dinner was the dancers…

..although the dessert was pretty good too!

2015-05-06 21.03.25I gave my presentation on the second day. This was the view from the speaker’s seat before everyone came in.

2015-05-07 08.52.09On Friday morning before our flight we had a little bit of free time and I finally managed a swim in the pool.

2015-05-08 07.43.59We also got a bit of a tour around Port Moresby. This may be the only time I go on a tour with a police escort.

We also got to visit the markets for a quick bit of shopping.

I managed to finish my book before the flight home – i did enjoy its vision of the future and some of the ideas within it.

2015-05-08 08.58.13Back in Australia I met up with James and the rest of Capital Carnage at the airport in Sydney before we got on a flight to Perth.

2015-05-08 19.32.29The Carnage boys were in front of us.

2015-05-08 19.35.46We had a lovely day in Perth, starting with breakfast in King’s Park catching up with the Carnage team.

Then James and I headed down to Fremantle for a lovely afternoon.

It was then time for Carnage to take on Perth Men’s Roller Derby.

The boys played really well and were only just beaten, but as bench manager I was super happy because we had generally executed the game plan and played really well over all.

2015-05-09 21.28.18We stayed and watched some of Light City taking on Swan city until it became clear that Light City was going to win easily and the need for proper food overcame us.

The next morning was a boot camp with the visiting teams and Thuggernaut and I took the Carnage session which was lots of fun.

After the derbying was over, the team headed off to the beach for a few drinks and a bit of hanging out.

Scarborough Beach knows how to do a decent sunset.

2015-05-10 18.43.24

It was then time to head to Liz’s house for dinner – I was staying over night while James was heading back to the airport and home on the horror red eye which I refused to take. I knew I was accepted into the family when Attia presented me with a kitten sticker.