2018 Highlights week 3: Busking riches

Jude has decided that he really wants a VR headset. These cost upwards of $1000 and his savings were minimal. So he embarked on three days of around 3 hours of busking – and ended up around $300 richer. So a third of the way there!

A year in the life 2016 #261: viola practice 

Jude is still enjoying his viola and putting in his practice. The two teachers he has had this year – both young music students – have inspired him more and help him improve a lot.

A year in the life 2016 #184: music night!

It was the end of term music night at Sturt St Community School and both Jude and Zachary were on the program.

They both performed solos.

Jude sang in the choir.

And they played together in a string ensemble. This was particularly fun – even with only a couple of practices, the ensemble managed a great performance of three fun pieces. Jude and Zac were the only non-violins, so integral.

It was also Jude’s last time to hang out with his Adelaide bestie Imogen as she was off overseas the next day. Fond farewells were said, but we are sure to see Imogen again.

2015 weeks! #50: Christmas and all that jazz

2015-12-21 13.39.03Who can resist a delicious dessert the week before Christmas? It is the time for indulgence.

Also it is definitely negroni time.

2015-12-21 19.57.50The boys, including James, who were all home this week had begun the epic job of packing up the house. Here are some of my old cassette tapes I was finally forced to part with.

2015-12-23 10.50.30Meanwhile, back at work, my staff had decided how they would deal with me spending time working from Adelaide – and RoboMelissa was born.

2015-12-23 11.39.37Because they are also lovely and know me well, they also gave me gin and flowers.

2015-12-23 14.23.07James and I went out to an “Executive” section lunch. it has been absolutely wonderful to have one EA all year, and ideal that that one person was James. He’s totally brilliant and makes me laugh and yes sometimes we get sidetracked talking about everything but we are so awesome we still get it all done.

2015-12-23 17.04.44Christmas cards from Korea are a little bit weird.

2015-12-24 09.48.52Here’s me on Christmas eve with my lovely new present from Natasha contemplating the fact that this is my last official day working in Canberra until the middle of next year. Of course, I’ll be back in the office in Canberra between now and then, but it won’t be quite the same.

2015-12-24 13.44.44Goodbye office!

2015-12-24 14.31.17And straight off to Merimbula. These boys are terribly cheeky.

2015-12-24 14.42.06Some nice clouds on the way.

While the boys were staying at Jackie’s, there wasn’t quite enough space for us, and James and I were more than happy to find ourselves an alternative. We stayed at a little way away at an old converted church. Pretty cool.

2015-12-24 18.23.31We got into Christmas Eve the right way.

Lovely to have Katie back in the country.

Then Katie and Zac stole my phone.

Pavlova for dessert.

2015-12-24 20.15.39The boys played for us.

2015-12-24 20.37.47A good start to the Christmas festivities.

2015-12-24 20.40.36Christmas morning began with breakfast and food preparation.

2015-12-25 10.23.38Then selfies and presents. I am apparently easy to buy for.

Pigs on the Christmas tree.

2015-12-25 11.48.12Then it was time for Christmas Day cricket.

2015-12-25 12.05.03We also got in a Christmas Day beach visit.

And time for champagne.

2015-12-25 16.13.48Sebastian prepared some scallops.

To the table!

And the turkey looked amazing.

2015-12-25 18.00.59Some people…

2015-12-25 19.04.57

And a lovely sunset.

2015-12-25 20.26.14

It dawned fair-ish on Boxing Day, so we went to the beach.

2015-12-26 11.10.55The skies got more threatening and we headed home – just before the torrential rain.

The rest of the afternoon was indoor activities – perfect lazy Boxing Day.

2015-12-27 09.59.42Even Ollie got in on the lazy action.

The next day was lovely weather, so we spent the morning on stand up paddle boards and kayaks and hitting the beach.

And the afternoon was kite flying. I don’t think we expected it to be quite as much fun as it was, and the conditions were perfect for it.

After dinner icecreams.

2015-12-27 20.30.41Then, once the boys headed back to John and Jackie’s, James and I finished off the day with cocktails at Dulcie’s, a very cool little cocktail bar in an old house, named after its original inhabitant. Wonderful.

 

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.”

2015-08-16 14.09.10

2015 weeks! #24: Seoul, derby and boys

2015-06-22 06.05.20And so, it was off to Korea.

2015-06-22 08.51.23Compulsory bellini at the First Class Lounge in Sydney.

2015-06-22 21.03.39And here is the view on arrival from my hotel room in my second favourite hotel in Seoul – the Plaza. I like the Plaza – it has cute rooms and is incredibly conveniently located.

One of the things I was doing in Seoul was checking out arrangements and visit sites for the Minister’s visit the following month. So we got to visit the Seoul Robotics High School. It is an interesting place

2015-06-23 14.53.32One of the things that always feels a little dystopian future about Korea is that the towers in blocks of apartments always have giant sized numbers on them. I guess it serves to allows people to find apartment buildings or something, but it does have a weird feel to it.

2015-06-23 15.16.54Here’s one of the views from the Australian Embassy – from the Education section meeting room.

2015-06-23 17.34.07I loved the fact that the Koreans decorate the side of their electrical meter boxes with pictures of windfarms – windfarms are aesthetically pleasing.

Got taken out to dinner by the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labour – lovely restaurant on the top of a hill. You can read about the full culinary experience here.

2015-06-24 08.02.58Here is the day time view from my hotel room.

2015-06-24 08.44.38And the breakfast view. The hotel and, indeed, the whole of Seoul, was a lot quieter than usual because of fears about Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. At the airport all the Immigration officials were wearing facemasks and the traffic was much quieter than usual. The outbreak is only a couple of hundred people in a city of 20 million + and limited really to hospitals but clearly it had inhabited the imagination.

2015-06-24 13.34.10On my second day in Seoul I got the fun of experiencing the KTX – Korea’s very fast train. On our 35 minute journey, the train got up to 284km/hr and was still as smooth a ride as any I have experienced on a train. Wonderful technology.

2015-06-24 14.04.11We went to Chenoan which had its own forest of apartment blocks.

We visited KoreaTech – again a location for a planned Minsiterial visit. They had signs boasting of their employment outcomes and it was a very modern facility. Sydney TAFE are working there to deliver training in teaching and assessment to Korean trainers.

2015-06-24 16.05.12Then it was back to the train.

2015-06-24 17.45.27Once back in Seoul I headed straight out the the airport. Here are views from the taxi of the docks on the way.

2015-06-25 08.23.33Back in Australia again.

2015-06-25 08.44.30I’d had a head cold building up for the two days in Korea, so was super happy to be able to purchase some pseudoephedrine along with the fancy new gin from the Bombay range on the return to the country. I mostly wanted to stop my nose running.

2015-06-25 13.53.19Back in Canberra, George joined me for a nap.

As the boys were banned from screens til sunset, Sebastian decided to engage in some science experimentation. His lemon juice-bicarb soda rocket experiment proved to be a bit of a fizzer, until, like the Mythbusters, he kept pushing the envelope until an explosion resulted.

2015-06-25 17.22.23Jude took the opportunity to practice his viola while waiting for a result.

Saturday was a road trip to Sydney for 5×5. We were playing S2D2 and very frustratingly, despite being slightly ahead for most of the game, they managed to beat us by 8 points at the end. It was a bit disappointing, and not helped by an early dodgy expulsion call and then a few extra penalties toward the end, particularly because we were playing with a short bench. Beating them is definitely in scope – we just have to hold it together for the full hour of the game.

2015-06-27 22.30.50McDonalds selfie on our road trip home.

2015-06-28 12.51.32Jude and I had a walk on Sunday after taking Zac to a choir workshop.

2015-06-28 13.19.25George being taunted by birds. I am pretty sure that while the rosella was clueless, the magpie was being deliberately provocative.

Jude went and did some busking at the Ainslie shops while I sat nearby and read my book. He’d been dying to do it for ages so it was a good opportunity. And lucrative – he took in $43 over 45 minutes. His rendition of the Game of Thrones theme music was a particularly effective earner.

2015-06-28 18.37.39A nice way to finish off the week.

2015 weeks! #23: what happens when it rains all week

2015-06-15 12.56.28My right arm, well, elbow has been troubling me for a while, and has gotten a lot worse recently. So much so that my physio sent me off for an ultrasound and, if necessary, steroid injection. Apparently two injections were needed – in addition to tendonopathy I also had tears to my elbow tendon, it was super inflamed and the nerve was thickened. It is fascinating to watch the needle go in on the ultrasound – distracted me from the accompanying pain. The rest of the week I was resting my arm essentially in the hope I’ll be able to get back to using it properly again soon.

2015-06-16 15.06.23A day for fun stockings though.

2015-06-16 17.42.22Natasha and I got a chance for quick drinks between meetings and flights and so forth. We always make the most of these squeezed in opportunities.

2015-06-17 06.10.18Off to Brisbane for a presentation to an Indian delegation.

2015-06-17 08.46.22We were talking skills and the resource sector and links between India and Australia.

2015-06-17 11.17.07 HDRAnd it was a gloomy day for it.

2015-06-17 12.48.13On the theme of things Indian, I finished the Indian chick-lit novel I had picked up at the airport in Delhi last year. It was very entertaining and readable and I enjoyed it enormously. Also quite political.

2015-06-17 20.55.24The weather was awful this week, raining for days. I put my footy shoes on for walking in the rain because the ground was so wet.

2015-06-18 08.58.56One of the fun parts of meetings in Parliament House is getting to wander through the basement – so much quicker than having to go through the public entrance.

2015-06-18 15.33.06As I said, it was raining almost all week.

2015-06-18 16.18.29Another day trip, this time to Melbourne.

2015-06-19 06.08.35I can’t remember whether these were sunsets or sunrises as travelling…

Back at home, Jude was helping prepare fish for dinner.

2015-06-19 18.22.26-1Saturday morning and time for Jude’s hockey.

2015-06-20 11.14.39It was then off to Jude and Zac’s music recital – both played very well.

Lovely Saturday night dinner commencing with home made salmon gravlax.

2015-06-20 18.41.21After webber roasted pork and beef in the middle, we finished with caramel dumplings.

2015-06-20 20.15.44And some Eldritch Horror.

2015-06-20 21.32.34Sunday and Sebastian and I got our baking on and made spinach and feta tarts. Yum.

2015-06-21 14.34.34

2015 weeks! #10: of drinks and dinner and fun

2015-03-16 08.32.26Another bike ride after dropping Zac off at choir was a beautiful start to the week, especially on such a glorious day.

2015-03-16 17.56.42Jude has made many advances in his viola playing and often accompanies the cooking of dinner.

2015-03-16 18.48.31Time for a nice red wine – we got a couple of bottles out of storage (and put a couple in) so have been able to liberate a few old wines.

2015-03-17 22.25.05After Tuesday night scrim, it is nice to come home to a beer and icecream.

2015-03-18 13.38.06-1Finally, after many weeks of contemplating doing so, I finally had time for a lunchtime pedicure.

Jude got an excellent award at school and so we decided it was good an excuse as any for dinner at the boys’ favourite – the Elk & Pea. Critical thinking for the win!

2015-03-18 21.02.40Time for some monster killing.

2015-03-19 22.22.19Derby shirt Friday featured the Scartel (I actually didn’t have any meetings I couldn’t turn up to a derby shirt in – finally).2015-03-20 10.59.41 HDR

And then backed it up with my first Friday night derby training for quite some time.

2015-03-20 21.33.51Saturday morning was off to the O’Connor Coop School fete where Zac and his choir were singing.

2015-03-21 11.27.06 HDRSaturday night was my (pre) birthday dinner with friends. We all got glamorous (well, most of us) and went and ate in the Cellar Room at Courgette (my favourite). The food was incredibly good as was the service and it was a lovely lovely night.

Nothing like a delicious Sunday morning breakfast.

And a Sunday walk to the shop requires a stop at the park.

2015-03-22 12.13.25 HDR

2015 weeks! #7: all the usual things

2015-02-23 08.30.30Zac had choir again Monday morning – this time I got organised so that I could take the long route to work after dropping him off and so went for 13 km ride after the 20 minute walk to school.

2015-02-23 12.09.39Continuing to unpack the office reveals some treasures. “Disk 4 of 5” hahahahahaaaa. It really wasn’t that long ago.

2015-02-23 18.20.11G&T time – I bought some Beefeater 24 on the way home from Thailand and am quite enjoying it in a g&t – very smooth.

2015-02-24 11.03.08I still love this view from our new Boardroom. Definitely a brooding sort of Canberra day.

2015-02-24 19.02.38Scrim day – here I am with pigtails in ready to go and skate around hitting people (with purpose). I don’t include an after photo – much more dishevelled.

2015-02-25 11.24.53Where do you want to be on a Wednesday night til 11pm – a Senate Committee room? No, me neither….but needs must.

2015-02-27 13.41.31The sad bit about our move to the new building is that, for energy efficiency reasons, I don’t have my own fridge any more. It is annoying from both a symbolic and practical point of view, but I also understand and I know that missing my own fridge is kind of petty. It is interesting how, as you move through your career, these symbols are really powerful motivating factors – your own office, your own fridge, your car. I remember always looking at SES cars and thinking that the day I had one, I would have made it. Admittedly, I gave up a work car and carpark for a significant pay increase, but occasionally I feel vaguely cheated (in actuality I am not remotely – economically it makes a lot more sense for me to get a pay out for my car and environmentally and for my own health it makes more sense for me to ride/walk to walk). So losing my own fridge makes me a bit sad in a way which I am entirely aware is white, rich, privilege – but I earned that fridge….Anyway, James my EA has taken to aggressively labelling my fizzy caffeinated beverages for the communal fridge and I have issued various warnings to staff that they had better keep their receipts for fizzy caffeinated beverages.

2015-02-27 15.05.28

We had a “telepresence” meeting at work with all the states and territories. I love the technology – it is like sitting across a table from someone, so much better than teleconferencing and even a step up from standard videoconferencing. I look forward to travelling less and teleprescencing more.

Friday night cricket with Zachary. My turn to score. I was super pleased that I had had a second fizzy caffeinated beverage after concentrating on a two hour teleprescence then having to concentrate on two + hours of scoring cricket.

2015-02-28 13.07.04George seems to delight in our various, strong, smells, choosing as he does to sit amongst our derby and cricket gear whenever he gets a chance. Eeew.

2015-02-28 14.55.42

Caught up with some work (as usual) at junior derby training. Jude worked pretty hard though.

2015-02-28 16.37.40Zac has now started learning the cello. He and Jude had their first go at trying to play together. It sounded better than expected.

On Sunday morning Zac had his first performance outing with the Trebles – singing for the entertainment of those doing Amy’s bike ride.

2015-03-01 10.35.11Of course, the whole thing turned into a bit of a drama as Zac managed to get glass in his bike tyre as we rode our bikes into town. Jude and I tried to go and get it fixed while Zac was singing, but of course the bike store wasn’t open for another hour. As it was, we ended up having iced chocolates while waiting for the tyre repair. Not such a bad outcome.

2015-03-01 11.36.12

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.