Category Archives: going_out

More bordercon thinking

My Bordercon packing list just grew.

  • Time’s Up: Deluxe edition
  • Something awesome to donate to the fundraiser raffle
  • Baked Goodness
  • a Tiara.

Also, my friend still has the Inspection Camera. So it might not come with me. (Stop it. I know you are disappointed.)

Because it will be cold in Albury, I bought Fraser a beanie with a beard. He says if he wears it in public he will be arrested. I say that’s a poor excuse and if he really loved me he would wear it.

I bought new jumpers for both the girls today, too. But no facial hair adornments. I am seeing a theme here.

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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in games, going_out


Sovereign Hill

On Sunday morning, we got up, got dressed, drove to Sovereign Hill, had a lovely day just as planned and then came home.

The End.

OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that simple (is anything, ever?).

On Saturday night, something went pear-shaped at Fraser’s work and he had to go in to fix it. At about 11pm. He got home at 1, with work to do Sunday morning. Meanwhile, there was a suspicious wet area on Otto’s rug, right under the light fitting.

On Sunday morning, the bowl we’d left on Otto’s rug was about half-full. No signs of marks on the roof, though, so unless she peed in the bowl and then tipped in about 600 ml of water (I wouldn’t put it past her, although I doubt that this is what happened) then the leak was coming through the centre of the ceiling rose … and down the light fitting. Even worse, there is flooring in the roof above Otto’s room, so it was either coming in under that or it was soaking through the floor.

The access hatch to the roof is in the storagey annexe to Otto’s bedroom. Which was Full Of Stuff. So I cleaned it out, and got the Bigster to help. And then the Bigster cooked pancakes for everyone, and eventually we got into the roof and couldn’t see a wet bit at all although Fraser did notice that the flashing around the chimney is looking more than a little dodgy. Not sure what this means.

Meanwhile, of course, we Still Had Not Left – although everyone, including the exchange student, had climbed up into the roof and had a look around.

We finally got to Sovereign Hill around 1pm, and met up with another family and their exchange student for an afternoon of cold and wet 1850s goodness. I think the $140,000 gold bar (3 kg) was the definite highlight, although Otto and Biggie enjoyed the 45-minute underground mine tour as well.

Home again and the kids went to a trick-or-treat organised by a school mum for the benefit of the Hong Kong children. Our exchange student wasn’t keen to dress up and eventually wore an old dress of the Bigster’s, but refused to wear a wizard’s cloak or anything like that. Having no shame, I wore my witch dress and my children were suitably humiliated.

From the Department of Small Mercies, though:  there has been no sign of any more water in Otto’s room.

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Posted by on November 1, 2010 in going_out, house



Our exchange student from Hong Kong is only here for one weekend, so we are trying to make the most of it and cram as many tasty things into the weekend as possible.

It really started on Thursday night, with a barbecue.

Now the idea of the barbecue was simple: invite two other girls, friends of Bigster’s, and their families and exchange buddies, to a barbecue. Twelve or thirteen people, easy peasy. Then it snowballed: First, Bigster wanted to invite another girl she has recently become friends with. Then she told me that one of the boys’ buddies was friends with our student. Then she HAD to invite more boys because you can’t have all girls and one boy. Then the visiting teachers said a barbecue sounded nice, so I invited them too. Poor Fraser wasn’t exactly happy with me, but I do enjoy entertaining this way.

All up, I think I invited about 40 people in the end. We had a great night with the 25 or so who did come, and I think the kids even enjoyed their sausages in bread (I’m pretty confident about the pavlovas too). And the gas bottle didn’t run out until we’d cooked enough food, which was very very lucky as I under-prepared in terms of actually checking that the barbecue was ready for us.

On Friday night, we picked the kids up from school at 3:30 and drove straight to Phillip Island. Now, I’m not a fan of toll roads, and Fraser and I conscienciously avoid citylink, even changing some of our driving habits to avoid paying for toll roads THAT OMG USED TO BE FREE. But driving to Phillip Island is an exception, especially when you can take Eastlink which (a) is not owned by the same company as the other toll roads and (b) is a completely new road so doesn’t attract the capital letters that CityLink tends to.

And we were at Phillip Island – which I tend to think of as a 3 to 3.5-hour drive – in about 2 and a half hours. Including a stop at McDonalds Cranbourne because Otto was OMG SO HUNGRY.

Remember that stop, it is important.

Because after we got back in the car at Cranbourne, we passed a church that is now a Mexican Restaurant which is appropriate because fajitas realy are a slice of heaven and it allowed Fraser to say HOLY FRIJOLES! so we were all happy.

Until we were zooming along the road to the Penguin Parade and a little voice from the back (Biggie) said UM MUM, OTTO JUST THREW UP.

And I looked around and thank goodness she had the cardboard takeaway box from Mickey D’s on her lap because she had caught it all. And she was not crying.

Fraser, who was driving, said, should we pull over and clean her up?

At which point I proved that I am callous and cruel and unfit to be a mother because I said OMG NO KEEP DRIVING WE WILL BE THERE IN FIVE MINUTES.

And he asked again, and I gave him the Stern Look, and he kept driving.

The kids got out of the car very quickly when we arrived at the Penguins (four minutes or so later).

We didn’t pack a change of clothes so I did a car park wriggle into my sweatshirt so I could take off my t-shirt for Otto to wear as a dress, because she had a bit of splashback. And we put her soiled clothes (OH NO! MY FAVOURITE DRESS!) into a bag and shut it into the door of the car so it wouldn’t just drift around the carpark but neither would it make the car stinky. And thank goodness she was wearing leggings cos it meant I could just buy her a t-shirt to wear with them (Shop guy: Cranbourne McDonald’s? Yeah …)

After which, the kids had dinner (even Otto!) and we went down to the viewing area with our MP3 audio commentaries, which Otto somehow managed to first reset completely and then switch into Spanish.

And then we saw about four hundred penguins THIS close to us (I actually counted the first 200 or so but then they were coming fast) and the kids were absolutely transfixed and it was all worth it even the spew.

Technically, it was worth it to see the Holy Church of Tacos … but I digress …

Walking back to the car, there was even a stray penguin roaming the carpark. I’d like to think, as we saw one doing this last time we went, that the penguins have worked out a roster and they all buy Carpark Penguin a fish cocktail once all the people leave, but I think this poor little guy was just lost and scared.

Today we’re shopping and tomorrow we’re heading to Sovereign Hill. Whew!


The most surprising nights …

When the director of the firm I consult through emailed all the women that work in our organisation to ask whether we wanted to go to the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s dinner to celebrate International Women’s Day, I said OK.

Worthy day to celebrate, big dinner – bit of a yawn, but nice to go out for the night.

We celebrated early because the 8th is part of a long weekend this year. And what a celebration it was.

Around 140 tables of 10, for starters. There were a handful of men – maybe 30 in total – the rest were women.

The Special Guest of the evening was Christine Nixon, who retired last week after 8 years as the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police.  She was the first (and, I think, so far the only) female Chief Commissioner in Australia. She’s done some amazing things in her time. The two that were singled out for mention tonight were her crusade against corruption in the police force and her reaction to being approached about allowing police officers to march in their uniforms in the Midsumma gay & lesbian pride march: not only did she allow it, she proudly marched with them.

After turning in her badge on Friday, she took up a new appointment on Monday as the Chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority .

Anyway. That’s her CV, and she was the special guest.

After having tribal drummers drum us to our seats, we were welcomed to the event by both the IPAA president and the traditional (indigenous) owners of the land. Then we had the expected speeches about Christine Nixon – but with a difference. There were two performances by a light opera quintet, including a variant on one of my dad’s favourite songs ever, the Gondoliers’ duet from Gilbert & Sullivan. (We run them in, we run them in, etc).

And then it was time for a special moment – passing over the gift to the Guest of Honour.

But hang on … why had the stage lights gone up to reveal the police band? Surely they weren’t scheduled to play till later, after the “surprise entertainer”?

Sometimes, I can be a little slow.

Because then we learned what was going on – when the leader of the Police Band handed his ex-Chief a microphone, and invited him to join the band in some songs – and suddenly we were all enveloped by I am Woman.

She actually sang three songs with them – I don’t even remember the second, but the third is apparently her favourite: It’s Raining Men! Maybe her iPod thinks she’s a gay man, just like mine?

Then they did the presentation, and she spoke briefly – and then she invited everyone to get back on the dancefloor and join her in one more rendition of I am Woman.

And after that, there was dessert, there was dancing, there was the Victoria Police band “Code One” (playing rock & pop). But it was nothing compared to the early part of the evening.

My best wishes to you all for a happy, peaceful and strong International Women’s Day on Sunday.

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Posted by on March 5, 2009 in going_out, work



I think – cautiously – that I might now officially be on holidays.

No mail from work since Friday (and that was just an FYI).

No clients with tight deadlines to be met.

No plans to be in the office until February.

This year, I’m probably not even going to take my work PC to the beach. The eee is enough, I think.

Outlook for the week:

  • Monday – housework. Sigh.
  • Tuesday – organiser coming. More housework, but Of The Good Kind.
  • Wednesday – gloriously free. 
  • Thursday – Kids have friends over, I am babysitting my niece (the kids will have fun with her). I might see whether one of my friends wants to come over too.
  • Friday – unclear. May go away early, may pack. Heh – the weather outlook for our second week at the beach has rain expected almost every day. Great for the garden and the catchments, not so great for, well, spending time at the beach.

Meanwhile, we had a wonderful picnic at St Kilda Botanical Gardens yesterday. Warm but not too warm, the kids had a wonderful time running around (and running around and running around) while we lazed on the grass and chatted. Nearby, some people had hula hoops while others played Frisbee. We took a walk to feed the ducks and saw tiny baby ducklings, tadpoles and a turtle. The children used the plastic salad bowl to try to catch tadpoles. Only two fell in – one into the shallows, the other into what was shallow but rapidly dipped away into adult thigh-height. Luckily her dad was on close watch or this could have been a tragedy – as it was, his wallet was the only victim. Pleased to say that Otto managed to NOT fall in. Didn’t leave till after 4 (I had expected to be home before 2).

Note to self: Arrange picnics with friends, this summer. Often.

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Posted by on January 5, 2009 in be happy, friends, going_out, work



4 hours’ sleep last night ahead of another busy day – we all took Nell to a friend’s party this morning, then home to work out a meal plan & shopping list, do and sort laundry, out to the supermarket, home again to cook dinner.

Today’s big fun, though, was Salsa dance class with Anna.

OMG my feet hurt now, though.

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Posted by on March 16, 2008 in going_out


Getting ready …

As of Friday, I feel slightly human again.

Just in time to get busy for Christmas.


Friday – bake gingerbread with Otto, collect Biggie from school, do hair (this is far more of an undertaking than it sounds), creche Christmas party, games with friends (5p Agricola)

Saturday – shopping: choose sofa (negotiations about whether ‘aubergine’ is an appropriate colour for a sofa are ongoing), buy new clothes for Biggie (OMG she looks grown up), buy new clothes for Otto, buy new dress for me. Home, rest, 3p Agricola with Biggie and Fraser (at Biggie’s urging). 2p Agricola with Fraser.

Sunday – snooze, christmas party with friends, carols by candlelight with family.

I am struck that sitting outside in the evening singing Christmas carols a week or two before Christmas is possibly not as common elsewhere in the world as it is here.

Today, I have chased up a doctor’s appointment for Otto (the surgeon never filled in the paperwork for her referral, so we’re not in the queue … sigh …), made dentist appointments for both girls … and had a phone call from a friend offering us 2 Wiggles tickets for tomorrow.

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Posted by on December 10, 2007 in children, going_out, shopping


Tonight’s review

Theme well implemented

Felt under-developed – needed to be 20% shorter and much tighter.

Timing seemed off.

Second half seemed to go more smoothly than the first.

Yes folks, I’m talking about the play we saw tonight.

I had the feeling that there was something I wasn’t quite getting  – maybe it was using a particular dramatic form or structure that I am not familiar with. The history of the play (from a quick read of the quoted review) seems to add something as well.

I did not think it was as bad as the review did. I also note that the star was suffering awful laryngitis and did have to take drinks of water every so often during the play, which broke the tempo a little at times.

It was very nearly outstanding. Just too long, too slow, and too self-conscious, or arch.

Verdict: Inadequate playtesting.

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Posted by on November 17, 2007 in going_out