Tress back again, and I’m warm again

Tress came back last night but not before a bit of a drama earlier in the day.

She had checked in and was waiting to board. I had gone to St Alf, nursing a sore back. While I was listening to Peter and she was waiting in the lounge at KLIA, we both got a message that her dad was unwell and was having an irregular heartbeat.

St Alf’s yesterday was a prayer session thingo and I had mulled over whether to seek out a team for prayers for my back, thought probably not as I felt the back easing – the healing was already happening as I was listening to Ginny’s discernment pieces. Funny though, how when I actually had a back ache, there wasn’t anything said about someone having one. When I saw the messages about Tress’ dad however, I decided to go and seek out a team.

Tress was stressed out while waiting to board so I told her what happened at St Alf’s and said she should try not to worry.

After St Alf’s I got some groceries, went home and did a sanger, and walked the little guy a bit before it rained and we both dashed back home. I then did some ironing, vacuumed, and fixed the smoothies for Tress and myself. I then drove to Tulla and picked Tress up. On the way home, she rang home and spoke to her sister and mum. Her dad’s condition has stabilised, and her mum sounded really well, not at all like someone who was undergoing chemotherapy.

It has been great having Tress back. I had tried to fill my weekends while she was away. The weekend she left, we had gone and did the “Dinner Tonight” thing, which zonked us out a bit when it was done. Last weekend it was the Salvo’s Op-shop thing and this last weekend when she returned, I had gone to the Red Cross for my “promoted” session of plasma giving – they now take 900mls. I had a couple of party pies on offer in situ after the donation, and came back to run some errand and pottered around the house before cooking a soupy thing from leftovers in the fridge, for dinner. I had wanted to go to a pub to watch the Richmond v Collingwood blockbuster but ended up chatting with Tress online over some Apple ID issues which came up when she used a couple of mobile sets while in Malaysia.

That night I watched the classic “Man from Snowy River” on Stan. Even on old grainy medium (the movie was shot in 1982) the Victorian highlands looked magnificent. George Miller is an enduring master of his art, and Jack Thompson outclassed – easily – the legendary Kirk Douglas. It was ever so rewarding watching an old classic, as a return to the familiar always feels like a warm blanket. Certainly, last night felt a whole lot warmer with Tress back… yay…



Last week saw me survive the second episode of week 1 of 2, without Tress here in Melbourne. It was made easier by a busy week at work, dinner with Jason and Mel on Friday night and a busy start to a weekend.

Jason and Mel recounted, when we caught up on Friday night, their bumpy week. They picked up a couple of infringement notices for double-parking offences in the local council. I guess the Malaysians in us find it hard to accept that a stationary car is considered a parked car and if one stops in an undesignated area, it is illegal parking. The usual circumstances cited – just picking up someone from a bus/train stop or waiting for a park space to become available – may be the usual things we do but they are illegal stopping of a vehicle. I said to them my way to deal with infringement notices is to pay the fine pronto, which would allow me to move on and put the blinking episode behind me. You can’t hold on to what you need to part with 30 days down the track anyway.

We had a great time of just talking and in spite of the average food, we stayed till it was just after 10pm (we were there from 6.30pm).

On Saturday morning I drove the little jedi and went to the Manningham salvos for my volunteer bus driving of the op shop hop. That took the whole morning and I only left around 1.30pm, heading straight to the shops to pick up some stuff for lunch. Then it was walking the little guy time, and then just being home after that. I toggled between a Pierce Brosnan Bond and the footy, which was super exciting. The cats prevailed after the siren, hauling back a 29 point deficit in the last quarter to beat a demons team all behaving like stunned mullets after the game.

Sunday was very standard fare. Other than having a quick chat with Jo, Mike’s wife, after the service, it was a perfectly normal one. I headed home, made another sanger, went for a long walk with the little guy – it was a sunny arvo – before going home to cook the week’s lunches. With Tress gone I ventured left field and did a sausage casserole with chick peas, mushrooms and tomatoes.

It will be another week before Tress comes home. The little guy has built a rapport with me and to have him on the couch with me every night, has been so comforting. He has taken to waking with me at 4.15 on weekday mornings, going back to the room at 4.30am after his wee and his dentax, coming out at 5.30am for his biscuit and coming to me for his dinner at 6pm, etc etc. He has adjusted to having me attend to his needs, instead of relying on Tress. He’s a smart little furry guy and I’m ever so grateful for him being around.

Yesterday Mike M spoke a little bit about the second coming. His point about Jesus having kept all of his other promises to date and would surely keep this one about coming again, resonated well with me, particularly the joiner about him coming to judge. I’m now reading Brian Rosner’s “Known by God” has a sort of similar theme running alongside and it’s behoves me to pay heed.

Second week of Tress being away for the second time sort of gels with a second coming message I guess.

France Triumphs, Tress back in Klang again

Le Bleus are champions of the world. What an entertaining final for a change, after recent world cup finals with a single goal scored to decide the outcome.

I had crawled into bed around 7.30pm, having planned to be up at 1am to watch the expected good game. The day had started early again, with Tress and I up around 5am to leave home around 5.45am for the drive to Tulla. She checked in quickly this time, with boarding pass in hand even before I parked and went to see her. We had a quick Macca’s brekky and after she walked into the immigration area again, I left for home. The traffic had remained very good so I got home just after 8am. With plenty of time before St Alf started at 10am, I did some ironing and watched the replay of the Belgium v England game. St Alf’s ended early as it was the “Going Bananas” encore service. I left quickly, went home and had lunch before taking the little guy out for a walk. We dropped the house keys at Fay’s who was going to help the next couple of weeks while Tress is away.

I then dropped off the library book, prepped my smoothie and sandwich for work, and cut up some celery and capsicum for the next few days. All that done before 6pm, I settled down to get ready for an early bed as planned.

Tress and I had a busy day the day before. I had cleaning duties – to sweep the forecourt of St Alf’s as well as the back barbeque area. It was relatively clean so I didn’t do much. We then went out to lunch, did some grocery shopping and then we had another duty at the New Hope Baptist, for “Dinner Tonight”. DT happens on Saturdays, where New Hope puts its kitchen and hall to good use and cook a warm meal to serve up to 160 people, all seated and eaten with proper cutleries. To many, seating down to a proper warm meal is a luxury and New Hope does this as a community service. St Alf’s has several teams to do the support work on a rotation basis.

Tress and I showed up just a bit after 4pm, and helped with setting the place up – pulling out the tables and chairs from storage, and setting them up to lay out the table cloths, cutleries rolls and the proceeding to dish out the cooked food and serving them. After dinner we helped to clean up and put everything back into storage again. The whole thing finished around 7.30pm, and we got home to get ready for Tress’ trip home again the next day.

Tress is going to be in Klang again for the next couple of weeks, as her mum starts her chemotherapy tomorrow. It’d be another phase in this journey her mum would take, and it’s really good Tress can be there for her. The rest of the family has been rallying with her too and I hope this makes all the difference when she deals with the effects of the treatment.

As I got in with my head spinning a little bit for having my sleep pattern completely turned upside down (I had tried to go to bed again after the game, at around 3am, and struggled to wake up at my usual time) I wondered, not for the first time, at the contrasts between those two events. Le Bleus celebrate while Tress and her mum contemplate.

Addendum is the theme

A little dream of mine, attributable in part to a mid-life crisis of sorts I guess, is a tree-change. Or as near as we can get. So for over a year now, since Kiddo’s wedding was over, I’d been on the lookout for something in or around the fringes of the Dandenongs.

So late on Saturday morning, Tress and I drove out to something we thought we may find suitable. It was a little 3 bedroom sitting on a 2,000+ sqm block in Kalorama. Alas, this too is perched on a steep slope. The house itself sits on a flattish plane but the front slopes down to a very narrow road (we had to stop close to the edge on the way in, to let an oncoming car pass by very slowly). Across that narrow road, a sheer drop of at least 100m follows. The view is magnificent but the thought of managing that slope of a driveway each day was too daunting so our search continues.

We had had dinner with Jason and Mel again the night before, and as always, catching up with friends on a Friday night after a full week of work is always good. They talked about their plans to demolish and rebuild their home, and Tress shared what had gone on back in Malaysia during her visit. I listened for the most part, nursing a cold and running nose.

The weather was not great on Sat – it was cold and very wet – so we lounged around the home before we left to see the property at Kalorama. That was good as I had stayed up late the night before, and caught both the France v Uruguay and Brazil v Belgium quarter final games. I had rooted for France (Pogba was magnificent bossing the midfield) more because I couldn’t stand the Uruguayan forward Suarez. So I was happy the French prevailed. It was double celebration later as Belgium (who had the wonderfully and surprisingly sleek moving Lukaku) played really well to overcome the Brazillians. So the United representations (Fellaini completes the trio) are assured in one semi-final.

When we left the Kalorama property, we decided, since we were in the area, to visit the Dandenong Ranges and took a drive to Olinda. It was only a short drive from where we were. It remained cold, grey and wet all day so we thought we might slip into a warm café for lunch. Miss Marple was chockers so we walked up the street across to a café that had taken over an old church building. It had a very warm ambience with ok food and we stayed a bit, enjoying a very big lunch. Later we strolled through the streets before leaving to return to our usual grocery shopping. The weather made us think of congee for the coming week’s lunches and Tress suggested we visited the refurbished Glen Shopping Centre, which we hadn’t been to for years. It was busy as usual but it appeared less chaotic than I remembered and we got the stuff we needed for the week, got home and walked the little guy before coming home to prep the pork ribs we bought, to make the congee. Tress had returned from Malaysia with some dried scallops and oysters so the congee was promising.

Later that night we settled down to watch the Doggies v Hawks game and the Hawks looked like they would get up by half time. They did comfortably but I had gone to bed early. I caught the other two quarter final games and saw England comfortably dealing with the Swedes to take another step towards their dream of bringing football “home”. The later game, the last of the wonderful quarter final round, proved so much more dramatic as Croatia and Russia fought out a 1:1 draw in regulation time and 2:2 in extra time. The Croats held their nerves better in the shootout and the hosts left the competition with heads held high. With England in the semi’s and Rashford, Lingard and Young in the team, we’re looking at a Man United representation of at least 6 main players in the semi finals. That’s pretty cool.

On Sunday morning, it was good to have Tress with me at St Alf’s again, after a 3-week absent. We were on communion duty and had originally been slated for billeting from Friday night for participants of the Ignite conference in Syndal Baptists. It later transpired the assigned delegates were all housed under a single roof so we were spared. After the service we spoke with a new young family who were seated behind us; hopefully we managed to present a warm friendly face of St Alf’s and they decide to return.

After St Alf’s, we returned to lunch at Penang Flavours after a few weeks’ hiatus and it was wonderful to enjoy Malaysian hawker fares again after a couple of weeks of sandwiches and toasties. Later that arvo we returned to our usual routine of walking the little fellow and preparing the week’s lunches before gearing up for another week of work, while we wait for news from Tress’ sibblings. Tress is on standby to make plans to return again, once her mum’s chemo sessions have been teed up. I could be by myself again come this weekend.


I know recent journal entries have been uneventful and the narratives were more perfunctorily monotonous than I would have liked.

Perhaps that is a reflection of my current phase.

I have come to look at the last 3 or so years as a knuckling down time of some sort. The daily grind of getting through repeated routine – and therefore seemingly monotonous – is I believe and hope, a phase to set me up for some further challenges ahead. I am hoping the somewhat and surprisingly refreshing exercise of grinding things out will arm me with an experience and appreciation that would make me better equipped for further responsibilities.

There is something to be said about having been in the trenches again. I apply those lessons each workday morning too, as I do my 20-minute push-up exercises to “open up my lungs”. The huffing and puffing of push-ups works for drafting grindingly detailed contracts, reviewing detailed tender requirements and negotiating commercial terms too, albeit without the sweat pores opening up. They are all building me up all the same, and I hope, in preparation of something ahead.

Tress back but will return

Tress came home last night and it was a good day to come home too as Melbourne put on a show of sunny blue skies, although she only arrived around 9pm. I took full advantage of the warmer and drier conditions and did laundry as soon as the game between France and Argentina finished. That was a classic game too, with the new French wonder kid arrival taking centre stage, and ushered the great Messi out from the biggest football stage in the world.

The late football games and laundry meant a rushed drive to St Alf’s before coming home to deal with a home cooked lunch, vacuuming, walking the little guy, grocery shopping, cooking and ironing. It all finished just after 7pm and so I had about an hour before I headed out to Tulla to pick Tress up.

Tulla has become a busy, almost chaotic airport. It took me forever to leave the waiting zone, where I had waited for her to ring or text me once she got out of customs, to the pickup zones just outside the Park Royal hotel. When I eventually managed to crawl into the pickup point, I had probably offended 2-3 motorists by being too slow or needing to move into a turning lane. We got home around 10.30pm and it was good to hear her mum’s doing ok, the upcoming chemo sessions notwithstanding.

I had been to the Red Cross place in Ringwood the day before, and pictures of stories about patients (especially kids) helped by the plasma that was being collected into a bag, had brought my mind to my mother in law. She’s a wonderfully kind and generous person and I had never pictured her as a recipient of any kind. So to think Tress being there is some form of giving by Tress (albeit intangibles like time, care and attention) which my mother in law was taking, was strange. Yet giving and taking often creates a life sharing experience that is fulfilling on all accounts. On a dreary day that was raining incessantly all day, that thought warmed my heart and strangely also armed me for the several months ahead where Tress would have to make multiple trips to be with her mum.

For now though, having Tress back is great and I will cherish it/her for now.