Ballarat and Summer


Kiddo and Mic left Melbourne a few days ago. They did not however, return to Canberra straight away. They went to Daylesford for a few days. It was to be their last quiet couples moments before the little one arrives. They did a detour to Ballarat to drop off Milo at a sitter’s and were to pick him up again on Saturday.

Ballarat is just under a couple of hours away, so I suggested we catch up there for lunch/coffee, before they make their way back to Canberra. So on Saturday, Tress and I drove up there. The little Padawan came along, as Tress wanted to be able to spend time with the Canberrans in Ballarat, without being stressed out by the little fellow being left at home. Unlike LBJ, who is a lot more chilled and happy to be left alone, the Padawan is much more highly strung and is often just looking out for Tress (mainly) or I. Hopefully it’s just a puppy thing and when he turns 2 in March, he’d be more settled and chilled.

When we got to Ballarat, we headed directly to Lake Wendouree and walked the little fellow for a bit. We quickly walked past a nice looking cafe and walked up to get a table. It was just past noon, and Tress said it was one of a few of those dog friendly ones I had found on the net a couple of days before. Kiddo and Mic and Milo had been at the Eureka Stockade place earlier that morning and joined us soon after we settled down at the cafe and with the sun blazing down on a warm and sunny day, it felt wonderful, albeit a bit hot. After lunch, we walked around the lake for a bit, before heading off to the Botanical Gardens. It was busy, with many folks taking advantage of a glorious day to soak up the sun and fresh air. We said our goodbyes after some ice cream, and left soon after 3pm. We got home just before 5pm and feasted on some fruits for dinner that night.

On Sunday, Tress had a colleague’s wedding to attend. So I headed to St Alf’s by myself, picked up lunch after for Tress and I to quickly have a bite before a colleague of hers picked her up from our home for the wedding. Left alone from about 1pm, I did some grocery shopping, then headed back home to do some cooking and watch the cricket. It was the last game of the South Africans’ tour of Australia. It was a dead rubber, as the Aussies had won the first two games, with David Warner picking up an amazing double ton at the MCG for the Boxing Day match. I cooked our lunches and the doggies’ meals, washed up and busied myself just pottering around the house. It was another hot day, with temperatures hovering around 32/33 deg for most of the day. With all the cooking and cleaning all done and the kitchen tidied up, and with the cricket finished in a draw (which the SCG is famous for – drawn matches), I watched a couple of episodes of John Krasinski’s “Jack Ryan” before Tress came home.

Two warm days of outdoor cafes, walks, ice cream, cricket and chilled white wine. The weekend had felt like summer had finally arrived.

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2023 is here.


Kiddo and Mic came down on our last working day of 2022. It has been a wonderful 10+ days of just eating, talking and spending time together. Probably overeating (and over drinking for me) but it has been really great all the same. We went to St Alf’s for the Christmas Eve service and hosted a Christmas Day dinner at our home. We then visited a few local attractions – Montsalvat at Eltham, the Yarra at Fairfield, and did some shopping too. There were also numerous dinners with friends, including one at a local Thai with some new friends – Lai Fun and Zach, her son – along with Jason and Mel and their friends Kit and James, as well as at the Hippo’s home which Jason and Mel also came to. I’ve used the weber kettle numerous times for a number of those meals.

2022 is now behind us. 2023 is here. The obvious attraction for Tress and I will be the arrival of Kiddo and Mic’s firstborn. They have both looked and sounded excited and ready for the occasion and no doubt set up for the upheavals that a newborn will bring. Tress and I are planning to be at the capital city for when that happens. We hope to stay a few weeks and we’ve been looking out for options for a long stay there, where we will also work remotely from for most of the time.

The Teh clan had been at Fraser’s Hill in the “old country” for a family reunion that looked and sounded really nice. We were all asked (especially those of us who couldn’t make the event) to provide some audio visual media to say g’day and provide updates on what’s been happening to us so we did that. The “Teh Plus” WhatsApp group had been inundated with pics of the event and although I have become less affected by what I see, it is still so very heartwarming to see those pics and clips. They evoked great memories as well as conjured imaginations of what the lives and journeys of all those uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews, nieces, brothers, sisters, etc. must have been like. As always, I wished I was there with them to listen and engage.

We also spoke with Nicole, a niece of ours (Daniel and Sim’s eldest) as she will be heading to NSW to commence a 2 year contract with NSW Health as a doctor in northern NSW. It sounded like she will be reasonably well set up, as she had senior cohorts to guide and assist. A couple of days before the Teh reunion, Daniel’s dad passed away and then Nicole had covid so they’ve had a rough ride. To Isaac’s great credit, he made the trip to Fraser’s and it sounded like he engaged well with the rest of the clan.

It has been another great cross over from one year to the next. Even if that means I’m inching closer to either the end of the present quarter, or to the start of the next.

Christmas buildup, and World Cup drama


It was the weekend before Christmas, so Tress and I busied ourselves cleaning up around the house. I did the outside – the hedges, grounds, lawns etc., and Tress did the inside – vacuum, toilets etc. The weather was beautiful – sunny and only mildly warm – so we attacked our tasks with great energy and enthusiasm. We only finished well after 1pm., and just as we were about to head out for a late lunch, A Hooi and U Marloney dropped by and gave us some mangoes they picked up from the market.

We headed out to the Knox shopping centre, to check out the newly renovated “Food Precinct” type of place. For all intents and purposes, it is still a food court of sorts. We had our lunch at the “Local Hero Singapore” stall, then walked around the refreshed shopping centre to pick up stuff.

We then got home, walked the little fellas as soon as the cricket match ended, and then put our sore feet up to exchange messages with Kiddo and Mic. They’ve been asked to create a registry for people to get them baby stuff and they wanted some thoughts on what they did.

Sunday after St Alf’s we did our usual lunch and grocery routine. Later that arvo, I cooked the boys’ meals and then I put up more lights on the front lawn. The set of lights had been picked up over a week ago but I had been busy at work. The Whitehorse Council Carols are back for the first time since 2019, and the weather was perfect again so we headed out to Tunstall Park after walking the boys a bit earlier than usual. The Carols were packed – Tunstall Park is a bit smaller than the Whitehorse Civic Centre, where it used to be held. We had our rug and chair in a far corner, took in the event for about an hour, and left when the churches’ event were done.

Earlier this morning, I woke a bit after 3.30am, and watched the World Cup Final between Argentina and France. The South Americans had been 2-0 up then, so I thought they would just win it. Alas, more drama unfolded as the Europeans scored two quick goals to level things up. The leading players for both teams – superstars Messi and Mbappe – had been involved in all goals. At extra time, both these megastars continued their involvement to make it 3 – 3, before the Messi and his men won it through penalty kicks. What drama.

I went “back to bed” for a bit and woke up bleary eyed, but the run sort of woke me up well. The weather had continued to be beautiful and although it was a bit nippy at around 6degrees, the sun was shining and the run felt good. Good enough to start the last working week of the year. Kiddo and Mic will visit from later this week, and will stay for just over a week. It really is beginning to feel more like Christmas.

2022 ending soon, planning for 2023…


It was off to the Olivigna restaurant at Warrandyte on Thursday, and the back to good old Enrik’s in Blackburn on Friday. Yes, it’s that time of the year. Christmas functions line up to fill our glasses and tummies.

Thursday was an office/work function, and Friday was the St Alf’s growth group break up dinner. Tress too, had hers several days before, and I had missed one with Steer too. Thankfully, there is none teed up for this week but next week there’ll be a couple more, before the Christmas break starts. I can’t wait. Not only for some feet-up time, but also to catch up with Kiddo and Mic, who will be coming down from Canberra.

At Enrik’s on Friday night, we were to first to arrive and then Graeme and Rosemary joined us, before the Churchwards and Helen showed up. Surprisingly, Mike and Ros showed up early too. They had been in NZ for a holiday and were returning on Friday night. They were going to join us straight from the airport but we received a message from them earlier that arvo, saying their flight had been delayed. It was a really good time of catching up and saying goodbye for the year.

On Saturday, we watched the Argentina v Netherlands World Cup game. It was an exciting game, with the Dutch popping in 2 goals in the closing minutes to level scores and take the game into extra time. Earlier on, the little genius Messi had made a really good pass for a team mate to open scoring, before they added another. It stayed 2-0 for a long time before the Dutch maestro coach – Louis Van Gaal, who also managed Man Utd for a little while – opted for the ‘big forwards – pump in long balls” approach. It worked but the Dutch went down in penalties. Game over, it was time to swap the cars again. So after walking the little fellow, I washed the Mazda, took out the Lexus, then swept up the spaces before leaving the Mazda inside and then also giving the Lexus a wash. Tress did some vacuuming too. At just after about noon, we finished up and did our usual lunch and groceries routine.

On Sunday, it was England v France and the French looked the better side. They prevailed, and will meet Morocco (!) in the semifinals later this week. After the game, I took the little fellow for a walk, before we went to St Alf’s. A guy rostered for the reading didn’t show and Peter walked up to me during the service and asked if I could do it. It was the first time I did the reading but Tress thought I did ok…

After lunch and a bit more shopping, we came back and I did the usual cook. Later, we teed up our arrangements to be in Canberra in March, for the much awaited arrival of Little A. We finalised bookings for an apartment not far from Kiddo and Mic’s home. I wonder what it would be like living in that tiny place for up to 5 weeks. Later last night, I rang my mum and we spoke on the phone. Apparently, she too was updated on the MCRI whirl that came up and I said to her I’d be remaining where I am. It made our March 2023 plans easier to deal with and mum sounded happy and relieved to hear that. So I guess that worked out well.

Wither tipping point


I spoke with my boss yesterday arvo. He was ashened-faced for a few seconds but I went on talking about what my thoughts were. He then suggested a meeting this morning with the MD. So here I am now, waiting for that meeting – my boss, his “boss” (the MD), and the HR head. I don’t know what to make of it. I’m still equivocating. Still seeking.

(Closer to) Crunch Time


Jacob famously wrestled with God. Tim Keller has a terrific podcast talk on that, which I may need to revisit. Actually it wasn’t so much a podcast talk as it was a sermon delivered in his NY City church, but I listened to it in a podcast, many months ago now.

The past week and a bit has certainly felt like a wrestle of sorts. Nowhere near the level of Jacob’s well known wrestle that’s for sure, but it did keep me more or less immersed and I’ve been feeling spent.

I just spoke to AR a short while ago. He rang again to check in, and said the written offer from MCRI should come in sometime today. I need to map out a plan to speak with a few people, once that offer is to hand.


Last Friday night, Tress and I caught up with Jason and Mel at a newish bistro in Vermont. It’s only a very short trek for us so when Jason messaged to say they’d be late, it didn’t bother us. The MCRI matter had been in my head anyway, so I was distracted from our usual Friday night soiree. We talked – a lot about MCRI and my thoughts about it, but also about our coming summer plans. It’s always good to catch up with them,

On Saturday, we walked the little fellow, then we went grocery shopping. Tress’ cousin’s wife was coming for lunch and we had planned on doing a barbie. Back home later, I tidied up the gardens and Tress did some vacuuming. We finished just before 1pm, got cleaned up, and Tress picked up YS from the tram stop near Burwood One. I cooked, we ate, and chatted about work, family, the world cup soccer that’s going on now, and cricket (!). A bit after 4pm, Tress dropped her off at the tram stop again and I cleaned up the barbie grills. It had been a sunny and very warm day so we took the boys out to the oval again, just a bit after 5pm, as the cricket had ended early.

Sunday was going to be even warmer. We got up just on 6am, but not because of the warm weather. Australia was playing the mighty Argentina for a place in the quarter finals and everyone’s been pumped. Australia played hard and well, was well organised, but ultimately lost, mainly on account of Messi’s genius. After the game, I walked the little fellow before heading off to St Alf’s. Peter was starting a new series – on 1 Peter.

Late on Sunday arvo, we had a “Doggy Christmas Party” at the oval. Folks just brought nibbles and drinks and we sat around with our furry friends, to soak in the late summer arvo warmth as we sipped our drinks and fussed over our dogs. For just over an hour, MCRI was nowhere near my mind and I (and all who were there) felt relaxed. It was very pleasant.

Later that night, we had a chat with Kiddo and Mic, who were on the way home after their church service. They both provided some very positive points and they sounded far more focused on the salient issues. I guess they could be more objective than yours truly for obvious reasons. They sounded far wiser than I.

To state the obvious, I had been praying about this for weeks now. I am none the wiser, which was why I had reached out to different folks to seek advice/counsel. I am still none the wiser but at least the guide rails for a decision are in place for me now. I hope.

Remembering


My late father passed on 16 years ago.

10 years ago, when I thought of him, I had this post on social media:

I wish we talked more

Maybe about politics

And count every MCA flaw

I wish we talked more

I wish I rang more

To talk of grandpa’s antics

Or about grandma’s guffaws

I wish I rang more

I wish I visited more

Especially when you were sick

Or when you were sore

I wish I visited more

I could wish no more

Talk, ring, visit or anything at all

I only wanted to talk more…

Life… Journeying On


Tress and I went to Flavours of Mekong on Friday night, for our TGIF meal. Francis, the owner/operator, was gracious and engaging as usual. We struck up a casual conversation with a family at the next table, who has a young son doing Year 8 and looks the happiest child. Strangely, he loves fish so we recommended our favourite, the barramundi assam. We also had the beef rendang and some fishcakes. As always however, we packed away the unfinished food so that we’d have a couple of meals that we’d throw into the freezer for whenever.

We have been watching/bingeing on the Yellowstone series for a couple of weeks now, and that was what we did again when we got home from our TGIF dinner. For some reason, I didn’t end up getting a good sleep so Sat morning I was a bit twitchy.

We teed up a catch up with Ruth and Jonathan, Tress did some quick vacuuming and I quickly swept the driveway and car ports, as well as refill the bird seed dish, which them promptly saw the return of those beautiful Eastern Rosellas. The recent wet weather has kept them away and I hadn’t been filling that dish with their food too, as anything I put in would be quickly washed away.

Sunday at St Alf’s it was end of year thanksgiving and sharing morning. We were asked to huddle into small groups to share our thanksgivings – I said I was grateful and thankful, that we’re sort of back to normal now, being able to meet and see each other in person. I was also thankful that Kiddo and Mic would be parents in March next year.

Later as people walked up to share what they’d been thankful for, it showed again, that we all have our journeys that we walk through. Often, God is there without us knowing.

Ruth, Jon and Micah showed up later that arvo and it was wonderful to catch up again. Micah is a wonderful kid – he’s in Year 1 now and he’s obviously a smart boy. Ruth has been busy with her practice as a Geriatrician in the Kyneton area and Jon has been busy with the home, Micah and his car projects. They had been travelling and will travel again in a few weeks, when they’d join the rest of the clan in Klang and beyond, for the family reunion event up at Frasers’ Hill. I had thought about going for my first one this year, but now, I’m just excited about being in Canberra from mid-March next year, to share in Kiddo and Mic’s wonderful journey receiving the arrival of Little A.