Missed birthday, Wimber past, Hawks hanged on


Micah is a beautiful 4-year old boy of my cousin Ruth. Last Saturday, it was his birthday party. Tress and I had wanted to be there, but we only got back from Canberra late on Thursday and there was work to be done around the house. Ruth, Jon and Micah live in Woodend, a pretty little town out yonder at the Macedon Ranges. The 200km round trip requires passing through the CBD and so it takes up to 1½ hours each way. Any event with them would mean a whole day sectioned off.

So we stayed home, and did the work. The overgrown hedges were trimmed and the green bin was so filled I had to “mince” the clippings to pack it all in. After the mowing and sweeping and after Tress had done the weeding and vacuuming, it was close to 2pm when we headed out for lunch.

Back home late arvo, we walked the little fellow. Or rather, I walked him. Tress had gone for her ethereal pursuits but joined us at the oval when she was done. Later that night, we settled down to watch an old Marvel film, trying to catch up with the background of the exhilarating Endgame movie we watched with Kiddo and Mic in Canberra.

On Sunday at St Alf, a speaker named Ken Fish spoke. He was with John Wimber’s ministry many years ago and I remember reading Phillip Jensen’s articles on the issues with those teachings. I sort of thought St Alf is sufficiently (very strongly, in fact) grounded so any “peccadilloes” that may have existed in that stream would probably be well managed. It turned out however, that other than a few claims which sounded extraordinary, Ken was pretty grounded and orthodox in most ways.

After some grocery shopping yesterday arvo, I did a quick wash of the little miata while Tress did some ironing. We then watched the Hawks v Blues game. The first half was distressing but an amazing third quarter display, coupled with the solid O’Meara who was very good through the entire game, we clawed our way back to get ahead by some 17 points, which were chipped away to 5 at the death. A booming punt was marked by a Carlton forward just seconds after the final siren, so we just managed to hang on.

Last night, given how the newly washed MX5 looked so shiny, I took a few pictures and then as I looked at a message from the carsales site, I decided to put those pics and the MX5 in the “for sale” section. It’s officially on the market now…

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Easter and Anzac Break in NSW


Easter fell on the same week as Anzac Day this year, so by taking a couple of days off work, we had an extended period of break. We finished up last Thursday and on the morning of Good Friday, we drove up to Canberra. On Easter Sunday, Kiddo and Mic joined us, both our dogs in tow, for a drive up to Bowral. We spent 3 days there, in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. F Falls

We visited the Bradman Museum, took in the towns of Bowral, Moss Vale and Berrima, and went to the beautiful Fitzroy Falls. Most of all, we spend really good time together. It was wonderful to note Kiddo and Mic have slowly but surely built a home, family and life for themselves in the capital city.  We also spent some time with Mic’s parents while we were in Canberra.

We trekked back to Melbourne on Anzac Day, reaching home just after 5pm to watch the final quarter of the very exciting Anzac Day game between the Bombers and the Pies, which finished with the Pies narrowly hanging on to a  slim win.

On the way home, as I ploughed through the very dull Hume Highway and as Tress was asleep, my mind toggled amongst various scenes. The settled lives, both of Kiddo and Mic and of Tress and I, slipped in and out of thoughts about what lies ahead. I thought our lives in Melbourne would be a little bit more complete if Kiddo and Mic somehow moved down here. But I was wrong. Their remaining there completes our lives too. In fact, seeing how settled and happy there, made me wonder if being in Melbourne would be any better for them. Being settled and happy is what matters. It didn’t matter where that happens. I’d rather they be away in Canberra and be settled and happy, than being here in Melbourne and being less settled and happy. Being with us matters less than being settled and happy. As I reassured myself of that, listening to the Bombers climbing back to challenge the Pies became more enjoyable. All that mattered then was that we got home safely…

 

Long catch up, Funeral and Quest


 

We caught up with Jason and Mel on Friday night and even in that little hole-in-the-wall local Thai place, we chatted away until about 10pm. I felt bad for the proprietor, as we were there for over 3½ hours for a very modest bill. But that place was as friendly as ever and coupled with quite delicious food, it has become a favourite local joint for us.

On Sat I had sweeping duties at St Alf’s, and Tress did some vacuuming at home. Later that arvo we drove up to a café in Doncaster for a very good Malaysian feed – the pork noodles I had (offal and all) were quite delicious. We then did some grocery shopping and Tress then went on one of her ethereal group activities. I was going to just either lounge around or stream something but the little fellow kept pawing me so I took him out for a long and slow walk. That night, we lazed around at home and got in and out of the Kangaroos v Crows match, and went to be early.

On Sunday, after St Alf’s we went for a funeral of a distant relative. My late grandmother’s brother in law brought his family over to Melbourne some 30 years ago and he died over a week ago. The funeral home was close to our home. We caught up with a range of friends and relatives there, including some who happened to be travelling through Melbourne. My late grandmother had a really big extended family, with her father having had 4 wives. Good thing during my childhood, I was exposed to that Malaysian thing about meeting and greeting every relative no matter how distant, so I had a good memory of many of them. It wasn’t so difficult remembering most of them when I met them yesterday arvo. Unfortunately, it takes a funeral to remember we have a wide network of family and friends if we choose to invest time and tap into that.

This morning, as I was doing my push up’s and stretching exercises, I watched a clip on tele which asked why people cull their circle of friends when they age. I found myself agreeing that that was the case with me. I guess a whole range of reasons come into play as to why we lose contact with friends over time and it gets increasingly difficult to cultivate new friendships.

At St Alf’s yesterday, we sat next to a friendly elderly lady. Laura is a sweet lady and as we were invited to discuss Mike McNamara’s message to close out the 1 Cor 12 gifts series, she asked what my gifts were. I hadn’t thought about that for a while now, and she suggested I prayed about that. I told her I’d do that this week and it made me wonder if I’d keep drifting or if I’d see something that I can or would like to respond to, in combating this inertia. I need to be on a quest of some sort, I guess.

Routine and cretinous family group


It couldn’t have been a more routine weekend. Friday dinner at the local Italian, footy on tele at home thereafter, gardening on Sat morning, lunch and grocery shopping in the arvo, more footy on tele at night, St Alf’s on Sunday morning, footy at the G in the arvo, and back prepping for the week at home on Sunday night.

The details?

Luigi’s pizza is delicious as always and we also had his special gnocchi, which we hadn’t tried before. We doggy bagged the pizza and had it with a couple of eggs for brekky on Sat. It was, somehow, still delicious. The Demons were horrible and the Bombers were better, as the two woeful underperformers battled it out to avoid being the laughing stock after the first couple of rounds.

After the delicious and unusual brekky, I nicked into the local Bunnings to pick up some whipper snipper cords, and quickly did the edging. The flower beds had been messy with overgrown residual grass so the work with the whipper snipper was satisfying. The edges and beds looked neat and after the mowing, it felt much better to see the neat gardens around us.

Our junk food shelf in the pantry was bare so we decided to head to the Glen to pick up some of our Malaysian styled junk food. I had a very ordinary bowl of laksa at the Cinta Ria outlet in the food court, and Tress had some Korean stuff. A bit better, I thought. We took the little jedi for his walk and it was turning out to be a beautiful day so the walk was terrific. The Eagles were machine like perfection in their defeat of the Pies, with the score far less edgy than last year’s Grand Final. It was end of daylight saving so all clocks turned back an hour before we went to bed.

St Alf saw the service changed from its usual format. Peter was preaching in St Luke’s so the communion went on first. It was an all age communion so the liturgy was in much simpler language. It was a bit refreshing, I thought. At the end of his message on 1 Cor 12 (part 2 – of 2 segments) Peter explained why we were doing this stuff. It was to prep for Ken Fish’s sessions later in the month. Ken Fish is one of those healing and deliverance type so frankly, I was a bit surprised he was even coming to give his talks at St Alf’s but I guess that is a testament to the broad church that St Alf’s is. It was really good however, that Peter prepped those talks with the current 1 Cor 12 base.

Tress and I went home after St Alf, and I walked the little fellow while Tress did some laundry, before we headed out for the MCG to watch the Hawks play the Kangaroos.  We got there early, and had lunch there. It had been ages since I had a meat pie – an unadulterated four and twenty  traditional Aussie meat pie – so, having one at the footy, washed down with a good old Carlton, was a terrific feed. Tress had some sushi and we shared some chips. It was still over an hour before the opening bounce, after we finished our grub.

Hawks were woeful in the first quarter with the uncontested possession stats 1:4 against us. 1 goal against their 4 too. That picked up in the second quarter so that we were merely 25% behind. Third quarter saw us fighting back and in the fourth, some magic from Breust (he kicked 5) and Chad Wingard (a Rioli like performance) saw us get up to finish round 3 2-1. Relief.

Over the weekend, a distant relative passed away and we were told via a family messaging group. That family live in Melbourne so there was going to be a wake here. I believe that relative may have attended my late father’s wake so I thought I should return the courtesy. However, when we asked for contact details so we can attend to the wake here in Melbourne, we were given a curt response and basically, given short shrift. I guess we’re so far on the outer in this family group, that we we’re not worth the time to be even provided with mere contact details. I guess the 1 Cor 12 principle of all members of the family being equally important, doesn’t hold in the family group. I have always said to Tress and my sibblings that this group has an inner circle of its own anyway, and more power to them I guess. It’s just strange that even within a family (albeit an extended version) there can be a tribal tendency. Little wonder I have had no wish to attend their once every two years reunion. Just more mutual back patting stuff that flies in the face of hypocrisy.

Other than that little annoying crap from that messaging group, the weekend was just routine stuff.

Woven in


About a year and a half back, Australia changed its law so that a same sex marriage becomes legal.

This beautiful street art (near a well known cafe just off York Street a stone’s throw from my office in South Melbourne) is but one of myriads of examples how it is now part of everyday Australia, that a same sex relationship – marriage – is as normal as teh tarik in Malaysia.

Notice how it is either nonchalant or subtle but it doesn’t make an issue of it – the underlying message, or at least one of the messages in this vibrant mural, is how normal and everyday this beautiful phenomenon is.

The silhouettes aren’t even obviously both females, until one looks closer, as the second image shows.

This is Australia today…

Winter reading?


With the budget having been presented yesterday, the press has been putting out stories about what each of the two major parties’ policies on various matters were going to look like.

The idea of a living wage, now pushed by Labor, has surfaced again. I am reminded again of the Harvester’s case that I first came across vaguely many years ago. That case were pulled into a bit more focus when I read Judith Brett’s biography of Alfred Deakin and then again when I was heard about and then read Professor Ian Harper’s work.

I decided I wanted to read more about the judge – Higgins – who made the ruling in the Harvester’s case and found one written by a John Rickard. It turned out he also wrote on Australia’s cultural history. That has whetted my appetite to revisit the theme of Australian history. Having read several of Blainey’s books a few years ago, along with Henry Reynolds and Manning Clark, I still cannot land on a clear trajectory of that topic (Australian history). What started it all was Robert Hughes’ “Fatal Shores” and I’m now hoping I can read a bit more, but I don’t know what to make of what look like biases on the part of the authors.

I recall reading about a historian in Tassie, one Cassandra Pybus, who had questioned claims of Aboriginality. Professor Pybus is an expert of blacks in Australia who are non-indigenous and she has expert knowledge of Aboriginal communities, particularly in Tasmania. When her claims were raised in a court case against Andrew Bolt, it was clear biases on either side of the fence played a big part on the type of “expert” works generated.

I’m in a good place of sorts – a spot of sweet balance of some kind, that allows me to pursue this interest of reading about the history of this sunburned country. I hope I get a clearer picture before too long. Winter is coming. I hope I get to read some good stuff again.

Crummy weather, good outcomes


For a few moments on Friday night, I wondered if I should have built an ark. Like Noah did. The heavens opened up and it poured heavily – we were going to have dinner in a local Japanese place and thankfully the rains didn’t start until we got home.

Nishikian on Springvale Road has become a favourite of ours and on Friday, we got in a bit early and did some pharmaceutical shopping in a chemist shop nearby. We then just chatted away and ate, mindful that it was going to rain later that night.

The rain continued through the whole of Saturday so my scheduled gardening work had to be abandoned. We took in the wagon for a scheduled maintenance service and we drove around in my little jedi (the white one, not the black one, which is a four-legged variety. The little white jedi is a four wheeled variety) for our grocery shopping that morning. Later that arvo, after we picked up the wagon and had lunch, Tress went for another one of her ethereal pursuits and I cooked the week’s meals to be kept in the freezer. Those curry meals are all stacked away now and we should be ok for the next week or so, lunch wise. After all that cooking and cleaning, the skies cleared up a bit and the sun shone through so I thought I’d take a walk to catch some fresh air, to abate some of the cooking aroma that had enveloped me.

On the way back from the walk, the rain resumed and I got a bit soaked but strangely enough, I kind of enjoyed that. I did have a rain jacket on but it didn’t protect my face and legs much and I just enjoyed walking in the rain, as I felt even more cleansed of all that cooking after effect. Back home, a shower really cleaned and refreshed me and I promptly poured myself a glass of red, finally putting my feet up late arvo. Tress returned soon after and both the little (black) jedi and I felt totally at home and rested then. That evening, we watched the Cats demolish the Dees and the “Trinity” of the Cats look like they are finally delivering, with Dangerfield looking particularly impressive.

Sunday saw the rain continuing a bit, and it remained dark and grey. Ruth McIntosh lead really well and I think she and Peter make the best pairing of lead/preach – or at least they’re my favourite combo. I remained in search mode and I was challenged to continue seeking what needed change in me.

After St Alf’s we trekked into the city for the Hawks’ first home game of the season. We stopped by Melbourne Central for a quick bite, after which we dropped into Li Har’s shop for a chat. She works in a cosmetic outlet in Melbourne Central.

Hawks’ game had an awful ending. The umpire was atrocious and saw us erode a 5-goal leak to lose by 17 points. The Doggies were very good – slick and fast and full of team vigour – but to lose on account of such poor umpiring left a unsatisfactory ending. At least Man United’s win overnight provided some sporting comfort. The first win under Solskjaer’s more permanent reign saw United in the top four – and a Champions League place – for now.

We got home and I got in a quick walk with the (black) jedi while Tress quickly ironed a couple of shirts for me. We then prepped the brekky and settled down to get ready for the week.

The constant and heavy rain, dark and grey skies and cool conditions – it wasn’t great weather, but it did a bit for me. We often need “crappy” weather like this, to allow contemplation of some sort.

St Alf Men’s Event & Berkeley’s Descent


After what seemed like a long dry spell, the heavens opened up on Friday and along with a spell of hails, the rain bucketed down. We were about to leave for dinner with Jason and Mel in one of the local joints and had to wait for a window of relatively slower pour to open up to dash out.

The rain continued through the night and when we woke up on Sat morning, the skies were still very dark and overcast. It was still threatening to be a very wet morning, which wasn’t good as there was a St Alf’s men’s group event at the Mullum Mullum Creek.

Tress and I had a coffee as the rain came again, and when it was time to leave, I decided to go ahead. When I pulled into the car park on Tindals Road, the rain abated a bit and before too long, many more showed up and soon there were about a dozen of us waiting to do the walk towards Beasley’s nursery and café, which was 4km away.

A bunch of us then took off, and when we got to the café, I was really heartened to see that a very big group had turned up. There were about 15 cyclists, maybe 20 walkers, and a number who came simply to have coffee with everyone else. It was a really good morning and when I walked back to the car park (a return 4km walk) I felt a better connection with my fellow walking men. I’m glad I didn’t let the poor weather stop me earlier that morning.

I got home, got cleaned up and went out for lunch with Tress. We then went for coffee and waited for the game between Adelaide and Hawthorn. I had watched Richmond beat Carlton on Thursday night and Geelong upset the Pies the night before, in a see-saw game, in what looks like another good season of footy.

We had to leave for a dinner with a bunch of Malaysians, in joint out in whoop whoop land, by 6pm so I had to follow the Hawks game on the phone, as Tress took the wheel and we headed for the dinner. True to form, this Malaysian event didn’t start until some 40minutes had passed the stated starting time, and it was loud, with speeches peppering the night. The food was good however, and the atmosphere was generally quite fun so it was a terrific night out.

Sunday was quieter in comparison, our rostered duty at St Alf’s notwithstanding. Talking to some of the men was easier after the Sat event so there’s a lot to say for participating in non-Sunday events. I hope Tress signs up for the tea thing on 2 April, with the ladies.

Late yesterday evening, as Tress was out for her ethereal pursuits, the little fellow jumped onto the couch where I had parked myself to watch the Giants annihilate the Bombers. He looked at me, and pawed me every 30 seconds or so. I guessed he wanted to go out and when I said to get his lead, he jumped down from the couch and trotted to where the lead was, waiting expectantly. He and I went out and even though it was very windy and still a bit warm, it was ao great walk – especially when Tress joined us a little later. The little jedi was visibly happier, bouncing around as we walked through parts of the neighbourhood I hadn’t been to for a while.

Later that night, Tress rang her parents and the conversation was trying. Much has been happening in the household with two convalescing and soon to be octogenarians, a disorganised 40-year old plus spinster that is in urgent need of a private consultation with Marie Kondo, a young family with a mum who is a keen interior decorator and is constantly seeking renovations or touch-up’s to the house and still cooks and provides food for another family a few hundred metres away, with a house that is also breaking down and needs much repair. It all sounds too much and as is often the case, I wondered about this price we pay for moving away from our home town/home country, all those years ago. The helplessness I felt when I hear of all those life challenges around those who matter most to us.

Christchurch mosque shooting, AR-15 and retaliation risk


I got in very early this morning. I opened up the Wall Street Journal on my work computer to have a browse. I saw a story about a court in the US opening up an avenue for class action against a firearms manufacturer, in the manner of claims against a tobacco company. The gun in question was an “AR-15”. There were the usual quotes about why ordinary folks would want a powerful firearm. So, I looked up what the AR-15 looked like and saw some YouTube clips. It was frightening – both the firepower of the AR-15 gun, and the defensive spiels by the likes of the NRA invoking the second amendment and rights to bear arms.

So, when the story on the Christchurch mosque shooting broke earlier this afternoon, the eerie chill running down my spine was almost palpable. It reminded me of the Port Arthur massacre and when I googled that to recall the damage done, I noted that Martin Bryant, the perpetrator of Port Arthur, had also used an AR-15. The death toll in Christchurch is presently 27. It is likely to climb. I have a real fear now, that retaliatory action is a real risk. This attack in Christchurch took place on a Friday afternoon in a mosque. It is easy to think a retaliation on a Sunday in a church, is a real risk. What has this world come to? May the Lord have mercy.