36 and still kicking

Today is my 36th birthday, crap! I’ve been on the earth in this form for 36 years, what have I done with it?

Well if I’m honest not as much as I had hoped. If I’m even more honest, while at times I cringe when I think of all the things I wanted but haven’t done, mostly I’m thankful for how my life has played out to-date.

I have a loving partner with whom I’ve spent almost 13 years with, the best family I could ask for and awesome friends who really are more like extended family.

I don’t often celebrate my birthday, it is after all just another day. But (and thankfully) my friends remind me that it’s a great day to be thankful for everything I have.

Last night David cooked an amazing dinner, well when I say last night I actually mean he spent the entire day Saturday preparing and cooking dinner for seven. I’m aghast that I didn’t take any photos of the food. I was too busy enjoying eating it. He made three pasta dishes, including the pasta, and followed it up with home made banana ice cream and home made chocolate sauce.

My friend Andrew hopped a flight from Sydney and spent yesterday and today with us. It was great to finally introduce my Sydney friend to sone of my Melbourne friends.

This year I was treated with some lovely, thoughtful gifts. I never expect gifts, believing I’m lucky to have all the great people in my life, who needs to add to that with gifts. Having said that I’m always chuffed when a present comes my way. ;)

From Kathryn and John I got some flowers, boomerang magnets (she loves her crazy gifts) and some beautiful Burberry Brit spray.

Presents from Kathryn

Nikki and Trudi also had me gobsmacked with their thoughtfall gifts. As a recent vegetarian they’ve given me some of their favourite vegetarian recipes in a folder, all broken out into the sections for easy reference.

My recipe folder
My recipe folder

I also now have a great memory card game. As we get older it’s important to keep our minds active, Nikki clearly knows the importance of this and has recruited my family to help.

Memory Game

You can see from the photo above the effort Nikki has put into this gift, and I’m not lying to say even typing this I have a little flutter in my chest, wait is that a heart attack at 36?, no, it’s the realisation that I’m loved by my friends. The amount of time Nikki puts into these gifts is amazing, just look at it.

Not only has she sourced every member of my family (including pets), Nikki has also photoshoped them all so just the heads are in there. She’s also made sure the corners are rounded so they aren’t pointy and won’t hurt my ageing fingers.

But if you thought the cards were impressive, check out the container they live it. A piece of handmade art! I love the look of this game wallet, and love that so much time and effort was put into it by a very special person.

Memory Game

Memory Game

Today we went for breakfast and followed it up with a great lunch at the Bridge Hotel in Werribee.

So as I start this next year of my life, I’m joyous and grateful for everything I have and everything I’ve experienced in my life, so far. I know I have a long time ahead and can’t wait to see what’s to come.

Thanks to everyone who contacted me and sent messages today, it’s much appreciated and makes me feel special.

Second Child Syndrome

Learn to swim 1979

I wonder if it’s real? I don’t really think I suffer from it. But I do feel that my older brother was afforded more choices than the rest of us when we were kids.

Not to say I ever felt left out. Our parent supported us in what ever we wanted to do, where we could afford it. And more importantly I always felt loved as a child.

The image attached is from our local newspaper way back in 1979. You can click on the image to see the full-size version of it. You will note that a face is circled in the picture, that of my older brother Brian (who was 7 at the time). And given that this image has been kept in a family photo album since 1979 with the one face circled, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Brian is the only member of our family in the photo.

Yep there I am, first row, second from the right, proud as punch to have my intermediate learn to swim certificate at the tender age of 5.

Learn to swim 1979

Of course I jest. While I am in the photo, this clipping was in a photo album dedicated to Brian so it makes sense for him to be circled. But then my photo album doesn’t have the same paper clipping in it with me circled. :P

Big Brother Visits

After almost 5 years of David and I living in Melbourne we finally got a visit from my big brother Brian, his fiance Belinda and her son Rourke. Now the only family member not to visit is my little brother, Gregory.

Brian’s visit has been pretty cool cause we’ve done a few things we hadn’t done previously including a trip to Old Melbourne Gaol, Collingwood Children’s Farm and Eureka Tower’s SkyDeck.


On Friday we went to the Old Melbourne Gaol, the entry price of $20 for adults I think is a little steep given half of the gaol is actually no longer part of the gaol but now private businesses. You only really have access to the forecourt (which is open to the public) and a single wing of the gaol. They do have some cool information in there about some of the inmates and while it’s true Ned Kelly was interned and hanged there, the gaol saw many more prisoners who were much worse than him. Just not as dramatic I guess. And I never knew that it was (according to the gaol writings) Kelly’s mother who encouraged him to go off with another bush ranger as she was unable to properly care for him as a child. It was this that started with his life of crime.

Yesterday, Saturday, we visited Chadstone shopping centre in the morning for a spot of shopping and some bowling.

We then went to the Collingwood Children’s Farm, a farm run by volunteers in the middle of the city, on the bank of the Yarra river. It was pretty cool, there were goats with kids, sheep with lambs, horses, chickens, ducks, geese, cows, horses, guinea pigs and so much more. Rourke had a great time chasing around the lambs and chickens and holding the guinea pigs. It was fun to watch and to pat the animals.

Rourke talking to sheep

We then followed up the farm with a trip to Brunetti for coffee and cake and then on to Eureka Tower.

Ereka Tower Ereka Tower & Bees

Eureka Tower’s SkyDeck is 88 stories up inside Australia’s tallest building gives 360 degree views of the entire city, a section where you can go outside on one section and also (for additional cost) go into “the edge”, a box that slides out from the side of the building and then turns clear so you are standing on a glass platform looking 88 floors down. Brian, Belinda and Rourke went out into the Edge.

Federatation Square

We also had a great view up there of the MCG and saw the crowds watching Geelong beat the Western Bulldogs followed by the massive exodus of spectators.

MCG Tilt-Shift

The night was rounded out at Crown with dinner at The Pub.

This morning we had breakfast at Crème and forgot it was fathers’ day so we got stuck outside in the cold wind. Wasn’t the best time we’ve had there.

Currently we’re playing Wii Sports Resort as it is a little too cold outside for Werribee Open Range Zoo (our intended destination), so we’re spending the remainder of the visit inside before the trip to the airport later this afternoon.

Castlemaine Day Trip

Castlemaine Day Trip

Yesterday, David, SueZ and Kathryn all went on a little road trip to the town of Castlemaine Victoria. it was a great day of happy snapping, lens swapping and all round fun.

Kathryn showed us what she is best at, working with people… her unabashed nature and her ability to connect with humans is something I hope rubs off on the rest of us. Kathryn was able to capture some great portraits of random people on the street. You can see Kathryn’s work over at her Red Bubble profile.

Kathryn truly exposes the inequality in gender roles in photography and makes me wonder why there are not many more great female photographers. While she has a natural ability to interact with people, she is also a woman and as such is non-threatening to parents of children who look amazing. We met several such people and kids yesterday and I’m sure she will have uploaded some of her images to illustrate what I am talking about.

David was heavily fascinated by the macro lens and took some great shots. Even the ones that didn’t “turn out” make for some great shows of colour. David has put is his photos on Flickr and has also created a Red Bubble account.

SueZ who thought that she wouldn’t do a good job took some amazing shots. And when she uploads them I’ll link to them.

It was an adventure and we are already in planning stages for our next.

The image above is of carrots, all crazy colours and all carrots.

Castlemaine Day Trip Castlemaine Day Trip.

See more of my photos from the day on my Flickr Photostream. I’m still getting used to my brand new Canon 5D MkII which was a present from my wonderful boyfriend.

Happy Birthday Jacob

Today is the 11th birthday of our nephew Jacob. 11 seems so long ago for me, I guess because it is. From all reports Jake has had a great day, even if he did have to go to school.

It has been almost a year since we last saw Jacob and by the sounds of him on the phone, he’s done a lot of growing in that time. There is talk Jody may make the trek down during te next New South Wales school holidays. It will be great to see Jacob and Maygen again.

So for now, Happy Birthday Jake. Here’s looking forward to your twelth year on our little planet.

So Much Food, So Much Love

And Happy Birthday to SueZ.

Last night we made the trek to Craigieburn to the house of Sue’s Mum to celebrate Sue’s birthday. And what a fabulous night it was. A giant table for a giant gaggle of fourteen people for whom Sue’s sister Lana and her mum had been preparing food for three days.

There was so much food, soooooo much food. Risotto balls, stuffed capsicum, free-range pork and lamb, chicken noodle soup, sautee potatoes, roast pumpkin, lasagne, bread and what was affectionally called “Wog Bread”; kind of a pastry bread. And then came the cakes… tiny raspberry cheesecakes and a two giant Angel Food Cakes with berries and other fruit.

We also had a lot of great conversation and merriment.

Lana and Sue’s mum did an amazing job with the food, it was all deliscious and we have just had another day of eating left overs.

Happy Birthday Mum

Dear Mum,

I know I’m the slackest of all kids, moved away to another state and hardly ever call, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love you and miss you every day.

I’d like to take this occassion, your birthday, to publicly thank you for everything you’ve ever given me.

Far beyond the gift of life you have given me so much in this life. You have taught me to be the man I have become. To have compassion for those around me, to take humans as they are and accept them openly. To see beyond the person before me and to understand that each has their journey to tread in this life and that it isn’t my place to judge them without proof.

And that is only scratching the surface of all I have become because of you.

While I’m not there to celebrate with you, I’m sure my siblings will take good care of you and ensure you have a great birthday.

Love you Mum, Happy Birthday.

– Your Number Two Son.

Make Me a Supermodel

Make Me a Supermodel
Make Me a Supermodel, originally uploaded by tyroga.

This morning we headed into the city after having a somewhat unsuccessful breakfast at Creme in Altona, which resulted in David not having breakfast.

First the eggs came out, and while poached, were rock hard, his bacon was burnt and his english muffin wasn’t toasted, some eggs Benedict that turned out to be. He complained and sent it back. It was replaced with nice bacon but near to raw eggs. Needless to say we left them at the table and went to pay. Thankfully they didn’t charge us for David’s breakfast, cause he didn’t eat any.

We’ve been to Creme many, many, many times and never complained about anything, but this time was just too bad. I’m guessing it will be some time before we go back, and needless to say it didn’t set his birthday off to a good start.

So back to the story of the city… while driving in we saw a huge line that extended onto Elizabeth Street from Collins Street and being the nosey people we are, we had to know what the line was for. Turns out it was for “Make Me a Supermodel” a TV show for Channel 7 and while I’m not sure what capacity Jennifer Hawkins was there in, either a judge or a presenter, she was there.

I jumped at the chance of taking some snaps. Damn problem is I’m still getting used to this new camera, so I didn’t get that many good shots.

Funniest thing though, it wasn’t until I was reviewing the shots that I realised that Jackie Frank the editor of “marie claire” was standing right next to Jennifer Hawkins. I’ve worked for that woman in the past, built one of the first websites for marie clare and had arguments with her about online stuff. And here I am neglecting to notice her. Sorry Jackie.

If you want to see more photos, head on over to my Flickr account.