Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dominique's Christening

We all headed for Sydney today for Dominique Cincotta's christening. When you are surrounded by both sides of Bono and Fran's family, by the sheer enormous numbers of them, you feel a little special getting an invite to such an occasikons. Especially for religious heathens like ourselves.

We met up at the Cincotta house in lovely Ryde, where the kids reacquainted themselves with Ameila.

From here we journeyed over to St Charles Borromeo Church in Ryde for the christening. It was another super day, much like yesterday, and the ceremony went swiftly and easily.

Afterwards we headed over to Gladesville to the Il Bolognese Italian restaurant. where we werefed and watered to the hilt by the staff. Tortellini Boscaiola and Penne Tomato and Fettucini Napoletana and pizza. All great. Stuffed myself stupid. With a couple of beers (yes, I was lucky enough to be driving), it was great. A terrific afternoon.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Newlyweds A-Come A-Visiting

Aftre three days of squally wet weather, Saturday dawned fine for our lunch with Shaun & Julia and Wogs & Kay.
It worked out well with hockey. Withh all Kiama , Shellharbour and Wollongong Council grounds closed because of all the rain, hockey still went ahead, because their grounds NEED the water. Our guys played Seacliff, and won 3-0, making it two wins in a row. Jess did not play as goalkeeper, and played in the halves. After the game, she said that she has now decided that she enjoys playing there rather than in goals, which is good. But we'll wait until next week and see what happens.

Julia & Shaun and Wogs & Kay turned up just before midday, as well as Mum & Dad. The Parker's and the Wallace's arrived  not long after. The day was spectacular, clear, not a cloud in the sky, and warm enough on The Deck for shorts and a T-shirt. Amazing.

I did a BBQ for lunch. I had sausages and rissoles for the kids, along with some Texas sausages and curry rissoles and madras steak. Helen made her new favourite salad, Louise also brought a salad, and Angela some bread rolls. Mum also made choclate trifle, which was great, except that it should only ever be made for ME and me alone.

It was great to catch up with the Sydney people, and also to have everyone over at our house for a change. Now we all look forward to being invited up to the new house upon its completion.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Games Night

With a long week behind us, with some illness and some rain, we decided against going to Mum and Dad's tonight, and instead at Helen's instigation it was Games Afternoon.

First up it was two games of Go Fish, with the usual troubles of Josh not holding his cards so no one could see them, and Jessica finding a way to ensure she knew what everyone had in their hand. To no one's real surprise, Jess won both games.

Then it was time for Zingo, where Helen's ability to say "ME" quicker than anyone else stood her in good stead and won her both games. This didn't sit well with Josh, who doesn't like to not win.

Then it was time for Uno, the regular killer for our family, when no one seems to know when it is actually their turn and that the colours don't match, or that someone always seems to pick on the other with Draw Two's and Skip's and Reverse's. Actually, that always seems to be me. Anyway, with some tired tempers becoming frayed it was a good thing that both Josh and Maddi won one game each, meaning that the only person who didn't win a game on the evening was... well yes... me.

Playing along with some mood music was also good. It was a casual evening, and the feeling was right for some of The Beatles, Roxy Music, The Eagles and other such stuff. We did some stuff together as afamily, and it was great. Something we need to do more often, I think.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

NRL 2013 Down to Four Teams in May

It's only round 10 in the 2013 NRL season, and already the competition is down to just four teams. Oh, I'm sure Newcastle fans will have you believe they are contenders, and even Cowboys, Brisbane and Cronulla fans will push their case for inclusion. Bulldogs fans will come out howling that they are on their way back to make it two Grand Finals in a row. But they're wrong and kidding themselves. Twelve clubs are already planning for next season, or positioning themselves in that way.

No, in 2013 only the Storm, the Sea Eagles, the Rabbitohs and the Roosters are in contention for this season's title. They have been the stand-out teams so far, and look like the winners. This was highlighted by the great drawn game on Monday night between Manly and Melbourne. Both teams showed their best, and they couldn't be seperated after 90 minutes.
Of course, the Origin series is almost upon us, an eight week period that will likely include a number of players from each of these Clubs - although Souths may well get away with a very small representation, which will be to their benefit.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Clean Rooms!

Just a couple of photos to show off a couple of rooms.

This is the upstairs rumpus room, which is usually overrun with books and toys and drawings and DVDs all over the place. It still looks great when it is cleaned up, so I thought I'd snare a photo of it as such.

Helen and Jess have changed Jessie's bedroom around, in preparation for their trip to Ikea to buy some more stuff for her room for her birthday. It also is looking great with a change around and a good tidy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nan's Visit and Dad's Birthday

Nan has come down for a visit, her first down here for a couple of years. In fact Nan claims it is three years, and I am not going to question her on the accuracy of that.
She will be 99 this September, and she is an amazing woman. She can still get around pretty well, though she now has a walker that she is beginning to rely on. Her memory is like a steel trap, and she can remember just about everything. She still eats plenty, putting away a plate of salad with a couple of sausages tonight. And she has made things for all of the great-grandchildren. She's doing better than a lot of people twenty years younger than her.
John drove her down from lovely Beresfield, and he's going well too. It appears retirement is serving him well.

 We got a photo of Nan with all twelve of her great-grandchildren from the Peters side of the family, despite the apparent lack of enthusiasm from many of the kids involved.

As yesterday was Dad's 71st birthday, we also had to have a cake for him. There's no rest for the wicked, as he had to BBQ dinner for everyone beforehand as well. And given that there was twenty people in attendance, and that at least one had a peanut allergy, there had to be two birthday cakes. Which Dad cut while doing his best Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees impression.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Road to Hell is Full of Good Intentions

Given I have spent the last fifteen months going backwards and forwards with my GP, doing the right thing given my age had clicked over to 42 (now 43 and quickly closing in on 44) in assessing where my overall health is at, the time was going to come eventually where I had to try and make the final step.

Those fifteen months ago, almost everything on my radar was bad. Uric acid level - bad. Blood pressure - bad. Good cholesterol - bad. Bad cholesterol - bad. Kidney function - bad. Liver function - bad. Weight - bad. Anything else that I've forgotten? Probably, but the result would have been the same - bad.

So I've been ticking things off as I go, trying to get everything back in order. My kidneys were given the ultrasound treatment, and given the all clear following that. My liver came back to almost normal levels towards the end of last year. My blood pressure has been slowly coming back to an almost normal level, but as of my last checkup was still higher than normal. I started taking Progout for my uric acid levels on New Year's Day, and after a couple of hurdles appears to be going OK. Though my cholesterol dropped a little due to changing some of my eating habits, it was necessary to go on medication for it back in January, which to this point has worked, but at the detriment to my liver, which seems to have faultered again.
Of all of this, I will know more at the end of next month whn I go back for more blood tests.

However, the one thing I have not yet stuck to is an exercise regime. With my eating habits, my weight has fluctuated between 105kg and 102kg without any real chance of it going further. I've know for months... years... that I need to get into gear, but with work and kids... well, most people will know what I'm talking about.
So I need to cut down the crap I eat, and I need to exercise. My alcohol intake has slowed to almost negligible amounts. I guess in the long run, it may not happen, just like the other times I have started. In theory my supposed ideal weight is 78kgs. That isn't going to happen. I'd like to think 88kgs could be a possibility, which is what I was back in 1995. It isn't likely. My doc would like me to get to 95kgs, which is a minimum for which I should be aiming. I haven't been 95kgs since I stopped smoking ten years ago (though I got close three years ago when I made 97kgs). More than anything else, I would like to get rid of this stomach that has expanded in the last two years, without any weight increase.

Anyway, today being my father's 71st birthday, I decided it was a good enough time to begin. I'm somewhere between 104-105kgs right now. I leave for Bali in four months. It would be nice to have reached that goal by then.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Mother's Day has come around again, and very quickly if you ask me. Though, in our household, I think it's Mother's Day every day of the year.

Following last night's concert and late arrival home (I think we walked in the door just as 2.00am struck), I tried to let Helen have a sleep in, which meant me getting up when the kids did around 6.45am to keep their excitement levels down and allow their mother to sleep. This theory all came crashing down at 8.10am, when Helen's mother called, and with one of our phone right next to her head in the bedroom, that was the end of that sleep in.

Helen was showered with gifts and cards and drawings from her three crazy kids (a motherlode of presents, if you will...), in fact more presents than probably any mother has ever received on one Mother's Day. She then received breakfast on The Deck with her children. Such a spoiled mother she is.

At 11.30am it was off to Helen's parents' home in Flinders to celebrate Mother's Day #2, where we had a quiet lunch out on the lawn followed by dessert of many natures.

To complete the runaround for the day, at 3.00pm we headed into Kiama to Angela & Tony's where Mother's Day #3 was taking place with my Mum, with Toblerone, donuts and Mum's chocolate torte being the highlights.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tenacious Mother F*#king D!

They've been to Australia four or five times in the past decade, and pretty much everytime they come here I tell myself that I'm going to see them. And everytime it hasn't happened. So when they announced this tour a couple of months ago, I jumped to get tickets before I could find something else I had to do, and I roped Helen into coming with me so that she couldn't do it either!

We parked at the Opera House car park and headed over to Circular Quay for dinner. we had arrived at 6.30pm, and the night's show didn't start until 9.00pm, so we didn;t have to rush which was good. The weather was still amazing, middle of May and we were able to sit outside on the plaza right at Circular Quay, and I only had my long sleeved shirt on. Very pleasant indeed with the gas patio heaters fired up as well. we found a place that had a Show Special on, of an entree and a main for just $42 each. Pretty good value for Sydney, and more than worth the Soup of the Day and the Steak and Fries I had as my choice of meals. Helen made sure she also indulged in dessert and a champagne cocktail to make the most of her experience.

From here we walked up to the Sydney Opera House and made our way in. The support comprised of an Australian stand-up comedian, Damian Powers. Though I thought he started off slow, he soon gained a foothold, and put in a very entertaining 20 minutes. Next was Sasquatch, one of the D's support musicians, who played the guitar and drums excellently and entertainingly for his 20 minutes (which, by the end, was probably a little long).

Finally, after many years, I got to see Tenacious D live. And they did not disappoint. Kyle Gass is terrifically talented on the guitar, and he played excellently all night, also performing well in his nightly quitting of the band. One of the main reasons i wanted to see the D was to hear Jack Black singing live, to see if he really was as good as he seems. Well, the answer to that question is yes, he is quite brilliant. If any band of any musical persuasion happened to lose their singer, Jack could step in and do the job at least as well. He has an amazing voice and an incredible range, and along with his natural wit and comedic values, he is a real package.

The moments of the night were when they played "Kickapoo" and "Tribute". As they played, sand and performed these two songs, the Opera House was filled with 90% of the sold out crowd singing the song back to them, word for word, all the way through. It was spine-tingling stuff. Alhough this obviously happens at most concerts, because this was an acoustic show, and in the wonderful acoustics of the Sydney Opera House, it rang throughout, and was like being in a football stadium when the crowd starts singing. Awesome stuff. Well worth seeing, and it was just sensational.

The video below is not from the Sydney gig, but this is the same show from a couple of months earlier in the U.S. without Sydney references that the duo used on the night.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wings Over Illawarra Air Show

Albion Park turned on a pearler of a day for the annual air show at Albion Park airport. Cloudless, warm (amazingly so for May) and no wind to speak of. Just terrific.
As per usual now that we have moved into Roper Road, we have a pretty fair view of all of the goings-on from the comfort of our deck, so we once again hosted the day to a crowd of thousands. Well, maybe now thousands, but certainly 8 couples (let's see now... us of course, Bancroft's, Moon's, Jukes's, Young's, Fulton's, Gregory's and Yates's) and their crazy kids to join our own.

Courtesy Illawarra Stormchasers on Facebook
As it turned out, which isn't unusual when you get a large gathering together, the air show took a back seat to the conglomerate of conversation that ensued, not that anyone was too worried. Certainly the Roulettes created their usual stir, and some of the fancy big warplanes also got people's attention, but in the long run it was a good day for a drink, a BBQ and a talk, which is precisiely what happened.

Courtesy Illawarra Stormchasers on Facebook
As per usual with a BBQ for the masses, my gas bottle ran out exactly between cookng for all the kids and beginning to cook for all the adults, but fortunately just about every corner store these days keeps the swap and go gas bottles, and only four minutes were lost in having to unhook, drive down to Terry Street, reload and re-hook to keep it going. I don't think anyone except for Anthony (who drove me down) even noticed anything had gone wrong.

Hopefully everyone had a good day, and maybe (and I do say MAYBE) we'll do it again next year.

Friday, May 3, 2013

R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's Heart of Songwriting.

Sad news today - actually, shocking would be more precise - when it was announced that Jeff Hanneman had passed away.

Jeff Hanneman on Wikipedia

It was announced that he had died of liver failure, though it is initially unknown as to whether this is as a result of the disease he has been fighting for the past three years. In 2011 it was revealed that he had contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh eating virus that he apparently caught from a spider bite in a friend's hottub. The resulting damage to his arm meant he was basically unable to play the guitar at all, and has meant he has rarely played live since that time.
(Note here that a week later, on May 9, it was revealed that he had died of alcohol-related cirrhosis, the severity of which neither he nor his family were aware of almost right up until his death).

It is another tragic loss to the metal music world. Hanneman was the primary songwriter for Slayer, being sole or co-writer in up to 75% of their music since he and fellow guitarist Kerry King formed the band back in 1981. The majority of their best known and greatest songs have Hanneman's fingerprints all over them. Songs such as "Raining Blood", "War Ensemble", "South of Heaven", "Seasons in the Abyss" and "Angel of Death" have his mark on them, and they are metal anthems for the ages.

Slayer will continue, and hopefully with Gary Holt on guitar, who has filled Jeff's boots on tour for the past two years. How the band goes now that the songwriting will shift to almost totally into Kerry King's hands will be interesting to see.

Vale Jeff Hanneman. One of the great guitarists and songwriters, not just in heavy metal, but in all of the music world.