Xmas 2010




Dec 09: I organized a combined family birthday celebration for Gen and Sharon on the 2nd of this month as Wayne’s radical prostatectomy was scheduled for the 7th. We had a very quiet Christmas this year with our kids celebrating the day with their respective in-laws while I nursed Wayne during his recuperation period. The new year was also ushered in without any fireworks. 

Jan 10: I thought I’d give the local tourism industry a bit of a boost by dragging Mikey away from his computer to spend an expensive day at the Aquarium on the 12th. Deej and Gen left Australia for three weeks for a S.E.Asian holiday. They returned all tanned and suitably refreshed and told us of their plan to live in the river-side town of Kampot in Cambodia, for six months in the hope that the change from hectic Melbourne to a relaxed, quieter lifestyle would make their dream of starting a family come true. 

Feb 10: This was a super quiet month with Wayne still recuperating from his operation. He felt well enough to go back to work so I was relieved of my full-time nursing duties. However, the post-op PSA test result was not as we had hoped for so the next course of action had to be taken. Valentine’s Day was spent with a lobster dinner for 2 at home, minus candlelight for a better view of our scrumptious meal. On the 27th Nina dragged me off to a poultry auction where she sold one chook and came home with two. 

Mar 10: I harvested a bumper crop of Waltham Cross grapes and gave away many luscious bunches to family, friends and neighbours. We flew up to Queensland on the 6th to stay with Wayne’s sister and her hubby for a week. While there, we visited the oldies several times at the retirement village as Wayne’s step-dad’s health was failing. (To this day, we have kept the oldies in the dark about Wayne’s prostate problem, just as he wishes.) Wayne’s radiation therapy began on the 18th – this entailed having to get out of bed at 6am every weekday (five days a week for seven weeks) to get on the Tullamarine Freeway Grand Prix circuit by 6.45am for the 8am appointment at the Epworth Cancer Clinic. I accompanied him for 99% of the time and by the end of this period, I had completed almost all of the jigsaw puzzles in the waiting room. I also dusted the cobwebs off my huge collection of jigsaw puzzles to donate a few to the Clinic. 

Apr 10: Apart from the Easter long weekend & ANZAC Day public holiday, every weekday morning was spent at Epworth Hospital. For me, the highlight of this month was being the oh-so-lucky recipient of a beautiful diamond solitaire ring from Wayne as a combined early Mother’s Day/25th wedding anniversary present. After coming back to earth from Cloud 9, I harvested another bumper crop of grapes (this time it was the super-sweet Black Muscatel) and again dealt with them as I did the Waltham Cross, earning myself the title of ‘The Grape Lady’ among our neighbours! As Wayne couldn’t attend the ANZAC Day march this year, we jumped into our car and drove up to Echuca for the long weekend to meet up with Wayne’s sister and her husband, John, who had travelled down from Queensland for John’s sister’s 40th anniversary celebration. On the way home we stopped at the Kyabram Fauna Park for a few more photos of birdies to add to my album.

May 10: Wayne’s radiation treatment ended just before Mother’s Day weekend. We had a lovely lunch at Huyen Linh Vietnamese Restaurant with all my loved ones present to help in the consumption of the very yummy food. Lucky me was showered with heaps of lovely gifts, including a Smart phone from my niece in Singapore – I like Mother’s Day! Deej and Gen organized a combined garage sale at my place on the 29th to get rid of their unwanted stuff as well as ours. It was quite a successful morning of selling but not something I’d do again in a hurry and certainly not on my own. 

Jun 10:I waved goodbye to Deej and Gen as they departed for their six months’ stay in Kampot on the 1st and sighed at the sight of my cluttered home now even more so with Deej’s and Gen’s personal effects left under our care during their absence. I wept tears of joy when they both appeared on a Skype video call on the 10th to let me know that they are going to be parents at last! Unbeknownst to them, Gen had fallen pregnant before they left Melbourne! Exciting news indeed. As a result of this upcoming happy event, they will be arriving home on Nov 16th instead of December. 

Jul 10:We left for an R & R at Lakes Entrance to celebrate Wayne’s birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. The kids dug deep into their pockets and bought Wayne a Netbook for his birthday and he, being a firm believer of ‘his and hers’, bought me a Netbook, too, just because he can! Even though the weather was a bit overcast, we had a whale of a time on the Lonsdale Eco Cruise of the Lakes, taking in the fantastic views while chomping on scones baked on site with lashings of strawberries and cream. We were even lucky enough to catch sight of a couple of seals chilling out at The Entrance. On our anniversary, we dined on bouillabaisse on the Ferryman’s Seafood Cafe, a floating restaurant built on the pontoon base of what was the old Raymond Island car ferry. Wayne’s PSA test result gave us a reason to celebrate, which we gleefully did, with an overseas holiday. Knowing my penchant for shopping (especially when on holidays), his boss (Dave B) presented me with a digital luggage weigher which came in very handy indeed. 

Aug 10: Our inboxes this month was flooded with e-mail from Deej & Gen in Cambodia and my niece, Aisyah, in Singapore, outlining touristy stuff we could look forward to. Our excitement began to mount as after our flight details were confirmed, email confirming our reservations began arriving from the respective hotels in Singapore, Johor Bahru (Malaysia) and Kampot and Kep (Cambodia). We were deeply saddened by the passing of Wayne’s step-dad, Roy, on the 16th, 3 days after he celebrated his 93rd birthday. Wayne and I flew up to attend his funeral service on the 20th which was attended by family and his countless friends. He is sorely missed by all who knew and loved him. 

Sep 10: We flew out on Emirates on the 2nd for our 3 weeks’ holiday – 4 days in Singapore, staying at the Ibis on Bencoolen, 3 days in Johor Bahru at the Puteri Pan Pacific Hotel, back to Singapore for a couple of nights’ stay at the Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel to celebrate Aidilfitri with my Brother’s family on the 10th before flying out on a Jetstar Airways flight on the 11th to spend 10 glorious days in Cambodia. Aisyah and her friend flew in from Singapore for a few days to attend Deej’s 37th birthday party at Bodhi Villa Guesthouse on the 17th. Wayne and I lived like royalty for a few days at the Residential penthouse suite of Veranda Natural Resort in Kep before going back to Kampot in a tuk-tuk (motorcycle drawn carriage) to attend Deej’s party. Deej and Gen proved to be excellent tourist guides during our stay and took us to the best eating establishments in Kampot and Kep. While in Cambodia, they took us on a long-tail boat ride out of Kep to Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) and after Aisyah left, we went to Sihanoukville for a couple of days before a hair-raising drive to Phnom Penh for a night’s stay prior to our departure to Singapore. We had to pay big bucks for our final 2 nights’ stay at the Ibis on Bencoolen as the Formula One Grand Prix crowd was in town. Arrived back in Melbourne on the 24th, still in holiday mode, wishing we had more time to spend in Cambodia. 

Oct 10: This was a fairly quiet month with Wayne back at work to start saving up for another holiday next year. I was kept busy with editing our holiday photos in between (a few short bursts of) spring-cleaning and gardening. 

Nov 10:  6 kgs of chicken wings were marinated, fried and consumed when we celebrated our grandson Mikey’s and grand-daughter Iesha’s combined 14th birthdays. For the entree, I made a mountain of curry puffs and dessert that night consisted of my specialty pavlova and a delicious blueberry chocolate cake that Nina had made. Excitement began to mount as the date of Deej’s and Gen’s homecoming drew near. Wayne’s boss took us to Fuji Teppanyaki Restaurant as a surprise for my 60th birthday on the 13th – what an awesome dining experience it was! We dined on sushi, lobster tails, scallops, succulent lamb chops, tender juicy steaks and various other side dishes. I was plied with cocktails all night long but didn’t disgrace myself. Deej and Gen arrived home on the 16th and I celebrated my birthday on the 19th surrounded by my loved ones. As with every birthday, I was showered with gifts – an external hard-drive from Deej and Gen, skin and body care products from Sharon and Greg, a 22k gold chain and a pajama set from Nina and Dennis and a pink diamond dress ring from my dear darling husband. On the 22nd, I received news that two of my bird photos have been chosen to be used in a book titled, “The Natural History Book” published by Penguin Books Ltd and I am actually getting paid for them. Woohoo!!! 

Wayne and I are looking forward to celebrating Christmas with our Queensland family this year. I have been put in charge of making satays and sauce for a family gathering of 30 at Kerry’s and Louise’s (Wayne’s brother and sister-in-law) after an early Christmas with our kids in Melbourne. As I say farewell to 2010 and look forward to welcoming a new grandbaby in January 2011, I wish you and your loved ones a safe and joyful Christmas and may 2011 be a good year for us all. (Please click on thumbnails to view larger images.)


Mona, Wayne & Tribe