Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
Tags: #6years2long, #auspol, asylum, australia, detention, friends, help, inhuman, notinmyname, politics, refugee, shame
Tags: abuse, alone, christmas, disowned, domestic, emotion, happiness, happy, hatred, holiday, merry, refugee, sad, sadness
With Christmas quickly approaching, and family gatherings only days away, I felt that I should make a post.
I didn’t want to post all about the stereotypical stuff, but instead, I wanted to remind people who not everyone in our society has the luxury of a family to be with, or even food to eat.
For many, Christmas time is not a happy time. This could be for many reasons. Perhaps it serves as a reminder to them that their own family or friends circle has disowned them, has lost contact or simply wants nothing to do with them anymore. It could be a reminder of bad life-choices they have made, perhaps with alcohol or drug abuse, causing children and family to actively disassociate themselves.
For others, it could be a reminder of a less than ideal childhood. Christmas is often a time when domestic violence, child abuse and family disagreements flare up, showing themselves in their full, ugly glory. For these families, Christmas is almost dreaded as it nears, with family members bracing themselves for the upcoming explosion of negativity in their homes.
There are people in Australia who are spending their first (or indeed their 5th or 6th) Christmas alone. They have no family here with them, perhaps living on their own with few friends around them. Some may not even be able to speak English, and are experiencing complete isolation from others in ways that many of us cannot even fathom.
Other people reflect on this time as a reminder of what the ‘average family’, or what is portrayed on television and in films should be, and how different their own family gathers are. They see the cracks in their family, the negativity and the hatred between certain members, and this can bring on sadness and even depression for many. No amount of “But it’s Christmas!” or “Fa-la-la-la-laa’ing” will change these thoughts, no matter how hard people try.
I myself have come from an abusive home growing up. This is no secret, and I have posted about this in the past on this blog. Mostly, it was verbal abuse or at least emotional abuse. There was some physical abuse as well, but it was not as bad as many others have received, and the physical was definitely a distant second to the emotional and verbal abuses. All of these things have forever tarnished my christmas experience, as my most vivid memories of christmas involve the christmas tree being thrown across the room and broken, presents beings stomped on before they could be unwrapped or on one occasion, opened before us and then destroyed. As a child, my memories of christmas should be of happy times with small gifts from loved ones, and not of these things. Now, even the sound of christmas music brings these terrible memories back into my mind.
Of course, my story is hardly the worst, and I am not trying to win any awards for this. I only mention it here to point out that people who may seem happy and strong on the outside may not always be the same on the inside. Christmas can amplify these emotions and memories for many.
The point I was hoping to make with this post is, if you see someone who is seeming down, or know of someone who may be spending christmas alone this year, perhaps offer them a seat at your table, or even a hot cup of coffee and a chat. Sometimes its the smallest of gestures that can change someone’s perspective on a situation. This is the season for giving, and respect for our fellow persons. Do not do this out of pity, but do it out of kindness and love. Everyone should be able to have at least one happy christmas memory, and it is never too late to start creating them.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
Tags: book, creative, gold, goldfields, heritage, ireland, novel, williamstown, Writing
Over the past few months, I have been spending some of my free time writing my first novel.
It is based on real people, discovered within my family tree. Their story, although unknown, is being imagined using the few details I have of this family. They were the first of my family to emigrate from Ireland to Australia, settling in Williamstown before heading to the Victorian Goldfields.
The story I am telling will be a cross-generational piece, covering at least three generations, and telling their story as best as I can. It will tell of the hardships faced by their children; living in post-famine Ireland before moving to a foreign land. The story of how they fended for themselves in the surly seaside streets of Williamstown before heading to the often lawless outskirts of the Goldfields of the Victorian Gold Rush. My fascination with this part of my family first began when I discovered their family headstone in my local Cemetery. It raised more questions than it answered, uncovering previously unknown children, and revealing some interesting facts.
I am currently nearing the 20,000 word landmark, making this officially my longest writing project ever undertaken, and I am only just getting started! Below is an excerpt from what I have so far.
“Inside however, he had never really grown out of his childhood, and whenever he could get away with it, he would let his inner child flourish. Of course, Margaret could never know of this, so it was kept a secret between himself and his Emerald Princess, Bridget. As they chatted, they both gazed at the wondrous sight before them. A thousand colours that had no names danced across the sky, stretching down from far above and disappearing beyond the hilltops in the distance.”
As things progress, I will endeavour to share more little tidbits of my writings, and perhaps if you are lucky, I might even call on some of you to proof-read a draft at some point?
Tags: Hawaii, honeymoon, new york, nyc
well I know this post is well overdue, however its better late than never, I suppose! 🙂
Our honeymoon began on June 1st, with an early morning, rain-filled journey to Melbourne International Airport, bags in tow, and spirits undampened, regardless of the standard Melbourne wet season.
Once at the airport, tickets in hand, bags checked and dried off, we cleared customs and made our way onto our plane.
20 hours later, we landed flew in through the clouds at Los Angeles, seeing the far side of the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and coming in for a textbook landing at LAX.
Unfortunately there was not enough time to leave the terminal before our next flight, so it was a few hours of Starbucks drinking and people-watching before boarding our next flight direct to NYC.
After a very scenic flight through an almost clear sky, we came over New York, with amazing views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, before landing at JFK.
After check-in at the hotel, we headed around the corner to Times Square for dinner, and to take in some of the sights of Midtown Manhattan.
New York City is a place that is constantly changing, yet strangely familiar. Although it has been more than 3 years since we were last there, we were able to navigate the streets and subway system with ease, and rarely needed to consult with a map.
With a total of 2 weeks in NYC, we had plans of things to do, yet plenty of time to simply relax and enjoy the city, and all it has to offer.
During our time in New York, we did a mixture of typical tourist things, as well as some not-so touristy things… cycling around Manhattan, riding a train in torrential rain to see a movie at a downtown cinema, having lunch on a floating restaurant in the Manhattan River…
Amongst the many things we did in New York, (of which there are too many to mention!) We did some new things that have definitely made it to our highlights list.
Firstly, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial, which I must say, is rather eerie in that it is probably the quietest place in Manhattan. Nothing above a whisper could be heard beyond the tranquil sound of the flowing water into the footprints of the twin towers. The entire area seemed smaller than it did on television all those years ago, but with so many names and so much sadness attached to it. Security here is greater than we experienced at any airport. 2 metal detectors, an air particle scanner, police and security everywhere, sniffer dogs and long, daunting walks through narrow corridors, being watched on CCTV by what I would assume to be behavioural specialists.
We headed to the Court district to view some cases. I never really thought that this would be as entertaining as it turned out to be! We first went to the Surrogates Court and heard small matters like petty theft and minor assaults etc. Then we went to the Arraignment Court to hear people being granted or denied bail. Then, over to the Supreme Court, where the lawyers were having a rather large party in the foyer area for National Lawyer Day, which meant free food for all (how could I refuse?).
We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, which was a rewarding experience, if only to say we had done it. Such a wonderful, old bridge, and still going strong! Once on the other side in Brooklyn, we wandered about a bit, checked out a gorgeous Ferris Wheel in Dumbo, got a bite to eat at a very small local deli, and then discovered one of the Pianos in Public Places on the waterfront. As we got there, a classical dup were performing for a photographer, so we had a free concert just for two. Once we walked back over the bridge we parted ways. I was eager to walk the 60 blocks to the hotel, and take in the city, but Catherine decided to ride the subway and get back to relax a bit. So, 45 minutes later, I caught up with her at the hotel and we headed out for Lunch and a Museum.
We hired bicycles and rode the length and width of Central Park. The park is full of bike trails, and during the day on weekdays, most roads are closed to traffic, meaning pedestrians and bikes have the reign. The park is simply huge on a massive scale! Even with minimal stops, and no traffic, it took us about 90 minutes to return to the starting point. We saw 4 lakes, 3 cliff faces, a reservoir, a castle (Smurfs Movie), a boathouse, fountains, bridges (Home Alone 2), and so much green! This park is indeed the heartbeat of the city, sustaining the sanity of so many residents who spend their lunches with their shoes off, sunning on any available surface.
We had the bikes for 6 hours, so instead of returning them and losing our money, I suggested we ride down and around the financial district. There are bike tracks everywhere, so we only needed about 5 minutes of road cycling in the entire journey. We headed through Hells Kitchen and down along the banks of the Manhattan River, passing a retired aircraft carrier that is moored as a museum ship, before reaching the financial district, where we lost the bike trail. After a little confusion we found the track again, and with a few more corners, we arrived at Clinton Park, looking across to the Statue of Liberty (Closed, due to damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy). After a small break and an ice-cream, we headed along the trail and up along the East River, heading back to the hotel area on 49th Street. Once we got to around 38th-40th Street, the bike trail ended and became a bike lane on the busy Manhattan roads in afternoon peak hour. Onwards we went, passing the UN Building and turning left along 50th Street (Most streets are one way, so each opposing street goes in the opposite direction). Crossing Lexington Ave and 5th Ave, we eventually got to Broadway. We turned left, then back onto 49th Street, returning the bikes with 20 minutes to spare. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but Catherine seemed a bit shaken from the craziness of the traffic.
We dressed to the nines, suit and tie for myself, gorgeous dress for Catherine, and headed through Times Square to a small, underground Jazz Club to see Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks perform. Vince and the Nighthawks are responsible for the music heard in Boardwalk Empire, as well as a few other productions whose names escape me. After a lovely meal and a few drinks, we were up and dancing to Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade; a slow song, but an amazing experience to dance to this in New York, with a live band playing right beside you. Vince was lovely, we had a bit of a chat with him, and as soon as he realised we were on our Honeymoon, he gifted us two of his albums, which have been getting plenty of play back here in Australia.
We saw Paul McCartney perform at Barclay’s Stadium in Brooklyn!
What can be said? The man is 72 years old, and still pitch perfect. He puts live performance at a whole new level, and its a level that I don’t think anyone could match. Seeing an ex-Beatle perform has long been a dream of mine, so having seats in the nosebleed section didn’t faze me in the slightest. Neither did singing along like a music geek to around 3 hours of hit after hit after hit. With such a huge catalog of music to draw from, there was not a single song that left the crowd in their seats.
Eight Days a Week
All My Loving
Listen to What the Man Said
Let Me Roll It (“Foxy Lady” snippet)
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
The Long and Winding Road
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
We Can Work It Out
And I Love Her
Your Mother Should Know
All Together Now
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hi, Hi, Hi
Carry That Weight
The next morning, we headed up into Harlem to experience one of their church services. After a bit of shuffling between churches, we found a service that had some room for visitors, and we headed in. Everyone was simply lovely, saying hello, shaking our hand and making us feel welcome. Some of the parish children performed a few songs which blew us away. Amazing talent! Vocals and violins were all sounding simply spectacular.
We decided one evening to go and watch The Great Gatsby in New York City, as it was based here, so would be fun to see it here! Well, after much confusion on the location of the Cinema (most are independent, and hard to really work out what is playing where), and of course the downpour of more NYC Rain (Seriously, the raindrops here don’t fall, they punch you in the head, repeatedly!) we found the Cinema near Union Square. we were saturated and cold, but after buying a not-so-small inventory at the candy bar, we headed into the film. Seats as big as a couch (American sized!) we watched the film… Not as “Great” as people were saying, but I have seen worse… Afterwards, another rain-punched dash for the subway and back to the hotel to change.
Catherine wine two tickets in the ballot system to see “The Book of Mormon”, which was written by Matt & Trey: creators of South Park. Imagine a 2 hour episode of South Park, focussed on delivering the smack down to the Mormons, add in many songs that do the same, and you can get an idea of this show. It was rather funny, and from our position (Front row, dead centre!) we definitely saw the show! This show has been booked out for up to a year in advance, so getting tickets was simply unbelievable! The fact it was playing next door to our hotel was also rather handy. 😉
After our two weeks in New York City (My self-proclaimed home away from home – I simply love it there!) we headed to Hawaii for 5 days. Not even close to long enough!
We had hired a car, so once we had that in our possession, we braved the highways (and the “Interstate” – think about that for a moment!!) and headed up the coast for some sightseeing. We visited one mountainside that has been in about 15 movies, ranging from Godzilla and Jurassic Park, to Pearl Harbor and episodes of Lost. It is simply amazing that these places still exist, looking almost untouched by humans, yet surrounded by farms and houses!
Snorkelling was on the list of things we must do, so we headed to a tourist snorkelling beach (Pay $1 and access all day). We had our own gear with us, so didn’t get stung by the hire costs. I have NEVER seen so many brightly coloured fish outside of a tropical fish store! All were rather tame, some even coming right up to investigate my camera! of course there was also a wide variety of corals and seaweeds, brightening up the ocean floor, and becoming the perfect backdrop for the occasion. The highlight of course was when we came across a Green Sea Turtle! He decided to swim next to us for a while, then slowly moved along and out to Sea. I later saw him diving for his lunch, getting many photos as I swam alongside him. Such amazing creatures!
Of course, we had to attend a Luau, and arranged a pickup from the hotel (which was free and gave us free drink cards!) we headed out to the site. It was rather touristy (as expected) but was an amazing experience. The staff at Germaine’s Luau were lovely, and the food put out was simply perfect! The meat was so tender, you could almost drink it, and all were encouraged to “Eat until it hurts!” The show itself was rather interesting, as they did a dance from each Polynesian island, from New Zealand and Fiji, to of course Hawaii. We met some friendly Texans on our table who were asking us a million questions about Australia, which was fun, and we ended up getting rather tipsy on the cocktails as we chatted with them.
Another bus ride, and off to Pearl Harbor. As this is an active Military base, the whole procedure was rather complicated. Stand here, No bags allowed, No Camera Bags allowed, No photography in this area, etc. We headed to the memorial, which involved a boat ride, escorted by Marines, and no more than 10 minutes at the memorial before returning to land. The memorial is positioned directly over the USS Arizona, with sections of the ship still visible. The ship, although sunk in 1941, is still leaking oil into the water, with small slicks still visible.
As part of the tour, we were also escorted across the base to the USS Missouri, which is the ship that the World War 2 Cease Fire was signed upon. This ship served in WW2, Korean, Vietnam and even Gulf War 1 before being decommissioned in the mid 1990s. We were allowed to explore many areas of the ship unescorted, but other areas were obviously off-limits.
Our last night in Hawaii was spent on the beach in Honolulu, near the hotel. We had dinner and watched the sunset across from the Volcanic Crater, lighting up the Pacific Ocean.
Hawaii is such a lovely place, but needs more time to fully experience it. I hope we can return to both locations some day soon.
Tags: anchorage, australia, bay, bride, celebration, ceremony, church, family, groom, liamstown, melbourne, ont, party, set, summer, waterfront, wedding, williamstown
A little over a week ago now, my gorgeous Fiancé and I finally got married.
It has been almost 12 years in the making, and many sleepless nights over the past 9 months spent organising, planning and constructing the various parts of the ceremony and reception.
But now, it is all over! Of course in this context, over is a good thing. We are finally married, and beginning our lives together.
And what a day!
For myself and my best man Nathan, the day began with a nice relaxing swim at the local beach in Williamstown. This was on my insistence, as swimming at the beach always relaxes me, and this was one day that we both needed to relax and enjoy the day.
From the beach, it was home again for a mud-mask (yes, working at Garnier has changed me!). We both applied a mask, turned up the tunes and poured a Bourbon. Before we knew it, the cars had arrived! I was still walking around in little more than a towel, so it was clearly time to get dressed!
We had two of the best GT Falcons I have seen in a long time, courtesy of my old design buddy Lee and his Brother Ricky. We took a cruise via the beach for some fresh air, before arriving at the church about 30 minutes early.
After greeting some friends and family, it was time for everything to begin.
The music began with “Kate Miller-Heidke – Starlings” which had people take their seats, in waiting for the arrival of the Bride. As planned, “Starlings” led into “George Harrison – Something”; The perfect love song, and such a fitting song for my gorgeous bride to walk down the aisle.
About half-way into the song, I turned to witness the most beautiful bride I have ever seen in my life; and she was walking toward me!
Catherine looked stunning! her dress was simply gorgeous, I couldn’t take my eyes off my bride-to-be. She was more beautiful at that moment than I have ever seen her before, in all of our years together.
The ceremony went as planned, no one passed out, tripped, caused embarrassment or any other horror stories that usually make their way to YouTube.
We left the church to “Squirrel Nut Zippers – The Suits Are Picking Up The Bill”; a great dixieland-esque track that we thought fitting for a celebration.
From the church, it was off for 3 hours of photography.
Photos started at the Williamstown Gardens, with some amazing locations within the grounds, including the main wrought-iron gate, which makes such an amazing backdrop for photography! From the Gardens, it was off to the spot where I proposed to Catherine, way back on May 22nd, 2012. It was a little strange being so dressed-up at hte local beach on a day as warm as it was.
Swimsuits and board-shorts were all around us, yet we were dressed to the nines in our finest outfits.
We had some more shots along the waterfront in Williamstown, overlooking the city, as well as at the Timeball Tower.
Before we knew it, it was time to head to the reception.
Seeing so many of our friends and family, some who had travelled from interstate simply to attend our special day was such a surreal moment, but knowing that tonight, we were the guests of honour; that was a true mind-bender! I for one am not used to being the centre of attention, much less applauded for entering a venue with my stunning bride.
There was much laughing, conversation and festivity. The music was well-received, with some interesting dancing on the dance floor.
The room looked amazing! Our wonderful Florist did an amazing job with the flowers for the tables, setting everything up and making the room look simply amazing. All of this, on top of the Bridal Bouquet, Buttonholes for the guys, and a corsage for each of the Mothers… simply an amazing Woman! Thank you Sue-Ellen!
Everyone had a great evening of delicious food, copious drinking, laughter, dancing, wonderful views across the bay to the city skyline, a perfect sunset and some excellent music from our resident DJ, Owen Mitchell.
All too soon, however, the evening was winding up to a close!
We managed to squeeze in the required speeches, including the Father of The Bride, Matron of Honour, Best Man (Including a musical number – video to follow!), as well as our speeches to thank everyone for all of their work, efforts and friendship over the years.
The bouquet and garter throws were next, with our friends Nicole and Shaun catching them. Their wedding will be in 5 weeks, so they didn’t waste any time! 😉
The car arrived to sweep us away, with the Theme from Love Boat played to see us off. We said our final farewells and jumped into the car, before taking the scenic route along the waterfront, en route to the honeymoon suite at “The Captain’s Retreat” in Williamstown.
There has been a lot going on in the past few months.
From Wedding planning, Work, Freelancing, Music and other activities, there has barely been enough time to sit down and relax, let alone write a blog post.
Firstly, the wedding plans.
Everything seems to be well on track. Church, Reception and the Wedding Cars have been booked. The cake, photography and flowers have been organised to a certain degree, the invitations have been designed (by myself, naturally!), printed and delivered, and the RSVPs have started making their way back to us. We have chosen the music for the main moments in the ceremony and reception, and I have even mixed some it to make things even more perfect on the day.
We have even made huge progress in making the Bonboniere.
Did someone say I may be an organisational psycho?
Catherine has chosen her dress, ordered it and has even picked it up. I have not ordered a suit yet, as I am planning to lose quite a bit of weight in the next few weeks (yes, I know… I shouldn’t lose it so quickly… but I plan on keeping it off!) I know the suit I want, and of course I am having it designed exactly how I want it, in the colours and cut that I want.
Today we went down to the local jeweller and chose our wedding bands. It was a rather simple choice; keeping it classic to avoid any of the trends. Naturally, we are having them made for us, though. The jeweller that we have gone with is the same jeweller that my Nan would’ve purchased her wedding band from, way back in 1944.
Where ever possible, we are trying to keep everything local. We have arranged for the local church, where my Nan played the organ for 75 years, to be the venue to make it all official. The reception is a 20 minute walk from the church (we will be driven there, of course), at a lovely venue sitting on the waterfront, overlooking the bay and the city, with the cooling breeze coming off the water. Photography will be all in Williamstown, with plenty of lovely old buildings and scenery to keep the photographer busy for a few hours.
So in the past week or two, I have subtly began a diet, in the hopes of losing excess weight before the big day in February.
I have so far lost 6kg, but I have many more to go. I have taken to jogging and cycling too, as well as my usual walk of about 4km each night after work to the station (skipping the tram). I have my target, I have my timeframe, and I intend to stick to it and succeed. I have also placed an embargo on self-pics on social media for this time, as I would like to unveil the ‘new me’ earlier next year.
Wish me luck, and I will keep you posted on further outcomes! I may even post a few pics of the invitations and other handmade parts…
Tags: family, father, fathers day, forget, history, past
Some of you my not realise this, many of you will.
My father walked out on us many years ago now.
Now, over the years, this has affected me less and less, and we were never really close. Apart from the verbal abuse and the occasional physical abuse, things were rather distant between us, with a lot of ‘tip-toeing’ around the place in case we disturbed him or upset him somehow. We occasionally did things together; like perhaps go to a movie, or even the Melbourne Show, but those times were rather tense, and felt almost forced. The majority of the time was spent trying not to upset him, say something that he disagreed with or simply not saying anything at all to avoid confrontation.
My whole childhood was spent like this to some extent; either trying to avoid confrontation, or simply trying to escape it once it hit.
I couldn’t have friends over often, as that upset him. After a while, I stopped asking them over anyway, as it was just easier to have them avoid the house entirely. I wouldn’t be allowed to stay at a friend’s place very often, and I would need to give notice and let him know exactly when I would return. any later, and all hell would break loose.
I couldn’t sleep with my bedroom door closed, as he didn’t trust me. So for the most part, I would have to have the door open. One time I closed it to see what would happen… The door was kicked in, he yelled “You want it closed?! then HERE, have it closed!!” he then slammed the door so hard, that the door frame was dislodged, and it took me 30 minutes to open it again.
To this day, I still close the bedroom door every night.
Many things still upset me about that period of my life, but if there is one thing I have learned from it all, it’s this.
“If you let one event in your past define who you are in the present, then that event has won.”
If I let these events and bad memories from my childhood affect who I become as an adult, then he has won. I will NOT let that happen, and am doing everything I can to be nothing like him.
At this time of year though, Fathers Day, I tend to get a little nostalgic. Not about my own childhood, but about a stereotypical father-figure, the kind that the ads and the movies depict. A lot of my friends have really awesome dads who they all do things with, and enjoy hanging out together. Even a simple beer at the pub, or a trip to the footy.
Part of me feels that I was cheated of these experiences, but I know that some people never get to know their fathers. I am not complaining, by any means, however in some ways I wish that if it was possible to do it all again, I would prefer not knowing my father, if he was going to act the way he did.
Father’s day is always difficult to see most of the other people around me celebrating and giving gifts. The last Father’s day I remember actually giving him a gift, by the end of the day the gift had been thrown through a wall out of anger, over a trivial little thing. After that, I stopped buying him gifts.
This post has become a bit of a rant now, but my point was simply to express how I can sometimes be a little upset around Father’s Day. sometimes I don’t even realise why, but all of the advertising and commercials subliminally get me in a down mood. I only realised this morning when I was laying in bed listening to the radio that it was coming up (Remember, I work in the advertising industry!) and I was finally able to put two and two together. I was in a bit of a distant mood yesterday, and that was possibly the reason.
But as I said, the past events will not define who I am to become.
Although upset about the day, my life goes on, and I put it behind me. I look at the positive things in my life, and ignore the negatives. Life is too short to worry about anything and everything. Lately I have had too many negative things in my life; from people, events and family drama. But where possible, these things are cut from my life, discarded ad forgotten. These things are not worth my constant worry and distress.
Don’t get me wrong, I am always happy to help a friend or even a stranger, but if the person is simply wanting to dump their worries and not want to try to better them, or move forward, then there is nothing I can do for them. I have my own worries and stresses, and I simply don’t have time to sympathise with these people about things that will never change simply by their own choice.
Life goes on, and if you aren’t quick, you’ll miss it.
Enjoy every moment you possibly can!