17 December, 2011

11 Years Ago today...

Today, would be our 11th Wedding Anniversary...

Wedding Ceremony

Hoo roo for now...


11 December, 2011

Happy Birthday Lou

Happy Birthday Lou...

Louise, originally uploaded by AussiePomm.

Nothing more to say really...


03 December, 2011

End of an Era - Kandos Line Closure

4486/4473 to Kandos

Today I had to be at Central Station early, for the 3801 Ltd Special train trip to Kandos for the End of an Era - Kandos Line Closure! Today though, it would not be 3801 doing the duties, but a pair of Alco's 44 class locos - 4486 & 4437.

The route for the day to the Central West, would have stops at Strathfield, Parramatta, Blacktown and Penrith before heading up the Blue Mountains for Katoomba and Lithgow.

Once we got to Charbon Colliery Junction, one loco was taken off and we became a push/pull due to insufficient space at Kandos Station. The line many years ago went to Mudgee and beyond, but Kandos will now suffer the plight with the cement mine's closure and no more services will run. Its a shame really...

Diesel Haulage up the Mountains

Inside the carriage

Forward View

Zig Zag Railway

When we arrived, I think most, if not ALL of the town was there to great us. 3801 Ltd was doing a 'gold coin' donation for a shuttle down to Clandulla and back whilst we from the big smoke went and had lunch in one of four locations in town! We headed to the RSL Clud for a 'Roast of the day' (which was Pork) which was yumm!!

Kandos Main Street

Kandos - End of the line...

Car 4 Guard - Penny for your thoughts...

The return saw us a little late, which meant WE had to wait for the XPT from Dubbo (bound for Sydney) to pass before us at Wallerawang!

We arrived back into Sydney (late) at 9.35pm and Central Station was decorated for Christmas!

Central Station Christmas Decorations

Hoo roo for now...


30 November, 2011

Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Tonight, I went to dinner with some friends form up in the Mountains, (we were suppose to be on a heritage train trip this Saturday - but illness has stopped S) at a Brazilian restaurant in Norton St Leichhardt. The restaurant is called Rodizio.

The atmosphere is very nice, and the decor is really comfy... And THEN there is the food! S had found a deal on 'Spreets', and it was for the 'all you can eat BBQ (Churrasco). Basically, lumps of meat are cooked on a giant skewer and goes from table to table. You hold the slice with your tongs on the table, whilst the staff carve it in front of you... Anyway, I got some pics with my iPhone, and I will let them do the talking, its only a pity they can do the smelling!

Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Garlic Bread - Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

SKOL Brazilian Beer - Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Prawns - Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Salads - Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Chicken and Chorizo Sausage - Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Succulent Lamb - Rodizio Brazilian in Leichhardt

Hoo roo for now...


29 November, 2011

2011 - NSW LGSA Excellence in Environment Awards

Today, was a day of mixed emotions... It was the 2011, NSW Local Government & Shires Associations Excellence in Environment Awards...

I sit on an award category for L's Memory for individual achievements... The nominee's for this year's award were all very worthy of the award. However, when I read through them all, there was for me, a clear winner and truly represented L. And, this year, the winner did not know she was even nominated let alone the winner!!! When her named was called out, there was a small scream of absolute astonishment of winning!! By the time she came to the podium for the award to be presented by myself and the Minister for the Environment, she actually had tears... It was a wonderful thing to be part of.

Awards 2011

Awards 2011

Awards 2011

Awards 2011

After the awards presentation, we were invited to lunch, which had a selection of two hot mains, a Lamb dumpling casserole, and a chicken & choritzo pilaf thing which was AMAZING! To the sides, cuss cuss, salads, potato salad and so on. There was also a cheese and fruit platter. The view for lunch over looked the wonderful sights of Circular Quay, Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

By the end of the day, and it was a hot day, (and after copious amounts of water), I got the opportunity to watch the Adel concert from the Royal Albert Hall (I purposely didn't put a certain word in-between Albert and Hall as she had worded it!). it was a wonderful concert, and I actually think she is pretty true vocally in live, as she is on the recorded media. She is a wonderful performer, both in her singing and in her talking to her audience.

Keeping myself busy, and tomorrow is a busy day ahead looking at a set of French Doors a friend may be purchasing for access to his newly built decking. But, that's for another day!

Hoo roo for now...


28 November, 2011

Puppy Pre-Skool Graduation

Bronty has been doing puppy pre-school for the last four weeks, tonight was her graduation. For the most part, she's actually been pretty good. However, tonight, she was a right little cow!

Granted, as it was fancy dress (not thinking that did me any favours) and she was wearing a new collar (doubles as a check chain), so there was a lot of strange already... LET alone, her 'fancy dress'!!!

Now I thought I was being 'original' in a Christmas theme... Seems as though three of the other four pups were also in Christmas attire!!!

First we have Atilla, (Chihuahua x Pomeranian) dressed as an Elf

Atilla (Chihuahua x Pomeranian)

Sooky (Cavalier x Poodle)

Sooky (Cavalier x Poodle)

Rhino - (Staffy)

Rhino (Staffy)

And finally, Miss Bronty (Great Dane)

Bronty (Great Dane)

I think the bell cat collars I used ended up annoying her, which made her non-compliant when it came to her obedience!

Hoo roo for now...


24 November, 2011

Painful Knee.... AND, an update...

Overnight, when visiting the bathroom, I got out of bed and as soon as I put weight on my right knee, I just about hit the roof in pain... I don't know what I've done to it, but my goodness its sore... Its still sore some 8 hours later! I've taken some pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications, but its only just touching it, so I think I might have to go visit the GP!

In other news, its also wet very wet here at the moment... Its also colder then it normally is! Oh well, at least the rain is watering everything... right?

I am looking forward to going on a Heritage Train trip on Saturday week. It is on the Kandos line, a line that is about to close, and it will be hauled by an old '44' class loco. There will be pics from the day that evening!

Bronty is growing, she's now well into the 20kg mark. She is great at Puppy Pre-Skool as well! She is a bit of a character, in that she has learnt how to avoid going outside at night! When she can be trusted to not pee in the house (she's almost there) then she can stay in, but for now, she go's outside for a couple of hours! I do take her out, walk up the back and when she 'ewe's' I commend her for whizzing, but sometimes she has little accidents near the back door (open) from time to time...



Hoo roo for now...


19 November, 2011

Eye Bank Presentation

Below, is the presentation I made today at the 'Gift of Sight' Memorial Service for the Eye Bank, after donating L's eyes after she died...

L C P - BA, Grad. Dip. Ed (Geog), M Environmental Management & M.B.A. (Env Mgt)

(11-12-1969 – 15-04-2009)

L C P was the eldest daughter to M & J. She was the eldest sister to C & P, A and S and O and Iand aunty to their children. L was to become a pseudo mother to Macc the Greyhound and Jasmine, our feral cat at home. She was also my wife and confidant…

L came into my life in 1996, where we met through a friend, and soon became not only good friends, we became soul mates. She was a kind-hearted person and had all the time in the world for her family and friends.

L was educated, passionate towards the environment and sustainability. She studied at the University of NSW in a Master of Environmental Management and later at the University of Southern Queensland completing her MBA with a major in the Environment. She was also passionate towards Local Sustainability in her role as Manager Sustainability at P Council. She had, on behalf of Council, been recognised locally, within Australia and Internationally for her work, and had won the NSW Local Government & Shires Association - Excellence in Environment Awards in 2003, which saw her attend the Aalborg +10 Sustainability Conference in Denmark. The NSW LGSA have since established the award for Individual Excellence in Sustainability Award! Council has also established an annual staff scholarship award for further education in sustainability.

By default in my own studies, I soon entered the field of sustainability, and we would often trade phone calls and emails about various subjects through the day for work.

It is often said in the area of sustainability, to “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”, and this became very aware to me on that fateful night of 15 April 2009…

But first, I would like to take you on a journey, our journey, that ultimately resulted in us all being here together today… We’ve all lost someone we loved, and we’ve all either donated tissue to another person in order for them to regain sight, to improve sight or to reduce pain, OR you have received that tissue, and are here today able to see thanks to that donation.

In 2004, we started IVF treatment in order to become parents. I am already a father from a previous marriage, but L failed to fall pregnant. She started hormone treatments, FSH (Follicle Stimulation Hormone) and finally two rounds of egg collection, the first resulting in 16 and the second with 14 follicles or eggs.

She suffered the trauma of recurrent miscarriages, but true to her nature, she set adversity aside and we commenced the next treatment cycle. Naturally, yes she was devastated, and she tried hard to hide this, especially at work.

It was our last treatment cycle where L desired more than anything else, to become pregnant. She naturally wanted a ‘pigeon pair’ and we discussed the options available – either a single or a double fresh transfer. There is anecdotal evidence that fresh transfers are more successful over frozen transfers, so we decided to proceed with a double.

A few weeks later, she commented that she felt pregnant, nausea had returned stronger than ever, lethargy and so on, and in the wee hours of March 10th, my birthday and three days before a routine blood test, a double line appeared on the dipstick.

However, March 31st, she suffered a small bleed and the fear of a miscarriage again returned. I booked us in for the ultrasound scan the following day, April 1st. It was in this ultrasound, that our lives turned momentarily upside-down… As soon as the probe was inserted, I immediately noticed not one, but two heartbeats in two embryonic sacs. L had succeeded in being pregnant with the twins she wanted! At this stage, we had thought everything was against us, confirmation blood test Friday 13th and twins confirmed on Aprils fools: - what else could go wrong we thought!

Easter was celebrated with family, and at the Easter Show, being RAS members availed us to see a little section every day, as opposed trying to see it all in a single day. The nausea had escalated, as did the lethargy, but she remained strong. However, I did want her to ‘slow down’ as she was also complaining of shortness of breath… I remarked, almost ordered in fact, that the following day she take some rest, and I will take her to the GP for some time off work.

The following morning, I went and made L some vegemite on toast and a cup of tea and returned to bed whilst she, tried, to have some breakfast. Shortly after, she went to the bathroom, and whilst returning, she called saying that she felt faint… When I got to her, I was able to grab her arm and assist her as she collapsed in the hall… this was the last I recall of her voice as she, with the benefit of hindsight, struggled for breath…

Fast forward to later that evening, some 12 hours or so later, I was still very much in a state of shock, when I received a phone call. It was the Eye Bank requesting the donation of her eyes. Whilst this wasn’t really discussed between us, we were both far to young to die at this stage; I subconsciously knew what I had to do. I couldn’t make this call on my own, as I felt L was only ‘on loan’ to me, as she was Michael and Julies daughter. I called them to seek their thoughts, and if my memory is correct of that evening, I think I may have then called Lou’s siblings. We came to the conclusion that we will donate her eyes, as it is something that was fundamental to L’s being in her work of Sustainability. That is…To Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

  • TO REDUCING someone else’s pain of blurred vision or blindness…
  • TO REUSE L’s eyes to restore someone’s vision…
  • TO RECYCLE tissue to assist in another person ability to return to seeing and working and doing things they enjoy in life, I thought L would be happy.

Some weeks later I received a letter from the Eye Bank that in fact, two people, one 70 and the other 77, had received the donation of her eyes, and that they are now able to return to a life of vision thanks to our donation.

It was later, as a result of an autopsy, that I found out that L had died from a DVT that made its way to her lungs, a Pulmonary Thromboembolism, and whilst I would’ve liked to have donated more of her organs, it was not possible given the suddenness of her death.

The donation of organs, be it eyes or other internal organs, is a decision that must be made between families and then respected by those who have to make that decision when it is often the hardest time to make such a decision. The coordinators at the Lions Eye Bank are not only warm and compassionate group of individuals, but they are also some of the finest medical professionals within the industry. They not only know how to handle the delicate balance of one families grief, but also one families gratitude of finally being able to receive treatment. I would like to thank them for the professionalism and compassion they demonstrated on the day L died, but also last year for my first Memorial Service I attended and for inviting me to tell you my story.

Finally, I would like to also thank my wonderful friends whom have supported me this past year. To M and J, and to all of L’s family for their ongoing love and support, for without that, I would not be the person I am today. I love you all…

Thank you…

Afterwards, I had some of the ladies there approach me and we had a chat. One of them, was actually a recipient, and commented on how hard it must have been to prepare 'my story'... It was hard, but additionally, it was also comforting and a sense of 'closure' as well. We enjoyed a cuppa and some cakes, there was also scones with jam and cream. As it was a VERY hot day, I also had a cool OJ, and a plate of fruit before leaving...

Hoo roo for now...


16 November, 2011

WW No. 55 - Special Visitors...

A day, when TWO special visitors came to town...

One OLD...

John Travolta's B707

The other, very NEW...

BOE001 Boeing 787 YSSY

Hoo roo for now...


09 November, 2011

WW No. 54 - Sculptures By The Sea

JUST a couple of words.... This series of pics is from the art installation along the Bondi - Bronte coastal walk, "Sculptures By The Sea"...

Sculptures By The Sea

Sculptures By The Sea

Sculptures By The Sea

Sculptures By The Sea

Sculptures By The Sea

Sculptures By The Sea

Sculptures By The Sea

Hoo roo for now...


02 November, 2011

WW No. 53 - Mambo Loud Shirts

Mambo Shirts Mosaic
1. Mambo Loud Shirt, 2. Mambo Loud Shirt, 3. Mambo Loud Shirt, 4. Mambo Loud Shirt, 5. Mambo Loud Shirt, 6. Mambo Loud Shirt, 7. Mambo Loud Shirt, 8. Mambo Loud Shirt, 9. Mambo Loud Shirt, 10. Mambo Loud Shirt

Hoo roo for now...