Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends.

God is Love

Christmas is all about love

Christmas is thus about God and Love

Love is the key to peace among all mankind

Love is the key to peace and happiness within all creation

Love needs to be practiced - love needs to flow - love needs to make happy

Love starts with your partner, children and family and expands to all world

God bless all mankind

We wish you all a Blessed, safe and happy 2009!
With love from,
Joe, Frances, Dominic, Timothy and Jeremy


In January we took the boys on a 10 night cruise in the South Pacific.  We enjoyed all the usual Shipboard activities including the casino, the shows, the food and the stops at exotic ports which included New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Dominic did well on blackjack until he got carried away., Timothy enjoyed the early morning activities. Jeremy enjoyed the entertainment and games.  He also visited the bridge and met the captain.

Jeremy began the year by being awarded the McDonald scholarship from his high school.  His first year of university went well and, as his University is just around the corner from my high school,  Jeremy manages to hitch a ride every so often. 

Jeremy turned 18 this year.  I happened to be stuck in Vancouver airport having missed my flight to Sydney and being delayed 24 hours.  I had a nice meal and toasted Jeremy anyway.

The rest of the family celebrated with a small dinner out which was followed by another, bigger dinner on the weekend when I had finally arrived and could attend.

I visited the Old Country twice this year. The first time was in April where I went to Florida.  My mother was there so I had the chance to see her, my Grandmother and other Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

While I was there, we went to a blues bar, went out to eat many times, visited our old clogging club and participated in a lesson!!!

My mother, my uncle and I went on a day cruise outside of Port Everglades which was also a very enjoyable and relaxing time.


The second trip was to Conneaut where I attended the Gurto Family Reunion.  I got a chance to catch up with all my siblings and their families as well as other relatives.

I managed to bag a deer while I was there with my rental car but customs wouldn't allow me to bring it back.

I also managed to catch up with some of my classmates for an impromptu 35th class reunion.

In September, we celebrated a major milestone when Dominic and Timothy turned 21. As I was caught up in School Graduation activities, we decided to hold the party at a Club.

Many of our family and friends were able to attend and enjoyed the food, drink, music and company until the wee hours of the morning.

By the way . . .

After an overly indulgent Christmas morning, we spent Christmas Day at Diane and Grants in Butterwick.

We started the year off at a New Year's Eve party at Danita's.  We were able to watch the fireworks on the Harbour from a park near her house.  We spent New Year's Day at Manly Beach at the waterslide park and on the Corso.

In February, Frances and I attended a Rod Stewart concert at a winery in the Hunter Valley.  He did all of his best songs and we had a lovely weekend away.

Frances attended the Hunter Valley again later in the year with her workmates and visited the wineries and flew in a helicopter at the Hunter Valley Gardens.

My job was quite hectic as well.  My students were involved in a couple of large functions, each for over 450 people.  The first was for the launch of a film that our school developed and for which we were awarded a National prize.  The function was attended by national celebrities and Federal politicians.  The second was the Year 12 Graduation supper.  Two of my students were recognised with prizes.  One for excellence in the Inner West and another was awarded Regional Student of the Year.. At the end of this year I was promoted to Head Teacher and next year I will be involved in mentoring new and graduate teachers.

We had 14 people for Thanksgiving, we missed the Maranos but welcomed Jason this year - a new ex-pat American.  We also enjoyed a pre Christmas lunch with Frances' family the next day.

The boys all spent a few days on vacation in Brisbane and visited Linda and the theme parks.

We are looking forward to a busy Christmas season and to resting up for next year when Frances and I will be visiting Hong Kong in January for two weeks.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!