2009 has been a year filled with hard work, yet we took plenty of opportunities to enjoy ourselves.  We traveled near and far, visiting family and friends, tourist sites and popular landmarks. We saw our favourite musicians and live shows, went to fairs, amusement parks and camps.  We all picked up new skills in our own areas of interest. We spent quality time with each other and, sadly, had to farewell some of our nearest and dearest.


Jeremy and Joe - San Francisco

Hong Kong at Night

We began the year by watching the fireworks display on Sydney Harbour.  A week later and Frances and I were off for a 3 week trip to Asia where we visited Macau, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China and Saigon, Vietnam.  The timing was perfect as it was Chinese New Year, the biggest celebration of many Asian countries. It was a real eye-opener to be absorbed in a culture so different from our own.  Unfamiliar foods, language and customs took us out of our comfort zone but we were shown hospitality and friendship throughout our trip. 


Jeremy Dylan

Dominic, Jeremy, Timothy

In July, Jeremy and I traveled to the USA where we spent two weeks in Conneaut.  We attended the Gurto Family Reunion which is always a wonderful day.  While in Conneaut, we visited Cleveland and went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Cleveland Indians Game.  We had dinner with my cousins, Brenda, Faye, Joyce and their families.  Jeremy, my mother and I took a ride on an old steam train and went to the Medieval Faire. My Aunt Dot came down to Conneaut to see us while we were there.  We weren't to know that she would pass away a  short time later. I was lucky to catch up with an old school mate, Dave, and we shared a few drinks, laughs and reminiscences of days gone by.  Tragically, Dave also passed away unexpectedly in October.

Frances and the Big Buddha at Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Jester Jeremy and Groovy Grandma

The last few days of the trip were spent in San Francisco.  We celebrated Jeremy's 19th birthday at Fisherman's Wharf on Pier 39 watching the seals lazing on the pontoons. We took a cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz island, rode the cable cars, took a sightseeing tour and visited Haight Ashbury where we immersed ourselves in San Francisco's bohemian culture.


Vietnamese Market

When we returned to Australia, Frances and a friend, Lyn took a week to drive around Victoria.  They drove along the Great Ocean Road where they saw the rock formations known as the twelve apostles.  They visited churches and goldmines and spent a few days in Melbourne playing tourist, shopping and dining out.
Dominic made several trips to Brisbane and Frances and I went to Shoal Bay to attend a friend's wedding.


Waldameer Park

12 Apostles

Sometimes a live act comes around that you just have to see. There were a few this year.  The three boys all saw David Byrne and Pearl Jam this year. Brian Eno also came to Australia to curate a festival of lights and perform in concert. Frances, Jeremy, Timothy and I enjoyed wandering the brightly lit Sydney streets, and Jeremy saw Eno himself perform.  Frances, Jeremy and I went to see Simon and Garfunkel.  Although our seats weren't together and were in the back of the top section of the arena, at the last minute Frances and I were offered seats  on the floor which made the experience even more fantastic. It just so happened that Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Cougar Mellencamp were playing a concert near Cleveland whilst we were there and Jeremy and I enjoyed seeing these legends. Timothy and I went to see a performance of The Mikado at the Sydney Opera House and Frances also saw the show with her mother and sister.  Also, just the other night, Frances and I saw Wicked, which the boys had seen a few weeks before.

Jeremy at Haight Ashbury

Mary, Johnson, Joe and Frances in Shenzhen, China

We all were working much harder this year.  I took on the role of Head Teacher Mentor at our school where it was part of my job to mentor new teachers and to guide them through the Accreditation process.  Frances' firm made some staff cuts which increased her work load as well.  The boys were all busy with University work, receiving good results.  Dominic is preparing for his thesis next year while Timothy is unsure of whether he will do his thesis in the first or second semester as he has been busily working on a major programming project that may impact on his decision.  Dominic and Timothy are both doing a three month internship with a software company just outside their University. Jeremy has had his first experiences teaching, doing his first prac classes during the first semester and working with Sudanese refugee children recently.

Casinos in Macau

Joe's Family
Gurto Family Reunion 2009

In March I was invited, through the Australian Culinary Association, to attend a training session by the Chinese Master Chefs who were visiting Australia and learned the art of making dim sum.  I also went to a class on preparing pork dishes.  For Father's day, Frances got me a class in Cheesemaking.  We both attended and enjoyed it.  We learned how to make Ricotta, Mozzarella and Labne as well as several other dishes.  I have made these cheeses several times since then both at home and at school with the students.


1994 - 2009

Jeremy, Dominic, Timothy

In June we said good-bye to Matilda.  She had been waning for quite awhile and we knew it was finally time.

We hope that you had a good year as well.  We wish you a Merry Christmas and hope that 2010 will be a wonderful year for us all.

Happy Birthday Timothy