Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PJ 2009

On Friday we headed to Melbourne very early in the morning. We were met by Perry at the airport and went to the temple for the morning. Perry was a great driver and got us where we needed to go promptly. We dropped our bags off at Perry and Loretta’s new unit and then all four of us spent a lovely morning together at the temple.

We then headed out for lunch to the local Greek hotspot and had a delicious lunch of souvlakis and other Greek savouries and found a great Greek patisserie that Perry and Loretta have just 5 minutes away from their home which they hadn’t discovered yet which is open till 1am every night. It was a really hot day around 38-40 degrees, and my feet were feeling it. I got blisters all over my feet from my feet swelling up and rubbing against my sandals. We thought it was a good idea that we all took it easy before a big night out at the Pearl Jam concert. We headed back to Perry and Loretta’s for the afternoon, and even managed to have an afternoon nap.

The gates opened at Etihad stadium at 5pm but we all decided that we wanted to see Ben Harper and not the prior support act which was Liam Finn (the son of Neil Finn from Crowded House). So off we headed to be there in time for Ben Harper for his 7pm start. Traffic was bad on the way, as it seemed as though everyone was heading into the city, perhaps for the concert. We of course listened to a Pearl Jam concert CD that Perry had. We were all getting pumped and saying “I hope they play this song.” We all knew what everyone’s favourites were. Alex has been a fan of Pearl Jam since he was 12 so most of their songs he knows, and it was his dream to one day, go to their concert. They last came in 2006 the year Maddi was born, and we thought back then it would be an opportunity of a lifetime to attend, but because of the timing and the short notice, and Alex being a student at the time in his final year, and Maddi being a young baby, we missed it. It was very disappointing as we really wanted to go, and thought it may be their last tour ever as they are getting older now. A couple of months back we found out from a friend in Sydney that they were touring again and were so excited to know that we may actually be able to go this time round. It was great that Perry and Loretta were keen to go as well, as Alex and Perry have both been fans for a long time and have a lot of memories of Pearl Jam together, so we had the perfect people to share the concert with.

I have always liked Pearl Jam and can say that they are one of my favourite bands. For our first Christmas together I bought Alex the Rearview Mirror CD which was the best of album, and I can honestly say that I have never got sick of the CD and still listen to it at least weekly and I would probably only swap about 4 songs and it really would be the best of album of all time.

We parked as close to the city as we could and caught a Tram and train the remainder of the way. We managed to get there right on 7 for Ben Harper. He was a great performer. I only really knew about three of his songs, but he was really good and some nice easy listening songs. Then Ben introduced us to his Friend Eddy Vedder (lead singer of Pearl Jam) for a duet. The crowd roared with excitement as Pearl Jam weren’t due to come out for another hour or so. They did a great rendition of the song Under Pressure. It was easy to see that they were good mates and it was good that the support acts all were friendly with one another and had a good relationship with one another, it wasn’t as if any band had been selected to just to fill in time.

Ben on his slide guitar

Ben and Eddie singing Under Pressure

At 8.30 Pearl Jam came on stage and the crowd roared before we realised they were out. Our seats were on the top pier, but on the front row. The opening song was one of out favourite songs Elderly Woman in a small Town…, which was a great opening as it’s an easy listening song that didn’t make the crowd go too wild. The grass was packed with people in the standing area and there was a ban on moshing and crowd surfing. Eddie made sure it was all controlled really well and would regularly check that everyone was doing alright because of the heat and crowds.

The opening song Elderly Woman in a small town

The Band seemed really touched that 45,000 fans had turned up to hear them play, and Eddie regularly dedicated songs to his Australian friends, influences and sporting heroes, including Nick Cave and Matthew Richardson… who he called Mark and had to humbly correct himself, and said he had never been so embarassed in front of so many people before. Eddie was really jovial and a great entertainment and would often explain how he came about different songs.

Clip of Daughter

The band played a really good mix of old and new songs, big hits and B-sides. While there were many songs that we wish were played, we were really happy with the songs they chose and Alex was also very happy that they didn’t play Last Kiss.

For Alex the highlights were Elderly Woman…., Corduroy, Even Flow, Indifference (which was performed as a duet with Ben Harper), Glorified G, Just Breath, Jeremy, ….., pretty much the whole concert, but most of all, his favourite, the closing song, Yellow Ledbetter.

Yellow Ledbetter

For me the highlights were Elderly Woman…., Corduroy ( one of my favourites), Black, Even Flow, Alive, Yellow Ledbetter, which I loved even more when I heard it played in one of the final episodes of the TV show Friends. It was a sort of surreal experience to hear all these songs live that we love, when we listen to them to them so reguarly. The kids even know some of the songs too and I wonder if they will grow up liking them like we do.

For our unborn baby, which may well be born deaf due to the loudness of the concert, it was the Evolution (the song he kicked the most in).The Band played for 2.5 hours with just 2 small breaks. I was amazed at how they just kept going and going in the heat and Eddie’s voice never seemed to tire.

Jeff Amment

Matt Cameron

Stone Gossard

Overall it was an absolutely superb evening. A night that we will never forget and was well worth going to.

The next day we spent at Chadstone shopping mall which is conveniently just a short walk from Perry and Loretta’s. We met up with Holly and Daniel there, who are now living back in Melbourne.We went to the Lindt shop for breakfast, and caught up. It was great to catch up with them and see what they’re up to now. I got a Lindt iced chocolate which was so decadent and a baguette which was so good to balance out the chocolate. Afterwards we did some shopping with Holly and Daniel before they had to head off. We all ended up buying things and were happy that we actually found some bargains.

We then met up with Perry and Loretta mid afternoon who introduced us to Yum Cha which we really enjoyed. The time went so quick but we were able to get a lot of things done and spend time with old friends, which was great.

While we were away Maddi and Alex were in the care of Moppy and Poppy and Ness, who did a great job looking after them. They went to the Myer Christmas parade on Saturday which I think was the highlight for Maddi as well as pottering in their garden was Alex’s highlight too. Alex has started to get into Christmas since the parade and has been excited about Santa and will say “Santa” when he sees a Santa now. Moppy and Poppy told us all the funny things they did while we were away like Alex’s escapees from the cot and then Maddi tricking Moppy that Alex was out of the cot when he wasn’t. Apparently they both thought it was hilarious that they dragged Moppy out to come and put Alex back to bed!

Our flight got delayed on the way home so it was fairly late when we got back into Hobart. Maddi and Alex were sound asleep when we got home, but both seemed happy we were home again in the morning. Maddi asked me the next morning, "So how was the concert Mum?" Thanks Moppy, Poppy and Ness, for looking after them for us. It was nice to know that they were well looked after and happy while we were away from them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Auntie Ness Visits

Auntie Ness came and visited us for the week as she is now on Uni holidays. The weather has been warming up, so we made a visit to the beach. Little Alex gets so excited about the waves and would head off deeper and deeper into the waves if we let him. This is the "spa bath" that the kids made with Auntie Ness.

The kids are definitely outdoor kids, and I can already see that their hair is lightening up from the time we've been spending outdoors of late.

Another day we went and picked some strawberries at the Berry Patch. It was a good time to go and pick them, as there are heaps of plump, juicy strawberries at the moment. The kids did a great job picking the big, red ones and were so patient as they waited to test some. I think the kids ended up picking more than I did, as it's getting pretty uncomfortable to bend over now!

The fruits of our labours.

We ate the strawberries with cream for dessert that evening and they were delicious!

Auntie Ness took the kids out for little excursions. Yesterday while Alex was having his afternoon nap, Ness took Maddi to Anvers Chocolate Factory and took these photos for us.

In all the times we have visited Anvers, it was the first time that Maddi got to watch the workers in production. Maddi told me later that a worker called Lola came out to say hello and gave her chocolate frog. While they visited Anvers, Maddi got a surprise visit from Poppy who was passing by as he had been up for work for the day.

Auntie Ness and Maddi then went and visited the shop Reliquaire. Thanks Auntie Ness for taking Maddi out for the afternoon. The house hasn't been as peaceful as it was yesterday in a long time! Little Alex has become very attached to his Auntie Ness ("Nah" as he calls her) and bawled when she left. He kept saying "Ohhh Nahh," over and over when she left.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A visit to Grandma and Grandpa's

We spent a few days with Grandma and Grandpa last week, and spent most of our time outdoors having picnics, gardening, sunbaking,

Dipping ourselves in the pool

Swinging in the hammock

Playing with cousins

Playing with the swingset

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Craft Fair

On Friday, the kids and I headed to the Craft Fair and met Mum there. Before we left we said farewell to our Pulsar for a while. Just a minor problem that needed fixing that meant it was unsafe to drive it to the mechanic. Of course we had to watch the truck load it up before we left. Little Alex waved to the car like it was an old friend and it made me think it will be certainly be a sad day when we do say goodbye to the car because of the sentiment behind it.

I hadn't been to the Craft Fair in 5 years and it was certainly bigger and better than it was 5 years ago. Mum and I thought we had picked a good day to go as the crowds wouldn't be so big with school being on, but it seemed like it was the retirees big day out and it wasn't so quiet after all, and people would end up pushing their way onto the buses to stay out of the rain. There's definitely no way I would of been able to go without Mum's help. I am finding out more and more during this pregnancy that things are getting harder with managing the two kids and being pregnant. Generally you find that there are some kind people that were willing to help when you are pregnant. I had some men lift the pram on and off the free shuttle bus service and people offer their seats to me and one lady even helped get Little Alex off the bus for me. But you also get some really rude people like one of the bus drivers that refused to take us on his bus because we had a pram! So we were stuck in the rain until another bus came along. It was such a funny day weather wise. It would pour down and we would get stuck in the rain totally unprepared because the forecast was for fine weather. Then the sun would come out blazing away and you would be dry in no time.

Maddi got her face painted as a Princess.

There was so many food stalls this year and there was a whole big food tent. Maddi was treated to a My Little Pony made out of chocolate and lots of other treats like Fairy Floss.

Alex was a fan of all the food too.

After four and a half hours of looking at the many wonderful stalls we called it a day and headed home. The kids were really tired and fell asleep on the way home. It's rare for Maddi to have a sleep during the day and she is always in total denial when she's tired when you know full well that she is. I carried her out of the car into her bed and she immediately woke up and said she wasn't tired and wasn't having a sleep. I just don't get why kids refuse to sleep when they're tired.

Later on Alex and I went out for a work dinner to a new restaurant called Casablanca's which I thought had really good food and service. We had the best seats in the house that overlooked the Bass Strait which made it even better.