Guilty or Innocent?

Posted on: Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014

SchapelleFirstly – apologies to anyone who has dropped in and discovered nothing from me latgely – it is a combination of no time, not much to say and being in ‘denial’. In the usual gamut of grief and loss people go through five stages – anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. With MS those stages can pop up at any time – I think ‘acceptance’ was the first one for me. Lately I decided on a little self-imposed ‘denial’ – and even my neurologist reckons that’s not a bad thing. For a while there I was living and breathing MS – house renovations, wheelchair use more common, disease ‘progression’ – I decided to take leave from my lovely MS forum, throw myself into my work, indulge in the escapism of television cinema and eating out and only be aware of the MS when it threw up something noticeable. Net result – I now have MS about four hours a day instead of 24.

Anyway, thought I’d drop in and throw my tuppence worth in on Schapelle Corby – seeing everyone else is. When I lived in Vanuatu a good mate was an ex-Scotland Yard detective and he had access to amazing info on shady people living in Vanuatu and also those not so local. His ‘word’ on Schapelle was the she was both guilty and innocent. Her father, Mick, a known drug dealer, was involved – as were airport baggage handlers – but they stuffed it up. The boogie board and bag with the marijuana was checked in at Brisbane airport, but was meant to be retrieved by a baggage handler and re-routed to Melbourne. That would explain the look of shock on Shapelle’s face when they discovered the weed going through Customs at Denpasar.

But leaving the Melbourne scenario out – what if Mick was sending it to Bali to be picked up by Mercedes on meeting & greeting the rellies and Schapelle was oblivious (best way to get a person to act natural is to not give them anything to stress about) – and then it all goes pear-shaped. Schapelle can totally tell the truth about not knowing how the hooch found its way into her bag without having to say that dear ol’ Dad went a bit far with this shipment (do we think it was a one-off?!).

Now, she wouldn’t dob in her darling father, especially when she found out he was dying of cancer – and there would be no point in Mick putting his hand up – she would still have been seized as the mule – best chance she had was to take the path that was taken. They say the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree but a lot of the interest has stemmed from the fact that she is a pretty decorative nut.

My personal care factor is small – apart from the media circus phenomenon – about the same care factor as I have for the 11 other Australians in Balinese prisons, two of whom could find themselves dragged out at midnight any time soon and shot by firing squad without warning. Wonder if that will make the news?

Happy New Year!

Posted on: Friday, Jan 3, 2014

20140103_101857 (2)No big resolutions for 2014 – a few kilos off would be nice but it’s not set in stone. Or ounces. James has gone back to Sydney for six weeks work before uni resumes – had a nice farewell brekkie and Annie snapped this pic of the kids.

Lorz is enjoying her shifts at Sofra restaurant and, with a second job coming up, serious saving can start for the planned OS adventure.

Dave rang – said he went for festive drinks with his mates and checked his phone to find 18 missed calls from the wife… he reckons she must be pretty insecure – that worked out at six calls a day!

A four-shot family selfie!

Posted on: Saturday, Dec 28, 2013

family photo (3)

 

The Week That Was

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 30, 2013

Laura South PacificSunday – Laura home from a heady, wonderful week of celebration at Schoolies on the Gold Coast and mega-party at Roma – we had a family lunch at Qi’lin Chinese restaurant to celebrate not seeing her on the nightly news and then watched her toddle off to bed. Gosh the internet is an interesting place – I Googled ‘Laura Heydon’ to see if there were any photos of her partying and found this one on a site called ‘Noosa News’ showing some of the cast of South Pacific (Lorz second left).

WheelchairMonday – major demolition happening in the home office where they are modifying the exsisting structure to create an accessible bathroom. A lovely lass by the name of Louisa joins the team on December 16 – Louisa has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair so we need to make appropriate renovations.

I moved into the dining room coz it was pretty noisy in there – flat out with Rydges posts all this week – and there were other things to juggle…

Lethal WeaponTuesday – having written the new Travel Without Barriers website on the weekend, the site went live.  Here is a link – needed the website live before Wednesday so it could be eligible for nomination in the 2014 Queensland Disability Awards (Technology & Innovation category). The website ‘live’ is a soft launch – the main launch is planned for March after Louisa (above) settles into her role and the Life Without Barriers venture (below) is developed further.

Wednesday – had a good meeting with Life Without Barriers (www.lwb.org.au), a national non-profit organization that looks after people with disabilities – we are working together on developing a joint venture with Travel Without Barriers. We meet again to nut out the business plan and roles on December 16.

Laura at the FormalWednesday evening – the final Presenting Fairholme (Speech Night) – Laura performed in two choir numbers – very moving – and she won two awards – one for Prefect of the Arts and the other for Contribution to the Arts. A nice way to finish her school days. We went to the nearby Fire & Ice restaurant for a celebration dinner. The other thrill for the day was to see Laura in the local paper, pretty in pink at the Toowoomba Grammar formal with partner, Traecy and her friend Ellie and her beau, Thomas.

Thursday – Laura took off to the coast to spend a couple of days with her above mentioned mate, Ellie… ahhh, the joys of having a driver’s licence! Bit of a bummer – the side effects of the new drug, BG-12, kicked it – ‘flushing’ with an itchy rash. Hopefully, like the proverbial Christmas threepence, it will pass.

Abbott-and-PyneFriday – Disappointed with the government for the way it is using its ‘mandate’ – after campaigning against Labor’s unsustainable debt, lifting the existing debt limit from $300billion to $500billion, showing that the turn back the boats policy was no more than a slogan, trashing diplomatic relations with Indonesia and China and then trashing the Gonski education revolution after promising pre-election that it would be implemented. On the people smuggling front, loved this comment from savvy political journalist, Annabel Crabb – “Mr Morrison’s next news conference will be in 23 seconds’ time, at the top of Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower! And, unfortunately, the lifts are broken!”

Helen NortonSaturday – still Rydging – heard from an old friend from Vanuatu days, artist Helen Norton – her exhibition, New Works 2013, opens in Perth on December 5, after which she will be relocating to our neck of the woods – somewhere in SE Queensland – it will be great to catch up again! Here’s a link to Hel’s website – www.HelenNorton.com.au. The painting next to Helen is one of the new works, titled ‘Possum Crossing’…

Outdoor CreanSheeting and waterproofing done, plumbing and electrical pretty much done, plasterer did his thing and had some high-pressure cleaning in the courtyard (better than 30 second ‘outdoor crean’). Laura home safe and sound with a minor jellyfish sting while jet-skiing. Spoke with James – from his tone sounds like the job at HMAS Waterhen is boring him witless.

casablancaOh. And not really ‘news’ but caught Casablanca again – it cemented it’s place at the top of my best movies of all time – great script, acting, direction and when put in the context of being made in 1942 as WW2 propaganda, to present as pure escapist entertainment with great humour and one of the all-time great screen love stories is amazing. And it would never have worked in colour.

“…it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now, now. Here’s looking at you, kid…”

Oops!

Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013

urine-sample-21384178This one made us laugh out loud. I will be starting a new MS drug called BG-12 in a couple of weeks and because it is still enjoying guinea pig status I had to have a blood and urine test so they can compare to how things are going with the drug (liver function side effects etc). Thing is, my neurologist writes like, well, a doctor and I couldn’t decipher the bit after FCB (full blood count) that asked for the urine sample… so… because I went to the bathroom prior to the pathology place, I gave blood and took the little plastic specimen bottle home to return when attended to. Later, having peed in the bottle, dutifully popped it in the accompanying paper bag and drove to the pathology place. Annie was happy to save me a walk so I stayed in the car just around the corner while she dropped it in. On being greeted by the receptionist Annie put forward the paper bag saying, “This is my husband’s urine sample and the paperwork is with it…” to which the receptionist replied, “This is the physiotherapist, perhaps you should try next door.” Whew – glad it wasn’t the fish & chip shop! Hmm… I wonder why Annie didn’t put my name on it?

Update

Posted on: Monday, Nov 11, 2013

Apologies to anyone who has dropped in and found no activity and thought something was amiss avec moi. Au contraire! Just as busy as the proverbial one armed paperhanger with crabs.

The Rydges blog has had a change of strategy and that takes up most of my week. On weekends I try to get a few hours to work on developing the disability travel niche.

The renovations have kept me nicely side-tracked as well – the carpet is no more, tiles have given the house space, light and ease to get around and the bathrooms should be finished this week.

Had my sister and hubby visit for a week from Adelaide and it was lovely catching up – it has been several years since we have.

SeedlingA hectic Year 12 term for Laura with final exam block last week. She is in Cairns at present for a few days with her exchange ‘host Mom’ from Michigan. She and Cindy are out at Green Island snorkelling as I type. Then Laura is back for her Valedictory Dinner and an audition Thursday for the Victoria College of the Arts.  Her final assembly is Friday, the Toowoomba Grammar formal on Saturday and Schoolies on the Gold Coast Sunday. Laura also appeared in two terrific plays at The Empire Theatre last week/weekend. Blink and Substance were chosen as part of the Seedling project to see two young writers have their work developed and produced. Come to think of it, Laura’s the paperhanger coz she also managed to get her driving licence amid all the chaos as well as line up a job starting at a Turkish restaurant in a couple of weeks.

And young James will only get about a week home at Christmas because he has just scored a nice job with Defence working in hyperbaric engineering at HMAS Waterhen in Sydney – ties in nicely with his love of diving the Advanced Open Water PADI accreditation he got in July.

Noses in the trough…

Posted on: Saturday, Oct 12, 2013

tony-abbottThis not an anti-Liberal rant but an anti-politician of any persuasion rant using the Libs as an example – PM Tony Abbott and five of his senior ministers (that we know of) have claimed attending weddings as an entitlement funded by the taxpayer.

They have paid back the money without any scrutiny (as they can for small claim ‘mistakes’ under the ‘Minchin Protocol’ that was introduced when John Howard was PM).

Abbott is also under fire for claiming the cost of participating in the 2011 Port Macquarie Iron Man triathlon. Abbott says it is legitimate because it was a ‘community event’.

pigs-at-the-troughHe will use the same loophole to explain the $12,000+ he claimed for a private jet charter to attend the Birdsville Races – in all there’s around $23,000 claimed to attend community events like the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Bathurst 1000 car race. At least he only claimed domestic flights and accommodation to attend the Melbourne Cup – but we also paid for his wife and daughter’s flights and accommodation. Because it is all coming to light, now s the time for all political parties to get their act sorted out on what is a ‘legitimate’ expense.

Simon CreanI’ll give Labor a kick here – it was disgusting that Simon Crean undertook a ‘study trip’ to Europe just before the last election – in which he wasn’t standing. According to today’s Sydney Morning Herald a politician with a base salary of $195,000 (not a bad wage!) can get a boost with loadings and allowances to $553,915!

Chopper_2_bg-408x264One last dummy spit – do you know why Labor didn’t officially launch its election campaign until the Sunday before the election? Because until the Official Launch we taxpayers pick up the tab for all the travel and other expenses. It stinks. The somewhat loveable, killer and thug, Chopper Read, died this week. Dare I say that most Australians would have trusted his word far more than any politician?

A delightful Chopper story from Mike Carlton, also in the SMH…

PICEDITOR-SMHIt was 1998. The colourful old killer had made a drunken appearance on an ABC chat show hosted by Libbi Gorr, aka Elle McFeast, the two of them wallowing in sexual innuendo that outraged the Taste and Decency Police.

On Channel Nine’s The Midday Show the next day, that stalwart guardian of public morals, Alan Jones, was waxing hot to Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

”It could only happen on the ABC, and taxpayers fund that sort of stuff,” he fumed. ”And I think responsible and decent Australians find that whole treatment absolutely horrific and appalling.” (APPLAUSE)

alan-jonesAt which point, as if by magic, Chopper himself appeared on the telephone.

”People who throw stones better make sure they don’t live in glasshouses, Alan,” he barked. ”We’re not talking about anyone living in glasshouses, Chopper,” retorted the great broadcaster.

Read hit back with the lethal force that had made him feared and famous in the criminal milieu. ”Yeah, well I never got arrested in a public toilet in London,” he snarled.

Jones froze, his mouth locked in a rictus oddly reminiscent of the ABC logo. Kerri-Anne hurriedly introduced a commercial break and the two were seen and heard no more. Happy days.

Speak softly and…

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013

Tim Ferguson SkyscraperThere is a saying that nobody ‘gets MS until they get MS’ and, from my experience, that is true. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in December 2010.

I approach my MS with the attitude, it is what it is, and get on with enjoying things – my family, my friends, my work and the other stuff that weaves in and out of my journey. But I don’t believe I have the eloquence to explain to people with a full complement of myelin how this strange disease operates. Even my neurologist scratches his head sometimes, and not because of the imaginary spider that occasionally visits the back of my skull. Yes, it can be a very curious disease.

And so it was with some joy that I saw Tim Ferguson’s latest book hit the stands this week. Called Carry a Big Stick it has the tagline “A funny, fearless life of friendship, laughter and MS”.

Tim has a similar flavour of MS to mine (relapsing-remitting) – we both use a cane and wheelchair for mobility, use humour as a salve and, I’m sure, have many symptom similarities. I’m also sure that he is funnier, more eloquent and more entertaining than I am – and that non-Msers who delve into his book will get a good glimpse into this weird disease that has its way with us while we try to lie back and think of England.

I am looking forward reading it on the weekend – not just for the MS stuff but for the journey of this talented comedian, as a solo performer, writer and member of the Doug Anthony Allstars.

UPDATE: It is a terrific read – laughed out loud many times – became a fan of Jerry Sadowitz and discovered that Tim and I do have a few things in common – as kids we both learnt to kill rabbits quickly and painlessly (the accent owned by the guy who taught him was one of the LOLs)… we have both lectured in comedy writing at AFTRS… (and share the same thoughts on how serious comedy writing can be) and we both have… now what was that other thing… damn MS cog fog… I’m sure it will come to me…

PS – there are only a few pages totally devoted to ‘what is ms’ but they are brilliant in both information and the telling…

Update!

Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 17, 2013

Been missing in action for a while – apologies to anyone who dropped in to find an empty ol’ room here. Went to the disABILITY Awards last week – had a lovely night but only wheeled away with a nicely framed ‘Finalist Certificate of Recognition’ – didn’t feel too badly done by, the winner of the Employment category employs 61 people with disabilities!

Kurt FearleyThe only other person in the room in a wheelchair was keynote speaker, Kurt Fearnley. Maybe that’s why we gravitated to each other for a couple of nice chats – his speech was, naturally, very inspirational – and he is a really lovely bloke. In case you haven’t heard of Kurt he has a swag of medals from the Paralympics (Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London), he has won the Boston and London marathons, crewed on a winning yacht in the Sydney to Hobart and crawled the Kokoda Track.

Best OfferOn the R&R front – caught a couple of excellent movies – The Best Offer, starring Toowoomba lad Geoffrey Rush, is terrific – agree with the person I overheard referring to it as a flawed masterpiece – worth seeing just for the brilliance of Geoffrey and if you go in with no knowledge of plot – you will be very surprised with a deft twist that Hitchcock would have aspired to… and the Best Actor Award goes to…

blue-jasmine-cate-blanchetteThe other movie treat was Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. On many levels it is Allen paying homage to Tennessee Williams and A Streetcar Named Desire, but that is so up front it doesn’t jar. I would expect award nominations for script and Cate Blanchett for Best Actress – she is truly amazing. Could be some support acting gongs as well with excellent performances from Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin and Andrew Dice Clay. There aren’t too many one liners but the role of the dentist amused me – the dialogue was totally Allen-autobigrahical and I reckon he would have cast himself in the role if thirty years younger – he is 77 now and his 43rd movie is still sharp with word and camera.

The_WhitlamsThis weekend is Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers – might get down to Queens Park on the weekend for a concert – the line-up on Saturday is Telstra’s Road to Discovery, Josh Pike, The Whitlams and Kate Ceberano and Sunday has Katie Noonan, a Bee Gees tribute band, Dragon and Andrew Strong from the Commitments. Beats me how those gardeners pull it off every year – driving around it looks like everything will peak and bloom with perfect timing and the city will be picture pretty.

On the campaign trial, um, trail…

Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013

Love press photographers who look for a backdrop…

Tools 

And is this a soft head in a hard hat…?

Soft Head Hard Hat

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