Sunday, July 27, 2008

A small success - this appeared in the NSW Sunday Telegraph today - a lot of work to get this in. Its a good win because this paper has a large circulation right throughout New South Wales and also circulates to most major centres if people want a copy... but this is as clear as I can make it. My main joy is knowing that the medical community around RNSH will awake today and I have to admit to a pleasure knowing that those who killed Don will see this article and may it send shivers down their yellow spines. he may be dead and buried but I'll be buggered if they are going to bury this mistake the mongrels.

(click on the photo to enlarge to be able to read it)

I am so elated right now - there is not much that can happen today that will change this feeling
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Have a look at this latest result of outsourcing,22049,24078601-5001021,00.html049,24078601-5001021,00.html

I haven't written a letter to the editor about issues like this for a year or so now, but Don was passionate about this stuff. I look to the right of my desk here and see five huge ring binders full of letters to the editor that he and I wrote over the past twenty years. One day they will tell their own story. Don would often check the labels of things to make sure we bought little or nothing from China and other places where people were treated like shit. He held meetings here against all these international trade treaties which have made it legal for Corporations to bring in cheap labour from poor countries, pay them shit and have too many of us living without proper full time jobs. Now its impossible to buy anything at all made in Australia unless at local markets and then you have to be careful to read the labels. But I came up with an idea for our new Australian flag - a picture of the rusted and blown out jetliner with the title "The Spirit of Australia" over it. I get so pissed off at times...and then I don't like most of us... this morning I did -lets see if it gets published.

Dear Editor,
Most Australians would have been unaware that Qantas outsources its maintenance to Malaysia. For generations we have basked in the belief that Qantas was the world’s safest airline because of the high standard of maintenance which had created a history of an almost incident free service.

The photo of the Qantas jet with a big hole ripped out of its underbelly being called a rust bucket by some, below the sign on the side of that jet “The Spirit of Australia” said it all.

The spirit of Australia is exactly that, outsourcing to Malaysia, India and China things most Australians still believed were under the strict quality controls we had held for generations. Instances such as Customs finding one thousand times the allowable lead content in container loads of crockery coming from China and destined for the bargain stores – allowed through so that many Australian children are now eating off lead contaminated crockery is another example.

The Spirit of corporate and Government Australia is cutting costs regardless of the outcome to Australian people. It is a spirit of exploitation and manipulation of standards designed to ensure the health and safety of products and services available to Australian people.

Sadly the spirit of Australia has been sold to the lowest bidders, and many of us unwittingly supported this by buying goods from China when Australian goods were still for sale, because of the cost, with no thought to the real cost which is the health and well being of Australia. Now it is almost impossible to find anything made in Australia.

I think that the photo of that Qantas plane with its rusty guts ripped out underneath the words “The Spirit of Australia” should be our new flag till we take back the responsibility to once again stand proudly under the Southern Cross. Congratulations to the brave pilots who saved a whole plane load of people by their skill. Lets hope that their jobs are never outsourced to some country where quality control can be bought and sold.
Yours sincerely,
Therese Mackay

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've started scanning in some older photos and am amazed at how many albums we have. I still print out a fair few of the new digital ones because there is nothing nicer than sitting up (in my new chair) and leafing through the pages -

This lot taken in 1987 when Melissa was 12 and Ali 9 (and Don and I much younger) reminded me of all those faces Don could pull. He was the master.

This is a series of about 10 photos and it was hard to pick -

I love these two last ones where the kids try to beat him at face pulling but they're not even in the race.

As the last shot shows Melissa just lost it and Alison is still trying to look at his face to see if she can imitate him.

I just noticed Don's smoke which he used to have in a little contraption on his hand - he even mastered lighting them himself. His mum used to go crook on me for buying them for him when he asked - while not being a smoker, I bought them home because he was an adult with as much right to smoke as I had to eat chocolate.

He did give it up only a few months after this was taken, but that was his choice - and he only had a few a day. Its funny how things change. In those days people smoked in houses, my dad did and his dad no doubt. Now when I look at this its the first thing to think of, actually smoking in the house around kids... everyone did it - but now over 20 years on it seems out of place. Its like safety belts... before they were made mandatory no one had them on and it felt normal. Now if I get in the car without one on just for the drive to the front fence (where I strap in) I feel like unattached to the car - it feels odd - but thats just a state of mind really.

My God 21 years back - but what a 21 years it was!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My sister took this series in 2004 -
she reminded me about them recently, and has one of them up as her screen saver - you don't need to know which one that is - but I assure you, as she is my eldest sister it is the least kind of all the photos below - makes her laugh anyway...small things and small minds you know.
We'd gone to the Little FishWinery near Port Macquarie, and as was his wont, Don was regaling the waitress with his vast knowledge of plonks and casks - and she as appears was listening in rapt attention to his musings - whilst I (in the background) secured our tables from the hordes of locals...

"Where's my bloody wine?" I ask...petulantly.. "supposed to be a wine tasting but can't seem to drag the floozy away from my husband...quite a floozy himself as observed on a few occasions.
Thats my being petulant.
My sisters noticing my dilemma and being loyal to a small degree recorded this event for posterity...and gave me backup
But a younger sister looks a tad too happy with Don...supposed to be on my side and giving him the "lemon lips" as instructed - but she was half shot so what could I expect?
And he had the smile of the youngest child, the golden one, the save the marriage baby that the whole family waited for...and I succumbed as per usual...I am easy that way to a good smile and "the eye"
He quickly discarded the youngster and remembered the fine vintage he had in me and soon my glass was full once again instead of empty...
All was forgiven... the marriage saved, and the sun shone again although I was a small bit put out by that secret smile on Don's face, which I was unaware of till the photos were developed.
It was the best day...good stuff... and for someone who couldn't and didn't normally drink because of the whacking pain medication he was on he disported himself reasonably well - and slept like a baby that night.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I found the tree!!!
This is the tree that my mother (an Irish Australian Catholic) and
my father (an Irish Australian Protestant)
were forced to conduct their romance under. They met in 1946 and lived miles apart. Dad would visit mum but because of the religious difference Mum's dad would not allow them to come into the home for 'courtship" and mum had no real freedom - Dad's people were the same... it was a two way street.

My uncle recently told me about this tree and when I was home for a family funeral I found the tree right outside mum's old childhood home. It was something to consider the pair of them, both younger now than my own girls - all those years ago... sitting under this tree, earning to trust and love.

And not far from mum's house is the hall they were allowed to meet in when dances were held - here is that hall at Upper Rouchel near Aberdeen NSW Australia... the very same hall as was...

This is the view from mum's childhood home - so pleased to be able to locate the exact spot - it is a truly beautiful part of Australia

Here is the entrance to mum's old home - its all prettified these days was just an old house with no paint then during depression years - but strange to think my mum would have turned her feet down this very lane to home...
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Two young men -

taken about 1943. One is my Dad (left hand side) the other is his younger brother Matt. I saw my uncle Matt recently on a trip....he was in hospital and dying from secondary cancers - My dad (left) was killed in 1969 when hit by a car (drunk driver) but uncle Matt lived all those years in between then and now. I wondered at this seeing this photo and knowing the gentle thoughtful man Uncle Matt had become. This photo was taken during the War years - Dad had had callipers on his legs and was rejected by the army and uncle Matt was not old enough - so both brothers survived.

Tomorrow early I will drive over to Muswellbrook to go to Uncle Matt's funeral - he came to my husband Don's funeral last year although hew was ill at the time - we live about 8 hrs drive away - he also came to Melissa's wedding which was no mean feat for him -

so he was letting us know that our family was still his family
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lookit I bought myself - its bewdiful!

I feel so decadent... for some time I had been thinking about buying (wait for it) a recliner chair - and I am only 54...

The thing was in our lounge room I had a three seater chair and a couple of pouffes (can I still use that word???). When I was by myself I could llie on the lounge to read or watch tele - but when visitors came I would let them sit there and I would sit on the floor using the pouffe (don't lynch me yet) as a seat...reason was that I ended up with two fused vertebrae in my early 30's - somebody tried to shift a 44 gallon drum on her lonesome and spent a month in bed being looked after by her Quadriplegic husband and two little kids - that was a "treat" - they were never kids in the modern sense of the meaning -

anyhoo I have to evacuate the lounge chair when there are visitors because I can't sit on it for long... I can lie on it... the pouffe on the floor provides the means to move about from side to side when the pain gets a bit much -

So I bought this finally... knowing that my youngest sister and her tribe are about to visit -

Ahhhhh! I recommend that all my blog mates above 40 get one and bugger the olde worlde age image - its heaven... relieves the varicose veins, feel like a sultaness...
and Don would approve this purchase... should have done this years back. One day may be found dead in this but will look "interesting and together" when I am with my wine glass in hand and my latest novel - and the old dog won't be able to eat me because he would only be able to eat my feet - the rest of me would be out of reach - now there is a comfort.
Isn't it just divine - but no trips to Rio this year -

Monday, July 07, 2008

An old photo of Don holding our eldest,
Melissa (born in September 1974) Don was 24 and I 20. So long ago Not dealing with this grief thingie really well these days - or maybe I am... maybe shedding buckets of tears is normal - he was younger here than our own kids these days who are 33 and 30... but we were so grown up and owed nobody anything. It was a great time

This was taken only weeks before his can tell by the house behind us we didn't have much ... but we always felt rich and lucky... and we were; these two kids grew up in our love but they were not able to be childish children - it was a " different" childhood for them - lots of different expectations - not many trips to beaches etc- these two knew stuff and dealt with stuff most adults I know wouldn't have a clue about and I count them as my best mates these days.
The missing of Don is so total because of what he was, what he became and how we were with each other. It was a total thing if that makes sense and thats why I have so much trouble coming to grips with it. He broke his neck in 1982. We were just kids really but we learnt our own way of being - in between and it was as if we were one total human being... not just missing him but missing my other half as if my heart as been wrenched out of itself...
tomorrow will be better.
If he hadn't been so beautiful and soft it would be easier. I think I may have been spoilt by knowing him - when I hear aquaintances talk about their husbands most of it seems to be complaints - and I had the odd one, but could never be angry for long with him. He'd just finally smile that smile and we'd come together.
Sorry people - this must seem to you to be dragging on. All I can say is that if you are in a good relationship, treasure it now - the alternative does not bear thinking about.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Something tells me I may have to take more care of my sneakers...

They're growing grass !!! I went to put this old pair on the other day - its not so much a matter of checking whats in them around here more whats growing out of them... its a first for me.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July the Fourth!

Happy Independence day to my US friends.

July the fourth is Don's birthday, (he'd be 58) and also the day my mother died back in '93. When Don was alive I used to make sure the day was as good as I could make it and then after dinner I'd light the candle for mum who didn't die till after 10pm.
(Don and Melissa in 1974)

I have a terror of seeing police cars coming down the driveway, as it was the police who found mum. She'd been minding my sister's house in Qld and dropped dead in the kitchen. Don was stuck in bed and mum was hundreds of miles away in Brisbane - I rang and rang then we called the police. like many families we've had the police come down the driveway to bring awful news more than once and I have to give it to them its a bugger of a job to have to go into someone's home and bust up what happiness was there with the worst news.

So yesterday I took a cake and candles and bought Don's favourite bad food which he only had once in a while - A Chiko Roll! - and flowers - and had my own little party. Call me weird but have always been this way. For me cemetaries are not really places for the dead, they are places for those still living to have a moment out of the day where they can commune without interruption, cry, laugh or just be quiet.

But I will not be eating any more Chiko rolls - a fact I informed Don rather firmly about - I was as sick as a dog after... and he used to feel sick after about half and say to me "Why did I eat that" some foods are like that - its a memory thing like with hot chips - you remember how good they tasted once and you try to find that taste again - I think they are putting extra shit in the Chiko Rolls or is it I have abused my digestive system so much over the years....both maybe.

Anyhow I now have the wording from the NSW Coroner's office as to the changing of Don's death certificate which is really important and their reasons

They have said that the died from, and the certificate now reads

"1a Respiratory Failure (due to)

1b Recurrent Pleural Effusions and its Treatment


2 Quadriplegia."

I am not happy about the recurrent Pleural Effusions as he was only operated on six weeks after it was discovered, and it was the same effusion which had not been treated, but its a really big thing to get them to change an official document -

The coroner goes on to say, "The reason for the modification to the second line of the Death Certificate is because it is most unlikely that the deceased's rapid, but lengthy deterioration would have commenced when it did but for the patient undergoing the various transfers and treatment."

Now I have this document I can use it and its not just the stupid family being paranoid any more - it helps to see that the person who said this is the Chief Forensic Pathologist, Dept of Forensic Medicine for the NSW Coroner's office.

This letter arrived the day before Don's birthday - and it validates what I knew all along, but its a sad thing that what I knew and saw and understood has no value till someone with a Professor or Dr before his name gives it the A Okay.

Not sure what to do with myself today - I haven't settled since I came back home - got a bit of wanderlust in my bones, but need to be here till the things I started have panned out. The old Dog has got himself all burrowed into his bedding and we need to encourage each other to get moving. The mandarin tree is just covered with fruit, so will take him down the back for a forage.

Since I have been back I have realised what I have been feeling living here where everyone knows or knows about me. It was good to be away where I could just be myself - could be a bit of the black dog in my head today - a come down from yesterday. Its not like me to feel this down and it'll lift soon.

Could be the winter cold and overcast weather affecting me.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

This song is so good!

I drove over from Aberdeen (NSW Australia) at 5am last Saturday and there was frost on the frost - I headed up throuh Tamworth and think I may have got bitten by the Country and Western Bug as at a servo station there, knowing I had about 4 more hours of driving through winding mountain roads to Port macquarie and knowing my radio was giving out nothing much but the racing news - I bought a Johhny Cash CD - there was not much else to pick from. Well I rattled round those mountains playiong it and enjoying every minute but especially this song which I now know off by heart... its more like a Woody Guthrie song than Country and westerm - its good stuff

I grew up in the '60/70's and Country and western was frowned upon - you would never admit to liking it - this is just sooo good