Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fever of the footy variety

So, it's footy finals time....and almost all of Geelong is decorated (Go the Cats!!).

Almost every shop window is blue and white.

There are huge cat-faces staring at you from every spare bit of wall (that wasn't already graffittied).

Even those of us who think football is for men who are not coordinated enough to use all four limbs at once have jumped on the bandwagon. (Yes, I see the irony of a wheelchair basketballer complaining about using only 2 limbs!!!)(and of "jumping").

And this is all new to me. This is the first time that I've lived in a football-finals-town. We didn't have an AFL team in Ivanhoe. However, we probably had a world-class croquet club, not to mention a kick-ass gymkana and pony circuit!

So, into a brave new world I ventured when, today, I took my research for coffee.

It was all going swimmingly. It's t-shirt weather (well, if you don't mind hypothermia), so I sat outside the cafe, glancing at my research (but really trying to eavesdrop on everyone else's conversation - try it, it's really fun!).

Anyway, my eyes were scanning the page, and then they accidentally wandered to the street.....where I saw a man staring at me from across the road. He was standing beside a 4-wheel drive (apparently Pako St is quite an unstable surface according to the number of Landcruisers in the street), so I could only see his head over the car.

I smiled back, then got on with my work.

A little while later (well, the end of the paragraph that I was reading), I glanced up again, and he was still looking at me.

Once again, I smiled back, then got on with my work.

Half a latte and half a page later, I looked up......and he was still staring at me.

Now, I'm used to being stared at. Intuitively, we'd all think that it's kids that stare, but actually, mostly it's adults that watch me do such rivetting things as get my groceries, put my wheelchair into the car, or have a few bevvies. Kid's are fine, and they usually ask inappropriate, but funny questions. For example....

Cate and I were at a festival once when this little 4 year old boy was staring at me for quite a while. Eventually, he wandered up to me and said, "You have a great bike!".

Where was I up to. Oh yeah.

So this adult had been standing across the road, staring at me for about 10 minutes.

I had gone from politely smiling, to ignoring, but now I had moved to blatantly staring back.

- somebody hopped in the car
- and drove away
- to reveal......
The rude, impertinent starer was actually a cardboard cutout of Gary Ablett staring at me from a shop window!!

Go the Cats,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Living with a German Shotputter

14 Sep 2007

It's Friday night. Today, I've been in a 6 hour workshop on statistical analysis. I then went to the pub....and now, I'll try channel my witty repartee for your enjoyment. Please beware, this one may get a little blue! (said the bishop to the actress. hahahah)

Anyway, let me share with you this morning's conversation on the train platform, before enough coffee was imbibed.
Here's a picture for your brain...
- A woman running towards me, whom I recognise from school.
- "Lisa?", she says.
- "Fiona?", I reply
- "Oh sorry, Fiona"
- "No, my name's Lisa. Aren't you Fiona?
- "No, I'm Michelle. Who's Fiona?"
- "No, there is no Fiona. I remembered your face, but not your name"
- "No, I'm Michelle not Fiona. But don't worry about it. I've had my hair straightened, so you wouldn't remember my name"


I'm sure everyone on that platform was wondering the same question. "Who the heck is Fiona?"

In order to recover from that bit of social interaction, I thought I'd pop the ipod on for the train ride. I'm a bit of a nerd and I download the Health Report from radio national. I like to tune out when the train is so crowded that people are literally sitting on the floor cos all the seats are full.

This morning, the podcast was about female sexuality, specifically the physiology of female orgasms. Useful info. I was paying attention, but not quite taking notes. May have been lost in my own little world....which would account for the next phenomenom.....

The conductor walked over to ask what station I was getting off the train. I was a million miles away, so I was a little startled when he appeared. I took an earphone out to listen to his question. Unfortunately for me, he phrased his question about the ramp quite awkwardly. He said, "which spot would you like the ramp?" To which I replied "G.................................................................................................................... let me think about it"

Subtle, I know. Think I might have got away with it. Except....... my ipod is really new, so I was too flustered to press pause, and just took the earphone out. I flicked it, but it landed on the next passengers shoulder...still playing the information about female ejaculation. I'm pretty sure he heard.....cos he slid further away on his seat!!!

Fortunately the train arrived (oh, that is so Freudian!!!!) and I got to leave my awkward social interactions behind. Next week, I'm gonna wear a disguise....and tell everyone I'm Fiona!

At this point, quite rightly, you may be wondering what a German Shotputter has to do with the blog thusfar. Nothing really.

But here's the next bit.

As you may remember from the last installment, Lulu the unhelper dog has been put on Hormone Replacement Therapy. Let's state a few points here.
1. She is a lady dog
2. She has been put on lady hormones
3. She was already shaped like a German Shotputter, so it's hard to see any differences, but I suspect she would now be suspended from any Olympic or Paralympic competition
4. She was already quite hairy, so, as above
5. However....... we now know that dog HRT turns a placid, (read lazy) lady dog into a fat, hairy humping machine.

Yes people, maybe Lulu the unhelper dog has been listening to the same podcasts as me!


N.B. In case you were wondering, I am not claiming any similarities beyond choice of podcasts. Never, ever refer to me as a "fat, hairy humping machine"!! (although, I think I know a few)

Technomological warfare

01 Sep 2007

So, last weekend, as we do many a weekend, I met my brother for coffee, and to do the quiz in the paper to see who is the smartest sibling. (Incidentally, it's definately me. If Dave says otherwise, he has made a mistake...thereby proving that I am smarter!)
On that day, he bought the coffee, I bought the cake (well, one piece to share), which is only fair.....cos then he bought me an LCD telly.

The glossy pamphlet says "big screen" but my translation of that is "life size". You see, the telly is 6 inches longer than me. If I lay diagonally across the telly, I don't reach the corners. If I lay diagonally across the telly nude.....oops, sorry, delete that line!!

Anyway.....life size is good, but can you imagine how obese Big-Fat-Hewey the chef is? Or, how terrifying that acid-induced scene from Willy Wonka would be?

Now, needless to say, this telly came with an instruction manual that is about the same size as the telly itself. I refuse to read it. If an electrical device is not intuitive in using, it's not for me. So, the manual is now gathering dust on the table. Which is quite a problem.....cos I don't know how to use the telly.

And, on the same day that it was delivered, I also borrowed a phone because mine started dialling random numbers. Once again, it has a manual, but once again, I refuse to read it. Which is quite a problem...cos I don't know how to use the phone.

So, here's where Part 1 of the story begins......

On the night after my telly was delivered, and my phone was collected, a friend texted me at midnight. I was asleep, so the beep beep woke me. So, obviously, because I didn't know the sound of my phone, rather than picking it up from the bedside table and reading the text, I got out of bed and tried to see why the telly was beeping at me. For 20 minutes, I pressed every button on that remote, but couldn't work out what was wrong. And once again, I refused to read the manual. I tried to reset the time in case an alarm was on. "What's the time now", I said to myself. At which point, I picked up my phone to see the time.....and found the cause of my beeps.

The moral of this demi-story - never acquire two electrical devices, with audio alarms, on the same day. Or, if you do, and an alarm goes off, check both devices before you decide where the problem is.

Intermission (insert commercial break here)

Part 2
I'm sure you've read about my stories of Lulu-the unhelper dog. Well, she's 10 now, and is getting a little old and tired. Back in the day, she wouldn't help me, and in fact hinder me, out of some kind of doggy spite and black humour. Nowadays, she's too tired to get in my way.

So, the mobile vet popped on over, and put Lulu on hormone replacement therapy. Yes, that's right. HRT for dogs.

That wouldn't be so bad, but consider that in the past, Lulu has also had a small bit of cosmetic surgery (well, all her friends were doing it), and now she is trying to retain her youth with simulated hormones. Yes people, my dog is Zsa Zsa Gabor!!

I thought it was funny, so I texted some of my friends with that analogy. However, the new phone hasn't got all my updated numbers....so imagine how funny a complete stranger thought that was!!! (by the way, cate. What's your new work number?!?!)

The moral of this second demi-story - never send text messages to random strangers likening your dog to famous movie stars from yesteryear. Apparently it interrupts their workday.

OK, I better go and try put the telly on now. I'd phone you to ask for help, but I'm not sure how to do that either!


Life in dot points

21 Aug 2007

So, I've had some requests to explain the line in my last blog about my car leaving a muffler behind. On the face of it, not an interesting story. Unless......it happened to me!!!

We're going to call this blog.... "The Day My Car's Bum Exploded"

(Incidentally, I am aware that this is the second consecutive blog about my car. I'm likening it to a wake, where you tell stories about the deceased. Unfortunately, my finances aren't allowing the trusty Daewoo to die just yet, but effectively, it's brain dead!)

So here goes....

I was doing some training to become a basketball coach. I wanted to be a wheelchair basketball coach, but I had to do the able-bodied course because there is no chair course. Our instructor was quite strict. If you missed half a class, you had to make it up at the next course, so you couldn't qualify until the next course was finished. If you missed a whole class, you had to repeat the whole course. It was the third class, and we still had three to go.

I was driving down Dandenong Road at peak hour, on my way to a little school in the back blocks of suburbia. The kind of school where one wall is covered in graffitti, and all the others say "we take pride in our community" and "welcome to tidy town".

On the way (cos it was a REALLY REALLY long way from mine), I was chatting to my brother on the phone (handsfree, of course. I still had to steer and brake!). We chatted for a while, and I told him that I could hear a strange noise. He told me to turn the radio up, so I did....and all was well.

I hung up from him, and stopped at a set of lights. As I took off, the radio wasn't enough noise to cover the loud scraping sound from my ass (well, my car's ass). I stopped at the next lights, and people were remonstrating, flashing lights at me, yelling advice, and generally attempting to get my attention. "I'm not that bad a driver", I thought.So, I took off again, and then I saw a tail end of a muffler grinding along behind the car.

Turning into a side street, I thought, "bugger, I'm going to be late for my class, so I'll have to repeat the course". I hoped the RACV (roadside assistance) was not busy that night.

The next hour went a bit like this (I've summarised it for you, but please note, this is not drawn to scale!! )
- I picked up my phone to call RACV, but I was out of credit (the one and only time that this has ever happened)
- I got my visa card out of my purse so I could call vodaphone and get more credit, so I could call roadside assist.
- I placed the visa card on the steering wheel console while I looked for my RACV membership number
- I lost my balance as I was reaching for my bag, and grabbed the steering wheel console
- The visa card slipped into the console, behind the wheel, not to be seen or heard from again
- "Bugger", I said
- I tried to MacGyver the console open, using just an old chuppa chup stick, and an apple core.
- Nothing happened, but I did find 50 cents. (a coin, not the rapper)
- "No problems, I remember my visa numbers", I says to myself
- Called vodaphone, and it was all going swimmingly, until she asked, "and what is the 4 digit verification code on the back"
- "Bugger", I said
- Then I may have used the disability to gild my lily, because after a while, she believed me, and let me have credit
- So, I picked up my phone to call RACV, dialled the number and got through
- Then, just as the operator said, "Welcome to the RACV. How may I help you" my phone's battery died due to the prolonged conversation with my brother on the handsfree, and the prolonged begging to vodaphone
- "Bugger", I said

(Let's now take a moment to have a nice deep breath. Good? Ok, on we go)

So, I'm stranded in the middle of the burbs, late for a class, with a car with an exploding bottom, and the muffler still hanging on so I couldn't just drive away.

- And, a car full of hoons has just driven past twice. They look a bit scary
- "I know. I'll use the public phone box which is just near the top of that hill"
- I lift the wheelchair out of my car, and wheel up to the phone box....which has a giant step to get into it, and is out of order anyway
- "Bugger", I said

- I head back to my car, hop back in and try and remember where I left my thinking cap
- "Those car full of hoons have just gone by again", I said to the steering wheel
- "Bugger", it replied

I sat there for a while, listening to contemporary adult rock, wondering about my next move.

- The car full of hoons drove by again, and did a u-turn to park right behind me
- "Ooh dear", I said. I was in a suburban local street, at about dusk, and, let's face it, I'm not really built like a bouncer.
- "Bugger", I bet you're saying now!!

- The chief hoon walked over to my car, looked me up and down and said, "Lady, do you need some help? We're apprentice mechanics on our way home from TAFE, and we reckon you're car is stuffed"
- "Why thankyou my knight in shining armour", I said (under my breath because otherwise they'd think I was an idiot)

- For about 20 minutes, they tried to reattach the muffler, but then decided a better option would be to cut it off and I'd drive without it.
- "We need a knife", said the 2IC-hoon. To which, I quickly produced a spatula from the boot.
- "No lady, we need a big mother of a knife to cut through this rubber and metal"
- "Bugger", I said.
- "No problems", said the chief hoon, and pulled what could only be discribed as the mother of all knives out of his glove compartment!!!
- "You never know when you'll need a weapon", he said

So, they cut the muffler off, and then escorted me all the way to the school. They played their sub-woofer-mate really loud so that I "wouldn't be noticed by the cops". Lovely boys.

I was 45 minutes late for class. The instructor told me to go home because I was going to have to repeat the course now.
"Bugger", I said.

Then asked what I had missed.

"You missed doing some extra learning on footwork and running technique"
What the!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But don't worry. There was a happy ending
- Neither the hoons, nor myself got nabbed by the cops (well, that evening. I can't vouch for the rest of the hoons' driving careers)
- I was allowed to pass that section of the course without repeating it
- I bought a new muffler, which I could afford because.............when I arrived home, all of the vibrations in the car had jostled the visa card out from behind the steering wheel.
- "Bugger me", I said


Grinding to a halt

15 Aug 2007

So, the time is almost upon me.
The world, as we know it, is about to change.
Life may never be the same, but will go on regardless.
Yes, that's right.
The trusty Daewoo Lanos is slowly grinding its way into the ground. (ok, I admit, my driving probably has a lot to do with this, but let's make a pact not to talk about that).

I remember the day we bought it. The sales lady tried to get me to upgrade to the flashy electronical magical unlocking device (more technically known as a "beep beep") by telling me a story about one of her friends that was being chased by a stranger, and, as she was running to her car, pressed her beep beep to unlock the door, got in really quickly, and used the beep beep to relock the door, and drove away before she could be attacked.

She was surprised when that story didn't make me want to upgrade. However, I'm not sure she picked her marketing strategy well. The reality would be...I'd be chased by a stranger. As I was wheeling quickly to my car, I'd press the beep beep, unlock the door......
....then transfer into the seat, take off the left wheel of my chair, put it into the backseat, spin the chair around, take off the right wheel and put it next to the other one, push the seat back, lean on the strut for support, pick up the frame, lift it to my knee, shift my weight, put the frame on the passenger seat, hold onto the steering wheel, pull myself forward, flip the seat upright, then close the door. My only hope would be if the stranger was easily distracted, and another person had walked passed!

Sorry, got a little distracted then myself. I thought I'd fixed the lava lamp by running it for a couple of hours. But, just then, it made a loud noise and appears to have had a bowel collapse. Now, it looks like a jar of purple liquid, in which is floating many little globules of snot.

ok, back to the car.

About 2 years ago, I tried to install a little thingy that allowed me to play a cd through the tape player, via a walkman. Clearly, I was way too old to know what I was doing, and managed to create another bowel collapse of an electrical item. Since then, the tape player doesn't. And, the only way to get a radio station is to scan because the programmed buttons aren't. (oh, and the radio light doesn't work, so you never really know what station you're on).

That's ok though. I'm a radio hussy and listen to anything that sounds good. However, recently, the radio has taken to changing channels anytime I drive over a bump. This isn't ok. Seriously, if you've got any control issues, this is not the car for you!!

And, now that I live quite a way from work, I usually get a drive-through McCoffee on the way to work. Well, the coffee cup is too large for the little Korean coffee cup holders, so the top of the cup continuously presses on the scan button. For over an hour, I get to drive with 3 second snippets of songs. I don't know what's in the top 40 at the moment, but I can sing you a great compilation!

According to my many gentlemen friends (hahahah), having a dodgy radio is not really a reason to ditch a car. So, my friends, I see that radio, and raise you one!

You see, my car clearly has read too many fairytales. It is obviously quite taken by the tale of Hansel and Gretel. However, instead of dropping breadcrumbs to find our way home again, my car insists on dropping little bits of oil (and once, even a muffler).

So, you see, I'm in the market. (car/gentlemen friend/muffler)

I would really like to get a convertible. But I'm a little concerned.

Here is a picture for your brain, and tell me if you think this would be an issue:
1. Blue sky, sunshine
2. Top down (the car. Not mine)
3. Sunglasses on. The wind in my hair
4. Strong summer breeze
5. Me, sitting atop a raised seat
6. I screech around a corner, looking cool and groovy......
7. until I topple over the side of the car, into the street

Yep, might just get a mini

Something to laugh at

09 Aug 2007

So, I'm at work, but I just had to write a really quick blog for you.

You've all heard my stories about other people's perceptions of wheelchair chicks. You know:

1. If I'm in a pub, people will come up and ask if it's my birthday, cos they reason that the only time I'm allowed out of the institution would be once a year.
2. On occassion, I've gone into a shop and asked the price of an item, to be answered, "very expensive dear", cos they reason that I must be on a pension, and that won't cover the cost. (incidentally, this is the major motivation in completing my doctorate. I just want that Gold Visa with Dr Chaffey written on it!!)
3. You may have seen the fake smile plastered on my face when I hear another joke regarding my need to stop speeding, when, in fact, I'm just getting my groceries4. And, my favourite, the many times that I've turned up to a Nursing Home to provide professional consultation regarding my area of expertise in Health Sciences, (ie. Modifying the environment to manage challenging behaviours of people with Dementia) only to be asked to go back to my room because lunch is about to be served.

Granted, all of these expectations are usually held by people around 50-70 years of age. This is probably the demographic that thought the movie Heidi was actually a documentary on living with disability in contemporary society. However, yesterday, a woman from this target market topped them all......

Here's a picture for your brain....
I was sitting in a local coffee shop, reviewing some research.
The aforementioned woman came up to my table and said, "I saw you here a while ago with your friends. You were all having a lovely time, and laughing a lot".

At this point, I smiled back and was about to say something affirming, yet witty.

However, she knocked the wind out of all of my sails when she continued with....
"it just warms my heart to see that you could manage to find something to laugh at"


Be careful of your feet!

05 Aug 2007

Have you ever shot yourself in the foot?

I don't mean literally, although I suspect I know some people who have.
I mean metaphorically.

You know, like my occupational therapy colleague who was assessing the daily living skills of an elderly woman with dementia. My friend pointed out that the woman probably should go to a nursing home cos she had difficulty dressing herself. In response, the woman pointed out that my colleague was wearing one black and one blue sock.

Or, the time when I was trying to look terribly cool at the Paralympic village because the telly cameras were filming me. I was wheeling along the road with my team, having an animated conversation, when I wheeled straight into a pole.

Well, yesterday, I was on the train when a curious incident played out.

There must have been a comic book show on, cos 4 x 30-year-old men hopped on the train, all wearing "world of warcraft" tshirts. (Incidentally, does "world of warcraft" make you think of nanna's knitting balaclavas or cross-stitching machete holders. ie craft for war?)

They were all carrying plastic bags full of stuff. And, all the way from Spencer St to Werribee, they played a game of "you are such a nerd. Look what you bought". Yep, they spent 30 minutes pointing out how they, themselves, were not nerds, but all their mates were.
There were comments like (and I kid you not), "You are such a nerd. Why do you need a back catalogue of [insert geeky comic name here]. I am cool because I bought a remote control dalek. That will be really handy, and I can program it to bring me the phone"

Then, they spent the ride from Werribee to Geelong discussing the lesser known technical details of dalek's, using such phrases as "only techies really know this but....". Thereby, shooting themselves in the foot.

I know you, my dear readers, do not really like to share. But go on....I've had a crap weekend.
Give me a laugh.


Are sponge cakes really therapy?

30 Jul 2007

Firstly, from last week's blog, thankyou to all of you who gave me hints for my lava lamp. In case you're wondering...
- yes, lava lamps can go off
- the original 60's lamps are more robust and tend to last longer
- don't try and add food colouring to the water cos the seal won't reseal
- evil dave did not do a poo in a jar of coloured water, although it does sound like something he might do
- do not send him to Mel's house, just in case
- regardless of whether the lamp has gone off or not, it's time to send it to the "uni dorm in the sky" (thank Gremmy for that one!!)

So, all knowledged-up on household hints, I can move on with my life....

You see, I was born in the 70's (stop laughing Dylan!!) after the first wave of feminism, so household hints do not constitute my major area of expertise. I know the essentials....a good pasta, how to remove wine stains from carpet, and the difference between alcohol toxicity and merely the need for a nap (ironically, I often need all of these skills in one single night). However, I'm not too good at the finer art of "keeping house". I'd rather "keep a house portfolio" (not that I do either, but I'd definately rather the latter).

For my nanna's generation of women, being a good cook involved having a repertoire of recipes, making fabulous dinners, using only lard, flour and the weekly coupon's worth of eggs. For my generation of women, being a good cook means knowing which packet of Green Curry paste to buy. (by the way, I'm really good at green curry!!).

And, I have another theory regarding my nanna's generation of cooks. You know how most nanna's are good at sponge cakes? Well, a good sponge cake relies on eggs that have been soundly beaten. Think about it. Our nanna's lived in a time when assertive women were not encouraged, so did they beat eggs as a way of beating out their frustrations? If all of their arguementative spirit was suppressed, did they beat and beat and beat those eggs? No wonder those cakes were light and fluffy. And that would also explain why most of us suck at sponge cakes....but can win most arguments?!

Think about it!!! I think you'll find I'm correct. And if not, at least let me argue with you over a shop-bought cake.

Right, well I'm off then. I've got a lamb roast in the oven.

Oh, who am I kidding. I'm off to open a pack of biscuits, crumble them up a bit, put them in a tin, and try and pass them off as ones I baked earlier.


A tea-break blog

23 Jul 2007

Do Lava lamps go off?

I don't mean "go off" like the little teenager at a rave party (as in "go right off"), or the perennial frog in a sock. I mean "go off" like most of the vegetables in my fridge.

You see, I've just rearranged my home office, and I found my lava lamp which I haven't used for about a year. About a year ago, what used to happen was, you leave the lamp on for a while and the goop inside heats up, and then blobs its way around for a while. However, now, you leave the lamp on for a while, and the goop just sits there, and looks like someone did a poo in a jar of purple water.

So, my question again is, can lava lamps go off? And, if not, did one of you come around to my house and do a poo in a jar of purple water? (I don't want to point the finger, but I suspect Evil Dave)


Both hands full - an interactive blog

12 Jul 2007

There's a card in the tarot deck called the two of pentacles. It's a festive card, with a juggler managing to keep two coins in the air. Essentially, this card highlights the need to balance all our commitments, dreams, hopes, etc.

I get this card quite frequently when I do a reading for myself....but, for me, I think it has a different meaning. For me, this card reminds me that I usually have both hands full, and I probably should plan for that.

You see, if you're legs don't work, then you're arms need to work twice as often. And many activities, without ready access to arms, are not able to be run simultaneoulsy. You see, if I'm pushing a wheelchair, I can't carry too much. (for example, I'm sitting here beside an Ikea table....still in it's box. I wanted it, I bought it, but my brother and a workmate had to carry it out of my mother's car. How annoying was that!!! (for all of us) And now, it sits in the box until someone else pops in for coffee (and I sneakily get them to assemble the table!)).

But, I digress. My point being, if you already have both hands full, you can't continue to fill them.

Unfortunately, I like a chat, and I like a demonstrative chat. It's important to punctuate what you say with your hands. Now, this isn't always possible when you're attempting to move a chair in a straight line....so, I've mastered the art of an "eyebrow conversation". Dare you to try it at the pub. Find a mate, ban the use of hands, and make your point only with your eyebrows. For the more experienced player, ban words as well! (Let me know if all the other people in the pub gave you a really wide berth after that!).

Even when my hands are not required to make a point, I can't keep still in a conversation. When I'm lecturing at uni, I can't sit behind the lectern cos I'm too short and the students wouldn't be able to see me. So, I sit beside the lectern, on the stage, wearing a portable mike. Last semester, some of the students started giggling in my first lecture. During the break, I casually asked what was funny, and they said they were surprised cos they didn't expect a lecturer in a wheelchair to pace.

Yep, apparently, I pace backwards and forwards across the stage during my lectures. Didn't even know I did it. Must be distracting. That would account for the low marks this year!

But, the biggest difficulty with hands multiply-full is when driving. This morning on The Age Online, they told a story about a man in india who was talking on two mobile phones, whilst driving the car. Apparently he was steering with his knees. I'm so jealous!!

And try not drive behind me during Cold and Flu season. Imagine holding your hands in a half bench-press position, and then sneezing. Your hands automatically push forward. Imagine then if one of your hands was holding the control for the brake. Yep, if I have a cold, I bunny-hop all the way to work.

Last night, the straw broke that camel's back (and now the camel will have to use his front hooves twice as much!!).

I was driving home at about 8.30pm. Tired. Cold. Wanting to go to bed.
I began a very large yawn. And, just as I did....just at the point of my eyes going squinty....I saw.....a spider hanging from the roof of the car. (A small spider, but a spider nonetheless).

Immediately, I went to cover my mouth, but....the traffic lights had gone red up ahead, and I had one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the brake. Both hands were full!!!! I had no other option but to try and close my mouth during a momentous yawn.......
...........I think I may have pulled a lip muscle


Showering with the devil (see what I did there?)

05 Jul 2007

Forgive me myspace, for I have sinned.......
....I have been tempted by the fruit of another!!
....I have crossed to the dark side, and saw the toothy grin of satan!!!
....Lucifer himself has added me to his network!!!
Yes, that's right.....
I joined facebook.

Unfamiliar with facebook?
Well, think myspace without the colour.
Think myspace without the ability to pore over random strangers' profiles.
Think myspace with a tertiary education.
Think myspace with the ability to throw virtual food or sheep at your friends.
Think myspace without the annoying music and "no way" (actually, that bit's quite good).
But most of all, think myspace without you, my loyal reader.

I joined.
I created a profile.
I uploaded photos.
I threw virtual sheep and haggis at my friends......
but then what.....

there's no lovin'.
there's no random messages from people you've never met in real life
there's minimal witty banter
without the ability to blog............
........THERE'S NO ATTENTION!!!!!! LOOK AT MOI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right, so now that I'm back, I guess a blog's in order.

Here we go then:

I'll call this bit, "When good showers go wrong!!"

You see, last night I stayed in a dead posh hotel in Melbourne. I stay there every few weeks when I'm coaching a basketball team. Last night, like every other time (except the first time), I ask for a non-disabled room. Completely justifiably, the desk clerk then looks me up and down, paying particular attention to the wheelchair in which my ass is firmly seated, and asks if I'm sure about that. "Oh yes" I say.....and here's why.

You see, they've gone to a lot of effort in the "disabled room" (which, by definition, means that there is something wrong with the room, but I'll let that slide). They've put the towel rails down low. They've put bars everywhere (and I mean those silver "lean on me" bars, not the usual hotel style, and my preferred style, of "drink at me" bars), They even have a slope in the floor towards a drain hole (I don't actually know what this is for. Maybe they think my disabled juices might leak out. (sorry, just made myself sick then.)).

Anyway, what I mean is, they've obviously had a think about it, and splashed a hospital catalogue around.....except for the obvious.......The shower seat. It's about the size of a postage stamp, and works really well to sit on........................if you can use your legs to balance and bear most of your weight, cos there aint enough room to put your whole ass on the seat!!!!! (do you see my issue here!!).

So, I say to the desk clerk. "yep, give me a room with a bath!!"

However, sometimes that solution is no solution at all.

In Sydney, I had a room with a shower over the bath. It was all good, until I tried to get out. I sat on the side of the bath, reached for my wheelchair, and promptly became tangled in the shower curtain. It was like a chinese finger thingy. The more I struggled, the more I found myself wrapped in a comforting layer of cold, wet polyester. Eventually, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, I found my way out...only to have to get back in the shower to wash all the shower curtain scum off!

And, as life shows me again and again....and again, things go in threes, people. Several years ago, I stayed at another dead posh hotel which had one of those "shower walls" installed. It was about 2 foot long, and had jets coming out in different places. I'm sure it was designed to be "therapeutic", but.....well, you know....And, well, I think it works best if you're standing up.

So, here's a picture for your brains (don't worry, you won't have to scrub out your head with soap. It's quite clean).
- me, sitting on a shower chair
- presses one of the buttons on the "shower wall"
- an air of expectation
- when a forceful surge of freezing cold water sprays out of the lowest jet, directly into my face!

I'll leave you with that picture.

Time thieving

28 Jun 2007

At 4.47pm today, I finished marking 132 exams, and sent the results to our admin staff. Those results were due by 5.00pm....ooh yeah, 13 minutes to spare!

That got me thinking, what if I had have wasted another 13 minutes in the last 2 weeks. I wouldn't have finished my work. And, on the other hand, what could I have done to save more time over the last fortnight, so I wouldn't be sending emails at the last minute.

Well....I know the biggest time thief in my last two weeks.....

Usually, my biggest time thief is "writing blogs" and I think you'd all agree with me....but I also think that "reading blogs" is a major time thief for some of you!! I'm particularly thinking of those of you who send me emails saying....
- "Chaff, I've got an essay to write but I'm bored. Write a blog so I can waste time", or
- "Chaff, a funny thing happened to me. You weren't there, and you didn't see it, but write a blog about it anyway", or
- "Chaff, remember that time milk came out your nose. Write a blog about it"

But no, this week's time thief was....my drive back from our holiday in Port Fairy.

It's only about a 2 hour drive:
a) if you go inland
b) if you decide on a route beforehand
c) if, in the event that you wish to change your route, you carry a map (well, technically, I had a map, but it was under my wheelchair in the front seat, and I'd have to move my McCoffee to get to it...so I didn't)
d) if you do not re-change your revised route, just based on a fancy, a whim, or something you "feel in your waters".

You see, I started off at Warrnambool, heading to Colac. And I thought, "The Great Ocean Rd is only a little way to the right. I might pop on down a bit and drive along one of the Icons of Australia, checking out one of the most rugged coastline in the world as I go.
So I took the first turn right, to Timboon.

Timboon - the land of cheese, milk, and obviously, cows. Do you ever find yourself driving alone on a country road, with cows in the fields, and wind down the window and yell "moo" to them? No, me neither. Who said that?

Anyway, jaunting along the road, suddenly it became a single carriageway....and then gravel.....and then dirt. I'm not sure my Daewoo Lanos was made for this. I had to go so slowly that one of the cows to whom I'd previousy said hi walked beside my car for a bit, and we had a further chat (or was that the coffee and sugar making me delirious?).

Every time I came to a major crossroad, I just headed in the direction of water (ie. south). Eventually, way over the hills, I saw the water. Yay!!! I'm at the Great Ocean Rd. I'll just stop for a bit, and check the map, I says to myself......

One and a half hours, a quarter tank of petrol, lots of dodgy rural radio, and one McCoffee later, I was approximately 20 km from where I started. Yes, without the aid of a map, changing directions based on a fancy, and having a slightly disturbing conversation with a cow, I'd managed to travel in the shape of an isosceles triangle.
But it gets worse......

I'd found my coveted road, and travelled on it for about 1/2 hour........

until I hit roadworks and a detour that sent me all the way back to the road on which I had originally started out.

Yep, that 2 hour drive took me 5.5 hours. I was driving for so long that, that night, I slept sitting up, gripping an invisible steering wheel with one hand, whilst using imaginary hand-controls to work the accelerator, with the other hand!

So, Moo to you.

Food-based injuries

22 Jun 2007

So, it's winter in Geelong. Cold, sometimes raining, and the dog and I have been hibernating. But right now, I'm staring at 132 exams that need marking, and am willing myself to wander down the road to fuel up with coffee.

I am blessed (well, this is why I chose the house) to live within 200 metres of a great coffee strip, but that 200 metres is a long way in the rain. Wheelchairs are made of metal, and metal is chilly!!!

We've started calling our local coffee shop "cheers" cos just about everyone I know wanders in at some stage. On Sunday morning, I saw a woman that was there the day before, and pointed her out to Nat, saying, "she mustn't have a life cos she's here all the time". At which point, Nat replied, "and exactly how do you know that". Touche

Let's face it. I'm going to have to dedicate my doctoral thesis to the great wonder, Gloria Jean (an Australian Strarbucks, if you will). Most of my work has been written there. I must remember to submit the copy without coffee stains!

"But, why do you go elsewhere for coffee when you have a perfectly good percolator and posh coffee grounds from Margaret River in your own home?" I hear you say.

Well, the answer is........

.....I have recently been afflicted with some food-based injuries.

You see, last week, I decided to make risotto. I made it just like they did on the telly.....wearing a funky apron, and holding a glass of wine. But, clearly there was one big difference between me and the "celebrity" chef. The chef is tall enough to see in the pot!

The thing with risotto is, you have to add the liquid slowly so it doesn't burn out (a lot like me at a beerfest!). But, that also means, you have to be able to see when to add the next bit. Yeah. Didn't think that recipe through, did I.

I started by lifting the pot off the stove to check. However, 3 years ago, I injured my elbow playing basketball. A bit of surgery, and some physio and I'm usually good, except I can't play ball anymore.....nor can I lift a pot off the stove, evidently. Yes, I managed to reinjure my elbow whilst cooking. Lucky me.

I was in pain, tipsy from half a glass of wine (and the fumes coming out of the risotto), and a bit hungry, and I still wanted risotto. Yes, I could have poured all the liquid in and called it a pilaf. BUT NO. THAT WOULD BE QUITTING!! So, I moved the dish-rack, and casually hopped up on the sink, next to the stove.

Here's a picture for your brain.....it was a dark and stormy night. I hadn't closed the front curtains, so here's what passers-by could see looking in from the street.....
- a tiny chick wearing a funky apron
- perching precariously on the sink
- amongst the dirty dishes
- talking to herself (well, the dog, but you couldn't see that from the street)
- drinking from a wine glass that was bigger than her head
- periodically eating from a saucepan!!!

Yep, once again, nothing for the cause!

And then, last night, I thought I'd whip up a lasagna cos my family were coming over for dinner. All good. No problem. Just like they do on telly.....wearing a funky apron, with a glass of wine in my hand. Smooth as.....

....until it was time to get the lasagna out of the oven. I really should have remembered the principles of physics here. If one object weighs more than the other, and a force is applied in the middle, the lighter object will move towards the heavier one....And, as I was about to headbutt the oven door, I cut my losses, let go of the lasagna, and waited for someone else to arrive!

So now, I'm too scared to make my own coffee. I suspect I'd percolate my eyebrows off!

ps. anyone wanna come round for dinner?


11 Jun 2007

So, today, my students sat an exam, and I had to come home from a basketball tournament in sydney 3 days early to spend their 15 minute reading time with them, in case there were any questions. There wasn't....and my work is done.

Once again, for the last few days, I was being a nasty basketball official...and now I'm qualified to do it! But, once again, I shan't blog about that cos only 3 of you will care. Instead, i'll tell you my cinderella story.

On the second day of competition, the games ran late into the night (well 10pm), and we had watched them all. So, my brain was having a little nigh-nigh despite my eyes being open and my mouth spouting words. I hopped into the tarago and we headed off to find some dinner late at night on a public holiday.

Eventually, we found our eden, and hopped out of the car.

"where's my other shoe?" I asked, somewhat accusatorily of my fellow officials.

"we haven't got it", they immediately replied.

"Cut the crap", I wittily retorted (ok, admittedly, probably less wittily and more sulkily. Actually, the only way that would have been wittily is if there was another word in front of that. Let me demonstrate....f'kwittily.)

"Just wear your socks. It's not like you're walking on the ground", said the brightest crayon in the box.

So, i wandered into the restaurant in cow print socks. (doing nothing for the cause!)
Ate, drank, was merry. But, after dinner, when I wheeled away from the table and looked down, I was reminded of my loss (the shoes, not the leg function), and sulked again.

I convinced my tribe that we needed to go back to the stadium to look for my shoe. Somewhat reluctantly, they agreed, but when we got there, we found the carpark had logs in front of it to stop cars.

So, the only 2 people in the tarago with some sort of leg function jumped over the logs (if it was puddles the rest of us would be fine.hahahaha - probably only an Australian joke there, to everyone else reading this, i was just a dickhead), and searched
-in the dark
-in an abandoned car park
-of a rundown basketball stadium
-on the wrong side of town
- for a shoe that merely served a decorative purpose.

And you'll never guess what!!
Sitting on a log, was a little black shoe.................................
......................................................................................covered in tyre marks.
And not a moment too soon, cos it was almost midnight, and that tarago was about to turn into a pumpkin!


The holding pattern breaker

09 Jun 2007

So, I've almost finished writing submissions for this semester. I've written 4 x 4000 word essays in 4 weeks. That sounds like a Dr Seuss book.....

I've written 4 essays, says the chick in the chair.
I've written 4 essays of 4000 words, says the chick in the chair
I've written 4 essays of 4000 words in 4 weeks, says the chick in the chair
I've written 4 essays of 4000 words in 4 weeks, now vodka me, demands the chick in the chair!!

Yep, I'm sure I read that as a child.

Now that my essays are written, I only have 130 undergrad clinical psychiatry exams to mark. Simple......get that vodka ready. Actually, I shouldn't be that harsh. Last year, some of the answers gave me giggles. For example, when asked to define schizophrenia, one student wrote, "it's when a person is really sneaky".
But, by far my favourite two answers were in a question asking the students what they would ask somebody whom they suspected may be suicidal and they needed to assess risk. My favourite answers were:
1. How come you can't cope with life when everybody else is doing fine?
2. Have you thought about what your life would be like if you were dead?

The weekly lecture is at 8am, so I only get half the student group. Let's hope all of the above were in the other half, cos I'm pretty sure I'm not teaching them that!! Just in case, I rewrote the exam for this year.

Now that the semester is effectively over, the holding pattern that is my life is more flexible, and I felt like making a few changes around the place. I threw out the rotting vegetables in my fridge, I cleaned the plughole in the shower (well, I asked my cleaner to do that), and I thought I'd find a new myspace layout. Just as well my brother's an optometrist cos I think I've burnt my retinas out looking at all those sparkly layouts.

So, I apologise that my new layout may create some corneal scar tissue, but it was the best of a bad lot. I wanted a simple layout that reflected me in some way. My choices were:

- any variety and combination of fairies, hearts, teddy bears and sparkles. What the!!!! Who likes that shit? Oops. I just finished watching Dr Phil, and he said that women were supposed to have inner elegance so....Who fancies that shit, ma'am?

- Something that requires me to be a "gangsta pimpin bitch". I'm not sure if I qualify for that. Can someone please send me the job description.

- many, many, many layouts featuring cannabis. Now, that may sound like a good idea now, but if I'm ever in any sort of trouble, you just know that "a current affair" are going to show that on telly as proof of my evil ways. Just in case, I said no, and went back to look at the gansta pimpin bitch page.

- pretty little kittens and puppies, with quotes about friendship ("friends are like flowers. Beautiful flowers. Friends are like flowers in the garden of life")...These were cute, but I was concerned some of you may lose your job when you vomit on your work computer. So, thinking of you, I declined. (confession: the above quote was not from a layout, but a hymn I learnt in grade 1...indelibly inserted in my brain)

- penguins. Now I was leaning towards these, cos I believe the penguin should be the patron saint of the paralympics. Let's face it. They can't fly so they have impaired mobility compared to most other birds, and they appear to have some form of gait abnormality. I might be wrong here, but I don't reckon a penguin could negotiate a flight of stairs. And, have you seen their upper limbs. They'll need a helper to carry the groceries. So, this was my page of choice, but alas, they sucked.

So, you get what you're given.

Speaking of the paralympics, my old team, The Gliders (Australian women's wheelchair basketball team), have just got a myspace page. You'll find them in my top friends, so add them! Add them now!!! Add them now, says the chick in the chair!

And, speaking of sport, now that I've retired, I've found a new hobby.....heckling. Seriously, it's fun. On a Tuesday, I go to my friends' netball with a travel mug of hot chocolate (I accidentally spike it with cointreau), and yell out random stuff whilst doing the official score sheet. God knows what the actual score is at the end of the game...cos I sure as hell don't.

Having spent 15 years of my life in sporting venues, I thought I'd heard all the good sporting advice...until last Tuesday at nettie. It was after the game (and after the mug of hotty chotty with coinnny tronny) so my memory is a little sketchy. But, I think it went like this:
Tash: "we're playing tomorrow night at an outdoor court"
Nat: "well I better remember to wear pants then"

Mmmm.....yes. I'll leave you with that.


Holding my head high...it's harder than you think!!

02 Jun 2007

So, right now, I'm writing an essay on the time-use of caregivers. Surprisingly, I need something to lighten the mood, so I thought I'd write you a blog designed to make me giggle (and probably you too).

We'll call it.....My Second Most Embarrassing Moment Ever
(NB. if I haven't told you about my First most embarrassing moment, I ain't gonna do it here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Although this happened 10 years ago, last week, a player in Darwin reminded of it, cos she was one of the many witnesses. In fact, after not seeing me for those 10 years, this was the first thing she reminded me of.

Let me paint you a picture:
- It's the National Championship for Wheelchair Basketball
- I'm playing for Victoria, in the starting 5
- It's the semi-final, against top-dogs NSW
- The Adelaide stadium was packed(ish) - well packed by wheelchair basketball crowd standards
- We're in the warm-up, with 9 minutes to tip off.

Right, got that picture deep in your brain?
Well here's the rest, that will forever be implanted in my brain....

I decided, with only 9 minutes to go that I was a little nervous, and needed to "powder my nose". Now, I'm not sure if you've ever seen a basketball wheelchair, but, basically to stay seated in them, you require more velcro straps and buckles than you'll find in that B & D store at the top of Brunswick St, so I had to work quickly.

I worked so quickly, in fact, that I was a tad clumsy and dropped the toilet paper roll on the floor. "Don't care, not my problem, I got a game to play" I (quickly) thought to myself. (I'm actually speeding up now when I'm typing this!!!)

I push out onto the court, with 4 minutes of warm-up left. My team is doing lay-ups, so I push straight to the half-way line.

As I'm heading to that line, the crowd is pointing and cheering me on....or so I thought. In my head, I'd just become the most valuable player, and it was obvious to me that the crowd was so worried when I was missing, that they cheered when I came back.

By the time I got to half-way, my head was enormous.


I got to half-way....

turned around....
...and saw 20 metres of toilet paper trailing from my back wheel to the toilets.

I'll leave you with that image.


lol...and I'm not laughing

27 May 2007

Ok, here's the deal.

I speak the language of occupational therapy, of basketball, of the french people (well, enough to get fed, watered and have a roof over my head), of pug, and of pig-latin (except for the words beginning with a vowel, does anyone know what to do with them?). However....I do NOT speak the language of electronica.

I'm the kind of person who uses correct spelling and grammar in text messages. However, yesterday, I received a nice message from a kind reader who stated that, "I pml when I read your blogs". On the face of it, it appears to be a compliment...but....

I assume it means "piss myself laughing", however, it could equally be "plastered my loungeroom", "pickled my liver", "parted my leg-hair", "played my lute", or "peed in my linguini" (ok, technically that's piml). Can you tell I have issews here people?

Last week, at the classifiers course in Darwin, I got in trouble for my imprecise use of language. In fact, the phrase was, "why fill the air with meaninglessness when the better option is to just be quiet" (clearly that guy hadn't read my blogs - cos that's all I do!!!). So, I've turned a new "precise" leaf, and I'm not coping with these ambiguous acronyms.

For years, I thought lol meant "lots of love". I oftened wondered why people I barely knew would send me comments that could either be seen as nasty or funny, and then tell me they loved me. On more than one occasion, I sent a message returning the love. Yep, that turned out to be awkward.

And while I was a first year student on a hospital ward for people with emphysema, I always thought the doctors were pretty mean when they said a patient was SOB when they came in. How could they tell before they even spoke to them? Those doctors were psychic!! Or, SOB could mean "shortness of breath", either way.

As a proud Australian, there's only 2 acronyms I understand...

BBQ and...


PS. I'd say "lol" but that could end in tears

The "complete" Darwin experience

24 May 2007

I'm marking online essays, but I need to stop my brain for a bit...so I'm gonna take a break and talk to you lovely people.

Fine thanks. Thanks for asking.

So, I've been a little unfair. All the people that talk to me via words rather than a computer, have heard some new Darwin stories. I think it's about time that I share them with all you face-to-face-impaired people (note: I am not suggested that your face is impaired....merely, how you use it!)

Darwin airport...the place where I finished my holiday, but ironically, it is also the place where we will start the blog. (sing it with me people, "it's like rai-ai-ain on your weddiiiing day).

It was a dark and stormy night. Ok, I'm lying. It was dark, it was night, but it was 43534543 degrees and humid as hell. So humid in fact, that I thought about bottling the air, and bringing it down to water my garden.

Anyway, it was 1 am, and I was flying back to melbourne on the 2.30 flight. Queueing in the queue (are there too many letters there, or is it just me?) I could see the desk hostesses watching me. "That's cos they're jealous of my beauty" I thought, so paid no heed.

I got to the front of the line, and sidled up to a desk, where the "man" (maybe a 12 year old boy actually) looked me up and down, and asked, "where is your carer?". "Pardon" I replied. To which he stated......
"we have a policy that completes can't travel without their carer, so unless you get your carer, i can't let you on the plane"

After ascertaining that "completes" means somebody who is unable to weight bear through their legs (as in "complete lower limb paralysis"), I thought about it for a moment......and then......well, you can imagine.

I may have used phrases such as "labelling people", "policies that would be at home in 1952", "contribute to society", "when did you get your occupational therapy degree which allowed you to assess my occupational performance", "human rights commission" and "what the fuck". In short, I think I may have channelled Mr Blythe.
Let's just say that the young fella will never say that again.
And, as a result, I was allowed to fly out of Darwin that night...despite my neglect in forgetting to hire a carer. (NB. applications are open for this position. Please see me for the job description, but essentially you have to pay your own way, buy me drinks, listen to my witty repartee, and pretend that it continues to be witty as the bevvies go on, and then pour me into the taxi to go home. No takers thusfar).

After my little implosion, in order to calm down, I decided to do a spot of shopping....at Darwin airport....at 1.30am. Not a lot of choice, surprisingly.

Purchasing lipgloss at a makeup shop, the woman (also a 12 year old) said, "can I ask you something personal?". Before I could say, "it's lipgloss. I only use it for my lips!! Honest!! Well, except for that one time, but I didn't know it was glittery!" She said, "if you worked 3 hours a week, and your boyfriend was unemployed, and he asked you to quit so he could spend more time with you, would you?".
I really wanted to say, "tell your boyfriend he's a tool, and maybe he should get a life...and for that matter, maybe you should too" (See, i was still a little feisty from my previous encounter at the counter). What I actually said was, "nah, I don't reckon. But i'm a random stranger, so make up your own mind".At that point, she called the boyfriend and said, "there's a lady here that says I should keep my job, so "get a life " and i don't want to see you anymore".

Oops. There goes any chance i had at marriage counselling.

After hiding in the bookshop for the next 30 minutes (I was scared the boyfriend would show up!), i hopped on the plane and slept all the way to Melbourne.

When I arrived home, my luggage was there....but my wheelchair was missing. Karma, I thought. Bloody, bloody Karma.

Nah, it turned up. But remind me never to visit Darwin airport again!


Darwin - the Colac of the north

20 May 2007

A funny thing happened to me on the way to this blog. You know how the little ads pop up at the top of the myspace page, and they've used some words from your site to try and target those ads appropriately? Well, an ad just popped up for me for a dating site for "single, attractive, disabled men".
a. there's a website for that?
b. apparently it's free for women to join...but I'm not sure if that is for women who also have a disability, or for women who happen to have a fetish (and are these mutually exclusive???).
c. it was called www.whisper4u.com, implying a secret and that we don't talk about disability in polite company (just as well I don't know any of those people!)
d. I'll never get that fondue set out of my top cupboard if I find a man on that site! (remember, not a euphemism. I really want to have fondue.).

Anyway, speaking of men with disabilities, I just happened to have spent the last week at a men's wheelchair basketball tournament in Darwin. (nice link hey. Maybe the google ads got it right). And before you ask, contrary to those dodgy emails I get, I am NOT now, nor NEVER have I been a man. I was simply there learning to be one of them nasty officials. However, I'm not going to blog about that cos stories about classifying players may interest 2-3 of you.

Instead, I'll tell you some Darwin stories.

Have you ever been to Darwin? It's nice, it's different, it's unusual. If not and you really want to replicate the experience on the cheap, here's what to do:
1. the night before you plan to do this experiment, soak a t-shirt and some cotton balls in a mixture of sweat, stale deodorant and beer. For a truly authentic experience, you may want to soak your underpants as well.
2. the next morning, put on the t-shirt and/or underpants....and every other piece of clothing in your wardrobe, making sure you're good and toasty. Put the cotton balls in a plastic bag, for later.
3. Hop in the car, and turn the thermostat to "bermuda"
4. Take a nice leisurely drive....to Colac
5. Whilst walking around Colac, at regular intervals, use the soaked cotton balls to wipe your eyelids, between your toes and the tops of your ears, creating a nice moist environment.
6. Go to the nearest $2 shop and buy something with a koala on it...but insist on paying $35.
7. There you go. You've been to Darwin.

We stayed at a nice posh hotel....along with all the other retirees who were on the "holiday of a lifetime". Seriously, I sat by the pool one afternoon, and single-handedly brought the average age down by about 30 years. There were whole busloads of Beryls and Franks in their geometrically-patterned fluoro togs, having one of them pretty drinks with an umbrella. And as I was leaving the pool deck, I heard a small chorus of "oh, isn't she marvellous. It's so clever how she can get around like that". Anymore of them pretty drinks, and I would have let them have it!!

Just so Beryl and Frank didn't have to experience anything other than their expected holiday, the hotel foyer was entirely taken up by a fake billabong, complete with a bridge to nowhere (well, to the other side of the fake billabong, but you know what I mean). It was even more romantic than the plastic-filled garden at the underground drive-thru of the Fitzroy McDonalds. I think I've found a new wedding venue.

And just as well, cos while I was away, there was a small holiday romance. Walking home from dinner one moonlit night, I did have a small pash....with a 12 week old kelpie that jumped on my knee!

I don't even remember what fondue is!!!


Reptilian yum cha, glitter and dental floss

12 May 2007

So, I'm off to Darwin tomorrow, and I thought I'd write you one potentially-final blog, just in case.

Just in case what, you say?

Just in case I'm accidentally sitting by a billabong (not really sure what they look like, so likely to be accidentally by one at some stage), and a nasty crocodile spies what he thinks is a tasty wonton and strikes.
Yes, I'm only one reptilian yum cha away from a death roll!!

Hence, the "final" blog. See what I do for you people.

As you can imagine, my topic today isn't really defined. I just wanted to tell you all the things that I think are useful...just in case. So here goes:

Yesterday, I wanted to send a "glitter-infested" message to a friend's myspace page, so I went to one of them there pimpin' sites. I didn't exactly find what I wanted, but I did find something quite interesting. This particular site had 11 pages of glitter that hurts your eyes, and they essentially went by topic order (even though they were in "most grabbed" order).

1. I'm single and hot,
2. Bet you want me, everyone else does, so drop your women and be with me
3. I only ever want to be with you, you are my soulmate
4. Treat me better and don't make me show you "bitch" again
5. Right, that's it
6. I hate you, and I have bigger boobs than your new girl
7. You better get a restraining order!

Oh, I laughed.

I thought it was quite cruel though. All of those who have been done wrong (5) have to trawl through the messages meant for the ones who did the other half of the wrong (2)! That's a bit wrong...

Now, I seem to have forgotten the next topic.

Oh well, let's talk about hair removal.

Because Darwin has very hot weather, I thought I'd take skirts to wear, so today, I needed to epilady my legs. Did you feel the earth warming at about 11am, cos a whole lot of deforestation happened at my house this morning!

If you've never seen an epilady, basically it's a medieval torture device where lots of little tweezers spin around, RIPPING out hair by the roots. The first time I used it on the front of my leg,I thought everyone was wingeing cos it hardly hurt at all. Then, I used it on a part of my leg with an intact nervous supply...Mmmm...I stand corrected.

Today, after a couple of minutes, lulu, the unhelper dog, responded to my screams and ran into the room to see what I was doing. There may be a patch of hair missing from her leg also.
Seriously, HOURS it took me. HOURS.

Maybe this is why fewer women than men win the Nobel prize. We just don't have time to go to work! Do you think Kerry-ann Kennely, or Condoleza Rice have to cancel meetings cos they're busy ripping hair out, just in case they wear a skirt tomorrow? (Yes, I DID just mention them in the same sentence. Hahah)And maybe that's why Mother Theresa was so prolific in her charity work...she had more spare time than the rest of us.

Look, I'm not begrudging you this task. Lord knows I quite enjoy having two distinct eyebrows. But, truly. I don't think you all realise how much effort I go to!!

Oh well. Tomorrow, if a crocodile does choose to dine on "Tasty filling in a Leeess coating" at least he'll have to provide his own dental floss! (I may or may not be lying here...I may or may not have run out of time!)


Doing nothing for the cause

29 Apr 2007

So, my friend Nat asked me what I was up to this weekend, and I replied that I really wanted to finish my research protocol document by sunday night so I'll be working all weekend. She then said, "I expect to be reading a blog at work on monday morning then", to which I mockingly stated, "huh, as if!!"


Right. Now that she's distracted....

On a completely different note, here's a blog.

The reason I needed to work for most of this weekend was that I got sick on Friday, and came home after only 1 hour at uni. Unfortunately, it takes over an hour to get to uni, so not really time well spent then.

It wasn't a "fall down, go boom" kind of illness, more like a "bleugh, "do I have to do anything?" kind of illness. Let's face it, if I was at a Jack Johnson concert, or watching Lucas Neill trip over an italian player, I wouldn't really feel it. But, I was in an 8 hour lecture, on a topic that wasn't that interesting. So, let's call it a context-driven illness.

When the context-driven illness strikes, my kidney tries to escape, and my brain has a little holiday, so rather than resting like all you lazy Type B personalities, I try to continue functioning without them. However, sometimes, this makes me look a little stupid....and, dare I say it....potentially contribute to stigma!!!! In the words of my friend Shelley, "I'm doing nothing for the cause".

For example, one time, I went to a coffee shop, hopped on a funky vinyl couch...and promptly slid off the other side, onto the ground. Another memorable evening, I was so tired when getting ready to go to a party that I probably didn't pay as much attention as I should. When I got to the party and was crawling up the steps, yesterday's undies came out the bottom of my jeans.

Yes...nothing for the cause.

Well, Friday was no exception!

I hopped on the train with a v/line-a-cinno and settled in for a long ride. Would have been helpful if the lid was correctly fitted to the cup. Would have been more helpful if I had noticed this before drinking. Finally, would have been extremely helpful if I had noticed the substantial pool of coffee gathering on my t-shirt. No, none of those occurred. An hour later, and I found myself looking like a painting done by Picasso....if he had been sponsored by Gloria Jeans.

Popped off to uni...and an hour later, promptly popped on back to the station.

Thought I'd do a spot of shopping before hopping back on the train, so went in search of a frock. I tried on a funky one, but not for me. Would have been helpful if I noticed that I was about to put my t-shirt on inside out. Would have been more helpful if I had noticed it was also back-to-front. Finally, would have been extremely helpful if I had looked in the mirror prior to leaving the changeroom. No, none of those occurred. I sauntered on out into the public.

So, disheartened from the failed frock attempt, I went to the train platforms...and found that I'd missed the 12.00 by 4 minutes. Aaaargh. the next train wasn't until 1.....However, "what does that sign say" I mutter to myself (probably out loud!). On platform 4, there was a train scheduled for 15.30...in my muddled brain, 15.30 was well before 1pm, in fact, it was in 15 minutes. Yayyy, I'm saved.Would have been helpful if I had figured out that 15.30 was in fact 3.30, and not 12.30 as my poor little mind thought. Would have been even more helpful if I hadn't asked the guard to get the ramp ready so I could hop on that train. Finally, would have been extremely helpful if I hadn't asked the guard if i had time to go to the toilet before getting on that train. No, none of those occurred. But, as I was wandering to the toilet (to potentially have a 3 hour wee), my mind clicked in, so I hid from that conductor until I could sneak on the 1.00 and run away!

So, let's create the whole picture shall we,
- me- coffee-stained t-shirt
- but that's probably not a problem, cos it was inside out and back the front
- asking a conductor to get a ramp ready 3 hours prior to the train departing
- by the way, do you reckon I could manage to go to the toilet within that time frame?

Mmmm.....nothing for the cause.
PS. came home and had a 3 hour nap....much better now thanks!

Am I 'door impaired' too?

19 Apr 2007

I know. I said i wasn't going to write a blog for a while as I needed to use my powers for good instead of evil. However, i'm stressed to the eyeballs, have been staring at this computer at work since 8.30, and I needed to distract myself from statistics about the time use of caregivers....so here's a blog

"Why not go outside?" I hear you say.

Well, the simple answer is....I think I'm 'door impaired'.

My difficulty with doors all started several years ago when i managed a health care team that went into nursing homes and taught their staff how to deal with difficult behaviours of people with dementia. The staff were not used to seeing a manager in a wheelchair, so on about a weekly basis, I'd get stopped from leaving a facility.

Here's how it goes:
Me: typing in the access code to unlock the front door to leave
Staff: "What are you doing there? How about you go back to your room and wait for lunch to be served"
Me: "mmmm....there'll be no resources for you" (Yes, I am the dementia-nazi)

And, we all know my stories about the disabled toilet doors which are, in fact, disabled. They don't lock so people can't shoot up in there. But, that just means that I get to meet new friends whilst weeing.

Then, last night when i was leaving work, my affliction got worse. It was around 7, and I was late for basketball training (where I was the coach so i couldn't just sneak in). I had my head down, checking my phone for messages, and I forgot to press the security, after hours, magic, open the door button. Needless to say, the double glass doors didn't open...and i was left looking a little like one of those Garfield dolls you stick to your car window. (could have been worse. could have been one of those dolls that moon passers-by when you squeeze the little trigger!)

But people..things go in threes.

I stayed at a posh hotel last night (my coaching fee), and this morning, at 6am, after I hopped on the little shower chair, I closed the shower door, watched it catch on the towel, which then pulled on my wheelchair. Not such a bad thing, but the posh hotel room had an excessively 'disabled-up' disabled room, so the floor was sloping into the middle of the room. The door (my new affliction) hit the wheelchair (from my old affliction) and it rolled just far enough away that i needed to crawl to reach it.....AT 6AM PEOPLE. CRAWLING. WITH NO ALCAMAHOL INVOLVED!!!!!

So, right here, right now, I'm not touching any doors. If you need me, i'll be in the office...perpetually.


Oh. LATE ADDITION....I forgot to write about the story that provoked this whole discussion. This morning, at 8am, my swipe card wouldn't work on the doors to the lecture theatre (i was lecturing, so I kind of needed to get in). I rang security, and they checked my card but said it was working. They concluded that i "was ineffective in my swiping motion". EWWWWWIcky...but further proof that i am indeed 'door impaired'

Thinking music for the tonally impaired

15 Apr 2007

Yoga. Haven't spoken about that for a while.
Going ok. Thanks for asking.
Getting better at the downward dog(ish), my existing abdominal muscle seems to have found a new friend, and the "sitting salute to the sun" is smashing.

However, during the meditation, we are supposed to focus on our breathing to still our minds. But, my mind is a nomad, a gypsy if you will. (sing it with me, Gypsy, tramps and thieves....) so I really need to think of a question or something to really still my mind, cos counting my breath aint doing it for me.

There's the old bog-standard, tree falling in a forest and if/if not there is noise if no-one's around. Boring. If nobody's there, why would anybody care? Derr.

But, I've found another.

Last weekend, we went to a hippy-type music festival.
Nice and relaxing. Sitting on a rug, watching some dishevelled and malodorous men playing guitar.
But then, in amongst our settled state of mind, Bridie raised quite a contemplative question.
How can 1/3 of the audience sport dreadies, but we never see them at the shops?

So, the big question is....Where do dreadlocks go in winter?

Tomorrow night, at yoga, whilst everybody else is concentrating on their nostrils, I'll be thinking about that.

And yesterday, whilst in the queue at the supermarket, another question popped into my head...
How can someone dress appropriately, seem to be purchasing goods for domestic chores...but have never heard of deodorant?

And the important follow up question...
Should I tell him that the air around him is quite chewy?

Mmmm....thoughts to contemplate. Should go now and try find my mind! (it's probably in the fridge)


The perils of nanna naps

10 Apr 2007

So it's midsemester break....the easter bunny's been, our blood sugar levels are through the roof, our pancreas's (pancrei?!?) are hanging out for the next 40 hour famine, we know how the biggest losers felt (pre-tested, not post)....and I'm sitting here trying to do research.
"Why is she writing a new blog", I hear you say, "when clearly, she has research to do, and sugar coursing through her system?"

Well, thanks for asking.

You see, Lulu, the unhelper dog, is asleep right now at my feet. Oh, the dulcet tones of ...well....a semi-trailer roaring round a hairpin bend on an autobahn! I know that people are like their dogs (and we've already blogged that one), and I have been accused of searching for truffles in my sleep, but really, she's the winner. A few days ago, the bright pug dog chose to fall asleep behind my wheelchair when I was googling (I mean, "searching research databases"). I forgot (must have got used to the noise so didn't hear it...much like the 9.55pm train to melbourne), and I accidentally ran her over. Well, she woke up quickly, but then glared at me all day. And, if you've ever met Lulu, you know she can hold a grudge. Sometimes, even for years!
To illustrate my point, several years ago, a friend and her dog stayed at our house for a few days. In the middle of the night, Lulu, in a fit of jealousy and rage at having to share her home, snuck onto the other dog's bed....and did a poo on him! There is nothing so powerful as the wrath of a pug!

So, today, right here, right now, my mind is wandering....not very far...just to the perils of nanna napping. And in the style of A Current Affair - Nanna napping: What the government wants to keep secret

So, here's my story on when nanna napping caused me angst:

On Good Friday, we have a sausage sizzle (my cousins' response to 6 years of Christian Brother education). This year, I felt a little headachy, so popped a neurofen before I left home. However, after popping it, I remembered that it was from the packet that I bought in Paris last year. Looks like neurofen, tastes like neurofen....but sitting in a Parisien cafe after one tablet and a cheap carafe of wine, giggling to myself and repeatedly stating "je suis un bonbon, ooh la la" (I'm a lolly. ooh la la)....I'm not exactly sure that they ARE neurofen.


I wandered to the party anyway. Had a few beers and was feeling a little like a nanna nap. Found a bed, and pulled the blankets over my head. Because I'm tiny, and the bed was already ruffled, nobody seemed to notice that I was there. (Not really sure how they explained away the empty wheelchair beside the bed, but oh well).

Unfortunately, I chose a bedroom that had an ensuite toilet. And because nobody saw me in the bed, nobody chose to close the door to the said toilet. (I tried to alert people to my presence, but I couldn't seem to remember the phrase, "je suis un bonbon, ooh la la") Yep, for the next hour, I dozed to the many waterfall noises of a well-used toilet at a beer fest.

AND, one of our friends must have a 7 litre bladder. HOURS that one went for!

But, every good nanna nap must have a moment when you know it's over. For me, that was when a couple at the party decided they might have a religious experience all of their own...on the bed....in which I was napping....I woke up, but "je suis un bonbon, ooh la la" was probably not the phrase I needed then!

Popping off for another egg hunt.

Is 3 inches enough?

01 Apr 2007

Guys, we've had a victory! The disabled toilet at spencer st station (sorry, I mean Southern Crustacean) now has a lock!! Ooh yeah. Weeing in peace....the greatest type of wee (sorry, but I think that required a non-gratuitous emoticon)

Anyway, thankyou for all of your requests for blogging topics. I'll do my best, but here is my issue: it's difficult to write about something if you haven't heard of it/experienced it/randomly spotted it on a train before. So, keep the topics rolling in, but we'll see.

Speaking of "not quite in my universe", I just checked my junk mail for my work email address.

There was this astounding number:
Hello you, I saw your photo on that site and you really handsome man. I at home now, so please talk to me on msn. My login name is Skanky_McPanky (NB. I might have made the name up, but the rest is cut and paste)

Mmm. Firstly, Thanks.
Secondly, I was feeling a little unsure about my oestrogen levels, so I went back to the junkmail to see what else I could find. Found this little number...

Are you sick of not pleasing your woman. Our pills are guaranteed to make your member 3 inches longer. Surprise your lady tonight.

Great. That will make 3 inches in total then. WHAT THE?!?!?! WHY ME?!?! AND WHAT WOMAN?!?! NO, NOT FOR ME THANKS!

Ok, I'll admit, I'm not your standard skimpy-assed, plastic-face woman. But really....I don't really need a 3 inch willy, nor to speak to a "blonde, busty Russian" who wants a visa. Thanks anyway

But, not to worry. I've just booked a flight to Darwin for a tournament, and last time I was in NT, I had a small holiday romance. Well....the truth was....at noon on a Tuesday, in the Alice Springs Mall, a very drunk man thought I was a park bench and took a seat....then took a swig from his brown bag. Felt pretty special. Come to think of it...I really would have surprised him if I had a 3 inch doodle.


Is society to blame?

27 Mar 2007

I woke up an hour early today (bloody daylight savings), so instead of doing anything productive and meaningful, I thought I'd write you an early morning blog. Today's blog is brought to you by the letters R.U.B.B.I.S. and H.

I thought we'd have a chat (feel free to talk back to the computer...but maybe not if you're at work right now) about something that I've touched on before, but never really overted. Today, we're talking about "life when you're sitting down in an upright world", or, in the style of a current affair..."When good legs go bad! Is society to blame?".

These stories, with many digressions, are based on my day at the Wicked Festival on sunday.

How cool am I?
The WICKED festival. Hip hop? Doof doof cars?
No, Wicked was about chocolate, coffee and wine. Personally, I think they should have called the Migraine Festival. But, here we go then:

I caught the train up, and I managed to get a space (nb. not a seat, although I pay the same price, but a "parking space". I'M NOT A CAR!!!). Speaking of people pretending wheelchairs are cars, can't tell you how many times I get to hear, "don't get a speeding ticket" (Ironically, last week I did get a speeding ticket...for my car!). I have two friends who are married to each other and are both in wheelchairs. When they're doing the groceries, they want to wear t-shirts saying, "no, we're not having a race". Can you imagine how much "witty" people would shit you if you had to hear that joke every time you went shopping?

But, back to the train. One time, I got to sit in the cargo hold, with just a bike for company. Another time, I was able to sit in the luggage space....caged off from the rest of the train (seriously, I was in a cage). But sunday, I sat beside the buffet car. All good, except it was a long haul train, so the buffet was open. For the whole trip, I was perpetually in the food line. Dodged many a cafe vline, let me tell you.

Then, I got to the station. Thought I'd powder my nose before hopping in Cate's car (she usually appears to appreciate that order of tasks), so I popped off to the disabled toilet. Apparently, there is some concern about people shooting up or sleeping in these toilets, so they don't lock. Mmmm....nice
Who needs Myspace? I've found a new way to make friends......met some lovely new people.....as they walked in on me when I was having a wee.

Incidentally, when I was in line for a toilet at a servo somewhere between Perth and Margaret River, a small child and her mother were waiting beside me. The little girl (maybe 3), lent over to me and said "what's that?" "My wheelchair", I replied. "Can I have a go?" she asked. Felt so mean saying no, but I did add "Be careful what you wish for".

So, after all that excitement (surprised I didn't have one of them "disability attacks"), we popped off to the festival.

Crowds! It was one of those events that I don't actually see anything cos I'm too busy finding my way through all the people. But, that's ok, cos Cate is tall, so she narrated for me. Tell you what, it's very handy to have your own personal narrator...just like living in the Biggest Loser house.

We were wandering through the crowd, and I was listening to the lovely sights, when this guy squeezed his way in front of me, then abruptly stopped. I was so close to him that my footplate was touching the back of his legs. Then, guess what he did???!?!?
He could have moved forward.
He could have turned to apologise.
He could have even stepped sideways.
No. With my face precariously close to his bottom, HE PICKED OUT A WEDGY. If I was Scarlet O'Hara, I would have fainted.

Interestingly, I've never smoked, and I wonder if that is purely for safety reasons. Think about it. I'm in a crowded bar, smoking away. Someone farts, and there goes my eyebrows!

Ooh crap, is that the time. I better go to work. Don't want to miss the train!


The past - is that an appropriate place for it?

22 Mar 2007

So, I left home at 6.30 am to get to work today. Although it sounds hideous, there is always a positive for each negative.
Positive: I got to take a moments peace to sit still, and watch a beautiful sunrise over the very-foggy Port Philip Bay. In the words of my yoga teacher, I was able to "just be".
Negative: I was sitting in my car in gridlock traffic at the top of the Westgate, late for work, at the time!

To pass the time, I put on the radio. After singing "She works hard for the money" at the top of my lungs...with the windows down (NB. One day, quite subconsciously, I sang that in the supermarket whilst getting my groceries. It was only when someone else joined in that I realised I was singing), the annoying talking people came on and mentioned that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back!! Only, now, they are funkier. They're called TMNT (and yes, I sang it as I typed just then), and they are computer generated.

I have some issues with that....

Firstly, there must be hundreds of cartoonists in Korea who are now not earning their $7 a week. And I can't imagine that skill is transferable to many other occupations. eg.
Korean Social Security Man: "Can you do anything else besides draw masked turtles in ninja-style battles with giant rats?"
Artist-formerly-known-as-cartoonist: "Nuh"

I suspect that Pedestrian Crossing signs are about to get a whole lot more interesting in Korea.

My second issue with TMNT (sang again) is that they belong in the past. As a culture, we've been there, and done that.

Now, I can live with the reinvention of the ra-ra skirt (although, they are so short, that they should be known as the ra skirt), and the resurgence of Reisling as a fashionable wine isn't bothering me too much. BUT, I draw the line at crime-fighting turtles.

I firmly believe that there are things that belong in the past. For example:
- Take Blueberry flavoured Big M (flavoured milk). Now, what the heck were they thinking?
- Yo-yo's - yes, fun for the rest of you, but when you're a tiny little 8 year old, sitting in a wheelchair that isn't too far from the ground, mine was always just a yo. Banish them to the past I say!!
- Hypercolour Tshirts - I know, technically these are still in the past. I just wanted to make you go "Yeah, I remember them!"

So, let's be interactive here. Go on, take a risk. (apparently you use the little letters on the keyboard below the screen). Tell us, what do you think should be banished to the past?

Look forward to hearing from you.

5:35 PM - 2 Comments - 2 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - Remove

Too much stimuli

18 Mar 2007

I thought it was about time that I wrote a new blog....but, I haven't really picked a topic yet, so let's just jump in and see what we find, shall we?

I could possibly start with a little confession. I know that you all think I'm a little bit 'academic'/studious/dr nugget, but, I'm watching telly as I write this. And not just any telly....I'm watching CRAP telly! Love it! If you're going to waste your time, waste it good and proper. I've been wasting my time with The Biggest Loser.

Have you actually seen this show? It's like telly for the hearing / visually impaired. The contestant narrates something, such as "I didn't know what to expect when I walked into the room", then they show him walking into the room, with a close up on a worried looking face. Then another contestant says, "He looked scared", then they show that contestant watching the original contestant as he walked, looking scared. And so it goes...for an hour.

I like it though, cos after a long day of thinking, this show tells you which stimuli to attend to, which facial expression was important, and what action you need to see (and then repeats it, just in case you didn't quite get the narrative).

Brilliant. In fact, I have a story about stimuli that I just remembered. Many years ago, I was driving through Geelong in the middle of the night. I'd stopped at a red traffic light (there was no traffic at 3am), and my phone, which was sitting on the passenger seat, went off. (Now, here's the bit about stimuli), responding to the wrong stimuli, instead of answering the phone, I drove...straight through the red light! Bit tired I think.

Speaking of a bit tired, had a few drinks last night. A few means 2 wines and 1 beer over a 6 hour period...had to have a lie down all day! That's poo.

But last night, we went to one of those 'plastic paddy' pubs to celebrate St Pat's day. Isn't it great how we have one day a year where anyone with any Irish blood in them (no matter how long ago) fakes an Irish accent (to be sure, to be sure), and does a little jig whilst drinking green beer. And, I have one day a year to repeatedly demonstrate my wheelchair riverdance techniques...'twas grand.

HOWEVER, the particular plastic paddy pub we went to couldn't really be bothered with the whole Irish signage/ambiance/give a crap about St Pat, so there was plenty of people, but no green beer, and the band wasn't really playing covers of what you'd call 'Irish music'. (I could be wrong here. Maybe I am just ignorant, and Hot Chocolate is actually a boy-band from Dublin) (Actually, now that I think about it, the line, "I believe in miracles" is probably referring to the miraculous act when St Patrick rid Ireland of snakes. My bad)

Right, I think I'm done. Off to watch a Bollywood movie now. Yep, more crap. You know me...if I'm going to do something, I do it damn well.


The holiday of 1000 wineries

10 March, 2007

So, here's the complete and utter story about my trip to Margaret River. Rather than giving you a long monologue (nb. it would be a dialogue if you answered back!), I thought I'd just point out a few stories of my trip. Cos, let's face it, a plane ride's a plane ride, so woop-de-do.

However, a plane ride is significantly different to the usual if you rely on those little skinny wheelchairs to get anywhere. I got to sit across the aisle on the plane from a fella who also needed a skinny aeroplane wheelchair and who "used to be a busy man, but then [he] hurt [his] spine at work, so now [he's] nothing" (THANKS VERY MUCH!!!!- SPEAK FOR YOURSELF).
So, this fella decided to contribute to society by owning greyhounds.

Oh, did I hear all about those greyhounds. Four hours of listening to the greyhound stories. Even when I was pretending to do research, the distant hum of greyhound tales (get the pun?!) was in my ear. And golly, did he love his greyhounds...almost too much (if you get my drift, nudge nudge, wink wink). And, because this particular airline doesn't carry skinny chairs onboard, I couldn't get away! At one stage, this fella (and I don't actually know his name) saw me looking at some research statistics, and asked me to calculate some odds for him. The odds of him being intimate with a greyhound - I'd take 50 cents each way if I was you.

So I land, and Michelle picks me up....and drops me at Subiaco to entertain myself while she went back to work. My last blogs tells the story of the bike man, so I'll just tell one story about Subi here.

I meandered into a bookshop, and saw the spunkiest man I'd seen in a while. I thought i'd sidle up and ask him to reach a book for me (as an audition to see if he was capable of reaching my top cupboards - remember, not a euphemism!). So, I sidled on up, tilted my head to the side, batted my long eyelashes, smiled....and then I noticed the book he was holding - "So, you're about to become a father", which, by default, put me in the "so, your about to pop a sprog" section!! Yeah, that aint gonna work!

Cut my losses and ran!

The next day, Mich, Nic and I wandered down to Margaret River. Only a 4 hour wander from Perth. Many, many tree tops on the way, and approximately 2132423543453442342423432 power poles to see if you're too short to see over the dashboard.

Pretty place, Marg River. It was a little like Torquay and Anglesea, but the water was on the wrong side.

I was going to tell you the story of the slimy spa, but you might be eating, so I'll leave that for now.


Biker chick Perth-style

06 Mar 2007

So, did you miss me?!?!?

I went to Margaret River for a few days. Caught the red-eye back home last night, so now, I'm doing anything else but work!

There will be a full detailed blog later, but I thought I'd give you a warm up about my day in Subiaco, waiting for Michelle to finish work...and us to start our 3 day wine, beer, chocolate and dip binge.

I was having coffee at a cafe which was at the entrance of a shopping centre in Subi. A man came over to my table and asked if I could mind his bike cos he didn't have a lock. "Yep", I said, "but if someone runs off with it, I won't be able to chase them." "That's ok", he said, "at least I know you won't be riding it to cash converters. Think I'll take a chance".

More to come.
PS. Lulu, the dog, missed me so much that, after I got home at 1am, she spent the rest of the night sitting on the floor by my bed...just staring at me. The little freak!

Experimental living

17 Feb 2007

So, I did this whole "move out of Melbourne, quit my job, work from home and do a doctorate" thing. I thought it would be a good idea after years and years of working in pressure jobs, whilst balancing an international wheelchair basketball career. Mmmm....well, it's turning out to be an interesting experiment.

In the words of my doctoral supervisor, right now I should be "wallowing in the literature about dementia and looking for a niche" OR, in my words, "stuffing around pretending to work, but not really achieving anything". You see, I've managed to find many varied ways to spend my days, and so long as I have my research with me (not necessarily out of the bag), I must be doing my job. So, here's what I've done this week:

1. I regularly take my research to coffee in Pako....maybe several times a day. God, I'm wired these days! Haven't slept since last October.Time wasted: 1-2 hours per day

2. I took my research to Torquay for the day. I saw Ash Grunwald on the beach, but couldn't think of anything witty to say, so I just kept going. Then, I stretched out on a park bench (and there was still space for one more person), and "browsed" through some journal articles. Managed to get a quarter of my right leg sunburnt.Time wasted: 3 hours, including travel time

3. Played hide and seek with my dog.Time wasted: 1 hour

4. Took my research shopping. Tried some perfume testers, only to realise after spraying on my wrists that they were room fresheners. Spent the rest of the day smelling like a posh toilet.Time wasted: 3 hours, including travel time

5. Played Charades with my dog.Time wasted: 5 minutes - she really sucks, doesn't even know what a syllable is

6. Made a cup of tea, and put a rug out under the tree to read some literature. Within 30 seconds, the dog had knocked the tea onto the literature, and a bird did poo on my head.Time wasted: 1 hour, 45 minutes, including set up, then clean up

7. Did a google ego search (ie, typed my own name into google). Discovered that I am actually Alicia Molick's manager in my spare timeThen did a "Lisa Needs" search. Discovered "lisa needs a tree". Contemplated sitting under that tree, but remembered item 6.Time wasted: 10 minutes

8. Searched the Apollo Bay Music Festival website for any mention of wheelchair friendliness for their venues. Concluded that I might need to drive to Lorne to go to the toilet....if I go, possibly useful to limit my beers.Time wasted: 2 hours

9. Thought about playing Twister with my dog, but figured there were already websites dedicated to that kind of thing.Time wasted: 20 seconds

10. Contemplated googling those aforementioned websites.Time wasted: 6 hours
Got any suggestions?