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Monday, October 31, 2005

The Monday Wrap

Yesterday was my brother's 48th birthday, Happy Birthday Al. You're getting pretty old!

It was back to work today and the dawning realisation that it is exactly one month until my biggest program of the year, The Cool School Race Camp, a leadership camp for year 11 students. I am way behind in my planning and preparation!! Partly because of other priorities recently, but more so because I was away over east for the whole two weeks of the school holidays, a time I normally get to do a lot of the leg work around Perth, setting up contacts etc. Being so far from Perth makes it harder too, I can't just go into town for the afternoon, I need to go for a couple of days, which is what I'll be doing next week. At least I am ahead of last year on getting the photo book printed, last year we had a near disaster when it came back from the printer the day before the camp with 20 pages instead of 80!! Some urgent phone calls and last minute running around saw us get them on time but it was a close thing.

Tonight was the last round of squash before the finals and the good news is that despite our team losing we finished in the top 4 and will be playing finals next week. I won my game 3-0 and finished as the second ranked player in my grade, B3. In case you're wondering, yes it is the 2nd lowest ranked grade in the competition, and no it's not something to write to the world about, but it's been a slow news day! The most stressful thing about playing pennant squash is having to referee, or more specifically decide what to do when someone calls "let", ie. to allow it, dismiss it or call stroke and award a point or serve to the one who called, based on their position on court and likely outcome of the shot if they hadn't been obstructed, all in the time it takes for them to look up at you with that look on their face that says, "That was a let you moron, any idiot could see that!"

Carolyn's new credit card hasn't turned up yet, I got mine a few days ago. It reminds me of the two blokes talking at the pub. The first one says "My wife's purse and credit cards were stolen last week." The second replies "Have you reported it to the police?" His mate replies "No, so far the thief is spending less than she does!"

I've mentioned my mate Phil in the past. He and his family live and work in Afghanistan doing community development stuff. He works for the U.N. and has written a book called "From Under a Leaky Roof" describing the plight of Afghan refugees in Australia. (If you go to the link, click on the image to enlarge it).
I know Afghanistan is a tough place to live but the reality hit home when I read his most recent blog post, complete with picture of the bullet hole in the car door, result of a recent "ambush"/"attack"!!!!
Scary stuff. He doesn't post that often but when he does it's always worth reading. You can check it out at Sparrow Press.

This is Phil in the much more civilised suburb of Inglewood while on furlough last year.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Some of the junk mail I folded and bundled last night for Jordan the convalescent. Carolyn is out delivering it at this very moment. She just asked me if I want to go down to Bunnings when she's finished to look at new letterboxes? That's the problem with letting her loose in the neighbourhood she starts admiring other people's letterboxes! Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's letterbox! It's dangerous, I know where this will lead, next thing she'll be wanting to buy plants and railway sleepers and brick paving and .....and she'll be paying regular visits to Stu's Garden Blog.......and I'll be under the pump to do something in the garden! I'm proud to say I do all my gardening with the one tool, the lawn mower! Note the oxymoron on the brochure!  Posted by Picasa

More AAAGGGHHHSSSS!!!! The offending (and offensive) OC DVD's that stole my daughter's brain yesterday, along with that of her two friends. I only saw glimpses of it while I was in the kitchen but it was close to putting me off my food! That philosophers question I posed earlier is equally applicable in this instance. Now Survivor on the other hand, there's a good TV show......! Posted by Picasa

If it weren't for the Busselton Jetty and it's 4 peaked building the Busselton art community would have nothing to draw!! It is the number one icon of the town/region, I've thought of starting a collection of pictures of it. Stuart L the president of the local volleyball association was the architect who designed it, I bet he wishes he had a royalty clause for all the times it's been drawn, painted, sketched, photographed and reproduced in other media. This is a humble place mat, a bargain at $2! Posted by Picasa

Sorry about the low light and quality of this pic. This is a Jenny Taylor original I bought after the Boxing Day Tsunami. She was painting and selling them to raise money for the Tsunami appeal. I've since gotten to know her a little bit and she's a lovely lady and very generous whenever there's a good cause to support. She donated a framed print to our Quiz Night auction earlier this year, and gave me a freebie on the place mats yesterday too! Posted by Picasa

This triple set cost me a sum total of $7.50, Betty Bargain Hunter strikes again! Plastic oil and coloured water dripping timer thingies still seems the best description I can come up with. I've seen similar stuff in more upmarket shops like Thingz(!!!) (I was in King Kong remember!!) The lady I bought them off confided in me that she'd had a splitting headache all day but that watching these had been calming and soothed some of the pain. Further analysis revealed that the pink one on the right had the most therapeutic effect. Posted by Picasa

AAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! I did two loads of dishes yesterday, admittedly in the dishwasher-what a source of joy and blessing that has been to our lives! But, when I came out to the kitchen today what did I find? This huge collection of cups glasses and mugs all used this morning!!!!!! One of them is mine. We have 5 people who live here regularly. At the moment we've got an extra. There's enough here for 3 per person! PEOPLE!!! Drink, Rinse, Drink again, Rinse again, Drink again etc etc is that so hard?  Posted by Picasa

I didn't have much time to look around the art display at the Show but I did like this Aussie Bush Portrait. Just after this the lady at the door said, "I don't think you should be taking pictures of people's paintings without their permission".Why? What did she think I was going to do with them? Publish them on the internet or something! Posted by Picasa

Jordan R's well protected lego moonscape which I retrieved yesterday at the end of the show. I didn't have a ticket to reclaim it, I could have been just anybody walking in off the street looking for cool lego models to steal, or floral arrangements, or crayon drawings or the ultimate show prize, a crocheted rug! Next year I'm going to enter the helicopter hanging in my office, a leaving gift from the kids at Carine. Posted by Picasa

A worrying moment for Paulie as he went to get on the Ranger, the attendant called for a height check.Hardly surprising when you compare him to the size of the other riders, all high school kids. You had to be 1.3 metres to be allowed on. Levi missed out on the Dodgems with Stu for being under-sized. The single strand of hair standing on end was all that got Paul up to the bar! ps. I don't remember the bloke having a large dangley ear-ring so I suspect it's some sort of optical effect from the camera. Posted by Picasa

I've always loved lathes though I haven't used one since my first year of high school. I enjoyed watching this man wood turning, making an egg cup. Paul was impressed too and the man gave him a little wooden spinning top he's made, and burnt his name into it. As he was doing that, Stu who was with us asked Paul, "Did you tell him about the silent "D" in Paul?" For more of that wit and biting humour check out the gardener at Stu's Garden Blog. Posted by Picasa

We missed the real action here, first the kid who threw up on this ride at the Show, then the bloke sloshing the debris out with a bucket! Only the bucket gives away the truth. Have philosophers reached a conclusion on the age old question, Why do we spend money on things that will be bad for us? Posted by Picasa

Breakthrough drugs

Holt Press
Pinched this from Scheiss, who borrowed it from someone else etc etc. I found it while visiting from Michele's meet and greet. One of my Dad's online friends introduced us to this fun exercise which happens each weekend. I've bookmarked a couple of blogs as a result.

This is funny and clever and if you wrote it, all credit to you.

D A M N I T O L: Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 full hours.

ST. M O M M A'S W O R T: Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to two days.

E M P T Y N E S T R O G E N: Suppository that eliminates melancholy and loneliness by reminding you of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.

P E P T O B I M B O: Liquid silicone drink for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and prevents conception.

D U M B E R O L: When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low IQ, resulting in enjoyment of country music and pickup trucks.

F L I P I T O R: Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

M E N I C I L L I N: Potent anti-boy-otic for older women. Increases resistance to such lethal lines as, "You make me want to be a better person . Can we get naked now?

BUYAGRA: Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping Increases potency, duration, and credit limit of spending spree.

J A C K A S S P I R I N: Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary, phone number, or to lift the toilet seat.

A N T I-T A L K S I D E N TA: spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers in elevators.

N A G A M E N T: When administered to a boyfriend or husband, provides the same irritation level as nagging him.

Laying low, taking it easy in Busselton

Holt Press
Veg day today. Slept in till lunchtime!
Did some shopping, the sort where you go in planning to buy 4 items and come out having spent 50 bucks, then go to the next supermarket to get the things the first one didn't have and spend another 20 bucks!
Did some housework. (I've heard it wins brownie points and opens doors but I have my doubts)
When Paul's boredom threshold reached the red zone I took him over to play at Samuel's place. They get on well and Samuel lives next to a park so they spent the whole afternoon playing outside.
On the way home I picked up Jordan R's lego model from the show because the gardener and family have gone to Perth for an el cheapo wedding in someone's backyard, although they have hired a bouncy castle for the occasion. Presumably it's to keep the kids occupied though I have a delicious picture in my mind of bride and groom and minister making vows whilst bouncing and somersaulting their way around the inflatable. "You may chase, bump and tackle the bride"!
Visited the Do Care Senior's Art Exhibition at the Uniting Church, a strange mix of crocheted rugs, patchwork quilts, watercolour landscapes and a couple of large futuristic geometric acrylic paintings, one of which seemed to radiate light.
Picked up a bargain at Jenny Taylor's gallery, some "flawed" place mats for 2 bucks each printed with some of her pastel drawings and local beach scenes.
Found some cheap novelty items at King Kong, those plastic oil and coloured water dripping egg timers! You know the sort! Hmmm, with that description you won't have a clue! I'll post a pic some time!
Folded Jordan's junk mail, he's recovering slowly after the tonsillectomy and on some fairly powerful pain killers which make him a bit woozy and disoriented.
I cooked dinner on the BBQ, it will be good when the weather improves and the days get longer so we can bbq more often. Sophie said "I love BBQ'd food" amen to that.
Tonight I drove down to the 3 Bears pub at Dunsborough to watch Spurs play Arsenal on Foxtel. Spurs were dominant in the first half and led 1-0 but the Gooners came back strongly in the 2nd half and it finished 1-1, would have been nice to beat the old enemy but it's better than losing to them! Wonder how Boldy's going, he usually taunts me if Arsenal beat Spurs but seeing as we're above them on the ladder he might be a little more reserved.

Broken down like this it doesn't seem such a veg day, especially when compared with Sophie who spent the entire day on the sofa watching endless episodes of the OC with Clare and Brad. Trash trash trash! She starts work at 7.00 in the morning, thankfully Carolyn is on taxi duty.
The OC marathon reminded me of one school holidays I completely wasted as a kid by watching the entire series of Francis the Talking Donkey movies on TV, old black and white numbers starring Donald O'Connor, and Francis of course!

The Garage sale didn't proceed today, could have had something to do with sleeping in till lunchtime! Will have to get it organized a little earlier for next weekend, but I did buy two "flying" toys to add to the collection hanging from the ceiling in my office and 2 Incredibles figurines at a garage sale near town. The second one I went to was very ordinary so we came to an agreement, I kept my money, they kept their junk.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

After the sadness of the last few days, the blog needs some life laughter and colour. I took Paulie to the Busselton Show (Fair) this evening and he loved it, dodgem cars, fairy floss, show bags and The Ranger! Posted by Picasa

That's him, 3rd seat from the left yelling "HELP"!! Posted by Picasa

About to ride the Ranger Posted by Picasa

Paulie riding the mini roller coaster solo Posted by Picasa

Sherriff Simmo reporting for duty Posted by Picasa

Jordan, in pain after having his tonsils out this morning, and having to wear that nightie! Posted by Picasa

B1 & B2 at the yr 12's last day Posted by Picasa

Jordan R Josh J and Paulie at the Busselton Show this evening. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 28, 2005

Picasa OH!

I normally have no trouble uploading pics to the blog with Picasa but tonight it's not working, thus the last hour I spent sending pics was fruitless! Will try to do it directly from blogger's editing page!
Something's amiss here, that didn't work either! Frustration!

News coverage

Here is some of the news coverage for Brendan's farewell.

Funeral message - Nearly ready to move on!

I need to move on in my blogging I know but I wanted to post 1-2 more things from the service. This is the message I gave, with some quotes taken from the Womanly Parts blog written by Minerva that I mentioned a few days ago.
I haven't been running on all cylinders today, my energy has been a bit low and I've been a bit teary at times as I read the newspaper stories and recounted some of the things that happened while talking to people. I'm glad it's Friday arvo and I've got the weekend to veg out. I'm taking Paul to the Busselton Show shortly and the long awaited garage sale looks like happening tomorrow and Sunday, I love haggling so I hope people are in a bargaining mood.

Our Yr 12 students had their last day today, lots of fun and games and fancy dress costumes followed by some "How to stay safe and alive during Leavers Week" speakers and input. My comment to the was simple and blunt, "One funeral is enough guys, I don't want to have to do another one for any of you who do something stupid and get yourselves killed!"


Brendan Fitzgerald Funeral Message

27 days ago, our lives were rocked by a bomb blast in a Bali restaurant that claimed the life of Brendan Fitzgerald. The echoes and ripples of that blast will go on disturbing our lives for a long time to come. In many ways life will return to normal, we will keep on working, playing, eating, drinking etc just as we always have. But the world has changed, our lives will never be quite the same as they once were. For Lisa and Jessica and Terry and Mia and the rest of Brendan’s family, there will be a gap, an empty space, at birthdays and Christmases and weddings and family gatherings and the memory of Brendan and the realisation again of his absence will bring hurt and pain and tears. For Fitzy’s friends there will also be a gap, a hole that once was filled with the love and life and laughter of their mate. The footy team won’t quite be complete, the cricket team will seem unfinished, and the 18ths and 21sts and weddings and births that are to come will have a touch of sadness amidst their respective joy & celebration.
For those of us who didn’t know him so well, there will still be moments that give us pause, when we’re pricked by a memory, touched by a word, or stirred by a picture that reminds us of Brendan and of the loss we share.
There is sadness still ahead of us and days when we’ll feel an empty aching pain that can’t be treated, it will have to subside of it’s own accord. We might even give it a name, call it Brendanitis maybe, and if we do, perhaps a little twinge will tickle the corners of our mouths and we’ll remember again a good time, a joke, a laugh shared with Fitzy.
We could concentrate on death and all feel awful together, there’s no shortage of things in the world to get you feeling sad and depressed.
But I think that would be a mistake. I reckon it would be a dreadful way to respond to what’s happened and would slowly kill us all.
Death is the final stop for all of us. For most of us it is a long way off and will come peacefully enough. For Brendan it came violently and prematurely, undeserved and without warning.
Yes death is real and sad and permanent and inescapable.
But it’s no way to live.
I want to focus on life, on the possibilities, the adventures, the opportunities, the mysteries and the joys of this awesome gift called life.
We came today to celebrate Brendan’s life. To share again the good times, the happiness, the memories of a young man who lived well.
If you haven’t yet grasped the importance of this, wake up, have a look around and realise life is a gift to be cherished. You don’t know how long you’ll have it or what the quality of it will be so for goodness sake don’t waste it, don’t sit around on your bum letting it pass you by. Don’t spend your life gossiping or bitching or hurting people, get on with being good and doing the right thing.
I write a blog, an online journal on the internet, and I read other people’s blogs from all over the world.
This week I found a blog written by a lady called Minerva and was deeply moved by what she had to say. She details what it is like for her living with and fighting breast cancer as she raises her three kids as a single parent. It is gutsy and stirring and inspirational. I want to read you an excerpt from her blog post entitled:
The GREAT things about having Cancer....
“Am I mad? Strangely, not at all., but I have had my life enriched by its existence and learnt to count my blessings.
1. I have got back in touch with friends I have not seen for years and years.
2. My family have been amazing. I have had calls every day and lots of support.
3. I have stopped procrastinating on things that are important. I have stopped smoking, I have started eating healthier foods and I have started scrutinising labels. It may have taken cancer but I have realised that my body is special and worth taking care of.
4. That friends really matter, that friends really make a difference and that friends are everywhere. They are on the net, they are at work, they are the friends from school, from university, from places, relationships and seasons in our past. That when something really awful strikes, that a friend is everywhere.
5. That small things really make a difference.
7. That I want to live. That everything, money, possessions, fame, career means nothing compared with the hug of a child, the touch of lips against skin and a kind, heart soaring word
I never thought I would say this but thank you Cancer, thank you for showing me how rich life really is, for showing me the things that really matter.”
Can you hear it? Can you make the connection?
Try Substituting Brendan’s death for cancer.
I am moved in my spirit by the bravery, the courage and determination of this lady as she faces a mortal enemy and takes it on in a face to face confrontation.
For me the message is clear, don’t give in, don’t let this beat you, don’t surrender.
Instead, recognise the many many good things around you and strengthen the things that remain.
Be grateful for family and friends.
Be thankful for life and health.
Be moved by passion and challenge and beauty.
Be touched by compassion and kindness and mercy.
Be stirred by love.
Be encouraged by faith and hope and the limitless possibilities of the future.
Be prepared to work hard for just reward.
Be open to the possibility that God has got a job for you that only you can do.
Be ready to lend a hand and stand by those who need you.
Be determined to not give in to terror and tyranny and injustice.
Be daring enough to step out of your comfort zone and make your dreams realities.

Need I go on?
Life is for living.
And the best kind of lives are filled with love, both given and received.
There are 6 billion people on the planet and they all need loving.
You don’t have to go far to find them, they live in the same house as you.
They catch the same bus as you.
They go to the same school as you.
They are everywhere and they are right here and they need you.
And you need them.

Brendan Fitzgerald was loved and his life shone brightly because of it, his star blazed and spread a trail of love upon his family and his friends.
His star has burnt out, all we have left is the twinkle in his eyes mirrored in the night sky.
But your stars are still alight.
Please, let them burn and shine and spread light and love, for your sake, for my sake, for our sake and for Brendan’s sake.

Brendan Fitzgerald's Funeral

Holt Press
Today's funeral went very well.There was a pretty big crowd and very little spare room. Everyone did a great job, the boys especially as they gave their tributes, the tears were flowed throughout.

When I arrived the place was already full and I started to get a little nervous, my hands were shaking as I tried to take a piece of paper out of my file. 3 trips to the toilet in half an hour before the service were a bit of giveaway too. Earle and I prayed together before it commenced which helped.
Thankfully once we got under way the nerves settled down but then it was the emotions I had to keep in check! Nothing wrong with crying and being moved of course but when several hundred people are watching and waiting your lead, falling apart and being unable to speak is not all that handy.

Jess read a poem for her brother and Lisa spoke too, a very gutsy thing for a parent to do at a funeral but she did a great job. Billie's powerpoint set to the Scientist by Coldplay, "No one said it would be easy but why's it have to be so hard?" and "Sunsets" by Powderfinger was beautiful, tracing Brendan's life from birth to death. There were moving tributes, times of reflection and farewell, a few laughs, applause and a whole stack of love. It was very special and his mum and dad and all the family were very pleased with how it went.

From the chapel we proceeded out to the cemetery where Earle did the committal and burial and did a great job. The boys in Brendan's footy team formed a guard of honour through the cemetery and at the end of the service encircled the grave and sang their team song which sparked another wave of emotion and tears.
Typically for me I got through the service in fairly good emotional shape but afterwards the tears came as I watched his mates come and sprinkle dirt and rose petals into the grave. When the boys started singing I lost control and wept. Brendan's uncle Gordon came and gave me a hug and said, "tears are good, I should know".

One of the most poignant moments was seeing Brendan's Dad lifted out of a wheelchair by 4 big blokes and carried to the grave side so he could bid his last goodbye. This morning's wet cold miserable weather was gone, replaced by a beautiful sunny Busselton afternoon.
We gathered afterwards at The Goose Cafe on the beachfront for the wake and it was great to talk to lots of the kids and people who were there. The general opinion was that it had been great, a fitting farewell and tribute to a terrific kid.

I spent much of the morning handling media inquiries and doing interviews and I'm pleased to say that throughout the journalists, reporters and camera crews were cooperative and respectful. It was the lead story on GWN News and was reported on several radio and tv stations and will be covered in tomorrow's West Australian Newspaper.
I didn't see any of the coverage but Carolyn and the kids did and apparently Paulie was very excited when he saw Dad on TV!

It's been a big day but also a satisfactory one. I described it today as a sad duty but a great honour.

Carolyn and I went out for coffee tonight and found a table full of kids and parents who'd been at the funeral eating dinner. We sat in the corner but it didn't take long for a couple of the boys to come over and start talking to us and by the end the whole group had joined us, all wanting to talk about the service, the things that were said and done, their feelings and responses, and to thank me for what I'd done. It was a lovely and spontaneous expression of gratitude and I was blessed by their affirmations.

I'll post a few of the things that were said at the service in a couple of separate posts.
They're quite lengthy so some people may not want to read them all. :)
The first one is the biography, a short summary of his life from the start of the service.

The Life of Brendan Fitzgerald

I read this summary of Brendan's life at the start of the service. The details and stories were pieced together after spending time with his family and friends over the last couple of days.

Brendan James Fitzgerald was born at Busselton Hospital on Valentines Day, February 14 1989, the first child of Terry and Lisa. He was a healthy baby and apart from largely self-inflicted skateboarding injuries and lumps he insisted on showing to Mum and Jess, enjoyed good health his whole life. He started talking fairly early and one of his first words was “football” which set something of a pattern for the future. He went to play group then Kindy at the Family Centre and from the very beginning had a real thirst for knowledge, he wanted to learn and know everything he could and often amazed his family and friends with his general knowledge. His Dad remembers a couple of incidents from his early childhood, when he was about 3 or 4.

He was looking puzzled one day and Terry asked him what the problem was. He replied, “I don’t know if I should go outside and play or lay down and let my antibodies fight my germs.”

Another time Dad found him kicking Jessica in the bottom. “Brendan, what are you doing?” he growled. Brendan replied, “Well people do have bad days you know!”

Arriving home from work one day Terry found Brendan with a 40-year-old bottle of Port he’d opened cause he thought Dad might be thirsty when he got home.

Lisa remembers carefully hiding a Superman suit intended for Christmas.

Next day Brendan walked out saying “Look what I found” already dressed in the suit.

He loved food and it made him so happy he would hum while he ate. When he was little he especially loved BBQ’d sausages, as a teenager Tacos were his favourite meal and the only things he would help cook. It didn’t matter what or how much he ate, he would never put on any weight.

When Brendan was 3 his little sister Jessica was born on the 30 March 1992. They loved one another right from the start and remained just as close till the day he died. Jess would follow him round everywhere, besotted. “Stalking him” she said yesterday. Brendan never got annoyed with her or told her to go away, he taught her to kick a footy and bowl a cricket ball and there were plenty of hugs and cuddles, even when they came disguised as wrestles.

The other kids in his family were his three beloved cousins Joel Craig and Kael.

He learnt to read before he started school at Busselton Primary. He loved school and it fuelled his hunger for knowledge as well as seeing him develop and flourish at sports. He was athletics champion, captain of Chapman House, a budding football player and cricketer, as well as being a student councillor. The Principal commented one school sports day,

“Geez he’s quick across the grass!”

He practised his cricket skills for hours, not without a few mishaps like a succession of broken windows and the time he hit Jess in the head with the cricket ball. He loved playing sport and was very competitive but not in an ugly way, he was always a good sport and many times became friends with his opponents in other teams.

Terry and Lisa’s marriage ended in 1995 but on April 3 2001 he and Jess got a new little sister Mia whom they both were very excited about and loved to bits. Mia came to see Jessica in hospital and as she was leaving said, “I want my Brendy”.

Brendan commenced at Busselton SHS in 2002 and was soon to make a whole group of new friends. While he probably didn’t work as hard as he could, he still did well at high school.

He played for Towns footy club and was rated the best player for his age. In his last season he was team captain and won the Fairest and Best trophy. The doctor’s prediction when he was little, that being pigeon-toed would help him become a good sportsman proved true. Brendan loved cricket and was a good batsman and an even better bowler, capable of bamboozling opposition batsmen with his swing bowling. The call from the boundary, “C’mon Fitzy we need a wicket” would more often than not produce the wicket, as if on request. Playing for the A Grade Country Week rep side he opened the batting and the bowling and was very proud of his baggy blue cap.

Brendan loved skateboarding with his mates, often staying out for hours perfecting tricks like his 360 flip but skateboarding is a rough sport and when the bumps and bruises progressed to a sprained ankle he decided he’d have to give it up in case it threatened his football career.

Even driving a go-kart came naturally to him and he couldn’t wait to show his Mum the trophy he won for being champion driver. He loved learning new skills, even delighting in showing Lisa and Jess how he’d learnt to jump up and kick himself in the bum.

Brendan was funny, he loved comedy shows and was always the one to deliver the witty comment or one-liner that would crack his mates up. Lisa smiles at the memory of him bounding down the stairs three at a time, sliding down the banister and leaping into the living room with a “here I am” flair. Brendan was definitely a glass half full person.

On the subject of drinks, it didn’t matter how many times he was told not to he would invariably drink the milk straight out of the carton as soon as he got home from school or came in from playing. Hiding round the corner his glugging sounds still gave him away.

At the end of last term he and Dave would talk excitedly about the coming holidays and argue who would have the best time, Dave in Geraldton or Brendan in Bali. It was his first trip overseas and he was really excited about going, especially being able to share it with Jess and his Dad. Terry described him as a bit of a larrikin yet always a polite and respectful kid who never bugged anybody. He’s proud of both of them and told me “Lisa’s done a real good job raising them”. Both his parents loved the way the two kids loved each other and got along so well. When Jess was lost for half an hour in Bali Brendan was really worried about her.

On that last Saturday his Dad took him surfing for the first time in his life. Rejecting the safe idea of hiring a big Malibu he went for a little board and lo and behold stood up on the second wave he caught. They both caught a wave and as they rode it toward shore together Terry was thinking what a special moment it was. Nobody knew just how special it would be. Just a few hours later a senseless act of terror claimed Brendan’s life.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

2 hours to go.

It's 1.30 WST, 2 hours before the funeral and believe it or not I'm finished and ready!
Just got to go and buy a new shirt, since my weight loss, my size 46 shirt is like a circus tent. Before you get too excited, it was like a camping tent to begin with, I misread the size when I bought it!!
Mind you I haven't had breakfast or lunch yet so I might get something to eat too while I'm out.
I've fielded several calls from various journalists this morning and recorded an interview with GWN TV for their news tonight.

Discovered to my horror that I used the phrase "You know" about 10 times in the interview played on ABC "AM" this morning, aagghh! Just the sort of thing that drives me mad when others do it! At least I now know and can do something about it you know!!

It is Finished

It's 4am. and I've just finished writing the message for Brendan's funeral tomorrow afternoon. (Today really!) May have to deliver it in auto-pilot (auto-preacher?)
Just as well I do my best work at night!
A combination of computer trouble and teenager trouble held me up earlier in the evening.
With one you can give it a boot, the other just crashes leaving you to pick up the pieces!

Listen out for a couple of stories on ABC Radio news and current affairs tomorrow (AM, PM or The World Today) and a piece on the 7.30 Report on ABC TV tomorrow night.
I did a couple of interviews today.
Sad way to get my 15 minutes!!

I'm going home to bed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

One day to go

There's one day to go until Brendan's funeral and typically I've still got plenty to do to get ready for it. I've just spent an hour with Lisa and the extended family to put together Brendan's life story and then did two interviews with ABC Radio to be broadcast on their news and current affairs programs tomorrow.
I've got writing tasks to complete tonight including my message for the service.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sophie is hassling us to give her permission to get her tongue pierced!


I recoil at the thought of it, but of course, I'm not a teenager.

I want to get my tongue pierced
Of course you do, you're a teenager

Pierced tongues are cool

What about infection, and pain and discomfort?
Yeah I know, but I want to get my tongue pierced.

It can damage your teeth by wearing away the enamel.
Yeah I know, but I want to get my tongue pierced.

You know the drill!!!

Not sure what the outcome of this parenting dilemma will be, the parents in the family are united in their disapproval and revulsion.

The teenager is determined in her insistence.

Stay tuned!

Quotes to make you smile and wonder

Some brilliant stuff here! Not!
Courtesy of Phil Baker's blog.
Have been told this link isn't working. Am trying it again, sorry for any failures, believe me it's worth seeing, be patient.
If it doesn't work try here and scroll down till you find the post entitled Thinking Deeply About Things.
Seriously, you'll chuckle!

Historic Day at Holt Press

Big breakthrough at HoltPress (fanfare, drumroll) broadband has arrived! And it only took me two hours to get it set up and working! And, I'm on the phone, and the net simultaneously! Well, I'm not really, but I could be if I wanted to be and if anyone else I know was still up at this time (bearing in mind time zone differences etc). This is a proud day in HoltPress history, thank you, thank you, thank you very much (applause fades as the author leaves the stage.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Common sense prevails

Jordan has been working (delivering copious bundles of unsolicited advertising and promotional literature) for a couple of months now, having been wanting a job since about the time he moved from quadroped to bipedal movement. Now he's enjoying the fruits of his labour, the first taste of economic freedom, the power to buy stuff; one of the primeval universal urges that drives the planet.
What did he want to buy? you ask.

He wanted to buy an ipod.

Of course he did, he's a teenager, therefore he wants to be cool and as everyone knows, you can't be cool without an ipod.
Can you be cool with an alternative MP3 player that comes with more stuff, holds more songs and costs less?
Don't be silly, of course you can't.
Repeat this mantra after me "ipods are cool". Mantra Sub-text "only ipods are cool, only cool people have ipods, only people with ipods are cool etc ."

Have you considered the alternatives?
Yeah, I want an ipod.

Do you know that none of the accessories come with the original and they charge more for everything?
Yeah, I want an ipod.

Do understand that a super-rich super-clever multinational company has spent millions of dollars to orchestrate a supremely effective publicity and advertising campaign with the sole aim of convincing teenagers that ipods are cool, only ipods are cool etc?
Yeah, I want an ipod.

OK. Let's try ebay.

Here's one, brand new, can we bid on it?

OK. Done.

Fast forward one day to the evening news (commercial station, which will become immediately apparent)

Talking Head: "Apple announced the launch of their newest ipod today, which can now hold tv shows as well as 6 billion songs and 3 truck loads of pictures."

TV shows! Wow! That's so cool! I want that ipod!

Of course you do, your a teenager.
But you've already bid on the other one, the one you've been insisting on getting for two weeks.

Do we have to buy it?

If you win the bid on ebay yes you do.


Sorry, no buts, that's how it works.

Fast forward another 4 days.
No surprise, no-one topped the bid. (Why would they when the newer, cooler ipod that holds tv shows is now available!)

I'll sell it so I can buy the new one, (you know, the one that holds tv shows)


Fast forward another 5 days, money transferred, mailman arrives with the long awaited but less enthusiastically received ipod.

Now for the good news, from which this post derives it's title.

I'm going to keep it.

Something about tearing open a package and unwrapping something new and cool, like an ipod.

Don't get me wrong, it's his money, he worked for it, he can use it the way he wants, and ipods are pretty cool, but there's a lesson to be learned here somewhere I'm sure. Just hope he gets it.

Terminal blogging

Holt Press
There's probably plenty of people blogging with cancer but I doubt many of them write with the same fire, honesty and wit as a lady called Minerva on her blog called Womanly Parts.

Monday, October 24, 2005

An unusualview of Perth's controversial bell tower Posted by Picasa

Another example (I know the way blogger loads things this will appear first but we know the truth, I posted the other one before it!) Posted by Picasa

It's a little hard to see but I loved this, a French door with a range of self portraits painted on each pane. If this were mine I'd hang it between the dining and lounge rooms, what a conversation piece. Posted by Picasa

I thought this was clever and effective Posted by Picasa

Have you ever tried sculpting anything? It is bloody difficult! So while this piece is rough around the edges, I give it top marks for effort Posted by Picasa