wings and things

Ming the Merciless!

When Ming finished school just over a year ago, his cohort was issued with school windcheaters which each kid was allowed to have labelled with their name or a nickname. Ming chose “Ming the Merciless.”

I was reminded of this when we drove into town yesterday morning for him to have his driving test. All the way in (20 minutes), he yelled different versions of a victory cry at the top of his lungs – for example:


Eventually, I managed to quieten him a little by saying, “Now I want you to keep roaring, and I am sure you will pass this time, but just in case you don’t, it’s okay.”

He resumed his roar of absolute confidence even more loudly!

When we arrived, we waited outside, with another kid and his driving instructor, for the driving assessors to come out of the licencing centre. Ming had ceased roaring, but even his ordinary voice is LOUD, so he rather overwhelmed the other kid (who was very shy) with:


In the meantime I had a much quieter conversation with shy kid’s driving instructor.

“He’s just excited,” I said.

Öh,”he said.

Then (at exactly 7.50am) the driving assessors whooshed out of the building and called out the names of the victims ha! The shy kid simply nodded when his name was called but Ming yelled, “MING YES, THAT’S ME!”

A few minutes later, it was just the shy kid’s driving instructor and me sitting on a bench outside the centre, making pleasant smalltalk. I was trying very hard not to bite my fingernails!

About 25 minutes later, both assessors and boys arrived back. Unfortunately, the shy kid had failed outright so, as I watched his driving instructor and his mother commiserate with him, I also watched Ming’s body language as he sat inside the car listening to his assessor. I was still sitting on the bench at a distance from the car so I couldn’t hear what was being said but, at one point Ming put his head in his hands, then he threw his arms up in the air, then repeated both gestures before getting out of the car. I didn’t know if this meant he’d passed or failed.

As his assessor slipped back into the licencing centre, Ming approached the shy kid, and the shy kid’s mother and driving instructor with a loud ROAR, punching the air. They were standing just outside the centre whereas I was at a slight distance still glued to my bench. I yelled out, “Ming, yes or no?” as I ran towards him, but he didn’t hear me above his huge voice.

But, just as I reached him, he threw his arms around the shy kid’s driving instructor (someone we have never met before, by the way), and I knew he’d passed the test! He then shook the shy kid’s hand nearly off, saw me (finally!) and kissed me soundly on both cheeks and we entered the licencing centre, with Ming yelling:


Ming, the Merciless!


Too good to be true!

1. Ming finally passed his driving test!
2. Someone wants to buy our old car for more than the price we wanted!
3. I got my new bike!
4. A blog friend is sending me a gift!
5. Ming and I saw Anthony this morning (after two days of not seeing him) and he didn’t get all down in the dumps when we had to go!

Details to be blogged soon – I am too busy grinning!

Oh yes, and Gutsy9 (baby peacock, for those who don’t know) is thriving!



Some people love Change and some people hate it. Change sometimes causes terrible conflicts – in relationships, workplaces, countries, and in all sorts of different contexts – when one ‘side’ embraces Change, and the other ‘side’ doesn’t.

I used to love Change until too many changes happened at once, and then I craved stability, but that got a bit boring!

So it is now back to Change again – yeeha – because Change is wonderfully malleable. You can change Change; after all, that is its nature.

I have learned that if you don’t welcome Change, it will bite you anyway – not nastily, just in a nibbly way.

Change and I are buddies again and it has been a fantastic day!


Enough is enough

I never intended for this blog to become so personal and I certainly didn’t intend for it to become so sad. It was a blog about our adventures with birds – a way of cheering the three of us (Anthony, Ming and me) UP!

How was I supposed to know that Anthony’s Parkinson’s would escalate, then collide with Ming’s spinal surgery? How was I supposed to know that we would have to find a nursing home, that I would have to resign from my job, that I would have to figure out Ming’s post-op. requirements, that we would lose many of our birds to foxes?

How was I supposed to know what last year would entail – Ming’s anger, Anthony’s sorrow, my despair? Obviously I don’t have very good foresight.

I do, however, have pretty good hindsight and tonight I have realized that enough is enough, that I am not going to allow myself to die because Ants is dying, that I am not going to allow myself get angry because Ming is angry, that I am not going to allow myself to sink into this self-pitying quicksand of despair.

Apologies for recent posts.

Enough is enough!



It worked! I didn’t ring Ants until exactly 4pm and he was happy, loving and Ants! Another of his fantastic nephews was there. Oh the relief that he was fine. Joy!


Disengagement dilemmas

It is nearly 1.30 in the afternoon and I haven’t yet rung Anthony. This is very unusual.

Usually, I ring him multiple times per day beginning with the morning phonecalls. When I say multiple times, I mean multiple attempts. The big, easy-to-use mobile we got Ants goes to message bank after exactly 13 rings, so my system is to let it ring 12 times, hang up, and do the same thing a couple more times. I usually get him on the third try.

But, even when he answers the phone, he often can’t hear me because he is forgetting how to hold the phone to his ear, so I have to yell my side of the conversation. And sometimes, he starts pressing numbers on his phone and unintentionally cuts me off, so I have to begin the whole ritual again. I often have to ring the nurses to help Anthony answer his own phone.

I do this phonecall thing in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening regardless of whether I am visiting him or not (an average of every second to third day now).

When it works, our morning conversations are light-hearted (Ants is lucid), our afternoon conversations are mournfully hopeful (he is sad and wants to come home), and our evening conversatioms are bizarre (he is confused).

It is nearly 1.30 in the afternoon and I haven’t yet rung Anthony. I will wait, with my hand poised near the phone, with his number carved into my brain, with my heart splintering, until 4pm.


Because otherwise I will go stark, raving mad.

This is a very heavy love.


Is it okay to be angry with the person who is sick?

Yes it is!

This morning, I rang Anthony to let him know I would get him taxied out here this afternoon and he said, “So I can be taken away like a piece of garbage again?” Lucid, sarcastic, uncharacteristically nasty.

Ït wasn’t my fault the taxi came an hour early, Ants!

Well whose fault was it, Jules?

Long story short, a wonderful nephew of Ants brought him out to the farm at around 11am and was willing to take Ants back but Ants wanted to stay longer. Okay.’

Once the nephew had gone and Ming wasn’t within earshot, I sat with Ants in the kitchen and asked him calmly why he was so mad at me.

Because I want to stay home!

I lost my temper! We had a humdinger of a row during which I ranted about him being selfish, told him that I couldn’t cope with this new nastiness from him and, finally yelled what I have tried to gently say for nearly a year on a daily basis – YOU CAN’T COME HOME TO STAY, ANTS!

He finally accepted it and I got him outside to the front veranda to wait for the taxi. We shared the beer we missed out on yesterday and reconciled with lots of loveydovey conversation.

We cleared the air, apologized to each other, hugged and kissed and held hands and I explained how I am suffering too. Ants understood finally and I realized that it was okay to have been so angry with him.

Oh and the taxi arrived an hour late this time – argh!



pea 1115pea 1110

I have never before been so attentive to, and appreciative of, a single moment. Moments are much more pleasant than hours.

Anthony was taxied home this morning and, even though his 11am drug hadn’t quite kicked in, Ming and I managed to get him into the kitchen because it was too hot outside.

The three of us had a rollicking time with a little bit of champagne thrown in. Then Ming’s two best mates dropped in to see Ants. I knew Ming had invited them, but I was heartmelted that they bothered, these two amazing young men! Ants was delighted to see them and we all spent an hour or so, still in the kitchen, bantering, listening to Triple J, and eating vegemite on toast.

By this time Ants was just able enough to go for a drive with Ming in the new ute so the friends left and Ming took off with Ants. By this time Ming’s demeanor had altered from grinny to grumpy. By this time I knew I would have to order the taxi for 3pm, not 4pm, which I did.

Ming and Ants got back and I helped Ants out of the ute and walked him to a chair on the front veranda. He was okayish and suggested a beer! I went into the house to find Ming fuming that Ants had dribbled in the ute (drooling is common in Parkinson’s Disease). I bit back and we had a rather nasty altercation.

And then, just as I was about to join Ants on the veranda for a beer, a taxi arrived – one hour early – 2pm! The shock and disappointment was terrible for Ants and the only way I could make it okay was to say we’d do it again tomorrow.

So it was a bit of a mishmash of a day. On the other hand, the good moments far outweighed the yucky ones. And the best moment was when Ming made Anthony smile!


The struggle

I am half elated and half deflated in anxious anticipation of Anthony coming home for the day tomorrow.

It will be a difficult day, and no amount of positive thinking will change that because the Parkinson’s Disease owns him now.

Two nights ago, I rang him and he said ‘they’ were going to blow him up and I wouldn’t be able to find his pieces. I could hear a nurse calming him down.

One of our best friends is going through the ordeal of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer.

Several of my blog friends are battling severe health issues and one has just lived through the death of her daughter.

I am scared because I dón’t want Anthony to come home tomorrow because he is so heavy with illness.

It’s the old Ants I want – and so does he – ironic.


While I was away….

pea 926pea 923Someone took over my office!