Thursday, March 20, 2008

Drink and Drive, and it Can Haunt You Forever

......and you don't have to hurt yourself or others for it to haunt you.

I was really happy to read this news story on . Fosters have decided to drop their super high alcohol and guarana/taurine/caffeine fortified drinks. I'm not a wowser, but I'm really glad that one of the brewers has stepped up to take this one on. Printing "Drink responsibly" (in minute lettering) on the side of the single serve sized bottle with two and a half to three standard drinks in it does not end the social responsibility of these corporate giants.

I've been rethinking my relationship to alcohol a lot in recent times, triggered by the diet, general health consciousness, and the ever present "getting older" type thoughts, especially the morning after - the hangovers are getting much harder to deal with!

Socially, responsible drinking is not cool in Australia. If I stopped drinking at my second glass of wine (the healthy daily intake), I'd be pooh-poohed and made to feel like I was a party pooper, or a control freak.

We have a culture that tends to define being laid back with drinking until one's personality is altered in some way. Having a "couple of drinks" is rarely two drinks, it tends to be closer to four or five. For a woman, four drinks is a binge by health standards - that doesn't leave much room for a healthy level of drinking and socialising by Australian social standards.

That's not to say that I've stopped drinking, or that I only have two drinks at a time. I still get hangovers, but I'm aware of the toll they are taking, and I'm thinking in a much more holistic way these days.

I've been having a very stressful time trying to finalise our honeymoon plans.

We just made our final payment on our flights and cruise, when I innocently said "Just confirming we don't need visas, right?" to which was replied "Not unless you have a police record." Cue the drink driving charge rearing its ugly head once more.

I've had to disclose it to my insurance company, when I applied for a mortgage, advise it to the Blue Card authorities, and now, it could prevent me from going on the magnificent honeymoon we planned.

Thankfully, after a lot of research, and a few tears too, I've worked out that I *am* allowed to enter Canada, but only because my crime was not a crime in Canada (their drink driving limit is 0.08%, and my offense was under that) - if I had broken their laws, I would not be allowed in. Full stop. That's it. Five years after the completion of my penalty I could apply to be recognised as rehabilitated, but that process also takes time, and I'd have to demonstrate that I was in fact rehabilitated, and unlikely to re-offend.

The US Consulate has a different set of rules, which while not as black and white in their process, offers the perception of the potential for more discretion, and are far more rigid in the application of the rules. In short, Canada publish their rules, if you are inside of them, you're good to go, if you aren't, you aren't. The US doesn't publish the rules, and you have to apply in each individual case to see what they say. (There are big warnings though, that they don't like drug convictions, or convictions for terrorism ... ... ...) To make things even more involved, there is no consulate in Brisbane, so I have to go to Sydney, because one must personally attend the application interview. The free visa is also accompanied by all kinds of application fees and lodging fees and stuff. I'm hoping, that once again, given I did not break the American law, that I have a good chance I will get the visa, I'm especially hoping I get the visa seeing as though we've just finished PAYING for the trip... which of course, you should never do, until you have all your visas!

Live and learn. I'm just glad we aren't trying to go somewhere where they don't have alcohol in their culture!

I'm guessing, just like the conviction, this is the sort of hassle I have ahead of me for the rest of my life, every time I wish to travel. Fun hey?

Let me learn the lesson for you.

Don't drive home if you've had a few drinks.

I wasn't panicked as I drove up to the breath test - I wasn't drunk, I thought. I was curious to see what my percentage was. I was wrong. legally, I was drunk. It is my price to pay, I accept that, I broke the law.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Love

I am a lucky person.

I have so many people that I love, truly and honestly love.

Thank you to each and every one of you.

Today was not an easy day, and it was harder for some of my loved ones.

Thinking of you and sending my love.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time Ticks Away

Thank you Jigger for my title today.

Life is busy. The wedding is now just 54 days away, not that I'm specifically counting... "less than 8 weeks" is daunting enough for me, but the software I use does count, and it does come in handy. As expected at the 54 day mark, the wedding has become a very big focus and I spent last week compiling invitations, guest lists, updating addresses and putting together wedding favours. This week turns the immediate focus to table centre pieces and place cards, as well as many other loose ends that need tying and the continual budget wrangling.

I've also started rehearsals for "The Truth", another Pratchett inspired production being performed at the Brisbane Arts Theatre. As advertising materials are made available, I'll share dates and times and the like with everyone. The production is already shaping up to be a funny and rewarding experience, which is always handy when one has to juggle so hard to fit all the rehearsals in. This time round I've declined to Stage Manage, and am instead focusing on Assistant Directing, which is kinda fun, because it very much feels like an "all-care-no-responsibility" kind of role... there is responsibility of course, but not to the same degree a Director or Stage Manager needs. It is more of a fun than daunting role!

I've also been working half a day a fortnight doing a newsletter for BabyCakes' work, which has given us a bit more time together, rather than less, because I head into the showroom and work on a Saturday morning to coincide with when he has to be there to sell. It has been interesting so far, and the extra money is always handy.

With all these tasks and responsibilities, BabyCakes and I have seen each other in rather small bursts of togetherness, but it is all for a purpose so it is manageable. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, the honeymoon will be very nice to have some quality time together, while seeing some amazing sights.

The rain we've had has been welcome, but it is encouraging all the stuff we cut back in the garden to re-grow, so I'll have to find some time to wrestle them back into the shape we want!

BabyCakes and I have continued on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (albeit with some aberrations on occasion), but even with the blips, I was delighted to step onto the scales yesterday and find that I'd lost about 4.7 kgs in about 2-3 weeks, despite the tape measure not showing much change in that time. Mostly, we are both happy and healthy, and finding it relatively easy to make better choices when we do stray, and being more aware of what we have to do to make up for it. I feel happy about where we are, and where we are going.

I'd best be off now to get my candles out of the oven.....