life & leisure. too early for flowers: the story of a polio mother . calories ainâ€™t calories . grape expectations
Life & Leisure
Too Early for Flowers:
The Story of a Polio Mother
Libby Wright chats with Kurt Sipolski, author of the moving biopic ebook Too Early for Flowers, soon to be adapted into a major motion film by Hollywood actress Ksenia Solo.
Issue 546. December-January 2012-13
Life & Leisure
Ksenia Solo will star as Iris Mondy in her big screen adaptation of Too Early for Flowers
nspirational stories often come with anecdotes of incredible
battles with polio, the death of Kurt’s father after WWII, the sudden
feats or an “against all the odds” triumph over adversity,
death of her second husband and the loss of her eldest son to
but occasionally, a story inspires by showing how the less
melanoma – in the winters of her life. “Everyone assumes it’s a
fortunate simply survived or even flourished given the
primordial explanation of life and rebirth, but it’s more about how,
hardships they’re dealt. In his online novella Too Early for Flowers:
even when she was in the grips of tragedy, she was always looking
The Story of a Polio Mother, Kurt Sipolski tells the poignant story
forward to the joys ahead.”
of how his mother, Iris Mondy, lovingly cared for him through his
Too Early for Flowers showcases some of the intimate memories
struggle with polio as a child, selflessly dedicating herself to his
of his mother’s determination to help Kurt though his physical
recovery and the cruel twist of fate that saw Kurt caring for his
anguish and her ability to keep a brave face in arduous times.
mother in her later years. The story has recently been picked up by popular Canadian-
“She kept a lot of it to herself,” says Kurt. “She was stoic and I hardly ever saw her cry, but I have vivid memories.”
Latvian actress Ksenia Solo to be optioned into a movie and
He recalls her standing with her arms crossed in front of her
has helped bring awareness to the plight for polio eradication
chest, making Kurt crawl into the raspberry bushes where he’d
in our lifetime.
thrown his brace in frustration as a child.
“I got the idea when I was writing her eulogy,” says Kurt.
“Don’t you want to get well?” she had cried out. Years later,
“She was a courageous woman. She had to bear with me in her
Kurt found himself repeating the same phrase to his mother while
fortitude, in a time before self-help television shows, and carried
trying to teach her to walk again after a car crash and a broken hip.
the strain on her shoulders. Eventually, the situation revolved itself and I had to be strong for her.” Iris Mondy died after a battle with cancer on November 30, 1998; 50 years to the day that Kurt was diagnosed with polio.
The story gained attention after he submitted a piece around Mother’s Day to the Palm Springs paper. After they published it, it went on to feature in the LA Times and the international Herald Tribune with rave reviews.
The title itself comes from an expression his mother would make
“That’s when I knew I had to develop it into a book,” says Kurt.
about the seasons, how having suffered her greatest blows – Kurt’s
“A lot of people, especially younger generations, were unaware of
Life & Leisure
Ksenia Solo’s The End of Polio campaign photo
the pain this disease wrought on a generation of sufferers, both physically and emotionally.” One of those moved by the story was actress Ksenia Solo. “I am 24 years old and I feel incredibly lucky that I live in a time and place where polio is not robbing the lives of innocent people, especially children,” says Solo. “When I read Too Early for Flowers and learnt about this terrifying disease and the devastating effect it had on humanity I was deeply moved, and felt that as a young woman, as an artist, I needed to tell Kurt’s story.” Kurt’s story is not unique, however. Worldwide epidemics
time efforts and leadership in polio eradication,” says Mr Lunn. The End of Polio’s ‘Purple Pinkie’ photo initiative jumped considerably after the publication of Too Early for Flowers brought Ksenia to the cause.
robbed many children of a carefree life and the burden often
“The photos and messages that have been gathered through
pulled families apart. Kurt acknowledges his fellow sufferers and
Kurt, Ksenia and The End of Polio collaboration were shared with
their families, drawing on their quiet dignity and great pride as a
polio workers on the ground in Pakistan in October for World
source of inspiration and strength.
Polio Day (October 24) and then in November throughout the
“Even though this is the story of one family, it is the story of
country,” says d’Arcy. “Kurt is an important source of information
thousands,” says Ksenia. “It’s not only a story about a boy who
and inspiration for the polio cause, not only for the global
was deprived of his childhood and a big part of his adult life, but
eradication of polio, but its continued presence in countries such
also about his mother, an ambitious young woman, who had to
as Australia, Canada, the US and beyond with polio survivors
give up on her dreams and fight for her son’s life, by his side, for
and post-polio syndrome. As long as polio remains an issue, Kurt
the rest of her life.”
will be a great and important resource for the awareness and
With the publishing of Too Early for Flowers, Kurt has found
advocacy of this disease.”
himself an unlikely advocate for polio eradication awareness.
Becoming a voice for those affected by this sinister disease
D’Arcy Lunn, Australian Activation and Youth & Schools Manager
was never Kurt’s intention, but as it has progressed he says he is
at The Global Poverty Project and Campaign Manager for The
touched by how it has affected people, especially those too young
End of Polio Campaign in Canada, says Kurt’s story has directly
to know a time before the vaccine.
contributed to broader and higher engagement of the community,
“I’m fortunate to be able to help tell the story of those left
especially young people, with the work of Rotary International and
behind, both victims and families, and especially mothers, who
Rotarians and their important role in polio eradication.
often feel unwarranted guilt,” says Kurt.
“Kurt has helped bring together new generations with the polio message and exposed them to the work of Rotary and their long-
Issue 546. December-January 2012-13
Too Early for Flowers is available online only at www.amazon.com, smashwords.com and scribd.com
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
RRP: $49.99 (Hard Cover)
For the reader who has lain awake fretting
Spor t is supposed to be a serious
Dellarobia is a young mother so
over his tenuous grasp of the Critiques of
business, yet few activities are more likely
discontented with her poverty-stricken
Immanuel Kant, or his unformed sense of
to provide a chuckle or three.
life on a failing farm in the Appalachian
the line of thought that descends from
No-one captures this juxtaposition
Mountains that she impulsively decides to
Hegel through Marx to 20th-century
better than David Boon, a man who, for
have an affair. On her way to consummate
Soviet state socialism, or who struggles
many people, has come to epitomise the
it, she stumbles across something so
to call to mind the key strands in the
“great Aussie bloke”.
impossible as to be a miracle.
thinking of Edmund Husserl, Michel
During an international career that
But is it? Or is it a sign of something
Foucault, Jacques Lacan and Jacques
ran from 1984 to 1996, he became the
more disturbing – a freak of nature that
Derrida – help is at hand. It comes in the
quintessential Australian sportsman and
indicates how far out of whack the world
comfortingly accessible form of Stephen
one of the most popular and respected
Trombley’s Fifty Thinkers Who Shaped
cricketers of his, or any, generation.
With the Christians of her community
the Modern World, a concise history of
“Boonie”, as he is more affectionately
celebrating it as one, and visiting
modern thought from the Enlightenment
called, is also best known as the man who
researchers treating it as the other,
to the present day.
drank 52 cans of lager en route to London
Dellarobia finds her life totally
– then went on to play a cracking game!
transformed. Thoughtful, powerful and
F i f t y T h i n ke r s W h o S h a p e d t h e
quietly compulsive reading – highly
Modern World opens with a substantial
David Boon’s Funniest Sporting Moments
introduction that outlines the history of
provides a bumper collection of mishaps
human ideas, from the philosophers of
and moments, not just from cricket, but
Review by Lindy Jones
classical Antiquity to the European 18th
across all sports, that will become the
century, via the Christian scholastics of
side-splitting stuff of barbecue legend.
131 York Street, Sydney
02 9264 3111
the Middle Ages and the development of Renaissance thought, culminating in the philosophy of Descartes and the development of scientific method. Having
thus set the scene, Stephen Trombley
For your chance to win a copy of Flight Behaviour email editor@rotarianlifeandleisure.
traces the development of modern
com or write to Editor, Life & Leisure, 2/3 Fleay Court, Burleigh Heads, Queensland,
thought through a sequence of accessible
4220 with your answer to the following question. ‘What is the highest peak of the
profiles of the most influential thinkers in
Appalachian Mountains?’ Please include ‘Flight Behaviour Giveaway’ in the subject line
every domain of intellectual endeavour
and postal address details in the body of the email (or within the letter).
Your guide to what’s happening this month
February Macarthur Progressive Lunch and Winery Tour The success of the inaugural Macarthur Progressive Wine Luncheon in November has led to the planning of monthly events
What’s what and what’s hot throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands this December-February
for 2013 in Australia’s oldest wine region. Three of Macarthur’s wineries – Fussy Grape, Trattoria La Vigna and Razorback Ridge Wines – will band together to offer three-course progressive lunch tours. The first 2013 lunch will be held on Sunday, February 3. Book on 0416 521 753 or email@example.com
26-27 14-27 New South Wales Queensland Tasmania Northern Territory
January Heineken Hottest 7s in the World
January Australian Open Witness the drama unfold as the world’s greatest athletes dominate the courts at Melbourne Park and test each other’s
A fantastic opportunity
skill, determination, courage and endurance. More than mere
sporting heroes, the likes of Rafa, Roger, Novak, Andy, Maria,
international rugby union
Victoria, Caroline and Serena are global superstars, all striving to
claim the first Grand Slam® title of the tennis season. Every year
Hottest 7s in the World is
the Australian Open gets bigger, better, more intense and more
a Rugby 7s competition
breathtaking as these stunning athletes leave nothing to chance
conducted in Darwin with
in their quest for the ultimate prize. www.australianopen.com
from overseas, interstate, intrastate
Darwin. With prize money
of $67,500 it ranks as the leading prize money 7s event in Australia. A women’s competition will
also be conducted. www. hottest7s.com
Western Australia Australian Capital Territory
December Australian PGA Championship
The Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola will tee off at the Palmer Resort Coolum on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Australia’s oldest professional tournament, the Australian PGA Championship has boasted impressive fields, including Bubba Watson and Darren Clarke along with
Issue 541. July 2012
Peter Senior, Robert Allenby, Geoff Ogilvy and Peter Lonard. www.championship.pga.org.au
January Henley-on-Mersey Celebrate Australia’s proud heritage and pioneering spirit as well as our unique quirkiness at Henley-onMersey. Try your hand at archery, whip cracking, sheaf tossing, egg throwing, a scarecrow competition, the hurdy gurdy and the ever-popular ferret races. The ferrets are placed in one end of a long pipe that traverses up and down and around hay bales, with the first ferret to fully emerge at the other end being the winner. The event is coordinated by the Henleyon-Mersey Management Committee, a collaboration
by the Rotary Club of Latrobe, Lions Club of Latrobe and Latrobe Council. www.henleyonmersey.com.au
Marlborough Wine and Food Festival Over 8000 wine lovers attend the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival
February One Day International
each February. Festival-
This Commonwealth Bank
Series One Day International
Day Night Cricket will be the
the region is famous for,
first time the Australian cricket
along with many other
team has played in Canberra.
delicious varieties of wine,
The match against the West
scrumptious local produce
Indies is a headline act for a
and gourmet cuisine. www.
host of events celebrating
December-January Hyundai Hopman Cup
February Adelaide Cellar Door Wine Festival
Adelaide’s Cellar Door Wine Festival features over 150 of South Australia’s favourite wineries. Get in first to sample the newest and hottest varietals to hit the market. Featuring a collection
For 24 years the Hopman Cup has been serving up the very best
of the yummiest food producers sampling their wares, visitors
in international tennis to the sport-loving Western Australian
to the festival will be able to indulge at the Regional Farmers
public. No less than 21 world number one players have thrilled
Market, which includes a range of specialty produce. Take part
the packed crowds. The 25th championship will be no different
in the many Master Classes, sample hero wines and grab great
with the best players in the world coming. hopmancup.com
festival bargains. www.cellardoorwinefestivaladelaide.com.au
Calories ain’t calories One calorie is not the same as the next – or so the latest research indicates Words: Olwen Anderson If you’re keen to lose or maintain your weight, you know how
FATS, PROTEIN OR CARBOHYDRATES?
challenging it can be. Sometimes it seems like no matter how
The first diet assessed by researchers was the classic low-fat diet,
little you eat, or how much you exercise, your weight changes
supplying 45 per cent of your calories as carbohydrate, 30 per cent
only slowly, and not in proportion to the effort you’re putting in.
as fat and 25 per cent as protein. The “low fat” approach has been
One reason losing weight can be difficult is that you need fewer
the diet recommended by experts since the mid-20th century. This
calories as your body weight reduces. But the composition of your
diet heavily utilises grains and as a result has a far higher glycemic
diet is a factor too. New research suggests that the proportion of
load. Alas, for the participants, this resulted in burning less energy
carbohydrates, fats and proteins in your diet is just as important
on the same number of calories, making it easier to regain weight.
as the calorie count.
WE THOUGHT THEY JUST ADD UP
The second diet was at the other end of the scale: the ultralow carbohydrate diet (10 per cent carbohydrate, 60 per cent fat, 30 per cent protein); so low in carbohydrates participants needed
We used to believe that our body treated calories from fats,
fibre supplements for their digestion to function properly. This
proteins and carbohydrates in the same way. That whether you
diet was so restrictive researchers believed it was unsustainable.
lost or gained weight was purely mathematical: eat less calories
Interestingly, they also found that you’re more likely to feel
than you expend in energy and you’ll lose weight. Eat more
stressed eating this way; perhaps because eating carbohydrate-
calories than you need and you’ll gain weight. But many people
rich food can be calming.
have found through bitter experience that this just isn’t what happens in real life.
The third diet, which produced the best results for weight loss maintenance, was the “low glycemic load” version (20 per cent
What the study concluded, when assessing diet composition,
protein, 40 per cent fat, 40 per cent carbohydrate). This diet
was that your body will manage its weight more effectively
contained a generous amount of carbohydrate, but all from low-
if you eat a moderate amount of fat and modify the type of
carbohydrates you eat.
Legumes, starchy vegetables and only a select few unprocessed
The researchers reviewed three varieties of diet: a low-fat diet,
grains (like brown rice, quinoa and oats) are low glycemic
an ultra-low carbohydrate diet and a moderate low-glycemic diet
carbohydrates. Sugar and processed grain products like breakfast
with moderate protein and moderate fat content.
cereals, bread, cakes, lollies and soft drinks create a high-glycemic load and don’t fit into a moderate carbohydrate diet.
THE SCIENCE IN REAL LIFE What would this kind of diet look like in practical terms, compared to the classic Western high-grain, low-fat diet? It would probably include a little more high-quality protein, a return to including fats with your meals and far less reliance on carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, breakfast cereals and sugar. That could mean a cooked breakfast of eggs or meat and vegetables or baked beans, a salad for lunch with a little rice or starchy vegetables, plus some good fats from avocado or olives, and an evening meal rich in animal protein and vegetables. The take-home message from the latest research is that if you want to lose weight, and keep it off, get sugar and processed grains out of your diet – and don’t be scared of eating fat. Olwen Anderson is a naturopathic nutritionist. Visit www.olwenanderson.com.au
Issue 546. December-January 2012-13
Eureka! moments that keep hearts beating
or many people, having a hear t attack is an
While pacing the corridors, Anna read an article about a small
unthinkable prospect; “I’m young”, “I don’t smoke”,
organisation, the North Shore Heart Research Foundation (now
“I’m a woman” we tell ourselves, but heart disease
Heart Research Australia), which funded the research that led to
does not discriminate. While lifestyle factors may play
the new treatment methods that saved her husband’s life.
a part, and as we age we tend to suffer more health problems, a heart attack can strike men and women, young and old alike. Anna Pavoni tells of her devastation and disbelief when her young husband suffered not one, but two heart attacks, all before his 40th birthday.
“The ECG he had in the ambulance meant he could be wheeled straight into theatre on arrival. They said he had two hours to live tops, so every second counted.” Heart Research Australia funds first-stage research that might never see the light of day without their support. For example, a
As millions of people watched Alessandro Pavoni and his
few years ago, hospitals typically used drugs to open up blocked
apprentice cook on MasterChef Australia last year, no-one had
arteries, but they were slow acting and could cause complications.
a clue the fit, young star had suffered his first heart attack at
One day, Professor Helge Rasmussen and Dr Gregory Nelson,
the age of 36, and that another would follow a short while later.
cardiologists at the Royal North Shore Hospital, had a “Eureka
“One minute he’d gone for a surf, the next he was having
moment”. They felt sure that mechanically unblocking arteries
open-heart surgery,” says Anna. “Worse still, it was his second
would work better. Heart Research Australia gave the doctors
heart operation in eight months ... and he was only 38.”
funding to test their hunch further. This became known as the
Alessandro had very subtle signs he was having a heart attack; not at all like the dramatic symptoms seen in movies.
SALAMI (Stents as Alternative to Lytic therapy in Acute Myocardial Infarction) program.
“Our whole journey started when Alessandro had chest pains
Programs such as SALAMI and ETAMI, the early assessment
in the middle of a yoga class and some aches he put down to
program Alessandro received in the ambulance ride to the
a pulled shoulder from lifting weights. We were floored when a
hospital, have reduced heart attack mortality rates at Royal North
blood test showed he’d had a heart attack.”
Shore Hospital from a staggering 30 per cent to 2 per cent by
After the first heart attack, Alessandro continued life with his
cutting the time between the start of symptoms and surgery.
usual gusto. After opening his first restaurant, the two-hatted
Heart Research Australia is a fundraising organisation that
Ormeggio at the Spit in Mosman, he opened Spiedo Restaurant
receives no government funding. To find out more about Heart
& Bar in Westfield, Sydney City, in 2011.
Research Australia go to heartresearch.com.au. If you would like to
Then one day while out surfing he felt pain like a dagger striking his chest. Still in board shorts, he was taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital for emergency double heart-bypass surgery. “Waiting while he was in theatre was my lowest point. I was terrified, disbelieving, asking myself if I would ever see him again?”
make a donation call 1800 999 060 or send your cheque to Heart Research Australia, PO Box 543, St Leonards, NSW, 1590. “I can’t be grateful enough or shout loud enough from the rooftop how much we need Heart Research Australia,” says Anna. “Because a heart attack can happen to anyone!”
Healthy Habits Advertorial
Restore your dignity and self-esteem “I proudly served in Japan and Korea; my doctor said that my diabetes was brought on as a result of this. “For more than 30 years this disease has affected me, it has robbed me of my right foot and the toes on my left foot. I have been unable to clean myself after going to the toilet for a long time and my wife had to do this task for me. “Five years ago I had The BIDET SHOP® install a bidet seat to my toilet; it was such a relief for us both! ”My wife was able to leave the house and spend time with her friends, knowing that I could look after myself now. I am so happy; it is embarrassing when another person has to clean you. The Bidet has restored my sense of dignity and self-esteem. ”If you’ve got a problem that’s making it hard for you, give these blokes a call, it’ll change your life.” Phone The BIDET SHOP® on 1800 243 387 (Australia) or 0800 450 837 (New Zealand) and talk with one of their friendly staff today.
Issue 546. December-January 2012-13
Food + Wine
Want Fly-Buys with that Sir? Words: Max Crus Forty years after the first Bankcard statement frightened our parents witless, finally, with tap-and-go credit cards, credit is as fast as cash. Forty years for technology to catch up to analogue, pencil and
1 Mr Riggs Outpost Cabernet, 2009 – $25
paper, brown paper wrapping, granny-trolley, Liberal Party, 1950’s
Great wine for camping and visiting relatives, outlaws and outposts.
values, and what do we do? Immediately introduce “Rewards”
8.6/10, but a few more points after a few more anniversaries.
programs to slow it down. Never mind the GFC or Euro crisis; this is the biggest issue in the mercantile world today, the evolution of customer service. Ask not what you can do for your country, but how many free macchiatos you can get.
It’s all very “feel good” that the local coffee shop gives you a free one every 10 coffees, but who can be bothered? Struth, wouldn’t you rather just pay 30 cents extra and not have another card in your wallet, or slow down the
Blue Pyrenees Luna (Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir), NV – $20 How appropriate for a room full of people over the moon over the Swans’ grand final victory. 8.8/10
process as the barista searches for it trying to remember your name? If you like the coffee and it’s fairly priced, just give them the money and move along. And whose idea was Fly Buys-style rewards?
Charge five per cent more than the product’s worth, give you a two per cent “reward” you cash in years
Tyrrell’s Single Vineyard Belford Chardonnay, 2009 – $33
later on a toaster or superseded compact camera,
Could there be a Chardonnay revival? We should probably hope not
only after paying an annual fee for the privilege,
or the price of things such as this will go through the roof, or the
itself the value of the toaster.
bell tower. 8.7/10
What part of the corollary that Frequent Flyer programs actually make products more expensive don’t people understand? The same part that makes them play pokies perhaps? Sure, 20,000 points looks plenty, and the
goods always look fantastic in catalogues, but the reality is very much “rear-vision
Angove’s The Medhyk Old Vine (McLaren Vale) Shiraz, 2008 – $50
mirror effect”. When they arrive months
How appropriate with two doctors at dinner? One of 3660 bottles,
later, it is immediately apparent that
meaning only 3659 remain, so find one and count yourself lucky and
“Items may appear larger in the catalogue
extremely rewarded. 9.3/10
than reality”. Rewards are all very well, but why speed things up with tap-and-go just to slow it down again with “Have you got a Fly Buys card”?
“It’s in here somewhere!”
Yeringberg Shiraz, 2010 – $62
Naturally, wine is the exception
Too sophisticated for a sausage sizzle, so order the steak sandwich
in rewards marketing, and
... and bring a corkscrew. A better buy than just about anything from
every 13th bottle free you
must admit is much better value than a free latte.
6 Pfeiffer Shiraz, 2010 – $23 You don’t see many father and daughter businesses, so relabelling as Pfeiffer and Daughter could be a marketing coup. As would “Pfeiffer the price of four!” Meanwhile, good cricket wine … five for… 8.4/10
Will you write your Memoirs? How many times do you hear people say, â€œI wish Iâ€™d remembered to ask my grandmother more about her lifeâ€? or â€œI wonder what life was like for my grandparents when they first arrived â€˜Down Underâ€™?â€? I grew up in New Zealand and we used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with a huge bonfire and the usual array of fireworks. What I remember most is that after the excitement of letting off all the fireworks, all the children gathered around the fire with hot
â€œThere are things about my family history that only my mother
mugs of cocoa and listened to stories told to us by the adults.
knew. She talked about them now and then when I was too
And during the years since, whether in the outback of Australia,
young to take it all in. Some were retained by my sister, but sadly,
the Sahara Desert, or even in the isolated Scottish Highlands,
not documented.Â Now they are both gone, and to my great
there have been many times when peopleâ€™s stories have held
regret so is a large chunk of my family history that is no longer
recoverable.â€? â€“ John Davies, Melbourne
Clearly, as the result of their life experiences, relationships
As always, I believe that motivation is the key. I know we are all
with others and the world around them, everyone has their own
busy these days, but once a loved one dies, all the information
unique story to tell. And it is by sharing those personal stories
they possess (unless itâ€™s recorded) is lost for ever.
that we enrich the lives of others, who may be able to relate to
If you decide not to write your story yourself, I suggest
our triumphs, struggles and difficulties. Imagine the 95-year-old
employing a biographical writer who will most likely wish
who rode to school in a horse and buggy, experienced the first
to inter view you. This can be a ver y exhilarating and
electric light and has lived through two World Wars.
You donâ€™t necessarily have to record your complete life story
Nowadays, with digital printing technology, it is possible to
in chronological order and, in fact, you may prefer to focus on
produce a very professional and attractive book for a reasonable
a particular period or event. For example, someone who has
cost. In most cases, I have found the client will want to print a
excelled in motorcar racing may simply wish to record those
limited number of books to give as gifts to family members. Of
experiences. Or perhaps a family member who has recovered
course, should you so aspire, you can preserve your legacy with
from a life-threatening illness may want to share their story to
an elegant, leather-bound finish..
help others. And Iâ€™m sure that from time to time weâ€™ve all been
For more information on writing your memoirs contact Tina
subjected to a few stories from keen ex-military personnel who
Blackmur on 0419 382 180 (Australia), 0210 2640 748 (NZ), email
are just bursting to share their wartime experiences with us!
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.writecreations.com.au ď Ź
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December / January 2013 Issue