A dramedy dream of a Hey Dad..! reboot

Last night as I was scrolling the interwebs before bed, I saw something about Tori Spelling confirming that 90210 was going to make a comeback with all the original cast. I didn’t even open it, but I had that thought of “yet another 90’s show getting a reboot” and wondered whether that was something the world really needs or not?

But it must have caught the attention of something in my brain, because I woke up from a dream where we were having a very weird meet and greet in a pool, and I realized we were meeting all the new people for a Hey Dad..! re-make, but of course, Robert wasn’t there.

I woke up and it hit me, we could totally do a Hey Dad..! reboot, but make it a dramedy, or just a realistic comedy, about a family and friends dealing with the aftermath of a parent being sent to prison for kiddy fiddling.

It would actually be a very timely comedy. Right now we’re dealing with the aftermath of the Royal Commission, #metoo and of course our own personal experiences of sending one of our own to jail.

We could show all the shitty situations that arise from being someone who disclosed, or a family member of a pedo, all the awkward family get togethers, the trolls who think you made it up, the other friends who your dad molested, and basically show that even though it can be hard, that life can still be ok, and you’ll make it through.

We’ll make a show about how the show can still go on.

We could bring back the original cast, with the exception of the one in jail of course.

no need to hear from you….

We’d have to have a new production team. Reilly got out of paying us residuals by saying he sold the rights, and sorry dude, I would never want to work with you again either, so I guess I’d produce it myself. Shrimptank Productions could finally start filming again. 👍 I’d make an awesome Executive Producer, and I’d never be an arsehole to a kid on set. Simone Buchanan has been directing lately, so she could direct or act, or be a double threat and do both.

I think it could be a winner. Everyone is doing re-boots, people are all obsessed by crime shows and podcasts, we’re in the midst of dealing with sexual assault as a society. It’s timely all around. Plus, we could all use the work. 😉

So what do you think? Should we get the cast back together? Which originals would you bring back, and who would you banish? Would you show it from the day dad went to jail, or once life has settled down a bit?

Image result for hey dad cast

More importantly, now that the show name has been tarred, would you watch it again if it had the same name?




Old Threads

Today I was googling around, seeing if there was any new reviews on my book, Allegedly, and I found an interesting forum thread, that was started way back when the allegations first came up in Woman’s Day and A Current Affair.

Back in the day, these kinds of forums really tore me up. So many people discussing my life, which I accept is part of going public. There were so many judgements, name calling, and in the case of this thread, people getting pretty stroppy with one another. Back then, being in the center of it, I mainly noticed the negative comments. Today, six years later, I can read these, and see all the positive ones. I can even laugh at the douchebag who said that I was an actress, and therefor, anything I say or do must be a lie. I guess one of the main things I’ve learnt over the last few years is that a person’s opinion shows more about them than it does about me.

Sometimes when I come across these old threads, I wonder if the people who wrote them ever look back on the things they wrote back then? Do they look back and wonder what they were thinking at the time? Do the ones who stood up for me feel glad that it did go to court, and justice was served? I hope they feel proud they stood up for someone else. I also wonder if the ones who think that anyone who speaks up publicly are only after money and fame have since experienced something in their life that could teach them some empathy, or if they are still the sad, closed minded people they were back then?

Either way, I’m glad I am at the point that I can see these things, and it no longer upsets me. As shitty as the whole process was, I’m glad I did it. I’m even more happy that I was given the opportunity to write Allegedly, and share MY story. The one that wasn’t told in the media. Even better, I love all the messages I have received since, from people who have read it. Before writing it, I knew that many of us had shared journeys. So many of us had experienced the same things, but because of the silence surrounding abuse, we didn’t share it, and we didn’t know how similar we all are. I have so many people telling me that they experienced similar things, similar journeys, whether it be a parent that ignored them and the abuse, or the feelings of loneliness, or the doubts of others. We are all so much more similar than we ever thought, and that is comforting. We aren’t alone. We have others who can understand us, who know what we’ve been through, and who we can talk to.

I hope one day you’ll be able to look back at things that were painful, and no longer feel that sadness. That you know that others are here for you. That I am here for you. That time really does heal all wounds.

Most of all, whatever you’re going through, ignore the douchebags who say shit about you. You know the truth, and in time, they will too.

Try not to take things personally What people say about you is a reflection of them, not you


COPE training

Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience

This weekend, Matt and I went through the COPE facilitator course. Some of you may be wondering what COPE is. It stands for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. It’s one of the many programs run by the BSA, (Boy Scouts of America) and it’s a lot of fun.

Here’s the official explanation.

What is A C.O.P.E. Course?
C.O.P.E. is an acronym for “Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience.” a COPE Course is a custom built challenge course or ropes course designed to meet the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)Project C.O.P.E. installation and operation procedures. COPE Programs are based on attaining seven goals outlined by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

The seven C.O.P.E. goals are summarized as

Teamwork Teamwork is the key that allows a group to navigate a C.O.P.E. challenge course successfully. The C.O.P.E. challenge ropes course experience makes it clear that each individual can accomplish more as a member of a team than by  going it alone.
Communication A C.O.P.E. challenge course encourage in the moment active learning of critical listening and discussion skills important for any group, troop or individual attempting to accomplish a difficult task.
Trust Participants completing difficult tasks on a C.O.P.E. challenge course develop trust in the C.O.P.E. staff members, their fellow troop members and themselves.
Leadership Team members attempting to solve problems on a cope course have abundant opportunities to develop and exercise leadership skills in small and large groups.
Decision Making Project C.O.P.E. requires groups and troops to make decisions by developing one or more solutions to a  the specific obstacle, problem, or initiative. Teams must consider all the available resources and alternatives, and evaluate the probable results before moving forward.
Problem Solving Project C.O.P.E. challenges groups and individual to develop solutions to interesting problems. Participants must step outside of the box and frequently use creative ideas. Participants can then test their solutions and evaluate the results.
Self-Esteem Meeting the challenges of a C.O.P.E. challenge course allows individuals and groups to develop self-esteem  and encourages them to set challenging yet attainable goals.

If you’ve ever seen some of those high adventure courses that companies like to send their executives on for team building, it’s the same kind of thing.

sarah on belay
Here's me on belay. We're showing even the smallest in the group can belay a bigger person, by using an anchor.

On Friday night we started off with some trust exercises. These vary from the one on one where you have to fall backwards and trust the other person to catch you, standing in the middle with your eyes closed while you get pushed around the circle, having everyone join hands and pass through a hula hoop plus several other mind games. Most of these are designed to create communication and trust in the group.

Saturday we started off on some of the low courses. These are mentally challenging and really focus on problem solving and teamwork. Then, in the afternoon, we got to my favourite, and Matt’s dreaded, the High course.

I have no fear of heights. None. Never have. I have more issues with the low trust exercises than I do with the high course. Which comes in handy when you’re also the smallest person in the group. I have no problem with being used to show rescue techniques. I was a little more nervous when they asked me to be on belay a much bigger person, but that was just because I didn’t want to screw up and get them hurt.

Climbing the pole at the start of the high course

Turns out a smaller person can belay a bigger one, you just need another person behind you to hold on to make sure you don’t go flying up in the air. I got about a foot in the air, but it was all good. I got him down on the ground safe and sound.

When it was my turn to go through the high course, they used me to demonstrate a rescue technique. On the first wire, which has ropes hanging down that are each spaced further apart they had me let go and fall so they could show that if a person wanted to stay on the wire and complete the course, you could hoist them back up onto it. It just takes a few people puling really hard.

After I got back up onto the wire and got to the first crows nest, it was onto the Burma wire. We had to hook onto the second line and let the first line go. Since we were the facilitators, we were doing all our own hooking and unhooking. The Burma wire has a central highwire, with two other wires that you hold onto to make it across to the second crowsnest.

reaching for the first vine

From there, it’s on to most people’s favourite, the zip line.

On Sunday, they had a team of athletes come out from the local university and we had out first day as official facilitators. We put them through some of the team building exercises. Then, they went to the high course. I stayed up on the crowsnest between Burma and the zip line. My job was to get them across Burma and re-hook them onto zip and talk them over the edge. I was surprised how comfortable most of the girls were. Only one of them was terrified. We’re not supposed to push people off the edge, as tempting as it is, because it’s challenge by choice. But I did ask her if she wanted to be pushed, and she said no. One of her team mates made it over to the nest, and we kept talking her through her fear. After about 10 minutes, I asked her again if she wanted a push. As soon as she started to say yes, I pushed before she could change her mind. Everyone heard her scream and they all looked at me. Her teammate yelled down it was ok, she heard her say yes to the push. She was still shaking when she got off the line, but after a few minutes she came back to encourage her teammates and let them know she was really glad she had done it. Sometimes in life the fear can be too great to do something, even though you rationally you know it’s safe. Sometimes you need a push, and there’s no shame is asking for it.

hanging on the wire waiting to be "rescued"
Hanging on the belay rope, getting "rescued"

After the team left, we went and did one last exercise, which unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of. It’s called the Leap of Faith. Basically, there’s 3 poles set up in a triangle. You have to climb one of them, and then basically jump off and try to tap a hanging rope between the other two poles. It’s called the Leap of Faith because you have to have faith that the person down below will hold the rope and not let you fall. I was good climbing up the pole, but trying to get both feet on top so I could stand to take the leap was hard. The pole wobbles, and trying to hoist yourself up with nothing to hold onto is hard. Its a telegraph pole, so the top isn’t that big. Just enough room for two small feet. It was the first high challenge that really pushed my boundaries and got my heart pounding. I finally got up there. Stood for a few seconds, eyeballed the rope to tap, and leaped out to hit it before plummeting to the ground. Obviously, since I’m writing this, I didn’t really plummet.

Almost to the end on the Burma wire

It was pretty awesome. My group had the rope and I swung back and forth a bit. The only real danger was swinging back and hitting the pole. They lowered me to the ground. Then, I got to belay for the others going up there.

We had a great weekend. Poor Matt is terrified of heights and he couldn’t bring himself to get up on the wire while a bunch of newbies were holding his belay. So he was in charge of the camera. 😉

Next I’d like to go do the COPE Director course. It’s a week long course out at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

Flying down the zip line. The Leap of Faith poles are to the left of me. You jump off one towards the middle of the other two.

If you ever get a chance to try a COPE course, go do it. It’s an awesome personal challenge.

You’ll find that you’re much stronger and braver than you think you are.


My 34th Birthday

I had the most incredibly fabulous birthday ever.

Since San Antonio is 16rs behind Sydney, I get a really long birthday! It started with a text from my brother on Monday afternoon. I was pretty excited he remembered, and even better, he said my beautiful nephew sent me kisses! I started gets tweets and FB messages from all my friends in Oz.

Tuesday I woke up and Matt had to go to work. I got to spend the day just relaxing. I pottered around, watered the garden, pulled some weeds, did some laundry. Matt came home for lunch and headed back to work. When he got home again, he told me I looked hot from working, and I should go take a shower and just relax. He said he thinks his Mom was going to come over and surprise me… I hit the MIL jackpot with Matt’s mom. She’s the nicest lady ever. She loves me like I’m her own.

Then I get a text from one of my best friends Vicki who’s another Aussie expat who had since moved from San Antonio to the coast. She was in town, and wanted to know if she could pop over to say hi.

Matt’s Mom shows up, and then our best friend Will came over. Will was my first friend in America. We actually chose where we live so we could be close to him. He was the only invited guest at our wedding, where he shared duties of best man and maid of honor. He even went dress shopping with me!

 So now I’m thinking we’re going to dinner with them. Then Vicki shows up. Then, my BFF Cassandra turns up. I love Cassandra. When everything was going down last year, she was the one who held my hand through the whole thing. When Matt had to go to San Diego, he sent me to stay with her, knowing she would take care of me. I got her a job at my work, but they’ve never put us on a shift together. Probably smart…

 Then, I hear my chihuahua bark, and Lindsay and Stacey are here! Lindsay’s another Aussie, and his wife Stacey is the sweetest thing on earth. I was there when their boy Casey was born and they mean the world to me. Casey is actually the only kid that Matt likes.  Then, another bark, and Eric and Melissa are walking in the door. Eric is a huge giant redhead and Melissa is this beautiful petite woman. Eric and I did Boy Scouts together and we traveled all over the US and even went on a trip to Mexico together. Eric also works at Immigration and he’s been with me through my entire immigration journey. Now, we’re all going to be in the same military unit together.

So, we’re sitting around drinking Bundy Rum, having a great time, when Matt says, “Lets Go”. I’m like, what do you mean? I’m not dressed pretty, my eye was all swollen up from allergies and I had no make-up on. But I was so happy to be surrounded by my favourite people, I walked out the door.

Then I saw it. Matt had rented a big white stretched limo. It’s Fiesta in San Antonio, which is a huge week long party. So instead of trying to find parking downtown, Matt just got the limo. Then we could all drink, ride in style and not worry about parking. We all laughed when we noticed the footprint on one of the windows…

So we rolled downtown, and Cassandra had picked this really nice Italian restaurant. We got there, and they thought our reservation was for the 13th… No worries, they got a room sorted and we were all seated.

We got a bunch of wine, ate great food and I looked around the table and thought about how lucky I was to have such great friends in my life. Then, my phone rang, and it was Ray, one of my bestest friends in Australia. My night was made.

I am so lucky to have such great people in my life. This last year has been tough, but it also taught me a lot about who my real friends are.

I love all you guys. Thanks for being my friend.


Hello Brazil!

I woke up to my tweetdeck showing a whole bunch of tweets in Portuguese with my name in the middle of it. Apparently BBC news in Brazil picked up the story. Checked out my website, and there’s a bunch of little Brazilian flags showing my hits from down there.

So I just wanted to say Olá to everyone in Brazil and I hope you’re having a great time at Carnival. I hope to make it down your way one day.


Camping in Autumn

The Ranch in Stockdale, Texas

red dirt in stockdale texasIt’s finally cooling off here in Texas. Today I actually needed a sweater when I got up. I love this time of year. It’s cool enough to go outdoors and actually do stuff. Most people like Spring, because of the same reason, but I have such wicked allergies in Springtime in Texas, that all I want to do is leave, so I guess Autumn is my favourite season here.

Matt’s parents bought a ranch in Stockdale, Texas when he was a kid as an investment for his college fund. He didn’t use it, so they still have the ranch. It’s just over 100 acres, about 40 minutes away from our house. I love it out there because it’s all red dirt and reminds me of the Australian outback. The only difference is all the cactus and oil wells.

We’ve spent the last couple of months cleaning up the ranch so we can actually go camping out there. It’s primitive camping. No water or electricity. However, Matt had them run a meter a couple of weeks ago, so we’ve now got  electricity. We also rigged up a water tank. Matt had one of his old jet ski trailers laying around, so he put a 120 gallon water tank on it to take with us. We went to the RV store, got a small pump, attached a shower hose, and now we’ve got an outdoor shower!

Last weekend was the first time we actually went and camped down there. We had a 24ft enclosed trailer with AC which we put all our stuff in; food, chairs, the 4 wheeler and then we took tents to sleep in. Matt invited the folks from the Jeep Club to come on down too. A few people turned up the second day we were down there.

The first night I set up the tent, Matt assured me we didn’t need the fly. It was going to be cool, and we weren’t expecting rain. The tent had just mesh on top, so you could lay there and look at the stars. Towards the morning, he kept poking me because he thought I was farting. (I do that in my sleep) But, it wasn’t me. It was the condensation and the dew on the inside of the tent plopping on the tent floor. The second night he let me put up the fly. The first night he was also worried because we rent the ranch out to a guy with cattle, and thoughout the night we kept hearing the cows mooing getting louder and louder. At one point, Matt got up and moved the jeep closer to the tent so it was blocking the path between the tress, the trailer and us. When I got up in the morning to go find a tree,  I was surrounded by cows getting closer as the were curious while I popped a squat. Better than rattlesnakes I guess….

Maya loves going down to the ranch with us. She gets so excited when she sees us packing to go anywhere, and anytime while down there we go 4 wheeling, she runs up to the jeep wanting to go with. You’d think she’d hate it because she gets bounced all over the place, but she loves it. She also loves the ranch because we let her run free. Everywhere else we keep her on a leash and she loves all the news smells out there. At night we keep her close though since we’re worried about her getting taking by a coyote. Hawks are always a danger during the day, so if we see any circling, we keep her in sight. The first few times we took her down there I was worried about her running off, but now she just seems to follow us around and really doesn’t wander off too far. It’s funny watching her try to get into the tent during the day. She likes to sleep in comfy places, so we have a bed for her in the trailer too, but she prefers the air mattress… She’s such a little snob. At night I bring her bed into the tent, but then daddy lets her crawl in under the covers with us. He likes her keeping his feet warm as much as she likes to be close to us.

So the whole weekend turned out pretty nice. It was Columbus Day weekend, and Matt had taken Friday off, so we got in 3 days down there. We though about spending Sunday night too, but we both had to be to work early, so we came home Sunday afternoon to get everything cleaned up. Now that it’s all set up, I think we’ll be spending a lot more time down there. We’ve already organised a big trip for Matt’s birthday weekend in December. By then, most of the insects should be gone, it will be nice and cool out and watching the stars by the fire will be awesome. Living in the city, we don’t see many stars, but out at the ranch, you can see the entire milky way and so many shooting stars and meteors. One of the other jeepers brought his kids down just to see the stars. It was pretty awesome.

So, now I’m looking forward to the next couple months. We’re heading on a train trip with Matt’s parents up north of Austin next weekend. The Hill Country in Fall in supposed to be beautiful. Then, back down to the ranch.

The best thing about heading out to the wilderness is getting back to nature. No TV, no internet, no noisy neighbours and seeing a million stars. It also makes you appreciate the little things in life when you get back home again. Like indoor plumbing.



Congratulations Julie and Adam!

Julie McGregor got married!

Betty Wilson getting marriedMost of you know her as “Betty” and some of you may remember the infamous Hey Dad..! episode where Betty was supposed to marry long time fiancé Stan.

In real life however, this past weekend, Julie McGregor married long time beau, Adam. I wish I could have made the trip back home for the wedding, but I didn’t want to sour a happy occasion by having it get turned into an excuse for paparazzi to bring up the recent events….

Simone flew up from Melbourne and she messaged me and told me it was a beautiful day. I’m looking forward to seeing the pics online. I think there’s going to be a spread in Woman’s Day, so I’ll have to order a copy of the mag online.

So Congratulations to Julie and Adam. I hope you two are as happy as Matt and I am. I can’t wait to see you guys as Mr and Mrs when I come home next.


Stand up for victims of child abuse

National Child Protection Week

A study has just been released in Australia that says that just one third of Australians would call police if a child told them they were being sexually abused.

The results, released on Wednesday, showed that 48 per cent of people would not take action in clear-cut examples of child abuse for fear they might be wrong, while 42 per cent said they did not think it was their business. But most of the 22,000 people surveyed by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) believed child abuse was a serious issue.

Since March, when I went public with my own history of abuse, there has been literally thousand of blogs, forums and tweets discussing my case. So many people couldn’t believe that it had been allowed to happen. People are outraged. People all claim that they would have done something. However, if you were really put in that spot, would you have? This study shows, maybe not.

People have judged me for going public. A lot of people are upset by the “Trial by Media”. However, I wouldn’t have done it any differently if I had to do it over again. By going public, it has forced people to talk about it. It’s forced people to think about what they would do if confronted by the same situation. It made witnesses come forward and talk to the police about it. People who otherwise may have been too scared to speak, in case they heard the infamous, “You’ll never work in this country again” line. Unfortunately, TV in Australia is a tiny community. People are terrified of speaking out of school. It’s very easy to be blacklisted and never work again. I have no doubt that if this was not public that many people would still be denying knowledge of the situation because they’d be scared to talk about it.

I really hope that by speaking out, that parents are thinking very hard about whether to put their kids into acting or modeling. I hope that if they are in the biz, they’re watching their kids like hawks.

I hope that people will get the courage to speak up if they see abuse. If a kid tells you something is not right, go investigate it for yourself if you don’t believe them. Then go to the police. Then get your kid some help. Call Bravehearts or any other child advocacy group.

Don’t let happen to your kids what happened to me. Don’t be the 2/3rds of Australia that would just look the other way. Even if it’s not your kid. It’s your job to protect them. They came to you, they asked for your help. Do the right thing and get them the help they need.

Go to the Bravehearts website to learn more about Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Assault.


Happy Birthday Marky!

Happy Birthday Big Brother.

It’s my brother Mark’s birthday today. He’s turning 39!

I was hoping to have been home for his birthday. It was going to coincide nicely with White Balloon Day, but the police asked that I not come home this year, while they’re still investigating…. So, I’ll just have to settle for calling him later when he wakes up.

Oh well, maybe next year for the big 40 I’ll make it down and be able to give him a big bear hug.

Hope you have a great day Marky. I love you!


Celeb for a Day – WTF???

Are you kidding me?

After yesterday’s post on Mary Kate talking about her childhood and seeing all the comments from people dissing celebs who don’t always appreciate the attention, I was amazed to find how many photographers are now latching on to the fake paparazzi thing. Take for example, Celeb 4 a Day. This is an entire agency devoted to making ordinary people feel like celebrities for a day, by stalking them with paparazzi for an hour. Seriously. For $250, they’ll stalk you for 30 minutes, snapping pics and asking you about yourself. If you want to feel like a mega star, you can spend $1500 and have your own bodyguard and publicist and 6 paparazzi who’ll follow you for 2 hours.

For $1500, Matt and I could spend a week in Mexico in a beautiful resort. Airfare included. Seriously, what kind of attention starved individual would pay $1500 for 2 hours to feel like a celeb? What’s worse, is that for 2 hours, it might be a lot of fun. Then said individual will try to work out how to be in the spotlight more. (Yes, I’m talking about you Kim Kardashian) Then, years later, when they are an actual celeb, they’ll start to hate the same paparazzi, the ones who they no longer have pay for, but who continue to stalk them.

A quick Google search shows that even regular photo studios are offering paparazzi packages. You just give them your regular schedule, and they’ll be hiding behind tress, waiting to take real life shots of you. Now, I’m a fan of candid shots, I like real life action shots much better than posed photos. However, calling it a paparazzi package and catering to people’s need to be famous just seems kinda sick.

I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. Those who live as ordinary citizens wish for the perceived glamour and lifestyle that stars get. Celebs wish they could just blend in and go get some Starbucks without being stalked. I guess since I grew up on TV, cameras were just part of growing up. I always longed to be an ordinary person. I’d hate to be a celebrity these days. Maybe the 2 hour package is long enough for people to realize it’s not that great. My Woman’s Day photo shoot was fun at first. It had been a while since I got to play dress up, and it’s always nice to have someone else do your hair and make-up. Matt didn’t realize just how long a photo shoot lasts and holding a smile for more than an hour is tiring! We both went home exhausted. I was very happy to go back to being a nobody again after that day. Well, until I had to fly to Oz and then hide out while there… After that, Matt said he had never seen me so happy to get back to San Antonio.

It’s a pity the Celeb 4 a day people aren’t in San Antonio. I’m a good photographer and it could be fun to be on the other side of the camera for a change….