Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February in review

You will note there is no February 29 - there is no Project366 app only a Project365. You  will just have to take my word for it that the entry was totally awesome. Or you could look it up here http://susansnaps.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/february-29-day-60-road-to-nowhere.html

February 29. Day 60. A road to nowhere

 There are many good reasons to walk to work. Great exercise. Saves on parking. Good for the environment.
All of them very sound reasons. I can cover the distance from home and the office in almost exactly one hour which is a comfortable, sensible length for a walk on a school day. But there is one very big flaw in the plan when you actually have to front a room mid morning and look professional. This morning was stinking hot and stupid humid so I arrived at the office looking somewhat less fresh than a daisy and smelling like a gym change room. Nice (not). So that's the negative. The positive was this somewhat bizarre road sign in the mud flat under the south-east freeway. As you can see there is no road ahead. Clearly that's the Brisbane River.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28. Day 59. Leaping lizard

At no time have I ever pulled the wings off flies. Ever. Insects were safe but I do have to confess to crimes against reptiles and more particularly the bearded dragon.
Since a child I have always been fascinated by bearded dragons but my way of sharing the love has not always been in the best interest of the species. There was the time I watched one carefully bury its eggs in the back yard. I dug them up and wrapped them in cotton wool in a match box to see if I could hatch them. I have no idea if that would have worked as a plan because, of course, I lost the match box. But that's not the worst of it. My sisters did not have the same passion for the lizards as I did. In fact it would be fair to say they were terrified of them. Which gave me rare power. Grab one of these by the tail and I had a weapon guaranteed to keep either or both of my sisters at a distance. For this I am truely sorry. These days I am happy to admire these amazing prehistoric creatures from a distance. I like to think I have been forgiven. This one at least was happy to stand around and let me take its photo.

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27. Day 58. Reflections

Day 1. Semester 1, 2012. And so the new university year begins. I love it when the starter's gun finally sounds. For me, teaching is the main game and the university finally comes to life when the students return.
I was on campus just after dawn this morning which would make me seem like a very eager beaver except that it was the OTHER university, not the one I work at. Even as a loyal Queensland University of Technology employee, I'm sure it is okay to say that the University of Queensland's Saint Lucia campus is very beautiful indeed.  The Great Court is spectacular and the lakes are stunning. This morning, as well as the usual ducks and geese, I saw turtles and eels swimming happily in the lakes. I was reflecting on my teaching to this point and the year ahead as I walked. This angle with the old building and the new going up beside it reflected in the lake seemed to sum it up perfectly.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 26. Day 57. Nuts and bolts

There is so much amazing street art in display as your walk around the city of Brisbane. Imposing statues, colourful statement pieces. Brilliant. Bright. Beautiful. Today I was taken by a work which is really just junk but it is fascinating in its own right and perfectly positioned by the river at Kangaroo Point. Fish Fossil was created by Christopher Trotter in 1995 from scrap metal and concrete. I love it plus I see so many comparisons with what is going on in politics at the moment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 25. Day 56. Fashion Runway


After the overnight deluge, I honestly thought today's exercise would be ark building so I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a clear sunny day. Weekends often mean a longer walk so I found myself crossing the Go Between Bridge to the Bicentennial Bikeway along Coronation Drive. I love this psychedelic entry to the underpass so I was lining up to take a photo when these women jogged by. Call me conservative but I had never really considered an orange tutu as exercise attire but good for them. Looks like they are running for a reason http://www.cantoo.org.au

Friday, February 24, 2012

February 24. Day 55. Storm brewing

The weather gods were just a bit moody today (actually I think they may have had a bad case of PMT). Bad things were forecast and even before breakfast it was clear that something was brewing. This is obviously not the weather we have in mind when we are planning the weekend ahead but as I walked around the city this morning it created really impressive shadows and reflections. I love the grey threatening clouds against the steel of the Merivale Railway Bridge with the city behind.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23. Day 54. Rooted

I walked today listening to the Australian Labor Party leadership soap opera being played out on my radio. Then I saw this. Summed it up perfectly.

*For those interested, these are Moreton Bay Fig Trees at South Bank on a drizzling Thursday morning. I was using a newly installed IPhone app Camera Pro

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22. Day 53. O. What a feeling

Nothing says Orientation Week quite like a toga party. This week at QUT new students are officially being welcomed to university life. Now back in my day (ancient history lesson here), O Week always meant toga parties all-night movies and lots and lots of partying. Recently it has all seemed very tame by comparison but perhaps that's because I'm one of the ones doing the welcoming and not in the group being welcomed to the system. But I was pleased to see that for the class of 2012 the toga party is back. There is also a silent dance party tomorrow. I had to google that. Apparently, this means there is a DJ and lights and so on but you can only hear the music through the supplied headphones. The advertised advantage is you don't disturb the neighbours. I suggest it would also mean that you don't have to have conversations like:
BOY: What's your name?
GIRL: What?
BOY: Your name?
GIRL: Um Yeah I come here all the time?
Takes all the fun out of it really.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21. Day 52. Crepe expectations

I could be wrong but I think it is probably three decades since I gave up something for lent. Even before that I never lived in a house where is was necessary to whip up pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all the eggs, sugar and butter before the ritual fasting before Easter. But don't think for a minute that means I don't like Shrove Tuesday. I love an occasion, a ceremony, celebrating something unique to a season. There is precious little left of that these days. There's no such thing as a seasonal fruit. You can buy just about anything, just about any time of the year.Chocolate eggs are around most of the time and Hot Cross Buns have been in the shops since Christmas. But I hold firm. Hot Cross Buns only on Good Friday. No Easter Eggs until Easter Sunday. And on Pancake Tuesday just as many pancakes as your heart desires (And my heart desires rather a lot thank-you)

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 19. Day 51. The last straw

I know it is completely environmentally irresponsible but I love a drinking straw. I believe a cold and fizzy drink tastes better when sipped through a straw and swigging from a bottle or can looks a rather undignified. So when I read that the colonoscopy prep fluid I had to drink yesterday and today was considered by many to be more palatable when sipped through a straw I needed little convincing. All I can say is if that's more palatable ....that stuff really is the last straw.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19. Day 50. Howzat?

I don't like cricket....I love it. And in a former life with a big match on at the Gabba I would have been there with bells on (or more likely a silly hat and face paint). But now it is so much harder to be able to devote a full day to sit and watch sport.
Today, life determined that it wasn't going to happen. My husband, however, was off to the game so when I dropped him off I took the opportunity to walk around a bit and soak up the atmosphere outside the ground. These boys were happy to show their true colours.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 18. Day 49. Rooftop Reads

  “Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.”
― Arnold Lobel

Books piled to the ceiling is one thing. Books which are the ceiling is another. 
Like most people, for me, research generally equals Google. But there are times when you realise that nothing beats a book and nothing beats the knowledge of a librarian.  So when the cry went out "Mum can you help? I need a poem about bullying for English" followed by "Mum, I have to choose the book for club book and it has to be a romance" naturally I went to Google. I was getting nowhere. And then it stuck me. I work at a university that teaches both Education and Creative Writing and it has a well stocked library with great librarians. Problem solved. Yes, young man there are places other than Google to look for the answers. Let's go. The library has recently had a massive refurbishment and at the top of a new grand central staircase is a ceiling made entirely of hardcover books mounted with their spines out. It's incredibly effective.

Friday, February 17, 2012

February 17. Day 48 I've got the Doodle Bug

I can't help myself. Sit me down with an agenda and within minutes (sometimes seconds) I start to doodle. My folders and notebooks are filled with doodles. Most of them are variations on this theme with lots of spirals, dots and zig zags often created with a four-colour pen I try to keep in my handbag for the purpose. There are, however, plenty of monocolour works in the Complete Collection of Susan's Doodles. You might think this means I am not paying attention - not so. I find my mind wanders much more when I'm not doing something while listening.
This fetching work has been developed over a series of meetings but was completed today at yet another briefing. I think it would make a lovely tie or scarf. What do you think?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February 16. Day 47. Happiness is an unlocked stationery cupboard

Orientation Week begins for new students next week and that means preparations for the new semester are reaching fever pitch. So today I took the time to stock up on the pens, pencils, folders, whiteboard markers and other bits I would need. We were promised a paperless office office about a decade ago but it seems no closer to a reality now than it was then. Personally I am grateful for that. I love stationery. I totally get why people queue up to pay outrageous prices at Smiggle. The $1 stores work for some things but never for writing of drawing equipment. There you need the good stuff. Who's with me?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15. Day 46. Look away

I'm told normal people look away when having a blood test. It doesn't bother me at all. Regular monitoring of blood levels is part of my life. One thing I have found is that it does make a big difference who is on the other end of the syringe. Today the lady at the Pathologist was lovely. She didn't if ask why I would want to take photos

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14. Day 45. The way to a man's heart

Valentine's Day. For me this is not a day for spending big (but I will totally accept a large and expensive present should one come my way). I prefer small gestures. It's amazing what can be done with heart-shaped cookie cutters.

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13. Day 44. Dipping my toe in the water

Perhaps it was Monday-itis. Perhaps it was a hangover from a huge (but alcohol-free) weekend but for whatever reason I was finding it impossible to really get with the program today. Plodding along working from home things were happening but not fast enough for my liking.So come lunchtime, instead of just grabbing a sandwich and getting back to the laptop, I decided I needed to shake it up a bit. I ran a bath, a serious bath. A bath with bubbles, lots of bubbles. I even lit candles and then I soaked. I emerged feeling much more like a real person and by the afternoon shift felt far more productive.To quote Susan Glasee “I can't think of any sorrow in the world that a hot bath wouldn't help, just a little bit.”

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 12. Day 43. Crazy monkeys

I love Sydney (although I am not sure I would like to live here). I've visited many a time but never fail to be impressed by the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. So the morning spent playing tourist on ferries around the harbour in perfect weather was a delight. Then we spent the afternoon with my brother and his family who now call Sydney home. The kids were having a great time just hanging around.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 11. Day 42 Wild about Harry

I was editor of Kids in Brisbane when I first read a Harry Potter. The third book was about to come out and kids across the globe were starting to go crazy. I decided it was my professional duty to read the books even though I was completely convinced I would hate them. How wrong I was. So I didn't need much arm twisting when Mr O said that for Christmas/birthday he wanted to go Sydney to see the Harry Potter Exhibition and Love Never Dies. So here we are and it was great. The exhibition is really more about the movies but what I love JK Rowling for is how she has made reading sexy again. Large numbers of the children who were walking through the exhibition today weren't born when I was reading my first Harry book. But you could feel their excitement. Yep, I'm wild about Harry.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10. Day 41. Grandmas

The chaos that is getting out of the house in the morning was reaching fever pitch when the phone rang. It was my brother-in-law delivering the sad news that my husband's Grandmother had died. Given that she was 97 and frail the news wasn't surprising but you are never really prepared. You say things like "it was a good innings" but it hurts.
I couldn't help that notice that my son, having lost his only great grandparent, gave my mum an extra big hug this afternoon (pictured).
They say the reason children get on so well with their grandparents is they have a common enemy. Fortunately in our case, I hope we have a common friend.
RIP Grandma Mary

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9. Day 40. Out of the shadows

After the mega storm that swept through yesterday afternoon everything was looking clean, fresh and sparkling this morning.
Before the sun had the time to start baking us all again and before families with kids were out and about, I was walking through this playground on the river near the West End Citycat terminal.
I love the lines, the glinting sun reflecting off the climbing frames and the long shadows. I was almost tempted to climb on. Almost.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 8. Day 39. Hanging around

As I was preparing to head to the Brisbane ABC radio studios this morning, I heard breakfast presenter Spencer Howson saying there were men with tight butts hanging outside the window of the studio.
Well there's today's photo sorted

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 7. Day 38. Thanks for the heads up

I shall not draw any connections with the faceless men in this installation outside Southbank TAFE with the fact that today I had my first meeting of the year with faculty hierarchy.
I will not be drawn on whether staff members were asking each other for a heads up before their one-on-one. The picture will stand on its own as a sculpture I liked the look of when I was on my walk this morning. That is all.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6. Day 37. With a spring in my step

The annual kerbside cleanup completely fascinates me. I love watching the piles of large items appear on the footpath. I love watching the scavengers circling. I am endlessly fascinated by what people throw out and what others decide to walk away with. One man's trash really is another's treasure in the kerbside cleanup. It is still a week until the council clean-up crews are due in my area but the ritual has well and truly begun with the number of large items being put out ramping up over the weekend. Today's pic is a close-up of old bed springs.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 5. Day 36. The Road Less Travelled

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

In poetry lessons in English at high school (which I hated) I studied Robert Frost thus I know that when he talked of the Road Not Taken he was not talking about the actual road. The road less travelled was not the one with the least traffic but the less conventional path through life. Whatever. Sometimes taking the road with no traffic can also yeild surprising results. On one of my regular walks I always turn right at one particular junction. The fact that there's a Road Ends sign to the left probably has a fair bit to do this. However, out of curiousity one day this week I went left. Sure, the road ends but the path does not. There's a track through the trees right down to the Brisbane River and on the bank there's a lookout shelter. It's absolutely magic. I was so impressed I dragged Mr O back with me this afternoon. There was a bit of whinging about being dragged off the computer but when he got there he did admit it was well worth the effort. Score one to Mum

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February 4. Day 35. A nice ring to it

A regular, probably too regular, Saturday morning activity is a walk to the markets. It would be okay if when I was at the West End Markets I was stocking up on the wonderful fresh fruit, vegetables and produce. Unfortunately that's not the real lure so I've made myself two rules for market shopping
1) I have to be able to carry it home and
2) I can not use the credit card to pay for my purchase
Rule one is not especially limiting as I am generally drawn to the jewellery and the weight of a necklace is unlikely to deter me. But rule two at least makes me think twice.
Often, like today, I don't actually buy anything but I do like to look. This tray of rings attracted my attention today. Perhaps next week...

Friday, February 3, 2012

February 3. Day 34. Let them eat cake

I can't bake. Entrees, tick. Main course, tick, Savouries, tick. Sweets, desserts and baking of any type, big fat fail. I blame my late father for this. Dad was a dentist with a severe egg alergy. As a result nothing sweet and nothing with egg was ever produced in the kitchen when I was a child. Naturally this means they have an appeal of the type only a forbidden fruit can.
Despite knowing I am completely crap at it and despite more than my fair share of creative attempts ending in the kitchen tidy, I do try to bake things. Muffins you can't mess up but cake I can ruin any day of the week. Still I did decide to bake a gluten-free mud cake today. It actually turned out okay. The fact that it was a packet mix may have helped. But as is the way with these things, it was the bowl and not the cake itself which attracted the most interest. Truth is, you're never too old to lick the bowl.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 2. Day 33. Knocking on Heaven's Door

I can't be sure but I think this may be the first time in the history of the world that the phrases "colonoscopy prep kit" and "gates of heaven" have been used in the same sentence. If there is anything you can inflcit on yourself closer to hell than prepping for a colonoscopy I hope never to go there. But today, the two collided in my life. I was at Wickham Terrace heading to my specialist to collect the human equivalent of Draino. And there it was. This bright shining thing which turned out to be a scultpure called The Gates of Heaven by Brisbane scupltor Wendy Mills. Now here's the thing. That sculpture has been there since 1988. I walked around a bit and found that the whole King Edward Park where it lives was reopened as a Sculpture Park in 1990 by then Brisbane Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson. So even though the sculptures have been there for 22 years and even though I've been seeing the same specialist in the same part of Wickham Terrace for more than a decade, I've never known about the scupture park.
The iphone is now crowded with pics of about eight different sculptures but I really liked the cloudy sky framed through the metal of Gates of Heaven

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1. Day 32. Anyone for a cuppa?

Today was the first day back in the office for 2012 and that meant the first skim milk hot chocolate for the year. It's probably the need for distraction or the desire to socialise at the coffee shop, but I only drink hot chocolate on days at the office.
The hot chocolate (with marshmallows) was very nice, thank-you very much. The disposable cup it was served in, not so good. I much prefer proper crockery. But later in the day, I did find a more than acceptable use for the disposable coffee cup. Walking home from South Bank I stumbled on Scrumptious Reads Installation Shop. What an installation shop is I have no idea but it seemed to sell food accessories and cookbooks. What caught my attention was that the shelving and decorations were made entirely of coffee cups. This one was hanging from the roof. This is to my taste.