Friday, August 31, 2012

August in review

Well, that's officially two thirds of the year down, one third to go.....

August 31. Day 244. Weather....you like it

That used to be the question of choice around my place. These days the question posed are considerably more taxing.
Most recently it goes like this.
Mr 14: "Do you ever wonder how different our lives would be if we changed just one thing?"
Me, pausing to give the matter as much consideration as possible while not crashing the car or burning the dinner and finally coming up with something deep such as, "Like what?"
Mr 14: "Like if we decided to live in England close to Dad's family and not in Australia near yours".
The truth is I've never considered that. I've lived in England for two two-year stints once in my primary school years and once in my mid 20s. I loved it both times but I am an Aussie girl at heart and in the end it is the weather that drives me home.
I find myself ruled by the weather. If the sun shines, life feels so much better.
Days of rain and I start getting SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Which is why Brisbane is such a perfect place to live. Today is the last day of winter and spring is very much in the air.
It is beautiful as I walked by the Queensland Maritime Museum this morning So this is where we live ... weather you like it (or not).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30. Day 243. People in glass houses

I love my house with all its incredibly high ceilings and fashionable halogen downlights. And then there's the glass - the glass bio-fold doors to the deck, the glass balustrades, the glass panels on the deck and the glass pool fence.
Now the old saying goes "people in glass houses should never throw stones".
My father, a man of great wisdom, used to say "people in glass houses shouldn't..." . In the interests of modesty that's probably a good idea, at least not with the lights on.
I say it's not a question of should or shouldn't but more a question of can or can't. No matter what those highly annoying bank ads say, try as I might I can't reach and therefore can't clean much of the glass.
And the lightbulbs? How many residents of this house does it take to change the halogen lightbulbs?
Just one. The one to pick up the phone and call the handyman with the really high ladder.
Attractive design features are not always practical. Funnily enough I do not own ropes and harnesses and I rarely abseil off the side of buildings like this bloke cleaning the glass on a building near Roma Street Station this morning.
So for now, people in this glass house will just have to put up with a few smudges and smears. People in glass houses should get used to that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29. Day 242. What do we want?

Permit me to put on the rose tinted glasses for just a minute and to reflect on the good old days.
Now children, before there was Facebook or Twitter people actually had to leave the home if they wanted to protest about something.
That's right. They would take to the streets, they would march and they would wave signs and placards. Frequently there would be clashes with police and arrests (that's the not-so-good bit).
These things did not just happen in Egypt, they happened here in Brisbane and very often students were at the front and centre of the protests.
Today's students are a very passive lot.  Mostly they are not sitting around campus and debating the big issues or drinking in the university bar.
Mostly they come for classes and then they disappear and head off to work.
Student unionism - once the training ground for the politicians of the future - is pretty much dead, at least where I work.
Now with the glasses off I can say that there were some very ugly sides to those protests but at least students were very politically aware and prepared to stand up and fight for what they believed in.
So it was with great interest to me to read that a protest was being held at the University of Queensland today.
This was peaceful student activism at its best. Passionate, articulate students protesting in the Great Court followed by a march on the student union building and a sit-in.
Protesting is apparently not dead. It was just having a little rest and then re-emerging dressed as a fairy or a furry animal. Whatever it takes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28. Day 241. Cranky pants

Someone had their cranky pants on today. Check out the "don't-mess-with-me" look.
See how the claws are out. There is absolutely no doubt this fellow is very prickly indeed.
I share his pain (I also share his need for a good moisturiser. The weather might be beautiful at the moment but it's not too kind on the skin, but I digress).
It goes like this. If I get enough sleep, I can take on the world. But if I'm tired and grumpy you might do well to stay out of my way. You don't need spikes on the top of your head like this water dragon in the city botanic gardens today to let the world know that it might be a good idea to back away quietly.
And because it is my mother's birthday, I will also give you a bit of good old-fashioned mother advice for keeping on someone's good side.
Remember to say "please" and "thank-you".
Failure to do that may result in me breathing a bit of fire. Nothing is surer to wake the inner dragon. Don't say you weren't warned.

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27. Day 240. Sweet 16

"The best substitute for experience is being sixteen."
~ Raymond Duncan
As I remember it - and of course we are talking ancient history here so the recollections are very foggy -  there was nothing terribly sweet about being 16.
For a start that was Year 11 and that meant senior school assessment hell. Whoever wrote about school days being the best of your life obviously didn’t put the same amount of pressure on him/herself  in regards to exam results as I did. I loved the social side of school but the pressure to perform was stifling.
And of course being 16 means you are still in the middle of the teen angst years and there’s not much to recommend that either.
But that’s just me. My delightful niece Scarlett turned 16 today. I don’t have to live with her but from my completely non-objective point of view I do think she is indeed sweet.
Happy Birthday Miss Scarlett. XXX

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26. Day 239. Hair raising

"Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like. " I don't know who said this but it is totally true. Your hair itself may just be a collection of dead cells but it says so, so much about you.
Most of the time I think my hair says neglect. At least I will never be accused by a hair stylist of killing my hair by the overuse of product, or straightening irons or curling wands. Some days I'm flat out finding a hairbrush.
As long as cheap supermarket shampoo and conditioner, a towel and a 20 second blast with a hairdryer isn't found to be death to hair I should be okay.
I'd really love locks that fly in the wind  like those belonging to these girls on the Cha, Cha, Cha at the Bulimba Festival today. Nothing says carefree like that.
But the truth is it's no going to happen and here's why:
1) I'm lazy and long hair takes work.
2) Long hair totally doesn't suit me no matter how much I might like to think it would
3) While there are many notable exceptions, I think shorter hair is generally more flattering once women reach a certain age. I reached that age when I was 15.
4) Even when I find a stylist that I like, he/she seems to have an obsession with taking off as much as humanly possible. Perhaps it is so they feel like you are getting your money's worth. Perhaps it's because you will have to come back more often. Whatever the reason, there seems to be no such thing as a bit of a trim. I'm not sure what the reason is. The answer, like the hair, may be blowing in the wind.
And anyway, there can be no better way to let your hair down than a day at a festival with family and friends. Don't believe me? A second hairy, scary shot from the festival appears below. It has nothing to do with today's post but on reflection I decided I like it. So two for the price of one.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25. Day 238. Everything in moderation

My father was a dentist.
Despite this he was a lovely, kind and gentle person but it has to be said he had a professional dislike of sugar. We weren't allowed any. At all. No cakes, no lollies, no desserts.
I don't think I'd even tasted fairy floss until I was in my late teens.
Of course, as is the way with forbidden fruits, that only served to make sweet things all the more attractive and when I was away from parental control I had no control.
As with so many things in life, there's something to be said for everything in moderation, even fairy floss.
Let's face it, at least nutritionally, there is very little to recommend fairy floss but that blend of sugar and food colouring has a huge appeal.
I just love the way this little bloke was getting into it at the Home Festival at Kangaroo Point today.
The festival had a strong environmental and community flavour and there was quite a lot of emphasis on "good" food.
Want a smoothie? Well jump on a push bike and power the blender. Try some raw food, or whole food or organic food.
Or tuck in to the fairy floss. It is finger licking good.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24. Day 237. Are they there yet?

Every time I look at photos from my childhood I can't help but ponder "what on earth was my mother thinking?".
In just about every photograph when we were little Mum would have the three girls dressed in identical outfits. The earliest examples were hand-made by my grandmother and featured smocking - now there's a word you don't hear much of these days (thankfully).
As though it isn't bad enough having to dress like everyone else when you hit school.
You don't see that much of the identical dressing any more. Today's world is all about celebrating the individual and parents will go out of their way to make sure their youngster stands out from the crowd. This especially applies when it comes to names when it seems almost compulsory to invent a new and previously unheard of spelling.
Despite my longstanding dislike for identical dressing of children, I have to admit that I found these little girls cheering on the Olympic Homecoming Parade to be cuteness plus.
They were flag waving examples to true patriotism and just so excited to be part of the crowd.
I'm pretty sure when they look back at the photos of today they will be filled with pride and excitement at being part of the festivities and not complaining about what Mum decided to dress them in.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23. Day 236. Land Ahoy

I sometimes think I would enjoy a cruising holiday and then I remember one critical detail - I hate boats.
Actually, that's not entirely true. Boats are fine, until they get on the water with me on them.
It's just I have this strange aversion to spewing my guts up.
Only once have I really wished I could die and that was on a ferry between Greece and Italy in a wild storm.
I was on deck in the bucketing rain heaving into a rubbish bin. That could have been explained in part by the Turkish lighter fluid Raki we'd been drinking but there have been other instances where there was no alcohol involved.
The whale watching tour where everyone else was gasping at the whales and I was gasping into a plastic bag; the time I went out on a Coastguard boat for a feature story, the list goes on.
The result is never pretty.
So boats are fine as long as they are on dry land, like those at the Maritime Museum.
I like this view taken this morning just as the sun was burning off the early morning fog to reveal another beautiful Brisbane day, a day which I believe is best enjoyed on dry land.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22. Day 235. Having a real spray

Kids today have opportunities we could never have dreamed of.
Their worlds have few barriers. They travel more, the see more, they are exposed to so many new, exciting and wonderful things.
And of course as digital natives, the things they can know and experience in Virtual sense at the click of a mouse are also quite extraordinary.
But when we look at what they have gained, occasionally it is worthwhile considering what has been lost.
Simple things. Things like running under a sprinkler.
Remember those summer days before every second person had a pool in the back yard where we would run under the hose or the sprinkler? Remember how much fun that was?
They were serious sprinklers too, not like these water efficient ones doing the business at South Bank this morning. You would get a serious soaking not a gentle spray like these ones deliver.
Until they develop a laptop that can deliver you a real spray, happily there are still things the real world does far better than Virtual Reality.
Spray over.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21. Day 234. One man's trash

It scares me just how much we throw out.
By we I actually mean me because I am not sure that the males in my house actually know where the rubbish bins are or what they are for. What do you do with an empty milk carton? Put it back in the fridge and hope no-one notices. How many men does it take to change a toilet roll? No-one knows, because it has never been done before.
Anyway, we live in a throw away society and what gets turfed from my fridge alone would be enough to sustain an individual for quite a long time.
It really is a disgrace not to mention a costly exercise.
One man is doing more than his fair share of work to expose just how wasteful we are.
Sculptor  Christopher Trotter has made a career from creating works of art from junk.
His works are dotted around Brisbane and south-east Queensland but today my eye was drawn to a work on the Brisbane River at South Bank.
The work called Bio-mechanical Pelicans sits perfectly on the stretch of river between South Bank and Kangaroo Point.
It's a pile of old nuts and bolts that really captures the essence of the birds proving that one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20. Day 233. Something to crow about

Annual performance review day. This was my annual chance to blow my own horn, to crow about my magnificent achievements. To sound off just like this bloke this morning.
The truth is this is an annual pantomime which I do not enjoy at all. I go to work, I do my job, I go home. I reckon I'm okay at what I do but to actually sell that makes me feel quite uncomfortable.
I suppose that's why it's called crowing. It's not a pleasant sound the crow makes. If singing your own praises was pleasant it would be named after a canary not a crow.
Anyway, after picking over the roadkill of my last work year, I think it was agreed that I  should keep on doing what I've been doing.
So I gave myself a few more crows' feet for nothing. That is something I do well, even if I do say so myself.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19. Day 232. Superheroes

Do you ever find yourself wondering what super power you would take if they were suddenly handing them out?
I  used to think being invisible would come in pretty bloody handy. There is a, however, a certain chain of department stores where you get to try that one on for size. Whatever you do to try and attract attention of the staff they seemingly just look right through you. It really is no fun at all.
As with so many things in life you really need to be careful what you wish for.
One power we could do well to harness is resilience - that ability to pick yourself up and dust yourself off no matter what life throws at you.
I saw bucket loads of that on display at the Brisbane Billycart Championships at Chandler this morning.
I only stayed for the events for the kids aged 4-6 but these little ones were amazing. They would hit the wall, they would crash and burn but they would then get up and head back up the top to have another go.
Here's the caped crusader in action. He was not going to let the small matter of stacking it interfere with his day.
He got up and finished the race on foot pulling the cart behind him.
There may not have been any super powers on display but he's what I consider a boy wonder.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18. Day 231. On the ball

Every family has its stories and my mother is the official keeper of the stories in ours.Whenever one of our kids does something mum will drag out a story. The one about the time Lisa used Preen to take off the lipstick she'd decided to model because the ad said it removed lipstick. The one about the time Michael stuck a stone up his nose and had to have it surgically removed. Or the one about the netball grand final circa 1978.
My older sister Marie and I were in the same team which made the grand final that year. Both my father and my grandfather came along. This was a huge deal because generally the men were off watching my brother playing football. We used to give them hell about it.

Unfortunately, if the idea was to show them what they'd been missing all season, things did not go to plan. We were totally outclassed on the day. It was not a pretty picture.
As the story goes, it was such a train wreck to watch that my father and grandfather were spotted with their backs to the game taking a keen interest in the lawn bowls being played over the fence. I'd be filing a law suit for emotional damage now if either of them was still with us.

I was reminded of that day today at my niece Cleo's netball grand final. Her team was also totally outclassed but the girls kept up the fight until the end. And did we head off mid match to watch the lawn bowls? Hell no. We cheered until the final hooter.
If today goes down in Mum's little book of family stories it will be because we were all nearly carried away by the wind and not because we were carried away by the excitement of the bowling.

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17. Day 230. Here comes the sun

Apparently it's winter. Someone forgot to tell the weather gods.
It's going to be 27 degrees today. Repeat 27 degrees. Suck that people who live somewhere else.
Admittedly it was a little cooler than that when I ventured out when the sun was rising this morning.
But it was perfect walking weather which lured me to head away from the river and to venture on a route I don't normally take.
I feel the break from routine was rewarded. People who say a change is as good as a holiday obviously are not taking holidays in the right place but stepping out of your comfort zone does have its rewards.
The sun rising over the church is a beautiful start to the day. Yes, the gods were smiling.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16. Day 229. Rest in Peace

There's nothing like the death of a friend to make you fully contemplate your own mortality.
I am still trying to process the fact that a friend and colleague Christine Fogg died last week and will be buried tomorrow.
I keep thinking about the last time we were together - just a few weeks ago over coffee in a West End cafe.
We talked about a text book she had written and I had contributed to some years back. She wanted to pick my brains, she said, about possibly reworking and updating the book. Would people be interested? Would people mind being contacted to ask if they still thought there was a place for the text?
It was very much a conversation about the future. What I didn't know was just how little future she had.
Christine was dying of cancer. I have since learned that she didn't want people to know but I keep asking myself if I should have noticed something, if I should have asked her more about how she was travelling.
I totally get that she wanted people to treat her as they always had and not the women with cancer. I hope I wouldn't have done that but could have been a friend or could have lent a hand.
But Christine did things her way. She also was thinking of others right to the end. I got a call within hours of her death. She'd left a list of people to notify and it would appear little notes on how she knew each of us.
I love her for that. So today's picture was taken in the historic Dutton Park cemetary near my home this morning. It says to me that I should try and concentrate on the bright and colourful  memories like the flowers and not on the bleak and sombre.
Clearly that is what Christine was telling me she wanted.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15. Day 228. Squawking

I've heard just about enough squawking today to last a lifetime.
Honestly, I only reminded someone about a science assignment. I tell you being the parent of a teenager can be bloody difficult. You want to give them the space to make their own choices but you know that no matter how grown up they think they are they still need guidance.
Problem is while they NEED guidance, they don't always WANT it.
And so the squawking starts.
And so the very responsible parent left the house and went for a walk to South Bank. Some arguments you are not going to win so it's best to just retreat gracefully and come back to fight another day.
So having escaped the squawking, what did I find? A bird squawking.
While I watched this little bloke put on quite a show. He spread his wings, he posed and preened and feigned disinterest while going out of his way to draw attention to himself.
Sounds a bit like what I left at home really. I guess you just have to give them the space to spread those wings until they are ready to fly the nest.
And there will be a bit of squawking to endure along the way.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14. Day 227. Having a real spray

As someone who prefers the arts to sport, I confess to giving just a little cheer when crowds gather to see an artist at work.
So it was in the city today when Aaron the spray paint artist was creating his masterpieces at the Casino end of the Queen Street Mall today.
It has to be said that spray cans are generally more closely assoicated with defacing public property than serious artwork but in Aaron's hands the results are amazing.
He says he is self taught and heads to the mall three days a week as overspray art is his day job and only means of income. He's been spray painting for 10 years but has been arty his whole life previously trying his hand at sculpture and drawing.
In the short time I watched, he sold two works for $50 each and there were plenty of others (myself included) prepared to throw coins into his bowl because just watching the artwork coming together was fascinating.
Funny. People don't seem quite as prepared to pay up every time I have a spray no matter how colourful it is.

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13. Day 226. Putting your feet up

When I grow up I want to be a lady of leisure.
I used to think that I really need to work to be fulfilled and stimulated but now I reckon I could do quite nicely putting my feet up for a bit.
In all honesty I've been wrestling with the question of what I might do when I grow quite a bit lately (generally when bogged down with a large pile of forms or other administrivia). It's enough to drive you crazy.
Today I was finding inspiration particularly hard to come by so I went out for a walk - and just kept walking.
Something over two hours later I ended up at South Bank where I saw these two young men wrestling in the pool. They were creating quite a splash and their joy was obvious.
With a head clearer from fresh air and sunshine, I'd come up with a few truths.
a) A job where you can go for a long walk in the middle of the day is not all bad, even if you have to work late into the night to make up the time
b) Splashing out to have fun with family and friends is a good investment
c) You may have to grow old but you don't have to grow up. It's a good thing to embrace your inner kid and indulge in a bit of child's play
It would also appear there is more than one way to put your feet up. This looks as good a way as any.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12. Day 225. Have no fear

When God gave out balance and coordination I was off  having a nap.
Quite frankly I have none. So I am in complete awe of natural athletes and those who put in so many hours of practice that it looks natural.
Like those who take part in Brisbane Hardcourt Bike Polo. The idea of riding a bike, one handed at speed in a competition with other rides to strike a ball is really quite unthinkable. Actually you can think about it, you might just have to be insane to actually do it.
But on a court in Musgrave Park, quite close to my home, the riders do this every Sunday and from what I saw this afternoon they are extremely good at it.
Not only that, they are exceptionally good sports and have a great time.
So if you think polo looks like a great sport but you can't afford a horse, on ya bike.
I, on the other hand, will be more than content to admire their prowess from the sidelines (either that or just go back to that nap)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 11. Day 224. Winners are grinners

They say it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
They also say that second place is just the first place loser
Or that winning isn't everything but it beats anything in second place.
Or even "There is no such thing as second place. Either you're first or you're nothing."
It seems to me that in the past two weeks we have been sending very bad messages to our future sports people.
At school there is such a big emphasis on taking part.We tell kids participation is important and if at first you don't succeed try, try again.
But kids are not blind nor are they stupid. They see the national gnashing of teeth and the sometimes quite vile name calling when our elite sports people don't win. It's all quite unbecoming.
But I'm pleased to see that at a local level kids can still enjoy getting out and having a go.
I went to my niece Cleo's Under 11 netball preliminary final this morning. The Redbacks played beautifully and as you can see from the photo above winners are grinners.
But in the true spirit of the game, the girls all lines up and shook hands and congratulated their opponents and thanked the officials. Three cheers for that.

Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10. Day 223. Wicked wind

 It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. It's the same wind that signals to people in Brisbane that the Ekka is in town.
Those wicked westerlies blew into town today and unless you were somewhere very sheltered just standing upright was a challenge at times. So that's today's image - a completely improbable "No Standing" sign near the QUT Garden Point campus. This sign cracks me up. Not only is the pole bent but it is also a couple of metres from the bank of the Brisbane River. The chances of anyone standing there are somewhat remote unless there's been a second coming no-one's told me about.
I'm sure there is a very good reason for a sign like this to exist in that position - I just have no idea what that reason is.
So in the absence of facts I may just make something up. With luck, that might distract me from remembering how that westerly is cutting into me. It's an ill wind..

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9. Day 222. Fetch

It's a dog's life.
I mean, look at Jett having a ball (quite literally) at Kalinga Park today.
As often as owner Nicole would toss the ball, Jett would charge across the park and fetch.
Don't you love the apparent obedience of a puppy? How they will fetch a stick, a ball, the newspaper or your slippers in a way that lets you pretend you are the master?
Of course, we all know who really heads the pack and it's rarely the human.
Jett (with two Ts because he's just a bit posh) was the one who decided it was time to go to the park.
He gathered all his toys in the courtyard so that Nicole would be in no doubt that it was park time.
Then when he'd had enough he dropped the ball and went on sit down strike. Easy to tell who had trained who.
Not that you'd have it any other way. It's a small price to pay for the happiness a dog can bring.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 8. Day 221. Seeing the light

How many hours of the day, every day do we spend staring at a screen (by we, clearly I mean me because I accept that not everyone has the same degree of device addiction as I do).
If there was such a thing as a screen tan, I'd look like I'd been spending a fair chunk of time at a solarium. Much of my life is spent by the glow of a monitor, often tuning in to the twittering on the site with the little bird. This may explain why I was so attracted to this display wall in the Gallery of Modern Art's children's gallery today.When it comes to social media, I have seen the light.
First thing in the morning and last thing at night I am checking emails or twitter on my iPhone and for large chunks of the rest of the day it’s the computer, iPad or TV. Much of this is work but an awful lot isn’t. Frankly I feel lost without connection to the outside world without social media. It’s fun. It's my idea of Paradise by the iPhone Light (with apologies to Meatloaf).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 7. Day 220. A Rolling Stone

My second worse field trip ever was the Year 11 biology camp to explore the mangroves at Coolum. It bucketed down, was freezing and I can't remember actually being able to see much less draw any of the very interesting things we were meant to find in the mangrove swamps, rocky foreshore or dunes.
I say second worse because the time I led a group of journalism students on a trip to cover an army exercise at the Shoalwater Bay training camp was worse but 11 years have not been enough time to allow me to talk about that one. With therapy, one day.
I was thinking about mangroves today because 14-year-old Mr O is off on a science excursion to chart mangroves.
Is camping out in Coolum and enduring some of the worst dorm food ever part of the deal? No.
He gets to walk to the north bank of the Brisbane River where mangroves abound. It is a beautiful spot and the site of one of my regular morning walks. This photo was taken there this morning.
The very ironic thing is that while this spot is in walking distance to the school my son attends, it is even closer to the high school I went to so exactly why we were bused to Coolum I really don't know.
Time may have distorted my memory but I am pretty sure it is not just that the grass (or in this case) the moss is always greener.

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6. Day 219. Easily distracted by shiny objects

I like things that sparkle and shine.
Yes, it is true that diamonds are a girl's best friend but I can be very happy with things that are much, much cheaper.
My "jewellery" collection is large but contains very few actual jewels. Mostly there are just a lot of bright, colourful things that catch the sun and sparkle and accessorise nicely.
Yep, if you wanted to lure me into your web, baiting with a shiny object would doubtless do the trick.
I think that's why my eye was drawn to this spider's web in the city Botanic Gardens today. A small shaft of afternoon sun was filtering through the trees along a very shaded section of path.
It was just enough cast an amazing light on this spider's web.
I doubt this effect would have pleased the spider greatly - I presume the idea of the web is to capture insects unaware not to shine like a beacon advising of your position - but it certainly had my attention.
Now if I could only figure out how to create a necklace just like it...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5. Day 218. Sticking your neck out

See this bird? It was well and truly sticking its neck out early this afternoon at the lakes at the University of Queensland. It reminded me of the lone bloke who was prepared to take to the Twitterverse today to say that he supported the State Government's plan to disband Breastscreen Queensland.
For his trouble he was shouted down in some of the most vile terms. That's the problem with sticking your neck out, there's always someone ready to chop it off.
While the government has maintained that the mammogram program will be maintained - a fact which opponents doubt but which I am not in a position to know either way - what I do know is that the name calling won't help.
People have every reason to be very concerned and very angry but all the effing and blinding in the world will not make any government change its mind.
Protest but can we play the ball and not the man?
This is an issue that needs to be fought on the facts. It does no-one any credit to just take to social media and swear. As my mother used to say, if you can't say anything nice....

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August 4. Day 217.On a downhill slide

My very bestest childhood holiday ever was to Moreton Island and the highlight was sand tobogganing down the giant dunes.
Who needs snow when you can glide at great speeds down a mountain of sand? A big grassy slope is another excellent option as Tony and three-and-a-half-year-old son Sasha demonstrated in Highgate Hill Park on Dornoch Terrace this afternoon.
No sooner would they reach the bottom on the home-made cardboard sled when Sasha would scream "again Daddy" and they'd climb back up to the top.
The one downside to this activity is that you find that it's a long way to the top even when you don't want to rock and roll.
The sled was making its debut today. Last time the family was at the park they were there for a picnic and had make do with the picnic blanket. A bit of crafting at home and today they were able to unveil the grass toboggan prototype. It was an outstanding success.
Something tells me they will be back.

Friday, August 3, 2012

August 3. Day 216. Still carrying the scars

I can not remember a time when I was growing up that I did not have a scab on my knees.
Just as one injury was nearly healed, I'd have another fall and there would be a new wound. My knees still carry the scars from years of gravel rash, cuts, scraps, blood and gashes.
Almost all of these injuries were scooter-related. We had a steep concrete driveway with a large concrete slab at the bottom of the hill. Perfect. We'd pick up a head of speed down the drive and then swing right onto the flat concrete at the bottom and stop. Well, that was the plan. I failed spectacularly often. Another day, another fall.
Time is a great healer but I don't really remember it hurting. If it did it wasn't enough to stop me walking back to the top of the drive and doing it again.
Scooters went out of favour for a bit but it pleases me greatly that they then made a spectacular come-back, lighter, trendier and far more maneuverable than ever before.
I thought of my scooting days as I watched the lads at the skate park today. I can only imagine what my elbows and knees would look like now had I ever attempted some of the stunts they were displaying.
I am pleased to see that scabs on the limbs are still part of the deal.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 2. Day 215. A bit of spit and polish

It sounds very Imelda Marcos of me but I know exactly when and where I bought the pair of boots I was wearing today.
It was 2004 and it was a shop in Elizabeth Street in Brisbane that no longer exists. I wish it did as I would really like another pair of boots identical to these ones but much, much newer and ideally in black not a very dark brown. These boots were made for walking. They are incredibly comfortable. They have also been incredibly badly treated and are nearing the end of their natural life.
In an effort to help the boots hang on just that bit longer (and because I am both lazy and curious) I stopped in Albert Street today and let Blair the shoe shining man buff, polish and condition my boots.
They now look a million dollars.
While he polished and I took photos Blair also told me his story. He was in the building trade. "I used to swing a hammer" but "I'm 60 next birthday" and so the work was drying up.
Blair said without a strong education his alternatives were limited so he decided to give Buffed a go.
Buffed is a network of shoe shine stands across Australia which according to its website is designed to create "real business opportunities for people whose employment outlook is limited - such as recently arrived migrants, people with unstable health, or those who lack the basic skills required for mainstream employment".
Blair says he liked the idea of shoe shining because "I like to see the reward at the end of the job".
The rewards for both of us were obvious. I left looking very buffed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1. Day 214. Tackling the Big Issues

This is Tom. Big Issue vendor #801
I handed over my $5 this morning to Tom just by the QUT Kelvin Grove Busway and in return he gave me a copy of the magazine and an insight into his life (as well as permission to take this photograph).
Tom's story is a reflection of the horrible truth about homelessness and poverty in Australia - most of us are only one or two pay cheques away from being in a great deal of financial stress. If the income stream suddenly stops and the bills don't, then what?
In Tom's case a serious accident has left him incapable of working most jobs.
He tells me about waking up in hospital with two broken arms, two broken legs and serious damage to his lungs and liver after being hit by a car on the Gold Coast. He even shows me a very nasty scar on his leg where the muscle protrudes.
But, he says, he never complained.
"I couldn't, my jaw was wired shut."
He tells me that you have good days and bad days selling the Big Issue. The magazine comes out fortnightly and when it is hot off the press you do well. Other days you might not sell a single copy.
Vendors like Tom get $2.50 from the sale of the magazine which is designed to give people who are homeless, disadvantaged or marginalised a leg up.
Tom, for one, is grateful because he says he could not do a normal job.
I'm the first one to admit that I whinge about my job. Speaking to Tom, I shall try to be just a bit more grateful that at least I have one.