Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30. Day 273. Free at last

At last!
We have made it to the beach and I couldn't be happier.
And it has to be said that Rumple also seems rather happy with the arrangement although for a while this morning he seemed a little confused.
He'd never seen packing before and seemed concerned at first. Then he decided it was a game and would pull out the clothes as fast as I could put things in. As an added complication he decided that my leg on the ground by the case was just perfect to hump.
As if that wasn't interesting enough, there was the need to visit the doctor for Theatre Boy's ingrown toe nail and to head into the office because of a laptop that decided to implode. It seemed like we might not ever get away.
There's also the small matter of mum, who was supposed to be joining us, still being in hospital. Let's just say there have been easier days.
But we are here now. There's a selection of teas in the pantry, a bottle of wine in the fridge and a box of chocolates on the bench. And there's a beach that extends for kilometres. As soon as Rumple and I hit the sand the stress melted away.
Bring it on.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29. Day 272. Smashing it

Memory is a strange thing. The brain's ability to decide what things are retained and what things are lost sometimes seems quite arbitrary and often unrelated to the impact the event had at the time.
Sometimes you can remember a snippet of a conversation that happened 40 years ago but not one that happened yesterday.
Even though they happened 30 years ago I remember much about the university years but almost none of it relates to a single thing that happened in a lecture room or tutorial.
But there are exceptions. I remember day one and the instruction to look at the person to your left and to your right. We were told only one of the three of us would graduate. How to win friends and influence people.
I remember the lecturer in photography who most weeks would come in and pull great lengths of film out of canisters and then warn us not to do the same. Ever.
And for some reason I remember an image he showed us of a hammer about to smash an egg. I even remember how it was done. Remember those were the days of SLR cameras without a D in front of the name. The plan was to take an image of a hammer resting on an egg. Roll the film back a frame and repeat pulling the hammer away causing a motion blur. It was a little bit like what I recreated today only the original was much, much better. For some reason that has made a hammer sized impression on my memory while much around it has proven to be as fragile as egg shells. I refuse to believe this has anything to do with the partying of the university years. That's just the way memory is. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Take to it with a hammer if you must.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 28. Day 271. Going off

Because I am old, I can still remember when Brisbanites paid no attention to the river.
If people thought about it at all it was probably in one of three ways
1) As the dirty brown body of water that snaked through the city
2) As the thing that swamped the city during the 1974 floods or
3) As the divide between the Northside and Southside, a giant barrier that still defines what sort of Brisbane resident you are.
Not any more. Brisbane is now a river city and at this time of year more than any other were celebrate that.
It's Brisbane Festival time and tonight was the grand finale Riverfire, that annual celebration that brings about 100,000 people out to join in the fun.
Okay, it's probably incredibly environmentally irresponsible but I do love a fireworks display and living withing walking distance of South Bank it would have been quite wrong not to enjoy the display from the heart of the fun.
In honour of the occasion I tried out a new setting on the camera and my new remote shutter release. I can not claim to have perfected either but at least I gave it a go and the results are not all bad.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27. Day 270. A Mother of all days

My Mum is fit as a fiddle and strong as an ox. Seventy-two years and not one operation, not one medical emergency, not one physical ailment requiring a hospital stay.
Until today.
I'm at work supervising an exam when the phone rings. It's my Mum's GP. She needs to find Mum. She's been to her house and left a note. So she'd Google searched me and found my phone number. The blood test results from yesterday were bad. Very bad. I need to get her to a hospital accident and emergency department.
Mum had felt a bit dizzy after playing golf in the incredible heat and humidity on Wednesday. That could happen to anybody (normally anyone but Mum).
This is a total bolt from the blue.
Terror (mixed with a strong dose of being incredibly impressed that a GP would go to those lengths).
Fortunately, I knew exactly where to find her. Friday morning means bridge at Northern Suburbs Bridge Club.
Fortunately, I have great work colleagues who I can call on.
I'm outta there. Phrases such as acute kidney failure are not what you want to hear.
However scans showing no tumours, this is good. So for now it is all a mystery but for the moment the prognosis seems very positive. Fluids and an overnight stay may be enough but without knowing what has caused this it's impossible to tell at the moment.
So all bits crossed and a word in the ear of any higher power who will listen.
I may be 48 but like the deodorant ad of years gone by, I still need my Mum.
Hugs and kisses, Mum. Get well soon.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26. Day 269. Flipping out

At this time of year, as the weather heats up, it is not unusual for young people to spend much of the school holidays in flippers.
Water-based activities are very much par for the course.
It is, however, much less likely that here are many spending the week dancing with webbed feet.
But that's exactly what Theatre Boy and a significant proportion of the cast of Fame Theatre Company's production of The Frog Prince are up to this holidays.
Personally, I find walking in flippers to be nearly impossible so the idea of dancing in them is out of the question but this talented young group take it in their stride (pun intended).
They don't even seem to find wearing more black eye liner than anyone in The Underground nightclub circa 1983 to weight them down.
I guess that's why I am in the audience and not on stage. And from my seat in the audience I can say this was a very enjoyable production.
You can still catch it at The Claver Theatre, All Hallows, until Saturday,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25. Day 268. Taking flight

It's been a bit of an up and down week with more than a few things to ruffle this little black duck's feathers.
So I decided to take flight and head to the beach - which seemed like a great plan that should have had me flying high and it did until
1) I found a perfect house with availability on the required dates only to have it cruelly snatched because someone beat me to paying the deposit. Smack back down to earth. Susan, like this bird at Dutton Park this afternoon, was in a bit of a flap until
2) I found another house with availability on the required dates but somehow the $5000 price tag for a week seemed just a little (okay a whole lot) excessive.
Just when it seemed there was no beach property that allowed dogs inside and had wireless Internet (the teen's one requirement) I received a phone call. There been a cancellation. There was a property on the Sunshine Coast. Susan is soaring again (while trying to keep the excitement in check as the agreement is still only verbal).
Just how much this is affecting my emotions is, I think, a clear indication of just how much I need this break.
If all goes to hand I'll be migrating north for the holidays next Monday. If you want me, this is where I'll be

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 25.Day 267. Trust in the rope

This is Kirsty. It's her birthday and she celebrated today with her friend Clair taking a giant step off the edge of the Kangaroo Point cliffs. And why not. You've got to live on the edge sometimes.
The view is great even if the first step can be terrifying.
You have to take risks.
However, I feel like I'm spending a lot of time right on the edge at the moment. All I can hope is that I learning a few things while I'm here.
For what it's worth this is what I think I am gradually coming to understand.
  • Don't look down. Onwards and upwards. Always
  • It's okay to let someone else take the weight
  • Some forces around you are like gravity. You can not fight against them. Don't even try
  • There will be someone there to guide you if you ask
  • And in the end you just have to trust the rope and hold on

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23. Day 266. Sand storm

School holidays. I know for many that's a phrase that breeds dread but I love the holidays. In fact I could throw my hands up in the air with glee (and that's even allowing for the fact that I'm still at work).
And with weather warming up and it being festival season there's so much to love about life at this time of year.
There's also so much to do and to be honest the thing I dream of doing most is nothing - and lots of it.
I want to lie by the pool or stare out to sea or read a book. I want to escape to the beach.
Today the best I could do was South Bank beach and as inner city facilities go it's a smoking hot place Brisbane has.
It's no wonder the place was teeming with families enjoying the school holiday sunshine today.
But it's not the same as the vast expanses of beach on Queensland's coast and if all goes to plan this time next week that's exactly where I'll be.
And that will be something to make a big splash about.
Watch this space.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22. Day 265. Breeding like rabbits

I don't get it. It's not that I don't love the giant pink bunnies springing up all over town. It's just that I have no idea what they have to do with the Brisbane Festival and furthermore why you would choose one of the State's worst environmental pests as a symbol of awesomeness. In fact, find a rabbit and you need to report it to Biosecurity Queensland. It's illegal to keep, feed or supply a rabbit and doing so could land you with a $40,000 fine. So one small bundle of fur, even desexed, will cost you big time but big time rabbits have been allowed to take up home on some of the most prestige pieces of real estate in the city. Unusual in the extreme.
I have to admit that this bloke creates quite a statement sitting on top of the Kangaroo Point cliffs overlooking the city. I might not understand what the statement means but I approve just the same.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 21. Day 264. What a sad face

I'm pretty sure one doesn't get a say in it, but I wish to be reincarnated as a dog.
To clarify, when I say dog I don't mean working dog or even outside dog I mean lap dog.
I think the life of Rumple would be okay.
His main jobs involve lying on bed sleeping (something I am particularly good at), being cute (not one of my skills but I might make a nice dog) and giving unconditional love (As a mother I can do that one too). Two out of three aren't bad.
I think Rumple thinks life is pretty okay - almost all of the time.
The exception is bath time. The neighbours probably have the RSPCA on speed dial to deal with the cruel and unusual punishment.
Fortunately for both Rumple and I, he has a short memory and is very forgiving.
After 15 minutes rolling on the grass and in the dirt I'm sure he couldn't remember what bath.
Until next time ....

September 20. Day 263. Dance like no-one is watching

Clearly I don't get out much.
It's been a long, long time since I've found myself wandering through the city late(ish) at night.
So it came as a surprise to me that people were literally dancing in the streets.
It's a thing apparently. Latin Dancing in Raddacliff Place at the top of the Queen Street Mall every Friday night.
And it was going off. Couples of all ages were getting down and breaking out with some sexy (and in some cases not quite so sexy) dance moves.
There was a large and enthusiastic crowd of onlookers but everyone was dancing like no-one was watching.
It was a beautiful thing. I can't say I'll be putting on the dance shoes any time soon but it was a reminder to get out more.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19. Day 262. The pointy end

One day until the end of the third school term. One week left until the semester break.
We've reached the pointy end of business and things are feeling rather bleak and stormy.
It's a little hard to see the bright side right now.
So in a desperate attempt to escape the storm cloud brewing in my head, late this afternoon I said bugger it* and grabbed Rumple and went for a walk.
Turns out others were having a day far worse than mine.
In Musgrave Park I watched five police officers stride with purpose to a group drinking under a tree. One woman was marched off after admitting to punching another in the head.
She did deny kicking.
Others in the park told me the two women were cousins who happened to like the same man.
It was a fight not worth having, they told me.
"Fight for rights, not f***ing men," they said.
And they laughed. I guess you might as well see the bright side of life. So here is the bright side from my time in Musgrave Park today.

 *That may or may not have been the exact phrase used.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18. Day 261. "What are you doing?"

I don't understand fowl language (foul language yes but not ducking communication).
Despite this, I am pretty sure I can interpret what's going on here. It's the look on the little one's face. It's the look of "What are you doing?" with a dose of "Why are you doing it?" and a very large measure of "Why do you have to keep embarrassing me?"
Sorry, little one. It's what we do. It's one of the rewards of being a parent.
But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps it's the other way around. Perhaps it's the parent wishing to disappear in the face of a particularly bad outburst from the little one. What parent hasn't been there?
Oh the joys. Either way, I like this image from the duck pond at South Bank this morning. I might not get fowl language but I can recognise families enjoying hanging out with each other even when one's nearest and dearest does things that make you cringe.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17. Day 260. No flies on me

I'm a summer person. I mean, really, what's not to like about summer?
Well I can think of a couple of things. Having a pool and air conditioning takes the heat out of those days where the heat and humidity sap your will to live.
But neither of those things will deal with other downsides of the season - flies and grass that grows almost before your eyes (anyone who refers to something as being as dull as watching grass grow hasn't lived through a Queensland summer).
With the weather hitting over 30 degrees in the past week it's clear that summer is on its way and if any more evidence is needed this image taken in the back yard this afternoon should seal the deal.
The grass is starting to look like it's on steroids and the blowies are back. Any day now it will be time to hit the pool.

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16. Day 259. Zombies want me for my brain

I have been known to whinge about my job. And yes it is true that marking totally sucks. Totally.
But there are far worse things a girl can do for a crust. What I love most is that the nature of the beast is that you do get to experiment. Officially it's called research or innovation. In the Creative Industries Faculty it's probably probably called being a "Creative" or practice-lead research. I call it being paid to be a big kid.
So today I invited three Zombies to join me at my lecture, well to be exact they were allowed to come in, take over and abduct me for my brain.
And all the while the students were encouraged to video, film and tweet the whole thing.
This could all sound like an elaborate excuse to write only half a lecture but that wasn't it (although that was a happy byproduct).
I teach journalism and as such I would be doing my students a disservice if I didn't equip them with the skills to live cover events. And seriously what better thing to cut your teeth on than Zombies?
That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. And my reward? Hashtags like this #lecturesarefun.
Result. Thanks to Courtney, Aaron and Pip from Ipswich Little Theatre for volunteering to join me in the stunt.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15. Day 258. Finally made it

I have issues. Many of them. But if I have to list two that impact on my daily life they would be a chronic navigational disability and an associated problem with punctuality.
I can get lost on the way to the shops. I could probably get lost on the way back to bed from the en suite bathroom if there wasn't a trail of clothes on the floor to follow back.
For some reason these shortcomings seem to have had a particular impact on my life when it comes to events being staged on the Redcliffe Peninsular. This time last year, I decided it would be an awesome idea to head to the area for the Celebrate Redcliffe Festival. I really wanted to be there for the first settlement reenactment. Unfortunately I ended up at the wrong beach and by the time I got to where I needed to be it was over. Oh well. Nice day in the sun with other families enjoying the festivities.
Attempt 2. The Festival of the Sails at Easter. I really wanted to be there for the parachuting Easter Bunny.
Another "navigational" problem and the small matter of no card in the camera. Another near miss.
But it was third time lucky. This year I actually made it to the festival on time, with my camera and a camera card. Score. It was worth the wait. What a fabulous family celebration. Just as well they didn't have me on that first settlement boat. They may still be looking for land.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 14. Day 257. Colourful characters

Fifty Shades of Grey was possibly the worst book I've ever read (Where read is defined as persevering through seven chapters before giving up in genuine horror that something so appalling written could make a best seller list). Christian Grey was a thoroughly unlikeable character in a trashy little tale. Besides I don't like grey. Grey is winter. Grey is depressing. Grey is, well, colourless.
Colour makes me happy and as such I found the concept of SpringFlare -a new event in the Brisbane calendar - totally irresistible. Apparently this is part of a world-wide movement but the event today near the University of Queensland was the first for this city. I'm doubting it will be the last.
The all-ages alcohol and drug free event featured music, multicultural food and in a celebration of spring the chance to throw packets of dye all over each other every half an hour, all day.
What's more it was free to get in. What's not to love about that? Apparently the dye will come out but I rather get the feeling that not too many people in the crowd cared about that.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 13. Day 256. Keep things in perspective

Some times the smallest things can really ruin your day.
There's no milk for the cereal, the toothpaste dribble on your clothes, a person cuts you off in the traffic that sort of stuff.
This morning, I lost my glasses (again), the puppy escaped as we were racing to get out the door, my laptop refused to connect to the Internet and the IT helpdesk once again failed to live up to its name.
I am fully aware that I share the planet with millions of people who have no safe water supply or food security or live in terror and fear.
Yep, my problems are first world problems in the extreme. But some days it is really hard to keep things in perspective no matter how hard you try. Everything seems insurmountably huge.
Try and keep things in proportion will you? So here's today's image. It's a sea of flags in the parade ground at work. They are part of the Brisbane Festival and about 30 centimetres high but from this angle they swamp the trees and the buildings. As always, it depends on which way you look at it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 12. Day 255. Stepping on a few toes

I love kids. I love their insatiable curiosity. I love their spirit of adventure. I love their fearlessness.
So you see a giant pink rabbit on the banks of the Brisbane River what do you do? If you are a small boy you grab a small stick and go and check it out. First give it a gentle prod and when that goes okay stomp on its toes just to make sure.
The large pink bunnies - part of the Brisbane Festival - are breeding like rabbits and despite the fact that they have been well publicised they still never fail to turn heads wherever they turn up. This one is keeping watch over the city from its vantage point at South Bank near the ferry terminal. I reckon that might make it the winner in the jostle for prime real estate. You might have to put up with more than a few boys stepping on more than a few toes but that's a fair price to pay.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11. Day 254. Things are hotting up

Although it could be argued that we by-passed winter completely this year (not a bad thing in my book) today certainly felt like summer.
For the first time in six months the mercury went over 30 and I started seriously looking at the pool (looking not touching it has to be said). But it won't be long now.
Fortunately, though, it was a very mild night and the walk down to the ABC studios at South Bank just after 6am was very pleasant. It would have been more pleasant had I not been delayed by the small matter of lost glasses resulting in something of a frantic rush. Seriously, when will someone invent a Find My Glasses app?
Still the walk home was much more leisurely and I liked this water park fountain which without doubt would have got a good working over as the day progressed.
Yep, things are really starting to hot up around here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10. Day 253. A soft touch

I made a rule this week. I called it the anti-Burlesque rule by which I meant there would be no feathers and no fur. My obsession with bird and dog photos had to stop.
And so today you have - a picture of my fur child, Rumple. I failed completely.
Basically, I am a push over and everyone knows it even my camera. Put on the slightest bit of pressure and I bend.
Rumple has my measure well and truly. Our daily walks are actually "carries". We walk for a bit and then he stages a sit down strike. He will not move so I pick him up.
I walk and he sits on my shoulder resting his head on my backpack. I vow this insanity will stop but he can outlast me. I mean look at him, how could you argue with that?

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9. Day 252. You light up my life

 Perhaps it is because I am older and wiser. Perhaps it is because I am older and tireder. Perhaps it is just because I am old. But for whatever reason I have seriously cut back on activities on a school night.
Fatigue and self preservation mean that I routinely turn down opportunities for mid week frivolity. But there's no reason to be stupid about it.
So tonight I joined a large number of families on the bank of the Brisbane River to witness the City of Lights laser, acrobatic and water show as part of the Brisbane Festival. I thought a Monday night meant it would be quiet. Clearly there were many, many others had a similar idea. Even so I doubt anyone left disappointed. The show is awesome and free and you have three opportunities on a Friday and Saturday nights if school nights are out of the question. The show is also on twice a night during the week. It's family entertainment at its best.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 8. Day 251. Time to put my toe in the water

Summer. Bring it on.
With the weather hotting up, I am counting down the days until the first swim on the season. A quick toe in the water today suggested this may still be a little way off but with days of over 30 degrees forecast for this week it's out there.
This means summer preparations must begin in earnest. I am pretty sure I did not spend all of the summer months last year walking around naked but there doesn't seem to be anything in the wardrobe to wear. It will be there, I just need to rediscover it.
Similarly there is work to be done on the "bits and pieces" which have been covered for the winter and are now exposed. Let's just say they have been let go to seed over the winter.
I've decided to start from the ground up and work on one body bit at a time. So today it was the toes.
Talons are okay when your feet are in boots but not so much in the season of sandals.
That puts me one step closer to being ready for a summer heat wave. Now all I need is something to wear.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7. Day 250. Vote 1 for Democracy

This is how I voted. I voted with a puppy sitting on my shoulder and my 15-year-old son standing behind me. What numbers I put in which square doesn't matter and I'm not going to tell you.
You can choose to think I chose this image because I'm a Rudd supporter or because I'm happy to see Rudd fading away. It's a free country. Interpret how you will, that's the power of democracy.
I love that I live in a country where it is perfectly safe to walk to the polling booth with some of your nearest and dearest with not a care in the world.
I love that as a nation our biggest concerns when selecting a place to vote were sausages and parking and not personal security and lack of intimidation.
I love that in the moments before the poll closed, a couple of young blokes at my local polling booth were playing balloon tennis/football with a Kevin Rudd balloon while they waited for a mate to vote.
I love that I could see a conversation on Twitter between one of my son's teachers and the Prime Minister's wife. Here we can all be open about our political views or secretive if we prefer.
For the 15 years of my son's life I have refused to tell him which way I vote because I wanted him to form his own views. I love that he has become a political animal in his own right and was today wearing a party political T Shirt. I love that it is safe for him to do so and only now would I let him see my ballot paper. Whether his views and mine align doesn't bother me. He is free to choose.
Tomorrow morning something over half the country will wake up elated and the rest deflated.
But you know what? We should all delight in the fact that no matter which of those groups you belong to, in three years you will get to do it all again freely and with a sausage in hand. That's democracy for you.

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 6 Day 249 Gliding into the weekend

Hello Friday afternoon
Another week over and might I say it is a week I am quite happy to see the back of. There has been just a bit too much ruffling of my feathers this week. It's the middle week of the semester, there's a lot of assessment due and everyone's a bit tired and testy. I get that but hey people didn't your mother ever tell you "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" I'm a self confessed social media junkie but even so I think the short hand communication necessitated by texting, tweeting and Facebooking has made people forget about some social niceties. Like "please" or "thank-you". You know, very complex stuff like that.
Anyway, like this duck at the ponds at the University of Queensland this afternoon I am going to put all that behind me and glide into the weekend. Have a good one people (See it's not that hard to be polite)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 5. Day 248. Don't bite the hand that feeds you

It's breeding season and all over the city the signs are going up warning of dangerous magpie behaviour.
Insane looking spiked bike helmets and ice cream containers with eyes painted on the top are being dragged out in the fight to protect human eyes from vicious bird attacks.
Frankly I don't blame the maggies (although they totally terrify me mainly because I value my eyesight).
Let's face it what parent wouldn't do whatever it takes to protect his or her young. It's what we do.
But while Magpies might be territorial they are not stupid. They know what side their bread is buttered on and don't mess with that.
So it was this afternoon at bird feeding time at Nundah. No sign of the vicious helicopter magpie mum hovering here.
Nope my former neighbour John had the birds eating out of his hands - literally. The Magpies were smart enough to know you don't bite the hand that feeds you.