Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31. Day 90. Look at the Birdie

Look straight ahead. Do not smile or even open your lips. Maintain a neutral expression. A harsh flash will be illuminating your face. You WILL look ugly. Why is it that the powers that be insist that we look ugly on official identification photos? It's been said that if you look like your passport photo you are too sick to travel, I would add that if you look like the photo on your driver's licence, you probably shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car. It's not (only) that I object to having to carry around THE ugliest photo of myself in my wallet. It's just that I don't understand the principle. A driver's licence or passport is meant to help you prove you are who you say you are and I fail to see how showing a few teeth impedes that. In fact I would go further. If my teeth were rotten, or gappy or discoloured wouldn't showing a few teeth actually help in the identification process?
I have two possible explanations to the "no smile, you're on camera" rule.
1) Someone is officialdom gets a very good laugh at looking at the truly dreadful images on passports and drivers' licences or
2) When pulled over by police or when handing over the passport after hours on a long haul jet, no-one is smiling. Everyone probably looks straight ahead, lips closed with a neutral expression trying to look at least human.
So that was me today at the counter of Queensland Transport renewing my driver's licence trying to put on a brave face. Now look at the birdie ....
* This image was taken outside my front door as I headed out to do the renewal business. I will not know how bad the actual image is until it turns up in the mail in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 30. Day 89. You can all go take a running jump

Almost by definition, the person with both feet on the ground is the person you would rely on in a crisis. That person it sensible, practical and realistic. But really is that what you would want when push really came to shove?
I think of it like this. Q is the thinker while Bond is the do-er and and the man at the front line of action is always Bond. James Bond. I admit, I'm more the Q type, prone to planning and being sensible rather than taking a risk. But that doesn't mean I don't admire the action types and today they were out in force under the freeway in the Ur.Bne festival. While rain put a bit of a dampener on some of the activities, it didn't stop the Australian Parkour Association members from going through their paces and introducing children to the sport. Parkour is (according to the association's website) a philosophy and method of movement through any environment with speed and efficiency. The concept is to overcome all physical and mental obstacles in your path by using your body and mind to run, climb, jump and vault.
 In other words, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line just as long as you are prepared to let nothing stand in your way.
I must say it looks awesome in action and I was dead impressed at just how quickly the young folk picked up the techniques involved.
But always to type, I stayed with both feet on the ground. Sure the straight line might be short but a scenic route with the dog on a drizzly Brisbane afternoon can also be an enjoyable distraction. We don't all need to be high fliers.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29. Day 88. Top brass

There are so, so many reasons I love living in Australia.
Today, let me tell you just one. Drama Teen and I spent Saturday afternoon at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex seeing a matinee performance of The Scottish Play. We emerged into the bright sunlight at South Bank to find the cultural forecourt area swarming with military personnel. Canons were lined up aimed a the city. Not for a second, not even a second, was I scared. Ours is country where you can go about your daily business never concerned that armed conflict is but a heart beat away. We are at peace. So filled with curiosity we walked over to have a look and ask a few questions of the building crowd. Turns out the 1st Regiment Band from the Gallipoli Barracks was preparing to mark its 60th anniversary with a performance of the 1812 Overture complete with live canon fire. Sounded awesome but with the day's calendar already oversubscribed we had to move on before the fun began. And that's another reason I love living where I live. I can stay and watch our military might, or choose not to. It doesn't matter either way. Yes, Australians all let us rejoice.

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28. Day 87. Where's Wally?

I'm not sure where he gets it from but Drama Teen rather enjoys the school debate (the fact that he has been arguing the point almost from the time he exited the womb may have something to do with it). In any event, this week the Queensland Debating Union topic was that Charity Mugging Should Be Banned. That's even a topic? Accosting people as they go about their normal business is abhorrent and should not be allowed, especially not in the name of charity. Besides, there are many more feel good ways of earning a charity dollar and today that was on display at South Bank were hundreds of people were dressed in nothing more than their Budgie Smugglers to go for a run and raise money for YoungCare. Children, high school groups and corporates stripped down to their smalls to dash six kilometres and raise some much needed dollars on the way. Surely it is better to be prepared to put in the hard yards (and dress like a character from Where's Wally?) and to work to gain sponsors than to badger, guilt and harass to earn a charity buck.
Sure charities need money to carry on their good works but they need to be charitable about it. Well done YoungCare and all those who took part. (For the record, Drama Teen's team was affirmative and they won. Like I said, there really is no debate ...)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 27. Day 86. The Scottish Play

Director Michael Attenborough
If I had a magic wand, on my list of things to demand would be that every senior student be taken to see a live production of a Shakespeare. (Yes this would be expensive and impractical blah, blah, blah but remember I'm talking magic wand not official policy). Further, because this is magical not educational there would no requirement for any learning outcome to come out of the experience. No-one would be required (in fact allowed) to write an analysis, or a review or a synopsis or anything else out of the experience. All they would be required to do is try to like it or say why they didn't in a sentence or so ("just didn't" or "boring" are not sentences). The thing is for years I thought I hated Shakespeare. The senior English experience did this for me. Now I am just so excited to be seeing the Scottish Play on Saturday and was chuffed to be included in a behind the scenes look at the stage and to meet the director and a couple of the stars this afternoon. 
I think to love Shakespeare you need to
1) see it performed live and 
2) do it just for the sake of it
This is not to say students of English or drama shouldn't study The Bard. Of course they should. But if we could just get them to love, or at least like, or at least not hate Shakespeare before they ever open a copy of the play or write the first paragraph of an essay entitled Why Shakespeare is still relevant today? you've got a much better chance of them doing so with an open mind.
It rather fills my heart with joy that when I see The Scottish Play on Saturday I will be accompanied by three teenagers - not one there under duress.  (I don't even think I enticed them by saying that with all the violence it was rather like Game of Thrones ... Funnily enough. That's a series I do find boring)
Jai Bofinger one of the child stars
Jason Klarwein as Macbeth

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 26. Day 85. Me and my big mouth

There are some things you should keep yourself. Some things that are too horrible to ever be voiced. Some skeletons that should be kept in the cupboard. I realise now I was wrong to voice it. That the public had no business knowing this about me, that this is over sharing gone mad. I should never have mentioned it. I opened my big mouth and the phrase "I don't like mashed potato" came out. then I put the other foot in my mouth. That's right, the crime for which I have publically been named and shamed this week is disliking mashed spud. I might as well have said I believe in torturing small furry animals or bringing back Dames and Knights. Apparently, not liking mashed potato makes me not only un-Australian but the product of alien DNA. I'm sorry but it's not my fault. I had a bad childhood, or more specifically I had years of bad mashed potato torture. I admit my memory is almost certainly faulty but my recollection of dinners as a child involved some form on incinerated meat with three watery over cooked vegetables, one of which was always potato. As such, now I am an adult I do not eat meatloaf, shepherd's pie or rissoles nor boiled or mashed veg if I can possibly avoid it. Steamed, stir fried, baked, sauteed, sure. Mashed, no. The weird thing is that I have no such aversion to Vegemite sandwiches despite 12 years of the Vege sanga which had been sitting on a hot port rack for hours before consumption. I still find the Vegemite sandwich on fresh white bread to be an ultimate comfort food. As always, I am a contradiction. So I guess this crow deserves to be stoned or at least learn to keep her big mouth shut. In any event, if I keep my lips tightly closed no-one can force feed me mashed potato ...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25. Day 84. Something in the water

There was something in the water today - literally. For about a decade, I've been a pool owner. In that time the water has been lizard free (not reptile free. There was that one time I put my hand into the skimmer box to remove leaves and nearly died when a snake swam out. Scared the **** out of me). Anyway, this afternoon a blue tongue lizard was spotted looking not all that well in the pool. So I went down to fish it out. On pool deck I decided I had been confused. It must have been a bearded dragon lizard I had seen. Then I realised it was both. I further discovered that
1) bearded dragons are quite proficient at both swimming and getting out of the pool
2) the blue tongue is not so adept at getting out of the pool
3) My dog does not like either to be in the pool area. He went bat shit crazy. The blue tongue responded with a fair bit of hissing and poking of his blue tongue. The bearded dragon puffed itself up but generally couldn't have given a toss.
I'm not sure why the animal life around my place would choose the first day of meaningful rain to decide to get wet but good luck to them. As long as the snakes keep out of the filter box I'll be okay.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24. Day 83. Lump in my throat

As someone who has worked in the media all my adult life, I am well aware of the accusations that the media focuses on bad news too much. I am also aware that with the deluge of such bad news stories it is easy for journalists to become a little hardened, a little immune and a little cynical about news stories that should make your stomach churn - even if it is only for self protection. Even with all the bad news going on occasionally stories cut through the noise and really touch you. Anything that involves violence and children immediately has that impact and cruelty to animals also strikes a chord. You can help but feel sad and mad and sick all in equal measure. I felt those same emotions when I walked through Albert Street Park this afternoon past a memorial erected in honour of a Eunji Ban, a 23-year-old Korean woman who had been in Australia for just six weeks on a youth exchange program when she was murdered in November. As I read the hand written notes and looked at the gifts left at the memorial I felt overcome. It all just seems so unfair. An adventure of a lifetime should not end like this. One can only hope that Eunji's family takes some comfort in the gifts and thoughts left by strangers. A really unimaginably awful thing happened to this young woman in Australia. One can only hope that her family knows that Australians share in her grief. May she rest in peace.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23. Day 82. There's Always Onesie

I love the onesie. There is nothing cuter than an infant all snugly and warm in its little all-in-one jump suit. That's right. An infant. But somehow the onesie had escaped its rightful home in the pram, nursery or high chair and has infiltrated the land or adults. I do not get the whole adult onesie thing. I do not understand why anyone would make clothing choices that require you to get naked or near naked just to do a wee. If you wear nappies, fine. If you have learned to do your business on the toilet not so fine.  (please do not mention the flap. I do not care to discuss the flap). And not only has the onesie grown in size, it has also escaped its traditional home - the bedroom. Onesies can be spotted everywhere (including quite a number in my son's clothing collection). So I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised at the appearance of a skeleton onesie in the sea of sweaty bodies taking part in the Twilight Running Festival this afternoon. While most people faced with even a five or 10 kilometre run or even a half marathon would choose to wear as little clothing as possible, one bloke thought a onesie might be the go. As if the heartbreak hill up to the Eleanor Schonnel Bridge isn't a challenge enough. But like I say, there's always onsie ...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22. Day 81. Stress

I'm suffering from exam stress. This may seem like a little bit of a delayed reaction considering I last sat an exam in 1987 but let me tell you it is coming at me from all sides.
For 40 hours a week, my day job involves dealing with undergraduate students and having now entered the first phase of assessment for the semester the cracks are starting to reveal themselves.
For the other 24 hours a day I am the mother of a Year 11 student about to sit the first senior exams. That is also not pretty. And let me tell you, when one member of the household is suffering from exam stress, the whole family is.
As one of four siblings I have a lot of personal experience in the different ways of coping with senior school. I was the goody two shoes, who studied every hour God sent, had no social life and was totally driven to get good results. It nearly killed me so I find it laughable when The Teen says I expect him to be like me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
My older sister got by on brains alone. My younger sister was a bit of a social butterfly for much of the term but totally committed when assessment was due. My brother's strategy was to ignore it in the hope that it would go away. Pretending stress isn't there and refusing to actually take steps to deal with the cause is rarely a good idea. I was too busy worrying about myself to think about my poor parents and living in the house with four teenagers. What a cat fight. This pussy I saw this afternoon pretty much tells the whole story. This is not an animal you want to mess with. It might be a purr-fect pet much of the year but right now don't come within spitting distance. And even  that isn't a whisker of what  a cat fight it is here right now ...

March 21. Day 80. Feel the joy

Parenting is weird, and I believe parents are getting weirder. And please don't think I'm all high and mighty and being all judgey about this. When I say parents I am firmly speaking from the inside of the parent tent looking out.
But here's my case. There is an increasing trend to treat children as small adults. We talk to them like adults, we dress them like adults, we feed them like adults and we take them just about everywhere adults go. Whether you are dining in a five star restaurant, having a treatment in an exclusive salon or reclining in a chair in a posh class cinema there's every chance the person sitting in the next chair is a minor. I'm not even talking about someone who is a year or so short of being able to get a driver's licence. I am often taking about an age where they are still a year of two short of the training wheels coming off the bicycle.
But here's the thing. Why on earth would we want them to grow up? Seriously. No-one should be rushed into the adult world. Why don't we just let kids be kids? There is plenty of time to be a grown up later but the childhood years are so fleeting. Have you ever watched a child play in a water park? Have you watched the freedom and joy of splashing under a wall of water. There is a simple pleasure in that which isn't matched in the adult world. Sure kids will enjoy getting their toe nails painted or sitting in a massage chair at the hairdresser but if we let them do everything we do at a very young age there is nothing to graduate to and look forward to - except the stress that being a grown up brings. It's not that there's anything wrong with pint sized pedicures. It's just that the time they spend doing grown up things is time they are not spending just being kids. Spa pedicures might be relaxing but walls of water are unmatched for fun. I reckon we should try joining the kids rather than inviting them to join us.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20. Day 79. Love me. Love my dog

That tuft of hair on the top of the head that refuses to sit where it should. There, it's happening. I'm turning into a Rumple clone or vise versa. Popular legend is that pets and their owners start look alike and there is even some research to back it up. Frankly, I don't see it. For one, Rumple's eyebrows are far better maintained than mine. They are beautifully sculptured and there are two of them. That puts him at a distinct advantage. That having been said the leg hair factor will be about equal if I don't make an appointment to see the woman with the jar of hot wax some time really soon. He's the cute one. But while I don't think there is much in the way of similar physical resemblance, I would argue there is a strong temperament link. This is probably nature rather than nurture but in any event ...
Here's the evidence
a) We both love the nap. The second I get up and head to the bedroom, Rumple's off and he usually has his head on the pillow (my pillow) before I do
b) We both love a walk, especially on the beach
c) We are both cautious with new people but very friendly once we get to know them
d) We are both fiercely protective of family and
e) There are not many foods we don't like.
And, of course, we adore each other. So we are very alike in the things that matter. But, I can be a complete bitch when I want to and that's something Rumple will never be. He's the King Shit type (or more correctly a King Charles Spaniel Shih Tzu cross)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19. Day 78. A spot of brown nosing

It is a dog's life.
I reckon dogs have it sorted and, in fact, they have the good end of the deal.
Rumple's day goes much like this. Wake when the alarm clock goes off and look up from the pillow. Respond or not depending on how he's feeling. Roll over to have a tummy tickle. Go back to sleep for a bit. Eat breakfast. Go back to sleep for a bit. Bark at a few people walking down "his" street. Go back to sleep for a bit. Drop a ball at someone's feet and play a spot of fetch. Get a treat, go back to sleep for a bit.
Duties involve unconditional love, guard dog duties, lying around being cute and nagging one's owner into daily exercise. Modelling duties attract a bonus payment of additional treats. Yep, it's pretty much perfect except for one small detail and that involves interaction with other dogs. Humans tend to engage in a series of social niceties with strangers. Dogs sniff each other's bums, hump each other and then do the running around. No-one even offers to buy a drink. Okay, it's honest but ...
I mean really, there has to be some middle ground. Bum sniffing brown nosing has it's place (staff meetings for example) but having to do it every time you leave the house is a bit of overkill. Still, if it meant I could spend the rest of the day lying around having my tummy tickled ....

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18. Day 77. Dance like everyone's watching

If I was on a reality TV show it would be something like:
Big Mother or
Australia's Got No Talent or even
So You Know You Can't Dance.
It's true, I can't dance. It's also true I really wish I could. I love the obvious joy dancing brings to people. But when you have two left feet, you have two left feet.Biology is destiny
I used to think there was something beautiful about the saying "Dance like no-one watching" and I guess there is but the truth is there is also something delightful in knowing everyone is watching but not giving a toss because you don't only THINK you can dance you know it. And that's what I saw at the Zumba class at South Bank this afternoon. People who could dance and people whose moves were a little, well, suspect but there was a joy in their dancing just the same.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17. Day 76. Not in public

For many years, I was a group fitness addict. Step classes, Pump classes, Spin classes. The loud pumping music, the smell of sweat and someone shouting at me, I loved that (perhaps it was the similarity to my teenager's bedroom, but I digress). But even before I gave up, I had standards. There were rules, well one rule. Not in public. Getting all puffed and sweaty and hot and bothered is not a spectator sport for me. Within the confines of a gym with other consenting adults, fine. In the great outdoors, not so fine. Truth is I may have been enthusiastic but I was pathetic and the idea of members of the public watching was totally unappealing (the idea that someone might have been walking around with a camera ... well, let's not go there). Anyway while I don't understand it, I admire those with the self confidence for a bit of public exercise. This afternoon, the lawns of South Bank became a sea of yoga mats and Lycra for a free yoga class. There were downward dogs all over the place and with that many bottoms facing in his direction as we walked by my dog thought all his Christmases had come at once. And there's another reason not to exercise in public, says she who was, by her own admission, exercising in public. Yep, the irony isn't lost on me. I may not want to do it in a group on the lawn but a bit of exercise on a Monday is a great way of getting through the week.

March 16. Day 75. Shall I compare thee to a summer's Day?

In the strange dark recesses of my mind - almost certainly in a file marked useless - there are small fragments of poems.
I am sure the poems themselves are infinitely beautiful but the small bits that remain after being over analysed to the point of being butchered in high school English classes are not. So when I was sweltering today and reminding myself that we were now firmly in autumn the line of a Shakespearean sonnet found its way out of that mind recess. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate".
I could not help but compare the day to summer and I could not consider it in any way more lovely nor more temperate. It was every bit as hideous. So like summer, the only ways to deal with such a day are air conditioning and the pool. Also it is a fine idea to pray that Shakespeare was not, in fact, right because if the et"ernal summer does not fade" I just might. While I hate winter today was in the word of The Bard "too hot the eye of heaven shines".
Now, who said high school English was wasted on me? (Well me actually but perhaps there was a bit of poetic licence there too).
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15555#sthash.AachRBHp.dpuf

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15555#sthash.AachRBHp.dpuf

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 15. Day 74. The luck of the Irish

Perhaps it is because I have no particular fondness for either Guinness or potatoes that I struggle to understand just what's so lucky about the Irish. The country is beautiful to be sure to be sure and it has no snakes which is a bonus but that isn't of itself exceptionally lucky. In any event you would have to think that the luck applies to the people not the country given just how many of them have left the Emerald Isle and are living just about everywhere else in the world. Australia, like the US, is particularly Irish and there's a great deal of green blood in my veins. If the turn-out for the annual St Patrick's Day Parade in Brisbane is anything to go by the city is packed with people who either
a) see themselves as Irish
b) enjoy being out in the sun and cheering a parade
c) like the colour green
d) will take any excuse to drink Guinness or
e) all of the above.
For whatever reason the city was a sea of green today as  the lucky people celebrated being in the lucky country. There's nothing Irish about that.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 14. Day 73. Keep off the grass

Henry Miller once said: "The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." Sorry Henry. As deeply poetic as that might be when I read it I find myself thinking that perhaps you have spent more time smoking grass than actually looking at it. Now I admit this bit of native grass, or weed or reed or whatever I photographed on the riverbank at West End this afternoon is not unattractive. But I am not struck down in awe looking at it and I am certainly not struck down in awe looking at the increasingly feral state of what was once my back lawn. Two months ago the mowing man came, ran the mower over the grass and promised to come back on Monday to finish the job. I'm still waiting. I've since seen him at the supermarket and we've exchanged texts and the answer is always the same. "I'll be there tomorrow." Now any sensible person would at this point be saying "find another gardener". Problem is attempts to find a reliable person to cut my lawn has proven insanely difficult even though the lawn is about the size of a postage stamp and you could probably cut it with scissors in 10 minutes. So I persist pretending to myself that tomorrow will eventually come. Perhaps Henry Miller isn't the only one who should keep off the grass

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13. Day 72. Spineless

As a fan of musical theatre it is unsurprising that I have a great love for both The Wizard of Oz and its spin-off Wicked to the extent that I sometimes wonder if I am more a cowardly lion, a heartless tin man or a brainless scarecrow. In truth, I think I am more a spineless jellyfish. Courage under fire I might have, but the spine to stand up for myself is missing. It goes like this. Today I returned The Fed to my brother and we again became a one dog family. I'd decided some time back that this is the way it should be but did I say so? Of course I didn't even though there was mention of more travel in three weeks. Why? Well because
1)  I'm spineless
2) Family roots, like those of mangroves, run deep and you do what you can to help. It's a rule
3) Much as my baby Rumple loved romping at Nudgee Beach this afternoon I just knew he'd enjoy it more with a fur friend.
The truth is that like family members without fur, Rumple and The Fed have issues. Fed has a bit of a tendency to take over and clearly that puts Rumple's cold, wet and adorable nose out of joint. But that being said they love each other's company and enjoy nothing more than trips to the dog park and the beach together.
So for now we'll enjoy the quiet life knowing that it might only be temporary. You don't get to choose your family and so it is with Fed. He choose us. I'd go to jelly at the suggestion it be any other way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 12. Day 71. Two bees or not two bees

I spent quite some time this afternoon just watching bees, two of them.
There is no good explanation for this type of bee-haviour except to say these were some sort of bees on steroids. They were huge, the type of bees that until this point I assumed would only exist in a horror film when a nuclear accident had led to a swarm of killer mutant bees. But my good friend Dr Google set me straight. These were Great Carpenter Bees, the largest in the country and not only that they were female. This is a most impressive (but totally useless piece of information). Impressive because the female is far more attractive than the male which quite frankly is only fair but far too rare in the animal kingdom. The great beauty is so often wasted on males. It is also impressive because, let's face it, Australia is particularly blessed when it comes to large, scary and dangerous bugs and creepy crawlies but until this point I can't recall ever seeing or hearing about giant carpenter bees. Dr Google says they grow to about 24 mm which makes them the type of bee you would want on your basketball team, or as it happens in your buzz pollination team.  "Great Carpenter Bees are excellent buzz pollinators," Dr Google says. "They curl their bodies around the pollen capsules and vibrate their muscles to release trapped pollen."
Also, they are incredibly noisy when they go about their business.
So really, the behaviour of this bee seems just a little bit like what happens in my house. It's the female who's doing the bulk of the food gathering but just in case the males around the place may forget the fact I am quite determined to make a lot of noise about it. Also I am huge but normally well attired. And there's a sting in my tail. You might get honey. You might get stung. Life, I'm afraid, is like that. Bee good boys

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11. Day 70. Remember the days of the old school yard?

Remember the days of the old school yard? Yes, I do actually which is why I can look my son in the eye and put my hand on my heart and tell him that I absolutely do not expect him to be just like me.
Sometimes when there is a "discussion" about how much home work should be undertaken, the suggestion is put that because I was a very diligent student I would expect others to be the same. Pur-lease. What others may call diligent I now remember only as neurotic, obsessive and driven. Academic success wasn't one measure of a good student it was the only measure, in my mind at least. Which is why I enjoy volunteering at the annual open day at The Teen's school. Sure there is a sense of fun that isn't there every school day but there is also a showcase of the many and varied activities boys can pursue at school. Some are very academic. Many are not and each is valued equally. The aim of the school is to produce good people not just good students and surely that's what we want for our kids. To be fair, that was probably also the aim of my school it just got lost in translation. It's taken rather a lot of years but I think it is a lesson I have now learned. All I need to do now is remember to put it into practice. That can be my homework.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10. Day 69. Puzzling behaviour

If I was able to choose a super power it would be the ability to shift time, rather like time turner Hermoine had in Harry Potter. There never seems to be enough hours in the day. I am, like just about everyone else in the first world, time poor. Which only makes my behaviour even more puzzling. I mean, really, why would a person who gets fatigued just by looking at the day's to-do list suddenly find a compelling need to play a bit of Candy Crush. This makes no sense at all. Nor did playing Bejewelled Blitz, or Angry Birds or Tetris or whatever game came before it. And lest you think my time wasting was only invented with the arrival of computers and smart phones into my life let me say it is not so. Smart devices have made time wasting more convenient but my special talent for losing hours has origins before the first digital natives were conceived. I can recall many hours putting together jigsaw puzzles, bending over the dining room table until my eyes bulged and my neck throbbed. And always, always when I got to the end there was at least one piece missing. What a waste of time that was. And yet that never deterred me. I suspect this is why my eyes were drawn to this strange piece of artwork in the Visual Arts display area at work today. Jigsaw pieces on the carpet (which is where I think all my missing pieces ended up over the years). And just to prove how little has changed I wasted a considerable amount of time fluffing around trying to find the right angle to photograph them. When it comes to time poor management I repeatedly show where there is a lack of will power, there is a way. Puzzling, isn't it?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 9. Day 68. My adopted family

We didn't have dogs when we were growing up. We weren't allowed. We lived on a busy road with no fence so my parents, quite sensibly, had a no dog policy. Well sort of. We never actually bought a dog. But most of the time we had one anyway. There was the dog the parish priest gave us. It had been a gift from a grateful couple he'd married but he couldn't keep it. Even my parents would never say no to the priest. And on top of that there was an assortment of dogs that followed us home and never actually left. Like I said, there was no fence. They could have left at any time but they didn't. They knew when they were on to a good thing. My niece Cleo isn't allowed a dog either because they have no fence so I let her share mine. This is only fair because at the moment I'm sharing custody of my brother's dog, And I never had a daughter so I get to borrow one of my sister's from time to time. So it was today. I wanted to check out the Colmslie Recreation Reserve and
 Cleo needed no encouragement to come along as my apprentice dog handler. The beach would have been dog heaven if it wasn't for the lack of separation between the sand and the boat ramp. It scared me too much to let the fur friends off the lead for too long. But there were plenty of other places to run and jump and generally let your hair down. It was rather a nice way for the extended, adopted, blended family to spend a Sunday.

March 8. Day 67. Touchy feely

Do you remember that woeful TV ad for Cuddly fabric softener? The one where the two blokes were discussing their towels in the change room and one could identify his because it was so soft. He declared "My wife's Cuddly".
Yes, it offended by feminist principles but I admit it made me feel slightly deprived because my mother never used fabric softener. Our towels were, like the unfortunate fellow in the ad, as stiff as a sailboard". I admit, I like to touch. Some fabrics just demand to be stroked. So I totally got why a group of 20 somethings in Musgrave Park chose Texture as the theme for their combined birthday get-together for mates Cieon and Will.  I do love a theme party and I do get all touchy feely in the presence of beautifully textured things so this theme was a total winner with me. My prize for best in show went to Sarah for this creation that had it all and a great sense of fun. It's okay people, I resisted the temptation to touch. I kind of figure going up to strangers in the park asking what they are doing and taking photos is probably about as forward as a girl should get, even if accompanied by two dogs ....

Friday, March 7, 2014

March 7. Day 66. Out of sight

For the most part the advantages of my current house over our last abode are obvious. If I was to make a list it would include in no particular order
  • Location
  • Views
  • The open plan living area
  • Air conditioning
  • An ensuite  and
  • The remote control garage
Bur really one of the biggest selling points is what can not be seen - storage space or more specifically spaces where you can hide crap. Basically our last place had no cupboards and this one has a massive walk in wardrobe, walls of other built-in robes, an abundance of kitchen cupboards, plenty of shelving in the garage and a spare room which we never actually have to use for anything. Cupboards hide a multitude of sins. Piles of unsorted laundry, for example,  are only a problem if you can see them. In short, the cupboard is to the house as restrictive underwear is the the figure - it doesn't matter what's in there as long as no-one ever gets to see it. My philosophy to house work lies somewhere between "out of sight, out of mind" and putting on a pair of  Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses, as descrived in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  At the first hint of trouble, these glasses turn totally black and thus preventing you from seeing anything that might alarm you. Yep, what you can't see can't hurt you. It's foolproof unless you actually need to open one of the cupbaords in case of an emergency or so you can eat or something. So it was at the University of Queensland lakes this afternoon when the usually publicity shy Brisbane River Turtles were emerging out of the murk in search of food and afternoon sun. And just to prove you can often forget what's in those hidden recesses a giant eel appeared out of nowhere and photo bombed my turtle shot. It seems everyone wants to come out of the closet these days.