Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 30. Day 272. Planes, trains and automobiles

The beach is an ever changing parade of awesome. 
The thing is, though, the only mode of transport I consider necessary or indeed practical on the beach is the walk. 
Apparently, however, this is a Susan thing. In fact, I'm not even trying. On the beach this morning one young man decided not only to ride a bike but to do so mostly on one wheel. Overachiever. 
And then this afternoon on a separate section of beach we were treated to a fly over by air force jets. I have to say the birds in the morning beach walk create quite a racket but they have nothing on a jet fighter.
It's just another element in a parade of awesome on the beach

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 29. Day 272. Nature versus nurture

I like to pretend I am one with nature but in fact I am a city chick wearing the most thinly veiled disguise. Case in point one. Twice this morning my eye was taken by beautiful birds. I admit, in birds, as in so many other aspects of life, I am drawn by the colorful, flashy ones. Lovely. But did I have the slightest idea what they might be? No I did not. It's like art. I may not have the slightest clue what I'm looking at but I know how to recognise what I like and that totally counts, right? Rumple is much the same. He likes small and furry dogs much like himself. Find one of them on the beach and it's game on. I was in my bird watching happy place and he was in the dog chase happy place. The nature of each beast, well served and it wasn't even 8am. Bird walk over, three generations of my family headed off to the Noosa National Park for a trek. My sister had told her girls about the Boiling Pot in the park and I promised to take them. Now the Boiling Pot is a natural wonder. The rock formation sucks water in and spurts it out like a boiling pot (hence the name). Well, that's what happens on high tide. Did I check the tides? No I dd not. That's what a person in tune with nature would do. What we saw was rocks just off the shore. Not quite what was promised. But it was a glorious day and we did get to see a koala in a tree so certainly all was not lost. File it under experience.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28. Day 271. Hotting up

Wine. That improves with age (although some of my nearest and dearest are unlikely to ever be able to test that). Vegetables, however, tend to go rather limp and pathetic. When it comes to getting into cold water I am considerable more vegetable than wine. Pathetic. The ocean doesn't reach prime swimming conditions until at least December in my humble opinion. This doesn't mean I WON'T swim before then, it just means it takes me considerably more time to get there. Isn't that like so many things when you get older? 
Drama Teen and the lovely nieces Cleo, Lucy and Amelia seemed to find my approach to getting wet at Noosa this morning as frankly laughable. Given I am almost older than all of them put together and the holder of the $$$ for the ice cream you'd think a little more respect would be in order. Still, I am sure it looked pretty funny and you might as well laugh at yourself. That is something that dies improve with age.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 27. Day 270. Three's company

 It's a bit of an open house policy around here on holidays. So when I asked my nieces freshly arrived from Hong Kong to join us at the beach for a couple of days and they suggested bringing another niece I figured why not. It's nice to see how well they all get along and I do love a big line-up for board games in the evening. Plus they are happy to let me take out the camera something my long suffering son is now completely over. How could you say no to anything that brings this much joy?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 26. Day 269. Beaches

 Back in my youth I would have considered today to be a fairly crap beach day. It wasn't all that warm, not great swimming weather and it was particularly blustery. But now I am older and wiser and know better. Besides, neither the fur friend nor the teenager were likely to take no for an answer so the beach it was both at dawn and dusk to bookend the day. The wind did mean I spent an insane amount of time removing my hair from my face but on the upside, my ball throwing skills are far superior with wind assistance plus a strong breeze makes for excellent kite flying. And Drama Teen and I did get quite a laugh out of the large number of blue bottles that looked rather like bright blue penises. Perhaps I might be older and wiser but clearly there's still a silly child in there.

Friday, September 25, 2015

September 25. Day 268. On the high seas

 Ahoy there. Susan was on the high seas today. All semester I have been banging on to students of online journalism about how they need to be ready to cover news if and when it happens. Your phone is your friend and you need to use it, I said repeatedly. So in the final lecture today I put them to the test. A gang of pirates invaded my lecture and abducted me. The swashbuckling and bad acting (by me) had a serious point.
As well as being journalists you are humans and that means you have a responsibility.
Do you cover the story? Do you call security or the police? Do you try to intervene?
Important questions and I hope the students at least are now pondering the answer.
Okay, the whole thing was a bit of theatrics but it had a serious point. And it is a bit of fun for me at least.
Having survived walking the plank I headed back to the ocean with the family for a week's rest and recuperation.
It has been a long semester and the beach is my recovery plan.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 24. Day 267. Pack it in

Holidays. Celebrate. Only one more sleep until holidays and I can't wait. I always embrace the joy of heading to the beach with both arms but this time more than ever I feel the sea air is just what the doctor ordered. (Actually what the doctor actually ordered was that I take time off work so in  way I am doing what I'm told just a little later than she had in mind). Rumple loves the beach but more than anything he likes to make sure that whatever is going on he's not missing out. Sitting in the suitcase makes his intentions pretty bloody clear. Fear not oh fur friend. Your joy at running on the sand is a big element of what makes the beach holiday so awesome. When the car is packed, you'll be there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23. Day 266. Beautiful people

Three hours and 42 minutes. We've taken less time to change Prime Ministers. And yet that's how long I spent at the hairdressers today. I was going to say that's how long my haircut took but that would be a lie. Those three hours and 42 minutes were spent on keratin straightening, highlights, toning, washing, conditioning, ironing blow drying AND cutting. Now some people would love that but it drives me nuts. I'm afraid I'm a wash and wear kind of girl. Truth is my 17-year-old son tells me that I do my eyeliner wrong and that's saying something. Of course, he has more experience in the whole business of looking awesome than I do being the theatrical type that he is. Before the marathon salon session I accompanied Drama Teen to see his Fame buddies in the school holiday show of Alice in Wonderland. They looked wonderful and I bet not one of them spent three hours and 42 minutes creating the look. Still when you're a teen looking wonderful comes a great deal more easily than in does when you are, well, more mature. Still I wouldn't need a fat suit to carry off the Tweedle Dum look ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 22. Day 265. the Luck(y) Child

 At the end of The Luck Child  in the fabulous Spiegeltent this afternoon, solo performer David Collins asked the crowd: "Who is seeing a stage show for the first time today?". All these little hands went up. Those little hands stayed in the air when asked if theatre was better than TV or screens. Now I wouldn't for a moment think that the kids in the audience of The Brisbane Festival show are about to throw away their iPads but they had just experienced something very special. The joy of live performance. Collins, one half of the Umbilical Brothers, was able to use just his body, some cardboard boxes and some rather lovely lighting and sound to create a modern fairytale that had the kids captivated. Funnily enough, the show was not all that different from the very adult show I saw the Umbilical Brothers perform at the Sydney Theatre Company earlier this year (if you strip out all those rude words and gestures). Very physical, very funny and completely absurd. Frankly I think the Luck Child is Collins himself. How lucky is a man who gets to embrace that child-like silliness into adulthood? No-one's saying it isn't hard work. Being all the characters in a fairy tale and keeping kids entertained for 45 minutes - that's a big, big ask. But the reward of knowing you've just started another generation on the road to theatrical salvation - and been paid for it - how good is that?

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21. Day 264. Fair or Fowl

When it was suggested to my neighbour Margaret that she might be better off not feeding the street fowl out of her front window because of all the chicken shit on the front path she responded immediately - she started feeding them out the side window.
One thing you can be sure of, that lady's mind is not for changing. Sharp as an axe and stubborn as an ox, her body might be failing but her will sure isn't.
I haven't even bothered to raise the subject of the fowl feeding because I know it would be a waste of time. She loves it when the birds come calling and I'm not going to deny her that.
I'll just stay well clear of the side path.
She tells me she only ever gives them the crusts but as I'm the one buying her groceries I can only assume the bread she buys has an unusual number of crusts. It has started disappearing at an alarming rate since the free range brigade started calling. This is a coincidence I am sure. It's fair not fowl, in my book.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sptember 20. Day 263. All dressed up. Great place to go

Some people hide it better than others but I secretly suspect that everyone likes a bit of fancy dress.The chance to pretend to be something other than yourself is delicious. Indeed, there's only once circumstance that kills my joy for the costume occasion. Here I think of the times when at 9pm a crumpled up note is found near a squashed banana in the bottom of a school bag. It advises of Book Week or Easter Bonnet parade or some other teacher-invented chance to extract revenge on the parents. With nothing at your disposal apart from a roll of aluminum foil an an egg carton you have to create a robot or something. Happy memories (not). But with that well behind us I can again feel the love of the costume. Today was Oz Comic-Con and that meant there were some pretty bloody fabulous characters on display outside the Convention Centre. I was on my way to see that other costume party Strictly Ballroom so I couldn't spend too much time but in just the couple of minutes I had spare I got to see what sort of costume you can create with time and more than an egg carton and Alfoil.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September 19. Day 262. Give me a home among the gum trees

One thing's for sure. No-one could ever accuse my younger sister Lisa of sitting around on her arse waiting for things to happen. Six weeks after returning home to Australia after 12 years in Hong Kong, the kids are in school she's started a new job, bought two cars and this week moved into the home they now own. It makes me a bit tired just thinking about it. Today Drama Teen, Rumple and I invited ourselves over for a look. They may have been in for less than a week but the home is really taking shape. The girls were enjoying the trampoline and the pool and we went for a trek to the rear of the huge property to explore the creek and bush. The plan is to set up a small organic farm. At the rate they've moved so far I expect to receive my first box of tomatoes in about two weeks.

Friday, September 18, 2015

September 18. Day 261. Public enemy number one

Right now the magpie is public enemy number one. There are maps devoted to the secret hideouts of the feathered fiends and signs all over the city warning of their vile antics. Cyclists, in particular, go to extraordinary lengths with weird and wonderful contractions and helmets designed to fend off the aerial attacks. It's magpie nesting season which means the black and white bombers are in attack mode and will swoop at and pretty brutally attack anyone who invades their territory. The best advice is "know thy enemy and stay well clear". At least that's what most people do. Margaret, my neighbour,  will never be accused of being a "most people". She not only refuses to avoid the magpies she invites them in for a meal. And it has to be said they accept her hospitality with open arms (or wings as the case may be). She says if they know you they don't attack. There may be something in that. Any wise bird will know you don't bit the hand that feeds you.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September 17. Day 260. Wet, wet, wet

The signs of summer have been in the air in recent days and the launch of the swimming season is close. Except today where it was raining and not swimming weather at all which is why it was ironic that the first dip happened today. A water dragon decided to go for a swim, a fact that may have been pleasant for the lizard but which drove Rumple completely crazy. If there's one thing the fur friend hates its another creature on his patch. He never goes into the pool but neither should any other creature by his measure. The lizard couldn't have cared less. He latched on to the pool noodle and spent an hour or so having a pleasant float. Watch out lizard, you will be competing for space on the noodle in the not to distant future.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 16. Day 259. Me and my big mouth

For a journalist, loving telling a good story is pretty much part of the deal.
Of course these days I no longer collect a pay cheque for being a loud mouth. To be honest, it's one of the things I miss now that my occupation is academic. People and their stories fascinate me and I do love to tell them. It's not that students don't do things that make me roll my eyes and occasionally want to shout it from the roof tops but I have taken a occupational vow of silence. I can see evil and hear evil, I just can't speak evil. Bor-ing. Fortunately as well as my day job I continue to be able to speak my mind in various media commitments. This is what had me at South Bank this morning where the loud mouth gulls were in a flap. Probably they had seen something they wanted to tell the world about. I get it. I really do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 15. Day 258. That has to hurt

Painful kind of day.
That has to hurt #1. 4am. Rumple starts doing crazy barking, in an imitation of something akin to Skippy or Lassie. "What's that Rump? Margaret has slipped on the path while collecting The Courier-Mail. She's in the garden and can't get up. I need to go and help her".  At Rumple's insistence I was able to launch a rescue mission and restore my 87-year-old neighbour to an upright position and back inside. I think she loves Rumple even more than before, if that's possible.
That has to hurt #2 10.30am
GP's surgery. "Take a big breath and cough," I'm instructed.  It hurts like hell. It's the cough of death I've been trying to ignore for some time. The GP describes it as "disgusting", and writes both an antibiotic prescription and a medical certificate and orders me to come back for a chest x-ray if there is any sign of deterioration.
That has to hurt #3 5pm
I'm checking out the buskers at South Bank when I recognise Melon the Human. I saw him at the Brisbane Fringe Festival a few weeks back and thought he was awesome. I also love his story. He was a school teacher before running away to China to circus school. Now he's back in Brisbane amusing crowds with an act which has to hurt. A lot. At least it took my mind off the pain in the lungs for a bit.

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14. Day 257, Breathe

 Breathe. Fine advice and it sounds simple enough but today not so much. Today I woke feeling like there was a great weight on my chest. The feeling remained even after Rumple decided to find somewhere more appropriate to lie. It's a familiar pattern which I should recognise. I put my refusal to do so down to oxygen deprivation. It starts with some sort of a virus which leads to a cough. Inevitably the chest infection follows. The cough of death. The bark really is worse than the bite. Fortunately during daylight hours it's not to bad but when the sun starts to go down breathing becomes more laboured.  By the time I left the University of Queensland lakes I was like the turtles just about able to suck in the air. I decided to do something about it but of course the GP was closed by then. Tomorrow is another day. I shall just remind myself to breath until then