Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 16. Day 350. Wet, wet, wet

It was the sort of Brisbane day that makes a girl break out in a sweat just thinking about going outside. Considering going any further afield and thoughts immediately went to ducking into the cool of the pool. But desperate times call for desperate measures. The number of days left between now and Christmas is rapidly declining so Christmas shopping was called for. Drama Teen and I headed to the Myer Centre and from the air conditioned car to the air conditioned shops and back. The only detour was to the city gardens where I found a 15 minute car park just by the gate. I went in. I took pics. I returned to the car and then we returned to the air conditioned house only  slightly damp. Mission accomplished.

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15. Day 349. I don't give a ship

Over the years, many, many people have tried to convince me I should take a cruise. This WILL NEVER HAPPEN. You can keep your endless buffets to yourself. The thing is this. I get really, really sea sick. "But these things are floating cities," they cry. "You can't even feel them move," they insist. I believe that holds true, for them. You can not, however, guarantee it will hold true for me. When the Royal Caribbean Cruises Global Chief Medical Officer says "There's no way to prevent motion sickness 100 percent", I am not going to take any advice for the cruise-a-holics. Even watching the P&O cruise ship glide up the river while I was at the dog park made me feel a little ill. I'd rather watch the sea safely from a dog beach. The cruise lovers should thank me. One less in the food queue....

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 14. Day 348. Hats off to you

There they go again. Another group of talented young people crossed the QPAC concert hall stage wearing a Cambridge pattern gown with a fuschia silk band. I feel such pride when one after the other, they move the tassel of the mortar board from the right to the left. It's job done for the class of 2017. I catch up with as many as I can find in the crowded QPAC foyers as they queue to have photos taken with family. This is, after all, an occasion families have every reason to celebrate. Behind just about every successful graduate is the family cheer squad (and often the family credit card). But an investment of time and/or money in an education is an investment always worth making. So hats' off to the journalism students about to make their way into the big world. We will miss you and honestly hope you remember us when you are changing the media for the better.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 13. Day 347. Breaking the drought

 Eighty days. That's a pretty long time between drinks. It's not that I'm counting but I know what event I was leaving when I thought I might die after two glasses. The blood test the next day revealed the hepatitis. I'm now allowed a tipple or two. If you are going to celebrate the end of disease-induced abstinence you might as well do it in style. Let me tell you it doesn't get much more stylish than Perrier-Jouet's Blanc de Blancs. That is French liquid awesome. It's new to the Emporium Hotel's cellar and as good a reason as any I've ever seen to host a celebration. As the doctor's orders are to take it easy I stopped at one and didn't even sample the other bottles being opened. So there was no chance I was over the limit when I asked a man I'd just met to come home with me. I'd just eaten one of the scallop canapes created by 2016 Brisbane Times chef of the year Josue Lopez. It was possibly the best thing ever. But Josh as his friends call him did not take my invite seriously. Apparently he has some fancy new job as executive chef as the Emporium. Just as well it's soon to open in walking distance from my home.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12. Day 346. Something to get off my liver

I do believe I can now put the liver thing behind me. Today was what is expected to be the last step - an MRI just to make sure everything is behaving as it should. I'm not the sort prone to claustrophobia, but I really could have done without the machine having "issues" a number of times dragging out a 30 minute procedure to well over an hour. Being in a tunnel isn't great but it was also freezing and I don't do well in the cold. So after it was done, fresh air and sunshine was in order - and fish and chips as it was many, many hours since I had been able to eat. As the procedure was done in Redcliffe (the only place that bulk bills MRIs) I headed straight for the water. Bloody good it was too.

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11. Day 345. Foot in mouth disease

Mondegreen. A word for mishearing things, in particular song lyrics. For instance, as a child my mother thought the prayed went "Hail Mary full of grapes". And recently a child in the audience of a pantomime I was at, thought the Bananarama song Venus included the lyrics "I'm your penis". An easy mistake. I'm not sure there's a word for it but my son seems to have a problem  not with hearing the lyrics but with comprehending them. Tonight I discovered he had misunderstood the meaning of I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus his whole life. I thought he was joking. Then I feared he wasn't.
Me: "You do realise it was Daddy that Mummy was kissing, right?"
Him: Silence.
Me: "Oliver,  lie if you have to.".
Him: Silence.
Me: "Did it never occur to you that a song about a child discovering mum was having an affair with Santa might not be the sort of thing on high rotation in shopping centres in December?"
Him: "Now that you mention it, your interpretation does make a lot of sense."
It turns out he is not alone. According to Buzzfeed this is a thing. I'm not sure that makes me feel any better.
Today's shopping centre visit to buy more lights for the tree and to get the toe nails attended to might be the last for a while considering the "filth" they play. I can only guess at what he thought the song Here Comes Santa Claus was about ....

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 10. Day 344. Family matters

I met a whole bunch of new people today, people I feel like I've known for years. Archie, Phyllis, Penny "Peaches"and a whole tribe of other members of the Hunter family make regular appearances in my neighbour Margaret's stories. Like many people of her age, she talks about folks you have never met like they are your besties. After a while you do feel like you know them. Many of the family I met recently at Margaret's 90th birthday but even more of the tribe gathered today at the home of her nephew John at Bray Park. The family had offered to pick Margaret but she was keen that I play chauffeur. Actually, I think  she really just wanted me to meet the family and for them to meet me.
Fair enough. Now at least I can put faces to names. The faces might not exactly fit seeing as many of the stories are tales about going to school or when Dad came home from the war ... But it was really nice how warmly the family accepted me into their celebrations. It turns out they've heard as much about me as I have about them.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

December 9.Day 343. Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas trees. They are much more than just a decoration we put up and adorn in the festive season. Just about everyone I know has a routine, a tradition or at very least a firm opinion of what a decorated Christmas tree should look like. There are the real tree people and the artificial tree camp. Some people are firmly in favour of tinsel. Some people won't let it in the room much less on the tree. I know people who buy all new decorations every year and those who like one special new ornament to mark each year. My tree has been with me since the year my father died bought with the $$$ I earned from the proceeds I earned from writing a feature story about his death. As such it is special in its own right. But it is big and putting it up is a big commitment. It really is a team effort. For a number of years Christy was my tree angel. While she was studying,  Christy was our domestic goddess. She would cook or clean, entertain the boy or at Christmas help conquer the tree. Then she graduated, got a proper job and we lost her BUT she's back. As fate would have it she contacted me today and said she'd be in the area at lunch time. We were overdue a catch up. Could she drop around? Hell yeah. We love catching up with Christy and as luck would have it today was the day set aside for "the tree". Just like the good old days, she pitched in. She said she missed it. It was a tradition. I tell you what, that's a tradition I'd be very happy with.

Friday, December 8, 2017

December 8. Day 342. A sight for sore eyes

I wouldn't actually say it was a selling point, but the proximity to the city's major children's hospital was a comfort when we moved here. We visited there just once - when Drama Teen fell down the stairs just as my guests were arriving for a work Christmas party. He was fine and I was back home before the last of the guests had arrived. The proximity to the children's hospital comes in handy for others. My little mate Molly had an eye operation yesterday. She had a post operative appointment at the crack of dawn today and camped out at our place with her mum until her dad finished work. Other than the bloodshot eyes, she was good old Molly - until it came to eye drop time. It's fair to say, she's not a big fan. A four-year-old can't be expected to fully understand that the drops are a necessary evil. Parents suffer just as much as the kids (perhaps more) in situations such as this. No-one wants to hurt a little one. The jelly I made didn't make the discomfort stop but it helped distract just a bit. But there were more tears when Drama Teen and I had to leave for a date at the theatre. She wanted to come too. Aunties might be able to get away with more than parents but A Very Naughty Christmas is just not a thing for a youngster even one whose vision might be temporarily blurry.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December 7. Day 341. Hot in the city tonight

I do love a bit of reality TV and this year, one of the awesome new additions to the space was Instant Hotels. Owners of AirBnBs from all over Australia stayed in each other's property and rated them. The season winner was in West End just down the road from my place. Although the property won the competition, the road to the championship was not smooth. In the "heats", the opposition savaged the attractions of the local area. They laughed at the man-made beach at South Bank and the Wheel of Brisbane. Well excuse me people but we happen to love that area. That area is urban renewal at its best. Tonight, Drama Teen and I were at South Bank to see a movie. We were a bit early (that never happens) so we walked around a while. It was after 9pm but there were still quite a number of people cooling off in the pools after a steamy Brisbane day. The path along the river was being well used by walkers, joggers and cyclists. Those interstate cynics might put shit on our beach but we love it. So there.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 6. Day 340. He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice

If you let yourself think about it for too long, the whole Santa thing is just a bit creepy. This dude is watching all the little kids and finding out who's naughty and nice. He sneaks into bedrooms at night. In an innocent child's eyes, that's the magic of Christmas. For adults it's all very ho, ho hum. Watching Elf and attending Carols in the park are all well and good but Christmas is for everyone not just the kiddies. Enter Alex Woodward and the team from Understudy Productions who this year are putting the pant into the Christmas panto. A Very Naughty Christmas, which opens at the Brisbane Powerhouse this week is a raunchy cabaret-style spoof of the Christmas concert. Alex, the producer and co-creator of the show admits that while he is a fan of Love Actually (because all the best people are), the sugar sweet Christmas shows "kind of killed me a little bit".
His plan was to create a celebration to be enjoyed with "your other family", the important people around you that you don't always get to see at Christmas itself.
"There are so many people who don't have kids and people who do have kids who also want to do something at Christmas that isn't child-friendly... I think this is an opportunity for them."
There are the reindeer and Saint Nick as you've never seen them before, a live band and versions of Christmas songs quite unlike what you'll hear in the shopping centres. Throw in 10 very talented performers and, from the little bit of the tech rehearsal we saw today, the result is bound to put you in the Christmas Spirit.
Be warned, this is not the show for people who still hope to be on Santa's nice list .
Be good for goodness sake and listen to our chat with Alex (who claims Santa will forgive him because he's been so nice all year)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 5. Day 339. Ready to fly

"Christmas time is here by golly. Disapproval would be folly. Deck the halls with hunks of holly. Fill the cup and don't say when..." Tom Lehrer's Christmas Carol was regularly quoted by my dad and in his memory I will be able to raise a glass of something substantial this Christmas. Today I was finally able to put the whole hepatitis thing behind me (well almost). At my specialist appointment this morning, I was told my liver function is now back to normal and a glass of bubbles at Christmas is fine. A liver MRI next Tuesday will be final confirmation but this girl is ready to fly. To be clear there are far worse things than not having a beverage ... such as two months of feeling like death. If you ever want a good reason not to drink to excess, a little taste of what  damaged liver feels like is evidence enough. But it is the season to be jolly and a little drink never hurt anyone (a big drink, well that's another matter. The aftermath of that hurts a lot). So with medical approval I now get to spread my wings just a little bit. Up, up and away Susan. It's the silly season after all.

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4. Day 338. Raining in my heart

I owe, I owe, it's back to work I go. The worst thing about holidays is the going back to work thing. Today kind of sucked. Three hours of back-to-back meetings, a blood test AND it poured. Naturally my umbrella was in the car. I wasn't. After work, Drama Teen decided a movie would be a good thing to wash away the back-to-work blues. The only thing really washed off was my make-up in a flood of tears. Wonder made me sob. It was a beautiful movie if a story about a young boy persecuted by his peers for being different is your thing. If watching the pain experienced by him and his mother is a Kleenex moment remember to take a large box. (There's also a bit to thrust a dagger into the bleeding heart of a dog lover just to seal the deal).
So I went home feeling miserable. The good news is, according the the forecast, the sun will come out tomorrow...

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December 3. Day 337. Isn't she Angelic?

 It's a very rare thing to find me in a church. But put official paperwork such as a census or a hospital  admission form and I always tick Catholic. Always. You can take the girl out of the church but not the church out of the girl. And I like the formal sense of occasion, of public recognition, of ceremony that Catholic Church services bring to major life events. I was baptised, confirmed and married in a Catholic Church. I was Catholic school educated. I won't be around to decide but a Catholic funeral would be my preference. So when my friends Jamie and Tiania asked me to be a God Parent to Molly I could hardly refuse. I was kind of born to it. It was a  lovely service. Miss Molly was on her best behaviour, angelic even. She certainly looked the part. The plan was to celebrate with a picnic by the lakes after wards but we were all melting so we escaped into the air conditioning at our place. A picnic without ants and on proper chairs is my kind of picnic - simple but civilized. Just the right sense of occasion for a girl who likes an occasion.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2. Day 336. Early to rise

One of the tangible benefits of having a child whose passion is the performing arts and not sport is the ability to sleep in. The sporting mum's duties inevitably include ferrying ones little darling to the swimming pool, river, golf course or cricket ground at the crack of dawn.
The stage mum gets a lie in. Most theatre happens at the end and not the start of the day. There are exceptions to every rule. Today was one of them. It wasn't actually crack of dawn when I dropped Drama Teen at the Schonell Theatre but the time did have a seven in front of it and it wasn't PM.
Since I was up and out and about in any case, I decided to make the most of it. I took the dogs with me and we walked around the Lakes at the University of Queensland.
The wildlife was pretty active before the heat of the day set in.
My camera finger also got a pretty good work out. Job done before breakfast. That's a score.

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 1. Day 335. Baby look at me

"Sorry mum, working" Drama Teen said as he rushed past me in the foyer of the Schonell Theatre holding a pair of dancing shoes. Well isn't that music to a mother's ears? Working. Actual gainful employment as an assistant stage manager. Ferrying black jazz flats from one dressing room to another (at least I assume that's what he was doing) is just part of a day's work. Wearing the green  tutu? That he does for free. It was the 15th annual Fame Christmas show I have attended and the first for my friends Jamie and Tiania whose little one Molly is a Teeny Famer (no prizes for guessing who introduced them to Fame). As a veteran of the Fame show - I think I've seem the song Fame performed by the whole cast something like 45 times - it's really interesting to see the performances through the eyes of novices.  Sorry guys. You too can learn to love having Fame ear worming through your head for years to come.
You're welcome.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 30. Day 334. Feeling crabby

 I am my father's daughter in so many ways. Look at me and you'll know I'm a Hetherington. But it's not just the nature part of the equation. There's also the nurture bit. I find myself doing many things that if I stopped to think about it I'd realise were from my Dad.
But today I broke a dad habit of a lifetime. It's about holidays. When the holidays were done we packed up and went home. There were no detours, no delays. It was - to borrow a Monopoly phrase - go home, go directly home, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
I even remember one family holiday to Port Macquarie where he refused to stop to let us eat or drink. If the car hadn't needed petrol there probably wouldn't have been wee breaks either. He just wanted to get back to home sweet home.
I might not be quite so crazy rigid about it but I also don't delay at heading home. Questions about a car full of valuables or wet togs and towels or perishable food always bother me.
But not today. Today it was raining when the dogs and I should have had our last walk along the beach. I felt cheated. Also without a big run we would have a whinging Winkle to deal with all the way home. So with the car packed and the keys returned, the dogs and I hit the beach. Drama Teen stayed in the air conditioned car to help alleviate my normal concerns. The weather was threatening but the run was excellent (even if the car is now buried in sand).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 29. Day 333. Under the boardwalk

Well doesn't that suck. Today is our last full day of holidays. The weather was lovely - if you happen to be a duck. The morning walk was cancelled but we did fit in a quick stroll after lunch to collect a newspaper from the local shops. By later afternoon the rain hadn't actually gone away but the weather gods had pushed the pause button for just a bit. We decided to chance it and head to the river. The place was pretty much deserted but while the clouds kept threatening they never actually delivered. The dogs had a lovely old time running around and exploring. We were just happy to stay dry and to watch the dogs going off. It wouldn't be what we would have chosen but it was rather nice just the same.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28. Day 332. Spirit of Adventure

I'm sure my mother loves me, really. But I do test her.
Mum traditionally joins us on holiday. She pitches in and does what we do.
I "reward" her with a few surprises. One year we went for a "short walk" through the Noosa National Park to the nudist beach. Anyone who knows the area knows that the reason this unofficial clothes optional beach is allowed to flourish is because it is well off the beaten track. You can approach it from two different park entrances. Neither is a short walk. But she did it. Today we took the dogs to the Maroochy River North Shore where the river meets the ocean. The plan was to start the walk at the ocean entry and walk around the headland and arrive park at the car park at the river entry. It's a fine plan. What I didn't mention was that although it is beach most of the way there are detours.
Fallen trees and the like mean that in places you have to head inland. In one section you have to wade through water about knee deep.
I'd done it a couple times on this holiday. Drama Teen has conquered it once. We both knew what to expect. My mum did not.
The dogs loved it. The humans embraced it. I think my mother, knowing my sense of direction, was just pleased that we made it back to where we started.
I rewarded her with Pad Thai for dinner. It's her favourite. She rewarded me with doing the washing up. Deal.

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27. Day 331. The early bird

 Sleeping is something of a family specialty. I was trained in the fine art of snoozing by my mother. Mum doesn't only adhere to the idea of letting sleeping dogs lie but also thinks it is wrong to wake snoozing humans without good cause. If you are asleep, you need to be. Given that, there was no way I was going to wake her when the dogs and I went for our pre-breakfast walk on the beach. So she missed the butcher bird eating its prey and the dogs trying to catch and kill each other. She also didn't see the large number of mutton birds dead on the beach (apparently this is a seasonal thing). Mind you, I didn't see her taking on the crossword later in the day because it was time for my nap. She let me sleep. She always does. In the late afternoon we were both awake so we hit the beach with the dogs. Rumple and Winkle were happy to let Grandma share in ball throwing duties. Indeed they put on a classic display of why we all enjoy the beach so much. Still, it's considered most unlikely she'll wake to repeat it in the morning (and we won't wake her).