Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Never do I think of plunging my body in freezing water just after dawn.
That says a lot about me. It also says a fair bit about the members of the Fast Track Athletic squad who I ran into a South Bank this morning where they sprinted along the beach before throwing themselves in the pool.
Henry, Thomas, Yunis, Paul (pictured) and Anthony told me they train at South Bank several times a week but it has all been land-based for several months.
After a big international meet on the weekend it was determined that an icy plunge was on the cards.
Yep, they told me it was as cold as it looked but their fear of losing was greater than their fear of a bit cold water.
I admire their commitment but I think I'll stick to my idea of how to travel along the road to recovery.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
There are two things wrong with this picture. The fact that it's not yet 10am is the obvious first one. The fact that I'm teaching a class at the time makes it worse. I admit, fizzy caffeinated drinks are a very bad habit of mine a fact which I went on to share with the class (heading off on tangents mid lesson is another bad habit - but I digress).
Back to the fizzy, carbonated drinks. The single V a day is a remnant of a bad habit that used to see me drinking literally litres of the diet form of the world's top selling soft drink a day. But even then I never looked at a Coke can for anything other than its contents. Never was I tempted to cut it up and turn it into a tree decoration. Clearly I lack artistic imagination as this piece of street art I discovered on my walk today showed. It was just one of quite a few everyday objects strung up high in the tree.
Further down the road we ran into a local resident also working on tree art. The woman told Rumple and I she was playing with the bark of a bamboo plant because she was interested to see how the fibres would go as a lamp shade. Again, clearly I lack artistic imagination. Never have I seen a piece of bark and thought "lamp shade right there".
Perhaps if I downed a few more fizzy caffeinated drinks ...
Monday, July 29, 2013
In the new caring, sharing world, gone is the opportunity to talk to Little Johnny's teacher behind his back once a year. Nope, the child is in there front and centre. Where's the fun in that?
Anyway, today was parent teacher interviews that once-a-semester chance to put your child's performance under the spotlight. All the flaws and imperfections as well as all one's great strengths and positive attributes are placed under the microscope and examined.
It's an enlightening process but also a time consuming one. As a result I ran out of time to give much thought or effort into grabbing the camera and hitting the streets.
So here you get rain on a leaf from the garden just outside my front gate which has been made to fit the occasion. All the fine structure is there. You can see it but sometimes it is buried and obscured. Hopefully one sunny day it will emerge.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
The school students have a look somewhere between excitement and terror for what is ahead but for what it's worth I reckon they are doing the really hard yards right now.
Those who say the school days are the best of your life didn't have the same experience as me. It's not that I hated school - I didn't. I was a girlie swot but there was incredible pressure to succeed.
The uni years, however, that's when the fun really begins.
Yes, university is a lot of hard work but there's plenty of time to party and plenty of like-minded people to do it with.
Open Day has that same sense of serious and fun.
There were people like me talking Overall Position Scores, Grade Point Averages and course outlines plus alternative entry pathways. Eyes glazing over
And when that got too much there was free fairy floss, free popcorn and the balloon artists - sounds more like kids party than tertiary study but that's the point.
And just to make it feel a little bit more grown up there were no balloon dogs here.
Nope. Balloon $$$$ for the potential accountancy students, balloon gavels for the would-be lawyers and model DNA for the scientists.
Yep, choosing what to study at university is a serious business but that doesn't mean you can't have a bit of fun along the way.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Let's try that again. Saturday. Washing, housework, grocery shopping ...
For most people with school-aged children Saturday also = sport.
Today for my niece Cleo it was netball and although I missed her game (they lost by two to one of the competition's top teams) I was at her house exercising my homework help duties when she arrived home. The fact that she had just finished a game didn't stop her from setting up the hoop in the back yard.
She plays in defensive positions but as this shows can land a hoop from time to time. Score.
I scored too - an afternoon nap and an evening at the theatre. There might have been a lot to pack in but these days that's what Saturdays are all about.
Friday, July 26, 2013
Reach beer o'clock on a Friday afternoon and you can almost hear the city take in a big, deep collective breath - and I don't even drink beer.
This week will not go down as one of my favourite so was happy to declare it Poet's Day (P*ss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday in case you are uninitiated).
So off to the dog park with Rumple where I just sat and watched the sun go down over Mount Cooth-tha.
So avagooweekend. I intend to. Cheers
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Still, he does have one very special gift and that is the gift of happiness.
I admit to feeling a bit of a basket case today, possibly as a hangover from illness and a resulting pile up of work. Whatever the reason I was just not getting my sh*t together. At all.
And I swear Rumple knew it. At one point he jumped on the bed where I was lying, lifted a single paw and put it on my arm. My sweet little furry baby. The rest of the day he was by my side, just being there watching me. This photo was taken while he was resting in a basket at my feet.
Now really how could that not bring a smile to a girl's face which is exactly what I needed?
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Truth was that while my own predictions of my imminent death proved to be a little premature, I was still feeling somewhat under the weather today.
Indeed for the first time in almost 12 years I cancelled my weekly ABC Radio chat because a death rattle over your breakfast cereal is possibly not the best start to the day.
By late afternoon I was feeling marginally better and having dodged a bullet I agree to Rumple's urging and went for a (slow and short) walk around South Bank.
I shall blame the lack of oxygen hitting my brain for the chronic lack of imagination in today's pic. I call it struggling to exercise while under the weather.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I have to say I was feeling a little bit sick and sorry for myself. An inability to breathe will do that to a person. All I can say is that I am glad I live in a time where there are drugs to at least offer some relief.
So I should have been in bed. And I was - after work and before the Mum's taxi duty for singing lessons. And again before getting up to cook the family's dinner. Rule 1. Mums don't get sick.
But with lung altering drugs on board I decided that I would not let a lack of breath stop me from seeing the Story Bridge lit in blue to celebrate the birth of the new royal baby.
I'm not a monarchist but I do love a sense of occasion and celebration. So there it is - the bridge for a little boy. Seems I'm not the only one feeling blue today.
Monday, July 22, 2013
The young lads were both from Mount Isa but from very different backgrounds - one was an Indigenous student and the other the son of an international executive employed by a large mining company.
The boys were discussing the carnival and the selection of the State team at the conclusion. The South American boy was hoping to gain State selection. The local boy explained that he could not be considered because his parents were unable to meet the costs and so had not signed the consent form.
It seemed so sad that even at this age they knew that talent and enthusiasm were not always enough.
This little episode came to my mind today when I met Alex (front) and Dwayne, both members of the hip hop dance crew Empire who were rehearsing on the lawn outside the Performing Arts Complex at South Bank.
They were working hard and are both very excited because in less than a week the team will be on a plane to Las Vegas to compete in the world hip hop championships. My sweet little niece Jessica and her Sydney-based team also won the right to complete in the US but they won't be on the plane. They could not raise the money needed to make the trip.
Jessica is a real talent and her time will come but it's a little sad that having worked so hard to get as far as they did it was money and not talent that stopped them in the end.
In the meantime best wishes to our local dancers about to take on the world. Viva Las Vegas.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Today the weather was stunning, too nice to be inside but unless you count hanging out the washing that's where it seemed I was destined to be.
Much of the day was spent either slaving over a hot computer or putting off slaving over a hot computer in an Olympic level gold medal display of procrastination.
Day 1. Semester 2 tomorrow and there's much still to be done in preparation but by late afternoon the need to escape became too much. In any event Rumple determined that it was time for a walk. There's no prizes for guessing who wears the pants in this relationship and it's the furry one who owns no pants.
So off to South Bank we walked where we found many, many families still splashing around in the water and playing on the sand.
A beautiful day it may have been but still it's July so there was no temptation to join them in the water.
Still fresh air and sunshine was enough to recharge the batteries before returning to the laptop. So much for a day of rest.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
So what better kind of festival could their be than one that celebrates food?
The Regional Flavours event at South Bank this weekend celebrates all the delights of food grown locally.
Unsurprisingly it was a huge drawcard.
The weather forecast was hideous but while it was not one of those clean, clear Brisbane winter days the rain held off much to the delight of everyone (especially me and my furry friend Rumple who walked down to join in the fun).
One of my favourite attractions was at the Piazza where the whole space was given over to free food-related events and activities for children.
The Food Imagination included food art, food craft and food science.
Dr Rob Bell from CSIRO and Channel 10's Scope exploded Gummy Bears, made elephants' toothpaste and set fire to flour (not that there's anything special with that last one. I can do that in the kitchen any day).
Science over, it was time to hit one of the many local ice cream stands where I met two-and-a half year old Akira and her mum Mai.
I promise I was cleaner eating my ice cream than Akira (well there's no photographic evidence to prove otherwise). Delicious
Friday, July 19, 2013
Don't you just hate it when things that should be oh so simple, things you have done multiple times, before suddenly decide they just won't work.
Teaching begins at 8am on Monday morning and I should be ready to go but some of my funky little gadgets are just refusing to play ball. Guess if you give a person enough rope....
Step one. Try Google. Fail
Step 2. Ask friends on Twitter. Still fail
Step 3. Reach for a lifeline. The IT Helpdesk. At this stage phrases such as "We don't support that" "have you tried rebooting the computer" and "hang on while I Google that" are enough to make a girl scream.
But all was not lost. "I have a colleague who knows more about Powerpoint. I'll get him to call you in the morning."
And thus a very nice IT man and I together managed to navigate down what seemed to be a impossibly steep technical cliff face and now I have a Powerpoint presentation with a live twitter feed ready to go.
Time for a breath of fresh air. So off to the Kangaroo Point cliffs for a walk and to take this photograph which kind of sums things up.
Then back to work where the next job was embedding a twitter feed in the online teaching Blackboard site. Surprise, surprise. That didn't work either. And the IT Helpdesk said "we don't support that" and I went looking for the rope again.
But after much discussion about widgets and html code that also works. Strap yourself in students, it's going to be a steep learning curve for all of us.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
I remember many a beach holiday when we were only allowed to hit the sand before 10am and after 3pm. The rest of the holidaymakers packed surf to cool off in the heat of the day, but not us. We were inside hot and bothered.
Of course I now know that this philosophy doubtless went a long way to save my face in what is the skin cancer capital of the world.
(In fact I suspect it was more about saving Dad's own face because admitting to not liking sun, sand and surf is positively unAustralian).
However, whatever the reason I have Dad to thank for the fact that today's visit to the skin specialist involved only the removal of a small basal-cell carcinoma which in skin cancer terms is dodging a bullet.
A small incision, a couple of stitches and a small scar on my chest and I'm good to go. The hole in the wallet is the biggest pain.
Procedure over, I walked down to the Paddington skate park but there was no-one there (I suspect it was too early for skaters to be out of bed).
But this smiling face, victory symbol and slight skin damage seemed to sum up today perfectly.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Not getting very far fast.
I always feel this way just before a new semester when finalising the staff and lecture plan. Move one staff member because of availability and it impacts on where everything else has to go. Just the slightest touch because of a public holidays and again the waters are muddied.
But now finally with a day of very ruffled feathers I think the balance might be just about right and I can reflect on how it might be done better next time.
Thank you the the sea gull at South Bank this morning for summing it up so perfectly.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
No longer is it about convincing people of the worthiness of your cause. Increasingly it is about coming up with a novelty idea that will make your personal endeavour stand out from the crowd.
So I hand it to these guys who I ran into at South Bank this evening. I applaud the fact that they are going to compete in the Redcliffe Jetty 2 Jetty half marathon on the weekend. But as if 21.1 kilometres isn't enough, there has to be more if you want to convince people to sponsor their effort and donate to Camp Quality. So why run it? Why complete it on roller skates when you can run towing a mate on roller skates for the entire distance?
Their aim is to raise $5000 for the children's cancer charity and they are more than four fifths of the way there.
Full marks and $20 for your efforts guys.
Monday, July 15, 2013
They are happy little Vegemites.
Their gain is our loss. This afternoon they were at their old home for perhaps the last time to collect the remainder of their gear. Rumple and I were heading out for a walk but we never made it. Instead the kids and Rumple charged round each other for half an hour. There will be plenty of other times for a walk but we couldn't let this opportunity go by.
Farewell kids. Be sure to drop by often.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
I've been a Brisbane girl most of my life (apart from stints living in the UK and on the Sunshine Coast).
Thus I thought I knew a lot about the city but until today I never knew that circus skills was something we did well here.
It took a Swedish visitor called Oscar to set me straight.
I met Oscar at Count White Park at the base of the Kangaroo Point cliffs this afternoon.
He's studying graphic design in the Valley and told me that while he dabbled in circus arts in Sweden he didn't get serious about it until moving to Brisbane.
There's a much bigger, friendlier and more organised circus art community in Australia, he told me.
And on the second Sunday of the month they gather at the Kangaroo Point cliffs to practice and socialise together with a Facebook group to keep everyone on track. I didn't know that until today we either. Just another reason to love this place.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
And yet, there are so many things I now see that I never noticed or processed before I started walking around with a camera and actually LOOKING at what's going on around me.
Like today. Walking down Albert Street we ran into Ellen. She was wearing a long purple and blue wig, a sort of fairy tale dress in black and white and long black socks. She was carrying her shoes.
"I'm late. I'm late," she said before posing quickly and running for the bus.
It would have done but seconds later there was Hank in the Roma Street forum standing upside down on a little boy statue. His cap perfectly positioned to cap it off, so to speak. So there you have it. Today's photo.
I'm kind of glad I've learned to look. It makes life so more interesting.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Nothing like the feeling of your stomach coming out of your mouth. And yet they were queuing up to have a go.
There was such a good atmosphere in Musgrave Park at the annual NAIDOC Week free family fun day today.
And why not. Free entertainment. Free rides and a great celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
Rumple, for one, will be desperate to go back. Nothing like a huge crowd for leaving behind lots of tasty treats at dog level. Success all round.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
I love that we live in walking distance to Brisbane's cultural precinct on the south bank of the river, not because I'm cultured but because I have a chronic punctuality problem.
6.42pm. Sitting in the car outside Theatre Boy's drama class at Albion in the same leg-ins and over-sized shirt I'd been wearing for nearly 40 hours straight. Let's just say it is proving to be a VERY challenging week.
7.28pm sitting in Row K at the Playhouse at QPAC in the Sunday best, having dropped the boy at home, eaten dinner, freshened up, done the face and not broken any laws to get there.
Score. Yeah, I understand why some people would like the peace and solitude that acreage brings but at heart I find myself drawn to the bright city lights as a moth is to a flame. Come on. Even you country-loving folk would have to admit it's beautiful.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Anyway, back to the lasagna sheets which are fresh in my mind because there was a spot of baking going on in my house last night. There were two lasagnas being constructed simultaneously. The four cheese gluten-free variety for the boy and a slow roasted lamb construction for normal people.
The lamb one presented no issues. I wish I could say the same for the gluten-free dish. Let's just say the packaging should be changed to read lasagna "bits" rather than sheets. It's the same with every box to the point that they should just market it as a jigsaw puzzle and be done with it. Or perhaps those handling the goods could be just a little bit more careful. Now there's a thought. Tossers.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
One of the rules I have tried to stick to is to never, ever give "just because" as a reason for anything. It's not a reason. It's a cop out. But sometimes it's the best I've got.
We are in the process of buying a new car, a purchase decision that should be fairly easy based on objective criteria. Except it isn't and sometimes my preference for one brand over another makes no sense at all. I prefer it "just because".
So I kind of get the completely inexplicable behaviour of these two young ladies at South Bank today. It was pretty bloody chilly today and yet they were eating ice cream. then They rolled up their pants and strode into the pool complaining that it was freezing. But it didn't stop them. In fact having crossed once, they rolled their pants up higher and did it again. Just because. And why not really?
Monday, July 8, 2013
When I announced that we would be getting a new dog, Mr O excitedly volunteered that he would be the one who would walk our new family member and he wanted to take him to puppy school.
Sure, I said, but naturally he excused himself from puppy school duty and as for walking, well, let's just say not so much.
Anyway today, with a fair bit of arm twisting, Mr O agreed to walk with Rumple and I to the dog park. That's him sitting on the seat playing on the iPad. That wasn't exactly what I had in mind but we did chat on the way there and back and sometimes you have to take what you can get.
So with Mr O otherwise occupied, I concentrated on playing fetch with Rumple. That's him running AWAY from the ball. Again, that's not exactly what I had in mind.
In effect neither of them was playing ball so I was forced to amuse myself. Without the distraction of either of them I concentrated on photographing the lorikeets who were also quite prepared to ignore my presence and keep going about their business. It may not have been the result I was hoping for but I admit I'm pleased with how it turned out. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Anyway I firmly believe that rules are put in place for the betterment of all so you can't pick or choose what ones to obey. Ignoring rules and it's a downhill slide to anarchy.
But today I will break not one but two rules of my Project 365.
The first is not to use the same subject two days running. That would be just lazy. But yesterday's shot was grass tobogganing and here we go again. In my defence I will say that this is a different group of people AND a different park. Yesterday I was at Highgate Hill and today at Dutton Park but coincidentally two groups of people decided to take advantage of a beautiful weekend and slide down a slope. That's not my fault is it?
But the other and more important rule broken is that the photo must be taken by me - and yet that's me sliding down the hill after my new friend Helen insisted I have a go. She took the picture. It's on my camera and I set it up so that totally counts too.
Some times rules are meant to be broken. Why should Matthew, Helen, Lily and Anny be the ones having all the fun?
Saturday, July 6, 2013
What parent hasn't invested much time, money and effort into buying the perfect gift only to find that their little darling is far more interested in the box in came in?
And new white goods. As adults, a shiny new gadget represents a world of fun but to a child the highlight is clearly the empty box. There are so many hours of fun to be had in an empty box cubby.
Yep, a box is a world of fun even when its days of being able to transport or store things is clearly over.
So it was in the park at Highgate Hill this afternoon where Tilly, Xana and Edie had turned a former box into an awesome grass toboggan.
The slope in the park practically demands that you run, roll or slide down it and the girls were not about to let that opportunity pass them by.
It looked like a perfect end to what was a stunning Brisbane winter's day.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Today was a big day in my sweet little Rumple's life. He was de-sexed, micro-chipped and registered.
This makes me a responsible dog owner but try telling the slightly sad and sooky pup that. He wasn't buying it this afternoon. And then I gave him dinner. After a 24 hour fast, a tin of My Dog Puppy and I think we are friends again.
You know it's short term pain for long term gain but that doesn't make it any easier when you get given those puppy dog eyes.
Doing the right thing is not always easy, right?
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Far out they have some great school holiday entertainment for kids these days. Today I ventured out to the Mount Cooth-tha Botanic Gardens where the Far Out Forest Festival of free entertainment was underway. There were indigenous games, drumming and wearable art workshops, a reptile show and the chance to make bush string or play with worms.
There I caught up with John and Clare, the couple who lived next door to us when we were growing up.
John and Clare used to spoil us rotten as kids. This week they are spoiling another couple of young ones - their grand nieces Gemma and Chloe who have come to spend a week of the school holidays with Uncle John and Auntie Clare.
They've been to the movies, the circus, a play and out to dinner. There's been cooking and craft and today it was the Planetarium which is conveniently located in the Botanic Gardens so they got to enjoy the festival fun first.
Pictured is Gemma with a Bug Catcher in hand taking part in the insect identification activity and then because it was such thirsty work stopping off at the water bubbler for a drink and to refill her water bottle.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
But what if your everyday life is the circus (here I am not talking about constantly juggling and dealing with clowns. But the actual Big Top type of circus)?
Apparently, that's when you run away to suburbia. For years, I have followed the careers of Circus Ringbarkus, a comedy circus made up of Mum, Dad, kids and the performing dogs.
I've watched as the kids - two brothers and their older sister - have taken an increasing part in the show displaying acts of increasing skill and daring.
Today I caught up with them again and there was one notable absence. Ollie and Mick continue to go from strength to strength but there was no sign of Julia.
Afterward the show I caught up with the family and found that Julia, 22, had flown the coop and was now living in Victoria with her boy friend and working as a receptionist.
She is very happy and they are happy for her.
No more sequins and high wires and no more jumping through hoops. I have a sneaky suspicion that one day show business might again beckon. Life on the road in a caravan with your family and pets might get a bit tiresome but bringing smiles to people's faces every day. That has to be a bit of okay.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
As Cleo's human explained "I'm wearing two so she needs two also."
And even though we'd never met, the devastated owner told me her little one had spent last night at the vet and had been diagnosed as having diabetes.
Now it is either regular insulin injections or make the heartbreaking decision to have the 11-year-old humanely put down.
"I cried all night," she told me adding that she will never be able to face getting another dog.
I did reassure her that my family had injected a diabetic dog for about two years. It's do-able, I reassured her but she looked terrified.
I simply couldn't ask what she's decided. Either way your heart breaks for both of them.
Monday, July 1, 2013
They are noisy creatures with a distinct inability to feel the cold.
The second of those was clearly on display at South Bank today.
When I drove to work through the rainy streets, the radio presenter declared it was one of those types of days best spent in bed with a good book and a hot chocolate. As a lover of bed, books and hot chocolate and not a great fan of wet and cold winter days I could not have agreed more.
But I am pretty sure there is no provision in my award for special leave on the grounds of winter blues so there was no choice but to go to work.
Meeting over, I again refused to give in to the lure of the doona deciding that I should not let a little rain deny Rumple of his right to a walk.
I admit that it was a good call with fresh air and exercise always being good for the soul but there are obvious limits. Walking in the winter rain may be good. Stripping off and going for a swim in an outdoor not heated pool is not. But try telling the two kids frolicking in the pool this.
No, they told me. The water is not cold. It's nice.
Like I said, faulty internal thermometers, there is no other other possible explanation. The only place I would be diving on a day like today was under the covers.