Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
There's this crow that hangs around the street near my house and let's be honest his appearance is nothing to crow about. So mangy is this little birdie you would swear someone had taken the expression "stone the crows" just a little bit too literally. He's become a talking point. "Have you seen that crow ..." the conversation starts and no-one is in any doubt as to which crow you are talking about. Frankly, there are days I know how he feels. I could say I always leave the house impeccably groomed - but not with a straight face. If I get run over by a bus I WILL be wearing clean undies but there may not be any make-up, it's possible I went to bed with wet hair and I may have adopted the IWIWIWI (I will iron while I wear it) approach to my clothing. The crows are probably talking about me "Have you seen that human whose hair looks like a bird's nest?" And there would be a knowing flapping of wings. Oh well, birds of a feather ...
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Most house guests are at least house trained. Few house guests steal your undies. Few house guests chew your toilet paper or sniff your crotch or eat their own poo. The Fed did all those things and more. He's a puppy and that's what puppies do. From the time he walked in the door, The Fed let my Fur Friend Rumple know that he would be top dog and that caused some teething pains. You can't just walk in and act like you own the place except that's exactly what The Fed did. But for the most part there was a great deal of puppy love between the two of them and a great deal of destruction as they teamed up to execute their wicked plans. And now, after almost four weeks, it's over. My globe-trotting brother returned home today and so did The Fed. And a great peace has come over the home even though there really does feel like there's something missing. But don't get too comfortable Rumple. Apparently Baby Bro will be back on the road next week in Adelaide. I believe the boarding kennel is again opening its doors.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
If you overlook the one night stay at the vet after the incident that involved eating Nurofen Plus, the fur friend and I have not spent a single night apart since he arrived in our lives on April 1 last year. Until last night when I travelled interstate with my two-legged child. As is the way with these things, when the parents are away Grandma is called on to mind the baby. No-one is in any doubt that the care given is up to the usual standard but that isn't the point. It's not so much what's done as who is doing it. I'm told Rumple sat by the garage door for a sizable portion of the evening believing the car would be pulling in any time and when we did come home this morning the greeting was most heartwarming and enthusiastic. That's the thing about dogs, they wear their hearts on their sleeves. So this afternoon, he led the way on the walk and determined we should go to Dutton Park Dog Park overlooking the Eleanor Schonell Bridge. We stayed far longer than we might otherwise simply because it only seemed fair.
I mean, how many times have you been somewhere really beautiful and taken a photo and it looks very, very average. And you can also make a place that is very, very average look rather nice. Such it was in my brief stay in Newcastle. Now I am sure there are some very, very nice places in the Hunter region. I just didn't see any of them in my flying stay. We were in what I shall describe as a "Bates Motel" on the highway close to the airport. If you wanted a picture that told one thousand words it would have been that on my face as I opened the motel room door. Yep, 1000 words there, not one of them printable.
On paper (well Google Maps) the location was rather nice. On a golf course, across the road from the Hunter River, a short distance from a nature reserve. So I went for a walk and discovered litter, illegal dumping and a look across the river to a highly industrial area. But without even a filter or the use of an app you can get a result that is really quite nice bu just being very selective in where the camera is pointed and which lens is used.
Anyway, we weren't in Newcastle on a sightseeing tour but to see comedian Kitty Flanagan perform - and she was awesome;. Eventually I may even look back on the rest of the stay and laugh.
Friday, February 21, 2014
How the bloody hell did it get to the last week of February? It may be a short month but seriously it feels like we are being short changed more than a few days. I reckon this energy-sapping heat and humidity is robbing everyone of the ability to keep things including time in the proper perspective. It is certainly robbing everyone in my sphere of influence of their sense of humour. So after a day hiding in the air conditioning I decided we needed to get out of the house under the cover of darkness. And not only was it a good deal cooler than it had been all day but we actually got wet from stuff falling from the sky. It's not what the camera likes but I reckon it was awesome. The gamble paid off (and I didn't even set foot in the Casino pictured). For me, Friday in the fast lane is about the same pace as the Brisbane City Council bus blurring the foreground. When things are kind of pedestrian even a bus seems to be moving at pace.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
I sometimes think a dirty clothes imp is raiding my home at night and loading the clothes hamper with soiled smalls. It simply seems inconceivable that three people (and two dogs) can generate quite the amount of washing we do. And then I start thinking of days like today. Honestly I had more changes of clothing than the average fashion model (and let's be honest there was a great deal more fabric involved given that I am not quite a size zero). It's not that I'm being precious or indecisive. Nor is it that like the Story Bridge tonight I wanted to be decked out in all the colours of the rainbow. Quite frankly it's just life. Sweaty clothes, swim clothes, white clothes that came off second best in a conflict with the tomato sauce, work clothes, school meeting clothes, walking the dog clothes. When you wear lots of hats you have to find the frocks that match (and get a washing machine capable of dealing with the fallout). Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. As to why the Story Bridge was looking like a gay icon tonight, well I guess you'll such have to ask the lighting operator. Perhaps there was an accident in the wash. * Turns out it was indeed no acciedent but a very noble cause, - Story Bridge lights up for Summer's Day which runs until March 3. Summer's Day is a day to remember all children who have lost their lives through 'accidents'. Summer's Day in named in memory of Summer Steer who swallowed a button battery.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
But sometimes you got to make time. You've just got to jump right in. So today we went to a posh class movie to see The Wolf of Wall Street because nothing says date like three hours of screen sex, drugs and general men behaving badly.
In any event I would be happy to watch Leonardo DiCaprio in just about anything and in today's unforgiving heat three hours in air conditioning beat the alternative.
And we both stayed awake which is an added bonus. Back at home and the weather still as stifling as it had been hours earlier and the day still young there was nothing else for it but to jump in the pool.
If nothing else it was a reminder that you've got to make time.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
Today is the 20th anniversary of the day Charles and I got engaged. There were were lots of flowers and chocolates to that point (and not so many afterwards). But had I gone on those first sight impressions it would never have been. In fact my mother likes to remind me of a letter I sent home describing the English lad who had taken me to the ballet as So Boring (it was actually underlined three times just to be sure she got my point). Love, like fungus, grows on you as they say.
And so it is with the two fur friends co-habitating at our place at the moment. It would be fair to say Rumple did not appreciate the arrival of his Beagle pup cousin The Fed. He ran and jumped on my lap and refused to move. But despite getting off on the wrong paw the two are now the best of buddies and are rarely more than a pace or two apart. True love will find a way
I went out on a school night. I know. Revolutionary. Reading this anyone would think I was in my 80s not in my very, very late
So I might pay but I reckon a bit of comedy and a good belly laugh is worth the risk. And Cosi was a jolly good belly laugh. At times the play at La Boite generated cackles that reminded me of the performance the kookaburra outside my home this afternoon. It's pretty infectious. You've got to laugh.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Today was the first major gathering of the clan for the year for a three hour workshop on the roles and responsibilities of unit coordinators. Now doesn't that sound sexy? To be fair, what could have been a snore-fest was actually well thought out and targeted and the catering was good so as these things go nothing to whinge about.
But finally nothing spells the end of the dreamy days of summer quite like a work love-in. Yep, the sun has well and truly set on another period of annual leave.
When it comes to sunsets my thoughts can best be summed up in the fine words of Woody Allen: "Today I saw a red and yellow sunset and thought how insignificant I am. Of course I thought that yesterday too, and it rained." Funnily enough, staff meetings leave me with pretty much exactly the same feeling. One small cog in a great machine.
I have a somewhat less romantic saying of my own "same shit, different day".
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
Yep, off to a flying start really. I'm pretty sure at some point in my past or in a former life or something I deeply offended the great god of paperwork and since they I am destined to fill my days wading through a great deluge of administrivia. There appears to be forms for everything and all the while the promise of the paperless office seems as far away as it ever was. Still I tell myself that the first day back after a couple of weeks off is always the worst. Tomorrow is another day. Breathe Susan, breathe
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Parents of young kids know this to be crap. Witching hour is that hideous time (if you are lucky it's only an hour) in the late afternoon or early evening when kids go feral. Everyone is tired, hungry and tempers are frayed.
Of course it's a long time since I've had a toddler in the house but surprisingly it's not only human children to which this rule applies. Canines also suffer from witching hour syndrome as Rumple and our visitor The Fed clearly demonstrate. Late this afternoon, the dogs were going batshit crazy (this is a technical term) so rather than let them continue to destroy each other and the house I took them out for a walk. And guess what? We didn't have to go far before we came across the lorikeets also putting on quite a turn in an avian display of an afternoon feeding frenzy. There were plenty of seeds and flowers to go round but you'd never have guessed it the way they were carrying on. I suppose climbing the flower stalk is better than climbing the walls. It's prettier at least.
When The Maker was handing out my personal toolkit, I think he or she got distracted and forgot to add two pretty important instruments - balance and coordination. Seriously, if there is anyone more capable of tripping over her own feet, I have yet to meet her.
So I am always in awe at the slackliners in the park on a Saturday afternoon who manage to not only walk across the balance lines strung between trees but tumble, jump and do goodness knows what else while hovering metres from the ground. They are a friendly bunch who always offer to let me have a go. And, naturally, I always decline. Until today. For some reason I can't explain, Dan convinced me to have a go. "You can't come all this way and just watch," he said. But I like to watch and I only live a couple of minutes walk up the hill but still I agreed.
Even though I'd only just met Dan he let me use his arm for support and told me to walk as though I was in a dark room with Lego on the floor. Gently put the toe down first. Hey, I'm a mum. I know that manoeuvre. And it wasn't a complete disaster. I walked from one end of the line to the other and even managed to turn and walk back. I finished my turn and was giving myself a big pat on the back when five-year-old Sam jumped up on the line and walked unaided.
I figured he was probably a child of one of the slacklining veterans who had been doing it since birth. Nope. First time. His family just wandered down the park and the kids thought it looked fun. That's what I
I might have been totally outclassed by a five-year-old but at least I gave it a go.
Next time I might even try without grasping the body of a man I've never met. See, I'm no slacker after all.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Either way it's a pretty good way to get that weekend feeling. Hang on and trust your mates - and the rope.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Back to work on Monday and therefore I have spent much of this week searching for holiday options later in the year. Holidays rock but a great deal of fun can be had just in the planning and the anticipation. A girl needs something to look forward to, right? (It' not that I don't look forward to marking. Okay, it totally is that).
That's the thing isn't it? Sometimes the happiness is as much in the journey as what happens at the destination. There's a real thrill in the chase which often matches if not surpasses that of actually closing the deal.
I was pondering that at the dog park this afternoon with Rumple, his "cousin" The Fed and the best friend they just met Archie.
Toss the ball and the three of them would take off like elite athletes at the sound of the starter's gun and guess what happened when they actually reached the ball? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They left it there for me to collect with a look of "well you're the one who threw it. Pick up after yourself".
Ball? What ball? In this as in so many other aspects of life, the thrill is in the chase.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The second light bulb moment was just as the lights came on in the city. There were very few people standing around at South Bank because it was windy and rainy and quite frankly just not that pleasant.
But no rain, no wind and no post anaesthetic hangover was going to stop me. I'd promised myself and the fur friend we would walk before dinner and it had to be. And since I was there anyway, I really had to wait for the light to be right, didn't I? Well actually no, I didn't. Seriously Susan it might be time you saw the light and tried just a little bit of moderation for a change.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
When you get to my age some medical practitioner or other seems to want to have a closer look at one of your bits and pieces.
On a two-year cycle, the boobs are bashed, cold bits of metal scrape the privates and, in my case at least, the colonoscopy.
This last one is by a very long shot the most hideous of all. It supposedly tests for changes in the bowel but in fact it is a much bigger test of will power. "Voluntarily" drinking litres of drain cleaning fluid that quite frankly tastes and smells as bad as the stuff it is meant to flush is a true test of endurance. I find it is also a fine example of my inability to measure the passage of time. It is simply not possible that two years has passed since the last time I had to go through this. And yet they have. Isn't time supposed to make you forget? I pondered all this as I walked with the fur friend building up the resolve to take the first sip of the "prep". Yes, it totally sucks but it sucks even more to die of bowel cancer in your 40s. That's what happened to my Dad's sister and that, along with my own chronic bowel disease, is why I have to keep fronting for these procedures. On reflection, there are a lot of things far worse than the colonoscopy. I'll drink litres of drain cleaner to that. Bottom's up.
*Decided to go with this image on the theme of reflection and getting a closer look rather than the actuality because frankly no-one needs to see that.
Monday, February 3, 2014
But the fact that I stepped over it and thought only that it was a little sad that it would wither up and die any time now says quite a lot about me. I find it hard to see the roses without imagining the thorns.
Fact is I am a delicate little petal who would survive about 20 minutes on Survivor. Actually, that's about 20 minutes more than I would survive on Big Brother where one or other of the contestants would make me want to hit him or her and I'd storm out. Spend those 20 minutes with me and you would know I was never a Girl Guide. No fire building, no rope tying, no ability to put up a tent. Actually, I have no desire to put up a tent either. That's why God invented five stars hotels. So yes, I do love the great outdoors but I have no desire to live in them. Like I said, a delicate little flower that often feels like she's been plucked.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
This can not be right on the following grounds
1) She does not look 50 - not even close
2) I'm second in the family and good Catholic parents squeezed out children rather quickly
3) Only last week we were on the school bus travelling to All Hallows' and desperately avoiding the smelly Terrace and St Columban's boys.
Remember when people who were 50 we SO OLD. While some days my body would think that is still true, most of the
indicators these days would have you think that 50 is not the new 40 but the new 30. Fifty really isn't that old (not that I;d ever tell Marie that).
The weird thing is that it doesn't seem to matter whether you are five, or 15 or 50 your older sister is always your older sister and that will always give her bossing rights. Some things never change and quite frankly who would want them to?
So happy birthday you dear old thing.
May you enjoy many, many more and may you start saving for a truly excellent present for my 50th. You have plenty of time (not).
Saturday, February 1, 2014
If that's true, the fur friend in my house must be feline not canine.
Like Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music who uses a whistle to command his children, Rumple has a large number of non verbal signals to make his intentions known.
Dropping a ball at your feet - it's time to play fetch
Bringing his lead - walkies time
Sitting on his bum and begging - I'll have some of whatever you're eating
Rolling on his back with legs in the air - tickle my tummy
Sitting in the middle of a pile of toilet paper - clean this up and we'll pretend it never happened
Hiding behind your leg when approached by a small dog - protect me
Jumping up on your leg when approached by a bigger dog - pick me up
Humping your leg - I think you get the idea.
He has a team of servants ready to meet his requests (well most of them) and also recruits casual employees on a frequent basis.
As well as his domestic staff he has Margaret next door on a permanent retainer in a catering job.
Every time he visits Margaret - as he did this afternoon - she has a supply of treats on hand ready to meet @sir_rumple's needs.
Of course we are all servants not slaves so there is payment in return for services rendered - love, loyalty and licks. That's all the salary I need. *
*Note to QUT pay office. You still need to pay me in Australian $$$$.