Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23. Day 204. Living on the edge

 Sometimes you've got to live on the edge a little, you know put yourself out there, take a few risks. Each of us takes calculated risks every day. Sure you might get hit by a truck if you drive to work but there's a very real possibility you will lose your job if you don't so on balance you decide to take the risk. I'm not here talking about a game of "just says" or "what ifs" and don't get me started in OH&S just that nothing is without some risk it is merely a matter of how far we want to push it. Today was a take a risk, throw caution to the wind kind of day. For some that involved ignoring the signs and the safety barriers and climbing over the rails to enjoy an afternoon glass of champagne on a rock ledge overlooking the city from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Some would say that was dangerous and stupid in the extreme. I will leave it to others to judge as I was doing something equally foolhardy in the same area -  I took the dogs for a walk. We stayed to the paths, were appropriately attired, the dogs were on a lead, we kept to the left and obeyed all signs. I had poo bags on board should nature call to the canines. To anyone watching we were a picture of model citizen and canines. But that is ignoring one rather large fact. Last time I took the two dogs for a walk in this area the beagle simple refused to walk back up the steep cliff stairs so I had to carry him, while also trying to control the other fur friend. It was a nightmare to the point I haven't returned. But today  - lured by the prospect of a nice sunset - I decided to see whether The Fed had outgrown his canine stair phobia. Success. We did it and it was a risk worth taking. They are right, sometimes fortune favours the brave.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22. Day 203. Weapons of mass destruction

They look like cute, cuddly canines. They are not. They are fur covered weapons of mass destruction. Individually they are a bit prone to chewing the odd shoe or the like if left lying around. Teamed up, no item of clothing, no item of soft furnishing, plastic container, remote control or goodness knows what else is safe. Socks, jocks, pens, PJs, shoes, bedding, camping equipment and the seat of a couch have fallen victim to their evil ways. Most of the time they are quite content to do nothing. Lying around doing not very much is a skill they have perfected. But I suspect this is simply scheming time. Planning the next raid. It has got to the point that Rumple has had his all areas access pass revoked when not supervised. Now it is not safe to leave the fur friends inside without adult supervision and they have to be locked outside. This is yet to redress the bad behaviour. I could be wrong but perhaps my own behaviour contributes to this. I suspect they know they are not really in dog house given that they still sleep curled up beside me in bed. Tough love is not one of my specialist subjects, clearly.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21. Day 202. Unflappable

A picture of calm. Not a sign of taking flight, looking spectators in the eye, unflappable. I have a sneaky feeling it was all an act. After all, what bird is going to feel completely calm with two deranged dogs just metres away clearly ready to play fowl. I've heard it all. Mindfulness. Meditation. Breathing. Visualisation. But I am a great believer in a thoroughly under-rated technique for dealing with stressful situations - faking it. This morning was one of those mornings best forgotten. The reasons are not worth revisiting but there were floods of big salty tears involved, mine mostly. But with places to go, people to see and things to do (in particular a lecture room full of students expecting a 10am lecture) the best plan - the only plan - is to act as though you have it all together.  Dress the part, put on the make-up and like the sports brand says "Just Do It". Fake it until you make it. And so often - this morning included - as you go though the motions soon enough its not an act its just what you do. It would have been so easy to pull the doona over my head and take flight but I didn't and by 10am I was back at the control deck with feathers only slightly ruffled. I'll put that down as a win.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20. Day 201.Pouring cold water on it

As a VERY regular visitor to South Bank I thought there were no more surprises but I thought wrong. I suppose with the Regional Flavours festival on this weekend I shouldn't have expected it to be just another weekend but the surprises were outside the confines of the festival in the pool. There another of people were being immersed in a Water Baptism ceremony being conducted by Paddington-based Forever Church. Then Pastor Brad, Pastor Danny and Pastor Sarah had buckets of ice water poured over their heads as part of the ice water challenge to raise funds for cancer research. That, it has to be said, is really taking religion to the people.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19. Day 200. Raising the child


In day's gone by, villages really did raise a child. Not so much any more. We live in nuclear families, in single dwellings behind nice picket fences. Don't worry, I haven't gone all earth mother. I like all the comforts of home and have no hankering for a simpler communal life. But I do like the fact that the village is out there and there are "villagers" (I like to call them friends) I can call on when my skill set just doesn't meet the selection criteria of the job at hand. So the school's leadership camp next week requires the students -in small groups - to supply and erect their own tents. There are two problems with this. We don't own a tent and if we did I would have no idea how to erect it. But I have a friend that does. So while I had a cup of tea on the back deck, my friend Alison arrived tent in hand and instructed Drama Teen on the finer points of setting up and pulling down a tent. This included lying on the folded tent to remove air before trying to squeeze it back into the bag. This, in case you were wondering, was what was happening in the first image. I'm pretty sure there would be YouTube videos on the subject but the hands-on approach from a trusted friend is far more effective and much more fun (at least for the person sipping tea and watching the action).

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18. Day 199. Just Desserts

My parents were extreme meanies. We never had dessert. Ever. There was no such thing as "eat your vegetables or you won't get any ice cream". It was just "eat your vegetables". Full stop. (As it happens, that wasn't the end of it. My younger sister Lisa refused to eat peas and without the incentive of dessert would smuggle peas from the table in her pocket and throw them out her bedroom window. Should an archaeologist ever dig up that area, they may come to the conclusion that there was some ceremonial pea grave yard in that region). But back to the desserts. Truth is, we don't eat desserts in my house either. Well, not often. But I am prepared to make an exception and tonight was such a night and I didn't even eat my peas. Next Saturday is Christmas in July and we are on dessert detail. So tonight I decided a trial was in order (yes, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). I recruited my domestic goddess Christy to cook up a batch of Delia Smith's Little Sticky Toffee Puddings with Pecan Toffee Sauce. And they were awesome. Totally awesome. In a way it was just dessert but it was so much more.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17. Day 198. Like two peas in a pod

Recently a 12-year-old friend of my niece wondered out loud whether my older sister and I were twins. We both found that rather hilarious as there really isn't that much of a family resemblance. Where the gene pool is far closer is between myself and my baby bro Michael. Michael is tall, thin, incredibly fit and works at an elite level as a sports scientist. Right now he is en route to Scotland via China with the Australian Commonwealth Games diving team as the Sport Science Sports Medicine Manager at Diving Australia. Yep, anyone who knows me knows just how alike we are (not). And so it is in our choice of fur friends. My fur baby Rumple is small, furry and particularly needy. Michael's beagle The Fed - who is holidaying with us while his "dad" is travelling - is a short haired hound, big boned and strong as an ox. Despite the lack of resemblance they are just like siblings - at times they are at each other's throats and at other times they are the best of buddies. While a human observer can see the two are clearly not that alike, no-one has remembered to tell The Fed that. He can see no reason why he can't do exactly what Rumple does - and that includes leaping on to the bed and walking across my prone body as a "special" wake-up routine. At least I can be sure he feels like he is part of the family.