Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 25. Day 329. Easily distracted


It doesn't take a lot to distract me. Shiny objects, food, the possibility of sleep - pretty much anything really. And, as this morning proved, being time poor is no protection from distraction. As a journalist, a respect for deadlines should rule but even knowing a live radio segmant was looming I still managed to find myself stopping for a chat on my way to the ABC studios. It wasn't my fault. If Alex hadn't decided to paint a traffic signal box before 6.30 in the morning, I wouldn't have found myself distracted by her. And I wouldn't have had to stop for a chat. And then I wouldn't have gone from running late to running REALLY late to running to the studios. I made it with seconds to spare. And then I headed for home only to be distracted by a noisy miner eating its breakfast and by Alex who was still painting her traffic signal box ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 24. Day 328. Well groomed

Remember when grooming was a good thing? Back in the day grooming was a sign of good breeding, fine personal care and a desire to present the best possible version of yourself to the world. Now grooming is a world often associated with the seedier side of life. The newspapers are full of stories about children being "groomed" for sex by predators.  But I prefer grooming as it used to be. We pay a great deal for good grooming. It does, after all, pay to look your best. It has to be said Rumple makes the groomers earn their keep. Just a couple of hours before his scheduled salon appointment, Rumple was rolling in the dirt on the paths up Mount Cooth-tha.  And after that he decided to have a dip in the local waterholes to turn the dirt to mud. But as always the salon worked wonders and he came home looking like a new man. He was well groomed, indeed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23. Day 327. The early bird

Clearly I was never girl guide. Such creatures have the whole "be prepared" thing drilled into them. A girl guide would not wait until less than a week before starting a hiking holiday to start serious training. The goodie two shoes, girl guide would have been like the early bird and been up at the crack of dawn and training. But I wasn't. I was sleeping in. I left it until the last minute. And then I was forced to get serious. Yesterday I was at the base of Mount Cooth-tha at 6am ready to climb. Not bad. But it was already hot so today was earlier so early that the fur friend and faithful walking companion looked at me and went back to bed. The early hour and lack of canine companion had one very clear advantage - the cockatoos were still about and not afraid. They were happily posing for the camera or at least prepared to ignore my presence and continue with searching for breakfast. After all, every well prepared bird knows you have to be early to get the worm.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 22. Day 326. Need a lift?

 As a much younger man, my baby brother Michael had an oft-used saying: "Need a lift? Go shove a jack up your arse". I am sure he is now far too mature to say such things. Whether he is too mature to think such things is much less certain. In any event, as a confirmed dog lover I am almost certain that the advice would not apply to canines. Besides, his dog is quite capable of walking all by himself and most unlikely to need a lift. The dogs of my household are far less independent. Rumple and Winkle (or Wrinkle as has become their couple name) are rather fond of "the carry". At 10 weeks old Winkle has a valid excuse. Her little legs can't carry her too far and as her first puppy class today revealed she's not too fond of the lead. Not to worry. While she was downstairs at puppy preschool objecting on principle to a lead, I was upstairs at the pet shop buying a puppy pouch. A walk this evening showed that being carried on her daddy's chest was much more to her liking. Rumple also loved the puppy pouch as a small pooch and truth be told he hasn't grown out of the carry stage. This morning he ran all the way up and down Mount Cooth-tha but this evening he decided if Winkle was going to be carried so was he. My left shoulder is well accustomed to the weight of a dog perched parrot like on a walk. He can walk. He chooses not too. It is easy to see who is top dog around here

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 21. Day 325. The heat is on

Instead of a definition involving words, the dictionary should have a picture of my 88-year-old neighbour Margaret next to the word stubborn. They could use the same image for frustrating. It was bloody hot today. Too bloody hot and as is the case in weather conditions such as these we are advised to check on elderly neighbours and relatives. And so I did. Her house was a furnace as would be expected with no air conditioning, no fans, no insulation and no cross ventilation. Things are not helped by the fact that at 4pm all windows are closed to keep the bugs/intruders out. That just manages to trap the heat in. Not for the first time, I volunteered to buy her a fan or fans. Not for the first time she refused point blank. She was more than happy with the breezes, she said. This would be okay if
1) there was any breeze
2) the breeze was cooling and not akin to a fan-forced oven
3) she didn't close all the windows long before the afternoon sea breeze really kicks in
I will buy fans anyway. She will probably refuse to either plug them in or turn them on. They will most likely be returned like the microwave and the panic alarm bracelet before them.
I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Sighs. I may be a good neighbour but unfortunately not a miracle worker.

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 20. Day 324. You've got a friend in me

Remember Toy Story (if you haven't seen it, shame on you)? Remember how threatened, jealous and generally pissed off Woody was when Buzz arrived on the scene. He'd been top dog in the Andy's room and heart and then this usurper arrived. But by the end they'd become besties. Cue "You've Got a Friend in Me".  Well the Woody in our place, the most delightful Rumple, seems to have come to terms with Winkle the new toy in town. Sure, she continues to taunt him and drive him slightly crazy but in their quieter moments they are getting on like a house on fire. They are destined to be besties.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 19. Day 323. School's out for ever

The war cry
A pat on the back from class teacher Marcus Brown
The official parade of honour through the school grounds and out the gate
It seriously pisses me off about school awards nights - the same old predictable categories, academic, sporting and service. This narrow description of education misses true grit performance and as such I feel like tonight I was robbed. Because if there had been an award for the most tears shed by a parent of a graduating student I would have had it in the bag. After the second of two graduating ceremonies, I hugged my boy on the school oval and for five minutes neither of us let go and we sobbed. I'm sure an onlooker or two probably muttered to him or herself "For God's sake it's Year 12 and not the Nobel Peace Prize". No it isn't a Nobel prize, it's more than that. For reasons it's not worth going into right now the high school years have not treated us well. There were many, many days when it felt like thinking of a senior certificate was like dreaming the impossible dream. But like the song says "I get knocked down, and I get up  again" and that's how it went. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. Some reading this may think "why wouldn't you just change schools?" To them I say, I know for sure and certain that the school journey may have been a very rocky road but without the dedication, the compassion and the unflinching support of the staff at St Laurence's,  the road would have been a highway to hell.  The school was NOT part of the problem. The school was most definitely part of the solution. When he fell, there was always a teacher at the school to give him a hand back up. Always. And those same men and women were there today to share in the celebration of a job well done. So yes, watching the graduation brought a lump to my throat and when we had that hug on the oval and Oliver said "we did it, Mum" that's when we both lost it and the tears flowed. Officially it's a piece of paper, a Senior Certificate but it represents so much more than that. And I will never forget the support team who helped make it happen. Some people say when it comes to education you get what you pay for. Perhaps. But I know the returns we received were far, far greater than what I handed over in school fees in six years. To all those who invested time, effort and love, I say thank-you from the bottom of my heart. We will never forget.