Thursday, May 31, 2012

May in review

May 31. Day 152. Careful, I might rip your head off

Most of today I felt like ripping someone's head off. I am of course figuratively speaking and not in a female-preying-mantis-that-has-just-had-sex kind of way.
Probably the head I most wanted to rip off was my own - full of snot and bad thoughts. It was not pretty.
Truth is that in the context of some of the dreadful things you read in the newspaper, today wasn't that bad. But after a sleepless night and with a child home sick and behaving like a bear with a sore head, husband away for work and an end of semester out of control workload happening, I rather felt like I was running around like a headless chook.
Plus all those things and rain meant I didn't manage a stress release walk in this morning. Not a good combination.
Later in the afternoon, driven by hunger and cabin fever, I stepped out. I knew exactly where to head to get a photo that summed up how I felt today. Yep, off to West End and the Lychee Lounge with its barbie-doll-head chandeliers.
I am pretty sure whoever designed this has a greater need for counselling than I do. I was not the type of child prone to ripping the head off dolls but today I found myself thinking it might be rather therapeutic.
At least I resisted the temptation to get off my head and had a rather delicious rhubarb highball mocktail instead.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30. Day 151. All the colours of the rainbow

There are times when my son comes home and announces "that's what the kids at school say" when I feel despair. Fortunately that's not often but I am at times dismayed at some of the racist notions that still survive out there.
I have no time for racism, at all, ever.
Which is not to say I agree with everything that is ever done in the name of reconciliation.
Frankly, I find the acknowledgement of the original owners of the land at many official functions to be unhelpful. When it is done well it is a beautiful and significant thing but often it feels like the organisers are just ticking the boxes which I don't think furthers anyone's cause - just the opposite in fact.
This week is reconciliation week and a series of events were held at work to mark the occasion. I was particularly taken by the Sea of Hands planted at the Gardens Point campus - a very visual display of those who were prepared to put their hands up against racism.
It was striking and a timely reminder to think about reconciliation 20 years on from the Mabo decision.
Organisers told me that many school groups came through and contributed. Excellent. A bit more of that can only lead to a little less of "what the kids say at school". I'll put my hand up in support of that one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29. Day 150. Zip it

Black tie events are few and far between thus I have just one "formal" frock. That works well. The length of time between drinks and the likelihood that the crowd will be different generally means one black tie outfit will see a girl through. Except...Opera Australia is in town this week and I have invites to two black tie events six days apart, both likely to attract the same crowd. Clothing crisis.
The plan B is a timeless black gown in the back of the wardrobe, about 13 years old but still perfect for the purpose except for the busted zip. The zip has always been a bit iffy but last time I tied the dress on the zip simply refused to budge. It was either rip the zip to get the dress off or wear a floor length gown half done up for the rest of my life. I ripped the zip.
With the Night at the Opera quickly approaching I decided the zip problem needed to be addressed so I headed to West End.
The first attempt failed as the tailor has now closed. A flier at the venue suggested a seamstress around the corner but there was no-one home. So I moved on to a dry cleaner and clothing alteration business. The woman who does the alterations was on jury duty so not at work. An assistant at the business said the repair could probably still be done in time if a zip in the right size was freely available.
So we measured the zip and I went to a shop next door which sold zips. There was just one black zip in the right size. It was broken. The shop assistant there helpfully suggested I might want another colour. Sure, that hot red zip would be perfect on a formal black frock. Not. As anything that come out of my mouth at that point would not be pretty I made a rare move and decided to zip it.
Out in the street at West End and working on my next move I spied a piece of street art titled Flindersia Westendus on a retaining wall.
There were three bits to it but my eye was drawn to the central aspect - it seemed to be talking to me: a piece of overripe fruit, probably gone to seed, desperately trying to get a zip to hold it together.
Whether a new zip is up to that task remains to be seen. I found someone able to take on the job in the city and will pick up the dress tomorrow.
As Dr Evil is Austin Powers said: "When a problem comes along, you must zip it." Hopefully that works.

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28.Day 149. Balancing act

Do you ever dream of running away to join the circus? I do. Frequently, generally on a Monday when I look at the diary of the week ahead. To make it work I know there will be juggling, balancing, dealing with clowns, taming the lions, tying myself in knots. Okay, maybe the circus isn't my best escape plan.
But I admit I am attracted to circus, both the old sawdust in a big top type circus and the far more artistic type we now see that is more likely to be a Cirque rather than a Circus. Graceful, fluid, mesmerising and captivating.
Today in the most unlikely circus venue - the Myer Centre food court - there was a lunchtime display of the most extraordinary tissue acrobatics by a performer from the Aerial Angels group. Watching her it was possible to think you might have died and gone to heaven. An angelic display to be sure. Shoppers were left speechless although one word did come to my mind: "ouch".
Yep, I might think there's a lot of bending over backwards in my life but I've got nothing on this girl.
Confirmation again, that I'm not cut out for the circus. I'll leave it to the experts like this little angel.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27. Day 148. Bush baby

Kermit, you were wrong. I won't say it's actually easy being green but it is a lot easier and far more acceptable than it used to be.
Today green groups in the Highgate Hill area near my home led a tour through a local bush regeneration project. I'd considered it and rejected it on the grounds of laziness.
But even a lazy girl can now do her environmental bit -I took the recycling out, a simple act but one which was in itself unthinkable when I was growing up.
I was still in the PJs when I was spied by neighbour Rob who was on his way to the tour and convinced me to tag along. He even gave me time to change.
I'm glad I did (that goes both for taking the tour and getting dressed first).
What I found was confirmation of both what a strong local community we have and how active the interest is in both preserving and enhancing the local vegetation. It's about every body doing his or her little bit.
I was particularly impressed by the young people traipsing through the bush on a Sunday morning learning everything from the plants that encourage butterflies to how to bring native bees into your garden. I love this photo taken along the walk of the littlest member of the group attracting a bit of well deserved attention. Just too cute and far more photogenic than my other "green" photo option today. Next up I get to help apply the environmentalist's 3Rs - reduce, reuse and recycle - to the latest school project. Today's task is making a polar bear head for drama. That's enough to make me really want to go bush.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26. Day 147. Give me a Hi-5

William W Purkey's quote "You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching" is often repeated and something many adults aspire to achieve.
What I love about kids is that it comes so naturally. Somewhere along the way we learn to be self conscious or shy or sensible and we forget how to dance and it takes large amounts of alcohol to again move with the music.
Today the preschool set had their dancing shoes (and an awful lot of tulle) on and were at QPAC to see kids mega group Hi-5 perform.
The dancing didn't stop inside the Concert Hall. The grooving continued outside onto the Cultural forecourt and picnic lawn where there were high fives all round.
Watching them took me back. My "baby" was introduced to performing arts at concerts by The Wiggles and Hi-5. In some ways it seems like only yesterday. In other ways it seems like a different lifetime.
I no longer recognise any of the members of Hi-5 and by year's end there will be only one of the original Wiggles in the coloured skivvies.
That matters to us adults. It matters not at all to the kids. As long as the music continues they will continue to dance like nobody is watching.
Now I'll give a high five to that.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25. Day 146. Ain't no sunshine

Grey and bleak. The Bureau of Meteorology forecast rain for Friday and so it came, a little bit pretend in the morning but with more conviction by mid afternoon. A don't think there was a single shadow cast all day but the clouds did throw a metaphorical shadow over the start of the weekend.
I was trying to muster my sunny side when the camera and I went out for a stroll but it wasn't happening. Perhaps that's why I found myself drawn to this dead sunflower just around the corner from my home. Quite moody, don't you think?
While I can't claim any responsibility for this sunflower it looks like something I would grow, that is dead.
I could say I have a green thumb - but not with a straight face. Even the postage stamp size patch of grass on our property is maintained by someone else. I like to enjoy the view but it is in the best interest of everyone involved that I behave like a kid in a china shop: it's okay to look but whatever you do don't touch.
I did actually pick something that was growing today hopefully without doing any damage. First thing this morning I was at South Bank at the community herb garden right outside the QPAC.
The fresh thyme I harvested is now in the slow cooker working its magic on the stroganoff.
And to think I was struggling to find a bright spot on this rainy day. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24. May 145. Doing birthdays buy the book

I broke one of my own rules today. I always give both my husband and son a book for their birthdays (and generally undies too, but that's another story).
But today was Charles' birthday and some time in the middle of the day I realised there was not a book in the gift collection. Nothing at all to enjoy between the covers.
I decided this was an error that needed to be rectified so I found myself in West End at Bent Books, one of the most fascinating second hand book stores in the area.
Bent Books is old West End to me. There's nothing shiny and new here. It's an eclectic mix of styles, a bit of a jumble and has a very bohemian feel. And it's packed to the rafters, literally.
To get to the biography section, I had to go behind the counter out into a bit of a lane and into something like a big shed. There was a Kennedy biography. Sorted
Charles likes his biographies. P.J. O'Rourke once said: "Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." Charles will be okay on that front. I'm pretty sure the chick lit on my bedside table would not have people marvelling at my intellect should my time come.  I'd look tragically shallow but as J.W. Eagan said "don't judge a book by its movie".
Anyway, hopefully that's something I won't have to worry about for some time.
For now I have done my duty. I've done birthday presents buy the book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23. Day 144. QUEENSLANDER!

I am a Queenslander. I am not a QUEENSLANDER!
At this time of year there is a big difference. I was born in Queensland as were both my parents and all of my grandparents before me. After three generations I can call myself a Queenslander.
Now that other group are the maroon wearing tribe who believe that somehow our measure of State pride is derived from following the fortunes of a football team and shouting about it from the rooftops. I caught up with this group of Queenslanders at the iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel this afternoon where they were gearing up for the big game. I really admire their passion, I just don't share it.
It is very unpopular to say so in Queensland at this time of year but I have no interest in State of Origin football. Actually it is far worse than that. I have an accute hatred for it I but I will defend to the end of the earth those who actually care. What I can't tolerate is the strange belief that State of Origin fans seem to have is that "everyone" should follow the game. Go ahead, watch the game if you like but don't try to make me feel bad for not joining you and don't presume I'm any less a Queenslander because I don't.
I first went public on this whole State of Origin thing in 2008 and I am still wiping the venom off my body. Don't believe me?  Check this out.
Feel free to add your own comments here. Go on. I'm a big girl.
Just to refresh, here's what I said that got the Originers' blood boiling in 2008. All that has changed is the Chick Flick

Origin Sucks
I don't get it. Why do people, normal people, people with brains enough to know that rugby league is a game played by neanderthals, actually whip themselves into hysteria at this time every year.
Why do people celebrate and mourn as though State of Origin actually matters?
Across two states, people who at other times of the year would neither know nor care about the oval ball game - apart from perhaps an office tipping competition - start quoting statistics about which team has the stronger backline.
Bewildering at best. It's about time that those of us who think State of Origin totally sucks stood up and were counted.
So here are some high balls to kick at those who think this State-against-State rubbish means something and some alternatives to watching the match.

Five reasons why State of Origin is bad

  1. It's bad for the economy. We are supposed to be belt tightening not splashing out on flags, inflatable hands, T shirts and alcopops
  2. It's bad for productivity. Think of the cost to the economy of all those tired, hung over people fronting for work (or worse not fronting) on Thursday
  3. Few people look good wearing maroon
  4. How can you support a team which has as its mascot one of the greatest environmental pests ever introduced to the State?
  5. Why would anyone pretend that beating another team of rugby league players actually counts for something?

Five things better to do than watch State of Origin
  1. Buy yourself a ticket to The Five Year Engagement - a pure chick flick and therefore perfect for the occasion
  2. Watch anything on the Lifestyle Channel - watching people's home being redecorated is better than watching people's faces being redecorated
  3. Go to the gym - all those machines generally tied up by testosterone-driven creatures who grunt and smell will be free
  4. Get an early night smug in the knowledge that you will feel much better tomorrow than those who partied on into the night celebrating the win or drowning their sorrows
  5. Do the grocery shopping. With so few people venturing away from the TV the aisles will be clear, the checkouts queue free and the mark-down man is bound to have been busy

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22. Day 143. Talking about the birds and the bees

Yesterday it was birds so now it's time to start talking about the bees.
I rather fancy myself as a queen bee, that one in a million creature that gets to lie around the hive while literally tens of thousands of minions swarm around doing all the work and feed me royal jelly.
Nice work if you can get it.
But there's a sting in this tale (hideously bad pun intended). I'm a worker bee. I constantly seem to be buzzing around in a never ending drive to ensure those around are provided for.
Now that sounds all very negative but the Queen Bee does miss out:
1) She is expected to breed all the time
2) She has the most distended stomach
3) She's not the one that gets to suck nectar all day
4) She never gets to go out and smell the flowers
That is what this photo, and in fact the whole Project 365 thing, says to me.
It is very easy to get weighed down by the drone of all modern daily life throws at us. Forcing myself every day to take a photograph of something that appeals to me for whatever bizarre reason focuses not only the camera but the mind on something nice.
If I didn't have the camera in hand, if I wasn't looking for something to photograph, I would not have stopped to smell this flower. I would have walked right by. That's would have been a missed opportunity. I think it is the bees knees (another hideously awful pun intended).

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21. Day 142.Stickybeaks

I'll tell you what, someone had their grump on this morning.
Here I am not talking about me although I have to say if there is a right side of the bed to get out of on a Monday morning I didn't find it.
This may be related to five hours sleep.This may be related to the bundle of assignments I was marking resulting in the sleep deprivation or it could just be a Monday-after-a-rather-nice-weekend feeling. Regardless it is probably just as well there was no-one awake in my house to talk to me first up this morning.
But my bout of Monday-itis had nothing on one of the Ibises at South Bank this morning.
One bird had something of  beef with one of its mates on the beach and it wasn't letting up. It followed, it poked, it chased, it stalked. For about five minutes the attacked bird tried to walk away, to turn the other wing and then it snapped and it was on. Cockfight on the beach.
Of course I'm not an expert in bird behaviour and this could have been a mating ritual but if it was I have to say there didn't seem to be any indication that it was likely to get any of that action any time soon.
Anyway, watching their bird-brained antics cheered me up. I consider myself to be a stickybeak but when it comes to sticking your beak in I have nothing on these guys.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20. Day 141. Get me to the Greek

Hasn't Brisbane grown up? As a child, I'd never heard of souvlakia and haloumi and there was little or no chance that I would have touched a baby octopus. Not on your Nellie. Spaghetti with grated Kraft cheese, that was about as ethnic as it got.
And I won't even start on the names we used to call the quite significant Greek and Italian population in the city. If I heard those words come out of my son's mouth it would be straight to bed without any tzatziki, let me tell you.
But now Brisbane is very much a multicultural city and nowhere is it reflected more than in what we eat.
This weekend the city was celebrating everything Greek at the annual Paniyiri Greek Festival at Musgrave Park, just a stone's throw from my home.
We strolled down to check it out and strolled home hotter, happier and heavier. Of the hundreds of pictures I took I liked this one the best. The traditional Greek honey puffs alongside an open can of XXXX, yep that's multicultural Brisbane for you. I also loved the gallery of "faces of the festival", people out enjoying the atmosphere on a perfect autumn day.
Bending over backwards

Hellenic dancers

Sometimes no matter what's going on around you nothing beats a stick

Getting a pick me up

Tucking into the honey puffs

Yaya, the Greek entertainer

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19. Day 140. Here comes the Spiderman

Note to self. RTFM.
Had I read the manual, I would have known the Paniyiri Festival didn't open until noon today. But making it up as I go along is more my style so the festival was still closed when I walked there this morning - so I kept walking and ended up at South Bank.Will get me to the Greek tomorrow.
I don't think Brisbane has any better family destination than South Bank. Today it was buzzing in the absolutely perfect autumn weather.
Picnics, swimming, markets, Frisbee throwing, water park, playgrounds, street entertainment, eateries. There's always something happening and it is one of my favourite places to head on my stroll.
Today I met Ezekiel and his mum Desirae with the face painting fairy. I love how still he is sitting as he is transformed into a spiderman.
I've never had my face painted (unless you count that which I apply myself every morning so as not to scare the natives when I leave the house). It looks like it tickles. Perhaps I should donate some coins to the face painting fairy one day and find out.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18. Day 139. Diary of my Wimpy Kid

Dear Diary,
I really want to go and meet Jeff Kinney because the Wimpy Kids books are cool but I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed. I’ll send my mum. It doesn’t get any wimpier than that!

When Mr O found out children’s author Jeff Kinney was in town there was a flash of nostaligia and excitement. How he loved those books. I say loved because he has moved on to reading much more advanced things but when we moved house and a lot of the other books were given away the Wimpy Kids books stayed. There’s something about them.
I adore people like Jeff Kinney. I love that they make reading joyous. So just because Mr O wouldn’t go didn’t stop me and now we have an autographed copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Cool.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17. Day 138. Morning glory

Morning has broken and isn't that a magnificent sight of both nature and man at work.
Seeing the rising sun poking through the clouds, it is easy to forget that this is one of the most controversial developments in Queensland, the new Children's Hospital.
I don't intend to buy into the controversy but I will share a little anecdote which I think goes part of the way to explain why some parents are so concerned about the development. Soon, instead of having two children's hospitals in Brisbane one on each side of the river, there will be just one, the one on the Mater site being constructed in this photo.
My story starts less than an hour into 2008. We'd all said our "Happy New Years" and being the party animals we are, we went to bed. Then I heard a horrible noise from my son's bedroom and I found him blue, choking on vomit, and having a seizure. Although he had been diagnosed as having epilepsy he had been almost two year seizure free and this was a new level of terrifying.
An ambulance came quickly and we were asked which hospital. I suggested the Mater as that was where his neurologist  was based.
The paramedic advised strongly against this saying trying to cross the river on New Year's Eve would be disastrous. We would be diverted. We would be delayed.
So we went to the Royal Children's Hospital.
I guess my point is that soon there will be no choice. If you live on the north side you will have to cross the river at a time when minutes really, really matter.
That's something to ponder as the sun rises on the dawn of a new children's hospital system in Brisbane,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16. Day 137. Along came a spider

Remember that scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban where all of the students faced a boggart, that hideous shape shifter that takes the form of your worst fear? For Ron Weasley it was a giant spider. That's Riddikulus*
Spiders get such a bad rap. Right from the time we are tiny we hear tales of poor little Miss Muppet and the nasty spider who frightens her away. No wonder so many people have arachnophobia.
I don't have a problem with spiders and find something compellingly beautiful about a spider's web like this one photographed in the gully near my home this morning. (No, this is not just a dodgy excuse to explain my less than perfectionist approach to housework).
Despite not understanding Ron's boggart, I've been fascinated with the idea raised often in fiction of forces exposing you to your worst fear.
In Orwell's 1984 it was Room 101 where there was Winston Smith and the rats. We never did find out what his girlfriend Julia was met with in Room 101. I seem to remember a high school essay where we had to argue what it might be.
I ponder this occasionally but it's a no brainer really. I'm with Ron's mother Molly Weasley. Poor Molly was trapped in a room in Number 12 Grimmauld Place with a boggart that kept taking the form of members of her family either dead or dying.
Surely no spider or rat can compete with that for spine chilling horror.

* (Harry Potter reference, not bad spelling)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15. Day 136. Here comes the sun

I used to be a sun worshipper; the type of sun worshipper who would use coconut oil or even cooking oil to baste myself.
We all did. Brown was beautiful. But I am one of the lucky ones who grew up in Queensland and who has escaped relatively unscathed (touch wood, fingers crossed etc obviously).
Living in the skin cancer capital of the world is very different now. We know the risks. We respect the sun.
We still love it but  it's a bit more tough love.
As a sun worshipper (even a reformed one) I don't do winter. All all. I'd like to go into a cave to hibernate and come out in the spring, ideally after the football season has finished. That's another story.
Thus this morning really sucked. Eight degrees. In Brisbane. In May.What's that about?
But a big gold star to Susan. I climbed out from under the covers and braved the cold even before the sun was up.
Bracing is just another word for cold, I've discovered.
I also discovered that sun worshipping is not totally dead, even in Queensland. This photo was taken near the river at West End just before 7am.
A perfect way to bring a little warmth into a cold morning.

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14. Day 135. Ruffling my feathers

The Ibis.
Around Ancient Egypt the ibis was considered god like, associated with wisdom, writing and magic.In Egyptian marketplaces they are sold for good luck. Down the road from my place, at the market that is South Bank the Ibis represents anything but good luck especially around the eateries. The Ibis are like giant flying rats that will swoop and steal your hot chips as quick as look at you.
But you have to admit they are exceptionally interesting to look at.
Today my world clashed with both the ancient and the modern ibis.
I started the day at the Queensland Museum at the fascinating Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb visiting exhibition.
I love my Mummies and have sought out exhibitions of Ancient Egypt in London and New York so I wasn't going to miss the touring exhibition here in Brisbane. I have a tip. The exhibition is very popular and at times crowded. If you go on a weekday when the doors open at 9.30 the school groups have yet to arrive so it is very quiet. Yay.
But you can't take photos. Boo. So today's photo is of the more modern ibis at the neighbouring South Bank where I stopped off after the museum.
When the birds weren't helping themselves to whatever they could get at the tables, it is easy to see why the Ancient Egyptians were so taken with the ibis. I love the shape of this one but one of its mates did try to ruffle my feathers by having a go at my lunch. That doesn't strike me as the type of helper you'd want to take with you on the journey to the afterlife.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13. Day 134. A classic Mother's Day

Mother's Day. That one day of the year when your kids get to spoil you (*note by spoil I mean giving you cold toast in bed with tea most of which is in the saucer).
Mother's Day. The day you reflect on just how much your mother did for you often without you even realising it and certainly without being in the slightest bit grateful.
Mother's Day. The day when many sadly remember the mums no longer with us.
Today tens of thousands of people decided to skip the Mother's Day breakfast in bed to take part in the annual Mother's Day Classic at South Bank raising money for breast cancer research. The sea of pink was a very touching public outpouring of emotion about the disease that claims the lives of too many mothers too soon.
Especially touching where the signs on people's back as they set off for a four or eight kilometre walk showing that they were taking part in memory of or in support of a dear one affected by the disease.
Fortunately I got to spend the morning with both my mother and my son. My brother-in-law cooked up a classic breakfast fry up for the extended family.
As the card I gave my Mum said: "Children are like glasses of wine...Mums love them but they do tend to cause a few headaches".
Yep, they can drive you to drink but you wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12. Day 133. Heavenly

Absolutely too nice to stay inside today so my neighbour Noela and I strolled down the hill to the St Andrew's Church heritage fair.
There was a small but enthusiastic crowd with the families taking advantage of the face painting and jumping castle as well as the obligatory sausage sizzle. How sweet is this little one? Don't you just love those puppy dog eyes?
For the big kids vintage cars and historic wedding dresses were on display and there was a multicultural food fair and craft stalls.
But what really caught my eye was the Sunday school kids who were dressed as clowns and roamed the church grounds performing.
Silently they mined their praises. One waved a fan with a sign "I'm a fan for Jesus". Another proudly displayed a spray bottle labelled "Hair Pray" and a third flashed shoe inner soles with some pun along the lines of devoting your inner soul. Very punny. Who would have thought religion was such a joke?

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11. Day 132. Skiddadle

Happiness is five types of crayons, at least that's what the authoritative source You're a Good Man Charlie Brown the musical would have us believe.
Okay it's not the Oxford dictionary but I agree. A blank piece of paper and coloured things to create with equal one big ball of good, clean fun (actually it is often every messy but that's half the fun too).
There was a whole lot of mess being created in the foyer of the ABC building at South Bank this morning as nine artists took part in a One Word One Day project which gave them just three hours to create an artwork inspired by mystery word. The project aims at raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation with all the works being auctioned off  to help buy books for children in remote and isolated communities.
The word was Skiddadle, a quite delicious sounding word meaning to run away hurriedly or to flee. Captured here are the deft fingers of children's author and illustrator Stephen Axelsen at work.
I didn't see how it ended. I had to skiddadle but I love the child-like enthusiasm he showed breaking into his new box of pastels.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10. Day 131. Throw your arms around me

Public Displays of Affection. PDAs.
There's nothing nicer. There's nothing more distasteful. The devil is in the detail.
Outpourings of emotion at an airport arrival or departure hall. Tick. A children throwing their arms around a parent. Tick. Young couples chewing on each other's faces and grasping on to other bits in a way that makes you want to shout  "go get a room". Cross. Fail. Please don't.
I have a bit of a thing for public displays of affection. On my bedroom wall I have two black and white prints Kiss by the Hotel de Ville by Robert Doisneau  and Trevor Watson's Bus Stop Photo. Both beautiful displays of apparently spontaneous love. Just beautiful (on a related note, do not put "Trevor Watson photographer" into a search engine unless you are an adult. Yikes. This definitely falls into the category of "go get a room" activities).
Anyway, today at lunch time I was in the Queen Street Mall when I spied this PDA.I just love how happy she looks. Let's face it, everyone needs a hug.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9. Day 130. Seeing red

It's just not fair. If it looks delicious, there's almost a 100% chance that it will be bad for you. Berry. Berry bad for you.
Now, I'm no expert on bush foods (I gather my food from the shelves of the supermarket) but I'm pretty sure that eating these tasty looking berries I spied in the gully near my home wouldn't be the smartest of moves.
It's no accident that red is the colour we humans use to indicate danger or stop. So I stopped and I thought of Charles Dickens (as you do).
“On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels . . .”
Can't argue with that.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8. Day 129. Slow to cotton on

My lack of ability with a needle and thread is quite astounding. Once, when I was sitting on the bed stitching two pieces of cloth together for some project or other, I managed to sew both on to the doona cover. Most of my trousers are just that bit too long because a) I am short b) I can't even hem properly and c) I am either too stingy or too lazy to take them to be professionally altered.
Super glue, staples or the credit card have been my friends when the dreaded note came home from school demanding that the little love went dressed as a favourite book character or historical figure.(Note to teachers, if you think I've given you the evil eye at some point, this would be why).
Double sided tape and Velcro; nature's way of compensating for those who can't sew.
All this despite, the fact that my paternal grandmother was a seamstress. As my teenaged son would say "Epic Fail". Of course this means I am full of admiration for those who have the ability to not only stitch things together following someone else's pattern but to design their own.
Today, armed with my camera, I snuck into the university's fashion studios to watch some of these creative souls doing their magic. Such amazing talent. I wonder if they are any good at taking up trousers?

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7. Day 128. The workers united....

I am fully aware that saying you are a member of a union can extract a response akin to saying you are a child abuser or axe murderer.
But I am quite prepared to say I pay my union dues, in fact I am proudly a member of a union. You have to remember that Labour (the workers) is not the same as Labor (the party). As I see it, if you work for a large employer (and I always have) and you take the union negotiated pay rises you gotta be prepared to put your money where your mouth is.
This is not to say I am a flag waving, card carrying member nor do I support everything unions do but I'm a worker and the unions should put a bit more of the power balance in the hands of the workers. And as someone who has been made redundant twice during my working career, I know that the Strawbs were taking crap when they said "You can't touch me I'm part of the Union" but it's still good to have someone fighting for your interests.
Anyway, I have never been to a Labour Day Parade and I will never march in one but today I thought I'd arm myself with a camera and see for myself. I found it quite emotional.
I do have a word of advice for those who organise union rallies. Can we get some new chants?
"The workers united, will never be defeated" and the "What do we want. The right to..." war cries are getting a bit tired and old. Much preferred the BLF who had a group of cheerleaders heading their section of the parade proudly waving pom poms to "We're Not Gonna to Take it".

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6. Day 127. Monkey business

I admit, it is not all that long ago that I would have thought teaching children meditation and relaxation was new age mumbo jumbo.
Perhaps it is increased age. Perhaps it is increased wisdom but I have now come to think that teaching our kids to chill in a high pressure, high competition world is probably among the best life skills we can pass on.
So it was a delight to watch groups of children front and centre in today's Buddha's Birthday celebrations at South Bank. They showed off their meditation and relaxation and quietly chanted.
I admit to not knowing all that much about Buddhism but the doctrine of peace and forgiveness seems compelling (the bits about reincarnation and vegetarianism I feel less attracted to.
I also love the fact that as a western society we are now so much more open to the beliefs, philosophies and cultures of other nations.
Perhaps this is why there were so many people just milling around watching this Sri Lankan children's dance troupe perform a monkey dance. Or perhaps it was just because they were so incredibly cute.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5. Day 126. Animal Farm

Those who don't think you should work with children or animals obviously don't have a love for either.
Yeah okay, they are difficult to stage manage. Yeah, they do wild and unpredictable things but surely a big bucket of cute makes up for that.
Sadly my own son has never really enjoyed getting up close and personal with all creatures great and small. I've never let that stop me. Why should the kids have all the fun?
It is exactly that type of thinking that inspired Brisbane blogger Girl Clumsy to decide to hire an animal farm and invite her city friends - with or without kids - to come along.
Brilliant idea.
The adults were having just as much fun as the kids but for me it was the wonder on the faces of the little ones as they got to touch and feed the animals that was really special. The way this little kid is patting that little kid. Priceless.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4. Day 125. Pot of gold

Just about every child who grew up in is part of the world would have one - the childhood pic taken at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. In something that now feels a bit reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, we were flocked by birds. The family album has compulsory photos of children with plates of food weighed down the rainbow lorikeets in a feeding frenzy. There was often a slightly horrified child captured with a bird on his or her head. And the screeching - something not unlike outside the hotel where One Direction is staying or my house at homework time. Surprisingly, I don't recall the rainbow lorikeets as being common in the Brisbane suburbs as a child. Now they are everywhere but this has done nothing to lesson my fascination with them. Today I think I struck gold over this rainbow

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3. Day 124. It's a zoo out there

What perfect walking weather Brisbane woke up to this morning. There was a real crispness in the air that makes you know you are alive when you step out of the house but glad to be alive by the time you get home.
The suburbs were still snoozing when I headed out this morning and I decided not to take one of my more common routes straight to the river. Instead I walked the suburban streets and there were very few signs of  human life.
But the animals were up. Dogs rushed to the fences, the scrub turkeys were busy digging up gardens and at this house the whole zoo was on parade.
I love the fact that some little hands had carefully lined up a whole collection of plastic zoo animals on the letterbox outside a home.
In the garden bed below there were a number of dinosaurs dotted in the ground cover.
It's nice to see that in a world were fun so often equals a screen, kids can still find enjoyment in playing outside with a bucket full of plastic figures.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2. Day 123. Let there be light

It's hard to believe that when the Great Arbour was first installed at South Bank in 1999 it was criticised as being cold, sterile, stark and industrial.
Now the snake-like structure that weaves its way through the parklands is a thing of great beauty and a credit to the designers from Denton Corker Marshall.
The bougainvillea climbing 448 steel tendrils softens and shades what we thought was cold metal and its purple blooms provide a dramatic splash of colour.
South Bank is Brisbane city's playground and every every playground deserves a decent climbing frame, does it not?
Although it a thing of great beauty in its own right, the arbour was looking especially beautiful this morning all decked out with bright orange lanterns in readiness for Buddha's birthday party on the weekend.
Icing on the birthday cake really.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1. Day 122. Puppy love

I knew the dogs in our street before I knew the people.
Scout, for example, is a small dog with a very big attitude. She has to bark before she will come and say hello and when she does it will be a full-on jump on you type hello. Chloe, however, is a bit of a princess. The adorable tan ball of fluff, adorned with a pink diamante collar, proudly walks the street checking you out while pretending not to while her human Maria stops for a chat.
In case you haven't guessed I'm a dog person. In fact, I consider myself to be a dog owner who just happens not to have a dog at the moment.
It's been a while since Oscar went to the great dog kennel in the sky.
The head says DO NOT GET ANOTHER DOG. You are not home enough. You now live in a house with cream carpet. You know that you sneeze and wheeze less in a pet free house.
But the heart says but I would love a furry friend. I would love a companion on my daily walk even if we had to stop and sniff things and wee on posts (Note, I wouldn't sniff things or wee, nor would you need a pooper scooper for me). That unconditional devotion of a dog is precious.
For now I am listening to the head but every time a pooch such as this one I saw this morning jumps up on the fence and says hello the resolve weakens just a little.
It's puppy love,