Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July in review

July 31. Day 213. Muddying the waters

Throw enough mud and some of it will stick.
We hear it all the time and it is, unfortunately, true. And it stinks (a little like the mangrove mud flats on the North Bank of the Brisbane River which I photographed on my walk this morning).
So media-driven hysteria has allowed us to believe that somehow being the fifth fastest swimmer in your event  in the world is a sign of being fat and lazy and heading off to London on a tax-payer funded jaunt.
Let's be honest, elite athletes can only ever be on top of their game for a short period of time and you can muddy the waters all you like with all the unflattering camera angles and unnamed sources you can generate but that doesn't change the facts.
Wouldn't it be nice if we actually celebrated the remarkable achievements of our athletes instead of throwing mud all the time?
And a little bit more realism, graciousness and humility by all of use might mean that less people come out with mud on their faces when the pots of gold don't materialise.

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30 Day 212. Grounded

Normally this is the deep end of the swimming pool at South Bank. You can still see the lane rope in one of the puddles. The whole area is fenced off for maintenance and the Ibis is standing on a patch of sand that would normally be well submerged. It's grounded.
Grounded. I was talking to a mum on the weekend whose teenage son has been grounded, possibly for the term of his natural life.
In what sounds like a script from a US teen flick, the teen took advantage of mum and dad being away to host a party. Naturally he was sprung. Naturally he is now paying.
My son is not yet at the age where he would try that one if for no other reason than the fact that he is not yet at the age where I could leave him home alone while we were out of the country.
But you know those days are just around the corner. I'm thinking of grounding him now as a preemptive strike. Perhaps I could start after the parent/teacher interviews this afternoon as a trial. If I thought I could get away with it, I'd be erecting the barrier fence just like the one around the pool.
And what would happen?....Some bird would fly in and make herself at home, just like in this picture really.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29 Day 211. Sweet as

I've always considered it a delicious irony. Today was Queensland University of Technology Open Day and thousands of perspective students flocked to our Kelvin Grove campus to learn about the university courses available to students about to take the next big step into adulthood.
My job today involved leading six tours of the facilities and hosting three seminars about the journalism program.
I like to think that these were very informative but do you know what the big drawcards on the day were?
The biggest queues were for the free fairy floss, the free popcorn and the balloons.
The little packets of colouring pencils we were giving away were also a big hit.
Yep, there's a lot to digest at a day like today so you might as well have a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down.
University may be just around the corner but that doesn't mean you are too old for spun sugar and food colouring.
Four-year-old Shishi is still a little bit too young to be considering a career as a journalist but her big brother is getting ready for uni so Shishi and mum came along to join in the party.
The talks may not have been her cup of tea but the fairy floss appeared to be going down a treat proving that there was something to suit everyone's taste.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28. Day 210. Splash

Would you look at the joy on the faces of these boys?
Jeffrey, 7, and Lee-Roy, 8, are from Stradbroke Island but were in Brisbane today with their family and headed to South Bank they were being soaked at  Aquativity when I caught up with them.
It's the middle of winter but that didn't stop these boys from having an awesome time in the sun.
Isn't is funny that as a child we just can't wait to get bigger? We are always dreaming of what we are going to be when we grow up, can't wait until we are old enough to lose the booster seat, or stay up late or wear make-up.
Then when we grow up we yearn for simpler times when being dumped on from a great height had nothing to do with the outrageous fun of water play.
Still watching these boys at play can not fail but bring a smile to your face.

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27 Day 209. What a real yawn

People often tell me that I am showing my age when I confess to loving nothing more than an afternoon nap. To them, it's a Nanna Nap reserved for women of a certain age.
Well then, that means I was a child prodigy. For as long as I can remember the nap has been one of my favourite things to do. Snoozen is not just my name on Twitter. Snoozen has been my nickname since my late primary school years.
This cat and I have a fair bit in common. Just after 3pm today, about the most perfect time for the nap, kitty was having a little shut eye in the sun just outside my house.
When I walked by it half opened an eye, yawned loudly and then went straight back to sleep. Clearly nothing was going to get in the way of the nap.
The subject of the afternoon nap sprung to mind today because tonight Mr O and I are off to Sing-a-long Sound of Music where everyone is encouraged to dress up as something inspired by the film.
We tossed around ideas for costumes many of which were based on the song My Favourite Things.
I considered and ultimately rejected going as a brown paper package tied up with string, whiskers on kittens or a snowdrop (that falls on my nose and eyelashes).
Eventually Mr O and his friends settled on girls and white dresses with blue satin sashes while I have a fetching Maria dress.
But as we threw around ideas I considered what would be a few of my favourite things. So with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein:
Sleep-ins on Sundays and afternoon napping
Great Turkish banquets with all the trappings
Theatre productions where everyone sings
These are a few of my favourite things
When the bills bite
When the fees sting
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26. Day 208. Strangely reflective

Today I had a very strange exchange with a man on the street. This big burly bloke was unloading his van at West End as I walked passed.
In a very jolly, almost sing-song voice he said: "Good afternoon. How's it going?"
Me: "Fine thanks. And you?"
Him: "Shit house actually".
Okay then. Why don't you tell me how you really feel?
Funny isn't it that we so often ask people variations on the "how are you?" question but there's an unspoken rule that you are only allowed to accent the positive?
It's a strange pantomime we go through.
The woman at the checkout really has no desire to hear how my day has been, so why does she ask?
Had I bothered to think about it rather than just give the expected answer I would have said it didn't start that well but a long walk cleared my head and I was rather happy with the photo I took at West End. It summed up my strangely reflective mood.
Truth is, it really doesn't hurt to spend a bit of time actually reflecting on how it is going. We should take stock. We should ask those around us how they are feeling and we should listen and reflect on how we can help if things are not travelling so well.
But if you don't care about the answer, don't ask the question.
Reflect on that if you will.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25. Day 207. Hosing down

For my mother holding a hose is like relaxation therapy.
When we were growing up you'd see her out in the yard, hose in hand almost in a trance.
She would often be chewing on her thumb, in a world of her own, finding the flow of water quite hypnotic.
I could see her point as I watched the gardeners giving the produce at Delectable Queensland at South Bank a drink this morning.
Before the crowds arrive there is quite a team making sure the thousands of plants are looked after. I love the water dripping off this lemon plant.
I tried to catch Mum's love of gardening. Epic fail. If a plant in the garden can't survive on water from the sky around my place it will not survive.
The couple in pots have my mother to thank for their existance. She takes pity on them and throws water their way when she comes for the weekly Sunday roast.
Hosing down rumours, that I can do. Hosing down plants, I'm afraid I'll have to leave that to others.
Thanks Mum.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24. Day 206. Wheelie nice start to the day

A bird pooped on my head this morning. It wasn't even dawn yet and the early bird should surely have been off getting the worm but no it found time to drop its load right on top of me.
Had someone had a video camera on me at that moment it would be going viral on YouTube right now and I would be well on my way to my first million. Instead I got to go home and wash my hair.
That could have been enough to ruin a good walk but Brisbane is just glorious in the mornings right now and a morning walk really sets up the day. The light is lovely and it's cool and refreshing but not cold. Perfect.
Even though its only a week since I took a photograph of the Wheel of Brisbane, I really like this angle taken this morning.
A couple of things have happened since I last photographed the wheel. Sails have been erected so at night it can become a giant screen for a laser show. This also means its not operating right now which is a shame.
Only a week ago I rode the wheel with family in town on a visit and it was great. It wasn't my first wheel ride but I never tire of the view of the city from the gondolas.
I also never tire of the view of the wheel itself from South Bank or the city. It's a beautiful addition to the city.
Even a bit of bird poo conditioner isn't going to dampen my enthusiasm for that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23. Day 205. Skeletons in the closet

Mr O, aged 14, is working on the world's next great novel. (By great I hope he means well written and not just best selling because I'd hate to think another 50 Shades was inflicted on the world, but I digress).
It's a piece of alternative history where you have to envisage what would have happened IF one critical event had gone the other way. How, for example, would US history have evolved differently if the lone gunman in the Texas School Book Depository had missed?
As best I can follow, the great novel is set in Europe at the time where the great monarchies still reigned supreme. But the course of history is changed and the revolutions that saw them overturned were suppressed.
Key to this are several spies each with a guilty secret which if it got out could be their undoing.
So Mr O is deciding what these secrets would be. He wants things that today we wouldn't batter an eyelid about but which at the time were scandalous. He wants skeletons in the closet.
He's decided there will be an unwed mother, a gay man and a divorcee but he wants another one. So he asks me. Someone as old as his mother must know what things used to be frowned on in the distant past.
I suggest a severe mental illness somewhere in the family.
He looks at me like I've somehow not understood the plot. Mental illness something to be ashamed about?
He tells me matter of factly about 14-year-olds in the playground or library  discussing their psychiatrists. Counsellors and psychologists are quite common place.
Now you could say that's a sign the world has gone mad (pun intended).]
Actually while I wonder about the amount of stress that we place on our teenagers I do think that it is a step forward that discussing mental health plans is akin to taking about managing diabetes or an asthma management plan: where mental illness is no more or less stigmatised than physical illnesses.
We need to get those skeletons out of the cupboard. The skulls in today's photo were not in the cupboard - but not far from it.
They were piled in a plastic bag in a strange room on campus I presume to be an art studio. There was just one pottery rose among the skulls. Also in the room was a bra made out of clothes pegs, a necklace constructed from a string of gold teeth and a painting of two men wearing reindeer ears kissing. I'm sure in days gone by the artists responsible would have been locked up. You could have been certified for less. Now we call it artistic freedom.
Yep, at times it does seem that the world has gone mad. At least we are free to talk about it and don't have to hide it in the closet.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22. Day 204. Old School

I send Thank-you letters.
We eat a roast every Sunday.
I'd rather phone someone than text them.
I know, how very old school of me.
The subject of what's "Old School" has been a hot topic in my house this week as my son has been brain storming ideas for the school photography competition. Interpret it as you will.
He decided to take a very literal interpretation and he took a photo of an old school building at the Caboolture Historical Village yesterday (pic below).
But the discussion led me to think about my own school days (I am, of course, very old in the eyes of my 14-year-old).
Things I fondly remember include hopscotch, marbles, skipping and elastic (although I admit I no longer have any idea how one plays elastic).
My 10-year-old niece Cleo tells me she still plays hopscotch. She even has a hopscotch mat. There are hopscotch lines on the playground at school.
So we went to have a look and while the lines are there we drew our own in chalk.
Apparently hopscotch isn't so old school after all. Even the cool kids still know how.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 21 Day 203. Wash day blues

In so many ways we have it so much easier than the women who went before us.
Like the laundry for one. The idea of boiling water, washboards and hand scrubbing one's smalls is quite simply deplorable.
The modern woman has been liberated from such drudgery, a fact I was reminder of today at a visit to the Caboolture Historical Village.
Of course the vision that all these modern labour saving devices would result in a world where we could sit with our feet up and sip pina coladas all day as simply not eventuated.
Sure the business of doing a load of washing is no longer a full day of hard physical labour. I had a load on the line blowing in the wind before 9am today and that was after a lie in.
But with the washing out and the other domestic chores done, there was a shift at the Tertiary Studies Expo to put in, the drive to the Historical Village to facilitate the school photography challenge (with the theme Old School), shopping, dinner to cook and them a couple more hours on the computer to answer emails.
Yep, the modern women can have it all provided she accepts that she will have to do it all.
But I'd rather do it all than spend all day doing the washing. As the song says "Look how much I've gained".
It's just some times you will hear me roar.

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20. Day 202. Left hanging on the line

Even that reputable source Wikipedia can't adequately explain why people would throw their shoes over power lines.
There are many references - none of them with any authority - that suggest it has something to do with drug dealers marking out or identifying their territory.
If that's the case there must be an awful lot of drug dealers in the area around where I live. This one was taken near the rail bridge at South Brisbane this morning
I hear from another authoritative source - Eddie McGuire - that power companies consider it vandalism and a potential threat to power supply.
The power companies are quite dismissive of the potential drug link. Personally I think there must be something in it.
Certainly if I actually managed to throw a pair of shoes high enough and with enough precision to land over the power lines I think you'd have every right to drug test me. There would have to be some artificial performance enhancer at work.
In addition, given the cost of shoes I think you'd have to be on drugs to think throwing them over power lines was a good idea.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19. Day 201. Half a brain

Sometimes I think if I had half a brain I would be dangerous.
The half that is missing is the half that controls the ability to safely retain your possessions. I lose things. Lots of things. Today it was my keys.
I got home from a long walk and I was locked out. Margaret, my neighbour, to the rescue. After years of experience losing things I have put plans in place and the spare key with the neighbour is one of them.
Unfortunately my son has inherited my "special" talent. Mobile phones are his area of  expertise.
His current phone was lost and was located this afternoon in the school library. I took this photo when I collected the two of them this afternoon.
That phone - like many permanently lost in the past - is registered in my name.
I fear my name is on a terrorist risk register some place because of the extreme number of pre-paid mobile phones I apparently own.
I just want to put it out there that I have no inclination in this direction which is just as well because I'd doubtless lose the plans.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18. Day 200. Totally rooted

Two hundred days down. I choose not to count how many images I have taken in that time. Too many.
How do I feel? Pleased to have survived the journey this long but slightly rooted by the whole thing if I'm entirely honest, hence this photo.
It's now back to the business end of the university cycle - Orientation Week for Semster 2 - so  today there were meetings, official student meet-and-greets and yet more forms.
The photo today had to be squeezed in between appointments and I took it in the work car park.
I like it because the tree's roots hang and are not in the ground. This plant seems to be able to suck the energy it needs from the air around it. This is quite the opposite to crazy, busy work days where the air seems to suck the energy out of you.
But anyway I just happen to like the way the roots look and that's what the Project has been best for - finding something beautiful in the every day even when you are feeling totally rooted.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17. Day 199. I'm forever blowing bubbles

Being a teenager totally sucks but I have to tell you being the parent of a teenager can be totally sucky at times.
There are days when you feel like you are just going to explode much like this bubble did just after I took this photograph at South Bank today.
Fact is, every age presents parents with both challenges and rewards.
This bubble was created by a mum playing with a toddler at the edge of the pool. I looked at the huge amount of baggage she had to carry just for an hour or so at city beach. And I watched how vigilant she had to be watching the little one near the water. At that age they are so physically demanding. Certainly there are advantages when they are less totally reliant on you for their every need.
But there is also something really special about their innocence and the joy they have in simple things like popping bubbles.
A teenager is a bit more like the bubble itself - fragile, reflective and prone to bursting at any moment but beautiful just the same.

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16. Day 198. In my beautiful balloon

When it comes to fear of heights two of the biggest sooky la las in the world were by late Dad and my next door neighbour Clare.
We still laugh at memories of the day we convinced Clare to take a ride on a Ferris wheel. Her knuckles were white as she gripped that bar and she was frozen in her seat but I'm sure she enjoyed it really. Well may be not.
And Dad you couldn't take anywhere near the edge of a great lookout or up the spire of an ancient Cathedral because there would be high bits. He was terrified.
Which makes it all the more surprising that they both agreed to a hot air balloon ride over Gatton AND they both really truly loved it. My fingers are not crossed as I type this or anything.
I thought about that this morning as I saw two high things - the Wheel of Brisbane and a hot air balloon in one frame of my camera (actually there are two balloons. The egg shape at the centre is the OVO balloon in town to promote the circus).
Hot air balloon travel is not scary. It is absolutely beautiful. The basket comes quite high up your body so there's no way you feel you can fall. It is so silent, so beautiful, so peaceful as you waft over town or country (I have tried both).
I can recommend it to anyone, even the big scaredy cat, dirty rats who don't like heights.
I reckon I'd have more chance of convincing Clare to take another hot air balloon ride than get on that wheel.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15. Day 197. If you build it, they will come

Almost certainly I will be shouted down for saying this but I really hated Field of Dreams. It was one of the lamest, most boring movies I have ever endured. Despite this I seem to have a strong affiliation with the central message "If you build it, they will come".
Brisbane has been building rather a lot of things in recent years and like a moth to a flame every time they do I can't resist turning up.
Today was the Airport Tunnel community open day so true to form I was there taking advantage of the rare opportunity to
a) walk the tunnel and
b) travel along it without having to pay a toll
Fact is I can't resist a good piece of public infrastructure even though I have no idea how that term was allowed to escape from council agendas and form part of the public vocabulary.
I walked both Gateway Bridges, the inner city bypass tunnel and the Clem 7 tunnel for no particularly good reason other than because I could.
Of the 700 plus images I took today to prove I was there I liked this the most. Not sure why, there's just something about the shape and form that is attractive.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14. Day 196. Pretty as a picture

See this? This is the joy of finally getting the family portrait sorted.
Every time we gather the children from the various branches of the family for Grandma's brag book we swear "never again".
There is always hair pulling, face pulling, tears and tantrums.
There was the shot where one child had a black eye from a sporting accident the day before. There was a shot with my sister-in-law's leg on the fringes because one child refused to pose without Mum.
In one, my son is clutching Elmo which the photographer had planned on using as a puppet to induce a smile but Mr O wouldn't cooperate until he was allowed to touch "M-Elmo" then he wouldn't let go.
It has been six years since the last family photo. Perhaps time has eased some of the pain or perhaps it was the rare moment of all the little ones in town from their various far flung parts of the world but we fronted up to the Powerhouse for the photo today.
No-one got a black eye but it was a bit like Grandma and the seven dwarfs - Sulky, Snooty, Silly, Superior, Stupid, Savage and Bored.
One child thought strangling was preferable to hugging her sister but otherwise there was no actual physical violence. The photographer earned her money and I think there will be something nice to hang on Grandma's wall.
And we have plenty more stories for various 21st birthdays. Isn't that what family photos are about? Memories?
For the children, there was the added reward of being allowed to go in the pool - in the middle of winter - when it was all done.

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13 Day 195. Well that's odd

As the Sesame Street song goes "One of these things is not like the others".
Yes, the exhibit in the middle of the top row isn't behind glass. That's Lucy, my 10-year-old niece, and she's gasping at the Odditoreum at the State Library of Brisbane.
This is a fantastic little exhibition of weird, odd and just crazy exhibits from the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. But they are not labelled and children are issued with their own cards so they can make up what they see. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction but for the most case the explanations the kids come up with are are hilarious. Children have such wonderful imaginations. So a lump of ochre pigment was, according to a nine-year-old, solidified elephant wee. And a giant licorice covered shoe was not a prop used in the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony but a device used to train guide dogs.
As the old journalist's saying goes "never let truth get in the way of a good story"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12. Day 194. Ladybird, ladybird fly away home

Meet Michelle Matlock. She's a ladybird. Now if I was a ladybird I'd be staying well away from open flames still haunted by the most dreadful of childhood rhymes:
Ladybird ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
But Michelle, the star of Cirque du Soleil's Ovo which opens in Brisbane on Saturday, seemed quite happy to climb into the basket of a hot air balloonright under the giant gas burners and take off.
Actually she seemed delighted (the fact that her image is on the side of the egg-shaped balloon may have had something to do with that)
You might assume that if you'd been playing the same role for almost two years it might be just another day at the office. If that was the case she was certainly hiding it well at the media call this morning.
While photographers were taking her picture, Michelle had her mobile phone camera out and was making sure she was missing none of the action. Her excitement was genuine and infectious.
I reckon a job like being a performer with Cirque du Soleil would do that for you.
Certainly I feel a child like excitement every time the Grand Chapiteau (that's Cirque speak for Big Top) is in town.
But then I'm a bit of a Cirque groupie, having seen productions not only in Australia but in Las Vegas and Macau.
But Ovo (meaning egg) is new on me and is on its first Australian tour. I hope it's all it's cracked up to be.
If Michelle is anything to go by it should soar.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11. Day 193. Sitting on the fence

I love the sections of the musical Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye, the patriarch, weighs up dilemmas always trying to see both sides of the argument.
He has these internal arguments out loud, stating his world view and before continuing "on the other hand" and considering and often conceding to his children's arguments.
But there are issues he sees as absolute: “How can I turn my back on my faith, my people? If I try and bend that far, I’ll break! On the other hand...” Pause “No! There is no other hand!”
Sometimes you just have to stop sitting on the fence and say what you really think even if
a) you might ruffle a few feathers and
b) you might end up looking like a bit of a turkey.
It's a bit of a balancing act really, that sitting on the fence business. It's good to be able to see both sides but if you plant yourself too hard not only will you will get splinters in your bum you risk not standing up for those things that really matter.
I think this turkey on the fence this morning seemed to have it about right - high enough to get a good overview of the situation but the tail feathers clearly letting you know when to back off.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10. Day 192. Hair-raising

The best thing about being a child is that you can tie yourself in knots and have your hair stand on end without it being related to stress.
Both my niece Jess and I were exhibiting signs of that hair-raising stuff today. Ten-year-old Jess is a little monkey and loves just hanging around as she showed in the playground today. I, on the other hand, was waiting for a call from the mechanic after the car had to be towed from the highway last night.
I don't understand cars but I have come to learn that when a mechanic makes a "tutt tutt" noise you are about to experience a severe pain in the credit card. That is knot in the stomach stuff. I was steeling myself for it.
So while I watched Jess, the mechanic rang and he made noises. But they were not "tutt tutt" noises. Just all done. You can pick it up. Total damage $94.
If I was able to do cartwheels or headstands I would have been out there with Jess. I suspect had I tried tomorrow's post would be about the cost of a good chiropractor.

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9. Day 191. Bird brained beauty routine

It may surprise people to learn of my beauty routine (actually you would only be surprised if you've never met me). Anyway here is the beauty routine revealed - there isn't one.
Cleansing equals water in shower when hair is washed. Moisturizing ditto. Hair care ditto but with the addition of supermarket brand shampoo and conditioner. Styling equals a towel and about 20 seconds with the blow dryer.
I'd like to say this is due to my natural beauty but in fact it is due to my natural laziness and a need to get out of the house on time.
Now I have often thought that it is a particular affliction of the human female that we feel the need to go through this complex beauty routine in any case - until you watch other species.
This morning on the beach (captured below) I watched the sea gulls pimping and preening, fluffing and picking and it was very clear that it's not that others over do it in this department but that I under do it in a very big way. In fact my approach to beauty is completely bird brained. It is also clear that spending time on beauty isn't something that runs in the family. Look at the delight on the face of my niece Amelia later in the day checking out the work of the Dreamworld facepainter. She clearly thinks the effort was well worth it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8. Day 190. All I want for Christmas...

One of the things I despise most about the "reality" TV show Toddlers and Tiaras - and there are lots - is that the pageant  mums actually buy mouth implants to fill the gaps in their children's mouths when they have lost their teeth. As though fake tans, false eye lashes and pole dance routines are not enough, somehow these mums and the judges think that a child can not be beautiful with a gummy smile. That gappy grin, modelled this morning by my delightful nephew Connor, is simply adorable and an important milestone in growing up.
Come on, they grow up fast enough without wishing away childhood.
Before long the tooth fairy will have paid up big for all those baby teeth (I hear the going rate in Australia now is $5 per tooth!) and you'll be getting a second mortgage to pay for orthodontics. You just have to embrace every stage as it comes with all its challenges because it will be gone in a blink in an eye.
And you can always ask Santa for those two front teeth for Christmas.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 7. Day 189. Head in the sand

There is something very special about a sandy beach. Granted it is not all that pleasant to be sand blasted when the wind whips up. Granted you can be fishing sand out of hidden bits for weeks after a day on the beach. But when it comes to beauty there is little to rival a long expanse of white sand.
I had two long walks on the beach today, each a spectacular failure in terms of its stated aim but each a glorious escape. Walk one from Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach where the aim was to buy supplies for breakfast. That failed because I managed to leave my wallet at home, a fact I discovered only when arriving at the check out. Walk two was an afternoon stroll home along the beach designed to walk off a yum cha lunch. That one was destined to fail unless “home” was Sydney.
Of course, I would have been much more successful in walking off those chicken feet had I taken the approach to the beach walk adopted by my nieces – running on soft sand is exhausting. But I wasn’t the one charging down the dunes. I was the one standing at the bottom with a camera pretending that a gentle stroll equals fat burning exercise – yes I do have my head buried in the sand.

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6. Day 188. Over the moon

It's very lucky I wasn't born at a time or place where people used the celestial bodies for directions.
I am hopeless with a map, can't work out which direction I am heading in and I can get lost even with GPS devices in the car and on my phone. Sometimes I will tell people to turn left and then have to correct myself. Clearly I meant the other left (the one normal people refer to as right). Hopeless.
So the idea of using the sun, moon and stars to navigate is simply out of the question and today's photo is proof positive. A couple of days ago, just before dawn, I spied a potentially great photo on one of my normal walking routes. The moon was setting over a church dome. It looked great but I was rushing to get to an appointment so couldn't stop. So this morning I decided to go back at about the same time fully aware that the conditions and moon may have changed but it was worth a try.
I will never know if that photo would have worked because I couldn't find the church even though it is in an area that I walk several times a week. Like I said, hopeless.
But even I couldn't miss the big white ball in the sky and I really like the photo I ended up with. In fact, I'm over the moon.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 5. Day 187. Swingers

The world can be divided into two types of people. Those who like rides and those big wusses who stand by the rollercoaster and look after the bags. I'm the type of girl who is very happy to have my feet off the ground hanging from my feet. I guess that makes me a swinger. My three nieces Amelia, Cleo and Lucy also clearly love a swing as this moment captured at New Farm Park today shows.
Children never seem to get tired of being pushed on a swing. Squeals of  "higher" and "faster" go on for seemingly hours. What a great milestone it is when the little loves are finally big enough and strong enough to push themselves...right up to the point where you become one of the big wusses and you want to squeal "slower", "lower" or "hang on". I think the trick is to put sensible rules in place and then close your eyes and try to get in the swing of it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4. Day 186. Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud

Normally I would spend State of Origin night hiding from any broadcast but tonight I suspect there will be no avoiding it.
I will have a house full of Origin-loving fans most of them children and children, in my experience, have no volume switch. This could just be a manufacturing fault in the model of child I own but to this point  I have yet to be convinced that children are capable of any volume other than loud or extra loud.
But let's face it children are not the only ones capable of shouting it from the roof top especially when it comes to barracking for their favourite sports team. This is ABC broadcaster Steve Austin this morning showing how the "Queenslander" chant is done.
I've said it before that I don't buy the whole Queenslander thing but I do admire the football fans' passion. I just don't get it. It's just not cricket. Now that's a game worth shouting about. Bring on the Ashes....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3. Day 185. Without a safety net

Ever had one of those days where you think you are falling without a safety net?
My life normally only works because of a religious dedication to writing lists and creating diary entries. That's the safety net. That's the only way to keep all the balls in the air.
Today was supposed to be like that. It was so well planned - or so it seemed. My sister and her kids were arriving from Hong Kong and the impending arrival was generating great excitement. The chicken was marinated and in the slow cooker as I rushed from the house for a meeting and then the reunion. There was just one small problem - the travellers were leaving Hong Kong on July 3 but arriving in Brisbane on July 4 so there was no-one to greet at the airport. All dressed up and no place to go.
And not only that. I missed Look at the Powerhouse because I arrived to see the 1pm production only to find it was at 11am. Again all dressed up but nowhere to go.
Yep, the seemingly well ordered and precisely mapped out day wasn't going at all to plan. That's the thing about diaries, like so many other things in life. Garbage in. Garbage out.
So I went to New Farm Park and watched the kids at play. I love how they can just throw themselves in with no thought of careful planning or calculated risk management. Just close your eyes and leap. Doing just that is 10-year-old Jackson. That looks a lot more fun than writing in a dairy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2. Day 184. Dad's words ringing in my ears

My late father was pretty much a big softy. Play your cards right and you could twist Dad around your little finger. Normally. But very occasionally there were issues that it was made clear were completely non negotiable. No amount of begging, pleading, sulking or reasoning and no appeals to the higher authority (Mum) was going to make a difference. No meant no.
Ear piercing was one of these non negotiables. We were banned from having our ears pierced until our 18th birthdays.
Whenever the subject was raised (which was often) the same lines were trotted out: "I'd rather hear the ring of freedom in my ears than the ring of slavery through my nose".
Yes, so would I Dad, but exactly how that relates to ear piercing I still have no idea.
Sometimes we were told that if God had meant us to have pierced ears we would have been born with the holes.
Of course, following that argument if God had meant us to wear clothes we wouldn't have been born nude but this clearly was not an argument that was going to be won or lost on reason.
So we just waited out our 18 years and then rushed without delay to the ear piercing shop.
So I am just a little bit jealous of Vaeda. I ran into the two-and-a-half-year-old at the balloon modelling stand in the Queen Street Mall today where she was being presented with a balloon sculpture for being a brave girl when she had her ears pierced. There were no tears and a slight red tinge was the only sign of the recent procedure. Doesn't exactly look like a ringing endorsement for Dad's position now does it?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1. Day 183. Macca on a Sunday morning

It's a funny thing how your brain paints pictures of people you've never met.
It's one of the reasons book lovers (like myself) often feel dissatisfied with the movie adaptations of their favourite story. In your head you KNOW how Harry Potter, Bella Swan or the Wimpy Kid are supposed to look.
For as long as I can remember I have heard Ian "Macca" McNamara on the radio on a Sunday morning. I don't recall ever having seen a photo of him.
The picture in my head was nothing like the reality. The voice behind Australia All Over was at Brisbane's South Bank Rainforest Green this morning for an outside broadcast to mark the 80th birthday of ABC radio.
I strolled down to have a look.
As always it was fascinating to see live radio happen. It's that duck on the water thing. Looks smooth on top but there's a whole lot of frantic paddling beneath the surface. Bit like my life really.

A Matter of Life and Death

While I love my radio, it's not a matter of life and death. CPR just might be and that's where Eric comes in.
Eric was in the front row of the Macca outside broadcast, sitting in a fold up chair with two dummies on his lap. It was impossible not to go up and say hello.
Eric's wife June Nielsen is a manager of the Local Ambulance Committee's CPR Awareness Program and the couple took advantage of the crowd being at South Bank to sell their message that we should all learn CPR.
The program offers CPR training to groups for $2. You don't take an exam and you don't get a certificate but you do learn skills that might just save a life.
You'd have to be a dummy not to take up an offer like that. Details at june.nielsen1@gmail.com