Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31. Day 305. Spooky

Jack-o-'lanterns are, apparently, a way of protecting your home against the undead. Phooey. 
I know children are typically not fond of vegetables but really a pumpkin is not exactly terrifying. Get your act together, Undead.
Having said that, however, the decaying mouldy flesh of a fruit-fly-infested pumpkin is a huge gross out.
Like this one. The people a few doors up had what looked like a completely awesome Halloween Party on Saturday night (my invitation obviously got lost in the letterbox).
Clearly someone had got their carving knife out and a series of  jack-o-'lanterns lined the entrance.
Cobwebs, bats and other spooky paraphernalia also abound.
Five days later it is still there obviously waiting for the real Halloween today.
I haven't seen any undead around the place (with the possible exception of my own face in the mirror at 5am) so I assume the carved pumpkins have done their job.
They have been far less successful is keeping away the types of vermin that like to feast on rotting vegetable matter. Trick or treat all right.
It's very popular to be dismissive of Halloween and poo poo it as an another infiltration of American culture into Australia.
I say any excuse to dress up and to get to know the neighbours a bit better should be embraced.
But I stick to my assertion of a few years back that we should make a local adaptation to the old tradition.
If Aussie kids are going to demand lollies with the threat of menace, they should dress up as Ned Kelly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30. Day 304. Mother duck said "quack, quack" come back

You feed them. You nurture them and then the little loves spread their wings and fly away.
Today the annual QUT Journalism Student Awards are on, a ceremony that recognises our best and brightest and farewells another clutch of journalism students.
This ceremony and the graduation which will soon follow are bitter sweet occasions.
It really gives you a great sense of pride and satisfaction to see those fresh faced and idealistic new students develop to accomplished young people ready to take on the world.
You like to think that you have played a role in honing and focusing natural talent by taking them under your wing and feeding them on a diet combining nurturing and tough love. But in the end it's what they choose to do with that which matters most. You can take a horse to water and all that.
So today I feel a bit like this Mother Duck I photographed at South Bank this morning. The charges are still right by in the calm water but you know they are about to take off.
I know they will go far and I sincerely hope they enjoy the ride.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29. Day 303. Happy Anniversary

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots.  ~Hoosier Farmer
I'm sorry, what?! 
Today I have been married for 18 years and I can honestly say I have never sung while I've mopped the floor and the noise that would come from my mouth should muddy boots belonging to my dearly beloved have created the mess, the noise coming from my mouth would in no way resemble a song.
Seriously, who writes these quotes? Let's try another one.
 A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.  The order varies for any given year.  ~Paul Sweeney
Actually the order doesn't just vary for any given year, the order is very much a day to day prospect, sometimes hour by hour.
Time is a weird thing. In a way, 18 years doesn't seem that long at all. In another way I can't remember a time when I wasn't married to Charles.
I think marriage is a but like Still Life with Landscape by Robert Parr which I photographed in the sculpture park on Wickham Terrace today.
Sometimes it's flowers. Sometimes it's a long road. Sometimes there are clouds and sometimes it's just hanging around the house.
Marriage isn't my whole life but it's very much the framework for how I do everything.
So Happy Anniversary, Sweetness. According to the index of modern anniversary gifts for 18 years I can expect porcelain. Perhaps just cleaning the porcelain thrones we have... I wouldn't even insist you sing while you do it!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28. Day 302. The F Word

Today's post is brought to you by the letter F.
When my son was in about Year 2 another boy in his grade came up to me and whispered conspiratorially: "I know an F word."
"Goodness," I replied. "At your age you should know quite a few words starting with F."
Of course he didn't mean an F word but THE F word and as we all know not all F words are created equal.
Fat is not a nice F word when referring to flab on your body but bloody fantastic in food.
Which brings me to families where finding fun so often involves finding funds.
The best things in life may be free but an awful lot of the other things we volunteer to do or get talked into are anything but.
It's not fair (or is that fare).
Anyway when there is free fun on offer, families will come flocking.
So it was at the Carindale Recreation Reserve today where the Green Heart Fair saw large happy crowds under grey skies.
One of the favourite activities was the giant slide which Peter Maddock and daughters Mya, 3, and Grace, 5, were totally getting into.
Fabulous. Frivolous. Focused.
I have no idea how many F words that is. Too many. But does show that sometimes the best things in life ARE free and that is fair or perhaps fayre.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27. Day 301. The school reunion

The school days were not the best of my life (those were the party years of university and the early working career). I remember school as being characterised teenage angst, hours and hours of study and a whole lot of pressure (mainly from myself) to perform and succeed.

Having said that though I really liked school, have many happy memories and I made lifelong friends.
Which makes my school reunion avoidance hard to understand or explain.
I know why I didn't want to go to the first one. I worried that I would be judged and would not meet the grade (see what I did there?). This said a whole lot more about me than any of my school colleagues but that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Later though I'd got over all that (or perhaps I had just lost weight, got married, had a good house and a successful career; all those things I thought were "lacking" the first time around).
But I still didn't go. I just wasn't interested. Largely I had kept in touch with the people I wanted to keep in touch with and figured there was a reason I had lost touch with the others.
It's hard to believe that it's 30 years since school (much easier to believe first thing in the morning before the application of make-up). I can't say that the school reunion idea actually filled me with joyous anticipation and the format of Mass and a morning tea I actually received with much scorn but I decided to go.
Thanks to Facebook and Twitter I spend hours a day communicating with people I hardly know so why not some face-to-face with those I spent six hours a day with for six years?
So back through those daunting gates of All Hallows and ....

  • I survived
  • Someone needs to develop a phone app that scans an older face and compares it against school records to give you a name and important details such as "sat next to me in English for five years"
  • Having a phone with photos of your children is essential 
  • Discussion will go to your occupation and offspring. No-one seems to want to know about any significant other
  • There is no right thing to wear. Wear what you feel comfortable in
  • A room full of grown women can make as much noise as a room full of teenage girls
  • Some people really don't change in 30 years
  • I didn't end up under the table but I did climb up on one to get a better photo angle
And ....
There will be another reunion in five years and I think I will go (the word that there will be no Mass increases the odds).

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26. Day 300. Tweeting

If your shorts were to fall down in the middle of the street due to a clothing malfunction you would desperately hope no-one had noticed. Right?
It would be like that episode of Fawlty Towers: "Don't mention the elastic. I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it."
And yet ...earlier today I told twitter: "A day that starts with your shorts falling down in public because the elastic goes may turn out to be a challenging day".
Well that's only telling the 1581 people who follow me on Twitter and  my 319 "friends" on Facebook
Yep, that's really crowing about it.
I've been on Twitter since September 4, 2008,  and since then have shared 15,144 gems from my disjointed brain with the world.
I've tweeted while my house was being robbed. I've tweeted in a funeral chapel waiting for the service to begin and from my kitchen as the fire brigade doused the flames.
Why? I have no idea. As best I can explain it I find it liberating to get things off my chest and to gain instant feedback, support or comment.
It also means I don't have to hope my husband notices I've had a haircut or doesn't notice I've bought a new frock. I've already 'fessed up.
Critics might ask "why would anyone care if you got caught with my pants down?".
Truth is, most people probably don't. See this willie wagtail? This morning he was tweeting away in the mangroves by the path along the river in front of GOMA.
Hundreds of people ran, walked, rode and skated past. Not one of them seemed to notice or care what Willie was tweeting about.
Twitter's just like that. People make noise. It's there. Mostly it wafts by you and doesn't even register in your consciousness.
But sometimes it strikes the right chord and you listen for a bit and perhaps join in the conversation. Willie was music to my ears this morning. I choose to believe he wasn't squawking about the safety pins holding up my pants. I mean that's something you'd choose to keep to yourself, right?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25. Day 299. Where there's smoke

What is it about sleeping?
If you have to get up early, instead of making the most of every delicious minute bonding with your pillow, you seem to wake up every half an hour haunted by the read out on the digital alarm clock.
This morning I got bored with that stupid game and decided the evil forces of "should I be awake yet?" had won and I would just get up and go walking.
There was a pay off.
All those hideous bush fires circling the city in recent days had left a very obvious smell of smoke in the air and where there's smoke there's often awesome sunrises and sunsets.
So for those of you who did manage to sleep in, the photo just above is what you missed.
Yes, a very attractive sunrise from Highgate Hill this morning but to tell you the truth the view of the inside of my eyelids would have suited me better.
And for sleepy heads, the good news is the sunset photographed at the top also from Highgate Hill, was even better

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24. Day 298. Not waving drowning

South Bank, Brisbane 6am. All the other sea gulls were placidly floating on the pools or gently preening themselves.
All but one.
Remember those drinking birds, those instatible little birdie ornaments that used to bob in and out of a glass in a seemingly perpetual motion desperately trying to quench an insatiable thirst?
This bloke was like that. He was creating quite a few ripples on the otherwise smooth surface of the pool. It was like he was trying to draw attention to himself. Not waving, drowning.
And universally the other birds were totally ignoring his antics.
That's the problem isn't it? You are never really sure when someone is desperately splashing about whether they are really floundering or whether this is just attention seeking behaviour designed to do nothing more than create a few waves.
I find parenting a teenager to be much like that. There's a lot of frantic splashing going on and it's hard to know when to stay calm and just try to float it out and when you need to throw the buoyancy ring.
I keep trying to remind myself that the other birds may look calm but there's bound to be plenty of desperate paddling going on beneath the surface.
And it you can't make a few waves when you're a teenager ....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23. Day 297. TB or not TB

I'm a competitive soul so I took a sort of perverse pleasure when the General Practitioner last week told me my cough was the worst she'd heard all week. A job worth doing is worth doing well, right?
A week and a box and a half of antibiotics later and the joy of being really good at something is getting very old. "TB or not TB? That is consumption," as they say in the classics.
Okay, I exaggerate but this acute bronchitis is beyond annoying. My lungs feel like this spider's web I saw at South Bank this morning. The air is getting through but it's all bound up and restricted with annoying bits caught where they shouldn't rightly be. Attractive huh?
I think it looks a lot prettier with the reflective light than what I imagine the inside of my chest cavity is like right now.
But new drugs today I shall be escaping this tangled web which is just as well as. When it comes to webs, I much prefer the one you can surf, thank-you very much. Cough, cough.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22. Day 296. Sink the slipper

My mother denies that she ever said it and it would be fair to say that there was a bit of chardonnay involved.
However, I truthfully swear that I was once told by my mother she sometimes thought I must have been dropped on my head as a baby because no-one is naturally as uncoordinated and awkward as I was. Ouch.
In my mother's defence, I was an adult not an impressionable child when these words were uttered and to be truthful I do take clumsy to a new level.
At some point when I was aged about five, a well meaning specialist suggested that ballet dancing would be a good idea to strengthen my legs and build coordination.
So it was that I was unleashed in a pink tutu on Miss Daphne.
My memories of the ballet lessons in the Nundah Memorial Hall are not kind.
Miss Daphne was not exactly Miss Abby from Dance Moms but she did see her mission as creating a new generation of ballerina and not assisting chronically awkward little girls whose legs could do with a bit of  leg strengthening.
I recall the first concert as a sea anemone in wild amounts of coloured fabric.
But my dancing career was over soon after it began when I refused to go back.
My mother, still believing the promise of the strong graceful legs, was going to hold out but my much older and wiser sister, aged 7, who'd joined me in the classes told my mother that the teacher made the classes hell for me. No more ballet classes.
I can't remember what happened to the ballet shoes but I do wonder if this lone ballet slipper I saw this morning stuffed in between the pickets of a picket fence is the sign of another little girl whose dancing dream has been crushed..
Of course, it could be a Cinderella moment. I do hope that Prince Charming comes along and reunites the slipper with its owner.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21. Day 295. Clowning around

They say all the world loves a clown. They are wrong.
There was just a touch of coulrophobia (the fear of clowns) on display at the Mount Cooth-tha Botanic Gardens at the launch of the official Children's Week celebrations.
Families were out in force to enjoy the free outdoor entertainment on offer and Bumbles the Balloonatic Clown was a huge draw card.
Most of the kids were delighted to whisper a request for a balloon frog, dog or bee but a great many preferred to check out the action from a bit of a distance.
But Viola Blackburn, aged five and a half, was having none of it.
She was all smiles when Bumbles put her magical touch to creating a pink balloon poodle.
Laugh and the world laughs with you and all that.
I have to say, however, that Bumbles must indeed be a special creature to keep smiling in conditions that would melt the make up off a mere mortal.
I had a headache just looking at her but as Groucho Marx said "A clown is like aspirin, only (s)he works twice as fast."
Yep laughter is the best medicine even for those who are just a bit unsure about the class clown.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20. Day 294. Hit the wall

I admit it. I am what the experts now term a rah-rah parent (because of course there's a name for everything)
As a rah-rah parent I am my child's biggest cheerleader, praising, encouraging, complimenting. It used to be fashionable designed to build self esteem, we were told.
That was so last year.
Now we have moved on from the world where every child wins a ribbon in the sports carnival because we don't want to crush little spirits.
Now the thought is that if every little action is praised children will never learn what it feels like when you achieve something really big and really important after really, really working hard at it.
To truly understand how good it is to succeed you need to know what failure feels like.
The harder it is to get to the top, the more of an achievement it is when you finally get there.
I saw that in this young lady at the Milton State School Fair on the Green today.
She almost but not quite made it to the top of the rock climbing wall just before this pic was taken but lost her grip and down she went.
But near enough wasn't good enough. Once at the bottom she grabbed on and started again this time scaling the whole wall. That is something worth cheering about. Rah-Rah.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19. Day 293. Spreading your wings

Like so many couples we elected to have a bridal registry when we were married. The argument in favour of such lists is compelling. No risk of getting three toasters and no guess work on the part of the guests. The happy couple gets exactly what they want and need. Easy.
And in the lead up to the big day like children in a candy store you get to walk clipboard in hard around a department store and make a note of every little thing that would make your dreams come true.
But you know what? Seventeen years later this month and I can't tell you one single gift I received from that list. Not one.
I can, however, off the top of my head nominate three gifts that still take pride of place that didn't come from that carefully selected catalogue of gifts we put together ourselves.
There's a set of wine glasses from one aunt and uncle, some Japanese inspired bowls from other and the duck.
I love the teal duck just as I loved these ducks in Kedron Brook today. In truth the duck ornament is a useless dust collector and it is not something I would have ever bought myself .This is what makes it so perfect.
It sits on the sideboard and I admire it every day. And there's the one argument against bridal registries.
There is nothing as special as a gift that's unexpected, perfect and selected with love with just you in mind.
It might be a bit harder but spreading your wings a little can yield unexpectedly great results.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18. Day 292. Throwing up

On a beautiful hot day like today this is the only sort of throwing up that should be allowed.
These young men skylarking in the pool at South Bank were certainly making the most of the hot Brisbane conditions taking turns at throwing each other up into the air.
I love the look of the bloke sitting one the edge just watching. I rather suspect he'd have liked to have thrown himself into the thick of it instead of just watching from the sidelines.
Today I was also one of life's spectators watching rather than doing and where's the fun in that?
Unfortunately bronchitis has sidelined me. This photo says it all. Lots of fluids and feeling like you could be throwing up as well as being totally off balance. Woe is me.
I'm just waiting for the antibiotics to kick it so I can once again be head down bum up and fully in the swim of things.
Until then, I like to watch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17. Day 291. Rose among the thorns

Frank Sinatra said orange is the happiest colour. I tend to agree. Bright, bold, daring and unmistakeably sunny. There's something very "look-at-me" about orange.
Of course, orange is also a universal colour of caution.
That seems particularly apt when it comes to the bougainvillea blooms. Bougainvillea is startling in its beauty but the spiky thorns can pack a real punch. Even though it was decades ago I still remember my Grandfather's run-in with a bougainvillea thorn.
Despite being in his 80s, he scaled our fern house to prune the plant spiking his hand which blew up and took on a hue close to the shade of the purple of that particular genus of the plant. Bougainvillea 1. Pa nil. It is no wonder Hawaiians call it pua kepalo, which means devil flower.
Take home message. Gardening is dangerous. See what I did there? If you try hard anough you can turn any prickly issue to your advantage.
You can also let fear stop you from enjoying so many of life's simple pleasures.
So I say by all means stop and smell the flowers as I did at South Bank this morning. Just remember, avoid the pricks. We will all be happier if we can do that whether they are orange or not.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16. Day 290. Up to your neck in it

I'm drowning (and not JUST in snot).
You know the feeling? (well with any luck you don't but I suspect I'm not the only one).
You are desperately treading water trying to keep at least the bits that suck in oxygen above the rising tide of crap that always seems to threaten to drag you under.
Thus I feel a real affinity with the water dragons I saw at South Bank this morning. They could only just be seen poking out from the depths of what the sign announced was "recycled water".
Yep, there's a real feeling of dealing with the same s*it over and over again instead of tackling it and putting it behind you once and for all.
The good news it that the end is in sight. Week 12 of a 13 Week semester. Hallelujah. That and a liberal dose of cold tablets will keep me in the swim.
In the mean time if the eyes are a bit beady, the skin a scaly and I'm breathing more fire than usual forgive me. If all else fails, ignore the signs that warn against feeding the wildlife and administer chocolate.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15. Day 289. Got it on tap

Water bubblers. Remember them? They were how we got water on the run before we decided it was perfectly acceptable to pay for something in a bottle which we could get free from the tap.
Of course, drinking from a water bubbler was always a bit of a game of Russian roulette - really you never knew which one was going to fire.
One day, the water pressure would be so low that you'd practically have to suck it from the pipe. There would be this parade of sweaty little bodies in the school playground all lining up for their chance to get a dribble. And that was before anyone had even thought about water restrictions. The germs around those bubblers would have been a pathologist's delight. Other days, it would shoot out with such force it be impossible not to wear it. This one I found in the park  by New Farm's Power House today was certainly in the second group. No-one was around but all of its own accord the bubbler was bubbling.
There was this gentle stream of liquid gold going down the drain - literally. Hopefully the water police will arrest that flow without delay.
It only takes one look at our sadly browning lawns to remind us of just how precious this commodity is we have on tap.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14. Day 288. Oktoberfest

Like so many Australian youth before me and in the decades since, I did the great European backpacker thing.
Armed with a Eurorail Pass and membership of Youth Hostels Association and carrying a Let's Go Europe under my arm I headed off for the two-year London adventure.
I ticked off many of the backpacker must dos, including Anzac Day in Gallipoli, but there is one big gap in my education - I never made it to Oktoberfest in Munich.
While I can chicken dance with the best of them, I have actually never been to an Oktoberfest anywhere. Until today.
The two-week Oktoberfest celebrations kicked off in Brisbane this weekend and Sundays are family days.
Nothing proves I am no longer the 20 something backpacker than what attracted my attention. My eyes were drawn to the quite adorable young German dancers. That's the kind of atmosphere I now enjoy drinking in. Skol.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13. Day 287. Soaring over the city

Rule 1. Mothers don't get sick.
Therefore I can only assume that feeling like you've eaten razor blades, sounding like every breath could be your last and drowning in bodily secretions are signs of being a picture of health.
Fortunately my family rallied by my bedside where rallied is defined as came in and asked to have pasta cooked for lunch (son) and dropped in to say goodbye before going out to play bridge (husband). Refer to Rule 1.
By late afternoon powered by a nap and a cocktail of cold tablets and Ventolin, I decided it was safe to leave the house. Fresh air and sunshine are great tonics even those with consumptive illnesses.
While I wasn't exactly soaring it was nice to watch those who were. I love this photo of Chloe (aged five and a half) on the bungee trampoline with the city as the backdrop.
Chloe was enjoying the Endeavour Foundation's Big Community Day Out at South Bank with her mum Caroline and family.
That's quite an angle to see the city from and worth getting out of bed for. After all  I have no excuses. Rule 1. Mothers don't get sick.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 12. Day 286. The colour purple

There is nothing as beautiful as a Queensland spring when the jacarandas are in bloom. There is also nothing quite as terrifying.
Students across the State know that the saying is that when the jacaranda blooms final exams are in sight.
By the time the fallen blooms carpet the lawn it's too late to hit the books.
It's been a long, long time since I've had to worry about sitting an exam but that doesn't mean I can just enjoy the colour purple which now dots the skyline.
As someone whose job - when not writing purple prose - is to lecture university students you know that marking follows assessment just as night follows day.
As the pretty purple carpet turns sort of brown and soggy so will my mind.
But this morning I could enjoy the trees down by the river at West End.
For the moment I'm still having a purple patch.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11. Day 285. Tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree

Okay, an oak tree this is not but it is a yellow ribbon, two actually, one with pretty little white dots. It's an itsy bitsy, tiny weeny yellow polka dot ribbon as it happens.
Doubtless these yellow ribbons have a deeply symbolic meaning to someone but as a person aimlessly walking along the riverbank at West End it is impossible to know exactly what.
Yellow ribbon campaigns are, for some reason, the domain of so many causes that in a way the yellow ribbon has come to represent nothing.
The original oak tree yellow ribbon was about remembering your sweetheart off fighting in the cavalry. But yellow ribbons have also been used to raise awareness about suicide prevention, road safety, the rural fire brigade and even women supporting Schapelle Corby.
I guess the thing about yellow is that it stands out and is hard to miss. But seeing it and taking notice and two very different things.
It's good to make a bold statement but pointless unless people know what it is you are proclaiming.
In every one of the campaigns, the yellow ribbon is designed to keep the cause in the public domain, to make us remember.
But for me all I know is that there is a dead looking tree somewhere at West End that has been decorated with a pretty yellow bow. If that's the take home message well mission accomplished.
I suspect it isn't. Someone's gone out on a limb for nothing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10. Day 284. You'd have to be quackers

Feeling a bit deflated this morning? You are not the only one. The giant duck on the Brisbane River between Toowong and West End to promote Sunday's Great Brisbane Duck Race looked like it was just a bit down in the mouth today.
To me the duck race, which raises funds for cancer research, is another example of how you now need to be just a bit quackers to compete for the charity dollar.
There was a time when charities raffled houses, cars, chooks or meat trays to raise funds.
More and more now you need a gimmick to get the charity buck and the most successful ones rely on people doing a lot more than putting their hands in their wallets.
Dry July, Ocsober, Choptover or Movemeber. Wear pink for breast cancer research. Wear a red nose for SIDS charities. Wear purple for epilepsy, wear a white shirt to raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
The most successful campagins work a bit like a modern Tupperware party - it's harder to say no when you are asked to do it to support a friend.
Social media has made it so much easier to hit up your friends and ask them to donate to support you in your fundraising endeavours. charity doesn't begin at home, it begins on your Facebook page.
And the charities reap the benefits for you going off the grog or growing a moustache or sideburns or wearing an unflattering colour.
Easy right? Well it looks smooth on top but like a duck there's a lot of frantic paddling beneath the surface.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9. Day 283. Paradise found

When I was five, my family moved into a new house. It was bigger and better than the one we had come from but in my little girl eyes it had one big drawback - the huge Bird of Paradise plant out the front.
I hated that plant. The flowers looked mean. They were spiky and vicious looking and I thought they were very ugly. Other flowers were were soft and delicate with sweet scents in stark contrast to the far-from-subtle Bird of Paradise bloom.
Age has not only mellowed my view of the Bird of Paradise it has totally reversed it. Look at that bloom photographed this morning near the rowing club at West End. Yes, it is nothing like a rose but the Strelitzia now seems bold and beautiful.
It's form and colour are striking and demand attention. Those petals, which are supposed to resemble the Bird of Paradise, actually look to me like flames licking upwards, especially when back lit by the rising sun.
It's a case of paradise found.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8. Day 282. In these shoes? I don't think so

Last night, after polishing the school shoes in readiness for day one of the school term, I set about gluing together a pair of sandals.
They were relatively cheap shoes bought on sale and arguably they were not worth fixing. Most other products that are ripped or torn I would have no hesitation in sending to landfifll but shoes are a category all of their own.
I hang on to them. I do not, as someone has done with this pair in King Edward Park on Wickham Terrace, hang up my boots and retire them.
A comfortable set of footwear is a beautiful thing and worth a bit of extra effort. In any case the shoe glue came with a product warning that it wasn't to be consumed. I mean, really, if I couldn't eat the stuff I might as well use it stick the uppers and soles back together. (On a side note, exactly who are these warnings for? I rather suspect a person thinking of eating shoe glue is not the type of person likely to read and take notice of anything on the packaging).
Anyway, I am strictly a comfort girl when it comes to footwear. For many the term "sensible shoes" is an insult and a sign of age.
I like pretty shiny things but when it comes to my feet and my smalls I would rather have something that feels good than looks good (if you can get both, more's the better).
When it comes to shoes my attitude is more Nancy Sinatra (These Boots Were Made for Walking) than Kirsty Maccoll (In These Shoes? I Don't Think So).
I mean really if you are going to walk a mile in someone's shoes (preferably your own) you want to make sure you don't have blisters at the end of it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7. Day 281. Bombs away

The calendar might still have summer a couple of months away. The thermometer says otherwise. Once the mercury passes the 30 degrees mark it is officially pool weather and today was the ceremonial opening of the 2012/2013 swim season.
Some of us (that would be me) likes to sneak into the water gradually acclimatising each little bit before eventually immersing myself in the water. I am officially a sooky la, la.
The boys take a rather different approach. Here is Charles in action. Mr O might as well laugh because he was about to be swamped by his Dad and the take no prisoners approach to pool entry.
Might as well make the most of it. Isn't it always the way that the heat arrives the day before school goes back?
Roll on Christmas holidays. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 6. Day 280. An eye on the past

I recently learned of a condition called Same Story Syndrome. Immediately I knew that there was a tragic prevalence of this affliction in running deep in my family genes. We are great ones for telling the same stories over and over again.
One of those stories involves my father as a schoolboy at St Laurence's College at South Brisbane staring out the window at the Sommerville House girls next door.
As the story goes, a Christian Brother would say: "Are you looking at those Presbyterian girls again, Hetherbell?"
"Yes Sir," my father would reply.
"Would you like to go and join them?"
"Yes Sir," my father would again reply and he would get the cane for his trouble.
So perhaps it should be no surprise that when I asked my teenage son this morning if he would like to join me on a visit to Sommerville House he immediately showed a keen interest because "there will be hot girls".
When I explained that it was school holidays so there would be no girls there he immediately lost interest and went back to reading his book. What a shame the cane has gone out of favour.
Sommerville house was for the first time today allowing the public in as part of the Brisbane Open House scheme where once a year people are allowed a peek inside buildings normally out of bounds.
That seemed like an opportunity too good to be missed (even without the prospect of hot girls).
The old South Brisbane Municpal Chambers, Cumbooquepa and the Somerville House Chapel all on the campus were open to allow a rare glimpse inside.
One of those having a look was Bettina, a old who graduated in 1941, was back at the chapel having a close-up look at what was now happening at the school.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5. Day 279. They're back

 Earlier this week the Sovereign Tent Embassy at Musgrave Park was reduced to a charred mess.
At the time I thought that might be it. I was wrong.
"They can burn us down. They can blow us up but we'll be back," 51-year-old Julie Hopkins from Inala told me this morning.
Julie was boiling the billy for her second cup of tea when I walked through the park just after 6am.
She'd been up for more than an hour and had finished the washing up the 13 people who camped on site had generated the night before.
Her sister Zoe Fisher told me I should go and talk to Julie.
"She's the one doing all the work," Zoe said.
Julie hadn't been to the tent embassy before the fire.
"When I heard, I just had to come down and pay my respects," she said.
She was not alone.
"As soon as people heard about the fire they came from everywhere to donate stuff," she said.
The tent embassy is indeed back up and running and there is no sign of the fire. The park is pretty much as it has always been.
Julie said she regarded Musgrave Park as a spiritual home having grown up and gone to school in the area. She was part of the Commonwealth Games Protests in 1982 and will be back this weekend for the 30th anniversary commemorations.
She went and grabbed me a flyer and suggested I come back.
I might just do that. With luck, Julie might even make me a cup of billy tea.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4. Day 278. The Karate Kids

Probably the most frequent question posed by children to their parents.
When we were well into our teenage years my father would, in the style of a politician, always answer that question with a question of his own.
"Why does a dog lick its balls?"
We knew the answer. "Because it can." Discussion over.
I thought of that this morning when at Reverend Green at South Bank.
There I found Sensei Will McLay (on the right) of Happy Dragon Martial Arts and his student Don practising their karate.
I asked Will why he had chosen that spot to go through his paces.
"Because I can," he replied.
Actually, the answer should have been self evident. Would you look at that backdrop? On a fresh Spring morning it would be hard to imagine a better place in the city for morning meditation and exercise.
Sensei Will, Don and sometimes one or two others meet for an hour five mornings a week at this spot for a workout to start the day.
Because they can. 
And why not, I say.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3. Day 277. Go take a running jump

You know what it's like. You are heading off to breakfast but you see a wall and you just have to leap off it for a bit, right?
Okay, that never happens to me. Nothing distracts me when en route to my daily date with the bowl of Uncle Toby's Plus Protein with skim milk (no, this is not a sponsored post but you should totally try the stuff, it's delicious).*
But it seems I have got it all wrong (not about the cereal, it's still delicious). If I really want to make sure nothing comes between me and my cereal obsession I should do what these teens were doing at South Bank this morning and go take a running jump.
The boys (from left) Dalton Collis, 17, Les Hampson, 18, and Izaac Fabian, 16, were practicing parkour which they explained was a way of overcoming obstacles to get from point A to point B in the fastest and most efficient way possible. You run, climb, swing, vault, leap or roll - whatever it takes - to make that bee line to your destination.
It was just after 7am when I ran into the boys and they'd been at it since 5am and had been heading off to find something to eat when they saw this spot and decided it just demanded a few more practice leaps.
Clearly they just love it. While other teen boys (you know who I'm talking about here Mr O) were still tucked up in bed making the most of the school holidays these boys were really throwing themselves into it. Izaac also explained how he had invested about $60 in raw materials and was planning on building launch pads in his back yard. And then after a polite chat the boys were off.
Two hours later on the other side of the river in Ann Street across from the Cathedral I happened to see the same trio leaping off another wall obviously having found their breakfast and recharged their tanks.
True to their word. no obstacle was too big.

* Uncle Toby's feel free to send me large boxes in gratitude for this mention

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2. Day 276. Fire

 What a tragic end to what has been a controversial little chapter in Brisbane's history.
As someone who lives near Musgrave Park and walks through there regularly, I have watched the Aboriginal tent embassy from the beginning.
In the early days, I went up and had a chat and the residents explained that they would be there for the long haul and planned to stay until they had achieved full equality.
At that stage the embassy was small but it mushroomed and then the police moved in under council direction. The scenes of the residents being forcefully removed in the lead-up to the Paniryri Greek Festival were frankly shameful.
But true to their word, the residents stayed moving their camp further up the hill. It was a much smaller camp, well established and vibrant especially on the weekend.
Until this morning. Now all that is left it a smouldering mess. It is possible that fire may have achieved what the authorities couldn't and killed the camp.
It is equally possible that like last time the incident will only make the residents more determined.
Time will tell.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1. Day 275. I spy with my little eye...

 In light rain, the queue snaked around the Hamyyn Harris Pavilion in the Mount Gravatt Showgrounds this morning as a large crowd gathered to witness Brisbane's first annual Lego fan expo.
Those bricks which can cause no end of pain when you step or when you open your wallet to grow the collection are celebrating their 50th year in Australia this year.
If today's turnout is anything to go by the popularity of the Lego is showing no sign of waning. Certainly the exhibit passed Naia's close inspection today.
Lego is one of those great toys limited only by your imagination with an appeal that spans people of all ages. It is a strong person who can see a partially completed Lego building on a table and not be tempted to add a block.
For today's post I shall borrow from the wisdom of  Steve Klusmeyer who believes many of life's important lessons can be learned from Lego. Such as
  •  Size doesn't matter. When stepped on in the dark, a 2X2 LEGO brick causes the same amount of pain as a 2X8 brick.
  • All Lego men are created equal (1.5625 inches tall). What they become is limited only by imagination.
  • There is strength in numbers. When the bricks stick together, great things can be accomplished.
  • Playtime is important. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you are building, as long as you're having fun.
  • Disaster happens. But the pieces can be put back together again.
  • Every brick has a purpose. Some are made for a specific spot—most can adapt almost anywhere—but every one will fit somewhere.
  • Color doesn't matter. A blue brick will fit in the same space as a red brick.
  • No one is indispensable. If one brick is unavailable, another can take its place.
  • It doesn't always turn out as planned. Sometimes it turns out better. If it doesn't, you can always try again."
And most of the people there today probably thought they were just seeing amazing constructions built from coloured pieces of very expensive plastic. Nope, Lego is not just child's play.