Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April in review

April 30. Day 120. Build up of fluids

Warning. There is a case of Man Flu in my abode. It's not quite "Bring Out Your Dead" but the sufferer would have us believe it is a close thing. From his death, sick Man Flu bed, the teen insists he is drowning in body fluids. The symptoms to an outsider (ie not a male) appear suspiciously like a cold. No-one is doubting that a cold makes a person feel miserable, really miserable. But colds are an affliction suffered only by women. Men skip that level and move straight to the vastly more serious condition the Man Flu.
My job is to provide compassion, cold and flu tablets and fluids. Chicken soup optional. Yes I am on tea and sympathy duty.
So the compassionate me will spare you of images of piles of tissues. In order to protect patient confidentiality you instead get an impression that represents what is going on. This is part of a water feature at South Bank with a whole lot of "stuff" being coughed up. Welcome to my nightmare.

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29. Day 119. Shell of its former self

 If the saying is right and you are only as old as you feel, the telegram from the Queen should be about to be delivered to my front door. I have done something seriously awful to my back which makes any position other than vertical or horizontal a virtual impossibility without drugs - lots of them. Even drugged, I move like someone you would help across the street or give up your seat on the bus for. Poor old me.
Of course my complete lack of mobility in no way allows for a relaxation of Rule 1: Mothers don't get sick. So with more than a little help from my friends in the medicine cupboard, I dragged myself out of bed, put on some make up and a brave face and carried out the school and work drop offs this morning. This brought me to Fortitude Valley where I spied this derelict building.
Pretty much summed up how I was feeling - a bit of colour and tarting up does little to disguise the fact that it's a hollow shell of its former self. Unfortunately for the building, demolition seems the only likely outcome. For me I'm hoping time will heal all wounds so I will live for long enough to actually earn that telegram from the Queen.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28. Day 118. Why would you live anywhere else?

I've made some duff decisions in my time the most costly of which (at least in $$$ terms) involve property. Calculating the cost in other terms is considerably more problematic even with the benefit of hindsight. Anyway I am in no doubt that our current property is a winner for oh so many reasons not least of which is its proximity to South Bank.
South Bank is, I believe, our city's greatest man-made asset with its weather being top of the list when it comes to natural assets. Both were on display at their finest today in a celebration to mark Expo 88 which began in Brisbane 25 years ago this week on the site we now know as South Bank. Expo is widely credited with being the landmark event that turned Brisbane into a true international city. Those of us who remember the 80s know that it was indeed a turning point and the fact that the Expo site lives on in the outdoor entertainment space that is South Bank means the legacy remains for all to see. And today we got to celebrate in more tangible terms with a party. Given that I find myself at South Bank many times a week I was not going to let this opportunity go by. So there I was front and centre at 80s band Pseudo Echo took to the stage and as the youth circus Flipside performed. Many of the people in the crowd weren't born when the stilt walking butterflies first entertained Brisbane's crowds at Expo 88 but that didn't matter. It was still a great family day out in the Brisbane sun. Deciding to ignore my bad back and make the trip down nostalgia lane will also go down in the column of good decisions I have made.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 27. Day 117. Coming up for breath

It is easy to forget the things that matter.
And it can be easy to forget the simple things that make you feel good. This afternoon I decided to ignore the marking, the housework and the growing pile of washing and I sat in the sun on the grass and played with the puppy followe by a nap. And then my niece and nephew Jessie and Connor arrived on the doorstep demanding a swim as you do at 5pm in the middle of autumn.
The marking, the washing and the housework will still be there tomorrow but having taken time out to give myself a chance to come up for breath will make the task easier to tackle. Well that's the plan anyway.
The thing is that when you are time poor it is easy to forget to do the things that make you feel good because they are not as important as the things that "need doing".
I have to keep reminding myself that this is crap and is a false time economy in the end. The time invested in a long walk in the sun or playing with the kids is time well spent, always.
So here's Connor propelling himself off the bottom of the pool. I've never marked an assignment that gave me that much delight. I could do well to remember that the next time I feel like I don't have time to come up for breath.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26. Day 116. Baby face

 One of the high rotation stories from My Mum's Collection of Family Classics - an audio anthology that gets tapped into regularly especially after a few wines - involves her taking her three lovely toddler daughters, all dressed in identical outfits, and the dog out for a walk. She was stopped by a stranger who commented on how beautiful the dog was. Oh the shame. I was too young to be hurt by it at the time but I choose to feel the hurt now both at the cruelness of the stranger's comments and at the fact that my mother would dress us in identical outfits. Shame.
Anyway while I am presently totally devoted to my new puppy I still love a baby. Let me be perfectly clear, I do not want a baby, I feel in no way clucky when I see a baby but I am still overcome by their baby faces and their baby smell. I immediately start talking baby speak and going all goo goo.
So it was a delight this afternoon to walk into one of our student newsrooms and find my colleague Faith had brought her little one Cariad (Welsh for Darling) to work.
I was supposed to be printing out a bundle of marking to keep me amused for the weekend but instead I found myself  coo-ing over the bub. And then I handed her back and went home to my puppy. My new baby may poo and wee all over the floor, many have fierce teeth and chew everything but I'm happy enough with that. This little one is indeed a Darling but I am more than happy that's she's someone else's darling.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25. Day 115. Freedom

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. So I am totally aware that the fact that I "intended" to go to either the dawn service or the Anzac Day Parade today really counts for nought. Fact. I managed neither. If I was to get a letter from my mother explaining my absence it would go something like this "Susan was unable to make the Anzac Day commemorations today because she was hanging out the washing".
Yep, that's a really solid reason for not honouring those who served the country in war. Not.
The truth is a little more complicated but would look equally lame brain in writing.
But in my defence I did spend the day reflecting on Anzac Day and what it means to live in a free country such as Australia. This is not something we should ever take for granted.
So there is no pictures of the parade this year. Instead today's offering is a celebration of what the Anzac's fought for - a great country and the freedom of Australian spirit.
Free to wear what you like when you want.  Anna, Shelby and Tasharni who I ran into in Grey Street this afternoon revealed there was no reason for their outfit choices this afternoon. They just felt like it. We're lucky like that. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about. As our national anthem goes "Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free". Lest we forget.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 24. Day 114. Head in the clouds

On the recommendation of a psychologist I am working on mindfulness. As best I can describe it this is about being totally aware of being in the here and now. So if I'm pissed off that my husband has consumed the last of the milk I'm allowed to be annoyed at this clear and present danger. I am not allowed (either to myself or out loud) to bring in other catering crimes of the past where the last drop of milk has disappeared or worse the last Tim Tam has been consumed and the empty pack left in the fridge. Not okay.
Similarly I am not allowed to project into the future. If The Boy is to do badly on one exam I can deal with that and not start worrying about what will become of him if he's a high school drop out.
The daily photo challenge gets a big tick from the psychologist because it forces me to be very aware of what is going on around me right here right now. You have to notice detail. You really have to set your focus.
So I am working on the now. But what I think most of us who live busy lives (and who doesn't) could do with is a little more time and space to walk about with our heads in the clouds and just dream a bit. Imagining what could be instead of just dealing with what is has to be a good thing too.
That's what I liked about today's photo of the city from South Bank. The in-the-moment Susan noticed the low clouds swirling around the buildings around dawn. The dreamy Susan imagined floating along with those clouds and just seeing where we ended up. That's not a bad effort before the sun had even come up or perhaps that's all just in my mind.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 23. Day 113. Finding your balance

By rights I should have the world's best cared for fingernails. I'd swear that my family confuse the concept of working from home with sitting on the couch, filing my nails and watching daytime TV. One glace at my fingers will reveal that to be one great big lie. The only filing going on relates to documents not nails. There's also no TV or acting like a couch potato.
Forget that. I'm in bed, drinking cups of tea and eating chocolate. That's what my family see. What they fail to concede is the laptop is fired up and the red pen is getting a serious workout on a pile of assignments at my side. I might not be in the office but that does not mean I'm not working. I am just not tied to the desk. I have flexibility for good and for bad. The good is that I can choose to go for a walk after school drop off instead of heading straight to work as I did this morning. The bad is that I may still be marking long into the night. It's a balancing act. Sometimes just staying upright and on top of it can seem incredibly difficult. And I'm not trying to master a skatecycle like Lewis Watson, a young man I met at the Roma Street Parklands this morning. He seems to have the balance thing sorted.
I admit that I find the concept of work/life balance somewhat intriguing. The mere term seems to suggest that something you do for eight hours a say isn't part of your life. On the flipside it also tends to suggest that none of what we do for the 16 hours we are not in paid employment is not work. What utter nonsense that is. Work is very much a part of life and very much part of what defines us. The trick is to not let it consume us which is not always as easy as it looks. Sometimes it is a struggle to just stay upright. At least I'm not trying to do it on a skatecycle.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22. Day 112. Being flexible

Oh to be young and flexible. The truth is that unlike my delightful niece Jessie I was never flexible.
Backflips were never my thing - at least not the physical kind that involves actually flipping over backwards. Jessie is a former gymnast turned champion hip hop dancer and given any chance and a small amount of open space and she's doing manoeuvres that make my old body ache just looking at it.
But it's not only that sort of flexibility that I lack. More it is the need to have order and a plan rather than just go with the flow. When you are trying to keep a lot of balls in the air, routine and structure are a woman's best friend. The problem is that strictly sticking to the routine  means that you can turn your back on a lot of excitement and opportunity that comes with seeing an open door and just going though it.
Fortunately the door was open and my family from Sydney was able to walk straight through it this afternoon making a pleasant change for a manic Monday.
Least I could do was bend over backwards to do a loaves and fishes act and cater for the unexpected and hungry crowd. That's about as flexible as it gets.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21. Day 111. Just dropping in

Clearly it's my new perfume or something but we have had rather a large number of visitors just dropping by.
Yes, that eau de puppy is simply irresistible. Everyone wants to get a whiff of that cute puppy smell.
He is a delight and provided you don't mind puppy bite marks on your limbs the little man loves a game and today his playmate was my niece Miss Cleo.
There is nothing quite like the way the whole back half of a puppy wags in harmony with the tail or how they gallop and frolic, ears pinned back with excitement and paws everywhere.
It's no wonder the number of unscheduled visitors has grown exponentially. Truth is we are having more visitors now than when we brought the new baby home 15 years ago. Truth is I am in a better state to welcome people in than in the new mum phase AND the pup is far more ready and willing to perform for visitors than a bub. It is also true that that both of he new arrivals create a fair amount of work by weeing and pooing all the time but it's a small price to pay.
In the words of one unknown (at least to me) genius "If you can look at a dog and not feel vicarious excitement and affection, you must be a cat".

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 20. Day 110. Having a ball

We've invented a game which Theatre Boy and I like to call Spot the Gardening Clothes (mainly because it involves spotting gardening clothes). Pay attention and you should be able to pick up the rules. You go to a major arts event - opening night at the theatre, opera or orchestra -and spot the person or persons who most look like he or she has just come in from doing a spot of weeding. You must then adopt an attitude of righteous indignation combined with just a little pity. Someone should appoint me fashion police. Not for a moment would I pretend to have a sense of style but I would like to police a minimum standard or attire for special occasions.
Seriously, dressing up is a big part of what makes a special event special. You can wear gardening clothes every day.
I wonder where that sense of "ho hum" originates from when it comes frocking up. Think of the school formal. Months of careful planning and research goes into finding the perfect outfit. Okay you wouldn't want to repeat that too often but surely all that excitement can't evaporate into the atmosphere. I got to see first hand the excitement of occasion dressing today when I was invited (yes invited) by my niece Scarlett to take photos of her and her friends getting ready for the school ball.
Would I like to? Try to stop me. I get to chance to see all those pretty young things getting ready for such a milestone event. Wouldn't miss it for the world.
Plus the fact that I was invited means I am not totally embarrassing and allowed out in public.
Apparently I am more acceptable than gardening clothes at opening night at the theatre. Yay me!
Above we have Rachel (in red) and Jack
Scarlett (in white) and Alex
 and Jade (in charcoal) and Nick
For more Ball photos, check this out 

Friday, April 19, 2013

April 19. Day 109. Legless

Friday afternoon. 5pm. Back deck my place with two of my former working buddies. Together we were the Three Bags Full and in our prime it would have been beer o'clock well before now at the end of the working week. But we are drinking cups of tea. Yep. Showing our age.
Don't get me wrong. The wine will be open soon enough but these days I am happy to have the conversation and the socialisation without getting legless and without any desire to have a hangover.
It is so awesome when friends you haven't seen in a decade come back into your life and you can catch up like it was yesterday. So cheers you lot. Have a good weekend. I've got some catching up to do.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18. Day 108. Worth the risk

Bananas should be banned. No really, they are unacceptably dangerous.
We've all seen the evidence. Cartoon character after cartoon character taking a slide on a banana peel foolishly left lying around. Frankly I am surprised occupational health and safety experts aren't calling for the great banana ban. (Fortunately for everyone living in my area, some safety conscious soul decided to hang this banana peel high and dry in the branches on a tree out of harm's way).
Okay I admit the whole occupational health and safety thing drives me slightly nuts. There's a BANANA principle at play:  Begin Absolutely Nothing Anyway Near Anything. Warning. Warning. That might be dangerous. At a recent work function, we were issued with OH&S guidelines which included warnings that sounded like they belonged in kindy. Things like knives are sharp. Don't run with scissors. If the noise from speakers is loud, move away.
And I was recently chastised for not warning a staff member that carrying lots of heavy magazines in a bag over one shoulder was a bad idea. My argument that I rather figured an adult might be able to work that out for him or herself was met with horror from the OH&S gurus. Apparently we need policies and regulations rather than applying common sense (which is unfortunately not so common).
The things is that we have become so risk adverse as a society. Everything is bubble wrapped, sanitised and bland. And when you take away all risk you remove very genuine opportunity for innovation (and fun).
So ban bananas. We don't want a repeat of the scenario played out in the song
"Here comes the bride
Fair fat and wide
Slipped on a banana skin
and went for a slide"
That type of risky business must be avoided at all costs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17. Day 107. No strings attached

It is pretty much universally accepted that the "Friends" the Beatles needed to help get by were of the chemical not human variety. Those sort of friends come with big strings attached.
True friends help out without conditions. Today one such knight in shining armour came to my rescue to lend a hand. I was looking at all the balls I needed to try to keep in the air today and realised that it was just not going to happen. My mate Anthony, without flinching, took on one of my commitments and asked nothing in return. That's a true friend. I'm pretty sure he knows I'd do the same for him but I'm equally sure that didn't influence his decision to help out. Mates help mates.
So today's photo is of the steady hands of busker Po Lin Fu in the Queen Street Mall this afternoon.
Po was entertaining crowds by moving a floating ball around with no strings attached. Not once did he drop the ball. He made it look effortless even though there was doubtless a lot going on we couldn't see. This seemed to sum up today perfectly.
Thanks Mate.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 16. Day 106. Animal attraction

She's 86 but this morning she was giggling like a little girl. "Oh you're a little larrikin," Margaret laughed as Rumple licked, nibbled and climbed on her. It's no wonder nursing homes like to invest in therapy dogs. Just look at the joy a puppy can bring.
Margaret is clearly an animal lover. On the table beside her window seat Margaret keeps food for the birds which swoop in every morning and afternoon for a free feed on the window sill. When we first moved in next door to Margaret, there were always cats stopping by Margaret's for a feed. Her door was open to them.
So just after we brought Rumple home we took him next door to meet Margaret. She made me promise he'd come back regularly to say hi.
And I have. It's an arrangement that suits both of them. This morning Rumple decided to well and truly make himself at home. What a perfect way to start the day.

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15. Day 105. Hotting up

Children have
a) No sense
b) No fear
c) No internal thermometers
d) All of the above
The answer is, of course, D. But they also have an incredible sense of fun and enough energy to make old folk like me feel tired just looking at them.
Today my delightful niece and nephew Jessie and Connor, in town from Sydney, called round to see the puppy. And then they saw the pool .
Naturally they had to put their feet in and then their legs and finally, despite repeatedly telling us the water was freezing, in they went. It was only ever a matter of time and the fact that they had no swimwear with them was not a deterrent. They squealed a lot about how cold it was but they weren't about to let that small matter drive them out.
Just as well they are both strong swimmers because I was not about to go in after them. The older I get, the bigger sook I become.
Sometimes being a spectator is just fine (and a hell of a lot warmer)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 14. Day 104. Superheroes

Do you ever wonder what super power you would choose if the super power gods decided to show some largess to us mere mortals? Hell I do.
As a mother I often feel like I am already called on to have eyes in the back of my head, be able to read minds and to somehow be two places at once.
That's novice stuff. But sometimes the pressure to be Wonder Woman - a pressure I fully admit comes mainly from myself - wears very, very thin. As I said yesterday, at the moment I am having difficulty holding the tuckshop lady arms up to the world and declaring in the way of Batfink: "Your bullets can not harm me. My wings are like a shield of steel". The shield of steel is feeling just a bit rusted and not quite bulletproof at the moment.
Which is why I commend the group that I ran into at South Bank this afternoon. These caped crusaders were promoting Capril A Beyond Blue anti depression and anxiety initiative. The idea is to encourage people to go about their everyday activities in April wearing a super hero cape to let people suffering know there is help available.
A gold star and an elephant stamp for whoever came up with that. Some days just getting out of bed seems to require a superhuman effort. It's like there's a big ball of kryptonite in the room. Knowing there is a utility belt out there if you are not afraid to ask is a great start. You guys really are heroes. The costumes rock too.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13. Day 103. Grey and miserable

I could blame the weather for the great cloud that seemed to follow my every move today. And it has to be said the bleakness did not help. At all. But there is more to it. Much more. Like the fact that for a so called smart person I can be really stupid and a very slow learner.
Some years back, also on a Saturday, I ended up in the GP's surgery dehydrated and very ill because of a flair up of a chronic inflammatory disease. As I was taken off to hospital and put on a drip I confessed that, well, I had stopped taking my medication because I was feeling okay.  Clearly I didn't actually bother to think through why I was feeling okay. Lesson learned the hard way. Never again.
A few weeks ago I stopped antidepressant medication because I really didn't think it was helping. Went cold turkey.
The big black cloud and its mate the black dog that have been circling since would suggest that it was working far better than I gave it credit for.
Let's just say I've had far better days than today.
So lesson learned this time hopefully for good.
As the photo shows, I can be a bit of a drip. But in the words of Annie, I feel confident the sun will come out tomorrow.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 12. Day 102. The wet spot

My carpet is a patchwork quilt of wet patches formed from the little accidents of my new puppy pal. Actually I'm pretty sure the word accident is totally misplaced. It rather implies something occasional, unfortunate and out if the ordinary. Nope, that's not the situation here. Strike out the word accident and replace with deliberate. Perhaps that's why I liked this leaf I spied in the city at lunch time. Little puddles everywhere. That's my reality right now. And that's not all.
Chew marks are evident on shoes, in soft furnishings and on my limbs. Can I just say that puppy teeth are bloody sharp? It's no wonder their mums kick then off the breast at such a young age. Ouchy.
In addition, getting dressed is something of a challenge when something small but furry thinks that what he is seeing is an invite to a tug of war game with every item of clothing you try and put on.
So you might be thinking that the puppy honeymoon period is well and truly over.
Not so. I'm not saying I enjoy puddles of puppy piddle but I forget them in the blink of an eye when I open the door and this little furry ball of cute comes charging down the corridor to meet me tail wagging furiously.
A dog breath lick on the face and I know longer notice the chew marks in the sandals.
That unconditional love that a dog has for its human is special enough to make you forgive and forget the wet spot on the floor.
I mean accidents happen right? You can't let such wee matter get in the way.

April 11. Day 101. Sprains, strains and anaphylaxis

I was lying on the floor with a man I barely knew tying me up. I was bound by the ankles, at the knees and at the upper thighs - I know. How 50 Shades of Grey of me. Not so. My femur was broken.
A little later it was my forearm being bandaged and later still I was applying a defibrillator to the chest of a dummy.
First aid refresher day. Eight hours of reminders of all the things that can go wrong.
Not that I need much reminding. At the start of the course our trainer Bruce was working his way through the first aid responses to a series of common illness.
"Right, heart disease. Who has someone in the family with heart disease?" I raise my hand. Over the next hour or so he continued "Epilepsy". Tick "Asthma?" Tick "Diabetes?" Tick. "Febrile convulsions?" Tick, Tick Tick. Three members in my household and a veritable bingo card of chronic illnesses.
Which is precisely why my hand shot up when some years ago my employer was looking for volunteers to be first aid trained. And it is why I always agree to attend the refresher courses.
I was never a scout, but I will be prepared. I will also be more prepared for the course next time. Note to self. Wear a shirt that keeps you nice when you are leaning forward over a dummy delivering CPR. The idea is to treat heart attacks not cause them. And if there is a possibility of a stranger binding your legs, try to make sure you have waxed. It is only nice.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April 10. Day 100. A bit of a mess

Okay, I admit to being a bit of a mess today.
I thought my little puppy was ill. He seemed totally listless, lethargic and totally off colour,
But, to borrow from the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch, I think he was just tired and shagged out after a long squawk. When the batteries were recharged the jumping, leaping energiser bunny of crazy was back and ready to par-tay.
I confess i can be a catastrophist.
It is not a question of whether you see the glass as half full or half empty. I am more likely to worry about would happen to the glass should there be an alien invasion.
Take a chill pill sister. Anyway with much of the day gone to work and worry there wasn't much creative energy left.
So after a 4pm lecture I wandered off into the visual art studio to see what students had been playing at.
This is how I envisage the contents of my stomach when in catastrophe mode. Colourful isn't it?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9. Day 99. Pretty little bird

I know. I know. Another bloody bird photo.
Can I just say it is not my fault? I try to take a photo of something that reminds me of what was unique or special or stuck in my mind that day. But today I was expressly forbidden from taking my camera out at that ah ha moment. Forbidden on threat of death.
So instead you get a pretty, colourful bright young bird. If all else fails, settle for a metaphor even if it is a bit tired. 
You see today Theatre Boy and his mate when to lunch and the movies with two girls they met at a dance. It was not, I have been told repeatedly, a date. Just a group of friends going out. As you do. But this is new territory for me. One step closer to the young one flying the nest (see what I did there? Another metaphor. I thought I'd better point it out because it was so subtle you might miss is).
I know no other details (anyone would think my son might be scared I'd blog about it if he said anything. What me? Noooo. I wouldn't stick my beak in where it wasn't wanted).
So there you have it. A bird in the tree and a mother who might just be allowed to live to blog another day. If there's no post tomorrow you'll know why.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8. Day 98. Riding high

I need to make it clear that I never rode a bike like this, not even close, mainly because that would require a level of skill way, way out of my league.
While I'm a huge adrenalin junkie most of the things I am drawn to really just involve falling - abseiling, bungee jumping, tandem parachuting - all you have to do is close your eyes and fall from a great height. There's nothing to it (except convincing yourself that really isn't as dangerous and stupid as it looks)
Falling I can do. In fact I still have the scars on my knees to prove that falling - especially off a bike or scooter - was something I was very good at.
As one scab almost healed there would be yet another fall and yet another wound to take its place.
You'd just get up, dust yourself off a bit and then get back on the bike.
That's pretty much what I saw at the skate park today where quite a crowd had gathered to enjoy a sunny school holiday Monday.
Showing off his quite amazing skills at the Table Top Air is 17-year-old Jacob who assured me that really this manoeuvre didn't need that much practice at all. I'll just have to take his word for it. That one, I have no desire to try. It looks a lot more complicated than advanced falling.
Boys and girls and teens of both genders were riding high at the skate park this afternoon and when the spills inevitably came, the kids would get up, check everything was in working order and then line up to do it all again. Oh to be young and fearless.
Having a go was as important as getting it right, practice make perfect and all that and if you have a few thrills and spills on the way so be it. The scabs, I can assure them, heal eventually until then you might as well go along for the ride.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 7. Day 97. That has to hurt

 I am not cut out to be a gardener. I kill things without any real effort. But today I was walking around the garden talking on my phone when I noticed a few weeds in the planter box by the pool. Actually when I say weeds think more like Jack and the Beanstalk but without the possibility of a golden egg at the top.
So I decided to pull them out while I was chatting. BIG MISTAKE. Next thing there was this incredible pain in my shoulder. As I tugged, I managed to edge straight into a wasps nest. Yep, I stirred up quite a  hornets wasps nest there.
I consider myself lucky in that only one wasp got me and only through my PJs. But it still hurt like hell.
So my husband decided to act.
Behaving like someone who had a vague idea of what he was doing he grabbed the gas lighter and charged through the pool gate.
Having been stung once I kept a safe distance and helped by taking photos to record his incredible act of valour.
No more wasps but we still have the weeds. I wouldn't want to get all stupid about it. Some people just aren't cut out to garden. I am one of those people.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 6. Day 96. A very merry unbirthday to me

 Today's post is brought to you by the letter T and the Number 48. It is Sesame Street meets Alice in Wonderland. Thanks to Alice in Wonderland I know it is okay to celebrate an un-birthday with a tea party, a high tea party as it happens.
I love the concept of un-birthdays but I think Lewis Carroll had it wrong. We really shouldn't celebrate 364 un-birthdays a year. I think that is over kill. But just one special day, that doesn't seem fair either. I have declared this week the Week of Susan Celebrations. That seems fair, right?
To make sure I was on track in such a tricky matter, I turned to a source even more authoritative than Wikipedia - Sesame Street.
I am sure you will all be familiar with the classic movie Elmo Saves Christmas. Actually I am sure you won't be so let me share my synopsis. Elmo has three wishes and one wish is that every day be Christmas because everyone is so nice to each other and happy at Christmas. Of course, that didn't work out so well so we got to sing about it.

"Every day can't be Christmas
that wouldn't be such a treat.
You can get tired of chocolate candy
 when that's all you eat.
Every day can't be your birthday
That wouldn't be such fun
Too many birthdays aren't half as nice as one
That you wait for.  Wait for joy and recall and if every day was Christmas, there wouldn't be Christmas at all."
So once Christmas or your birthday becomes an everyday experience it loses what is special about it. That's moral one. But there was another moral. We were reminded to keep some of the joy of Christmas and the spirit of enjoying life with special people every one of the year. So it was a delight to enjoy an un-birthday today with friends Donna Weeks and Mel Kettle and we've pledged to do it again even when it is not anyone's un-birthday. We shouldn''t need an excuse. Thanks ladies

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 5. Day 95. Jumping for joy

Apparently mobile phones come with off switches which can be used on occasions other than boarding aircraft. I did not know that. I certainly have never tried it. I mean, what if there was some sort of a crisis and I missed it because I'd used that pesky little red slide function on my phone? I was never a scout but I am, nonetheless, prepared to be contacted in the event of any emergency.
So much as I hate constant phone interruptions while I walk, it would never occur to me to turn the phone off. Touch wood, there's never been a crisis during my walk unless you count "I can't find my goggles", "I'm hungry" or "what's the iTunes password" as emergencies (some in my family clearly do). (The "where are you?" question stopped once those at home realised that the FindMyiPhone function also doubled as a FindMyMother/wife application. I am being cyber stalked by my family but that's a story for another day).
Anyway, my most recent walk included three phone interruptions.
1). Mum, you'll never guess what the clever little puppy did? He went through the dog door all by himself
2) Mum, I think the puppy is hungry. What can I give him to eat? and
3) Mum, the puppy has discovered the stairs. We'll need to find a way to block them off.
Okay, every one of these calls could have waited until I returned home but you know what I was happy to take them. I love that sense of responsibility the new resident has engendered.
I also love that the teen has voluntarily emerged from the boy cave to go and play in the sun with the pup, wants to be the one responsible for Puppy Preschool and wants to be the designated walker once the quarantine period it over. Those who say never work with children and animals have no idea what a great combination they make. And if there are any problems, I will always have the phone on and ready to call for help.

*Today's pic is Jumpy Rumpy. We have also identified Grumpy Rumpy, Humpy Rumpy, Chumpy Rumpy and Slumpy Rumpy. Many faces, one very cute Rumple.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 4. Day 94. I see you

I spent the afternoon hiding in my own home darting around avoiding windows, slinking in the shadows. Pretending not to be home. If you didn't know better, it may have looked like I was expecting an unwelcome visit from the police or the bailiffs. Nope. Worse than that. I was hiding from the mowing man who has shown himself to be a little more hands on than I would like.
It is insane how hard it was to find a mowing man. Our lawn is about the size of a postage stamp. I could probably cut the lawn with a pair of scissors in half an hour if I was so inclined - but I am not. At all. Which is why I pay someone. But no-one wanted to take on the job. And then I found someone. He was great. Also did light repair jobs and could change the ridiculously  high spotlights in our roof. Showed a bit if initiative too. He would let me know if the plants needed more potting mix or if he thought the trees could do with pruning. So this one time he trimmed the bushes and sent me a text to let me know. I replied asking what I owed him. "Nuffing," he said. Just after midnight a second text arrived "You owe me a kiss". Sorry, I pay in Australian dollars only.
I assume he thought that if my husband wasn't up to mowing lawns or changing light bulbs, perhaps he needed help in other areas. Eeewww. I week later I was standing at traffic lights at West End waiting to cross when an arm slinked its way around my shoulder. Double Eeewww.
So now I leave money in a secret place when he's due to cut the lawn and I either go out or pretend I do keeping away from the prying eyes.
Today as he walked through the back gate, I went out the front and down to West End where I took this photo. Seemed to sum up today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 3. Day 93. In the pink

As a general rule I don't do pink. Apart from a pair of Mother's Day pyjamas (which would have been bought for me not by me) I don't think there's anything at all at the pink end of the spectrum in my wardrobe.
It's all a  bit girlie and I have never been a very girlie girl. From the time I was a young thing I was more inclined to play in the mud than play with the dolls.
And then there was a period where pink became a symbol of everything that was oppressive to young women. The blue is for boys, pink is for girls nonsense.
Now I realise that pink is just a colour. A colour is not oppressive. A colour doesn't mean anything. But it is often associated with things that are overwhelmingly positive from being tickled pink to the pink of condition to pretty in pink - pink is radiating positive all right.
It is also very pretty and quite calming. I love this single pink water lily I photographed at South Bank this morning. The lily pond is predominantly the home to while and yellow flowers but the pink variation is striking, even from  my not all that pink perspective. While I'm not about to go and flash my pink bits, there's nothing wrong with with liking a bit of pink.  What's not to like about the colour of a baby's cheeks or my puppy's tongue? Nothing. Perhaps I am going soft and cuddly in my old age.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2. Day 92. Those puppy dog eyes

Okay, I promise that my blog from this day on will not be a daily tribute to the new man in my life but, hey, he might only be a small bundle of joy but he's the biggest thing that's happened around our place for quite some time so I will permit myself the unusual luxury of two consecutive shots on the same topic.
For the record, Rumple is, according to my vet friend a King Shit. That's a little vet joke for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/ Shih Tzu cross.
He's also 100 per cent cute and a very good boy (that was said in that cute sing song voice reserved for puppies and babies).
He is also a reminder that I'm seriously hopeless at being tough. Our first dog, Oscar, was going to sleep in the paved family room. That lasted one night. He seemed so sad and lonely on his own. He was on the bed on night two.
Our son had this beautiful cot that he never slept it. He seemed so sad and lonely on his own. And Rumple was going to sleep in the laundry. That, I think, lasted about three minutes. But I'm improving. He didn't sleep on the bed just by it in a pile of my dirty washing because he seems to find my smell strangely comforting.
And earlier today after being left alone for all of an hour, he greeted the boy and me with a welcome  reserved for superstars or returning service personnel. Yep, he's made himself right at home and made a place for himself right in our hearts.
So I'd be lying if I said there will be no more Rumple photos - but not tomorrow. Although tomorrow he is having his first vet visit and shots. That could be cute ...

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1. Day 91. Best Birthday Present Ever

 Meet Rumple. The official best birthday present ever.
We've been a dog-free home for five years and for most of that I've told myself I was happy with that.
Not having a dog gave us the freedom to go away. Not having a dog was good for my allergies and asthma. Dogs are expensive and time consuming and your heart breaks when something happens to them.
But dogs are loyal. Dogs are totally loving. Dogs are unconditional.
And right now Rumple is curled up on the couch snuggled into my leg. He just gave me those puppy dog eyes.We've had him less than three hours and I adore him completely (remind me of this when I am cleaning up puppy droppings and when the first of my possessions is chewed and the first vet bill arrives).
The thing is that I always knew it would only be a matter of time before I got another dog but I wasn't ready. And then a couple of days ago a thought entered my head that I could go there again. It was a whisper that became a roar very, very quickly. I may have been able to ignore it. I chose not to and today, on my birthday, we picked up Rumple. Like I said, best birthday present ever.