Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 28. Day 59. Neon "Pop"

When it comes down to it, a balloon is really just a lot of hot hair. A balloon is, however, a little ball of possibility, colour and fun. No-one is ever too big to love a balloon and as it happens no-one is too big or to small to dress up. This is what made the Neon Pop festival at The Cultural Forecourt at South Bank today such an awesome idea. The festival was part of the BrisAsia festival celebrating the close links and influence on Brisbane of our Asian neighbours. It was also part of the Brisbane Welcome Festival designed to throw out the red carpet for all the international students descending on the city for the start of the university year. But it was also about dressing up, watching live entertainment, eating good food and joining in a giant balloon pop where everyone was invited to pop a balloon in the method of his or her choosing. It's hard to think of a better way for a city to come together to show the world what a bright, fun vibrant city Brisbane is for residents and visitors of all ages.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday 27. Day 58. The dinosaurs are coming

I often (half) joke that the dark recesses of the back of my fridge should only be approached by people with official Hazmat training. There's prehistoric things in there which would keep paleontologists busy for decades. I don't think I am a lone ranger when it comes to covering things in cling film or putting them in a plastic container and then shoveling them in the back of the fridge and forgetting them for a period of time which can generally only be determined by carbon dating. Plastic film has a known protective quality. That being said, I never expected to see it being wrapped around the middle of a 10 metre dinosaur about to be lifted by crane into place outside the Queensland Museum. But that's what happened this morning. The first of the dinosaurs arrived for what is guaranteed to be a mammoth (pun intended) exhibition at the museum. A little birdie whispered that there might be something big hahappening at the museum so the destination of the morning walk was locked in. After all, who doesn't love a dinosaur? They have just the right mix of terrifying and fascinating to be compelling to people off all ages and modern animatronics allow them to be brought to life in a way no app or iPad can. This, kids,  is where reality is soooo much better than virtual reality. And if this Brachiosaurus is anything to go by I can't wait until the other inhabitants of Jurassic Park start migrating to the museum. Just one dinosaur had heads turning this morning. Just imagine what an impact a whole herd will have.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26. Day 27. In the privacy of your own home

One of the things I like best about my home is the view. From the living area is a rather awesome outlook over the west taking in the University of Queensland out to the mountains. Today the view was "enhanced". Three young men were climbing all over the neighbour's roof. Because of the incline of our street Margaret's roof is pretty much at the same level as my kitchen. The proximity of the houses to each other in Highgate Hill meant that they were practically at the kitchen table. I rather thought I might be sleep walking when I staggered upstairs for breakfast to see men at the second floor window. Actually I am not sure who was more surprised. Me at seeing them or them at seeing just-out-of-bed Susan. All I can say is at least I had on my good PJs. I'm pretty sure the men were pleased that at least I was wearing something. I wouldn't want an industrial accident on my hands.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25. Day 56. Out of the shadows

You need a bit of rain to make a rainbow, at least that's what I tell myself. Rainbows are about hope and optimism and the dark shadows clearing.
I think we could all do with a little more optimism. I for one could do with less time with a head full of dark clouds and shadows. Drugs and therapy help but there's this constant feeling of fatigue. It's hard to tell whether it's a symptom or a side effect but some days it's really, really hard to get out of bed. But when you can force yourself to get out and about you will feel better - always. And after all you will never see a rainbow if you don't force yourself to go out in the rain.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 24. Day 24. Spreading their wings

I do not speak avian and yet I am pretty sure I know exactly what papa bush stone curlew had to say to Rumple and me this morning at South Bank. It was pretty much "back off or you'll have me to deal with". The Curlew family was crossing the road near the car park entrance when the fur friend and I emerged for a walk. They were as cute as and so I decided to take out the camera. I didn't have signed consent form and Mr Curlew was not happy and came charging at me wings all wide and about as threatening as a bird can get without dive bombing. I totally get it. While Rumple and I are lovers not haters to a feathered friend we would have looked large and threatening. Frankly I admire his bravery. Like any parent, there's a special inner strength and courage that comes when your family is under threat. Good sense would dictate not taking on a large human but defending your family has  nothing to do with good sense. It's just one of those cases where you do what you have to do and to hell with the possible consequences.

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23. Day 54. A view to suit

 There are many reasons for people to find themselves at the top of Mount Cooth-tha. Cyclists love the challenge. For me, a game of Sudoku is a challenge,. A ride up Mount Cooth-tha would be a death wish. I have walked up the mountain many a time when training for my trek of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. There have also been frequent scenic drives up to the Lookout with visitors from out of town because it has the best vantage point of the city around. I've  also climed the mountain because of appointments with one or other of the TV studios. In addition, I can neither confirm nor deny having been parking up the mountain in a former life. But today was a first. Today I was taking Drama Teen up to meet with a sports reporter who was having a suit wardrobe clean out. The things we do. The boy whose TV idols include Barney "nothing suits me like a suit" Stinson from How I Met Your Mother and Harvey Specter from Suits does love a little formal attire and this was an opportunity too good to miss. He may not look anything like a sports reporter but the cloth fits so win all around. And it has to be said the price tag and the view suits me.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 22. Day 53. Making quite a splash

Water, water everywhere but at least today none of it was falling from the sky. After been indoors sheltering from the big wet taking the dog out for a walk was well overdue. Today Rumple and I had a walking buddy Eowyn. While Eowyn's mum held an audition class with Drama Teen, we decided it was time for a bit of fun of our own and off we went to the park. Along the way we collected a seed pod, a rock with pretty shiny bits, a few flowers, a lizard and some grass. There were also some very wet socks and most likely other soggy clothing items with us when we got back but I'm not the the one doing the little one's washing so all good.
The fact is, going puddle splashing and exploring with Eowyn reminds me or me as a child. Getting dirty and collecting things was one of my special talents too but I never had a pair of wellies quite as attractive as these.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 21. Day 52. I can see clearly now ...

I think we dodged a bullet. Nature has a good way of reminding us mere mortals that no matter how strong, how intelligent, how advanced we think we are, humans just can't tame nature. It does what it does and we just have to roll over and take it. Unpredictable business, weather, even though it has to be said the weather bureau is getting very good at this sort of thing. All week, we've been warned this was heading our way and man were they right. And this is what surprises me. After being driven from my home because my love of food is stronger than my desire not to get wet I saw so many people dashing between awnings seeking shelter from the rain. Hey people, humans may be no match for Mother Nature but an umbrella really is an easy investment. Try one some time. I could probably even lend you one. I have many of them. The weather clears, as it did this afternoon and the umbrella gets stored somewhere safe. And humans are supposed to be intelligent ...

Friday, February 20, 2015

February 20. Day 51. Not on my watch

All day I sat and listened as the disaster unfolded not that far to the north of me. As I worked on the laptop and made phone calls. When I took a bucket to my neighbour because her roof was leaking. As I cooked and ate and managed the teen. As I tried to get a photograph that represented the soggy city two things were constant - the reassuring and knowledgeable voices of ABC radio announcers and my dog. While the ABC was in my ear, Rumple was either on my lap or at my feet or being carried on my shoulder and occasionally wrapped around my head on the pillow. Rumple isn't just a pet. He's a family member and he's my baby and a mate. While many think (know) I'm nuts about my dog, the fact is I am not the lone ranger in this regard. Indeed, one of the things that came in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the US, was that evacuation centres had to be able to accept pets. We still don't have that in Australia and we must. I'm not sorry to say, that if push came to shove and we ever had to be evacuated I would not be going without Rumple. To quote Lilo Stich 'Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten'.  Come on Australia, We seem only to ready to follow the US's lead in just about everything else, good, bad and very often ugly. This one is a worthy change for every man and his dog.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19. Day 50. Weather (or not)

Marcia. Marcia. Marcia. There was a very surreal feeling about today. Waiting and watching the weather bureau site as Cyclone Marcia just up the Queensland coast went from "kind of inconvenient" level to "really bloody scary" very, very quickly. While Brisbane isn't in the direct crash zone, forecast 300mm of rain is enough to make things very untidy indeed. But today it was a waiting game. According to the forecast it did look like we are in for nasty weather, but the sky was telling a different story. Sure it was a bit drizzly but it didn't actually scream whopping great deluge coming your way some time really soon. But when it comes I shall be prepared. Today I stocked up on the essentials. Chocolate. Lots of it. Marcia, I'm ready for you

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18. Day 49. PDA

I love South Bank, I really do. I say that often. But my love is platonic. This is not always the case. It's like those water features in the parklands spray some sort of a love potion that gets people snogging. It is ground zero for public displays of affection in Brisbane. Some of it is sweet and innocent. There is nothing sweeter than hand holding or a gentle hand on the arm or around the back. Those PDSs are lovely. But much of what I see is in the suck-face zone and makes me want to scream "haven't you people got a home to go to?" And here's the thing. When I was a young'un and all hormonal we certainly couldn't go home to snog. House rules prevented that sort of behaviour. These days, most of the parents of older teens I have talked to allow sleepovers. Special friends of the opposite sex or even the same sex can stay the night. So there really isn't any need to be rolling in the hay at South Bank. Yet people do. Lots of them. Seriously people, there's no place like home.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 17. Day 48. Surprise

People are inherently fascinating and often just a bit weird which is what makes them interesting.
I know that one should always expect the unexpected but just the same some days it sneaks up on a girl and takes her by surprise. Today that happened not once but twice.
First time was at the piazza at South Bank where I couldn't help but notice that a very large group of people had gathered and all were wearing large animal tails and many had suitcases. Naturally a girl couldn't walk by that without asking. Dan, who was wearing a wolf's tail, explained that every Tuesday a group gathers and about 6pm fully kit themselves out in animal outfits, have a barbecue and then run around the place. It's a great way to let off some steam, he explained. Fair enough. So I asked how long this had been going on. Dan wasn't sure but told me "CBFM has existed longer than I've been involved." CBFM? Some sort of a radio station? I hazarded. Nope. Central Brisbane Fur Meet.Yep, that's an actual group. Don't you just love that? Still enchanted I met Anthony who was dressed as a character he had named Elysium after a shop he's seen while driving on the Gold Coast. Like I said, people are inherently fascinating. Just when I thought I'd had my share of unusual for one day there was one further surprise. Back where I'd parked the car there was one more little thing. a group of gents trying their hands at riding a penny farthing. As you do.

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16. Day 47. Let me tell you a secret

It used to be said that every family had a skeleton in the cupboard. I don't think that is true any more. These days we'd throw open the wardrobe, take a photo of Mr Bones and post a picture to our social media site of choice with the notation "Look what our family has locked up". Seriously, information doesn't get passed along by Chinese Whispers it gets broadcast to 1000 or so of our closest Facebook "friends" who can chose to comment or like as they see fit. Seriously the concept of privacy is dead, killed by each and every one of us who chooses to post almost every waking hour on line. And in case anyone thinks I'm getting all judgy on this, I was known as Radio Hetherington because of my habit of broadcasting information before PCs even existed and long before anyone had heard of social media. Yeah, a woman before my time. I might just post something about that.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15. Day 46. Defying Gravity

God I'm glad I live close to South Bank. Like really glad. Like really, really glad. I mean it is an awesome place and people come from throughout the greater Brisbane area to frolic on its man-made city beach, or picnic on the lawns or watch the wildlife (human, feathered and reptilian). There are awesome restaurants, the Wheel, a museum and not one but two world class art galleries. All of these are totally legitimate reasons to want to live where I live. But here's another one. I ALWAYS seem to be running late. It's an art form that defies all logic and reason but living where I do has allowed me to be seated ready for the curtain to open on many a show at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex despite leaving home at later than what would normally be considered the last minute. But even by my own standards, today was a "special" effort. I was convinced Wicked - my all-time favourite musical - started at 5pm. Just before 3pm I checked the tickets and my heart skipped a beat. It started at 3pm. I threw on clothes and was out the door before I could think "a shower and make-up might be a good idea on opening night". I missed the opening song but was ushered in with a very large number of other late comers after the lockout period. Fortunately this was my sixth time seeing the stage musical so while I missed a bit I was back with the program by the time my bum hit the seat. By the time the signature song Defying Gravity was belted out I was soaring and it would take more than the memory of my complete inability to be on time to bring me back down to earth. And because it did start at 3pm not 5, there was still time to enjoy the parklands after the show. As they say, better late than never.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February 14. Day 45. Roses are red

Valentine's Day. Yeah, the Hallmark occasion to end all Hallmark occasions. No date on the calendar has been more sabotaged by the writers of disgracefully smoochy verse and the sellers of blooms. We all know we have been taken on a ride on the love (gravy) train but we continue on the journey because there are a lot worse things. I mean, I got roses and what can be so wrong with that? The thing is, sometimes we need more than a gentle nudge to remember to tell our nearest and dearest that they are near and dear. If it takes an over commercialised, over sensationalised, over produced and over the top former Saint's Day, well so be it. Just try to remember to do it again again tomorrow or the next day or next week ...

Friday, February 13, 2015

February 13. Day 44. For crying out loud

Oliver receives his senior badge

 I cry at the drop of a hat. Actually, the fact that there's a hat out there that could potentially be dropped is likely to have me tear up. My husband Charles is much more stiff-upper-lip British. So when he says a ceremony was emotional that made the eyes a little moist, you can be more certain it was. The 2015 cohort was officially sworn in as senior school leaders today in a beautifully put together induction ritual. There was the formal part in the school auditorium followed by a ritual war chant on the oval. Both were beautifully moving in their own way. But what I found especially touching was the ways the boys interacted with each other after the formalities were over. The sense of comradery and school spirit was enough to move me to tears - again.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February 12. Day 43. Life's little challenges

I am just a tinsy tiny bit directionally challenged by which I mean where other people have left and right, I have left and "no, that can't be right". Getting lost is a skill I have taken a lifetime to perfect. But even for me travelling from Highgate Hill to Albion via Aratula is a little bit extreme. What can I say? It was only a 200 kilometre detour. But then when you drive Mum's taxi these things happen. Drama Teen had spent the day at the school's camp ground mentoring the Year 7 students. The mini bus home wasn't due back in Brisbane until 8pm but drama classes start at 5 so the only option was to hail mum's taxi. If only one was able to charge by time or kilometre. Still, I know how important both the peer mentor program and drama are so what's a girl to do? And I got to spend a little time by Lake Moogerah and when I got there the afternoon shower had just cleared to reveal a beautiful sky. Sure I'm definitely more a sea change than a tree change person but this made a pleasant change.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11. Day 42. It's an ill wind

Man we tell kids a lot of little white lies to "encourage" better behaviour. I'm pretty sure there is no evidence that eating crusts will make your hair curly. I now know there is no pee detecting chemical in any pool. The country is not full of city dogs having pleasant vacations. You will not go blind if you don't stop "it".  And finally no wind change ever caused anyone to spend the rest of their lives stuck with the really ugly face they pulled. I clearly remember being told that last one and I also remember not ever believing it, well  not really. But there's always this element of doubt that makes you fear meteorological changes. After all, there are some pretty ugly people out there and something has to be going on. I also started to wonder if it might be true when on the beach today. There was a swirling wind that kept my hair in my face for most of my morning walk but something else was going on. The wind shift seemingly caused Rumple to be left with his tongue almost permanently sticking out of his mouth. It's not a good look but when your a dog, I guess that's a hell of a lot better than that business of being sent to live with a relative in the country ...