Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31. Day 212. Food, glorious food

 You call your only offspring Oliver and you think it would be his duty to love food, glorious food. Nope, he decides to love musicals instead occasionally telling people he was named after one. Go figure. If I wasn't there when he was born I might think we were not related. The only one demanding "more" is me. So Drama Teen turned down my kind invitation to walk down to the noodle markets at South Bank which will pack up for the year after this weekend. Only the fur child, who I am pretty sure shares no DNA, was up to the challenge. Their loss. Of course the diet means I could look but not touch walking away with only photos, smells and the 14,285 steps I need to meet my daily fitness goal. I'll take that.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30. Day 211. Without a paddle

I am dreaming of the water, possibly because I feel like I'm drowning in work. At moments like this I start planning (and usually booking) a holiday. Today was no exception. Booking for September now complete. A girl needs something to look forward to after all. Some times I have strange notions that a complete getaway on a cruise might be very inviting. Seeing the Kookaburra Queen paddle its way majestically up the Brisbane River this evening does give me odd romantic notions of a seafaring holiday. And then I remember one very crucial fact - I get hideously seasick. There is a very real possibility that I would do my very best Mr Creosote impression "Better get a bucket, I'm going to throw up". Not much romance in that. So I shall enjoy the water from the beach and the only deck I'll find myself on is the one on the holiday home.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29. Day 210. Only fair

 I am a strong believer in karma. Left alone often the universe will sort itself out. Of course, that's not to say shitty things don't happen to really good people. They do, all the time. But if you try to do the right thing by people most often they try to do the same thing to you. And if you use public money to charter a helicopter eventually the media will find out and you'll look like the great wally you are.Which brings me to the Ibis. This morning the ibis were having a lovely time minding their own business at South Bank. They were having a meal and just chilling. And along I came bothering them. That people is karma and payback for all the times the ibis have gatecrashed a quiet meal and relax at South Bank.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28. Day 209. Just add water

Let's be honest. It's so much easier to find reasons not to do something than to find the motivation to do it. And when the competition is between getting a few more minutes precious sleep and just about anything else, sleep normally wins. Sleep and I have always had a deeply intimate, special relationship but of late it has been a little strained. I still care deeply about sleep but sleep seems not to be reciprocating. Well sleep, I shall no longer surrender to your game of hard to get. The new improved exercise routine means morning walks and if that means getting out of bed when I finally get to sleep, it has to be. I think resetting the body clock is an important first step in regaining the old zing in my relationship with the zzzzzs. Like so many in Brisbane I find that heading to the river takes some of the sting out of getting out of bed. Unlike some I'm not actually getting down on my knees and embracing the sunrise over the river but the fur friend and I do enjoy joining the throngs on the river path. With any luck I might tire myself out enough to sleep

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27. Day 208. Questions for which there are no answers

I was in the studio audience of Q&A tonight, the weekly ABC TV show where the big issue questions are posed  by the audience and put to a panel of experts, Tonight's topics ranged from the morality of climate change to refugee policy and political entitlements. All very interesting. But I have questions of my own for the "panel" who live in the same house as I do. They include the following:
Why does Rumple have such a liking for toilet paper?
Knowing Rumple will use toilet paper as his plaything at any opportunity, why is is still left within his reach?
Why does Rumple like to play "destroy the toilet paper" in the living areas of the house and not somewhere like Drama Teen's bedroom where it would be less noticeable because of the mess?
Why won't Drama Teen learn that there is no such thing as a floor-drobe?
Knowing that Rumple and Drama Teen  will go on the occasional search and destroy missions, why would Charles decide to bring an international visitor to the house without any warning?
Why do I find it impossible to be annoyed with Rumple?
Finding world peace might be easier than finding answers to these questions. As Q&A host Tony Jones would say "you can take that as a comment".

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26. Day 207. The morning after

 The morning after the night before and I admit to feeling a little less than my sparkling self - actually dead on my feet might be a more accurate description. Formal celebrations wrapped up around here some time in the early hours of the morning. Not to worry, it's not as though I had much on today. Isn't that the way it works? Had to be at the airport for a drop off at 7am and at work at 8.45. One of the advantages of my job is that weekend work isn't part of the deal - at least in the go into the office sort of way. Many a weekend hour is spent on lecture planning, marking and administrivia but I get to stay at home every weekend except Open Day. Naturally that was today. And it wasn't even as if I got to hide. Part of my job is to give the seminars "selling" our course to would-be students. It's something I firmly believe in and a message I'm happy to share any time but generally for all concerned it's probably better when I'm awake. Having ticked off that box it was home to pick up Drama Teen who had spent all morning sleeping off the formal. Nice work if you can get it. Then out the door again to the local senior citizens centre for an afternoon concert Drama Teen and his performance mates were appearing in.
So today in pictures is my visual representation of Open Day - feeling like a dead weight but acting like I could jump over any hurdle.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25. Day 206. A formal affair

Will you look at this? I know, I know, I'm his mother so of course I MIGHT be a tiny bit biased but I must say my boy scrubs up rather nicely. I also think he has impeccable taste with every last detail of the suit his own selection.  And of course having the delightful Alice on his arm completed the picture of classic elegance. Parents of female children remind me how easy I have it because dress selection is "supposed" to be far more difficult than going to the hire shop and walking out with a tux. That might be true but Drama Teen was never going to accept wearing an outfit the same as everyone else. It's not in his nature. I must say that going the tailor-made option is not exactly cheap but when I looked at some of the female gowns on display I came to the conclusion that at least we got value for money in terms of the amount of fabric used. Seriously, some of those dresses left very little to the imagination. They don't make seventeen-year-old girls like they used to. I am reliably informed that there was quite the exchange in double-sided tape going on as the night progressed and some bits were not staying where they were meant to. If what I saw at the beginning of the night is anything to go by, I can't say I am surprised. For my money a dress that dazzles is not one that flashes but then I'm old. Old enough to know better and old enough to be mother to a teenager who scrubs up all right!

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24. Day 205. Use your noodle

Look but don't touch. This had to be my motto at the South Bank Noodle Markets tonight. Stupid diet. So the closest I got to a delicious bowl of Asian Awesomeness was when Rumple and I walked through the market precinct late this afternoon on our mission to collect the 14,285 steps I have set myself as a daily fitness goal, I tell myself that using my noodle would dictate that diet and exercise will improve my life - perhaps in the long term but in the short term not so much. In the short term it just meant I didn't get to enjoy the markets. Still I refused to give in to the evil temptations offered in stall after stall and walked on by. How's that for will power? Yay me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23. Day 204. Standing your ground

I love the quiet dignity of the kookaburra. I love how when under attack by a bully, a bully making a lot of noise (as they always do), a bully puffing itself up to look important (as they always do), a bully doing everything to undermine the sense of security (as they always do), the kookaburra just holds its ground. This was today. Today is Thursday and every Thursday my elderly neighbour Margaret gets her hair washed and set which means she is out all morning. This delays the morning feed and by the time she gets home, the birds are getting decidedly impatient. As I helped her in with her groceries I could see the birds lining up on the powerlines around the house waiting for the mince to emerge.  There were crows, butcher birds and kookaburras. They were all as politely and orderly queuing as if they were British - all except the noisy miners. They were being big bullies. There was plenty to go around but the miners were not content to wait and get their share. Because that's a bully for you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22. Day 203. Pride of place

Everything has a place and everything in its place. This applies as much to people as it does to the crap in my kitchen. In fact, the sense of place applies much more to just about every person I know than it does to the appliances I have but often don't use or need. We all sit in the same place on the couch, at the same place at the table, on the same side of the bed and in the same seat in the car. In the lectures and tutes I take, students file in and occupy "their" seat. It needs no name tag, routine and custom marks the spot. It is the same for the Fur Friend. He could sit anywhere but he does not. His "place" is on the top of the couch. He loves that spot because he can see the whole living area. It is close to the action in the kitchen and the humans on the couch. It also puts him at a perfect height to be admired and stroked and loved by all who walk by. And it makes him feel like he's top dog, which of course he is and we all know it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21. Day 202. Often licked. Never beaten

Apparently licking your lips is totally okay when you're a dog but when you are not a human. How unfair is that? I know this because the skin specialist told me so this week. Apparently my dry, cracked lips are associated at least in part with excessive licking. This may be so but I reckon the hideous cold wind that has been blasting Brrrisbane over the past couple of weeks may have contributed more than a little to it. The 14,000 step target I have set myself which has me traipsing the streets and paths of Brisbane at all hours of the day and night in that wind also has a bit to do with it. But apparently this dry lip thing has a solution - lip balm. Gee, I'm glad I saw a skin specialist this week. I wouldn't have been able to come up with that on my own. Still while dry lips might be a side effect the benefits of the view make the walk worthwhile.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20. Day 201. Sitting pretty

It is so pleasing to see my neighbour Margaret all smiles. It was a far different picture yesterday afternoon when she slipped on the kitchen floor while making dinner. But today she was her usual self back in her favourite spot watching the world go by from her front window. A slightly sore shoulder the only sign of the mishap.She's resilient, you'd have to give the 87-year-old that. But she's also as stubborn as a mule. Margaret sent back her panic alert pendant after a previous fall. She didn't like it. The subject was off the table again today with only her knitting and her "larrikin" friend Rumple topics she'd like to discuss. Truth is Margaret loves to talk about Rumple. We visit regularly and it is the furry one who brings the biggest smiles - by a long shot. Fortunately, Rumple is only to happy to oblige. It's lucky we are close - in a physical and social sense. I'd hate to think what would have happened if her kitchen and my bedroom were separated by more than two metres and I hadn't heard her. Let's hope there isn't a next time and if there is the ourcome is as good.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19. Day 200. Flavour of the day

What do you think the kids would say if you suggested they spend Sunday studying science?
Yeah, it probably wouldn't go down well even though STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and  Maths) are pretty much the flavours of the day. But tell the kids that you are heading to South Bank for a day at the Regional Flavours Festival and the reaction is likely to be far more positive. Food, free entertainment and workshops for both adults and kids make the annual event one of the highlights on the annual calendar. We decided to stroll down the hill and check it out. Charles make a bee-line to the massive array of food tents all featuring food sourced locally. But the inner child in me had me head to the Little Days Out area. Kids were busy on craft activities such as making Very Hungry Caterpillars and free plantings until the Street Science Show started up. From finding out how a disposable nappy absorbs water to learning how liquid nitrogen can make instant ice cream, Science Steve and Science Jess had the crowd eating out of their hands. For the really little ones, it probably looked like stage magic but older kids learned about the properties of solids and gases and the chemical reactions responsible for making fireworks glow plus a lot more.
And when that was over, there was more craft, more science experiments and all those food stalls to check out. That's a scientific formula for a great day out.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 18. Day 199. Capturing place

Place: Story Bridge, Brisbane. Mission: To capture the place (with a camera, obviously). This morning I joined the wonderful Carl Warner for a photographic walking tour of Brisbane. He was fascinating as were his tips on capturing the city's history through its architecture. One of the interesting points raised by Carl was that he does not like to include people in his pictures because he likes the environment to speak for itself and people, cars etc immediately put a date stamp on the image. But the big lesson I learned was about myself, and it should have been obvious had I stopped to think even for a bit. A place to me is not about its buildings. A place is about how people and things use the built and natural environment. Until this morning I never knew families gathered on the sandy banks of the Brisbane River to play. I never knew about the dogs frolicking with their humans by the river. Around the bend at South Bank seeing people playing in the sand is the norm but despite the best part half a century in the city, I did not know this.  Despite this discovery, I still grew to appreciate even more the built environment - modern and older. The bridge itself remains a fascination, its lines and angles are a beautiful thing. And spending a couple of hours with people with the liking of the lens as much of myself wandering the city was awesome. I learned one other thing - I can get lost anywhere. My Project365 buddy Donna Weeks and I managed to get so engrossed in what we were doing we lost the group. Great effort.

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17. Day 198. Climb every mountain

There was 2.7 seconds today when I felt warm. It was just as I emerged from the JC Slaughter Falls track to the summit of Mount Cooth-tha and before the cold mountain wind hit.  Sure it's winter and that, almost by definition, means cold but this is crazy unseasonal by Brisbane standards. Indeed just a short car ride from here there was eight centimetres of snow overnight. Madness. It also seemed like madness when still in shorts and a T-Shirt I reached the summit lookout. Everyone else there was wrapped up like they were about to embark on a polar expedition. It didn't take long for me to understand why. Bloody hell. The only good news in all of this is that at least there's little chance that this will continue for very long and then we can all find something else to whinge about. And the view was pretty good too.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 16. Day 197. You'll never walk alone

So every day for a week, I have achieved the 14,285 steps required to meet my exercise goal of 100,000 step weekly target. I am a little bit determined what with the November 29 Great Ocean Road walk out there as incentive. Still some days are easier than others and today, for no particular reason, was a not so easy. In fact, as the sun went down I had only about 3000 steps under foot. I don't much like to walk alone at night but there is always a walking buddy ready to play chaperone. In fact, for just about every one of those 100,000 steps, Rumple has been at my side. The best thing about a fur friend foot soldier is that he can't speak so he never says no. Truth is "walkies" is one of Rumple's favourite things and if I get the lead he's at the door ready to hit the road. And having a night walk does allow you to get a different look at the city. Winning all round.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15. Day 196. A Midwinter's Day Swim

Seriously Brrrrisbane. What do you call this weather? Okay, we didn't get to zero degrees this morning as forecast, 3.6 degrees is very frosty in this part of the world. Around South Bank, scarves, coats and beanies were the fashion necessities - except for the crazies.
Breakfast announcer Spencer Howson walked the short distance from the 612 ABC Brisbane studios to the pool in boardies and a rashie and with triathlete Alison Ryan took the plunge. Madness. Spencer insisted it was warmer in that out - it would want to be. Even the sand under foot was freezing. I can only assume it was brain freeze. Still congratulations to both of you.