Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30. Day 120. Down the barrel of a gun

When my son was a little thing we'd see things that amused, confused or intrigued and make up a little story. Why was a guitar handle sticking out of a bin outside the Valley Pool? We would never know the truth so we'd make it up sticking to the motto of never letting the truth get in the way of a good story. Truth is, we still do it from time to time normally in a car journey. Where would the woman be going dressed like that in the middle of the day? How did that bloke get the mysterious limp? Had he been with me this morning there would almost certainly have been a story to tell about why two water pistols were stuck in a fence near student accommodation at South Bank. Had there been a late night fight and the weapons were holstered to resume the battle when the students finally decided to get out of bed. Perhaps some kids were desperately searching the bags they took to South Bank yesterday wondering where on earth Mum put the water pistols. Perhaps it was sending a warning, or left over from a stag night prank. The possibilities are endless. But this week, the sight of guns even plastic ones makes me very sad. The idea of death by firing squad is so unimaginably awful. It's not that I believe we should be soft on those who peddle in death by selling drugs. Not at all. But I don't believe the death penalty serves as any sort of deterrent and an eye for an eye has no place in modern society. Still, part of me does believe in the Indonesian right to set its own sovereign law and that includes the death penalty. But no part of me could look at the way it was carried out and feel anything but sick. The parade of coffins in ambulances with the names of prisoners who were still alive, the crosses being engraved prematurely with the date of death, the circus the families were but through. That was all heartless, cruel, brutal and out of keeping with acceptable standards in a modern society. You couldn't make up that sort of macabre stuff.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29. Day 119. Light and shade

Brisbane, you are rather awesome at this time of year. The humidity has gone, the weather during the day is just about perfect and the overnight temperatures are mild. And the light is magic. You would be hard to fault apart from the season thing. Suddenly it is getting dark earlier and light later but that's about the only real sign of seasonal variation. Do we benefit from long summer twilights and midnight sun? No, we do not. Look at the trees and you'll see foliage as lush and green as it ever was. Our birds tend not to be the migratory types. It's a more subtle change and that's what I like about it. A softer light and a kinder climate but without extremes. Why would any bird fly away?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28. Day 118. The hand that feeds you

 If you want a free feed around here, my neighbour Margaret's is the place to go - and all the animals in the street know it.
From dawn until dusk, 87-year-old Margaret operates a McFly-through window where birds  come to collect their supply of mince. Margaret knows them all by name or reputation - the kookaburras, butcher birds, noisy miners and crows all come for their share. The feathered friends rarely come inside but my fur friend Rumple takes more than a few liberties.
Margaret opens the door and before she can get back to her chair - like Goldilocks - he's sitting on it. He will shift his bottom long enough for her to sit but within seconds he will be on her lap. She rewards him handsomely with a generous supply of mince. She doesn't need an excuse. But today was haircut day and that means Rumple gets an extra large helping. Both parties are happy with that.

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27. Day 117. Prickly character

 You know that when relationships end, the classic line is apparently "it's not you. It's me"?
Everyone knows it's crap but somehow it is supposed to make the jilted partner feel better.
I have to say I have a "difficult" relationship with dog parks and in all honesty the problem probably is me.
To be fair it's not actually the dog park I have a problem with. Dog parks are fine in the absence of other dogs or more accurately dog owners. There just seems to be strange interpersonal relationships going on in the secret world of dog parks that I do not understand and I'm pretty sure I don't want to take the time to find out. The whole dog park clique thing turns me into a prickly character much more likely to interact with dogs than owners.
But occasionally I think the dog park is a rich untapped vein pulsing with pet stories I should take the time to investigate further. So today I was at this park far outside my normal patch and a very nice lady was most keen to tell me a story that goes like this. (names have been changed because I can not for the life of me remember any of them and that's not important right now).
".... so I went round to Sharon's to pick up her dogs to take them and mine to the dog chiropractor" (yes, that's a thing but that's not even the story). "The little one was pulling and backing away and refusing to come but eventually I got her out of the gate and she was just fine. When we got back, she started doing the same thing this time refusing to go back through the gate. Turns out, she was still wearing the dog collar and every time she crossed the electric fence line she got a shock. I shocked her three times, poor thing".
And I got that story because another dog in the park was wearing a collar that enabled the owner to deliver a shock via a remote control in the pocket if the pooch's behaviour got out of control.
So in five minutes I learned about car loads of dogs going to bulk billing chiropractors, electric perimeter fences for canine escapologists and zap collars for dogs inclined to get overly frisky. Like a said fertile ground for good stories but I suspect I might need a collar to deliver shock therapy to cope with it all.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26. Day 116. Roll on Sunday

I was such a bad girl today I sent myself to bed without any supper. The truth is another bite and it would have been like that scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life where Mr Creosote so eloquently turns down a wafer-thin mint. Truth is, I almost had to roll out of a rather delightful girls' lunch at a water-front South Bank restaurant after a seven course marathon. It was love at first bite. There is something special about Sundays at South Bank. The Sunday Sessions on the Green at River Quay attract happy crowds to the restaurants and the grassy lawn to enjoy a relaxed afternoon. Some like me may need to roll from Italian indulgence, the kids just can not resist the slope which is Sunday is, after all, the day of rest

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25. Day 115. That's the spirit

On paper, a 50th birthday party at 10.30 in the morning by a dog park would go down in history as the lamest celebration EVER. But birthday parties are not held on paper and a child friendly, dog-friendly party in the park is just what this dear old thing ordered. Those who know me would know there was an adult celebration on my actual birthday about three weeks ago but my siblings and their kids were out of the country. Besides, birthdays with zeros on the end deserve a prolonged celebration. So today I backed up for round 2 and the Comslie Reserve by the Brisbane River. The weather was perfect, there were cupcakes and other party food the normal antics you can expect with children and animals. I for one loved every minute of it (especially one hilarious minute involving my mum in the dog park. Ask me some time. I'll tell you the details). And there was still time for a nap and a dusk ANZAC Day ceremony at the Maritime Museum.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24. Day 114. Dogged determination

Nanook crosses the road
I come from a long line of obsessive compulsive dog owners. Top of the tree was my Dad who for many years gave one dog daily insulin shots and he performed mouth to snout on another one our dogs. Quite simply there is nothing I wouldn't do for my dog. Nothing. This is why my heart filled with admiration when I saw the clan from Storybook Farm Scared Animal Garden crossing the road at South Bank this afternoon. Leading the charge were Nanook and Krumm on their wheelie walkers but the team from the sanctuary in the Gold Coast hinterland also included a pooch with three legs and a blind dog. I only had a few seconds before the lights changed and we had to move on but that was just long enough to learn about Lisa-Jayne Cameron and her sanctuary for animals with special needs. I have to hand it to her. That's a woman with dogged determination.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23. Day 113. People in glass houses shouldn't

 Everyone knows the saying "people in glass houses should never throw stones". My Dad had a slightly different version. He'd say "people in houses shouldn't ...."
Fair advice, unless you want the world to see. I have another variation. "People in glass houses should expect to spend their lives cleaning windows".  But glass is the design statement of the moment and we have lots of it around my places often in spots that are hard to get to. We also have downlights impossible to change - another design statement. Perhaps I should take up abseiling

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22. Day 112. I hate sharing

My mother loves to tell a story. She has a collection of them - stories from her childhood, stories from when my siblings and I were young and stories from what the grandkids or even the dogs have done. There's one for every occasion. Had my mum been with me today, I'm pretty sure the story that would have come out is the one that relates to my nephew Benjamen. As the story goes, Benny as a young thing was having a problem letting others play with his things. "Have you heard about sharing?" he was asked. "Yes," he said. "But I hate sharing". That's pretty much how the birds were playing it out under the trees at the University of Queensland. Most of the Little Corellas were being very civilised scratching around in the dirt getting what they could get but not this pair. They were going at it over what appeared to be a single piece of dirt.  One of them may well have a mother telling a story about it right now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21. Day 111 Like water off a duck's back

 I am not, I'm afraid, the type of person who lets things wash over me like water off a duck's back. In fact I am more sponge than duck rather prone to absorbing instead of dispersing the little inconveniences and troubles of life. It is most certainly a weakness and a vulnerability. The fact is that it can leave you feeling like you are drowning. But it is what it is and this little black duck would rather be over sensitive and all that that entails than overly distant. That was this afternoon where I felt like I was drowning in a sea of mucus. This would have been easy to avoid. When Margaret my neighbour complained on the cold and mentioned the need to change to her flannelette sheets I did not have to volunteer. Sheets that have been in a linen cupboard for a year WILL set my sinuses on fire and as it happens stir up asthma. But I believe that what goes around comes around. Be impervious to the troubles of others and expect that in return. Always taking them on board is not without its perils - I've learned that to my cost and explains why I spend much of my life in a flap. It's just the nature of the beast and some of us take to it like a duck to water ....

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20. Day 110. Clean bill of health

If he was a human baby he would have been given a jellybean he was such a good boy today. Rumple this afternoon underwent his annual medical check-up and he was the model of a patient patient. And like the responsible parent I am, Rumple's immunisation record has now been appropriately updated. I believe in protecting my family and in herd immunity and not in fear campaigns. I would no more expose my fur bay to heart worm than I would my biological child to measles of vice versa. I will never claim not to have made mistakes as a parent (to a son and a fur baby) but not presenting for medical checks and failure to vaccinate is not one of them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19. Day 109. Singin' celebration

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear QPAC. Happy Birthday to you. Today marked the 30th birthday of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. When I turned the dreaded 5-0 this year, people (kindly) talked about improving with age. Wine improves with age, I'm not sure the human body does. I am, however, convinced QPAC just gets better and better. Drama Teen and I love QPAC. It's been one of his favourite spots since seeing The Wizard of Oz there when he was five. And that's the thing about our arts centre. It embraces all types of performing arts and has always made a concerted effort to embrace the youngest of audiences. So it is fitting that the 30th birthday party was an outdoor family celebration. It bucketed with rain mid afternoon but the young people seemed to enjoy singing in the rain. Doesn't that seem fitting for a performing arts centre?