Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31. Day 31. Coming, ready or not

 In Winkle's short life, the appearance of the suitcase has meant only one thing - people she loves are about to go and leave her.
This is not a situation she approves of.
So she was staying close, very close. I think she figured if she stayed on or in the suitcase she couldn't be left behind.
The thing that Winkle will learn very, very soon is that whenever possible all stops - and the Visa card - are pulled out to ensure that dogs come too. Dogs are family and all the family go on family holidays.
You will wake up tomorrow at the beach house tomorrow and then you will learn just what the red suitcase of opportunity can mean.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30. Day 30. Watch and learn

They say it's not what you know it's who you know. There is almost certainly something in that but it is totally not all the story. If my day job as a lecturer in journalism has taught me anything it is that success depends on a couple of other things. One is natural talent and the other is a willingness and determination to learn.  My ability to teach is limited in no small measure by a student's thirst to learn and commitment to practice the craft to make perfect. This is why I love my new photo buddy Eva. I learned recently that Eva is keen on photography and was given a camera for Christmas. As she lives at South Bank - one of my favourite places to take the camera - I suggested she might like to join me for photo walk. She jumped at the chance. This morning we did it. I love that someone not yet 14 would be out of bed at 6am on a Saturday morning ready to grab the camera and go. I don't claim to be an expert photographer but after years of taking photos every day and the lessons learned from thousands of images, I have picked up a thing or two and Eva was really keen to learn. She has a good eye - that I can't teach. The can do attitude I can totally work with.

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29. Day 29. Colourful characters

One thing about South Bank is I can pretty much count on seeing colourful things: There are colourful characters, all the colours of the spectrum in the fauna and flora and a rainbow of delights in the markets. But today it was two colours that stood out, red and green.  The green was in my rather delightful breakfast. I stopped in at one of the eateries and ordered a breakfast including haloumi, avocado, bacon and tomato. There was also rocket, a splash of green that attracted a few comments from those who believe greenery has no place in breakfast. Seriously boys, a salad vegetable will not kill you. The other colour was red. This was my face. Today was putridly hot, even at 7am. By the time I walked home I looked like a beetroot. Now that's a salad vegetable you will not see me eat at breakfast or any other time of the day.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28. Day 28. Hive of activity

Summer is over. Traditionally Australia Day, which was Tuesday, or back to school day which was yesterday are seen as the end of the long Australian summer. In university land where I live there is another key date that signals the flick of the on switch. It's called tutorials-are-open-for-allocation day and that was today. Suddenly the email inbox is a hive of activity as students clamour for places in the prize tute. No student wants to wait around. Every student wants a tute straight after the lecture. Like wasps they swarm in a fight for the death to get to the queen - or something like that. I am the one that has to deliver the sting. Sixteen places. That's it. Sorry. Full. I don't enjoy those emails but it gave me something to do other than worry about the wasp nest I discovered under the deck ...

January 27. Day 27. That's what friends are for

It was a good neighbour day. I took Margaret to the GP and the chemist. We went to the newsagent to pay her paper bill and to the supermarket to collect the groceries. The bed was stripped and the sheets washed. I know she appreciates all of those things. I also know that nothing, NOTHING brings a smile to her face like a visit from the dogs.
After the chores were done Rumple and Winkle presented themselves. Rumple is a master at taking a running leap on to Margaret's lap. Winkle hasn't been able to make the leap until today. What you see is the joy of the moment. That, I reckon, is priceless.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26. Day 26. Friends with benefits

They say you can choose your friends but not your family.
This is true. But you can choose to spend time with your family or avoid them like the plague or an encounter with  door-to-door religion peddler depending on which worries you the most.
I rather like my family and believe that significant occasions are made more so when celebrated with those I'm related to.
This doesn't mean I don't like sharing these occasions with friends too - and if you have friends who live in a unit with a perfect view of the fireworks at South Bank .. well a girl can't say "no" can she? Talk about friends with benefits (yes, I am fully aware of what that phrase normally implies. I also think that not all benefits have to be sexual, surely).
So it was that most of my family enjoyed the Australia Day celebrations with the Taudevins enjoying a meal, good company and a rather awesome fireworks display. Can't get more Australian than that can ya?
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi, Oi, Oi

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25. Day 25. Party animal

I think it might have been the eighth birthday party. It was an elaborate themed affair, with everything from the cake, costumes and games meticulously planned and executed. I also recall that it was on or about Australia Day because in early January when my son was born all of Brisbane is on holidays. We learned to wait until school went back to try and stage a party. That tradition continues. While I don't know which of the elaborate theme parties it was, I do remember a comment from one of the mums: "If this is what the parties are like now, I can't wait for the 18th birthday". I had a party planning reputation to live up to. I am fully aware that most of the time a packet of chips and some sweet and coloured drinks will keep people happy at parties (it is only the contents of the glass that really change that much with age). But I like going to "events" so I like throwing events even if it nearly kills me and melts the credit card. It makes me happy and I know the birthday boy loves that I love to spoil him. So this year the theme was karaoke and cocktails. There were lights, a smoke machine, juke box with karaoke, a frozen cocktail machine, bar tables, gourmet finger food, water bottles with

lights and a white chocolate and berry cheese cake. It was not everyone's idea of what an 18th birthday party should look like (and it was the type of event that is likely to make your neighbours hate you) but for a young man with a love of music and performance and friends with the same DNA it worked a treat.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24. Day 24. You've got to hand it to 'em

For the love of God, or Buddha or the universe or whoever or whatever you believe in, why do some people have to go out of their way to be sh*t heads? Would it kill you to be nice?  I was doing my good deed for the day off buying wool for my neighbour Margaret. She plans on using the wool to knit beanies for premmie babies. That's what nice people do. With my bag of wool in hand, I stopped to watch a street magician and asked to take photos. He gathered a crowd. One couple, who obviously knew a bit about magic, stood in the front and spoiled every trick with info on would happen and how it was done. Exactly why would you do that? Why would you ruin it for the bloke just trying to make a few $$$ entertaining the crowds and why would you do it to the people gathered to watch? What's in it for you to spoil it for everyone? If you think the magic is boring and predictable, be considerate. Walk on. You don't have to give the bloke a hand up but dragging him down?  There's no magic in that for anyone.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23. Day 23. All washed up

The arguments against the dog wash don't hold water. When the humans in my house shower, they have to make sure the shower cubicle door is firmly closed or they might find a dog at their feet. Yesterday, when the airconditioning man was hosing the filters, he had a puppy trying to cool down in the stream of water. Go to the beach and they are both in the water quick as a flash. But the mere suggestion of a bath and either one would be on to the RSPCA animal cruelty line if paws could dial. Today was Lady Winkle's first experience of the Saturday morning hydrobath routine. She did not take to it like a duck to water. Just the opposite. The lovely ladies who wash dogs on a Saturday thought it might make her more comfortable to share the bath with the more experienced Rumple. She could sit and watch and get used to it with just a few splashes at first. I think all she learned from the master was that baths suck. Seriously, there is a fine line between pleasure and pain. But despite all the whinging, both dogs survived the "ordeal" and emerged looking and smelling great. Sorry Winkle, if you want to live like a pampered pooch you gotta put up with the beauty routine. It's a small price to pay for perfection. That's something Rumple can teach you.

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22.Day 22. Stretch your wings

Once a week for 15 years I have journeyed into the ABC studios in Brisbane. I've moved houses. The studio has moved premises. The presenter changed for a year. I've reported in while in England and France and the US but all along the primary focus has been on children and families. Until today. Today was a subtle shift from theatre being a side issue to the main game of what I will talk about.  This excites me because the performing arts is a passion but is a little bit terrifying because spreading your wings and taking on something new always is. I've been caught in a comfortable little web and now I get to escape. I did ask myself "why would anyone care what I think about a production?" but then I realised that was the wrong question. The real question is "why wouldn't they?". My opinion is just that. My opinion. It is the word of a person with a passion who has forked out many thousands of dollars in tickets over the years. Tell it from the heart and you will fly.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21. Day 21. Get down and give me 10

I used to have a personal trainer but then I decided that if being shouted at, ordered around and feeling like sh*t was the aim I could stay at home. (Okay, I exaggerate - about home not the PT). The truth is while I used to greatly enjoy group fitness because I could hide up the back right next to a fan, I really didn't enjoy being ordered about by a trainer.
I accept the results are better when you are pushed and someone is checking the technique is correct but it was too hard core for me. I'm a sook at heart. I'm not afraid of hard work but in my day job not in my "leisure" time.
Still if you want to spend your hard earned on being ordered about so be it. Personally I'd rather fork out on a theatre ticket and sit back and let someone else do the hard work. Horses for courses. So on my way to the theatre to see Carrie the Musical I stopped off briefly at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. There I saw Jess being ordered about by a man with a medicine ball. I know Jess because I'm normally the one bossing her around. As a journalism student, Jess has found her way into my tutorial room. In that domain, I get to call the shots. See, control freak.
The control freak also got to get Drama Teen to follow my direction and pose as a Prom King in the photo booth at Carrie at the Power House. So it's not the bossing around I have a problem with - as long as I'm the one doing it and there's no medicine ball involved!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20. Day 20. Snap!

I have, over the past 1480 days I have posted literally thousands of photos and the number of me could be counted on your digits (you may need to take your socks off, but probably not). I hate photos of myself (also as I am the one with the camera opportunities do limit themselves). It takes a lot. There was the time I jumped off a bridge for charity. There were the two times at the Logies and the smashing my face on the pool tiles. We are talking extreme. Which makes my decision to volunteer for Heath Carney's social media portrait project somewhat curious. Heath is a Brisbane photographer who has decided to take the portraits of "friends" in the social media sense. Many of Heath's friends are my friends and so I have seen his work come up in my feed quite a bit and it is awesome. Also I am increasingly finding that people I have met through social media go on to be friends in real life. You just have to make the effort to meet them. So I journeyed to Chelmer and gave Heath one instruction - only one chin. Yes, I started with the almost impossible. I will see the final results in a couple of days but the ones he showed me through the back of the camera looked awesome, if I do say so myself. I could only see one chin. Score.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19. Day 19. Feeling toe-y

It's the little things - in this case the very little things.
I hate chipped nail polish. Wear nail polish. Don't wear nail polish. Either of those are perfectly acceptable options according to Susan's Style School (a school most unlikely to ever get any enrolments mainly due to Susan's complete lack of style).
However, I am very judgy about some matters and one of those is chipped nail polish. It looks dreadful. And yet for some weeks my toes have shown signs of a distinct lack of polish.
Today, I rectified that.
It is so hideously first world to have some poor person scrape the dead skin off the bottom of heels and prise the dirt out from under your toe nails but the number of nail salons popping up EVERYWHERE suggests that many people are willing to provide the service and many women such as myself are prepared to open up their wallets and pay.
I must say I am most impressed with the result. Indeed I am feeling far less toey.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Janaury 18. Day 18. What bugs me

 Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. Blah. Blah. It's not that I have a problem with waiting my turn. It's not that I am by nature inpatient. I do, however, find it grossly annoying when my time is taken for granted but those who think their time is money but the time of others is not worth considering. It bugs me considerably. Case one. A specialist appointment. I can not even start to calculate how long I have spent waiting in specialists' waiting rooms. Now let me say this. Quality medical care takes time and when it is your turn you do not want to be turfed out on the 15 minute gong. Delays are inevitable but keeping patients informed and perhaps a phone call or even an app would help keep patients patient. Once, and only once, I was given a coffee voucher when I arrived for an appointment and advised to come back in 30 minutes. A mere $3 investment in quality service.
Case two. Grocery collection. There was a mix up. My order wasn't ready. Would I mind waiting? I didn't have much choice but all annoyance evaporated when the order arrived with an apology and a box of chocolates. Sweet. That's all it takes.
Case three. Hairdressers' appointment. I received a call saying the stylist had been delayed. Could I come in 15 minutes later? Too right. The idea of reading New Idea in a waiting room might be others' idea of heaven but it's my secret hell. So what did I do with my bonus time? Took photos of birds and bees. Strangely, for that activity I have all the patience in the world.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17. Day 17. All washed up

Don't you just hate those individuals who have a freakish ability to look flawless at any time of day, in any conditions? Bloody annoying.
I secretly suspected that Winkle was such a creature.
That ball of fluff is as pretty as a picture and it was hard to imagine anything could impact on that.
But if you want to see that cuteness evaporate, just add water.
To tell you the truth I should have known.
Take Rumple to the beach and he starts looking like Hairy Maclary.
Winkle, however, is something else all together.
This afternoon Drama Teen and I decided the best way to end the weekend was to take the dogs for a walk somewhere scenic.
As Winkle has never been for a dip, we decided on Nudgee Beach.
She took to it like a dog to water.
While the combination of mangroves and mudflats is not exactly pristine beach front in Queensland terms, it is just about perfect for a walk with dogs.
The two fur friends enjoyed a long game of mud wresting and at the end of process Winkle looked like a cross between a drowned rat and a dump dog.
Fortunately it is easily fixed.
A hot bath for both dogs with both shampoo and conditioner returned them to their salon perfection. I wish a little bit of water and a squirt of product was all I needed for that look fo simple perfection. As I said, to some it comes annoyingly natutally.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 16. Day 16. When I grow up

Several days after seeing Matilda on stage for the first time, one song is still bringing a smile to my face. I loved "When I Grow Up"  where children imagine what their lives will be when they escape childhood:
"When I grow up, I will be tall enough to reach the branches
that I need to reach to climb the trees you get to climb when you're grown up...

And when I grow up
I will eat sweets every day
on the way to work and I
will go to bed late every night!

And I will wake up
when the sun comes up and I
will watch cartoons until my eyes go square and I won't care 'cause I'll be all grown up!"

This is a touching insight into how kids think.
Kids are not like little grown ups, in oh so many ways. And today at South Bank, there it was again.
In the rain of the last couple of days, grown ups have been dodging the showers as if, like the Wicked Witch of the West, a little bit of water on your clothes will make you evaporate.
Kids, however, are different. They are certainly not worried about water on their clothes - in fact it would seem they invite it.
Just look at these boys. First they ran fully clothed through the pools and then frolicked in the water park. On a putrid hot Brisbane day any one of us might be tempted but today was mild verging on cool.
But as any parent knows, children's internal thermometers also don't act in the same way as adults.
Kids can't wait to grow up but in fact it would be far better if grown ups could retain a little bit of the sense of fun kids have. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15. Day 15. High Flyer

They say it's not the destination, it's the journey that's important. I say this is often crap. Firstly I am fully aware that this saying is meant to be taken in a figurative sense. We are talking journey in a life sense and the importance of concentrating on milestones along the path and not just focusing on a goal no matter what it takes to get there blah, blah. But let's be all literal for a minute. When it comes to journeys involving air travel the journey is for the most part best forgotten, unless you have the means to fly in the point bit of the aircraft (which I do not, more's the pity). Just focus on where you need to get their and endure the bit between airports. Cattle class air travel totally sucks. For this reason, I find one aspect of the flying business most curious. Here I am talking about the departure gate. As soon as the flight is called there is a mad scramble to get to the front of the queue and hand over the boarding pass. Why? I ask you. Seats are allocated. There is far more leg room in the terminal and the flight isn't going to take off without you once your luggage is loaded. Yet people rush. I'd rather sit quietly until the queue dies down and take advantage of every last second of mobile time time, especially if there's free wifi in the airport. And once  on board staring out the window is my major coping mechanism. Watching the world go becomes quite hypnotic. I pulled myself from the trance just long enough take today's images - two from the plane and one from the train on the way. It passes the time and makes the journey at least a bit important ....

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 14. Day 14. Kicking one entry off the bucket list

 It is disgraceful but me, the performing arts tragic, has never been to a performance at the Sydney Opera House - until today.
Indeed it is was on the bucket list. But as part of the 18th Birthday Festival - which is after all the 18th anniversary of the day I gave birth - I have crossed that off the list.
Because it is the Opera House, it was decided an Opera should be the order of the day and the Magic Flute seemed perfect.
Not even afternoon storm when we picked up the tickets and a security scare that temporarily closed the venue could dampen the enthusiasm - after all, a bucket list is a bucket list, and a bit of water shouldn't rain on that parade. In any event it was a triumph and an event befitting of the occasion!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13. Day 13. Excellent bar none

To be clear, I don't think a copious amount of alcohol is an essential ingredient in the recipe to having a good time. I do, however, love rights of passage and being able go into a bar, present your ID and order an alcoholic beverage is a coming-of-age thing. And so today my "baby" did just that. We travelled to Sydney to mark the occasion. The main game was was a trip to the Lyric Theatre to see Matilda tonight and Magic Flute at the Opera House tomorrow night but a side trip to a hotel seemed like a good option.
In any event drinks or no drinks reaching 18 is a milestone is well worth celebrating. So I raise a glass to you young man. Happy Birthday Oliver. Love you heaps