Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31. Day 365. Thunder only happens when it's raining

These days we are spoilt. In the "good" old days we had to rely on our senses to know when a storm was coming. You could feel the storm in your bones. You could hear the thunder rumbling in the distance, coming closer and closer. You could see the clouds rolling in and the flashes of lightning. The birds knew it was coming. Now it's all early warning texts and emails and checking the weather radar on the Bureau of Meteorology app. We even have the very nice folk at the BoM Tweeting to correct myths such as that perpetuated by Fleetwood Mac. Thunder doesn't only happen when it's raining. Rick Threlfall was talking about dry thunderstorms. He could have been just as well talking about today. The thunder rumbled worse than a belly after a very large and very dodgy curry. The volume kept increasing. The clouds indicated the storm front moving in. The early warning text from the council said the same. But then, nothing. It was a big fat bully. It kept threatening but never actually hit. Modern technology and feeling it in your bones both failed. But it was impressive just the same.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 30. Day 364. Howzat!

There is this miniature Ashes urn which presently lives in the office of a sole Englishman in the house. But after the stunning result in Perth, that little baby is coming home to mumma.
We do love an Ashes year in our house.
It's two against one (although under Australian parliamentary rules the "child" has dual citizenship).
The boring draw in test that ended today may have been a let down to people who paid money to be at the MCG,  but  for the armchair spectators it beats getting beaten.
A whitewash is awesome but finishing the series without an actual defeat is a close second.
So bring on the New Year's Test and in the meantime pool cricket is all we have.

Friday, December 29, 2017

December 29. Day 363. My little buddy

I met a dog called Buddy at the dog park today. He was a kelpie with the most beautiful eyes.  I don't generally remember names. I'm bad with people names and worse with dogs. But I remember Buddy because I almost had a dog called Buddy. It was Easter Monday in 2013 and Buddy was available at the Wacol RSPCA animal shelter. He was a three-year-old cocker spaniel and how anyone could give him up I'll never understand. his picture on the website was adorable. We were there before the doors opened because we wanted Buddy. Every other family there also wanted Buddy. He went to someone else. Now you might think I remember a surprising amount about the day the dog got away. I do. I remember more. It was April 1. It was my birthday. My husband was playing bridge because he'd agreed to play bridge on Easter Monday. He hadn't checked the date. You can't back out on your bridge partner. I was heartbroken, not about the bridge playing husband but because I wanted a dog for my birthday and we'd missed out. Life has a way of working out. I went home and set to work on Google. I found a litter of puppies somewhere near Caboolture. They were King Charles Spaniel/ Shih Tzu crosses. I didn't know much about Shih Tzus but I love spaniels and they looked cute. The little black male was still up for grabs. I claimed him and we immediately set out in the car and brought him home. Since that day Rumple has been the best buddy a girl can ever have. He has the most beautiful soulful eyes. I adore him to bits. I hope whoever walked away from the Wacol animal shelter still loves him to bits. They have no idea on what they really missed out on that day.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28.Day 362. Lounging around

Given the choice between a door busting sale and slamming my finger in a car door, the finger door slam only marginally comes out on top. I don't like crowds, I hate crushes and conflict with strangers doesn't actually do it for me. As a result I spent Boxing Day on the couch. I didn't leave the house yesterday either. But spending a lot of time on the couch has less appeal when you keep seeing how old and tired it looks. So after using the assistance of Google and avoiding any major shopping centre I ventured out and next thing I knew Iwas handing over my Visa card. It will be about a month before it arrives which, as it happens, is the exact time our kerbside collection is scheduled which will remove the old one. Double win. Then because I was in the area I drove to the  Minnippi Parklands to celebrate with the camera.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27. Day 361. Mad dogs and Englishmen

Camping. I don't understand it. I don't understand why people would use their valuable leisure time deliberately exposing themselves to less than they have at home. I like beds. I like toilets that flush and running water. The microwave, the dishwasher, the washing machine,  the fridge: these devices make my life easier. I like my pool. I like my air conditioning. I'd rather enjoy what I have so why would I want to get away from it all. But, the camping enthusiasts say, you get to hang with people you know, meet new people, to socialise, to eat drink and be merry... repeat.  Yeah and share the toilet with them, listen to their fights and loud music and not have wifi - no thanks. I'd rather keep my home comforts and selectively let people I like - or those I think I'll like - in. Today we had six visitors for what started with lunch and ended with dinner. We knew three of the visitors, They introduced us to the other three. We all had a great time. And after the swim in the pool, we could have hot showers, put the wet clothes in the washing machine and grab a cold drink from the fridge. See, best of both worlds.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26. Day 360. Nailed it

Buying presents for people in their senior years is pretty bloody hard. There is only so much soap, talc etc a person needs. I find my neighbour Margaret particularly difficult for two reasons. Firstly, her way of spending her day pretty much involves sitting at the window watching the street and feeding birds.  And secondly, if you get it wrong and buy something she doesn't like Margaret is not backward in coming forward. This year, I was pretty sure I had nailed it. I saw this MetalBird thing on Facebook or Instagram or something. I was pretty much sure she would love the kookaburra. And she did. She asked one of our other neighbours to put it on the fence pretty much straight away. She called me immediately to come and check it out. She even made me say goodbye to it when I left. But here's the thing. It's on the fence the wrong way.  It's supposed to be nailed in by the twig so you see the silhouette . It has been nailed flat against the post. I said nothing. She loved it. It's her present. Who am I to judge. She's the one sitting looking at it. Let's call that a win.

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25. Day 359. It's hotting up around here

Ole, ole, ole, ole. Feeling hot, hot, hot.
Bloody hell.
They don't do Christmas like this in other parts of the world. But in other parts of the world they don't get to jump into a pool in your Santa suit or spend a month's wages on running the air con on full blast. 
Not that I'm complaining. I don't like the cold and we have a pool and air conditioning for when it's hot.
This means we get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Lobster, prawns and an avocado an mango salad for lunch and turkey with all the trimmings for dinner. Perfect.
Friends, three generations of the family and the canines and an impressive line of thunder storms, that's a Christmas in Brisbane for you.
Happy times. Happy, happy Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 24. Day 358. We are all in this together

T'was the night before Christmas and all through my house not a creature was stirring except perhaps  for the dogs. The humans were all out partying. This year the annual celebration was at my big sister Marie's house. There were presents, the Christmas crackers, bad jokes and paper hats, much food, much drink, Christmas songs and even a little dabbing - all pretty standard stuff for a festive feast. But we never fully do standard. Amid all the usual stuff, my niece Scarlett set up a nail salon in the kitchen. Scarlett enjoys painting nails. We enjoy having our nails painted and not just in single colours but with pretty delicate little designs. But most of all it was just having the whole family around for Christmas. Ho, ho, ho

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 23. Day 357. Christmas lights

Tonitgh, Drama Teen and I saw The Room a movie believed by many to be the worst film ever made. It cost $6 million to make and returned $1800 at the box office when released in 2003. But, and its a big but, it has now gone on to earn cult status because of its sheer dreadfulness and screenings are now not unlike a Rocky Horror Picture Show cinema at midnight - there is a lot of audience interaction. First up there are the spoons. The townhouse in which most of the action is set has a prominent framed photo of a spoon on the table, pretty much where a family photo would normally sit. Like many aspects of the film, this is never explained. Every time it comes into shot patrons hurl plastic spoons, dozens of them. The cinema is a shower of spoons. Also, the audience counts every time there is a scene where characters toss footballs between them (which happens a lot) and scream "Where are we?" each and every time we see a location shot of San Fransisco. The editors clearly did not want us to forget where we were. And then there's the Golden Gate Bridge. The camera pans from one end to the other for no particular reason many, many times. The patrons chant go, go, go as the pan progresses. Let's be honest, it is an attractive bridge, an iconic bridge but it plays no part in the action of the film despite its  frequent appearance. After the film, we stopped off at Brisbane's most iconic bridge. In keeping with the season the Story Bridge is wearing her very best Christmas lights at the moment. Although the bridge was red and green pretty much all night at one brief point, the lights changed to blue. The colour change started at one end of the bridge and moved in a wave to the other in pretty much the exact way the bridge panning shot had happened in The Room. A couple standing a little way from me in the park took up the chant "go, go, go". I looked at them. They looked at me. We laughed. Clearly they had been in the same screening at New Farm Cinemas. It was perfect because like most of the movie it was random. That and the very pretty lights ensured I went home with a big smile on my face.

Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22. Day 356. I love a sunburned Christmas

I was chatting to one of the stallholders at the Southbank Christmas markets tonight, a bloke I visit so often he knows my dogs by name. He's been manning his stall alone eight days straight but still had a big smile on his face. I wondered if that was because the storm didn't happen and the light rain was cooling people rather than deterring them. But he said he was happy because he really loves Christmas. Everyone around is in a party mood and having fun. The spirit of Christmas is everywhere. And it was. Happy little Vegemites everywhere. Where else but in Australia would people be floating in a giant outdoor pool watching Christmas movies with the city in the background?  It's a Brisbane thing. The canopy of fairy lights over the bougainvillea arbour. It's a Brisbane thing. Now if only one of those Christmas movies on the giant screen above the pool could show something that didn't involve snow. Our Christmas is just as valid as the white Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21. Day 355. Keep it in the family

I am fully aware that I'm a Crazy Dog Lady. I know it. I own it. The world knows it. What I don't know is what the dogs make of their special place in our home. If I spend any time at all considering the matter, I decide that not knowing exactly what they are thinking is probably a good thing. However, I'm pretty sure they know which side their bread is buttered on and they exploit it for all it's worth - not in a mean way but it is a dog-eat-dog world out there. Also, there are times I am reasonably sure they are laughing at me. They do something crazy and wait for me to react. I swear I hear the giggles when I do. But do I care? Nope. As long as they keep delivering in all their other areas of duty they can laugh all they want. Frankly, if I had their life I reckon I'd be pretty happy with my place in the family too.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 20. Day 354. Let sleeping girls lie

I've still got it. These days almost all of my hands-on parenting is showered on my fur babies. However I still have the power to read a bedtime story and put a human child to bed. Here's the proof. Miss Molly has wanted a sleep over for a long while and last night she got her wish. She slept like a baby. Sweet little thing. I only wish I had her super power to spring into action like an Energizer Bunny the second her eyes opened. It makes me feel old and tired (probably because I am old and tired). And because I'm old and tired, mothering dogs is probably more my speed these days. As much as "Aunty" Susan likes to have Molly visit, babies very happy to have a nap whenever I feel the need suit the Snoozen Susan. They don't even need a bedtime story - although should they change their mind I'm happy to read one.

Monday, December 18, 2017

December 19. Day 353. Shake it up baby now

 Children are weird creatures and not really like small adults at all. Clearly they still have intellectual, physical and emotional developing to do but it's not just that. They just don't react to physical sensations like big people. For example, children seem immune to things such as the cold. No body of water ever seems to chilly for a dip. They can be turning blue and still insist thy are not one bit cold. And then there's motion. If you were to pick me up by the clothing and swing me around like a rag doll the words that came out of my mouth would not be printable (it is possible no words would come out because of the competition with vomit but still.) But when four-year-old Molly's dad Jamie swung her around in her mum's PJ pants she insisted on wearing her words were far more family friendly. Like an Olympic athlete her goal was to go higher and faster. It would have made me feel slightly ill if it wasn't for the obvious joy on both of their faces. I'm not sure what would have happened if he's accidentally let go ....

December 18. Day 352. Oh Deer

When Drama Teen was but a Drama Toddler, one of the Christmas rituals we loved best was the annual singing Christmas Tree at the piazza at Southbank. The tree, which was constructed from carefully disguised choir raises, would come alive as the humans popped up and burst into carols. It was special. But it wasn't what interested Oliver most. It was the animals, and in particular, their poo. There were camels, a donkey, horses and reindeer and they all did a poo at some point. Oliver took great joy in doing a poo count. We never thought of it as anything but pure joy. Apparently, I was wrong. Apparently, I am shallow. Animals are not for our entertainment. At tonight's Christmas parade through the streets of Brisbane, a small band of protesters marched beside the floats and marchers. They held signs such as "Deer Don't Belong Here". I may be naive but the deer didn't looked too distressed. Having said that. however, I admire the protesters. I admire their commitment to the cause, I admire the fact that they were prepared to protest and potentially annoy thousands of families but most of all I admire the fact that they conducted themselves in a calm, quiet dignified manner. They held their signs high but they did so silently. That is in the spirit of Christmas in my book.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 17. Day 351. Twinkle, Twinkle

People think I'm weird because I love children's theatre (I am fully aware that's not the only reason people think I'm weird but that will do for today). When well done, children's theatre has the same quality of staging, acting and technical wizardry as shows for big people. But for me the real magic is in the seats in the auditorium as much as what's happening on stage. There is such magic in the faces, in the comments in the laughter of the children that you would have to be a grinch not to get a kick out of it. And done well, the makers of children's theatre normally ensure there's something going on that delights parents as well. Today "Aunty Susan" joined Molly and family at Emily Brown and the Thing. It was based on a book I confess I've never heard of and certainly never read but it was 50 minutes of please. Three performers played Emily, her rabbit Stanley, a witch, a troll, a polar bear and more. We were all totally engaged and already the brochures are out to plan what next. And since we were in the Southbank theatre precinct we wandered down to check out what was going on in the markets. I also managed to finish my Christmas shopping. Yay me.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 16. Day 350. Wet, wet, wet

It was the sort of Brisbane day that makes a girl break out in a sweat just thinking about going outside. Considering going any further afield and thoughts immediately went to ducking into the cool of the pool. But desperate times call for desperate measures. The number of days left between now and Christmas is rapidly declining so Christmas shopping was called for. Drama Teen and I headed to the Myer Centre and from the air conditioned car to the air conditioned shops and back. The only detour was to the city gardens where I found a 15 minute car park just by the gate. I went in. I took pics. I returned to the car and then we returned to the air conditioned house only  slightly damp. Mission accomplished.

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15. Day 349. I don't give a ship

Over the years, many, many people have tried to convince me I should take a cruise. This WILL NEVER HAPPEN. You can keep your endless buffets to yourself. The thing is this. I get really, really sea sick. "But these things are floating cities," they cry. "You can't even feel them move," they insist. I believe that holds true, for them. You can not, however, guarantee it will hold true for me. When the Royal Caribbean Cruises Global Chief Medical Officer says "There's no way to prevent motion sickness 100 percent", I am not going to take any advice for the cruise-a-holics. Even watching the P&O cruise ship glide up the river while I was at the dog park made me feel a little ill. I'd rather watch the sea safely from a dog beach. The cruise lovers should thank me. One less in the food queue....

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 14. Day 348. Hats off to you

There they go again. Another group of talented young people crossed the QPAC concert hall stage wearing a Cambridge pattern gown with a fuschia silk band. I feel such pride when one after the other, they move the tassel of the mortar board from the right to the left. It's job done for the class of 2017. I catch up with as many as I can find in the crowded QPAC foyers as they queue to have photos taken with family. This is, after all, an occasion families have every reason to celebrate. Behind just about every successful graduate is the family cheer squad (and often the family credit card). But an investment of time and/or money in an education is an investment always worth making. So hats' off to the journalism students about to make their way into the big world. We will miss you and honestly hope you remember us when you are changing the media for the better.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 13. Day 347. Breaking the drought

 Eighty days. That's a pretty long time between drinks. It's not that I'm counting but I know what event I was leaving when I thought I might die after two glasses. The blood test the next day revealed the hepatitis. I'm now allowed a tipple or two. If you are going to celebrate the end of disease-induced abstinence you might as well do it in style. Let me tell you it doesn't get much more stylish than Perrier-Jouet's Blanc de Blancs. That is French liquid awesome. It's new to the Emporium Hotel's cellar and as good a reason as any I've ever seen to host a celebration. As the doctor's orders are to take it easy I stopped at one and didn't even sample the other bottles being opened. So there was no chance I was over the limit when I asked a man I'd just met to come home with me. I'd just eaten one of the scallop canapes created by 2016 Brisbane Times chef of the year Josue Lopez. It was possibly the best thing ever. But Josh as his friends call him did not take my invite seriously. Apparently he has some fancy new job as executive chef as the Emporium. Just as well it's soon to open in walking distance from my home.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12. Day 346. Something to get off my liver

I do believe I can now put the liver thing behind me. Today was what is expected to be the last step - an MRI just to make sure everything is behaving as it should. I'm not the sort prone to claustrophobia, but I really could have done without the machine having "issues" a number of times dragging out a 30 minute procedure to well over an hour. Being in a tunnel isn't great but it was also freezing and I don't do well in the cold. So after it was done, fresh air and sunshine was in order - and fish and chips as it was many, many hours since I had been able to eat. As the procedure was done in Redcliffe (the only place that bulk bills MRIs) I headed straight for the water. Bloody good it was too.