Wednesday, December 12, 2018

December 12. Day 347. Afternoon delight

 I was on my own this afternoon. The rest of the family (minus the dogs) has business in Brisbane.
The dogs and I had important business - sleeping, reading and going to the beach.
It's like the grand central station of dog walkers on the beach in the early morning and late afternoon.
It's a beautiful time of day.
It was especially beautiful this afternoon.
It was calm and mild. The water was really, really warm.
You wouldn't go to the city and miss this unless you have to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 11. Day 346. Wise Owls

 It was graduation day today. I didn't go. I felt rather bad about that.
It is an important part of the university cycle. For those who have been to as many graduations as I have, they can become tedious but I know that for almost all the students it is a really important first.
Another group of eager young students is going out to the world.
But of course I'm on the beach and on sick leave and so not there, except in spirit.
And then there was the wise owls. This morning I was speaking to one of the residents in the street I am saying.
He told me there were owls in the tree and pointed two out.
He told me they were called Giggle and Hoot (after the owl-based ABC kids show). They were still there that afternoon.  I showed them to my mother and son.
What amazingly beautiful birds. I see them as an omen, a reminder of the graduation day I missed.

Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10. Day 345. Not a morning person

There was a Mexican stand off this morning.  Winkle was desperate to get to the beach.
Rumple, not really a morning "person", staged a sit down strike on the front steps.
It would have been easy to divide and conquer and take Winkle and leave Rumple, except neither dog wanted to be separated from the other.
Somehow, someone was going to have to compromise. That someone was me.
I carried Rumple most of the way to the beach until he was ready to walk. Seriously, those dogs have me wrapped around their little paws. When we got to the beach, I saw the turtle team. Until last year,  I didn't know turtles laid eggs in this part of Queensland. It was a revelation, one which I was just telling a friend about last week. He was heading north for the weekend to the turtle hatchery. He was as
surprised as I was to learn about turtle activity this far south.
Today, the turtle team told me, was the first batch of the season.
And to think, if I'd listened to Rumple, I would have missed it.
We were all happy we went.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December 9. Day 344. Dashing down the beach

I have had a serious case of couldn't-give-a-stuff-itis. Motivation to even get out of bed has been a struggle. But the lure of the beach, the sea breeze, the sand, the salt water, the whole package is irresistible .
And even if I wasn't feeling the spirit the dogs are. They know and they lead the charge.
Winkle loves to chase the ball along the beach.
Rumple is a bit ho hum on the ball business however he likes to chase Winkle.
He is often on the ball just to get the game going.
There will also be a fair bit of water play, wrestling and general horse play (or dog play as the case may be).
Apart from throwing the ball, I'm mostly an observer but I like what I see. I like it a lot. It makes me happy. The dogs may not have actual words but they make their intent very, very clear.
Oh happy days.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December 8. Day 343. The sun will come out

At the end every year, I need time at the beach. At the end of this year I REALLY need the beach. It's been tough, physically and mentally.
Actually one feeds off the other and I'm never quite sure which one leads the race.
It's like the sun comes out from behind the clouds when I'm at the beach - even on days like today when the sun didn't come out at all.
It seemed kind of cruel that after all the hot sunny days it would choose today to be rainy but there it was. Right now there really is no point sweating the stuff I REALLY can't change.
The beach with dogs in their happy place is my happy place and that will start addressing the other stuff - well that's the plan.

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7. Day 342. Let the celebrations begin

Christmas comes but once a year ... and I'm busy preparing but also on the agenda is a once in a lifetime celebration - my only son's rapidly approaching 21st birthday. The preparations got serious today as we headed into the city to meet with the functions co-ordinator of the Elizabeth Theatre where we intend to hold the functions (yes plural... long story).
With that locked and loaded we wandered back to the car parked near the Botanic Gardens. At first my eyes we drawn to the beautiful tree on Parliament House and then the nativity scene at the front door. It was refreshing to see an alternative to the "white-washed" nativities we normally see. My guess is that no matter what skin colour, the journey from that bundle to a 21-year-old will feel like both a blink of an eye and a lifetime. Time plays that trick on all of us.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 6. Day 341. When one door opens

When Margaret excitedly  mentioned that her nursing home was having a Christmas door decoration contest my first words were "challenge accepted". My first act (after Googling obviously) was to head to Reverse Garbage. This is where every thinking person must go if faced with a craft project best created with weird and wonderful bits of waste. I found just what I was looking for. Round rubber discs in two sizes - no need to cut pesky circles. I teamed that with a small scrap of orange plastic. The sign said it was easy to cut. It didn't lie. And finally there was the end of a roll of fabric that looked perfect for a scarf. Done. I looked at all the other creations on display. They looked clever but complicated. My project was simple but effective AND it worked. Margaret beamed. A job well done.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5. Day 340. Impress me much

The only thing more unlikely than me finding myself at a Shania Twain concert is finding myself there with my friend Christy.
And yet ... there we were.
Christy was given the tickets by a friend who won them.
So as someone who has no expectations, indeed no real knowledge of Shania, here are my observations:

  • The girl can sing and works the room well
  • Not everyone should wear leopard print ... even in honour of a pop princess
  • No-one should wear a unitard covered in sequins, especially not teamed with fringed suede boots. EVER
  • Really cool video projections may look impressive but they seem strangely out of place at a concert
  • Shania looks bloody good for a woman my age... jealous
  • I actually knew far more Shania songs than I realised
  • The crowd seemed excited but reserved at the same time
  • The Shania fan base is very diverse
  • Boondall continues to be Brisbane's worst live music venue.
So am I sorry I went? No. Would I go to another Shania concert? Probably not, unless Christy rang with free tickets.
And if I was to go again, I'd find out what the whole leopard print thing was about first.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 4. Day 339. Give me a home among the gum trees

We hear so much about the negatives of life that it's easy to lose sight of the fact that there are wonderful people in a wonderful world.
Today I was blessed with a stark reminder.
It happened in the street where my sister Lisa lives involving a little boy called Henry.
I had never met Henry before today and nor had any of the scores of people gathered in the back garden.
And yet they had all donated their time, their materials and their expertise to renovate Henry's new home. These people are Henry's heroes.
Henry had a complications from a chest infection that left him in a wheelchair unable to breath, walk or speak on his own. He's on the road to recovery but it will be a long road and he required a house adapted to his needs - and the tradies of Brisbane delivered. So after 200 days in hospital Henry came home for Christmas.
It was smiles and tissues all around - in equal measure.

Monday, December 3, 2018

December 3. Day 338. Feeling hot, hot, hot

 It was hot and steamy day today and that was even for lifeforms not covered in fur.
The aircon got a good running just for the dogs - that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
The dogs do have one advantage over me. They are happy to cool off in Kedron Brook.
Winkle being Winkle ran around like a crazy creature.
Rumple did a bit of that but then let his age and experience determine a more effective strategy. He found a spot that was just the right depth and lay down.
He then got up and gave himself a good shake up.
Winkle gave the birds a good shake up.
And then we all went back and found ourselves some air conditioning.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

December 2. Day 337. Home again. Home again. Jiggety-jig

My mother would be horrified if I confessed to asking a stranger in a youth hostel kitchen for drugs.
But I did and I do not regret it at all.
My head started pounding as soon as we got back to the hostel from dinner.
I had a shower. No relief. I drank a tonne of water. Nothing.
I walked outside for a bit to see if escaping the oppressively hot and airless hostel room would help. It didn't. I tried going back to bed. I tried reading but my eyes wouldn't focus. We are talking migraine level feel like vomiting or crying or both. And then I came across the hostel night manager . I asked if he happened to have any pain relieving drugs. He came back with nurophen. I could have kissed him. It took the edge off just enough to allow me to get a few hours sleep until sunrise. I got up and walked on the beach. the world felt a bit brighter. I went back and slept and then it was time to go home.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December 1. Day 336. Island time

I could stay that I was at the Youth Hostel on Stradbroke Island to prove you aren't only young once. I could say that, but it would be a lie. I was on Stradbroke Island for a Christmas celebration with some of my besties.
We do it every year, wherever is the most "convenient" place to gather.
This year it was at Stradbroke Island.
I love these people and I love our gatherings even if I did feel a tiny bit disloyal for stepping on the beach without my fur friends. Both my friends' house and the YHA are dog free zones, so Grandma did a spot of dog sitting for the night.
As soon as I stepped foot on the beach - just after I'd stepped over a snake because this is Australia after all - I was in my happy place. The champagne later didn't hurt at all. It was the best of times.

Friday, November 30, 2018

November 30. Day 335. Weddings, parties anything

Life is weird. There are just so many stories about the best laid plans that fail and the complete accidents/coincidences that work out.
Today may end up being just one of those. Although Margaret's birthday was weeks ago, the nursing home holds a monthly birthday celebration. November birthday boys and girls were the honoured guests at today's party.
We were at Margaret's table. Normally the Friday happy hour has a singer but today the entertainer didn't turn up. Some of the residents were a bit disappointed. "Can anyone sing?" one of the staff joked.
"Oliver can," I said "volunteering" him.
And so sing he did without a backing track.
He was great. I was proud. One dear old man called a staff member over when he'd finished and said "more singer...."
A female resident requested something from Les Mis next time. So there it is. They said he could come bak any time.
It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November 29. Day 334. Wonderland

What do sex toys, circus in a Glad Wrap Box and fractured fairy tales have in common?
That was what I experienced tonight. Perhaps that sounds like over-sharing or the punch line of a bad joke. It's neither.  The Wonderland festival at The Brisbane Powerhouse is all about the off beat theatrical and tonight I experienced it by the bucketload.
In four hours, I managed to squeeze in threes shows covering stand up, circus and cabaret in a theatrical threesome that was extremely entertaining.
The Wonderland Festival is pretty new to the Brisbane scene and I must say it's a welcome addition. As we head full steam into the silly season and the main stage programs start to dry up, this is just what the city needs. I applaud it heartily.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November 28. Day 333. Go with the flow

 At Southbank there are A LOT of public displays of affection or PDAs. You get kind of used to it. Public displays of theatre, well that's less common. Technically what we saw today was site-specific but ...
Anyway, the production by Elbowroom at Flowstate was very, very specific to Southbank.
This piece has performers leading the audience through the parkland while talking about the area's history.
It was incredibly interesting. It's kind of weird watching the public enjoying Southbank watching the performers and the spectators in headphones and trying to figure out what is going on.
But being among people going about their Southbank business is the point.
I'd love to see a version of this being an added attraction to the site.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

November 27. Day 332. Little drummer boy

 The New Farm Park/Powerhouse precinct is one of those places in Brisbane where I can be sure something will attract my eye.
There's always something on, or something striking or pretty or interesting. You can count on it.
But today I was lead by my ears not my eyes.
I heard the drums. I walked to the beat of the drum to the bandstand.
There was a bloke in a kilt mentoring a bloke in business wear.
I walked up and asked if I could take pics.
They were cool.
In a break I quizzed them, as I do.
They were part of a pipe band. They were the first to arrive. The others would be there soon.
Normally they rehearse in doors at Clayfield College but with school now out they were out in the bandstand. I reckon it was pretty hot in those clothes. But they still had the music in them and it was infectious.

Monday, November 26, 2018

November 26. Day 331. Life's a beach

 I am counting down the days until we get to the beach.
It's close but not close enough.
So even though it was late and I knew the sun would be almost gone before I got there I went to Bribie with the dogs.
They loved me for it.
After a really steamy Brisbane day it was bliss.
It was so worth it.
The dogs are in their happy place on the beach.
I'm in my happy place on the beach.
I throw the ball. Some times they chase it.
Some times they don't bother and chase each other or chase waves or other dogs. It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter that the car is full of sand after wards.
It doesn't matter that EVERYTHING is full of sand after wards. It doesn't matter that there are two wet dogs. It's the beach and that's everything.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 25. Day 330. Santa Paws.

 I like it when I'm proven right.
For years the world thought I was crazy. I was on the lunatic fringe.  Only crazy people would take their dogs to sit on Santa's knee. I didn't care what people thought. I did it anyway.
But now it's very mainstream. It's not only happening in Westfield Shopping Centres but all the spaces are fully booked.
Take that doubting Thomases.
But I was not going to let the wee small problem of over booking beat me.
Given that I am most experienced at this sort of thing, I know all the places.
I signed on. I took the dogs. I have the photographic evidence.
Job done.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

November 24. Day 329. Birthday bash

 Aren't they adorable? Cousins born six days apart. My family have a bit of a thing for that. I had a cousin born on the same day and another 12 days later.  We had a three way christening.
I suppose you could feel ripped off at not having your own special day all to yourself.
Or you could embrace the shared love. This is definitely the latter - but we did only get one cake.
I'm on a diet. I suppose I should be pleased.

Friday, November 23, 2018

November 23. Day 328. Flighty

 Everyone needs something to raise them up.
I find watching birds strangely uplifting.
I find watching dogs run and jump and chase birds really uplifting.
Right now, while on sick/stress/who-knows-what leave, I need a whole lot of this self care.
So we visit Margaret and we visit the creek.
It's good for all involved.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

November 22. Day 327. Thunder bolts and lightning

 As storm goes this was fast but it was also furious.
It was one of those storms that you feel coming.
It was oppressive. 
You know the storm is a must-needed cleanse even though there is a real menace.
At our place it was not terrifying to humans but Rumple at least was having none of it.
As dogs go, Rumple is my scaredy cat.
He sat on my lap and was moving nowhere.
We swerved the worst of it getting the rain and the wash down without any damage.
So weather gods, a job well done.
Rumple, you got your cuddle. Grass you got your rain. Easy as.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 21. Day 326. Fire!

Oh for goodness sake, I thought. 
I'll be 30 minutes. Ten minutes to get there. I'll be there 10 minutes then 10 minutes to get home.
And at the 20 minute mark the phone rings repeatedly. Seriously. You need what that is more important than what I'm doing... You see what I was doing was getting portraits of the dogs taken. This is in the very important basket. This is in the Do Not Disturb basket and yet ...
Reluctantly I answer. The home around the corner is burning down. The flames are huge. The smoke is really black.
Okay. That IS a big deal.
The journalist in me knows this. The nosey neighbour in me knows this. The photo shoot is over anyway. I'm coming home.
There were still flames when I got there but it was mostly out. But the news crews were still there. I can smell a news story in the air in the smoke. I can see it in the faces of the residents. I feel a tiny bit nostalgic for a former career but like the resulting asthma it passes.