Thursday, May 31, 2018

May 31. Day 151. Gone to the dogs

 There's no such thing as a free lunch. Today the cost paid for rather nice burgers was a two-hour staff meeting. It was about change and coping with it. For some reason the graphics came from studies based on changes related to grief. To that I say "good grief".   Clearly my powers of adapting to change are not what they should be.
But if there is one thing that can reset my equilibrium it's dogs. And nothing has quite the power that is dogs at the hairdresser. The dogs like the hairdresser like I like a meeting. We were both very happy to see each other. Happiness is dogs fresh from a haircut, so beautiful, so pleased to see me. Bless.  This is a reward far better than a hamburger.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May 30. Day 150. Nice night for a walk

 I was "meant" to go walking early. I am "meant" to do quite a lot of things I never get around to.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak or something. For whatever reason the day was almost over before the walk began. This could be to do with the early sunset because of the rapid approach of winter. The days are noticeably shorter and the transition from day to night very rapid. So while we started the walk by day it was dark by the time we arrived back home. In part this had to do with a stupid amount of time the dogs and I sat outside shops and waited. My two-legged child had errands so came along for the ride, or walk as it was. While I sat on bus seats with the dogs and waited it struck me how quickly people are to make judgments and act accordingly. There are homeless people in the parts of the city where I was hanging around on park benches and waiting. Many of them have dogs and do much the same thing. I rather suspect  strangers don't come up to them and chat and ask to pat the dogs. It could be that my dogs are irresistibly delightful (they are) but I doubt that's it. We are a judgy lot aren't we? And I do mean "we" because I do it too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May 29. Day 149. Kids these days

I caught a bus today ... pauses to allow people to run outside to see if hell has frozen over.  No, entirely of my own free will and with a vehicle in perfect working order in the garage at home, I decided to take public transport. Well, kind off. I was given a lift to work and I walked a large section of the journey home but there was a bus ride between campuses for one segment. I am trying to keep up with this exercise business but accepting of the reality that only so much is possible if you are up until 3am marking. But back to the bus. The trip told me two things 1) I still hate bus travel and 2) that saying about being as old as you feel isn't true. I felt about 104. Late night extended marking sessions are most unkind to body and soul. But if I was 104, then by rights those fit, healthy young things on the bus should have given me a seat. Nope, not a movement. Kids these days. Still, I said I wanted exercise and hanging on for dear life has to expend some energy even if only of the emotional kind.

Monday, May 28, 2018

May 28. Day 148. Vocal recognition

 I learned a lot about spit today. Indeed I found myself thinking about spit far more than any time possibly outside the dentist surgery. In that environment I always think a lot about spit because I think I'm probably drowning in it. The real surprise about today's obsession with spit was that it had nothing to do with marking. Marking does have be wanting to spit. Today's spit obsession came from a voice training session I attended briefly. Hit 105's Amy Drew was talking about the importance of warming up the voice. She talked about vocal exercises. She also talked about the importance of spit. You want lubricated vocal chords, she said. Spit is your friend. Water is okay before starting to read but may be less than okay during (unless you have a cold in which case it will be your saviour). But don't chew gum. That will produce too much saliva. Go for Goldilocks - not to little. Not to much. Just right.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

May 27. Day 147. I like to watch

What kind of person photographs a stranger's wedding? I consider there are probably two types. There are those who get paid for it. Technically they probably met the couple before the wedding so are not complete strangers. And then there are weirdos you just can't help themselves when they see a bridal party. I fall into the latter group. I just find weddings endlessly fascinating. I'm not like a storm chaser who tries to out oneself in the path of the action. If, however, I happened to see a wedding I'm like a kid in a candy store. I'm drawn. It's the theatre of it all. The costuming. The props, the ceremony, the lines to be recited, the rituals. And all those roles - bride, groom, bridesmaids, mothers fathers, best men, drunken uncle. Such drama. So much to see.
Thus I stopped on my walk and took in the scene of the bridal party. There were two of us taking photos. Only one was on the cast list.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

May 26. Day 146. A bit of drama in my life

 Who doesn't like a bit of drama in their life? Well me, actually.  My motto (well one of them) is "anything for a quiet life"). In the day-to-day sense, I go out of my way to avoid conflict. But drama in the other sense, that I love. Indeed, I went to the theatre twice today and the first performance involved me driving 100 kilometres down the M1 for a spot of Shakespeare. Home and a nap and then out again for a MELT performance at the Brisbane Powerhouse. It was closing night. There was a costume party and there was glitter. I wasn't staying for the party but I wasn't missing out on the glitter. A girl needs to show here true colours and have a bit of drama in her life, right?

Friday, May 25, 2018

May 25. Day 145. Spitting chips

God I love pelicans. There is no better bird on the planet (Although I do rather like flamingos as well but for sheer size and majesty the pelican gets a big fat tick).  I suspect they have an element of Kardashian about them. They know where their appeal lies and they are well prepared to use it. But perhaps I am just being cynical. Perhaps it is all about the food. Certainly at the University of Queensland Lakes this afternoon the pelican was a man on a mission. Dinner was on his mind and he was fishing. He was swimming around the edge of the lake (which was rather convenient for the woman with the camera). He would lie on his side and take a big fat scoop of water eat the solid bits and spit out the liquid. It was wasn't pretty but it was effective. Actually it was not unlike me eating pasta.
I was dead impressed. My love only grows.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

May 24. Day 144. You're toast

Punctuation is very important. If I said to my husband "You're toast," it would mean in deep trouble. But if it was "your toast" it's presenting breakfast. It was Charles' birthday today. Being the most dutiful wife, I had bought the presents some time ago and stashed them. I even remembered where. Then about a week ago I had a thought. "Charles has this 'thing' with toast." He's really particular. The toast comes out of the toaster and is stacked like he starting to build a house of cards. This, he says, stops it from going soggy. So it occurred to me that he needed a toast rack. It cost next to nothing. Naturally, like the child who prefers the box to the gift, he was so delighted. He was grinning like the canary who got the cream.
And then I served the toast alongside unquestionably the most disgusting breakfast ever - kippers because I only had to cook them not eat them. He devoured it just as quickly as the noisy miner downed the worm. And then we stopped at the Italian bakery - because if you can't eat, drink and be merry on your birthday when can you?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May 23. Day 143. Feeling quackers

Do you ever wonder if you've missed something? I sometimes think I missed the memo or there's a lost jigsaw piece.
It's those times when you hear the recollections of a situation from a friend, family member or colleague and think "seriously, that's how you remember it?" Sure, there's two sides to every story. Sure, absolute truth is always hard to find but there are times when the versions of the truth are just so far apart....
Men and from Mars. Women are from Venus and all that. Actually, I wonder if we are all on our own planet orbiting our individual sun.
Perhaps it's just that a new bundle of marking arrived today but something is messing with my head. So I did the only thing a girl can do in such a situation. I took the dogs for a walk. We went to the Roma Street Parklands. It's pretty and relaxing there. The dogs like it because they like anywhere there are ducks. They live in a delusional world where they think that one day they might catch one of those ducks. This is not that unlike my reality where I think one day I might win Lotto and buy that beach house. Quackers really.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May 22. Day 142. Green with envy

 A rolling stone gathers no moss. So clearly  there's not rolling going on in the duck ponds at UQ. Technically, according the info I found when I Googled it at some point (so therefore completely guaranteed accurate),  it's algae. And also technically it's due to nutrient levels and nothing to do with  stones, rolling or otherwise. But to the analogy because, you know, I'm on a roll. I seem to spend my life rolling from one commitment to the next with little time to breathe in between. I sleep, a lot and at really weird times, but otherwise it's stuff, stuff stuff without much time for rest and reflection. Well folks, this is about to change. The walk it back. Tomorrow the Global Challenge begins and thus there will be daily walks. I think a lot when I walk. Thinking is good even if the thoughts are not always good. They are better out than in. So today I was out for a dry run walk and tomorrow we start in earnest.

Monday, May 21, 2018

May 21. Day 141. You might as well laugh

 It has taken me a number of years - I think it might be three - to get around to calling the Miele service department to have my combined microwave/over fixed. We have another oven and another microwave so it wasn't deemed urgent... and my experience of waiting for repair people to turn up isn't good. But this is the year I plan to do all the jobs I've been putting off so I  bit the bullet. Naturally you have to be home for a full four hours to await their visit. Visit one diagnosed the problem. Visit two was to have fixed the problem but ovens need two hinges and they only ordered one ... but the sparking bit was fixed so go right ahead and use it. I did. It's still sparking. Visit three was to be today - some time after 12. At 12.52pm I get a message that there's no part so no visit today. I call back to reschedule but the person I need to speak to is "away from her desk". She'll call back. She still hasn't. I've rearranged my life three times to be here to wait for servicemen and still the microwave/oven combo thing doesn't work. This is why I give up. But as I sat in the kitchen and waited I did get to see the kookaburra sitting on the back deck laughing at me. That's something, I guess. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20. Day 140. Pawfect day out

They say insanity is hereditary - you get it from your kids. My particular brand of crazy, well the one relevant to today's discussion, comes from my fur kids. I'm a self-confessed Crazy Dog Lady. It helps to know you are not alone. This is where the Million Paws Walk comes in. At one level this is a fund raiser for the RSPCA. But at another level it shows we are not alone. Being crazy about dogs is a wide-spread thing. These people are my tribe. This is a space where dressing your fur babies is celebrated. This is where carrying your dog in a handbag, a backpack or a pram barely raises an eyebrow. These are people who don't give a second thought to letting their dog share an ice cream or drink from a water bubbler. These are people who know dogs are people. So my "people" and I walked the 3.5 kilometres and then in keeping with the dogs are people philosophy, we all went home to bed.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

May 19. Day 139. In a flap

I still have a reference in which I was described as "unflappable under pressure". I was much younger then. Actually, I consider myself to be a juggler but I have a finite number of balls I can keep in the air. One more than that and I don't just drop that one ball but all of them. The unflappable Susan Hetherington is flapping about aimlessly. That version of me made an appearance today. That version of me turned up to a theatrical performance at the wrong venue. I went to the Redcliffe Cultural Centre. I missed the bit where they now have a new venue. Of course I was cutting really fine as it was. The most flappable Susan Hetherington had lost her car keys and taken the wrong turn near the Deagon Deviation. But I managed to convince myself that luck was now on my side. There were parks outside the venue ... lots of parks....lots and lots of park. Finally it hit me. There were far too many carparks for a matinee to be on - at least at that venue.
Perhaps I had the date wrong. Google showed right date, wrong place. So while the show must go on, it wasn't going to go on for me. I needed to cool my head before the journey home.  There's a lovely parkland area just at the end of the street from the centre. I knew that from past visits. It's central feature is a large and well populated pond. This is a chilling spot. I walked down. The birds put on a performance. It wasn't the type of performance I thought I'd signed up for but a performance just the same. Better than nothing.

Friday, May 18, 2018

May 18. Day 138. Mind playing tricks on you

 Do you ever get a feeling that you are trapped in the game that is life?
Do you ever think you are playing without knowing the rules or that the rules you are playing by aren't the ones everyone else knows?
That it's two steps forward and three steps back, that there are more snakes than ladders?
I've had a day like that. I'm not sure if it is my turn. I'm not sure what move I should make. I have a scary suspicion that the game will end in a stalemate or worse no matter what my move.
All of these things are swirling around my head as I prepare for bed. Perhaps this is why Mind Games that I saw as part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival struck a chord.
I can't exactly say what it was "about" and I sure as hell can't say what it "meant". But I do know it was two people trapped with each other for so long that where one started and the other ended became blurred. They played Connect 4 but the concept of ever winning or losing was lost - it was just a never ending cycle of patterns and coloured dots.
I hope the dots in this game line up. I rather fear they won't. To mix a metaphor. The die has been cast. Your move.

May 17. Day 137. The wheels of government

 I still haven't decided whether the architects responsible for Brisbane's Tower of Power sadly missed season 2 of How I Met You Mother or whether the building is a tribute to the sit-com. Episode 6 of season 2 is all about designs for a new bank building. The plans put up by Hammond Druthers, a legend at least in his own mind, resemble a giant penis. He can't see it. "That's ridiculous," he says "There's no way this majestic tower can be confused with the male organ of love."
If only someone had challenged the 1 William Street designers, we might have a giant phallic symbol on our skyline.
I don't think the irony of having all the politicians based in that building is lost on anyone.
Perhaps one day I will come to love it. I doubt it.
I remember when the Arbour went in. It was bland, cold and ugly. I had no vision. Seeing now in its bougainvillea-covered glory and I admit the architects were right.
 It is a thing to behold. And I love the Wheel of Brisbane on the skyline too. It was meant to be temporary. I hope it stays. We need something to balance the penis building.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May 16. Day 136. Having a spray

Fun fact. I do not have a crystal ball. If I did I would put it to good use and find out Saturday's Gold Lotto numbers but alas I'm left guessing like everyone else.
Apparently there are those that think my crystal ball is polished and ready. I had just arrived at Roma Street Parklands with the dogs when the phone rang. It was an electrical contractor at my place saying that due to the recent installation of solar panels they needed to do work. And I needed to be home to let them in to turn off the power. I said I could probably be there within a hour. The bloke protested asking me to make it in 30 minutes because under the AEMC they were obliged to complete the work in a set time window. At this point I let the bloke have a spray. "So", I said "Does this Australian Energy Market Commission require that you actually notify people when you are going to turn up."
He admitted that was probably also an obligation. So I pretty much said I wasn't about to drop what I was doing to rush home to prevent a breach given there was already one. I would make an effort but not a very big one. We left it at that. he called back. He's spoken to his supervisor and found out that as I hadn't been notified the appointment was off. Being there was a breach. The big energy retailers don't always do what they are supposed to, he said. When you are big things can get lost in the system, he said. When you are big you can come to think you can do what you like, I interpreted. Well not today and not with this little black duck. The dogs and I went back to walking.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May 15. Day 135. Keep off the grass

 Who ever said diets were die with a t got it right. Diets really, really suck. I've now been on a whole Lite n Easy thing for about three months and I'm pretty sure all I've lost is the will to live. Soul destroying really. Some people like to eat raw grains and fresh greens. I am not that person. I think out teeth give us a clue as to why we shouldn't be eating like a bird. The incisors are to cut, the canines to tear, the molars to crush. If lettuce was the end game, that would all seem like gross overkill. To be fair to Lite and Easy it isn't all salads. But as a girl who never met a carbohydrate I didn't like, it's not as satisfying as I would like.
It's better than it could be but it could be a steaming bowl of hot chips and it is not. Return to point one. Eating grass is for the birds. Diets are die with a T

Monday, May 14, 2018

May 14. Day 134. I love the night light, baby

At some point, and I can't put my finger on exactly when it happened, Brisbane saw the light.And then another light. And then yet another. Now at night there are coloured lights on just about every bridge, every second historical building and every really big tree is glistening with fairy lights. Doubtless it is hideously environmentally unfriendly but if you can live with that you are living in a very vibrant city - literally. I'm pretty sure they are all very, very energy efficient and I think we could all do with a little bit more colour in our lives. So I'm embracing it a) because I'm a colourful person and b) because they are a photographer's dream and c) as if anyone with any power to turn off the lights cares what I think. Let there be lights.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

May 13. Day 133. Happy Mothers Day

Sassy side eye from my niece Cleo

If you haven't seen a promo for the Roseanne reboot you haven't tuned into Channel 10 any time recently.
They are pretty much flogging the life out of it.
I watched the first episode and was generally surprised that I didn't hate it. But it's a scene from one of the high rotation promos that continues to tickle my funny bone.
Dan: "And there's no books on how to raise kids" to which Darlene replies...
"Yes there are. There are literally thousands."
She's right. And she's wrong. Yes, there are thousands of books. No, they don't really help, well not me anyway.
Parenting doesn't go by the book. It's a tough gig and just when you think you might have an answer you get thrown a question you could not even have dreamed about. Being a parent makes you appreciate your parents so much more. I always adored both my parents but really understanding what they did ... well that comes with age and experience. So yes Mothers Day is a cynical creation by florists, Hallmark and cafes that serve brunch but it's also a bloody good reason to get together and celebrate our mothers. We ate, we drank and then I went home for a nap because this mothering business is quite exhausting.

May 12. Day 132. A Prudent Man

   Last night I decided I hated Lyall Brooks. Well, not really. It's just there was only him on stage and the words that came out of his mouth were self entitled, self indulgent and completely without compassion or remorse. The Prudent Man was a Putrid Man. But Lyall, even if I didn't really hate you all is forgiven. I mean, really, I could never hate someone who stays in Air BnB's while on tour so the dog can accompany him and his partner. There's respect right there. But it's more than that. Today Drama Being spent the day in a Monologue Masterclass with Lyall. After the performance of A Prudent Man, the students performed their pieces. They were extraordinary. As a stage mum or sorts, I've seen a lot of monologues performed in my day but these were something else. While each monologue stood up on its own, together they all built on the themes in a Prudent Man.
 They were presented as a cohesive piece of theatre that show cased the students but also gave the audience something to go home and think about. That's a really big achievement in one day of rehearsals.

Friday, May 11, 2018

May 11. Day 131. A squabble of seagulls

 As a child of the '80s, it's compulsory to adore the band A Flock of Seagulls. That new wave synth pop sound was awesome even if their knowledge of collective nouns was not. The correct collective noun for seagulls is a squabble. As life would have it, I was reminded of that twice today. This morning Margaret and I were at Sandgate. She noted that unlike our last visit two weeks ago, there were not many seagulls. Just one in fact. And then she threw it a prawn shell. Like something out of an Alfred Hitchock movie, the sky darkened under a cloud of feathers. The seagulls descended. She threw chips. The gulls began what looked like it would be a fight to the death. I went off to talk to the crabs.
Tonight the image was clearly back in my head. Drama Being and I were at Gardens Theatre for a performance of A Prudent Man. It was a stunning single hander that really shone a light on politics, image, political expediency and how you get to a point where anything can be excused if the means always justifies the ends. Of course, none of that has anything to do with seagulls. Well, not really. Playwright Katy Warner writing in this piece is beautifully chaotic. There's this politician spitting out sound bites and 30 second grabs like an endless episode of Q and A where a question may be put but an answer is rarely given. But then there's this childhood memory about seagulls. It's longer. More detailed. More honest. More graphic. A chip is thrown and a storm of gulls descend. In the squabble the chip stops being the victim and the gulls turn on one of their own and peck it mercilessly to death. I think the same thing might happen at pre-selection contests or party room debates.
Either way it made me think. there were plenty of chips to go round this morning but when a winner-takes-it-all attitude is allowed to fester compassion is lost and we are all worse off for it.