Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October 31. Day 304. Spooky

 Frankly there are members of my household who need no excuse to dress up.
As such Halloween is one of the highlights on the annual calendar.
It pleases me know end to have an excuse to dress up the dogs. Ir pleases Oliver no end to have have a reason to go above and beyond in the whole dress up thing.
Today both Winkle and Oliver went the pumpkin route. Rumple was a skeleton. Everywhere I went people were getting into the spirit - no one more than Winkle who gets into the spirit of every occasion generally by humping Rumple. Who would have thought being skeleton would have you want to jump his bones?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October 30. Day 303. The Blood Votes

Perhaps our education system has changed since the 1980s - my guess is not enough. I know more about European and American history than I do about Australian history. That's not just a shame, it's shameful. And even the bits I "know" it turns out are patchy. For instance I was well aware about the debate over conscription - in the Vietnam War. Somehow the violent protests around the 1916 and 1917 conscription referendums escaped the assigned textbooks or I slept through that bit. But a light is about to be shone on that missing chapter. In the lead up to the Centenary of the Armistice on November 11 the world premiere of a new work will be staged in Brisbane. The Blood Votes has been written by Michael Futcher in association with the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble and University of Queensland historians. It looks at the issue that divided the country, that divided families and communities through the eyes of mothers, sons, soldiers, workers, politicians and religious leaders. It doesn't seek to provide the answer only to help the audience navigate its way through the different perspectives of the intense debate. And as they say, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
The Blood Votes will be staged at the Holy Trinity Church Hall from Wednesday November 7 until Sunday November 11.
You can hear our discussion with two of the cast members here.
Tickets to the production are available here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

October 29. Day 302. Big appetite

The weather was kind of sh*t this morning. I could have stayed in bed. There was no way I was staying in bed. two days is by no means enough to spend at the coast and I certainly wasn't going to waste one of them. So the dogs and I hit the sand. It was blustery but beautiful. But then I had a plan. Google had mentioned that there were dog off leash areas on both sides of the Southport Spit. Yesterday and first up this morning we were on the ocean side but there's also a dog beach on the more protected broadwater side. We set off to find it. There were no humans. There were no other dogs. There were plenty of birds.
Rumple and Winkle were in heaven. the birds were in no danger, The photographer achieved birds in flight photos thanks to her "assistants". Everyone's a winner, babe.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 28. Day 301. High flyer

Dear self. I am really, really sorry. I haven't taken you to the beach since Easter and that was only for four days. I need to do better.
It's easy to forget in the crazy pace of day to day life to take time for the things that really, really matter.
When I watched the dogs bound along the beach this morning I remembered why I love the beach so much.
It is my happy place. I felt a weight lift. I felt at peace with the world.
I might never be tempted to ride a jet surfer .... actually there's no might about it .... but just being on the sand has me flying high and then there's the dogs whose paws barely touch the ground. Bliss. This may only be two days but fear not three weeks are booked at Christmas. Bring. It. On.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

October 27. Day 300. Songs of praise

 I can not start to calculate the number of hours spent in church as a young thing listening to hymns sung really, really badly. If these equated to songs of praise one would hate to think what songs of castigation sounded like.
And yet many in mainstream religions use the term "happy clappy" churches as a term of derision. It makes no sense, when you think about it. Surely you want people to be joyous in their worship. All of which brings me to today's post. Fame senior musical where two of the featured musicals had a bit of religion at their heart. Sister Act is about a nightclub performer being sent into witness protection with a group of nuns and breathing a fresh air into the choir in the process. And then the Book of Mormon which is a very naughty, very jaunty look at the Mormon faith.
This is the type of music that is good for my soul.

Friday, October 26, 2018

October 26. Day 299. Isn't it grand?

I am fully aware that I am old enough to be a grand parent.  However in my head I am absolutely not old enough. Still I can be a stand in when the situation demands. I'm good like that. Many a time I have been a substitute relative for my nieces at school activities when the appropriate relative was out of town.  No-one wants to be the only kid without a representative at these things. So today I was Molly's special person at a grandparents say at day care. Tragically I don't think anyone would have considered I was not old enough for the role.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

October 25. Day 298. Dirty business

I should not wear white. EVER. I really should not wear white when taking the dogs for a walk. I really, really should never wear white when taking the dogs for a walk after heavy rain.
Basically I am a dirt magnet.
I was born to wear dark colours or patterns that hide marks.
Today I forgot that rule in spectacular fashion. The pants were not only white but new. They were first time on new. After visiting Margaret we went for a walk along Kedron Brook. Margaret had expressed disappointment at the lack of Kookaburras neat her room. I saw one. I climbed a grassy embankment to get closer. I got dirty. I said hi to passing sausage dog. It jumped on me. I got dirtier. The dogs ran down to the brook for a swim. Winkle started whimpering. She was on a log and afraid to move. The water wasn't deep but Winkle is really, really little. There was only one thing for it. I had to climb down the muddy embankment and rescue her.
Any thoughts of protecting the pants was long gone. In the end they are only pants ....

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

October 24. Day 297. Batty

 Bats are kind of awesome. Being the only mammal that can fly puts them in a very special category in my book.
Also, they have very sweet little faces. I admit my perspective would change if 1) I was in a dark and spooky place surrounded by them
2) I was involved in the types of activities likely to bring me into contact with bat-borne viruses such as the Hendra virus.
3) I was a criminal - as a devoted follower of all things Batman, I know how terrifying the bat symbol is to those who break the law.
However, in a dog park a long time before dark bats are just awesome.
I like that they sleep hanging upside down.
I like that they sleep all day.
I like the fact that they have the world fooled into believing they are blind
And I like the fact that there shit is well sort after. You can't argue with that as a measure of awesome.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October 23. Day 296. Perfect match

 Back in the day I had an endless capacity for craft. I would spend hours with a tiny, tiny brush hand painting jewellery. It was all very therapeutic.
But I now know I'm a novice. On the walls of Margaret's home is a very large work of art created entirely from match sticks. Its creator, a former resident in the street, made it when she was rehabilitating from a leg injury. Thousands and thousands of matches went into it. It was meant to be a table top but when it was finished it was too heavy. So it was mounted on Margaret's wall and there is stayed. Last week she said I should have it. This is really touching but getting it the short distance from her house to ours was not going to be easy. I called on my handyman mate Warren. We recruited Oliver. Warren wasn't convinced that was enough to safely do the job. He decided we should put it back and muster more manpower. I'm not one to argue with a man with a drill.  This is proving as difficult as I assume it was to create it in the first place. But no pain, no gain. It may be an ordeal but it will be worth it in the end.

Monday, October 22, 2018

October 22. Day 295. In the Valley

 The suburbs around the Brisbane CBD each has a very distinct characteristic - at least they did when I was a kid. West End was the hippy child. New Farm an Italian job and the Valley had its China Town.
Some of those traditional influences have diluted, some have evolved, some solidified.
I used to spend quite a bit of time in and around the Valley, given that I went to school there for seven years.
It has changed a lot. In some areas there is urban renewal and gentrification. In some places it is dingier than ever. And then, there is China Town.
It is a bloody awesome place to go to dinner. But tonight my mission was just a Mum's taxi booking. There was a little bit of hanging around and photographing but no time for fried rice.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

October 21. Day 294. Storm season

If the weather today was to be categorised as a stage of life it would certainly be a teenaged girl. It was moody and brooding. And then it exploded in full fury.
This was take no prisoners,  slamming doors, stomping, huffing, yelling crashing anger being unleashed from a dark cloud.
This was a Queensland thunder storm in all its glory.
And then it was over.
The clouds parted, the sky cleared and then it was all rainbows and sunshine.
It felt like it had burned itself out and peace was restored and the world was good again, cleaner, fresher and happier.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October 20. Day 293. Wheelie good

What's that saying about reinventing the wheel? The wheel is the high point of evolution, or at least right up there. And the only thing better than one wheel is two. But try telling the boys that.
Margaret's room at Regis Lutwyche overlooks the bike path along Kedron Brook.
Every time I am there I see someone cycling down that path doing a wheelie.
I kind of get it. It's long and flat and at many times of the day fairly empty. I do not count myself as an expert in these things - at all. I can ride a bike ... just. But I do know it is a pretty fine stretch of bike path and should I ever be struck with an inclination to do a wheelie this is the type of place I'd give it a go.
For now I am very happy to just watch and wonder.

Friday, October 19, 2018

October 19. Day 292. A good man in hard to find

It doesn't seem to matter what stage of life, it's hard to get men on the dance floor. It's hard to get men who will dance. Full stop. the wallflower is always female, waiting for a dance partner. Yet there is nothing more captivating than a man who loves to dance. I saw that today at Margaret's nursing home. Friday afternoon has happy hour. Roy Morris, the King of Swing, was in setting the mood with everything from Neil Diamond to Elvis Presley. The female residents were up and dancing. The men, not so much. But enter Brian the Club Services Manager. He had the ladies hanging off him, literally. A good man is hard to find.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

October 18. Day 291. Clothes maketh the man

 My son has always shown an interest in clothing. He likes to stand out and make a statement.
I like that, even though I am well aware that the more Aussie approach to male clothing would be far, far cheaper.
But let's face it, the cheaper option would also be less fun - especially for me and it's all about me.
We went to the movies tonight which resulted in the car being parked right outside one of our favourite male fashion outlets.
It would have been wrong not to see what was inside.
It would have been wrong not to at least let him try something on.
We could have left without a spotted shirt - but we didn't.
I don't entirely agree that clothes maketh the man ... but they help.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October 17. Day 290. A plague of locusts

I am not a gardener. If I was I wouldn't have pot plants with dead sticks in them. If I was I might actually have lawn. If I was I wouldn't love grasshoppers. They are just awesome. It's hard to explain what makes them so interesting. I rather like their big eyes and how they are positioned on their heads. I like the way the eye itself seems to have this robotic characteristic. But in the end I suspect its about how they move. The hop is pretty compelling. The one that came to my attention today was on the glass outside Margaret's second floor balcony. Considering the size of our little friend that's really, really high up. I watched him for ages. I was captivated. I wished I'd had a Bug Catcher. I realised that was pointless because he was on the outside of the glass and he might find getting up two storeys no dramas but I'm much more grounded. Eventually he got bored and hopped away. Suddenly I felt like a green cocktail ....

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October 16. Day 289. Australian graffiti

I can't help but think how lucky we are to have The Brisbane Powerhouse. It's a great venue, but that's not it. It's more that the building still exists.
So many other buildings, buildings that were held in fonder regard by the Brisbane public, were bulldozed.
But the Powerhouse has survived and thrived.
And not only that it hasn't been sanitised.
The old grungy elements haven't been whitewashed, they have been celebrated.
The original features of the building are there for all to see.
There's an energy that's befitting a Powerhouse.
It's a beautiful thing.

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15. Day 288. A birdy with a yellow bill

Still wet, wet, wet.
On the upside,  no point in doing the laundry.
On the downside it's getting close to the point where I'll have to buy new underwear.
My dogs have other concerns.
They are feeling housebound.
We went to visit Margaret today.
That is always a highlight.
But there was no way they were getting anywhere near the creek.
It was running like no man's business.
The nearest they got to the outdoors was giving their "regards" to the noisy miners who wouldn't let the small matter of torrential rain stop them from visiting Margaret and their mince.
From Margaret's point of view all visitors are warmly received.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 14. Day 287. Lovely weather ... for ducks

 I got bitten for a goat today, well a kid called Boots actually.
Boots was so sweet. He seemed to think my finger was a teat.
He sucked it and sucked it but nothing.
So boots, getting desperate, tried biting.
Funnily enough, despite the goat bite, my day was better than many.
It was the Great Duck Race, a big fundraiser for the Queensland Cancer Fund. There's supposed to be a whole day of festival around the ducks.
It was a big, soggy mess. There were people ... but not many of them.
All that organisation and so few gold coins for entry ...
And worse, a bloke on the gate told me it rained last year too. It's barely rained since. How unlucky can you get?
At least most of the ducks in the duck race were pre-sold so it wasn't all for nothing.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October 13. Day 286. Octoberfest

 Hey Brisbane. Fun fact. Oktoberfest in Munich is in September.
Many an Australian tourist has been caught out by that. It's all too confusing. And because we are simple folk here in Brisbane we choose to hold Oktoberfest in October. We also have an "interesting" interpretation to traditional German clothing. I'm sure the beer is ... beer. Anyway, there was a bucketload of festive spirit at South Bank today. What it would have been like by nightfall is anyone's guess.

Friday, October 12, 2018

October 12. Day 285. Stardust

Everyone who has been into my home - and many, many people who haven't - know that I have a thing for the works of Brisbane artist Starr. Of the five pieces of original art on my walls, four are by Starr.
Her work is bright and colourful.
She has a sense of fun and playfulness, a spark that I just love.
And I'm not the only one.
The Red Hill Gallery was packed tonight with Starr enthusiasts for the opening of Starr's latest exhibition Stardust.
In the crowd, one face stood out - Maria.
Little Maria modelled for Starr and was featured in a number of her works.
She is delightful and clearly has the same sense of fun and cheekiness evident in Starr's work.
She also doesn't mind posing, which makes her perfect.
And to add to my excitement I concerted my friend Alison into a Starr collector.
That's a pretty good outcome for a rainy Friday night.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

October 11. Day 284. Nice to meat you

 The weirdest thing has happened.  For years now Margaret has insisted the birds eat only Coles mince. They will not entertain the possibility of Woolworths mince.
This was especially annoying as there is a Woolworths on the campus where I work but I'd have to stop on the way home to buy Coles mince. And they say beggars can't be choosers ... apparently they can.
But the times they are a changing. It could be geographic in nature. Margaret has moved from Highgate Hill to Lutwyche. Perhaps the birds of Kedron Brook are less fussy. Or dare I say it's all in the packaging. Bingo,  quoits and singalongs are standard fare of the aged car home. Fattening birds with mince is not. But from day one the Regis facility promised it would be Margaret's new home and she could and should do as she always had. So we set about facilitating that. This meant a bar fridge on a stand easy to sweep under. And for food safety reasons it meant repackaging the mince in small zip lock plastic bags with a date written on each. Repacking ... no label... interesting. And guess what? The magpies ceased to care. the butcher birds ceased to care, the noisy miners ceased to care.The human feeder ceased to care. Those Kedron Brook birds have no standards. Who would have thought?