Friday, May 31, 2019

May 31. Day 150. If you've got an itch

Poor Rumple.
He has a stubborn itch/rash thing.
But he's a lucky boy. He has the wonderful Dr Megan on his side. Also he has Winkle for moral support - defined as joining him on trips to the vet so she can give him the look of "it sucks to be you".
Rumple isn't exactly a cooperative patient.
I have to fight him over every cream that needs to be administered and pill he needs to be swallowed.
Also he climbs on my shoulder like a parrot when he is supposed to be on the table being examined.
On occasions that puts him at a nice height in an accessible position.
Mostly, it just adds to the degree of difficulty.
But Dr Megan is a professional and a good friends of Rumple so she's got this.
And we are getting ever closer to curing that itch.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

May 30. Day 149. Black and white

 It's interesting how we divide the world into good guys and bad guys, as though everything is black and white.
Gypsies fall into the "bad" column. The title of the Cher song pretty much sums it up  - Gypsies,  Tramps and Thieves - not exactly a positive list. And yet, you have to ask why.? This is an ancient culture with very strong traditional links and family values. It is poorly understood and often misrepresented. Like so many things, the fear of the unknown is often easier than actually finding the truth. This is why I love Magpie. I love it because it is a new Brisbane work. I love it because the playwright Elise Greig is a wonderful human being. But I also love it because it shows nothing is ever really black and white. There is grey, the only question is when we find it and how.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

May 29. Day 148. What light at yonder window breaks

Is it a cop out to simultaneously think that teaching Shakespeare to high school students is both brainless and a no-brainer? I switch between the two. Shakespeare was a genius. He was a wordsmith beyond compare. So he deserves to be taught. And yet the way it is taught is so universally awful that it almost guarantees students will come away hating him. I did. It took a long time and many experiences actually seeing The Bard perform to cure me. I'm good now. Finally.I can sit in the audience of Romeo and Juliet and not be taken back to Year 11 English and the horror of reading the text out loud line by line around the classroom and discussing what we thought it might mean. There was always an essay about what Shakespeare had to bring to modern audiences. No matter what Year 11 me wrote the honest answer would be nothing if experienced in that form. Which is why seeing the young QUT acting students perform R&J makes me happy. This is how the text is meant to be experienced - all hot blooded and in the flesh. Like this we can talk about cultural taboos, racism, young love, lust, religion, bigotry, suicide or whatever you like. You can talk about a man ahead of his time and not a dead language. If you must teach it, do it well . Please. Year 11 me implores you.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May 28. Day 147. Turkish delight

I love Turkish food. There could be many reasons for this. Obviously taste is high on the list. Also, I love the experience of sharing a banquet which pretty much always comes with Turkish food. 
Digging in to dips, breads and lots and lots of meat is heaven.
Also, I'm almost always sitting beside people I love when indulging in a  Turkish banquet. And also, Turkish food takes me back to Turkey, a place I loved. It was an experience quite unlike any other. Exotic, interesting, strange and captivating all at the same time. 
This is my idea of Turkish delight (I rather like the sweet of the same name).

Monday, May 27, 2019

May 27. Day 146. Mistress of the house

Oh Miss Winkle. You are one crazy little bitch (using the correct use of the word).
The smallest inhabitant of our house - by quite some measure - is the boss. Dogs rule around here and she's the ruler of the pack. Rumple, who has both a seniority and weight advantage gives in to her every time.  When we get pigs ears as treat she hordes them all - and he lets her. he's obviously annoyed but never tries to stop her. Rather he takes advantage of her distraction to lap up as much human contact as possible. And then when he's producing one of his signature moves she dives in and takes him down. It's sweet and sad at the same time. I love Mr Passive and Ms Aggressive at the same time. They balance me out.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

May 26. Day 145. Voice of an angel

Did I mention I was taking singing lessons? Yes, of course I did, partly to overcome the childhood trauma of being told in choir in Year 6 I should mime in Mass. Singing and choral music, and hymns are all wrapped up in a big ugly basket of trauma for me. The singing lessons are starting to unpack the basket. So today, in the Holy Trinity Church Hall in Fortitude Valley I was able to listen to Mezzo Soprano Amanda Cole tell the story of  an 11th century German mystic and appreciate it for what it was - hauntingly beautiful. Hildergard and Volman is a story of faith and friendship and music. Now I can listen to it for what it is and not be taken to 11-year-old me being told not to sing because the piece was designed for sopranos and that is not, and probably never was me. I consider this a miracle in itself. As they say, God works in mysterious ways.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

May 25. Day 144. Don't mention the war

Can you actually believe only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers were made? Seriously. Basil, Sybil, Polly and Manuel only performed together a dozen times. And yet, there's such a lasting impression. If I was to say "don't mention the war" it's very likely whoever I was with would respond "I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it".  Fawlty Towers has made and impression. Fawlty Towers has even taught me what's in a Waldorf Salad "celery, apples, walnuts, grapes". So I was more than happy to be in the room for the Fawlty Towers Dining Experience Tonight. It could have been a dream crusher ...but it wasn't. It was exactly what I would imagine dining in the restaurant of that Torquay hotel would be like. Crazy, bad tempered and fun . ...provided you are in on the joke. I loved it despite the fact that I ended up with false teeth in my soup; perhaps because I ended up with false teeth in my soup. Seriously, you have to laugh.

Friday, May 24, 2019

May 24. Day 143. Birthday boy

I love a birthday celebration, even if it's not mine. In fact I love a celebration especially if it's not mine. What fun to have a party without having to turn a year older.
So today was Charles' birthday and I took it upon myself to be director of entertainment. Presents, the theatre and finally cocktails.
Who doesn't love a cocktail? The birthday boy certainly seemed to be getting into the spirit(s).
Sweet as.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

May 23. Day 142. Best foot forward

 I hereby predict the weather is about to turn. My reason for this is very scientific where scientific is defined as "I had my toenails painted today".
You see, you need good looking toes when you wear sandals or thongs.
When it gets cold, it's time for socks and shoes. If your toes are covered in wool and leather it hardly matters if you have well kept toes.
So getting the toes dealt with in late May is the equivalent of leaving the clothes on the line when you go out. It's issuing a challenge to the weather gods.
But this is Queensland and it's not as though the days will be beyond open footwear permanently for months. Also the old stuff was starting to look disgusting and I fancied a change of colour. I choose Blue, with sparkles, I was happy with that, even if I'm the only one who will see it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

May 22. Day 141. Afternoon delight

 This is a great time of year. I don't do cold. At all. But right now it is mild, beautifully mild. The nights might set in earlier than one might like but they do so with such flourish it's hard to complain.
It's like someone got out a big box of coloured pencils and played with a whole section of them, gradually moving from the more vibrant tones to the darker ones. It'm impressive in a way that would look forced in a painting or an Instagram filter but stunning in real life. Today the great gods of sunset were working their magic. I admired their work.
If you are going to do it you might as well do it properly, right?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

May 21. Day 140. My beautiful babies

 My dogs make me laugh. My dogs also have a great habit of bringing a smile to Margaret's face. Rumple was smooching up to Margaret which she loves.
Winkle, however, was paying her no attention at all .
She only had eyes for a pigs ear. we'd been to the vet and both dogs were given a treat for good behaviour. Winkle stole them both and wasn't letting them go.
She carried one of them in her mouth into Margaret's room.
Winkle barely bothered to make eye contact.
She set to work on the pigs ear. Margaret watched in awe as she devoured the thing not even stopping to look up.
Birds came and went on the deck. Winkle didn't move. She chewed and chewed and chewed until the thing was gone.
Margaret thought this was hilarious.
She couldn't believe the big appetite of the little lady.
We didn't dare move until she was done. By then the dinner tray had arrived and it was Margaret's chance to devour her meal. All's fair.

Monday, May 20, 2019

May 20. Day 139. For whom the bell tolls

I had a psychiatrist appointment today.
There was a time when people didn't talk of these things. Indeed many people still don't talk about these things.
Some may think it's oversharing to talk about anxiety and depression. But not talking about it doesn't make it go away (much as I wish it would).  Keeping it in the shadows only makes the shadows longer and darker.
I "enjoy" my chats with the shrink. We talk politics a lot. This is a great way to measure my level of engagement with life. If I can't fire up about the latest political scandal, I'm clearly down.
And then with that done I walked back to the car taking these pics on the way.
I was feeling someone better.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

May 19. Day 138. Greek tragedy

Okay, tragedy might be a bit strong but missing the Paniyiri festival is certainly sad. Given I live in walking distance from the annual Greek festival, a highlight of the Brisbane calendar, missing out is poor form. But the truth is I was feeling up to it. I'm  a one commitment a day girl right now and we'd booked tickets to see a movie tonight so that was my lot.
But the dogs don't get to go to the movies and they wanted their one outing so we walked by and had a look.
We breathed in the scents from a safe distance and watched all the fun of the fair from the other side of the fence.
Admitted it's a poor second best but better than nothing.
Sometimes you have to go for self preservation even if it means no octopus and honey puffs.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

May 18. Day 137. Jail bird

I would make an excellent criminal.
Granted, I really don't have criminal inclinations and I'm a natural rule follower not a rule breaker but I have what it takes ...  or at least I don't have ... fingerprints.
Today I went to the Southern Queensland Correctional Precinct, or as it is better known, Queensland's women's prison.
We were there to see Shakespeare, the first time in Australia such a project has taken place involving female prisoners.
This is not why I know I have criminal possibilities. To be an audience member in a prison performance you need to go through security clearance. Your fingerprints are scanned as you enter and are required as you pass through numerous checkpoints as well as when you leave. My fingerprints refuse to register, again and again. Eventually they gave up. Apparently I have basically no prints. Criminal possibilities right there. And you know what else? My mother who came with me suffers from the same lack of prints. Wow, a whole family with criminal tendencies.

Friday, May 17, 2019

May 17. Day 136. Surprise play

I saw a performance tonight the likes of which I've never seen before.
It was a physical theatre piece performed in an old substation at the Gabba.
For the purpose of the performance, the room was transformed into a rent-by-an-hour hotel room.
There all the types of things you might see in a dodgy hotel room played out. It was transfixing, funny, moving and provocative.
It was physical in every sense but beautiful rather than raunchy.
I left with a feeling of surprise and wonder and walked through the Stone Corner cafe strip.
There was something else I had expected - it's been a very long time since I've seen an old fashioned pin ball parlour. Indeed, I don't think I've ever seen a retro bar pinball parlour like this.
Everything old really is new again.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May 16. Day 135. Packed to the rafters

The painting continues.
John almost has to play human Tetris to get into the corners of the pergolas. This, however, pales into insignificance with the job I've faced. I had to choose colour. This is a big deal.
It will be a decade or more before I get a chance to change the colour if I don't like it .
Colour is something I care a lot about.
I asked Charles for advice but he said "that's your specialty".
That is, perhaps, a cop out but if I'm honest I probably wouldn't have listened had he offered a suggestion.
I closely scrutinised colour charts and did a whole lot of Google searching.
I settled on a colour scheme and I've watched it go on.
I'm happy. Hopefully, I'll feel that way for the next decade.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

May 15. Day 134. Sing like a bird

Singing is tough. I always suspected this but my singing lessons are confirming this. If it wasn't the case I guess 1. everyone could do it and 2. You wouldn't need lessons. I'm gradually learning things - and the more I learn the more I forget. 
My Wednesday routine involves singing lessons and then, because I'm in the area, visiting Margaret.
While she feeds the birds we talk about my lesson.
I revealed I'm working on "What I Did For Love"  from A Chorus Line.
She giggles.
She finds the fact that I have lessons rather hilarious.
If I'm honest, I find it rather laughable. I'm pretty sure my singing teacher doesn't think it's such a laughing matter.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May 14. Day 133. Show offs

Some people just go out of their way to draw attention to themselves. Others do it without even trying. So it seems of the Australasian Darter.
Those guys are natures show offs but their intention always seem pure.
I was at the Powerhouse today, walking around, killing time before a pick up.
There was this darter, sitting near the water.
It appeared to be grooming itself which is fair enough.
But this wasn't a quick brush and go. This was the full make over. He (or she, no judging either way) was a bird on a mission. Every feature was seemingly given a going over, slowly and purposefully. I aimed the camera.
A woman with a stroller walked by and looked what was going on. "He's posing for you," she observed.
It kind of looked that way although I think the truth was less self absorbed but no less effective.
I like that.

Monday, May 13, 2019

May 13. Day 132. Water feature

I admire some people's ingenuity. Painter John is such a man.
He's a man in high demand because of his commitment and it's been a year since he first came around and we agreed on a quote.
You have to wait your turn for John.
Today our turn arrived. John decided to start at the pergola, a job that would put off another mere mortal. To get to that area you almost need to walk on water. John devised a system that both protected the pool and allowed him a safe platform to work from.
With the temporary pool deck in place the high pressure water cleaning began.
I was so excited. Things are finally happening. Good things come to those who wait.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

May 12. Day 131. Happy Mother's Day

 I've said it before and I'll say it again ...being a mother is the hardest job you will ever do. And the financial rewards are crap. So while Mother's Day is largely a Hallmark occasion -before everyone stopped sending actual greeting cards - I embrace it entirely. What is so dreadfully wrong about pausing to tell those nearest and dearest to us that they are nearest and dearest? Nothing, I reckon.
Today I celebrated with my mum and my son (as well as my oldest sister and her kids and our respective husbands) at a Mother's Day brunch.
It was lovely.
And my "baby' bought me things he knew I'd love. Pyjamas and a book by Ian McEwan. Gold. And there was an afternoon nap.  Mothers need a little lie down.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

May 11. Day 130. Titanic battle

 In the three hours and 15 minutes of James Cameron's Titanic, there are not a lot of laughs.
But, ironically, that epic rollercoaster ride of a movie is jam packed with comic potential. Who knew?
Brisbane Theatre company Act/React have found extra life boats and saved us all from the misery of the watery grave that was the movie.
Tonight was the third time I've seen Titanic. The Movie. The Play and it never gets old.  This is pure silly fun, with genuine belly laughs and updated popular culture references with every iteration.  It has just the right tone so that those who loved the film are not offended, those who hated the film can celebrate it and those who have never seen the film can still get the joke.
And staging it at the Queensland Maritime Museum is perfect.
All the fun of a comedy cruise but without the seasickness.

Friday, May 10, 2019

May 10. Day 129. Then sings my soul

 Even those who are not true believers would have to concede some things about the church .... here I am talking about the buildings not religion.
There is something special about ecclesiastical architecture. But it doesn't only look good - it sounds great.
The acoustics of the cathedral are uniquely awesome.
So if you want music for the soul, a cathedral is the place for it.
Tonight I experienced that in Saint Stephen's Cathedral.  In a program called MBS the audiences was treated to Beethoven's Mass in C plus Mozart and Schubert. It was a beautiful thing.
I worked the desk so I was able to greet everyone as they walked in - including my cousin.
And because I looked official I was invited up to the balcony to take photos which is also kind of awesome. Music for the soul, for sure.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

May 9. Day 128. You know you're soaking in it

 Do you remember the dishwashing ad? The one with the tag line "pretty green..." "you know you're soaking in it". It was something about the detergent being very friendly on hands although the person with the soaking fingers was alarmed. This is probably a reasonable reaction. Bright green liquids are something we are normally alarmed about. So today I was at the University of Queensland lakes. The water was green, very green. my natural reaction was to keep the dogs away. Turns out I had reason to be suspicious. I saw a sign warning of algal and avoiding contact with the water - to be honest the sign felt too little too late but at least I had followed my instincts. But I couldn't help but consider the abundant wildlife that call the lakes home. What about them? Everything seemed to be going about business as usual. Let's hope so. The alternative would be devastating.