Jun 30, 2010

School Holidays

Room with a View The school holidays are here, which is both a great pleasure and a bloody chore.

On the plus side, no morning hectricry. And I get to spend lots of time with my wonderful daughter. I'm not being sarcastic.

On the minus side, she has to be entertained. And this has to be balanced with all the things that need to be done which invariably she doesn't want to do.

And her negotation - read argument - skills are becoming increasingly sophisticated - read strident.

So dog walking, which needs to be done, is a chore, since it involves peeling her ladyship away from Kids TV, and the Little Princess is on after Playschool, both of which I secretly like.

Her usual position is that she wants to go to the brook, and I relented in that yesterday, which turned into a bit of a disaster as we went down on foot and as soon as Matilda was off the lead she peeled back to the duck pond to snaffle the breadcrumbs and bother children.

And when we got the two hundred metres up the brook to the playground and had the little play, of course she deemed dog walking to have been completed and decided it was home-time.

In the afternoon though we had a nice time. We went down to the Powerhouse where they're running kids' activities, just to pick up some information and to go to the playground.

The playground was closed, but we spent a couple of hours playing in the park and smelling roses, of all things.

I offered her Shrek today but she declined, inexplicably. She went next door for morning tea with Ben whilst I walked the dogs in the pouring rain.

Did I mention it's freezing cold?

Jun 26, 2010

Flowing Water

Rainforest Creek We had a spot of rain the other day, the first for a while, and things have been a bit overcast from time to time.

Yesterday was Eloise's last day at school and she got invited to a disco-ey thing at Tiddlywinks which (apparently) is some kind of kiddy-friendly cafe type thing. Anyway she was all taken care of and I didn't need to get involved. Good job too, my dancing days are well and truly over.

So I pootled off in the car and went looking for some flowing water - and Cedar Creek seemed like a reasonable bet.

It didn't seem to have picked up much rain though it was still flowing. I'm not sure it ever really stops. But it was very quiet up there: the air was chilly and very still and the only sounds were the birdsong and the babbling water. I spent a happy hour balancing precariously on rocks with the camera.

Tiny is going into a bit of a decline, we got caught out in the rain the other day and she has got a bit of a cough, maybe as a result of that.

The lymphoma is really swelling up her glands at the front of her body and coughing is becoming quite difficult-sounding. She's putting a brave face on it, but the hang-dog look is reaching levels of perfection beyond anything previously achieved.

"Bloodless Coup"

Pink Ribbon Interesting radio day on Thursday.

Kevin Rudd was swept to office a couple of years ago in a blaze of electoral glory reminiscent of dear old Tony and was riding high on God-like popularity as he apologised for the shameful mistreatment of the Stolen Generations by our misguided forebears and proclaimed climate change to be the moral challenge of our generation, whilst promising the earth and sky.

It all went sour as he backtracked from the ETS - stymied by a Senate characterised by the counsel of doom of "What's the point of us doing anything unless the Chinese and Indians and the Americans and in fact everyone else on the planet do something first" so very conventient for the most carbon-intensive country on earth, per capita.

And the stimulus packages rushed through - generally accepted to have kept Australia out of recession - attracted cowboy operators for which the government was held responsible in the court of public opinion rightly or wrongly.

Anyway if the media are to be believed, the Labor communication machine deserted him, having achieved its goal of attaining power. He proceeded to alienate all and sundry within his party and government with an uncompromising, event-driven, poll-led approach to decision making punctuated by appalling communication and salesmanship which resulted in a precipitous decline in poll results as the Opposition made heavy inroads with riciculous catchphrases involving the words "Great," "Big," and "Tax" which were repeated with sufficient frequency to gain some kind of toe-hold.

The cruel underbelly of Australian Party Politics was revealed as the Labor movers and shakers lost their nerve and whatever faith they had left, and exposed Rudd's total lack of support with Julia Gillard challenging him to a leadership contest he fairly quickly realised he couldn't possibly win.

And now Australia has its first female Prime Minister - all in the space of twenty-four hours.

Nothing if not efficient.

Jun 23, 2010

Fire Control

Fire On the rotation of walks the other day we went up to the top of Samford Forest where there is a walk that goes along the top of a forested ridge before descending down into the valley and up again the other side in a circuit.

I have become aware of a couple of species of weed, by way of a slight diversion, which have quite nice flowers and which I used to quite like. They accumulate around the paths as walkers bring the seeds in on their clothes. Now I realise that they must be destroyed without remorse.

Anyway, to get back to the point when we were driving up the street to the starting point for our walk a pall of smoke hung over the forest, and it became apparent that some controlled burning was being carried out.

The smoke was quite fragrant and thick, obscuring the trees in the distance as it rose lazily and wafted slowly away. The fire gently crackled just over the hill.

Controlled burning is carried out to reduce dead wood and combustible debris lying on the forest floor and therefore reduce the opportunity and impact of wild bushfires.

Jun 22, 2010

Sports Day

Tugowar The Preppies had their sports day the other day.

It had been extensively trailed with Eloise demanding that she get to wear her red house shirt for several days beforehand, each day she was absolutely certain that today was sports day.

And needless to say when sports day finally arrived she point blank refused to wear it.

So we kicked off the day with conflict, oh hurrah, but we worked through that like intelligent human beings. Well, I say like.... I mean unlike really.

Sports Day itself took place on the oval (it's square) in front of the school with several sub-marquees laid out in front of the track of competitive glory.

There was just one track and field event, the dash, which was carried out in a series of girls and boys heats. Eloise ran bravely but ultimately unsuccessfully, what with being a minimus of knotted slipgrass made and only possessed of little leglets.

The second event was the tug of war which was a house-based event, so it was Patterson (blue) vs the one whose name I can never remember.... Lawson. I don't recall who won, but then it was Gordon's (red) turn and up Eloise went to tug away with her cohort and bravely lose to the other team who might have been blue or green.

Then it was Mums vs Girls. I think the Mums lost.

Then it was Dads vs Boys. I'm pretty sure the Dads lost. I didn't really apply myself.... I think the idea was to let the little hordelets win.

So there you go. Sports Day number one, done and dusted.

Jun 20, 2010

Tiny Health Update

Twilit Tiny Glands enlarging, under the throat and on the chest... her voice is changing and breathing on occasion sounds difficult.

Otherwise reasonably jolly and apparently unaffected by it all.

Life Without the Internet

Kite Flying Nicole was catching up on Dr Who last week when the internet de-activated itself and started working with irresponsible slowness.

We were scratching our heads for a little while until I saw an email from Telstra to tell us that we'd used our data allocation for this month, thanks very much, and we'd been slowed down to dial up speed for the rest of it.

The internet these days is intolerable at dial up speeds. Nothing much works. It's painful.

So no more Youtube for Eloise, no Facebooking for Nicole, no Flickr for me.

Instead we've been out and about, making kites at the QPAC for the Out of the Box Festival thingy, most of which we missed - a festival for under-eights bizarrely scheduled during school time.

Also barefoot bowls with the Prep D Posse where precious little bowling was done by me, but it was quite good fun. And you do have to take your shoes off to tread the perfect turf.

You Englishers will be delighted to hear that once again it's been pretty much a rain-free week with warm daytime temperatures of around 22 or so. At night though it's been mighty chilly.

Jun 14, 2010

Mountain Climbing

Through a Glass Darkly Went out with Will on Friday. Nicole, with day off, offered some time for non-child related activities.

Coincidentally Eloise was having a little friend Piper around for fun and games after school. Like I say, a coincidence.

Will popped around and we drove up to Mount Beerburrum, which I last climbed a couple of years ago with Eloise in a backpack... maybe more than a couple of years ago.

My God that mountain is quite steep. We huffed and puffed our way up there, and as usual turned up much too early for sunset action, fortuitously as it turned out because the trees have grown somewhat and were rather in the way of the mountains, even when we climbed up onto the fire tower.

So we went for a little hike across the mountaintop through the waist-high grass and the xanthorrhea trees looking for a clear view, and failing.

So down we climbed and drove across to Wild Horse Mountain where we once again slogged our way up to see the views as the sun went down.

Jun 7, 2010

Health Update: Tiny

Old Girl Tiny continues in good outward health for an old girl.

Though the occasional gland inspections reveal an ongoing swelling - her submandibulars are enlarged and hard, and not feeling good.

Pampering her may be going to her head, and she seems to feel entitled to help herself to Eloise's pears which she has in the bath, which doesn't go down too well.

It's not a nice feeling when putting the dogs to bed to know that soon we may only be putting one dog to bed.

Health Update: Eloise

Eloise in the Forest Eloise didn't go to school today. She's been up in the night for the past couple of nights with high fevers and an ear problem.

So I took her to the doctor and the doctor diagnosed a mild ear infection which has been at the root of her problems, and antibiotics prescribed.

So back to school tomorrow... which may be unpopular.

Jun 6, 2010


Hat It's our habit of a Saturday morning to go to Kelvin Grove Markets for to get the weekly veggies.

Yesterday of course Honey Bear had to come. Generally Eloise's little friend Jessica is there and they are prone to play around her relatives' stall while we go about our commercial business.

Today no Jessica but her aunt's art-and-craft stall was there as usual and Eloise and Honey Bear tried on hats before we got Slushies and went for coffee.

Later we watched Eurovision, When Germany won Eloise made the choice comment: "Germany may have won Eurovision, but they lost the war, didn't they?"

She's been a bit ill but has soldiered through, with fevers and listlessness which are miraculously cured by Panadol and Ibuprofen or by something or someone interesting happening.

Last night she was reportedly having hallucinations. Nicole woke up for that, I slept blissfully through it. I found out shortly after frog-marching her around the forest with the dogs.


Jun 5, 2010

Circus Circus

Roll Up, roll up The school, in their eternal fund-raising-a-thon which knows no rest and will not be deviated or distracted, put on a circus a little while ago.

There was a Big Top and Everything! Ponies, Jumping Castles (that's bouncing castles to the civilised), Rollercoasters, Slack-Jawed Inbreeds, the lot.

Except entertainment. They forgot about that bit.

Maybe it's just me being old and cynical or it's a side-effect of the glossy polished "media-savvy" world in which we live, but I've come to expect more from circuses than grown men who should know better doing crap tricks in oversized trousers with a sideline in crap humour.

The old geezer masquerading as a clown appeared to be half-cut. His wife (I presume) frightened the hell out of us with her whips. The ponies didn't look altogether happy to be there.

Slightly amusingly they hooded the audience volunteer for the knife-throwing and hooded him Al-Quaida style so they could stick the knifes into the board next to him manually without having to throw them. Possible they didn't quite trust themselves to do it.

The lady doing the rope-acrobatics was all right though.

Jun 4, 2010

Eloise and Honey Bear

Eloise and Honey Bear With the onset of winter there are bugs about. Ms Dale the teacher has been ill, Mrs Boone the teacher has been ill. Nicole has been ill.

And now Eloise is a bit ill.

Now I'm not one to be strict, but it's only a headache and a cold. Ibuprofen has miraculous effects upon it. So it's off to school.

Even in the face of comments such as "I don't think I can go to school: I think I may have cancer" it's off to school.

Yesterday when I picked her up at the end of the day Ms Dale reported that she had been listless in the afternoon, so I resolved to deliver Ibu at lunchtime today to keep her up and running.

Also yesterday it seems that we are to play host to Honey Bear, the classroom cuddly friend who is doing the rounds in order to develop the students' journalistic skills.

Eloise is pretty happy about that.

Jun 3, 2010

Limb Foamer

Sartorial Elegance Well there's been a lot of water under the bridge since my last little sashay, if that's how you spell it, into the blogosphere.

We've had cross-country days, school trips, sleepovers, computers dying.

Hence the lack of postage. Busy. And unable.

However at the risk of inviting burglary now I have a new laptop, and it's working a bit, which is something.

The unfortunate news is that Tiny is on the pathway to her, how to say it, end-point. Terminus. Nullity. Death.

She's had a blocked anal gland and was on antibiotics for it. They weren't really working so we took her back to the vet and in passing I mentioned that her glands were a bit swollen at which point he suggested an aspirate biopsy and told us she probably only had three months to live.

The biopsy results came back the next day while I was at the cross-country event aforementioned and after working out that this was the vet phoning (cross country was noisy) and not the dog-pound, I listened with a sinking feeling as the worst was confirmed. Lymphoma it is.

So Tiny is on special treatment. Kindness. We'll probably get bored of that in a few days, as she's in reasonably fine health at the moment, cancer aside, and quite perky, although the outlook - much as I would look to deny it - is for a rapid descent into illness and at some point we'll have to take the dreaded decision and lay her down to rest.

Oh well.

Here's a picture of Eloise with her head stuck through the sleeve of my T-shirt to cheer you up. A hope that's slobber there and not the sweat of my oxster. If that's how you spell it.