Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GRANDMA ARRIVES

Sonya and the children were pleased to see me arrive in LA. It was a long flight but mostly at night so I watched movies and then tried to sleep without much luck. However it was a good flight and I sat next to a lovely young Canadian girl going home after a year in Oz.
The first day I was on baby sitting duty for a few hours while Sonya went to work. No time for jet lag.
Her husband is away filming in New Orleans and the nanny has classes a few mornings and evenings a week, that is why I am here.
The little boys are adorable but full of energy.
Here I managed to get them to sit down for a few minutes to paint with glitter glue.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LIGHT SHOW

During the Brisbane Festival, we visited the light show held on Brisbane River at South Bank. There was a barge floating on the water. It had towers at each end of the barge . Between the towers there was a waterfall and light was projected onto it. Sometimes there were fountain spays of water with light reflecting on it. There were other light features as well, Beams from many of the city buildings and installations on the forecourt of the performance centre.

 We had to try and find a spot for our tripods among all the people lined up on the bank of the river. We managed to squeeze in right opposite the barge. Behind the barge is the Casino all bright and pink.


 Three people danced in the water atop of bending poles.


 We walked around South Bank with many of other sight seers. Hundreds of lights were seemingly hanging from the sky.

 Another interesting light feature.

There were many people out enjoying the festival.




Saturday, October 19, 2013

BIRTHDAY BEAR IS GOING YABBY PUMPING

Our Birthday Bear group was a bit late celebrating Paul's birthday, which was back in September but some of us were away at that time and we had to have our celebration a bit later. For readers not familiar with our Birthday Bear tradition read more here.

Paul is a keen fisherman and keen fishermen are often seen on the beaches with a yabby pump, pumping in the sand to suck up yabbies for bait. For overseas readers a yabby is:

Yabby or Yabbie is a name given in Australia to two different kinds of crustacean.
  1. freshwater yabby is a crayfish of the genus Cherax (infraorder Astacidea, family Parastacidae). They are often caught for food. They are frequently found in dams, ponds, lakes and rivers in Australia's Eastern States. They are usually caught by way of a baited string or trap. A widespread species is the common yabbyCherax destructor.
  2. marine yabby is a ghost shrimp (infraorder Thalassinidea), which lives in deep burrows in the intertidal zone. They are used as bait for fishing, especially in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

So Paul goes yabbying for the second one mentioned above and now he is going to have a helper. Yes Birthday Bear has his own special small sized yabby pump (made by George) and a bucket to collect the yabbies in. If you look closely you will see he has already caught some. Bear is dressed in his fishing clothes (thanks to Ann) ready to go with Paul next time.


Birthday Bear  has caught some yabbies.

 Paul is checking out BB's yabby pump.

 We are all so proud of Paul to have reached this birthday. He was diagnosed with Mesothelioma three years ago. He has had lots of unpleasant treatment and operations too. He has been very ill but he is a strong fighter and now he is in remission for the time being.

Mary, moi, Chris, Bear, Bob, Helen, Paul, Ann and half of George.
 Once again we were lucky to have our travelling friends, Bob and Chris join us again as they will be in Brisbane for a while.

We celebrated at Ceylon Inn, Graceville. It is an Indian restaurant. Bill had lamb curry

 I had a lamb dish too.

with steamed rice.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

LAST DAY IN LA

Back on 16 Sept Carol and I were spending our last day in LA with Sonya and her family. Sonya didn't have to start work until later in the day and our plane didn't leave until midnight so we had time for a little excursion. Sonya took us up to the Griffith Observatory which is situated on Mt Hollywood.
 There were great 360° views. It was also a very hot day.
 The Observatory is situated in more than 3,000 acres of parkland donated by Griffith. He also donated the funds
to build the observatory which opened in1935.
   My two beautiful  daughters (I'm biased) 
pose in front of the Hollywood sign.                                 

The Astronomers Monument

 Sonya and the boys at the foot of the monument.

Time for one more cuddle before we leave for Australia. Little did I know that I would be back there soon. I leave again next week to help out while Bernie is away filming in New Orleans and Sonya is working on a production at UCLA.

Monday, October 14, 2013

OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND IN BRISBANE

Last weekend there were 71 buildings opened for the public to visit and be taken on tours of the buildings. Sadly, one can't visit 71 buildings in a weekend , so we looked at the list on their webpage and decided to visit a few.

First choice was the old Boggo Rd Gaol, but when we arrived, there was a long queue just to register for a tour later in the day. So, TOH, having an aversion to queues decided it was coffee time instead. There was a coffee shop in the beautiful new building next to the old gaol, which was also open for tours. So after coffee we joined a tour group without queuing for long.

The building is 'Ecosciences Precinct" a $270 million building designed by Hassell. It won awards for architecture and sustainable design principles. Hassell created a highly collaborative environment for scientists dedicated to solving some of Australia's biggest environmental challenges.

There are actually three buildings joined together with atriums.

 Looking up from the foyer you can see how the buildings are connected on each floor. Then we went up there and went into each of the building. Looking down into the atrium was beautiful. There were many seating areas and coffee areas overlooking this relaxing scene. It would be a great place to work.
Thousands of scientists work here covering a varied range of studies all to do with the environment.

 One of the many labs.

One of the many open office spaces.

 From the roof of the building we could see the old gaol and the queue was still there. There is an interesting grey mural on this side. It has many different scenes of the gaol.

 The Ecoscience building was designed by Hassell Architects and interior designers, the same company that our daughter, Carol-Ann works for as a Senior Associate Interior Designer in Sydney. We noticed that the Brisbane Branch of Hassell was open for inspection so we had to visit to see where Carol-Ann works when she comes to the Brisbane Studio.
The building was originally built as Keatings Bread Factory in the late 188o's it has been used for varied occupations since but in 2008 Hassell stripped the building back to its original state and added new buildings in a similar style. The original ovens were exposed and left as a feature.

An interesting sculpture in this open-plan interconnecting studio and gathering spaces for architects, designers and clients. It was an interesting building to see how modern ideas have been integrated within a historical building.

WE tried to visit the old museum building but we couldn't find a park so we continued on to 'The Old Gasworks" which was celebrating its 140th birthday. It was originally built to light the city with gaslights. It is no longer used and the Tank has been removed but the structure has been renovated and the area inside made into a plaza. At night it has a light show turning it into a piece of art. A new building is being constructed behind it. On this side there is a new shopping mall with trendy shops.

We enjoyed the deli, it had a big variety of cheeses. TOH couldn't resist buying his favourite 'Tilsiter".
We had lunch in the mall in a spanish restaurant and then headed home.

The streets of Brisbane are looking beautiful at the moment as the Jacaranda Trees are in bloom.
Read and see more about Jacarandas in Brisbane on Sole Sister blog

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

MULCHING MADNESS

To try to keep the soil moist and stop the weeds taking over, it was time to mulch the garden again. This time instead of expensive Tea Tree bark, I'm using sugar cane mulch. It doesn't look as good but hopefully it will do the job. It is relatively easy to lay it down.

 I had thirty bales delivered. It is packed in layers 

 which are easy to carry 
 and then pull apart and spread that is a bit tough on the old back.
Just a few hours for a few days and it was done. That is the back yard now the front needs doing.
The plants like it to keep their roots cool and moist.

 The magpie watched and it can still find insects to eat.

 The wallaby doesn't mind he can still find juicy leaves to eat.

The Brush Turkey is not so sure. It finds it harder to dig up the ground looking for whatever. So it tries the pot plant?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A BLAST FROM THE PAST

Today we were invited to attend a family and friends reunion of a girl, Bec, who I taught in Year 6. back in 1985. The reunion was a special gathering to remember and celebrate the lives of Bec's mother and brother who died in a road accident in 1986, Colleen and 15 year old Michael. Colleen used to teach music at the same school and TOH played in a band with Michael.
It was a very sad time for everyone at the school but especially for the family and friends. Bec was only 12 at the time. She and my daughter, Sonya were in the same class and were close friends. They often spent time at our house or Bec's house. They went on holidays together too. It was a shame that Sonya couldn't have been with us today. There were other classmates there too. It was fun to see them again, all grown up and mothers.

Meeting some of my past students from 1985, Year 6 Class. Renee, Bec and Adele.

Friday, October 4, 2013

THE COLOURS OF AUSTRALIA

YELLOW canola fields near Grenfell, New South Wales

 BLUE tropical sea Thursday Island, Queensland

GREEN parrot in Lamington National Park, Queensland

WHITE salt pans on the edge of Lake Eyre, South Australia

RED bauxite mine , Weipa, Queensland.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A DAY OFF

For my daughter, Sonya's birthday, I wanted to surprise her by visiting her in LA and not telling her that I was coming. However, someone with a big mouth, who I won't name but I'm married to him, managed to tell her accidentally. Anyway she was very happy to know I was going to visit her with her sister, Carol.

So, for her birthday we devised another treat. Carol and I gave her some money, and Bernie and I gave her a day off looking after the boys so that she could go shopping in peace with her sister, which they hadn't done together for years.

So off they went leaving Bernie and me in charge.

 Bernie packed a picnic and took us to Coldwater Canyon Park in Beverly Hills. It is a great place for kids. A stream bubbles through the park and enters a small pool and then is pumped back to the top to run again. The children can paddle and climb along its route and float toys down. The boys had fun. 
 We had a picnic in the shade of the trees and then took the boys to the playground for climbing and swinging fun. It took some time to convince Fox it was time to go home.

 When we got home, Papa let the boys help make a Smoothie. He is a great Papa.

 Fox presses the lid and mixes the smoothie. Banjo is impressed.

 Taste test.......it needs more milk.

 Here it comes!

 Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (There is quiet for a few minutes)

After that it was out in the yard to play until Mommy and Aunty Carol came home with some new outfits. They had a great day shopping and having lunch together. Sonya enjoyed her day off but the silly girl had moments of feeling guilty about spending money on herself and leaving the kids on a Sunday when she should be home with them. She sure is a conscientious mommy.