Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Cousin's Wedding

Wow! What a busy week! And yesterday was the middle of my week; from today onwards, I'm stayin' home. Yesterday, my cousin Joanna, and her fiance, Malcolm were married at Wynnum on the Lower Esplanade. However, what was supposed to be a lovely warm Spring day turned into an Arctic blast. It was an afternoon ceremony and so, we thought the day was going to be warm; were we wrong! A cold wind blew from the ocean as the tide came in buffeting us at the gazebo.
However, the bride didn't let that
get in the way. She walked across the bridge, along the walkway and up the ramp of the little, crowded wooden structure after she was handed from her father to her fiance. The ceremony was lovely, short and well-organised; and I got some great photos (so did about 30 other people along with the photographer). As Jo and Mal walked around talking to a few people and waiting for the photographer to work on what was going on next, Mum, Dad and I ran into some neighbours who used to live next door to us. They were friends of Mal's and couldn't believe that we knew him as well. It was so good to see them again and they were happy to catch up with us.
The photographer was really great. He got us all into the picture; the Aunts & Uncles, the Grandfather, brothers and parents. Then, there
was me - the token cousin (we have so many in the family, Jo picked out one to attend and it was me; I was honoured and didn't want to say no to the invite) - and so I was photographed too. Soon, we were all off to the warmth of our cars and away to have a cup of coffee until it was time to meet up at the restaurant for the reception.
And dinner was interesting. For appetisers, we had Fairy Bread (something thought up by the groom; and a favourite of his too), the dinner itself was delicious (being vegetarian, I had a pumpkin strudel; which had cashews, herbs and pepper in it! Yummo!). Then, dessert was a wine glass of green or red jelly with a freddo frog sitting up in it (another favourite of the groom's). Everyone thought it was unusual, but I thought it was quirky... but that's just my opinion. And what wedding isn't complete without a Wedding Waltz? Yep, the happy couple cut the cake and did that waltz. Jo being a ballet dancer knew the dance and she had married a guy who could dance (Wow! What a difference it makes when a guy can dance!). We left at around 10ish or so... after more photos. Mum got a good one of Jo and me; as we don't get to see each other - or catch up - on a regular basis. It was a lovely wedding and I'm glad I went.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Massive Dust Storm Hits the East Coast of Australia

This Wednesday just gone, we had the biggest dust storm in modern Australian History. First it hit Canberra (our country's capital) blanketed that place for the day. Then, it coated Sydney in a horrible red hue so bad the ferries were canceled, the airports were closed as were all the schools; and eventually, most of the cafes around the place just ended up closing up too. Then, it hit Brisbane here in Queensland. Now, we've had dust storms before; and that was around three or four years ago; however, this one was really bad!
I was sitting at my computer here blogging and surfing the net when I noticed the sky was that familiar weird golden colour, the wind had picked up and my bird (she's the one on my profile photo) going absolutely crazy downstairs. So, I got up and checked out her noise to find that the wind was dreadfully strong and dusty. Fortunately, I had picked up my camera before taking off downstairs and waited for the storm to get really bad before going outside to take these photos here at my place.
And that wasn't the worse of it: I was destined to go out to the lunch with my Mum, Aunt, Oma and brother and niece to Diggers at Logan Central. So, I armed myself with my camera and a bandanna and braved the haze to wait outside to be picked up. But once at the RSL, we could still smell - and feel - the dust inside the place. And we were told the air-conditioner was really struggling with the amount of desert dust that was being filtered through it. Have to say that was a lot better than being out in it. After lunch, I got my brother to take my niece and me to the Logan Art Gallery to show him ArtWaves (an exhibition of high school kids around Logan where they're judged and it's a competition too). Reluctantly, he took us and was amazed at the quality of work that was on display; wishing he had been encouraged at high school like kids today. But we could still smell the dust in the gallery too; however, considering how old the air-conditioner there is, it was a wonder that one didn't break down (we nick-name it Methuselah because it's been there since the gallery was the Woodridge Library; and that was a long time ago).
However, it was a lot worse in the Brisbane CBD area where people were caught unawares; and some ended up in hospital with breathing difficulties. And our massive dust storm made the World News.
But the outlook doesn't look good... we're in for another one; just not as bad as this one. In case you're wondering where all that top soil disappeared to and where it came from? It came from South Australia and ended up in New Caledonia and the North Island of New Zealand.

(The photo of Brisbane CBD is of Mary Street.
Photo courtesy of João Paulo Horta.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Busy As A Bee!

Spring in my family is such a busy time. We have birthdays and wedding anniversaries left and right over mid-September and right through October and into November... it's amazing and very expensive. But it's a lot of fun too! There's Mum's, a few cousins, then Mum and Dad's Wedding Anniversary, my birthday, my Uncle's birthday, my brother's birthday, my niece's and then my Aunt's and my late-Grandmother's birthday... phew! That's a lot to remember! We enjoy having our outings at this time of year, though. Seeing it's becoming warmer at this time of year and in this part of the world, it's the perfect time to get out and be social.
Last Friday being Mum's special day, I went over to her placed to celebrate with her.
I had begun organising this in February on And it's a great website. This is a site where you can trade books, set them free, be a part of bookrings, bookrays, competitions and other fun things and still make a lot of friends while sharing the joy of reading. I've been with them for almost five years now, and don't have any intention of leaving - it's just too much fun! Anyway, I arrived on Friday and set up the tripod, the basket and put the kettle on while Mum got herself ready for her day of receiving gifts. And what a surprise she got when she opened her basket to find that there were a lot of parcels in it for her. It was so much fun to watch her open her presents and then I photographed as she enjoyed them and read the cards. It was an absolute joy to see she was happy. She said that she felt like a kid again.
We went out to lunch after it was over and then walked around the shops and went back to her place where she was on the phone for long enough for me to upload the photos onto an album I had established on By the time she had finished her phone call, I called her in and she sat an looked at the album; and told me that it was the most wonderful thing that it was up on the net already
for all her friends to see.
So, there you have it... one birthday down and about half a dozen to go. It's a lot but it's fun for us to celebrate! Some of us don't like our birthdays; however, I love mine. So, next month, I'll be happy as anything to get in here when my birthday rolls around and let you know what I received and what I did for that day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Tribute To Patrick Swayze

I'm finding this hard to write about; and what can you say about a man who could dance, act and had everything working for him right until the end of his life - except his health? It was only 20 months ago when we all learnt about Patrick Swayze's dreadful news of Pancreatic Cancer. And after Luciano Pavarotti passing away from this horrible disease in 2007, it was doubly hard for us to accept another great man was going through this too.

A good deal of us remember Patrick as bad-boy Johnny Castle from 'Dirty Dancing. And we all wanted to be Baby in
that coming-of-age film; when he was teaching her to dance at that holiday resort. This was the very film where he made his mark in the world and was noticed as the sexiest man alive (well, in my opinion). His career shot off from there. He starred in 'City of Joy', 'Point Break', 'Ghost' and 'Road House' as well.

When I found out the news that Patrick Swayze had passed away this morning, I felt really sad; but also a little bit relieved. He had been going through so much pain the last year and had been so weak from the cancer treatments, it was something I hated knowing he was going through (as I have watched a friend battle a different kind of cancer and he lost his battle too; but the treatments were just as debilitating).

Currently, here in Australia, Patrick's last television series - 'The Beast' - is being aired and I'm a big fan of it. And tonight, it's on. I'm sure it's going to be hard for me to watch seeing how soon after his passing I'll be watching it. One thing is for sure: Patrick Swayze will most definitely be missed by us all for his acting, his eyes, voice (he wrote a song for the 'Dirty Dancing' soundtrack) and his dancing ability. May he rest in peace.

16/09/09 - Last night's episode was brilliant; as usual. However, before the show began, there was a dedication. It was brief and touching; and brought tears to my eyes. What a fantastic actor, dancer and Patrick Swayze will be missed from our hearts and screens forever.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Yes! Spring is finally here in Brisbane and I love it! Well, most of it... with the exception of the hay fever which starts early in the morning and finishes when I drop off to sleep late at night, I love Spring here Brisbane. Yeah, the blossoms on the trees get to me in a really horrible way; and it feels as thought I'm coming down with a cold when in reality I'm not. But honestly, I do love this time of year. The nights are still nice and cool; yet the days are a warm enough to get out into the yard and to attack the much-neglected garden; and boy! Does it need the attention!
I also get into the ol' Spring Cleaning Mode because - with my birthday coming up in the next few weeks - I do out my wardrobe to call in the new season with a big Vinnie's shop so I have some clothes to go out in (and coin purses to show off too!).
Yeah, Spring is the time when I get in and have a bit of fun with Halloween, bringing dormant plants back to life, painting, music and socialising. It's when I see Brisbane
City and Logan City at their best.
It's not as thought Winter is a horrible thing here; it's just that the weather turns so darn cold and nothing really does anything. So, I have more fun reading or doing indoor stuff than getting out and about (as we all do).

So, let's all welcome this time of year and go for a walk to see all the plants in bloom.
Whether you've got plants that are losing their leaves for Autumn or they're just starting to open up again and bring colour back into your lives, any season is as beautiful as the next. So, get out there and enjoy it; no matter what the weather.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Father's Day (Southern Hemisphere)

Well, yesterday was Father's Day and my family got together for lunch at Mum and Dad's house. It was a typical Sunday where, presents were exchanged. I gave my brother and Dad the same thing; a very nice tyre gauge that measures motorcycles, trailers, bicycles, RV's and cars. Then, I hung out with my niece while she tried to draw a cat. however she found it harder than she though and so I grabbed a picture off the net for her. When she looked at it, she rubbed out the face of the cat and began drawing a horse. Meanwhile, my older brother played the guitar to a c.d. of rhythm and blues and he sounded fantastic! It was then, Mum and Dad began dancing to it and I got out my camera for some cool shots.
Then came lunch. We had the food all set out on the table and helped ourselves. It was wonderful and delicious and we all raised our glasses in a toast to Dads here and a
bsent. For dessert, there was stewed apples with Magnum ice cream and strawberry and chocolate topping... which Mum told us all was really runny but forgot about it herself.
After pots of tea were made, the board games came out and my brother decided to have a snooze on the floor of the lounge room while we decided to play 'Pictionary'. An hour and half later, Mum, Dad and Riley won over Katrina and me; but it was close (truthfully, we forgot that they were supposed to win and kept drawing pictures! It was a scream!).

My brother got up and said we were a noisy lot and started to get ready to get his daughter home to her Mum.
Father's day was drawing to a close as they left in the Kombi Van, taking
Jay the Dog with them, and I fiddled on the net while Mum looked through some photographs in a box for her birthday party and Dad worked hard in the garden until the sun went down. Yep, it was another Father's Day finished for 2009.

So, how did you all spend Father's Day? Was it with loved ones? Visiting their resting place or hanging out at his favourite fishing spot for the day?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

National Flag Day! Raise Yours With Pride!

Today is National Flag Day here in Australia. This is where we celebrate 108 years ago that Australia flew her own national flag for the first time in Melbourne on this very day in 1901; and each year, we have remember this day. How this came about was simple. After having the Union Jack as our national flag for so long, the Australian Government thought it was time, our country had our own flag and so put forward a national competition for the people of Australia to design a flag for its residents to be proud of. Over 30,000 entries flooded in and five of them looked similar to what the government found they'd fly from a flagpole. And on this day, in 1908, the first Australian flag was unfurled on the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne. What a way to make our country our own, eh? Well, since then, our people have been proud to fly the Aussie flag around the globe through hard times and celebrations, through war, peace, while standing up to adversities and challenges as well as finding this flag a wonderful sign that they are home from their travels.
So, today, Mum and I went to the National Flag-Raising Ceremony at the Logan Art Gallery and there were school kids there, the Lord Mayor of Logan City,
diggers who were flag-bearers and plenty of nibblies, tea, coffee and orange juice to go around. I took some fantastic photos of the flags of our Memorial. This is the type of day which makes me proud to be an Australian. Even the day turned out lovely with the sun out with a cool Spring breeze blowing and a pair of musicians playing purely Australian songs such as 'Waltzing Matilda', 'We Are Australian' and 'Advance Australia Fair'... all of which usually brings a tear to my eye when I try to sing them.

I also met some important people. We already knew the Lord Mayor, Pam Parker, of Logan City. And I talked to a volunteer of the Logan Art Gallery who could also make it today. However, there were a lot of empty seats on the lawn of the art gallery. Mum introduced me to Mr. Shailer, man who is 91 years young; who had a suburb named after him... Shailer Park that is. Mum and he talked for a bit before we parted company and made our ways home into the warm Spring day.

As an Australian, or anyone from any country for
that matter, what do you do to celebrate the history and love of your country? Even though we're a young nation, us Australians are new to traditions and I think this one is a great one to stick to.