Saturday, February 14, 2015

Iceberg ahoy

My painting teacher Margaret cruised to Antarctica for her holidays and she always takes hundreds and hundreds of lovely photos so today we got to paint an iceberg.

The Titanic gave icebergs a bad name, but they are quite wonderful. I love that 9/10 of the iceberg is hidden underwater. What must the aliens think of such structures?

This was my first painting class since December. Class resumed last week but I had a date with One Direction on Saturday.

It was nice today to get out the palette knife and apply the oil paint. You get textures and mixes of colours with a knife that are different to the result with a brush. I've always wanted to visit Antarctica so this was fun to paint a slice of it.

Next week we are painting with watercolours. Lucky I've been practising with watercolours over summer.

The thing I love about painting class is that we have learned to see differently. There are so many variations in light and colour in everything around us. Mostly we don't notice, but when you paint you do.

Today happens to be Valentine's Day. I've never really celebrated Valentine's Day. Perhaps some time in the future someone gorgeous will want to treat me to pink diamonds, champagne and flowers. That would be quite lovely.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Girl Almighty

My favourite band, One Direction, sing a song called Girl Almighty. The lyrics are a bit silly, but the theme is that this girl is so fabulous the boys in the band worship her
I get down I get down I get down
On my knees for you

It was one of my highlights at the concert in Sydney on Saturday night and it's a theme song for Miss B and I.
As I wrote on FB today I've been struggling with depression and it has hit me this week, big time. Normally I don't talk about it, I just get on with my life, working full-time, parenting two teenagers,  enjoying lovely times with my friends, painting, sewing, reading and whatever else my latest passion is.
The thing with depression is that it washes over you like a wave and suddenly you are dumped and swirling in the white water.
I've been feeling unsteady for about a month but this week it hit. I've had today off, doubled my medication and feel as though I can face the world again tomorrow.
I've made such conscious choices in recent years to change my life and to evolve. As my beautiful astrologer Mystic Medusa says this is the Zap Zone. Stay stuck and you are fuqed.
These changes have been in the air since 2008. It's hard work to change and evolve and find the right path. I know I'm on it. Thank you to all my beautiful friends today for their words of encouragement. They mean so much to me, and I will be in touch, either in person or by phone. Thanks for the lovely offers of a phone call or a visit. Please know that the offers are reciprocated.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Inspired by a boy band

Last night Miss B and I went to the first concert of One Direction's On The Road Again tour. It was a massive night at the Allianz Stadium at Moore Park but it was for us far more than going to see our favourite band in concert.

Since we moved out two years ago life has been like a roller coaster. Last year was particularly difficult but through the darkness I thought buying tickets to see the Boys in concert would give us something exciting to look forward to.

We had an official countdown of 252 days. At first it was counted in months, then weeks, then mere days, then hours.

The new album Four was released in November so there were new songs to learn if we were going to have the total concert experience.

When I logged on to the website to buy tickets I noticed there was a "gold" section that promised good seating, with good line of sight. The cost was silly but I thought, what the heck, we don't go on fancy holidays or do much outside of home at the moment. So I paid almost $400 for two tickets.

Can I just say every cent was worth it? When we arrived and took our seats yesterday we had a clear view of everything. There was no one to block our view and the stage was close enough that we could see all the action. Two massive screens heightened the concert experience, but it's fun to watch things in real life.

There were fireworks with many of the songs, light effects, including from the crowd, who do not even need a prompt to use the flashlights from their phones for Little Things, and also for Story of My Life.

A couple of points I would like to make. I was astonished by the number of unaccompanied minors at the concert. There are an extraordinary number of parents who either have great trust in their children (as do most of us), but also in the crowd around them.

I would have expected youngsters to be quite overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd and the crush leaving at the end, but there were thousands of parents picking up unaccompanied children (and I mean younger than my 14 y o). It's obviously a done thing. Not in my world, but in that of others. I hope they all got home safely.

I know some parents think it is an ordeal to sit through a concert of their children's favourite band, but for me, music is something that brings my children close to me. They have completely different tastes in music but I love hearing the latest and learning about new styles, collaborations, new artists, old musicians, the lot. Music, art and love make the world go around.

What inspires me about this particular group is that they started as contestants on the X Factor in Britain. They had little success but Simon Cowell put them together as a band. They only reached third in the final, but four years on, they have a following of Directioners in many countries and these people - mostly teenage girls - are united in their love for the band and their music.

They have worked hard for their achievements and make a point of thanking their fans during the concerts as they know that without them they are nothing. Harry even thanked the parents who had brought their children to the event, which I thought was lovely.

Afterwards we got the bus home to our friends at Marrickville. Miss B was enthralled with the late night commuters. She sees nothing of the likes of that in Canberra.

Highlights: Harry Styles appearing on stage with the man bun. Niall Horan being Niall Horan. McBusted drummer Harry Judd (shirtless). Pre-concert dinner in Queen Street Woollahra. Seeing our gorgeous friends. Hope everyone had as good a time as we did. Time to plan another adventure.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What a car crash

Twenty years ago I worked for the NSW Environment Protection Authority. It was a job that started as one day a week and I ended up there for two+ years. Bob Carr was NSW Premier and the environment was top of mind for government and business.

It was an amazing experience where I got to work with some incredible people, and learned the other side of the media world. For a journalist, it was an eye opener working on the "dark side".

A lot of years later I was in Canberra and working for the Coalition Opposition. It was a chance encounter at my work farewell drinks that I was offered a job with Senator Barnaby Joyce. I learned a lot from him and he from me.

I went on to have four bosses in a little over three years. It was all a bit too much.

Now that I have a nice job on the periphery of politics I am watching the current shenanigans with incredulity.

The turmoil created by the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments strangled Australia. Now the Coalition is strangling itself after some poor polls and equally poor choices from Tony Abbott.

Tony has been a divisive figure in Australian politics because he has strong views, but don't we want our politicians to have the courage of their convictions? There are few Prime Ministers who are popular - Bob Hawke was for most of his term, Kevin Rudd was in the beginning because he wasn't John Howard. JWH had his haters, and for many good reasons. Malcolm Fraser was hated. Paul Keating had lots of haters. TA has his haters. But what good does it do any of us to have this constant churn of leaders? In the Northern Territory a couple of nights ago a bloodless coup turned into a farce when the Chief Minister refused to step aside when someone else wanted the job.

There is still no clear election result in Queensland.

Victoria threw out the Coalition Government after one term - and good on the voters - but already there is criticism that the new ALP Government is back-tracking on election promises.

I love democracy and that we all have our say, but why destabilise everything because someone makes a few unpopular decisions? Every leader, every boss, every parent makes unpopular decisions. Sometimes there has to be an adult in the room.

I'm wondering where the adults are and who is calling the shots behind those politicians who are speaking publicly. It's OK for those with nothing to lose to speak up, but they have nothing to lose, so what is their aim? Do they want everyone on their side to lose because they have the sh*ts, or do they not realise what may happen.

As for the standard of political commentary in the Canberra Press Gallery...there are the handful who know what they are talking about and then there are the many who comment on tone of voice, gossip from unnamed sources and the like.

I suspect most Australians are too busy worried about doing a good day's work and paying their mortgage and the bills to even be taking notice.