Once more unto the breach dear friends once more…..

Should I post again about the flood? Do people want to hear? Once more unto the breach dear friends once more…..

My daughter and I are back home, our house didn’t flood and electricity is restored. We are safe and we are lucky. There are many who don’t have half that much.

I mentioned on Facebook that things were bizarre in Brisbane at the moment, a friend commented that perhaps I chose a strange description. The truth is that I can only say it’s bizarre because we’re safe – otherwise I would have many more adjectives. But driving around feels like a war zone. Very few people are working, there’s been precious little electricity and many drop sheets and sandbags.

People have been advised to stay home so there’s not much traffic on the roads and there are so many road closures that travel is challenging if you had to. There is almost no public transport. The water is everywhere and if people aren’t fending it off they are walking down to the river to see – it’s like slowing down to see a car crash, no one can quite believe it.

Neighbours that never talk are staying together, people that have never met are helping sandbag and move furniture and we talk to people in the supermarket that we’ll never see again because none of us can really believe it.

Everyone I know has done SOMETHING towards the floods, they filled sandbags, took in refugees or checked on a neighbour. This is a community devastation. If you live here I can say this, it may not have flooded your house but I damn well know that you didn’t just get up and go to work today like nothing was wrong. You couldn’t. We couldn’t.

The news is on all the time. And yet sometimes we need a break from the disaster – a joke or a distraction. Something that reminds us that this is not all consuming. So please make a joke, write a funny blog post – make us laugh, cause as a city we’re going to need a few to get through this. And we will get through it – and I say this as a Sydney immigrant! Maybe being here is our official induction, perhaps by getting through this we are now locals whether we like it or not 🙂

For all the negative there is so much positive – I can only imagine that we will come out a stronger BrisVegas from it, or should I say BrisVenice 😉

Lastly, thank you for your thoughts and your wishes for us personally and for everyone in Brisbane. I can’t say how much it means – what I’ve heard more than anything is ‘we wish we could do something’ or ‘we feel so helpless’ but just knowing that people care is amazing. I can’t speak for the people that have no house – I highly doubt they’re checking twitter, but for someone like me knowing that we are in your thoughts means the world and that’s enough.

See you when the tide goes out 😀

x

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apocalypse now

“God said to Noah there’s gonna be a floody floody
It started raining it started to get muddy muddy”

I’m sure a lot of people will be blogging about the QLD floods after all it’s pretty spectacular. Mother Nature really has a way of putting us in our place! But given it’s been on our minds all day it was the only thing that I really wanted to blog about.

I don’t worry about too much about the big stuff (I sweat the little things like no-one’s business!), I kinda try to take the inevitable on the chin as much as I can – I anticipate that the media over hype situations and we’ll all be ok in the end. Ridiculous I know but it’s the kinda ‘bury my head in the sand’ philosophy that has served me well over the years and got me through some crazy shit (thanks to whoever is watching out for me by the way!).

I had an appointment with the Apple Geniuses to fix my mobile this arvo so was planning to head over to Chermside (Brissy North), we live in Bulimba just south on the river. The Daddy is currently working on client site with the Queensland Police Service so he had up to date info on the flooding and was calling with such messages as ‘I’m probably over-reacting but maybe we should do a shop for some staples just to be on the safe side’ and ‘our house is in the flood zone but only West End is under for now’… finally came ‘I don’t think you should go out – Sandgate Rd is under’, this being one of the roads I had to traverse to get my phone fixed.

Now, those who know me know that this much is true – I adore my iPhone so I wasn’t going to let a little thing like a flood stop me from getting my phone fixed. ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be fine – the road closures are further north and I’ll be careful’. (*Yes, I am an idiot*). I bundled the kids in the car and we headed out, before we even got out of the suburb the traffic was obscene and there was water all over the roads. Time for a reassessment. I’m on the road with two kids and no mobile phone in a torrential downpour and potentially flooded roads. Time to bail out.

Back I went via the supermarket. Woolworths looked like a third world country – there was nothing on those god damned shelves. No bread at all, no water, no candles, no torches, no batteries and an over 30 minute wait for a cash register. Because the last big brissy storm was the night before we moved house and we had a blackout which necessitated eating the only food in the house (macadamia nuts, ice cream, red wine and bourbon) I decided this time we’d be prepared, I even bought things on the contraband list such as muesli bars and chips just in case. Can I just say that my kids were freaking awesome in the Supermarket even with all the crowds and they waited all that time in the line like a dream – they really came through when I needed them too (you rock kids!). I came home and The Daddy baked some bread so we were as organised as we could be without actually packing a bag. Funny, but I can’t bring myself to pack – it’s like it brings on the inevitable, I couldn’t pack for hospital when I was pregnant as I decided that would start labour and now I’m convinced that if we’re ready to leave here then we’ll have to, as I said before – I’m completely nuts!

Betty, our wonderful 80yr old neighbour was here during the 1974 floods and assures us that it only just broke the river bank at the bottom of our street then, so we still feel quite safe but we are on alert and are keeping an ear out for the latest as we are really ridiculously close to water. I haven’t been watching the news as I don’t want the kids to see what’s going on, but Twitter is a constant source of info and QPS are doing an amazing job.

The Daddy has gone out to volunteer filling sandbags and I am at home watching news feeds and photos of flooding on the net. My heart breaks for those without homes or in need of help – I want to offer our house but don’t want to take people and animals only to ask them to move again if we evacuated. I wish there was more we could do – but for now all we can do is wait.

Thank you to all of our friends who have sent messages of support via phone, Facebook and Twitter. I almost feel guilty as we are all so dry and comfortable in our house and I think those beautiful wishes should go to the people with no homes, who have lost everything including loved ones. I know that some of my friends think I am being lackadaisical about our safety but please let me assure you that I wouldn’t put my kids at risk no matter what – I just don’t think at this stage we are in imminent danger.

Thank you everyone. Your thoughts mean the world.
Now please shut up while I go on making fun of the whole situation – it’s how I cope after all 🙂

With love
Sam

Modern Kids get Arty Farty

In the driving rain that is pummeling Brisbane at the moment we ventured out the the Gallery of Modern Art to see the 21st Century: Art in the First Decade exhibit.

Now, I’m going into this by saying that I wish I understood a lot more about Art than I do – but I do enjoy a good gallery experience. The Daddy on the other hand does not. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find something that he’d enjoy less. The last exhibit that I remember us going to was the Buddha exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery years ago and even I have to admit that by the time we got through the enormous variety of Buddhas we would have been quite happy to never see another one! I also remember a visit to Brett Whitely’s gallery in which The Mother in Law proceeded to inform us of the sexual nature of Brett Whitely’s creations – pointing out breasts and vaginas which clearly everyone but me could see. So, ignorant as I am, and unwilling as The Daddy is, we dragged the kidlets to the exhibition.

The awesomeness of this exhibit for kids can not be overstated. I’m going to give you the cliff notes.

There is a massive double tube slide when you walk in that the kids can slide down. This would have been awesome if we could have been patient enough to wait in the line but we had two hours parking so we moved along.

There is the most amazing all white lego tower exhibit which the kids can add to. It is super duper coolio! I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean but the kids could have played there all day! So could The Daddy – perhaps I should have left him there and come back past to pick him up on the way out 😉


I then moved the kids on to an amazing wall of ribbons, each of which had a wish printed on it – it was designed to showcase the significance of ritual when we make a wish. The kids were asked to select a wish that matched them and tie it around their wrist then write their own wish to add to the wall to be included in the next installation.


Tilly picked ‘I wish I could fly’ and Miles chose ‘I wish I was a professional football player’

As his wish he asked me to write ‘I wish there were rainbows everyday’ and added it into the wall

Then we watched part of a video piece designed to give meaning to natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina by presenting something that is identifiable and real to us. The artists flooded a McDonalds restaurant in 20mins and filmed it. The kids were transfixed in spite of not eating at McDonalds, they clearly found their own relevance.

There was a fabulous double sided swimming pool, it had water incased in plastic in a pool but the bottom was dry – so people would walk underneath the water. We could see them at the bottom of the pool and they could see us at the top looking down at them. Clear as mud? Good! As much as the kids desperately wanted to be under the water (and we did do both) my feeling is that it was best enjoyed from above.

There were several sections where the kids could make things to become part of the installation – drawing words and making birds and nests.

There was a video table that was screening Singing In The Rain and Miles had to trace Gene Kelly as he danced which then appeared on a giant screen – very cool Miles said that Gene was moving too fast for him!

I took the kids in to see the sound installation of live finches flying onto wire coat hangers that were attached to piano wire across the roof. It was incredible. I wouldn’t recommend it though unless the kids can be quiet, not all those who went through with our group really got the point and some kids (and adults!) were far too noisy to really appreciate it.

What I LOVED in the exhibit was a chance for children to tell us about art through their eyes. Each child wore a pair of glasses with a video camera and microphone in it, they then went around and commentated what they were seeing which was recorded as a movie that they could watch afterwards and email home. Totally brilliant way to engage kids in art through the use of technology – loved it!

We didn’t see everything – there was a room FULL of balloons that you could walk through but the line was too long, there was a fabulous installation entitled Alien Nation from an indigenous artist to communicate how he feels as an aboriginal artist to the kids, inducting them into the Alien Nation with touch screens around the gallery and membership cards – tres cool! There was a lot of art aimed at adults that was signed ‘not suitable for kids’ which was great and some that wasn’t signed but that was ok too. I LOVED it. I would have loved to go on my own to look at some of the things that I didn’t get to see because we were with the kids, it would be easy to spend most of a day there as we didn’t get through nearly enough in the 2 hours we were there.

If you can brave the floods, it’s highly recommended.

**My appoloigies for not naming artists and works of art, if I’d meant to do a proper researched post I probably would never have gotten to it at all! For loads more informed information on the exhibit head to the Queensland Art Gallery site*

In the summertime, that is where I’ll be!

So further to yesterdays post yearning for lazy summer days, today we were blessed with sun and warmth and set out to find a beach!

Now for someone who grew up in Sydney a beach is essential – but I’ll let you in on a not so secret fact…. Brissy has no surf beaches, and a beach without surf is no beach at all! So we headed up to the sunshine coast to a new discovery Dicky Beach.

I can’t say what the best bit was – when we got there and Miles just stood staring at the waves like he’d never seen a beach before, the too hot sand, the smell of salt water, the perfect shells we collected, the warm waves, the shipwreck from the 1800’s on the beach or our sandcastle building. It was ACE with a capital A!

The kids had a ball and didn’t want to stop. I love that they throw themselves at new experiences and have little fear – that they chase waves with as much challenge as the waves pursue them, and then turn around make friends with the foam to learn to bodysurf. I love that they go under, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes not but there are no tears just new tactics. I love that they go over waves, have waves break on their heads and sometimes float just waiting for the next one. I love that they want to get out deep (even though there was a giant sand bar so they couldn’t). I love that they embrace life with both arms and an almighty shout!

I wonder why I wanted them to enjoy the beach as much as I do, just because I grew up going to the beach? Why do I want them to love what I love? I don’t do it consciously and do try not to push them, and yet when they ask to learn to surf I answer ‘of course!’.

Either way – here’s to reclaiming long, slow, lazy, beachy, summer days and many, many more trips to Dicky Beach!

Finders Keepers

Headed to the first Brisbane Finders Keepers Markets today. In a beautiful venue – the Old Museum at Herston. So nice to see so many Brisbane artists in one space. What stood out? As expected, all about birds, owls and bird cages 🙂 I did find some beautiful hand made fabrics and kids things. Inspired – YES! 🙂

I really loved sharing it with another artist, hearing great tunes, eating spicy sausage and drinking strong coffee! Looking forward to the next one 🙂