Friday, November 18, 2011


Best Beloved has been away this week. He's gone off to northern America, skipping through various parts of the US and Canada for work. Most of it is meetings, but he gets a day here & there to see things, and he's an expert speed tourist, so he'll cram a lot into a day. Last weekend he went to the Getty Museum in LA, and last I heard was looking forward to the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

I took Bumblebee back to Colonel Duck's farm to see Lily the lamb, who is nice and fat these days.

Lily is fatter

The tree that they are sitting under is very typical of the area, it's an apple gum (I think, from memory) and they cover the slopes here. When the wind blows (and it blows A LOT), limbs come down, so I don't tend to spend a lot of time under them, having been emotionally scarred by poor Judy's death in my childhood.


Back at home again, there's been no real food in the fridge, since I've been away from the markets for two weekends and I don't count Woolworths as a provider of real food. Nearly every night has been a non-cooking night:

Monday I had to assess over 40 students for their complimentary courses of either book, etching or screenprinting (we three teachers combine as a panel and do all of our students together), so I was absolutely buggered and couldn't do anything but buy fish & chips.

Tuesday my lovely Dr Sista Outlaw was in town and staying with me while she attended (for her work) the opening of the National Museum of Australia's heartbreaking Inside exhibition. Her job at the moment is working on the NSW arm of the new Find and Connect website. So at the end of that day we went around to my local yumspot, Wilburs, and had pizza and wine (well, she drank, I'm off grog for the month or so) and caught up with Zoe.

Wednesday was a bit of a lost day, spending most of it with Dr SO and an old friend of hers, and then hosting my regular fortnightly scrabble-dumpling soiree. It's a great night: people bring packets of frozen dumplings and whatever they want to drink, and eventually we play scrabble, or not, or read poems, play chess, watch Spicks&specks, whatever the dynamic of the night wants to do, as the mix of people is always very different, depending who I've talked to that week or who gets brought along. This time we had a couple of fellows at the start, but they had to run off, so we ended up with seven women who all wanted to play scrabble and have a good natter at the same time, so we put two boards out and pooled all the letters and had a big single game. It was very civilised, really. You could choose either board in your turn, and both boards were used quite equally. Lots of dumplings steamed & eaten, lots of good conversation.

Thursday was again a not-studio day. I yearn for the studio, but sometimes it just has to wait its turn. I had to ride my bike into the city to meet up with the other people involved in the ArtsACT Artists-in-Schools Residency this year. I rode because most of the city was pretty chaotic with the visit by POTUS (or Barack Obama to you non-acronyming non-Canberrans) whom I completely missed seeing, because I'm never at the right moment at the right time for anything like that. I was in Bega when the Queen visited too. I did hear all the planes and helicopters yesterday, but that's as close as I got to the action. The meeting was great fun - we all got to tell stories of our early childhood teaching encounters and give feedback about the grant stuff.

After that I went home and did some intensive gardening, pulling out a small tree (I'd noticed the same tree in other people's gardens around the corner and NO WAY was I letting it get that big, ever) and doing lots of weeding.

Oh -- and throughout most of this activity was the ongoing stoooooory (in Muppet tones) of Bumblebee's homework. More like SAGA. He had has two major assignments due, and the first finally got done (it was like pulling teeth), with the second one more enthusiastically tackled when suddenly we discovered a THIRD one that had been forgotten and was a day overdue when remembered. ACTION STATIONS. We (WE) got it done, and now he's back to researching the Samurai era, which is much more fun than creating a travel brochure for Rwanda (DON'T GO THERE, he put on the front, after looking up DFAT's current travel advice for the country :) )

So, Thursday. Oh yes, in the evening I went to Megalo's African Famine Fundraiser night, where lots of very good art was for sale to raise funds for CARE, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Aust Govt. The speeches were amazing: Jon Stanhope, looking very well and fit, talking about Human Rights and the Arts; a speaker from CARE, who realised she was banging on a bit by about the 6th page of her talk and cut it down quickly, but I was actually completely engrossed in her statistics and facts... more people then the entire population of Canberra living in one refugee camp, among other shocking things. And then another young woman (I am SO BAD with names) speaking really eloquently about our capacity to engage with these events when they are ignored by mainstream media, and how to incorporate a charitable sensibility into your everyday life without giving in to periodic guilt (in other words, how to help consistently, rather than reacting to emergencies). She was amazingly good. I hope Megalo made a decent amount for the fundraiser. I bought an Alison Alder screenprint, called Drought, which seemed very fitting.

Today... I have to run around some more, but I'm hoping the weekend will be studio-based. The cats keep nagging me to go in there, because they like to watch me work (eyes like whips, the two of them). Actually, poor Pooter hasn't been 100% well this week. On Sunday night he came down with a raging fever, all limp and droopy and off his food, with red-hot paws and ears. I put him on the bed beside me, and slept lightly, checking on him, and by morning the fever had broken and he was bright-eyed and demanded FOOD, and lots of it. Phew! I was all gooey over him until yesterday, when he pooed in the bath. Charming.


ronnie said...

apple gums are notorious (I'd completely forgotten about the tale in 7LAs) - down here they are called 'widow makers'....

the queen and the POTUS might be considered equally ummmmm diabolical wot.... a lucky miss for you!

The Elephant's Child said...

Busy, busy, busy. I feel inclined for bed after reading all your activity.
Lily the lamb is a sweetie.
In this neighbourhood after the Canberra fires people are busily removing every gum tree for its potential threat. We have three and they are staying (while we do).
Glad that Mr Pooter is better. Their digestive disposal can leave a lot to be desired though.

Penthe said...

That tree does look like a Judy killer. I've always been slightly sceptical about the telly version, yours looks much more deadly.

And from another perspective, you could say that the Queen (or the QOE) and the POTUS must both be equally unlucky to miss you.

One of my co-workers was stuck in a plane on the tarmac while Airforce One took off. That was quite close.