Day three of the birthday festival

I had a joyful birthday lunch last year at Patina, Customs House. Unfortunately, my mood beforehand was decidedly maudlin, resulting in the following self reflective poem.

Expectations, unheard, unwritten, not agreed, lead to disappointment. Frustration from despondency could result in an outpouring or inner turmoil. Assumptions can conflict create or do secrets forge, limiting authenticity. Living as a liar may rebellion incite or self-loathing and self-destruction result.

This year, I decided to take control of myself; to celebrate the end and beginning of a new birth year with close my husband and close friends.

We turned up at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) to see the European Masters exhibition on loan from the Met, New York on Thursday. The thought of queuing for one hour did not rock my boat so we headed for a great lunch at Julius Pizzeria followed by sundowner drinks at the Terrace Rooftop Bar.

The photograph above shows the view of the city looking northeast from the Terrace towards the city, across the Brisbane River.

On Friday our tastebuds were treated to an exquisite six course degustation lunch including, seven amuse bouches and matching wines. Next we went to Maya Mexican rooftop restaurant and bar for cocktails, gorgeous nibbles, socialising and dancing.

The picture above taken from Maya shows the city on the right and a neon looking outline of the Storey Bridge left of centre.

Today we rest. Plans will form or not, as the day progresses.

Tomorrow I will enter my 58th year.

Sunburnt goth

I live in a country with an overhead continent sized hole in the ozone layer and one of the highest incidents of skin cancer in the World. Moving to the Sunshine State of Queensland three years ago has increased the chance of skin damage.

As I inherited moles from my parents, it is recommended, I should get my skin checked annually. Thankfully at a recent going over, I was given the all clear.

An early DNA test revealed my paternal heritage hails from Northern Europe while my maternal Romani ancestors migrated from the northern Mediterranean region to the UK.

Up until around age 12, growing up in England, meant happily playing in the sun sans sunscreen. Turning red was an accepted step to a ‘healthy’ colour. It appears my Caucasian flesh pigmentation is influenced more from the northern rather than the southern realms.

During the heatwave of 1976, while caravanning in Barmouth, Wales, I learned a painful lesson. Running around topless resulted in the most excruciatingly painful sunburn imaginable. It was too sore to even have fabric next to my skin. I slept on my front, lathered in calamine lotion.

Once home, I enjoyed an unhealthy fascination with peeling great sheets of dead skin from my body.

Freckles across my upper back and shoulders are a constant reminder of that day.

With age, I have found liberally applied factor 50+ protection allows my porcelain hued complexion to gradually morph to a honey glow.

The bizarre thing is, from early on, I sought to seek out darkness rather than the light. Maybe it was rebellion against a Christian upbringing. I hungrily devoured texts laden with the macarbre, vampires, devils, witches, fortune telling, the Tarot, dreams, ghosts, and Victorian gothic romanticism. If I had been more worldly wise and less concerned with what I assumed people thought of me, I would have embraced the goth culture of the 1980s. This may even have led to finding ways to link with the eastern Germanic tribes of the same name.

A career path into hospitality reaffirmed the need to hide my identity and fit into the expected ‘norm’. Perhaps, pursuing art studies should have provided a safe space for discovering my inner self and self-expression.

In some ways my stifled authenticity has stunted my development. Labelling myself a neo pagan in my forties, I indulged my interest in the occult. I read as much as I could, learned to invoke natural energies to enhance spell work and tried to understand the hidden meaning of symbolism. The launch of this blog coincided with the conclusion of my mystical journeying.

It is now, in my late fifties, I feel comfortable and safe enough to explore my inner goth. A Brisbane Pride March and Fair Day, scheduled for yesterday has been postponed due the risk of COVID community transmission. I was gearing up to launch my goth in facial expression at these events. This would have come as a surprise to my companions.

The photograph above captures a shaky handed and hasty first attempt at the makeup. I didn’t wait long enough for the primer and foundation to dry and managed to poke myself in the eye with the mascara brush.

I haven’t worked out what to do with my beard. Maybe purple-black glitter; glam goth.

CMW

Our Contemporary Mobile Workfore (CMW) policy allows employees to work from home five days out of ten.

One of the conditions for lockdown week two not happening, wearing of masks at work for two weeks even if one can socially distance. My role includes a reasonable amount of time on the telephone.

The CMW rules have been relaxed for two weeks. I have opted to continue to work from home. One week down, one to go.

The above picture is a memory from a lunch time walk last month. Shadows at play from the glass porch at the north eastern doorway of the gothic revival Cathedral of St. Stephen.

Lockdown week 1

Pre-lockdown memory, juxtaposition, cathedral of St. Stephen

It started shortly after my last post, Not in lockdown . Delta variant attempting to run havoc through the antipodes, detected in Brisbane.

Apart from the initial lockdown last year, Queensland has been largely spared from long lockdowns. Victoria and now New South Wales are shouldering the burden.

What a frustrating working from home week!

Monday
The cloud based telephony software was upgraded. The adjusted functionality resulted in me missing a huge number of calls during my 2.75 hours of loop time.

The GP called us in early for the second Pfizer vaccination. I took an hour off work.

Tuesday
After working for about two hours, flu symptoms started. No more work for me today. By the evening a fever was making me feel decidedly uncomfortable.

Wednesday
Feeling 80% of my usual self, I spent the day catching up on unfinished work until the database went down around 3:30 pm.

Thursday
A reasonably productive day.

Friday
A fault in the Woolloongabba national broadband node resulted in an Internet outage of about one hour before lunch time. This resulted in no phone, email, Teams or database access.

We will find out on Sunday if the lockdown is being extended.

Not in lockdown

I awoke knowing I had to attend a local pathology lab before working from home. Google maps to confirmed an opening time of 6:30 am.

The hot shower resulted in a centrally heated glow emananating through my body. Do I need a coat? Surely I will be okay in shorts and tee. Unknowing if I needed to be fasting or not, I headed out without a coffee.

The cooling 13oC air enveloped my body on exiting. After a couple of minutes, I had to head back for my face mask.

Upon arriving at the clinic, a man was on his way out, four people were seated, and there were four chairs to spare. I sat nearest the entrance. At this point I was far from awake. Why then had I sat next to a source of blasting music? First thought was, a television, no a radio. For a fraction of a second I considered moving seat. After all it would have gone unnoticed to my peers; absorbed by their phones.

The bespectacled used head stowage and push forward methods to escape the irritation of fogged up lenses. While playing word puzzles, solitaire, and Woodoku, I chose to do the on and off, repeat motion.

I made a mental note of the people in front of me. An unnecessary waste of brain power as we all had handed over referral forms to the mufti clad nurse. She was keeping them and us in strict chronological order.

Between patients, the waiting room was treated to melodious stereo as the nurse sang along.

Eventually, I allowed myself to be pointed into the collection room. Robotically settling into the wide throne like chair with wide arm caps. The identity checking and arm choice over, I ‘scooted’ over to the left. The tourniquet attached, fist clenched, ‘you’ll feel a sharp sting’.

A few minutes passed, gaze averted, lulled by the occasional soft popping and scraping noises of the tubes being swapped over. I was jolted from trying not to think about the ache developing in my arm by the nurse. ‘Oh, are you okay? I drifted off there. A mini meditation’, she said.

Commencing the five minutes walk home, I reflected on the sparse number of cars, the sunshine delivering tepid warmth, and how fortunate we are not being in lockdown.

Crinoline and lace

The busy arch filled facade of the block sized Treasury Building, conjures up images of crinoline encased ladies, enshrouded in lace.

This late nineteenth, early twentieth century, Italian Renaissance style, former Queensland state government administration building is faced with sandstone ashlar. It glows warmly while basking in the late afternoon sunshine.

Since 1995 this edifice has housed a casino. When viewed in the early morning, traces of the over rouged lighting strike a discord of grotesque elegance. I wonder what will occupy this grand old lady when the nearby newer model is debuted in late 2022.

Those people

My earliest memory of dining out was in a cafe in West Bromwich, UK. The treat ended with my younger brother by three years having a tantrum; screaming and kicking on the floor surrounded by chips.

My addiction to going out to eat formed while undertaking hospitality studies in Worcester and Blackpool, 1980 to 1984. Overseas travel broadened my appreciation of fabulously foreign cuisines.

As a food service employee, I would groan internally about the guests who refused to leave, so that I could clear up and head home to bed.

My husband and I have become those people who literally spend hours chatting and supping over meals in eateries. The latest trend is starting with late lunch and continuing on to dinner. All the better when Stan is able to accompany us. He enjoys the attention from the staff, greeting them like old friends.

Our current favourites for double dining are Marinara Ristorante Cafe, Hawthorne and Patina at Customs House, Brisbane. Starting earlier ensures our departure well before the end of the evening.

Quelle horreur

The thought of being deprived of Google in Australia is monstrous! Fingers crossed we will not succumb to have to Bing things.

On a local level the winds of change grew to hurricane proportions. We signed up with a realtor, booked times for staging, photographs, and the first viewing.

Then the realty of the market dowsed our spirits. Everything is on hold until we can find somewhere suitable to live.

Deciding we will rent for a while, we are well beyond dirty, pest infested, rundown garrets. Is it unreasonable to expect air conditioning, dishwasher, covered outdoor area, space from the neighbours and undercover parking?

There are suitable rental properties however, as in stories of unrequited love, our advances are spurned. Why? We have an ‘inside’ Stan.