Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Romance of Digging In the Dirt

It recently came to my attention that there is a small archaeological dig going on at the Royal Bull's Head Inn in Toowoomba. I thought this was cool because 1. I'm from there and anything to do with archaeology is rare in those parts 2. I remembered visiting there on a school excursion when I was a kid and 3. It is being run by two of my old Uni lecturers.

I haven't had a chance to visit yet, and knowing my luck by the time I manage to get up there the dig will be over, but still I'd be interested in the findings, because it's one of the oldest (if not the oldest) building in the city. So old it would have been standing when my German ancestors emigrated to the Darling Downs.

Anyway, of course then I got reminiscing about my uni days. I was a student of Anthropology at USQ for 4 whole years and never did any practical archaeology. I always admired the work of those who did, but one visit to the lithics lab was enough to put me off for life. I thought that stone technology, both the digging up of and study of, was intensely boring. Of course there is other stuff to dig up - more interesting things like gold and bones - but these are rare. Even my lecturer's dig at the time, in a cliff cave on an island in the Whitsundays, didn't yield anything much more interesting than shells and bone fish hooks.

I'm sure most archaeologists would beg to differ with me on that last point - as it's often not the items themselves that are exciting, but the interpretation of them and how they can contribute to our knowledge of human culture.

But me, I don't even garden. I now know I'd rather read about digs and their findings than actually participate. You've got to be passionate to do that stuff out in the hot sun, or wind and rain. If you've ever watched Time Team, you probably realise how frustrating and fruitless archaeology can be.

But as long as amazing things turn up occasionally, I guess we'll keep digging in the dirt. Who knows, maybe I will give it a go one day.

Archaeology, do you dig it?

 Dr Lara Lamb is blogging about the Royal Bull's Head Inn dig here. Or visit their Facebook here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show goodness

I was fortunate enough to win a pass to the Good Food and Wine Show from Vanessa at 26 Years and Counting.

Now, not being a foodie but a big appreciator of food (and the occasional wine) in general, I was excited to rock up to the Convention Centre and have a poke about.

What I found was a crowd eager to sample some quality wares and a lot of stallholders, with businessness small and large ready to please them.

The big draws, are of course the cheese (yummo) and the wine (a little early in the day for me) but there was a grand array of other goods - chocolate, fudges, preserves, dukkah... you name it!

I met up with Vanessa who was watching a chef demonstration and we wandered around together. After a while I learnt to be shameless about asking to try samples!

It was a great way to spend a few hours, and I enjoyed looking at local producer's stalls as well as the bigger brands.

Do you go to food and wine shows? What's your favorite bit - the free samples or the chance to talk to the brands?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Can't Be Trusted

When I was little, my uncle and aunty had a pool. As they lived next door, this was extremely convenient and many's the summer afternoon we would hear "Kids! Out!" as the twilight deepened. I never once gave a thought to the time and money it takes to maintain such a magnificent plaything.

When I became a pool owner a few years ago, I was extremely naive. I had no idea just how much time, effort and dollars go into making sure that lovely water stays crystal clear and swimmable!

Most of the time I casually leave the pool stuff up to hubby, but with him being away I have had to assume a few duties. Turns out I can't even manage to keep the damn thing full.

No rain for a while and few hot days has resulted in some evaporation. I glanced out the window one afternoon one week and noted the water level was down but still above where it should be. Then on Sunday morning when the pump came on I happened to be out at the washing line and suddenly a loud, strange sucking noise started eminating from the skimmer box...

It was sucking air, because the water was well below the required line! Frantically I chucked the hose in the pool and then had to figure out how to turn off the new pump!

I left it going an hour then turned it off when I had to go out. When I got home in the afternoon, I decided to put it back on again for a while to bump up the water to where it should have been.

And promptly forgot to set myself a timer.  It wasn't until I was preparing for bed later in the evening that I realised I could hear something... the hose!

I bolted out the back, heart in my mouth... and it was about an inch below the edge. Thank god I hadn't overflowed it!

However, it was now TOO full, and one good rainstorm could result in disaster. So this morning I had to LET OUT water.

And you can bet your boots I remembered to set a timer for that.

Do you have a pool? Does it stress you out as much as mine does?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Too Much Screen Time

So I hear "Screen Time" is bad for you. That's the amount of time your eyes spend looking at a screen. Apart from the more obvious negatives (sedentary sitting is terrible ergonomic practice!) it seems Screen Time is very good at eroding your sleep quality too.

Which is unfortunate, because I just realized I spend virtually my entire waking life in front of a screen. If I'm eating breakfast, on the train or at home on the couch, I'm looking at my smartphone. If I'm at work, I'm staring at my computer. In the evening, I'll sometimes have THREE screens going - tv, laptop and phone. Holy Moley!

Even worse, when I do go to bed I have gotten into the habit of watching YouTube. So now I'm thinking lying in the dark looking at videos on my phone probably isn't helping my brain relax into sleep mode. 

Something has to be done - I'm going to try to look up more. Live in the present moment, instead of diverting all my attention to what's happening on a nearby screen. 

Do you have too much Screen Time? How's it affecting your life?

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Growing Sense of Dread

It's been gradual, but I have this growing sense of dread lately. It's to do with feeling safe in my own city.

There's a lot of hoo-haa about the G20 summit in Brisbane at present. Although the actual event itself is still weeks away, changes are already being felt. Measures are being taken. Processes are being put in place.

I see police standing around at strategic places, in pairs or trios. They're watching.

I hear train announcements that have changed from the familiar "mind-your-step" to instructions on what to do in an emergency situation. And please don't leave your belongings unattended.

Bins at various places have been boarded up - no bombs please.

I feel uneasy travelling on the train, and walking to work.

Nationally, there have been multiple arrests connected to alleged terrorist activity. Every day there are "incidents". The National Threat Level has been raised to "High".

I do genuinely want to believe that all these security measures are warranted, that they aren't part of some giant PR exercise to a) distract the public from other important issues on the politial landscape at present, both at state and federal level; or b) an exercise in making it look like something is being done to protect the public from a perceived threat, when there actually is little likelihood of anything happening.

I'm not overly cynical, and I do genuinely believe that bodies like ASIO do not muck around when it comes to these types of security issues.

But it is interesting that the result of various bodies taking steps to make me feel more protected are acutally making me more fearful. And then a part of me wonders if they want us to feel that way...

Do you feel afraid lately?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Op Shops of Brisbane: Save the Children Kallangur

Op Shops of Brisbane is a series where I talk about charity shops I go to. Feel free to suggest a good one to me - I live on the north side but have been known to drive great distances for a good browse!

This week we're looking at Save the Children Op Shop in Kallangur. It is a relatively new store to me, having only noticed it a few months ago. Either it has always been there and recently gotten a facelift, or it's new in the premises. Either way, it's great!

Parking tip - if there's no space out the front on the main road, turn into the shopping centre and park in front of the Salvos store next to the Red Rooster. Then you can hit both op shops at once!

What struck me when I first entered the shop was the extraordinary level of neatness and organisation. Although since this visit I have seen it in a few places, this was the first op shop I'd seen where clothing was organised by colour. It's very striking and so wonderfully convenient if you're looking for a particular shade!

There is a plus size clothing rack too (always an extra brownie point in my book) and a wide range of clothing for the whole family. I have found upon subsequent visits the clothes are mostly of the modern chain store variety, with a wide range of low- and high-end labels represented.

There is a wall of books and mags, and a few shelves with a small collection of bric-a-brac. I've seen Johnson of Australia there, along with some other nice crockery but not many other collectables. The majority of the shop is clothing.

I love visiting this shop because it is invariably clean, tidy and bright. Although small, I can often find something to buy. It's also one of the only two op shops within a half hour drive of my house that are open Sundays!

Save the Children Op Shop is at Shop 1, 1469 Anzac Ave, Kallangur QLD and is open Mon-Sat: 9am-4pm and Sun: 10am-4pm.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Living a Bloggable Life

Pinterest is a great place to find out stuff about blogging, and last night I stumbled across a little list of tips for beginning bloggers.

Most I had read before, some were just common sense, but the one that really struck me was "LIVE A LIFE WORTH BLOGGING ABOUT".

Wow, pressure.

Ok, ok I get what the author is saying. It's probable that people don't want to read about your mundane daily life - but then again look at bloggers like Mrs Woog of Woogsworld. The mundane, if I may be so bold, is her bread and butter - it's where she finds inspiration and really connects with their blog community. It's even in the blog tagline.

You only have to look at my instagram feed to know that I don't lead an exciting life of travel and intrigue. Nor do most people, actually! I thought about my life a bit and realised that I don't only blog about "things that I do", I also write about "things that I like". Subjects I'm passionate about or find interesting. I don't need to travel to garment sweatshops to blog about supply chain slavery. Similarly, you don't have to be a sufferer of a given disease to write about a charity that focuses on it. If experiencing something was a criteria for writing about it, there would be far fewer writers!

I'm going to this blogging mantra and expand it a bit. To something like "LIVE A LIFE THAT'S CURIOUS AND INTERESTING." Not as catchy, but possibly something that's a bit more do-able.

 Be passionate about things. Go forth and do things that excite you. But also research and read. Explore the world from the comfort of your own home and in your imagination if you like. You don't have to spend a lot of money or be a professional photographer to capture these moments of inspiration - just write.

And share - if you want.

What do you think? What is a "bloggable" life like?


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