Sunday, May 2, 2010

friends, beaches, radios

Howdy all.

There’s not too much to say this week. Things are humming along well in the Jardine household, we’re getting to the end of the second long-weekend in a row (Anzac day last weekend followed by Labour day this weekend). Since the weather is so nice it’s been easy to get out and hike or beach-walk, hang out in the park or go for a good bike ride.

We welcomed Sarah and Justin last weekend, and bid them farewell on Thursday for their road-trip up the eastern coast. It’s great to know that they’re having a great time, but it’s maddening to know that they’re in Australia and we’re not hanging out with them! We’ll reunite later this week before they head home. We may take in an AFL game in the city, but we’re not sure. We’ve been here for over 2 years and still don’t understand that game- and this says a lot considering who I’m married to. We’ve found that sporting events in Brisbane are generally fun to attend though, so we’ll probably give it a go.

I actually will be leaving Brisbane when Sarah and Justin head out. Yep, I’m off to Vietnam for a quick visit with our friend Van Anh and her fiancĂ©e who will be in Hanoi visiting with her family prior to their wedding back in Canada. It’ll only be me on this trip, which is kind of exciting and kind of frightening. I’m sure it will be great, and I’m stoked to be going while knowing what to expect (having visited last year at this time). I’m looking forward to Pho, and the yummy pork porridge and sticky rice balls that Van Anh got us for breakfast when we were there last time. I’ll admit that I’m relieved that I don’t have to stress about Edie traveling either...however, Tim probably feels quite differently than I do about this. He’ll be the one tending to Edie for 8 days without mum. He’ll be fine I’m sure, and he’s got access to lots of help here. He doesn’t think he’ll need it, but brother, unless he’s got some magic up his sleeve, he will. Edie + everyday life is a big, big job. She knows ‘no’ now and knows how to use it well. She’s so darn funny. So if you’re around and can lend a hand, don’t let Tim fool you into brushing help aside.

We made a trip out to Bribie Island last weekend for a beachside walk and it was amazing. We took along Sarah and Justin, Steph (our favorite Canadian physiotherapist living in Brisbane and regular Monday night guest) and our friends originally from Michigan, Tim and Lindsay. It’s weird that living in Queensland where beaches are plentiful and amazing, that we generally don’t go to them very often. I think the same can actually be said for lots of Queenslanders. Perhaps because of this, whenever we actually find ourselves at beaches here, we’re usually impressed. But Bribie was so much better than average. It was pretty much deserted (which gets huge points in our books) and so untouched by the development that lines the coast further south and somewhat further north. The whole skyscraper on the beach thing just makes me sad, so a nice clean, untouched, and long stretch of coastline was pure happiness for me. I wish we could have stayed longer.

Our bird sighting list has now reached 116 which is pretty fun. We’ve had a recent surge in sightings because of our trip to Tassie but also because we can actually get out and see birds now without dying of heatstroke. Yay for Fall in Queensland!

Tim will end this post. Enjoy the pictures!

I got to experience my fifteen minutes of fame this week when a media release was sent out about our research. This led to half a dozen radio interviews – most of which went well but ended up being turned into one-sentence sound bytes that you typically hear on the news. These usually offer very little additional insight into what the news broadcaster has already said and are pretty much pointless. They also publish a summary of the story online, which you can see here

However in addition to the shorter clips that go out, there are also the rare “feature” interviews, where you get your time to shine. These are longer and more focused. In fact, while most of the news clip interviews are recorded and edited down to that one sentence, once in a while you get the dreaded, gulp, live interview. My big media day was to end with a live-to-air interview with ABC Far North Queensland (based in Cairns). At around noon the producer told me they would be calling me at 5:20 that afternoon for the interview. Considering our hungry stomachs cause us to eat supper at 5:00 I decided to have them call me at home. You might say that was a mistake. At 4:30 the phone rang and I foolishly picked it up thinking that it was way too early for them to be calling. Laura had just run down to the post office and I was home alone with Edie. Sure enough, it was ABC Radio – “can you do the interview now? We’ll put you on hold and you’ll be on in a moment.” Now anyone who has had a phone conversation with me or Laura while Edie is in the room will tell you that her presence creates an environment that is a) noisy and b) difficult to concentrate on answering questions. So here I am on hold about to go on air and Edie is demanding that I read her a book or push her around on her horsie. Starting to sweat, I quickly grabbed her felts (a zoo scene that she likes to play with where she adds animals and dresses up people), hoping that she could play quietly. Nope. She did the whole “shake the bag while screaming no, no, no” thing.

Time was ticking, I could hear the DJ winding down a spiel about Robert Plant, about to change the subject to fish and my impending nightmare. Just then Laura appeared around the corner, I furiously waved my arms (silently of course) to get her attention, and she raced over just in time for me to sneak out the door and conduct the interview in the relative quiet of our driveway (with motorbikes racing past in the background). It was a fair trade for the possible child abuse charges I could have faced if I had had to resort to locking Edie inside the house and having her screams broadcast over all of North Queensland. Anyway, the interview went well, I’m sure it won’t be the last time I have to juggle Miss E and work. The lesson is – while it’s fun to take your child to work, don’t take work to your child. And also, if you’re ever listening to an interview and you hear a child crying in the background, have sympathy, the poor guy/girl probably just wanted to be home in time for supper.

Bribie and more