Thursday, October 30, 2008

The tax man delivers, bouncy sneakers and Wagons

Hey, look, it's my feet!

Weeeeee! My tax refund has arrived, which means I get to go camera shopping. The tax man gave me back a little more than I was expecting too, which was a pleasant surprise.

I can't wait to get out there and start taking pictures with my new camera. I've taken some great shots with my basic little Kodak Easyshare, but I'm excited about upgrading.

Bouncy, bouncy

I already did a little shopping in anticipation of my tax refund. I needed some new casual sneakers (i.e. not gym shoes) and I saw a pair that I instantly loved. I normally struggle to find sneakers I like - either the style isn't right or I don't like the colours (turquoise and canary yellow anyone?), but these ones were perfect in every way.

I had to order them in because I couldn't find them in my size, so I got to enjoy the anticipation of their arrival instore. They arrived on Tuesday and I wore them for the first time yesterday. I love new bouncy, cushiony sneakers!

And quiet! I'm so stealthy in them. Guess they don't call 'em sneakers for nothing, hey?

I want to wear them everywhere!

Yet more glee!

I got me some tickets tonight to see one of my new favourite bands, Wagons, on Melbourne Cup Eve. Woohoo!

This is them (persist with the lame talky bit) -

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Caroline Street, dog kerbing and dating for a cause

I walked down my favourite street on the way to lunch with a friend today. Caroline Street (above) is lined with beautiful old houses and slopes down to Toorak Road under a canopy of plane trees. It's a shady oasis on a warm day like today.

I had a nice lazy Sunday afternoon lunch and a G n T with Dee, sitting out the front of Bridie O'Reilly's on Chapel Street watching the world go by and catching up on news.

On the way home, I walked along another beautiful street which has many old three-storey buildings that were once stately homes (with names like Mandeville, Montalto and Moore Abbey) but are now posh apartment buildings. What I like best about the street though are the quaint "Please kerb your dog" signs nestled among the greenery on the nature strip (below).

I ask and I receive...again

A couple of weeks ago on my other blog, I pondered the difficulties of trying to find an environmentally aware guy with a social conscience in the world of online dating, without sounding like a self-righteous, anti-fun hippie.

Not that I am looking just yet, but when I am ready, I have found a fabulous alternative called Single Volunteers. It's a group of single people who get together to do good deeds, like cooking meals for homeless people. What a great idea, hey?

It's Melbourne-based and run through (mad stands for 'making a difference'), which does a lot of other great things in the community, not just bringing like-minded singles together.
PS Stephanie, if you're reading this, I'm sorry!

How was your weekend? Do you have a favourite street?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A bloody good day

I donated blood today for the first time! It's one of those things I have been thinking about doing for years and today I finally did it. Woooh! I feel very helpful and virtuous.

I don't know why I put it off for so long because when I have blood taken for tests I always watch and I find the sight of my blood morbidly fascinating (when there's no gushing wound involved). I think it was just the prospect of sitting there with a needle stuck in my arm for a longer period of time that deterred me.

But pah! It was nothing! And clearly I am a superb bleeder because I pumped out the requisite 475ml in about 5 minutes compared to the average is 8-12 minutes. I didn't even have time to finish reading a trash mag story about Angelina Jolie struggling to raise 17 kids under the age of 7 or whatever.

Then I got to the recovery area where you can have a drink and a snack while you sit for 15 minutes and they had Target puzzles to do - and I got the nine-letter word! Yay!

Are you a blood donor?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Odd bicycles and more than words

I saw a man riding a very big unicycle by the river, clad in very padded trousers. I like the way you see some strange sights in a big city. I grew up in the country - no unicycles there (big or otherwise).

I even saw a man riding a penny-farthing bicycle in the city once too. It made me think of the poem by Aussie bush poet Banjo Patterson, Mulga Bill's Bicycle, which I liked when I was a kid.

Not just word games

I discovered tonight that isn't just about words - you can choose your quiz subject, from topics including geography, maths and science. Cool bananas.

I gave my brain a workout trying to remember the capital cities of the world.

Seen anything odd lately round your way lately?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Helping the hungry through words

It was quiet at work today so I filled in some time donating rice to hungry people through For those of you who haven't heard of it, for every word you pick the correct meaning of, the site's advertisers pay for 20 grains of rice to be donated through the UN's food program.

It's quite challenging, even for those who consider themselves to have a pretty good vocabulary (like me), although educated guessing can take you a long way. Today I donated about 4000 grains of rice. Go, me!

What amused me though was a couple of the words that cropped up. The first was 'meshuga'. I had never heard this word until Monday when a friend of a friend mentioned a death metal band he saw called Meshuga. It didn't occur to me that it actually meant anything, but here it was popping up today! It means 'crazy'.

The second word was "quotidian". I knew the meaning of this, but had never before stopped to think how pleasing it is that it describes the opposite of what it is - commonplace, usual or occuring daily. Don't know about you, but it's not a word I hear or use often.

Pulchritude is similar - it means physical beauty but sounds like a synonym for ugly or evil.

I also like the word sesquipedalian because it IS what it describes - a long word. It makes me think of my friend Luke, a self-confessed "word nerd" who first told me about it.

Do you know of any other words that have contrary definitions or words that are what they describe (well, apart from onomatopoeia)?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rain and Stones

How nice is it when you are inside snug on the couch under a blanket and big, fat rain drops are pattering against your windows? We are in the middle of our driest spring ever in southern Australia - and in the grip of a long drought with no end in sight - so rain on the windows is welcome in more ways than one.

More of the Stones

I bought Angus and Julia Stone's album A Book Like This on iTunes last night. I like it a lot. There's some really beautiful guitar and strings on there, particularly in Here We Go Again. I couldn't find a decent video for it, so here's a song called Bella.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hand claps, furry buds and friends

I have a new favourite song today - Just a Boy by Aussie folkies Angus and Julia Stone. Love the breezy tempo, the harmonica and the hand claps. I have quite a thing for songs with hand claps, come to think of it...


We have a fresh floral arrangement in the reception area at work each week. This week's has some twiggy things rising out of it with little furry buds on them. They are so soft, like miniscule silvery-green mice. I can't pass by without patting them. The same thing happens with the furry centres of proteas and I may have already mentioned that every time I visit the Botanic Gardens I stroke the Lamb's Ears (below). They are particularly soft and velvety at the moment.


I went back to work today after my home holiday. It was good to see my friends there again.

What's your favourite song at the moment?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Freaky coincidence number....what am I up to now?

OK, seriously there is some funny business going on. I encountered yet another freaky coincidence last night. Yes! Another one!

I was walking home from a very enjoyable evening of drinks, conversation and late night kebabbery when I passed a guy walking in the opposite direction. A few paces later he called out my name. I turned around and there was the guy with the big red flag over his head from Thursday night! He'd just left a bar nearby.

I ended up having a drink with him, which was fun - certainly more enjoyable than dinner a few nights ago. I was glad to see him again. He's an entertaining guy and we have a few things in common, but he's not a sound emotional investment. I don't want to take any more foolish risks with my heart, at least not just yet.

50 x 2

And then when I was walking home I found another $50 on the ground! You may recall I found a $50 note on the footpath near my house the first week of this blog. Twice in six weeks! Weirdly this time I don't feel bad about profiting from someone's loss, possibly because I'm hanging out for pay day more than usual or maybe because I'm choosing to assume it was dropped by a punter who came home from the Caulfield Cup with a pocket stuffed full of cash. (The Caulfield Cup is the first big race day of Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival, an annual collision of horseracing, frockery, gambling and falling down drunk in your fanciest get-up.)

How's your weekend been? Anything gleeful?

Friday, October 17, 2008

The dinner and an encounter with a gypsy man

Well, last night's dinner wasn't particularly gleeful, but I suppose I'm bound to blog about it, aren't I?

It was weird and slightly awkward at times and it turned out the zing we had the first time around was mostly absent, plus there was a large red flag waving over his head the whole time telling me to back away from the man and run.

But, that's not to say there was nothing positive about it - any "what ifs" sputtering in dark corners of my brain have now been snuffed out, and that's good. Maybe we'll stay friends, but no more.

Eels and little fish and the gypsy man

I spent the whole afternoon in the gardens today, reading the newspaper in the sun and listening to the bipping of the bellbirds in the trees overhead.

I saw eels swimming in the shallow murky water at the lake's edge (below). They are repulsive creatures but I was pleased to see them as I have a childish fascination with creatures in water (which is why I can't help myself looking for fish in the river when I cross the bridge near my house. Once I saw a whole school!). I also saw a school of teeny, tiny fish in the lake today.

Lots of people were out enjoying the sun - parents with small children, tourists with cameras in hand, other solo readers, young shirtless guys and their girlfriends with midriffs exposed to catch the rays, a group of gambolling primary school kids....and a Spanish cello player with a "gypsy heart".

No, I couldn't tell that just by looking at him. He wandered over to where I was sitting on a seat near the lake and said it was his favourite spot too. We got talking and he sat down and told me a little about himself. Then he told me his "gypsy heart" sensed I was a very passionate person who "wants to eat up everything in life" and made like he was eating corn on the cob as he said it. I have "Pah!", he said, his hands making a 'bursting forth' gesture in front of his face.

He said he's a little psychic and while I was half-thinking, "Yeah right, I've heard that from guys on the take before" (especially when he asked to hold my hand), but then he proceeded to make a few observations about me that were actually pretty spot on.

He picked I was not long out of a difficult period emotionally, that I can be very extreme in my moods (well, I used to be) and that I live in my own little world. He also observed that I had recently changed my hair style...perhaps not earthshattering in his accuracy, but certainly closer to the truth than the psychic I paid $40 to see earlier this year who told me four weeks hence I was going to meet and fall in love with gynaecologist from Beaumaris who enjoys fencing (the en garde! type) in his spare time.

On target

And on top of all of this, I got the nine-letter word in The Age's Target puzzle as soon as I clapped eyes on it. Go, me!

I make myself read the paper before I do the Target puzzle, and sometimes I even forget that it's coming up, which means I get a little "Oooh! Target puzzle!" frisson when I turn the page and see it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tonight's the night!

I'm nervously looking forward to dinner with Guy from the Past tonight.

I met him about two and a half years ago and he made a big impression on me then, but he was a shooting star, disappearing into the night sky after three or four dates. So, I'm excited but cautious about seeing him again.

Despite not being entirely sure if it's a date, I bought a new top to wear. I walked up the street in the sunshine and it was nice shopping during the day on a week day. I had most of the shops to myself.

Up the garden path

After I posted the bit above I took myself over to the gardens near my house to distract myself from my nervous anticipation. Too early to get ready...what to do...what to do....

I love the Royal Botanic Gardens - the first glimpse of the ornamental lake sparkling in the sun, the bellbirds calling and the bluestone stairway that leads up to the Temple of the Winds, the highest point in the gardens.

No matter how many times I go there, I always find something new - a new plant or tree, or a little pathway somewhere. Today I saw a kookaburra.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The joy of to-do lists...and dinner is arranged

I am enjoying my home holiday so far. There's been sunshine and I have done a few things on my to-do list.

And yes, I actually have a to-do list. I love lists - or more accurately, I love to cross items off my lists. I like the feeling of accomplishment, of overcoming my tendency towards laziness and procrastination.

I don't usually write to-do lists during the week because, being a legal secretary, what I do and when I do it is mostly dictated by others. But I go into every weekend with a to-do list, and I put everything on it, even stuff that I do every single weekend and don't need to remind myself to do, like buying food. All for the buzz of crossing it off!

I know, it's a bit tragic. But! I don't usually allocate times or prioritise anything, so it's not totally anal and lacking spontaneity.

Decluttering pt 2

I have nearly completed the second phase of my big clean out. Last night I went through all my cupboards and ruthlessly culled everything I haven't worn or used in ages and am not likely to. I threw out two bags of rubbish, two bags of cardboard and paper went in the recycling and I have heaps of stuff to go to the op-shop. I just have to get it there now.

(On a side note, while going through my stuff, it occurred to me that one of the downsides of the proliferation of gadgetry these days is that you end up with a corresponding proliferation of assorted cords and adapters and chargers and plugs whose purpose often becomes a mystery...but you don't want to chuck them just in case! I put them all in a box in the bottom draw of my desk.)

The next and final phase of my clean out is to go through years of paperwork which has been shoved in shopping bags because I was too lazy to properly file it.

Dinner up-date

The dinner with the man from my past is on Thursday night. I'm excited but nervous.

Are you a writer of to-do lists (or any other kind of list)?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My irrepressible snowball of happiness

I discovered something on Thursday night that I expected would leave my recent fabulous mood all squashed and gasping for air...but it didn't! Woooh!

I found out my ex boyfriend (the on-off dude) is seeing someone else already, despite insisting for months he didn't want to be in a relationship with anyone. The old "it's not you, it's me" line. Not that I believed it, but discovering he has moved on so quickly did knock the wind out of me for a bit.

I was furious at first and my ego is still a little bruised, but...WHATEVER! I'm still happy - and I didn't even need to gather up my thoughts and whip them into a positive frenzy to get there. They did it by themselves.

And that makes me even happier. It's a snowball of happy. It is irrepressible!

Blogger drinks

The drinks on Friday night were fun. It's surreal, in a good way, to finally meet people in the flesh after reading so much about their personal lives and opinions online. I even drank beer and liked it! It was a beer hall, so I thought "when in Rome..." (well, after I discovered they didn't serve spirits I thought that).

It pleases me when I think I don't like something and then I discover that I don't actually dislike all of it afterall. That's how it was with hip hop/rap music. It used to be in my "nup, don't like it" basket, but then I heard some songs by Aussie bands The Herd and the Hilltop Hoods that I enjoyed.

It's good to keep an open mind. It's a quality I find very appealing in other people.

Decluttering pt 1

Phase 1 of my Big Clean Out is complete. With the help of a friend with a car, I took a bunch of unwanted household chemicals to a council depot on Saturday and it felt good to be rid of them. Afterwards we had a nice lunch in the sun on the deck of the Maribyrnong boat house, overlooking the river.

Good, but not grate

Saturday was a warm day and it was beautifully balmy walking into the city to meet my friend before The Grates' gig (I took the pic above on the way). Families barbecued their dinner beside the river and little girls in summer dresses did cartwheels in the park.

Anthony and I then ate too many dumplings at the Shanghai Dumpling House to the accompaniment of Englebert Humperdink's Please Release Me and other cheesy music. Despite our full tummies, we had Trampoline sorbet for dessert - I had lemon, pineapple and passionfruit and it was deliciously refreshing. As we sat on the footpath eating our sorbet, two guys sauntered past wearing nothing but boxer shorts! Hmmm. The city is a strange place sometimes.

The Grates gig was good, although it didn't live up to the high expectations I had after seeing them in 2006. I confess, however, we watched it from the seated comfort of the upstairs bar which probably didn't do the show justice. We were both feeling worn out and couldn't face standing for hours in the sweaty crush of the crowd. Gah! We're old! We were among the oldest there and before The Grates came on stage, we amused ourselves spotting people older than us, of which there were...several. Apparently I have um...youthful taste in music.

The joy of absentmindedness

I keep forgetting that I don't have to go to work tomorrow. Every time I remember I get a little buzz of joy. Wheeee! Holidays!

Did you have a good weekend?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gleeful anticipation

I remember when I was a kid saying to my mother that I wish it was my birthday already or Christmas or the school holidays or some event that I was excitedly looking forward to, and she would tell me not to wish my life away.

I've always been quite impatient and found it difficult to happily wait for much-anticipated events. But - somehow, without intending to - I seem to have learned to relish counting down the hours, days and weeks until a Big Day arrives. Maybe it's part of getting older.

I'm so excited about so many things at the moment - small things and big things - that I'm practically bouncing. I feel like a little kid before Christmas.

My favourite show Scrubs returns tonight. Yay! I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for it all year and now it's finally here! (It's on now actually, I'm typing during the ads).

I have drinks after work tomorrow night with a group of people I "met" through the Ask Sam dating/relationships blog on The Age newspaper website. Some I have met in the flesh once or twice, some I only know through the information they have divulged online - which is sometimes a lot. There are some amazingly intelligent, wise, funny and quirky people who comment (the blog itself is rarely worth reading) and I'm looking forward to meeting them offline.

Saturday night I am going to see one of my favourite bands, The Grates, perform. I have seen them once before and it was an awesome, high-energy gig so I have high hopes for this show. (Oh, and I'm having a fill of tasty dumplings with a friend in Chinatown beforehand.)

And next week I'm on holidays! Wooooo! I'm not going away. I'm sure people at work think I'm dead boring because I often have "home holidays". I love Melbourne so much that I'm happy having a week off work without leaving town. I have heaps of stuff planned, much of it aimed at catching up and getting on top of things, including having a great big clean out at home. I know, it sounds boring, but I love the catharsis of cleaning out the clutter and having a neat and orderly home. I got rid of a lot of stuff about six months ago but this time I'm going to be even more ruthless. I like the idea of paring things right back to the bare minimum.

I have also been in touch with someone from my past who has suggested we catch up over dinner, and I'm cautiously excited about that. (For anyone who read in my first ever post that I had just emerged from an on-off relationship, it's not that guy!)

And, that's on top of the other things I've written about recently, including going shopping with a cheque from the tax man to buy myself a flash new camera, and having a whole month off over Christmas. I'm also considering rearranging my flight home to visit friends up north for New Year's Eve.

I can't wait...No! I can!

Do you enjoy anticipation? Do you like having home holidays? Are you a hoarder or declutterer?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It don't seem right...but I like it

It doesn't seem right to say this on a blog that is about positivity, but having a good rant usually makes me feel good.

I write a blog on Myspace, and every now and then I have a vent about stuff that annoys me, from the trivial to the substantial, and I usually feel quite cleansed and pleased with myself afterwards.

That's how I felt tonight after posting a blog there about words I dislike (which is just as much a rant about pretentious wankery than anything). Maybe it's because my work day was full of little irritations that built up and needed an outlet?

Feeling good through negativity. Hmmm.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rainbows...and a very useful coincidence

I struggled to find the glee today. Yep. I have a cold but had to drag myself in to work early to cover someone else who was away sick, so I had one leg in my cranky pants before I even left home. And to make things worse, a cold snap hit the state overnight, pulling us back into the grip of winter.

The end of the working day was a relief...but as I made my way to the tram, weighed down by two bags of groceries and with a wind straight from the Arctic freeze-drying my ears, it started to rain. I didn't have a spare hand for an umbrella. It was about 12 degrees C (that's cold for us!) and I didn't have my mittens either. Harrumph!

But then I looked up and saw the arc of a rainbow against blue sky through a gap in the city buildings. Oooh! A rainbow! I thought as city workers rushed by me. My crankiness dissolved. The glee is always just have to look for it.

I managed to get a seat on the crowded tram too, which was very welcome. It was a recently vacated seat and it's the only time I remember being happy to sit on a seat still warm from someone else's backside!

Yet another happy little concidence

You may have read that I am planning to put my tax return towards buying a fancy pants new camera. Before I hit the shops though, I needed to do some research, which is my least favourite part of buying a new gizmo.

But what should zing into my inbox today, but the latest instalment from, a list of the top 10 digital cameras! Thanks, guys, you read my mind! (This is a great site for anyone who has a touch of the techno-twits about them, like me.) I'm starting to wonder if I'm somehow effortlessly and unconsciously bending the world to my will!

Good sheet

This is stupid, but it really pleases me when I manage to fold the fitted sheet perfectly, all smooth and flat and neat. Maybe it's because I finally seem to have got the knack of it after 20-odd years of sheet folding!

Is there anything that is guaranteed to dissolve your bad mood instantly? What silly little things give you pleasure?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Discovering new music...and my favourite tree

I had a boyfriend once who used to buy a CD and then only listen to the songs he already knew and liked (this was before iPods). I could never understand it, not because it's a waste of money, but because it's a wasted opportunity to have one of those moments that give you goosebumps.

Every time I hear a song I love, I think, "Wow, this is great - I have to hear their other stuff". Quite often I discover something wonderful. For example, years ago I saw Aussie folk/roots trio The Waifs perform Lighthouse at the ARIA Awards on TV and it was the beginning of a love affair. I bought the CD and then all their other CDs and listened to every single song. If I'd just listened to Lighthouse and London Still (their big radio hit) over and over, I never would have discovered all the other songs I love just as much. I've also seen them in two awesome live shows. They are one of my favourite bands. I still get goosebumps when I hear Lighthouse, too.

On the band Wagons

And this weekend I had another goosebumpy moment. Yesterday I spent most of the day sitting in the sun listening to free live music in the Alexandra Gardens. Many of the acts were unknown or little known to me, but I thought I'd check them out and I'm so glad I did. I absolutely loved Melbourne band Wagons, described by Rolling Stone as "powerful gothic country". Lead singer Henry Wagons has a fantastic deep voice reminiscent of Johnny Cash. If you love a bit of country like I do, check 'em out. I've got both their albums on my iPod now and can't wait to see them live again.

I also really liked Kristy London, The Verses, Rosie Burgess, Custom Kings. The Audreys, who I've seen live twice before, were great too.

The day ended with a fantastic fireworks display on the river, set against the beautiful backdrop of the city skyline, the Sky Wheel and a series of illuminated, inflatable sculptures (above).


I was pleased today to see my favourite tree - a Golden Elm with a massive canopy that glows green when you stand under it on a sunny day - is starting to get its leaves back.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cupcake quickie...and tax

Yum! Ladybird cupcake.

More good news!

The guy who does my tax informed me today I should get a tidy little sum back this year - as opposed to last year when I had to pay the taxman extra for the first time ever.

I'm not particularly money-motivated, but a cash injection from the taxman will help pay for a new camera to replace my very basic digital camera (pic above taken with even crappier phone camera). I love taking photos, so a more advanced camera will be a fabulous treat. Something else to look forward to.


My baby...I mean, my laptop is in hospital for minor surgery, so until it's discharged, I won't be blogging so much.

I will save up the glee.