Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010: it's a wrap

Another year almost done... In Decembers past I have posted a wrap up of the year's most gleeful happenings without any attempt to weigh up the good with the bad because this blog is not concerned with bad stuff.

But this year that approach doesn't feel right. Good things  - wonderful things - have happened, but 2010 has been the worst year of my life. As many of you know, my father died in April after being diagnosed with a terminal illness at the start of January. There's probably nothing that could balance the 2010 scales of happiness after that. I'm not happy really (for various reasons related and unrelated to losing Dad), but I'm working on it.

That said, although Dad's illness and death were harrowing, difficult times are fertile ground for personal growth, and so it was for me.

I realised I am much stronger than I thought. You don't really know what you're capable of until you have to face it head on and just get on with it. I have more faith in myself now. I know that whatever happens, I'll get through it. That's a nice feeling.

I never thought I would be able to stand up in front of all those people at Dad's funeral and speak, but I had to do it for my Dad and I did (I looked at my hands just before I stood up to speak and they weren't even trembling). I can only describe the way I felt afterwards as euphoric. It was an awful day, but an amazing day.

Anyway, enough of the bad-but-good stuff. Here's the unadulterated good bits:

* My trip to New York  was far and away the best bit of 2010, because it was my first ever trip overseas AND I WENT TO NEW YORK! I fell instantly in love with the place. I had the best time and I'm already thinking of going back.

Taking an overseas trip was the number one thing on my list of 101 Things to do Before I'm 40 and I crossed it off before the year was half over. I finally went to another country! Finally!

* Not only did I take my first overseas trip, I did it on my own. I'd never wanted to travel alone before (partly why I got to 38 without having travelled) and before Dad died I was a bit scared about it. I wasn't sure how I'd go. But after his funeral, I wasn't worried at all and I didn't need to be. I hit the ground running - I wasn't scared, I didn't feel overwhelmed, I didn't get lost, I didn't miss any flights and I cruised the subway like a native (well, almost). I felt damned pleased with myself!

* I finally quit the mind numbing job that had me feeling like I was wasting my life away. It was like shedding an old skin and did wonders for my state of mind (albeit temporarily).

* I've had no trouble finding new jobs, even if I haven't settled into a permanent role yet. Despite feeling initially overwhelmed (particularly in my first temp role), I've surprised myself how with quickly I've got the hang of things. I have more confidence in my abilities now.

* I'm working in the area of law I always wanted to work in and I'm working in a top tier firm - it's a looooooooooooong way away from my old job at the firm with 15 people!

What a year of high highs and low lows. It certainly hasn't been boring! It's been a period  of personal growth and some progress in a few areas where changes needed to be made. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm facing in the right direction at least.

I'm looking foward to 2011. It's going to be hard for it to be worse than this year, but I'll probably also have to work at making it better than this year.  I want to go overseas again, get settled into a permanent job once more, get some of my health issues sorted and...well, I'd like to be in a relationship again. I've had enough of singledom.

You never know what's around the corner...

And lastly....

As always, I've had lots of lovely feedback from you guys. I always say I write this blog for me, but really, it just wouldn't be the same without the comments and emails from you. It's gratifying to know people are reading my nerdy little ramblings (and more so that they keep coming back to read more). You have consistently been a source of glee. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Wishing you a gleeful festive season and good health and happiness in 2011.

* I'm visiting my mum for Christmas from 24 December until 2 January so posting will be sporadic at best.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ducks, extra leave and an anniversary

I saw this little duck family on my way to work this morning and then I saw it again on my way home. The ducklings are so tiny..

Mama and Papa Duck are one of two pairs of ducks who seem to call the banks of the Yarra between my place and the city home. I do see larger groups of ducks from time to time, but I see these two pairs on their own all the time (although I suppose I'm just assuming it's the same pairs! I need to start looking for disinguishing features.)

There's also a pair of swans which live in the area and have hatched cygnets on the bank.  I know they're the same pair because one of them has a marker with a number around its neck. I like seeing the familiar birdy faces. It's like having pets, but without responsibility and poop duties.

I got my extended holiday! Yay! Just as well because I've compiled a rather extensive to do list that will no doubt fill up the whole 16 days.

Yesterday was my sixth anniversary of moving into this flat. That's the longest I've lived in one place since I left home (although I was at my last place for five years).

I can't believe I've got to stay so long here considering how often the flat has been sold, but I'm so glad I have. I love it. I won't be moving until I have to (as much as I'd like to live on the other side of the river).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Word nerdery and the joy of anticipation

Simonds Hall, Toorak Rd West

I went into the city today to do some Christmas shopping. I got sidetracked at Readers Feast and bought myself a new word book called I Never Knew There was a Word for It. It's a collection of expressions from around the world for "any feeling, act, object, animal or vegetable you could ever possibly need to describe".

From the back cover alone I have learnt the words fisselig (German for flustered into incompetence), noop (the point of your elbow) and crambazzled (a Northern England word for a man who's prematurely aged from drinking too much).

You know what this means? I'm going to be bombarding you with lists of my favourite new words soon. I haven't done that in ages.

I won't start reading it until after I've finished Anne of Green Gables. I've got to stop starting new books before finishing old ones.  

That reminds me...I have occasionally blogged about the pleasure of anticipation and I read this in Anne of Green Gables the other night, in a chapter headed 'The Delights of Anticipation':
"You set your heart too much on things, Anne," said Marilla with a sigh. "I"m afraid there will be a great many disappointments in store for you through life."

"Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them," exclaimed Anne. "You mayn't get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs Lynde says, 'Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.' But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed."
I have requested a few extra days leave from work, which would extend my Christmas break from 10 days to 16. I decided I need the rest more than I need the money. I haven't had a decent break all year - and it's been a big year (the two weeks in New York was fantastic, but hardly restful). I've got my fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cloud watching

Funny patch of cloud above Eureka Tower tonight (bonus chopper)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Here's some glee I prepared earlier

I've kind of been enjoying not having to post every day now NaBloPoMo is over, but I've saved up some gleeful stuff from the past few days.

I had my work Christmas party on Friday night and it was fun. They really go all out. It was at the Grand Hyatt Ballroom (lah-di-dah) and, in keeping with the circus theme, there were acrobats, funny mirrors, plate spinners, stilt walkers, clowns and a ringmaster for emcee. The three course meal was delicious. The band was funky. The dancing was vigorous.

The highlight of the night was the law graduate revue, which was a medley of singing, dancing, video vignettes and in-jokes (most of which I understood. Yay). There were parodies of the Old Spice ad and Master Chef, and the finale was a spectacular rendition of Robbie Williams' Let Me Entertain You (substituting the name of the firm for 'Me').

All in all, a great night. People say you're just part of a faceless mob working at such a large firm, but it really feels like there's a sense of community. Or maybe it's still all too new for me to be cynical about it....

(Oh, I didn't wear the dress in the end - I decided I would look too different to everyone else and I'm too new to be so bold. Sorry, no pics from the night.)

During the meal, one of my friends who started a couple of weeks before I did asked how old I am. Her mouth dropped when I told her. She thought I was younger than her. She's 27. For those who don't know, I'm 38. I love that moment. (That's what staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen can do for you.)

I was given a box of Lindor Balls on Friday as a thank you for my efforts preparing for a big trial that started in Sydney today. It wasn't necessary (especially as I'm paid for overtime!) but it's wonderful to know you're appreciated. 

As if that weren't enough, today the two solicitors on the case who are in Sydney had a box of cupcakes delivered for the many people who helped with preparations. A very lovely gesture. 

In even more work-related news, it looks like I will be made permanent at the firm, but not for another couple of months. I'm starting a new role in the same group next week and they want to make sure that works out before they sign me up.   

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snip, Santa, holidays

I had to make up many archive boxes today. Although I find the sound of cardboard scraping on cardboard almost as bad as fingernails down a blackboard, I did enjoy snipping the plastic tape that holds the bundles of flat pack boxes together.

My tram driver tonight (a man in his 50s) was wearing a Santa hat and had decorated his cabin with blue and gold tinsel. Teehee.

I have 10 days off at Christmas (the whole firm shuts up shop) and I can't wait, even though I won't be paid for the leave. I'm going to my mum's in Wauchope (northern NSW) for a few days, then having a few days at home. I love having time at home on the holidays. I often find it more relaxing than going away.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Not gerberas...geraniums in window boxes are everywhere
in the inner city these days. I like it. (That's cnr Little Collins and Bank Place in the city.)

And I'm back again even though I don't have to be!

I got a bunch of happy orange gerberas from the partner I work for to say I'm doing a great job. How lovely is that? I feel good every time I look at them. I would have been pleased with the feedback alone, but the flowers make it extra special. 

The job is challenging, but I do feel like I'm doing a good job. It's far more satisfying than my mind numbing old job.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo is over

As soon as I hit 'publish' on this post, I will have kicked NaBloPoMo's butt for the second year running. It wasn't hard (and bear in mind I'd been posting daily for about two weeks before the start of November). I'm a blogging machine!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Late starts

I had my first 'late' shift today - starting at 9.45am - and I was so busy that working until 6.00pm wasn't a drag.

I started reading Anne of Green Gables last night. It's bizarre considering my great affection for the story that I've never actually read the book. I've only read Anne of Avonleigh which a relative gave to me when I was a kid. Clearly they didn't know it was the second book of a series and I don't know why I've never gone back to read the set given how much I love the telemovie. I have the whole set on my to-read pile now though.

I'm picturing the characters from the telemovie in my head as I read.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weeny, walking, big bikes

Look at these weeny ducklings! They looked far too small to be braving the choppy waters of Victoria Harbour. I saw the mother duck first and the ducklings were so small  I thought they were flotsam. But no. So cute.

I walked from Harbour Town to Southbank this afternoon, with a detour to Victoria Harbour. I've never really explored that area before. I walked until I was almost under the Bolte Bridge.

On my way into the city this morning I passed a gaggle of cyclists dressed up steampunk style. There was one guy on a pennyfarthing and one man on a gigantic tricycle.  Yesterday there was a man in Myer playing a ukelele and a girl walking down the street in a tutu and ballet shoes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tidy, blue, pale, pretty

Photo taken on my new phone with a vintagey look. Wish my eyes were really that green.
Oh, those are my new specs. Forgot to post a pic before.

I had my eyebrows professionally seen to this afternoon for the first time. They didn't need to be shaped because nature kindly did a fine job of shaping them for me, so the brow girl only tidied them up. It really makes a difference. I can't stop looking at them.

I also got my hair cut and coloured - not quite as short as usual and a little more blue in my blue/black (hey, hold those blue rinse jokes!)

The two women who work in the salon are both from Asian countries (one from Indonesia, not sure about the other). They love my pale skin. It's a pleasant change from being surrounded by women with fake tans who probably look at me and think I could do with a bit of colour.

I walked to a polling booth to vote in the State election this morning. My neighbourhood is staid and lacking cultural diversity, but  damn it's pretty.

(I stayed in this place for a couple of weeks when it was a grungy boarding house.
Now it seems to be a big posh residence.)

And I spotted an old sign. Anyone know what it says? It backs onto Park Street, South Yarra. There's also a P, so it's ....PLES. Do you think it could be Maples, like the old piano store on Swan Street, Richmond? Perhaps this was their factory?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sweet, busy, cheap

A wet sunset from near the Convention Centre

I arrived at work to find a ladybird chocolate and a little Christmas note from a woman in my department who's now on leave for the rest of the year (*goes green with envy*). Everyone got one. How sweet is that?

It was all work, work, work after that. It was crazy busy and I felt a little overwhelmed, which wasn't pleasant, but it was great to leave at the end of the day feeling like I did a good day's work (especially knowing I don't have to go back for two days!)

It rained again. I could just hear it spattering on the windows at work and then a minute later I looked up and it was fine again. Ah, Melbourne, you and your four seasons!

How ace is it when you buy something and it scans through at even less than the ticketed price? That happened to me tonight - a pair of shoes which were already cheap as scanned at $20!

Got the flat to myself for the weekend. Wooooh! I'm playing some loud music.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Surprisingly rich and spoilt

I got a nice surprise when I used the ATM this afternoon - I've got WAY more money in the bank than I expected. I was anticipating a large wad of cash to hit my account in the process of moving my money into a new investment, but I'm not sure why I have so much. No doubt there will be a logical explanation that isn't "the share price went through the ROOF and you're now much richer than before! Wooooh!".

Another perk of working for a large firm:  when you have a meeting in one of the rooms on reception level, you get offered hot beverages and snacks. The coffee and tea list would put many cafes to shame (the firm does have a professional in-house kitchen). Someone else ordered  hot chocolate before me this morning, so I asked for one too. It even came with marshmallows.

I got to leave work even earlier today because I had an appointment. I've been home since 4pm. Nice.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Early, cracking, sunrise

I have started working the 'early' shift on Wednesdays - an 8.00 am start and 4.15pm finish. Not so keen on the earlier start (yes, I know 8am isn't that early), but the early finish is ace.

I'm also doing late shifts (9.45am - 6.00 pm) on Mondays from now on. A later start on a Monday! Wooh!

It seems to be bark shedding season for eucaplytus trees. I'm a dead-leaf-cruncher from way back, but bark gives an even more satisfying crack! when you step on it.

I caught a glimpse of the sun peeking over the horizon this morning when I briefly got up to pull my blind down ( the sun wouldn't keep me awake. I was too tired to stay up and watch it rise or even take a photo).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bleeding, clinking, flowering

I donated blood again today, my sixth donation. It hurt more than any other (during and after), but I just tried to think about the good that my blood will do for others and about how I'm a "'good bleeder" with "great veins". Go, me!

Conveniently, the Blood Bank came to my office this time - yet another benefit of working for such a large firm.

I love the cracking, clinking, pinging sound ice makes when you drop it into a tall glass of water.

My spathiphyllum has four flowers on it now. *admires own green thumb*

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dog, cardy lady, super crunchy

I heard a new song featuring Lisa Mitchell on the radio when I was in the bath last night - she sings vocals on this Andy Bull track called Dog. I like it.

For the past three work days, I have been passed on the path to the city by a woman riding a bike and wearing a green cardigan (I think she really likes that cardy). Today I saw her on my lunch break as well.

You know what's better than crunchy peanut butter? Super crunchy peanut butter, that's what.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Outfit, leadlighting, signs

My outfit for my work Christmas party is almost complete. Today I bought a pouffy petticoat to go under my 50s style dress, and shoes. I tried it all on when I got home and I'm very happy with it, although I'm not used to looking so girly. (Sorry, no photos until party night!)

I visited Retrostar Clothing on the first floor of the fabulous Nicholas Building for the first time today in my search for a pouffy petticoat. Retrostar is chockful of vintage stuff, but the building itself is just as big an attraction. The arched leadlight shopfronts are lovely.

I was over Collingwood/Brunswick way again today. I found more old signs.

Vaccinations every morning. Teeth extracted. That's all I
can make out. Gertrude Street.

I think this is one sign over the top of the other - one looks like
 Winfield cigarettes.  Also Gertrude Street.

The other side of the building above. A sign for a
chemist spruiking something called Lactogen.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunshine, hugs and hot man with shirt off

I went to a real-world Twitter meet up last night in the city. I met some cool people. I got hugs. Ace.

Today was a perfect spring day. Sunshine, blue sky, light breezes. I went to the gym, walked home in the sun and then launched into a cleaning frenzy (a rare event). I even mopped the floors.  I feel pleasantly weary and pleased with my efforts.

I found $2 on a seat at the cinema. Wooh. I saw The American, which was long and rather dull, but at least we saw George Clooney with his shirt off.

I have discovered a new gluten-free breakfast cereal called Cookie Bitez. It's in the same category as Cocopops when it comes to nutrition, but it's yummy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A delivery

I got a courier delivery at work today. I love that. Getting a nice surprise at work is almost the best reason to shop online.

I ordered a 50s style dress for my work Christmas party in a few weeks (a black tie event at a posh hotel in the city). The dress only took a week to get here from the US, it fits and looks good. Phew. Now for shoes...

I'm so glad it's the weekend. I had an intense day of formal and on-the-job training almost from start to finish today and my brain needs some time out.

I forgot to buy a sandwich at the cafe with gluten free bread. Something for Monday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rain, surprise chocolate, bread joy

The view from my office window turned completely to white during the rain this morning. I'm not sure if we were in the clouds or if the rain was heavy (or both), but we couldn't see anything. Eventually the city re-emerged as the rain eased.

I found a Freddo Frog in my pocket when I left work tonight. Yay! I'd forgotten it was there from lunch time. Ten minutes later I pulled my iPod out of my pocket and a Caramello Koala came out with it. I forgot that was there too. Double yay! (Absentmindedness again proves to be a source of joy...)

I was thrilled today to find a cafe near my office that offers gluten-free bread. I'm looking forward to having a sandwich for lunch tomorrow instead of sushi.

I've been listening to The White Stripes again lately. I love this old cover of Black Jack Davey.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Indiana Jayne, blue, new

My building has big revolving doors at the front and back entrance. I like to dash in at the last minute before the opening closes off. It makes me feel like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark when he just manages to escape under the stone door before it slams shut. (I think that was in Raiders. I saw it at the Hamilton Drive-in when I was a kid. I got a Raiders of the Lost Ark sticker.)

There wasn't a cloud in the sky when I left for work this morning.

I wore a new pair of pants to work. It's a nice feeling.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big pony, sitting swans, helpful Jayne

This morning I shared the lift in my super corporate office building with a pony. A large, plush, pink and aqua pony. The woman carrying it decided her daughter had outgrown it and she'd brought it to work to give to someone else's daughter.

The two black swans who frequent the stretch of the Yarra between my house and the city were sitting on the grassy bank, engrossed in a vigorous grooming session, when I walked past on my way to work.

A woman stopped me to ask directions as I was walking home. I like giving people directions. Helpful directions, not rude ones.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Solo, dark, crunchy

Today was my first day of flying solo at work and I did fine.

The lights in the open plan area of my office weren't working until lunch time. I liked it. I wish it were like that all the time. What's wrong with mood lighting at work, that's what I want to know.

Peanut butter toast is the best. Warm, crunchy, melty goodness. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wisket wasket diffendoofer octopus

My photo blog has finally inched up to 50 followers. *blows party whistle*  I'm pretty happy about that. My follower list is displayed a little randomly, so I'm not entirely sure who the new addition is, but if you're reading this, thank you!

Now that I've discovered the stats feature on my Blogger dashboard, I'm checking it daily. Last night I found the bit where you can see how people came to visit your site. Two people found my Girl in Melbourne blog by  seaching for 'nips girl'. Haha. What?

Here are the search terms people used to find Gleeful: 
wasket (8)
hooray for diffendoofer day quotes (4)
simple glee blog (3)
dr suess wisket wasket (2)
i see a little silhoutte of a clam (2)
"do not taunt the octopus" (1)
courage glee (1)
diffendoofer quotes (1)
do not taunt the octopus (1)
dont taunt the octopus  (1)
This list makes me laugh. Love the strong presence of Dr Seuss and the cantankerous octopus.  I googled 'do not taunt the octopus' just then and my blog is the second non-image result. That pleases me very much.

It also pleases me to see that you can buy badges and T-shirts with 'Do not taunt the octopus' on them. I'll just update my Christmas wishlist....

Sad but gleeful

A friend shared this link on Twitter the other day - not surprisingly, it made me cry, but it's also sweet and funny and beautiful. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vintage find, the north side, statistical glee

I stumbled across a fantastic vintage store on Smith Street in Collingwood today called Vintage Garage. I don't know how I've missed it before, especially as the counter - visible from the doorway - is the front end of a bright red 50s American car.

The store is huge and full of racks and racks of clothes and shoes (mainly women's) from the 50s to the 80s, as well as some furniture, old records, jewellery, homewares and even a few old typewriters. And of course the music was cool - Beatles, Buddy Holly and Johnny O'Keefe, and Peggy Lee was singing Fever when I went in.

It's important to match your shirt
 to your furniture

I ate a toasted sesame seed bagel with cream cheese at Bean & Bagel on my way up to Brunswick Street. It was delicious - as good as any I ate in New York. *sigh* I miss New York.

Today on Smith Street I saw a man in red and black striped velvet pants and on the tram on Brunswick Street I sat near a woman wearing bright yellow clogs with red socks and a large pouffy tulle thing on her head.  God, I love that part of town. I almost hope I get evicted next year so I can move there - or better, that I could shift my current flat  over there (I love it too much to leave of my own free will). 

I love these old post boxes on Brunswick Street

I've been using the camera on my new phone a little in the last week. It. Is. Awesome. I probably don't even need to carry my Canon around with me anymore.

Last night while messing about on Blogger I discovered there's a link to my blogs' stats on my dashboard. It's probably been there for months, hasn't it? Never mind. I had a look and was pleasantly surprised. I don't get a lot of comments, so it's nice to know people are visiting, if not leaving comments. Thanks, guys.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Black Keys glee

Fluffy clouds over the city tonight

I'm going to see The Black Keys in February! Yay! I got the email notification about their Big Day Out sideshows at lunch time today and bought my ticket when I got home tonight. It will be my first time seeing them live. I can't wait.

Here's some live Black Keys action for you:

Now I can't think of anything else gleeful that happened today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surprise chef, Hector the Cat, more sleep

A training session this morning on online expense reconciliation turned into an impromptu Italian cooking class after one of the participants mentioned she had sore arms from making fettuccine by hand on the weekend. If anyone wants a recipe for never-fail gnocci with pumpkin and garlic sauce, let me know!

This week's That's Melbourne! email newsletter from the City of Melbourne came with the subject line "Hector the Cat would approve" (in reference to a road safety computer game). Do any of my Aussie readers remember Hector the Cat? I wonder if Google knows who he is...Yes, it does! The internet is ace.

I'm loving my shorter walk to work and being able to sleep a bit later. I've been working 'normal' shifts - not that 9.00am to 5.15pm seems normal to me - and I've been told they need people to work the 'late' shift, which means I could have mornings where I start at 9.45. I could get up at 8.30! God, I love the sound of that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Crunch, view, stapler joy

Last night I had a bowl of vanilla icecream sprinkled with Rice Bubbles and topped with generous layer of Ice Magic. It was delicious. Just like a Crunch bar.

I was the first person to a training session in my building this morning and I had time to snap a picture of the view before the others arrived. (My new phone has an 8 megapixel camera!)

I've worked a full week in my job. I still like it a lot. The people are SO friendly. Oh, and I have the same kind of stapler as the ace one in my last job. Yay.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fast, flat out, pram dance

Maybe it's because I like my new job, but my work day positively zipped by today. One minute it was 10.30am and then 20 minutes later it was 12.15pm and before I knew it, it was home time. Awesome! (As much as I like the job, I still like not being at work more.)

I ate my lunch in the Treasury Gardens. They're much nicer than the Flagstaff Gardens near my old office. There were lots of workers enjoying the sun, including one man in business attire lying flat on his back with his shoes and socks off. Teehee.

The Federation Bells were chiming when I walked past on my way home. It sounds like discordant clanging to me, but it moved a nearby toddler to a burst of pram dancing.

I read this story on The Age website on Friday night, but forgot to mention it. It's so lovely, it brings a tear to my eye.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The personal touch

Sometimes old fashioned things are far superior to their modern replacements - like buying your meat at the butcher shop instead of the supermarket.

Last year, for boring reasons related to my allergy elimination diet, I started buying my meat from the local butcher instead of the supermarket, and it's such a pleasure I've kept going. I haven't noticed a marked difference in price or quality, but it's so nice to be greeted pesonally, and to have a chat and a joke while you shop. 

OK, I admit I have a crush on one of the young butchers, which means I now look forward to purchasing meat like I never have before! (Save your meat double entendres. I'm sure I've heard them already.) I'm always a little let down if he doesn't serve me, but all the other butchers are so friendly and chatty that I soon get over it. And there's always next week...

Even without the crush-factor, I'd still shop there. There's nothing like old fashioned, personal customer service. When's the last time there was a butcher loitering in the meat section at the supermarket to tell you how to cook a particular cut of meat or chat about the football or ask how your weekend's going?

And to top it off, depending on what you buy, there's less packaging waste from shopping at the local butcher too (I detest those stupid non-recyclable plastic meat trays).

I  just wish there were still a greengrocer in my local shopping strip. Food shopping is one of the most inconvenient things about not owning a car. I'd love to avoid shopping at the evil Big Two supermarkets altogether, but it's time consuming without wheels.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Early adopter, solo flyer

A well manicured facade on Brighton Street, Richmond

I got a new toy today - an HTC Desire HD Android smartphone, which I think was only released in Australia yesterday. I'm not used to being such an early adopter. It's kind of exciting...but the phone is so advanced compared to my old one that it's a bit puzzling. Something else to get the hang of... at least I'm helping to stave off alzheimer's with all this learning.

I went to the movies on my own again today (to see Gainsbourg). I'm completely unfazed by it now. I've decided I'm going to push myself to cross my final flying solo frontier  - I'm going to go to a pub gig on my some stage.

I saw my old osteopath today (to say hello, not for a treatment). He's been working one Saturday a month back at the same Melbourne clinic for the past few months, but today was the first time I've managed to cross paths with him. It was good to see him, albeit briefly.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Comfy, casual, competent

I've probably mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: changing out of your work shoes into sneakers is fantastic.  Changing from your work clothes into your pjs is pretty good too. (I'm also wearing a Fraggle Rock T-shirt I got at Dimmeys for $5).

I'm pleased my new firm also has casual Fridays, although casual seems to be less casual at this place (which isn't a bad thing).

Today was my first full day on the job and I had a lot to take in, but I still don't feel overwhelmed. I've got a good trainer, who keeps telling me how happy they are to have me (mostly because they needed an extra pair of hands, I think!) and that I'm doing well. The feedback is appreciated. I didn't get much feedback in my old temp assignment - I had to resign before I found out I was doing a good job!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So far, so good

I finished my initial induction training today and I'm feeling calm and confident about getting down to work. It's a nice feeling. I still have a lot to learn though...

I met many of the people in my practice group this afternoon and they were all very nice and welcoming. I'm feeling really good about my decision to take this job,  although it still seems surreal. I can't believe I'm working at this place - one of the biggest and best law firms in the country! It's a big, bright new world and so far I like it.

Even though the firm is huge, my initial impression is that it's quite down to earth and not at all stuffy.

I'm working on the 47th floor. There are breathtaking views from every window (Melbourne, you so purdy!).  My desk is on the west side, so in winter I'll be able to see the sunset. Working past sunset in the winter might be a little easier to bear when I can look out and see the city lights twinkling too (but that's a way off yet - best not get ahead of myself.)

I have the firm's style guide in my bag...nerdvana ahoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My first day

Off AC/DC Lane, which is right behind my new office

I started my new job today - or at least I fronted up for the first day of induction training. I wasn't anywhere near as nervous as when I started my last temp role, which was a relief and perhaps a sign I have greater confidence in my abilities after my stint at a mid-tier firm.

I was happy to discover the document management system is very similar to what I'd been using in my last temp role, which should alleviate the information overload and flatten the learning curve a little. It sounds bad to be pleased about that,  but I find learning new computer stuff stressful, and it's only three months since I went through that onslaught.

Of course, the feeling you get when you master the new systems makes the stress worthwhile. I was overwhelmed at the beginning of my last assignment - everything was new to me - but I surprised myself by getting the hang of it quickly. I might not like learning new computer stuff, but apparently I'm pretty good at it!

I was given a copy of the firm's hefty style guide (ie the rules for written communications, not office attire!),  but I was disappointed I didn't get to have a good look at it today. What a nerd I am! I love style guides - especially when the prescribed styles are broadly in line with my preferred way of doing things, as this firm's seems to be at first glance. (This probably comes from my journalistic background or maybe just because I'm a pedant.)

I'm working in the part of the city where I started my working life as a journalist *mumbles incoherently* years ago. It feels kind of nice to be back.

I got to finish early today. Yay.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sweet Virginia, steam and ice magic

From retro French pop to sweaty rock n roll... This is one of my favourite Rolling Stones songs, Sweet Virginia, which features in Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones movie I saw last night. The movie consists entirely of concert footage from the Stones' 1972 tour to support the release of Exile on Main Street, the album on which Sweet Virgina appeared.

It rained this morning, but when I went up the street around lunch time, the rain had cleared, the sun was out and there was steam rising from the warm, wet bitumen all around me.

I spent the afternoon on the couch watching DVDs, which is something I rarely do. I had icecream with chocolate ice magic.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I walked Melbourne

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

I saw this passage by TS Eliot on a banner at the State Library's Mirror of the World exhibition this afternoon after I finally finished my self-guided Walking Melbourne tour, and I thought it was apt. I have now visited and photographed every single one of the 235 significant buildings and landmarks in the National Trust guide, which also means I get to cross something else off my 101 Things To Do list.

The final section of the tour took me to the north-west corner of the CBD, the area I had been working in until last Friday, so I now know the history of some of the old buildings I had previously admired and photographed.

That part of the city has some of the city's oldest buildings, including St James Old Cathedral which is the oldest building in Melbourne (not imported from overseas). Construction began in 1839, although it was moved from its original location to a site opposite Flagstaff Gardens in 1913.

There's also this little house and shop on the corner of King and La Trobe Streets, which is one of only a few pre-gold rush buildings left in the city.

After I finished my walking tour I popped in to visit the State Library (if you've never been, this is truly one of Melbourne's best hidden gems. Go!). I admired the wonderful domed reading room and also visited the smallest book and the largest book on display in the Mirror of the World exhibition. I always look at them when I go there.  

The smallest book is the Midget Encyclopedia, a collection of tiny books smaller than matchboxes which are accompanied by a weeny magnifying glass. Today it was open to Q for quagga. The largest book is the awesome Birds of America by renowned naturalist John James Audubon. It's massive and open to a different page every time I go. (According to the State Library website, its copy is one of only 120 known copies in the world.)

The dome

I also visted the Cowen Gallery at the library. I'm not sure if they were there when I visited last, but the gallery has on display the last notes written by Burke and Wills before they died.

As well as looking at significant buildings, I also lurked about city laneways taking photos during which I saw three different renderings of the Rolling Stones tongue motif in two different alleys (probably all by the same person) - on the same day that I was to see Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (which was great, although Mick Jagger's er...pantal region was distracting). 

Walking into the city beside the river this morning I saw a bird pecking at something on the path. I thought it was a large beetle at first but when the bird took flight at my approach, I bent down to have a look and it was a tiny crab. It saw me looking at it and it adopted a fighting pose with its little claws thrust up at me. Feisty!

My Girl in Melbourne photo blog has 49 followers. Thanks guys! One more for the half century...

And that's it for day 1 of NaBloPoMo.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Men of Letters, crepes, music binge

Today I went to the inaugural Men of Letters, an event at which a very impressive line up of Australian creative types including Bob Ellis, Paul Kelly, Eddie Perfect and Tim Rogers, read out letters they had penned to women who changed their lives. 

It was a perfect mix of humourous, heartfelt and  poetic letters, and also a few songs. All this as well as yummy mini cupcakes served to our table by co-curator Marieke Hardy in the fabulous Thornbury Theatre.


My friend Luke and I had brunch before the show at a nearby cafe - I had a delicious crepe filled with summer fruit and topped with honey and yogurt. Who knew brunch could be so tasty without any bacon in it?

My music binge continues

I've been downloading heaps of music lately. My latest 'discovery', thanks to the iTunes 'listeners also bought' feature, is Fabienne Delsol, a Frenchwoman  living in England, who sings catchy retro ye-ye style pop songs - some in French, some in English, and several covers of Serge Gainsbourg songs from the 60s like this one: Vilaine fille, Mauvais garçon (Naughty Girls and Bad Boys).  

Coincidentally, Fabienne Desol is signed to the same label as Holly Golightly and Ludella Black whose albums I've also bought in the past few months, but I came across Fabienne when I was downloading a song by Lisa Mitchell. It's like the internet knows me.

I DON'T HAVE TO GO TO WORK TOMORROW!  I haven't really planned anything except going to see Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones with a friend tomorrow night.  I want to finally complete my self-guided Walking Melbourne tour either tomorrow or Tuesday too (what horse race?).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early, rainy, fruity

 I found another one (and I wasn't even looking
for it).  Rose Street, Fitzroy

I got up at 6.30 this morning. Yes, I know it's the weekend. I've been waking up at almost exactly 6.15 for the past few days and I thought it might do me good to listen to what my body's trying to tell me, rather than giving in to my brain when it screams "ME NEED MOOOOOORE SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!".

I'm still tired, but the day seems so much longer when you get up early, and you can pack so much more in. I've had quite a productive day. I'd like it if I could make a habit of this (especially on work days).

I woke up with a craving for juice which was nicely quenched by a carton of apple and passionfruit juice. Yum. I love passionfruit - the taste and the smell.

It's been raining all afternoon. I  don't mind, especially since it isn't particularly cold. I had a gluten free kebab on Brunswick Street and watched people jumping puddles and running to get out of the rain as droplets coursed down the window in front of me.  

I like almost all the songs on Lisa Mitchell's album Wonder (the tour edition), but I'm really enjoying her cover of Dire Straits' Romeo and Juliet and look! Here's the song, if not a proper video.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Last day

I finished my job today. No, I didn't steal the stapler, but I did leave with a lovely bunch of flowers, a couple of new friends and the confidence-boosting knowledge that my abilities are well regarded by others (more so than they are by me most of the time).  Oh, and a skinful of champagne.

I also met the woman whose job I was offered in another department - she just happens to be leaving to join the same firm I'm going to.  

A friend took me out for dinner tonight to Guiseppe Arnaldo & Sons at Crown. It was a beautiful balmy night and the windows were open on to the promenade. I had minestrone and steak with rosemary & garlic potatoes. I ate four whole roasted garlic cloves, which I squeezed out of their skins. I don't know why, but I like squeezing garlic cloves out of their skins. (Lucky I won't be kissing anyone tomorrow.)

To finish I had a blood orange granita with sweet cream - it was just like eating a Splice icecream. Yum.

* I've decided I'm going to do NaBloPoMo again. I've been posting every day for a few weeks and planned to keep going, so why not?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I escaped to the gardens to eat my lunch today. The sun and light breeze were divine. After I finished my sushi, I lay down on the grass, listened to music and watched the dragon flies zipping around against the bright blue sky.

There's something amusing about older men in business attire kicking off their shoes and lying on their stomachs on the grass.

Only one day of my job to go...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another offer and long weekend

What the? Someone's given him shoes but he has no feet...

Today I was offered a job in a different department of the firm I've been temping at for the past three months. When I told the HR adviser I'd accepted a position elsewhere, she was obviously disappointed. She said the solictors in the new department (whom I'd met with yesterday) were "excited" at the prospect of having me join the team. Aw. It feels a bit like when a date wants to see you again, but you don't feel the same. I like you, but...

I declined. The HR people hinted at offering more money to persuade me to stay with the firm. It's a great confidence boost to know they are keen to keep me, but my mind is made up. They said they'd be happy to have me back if my new job doesn't work out and, although I hope it does, I'm glad I'm leaving on such good terms.

I found out today my new job doesn't start until Wednesday because of the Melbourne Cup public holiday on Tuesday. Hurrah! A four day weekend for me!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big stuff, small stuff

Big news: I have a new job starting Monday at one of the biggest law firms in the country, in the area of law I've always wanted to work in (employment). Go, me!

I was surprised they offered me the role because I thought I performed poorly at the second interview (and the first interview for that matter). I can only assume my *cough* winning personality and ease with the HR people made up for the shortcomings in my answers (I'm not being harsh on myself - some of my responses were pretty lame).

It's another temporary-with-a-view-to-permanent role like I've been doing for the past three months, but hopefully I will want to stay in this one.

Other good bits: it's only a 20 minute walk from home, I'll be working high up in that building (above) that I could see my house from the other day, and I get to start at 10am some days.

From the major to the trivial...

A robust stapler that doesn't quail at fastening together a decent wad of paper is pleasing.  I won't miss too much about my current job, but I'll miss that little black stapler.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Contrast, sandwich, koala

I love the contrast of new growth and weathered wood in the picture above. I took it near the old Sandridge Bridge walking home beside the Yarra tonight.

I was taken out to lunch at the RACV Club today, which is always nice, but what made it even better was that the restaurant offered gluten free bread. You don't find that very often. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal to most people, but it was great to be able to eat a sandwich for lunch for the first time in ages. (Unfortunately you can only dine there if you're a member or accompanying a member).

It's taken me a long time, but I've finally developed a taste for Caramello Koalas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My castle

I got hugs and kisses from my adorable 'nephews' today. The three-year-old boy called my apartment building a castle and said it was nice.

My friend (mother of said adorable nephews) and I shopped til we dropped this weekend. I've just had a long soak in the bath and now I'm bed. I feel relaxed and sleepy. Goodnight.  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Little bits of perfect

I bought new pyjama pants. They were $10. They fit me perfectly.

My shopping buddy and I arrived at DFO in the drizzle, but emerged into a perfect sunny afternoon.

We ate dinner at a Greek restaurant in the Docklands. Mmmm, lamb. It was cooked to perfection.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The sea, the moon, the music

I saw the sea from a city building again today. The sea and much more besides, since I was on the 42nd floor this time. I could see tiny people kicking a ball around on the grassy flat in Birrarung Marr, lines of cars glinting like mica in the midday sun as they stretched into the distance and a wee yacht on the bay near the St Kilda pier. Oh, and my house. At least I thought I could pick out the tiled roof of my building anyway. I will never tire of saying, "I can see my house from here. No, really!".

A girl serving me in a shop told me she liked my glasses (I was wearing my new purple specs).

When I was walking home in the twilight I looked up and the full moon hit my eye like a big pizza pie. Very light rain started to fall as I walked along the river. I liked it. AAMI Park sparkled like a very large jewel.

I have downloaded two new albums (new to me). The John Steel Singers' LP The Beagle and The Dove, which is great,  and also...Lisa Mitchell's debut Wonder. I hesitated there because, as Aussies reading this might know, Lisa was a contestant on Australian Idol a few years back. I'd not paid her debut album much attention due to music snobbery, but really, there's a reason why she's not being held back by the Idol stigma. Her album of sweet, quirky, catchy folk tunes is truly lovely. It's a nice surprise when you discover your preconceived ideas were ill-founded. Opening your mind rarely ends badly.

It's hard to pick a favourite, but here's one that has whistling in it:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In the gardens...

Tonight on my walk home I saw some people picnicking by the river with...a cat. As you do.

I detoured through the Botanic Gardens. I watched a hungry duck feeding. It looks like it's having a laugh in the photo above, but it's munching on bugs or weeds or whatever it found in the murky lake. 

I saw the cygnets. They've grown!

I found some strange seed pods.

I sat on a park bench dedicated by a man to his late wife. "Dance me to the end of love," the inscription on the brass plate read. Aww.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I've been posting daily...

You might have noticed that I've been posting every day for over a week now. You might think it's because I'm happy. I'm not really. I started this blog as a form of self-help and that's what my daily posting is about now:  an attempt to drag myself out of the doldrums.

I'm struggling today, but I've been saving this for such a day - Grover's spoof of the Old Spice ad. I love Grover. He's my favourite Muppet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Street art and the sea

I took this photo on Saturday in Caledonia Lane in the city. It's the first work by this artist I've seen and I  really like it - it's playful, mysterious, but also slightly creepy. Then today - thanks to a link tweeted by Hidden Secret Tours - I found out there are many more works by the same artist in the city and inner suburbs. I'll be on the look out now.

If you're wondering about the words on the bottom of the picture above and the rest of the work, here's another photo and a link:

I see the sea!

I was early for a meeting on the south side of my office building today and while I waited, I looked out the window and I could see the ocean in the distance. I thought "I see the sea!" because that's what I always think at first sight of the ocean - it's what my brother and I used to say when we were kids and the sea came into view as we drove to Warrnambool (I grew up near there).

I could also see a tiny slice of the beautiful old Rialto building on Collins Street from my building.