Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy birthday, Melbourne!

I took this photo tonight right near where John Fawkner berthed the Enterprise 175 years ago today

Today was Melbourne's 175th birthday and in honour of the occasion, here's a list of things I love about my adopted hometown:

* The Royal Botanic Gardens

* The Yarra River (yes, I know it ain't pretty, but it's such a constant in my life that I can't help feeling fond of it).

* The State Library, particularly the La Trobe Reading Room

* The Athenaeum Library

* The beautiful old buildings, especially the interiors of 333 Collins Street and 382 Collins Street, the  Olderfleet Building (also on Collins Street) and the old Melbourne Safe Deposit Building on Queen Street
* The buzz about town on Grand Final Day

* The view of the city from Swan Street Bridge

* The new sports stadium, AAMI Park, especially when its lights are twinkling

* St Kilda on a gloomy day

* The Astor Theatre (and its moggy)

* Morell Bridge near my house

* The Nylex Clock (when it's working)

* The terrace houses of the inner city

* The backstreets of Richmond

* The alleys, laneways and arcades in the CBD

* Chapel Street Bazaar

* The Windsor end of Chapel Street

* Readings Bookstores

* It was briefly called Batmania and also Bearberp!

* The Moomba Festival - because the name means something like 'up your bum!' in an indigenous language

* It has a swimming pool named in honour of Prime Minister Harold Holt who went missing at sea in 1967, presumed drowned

* There's a lane named after legendary rock band AC/DC

* Bumblebee trams

* The old lamps on Prince's Bridge and along Federation Wharf

* The view down Bourke Street from the Queen Street intersection

and loads more things that I'm too sleepy to think of right now... (Apologies for lack of links - Google is your friend).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A sunny day out in Batmania^

Great building, old brickwork and fading sign, Chapel Street

After a grey start, it turned into a glorious winter's day today. I went for a very long work from Windsor to Richmond and then home, part of it wandering through the quaint-meets-gritty backstreets of Richmond. I love Richmond.

The sun and exercise made me so toasty I not only took my jacket, off but pulled my sleeves up as well. Ah, the first kiss of sunshine on winter-white flesh is a delight.

Other good bits about today:

* I enjoyed people watching on Chapel Street as I lingered over lunch.

* I indulged in a hot chocolate and a raspberry and chocolate mousse at Ganache on Toorak Road. The mousse was almost too pretty to eat.

* I added to my library of books about Melbourne with Jenny Sinclair's When We Think About Melbourne: The imagination of a city. Flicking through, I read this snippet:

"...Chapel Street is a promenade banked wall-to-wall with cars and the South Yarra types who walked there (purple-haired old ladies, gay boys with French bulldogs on leads, confused and muttering mat-haired homeless men, groups of girlfriends swinging bags from boutique, stiff suits with real estate agents inside them) were an endless dumbshow, a never-ending stream of life I loved to feel part of."
Yep, me too.

* I discovered a row of small galleries on a non-descript side street off Church Street. Always something to discover when you get off the well-worn path.

*  I made a quick detour to the gardens and sat on a park bench as the late afternoon sun sank lower over the lake and a chill crept into the air.

*  I smelt spring. It's nearly upon us! 

*  I picked up two DVDs to watch tonight (including The Shining). I have the flat to myself, my pyjamas on already and a pizza on the way.

^ Melbourne really was briefly named Batmania after its founding father John Batman (pronounced BAT-mn, not Bat-MAN). It's both a disappointment and a relief that it didn't stick.  

Stuff I like

Ah, no, wasn't me who wrote that in the gravel at Birrarung Marr

I like it when I can offload all my 5 and 10 cent pieces into the ticket machine on the tram.

I like it when my flatmate is away and I have a whole weekend ahead of me that is almost devoid of plans (that don't involve pyjamas).

I like it when people ask me for directions.

I like the word bumblebee.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sharing the love and the money

How awesome is this tree trunk in the Botanic Gardens?

It was a gorgeous winter's day in Melbourne today. Blue skies, sunshine glinting off the river, people out walking and cycling, early signs of spring... I wished again that Melbourne were a man so we could get married and live happily ever after.

My friend J - who took me under his wing while I was visiting New York in May -  is planning a visit to Melbourne in the next couple of months. Yay! I'm really excited about showing off my beloved adopted hometown to him. He'll only be here for a few days, so I need to work out a list of must see/eat/do stuff to make the most of the time. 
I was looking at my tax stuff today and realised I gave nearly $1,200 to charity in the last financial year. I'd never added it up before. I feel pretty good about it, but I feel most proud of my contributions to the Smith Family's Learning for Life program, which I have mentioned here before.

I honestly believe there are few tangible things you can buy with your money that can make you feel as good as helping someone else to make a better life for themselves. One of the success stories I read about today was a girl whose family was so poor she had to wear hand-me-downs from her brothers to school. She never would have gone to university without the aid of the Smith Family and now she's doing a masters in linquistics! Wow! That's awesome. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New music, buds, bees and a big root!

My Peter, Paul and Mary In Concert CD arrived last week (I forgot to mention it until now). I liked it even more than I expected and I would like it a lot even if it weren't for the nostalgia factor (which is the main reason I bought it).  Listening to it didn't make me teary as I expected either, although Puff the Magic Dragon made me go "aaaaw' every time.

Shiny new toy

I bought myself a new iPod today because the old one no longer had a large enough capacity - even after I culled a bunch of songs I never listen to anymore. I've been buying a LOT of new music lately and to celebrate, I bought some more - Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs (You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying) and Mr Airplane Man's C'mon DJ. Yay! New musics!

On a related note, I really like the noise the iPod click wheel makes. A Twitter friend agreed, describing it as "soft but definite. Like a good kiss." Indeed it is. 


It was such a beautiful sunny afternoon today I detoured through the Botanic Gardens on my way home from the city. Guess what? Spring is sneaking up, ready to take over from winter. Yay! There were little furry buds everywhere.

There was also a beehive. (Don't think that has anything to do with spring...) I was pleased to see garden staff had put up a sign warning people bees are active in the area rather than knocking the hive down. 

And I saw a huge tree root! I've never seen this before - as I often say, there's always something new to see in the gardens. Check this out!

The start of it....

... and it just goes on and on.  You can't even see the end of it in this photo

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yay for routine! No, really.

Having a daily routine isn't usually something that inspires glee - bor-ring! -  but I'm actually enjoying settling into a regular routine with my new job. I'd been feeling undisciplined and unmotivated in my old job and I'm happy to see the end of that.

Most significantly, I'm back into a decent sleeping pattern - I'm going to bed hours earlier and I'm getting up earlier without giving the snooze button a work out every day. I still want to hit the snooze button, but obviously I can't arrive at work up to 30 minutes late in my new job. (I am starting at 9.00 am though.)

It's not cool to be a creature of habit, but the truth is, I feel happier and more effective at life when I have a routine - at least during the week.

For anyone who's wondering, the job is still going well.