Monday, April 30, 2012

Easy peasy, fat rat, old sign

Another view from my office. I think it's time the 
windows were cleaned.

It was billing day at work today. Billing day. Actually, it wasn't even a whole day. I started at about 11.00am and was done before 5.00pm. In my old job, billing dragged on for a week and was a real pain in the butt, especially when there was other urgent work to be done. There were so many files and so many partners and solicitors there, so monthly billing was quite a saga. 

But at my new job, where there's only two partners and five solicitors, it was a breeze, even taking into account that I'm still learning the ropes. The billing system is much simpler than the one used at my previous firm though. So many things are much simpler and I'm so much happier (and I've stopped having  nightmares about work, too). 

I'm enjoying the location of my new office - there's so many good shops to poke about in. Today I had a browse in an art supplies shop, a kitchenware store (so many nifty doodads!) and a camera shop. There's also a pretty decent food court at the bottom of my building, which means I don't have to go outside for food on cold, wet days. And there's a place that sells ice cream!

I saw a fat water rat on the edge of the river when I was walking home tonight. I wanted to take a photo, but every time it saw me, it ducked down under the surface. I think it was a native water rat (aka rakali). I always get a little kick out of seeing creatures in the Yarra, although nothing can beat the dolphins I saw a few years ago (well, except for a shark).

While the photo above I spotted an old(ish) sign on the roof of a building on Elizabeth Street (Roger David is now around the corner on Bourke Street.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Girly girl, magazine heaven, yum

The sunset tonight

I had a girly day today - got my hair cut and coloured (just the usual), and while the hairdresser was doing my colour, the other hairdresser did my nails. There was no one else in the salon. It was like having my own personal staff. 

It's actually the first time I've had a professional manicure, which is odd since I find cutting my nails a tedious chore (and I think they know this - they have their revenge by growing super fast). I think I'll keep paying someone else to do it for me.

Speaking of firsts, I went into Mag Nation for the first time today. I'd always thought it was just a newsagent without newspapers, but today for some reason I went in for a look. Wow. So many cool magazines. Some are more like books than traditional magazines ('mooks' apparently), with heavier matt paper, few ads (hence higher cover prices), lots of photographs, and different shapes and sizes (square, or landscape layout). There's surely not a single niche market that isn't catered for at Mag Nation. There's even two - yes TWO! - magazines for tractor enthusiasts. 

I bought a music mag that had Jack White on the cover, and a bonus CD of songs that Jack has covered. I also bought Frankie magazine. I wanted to buy Dumbo Feather (one of the aforementioned mooks), but couldn't justify spending so much on magazines on one visit. Next time...

After Mag Nation I popped into Hudsons Coffee because I was peckish for something sweet. I was chuffed to discover they have a range of gluten free treats. I had a chocolate brownie and it was scrumptious. I'm simultaneously thrilled and dismayed that it's so close to my work...

On the topic of yummy food, last night for dessert I had vanilla yogurt with banana, pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup. Delicious and nutritious.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mushroom season, gypsy music, Friday

Fungus....or is it bun-gus?

It's mushroom/toadstool season! I saw this little tuffet on the bank near Swan Street bridge when I was walking to work this morning. I don't eat fungus (I likefood that doesn't smell like dirt), but I like taking photos of it.

I have a new musical fixation - Gogol Bordello,  a"gypsy punk" band from New York. There's eight people in the band, some of whom are from Eastern Europe with actual gypsy blood. They're kinda bonkers. I love it, which isn't a surprise because a few other bands I've recently   got into - such as the Crooked Fiddle Band, and Mojo Juju and the Snake-oil Merchants - have gypsy leanings.

While I'm talking about eccentric bands, I can't believe I have never mentioned Russian schlock-horror trio Messer Chups here before. They're ace too.  

Yay, the weekend is here! I don't have any big plans. I just like not working, no matter how much I like my new job. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grateful, crafty, fantastical

Today is a public holiday in Australia for Anzac Day. I had toyed with the idea of going to the dawn service since I live so close to the Shrine of Remembrance, but I couldn't face such an early start on a cold and wet day. Yes, I know that's sooky, especially when you think about the sacrifices made by those who have served their country in appalling conditions. I had a nice sleep in instead, but I did take time to be grateful for living in a safe, peaceful country with a roof over my head and a warm bed.

I made myself bacon and eggs for brunch (yum) and then spent most of the rest of the day on the couch reading blogs, indulging my Pinterest addiction and listening to music. I didn't set foot outside into the cold drizzly day at all.

I also made a light shade for the light in my loungeroom. The original light shade (the same as the one below) fell to the floor and smashed (eeep!) before I moved in and it's been a naked bulb ever since, which is a bit ugly.

But today I had a brainwave and decided to make a shade myself. Ta-dah!

Naked no more

It's one of those Christmas paper lanterns kids used to make at school (still might, I don't know). It took all of 15 minutes to make and put up. I love the patterns the light makes on the ceiling. 

I forgot to show you the paper hearts I made during my three-week staycation.

There's five of these ones and four smaller ones hanging in a row from the pelmet box over my loungeroom window. Simple, quick, inexpensive, colourful and fun (they co-ordinate nicely with one of my My Little Ponies). I also took some cool photos of them before I hung them up.


And I forgot to post a photo of the big feather I found at the Abbotsford Convent a couple of weekends ago. Here tis:

While moodling about on the internet last night I came upon the fantastical art of Catrin Welz-Stein. I love it, especially this piece. And this. And this one.

Speaking of fantastical stuff, have a look at the video clip for The Shins' song The Rifle's Spiral.  Thanks to my loyal reader and interwebs friend Margaret for sending me the link. 

I also found this: 

It's similar to one of my favourite quotes by Robertson Davies: "Every man makes his own summer". 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Saturday in photos

The fog still lingered over the city when Luke and I walked along the river this morning. I took a photo of ducks (surprise!). It's so cute the way they tuck their beaks into their feathers to sleep. 

There was a rainbow in the spray from the Hochgurtel Fountain in the Carlton Gardens.

Here's a close up. 

We went to the Finders Keepers Market at the Royal Exhibition Building, although the opportunity to photograph the building's beautiful interior was the biggest drawcard. The market only took up one end of the building, with the rest of it screened off. But there were gaps  where the screens joined so we squeezed through and snapped away. It's not that often you get  the chance to take photos inside the Royal Exhibition  Building without hordes of people getting in the way. 

Click here for more pics

Luke spotted an old sign on a building opposite the Exhibition Building.

Bantown House? 

We popped into the Botanic Gardens on our way home. The Ornamental Lake is covered in a thick carpet of algae. 

It's a swanvoy

I took more photos of ducks (and the algae).

The ducks were funny.  I saw a gap in the algae where the surface of the water was disturbed. 'Ooh, there's something in the water over there!' I said to Luke, just as a duck popped up in the gap. 

We saw swans making a love heart. Unfortunately they were rather inconsiderate swans and didn't hold the pose for more than a nanosecond, so my photo is fuzzy. 

We took some more photos and then headed for home. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two weeks in, autumn light, flamboyant shoes

Taken on my walk home tonight

Two weeks into my new job and I'm still enjoying it. So far I'm finding the learning curve much less steep than when I started my previous job. I often had moments of self-doubt for the first six months inthat job and seriously worried I wasn't cut out for it. I might not have enjoyed it at the time, but it was good for me. I guess a lot of things in life are like that (you might recall one of my 39 Secrets of Adulthood is 'Sometimes things that suck can still be kind of awesome'. Yup.) 

I had drinks last night with two friends from my old firm last night. That job was good for me in more ways than one.  

Indian summer

We've been having a very mild autumn in Melbourne with sunny days and mid-20s temperatures. It was raining this morning, but it turned into a sunshiney day which then gave way to  quite a balmy evening. There's something special about the light in autumn. In the late afternoons at work I've been enjoying the view from my window of the city bathed in soft, yellow light. As well as the State Library, from my 21st floo windows I can see the tops of St Pauls Cathedral, the Manchester Unity Building, the Century Building, and the MCG and AAMI Park in the distance. I also have a pretty good view of the construction site between Myer and Melbourne Central - they've demolished almost everything that was on the site, except for a  section of fa├žade that's several storeys tall. 


I arrived home a couple of nights ago to a parcel I'd ordered online last week. Nothing scholarly  like books - just a pair of rather flamboyant shoes. And they fit. Yay!  The shoes are further evidence that my obsession with black and white stripes is getting out of control...

I've had a few other online purchases arrive lately too. It's good being absent-minded because I order stuff and then forget about it. 

Tonight I arrived home to a parcel from my mum containing a bunch of those crocheted, padded coathangers that she made for me. They're daggy and nanna-ish, but they're so good for hanging knits and other garments prone to getting out of shape on wire hangers.

I haven't spent all my time online shopping though - I found  this great photography blog via Digital Photography School last week. If you're into photos of urban decay like me, you'll love it. He takes some fantastic black and white photos too. 

I've also become addicted to Pinterest. The girl who sent me the invite to join did warn me...

Other gleeful highlights since my last blog: 

* Luke and I are going to see the Black Keys in October. We've been waiting for them to announce another tour after the last one was cancelled. It's such a long time to wait!  Wah! 

* I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Jack White's new solo album, Blunderbuss. I bought it today and I'm listening to it now. I like it. Jack is doing a show in Melbourne in July too.   Must. Get. Tickets. 

I bought Blunderbuss at Basement Discs in a basement below Block Place, one of Melbourne's bustling laneways. It cost more than buying it online or at JB Hi-Fi, but I felt good about supporting an independent record store. (Coincidentally, tomorrow is Independent Record Store Day. I won't be visiting an indie music store though - I'm going to a market at the Royal Exhibition Building, one of my favourite Melbourne buildings.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The things you see...

Ducklings! Victoria Gardens

A grassy car! Don't ask; I have no idea. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Week one, rock pools, sunset

One week down in my new job (albeit a four-day one) and I'm pretty happy with my decision. It's a far smaller group compared to my old job, so I don't feel like a face in the crowd. A lot of the systems and procedures are simpler than my old job, which makes learning the ropes much easier. And I know I said it before, but the people are just so friendly - even the partners and the managing partner of the entire firm are friendly, talkative and jovial. 

Luke and I visited Davey's Bay beach (Frankston) this afternoon. We poked about in the rockpools, but didn't see much apart from snails and seaweed. It was still fun looking though. 

We stopped off at the Frankston foreshore on our way home, just in time to see the sun sinking into the sea. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day two and bird committee

I had another good day in my new job. One of the two partners in my group - the one I don't work for - took me and his secretary out for a coffee in the afternoon, which was unexpected and nice. (The partner I work for is on leave until 

I had some more training today, this time on a system I had used in my three-month temp job at the end of 2010. I was pleased and relieved to find it was still familiar to me.

I walked home on the south side of the river tonight. There seemed to be some kind of bird committee meeting go on - a couple of ducks and seagulls, and one plover were all hanging about together.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An ending and a beginning

I started my new job today. Of course I was sad to come to the end of my three-week staycation (I'm so not one of those people who says they'd get bored if they didn't work), but my first day went well and I'm feeling very positive about my decision to take the job (not that I've had any doubts). 

Most of my day was spent in training and I actually managed to stay alert, despite getting up much earlier than I have for three weeks.  Thankfully I already know how to use the document management system, which makes the learning curve a little easier to negotiate. 

I made it to my desk in the afternoon and was delighted to discover I can see the State Library  - one of my favourite places - from my desk.

But most importantly, everyone was very friendly and welcoming. The managing partner (the big boss) is on my floor and he called out goodbye to me as I was leaving - by name. I was pretty impressed with that.  It's a much smaller firm - about 200 in the Melbourne office, compared to more than 700 in my old job.  I think I'm going to like it there. 

Other good bits: 
  • They have a corporate casual dress code so I don't have to wear suits. I don't feel disappointed about by their once-a-month casual clothes day now (rather than every Friday). 
  • The IT trainer gave me a chocolate frog. Of course I liked her instantly. 
  • I get to walk through the heart of the city and some of my favourite laneways on way to and from work again. I've missed being in the thick of it. It's a few blocks further than my old job, but that's OK. More exercise!
  • I saw a rainbow over the top of the Rialto Buildings on my way to work, but I didn't stop to take a picture because I wanted to make sure I arrived on time (I was waaaay early).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Southern signs

I went to Spotlight in South Melbourne today to buy a few crafty bits and pieces. On my way back, I spotted some excellent old signs.

On the side of what was once McCauleys furniture on Dorcas Street 

A closer view

I love the pointing hand

A few doors down on the corner of Dorcas 
and Clarendon  Streets  (which is still a chemist) 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The mundane is to be cherished

Luke and I wandered around the Abbotsford Convent today.  I really like the convent - it's only 4kms from the CBD, but it feels like another world. The numerous buildings on the site were deserted and derelict not so long ago, but are now being progressively renovated to house artists' studios, a gallery, a health and wellbeing centre, cafes and a reception venue. There's still enough dereliction to give it a sombre, almost spooky, atmosphere, especially when there's no one around (see my photos here). 

Soon after we arrived I found a very large feather on the lawn while taking photos in the courtyard - it's more than 30cms long! Must have come from  a very big bird (a big bird; not the big bird). I held onto it for the rest of our wander and brought it home with me. (I''ll post a photo tomorrow.) 

We had a vegetarian lunch at Lentil as Anything in the convent grounds (where there are no prices - you pay what you think it deserves) and then visited the C3 gallery. I liked these works of Georgina Lee from her exhibition called Living the Dream. 

A ticking clock (click to enlarge)

After the convent we drove to Brunswick and strolled up and down the multicultural melting pot that is Sydney Road in Brunswick. Yes, there were some old signs, including these gems:

Nisser's lingerie, frocks, suits, hosiery, gloves and coats

 Ask for Nestle Chocolate

There were also some nice windows on the old buildings. Click here to see. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Northside signage

Luke and I ventured over to the north side of the river today to take some pics. I've been over that way with my camera many times, but I'm still discovering new old signs (some of which I might have just forgotten about photographing before...). 

We started off in Northcote. 

Well spotted by Luke on the side of a building on High Street, 
partially obscured by a tree (click to enlarge all pics)

High Street again

Also High Street. Closer views below. 

Then to Fitzroy...

Off Brunswick Street (possibly posted before)

I think this is Fitzroy Street. I've posted pics of the front 
before, but didn't notice the two-in-one sign down the side

A closer view of the two-in one. It was a wool merchants warehouse. 

 Johnson Street

 This is also a two-in one. 

C.V. Fashions, Brunswick Street

 This is my fave of the day. Ballarat Family Hotel Carlton Bitter

The side of the Rainbow Hotel, David Street

On the other side

And the back

Off Brunswick Street

Another double sign. I think this was on Johnston Street