Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nine years ago today...

I've lived in my beloved South Yarra flat for nine years today. Nine years! It's the longest I've lived anywhere in my adult life. In some ways it feels as if the time has passed quickly, but when I think about all that's happened in that time - I've had four jobs and four relationships (counting the current ones); I lost my dad (four years ago next April); plus I finally went overseas and I've been again since then. 

This flat - our fabulous sunny flat, so close to the city and the Botanic gardens, with its lovely views and free heating - has been one of the few constants in my life and one of the key sources of my happiness over the years. I love this flat. I love living here. 

I found this on Pinterest today: 


I've clearly been unconsciously abiding by this rule. For Christmas I bought TJ - the boy who loves The Octopuppy - a book called The Boring Book. It's about something else I love - words.  

Three working days until holidays...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Not destroyed after all!

Happy news! The Bournville Cocoa sign in Armadale hasn't been destroyed! Turns out I was there before High Riser and the bit I thought was the ruined sign is actually part of the wall of the building that's been demolished. Hooray! The partial has knocked down after my visit, revealing the whole sign. I'm SO relieved! I will go back to take a photo of the complete sign soon...hopefully they don't actually destroy it or build the new wall before I get there.

The Octopuppy

I bought my quasi-nephew TJ a book called The Octopuppy for his birthday in September. I spent ages choosing the right one, and it's no surprise that I thought a book about an octopus was the right one. I chose well because his mum told me yesterday he loves it and gets his brother to read it to him "all the time". 

I was so taken with The Octopuppy that I later bought a copy for myself. It's cute and makes me chuckle, plus it has a lovely message. It's about a boy called Edgar who wants a dog, but he gets a very clever octopus called Jarvis instead. He tries to train Jarvis to be a dog, but things don't go to plan. When he commands Jarvis to play dead, this is what happens:


When Edgar tells Jarvis to sit...


...he thinks things are looking up (that's him jumping for joy with his head chopped off), but it's all to no avail... If you have a 3-5 year old (or a 40-something who likes octopuses) in your life, I recommend The Octopuppy

Only five working days until holidays. If this week so far is any indication, it's going to be a very busy five days. I smashed my to-do list today and left the office feeling pleased with myself. That doesn't happen as often as I'd like. 

A shop assistant at Dangerfield said my boots (the ones I bought recently on ASOS) were awesome. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bird in the city



I passed a rainbow lorikeet having an early evening snack on some exotic blooms in the Alexandra Gardens on my home.  When I first saw it, it was on a branch only about a metre from me and I pulled up suddenly to take a photo. I expected it to fly away, but it only skipped to a branch a little higher up and kept nibbling. 

This was about 20 metres from St Kilda Road, not far from Prince's Bridge. I think it's pretty amazing to see birds like this so close to the CBD.


Going...going...

You know the old Bournville sign I got excited about on Saturday? It turns out I missed out by mere days on seeing the full sign. Yes, part of it has only recently been destroyed. *sad face* I saw it in all its faded glory on Andrew's Higher Riser blog tonight. I'm glad someone got a photo of it. It was a brilliant sign. 


Stick football man

I didn't erase the picture of a stickman footballer that Luke drew on the Etch-a-Sketch a couple of weeks ago. When I got home tonight, he'd put it out for me again to let me know he was going to kick the footy.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jacarandas, golden hour, 12 days


The jacarandas are flowering in Melbourne. So, so pretty. The one above is in my street. I love the purple against the cream bricks.

The jacaranda trees down here tend to be more spindly than their northern cousins, but on Saturday when Luke and I were at the intersection of Toorak and Orrong Roads, I spotted a tall jacaranda growing in a tiny park beside the road. I looked up to see its broad purple canopy spreading out against the clear blue sky. Beautiful. I wish I'd stopped to take a photo. 

You'll have to make do with this photo from Google streetview. I used google maps to confirm we were at the Orrong Road intersection, and whaddya know? Google was there when the tree was flowering too. (I would have taken a better photo.)


I love walking home through the park after work when the sun is shining and the grass and trees are so bright and green. My photo doesn't really capture the glowiness. 


Twelve working days until I'm on leave. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sign excitement, toy store fun, crunchy only



I nearly peed my pants with excitement when I spotted this ghost sign in Armadale this afternoon. I had half an hour to kill so I wandered along High Street looking for old signs. I saw a few relatively unremarkable examples and then BAM! I spotted this brilliant Bournville cocoa sign. It's one of those extra special ghost signs which have been revealed to the world again temporarily by demolition works. 

We went to an ace toy store, Honeybee Toys, in nearby Malvern to buy Christmas presents for Luke's niece and nephews. We had fun playing with the the musical instruments and finger/hand puppets - they had tortoises, a hairy spider, a big brown bat, a little black bat, a bumble bee, and a T-Rex with hilariously feeble arms that were just flaps of fabric. We bought Space Hoppers and a music box. 

I'm addicted to peanut butter on toast at the moment. Thick, melty, delicious peanut butter. Crunchy only. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I got my leave!



I got approval  today for my 19 days' leave over the Christmas/New Year period. Hooray! I cannot wait. Only 15 working days and I'm there. I'd better get started on that holiday to-do list, and get a wriggle on with planning our road trip, too. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The element of surprise

The other book I was waiting for arrived today. It's Mark Forsyth's new one, The Elements of Eloquence, which is a departure from his previous works because it isn't a collection of odd, interesting or amusing words. This one is about stringing words together well - that is, the figures of rhetoric. 

I was pleased when it arrived, but I was thrilled when I got home and opened it to find that IT'S AUTOGRAPHED!!! I gasped and sat there, mouth agape, for about a minute. Now I don't feel so bad about ordering it online from Book Depository, which I only did because it isn't available here yet and I had to get my mitts on it. 

I can't start reading it until I finish my current book, and The Little Prince, but it's going straight to the top of my still-to-read pile. 


Another NaBloPoMo in the bag

That's my third - or is it fourth? -  NaBloPoMo over and done with. It has had the intended aim of getting me back into the groove of regular blogging, although I would have done a better job of it if I wasn't plagued by fatigue and headaches, and hadn't left it so late in the day to write my posts.  (I will get to that word nerd post.)

I was half-expecting no one would still be reading after my absence, so thank you for not forsaking me, and for taking the time to comment (especially you, Lindy!). I'm still terrible at replying to comments, but I do read them all. 


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 30: Kensington spider, Little Prince, Proud Mary

Luke and I visited the inner western suburb of Kensington for lunch today just for something different. 

We each bought a book at the bookshop next to the station. I got an old Puffin paperback of The Little Prince, which I've never read before. It has a handwritten message inside the front cover:
For L.P Isaac Ricardo 
With best wishes for this week, and next month, and next year, etc, etc 
Leslie Oct 1969

I've started reading it and I'm quite charmed.

We ate at the White Rabbit Record Bar.  I had a strawberry spider (icecream soda) with my panini. I first ordered a lime spider, but they were out of lime, and they were out of raspberry as well, so I had to settle for strawberry, which tasted like raspberry anyway. 

Then we took our cameras and wandered around a bit looking for ghost signs. This Velvet Soap sign was the best find. 


Can anyone make out what the white lettering - a separate sign - says? Bleached something?  There was an Empire Cocoa sign on the other side of the building.


We saw the 20 Feet from Stardom at the movies. It's a documentary about the back up singers to some of the biggest musical acts of the 21st century, including Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder.  It was a bit too long, but I really enjoyed it. It really iss a story that hasn't been told before. The singing is (not surprisingly) AH-mazing and the women featured are engaging and sassy. 

One of the singers featured is Claudia Lennear, who was part of Ike and Tina Turner's Ikettes. The doco included a bit of this clip of Ike and Tina doing Proud Mary. I've seen this numerous times before. I love it (the Ikettes appear around the three minute mark).


Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 29: Jolene and other old White Stripes songs

I've just found a bunch of old White Stripes songs on iTunes. B-sides mostly, if that terminology still applies - stuff that's not on their albums anyway. I'm sure the songs weren't there last time I looked. They are mine now. I will listen to them tomorrow. 

I've been listening to the White Stripes - my favourite band - today. I have many favourite songs, including the live Under Great White Northern Lights live cover of Jolene. It's just so damn raw. It gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. I doubt another straight man has so convincingly begged a woman not to steal his man before.  



I had yummy lemon cheesecake gelati at Fritz tonight. We're still doing our Friday night Grill'd and Fritz thing (although we haven't had the gelati so much lately). Soon the weather will be warm enough for us to start walking there again instead of driving. 

I spotted a ghost sign on the way there tonight. I can't believe I haven't seen it before since it's on a road I've been down many times. I guess I've just been looking the wrong way every time.

I watched Masters of Sex after I got home from dinner. It was excellent, of course. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 28: Masters of Sex, snick, double ending

Waiting for the rain

Anyone else a fan of Masters of Sex? I rarely watch TV dramas series, but I tuned in from the start after reading about the hype surrounding the show, and I was hooked from episode one. I love it. (And no, not because it's a bit saucy!) 

It's based on the fascinating real-life story of pioneering sex researchers Masters and Johnson, but there's a host of other interesting characters with their own compelling stories (I assume these are mostly fictional, but I'm not sure). 

It's the only show I've bothered to watch online after missing an episode on TV. Lately our SBS reception has been so bad I've had to resort to watching all episodes online after they've aired.  I actually kind of like it better that way. I can watch them whenever I want.  I like coming home on Friday knowing I have that episode of Masters of Sex to look forward to. 

Yeah, I know, this isn't novel to most people, but don't forget I still hire DVDs.   


Snick

One of my favourite sounds is the little 'snick' when I remove my security pass at the end of the working day and tuck it back into my bag. I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeee.      

End of Month

Tomorrow is the end of the week and the end of the month (and thus the end of billing). I like when the two coincide. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 27: Lost and found

I arrived at work this morning and noticed the pendant I was wearing had fallen off the chain. I thought it would be lying along the path to work somewhere and unlikely to be found. Not that it was expensive or of sentimental value, but I liked it and wore it often. 

Then late this afternoon I found it down my top near my belly button. 

That's all I've got. It's hot (really) and I'm tired, and I can't wait to get into bed. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 26: a stroll, a delivery, last beef



I walked home through the Botanic Gardens this evening for the first time in months. Despite being on the brink of summer, our weather hasn't been conducive to strolling in the gardens and I've only walked home from the office a few times since I got back from my holiday anyway. But today was a lovely warm day, and I have to start getting back in the habit. 

I ordered Alexandra Horowitz's On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes and it arrived in the mail today. I was expecting another book to be delivered with it, but it was by itself in the box. Something else to look forward to. 

We had enough corned beef leftovers for another meal. Three meals from a $9 piece of meat. Not bad. We ate it cold this time with very bitey dijon mustard. Delish.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 25: Complimented, pink roses everywhere, leftovers

A man at work in dapper navy pin-striped trousers and a matching waistcoast complimented me on my colour co-ordinated outfit today...except I was just leaving for home and was wearing my far-from-new gym shoes which matched the turquoise top I was wearing under a dress. Sneakers and dress. Not my best look. Oh well. A compliment is a compliment. 

We had berry cheesecake for afternoon tea for a solicitor's birthday. Yummy. She was sent bright pink roses to the office by a friend. They perfectly matched the pink flowers on her patterned shirt. 

Luke and I had the leftover corned beef for dinner. Still good.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 24: Funny fox, little pops, perfect choc

Luke and I have been watching the documentary Wild Planet: North America on Sunday nights. Although the narration is cringeworthy at times, the footage is amazing and tonight's scenes of a red fox hunting rodents in the snow had me chortling. This isn't from the same documentary, but it's the same hunting technique.  


The foxes can hear a mouse in up to one metre of snow and, even more remarkably, they are far more successful in finding a mouse in snow when facing north. The foxes use the Earth's magnetic field to help pinpoint the location of their prey. Isn't nature amazing? 


Little pops

We had corned beef for dinner tonight and it was delicious. We had it with wholegrain mustard. I like the way the mustard seeds pop gently between your teeth as you eat them. We have enough leftovers for dinner tomorrow. 


Muffin Break at Australia on Collins does 
excellent hot chocolate


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 23: Soulful Saturday


This is a good Saturday morning housework song. Or a good anytime song. 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 22: Badger


I bought a badger on the Isle of Wight. I'm not sure why, but I developed a fixation with seeing a real badger while I was in England, but this little sculpted glass creature was as close as I got to it. 

However, when Luke was delivering his daughter home to the Isle of Wight while I stayed in London, they saw a badger crossing the road one night. He hesitated to tell me, but although my first reaction was, "NOOOOOOO!", I was ultimately pleased one of spotted a badger. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 21: An extra long holiday?

I'm quite possibly going to get more time off over Christmas than I originally expected - close to three weeks. THREE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKS! 

As you can probably tell, I'm rather pleased about that, but I shouldn't book any holidays just yet in case it doesn't actually happen. My office was originally planning to close from 25 December to 5 January, giving me about 10 days off, but now the plan is to shut up shop from 20 December to 12 January. I'm hoping I'll be able to work up to 24 December because I don't have enough annual leave accrued to take paid leave for the entire period. I'll now have to sit tight for a bit while the partners review everyone's annual leave preferences to see if I get my three weeks. 

I'm going to be in Melbourne for Christmas Day this year, for the first time in more than 10 years. It will be my first Christmas Day with Luke and his family. 

Luke and I have vague plans for a road trip along the Great Ocean Road, and continuing along the coast to Adelaide, although given our plan is still only vague and other people have already booked their holiday accommodation, we might have to road trip to a less popular destination, or acquire a tent. 

I'm also excited about having plenty of free time in Melbourne. I love a staycation. I'm going to start writing a list of all the things I want to see and do.  


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 20: The Hardy Ash

I visited a couple of remarkable trees when I was in London with the help of TimeOut's The Great Trees of London. The greatest was the Hardy Ash in the  St Pancras Old Church yard in Camden. 

I found my way to King's Cross station easily (the Tube wasn't anywhere near as baffling as I first feared), but I got a little misplaced finding my way to the church. In the end I stumbled across the rear entrance of the churchyard by sheer chance. Phew. 

My first glimpse of the Hardy Ash:


The churchyard has many lovely shady trees, but the Hardy Ash is special because at its base is a collection of tombstones, which were stacked there by Thomas Hardy - yes, the writer Thomas Hardy. He studied architecture in the 1860s and when a new railway was being built through the church graveyard he was given the job of exhuming the remains and moving the headstones. He stacked the headstones against the tree...and there they remain to this day. 


They won't be going anywhere now because the tree roots have taken a firm hold on them.   







Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 19: A note from Luke

Luke's "note" to tell me he would be at the oval 
kicking the football when I got home from the gym


Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 18: Sunshine

 I walked to Southbank to eat my lunch in the dappled shade of the gumtrees, and crossed back over the Sandridge Bridge past The Travellers

 I walked home along Southbank, stopping for icecream along the way. 
This is the view across the river

Almost home. Morell Bridge basking in the sun

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 17: juveniles abroad

My body is interfering again with my intention to write that word nerd post I mentioned the other day. I should have started it earlier today because I'm too tired now...well, I would have, but I was too tired then too, or having a nap. 

Instead, here is another photo from Paris, a segment of the Arc de Triomphe: 


Surely Luke and I aren't the only (juvenile) tourists to have taken this photo? 

The word nerd post will happen eventually. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 16: Discovered, undiscovered

I only spotted these gargoyle-esque figures on
a building on Flinders Lane for the first time 
on Friday (I think it was Ross House)

While I was getting my hair coloured at the salon today I read an article in Slate called Amazing Animals You Never Knew Existed

The photos in the article are from Ross Piper's book Animal Earth: The Amazing Diversity of Living Forms. The pictures are great, but the thing that amazed me most was this: 
Humans have cataloged as many as 1.5 million species of animals, and Piper said there may be as many as 200 million more species still undiscovered. “We know a great deal more about the surfaces of barren moons in space than we do about our own planet..."
As many as 200 million! Not big mammals wandering about the plains and forests obviously, but still... I find that mind blowing. 

I had delicious smashed avocado on toast with feta, bacon and a poached egg for brunch today. Accompanied by far less din than last week's brunch, but we were sitting outside. 

I wore my new boots. They're very comfortable - not even the merest hint of a pinch or rub. 


Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 15: Red man in Paris

Dammit - another blog post derailed by my stupid head. I have a migraine aura and I can't see properly so it's hard to type. *squints madly at screen*

Here's a photo from Paris:

Red man is impatient to turn green

They pedestrian lights in Paris had a variety of different styles of 'men', not just the same old green man and red man in every one. I wish I'd taken photos of more of them. This guy with his hands on his hips made me chuckle. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 14: Just a video

I was planning a word nerd post, but I have a pain in my brain, so I'm just going to share this fun video. I like the bit where the guy on the bike bounces and somersaults on the big red ball. 




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 13: Observation of trifles

Do you know about the site Brain Pickings? Founder Maria Popover describes it as a "human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are", which sounds rather vague, but it does sum it up.

The topics traversed are broad - science, art, language, music, literature, psychology, philosophy, the meaning of life and pretty much everything in between. There's plenty of stuff on happiness, which appeals to me, and there's even been a story or two on old signs. I favourite more tweets from Maria Popova/Brain Pickings than anyone else I follow on Twitter. 

Today's favourite Brain Pickings tweet is about a book called On Looking by cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz, which is about seeing familiar surrounds with fresh eyes. The author walks around her New York City block with 11 different "experts" (including her dog and toddler) to see the different ways they experience the surroundings - what they notice. 
Together, we became investigators of the ordinary, considering the block — the street and everything on it—as a living being that could be observed.
In this way, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, and the old the new.
Essentially it's about learning to see, something I've become better at since starting this and my photo blog.  The blurb on the Amazon site says:
Alexandra Horowitz’s brilliant On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes shows us how to see the spectacle of the ordinary—to practice, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, “the observation of trifles.”
Heh. The observation of trifles. That could be the subtitle for this blog.  


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 12: Fabulous fashionistas and booty

I've found something else on YouTube to get excited about - an English documentary called Fabulous Fashionistaswhich is about ageing, style and living life. 

It features six women with an average age of 80, each with a distinct sense of style and an interesting, unconventional life. They pay no heed whatsoever to what society expects old ladies to wear or do. One recently bought a pair of Doc Martins. Another says "Beige is the colour of death".  

I first heard about Fabulous Fashionistas a few months ago via a Twitter link to this Guardian article, and then somewhere I found more photos and quotes from the women, which had me completely charmed. I might not have loved their look, but I adored their attitude. The documentary isn't available to view here,  but it's on YouTube. Wooh!

'Dressing your age' is something I think about every now and then, especially since I turned 40. I look younger than I am (people tell me so; I'm not being vain), which allows me to 'dress young', but how long will I able to get away with wearing a denim skirt and Nike high-tops, and wearing my hair in a quiff? I'm getting to the point where I think the answer is FOR AS LONG AS I DAMN WELL WANT! 

The reason I mention this today is because I had a conversation with a friend about how we're at an in-between age fashion-wise, which caused me to revisit the Guardian story. 


Boot booty

The boots I bought on sale on Tuesday arrived today. I like them and they fit perfectly. The forecast for the rest of this week is for cool weather (boo) so I should have a chance to wear them (yay).


Tax booty

I got my tax return too. It's gone straight to my savings account. 


Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 11: Octoportraits

Luke bought me this little octopus finger puppet at a fair on the
 Isle of Wight during our recent holiday. He isn't always sad. 

 Drunk octopus

Startled octopus


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 10: Not Monday, pink trunk, Richmond adventure

I thought it was Monday when I woke up at 6.00am and heard Luke getting ready for work. I groaned and rolled over and then through the sleep fog I realised it was Sunday. Woooh. That is one of the best feelings. (He works every Sunday. )

Look at the colours in the trunk of this eucalyptus tree a few blocks from my place. I haven't edited it in any way. It's pink!




It caught my eye when we drove past yesterday and I went back today to take a photo on the way to the supermarket. It was going to be a quick trip for cheese for a dish I planned to make for dinner, but I ended up roaming the backstreets of Richmond with my camera for well over an hour. I just can't resist wandering down streets I haven't been down before.


Upside down, Miss Jayne 

I found some old signs and since I haven't started my ghost sign blog yet, I'll share them here.  These are from several buildings comprising the old Rosella Preserving Co factory on Balmain Street, which is now a corporate complex. I've never been in this part of Richmond before so I was rather thrilled to unwittingly find it.  



The eponymous bird

 The main building

 I love how badly peeling the paint is

[Something] Pty Ltd Engineers on Goodwin Street

Excellent street art


I watched the Bill Bryson lecture this afternoon. A quote:
What a wonderful and wondrous place [Earth] is. What a lot we have done with a little atmosphere, some water, a warming sun and a few other healthful ingredients. Look around you next time you are out of doors in the open air and marvel. I beg you. Marvel at the staggering inventiveness, the elegance, the beauty, the utility, the exquisite...glory that is life on earth. It is hard to believe that anything could ever be better than this.

Oh, a quote by English novelist Margaret Drabble that I found on Pinterest, which captures what I was saying the other day about the appeal of my uncertain work situation:
When nothing is sure, everything is possible.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 9: A delicious din and surprise flower

We went to a new place for brunch today - Moth to a Flame on Swan Street in Richmond. It was so noisy I felt like I had supersonic hearing. People laughing, crashing cutlery and crockery in the open kitchen, a banging door and coffee machine noise combined to make me never want to come back, even before my meal arrived. But dammit! My blueberry pancakes with lemon curd, creme fraiche and citrus sugar were scrumptious, and my hot chocolate was just about perfect too. There were several other dishes on the menu that took my fancy so I might just endure the cacaphony again. 

I'm also going to make my own lemon curd and citrus sugar. I love lemony things. 

My spathiphyllum is growing a flower, which is most unexpected because a few months ago the poor thing was so sickly I thought it was going to die. Once I realised what was wrong with it I managed to revive it, but I didn't think it would flower again because they can be finicky about flowering at the best of times.   

Luke is on the way home with kebabs for dinner. Yum. I'm starving. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 8: Excited about small things again

Do you remember last year I went to see Bill Bryson deliver the Kenneth Myer public lecture at the Town Hall? Well, I did and I really enjoyed it and I've been wanting to see/listen to it again since. I'm excited to have found the lecture on YouTube and I can't wait to see it again. Something for my weekend to-do list. 

I know that I'm getting back to my normal self after my period of gloom because I'm feeling excited about small things again. When we were in Paris in August waiting in the queue to go up the Eiffel Tower Luke asked me if I was excited and I answered honestly: No. 

WHAAAAT? I knew it was bizarre to be in Paris for the first time and not feel excited - to not feel even remotely exhilarated like I was on my trip to New York - but that's how I felt. Then a few weeks ago I was researching a day trip to Maryborough in central Victoria and I got a little bit excited about visiting a tiny village called Bung Bong, which has an abandoned church and an old bridge. Eiffel Tower? Whatever. Bung Bong? Wheee!  (In the end we forgot to go to Bung Bong!)

I had a miniscule spider scrawling on my had on the way home. Its body was smaller than a pinhead and it had to climb over the tiny fine hairs on my hand. People on the tram must have wondered why I was so fascinated by my own hand. 

My iPod battery hit empty just as I arrived home tonight. It's the second time that's happened in the last week. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 7: The excitement of uncertainty

There's going to be major changes at my work early in the new year.  I won't go into detail because there hasn't been an official announcement yet and it's still meant to be very secret squirrel. I don't think I've mentioned where I work, but I'll err on the side of caution and button my lip for now. 

In any case, these changes mean there is some uncertainty in my future. I find the uncertainty bothersome* because it's not that long since I've started to feel really settled into the job, but it also has some appeal. It's a little bit exciting not knowing for sure where I will be this time next year. Imagining possibilities, thinking about opportunities is more interesting than thinking about the status quo (except when I think about the possibility of being unemployed for an extended period).  

My ambivalence about the uncertainty ahead reminds me of this poem (or verse from?) The Blooming of Madness:


* I enjoy using the word 'bothersome'. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6: Flicks with the chicks



I went to a Flicks with the Chicks session at Gold Class tonight with Bertie, Lauren and Rosie (another friend from my old work). The session includes the movie, a glass of bubbles on arrival, finger food and dessert, and a showbag with girlie stuff and edible things. 

We saw Enough Said, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in one of his last movie roles. I enjoyed it -  it's not hilarious or ground-breaking, but it's sweet and likeable. 

Southbank was still buzzing when we left the cinema. Warm weather will do that. It got to 30 degrees C today and is still 24 as I type this at almost 11.00pm. 

I'm really looking forward to bed. Goodnight. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5: Mindfulness through photography

I had a "me too!" moment yesterday when I read an ABC News story about a new book on mindfulness through photography. Capturing Mindfulness is written by Sydney author, illustrator and public speaker Matthew Johnstone, who says buying a camera helped him to overcome years of depression. 
I went out and bought a camera, and in many ways I believe this camera saved my bacon. It was through this camera that I realised the whole concept and idea of being in the moment...Photography at the end of the day is really about stopping, it's really about seeing what's in front of us, it's really about stopping and focusing and it's about capturing that moment.
Me too! Well, in a way...Photography hasn't saved me from depression, but it has had the pleasing side effect of taking photos is that I take more notice of my surroundings. I see more. I actively look for things. My experience of my world is richer and I feel more connected to it. It gets me out of my head and into the world. Writing Gleeful contributes to this too, of course, since I need to take notice of life's little pleasures. 

Matthew Johnstone is also gets excited about being in industrial areas where there are rusty pipes and peeling paint, so we have that photographic obsession in common as well.  


I was meant to have them

I've had my eye on a pair of boots in an online shop and every now and then I check to see if they are on sale. This afternoon they were still at full price, significantly more than I would usually spend on shoes. Then five minutes after I checked, the store tweeted about their 20% off sale (I don't even follow them - it was a promoted tweet). I couldn't resist. Now they are mine. Hopefully we get a little more mild weather so I can wear them before autumn!


I'm 34

I was quite pleased today to learn that my fitness age is younger than my actual age - 34, rather than 41. That was my result when I said I exercise two to three times a week and go "all out", which I do at the gym. When I put in that I exercise at a lower level of intensity nearly every day, as I do when I walk to work, my fitness age is 38. Either way, younger than 41.    

Monday, November 4, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 4: Dinosaurs, day off, delish

We hired a DVD on Saturday night. Yep, we still go to the store and hand over a few dollars to take home a movie to watch. We're techno dinosaurs. But I'm in no rush to swap hiring for downloading because the store we go to is a little independent business that has been on Swan Street in Richmond for at least 20 years. We don't hire movies very often, but when we do, I like the idea of supporting a local business. 

Plus, when we went on Saturday night, there was a big tabby cat in the store and you don't get to pat a cat when you download a movie, do you? The store owner said the cat wasn't fat, it was "big boned". 

Tomorrow is a pubic holiday in Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup horse race. Yay, a day off work! I'm not fussed about the race, although I did go in the $10 sweep at work just for the hell of it. My horse is called Sea Moon. I have no idea whether it has any prospect of doing well. 

We had my new favourite salad for dinner tonight. So fresh and tasty. It's just avocado, tomato, cucumber, feta and coriander chopped up with a dressing of lime juice and tiny bit of sugar. We had it with lamb fillet, which I managed to cook just right. Delish.   

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 3: Walking increases happiness

I've been walking to work for nearly eight years and still feel fortunate to be able to do it. Swapping the morning commute on public transport for a walk along the river contributes to my happiness levels, so I was interested to read this story about urban design and happiness in The Guardian today.

A study by University of Zurich economists, Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer, found people who walk to work are happier than those who face a one-hour daily commute.   
Their finding was seemingly straightforward: the longer the drive, the less happy people were. Before you dismiss this as numbingly obvious, keep in mind that they were testing not for drive satisfaction, but for life satisfaction. People were choosing commutes that made their entire lives worse. Stutzer and Frey found that a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office.
What's even more surprising is that for single people, "exchanging a long commute for a short walk had the same effect on happiness as finding new love". Wow!

I'm not sure how the results would be compare if they were studying public transport commuters, although another study mentioned in The Guardian story found peak-hour train travellers and car commuters in England both suffered higher stress levels than fighter pilots and riot police facing an angry mob. Jeez.

The article states that people who commuted by bike report feeling more connected to the world in a way that isn't possible when you're in a car, bus or train. I think I've mentioned here before that walking to work gives me a greater sense of connection to my world. A protective parent duck tried to nip me on the ankle a week or so ago when I accidentally walked too close to its three ducklings. That doesn't happen when I travel by tram. 

The only downside of walking to work is that I read much less than when I travelled to work on the train.  I often pass a man walking across Morell Bridge on his way to work while absorbed in his book  - on Friday he only had a few pages left of a very weighty volume. It makes me smile that he can't bear to put his book down, but I'm not keen to emulate him. I'd walk into the path of a bike. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 2: Down Canadian Bay way

The city from Canadian Bay

As predicted. today was warm and sunny. Luke and I drove down to Mornington, stopping at Canadian Bay on the way to poke about in the rock pools along the beach.  I like the name Canadian Bay, probably because of the rhyme. Canay-dian Bay. (I don't know why it's called Canadian Bay and I'm too keen to go to bed to google it now). 

We didn't find much in the rock pools - mostly snails, but I did find a dead...one of these. I forget what it is.

 Is it an urchin of some kind? It's got spiky bits on it, 
mostly on the bottom half

And then Luke spotted one in the shallows nestled among the seaweed. 


I saw a ghost sign in Mordialloc while we were stopped at the traffic lights, but only had a second to take a photo before the light turned green. 



I saw some other, better signs as we passed by in the car today... I've taken dozens of photos of old signs over the past few months, but I've finally decided to start a dedicated blog for them. I think I'll still post the really good ones here though. 

I bought a drink today and had the exact change in my wallet (not counting the French Polynesian coin I got in change somewhere). I like when that happens.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaBloPoMo day 1: The return of glee



Hello, world. It's been a while. Glee has been a little thin on the ground for the last few months and I've been too glum/tired/lazy to force myself to keep blogging through it like I've done in previous gloomy periods.

But I've been feeling more myself the last few weeks (yay for medication) and the urge to blog has slowly returned. Since it's NaBloPoMo time again (already) I thought I'd use it to get back myself back in blogging habit. Yes, I'll be back tomorrow. And the day after. Etc.

Finding things to write about isn't likely to be a challenge because I intend write about stuff that happened while I wasn't blogging - including my trip to England and Paris in August. But I'll start with more mundane stuff. 

I had my performance review at work today and it went well - the partners are happy with my efforts. Not that I expected it to go badly, but for most of the past six months I have felt unmotivated, unenthusiastic and - for a few weeks after my holiday - almost inert. I was sure my funk must have been obvious, but either it wasn't or I met expectations regardless. Whichever. Thankfully, since I've been chirpier, I've been much less inert at work. 

Today is Friday and it was sunny after a yet another week of chilly, grey days. Melbourne is having an unusually chilly, grey spring so today's sunshine was very welcome. Tomorrow is going to be warm too. 

I gave blood today. They had gluten-free mud cake in the cafe.