Monday, January 28, 2013

A productive day

I've just collapsed on the couch after a very productive day, the last of my extra long weekend. *sad face*

Today I have: 

  • been to the gym (walking there and back);
  • watched the final three episodes of Pride and Prejudice. I liked it, but I remain immune to the supposed charms of Colin Firth. And I was very let down by the famous wet shirt scene women go ga-ga over. I even watched the scene on YouTube just to make sure the DVD hadn't been altered. And of course it was just the same. Is that it?!;
  • made a batch of banana and oat muffins. I tweaked the recipe by using cow's milk instead of almond milk, blueberries instead of choc chips, and adding brown sugar, maple syrup and protein powder. Turns out I accidentally improvised by forgetting to put the eggs in too, but they turned out fine. A little rubbery perhaps, but tasty. The over-ripe bananas didn't go to waste;
  • roasted pumpkin and cooked chicken for my lunches during the week. I'm still having chicken, roast pumpkin and beetroot salad for lunch. If I really like something, I can eat it every day for weeks - months even - without getting sick of it;
  • stewed rhubarb;
  • prepared my breakfast, lunch and snacks for tomorrow. This eating well business is quite labor intensive, but it's worth it; and
  • completed assorted other boring domestic chores.
I'm quite tuckered out.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bonus Sunday post: Sydney signs

I forgot to post the photos of signs I took in Sydney! Here they are: 

 My first sign spotting: looking out the window of my hotel room

Johnson & Sons Pty Limited...something & grindery merchants
...wholesale and retail. I think it was on Elizabeth Street

 Can't remember the location. Bathurst Street maybe?

 Near my hotel - Griffiths Teas

 A closer look

 And on the other side. Griffiths Beverages would
 have been a more fitting name

 The old GPO - Pitt Street side

Also Pitt Street

The Australian Workers Union. I think this was Elizabeth Street too

 King Street, Newtown. Continental delicatessen at the top,
 ice cold on the left. I think it says Shelley's 
in white above the windows, which I only worked
 out after looking closely at the sign below

King Street again.  Shelley's Famous Drinks.
 Icy cold. Refreshes you faster! And a shell 
with an E in it. Shell-ey, I guess! 

Also King Street. It looks like Doumany & Son (bottom left),
  then Kolotex and the nation's great nylons! 

 The Dew Drop Inn seems an odd name for an Asian restaurant. 
It makes me think of the Three Little Bops  

In case anyone thinks I have fantastic eyesight, it's only by zooming in that I can make out many of words on the first three Newtown signs. You can have a closer look by clicking on them to enlarge. 

Another coincidence, fireworks, ripe bananas

Another Pride and Prejudice-related coincidence happened today. Just before I started watching it this afternoon, someone I follow on Twitter tweeted that she was watching Pride and Prejudice ahead of the 200th anniversary of the book's publication tomorrow. I didn't know about the anniversary until I read her tweet. 

I'm three episodes in - about the point where Mr Darcy proposes to Elizabeth with the famous line, "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" and she angrily rejects him. A swoon-worthy line, no doubt,  but I'm still not aware of any weakening of my knee joints. 

Luke and I watched the Australia Day fireworks while perched on a couch in front of our loungeroom window last night. Ka-BOOM! 

There are three over-ripe bananas in our fruit bowl. Today while browsing Pinterest I found a recipe for oatmeal cupcakes that calls for three ripe bananas - the riper the better. I think I'll make them tomorrow (only with blueberries not choc chips).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Second breakfast, old signs, under the bridge

Luke and I went to Yarraville in the inner west today. We had lunch (or, more accurately, second breakfast, which is becoming quite a habit for us) just near the Sun Theatre. The section of road in front of the cinema has been laid with pretend grass, which is dotted with colourful deck chairs and outdoor chairs and tables. I think every suburb should have a lawnstreet. 

After second breakfast, we wandered about with our cameras. There were quite a few old signs. 

 There are several signs here. It looks like it has been
 a chemist for many years

 Robur Tea maybe? 

 Engineering Patternmaker

Lots of engineers in Yarraville

Plumber and sewerage

Before heading home we stopped near the Westgate Bridge and went for a walk. As we walked under the bridge, I got Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers stuck in my head. 

(Bonus Australian flag for Australia Day)

This snake amuses me. It looks too cute

 Egret slouching in a shrub

 The Stony Creek Backwash walkway

 A cormorant resting on the skeleton of an old boat

The same cormorant followed us, apparently eager
 to pose for more photos

 Big Bird was here

 Very big ship on the way to the docks

 No, it didn't hit the bridge

Yet another coincidence

This morning I went to the video store (yes, we still hire movies) to borrow Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version with Colin Firth and that scene. I haven't seen it and decided I should after Luke's mother and sister waxed lyrical about it on Thursday night. Luke's mum all but swooned as she described Colin Firth emerging from the water in his wet shirt. Teehee.  I don't understand why women go weak at the knees over Colin Firth. I think he's an English ponce, so perhaps watching him in Pride and Prejudice will help me to understand.   

Anyway, the coincidence: the video store guy had a TV on the counter and there was a quiz show on. I didn't hear the quiz master ask the question, but the answer was....PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!!! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

A gleeful discovery

I bought a dress recently to wear to my friend Bertie's upcoming wedding, but when I tried it on at home I realised it was just a bit too squishy in the boob region, so I decided to get it altered. I did a google search for clothing alteration services in the city and one that came up was Circe. My heart leapt a little in my (apparently too ample) bosom. So that's what Circe does! They're located in one of my favourite buildings in the CBD, the old City of Melbourne Building on the corner of  Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets. I'd seen the name on a little round window of the building, but I didn't know if  it was still operating there, especially given the phone number is old (it has seven, rather than digits). 

I took my dress in yesterday and took a few quick photos before leaving. 

The quote to alter my dress was quite reasonable too. I was prepared to pay a little more to have a reason to be inside the building (and for a place that wasn't Alter-It). 

For anyone who's wondering, Circe, pronounced "keer-keeh" is a minor goddess/nymph/sorceress/witch from Greek mythology, described in Homer's Odyssey as "the loveliest of all immortals"...she did murder her hubby though.)

On day one of my extra long weekend, Luke and I had second breakfast at Yellow Bird on Chapel Street. I had a yummy macadamia muesli with fresh fruit and honey. We also bought a colour printer. Not a particularly exciting purchase, but handy. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Short week, first run, gifts

On the way to work Tuesday: dark clouds in front of me, 
sunshine behind

Tomorrow is the last day of the working week for me before four days off. *happy dance*  I don't have anything special planned. Just stuff. Maybe crossing a few things off my Christmas holiday to-do list that didn't get done while I was on holidays. 

Tonight I went for my first run/walk around the Tan for the year.  It's the first time since I've been back at work that I've had the energy to even contemplate a run. I probably walked more than I ran - my lungs were willing, my legs less so - but that's better than sitting on the couch for an extra half an hour. And I do walk super fast. 

I forgot to mention that the calendar my online friend Erin sent from the US has arrived, along with an extra little present - a word nerd book called Who Put the Butter in Butterfly...and Other Fearless Investigations into Our Illogical Language. How very thoughtful! 

The calendar has very fetching photographs of Erin's home state of Oklahoma, including  lovely autumns scenes and picturesque waterfalls. (No, there are no pictures of corn as high as an elephant's eye...Sorry, I couldn't help myself) To my surprise, the calendar mentions Australia Day on January 26. Quite unexpected. 

It includes holidays of other countries too, such as Burns Night in Scotland, which is the day before Australia Day. Burns Night probably isn't as dangerous as it sounds. *googles*  Oh, it celebrates Scotland's "national poet" Robert Burns, who penned Auld Lang Syne. It's traditional to eat "haggis, tatties and neeps" (the latter being potatoes and turnips). 

According to some random site I clicked on, this is what happens on Burns Night: 
The haggis is carried into the room on a silver plate and a piper pipes the haggis into the room, while we are eating people recite and sing Rabbie's songs.
Haha...but also...WHILE WE ARE EATING PEOPLE!!! I thought it sounded dangerous. Punctuation matters!

Speaking of eating, we had black rice with dinner tonight for the first time. It's black until it starts to cook, and then it turns a really dark purple. The flavour is much the same as brown rice, but it's meant to be even more nutritious.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Scorching, tennis, long weekend

Pretty clouds yesterday morning 

Yesterday was searingly hot - a top of 40 degrees C (104F) - but I still walked home. I'm grateful for shady trees and a Calippo for making the trek slightly more bearable.  

I'm off to the Australian Open tennis tomorrow. In the eight years I've lived walking distance from the stadium, I've never been to the tennis. I was much more of a tennis fan in my teen years than I am now, but I'm sure it will be a fun day out. If nothing else, it will be a new experience. (Thankfully, it will won't be anywhere near 40 degrees.)

I'm having an extra long weekend for Australia Day on 26 January. I've taken off the Friday as well, giving me four days off on a row. I can't wait. 

Hot chips are ace, but I especially like the really crispy ones that have probably been through a few fry ups before making it onto your plate. They're probably about 90% oil. They're bad, but they're good. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

At last: what I did on my holidays

I've lost enthusiasm for writing a lengthy post about my week in Sydney, but there's a few gleeful things I want to show you, so here's a bunch of photos.

The entrance to Tooronga Zoo

 One of the meerkats, pretending he's people

There didn't appear to be any otters in the otter enclosure,
 but there was a duck

It was rather perplexed by the glass. It was paddling like mad but going nowhere. It's pretty funny when you can see below the water as well as above. More zoo photos here 

 Matthew Flinders' sea-faring moggie, Trim, beside the State Library of 
New South Wales, near a statue of his owner 

The reading room of the library's Mitchell Wing is a light and pleasant space, but it doesn't come close to the grandeur of  Melbourne's La Trobe Reading Room

 The facade of the Mitchell Wing is not unlike the exterior of the 
State Library of Victoria

This carved inscription on the wall in the foyer of the Mitchell Wing was my favourite bit of my (short) library visit 

I like this sign at the Botanic Gardens, which are lovely

I didn't smell the roses but I took lots of photos of the water lilies

 Lotus pods

Lotus buds

A very tall eucalyptus tree in the gardens

 Iconic Bondi Beach - the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk was my favourite part of my time in Sydney

My first glimpse of Waverley Cemetery. See here and here 
for more photos of the cemetery and the coastal walk

 This SIGN made me CHUCKLE

 Coogee beach, the end of the 6km walk. 

Does anyone else primary schooled in Australia in the 1980s remember the ABC singing books and the song about "chish 'n fips 'n riko cholls, somato tauce 'n raussage solls"? 

 After a few days of stunning harbourside scenery I needed a bit of inner urban grunge. I spotted this on someone's front fence in inner city Newtown.  The cards were just little plain squares with 'To' at the top and 'From' handwritten at the bottom, but still...

A few doors down, I saw this sign

And this 

 And this, I presume, is Florian. Home safe, albeit legless 
and rather pale after his ordeal

While I was in Sydney, there was a report on the news about the corpse plant in the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne blooming for the first time in seven years. The bloom, which is said to smell like rotting flesh, only lasts for a few days, so you can imagine my irritation that it had the audacity to flower while I was interstate. Such impertinence! 

I visited the gardens on the day I got home not expecting to see anything (or smell anything). This is the sight that greeted me (click on the links above for comparison, if you don't know what it looks like in full bloom):

Teehee. Rather flaccid. Coincidentally, I just learnt from Wikipedia that the plant's scientific name, Amorphophallus titan,  means 'large, misshapen phallus". 

Nevertheless, it's still an interesting plant, and some if its neighbours in the tropical hothouse were interesting and unusual too, like this white bat plant.