Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas countdown

McKillop Lane in the city

Threeeeee working days until the holidaaaaaays! It's been pretty crazy at work in the lead up to Christmas, so my time off will be well-earned. I'm pretty happy I won't be there on the last day for the worst of the insanity. 

I had a very pleasant picnic in the Treasury Gardens with my gal pals last night. Tasty treats, bubbles and lovely company on a nice balmy evening.  I walked home afterwards. 

Taken from the footbridge across the train tracks near the MCG
  

Monday, December 14, 2015

A spontaneous Sunday adventure

Great Ocean Road from Teddy's Lookout, Lorne

Luke and I made an impromptu visit to Lorne on the spectacular Great Ocean Road yesterday. We had lunch in a little town west of Geelong called Birregurra just for a day out somewhere different, but rather than head back home on the highway, Luke suggested we head south to Lorne since it wasn't that far away. It's hard to say no to zooming along the GOR. 

With our bellies full of lamb snags (Luke) and beef burger (me) supplied by farms in the Birregurra region, we set off. The trip took us from farmland, through the forested Otways National Park to the coast.

Fabulous old petrol bowser at Deans Marsh 

A ghost sign on the building behind the bowser

While in Lorne we took in the view from Teddy's Lookout and visited the lush spendour of Erskine Falls - my first time there. It's not the mightiest waterfall we've visited, but the setting is beautiful. Cool, green and cavernous. 


 Erskine Falls near Lorne


Kookaburra sits in the old gumtree

We dropped into the secondhand bookshop in Birregurra (naturally) and while we were there, the owner dropped a bookstand on the floor near my feet. I picked it up for her and she said that meant I would get a surprise. Apparently that was a thing when she grew up - if someone drops something and you pick it up for them, a surprise will come your way. Country karma, I suppose. My surprise is due on Wednesday. I assume it's going to be a nice surprise. 

It might have come early actually. I thought the interest I pay annually in November for an investment thingo hadn't been debited from my account, but today I realised it had; it was just much smaller than usual. This means nearly all of my tax return can go towards other, more tangible things, like saving for holidays next year.  Yay. Oh, OK; I did buy some shoes too.    

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Agitated string, early Christmas, Friday


As I got into the lift after work I had my iPod in my hand and was going through the annoying ritual of untangling the earphones. There were two others in the lift and they were both untangling their earphones too.

Why are earphones so prone to tangling? I googled it and of course science has investigated, and provided its findings in a paper titled Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string. Agitated string! Maybe you have more patience than I, but I think I get more agitated than string. 

There were two parcels in the mail for me today. It was like Christmas came early. 

Friday tomorrow.  Only EIGHT working days left for the year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hanging out, sunrise, succulent

Hanging around

I've been trying to book a spot in the Wednesday night anti-gravity class at the gym since I joined, but it's one of the most popular classes and I kept missing out. I checked online last night and there was a place  - only one - available, so I nabbed it. Yay!  

I went to the class tonight and it was fun swinging about in a hammock, which, we were assured, can take a load of up to 500kg. Still, it was a little scary hanging upside down and letting go for the first time...and the second time...and the third time, but I managed not to fall out. At the end of class we pulled the hammocks around us and laid in the dimness like a room full of pupae awaiting metamorphosis. Quite relaxing. 

I also managed to book the last spot in next week's class. *fist pump*

I woke up very early this morning - boo! - but I saw the sun rising when I went to the loo - for as long as it took to take a photo anyway. 


Luke cooked a delicious, succulent steak for dinner tonight. Just what I needed after a gym session (I also did half an hour of cardio).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Feline, Foddie's, strolling

I met a cat coming home

I forgot to mention our meal at the Foddie's on Saturday night! It was their opening night and we waited a while for our meals, but they were worth the wait. I had the pulled beef burger, with one of the best gluten-free buns I've ever eaten, and Luke had the lamb fatoush salad, which he enjoyed.  

I had picked out their dessert tapas for my second course, but I couldn't fit it in.  As a thank you for coming to their opening night and to apologise for the wait on our meals, they sent us off with some gluten-free, lactose-free chocolate brownies. Yum. 

I walked nearly all the way from work to my pilates class in Windsor, which took a smidge over an hour. I walked along St Kilda Road for most of the way. It's quite a pleasant stroll, despite the multiple lanes of traffic. It accounted for about half of my daily total of 14,000 steps.  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday drive, llama guards, dream glee

The jacarandas are flowering in Melbourne

Luke and I went for a drive northwest of Melbourne today. We stopped at Hurstbridge for lunch and continued on to Kinglake, then back home via Yarra Glen, Christmas Hills and Warrandyte. The drive between Hurstbridge and St Andrews is quite lovely - it's a narrow winding road through hills covered in native bush.   

I saw a mother and baby emu in a paddock near Yarra Glen. I've never seen emus that close to Melbourne before. We also saw a trio of large alpacas on the bank of a dam. Could they have been llamas? Do we have llamas? Yes, we do, Google says. Guard llamas! They are used to protect sheep and goats from predators.  Llama guards! I think they were llamas.  

I had a dream Saturday night that I saw many frogs - green ones and brown ones and black ones. I was in a laundry looking down a drainpipe and saw them hopping about on wet rocks in the dank, dimness below the house. My dream self thought, "Oooh! Frogs! I need to write about this on Gleeful!" 

Twelve working days until my holidays. 
  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Short day, friendly food, crunchy


I only have to be in the office for three hours tomorrow because the firm's Christmas party starts at noon. Free food and drinks and a short working day. Awesome. 

Luke and I are going to a 100 per cent FODMAP-friendly restaurant on Saturday for dinner. I will be able to eat EVERYTHING on the menu at Foddie's in Albert Park (I will try not to order everything, however). Gluten-free stuff is fairly common these days - I've even seen gluten-free options in country bakeries - but meals without onion and garlic (which contain fructans) are much harder to come by.

Luke made the crunchiest ever crumbed chicken drumsticks for dinner. Delicious. 
  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Novem...oh wait. It's December


Another day, another fortuitous lost and found case. Last night I couldn't find a piece of paperwork I needed to send in the mail today. I concluded that I must have accidentally thrown it in with the recycling, which was now in the big bin downstairs. I wouldn't be able to find a flimsy piece of paper in the dark.

This morning as I was leaving for work I thought I'd stick my head in the bin and see if I could find it. Which I did, in about five seconds of opening the lid. Score! (Thankfully it wasn't in the rubbish bin, especially as today was collection day.)

I think I worked out how the brooch I mentioned the other day found its way back home with me despite falling off while I was out - it must have fallen into my cleavage. That was probably the day I thought I'd dropped a bit of potato chip down my top...

I get to finish earlier on Fridays from the end of this week through to the end of January - at 4.00pm instead of 5.15pm. Yay!   

Monday, November 30, 2015

November: the last day



The last day of November means the last day of my unofficial NaBloPoMo efforts. I've enjoyed blogging again. I might not be here every day from now on, but I will be here more often.

It also means only 16 days until my holidays! 

Today was very warm, but a cool change has arrived. A refreshing breeze is blowing in my window as I write.

I thought I'd lost a brooch while out and about the other day because I noticed it was gone as I was on my way home. But when I was cleaning on the weekend I found it on my bedroom floor. I can't explain it - there were no pockets on my clothes or bag for it to fall into. Odd, but good.     



Sunday, November 29, 2015

November: day 29



I was out of bed before 11.00 this morning, an uncommon event lately. Sunday seemed much longer.  

What did I do with my extra Sunday hours? I sorted out my all my socks and tights. Got rid of holey, saggy ones and put like tights with like (winter ones, lighter ones, patterned ones etc) so it's easier to find the ones I want in the morning rush. My life might not be sorted, but my sock drawer is. 

I did other things, of course; none of them exciting. Unless you consider a late afternoon nap exciting.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

November: day 28

This evening

I didn't feel like leaving the house today to go to the two Interrobang events I had tickets for, but I'm pleased I did. Cheryl Strayed, the one I was looking forward to most, was great: she was warm and funny and wise, as expected, and the banter between her and facilitator Meghan Daum was entertaining.  

But I think I enjoyed the second event with The New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris - aka the Comma Queen - even more. She was delightful, and not just because she looked and sounded like a cross between Marilla from Anne of Green Gables and the granny from Loony Tunes.  

She talked about the joy of finding errors in copy and I nearly jumped up and yelled, "Yes! Yes!", but, being an introvert, I merely nodded my head in agreement. Anybody who follows me on Twitter will know picking up mistakes on The Age website is one of my favourite hobbies*. I think I'll have to buy her book, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, which has been described as a 'refoir' - a cross between a reference book and a memoir. 

A Twitter friend, Jess, also attended the Cheryl Strayed event, which was at the Athenaeum Theatre - a sizeable venue.  We bought our tickets separately, but ended up sitting in the same row about five seats apart!  

* Now I feel pressured to vigorously proofread this post, but I'm not going to because I'm too tired to bother or care too much if it isn't perfect**.

** I feel as if I should apologise for mentioning how tired I am so often. It's boring. Sorry.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

November: day 27

Big tree (and little tree)

I stood behind a young woman at traffic lights today and she had such a luxuriously thick plait that I wanted to reach out and run it through my hand. I didn't of course. #creepy

A saw a dog and his owner playing fetch in the park one my way to work and the dog was SO excited.  If I had to pick an image that captures the joy of anticipation, a dog waiting for his owner to throw a ball would be it.  

I thought I forgot my iPod this morning, but I found it in the inside pocket of my bag when I was on the tram (which is when I need it most).

It's the weekend and there's only 17 working days until I'm on holidays. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November: 23, 24 and 25

Street art in a city alley


Oops, so much for 30 posts in 30 days. I've been exhausted the past couple of days, so bed has come before blogging.

I'm going to two Interrobang  - A Festival of Questions events on Saturday - one is Why does 'i' come before 'e' except after 'c'? with Mary Norris, grammar guru from The New Yorker, and the other - which I'm especially looking forward to - is What is it to be wild? with Cheryl Strayed, the author of the memoir Wild and the woman behind the Dear Sugar podcast and column. 

I did my first reformer pilates class at the gym tonight. It was hard, but good hard. Most of my main muscle groups got a work out. I think they'll be sore tomorrow...

There's something very satisfying about going through the drawers of departed employees to find stationery. We've had a shortage of Post-It Notes, but I found a good stash yesterday. 


Sunday, November 22, 2015

November: day 22

I've been listening to a lot of 50s and 60s guitar and surf music lately. Here's a bluesy tune from the amusingly named Bud Spudd and The Sprouts.



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

November: day 20

Nail art of the day

I showed my latest nail picture to Luke and he's completely grossed out that I kept the 'nail', as if it's actually my real nail. He's a strange boy, but I like him.  Then I told him I bought the 'nail' home with me... I have a creative vision, dammit! 

I fell over crossing the road today and several lovely people stopped to ask if I was OK (I was). I've fallen over four times this year and have only suffered a few bruises and scrapes. Lucky...especially as two of the tumbles were at waterfalls. Stupid slippery rocks.  

Hunky Dory, the fish n chip place, is our new Friday night dinner haunt. I'm in love with their lamb skewers. They're so juicy and tender and flavoursome. We're often served by the same young woman and she knows what my 'usual' is now. 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

November: day 19

Glitter bug

I'm giving new meaning to the term 'nail art'. The silver glitter SNS polish on my left index finger came off in one piece like a shell and my friend said it looked like a beetle. 

***

I was forced to buy new earphones because the ones I had just randomly stopped working and the Apple ones I had in my desk drawer at home are too big for my ears holes. They just keep falling out, making me cast envious glances at all the people with ear holes big enough to accommodate them securely. You people with big ear holes; you don't know how fortunate you are. 

Anyway, I was too lazy to venture up the other end of town to buy some good quality earphones so I went to Smiggle and  got some cheap ones for $13 AND THEY ARE ACE. So much better than the gigantic Apple ones. So snug! They almost sound like little corks popping when I take them our of my ears. 

***

I ran for eight minutes at the gym tonight (in intervals) and I ate a very tasty protein ball afterwards. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November: day 18

Crossing Morell Bridge on my way home tonight

I checked my bank account today and there was lots of money in it. I thought I'd forgotten to pay the rent the other day, but no - my tax return arrived on pay day. I'm rich! I'm rich! Nah, not really; my tax refund will be spent on boring, responsible, grown up stuff. 

I went to the gym and to pilates today after work today. And I've done 17,000 steps. And I feel pretty good. Well, quite OK. 

I bought a new pillow recently and it's soooo comfy. I can't wait to put my head on it.   

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November: day 16 and 17


Pretty flowers outside the Melbourne Town Hall 

I got out of the lift on my floor yesterday and a man I didn't know exited at the same time. He went left and I went right, but then I remembered I wanted to go to the kitchen in the other direction, so I did an about-face...only to find he'd turned around and was heading back the other way too! We chuckled as we crossed paths.  


I didn't find the nine-letter word (and I can't remember what it was - something I'd never heard of, I think to do with the anatomy of a flower?), but I found something better. No, 'octopusis' isn't a word...

***

Only 25 working days until I'm on leave for Christmas. I can't believe I only started the countdown yesterday.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November: day 15

More poppies flowering out the front 

This is crazy, but I went to the gym today. Again! On a Sunday! I even left the house before midday! It's rare these days for me to even be out of bed by noon on a Sunday. Utter madness.  

I'm very pleased with my discipline, of course (I just wish it wasn't a constant struggle to maintain). I did 30 minutes of moderate cardio  - including a few stints of jogging - and felt energised when I left. 

I'm pleasantly surprised at how much better I feel following a fairly modest increase in physical activity. In the past week I walked to work twice (40 mins each time), did an hour of clinical pilates, visited the gym twice, walked more than 10,000 steps most days (19,400 today!) and did stretching at home. I feel less physically worn out, and not as stiff and sore. 

It feels good to be doing something to make myself feel better instead of just flopping on the couch feeling sorry for myself. 

***

I did a little laneway wandering on my way home from the gym. Here are some photos.  (I'm on Instagram now if you want to see more of my photos there. My username is frisky_librarian.)

 AC/DC Lane

 AC/DC Lane

 Just off Degraves Street


 Centre Place 


 Centre Place 


 Centre Place 


 Presgrave Place


Presgrave Place 


Saturday, November 14, 2015

November: day 14

This dog has fluffy pantaloons


Friday, November 13, 2015

November: day 13

Do you know that BBC series Walk on the Wild Side with the silly voices dubbed over footage of animals in the wild? You know, Allan! Allan! Allan!? If not, just Google 'Allan Allan Allan'. Really. 

It's quite a few years old now, but still funny. I can't recall why Luke and I looked it up on YouTube a couple of weeks ago, but we still cackle like the two cranes at the two-minute mark of the video. They're among our favourites. Those guys are funny every single time. S'not a lion; issa a giraffe.



Thursday, November 12, 2015

November: day 12

The best part of my day happened very early today. I arrived at work to an email from a senior lawyer I've worked for for three years. She's been on extended leave since March and has spent most of the year travelling, the lucky thing. Not surprisingly (to me, anyway) she has decided she won't be coming back to the firm.

In her email she wrote: "Thank you for all your support over the years. You're the best secretary I've ever come across and indispensable to the team." 

That made my day. I'm going to file that away to bring out at salary reviews and future interviews.  
***

I went to the gym tonight even though I didn't think I would when I left the house this morning with my gym gear. I had drinks for an hour or so after work and thought it highly unlikely I would go to the gym after that.  BUT I DID. I can't really recommend going to the gym after three glasses of prosecco, but I managed 20 minutes of fairly challenging cardio. 
***

I didn't walk to work this morning, but I still managed about 12,300 steps. 
 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November: day 11

My new hair, as cut and photographed 
by Angela at Razor Dolls

Can you believe it? I walked to work again today! Twice in one week! I woke up early again and got out of bed early again and got to work even earlier than on Monday. Who'da thunk?

My early start this morning was mainly because I was off sick with a migraine yesterday* and I had a LOT of sleep, so my body decided it had had enough well before my alarm was due to go off.

I don't feel quite so much of a physical wreck tonight. This  exercise thing must be good for you...
***

Luke made crumbed chicken drumsticks for dinner. He is an expert crumber, They were crunchy outside and deliciously tender and juicy inside.

* Also the reason I didn't post a blog yesterday. I'm not officially signed up for NaBloPoMo, so whatevah

Monday, November 9, 2015

November: day 9



I walked to walk today for the first time in months - not because I leapt out of bed eager to make the most of the mild, sunny morning, but because I woke up before six o'clock and couldn't get back to sleep.  I was up early enough to eat breakfast at home instead of at my desk, conduct my full skincare and make-up routine instead of the bare basics I usually manage due to over-sleeping, and then make the almost 40-minute walk to my office. AND I was there five minutes early! It's such a nice way to start the day...but it probably won't happen again for months. Many months. 

I walked half-way home as well (racking up 13,000 steps today in total) and found some cool street art along an alley off Flinders Street.







Sunday, November 8, 2015

November: day 8


Someone planted a poppy in front of our building. It's in a funny spot -  a narrow, stoney strip of garden behind where our rubbish bins are parked - but it's pretty. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

November: day 7


Got my hair did today. I went bright purple all over about two months ago, but today I went back to black on the sides and a darker purple on top.  I like it. (Those are shadows under my eyes not massive dark circles, although I do look how I feel...)

Just after I took this photo a woman came up to me gushing about how "awesome" my hair is and told her 20-something daughter she should get something like it instead of her straight, natural brown hair. Hahaha. (Poor daughter though.) Having random people on the street comment on your hair happens when you go with a bright colour. 

I got my hair done at Razor Dolls on Chapel Street in Windsor, which is not your usual hair salon. All the hairdressers are pretty out there - lots of tattoos (including one facial tatt), ear gauges, piercings, and crazy hair dos. My hairdresser has bright pink, platinum blonde and yellow dreadlocks. I just want to sit and stare at all of them. 

Mirror, mirror

I took a photo of our new mirror today before I sat down on the couch and couldn't get up again (actually, when I got home today I went straight to bed for a nap for a few hours). 

We liked the really ornate mirrors, but we ended up buying a contemporary style since the rest of our decor is modern.  You can't really see it, but it has a nice bevelled edge on the glass.  

I need to rethink the mantelpiece decoration so the bottom of the frame is visible. If the mirror were hung higher we wouldn't be able to see much in it besides the ceiling (and the bare lightbulb, which needs a new light fitting). 

Our Ends are our Beginnings

The other picture the handyman hung for me was this print I bought from the site Section6. It's called Our Ends are our Beginnings by Paradisiac Picture. I love it - the dramatic golden sky, the deep blue ocean and the Parisian-looking city on the sea floor, but also the possibility of feeling as if you're sinking to the bottom, but something new 

This is a bit strange, but sometimes when I'm near the sea or watching a documentary about it, I think how terrifying it would be to fall into the deepest depths of the ocean, and I get a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach like mild panic or claustrophobia, and that's what I initially feel when I look at this. She's falling to the bottom of the sea! But she will be saved! 

(Sorry about the formatting, it's misbehaving and I'm too tired to fix it.)

Friday, November 6, 2015

November: day 6

My boss approved my Christmas leave today. I'm off work from 23 December and go back on January 11 - almost THREE WHOLE WEEKS! I can't wait. Luke and I are combining Christmas at my Mum's near Port Macquarie with our annual New Year's road trip. 

We'll take two days to get to Mum's travelling the major highways - it's about 12 hours away, although holiday traffic might slow us down. After spending some time with Mum, we'll meander our way back home taking the road less travelled. I don't know about Luke, but I haven't seen much of the country between Sydney and Port Macquarie - only what I saw zipping through it on the train once years ago and I remember it being very picturesque, so I'm keen for a closer look.  



Now that my leave has been approved, we can start thinking about which places to visit, but as is our usual way, we'll make most of it up as we go along.  Forty-eight days to go! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November: day 5

The rain hits the city (again)

We had some crazy weather in Melbourne today. Even a (thankfully wimpy) tornado! The photo of the CBD above (excuse the dirty windows and reflections) was taken a short time after the tornado moved through the northern suburbs. We got a pretty decent downpour. I love it when it rains, but isn't cold (mostly when I'm under cover). It was sunny again when I went out for lunch and when I walked home. Crazy, but convenient!

Luke and I bought a mirror to go over our mantelpiece a while back and today a handyman came to hang it up. I found him through Airtasker and he did the job (as well as hanging two other pictures) for half the price as the guys recommended by the mirror shop. Wooh!  (I was going to take photos of the mirror to show you, but now I can't be bothered getting off the couch. Another day.) 

The place we bought the mirror at - Mirror Mirror on Hoddle Street - is pretty awesome even if you aren't looking to buy one. It's wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling mirrors - little ones, gigantic ones, sleek modern ones and super ornate ones, and some gorgeous art deco ones. (My absolute favourite was a huge art deco fan-shaped mirror, but it was waaaaay too expensive and too big anyway.) The shop is all so sparkly and shiny and silvery and golden. And you can check your hair looks OK whenever you want. 


Me in the mirror shop


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November: day 4

Melbourne this evening

I went to the gym tonight for the first time in a looooong time. I've hardly been at all this year. After I moved offices last June the gym became a 20-minute walk away, and at the end of the day, when I was already worn out, it was all too hard (getting up to go to the gym before work is WAY too hard). 

Eventually I decided to switch to a gym closer to work, which wasn't an easy decision because I'd been a member at the Melbourne City Baths for 10 years. It's a great gym, but it's no longer convenient. No point belonging to a great gym if you never go. 

My new gym is right across the road from work and only a block from the tram I catch home. It's shiny and new and runs a lot of classes. No excuses now...

I'm not in great shape and have little energy, so I didn't push myself too hard tonight. But I went! Yay, me! 

I feel as if I've patted myself on the back for returning to the gym quite often on this blog. Hopefully I actually stick at it this time... 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November: day 3

Luke and I decided to go beyond our usual brunch/lunch hangouts today so we ventured over the Westgate Bridge to the pretty seaside suburb of Williamstown. 

I just love the little old cottages there  - they are so damn cute - and it's a great spot for ghost sign hunting. I don't have any photos of the cottages or ghost signs, so you'll have to take my word for it. 

I do have photos of lots of boats though. We saw the usual ranks of yachts and the HMAS Castlemaine  (which is permanently moored at Gem Pier), but also some huge cruise ships docked at Station Pier and a container ship (sans containers) making its way out to the bay. 

Cruise ships to the right. They were bigger than they look here
(I didn't have my 'real' camera so the photos aren't great) 


 Yachts


 More yachts and the Westgate in the distance


 HMAS Castlemaine (now a museum)


 Boats and a bit of the city skyline


Love this old boat


It was breezy on the pier

We saw starfish in the shallows (Me: Look! Starfish! It always thrills me seeing creatures in the water) and an egret fishing for lunch. After having an icecream, we headed off home. 

Back to work tomorrow but now there's only three days until the weekend!