Friday, December 23, 2016

Hopeful, holidays, super short

The old Safe Deposit Building on Queen Street

I'm still alive, in case you were wondering! It's been about 10 days since I had the vein abnormality in my head fixed. The procedure went well, although my recovery was a little rough and I'm still experiencing some pain from it. But! I don't think I've had a "normal" migraine since. It's early days, but I'm hopeful. 

I finished work for the year yesterday (although I popped in for an hour today to finish something). It hasn't really sunk in yet that I'm on holidays. No doubt it will when I board a flight up to Mum's tomorrow afternoon. I'll be there until next Friday. 

I had my haircut shorter today than it's ever been before (apart from the top, which is still relatively long). The back and sides were clipper cut all over and I can't stop patting it - with the grain and against.  It feels so nice. I love the way it looks too. (I haven't taken a photo of it.)

I probably won't blog while I'm away, but I will be posting photos to Instagram as Frisky_Librarian. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Weird word, Winter Wipeout, summer breeze

Park Street, South Yarra. I love this place. 
(I think I've posted a pic before) 

I had some blood taken this afternoon and when I got home I mentioned to Luke that I'd recently learned a person whose job is to draw blood is called a phlebotomist. I'd seen someone on Facebook the other day who was a phlebotomist and I looked it up. 

Then when I was cooking dinner Luke called me into the loungeroom to tell me one of the contestants on Winter Wipeout was a phlebotomist. How freakish?!

Related: Winter Wipeout is back on! I thought it was on old series, but apparently it's new. Either way, I'll still watch - I can't get enough of seeing people getting whacked in the face or bouncing off big red balls. (Don't tell anyone I'm watching a silly game show instead of 7.30.)

It was a hot day today, but there's now a lovely cool breeze blowing in the window opposite where I'm sitting on the couch. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Tiny yoyo biscuit (part of dessert at my work party) 

I won a door prize at my work Christmas party on Friday. Of all the 100+ people there, my name came out first! I scored a $150 voucher for one of George Calombaris' restaurants. I don't watch Masterchef, but I like Greek food. Food in general, really. Especially free food.  

I have only six or seven working days left in 2016! It's hard to believe it will be over so soon. It would be eight days, but I'm going into hospital on Wednesday to have my abnormal brain veiny thing treated and I'll be off work Thursday as well to recover (I might go in Friday if I'm able). Hopefully I will only be in hospital one night, for obvious reasons, but also because the food is abominable. Not just bad. Abominable. On the upside, more reading time for me! Oh, and possibly fewer migraines. 

We had cheese kranskies for dinner. SO cheesy. Yum.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rainbow, bark in the park

I talking to my boss in his office this afternoon and had to interrupt myself to point out the rainbow.  The end of it near the Eureka Tower was so vibrant. 

This photo doesn't do it justice

It was still there about 20 minutes later when I was ready to go home. I was on my way out via the kitchen because I wanted to take a photo of the rainbow out the other side of the building and, as I approached, a partner said to me, "Have you seen the rainbow?" which made me smile because some grown ups with serious jobs are too restrained to appreciate rainbows. (I liked him before he said that though.)

The kitchen window view (with bonus extra rainbow)

I managed to avoid the rain when I was out and about this morning (I had an appointment with the doctor who will treat the abnormal veiny thing in my scone  - next Wednesday!), but when I got off the tram on my way home it started to pelt down. I hid behind a tree in the park. It had interesting bark. 

I got to see the images of my skull/brain from my recent angiogram at my appointment today. It was fascinating, a little bit scary but also funny because in one shot from above my eyeballs looked like a pair of very prominent golf balls. I wanted to take a photo of it (there's an odd selfie) but restrained myself. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Second win, second wind, new leaf

Stopped by Hosier Lane on the way home 

I solved the Target puzzle again! Twice in a week. I've been making myself persevere beyond the "very good" word count and this time I reached the word limit without really noticing (the word was "sentenced"). Still no confetti shower. 

One of my pot plants got a bit droopy because I forgot to water it. Until it wilted, there was a long thin flower thing pointing towards the ceiling, but lack of water had it pointing to the floor. It was still drooping long after I watered it and I thought it was doomed, but when I got up this morning it was pointing up again! Yay! I saved it!

One of our other indoor plants  - a palm of some description - has sprouted its first new leaf since we bought it a few months ago.  I was worried it was failing to thrive. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Six months down, foreign words, 10 days to go

In my street

I reached the six-month mark of my shopping ban last week, but I didn't realise it until yesterday. I guess that's a sign that not shopping for shoes and clothes is my new normal (and also a further sign that this year has whizzed by at warp speed). I think I mentioned previously that I've decided to extend my shopping ban for a year, so I'm just past the half-way point now.

I like this list of German words we need in English. I've heard (and blogged about) some before (backpfeifengesicht, zugzwang, drachenfutter, kummerspeck), but treppenwitz  - literally 'staircase joke', meaning a witty comeback thought of too late - caught my eye because I know of the French word for this - esprit d'escalier (staircase wit). A lecturer at uni used this expression, and for some reason it has stuck with me all these years. (It's more than 20 years since I finished uni. HOW CAN THAT BE?!)

Buzzfeed apparently has a thing for mining the gems of other languages. It has published a collection of Japanese,  Scottish, Italian and Nordic words (and probably others) it thinks English should steal. I love these lists. 

I also like this list of made up (but etymologically meaningful) words from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which describe emotions that English doesn't already have words for. I particularly relate to 'enouement', the bittersweetness of arriving in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self. Sometimes I feel this way when I look back on my childhood, when my parents were still together and my dad was still alive. 

I have 10 working days until I'm on holidays. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016



I did it! I found every single word for the first time ever on the Target puzzle I have on my phone (as opposed to the similar, but different, one I play on the computer, which I've only solved once). Usually I give up - or get bored - after I reach 'very good', except for one time when I got every word bar one (which was "oohs"), but this time I kept going and got them all! I was hoping for a small confetti shower, but all that happened was "COMPLETE!" popped up and then disappeared.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Round and round the garden

I wandered across the road to the Botanic Gardens this afternoon for vitamin D and photo taking. It's my first visit in months, partly because of our non-existent spring, but the sunshine today was splendid (my attention to re-applying sunscreen isn't so splendid...)

I saw a paddling* of teeny tiny ducklings, plenty of busy bees, a couple of caterpillars and some butterflies and moths. Also lots and lots of flowers. 

Strange bud 

One of only two poppies left in the herb garden 

Bananas in the glasshouse 

Tiny pond in the centre of a bromeliad


Munch, munch, munch  

The living and the dead


Coming in to land




*That's one of the collective nouns for ducks on water.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No more NaBloPoMo

Well, my NaBloPoMo efforts didn't even end with a whimper, let alone a bang. I only published 19 posts, but I'm too too bothered. 

Today is the first day of summer and, as if on cue, the cicadas have just started singing (or whatever you call that noise they make).  It looks as if we've finally - thankfully - left the winter weather behind. Spring? What spring?! I saw on the weather report last night that it was Victoria's coldest spring for years (I forget how many. Eight maybe?).

I'm so glad it's my weekend now. I've been busier this week than I have for a month or so and I'm clearly not used to hard work because I'm very weary. I'm very much looking forward to putting my head to pillow and keeping it there until well into tomorrow morning.  

I had to do some maths today. It's end of month billing and most calculations are done automatically by the software, but I needed to use my brains for one particular bill because the tax-inclusive total had to add up to the same amount of money we had in trust. I worked out the pre-tax amount on my calculator then typed the figure into the computer and BAM! It all added up perfectly! Go, me! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 28

I can't wear my earphones in my left ear at the moment because my piercing is tender. The left ear bud must have known it was going to be out of a job because it stopped working a few days ago. 

I walked half way home after work and the tram arrived just as I got to the tram stop. Perfect timing.

I have only 15 working days left for the year. I'm flying up to mum's for Christmas on 24 December and coming back on the 30th to spend New Year's Eve with Luke before returning to work on 4 January. We'll do our annual road trip later in January or February when he can take leave. We want to go back to the Blue Mountains since it was cold and wet with almost zero visibility when we passed through in January.  


Sunday, November 27, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27

How has it been five days since I last posted? I've had a friend visiting for a couple of days so I haven't been online as much, but five days?! I'm not doing a very good job of NaBloPoMo, am I? 

Here's some stuff that's happened. 


I had dinner with my friends Lauren and Bertie at the Munich Brauhaus on Wednesday night. Yes, the German restaurant was my idea. Predictably, I had cheese kranskies, potato salad and sauerkraut. And a pretzel. Yum. The company was good too. Lauren had some wonderful news to share - she's finally leaving the firm where we all met years ago. Hurrah!

I got a new piece of jewellery. Many migraine sufferers say this piercing (known as a daith piercing) cured or relieved their migraines, so my friend Deliea (also a chronic migraineur) and I decided to give it a crack. There's no science to back it up and other migraineurs say it made no difference, but we thought we'd find out for ourselves. I'll leave the ring in regardless, because I like it.  

I have a back up plan to ease my migraines anyway. You know how I spent a day in hospital having a test done last week? Well, I had a cerebral angiogram so my doctors could get a better look at a mass in my noggin that was discovered because my neurologist wanted to check if I had any clots in my sinuses after I mentioned that I'd had a DVT. The mass is an abnormal tangle of veins (arteriovenous malformation) and it could be the cause of some of my migraines. I'll be having it treated in the next few weeks (probably in a similar process to the angiogram - i.e. a catheter inserted into the femoral artery). After suffering migraines since my teens, this development seems almost too good to be true!

Cheese avalanche

After the piercing (which hurt, but but not for long), Deliea and I had burgers at Parlour Diner - the place I had that super oozy cheesy burger a few weeks ago. I had the same burger and it was just as good. (That's a rather unappetising looking gluten-free bun, but it's surprisingly sturdy and held everything together well.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NaBloPoMo: Day 22

I love that there's a word for this in Iceland

When I crossed over Morell Bridge on my way home from work tonight, I could smell the eucalyptus trees at the top of the river bank. The rain always makes the smell stronger. I love the smell of eucalyptus. 

I cooked steak for dinner and it was a little underdone compared to how I usually have it (it was rare, rather than medium) but it was tender, juicy and delicious.  

I know we've only had a couple of days of hot weather, but I'm looking forward to being able to sleep under a blanket tonight. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

NaBoPoMo: day 21

I'm enjoying this song at the moment. Those guitars at the start hooked me in. Jack River (real name Holly Rankin) comes from near where my mum lives. Always nice to support new Aussie music.   

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 20

Have you seen this amazing footage from David Attenborough's Planet Earth II? It's heart-stopping! 

We had a fun day out for Luke's sister's surprise 40th birthday party today. She had no inkling whatsoever, so the look on her face was priceless. Her three-year-old daughter, who was in her arms when we yelled "Surprise!", had not long woken from a nap and she could not have been less underwhelmed by the whole thing! 

The food at the winery was tasty (Cheese! Slow-cooked lamb! Pavlova!) and the weather was warm and sunny, albeit a little too warm where we were sitting. I was well and truly ready for a nap by the time we left, but I haven't had one, which is actually a good thing because, after two bad nights' sleep, I need to maximise my chances of a good eight hours tonight. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 19

One of the GPO clocks from the 7th floor of Myer

I looked in the mirror this morning and thought, "Geez, Jayne, you look old and tired," but then I went off out into the sunshiney world and got my hair cut and coloured (bye, greys!) and my nails painted and then I looked a bit better and was pleased. 

I had a gluten-free blueberry muffin from the cafe I used to stop at sometimes often back when I walked to work. It was very good. A little crunchy around the muffin top

We're off down the peninsula tomorrow for Luke's sister's surprise 40th birthday party. I've only been to one surprise party before. It should be fun. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 18

First go...gotta love that

Whoopsie, I've missed a few days. I didn't get home from the hospital on Tuesday after my test until about 9.00 pm and then I was out of action Wednesday as well. So I got two days off work and two sleep ins. I had a lot of reading time and I finished The Good People. I enjoyed it...but I think it was the writing that appealed more than the story. It held my attention, but I wasn't gripped.  

Next up I'm reading Clementine Ford's Fight Like a Girl. I've banned myself from buying more books until I've finished the unread books on my bedside table - maybe about 15 of them - because I got worried I was buying books just because I can't buy shoes.  

Have I mentioned I'm extending my ban on shopping for clothes, shoes and accessories to a full year? I'm 5.5 months in now and it's going remarkably well. It would be great to be able to say I went a whole year without buying that stuff. By the time I get to the end of my initial challenge (on 31 December) I'll be more than half way through the extended challenge. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 14

A perfectly rounded tablespoon of cacao

I started reading The Good People by Hannah Kent (author of the highly acclaimed Burial Rites) on Saturday, but I didn't notice until last night that my copy (from Booktopia) was signed by the author. It was a nice little surprise. 

I'm only a few chapters in and I'm enjoying it. Her prose is so poetic, particularly her descriptions of the landscape. Some sentences I have to read twice to wring full pleasure from them.  

I'm also astounded by her ability to write (again) about a different country in a different time, this time rural Ireland...a very long time ago.  I guess that shows my lack of imagination and aptitude for research. If I were to write a book, I'd stick to the maxim "write what you know". 

I get to have a little sleep in tomorrow - yay! - because instead of going to work I'm going to have a test done at the hospital which will take most of the day. Not so yay, but I get to lie down for four hours afterwards. A good reading opportunity. 

I'm still thinking about last night's cheese kransky and the cheese that oozed out of the burger I ate on Saturday. I love cheese. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 13

Foreboding sky this afternoon when I headed out

I met my friend from uni days for afternoon tea in Camberwell this afternoon. We had a good catch up and over delicious treats from the Laurent French bakery (mine was a miniature lemon meringue pie capped with a perfect dome of meringue).  It was pleasant way to while away a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. 

(As I usually do after spending time with friends, I thought, "I really should make more effort to keep in touch with my friends," but I'm probably not going to get any better at it: I'm an introvert and, as much as I like my friends, I rarely feel compelled to spend time with other people.)  

I forgot to take my umbrella with me when I left home (which almost never happens) and it started to rain quite heavily while I was on the train home, but it stopped not long after I got off the train while I waited under cover. I timed my comings and goings well once again.

 We had cheese kranskies for dinner. Yum. Cheese is the best. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 12

Old knob

We ate lunch at Parlour Diner on Chapel Street today. I had a beef burger that was oozing - OOOOZING! - with melted cheese. Twas an oozapalooza. It was sensational. They also do amazing onion rings, which I shouldn't eat (they upset my belly), but they  are irresistible. 

I got a good dose of vitamin D when I was out and about this afternoon and yesterday. 

I'm meeting an old friend from uni for afternoon tea tomorrow. She's down from Wollongong for the weekend. It's been a few years since I've seen her.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 10

Here are some photos from my Thursday.

 Wasabi brain


 Just before leaving the office 


 So fluffy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 9

Bridge graffiti 

The sunshine was lovely and warm this morning while I waited for the tram. I almost wouldn't have minded if the tram had been delayed, but it wasn't. 

I spent most of my work day archiving old files. It's kind of boring, but it's also satisfying to clear out the clutter and to reclaim all of the lever arch folders, bulldog clips and paper clips that had been sitting around on shelves doing nothing.  If I had my way I'd clear out a lot more junk, but my boss is a bit of a hoarder. 

I refilled the pepper grinder at dinner time tonight and we had exactly the right amount of  peppercorns in the pantry to fill it to the top. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 8

I've been enjoying listening to some old music by Aussie band The Cruel Sea lately (not that there's any other kind). I couldn't find a video for the song I'm really liking, which is I Feel, their 1990 single, so I've included another favourite instead. Tex Perkins has such a sexy voice. 

Yes, I missed a day of blogging yesterday. I was sick. I'm not officially signed up to NaBloPoMo so...whatever.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 6

The clouds looked a little lenticular this afternoon

I should probably plan more exciting weekends when I'm participating in NaBloPoMo because I don't have much to report for my Sunday. Mostly more sleeping. And some resting. 

I emerged from my bed at 1.30 and then I got back into bed for a lie down at about 4.30. I did leave the house in between though. 

I made some protein balls too, improvising the recipe as I went along. They have linseed meal, pecans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut flour, shredded coconut, coconut oil, molasses, maple syrup and cacao powder in them. 

Well, they would have been balls but I was too lazy to roll them (and didn't want to get my hands dirty), so I pressed them into tiny patty pans instead. I had exactly enough mixture to fill all the patty pans I had in my pantry. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 5

This wasn't today

My day went as planned. I slept in, then lounged about in bed until lunch time, whereupon I transferred myself to the couch and read my book while Luke watched the cricket and napped. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 4

Wispy clouds this morning 

I had a brief moment just after I woke up this morning when I thought it was my day off and I wasn't even cross when I remembered I was going to work. I was surprisingly chipper for most of the day until I had to help out another team with its bills and they were annoying (I had to do maths!) and they kept me at work beyond my usual home time. But, yay! It's the weekend now. 

I have no plans, except for relaxing and reading.  It's a hard life. 

It was, as forecast, a lovely warm day today. I spent most of it inside, but the sunshine still lifted my spirits. I think I would have been less chipper if I had to go to work on my usual day off and it was cold and miserable. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016


My week (the whole two days of it so far) hasn't been as busy as I expected. I thought I would be rushed to get my bills done, but it's been quite relaxed and I think tomorrow will be too.  

I surprised myself by walking home after work tonight. I briefly toyed with the idea of taking the tram all the way, but made myself commit to walking half way. And then, because I didn't feel like a complete physical wreck (for a change) and it was a mild, sunny evening (for a change), I decided to do the whole trip home on foot. It was nice. 

Tomorrow is set to be 27 degrees! I will be inside for most of it, but still - a reprieve from our extended winter - even though it looks as if it will be temporary - is welcome. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 2

Albert Park verandah seat

I'm debt freeeeee! I paid off my credit card today. Hurrah. I paid off the bulk of it with my tax return last month and the last couple of hundred today. It wasn't a massive debt, but it was more than I was comfortable with, so I'm very pleased it's history. Now I can focus on saving money for an overseas holiday next year. Paying off debt is a great feeling, but watching your savings grow is even better. 

Yesterday was the five-month mark of my shopping ban. It's going so well that I've almost made up my mind to extend it beyond the end of the year and stretch it out to a whole year of no new shoes and clothes. That will mean it ends on 31 May. 

When I was walking through the park on my way home tonight the sun was getting low and a beam of sunlight shone through a gap in the clouds over Government House. By the time I got into a good spot to take a photo it was gone. 

One day of my short week done, two to go! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaBloPoMo: day 1

NaBloPoMo November 2016

Today is 1 November, the first day of National Blog Posting Month. I've been pretty slack with posting the last couple of weeks (mostly due to an extreme lack of energy), so I'm going to use NaBloPoMo to help me push through the fatigue (as well doing stuff to help overcome the lethargy).

Today is also the last day of my five-day extra-long weekend. I had plans to make the most of the break, but I've ended up doing very little. I spent most of the weekend horizontal, often asleep but not always. Part of me feels I've wasted the whole five days, but mostly I don't feel bad about it because I needed to rest...and I think I feel better. 

I only have to work three days this week. I moved my day off this week from Friday to Monday, which meant I didn't need to use a day of annual leave, although I would have happily taken a day of leave and worked only two days if I didn't have to contend with monthly billing.  It will be a short week, but a busy one. 

I've been back on anti-depressants - the very small dose I was on before I weaned myself off them - and I feel so much better already. I'm much nicer to be around. If I have to stay on this low dose, then so be it. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It was great while it lasted

Exhausted face

My happiness didn't last after going off the anti-depressants. Sigh. I guess it took a few weeks for the drug to leave my system, but now that it has, I am The Bitch Monster From Hell. Not a bitch monster. THE Bitch Monster. I am so irritable - often downright angry - and I hate it. 

A lot of people think depression is feeling really sad and hopeless, but it's not just that; in fact, for me, it's not that at all now.  When I first went on medication - six months after my dad died in 2010 - I did have a constant black cloud hanging over me along with other symptoms, including moodiness, negativity and irritability. But when I went back on it in 2013, it was mostly to deal with the latter three symptoms. 

And that's how I am again now. Not all the time - sometimes I do feel calm and relaxed, and I can still have a laugh - but for a fair portion of the last two weeks I've been a cranky bitch. Everything annoys me. I feel rage welling up inside me over small things. I have no patience whatsoever. I haven't been very nice to be around, at home and at work. 

I don't want to be like this so I'm going back on medication tonight. Part of me thinks going back on it - especially because it's such a low dose - is a cop out. I should be able to moderate my emotions without it. I do try, but it's hard and mostly I can't do it so I'm not going to force myself to keep trying. 

In hindsight, it probably wasn't a great time to go off the anti-depressants - well, it was fine when I first started weaning myself off in July, but since the beginning of August I've been sick with one thing after and haven't been sleeping well. It's much harder to be happy when you're sick and exhausted.  

The drugs do work, so I'm gonna take 'em. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cool cloudage

 Yesterday evening 

A little later than the last pic. Surprised the horrendous wind 
didn't blow this cloud bank away  

 A touch of mammatus in the clouds this morning 

 The mammatus-y clouds again 

A bit of stripe 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fantastic Mr(s) Fox

This fox! Its face! It's so urbane. If it could speak, it would have a very cultured accent and utter things like, "Oh, I say".

It's a Himalayan sand fox - footage is from David Attenborough's documentary The Himalayas

Friday, October 14, 2016

More wandering

I had an appointment in Prahran this morning then I spent the afternoon wandering about the streets, as I am wont to do. I took a lot of photos of stuff and things. 

Trio of verandah seats, Prahran 

Skull and bricks, Artists Lane, Windsor

Rainbow Tea, Artists Lane again

Well, hello there. Naturalist mann-equin at Chapel Street Bazaar

Ha-haaaa! T-Rex tapping out witty retorts on Facebook

Shady, leafy Davis Street, South Yarra 

Gorgeous house and garden on Davis Street



In the front garden at Botanics on Punt Road

Inside Botanics, florest, nursery and giftshop - aka paradise

I bought a stem of gorgeous purple orchids
And some chrysanthemums (fittonia on the right)

My mantelpiece 

More 'mums and spathiphyllum with a trio of flowers

Orchid close-up

I walked about 16,000 steps and was plum tuckered out when I got home. I had a nice hot bath and am very much looking forward to getting into bed. I don't plan to emerge from before lunchtime.