Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rainbow, no alarm, tea habit

Sunset rainbow through my office window

Today was another of those cold, gloomy winter days where we didn't see the sun until it was setting. It made a brief appearance, gave us a rainbow and was gone. 

I thought I had an appointment tomorrow morning, but I don't, which means I don't need to set my alarm. Love that. It's been hard to get out of bed this week so I'm especially pleased I can emerge from my bed at my leisure. 

I've never been much of a tea or coffee drinker (not a coffee drinker at all actually), but lately I seem to have developed a (green) tea habit. It started because I was cold at work and wanted something to warm me up, but now I actually want to drink it for its own sake. I look forward to having a nice, hot cuppa.  Maybe I'll go off it in when winter's over, but for now I'm enjoying it.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New stuff, compliments, coincidence

My recent online purchase arrived today. No, not shoes or clothes! Books! Books are totally allowed. I got a couple of Meghan Daum essay collections: Unspeakable and Selfish, Shall and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen writers on the decision not to have kids. 

They arrived in a large, square tough bag, making a flat lump in the middle of it. It looked like a giant piece of ravioli.

I wore a new cardigan in that I bought it last year but only wore it for the first time today (certainly not new since my shopping ban started on 1 June). Several people complimented me on it, particularly the colour (royal blue). 

After work I walked for a block or two along Flinders Street behind a woman in a beige coat and cropped pants (I mainly noticed the cropped pants because I thought she must have cold ankles). I went into a supermarket and bought a few things then caught the tram. When I got off the tram at my stop, she got off at the same time! It's not the first time a coincidence like that has happened, sometimes on the way to work, sometimes on the way home. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday clouds

Cool clouds around midday today 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A visitor

I was lazing about in bed late this afternoon after a nap when Luke arrived home from the supermarket. He called out to me and said he had a friend to see me. What the? I came out into the living area and there was our neighbours' cat! He was walking around inspecting and sniffing everything. 

I first met him a few weeks ago when his owners got home as I was walking up the stairs and he came out of the door miaowing at them. I wanted to steal him away because I love 'blue' cats and I miss having a moggie. 

He was on the stairs again when Luke got home tonight, apparently locked out of his flat, and he followed Luke in to our place. He spent a good 10 minutes investigating and enjoying some pats, but then he started miaowing with intent. I gave him half a tin of tuna, which he gobbled up. 

He wandered around a bit more then settled down on the back of the couch. After a while he heard the door of his flat open and away he went. I hope he visits again. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The essence of a good life

Someone retweeted this tiny twitter story by Micro SF/F into my timeline recently and it stopped me in my tracks (or it would have if I wasn't in bed). I love it. That's the essence of a good life right there in 140 characters or less. 

Nevertheless, I'm keeping my list of 100(ish) things to do as-yet-undetermined point in the near future that ISNT my last day on Earth. That is, it's NOT a bucket list. 

Another thing I found online recently that I really like (this time via Pinterest) is An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. It consists of 43 snippets of wisdom written/distilled by designer Bruce Mau as part of the Manifesto Project. It springs from a design/creativity context, but much of it can be applied as easily to all of life. My favourites:
  • Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.
  • Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.
  • Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.
  • Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object–oriented, real–time, computer graphic–simulated environment.
  • Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Top to bottom, just in time

The view from the top...almost

I went nearly to the top of my building today - level 53 of 54 (I work on 38). It's currently vacant and it was used for fire warden training. It's a great view. 

I also went to the basement of the building. It's in the midst of a major redevelopment and the Flinders Lane entrance has been closed off, so we need to exit via the basement carpark. I found the short cut, which must have puzzled the woman who got out of the lift ahead of me. First I'm behind her and then there I am, out in front! Hahaha, I'm magic! 

I caught the wrong tram home tonight (I've only been catching the same tram for 11.5 years). Fortuitously, I realised it wasn't my tram just as it arrived at the intersection where the bus that runs past my place stops. I didn't have to wait very long for the next bus either. 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Not Monday

Fungus in the garden beside our driveway

Me this morning on waking: Ugh, Monday. Oh, wait! It's Sunday! Not a bad way to start the day. Then I went back to sleep and woke up at 9.30.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

New hair, gourmet deliciousness, sausages again


I got my hair cut and coloured. It took four hours because the top bit needed to be bleached again, so I was happy to get out of there. It was very cold when I emerged. I bought a hot chocolate on the way home and have rarely enjoyed one so much before. 

Luke and I went to MaxiFoods in Hartwell to stock up on a few things (sauerkraut, mustard, dill pickles). I never thought I would say it, but I love that supermarket (and its sister stores, including Leo's in Kew). If I were there on my own I would wander around for hours looking at all the fancy gourmet deliciousness...and trying not to blow a month's food budget in one go.  

It's Sausage Saturday again! Mmmm-mmmm.    

Friday, June 17, 2016

Drizzly Friday

On my way to catch the tram into the city today I saw a woman throwing a ball to her dog. The dog took off after it so excitedly that it overshot the ball, lots its footing and then slid along the wet grass on its back for a few metres. 

In the city I saw a woman put a hand of bananas and a bag of bread rolls into the coin collection of a homeless person as they slept. 

I'm looking forward to getting my scruffy hair cut and coloured tomorrow. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

1000 posts, holidaying, three-in-one

Before I launch in to today's post, I've only just noticed that yesterday's post was my 1000th! HAPPY 1000TH BLOG POST TO ME! 

Now back to usual programming...I'm off to Brisbane! I arranged my leave from work this morning and then booked my flights and accommodation straight away. Got a pretty good deal too. I'll be in Brisbane's (hopefully) sunnier climes from 22-28 July. Now to plan!

Part of me feels I shouldn't be spending money on a holiday given I'm trying to boost my savings with a shopping ban, but I did only challenge myself to stop buying shoes, clothes and accessories, not spending money on everything. Plus science says spending money on experiences increases happiness more than buying things, and I'm all about the pursuit of happiness. 

I will possibly cross three things off my Things to Do List with this visit - visiting Brisbane (which I thought was on my list, but it wasn't. Of course I added it just so I can cross it off) and hopefully meeting my longtime online friends, Victoria and Gillian. We've 'known' each other since our Myspace days - possibly as long as 10 years! - but have never met in real life, so that would be splendid indeed. 

I had a delicious Reuben sandwich for lunch today. A bit naughty since it was glutenous and carbalicious, but I'm hoping the sauerkraut will compensate...except that they also threw in a very generous handful of pretzels and I had to eat them because pretzels. They also gave me a complimentary Mentos to see to the sauerkraut breath. Thoughtful! All that and I was able to buy it online and have it delivered to reception at my work (the perks of working in a very large office tower). I bought it from Mason Dixon, if any locals are curious. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Early, holiday, quick

I went out for breakfast this morning - probably the only time I have ever eaten breakfast away from home or my desk on a work day. I was up at 6.20 and left home just as the dawn light was starting to peek over the horizon. Why, you ask? Because it was the only time I could catch up with a US friend who was going to be in town for just one day. It was good to see him. 

As usual, I like being up at that time of day once I'm up...but I just can't make myself get up that early (unless I'm going away on holidays). I like my cozy bed more

Speaking of holidays, Luke is heading off to the UK towards the end of July to visit his daughter. I'm not going with him this year (because I've been spending too much money on shoes), but I am considering taking myself on a little holiday interstate while he's away. 

It's the end of my working week tomorrow already.  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Platypuses and wombats and devils oh my!

We went to the Wine and Wildlife event at Healesville Sanctuary today. Despite living in Melbourne for 20-something years, I've never been to the sanctuary before. I guess I prefer to go see more exotic animals like they have at the Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo, but  I did enjoy seeing my first platypuses, Tasmanian Devil and conscious wombat. 

I don't have any pictures of the platypus and Tassie Devil worth sharing because they were constantly on the go and it was dark in the platypus house, but here are my other photos. 

 A critically endangered Orange-bellied parrot

 This leggy fella is a curlew (also endangered)

 A rather bedraggled Tawny Frogmouth

 A more dignified Tawny Frogmouth  

 Some other bird I don't know the name of 

 Sooky young wombat who just wanted to hide 
between her keeper's legs

 Awe-inspiring massive Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australia's largest 
bird of prey with a wing span up to two metres

 Baby freshwater crococile

 I spy with my snakey little eye...

We visited the animal hospital where a stick insect was among the patients. The vets actually operated on it and put it under using gas. When they were done, they used superglue to 'stitch' it up! I don't know how they knew it was sick or what was wrong with it, or how they worked out how much gas to use so they didn't kill it. 

Oh, I also tasted some wine and chocolate.      

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fungi Wonderland

Luke and I spent the day in Fungus Wonderland today. We visited the redwood forest at Warburton and the trees were amazing, but the mushrooms! There were so many different varieties and some you don't see very often. Well, I don't anyway. 

The last one we saw was remarkable, but I'm going to keep you in suspense until the end of this post...oh, all right; scroll down if you must. 

It rained on the way to Warburton and while we ate lunch, but it cleared by the time we got to the forest (it was still chilly). I had decided to take my (never-before-worn) gumboots with me, which was a smart because it was very damp and muddy in places, but I just tramped through all the sludge and puddles. It was very liberating!

 Rockstar gumbies yet to be muddied


 The sun shone in 


Cement Creek at the rear of the forest (and me)

Anyway, enough of the trees and the creek. On with the funguseses! 

 In the grass of a clearing

 At the foot of a mossy tree


Leggy 'shroom

 Gimme shelter

 I think this is a little fly agaric

 A bigger fly agaric - about the size of my hand with outstretched fingers

And an even bigger one - dinner plate size and about 30cm tall

I've only ever seen one fly agaric before and that was in the garden at the nursing home where Luke's grandmother lives, so not quite as 'wild'. I find them enchanting (even though they are poisonous). You'd think i'd spotted unicorns in the woods the way I gasped when I saw these. 
Lichen and fungus

And now for the fungus you have been waiting for, if aren't the impatient type. It's HUMONGOUS FUNGUS! 

 I have a normal sized head by the way

Another view of the humongous fungus

Astounding, no? Kind of ugly though and when I poked it, it was spongy and gross, but wow! Luke spotted it growing on a bank on the side of the road as we approached Hoddles Creek between Launching Place and Gembrook. Well spotted, Luke! 

All in all, a great day out.  I leave you with an old Wagons song called Redwoods.  

Friday, June 10, 2016


My firm trivia night was on last night and my team was victorious! Wooh! We led all the way from the start to better our fourth place from last year. Once again I was the only secretary on a team of lawyers, but I punched well above my weight. There were three partners on my team and it was fun telling them when there were wrong. Honestly, who doesn't know Madonna sang Papa Don't Preach, not Cyndi Lauper? The guy in the photo below, that's who!

Our trophy, variously known as Dopey, Norm and Greg

I patted not one, but two, cats when I was out and about today. I love it when I get to pat cats. Sometimes I badly want to have one of my own again. 

 Cat 1 (who was a bit camera shy)

Cat 2

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Fast Tuesday, weird words, badge

Hosier Lane in the city on my way home this evening

Tuesday morning also passed by quickly, which doesn't usually happen to me. Tuesday is my least favourite day of the week, but today it was OK. 

Check out this A-Z of Weird Words by crossword guru David Astle created in response to a challenge by Melbourne's Wheeler Centre.  I've actually heard of a few  - acnestis, panjandrum,  quidnunc and velliety (spellcheck doesn't know any of those, the dumbass). 

I see the Wheeler Centre is having an Adopt-a-Word drive to help support its work in the literary world. It's $85 to adopt a word, but I'm almost tempted just because you get a badge...oh, it's just an e-badge. Damn. I want a real badge.  Maybe I could have it made up myself. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Fast Monday, less poorly, a comment

Raindrops on a nasturtium leaf

Monday morning whooshed by. I got a surprise when I looked at the time and it was past midday. I usually find Mondays go very quickly. How fortuitous.

I'm feeling less poorly today. Not 100%, but much better. 

I got a comment on my new blog, More than Enough. Hello, Discovered Joys. Thank you!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

No nap, productive, not giving a crap

Tiny fungus growing under an overhanging 
rock in the garden out the front 

I'm doing a great job of not shopping (go, me!), but I'm not doing as well at breaking my habit of sleeping too much on weekends. I napped Friday and Saturday afternoon...if sleeping for several hours can still be called napping. 

In my defence, I've been feeling poorly, but today I managed not to get back into bed at any stage, despite really, really wanting to. I want to be able to get a good night's sleep tonight so I forced myself to do stuff around the flat instead. I've had quite a productive day. I even did a little mending and some ironing.  

I love this response to the stupid idea that there are things women over 30 shouldn't wear.  I love seeing all these women dressing however the hell they want. 

It's Sausage Sunday! 


Friday, June 3, 2016

Surprisingly good mood, appreciation, coincidence

I went in to work for a few hours today to finish off some end-of-month billing. Not only did going to work on my day off not make me cross, I was in a great mood. Bizarre! I did get to have a sleep in, and I enjoyed soaking up some warmth from the sun on my way into the office, so I suppose that helped. 

My boss left me a note on top of the bills. When I first saw the blue note paper poking out of the manila folder I groaned inwardly thinking it was going to be a page of annoying handwritten edits, but no.  It's nice to be appreciated. 

This appeared in my Facebook timeline on day 2 of my shopping ban, courtesy of Grandiloquent Word of the Day. Quite the coincidence. Not that I considered my urge to shop to be obsessive or  uncontrollable.  


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Odd fog, good hair, new blog

Weird patchy fog lingered around the city all day today. The sun was shining where I was but I had a good view of the foggy bits, like in the picture of Docklands above. It was strange but cool. I love fog. 

Zoos Victoria shared some ace photos of the fog at Werribee Open Range Zoo this morning.  

I had a good hair day today...mainly because a tiny bit of effort into making it look less like troll hair. 

My new blog, More than Enough, is live! I'm still working on tarting it up though. Day two of my shopping ban today and so far so good! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A new challenge

Today is the first day of a new challenge I have set for myself: to go for the rest of the year without buying any clothes, shoes or accessories.  That's 213 days of no shopping. 

I know that probably doesn't seem like a big deal to many people, but for me it is. I'm not really interested in fashion, but I love clothes and I care a great deal about how I present myself (particularly with the goal of not looking like everyone else).  I enjoy thinking about what to wear each day. I wouldn't call myself a compulsive shopper, but it's rare for a week to go by where I don't buy anything new and, as a result, I have amassed a huge wardrobe and a gazillion pairs of shoes. I have more than enough...

...which just happens to be the name of my new blog where I will share my new frugal(ish) ways. I haven't finished setting it up and there are no posts yet, but when it's live I'll post a link. 

It's won't just be about not shopping though. Thinking about overcoming my bad shopping habit got me thinking about other bad habits I'd like to change: spending too much time mindlessly scrolling online when I'm at home, looking at my phone for ages after I go to bed, and sleeping too much on weekends. 

Combined, these habits mean I waste a lot of time that could be spent doing more worthwhile, meaningful, soul-enriching things. Actually living.  Being more mindful and more present, Interacting with people in real life. Reading more books. Giving my full attention to television shows that interest me, instead of watching with one eye and half my brain. Sleeping when I should be sleeping. 

So rather than simply breaking my excessive shopping habit, I'm giving myself a proper kick up the bum.