Sunday, July 31, 2016

I'm back

The golden hour from Mt Coot-tha

I'm back from my trip to Brisbane. I had a wonderful time. It's a beautiful part of the world, the sun shone (I had to wear sunscreen! In winter!) and I loved meeting my online friends, Gillian and Victoria, and spending time with them. Gillian and I saw whales! Victoria and I saw many pademelons!

I got back late Thursday night and I'm still recovering. Holidays are exhausting! I'll write more about my trip and post more photos in the next few days because I'm too tired to do it now. 

Luke left for his trip to England and Ireland about 10 days ago and is away for another week. I really enjoy having the place to myself, but I miss him, more than I have other times we've been apart. I hope he's having a ball, but I'm looking forward to him returning.  

I've made it to two months without buying any shoes or clothes. Two months! Yeah, OK that's not very long, but I'm pleased with myself, particularly as it's been easy.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Weeee! I'm off work for 10 days! My flight to Brisbane is at 11.00am tomorrow. Not only am I escaping to warmer climes, I'm avoiding a succession of cold fronts that will bring miserable and windy weather to Melbourne for the next few days. The timing couldn't be better! 

While I'm in Brisbane I'll be meeting my long-time online friend Gillian. We're going to the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition, and to Stradbroke Island to (hopefully) whale watch (among other yet-to-be decided activities). I'm also going up to Noosa to meet Victoria, another long-time online friend. I feel like I'll be packing a lot in to my week. 

Luke left for the airport for his trip to England and Ireland about 30 minutes ago. I feel a  little blue (not just because I'm not going!) so I think planning a little trip of my own was a good idea. 

I'm not sure if I'll blog much while I'm away, but I will be posting to my Instagram account and will bombard you with photos here on my return.    

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A better best, big moon, one day

I achieved the unachievable this morning - I shaved a minute off my bed-to-desk personal best, the personal best I thought would never be bested, but I was wrong! I got myself up and to work in a mere 49 minutes. Surely the only way I can beat that is to forego a shower or become one of those women who applies their make-up on public transport.

There was a huge yellow full moon sitting low in the sky when I left work tonight. I caught sight of it out the corner of my eye as I was heading for the door and again when was walking along Flinders Street beside the train lines. It was magical. 

One more working day until I'm on holidays! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Warmth, seven weeks in, reading again

Only a few days now until I'm off up north for my holiday. The forecast is for unseasonably warm weather while I'm there. It's going to be 27 degrees on the day I arrive - 10 degrees warmer than what I'll be leaving behind (which is itself relatively mild for a mid-winter's day in Melbourne).  I guess I'll have to fell my winter leg hair forest!

It's nearly seven weeks since I stopped shopping for shoes and clothes. Most days I don't even think about it (which I think is because I don't work near any clothes or shoe shops and there's only one on my way home from work - out of sight, out of mind). It feels kind of strange. Strange, but good. 

I'm enjoying Meghan Daum's The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion. I'm enjoying being in the habit of bedtime reading again too. I'm looking forward to getting into bed and reading a chapter (if I can stay awake that long). 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lucky, productive, chef

Stunning sunset tonight 

I got into bed for a few hours this afternoon and finished reading Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have KidsI was surprised, perhaps naively, by how many of the writers (almost all women) had unhappy childhoods. They aren't a representative slice of society, but it's made me wonder if happy childhoods aren't as common as I assumed. I didn't have a privileged upbringing - we didn't have a lot, but we never lacked love and attention. I should probably consider myself lucky!

I had another productive day today. Kind of boring, yes, but it's nice to get to Sunday night and feel like you got shit done. 

I made Reuben sandwiches for lunch today. Yum. Now I have a chicken bake in the oven for dinner and it smells delicious.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Unexpectedly clean

Sauce nipple

I didn't end up spending my Friday on the couch with a book as I planned. I slept (on an off) until midday then I got up and cleaned the whole flat. I don't know what came over me, but I'm glad the place is clean. I wish I could have the pleasure of a clean house without having to clean it (or pay someone else to). 

I have been reading at bedtime most nights, which I haven't done much of lately. I've read more in the past few weeks than I have all year. I usually spend too long reading the internet when I go to bed, but I'm trying to break that habit (along with my afternoon/early evening napping habit, which I'm doing OK at).  

This is my last weekend before I go to Brisbane (and before Luke goes to the UK). It's come around quickly. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rainbow, flowers, sausages, book day

This rainbow was almost full, with one end (above) visible out of the window in Nick's office and the other end out of my boss's window, but it faded out in the middle. Nick (a first year lawyer) actually came to ask me me if I'd seen the rainbow, which I appreciated. This was taken yesterday when the wintry weather struck. 

I  took another photo of these purple flowers just because they are so pretty. I bought the bouquet home with me after work today so I could enjoy them on the weekend, although they are started to droop a little.

We had Sausage Thursday (Thausage Thursday?) this week. It's firmly entrenched as my favourite meal (although I think I might like it even more with corned beef instead of snags).  

I have very little planned this weekend, which pleases me. I'm thinking of having another couch/book/tea day tomorrow because I've been feeling very tired and a bit ordinary this week (not that I need an excuse).  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy Monday

Today's pretty good for a Monday. There was delicious flourless orange cake for morning tea for my birthday. I felt spoiled getting a cake from Le Petit Gateau, the fancy French bakery.  

The white blobs are whipped cream with 
flecks of vanilla bean

And then my lovely friend Lauren sent me some gorgeous flowers. They smelt good too - not overly perfumed, but a nice fresh small. They are brightening up my desk at work. 

I particularly like these purple  chyrsanthemums

And Luke is cooking roast chicken for dinner!. Yum.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Happy birthday to me (for yesterday)! We had a fun day out in the country. I particularly enjoyed the drive up to Woods Point because it was a very foggy morning, and the forest looked spooky and magical in the mist.  It was beautiful when the sun started to break through. 

On the Black  Spur between Healesville 
and Narbethong 

A little way past the  Warburton turn off on 
Woods Point Road

Most of the road between the Warburton turn off and Woods Point is unsealed. It was fairly smooth...apart from all the parts that were slippery with mud and riddled with potholes and corrugations. Luke did a very good job of avoiding most of the potholes, but some teeth-rattlers did sneak up on him. It's far from the roughest road we've been on, but getting back onto bitumen was still quite a relief. 

We arrived in Woods Point around lunch time, and parked our little muddy hatchback behind a row of even muddier four-wheel drives.  I think we were the only people in town in a two-wheel drive. 

I was careless getting out of the car and managed to get mud on my jacket, leggings (front and back), dress (front and back), my handbag and even my sunglasses, much to Luke's amusement. I had to leave my jacket in the car, but a tissue and bottle of water removed most of the rest of the mud on me. Luke also got some mud on the back of his calf getting out of the car. Fortunately, as we walked up to the pub for lunch, it soon became obvious that nearly everyone had a bit of mud on them. Woods Point is a popular destination for four-wheel drivers and dirt-bike riders, and most of the people in the pub were there for one or the other.   

Waiting for lunch. No 9 on 9 July

The Woods Point hotel is one of the most isolated pubs in Victoria (it's beyond the reach of the internet!), so I was quite surprised to find a young English woman working there. She'd been there for six weeks and was enjoying it - even the lack of internet access wasn't bothering her as much as she expected. I doubt I would cope with the isolation or the lack of net access. I should add here Woods Point is a very small town of only about 100 people. There's a police station, a school, a mining company office, a general store (which was closed yesterday). 

Luke and I both had a chicken schnitzel sandwich for lunch. It was made with supermarket white bread and Kraft Singles cheese, but it was greater than the sum of its non-gourmet parts. It was pretty delicious, in fact (just as well because we waited for more than hour to get it. I don't recommend arriving just after a fleet of four-wheel drives.)  

After devouring our schnitzel sangers in super quick time, we went for a wander. Woods Point is a great place to visit for someone like me who like things that are old, rusty and decrepit!

 Old, rusty, decrepit car

 Old, decrepit service station with rusty bowsers

If you do a google images search for Woods Point, you will see a lot of photos of this tiny service station. It's very cute and I love the old bowers. Here's a shot of the two on the right. 


Bowser detail

 Another little shack

 On a lean 

Side view. It appears to be held together with a 
bit of wire, a couple of rocks and a miracle

Before heading home we stopped at the cemetery. There were far fewer graves than I expected, but a sign at the gate explained why: in 1939 the Black Friday bushfires destroyed the town and burnt the wooden crosses marking most of the graves. Only some have been replaced with simple white signs bearing a name and date of death. 

High on the hill

No neighbours

Luke's car after the drive home 

All in all, it was a fun day out. You can see more of my photos here

Friday, July 8, 2016

Lunch, more money, no nap

Fence cat thinking about jumping onto my head

I enjoyed hanging out with my friend and her two boys (9 and 6) today. We had pizza for lunch, which the boys generously declared the best pizza ever, followed by ice cream because the salami made the little one's mouth burn. They make me laugh. 

I dropped into work afterwards to pick up my salary review letter because I didn't want to wait until Monday. I was hoping for a pay rise, but not expecting one. I did get a small increase though, which I'm happy with. 

I came home and got into bed to read (Meghan Daum's Selfish Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids) and most likely to have a nap, but somehow I didn't end up napping, which I'm both pleased and disappointed about. Pleased because I'm trying to nap less, but disappointed because I love naps.

Off to Woods Point tomorrow!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Big chip, fixer, lunch

I managed to fit a huge chip (crisp) in my mouth without breaking it and no one was around to witness my feat. It was nearly as big as the palm of my hand. I could represent Australia in Eating Big Chips at the Olympics.

I fixed a problem I was having with my phone. I'm always very pleased when I manage to troubleshoot a technical glitch. I had to googled the problem and the solution was pretty easy, but still. I fixed it! I'm a fixer!

It's my weekend! I'm having lunch with a friend and her two boys tomorrow. We're having pizza (gluten-free for me).

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Birthday plans

Tis my birthday on Saturday and Luke and I are going for a day trip to Woods Point, a little township about three hours' drive away. We shall have lunch at the pub and explore. I read that the cemetery is a must-visit, plus I'm in love with this rustic little shack/shop

I've seen signs pointing to Woods Point when we've been up that way before, and it got me thinking we should check it out one day. Saturday is that day.  

According to the weather report,  Saturday is the only day in the outlook that Woods Point will see some sunshine and a top temperature of more than 10 degrees (just: it will be 11, which is quite balmy compared with the high of 3 degrees forecast next Tuesday.). 

Apart from that (and cake at work on Monday), I haven't planned anything else for my birthday. Initially I told Luke I didn't want a present - I really didn't! - but then I decided I would like to finally own an e-reader. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Less yearning = more happiness

I'm not sure if it's my new(ish) shorter working week or my now-month-long shopping ban—or a combination of both—but I feel very content lately. Like a fat cow in a field of buttercups chewing its cud in the sunshine. 

I'm not at all surprised that working less has made me happier, but I am surprised that not spending money on shoes and clothes has boosted my happiness and boosted it so quickly. I think it's because I'm not in an almost constant state of wanting stuff. Of yearning. 

Marian Keyes writes about freedom from yearning in Making It Up As I Go Along (which I read on the weekend) in a chapter about how interviewers often ask her about what's on her (*grinds teeth*) bucket list, but she doesn't have one. In fact, she has fairly modest goals—such as doing a first aid course.

"At this point, my inquisitor is openly contemptuous of me—because the rule is that we're meant to have aspirations, five-year plans, things to aim for. We have to be improving constantly, to stand still is to regress.

"But here's how it is: I spent my entire life in a state of yearning. During my (very ordinary) childhood, happiness belonged in the far-off future and the markers kept being moved. I'd be okay when I became a teenager. No, when I left school. No, when I got a degree.

"My twenties were a decade of suspended animation—before I could declare my life open for business, I needed the right man, the right job, the right hair, the right legs and the right lifestyle...

"Unaccountably, everything remained wrong. Until, through a small amount of rare proactive effort on my part, coupled with a huge amount of dumb luck, I ended up getting a book published. And I met a nice man. I got almost everything I yearned for...but to my great surprise, I was not yearn-free.

"Even as I was writing the first book, I was already worried about the next one—what if I couldn't write it, what if it was awful, what if everyone hated the current one and it all became irrelevant anyway? Those worries never went away, to the point where every book that I was due to write in my lifetime I yearned to have already written so that I didn't have to worry about them...

"But I don't want to live in a state of yearning. I don't want to move through my days not touching the sides. I don't want my life to be deferred until everything is perfect, because that will be never. Instead I want to want what I have...

"I'm at my happiest when I want nothing. Even happier when I realise that I'm entitled to nothing—but that I've been granted so much."

(That went on a bit too long, but the context is important). I haven't expunged all my desires (I want chocolate, and I want to sleep in every day, and I want to eat hot chips and take more holidays), but being free of the yearning to own this gorgeous dress and that awesome pair of shoes and other stuff I don't need is wonderful. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Finishing, early, sausageless but scrumptious

Pink sky this morning from Richmond Station

I finished that book I was most of the way through yesterday. It was Marian Keyes' collection of columns and blog posts Making It Up As I Go Along, which gave me a chuckle. I can't remember the last time I read a whole book in a weekend. (I don't read as much as I used to, but I intend to change that.)

I was up early for an appointment this morning. The horizon was starting to turn pink when I was walking to the station. As usual, I liked being up early, but not enough to do it all the time. Or even sometimes. 

We had sausage night tonight (teehee), but without the snags. That is, we had our usual 'sausage sides' (potato salad, cucumber salad, sauerkraut and dill pickles) with corned beef instead. It was scrumptious. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Delightfully lazy, loud snore, good saves

I've had such a delightfully lazy weekend. My Saturday and Sunday continued in the fashion of Friday—sleep, books, tea—and it was lovely. I finished one book and I'm more than three-quarters of the way through another. I only left the house a few times—to vote, eat a burger and buy groceries. 

I went back to sleep this morning after an hour or so on my phone reading the internet, but I woke myself up around 10.00am with a loud snore, which made me laugh. 

I dropped a carton of eggs and an open container of tomato paste today when I was fussing about in the kitchen, but I caught them both they hit the floor. I'm both clumsy and highly coordinated.

I made my finest batch of spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. I threw in some bits and pieces that were lurking in the fridge—olives, artichokes, baby spinach—that would otherwise have just gone off. Delicious and waste-saving. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Couch day, nice buns

Today is the first of my work-free Fridays where I haven't had to do something or be somewhere at all for the entire day. I went to bed without setting an alarm. I slept (on and off) until about 10 o'clock and got up a little after midday. Then I spent all afternoon on the couch reading and drinking tea. Not a bad way to spend a day at all.

We went to the Beer and Burger Bar in Richmond for dinner tonight for something different. They have fantastic gluten-free bunsthey're as good as 'normal' buns (actually better than their standard buns because they serve their burgers in brioche and I do not approve of brioche for burgers). Foxes Den up the road from BBB also has delicious gluten-free buns. It's great to have options. Tasty options.