Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Photo by Justin McManus, from The Age

Oh my God! There were dolphins in the river near my house yesterday! Dolphins! DOLPHINS!!!

For those who don't know, dolphins are not a common sight in the Yarra River, although this isn't the first time they have swum upstream from Port Philip Bay either.

Alas, I didn't see the four bottle-nosed dolphins with my own eyes. Dagnammit! It's so unfair. I walk along that river nearly every single day and I'm always squinting - usually in vain - at every little eddy and protrusion in the water hoping to spot a school of fish or other aquatic creatures.

And finally, when there was something really worth seeing, I missed it! The dolphins were spotted in the Yarra upstream from my house around the time I arrived at work, so I probably just missed them.

But still. Just knowing that there were dolphins in the river fills me with glee.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's Sunday, Jayne. Sunday.

I love it when I wake up thinking I have to get up for work and then it dawns on me that it's still the weekend and I can stay in bed. Ah, joy!

That happened to me this morning...I just wish I had realised it was Sunday before I jumped up, rang work in a panic and left a voicemail message saying I'd be late because my alarm didn't go off! D'oh! I got up, made the call and went to the loo before I twigged that I didn't have to go to work. What a dill.

I didn't go back to bed though. I've been annoyed with myself for sleeping too late for the past few weekends so I resisted the urge to crawl back under the doona (quite an effort considering I only had about six hours sleep and I'm still getting over my lurgy).

I went up to check out the new market at The Corner Hotel (felt odd being in the dim, sticky-floored band room before noon) and then I walked up to Chapel Street in the sun. I loitered around Borders for a while and, of course, spent more money. I bought three more Dr Seuss books and The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz.

Then I met a friend for lunch at Bridie O'Reilly's and I had the most perfect winter comfort food - fat slices of corned beef atop of a pile of creamy potato mash and cabbage cooked with bacon, all smothered in a tangy wholegrain mustard sauce. It was scrumptious.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A relief and a surprise

There a sneaky puddle there somewhere

Gleeful relief: after struggling through a busy day at work because you're not feeling well and you've had two nights of poor sleep...after sitting on a crowded tram where the heating is turned up far too high and blowing right on you and you are developing a worsening pain in your sinuses and your back hurts from typing like a woman possessed all day...after absent-mindedly stepping in a puddle and getting two wet feet...you arrive home where it is warm and your flatmate is away all week and you put your pyjamas on (even though it's not yet 7.00 pm) and lie on the couch with a hot water bottle and have some nice homemade soup and toast for dinner.

The surprise

I got an unexpected pay rise during my annual review today. I had assumed the economic downturn would mean no extra money for anyone, but we're getting a minimal increase to keep up with inflation. I'm not complaining. See, having low expectations can make you happy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Winter flowers

I was lurking about in the Botanic Gardens with my camera again today...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Target puzzle and flash mobs

Got the nine-letter word in the Target Puzzle instantly today. Go, me.

More coincidences...

Just before I was looking at a
video of an MC Hammer-inspired 'flash mob' that a friend had emailed to me and then I clicked on The Age website where the first thing to catch my eye was a link to photos of a flash mob of about 120 people in the Bourke Street Mall today!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

All a-twitter

Another foggy morning in Melbourne

Henry Wagons replied to me on Twitter today! I was ridiculously pleased about it. You'd think he was Bono.

For those who are new here, Henry is the frontman of my fave band, Wagons, and I have an embarrassingly adolescent crush on him.

Ya gotta love Twitter...especially if you want to stalk celebrities. Not that I'm stalking Henry, mind. Yes, I read all his tweets, but I rarely reply to them, partly because he doesn't follow me so I assume he doesn't see my replies and partly because I don't want him to think I'm stalking him!

But maybe I am on the brink of stalkerhood. Today Henry tweeted the name of the place that serves his current favourite breakfast dish and I confess I did make a mental note...

You know what else gave me a little buzz on Twitter recently? I got a reply from comedian and radio personality Cal Wilson. I used to have a girl crush on her because she's so cute and funny. She's on my Myspace friends list and used to read my blog on there after it was recommended to her by a mutual myspace friend. She told me I should write a book, which I was seriously chuffed about considering I am a fan of her comedy.

Anyhoo, I also follow her on Twitter. Not only did she reply to me last week, she also remembered my name! My real name! I was impressed (even though she spelt it wrong. Pah! Details!).

I couldn't really see the point of Twitter in the beginning but now I'm hooked on it...and no, not because it allows me to feel like I'm rubbing virtual shoulders with my celebrity crushes. Well, not only that. I've also amassed a nice posse of followers (that's what they're called, if you don't know) - real non-celebrity people, quite a few of them local, who are smart and funny and interesting.

Twitter is also a great time filler when you are bored at work.

More postcards!

I have received two more postcards via Postcrossing now. I've had one every day for the past three days. The new ones are from the Netherlands and Finland.

I'm now opening the letter box with anticipation rather than indifference, or worse. It's a nice change. Takes me back to when I was a kid and I used to have penpals.

Gee, I love the internet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Aunty Jayne!

I had a day off today and paid an impromptu visit to my best pal and her two-year-old son (whom I've blogged about before).

He is so adorable - he always goes bashful when I arrive, tucking his cheek into his shoulder and peeking at me out from under his long, dark lashes. Eventually he gets used to me being there and starts handing me his toys. While my friend was getting him ready for his sleep this afternoon he told her that I'm a "nice girl".

By the time I'm ready to leave, he's totally into me. He was still sleeping when I headed off today. My friend texted me and said when he woke up he'd said, "I want more Aunty Jayne!" Aw. It makes my heart melty. I love that little guy. (No, I'm not clucky. I've just finished reading Childfree and Loving It.)


I signed up for Postcrossing a few weeks back. I have sent five postcards (which travelled a total of 81,630 kms) and I got my first postcard today, from Germany. Yay! This is fun!

Monday, June 15, 2009

More library glee

A different bit of the State Library

Ooh, how exciting! Today I found out* that part of the State Library that's been closed for six years will throw open its dusty doors to the public during this year's Open Day in Melbourne.

The ornate Queen's Hall is the oldest part of the library and is said to be haunted by the ghost of a librarian and a small child. Shame the open day won't be held at night!

As you may know, I love the State Library so I'm keen to stick my nose behind its closed doors.

I'm also eager to have a look at the boardroom of the National Mutual building. It was on the program for last year's open day, but the crowds were huge and I didn't get my foot in the door. Better get there early this time.

Oh, for anyone else who is interested, the Hidden Gems Open Day is on July 19. There's a little bit about it in today's Age, but I haven't been able to find a dedicated website with more information.

* Thank you anonymous blog reader

Laneway art

The City of Melbourne's 2009 Laneways Commissions are on the brink of being unveiled. There will be five of them but I know not where and when at this stage.

This development is tinged with disappointment because two of my favourite laneway art commissions from previous years have recently been removed - the chandelier in Warburton Lane and As it Happens (below), the expanding and shrinking wall bulge in McKillop Street. I used to walk past and appreciate them most days and now they are gone. Sigh.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I love you, RBG

I know I've waxed lyrical about the Royal Botanic Gardens before, but this is my blog and I'll do it again if I want to, dammit!

I wandered through the gardens on my way home from the gym today. I just love how I can still find new things to delight me...or perhaps rediscover things that I'd forgotten I knew about.

I was walking around with my camera taking photos of flowers when I passed through Fern Gully and saw the Fern Gully Rest House (above). How cute is that little gazebo? Look at the moss-laden shingles!

While I was taking photos of the mossy shingles, I saw a little patch of tiny fungi growing on the edge of the roof.

Some other photos I took today:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quizzy coincidence, Seuss and soup

Chapel Street

Question 13 from today's Good Weekend quiz:

Which book begins: 'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast'?

I know! Charlotte's Web! I just finished reading it in the bath on Wednesday night!


Gosh it's easy to spend $100 at a bookshop, isn't it? I went a bit silly at Borders again today. I bought four more Dr Seuss books to add to my collection. I've now read 26 of his 65(ish) books (if you include those written under pseudonyms).

I also bought two non-fiction books.

Souperb (sorry!)

I made soup this week. When winter approaches, I try to prepare myself for it by thinking of the good things about cold weather, which include nice hot, homemade soup. And then I never make any.

But not this winter! I made some cream of vegetable soup. I even made the stock. It's a not-very-appetising snot colour, but it's palatable, nutritious and also low allergy.

Next up I'm thinking...cream of brussels sprouts soup. Really! Stop gagging. I love the tiny cabbages.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Change the world challenge #1

My bloggy friend Small Footprints over at Reduce Footprints has come up with a fantastic and wonderfully simple idea to help change the world: a weekly green challenge, which you accept and post about on your blog encouraging your readers to participate.

And then they post about it and on and on it goes. It'll be like a big snowball of greenness.

This week's challenge - an easy one to start with - is to take at least one shower shorter than 10 minutes. For anyone in drought-stricken parts of Australia this should be a doddle, so I challenge you to take at least one two-minute shower.

If you accept the challenge, write a blog post about it and then post a comment below with a link to your blog. Easy-peasy.

Why bother?

If you find yourself lapsing into a "Why bother?" mindset when it comes to reducing your impact on the environment, check out this article by author Michael Pollan. He is the author of the wonderful In Defence of Food: an Eater's Manifesto (A must-read if you care about the pitiful state of the modern diet and food production.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What I did on my long weekend

Alas, my four-day long weekend is drawing to a close. It's been great.

On Saturday I had brunch (though it was actually lunchtime - gotta love all day brekkie) with a friend from my uni days whom I haven't seen at all this year. We had a really good natter over eggs and toast and hot chocolate, which made us both realise how much we've missed catching up with each other. We have vowed to try harder to see each other more often. (She has two small children and does freelance work at home, but I have no excuse for my poor efforts at keeping in touch.)

Saturday night I went to the movies with another friend from uni. We saw the comedy I Love You, Man which I probably wouldn't have seen had she not suggested it, but I chuckled my head off. Very amusing.

Sunday I had a big sleep in and then went to the gym. I was feeling a little bit excited all day for that night I was going to see Wagons (yes, them again) launch their new album at the Corner Hotel. I couldn't wait.

It was a sold out show - packed to the mirror balls - and Wagons rocked their hometown crowd. There was a lot of mutual love in the room. Frontman Henry Wagons entertained us with his dry humour as always. My crush on him grows unabated. It's really quite embarrassing.

On Monday I had another big sleep in and then went into the city to squeeze in a bit more of my Walking Melbourne tour. It was 2.00 pm by the time I got there, so I only traversed a few blocks from the corner of Collins and Exhibition Streets, down to the centre of the CBD, including the Bourke Street Mall. I incorporated a pitstop at The Chokolait Hub for a very tangy lemon cheesecake and a Belgian hot chocolate. Yum.

The tour included one of my favourite buildings in the CBD, the one on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets which looks like it's out of a spooky old movie. I love the description of it in the Walking Melbourne guide too: "this wild confection displays the taste for the picturesque in commercial buildings in 'Marvellous' Melbourne". Hehe. Wild confection.

It was built in the late 1880s to house the City of Melbourne Building Society and it bore the name of the society on the facade. But if you have a look at it today, the facade says only City of Melbourne. That's because the Society went bust in the crash of the 1890s and the word 'Society' was removed!

My tour also took in the Athenaeum Club on Collins Street - another snooty men's club - but this one has a swimming pool in the basement. How cool is that? Not that I will ever get to see it, but I like just knowing that its there.

I also like knowing that inside the fairly unremarkable exterior of Capitol House on Swanston Street lies the gloriously ornate Capitol Theatre, which my guide describes as "extraordinary...truly one of Australia's internationally significant places". If you haven't been inside, go.

Capitol Theatre is another one of Melbourne's treasures which had a close brush with demolition in the 1960s. Can you believe it? It's astounding. I don't know what were they thinking.

The impending dark and chilly air forced me to head for home, with a brief stop at Federation Square where the annual Light in Winter festival is illuminating the chilly winter days and nights. The most eyecatching of the 13 art installations that form part of the festival is Volume, a series of light columns that respond to human movement, set to a instrumental soundtrack. It's quite fetching on a frigid winter's eve.

Today I stayed inside for most of the day, enjoying the rain outside, and then headed into the city in the late afternoon. The rain and clouds had cleared before I left home and the river was silvery in the sun and everything else looked green and glowy. I took plenty of photos. I'm finding it hard to dislike winter - I love the sight of bare branches against cloudy skies and reflections on wet ground.

I went to my pilates class - I'm the only person in the class, which is a bit weird but also good because it's all about meeeeeeeeee! Me and my sore back, sore shoulder and dodgy hip, to be precise. We balanced on Swiss balls which was great fun (even the falling off bit) and a good ab workout. On top of an hour of pilates, today I walked about 11 kms and did an hour of light cardio at the gym. I feel pleasantly worn out.

I walked home from the gym in the dark and, as I neared home I enjoyed the ghostly and cool sight of bare trees silhouetted against the clouds, lit from behind by a full moon. Ooooooh, spoooooky!

And now to bed. It's just started raining again. Aaaah.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Confessions of a sushi-loving dork

Melbourne's big river

I can't remember if I have mentioned this here before, but I absolutely love the soundtrack to the Broadway musical Big River. I saw the Australian production (featuring Cameron Daddo!) when I was in high school and I nicked the soundtrack on cassette tape from my first proper boyfriend when we split up (no, it wasn't because he was gay).

I found it last year and my love for it was still strong, so I bought the CD on Amazon and had it shipped over from the US. Why, yes, I long ago abandoned any pretence at coolness.

Such is my adoration that when my favourite Big River tunes pop up on my iPod, as they did today, I feel a little choked up with happiness. For anyone who knows the musical, my favourite songs are Muddy Water, Waiting for the Light to Shine and Free at Last (if you click on the Big River link above and scroll down you can listen to them...not that I expect you will!)

Go, me!

Have you noticed that my feed is working again? I fixed it! All by myself!

Took me ages, but I worked out what was wrong and sorted it out. OK, in hindsight, it was an extremely simple problem that could have been fixed in minutes, but the most important thing is that I fixed it myself and I feel good about it.

Made to order

I forgot to tell you about my heartwarming sushi experience last week. Every day the prawn sushi rolls were sold out when I got to my regular sushi place.

On Friday I arrived and before I even opened my mouth the owner said to me, "I have a staff member out the back making you a prawn roll." I felt very special. That's my reward for sushi loyalty.

Why, thank you

A young guy bought me a drink at a bar on Friday night. I had ordered it and when he ordered his, he told the bar tender he'd pay for mine as well. I was flattered and said he didn't have to, but he insisted and then said, "I'm up the back if you want to come and say hello." I was impressed. What a gentlemanly pick-up attempt. Especially for a guy who looked about 22. Teehee.

Long, long weekend

I have an extra day off tomorrow, on top of today's public holiday. Wheeee!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Festival of cloudage (Skywatch Friday)

Click the logo above to see skies from around the world

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Slowly growing...

That's my rubber band ball, with soy sauce fish for size comparison, which is fitting since my sushi habit has helped create it. If you don't know how big a sauce fish is, the ball is about the size of a grapefruit.

Anyway, I started the ball about three years ago. It's surprisingly and pleasingly bouncy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Astro Turf Hand gets a buddy

Astro Turf Hand - solo

Once, somewhere in the mists of this blog, I briefly mentioned the mystery that is Astro Turf Hand, a little hand cut out of fake grass and inexplicably stuck to the base of the Swan Street Bridge.

This has perplexed me ever since I first saw it more than four years ago. Who put it there? Why? Why, dammit!

And now the plot thickens! Astro Turf Hand has a little buddy - Reflector Hand! When I was walking home last night I noticed someone had - equally inexplicably - stuck a tiny hand made of red reflective plastic next to Astro Turf Hand! Who? Why? WHYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?

The handy duo

Alas Google is ignorant on the subject (well, at least in the first couple of pages of results). Anyone?

A monger

Somewhere else on this blog I ruminated on how little the word "monger" is used these days, and when it is, how it is often in a negative sense - such as hatemonger or gossipmonger.

Well, today I found Sushi Monger in The Causeway in the city. I like.

Something else I found today

I discovered the word 'globuliferous' while looking up globulous to see if it was in fact a word (it is). Globuliferous means containing or producing globules. Weirdly, I dislike the word globule because it makes me think of gross things like pus. But I like globuliferous. There's just something about the sound of the "iferous" on the end that is very pleasing to my ear. Shame I won't get to use it much. If ever.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I took this photo on my way home from the city at close to midnight Sunday night. I love seeing a big yellow moon hanging low in the sky, reflecting on the glassy black surface of the river.

It's a half-moon, which is hard to see because of the quality of my photo but also because of the light cloud blurring the edges of the moon.

I know this is going to sound strange, but I like walking along or across the river in the dark on my own on a clear, fine night. It's so quiet and peaceful and the city is a beautiful sight. Needless to say I'm not scared of the dark nor do I worry about what might be lurking in it.