Sunday, January 31, 2010


My dieffenbachia has produced offspring! (The mother plant is still alive after I coaxed it back from the greenhouse in the sky, but it's not thriving. It keeps getting a new leaf, which starts to shrivel up as soon as it unfurls. Hmmmf. Any thoughts?)

I find it very pleasing to push slivers of garlic into small incisions in a lamb mini roast.

Today I discovered citric acid and sugar added to soda water totally tastes like lemonade. Not someting most people need to know, but I'm back on my allergy elimination diet (again), and sometimes I get bored with drinking water.

Aaaah. Another hot weekend in Melbourne capped off with a cool change.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blue pizza pie and new hair

When I came in the door tonight after the movies, the huge yellow full moon hit me in the eye like a big pizza pie. Does anyone else sing that song in their head when they first see the full moon?

Apparently it's a blue moon - the second full moon within a month, the last being on 31 December. There's a moonshadow moving slowly across my lounge room (or there was until my flatmate turned the light on).

I got my hair cut and coloured today. I'm like brand new, even though it's the same cut and colour as always. Feels good.

The hairdresser, who only cut my hair a few times before she left to have a baby over a year ago, remembered my name immediately. I was impressed and pleased.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A parcel of Seuss and fear of ducks

Almost a duck

I got a package in the mail at work today. It was the three Dr Seuss books I ordered from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. I had forgotten all about them. Yay. Getting a parcel in the mail is ace. Dr Seuss is ace.

The books are: You're Only Old Once: A Book for Obsolete Children, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day and McElligot's Pool.

I've just read You're Only Old Once and I got a feeling of deja vu when I read the bit about Dr Pollen, who tests people for their reaction to being stared at by geese...*thinking, thinking*...and then it hit me - Anatidaephobia! This is the (fictional) fear that "somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you", according to a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson. (Well, I think he made it up - this is the first result that comes up when you Google it.)

I bought the books for my Seussian library from Amazon because I hadn't seen them in any shops and I was getting impatient. I've now got 40 Dr Seuss books. I'm not sure of the exact number there is to collect because I don't seem to be able to find two lists of titles that agree with each other. There's more than 60, I know that much. Getting there! (This is another goal on my 101/40 List.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Australia Day

Too fast for me, dagnammit! The RAAF Roulettes doing their aerobatics over the city yesterday

I spent my Australia Day* yesterday doing one of my favourite things in one of my favourite places - reading a book under a tree in the Botanic Gardens (and also the Sunday papers, even though it was Tuesday. I'm a little behind the 8-ball, OK?)

I'm reading the classic Australian novel The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson, which is about the misguided efforts of a country girl from a modest background to fit in and make friends at a posh boarding school in Melbourne early last century. 

I'm enjoying it more than I expected. I'm getting a little buzz out of recognising Melbourne landmarks - "doing the block", for example, refers to the habit of well-to-do types to promenade about Collins Street, particularly the Block Arcade, which I walk through nearly every day on my way to work - and from being able to understand some of the old fashioned slang. For example, back then "mashing" meant flirting. I learnt that from one of the social history displays at the Changing Face of Victoria exhibition at the State Library a (another of my favourite places!) last year.

But I'm also enjoying it because as a country girl who came to the city to go to uni, I know what it's like to leave your family and move to a place where you have no friends and set about trying to fit in. My heart ached a little bit for poor Laura Rambotham at times.

This will be the second classic Australian novel I've read this year. I've also read Monkey Grip by Helen Garner, also set in Melbourne, but this time in the 1970s. I have reviewed my list of 101 Things to Do before I'm 40 to include reading 10 classic Australian books, rather than 10 20th century classic novels.

* Australia Day, for non-Aussies, is the now somewhat controversial commemoration of  the arrival of the First Fleet and white settlement.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The clouds this morning on my way to work.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Walking Melbourne...again

It's been a while since I dragged out my Walking Melbourne guided tour book and set off the the city, but that's what I did today and I'm almost finished. I've now visited 207 of the 235 buildings and landmarks listed.

I should have it knocked over in just one more afternoon (or perhaps a few lunchtimes, since the section I've yet to cover is near where I work) and then I'll be able to cross it off my list of 101 Things to do Before I'm 40.

Today I discovered:

* 'Commit No Nuisance', which appears on restored 19th century signs on the side of the Methodist Mission in Chinatown is a euphemism for 'do not urinate'!

* Celestial Lane in Chinatown is so named because in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the white population used to call the Chinese "Celestials", from "subjects of His Celestial Majesty".

* Behind the 1970s aluminium facade of the Target building on Bourke Street is the fantastic facade of Hoyts De Luxe, Melbourne's first 'luxury' cinema, which was built in 1915. It's a shame it's covered over with something so bland and unremarkable, but at least it wasn't demolished. (I can't find a decent picture of the facade online, but if you click here, and scroll down to the picture of Foy & Gibson Department Store, the Hoyts De Luxe is the building just to the right of Foys.)

* Before 1901, there were no public toilets for women in the city, but there were urinals for men. Looks like the inadequate provision of facilities for women has a long history... The first public toilet for women was built underground in the middle of Russell Street - only part of the railing at street level remains.

* In 1900 "arguably the world's first full-length narrative moving picture" Soldiers of the Cross was produced by the Salvation Army at the Limelight Studios on the rooftop of its headquarters on Bourke Street (now undergoing refurbishment).

* My best discovery was this well-preserved three room cottage at 17 Casselden Place - in the area once known as Little Lon, which in the late 1800s was the dodgy part of town, home to the poor, prostitutes, petty criminals and opium dens.

The cottage is the only one remaining of a terrace of six built in the 1870s. You can still see traces of the adjoining terrace house.

It's so well tucked away, I had no idea it was there...or maybe I did, but I forgot. There was an archaeological dig in this area in the late 1980s before the construction of a large office building. More than 17,000 items were removed from the site and they are now held by the Museum of Victoria. No doubt these were among the artifacts I saw at the Museum's Melbourne Story exhibition last year.  

According to my guide, it's the last remaining dwelling in the area (near the corner of Spring Street and Little Lonsdale) and it was built by John Casselden, who was a shoemaker and developer.
I walked 12 kilometres on my wanderings and made a pit-stop at Brunetti's at City Square for a hot chocolate and baci biscuit before heading home well worn out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


The view from Wurundjeri Way last night

You know what's nice? When you have low expectations of someone and they prove you wrong. This happened to me today and it gladdened my heart. It was also quite a relief as it will help to make a bad situation more bearable.  (I guess this is not really in the realm of simple pleasures.)

You know what else is nice? Cotton pillow cases worn soft by years of laundering. I lay my head down on my pillow at night and think, "Aaaaah".

And also, Weet-bix are ace. (And yes, far more nutritious than Frootloops).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunny, frooty and banjotastic

I bought Frootloops on the weekend and I'm bloody enjoying them too. I'm making another attempt at my allergy elimination diet next week so I'm going out with a (fake) fruity bang.

New favourite CD

I know I'm a little late to the party, but gosh I'm enjoying Mumford and Sons' bluegrass-tinged CD Sigh No More.*whispers* I really like the banjo, but I'm from the country so that's forgiveable, right? 

Here's one of my favourite songs, Roll Away Your Stone.


I bought myself some sunflowers tonight for the first time. They are such happy flowers.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What I did on my holidays

Yes, I know this is a little belated, but here's what happened on my holiday up at Mum's.

* It rained. A lot. But I liked it. There's something appealing about a sub-tropical downpour, at least for a Southerner who doesn't see much rain anymore. It wasn't cold. I hardly wore a jacket or socks the whole time.

Looking out mum's back door

* The rain let up enough for us to make a couple of trips up into the mountains. OMG. If you have never been to that part of the world, you should. The countryside is just so beautiful - so lush, so picture-book pretty. There's hillsides dotted with brown cows, valleys with little ponds covered in flowering lilypads. There's lots of creeks and wide, wide rivers (they were wider than usual due to the heavy rain). The forest is dense and thrumming with insects. 

Little shack near....somewhere

How now brown cow?

* There's so much wildlife up there. I saw a lizard nearly every day. Mostly they were large skinks warming themselves on the paving at Mum's  - one morning there were three on her front path - but near a river on one of our drives in the hills, we saw a goanna climbing a tree. A kookaburra swooped it as we watched, no doubt trying to protect the young kooka we could hear up in the treetops. kookaburras for dinner....


* There's a couple of green tree frogs which visit mum's back patio. One night there was a little brown frog in the house. It jumped all over the place while mum tried to catch it and even went under the couch. Mum eventually coaxed it onto a towel and put it outside.


* I slept a lot, read four books and watched quite a bit of TV, including almost daily repeats of Seinfeld and Frasier. TV1 (or whatever channel it is) has hardly changed its evening programming in years, so watching Frasier has become a holiday ritual. We love Frasier.

* We played Scrabble and cards. I won at Scrabble, Mum beat me at nearly every card game.

* We went into Port Macquarie a few times. We walked along the foreshore and visited the new performing arts and convention centre and the old Court House. I clowned around at the bench, wearing the (faux) judge's wig, pointing the gavel at people and telling them to be quiet in my court.


There's a lot of history in Port Macquarie - it's older than Melbourne and has a church that was built by convict labour.

* Christmas Day was very laid back. The turkey was excellent (and left overs are ace). I had a lengthy nap on the couch in the afternoon. And again on Boxing Day.

* I was a bit sad to leave Mum, but I was looking forward to getting back to Melbourne and my little flat. It was overcast and the sun was getting low in the sky by the time my flight landed at Tullamarine. The sun burst through a gap in the clouds to welcome me home.

Waiting to disembark

A few more pics...

Mum grew mutant garlic. One clove was the size of half an apple!

Beware the green fuzzy cows

Mum (fondly): "Nothing escapes your lens, does it?"

Fungus on a log near Ellenborough Creek

For some of my fave photos from my trip, see Girl in Melbourne from 24/12/09 to 02/01/10.