Monday, February 23, 2015

Mt Buller weekend

Sunset near Yarra Glen (taken from moving car)

We stopped at a fish n chip shop in Yarra Glen for dinner. The burgers were delicious...I'd go so far as to say mine was better than a Grill'd burger. It's a bit far to go for our regular Friday night burger though. 

Rainy afternoon - the view from the lodge we stayed at 

It rained in the afternoon both days, with thunder and lightning on Saturday. We could see the forks of lightning while sitting in the living area of the lodge.

 Trees killed by bushfire 

We set out to walk from the Mt Buller to the peak of Mount Stirling on Saturday, but it was hard going (for me anyway). The track was rocky and difficult to walk on and steep in parts, and it turned out to be a longer trek than we expected. I pulled the pin when faced with a long, steep incline that I just didn't have the legs for. (You know that mental note I made after walking up Mr Oberon in January about going to the gym more often? I have been exactly twice since. Still, considering I've had so little energy lately, I was pleased I managed as well as I did.)

 Very tall/long fallen tree (hard to see the scale here) on the walk to Mt Stirling

 Eye of the tree

 Dead trees, purple undergrowth

 The beautiful snowgum

 A female mountain katydid...

We spotted this large insect (body about 3cm long) on the track on the way back home. It wasn't keen on posing for photos and kept turning around to try to get away when we stuck our cameras in its face. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see it has a faux face on its back end. Didn't scare us!


I found out what kind of creature it is by coincidence. Very early on we'd seen another unusual large insect on the path with vivid blue and red stripes on its abdomen, which it was pointing at us, obviously agitated. I googled 'insect red blue abdomen' and the first picture I saw was of the insect above! Turns out the stripey one is the male mountain katydid and the brown one is the female.   

 Rocky whirlpool

 Raven and dead trees

 Raven and lichen

The view from near our lodge

 Mailboxes beside the road between Mt Buller and Mansfield

 Another beautiful tree

Storm clouds and dry grass

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vexed no more, a little pop, mountaineering

Lady Leviathan poking about at Hamer Hall for
  Summersalt Festival

I think I've solved a conundrum at work that has had me vexed for several months. I won't bore you with the details (it involves an invoice and sums), but I very much enjoyed that A-HA! moment, I can tell you.  

Another new foodie fixation: toasted pumpkin seeds. They give a little pop and plump up slightly when you heat them in a frying pan, and they are deliciously nutty. 

Luke and I are off to Mount Buller this weekend with his family. Another mountain! I'm becoming quite the mountaineer. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015


A very pleasant sight on a very warm afternoon 
(click to enlarge)

This is the old elm at the corner of Punt Road and Alexandra Avenue. It's in my Australia's Remarkable Trees book, but isn't on The National Trusts' Register of Significant Trees. I think I'd rather be remarkable than significant anyway. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Current culinary fixations and thwarted creativity

Yarn bombing, Swanston St 

I have developed a mustard fixation. I can't get enough of it. Wholegrain and dijon, in particular.  I love it on steak. I love it on lamb and on pork. I like to dip dill pickles in it. I make salad dressings with it. I would have scoffed at the concept of a mustard sommelier not too long ago, but now I want be one. 

My other culinary fixation right now is the combination of avocado, cumin, lime juice and coriander. It's delicious and fresh and zesty. Mmmm, smashed avocado...and salad dressing...and guacamole, of course.  

Luke snoozes on the couch quite often and he looks so cute I can't resist taking photos of him. I have so many pics I could start but for some reason he isn't as amused by this idea as I am. Don't stifle my creativity, man!

I bought the new Kitty, Daisy and Lewis album, The Third. I like it.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New phone, flowers, tree love

Flower meadow, Birrarung Marr

I got a new phone on Sunday. I dropped my old one last week and smashed the screen, and since it's a few years old and showing signs of age, I replaced it rather than have it fixed. It's a more recent model of my old phone - I stick to what I know so I don't need to grapple with learning to use a new gadget. It's like I never even changed phones. 

It has a pretty good camera, which pleases me. I took this photo of a flower at Birrarung Marr on my way home from work on Monday.


I found out today the National Trust has a Register of Significant Trees in Australia, which allows you to discover unique and interesting trees near you (and further afield). There's a few in my area I didn't know about. I think I have some more trees to visit...

Clearly I am among tree lovers here in Melbourne. The City of Melbourne (my local council) has developed an urban forest map which catalogues 70,000 trees within its boundaries. Each tree was assigned an ID number and an email address as a way for the public to notify the council of damaged trees, but people have been emailing the trees with messages of appreciation and concern. And the council has been replying to them on behalf of the trees! Wonderful!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Winning at falling #2, sharp folds and muffins

I've been winning at falling again, like when I slipped on the rocks at Snobs Falls on our road trip.  This time I fell over in the lift lobby of my floor at work and there were no witnesses. I could hear someone coming though, so I had to spring back up and carry on, which I did because I didn't hurt myself. (I tripped over my own feet walking in new shoes.)

We don't send much snail mail at work anymore, except for most of our monthly bills, which I sent out last week. I find it very satisfying to fold the bills perfectly into thirds, with two super-sharp creases. 

I got my little container of green grapes from the fridge at work last week and noticed someone had put a much larger container - of the same brand - right next to mine and it was also full of green grapes. I felt as if I'd stolen its baby. eaten it. 

I have a batch of mixed berry muffins cooling in the kitchen. I can't wait to eat one. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Speak of the devil and a new 101 Things list

Luke and I headed to the Booktalk Café in Richmond for a late lunch today. As you can probably tell, it's a cafe and a bookshop.

We browsed the tables of books on display and spotted beloved Melbourne artist Mirka Mora's autobiography My Life: Wicked and Virtuous, and remarked that it would be an interesting read. Then we looked up and who should be sitting at one of the tables? None other than Mirka herself! I was thrilled - I confess I don't know a lot about her art, but I fell in love with her after her appearances on ABC's Agony of Life series. She's not far off 90, but she's so fun and cheeky and seems to have a great zest for life. If I can't adopt her as my Nanna, I want to be like her when I'm old.

We have seen her in Richmond before - she waved to Luke once for stopping to let her cross a road - so I suspect she lives there. I didn't speak to her today - I worry that well known people are tired of being approached in public, but when I was leaving I saw her bid a cheerful 'au revoir' to another cafe patron, so perhaps if I see her again, I'll be braver. 

There were several tables of women near us in the café playing games - cards and mah jong among them. What a fun way to while away a gloomy Sunday afternoon (or even a sunny one). I want to join a games club now. I want to relearn how to play canasta (my family used to play it a lot when I was a teenager) and drag out the Scrabble board. Pity Luke doesn't like Scrabble. No one's perfect, I suppose. 

101 Things in 1001 Days

Some of you might recall a few years ago I had a list of 101 Things to do Before I'm 40. It's only taken me a couple of years to get around to compiling a new list, although this one is 101 Things to do in 1001 Days (partly to avoid this year being 'meh' like last year).  I'm still in the process of compiling the list (I've only got about 70 things so far), but I've decided today is Day One.  

A sample of the list of so far: 

* Visit Iceland
* Get a new job outside law (in another industry, not as an outlaw)
* Go paleo for three months (or longer)
* See an octopus in the wild (and a platypus and a wombat)
* Improve posture
* Learn to use my camera better
* Start ghost signs blog
* Learn to juggle again (I could juggle when I was a teenager)
* Go to the ballet

Much of it is fun stuff because they whole point of it is to make life more fun. Some is scary stuff to push myself outside my comfort zone and some of it is boring, but important, grown-up stuff (like doing a new will and power of attorney). 

I'm excited to start.