Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mundanity and the benefits of laziness


I like this description of intimacy by Sophie Heawood in her piece What you need to know about men
Intimacy is the quiet mundanity of being known, and loved, and loving. Intimacy is not dramatic. Sometimes, intimacy is as mundane as holding someone’s hand on the way to the shop to buy some milk.
Mundanity isn't always bad... 

Luke made yummy vegetable pasta for dinner tonight. 

I'm looking forward to sliding in between cool, clean sheets when I go to bed very soon. I confess I'm not one of those people who changes their sheets once a week. I'm one of those lazy people who does it whenever they can be bothered (as with most domestic duties). I think this means I appreciate clean sheets more because I don't experience it as often as others. (That's my story and I'm sticking with it.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Check out these youngsters playing Smooth Criminal. The cellist is 8-year-old Jun Justin Yu, who has been playing the cello since he was four and has played at Carnegie Hall with the New York International Symphony Orchestra, among many other achievements. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Excellent and delicious

This made me chuckle 

Today I got the nine-letter word in The Age Target puzzle and I found all of the words...well, enough to score an 'excellent'. This is a very rare event...probably because the nine-letter word was 'horseshoe', but whatever!

I had lunch with some work friends. My peri peri chicken burger was deliciously tender and juicy. 


Thursday, March 19, 2015


Melbourne had a late burst of summer warmth today, but a cool change blew in as I was walking through the city. Aaaah, so refreshing. 

I cut through Hosier Lane on my way home and took some photos of the street art.   There's always plenty to see. 





 The eagle and the bear

 Bike and bunting


Bike and boy 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


That's my office making that shadow

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Crossing over Morell Bridge this evening

I had a gluten-free strawberry and raspberry muffin still warm from the oven this morning. (Not my oven, obviously. As if I'd ever get up that early.) 

There's 12 working days until Easter. Wooh. I'm toying with the idea of adding an extra day's annual leave to give me a five-day break. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

The joy of flowers, a new book

I bought flowers for a friend this morning. I chose the blooms myself  - a combination of orange roses with a deep pink blush that reminded me of peaches, a purple flower whose name I can't recall and white lisianthus. She loved them.  Her mum died two weeks ago (today was her first day back), so it made me happy to put a smile on her face. 

While I was at the florist shop, I spotted two varieties of flower I'd never seen before - swan flowers (more like scrotum flowers, if you ask me) and white bouvardia buds, which were tiny little white boxes on stems. 

I bought a new book today - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - and the woman who served me said she loved it, which pleased me. It's quite a departure from my usual reading diet and I confess it was the images associated with it on Pinterest that piqued my interest.  This is probably less tenuous than the time I bought a book solely because it had the word 'fuck' on the back cover. That was Zigzag Street, the first ever Nick Earls' novel I read, which started a love affair with his writing.  

I'm about to head off to bed to start reading The Night Circus now. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Visiting the corpse flower

We wandered over to the Botanic Gardens to visit the Titan Arum this afternoon. As expected, there was quite a queue to enter the tropical glasshouse, but a little white terrier in a  jaunty red cap helped entertain the masses. 

We were let through the doors after about 50 minutes lining up in the warm sunshine. 

The Titan Arum was at the far end of the glasshouse, and there were plenty of other plants and things to look at on the way to it, including the fern-shrouded pond in which I spotted two teeny weeny goldfish. 

The carnivorous pitcher plant


 And here it is!

The smell? There was hardly any smell at all! You had to stick your nose right up close to get a subtle whiff of its rotting flesh aroma. This is surely the first time ever people have been disappointed by the absence of a horrid stench.  

 The spathe (the phallic bit is the spadix)

The Titan Arum grows very, very fast. This one was only a 1.5cm shoot on 6 February but grew to 2.53 metres in only 35 days. Earlier this month it sprouted 38 centimetres in just 2 days! It's the tallest Titan Arum grown in Australia. 

Luke getting up close and personal 

This Titan Arum - which grew from a tuber weighing 34 kilograms - was cultivated from seed harvested by David Attenborough when he was in Sumatra filming the Private Life of Plants

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This is all I've got

Farts: funny AND fascinating. Read all about it here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Good timing, aerobatics, hyperbole, little pig

The corpse plant has conveniently waited until the weekend to unfurl its stinky flower after all. Hurrah! It's expected to be fully unfurled by morning, although apparently it already smells (like rotting flesh, hence its common name. Its proper name is Amorphophallus Titanum, which means 'giant misshapen phallus'!). I wonder if there will be a long queue to get into the glasshouse to see/smell it like the last time it bloomed? I hope not because I'm very impatient, but I also think it's pretty ace that so many people turn up to see a rare flower. 

The Australian Grand Prix is on this weekend. Today as part of the entertainment for those trackside, a fighter jet performed spectacular aerobatics over the circuit. We could see it and hear it from our office windows.  It was LOUD. At times it seemed as if we were higher up on the 38th floor than the jet was at the lowest point of its routine. 

You know that feeling when you read an article that perfectly expresses an opinion or feeling that you share, but haven't been able to properly articulate? How good is that? It happened to me today when I read this article about the hyperbolic language of the internet. Made me want to punch the air and yell, "Yeah!". 
Only the most bombastic and hyperbolic descriptions will now do, even if they are in jest, and it's a direct consequence of the internet, which has turned discourse's volume up so high that only the most caustic or reverential reviews will cut through the noise. Only extremes of feeling are worthy of your finite consideration, everything else is scrollable.
I love these gorgeous photos of kids and animals by Russian photographer Elena Kaneeva. I love the first one with the wee calf, number 12 with the hairy little pig and number 13 - the child's expression really makes it. I love the autumnal light in some of these shots. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Not grumpy, deep sea, worst language

I'm in quite a good mood today...or maybe that started after I got home from work? Whichever. I wasn't a grumpy bum all day. That's a pleasant change. 

I am fascinated by deep sea creatures and landscapes so I was interested to read about exploration of the Perth Canyon near Rottnest Island, off the coast of Western Australia. The canyon is about the same length as the Grand Canyon and twice as deep - up to four kilometres deep in places. Four kilometres of dark water teeming with strange creatures! Despite it proximity to the mainland, it has never been properly explored, but a team of scientists from the University of Western Australia is changing that. You can read about their discoveries here

This is an amusing and interesting list of reasons English is "the worst language ever". I'm glad I never had to learn it as a second language. 

The way Americans pronounce "duty" makes me chuckle. Dooty, and sometimes doody. Hahaha. Doody. 

No, I didn't post yesterday because I went to bed as soon as I got home and pretty much stayed there until 8.00 am.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Laneway lady

Spotted on Hosier Lane on my way home this evening


Me trying to furrow my brow, about a month post-Botox*

(* treatment for migraine, with cosmetic side-effects)

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Luke and I visited the You Yangs Regional Park near Geelong today. We did the fairly sedate walk from the park office to Big Rock (which is, as the name suggests, a very large granite rock) because I didn't have enough energy for the more challenging walk to Flinders Peak. 

 Shedding bark

More bark

 Big Rock

 Flinders Peak 

Big rocks on Big Rock

The view

Tree and big rock

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I like big red balls and I cannot lie

We went for burgers tonight and the guy who served us asked how our night was going. I said, "Yeah, good; we both napped til about 7.00 then watched Total Wipeout."  Nah, I didn't say that because I wanted him to think we're younger and cooler than we really are, but that is what we had been doing during the earlier part of the evening...and it's what we do most Saturday nights lately. Total Wipeout, I mean, not so much the napping. 

Total Wipeout (and its chilly weather variant Winter Wipeout) is a very family-friendly game show hosted by Richard Hammond that has people navigating a watery obstacle course with lots of bouncy obstacles and silly sound effects. Honestly, who doesn't get a laugh out of people bouncing off things, being whacked in the face, hit in the head with things, slipping and sliding off things, and...did I mention bouncing off things? The big red balls are our favourite obstacle. 

Here's a rare example of someone successfully crossing the big red balls...

...which is remarkable, but kind of boring because it's funnier when people fail. Like so: 


And these guys: 

It's not sophisticated, but it makes us laugh like loons. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Achievement unlocked

Today, on the first day of my long weekend, my plan was to spend the day in bed and I'm pleased to report I succeeded. I got up and put pants on at about 7.30 pm. I also finished reading my book. What a day! 

I have made no plans for tomorrow, but I probably will go outside. 

Zooterkins! Here's a list of old-fashioned swear words you should read because apparently learning a new word  is as pleasurable as eating chocolate or having sex. Who knows what happens if you learn a new word for sex or chocolate - or learn a new word while eating chocolate and having sex. You'd surely die of happiness. Maybe I should go off the anti-depressants and read the dictionary instead...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Today: brought to you by the number four


Four days, four walks to work! Now four days off! *laughs like The Count* 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Another corpse flower, three walks, ready for faux-Friday

It's Moomba Festival time again 

Another stinky corpse flower is preparing to bloom at the Royal Botanic Gardens! Last time one flowered I was away for Christmas, so I'm pleased it's been more considerate  this time, although it is expected to bloom next week when I'll be at work. Hopefully there's premature bloomage. You can keep tabs on the corpse flower via its twitter account.     

Three days, three foot-powered commutes! I thought I was going to be a wee bit late this morning, but I was pretty much on time. 

I had another intense day at work so it feels like Friday already. Yay for faux-Friday tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Another walk, good boss, word nerd stuff

I did walk to work again this morning. It was hard going due to my body feeling as if it had been run over by a small tractor during the night, but I got there. Go, me. 

I do have the day off on Friday too. Yay. I thought my boss might want me to cancel my leave day because the other secretary who's joined my team has had to take the week off, but I checked with him and he doesn't. He's a very fair and reasonable boss.  

I had an intense day at work today so a short week will be very welcome.  

Here are some links I've been saving up for my fellow word nerds:

Barrister and human rights advocate Julian Burnside on why he is resisting the lure of Scrabble, and some of the English language's weird words. 

Julian Burnside again on getting worked up over a word missing from the Oxford English Dictionary - the 20-volume version, no less. The word is 'philtrum', that groove above the middle of your top lip. 

A (long) story  by nature writer Robert Macfarlane who has been collecting unusual words to describe the landscape. I like 'roarie-bummlers' (fast-moving storm clouds) and 'sun-scald' (the glare of the sun on water). "It's a lexicon we need to cherish in an age when a junior dictionary finds room for bluebell but has no place for 'bluebell'." 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Earlier bird and extra long weekend (hopefully)

Prince's Bridge and Eureka Tower 

I walked to work for only the second or third time this year. I haven't been walking in the mornings because it's too hard to drag my weary body out of bed early enough, even though I don't have to get up much earlier to make time for the 40-minute walk. I got up at 7.50 this morning instead of 8.00...or 8.10 on some days...and I got to work a few minutes before 9.00. 

It was a pleasant morning for a stroll, and it was also a relief to avoid the trams, which never seem to run as often as they're meant to and which are full of people who have a tendency to annoy grumps like me.  

I hope I can repeat the feat of getting up 10 minutes earlier again tomorrow. 

It's a long weekend this weekend, with Labour Day on Monday. I think I have this Friday off as well. Wooh, four-day weekend for meeeee!  I don't have any plans to go away, just to potter at home doing stuff that's been on my to-do list for months and resting. 

Tiny banana

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blog therapy


I haven't been particularly gleeful lately. I halved my dose of anti-depressants in January and I thought I was doing fine, but in the past few weeks I've been sliding back into feeling grumpy, impatient and flat. I'm so grouchy - often angry - that I'm sick of myself. I should be writing a blog called Grouchy, not Gleeful

I'm also still struggling with fatigue, which can't be helping. It's hard to be cheerful while exhausted. I'm trying to do something about the fatigue, but there's no quick fix. 

I'm bored at work.  Since the junior secretary left in October I feel as if I spend most of my work days on menial tasks.  I'm a senior secretary. I have a brain in my head. There has to be more to life than f*cking filing! 

But I like the people I work with and I have a good boss. I worry if I leave I could end up in a job with unpleasant colleagues and a horrible boss and that would add stress to the equation. Except I'm too tired to even think about trying to look for a new job anyway.  I want to do something different, and it's challenging to find your way into a new career even when you know what you'd rather be doing (which I don't*). 

Even if I somehow managed to step into a new career, I don't think I could muster up the focus and alertness to cope with a steep learning curve. The fatigue affects my memory and concentration. Some days thinking is like trying to swim through custard. "Oh, she seemed like such a good fit in the interview, but now I'm starting to think she has custard for brains. Hey, is she sleeping  at her desk?"

So I'm exhausted, grumpy, bored, dissatisfied, unfulfilled... I'm thinking of going back to my original dose of anti-depressants. Yes, I should be looking at non-drug ways of moderating my moods, but taking medication is just easier and I'm not ashamed to say I want to take the easy way out right now. Going to make a doctor's appointment this week...  

I am going to do one non-drug thing to help my moods - March is going to be another blog-every-day month. Blog therapy.  I'll try to actually write about gleeful things, rather than whining. 

* well, actually I do: I'd like to spend six months relaxing at a health resort while someone else pays the bills.