Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 334 - Mystery object

These two photos are parts of the same object. Can you guess what it is? Russians have to keep quiet. All other people please leave your guess in the comment box.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 333 - By design

333 is an odd number. Literally. And it's impressively close to the impending 365, the name and aim of this blog. What do I have to offer to anyone bothering to read this? Very little, as predicted. Recently back from kitchen duty and smelling seriously like fried stuff, before I do some work, I thought I'd kill this post early in the day. I could talk about the enormous amount of yeast-based dough, the cabbage, potato and mushroom and rice fillings, the seemingly endless orders of piroshki and soup, snatches of conversation - but it's not that exciting; you have to be there. Instead, I decided to go with random yet again. Hey, it's an authentic part of life - mine, at least.

Today's photos are examples of objects I've chosen for their design. The first object is Moroccan, the second is - I'm not sure - and the last one I was given by an Iranian (then Persian) acquaintance (on account of my father spending his youth in (then) Persia during the time of the Shah.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 332 - Christmas shopping

I walked my legs off in the city (after the market) today, finally making a start on my Christmas shopping. I feel a little better having started. Mr 16 had his audition for Melbourne Youth Orchestra (MYO), and then we were supposed to go to a street party. Having been on my feet for about 6 hours, I decided to stay home, do the washing and some housework, and bake a cake for church kitchen duty tomorrow morning. Now that I'm finally sitting down, I don't know how I'm going to get up again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 331 - After the rain

After the rain, it seems green stuff is sprouting all over the place! Feels more like Sydney now, what with the humidity steaming up the place. I am appreciating all the lush growth, though, considering Summer will cook the place and take out large sections of the garden. I don't remember this kind of severity before with Melbourne weather.
Here's the neighbours' tree that I'm worried about. Yes, the fence neighbour. If this tree collapses into our yard or (God forbid) our house, our neighbours will not be compensating us; this I know.

Day 330 - Stormy weather

I meant to photograph the bark of this tree last week when it was much redder. After today's memorable storm, I wonder if the trunk is now stripped naked. The volatile weather caused havoc, causing train cancellations (hence Mr 16's very late arrival home after waiting over an hour for his train), and I heard on the news that a girl was hit by lightning - awful.

At work I shelf-read all day. Wouldn't recommend it. Tomorrow is more of the same. Still, I'd rather do that than have my teeth extracted, which is what cut my stocktaking experience short last year.

The photo below is the unremarkable view from my car window as I waited for Mr 16 in the wet carpark.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 329 - VITTA conference.

The Victorian Information Technology Teachers' Association (VITTA) just finished a 3-day conference. I attended the last day, and was fortunate to hear Steve Hargadon - both keynote and special session. Steve is the founder of Classroom 2.0 and community manager for, amongst other things. He said that we are about to go through the biggest change in education in centuries or maybe ever, and it's going to feel like a tidal wave. The wave is there now. Some people have their back to the wave, a few are out surfing the wave, but to most of us the wave looks impossible.

My first time at the Grandstand, Flemington Racecourse. It's massive; a very impersonal, clinical place to have a conference. I imagine that many conferences are at such places. What about we book out a street of cafes for different sessions, eg. Lygon Street, Carlton?

The next photo was taken during my TWO HOUR drive home through the mainly stationary traffic. It's the section around the Zoo, very dry and desolate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 328 - A shot of vodka

Mr 19, his second cousin and I were discussing the issue of underage drinking, the question of legal drinking age and whether lowering this would make any difference. After about 20 minutes, we all decided we felt like a drink, and since we'd also mentioned how 'Standard' had seemingly replaced 'Stolichnaya', it seemed only appropriate to pull a bottle of 'Standard' out of the freezer and give it a shot (so to speak).

Day 327 - Back to the garden

When there's no photo at the end of the day, and nothing much will happen - you know it - it's back to the garden. Here's one of my recent additions to the Scorched Summer Garden. I think (not absolutely sure) that this succulent will tolerate heat better than the camelia which used to be in this north-facing, open spot.

Otherwise, nothing new. At work I spent most of the day shelf-reading, which to library plebs, means you start at one end of your shelves and put all the books in order. Easy enough, you think, but once you get more than six numbers after the decimal point, not to mention the first three letters of the author's surname, the brain gets a bit fried. If you do it most of the day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 326 - It's all about rain

It's all about rain today - beautiful, constant, musical, WET rain. We've waited a long time for this, and we don't know how long we'll have to wait until another solid rain, so there isn't anyone complaining about it.

I took a couple of shots after church but they don't capture how saturated it looks. Inside the church, the unusual darkness made the lights stand out.

We have some extremely old icons. This one of the saints, Emperor Constantine and Empress Helen, has a wide crack running up through Empress Helen.

At home, I noticed the rain had brought out the colours of the different types of wood used to make the new fence. Pity that we'll have to get rid of the rosemary bushes but it has to be done if we want to plant something which will provide more shade.

I hope Sydney's cool change comes soon. I wouldn't like to be there today - top of 41 degrees celcius and probably humid.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 325 - Myer Christmas windows

Myer Christmas windows have been a seasonal attraction in the city of Melbourne (a little) longer than I've been around. This year's theme is based on the Olivia picture book series, more specifically, Olivia helps with Christmas. Previous themes have ranged from traditional children's tales, such as Cinderella, Pinocchio and the Snow Queen, to more local stories, such as Graeme Base's Uno's garden and May Gibbs' The gumnut babies. If you're interested, here's a list of themes dating back to 1956.

Sorry about the poor quality shots with window reflections.

Day 324 - Relief after a very hot day

Sometime during the afternoon of an extremely hot day (lucky us in the library with air conditioning), we heard the rumble of thunder and waited for the welcome sound of rain. Instead the fire siren sounded and we walked, grumbling, into large but sparse drops of rain and - finally - a coolish breeze. Three fire trucks later, pointing to the dust storm as the cause of the alert, we returned to work. Driving home, it was good to wind down the windows and feel the cool air rushing in.

After dinner, I could smell the wet greenness through the open windows, so I decided to go for a walk to check out garden casualties.

Spring growth has added size to trees.

This is the only rose on the bush; the others have already bloomed and dried out. I'm happy to see the kangaroo paws starting to flower (pictured above).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 323 - Ducklings to ducks

Our ducklings have grown into ducks. Surprising, that. I haven't seen them for a while so I had to follow them for a quick pic today. Wonder why they're not cooling off in the pond, considering today's mid-30s temperature.

The next picture has captured the indecision of a couple of the ducks. Which way?

Day 322 - Movember

Here is Mr 19's Movember progress. He looks pleased with himself. Movember is a good cause, raising money for research into prostate cancer and depression in men. It's also a time when men donning moustaches can get free Grill'd burgers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 321 - Unexpected tenant

Just outside our back doors above the verandah and easily visible from inside, a small possum has taken up residence in a precarious spot on a beam under the eaves. I'm not sure why he/she's chosen this spot but I'm surprised he/she hasn't taken advantage of the large tree growing over this area. I'm guessing the shelter of the eaves and adjacent vine makes this prime real estate. Or else the little creature is confused.

Initially I thought the branches and leaves on the verandah were failed attempts at a bird nest, so imagine my surprise when I discovered it was no bird.

Day 320 - Last day

Our last day was sunny and windy. I started mentally preparing myself to leave this timeless place and slow pace. I wanted to miss nothing; to notice the small, insignificant things...

to appreciate the history of the buildings, and hope they will be preserved.

We travelled 20 minutes to Queenscliff in the afternoon. It's a quiet, old-fashioned looking place. Well, it's actually not so quiet during the music festival.

We were sad to leave Barwon Heads. We've booked a year ahead to come again. It's a very popular place.

Day 319 - Second day

Fresh air, sun, relaxation and good company. We spent many hours reading, chatting, eating and drinking on the front verandah.

Blue is one of the most beautiful colours - expansive, transparent and calming.

Day 318 - Back to Barwon Heads

Just returned from a lovely, lovely long weekend at Barwon Heads. The first picture shows the restaurant on the pier where we had lunch almost as soon as we arrived. It's walking distance from our cabin. The second picture shows work on the new bridge that nobody wanted. Last time we were here - some time in July - there was significant protest about this development, and we were sad to see it had made no difference. What a shame the small, unobtrusive bridge will be replaced by a large, modern one (as well as an adjacent footbridge).

Later in the day, Mr 16 and his aunt played Bocce.

The picture below shows how close to the sea we were staying.
It really is heaven on earth here. I hope it always stays this way.