Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. From now on we'll just get more and more daylight until we over take the northern hemisphere in number of daylight hours sometime around my birthday in the spring.

Tim has been away. He left for a trip for work, then stayed a few extra days to attend his grandfather's funeral. It's a lot quieter without Tim. We'll be happy to have him back.

I don't really have very much to share today, so I'll entertain you with photos from my phone.

The above picture was taken a little over a week ago, to highlight my poor quality phone camera. Jonathan and I were walking through the park on the way to the grocery store, and I noticed that some of the pigeons were looking a little pink. And then I realized they were actually a flock of galah cockatoos. I love the birds here.

And speaking of birds, this picture was taken just three days later. As I was walking to my office from the bus stop, this little guy came down to check out the big poof ball on the plant. This is a rainbow lorikeet, also native.

On Saturday there was a public protest for refugee rights in the city center (central business district). Jonathan and I were trying to take the tram home from skating practice, but the roads were blocked off in the CBD. So we watched the marchers instead.

This one is Jonathan heading toward our home later on Saturday. This is the front entrance to our apartment. I still love living here.

Jonathan and I played trivial pursuit two nights in a row. The first night, Jonathan and I were tied for a long time, before I was able to slip away for the win. The second night, Jonathan didn't have so much luck. But I did! For example, the answer to my question in the "sports and leisure" category (always the topic I answer last) was "the Australian open." Oh yeah. I didn't even have to guess!

Last picture.

I have a lot of pictures like this on my phone. This is one way I save ideas at work. There is an error in the argument on the bottom left, though, so this idea needs more work.

That's all for now.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Upside down seasons

It's kind of fun to have completely inverted seasons.

While others are talking about picnics and sunblock, we're pulling out sweaters and rain jackets. I'm trying to figure out how the timer works on the heater in the living room without resorting to pulling out the user's manual. Somehow I turned the stupid thing off last night, and when I came out at seven, rather than snugly coziness and a rosy gas fire, it was COLD. Dark and empty and COLD.

It's winter -- deep winter here. That means a chill wind blows through the tips of the palm trees in the morning. The leaves of the deciduous trees have all turned yellow and brown, and many of them are actually falling off now, onto the grass that has grown greener with rain. Natives bundle up in black and grey wool, occasionally even a hat and scarf, depending on how well it accessorizes with the rest of the outfit. People whinge a lot about the weather. Here, whinging is the same thing that whining is where I'm from, but you get that extra G for free.

This morning, watching the breeze ripple those palm trees in the early morning sunlight, hearing the tram driver complain about the temperature to a passenger ("it's four degrees outside"), I thought of the neighbor boy who would walk to school with us. The first day in March when the sun came out, and the temperature was above freezing (4 degrees centigrade certainly counts), he would show up in shorts and a T-shirt to walk the three-quarter miles to school. Just because the neighbor was a crazy child doesn't mean I can't continue my whinging.

Now that we are in the deep winter, I can verify that am happy with deep winter here. The winter school holidays are just around the corner. Jonathan was asked if he wants to audition for a holiday performance of the Nutcracker on ice, over the winter week of the 4th of July. All upside down and backwards.

But Nutcracker is fun, and winter is cozy. I got to wear my yellow sweater with the long gray skirt yesterday, for the first time in months. I love that outfit. And it's citrus season, so the oranges are sweet and cheap and tasty. On Saturday, Jonathan and I visited a small local bookstore. We've been reading books and watching movies, cuddled under the blankets in front of the gas heater in the living room. Outside, the wind blows or the fog settles or the raindrops fall, and the lorikeets scream in happiness over the blooming eucalyptus tree outside our window, and the sea gulls fly in from the bay to nibble the grass in the fields in the park, now marked for soccer or Aussie rules football rather than cricket, and all the while the palm trees sway gently in the chill breeze.

Melbourne in June. I love it.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Important things

Lots of important things have been happening here.

The most important thing, I believe, is the yellow tailed black cockatoos. A family of yellow tailed black cockatoos has been visiting the large conifer outside the office window. They've come several times in the last month. We all saw them, and heard them squealing. But Tim has seen them several times. He watched them out his window picking giant pine cones and flying away with them. Tim is very excited about yellow tailed black cockatoos.

Photo from Wikipedia

Another important thing is that Jonathan got a suit. He really wanted a suit for his birthday. So he got a suit. Happy birthday!

Still another important thing is that winter came. By decree, the first of June is the first day of winter here. On this blog, we have been unhappy about winter in the past. But this year, we are going to be very excited about winter. Winter is the time when you get to wear cozy jumpers (sweaters). You get to go to bed early like the sun, and snuggle under the blankets while rain falls gently outside. Winter is snuggly and cuddly, and with temperatures around 15 degrees celsius (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit) every day of winter, we are going to love it and stay very excited about winter. Winter! Where the snuggle comes!

The final important thing is white chocolate Tim Tams. While Tim Tams are important, the white chocolate ones are the most important ones. But you only get seven in a package. That's pretty cheap.