Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Foraging for food seems all the rage nowadays. Tonight my student made a risotto-like dish and included some stinging nettles he collected near the aquarium facility where we are working. They were surprisingly delicious.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I left my room's bathroom window open yesterday at the research station. By evening, I noticed a wasp had flown in and started to build a nest just below the window frame. Those who know me will know that I am not a fan of creatures with enlarged abdomens and/or stingers. Still, the biologist side of me was fascinated with the nesting behaviour. The wasp was obviously busy at it all night and by this morning, this is what it had managed to accomplish.

Unfortunately for the wasp, I was in the bathroom when it took a break and flew outside – so I shut the window.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

hello Helsinki beloved Hesinki. How I have missed you. It was nice walking your streets again, eating your rye bread and baltic herring, and watching your people sitting out in the parks trying to soak up the sunshine peeking through the clouds.

Friday, May 24, 2013


It didn't instill a lot of confidence this morning at Melbourne airport seeing the pilot and co-pilot struggling to figure out how to release the rope on the barricade to get to the gate. Fortunately, they were much better at flying the airplane and after a very smooth flight, am now in Singapore waiting for my next flight to Helsinki (sadly, it will be on a crappy old Finnair plane).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Helsinki bound

Yep...Just a few weeks after returning from Europe, I'm about to head back to Europe. I'll be there for six weeks this time 'round. Sadly, Truffles and Nathan have to stay at home but I'll get to bring one of my students. Am looking forward to spending some time at the research station. It'll be nice to spend a decent block of time out of the office.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

sunday animals and art

Nathan and I headed to the junk company today and I couldn't resist getting some of these cute lead toy animals.

After lunch, we headed off to the NGV. We started of at NGV Australia to check out the top arts exhibition.We then headed went to NGV International to check out the Dior & Yamamoto exhibition – and to eat scones. This is a new art installation in the foyer....mesmerising.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

truffles by the bay

Nathan and I took the dog for a walk today. We made our way from Docklands to South Melbourne and then onto Port Melbourne. 

It's the first time any of us had actually walked to Port Melbourne and I was surprised by all the nice shops we walked pass on our way to the water.

Here I am with Truffles on one of the dog-friendly beaches talking to a girl from the UK who was taking her friend's spaniel for a stroll. Truffles is having a great time.

We then took Truffs off to see the Spirit of Tasmania. Like us, she is longing to get to Tassie to see Mona.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

beyond Melbourne

Early last week, I took my honours and PhD students to country Victoria for a work retreat. The students had a cook off, we sat around the fireplace in the huge house we rented, and generally had a good time.

Later in the week, I headed to Sydney for an invited seminar. After that, the postgrad students from Sydney Uni whisked me off to the the Central Coast for the weekend. We went on nice walks, had great food, and the students asked me for career advice.

Here is a picture of a friendly kookaburra who came to say 'hello' when we were having brekky (in truth, I think it was after my food).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

poo in the foyer

I took Truffles for a walk this morning and forgot to bring a plastic bag. Fortunately, I realised when we were walking with Nathan to the train station so he gave me some tissue paper instead. Just as well because Truffles decided to wait until we got back to the apartment complex where she then proceeded to take a huge dump right inside the foyer as I was checking the mail box. I was panic-stricken and started grabbing at the droppings with the tissues and running outside to dispose of them in the bin. It took several trips, back and forth (at one stage I was even using the free newspapers left in the foyer). And 'of course' someone walk through the foyer as I was trying to get rid of the evidence.  I was so embarrassed.