Monday, November 30, 2015


I'm taking my students to Portsea today for a three day work retreat. I've never been to Portsea before. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Legal tender

I was standing in a queue behind a woman waiting to be served in a shop the other day. The woman took out a five dollar note to pay for her purchase. It had a tiny tear in the corner. The sales attendant refused to take the note and there was a bit of a stand off until another employee told him that it was ok to accept it. Surely a tiny chunk missing from the corner doesn't invalidate the note?! I get more annoyed when I end up with one of those pesky New Zealand 20 cent coins.


Saturday, November 28, 2015


Every time I am about to go away overseas, it seems my body tries to throw me a medical challenge.

I'm due to head over to Germany late next week so, naturally, my right foot decided to start hurting. It is quite possible I brought this on myself after last week's excessive walking. I initially though it was gout but after taking anti-gout meds, I'm now thinking it must be something else because the meds aren't working. I'm going to have to put my feet up this weekend and chill out.

Friday, November 27, 2015

My new obsession... bubble tea.

The 'pearls' or 'bubbles' in bubble tea are deliciously chewy. They are made of tapioca, which comes from the root of the casava plant. I reckon they look like frog spawn.

I'm fairly 'vanilla' when it comes to bubble tea flavours. So far, I've been ordering mostly plain Oolong tea with the pearls, but I got a bit adventurous today and ordered a milk tea with pearls! Next time, I might even go for a flavoured tea!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Walking weekend

I've done a lot of walking this weekend.

Nathan was away on a photography trip with friends so I took the opportunity to do a lot more walking than I would when Nathan is around (he is becoming increasingly reliant on the car now that we have one).

I decided to take the dog to the Gasworks park in Port Melbourne on Saturday. It turned out to be a fair walk from Docklands, possibly because I have very little sense of direction and took a rather circuitous route. The dog loved it though – and she still had energy to chase the other dogs around once we got there.

My colleague came to stay on Saturday evening and, after dinner, we decided to wander over to the northern end of the Docklands for a drink. This turned out to be a bit of a debacle because I left my keys in the apartment. It was the first time I've done so in the 10 years I've lived in Melbourne but, of course, it had to happen on the one weekend when Nathan was away. I ended up calling a locksmith. It was an expensive evening walk.

Today, my colleague and I had to get to Carnegie, where he is now renting. He had to meet the cleaner to let him into the apartment (the previous tenants left quite a mess and, after a week of cleaning, my colleague decided it was probably better to call in the experts). We caught the train from South Yarra after walking there from Docklands via South Melbourne and Albert Park. It was quite a pleasant walk and I got to see some very nice houses along the way.

I returned to the city after lunch and spent the afternoon shopping. There were heaps of people about. I'd ordinarily be avoiding the Christmas crowds but I have a fancy work dinner tomorrow...and desperately need a new white shirt with longer sleeves that actually fit my arms.

By the time I got home this evening (yes, I walked from the city), I felt like my feet were going to fall off.      

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A walk in the park

I spent the morning glued to the TV, watching the horrific news of the attack in Paris unfold.

By midday, I had had enough. Nathan had to go to work in the morning. I went out briefly to run an errand and then organised to meet Nathan afterwards to take the dog for an outing. Truffs and I were already waiting downstairs when Nathan pulled up at the front of the apartment in the car.

We hopped in and headed to Port Melbourne for a late lunch. We then took Truffs to the Gasworks Arts Park for a run around. She had a great time chasing after the other dogs and we had a nice time talking to other dog owners. It was nice to be in the sunshine and away from the TV.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Catch up weekend

It was a weekend of catching up.

My colleague and friend from Sweden is in Australia for work. He is spending the weekend here in Melbourne so we caught up for lunch. I first met him at a conference in France in 2006. He was about to complete his PhD and was giving a talk about his work. At the end of the presentation, he put up a slide saying he was looking for postdoctoral work. It was a bold move. I offered him a job right after.

My colleague spent several years in Australia. When we first started working together, we both had to get used to the dynamics (he had to learn to be my postdoc and I had to learn to be a boss) but we ended up working very well together and have remained friends. He now has his own Faculty position back in Sweden and his fiance is expecting a baby on New Year's Eve. Things are going well for him.

The last few years hadn't always been rosy for him. He met an Aussie girl when he was here and he was very much in love. She learned Swedish and the plan was for her to move back to Sweden with him. She eventually followed him there – but called off the relationship. He was devastated and it took a while for him to recover. Life can certainly be a roller coaster ride. He is happy now and that's what matters. It makes me happy. He is a good guy.

Apart from catching up with my friend/colleague, I've also been catching up on work. I don't normally take work home but it's exam time and I had a pile of papers to mark. Work has been crazy and there is a backlog. I'm having some issues with one of my current colleagues, which has consumed quite a bit of my time (and led to a couple of sleepless nights midweek). I think it's a power thing. She wants to assert it but is doing so in a way that is entirely inappropriate. She is also doing it in a way that is bordering on being unethical. It is disappointing. I have called a meeting to talk it out with her and have asked for another colleague to be present. I hope we can work towards a resolution. I want to resolve things.