Thursday, November 30, 2017

I heart my new orchid

I bought an orchid on eBay the other day. Nathan and I went to pick it up. last weekend. The seller was an elderly man with a think European accent. He had a beautiful green house packed full of weird and wonderful plants.

I told him I bought the orchid he was selling because I liked the heart-shaped leaves. He looked at me with a smile. The species name phyllocardia means 'heart shaped'. Aha! Of course. Shame on me. As a biologist I should have made the connection.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fortuitous day off

I've got a lot of leave scheduled between now and Christmas. I can't take it all in one huge block (too much stuff going on at work, including supervising my research students). So, instead, I've just been picking random days of the week when I don't have anything scheduled in my diary.

This randomness has actually been quite fortuitous. I happened to be on leave when the results of the postal survey came out so I got to watch the event unfold on TV.

And then, today, I got to watch Magda Szubanski (my new favourite person in the whole wide world) deliver a touching speech at the national Press Club. This was followed by a live cross to Parliament House to watch the same sex marriage legislation pass the senate.

I wonder if I'll be on leave when the legislation passes the House of Representatives?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


In the art world, a 'sleeper' describes an artwork whose real value has been missed.

I've certainly read news stories about collectors picking up bargains at auction that turn out to be worth millions.

I don't think I'll ever have that kind of luck.

But I do feel incredibly lucky tonight to have picked up a painting by an artist who I love, at a fraction of the painting's true value.

The story of my association with the painting goes back several years. I first saw it in my friend's gallery. It was the second most expensive work in the exhibition. And there was no way I could have justified forking out the asking price (which was equivalent to the cost of a small car). It didn't matter anyway. The painting was sold.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when the same painting turned up in an online auction catalogue with a sales estimate a mere fraction of the original sale price. I couldn't believe my eyes.

I spoke to my gallerist friend and she was just as surprised as I was. This was a very important painting by a very important indigenous artist, whose works are held in major institutional collections, including the National Gallery of Australia.

I went to the auction tonight. I was very nervous but luck was on my side. I got it for a steal.

I'm stoked.

Gareth Samson

I met up with my retired German friend a few weeks ago for lunch. Afterwards, she took me to see the Gareth Samson retrospective at the NGV. I had not heard of Samson before. The exhibition was amazing. I love his use of colours. There was one gallery space within the exhibition that came with a warning because of graphic content (i.e. penises).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Too much leave

My university is making me draw down my annual leave  before the end of the year, otherwise I will be deemed to be on leave in January whether I want to be or not.

I've decided to select a bunch of days between now and Christmas to allocate as leave days. I don't really have anything planned.

I guess it's nice just to do nothing!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Spontaneous purchase

I went to a designer furniture end of year sale. Big mistake. I didn't realise I needed a fluffy pouf until I saw one. It is not very comfortable to sit on and, even with the heavy discount, still cost a fortune. The dog (black one on the right) is less than impressed.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tale of two restaurants

Nathan and I went for dinner with some friends last night. The restaurant is always busy and last night was no exception. We ordered our meal. They stuffed up one of the orders, which was not a big deal. However, it did mean that one of our friends had to wait a bit longer for her meal to arrive. Still, we felt a lot of pressure to eat quickly, as the waiters kept coming over to try to take away our bowls and plates before we had finished. In fact, Nathan went to the bathroom and when he returned, his plate (which still had food on it) had been taken away without the rest of us even noticing. In the end, the friend whose meal arrived late still had to skol her beer because the waiter wanted to clear our table in preparation for the next customers. By the time we had walked out the restaurant, there was already other customers at our newly vacated table. It was conveyor belt service.

Contrast last night's experience with the lunch I just had with a friend at another restaurant. The kitchen also stuffed up the order. Again, it wasn't a big deal and we waited for my friend's meal to arrive without any complaint. Still, when the bill came, we were taken by surprise when the waitress said they had deducted the cost of both of our drinks due to the 'inconvenience'. It was unexpected and unnecessary but we appreciated the sentiment. We left what would have been the cost of the drinks as a tip.