Saturday, June 24, 2000

Debbie's Journal - June 2000

I never thought it would be so much work to keep this web site up-to-date (nor did I! - Tony). Every time I finish updating a section of the site, the creative juices flow and I end up updating something else.

My work colleagues will notice that I'm 'Info Mapping' this journal. Where else am I going to get the chance to practise what I've learnt (other than at work)? The idea is that you can easily scan the entire journal to see if it's worth reading (which could be a bad thing, if it's not.)

I also need to be more organised in my writing. Usually when I'm writing my journal, I just ramble and write whatever comes into my head.

Weather

I finally succumbed to the cold and bought an electric blanket. The only problem was that the weather was gorgeous and we didn't need it. I must admit it's nice getting into bed with warm sheets and I don't seem to be fighting for sheets and doona any more.

We know that it's a really cold morning when:

  • Mitzi stays in her basket and won't come and greet us, and
  • Astra refuses to go outside and uses the kitty litter.

We're still trying to get used to the weather here. It changes nearly every hour. Thursday started as a beautiful day. When I emerged from the shops at lunch time it was dull and raining. By the end of the day, we had a brilliant sunset.

I work on the 28th floor of my building with ceiling-to-floor glass windows. I can see south down Elizabeth Street to the Victorian Arts Centre and Port Phillip Bay, and out to the west along the bay towards the Westgate Bridge. I love the view. I've had to apologise to the ladies sitting by the window. If they catch me staring it's not necessarily because I want to talk to them - it's more likely that I'm looking at the view. It's hard to describe - I'm watching a city and all its changing moods - lost in mist, warm in the setting sun, outstanding at night.

Tony has done the stats. Parramatta has higher rainfall than Melbourne but fewer rain days. We're starting to learn that if it is great in the morning, go out and don't turn back, even if it threatens to rain. More than likely, it won't rain or if it does, it'll be over in no time.

Health

We have had some rough weeks health-wise. There are a lot of colds and flus going around at work. We're currently dosing up with multi-vitamins every morning.

I've been introduced to a new "wonder" drug - ease-a-cold - liquid capsules with echinacea and zinc. The lozenges include vitamin C to build the immunity and herbs for soothing the throat. The only problem is you can't take them for any more than 6 days before they become immuno-suppresants. However, they did seem to reduce my cold (may be it was partially positive thinking!).

I actually lost my voice on the worst day. I asked Tony to tell my parents not to be offended if they rang, but I literally could not speak to them.

For fellow Weight Watchers - I've finally reached the top of the weight range for my height. So far, I've maintained it. Probably all the walking.

I used to get off 4 stops after Tony and then walk 10 minutes to work. I now get off about 4 stops before Tony and walk 15-20 minutes to work. I'm not saving much time - about 5 minutes. It's much more pleasant. Rather than walking up Elizabeth Street trying to avoid all the rushing commuters, I walk past the Carlton Gardens and down La Trobe Street which is on the edge of the CBD and so less crowded.

Work

I am really enjoying work. To quote Tony, "I'm having fun!"

I am part of a team of writers updating content for an intranet site. This week has probably been the most frustrating, mainly because of design changes. You think you know what changes to make to a document, and then you find your understanding was incorrect and you need to undo everything you've done. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that I'm not totally familiar with the content myself.

However, it is a lot less stressful and I only work the 7.5-8 hours a day we're originally contracted to do. July is probably going to be a lot busier because my work is due at the end of the month. And living closer to the city has probably helped!

The Mornington Peninsula

The car was sounding very sick. Every time I unlocked it to go to the shops it gave a low, flat beep. I was becoming more concerned about exercising the car than exercising the dog.

So on the Sunday of the long weekend we took a trip out to the Mornington Peninsula. My plan was lunch at the Red Hill Estate where we could look out over vineyards and see Western Port and Phillip Island.

But we ended up leaving late. I couldn't even say it was because Tony slept in because it was me - I spent 2 hours on the phone to Brother and Sis-in-law in the UK.

Although the Mornington Peninsula is known for its art, craft and natural beauty, we were out there to replenish our wine rack. There were a lot of estates open because it was the "Winter Wine Weekend".

The first winery we tasted 4 of the 5 wines and didn't buy any.

The next stop was the Cool Stores at Red Hill. This store is a great place to stop to see a sample of the art, craft, food and wine produced in the Peninsula. The main reason was to see if they stocked wines from Red Hill Estate or Manton's Creek so we didn't have to go to those wineries.

Cleared out their stock of Red Hill Sauvignon Blanc (all two bottles!). They also have wine-tasting there on the weekends, so ended up with another 2 bottles of red and 2 bottles of rose. (I'm definitely not a red drinker - [yet - Tony]).

And another reason we headed for the peninsula ... fish and chips on the beach. We ended up having "lunch" at Flinders at 4:00pm. I wanted to return to Flinders to take a photo of Phillip Island in the sunlight. Last year, I had a great view from a lookout, but I decided we would get a better view from the shore. By the time we got down to the shore, Phillip Island was shrouded in mist and the rain had set in.

Unfortunately, the view was not much better this year.

Flinders is a very quiet, little town. There is a not a lot there but it is close to a lot of the wineries and to the Mornington Peninsula National Park.

Last year we bought a muscat from the Manton's Creek Estate. In Sydney we had planned to try and get a box delivered and then split it with Sister and Bro-in-law. Manton's Creek was only 1 of 3 wineries still open when we left Flinders. They no longer have their muscat; it's been replaced by the "Trio" - a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer and Muscat. Definitely finished off the wine offered for tasting. It was beautiful ... and yes, we ended up with half a dozen. Just need to return later in the year to pick up some for C and P.

Food and wine

A subject dear to our hearts.

Although Melbourne has lots of great places to eat, we probably ate out more in Sydney. The problem with eating out is that we need to venture out into the cold. If we do eat out, it's because we've popped into the restaurant on our way home.

There is a Thai restaurant right near our tram stop, and only 10 minutes from home. Only been there 4 times - not exactly regulars yet. Usually, all we want to do after work is get home and get warm.

I must have had too much yum cha before I left Sydney. Since I arrived in Melbourne 2 months ago, we haven't been to yum cha at all.

St. Kilda Markets

I had planned to take Mitzi out to St Kilda markets ever since I found out you could take pets on the trams, buses and trains. On the trams and buses, dogs must be placed in a "suitable container". However, on the trains, dogs only have to be on a leash.

It was a marathon trip from home to St Kilda - over an hour and a half because we seemed to just miss connecting trains and had a 20 minute walk at either end. I had to buy Mitzi a concession ticket and we were duly inspected at Flinders Street station.

It's amazing travelling with a dog, especially one as cute as Mitzi. The number of people you meet!

We were at a pedestrian crossing, waiting to cross 6 lanes of traffic and 2 tram lines, when I met a family whose grandmother took a liking to Mitzi. When the lights changed, the grandparents ran ahead to encourage Mitzi to run with them. We made it across - the rest of the family got caught half-way and had to wait for the next phase of lights.

At the markets, Mitzi must have thought she was at the RSPCA Million Paws Walk. She always has to be at the head of the pack and I managed to see the market in record time.

We broke up the return journey with a walk around the Southgate markets and through the CBD. Was I tired after that - Mitzi wasn't - she got to sleep on the train!

To come

This is the "Stay Tuned" section.

Tony still has to add his pages so you can expect a lot to come from that! We are considering a favourite recipes section, but Brother is already planning one on his web site so we might end up tacking on to his.

We have a weekend in the Yarra Valley planned for our anniversary. (Yes - more wine, but there is also cheese-tasting and the Healesville Sanctuary). So hopefully, there will be more photos to come - I'm still trying to finish the film with the last 2 photos from the States!

And the Melbourne Theatresports season has started. We hope to see a show or two - we just need to find time to book!

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