Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
The author quits his high powered job and takes himself and his wife on a walk across France. Interesting travelouge and bit of a voyage of self-discovery too.
Chasing the chimmney sweep / Selwyn Parker
Two couples follow the route of the the first Tour de France on their bicycles. Interesting travelogue from a cyclists perspective!
Koanga Garden Guide / Kay Baxter
Just dipped into this one. It's a very comprehensive guide and I think I'll be buying it.
Swings & roundabouts: poems on parenthood / edited by Emma Neale
Poetry - some good ones in there. I like to read poetry now and again.
Mindset: the new psychology of success / Carol S. Dweck
VERY interesting book - will be writing a separate post about this one I think. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to develop their creativity, leadership or who is wondering how to increase their chances of being successful at what they do. Good one for parents too.
The light in the window / June Goulding
Biography. A newly qualified mid-wife goes to work in an unmarried mother's home run by nuns. It's 1958 so the attitudes and practices are barbaric. I found this one so depressing. She tries to make things easier for her charges but doesn't really manage to do much. I wanted to cry after I read it. It's unbelieveable how little compassion some folks can have - I know it was a different era, but still...
Blood red roses / Margaret Lawrence
Interesting murder mystery set in 1800 America. Midwife Hannah Trevor is single handedly bringing up her deaf child Jennet under the critical eyes of her neighbours. When a local man and his family are found murdered, eyes turn to her as the culprit. The way the book is written is slightly different to a "normal" mystery but it makes a refreshing change. I'm getting out the other books in the series.
Mel asked on the last Reading Round Up if I always read books to the end. I usually do, but only if I think it's worth it. Of late there have been a few that I've started and then put down because they haven't gripped me or at least captured my attention enough to continue. I have become much more selective in that respect. Some types of books I only read a chapter or two. These tend to be the non-fiction sort like that Koanga Garden Guide and the Mindset book. On these Reading Round Up lists, I don't list the cook books I get out of the library which are kind of like picture books for me in that I read them for relaxation and ideas.
Shannon asked if I have more time to read now I've got a lunch hour etc at work. I do read a bit at work - I have a half hour lunch so I often read something then. I occasionally will dip into something non-fiction while on the desk but only if it's really quiet and it has to be something I can put away easily. Fiction is no good at the information desk and it's not a good look either. I do try and read professional literature at work rather than take it home with me, because I can't concentrate on it at home. So, my answer is I probably read less fiction than before but more non-fiction now. Reading is one way I relax so I'd love to do more of it at home, but I find other stuff now takes priority.
Made several cards
Two 12x12 LOs
Changed my scrapbooking area round a bit in an attempt to make it less cluttered.
I've paid my deposit to go to the Sketchbook retreat! Woo hoo!
I won the coveted Threading Water Fiskars punch from SBO! Woo hoo! Very excited about that, and anxiously waiting for that to come but I've also ordered a few things from the shop so I told Andrea to send it all together. :)
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I do love this time of year when the garden stuff is getting going and there is so much hope! (Talk to me again mid-summer when the weeds are getting beyond me and I'll have another opinion!)
We're trying something different this year. I've removed all my herbs and put them in a separate garden so we've got 4 beds to deal with. Beans and potatoes will go in one bed, corn and cucurbits in another and the remaining two will have tomatoes, chillies, salad stuff etc etc. That's my bay tree in the pot. Fejoa and fig tree in the background. I'm hoping the companion planting will work well. I've got a mixture of seeds sprouting in the bed on the bottom left - mesculun salad, carrots, parsnips and radishs, plus some red onions. I'm not that successful with seeds because I tend to neglect them, but I'm hoping these will do ok. The radishes are up.
My herb garden. It looks a little "grave" like but I wanted to surround it so DH can use the weed eater etc without getting my stuff! So I found some old tongue and groove flooring bits under the house and used them, plus some pavers we've had left over from the big garden to do the edge with. So far the herbs have survived the replanting but the lemon grass needs to get some growth in soon if I'm to use any this season.
School seems to going well for DS. You know I never even asked how long I could stay the other day!! Oh well, as one of my friends says, it's sometimes better to apologise than ask permission. The teacher didn't seem at all concerned and as I mentioned, she put me to work drawing and cutting out masks for the kids.
His party on Saturday went well and bad scrapbooking mum that I am, I didn't even get out the camera! But fortunately some of my friends took a few photos so I'll get some off them. I was just too busy fluffing around with cakes and stuff.
My preparations for the party were a little curtailed by the fact DH lost his wallet and discovered the fact on Sat morning. So a big panic, lots of frantic hunting, cancelling of cards, driver's licence and so on. We reported the driver's licence to the police and got a temporary one and I had to go along to pay for it since he had no cash. Fortunately the wallet didn't have any cash in it so it's more the inconvenience than anything. Very frustrating. DH is prone to losing things. He needs a locator beacon on his wallet. Something like this perhaps? Or this?
Check out Vicky's cool new Etsy shop :) Such cute hats!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Originally uploaded by pdugmore2001.
Introducing Ms 20s Flapper in her cloche hat made by my friend SW. (She's got in on inside out though). To top off the effect her dress is a low waisted number but you can't see that!
She has a new word - "sossie" = sausage. Apparently they are the best thing. Last night we had hot dogs and there were wails of "Mi'!!" and "Sossie!" when I put them in the pot to heat up.
The first day of school went ok. I stayed until lunchtime to satisfy myself he knew what to do at playtime and lunchtime but he wasn't clingy at all. The only thing he didn't like was the Jump Jam thing again, but hey, even Mummy struggles with those moves! It's funny but so far as I could see it's all girly music with hip swaying and wavy arms thing. Bring on the BOYs music I say - lets have a bit of balance. The "feminising" of our education system is a pet peeve of mine now I have a son... but I shan't get on my soap box right now.
Anyway, they did some reading and DS now can read 2 words - "I" and "am". Yay!!! And his name of course, but he could do that already. They did some writing and he managed okay with that but I need to find a decent pencil grip for him. He struggles with holding a pencil properly. I've looked in Whitters and WS with no luck.
So what did Mummy do at school? She drew kangaroos for the teacher!! LOL! The teacher claimed she couldn't draw so I offered to do some kangaroo faces for some masks she was wanting to make for an assembly item. The kids painted them and we stuck them on headbands.
At lunchtime DS finally got into the BIG sandpit which he'd been eyeing up for ages. I think that clinched the deal for him - he's been wanting to play in there with the big trucks etc. I'm glad he's got a happy place at school. The classroom is also a place where he feels safe - it has several favourite things of his in it. Mobilo, a book about harvesters and even pictures on the wall of Mantids! The other children in the class seem friendly. He knows a couple of them from kindy and there is another new boy who started a few days before him so he's not the only one finding his feet.
Yesterday my mum stayed with him until morning tea, and today she stayed until just after 9am and he was fine.
Phew! I hope he remembers to eat his lunch today. Yesterday he didn't and I don't know why exactly. So this morning I had a little talk to him about that. I worry about him getting hungry or thinking I didn't provide him with lunch. So eat it boyo!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Whether by careless accident
or careful plan
we are where they begin
They grow in us
like germs or fictions
and we grow big with them
Red, mewling strangers
they tear our thresholds
and immediately we love them
When people say
they look like us
we smile and blush
We listen for their cries
as if we felt their pain
and hunger deep inside us
and hold them tightly
in our arms as if we'd found
a lost part of ourselves
We want to give them
all the things we never had
to make it up to them
for all the times
when we were hurt or or sad
to start again and put right
our mistakes in them,
to run in front of them
with warning flags.
We who've failed to be
the authors of our lives
We make them heroes,
starts whose happy endings
will scatter light in ours.
We feed them with our dreams
then wait and watch
like gardeners for flowers.
Vicki Feaver (1943-)
Allow me to be a little bit sentimental today. It's the first day of school for my son.
How can it be five years already?
Only yesterday you were placed hidden by towels, squirming on my deflated belly. Your weight now on the outside. They lifted you up, your limbs grasping for warmth and I saw you. My son. Your poor, mis-shapened head, wide mouth crying out at the new sensations. I gathered you close under my chin, my heart beating to comfort you.
I've watched you growing, your personality unfurling like a koru releasing each tendril. Sometimes it is a gentle, tender revelation. At other times a sharp explosion of force. Your helpless dependence changing into strength and purpose.
Today I gather you in again, to comfort me. To feel again, that pressure from you, the welling up of love inside. To smell your small boy scent, to feel your fingers slipping, worm like into mine.
I know you are ready for this next step. Already your mind is reaching out trying to grasp, to devour new ideas. But for myself, I wish to return just for one sweet moment to that time when your existence could be experienced by me only. Those gentle rolls, rippling the surface of my skin. The pummels of your fists as though you were knocking out a coded message. Cradled under my heart and your weight inside me.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Here are some that actually turned out.
Missy Moo posing on a log.
But I am quite pleased about this one. I was trying to capture the waves licking DS's ankles and the light was so nice... I think I needed to use the Sports mode to capture things a bit quicker. Missy Moo was all excited about the "wahdoo" until it came up and got her. Then there was more wailing and clinging to the Mummy leg business.
A busy week ahead. Tomorrow is DS's last day at kindy and Wednesday is his birthday, and first day at school. I went and got his books etc this morning. The school is bringing in a uniform next year so I had a look at that and will have to order some stuff in the next few months.
I'm nervous for him. The school visit we had wasn't a total success. He was okay in the classroom but once they moved to the hall to do Jump Jam he stood there looking at his feet, put his hands over his ears and got quite tearful. So we went on to kindy. I do hope it will be okay on Wednesday! I'm taking the day off tomorrow and Wednesday so I can spend some time there with him at kindy and at school.
He lost his first tooth last week. At 5!!! But he got his first tooth at 15 weeks so I suppose it is all relative. The Tooth Fairy gave him $1 because that was all she had in her purse. He wasn't concerned at all since money has no real value to him yet.
Menu Plan Monday
Monday - Chicken Herby Cobbler a la Janine
Tuesday - Devilled bangers in the crockpot, mashed potatoes plus veges
Wednesday - could be steak, could be Thai beef salad depending on how I feel
Thursday - DH away so we're having hot dogs. With sauerkraut. ;-)
Friday - Thai Meat balls, rice and some sort of vege
Saturday - DS's Pizza Party!!
Sunday - um um um not sure, depends on if the ILs are still here or not
Monday, September 08, 2008
The forbidden frontier / Zana Bell
Convict Charlotte is sent to Australia on a convict ship. Also travelling there is a missionary couple who subsequently offer Charlotte household work. The life of the convicts, settlers and their situations are portrayed realistically and it's not always a pretty sight. Relationships and conflicts make the story more interesting. Charlotte eventually flees Australia and participates in a mutiny that results in her ending up in a Maori village in the Bay of Islands. Sad in parts but an uplifting ending. Feisty heroine will capture your admiration. Great read.
Union Belle / Deborah Challinor
Story of Ellen, her family and community during the strikes of 1951. Her husband Tom is a miner in the Pukemiro coal mines. During this time a new man in town, Jack, shakes up Ellen's feelings and causes her to question her loyalties and role. The story gets a grip on you and even though I started getting mad at Ellen I couldn't stop reading it. :-) Interesting time period, and one that you don't often see in New Zealand fiction I think.
Girl with the pearl earring / Tracey Chevalier
Struck down by misfortune, Greit's family have to do something to help make ends meet, so she goes to be a maid for the Vermeer family (of painterly fame). Fitting into a new household with different religious beliefs, and having to find her feet with the dynamics of each family member, Griet is delighted when Vermeer gives her charge of helping in the studio. Things become difficult when Vermeer develops an obsession with her and his wife begins to realise. Good read.
French Spirits: a house, a village and a love affair in Burgundy / Jeffery Greene
An American poet and his wife transform an old stone presbytery into a home. Renovations and living in a different country make for an interesting story. Heart warming and honest.
Chandlers Run / Denise Muir
Adam and his family emigrate to the South Island of New Zealand in the hopes that the clean, mountain air will help Adam's TB. They discover his Uncle's station burnt to the ground and the Uncle himself mission upon their arrival. They face strenuous hardship to get the station back into order, made worse by Adam's physical weakness, ignorance and isolation. Their neighbour, a grumpy widow and James McKenzie, a shepherd (and NZ folk legend) assist them. Good story even though the ending is a bit "meh" for me!
A small part of history / Peggy Elliot
From the blurb ~ " At the age of 27 Rebecca becomes the third wife of John Springer. Thankfully her four stepsons like and obey her, but Sarah, her step-daughter, is proving to be more difficult. Then John decides to pack up and move to the other side of America. It's a long and arduous journey across plains, mountains and rivers, through blistering heat and blizzards that last for days. Rebecca does her best to feed and care for her new family, despite appalling adversity. At first Rebecca and the 15-year-old Sarah find their fledgling relationship stretched almost to breaking point but, eventually, their bond deepens, and becomes breakable only by death." I really did enjoy this book, but just to warn you, lots of major characters die in it! It's told from several different voices and is well written.
3 (I think)
Friday, September 05, 2008
Second one is a challenge to use stitching, stamping, an embellishment with at least 3 layers, beading and stamping. I didn't have beads the right colour so I used some jewel things.
This one was a challenge to use white space, doodling, bling and small photos.
Hmmm... these are all about DS! I should do some more for DD.
Hey - check this out. An email went around work about it. TVNZ are looking for a family (or more)
In the spirit of Colonial House and Pioneer House, Te Pa will transport three families back to 1850s New Zealand, to the period immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Two Maori families will live in a traditional Maori Pa and one Pakeha family will live nearby as a missionary or working class family might have done in the 1850s.
A reality show with a bit of educational value perhaps? Makes me wonder how I would manage! It would be hard work.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
The Green Baby Guide has begun a blog carnival to celebrate and share ways to save money and be green at the same time. My topic for this Thursday is the miracle cleaner:
Photo courtesy of jilldoughtie
I've got so used to this stuff that it wasn't until DH asked me where the toilet cleaner was that I realised that I needed to educate him on my current cleaning procedure.
Some time ago Janine posted about a book called Speed Cleaning by Shannon Lush. Great book! It has some excellent advice, one of which is the use of white vinegar and baking soda as an alternative to other cleaning products.
Now I'd known about white vinegar in particular because it is an excellent solution for neutralizing cat pee (and my mum has too many cats). I had also used baking soda as a cleanser for my pizza stone and clay pot (both of which you cannot use normal detergent on).
So I decided to get more serious about it. I put white vinegar+few drops of lavender oil in an old spray bottle. I went to the Binn Inn and bought a big bag of baking soda which is now stored in a container under the sink with a little scoop recycled from somewhere. I forget how much this cost me but I know it was less than a bottle of spray 'n' wipe.
My modus operandi is this. On the surface of the toilet bowl and seat I spray the white vinegar. Using the scoop I sprinkle over some baking soda which makes a very satisfying fizz when it hits the vinegar. I then use a dedicated toilet sponge to wipe over the seat, and the toilet brush for the bowl.
I also use this process on other surfaces like the bathroom vanity, the bath and the stainless steel bench.
Baking soda is a mild abrasive so is a good option for surfaces like the shower where crud builds up. You could even do it while having a shower!
Baking soda and cider vinegar can also be used as an alternative to shampoo. You can read about that on Amy's blog. I have tried this, and yes it works remarkably well! My hair felt really light after doing this.
Why not give it a go? You might be surprised at how much cheaper (and how effective) this cleaner is.
Now a plug for a new challenge.
My friend Amy is running a Ditch the Disposables challenge for the next couple of months. Run on over and check it out.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I have the Centric Safe seat on the bike because I prefer it to the ones that sit at the rear. My balance isn't the most perfect so this way my centre of gravity is localised. If DD wiggles a bit, I don't notice much. Also, I can see what she is doing.
It's hard to believe but DS has actually gone to sleep on the blue sloped bit at the front. He just lay his head down and dozed off. That is what it's for, but I didn't really think it would be used like that until it happened!
Ignore my butt. I hope to have buns of steel soon.
Pleased to see each other home.
The bus just didn't work. I really wanted it to! After all, they go right by the end of our street down to the bus stop outside my work place. But they didn't arrive at the time tabled time, so I was late for work. Then I waited an hour in the evening with no appearance of said time tabled bus - and gave up. DH came and got me.
So pedal power it is. It takes me 15 minutes to get from home to work. Fortunately for me, I can park my bike in the underground staff parking area so no Trevs can fiddle with it. (Not that it's a cool bike or anything but still, it's MINE).
Fortunately for my colleagues, there is a shower available for me to use in one of the buildings...
Yes it looks as if no one has cleaned it for the last 5 years but I'm trying to sort that out with the facilities manager.
And yes, the temperature is about 2 degree off flippin' freezing but it's very refreshing! *sucks in deep breath!*
One step closer to reducing my carbon footprint.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Monday 1st Sept
3.00am Miss 20 Months wakes crying. Comes into our bed for (.)(.) comfort. Very restless. Eventually goes back to sleep.
6.00am Alarm goes and wakes me so I must have gone back to sleep sometime. DH goes for shower. I wake again when he comes back. Drag carcass out to the ablution cubicle.
6.45am Get dressed.
7.15am Finish making lunches. Take out newspapers to be recycled.
7.30am Making brekkers for DH and I. Mr Nearly 5 comes out.
7.40am Miss 20 Months emerges.
7.45am Get kid breakfasts. DH leaves for work. He asks DS who is still in his pj's, if he's ready to come too. Remind him it's my late night.
8.15am Get kids dressed, teeth cleaned, shoes on, kindy snack made.
8.45am Walk up to kindy. Sign DS in, hang up his bag. Say goodbye. Remind him Nan is picking him up.
9.00am Clear up breakfast things. Make bed. Meditate.
9.30am Fold some laundry. Wash kitchen floor and cupboard doors. Look at the carpet but decide I don't have time to vacuum. Bother said Pooh.
10.15am Hang out washing. Put another load in the machine.
10.30am Get bottle and nappies ready. Take Miss 20 Months to daycare.
11.00am Fold more washing. Have some lunch.
11.30am Get dressed for work. Hang out another load of washing. Mum arrives, so give her DS's bag with spare clothes etc.
11.45am Leave for work.
12 noon Drop overdue book back in returns slot. Pick up the Koanga Gardening Guide (on hold for me) from the issues desk downstairs before heading upstairs.
12.05pm Turn on computer, sort out lunch bag, hand bag. Go and get water bottle filled. Check roster and note down when I'm on. Log on and check emails, enter desk duties into the calendar.
12.15am Student arrives needing help with question about the cost of terminal care. We discuss the information I've found for her last week after her question was passed on to me via another librarian. Get a better understanding for what she wants, so arrange to catch up on Friday to pool what we find. Suggest some contacts in the nursing faculty she may like to follow up.
12.30pm-2.30pm Take over the Level 3 desk. Issue, return books and our best "sellers" the infernal laptops.
Lecturer pops by to introduce himself. Discusses a training session he wants me to do with his students. Quiz him about the topics because I'm still new at his subject area. Keep having to bob up to attend to other people who want books etc issued. We arrange to exchange emails about the session and topics and he leaves for a lecture.
Put money on photocopying cards (wheee! I can work EFTPOS machines, how riveting).
Show a student how to get journal articles but can't spend sufficient time to make sure she's "got it" because of Reference Interruptus (people wanting laptops). Sure enough she's back with the wrong information *sigh* Should have sent her downstairs to the ref librarian.
Start processing a trolley of returns from downstairs. Seems like somebody is getting a bunch of fines with some overdue recalls.
Bungle a colour printing job for a student because I misunderstand the question.
Spend about 10 minutes issuing some kits with cassettes, CDs booklets all in one bag... have to issue every item. Explain to ESOL student that his book he put on hold isn't here yet, try tomorrow. Want to tell him he can check his record online but don't feel confident his English is good enough yet.
Try and finish returns trolley. Book study room for a student. G takes over from me.
2.35pm Decide I need a chai so head for staff room to make it. Have it at my desk with a snack. Check some blogs. Check emails. See if I've got any funds left to buy some books. I do have a bit left over in some areas. Make a note of them.
3.00pm See if previous librarian made a session plan for this database session she apparently did last year. Nope. Look at some other session plans other librarians have done. Start a Word document to make up a plan. Jot down some session outcomes. Waste some time looking at blogs.
4.15pm Make myself a panini and an orange to get me through to home time.
4.30pm Take over Level 3 desk. Fairly busy for the first hour - logging people onto the research computers. Dumb MFDs playing up (why do designers think touch screens are a good thing?) so people can't print/copy from one particular machine. Do extremely complicated tech repair involving pulling out connections and plugging back in. Seems to help.
Do a Noise Monitoring Patrol and wonder why high school kids like the tinny music that their phone plays. Don't they know about music quality, mp3 players and *shock* ear buds!?
Answer query on culture in Japan, Germany and Australia for public library patron who has to have the info tonight because she's left it so late. All the good books are in other libraries and she can't wait for them to placed on hold. Send her to the reference room, kids section and to the few adult books available at this branch.
Make another attempt on the database session plan.
Help a lady find a book on autism, and another lady a book on relationships and finding the perfect partner.
Give the lesson plan another go. Try and think of a novel way to approach a boring subject. No bright ideas so far.
6.10pm Pop upstairs to see if H wants a tea break. She says to go first. Make myself a coffee and gobble a kiwifruit. Take over Level 3 desk while H goes for a break. Head back downstairs when she's done.
7.00pm Things quieten down. Look at the LIANZA conference programme to see when CW is presenting. Look at some of the other sessions. Send email to boss asking if I can go to a few of them.
Help a Dad and son find a book on basketball.
Clear some books left on the tables. Somebody has pulled off 8 of the "for Dummies" series from the 005's.
Notice an overhead projector has been left on in one of lecture theaters over the road. Make mental note to tell security guy when he comes around.
Try and get back to lesson plan but have lost the thread.
Dream about the card I'm making at home.
Wonder if DH has made tea and if kids are okay.
Giggle at LOLcats.
Look at a few blogs.
7.50pm Start cleaning things up, turning things off. Wonder why that same guy from last week is back again at 10 to 8 when he's got 5 minutes to find something and get it issued.
8.00pm Head upstairs to see if H needs any help. Lock up my office and turn off lights.
8.10pm Head downstairs to the car park. Panic because I can't find my keys. Finally find them buried at the bottom of my handbag. The car park is not open to the public but it's sort of spooky down there by myself. Head out to the big roller door, avoiding the Mobile Library bus parked on the side. Wave the magic blue chip at the sensor and the roller door goes up s-l-o-w-l-y.
8.25pm Arrive home. Kids running around naked from their bath. DS wants to help me put the car away but persuade him he needs to get dressed. DH looking slightly harassed with his shirt out and making bottle. He says "It's good to see you back!" (heh heh). Put car away. DD already in bed with her bottle (she only had 1 hour sleep at day care). Give her a cuddle. Get DS into pj's and into bed. Heat the wheaty-heaty for him. Read story. Find his torch. Give "one last cuddle". Find the harvester which has to go to bed with him. DH makes coffee for us. Re-heat enchiladas DH made earlier. Eat & read my book.
9.30pm Empty dishwasher. Reload dishwasher. Chat with DH about the day. Help DH with the remaining dishes. Chat with sister on Skype. Make tomorrow's lunches. Pack bag for biking to work tomorrow. DH looking at old Billy T and Fred Dagg YouTube videos. Giggle at the corny jokes. Think how old I am because I remember the Billy T jokes in particular.
10.15pm Get into jammies. Read my book for a while to try and settle down.
10.30pm Lights out.