Thursday, June 30, 2011

#blogjune Day 30: In which I did some PD

How does an elearning librarian spend her day?  Today, I attended a webinar screened by the media librarian from UoA (University of Auckland) about streaming audio and video files.  It was really interesting to see what and how they are doing this.  I know there is some angst in the library world about our tendency to have lots of "How We Done It Good" type PD stuff but I have to say this sort of stuff appeals to my practical side.  I usually get ideas and inspiration from things like this.

In the afternoon, I attended Nethui and spent most of the time in the Education stream, briefly venturing out to hear about the social media response to the Christchurch quakes.  Se if you can spot me in the Livestream video they had running - I'm talking to my former colleague Li.

#dailyimage2011 30 June Nethui

I was a little disappointed that the focus, or perhaps more correctly, the participant dominance in the Education stream was from primary and secondary levels.  I was not disappointed that they were present - I think it is great - but the disappointment lay in the lack of tertiary level education participants.  I think the only tertiary level people there were librarians.  Still - there were interesting discussions, and of course, much overlap in terms of issues at every level of education.  E.g. Infrastructure, resistance from overwhelmed teachers to eLearning, need to focus on the learning not the tools and so on.  It's hard to know where to start but I think the answer does lie in the carrot & stick model, plus opportunities to hear from others about success stories.

One thing that is so necessary is the perceived freedom to "play" and to have risk friendly environments in which that "play" can occur.  This isn't easy - in the tertiary sector one is so conscious that students have paid large sums of money to be there and "playing" with a new approach can seem irresponsible. Yet, I've witnessed some great exemplars at MPOW where technology and social eLearning has been very effective in courses that you would think it would fail - such as construction and automotive classes.

This was hardly a normal day in the life for me, but it was a nice interlude.  And there was Oreo cheesecake.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

#blogjune Day 29: In which I get a delightful parcel

of goodies from Janine! :)

#dailyimage2011 29 June pamper

I did have a little giggle at the paper you wrapped the soap in J9 ;-)  Looking forward to using them!  As soon as I opened the package I could smell the lovely scent - thank you.

Today I didn't get anything done on my paper but I did watch the live stream of Nethui which began today.  I had put my name on the waiting list for attendance but didn't hold out much hope of getting a registration, but lo!  the library's PA came in to tell me I did and so I'm attending tomorrow afternoon and Friday morning.  Looking forward to being there in person.  I have to say that Ziln did a great job of live streaming and were responsive to tweets about sound etc from those watching which does them credit.

There was some interesting discussion today and the tweet stream for #nethui is representative of what the sessions were about.

One thing that struck me in the Digital literacy session and the session entitled 21st Century Parenting - Challenges and Solutions, was the focus on Facebook and privacy/safety issues.  It would appear that Facebook is held up as an example of what can go wrong in terms of safety online and lack of digital literacy.  It bothers me that there are those out there that a) don't bother to dig deep into the settings on their Facebook profile b) let kids younger than 13 use Facebook and c) use ignorance as a cop out to ignore modelling good online behaviour.

Another thing that bothered me from the digital literacy session was the focus of some of the contributors on the basic computing skills such as word processing.  I guess I'm more at the information literacy part of the continuum where I feel it is important for people to have discernment when it comes to evaluating where information comes from rather than basic "How To Use Auto Sum In Excel".  Clearly, these basic skills are important but I fear for the ability of people to be good digital citizens if all we're teaching them in terms of digital literacy is how to use the functionality of a programme effectively.

Anyway, there was lots of food for thought.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#blogjune Day 28: In which I am pleased

I don't really talk about my children's achievements on my blog (since it is of no real interest to anyone but family :-) ), but tonight we had parent-teacher interviews and after last year's fiasco, I have been watching Mr7's progress with some concern.  It's hard to know how he is doing for his age group.  This year I have been worried about his writing and maths.  Anyway, his teacher says that while he has areas on which to work on for these, he (the teacher) is confident he (Mr7) will be up to the right level by the end of the year.  His reading has advanced 3 levels from the beginning of the year which is awesome news.  He has also risen one maths level too since the year began.  He has excellent "topic knowledge" and has strengths in science <-- no big surprises there!  I am feeling relieved about things now.

Additionally, I am relieved to have resurrected a family tree file I'd made back in 20004.  I'd saved it, but the software used to create the file had gone back to Mum's and we no longer had it There seemed to be no easy way to convert the file to something useful.  Fortunately, Mum still had the software running on her machine so DH converted the file to something more universal and we've downloaded some open source family tree software and I can now update it.  I wanted to check the tree to see if a connection existed - not sure that it does but hooray for having the data workable again!  I'll be backing up the GEDcom file now and also uploading the info to a cloud based genealogy site too (I think) to ensure I've got the data.  Some lessons there about digital continuity!

This is Pusscat - he was made for me by my grandma.

Monday, June 27, 2011

#blogjune Day 27: In which I make jam drops

which look disturbingly like chicken pox. *wince*

However, they got the stamp of approval from Mr7 who said, "You can put these in my lunch box, Mum."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

#blogjune Day 26: In which Mr 7 write about harvesters

This post is bought to you by Mr7 who is telling me what to write.

Harvesters harvest grain, in a big field in a group.  Because there are usually groups of them harvesting one part. 

Harvester approaches

[Harvester approaches by Mostly Dans]

Harvesters pour out the grain out of the auger into a special trailer with an auger that can fold down and fold up.

combined harvester
[combined harvester by Mostly Dans]

evening harvest

[evening harvest by Mostly Dans]

 There are different brands of harvesters that are John Deere, Claas, and New Holland.

Friday, June 24, 2011

#blogjune Day 24: In which I make excuses

for missing out yesterdays post.

1. Miss4 has chicken pox
2. Miss4 has chicken pox
3. I had to look after Miss4
4. My head spent the afternoon/evening surging around trying to get out of my skull.

So all in all I didn't feel like blogging. The head appears to be mostly settled. I have taken ginger tablets for the dizziness and panadol for the associated headache. There is something going on with my inner ears - I can feel it but not a lot one can do about that. Sleep is good.

As for Miss4, she's mostly very good if a little subdued, telling me she is a spotty dog. But the virus flares up in the evenings and it all gets itchy poor kid.

Today I worked from home. I did a lot of reading and am feeling a bit better about this paper I'm writing. I needed to get into the "academic writing" mode I think. I have now revised my plan of attack. Sure wish there was some support at MPOW for this stuff though, especially for first time conference presenters like me.

#dailyimage2011 24 June reading

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#blogjune Day 22: In which I make a list of notable things

Stuff that happened today:

  • Submitted my edits for my ethics application for some action research I'm doing.
  • Edited some more of a paper I'm supposed to present at ICELF (& wished I never submitted for)
  • Edited a policy document on Student Voice for which I am on a committee for
  • Did a desk shift
  • Listened/watched a Youtube presentation by Stephen Abram and made notes of bits relevant to my ICELF paper
  • Was emailed to say my two abstracts submitted to LIANZA2011 have been accepted as poster presentations
  • Felt panicky
  • Thought about all the other stuff I need to do before the end of the year
  • Felt more panicky
  • Got into a long discussion on Twitter about an unconference
  • Went home and made dinner
  • Discovered Miss3 came home with spots helpfully circled in pen by daycare teachers indicating potential chicken "pops" as Miss3 calls them
  • Dried dishes
  • Continued Twitter conversation
  • Read 3 chapters of the BFG to washed, dried and pyjama-ed children
  • Made a wiki
  • Wrote this blog post
  • Played with the settings on the webcam

#dailyimage2011 22 June oddfellow

And so to bed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

#blogjune #Day 20: In which I remind myself to say no

It is probably correct to say I expect a lot of myself.  This means I have issues saying no.

I should have said no to doing action research this year.  It seemed a good idea at the time to be involved in it but then I said yes to submitting some abstracts to conferences too.  Which means I'm doing a lot of writing and reading when I would rather be doing more practical stuff. 

The difficulty I have is I see the opportunity and I don't want to miss it in case it doesn't happen again.

Some layouts from the weekend:



And a video blog for today for Jo who wants to see my kitchen! Well, here it is in all it's messy glory!:

#blogjune Day 19: In which I do a catch up post

So yesterday's blog didn't happen. Moop.

Here is a catch up post.

Some linky love:

Random Romance Novel Title Generator (thanks to @seanfish) - my current fave "The Scottish Vampire's Insatiable Nurse"

Which makes me think of two things.

1. Romance novels are always better when they involve men in kilts, preferably with an accent. ;-)

2. A lesson I learned back in the dark ages when I worked part time at a public library.. one should not judge a book by it's cover.  We had a regular customer who would come in every weekend to borrow a handful of Mills & Boon romances. In my rather immature,Improving Librarian state I looked down my nose at this predilection.  I imagined this elderly lady sitting in her flat salivating over the racy bits.  One day I decided to be helpful and nicely suggested some other books I thought she would like.  She listened to my suggestions and agreed that they sounded interesting.  Then she said, a little apologetically, "I get these because I can't sleep at night and they don't require any brain interaction on my part.  They help me get through the night and back to sleep."  Oh my, I felt about 2 mm tall.  So after that I had to revise my opinionated attitudes.  People read what they read for many reasons and it is okay.  I still make suggestions to people, especially if they ask, but I no longer put on that Improving Librarian hat and look down upon people's choices of reading matter. While I mightn't like their choice, it's not up to me to make that snobby judgement call.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

#blogjune Day 18: In which I mention perfume

I love perfume. I like reading about the history behind it, the different stories about special ones, the design of the bottles.

My first boyfriend gave me a bottle of Paris as a gift. I still like that one, but not on me! The whiff of certain perfumes can bring back interesting memories. I still associate Tommy with the early dating days with DH. My Grandmother liked 4711. An elderly friend of ours also liked it and would put it on my hanky for me, so I associate 4711 with handkerchiefs and old ladies! Only my grandma would call it "scent" rather than perfume.

When I was in Wellington for my library degree there was a perfume shop on Lambton Quay that I would go past on my way to the bus. I would spend time looking in the window at the display. I think I went in once or twice.. Never could afford anything, but sometimes would sample one.

Then once I started work on Greys Ave back in Auckland, I was dangerously close to Smith & Caughy's so that when they had their famous sale I was able to purchase a few of my desired perfumes.

Some of my favorites that I actually own are:

L'air du Temps
Ma Griffe

I prefer light florals and some orientals or chrypres styles.

I haven't bought perfume for years now. After I had kids, I wore it less for some reason. Now I have decided I shan't buy any new bottles until I have finished what I have.

I prefer to buy my own perfume than have it given to me. Perfume changes once it is on the skin so it is best to try before buying. What one person likes isn't always what another chooses.

I am also fond of simple essential oils such as lavender, neroli and rose.

Do you have a signature perfume? What ones do you like?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#blogjune Day 16: In which I try Google's new image search and am surprised

Google has launched a new way to search - by image.  Whereas before you could search via text for an image, now you can use the image itself.  With some surprising results as I found when using a profile photo I have of myself.

Google didn't find where I'd used the photo.  Other photos I tried would show me places where the photo had been posted or used.  For this photo it did make some suggestions of visually similar images - I think this is based on colours.  Some of those suggestions were surprising...

Especially the one on the bottom right corner.  I look like a bare bottom?  I shall run away to bare bottom land!*

*You need to read Bad Jelly the Witch to get this reference.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#blogjune Day 15: In which I make ninjas

Mr7 came home with a notice about a shared lunch at school.. Tomorrow! Grrr. Of course, there is the option to send him along with his own lunch if "I prefer" according to the note. Ha! Who wants to be the kid who's Mum send him along with an individual lunch?

So I made cheesy mite pinwheel scones and ninja bread men (actually ninja short bread men).

Hence the lack of significant blog post.

And the lack of parental unit lunches made. We're going to "order" tomorrow.

Remember ordering your lunch at school? We hardly ever did, so it was a treat. These days the offerings are almost sophisticated. You can get pies of course, but at Mr7's school they offer soup and bread, pasta bakes and quite a range of other stuff.

In my day there were pies, sandwiches and sausage rolls. One sandwich option included vegemite and potato chips on white bread.. A dreadful combination that I still indulge in now and again. There was a particular way you had to eat your pie too. First you peeled the flakey pastry bit by bit off the top. Then you ate the top. Then you scooped the filling (with your fingers) and then you ate the rest of the pastry. The pies were Big Ben brand.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#blogjune Day 14: In which I begin a shopping list

This is the beginning of my shopping list:

Kebab sticks
laundry powder
muesli bars
Little Rippers

What is on yours?

#dailyimage2011 14 June shopping list

Monday, June 13, 2011

#blogjune Day 13: In which I try out a new app

Today, @lyndelleg tweeted about this post in the SMH about the future of libraries.  The article refers to the launch by the British Library of it's new iPad app featuring access to over a thousand scanned 19th Century books.

Way cool!

I eagerly downloaded it. I like the quality of the scanned books - in some you can even see squashed bugs!  I do however wish for a search function within the books.  Call me geek but that's how we librarians roll. :-)  Also, I do object to the kangaroo featured on the front page of all Australian/NZ/Pacific books.  Don't get me wrong.  I like kangas, but there aren't any here, nor in the Pacific Islands. Perhaps something more ubiquitous would have been better.  Don't ask me what though.  Vegemite perhaps?

Anyhow, it is neat to be able to read publications by the Rev. Richard Taylor about early New Zealand.  Incidentally I feel quite friendly towards old Rev Rick - because I spent a summer photocopying transcripts from his diaries.  I feel I got to know him a bit as I read his musings in between passes of the green photocopier light, surrounded by the stink of toner and heat from the cooling vent.  Those were the days before scanners were any good.

And it is curious to see the books they've chosen to scan too.   

Sacred songs for British Seamen? Check.
The London Burial Grounds: notes on their history from the earliest to the present day? Check.  (The which has a chapter entitled Private and Promiscuous Cemeteries - I did read the chapter but didn't see what was promiscuous about them.)
The book of the cheese: being traits and stories of 'ye Old Cheshire Cheese'? Check.
The children of the mist; or, the Scottish clansmen in peace and war? Check.  (This title slightly disconcerting in the light of a modern day title, "Gorillas in the mist")

If you have a Pad of I you may wish to try it out :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

#blogjune Day 12: In which I get creative

Although it won't be of much interest to most #blogjune-ers I actually got to do some scrapbooking (and I made 2 cards).  It's been a while since I did any paper craft so I feel quite happy about that.  Well, apart from the odd card made in a rush that is!

Bad photo this one - the light had gone by the time I finished it. Will take another.

I did make creme brulee and used my blow torch on it, but no photos because both my cameras had their batteries on the charger.  And now they are eaten.  But I did learn that despite the recipe I used, brown sugar is not a good option, white sugar is better and preferably caster sugar (which I didn't have).  So... more learning but nevertheless tasty.  I know there are more people wanting to eat creme brulee so there will be further opportunity for perfection!  Ha!

Mr7 got creative too.  He wanted to make a movie of his creation so here it is.  It is also the reason my cameras are now needing their batteries charged.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

#blogjune Day 11: In which I try out my new blow torch

My day has been mostly good and even though I did quite a lot I didn't feel stressed like I've been these past few weekends.

I picked up some half price polyprop thermals for the whole family for our trip South later in the year, plus some boots for the kids.

I managed to take some photos to get printed so I can do some scrapbooking. I did make a bit of a boo boo with the colour management settings when I exported from Lightroom to my USB and thus when I got them printed they aren't as vibrant as I expected, but they look alright. At least, not bad enough for me to go back and get them all done again. I've usually printed stuff at home but a) DH has the matte black ink in the printer and b) we had no suitable paper and c) it's no longer economical for us to do our own printing for my needs. So off to Hardly Normal I went only to discover there was a huge queue and 2 hour wait for pick up. So I went to the WheroWhare instead where there was no queue and I only had to wait 30 minutes!  So what to do while waiting? Wander round the mall!!

I went into Stevens to ogle at the cast iron casseroles they have on special,and discovered they have a Creme brulee set reduced to $29.99 - 4 ramkins and the blow torch. Thank you very much serendipity! So I am now the proud owner of a blow torch. Tonight I used it on some crepe suzette, tomorrow I shall make creme brulee attempt two.

#dailyimage2011 11 June Flames


#dailyimage2011 11 June Crepe Suzette

Now, if Mr7 stops puking, I shall be quite upbeat about the day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

#blogjune Day 10: In which I indulge in some escapism

It's Friday night and there is a pile of books under my bed that require my attention.
Puttin' a lid on the day :)

#dailyimage2011 10 June put a lid on it

Thursday, June 09, 2011

#blogjune Day 8: In which I do yoga & find a wig

It's been one of those days.  You know the kind.  So tonight I looked on Youtube for some yoga sequences to help me loosen up, relax and get that nice "well-being" feeling back.  I found Yogatic which suited me well tonight.  Routines for anxiety, bad days and a bit of mediation and I feel a bit better.

DH came home to say that many of his work mates are off on a retreat to Linderman Island.  He, the boss and his colleague are holding the fort.  His boss told him he should wear a dress tomorrow because they'll be doing the receptionist's job too! I know, I know, terribly sexist and all but sorta amusing too.  I offered my bra to him but he declined.  I did find this wig he could use....

#dailyimage2011 9 June wig

Mr7 saw me and said, "No Mummy I don't like you looking like that!"  Miss4 just laughed and wanted to try it on.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

#blogjune Day 8: In which I link to my Prezi

Today I had to present to senior management some of the things we're doing with elearning in the library.  I was nervous about it, mainly because there was a bit of a subtext to promote what we're doing in order to give support for further funding for our efforts.  I always feel a bit on the left foot about doing this kind of thing because some of the other presentations are so "wow" in terms of cool elearning teaching in content based courses.  Our experience of elearning in the library is different to that of a course teaching languages or construction for example, and although I feel what we're doing has value and merit, it doesn't especially have the "wow" factor.  Elearning in our library runs in parallel with what teachers are doing in their courses and compliments what they do.

And that is all for today.  I am tired and a bit emotional about some other stuff, so time for shut down.  Dee-do-dadum *shutdown sound*

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Monday, June 06, 2011

#blogjune Day 6: In which I bite a caterpillar's bottom and share a recipe

Spent the day with a whole lot of others, gathering for fellowship and inspiration and faith renewal. The children were pretty good through the long services.

Came home and did housework, DH mowed the lawn.

Miss4 rediscovered this wretched toy yesterday.  In case you didn't realise, it drives me nuts eventually.

#dailyimage2011 6 June bite me

Janine asked for this recipe so here it is :)  It is a great vegetarian recipe.  I add chickpeas or kidney beans to bump up the protein factor if I use it as a vegetarian main.

Batata Nu Shak ( Spicy potatoes with tomatoes)
(from Flavours of India / Madhur Jaffrey (1995) London: BBC Books, ISBN: 0563370777, pg. 69)
Serves 4-6

4 Tbsp vege oil
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried hot red chillies
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp gr. asafoetida (hing)*
10 fresh curry leaves if available**
4 small potatoes (450g) peeled or unpeeled, cut into 1cm pieces
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp gr turmeric
2 tsp salt
2 fresh hot green chillies
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger peeled and finely grated
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh green coriander
2 med sized tomatoes chopped into 2.5cm dice (I use a can of chopped tomatoes)
1 1/2 Tbsp desiccated coconut
1/2 Tbsp jaggery or brown sugar
3/4 Tbsp thick tamarind paste ***

Heat the oil in a large, wide, preferably non-stick pan or wok over medium high heat.
When hot, put in mustard seeds.  As soon as they pop, a matter of seconds, add the cumin seeds, red chillies, bay leaves and asafetida.  Stir for 4-5 secs and add the curry leaves.  Stir once and add potatoes, cayenne pepper, turmeric, salt, green chillies and ginger.  Stir to mix.
Add 150ml water.  Cover and simmer for 10 mins over low heat.
Now add the fresh coriander, tomatoes, coconut, gr. coriander, jaggery or brown sugar and 350ml water.  Stir to mix, then cover again and leave to simmer for a further 10 mins.  Add the tamarind pastes. Simmer for a further 2-3 mins.  Remove from heat.
Serve with Indian breads as part of any Indian meal.

* Asafoetida is a strong smelling spice that replaces the use of garlic/onion in some Indian dishes.  I don't mind the smell, but some people find it very pungent.  Keep it in a sealed container.  It can be obtained from any Indian spice store.  It smells very strong when you use it but when cooked has a mellow flavour.

**Curry leaves are often sold in my PakNSave near the vermicelli in the vege section.  Also obtainable from Asian and India stores.  They freeze well and I have them in the freezer, helping myself when needed for curry dishes.

*** You can buy tamarind in a couple of forms from Asian stores and Indian food stores. I usually buy the dried cake form which I then break a piece off and reconstitute it with boiling water.  I then press it through a tea strainer to get the paste and strain out the seeds.  You can get it in concentrate form too, which is more convenient since you don't have to get the seeds out, but be careful to get the dilution factor correct.  Too much will overpower the dish.  You can use lemon juice if you don't have any on hand as tamarind is a souring flavour.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

#blogjune Day 5: In which curry is made and consumed in large quantities

My sister had a GF visiting who had heard about our curry feast and wanted to experience them.  She is vegetarian so Indian food is an easy option.  I did have to cater to my dedicated carnivore husband though, so I made:
  • Vindaloo
  • Tamarind fish
  • Batata Nu shak (potatoes in a spicy sauce - I also included chickpeas in it)
  • Bhindi (okra or lady's fingers) with a garlic/seasame seed/coconut/poppy seed coating
  • Saag paneer
  • Mango lassi
  • Semolina firni

curry feast

My sister made:
  • Aloo ghobi
  • rice
  • A dahl from Uttar Pradesh

Dad made:
  • pooris

and P bought indian sweets from the sweet shop.


While we were at Mum & Dad's, Mr7 got out the didgeridoo to play with. He used to be terrified of it, but now he's embraced his Australian heritage. (My parents are originally from NSW, Australia).

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Day 3: social media catchup

There are heaps of posts from the #blogjune participants.. it's hard to keep up with them all.  I'm not succeeding in commenting on many this time around.

#dailyimage2011 3 June social media catch up

Day 4: Hat #blogjune

I spent most of the day at a class making a felted hat. The class was good and the hat successful, though the kimono silk didn't felt in as I hoped.  I will have to use it differently to what I imagined.  I feel guilty for leaving DH with the children though.

Dinner was a failure.  The only person who liked it was me.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Day 2: Diligent Room Tweetup

Owing to some sharp monitoring of tweets I noticed a southerly Diligent Room blogger was in town so a tweet up was in order!

Thanks to some willing grandparents we were able to get together sans sproglets - a rare treat for some of us ;-)

A night of conversation ranging from phenomenology to converting the entire NZ library nation to Koha, laughs and dessert.
The obligatory photo in which we all look like nutters, including the dude with the saxophone... and so to bed.

Did you notice?  My eyes are flashing!  *gasp* eyemote alert!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Today is the day! #blogjune

* x-posted from TROID*

It is June 1st and today we’re launching blogging every day for June  (#blogjune).  Gird your loins bloggers, because we’re in it for 30 days of blog writing!

Last year, a bunch of librarians & others on Twitter decided to challenge themselves to blog everyday for the month of June.  It was a challenge, but the participants enjoyed it so much that we have decided to do it again.
Blogging as a practice, appears to be slowing down for many people including myself.  I am reluctant to give it up entirely though.  I think it is because I’ve made some valuable connections with other people through my blog, it is my space to talk about my interests and let’s face it, 140 characters and Facebook statuses are limiting when you have a lot to say.

So here we go – hold onto your cardies because the wild ride is about to begin!  My Google reader subscriptions just got bigger.

I'll update this post will be updated later in the day with a link to an OPML feed/netvibes page of all the June bloggers.

Edited to update: OMGoodness - there are fifty-flippin'-six of them! WOW!