Sunday, April 30, 2006
Well, it was the most fabulous class: lovely people, great teacher, and I was actually able to produce beautiful books over the two days. I can't wait to visit the specialty paper shops that import the most exquisite paper from Japan and elsewhere. Apparently I'll have to take out a loan to afford them, but I actually already have a supply of oriental handmade paper. A few years ago when the Man Who Cooks was still travelling to Asia, he bought large sheets of handmade paper to cover parts of the walls in our studies. We wound up using shojii blinds instead, and just stored the paper and forgot about it. Turns out that stuff is a mini goldmine for bookbinding. I can see a new obsession coming up. Hope I'll remember to blog now and then.
Tortoise shell sewn binding
Embossed paper, accordion book (see photo in next row)
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Twice a year we get a visit from migrating ducks, around about now, and again in August. Usually they appear in pairs, but last week this one was on its own. Rather sad, as ducks mate for life. Alice had a similar post about a cockatoo losing its mate recently. I'm hoping that maybe the ducks just landed in different pools in the neighborhood and later caught up with each other again.
It is always a delight to see them in the pool, and their arrival is quite dramatic too, if you happen to be watching: our garden is surrounded by tall trees, and the ducks zoom in, descending sharply in tandem and at great speed, just clearing the roof line (lucky we have a flat roof!) and straight into the pool. The sound of them landing in the water is distinctive, so if we haven't seen them land, the sound alerts us to their presence. They can sometimes stay for an hour.
Years ago our male cat Tintin was surprised by this intrusion into his territory, and spent a good part of an hour stalking them. We were ready to rush out if he got too close, but those ducks really were on top of the situation, it was as if they were teasing that cat. They'd even get out of the pool and wait at the edge until at the last moment they'd jump into the pool and out of Tintin's reach. This happened over and over again that morning. Now he just ignores them, I think that must have been a learning experience for him.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Beautiful gum tree, just in front of the Coliban water channel. Until this point, the walk was along an old vehicle track that a 4WD could navigate.
This is where we start to lose the track, but we've got the towers to aim for.
Really lost now, decide to go straight up
View from the top. Signs saying: Warning: steep drops - duh - been there, done that.
Victorian countryside - how lovely it is. By enlarging the photo you can just make out an old stone cottage on the farm.
One of these days I'll go for a ride in a Tiger Moth!
Tractor pull - does this type of competition exist anywhere in the world outside country Australia?? The tank is full of water, and tractors compete to see how far they can drag it on a dirt track.
The man who cooks loves old cars, so there was something there for him as well.
A beautiful Mustang - Techie Son would have loved this. But no: going to the country is not cool - no computers or TV.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
I was tagged by Susie for this meme:
4 Jobs I've had in My Life
1. Insurance Office Clerk in San Francisco (me too, Susie!)
2. Dishwasher in a restaurant in Hamburg, Germany
3. German teacher in a high school (U.S. & Australia)
4. Librarian at the Goethe Institute, Melbourne (German Cultural Center)
4 Movies I Could Watch Over and Over
1. Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati)
2. Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (Jacques Tati)
3. Blade Runner
4. Arnie movies (action packed and most are hilarious too)
4 Websites I Visit Regularly
1. carltonfc.com.au (Carlton Football Club)
2. library catalogues (I'm addicted!)
3. Google, especially its image search
4. various blogs
4 Favorite Foods
1. orzo (also called rissoni - rice-shaped pasta), with any sauce or just buttered
2. roast duck
3. any desserts or cookies made with almonds, almond essence, amaretto, marzipan
4. chicken prepared in any way - I have SO many recipes for chicken, and keep collecting more
4 Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
1. Dunk Island, Queensland
2. Japanese garden in or near Kyoto, with few other visitors around
3. Japanese garden in Cowra, New South Wales (it's a beauty!)
4. in a cosy bed and breakfast in Castlemaine, just for a treat
4 Books I Could Read Over and Over
1. Tree of Man (Patrick White)
2. A Japanese Touch for your Home / for your Garden (both have excellent ideas!)
3. an atlas of Victoria, Australia
4. in my younger days, anything by Hermann Hesse
4 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over
1. I left my heart in San Francisco
2. Midnight Rambler (Rolling Stones)
3. Prelude to a Kiss (Duke Ellington)
4. Carlton Football Club song
4 Reasons Why I Blog
1. I've "met" people with similar interests, from far and near
2. It allows me to express myself
3. It's a fun way to journal, and I don't have to worry about my worsening handwriting
4. I love the challenge of using the various features of blogger.com (while wondering why they provide this great service for free!)
I will tag the Other Val in Dorset England, and Stu in Western Australia, who will appreciate and maybe steal some of my answers (he is also a Carlton supporter). These two are good examples of what I meant by my first answer to why I blog.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
We love the look of Japanese interiors, and when we saw these shojii style blinds we knew they would be perfect for one of our living areas. The entire wall is floor to ceiling windows, looking out onto the garden. We can have some or all raised or lowered to various heights, to keep sun out, or let light and warmth in. Even when they're lowered completely they give such a nice backdrop to the room, and let in enough light so that it isn't claustrophobic. Now that the sun is getting lower in the sky and temperatures are milder, sitting in those chairs is blissful. But it's sometimes nice to have just the one blind up, framing a snapshot of the garden and highlighting the hibiscus and birch tree.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Jellyhead mentioned in her comment to my last post that as she had never seen a photo of the Bread Nazi, she pictured him as a "vague loaf-shaped figure", which drew a guffaw from me (yes, librarians do occasionally guffaw). That has given me an idea for a fun project to try with various photo-editing programs, which will probably take up an inordinate amount of my time. However, the Bread Nazi has appeared on these pages, most famously(?) as the man who cooks. Not very loaf-like, more your pretzel stick shape really, or maybe a baguette!
So sorry to all of you wanting to see photos of the garden show. That will have to wait until next year.
The weather was pretty chilly, but when we arrived about 5 p.m. Friday evening we went for a walk over the hills through a forested area, and that got us warmed up. Built a fire and ate our dinner next to it. We have always enjoyed eating outdoors in all seasons. I forgot my camera this weekend, so no photos of us sitting at our card table, lit by candle and firelight. But I think you get the idea.
Despite my last post indicating that I would want water and power at any place we lived in the country, for weekends and holidays we are quite happy to rely on the basics for lighting and keeping warm, and tank water from the sheds' roofs for drinking water and for our solar shower (!), and an overflow tank for dousing the fire and watering some trees and the ornamental grapevine.
Today we are back in Melbourne, and will be going to Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. I've never been to it before, so am really looking forward to it.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Castlemaine is our spiritual home and one day we may even live there. My goal: small unit with own small garden, level walk to shops and library. The Bread Nazi however would like to have a garden on our 10 acres, land already ravaged by goldminers, and then cattle grazing. To show how bad the soil is, it could only feed 4 head of cattle. And of course no water, no power. Nup, not for me at the age we'll be if and when we decide to move to the country.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
I will be meeting up with my young friend Phine, who barracks for tonight's opposing team (Melbourne Demons). We can't sit together at games when our teams play each other because we each have reserved seats at home games, so we'll meet after the game for a meal at Mecca Bah. Our different football allegiances, nor our differences in age, have any bearing on our friendship. That's special.
This is a photo taken of us in 2004 for an article we wrote about our friendship for the library's staff newsletter. I have taken the liberty of embellishing it.
Dreams DO come true! Carlton won the game!
We had been told that major maintenance to the university's network was going to take place Saturday morning, but all services important to the library would be back up by noon. Library opens at 1 p.m. - not a drama, right? Hah!
Get there at 12.30 to find that services are NOT back up, loans desk staff start frantically activating their backup system so they can at least issue books. But what was I going to do without a catalogue, access to databases, yea to the internet itself? Zilch, nada, nichts, zip. Before we could get a sign at the front door organised, letting people know the situation, it was opening time, students streaming in. For the next nearly two hours I would need to field phone calls from students trying to access library services from home, students in the library asking me when services will be restored. Meanwhile I can't even answer the simplest reference question: Do we have such and such a book and what is the call number. The catalogue, the key to our entire collection, is not available. Aaargh!
Despite this, people seemed to find alternative activities: some found books and journals by browsing the shelves (!), and others used the workstations to type up essays and assignments. It was with great relief when the system came back up shortly before 3 p.m. and I was able to announce this over the library's public address system.
So, zen-like was not how I would describe the first half of yesterday's shift.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
I too am feeling refreshed, and seem to have got over the flu-like symptoms. And only 2 more weeks until the Easter break, which is a long weekend (4 days) here in Australia. For us in the library the Easter break means that the initial chaos of first semester starts to die down, the students do not have classes for a week and things get more civilised. That's the theory.
Today it's my turn for a weekend desk shift: 4 hours at the information desk from 1 - 5 p.m. But it's the perfect weather for being in the library, dark skies and rainy. I always find the library cosy on those days. Is it just me? Hopefully all the frantic students who were thronging into the library during the week will stay at home today, their research done, articles printed out, and are working on their essays. But of course the ones who will be in the library will have left it too late, trying to finish their assignments in a few hours before the Monday deadline. They will be stressed. I will try to maintain a zen-like calm.