Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Spend, spend, spend. It's no way to happiness

I've been taking a break from blogging, and dread to think what my Google Reader will look like when I finally log in, as I haven't even been reading blogs.

So this morning when I was reading the newspaper online and saw the opinion article Spend, spend, spend. It's no way to happiness, I thought, that's something that I feel strongly about and it's a ready made post. Written by Catherine Deveny in The Age newspaper, she can often be quite controversial, but I think this article is spot on.

I don't know when I'll be visiting your blogs next, but it shouldn't be too much longer. I hope you're enjoying life as much as I am! I came back from my Albury trip last week with fresh inspiration for making books, and on Sunday I did a drawing class for "absolute beginners". I sure fit the criteria there!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm in Albury, NSW!

Got here yesterday by train, with the main goal in mind to visit the new Library Museum and see a special book artists' exhibition. When I arrived at the Library Museum this morning at 9.30, a half hour before opening time, there were already some people waiting to get in. By the time the doors opened, there was a veritable charge of all manner of eager library users / museum visitors towards the doors. What a great sight: mothers with babies in pushers, oldies, young people, a group of international visitors, even some larrikin types. Overheard one of them say to another that he was here every other day.

There must have been a number of things to attract all those different types, but I was practically alone in the book artists' exhibition. But what a feast for the eyes, I don't know if I'm going to have time to visit much else before I go back to Melbourne tomorrow afternoon. It is the most wonderful exhibition, and well worth the trip to Albury. The library itself is light and airy, and even allows visitors to the city to use the internet for an hour. Hence, this post which I thought would have to wait until I got home.

I will try to get to visit the art gallery and botanical gardens, but that exhibition is calling me back for another look.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Learning new things about long time friends

This week I had lunch with four friends I've known for a long time. One of them has been housebound for a week and felt like some company. So I organised for the 3 of us to bring something over to her house for lunch and making sure we all didn't turn up with the same thing. It was fun for everyone, especially the hostess as she just had to set the table and wait for people to arrive with a surprise lunch. We liked it so much that I think we'll take it in turns to have a surprise lunch delivered to the table!

Usually our get togethers are spent going somewhere with a particular activity in mind, such as an art gallery, and that would drive our conversations. We had never had the opportunity before to just eat and talk, without the husbands around. So it was quite surprising to find out new things about people we've known so long. The theme seemed to centre on school days, and how teachers could influence what you did or didn't do, how you perceived yourself, etc. All of us had come across teachers who were negative or set in their ways about passing on skills and knowledge. But we'd all gone on to defy their predictions for us - good for us! And thank goodness for all the teachers who did encourage us.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The weather's too nice to blog

... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week I packed a picnic lunch and a good book and headed off for places I knew would be ideal spots for relaxing. My first choice was Ruffy Lake Park, just a short drive away. However, as I approached the car park I was confronted with maybe a dozen huge buses already there, marquees set up around some areas of the park and what seemed to be a few thousand high school students who were having a sports day. I figured the park was big enough for everyone and I chose a place right next to the lake and away from most of the activities. I'm glad I stayed - the day was wonderful. I didn't have my camera but this is the view I sketched from where I was sitting. There were lots more trees but I thought I'd quit while I was ahead.

On Thursday I went to the zoo. I go there frequently as we belong to Friends of the Zoo and get free admission. My main goal this week was to see the cherry blossoms in the small Japanese garden within the zoo. I was just a week or two too early for that, so I'll have to return for another visit.

Usually I visit just a couple of animal groups (always including the giraffes) before settling down for lunch and a read. Despite my frequent visits I always find something new, it's unbelievable how much change the staff can produce in a short time. This time I discovered a huge new area for the Australian animals, replicating the dry landscapes so often seen here.

These are kangaroos made of timber, but of course there are also real ones! You can see a grass tree to the right, and the red sand which is common to much of inland Australia (that's why they call it the Red Centre). I find deserts quite beautiful.

This is a lizard called a lace monitor lizard. They can grow to 8 feet, but this one would have been only about 6 feet long. It was quite lively.
I always feel quite relaxed after my zoo visits. And seeing the school kids on their excursions is always entertaining. The reactions of primary schools kids of course are fun to watch, and even high school boys can forget to be "cool" for a while and go "ooh" and "awwww" along with the rest of us, especially when watching the young gorillas. I'm also grateful to zoos for preserving endangered species. The Melbourne zoo now has a family of Sumatran tigers. For years the male was all on his own, but a couple of years ago a lady friend was imported for him and now there are three "cubs" - they've grown so fast though!