Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Greasy Finger Hands

Yesterday was Jonty's birthday. He got a bunch of lovely presents from his family including lots of chocolate, a first aid kit, a book and a chainsaw. We also baked and awesome and huge chocolate cake which has all kinds of sweet decorations on the top. We went out for a family dinner at Lone Star which was fun and really expensive. Lovely people, great food and so many families. A welcoming adults restaurant with great food and service for kids - great combo. Nic was a tremendous help to Jonathan his waiter who I am sure got more than he bargained for when making friends with my son. As always seems to happen when we go out for dinner, Nic ended up delivering glasses to other tables and making friends all over the place. He did have one negative comment to make about having 'greasy finger hands' on his tiny paper New Zealand flag. Oh well.

Also, as one baby gets married and starts a new life, another baby enters the family. A little boy called Chase in Melbourne. Pete and Lisa are now grandparents. Congrats everyone and welcome Chase.

Monday, September 29, 2008


So, the wedding part of the weekend, the real reason were in Southland, went well. It was an intimate gathering of about 45 people.
A good combo of family and friends.

Keirran, brother of the bride and most stylishly dressed bloke there....thanks to his mother

The weather held out although it was bloody freezing and it did snow later that night. Sonya-Leigh and Andrew made a lovely couple and obviously have a committed relationship already. They are a good match. Lovely to see all the family.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Is it called Fluff? No, Bluff

Just back from a whirlwind family adventure in the deep south. Jonty and I went to a family wedding and left Nic at home with a friend and Ruth and Simon. We met up with my folks down there and had a chance to do some tiki touring around the place. It has been about 20 years since I was last there, for Pete's wedding. We took the opportunity to motor down to Riverton Rocks...and I think it might in the summer, and also popped down to Bluff before catching our flight home yesterday. We were talking to Nic explaining that the Bluff was at the end of SH1 and he obviously misheard and thought it was called Fluff....anything but fluff I would say. Anyway, here are a few pics of the touring bits of the weekend and I will post the wedding photos later.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

10 random things

i read in the paper today and what i have to say about them.

I buy the paper every Saturday, usually late afternoon and it usually remains unread, folded in perfect presicion in some corner of the house. This morning I had to get to dairy to buy breakfast bread and picked up a paper at the same time. I got to read while eating breakfast and drinking my mouth puckeringly strong coffee. I have to admit I have yet to finish it. However, I have found enough interesting/annoying or cool things within the first 25 pages and here they are...

1. Nude butchery on the front cover...very excellent. Nothing like a young man's naked butt to enjoy over your yoghurt and apple to start the weekend in great style

2. Closing a couple of bike paths in Hagley Park for 11 days in March for the Ellerslie Flower Show. OH FOR GOD SAKE!!! Find something important to moan about you narrow minded cycle Nazis. So, you have to divert your course and travel an extra 170m for a few days? Get over it. Why not spend your spare time trying to get alchopops put in plastic bottles so us commuter cyclists don't have to ride eyes down to dodge the masses of broken glass bottles every Monday morning?

3. 'Zones of obsession' - couldn't get through this large article on the middle class mad dash to the 'right suburbs' so their children can go to the high decile schools in the hope they are sheltered from the poor people and other terrible things that can happen out here IN THE REAL WORLD. Say no more.

4.' Talking daffodils'... interesting story about a couple and their daffodil farm made a bit more interesting as the woman in the story used to work at the library.

5. Still on gardening. A great quote...'If your garden doesn't look great this month when nature does most of the work for you, then it's possibly a lost cause' Jude Gillies

6. Rotten baby formular in China...breast is best.

7. 19 year old bride and bridal party catching the number 5 bus to her wedding. What is odder than being the only person ever to do this in Christchurch, is the fact that there are 19 year olds getting married. Can't imagine why you would do that. Oh well, good luck.

8. Sarah Palin - US presidential trump card. Another indication that the US is a very strange country...check out the names of her children and grandchild....Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig....painting a picture? She is going to get a 73 year old war monger into the Whitehouse and then disappear off the face of the earth.

9. World banking and financial crisis. Shit! Keep your head down, stop putting stuff on the credit card and get paying off the mortgage. Not envying anyone having to watch this crisis unfold for other than interest and I don't mean interest of the banking kind.

10. From the 'Your Weekend' magazine...a range of really interesting articles of the weekend kind. I am going to make one of the recipes for our beach lunch tomorrow.

Nic's pics

Nic and I had a great morning visiting the market, family and friends. Food, pets and flowers featured highly in our morning. We decided Nic would take photos to record his morning and here is a selection.

Auntie FayEbonyUncle BrianBeautiful Nellie Mable

Monday, September 15, 2008


About bloody time too! Sunday was spring at its best. Sunny, a bit windy and air filled with promises of warm summer days to come. We got out in the sun and walked around Travis Wetland. The place was humming with bees overdosing on pollen. I expected to see baby ducks, swans and other watery birds but there were none to be seen. We spent the afternoon in the garden planting and pruning.Here are some lovely photos Jonty took to celebrate a beautiful spring day. The great thing about it was that everyone was happy at work today and we don't have the fire on tonight. Fantastic.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sydney, I love!!

I am in one of my favourite places on earth. I never get sick of being here and had a great day yesterday doing tourist stuff and catching up with some of the whanau ...perfect! Today was work and a great day also. Saw some lovely libraries and met some more lovely librarians. Here are a few pics.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

New Friends

Because this is a ‘no work’ blog I am not going to talk about all the cool work things that have been happening at the ALIA conference in Alice Springs. That, I am saving for work next week. However, one of the best things about conferences is making new friends. Although they might only be friends for a week, they are your family and friends when you are far from home. We talk work a lot but our lovely new friends are from very different libraries so although there are similarities, there are more differences. Although I have met tons of fab people, our ‘friends’ have all been from Queensland. Being the uber friendly state it is probably not a surprise. These are the people we caught up with for breakfast, at morning tea, occasional meals and so on. Also our friends in the audience when we delivered our paper to about 100 people.

Michael from Melbourne was also a welcoming and supportive friend in the audience too but his picture is already here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

No town like Alice

I wish I had written this post on the first day I arrived in Alice Springs because now that I am fully ensconced in the ALIA conference and a bit more acclimatised.

As we flew here from Melbourne the earth got redder and redder which was pretty exciting. Landing on the strip with all the flat red earth around us was pretty special too. Lots of librarians on the plan, imagine what that might mean.

My first impression of the place were of the colours. Lovely ochre and silvery greens of the vegetation and the bright blue of the sky. Surprisingly, it is not really hot here. There is a cool wind blowing. To be honest it is making it a very pleasant place to be. I have been for one swim so it isn't that cold.

Sunrise out of my hotel window overlooking the golf course and some new houses

Carolyn and I walked in to town on our first afternoon and I think we were both shocked at how grotty it is here. Well, it was in Todd Mall, the centre of the town and the place where tourists are encouraged to go. There was an uncomfortable air about the place. Indigenous people sitting around watching us go by, silently trying to will you over to check out a painting they are trying to sell. We went to the mall and it was almost empty and had a bad feel about it. However, things were redeemed when we went a block back and found a vibrant shopping and commercial area full of locals enjoying the shopping and socialising. This was marred by the eruption of a full on punch up between two teenage Aboriginal girls. Just what I thought I might see and so didn't want to. Really sad.

Anyway, the following day we went on a tour as a pre-conference event and again saw a very different part of the place and felt much better about all the cool stuff happening here. Still think the place is really different. All the Aussies we have met (which is many) have all said 'different' to describe the place.

I am getting the hang of the place and am really keen to come back with Jonty and Nic to have a good look around. Things are full on with the conference and we are just not going to get to see the surrounds. There are hills surrounding the town so it feels a bit cosy.

School of the Air 50th anniversary wall of animal paintings by the 114 students enrolled

Supposed to be 21 degrees today. Looking forward to that. Got a bit sun burnt the other day as we walked about even though I had my hat on. More about the Conference later...

Monday, September 01, 2008

The nicest people

Today has been memorable for several reasons but the most overwhelming of these has been the people we have met on our short but eventful journey. The first being Carmen the hr consultant come wedding celebrant from Adelaide who demonstrated to Carolyn and I as we waited on the tarmac at Melbourne for half an hour waiting for a berth, how to prepare your tongue and voice for presentations. Very interesting.

The Hertz people were fantastically helpful when we realised we had left something in the rental car and Alex at Medina Exec apartments was amazingly nice when she offered to pick something up for us after work the following day. Amazingly nice!!

While shopping in Myers we spent quite a bit of time hanging out with Maree the TS+14 shop assistant and she was great fun. And so the list could go on and on. Melbourne is full of the loveliest people and might I say, the oddest hairstyles. I have seem quite a lot of back combing and big hair. I feel like I am in a 1980’s New jersey movie. Not sure what that is all about yet but it feels very Italian family to me. Families of teased hair.

As far as libraries go, we have also had the pleasure of hanging out with a couple of really nice people. Michael at Caroline Springs. Fantastic new facility in one of those amazing HUGE housing developments on the edge of town. Something like 25,000 houses (all with orange roofs) and 13 villages. All called ‘The Grove’ or ‘ Palm Court’ and things like that. Great library though and a few familiar touches that look a little like some things we have done.

We also found our way to Sydenham library which sits in a big shopping centre near the railway station. Very techy library with all the computers places in the centre of the library with the books and people around the outside. Large collection with low issue stats compared. Great software packages available to everyone, for free. Interesting furniture which looks a lot like some of the stuff we put in Parklands. We were shown around by Andrew, another really nice person.

After a few minutes of relaxing after lugging our very heavy luggage up some stairs to our rooms, we took the shops of Melbourne city by storm. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration. We stumbled in and out of some accessory stores fondling the stuff and drooling over handbags and shoes. Had a great time wandering through the ‘Laneways’ around Flinders Street. Saw the most interesting thing, TWO separate bridal parties having their photos taken in the lanes amongst the graffiti and the funky activity. I was so interested to see this ‘fashion’. Wonder what the demographic is for making that choice for your photos. Very urbane or not, not sure.

After shopping hard we sat in one of the lanes and sampled a delicious platter while watching the beggars working the tables and other shoppers having an early evening wine. Carolyn and I both texting friends and family and sipping red wine and comparing purchases. Was a very light purchasing trip as we were both a bit weary after 4am start to the day.

As already mentioned, we are staying at the Medina Exec Apartments. The rooms we are in are in an old building down one of the alleys out the back of the main building. They have really high studs and have been converted from other purposes. They have a full kitchen and lots of storage. Very cool indeed. Feels a bit lonely without family here too. The cool thing is that across the alley there is a restaurant on two levels and we can see into the kitchen on the ground floor and the diners on the floor above. Very cool.

Sunday morning we got out and about early in the cold and headed to the South Bank on a circuitous route to enjoy a light breakfast before heading to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the Art Deco exhibition. Along the way we found the Arts Market and fossiced around there for an hour or so. Bought a few bits and pieces from some lovely people. Ignored the really pushy sellers who were just really annoying. The Art Deco exhibit was great. Learnt heaps about the movement and enjoyed all the furniture, architecture, home wares, clothing and stunning jewellery.. There were shed loads of people there so there was a bit of queuing going on. Interesting to know that the NGV employees or has volunteer angry people as guards. I got told off twice!!! Once because my forgotten cell phone rung. As I plunged my finger on the off button in a panic one of the Nazis yelled across the room that no cell phones were allowed. I apologised profusely ans said I had forgotten it was on and he CONTINUED to give me a lecture about how awful it was to be interrupted while looking at art to hear a phone. I CONTINUED to apologise profusely turning redder by the minute. About 100 people witnessed my embarrassment. Then two seconds later some other poor bugger suffered the same tongue lashing. Then as I was leaving the exhibit, another of the Nazi crew told me off for having my umbrella out (not up but in its little cover), telling me to put it away. I pointed out that I had actually left the exhibit and was heading to the gift shop. Left her run about 1 hour late…I was LEAVING!!! After a wonderful friendly day previously, this attack on an innocent librarian left me feeling a little pissed off.