Monday, February 21, 2011

A Different Weekend

Sometimes people ask me how I fit everything in. The answer is quite simple. I stay up late and get up early. This does mean that on the weekends I like to catch up on sleep. I don't need to sleep until 10 or anything, even 8 will do, but I really don't want to get up before dawn. Andrew also stays up late but he couldn't say no to the opportunity for a really long ride on Saturday. He got up before the sun and went to his friend Shep's house. Shep's wife drove them (very good of her) and their bikes to Tumbarumba, 114 kilometres away, and they rode all the way home. It rained a lot. I took this photo from facebook, sorry about the poor quality.

Seeing as Andrew was going to be gone until mid-afternoon, I decided to be 'good Mummy' and told the kids that they could all have a friend over to play. This would ensure that everyone was amused and I would just have to keep the food coming and make sure the wii was used fairly. I didn't get much of a sleep in as I woke when Andrew left and, not long after, someone commenced mowing their lawn, which I consider to be the height of rudeness before 8am. It's lucky I got up because it soon became clear that Bethany was not at all well and I had to call off all the play dates, which went down a treat as I'm sure you can imagine.

Bethany was sick all weekend and didn't get out of her pyjamas and rarely got out of bed. I couldn't use my computer much because she watched endless movies on it while lying in bed. Last night she played with her Megasketcher for the first time so I knew she had turned the corner. She is still pale and hasn't really eaten for days so we are staying home today for her to recover. She talked the entire way to and from school this morning so I know she isn't sick anymore!

On Friday night I went over to Liz' to stamp. It wasn't Stamp Club or one of her workshops. Liz and Megan have decided to start selling cards at markets and invited me to join them! We spent four and a half hours on Friday night making cards, working out details and choosing a name for ourselves. The name issue was quite tricky as some of the names we thought of had already been taken. In the end we went for Paper Kitchen and I have already created our blog. We'll sell cards, individually and in sets, and offer workshops and card making parties. Our first market is on the 5th of March at Wagga's PCYC. It is a Baby Bazaar so I have been making these cards....

It's all very exciting. I can see lots more late nights coming up......

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Library Lovers' Day

Valentine's Day is so last decade. It's Library Lovers' Day now, at least in Australia, and Australians love their libraries. To celebrate, we handed out chocolate hearts to everyone who came to the library today as well as bookmarks with literary love quotes.

There were lots of red balloons for the littlest library lovers.

The best idea was to have a little competition. To go in the draw to win a box of Guylian chocolates and a voucher for Collins books, all people had to do was tell us what they love about their library.

I reached in to the full, tin box this evening and pulled out the lucky winner. He loves the great books and DVDs and the friendly girls, sorry to our male staff members, you don't rate a mention for this customer. I am looking forward to reading all the entries tomorrow.  I think this easy, fun competition is going to be a big morale booster for library staff!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Here are the cards I made at stamp club last Thursday night. They were made mainly using circle punches to get circles in the different colours, though we didn't have any Pumpkin Pie paper so stamped in that colour using the Circle Circus stamp set.

I found this photo of my Silo bakery breakfast on my phone. I had decided that taking a photo on your phone is somehow less obtrusive.

We have had a quiet, relaxing weekend. Toby made up a new word: extromination. He doesn't have a meaning for it yet but he is very pleased with it. Andrew had him in stitches by putting it in a sentence - "I was walking along the coast and as I looked out to sea I knew that I would be subject to extromination." Toby has also been playing duets with Bethany on the piano as she had her first lesson on Friday. Thus far she is very keen, practicing constantly as being proud of an extra job to do each day.

We gave Milo a bath (sadly, a rare occurrence) and Bethany played with him as she always does. She is such an animal lover but, for some reason, she is the one family member he is a bit rough with.

Jossie had her friend Hannah over this afternoon. They made enormous chocolate biscuits. They spooned out 16 biscuits from mixture that should have made 45. I did my best to make them smaller but they still turned out large. Unable to locate a second pair of swimmers, they donned different outfits and put the sprinklers on.

I could have gone in too after weeding, pruning and sweeping in the courtyard but I am too refined :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Seven to Canberra

As you may remember, the library's lower floor was damaged in a storm event at the end of last year. It wasn't the flooding river but a huge deluge of water that resulted in a fair bit of damage and the opportunity to change things around a bit. You may be surprised to know that the world of libraries is not static. The desks that we had designed not all that long ago, now make it difficult for us to keep up with current trends so we went on a road trip to Canberra to see how their libraries are doing things.

We wanted to take a good range of staff and settled on a group of seven, knowing that we could access a seven seater car. Luckily, Claire thought to check the car for luggage space as it turns out that the sixth and seventh seat are quite literally in the boot leaving a very tiny space. Not everyone has seen Gavin and Stacey (shame on them) but the rest of us chuckled as we remembered Nessa travelling to London overnight with a small handbag containing a toothbrush, G-string and feminine wipes. We none of us quite pulled that off but we did travel light. We did a bit of shopping in Canberra but were severely hampered by lack of space and the fact that we were there for work! I walked straight past a T2 even though I am almost out of Earl Grey!

This is Kingston Library which is just like a book shop only free and with Internet access and an X-Box. It used to be the Essential Ingredient. I once purchased a jar of duck fat there, happy memories. It makes a very cool, if tiny, library - well suited to the hip suburb.

When in Kingston it is a must to breakfast at Silo bakery. Only three of us managed to get up early enough but we were well rewarded. I bought a sour dough loaf and two pains au chocolat for Kristy and we had to balance them all the way home! They made the car smell so good. I bought a little vanilla brûlée tart which I ate while I watched A Single Man. The tart and the film were both great. The film was quite beautiful to look at, the colours and 1950s styling. It was a very thoughtful story and quietly sad but lovely.

I went to a YAPA seminar at CSU on Wednesday and they have two of the most beautiful gum trees.

I finished Sarah's Key. At the start it has a quote from Suite Française , a book I loved, and while it certainly wasn't in that league (the language and characters being perfectly good but not beautiful) it has an impact. It is a novel about the role the French played in the attempt to rid Europe of Jews in WWII. It may have been lead by the Germans but the French rounded up and sent to their deaths over 70,000 French Jews - including Irène Némirovsky. They even had their own concentration camps. Such a frightful thing.

I went to Stamp Club last night and it was, as usual, fabulous. I'll take photos of the cards I made when it is daytime. Instead, I'll share a drawing of Bethany's. We found it on her Megasketcher this morning. A sweet scene involving mermaids. As I put it down to take a photo Bethany explained that the there is a dead mermaid on the bed and that the big one in the middle is a trap......OK, not so sweet.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A cool change

I confess that it was rather nice to have cooler weather than Sydney for a day or two. I think Sydney finally cooled down earlier today but we have had a perfectly cool weekend. Last night I even woke up cold!

I had my sleep in yesterday and found Bethany in the dress ups. It may have been cooler but it wasn't cold enough for a red velvet dress. She and Jossie are the sort of girls willing to suffer for beauty.

I spent most of the day doing washing and cleaning out bookcases but come evening, it was time to party, Stampin' Up style. When we were deciding on a social event for library staff the greater majority were all for more stamping. Sadly, neither Michael nor Simon were keen so we'll have to do something a little more gender neutral next time.

We gathered at Shell's new house and picked up some Thai takeaway before Liz arrived and we got creative, or at least recreative.

We were working on several projects and had a number of work stations.

There was much fun and frivolity. Here is what I made (we had options).

This afternoon, after we had a big lunch for everyone at church, I made dumplings. They didn't look quite so good after steaming but Toby loved them, Jossie tolerated them and Bethany was told, in the end, to keep her opinions to herself.

Toby and Bethany have been playing together very well lately.

They like to play 'fighting'. I wouldn't like to take Bethany on......

Now the children are all smelling sweet and almost ready for bed before another week. I am getting ready to go to Canberra for a couple of days and Jossie is playing with her hair.

She says it is a bow but Bethany says she looks like Mickey Mouse.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fairy hair

The first week of school has finished with a bang. It was very difficult to get the children up this morning. When I went in to wake Bethany I found her like this. She likes to share her bed with her toys but they are usually soft ones. Her Taronga Zoo giraffe had fallen down the side and the three fairies she tucked in with her did not sleep undisturbed.

The blue fairy got stuck in Bethany's hair :)

The school very cleverly did not tax the brains of weary students adjusting to the new year but scheduled the swimming carnival for today. Thankfully neither of the two children eligible to compete showed any inclination to do so. Is it wrong to hope that your children are as non-sporty as you are? Don't answer that. Jossie had to attend anyway and spent last night organising her outfit and painting her nails in her house colour. Toby's year went to the pool around lunch time for a fun swim and Bethany stayed at school for fun under the sprinklers.

I picked up the kids after school and dropped in to Liz' for more bounty from her veggie garden. This was the best ever because she didn't just grow zucchini but she made it into zucchini slice for us! It is super delicious too.

I had almost forgotten about Kids' Club. It started up again this evening, at the earlier time of 5.30. They went to the beach to play volleyball and have a BBQ. Wagga Beach (on a river, not the ocean) is usually  quite a steep slope into the water but the floods made a fabulous, flat beach. The children were told that they weren't allowed to swim as the water runs very swiftly but I knew Jossie would get wet. She can't help herself.

Toby was more restrained and when I went to pick them up I witnessed a spectacular catch in beach cricket. He might be a bit sporty after all.

I finished The Shadow of the Wind at lunch today - there's nothing like shedding a tear at work. It was a fabulous read. Barcelona was a moody, atmospheric setting and the story was filled with twists and turns, engaging characters and beautiful language. Now I need to finish The Long Song by Andrea Levy. She also wrote Small Island which you may have seen on the ABC recently. I am not loving it but will finish it before starting Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (can that be her real name?). Mum suggested it and I had to get it from the Cootamundra branch, in large print!

I am looking forward to a sleep in tomorrow and Thai food and card making with my work mates tomorrow night. Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sweet relief

Australia has had quite an extraordinary few months in terms of weather. Our own storms and flooding before Christmas, the major flooding in south-east Queensland and now Cyclone Yasi. Knowing that Yasi was to be much worse than Cyclone Tracy, which devastated Darwin in 1974, we were very worried to hear that it was heading for far north Queensland and Cairns, where my Dad and brother Michael live. They had a scary night. At times it would go quiet and then it would sound like a train was coming. It is a great answer to prayer that the expected level of damage did not eventuate and people were kept safe. Dad's house was undamaged, though his garden is full of debris, including someone's old lino! I'm so glad they're OK and a little ashamed that it took a cyclone for me to ring my Dad for a chat....

I used to do Jossie's hair like this when she was Bethany's age. Bethany does like to be like her big sister.

Wagga City Council is currently working on new branding for the city. I have seen some of it and it looks great. The new Cultural Guide, to which my team contributes seven pages each quarter, is going to look fabulous. A couple of people from the media department asked me to be in a photo shoot for the new branding and we headed out to the new School of Dentistry at Charles Sturt University (CSU).

I have mentioned before how ugly the uni is, all 70s brown, brick boxes, so this new building is quite a departure!

This is where the students practice. They start with dummy heads and teeth before being let loose in real people's mouths. You might need to click on the photo to see the dummy heads.

It really is an impressive building. It almost made me want to become a dentist.... Not really.

It wouldn't be at all right to complain about the weather here in light of major troubles elsewhere, so consider this casual information rather than complaint. It is still very hot here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A sudden jolt

Like most long slides ours has ended with the sudden jolt of all being back at work and school. The kids all went back today and came home excited about the year ahead. Bethany in particular has looked forward to the end of the holidays, desperate to be in Year 1, but they have all looked forward to seeing their friends. Now we are back to the life of super early mornings, making many lunches and my old nemesis - homework.

Last week I had the joy of Wednesday and Thursday off thanks to a well timed Australia Day. I slept in until 10am! I felt like a teenager....until I realised that I had wasted half my day, which is not a teenage thought at all. We went to our friends' for a games and pizza night which was so much fun. I paid for my double day off during the week by working on Saturday. I don't really dislike working on a Saturday but it does make for a short weekend, especially when half of Sunday is spent at church. All of Sunday afternoon and evening (apart from the washing and other such mundane tasks) I got busy in the kitchen and made a card. I cooked roasted tomato pasta sauce with tomatoes from friends' veggie gardens (why grow your own when other people's gardens yield far too much for them to eat?), cinnadoodles, felafel and brownies. This is an awful photo of the card I made - I always need to take photos at night!

It is so very hot here. Thankfully, it's hot pretty much everywhere so I can't blame Wagga. I do blame Australia though, why are we here? Inhospitable country. I feel very sorry for Milo outside during the day so I bring him in when I am home. See how grateful he is?

Great news! Jossie has stopped biting her nails - I cut them for the first time in years. Bethany and Toby are still struggling with the habit. I can't see the appeal myself.......

I am desperate to finish The Shadow of the Wind, it is getting so exciting, but I still have to do the ironing..... What I need is a book that can be a paper book, e-book or audio book depending on what I need. So, I could read the paper book when convenient, have it on my phone when I can't carry a book with me and have it on audio when I need my hands and eyes. It has to keep my place, though. I don't want to fiddle about finding where I'm up to when I change formats. I'd buy a book like that.