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    Blogjune 2016 condensation

    Posted in blogjune
    July 1st, 2016

    Merry blogjune for another year! What did I do this month? A little bit of blogjune, a trip to Adelaide, healthcare appointments, read 2 books, watched 1 movie, played some shape games, training at work, and went to restaurants.

    I’m self-assessing as a polkadot C+ for blogjune 2016 (I like John’s description of blogjune as “spotty”).

    Enticements in Adelaide

    Blogjune – the enticement or distraction?

    Cath’s points really resonated with me – about participating in blogjune through discovery, rather than post-post-post. What should be at the centre: balance, understanding, and self-care. Reading, sharing, commenting – like Gallifrey Forest Farm’s thoughts about feeding bees with your garden.

    As an aside, whenever I read the word centre/center, I think of Margaret Atwood’s Variation on the Word Sleep. And during a library evening shift this week, I received a phone query about her novel, The Handmaid’s tale. This one, I haven’t read, but it was exciting as I felt it was a Sign From The Universe As To What I Should Read Next (SFTUATWISRN, obviously).

    In my first post of the month, I was considering eating a vegan burger for every day of June so I could have a consistent theme. But I decided it would take too much cash and time. I am sure you were wondering about my burger intake, even without a definite aim towards a certain consumption level. Well, wait no longer – there were six! I figure that I shouldn’t include reheated frozen patties at home in the count, because that’s too sad desk lunch.

    Blogjune output level, 2013 to current:

    my blogjune posts

    Team Red!

    For blogjune 2016, I did around the same amount of posts as blogjune 2015 (when I was aiming to relax and not do too many things). Last year was such a laidback approach that I didn’t reflect on this until that August…!

    My blogjune word counts

    Red again… Team 2014!

    Sidenote, I always want to write “Blugjone”. Just me?

    See you for blogjune 2017, to infinity burgers and beyond!

    In the altogether

    Posted in blogjune
    June 30th, 2016

    We holidayed in Adelaide earlier this month (despite it not making an appearance in my sparse blogjune posts), and while there, I discovered that my mother-in-law knew some corkers of sayings.

    It began when we were watching a renovation show (I hate renovating in real life, so I don’t know why we watch these things), and she mused that outdoor showers allowed people to “…see you in the altogether”. I had never heard this saying for nudity before, so she had to explain that she didn’t like to say the word “naked” as it was vulgar! She was shocked that her sayings aren’t well-known, but then reasoned that many were handed down from her father, born in 1889 (seriously).

    Hallett's Cove, SA (June 2016)

    Just enough blue… (Hallett’s Cove SA)

    She regretted explaining the terms, because then I pressured her for “more fun sayings”. One from her English background is: “She thinks she’s the white hen’s chicken” (it means someone who is up themselves). Or someone looking like “The wreck of the Hesperus”. Or “It’s a wigwam for a goose’s bridle” (like “Seeing a man about a dog”).

    General ones such as “Working like a drover’s dog” or “He’s as crooked as a two-bob watch” or “Pig’s whiskers” or “Lower than a snake’s belly”.

    These sayings reminded me of the diamond in the rough song in the Disney Aladdin movie: “She’s a petunia in an onion patch”/”She’s a lily on a dunghill”.

    And a source pleading for modest anonymity also suggested “As cunning as a shit-house rat”.

    My favourite, which was from EJ, about a cloudy sky: “Not/just enough blue to knit mittens for a cat”. As you can see, there was only a small amount of blue at Hallett’s Cove when we visited. Apparently the “s” in Hallett’s was dropped off some time ago. It may surprise you to learn that my mother-in-law sticks with the previous term!

    I could only contribute “Things are crook in Tallarook” – as we didn’t really have any sayings when I was growing up. K’s saying was about a good ability to reach things: “a bigger reach on them than a sick dog”!

    It was also interesting to hear context about growing up in SA – the rag n bone man would collect rubbish “You know, bits and bobs”, someone would collect from the grate of the fire, and there was also the night soil man. One of those moments that really crystallises the value of social history, and the need to better capture experiences that seem so far away, but were really only quite recent.

    …and I have realised I did a brummy post on a similar topic for blogjune 3 years ago! Nothing like a classic, you know?

    Winnie the Pooh Corner or a cave in Australia

    Posted in blogjune
    June 28th, 2016

    Winnie the Pooh burrowed all the way down to Australia for some quiet time at his holiday house, the Pooh Bear Corner. This grotto has been described as “…a particularly treacherous bend where lives Pooh with reflector eyes.” (Shanahan) – but really this is just people falling for his security system. A bear needs his privacy, hence the bear multiplicity, mimicking the Santa-everywhere phenomenon.

    Winnie appreciates the cave’s views of the Clyde Mountain, easy access to major roads, and rainforest vista of ferns and mossy steep cliffs. Sometimes he dreams of a time before he was reduced to a commercialised set of lines, remembering that he was somehow, a little rougher around the edges.

    Rainforest and Pooh Bear Corner, Australia

    A rainforest vista

    We drove down the hill past Pooh Bear Corner many times for childhood holidays, but it was deemed “too unsafe” to pull over and see the cave. It had a wooden sign, and I’m not even sure if there were very many Winnies residing there in the 80s and 90s.

    Was it this version of the welcome sign? Now my recollections wobble as to which iteration marked the hideaway – that strange incorporation of photos as memories.

    Protesting against our parents not being able to pull over at the Corner:

    “But how did Winnie the Pooh get there, if not in a car?”

    “Burrowing through the world to reach a cave means you don’t need a vehicle.”

    Sulking, we watched as the Corner blurred past on the way to our coastal holidays.

    Pooh Bear Corner sign, Australia (May 2016)

    Sign as at May 2016

    I stopped at the Corner last month, fulfilling a childhood dream, but also shattering it a little in the process. It wasn’t as far along the mountain as I thought – the distance had reduced even though the space between the years had expanded.

    “Revisiting Winnie the Pooh made me realise not only that adulthood is a baleful hellscape, but also that my childhood memories were a fantasy.”Ioan Marc Jones

    Stepping over vines and tanbark, I held aloft the bubbled ideal of the cave, hovering over an imagined and real pedestal of the mountain. The bubble drifted, caught on an overhanging tree branch, one hundred crystal glasses exploded and my love for the cave decayed into a carpet of glinting shards on the ground.

    “And at that moment my love for you was both tender, and sad.” – Alice in Eyes Wide Shut

    The sign was faded and fractured, an antique crackle effect over the text, children’s scribbles at the edges. The silhouettes of the famous bear devouring honey seemed melted, perhaps still from last year’s car accident.

    Pooh Bear Corner cave, Australia (May 2016)

    Winnie family

    Winnie’s clan had grown beneath the mantle of the cave (but without wombats), rocks spraypainted luminous silver, names and tags growing outwards from the hollow like a wreath, like tears emanating from a quiet room, as though rippling and spilling across a river that carried a game of Pooh-sticks.

    The cave is reigned over by a Pirate Winnie, eyepatch stopping him from quite seeing all his brethren in the rainforest hollow, but retaining enough sight to watch the traffic and guard his post. I wonder if, despite his interminable watch (a la Fry’s dog waiting),  he might transition to being whole-bodied, astral travelling back to walk in the Hundred Acre Wood, near Ashdown Forest.

    There is a theory that Winnie is linked with the bears clinging to trees on the Kings Highway:

    “… they’re hitching their way to the teddy bears’ picnic at Pooh Corner on Clyde Mountain…” – Matt Bennett.

    Pooh Bear Corner cave (landscape), Australia (May 2016)

    Family photos

    I told my friend J, who lives below the mountain, about the gap between my expectations of the cave, and the reality of the Pooh Bear Corner. She suggested it had become a “Pooh ghetto”, which is painful, but that’s what it is. There was a clean up of some graffiti 6 years ago by a local radio station, but maybe the Eurobodalla Shire Council will refresh the area?

    I can still remember when Pooh Bear Corner felt like a secret punctuation in a journey, a chance to see a story come to life. For families who now travel past it without stopping (even if they wish otherwise), there is still time for the Corner to regain that mystery-filled state of fairytale joy and magic on the mountainside.


    Further reading: (see also, links throughout)

    Al-Othman, H. (6 June 2016). Hundreds compete to become world Pooh Sticks champion. London Evening Standard Online.

    Bennett, M. in  Column 8 (8 January 2009). The Sydney Morning Herald, 14. Accessed via Factiva on 27 June 2016.

    Bunbury, S. (12 December 2014). Bonneville having to grin and bear it. The Southland Times, 8. Accessed via Factiva on 27 June 2016.

    Pierpont (27 October 1995). In which Eeyore is told where to invest. The Australian Financial Review.

    Shanahan, A. (16 December 2000). Byzantium on Burley Griffin. The Australian. 21. Accessed via Factiva on 27 June 2016.

    Increasing energy levels at work

    Posted in blogjune
    June 27th, 2016

    What energises you at work? Hopping on board Ruth’s topic (also explored by Kate, Abigail, Cherie) on how to have higher energy levels at work (although I am lacking a puppy assistant…). Maybe it’s not just the energising activity itself, but knowing that it’s on the way within a daily routine – a bit like the anticipation of planning a holiday can be as beneficial as the holiday itself.

    1. Crossing off To Do Lists

    I love crossing things off my To Do List – which is re-energising in itself, and I also like changing the category colours for tasks. …because changing the colour (mental signposts for categories) is my version of marking something as “complete” – I have active colours for tasks I’m working on, and passive colours (like blue or grey) for those that need more information from other people, rather than my own immediate actions.

    I know this is incredibly dorky and similar to when Rimmer spent all his study time just creating a colour-coded calendar schedule. But it works for me, and it’s a quick system of seeing where everything’s at – I think I first read about this approach in GTD theory?

    The To Do Lists go in and out of focus: macro to micro, like an overriding one for my job, and then those for each project, which are encouraging and energising because I see the numbers change like a living, breathing entity.

    Australian Government pencil on UDC book

    Govcil on UDC

    1. Stationery

    I’m not as hardcore as some, but I do like a good stationery fix. I agree with Abigail, it feels a lot more fun to write work things on paper. I use a fancy pencil because I’m pretty exciting! My favourite pencil is one with a green gem on the end (no guessing as to which database it promotes).

    I had a weird rush of nostalgia recently, seeing a silver-painted pencil at work, engraved and emblazoned with the words, AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. Of course, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” – I wouldn’t say it was that beautiful, but for sure, characteristic of its time (it’s a retro pencil). How do I know? I was given a bundle of them over 20 years ago from my very first penpal – still dubious about their origins!

    1. Drinking tea

    I have tea on-the-go most of the time, normally refilling after changing a colour code. I need a teapot, but I remember seeing a USB-powered tea-warmer but maybe it would be deemed as taking the chance, workplace safety dance.

    1. Checking work Yammer, alerts, conference hashtags

    A bit like Kate’s Shiny things – Yammer, keyword alerts and dipping in and out of a conference hashtag can give ideas, connections and help to see what’s happening, what people are saying. It feels like a brain-break to switch over to the feeds and then I’m more likely think of new things, after this different focus.

    1. Indoor plants

    Our office has greenery everywhere, which I love. I’m not good at watering the plants, luckily there are other green thumbs in residence, but sometimes I snip off bits (plants, not thumbs), or tell the plants that I appreciate them.

    1. – 10. Bits n pieces

    Cheezy jokes, learning/training and sharing with others, window views, and hunting down wayward books (and of course, the ever-more re-energising, tantalising goal, and sometimes outcome, of catching them). Also bouts of ASMR! (although, that can happen anywhere).


    Posted in blogjune
    June 26th, 2016

    What I did today! Thanks to other blogjuners for the idea (Rachel, Rachel W and Constance).

    Today was pretty low-key, I guess I needed some recovery time from sitting next to a close-talker last night. It has been an illuminating lesson for me about boundaries, body language, and my tolerance levels for being incidentally spat on while people talk loudly.

    • Slept in! Sleeping during the day is one of my many “talents”. I’d like to say this skill is highly-sought after in today’s job market, but it’s probably restricted to NASA testing of muscle wastage.
    • So much clothes washing! (agreeing with Rachel W, it’s awfully tedious and then somehow more involved during Winter – I use the dryer during the day so it’s powered by solar panels, but it still feels guilt-laden)
    • Dishwasher loading, unloading.
    Rainbow bath bomb

    Rainbow swamp

    • Bath with a rainbow bomb. It is tricky to take a photo of this that doesn’t look like someone just chucked a rainbow paddlepop in a swamp (like, rainbow colours just an incidental thing in a gross bog). But maybe that could be the next Lush bath bomb meme. I wish there was a vegan version of the rainbow paddlepop. But they did always taste of caramel, anyway. Because I am gross, I do things like eat garlic bread in the bathtub (but then that was a footnote to the 2013 pre-elopement stress time). Predictably, I also talked about baths in blogjune 2014 and blogjune 2015. Maybe I have a secret foot fetish, it certainly seems to be a theme. I just wish there was a way to photograph rainbow bath bombs without them looking dank.
    • Cleansing facial with the absolute dregs of my clay mask that my beautiful and elegant friend J brought back from Paris. I have this weird thing about using absolutely 100% of a product so I autopsied the package to extract all the tiny clay lumps.
    • Lots of cat patting. The cats are very needy when it’s cold, and also fight each other (Mr Sonja says that I sound like a total bogan parent when I yell at them, but it’s effective for temporary discipline).
    • I ate turmeric curry, fauxages, mashed potato, raw cake mix, hot chocolate with oat milk, tea and tablets. Mostly while watching home reno shows (which I hate, but Mr S is drawn them like a moth to a candle) and reading online articles.
    • A little bit of Norwegian on duolingo, I am struggling to get the answers right with my regular phone keyboard because of the special letters?
    • Reorganised part of the wardrobe, got disgruntled when Mr S disagreed about getting rid of some clothes (he has a never-worn, I  hope never-wearing “Sorry ranga” top from a Summer Heights High showbag from over 7 years ago).
    • Talked to some friends on the phone.
    • Tonight I’ll probably watch a movie, continue to fill the tea-shaped hole inside me, and fingers crossed, finish a drawing…

    (things I should do: ironing, sorting more stuff in line with being less cluttered, make a cake for my neighbour, catch up on my secret so-neglected shame that is 23 RD things…)

    Favourite and less-favourite things

    Posted in blogjune
    June 26th, 2016

    “When I’m feeling sad / I simply remember my favourite things…”

    Favourite things

    Despite the hype: Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, warm vegan mittens (especially with a baked potato in each pocket to keep hands warm, then, potato breakfast), brown paper packages with non-work books, cream coloured ponies and animals in fields, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, pussywillow, bunny rabbits, chocolate icing, no school, pillow fights, and presents…

    Bits and bobs: Lots of personal space! (conversely, high-quality massages) …cute decorations on food or anything else, patterned socks, flannel flowers, clothing with good textures or thumbholes or French seams, cleaning ears, watching pimple-popping videos, list-making, pruning daisy bushes, seeing butterflies, good-quality green tea, lifting heavy things, Dawson’s Creek, Barbie & the Rockers, Amy Sedaris, Sophie Calle’s art, and the best book on libraries: Bob Usherwood’s Equity and excellence in the public library: why ignorance is not our heritage (2007).

    Time: The 90s! But only for nostalgia, I wouldn’t want to be back there.

    “In many ways I am possibly still too close to see the 1990s clearly. It felt like a distant cousin.” (Rochelle Robshaw).

    Remember, the 90s was the decade of a lollipop advising kids how to respond to bullies! (don’t push me, push a push pop!)

    Paper flamingo, young coconut jelly and fruit

    Favourite and less-favourite

    To read: Margaret Atwood, YA, and more.

    To watch: Bad, cheesy or critically-panned movies. Troll II is my top pick (number 7 in the esteemed eonline’s 20 worst movies of the 90s). From that list – I’ve only seen Troll II, The Blair Witch Project, Anaconda, Spice World, and Super Mario Brothers (so there is some catching up to be had!).

    I enjoy most trashy TV shows, Gogglebox is an efficient way to catch up. I wish there was a way to summarise dating and tattoo shows, Adam zkt Eva, Dinner Dates and Come Dine With Me.

    To play: Shape games like Tetris, Pokemon Shuffle, and especially Hexic. And the classic Bloodsuckers.

    I’d like to pay more attention to Read Watch Play each month to more easily adhere to the themes!


    Less-favourite things

    Too much hype: Bright copper kettles, crisp apple strudels, doorbells, sleigh bells, animal schnitzel with noodles, wild geese flying at night (till I’ve actually witnessed this one day), girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, silver white Winters that melt into Springs (no melting! Spring all the time! No Winter), dog bites, bee stings…

    Food: Jelly, flummery, pumpkin, goji berries, persimmon, pistachios, licorice, tiramisu, Florentines, marshmallows, tapioca…

    Hair binding

    Posted in blogjune
    June 24th, 2016

    Sometimes I contemplate a dramatic haircut, but I worry because of not having an un-hair-do option. Maybe I shouldn’t worry, as my first hairdressing experience was when I cut my own hair.

    But my most recent haircut was last year, and it went too, too far to go back. It’s hard to tell someone to stop when they say “Oh I’m having so much fun!”. Cue looking down at the floor to see all my hair shed like a fur coat you didn’t know you wanted to keep – till it was ripped off.

    Recently we went to a costume party, and because of my laziness around organising a costume (reluctance manifested?), I thought I would just shave my hair into a mohawk. I didn’t end up doing it as we had no clippers. I cobbled together the kind of homemade costume where you find an outfit, then attempt to link it to a random character. I had evening gloves and a dress, so I pretended that I’d aimed to dress as Betty Blight (grandmother of Captain Planet character, Dr Blight). Yeah, it was a stretch.

    Multiple sized journals co-bound

    Co-bound haircut

    To make this library-relevant (I guess it’s a bit like pretending I purposefully dressed as Betty Blight?), I think that a haircut can look a bit like the binding of this serial title. All different formats co-bound, especially at the regrowth stage.

    Apparently in The Guinea Pigs feature (Captain Planet 3rd series, 7th episode) about animal testing, a monkey shaves off some of Dr Blight’s hair. I haven’t seen this episode, but ironically, Dr Blight’s revenge haircut is sort of what I’m seeking! You can scroll down on the gallery section of the Captain Planet wiki page to see the result! (last photos at the base)

    Thinking about Captain Planet, I was always into Wheeler (the Fire Ring guy). Now I wonder if Captain Planet was meant to be the one?

    Foot glove trio

    Posted in blogjune
    June 23rd, 2016

    Oh, blogjune! I have neglected you as both a lover and friend, but I have caught up on your 684 (!?) posts . I wonder if I could squeeze 16 days of posts into a single one – a good idea that’s already been done (for 3 days) by Thomas and Blake.

    Anyway, I spent some of my non-blogjune time on holiday in Adelaide with not much internet access.

    Sometimes being quiet is good, and powerful – something else is making the words, or perhaps using up the allocation. If you search for “Sorry we’ve been quiet lately!” – there are so many results! It’s okay not to add to it, there’s enough. Brings to mind artist Danielle Freakley’s The Quote Generator where she only spoke in stolen quotes for years (which reminds me I’d like to see a movie on a similar theme: And Now a Word From Our Sponsor). If you see her performance on Enough Rope – the lesson could be the importance of life dates in serials?

    My favourite post from my mega reading cramming was Margaret’s post seeking book donations, and the story behind reinvigorating the library at Greenville High School/Indian Valley Academy (California):

     “Will you donate a book? A real book. Something literary or fun – something that speaks to your truth, their truths. …help us to build a library we can be proud of. Just one book.”

    I wonder if the blogjuners (junebloggers?) in Australia could work together to organise a parcel – or am I making this overcomplex, would it be better to purchase online and just use their shipping address? Hmm. Considering which books to send!

    Mr Cat with handknitted socks

    A cat paw, a human sock

    Apart from my blogjune guilt, I was trying to conjure up a post about gloves (it’s cold here! I guess that counts enough for inspiration – or desperation?). I couldn’t find any matching ones in the wardrobe – which probably says something about my clothing information management?

    Bereft of gloves, I rediscovered this trio of socks which were handknitted by my Grandma. It’s a weird thing to be given 3 specially-made socks, but she reasoned to me that:

    1. I wear odd socks

    2. I am likely to lose socks (I’m not sure where that came from – after all, I still have all these ones).

    3. There was just the right amount of wool left to make a third sock, and what else could she have made? (perhaps some undies, but I didn’t feel it was worthwhile to argue).

    I miss her very much, and I love the fact that she wanted to risk-manage my sock habits.

    As you can see, our Mr Cat rather likes them (or just wants to be a blogjune feature cat like ‘Scuse me and Purrkins, Maggie, Shadow Norton and mysterious). And yes, it’s another cat photo, continuing just the same as where I began this year’s blogjune!

    A sock fancier – sounds like a wonderful and outdated career choice?


    Reference: George, E. (9 January 2007). Artist happy to talk up witty project. Mx (News section), 2, accessed via EBSCOhost.

    Confessions of the great unread

    Posted in blogjune
    June 6th, 2016

    Reading pressure! My Mum quails at the thought that I am a Librarian Who Hasn’t Read the Classics (yes, that’s me! – in stark contrast to Ceridwyn’s love of Austen).

    I’m following the lead of Fiona, Rachel and Kate in considering the topic of #iconfessineverread

    …I guess I feel that I don’t always read the right things, which could also be why I try to restrict watching my movie consumption, to span only those that are critically panned. I guess I am trying to be “better”! (more healthy? More wholesome?) At the same time, I share Connie and Hannah’s feelings around not engaging in reading as much as is possible – but I also want to read for pleasure, not just reading something that is good for me?

    Books on my shelf

    A portion of my books

    This is a tiny section of our (also small) bookshelves at home – I don’t actually own many books (multiple reasons, including working in interlibrary loans for a long time, having expensive books damaged in a flood, etc.).

    Like Maya, I have some books just for the tactility and memories they offer – touchstones to a different time.

    In blogjune 2014, my collection was in a different cabinet – since that time, I’ve bought a few YA series I’ve kept, some books I’ve forwarded on, and received some lovely vegan cookbooks. There are some long-held Christian Boltanski ones that I love dearly, but try not to read/manhandle because I have that hangup of not destroying the pages. I used to work with a curator who purchased photography books as an investment, it seems rewarding – but I think she now buys in multiples (too hard to part with them).

    Some of the books you see are Norwegian ones – many years ago I thought I would read things in Norsk and at some point my brain would suddenly “click” and just get it. Obvious naivety there. So I really enjoy looking at ideas for becoming bilingual, such as a vocabulary wall. I did a Wiradjuri course last year, which really helped me to understand the mechanics of how I learn, as well as wishing that local languages and culture were embedded in school (but this is changing for the better now). Other books shown are about gardening, art and cooking. I feel like it’s a good topic overview shelf, but it also has other people’s books, so I feel like it also speaks to the work I need to do around boundaries.

    Achievement unlocked!

    Refresh, refresh.

    To balance concerns about not reading, I’ve included a screenshot of a mini-accomplishment – catching up on all the posts in my feedly blogjune category. Yay!

    Confession time:

    I would rather re-read Margaret Atwood’s novels and poetry, than try something super-new. Mr Sonja would say that this also reflects my attitude to “known” foods.

    There was a well-read books list in blogjune 2014 – I’m afraid I haven’t augmented my score much (read this as: at all) in the intervening 2 years.

    #iconfessineverread (classics, and then some non-classics so that I might actually remedy the situation!)

    • Same as Rachel and some of Kate’s: The Catcher in the Rye, War and peace, Catch-22, Lord of the Rings, Wuthering Heights, Huckleberry Finn, Lolita, Anna Karenina, Ulysses, and Frankenstein (however, I have read To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Little Women, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
    • Before going through the list of 100 must-read books about books, I’m betting that I haven’t read any of them. Aim low! (3 minutes later: A feeling of success! I have read “The Eyre Affair” and loved it, even though I didn’t get the references in it given that I don’ t know the classics, i.e. this post, comment and reading experience is the ouroboros. Also Matilda, Possession, and 84 Charing Cross Road. A 4% success rate! Best navel-gazing librarian badge awarded to me!)
    • 96 books about books (see above for individual list)
    • I’m also excited by the 100 wonderful, strange and unusual novels (okay, yes, it includes an Atwood book I haven’t read yet)
    • 10 must-read books recommended by Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose (6-year-old post, but I like the way that the video starts with potplants – even though I can’t quite make out what they’re saying)

    At the same time of having a guilt trip about what I don’t read, there are some things that are going to be on my “to don’t” list forever. Like Dickens.

    Happy blogjune 2016

    Posted in blogjune
    June 4th, 2016

    Starting blogjune a few days late (or perhaps very early for blogjune 2017) with a cat photo. Even though I feel like this is a cop out, akin to Mean Girls:

    “…and you can only wear your hair in a ponytail once a week. So I guess you picked today.”

    I’m not super clear about my goals for this year’s blogjune, I think it’s my fourth round (you can see this year’s participants on Peta’s post). I know the aim is to post every day of the month, and to learn from everyone participating in the challenge. I hoped to have some sort of theme – I was thinking of posting a vegan burger a day, so I ate one a day for the first 3 days of June. Then my friend E highlighted that it was going to be a super expensive endeavour. From this, I think my posts will be unthemed, as the theme. Even though I reckon I could eat 30 burgers in a month, so that can be a future investment goal.

    When you match your bruise to your bra

    Cupping and Cat (no filter needed)

    If you aren’t wearing glasses and this is blurry, don’t worry, I have not posted a picture of my pink bits and turned my head backwards. I’m gearing up for the unofficial Gywneth Paltrow “who is more alternative” competition by trying cupping therapy, just like Kristen. Although I admit I might be not super punctual to this boss battle.

    The headlines in 2004 declared “Wacky Gwyneth Paltrow is in the spotlight …sporting bizarre circular marks on her back.” Weirdly, I can remember the media uproar. Just think, she was researching for goop all the way back then, on how to achieve a workplace that is “…casually ethereal…”. 

    I find the goop language really interesting, in terms of “positioning as expert”, something that we could learn from (just the marketing aspect!), to promote library expertise and resources. Although the sniffing at crowd-sourcing is pretty grating, but makes sense when they are pushing the “homespun riche” element:

    “…a fully-formed lifestyle site… …a place where readers can find suggestions… …from a trusted friend – not from an anonymous, crowd-sourced recommendation engine.”

    I showed my cupping marks to my friend, who said I had bad huang (wind), and unfortunately Mr. Sonja agreed. But in all seriousness, I’m excited to be following up on health treatments (including acupuncture) and start detoxing my life. I’ve found Ruby’s soul detox to be a good motivator and cause for contemplation, as a way to frame the beginning of positive habits and healing.

    The feeling of the first cup was like I didn’t have enough skin, or maybe it was a renegade sucker attachment from Species II. Is that the right movie? I went to the initial acupuncturist appointment just to ask about the impact of piercings on energy centres, but I felt like I should actually get some acupuncture done at the same time, so that it wasn’t just a costly random question (and to combat the possibility of seeming strange). Sometimes I find these things happen, because getting involved a bit more, is bound to be less awkward than having a pretend appointment? I guess it’s a health version of While you were sleeping. A red herring that becomes an actual fish dinner, if that makes sense.

    I am dreadful at pairing movie scenes with their titles (which is why I do a yearly read/watched roundup), I thought this one happened in She’s out of my league, but wherever it was from, it fits: A guy working in a fast food chain has a crush on an airline reservations agent. He tries to talk with her (at her counter desk) and ends up accidentally booking a plane trip to Poland. That’s me. I am the burger guy. In an awkwardness and obligation sense, but sometime I’ll be the eating-a-burger-every-day person too.


    Reference: Thomas Whitaker, S.R. (n.d., circa 2004). Shakespeare in love bites?. Sun, The. Retrieved from Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, 4 June 2016.


    blogjune time sundae

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    August 2nd, 2015

    Okay, we are in August. But I have been thinking about blogjune since June!

    I posted much less this year, and was dreadfully behind in keeping in touch with other people’s posts. I have only just caught up on hundreds of posts in my feed from people who did blogjune (so, some of June and everything since). I have missed lots of them too, but that’s okay (as is an August-timed reflection!).

    Low-key blogjune was because my priority for June (and beyond) was/is to relax. I started towards this in a small way during last blogjune, thinking about what I wanted to have more of in my daily life. Yesterday’s card on self-care, selected by Doreen Virtue couldn’t have been more accurate. I spend (invest?) a lot of time working and volunteering in the library sector, so I figured if I could have more relaxing baths, face masks, recreational print reading and seeing friends, it would be an achievement. These are the things that migrate to my “to don’t” list when everything else borrows my time and energy.

    Foot with bath bomb

    Foot bomb

    “The capacity to offer your own time to service is grounded in the privilege of having that time in the first place.” (Kate Bowles’ post via Kim’s retweet) (and which tasks end up eating the time privilege?). Task creep and expansion is like a sundae made of time allocation, all the melty bits drip down into the tiny spaces between the wafers. I really did end up spending more time on life balance activities which is a success. More books! More movies! More fun!

    My blogjune output for this year has been 8 posts, or maybe 9 including this one (I did 30 last year, and 23 in 2013). Each year, my desire to post more during that month means I reduce my cull rate and try to be a bit more open. This year I also helped facilitate the blogjune posts for a group blog (Canberra Library Tribe), which made me appreciate what an accomplishment regular posts are for other group blogs. I’m particularly thinking of ALIA Sydney, which hosts many guest posts every blogjune (I was very pleased and honoured to be able to contribute a post in 2012). I also helped to organise two Arlis/ANZ activities during June: an exhibition tour and a day roadtrip. This definitely made me realise that it’s easy to make time for volunteering when it’s enjoyable!

    From this self-development focus, I really enjoyed Janice’s blogjune post about her Aurora experience. I’ve always thought the Institute held a lot of mystery – almost like MLM companies or something a little bit cultish. Her point about personal reflective learning made so much sense, and her link to Mike Robbins’ “Bring your whole self to work” TedX talk really rang true for me:

    “…nothing changes until you do. So it’s an internal process.  And if you think about this for yourself, where are the places in your life, where are the places in your work, where are the situations, the circumstances, the conversations you that you want to have? The risks you want to take, and where do you find yourself holding yourself back in with compassion? Can you challenge yourself to step beyond what might be safe, what might be comfortable?”

    Another element that resonated with me from her post was about personality types and library work. Part of my desire for more personal time is about considering my next career path direction. When I began studying towards being a librarian and library technician, I had absolutely no idea about the niche specialisations and options available, and what would be the best fit. I really should have investigated more before diving in, but the beauty of doing information studies is an understanding of the value of research. There’s a good post about a study on the Myers-Briggs psychological types found within librarianship – i.e. what are the most common personalities in the library field and what type/who is drawn to work in our sector. If you don’t know your type, there is a free and easy test online (complete with cute illustrated explanations of each type). I feel like understanding this is going to help with my next direction, but it would also be good to find out more about this same data being sampled across library sectors (e.g. is there a personality type more suited to some libraries over others, like special, government…?).

    Steph talked about “Commando shopping” (I have always thought of this as “Surgical shopping”, slicing and dicing through the bargains), as a very direct way of finding what you need in a restricted timeframe. I think there is definitely a temptation for a “Commando career path”, which seems very desirable in hindsight. But everything feeds into everything else, and a direct route is not always the one that provides the most learning opportunities. My life/work balance is also being improved by a new business idea that includes art. As part of my self care, I really need to spend time making art, which I haven’t done for a long time.

    Internal shifts and learning can be hard to articulate, but I feel really positive about the way I managed my time for blogjune. As Constance said, this year’s blogjune may have been smaller numbers-wise, but the discussion involved more significant and impactful discourse.

    Grey vanilla pod

    Posted in blogjune
    June 28th, 2015

    I finished reading Grey, Christian’s perspective on the first of the 50 Shades trilogy. I had thought it was his summary of the whole three books, but it was just a blow-by-blow account of only the first book. Now I have to read two more books from the perspective of his brain and selected body parts (Mum says “you don’t HAVE to read them”, but damn, I am going to finish this thing).

    Grey bookface

    Grey bookface

    For all of his mixed feelings towards “vanilla”, really Christian Grey is actually vanilla extreme – the physicality of this perfumed seed. His body is the vanilla pod, a flesh farm, incubating something sweet which is periodically harvested. He identifies these growths as “anxiety mushrooms”, like a special chest fungi, reaching up from the darkness of his internal organs:

    “My anxiety mushrooms; this deal could all go to shit.” p. 90

    …and he also recognises when a harvest has been completed, perhaps the scrumping is during one of his nightmares?:

    “I undo my bow tie. Perhaps it’s me that’s empty.” p. 292

    …that’s right, that emptiness without your sweet, heady anxiety mushrooms. Back to the growth cycle, the crop regenerates as “anxiety blooms”:

    “Anxiety blooms in my chest.” p. 379

    You can see the cycle demonstrated in the progressive pagination of these quotes. People need to know.

    These human farms have been exposed in other stories, such as Georgina Kincaid in Succubus heat:

    “A flower of agony and euphoria burst open in my chest.” p. 356

    The next two books will reveal that Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. actually deals in the pricey ingredients grown in human bone gaols – vanilla, saffron, truffles. Christian doesn’t know the real reason that Mrs Lincoln helped him escape his life of vanilla cultivation. Her beauty salons need these exotic ingredients, but the greedy food industry is hogging the bulk of them. She subjected people to extreme genetic manipulation to grow and nurture these most expensive products inside them, to support her business venture’s wildly luxurious facials. He thought she’d cured his vanilla-growing, without realising that she was only taking him from a cycle that she herself had initiated. Mrs Lincoln breaks into the penthouse on a weekly basis to reap her precious Christian-ambergris while he slumbers.

    Will Christian realise that he is invested in Mrs Lincoln’s business, not just financially, but with his body, nay, his very soul? Will Ana save him from himself?


    Goulburn art road trip

    Posted in blogjune
    June 15th, 2015

    This weekend I journeyed to Goulburn with Arlis/ANZ (Arts Libraries Society, ACT chapter) on an art road trip. There weren’t too many surprises as I’d planned the trip based on last month’s visit, but it was worthwhile to go there as a group and enjoy the sights on a slowly-emerging clear-sky Winter day.

    Green Penguin books at The Argyle Emporium, Goulburn

    A bibliolawn

    Travelling there, I went past the Canturf fields at Fyshwick, who always have fun signage (they are competing with church billboards, I guess). You often need to read the slogans aloud to make sense, this week’s was: “Mown and grown in Fyshwick”. I must admit that I didn’t get it for a few kilometres (for non-Canberrans, this alludes to an area which includes many sex shops). A previous slogan was, “Looks good mown, eh Lisa?” and Dale photographed a more political one. If you can think of a punny line, Canturf will give you $250! I just wish they had an archive of all the signs. Or is there one? I saw these aptly-themed books during our bookshop visit later in the day.

    As we made our way from Canberra to Goulburn, the car crawled through thick fog, like the misty landscapes in the new Mad Max movie. I didn’t see any creatures on stilts, though.

    Our pit stop at Grit Café yielded no vegan options (again) – but I did sneakily diversify my request by asking if any of the sweets were “dairy free”. The waitron said that they had “gluten free” but I just made a sad, lactose-intolerant face. It looks like they haven’t had the raw vegan cake since April so it must be seasonal veganism. There is a market for this! I wish we had menu equality for vegans and gluten-frees!

    I had a good #PatADay by honing in on a puppy as soon as I parked the car. My patient and delightful road trip partner K watched [in surprise?] as I bounded over to my new acquaintance. The dog’s companion said “You’ve made a friend for life”, but then they walked away! Obviously no lifetime guarantee, then. They didn’t know I’d be happy to rent a faux-pet for the day. It was lucky I had this pre-emptive pat as I had mistakenly thought that there were real alpacas at our next destination…

    Yarn at The House of Alpaca, Goulburn

    String & stones

    The House of Alpaca was a nice place to visit, but sadly no alpacas live there. In the shop, a measurement for some of the woven garments is 18 microns – I assumed this meant that 18 micro-alpacas (tiny, as in, desktop toy size) grew all the wool for it. I didn’t ask so I am hopeful that this is correct. After all, when the animal is bigger, it broadens the micron as the fibre stretches. That’s how important micro-animals are to the rural economy in making fine, fine fibre – and no doubt to The Borrowers as well.

    In the factory, I learnt that things which look like suspended pine cones are called pirns, the threads they release are a bit like the sight-string in Splatoon or whale baleen hair. There were just so many threads! Even more than you’d see in a crime movie’s thread-and-pushpin wall diagram. Some of the machinery reminded me a little of the inventions in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was quite inspiring to hear how the business has grown, and their use of the quote “Work on the business, not in the business”.

    Book spine poetry at the Argyle Emporium, Goulburn

    Violette girt by sea

    Visiting The Argyle Book Emporium again, still proved overwhelming. It was such fun to see the reactions of people new to the space, to witness their shock, awe and overwhelm. Basically, there are heaps and heaps of books. Many left with lots of purchases! (I suspect though, even if several books are sold, the stacks and piles are like quicksand, with no gap created from the recently plucked). I enjoyed leading people to my favourite section (through the main entrance, turn right, right again under the stairs, left around the stairs, through the small room, down one step, past the records and to the right – yes it’s a labyrinthine former police station!), which has high ceilings and a lounge area.

    Lion and Lambs at Wunderkammer, Goulburn

    Lion and lambs

    It was good to see Wunderkammer at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery again, this time with the benefit of Angela explaining the works and intention behind the exhibition. The show is only on for a few more days, and has a very environmental take on taxidermy and traditional curiosity cabinets.

    Horse 2 by Jenny Bell at Goulburn

    Horse 2 by artist Jenny Bell

    I loved this construction exhibited in the Gallery’s entrance, Horse 2, by Jenny Bell (on loan from the Peter Fay Collection). So evocative of the landscape – I’m sorry that I didn’t take a good photo but it is too lovely not to share in any case.

    Alpaca toy by Sherri Smith at Gallery on Track, Goulburn

    Hi! I’m cute

    We missed out on The Papillon Tea Room (their last Saturday sitting is at 2:30pm), but we did manage to find Gallery on track! Lots of local crafts on display, including this Alpaca wool cutie by Needle felting artisan, Sherri Smith. Sherri is also running a Needle felting workshop this Sunday through the Goulburn Handweavers and Spinners Inc. Uncannily, there is a similarly-named fibre artist, Sheri Smith in Oregon doing pine needle basketry (could be the same person just different elements of the multiverse!).

    Successfully finding Gallery on track was much more enjoyable that our attempt last time – ending up at wrong end of the street, under the scary bridge (no doubt houses many trolls).

    A note for the keen-eyed: even though this post was meant to be “Goulburn vegan mini-break III” …I only ate some fruit at the Alpaca morning tea and didn’t check out any food places, hence the different title! My other two Goulburn vegan mini-breaks can be read with the Goulburn tag. As such, vegan-recommended places I haven’t visited still include Ban Thai and Goulburn Workers Club, plus the Greengrocer café. Apparently Madison’s Restaurant has a good high tea, not sure about the veganics of this, though.

    We didn’t stop at Collector but I’d like to see if the Dreamer’s Gate is still there. It’s well summed-up by the Atlas Obscura, “One man’s artistic vision is a small town government’s legal battle”.

    Our trip was definitely a success, there is so much more to Goulburn than a big ram statue (but we still love you, Rambo). Perhaps one day there will be a Big Alpaca?

    Peak Canberra

    Posted in blogjune
    June 8th, 2015

    I had a #PeakCanberra long weekend – Mad Max movie, lyra at circus class, OBD markets, Sweet Bones brunch, Urban Sketchers sketch-up, Ethiopian restaurant, vegan caramel slice from our charming guests, and the Medieval Fest at Old Parliament House. I even patted 2 cats today on a walk. I also got a 92 combo in Pokemon Shuffle.

    It was pretty good but of course that’s prettified to not include a fire evacuation, cooking, driving, gym and errands (returning library books etc.). I’ve just realised that prettified is so much like petrified. I don’t mind scaring or ossifying the beige tape of life into stone. The beige tape sculptures could be made into a Vigeland park for the damned.

    Horse from Canberra Beijing Garden


    For Sunday morning’s sketch-up (Canberra Sketchers Group – Urban Sketchers Australia), the weather was not the best. As Sharon said, “I think people will get the idea, as a group, we are as tough as old boots, but the next meeting place has an indoors option which I am sure will be warmer.” …even if the group is as tough as old boots, my toes were freezing! So I drew a little bit in the Canberra Beijing Garden, then piked and went inside the Hyatt, listened to the piano-man, drew a few roses and then left early. I have sternly told my feet to “think like boots, become boots”. Leonie had a bit more focus and anti-freeze!

    Lax as I was, I was pleased to attend because I came up against so many psychological barriers to actually going – it was cold, it was morning, I couldn’t find a proper bit of drawing paper, my pencils sucked, all my Winter clothes were in the wash, and I was late. However, I remembered advice from Alicia, Having Cake transformational coach, about the importance of imperfect action. She has written a bit about perfectionism on her site. So, I turned up and I coped, wearing Mr S’ heavy winter coat, unsuitable shoes, dreadful lined paper and the only pencils I could find (I pulverised the tip of my pastel pencil while I was trying to find the Chinese gardens).

    Despite all these things, I had a pleasant time, found the gardens themselves, met some nice people (including another new person – thank the goddess!), thought about my focus on “the perfect drawing materials”, saw some waterbirds, made up a murder story about a boat (it has a cover on it that looks mummified), focused on the sculptures and saw details that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and admired the Hyatt’s carpets (the patterns in the large rug areas look a lot like stylised tyre skid patterns). It was worth the imperfection.

    Family portraits at BAC

    Posted in blogjune
    June 6th, 2015

    Recently we visited Echoes in Time, Vivien Lightfoot’s exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre, with Arlis/ANZ last week (this is the ACT chapter of the Arts Libraries Society Australia/New Zealand).

    James Shepherd and Ann Thorn by Vivien Lightfoot

    James and Ann by Vivien Lightfoot

    The family portraits are really the next step in genealogy, a visualised family tree based on photographs of Lightfoot’s forebears. There was no image of Ann Thorn, so her face is an enticing blank canvas. I was thinking about how much information we lose through death – the exhibition begins with family from 1800, it’s surprising that there’s only one person who has no remaining documented likeness.

    Making the ceramic forms and conducting the research, like all family history, was a labour of love, and would have grown the relationship between the artist and her ancestors, across time and space.

    It’s the last day of the exhibition tomorrow – it closes at 4pm. It’s well worth seeing just to appreciate the strength and depth of family connections.

    Face replacement needs

    Posted in blogjune
    June 3rd, 2015

    Vintage face depot provides the service you never knew you needed. “Servicing all your face replacement needs with our specially selected range of vintage faces.” See the face replacement progress on @facedepot’s timeline and more information from their salon page.

    The bot has very specific needs and doesn’t really like non-human faces (so cats etc. don’t always work), but I was very pleased with the outcome of one of my photos:

    For all your nightmare needs

    Intense, no?

    It is just splendid. That’s my face superimposed with that of THE LATE SIR P. N. RUSSELL (Sir Peter Nicol Russell). You can find out more about him on the Australian Dictionary of Biography. I like the oil painting ADB mentions at the University of Sydney (no permalink, search for Orchardson and you’ll find it). For one thing, Russell is looking in the opposite direction to most of the pictures of him on Trove. Even in his medal, he’s facing to the left.

    The only scary element of the vintage face depot is whether we really know what it’s actually doing. Maybe the faces aren’t being superimposed, but that’s what lies beneath? The bot senses our inner moustache? I am lucky to have only just read The Picture of Dorian Gray, from much hassling by my better-read friend. At least I didn’t make any promises when I saw this photo of my sins.

    There was a book in the art school library, Scratch, by Christian Boltanski (Verlag der Buchhandlung, Köln, 2002), which is well-described by Grahame Galleries. It was both magnificent and dreadful, because you had to scrape the silver surface (a film like surface, reminiscent of a scratch-it ticket). Only then would you see the actual content of the book, a secret layer of forbidden images. We only ever scratched it a little bit. The art library staff members were actually very encouraging – I think they would have liked to scratch the book too, and probably did this in secret. I never saw a full page. Perhaps it’s now totally revealed. Like the fact that I could really be Sir P. N. Russell.

    My favourite shelf

    Posted in blogjune
    June 2nd, 2015

    This is the best section out of all the shelves at my library.

    Breathe in, breathe out

    The warmth of books

    There are so many things I love:

    • that I walk past each day but still get a little tingle of “nipple surprise”;
    • how a portion of the title on the spine, “heart” is kind of close to the relevant (in an emotional and physical sense) area of the chest;
    • the gradation of high pink to pale skin to earth, couched by a guardian moat of blue-green spine guards; and
    • the visual fleshy conversation between two of the book spines, which is even better because they both reveal work by Patricia Piccinini, so the text bodies are close together.

    Even when the library is closed, the books press against each other to keep warm, sleeping until we wake them to leaf through their pages.

    Blogjune shoes

    Posted in blogjune
    June 1st, 2015

    Merry #blogjune from the glitter shoe fairy! It’s my 3rd year doing the June blog thing. I don’t know if I’ll do every day. Like flexnib I’m in danger of missing the first day already, so I am going to write about my shoes so that I don’t start off talking about cats a lot. No doubt I’ll talk about cats when things get sparse. I like the idea of having a plan and prepared posts, but it just doesn’t happen.

    I received lots of comments on my ruby slippers today – that they were “party shoes”. The secret is that my shoes are anything they want to be. Let’s face it, shoes love to party, especially in the library. They had a troubled start in life, being pigeonholed as “kids wear” and then chucked in the super discount bin (because who wants sparkly toes? I would have thought, everyone, duh). Like a fairy godmother, I swept past and commandingly tapped my wand, plink noise, and they were mine. The cashier looked at me askance, no doubt they were jealous of my shiny wares.

    Glitter glitter

    Party or business?

    Anyway, every day should be a party at work! Which would make “party shoes” just “business shoes” …but then we’d normalise complimenting our colleagues on their outstanding corporate wear – “I really admire how that elfin aesthetic increases the shareholders’ respect”.

    One day when I’m a professional elf (this is my retirement plan), shoes like this will be a tax deduction. Speaking of which, the Canberra Library Tribe’s free workshop on tax for GLAMR people is only 17 days away. Tickets are on Eventbrite, and there are limited spots for venue capacity reasons. You should come along, if you wear “party shoes” there might even be a secret prize.


    Posted in blogjune
    June 30th, 2014


    Happy last day of blogjune! Not much to say today, my arms are tired from yoga and not typing very quickly. See Mr Cat who is so hard to capture – he moves right after being in the perfect position.


    Mr Cat and friend

    You have spots


    Mr Cat is very sweet with his WWF friend – not the former wrestling organisation. If it had to be about wrestling, I would be talking about Sheamus because of the pale appropriateness of his movie role as a Celtic Warrior Zombie.


    However, because our small feline friend is from the World Wildlife Fund, it’s probably more appropriate to mention the WWF footprint calculator. It’s easy and interactive, and you can track your scores. I’m embarrassed to say that my footprint 3 years ago was 3.3 (that’s how many planets we need to support life, if everyone had the same lifestyle as me). I’ve reduced it down to 1.7ish, depending on how much processed food I eat. The difference has been in changing my transport options (daily and holiday), changing eating habits and becoming vegan, and buying less stuff. In terms of stuff, I don’t actually have many stuffed toys – this one was a gift – but I did receive another present this week, a plush turtle with a tag “Turtley awesome”. I keep it on my desk for the tag alone. Our pets would have more of a footprint than the toys, there is probably a market out there for “greening your cat”.


    You can also calculate your water footprint (Water Footprint Network). I don’t really understand my score, but the questions are revealing – I need to do the obvious things like upgrading plumbing/shower heads and get an efficient dishwasher.


    If you’re interested in greening libraries, watch ALIA Sustainable Libraries Group on facebook and twitter for more on this subject (also mentioned in my post on recycling book packaging).


    Congratulations everyone on reaching the end of June! I look forward to next year, particularly to see how everyone has progressed on their dreams and footprints.



    Rose mattress

    Posted in blogjune
    June 29th, 2014


    Hello possums.


    In the Adelaide hills, rose plants are being put in large enclosures (cages) to protect them from the possums. My mother-in-law calls the possums “those furry bastards” because they savage all her plants (and thirst after roses) even though she planted some natives specifically for them. She blames the population explosion on the people that feed them bread and honey – if you don’t bring an offering, they bite your feet through the sandals. I guess toes can look pretty appetising, like human sausages with a little ridge cap nail on the end. A delicacy.


    Free range rose in Canberra

    Gaol-striped rose


    I love these striped Floribunda-type roses – they remind me of carnation experiments at Questacon. When I was little, a science fair had them all lined up, each stem sucking up different colours to change the petals. The best rose-lust blog is Rosomanes by Masha.


    There is something poetic and Magritte-like about keeping a rose in an aviary, like a songbird with clipped wings.


    There is a lot of development in the Adelaide Hills area, so this is removing one structure for possums (gum trees with delectable blossoms) and replacing it with a new structure for the plants (rosy gaol), all so that we can have a new structure for people (houses in an area where they can admire what’s left of the “natural” scenery). As Lindy Stacker (wildlife care volunteer) says, “People wouldn’t have noticed possums 50 years ago because they had a habitat,”.


    Foster possum in Canberra

    Possum snooze


    One of my friends fosters orphaned or injured possums. In Canberra this is through ACT Wildlife (go to their site to donate), but other Australian states/territories have different arrangements and organisations. There are some useful tips from RSPCA ACT and TAMS.


    I was surprised to see that possums even like the taste of Andrew Bolt’s garden:


    Having a curtain of flowers turned into a ghastly skeleton has broken my heart…”

    (Bolt, A. (2012, June 25). Cracking from paws and effect. Herald Sun, p. 13. Retrieved from Factiva.


    A life and death sentence for delicious roses (and possums).



    Cosy wintry markets

    Posted in blogjune
    June 28th, 2014


    Warming and cosy, this was the promise from the Mid Winter Markets at Belconnen Arts Centre. The bad weather cooperated and made sure that after a rainy dash we were ready for hot mulled wine and in a scarf-buying mood. The only way to improve this rainy day outing would be to have an indoor fireplace, non-gelatine marshmallows and an expansive shag rug (next year, perhaps?).


    I bought a small dragon saucer from Paul Dumetz, it will be handy for earrings. Ms L bought some arm snuggies from one of the many knitters, plus a necklace from Barbara McGann of PaperArt and the Tiny Gallery.


    Hillgrove Pottery tiny houses

    Buy a new house


    Hillgrove Pottery’s tiny ceramic houses (some with metallic roofing) were adorable and very popular – how could you resist, at $2 each with the sign “Buy a New House mortgage free: now you can afford the whole street”.


    There are drunken houses on their facebook page, perhaps a less reliable housing option than the small ones. A shining beacon at the end of the grim tunnel of Canberra’s housing situation, at least if  you’re Arrietty.


    Macrame by Annette Boyd Art + Design

    Macrame sculptures


    I loved the handmade macramé sculptures and hanging pots by Annette Boyd Art + Design, there was quite a crowd of people enjoying reminiscing about “old macramé” and legwarmers. These ones are beautiful and there are much better pictures on her facebook page showing a previous macramé display at The Front.


    In my work library, I’d seen the catalogue for Unruly orchestrations exhibition which is at BAC till tomorrow, so I was pleased to have caught it during the market day. I was most looking forward to Sandra Burr’s artist book Unruly creatures, documenting street art with a focus on non-human animals. Her booklets on the table were divided into many categories, and I’d liked to have spent longer looking at them. I recognised a few walls which have since been covered over – as social history maybe the photos/artist books could be included in the ACT Heritage Library’s collection? You can see more Canberra graffiti photographs on Jack Crash’s The Screaming Wall.


    It was fun to get out of the usual market groove and see different local handmade products and enjoy the live music. I’m looking forward to next year’s markets, or maybe they could have an end-of-winter one too.



    Books across my desk

    Posted in blogjune
    June 27th, 2014


    Today’s books, clockwise:


    Desk book grab


    Luminous world: Contemporary art from the Wesfarmers collection. (2012). Fremantle, W.A.: Fremantle Press.

    (catalogue and postcard): because the exhibition at the National Library ends this weekend. The page edges are silvered.


    Bawden, L., Paton, J., & Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2004). Lionel Bawden: the spring tune. Dunedin, N.Z.: Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

    “Every now and then someone with an ear for numbers and no eye for art brandishes statistical proof that the average gallery-goer spends no more than, say, 12.5 seconds with the average artwork. Bawden’s thingamajigs put a dent in those statistics, and remind us that there’s no such thing as an average viewer or artwork.” – Justin Paton


    Berg, C., Hay, P., & Carnegie Gallery (2010). Waterfront. Hobart: Carnegie Gallery.

    My favourite photographer, I once went to a Christl Berg exhibition at Helen Maxwell’s gallery in Braddon which was really moving. Cut-out photos of roses were backed with hot pink so that they reflected back on the wall near the edges.


    Davenport, J. (2006). Ladybird, ladybird: the secrets of a sophisticated lady. Byron Bay: Imaginality.

    One of my next career ideas is as an entomologist. “In and out of flowers fair in your spotted underwear, spreading pollen like magic dust…” p. 26


    Bowman, K., & Craft Victoria (2004). These are the things that hold me here (a house, a vessel, a shell, a ring) : Katherine Bowman, 29 January-6 March 2004. Melbourne: Craft Victoria.

    “Bowman knows a house and wishes to describe it and its purpose as vehicle or receptacle of keepsakes and tokens – guardians of personal memories.” – Robert Baines


    I have learnt that if I want to remember a book or artist, I need to note down the details or they will be forever lost in the book labyrinth.



    Cubicle zoo

    Posted in blogjune
    June 26th, 2014


    This display on my work desk means I can play with my zoo friends during hold music, hold music, hold.


    If I go on leave, I try to position the tiger, dinosaur and giraffe in different (lewd?) ways to see if they’re the same when I return. It’s stressful when Dino and Tiggy aren’t near the rock slice, because then they’ll get too thirsty and steal my tea. Dino used to growl and light up his eyes, but I pressed the button too many times. The rose is a build-it-yourself invitation from a gallery overseas. I sometimes put things on the easel but it makes the display more vulnerable to wind gusts.


    Animal figurines on desk

    Corporate jungle


    Bunny’s heart cushion was made by Kate (thank you!) who also sent me a beanie today which is very exciting in Canberra’s weather. When I was little I would be saddened by “soft” parcels, because it meant that the gift was clothes. But now it excites me because a soft parcel doesn’t contain books and has some novelty value!


    The Bolaffi catalogue of Baj's complete work

    Baj’s cat rais


    Books that came across my desk today included catalogues for Guy Grey-Smith, Christl Berg, and Enrico Baj – the cover reminded me a little of Adventure Time?


    It’s important to have different books on my desk so that the toys have new reading materials overnight (don’t want them to get bored and cause mischief like purposeful misshelving). Thanks Peter for the post inspiration!



    Wheeled conundrum

    Posted in blogjune
    June 25th, 2014


    Sometimes it takes a while for a word to be dredged up from memory, a creaky filing cabinet that says “I just made you look like a crossword, how annoying to know the definition but not the thing!”. This week it took me the longest time to remember “sacrum”. My brain’s clue was: something sacred-ish below the kidneys. No wonder I didn’t guess it.


    After seeing the collections of happy accidents in google book scans, I decided to never let a book go past if I wanted to remember something about it. So I take a quick picture because I’ve also realised that it will fade into the rest of the day, never to return. Faded book covers show memories, shelving and give a sense of how long the book has rested between being touched.


    Faded Manet book cover - front

    Manet approaches


    I like the faded Rothko-esque framing device – on both sides – of this Manet book. I imagine the books pressed their bodies together during a Yves Klein performance, they desperately tried to preserve the original colour of the cover before it altered like etching plates left out for a while (without proper cleaning).


    Faded Manet book cover

    Manet retreats


    The shadow makes it seem as though our covergirl is leaving, or that it’s a portrait in the round. I wish I’d checked the spine.


    Wheely thingys

    Wheely thingys


    It could be worse, though – what if you had to make a sign and could only think of “wheely thingys”? The picture is fuzzy because I was laughing, and trying to remember the proper term.



    Vegan cake in Canberra

    Posted in blogjune
    June 24th, 2014


    Cupcake lust means that I often forget to take a picture of pretty cakes before desire takes over. Here are my unscientific findings – I was impressed by the six factors for tasting mayonnaise in Gladwell’s Blind: the power of thinking without thinking, but I haven’t worked out a cupcake scale. More testing required.


    Following, what I hope is an almost comprehensive list of vegan cake sources in Canberra:


    Sweet bones vegan cupcake

    Pretty patterns


    Sweet Bones (Braddon): Very high-profile vegan business in Canberra. Fancy swirly icing and a fair amount of cake in the patty pan.


    Raw vegan cake at The Front Cafe Lyneham

    Fruity passion


    The Front Gallery and Café (Lyneham): Fairly recent vegan caterer, with wonderful local raw cake made by Celeste of Raw Capers.


    Veganarchy (Bus Depot Markets, various): Gabby’s vegan cupcakes are wonderful, the best flavour is chocolate peanut butter.


    Crafted3 (Canberra Farmers Markets, various): Natalie’s vegan meringues are fantastic (I used to get them with fruit at Mornings in Paris, see below). Cupcakes are on my to-do list.


    Cake Cabinet (on order): Creative luxe cakes made by Nie-kiewa, check out the “In the Cabinet” galleries and prepare to be amazed.


    My Rainbow Dreams (Dickson): Not really a cake, but their walnut and choc chip biscuits have just the right mix of salty and sweet. Honorary cupcake.


    The Green Way Organic (Hyperdome in Tuggeranong): Not a café, but they stock Naked Treaties which include raw cake and imitation raw chocolate bars (“nickers”).


    I haven’t yet tried the cakes at Jazz Apple Café (Civic), or the sweets at V Spot Café (Civic – apparently they have Naked Treaties and maybe some Raw Capers products).


    …my very favourite veg* places tend to close down, so I keep my favourites close like a gastronomic spirit animal (they might be mentioned here but I haven’t given them the f-word). My last favourite place was Mornings in Paris (Nicholls), which closed earlier this year and had just the best homemade vegan icecream. Before that it was Bernadette’s Café (Ainslie) which I think closed in the 2000s, and prior to that, it was the Ridge Organic Restaurant (Farrer). Actually the last one hasn’t closed, but it was vegetarian and now it isn’t. If they have vegan options, I might go back there one day.




    Posted in blogjune
    June 23rd, 2014


    Mr Cat and his new friend – Ms Measuring Mouse.


    The secret is in her tail, which pulls out to reveal a measuring tape which was tightly furled in her abdomen like an anaemic fern decorated with standard units (each line an intestinal villus), the golden ratio of ratios.


    Mr Cat and wooden mouse

    Hi friend!

    Ms Measuring Mouse has been in our family for a long time, I’m lucky to have her. Otherwise I take a “good enough google” MacGyver type approach to measurements for buying clothes online. This involves using headphone cords (or anything else vaguely stringy, measuring my waist, then comparing the length to that of the online ruler.

    There have been less regrets since Ms Mouse has taken up her role of Chief Cm ” Documentation Officer.

    Book collection in Candybar

    Posted in blogjune
    June 22nd, 2014


    My book collection – the entire sum of my own private library. I used to buy books all the time, but when I started doing interlibrary loans, I had less of an ownership need (unless we had a deep soul connection). I’ve borrowed from Snail’s admirable shelf by shelf approach. I am actually very gentle and careful with books from libraries and other people, and I considered restacking things before I took the picture, but at least this is real!


    Book cupboard



    Above the cupboard (not shown): pieces of bark, Perspex dollhouse, box, painted canvas.


    First shelf: sketch books (empty and filled), art catalogues, cookbooks, VHS, aromatherapy books, fiction, travel and Footrot Flats books belonging to Mr. S. Plus a tin that I bought at Benedict House and an icon that was a gift.


    Middle shelf:  cookbooks, spirituality/sex books (I normally hide these if someone is staying in the room), business cards, gallstone jewellery, fiction, art books and golden books (we bought these at a fete, having the crazy idea that they would be huge money spinners).


    Lower shelf: cookbooks/history and aquarium books belonging to Mr. S, Norwegian language books/sets, art books, and at least one book that I need to return to a friend. Plus a heart-shaped leaf and some breadtags.


    Gangles does a brave deed

    Gangles dancing by N. Young


    My favourite fiction book is Gangles (top shelf in the messy bit), it is by Ronald McCuaig (illustrated by Noela Young) and I’ve had it since I was little. Fitting, as I grew up in its setting of Canberra (although it is called Candybar). Even the Canberra Times is the Candybar Times.


    “Candybar is a city with gardens growing out of it, and houses, among them two Houses of Parliament, a university and the Governor’s palace.

    Gangles used to live on one of the mountains surrounding the city. When they put a lake in the middle of the city and a fountain in the middle of the lake, Gangles went to live on top of the fountain.” p. 1.


    If you look carefully at Captain Cook fountain, sometimes Gangles is dancing there.


    “Not everyone who comes to Candybar sees Gangles. …the spurts of water that rise and fall at the very top of the fountain are Gangles’ hair. It is long and bleached in the sun. And when the wind blows the fountain in a mist across the lake and the sun shines through in all those rainbow colours – that is Gangles’ dress.” pp. 124-[125].


    You can see what looks like the National Gallery on the right hand side of the picture. I used to have many more books but they were destroyed in a flood, so perhaps my reluctance to purchase books is really from unresolved grief.



    McCuaig, R., & Young, N. (1972). Gangles. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.



    Solstice geraniums

    Posted in blogjune
    June 21st, 2014


    Halfway through the year, reflecting on the rest of 2014 calendar year. In a Solstice article, Michelle Claire White noted the difference in Sydney’s winter – we haven’t experienced a proper frost in Canberra this year (that, or I’m sleeping in and missing it), and my geraniums are glad not to have an icy coat.


    Night geraniums

    Enticing perfume


    These geraniums were from my Grandma’s house, you can get lots of geraniums from “pruning” as Margaret Olley named the process of harvesting cuttings while out on a neighbourhood walk. I need to make gardening more of a priority, because I kind of forget about it during the day and it’s very cold at night. When I did a lot of housesitting, some  homeowners would leave a “house guide” (if you’re getting a housesitter, definitely do this!), one suggested “spending time in the garden, watering with a hose and drinking a glass of wine”. I watered the garden but I feel like I’m not the kind of person that just hangs around outside all the time, there needs to be comfy chairs, sunscreen… too many logistics.


    I’d like to spend more time with Mr. Sonja and the cats, finish a library course, learn to weave, find out about insects, eat more local food, improve at deadlifting, look at other volunteering opportunities and make progress towards an exhibition. And repot the geraniums.



    Books smothered in packaging

    Posted in blogjune
    June 20th, 2014


    Library books – first they need to reach the library from the publishers, then they might switch to other branches, be posted to a distance student, or lent via interlibrary loan interstate or overseas. Books are frequent travellers with significant ecological footprints: fuel for transport, pollution, and packaging (or getting damaged in the process and creating more waste with replacement copies).


    If you work in a library, the most obvious side-effect from bibliographic voyaging is all the packaging. Mounds of bubblewrap, paper or plastic padded envelopes, tough bags, polystyrene, potato-starch bubbles, air bags, plastic satchels, and enough cardboard boxes to build a fire-hazard castle. Most libraries stockpile the padded bags to reuse, but it can be challenging not to send a lot of items to landfill.


    Leaking paper padded bag

    Leaking paper blood


    I prefer to use paper padded bags (over bubblewrap/plastic padded bags or plastic satchels), because at the end of the lifecycle (being used once or several times), they can easily go in the paper/cardboard recycling in most council areas. Usually you need less stickytape and other paraphernalia to keep them secure during reuse – but sticky labels also create a lot of waste (ink, label, adhesive paper). The downside of the bags is that they are full of recycled newspaper padding, so if a trusty paper padded bag knight gets a spear in the face, he leaks everywhere including between the pages of the book he carries (gruesome paper blood, obviously). Perhaps the bag wants to be a book and is assimilating. I only recently realised that the paper padded bags are slightly heavier than plastic padded ones so they can cost more in postage and over time add up to a lot of unnecessary weight. I haven’t resolved this yet. A point in their favour is that books are less likely to get caught inside (less plastic friction).


    Bubblewrap padded bags can have limited potential reuse because the bubbles will get squashed. If there is a paper outer, you can separate this from the bubbles so that the paper is recycled, and the bubbles in the landfill bin. If you do this a few times you will not like these bags as the recycling process is labour-intensive and soul-destroying. The plain bubblewrap plastic padded bags which have no paper outer go straight in the landfill bin.


    Bubblewrap by itself (not within a bag/envelope structure) can be reused by people moving, or to decorate desks of other library staff. It can be challenging to get rid of it. Polystyrene is also difficult, but if you check your local recycling guide, some commercial waste management places will accept it for a fee.


    Some brands of air-filled bags are made of a plastic that breaks down in the compost, so I pop (quietly if it’s a shhh kind of library) and take them home to compost, but it’s meant to take 5 years and these timeframes are often determined with industrial composting facilities. Non-biodegradable air-filled bags can be popped and placed in the REDcycle plastic recycling bins at some supermarkets.


    Coles postal satchel twitter REDcycle discussion

    Good to go!


    Plastic satchels (like express satchels, courier branded ones) have been confirmed as acceptable for the REDcycle plastic recycling bins. I wish that the REDcycle bins included this on their list of accepted items. If you keep your squashable plastics from home, it is an illuminating exercise about how much waste you create, even if it can be made into something else.


    I was also pleased to confirm that mylar packets can also go in REDcycle bins (note that this is rare, because mylar doesn’t normally require disposal, only if it breaks and cannot be heat resealed back together, like a mylar packet for ephemera). I do wonder about the processes involved in making this squashable plastic into furniture – fumes? But I need to learn more about this.


    Postal satchel waste from the library

    12 weeks of plastic


    Tough bags, paper envelopes and cardboard boxes are easy enough to go straight in the paper/cardboard recycling.


    Potato-starch bubbles or pellets can go straight in the compost, I haven’t tested the pH impact. Apparently some people feed them to birds but I try not to do this. If you’re unsure of the materials, the pellets shrink in water so you can test one in the sink, turn on the tap and see if it becomes small and slimy.


    As a side note to packaging – you can send CDs/DVDs and their plastic outers to Gram Destruction (just make sure to check your organisation’s policy about this type of disposal, or include it in the weeding policies). The process is free, but do factor in the cost of postage as well as the fact that materials are once again clocking up the kilometres.


    REDcycle bin at Coles

    REDcycle bin


    Recycling options may be different in your state/territory, this is just what I’ve found works in Canberra, ACT. Our Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) has an A-Z waste and recycling guide to help with responsible disposal. Check to see if your council has a guide, and if they will recycle the bubblewrap padded bags with plastic outer – sometimes they have a recycling symbol. If you’re interested in greening libraries, watch ALIA Sustainable Libraries Group on facebook and twitter for more on this subject.


    It can be frustrating to look at all the materials accumulated by book transport, but I try and focus on the benefits of getting the right book to the borrower, it could be for something crucial in their research or development that will change or green the world.



    Art lunch in Parliamentary Triangle

    Posted in blogjune
    June 19th, 2014


    Vegan fare has made leaps and bounds since my last “Vegan in the Parliamentary Triangle” update (April 2014) on vegan food in Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle, Parkes ACT, Australia. I’ll do an actual, thorough update towards the end of the year, as I haven’t had time to go to lunch everywhere yet (plus it’s only been 2 months!).


    Portrait Café (National Portrait Gallery) still has vegan quinoa salad on their everyday lunch menu. It’s great that this item has continued and I hope this is due to the statistical significance of the vegan dollar. Plus their across-the-road neighbours, National Gallery of Australia is now catering to vegans!


    Vegan curry of the day at NGA cafe, Canberra

    Curry of the day


    The exciting development since my April lunch-around (mentioned above) is that the NGA Café (National Gallery of Australia), now offers “vegan curry of the day” as an everyday $15 lunch menu item. I haven’t tried it that often to be aware of the different types available, but it’s been good 2 times, so signs point to positive.


    Custom vegan dessert at NGA cafe, Canberra

    Custom dessert


    If you’re organised and can phone ahead (preferably the day before), vegan dessert can also be arranged (I think it’s usually less than $10, might depend on the day).


    Today’s dessert had syruped strawberries, almonds and quinoa cream – sort of a healthy rice pudding.


    Previous custom vegan desserts have been similar quinoa cream based desserts with fruit and crunchy bits (delicious but unknown). Rumour has it that there may be a possibility of getting vegan mudcake sometime.


    I would rate the curry as meeting the requirements of 3 Canberra Beanies (convenience, health factor, cost). I would rate the dessert as an almost 3 (maybe 2.8?), because it would be more convenient if it didn’t require pre-order.


    Now that there is the achievement of vegan savoury items on the regular gallery menus, I hope that vegan desserts are the next frequent feature, not just for vegans but also our dairy-free friends.



    When Woden was Braddon

    Posted in blogjune
    June 18th, 2014


    Having grown up in Canberra, I remember when Woden was trendy, and actually called Woden Plaza before the corporate W took over. There was a giant fountain area near Centrepoint Plaza (did it get removed because of the fish?), the mindbending Camel Train shop in the interchange, the Cosmopolitan Twin Cinemas and Snake Pit nearby plus the bowling alley.


    The Camel Train was my favourite place – slightly forbidden and just so full. There’s a wonderful photo in the Canberra Times (1992, May 5) that shows how crowded it was with jewellery, candles, clothes, everything. I think it opened around 1982 (before that it might’ve been Aladdin’s Cave, a rug shop), and I’m not sure of when it actually closed. Some of the more recent uses of the space have been as a Christian book shop and now a mini-mart.

     Sculptured Form by Margel Hinder, Woden, Canberra


    My focus was so much on the Camel Train and the fountain that I never really connected with Hinder’s sculpture (look closely in the picture in that link, you can see a maroon sign for the Camel Train on the right! The photo was taken from the fountain side, you can see the steps leading down). In the photo above, the fountain and steps used to be in the same location as the fancy paving.


    Now that the sculpture is under maintenance, I chastise myself that I didn’t love it more when it was free range. It is much easier to feel the pain of art that is a battery hen, a sense of loss. There is a sticker on it which says “Please don’t litter your mind”. I look forward to a cleaner and happier sculpture being free at the end of August.


    The artsACT site notes the benefits of keeping the sculpture healthy:

    “By polishing the aluminium surface to a soft patina, and allowing it to bulge around the middle, the sculpture resembles a large soft heart, appearing to be made of several chambers but actually one connected and vital whole.”


    Woden’s heart in a cage.


    Snake pit in progress, 1994, Woden, Canberra

    Koala ghost


    The Snake Pit was painted by community groups. This “in progress” shot dates from 1994, from a 2005 report on ACT Government public art.


    Snake Pit, Woden, Canberra

    A bit sad


    Here is the Snake Pit today – the entry is where you used to get into the movies. Capital Yarns even spun a tale of Snake Pit Armageddon, perhaps that’s what happened.


    I have fond memories of the bowling alley too – I wonder how the space is used now, it is in the weird island building in the middle of the interchange – as well as the cinema. It was a magical place, just like our beloved Electric shadows. It is easy to love the past when you’re no longer in it.


    We weren’t actually allowed to hang out in Woden very much, because of the horrifying missing person case of Megan Louise Mulquiney that is still unsolved. Her unknown story is really the only truly heartbreaking part of the place, I’m not really sure what else to say. Please click to see her profile on the Missing Persons website.



    Early minimal word day

    Posted in blogjune
    June 17th, 2014


    Exciting news! Today I learnt that my legs are the same length as a library book cart (trolley).


    Book cart legs

    Carpet stockings


    Related fact: this is the same length as a standard bus seat (well the ones we use in my city). This means we could easily fit book displays into standard transport. Make every bus a library or bookshop cafe. Or have book cart drill team performances on the bus – donation on top of your standard fare. ACTION buses, we should talk.



    Furry aura

    Posted in blogjune
    June 16th, 2014


    At today’s yoga class, our teacher spoke about layers of being, the perfectness of the self but with the potential to develop. My being and aura is layered with cat hair, even my gym clothes. Someone said, it’s more important to cuddle your pets than to have a tidy house and clothes.


    How can it be lonely people glitter when it’s a sign that you have animal friends? The fur is everywhere anyway. Probably a washing machine filter issue. I used to despair at the mounds and dust bunnies of cat hair – I could even make a third cat every time I empty our vacuum cleaner. The advances in household cleaning appliances were meant to save time, but they’ve made us more time poor as cleaning standards have heightened. C says it’s not just about “Better homes & gardens”, but “Better homes than yours”. We are all juggling a million cats (Webb in Rendle-Short’s talk).


    Ms Cat with Super star by Nightengale needles

    Ms Cat with Super Star


    Cat hair can be inspirational. Artist Marina Neilson made work with the couch her cats shredded but also used their fur to trace a house silhouette. You can see an installation shot on page 6 of the Trouble catalogue.


    And a Monday special, bonus spider!


    Mystery brown spider

    Spidey likes texture


    This little friend was in the hallway – to reduce the hazard of spider smashed on light switch, I put him outside. I hope he will be okay. Most likely now has a spider layer of cat hair (the tiniest fur coat ever) to scare the rest of the arachnid neighbourhood.



    Goulburn vegan mini-break

    Posted in blogjune
    June 15th, 2014


    I had a mobile/computer free weekend retreat in Goulburn.


    The only photo I took was of my dinner from 98 Chairs. Their team was very accommodating (no vegan pre-warn, either!), and the chef even explained all the options (there were several! It’s weird when you have choices). Both soups were vegan (I had leek, broccoli and potato with toasted almonds) and they modified a main (Pressed puff pastry, pea risotto, roast pumpkin, mushroom, sundried capsicum, quinoa, & salsa verde = without the risotto). Everything was scrumptious, worth making the roadtrip from Canberra (thanks Liz P for the recommendation!). Apparently there’s a garden out the back, even during the cold weather maybe they could light up that space to make it a feature for diners.


    Vegan dinner at 98 Chairs, Goulburn NSW Australia



    I didn’t even get to see the Big Merino (even though I don’t wear wool. When I was little there was a giftshop in the underbelly), let alone eat at other vegan-friendly places.


    Next time I’d like to try the juices and raw vegan desserts at Grit Café, check out the options offered by the Goulburn Workers Club (recommended by Peanuts Funny Farm) and dishes at Ban Thai. I’d also like to see the castle, or if it’s not a castle, the reason for having a castle sign near Goulburn. A lair for batmerino?



    Shunned titbits

    Posted in blogjune
    June 14th, 2014


    Allergy diets were big in the 70s and 80s, like this hilarious and alarming title – even if it profiles something serious (very Current Affair style!).


    They must shun... article



    Even more serious, are those allergic to other people.


    “Some dishes for people with allergies are so gristly, even the dogs won’t eat them.” So chimes a reader in Susan Parson’s recipe column, so Susan shares meal ideas from Belgian chef Daniel Collard. Leanne Grady has recipes for baked zucchini loaf, spicy tofu and lettuce rollups and scrumptious strawberry shortcake.


    I hope that at least some of those recipes suited children who were “different”. When I was growing up, we had an allergy party recipe book that had pictures of children looking longingly at “normal” food. Every dish was sprinkled with a helping of melancholy. It’s in the Brassicaceae family.



    Ye olde loldogs

    Posted in blogjune
    June 13th, 2014


    Back in the day if you had a ravenous appetite for cute pictures, you were kind of stuck with joke books or terrible Anne Geddes baby photo albums. This was pre-lolcats, and I desperately wanted some squee in my life. I had lofty goals of a friendship with a cat or puppy, but I had to settle on having the Addams family equivalent: some dead grasshoppers in a matchbox (it was their little bed, pimped out with some comfy tissues). I used to pat them but they weren’t very interactive. True story.


    Now that I have 2 cats (don’t worry they are not the matchbox type), I sometimes borrow cat-related books in the hope that they might read them with me or be impressed that there are cats on the cover. I once knew a kitten who thought a large cat on a calendar was challenging his territory so he attacked it. The calendar fell over.


    Cat recipe book

    Lucifer liver


    This is a recent loan – I think the recipe titles give the impression that the person is cooking a cat to eat. Or is that just me?


    Dog reflections book

    Pocket dog!


    And for balance, ye olde loldogs! (there were overarching photographer credits in the frontispiece, I’m sorry I’m unsure who took these ones) This is a 1977 book on feeding pets, I like all the different words for animal-like human behaviour.



    Carter, Jean S. & Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Great Britain).  (1977).  Living with a gourmet pet : a most unusual bedside cookbook.  [Burwood, Vic.] :  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


    Toshack, Marie.  (1997).  The kitty cafe : healthy, easy to prepare, homemade food for your cat.  Sydney :  Hodder Headline



    Bunny borrower

    Posted in blogjune
    June 12th, 2014


    “Hey bro, do you wanna hear a secret?”


    Bunny wants to hear a secret



    “Umm, sure I guess?”


    What bunny



    “I’m the vegetable thief. Sucked in, man!” he yells, running away with the kale.


    These are my friend’s pets – they are even toilet-trained! But obviously lacking in table manners and etiquette.


    Burglar bunny would be a pretty cute name for a pet – we had a great cassette tape of Burglar Bill when I was growing up. But he wasn’t a bunny. And you can now get the audio book on a format other than a cassette tape!



    In the night

    Posted in blogjune
    June 11th, 2014


    This week I felt rather frustrated with ISBN barcodes being placed right near the spot where we put library barcodes. During the book design process, maybe someone thought it was a good or handy spot if the book was being sold – easy to scan and get the cash! However, think of the library staff who need to add a barcode so the item is trackable for their collection. Every time you try and scan it with the barcode wand, it picks up the ISBN barcode. In the midst of being annoyed – and I know it sounds petty, it’s just tedious as it happens a lot – I found this lovely quote from Karol Hiller in the usual barcoding area.


    "In the night which surrounds us only human creation traces the way". - K. Hiller, 1933

    “In the night…”


    Karol Hiller was a Polish artist in the 30s who invented heliographs, or “picture writing”. A negative (heliographic plate, originally glass and then transparent celluloid) is prepared with chemicals, powders and other materials for different textural effects. The plate is then exposed to light, if this is then pressed to sensitive paper, it provides a source of almost endless prints of the image (see Nakov’s essay for further details).


    I’m glad of having a nice surprise at opening a book instead of having the wrong barcode disrupt my enjoyment.



    Collages and reliefs: 1910-1945, essay by Jane Beckett and Hiller-heliographs, essay by Andrei Nakov. London: Annely Juda Fine Art, 1982.



    I walked with you

    Posted in blogjune
    June 10th, 2014


    Maleficent is the first movie I’ve ever seen twice in the cinema. Clearly I like it 1000. I saw it again last night (first time was on Saturday, noted in my previous Maleficent post).


    I was very taken by details such as the rustling forest sounds in stereo, different flowers in Aurora’s hairstyles (and in the Moors: lupins, foxgloves, hyacinths, agapanthus…), evolving outfits, Thistletwit giving her wish to baby Aurora while blowing dandelion seeds, and that the younger Maleficent even sports the same over-eyebrow mole as Jolie.


    “Don’t listen to him Balthazar, you are classically handsome.” – Maleficent to Balthazar after he is insulted by Stefan.


    “A king does not take orders from a winged elf!” – King Henry to Maleficent as they prepare for battle.


    “What have you done to my beautiful self?” – Diaval to Maleficent after she first works her magic on him.


    Ceiling sculpture at Palace Electric, Canberra

    Swedish ceiling work


    My friend (who has disdain for “popular” movies and rails against the sad and disappointing closing of the Arc Cinema) said his take on the movie was “A triumph for makeup”. He hadn’t seen Sleeping Beauty so I think that contributes to his response.


    We went to Palace Electric, which has lots to look at like this ceiling work (above), which sort of has a sky-ocean relationship with the honeycomb tiles underneath. Jen has captured a much nicer angle of the ceiling. It isn’t by an individual artist, but was sourced from a Swedish company.

    Other works in the area are listed by the Molonglo Group.


    Some Maleficent spoilers from here: I was left with the same questions that I had on my first viewing:

    • some confusion about the geography of the Castle/Moors and remote location of Aurora’s hiding “hovel”;
    • how did the parents of both Maleficent and Stefan die? (maybe they were the same!);
    • how was Stefan able to secret himself into the Moors, when other humans couldn’t (prior to thorniness);
    • why didn’t the forest protect Maleficent when Stefan was with her?;
    • why Maleficent’s wings couldn’t resist being taken from the Moors but could activate later on;
    • why was there an abandoned castle available for Maleficent, what was the story?;
    • why the three aunties didn’t morph into fairy form when they wanted during the “best years of their lives”?;
    • why the aunties were loyal/scared of the King when they could escape and owed him nothing (e.g. no gratitude for looking after Aurora, but they thought he’d take their heads and did indeed hit Flittle)?;
    • why did Maleficent ride Diaval horse when she could have used the earth dragon to get her to the castle more quickly?;
    • why Diaval and Aurora weren’t together (or Diaval and “mistress” Maleficent?)?;
    • why the carefully constructed iron tunnel was actually quite penetrable (I guess the ironworkers also had to make the net?);
    • …and other things I can’t recall.


     “That’s a lovely gift…” Queen Leila to Maleficent as she weaves her spell on Aurora.



    Flora tosh

    Posted in blogjune
    June 9th, 2014


    A relaxed public holiday: walking, café drinks, Pictionary, tidying, bath and later on, a movie.

    It would’ve been appropriate to help with the lego mosaic at MoAD for the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, I quite liked City News’ Canberra Confidential suggestion that “They haven’t confirmed it, but CC imagines republicans will be invited to the break up session.”


    Bug net drawing in Nintendo Sketch program


    A garden theme for our Sketch/Pictionary game (and I actually mentioned this game in last year’s blogjune, too!).


    Turnip drawing in Nintendo sketch program


    After our garden drawings, we moved our neighbour’s dumped rubbish into the bin (they mustn’t realise that waste management is a thing). Mr. S has coined the “garbage water dance”, which is different to the famous Trash Dance (Allison’s comment in the trailer “There’s always a part in the process when I’m making something, when I’m terrified that it’s not going to work.” Ah, creative process!). When I hoisted some decayed carpet into the skip, chunks of grime splashed back at me and I shook my arms with an “urrrgh” noise and waggled my legs. I quite like bugs but when I’m being glittered with rotten green snails and carnivorous cockroaches (I’m almost certain!), it’s hard to love them without a recoil reflex. I’d rather admire their little ecosystem from a distance. I’m an avid dumpster diver but I somehow retain my aversion to germs.


    There is a dress-up blog celebrating rubbish collection day, but it looks a lot more wholesome than our disposal items, so easier to look fancy. This weekend the SBS screened Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience program on Bin Men, which was a very challenging job – BBC also have a post on “What is the worst job in the world?” – I would say that the bin men featured in the program definitely rate. But nothing seems a worse fate than the toshers featured in the Smithsonian mag.


    Purple iris flower


    I washed my hands a million times and felt much better after a bath and shower. Not a great water-use day, but I just felt so unclean! I’ve included the Iris from our garden because I’d rather think about flowers than rotten floor coverings. Now I might see a movie that hopefully doesn’t involve germs.



    Sunday session

    Posted in blogjune
    June 8th, 2014


    A lovely Braddon/Kingston date with L, we devoured vegan choc peanut butter smothies from Sweet Bones and admired the charming upcycled furnishings from guerrilla gallery, The Lost & Found Office (above the Hive).


    Lamps at The Lost and Found Office, Braddon Canberra

    Lamps at Lost and Found


    My favourite things were the insect lampshade and the Alicia Kane ceramic muglets for succulents. Ben and Bobbie of Lost & Found said they’re going to do events like “Canberra on the Couch” conversations.


    Graffiti and ceramics at The Lost and Found Office, Braddon, Canberra

    Zap! at Lost and Found


    Our next stop was Old Bus Depot Markets, but we were sad because Veganarchy was away so we were deprived of the best vegan cupcakes in Canberra. One stallholder had a dazzling collection of gemstones including Australian amethyst, plus ammonite fossils that are millions of years old. As Mary E. White of the Canberra Lapidary Club says,


    “The stone you picked up and held in your hands was indeed a talisman. It had the power to open doors for you to enter a new and fascinating realm, and to tell you something about the ancient prehistoric world in which it had its genesis.”


    Stewie the dog



    I only reached a 2 on my #PatADay score, but they were both unbearably cute small dogs. Stewie in the picture got his name because “He’s a baby who wants to take over the world”. He was a sweet, but rather uncooperative model!



    I know you

    Posted in blogjune
    June 7th, 2014


    Today I watched Maleficent. Just as The Australian Women’s Weekly rated Sleeping Beauty in 1960, I give it 3/3 stars for Excellent (article through Trove). The stories have the same haunting music of Tchaikovsky and green smoke clouds. Fauna, Flora and Merryweather are godmothers in the original movie, with a shift to being Aunties in the newer movie.


    New Films. (1960, May 4). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 82.

    “Evil Maleficent”


    Lana Del Rey’s version of “Once Upon a Dream” is childhood made decadent, do stay during the credits.




    New Films. (1960, May 4). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933-1982), p. 82.



    Snip snip

    Posted in blogjune
    June 6th, 2014


    A recent haircut for the grass near Questacon and Reconciliation Place (Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra). The stark contrast of the “before” and “after” sections reminds me of an exhibition (years ago) at ANU’s Photospace Gallery where the artist documented hair growth (I’m sorry, the details elude me).


    Before and after grass near Questacon and National Library

    Before and after


    I was standing between Questacon and the National Library – the area won a 2012 AILA National Landscape Architecture Award for design (click on the link, their picture has the same area on the right, 2 years has been a big growth spurt for the hedge!). The National Museum of Australia has a great recording (and transcript) of a conversation on the Layers of significance within Reconciliation Place.


    This week Canberra was featured in an article in The New York Times, which also mentioned Reconciliation Place and the National Carillon.  The National Capital Authority is a relevant information source, but their website is down, luckily Pandora has archived the site. The Canberra Guide also lists all the works of art. Creative Spirits also discusses the perceived purpose of Reconciliation Place.


    If you’re interested in conservation and native grassy ecosystems, the Friends of Grasslands conducts advocacy, monitoring and grasslands site visits. They are mentioned on the NCA site but I can’t see the context at the moment, it could be in terms of advice or site visits? The best part of their site is the name of their forum, “Grass half full or grass half empty? Valuing native grassy landscapes”. Oh my goodness! It is one of my deepest wants that their catering involves heaps of wheatgrass shots over the 3 day program. And that they don’t use random grass clippings. It could be a new boutique flavour sensation.



    Silver bowerbird

    Posted in blogjune
    June 5th, 2014


    I am in a club – you might also be a member – it is the Guild of Cutlery Thieves. Not very exclusive, and it could be said that once you’ve used cutlery, it’s been in your body so there is some level of attachment and relationship. That actually provides incentive for a personal spoon set. Truly a tragedy of the work kitchen commons, with the silverware snugly safe in the drawer until they are taken home like so many stolen wildflowers. The flowers in the photo are Viola tricolor/tricolour, or heart’s ease. Well-designed cutlery eases my heart and tummy.


    Heart's ease with fork

    Wild silverware flowers


    My shame revealed – today I smuggled 5 teaspoons, 1 big spoon and a fork back into the work drawers. I’m sad to give up an Alex Liddy teaspoon, which had the perfect shape and weight. I loved that teaspoon more than anyone. However, I must resist this urge to acquire cutlery – which is largely out of laziness, because I don’t want to wash my container and cutlery till I get home, so they both go on a mini-break with me. My parents say that airlines used to encourage passengers to take the metal cutlery home “to increase brand awareness” (I think this is a bit sketchy). We have some SAS spoons from 10 or 20 years ago!


    An Australian artist, Perdita Phillips, did some work around humans as bowerbirds – which I feel is relevant – and there has also been an academic study on teaspoons disappearing in the workplace.


    One of my colleagues calls dessert/soup spoons “mother spoons” and teaspoons “babies”. Sometimes we have to hide the mothers in the baby compartment so that there is one available for lunchtime – kind of a band-aid solution, like when we couldn’t reserve library books in primary school, so we would hide our favourite ones in the wall bar-heaters. I remember this now and am impressed that the whole place didn’t burn down.



    Google manifestation

    Posted in blogjune
    June 4th, 2014


    It’s the last week of the 19th Biennale of Sydney. I visited Cockatoo Island a few weeks ago, and regrettably I think I’ll miss the show at the other venues (it’s meant to be the best at Art Gallery of NSW).


    "You create what you will"

    Coley at Cockatoo Island


    I really enjoyed Nathan Coley’s theatrical text-based work, here is You create what you will, 2014 at Cockatoo Island. See his other works on the BoS website.


    "You create what you will Google"

    Coley and Morton at Cockatoo Island


    If you view it at the right angle, you can make it You create what you will Google (true?) – in combination with Callum Morton’s The Other Side, 2014 (I would’ve loved to ride the Google train but there were no tickets – apparently a lot of lights and smoke!).


    Make sure you see Zilla Leutenegger’s Zilla House, 2014 in an old house on the top cake icing layer of the island – it’s a wonderful and surprising experience.


    You imagine what you desire.



    Australiana in the Lodge

    Posted in blogjune
    June 3rd, 2014


    A delightful article from Vogue’s guide to living (1967) has “an exclusive picture essay” and presents “the first photographs of the Prime Minister’s Canberra residence since it was recently redecorated” (p. 56).


    The Lodge article cover page

    The landing flag


    Mrs. Harold Holt [Zara] acted as her own decorator, infusing the house with Australiana including Australian pearl shells as ashtrays (admiring visitors had to order their own shells from the Dept. of Fisheries), cameo-carved emu eggs, paintings and drawings by Australian artists, and a giant draped flag on the staircase landing (spotlit at night).


    My favourite part is the bright pink bedroom which has beds that Mrs. Holt found discarded in the garage of a government building in Sydney. A sister dumpster diver!


    The article is worth hunting down for the fantastic retro photos, but sadly these older Vogue articles are either not digitised (or let me know otherwise!) or only available through the subscription-based Vogue Archive.




    The Lodge, Canberra: an exclusive picture essay. (1967, Summer). Vogue’s guide to living, 1, 56-63. Photographs by Kerry Dundas.



    Book checkers

    Posted in blogjune
    June 2nd, 2014


    I often have overdue books. I like to think it’s because as a librarian, I spend a lot of time as a flesh equivalent of a due-date reminder for others about their own loans. At birth, we’re allocated a finite amount of brain power dedicated to returning books. Library professionals altruistically gift this allocation to their borrowers and in turn are constantly in the “recalcitrant borrower” shackles. Inspired by Hoi’s “Check in”.


    When I worked in a police library, it was a running joke to call librarians “book enforcement officers”. I am actually fairly relaxed, but borrowers with a guilty conscience see any library staff member, and gain an expression of melancholic despair (and sense of impending doom) as though they’ve suddenly noticed Jack Frost tapping on the windowpane. They back away slowly and whisper, “I was just about to return those…” I know of a library that has a lending policy date of several years, this alleviates their storage issues.


    Mr. Cat and library books

    Mr. Cat the voracious reader


    Here are some books we borrowed for a relative recovering for surgery – it’s luxurious being able to select lots of library books for someone as there isn’t the awkward burden of buying them the wrong book. However there is the need to return them! Shamefully overdue.



    Lorraine on looking great: my guide for real women by Lorraine Kelly

    I didn’t realise that Lorraine Kelly was famous, but I was lured in by the book cover which would be great to hold up to other passengers on the bus. Lots of exercise routines and a good suggestion of rolling a tennis ball under each foot (whilst sitting!) to soothe sore feet.


    The preserving book, editor-in-chief Lynda Brown with Carolyn Humphries and Heather Whinney

    I’d need to renew this to get the most out of it, I’ve only ever made jam in the bread maker and I was surprised at recipes like pickled walnuts – sounds dreadful!


    You are what you wear: what your clothes reveal about you by Jennifer J. Baumgartner

    The psychology of dress! Fun for understanding your own and others’ fashion choices. The thinking woman’s Colour me beautiful/confident. Lots of self-tests about overbuying and appearance anxiety, with chapters focused on lifestyle and not just clothing.


    Work your wardrobe... by Gok Wan, pp. [176-7].

    Handbag hoard


    Work your wardrobe: Gok’s gorgeous guide to style that lasts by Gok Wan

    An instance where you read the book in the author’s voice! There’s no way I could ever buy a white shirt despite it having “…such fabulous fashion potential!” p. [17]. I just don’t have it in me. A puzzling 2-page spread of a lady disrobed but for some handbags – a statement about leather? (pp. [176-7])


    Living normally: where life comes before style by Trevor Naylor; photographs by Niki Medlik

    “A show-home lifestyle is impossible for most of us. …Acres of paint, hours of TV and millions of pounds of advertising serve to idealize how our interiors should be.” – Naylor, pp. 6-7.


    A refreshing book that shows the importance of homes being welcoming and as working symbols of what is important, interior design programs do the same soul-crucifying work to houses as beauty magazines do to self-confidence.



    We did borrow books apart from ones focusing on appearance (which is a rather insensitive topic when someone’s been in hospital), but they have already been returned, so I guess these were the winners. Or as someone told me once “It took me longer to return this book because it was so boring, I needed more time to try and get through it.” At least both our patient and I enjoyed them, so that’s double value (like brewing tea several times – bargain! When you sacrifice your “return books” brain cells you need to save money somewhere to pay the overdue fines).



    Ten bashful mermaids

    Posted in blogjune
    June 1st, 2014


    Happy first day of blogjune! You can see all the participants on Flexnib’s list, she has also put together this blogjune file for your RSS reader.



    I’m trying to keep better track my reading this year by following another librarian’s example …but I realise that I’ve already changed the list parameters. I wasn’t counting non-fiction books which would greatly expand my count, but it’d also mean I was including books I hadn’t read cover-to-cover. Brings to mind a Cathy cartoon where she started a new year’s resolution of keeping a diary, but used the wrong colour pen so it was ruined. I will continue and aim for a December 2014 list of my inhaled fiction books & movies.


    Of the well-read books list from K, I have only read 6% which is a poor result:


    63. Life of pi by Yann Martel

    64. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

    65. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    91. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    99. 1984 by George Orwell

    100. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James



    I could work through the list, but so far I’ve focused on fun books like Tom Holt’s Doughnut, which is like a sweetly salted cookie packed with beautiful descriptive chocolate chips. My favourite quotes:


    “She’d sort of ground to a halt, and was looking hopefully at him, like a dog that can see the biscuit in its owner’s hand.” p. 21


    “That drip-drip noise you can hear is my heart bleeding.” p. 176


    Giraffe toys and toes in the tub

    Pink mermaids



    “He lay back and stared at his little pink toes,

    which rose up out of the froth like ten bashful mermaids.” p. 328


    You can even take a quiz on Holt’s site to find out the perfect love-match book for you. Spoiler: it seems to only choose between 2 of his titles! Doughnut is the first I’ve read by I’m happy to try out some bibliographic polyandry.



    Quartz bodies

    Posted in blogjune
    June 30th, 2013


    I spent a relaxing last day of blogjune at the Om Shanti Pamper Day doing pilates and getting massages.


    Quartz hand

    Quartz hand


    I mentioned AS Byatt’s “A Stone Woman” story to one of the massage therapists – it is about transformation of the body into stones and joining the ancestors (I said maybe that my body was full of stones). Sheila Variations has written a great review of the story.


    She then told me about an Aboriginal story of a medicine man transformed by a spirit, the organs in his body become quartz crystals (magic stones) to help him communicate with the ancestors (Spencer and Gillen in Torrance, The spiritual quest: transcendence in myth, religion and science, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1994 p. 142).


    There are beautiful descriptions of quartz-like crystals as fallen stars (peoples of Bloomfield River in Queensland) or solidified light (the Arunta peoples) in this article on Meteors in Australian Aboriginal Dreamings.



    It is comforting to think of the stories linking up from different parts of the world and how we might talk to others with our shimmering stones on the inside and outside.



    Late night vegan chocolate cake mix snack

    Posted in blogjune
    June 30th, 2013


    I started to make a cake earlier in the day, but the raw mixture/batter always tastes better than the cooked product (unless you use coconut oil or cocoa butter, then the cooked cake is perfection). So it didn’t reach the oven.


    It’s great as a late night pick-me-up, chocolate body paint (I guess?) or maybe even porridge topping.

    I wouldn’t say it’s 100%, but as Genevieve says, “What the world needs is not another recipe for cake but the perfection of edible dough!”. Surely a worthwhile mission. I’m a big fan of raw Anzac biscuit dough, which may make it closer to perfection next time.



    Vegan cake mix, no cooking required!

    (could be rebranded as “Vegan chocolate pudding”)


    Based on Mandy Stone’s Vegan Chocolate Cake from Martha Stewart, but halved (approximately) to try and modify dough intake.



    Vegan cake mix snack

    Vegan cake mix snack




    1/3 cup hazelnut meal

    1 cup of white flour (or coconut flour)

    1/3 cup cocoa powder

    1 teaspoon bicarb soda

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 cup sugar

    2/3 cup melted vegan margarine

    good dash of vanilla essence

    2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

    1/3 cup desiccated coconut

    1/8 cup cacao nibs

    1/3 cup chopped walnuts





    Mix hazelnut meal, flour, cocoa powder, bicarb soda, salt and sugar.


    Add melted vegan margarine, vanilla essence, and apple cider vinegar. Mix quickly.


    Add desiccated coconut, cacao nibs, chopped walnuts.


    Present a sundae glass (fancy!), or if we share slobbiness, eat out of the mixing bowl. I am normally against this, but you could double dip your spoon if you want to mark it as your private eating territory. Top with coconut cream if you need to wind back the sugary taste.



    Avoid the temptation to add coconut essence – it is often made of glycerine which can be derived from animal fat.


    My tummy hurts from eating too much cake mix – if I had cooked it I would have eaten less, but with 30% less enjoyment. Tummy and willpower need to talk.



    Lucky rabbit’s foot drawings

    Posted in Art process, blogjune
    June 29th, 2013


    Lots of drawing today, with the Sketch (like pictionary) in Mr. S’ new Game & Wario.

    You can see my rabbit below, which was guessed quite quickly – sometimes things look better when they’re a little unfinished and not overdone.


    Rabbit by Sonja Barfoed in Game and Wario Sketch Pictionary

    Rabbit by Sonja Barfoed


    I’m rather pleased with it, considering it’s a drawing that took a few seconds without any reference material. Normally I use a lot of photographs and preliminary sketches.


    Roxanna Vizcarra’s feature in curvy is about knowing that artists do research: “As a teenager I was under this false impression that in order to draw really well you needed to be able to do so without any references. I wish someone had taught me differently earlier.” (Curvy 6, 2009, Paper Tiger Media Group, p. 6).

    Her drawing in Curvy is of Jack Rabbit in Year of the Rabbit, one of hordes of scrawny men dressed as bunnies working in an elderly lady’s mansion. Tighty whities!


    I also did some sketches of feet, hands and legs, here is a gratuitous podophilist drawing:


    Foot sketch by Sonja Barfoed

    Feet by Sonja Barfoed


    Interesting to compare the feeling of drawing on a screen and paper in the same day.

    …the pristine nature of the screen, sounds of the materials and the beautiful feathered deckle edge of the paper.



    Vegan in the parliamentary triangle

    Posted in blogjune
    June 27th, 2013


    It’s difficult to get vegan food in many parts of Canberra, but especially so in the parliamentary triangle. I propose that the current amenities review of the parliamentary zone result in a vegan food truck or wandering cupcake seller, it could be called govsnack (copyright Cush, @cu5h).


    I’m providing this summary of my experience with cafés and restaurants in the parliamentary triangle in the hope that they’ll recognise the vegan/vegetarian market, without the requirement to phone ahead or make a special request. Look at the success of Sweet Bones in Braddon, only 4 kilometres away from the parliamentary triangle (but with a fair chunk of time trying to find a car park there and one on return).


    I went to The Kitchen Cabinet (Old Parliament House), I’d been to their 2012 Chocolate Maker talk (see if you can find me in the photos!) which was very accommodating to vegans (but then it is pre-booked so it’s a different thing altogether). Today I was incorrectly enthused by their roast vegetables with pine nuts listed on their menu, before their staff member kindly pointed out that it was a quiche filling. Clearly subheadings on chalkboards are not my forte. There was lots of blocks and gift packs of Lindsay & Edmunds organic chocolate for sale, but solely milk or white chocolate combinations. If there was dark chocolate I could have bought it, as Peter is very insistent about not putting milk solids in chocolate (he mentioned this at the Chocolate Maker talk).


    Pumpkins at The Kitchen Cabinet

    Coaches or pumpkins


    Lots of other produce including pumpkins, but I had already used up too much of my lunch break walking around so I didn’t have time to buy, chop, cook and eat vegetables from start to finish.


    Lovely roses outside Parliament House, maybe I could eat them – rose petal icecream and lavender truffles are my top favourite foods of all time.


    Roses at OPH

    Rosy deliciousness


    Here’s a list of other places to eat in the parliamentary triangle, if you want lunch on a weekday. Some of these places have excellent call-ahead vegan options but I hope that they become permanent menu items:



    Promenade Café at Hyatt Hotel (custom risotto if you turn up for lunch without a call-ahead), I have also attended the weekend high tea where I’ve had a separate special meal (everyone else accesses the buffet), there was a chargrilled vegetable sandwich (average) and dessert plate (excellent). Make sure you mention it when you book the high tea tickets.


    Pork Barrel (tomato or mushroom pizza with no cheese, depending on your view of veganism relating to yeast, no call-ahead),


    Coffers at the Treasury building (basic white rice and vegetables, no call-ahead),


    Bookplate at National Library (custom on-demand salads, call-ahead needed. They also do excellent vegan catering with lime-soaked coconut strawberries). Paperplate (LG1 level of the Library) has a noodle salad that could possibly be vegan,


    Portrait Café at National Portrait Gallery (custom on-demand salad, zucchini balls, call-ahead definitely needed, which sometimes goes to their voicemail which means they are very busy and probably won’t make it),


    Café Milieu at John Gorton building (sandwiches, basic rice with vegetables, no call-ahead), and


    NGA Café (National Gallery) inside on lower ground level has an apple blackberry cake (but there were none today, very sad) and occasional dairy free salad. The Turner Tea Room on level one offers cream tea, lunch and high tea – I’m unsure if there are vegan variations on the menu offerings. The outside café might sometimes have vegan soup and bread at the during winter (today was wombok soup, which was apparently vegetarian but not vegan).



    Places I haven’t tried for lunch during the week are Galileo Café (Questacon), Queen’s Terrace Café (Parliament House), Waters Edge, Lobby Restaurant, and the Deck (Regatta Point) and probably some others.



    Sometimes it takes a lot of phone calls, planning and walking just to get lunch. Perhaps instead of parking spaces in the parliamentary triangle, we should convert all the parking spaces into community gardens so there would always be something to eat.



    Sculpture hide seek and learn

    Posted in blogjune
    June 26th, 2013


    It’s quite a surprise to see all the sculptures at Questacon uprooted – Ken Cato’s Olympic figures have been there for many years (refurbished in 2006), see them in situ on dominotic’s kencato photostream.



    Questacon Cato sculptures removed

    Something’s missing!


    They must be coming back, because a 2007 Referral of proposed action… said that they would be retained (Department of the Environment and Water Resources, “Sculpture”, p. 10).


    The sculptures have left debossed grave mounds, or giant footprints. It’s probably been a secret government science experiment all these years to see what kind of drawing you can make with tree roots.


    It’s a full circle starting with Magritte’s work, The Labors of Alexander (originally a painting of a tree clutching at an axe, later on he approved for it to be made in bronze, but passed away before full completion so there is still speculation about the works). Now the trees are missing their steel night protectors and gnash their bare roots in anguish.


    Questacon sculptures drawing

    Drawing by the sculpture


    Now for today’s “did you know?”! The name Questacon comes from queste (to seek) and con (study/learn/steering). “Quest-a-con means to seek and to learn.” (Questacon: a guide to the exhibits, 198-, unpaged). See the more recent guide below – astounding!


    Questacon: a guide to the exhibits

    Questacon guide


    It’s interesting to see how the science centre was called The QUESTACON (I think only tourists preface the name with “the” now) which was inspired by the success of the San Francisco’s EXPOLORATORIUM. Mark Oliphant’s forward also said that “…the QUESTACON has become an essential agent preparing people for survival in the age of technology.” (Questacon: a guide to the exhibits, 198-, unpaged). Besides inspiring interest in science careers and discoveries, it could also be an excellent apocalypse bunker. It would benefit from the protective ambience of Olympic sculptures, which send a message that we are fit and ready to defend ourselves. We can also wear awesome lab coats:


    “In particular the Questacon is most pleased to record its gratitute [sic] to: …King Gee: who have donated all the laboratory coats worn by the Questacon Explainers” (Questacon: a guide to the exhibits, 198-, unpaged).


    This was in the time before lab coats were worn in department stores so their authoritative air had been retained. I hope the Olympic sculptures (wherever they may be) are wearing lab coats or something to keep them warm.





    Department of the Environment and Water Resources (March 2007). Referral of proposed action: Humanities and Science Campus: Stage 1 and 2. http://www.nationalcapital.gov.au/downloads/enhancing_and_maintaining/humanities_and_science/EPBCReferral.pdf


    National Science and Technology Centre (Australia). & Australian National University.  (1984).  Questacon : a guide to the exhibits.  [Canberra] :  Australian National University


    National Science and Technology Centre (Australia). & Australian National University. & Shell Australia Limited.  (2006).  The Shell Questacon Science Circus : taking science around Australia.  [Canberra :  Questacon – National Science and Technology Centre].


    National Science and Technology Centre (Australia). & Australia. Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.  (2011).  Questacon : outdoor exhibits.  [Canberra :  Questacon].


    Questacon : a guide to the exhibits, Australian National University  [Canberra : s.n., 198-]



    Incy wincy mystery

    Posted in blogjune
    June 23rd, 2013


    Today I accidentally trapped a spider in the compost bin – I was putting a dead pumpkin vine in there and then the spider crawled up! I fished out poor wincy who is now somewhere in the nandina. You can see the compost bin in some of the pictures – not very glamorous as it’s just a regular bin with a hole cut out of the base.


    Unknown spider



    I’m not sure what kind it is – doesn’t seem distinctive enough for a St Andrew’s Cross, but the abdomen isn’t pointy enough for a Banded orb-weaving spider.


    Unknown spider



    I didn’t get to see the web, but it would have been close to the ground on the pumpkin vine. Canberra has also had a lot of rain recently so that might be something to do with spidey emerging.


    Unknown spider



    I looked at the Atlas of Living Australia but I couldn’t see any candidates. I might ask at the CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection.  Any ideas?



    Cosy vegan shepherd’s pie recipe

    Posted in blogjune
    June 22nd, 2013


    Get on the cosy winter trend but off the soup train with the comfort of pie, pie, pie.


    I once saw a home decorating magazine cover that promoted a story, “How to be comfy”. People actually need cosifying instructions beyond recipes and pillows, like gentle lighting, rugs, texture and headboards (Welcome: How do you cosy-up a home?, 2011).

    I would add, large mugs for drinking and eating (multi-purpose, to warm the hands), lavender heat packs, good quality socks and scarves, and remembering to cover your car before Jack Frost does it on your behalf (in Canberra, anyway). Plus of course, eating pie! Here’s my recipe.



    Vegan shepherd's pie

    Vegan shepherd’s pie



    Vegan shepherd’s pie recipe


    Inspired by Sweet Potato and Lentil Pie by Amy and Andrew, via Uproar.




    Blind bake a pastry crust on 180 degrees C for about 10 minutes.




    Chop 2 onions, 1 sweet potato, 2 carrots and 1 stick of celery into small chunks. Boil or microwave until tender (if you like you can fry the onions with garlic). Drain. Cook 1 cup of brown rice and mix with the cooked vegetables. Add a tin of lentils in vegan gravy to the mixture. Mix in 2/3 cup of tomato pizza or pasta sauce or tomato paste. If it’s the last sauce in the jar, put some water in and shake it around to get it all out. Add 2 tablespoons of tamari. Sprinkle with vegan stock powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Put the filling in the blind baked pastry crust. Sometimes this will make enough filling for 2 pies, so just freeze the extra amount (in a pie dish), so that it’s the right shape for defrosting for another pie for ron.




    Chop 9 or so potatoes into small chunks, cook in a small amount of stock until tender. Don’t drain it, keep the water in, use an electric beater to mash the potatoes, creating a well in the centre. Put a tablespoon of vegan margarine or oil in the well of the potato mixture. Heat 1 cup of soy milk and pour it on top of the margarine, then beat the whole mixture again. Put the mixture on top of the filling. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian herb mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, then place under the grill for 5 minutes to brown.








    Welcome: How do you cosy-up a home? (2011). Real Living, (66), 9. Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, EBSCOhost (accessed June 22, 2013).




    Ye olde futuristic library scanning

    Posted in blogjune
    June 21st, 2013


    While it’s short-sighted to laugh at retro futuristic imaginings, I present this 1000 corded retail/library barcode scanner (at least 10 years old) because even short-sighted things can be funny. M describes the colour as sort of 80s beige, but I think it is probably from the 90s or later. It doesn’t have enough of a yellow tint, like when you compare white gold to platinum (you can still see some yellow tone compared to platinum’s blue base).


    Scanning the future wand and brochure

    Magic wand and brochure


    Did you see the logo clearly? SCANNING THE FUTURE! Say it in a robot voice. The rocket working through the zebra fingerprint of the barcode is a machine version of hiking through dense tea tree bushes (don’t try it), so it’s probably pretty painful. Rocket noises!


    Scanning the future brochure

    Scanning the future brochure


    H says that film companies find it difficult to fit out sets with equipment from the 80s and 90s because people couldn’t bear to keep these items around in their homes and workplaces. It’s understandable.


    Bar code devices explanation

    Bar code devices


    Looking back on Scanning the Future, it reminds me of Video 2000 (Australian video hire business established in 1982), in the 90s I remember thinking, wow, 2000, so far away and so robotic! Lots of businesses listed on ABR have 2000 in the name, including Car Wash 2000 and Bench Pro 2000. So it’s still in fashion. Rad!


    There was a bit of a ruckus in 1999 about whether businesses would change their names to 3000 (like André 3000). Perhaps they thought that 2000 had been far enough in the future, and they didn’t want to change the name in another 1000 years or that their business model might change.





    Edelhart, Courtenay. (30 December 1999). Businesses finding millennium-related names already outdated. Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News: The Indianapolis Star and News – Indiana. Retrieved from Factiva, 21 June 2013.



    Art signal message

    Posted in blogjune
    June 20th, 2013


    Tonight I went to the opening of Oscar Capezio’s exhibition, The signal is the message at CCAS Manuka. It was destined to be an interesting show, as demonstrated by the invitation which Roman says was shot (but I queried the bullet holes). Exhibition invitations are often quirky and are collected by art institution libraries for artist ephemera files, as well as to provide a history of a gallery’s shows.


    Oscar Capezio's exhibition invitation

    The signal is the message invitation


    Price lists and other exhibition information is also included in artist/gallery ephemera files to provide context and assist with valuations. This price list has a handy map of the artworks. The map prescribed our movement path through the show, but I think that we were meant to look through “Exceed Your Vision” towards “That ‘X’ there”.  A kid accidentally walked on the blue tape of “Tracing Paper”, breaking it away from the wall, but it was quickly fixed and then re-cut to open the show.


    The signal is the message map

    The signal is the message map



    I most enjoyed “The Hunt for Love”, screen captures of poems from the internet pierced by a carved hunting knife, next to “Break Through” (five bullets embedded in a wall).



    If read in order, the list is quite poetic:


    Caught in the Act/ Trophies/ Exceed Your Vision/ That ‘X’ There/ Untitled/ Shot In The Dark/ Break Through/ The Hunt for Love/ Tracing Paper.



    The show is on till Sunday 30 June, opening hours 11-5 Wed-Sun.



    Investing in Animal Crossing art

    Posted in blogjune
    June 19th, 2013


    Today my art background came in handy (for a short time, anyway) in Animal Crossing New Leaf, as Crazy Redd’s tent came into town. He foxily sells paintings and sculptures, sometimes they are of dubious provenance. This can cause issues if you want to donate the painting to the Museum in the game, or you can cut your losses and make your own fake painting gallery at home. In any case it’s a good way to familiarise yourself with famous artworks.


    Crazy Redd selling paintings from his tent in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

    Crazy Redd in New Leaf


    Apologies for the fuzzy image – I had challenges with our 3DS and I decided to fix it next time. You can see the Vermeer on the left and Seurat on the right.


    I could pick the hairband colour fault in Girl with a Pearl Earring straight away, but I was unsure about The Milkmaid or A Sunday on La Grand Jatte or The Night Watch (speaking of The Night Watch, did you see this wonderful dramatization of the painting?).

    I could identify the works, but I found the colours and shapes a bit tricky to discern, even with the camera zoom. The Thonky guide has a complete list which was really helpful, it has both the paintings and sculptures.


    The only genuine painting offered was Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grand Jatte, but another player had beaten me to the purchase. So I donated my bells to a fund campaigning for a campsite for the town and shook some trees, but a hive fell out and I got stung by a lot of bees. The Seurat had held a promise of a beautiful outdoor experience but it wasn’t to be had this evening.



    I think it looks lovely dear

    Posted in blogjune
    June 18th, 2013


    “By the way, it is nice to have your ears pierced…” (Germanos, 1991, p. 10).


    One of my fondest memories of my Grandma is from when I was 15 and just started getting my ears pierced multiple times. Someone in my family was saying that more than one ear piercing gave a bad impression, and Grandma leaned over to me and said “I think it looks lovely, dear.” Imagine that in a slightly creaky, affectionate voice. It was so kind of her to stand up for me, even if it possibly wasn’t what she truly believed.



    Sonja's pierced ear. It's real.

    Sonja’s ear

    I get lots of questions about ear piercing (see photo for my credentials, sorry about the quality, it was tricky to take), so here’s my top tips, FAQ and a rant about piercing guns.



    Frequently asked questions and answers


    These are my top six frequently asked questions – even though they are all about my ear, I would say they are also my top six frequently asked questions about me at all, I guess when people feel awkward they will just ask about the thing that seems most apparent.


    Did it hurt?

    The most painful were the ones I did myself. I do not recommend this method, you should see a professional so that you don’t get crooked piercings. It is also quite painful if you are getting a piercing on top of scar tissue. The rook piercing is meant to hurt a lot, but it was about the same as the others. I normally tap along my meridians when I’m getting a piercing as a calming pain management technique. Ear piercing will never be as painful as other body piercings.


    How many are there?

    Twelve, the rook piercing is only one hole through the cartilage but not the back of the ear (usually creates confusion, so it’s better not to have this level of detail).


    Is it real, are they all individual?

    As real as real, all individuals. This has increased since ear cuffs were worn so widely at the Met Ball, so it’s assumed that everyone’s ears are covered in fakery.


    Did you get them done all at once?

    No. The swelling alone rules out this option.


    How do you sleep?

    Variably, but not because of piercings. If you had difficulty, you could use a save my face pillow to elevate the head.


    Do you set off the metal detectors?

    No. This might depend on the country, though – At NLS6, I was excited to see that Ruth Kneale had the same ear piercings as me, and she said that she sets off U.S. machines.



    In Greece in the 1940s, “If you didn’t have earrings, you put a little stick of oregano through your ear so that you would not get an infection. If you were in the bush and didn’t have spirit, you put your own saliva on your ears, every morning before you ate anything.” (Simopoulos, 1991, p. 11).

    I haven’t tried this but it certainly sounds interesting. In high school we used tiny bamboo shoots as cheap piercing camouflage – you put them in while they’re still green, and they will gradually turn to a pine bamboo colour.



    Top piercing tips



    Maintaining your health for at least a few months before getting a piercing (it should be a long-term plan). Get adequate rest, good nutrition and drink rosehip hibiscus tea to assist with vitamin C levels. Be prepared for the piercing not working – before I get anything done, I consider whether I’d be happy to have a scar on the site. Practice with pretend jewellery, take a photo and put it on the bathroom mirror (or high traffic area) to see if you like it.



    Make at least 2 blood donations over a few months before you get a piercing (as long as you’re not already in the “banned time period” or otherwise ineligible)– you’ll be ruled out for one year after it’s been done, so you should help while you can. This will assist others and think of it as good karma in case something happens after you get your piercing and you need a transfusion.



    Check that your piercing jewellery is hypoallergenic, stainless steel grade metal. Nickel allergies are common as well as painful and not optimal for a clean heal! Remember that allergies are different to infections.



    Find your preferred piercer, check that they are registered and ready to take the time to talk to you about possible areas for piercing or if they’d suggest different options. They should also provide aftercare advice. Ask if they will be using a hollow needle or a piercing gun. If they use a piercing gun, leave the premises. “…piercing guns are NEVER appropriate, and are often dangerous when used on anything – including earlobes.” (Llewellyn-Sare, 2008, p. 2). This is because piercing guns cause more scar tissue and swelling, the jewellery can get stuck in the middle of your ear (not going through to the other side), and creates an environment for poor healing. They cannot be autoclaved so they have high potential for transmitting communicable diseases (Llewellyn-Sare, 2008, p. 6).



    After the piercing has been done, clean it regularly with lavender oil – but it has to be pure lavender, without a carrier oil. This is fantastic for healing. If you’re in Canberra you can buy it from the Hierophant. For ear piercings, keep your hair away from the back of your ear, and clean the area behind the ear to prevent sebaceous cysts (irritated oil glands).



    Once the piercing has healed, you can clean your jewellery by putting it in a cup, sprinkle some bicarb soda on it and then cover it in hot water. Leave for an hour, drain, rinse, then leave on a paper towel to dry. Shiny!



    Whatever you choose, I think it looks lovely, dear.





    Germanos, Elizabeth. (1991). It is nice to have your ears pierced (p. 10).

    In Northcote Library. Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program.,It is nice to have your ears pierced.  [Northcote, Vic.] :  Northcote Library Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program


    Llewellyn-Sare, Angela.  (2008). Puncture kit.  West Lakes, S. Aust :  Seaview Press


    Simopoulos, Elizabeth. (1991). How we pierced our ears in the 1940s in Greece (p. 11).

    In Northcote Library. Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program.,It is nice to have your ears pierced.  [Northcote, Vic.] :  Northcote Library Adult Literacy and Basic Education Program



    Natural decoration from Trove

    Posted in blogjune
    June 17th, 2013


    This is my favourite image (of all time) from the National Library’s search discovery experience, Trove. At first glance it’s natural to assume that the butterflies are a print on her dress, but the truth is so much more exciting. The photo is from a 1928 newspaper article.


    Article from Trove

    Natural decoration


    The caption states:



    – A girl visitor in the Butterfly House at the London Zoo, covered with butterflies, which were attracted by the white frock she was wearing.”



    The picture inspired me to visit the Butterfly House at the London Zoo, there are more pictures and words about this in my post from last year. Seeing butterflies in real life (rather than as representations) is a great reminder of why we strive to imitate them in art and design in the first place – it’s a lot like seeing a picture of coral, and really bridging the gap when you see it below the water’s surface. Having butterflies land on you is a wonderful experience, except when they try to eat your hair.



    Article details:


    NATURAL DECORATION. (1928, October 20). The Argus(Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6 Supplement: The Argus. Saturday Camera Supplement.. Retrieved June 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3964087



    Wild strawberries this side of the rainbow

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 16th, 2013


    We weeded the garden yesterday, but saved this wild strawberry weedling. I think it grew from a composted strawberry from one of my smoothies.


    Wild strawberry plant in Canberra garden

    My strawberries


    I needed to use up some old homemade jam (I say homemade, but it was a bit of cheat breadmaker recipe), so I adapted O.D.’s Strawberry Jam Cake.  I wish I had read the reviews as it was certainly heavy, but then I did over-mix the flour. Normally I make chocolate cakes which are a lot more forgiving.


    Vegan strawberry cake

    Vegan strawberry cake


    Vegan strawberry jam cake



    No-egg equivalent of 2 eggs (or applesauce mixed with water)

    ¾ cup soy milk or almond milk

    1/3 cup vegan margarine

    ¾ cup white sugar

    Dash of vanilla

    2 cups plain flour

    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

    ½ teaspoon salt

    3 tablespoons strawberry jam

    Rind and juice of one orange




    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a cake tin with baking paper.

    Mix the no-egg, soy milk, vegan margarine, sugar and vanilla.

    Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Gently mix in the strawberry jam and orange juice and rind.

    Bake for 35 minutes. Top with coconut and chopped strawberries. Best eaten with coconut yoghurt or almond cream.


    It could also taste better if you soaked the strawberries in sweetened lime juice and then covered them in coconut, or replaced the flour with hazelnut meal/coconut flour, or added some coconut, or replaced the margarine with coconut oil.


    I am more interested in the spirit, rather than the law of recipes, so I’ll probably make these changes next time. This Vegan Strawberry Cake by Josh of My Vegan Cookbook also looks a lot more promising.




    Beribboned pins

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 15th, 2013


    I adore this cartoon addressing emphasised femininity – it shows ‘hairy’ legs (“Not feminine enough”) being transformed, resplendent with pink bows (“Is this better?”). I tried to find the artist but the image wasn’t indexed in TinEye, but I will update this if I find out.



    Legs with bows


    Just think, if this takes off as a grooming/decorative practice, we could save the 24 minutes a week that is normally spent shaving (UK Escentual beauty poll in London, 2013).

    An actual valid, scientific study gave a result of 96% of a sample of 235 Australian women regularly remove their leg and underarm hair (Tiggemann, Hodgson, 2008), so it would be a lot of time saved if the Escentual poll was representative (and internationally transferable). However, we would actually spend more time bow-tying – it took me 10 minutes per leg, and I think that the bows might last a few days, perhaps 3 sessions a week at 20 minutes = 1 hour a week. Clearly more if you’re an octopus or spider.



    So it’s inefficient (how surprising for a beauty practice!) but think of the diversity of self-expression – different colours for days of the week (denim for Fridays, of course), “corporate” bows in a demure pinstripe or ripped metallic bows for the neighbourhood punks. Bows for everyone!

    Anyway, this was a DIY job, the process would be quicker in specialised hairbow salons.



    Hairy legs are encouraged by fashion designer Anthony Capon (Project Runway Australian winner, Season 2), who says that men “…still have to have hairy legs…” if they are going to wear skirts, because “…you don’t do it to look feminine…” (Cuthbertson, 2009).


    Professional male cyclists have also been asked about the reasons they shave: “’I ventured that perhaps it was because he thought his legs looked more attractive hairless and he had been influenced, like so many people, by the regrettable encroachment of the aesthetic values of porn films on mainstream grooming habits.’” (Worsley in Richard, 2012).



    Accessorise! I also adore these Hairy Legs Mary Janes patch by lemon-butt and Chloe Henderson’s shot of growly bear legs. Noises from the closet – argh, straw feminists!





    Beaton, Kate. (2006-2013). Hark, a vagrant: 341. 


    Cuthbertson, Kathleen. (2009, September 9). Designer Anthony Capon wants men to wear skirts. 


    Escentual. (2012, August 8). Survey –what is your biggest beauty chore?


    Henderson, Chloe. (2011, November 19). Fuck off, I’m a hairy woman.


    Idée Inc. (n.d.). TinEye Reverse Image Search.


    Richard, Kay. (2012, August 9). Lucy’s Olympic hair-raiser. Daily Mail.


    lemon-butt. (n.d.). Hairy Legs Mary Janes Patch.


    London, Bianca. (2013, April 5). Shaving legs is women’s least favourite beauty chore – shame they spend TWO MONTHS of their lives doing it. Daily Mail Online.


    Tiggemann, M. (2008). The Hairlessness Norm Extended: Reasons for and Predictors of Women’s Body Hair Removal at Different body Sites. Sex roles, 59(11/12), 889.


    VaginaPagina. (n.d.). Picture one: Hairy legs. Labelled ‘not feminine enough.’



    Car strine

    Posted in blogjune, Books
    June 13th, 2013


    Today I described a less-than-ideal car to a colleague, and she labelled it a “brumby”. I thought this was very unusual, so I have checked for the term in many Australian slang books and I can’t find it listed anywhere. I would have usually labelled such a mechanical battler as a lemon or a bomb.


    Australian slang books

    Australian slang books


    One could say it “Handles like a bag of shit tied with a piece of string in the middle” (Howey, 2012, p. 17).


    I couldn’t find brumby listed for “dud car”, only as a “wild horse, similar to a mustang” (Tuffley, 2012, p. 11), a “wild outlaw horse” (McCulloch, 2010, p. 8) “…especially one descended from runaway stock.” ( Lambert, 2004, p. 30).



    A great project about Australian words is the Ozwords blog, they recently featured the distinctly Canberra words “guvvie” and “ex-guvvie”, I hadn’t realised it was a regional term.



    Here are some Australian slang words/terms I wish I hadn’t learnt:



    Bondi cigar = Turd in the water (Lumsden-Ablan & Ablan, 2011, p. 10)


    Rat coffin = A meat pie (Hunter, 2004, p. 87)


    Unit = Big muscle man (Lumsden-Ablan & Ablan, 2011, p. 68)


    Mystery bags = Sausages, so named because offal is sometimes used as a bulking agent. (Tuffley p. 36)


    Bride’s nightie = A level of great speed. ‘He took off like a bride’s nightie.’ (“Blind Freddy” & Miller, 1988, unpaged)


    Yonnie = Skimming stone (Lumsden-Ablan & Ablan, 2011, p. 74)



    A friend said that brumbies were  imported cars with a questionable reputation, so perhaps it is just a localised term. After writing all this and feeling thoroughly confused, I think I may have misheard, as I’ve now found a listing for:


    Brummy = inexpensive; of poor or inferior quality (Australian slang, 2008 p. 41).


    I guess my hearing is a bit brummy, ay (a word used at the end of a sentence, Lumsden-Ablan & Ablan, 2011, p. 7).





    (2008).  Australian slang.  Camberwell, Vic :  Penguin books


    Blind Freddy. & Miller, Dennis.  (1988).  The Australian dictionary of insults and vulgarities.  Castle Hill, N.S.W :  Peter Antill-Rose and Associates


    Howey, Andrew.  (2010).  Aussie slang pictorial : what’s it like mate.  Melbourne, Vic :  Brolga Pub


    Hunter, Jenny.  (2004).  The true blue guide to Australian slang.  Frenchs Forest, NSW :  New Holland Publishers


    Lambert, James.  (2004).  Macquarie Australian slang dictionary : complete & unabridged.  Macquarie University, N.S.W :  Macquarie Library


    Laugesen, Amanda. (2013, May 22). Canberra word: guvvie (and ex-guvvie). Retrieved from http://ozwords.org/?p=4586


    Lumsden-Ablan, Melanie. & Ablan, Roque Bo.  (2011).  Oz’isms : a tourist’s guide & a giggle : Australian ‘fun’etic slangwich : it’s not wat ya say it’s ‘ow ya say it–.  Gordon, N.S.W :  Sagamore


    McCulloch, Marie.  (2010).  ‘Ripsnorter’ : book of Aussie words & sayings.  [La Trobe, Tas.] :  Marie. I. McCulloch


    Tuffley, David.  (2012).  Australian slang : a dictionary.  [Australia] :  Altiora Publications



    Love and Romance Library comic

    Posted in blogjune, Books
    June 12th, 2013


    I recently read the comic “Candid confessions: fool’s paradise”, no. 232 of the Love and Romance Library in the Australian romance comics collection. I was delighted to find this “Love and Romance Library”, I imagined it to be a confessional Tracey Emin style collection of labelled beating hearts (with their lending history) restrained on a tiny dollhouse scale set of library shelves with a miniature ladder. As you can see, it was a comic series – the “Love and Romance Library” notation is in the small yellow box on the front cover, drawn by Keith Chatto.


    Love and romance library comic no. 232

    “Fool’s Paradise” cover


    Margot Harker highlights that despite the name of Australian romance comics collection, most of the collections of stories were illegally imported and then embellished with Australian covers. Harker has written some very interesting articles on the collection, highlighting their conservative agenda in Preaching Purity: [How romance comics encouraged white women into marrying solid, respectable men of their own race and class] (National Library Magazine, v.1, no.2, June 2009: 18-20) and the history of the comics in Cultural pariahs: The National Library of Australia’s collection of Australian romance comics (National Library Magazine, v.1, no.1, Mar 2009: 28-30).


    Last page in first story in Candid confessions, "Fool's paradise"

    Story in “Fool’s paradise”


    An excerpt from the final page of the first story (“My Fiery Rival”) in no. 232 (also shown in the image):


    ‘“Will you be my house-keeper permanently… my wife?”

    “Oh, yes… yes, Clem.”

    A lifetime job by the side of the man I loved, what more could I ask for?’


    Wow. It’s interesting to find these historical narratives, especially given the recent political debate around gendered roles. As the “good guy” (Clem Watts) in the story says, who ever would have dreamed that things could work out for her (the house-keeper wife, Marion Lane) like this?




    Teeth and gallstones

    June 11th, 2013


    My family has an usual hobby of collecting body parts. Mum kept the extra teeth she had removed and in an ill-advised move, gave them to me as playthings (I was 5).


    A bit tricky to see, but still beautiful!

    Gran’s gallstones

    I thought they were really unusual shells, I would plant them in the garden like creamy skyscrapers. Their jagged tops mimicked the stereotypical scalloped edges of clouds and were a perfect match for meeting with the sky and solving the puzzle. They have been lost to the soil (not sands) of time, because they are resting in peace with my shell collection, buried below the camellia leaves. I think that my shell garden was trying to live up to Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’s reputation.


    Grandma kept her gallstones in a jar, with a dream of making them into earrings. She never had pierced ears, so it made sense that she saw the clip-on earring aesthetic in calculi. They seem more like carved wooden beads than something that could come out of the body, it’s like Jenny Holzer’s shock at the range of colours in her mother’s dying body.


    I inherited Grandma’s gallstones a few years ago, as well as her glove collection, a hairbrush, nail kit, scarves and of course a huge sense of loss. I miss her a lot and I still surprise myself when I think of telling her something and then I remember. I had a wonderful conversation with Blaide today that I could make the gallstone earring project, and if I wore them then I could symbolically have my Grandma at my elopement (the “old” in something old, new, borrowed and blue).



    I am harvesting and collecting quite different body parts of my own, but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, ABC Open has an interesting project, “My Crazy Passion”. So far there are videos featuring people who collect/obsess about tractors, cacti and crochet. No body collectors yet.



    Terrarium Moon Day

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 10th, 2013


    I received a really fun gift from Iome, a DIY terrarium kit from Perth-based the little green project (amazingly survived in the mail!).


    Moss terrarium DIY kit from the little green project

    DIY kit from the little green project


    It was custom-made with a cat statue, even though the cat is stretching (relaxation?) I think the pose looks quite similar to my Mr. Cat’s pre-bathroom aerobics. At least the terrarium will be a great litter tray for Miniature Cat – and a small cat will only make snail-size turds.


    Completed terrarium from the little green project

    Completed terrarium!


    In contrast, the biggest terrarium I’ve ever seen was in the 1986 Troll movie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (check out the trailer), when an apartment block is converted into troll land with lush greenery and a humidity only matched by butterfly rooms. Luckily our cats patrol the area to ward off nasty trolls, and to protect the nice Norwegian ones.




    Adelaide weekend catch up

    June 9th, 2013


    Here’s a catch up for blogjune – or considering how I’m going, perhaps it should be dissected to blogju or blogne. A roundup of my very brief weekend trip to Adelaide for a friend’s farewell.



    I had some unexpected running practice at Canberra airport because I thought my flight had closed. It had not. I watched another Dawson’s Creek episode while I waited, which made me much calmer.


    On the plane, a man sitting in front of me reclined his chair and smashed into my head because I was leaning down to get my bag. I felt less calm. Why isn’t it common to have the courtesy to tell the person behind you that you’re planning on reclining your seat? I think I read this tip in The Penguin Book of Etiquette, or was it somewhere else, I’m unsure.


    I had a weird conversation with a flight attendant about whether vegans eat chocolate (yes, but only if it doesn’t contain animal products including dairy, gelatine, or sometimes honey).



    I arrived in Adelaide for the farewell party, and tried vegan cabbage rolls at Suzie Wong’s Room which were delectable. But then I haven’t tried regular cabbage rolls so I don’t really have a reference.


    I danced the nutbush outside a very noisy party at The Lady Daly Hotel. They didn’t see us through the window (the real dancers were inside through the glass doorway), which is lucky because we couldn’t really remember the moves.


    I met 2 chickens and patted 3 cats.


    Turner's "Venice, the Bridge of Sighs" - puzzle

    Turner is a puzzle


    I visited Zenda Vecchio (South Australian author), she is making steady (but painful) progress with her puzzle of Turner’s Venice, the Bridge of Sighs (exhibited 1840, oil paint on canvas (bought from Art Gallery of South Australia’s shop during the Turner from the Tate exhibition, which is now at National Gallery of Australia, but I’m not sure if they have the puzzles).


    We talked about Zenda’s upcoming book The Swan’s Egg, which is at the proofing stage – I’m designing the cover (I previously designed another of Zenda’s book covers – with the help of Wesley Hobday – see post on “Becoming Kirsty-Lee”, launched in May last year).


    Flowering Grevillea Mason's Hybrid in Adelaide.

    Grevillea Mason’s Hybrid, Adelaide


    I saw some beautiful plants, perhaps the loveliness of Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’ (previously sold as ‘Ned Kelly’ and ‘Kentlyn’) will rehabilitate my view of Grevilleas. If you’ve ever had to remove one, you’d understand my dislike of the genus. There was also an unwell honeyeater in our yard once that I tried to capture so that she could be seen by a vet or the ranger, and she was totally unreachable in the horrid Grevillea. The honeyeater died and I blamed the Grevillea. At least it provides a good spot for native animals and birds to hide from predators, even if the predator is trying to assist.



    It was nice to come home to Canberra Airport’s sculptures:


    ”People coming to Canberra ought to have their spirits lifted and be inspired on arrival in the national capital; this sculpture [Andrew Rogers’ “Perception and Reality 1”, 2012, bronze] will take their breath away. It’s a very, very powerful work.”

    (from Diana Streak’s article “Striking pose to alter perception of airport”, 3 April 2012, Canberra Times)


    …and I opened a gift from a friend, which is a terrarium kit! So now I know my plans for tomorrow.




    One of these things

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 7th, 2013


    One of these things is not like the others, did you guess which thing…? If you guessed the pink pulled sugar rose, then you’re absolutely …right! It was made by Eric Menard, the National Gallery’s Executive Pastry Chef.



    One of these things is not like the others...

    Eric’s sugar rose

    There is a much better photo of the pulled sugar rose from the National Gallery’s instagram. I read a story a long time ago about a boy finding the ideal gift for his sister, he had planted a sugar cube to grow a sugar tree. Perhaps the sugar cube that was planted was a rose variety, and that’s how this sugar rose really came to life.


    I’d like to eat the sugar rose (which I assume tastes like happiness, bursting love-hearts and sunshine), but it’s better to keep it forever at the top of the pantry (for stealing furtive, sugar-longing glances). This means I’m doing the same thing as when Mum kept my brother’s icing booties from his christening cake for at least five years, maybe longer if she still has them. The booties had very fine detail and I used to lick them when I felt sad. I wonder if she noticed the imitation stitching getting fuzzed over the years. I had been reduced to slowly ravishing the booties, because a lock was installed high up on the pantry so it cut my regular sugar cube supply line. My brother and I worked together to reach the lock, then we would drink Ice Magic to condition our teeth against sugar.



    The sugar rose has also been used by artist Liam Revell to comment on the transience of fashion. His sugar rose brooch that was gradually eaten by the wearer in Kate and Rose (2006). His wonderful photographs show the consumption of this impermanent decoration (Revell, Liam, A Decorative Effect (2012), scroll to page 19).


    Another sugary element at the Gallery is Duchamp’s Why not sneeze Rose Sélavy? (1921 reconstructed 1964) with trick sugar cubes. Delicious!


    It must be a rose day because I’m watching American Beauty while I’m writing about roses. A feedback loop…



    Barnacle trees and Guide Dog statues

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 6th, 2013


    Today I visited the Turner from the Tate exhibition (National Gallery of Australia) at lunch, seeing the beautiful, sometimes stormy vistas was recompense for our cold weather. The children’s room was fantastic, it was like walking into a seascape barnacled with iPads on easels. I decided to come back another time so I could devote more time to drawing on the electronic and physical watercolour paper and contemplate the different rooms.


    Statue of a Guide Dog at Tuggeranong Hyperdome

    Guide Dog statue


    My favourite story of the sea is that migrating wild geese (Branta bernicla) grew on goose-trees (barnacle-trees) north of Scotland. Ripe barnacle fruit would fall into the sea and transform into barnacle geese (the theory came about because barnacles looked like embryonic geese) (The barnacle tree in Lehner, 1960, p. 86). It makes sense that people saw such a world of possibility in a mysterious and powerful place like the sea. While I saw iPad barnacles at the Turner exhibition, there were no barnacle geese.


    There were no frilly knickers in the shop, but there were plenty of boxers for men and badger shoes for children. The tea-sets were lovely but unfortunately made of bone china, the paper plates decorated with roses were more geared towards my level of household upkeep.



    Outside, there were lots of camera-shy green rosellas playing and feeding in the yellow gum blossom (Eucalyptus stricklandii, Yellow-flowered blackbutt?) between the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery. An Indian Myna was burrowing through the discarded blossoms on the tiles.


    Later in the day, I saw a lady at the shops bump into the Guide Dog statue and then apologise to him. I’m fairly certain the Guide Dog statue didn’t mind as he was thinking about marking his territory on barnacle trees. Then she was embarrassed and looked around furtively to see if anyone noticed. I pretended to be contemplating the mesh design of the trolley.



    …see more of the Barnacle tree in Lehner, Ernst. & Lehner, Johanna.  (1960).  Folklore and symbolism of flowers, plants and trees,.  New York :  Tudor Pub. Co.



    Floriography telephonics

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 4th, 2013


    Today I re-learnt how to use a cassette tape player, discovered the term “bridal brain” (thanks to a colleague!) and got some impromptu yoga tuition in the work hallway.


    I also started to organise a soiree for the Canberra Library Tribe (Save the date! It’s 6pm, Friday 30 August) which will remain mysterious until we release the invitation into the wild.


    Book, Language of Australian Flowers, 1891

    Floriography book, 1891


    Then I read about flower language for my bouquet “research”. I found a lovely little book from 1891, “The Language of Australian Flowers” in which the editor notes:


    “In the present edition it has been thought advisable to include a selection from the Flora of Australia and New Zealand, and it is confidently believed that the “LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS” will play no mean or unimportant part in promoting the federation of the Australian colonies.”


    Sounds like tall poppies! I was pleased to see that dandelions (our courtyard’s featured flower of choice) means “Permission to call.”


    I will be installing some little telephone boxes for the local flora and fauna to endlessly phone the beguiling and genuinely interested Podolepis acuminata.

    …they might put a hold on calls if they read Sandy Griswold’s ode to The Lowly Dandelion with its “lovely golden blossoms” and “pretty topaz diadem”. Permission to call!




    Snail start to blogjune

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 3rd, 2013


    blogjune – it’s the third of June so here is a three day wrap-up! Changing from monthly to daily posts for this month was possibly a little ambitious, but maybe this will further focus my time management.


    I was unwell on Saturday so I was sad to miss the opening of Blaide Lallemand’s painting exhibition at CraftACT’s pod, Lonsdale Street Traders. Make sure you head along! If you’re not based in Canberra, there’s also a video of the interactive paintings.


    To console myself, I watched lots of episodes of Dawson’s Creek, I’m now up to Season 5, episode 4. There are only six seasons so there’s not long to go (then I’ll be beyond consolation). Perhaps I should frame this as a sociological study of the 90s, but my viewing is mostly for nostalgic reasons (and as background refamiliarisation before I watch Apartment 23). It also means that the cats get to hear their favourite sitcom intro song, in addition to increased lap time and being harassed by toy dinosaurs.


    The butterfly and rose were shocked to discover that neither seemed as they had appeared. Darn internet dating!

    Meadow Argus butterfly on John Maddock and sons “Old Rose” plate


    I spent Sunday cooking minestrone soup, chocolate coconut cake and spaghetti veganaise. The vegan chocolate coconut cake was very successful – I adapted a Taste recipe by replacing the butter with cocoa butter (expensive but the value is in the flavour) and milk with soy milk, and flour with hazelnut meal. I also added cocoa nibs. I guess I just can’t follow recipe instructions. Verdict from Mr. Sonja was “delicious”. It’s a lot better feedback than “What happened?” or “Very rustic” (hmm).


    I reduced my tyre changing rookie status, but the bolts were so tight that I had to stand on the wrench. It was like the fairytale where the princess wishes she was heavier (the princesses received their weight in gold as a reward, another variation was choosing between being dipped in oil or gold). It was unpleasant but not as bad as last week when I almost crashed because the tyre burst. Drama, excitement! The biggest reward in changing the tyre was finding a lovely butterfly on the ground, I was sad it had gone to the great nectar in the sky but I do secretly enjoy collecting them.


    Today (Monday) I planned lots of library tweets for the @aliangac account (ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee) and culled a swarm of emails (it’s good to know that cialis is still popular!). While I was at work today there were lots of lovely sunbeams coming in through the windows and I managed to catch all of them around the building with my feline hunting skills.