What do you call that darl? #blogjune

Pumpkin soup.   A simple yet satisfying winter dish.

bowl of pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup, SBS food

My recent discovery is to roast the pumpkin before blending it into a soup.  This roasting tip (which I think I got from Jamie Oliver), adds more depth and interest to the soup and works well with other vegetables.

Here are some of my favourite soup combinations – all starting with softened onion and garlic, and using vegetable stock.

  • Pumpkin (roasted) and cumin
  • Sweet potato (roasted) and ginger
  • Cauliflower (roasted) and garam masala or curry powder
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Flushed with caffeine #blogjune

Coffee, because crack is bad for you” Unknown

I used to enjoy coffee, but since living in Melbourne I have grown to love coffee. Which makes it that much harder now that coffee doesn’t love me back.

cup of coffee with tulip latte art

photo by Takeaway on Flickr

Lately my face gets hot and flushed when I have a cup of coffee, a reaction not simply caused by a charming barista.  The flushing is painful enough to make me question the wisdom of having another shot (or double-shot).

I’ve gradually been reducing my intake, having more cups of herbal tea and buying decaffeinated coffee, but sometimes the smell of freshly ground beans, the hiss of the frothing machine, the decorative foam art are just too much to resist – whatever the burning consequences.

It make take me some time till “I wake up and smell the coffee”, and learn to live without a trusty cup of java.

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Amazing Grace Hopper #blogjune

One of my favourite sayings is “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission”.  This is something I say to myself when I find myself in a state of inertia, often when worrying about doing something new.

photo of Grace Hopper

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN.

The source of this quote was Grace Hopper, a Rear Admiral in the US Navy.  She was among the first computer programmers, wrote the first ever compiler, came up with the term debugging, and a whole lot of other computing firsts.  In 1969 she was awarded the inaugural Computer Sciences Man (sic) of the Year award, and lots of awards subsequently.  Her Wikipedia entry is an impressive read.

Now as well as a powerful quote, I know about a powerful woman to inspire me to be just a tad more adventurous.

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Would you like fines with that? #blogjune

You know the saying about cobbler’s children being unshod,  well I think librarians are amongst the main offenders of overdue library books, but maybe it’s just me?  According to Patrick Cook’s (1983) Favourite names for boys & girls  “St Julie aids the victims of library fines” 🙂overdue stamp

As I have just returned from paying off some overdue fines at my local library I did wonder why we have not experimented more with other possibilities for the overdue fine.  I then found this  blog post that raises some interesting alternatives; ranging from “no fines” to a sort of “work for the fine” option.  My favourite however would be the “pay what you want” concept.  A concept I’ve seen work in a cultural institutions (MoMA) and a restaurant (Lentil as Anything).

From my time in public libraries a while ago, I know that offering an amnesty on fines does bring back “lapsed”clients.  Perhaps there are ways to stop them becoming lapsed in the first place.

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Being on a committee #blogjune

It was with mixed feelings that I attended my last VALA committee meeting tonight.

vala committee members

VALA Committee 2014

As is the case with most non-profit and/or professional organisations, being on a committee is a volunteer role.  Committee membership requires a commitment of time, a love of reading paperwork, and a duty of care.   Benefits however outweigh any overly long after-work meetings. By serving on the committee I’ve:

  • increased my knowledge in the area of library and technology,
  • met wonderful colleagues who are passionate about libraries,
  • learned what is needed to put together a successful major conference,
  • and hopefully contributed to decisions that advanced the organisation’s aims.

Every committee has its own dynamics, and I’ve been fortunate that the committee I have been a member of has been both functional and enjoyable.

Valete VALA

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A key indicator of being a profession #blogjune

I am both a qualified librarian and a qualified massage therapist.  I did a post-graduate course to become a librarian, and a diploma for remedial massage.  I am a paid up member to both professional associations – ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) and AAMT (Australian Association of Massage Therapists).

Only one of these professions requires me to keep up a yearly level of continuing professional development to remain qualified, and it isn’t librarianship.  Brack_Vocabularius_rerum

While chatting yesterday, my friend Sally (@sallysetsforth) and I agreed that a good indicator of being ‘a profession’ is a commitment to continuous learning.  Accountants do it, Doctors do it, Chartered Surveyors do it, Massage Therapists do it  – but not librarians.

ALIA does have a good Continuing Professional Development Scheme, but it is not a requirement of membership as with many other professions.

Given how quickly the information scene changes isn’t it even more vital that we as librarians continually expand and update our knowledge to meet this level of change, and shouldn’t our clients expect it of us.

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Favourite meal of the day #blogjune

Breakfast is the meal I most enjoy, and that I experiment with the most.

Over the course of a week I could have the following:  weet-bix and milk, a green smoothie, porridge, toast and nut butter, fruit and yoghurt, and the “the full whack” of eggs, toast, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach.hot chocolate and croissant

I have even been known to have a breakfast of finely chopped cauliflower with some yoghurt. Recipe below for those who might be tempted.

Today however I had a petit dejeuner of hot chocolate and croissant. Delightful.

Yoghurt with Cauliflower (the raw cauliflower is very refreshing and crunchy, with the yoghurt adding a nice creamy counterpoint)

  • Handful of finely chopped cauliflower
  • 3-4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
  • optional you can add small handful of nuts e.g. almonds

Put it all in a bowl.

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Front yard voyuer #blogjune

We all know that walking is good for our health, however I also find it good to feed my curiosity.  I love looking in peoples’ front yards when I go for my daily walk.

Today I was in a part of Melbourne that could rightly be called prestigious.  I hadn’t been here before and was early for an appointment; so a perfect opportunity for a wander and a nosey.


by Frankileon on Flickr

As much as I enjoyed walking the leafy streets, and seeing the lavish landscaped gardens, it did occur to me how few gardens  we see these days have individual personalities.  We seem to have become all  “Better Homes and Gardenised”.  Lifestyle shows, TV make-overs, and numerous magazines telling us what is appropriate and proper to put in our garden or in our houses.

Where is the whimsical, offbeat, or just plain different? Don’t you wonder where all the gnomes have gone?

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When the person fits their job #blogjune

It was the annual visit to the vet today.

I located the cat carrier, vaccination records, and last but definitely not least Harriet (the cat).  We then went through the painful process of transportation to the vet clinic.  I don’t think I ever hear a more mournful sound than what emerges from the cat carrier during these visits.

vet and black cat

By Andrew Dunn (http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/) CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

However once we arrive and see Murray the vet, my traumatised cat becomes the most friendly and docile pussy cat.  She seems genuinely relaxed in the hands of a master, and even the injection doesn’t seem to register as unpleasant.

Dr Murray has the aura of an animal whisperer, he chats happily about his own two cats and their different personalities all the while Harriet is being held and stroked, much more than she allows at home.

It is refreshing being in the presence of someone who is so obviously suited to their profession.  It leaves a glow that even the mournful sounds on the way back home can’t quite diminish.

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Command line joy #blogjune

I’ve recently taken the plunge into the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) pond and am undertaking a Python programming course.

I’ve submitted my Week 1 assignment and feel optimistic about completing the full ten weeks.  However, with the average completion rate of MOOCs being less than 10% this would put me in the minority.

I’m doing the course primarily to learn a new skill, but along the way to experience online learning from the perspective of a student. command line prompt

One of the surprising things to discover in my first assignment was how my past experience from many years ago was able to be dragged back up from the depths.  Despite all the amazing advances in interactivity, graphical interfaces, and usability there is still something to respect in the humble but mighty c:\ > prompt.

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