Friday, July 30, 2010

Lucy's Haircut

Lucy had a visit from the mobile groomer today. She had a bath and a blowdry, with a trim around her face because she couldn't see! (Or at least we couldn't see her!)

What do you think?

I'm not sure...I think maybe it's a little too short around her mouth and makes her face look a funny shape?

And the hair on the top of her head has been left long and flops on either side with a sort of part in the middle...I don't know...

Yes, I know, she's as cute as can be, but I'm just not sure about the haircut!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Are you LinkedIn?

So, know much about LinkedIn?
Nah, me neither, even though I JUST SIGNED UP!

I got an email from my brother saying he was inviting me to "join his professional network" and I was so chuffed that I clicked on the link, and before I knew it - hey presto! - I had signed up for my very own account!

You can check me out here, but don't get too excited, there's not a whole lot happening on my profile yet!

From what I gather so far, LinkedIn is a good way to network with other professionals for lots of reasons, but for me I guess a good reason to be on it is to look for a job. I'll be finishing my MEd (TL) in October, and once the paperwork is in, and I'm duly qualified as a Librarian, I'll be looking for work. So I guess I must figure out how to advertise that fact on my LinkedIn profile somewhere.

If you're on LinkedIn, I'd love to connect with you! Especially if you live in Australia and work in the Library field, but really, just any of you! You can never have too many connections (?)! 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A reader must read.

While I've been on work placement, I've (obviously) been very busy, and both my uni related and recreational reading have been affected. I've fallen a bit behind with uni, so I'll have to work hard over the next couple of weeks to catch up. And although my recreational reading has suffered, I've still made a little bit of time each night before I go to sleep to read for pleasure. I guess it's not a matter of me making time for it, it's more like I HAVE to read, just like I have to breathe! And so I've managed, bit by bit, to finish Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara this week. 

I loved this book.

Gina is a single mother who works as a professor at a small college. When two of her students are implicated in the disappearance of a third, the police approach Gina to help them with an undercover sting. Soon Gina and her boys are in danger, and Gina finds her life unravelling before her.

Every Secret Thing subverted all my expectations. As I began reading, I discovered that Gina was not your typical single mum character. Firstly, her pregnancy was accidental, and she had never wanted to have children. She is a widow, but her marriage had not been happy, and she wasn't grieving. Her family relationships are dysfunctional, but there are no stereotypical characters (interfering mothers etc) here. 

Secondly, the novel is a psychological thriller, but it's not written as a thriller. There's no short chapters, cliff-hangers or chase scenes. 

Thirdly, there is romance in the novel, but it doesn't follow the "romance formula" of girl meets boy, some terrible complication interferes with their relationship, the complication is resolved, and the couple live happily ever after. 

The blurb on the front cover says "A moving and compelling story...the debut of an utterly original voice" and I definitely agree.

The thing that I liked most about this book was the fact that the author plants seeds of doubt in the reader's mind, but does not resolve all the questions at once.

I highly recommend this book, and I'll be looking out for her second book, The Fortune Teller's Daughter.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm ba-ack!

I've finished my two week work placement at Wyong TAFE Library so I might actually be blogging a bit more again.

Every morning on my way to Wyong TAFE, I've been driving past Wyong River. This morning I stopped to take a quick picture so I could share it with you all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm not sure about Super Librarian, but I sure am super busy!

I'm busy, busy, busy!

This week I'm combining a full time week at Wyong TAFE Library with my usual work teaching Maths and Music. As well as both these, it's week 2 of second semester at uni and I'm desperately trying to stay on top of all the reading.

Here's a quick look at something I did at the library today. I prepared a small display on sustainable living using materials from the collection.

What have you been doing?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Work Placement Days 3 and 4

So...I have actually done some "real work" at the library!

Yesterday I learned how to process newly accessioned resources (for the non-librarians, that means how to get new books ready for the shelf!). I then spent the afternoon working through the pile that had been building up because the library technician has been on holidays. I got all the way to the bottom of the pile - yay me!

Today my supervisor checked through a whole lot of new arrivals and started a new pile...

Also, Joanne got me working on a metadata project that she is supposed to have finished by tomorrow. It involves choosing some keywords that will be used as search terms when prospective students are searching the website for what course they would like to enrol in. I was doing the Electical Engineering courses, an area in which I have absolutely no expertise! I read through the course description and career options for each course, then added funky keywords and phrases like "special class electrician" and "technical officer". I really hope that when new electrical-engineering-type-people search the database they are successful in finding the information that they need!

So, what have you been up to?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Work Placement Days 1 and 2

Wyong TAFE campus reminds me a bit of the High School that I attended. It's very low-rise with bushy surroundings. Here's a picture taken from the car park. The building behind the yellow car is Block J which houses the library.

So far I've spent most of my time learning about the procedures used and services provided within the library, in the hope that I may soon be able to contribute by doing some actual work! (I have used the "wand" to check in some books!) Tomorrow I hope to do some processing, which is fancy library talk for sticking barcodes on books and covering them with contact. On Thursday and Friday I might be involved with a special project adding keywords to some records in a database of course information. Then next week the students will descend upon us for library orientation tours and other "Reader Education" sessions. There are also many students who don't have access to computers and/or internet at home, so will be using the library as a study space. Some of the students may be new to the college, and so will need a lot of support initially.

I'm really appreciating all the time and effort that my supervisor, Joanne, is putting in to make my experience as valuable as possible. I'll update you again soon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I will be actually working in a real library!

Just a quick post to let you all know that I may be M.I.A over the next two weeks. I doing a two week work placement at Wyong TAFE library as part of my Master of Education (Teacher/Librarianship).

This is a screen shot of the library's website. To check it out for yourself, head to

While I'm there, I'll be experiencing what it is like to work in a TAFE library setting. The Wyong TAFE (Technical and Further Education) Campus offers many different courses including general education (literacy and numeracy, English for speakers of other languages, high school equivalence), hospitality (kitchen and catering), health and community services (first aid, aged care), business administration and electical trades.

The library supports both teachers and students with access to the information they need to successfully teach and learn. Library staff provide facilities and services to ensure that every member of the TAFE community has the support they need to teach and learn as effectively as possible.

The first week I will have an opportunity to acclimatise and find out as much as possible about how everything works as the students will still be on holidays. My second week, however, will be the first week of semester, and my supervisor tells me that there will be plenty of action! Students will be keen to get started on their courses and teachers will bring groups to the library for orientation tours and tutorial sessions covering skills such as catalogue and database searching and referencing. 

I'm looking forward to my visit, but not so much writing the 2000 word report that goes with it. I have to discuss how successfully I feel that the library meets the needs of its users, and reflect on what I have gained from my experience and how it will contribute to my development as a teacher librarian. Of course I have to refer to the current literature, not just ramble out of my own head!

So, I may not be blogging a whole lot over the next two weeks.

In other news:

I have an iPhone, I have an iPhone *doing the happy dance*!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Twitter Trio (7) - I'd follow you anywhere

Here are three of my tweeps that I'm so glad that I follow:

1. Tess Alfonsin @ReadingCountess

Reader, Writer, Mother of all boys, Teacher of tweens, Dreamer

Tess has a blog called Recycle Your Reads, and I'm also Tess' friend on Goodreads, where she is very active. She lists lots of books about teaching reading - I'm going to pilfer from her bookshelves whenever possible!

2. Bobbi Newman @librarianbyday

I'm not that kind of librarian

Bobbi has a blog called Librarian by Day and also writes on the Libraries and Transliteracy blog.

3. Steph Westwood @2sparkley

mum, wife, infant school teacher with a SMARTBOARD, author

Steph has a blog called Bits and Pieces Place. She tweets lots of great links that are applicable to me, being Australian like I am.

The Twitter Trio is a weekly feature at my blog, where I highlight interesting things that I have found via Twitter.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dead in the Family (with pictures of Eric!)

Once upon a time there was a newbie blogger who didn't know much, but knew she loved reading.

While clicking from blog to blog, she discovered Beth Fish Reads. This (primarily) book reviewing blogger was about to host a challenge - the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge.

What was involved in this reading challenge? Simply to read all the books in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, post reviews, and link them up.

Well, the newbie blogger thought that it sounded like fun; she'd never read anything by Harris, and thought that the challenge might be a good way to discover some new blogs and make some bloggy friends. And so the journey began...

I've just finished reading Dead in the Family, the latest installment in the series. I guess you can say that I got exactly what I expected.

I love these books, to me they're a fun, slightly trashy read (I mean this in the nicest possible way!) that guarantee a fast moving plot and some hot sex :) They're just right for in bed or in the bath, and I'm sure they'd be equally entertaining at the beach, or on a plane, train or bus!

Ever since jumping on board with the TrueBlood TV series, I have the perfect face (and body!) to put with Eric as I'm reading...

Sorry, where was I?

Anyway...what can I say about Dead in the Family? As usual, Harris throws as much plot and intrigue at the book as possible - a little too much for me to completely understand on my first reading. We have Bill recovering (or not) from silver poisoning and needing an infusion from a blood sibling, Eric's maker arriving in town with an unruly vampire child in tow, and vampires attempting to kill, or at least overthrow Eric to gain power. And that's just the vampires.

In addition, the government is making moves to introduce a werewolf register, and the local pack are having issues. There also seem to be some fairies on the loose, not to mention a fresh body buried on Sookie's land.

When will Sookie ever be able to relax and enjoy a normal life? No, I didn't think so...

This episode explores the idea of a blood bond, the bond that exists between vampires (and their human companions) who exchange blood, in greater detail. And for the first time, Sookie toys with the idea of what it would be like to become a vampire.

It's very difficult to review this book without including spoilers, and to be honest, it's hard to find anything that makes it stand out particularly from any of the other books in the series. I guess that's part of the appeal of reading series fiction, we don't have to work too hard as each of the books is fairly similar to the others.

So, a year on, I have fulfilled the requirements of the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge, have discovered an author that I enjoy, and have "met" many new bloggy buddies. And now I'm off to link up this challenge wrap up post at Beth Fish Reads link page, so I'll leave you with another picture of Eric...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Know me, know my books

My current "squeeze" is Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris, the latest release in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires/TrueBlood series.

I bought it on a recent shopping trip with Alana while the boys were at footy. She had some vouchers to spend from her birthday (in April! She's a careful shopper.) and one of the vouchers was for a bookstore, a very dangerous place for me :) I decided that I simply couldn't leave the shops without a copy of this book, so I searched high and low for the best price, which happened to be at Big W. Hooray for discount department stores!

I've been rationing it out very carefully, but I'm nearly finished :( I hate the feeling of getting to the end of a book that you're really enjoying; you want to keep going to find out what happens, but you don't want it to end.

At the same time I'm also reading Organising Knowledge in a Global Society: principles and practice in libraries and information centres by Hider & Harvey for ETL505 - Bibliographic Standards for Education.

I like to call this page-turner "death by acronyms". Here's a list of the acronyms that appear in the first chapter - "Definitions and introductory concepts":

OPAC - online public access catalogue
ERIC - educational resources information centre
PAIS - public affairs information service
RILM - abstracts of music literature
AEI - australian education index
ISBN - international standard book number
AACR2 - anglo-american cataloguing rules, 2nd edition
DC - Dublin core
DDC - Dewey decimal classification
LCC - library of congress classification
KWIC - keyword in context
KWOC - keyword out of context
MARC - machine-readable cataloguing
UBC - universal bibliograhic control
IFLA - international federation of library associations and institutions
ICABS - IFLA-CDNL alliance for bibliographic standards
ISBD - international standard bibliographic description

Whew! Is it any wonder I had to read chapter one twice? After my first read through, I was heard to mutter "I don't understand anything..."

On my bedside table for after Dead in the Family, are these two:

Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara is a psychological thriller set in a college. The protagonist, Gina, is a single mum and college professor. I must admit I had started this when I bought Dead in the Family and abandoned it partly read. Bad reader! But I'll get back to it soon.

the Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson is simply the latest in a long line of books that I've read on this subject. I'm a happy person with a very blessed life, and generally I know what I want and where I'm going. But I'm still searching for deeper self-knowledge; that elusive self-discovery that will make everything fall into place and make sense. I very much want to live my life with passion. I want to radiate love and joy and energy and positivity. I want every day to be meaningful. I don't want anything about my life to be mediocre. I don't want to "just get it over with".

Given that I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful children, a puppy, a house that we're paying off, friends, meaningful work...and so on and so on, you may think that I'm just a little bit greedy, or that I expect just a little bit too much from life. Maybe, but I don't think so.

Also "To Be Read" for uni are Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children's Literature by Clare Bradford and Books in the Life of a Child: Bridges to Literature and Learning by Maurice Saxby.

These are for ETL402 - Literature in Education, and yes - it's kinda funny that I'll be reading about reading.

So there's me in a nutshell. Know me, know my books.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Minor Identity Crisis

You'll notice that I titled my blog "a reader's random ramblings...". And I meant it.

By using this title, I was trying to convey a few things about me, and about my blog.

Firstly, I'm identifying myself as "a reader". Not a mum, wife, teacher, student, writer, or future librarian, though I am all those things. My identity, as far as this blog goes, is as someone who reads and reads and reads; voraciously and eclectically and enthusiastically. Someone who enjoys reading because I can be transported to another place or time, because I can learn new things, because I can connect with the experiences and knowledge of others, and because reading stimulates me, relaxes me, and makes me feel truly like "me".

Secondly, I'm admitting that I don't really know ahead of time what I'm going to write about. The topics are not pre-determined. The format is not set. I don't pretend to really know what I'm doing.

Thirdly, the ... implies that I'm open to possibilities, and to change. My blog is not static, but evolving.

And that's all been working for me OK. Up until now.

But recently I started wondering whether I'd been blogging long enough now for my blog to have achieved an identity of its own.

Looking down the list of blogs that I follow, there's quite a mix. Lots of book review/literary blogs. Mum blogs, crafty blogs, fashion blogs, inspirational blogs, review/giveaway blogs, writing blogs...

And somehow, because I love all these blogs, I've been allowing myself to try to be all things to all people. My blog has been a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. And I don't think that I've really been doing any of it justice.

So, where does that leave me? I'm not sure, but I'm going to think about what I love to write about the most, and what I write about the best. So stay tuned...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Twitter Trio (6)

Twitter has led me to many educators and librarians that write fantastic, informative blogs. Today I'm going to feature three that I have found particularly helpful.

A recent interesting post was Women in American Librarianship and Valuing Women's Work. An excerpt:

The answer is that there were women leaders and that their values (not some sort of womanly deficiency they all had) shaped American librarianship. I also just finished WOMEN AND THE VALUES OF AMERICAN LIBRARIANSHIP (Ide House, 1994) by Sydney Chambers and Carolynne Myall and they provide tons of examples. Here are just a very few:

•Public libraries were formed out of community libraries that were originally started by women in most cases. In 1933 the ALA “credited women’s clubs with the repsonsibility for initiating 75 percent of the public libraries in existence at that time” (p. 17).

•Isadore Gilbert Mudge built Columbia University’s reference collection and taught library school students her methods of conducting a reference interview. (p. 29)

•Adelaide Hasse was a founder of special librarianship, developed a classification scheme, and helped form the US Government Documents service. (p. 31)

•“[O]f the four insitutions established before 1900 which later became charter members of the Association of American Library Schools, the founding directors of three were women,” Katherine Sharp, Mary Wright Plummer, and Alice Kroeger. (p. 36)

•Mary Wright Plummer was the head of the library school at the Pratt Institute Free Library from 1895 to 1911, the Principal of the library school at NYPL from 1911 to 1916, and was President of ALA from 1915 to 1916–years before women were even allowed to vote! (p. 35)

•The director of the LA Public Library from 1889 to 1895 was Tessa Kelso–and this was decades before women got the vote. (p. 43)

While women who held leadership positions often did so at local or state or regional levels, women were also library founders, innovators in their fields, library directors, library school founders, and even served as the president of ALA before their country trusted them to vote.

2. Librarians Matter
A recent interesting post was How does Google work? Infographic.

This blog is written by the teacher librarian at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia - Buffy J Hamilton. Isn't that an awesome name for a librarian!?! To me, it sounds like she might be slaying vampires during lunchtime :)

Trust me, READ HER BLOG! It is just as cool as her name sounds.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Uneasy Relations by Aaron Elkins

Uneasy Relations by Aaron Elkins.

Borrowed from my local public library.

**** "Enjoyable!"

From the inside cover: "Before the sun set on the last Neanderthal around 25000 years ago, was he living peacefully with his smarter, handsomer cousin Homo sapiens? Or did the two always fight? Anthropologists and Paleolithic archaeologists debated these questions for years. Then a spectacular find at the Rock of Gibraltar left everyone speechless... Buried ceremoniously in a cave, the skeleton of a human woman lies clutching to her breast the skeleton of a part-Neanderthal child. Like much of the world, Professor Oliver finds Gibraltar Woman and Gibraltar Boy fascinating - and jumps at the chance to attend a conference celebrating the anniversary of the discovery. But not everyone's in a festive mood. Death has been stalking the excavation site like an ancient curse, rocking Gibraltar. A woman working on the original dig met her end in a landslide. A famous archaeologist at the conference burns to death in his bed. Despite the certainty of the Royal Gibraltar Police force that the two deaths were accidents, Gideon has his suspicions. As he tries to piece things together, Gideon's in for some nasty surprises. Someone has set his sights on the Skeleton Detective, who's about to fall for a few deadly tricks. After all, unlike Gibraltar Boy, he's only human..."

I picked this up from my local library's "new books" shelf, read the inside cover and thought it sounded like an enjoyable read. And it was. I just didn't realise that it's part of a series, and is actually book 15 in the Gideon Oliver novels. Don't you hate it when that happens?!?

1.Fellowship of Fear -- published 1982, the first Gideon Oliver novel.

2.The Dark Place -- 1983

3.Murder in the Queen's Armes -- 1985

4.Old Bones -- 1987 -- winner of the 1988 Edgar -- a coveted award among mystery writers!

5.Curses! -- 1989

6.Icy Clutches -- 1990

7.Make No Bones -- 1991

8.Dead Men's Hearts -- 1994

9.Twenty Blue Devils -- 1997

10.Skeleton Dance -- 2000

11.Good Blood -- 2004

12.Where There's A Will -- 2005

13.Unnatural Selection -- 2006
14. Little Tiny Teeth
15. Uneasy Relations --2008
Anyway, it turns out that it doesn't matter at all if you've read any or all of the previous books in the series. The hero, Gideon Oliver, is a professor of physical anthropology; an expert on bones. He travels to Gibraltar to attend celebrations for the fifth anniversary of the discovery of "The First Family", Gibraltar Woman and Gibraltar Boy. Although he did not work on the dig, he did examine the bones that were unearthed, and is scheduled to give a public lecture as part of the proceedings. He's travelling with his wife Julie, and they are anticipating a relaxing and stimulating time, catching up with old friends and visiting Gibraltar for the first time. Alas, relaxing it is not to be...
In true cozy mystery style, Gideon's amateur detective skills are put to the test as he assists his friend, police detective inspector Fausto Sotomayor, piece together the evidence and solve the baffling murders. Which one of the small group of experts is trying to off the others? What secret are they trying to hide?
I found Uneasy Relations thoroughly enjoyable! I love science, and learning a bit about foresic anthropology along the way was a definite plus for me.
Highly recommended.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Generation Ex-Christian by Drew Dyck

Title: Generation Ex-Christian
SubTitle: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith. . .and How to Bring Them Back
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Pub Date: 10/01/2010
ISBN: 9780802443557
Author: Drew Dyck

Young people aren’t walking away from the church—they’re sprinting. According to a recent study by Ranier Research, 70 percent of youth leave church by the time they are 22 years old. Barna Group estimates that 80 percent of those reared in the church will be “disengaged” by the time they are 29 years old. Unlike earlier generations of church dropouts, these “leavers” are unlikely to seek out alternative forms of Christian community such as home churches and small groups. When they leave church, many leave the faith as well.

Drawing on recent research and in-depth interviews with young leavers, Generation Ex-Christian will shine a light on this crisis and propose effective responses that go beyond slick services or edgy outreach.

But it won’t be easy. Christianity is regarded with suspicion by the younger generation. Those who leave the faith are often downright cynical. To make matters worse, parents generally react poorly when their children go astray. Many sink into a defensive crouch or go on the attack, delivering homespun fire-and-brimstone sermons that further distance their grown children. Others give up completely or take up the spiritual-sounding “all we can do is pray” mantra without truly exploring creative ways to engage their children on matters of faith. Some turn to their churches for help, only to find that they frequently lack adequate resources to guide them.

I received a pre-publication electronic galley to read and review from the publisher via netGalley. I am under no obligation to the publisher, and this review is my honest opinion upon reading the galley.

Generation Ex-Christian is written with an evangelical Christian audience in mind. By this I mean that Dyck writes from the point of view of a Bible-believing Christian who whole-heartedly believes that faith in Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with God, and that all those who do not accept this are lost. He writes to an audience that believes the same, and who are desperately concerned for friends or family members who have abandoned their faith. For evangelical Christian readers, this book will be informative; but other readers may find it offensive or upsetting.

Dyck describes six different groups of "ex-Christians"; postmoderns, recoilers, moderns, neo-pagans, rebels and drifters. He briefly discusses what may have led to these particular people moving away from traditional Christian faith, then concentrates on the best methods of evangelism to win them back.

I found Dyck's discussion of the reasons for leaving the faith overly simplistic, but I see that is because he is writing from a point of view that does not have any questions or doubts about Christianity. I would have liked these issues to be looked at more deeply. I also found Dyck's various methods for bringing the lost sheep back to the fold a little bit manipulative. It certainly gave me the a bit of a "paint by numbers" feeling, in which the reader was encouraged to "diagnose" which group their friend or family member belongs to, and then follow the recommendations that were prescribed. That is the main reason that I think that the non-Evangelical-Christian reader would find this book somewhat offensive.

For the expected audience, this book will provide some useful insights into the issues around leaving the faith, and I believe that it has been written, and will be read, with the best of intentions. I'm just not sure that the issues are interrogated deeply enough for my liking.

Accentuate the Positive

I've been busy lately, and not handling it as well as I might. I've been feeling a bit stressed. So though I'm still just as busy, I've decided to focus on the positive.


I'm really looking forward to it :) Alana and I are going with another mother/daughter pair - we have a standing date with them ever since we all saw New Moon together. I'm sure we'll be back for more when Breaking Dawn comes out.

I took the lovely Lucy for a walk yesterday, and I'm going to take her for another one today as well.

Awww, aint she cute?

Also, I visited Wyong TAFE Library this morning to meet Joanne the library manager, who is going to look after me while I do my two week work placement there. Click here to visit the website and check it out!