Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my 32nd Birthday.
I took the day off work, slept in, ate bacon & eggs & tomato & toast, drank lots of tea, had a massage & spa, visited my best friend where I saw her daughter (finally!) walking (yay!) and ate chocolate cake and brownie (yum!) and read same daughter some stories, went to dinner with my Mum & brother, and now I'm having a cuddle with my cat.
I also stressed about the study grant I put in last night, because the project has turned out bigger than Ben Hur, and I'm afraid that it will be too big for me to do justice to if (and when) I move to full time work. It seems to get bigger every time I think about it, and is now kind of looking like a Masters thesis. Goddess help me.
However, it's my birthday so I'm not going to stress about that anymore, at least until tomorrow. When I will continue to blog. Thanks to all who were involved in #blogeverydayofjune, I've loved it and I will continue my online journey with you all, if you'll have me.
@nomesd aka SkinniBitch

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mentoring in LibraryLand: The Peer

Yesterday a talked about finding a career mentor, or a guru. Today I want to talk about finding a peer mentor.

You probably have some unofficial peer mentors already. People you studied librarianship with that you've stayed close to, or who you may have worked with or been on professional committees with. I have a great professional network in this way, partly because I studied my library quals internally at QUT and did a lot of group work, and partly because of my continuing work with ALIA and my love of meeting new people (some call it networking). Also, I'm mouthy and loud and tend to go up to people and say "HI! I'm Nomes! Be my friend!"

However, if you are starting in a new job or position or workplace, it can be very useful to find someone who works in the organisation that you work in, who is in a similar position to you, but is a couple of years more established in the role. That way they can provide you with tips and advice on how to do the job, but they are not your manager or team leader, so you may be able to be more open with them about concerns you have, issues you're struggling with. And if they're relatively new to the role and organisation (say, less than three years) they will likely still remember enough about what they didn't know when they started, and still know where to find and therefore pass onto you, those useful bits of organisational knowledge that people who have been there longer don't even realise they know, and never pass on.

Peer mentors don't have to be of a similar age to you, but in some circumstances it can be helpful. This is particularly pertinent if you work in an organisation where, for example, most of the professional staff are over 40, and you feel a bit like a fish out of water. I've found having another new grad-like person to talk to about issues at MPOW has been really valuable. For one thing, apart from the library's official twitter account and our university librarian who tweets, we seem to be the only librarians at OPOW that are really into social media. We both tweet, and we're both involved in #blogeverydayofjune.

I'm very lucky in this way, to have found a peer mentor that I have so much in common with. We already knew each other - studied together - but we have not had a lot to do with each other professionally until I moved to OPOW. She's been here a few years, and has a much better lay of the land than me - but I have a lot more professional association experience, and other LibraryLand experience than her. So we're mentoring each other - it will soon become official, through OPOW staff development program, and hopefully we will both gain a lot from the experience. I have already gained more enthusiasm, a greater feeling of support, and I feel like I have somewhere else to turn to with my questions (I am a big asker of questions!)

Before I leave on this topic (for now), I must mention the number one important part of any mentoring relationship: TRUST.

In order to have a really effective relationship that you need with a peer, I think you really need to have a good idea of what kind of person your potential mentor is. You are likely going to be asking questions about your job that some people would assume you should "just know". That, of course, is rubbish, but if there's anything I've learned from working in so many different library sectors and cities it's that people who have been at the one organisation for years think everyone does things the way they do things. It's the old silo effect. So you need to be sure that you are comfortable talking to your peer mentor about uncertainties you may have, and that you can trust them not to gasbag, or talk to your or other managers without permission. Of course, if you have real issues with your workload you should always speak to your manager, but for advice like "How do you find approaching academics works the best?" or "What coding do you use in your blog to ensure the pictures authenticate?" it's often best to talk to a colleague, a peer.

Once again, happy to hear how others have found peer mentors and any other tips you might have for mentoring relationships.

Tomorrow is my birthday so I'm not sure what/when/how I'll be posting, but I plan to continue blogging beyond the #blogeverydayofjune challenge. I've really enjoyed getting to "know" all the library boggers and commenters, and my weight loss journey is far from over.

So stay tuned for more from SkinniBitch!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mentoring in LibraryLand: The Guru

On the comments of my last post, a couple of people wondered how I had been successful in finding a mentor. My answer is simple: ask.

The more in-depth answer is, as usual with me, not going to fit into dot points. (Sorry @katiedavis!) I am quite active in ALIA, and it has been the glue that has held my professional life together over the last few years, as I've worked in different jobs and sectors that haven't always been in LibraryLand, or provided me with everything I need professionally. (I'm an extrovert - fixing database records was NOT a suitable job for my personality!)

So I spoke to an ALIA staff member, whom I have worked with as an ALIA volunteer for over two years, and whom I trust. She agreed that it was about time I thought strategically about where I wanted my career to go, especially as I am now settled back in Brisbane for the foreseeable future. She asked me what sector I wanted to be in - the answer is: I'm not sure. I like both public and academic libraries. Basically, I like large library services, and in terms of my interests and personality, they suit me best. Then she asked me where I wanted to be in the long run. The answer is: I want to lead, and manage a team. My joke is that I want to run LibraryLand (into the future and beyond!)
She knows a lot of people in the sector and said she'd think about who might be available, and within a week I had a name. I haven't asked this person if they are OK with our burgeoning relationship becoming public, so at this point I'll just say that they are high profile in the profession, and the leader of a library service. So, in many ways, where I want to be in the long-term.

I then emailed the object of my mentoring affections the following:

Dear retracted

I've been talking to retracted about the next step in my career, and now that I've returned to Qld and am settling back into life in Brisbane and in academic libraries, I really feel like it's time to start thinking about the future, and where I'm going professionally. I know that as retracted and running retracted Library you're very busy but I was wondering if you would have any time to consider a mentoring relationship with me? I haven't had a formal mentor for some time, and think I would really benefit from one. As you're based in retracted I would think it would mostly be via phone, however if you ever make it to Brisbane I would love some face time :-)

I understand if you don't have time, but if you could let me know either way that would be great.


I received this response:

I'm out of of the office today, 3 June, If its urgent please contact...

Oh no! They will be too busy, for sure! Then a couple of days later:

I'd be happy to give mentoring a go.

Yes we will need to do most of it by distance (phone, email, Skype) however I do visit Brisbane reasonably often so could meet f2f at times.

Its probably best if we can arrange a time to discuss how we would like this to operate.

Over to you.

After a few emails ascertaining a date and time, we had our first session this morning on the phone. We spoke for about half an hour, where I gave my mentor a brief rundown of my immediate history, and sent them my CV. We then discussed career mapping. I haven't done a structured career plan, so my mentor suggested that I do so, based on something I could find quite easily on the internet. They suggested that I include in personal goals (family) and ALIA or other professional activities as well as work goals.

I've found these so I'll have a look and a think and a mind-map before we next talk in a fortnight.
Creating a Career Map
How to create a Career Map
Seven steps to create a career map
Developing a strategic vision for your career plan

Have you found any good resources in career mapping? Any other suggestions for finding a mentor?

Tomorrow: Mentoring in LibraryLand: The Peer

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Let's talk about the weather

I started a post on what is going on in my personal life, and then realised it's just not appropriate. It's not my story to tell. But trust me when I say I have very good reasons for skipping a few days of blogging every day in June. Plus, I have done extra on quite a few days so ... whatever, it's not a competition.

Speaking of competitions, I got the news this evening that I was unsuccessful in securing a place in a mentoring program that I really wanted. There were an overwhelming number of applicants (it was an international program) and I was very close to being selected, but no cigar. I know that you can get mentors in other ways - I have just recently approached someone to be a professional mentor, and someone else to be a peer mentor, but with this research project I am undertaking I could really use a research mentor. And I work a lot better when there is a structured program. A very good friend of mine spent quite a lot of time convincing me that my not being selected for this program does not make me a failure. And she's right, of course. It just makes me not as good as the six people who were selected :-P I guess I can deal with seventh. Who am I kidding? I totally suck :-(

In other news, I bought a new pair of sneakers today. And not vanity shoes. They're cross trainers, for ACTUAL exercise. My brother and I went to A-Mart All Sports and he bought about $600 worth of running gear for under $250 (super special on Reebok compression gear til July!) because he suddenly got the urge to go running. I don't have any great urge, but I am going to New Zealand in September so I need to get fit/strong in my legs for skiing. Also there's the issue of that 20kg that I need to lose, which if I recall is why I started this blog. And seeing as I've been eating fun sized Picnics for breakfast, lunch and tea lately, it's about time I did something about that again.

Oh, and Brisbane is pretty balmy. It got up to 21degrees C today, and is expected to get down to a low of 7 overnight. There's been some light cloud coverage but no rain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Like a virgin

I've realised why I've been so down today. It's not just because I liked Rudd. It's not just because he cried. It's not just because I've totally abandoned my diet and become addicted to cherry ripes. It's because I've lost my political virginity. And I wasn't prepared.

I'd heard about it, I suppose. My Mum and Dad and history teacher all talked about how their illusions were shattered when Gough Whitlam was ousted. But I didn't really ever expect it to happen to me. For one, I thought the whole Governor-General/Liberal conspiracy to take over government would never happen again. For another, I didn't think I was that invested in the process.

You see, I don't really follow politics. That is, in between elections. As I've tweeted, I hate the news. It depresses me. And politicians never answer questions. That annoys me.

But when there's an election on - holy hell, I become a crazy person. The night before the 2007 election, I told anyone who would listen that if Howard won again I do something bad. Alternatively, if they voted for Rudd I would do something great. As some of my readers are my professional brethren I won't go into details as to what those bad/great things were, but use your imagination. Then on the night of Kevin 07 I was glued to the TV, to the point where I couldn't leave for the party I was all dressed up for until it was for-definite-sure that Howard was gone, and Our Saviour was in.

But today, that hope, that belief, all came crashing down. The first Prime Minister elected during my adult life that I had a part in electing (i.e. didn't hate to the point of distraction and actually preferenced instead of putting his party last on the senate form, which I number individually) was ousted. And not by the machinations of the Liberal elite, but of his own party.

And that, my friends, is not a pleasant way to lose your virginity. Even if it is to an intelligent redhead without a penis.

Spill Fatigue

We have a female Prime Minister. Last night I was excited about this proposition. I even added a twibbon to my avatar. Today I'm sad.

Sad that the hope I felt 2.5 years ago was so quickly eroded. I remember that when I awoke to a brave new world of no more Howard I facebooked (the old Twitter) that "I will never be sad again". And now, all I feel is sorrow. I'm sad that the media, the "worm", the factions, the polls, have led to the toppling of a Prime Minister who, I think, was doing a pretty good job over all. Sure, he was looking pretty crap and weak on some major issues lately, but I tend to agree with this article.

I'm also sad that there are still a lot of people out there who don't think it's a woman's job to run our country. According to @katiedavis, B105, Brisbane's popular (mainstream) music station had people saying horrible sexist things on her drive to work. That sickens me. It also makes me sad that this is how we get a female PM - through the factional back-stabbing. Not that I expect that any female politician should be above such things - they have as much right to play the game as the men. And Julia plays it well, and I respect her for that.

Now don't get me wrong. I like Julia Gillard. She's a redhead. Portentously, I dyed my hair red(der) on Tuesday night. She's a strong, intelligent, confident woman who I very much wanted to become our first President. And she seems to be doing great. I've never been a huge fan of Question Time but I've been glued to it all day. Well, my ears have. I've been pretending trying to do real work as well. I will totally vote for her, and I think she will win.

But I'm a sensitive little flower, as anyone who knows me really well will attest to. And watching Kevin Rudd's goodbye speech made me cry. A lot. Because you know what, I'm proud too. Proud that I helped to elect a government (through preferences, but still) that did do some important things. Say sorry. Ratify Kyoto. Keep us out of the recession - that was AMAZING. And I'm proud that he tried for the mining tax. I'm sad that didn't work, too. I'm proud that Rudd worked on reforming health care. I'm proud that he changed a lot of the Draconian measures that Howard had put into place around same-sex relationships. I'm not proud of the internet filter, or the backing down on climate change, or backing down on whaling, or allowing Peter Garret to speak about anything, ever. But dammit, Rudd, I believed in you. You were a smart, nerdy, leader who gave us hope when we needed it. You were the first Prime Minister of my adult life that belonged to a party whose politics I could vaguely stomach. I am really really sorry for you. I was getting really sick of hearing your voice, but in a funny way I will miss you.

And now all I want to do is cry, and sleep. And hopefully tomorrow I will be excited that we are led by a woman. But I will leave the real celebrating til when she has the public's mandate. And if Tony Abbott wins, I will be selling my hand in marriage on eBay, and moving anywhere but here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I guess the thing I just realised about Twitter here is summed up in this tweet I can't send because twitter is borked at this moment:

@discobisc there will be a lot of people who learn about it tomo like normal news. i would never have known if not for twitter.

I am not a news junkie. I went for days without knowing that BP had destroyed the world's oceans. I avoid the news like the plague, because it generally has that effect on me: death, dying, depression. But tonight I got to participate in history. Coz of twitter. Summed up here:

RT@miss_melbourne This is why we all heart Twitter. Witnessing history in the making & sharing smart arse remarks with your friends. Freaking brilliant.

#spill is not just for oil

I had a bit of a personal upset in my life today. A quite major personal upset. Not for this forum.

I was mindlessly watching some TV and waiting to speak to someone in my family about the upset while mindlessly flicking through my Twitter stream. I saw #spill, and didn't really understand, but didn't pay much attention until I realised that it was a leadership battle the likes of which haven't been seen in this country since 1991. Coincidentally, an ad had just been shown on Channel 10 for the new show Hawke highlighting the leadership battle between Hawke and Keating in the 1990s. Tonight's drama is in some ways more acute than that, as it was unexpected (Gillard has not been grumpily waiting in the wings for years while Rudd promises her the mantle yet refuses to pass it on) and she was, at least at the outset, refusing it.

It seems now that there will be a leadership battle vote in the morning, which I'm sure will be over by the time you read this, but the real fun of this whole thing - apart from the possibility of having a female Prime Minister with red hair - is the instantaneous information spreading through Twitter.

Everyone else is going to write about this better than me, I'm sure, but for me it was a very "where were you when" moment, and great to be at the coalface knowing more about what was going on from the tweets than was on the TV and other news media. When I finally got to talk to the family member I was waiting to talk to, I mentioned the breaking news to him, and he was distracted from his troubles for some time while he checked Twitter and saw that Rudd, Gillard, and #spill were worldwide trending topics, even beating #ifihadapenis.

Thanks to stellar journalists like @
annabelcrabb and other ABC online journalists who keep the tweet stream awash with information, live blogging from the punch, and of course #lateline.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The 'Berra

I know, I know, I'm a bad little #blogeverydayofjune-er coz I went away to Canberra for three days and failed to blog. BUT I'll have you know I did try to blog on my iPhone but I couldn't successfully upload photos so what was the point, ya know?

So here's what you missed.

I packed WAY too much for a three night stay. I thought I'd freeze my extremeties off because Canberra is so cold compared to mild ol' Brisbane, but I forgot that
a) I've spent the last two winters in Melbourne
b) the two winters before that were spent in London
c) I lived in north-western Ontario for a year where the temperature + windchill factor gives you a temperature around -70degrees C.
I was FINE.

I drank way too much on Friday night with my lovely friend Dot - so much so that I forgot to take any photos. Sorry!

I made the bride super pretty on Saturday with hair and makeup that one of the guest's thought was professional - so I have something to fall back on if this librarianing thing doesn't work out - but didn't get any photos taken of me coz I was quite cold in my sleeveless dress and quite hungover.

The Catholic Blessing Ceremony was quite nice, mercifully short (not a big fan of the bloke on the clouds, me), and they reaffirmed the vows they took three weeks or so ago in the UK in front of Australian family and friends. Here's a picture of the stunning couple in the not-so-stunning carpark of the Southern Cross Club Carpark.

Aw! So handsome!

So after the reception where the 800 or so kids in attendance played in the gauze curtains, the blokes went off to watch Australia suck in the World Cup, and the bride and I caught up, which was lovely.

I ate way too much on Sunday starting with breakfast with Dot and friends and then catching up with an old family friend at Koko Black - Brisbane doesn't have one so it was good to revisit the hot chocolate, like an old friend :-)

Then it was a library geeks/tweeps meetup back at Debacle where I got to meet @brucebits from the NLA and NGAC, and @KatieTT IRL, which was AWESOME. Also caught up with @SonjaBarfoed and a couple of great @ALIANational staff, Robyn & Janetta. A super night!

I library nerded it up on Monday at the NLA, with @brucebits showing me some ephemera collections, Dot showing me around manuscripts, and I met someone in Reference who has an awesome job going. I was tempted for a while but have decided to stay in Brisbane - I only just got home, after all! Then @aldellit took me to the airport and gave me entrance into the Qantas lounge - awesome times! Oh, and I had my first IRL @
TurnbullMalcolm sighting. I saw @KevinRuddPM a couple of years ago, when I still had hope :-/

Then I got home and got the awesome news that @katejf and I got our abstract accepted for #ALIAIOC!!! So now we get to write a paper on the use of social networking for professional development. You can bet your bottom library dollar that #blogeverydayofjune will be in there!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Me! Me! Meme!

Thx to@fionawb for the meme, and whoever she copied it from.

Two names you go by:

1) Naomi
2) Nomes

Two things you are wearing right now:
1) purple shoes
2) fishnet stockings

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:
1) Love
2) Humour

Two things you like to do:
1) sing
2) shop

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1) motivation
2) to lose 20kg

Two things you did last night:
1) packed for Canberra
2) spent 2 hrs on phone to Optus (grrr)

Two things you ate today:
1) toast
2) tea (it's only 8.30 am that's all so far)

Two people you last talked to:
1) Senior Library Assistant at work (Jack)
2) Exec Director's PA (Hollie) who's leaving today to start her MPhil in History!

Two things you’re doing tomorrow:
1) attending one of my best friend's sort-of wedding (Aussie version of UK wedding they had last month) in Canberra
2) I expect a fair amount of drinking :-)

Two Favourite Holidays
1) Turkey
2) Italy

Two favourite beverages
1) Tea
2) Red wine

Two things about me! Things you may not have known.
1) I have a three octave voice range (soprano)
2) I work part-time

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1) Call centre operator (insurance sales)
2) Christmas caroler

Two movies I would watch over and over:
1) Dirty Dancing
2) Spaceballs

Two places I have lived:
1) Kenora, Ontario, Canada
2) London

Two of my favourite foods:
1) Lasagne
2) Chocolate

Two places I’d rather be right now:
1) in London, with my choir friends
2) in Vancouver, with my best Canadian friend

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The not-post

I am too tired, too runny nosed, too grumpy and too chocolate deprived to put a post together today.

So I will simply say: I am the library cat.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Um, what was my job again?

Sometimes I do so much of my "volunteer" job, that I kind of get to the point where I wonder where I'm going to fit in my "real" job. I wonder if I should blog publicly about this though - does anyone else find this? Anyone else so active in ALIA or another professional organisation that some days they have deadlines that are not job-work-related, but ALIA-work-related, that just need to get done?

It is a slow time of year for me, it's true, as students are so busy in our 24 hour library making their own way through the soup that is their studying filth (seriously, the drawback to a 24 hour library? The smell of teenage boys. GROSS.) that they don't need the assistance of a library and information professional.

Sure, I have second semester textbooks to order, but due to the awesome efficiency of my Library Assistant we're all over that, baby. And yes, I have many other busy and important person tasks that take up my time (thank you, Twitter) but I'm not teaching four of the seven hours of my day like at the beginning of semester, and the time I spend on the desk isn't so full of students tearing their hair out and emails from lecturers tearing off student's heads (most of them seem to be in Asia - one academic emailed me telling me he'd been "Shanhaied" - very amusing, I'm sure) and wanting me to put them back on, that my days are actually quite relaxed, at least compared to other times of year. I even have time to read my email. So when ALIA comes a knocking with "Access newsletter copy due TODAY" and "website needs to be updated" and "review my paper it needs to go in for final copy tomorrow" I kind of go "Oh, OK, I can do that".

It's nice to be able to have time to do some of it at work, because normally I spend so many hours at home doing my library volunteering (committee meetings, writing up minutes and reports and so on) that it's kind of snatched. I'm lucky that my work is OK with me doing some of my ALIA work at work. No-one else really volunteers within my branch, but it's supported within the wider institution, and I've been told that I can work on my ALIA related research project at work - not that I've had time. Which reminds me. I have a grant to apply for...

Oh, and come to ALIA Access. Enrol in the New Graduate Program. It's gonna be awesome. And send any eligible new graduates you know to this blog to get details of how to attend the conference for free. You might even be eligible yourself...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I'm getting ready for going to Canberra on Friday, and part of this preparation was getting out the wax and the polish and going to town on my hairy legs and un-pedicured feet last night.

I must have the perfect grain of hair for self-waxing or something, because I just buy a pot of Nair Body Wax (just over $20 at your local supermarket) which you heat in the microwave, smooth in long strips down your legs, then rip off (no cotton strips required!) when it's cooled. I can do it quite easily till all the hair is gone - my flatmate in the UK was so impressed that she got a tub and tried it, and she found that her hair was too coarse - it just wouldn't come out. She wasn't nearly so impressed.

But last night it took about an hour and I had the heater on so I didn't freeze, but I now have silky smooth legs and underarms, and then I did a pedicure on myself. I frosted my toenails with two shades of purple - a dark and then a shine - so they're all ready to go for the wedding on Saturday. That is if they even see the light of day, which depending on the weather they may not. But, better to be prepared.

Yesterday I got my nails done - I'm not up to doing them myself, I haven't got the right tools even though you can buy acrylic much cheaper than you get them done at the salon - but I love the look of a French polish. And the gel makes them so shiny!

So I'm still tired but I'm on the way to being pretty for the wedding.

Monday, June 14, 2010

So tired

Well, I'm eating carbs again. And my energy has improved somewhat. But I'm still bloody tired. Keep falling asleep after a couple of hours of activity - not even that much activity, mind. Today I went to the shopping centre and got my nails done, and then came home and had a nap. I have a very full week ahead, with work and then going to Canberra so I'm still quite concerned. I don't know what to do.

It's Glee's fault

So I'm late with Sunday's post. And it's a link post. Sue me.

Glee did a Gaga episode this week so I've had their rendition of Poker Face in my head for days. I quite like it. I saw Edina Menzel in Wicked in London and she's just amazing. I love how they're getting real musical theatre celebrities on this show.

But then my friend pointed me towards Christopher Walken's rendition:

And of course there's the librarian version :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The why and wherefore

Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages, tweets, comments etc regarding my having to quit Tony Ferguson due to the carbohydrate-deprived exhaustion.

A lot of the comments and such have wondered why I'm dieting to begin with - or questioned my methods. If you read my introductory post you'll get some of the idea as to why I'm on this weight loss journey, but here I'd like to respond to some of the comments and queries directly.

First, some pictorial evidence. Here is me, prior to going overseas just over four years ago. I had managed to get off medication, and I'd been on Weight Watchers the year before and gotten back down to my pre-meds weight. My BMI at this point was 25 - I was at the top of my healthy weight range for my height. This is about the skinniest I get - at least since I was in high school. Without meds, this is about where I sit, or a bit bigger. But I'd never gotten above a BMI of about 27 before the meds.

And here I am a few months ago, with a BMI of at least 33 (with the gorgeous @katykat). I'm now down to 32, a few kilos lighter than I am on the left. But I still have 20kg to lose to get back to the above.

Now I really appreciate what some of you have said - things like that I look good how I am, that I don't need to lose weight. But the fact is - I am not just overweight, I am obese. I am in danger of developing type 2 diabetes if I don't get back to a healthy weight, and other illnesses.

I must admit that it worries me more that people are accepting of my size than if I was being called a fatty-boomba in the street. Granted, I don't want to be publicly abused, and it would likely make me cry, but it would be closer than the truth than saying it's OK for me to be this big. Because the fact is: it's not. It's not healthy. I'm not happy. It's not "me".

And I don't want it to be my friends either - not because I don't want fat friends: because I don't want unhealthy friends. I have a good friend who is currently trying to lose 70kg: she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes prior to her 30th birthday, and she's realised how important it is for her health. And I believe she can do it. She's doing it with Weight Watchers, and I believe I'll join her next week.

I remember when I put on weight the last time I was put on meds. I was babysitting for some kid that I didn't know that well, and he said to me "Your tummy is bigger than your boobies" - that was a wake-up call.

I don't want to be super skinny. I'm never going to be a size 8, or a 6, or a zero or whatever the anorexic models are. I have curves - even in the top picture you can see that I am a woman, not a stick-figure. But I do want to be healthy, and I do want to look good - to myself.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Carbs are my friend

Thanks to everyone for the comments and tweets and such regarding the kicking of Tony Ferguson to the kerb. Don't feel 100% but feel like my energy is returning thanks to TOAST but have a doctor's appt in a little while as apparently Glandular Fever is doing the rounds at my university so I'll need a blood test to ensure that that's not my problem. Please God let that not be my problem. I SUCK at being sick. That is, I'm damn good at it, in that I get 150% sicker than everyone else, take three times as long to get better, and get every illness under the sun when my immune system is down.

I've gotta tell ya, sleeping for the best part of a week isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm starting to feel slightly normal again, but I'm still quite tired. Add on top of that the stress that I always feel when I'm sick, the guilt for missing work, and worries about money (I have no idea if I have enough sick leave to cover this week, but I doubt it) and I end up feeling like crap again.

Plus while I'm back on the carbs I don't want to put on all the weight I've lost. I have to be careful. *sigh* I really wish I hadn't taken that medication last year and put on 15kgs in 6 weeks. It really f'd up my body. And it didn't even work. Poo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sometimes, you gotta quit

I've been in bed for two days. Which is why I have no idea what's been going on in the blogging or tweeting world, at least for the last 24 hours. Yesterday I kind of kept up, but today I slept for fifteen hours straight and haven't had the energy to read a blog or a tweet. Yep, it's bad.

Problem is, I have no idea what's wrong. I don't have a blocked nose or a sore throat. I don't have a sore tummy, apart from some issues on Monday night that lasted for only about half an hour. I have been feeling a bit down, as blogged about earlier in the week, but nothing so bad to be considered in-bed-for-days worthy. No-one died, I'm not having a depressive episode. I'm headachey but it's not one of my "humdinger" (neurologist's term) migraines. I'm just really fucking exhausted and can barely walk around the house.

The lovely virtual librarian pinged me about something else and I confessed my utter desolation at what the hell was happening to me, and how I really want to just have enough energy to go back to work. She convinced me to stop the Tony Ferguson diet, as the lack of energy seems to have really come on since I started it. Lack of carbs and all of that. So I'm quitting. Tonight I'm going to have the bolognese that I cooked a couple of nights ago with some pasta, and start eating carbs again. I'm still going to watch what I eat - but no more meal replacements, and no more low-carb diets. I remember years ago being told by a dietitian that my blood type is a carbohydrate blood type, whereas my Mum's was protein - so when hungry Mum goes for protein, but I need carbs.

So hopefully this will help, and next week I'll try and go to WeightWatchers, and continue the weight loss journey in a new direction.

Update: just spoke to someone at the Chemist and they said extreme exhaustion can be a side-effect of the TF diet, as the ketosis can have that effect on a (small minority) of people. Nice to be special :-P

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mal's TV meme

Thanks to malbooth for coming up with this one

Do you snack while watching TV?
Almost exclusively. Is there something else to do while watching TV?
What is your favourite TV show?
When it had Dr Tennant I would have said Dr Who, but Dr Smith hasn't totally won me over yet. So at the moment probably Glee.
What TV show makes you run to change channels?
Anything related to sport.
How do you view your TV guide: online, on-screen, newspaper, magazine, other?
On my iPhone.
Have you ever been surveyed for your TV-viewing habits or do you know anyone who has been?
Don't think so but I love market research so I might have been years ago. I always say yes.
Do you watch TV news and/or current affairs regularly?
Nope I hate knowing what's going on in the world. Way too depressing.
Do you watch any TV "soaps"? (Truth please, even if it is embarrassing.)
Yep, I watch both Neighbours and Home & Away often enough to kind of know what's going on in both. Though I much prefer H&A and have since I lived in the UK.
What other series shows do you try not to miss?
Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy.
Any previous series or shows you really liked?
Buffy, Sex & the City, Damages, BSG.
Do you have pay TV or are the digital channels enough?
Don't have either :-(
Do you only watch certain TV shows online?
Yes I watch a lot online, or from online - I have a supplier of downloaded TV who sends me series at a time of all sorts of stuff. He's a geek though so I get a lot more sci fi than I would usually choose to watch.
Do you regularly use services like ABC catch-up or other online replays?
Yep, if I miss Grey's or DH or Glee or something I use it. 7 has a good service, 10's is a bit crapper. ABC of course is the best.
Do you ever pay any attention to the adverts?
Sigh, yes. Wish I could switch off, but I can't.
Do you multi-task while watching TV & if so what else are you doing?
Absolutely. I'm almost always tweeting on my iPhone. If I have a computer that's working I might be on it. Otherwise I'll be very intently cuddling my cat. He's half on my lap and half on the keyboard right now.
Is there a TV show that makes you laugh out loud?
I haven't been laughing much lately, so I can't think of any. But I'm sure there is. Um... Oh yeah, 30 Rock. I love that show.
Have you ever said no to a social invitation to stay at home and watch TV? (Truth again please.) Mind telling us what the show was?
Probably. I really like to be at home for Dr Who on Sundays, DH on Mondays and Grey's on Tuesdays. If you invite me out on those days and I don't come you know why.
Do you record TV shows & if so why and how (VCR, DVD recorder, TIVO, laptop, etc.)?
No I don't have the technology. I have a supplier ;-)
Least favourite TV personality/actor/character?
That annoying sidekick of David Letterman's. Paul something. I just want him DEAD.
Most popular TV personalities/actors/character?
Hmm I can only think of movie actors. I guess Tina Fey. She's awesome. Oh, and Alec Baldwin. But only coz of 30 Rock.
Have you ever seen anything really memorable on TV (not news/events - made for TV drama, etc.)?
Brides of Christ. I was a teen, it seriously affected me.
Do you prefer TV series or stand-alone shows?
Series all the way! What is a stand alone show? I don't even like movies anymore now that you can get TV series from the DVD store!
Is there a specific show you find yourself recommending over and over?
I've recommended Glee to a couple of people, but not because I think it's great in a high-art way. Because I love singing and dancing and teen drama and it's fun.
Naomi's bonus question: What's your favourite TV based youtube clip?
Well that would have to be Buffy vs Edward!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Pet Post

I'm going to try and break from the self-pity that has plagued the last few days of my life for this post, and turn instead the pets. That's bound to cheer me up :-)

I am currently house-sitting for my Dad and step mum. They have a small, cute, but insanely idiotic dog. No offence intended to flexnib, but Polly is part-chihuahua, which may be partly why she is skittish and insane. To the right there's a photo of Polly waiting for me when I get home, and my adorable little cat Sebastian behind her.

Polly is a very spoilt dog. She has a dog-flap, but she rarely uses it. She waits by it until someone opens the big door for her. She gets milk for breakfast, and cheese (!!!) at 11am (I have not kept up the cheese regime, for one thing I work and for another !!!) Polly gets premium mince for dinner, probably more expensive than the mince I can afford for my bolognese. However this doesn't stop her from trying to eat Sebastian's dinner out from under his very cute black nose. (His mince is of the low-cost kangaroo variety. He eats it slowly and daintily while Polly scarfs hers like there's no tomorrow. He won't touch hers when she eats his though, even though it's of a higher quality. Weird!)

Polly loves being downstairs on the couch you can see in the background of the above photo. She will happily go down the stairs in the background, but will not go up them. My step mum thinks it's because she has trouble with her eyes. I beg to differ, as she has no trouble going up the stairs in the backyard in the total dark. She's just stupid :-P

Polly likes to sleep with humans. I'm fine with that, and luckily Sebastian considers her a friendly, and the spare room has a bed big enough for all of us. As the bed is quite high, Polly doesn't think she can get onto it by herself. She CAN, I've seen her do it (when I'm not in the bed) but when I'm in the bed suddenly the bed is WAY TOO HIGH for her tiny little brain. So, she paws at the side of it until I lean over to get her. Then she runs away, just out of my reach. She does this over and over until I have to GET OUT OF BED to pick her up and put her on the bed. This drives me slightly insane.

My lovely little Sebastian, however, is the loveliest little light of my whole life. He has been in my heart for almost two years now, since I found him at Ingrid's Haven. I spent over an hour meeting about 50 of the hundred or so cats she has there, until I finally found him. He snuggled against me for a cuddle and my heart just melted. He's so soft, and as time has gone on we've gotten a closer bond. I had to be away from him for a couple of months last year and it was hard when we got back together and I brought him back to Brisbane. But now we're closer than ever. He follows me everywhere. It's very cute. Well I think that's all for now. I hope you've enjoyed my pet post.


That's the sound of me falling off the wagon last night.

It started innocently enough. I'd had a pretty shitty day and after losing only half a kilo (yes yes I know I should be happy with that but I wasn't ok?) I made a vege-packed bolognese sauce (thx to virtual librarian for the tip about grated zucchini - you're right, I totally didn't notice it) and ate it with some notatoes (yes, you read that right, it's fake potatoes, made of cauliflower).

I was pretty full afterwards, but in that "I'm full but want chocolate" kind of way that happens when you're down. So I had a diet jelly. That just didn't cut it. So I had a diet ice cream. That was pretty good, but not quite chocolatey enough. So I had a Lindt ball - I ate it very slowly, basically sucking the chocolate off. Surely that will satisfy my craving?

No. So I had another one. Then another. Then they were gone. So I had some white cooking chocolate my stepmum had in the fridge (I'm housesitting). That was yum but not chocolatey enough so I had some weird chocolate cake thing she had in the pantry. By this time I felt a bit sick and wasn't enjoying any of it, so I had a hot shower and went to bed with my shame.

About half way through this binge I stopped enjoying the food - and because the TF diet requires that you stay in ketosis I know that now it will take another few days for me to get back there - falling off the wagon is a very bad thing on this very restrictive diet, and I may not lose any weight this week. In fact, I may put some on because of my bad mood.

So I am seriously considering switching to WeightWatchers in the very near future. I still want to see how I go until I get to Canberra for the wedding - just under two weeks to go - but it's a lot harder than I thought, especially if my mood isn't good, or stable, or whatever.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I have had an extraordinarily crappy day. Mondayitis doesn't even come close to describing how bad I have felt. I don't work on Mondays, but I usually have a pretty full day - I have appointments, run errands, see friends. Today I barely made it out of bed, and when I did, I climbed back in. I didn't even have the energy to watch TV, let alone read.

I had an ALIA teleconference this afternoon, which I had a) forgotten about (thanks Andrew for the reminder email) and b) had nothing really to contribute to. Luckily my team had lots of ideas to contribute to the brainstorming session. At yoga, I could barely summon up the energy to hold a pose for more than about three seconds. Normally I get energy from both of these things, but today I feel like it's all I can do just to hold the seams of myself together.

I weighed in - Monday's weigh day - at the chemist this evening and I've only lost half a kilo this week. Perhaps it would sound better if I said I'd lost a pound. At least that's a whole measure. I know that's still an acceptable amount to lose, but I really wanted to be losing around the kilo on this meal replacement diet, which I consider to be more hard-core than others I've previously been on. Plus, my doctor said she'd expect me to lose 12kg in 12 weeks - which is a kilo a week. But I have eaten more (good) fats and sometimes protein than they recommend - plus I have ignored the caffeine rule - so perhaps that's a factor. I don't know if I can go super hard core again though, it's not an easy diet. I wonder if by the end of June I won't have switched over to Weight Watchers, which is more flexible food wise and I'd likely be pulling similar numbers.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reading meme

Thanks to @flexnib over at Ruminations, I've decided to do the reading meme. As she says "this may help those of us who’ve crazily agreed to blog every day of June... given that it’s about reading, I don’t think it’ll be difficult for librarians to do."

Do you snack while reading? Not really, no. At the moment I don't really snack at all, but thinking back to when I ate everything in sight, it was more of a TV activity, less of a reading activity.

What is your favourite drink while reading? Probably water. I drink a lot of water. Sometimes a cup of strong white tea.

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? It doesn't horrify me, but no I don't mark them. I'm too lazy.

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat? This is going to shock so many librarians, but I used to dog-ear. Since becoming a librarian and realising that I'm surrounded by Book Nazis, I try more and more to bookmark, and never dog-ear a borrowed book, but I don't have that "books must be pristine" gene. Who cares? They're objects to be USED, people! Unless it's a first edition and you need gloves to touch it, use it how you want!

Fiction, non-fiction or both? Fiction fiction fiction. Non-fiction bores me to tears, I'm the worst librarian in the world, I know, but I HATE IT.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere? I have to read to the end of a chapter, or at least to the end of a paragraph/logical place. Although as I start to read more suspenseful novels the end of a chapter just eggs you on more, so for the sake of sleep I have tried to stop somewhere more boring.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? Occasionally. The Twilight books definitely got a bit of a work out. They were so. fucking. annoying! But I couldn't stop reading them! AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? Nope. I tend to try and figure it out from context, and I used to then "mean to" look it up but really forget about it and never do it. Now with the iPhone I probably look more up on the spot.

What are you currently reading? I am currently avoiding reading because I am having a great deal of trouble getting through In the Kitchen and I am seriously considering ditching it. I am so bored by it I couldn't even read that whole review I just found. Yep, time to ditch it, which I rarely do, I hate not finishing books (that should be another question of this meme!) I also should be reading 90 packets of instant noodles because I'm meant to be reviewing it for inCite. But every time I ask for a book to review I get my second choice, and I end up shirty and not really wanting to read it. Though I just saw a book review that said it's really good so I might try and read it today. The last book I read and really enjoyed was The City & The City and it blew my mind. I've gotten obsessed with the author and paid my 80cents three times to reserve his other books and am desperately wanting to read them.

What is the last book you bought? Since having to ditch so many books in London I rarely buy books any more, I've become a proud library user, so I can't even remember.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read? I usually read in bed before sleep (except for the last couple of weeks as I've been avoiding it) but my favourite time would be on a lazy Sunday. Hey, it's Sunday!

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones? I love series if I like the characters. Loved the Millennium Trilogy, I used to read a lot of fantasy (sort of feel like I've outgrown a lot of it in the last ten years though) and I used to love it how Marian Keyes used a family to write stories around. But I like stand-alones too.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over? The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Thanks to virtual librarian for gifting it to me all those years ago! I still haven't seen the movie because I can't stand the idea of Eric Bana destroying the lovely gentle American librarian Henry with his ocker accent.

How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)? I have very few books these days, and they're currently in boxes. It used to be by author surname.

Barbara’s additional question: background noise or silence? Silence generally. I'm really aural so I have trouble concentrating if there's music on in the background - it tends to take over my head.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mr Sweary and his travelling pack

Since I moved home I try to avoid public transport. I get travel sick except on trains, and I don't live near a train line. So I had planned to drive down to the other side of town (actually, it's not even a part of the city!) with my friend to see roller derby this evening. But because I decided at the last minute to go to #barcampbne and chat to lovely geeks at the pub, I decided to catch the train down to Logan.

Some background for those unfamiliar with Brisbane and its surrounds: the usual Aussie city demographics don't apply. We have a north/south divide because of the river, with north traditionally more sought after than the traditionally working class south, and the east/west divide is flipped. Logan city is south-east, and it's known for a bit of racial tension. I'm from the north-west, where the primary tension, racial or otherwise, is based on who gets to the Lexus dealership first when a new model is released.

I get on the train, and everything is fine until we get to Woodridge. Then a pack - best way to describe them - of teenagers get on. They seem harmless enough, but one guy starts roaming up and down the carriage, giving off very aggressive vibes. After a couple of laps he starts swearing - loudly. Now I'm not averse to a bit of cussing myself, but this was very aggressive, very rude, and a bit early on a Saturday night to be quite so vocal in the keys of F and C.


Mr Sweary, drunk teenage lout. Obsessed with two words.

Mr Sweary's Girlfriend, tries to calm boyfriend down, offloads

Mr Sweary's Baby stage right to a member of

Mr Sweary's Pack, composed of a group of teenagers, primarily of Islander descent

Mr Innocent-Bystander, African descent

Mr (Off-Duty) Train Guard, Caucasian descent


Mr Sweary asks Mr Innocent-Bystander what the F he’s F-ing looking at, calls him some further rude names starting with C and N, and appears ready to make it physical. Mr Train Guard asks Mr Sweary to cut the language as his two under-5 kids already learned the letters C and F on Sesame Street this week, along with the number 7, and Saturday isn’t a school day. Another male entering the fray ratchets Mr Sweary up to a whole new level. He doesn't seem to know any other words, so he just repeats the two he does know ad nauseum - and not particularly creatively - while allowing a couple of his female pack members to nominally hold him back. This goes on for some time, and Mr Sweary adds in a few racial slurs for good measure, (calling the guard the N-word, then calling him a "white F-ing C", in a delightful Princess Bride-esque moment.)

The girl sitting across from me looks over at me clutching my handbag in terror and whispers "I'm scared!" I nod in agreement, and don't envy her one iota as she leaves the train at the next station, where the pack also (finally!) disembarks.

Mr Train Guard sees that I'm shaken up, and assures me the behaviour is par for the course. They will get on the next train and cruise up and down the line for a few hours between the same stops. Apparently it's their regular activity, and Mr Sweary is known to guards as a regular trouble maker.

I explain that I'm not used to this, and he mentions that the north side doesn't get the same amount of trouble. When I mention where I'm actually from he jokes, "half your luck". (He probably doesn't know about the Lexus-induced tension, we try and keep it out of the papers.)

This experience makes me all too aware of my place of privilege in this city, and indeed in this country. Hell, on this planet. I'm educated, middle class, white, employed, addiction-free, and I have a supportive family. I benefit from many other aspects of privilege that are so ingrained I don't even notice them. It’s sobering to be reminded how lucky I am to be in the position I’m in within our society. Hopefully I can remember this without needing to catch public transport in the near future.