Sunday, September 30, 2007

sunflowers and whining

i'm sick of being sick! it's boring! i have been splitting my time between researching phd programs and watching trashy teen movies. my head aches.

weather miserable, top of thirteen today. luckily i am at home, warm and dry. check out the rain!

there are beautiful sunflowers out everywhere (all different varieties i have never seen before). so pretty:

thanksgiving and halloween are coming up. i do enjoy north american holidays.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


see, this is what happens when i get all stressed out. urg. i feel like death. i'm dealing with it in the proper way. hot toddies (ziggy's recipe)

massive pot of miso soup (eleanor's recipe)

and a wide range of meds:

here's to another day on the couch!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

hi my name is

check out this site! it's all these different children's author and illustrators explaining how to pronounce their names. they often tell little stories about how they got their names too. very entertaining. now i know what graham base sounds like!

a bunch of boring but essential stuff has collapsed on my head over the last couple of days, so i have nothing to write about except how much i hate bureaucracy and how much more organised my life needs to become, pronto. i don't feel like sharing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

trip to victoria

miriam and i went on a little weekend jaunt to victoria, on vancouver island. it was very pleasant. lots of tea drinking and beautiful views. particularly lots of beautiful trees - we went walking in beacon park and found lots of garry oaks, which look like this:

and three whole gum trees! i was very excited and a bit homesick - it was the first gum trees i've seen in over a year, except for one sad looking tree in london, and oh, i miss them. they smell so good! i responded to my discovery in the only sensible way:

this is one of the gumtrees all mixed up with the arbutus tree next to it. arbutus is a local coastal tree, with red twisty limbs somewhat like a gum tree, but with very different leaves. see the beautiful melding of cultures!

mmm, so the trees were good, and i did a lot of window shopping and some actual shopping (very bad, so poor again, but there were such pretty things and good books). this is munro's book shop. i spent a lot of time there:

victoria is very pretty in general, a bit ye olde, but not tacky. vancouver seems like a very young city in comparison (and in comparison to melbourne - it's the lack of sandstone what does it).

this is a very old chinese cemetery, out by the sea. very peaceful.
if you were able to look off the left of this picture you could see america's shores looming in the distance. victoria is actually south of the mainland border. most odd. thus:

(on my last trip i was way up near campbell river. next time i want to catch a ferry to seattle - it's very expensive but i think it'd be fun.)

oh, and you'll never guess what we saw from the ferry on the way over! whales! lots of whales! well, at least four, leaping out of the water. they were orcas, with pointy black fins. i didn't have my camera out (too many tourists round, very embarrassing), but if i did take a photo it would have looked something like this photo which i stole from someone else's account of a trip to victoria: it was a world of exciting. later we got a very close view from a pier of a seal bobbing along the top of the water then diving under the water and swimming off slowly; a heron balancing on great piles of kelp watching for fish; a small black bird which dived under the water and swum for quite some time using its wings to move.

such a nice relaxing weekend. i think my favourite bit was when miriam, her friend j and i all went for a late night walk to the supermarket in toques and mittens then sat on the beach and ate icecream with take away chopsticks, looking at the sea and the sparkly lights of america on the other shore.

again it's a bit rough to be back. i'm still fighting with visa stuff (boring and stressful) and GRE stuff (not stressful enough, should be working harder) and phd stuff (likewise). i spent another day sitting in meetings and have signed myself up for various working committees, mainly union stuff. i've also been to a couple of dinner parties, which was fun, and one impromptu wine drinking night. i like having friends. puck (the human) is coming round for pizza tonight, which should be fun.

Friday, September 21, 2007

in the fog and rain

i was just walking back from a friend's house after midnight, when about fifty people in lingerie rode past on bicycles, tinging their bells and waving. i love this city.

some exciting post:
thanks grot and bbb! v.g.

and thanks to the hardfarmer and nittencaterpillar. as you see, it had some adventures in the post. it came in a neat plastic bag with apologies printed all over. but i can still make out the massages, and very nice they are too.

VTA requested some rain pictures, so i had a shot. it was belting down today, but i was concentrating on keeping my hood up and my books dry, so the camera stayed in my bag. sorry! but here's some foggy day pictures for you, up on campus. thus:

this is the view from my office at the moment:

and the quintessential "fall" image:

i will be offline for a couple of days - see you when i get back!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

the internet is a wonderful place

two things to bring to your attention. first, from a friend of bbb's:

bbb says: Not sure that I want to go kayaking off Van Island any more!

secondly, a friend of a friend of ziggy's crochets the most fabulous hats, you have to check them out: the friend was wearing a turtle, which was hilarious and endearing. i'm most taken by the giraffe, thus:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

simple pleasures

it's definitely winter. i'm wearing stockings and two cotton layers under my overalls plus a woolly jumper and a thermal blanker over my shoulders. i wish i knew how to work the heater! i had so many good and diligent plans for tonight, but then two phryne fisher novels and a mia dyson cd magically appeared (thankyou grot and bbb!) so i have spent the last three hours curled up on the couch having a very pleasant time instead of reading dryden and having a nasty time. likewise, i had fabulous plans for dinner, but ziggy gave me a toasted cheese sandwich, a carrot and a bag of marshmallows as big as my head and now i don't feel like cooking. i've had a recent surge of cooking. see my pizza!

all in all a satisfactory night, even though it's miserable weather all of a sudden and my knee has gone bung again. i taught a decent class today, which was partly designed to prod my students into doing their reading, and they didn't hate me for it. huzzah! i'm doing very well on their names, which is heartening, cos i never thought i could learn 75 names in one hit, especially when fully half of one tutorial has names that begin with "Kr".

today i also managed to get one of the letters i need to make my visa application. it's been a long and complicated process. one down, three to go! i'm having recurring nightmares about being chased, and i suspect the bears/cops/zombies represent visa officials. swimming tomorrow. swimming is soothing.

also enjoying my bicycle, with the seat raised very high to nurture the knee. i got a new gel seat with a cut away, and i love it to bits. take heed, fellow cyclists! here's a view looking west to the city. it's more beautiful in real life - all sparkly and blue.

this was riding back from meeting grot's friend downtown. we had such a nice time chatting. everyone should come visit me!

Monday, September 17, 2007

my right foot

oh, such a nice social weekend. had a lovely long talk to the girls in london and met up with lots of humans in real time. i had some friends round for pizza last night, which was lovely fun, though now i have all the dirty dishes in the world. also ziggy decided to clean out her storage space so the whole house has been filled with boxes and random stuff. so, yes, mess is a theme of this weekend. here is my contribution to the cleaning:
i'll take those pants, and that inflatable globe, and yes, you can draw a smiley face on my foot.

winifred and i spent a wonderful day shopping and gossiping, and i didn't spent millions of dollars on clothes, but, oh it was tempting. there are such beautiful things here, all screen printing and asymmetry.

and i saw a raccoon! they're so fat and mean looking. i want one!

it turned into winter all of a sudden. the oak trees are all wet. and i know which ones they are. hah!

to conclude this random collection of quasi-news, here is the teeny tiny lettuces i have made:
aren't they cute? i'm so proud of my little lettuces!

also i'm thinking of changing my name to Epponnee-Rae. what do you think?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

things that make me happy

- winifred is back! i have missed her! we caught up in the usual fashion, taking my supervising prof along for part of the ride. she is new to the department, and winifred is totally a welcoming wagon in her own right. now all i need is eleanor and the others to come home too . . .

- tutorials that work. today i split them up into groups, gave them a sonnet each, and got them to discuss them in terms of plot (much more complicated than one might think, and often smutty), literary devices and form/content. i ran around asking probing questions and defining words, then rearranged the groups and made them teach each other. they talked and talked and commented on the amounts of learning they were getting. very satisfying.

- basil!

- borrowing ziggy's hair to take tricksy self-portraits.

- a strange last burst of summer weather.

- my pay should come in tomorrow and i will have more than $12 in my account and not be embarrassed by having my card rejected in shops anymore. . .

- the possibility of doing a guest lecture on picturebooks.

- this coffee maker from montreal:

(this is how this coffee maker makes me feel:
pre-haircut, btw.)

- still being in a happy holiday mode of sleeping a lot and reading a lot and pottering round the house a lot. i even did my mending the other day. which is all very relaxing but doesn't make for good reading, yes, i know. i'll try and do something more interesting/photogenic soon, just for youse, 'kay? now go look at the photos of the canoe and the pie again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


oh, all right then . . .

Monday, September 10, 2007

hot off the press


we are sweltering in 25 degree heat. the garbage strike is into its 53rd day and the fruitflies have started forming into pigs' heads.

engagement party

congrats, cous!

see the family:

these two were not at the engagment party, but they're cute:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

reading is sexy

thanks, itchym'dear. i spot the one with the glasses!

and now to answer the question i know is burning everyone's brains - what does a recent master read?
there's a mixture there of escapist reading (terrier, first among sequels, the amulet of samarkand, huckleberry finn), reading for TAing and RAing (the longman anthology of british literature, re(dis)covering our foremothers, teaching to transgress) and reading for my personal projects (let's go europe, precarious life, trees of british columbia).

i kinda like not being a student. i've been going to parties and for bike rides, and today i planted some basil and lettuce. teaching is, um, interesting. i taught the same lesson over and over again from 10.30 to 2.30 on thursday, then went to an hour lecture. by the end of the day i was completely exhausted and wanted to kill people. i have plans for making thursdays easier on myself, and more intellectually stimulating.

yesterday was the annual learn how to teach day, so i went to a very good workshop on voice projection and articulation, and learnt some things to practise before class to make myself heard. then i went to the social and dished up pizza to TAs for an hour. all the cheese reminded me of tacos. . .

Thursday, September 06, 2007

aunty JT is a wizard!

she says:

"We have the Simultaneous Story Time on Thursday. The book this year is Mem Fox's The Magic Hat. We do it in the library for the Child Care students and also all the kids from the creche. I am to be the wizard. [. . .]

The kids thought it was great. I should have been a children's librarian!!"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

quadra island

aw, pretty! i had a very canadian weekend on quadra island. miriam and i went canoeing, hiking and swimming and made a pie. it was very pretendy camping, the sort of camping that involved a baby grand piano and bathing every day. we did get rained on a lot, though, and climbed a small mountain. i got to practise my tree identification skills (lots of red pines and cedar trees) and saw lots of natcha. we saw: banana slugs (yellow with brown spots), big black slugs, a toad, crabs, a hermit crab, vultures, crows, a dead seal with no head and a number of complete seals swimming. oh, and deer! cute bouncy deer! all very exciting.

the island was incredibly beautiful. quadra is off vancouver island, north-west of vancouver city, and it's tricky to get to, so it's not very built up, and there weren't too many people, even though it was the last long weekend of summer. to get there we drove up to a ferry terminal on the north shore, took a two and a half hour ferry across to nanaimo, then a bus up the island for two hours, then another short ferry across to quadra. it took a long time, but there were good views from all, and it was the first time i'd been up that way.

canoeing in what looks like a big lake, but was actually a very sheltered bay:

pretending it's not freezing:

the next day we went blackberrying the next day and got the most amazing haul. here is the fantabulous pie miriam made from the berries. yes, those are gumleaves on the top:

then we climbed a small mountain and admired the spectacular views from the top. this is looking south over the island. the photos form a panorama from left to right:

where we camped last night:

and coming home on the ferry. bye-bye, islands!

then i was back to uni, which was a bit of a shock. i swear there were more people stuffed into my skytrain carriage last night then i saw in the whole weekend. i spent the whole day dealing with bureaucracy and filling in forms, apart from two hours i spent fighting with the photocopier. yuck yuck yuck. i so hope i manage to get into the next pay round. i'm so poor and i so badly want a haircut. i need to invest in some bike gear too, so i can start commuter cycling properly. i used to have a nifty little travel pass which cost $80 a semester and let me go on any public transport, which was wonderful, but now i'm not a student anymore it has gone away. thus the need for a bike seat which isn't hard as a rock, an expensive raincoat and some sort of water resistant leg gear. it rains far too much in this city to skimp on rain gear! i'm looking forward to commuter cycling again. i've never been as fit as those three years in melbourne i rode everywhere.

due to a whole lot of bureaucratic muck ups i'm not TAing the classes i'd hoped for, but am doing an early modern literature course instead, which i think will work out fine. it'll definitely be good for me anyway. i'm rereading paradise lost at the moment, and enjoying it (it makes so much more sense of his dark materials and the bartimeous trilogy). i had my first tutorial yesterday and had such a good time. i'd forgotten what fun teaching can be.

must go read the norton introduction the 16th century.

love to all

Sunday, September 02, 2007

please ignore this post

this is purely so i can get a new profile pic. do not look at the man behind the mirror.