And the award goes to…

(This is a draft post from about two months ago)

I received a large envelope in the post last week, marked “Do Not Bend”. It was propped against my door as our letterbox is too small for it to have comfortably fitted. Inside was my Master’s Degree in Information Architecture.

It’s over, after four years of studying. I was confirmed as a student one day in November 2006, to commence in 2007, and the next day my doctor confirmed I was pregnant. Debating whether or not to continue, I decided to push on and complete it over a longer period than the three years allotted.

I wouldn’t have been able to do this had it not been for the fact it was a distance education course. The flexibility of distance learning/online learning meant for me I could fit my study around my family’s needs, and not have to worry about childcare to attend classes.

It was funny to see how the delivery of the educational materials evolved over my course. Initially the material was paper-based, with much of the forum discussions and submission of assignments the only online component. Halfway through, the delivery changed with notes online, examples on Youtube and a greater reliance on chat, wikis and Skype to communicate with my fellow classmates.

For the most part, the teachers were great. My teachers encompassed both IT and Library, and the mix was interesting :). I also enjoyed  the wonderful access to a huge range of databases, which was great for my professional development!

I remember a lot of late nights of finishing off  assignment to submit by the midnight deadline, reading on the train, snatching moments to study when the kids were asleep, and walking to ACU around the corner from my house for my exams. I remember the support I received from MPOW, my boss and my lovely friends.

In my heart I wanted to go to the conferral ceremony and finally meet the students with whom I had conversed in the online fora and via email over the years, and introduce myself to my teachers. However my head prevailed with the argument that the ceremony was in the middle of the week, it was in Wagga Wagga and it would have been a huge logistical nightmare balancing work, school and childcare just for me to go up by myself. And I would have really wanted to share it with the people who mattered the most, my little family.

Honestly I couldn’t have done it without their support. I know I tried Mr BG’s patience constantly, but he looked after the kids while I was at the library studying, getting up to the kids while I was still on the computer finishing off assignments and made me endless cups of tea. He was a saint.

So I had my own little graduation celebration the day my degree arrived at the house.  We all went to the local pub for a meal, the children behaved impeccably and we had a lovely time :).

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My word!

Procrastination
If you looked up a dictionary term of this word, you may see a picture of me waving at you!

My procrastination is selective- I do pay bills on time and RSVP before the due date. It is primarily focused on the kinder run (I swear the entire street knows me by my yelling, “hurry up! We’re late!”) and of course assignment writing.

My final assignment is due and I have been working on it- I promise. I have driven Mr BG spare with my panic attacks over the last few years of my Masters, when I leave things until the very last minute. Of course I have every excuse under the sun- my parents visited, I had to take Miss BG to the hospital (both of which happened the last time- Miss BG had croup), but the biggest reason is I put it off.

Working on a group assignment last year practically killed me- as part of a team, I was having to submit stuff regularly and finalise assignment a couple of days before it was due. Never mind the whole submitting it with a half hour to spare business for which I am famous.

When I was an undergraduate, we had to submit assignments in hard copy. Friday was traditionally the due date, but we quickly cottoned on to the fact that if we submitted the assignment before 9am Monday it would be date-stamped with Friday’s date. I have memories of working on essays until 2am, getting a couple of hours sleep before taking the train from Geelong to Melbourne to hand in my assignment, then falling asleep on the train back.

We all have delaying tactics to avoid getting stuff done- @MaggieA makes toast and tweets. I play endless games of solitaire and read tweets, and facebook incessantly. I can now add blogging to the list…

Before social networking, it was much worse of course- I used to clean. I used to write my assignments on the dining room table at home (pre-PC, it was either in long-hand or a typewriter- now you know I am OLD). There, on the sideboard, was my mum’s collection of silver teapots given to her by her mother and to be given to the first daughter who had children(that now means me-brilliant). Essay time was the only time my mum’s silver was polished, as it was the only time I would glance away from the task at hand and muse “hmmm, it looks a bit tarnished- I think I’ll clean it…”.

Anyway back to the grindstone for me. See you on the other side where there will be a treat in store for you lovely readers!

Can books talk?

I am counting down the days- 7 to go- until I hand in my last assignment for uni for this semester. I have a pile of books, a pile of projects and a list of shops I am keen to visit, once I am on holidays from uni!

The latest book to end up on the book pile is Sunday’s Kitchen: food and living at Heide– a wonderful combination of recipes and a general biography of the life of one of Australia’s most intriguing art patrons. And that’s as much as I can tell you, because it looks so inviting.

It’s beside me now as I write, and I can see it out of the corner of my eye, jumping up and down yelling, Read me! Read Me! No, not really, it’s more of a siren call. I think if books could talk, it would be in hushed tones, sultry, breathy, seductive, almost like a phone sex operator! I’ve just hidden the book under my uni text Prioritizing Web Usability, which has muffled the Read Me! tones somewhat :).

And in other news…

Melbourne has just been given the title of City of Literature, and is one of 3 cities worldwide to have this status, the other two being Edinburgh and Iowa City. To commemorate this achievement, 2012 has been declared the National Year of Reading. The launch for this won’t be until July, but Facebook is stirring up interest with a Love 2 Read page. On it you will find a variety of librarians, all of whom are very enthusiastic about promoting the Year of Reading.

Anyway, enough chatter from me- back to my assignment…

Look out weekend, cause here I come

I am looking forward to having yet another reason to go boots shopping– preferably with my favourite stylist and boot fanatic Ms S. Unfortunately it won’t be THIS weekend as it is looking slightly jam-packed.

Apart from the usual rigmarole of gym, swimming for Master BG, and family frivolities I will be:

Dining with my mum’s group as a joint celebration for our birthdays. We will be going to Da Uday, Ballarat’s Indian/Thai/Italian restaurant. I’m thinking this would be great for those who can never decide which cuisine. I have never been, so it will be interesting.*

Maeve MagazineFinally reading Maeve an online magazine which will be launched May 1. I have been following its prgression via Twitter and Facebook and will be really excited to see the results from a wonderful bunch of women!

Attending the Clunes Booktown on Sunday with the kids and Master BG who will be attending in his capacity as uber-librarian. I will attending in my capacity as supportive wife, curious bibliophile and library nerd.

Writing a 1500 page assignment on an heuristic evaluation of a university website for uni. I know that sounds scintillating, but it’s amazing what you can do under pressure and with a steady supply of Tim Tams, nutritious food.

*The menu was extensive and affordable. The wine list was affordable but not extensive. The company was lovely and it was a good night out, but I won’t be going back there in a hurry.

Party Girl (and Boy)

Uni starts back next week, and I am racing against time to finish off as many books as possible before I knuckle down and start my uni reading. I am plodding through the last book of the Milennium Trilogy (Swedish crime- quite dark) and reading Capital: Melbourne at the Centre of the World 1901-1927, a thoroughly entertaining history of Melbourne by Kristin Otto.

Meanwhile the kids were abuzz all weekend with birthday parties for two of Master BG’s  friends, both of whom turned 5. They got to eat lollies and junk food, play chasey to their hearts content, and get enthused at party favours which include a plastic slinky and a helium-filled balloon. It’s lovely to see them enjoy such innocent pastimes :).

These innocent pastimes also include using the bed as a trampoline AFTER it has been made, scattering playdoh here there and everywhere AFTER the floor has just been swept and taking the cushions off the couch in the lounge to make a fort AFTER the room has been tidied…

I should be mad, but it’s priceless to see them smile.

Some people I know

Sources of inspiration.

KT is finally having a baby. After trying for an umpteen number of years, with a variety of fertility treatments here and interstate, she and her lovely husband are going to be parents. She is the type of person whom you know would be a fantastic mum- kind, nurturing and a gorgeous smile. She is a devoted auntie to the myriad of nieces and nephews. I remember the heartfelt congratulations I received when we told her of our pregnancies. It felt like such a cruel injustice that she was unable to do what she what most wanted in the world.

When others would have given up, she kept on hoping, looking for alternative treatments and options.   Thanks to her sister-in-law, KT will be a mum. Her sister-in-law will be the surrogate and underwent IVF treatment with KT’s embryo in New South Wales. She is currently 20 weeks pregnant and all is well with the bump, which will be a boy. A great excuse to go baby present shopping!

RG is a librarian who lives in Darebin. He rides a bicycle practically everywhere. He shares a car with another couple, but doesn’t use it that often. He makes his own honey, which is delicious, has chooks and has converted his suburban backyard into this garden of Eden. This is watered by two huge water tanks he has installed. He doesn’t own a television, but is a passionate movie-goer.  A good bloke, apart from the fact he is a Collingwood supporter that is :).

AV works for the United Nations and has recently completed his Masters in IT through Charles Sturt University, which is where I met him through a shared class and group assignment. His job has taken him to New York, Geneva (where he is currently based with his wife and two young children), and he is currently in Haiti as part of the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. His tweets tell of working from tents, eating interesting rations and aftershocks which are still occurring.

Three very different people, all of whom are inspiring and doing their bit to make the world a better place.

AvagoodweekendMsBookgrrl

Uni results- passed both subjects, one with a distinction which I’m happy about.

Christmas present shopping completed- huzzah!

Saturday to be spent wrapping said presents, and gadding about doing girly stuff like haircuts and grocery shopping.

Expect to spend Sunday making Christmas treats with my official taste testers and bowl lickers, and deadheading roses (ouch!).

I think this is what happened to Mr BG and I