A bit of a big fail on #blogjune ….but hopefully something is brewing. Just other stuff happening (even though it IS June)

Canberra Library Tribe

The Canberra Library Tribe is delighted to be participating in #blogjune 2015.

This blogjune post is part of our short series of interviews with people who volunteer in the GLAMR industry (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, Records). These stories will highlight the abundance of volunteering opportunities across Canberra, and showcase our local volunteer heroes. You can also find out how to volunteer!

Our second interviewee is Kate Bunker, who volunteers for the Canberra Library Tribe (us! …we are run by a small group of volunteers).

Kate Bunker, volunteer with CLT Kate Bunker, CLT volunteer

Tell us about you and your Canberra Library Tribe volunteer role…

How did it start? Well I guess I was there at the start…an informal meeting around early 2013 of a few library folk who were looking for something more in the Canberra GLAMR world. I guess we took a lot of encouragement from the things that were happening in ALIA Sydney at…

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More a shameless plug for a competition that my kids and my husband entered in 2007 when they used to watch TG.

First time with stop start Lego animation, and a lot of fun!

On Saturday I went to the National Museum of Australia and joined the TEDxCanberraWomen 2015 group to watch a delayed broadcast of one of the sessions from TEDWomen 2015. The title was Momentum, and the TED talks were all from the session called ‘surface’ – with the idea being that some ideas simmer below the surface.

Pardis Sabeti – a computational geneticist was the last speaker.

Pardis had worked with lassa virus and in 2014 started working with the Ebola virus. The people that she worked with in Africa often started their day with singing, which she found incongruous at first…but became very much a part of what they did. In the madness of Ebola, when time was so critical – they  sang. Pardis lost colleagues to Ebola.

Working with the Ebola virus meant doing away with traditional publishing. Yay! No time. People all over the world could have worked away on Ebola in silos. But Pardis and her team released information about Ebola and the genetic mutations on the web to enable quicker progress. They released an app so that front line staff could better identify and work with the virus.

Pardis stated that we have the technology and the capability. We just have to share, be open and work together (my notes…may not be a direct quote!).

And we need to do it together with joy and singing.

“Ebola, like all threats to humanity, is fueled by mistrust, by confusion, by distraction, by the walls we build around ourselves. While we fight against ourselves, the virus thrives.” —Pardis Sabeti

I found out while googling Pardis that she also sings in a band- Thousand Days – see Pardis Sabeti, the Rollerblading Rock Star Scientist of Harvard

I don’t as a rule watch a lot of TED videos willingly. Time poor. Church of TED? But invite me to a quick Saturday session to watch some – and I’m there…sometimes.

People are so very inspiring.


Not my best post, but you get my meaning…

Sarah. Mum. Me Mother's Day May 2015

Sarah. Mum. Me
Mother’s Day May 2015

My mum has uncontrolled shaking of the hands and face. The diagnosis is …an essential tremor.

I find the word essential in this phrase absolutely non-essential as it slowly inhibits her in ways.

For my mum has had this tremor for a number of years now…at least 10.

The tremor gets worse when she is moving, so eating, drinking and writing are becoming more impossible. In fact she cannot write any more – my dad now writes her cheques (yes she is the only person I know who does still use cheques, which I cannot grumble about as I am the recipient of some of these cheques).

It is not Parkinson’s Disease. There is no cure. It can be hereditary. In fact mum remembers that one of her grandmothers had it.

Mum has not had caffeine or alcohol in ten years or so. Caffeine and alcohol can worsen tremors. She is on strong tranquilizers that the specialists hope can lessen the tremor. But the tremor gets worse and the dosage of tranquilizers increases.

Mum has been drinking her endless mugs of decaffeinated tea through a straw for years now. We are all used to it. Certain cafe owners in Bowral where they live are used to it too and provide straws with her order. But it is getting worse as she is struggling with lifting hot drinks – often spilling them. So we pass the drinks, make sure that she can reach her straw and ask her not to pick up the mug.

Eating too is getting harder. She takes a long time to eat. It’s noisy. She often uses a spoon. Mum doesn’t like eating out so much now, so she is more discerning in picking where she eats, in a table out of sight, and where she has time to eat. And don’t give her her meal on a flat piece of slate or a plank. She needs a lip in her dish or plate. Something to catch the food with her spoon. Big pieces of food can be better as a lever. A thick porridge is better than a thin soup. She is getting to know all the tricks. We are getting better at offering help in the gentlest but caring of ways. We are getting better at intervening in a quiet but firm manner…”here mum I’ll cut that part up and then you’ll be set...” And she is getting better at accepting our help. We don’t rush meals.

She still cooks. She likes to cook, to plan and prepare meals. But she no longer takes the cooked meal out of the oven. She has finally stopped picking up saucepans of hot food. So she adjusts. Dad helps more. We point out that getting a third degree burn just because you are determined to take the boiling pot of potatoes off the stove is not going to help anyone!

Mum takes it all in reasonable humour. You occasionally her her mutter “oh stop it” as she talks to her hands to make them do something without shaking…  It is worsening. She is on a heap of sedatives. She is now being considered for brain surgery – Thalamic deep brain stimulation. So begins another round of trips to specialists and surgeons who will ascertain whether she is a likely candidate. She is 82 and a little frail. A little unsteady on her feet.

We are all getting better at using strategies to live with this most essential of tremors.

Oh, and apparently the essential in essential tremor is …” the term ‘essential’ means that there is no associated disease that causes the tremor”.

Not my idea of essential at all!

The news yesterday from a visit to the neurologist is that those with essential tremors have a greater life expectancy by 10 years or so. Know one knows why. But that’s what the research shows. Mum and dad both thrilled by this!

This watching your parents age, indeed aging itself is hard. But we learn and we cope and we love through it all.

And I’m still a bit cranky about the use of the word ‘essential’ in all of this. Have you noticed?


Yes- we tried going down the Google/Liftware spoon path…but poor mum’s tremor is beyond this spoon😦

60 #blogjune


Pinch and a punch and before you know it #blogjune is here.

I have already read a few posts and I think a lot of us are on the same page…lots to do, even more these days, and amongst all the busyness… less time for blogging. Why are we even doing this again?

These days i am hardly ever in this space, but I have started writing a written journal again after years and years of not. Some days I write pages, and then other days it’s a few words. But I enjoy the physical after so much time at work and at home on a screen. And blogging on a tablet sucks a little…I used to always use a laptop or desktop to blog.

So what’s happening?

I’m reading – Arthur and George / Julian Barnes. Next is The Anchoress / Robyn Cadwallader

I’m watching – Game of Thrones, on repeat. Somehow it lends itself to winter viewing and hibernation.

I’m cooking – curries, soups, cakes.

I’m drinking – Bengal Spice tea just now

I’m thinking – about the whole issue of ageing / invisible women of my age.

I’m taking – photos almost daily. I love Instagram

I’m missing – my 19 year old daughter now living in Melbs

I’m enjoying – this time 

I’m planning – holidays, walks and goals

I’m listening – to a Bollywood compilation I bought at the Indian grocery on the weekend, and Bombay Royale

And the 60……the amount of blog posts I have in draft….hysterical!


GLAMR in Canberra (and beyond)
Limited places for this!

Canberra Library Tribe

We said it was coming – it’s landed! Our next event is a talk/workshop on personal taxation issues for people working  (or studying) in the GLAMR sector.

It’s on Thursday 18 June, 6-7pm in the Ferguson room at the National Library of Australia.

Let's talk about tax Let’s talk about tax

We are grateful to for in-kind support from our wonderful workshop leaders, financial industry experts, Scott Malcolm and Jane Hadrill. Scott is a Certified Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor at Money Mechanics and Jane is a tax agent and property investment specialist at Hadrill Accounting.

Tickets are free but strictly limited, please RSVP on eventbrite

Please note that refreshments will not be available, but we might have an informal afterparty at a cafe after the workshop.


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Sometimes it’s nice to go into a keynote and not know anything about the person. I did it with G Willow Wilson, and then I did it the next day with Jad Abumrad. @JadAbumrad is part of a team that produces RadioLab. RadioLab is described on their website as “… a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience”.

Digression: A little surprising that I hadn’t heard of RadioLab as I love podcasts so much…just as a complete aside…my current podcast subscriptions are:

  • The Lapse (true stories gussied up). Dubbed ‘The Moth meets RadioLab’
  • RadioLab – I subscribed the day of the Jad keynote
  • Blueprint for living – ABC RN
  • 99% Invisible – design Roman Mars
  • Here’s the thing- with Alec Baldwin
  • Invisibilia – ideas, beliefs, assumptions, emotions
  • Boston Calling – how the world is changing America. BBC World Service
  • Rear Vision
  • Serial
  • In our time with Melvyn Bragg
  • Background Briefing
  • Future tense
  • Love + Radio- from the seedy to the sublime…
  • The Moth podcast
  • Snap Judgement
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour
  • BBC Documentary of the week
  • All in the mind
  • Friday night comedy from BBC
  • Documentaries form BBC World Service
  • The film programme
  • This American Life
  • Health report
  • 360 Documentaries
  • The Body sphere
  • Sunday extra
  • All songs considered
  • Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young
  • Books and Arts daily

…Of course don’t panic- I never listen to everything there. How could I possibly? But they are there, and I just love my podcast time.

But back to the keynote. Keynote speakers are all about the stories…Jad started by saying that he wanted to talk about what it feels like to walk through uncertain spaces, the gut churn. He recorded his stomach churning on RadioLab deadline day…

How do you fill that emptiness?

Find your authentic voice?

What does it mean to speak in your own voice??

Ira Glass (This American Life) calls it ‘the gap’, Jad – the gut churn.

Ira Glass , on being creative…

How do you keep moving through the gap?

Jad gave some ideas…

1/ chase the antelope (story of a guy who wanted to know if he could chase down an antelope. He chased antelopes for 12 years!)

ask questions

allow the question to possess you

‘be the question’ – Rilke

2/ follow the odds

Put odds on. Jad talked about only 1 in 6/10/15 story ideas ever come to anything… “every story is trying really hard to suck”

3/ adjacent possible

“The potential (and serendipity) created when you notice and connect the unlikely”- from

I am a big fan of serendipity!

The moments before the epiphanies are bad moments, embrace the bad, the gut churn. (insert Wagner opera story here of the German forest)

I liked his final point- in walking through periods of doubt…walk with someone.

The humanist, imperfect person that I am loved that!!

Walk with someone.

‘Walk with someone and that gut churn is OK’…my words.

I googled Jad and there is this 20 minute talk from Jad about ‘why gut churn is an essential part of the creative process’… see and the video below



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