Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cookies as Far as the Eye Can See

Oatmeal Raisin Extravaganza!

Ainslie Roos

Wednesday was a public holiday, ANZAC Day, so we both had the day off. ANZAC Day commemorates the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey (World War I).

We spent the afternoon hiking in Mount Ainslie Nature Park where we always see kangaroos and have recently been seeing wallabies and wallaroos. Here's a video that Brian shot of some eastern grey kangaroos.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Honorary Rotarian

As mentioned in a previous post, my host Rotary club of Canberra Sunrise (meetings at 7am) recently made me an honorary member of their club to recognize my year as an Ambassadorial Scholar. I just received this photo of the event with my host counselor Stephen and the club president Margaret.

Rain and Dinner Parties

Another lovely Saturday this weekend, though the ride to the markets was in the rain. It hasn’t rained in ages however, and the water situation in Australia is getting rather dire. The Murray Darling Basin is a huge catchment but in some areas the water has actually just stopped flowing. The Prime Minister has suggested that without rain soon, farmers in the area will get no irrigation allocation for winter crops and valuable wetlands in the area may be cut off from the river, leaving countless species of birds and other animals with no place to go. So needless to say we were happy to be riding in the rain.

Then last night had a dinner party with two other couples at our place. I made an African style pineapple and peanut stew (sounds weird but so yummy) and rice and our friends brought a lemon tart and home-baked muffins. Add to that several bottles of wine, cheese, bread and crackers and you’ve got yourself a great evening.

Saturday Moonshadows

Saturdays are one of our favorite days and last Saturday was no exception. We start the weekend by riding to the markets and stocking up on fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. Currently we are gorging on plums and pears. The season for peaches and nectarines just ended and I was sad to see it go. We’ll often have a cup of coffee at the market with friends, then come home and make eggs and bagels for breakfast with a pot of tea, followed by an afternoon of reading and often hiking in one of the local nature parks. Last Saturday evening we had a lovely dinner at a Japanese restaurant and then went to see a show called Moonshadows at the Canberra Theatre. Those of you who know of my love for Cat Stevens’ music will appreciate my excitement. It wasn’t Cat Stevens performing, but a local artist who sounds just like him (no kidding) and performed over twenty of his songs interspersed with a commentary on his life and music. It was just delightful. Apparently in the seventies, one out of every two Australian households owned a Cat Stevens album. Obviously people are still loving him and still discovering his music. It was a sold out show.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Big News!

Some of you will know this bit of news already but I've been offered a research position with the university for 12 months!

I finished the masters program in February (though I haven't yet technically received a mark for the thesis and will officially graduate in June) and knew that I had at least a few months of work available to me while Brian finished up his contract doing software development for the government (which ends in June). But turns out, the university has received quite a sizeable chuck of change to pursue sustainability initiatives including a multi million dollar green loan fund, funding for 20% green energy by next year (up from the current 2%) and funding for various other projects including one on learning communities and sustainability in curriculum development, which is exactly what I've been working on for the last 12 months. So I was offered a position as a postdoctoral research fellow in a brand new project called Integrating Sustainability. The irony in this of course is that I just finished my masters, not a PhD, and here I land a postdoc position. Needless to say, its a terrific opportunity that I just can't pass up.

Milton Ulladulla Rotary

While my time as an Ambassadorial Scholar has technically finished, I am still involved with Rotary and speaking at clubs around Australia. The week before last, Brian and I were hosted by the Rotary club of Milton-Ulladulla for a couple days on the coast. Once again, had a delightful time seeing the local area including beaches and dolphins and meeting club members. I spoke at the local Interact club which is a branch of Rotary for young people ages 14-18 which gives them opportunities to participate in meaningful service projects and develop leadership skills. The Interact club I visited had just been formed and managed to raise over $7000 in their first fundraising event for a leukemia foundation. A number of them shaved their heads and they raised pledges to get their teachers and principles to shave their heads as well. So impressive!

We stayed with a lovely couple who served as our hosts and to my delight, Jenny is a quilter! Always nice to have something in common and she does amazing artistic and picturesque quilts...we spent a fair bit of time looking at her work and comparing techniques.

Spoke at their club and had a terrific response. When I finished they were asking what they could do and suggesting that they designate an Environmental Projects Officer for the club. Very encouraging for me! Here I am exchanging club banners with President Geoff.

So as I said, trying to stay involved with Rotary and I'm pleased to say that my host club, Canberra Sunrise has just made me an honorary member! And I'm planning a dinner with the other Ambassadorial Scholars who are still here and with those who have just arrived.

Hiking in the Brindabellas

Had a nice day of hiking last Saturday in the nearest mountains to Canberra, the Brindabellas. It was nice and sunny on the whole drive there but as soon as we got our gear together to start our walk, it commenced pouring rain and didn't stop until we arrived back at the car, 14 kilometres later. Not as dreary as it sounds however, the bush looks amazing and alive when its wet. Here's a photo of our crew in a particularly beautiful stand of eucalypts.