A day in the life of an archivist

According to Wikipedia an archivist is “a professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and provides access to information determined to have long-term value”. Hmmmm and so much more but this sums it up simply. The catch here is that people need to know you have an archive in order to “provide access” to that information. That’s one of the projects for this year (among many). Not only does the above apply to my role but research into requests ranks highly as well. One request can take any where from a few minutes to days to collate. In a team of 1 full time this works well with limited knowledge about the archive. However if my ideas take flight then I could be in a wee bit of bother trying to fulfill requests for information.

Friday was a fab day in the archives with some conservation techniques being put into practice on some photos of a geothermal station that came in stuck together and the discovery of a gorgeous cibachrome print. Most days it is the same routine – collect, sort, appraise, catalog, store but when you get days like Friday, AWESOME!

Christmas washout 2011

Ahhhh the NZ Christmas I remember – potential rain ever threatening on the horizon to wash out the planned BBQ. The day started off lovely and sunny and to be honest there was only a short spell of a drizzle so in all we can’t be that critical. However, the days following this have been increasingly rainy. Darn, 11 days off work and so few sunny days to play in. You have to take those days when you get them.

We had an enjoyable family get together in Auckland where we indulged in pav and steamed pudding. Nigella’s steamed pudding I might add. There was not a crumb left to bring home. BBQ chicken, salad and lots of fun was had with the Secret Santa game.

I spent some more time with 2 mates on Christmas night and enjoyed some beach walks. It’s nice to remember the good things about where you have lived in the past. Auckland doesn’t really thrill me at all these days but it is nice to be reminded that there are gorgeous aspects of the city like accessibility to the beaches and friends there.

Steve has had his normal 3 days off this week but it has been a real downer that the weather has been so terrible. Gone were the plans to tramp up Ruapehu but we did do a short walk along the W2K track out near Kinloch. Stunning location and barely a soul to be seen out there. We stopped on the way back to the car for a hot drink (just because we could).


Taupo Cliffhanger

Last week I had the opportunity to do a Taupo Cliffhanger (swing) during my lunch break. It was a locals day where they were doing some promotional video and photography. A work colleague and I hightailed it up there during our lunch break to give it a go. We whipped home first to get some pants though as doing it in our uniform skirts might have been a bit embarrassing.
When we turned up a Kiwi Experience bus had already arrived with a mob of backpackers so it took us a bit longer than we had bargained for. After signing our disclaimer forms and being weighed we lined up for a tandem swing. The first guy I had seen doing the swing did it upside down which really freaked me out until I realised that this was his preferred way of doing it! Not me thank you very much.
Basically the cliffhanger is where you are put into a harness which is suspended off a pole which is then moved out off the platform where you are suspended over a drop into the river. Now it is a HUGE drop to the river below. After the obligatory countdown the cord is pulled and you plummet downwards until you then swing upwards (pendulum style). Woo hoooooooo! It was incredible. I am very surprised my work mate didn’t lose her hearing.
Anyway, we didn’t bother sticking around to buy any photos or get the video but here is a link to the Taupo Cliffhanger website. Very awesome lunchtime activity 🙂

Happy Birthday

May is a busy month for birthdays. A big HB to my wee nephew Ashton who turns 2 today and also to my hubbie (who is not 2) as of yesterday.
Hubbie and I enjoyed a lovely meal out at Brassiere Blanc in Cabot Cirus. Here’s a wee sample of our French fine dining. Thanks Raymond.

Book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Steve has had this book for quite a while now and had given me a synopsis on it but I was never really tempted to read it. This weekend I did. Ok, so I skimmed the first third of it but I totally read the rest. In short it goes through the story of the writer from asking the question “Why do my feet hurt?” as a runner plagued with injuries to him ending up in the depths of Copper Canyon in Mexico partaking in a 50 mile race with the Tarahumara people. Through this journey Christopher re-discovers the art and joy of running, most importantly free from injuries. The secrets brought together from a number of areas that build from evolution, persistence hunting and over engineering of shoes. I think Steve had synopsized the book incredibly well but I was glad I dipped into it as I managed to draw some more gems from it.

I have never really been that keen on running. Sure I love squash but that involves also smashing a small ball around a court which is a fabulous stress reliever. Possibly why I also enjoyed the boxercise training I did with a group of work mates a couple of mornings a week in Sydney.

But running? All that pain, panting, bouncing and wobbling just didn’t get me all ablaze with excitement. When Steve started doing his 7x7x7 half marathons, as with any commitment he makes, he researches to the nth degree. Running was no exception. So I can’t say that I didn’t have a lot of advice to help me get into it.

To help Steve along (in reality he was helping me) I would pick Steve up after work and we would do a run around the Durdham Downs. Actually, it was the smallest circle of the larger Downs but we all have to start somewhere. I didn’t like it, didn’t look forward to it and really didn’t feel it came naturally to me.

Nearly a year on and I have gone from barely being able to run 20 meters without gasping for breath to 10 kilometers non stop. OK, yes, it isn’t marathon lengths in that period of time but I have been plagued with injury this year. No, not from running but from squash and slack lining! My most recent injury was a badly sprained ankle last Friday night. The kicker though has been that I have sprained my right ankle at least on 3 occasions now and would generally take a good 2 months to repair. This time around, I was able to walk on it without significant discomfort by Tuesday and managed a 4 kilometer run this weekend on it. I put this down to the strengthening that has come from running using the style in the book. The running technique goes by a number of different names, POSE method, forefoot running, barefoot running etc. I’m sure whoever is selling something (training, books, advice) will say there is a difference in “their” method but it short it is about NOT heel striking first. I sure as heck don’t run barefoot but I get the technique. To understand, go for a short run with your shoes on. Then take them off and see if you can spot the difference. Translate that into a run style using minimalistic shoes (i.e. no redundant padding) and your away. Thankfully Steve got me running this way before I could learn any bad habits so it has been easy enough to pick up. However Steve was saying it took quite a while and not insignificant aches to retrain his muscle memory as he had been doing a heck of a lot more running than me and had already grown into a particular style.

Anyway, I can now say that I look forward to getting out for a run, more so as I enjoy being outside in the trail terrain. The feedback through your feet is far more exciting than treadmill running which is just not for me. There’s something quite satisfying about getting covered in mud, leaping over tree roots, dodging to avoid branches that connects you with the outside environment. Far more satisfying than pounding asphalt just for the sake of it.