I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Monday, January 28, 2013


It's Monday night. On Friday morning we say our last goodbyes to all the animals, leave the house in the care of our trusty house-sitters, and head to the airport for three months away.

I am planning to return to this blog to track our adventures once we get going, and to meditate on the idea of "leave" but an important part of the pre-departure travail is to keep track of hours and days as they pass so quickly, and as we lurch from task to task.

Among those tasks are these:

  • tidy house to reasonable degree and make sure all instructions for animals and all the odd little ways of an old house are reasonably intelligible
  • stock up on chicken, fish, and cat food
  • organise ESTA application for Joel (done!)
  • print out all itineraries, letters of invitation, details of access to our New York apartment so they will actually let us in to the United States
  • work out what books and papers to print and take
  • make back up of computer files on ancient hard drive; and thank goodness for Dropbox
  • take delivery (tomorrow?) of new laptop; and arrange IT consultation to upload software (Wednesday?). Ancient hard drive now says it will take 56 hours to copy 10,000 items. That can't possibly be right.
  • read two more PhD chapters; do two more performance appraisals; have two more delightful lunches; have two more research team meetings; review two videos of self talking about the research centre; introduce three research students to lovely replacement supervisor
  • write a book proposal and a special issue proposal
  • write (i.e. start) introduction to special issue of journal
  • finish Chapter Six (these two may not be done by Friday, I now realise)
  • have meetings with two research groups
  • washing, ironing, packing, finding of gloves
  • keep study tidy so I don't panic
  • buy new travel bag? Maybe not. I went on line at Hunts, and found a lovely soft leather one for $1500. I don't think so!!
Not all these things will get done. But many of them *have* to get done. But for once, heading off on leave, I'm not taking a huge big research project with me, so the archive isn't a problem. I'll be finishing a book, though, and writing up two papers (one already in draft form); and then when I return early May I'll have another three months before I start teaching, so I think it will be a productive leave. I'm already missing my home, and don't like to think what it will be like to put Joel on the plane to come home at the end of February. But still. You know what they say. It's an adventure; and travelling en famille is such a rare pleasure for us. We'll all feel better when we get on the plane...


meli said...

Have a wonderful time, Stephanie! And thank you so much for continuing to update your blog, it's so nice to hear your voice, it's like bumping into you in a corridor (which never happens, of course), or a rainy berlin street.

Alison said...

We went through this exact process at the end of December, so I am filled with sympathy, and also envy, because you are at the start of 3 months, and 1 month of our trip has already disappeared! But it's such a lot of work, readying the house for house-sitters, plus the anxiety about taking everything that's needed. Thank goodness for Dropbox, as you say: this is the first trip that I did not actually bring papers etc with me; everything was electronically stored. Wonderful. I too am finishing a book while here in London, and I found that as soon as we arrived, the writing came pretty easily. I hope it is the same for you, and am sure it will be enormously productive time away from all the demands of our institution! Hope to catch up for a coffee in London when you get here, good luck for the last few crazy days! Alison