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Archive for August, 2012

I don’t understand blog spam.  What is the point of it?  Much of it is gibberish.  One that wasn’t, claimed that my blog post contained spelling errors.  Ha!  Utter bullshit.  I’m finickity about grammar and spelling.  I never rely on spell-checkers but check everything myself, reading it over and over until I’m satisfied I’ve spotted all errors.  Nothing pisses me off more than finding errors in my own writing.  Unfortunately I tend to spot them from a mile off in other people’s writing and do try to restrain myself from pointing them out.  I just can’t help myself.

Anyway, I had not come here to talk about grammar – the spam diverted me.

Spring is definitely in the air with masses of blossoms out attracting birds, rhododendrons and magnolias flowering in their magnificence, and birds singing everywhere.  I share their joy.  There have been heaps of tuis around and I’ve tried, without much success, to take photos of them.  Here’s one of the better ones.

I went for a walk with my new camera but was disappointed with the results.  I’m using full auto until I’m completely familiar with the settings, and the results looked a bit washed out.   I tried taking a photo of a cheeky fantail following me a short way on my walk.  The result was blurred but I like it.

I need to figure out how to choose the aperture or shutter speed myself.  H showed me but she did it so quickly I’ve forgotten how.  I need to sit down again and make notes.  I read manuals and think, ‘oh yeah, I’ve got that’, then when it comes to wanting it, I’ve forgotten.

I checked out an email account I haven’t checked for a long time this morning and found over a 1000 emails of WordPress updates.  After spending ages deleting them all, I quickly altered my settings to stop receiving emails for every like, comment, update, etc.  I wish these things weren’t ticked by default – it’s the same with Facebook.  I’m sick of getting junkmail (basically) clogging my inbox.  It puts me off reading anything at all that might not be (it often gets missed).

Last night I signed into ancestry.com for the first time in months.  It’s a wasted subscription really but the minute I cancel it I’ll probably want to do a lot on there.  I was enthused, as always, by the “Who do you think you are?” series.  It’s the American one showing at the moment but is still interesting.  Some of these celebrities take rather a detour looking back, following the ancestors on a maternal line.  I guess it all depends on which branch is the more interesting.  I’ve tried to follow all branches on mine but can’t get much beyond the 19th century (if at all), and I hate that scotlandspeople.com has the monopoly on Scottish records.  Anyway, I discovered that my great-grandfather on my mother’s side had two other siblings.  I thought it was just him and his twin brother but the 1911 census says that there were two children no longer living as well as the brothers.  Interesting.  Might have to look into that.  As always, when I re-start the genealogy, I can’t find previous notes or the notebook I was using to write down my searches.  When I’m not doing family research I find these notes which all look very confusing.  Oh dear.  I will have to be more organised (ha – always telling myself that).

I got in touch with the ultrasound people to find out when my appointment might be.  They cancelled last week because the ‘doctor’s still in Christchurch’.  The woman waited until we’d waited 20 minutes before telling us this but anyway.  A woman rang me to tell me that the ‘doctor’ was now away and I couldn’t get the ultrasound until end of September/early October.  I was fuming, but as I was at work, I couldn’t say what I was really thinking.  So this bastard just fucks off for a month inconveniencing everyone including surgeons who had me down for an op within the month.  More delays.  I can’t make any plans to go on an Aus holiday with all this uncertainty hanging over me.  I can’t believe they don’t have someone who can take over when this bastard is away!  It’s not good enough!  I suppose the only good thing is that I won’t be having the op within the next month when I’m busy with things like attending a conference and going to see Bill Bailey in Wellington.

I think that’s the end of my rambling.  It’s sunny today but with black clouds threatening to let loose at any moment.

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My uninspiring weekend at home started with a fun Friday night.  I joined a team from work at a “Murder in the library” event.  There were 8 teams of sleuths to question the panel of 8 actors.  Our team dressed up as literary sleuths:  Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, Phyrne Fisher, a Roman and Sister Fidelma.  Other teams wore a team outfit: eg. a team of Inspector Gadgets, a team of CSI people, a black-overalled SWAT-team type uniform, complete with well behaved dog, etc etc.  Great to see the effort people had gone to.

The scene was, naturally, the library (within a real small academic library after hours) for an event to celebrate the finding of a book about the town and a new wing of the library to hold computers.  The dead person was the missing mayor.  The others were the library director, reference librarian, children’s librarian, library clerk, a library volunteer, a bookseller, a writer of local history, a bag lady, and the mayor’s wife.  It was great fun to hear what they were up to at the time of death and working out the relationships between them all, the arguments they’d had, etc.  Our team did most of the questioning and from our team it was mostly me and the Roman who questioned the suspects.  Others in the team actually asked me to ask them a question rather than ask them themselves!  Anyway, I correctly guessed at one stage but others were doubtful and so at the end they settled on the children’s librarian who had taken a poisoned muffin up to the mayor who had been reading this ‘valuable’ book.  I knew that all the suspects had been lying about something and wondered if they were all involved.

Turns out that some of them had tried to kill the mayor but failed and the one who succeeded was the one I had correctly guessed.  Never mind, it was a lot of fun and the correct guessers didn’t actually win a prize or anything.  They gave out three prizes chosen from a hat of names.

The event finished on time and I got home in good time.  Would definitely do it again – a lot of fun, and well acted.

Yesterday was a lazy day alone.  Daughter was out all weekend and I didn’t feel enthused to do anything other than the usual washing, etc.

Today looked like being another day like that and the weather was grey and wet for much of it.  However, I was determined to do something.  I learned how (or jogged my memory by reading how cos I’d done it before) to join two photos together in photoshop so I could re-list the dollshouse and furniture on TradeMe without paying for extra photos.  I added the listing.  Ticked that off the long list.  Then I determined to take up the hem of some long  pants after seeing a Facebook status of “you should be sewing”.  But I couldn’t find the black cotton or needles.  Dammit.  Wanted to make yoghurt but then found out we were out of powder.  Dammit.

Daughter came home and found the cotton and needles so I did, finally, hem the pants.  Another small thing off the list.  Then I found a library book I’d kept forgetting to look at – something about how to look slimmer without dieting, through wearing flattering clothing.  I looked through the book.  Just about every chapter included one of my problem areas – big bust, muffin top, fat back, big belly, etc etc.  The only chapters I didn’t have to look at were big bum and big hips.  Some good advice and immediately after finishing it, I chucked out three short-waisted t-shirts which are actually too small for me now anyway.  I will go through the rest of my wardrobe at some stage.  I must buy myself a dress.  I don’t possess one and for several years it was difficult to actually find any to buy.  Even now, shops concentrate on separates.

So, I feel I’ve achieved something, however small.  While I was in my bedroom, I looked for some old vintage hats that belonged to my mother/grandmother.  They were not suitable for a conference dinner coming up next month.  They date from between the 20s and 40s I think.  They’ve been in my wardrobe for decades so it’s time they went, so I might sell them.

Time for a late dinner, made by daughter.  Yay!

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It started off badly. I was driving along towards the bridge on my way to work and a school bus at an intersection pulled out right in front of me to cross to the other side of the road! The stupid woman driver obviously assumed I was turning left because the gorge is closed but 1) I had my lights on because it was quite a dark morning with rain clouds around and 2) I had not indicated left. If I had been going faster it would’ve been nasty. I was fuming! She just looked as if she didn’t care a damn. Stupid *****.

I booked the staff carpark for today to go an ultrasound appointment during lunchtime. Another staff member said they wanted to use it and was I using it the whole day I’d booked it? Could she have it for the morning to attend a meeting? I was about to explain in a reply email why I needed it and thought why the f*** should I explain. Felt like saying f*** off, but just said ‘no, sorry’. She said ‘thanks anyway’. Whatever. I booked it days ago – if she wanted it she should’ve booked it. I was not impressed.

Duly drove to the hospital for the appointment. Waited in what was originally an empty waiting room and I wondered why the waiting list was so long if no-one else was there. Then 4 other people turned up and we waited. Then a woman came out and said ‘you’re going to hate me”. All appointments were cancelled because the ‘doctor was still in Christchurch’. WTF? Is there only one radiographer for the whole of the country or something? Do they not have one on site??? I can’t friggin’ believe it. So it was a complete waste of my lunch hour. At least I didn’t have to pay parking. Others there were from other towns so they’d be out of pocket for petrol. I cannot believe it. I suppose now I’ll have to wait another few weeks for another appointment. Talk about pissed off.

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Although I didn’t achieve what I had intended.

Late in the week I had a phone call from an old school friend who only rings when she’s in town visiting her mother.  She wasn’t in town though.  After chatting for a while, she asked if I’d like to take on a boarder (the real reason for her phone call).  Her husband’s niece was going to start studying at the university.  I was assured she was very nice, etc, etc.  However, I said no and she said “Oh” in such a way that I knew she’d totally expected me to agree.  This old friend is into astrology, so she should have realised that a Scorpio is a very private person and needs a haven away from people.  The conversation waned after that.  Perhaps she was annoyed, but I’m not giving up my privacy for the convenience of a total stranger.  It’s a small house and I like to be able to relax in it.

During the week leading up to the weekend (I’ll get there shortly) I began to think seriously about a decent camera.  Now that I’m using my little point-and-shoot camera on a daily basis, I realise its limitations.  Zoom is dreadful – I’ve been quite lucky to get a ‘not bad’ result from the few times I’ve used it but it isn’t really satisfactory.  Anything that moves is pretty much off the list of things I can take photos of.  Birds in trees, idle ducks and relaxing
cats are about the limit of the potentially-moving subjects I can take photos of thanks to the slowness of the camera.  So, I looked online for something better.  Daughter C had recently bought an SLT camera and said it was really good.  Reviews agreed with her.  However, I couldn’t find any for sale online locally and when I did find a price it was beyond what I was willing to pay. I looked, instead, at entry level DSLRs, preferably Canon.  I used to have an Olympus OM10 back in the age of film and missed it a lot.  (It sits in an old camera bag along with a couple of lenses.)  Eventually I found the Canon EOS 1100D for sale at a very reasonable price (with extra lens).  Reviews were also good so I put that in the back of my mind (but it kept pushing to the front).

Long story short (yeah right) I bought it – on Saturday after grocery shopping.  The reasonable price was due to a limited special, saving $200, so that pushed me into buying.  An extravagant purchase, I thought, feeling guilty.  There are many other things around the house that need repairing/fixing/upgrading which the money should have gone towards, but there you go.  Once the thought of replacing the camera came to mind it refused to leave.  (The original plan had been to buy H’s old camera when she bought a newer, better model but she’s just swapped her old one for a better one so I was back to square one.)

It will take a while to become familiar with the many buttons and settings so I may only take photos in the weekends when I have the time to experiment.  In the meantime, while at work during the week, I will continue to take my trusty little camera in my bag with me.

On Sunday I was just settling down to reading a chapter of a book in the sunshine when I got a phone call.  It was bro ringing to say he was in town, come and meet them at the art gallery (in an hour) and they’d pop by on their way back home for a coffee.  Mild panic as I look at the state of the house, the unwashed dishes, the dust, the piles of paper and books, and the unmown lawn.  In that one hour I mowed the lawn, washed the dishes and had a shower and H, thankfully, tidied up and assured me the bathroom would be clean, the floor vacuumed, and surfaces dusted.  If it were just bro, I wouldn’t have panicked but his wife is a clean-freak.

Had an interesting visit with bro and wife at the art gallery and museum, both of which I had not been to for years (no photos permitted).  They enjoyed it too.  They’d come over from the Wairarapa seeking sunshine.  Normally the weather over there is far superior to the Manawatu but lately it’d been the opposite.  They were sick of rain.

On returning home H had made the house look immaculate (for us) and had even prepared snacks.  We sat outside in the sunshine and had coffee (so they didn’t even sit inside which is a good thing as sis-in-law would’ve had the leisure to spot all the untidy bits).  Great to catch up with them and they headed back over the hills towards home.

So my weekend was basically over at that point and I hadn’t painted or hemmed pants or done any of the other things I’d put on the list.

There’s always next weekend.

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Seems like forever since I’ve had a day off work.

I had a couple of scans today, one in the morning and one at lunchtime, so it was easier to take the day off rather than go back and forth.

After the first one, instead of returning home, and as it was a sunny morning, I headed for the local park.  On the way to the park I drove past the old family home, or where it should have been.  I was shocked to find it had gone – demolished.  In its place was bare dirt and at the back of the property the shell of an apartment.  Obviously the property had been subdivided and two units or apartments were being built.  I felt rather sad.  Gone were any plants and trees my parents planted.  Beneath two of them had been the bones of our beloved dogs.  Now the house existed only in my memory and in old photos.

At the park I went for a walk, first stopping to look at the birds in the aviary.  A particularly friendly cockatiel spent some time with me.

He reminded me of a cockatiel we had when I was a kid.  It brought back memories.  I said hello to a couple of colourful parrots and then stopped at the enclosure of a sulphur-crested cockatoo who was busy chewing on a log.  He came up to see me and ‘spoke’ words that sounded like ‘scratch’ and he put his head against the bar.  I scratched his head which he liked.  Lovely bird.

I then had a walk among the trees but the ground was very wet.  It was nice to see the rhododendrons in flower and different types of daffodils so spring is definitely on its way.


I did a loop and came back towards the car on the other side of the aviary and saw the kaka.  I don’t usually see it so stopped and it flew closer so I could admire the colour of its plumage.

Cheeky bird.

I got back to the car and watched a couple of ducks before driving off.

By now the mums with their young children and elderly couples started arriving in the park so I felt I had been lucky to enjoy the plants and birds alone before anyone else had arrived.

Next stop a coffee at the town library.  It felt surprisingly good to relax over a coffee in town without being on a time limit, without feeling the need to rush off and do something.

I idly browsed the fiction section, not intent on getting any books out, but just biding time.  I picked up a book by Barry Humphries and it sounded quite interesting, so I sat and started reading.  Four chapters later I decided to get the book.  On the way to the car I browsed the DVD section and found a couple of British comedies and a German movie and got them out too.

By now, it was time to head back to the hospital for the second scan.  The scans took a while but I just lay there and relaxed and could easily have gone to sleep.

Dark clouds were looming as I drove home and it had started getting cold.  H was at home watching the Olympics.  It was men’s weightlifting, which I watched.  And then, miracle of miracles I got to see some gymnastics finally.

H headed into town this evening to stay overnight for a job and study in town tomorrow.  I watched one of the DVDs “Stalag Luft” which was quite amusing.

All in all a very pleasant and relaxing day.  I should get out and about more often on my days off.  I don’t like town in the weekends – too many people, but during the week it’s nice and quiet with everyone else working.

Back to work tomorrow.  Hopefully I’ll feel refreshed…

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