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Archive for September, 2012

My weekend started on Friday afternoon, as I took the afternoon off to head down to Wellington to see Bill Bailey.  Since we were going to drive back after the show, H and I tried for a nap for an hour.  I did manage to get some sleep, which is great as I was the one driving.

We picked up H’s two friends (E and N) and had a pleasant, unhurried drive down.  I parked at the nearest parking building and we headed down Cuba Street to look for somewhere to eat.  There was some interesting street art from the parking building to the street and I would’ve taken photos but we were intent on getting to some toilets.  I thought I’d take some on the way back to the car but we came from a different direction and missed them (and I forgot).

We text a couple of other friends (N and M) who were also coming down for the show and heading back the same night.  We looked for a BYO as I had a bottle of wine.  Unfortunately it was a busy Friday night with lots of people in town.  Many places were booked up.  We met N and M and the six of us eventually found a plce to eat with one hour to spare.  The viognier went quite well with the curries.

Fortunately we were served in plenty of time to eat, pay and head back towards the venue.  We were seated further back than the previous time we saw Bill, but the show was better – he had some new material that we hadn’t heard before.  I had tears of laughter which was all good.  The first time I saw Bill live, I was nearly on the floor rolling around, I was laughing so much.  Bill’s always worth the money and the wait.  It always surprises me when I mention Bill Bailey and people look at me blankly, even if I mention Black Books, although I knew of Bill way before then when he had his own show (and I wish it were possible to buy the DVD of the show).

I got to bed at 1am and slept reasonably well.  I only woke one hour later than I normally would but got up anyway, not being able to get to sleep.

We had arranged to meet two of the same friends (E and N) from the night before at a local international spring festival.  We took along one of H’s friends, A.  I split from the group and we had our cellphones to contact each other.  Turns out we didn’t need them as we kept bumping into each other.  There were some good performances from Korean, Thai and Vietnamese students of the college where the festival was held.  I missed seeing the Yosakoi and the belly dancing but the Japanese taiko drumming was great, as always.

I missed getting photos of students in Vietnamese national dress – they always look so elegant.  I also missed out on a photo of a cute kid.  I’m not normally into kids but he was very cute.  However, it was nice to see people out enjoying the events and the blossoms and flowers in the gardens.

The day had started off drizzly but by the time we left it was hot and sunny and we all wanted a beer.  The two friends headed off and I returned home with H and A, buying some beer on the way.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t sunny and hot at my house, but cloudy and threatening rain.  Typical.

We had our beers anyway and played a game of Settlers of Catan, introducing A to it for the first time.  After which we played Cluedo for the first time in years.  H thought it would be fun to dress up for the part so we got out our bags of themed props.  I had a Sherlock Holmes pipe and a hat, H dressed up as Miss Scarlett with gloves and scarf and A put on an Egyptian collar, a pirate’s hat and spectacles with a big nose attached (in the shape of a penis).  It was hilarious.

The following morning it was confirmed that daylight saving had started so we lost an hour.  It was hot and sunny (yay).  H and A went for a walk while I did some washing, etc, and read an Agatha Christie in the sunshine.  (I’m currently reading all my Agatha Christies and giving away the ones I’m not so keen on.  I’ve collected Agatha Christies since I was about 10 years old when I started reading them.  It’s a perfect read in summer or just before sleeping, I find.)

When H and A returned A was keen on another game of Settlers of Catan (another person hooked, haha).  We played a couple of games (H and I winning one each) and then decided to play The Game of Life, a game which had sat in the wardrobe for probably close on 15 years.  H is in the mood for board games lately, which is great.  I love board games.

So, the time has zoomed to Sunday evening and H hasn’t cooked yet.  My biological clock is going to be confused for the next week or two.

Overall, a great weekend.

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Conference

Not much has been happening lately but for the past four days I’ve been at a conference in town.  It feels like I’ve been disconnected from the rest of the world, not having seen or read the news or been at work with other colleagues.   The conference was held at the local racecourse, hence all the racecourse-related pictures at my photoblog.  The weather was brilliant for the whole conference.

One of my colleagues found out about a site called animoto.  Animoto creates a video of your photos and adds a soundtrack.  She did one of her Facebook pictures.  I did the same but then thought it would be a cool idea for conference photos.  The free version only allows a short video but I had fun doing it:

LIANZA Conference 2012.

Back to work tomorrow and quite a backlog to deal with, I imagine.

(I thought about adding some photos here but I think I’ll upload them to deviantart.)

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Ongoing health thingy

I finally got the ultrasound done. It only took two months of waiting.

I waited in reception about 20 minutes before being shown to a room and then a woman came in, basically did the ultrasound, then went off to find the elusive ‘doctor’ of absent fame on my previous appointment. After waiting another 15 minutes, he came in, had a very brief look (about 5 seconds) and said yep, it needs to come out (not in those words exactly). Surely, the woman could’ve done the work a month ago and just had his ok whenever! I don’t believe it.

I was not impressed while waiting either. A rough-as-guts woman, dressed in what appeared to be trackpants with fleecy jacket and running shoes (one of the staff, believe it or not) approached me and asked if I was waiting for someone. I said “ultrasound”. She asked my name and then walked off saying ‘oh!’ as if they hadn’t expected me (even though I’d just announced my presence at the reception window). I made a ‘pfft’ noise in disgust as she walked off. I was almost expecting to be told the appointment had been cancelled again. I would not have taken that well. I was, in actual fact, supposed to have had the operation today and said this to the woman doing the ultrasound. She was sympathetic and hoped I wouldn’t be further delayed.

We’ll see.

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Thank you to O.J. Proctor for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger award.

Much appreciated!  In return, I nominate a few bloggers and tell a few things about myself.  I don’t follow a great many blogs and of those, most are photoblogs.  However, here are my nominations.

Aww Diddums:  We’ve followed each other’s blogs probably for close on 10 years, and started following each other when we were both at blogigo.co.uk.  Then the site changed hands and there was a lot of spam so we both transferred our blogs to WordPress.

Random photos from England: Self-explanatory.  I love the, often funny, photos of my birth country.

Lucy Gutteridge: Interesting blog posts accompanied by lovely photos.

B1rder: A fascinating bird/travel blog from a fellow Kiwi with absolutely gorgeous photos of birds and other wildlife.

Eine andere Perspektive: One of the many photoblogs I follow, of the sorts of subjects I tend to take photos of.  It’s not necessary to understand German (although I do).

Now seven things about me:

1.  I was born in England of Australian parents and live in New Zealand, so I have a sort of national identity crisis.

2.  I was once a rose trial grounds judge.

3.  I like dancing and have done line, Scottish, medieval, folk, circle, and belly dancing.  I haven’t done ballroom dancing since high school and am not a fan of rock ‘n’ roll.

4.  I started my search for family history at the age of 20 when I discovered a hand-written family tree of people I’d never heard of (it was in my deceased maternal grandmother’s handwriting, of her family).  The surnames were mostly Powell and Jones (virtually untraceable) and through this tree, and a talk with my great aunt, discovered that I was related to Siouxsie of Siouxsie and the Banshees.

5.  The past four years have been the first time I have lived without a dog.

6.  I am looking forward to the release of Grand Theft Auto 5.

7.  I’m a cynic and have to check up on facts purported to be true (especially in emails).  I believe nothing on face value (and that includes mainstream news).

This award was all the more surprising as I started this blog as an outlet for ranting for myself, not expecting anyone to read it so when I get a follower I think ‘wow!’

Ok, that’s it from me.   ‘Til the next…

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Tag game

Thank you Diddums, for providing me with some questions to answer and I, in turn, will ask questions of those who read them and would like to answer, perhaps in their blog post.

Here are the questions I was given and below them the questions I’m asking you!

1.  If you could be any character from a movie, who would it be and why?

This is a difficult one to answer as I’ve never imagined myself being anyone from a movie.  I’m actually struggling to think of any.  When I look at my DVD collection, it doesn’t help because I don’t own any happy feel-good movies.   Perhaps I would be one of the family in the Australian movie “The Castle“.  They may not be the brightest sparks but they’re happy and love each other and are content with what they have.

2.  What do you like best about your hobbies?

The satisfaction of achieving something.  In genealogy, it’s finding out something more about an ancestor or being able to go back one more generation.  In photography, it’s looking for something to photograph, finding something that catches my eye and actually loving the result.

3.  Do you feel that reading other blogs changes or shapes your attitude to life?

I think it does help to read about other people’s experiences and appreciate how we’re all different and yet all the same.  It puts your own life into perspective sometimes, and encourages you to continue, do more, do better or do less!

4.  What is your favourite cake?

Chocolate, by a mile.  It has to be rich, dark, and moist though.

5.  If you ever had to leave your current continent and live in another, where would you go?

Well, I don’t live on a continent, but an island.  I’d move to Australia without hesitation.  I love the place.

6.  What was your first ever favourite song?

Memory banks are struggling with this one.  But I remember singing “Nature” in the backyard of our first house in New Zealand while on the swing, so I think that has to be one of my early favourites.  I still love it.

7.  Do you have any bad habits that you don’t regret?

Hmm, tricky – bad habits I don’t regret?  I guess you could call my being a stickler for good spelling and grammar a bad habit (it really annoys people) and I don’t regret that.

8.  What song(s) would you include in the Soundtrack of Your Life?

This question’s a challenge as well.  I’ll include instrumental music in my list as I quite often prefer instrumental music to songs.

In no particular order:

California Dreaming by the Mamas and the Papas, just because it was a favourite when I was a kid.  The relevant parts are about grey skies and walking in winter.

Albatross by Fleetwood Mac.  It reminds me of walks on the beach with the dogs, the sea, the seagulls and the mixed feelings of loneliness and peace.

Don’t worry be happy by Bob Marley to cheer me up during my depressed moments.

The abovementioned Nature song by Fourmyula would probably feature.  I’m the most at peace when immersed in nature.

Alone again, naturally by Gilbert O’Sullivan.  I used to sing this as a kid as well.  The title seems to sum up my life.

Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Elgar.  It’s a beautiful piece of music that my father used to play.  It reminds me of him and of England (where I was born).  It can bring tears to my eyes even now.

There are probably many other songs, if I took the time to think of them, but I can’t remember the names of some and some are scattered through mixed audiotapes (which I still have).

~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, now for questions for you lot, for those who wish to answer them and want something to blog about perhaps.

If you had $20,000 what would you buy?

What wouldn’t you be caught dead doing?

What’s one of the happiest moments of your life?

Favourite season and why?

First album you bought that you played the most?

Are there any hobbies you’d love to indulge in but don’t for some reason?

Favourite TV programmes from your childhood?

If you had a choice of iving anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

There are ‘rules’ to this game.

1. You must post the rules. (These are THE RULES.)
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.
3. Create eight new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
4. Tag eight people with a link to your post.
5. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

Some rules get broken.  I’m breaking the actual tagging one (I’m tagging just one, not eight, with no obligation to continue the ‘tag’).

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Difficult song

I’ll be attending a conference in town towards the end of the month.  I’ll be on the welcoming side of the Powhiri, part of the tangata whenua, and as such we’re learning a waiata (Maori song).  It’s more of a chant and it’s difficult!  I’m still learning the words, but I think we sound pretty good.

As I can’t upload directly to WordPress I’ve put the file of us singing (along with the Maori expert – the male voice) here.

There are very few places to pause for breath so it’s also an exhausting song to sing.  I’m trying to learn two lines a day.  Unfortunately it means it’s often stuck in my head.  I couldnt’ sleep last night because of the earworm.

Weather’s ghastly.  I’m shopping for clothes in town tomorrow and am not looking forward to it.

 

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Saturday was the productive day.  I did the usual (bad habit) of going online first thing in the morning and wasting time on Facebook.  I did, however, organise some photos into folders.  This 365 project is producing a large number which needed some serious sorting.  As most of the photos are, by necessity, in or around my workplace it was mostly a matter of categorising the pictures.

I knew I had to get out.  I drove down to a spot by the river that my family used to frequent with our dogs.  As I drove up, a couple of men kept looking at the car and kept watching as I got out.  It was still fairly early, before most people think of taking a drive.  I was not afraid however (isn’t it an awful society we live in when the first instinct of a lone woman seeing two men in a fairly remote spot, is to feel fear) as they were getting out some gear and I recognised fishing poles.  I said hello and asked the obvious.  One man said they were going to try their hand at fishing there and the other said it was an excuse to get away from their wives.  I laughed and continued on past them with my camera.  We were each indulging in our hobby.

I’m essentially a shy person so didn’t ask to take photos of them outright, preferring to take them from afar, such as the one below.

I wandered around and took a few shots including the flowering lupin,

an old barbecue site, some discarded beer bottle caps, etc, etc, and a few more of the fishermen.

Right near where I’d parked the car I discovered a mummified possum.

Wandering around, I then saw a wood pigeon just sitting in a tree, and it still just sat there as I attempted to take photos of it (not very successfully).  As I was leaving the spot I saw some lambs in a paddock.  I’d been wanting to take photos of lambs for weeks but there was never anywhere on the roadside where I could stop to take photos.  I took my chance, taking several photos.

Just after this was taken, their mum came along, they got up and ran up to her and started suckling (the photo of which is on my 365 blog).

Anyway, that was my photographic outing.  On the way home I stopped off at a friend’s, had a quick cuppa and headed on home, with an invitation to return for dinner.

On the way home I bought petrol for the lawnmower, and filled the car.  The lawnmower actually started (hurrah!) and I got the back lawn mowed.  I did some other chores around the place after a late lunch and then headed back out to my friend’s.  We had a lovely meal of roast beef and veges with red wine after a game of Settlers of Catan.  We played three games overall and I won two.

Today was a much lazier day.  I read books, mostly.  I did think of heading out in the car to take more photos but then H came home and made a lovely spinach salad for lunch.  We sat outside in the glorious sun, mirroring each other on opposite sides of the outdoor table: both wearing sunglasses with a bowl of salad and both reading one of the Game of Thrones books – she was reading book 3 and I was reading book 5.  I did a bit of weeding, but apart from that the day has disappeared, and now Jasmine is sitting behind me waiting patiently for her dinner.

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