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I’m bored.

I’m stuck at home, having hurt my back just as I was getting ready for work on Monday.  I bent down and felt a twinge and thought, “ow that hurt”.  Stupidly ignoring the warning, I bent down again a short while later and the pain was phenomenal.  Collapsed on the floor unable to move.  Well, that was clever.  I eventually managed to get myself up and thought, “well shit, I can’t go to work now”.  I wondered whether to rest or keep moving.  Googled and stupidly took the advice of some idiot to rest until the pain subsides.  Ha ha.  Like a fool, I lay down on the bed and read a book for a while (having phoned work to explain my predicament).  Then I needed to go to the toilet  and found I couldn’t move.  That was really bright, wasn’t it.  I  imagined myself stuck there without a phone nearby, unable to eat or go to the toilet for hours on end.

With determination and a hell of a lot of pain I got myself upright.  I called the nurse’s number at the doc’s for advice and only got an answerphone.  I then called a healthline and she reckoned I should see a doctor within four hours.  Well that wasn’t going to happen without someone taking me.  She called an ambulance!  I thought that was a bit extreme and felt a bit  of a fraud but it least it got me in to see the doctor a lot sooner than normally (the waiting room was packed).  My first ride in an ambulance and I got to suck on the gas which makes your voice go deep – haha.  Very nice understanding medics.  Lots of pain meds, and a ride back home from a kind colleague.  I was dead tired and lay face down on the couch and fell asleep.  Couldn’t get up again without heaps of pain.  I don’t learn do I.  In the afternoon the nurses’s station called back -a bit bloody late.

Following day it was still painful to get up from sleeping but it was a bit quicker than the day before.  I called a physio to see if I could get in and did so.  With the help of Voltaren pills I felt able to drive there.  For the rest of the day I felt absolutely fine but took the advice of the physio and have taken an extra day’s sick leave.

It was much easier getting up this morning.  But now I’m completely bored.  I can’t do anything except sit for a while, stand for a while, move around for a while, ad infinitum.   No housework or gardening allowed, naturally.  I have so much to do and think about.  I did get rid of a couple of items which were picked up – a mere drop in the ocean.  I can’t even give stuff away.  No-one, it seems, wants free camp chairs or a free stereo or an ironing board, for example.

My resignation has been officially announced at work.  I received emails from three people which was nice.  Shock from them all, and all calling me brave, courageous, bold (probably privately thinking I’m completely insane to give up a house and job for an uncertain future, and especially at my age).  I can’t even think of that at the moment.  I just want this bloody sore back to bugger off.  On top of being bored, I’m feeling tired, frustrated and anxious.  Stress, anyone?

So November is rapidly approaching.  Last November I set three challenges for myself:  writing a novel of 50,000 words (Nanowrimo), doing a sketch a day and also taking a photo a day (all of which I accomplished).  This year I might just do the photo one.  It can be like farewell shots of things I will miss, without getting too sentimental.

 

 

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I was kindly invited to dinner last night with one other person I knew.  We had a lovely vegetarian meal with wine, sitting outside in the warm evening.  We ate fresh fruit salad after it and the nectarine was the nicest I’ve tasted in many years.  We then headed inside to watch a pagan movie which had only been released last year.  Very quickly into the ‘musical’, I found I was saying to myself “Oh dear”.  I thought it was dreadful, but obviously my hosts (and other pagans on imdb) loved it.  I sat politely through it but couldn’t wait for it to finish so I could go home.  It was very theatrical with really awful ‘special effects’.  I thought it quite amateurish.  Nevertheless, I thanked my host for what was a pleasant evening (the company and food), with a lovely sunset to finish.

Today I took my DSLR to work with no real hope of taking any photos of birds. However, I did see two silvereyes, one feeding the younger one.  I managed to get a couple of photos.

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I took my time in the arboretum and sat and had lunch there.  Afterwards, I started walking back to work when I heard fantails.  I stopped and waited, and sure enough a little fantail came closer and flitted about.  They move so quickly, that it’s difficult to get good photos of them.

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I took several photos of this one young little fantail and managed to get a couple of good ones.

After work, I headed over to the pond, as I had some bread crusts.  I sat down, readied my camera, and started flinging bits of bread.  Among the ducks was a coot.

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Then I spotted the coot’s new baby.

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They both wandered off and I saw the coot feeding the baby.

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I then headed home very happy.  I’ve discovered that I absolutely love taking photos of birds.  I took 117 photos today, mostly of the fantail and water birds. I deleted 17 fantail ones and others, leaving me with 85 – some not so good, but I like them anyway.  I’ll put the better ones on my deviantart page.

I was supposed to come home and do some painting, but it took me a while to go through photos and then have dinner.  There is only about half an hour of daylight left and I need more than that.  I’ve found I can’t paint by artificial light – I just can’t see properly where I’ve painted.  It might now have to wait until tomorrow or Friday.  I want to get it done so I can do the bathroom flooring!

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There was a vintage weekend event at a town about 50 minutes’ drive away.  The forecast was for morning rain and it did look pretty grey, but then the sun came out occasionally.  I wore a long-sleeved top, jeans and shoes, having read about the rain and a high of about 20deg celsius.

It was a pleasant drive.  The road is a nice one through rolling country.  (Where I live is boringly flat.)  There were scenic vistas deserving of photos but there was nowhere to stop.  When I got to the town, I quickly realised I was overdressed.  Luckily, I’d brought some sandals to replace shoes and socks.

The architecture in the town is lovely, far nicer with more character than my home town.

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I wandered around but it was early and nothing much was happening.  The people in the town seemed weird but friendly.  A long-haired old guy on a bike said “Oi! Hello.”  Later, another local stood up after stooping to kiss his girlfriend (who was lying down on an outdoor seat), to say “Good afternoon”.  So funny.

Men were gathered around little steam engines.  I looked in at the tram shed.

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The paddle steamer was due to sail at 11am.  I thought about going on it if it was reasonably priced.  Otherwise, I’d take a photo of it leaving.  It cost more than I had anticipated and I walked away.  But then I wondered, what was I going to do all day?  The vintage cars weren’t due on display until 2.30pm.  The boat trip was 3 hours long.  I thought ‘why not?’.  I’d been on a river cruise on the Seine and the Thames, but never in New Zealand.  So I paid and waited.

IMG_1382It was a very pleasant cruise, with a woman singing old popular songs (I wouldn’t call them vintage).  People on the river banks waved at us.

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After an hour’s cruise we stopped at a small place for lunch.  There wasn’t much to see apart from a cafe and an old church.

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A brass band boarded for the return trip.  They were supposed to play as we approached the town with a flotilla of boats.  There was one boat.

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One boat does not a flotilla make.  A couple of speed boats joined us but I wouldn’t call it a flotilla.  Crowds gathered to see the return of the only paddle steamer in the country.

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Once on shore, I had a wander to see what should have been a display of vintage cars.  There were about 10, with a few others dating from the 60s, with 2 I’d driven in the 80s – hardly vintage.  If the main purpose of my trip had been to see vintage cars, I would’ve been sadly disappointed.  There were a lot of people hanging around just to see those few cars (so difficult to get good pictures).

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Some more cars were due to arrive, so I went off and had something to eat and drink.  The organisers should have known to have more rubbish bins available.

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I wandered up to where bands were playing but one band just seemed to be warming up for 10 minutes.  I left, in disgust, to see if any more cars had arrived.  Three had.  I wasn’t prepared to wait any longer.  I headed up the road to the town’s large pond (called a lake) to commune with the ducks and swans.

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I heard a lot of bird noise I wasn’t familiar with.  There were heaps of shags (or cormorants – I’m never sure which is which) in a tree, some on nests.  I walked the circuit around the ‘lake’ then headed back to the car and drove back home.

On the way I took a turnoff to a small town, Marton, which I hadn’t been to since I was a kid.  It’s not on the way to anywhere.  You have to specifically go there to see the place.  It was quite a cute town and bigger than I had imagined.  On the way, there was a marvellous view of Mt Ruapehu (maybe one and a half hours’ drive away).

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A good day, although there wasn’t a great deal happening at the vintage event.  The day was a scorcher, without a cloud in the sky and I think I got a bit sunburned (even though I used sunblock).

I did learn one thing – always take a photo when you have the opportunity.  I had meant to go back and take a photo of a lovely old building, but didn’t get there.  I saw the view of Mr Ruapehu and thought there was nowhere to stop and that I might be able to stop further along.  I stopped anyway and took a quick snap.  I didn’t see it again.  Lesson learned.

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Starting with Friday after work…

I need new clothes, especially for a hot Australia: sandals, skirt, top and I also need new work pants.  With that in mind, I thought I’d head to KMart (it was open late) to see if there was anything at all there.  Nope.  The sandals on sale at these places either have a very high heel or look like jandals.  Either that or that just don’t fit me.  I was beginning to think there was something wrong with my feet.  Nothing fitted properly and heels slipped off court shoes.  Other shops were soon closing but I had a quick look in a clothing shop.  Nothing.  Headed down to the shoe shop to have a browse.  Saw nothing  and they were all well over $100 (on sale), until I got to the end of the shelves.  I saw a couple of likely sandals and tried them on.  They both fitted comfortably!  Hurray!  They were $79 each – the most I’ve ever spent on shoes, but I bought them.  One item ticked off my list.

This morning was cold.  It looked like being a grey day.  I headed into town with a list of things to do.  I dropped off some vinyl records.  There was nothing I liked at the second-hand clothing shop.  I was recommended another second-hand clothing store of ‘labelled’ clothing in town and had a look in there but there was nothing I liked.  I tried to drop off an electric typewriter at a charity shop, but they didn’t want it, bugger them.  Another piece of junk to add to the ever-growing pile in the garage.  I headed to another clothing store.  I didn’t like most of it – didn’t like the colours or the combinations, or it was too expensive or too long, etc etc.  It’s impossible to find a plain short black top that isn’t a shirt or a t-shirt, it seems.  I saw some colourful dresses on sale in the style that suits me.  I tried it on and it looked quite good.  It was reduced to $35 so a great buy.

Once home, I had lunch, and had intended to get started on the painting of the laundry.  However, while I was eating lunch I was browsing photos and admiring the beauty of the Friesian horse.  Gorgeous.  Suddenly, I wanted to take photos of horses and knew exactly where I’d find them – at the Bridge cafe where I’ve been the last two weeks.  I decided I’d go there via the wind turbine lookout and take some photos there as well.  I stopped on the way to take photos of the view.  It was very windy.  I stopped at the wind turbine lookout but the winds were so strong, I was afraid my car would be pushed over.  I didn’t get out of the car or bother taking any photos.  I continued down the other side of the hill to the cafe.

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When I pulled up beside the paddock where the horses have been the past few weeks, they weren’t there.  But I spotted them in a paddock further away.  A walking track passed by that side, so I got my camera and took the track to the other side.  But once I got there, I couldn’t see them because of a rise.  The bush part of the track passed close by so I continued, but had to go off the track to get close to the paddock.  Finally!  I felt quite mad – the things I do for a photograph lately!

I headed back to the car and was rewarded with yet more horses beside the horse trek shed.

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Bonus!  Horse-some!

Headed home and finally got to the painting.  I cleaned the other walls and behind the washing machine.  I had intended just repainting one wall and starting on another, but I ended up painting all the laundry walls.  I now need more paint.  The laundry looks way better.  Instead of a mixture of green, pink and orange paint as well as orange floral wallpaper, it’s now all white.

So a very successful day – shopping, a photographic outing, and painting!

Tomorrow another photography trip to another town for a vintage event.  I hope it doesn’t rain.

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Back at work

I didn’t have a lot to do at work. Looks like being a slow week. I did, however, make plans to go for a walk on Sunday with a colleague. It’s just a short bush walk but she was keen when I mentioned I might do it. On Saturday H is keen to go to the beach. So that’s the weekend outings sorted.

Another glorious day yesterday. I took my DLSR to work and checked up on the birds at the pond. Instead of doing my usual walk at lunchtime, I sat and watched the birds for a while. It was very pleasant sitting in the sun, the birds oblivious to me (apart from a couple of expectant ducks). After capturing a few images, I continued my walk in a short loop, and sat down again in a private bushy part to enjoy the bird song. I would like to do more such quiet contemplation. Not so good for the exercise side of the walk but it’s all good for the health.

Today is not so nice weatherwise. There’s a strong cold wind. Quite a contrast to Australia’s sweltering 40 degree heat. I have a little more work to do but nothing I can’t do at a very leisurely pace.

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I woke up feeling rather fed up with being greeted by sullen grey cloud.  However it did clear, but it was windy.

I touched up the door frames which are looking much better.  I then got ‘suited up’ for using the expanding gap filler stuff.  I hate it.  It’s absolutely no use at all for filling holes in ceilings – it just falls out.  The foam sticks to the nozzle and continually oozes out so it’s not a clean job.  I used too much and will have to cut away the excess.  I thought I’d filled “two thirds full” as advised on the can but it oozed out to 3 times the amount I squirted in there.  It looks alien and vaguely obscene.

I had decided I wanted to make my own calendar and had browsed through the last year’s photos and selected about 40.  I narrowed them down to 12.  It took just as long finding a simple calendar template which I could add my photos to.  I finally did so and inserted the photos.  Now I just have to see if it will print.  As I don’t have a printer, it will have to wait until next week.

I had lunch in the sunshine, reading.  I thought about doing housework in the afternoon but I was bored.  This was no holiday.  I thought about my photoblog and wanted something different to take a photo of.  There’s only so much I can take photos of at home without repetition.  I needed to go for a drive to find some decent photos.  I thought about driving up the Pohangina valley, up to the wind turbines, or even over to Woodville, but none of these appealed.  I hadn’t been to the beach for the whole of 2012, so that was the place to go, although I was worried about the wind.

I made up my mind to go anyway, left a message for my friend in Foxton to see if she wanted to join me and drove west.  She did, which was awesome.  We both have the same cameras and have been wanting to do a photoshoot for a while.  The weather up until now hadn’t been pleasant but I didn’t want to wait.  This year I want to act.

I picked up A and we first had a wander down the town streets looking at the murals and architecture.

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This was more like it – something interesting to take photos of.  Having looked back at the photos I took in 2013, the vast majority of them were, by necessity, taken at work or home.  I need to get out more and explore.

The beach was too cold and windy,

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so we headed to the estuary, our main objective.

Walking along the path beside it, I noted that the good old Kiwi bach is becoming a rarity, to be replaced by glassy modern mini-mansions.  They’re certainly not holiday homes.  I prefer old stuff, like this wonderfully painted shed.

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We were there to see water birds.  The bar-tailed godwit is a summer resident, all the way from the Arctic.  I had never seen one before so was keen.  Looking across, all we could see, at first, were black-backed gulls.  Some oyster catchers were in the distance.  We kept walking.  I took some landscape shots of the estuary and some of flying gulls.  And then we were rewarded.  A white-faced heron was wading along the shore.  I think we spent about 10 minutes or more taking photos of it.

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The wind was a challenge.  Even with the normal lens on the camera it was being shaken about, so I had to get low and shelter behind things with the zoom lens.  I deleted several blurry photos but there are still 39 of this bird alone!  The oyster catchers were still in the distance and weren’t coming any closer.

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We continued.  The pied stilt was the next bird I spotted,

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followed by the spur-winged plover.

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And then, we saw the godwits further on.

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We started turning back, mission accomplished, and saw some godwits coming closer.  I took 26 photos of this bird alone (of those that weren’t blurry).

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I managed to capture a heron in flight,

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then we saw another heron, or perhaps the same one, on the way back.  The sun was out this time.

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Success!  I couldn’t have wished for better photo opportunities.  Overall, for the day, I took 210 photos (including some of cloud formation).  I kept 174.

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A brilliant start to 2013, thank you A for the initial suggestion months ago.

I feel inspired and motivated to do more trips such as this one.

 

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Finally!  It’s rather sad that on the one hand I can moan that the year goes so quickly, yet on the other, wish the time would pass quicker while I’m at work.  Something ain’t right there.  I envy people who really enjoy their work and find it worthwhile.  To spend most of your life doing something your’e not particularly interested in feels like a waste of my life.

Anyway, the working year is over.  Day one of a two week holiday started today, or perhaps that was last night, the so-called end of the world.  I didn’t take any notice of such bullshit.  Just because a Mayan calendar came to an end didn’t mean they believed it to be the end of the world.  Last night we had a lovely meal of chicken which we shared with a friend of H’s.  We had beer and played a couple of games of Settlers of Catan.  They won one game each.  It got too late for another game for me to try to win.

This morning H and I did some food shopping for Christmas and stopped by the market.  I had not even considered taking photos but suddenly realised, when I was looking around, that the market would make for some interesting shots.  Unfortunately, I only had my point and shoot camera.

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H was dead tired, having gone to bed late the previous night (or rather early this morning) so she went back to bed on our return.

I sorted some photos into folders and backed them up.  Did some weeding and chopping back of the pesky jasmine.  It was a huge mistake to plant that thing.  The main plant was dug out but now it’s spread everywhere.  Did some washing and tidying and getting ready for visitors tomorrow.  An old school friend from Auckland is dropping by with her mother.

I took a few photos with my DSLR and am very ashamed to admit that I didn’t realise my 50mm lens was actually an 18-55 mm!  I only noticed because the lens moved when I went to exchange it with the zoom.  I cannot believe that in all the time I’ve had it that I thought it was fixed at 50mm.  After all, that was what my old Olympus OM10 had, so I didn’t expect any different.  However, the fact that I didn’t even notice the figures on the lens, just shows that I’ve barely played around with the camera at all.  (And here I was wishing for a wide angle lens… I feel such a moron.)  I must remember to read the advanced manual (which is on disk).

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I’ll put the little Canon away over the break, I think, and concentrate on the camera I’ve barely used.  I’ve used the point-and-shoot during the working week because it fits in my work bag (and the lunch hour is pretty much the only time I get to take any photos for my photoblog).

Monday I’m heading off for a couple of nights so won’t update until I get back but hope to update tomorrow.

 

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