Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas return to normalcy (almost)

Why is it that even a few hours of family Christmas wears me out for days? I went splat on Boxing day and it was SOOO hot that I wasn't the only one. The cooler weather yesterday provoked me to do some computer stuff that I had intended to do for some weeks. Our PC had run out of space because the hard drive had been partitioned but everything was going on one partition. So a colleague at work gave me some software to adjust the partition settings, and ghost to make a full back-up first. But running ghost has totally stuffed something and now it can't even find the operating system. I had put all my files and all our shared files on the external drive but Nick hadn't moved his so all his files, which includes our business accounts info, is locked inside a PC we can't boot. So that pretty much fucked yesterday. I felt so bad that by mid afternoon I was feeling physically sick. Anyway, feeling much better today - its still cool but dry so we've done a few things outside. We have removed Tyr's bandage, hopefully for good. He's walking on it OK although he seemed a bit freaked by it at first. We'll have a look later today to see how its looking. I've just planted my last couple of lavenders in the bed under the bedroom windows. I'd dug it out last week but it needed some 'enrichment product' dug in and was too hot for planting really. Nick is currently out long-reining Twilight. He's picking it up really well and has handled being saddled (not ridden obviously) like a pro. Although the other day after we'd done Nick accidentally let Kiwi into the paddock and she ran around like a mad thing getting Twi' upset. He starts bucking and kicking and Kiwi's so high she's completely ignoring both Nick and me although I was most concerned with not getting kicked as I was holding Twilight. Kiwi got two new toys for Christmas, a squeaky duck aka Mr Duck and a kong which is one of those rubber toys you stuff with food. She is very happy with both.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Boots - Laila


New Boots - Laila
Originally uploaded by Simone Hindin
Wearing these new boots today - pretty comfy except that my toes went a bit numb over lunch today. You can't really see in the photo but they sort of change colour - purple to green and gold.

Tivo

We got our Tivo last week and are just loving it. Its already changing the way we watch TV and we haven't even hooked up the home networking side of things yet. If nothing else it has greatly improved the TV clarity even though Nick still has to add in the hi-def cable. We've recorded heaps of movies over the weekend and are getting lots of shows that are on at funny times. Its great just to be able to record anything that we might want to watch and have it waiting there for us when we have time or are in the mood to watch. You can even just start watching something ten minutes later than it started and be watching it while it is recording. And you can be recording different things on two channels while watching something on another channel or a DVD. Nick also bought a new centre speaker and the sound quality is greatly enhanced - its really like going to the cinema. Once we hook up the home networking bit we can watch/listen to stuff off our PC and save recorded shows to the hard drive. But first we have a bit of home PC maintenance to do. I need to do a big back-up and then Nigel at work has given me some software to tweak the hard drive partitioning.
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Christmas gifts rant(ish)

Min's gift-list rules
  • Cash is not a Christmas present, vouchers are OK in a pinch.
  • Christmas/Birthday gifts are not a needs acquisition process - having said that practical gifts, and consumable gifts are great.
  • The gift should speak to the giver as well as the giftee.
  • Wishlists must include a variety of gifts at a variety of costs. For every item over $40 there should be a couple under $20, or whatever. One or two items does not constitute a 'list'.
For some weird reason almost everyone that I have friended on Wishlistr shows up twice in my friends list. Its a handy site but has a few gremlins. I'm only about 1/4 way through my shopping but have the week before Christmas off and intend to do much making of sweeties. Does anyone have a source for non-farmed, hot smoked salmon?
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas apricot florentines

  • 60 g butter
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 2 Tb flour
  • 1/2 C slivered almonds
  • 1/4 C finely chopped dried apricots
  • 125 dark chocolate
Cream butter & sugar until just combined and add flour, then almonds and apricots. Drop 1/2 tsp on lightly greased (I would recommend using baking paper) baking trays allowing room for spreading. Bake in moderate oven about 5 minutes until golden. Remove from oven, loosen with spatula and use it to push into a round shape while still hot & soft. Let them cool a bit and then lift onto a wire rack to cool fully. When cold spread the back of each with melted chocolate. Keep somewhere cold like in the fridge.
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Misty Saturday

So there's not a lot to say today. I'm really posting to try out the new Flock browser that I've been testing - it has a built in blog editor and many other very cool features and I am really liking it. Kiwi's leg is much better and today we're having a visit from the naked dog training lady. She's going to give us some games / exercises to play to teach Kiwi a few commands. At the moment Kiwi will come when called only if there isn't something more interesting going on so I need better control of her than that if we're going to go to the off-leash dog park. Hopefully the weather will have improved by then because its raining mistily right now. Our biggest piece of news is probably that one week after Kiwi hurt herself chasing a hare through a fence, did almost the same. He rushed through an electric tape fence and cut one of his hind legs up quite deeply. We have had many vet visits to clean and bandage the wound and lots of shots to fight off any infection. That was a Wednesday, so its been over a week and it is a lot better too. Nick spent Monday and Tuesday of this week at a special riding clinic with a western riding specialist from the US and really enjoyed it. He rode Lovejoy, his mother's horse. Lad's a bit old to really learn any new tricks. I expect that its only a matter of time before Nick starts looking for a young horse to train - although maybe he'll do that with Jack. I'm still not riding at all.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day before

Well the Crown Tourney site at Waipara should have opened about 10 minutes ago. But we're not on our way because we've decided not to camp. Last weekend it was a bit touch and go - I've had a bad few weeks and while I've had all week to rest 'it' sadly doesn't work quite like that (although I am feeling better than at the beginning of the week). Things were going pretty well until Nick decided to take Kiwi harrowing on Monday. Harrowing the paddocks means towing an assemblage of steel chain etc around and around the paddock breaking up the poo so that it can naturally degrade into the soil. Around our place you are always walking on shit. Anyway they'd pretty much done when Kiwi saw a hare - she took off after it and made it safely through the first fence (three wire fences so there's a gap), at least so I am informed. But she didn't do so well with the next fence. Nick brought her into me and she was feeling pretty sorry for herself but walking fairly OK but then we noticed that her right shoulder was very puffed up. Half an hour later she could barely move - she has ended up with a bruise that covers the inside of her right chest, down her front leg and right around the shoulder and has been on anti-inflammatories since then. She is a lot better now and walking normally but chased another hare this morning when out for toilet and we walked a bit far so her leg's a bit puffed up again. But at least she's not in pain. Anyway the stress of that did little to improve things for me. But I have got few things done. I've finished relining my old blue velvet cloak so will have that for this weekend. I have finished a lucet band that I was working on - a two coloured version that is new. I've almost finished dry cleaning the silk sleeves that I mentioned a few weeks ago and they look like they're going to be OK. Kiwi's new kennel is almost done - just needs another coat on the ceiling and two on the base. I've even done some prep for the peerage meetings that I have to go to. Right now I am baking an asparagus, bacon and gruyere tart and bread for lunches over the weekend. It will be an experience day-tripping, but I'd still rather camp for Canterbury Faire. Its just that the set-up really takes it out of me, and the pack down too but to a lesser extent.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Labour weekend

Well its been an OK Labour Weekend. I was real sick last week and took half the week off and by the weekend was totally stuffed so Saturday was a bit of a write-off. Lovely day though, as was Sunday. Nick had riding lessons both days which despite only being 1 - 1 1/2 hours long actually takes all day by the time he's gotten sorted in the morning, picked up the horse (he was riding Lovejoy because Suzie broke her arm at the last training day), got there, done lesson, chatted or whatever, dropped horse back etc. On Saturday I watched the entire Ivanhoe miniseries which I taped about ten years ago off TV. For some reason I thought it was about 3 1/2 hours long but its closer to five. Tape's about buggered so I have ordered a copy from Amazon, along with the Anthony Andrews et al one and an even earlier one as they were offering all three for a reduced sum so why not. I actually like both equally but for different reasons. The miniseries one (late 1990s) they've tried to go realistic and being so long has much more detail. The characters are all pretty well acted although some of the combat lacks realness. The Anthony Andrews is full-on romantic (Rowena is always shot in soft focus) which I suspect might be closer to the book but then I have never read it. Anyway Sam Neill's the baddy and is a total grease-ball. Sunday I did a little more, read more, walked Kiwi more like 40 minutes than 30, did some washing etc. Today was a bit overcast (its raining full on now) and I got to try out the new mower. It only stopped a couple of times which was pretty good going given that some of the grass in the orchard was almost as high as the top of the mower. We got a John Deere ride-on off trademe, although it was from a shop in the end. We paid a bit more than we'd really wanted to but that's often the way. Anyway it dealt really well and I can now walk around outside without tangling in grass and tripping. Nick seems satisfied. He's now telling me that its raining satisfactorily hard and probably harder than it has since he got his new toy installed - a weather station. Its attached to the chicken house and measures all sorts of things which its sends wirelessly to a wee monitor thing in the kitchen. I also finally got him to name the new wee colt. His name is Tyr. I've been working on completing / fixing a few garb projects before crown, although not really for Crown.
  • I've lengthened the sleeves on my new cote and added some gold trim
  • I've finished a hat to go with Nick's houppelande
  • I'm relining my blue velvet cloak
  • I'm trying to fix a wee problem that happened while my garb was in storage.
Sad tale of lovely sleeves I made these fancy slashed sleeves from some gorgeous silk damask, lined with silk satin and set each slash with gold (well brass) aglets. Sadly in storage the aglets were flattened against the silk of the sleeve and it must have been a bit damp and the aglets have corroded a bit and left verdigris on the sleeve !!!. Anyway I am wrapping tissue under each set, cleaning them and then lacquering the aglets before then trying to remove the verdigris with dry cleaning fluid. So far I ahve done one side of one sleeve, well not the cleaning, just the cleaning up the aglets. I do hope it comes right as working on them has just shown me again how lovely they are. So fingers crossed. Anyway, back to work tomorrow and then three weeks until I'm off again for crown. At least its a short week. I'm really not good for much at the moment. While we've booked for the whole thing we might day trip depending on how things are going. It would only be two days as its not worth going out on the Thursday.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Baby news

Well Zoe had her foal (still nameless) a wee bay colt (yes another one) at about midday on Thursday October 1. Kiwi and I had just come through the gate back from our walk and they were both lying on the ground. The colt was still covered in the birthing sac but his face was clear so that was OK. Nick hadn't thought that she was so close to birthing so Twilight Escapade was still in the paddock with her and was pawing at Zoe to get some attention I think, or maybe he was a bit worried. Anyway, I caught him and lead him through to the other side of the electric fence. After this Zoe stood up and everything else fell out the back as it does. I ran up to the house and called Nick and grabbed my PDA which has our only functioning camera. By the time I got back he was trying to get up and I managed to catch the first wobbly steps. More piccys at Flickr and hopefully video later (our so-called broadband doesn't have the upload speed so I'll do it at work). In other horse related news Nick has just successfully integrated Lad (stallion) into the paddock with Lil and Lightning our two other mares. We had wanted to do this last year but left it a bit late when they were in season and it all ended in chasing and kicking and tears. This time it seems to have gone OK. A few changes to the plan - there were two mares, he was introduced into their paddock rather than the other way around, and they're not yet in season - although Lil was doing a pretty good impression. This is great because until they're ready to foal (which hopefully will happen for both of them), they can be moved around as one unit. Plus Lad has company which is nice to him. It will be interesting to see if his behaviour changes (or theirs).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kitchen splashback


Kitchen splashback
Originally uploaded by Simone Hindin
Well its finally in and I can say that I am very very happy with it. The colour (resene jalapeno) is just right. Its a bit hard to see in the photos because it picks up so much light - you can even see me taking the photo in the reflection. Also depending on the angle it picks up a bit of the blue from the cupboards but it all works.
Also the Glass Room guys were excellent to work with, such a relief. Anyway now we can get our code of compliance certificate or whatever.

In other house related stuff I'm hoping to get the kitchen blinds cut down as I made them too long - they should be another couple of weeks.

Zoe's looking very big - her tummy has a distinct bulge at the bottom, but Nick reckons its a couple of days away yet.

And I have nearly completed all the eyelets on my new gown (cote) for the feast this Saturday. Yay.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Interesting weekend

The animals are going through a bit of a bad patch. Nick had to dispatch our fluffy black silky rooster last week because it got sick and sicker. Then Twilight developed an infection post-snip. Lil has something in her mane and down her neck which we think is either a bacterial or fungal infection - its making her wicked itchy and she's got a couple of raw spots. Luckily because we had the vet out for Twilight on Saturday we have got some medicated shampoo to wash her in twice a week. There is still the potential that she is pregnant but she wouldn't be due until February if she was. Both Lad and Kiwi have an infection of naughtiness, maybe related to spring. With Lad it seems to be threatening to drop Nick if he asks for a canter on the less-favoured lead. With Kiwi its stealing food - she developed a taste for chocolate dog treats and ate the box Saturday evening and then on Sunday she stole some hot beef off the bench. Ok in both cases we shouldn't have left them out. But I had bought the chocolate treats a month ago in a last-ditch attempt to find her a treat that she actually likes, but she had shown little interest. Previous so-called treats such as schmakos and beggin' strips left her completely cold and were regularly dropped on the ground rather than eaten. I'm having to mix in a spoonful of mince with her dog food to make it interesting for her. Apart from that, Nick and I had a lovely night out with Rachael and her new man and his friend at Corianders in Rolleston. I read about half of a new book - Dog Boy - about a 4 year old boy adopted by a dog pack in Moscow. Apparently based on a true story and very engaging. I also have out a book about Margaret of York called the Diabolical Duchess but have only read a bit of it so far. And I have made a lot of progress on my new cote that I am making for the Feast of Sir Percival in October. This is the first SCA event that I've been excited about for a long time and I am really looking forward to it. Both Nick and I have new cream coloured laurel patterned damask cotes to wear under our blue houppelandes. His just needs the buttonholes made and my needs the lining, hem and lacing holes. I will do the latter by hand if I have time but everything else I am machine sewing. I had forgotten how fast it goes with a machine and am really liking seeing it come together so quickly. I haven't done much costume recently - the last thing I finished was some trunkhose for riding in and as that is intended to be part of a suit with matching doublet and cloak I don't really feel like its finished. Sort of a bit of a let down not to have a horse to ride in them also. Maybe next year. I Lil produces a foal I might convince Nick to let me have Zoe as a riding horse and keep Lil as a broodmare for a few seasons or at least until (if) her leg heals. wow two posts within a fortnight

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Springyness

Well (again) its been a while since I blogged last. There are two real reasons for that a) I've been very busy at work and tired at home, and b) I've been tweeting all the wee things that happen so haven't felt the urgency to get it all down in a post. So what's been happening? Well Zoe's about 3 weeks due to foal and Twilight has finally been gelded so there's some progress there. No noticeable improvement with Lil's leg though. But I'm remembering that when I injured my finger - strained a ligament - it took well over a year to stop hurting and even now I can move that fingertip horizontally way more than any of my other fingers. Um that means moving it out of line with the finger - horizontally isn't quite right. Everything is very springy out here - lots of completely adorable lambs with their waggly little tails and in fact more and more without the tails. The magnolia that I bought has flowered in its pot and is almost done and most of our fruit trees are in bloom although I don't expect to get much this year. Hopefully by the end of this year they'll be established enought to do some growing and branching. We bought two apples on the weekend - a Cox's Orange and Peasgood Nonsuch. Our ideas for the 'back yard' are firming up and our next big expenditure will be getting Mark to scrape back the soil and flatten the area which is going to be paved. Then we can do the paving. But before that can happen we need to move Kiwi's run to around the side of the shed. And before THAT can happen we need to move the stuff (pallets, workshop benches etc) from the side of the shed. And before that... well you get the picture, there's heaps to do and neither of us are particularly energetic on the weekends really. Last week Richard from The Glassroom came around and measured us up for a glass splashback in the kitchen. Getting that done will mean that we can get our code of compliance certificate which would be good to have done. He reckoned it would be ready this week. Its going to be another splash of deep blood red (Resene Jalapeno) and should really finish the kitchen.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

happy boxes

Its interesting being in the book industry at the moment - stuck between a library community that varies wildly between head-stuck-in-sand, desperation and optimistic-early-adoption, a publishing industry that seems intent on the former, rather like the music industry and so-called tech companies suddenly getting in on mass-digitisation programmes. I've noticed that I hardly ever buy books from bookshops in town any more. To be honest I've never been a huge book buyer as much of my fiction reading was borrowed from family/friends and my SCA reading from libraries. But often I can't get the material I want from our library (yeah no perks for working for it I'm afraid) and the very same holds true for local bookstores... even the very good ones. Nope, most of my book purchases these days arrive in a happy box from Amazon - their boxes have a long curvy arrow on the end that looks like a smile. For the following reasons:
  • they have books I want
  • its easy and fast (delivery in under a fortnight usually
  • I don't have to deal with grumpy/disinterested 'assistants', many of whom have no idea how to find items in their own system
  • as the books I want generally ahve to be brought in anyway Amazon is usually way cheaper
and now I can add stuff I want from other sites to my wishlist I'm using it even more. Although LibraryThing also now lets you have a list of books that you want. while I love LibraryThing I do wish that it would encompass my whole library - not just books. I mean, if CCL can stock music (LP, cassette and CD) and video (VCR, DVD) then why can't my library?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Going out

Hmm, don't know what to call this one? We went out last Saturday night - went to Tony Astle's new spanish restaurant pre-movie. they were doing an early (between 5 - 6) set menu meal for $20 although I then had a cocktail and we all ordered an extra side dish so it came to more like $35 - $40 each ($109 for 3). But it was very nice. There was still quite a lot of options in te set menu which i hadn't expected. I had chorizo with white beans in a tomato-y sauce and the a side of cracked wheat with pistachios which was really very nice. Jenni and I both had citrus crema catalana and it was lovely - Nick had spanish donuts with chocolate sauce. Then we went to the latest Harry Potter epic. Not having read the books I didn't know what was going to happen. I thought that it lacked the zing of some earlier movies - definite feeling of impending doom and desperation is beginning to show through. Maybe that's how its supposed to be. But all in all a good night out. Oh and we saw the shorts for a few movies I've been looking forward to - Coraline and Where the Wild Things Are which looks great. I have worked out that Saturday is really the only night I can go out because it can't be a night where I'm going to work the next day and it can't be a night where I've been at work because that means Kiwi's been in her run all day and she needs to come out and be walked and I can manage working all day, coming home and walking her, and then going back into town for a do. A bit of a bummer but at least I can manage going out a bit one night a week.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sucess!

Well I'm on leave this week and so far am enjoying it immensely. I have finally finished the curtains in the living / dining room and I'm very happy with them. Here's a piccy of the dining ones up. I got the fabric from the Fabric House on Madras St and am hoping to find more for the bedrooms later. On the weekend we went out to Suzie's to pick up her car which we're borrowing for the week while they're doing more work on the Surf. Its looking like we may have to get a whole new engine after all. Anyway I got to see Jack for the first time since he's left here, about a year. He's really grown. Well no surprise there. He really looks like a wee horse now and is a lovely bright bay, much like Twilight. He also has his dad's lovely face and eyes in particular. I only had my Palm so this isn't a great picture. Also he would not stay still. Suzie wanted to try loading him on the horse float and while he was a bit hesitant he went on more easily than Lad does. He's going to be a lovely horse. We reckoned that he's about 14.2 hands now and will go at least 15. And that's about it. I'm hoping to catch up with family during the week and am looking forward to Yule on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

demon drink

Ha! I've figured out at least part of why I've been worse again this year. It's just seemed like I wasn't having the good weeks that I had a year ago. Anyway, when I was first diagnosed with CFS I stopped drinking alcohol completely - partly because the anti-depressants that I'm on say "limit alcohol". Then last year I found that I could have the occasional drink - more than one and I'd feel a bit worse the next day. Well that went from having the odd one or two, to having one drink most nights, usually a yummy macs great white or black, sometimes a glass of wine. And its taken its toll. Seems the odd one here and there's OK but regular, even minimal consumption is no good. Anyway I've been dry for a week and am feeling much better than the previous week. We're going out on Friday to a new place and I'm going to let myself have one. And I get to wear my new shoes :-) I've started letting Kiwi off her leash when we walk down the quiet back roads. She's mostly good but is very much lead by her nose, which is OK except when she follows it onto the road. But I've started working on that with just a "No" and even after two or three I could see her start to hesitate before wandering onto the road so. She's also just moved into her big shiny run that Nick's made so she can get out and wander around. Its even got a little self-filling water bowl - works just like a horse trough. Next up - a new kennel. Very exciting - we met a whippet on our walk today - she liked that. This is her napping on her bean bag aka the tuffett.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New shoes


New shoes
Originally uploaded by Simone Hindin
beaut new shoes from Wild Pair - had a bit of a shopathon at lunch time. Also bought leather jacket at max and a new skirt.

Completely unrelated but its easier for me to blog from flickr than to log into my blogger account and do it there - nuts! Also Telecom promised us a flickr pro account with our broadband account but now it turns out I have to get a new xtra email account AND make a new flickr account to actually use it - that sucks.

Buy NZ made goods

This is such a great photo - I'd love to have this as a poster

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great to eat, great to meat?

Food is always fairly high on my mind. Lets face it no one like to be hungry and I find that getting really ravenous tips me over into fatigue pretty quickly - I guess I get a bit stressed about it. Anyway there's a couple of things that I've been thinking about with food recently. The first is that we had a fab night out with Jenni and friend at Restaurant Schwass last Wednesday evening. We all had the 7 course degustation menu although Nick and I forewent the wine matches. It was a very enjoyable evening although I was a bit tired at the beginning and went downhill from there. It was interesting being able to discuss each item with everyone because we were all having the same things. I think that over the course of the seven courses we had: squid, chorizo (several times sort of as a garnish), quail, duck, lamb, rabbit (divine), salmon, cod not to mention the cheese (3 year old Gouda) and dessert (appley) courses. It was almost midnight by the time I got to bed. Not that we eat out all the time but for a long time our favourite restaurant was Indochine and from there we've sort of moved with Tony to Chinwag and now he's opened a Spanish/Middle eastern restaurant Estudio-S. Definitely one of my favourite cuisines, Pedros and Samis have long been on my short-list of places to eat in Christchurch so hoping to add this to the list. I've also been watching with interest the brouhahah about intensive pig farming methods. We hardly ever buy supermarket meat anymore, mostly a bit of chicken, and our latest pork purchases apart from bacon were from Sarah and Rob, so 'happy' pigs. I've been a little surprised at the surprise, I guess. I thought that the SAFE people had done a pretty good job of publicising the sow boxes issue by picketing supermarkets etc and (as we all tend to do) expected that if I knew about it then most people did. Of course the piggery concerned wasn't breaking any laws - that's their whole point... that this kind of thing is allowed by the law. I have to admit to having long had a soft spot for pigs. I think that it dates back to childhood and the Sheats' always had pigs which we got to feed sometimes. They always make me think of dogs, you know, in their behaviour. They liked a good scratch behind the ears. I find it a bit odd that we're happy to pay extra for free range eggs - pigs always have struck me to be a lot more personable than chickens. Anyway, I can report that our highland cattle are very happy with their 2.5 acre paddock and not at all concerned by the snow report... sun's just come out of a patch of blue sky between the clouds.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Scanning our past

So my big(ish) thing at the mo' is scanning slides. This may sound like a work task, and yes I'm making use of the libraries' A3 scanner as our at home scanner can't do slides. Scanning slides is a bit different because you have to have a light-source to shine through the slide. Anyway I have done three boxes so far out of, oh I don't know, maybe twenty or so. Its been quite interesting because they are all from different eras. The first lot were earlyish (developed January 1974) pictures of me with Matt and Chris at Mosgiel & Purakanui and also swimming around with David and Peter Hopman in their pool and included this one of my father (Johnny de Maar) The second box contains photos from Springfield era - I'm actually not too sure when exactly, but they included this gem of my wee sisters, Lu (bikini) and Kate (centre) and Jessica (in the hat). Its a real journey of discovery. Box three has photos from 1967 - the year before I was born, including streetscapes of Wellington. As usual it'll be on my flickr site, just as soon as Telecom shows me how to upgrade to the Pro account I am supposed to get with our broadband account.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter

So its Easter Monday and back to work tomorrow. I've been pretty useless all weekend but did manage to go with Nick on Friday? to the Oderings sale with our hourse-warming vouchers and buy: 1 sweet chestnut, which has been planted down by the stockyards, two magnolias because they're my favourite tree and not everything has to be useful, a cherry (Dawson), two fern trees for behind the house (the dark side) and two gooseberries and a variety of rosemaries and lavenders. I think that that's all. It was a good haul anyway and mostly still waiting to be planted. This has started Nick on a planning rampage and he's been drawing up plans for the vege garden, thinking about making proper paths etc. This is necessary because this year, what with watering the vege garden, the paths have overgrown completely and many of the vege beds have been taken over by clover. Also we think that someone pinched out motor mower, so we've had no way of mowing them, not that Nick intended to. Anyway I think that I have him convinced now that it takes a bit more than just digging up a path of ground and that a permanent vegetable garden requires paths and borders. I've just finished this morning Bruce Sterling's The Caryatids - and really enjoyed it. It only took me a few days to finish so maybe Nick will read it too. Which is good because Sword and Laser (online book greoup) are reading Dune this month and I wanted to read that too as its so rare for me to actually be able to get the same books as they're reading. I've read Dune several times before of course but its been a while. I've also been doing a bit of spinning. I have found that its an activity that I can do while feeling like crap - not too exhausting either mentally or physically. Nick's Mum has 'borrowed back' her wheel so I'm drop spinning - but that's fine. it a bit slower but no harder. I should be picking up my naalbinding and doing more practice on that. Its not like I'm spinning towards any particular project. Although my linen spindle is full... I need to decide whether I am going to ply it any and take it off the spindle so that I can start on the next batch. So lots of mentally easy thngs to do with myself - a bit more productive than watching TV anyway.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The wonders of walking

I'm prompted to write this post by an incident on my walk today but there are a few things that I've been meaning to mention about the walks. Today's Incident: so there are a few regulars that we pass on our walks - various riders, cyclists, walkers (mostly without dogs to Kiwi's distress) and joggers. Today we had just turned around and probably walked about 5 minutes towards home when we pass one of the regular joggers (pink tracksuit) and she makes more than usual eye-contact (although you always say hello in the country) thereby 'flaggng me down' , I take out my headphones so i can hear her. "Are you going back that way" she said, "its just that that man has been spotted nearby and the police are about... you might want to go the other way". Well that sounds good except these aren't city blocks - going the other way would probably take me nearly two hours and since I haven't been great recently I tell her I'll be careful and keep on my way home. Home now with now incident although I kept my ears and eyes more open than usual. So who says nothing interesting happens in the country. ..oops that went off early. Also the roadkill you spot is fascinating. We've seen cats, rabbits/hares (hard to tell the diff when semi-decomposed), various birds. Did I mention about seeing bird hit mid-flight - that was a bit nasty. Kiwi and I have four different routes - today's we go towards the main west coast road and then turn down Finlays road and continue either to the big tree with the dead sheep or a little further to the corner with Pearces Rd, the other three we turn away from the West Coast rd and either continue straight up Sandy Knolls Rd until you get to the railway, or turn up Hoskyns rd. Turn right and go until "Jack & Sue's" or a bit further to Hayes Rd, turn left towards Rolleston and go either to Alpine View or a bit more to Bradley. See map The other great thing is that I'm still losing weight. I was about 84kg around Christmas time and am now 79! Yay, and its relatively painless.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

millions of peaches, peaches for free

Well this morning we had our first frost, but its turned out a lovely day. I'm taking today and Thursday off to relax - all the stuff in February (CF and WebStock) and then being two people down in the team has been very tiring for me and my energy levels have been steadily dropping. And then to make matters worse my back began playing up again. Anyway I have loads of holiday leave squirreled away so i thought I'd use some of it. The peaches title is because we're getting bins of peaches from Nick's Mum's work - the ones that get graded out because they're too bruised to go to the supermarkets. This is how we generally get our apples for the horses, and there's been a few of those too. Anyway Nick's been freezing them and we've been having peach desserts and peach muffins etc etc. Lovely. Apart from that there's not alot new. We still don't have our Surf back which is a pain in the arse frankly and I am losing patience. Its Barional Anniversary this weekend and I want Kiwi to come but we need a big enough car for her to sit in the back during the feast. Its an all-day thing so I don't want to have to leave her in her run all day on a weekend. We have weaned Twilight - he's now hanging out with Aunty Zoe and learning about being lead etc. He lets Nick catch him in the paddock and thus far is doing really well. There were a few battles to begin with but he's getting better I think - much of the training happens while Kiwi and I are walking so I haven't seen much of it. Zoe is pregnant but the other two aren't and its getting a bit late - we don't want them foaling this late next year. Lil's leg is still bad although the farrier thought that the hoof hadn't worn down as much which might indicate that she is picking it up more. I guess the other thing horsey to report is that over summer Lightning has gotten alot braver about being approached etc - I'm sure that this is simply because we have been doing so much more with her and Twilight that she has become more trusting. Anyway - I have a long list of small jobs to do today. Mostly phoning people. Better get on with it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

wet wet wet

Well its the Friday morning of the last day of Webstock 09 and its pissing down. I'm hoping that its raining as heavily in Canterbury as it is here in Wellington. Luckily Joan has left me an umbrella. Webstock has been pretty good. The Bag is similar to last year's but better and the t-shirt actually fits properly which is great as last year's was very tight and even the year before was a bit small for an XL. In terms of workshops they've all been good but the first (Xhtml & CSS) I found that I knew most of what we were taught (although I have picked up a couple of tips), and the second (JavaScript) was more advanced than I had expected. Every webstock seems to have a recurring theme and this one seems to be creativity and humanity. So far the most interesting presentation for me was the woman from the UK national observatory at Greenwich about astronomy and getting the public involved - I particularly like the photo competition they've got going and astrotagging, and the most fun one was Ze Frank (look him up) which was well placed as the last session yesterday. I also have had time to check out the Monet and the Impressionists exhibition at Te Papa which was nice. I can't say that the art really moves me much - some peices more than others. It was interesting learning of the Japanese influences in his art though. So that's about it. Today I am really looking forward to hearing from Russ Weakley and Bruce Sterling, then there's an event at the Embassy... should be fun. Thank goodness for taxi vouchers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Faire Highlights

Highlights
  1. Callum McLeod finally got knighted
  2. 3! new Pelicans including the very long-deserving Taddea and Antonia not to dis' Sancha but Taddea has been cooking feasts and helping newbies so long that I can't remember Southron Gaard without her
  3. Lad behaved himself (mostly) at the equestrian day which means we can bring him again - yay!
  4. Spending heaps of time with William up-dating my shoe-making skills. Now to put it into action...
  5. I found out that the site manager can give permission to bring dogs so maybe we can take Kiwi next year, especially if we get coursing happening
  6. Richard and Callum did the pre-event food planning and cooking
  7. Longer CF = more time for set-up and take-down which made it more leisurely which meant that I was less tired
Lowlights
  1. Having to spend much of the week before arguing with the stewards and seneschal against unjustified, arbitrary rules against using gas BBQs (which are specifically allowed by the Prohibited fire season) which would probably have forced me to day-trip (probably more on this later)
  2. I strained my back on Wednesday morning
  3. Nick strained his back on take-down day

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Take Five

Urgh, I'm on a break on my working at home day. I've just made some form validation JavaScript work and its taken me the best part of the day, not counting previous days when I've been working on it. I'm sort of doing it because it needs doing but also because I'm going to a JavaScript workshop at WebStock in a few weeks and my skills are really pretty basic. I figured, when registering, that i had a few months to brush up. Well those few months have rushed past. I figure that the workshop will either jump me ahead significantly or be totally over my head. Anyway I'm in the middle of sorting out flights to Wellie. I finally managed to get in touch with Joan after giving up on email I rang a few random times and got her on Sunday. It was nice to have a catch-up and will be even nicer in person next month. Hopefully I'll get to see Matt and Michelle and the kids. Kiwi has settled in well despite our having to leave her alone four days of the week she is handling it fairly well. There have been a few accidents but mostly when I haven't given her enough outdoors time before letting her in the house. Today she is lying on the floor behind me and I occasionally hear her sighing or snoring. There was a bird singing earlier and I swear she was cahsing it in her sleep. But she's a great joy. I'm loving our daily walks and we're up to and just over an hour for most. There are basically four walking options around here but once life settles down i.e. after Canterbury Faire and WebStock, I'm planning to join the greyhound club and they do organised walks which should be fun. We took Kiwi to Danni's place on Sunday after fighter's practice (and having her spaying stitches out) and introduced her to the carnival of dogs there. They seemed to get on OK and Danni thought that her greyhound Crafty remembered Kiwi from their breeders' place. Kiwi is going to stay with them next week while we are at Canterbury Faire. Although currently my camping at CF is a bit uncertain. Last year they brought in these very strict requirements that gas BBQs had to be on concrete pads and we were forced down the far end of the campsite. With my ME I really couldn't handle it and the problem was exacerbated by not having information about classes etc distributed very well so to even find out if anything was on I had to walk all the way to the other end - or up the horrible hill. Anyway they're doing it again. To add insult to injury we've discovered that this is entirely made up by the SCA stewards and is not a restriction made by the site owners. Given that we've been camping like this for 16+ years with no problems its entirely unnecessary and it is interesting that this only effects those who self-cater at the event. There's no consideration given whatsoever - we're not even allowed to make use of the huge facilities at the hall - no that's exclusively for those on the food plan (which I suspect those who have made this decision are). Anyway if the only option is going to be camping at the far end I'm not going - it was just too miserable last year. I will day trip on the days that interest me and stay home and relax (and maybe ride) on the others, and sleep in my own bed and have hot baths... plus it is supposed to rain next week - hallelujah. Anyway enough grumpiness. back to work.

Monday, January 05, 2009

A whole new year

So we begin our first whole year in our new house in fairly salubrious fashion. We have Rowley staying with us and as a result are eating rather well. Its nice to have someone about who's really helpful in the kitchen and almost always upbeat. He made us a fabulous thai chicken salad that went us two meals. Tonight its Paella - yum yum. I've been taking Kiwi for walks, exploring the neighbourhood. One day we took Rowley with us and Nick and Lad came too. We were quite a procession. I got some really nice photos of Nick and Lad. Later that day the weather went mad. It hailed down hailstones the size of ice-cubes and then rained about an inch in half an hour. I took the time to do some inside jobs like working on my trunkhose for riding in. Kiwi is settling in well although today is our first day back at work and so she has had to stay in her run. Yesterday (Sunday) we took her to fighter's practice and we walked around Fendalton in the sun. Then we went to Animates and picked up some treats and ball throwers - although it may take her a while to get used to the idea of chasing and picking up a ball. She showed no interest whatsoever in toys, squeaky or otherwise. I think that this is a good thing as I don't really want her to take to chewing things.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Year 40 begins

Well I have begun my fortieth year. We had a lovely birthday party - Nick and Rowley with help put up our SCA pavilion to block the wind and it was a lovely evening. Sadly Becky couldn't come because she was sick but pretty much everyone else was there. I got some nice presents but the main one had arrived on Boxing Day. Nick and I headed out to Mead the day after Christmas to pick up Kiwi, a brindle greyhound bitch who has recently retired from racing. Kiwi is really my first dog, although when I was four we had Victor, a Dalmatian, and then at Grants Rd we had Ralph, an English Pointer. I got lots of books from the library (of course) and our neighbour / mechanic's wife has lent me Cesar's Way - the book by the Dog Whisperer guy who we've always enjoyed on TV. Anyway she is settling in very well. She sleeps in the bedroom on a blanket (she has the polar-fleece blankets that we bought when Tybalt was sick) and more or less follows me around most of the day. We have to keep an eye on her when she's outside or she'll have a go at the new chickens that Suzie brought us at Christmas but a quick stern word keeps her in line. We went for a lovely walk this morning although only half an hour which is about all I have in me. We're also getting her used to her run (also borrowed from the neighbour). When all the industries go back to work Nick will be able to get materials to make our own run - it will be quite big - walk-in for us. Kiwi had her first electric fence encounter this afternoon. Nick thought she was heading off after the chicks again but she'd actually touched the bottom live wire with her nose - ouch! Anyway she's survived and will hopefully be more careful of them in future. Its been really nice just hanging out at home, planting the odd tree, walking the dog etc. I keep meaning to do some sewing and Canterbury Faire prep but its too nice being outside. Only small amounts of sunburn so far.