Thursday, 28 June 2007

Shopping eefa style...

Walk in to store (outdoor gear) with big SALE signs all over window and instore.
See lovely brown down jacket of one make. Not in sale. Surrounded by down jackets of another make. In sale.
Want brown jacket not in sale jacket.
Walk around store waiting for fellow shopper who at least knew that their purchase would not be in sale.
Plead at till asking them if they can not put jacket in sale.
Get 10% off.
Buy down jacket not in sale but at least get 10% off.
The end.

I must become a tramp...

er if I want to join Wellington Mountaineering club. It seems that they have this rule that as a non member I can go along on day hikes and tramps (these are the overnight hikes) but I can only become a member if I do at least 3 tramps. Will that make me a tramp?

Monday, 25 June 2007

What d'you think?

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).


What do you think? I'm not sure if it's a good description of how I appear rather than how I am :-)

Ugh... I'm being punished

Yeah yeah yeah - I know i was crowing yesterday about how great the weather was. Not warm, but lovely and sunny out. Well, believe you me, it ain't like that today. It rained. Alot. It was heavy (I know I had to go to post office twice in it!). Oh, and it's cold. Very.
Snippet of email sent around in office today -

Go Home Now If You Live Over The Rimutakas - Police

NewsRoom.co.nz Agency Story at 2:42 pm, 25 Jun 2007

People intending to travel over the Rimutaka Hill Road between Wellington and Wairarapa are being warned that they should start their journey as soon as possible.

Snow is predicted on the road on Monday evening, and police say it is likely to be closed.

Snow down to 200m in Wellington is also forecast for Monday night as part of the cold front moving up the country.

The front has sent temperatures plummeting in Canterbury, where the windchill factor this afternoon is expected to be minus 10 degrees.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Though...

I don't like that it's dark by 5pm :-(
I mean it's June for God's sake!!!

Not bad for winter...

Another beautiful day here. I mean it may have been a bit cold (but not that cold though it could be freezing tomorrow - you can never tell in this place!) out but the sun was shining and it was really quite lovely. Bit like yesterday. Photo is courtesy of Marko; taken early yesterday afternoon - Wave, Lighthouse and Boat . Yes it was windy but the sun was shining and it was really quite spectacular. From what I've heard of weather back in Ireland this is much nicer! If this is winter I'll take it...

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Of Flights and Afros

What a fun morning I had yesterday. Got confirmation from Dublin that the waitlist for my flight had come through so I would now fly back to Ireland on Sat 30th rather Weds 27th. I just needed to phone airline here to confirm change. So off I go to phone. Conversation goes something like this...
Me: "Hi yeah, I've just been told that the I've got to top of waitlist and my ticket has been changed to Sat 30th June. Was told I just need to ring to confirm"
Other End: Yes that's right. Auckland to KL and then to Frankfurt and on to Dublin.
Me: Oh. No. Well, I was Auckland to KL and then KL to Heathrow and then on to Dublin.
Other End:Well it's showing Frankfurt here.
Me: Oh. Well I guess that's okay, doesn't really matter.
Other End: It does matter. Your ticket will have to be reissued.
Me: Oh. Will there be charges for that?
Other End:
Other End: Where was your ticket issued?
Me: Ireland.
Other End: I can't get all the information that I require here to know if your ticket is allowed to be re-routed. Can you fax me a copy and we'll telex it to Dublin and they'll get back to us on Monday or Tues telling us if it can be re-routed.
Me: Oh. I see.
Other End: Yes and then you'll have to get it to our Auckland office so it can be re-issued.
Me: Oh. I'm in Wellington.
Other End: Your itinerary shows you're flying to Auckland on 27th. You can come in then.
Me: No, I'll be changing that part myself and will fly to Auckland on morning of 30th.
Other End: Oh right. Well if your ticket can be re-routed then if you courier it to us and we'll re-issue it and you can pick it up at airport.
Me: Oh, okay. I'll fax that to you then. So, I should ring you Monday to find out if it can be re-routed through Frankfurt.
Other End: Yes.
Me: OKay, thanks.

I go off and photocopy ticket and fax through. No confirmation receipt from fax machine but I have to rush to meeting... {based on stuff I did last year!}

After meeting still no fax receipt so I phone airline again to confirm that they got fax.

Me: Hi. Here's my booking number. I just want to confirm that you got fax that I sent through.
Other End: Yes here it is. We don't confirm receipt of these.
Me: That's fine, I just wasn't sure if it sent as no fax confirmation my end.
Other End: Oh that's fine then. Let me just see if I can get answer as to whether ticket can be re-routed for you. Can you hold?
Me: Yes.
{hold}
Other End: No, I can't answer that for you. So you'll be in Auckland on 27th and you need to change route on ticket to Frankfurt instead of London.
Me: Em, well no I'll arrive in Auckland on 30th. My ticket was originally 27th. I didn't know that it was going to be re-routed through Frankfurt until I spoke to you earlier.
Other End: Oh! So it's a date change as well a route change?
Me: Eh, yes.
Other End: Well, you'll have to come in to Auckland office to pick up ticket
Me: Em, no.... I believe it can be arranged for me to pick up at airport?
Other End: Oh yes. But of course I can't be sure that your ticket can be routed through Frankfurt. Will need DUblin to answer that. That will be Mon evening or Tues.
Me: Oh! But.... Well, am I still on the flight for the 27th as well?
Other End: No. Your seat on that flight is gone.
Me: Oh! You mean that I could theoretically end up with no flight out?
Other End: Well, yes. But as it's a business class ticket I'm sure it will be okay. But we just have to wait for reply from Dublin before we re-issue.
Me: Oh. Well, okay then.

All a bit farcial really. Anyway, I was pretty sure Irish agent wouldn't have canceled without being sure that my ticket could be re-routed so I emailed and it can of course be for a €100 fee. So on Monday I post ticket up to Auckland (another "you'll have to come in to Auckland office ", "no, can you send it to airport for me to collect" conversation this morning!) and get it re-issued. Phew!

Went along to an "S and S" party last night. Kiwis in to dressing up. We'll ignore fact that one of the hosts is Irish :-) Some great costumes there - a smurf, sixties, seventies, SAS. We stayed for a few hours then headed back to anothers house for some wine and natter eventually leaving there just before 1am. Tucked up in bed by 1:30am. By 5:30am still waiting for sleep to arrive! Went out and bought some valarian tablets this avo!! And hit the Kathmandu sale :-))

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The 8 Ball of Wisdom is Never Wrong..

The project forecasting 8 ball of wisdom (in the hands of the project manager it has to be said!) has been asked if I will still be working on this project up to and at the start of 2009 and the answer was "It will be so". So there you go guys, apparently I'll be staying for longer than the 12 months that I'm agreeing to. I mean, who am I to argue with the 8 Ball!!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Weekend snippets....

On a 35 minute flight from Wellington to Christchurch on Fri evening every passenger got offered a glass of spring water and a biscuit. Coming from the land of flying on the cheap I found this so refreshing! That and the fact that I could get to the airport in less than 30 mins on a bus helped as well!

Christchurch was freezing. Technically I may be incorrect on that but as far as I was concerned it was bloody cold. At one point on Fri evening I was wearing string top, merino wool icebreaker, fleece and wool cardigan over that! Thank God Karen and Kaye's house has log burner... I became attached :-)


The Cairn terriors Maggie and Fergus are really cute, and have definitely landed on their paws in that household! Maggie is the older of the two more of a guard dog for sure than Fergus. She's rather fond of standing on window ledge in front room to see what's going on out in the street :-) Fergus just chills... why bother sussing out noises when Mags will take care of that for him! Walking them on the beach was great fun and watching Maggie race after her tennis ball was fantastic. She just bombed along. Fergus just kinda waited around, though if there was another dog about then he was off to say hi! Someone his size probably should learn a little wariness however :-) Oh, did you know that male pups don't cock their legs when they're weeing! It was so funny watching - he would squat like Maggie but he's at the stage where he now half lifts his leg while trying to squat!! Bless, I'm sure he'll get there in the end.


On Sat afternoon we headed in to centre of Sth New Brighton for a glass of wine in a lovely place called H&H. I liked this place for 2 reasons - the wine wasn't bad, but even better, it was yummy and warm :-) We got table right in front of the fire and just sat and chilled while being snugly warm. Why, oh why, is the concept of housing insulation only hitting here NOW?!!

Bit drizzly on my return to Welly but while it's not warm here it is warm*er* than Christchurch and now snuggled up against my plug in heater!

Friday, 15 June 2007

Thank Crunchie...

It's Friday lunch and I'm so glad it's Friday. Not that it's been a bad week but it has been a full (during day anyway) week with so much new stuff. Nipped in to Parsons at lunch time today. Parsons is this cool book and music (great selection of clasical recordings) on Lambton Quay that I felt obliged to give lots of money to on my last visit here. I'm impressed with myself that I've managed to hold off for almost a week before visiting! Not sure if I've mentioned this before but books are really expensive here in NZ. This is a bit of a downer for people like myself.. but on the upside CDs ain't badly priced at all. Left Parsons with one book (in bargain bin for $5 :-) ) but no CDs. Which probably is no bad thing after internal flights, coat and sweater purchase earlier in the week :-)



Oh, and for anybody who was wondering, the above is photo I took on last visit of my accommodation here in Wellington. I'm in same style of room this year except for the fact that it's noticeably smaller, I didn't get a coffee plunger in kitchen or a scissors or a sharp knife for preparing veg(?!)

Heading down to Christchurch this evening for the weekend and so looking forward to that. Apparently there's some wine and nibbles here this at about 4 this avo which is good as not overly alert workwise today! Excellent :-)

Oh, one last thing... installed skype on illitely obtained laptop in office so for any skype users out there my username is eefajk. Of course can't actually guarantee that I'll always be able to chat but like to think that 'twill be possible some times!

And that's all for now folks. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

There's a moral in here somewhere....

As New Zealand is not currently experiencing any "hottest day of the year" days (thanks Paul for that comment on Yawn) I decided to nip out at lunchtime today to get a jacket more suitable for winter. And picked up a sweater along the way. I arrive back in office with one small bag (containing aforementioned sweater) and one large bag containing the heavy winter jacket. I see manager eyeing it up... "typical woman" is probably something along the lines of what he's thinking. I refrain from shouting "I'm bloody freezing" and so just smile.

At 4:30 I decide to leave office for the day and take back document to current luxurious abode to finish off as less distractions around. I have no qualms doing this as a) I actually started work at 8am and b) I'm planning to continue reading for another half hour or so back here. So I head off up The Terrace with my reading material, small bag and large bag. Who do I bump in to? The COO! Who's based in Ireland. He's only here for 3 days. In fact he only landed this avo. I couldn't believe it.. he's as friendly as ever asking how I'm settling in but I know he can't help it... he's looking at the bags. I'm screaming in my head "This isn't what it looks like Paddy. Honest! I'm not dossing off! I'm going home to work. I've been at work since 8am." Instead I answer his question with "Oh, I'm grand. Just heading back to my luxurious accommodation with some reading" (okay I paraphrased that last bit). So, bit of further chit chat, when did you land, will I be in office tomorrow etc etc. And all I can think as I walk away is "why did I buy coat today??" Oh well, c'est la vie... At least I'll be warm when I'm walking in to office in the morning :-)

The moral of the story? If you're going to purchase necessary warm clothing during you lunch hour then either a) don't leave work at what *appears* to be earlier than normal and/or b) ensure no senior management of company you work for are in town! Oh... and keep warm :-)

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Yawn!!!

Ugh... 4am wakeup call this morning. Yest morning slept until 7 and if you ignore the wakeup at midnight and the couple of hours awake during the night you could call that a full nights sleep. I have to look on the positive side here! Needless to say totally shattered today so fingers crossed for tonight!

So, day 2 of new job done. And well, it's hard. Going to be very different role to what I've done before so there's that along with needing to get basic understanding of a few of our products, then customer business and then customisations that have been put in place on-site for the customer. And then I've been give couple of pieces of work that one of the senior analysts (I'll be doing analysis as well) there was telling are just hard as well and require understanding of rest of solution. Ah right... Definitely looking forward to it all but wary as well...

Yesterday got introduced to a lovely little restaurant called for Beaujolais, which you might conclude from name is a wine bar as well. In fairness it was a working lunch... at least until the food arrived :-) Had a lovely bottle of syrah between the 3 of us. I'm totally not used to drinking during they day... especially a working Mon! But I was a tad out of it with tiredness so a glass of wine didn't make any noticeable difference :-)

Oh have I mentioned that it's cold now. Very cold. Office is weird - warm in morning. By early afternoon it starts to cool down a bit and by late afternoon it's bloody freezing! And of course when I'm sitting still I get colder as well... for some reason my manager down here thinks that's hilarious?!!

Thanks for all the comments and emails since I got here btw... it's lovely to hear from friends when I'm away :-)

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Owner of Vicious Dog Gets Cat

… yup. That was headline (or something else but that is general gist) of article in a Kiwi paper yesterday. I kid you not. The international section was a bit empty but this was in main section. You gotta love it :-)

So, after a 3 hr wait in Auckland followed by 50 min flight to Wellington I finally got to check in to my hotel at about 3:15 or so on Fri afternoon. It was lovely! Unfortunately I was only in there because the place that I’m now in was booked out because of France -v- All Blacks match on Sat night. Anyway, nipped out to get some fruit and soup for dinner. When I came back I made fatal (not required) mistake of showering and getting in to slouch clothes. About hour after that phone rang and was guys from office telling me where they were heading out for a drink. I so wouldn’t have gone (I had planned on going before flight but 36 hrs later wasn’t quite so enthusiastic!) except for the fact that they rang. My plan was to try and last an hour or two so headed over and met others at 6 getting myself a vodka. I did wonder if drinking on relatively empty stomach and while being v tired was such a hot idea but I wasn’t gonna last ten min s if I didn’t have something! Anyway, I greatly impressed myself by being relatively coherent until about 8:30! I mean I actually managed to hold some conversations and chat to others! However I then got to the “I have to eat and then sleep” point. It must have been somewhat noticeable as Marko looked over and asked if I was alright… I probably looked quite funny actually. Anyway I headed off at 9 and after food and watering I was in bed just after 10pm, or 11am Fri morning Irish time. So after getting up 8am Weds morning I got back to bed 51 hrs later! Ugh.

Sat was a glorious day here. Wonderfully sunny even if a bit nippy at times. And I saw more of the surrounding areas of Wellington in the space of 5 hrs on Sat than I did in the 2 months that I was here last year! It was really great getting driven around and seeing so much! And at one point I got to drive through some water and up twisty dirt track road in 4wd. So okay it only lasted 5-10 mins but was fun anyway :-)

I think that during daytime my time zone is now somewhere in GMT+8hrs (so only another 3 hrs to go!) but during night I have no idea where I am! Today’s been long day… gave up pretending I was sleeping at 6am after having been awake for well over an hour at that point! Tonight I have to make it to 9 as full day in office tomorrow. Oh, I did something I’ve never voluntarily done before.. I went to see a Woody Allen movie! “Scoop” with Scarlett Johannssen and Hugh Jackman. Have to admit I’m not really a Woody Allen fan (that’s polite way of putting it) but chose that movie as was earliest start (had checked out of first hotel and couldn’t yet check in to this place!). Anyway I have to say that I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it - definitely some v funny moments in it!

Speaking of checking out/in of hotels did I mention that I had to go through the repacking pain this morning! To get clothes to wear on Fri evening/yest/today I had to rummage through suitcase. Consequently to get everything in to case and close it this morning I had to empty case and repack from start. Not as traumatic as I thought it might be, but fun it wasn’t! Not recommended folks!

Right, I think my lack of sleep is showing in this entry so what‘s it for now! Oh, unfortunately there’ll be no more photos for my entries while I’m here as the only way that I can send texts (I’ve been taking pictures on phone) is using web text so won’t be able to get pics off phone on to laptop for posting. Sigh.. Hope lack of pics won’t put anybody off :-)

{From Fri} Three Flights Down, One To Go…

Okay, so I know that it's Sunday but I wrote this on Fri and have now only got my laptop hooked up to network so we'll just go with the phrase "better late than never" :-)

I left home at 2.30pm on Wednesday afternoon. It’s now just gone 11am Friday kiwi time and they’re 11 hrs ahead of you guys back home. My flight to Wellington is at 1:30pm so 2.5 hrs here. It’s 15 degrees outside but there’s a bit of a wind. I know this as I walked across from the international terminal. Makes me think that Wellington will probably be a bit cooler and winder! No airline lounge for this wait so no internet so of course I can’t check weather online. Sure it just adds to the surprise and adventure of it all… honest!

The flight from KL was fine. Nothing eventful but didn’t really sleep as dozed a bit on first leg of flight. The flight attendants with Malaysian Airlines are so polite and helpful that it always makes long flights a bit more pleasant. I’m sure of course that flying business class made a difference too but even when I’ve flown toilet class I’ve always found the Asian airlines to be so much more pleasant to fly with!

They’ve done a bit of work with the domestic terminal here in Auckland since my last 3 hr wait here last May. Nice cafĂ© with area in centre with sushi bar and a newsagents. There is of course a McDonalds but I suppose that’s to be expected. Don't get the wrong idea - nothing luxurious but compared to last year when there as nothing... Looking across at the Sunglass Hut and thinking hmm… winter here, maybe they have some nice shades on sale. Just might go investigate..

No idea when I’ll get to post this as my first two nights in Wellington are in a hotel before I move to my more luxurious environs (some of you will remember me saying how much I loved staying there last year. Honest!) Once I get to latter place I will get a wireless connection for duration of the stay but not sure if this hotel will have it available (at a cost that I could justifiably expense back to my employer seeing as I’m checking in on a Fri and out on a Sun). The thought of having to open my suitcase today and unpack to get clothes/shoes for 2 days and then repack for drive up road I something I’m trying to avoid the thought of! And brain is kinda fried now so will stop at this point. More over weekend.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

The Ones That Didn't Make It

Well I’ve made it as far as Kuala Lumpar (actually I’m cheating as I wrote this at Heathrow - WAP network in lounge was soooo painfully slow that after 10 mins I got fed up trying to access email containing the rejected shoes for this entry). I managed to close the suitcase and keep it under 20kg which is a huge shock. Unfortunately I didn’t get to bring as much as I’d hoped in the way of shoes, clothes and coats :-( By COB Mon evening I knew that the blue short jacket was out. By COB Tues evening the green sweater was out. But this biggest shock was this morning (eh, that's Weds morning). I had actually managed to close the case last night so I felt that surely adding in some toiletries like makeup and cleansers and shampoo and conditioner etc etc would be a pinch. But OH NO!!! No matter how I tried it my spare book (this means the only other book than one in hand luggage) wouldn’t fit! This was serious. I mean yes I can buy books down there (but they‘re strangely expensive in NZ) but what, just what if I finished my current read during a sleepless first night or something. I CAN NOT be bookless. It just doesn’t happen. I looked at the blue shoes and thought “if I just take them out…“ But no, I thought , eefa, it’s time to grow up. You will be okay if you don’t have a book for a few hours. Be strong. Bite the bullet and close the case. So I did. And my God was I proud of myself. And, eh, well I really wanted to bring the shoes as well. You see the real problem was being caused by the boots (and yes I know I could have worn them but I had no intention of wearing a pair of knee high boots under my trackie bottoms for 36 hrs!). So, I put the suitcase in the hall. Another 3 hrs to kill before taxi arrives so I got on with other stuff. Later during lunch I looked at the book on the couch. Alone. Sad because it was going to miss out on a trip to NZ. And I couldn’t do it. It killed me but I persuaded myself that I could live without the shoes for 3 weeks (I don’t even wear them that much it’s just that they look so good with my dress!) So the shoes are now back in the wardrobe being consoled by the other shoes on what might have been. But the book’s happy!



Bizarre, experience in LHR. I can only guess that this is yet another new security feature. I landed at Terminal 1 from Dublin. Followed ye olde Flight Connection signs to get turned away. They wouldn’t let me through as I didn’t have boarding pass (normally just pick that up in terminal 3)! It’s apparently okay that my luggage is checked through to New Zealand but we can’t have dodgy Irish person going through without pass. Instead I had to walk to Terminal 3, queue, and go through security all over again (thank God for security Fast Track!)

As for flight itself, 'twas grand. Watched The Queen (good), watched an episode of House (they have a whole series that I haven't seen!!!), listened to some Jazz (must get that Best of Blue Note album it's great!) and chatted to my neighbour; a Malaysian woman and if I have skin like hers at the age of 70 I'll be more than happy! And at this point I've waffled on for too long so I'll finish up.

Friday, 1 June 2007

I didn't go all woozy!!

Today I had to go for my medical for my NZ visa. This involved being asked lots of questions, being weighed, measured (height and waist?!), BMI calculation, family history etc. Oh and of curse the ubiquitous pee sample... I'd drunk plenty of water in advance so no troubles there :-) After that I headed off to the Mater Private for chest x-ray and then the dreaded blood tests. Yeah, I know it's only a needle in the arm but that needle had to stay in my arm for at least a whole 90-120 seconds as NZ visa requires an interesting range of blood tests to be performed. Now, I don't like needles. I go in and chat to nurse. I then feel I had better mention that I'm not good with needles to which she replies "that's okay, I am". Okay, she's got a sense of humour but I feel that I had better clarify that I'm not good with needles when they're sticking in to me, arm or anywhere else! I'm fine (relatively) while needle is penetrating my skin (plenty of deep breathing to get through pain... it works with physical therapist pain sessions so why not here?) but it's the bit afterwards. More specifically, I stand up and then I stop standing. Quickly. Legs kinda just buckle. So.... I was so pleased (and surprised) today when I stood up after removal of previously mentioned nasty needle and hey presto... nothing! I was fine. I walked tentatively back to collect x-ray film and still nothing. All sounds so trivial but this is big step for me... my body is finally accepting that having a wee needle in the arm is not a reason to have a hissy fit *after* needle removed! Well done me :-) And for all you other "woozy after needle" folk, just remember that there is hope after all!

Oh, and one last, totally unrelated thing. It's a glorious day here today. I arrive home to read email from friend in city to which I am shortly to depart to, informing me "
you are arriving just at the turn of the season. It was lovely up to yesterday, but today is absolutely nasty". One is not impressed. At all :-(