Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Grumble grumble...

Feeling somewhat disgruntled and tired today. Started to feel unwell last night (trust me I know there's something wrong when I go to bed rather than watch Boston Legal!) and no better today. Got up, phoned doctor to get appointment for this afternoon and then went in to work. Day didn't get any better in there so when I headed off to doctor I left the office for the day. Tonight I will be starting my 5th course of antibiotics since last October. Oh well, if that's the worst that's wrong with me I shouldn't be complaining really should I?

Now for the weather. What the hell is going on??! It's been raining lots since last Friday and it was v cold last night. This morning there was some lovely blue sky and a bit of sun so hopes lifted. That didn't last long, by midday the sky had got theateningly dark and of course, not long before the rain arrived. Please please please... can we have some nice sunny rain free weather for the weekend? Pretty please....?

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Rambles of no particular interest...

Two days in, three to go... As things currently stand I'll be starting on a new project at work next week. I originally was due to start on this about 2 months ago but that didn't happen. On one hand I'm looking forward to some new work but it does mean that I'll have to move floors down to where this team is sitting. Not looking forward to losing my nice window desk and moving away from the bulk of the team, but guess it must be done.

Yesterday evening I headed off, in the wonderful non-stop rain, to fourth psychology class. There were 5 of us there (12 in the first couple of weeks). Hmm... I don't know. I spent the first 90 minutes wondering if the class would never end, really only managing to enjoy the last half hour. I think that there's just too much time spent talking about irrelevent things; or maybe it's just stuff that doesn't interest me. I mean an hour to discuss the results of last week's "experiment"? I don't know. There's no class next Monday because it's the queenie's birthday weekend so we get Monday off. I'll try one more class but if I end up hating 75% of the time I'm there then I'm out of it. Especially as I could be either playing squash or climbing on a Monday evening instead!

But did have v enjoyable rest of the evening following class watching the end of The Barbarian Invasion (fantastic movie) and laughing at Mark Kermode's 10 minute "Here's why I hate Priates of the Carribean III" famous rant from Canes on You Tube. It's great, he barely takes a breath for the whole thing. I listen to his weekly podcast anyway but I hadn't heard this but I have heard lots of references to it :)

Climbing on Thurs evening. Think I'm more nervous about this than I was about the course itself! Maybe it's because the girl who I'll be climbing with was one of the better ones in the group!

Oh my Lord... Nightline has results of the Eurovision song contest on!!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

PS

For anybody wondering, yes I am totally feeling muscles I'd forgotten I had after yesterday!!

Climbing and the weekend...

Had a fabulous weekend even if the weather was crappy!
I was feeling pretty tired finishing work on Fri evening and really just wanted a quiet drink. There were folk going for a drink after work but they were heading to D4 which I reckoned would be quite busy on a Fri evening so I thought no. Then on the walk home (all 3 mins of it)I decided that I would go but I'd just nip up to New World first to buy some stuff to make sandwiches for Sat. So spent a v enjoyable couple of hours in D4 (actually got seats which was great, just unfortunately right in front of the live band!). There's no way that in Dublin I'd have the freedom of going home to sort some stuff for the following day and then be able to nip out to meet work folk for a drink; the joys of living centrally!

On Saturday morning I was up early enough (not 4am early!) to make my lunch for the day and then head down to Fergs for my rock climbing course at Fergs which is less than 10 mins walk from me :) There were two instructors, Liz and Phenella (sp??) and six of us on the course itself. We were there at 10am leaving at 3pm and I had a fantastic time. Interesting variety of reasons for why we were all doing the course and I certainly had a fantastic time. We just being shown harnasses, shoes etc and then some instruction on body position when climbing (keep bum tucked in, small steps, use your core; pilates folk will be familiar with this!, don't grab at hand holds etc). All really interesting and then we practised just going horizontally across the wall. And within an hour we were doing our first climb on a v easy wall.

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I partnered with Rachel and she belayed first. Her job is to keep the rope taut while I'm climbing and then to control rope while I abseil down. I have to admit that I love the climbing part but definitely not so keen on the coming down part. I guess it's all about trust... though I was informed when I was belaying that I'm great at controlling rope when climber is coming down (and my hand hurt to show it too :) )

After that we did another wall or two and then it was suggested we try a slightly more difficult, but free, one. This would be a higher grade wall if we were doing graded climb (only using holds of one particular colour) but for a rainbow climb we should be able to make some attempt so off we went. I was first up and made some progress before feeling that I just couldn't go any further. Liz, our instructor came over and was so encouraging that I'd got so far and pointed out a hold I could use etc (she did this after lunch when I had real trouble on another wall and was going to come down; her encouragement meant that I carried on and touched the rafters at the top!) so I carried on another bit before really just getting stuck and coming down.
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I felt great having got as far as i did but I was really shaking when I got down! Looking at the photos now it really doesn't look that high up but it really felt it and I was definitely feeling unsure and uncertain up there. But it was such an achievement... as was my rafter touching moment after lunch!

The rest of the girls on the course were great and one pair, Amy and Lena were in my view quite nifty and good!
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So I'll definitely be wanting to go back though not sure if I ever see myself getting to the stage of wanting to climb real rock face! Unfortunately the club meets Mon evenings so I'll need to wait until psychology course finished (though wanted to do photography course after that) before I can go along. But the great thing about having done yesterday is that I know I can email the girls and see if somebody wants to go down sometime other than a Mon evening. And Amanda from tramping club is looking for a climbing buddy too...

So, on completion of yesterday afternoon I got back here, sent some texts, ate some food and went to sleep. I was exhausted both physically and mentally. Had relaxed Sat evening eating dinner (after getting soaked in the rain :( ) in Siem Reap a yummy cambodian restaurant and then had a tasty cocktail in the Matterhorn afterwards. For anybody interested it was a Passionfruit Bishop consisting of 42 Below Passion, lemon & orange juices, passionfruit syrup and chilled red wine. Don't think I prefer it to a cosmopolitan but seeing as my choice of cocktails is relatively limited it was nice to find something new!

Today was a fairly relaxed morning though the rain was bloody awful! And there was a fair bit of trying to find parking space, finding one, cafe full, find parking space elsewhere, cafe closed before we eventually got brunch on Oriental Parade!! I guess with the horrible weather there were more cars out and about than is usual on a Sun here in Wellington.

I would like to say that this afternoon I upgraded my Mac OS to Leopard, but that would be a bit of a lie so instead I'll say that this afternoon my Mac OS was upgraded to Leopard.. just not by me! Then a cold walk along the sea front. And now it's 6:30 and I'm getting peckish so I might go cook myself some dinner before ringing Mum to wish her a Happy Birthday.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Four things in 10, 5, 1,...

The Same but Different tagged me to do this so here we go...

Four Things I was doing 10 years ago -
1. Working as a technical consultant in my first job and getting ready to relocate to Long Beach for 6 months..(see next point as to why this was delayed for 6 months)
2. Breaking my left foot in same the place that I broke the right one (or is vice versa?) at the end of my 2nd year at Uni.
3. Sharing hangovers with my flatmate on a Saturday morning.
4. Getting to visit lots of different countries in Europe and the US (and Sth Korea) with the job mentioned in 1.

Four Things I was doing 5 years ago -
1. Getting ready to start my new job after being out of work for 5 months (about 3 months after I'd taken out my brand new mortgage!)
2. Acting in my first play (very amateur dramatics :) )
3. Owning my first car
4. Joining bookcrossing and making some fab new friends!

Four Things I did Yesterday -
1. Had two Long Blacks rather than just my normal one
2. Emailed my brother and my sister (thank you Jill for replying... Paul??!)
3. Ate way too much bad food :(
4. Enjoyed two glasses of very yummy Two Hands shiraz with a mate from work after work in The Wine Loft.

Four Shows I like to Watch -
1. Morse
2. Lewis
3. Bones
4. Boston Legal

Four Things I Love to Do -
1. Spend time with people I care about
2. Walk
3. Read
4. Try new things (I'm slow to do this but love it at the same time... hence climing wall course tomorrow)

So now I'll tag An Cailin Elveiseach and Sonya in the Sun

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Not much...

Well, after a rather poor two step count days at least today I managed to get up over the 10000 steps mark. Annoyingly last week I got well over 10000 steps every day (82000 for the week) without trying whereas this week I'm doing nowhere near as good. I guess it's because Mon and Tues evening this week I was at home rather than walking somewhere. But today managed to up that as we had the team lunchtime "jaunt" that I had organised in the Botanic Gardens. Our whole team couldn't make it but we did manage to get a decent turn out of 6 or 7 of us out there. It was a really beautiful day - about 16 degrees and wonderfully sunny. I got well warm but was great to get out for the hour.

I had one of those slow afternoons where I needed a kick or jolt of some sort but didn't know what. Luckily once 5:30 arrived I had to leave to nip home and get changed before meeting Dani and Simone for a bite to eat before club. Dani earned brownie points by telling me that she loves some of my flickr photos... not that I respond easily to flattery or anything :) We had a tasty dinner (tasty rich tomato mushroom gnocci) and glass of wine in The Lido. I'm used to that place for brunch but not in the evenings and i was pleasantly surprised. Not a huge vegetarian option but at least it wasn't spinach and/or feta. And it was relatively tasty at least! They had some light jazz playing in the background which was very pleasant and it just reminded me that i have to go there some Sun evening when they have some live jazz!

On to club and then lift home (yes yes I know I should have walked but I really needed the bathroom so...) and now wondering whether I trust myself enough to try backing up my hard disk on to my external drive!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

La Boheme

Myself and a group of people from work went to see a performance of La Boheme performed by the The NBR New Zealand Opera last Thurs evening.

It was an early enough start with curtain up at 7:30pm so that didn't really give time for a relaxed dinner in advance. Instead three of us headed down to Chow at 6 to grab bite to eat; to be told they were full. I'm used to waiting in Chow but I thought that at 6 we'd be fine but apparently not! I then suggested we try The Lido so off we headed. As we got closer we could see that that was chockers too!! So in the end we ended up in a little Malaysian cafe off Cuba St. I've been there lots and while it's far from fine dining it's amazing value. For $7 (I kid you not!) I got a bowl of noodle soup full of freshly cooked crunchie vegetables and tofu that had me more than full after not being able to finish it. Yummy! Then off we headed to the St James Theatre to meet up with the others.

I hadn't been to that theatre before but it's really quite beautiful inside in the main theatre. Not sure how to describe it (here's why I rarely write book reviews on bookcrossing; I'm rubbish at this sort of thing!) but it was beautifully maintained and not at all gaudy! We had pretty decent seats so no obstructed views or peering around corners or anything like that which was great. I had to laugh when before the performance started one of my colleagues said that he reckoned Puccini had a problem with women as most of the female love interests in his operas end up dying!! The performance was very enjoyable; i couldn't believe it when the first act ended after 40 mins... it hadn't seemed anything that long at all! The production had been somewhat modernised but I liked the sets and the some of the scene changes were very well done! The only time I had a problem with the set was for the last act where they lowered a "ceiling" down to represent room but I could still the light above. It shouldn't have bothered me but it did. We were a mixed crowd there; some people have been to quite a few operas in the past, some like me, have only been to 3 or 4 and for others this was their first. But there was a unanimous decision that it was a very enjoyable performance though not everybody liked the scene. For me I found it visually pleasing while one or two others felt that it was too crowded and left nothing to the imagination. But wouldn't it have been boring if we'd all agreed?!!

Afterwards 5 of us headed to Motel for a couple of drinks. I didn't have a cocktail on this visit but a very tasty vodka and tonic instead. I do like this place though I always find it very cold!! Finished up the night around midnight. A thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing Thurs evening!

Oh.. and the new Melbourne shoes got their first outing :)

This evenings itinerary...

hold your breath folks it was deadly exciting!
In no more particular order...

1. Bit more of a tidy up
2. Put away iron from last night (i should have ironed the skirt i forgot to do last night but...)
3. Empty dishwasher
4. Laundry (okay i didn't do this but i should have)
5. Vacuuming
6. Open up external hard-drive parcel... got this last Tues.
7. Dinner
8. Phone call
9.This post
10. Watch Boston Legal (well will be doing so in 15 mins)
11. Catch up on a few emails (yes I know I'm still way behind!)
12. Lose the ability to count (my fingers insisted on typing 12 for 11. Took three tries!)
13. Listen to CD1 of the beautiful John Elliot Gardiner series Bach Cantatas, volume 13 (For the Fourth Sunday after Trinity).

Obviously not all chores/tasks but for someone who for years has refused to housework mid-week this housework two evenings in a row thing is worth noting!

I see that Myanmar/Burma is to start a three day period of mourning. I can't help feeling if they were shamed in to it (if that's possible) after China's 3 days of mourning which happened so much sooner after their earthquake(s). Somewhat of a pity that the military Junta didn't feel that they could let aid in to actually reduce the number of people that need to be mourned for...

Monday, 19 May 2008

Finally...

at 9:35pm I get to relax for the evening!
After somewhat busy last couple of weekends and v busy last week I skipped psych course this evening to get back here to clean bathroom, unpack, tidy up a bit, do laundry and iron. I knew I had alot of ironing to do but I didn't realise I had quite as much as I had... I started ironing at the start of Bones at 8:30 and finished at the end at 9:30! Not fun. Even with my decent ironing board (had piece of shit for the last 8 months) I still hate ironing :(

And can you believe that I still haven't opened my parcel that arrived last Tues containing external hard drive for my Mac book. That's a task for tomorrow evening I think!

Starting to feel pretty tired at this point of the evening as well. Had the alarm set for 4:05am Sat morning for 4:20am taxi to airport. Even though I'm not known for being a heavy sleeper, and have only slept through an alarm twice in my life, and had set two alarms for Sat morning I still woke up frequently from about 12:15 onwards on Sat morning.. just in case both alarms decided to not work. Ridiculous. Arrived to a very cold (coldest May day in over 30 years!) and very wet Melbourne and was checked in to hotel room by 9:15am. Had lovely weekend shopping, resting, reading, eating and arrived back home at 1am last night. Early night tonight I think!

Sigh...

I'd just love a bar of Cadburys caramel right now... I never ate alot of them but there are just some afternoons that one is called for... and this is one of them!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Wahoo!

I'm off to Melbourne again!! This time I'm on a 6am Sat morning flight (that means 4am rising time) with a midnight arrival back in Welly on Sun night. And staying in nice hotel to boot. Oh yay :) So my relaxed chilled weekend for this weekend has become mad get home and pack, order taxi, shower & wash hair, eat dinner, bed, hopefully sleep and then get up at obscene hour of morning. Unbelievably (or may not so unbelievably), Melbourne which has had temperature in high teens all week and high teens next week has forecast of wind and storms for tomorrow with a grand high of 14 degrees. It seems that while I may like Melbourne it doesn't seem to think the same of me!

Right food... cleaning, sorting and general tidy up next week then!!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Rotorua and volcanoes...

Had a great a weekend up in Rotorua though we weren't in fact there for very long. Headed off from Wellington in the rain on Fri evening after work. It's a fair old distance to Rotorua so we spent Fri night in Taihape and then carried on to Rotorua on Sat morning arriving there at 1:30. To get from Taihape you need to go across the Desert Road which is about 1000m elevation. On a clear day you get a fantastic view of Ruapehu... or so I've been told! That was my 4th drive (2 return journeys) across that road and I've yet to see it. I did get the following
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We were staying in the Princes Gate Hotel which advertises itself as New Zealand's oldest Boutique Hotel. Nice place... definitely old decor but it all seemed to work. The room surprisingly was not freezing cold unlike the night before. In fact, it was decidedly warm and I still haven't quite figured out how that was because even though there was a radiator in the room (I'm shocked at that) it wasn't on. But needless to say I'm not complaining :) After arrival headed off to The Polynesian Spa for a dip in The Lake Spa. It was fab... 4 outdoor pools varying in temperature from 36 degrees C to 42 degrees C. We probably spent about an hour moving between the 4 different pools... it was gorgeous. Weirdly my skin was all tingly at the end of it all but I guess that was due to either the heat and/or the minerals in the water. Needless to say I was wonderfully sleepy all that so I headed back to the hotel for a wee rest :)

I did manage a short walk down to the lake front of Lake Rotorua for sunset. There was an amazing red sky but unfortunately I had real trouble trying to get a decent picture... too many things in the way.
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On Sunday headed back to The Polynesian Spa (it's tough I know but somebody had to do it) after a v disappointing hotel breakfast. We were booked in for 1 hour treatments but your treatment involves you turning up an hour in advance to use the pools (and you can also use them again after if you want). Unlike Saturday it was actually beautifully sunny on Sunday so sitting in the warm water with the sun shining on my face was just bliss! I definitely recommend it :) And all that was followed by a one hour massage... I was a happy indeed!

We'd been thinking of a number of different options for the drive back on Sunday but in the end went with a visit to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Personally I think the name of the place is a bit silly but my God it's a fantastic place to visit!! It just reinforced just how much the earth is a weird and dangerous thing... not to mention smelly (that's the sulphur)! This is a thermal area that has the largest area of surface thermal activity of any hydrothermal system in the Taupo volcanic zone. You have to stick to the paths/walkways as you go around as the place is covered with collapsed craters, boiling pools of mud, water and steaming fumaroles. Pretty wacky and the colours because of the minerals... fab!
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After that we got back in to the car and started on the long drive back to Wellington. As we drove through Taupo we noticed however that it looked as though it was going to be a lovely sunset... and luckily we made it in time to pull in at edge of Lake Taupo to get some photos of a beautiful sky!
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And then it really was back in the car for the drive back to Wellington. In the rain. And as we arrived in to Wellington it really rained! Ah yes... wet and windy Wellington :)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Bookcrossing Kiwi Style

Not long back from a very enjoyable Wellington Bookcrossing meeting in Mac's Brewery. I was a late arrival at 6:15pm but that wasn't a problem and I was soon relaxing at the table with the others enjoying my glass of Pinor Noir (interestingly Mac's Brewery is relatively expensive by local standards, but the wine was nice :) ). I'd say I lasted about 10 mins watching everybody eat their fish & chips before I headed up to order mine. They do a lovely fish even if it's a less than healthy meal!

Lots of books on the table though as I'm still working my way through Sacred Games (see earlier post on this) and have a shelf of books to read I'm not taking anything. In fact I'm taking a break from Sacred Games and reading another Henning Mankell book but I'll be back to finish it after that. We may have a new recruit as well... the waitress clearing our table came back for a couple of books before they were all gone. She's currently staying in Nomads hostel and apparently there's not a great selection of books there.. so it was decided that that might be a good place to wild release again.

Later it was pointed out by somebody at the table that this place did good desserts. Needless to say, not to refer to stereotypes, but if one person at a table of women orders dessert, it wasn't long before we all, bar one, had ordered! This was mixed with lively discussion on Pride & Prejudice -v- Jane Eyre, The Time Travellers Wife (great book or not - not in my view), Dan Brown (awful stuff but very readable.. at least the Da Vinci Code was; the rest were not), and last of course, the movie version of Pride & Prejudice -v- the BBC adaptation. No bonus points for knowing which won :)

And I still have to post about last weekend, just not had chance yet as psych class last night.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Let me psych you out.

Headed out to The Pinnacles and Cape Palliser last Sunday. It's a 2 hr drive to The Pinnacles and then about another 20 mins on to Cape Palliser. This is a beautiful area along the Martinborough coast. Short walk in among The Pinnacles but as we were walking among them no really good pictures unfortunately. It was also hard to get good photos because the sky was just grey/white. Was interesting how just adjusting angle when taking photo to put less sky in meant that picture would be clearer... unfortunately doing that you lose part of what you're trying to capture.


But luckily the sea was just fantastic on Sunday. Some fantastic waves near Cape Palliser and as it was late afternoon (sunset was 5:24pm on Sunday) the sky was gorgeous. Not bright oranges and reds or anything but just interesting because of the clouds. I even went up the scary steps again to the lighthouse. It's beautiful once you're up there there but I just don't like the steps!


Monday evening was the first evening of my practical psychology course in Wellington High School. I turned up at 6:05 for 6:30 start. A bit early I know but I just didn't know how long it would take me to walk down there. It was nice to see that i wasn't the first to arrive. It's the first time that this particular course has been run so we're all aware (we weren't before Mon evening of course) that we're effectively guinea pigs as I guess our feedback will decide how course is going forward. The tutor is, well, interesting but not sure how how long he's actually worked as a psychologist. He did undergrad in psychology then became primary school teacher then social worker then did Masters in psychology and then became concert guitarist and I believe has been doing that for about 20 years. He got back in to psychology following the Peter Ellis case here in New Zealand. I don't know all the details but abuse of psychology - toddlers/children saying they've been abused as a result of suggestion. Since then he's still playing guitar but he's now also a journalist and writing a psychology book. But having said all that at the end of the two hours I came out not quite knowing what, if anything, I'd taken out of the class. A couple of experiments were done that were messed up but I'm putting that down to first class sort of thing. But, he also said one or two things (when we were discussing topics we'll cover in coming weeks) that I'm not sure about. So, I reckon that there's still a good chance that I'll really enjoy this course but there's also a lingering thought that I shouldn't be surprised if I don't :) But definitely looking forward to next Monday!

Heading up to Rotorua for the weekend. Rotorua is well known for its mineral pools. I don't aim to do a lot there other than visit these pools and go for my hour long spa relaxation treatment at the Polynesian Spa on Sun morning :) Sigh... relaxing already!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Margo and Simon on the birth of Rory Grace!
I think I'm getting old... reading that text late this afternoon brought a few tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for you both :)

La Boheme

Just got my ticket for La Boheme on the 15th. Excited :)
What was even better was that I didn't even have to arrange... all done by another, how great is that? There's a bunch of us going from work so should be a fun night. Might be good outing for those new shoes of mine...