A bit wet

22 Jul 2017 10:17 am
vilakins: Vila in cold-weather clothes looking unhappy (weather)
One of the many reasons we moved to Oamaru was the weather. It's a lot drier here than wet, humid Auckland.

The latest storm hit the whole country, but especially the east coast of the South Island, this area particularly badly. Oamaru got over three months of rain in 26 hours. The infrastructure couldn't take it, rivers have flooded their banks, State Highway 1 is closed in many places including downhill from us where it crossed the river, and houses in the North End, a flat coastal area, are flooded, and steep Don Street, one we considered, is now a river with water running under houses.

At first I was pleased to live on a hill - and so far we're all right as the rain continues - but we woke up to see a slip on the hill opposite. There aren't houses on the slope (another reason for picking this place - nice view) but I suspect there are on the flat under it.

We have to go to Christchurch next week, so I hope the roads are open by then.
vilakins: (oamaru 1)
I finally figured out how to get my phone to take decent photos of sunsets without overexposing them. The sunset tonight was spectacular.

Sunset )
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
Due to all the unusual rain, there's a plague of mice here, and we're not the only ones* as I found out at the hardware store when I went today to buy a humane mouse trap. I brought it home and I've already got a mouse inside it, but I've had to hide it as the cats are far too interested. I plan to release the mouse in the country, well away from houses. Maybe I'll go there tonight so it's empty for the next one.

Ugh. I'm so over trying to chase mice around the house and trap them before Ashley kills them, having been a feral kitten once; Jasmin just plays with them, and Sebastian is totally uncertain what to do with them, just looking at them a but nervously.

Right, I'm off with this one.

* I know sallymn in Australia is suffering too, even getting mice running across her office desk. Bloody wet weather.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
I suppose I should, you know, actually post instead of just reading and commenting. I've felt very blah lately for several reasons and though I have some cool photos, some of them taken on the 14 separate days of summer, the effort of posting just seems too much. I've been taking refuge in reading, knitting, and painting what I can. Re the last, the downstairs sunroom looks amazing.

The weather

We never got a summer this year, and many places have had over a month's rain in a day for several days running causing terrible floods. I'm taking vitamin D3 and K2 pills because the lack of sunshine really gets me down. It's normally dry and sunny here. OK, we get isolated nice days but that's it. I'm hoping the weather comes right in winter; the last one was lovely. At least the frequent rain is light, not like the cary subtropical stuff in Auckland.

And now the central country is about to get battered and flooded by Cyclone Debbie. A friend just posted that she had a scary drive through landslides, worrying that one would hit her as she dodged rocks, so it must have arrived up there.

The house

My friend [personal profile] zoefruitcake said about her house that "I'm starting to hate living here as I just can't stand this constant living in limbo, waiting for one thing to happen before the next and then the next. I want it all done now and I'm losing patience," and that expresses how I feel so well.

We can't paint the bedrooms and upstairs sunroom till the holes in the walls are fixed (and one huge one made by Greg's brother trying to get at the wiring requires a carpenter), we can't fix the downstairs bathroom and loo till we have a shower upstairs, and we can't have that put in till we pull up the toxic old lino. Greg's too busy to do that and I won't. Also the so-called study is full of boxes we can't unpack till we load the stuff in the storage room into the high cupboards that need ladders to get to and I hate ladders.

We've only managed to do up one room in the 9 months we've been here, and that was a filled-in porch (downstairs sunroom) made of limestone so it was easy to patch damage and repaint. It looks amazing now. I want the rest of the place done up in those light colours, but first a lot of the walls downstairs need replastering, and that can't be done till the rewiring is completed, and Greg's brother hasn't been here for weeks so we'll have to get someone local in. It feels neverending. Right now we're fixing holes in the guest room so I can seal and paint. That will be something, especially with more guests coming.

I also want my computer with all its files and apps instead of this work laptop, and a proper desk instead of a tiny sewing table. :-(
vilakins: (fireworks)
Our neighbour Michael the Bookbinder invited us to a new year's party. He's the one who dresses in Victorian clothes every day...

... even when clearing the gutters on his house.


He invited us to a new year's party. Photos including Noisel the cat )

I discovered from all Michael's books on the Napoleonic wars that he's a wargamer with thousands of tiny hand-painted soldiers and equipment from the period; we spent some time looking at those and he was impressed with how much I knew. I used to wargame but my period was the WW2 North African campaign and I used boards and counters. I wish I still had them now.

I'm back

25 Nov 2016 04:16 pm
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (vila b&w)
Thanks for your support and best wishes, all who commented - the operation went well and I'm back home after two nights in hospital in Dunedin. I slept and read most of yesterday (yay for my Kindle) but I'm feeling much more lively today and haven't even had a lie down which is a huge improvement.

And while I was away, the solar installation was completed and is up and running. :-)
vilakins: (attolian me)
This Roman me icon has given me ideas for next year which will include that wig and necklace and should be cooler. The striped jacket I wore was far too hot in the sun.

Sunday was the fete held in the Victorian Precinct which was closed off to cars. I only spent three hours there in the afternoon so I missed a lot of the street entertainment - check out these excellent photos on Facebook to see more than I did (plus more parade photos).

I can offer Morris dancers for [personal profile] watervole, acrobats, and Queen Victoria with a difference.

My photos )
vilakins: (cricket)
The sun came out for the noon parade though it was raining in the morning. Oamaru weather, you finally came through!

Parade photos )

In the evening I went to the murder mystery dinner which was great fun. Most of the diners/audience were in costume and the people at my table were very friendly. The teenager beside me thought I looked like the 5th Doctor, hence the icon. :-) I took a photo of fellow diners but it didn't come out; that's been happening lately. The phone gets a new SD card tomorrow.
vilakins: (poppy)
Our garden continues to surprise me with new flowers (more photos another time) but yesterday I discovered we have several herbs (lemon balm, mint, fennel, rosemary, and possibly more) - and poppies that are just coming out. Very appropriate for armistice day, so I took a photo today in the rain.

It looks a bit sad and wilty in the wet but I suppose that's also appropriate for the day.

We had solar panels put on our roof today, the penultimate stage in the setup. This is all a good thing but I've been so stressed with the shouty (but nice) guys clumping around on the roof and inside for three days that I've had to escape to cafes with my Kindle for some peace and quiet. An official meter guy does the final connection next week and we'll have power, but only in real time till we get a battery. Solar power gets sold back to the grid here at a ridiculously low rate so we plan to keep all of ours for our own use eventually.

The panels had stickers saying "Warning: generates electricity when exposed to light". Well, I should hope so!
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
About two months ago I got a hernia at the incision site of the operation I had in March (the one it turned out I didn't need). It's a big one and after a CT scan yesterday, they're operating to repair it on the 23rd of this month.

I have three chronic conditions, one from when I was a baby, and the others developed more recently, and they make operations and anaesthesia more dangerous. I had to stay overnight on the high care unit last time due to really low blood pressure. I never mention these things as I refuse to be defined by medical nouns (I'm not a XXX or a YYY; I'm a person that happens to have those conditions). I usually feel fine but I'm only kept alive by drugs which I prefer to forget.

So much for the person who didn't think my comments had any validity because I'm "able-bodied".

I really hope this will sort things out and I'll get through the operation well and recover quickly with no more complications. I'm fed up with all this, and nervous.

At least I have the week-long Victorian fete next week to take my mind off it all. I have my outfit ready: tan trousers, white shirt, striped blazer, and a straw boater - I'm going to be cross-dressing a la Three Men in a Boat as I'm not one for dresses and bonnets. Garden parties, parades, steam trains, lots of cool things happening!

There will be photos though I've been slack about posting ones I've already taken. I'll try to clear the recent backlog this week.
vilakins: (spring (kowhai))
... well and truly. (For those northerners who are puzzled that it's spring here, check out the effect of axial tilt on a planet's seasons.) Most of the blossom has gone from our garden by now because I am slack at doing the photo thing (and Flickr has changed how to embed photos, thanks very much, Flickr), but the garden still smells amazing. All photos taken 2-3 weeks ago, but there you go. Oh, and we do have kowhai in our garden, as shown in the icon. :-)

Blossom downhill )

Uphill garden and cats )
vilakins: (lazy)
My active reading lists have dwindled so much, I've consolidated all my LJ and DW people (non-community-or-feed) filters and even then they're pretty thin.

But then, I haven't been posting much either, partly because of that, and partly because I take ages to get round to cropping, resizing, and uploading the backlog photos I have planned to post. Maybe I'll work backwards from the most recent.

In the meantime:
  • Coolness: The weather's been dry (so not like Auckland) and the blossoms here have been stunning - we get four seasons, unlike the hot-and-wet and cold-and-wet of Auckland. ;-) And on Saturday night when we were on our way out for dinner, there was a huge orange blood moon over the sea, with wisps of cloud making black stripes, a tiger moon!
  • Victorian festival: coming up in November. My friend from way back who moved here this year too showed me all her Victorian gear, mostly made of old curtains, but I think I'll go for the Three Men in a Boat look with my striped blazer and a boater if I can find one online. I don't do dresses.
  • Writing: I haven't managed to do any writing or art, but come November I'll try to get back into the long fic of doom when picowrimo comes up. I did meet a pro writer who wants me to join an international writers' group which does a lot of e-publishing. Hmmm. I'd have to have an original novel idea that's not one of the ones I've run in my head for private entertainment as they're a bit derivative, dating from teenage years. And yeah, so not ready for that with all the problems here. Plus she's terrifyingly brilliant and confident, and a bit scary. But fascinating!
  • House: We still haven't unpacked completely, and with less storage than we had in Auckland, it's getting hard to figure out where things should go (and that includes Out). There's also a huge amount of work to do as only the two sun rooms can be painted right away; the rest of the walls need stripping and replastering at a guess, and it's hard to get people in to advise. At least now I have some recced names which might mean they'll actually show up and do  stuff. This is all up to me as Greg's away most of each week in Christchurch at a client site.
  • Klutziness: We went to Timaru to look at lighting because there aren't any lighting shops here, and that's what I was doing, looking up at the lights when I tripped over a stand. I hit the floor, bashing my knee and a finger, but the worst part was that my left show got ripped off without coming undone and at least one tow got broken. This has happened before. There's nothing to do but tape them together and put up with it but it's been almost a month now. :-( If I'm not careful and bang my foot or walk on uneven ground, it hurts.
Anyway. Various photos to come. [slopes off now to have a cup of tea and a read]
vilakins: (winter)
We're still unpacking and trying to organise where things go in a house with half the storage. This is complicated by like things not being packed with like, or even things which were on the same desk being packed together. I've found most of my computer gear and eventually the cables, but so far the rest eludes me. And as the study is full of unpacked boxes, there's nowhere to put my desk anyway. So the decluttering continues, and I thought I'd done a good job of that before we left. Now it's extreme ruthlessness time.

The house is lovely and sunny and warm which is a good thing as the pond down the hill is frozen and they're predicting snow! SNOW! Not since I lived in Germany have I seen snow in a town. Not that it'll stay long here by the sea. Greg is nervous that the power might go off so he's laid in lots of firewood. But then, fiddling with the fire has become a favourite pastime. The cats enjoy it too.

Cool things about Oamaru
  • The local supermarket has baristas and coffee cup holders in the trolleys.
  • Excellent cafes and restaurants.
  • The local cinema is small, but has four digital screens with leather loungers and sofas - we went to see Dough and were in a room that seated maybe 20. They do 3D too PLUS they have a steampunk Millennium Falcon built of found parts in the foyer. Next time I'm taking my phone to get a photo.
  • We were in the hardware store when a friend I've known since high school rushed up to me and hugged me. Was she on holiday here? No, she moved here in April. She'd been living in Dunedin and I hadn't seen her for a few years. SO COOL! We're already planning to do some of our comedy routines at an upcoming concert.
  • There's a newcomers' group who meet for coffee at the Opera House, games evenings, book club, and walks in the park below us. Everyone's super-friendly, like everyone else here, and though most come from elsewhere in the country, there are people from the US, Hungary, and Pakistan.
  • We went to the monthly games evening last night, taking Rummikub, a favourite Israeli game. The hosts have so many games, they fill four bookcases. I thought we were a bit OTT with about 20 games. My friend came too and it was huge fun with fun people - I'm so going again.
  • The medical practice I signed on with has four doctors, two of whom are Americans. The one I saw for a checkup last week turned up at the games evening - small town! The other one I don't know but she's Dr Liberatore. :-D
That all makes up for the small library which hardly has any SF and makes me sad because I'll have to go the ebook route which could get expensive.
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
... but surrounded by boxes and chaos. Items, whether breakable or extremely not, are wrapped in so many layers of paper, they're three times their size and unrecognisable. We were searching for the electric jug and things we thought were the same size were things like glasses. This means a very large number of boxes piled in almost every room. We slept here last night but I was awake for a while worrying about everything we have to do.

We've unpacked the kitchen stuff and have only just found the box with the electric jug and the cat biscuits - in the same box which didn't make sense as I used to keep their food in the laundry, but I was so relieved since we're picking the little guys up tomorrow morning. It doesn't feel like home yet but you know about cats and boxes.

The cats...
... arrive at Dunedin Airport tomorrow, and we'll take a day off unpacking to be with them. Ha, I was just typing here and saw a tabby approaching out of the corner of my eye and thought it was Ashley out of habit. I'd left the back door open and it was Noisel from next door!

Our old home...
... went on the market today! Doesn't it look amazing (and after all that painting and stripping back to wood etc, it should)! Of course photos always look better than reality, they know how to make rooms look huge with angles, and the staging makes the best of any place, but it really is a lovely private house and I did enjoy living there. I won't miss the humidity,  the traffic, and te ridiculous cost of living in Auckland though, and I have to say the weather here is gorgeous: blue skies and sunny and warm once the sun's up (but scarf and mitt time when it's not). I took some photos before the packers came and they're much more realistic.

Oamaru...
... is friendly and quirky and has great cafes and restaurants. So far I've seen three men dressed in tweed outfits complete with waistcoats and tweed flat caps, a steampunk rifle mounted in the Steam Cafe, and a woman in the bank with short, spiky magenta hair with a huge paper flower in it, and bright gypsy-style clothes. Hey, I like this place! As for the steampunk, I already have a leather jacket and pilot's helmet; I just need the goggles, a fob watch, and a raygun to be pretty much ready for the November steampunk festival.

I need a new local icon instead of the Auckland one I used. It will probably be steampunk.
vilakins: (winter)
We got here two nights ago, but our furniture should arrive today. In the meantime we're in the Bookbinder's Retreat, a tiny but cosy place. We spent most of yesterday cleaning the house. Empty houses are a bit sad, look smaller than they are, and show all their flaws without contents to distract. I will have to paint all the things but not right away.

The weather is like it was last August when we were down here: clear and sunny during the day so you can eat at outside cafe tables and enjoy the warmth, but almost freezing (two degrees above) at night. I will need to unpack all my woollies when our stuff gets here.

If it does, tomorrow will be madly unpacking and setting up the minimum for our comfort and the cats' welcome to their new home; we pick them up at Dunedin Airport on Friday morning. I can't wait to see them, though I'\\we've quickly made friends with Noisel* (I think that's the spelling going by how Michael says it), a magnificent and very friendly tabby who visits our garden. I hope he and our cats get on well.

* Michael said it was predictive text for "mongrel", though I'm not sure how. It doesn't seem to be a word.
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
Auckland confirmed our decision to leave it when the grass by our driveway was so wet that I almost got my shoes sucked off by the mud. Then when I hit the road to Hamilton, an hour after leaving I was inching along the motorway and still in Auckland. A few years ago I'd be almost in Hamilton by that time. No wonder so many people are leaving for the regions with traffic gridlock having got so much worse in the last couple of years, and of course the expense of living there.

We spent the first night in Hamilton with my sister, then spent most of yesterday driving to Greytown to stay with friends. Today has been the first relaxing day for a couple of weeks, being able to sleep late and have a leisurely brunch in town. We then wandered round the Greytown antique, garden, and retro bike shops. I bought an art deco tray and Greg got leather bicycle clips and a coffee cup holder for his bike. One shop owner said he'd left Auckland 7 years ago and all he missed was the sea. I'll miss more than that, but there are more new things I'll enjoy. :-)

After dinner (Malaysian, I think: yay) we'll head off to Wellington and the night ferry. We disembark in the early morning and drive to Oamaru, about 7 hours not including stops. The weather is miserable and grey and wintry but I'm hoping it won't be too wet; I want to see the countryside and enjoy this road trip.

I just rang the cattery and was relieved to hear that the girls are happy and settled, and Sebastian is still very shy but is now eating. Only a few more days till we see them again when they'll get lots of consolong cuddles and attention.

Update

22 Mar 2016 05:07 pm
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
I should have posted before this but I haven't been online much at all.

The op went well on Thursday, being keyhole to my relief. I spent the rest of the day and night in the high-dependency unit as my blood pressure was so low, then was moved to my room on Friday. These days they get you eating and out of bed almost right away, and walking bigger distances around the hallways each day. I was so much better by Sunday morning, they sent me home. I knew all that weight training would pay off!

The food was delicious, all cooked to order, but why do hospitals serve margarine to spread on toast? I refuse to eat that ghastly artificial crap. That's my only reservation though. The nurses were just lovely, all from different places like China, Ireland, the Philippines, Denmark, India...

So now I'm up and out of bed just about all day, taking mild painkillers when needed. For some reason I have a sore lower back, maybe because I'm using different muscles for support. I have to say, every day I feel better than the last. Not that my appetite's come back properly yet.

imhilien, thanks so much for the cute card with a knitted Gromit on it! OK, I know according to the card he's called Boofle, but he's Gromit to me!

I've read several books and done a bit more on the baby blanket, but so far no writing as I'm just taking it very easy. Re the books, if you like fantasy, do check out Brian McClellan's Powder Mage trilogy which I am sad to have finished. It's a well-thought-out world with characters I really cared about and was sorry to say goodbye to.

Thanks to all of you for your good wishes!
vilakins: (nervous)
I know I said I'd post more often but I've been putting it off because of Things. Lots of Things. These ones.

The house
We're moving to Oamaru this year (sometime after April) and are finally doing all the things to the house I wanted done for years. YEARS. We have a new kitchen benchtop and have painted our old grey tongue-and-groove cupboards and put new handles on so they look almost new and very smart. Next up is replacing the tiles (the previous owners never even bothered to tile behind their oven and we have a smaller one). We now have new carpet in two rooms and on the landings to replace the crappy old dark brown stuff. Still to do are the bathrooms (new basins and taps, reline one shower). A lot of this I've had to do look after myself because Greg's been away for a funeral, a wedding, a conference in Seattle, and this week another funeral; more on that below.

And oh joy, it'll start all over again in Oamaru as I plan to rip up all the carpet and oil the lovely wooden floors under them, completely replace the ancient kitchen, and add a small en suite. Plus paint various walls at some point.

The visitor
When we went down to look at houses (and buy one) we stayed at a B&B and got to know the owner well. He's a retired guy who does painting and other handyman stuff so Greg got him up to paint our house because even paying for flights, he's a lot cheaper than Auckland tradespeople. The only thing is, he only eats the plainest food and all the meals I'd planned I couldn't serve. Oy. He didn't even like the wholegrain bread we use. He also has plain taste in TV so he and Greg are watching a doco about trains right now and I'm in here biting the posting bullet. So there you go.

Through no fault of Doug's, Sebastian the wimp cat is scared of him (and the plumber and carpet layers etc etc) but at least he's starting to venture inside so that's a relief.

Greg's family
Greg's mother has dementia and the family get rung several times a week because she's: 1) wandering; 2) reporting her car stolen (she doesn't have one); 3) trying to get her house, now demolished after the Christchurch earthquakes, moved to a new area; 4) complaining that she has to live in someone else's house (it's hers); 5) telling the police "the boys haven't come home"; 6) telling the police her daughters have been in and wrecked the house (nothing has ever happened, it's always tidy); and so on. And now she has been diagnosed with cancer, having smoked for most of her life. This week she's been put into respite care. Not that Greg's brother, the one with power of attorney, bothered to tell anyone so everyone else was frantic last night thinking she'd wandered off and got lost or injured.

Greg's aunt, who has had cancer for years, died today, a couple of months after an old family friend went. It just goes on.

My job
I resigned effective the end of this month and am training a replacement who seems to take ages grasping the various processes and paying proper attention to detail. I am happy to Skype and share screens with her which has been a good way to teach the marketing person how to do website updates, but her home connection is so crap and slow, I have to go into the office every morning to train her in person. We're both meant to be working from home and I was enjoying being able to do that. Seriously, having to get properly dressed and show up every morning is NOT FUN. Plus it's really hot in the office with no aircon or fan. Blecch.

My health
The biggie. Remember when I tripped and cut my head open last August? I had to go to hospital to get stitches and they kept me in overnight for observation, an MRI, and X-ray, all of which were fine. However the blood tests showed I was anaemic so they had a look to see why a couple of months later and took two bits out. One was fine; the other wasn't. So I have to have a larger bit out next week, and if that's fine, ll's all good; if it's not, then it will be "mild" chemo. What scares me though is the long list of potential complications of the surgery which are only 5% likely, but still. I have to keep telling myself that there's a 95% probability they'll do a keyhole and I'll be home in a couple of days.

Actually, tripping over, the doctor tells me, very likely saved my life. So that's good.

So yeah, lots of stress.

I did plan to write my trope bingo stories while Doug's here but yeah, I'm just reading and knitting, both of which help me relax and forget about next week.

What am I knitting, you ask? (Or probably not.) My very first baby blanket for 2-month-old Quinn, the latest addition to my own extended family. My blanket (this pattern) is charcoal and white - no pastels for me or Quinn who was wearing black-and-white striped cotton overalls when I met him.

I think that covers pretty much everything.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (stars)
We're off to Star Wars shortly for the 12:30am (yes, am) showing, and I'm ready with my new Rebel Alliance pendant. :-D Once again this will be at the Lux (luxury cinema with recliner seats and snacks and coffee delivered to said seats). Because: no kids, no kicking of seats, no babies!

I know I haven't posted for ages and didn't even take part in the November [livejournal.com profile] picowrimo, but Things have been going on. I will explain soon.

But in the meantime, STAR WARS!
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
Oamaru is a great place: a fraction of the rain here, great weather, beautiful Victorian limestone buildings, friendly people, excellent amenities, and there are no mosquitoes and flies in summer. Or insane traffic. I can't wait to move there!

Our offer on this house is about to go unconditional, though we won't be moving for a few months yet as we have to do some alterations here (kitchen and bathroom) and sell our current place. It was built in 1927 of the beautiful Oamaru limestone and looks out over the Oamaru Gardens and sea, and you can even see the snow on the alps in the other direction. We'll rent it out till we move down; apparently there's a shortage of rental places there. Once we do, there's some work to be done, but it's worth it.

I have some cool photos (incl. the Steampunk Museum) but I lack the energy to edit and post them. Oh, and all the streets are named after British rivers. Our new place is in Stour Street (which rhymes with "tour", not "sour"). For B7 fans, Avon Street is on a hill with magnificent views (I took a photo) with a B&B called Federation House a couple of blocks down the hill. :-) We considered staying there, but instead chose a much smaller place, and this worked out well as we made friends with the owner who is also a builder; we'll be hiring him to do some work.

In unrelated news, I bought something called ginger nuts from the supermarket last week. No, not the dunky biscuits, but nuts coated in ginger, and they were so yummy I polished the whole lot off this afternoon.
vilakins: (own goal)
We had to cancel the trip as early Wednesday morning I tripped over in the dark and cut my head open, stunning myself. I was taken to hospital where I had stitches, an MRI scan and X-rays, neither of which showed any problems but they kept me in for two days for observation.

Man, I had cabin fever after a few hours; I'm so glad Greg brought my Kindle in.

Do we'll be going down in 2 or three weeks to look around. Yeah, I'm so pissed off at myself for being such a stupid klutz.

I heard it might be snowing down there! I haven't lived anywhere it snowed since Germany, and having four seasons will be wonderful, not to mention a LOT less rain.
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
I realised that I haven't posted for a shockingly long time though I've been reading and commenting. I also haven't taken part in the two months of picowrimo, nor am I doing the current month of naarmamo. OK, three months of daily posts (and loads of commenting on everyone else's work) is a bit much in the miserable depths of winter, but I've also been very distracted.

Because:
We've decided to move to Oamaru, a small coastal town in the South Island. Why? Because Auckland is incredibly expensive, moving is a way of actually having money to spend, I've had my hours cut back, Greg and a partner (a guy we've both worked with) are starting up a new venture I'll be able to work for along with my current work, and besides, Oamaru has a lovely climate and is already set up for fibre - we'll need fast internet to work from home.

Tomorrow we're flying down to look at properties and other stuff we'll need to know about. The move isn't going to happen right away, but if we find a house we like, we can rent it out while we put this old place into slightly better order to sell. It's a lovely place with beautiful private grounds and I'll miss it, but the tired (original) kitchen and bathrooms need a bit done to be acceptable. That was something we'd been intending ever since moving in but were never able to manage.

What else? Sebastian had an injured leg and had to wear the Cone of Shame and Jasmin had her 7th birthday last week. I'll post photos when we get back next week; I've got some accumulated.
vilakins: (holiday vila)
We're off for our first holiday away from home in three years tomorrow. Greg was given two free nights in a lake-front hotel in Queenstown along with flights and a rental car for being 10 years at his company, so we're basing our holiday around that. After that it's a night in Christchurch (staying with Greg's mother who has Alzheimer's so that'll be hard going) and an early start the next day to catch the wonderful Coastal Pacific to Picton. A ferry will then take us to Wellington because, sigh, Greg has to work there on Friday while I meander about the city, probably spending most of the day at the Te Papa national museum.

So not a particularly restful holiday, and I'm a bit nervous about driving around the Queenstown area as tourists who can't handle the roads in the area have been having or causing fatal crashes there recently. One of Greg's colleagues who was there a couple of weeks ago (on the same deal) said tourists kept stopping in the middle of the road to take photos. :-( We plan to visit the Clyde dam (probably not a tourist attraction, I hope) because I like dams and bridges and all large engineering projects and maybe Alexandra which might be dicier as it's a pretty place overseas visitors might go for. Plus there's a steamboat trip on the lake. :-D

I'm just sorry we won't be in Christchurch long enough to see the new cheetah cubs at Orana Park, but hey.

We have to put the cats in the cattery in an hour or so which always upsets me. It's the worst part of going away and the best part of coming back.

vilakins: (hurley)
I went to look at the national SF and Fantasy convention's site, only to find this in the first paragraph:
With a heavy emphasis on Steam Punk and Cosplay, the Convention never the less caiter's for the professional writers of Science Fiction.

Dude.

And I'll now vent about the highly paid new marketing person at work who puts apostrophes in all her plurals. All of them. So far I'm biting my tongue but I'm going to have to tell her at some point that I'll have to proof-read anything she wants to send outside the office. I'm just not sure how to go about that.

At least she's not doing it to verbs - so far.
vilakins: (egad!)
I saw this on FaceBook: 10 signs you were obsessed with LiveJournal. Only numbers 1 (You bought a premium account just so you could have more icons), 8 (You had a love/hate relationship with image hosting sites), and 10 (Your LJ friends became real friends - YESSS!) really applied to me. #8 still does apply to Dreamwidth. Having to resize, upload, then link photos is a right pain and one of the reasons I keep putting it off, so I've decided I'll restrict pic-heavy posts to LJ because of sheer galloping laziness. Even though it will store said pics on LJ's execrable Crapbook.

In other news it's back to work tomorrow and this is very depressing, also because the offices aren't air-conditioned and it's very hot very early in summer; usually this sort of heat is February weather. Plus my work laptop's solid state drive went belly up just before the break, Greg thinks because of the heat, but surely they're used in hotter countries than this. Anyway, it'll take me a while to get the rebuilt laptop back to the way I like it. At least I had a daily backup.

Work: DO NOT WANT.

[livejournal.com profile] imhilien and I went to see The Hobbit: Battle of 5 Armies in 3D this morning, me for the second time. Not enough Bilbo but I have to say I love the 3D. Afterwards we went for lunch and decided to have pancakes. "But I don't want eggs or bacon," I said, regarding the listing with misgivings:

From memory: Pancakes with scrambled eggs, bacons (sic), banana, maple syrup, ice cream, cream.
Most of the brunch items had bacons. :-P

[livejournal.com profile] imhilien was sure they were just options, but nope. I asked for banana with no bacon, and got the puzzled question, didn't I want the scrambled eggs? In the end we got our sweet pancakes plus some nice boysenberry preserve, but seriously, who would eat such a strange taste mishmash?
vilakins: (summer (beach))
Yes, I've been slack. Slack all round about posting, writing, you name it.

Work's been a bit fraught lately and today was worse than usual. The run-in I had with a colleague about her rudeness got, as always, turned back on me. Sigh. Note to self: It's always my fault. Second note: keep feelings to yourself. Not doing so will never work out.

Anyway.

Things I have yet to post:
  • all the lovely spring photos I took (even though it's now summer, i.e. hot and sticky if mostly grey)
  • photos from the air show two weeks ago which was on a gorgeous summer's day
  • photos from the very cool upholstery course I went on last Sunday
And tonight I'm off to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 12:01am, yes, one minute past midnight which is the first public showing in the world. As usual we'll be in the luxury cinema and will order food and coffee to be delivered to our adjustable leather reclining seats. A pity the dragon earring I ordered hasn't turned up yet.

In the meantime I have to catch up with OUaT.

vilakins: (delta)
When we woke up yesterday morning there was no power over a huge swathe of the city which was a bit annoying as we couldn't make espresso coffee or a hot breakfast. It got more than a bit annoying though as the day went on and we shivered in the 14C of the current antarctic blast. I read with a blanket over me and Greg took to bed with his radio for most of the afternoon. I have a camping stove that went all round Europe with me so we could boil water, but in the evening we drove to a suburb with power and had some dinner. That drive was the first time I'd been warm all day.

The power's still out today but it came on at work so that's where I am. I heard home should have power late tonight but I'm not holding my breath after all the other false predictions.

And what do we got for compensation? Maybe $50 but probably zilch. Why yes, I'm somewhat pissed off to say the least.

I have to say though, that the Kindle's great for reading after dark. [hugs Kindle]
vilakins: Vila in cold-weather clothes looking unhappy (weather)
Last night Auckland was lashed by the worst gales in 40 years, up to 145kph - and I managed to sleep through most of it (with the help of earplugs, admittedly). I'm glad I did as I'd have been lying there rigid with nervousness about living on the top of a hill.

Trees came down, houses were damaged, they even closed the harbour bridge for a time because a truck and trailer were blown over and the bridge was swaying too much, and 90,000 houses (according to the latest report) in the area lost power. I'm glad to say we were fine; I've woken up before a tree in the driveway which had to be cleared before I could get the car out.

Photos here.

Today however was amazingly sunny and calm, though I had to negotiate fallen branches and wheelie-bins as I walked to work. Then in the afternoon the power went off for the whole suburb with no explanation - it can't have been weather - and when my laptop battery gave up, I was released early. Bonus!

I might even have done some writing.
vilakins: Vila in cold-weather clothes looking unhappy (weather)
Whaddaya know - another post!

We had a company planning day yesterday, held down at Westhaven Marina. When I woke, I could hear howling wind and rain, and suspected it wouldn't be the pleasant seaside day we were hoping for. I'd intended to travel along the waterfront via Tamaki Drive but I could see the traffic heading that way wasn't moving so tried another route down toward the sea. That was blocked too so I had to take to the motorway. And that was scary enough in driving rain and 130kph winds that rocked the car. I took an hour to get to the marina; it should have been 20-25 minutes. The company directors however had started a lot earlier and actually made it to the waterfront, a mistake which made their journey two hours. Some of us spent the morning barefoot as we'd got soaked from the knees down just getting inside even though we'd parked right outside the building.

Yep, this was the sort of storm they predicted recently that was a bit of a fizzer. Where were the warnings this week?

What was happening on Tamaki Drive that caused traffic chaos?

This! )

The day started an hour late but we got everything done, then had dinner at Billfish; cajun spicy fish and salad for me; yum! I was exhausted after storm and full-on talk and presentations and was looking forward to bed, but when I got there, the almost solid smell in the kitchen/dining area (which I had to pass to get to the stairs) drove me back into the living room.

It was Jasmin's rat. She brought in a big one about three nights ago and released it in the kitchen and it promptly ran behind the dishwasher. We'd hoped it had got out the hole in the floor for the pipes but no. Greg had the dishwasher out, then the fridge, and finally found it behind the oven. Ugh.

Today is sunny and calm. I hope it stays that way; I know two lots of people who are camping out over the break.
vilakins: (autumn)
I've been slack updating, but work's been somewhat stressful since I had to get heaps done before taking next week off, what with the new website launch approaching. We couldn't resist the chance of taking the three days between Easter and Anzac Day to get 10 days off, and I suspect a lot of the country has done the same.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago on the way to the library, I passed a classic crime scene: police tape, cars, and a guy standing there in one of those white non-contaminating outfits. The first one I've actually seen. It was by some pensioner housing, and I heard a few days later that a 77-year-old had killed a 70-year-old. I don't know what it was about but the killer had anger issues and not much English which might have made it easier to communicate with a knife.

Daylight saving went off around the same time and that always makes me feel sad. Even though it's still warm, coming home in the dark drives it home that winter is coming. Long, grey, wet, lacking in bright festive spots, its only advantage is the absence of flies and mozzies.

But: ten days off! Maybe I'll even write my trope bingo stories.

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