Hey all Chch peoples! I am back in dear old Christchurch and would love to start catching up with people but it seems I have forgotten to bring anyone's phone numbers with me :( So please email me your contact details to staraniseisaspiceATgmailDOTCOM.
And Happy New Year to the lot of you. I think this year is shaping up to be a good one.
I am just so so tired. I love my job and I enjoy what I do but right now I am so tired that I do not care even a little bit. I want to lie in the sun and sleep. I want to read a book, do some craft, go for a walk, kiss Mr Rob. I think I need a holiday.
Things to be grateful for 1. My week of horror has ended. This included a visit from one of my main clients to discuss where the project is at and where it will go next, writing and submitting ethics protocols (huge, horrible and I don't want to talk about it anymore) and an interview for my own job.
2. I got my own job and will now be employed for the next three years! Hooray! Also I got a pay rise :)
3. We are starting a new gaming group to play Iron Kingdoms and it should involve lots of role-playing rather than roll-playing.
4. Our new dishwasher has demolished Mt Dishmore.
5. I am having a day at home. This will involve snuggling on the couch with Mr Rob and the puppy.
7. I just found out that Terence Scully has translated Bartolomeo Scappi's 1570 cookbook Opera di Bartomoleo Scappi and it is due to be published this year. I have been looking round for a copy of this book since late last year and now there is going to be an English translation so I don't have to learn Italian. *Happy dances*.
Alright time for the next load of laundry. I tells ya my life is full of excitement.
From my brain to yours This song has been in my brain since I first heard it on Quirky Nomads so now I am going to try and infect yours with it too. So here is nerdcore artist MC Frontalot with Its Pitch Dark.
I am in town and would like to catch up with those I haven't seen yet (and those who I have as well!) so I was thinking beer and pizza and maybe some boardgames would be fun. I don't have transport this trip as the van has died :( so you would all have to come to me.
What: Beer, Pizza and games When: Sunday 13th Jan from 7pm Where: My parents house (I will post the address in a friends only post to follow)
Yes I know I am a very bad LJer and haven't posted anything in about 6 months, so of course the first thing I am going to do is start off with a request. I am flying out of Sydney to NZ on the 9th of January, but because of the early hour at which I am required to check in (6:30am is when I need to be at the airport)I need to travel up to Sydney on the 8th. Are there any Sydneysiders out there who could put me up for the night of the 8th of January? I will buy you dinner/chocolate/beer/wine/food of choice for the privelege of sleeping on your couch.
For all you Chch people, I will be in town from the 9th - 16th of Jan. I know lots of you will be back to work but I hope I can still manage to catch up with everyone. Please email me if you don't have my mobile number.
And now back to slothing around and enjoying the last day of holidays.
We have now shifted into our new house! Hooray! We only lost one couch in the move, it decided to fly off the trailer and roll down the road and is now a little too battered to be let into the house. Fortunately a friend who was helping us move was behind the trailer when it all happened and he stopped and hauled the couch off the road. Gah. Anyway the couch has a new home in the garage and if we throw a rug over it no one will ever know that all the corners have been scraped off (except for you guys and you aren't saying - right? right?). Its pair will end up in the library and we will buy a new couch for the living room. So it wasn't so bad in the end.
The house itself is reasonably comfortable but there are a number of little niggly things to be fixed and some much larger issues to be dealt with in the coming weeks. At the top of the niggly list is putting new washers in the washing machine taps. It is not fun to be dealing with a very leaky washing machine late in the evening when you really want to go to bed and there is a spreading pool of water in the laundry. The other niggly thing is the back door, which I can't open without damaging my hands. I think the snib is sticking, or the handle. Not sure how to fix that yet but I think the internets will probably provide some handy hints. Or someone at Bunnings maybe. The bigger things to deal with are the insulation and the kitchen. Our house is absolutely freezing unless you have the gas heater going continuously and that is going to get very expensive. So this weekend we are off to buy bats for the roof. That should help a great deal initially and then later on we will look at pumping insulation into the walls and double glazing the windows. The kitchen is a much bigger problem than I initially thought and we are going to have to get onto renovating it ASAP. We have only been in the house a week and it is already pissing us off. The cupboards are too narrow, the shelves the wrong spacing, the drawers and too shallow, its cramped, ugly and generally annoying. I think we will be getting people out to give us a quote next week.
I know this sounds all a bit negative but we really are happy to be in our new house. We now have space to breathe and we have a library, a craft room and a spare bedroom. The price of getting these things though was a house that needed renovating and once it is done it will be absolutely beautiful.
Anyway thats enough house blather from me. If you want to come and see it yourself the address will be in a friends only post to follow. Or email me for the address.
Alright I shall now pull myself together and tell you all about it. So, last week (on the same day that we sold our house mind you!) I had an interview. That all seemed to go very well and on Monday I got an email to say that they were impressed with my interview but there were other applicants with better admin skills than me so they had decided to appoint someone else to the position. They then went on to say that they would like me to come over and meet them to discuss other job opportunities that would be better suited to my genetics skills. I wasn't to fussed about missing out on the first job since it wasn't quite what I wanted, I had just applied to get a foot in the door. So I trotted over to their offices today and they offered me 6 months of genotyping and mapping to get experience with mice with the possibility of moving onto a project coordinator position later on when they got further funding. Squeeeeee!!!!! I am very, very happy. It seems that they are genuinely interested in giving me experience and training and developing my skills further. I hope I will enjoy working there, they all seem very nice. I start in a week and a half.
Alrighty I am off to do the happy, happy, happy dance.
Crazy life Things have been happening crazy fast round here the last few weeks and I've hardly had time to catch my breath and think about them.
Anyway on the house front, we finally made exchange on our new house at the beginning of last week, so we now have a few more weeks and the house will officially be ours. Hooray! As for our current house we have had a couple of offers made on it and we are waiting to see what will happen next. People seem to be very keen on our house, mostly because there is almost nothing for sale under $300k. Also we have a beautiful backyard.
On top of all of that we cooked for May Crown on Saturday night. 150 hungry people sitting down for dinner but it all went fabulously well. Food went out hot and on time and the feedback was that it tasted really good. Very happy about all of that.
Then if that wasn't enough I had my very first interview for a real job yesterday. I hope it went well, I answered all the questions, including all the technical ones about screening mutant mice and determining the mutated gene etc etc and now it is a case of wait and see. I would like that job because I think it would be (1) interesting and (2) a foot in the door to do even more interesting work in that area. However, even if I don't get the job I have at least I have now had an interview and will be more prepared for the next one. Practice makes perfect.
Now I just want to sit somewhere quiet for a little while and put my head back together. Oh and do some work on the stupid thesis. It would be good to have at least three chapters finished before starting a real job, four if a miracle occurs and I can actually get myself to write something :/
Progress! It looks like we are finally going forward on the purchase of our house! Hooray, hooray, calloo-callay :) We ran into a few problems over the last couple of weeks with the bank holding everything up and being unsure about giving us a loan because Rob is a contractor. However our lovely mortgage broker went and had a meeting with them and convinced the loans manager that we were a good bet and finally on Monday our loan was approved! It is such a good feeling to know that it has all been sorted (knock wood that nothing else will go wrong). We are expecting to sign the exchange papers on Friday and at that point everything is pretty much final and it is just a matter of waiting for settlement to happen. Of course in that time we will be putting our house on the market and of course cooking May Crown, so its not like we won't have lots of things to occupy us.
Barfy puppy We had a very sick little puppy today. Silly thing got into the compost Rob had put out yesterday and ate some (ewww yuck) and then proceeded to barf it all up again. Just lovely. We ended up taking her to the vet because she was so ill and it was good that we did because she couldn't even keep down water. Poor wee thing has to stay at the vets overnight so they can monitor her and stick her on a drip if necessary. The house is very quiet here without her and the couches seem awfully lonely without a little brown puppy trying to take them over.
Hopefully tomorrow she will be home feeling more like her usual self. We have blocked off access to the compost so we won't have a repeat performance.
UPDATE: The puppy is still at the vets this morning (thursday morning) and looking very sorry for herself. The vet has given her an injection to help settle her tummy and hopefully she will be well enough to come home this afternoon. Otherwise she will have to go on the drip and we will just have to wait some more. That silly puppy has made herself very ill indeed.
As you will see in the photos the house comes with a lot of its original 1970s features still in place but hopefully not for too long! We are already planning some drastic changes like knocking out the wall between the kitchen and dining room, ripping up the vinyl and polishing the floor boards and putting in a new kitchen. There will also be some little jobs that we will do like new light fixtures, changing handles on doors and cupboards, painting doors and windowsills etc, etc. There is also the vegie garden to be prepared and a new bathroom to think about. I'm thinking that there will be a fair bit of renovating adventures covered here over the next few years, hope that it won't bore you all!
More Houseness Thanks to everyone for your good wishes over the house, it is starting to sink in that we are actually going to do this:) Anyway this morning we went to the real-estate agents office and put down the please-don't-let-anyone-else-make-offers-on-the-house bond and signed some paperwork. We now have two weeks to come up with the rest of the money or the house goes back on the market. So monday will be sorting out lawyers and finance and hopefully we will get everything done. Once we have the money we exchange contracts and then we are looking to settle towards the end of May. We could settle before then but since we are cooking May Crown on the 12th of May there is absolutely no freaking way that I will consider moving before then.
I have to say that I am so, so glad that we made the offer last night, otherwise we would have lost the house. Anything under $400k is selling like a hotcake here in Canberra, and since the price was just dropped down to $390k this week, there were quite a number of people viewing the house today and a couple of them tried to make offers. Sad for them we had already been accepted, so they have to go on a waiting list. Now we just have to make sure that we get our finance through in time. Once we have that we can start dreaming and planning about all the redecorating we are going to do :)
Holy moly! Rob and I have just made an offer on a house and it has been accepted!!!!!
If it wasn't for the two glasses of wine I have just consumed I think I would be hyperventilating. This is exciting but freaky but very, very exciting. Don't quite know what to do with myself. Anyway the house we are buying is a 4 bedroom, double garage, big back yard with established fruit trees brick house in Melba. Unfortunately there aren't any photos on the internet. The house needs a serious amount of renovation to make it spectacular but it is perfectly liveable as it is right now and should last us for the next 15 years or so.
Okay time to sit in a little daze and see the world spin.
I never win stuff, except... ...today I did :) Yesterday I gave into temptation and bought myself some crack, I mean the Sims 2, from the new Mac1 store in Civic. As one of their opening gimicks they were giving away 10 iPod shuffles each day and blow me down if they didn't ring me this morning to say that I had won an iPod. It was very nice to win it, even if I don't have much use for it myself (I prefer my 20GB iPod so I can choose what to listen to), but I am sure that Mr Rob will enjoy playing with it.
It's the knit post Over the last year or so I have managed to convert a number of friends over to the knit side, either by teaching them myself or by setting a good example so that they went and found out how to do it from some other source. As part of that I also promised that I would post a bunch of knitting related links so that they could discover the interknit. So for all you knitkids here we go:
Knitty - this is the best knit zine on the internet, lots of free patterns, plus tips, tricks and techniques. It comes out quarterly and the opposite season to us since it is based in North America. This can be an advantage to slow knitters like me because you can prepare for the season ahead.
Magknits - this knit zine comes out monthly and only has patterns. Personally I find the patterns in it a bit blah, but YMMV.
Cast On - This is without a doubt the best knitting podcast out there. Brenda Dayne is funny and lively, plays fantastic music you never heard before, talks about knitting, life, culture, DIY and gets you thinking about making and what that means in a consumerist society.
The Yarn Harlot - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is possibly the most famous knitblogger in the world. She is a woman of incredible energy who has bought us such projects as the knitting olympics and tricoteuses sans frontiers/knitters without borders (who have so far raised over $320,000 for MSF/doctors without borders) all while writing three books about knitting and raising three teenage daughters and knitting some of the most beautiful items I have ever seen.
See Eunny Knit! - This is the knit blog of Eunny Jang. Although she hasn't been posting much recently her blog is worth checking out for the tutorials she has written (see the links on the right hand side of the page) and her free patterns.
Interweave knits - This isn't an internet thing really, but it is my favourite print knit mag. There are usually at least three, if not more things, I would knit from each issue, which is pretty good going since most of the other knit magazines I struggle to find one thing I would consider wearing.
Alright that's it! Well not really it actually as there are hundreds and hundreds of knit blogs out there, not to mention all the other craft blogs. There are now in the order of twenty knitting podcasts floating around plus numerous other craft podcasts. This is just scratching the surface of the information floating around about knitting on the internet. So go have a look, see what you can find and then go knit something.
Fridge and food We have a new fridge, which is nice but I am not very happy that we had to buy it. Last week our old fridge started futzing up and freezing everything inside of it before deciding to never be cold again. I rang some fridge repair people and everyone I talked to was booked up for at least a week :( Of course they would then demand $100 to walk in the door and we would have been lucky to get it repaired for less than $300. So we went and got ourselves a new fridge. Since we bought ourselves a chest freezer the other week we decided that we could go for a straight fridge unit and get a three quarter sized one that we would be able to fit a microwave on. We haven't had a microwave for the last four years since we have had no where to put one. So as annoying as it is to have to fork out for a new frige it will make our kitchen a little more functional.
In a slightly related but mostly on a tangent note, here is a very interesting article about the modern western (read US) diet and why it is sucky. I know that there are several people who read my LJ that are interested in food but probably missed this article on my friend-list. Go check it out, it is long but extremely interesting, and well researched. As a scientist I really appreciated his discussion of the problems with the scientific study of nutrition, which most people are completely unaware of.
Oh and my favourite quote from the article, "if your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognise it as food, don't eat it"
Up, down and up again Yesterday was one of those days that started out good, took a steep nosedive but at the last minute managed to pull itself round to come back for a fantastic finish. So it started out well with a lovely sleep-in, beautiful sunny morning and the promise of an afternoon out at the Cotter for a picnic lunch and swimming with geekintheheat. We headed out to the Cotter at lunchtime, a very pretty drive through the hills going down towards the river, headed towards the assigned meeting spot to find no one there. Oh well we thought, they must be running late, lets just sit and have some lunch I'm sure they'll turn up soon. Only they didn't, because we had gone to the wrong place and because there is no mobile reception down at the river we couldn't find out where the right place was. We gave up after an hour and a half of lunch and taking a walk to see if we could find anyone we recognised. I have to say that it was kind of a disappointing first visit to the Cotter, but I have been promised that we will make another attempt soon to make up for it.
In any case Rob and I decided to salvage the afternoon by taking a trip to CanCon to check out the boardgames. CanCon is the gaming convention that is held here every Australia day weekend. As far as I am concerned the gaming side is a total bust since all the have is wargaming and Magic the Gathering type card games (both big yawns in my book) so the only reason I go is to buy new boargames from Mil Sims . We picked up Ticket to Ride at a very reasonable price, and I think it was well worth it as it was lots of fun to play. The basic premise is that you are competing with your friends to travel to as many US cities as possible by rail over a seven day period. The rules take 5 minutes to learn but there seems to be enough tactics to the game to be able to enjoy a good deal of replayability. A couple that I chatted to at CanCon recommended it as being good for newbies as well as more experienced gamers, and also for being an asthetically pleasing game. Even after one play through I would have to agree with them.
So finding a fun new boardgame certainly lifted the day as did going out for dinner at Wagamama with geekintheheat and her many geeky friends. The food was very yummy, although they left some of the people at our table without their meals for a bit too long and didn't bring out one of the sides for ages, even after being asked about it twice. However, they did make up for it by giving it to us free and giving the guy who ordered it a voucher. Certainly the company and conversation made up for any deficiencies on the part of the restaurant and it ended up being a very enjoyable evening.
Now for more boardgame recommendations. Any of you out there have favourite games you would recommend? My personal preferences are for trading and building games, I generally don't enjoy games where you have to directly fight the other players in battles etc. The couple I mentioned above also recommended Alhambra to me, but did say that it was a game for experienced players and that even after several play throughs they felt they were only just getting the hang of it. Has anyone else played this game? What did you think of it? I don't mind a challenging game but I don't want one where the tactics are near impossible to work out, such as seems to be the case for Clans.
Just a quick update Went to see Miss Potter at the movies today, _by myself_. It seems so utterly decadent to go to the movies by myself, like I'm being a bit selfish keeping the whole experience mine alone. Anyway it was a very sweet movie, and if you are a big sook like me remember to bring your tissues.