Friday, January 17, 2014

The Cabin In The Lupins at Lake Ohau

The weekend I was in the South Isl in December, I went with a bunch of The Authoress's friends to a log cabin at Lake Ohau.  It was a crazy cool building - I've never been in a log cabin before and the complete solidity of the structure astounded me.

The weather was practically perfect, and if it hadn't been for the fact that I had a massive amount of work I was supposed to be doing (I'd thought the place had internet access...nope.  No writing retreat for me) and the horrific hayfever - it would have been idyllic.

There was a wee copse behind the cabin, and a path through the lupins and woods to the wee Lake Middleton.

I walked around Lake Middleton (there was a tiny bit of bush-bashing involved) one afternoon, but mostly kicked back with my kindle on the deck.

I know the lupins make for gorgeous photography (The Hobbit!) but Christ they're a choking weed.  Central Otago through to rural Canturbury is covered in them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The House Elf Theory

Went down to Wellington from my last stint in Auckland for 2013, then Dunedin for the Authoress' PhD graduation (Whoop!), then Ohau, then Cust (4hr drive), then Christchurch (briefly - for bus), then back to Dunedin (6 hour bus), then back to Wellington, then I bussed up to Rotorua (~8hrs) & got picked up by The Lovely Mother to drive back to Ohope.

It's exhausting just remembering it.

The Saturday before I left I caught up with a Honours student from my old PhD lab, he was in Auckland with his lovely gf for a powerlifting competition - they're living and working in Sydney, so the traitor was representing Australia.  I went along to thrown in my support and to assuage my curiosity - I was fully expecting oiled bodies and general hilarity.  In actuality it was very sport-like, serious and competitive (top photo - dude breaks world record easy-peasy).  'Power Lifting' is three things - squat, bench press, and dead lift; and they have 3 goes at each, increasing lifted-weight at each.  You win if your combined lift-total is higher than everyone else's.

On the way up to Lake Ohau for that weekend, we stopped in Oamaru for lunch and I saw the Steampunk quarter for the first time.  Its very impressive, and the extra details make the buildings exceptionally beautiful.

The second half-week I was hoping to catch up with a bunch of science people in Dunedin, a couple of whom were only in town for the Health Sci grad that weekend, but ended going up to Christchurch instead, and then hanging with the Crazy One-Builder One combo for my last evening.  It was weird catching the bus in the centre of Christchurch - I hadn't been back since the boxing day earthquake, and the mess that remains still, is incomprehensible.

Dunedin was gorgeous, as ever.

Both times in Welly I caught up with The Doctors' Married, on the return version we saw The Hobbit at the fancy-dancy Gold Lounge Theatre with dinner delivered to out recliners and it was awesome.  If the third movie continues the trend (of the second outshining the first) it will be hella-amazing.  TDM are now both ensconced in New York with snow and postdocs.  I'm looking forward to visiting at some point.

And finally - this is The Crazy One's dog, Maddie.  TCO's brother has a theory that she's a house elf that was given clothes; I think he has a valid point there.  House elves who get given clothes, and then can't find work in the Wizarding world, retreat to the Muggle world to be pets.  There's no other explanation for the existence of 'miniature greyhounds'.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Job! New City! New Year! New Exclamation Mark!

Good god, how is it suddenly 2014?

In the interim (between the last post in November and now) I have turned 28 (gasp!) finished a work contract, travelled around the country a bit and caught up with some people, though not as many as I would have liked, moved up to Auckland, and started a 'new' job.

Holy crap - I'm an 'Aucklander' now.  How did this happen?!

Ignoring that, I say 'new job' because I am now working full time on the contract I had as secondary last year, and didn't have nearly enough time to work on, due to the first and major contract.

It's fantastic so far and I quite love it.  I moved up here last weekend and am house-sitting for my boss while she is on a very well deserved holiday.  It's been a pretty quiet week, most of the team don't get back until next Monday so it has just been me and two students kicking it about in the office.  Brill opportunity to get a whole lot of stuff done, however, and to settle in to my new grown-up person desk (look at that view!) & role.  The Doctor and Amy are in place to keep an eye on things.

The flat hunting has been....interesting.  I've had two gems and a couple of duds.  I should find out this weekend if I get my No#1 choice, and if not I'll put myself in 100% for the second place.  If neither, I'll start again; I have the luxury of time to be able to do so.  It's quite a different experience flat hunting in Auckland than what I am used to in Dunedin, as a student.  For one thing I have a much bigger living budget now that I am gainfully employed - it makes a huge difference looking at lovely places with numerous bathrooms etc compared to student hovels.  Very exciting.

In continuing the comparison of cities, the traffic is obviously crazy - but not unmanageable thus far.  And it is a complete novelty to be able to pop over to see the whanau & my dog in the Bay of Plenty on a weekend.  The entertainment opportunities are more vast - I am buying a full subscription to the New Zealand Symphonic Orchestra's Auckland concerts, and the Auckland Theatre Company's 2014 programme.  Very cool.  Can't wait for a good opera and some ballet, too.  Yay!  Good things!

Also, hilariously, I have signed up for a spot of online dating, so that is sure to lend equal measures of entertainment and despair in this new year.

I'll have to find a moment to edit some photos from our weekend at Lake Ohau in December - the lupins were flowering and it was completely magical.  In that hayfever-ridden, snotty-and-weeping-eyes kind of way.

Christmas was cool, I got a beautiful new handbag (it's bright orange and blue!) amongst my loot, and then for my birthday I got the HP box set from Mum and Dad and a beautiful necklace from the BigSib.  Christmas dinner was as gorgeous as ever - Mum's steamed pudding was particularly good this year, as was Dad's BBQ rotisserie cooked scotch-fillet-roast.  Some extra whanau came down for NYs and we took the boat to the lake on NYE.  We all got a touch sunburnt, tricksie wind.  Fun holiday times.

I've read a massive stack of books in the last 3 months, but mostly over the Christmas-New Year holiday: The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska by John Green, Unbreakable by Kami Garcia and Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris, The Infernal Devices series and The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half, Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy (am just finishing the end of the third book, Allegiant)....and some others I can't even remember off the top of my head (not a very good recommendation!).

I'm expecting good things to come from 2014: a couple of friends are getting married in addition to the BigSib, a new job, new city, some holiday travel (fingers crossed), an abundance of culture and a nicer climate (nicer than Dunedin, not nicer than the Bay of Plenty).  Delightful.