Thursday, March 29, 2007

Time for more adventures

Tomorrow, we embark on another adventure, this time with the Scouses. Yay! They have arrived and all is very good (they are currently sleeping off the 36hours of travel...).
We are going for a week long jaunt on the South Island - as long as the ferry crossing is ok tomorrow I'm very excited!
The last week or so has been quite busy with lots of time catching up with people (including a visit from one of my managers from my last job at home) and lots of jobs to be done. I'm very much in need of a holiday but I'm not sure this one will count as relaxing with the distances we intend to cover!
Last Saturday we did a 63k bike ride with some friends. I am amazed that I a) coped with it and b) didn't suffer too much afterwards! I was completely exhausted physically but not really all that sore. Husbink even made me get on my bike again the next day and that was ok! I didn't scream when my bottom made contact with the saddle! Therefore, I've concluded I must be superwoman! An obvious conclusion to make I'm sure...
Time to apply my mind to packing. Hey ho. I promise to post in more detail than you could ever want on my return.
Tally ho!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shouting at God

That is how I spent my morning. It isn't something I do all that often. In fact, I think the last time I had a real scream at God was about three and a half years ago when something fairly spectacularly bad was going on with some good friends of mine.
Maybe it is part of this whole Britishness thing (see last post) that means I don't tend to let all the anger out. Or be 100% honest, I tend to like to sugar coat things at the very least. I wouldn't want to offend.
Anyway, God took it well and ultimately pointed me to some Psalms that while not resolving the big issues of the shout, at least gave me enough peace to (mostly) be able to cope with the day.
This all led on, by some roundabout thoughts, to the image that I choose to project of myself. (I don't know if it is the image others see!)
When I was in the first year at uni, I remember discussing with a friend that we both actively chose to reveal quite a lot about ourselves and seem very open. This was not because we were very open - instead, it was a strange self defence mechanism: if we appeared so open and honest, no one would think we had anything we didn't want people to know and so would never push us. I'm not talking big skeletons in the closet or anything like that, just those girly insecurities and the like that you'd rather other people were not able to scrutinise.
So on moving to a different country for a while, I semi-consciously decided on the image I wanted to portray of myself. This was not a move to deceive everyone here or anything like that. Instead, it was an attempt to portray myself as I wanted to be in the hopes that that would help it happen. I can't say it has really been a success story, at least on the wanting to change myself front. But perhaps that is just how I feel today. And perhaps I shouldn't actually be wanting to change. Or at least, perhaps those aren't the important things to change or the things that should change. Gosh, I wish I didn't think so much.

I wonder what the gull thinks of all this introspection?

[For a recent discussion on whether talking to God/hearing God etc etc is sane, have a look a doctor/woman's recent post here.]

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lacking in...

...all kinds of things, but most of all inspiration. Because I'm a little low at the moment (it is a little more wide ranging than the MMC thing but not really definable...or all that interesting so I'll just keep moving...), I've been struggling to blog this last week. A few times, I've started posts (about such things as british comedy and cultural icons) and then binned them. I've read lots of other blogs this week, many of which I've thoroughly enjoyed (you've all been having a highly inspired week, good on ya!) and have been highly tempted to pinch ideas from a good range of blogs. Which leads me, slightly roundaboutly, to a question of blog etiquette*...
Mostly, I write this as a means of keeping in touch with people I know. Mostly, I only read the blogs of people I know. However, I have started to read blogs of people I don't know. In some instances this is through "blog hopping" - following links and reading what I come across. I am unlikely to regularly start reading these blogs. But there are a few blogs that I have started to read where I don't know the authors. And I also read these blogs silently - as in, I don't comment, I have not introduced myself. So my question is, what is the etiquette here? Should people introduce themselves when they start reading a random blog? I know there are a number of people that I do know who read this and don't comment and that is absolutely fine, but is it different when you don't know the person? (Oh, and if I do have any silent readers that I don't know, I don't mind at all, feel free to continue!)

*I don't imagine there is such a thing as blog etiquette...however, I have become aware from being in a different country, that I am a whole heap more "British" than I thought...I find people who don't queue for buses, who don't say please and thank you, who are generally not "polite" almost intolerable at times! The fact that they might be more open or more welcoming can at times be neither here nor there. And so I'm crying out for some social rules in my life. ;)

Monday, March 12, 2007

MMC explained

doctor/woman posted this very useful link to someone who has carefully gone through the background to the MMC and tried to make it "understandable" for those either on the inside or outside. Should you have any desire to know more, do read it. I feel a whole heap better for reading it - mostly because it is as bad as I thought it was so I'm not going mad!!!

Chin Up

So I have been allowing myself to creep into a bit of a downward spiral of late. Not feeling so good has led on to a whole heap more of not feeling so good.
After a conversation with Husbink yesterday, I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and start getting on with life a bit more again.
Unfortunately, I have gone from one extreme to the other...

Today I have:
Had lots of blood taken for tests
Bought zips, thread, stuffing, and frilly bits to make cushions with
Been to the library
Been to the i-site to try to sort some stuff for the arrival of Scouse Dangermouse and Mr S.D. in just over two weeks! Yay!
Finally tracked down some decaf earl grey
Mostly made one of the above cushions
Done lots of internet hunting with regards to the arrival of SD and Mr SD
Done some gardening
Cleaned the bathroom
Run the dishwasher
Read a Latin book (more of this later I suspect)
Watered and fed my tomatoes
Sorted some washing

Now, I feel lousy! But at least I feel lousy for a different reason. Tomorrow, I shall attempt a more balanced approach to "getting back to normal"...

There was a whole heap of bad telly accompanying the cushion making...from Dr Keith and his show on virgins (he was treating them like they were a different species) to Tyra and her show on girls flashing their boobs for some big porn company thing (I generally can't stand Tyra but somehow get sucked in...) to Oprah and her weight loss boot camp (after the first two, this was quite relaxing!). Crazy days.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Why are GPs scary?

So, I'm married to a doctor. I know lots of doctors. They are all nice people. And yet the one encounter with super horrible doctor at Leeds Student Medical Practice about six and a half years ago seems to have been enough to make me fear going to the GP hugely unless I know exactly who it is. (Like some of the lovely, lovely ones at Burley Park - then again BP also had some crazy GPs...but at least you could mostly avoid them once you'd found out who they were...)
So today, I had to venture to my first New Zealand GP. I will try to spare too many of the details of why I had to go to the GP but they may escape so if you don't want to know, stop reading now...
I was really quite nervous. Partly it was just the practicalities that bothered me - knowing I'd have to pay but what forms of payment did they take? how do prescriptions work? How long are appointments? Are they as obsessed with the 10 minute rule as the NHS? So nothing all that scary but just putting myself in a position where I didn't know things that I felt I ought to know. But then what tests might they decide I needed doing? Would I need any tests just in the routine new patient way? And might they say something was actually wrong with me? Would they be mean like the LSMP GP who tried to make me cry or the BP GP who was VERY obsessed with the 10-minute-rule...?
Turned out, he was a very friendly GP who I impressed with my history giving skills. (Thanks to Husbink's training following the horrid LSMP GP.) But it also turned out that he did think there might be something wrong with me. I'm so used to going to the GP and being told there is nothing more they can do with the whole IBS thing that to go and be told that my symptoms actually add up to sound like a specific thing was quite a shock but also in a strange way kind of relieving. I did get to feeling like the IBS was my fault with some of the GPs and that I should just get over it. To be told "you may have this" and "we can do this, this and this to find out" was almost exciting. I say almost. It is something I'd rather not have and *may* cause some larger problems further down the line and could be pretty scary. But for just a few minutes thinking there might be answers was pretty cool. I've got at least two lots of tests to have now, probably three. We shall see.
So, in other news... The MMC stuff continues to dominate thoughts. The interview is hopefully cancelled now. The second round has been declared but its timing is still pretty bad for us. In some ways I wish we didn't know about it as the decisions can just drag on now. But there we are. Husbink is doing his best to keep me sane and succeeding some of the time.
Tomorrow night we are going to a murder mystery party and I'm very excited - partly because Husbink hasn't ever done one. We've had much fun putting our costumes together but I'm hoping it is a cold day tomorrow or we may boil! (1930s pilots...)
Sunday, I'm service leading at church...I'm a bit nervous due to my general tendency to cry a lot at the moment...still, it is always good to see a bit of honesty from the front...ahem...
Have a grand weekend all

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


So early today I started a big long old whinging post about MMC, life in general, hormones, blah, blah, blah.
Fortunately for you, my tummy rumbled so I went to feed it and didn't come back til now (hours later) in a rather better mood. Not the kind of better mood that convinces me that tomorrow will have less tears in it than today but the kind of better mood that comes from buying new shoes and eating cake.
New Blue Shoes. (I had a children's book called "New Blue Shoes" and so I always get doubly excited when the new shoes are indeed blue. Husbink often tries to persuade me that blue shoes aren't always a good thing. He does not understand. On this occasion however, he likes them. I've looked on their website and they don't have a picture and I'm just too tired from all the crying to get into photographing my new trainers on this occasion. Sorry. But they are blue with brown bits. Kinda like my old school uniform...) (What a long aside.)

So anyway, a quick summary of the naffness:
Sheffield (yes, that's right, all of Sheffield) shouted at Husbink last night. They didn't say anything we weren't expecting but they chose to do it through the medium of shouting.
I've had a really naff few days one way and another. Tempting as it is to go into it all, I'll resist.
My hormones are currently mental. Yippee. I love being female. Hoo-blooming-rah.

I think that is it. Mini-rant over. Now I'm just running really late for a going out that I wasn't sure I wanted to do anyway. Tally ho!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Final Holiday Post (Or Picton as it might otherwise be called)

After a few days back at home for Husbink to work two shifts and me to service lead on the Sunday morning, we headed off on the Interislander for a few nights on the South Island.

The weather was about as perfect as you could get for the crossing although there was still some craziness when we first entered the Cook Strait. The views from the ferry are amazing so we spent quite a lot of time outside. Husbink got very snap happy. We also saw dolphins from the ferry, always good!

On arrival in Picton I became slightly alarmed as to what we'd let ourselves in for but on closer inspection it was pretty nice for a couple of nights! We had dinner that evening in a restaurant overlooking the harbour, beautiful.

The next day we got a little boat out to Ship Cove. From there, Husbink, Dad and I started a two hour trek up-and-over to Resolution Bay. Mum got the boat round. It was a decent climb up to a fabulous look out point. Just as we arrived at the look out this crazy noise started behind me...kind of a cross between a cicada and a black bird...and there was a weka (see picture...). We hadn't seen one before so it was good to tick off another endemic species. (I get way too excited about birds these days...) We also saw a bellbird which was the first time away from Karori Sanctuary. We then headed down to meet mum and made it there 45 minutes faster than the two hours expected. Great, we thought. The three hour walk left to the place we meet the boat should take no more than two hours. And then we saw no more signs. Along we plodded with a brief stop for lunch. After lunch, Husbink and I went on ahead to try to get to the final bay in time for a swim. On and on and on we plodded. Until we thought we must be almost there. At which point we saw a sign that indicated we were perhaps only a little over half way... Apparently that 3 hour estimate was much closer to reality! And the boat was coming half an hour earlier than normal...

Fortunately, we did all make it and Husbink and I did get time for a wee dip in the waters. Good stuff!

(The view-type pictures are both from the lookout at the top of the walk - one way and the other!)

The boat trip back was VERY slow and I was VERY tired and got a little disgruntled (I'd also not had time to change and was a little soggy which on a windy boat left me a little chilly). I was getting sufficiently grumpy that Husbink relinquished the camera and ordered me to take pictures of birds. And thus, a picture of a gannet for you!
We finally made it back to Picton and went out for a pub tea. Lots of fish and chips and beer!

Our last day down south was spent in a dash to Blenheim to visit, among others, the Montana Winery - mum felt as she supported them so well, she ought to go and say hi! We also visited a winery that made olive oil amongst its wines so that was a nice alternative. (Not to drink!)
Following lunch and one last tasting it was time to return to Picton for the ferry home. The weather was a little more "swelly" but still a pretty good journey. And a nice ferry - with toilets that didn't make you feel like everything was about to collapse like normal ferry loos do!
We then had a final few days around Wellington with the parents (including Husbink's birthday) before they flew out for Sydney last Saturday. Gosh, only a week ago!

Friday, March 02, 2007


Ok, so it is time to get back to the holiday posts and hopefully get them finished off for you... (I suspect very soon ALL blogging time will be taken up with posts like the previous one. Me? Getting stressed about unmade decisions? Never!)

Warning...I may have gone a little crazy on the picture front...(Note: GRR! I've just published and blogger's made all the comments on photos go squiffy...see the bottom of the blog for explanations!)
Rotorua, city of boiling mud and the last Pom will get her explanation!
We were very lucky in our timing of being in Rotorua - it was hot and largely cloud-free. Obviously, that is nice anywhere but in Rotorua it is a major bonus. You see, cold, cloudy days really keep the smell in. The bad egg smell. Because of all the geothermal activity round the town, it can really pong of sulpher. The last time I was there, you could really smell it coming and each day required a certain amount of adjustment to be able to cope with the smell. This time, you just got the odd whiff sulpher.

On our first full day in Rotorua, we went to Hell's Gate. A mass of boiling mud, erupting mud volcanoes, sulpherous fumes and steaming pools we had much fun wandering around looking at it all.

We also got to try our hand at carving traditional Maori designs at the end - Husbink was by far the best of us showing that he really could be a carpenter if doctoring ever got too much. They were also selling corn on the cob that had been cooked using the thermal steams. Very tasty! (Which may come as a surprise after all this talk of bad eggs...)

We then made our way across town to a Kiwi Sanctuary. We'd hoped to get on a tour of the breeding areas but they were all full for the day so instead we just went round the enclosures of various birdies. You'll be relieved to hear that I'm not so excited by taking pictures of birds in cages and so despite all the wonderful things that were there, especially the kea, I'll not bore you this time!

At the end of the little walk round, there is a Kiwi enclosure. I was keen that everyone else saw a kiwi but I wasn't too fussed - I saw one eight years ago and it hadn't exactly thrilled me, this tiny little bird sitting in its corner. So in we went and adjusted our eyes to the false night time. And there they were, two fantastically lively, comedy kiwis. One was busily building a nest and the other was desparately trying to distract her. They had been separated and we (in our infinite knowledge about such things) guessed that maybe she really was building a nest and was ready to lay eggs and he really wanted to "help her on her way". I think the kiwis I'd previously seen had been one of the smaller varieties too as these guys were really pretty large.

So after all that excitement, we made our way next door to the gondola and the luge. We all went up in the gondola but couldn't persuade mum to have a go on the luge. What it is...well, you put on a bike helmet, climb into this little plastic cart, grab onto the bike bars in front of you, yank them towards you...and away you go! They have a number of tracks at Rotorua from Scenic (i.e. slow and winding and not very steep) to Advanced (in places VERY steep, includes a jump and very wiggly). I was by far the slowest of the three of us - though I figure that means my fun lasts longer! At the bottom of the tracks (about half way down the gondola you come up on) there is a chairlift that takes you and the cart back up top. A very slow chair lift. Had it been a skiing holiday with a chairlift that slow, I think we would have gone mad. But it did take me and dad back to the days of the extremely long t-bar in Austria...but that's a whole other story...

The following day involved a leisurely morning of mooching in Rotorua and walking along part of the lake front before making our way to the spa. Oh yes, we spent the afternoon at the Polynesian Spa and oh was it good. After a couple of hours of soaking in the thermal pools (and a cheeky break to enjoy some carrot cake...), I went and had a Pumice-Aix Combo... Basically, I got covered in exfoliating rub stuff from neck to toe and then had it showered off as part of this crazy water massage thing they do. Mmmm, so relaxing! The only problem was, I found that some parts of me turned out to be rather ticklish under the jets of water!

And then it was time to return home. We took the parents via Taupo and showed them the Huka falls. We almost managed to resist taking any more photos having taken so many last time we were there...
We stopped a couple of times on the way down but for nothing too dramatic and ultimately made it home in time for tea. :)
Photo Comments:
1. Steaming pools at Hell's Gate
2. All the family - note attractive boots/skirt combo
3. In the midst of all the boiling mud and steam was an oasis of beautiful bush
4. Proper boiling mud
5. First proper play with the new lens...a pied stilt enjoyed the thermal waters!
6. Having decided against the bird shots, I moved on to the tree ferns
7. Us in the gondola...Husbink asked us to grimace for him...I think Dad did best...
8. A pukeko near Lake Rotorua