I can has sleep nao?

Last night was fun, but I didn’t get home until 11.30 – which wouldn’t have been a problem except that I had to get up at 6 to catch the complicated series of buses to get me over to New Brighton (getting anywhere by bus on a Sunday morning is not fun – when I asked the bus website’s route finder search how to get to New Brighton by 8.30 am on a Sunday, it kept trying to tell me to catch the bus on Saturday night…)

I did manage to get up in time though, and (apart from a lot of hanging round at bus stops because connections don’t work sensibly) successfully made it out to New Brighton, where Lytteltonwitch and I were joining the Summer Starter fun run/walk – 10 km from New Brighton to Redcliffs.

It was a lovely day for a walk – despite forecasts of rain, the sun was shining, and just enough of a cool breeze to make walking pleasant.  There were a LOT of people on the walk – probably a couple of thousand doing the full 10 km, plus I don’t know how many joined for the final 4 km.  So it was a bit crowded at first, but we weren’t in a hurry so hung back until the pack spread out a bit, then had a pleasant stroll the rest of the way.  They had musicians stationed along the way to provide entertainment – everything from a string quartet, to a school rock band singing Guns ‘N Roses badly, to a lonely DJ playing club music in an empty field.  There were spot prizes for costumes, so a lot of people (and dogs) were dressed up, which made for a very colourful crowd.  I did take some photos, but they’re in the long “photos I really must sort through and decide which are worth putting on the blog” queue – so you might see them one day, maybe…

10 km didn’t exactly count as a long walk for either of us, considering the amount of walking we both do, so when we got to Redcliffs, after a quick stop for tacos and cake for lunch, we continued on to Sumner.  We ended up walking right along to the end of the beach, in search of a giraffe, but it had been removed because it had been vandalised :-(  By then we both agreed we’d walked far enough, so we stopped off at a cafe for a snack (and an excuse to sit down for a bit), then went back into the centre of Sumner to check out another giraffe (and peruse the craft market) and find a bus stop to catch the bus back into town.

A lovely day, but I am so tired now!   All that fresh sea air and exercise kept me awake at the time, but now the lack of sleep is seriously catching up with me – think I’ll be going to bed pretty much straight after dinner tonight.

Running around like a mad thing

I may possibly have over-scheduled this weekend just a tad.  It’s not my fault that all the interesting stuff happens the same weekend! (Though I suppose it is my fault I can never turn anything down – a serious case of FOMO, as I believe the cool kids call it.)

This morning started with a race to get some housework done and washing hung out while the sun was still shining (the forecast for the weekend was rain, but so far it’s actually been pretty nice), then bake a cake to take as a plate tonight, and finish off my present for the Christchurch Bloggers Secret Santa.  I’d just finished icing the cake when Lytteltonwitch arrived, to go to the St Christopher’s booksale.

The sale was a bit of a disappointment – the prices weren’t that much cheaper than in their shop, and even though the sale was almost over they wouldn’t give us a fill a bag deal (though LW did in the end manage to get them to do a deal for children’s books, but again it was no better than they do in their shop).  I miss their old shop with the $2 a bag table :-(  I did buy a couple of books, but only ones I actually want to read – the prices were too high to be able to stock up on books for releasing.

And now I’ve got half an hour to sit down and catch my breath before I’m off out again, to a pot-luck dinner and movie night being hosted by one of the women from my Toastmasters club.

And finished

Binding complete, so I can tick that one off the Secret Santa list.  (Sorry for the rubbish photo – it’s pouring with rain, so the light is terrible, but I wanted to get a photo before I wrapped it up).

I’m so pleased with how it turned out!  I’m feeling all inspired to try so many more quilting projects now – except that this weekend marks the official beginning of the crazily-social no-free-weekends-until-Christmas madness that is the end of my year, so the chances of getting much done are pretty slim.  But I can dream…

I did it!

Ok, so some of the curves aren’t the smoothest, and I totally failed at keeping my speed constant, so the stitches are all different lengths, but I’m still very pleased with it for a first attempt.  And I reckon the recipient, who’s not a quilter, won’t even know that those are errors :-)

A little more progress

I *almost* got the corners to line up properly!  One side is a tiny bit off, but not really enough to be seriously noticeable, so I’m pretty pleased with it.

Of course, now that I’ve got that particular obstacle out of the way, I reach the even bigger one: it’s time to quilt it.  Dare I brave the FMQ???

Milestone

Toastmasters meeting tonight, and for the first time I was the Toastmaster – the combination of Chairperson and Emcee who runs the meeting, introduces the speakers, and generally keeps everything on track.  I was ever so slightly nervous, with so many different things to remember to do and say, but it went really well (well, apart from the slight problem of the meeting running about 20 minutes over time… think I might have to ask the advice of one of the more experienced members about how you’re supposed to get people to shut up and sit down when their time is up…). I’m so relieved it’s over!

Except next week I’m down on the schedule to give a speech.  Which is equally nerve-wracking.  Remind me why I’m doing this again?

Work in progress

It’s Secret Santa season, and I’m determined not to resort to junk from the Warehouse to fulfill the under-$10 requirement for any of them.  Which means I’ve got a lot of crafting deadlines in my near future.

But I’m making good progress.  I’m almost finished making my gift for the Christchurch Bloggers Secret Santa, and this weekend I made a really good start on one for work:

I’m kind of making this one up as I go along, very loosely based on a design I saw which featured wonky Christmas trees.  I didn’t like the rest of the design, so I just borrowed the idea of wonky trees and roughly sketched this out, then started sewing without a lot more planning (as you can probably tell by the fact that I totally failed to pick fabrics that would create any sort of contrast between sky and ground – they looked different in my scrap box).  Still got to finish off the border (I’m thinking of doing the proper border thing of having contrasting squares in the corners – I *think* I know how it’s done…) and then quilt it into a placematty sort of thing – maybe I’ll be brave enough to give free-motion quilting a go…

So much chocolate!

Lytteltonwitch having acquired a new car, she suggested an expedition today to introduce it to such wonders as hills and unsealed roads (its previous owner had only ever driven it around town on the flat, so the poor wee thing isn’t going to know what’s hit it, with the places Lytteltonwitch is likely to take it over the next few years…).  We decided on a trip out to Governor’s Bay, to the She Chocolate cafe, which Lytteltonwitch had acquired a voucher for, and which expires at the end of this month.

Roadworks on Dyers Pass and an event on in Lyttelton meant that the best route was going to be via Gebbie’s Pass, which conveniently took us through Tai Tapu, where we could stop off for a spot of giraffe hunting.  Don’t worry, we haven’t got in to big game hunting – it’s an art project: Christchurch Stands Tall. There are 99 sculptures of giraffes scattered around the city and surrounding area, each painted by a local artist or school group.  It’s become a game to try and visit them all, and I have a vague plan to try and release a book on each (or at least at each site – some of the small giraffes painted by schools are in clusters).  So, one down today (Native Son by Richard Wright), 60-ish to go…

At the She cafe we had what started out as an early lunch, but as we lingered over it for nearly two hours actually turned into a normal time lunch.  Shared platters of bread and dips and incredibly tasty chips (which turned out to be way too much food, but much too good to leave any on the plate, hence the lingering over it!), accompanied by hot chocolate that they make from cacao extract from beans they grind themselves.  It has no milk, and almost no sugar, so is an amazing hit of intense chocolateness.  SO GOOD!

And then, because we obviously hadn’t had enough chocolate yet, we shared a chocolate sampler platter that turned out to be what they called a chocolate journey – the platter came with instructions on how to eat it, starting with cacao beans (very bitter, and incredibly dry in texture), then slightly sweeter chocolate-coated cacao beans (if I hadn’t been so chocolated-out by the end of the meal, I would have been tempted to buy a bag of them to take home – wonderfully bitter-sweet mouthfuls), then three different types of single-origin bitter dark chocolate that is made from beans ground on site (along with a sample of the cocoa butter they extract during the grinding – though that was to rub on your hands, not to eat).  Then, increasing the sweetness again, a chocolate fondue with the suggestion to try dipping cheese and crackers in it along with the more normal strawberries.  Surprisingly, cheese dipped in chocolate is actually quite good.  Weird, but good.  And finally, a selection of flavoured chocolates and truffles – all of which seemed very sweet after all that chocolate from the bitter end of the scale!

Even though we were sharing the platter, cutting all the chocolates in half so we could both try them, it was a LOT of chocolate to get through.  I think I could actually have done without the last few truffles – I was definitely feeling like I’d had enough chocolate to last me a very long time, and any more would have just left me feeling sick.  But it was such a fun way to sample their wares, and led to some really interesting conversation as we attempted to identify mystery ingredients and detect the differences between the single-origin chocolates.

Even with the voucher it was still an expensive lunch, but definitely worth it – such a lovely day.

(I even managed to find a (slightly) themed release for the cafe: The Sugar Mother by Elizabeth Jolley)

Gardening, wind, and long strips of metal

In a shock move, I actually did some gardening this morning.  Well, sort of – I vaguely hacked at the weeds in the herb garden (does it still count as a herb garden if the only herb in it is the rosemary plant that went feral and took over the entire garden?) to clear a path so that I could get to the washing line without being attacked by anything.  But for me, that’s pretty hard-core gardening :-)

It’s been another stinking hot day (Parsnips spent most of it lying in shady spots and complaining loudly at me every time I walked past – because obviously I have control over the weather and only made it hot to annoy her), and incredibly windy again this afternoon.  I heard a crash mid-afternoon, and discovered that the wind had peeled several metres of metal trim off the front of the garage roof (at least, I hope it’s just trim – if it has any sort of vital function holding down the edges of the roofing iron, I suppose I’ll find out soon…  But I’m definitely not planning on climbing up on the roof to reattach it until the wind dies down! (and I think it’s going to be a two-person job anyway))  On the plus side, the washing dried quickly!

At least it’s starting to cool down a bit now – the forecast is for thunder and hail tonight, and it looks like it’s starting to cloud over, so I suppose I’d better go and bring in the last of the washing.

Will the real Bob Smith please stand up

Spent today doing more work on that bibliography, mostly trying to establish whether authors with similar names are actually the same person.  A task not at all helped by the fact that every journal has their own house style for authors’ names, with the added complication of the odd misspelling.  So Bob Smith can be listed in the references as Bob Smith, B Smith, RT Smith, Robert Smith, Bob T Smith, B Snith, and just about any other combination you can think of.  So there was much Googling to try and establish whether the Bob Smith who wrote Paper A matched the RT Smith who wrote Paper B, and is there such a person as B Snith, or is he a typo?  Repeat for a few thousand names…

Combine that with a hot nor’westery day, and it’s no wonder I’ve got a headache tonight!