decided to take a very long weekend this weekend, because (a) all the stress and uncertainty at work has been very tiring, so a break is definitely in order, (b) my leave is again accumulating to a point that HR will soon start sending me friendly reminders that I really do need to get my balance down, (c) the start of semester is approaching fast, and I’m not at all ready to switch my brain into study mode, so another good reason for a break, and (d) and most importantly, general aversion to having to work on my birthday. As a result, I’m in the middle of four days (plus the weeknd) off – Thursday to Tuesday. So far it hasn’t been totally restful, but it has been most enjoyable.
I did end up going into work briefly on Thursday, but only because before I’d decided to take the day off I’d arranged to meet Judy for coffee at one of the campus cafes, and as I was going to be in the area anyway (because I wanted to drop some books off at the library) it didn’t seem worth rescheduling. It was actually nice to have time to talk properly without having to keep one eye on the clock to race back to work.
I carried on next to Riccarton, where I had a few wee jobs to get done. Again, nice to have the luxury of time to just wander around and look at the shops a bit, rather than racing through in a hurry because I’ve got a million other things to do. I don’t think I’ll ever really enjoy shopping for its own sake, but in small doses it can be pleasant. It also turned out to be one of those shopping expeditions where all the stars align, because literally everything I wanted to buy turned out to be on sale. And some of the stuff that I thought was on sale turned out to be doubly on sale, because it wasn’t only marked down, it was included in a two-for-one deal (like I got two tops (from a proper reasonably expensive shop, not just Farmers (which is turning into the Briscoes of frocks, in its constant sales (how many more parentheses can I nest here?))) that I thought had been marked down from $50-odd to $28 each, but I got them for $28 total!). I was starting to feel like that scene from the Gilmore Girls where Lorelai is justifying her shopping for Luke by saying that everything was a hundred thousand percent off.
Friday was a cleaning and cooking day. I’d invited a few people round for a birthday lunch on Saturday, and they included a fair proportion of vegetarians and vegans, so I decided the easiest (and most weather appropriate) solution was to make soup. Soup can almost always be converted to vegan, by just swapping out butter for olive oil, and using vegetable stock as a base. So I ended up making two vegan soups (carrot and coriander, and pumpkin and kumara), and one that was vegetarian but not vegan (because broccoli and cheese soup really does need to include the cheese). Plus of course I made a suitably decadent cake (because what’s a birthday without cake?). It worked out really well, because I was able to get everything all prepared so that on Saturday morning all I had to do was reheat the soups, and bake some bread to go with them.
The lunch was great – everyone enjoyed the soup, we had an excess of cake (because Rosalee brought along a vegan chocolate cake (which was good (and also much tastier than I’d expected) because I still haven’t figured out how to achieve cake without using eggs, so I hadn’t managed to provide cakey-goodness for the veganly inclined), and Lytteltonwitch brought a cake as well, and played many extremely geeky board games all afternoon (and long into the evening – the Gwilks and Lytteltonwitch stayed for dinner (of leftover soup) so we could have another game or two (or three…)). And best of all, Lytteltonwitch stayed and helped me clean up afterwards, so this morning was blissfully free of major cleaning operations. Life is good 🙂
I’d said no presents, but Lytteltonwitch passed a bookshop on her way here, and couldn’t resist buying me a colouring book of “cool cats” she spotted in the window. They certainly were cool, and the book got passed around a lot during the course of the afternoon, identifying cats (and a few people 🙂 ) they recognised in the drawings. I’ll have to scan some of the pictures and post them here as I colour them in.
In other news, I won a prize in Tartankiwi’s In Flight quilt-along! She has a draw every month or so, and enters the names of everyone who’s sewn that month’s birds. And I won this months’ draw! My prize is some fabric and a few of her patterns – very exciting! She’s added three new birds to the quilt-along – too late for me to add them to my quilt top, but they look really cool, so I might make them anyway, and either put them on the back of the quilt, or on some cushions. Though of course with semester 2 looming I might not have time to get them done for the actual quilt-along – they might have to wait until the summer.
And in other other news, I have a job interview on Wednesday morning. It’s for that job I mentioned that I applied for as a backup, and which I’m not entirely sure I want. So my next few restful days might not be quite as restful as I’d hoped, because I’ll have to prepare for the interview (and worry about what I’m going to do if they actually offer it to me!). I haven’t had a job interview for years – better brush up all my answers to those stock “where do you see yourself in five years?” questions…
Finally, a couple of pretty pictures:
At the Steampunk fair in Oamaru there was someone selling pictures printed onto old book pages. I bought these two, an Alice in Wonderland and a compass printed on dictionary pages (which of course appealed to me 🙂 ). On Thursday I finally got round to buying frames and mounted them on coloured corrugated card. The colours don’t show up very well here, but one’s burgundy, and the other dark green. They turned out really well, so I’ve now got them hanging in my hallway by the entrance to my study.