Excuses, excuses

Yeah, I know, it’s been ages since I wrote anything.  Can I use as an excuse the fact that I’ve been really tired, AND that I have a medical excuse for being tired, so it’s not just laziness, honestly it’s not!

Ok, so the not writing a blog post thing has been just laziness, but I really do have a medical excuse for feeling tired – when I was at the doctor’s the other day I mentioned that I’d been feeling a bit run down, and asked him to check my iron levels, because I suspected they may be a bit low (which has happened from time to time in the past).  And lo and behold, a blood test revealed that not only was I a bit low on iron, I was seriously low (like, when I rang the nurse to get the results, she actually gasped when she saw the number sort of low).  And seriously low on haemoglobin too, which probably means I’ve been low on iron for a long time, meaning my poor body hasn’t had anything to make the haemoglobin out of.  So no wonder I was feeling a bit tired!

Anyway, because it’s so low, my doctor wants me to have some more tests just to make sure there’s not anything more serious going on than a combination of having a 40-something year old female body and being prone to low iron anyway (which is the most likely explanation, so I’m not feeling particularly concerned about other possibilities), but in the meantime I’ve got some nice iron supplements to take which should help a bit.

Of course, despite having felt no worse than a bit tired before I got the blood test, now that I’ve seen the numbers I’m suddenly noticing all the symptoms (dizzy spells, shortness of breath, headaches…) that previously I’d been dismissing as just imagination – is there such a thing as reverse hypochondria? 🙂  So as a result I’ve been feeling worse since going to the doctor than I did before…  Oh well, the iron tablets should hopefully start kicking in soon, and then you won’t recognise the new super-energetic FutureCat 🙂

Oops, broke it

It’s been a tiring week, that’s my excuse.  So I got home last night, had dinner, crashed in front of a mindless video for a while, then went to bed.  And completely forgot I hadn’t written a blog post.  So my streak of (if I’m counting correctly) 244 days is now over.  I missed a day, and not even in a “it’s just after midnight so this totally still counts” sort of way.  This is now well and truly Saturday morning and there’s no way I can pretend not to have missed a day.

Actually, I’m kind of relieved it’s over.  It was an interesting exercise, and definitely got me back into the habit of blogging, but it had got a bit silly at times, when I’d realise late at night that I hadn’t written anything, so even though I really needed to sleep I’d still sit down at the computer just so I could say I’d written something every day.

I’m still going to try and blog every day, but now if I miss the odd day here or there I’m not going to stress about it (and certainly not going to leap out of bed in the middle of the night to write something if I forget!).

#TTPANoWay

(I really did post this yesterday, it’s just DD was playing up again so wouldn’t let me post, so I had to put it on LiveJournal instead.)

Bother, looks like DD is down again 🙁 So another daily post that I’ll have to post on LJ instead, and re-post to DD in the morning once it’s (hopefully) back up.

Another anti-TTPA march today (or series of marches, really – there were 20-odd held all over the country), repeating the message of the ones before the elections: if this trade agreement is so great, and really truly doesn’t threaten our sovereignty in any way, then how come the NZ public aren’t allowed to see the details before it’s signed? Yeah, even if it was a party I liked in government, I still wouldn’t trust them on something as big as that.

Despite the rain, there was a pretty good turnout in Christchurch (somewhere between “hundreds” and “several thousand” depending on the biases of who was doing the estimating – I’d guess given the range of estimates somewhere around a thousand is probably the closest to reality). Lytteltonwitch came over to my place and we took a bus into Riccarton to join the march (rather than her having to find parking). When we got to the start of the march it was raining pretty steadily, so it was a bit damp and chilly waiting around for the various speeches to get done so we could start marching (I never quite see the point of the speechifying at the beginning of marches – we already know why we’re there, and obviously all think the issue is important enough to come out on a rainy day to protest it, so it’s very much preaching to the converted…). But once we got moving it improved, and it was a fun walk down Riccarton Road, stopping traffic and chanting slogans of varying degrees of cleverness. There was a lot of support from passing cars and people watching from the footpath (in fact, I think more support than last time) – so much for John Key’s “silent majority” wanting the TTPA…

We didn’t bother staying for the speeches when the march reached its other end in Hagley Park – although the rain had eased off, it was still a bit damp to be standing round, and it looked like there’d be the usual degree of chaos before anyone got round to starting the speeches anyway, so we just carried on walking into town to catch a bus back to my place.

As usual, I’m pretty cynical about whether the marches will have any effect, as it’s obvious the government has already decided its course, but I still think it was worth marching. That’s what democracy is about – not just electing governments, but letting them know when they’re veering off track. And if you don’t speak up, your voice will never be heard.

DD weirdness

I just noticed something very strange.  My last week’s worth of posts only show up when I’m logged in.  If I’m not logged in, I can only see posts up until 6 February, even though all of my posts are public.

Logged in view of my homepage:

Same page, but not logged in:

A completely different list of recent posts shows up on the DD homepage too, depending on whether I’m logged in or not.

Logged in:

Not logged in:

(and just to add to the mystery, the latest post that shows up from me there is from 8 February, not the 6 February post that shows up on my own home page)

If I go directly to a more recent post by copying and pasting the URL, then I can see it even if I’m not logged in, and I can use the “previous” buttons to go back to earlier posts (but the “next” button to go back to the post I started on doesn’t always show up).

Oh, and apparently Chrome doesn’t like DD at all.  I was trying it out in different browsers, just to see if it was a browser thing rather than a logged in/not logged in thing, and this is what my diary’s background looks like in Chrome:

Think I’ll stick with Firefox for now…

I’m counting this as yesterday

DD was down most of yesterday, so I had to post yesterday’s entry on Livejournal instead.  But look, proof I really didn’t break my daily posting streak:

Anyway, here’s a copy and paste of what I would have written yesterday if the site had let me in:

A few interesting recent catches:

My Favourite Wife by Tony Parsons – another catch from the Wellington YHA. I really should calculate the stats one day, because I’m sure I get a higher catch rate from there than anywhere else I’ve ever released.

Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones – an anonymous finder checks back in five years later (having joined this time!). Even better, they re-released the book in Australia.

First Warning by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough – a catch from the Adelaide YHA. The anonymous finder didn’t enjoy the book, unfortunately, but at least they journalled it.

Lost Time by Catharine Arnold – a catch from our recent trip down to Alexandra. I’m really glad this one got caught, because I had it in mind for a themed release on the clock on the hill for a very long time before I finally got round to it. And it’s already had some adventures with its new reader, and looks like it’s been re-released, too.

Fishing from the Boat Ramp by Jillian Sullivan – another catch from Alexandra, although the book somehow managed to travel to Stewart Island in the meantime (I’d love to know if it ended up on a boat ramp there, as well – there are a lot of boats in Stewart Island, so there’s a fair chance it did). And in one of those lovely examples of bookcrossing serendipity, it’s exactly the book its finder needed at that moment. I love it when that happens!

200

As of today, I’ve managed to post daily for 200 consecutive days.  Sort of by accident.  When I started the exercise of writing daily, my aim was only to do so for a month, just to see if I could.  I seriously doubted I’d manage it (which was why I never actually announced my intention to do so), but I felt like I should do something to increase my post count at least slightly, seeing as posts had become so few and far between.  But to my surprise, I somehow got through the entire month without missing a day, and then it seemed only natural to keep on going a bit longer, although I had no particular aim in mind this time.  And then I got to that point where I couldn’t skip a day (to the point of leaping out of bed late at night to write a quick post when I realised I’d almost forgotten), because it seemed like a pity to break the streak when I’d kept it going for so long.  So here I am, at 200 days.  And having got this far, it’s even harder to decide at what point I’ve carried on for long enough that I’ve proved to myself I can manage to post regularly and can relax my regime a bit (this is how people get addicted to exercise, isn’t it?).

Of course, not all posts are created equal.  There’s definitely been some that have scraped the bottom of the barrel, resorting to talking about the weather or photos of cats.  But not every day contains something interesting enough to be worth writing about – some days inevitably are of the “got up, went to work, worked on the same stuff as yesterday, went home, made dinner, cleaned up, watched something mindless, went to bed” variety.  But I try and find something special in every day to make it worth writing about (actually, finding something special in every day seems like a pretty good philosophy in general 🙂 ).

So it may not have made for the most interesting reading, but I’ve (mostly) enjoyed the writing.  And I think I’ll try and keep going for just a little bit longer…  I know I’m going to have to break my streak eventually (especially when I start studying again and will barely have time to sleep, let alone write anything that isn’t course-related), but I’ve still got a few months of freedom, so might as well make the most of it…

A paragraph explaining nothing

The problem with being back at work is that it cuts down on the interesting things to blog about.  Not that work isn’t interesting, but a lot of it is the sort of interesting that sounds really boring when you try and describe it, and some is the kind of interesting that I can’t really talk about because it would breach the privacy of our content providers.  And some is a combination of the two, like what I was working on today: I’ve been given a large number of files from an organisation with the worst filing system I’ve ever seen, and I spent the day trying to make sense of the many different naming conventions they’ve used for their files, so that I can at least slightly automate the process of creating metadata.  Which was an interesting intellectual challenge, but very boring to describe, and even if it wasn’t, I couldn’t go into any detail about the problems I was running into without telling you stuff that would let you guess the identity of the organisation, which would be embarrassing for them given that I’ve just told you how rubbish their filing system is.  And embarrassing the organisations you’re working with is never a good look.  So yeah, not much I can say about how I spent my day, really.

But at least I managed to fill* a blog post telling you why I haven’t got anything to fill a blog post with… (this is probably a very sad thing).

*Ok, so maybe “fill” isn’t really the right word for a post that’s effectively just one medium-length paragraph…

2014 in review

In my 2013 in review post, I wrote “…instead of hoping that next year is a better one, I’m going to say that I’m going to make sure that next year I continue to make my life what I want it to be, and that I’ll keep surrounding myself with what gives me joy.” And I reckon I succeeded at that. I’ve made new friends, learnt new skills, completed another Honours paper, taken on new responsibilities at work, managed to fit in a bit of travel, and generally continued to build the life I want to have. And because of that, I’ve been recognised and rewarded for my efforts in big ways and small, and more importantly, I’ve been happy. It’s been a tough year (especially in the first half, trying to juggle study and work and life), and full of challenges, but it’s been a very good one.

So, 2014 in first(ish) lines:

January: Amazingly, I actually made a decision. And not only that, I sewed the blocks together, so now I’m committed to that decision (well, I suppose if I was really determined to change my mind I could always break out the quick-unpick, but yeah, nah).

February: Today marks 11 years since I joined Bookcrossing. Not that I’ve done a huge amount of bookcrossing in the last year or three – I got out of the habit with the earthquakes and never really got back to it.

March: Term started this week, and I’m already swamped with work (it’s worrying when the lecturer says she’s going to give you a nice easy reading for the first week, and it’s 40 pages long (and that’s not counting the two “optional” readings that go with it…). Yeah, I kind of forgot just how hard Honours is.

[April and May didn’t exist, according to my blog at least. Probably because I spent them head down among piles of research papers, interrupted by a glorious couple of weeks in Australia, which I never had time to write up because as soon as I got back home I was straight back into study.]

June: I’ve been getting the odd nudge and query as to my continued existence, so I thought I’d better drop in briefly and reassure everyone that yes, I’m still alive, and I’m not avoiding any of you, it’s just that I’m buried alive in a giant mound of journal articles to read and essays to write and approaching deadlines, so my life for the last month or so has been pretty much reduced to work, study, do the minimum to keep myself fed and healthy and the house vaguely clean, and repeat.

July: My birthday party baking went really well – the bread dough rose and baked up beautifully, the cake and eclairs were suitably chocolatey and decadent (even if I did slightly mess up the icing on the eclairs by getting a little bit too experimental and forgetting that adding orange zest to give it an interesting hint of jaffa also means you’re adding extra oils, which if you don’t adjust for will it make ganache come out funny… which absolutely nobody even noticed anyway, though they did notice they tasted good so that was all that mattered :-)).

August: Every few weeks at work someone in the office will declare it time for a cake run, and one of us will run down to the cafe for a selection of cakes and slices.

September: Yesterday was another very busy day (one day I really must have a restful weekend…) It started with a mad dash for the bus (after I completely miscalculated times) to get myself over to Heathcote.

October: Generally, I try to be a nice person. I even try to be polite to telesales people – it’s not their fault they have an irritating job to do, and they’re being paid a pittance to do it.

November: Lytteltonwitch came over this morning so I could help her tidy up her CV (hopefully the advice I gave her turns out to be useful – I did once have a job polishing CVs, but that was a lot of years ago and in another country, so I’m not exactly up to date on current HR trends).

December: First of December, so theoretically it’s the first day of summer today. So of course it’s cold and wet and miserable. I don’t know why I’m surprised, really, because Christchurch does this every year – we have a hot November and we all think summer has come early, then it turns cold again in December just when everyone starts planning barbeques for their end of year parties.

And in pictures (semi-randomly selected):

January:

February:

March:

April:


(Two for the price of one, because these never actually made it to my blog – they’re from the many convention and road trip photos from Australia that are still sitting unsorted on my computer waiting for that mythical “one day” when I get round to going through them. This is why you should never take a holiday when you’re busy!)

May/June:

(No photos – just imagine me sitting at a computer writing frantically, surrounded by toppling piles of photocopied articles, and you’ll get an accurate image of those months).

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:


(Oops, another batch of photos I never got round to sorting and posting…)

December:

Yep, looks like a pretty good year to me 🙂

Home again

Got home from Wellington last night, and almost immediately went back out again, to a games evening with Mrs Gwilk and mini-Gwilk – which was fun, but I’m feeling very very tired today.  And today has been taken up with those boring but necessary post-holiday activities like washing clothes and buying groceries.  Oh, and of course making release notes on books (which always takes so much longer than I expect) – I released 15 books in Wellington (yeah, not quite up to the 80-odd I’ve managed on some weekend trips, but good going compared to my recent efforts), plus labelled another 20 or so on the hostel’s bookshelf.  So yeah, I probably won’t be writing a full-on blog post today.  But I did write up vague notes as I went along over the past few days, so I promise I’ll type them up sometime in the next few days (yeah, where have you heard that before?)

 

Double blogging

After my triumphant post of yesterday, I very nearly forgot to write a blog post today!  I blame the fact that I have actually written a blog post today, it just wasn’t for this blog.  My Toastmasters club has a website where a recap of each week’s meeting gets posted.  Up until recently, there’s been just one person writing all the recaps, but the committee thought it would be fairer on him if the job was shared around the whole club, with each of us taking turns to write up a meeting.  Most of the other members were looking pretty intimidated by the idea (many are of an age where “post something to our website” sounds like a highly complex and technical task, despite the step by step instructions that Tim (the previous site maintainer) provided), so I volunteered to take the first turn.  Playing with websites is not exactly intimidating to me, considering it’s a big part of my job (and even if it wasn’t, the club’s site uses WordPress, just like DD, so it was all very familiar territory).

So here’s the post I wrote.  Hopefully now that I’ve shown how easy it is, and that you don’t need Tim’s magical IT skills to post a recap, some of the other members will be brave enough to give it a go too.