Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A rather freaky event

Last night as I was tucking Caitlyn into bed she quickly jumped up and said "mum, I want to show you what to do when there is an earthquake" and she proceeded to show me what she's learnt at school.  I thanked her for sharing and then tucked her in, sang sleepy time song (not that I am much of a singer, but the kids do like this little tradition), switched off the light and off I went.  First Rose and I were chatting on Skype for a bit and then I went to have a bath.

I do a lot of thinking when I am in the bath and so as I was there deep in thought the house suddenly started swaying.  At first I didn't know what was busy happening and then I realised that we were actually busy having an earthquake (click here to read article).  Terence said he actually heard it as it started building up although thought at first it was maybe a train coming past or something. Turned out that there was a 7.0 earthquake quite a distance from where we are, but it was felt throughout various places in New Zealand.  Thankfully it was out at sea (I believe) and thankfully it was a deep one otherwise there probably would have been significant damage in places.  In the 7 years we've lived here now I've only ever felt maybe 2 earthquakes and they were so brief I didn't know it happened until afterwards, but this was different and went on for longer. Rather freaky and when it stopped I wondered if there would be any aftershocks or not.

Not really the kind of excitement I was looking for to be honest...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

About the time I became best friends with Noise Control

On the weekend I was rather surprised.  We got home on Saturday to a note in our mail box saying that the people directly opposite us would be having a party to celebrate their 17 year old son's birthday and that they expected 45 teenagers and supervised by a few adults.  Urgh!  That could only mean one thing I thought - loud music until the early hours of the morning with noisy teenagers running up and down the street. 

Now I have to explain a little at this point - I don't like noise.  I don't mind hearing the train that comes past, I don't mind the sheep in the paddock behind us and so on.  I really don't mind any of that.  Music noise? At all hours of the night? Not so much.  Now I'm a great fan of music.  I loved going to the Simple Plan and Bonnie Tyler concerts.  I often listen to the music Paul has been sharing with me, but when the neighbours have a party and all you hear is the base noise in your house until whatever time at night, that can get to me a bit. 

In 2006 / 2007 we moved to Tawa (one of the suburbs of Wellington) and it was a rather nice (older house) and at first everything went well (except for the kindy down the road - but that's a story for another time).  Then one Saturday late morning I was outside hanging out the laundry and suddenly heard this extremely loud music right next door.  Sigh!  Really?  Did they have to turn it up so incredibly loud?  Not wanting to cause trouble, I left it knowing that we would be going out soon and that maybe, just maybe the music might be finished by the time we came back.  Thankfully it was.  (I would find out later that the incredibly loud music I thought was right next door actually came from inside the house 2 houses away from us).

This was really just the beginning.

Every single weekend and several afternoons in the week the extremely loud music would start up and would keep going driving us completely insane until finally I had enough and rang noise control.  They would then come out, assess the noise and then if they thought it was causing a disturbance would then issue a 72 hour ban on all music.  After the 72 hours the music started up all over again.  So we'd have to ring.  Again.

Now I have to also add I was pregnant with Caitlyn at the time and really didn't cope with lack of sleep thanks to this annoyance.  I did waddle up their drive one evening at around 10 as I was trying to get Bianca (who was 3 at the time) asleep and they had the music blaring, sat outside on their deck laughing and talking so loud the whole street could pretty much hear what they were up to.  So as I waddled up there about 8 months pregnant, they saw me and I asked if they wouldn't mind just making things a bit quieter this lady looked at me and then shouted that they could make as much noise as they wanted until 11pm.  So I looked at her and said "fine, I'll go back home and let noise control know".  My threat worked thankfully because by the time I got home all was quiet.

I'll never forget one day this song was playing so loud I could sing along from our house (if I could sing and if I was actually in the mood to sing which I wasn't on this day) (it was playing inside this house 2 houses away from us).

This was a constant battle for 9 months (the duration of our rental agreement) and noise control and I became pretty good friends.

There was also one day that we got it from the people on the other side right next door.  They knew Caitlyn was just born and their daughter living with them also just had her baby and so one Saturday they informed us they were going to host a 21st party and so we should expect a bit of noise.  Yes, quite a bit of really loud noise until about 3 the next morning.

Not fun I tell you.  So since then I have become rather sensitive to noisy neighbourhood parties. 

So I dreaded this past Saturday night knowing that it would be 45 teenagers at this party.  Much to my surprise I woke up the next morning realising it must have been the quietest party ever.  Didn't hear a single noise.  I think I can deal with that :-).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weekend update

So how is everybody's weekend going?

On Friday I asked Val to record me during my swim lesson.  Hmmm, I look a bit different than I thought in my head I must be looking as I'm attempting to do the technique she teaches us.  She has definitely stepped things up and at the start we would do 2 lengths at a time, but now she makes us do 6 or 8 lengths at a time of whatever takes her fancy.  In a session we must probably do about 40 lengths.  Started off the session by working on our kick and using a board to hold on to and I managed to catch up with Denise who was quite a bit ahead of me and beat her in the end.  Wasn't really a contest, but when you hear Val on the side going "kick, kick, kick" then you kind of have to push it harder.  Val was very impressed so I'm pleased.  With me wearing glasses all of the time I usually wear contact lenses for swimming as I can't see without my glasses.  Well I can see, but absolutely everything looks like blurry blobs.  Only down-side with this is that as soon as a tiny little bit of water gets into the goggles then it affects the contact lenses.  And this is exactly what happened.  So much so that I had to leave the pool, go to the bathroom to try and sort it out.  What a mission. In the end I took them out and did the rest of the lesson without contact lenses.  Was rather interesting to find that when I have my face in the water everything is super clear so maybe I need to find a way to keep my face permanently in water :-).  At the end of the lesson Val told me that I have made so much progress since I started and that she is very pleased with how I'm going.  It is nice to get this feedback.  Sometimes it is hard to see or feel the progress, so when somebody tells you then it is amazing!  Anyway, here is the little video clip of me swimming, just in case you thought I was making up all the swimming stuff :-)

While I'm on the topic of swimming, I wanted to share this clip of Caitlyn.  She has just come so far since she started and it is really cute seeing her working on her swimming:

Yesterday Bianca had netball and it was Terence's turn to take Bianca to the match.  Her team lost by only 1 point and she had a great time!  Caitlyn and I went along with Rose and Mike to Porirua as Rose needed to do some party shopping for her son's birthday and Caitlyn went with Mike and their kids to Chipmunks for a bit of a play.  Bianca was pretty disappointed she would be missing out so we promised her that we would take her to Porirua today (Sunday) so she could spend some of her pocket money at one of the shops we don't have by us. 

This morning was a beautiful sunny, but rather freezing day.  No chance for a sleep in as we had our bike training with Lynley at 9am.  Today we worked on going around corners, doing some bunch riding (where you are meant to ride pretty close to other riders - pretty scary I have to tell you) and she took us to a hill on the way back.  With the hill training we have to focus on getting up to a good speed before we hit the hill, then gear down as we go up.  It was amazing!  When I first looked at the hill I thought I was going to get pretty tired, but before I could get tired I was at the top.  Lynley said I did really well and that my bike is a pretty fast bike for the type of bike I have.  Of course doing the hilly route I normally do, it won't be quite as effortless I'm sure, but it was really nice managing well today.  I did learn though that I really have my work cut out for me as Lynley told me that by November I need to be able to do 120km distances during my rides if I am going to attempt this 90km ride the end of the year.  Eeek!  That's pretty tough I think!  Will need to ask Paul to help me figure out some other routes around here as I don't know many options around here.

Tonight Terence and Bianca are at a games evening and Caitlyn and I will be watching a movie.  Then after she has gone to bed will be reading some of the Joy Division book I am borrowing from Paul.  I recently saw a bit of the movie, so it is really interesting reading up on the lead singer and his life.

Tomorrow and the rest of this coming week the kids have their holiday programme which will mostly be doing lots of crafts and other activities.  Not sure which of their school friends will be there, but I'm sure they will enjoy it.  Both girls are also very much looking forward to the following week when they will be doing lots and lots of cheerleading.  So hopefully this means I will have a bit of extra time to work on this massive distance I am meant to be able to cycle by November.

Well this is it from me for tonight.  Hope your weekend has been going well for you!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some interesting reading and discovering something cool

Tonight I was reading up on some star sign information, not because I'm really into star signs, but just out of curiosity really.  And of course every single web page I was looking at had different characteristics.  I wonder who comes up with this and if these people actually did a study on a whole group of people with the same star signs?  I suppose if the person who put the info out there was a Virgo then they probably would have compared a group of people of the same star sign - after all it says quite clearly that a Virgo is very analytical, so it kind of makes sense that it should be a Virgo in charge of the project :-).  It made for some interesting reading the star signs I was reading on.  Are you into star signs and do you agree what it says about your star sign?

This afternoon I discovered a really neat something that I think (or rather hope) would be cool for a certain somebody (can't share anything just yet) and it reminded me of the time I had this pen pal.  Well not really pen pal.  We didn't write actual letters with an actual pen to each other, but we were email buddies for a long time.  We met each other by accident.  Or I suppose not really accident because people are often placed on your road for specific reasons even if the reasons are not always clear.  We were introduced to each other in 2002 or 2003. 

We both thought at the same time we wanted to move to New Zealand and so we both emailed the same person at the same time who was helping people out with information.  He answered our questions and then 'introduced' us to each other and so it started.  In the end we moved first to New Zealand and they ended up going to Australia.  We only met each other in person once.  We were really good email buddies for quite a few years, but sadly I think we were just too different.  Had quite different ideas of life and priorities and she was quite direct to the point where she would often make really hurtful and insensitive comments not thinking how it might affect me.  Hmmm, maybe I should go look up her star sign ;-).  So sadly in the end we just lost contact.  But anyway, back to my point.  She was rather hard to buy anything for for her birthday or for Christmas and usually when I feel I know somebody well enough then I like getting them something that would be special for them.  So sometimes (as in her case) I would spend a long time looking for and thinking of something that would be suitable.  It was really just by accident that on one occasion I found something really different.  She loved cooking.  So much so she collected recipe books.  Can't say I relate much to this as I don't particularly feel inspired by cooking, but she loved it.  I stumbled upon this online company in Australia and they did recipe gifts.  So you get to choose something that would then have the ingredients, the relevant tools, a recipe and a story.  So for instance hers was a Moroccan recipe gift complete with the tagine (I think this is what it is called).  I've never come across any other company doing the same, but I thought it was a rather neat idea at the time.

Do you have specific ideas about gift-giving?

Well I better stop rambling now.  How was your Thursday?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not the best of days for me today

Today was not a good day for me.  It was one of those days where I just could not get myself going. Okay part of the problem is perhaps that I didn't sleep particularly well last night and woke up around 3am.  Tried to get back to sleep, but simply couldn't.  It was like my brain just switched on.  And boy does time drag slowly when you lie there in the dark waiting for the alarm to finally go off at 6am.  Do you get days like that?  I don't too often get days like this, but I suppose they happen for me because my mind tends to work overtime at times.  I suppose.  Who knows really?  So after I dropped the kids this morning I thought I'd go back to bed for a little bit to try and catch up on some sleep and unfortunately that didn't work so well either.  Oh well, hopefully tonight is a better night.

So naturally today I wasn't too productive.  I should have been, but... well... okay, no excuses.  I mostly just did a few chores around the house (not my favourite part of any day and it seems this never-ending task.  I read once that cleaning a house with kids in it is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos).

This afternoon Caitlyn had her cheerleading session and she had a great time.  Last session of the term.  She does have the holiday programme in the second week of the holidays where Bianca and Caitlyn both will have cheerleading for a few hours each morning.  Bianca especially could do with the extra practise as the end of October we'll be going to Auckland for her competition (Caitlyn is not in a competitive team).  That reminds me - I really need to start looking at accommodation and flights.  October feels a long way away, but it will be here before we know it.  At this stage Bianca is only competing on one day (the Sunday), the date is a bit disappointing as it is the same day (I think) as the Otaki Triathlon that Rose and I both wanted to do and now both of us will be in Auckland.  Will be nice to go and see Bianca's tree again when we are in Auckland and hopefully it is still doing well.

Okay enough rambling now.  How was your day?