Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Our wedding website's comments got hacked: removed, and replaced with a "hacked by" signature.

What a.... meanie!

(Good self-control there, Skirt, we're all proud of you for not calling the guy an asshat or a fucktard... Oh. D'oh!)

But really - I mean, it's a freaking *wedding* website! Hardly a controversial topic, or something anyone other than us and our families and friends should care about, so why pick on us?

Useless, crappy baby hackers who are too stupid to hack anything real, so they pick on someone's wedding site... I hope you get OOS, spill drinks all over your hard drive, and get grounded for wagging school.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I've been making progress of sorts in a few parts of my life, so I figure it's time to share.

(ahhh, sharing)

Most important progress prize goes to my knitting. I've finished my River for my grandmother, and will block it this weekend. This is well in advance of my deadline.

I've also managed to knit it well (well, I *think* I have). Compared to my first, moderately flawed River, the new one is a thing of beauty. (I may re-knit the old one, since I feel dodgy about wearing such a poorly-knit lace wrap now.)

This means I've had time to do a bit more on Martha, my much-neglected cotton beaded cardigan. (More about this at Summeralong)

Most excruciating progress prize is a tie... between having to discipline my junior at work, and decide if I think she should get the slightly speccced-up version of her job; and deciding I don't like therapy with our therapist anymore.

The work situation is tough, and I've discussed my options at great, great length with many people. What it comes down to is that - in spite of a cushy environment and great supervisor who is willing to give chances and be supportive etc. - she doesn't cut the mustard. If she doesn't get the job she'll be crushed. But of she does she could really cock things up.

And did I mention I get to be on the interview panel? Fun... notsomuch.

The deal with the therapist is pretty simple. She and The Trouser are old mates, and she helped him through a very difficult time when he had CFS and was very depressed. One on one, she is fine. But when we have sessions as a couple - which is what we've been doing for a while, and is what we need - she isn't much help.

It's complicated, and there are a range of behaviours she exhibits that make me unhappy, but it's the double standards that have been making me feel uneasy since day 1.

Say she asks us a question, and we both feel the same way. Here's what happens:

I express myself well and strongly, and her response is to tell me what I am doing wrong. No encouragement for the good things I do, no validation of my (very wounded) feelings, just negative feedback about what I do wrong.

The Trouser, who expresses himself well but with more prodding, gets only positive feedback about how his feelings must be tremendously hurt. No suggestions for where he is doing the wrong thing.

The irony of the situation is that The Trouser is generally fairly okay with the situations. We're going to therapy because *I'm* not okay with it, and *I* need help. Instead, I feel like I'm paying someone to not listen to/ not hear me, and to give me feedback couched in negative terms.

Hey, I could get that for free from a wide range of people, I don't need to pay for it!

So the conclusion I've come to is that I won't go back to see her. I will attend if The Trouser wants me to come to personal sessions (since that's what she's clearly interested in), but no more couples stuff.

I know, I could tell her how I feel. But she has eroded my trust to the point where I feel it's futile to tell her how I feel, because I don't trust her to listen to me, show empathy, or validate how I feel anyway - why would this situation be any different? If she didn't respond in what i feel is a caring manner, I would feel even more betrayed: not just as a therapist, but as someone who is supposed to be our friend. And if that happens, I think it will screw up how The Trouser and she relate - which I don't want.

Least interesting progress is that I'm still managing the gym. I was even so bold as to buy a second sports bra yesterday (50% off, it seemed wrong not to), so now I've spent even more money on exercise stuff, so I feel obliged to exercise and not waste the cash. (Incidentally, it's the new Bendon one, and ignore what the NZ Herald says, if it comes in your size it does a great job.)

I'd like to make more wedding-related progress, like finding some shoes I'd like to wear (7 1/2 cm heel tops, strappy, leather, comfortable yet delicate, pale colours, if you have any suggestions!). I'd like to clean out all our crap so we have less of it, and will have less to move. And on, and on, and on. But I'm on my way...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Lessons I've learned

(very recently)

- Always make sure you have your keys in your bag before you leave the house. Especially if you need said keys to access the building, and the other key-holders work further away from home than you.

- Never depend on the building manager being around when you need him.

- Be nice to your co-workers, so they will lend you their car to drive home to drop off the set of keys you purloined by accident.

- Be nice to your neighbours, so they will buzz you in and give you a glass of wine to while away the time until someone comes to drop off the extra set of keys they took.

- When a staple jams your stapler, stop and try to extract it. Don't keep stapling, because you'll end up with lots of jammed staples.

- It's harder to get multiple jammed staples out than just one.

- Staples can break and leave bits inside that keep the jam going.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Giving thanks

We celebrated Thanksgiving early this year. A good family friend was off to Sydney for radiotherapy on Sunday morning, so we gathered for the traditional feast on Saturday night.

(For those of you who don't know, we celebrate this because we're transplanted Americans. But not the Republican kind. Honest.)

By "traditional", I mean turkey, stuffing (not actually stuffed in the bird, made separately, because we need a lot of stuffing), cranberry sauce, green beans with slivered almonds, roasted potatoes. The NZ flavour was provided courtesy of asparagus (out of season in the northern hemipshere) and roasted kumara.

My job was to make the pumpkin pies. I make a very, very good pumpkin pie. And apart from the pastry, which I buy (hell, even Jamie Oliver tells us to buy it, why fight it?), it's all made from scratch.

This means buying the pumpkins (out of season), chopping them up, steaming the bits, scraping the pumpkin from the ring, mashing it, and removing any stringy bits you can find (harder than it sounds), and letting it cool. I understand you can buy canned pumpkin in the US for htis specific purpose. Clever people.

The pumpkin done, you add the eggs, the sugar, the milks (evaporate and regular), and the spices.

Ah the spices, so dear to my heart. The otheriwse-reliable recipe in my Fannie Farmer cookbook advises a bit of salt and a measly amount of one spice. I couldn't even tell you which spice, because when it comes to the spices, I ignore the book.

Instead, I add loads of nutmeg, and twice as much cinnamon. I add half as much mace, ginger and cardamom, and half again of cloves (bad experiences with over-cloving, so I'm cautious). And if it doesn't look quite right, I add some more cinnamon. You can't really over-cinnamon anything.

The baking is odd if you follow the recipe - I suspect that there's a typo in a fairly important place. 425F (215C) for 10 minutes, then 40 min or so at 310F (150C). But it takes more like 2 1/2 hours at the second temperature, so I'm guessing that they really meant 410F. I don't know, because I know how long it takes at the lower temperature, and I don't want to risk screwing up my pie by trying something different.

I like the pie quite cold. It's healthiest with yoghurt, but I prefer it with Cool Whip - not that I've had any in the past 20 years. (Ah, Cool Whip, how I loved you!) If you're a piggie like me, you'll make and bring 2 pies, then take the second, untouched one home to share begrudgingly with your beloved and the neighbours.

Begrudgingly, because I love me some pumpkin pie, and it's a big effort to make. But share I will, because it will make me a big Fatty McBlobbington if I don't.

We have a lot to be thankful for this year, but right now pumpkin pie is right up there.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The final countdown?

It's cliched, but can you believe it's mid-November already?

I know where the year has gone (work, some knitting, waaaay too much tv, yet more work) but it has gone very fast.

We're starting to get into our "lasts" now - it really is the final countdown. To the end of work, our wedding, and our move.

I'm beginning to feel the teensiest bit sad. Last birthday has been had, last Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend - along with the last Grey Lynn Park festival, last winter (though that one could come a bit sooner, the weather is still shocking!)... you get the idea.

I have mixed feelings about my last days at work. I'm definitely sick of a lot about my workplace, and some of the people, but I've created and moulded this job, and I will also miss some of the people here. I'm scared I will never again find a job I'm really good at. I'm scared I'll end up doing a crappy job instead of what I like doing.

I am already incredibly sad about the last days at our apartment. I always cried a teensy bit when we moved, but this time we'll be leaving our first home together - the place we bought together, and the first place we will have lived in as a married couple. I'm the person who's most keen to move - I just wish I could bring our oasis with us. Will we ever have such a comforting, calm place ever again? Will I ever feel so safe? Will I ever really love a place like this again? And will the new tenants totally trash the apartment?

I guess lasts also mean firsts, and I've been racking up a few of those too. I've started going to the gym, and as long as I go tonight (you'll have to kill me to stop me, no matter how tired I am), it'll be 3x a week for 2 weeks.

I hate exercise, so this is quite a revelation. And I'm so serious that I'm going to buy a sports bra to protect the girls from my enthusiasm. It's a very disturbing first, but it is a healthy one, so we're encouraging it.

There are lots of other firsts - mostly wedding-related. The ones I'm looking forward to largely revolve around travel: like my first time in Hong Kong, India, and Greece.

But the biggest first is that when we move, it will be the first time I will go somewhere with no plan. I've been overseas plenty, and I did a student exchange - but I've always had a plan. Of course, we'll try to have a plan this time, but it's unlikely to be followed. Where are we going? Still not sure if it's London or Dublin. Where will we live? Um, see the first question. Do we have jobs? Well, not yet. Will we stay long? No idea, though we have no plans to return to NZ in the near future.

It's a bit scary. For someone like me who is a planner by nature, it's terrifying. I'm coping by mentally planning our packing system (bring with; send over; store and probably need soon; store and probably never need; chuck) and focusing on how great The Trouser is. Because if anyone can get me through this, it's him.

It's not the first time I've relied on him, nor will it be the last. And that's a comfort. We may be counting down on some things, but not on our relationship.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The times they are a-changing

On an international front: no more Rumsfeld, and Democrats in the US Houses. I hope Rumsfeld's replacement isn't a giant jackass, but he's been appointed by Bush, so I don't hold out much hope.

I'm sure my US relatives are largely despairing. This is because (hold your breath, dirty secret about to be revealed) most of them are Republicans. One of them is an ex-oil man who donates very, very large sums of money to the cause.

I do have a few normal US relatives - by which I mean non-Republicans. There's my cousin, the Deomcrat, whose father is so upset about it he won't speak about politics with him. He's a great guy; when The Trouser met him, he decided we were like the male and female versions of each other. That's weird, but even more weird is the fact that we're so similar when we've grown up so very far apart.

I also have the hippie aunt and her daughter. The hippie aunt got married without any undergarments, as my dad occasionally likes to tell us. How does he know? Becauise she got changed into her wedding dress at her (hippie) wedding on the hillside, and Dad happened to be nearby. My aunt used to live with a great guy who seemed to have quite strong communist leanings, and was up on a few of the conspiracy theories surrounding the US government. (I know, he sounds loopy, but he is really the most logical and sensible guy.) I think these relatives are probably more like Green party supporters - but hey, they aren't Republicans, I don't mind!

On a personal note, I've been to the gym in our building twice in the past week. The wedding is coming up, winter is ending (well, according to the calendar, if not the weather!) and I figure I ought to get some sort of exercise. Oh, and in spite of our weekend shopping spree (I needed some weekend-appropriate clothes), I have a pair of jeans I don't quite fit into that I'd like to wear. So off to the gym we've gone.

Exercise is dead boring, so we bring music - and I plan to get some audio books. I also limit my workout so I don't die of boredom: 15 min on the bike, some arm weight thingees, then 20 min or so on the treadmill, at a very, very fast walk (running gives me shinsplints).

I'm not expecting amazing results, just a bit of toning and perhaps a little bit of slimming (trying to be careful on the food front too). Two things are keeping me going: it is lovely to come back from the gym, have a bath or shower, and then laze around in my pjs; and even after only a couple of sessions, I have loads more energy. Long may the optimism last!

And now, a question: have you ever made a tofurkey/ tofurky? (According to Google, the latter spelling is more common, which just shows how illiterate people really are.) We're doing an early Christmas/ late Thanksgiving dinner, and The Trouser is very keen on some fake meat. I like the look of this recipe but am open to suggestions...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Boundaries, or the lack thereof

I've been reading a great new blog that Violet recommended. OK, it's not new per se, but new-to-me.

And so far, my favourite bit is the post on the girl who crapped in the bushes on the third date.

If you read the comments, you'll see that I am grossed out by this. Bathroom comments ("knicker licker", for example) are not third date comments in my book.

In fact, The Trouser and I lived together for over 9 months before I even farted in front of him. And even then, it was only because I had a vile case of campylobacter (so vile that I ended up on a drip in the ER, for rehydration purposes).

I distinctly remember being really, really upset because I farted in front of him. Tears were involved, as was wailing. He found it hilarious that I cared so much about a stray fart when I was so sick, but it was the end of an era.

But bush-crapping and describing the kind of experience you're about to have? Now that's a real lack of boundaries!

We're in the money

So yesterday was Melbourne Cup day.

In my office, it means someone running a sweepstakes, and everyone who's around gathering to drink wine, eat chips and watch the race.

The sweepstakes is run by the most junior employee (who also puts up the Christmas decorations). Last year, they didn't do this - they asked a slightly less junior employee, on the grounds that she was familiar with gambling due to her ethnic background.

Big assumption, big mistake. The traditional office sweepstake involves the exchange of a $2 coin for a horse, "out of the hat", so to speak. Each horse can only be chosen once, everyone gets a turn to pick a horse before second picks are allowed, etc. No one informed this nice girl of the rules, and there were all sorts of complicated betting rules called into play, none of which any of us had heard of before. It's like she was a little mini-TAB all her own - but crucially, minus the financial backing.

This year it went according to plan, and despite my failure to ever win anything in a game of chance, I paid my $2 (office spirit, people!).

Around an hour before the race, the man in the office with more technical ability than a flea (note: there is only one in my office) tried to turn the TV on. Only to discover that the expensive screen that's caused nothing but trouble since the day it was purchased, was causing trouble again. Oh, and that it can't get TV reception without the cable TV that Finance made us cancel.

I made a mercy dash home to get our cable TV box, remote and a bunch of cables. Our super-complicated TV/ stereo/ streaming MP3 player/ DVD recorder/ cable setup makes for a lot of wires, let me tell you.

Back at the office with the goods, we got a picture but no sound. Every man in the building decided it was his duty to fiddle with the cables, but to no avail. So out came the ancient boombox: TV pictures, radio sound. It made the irritating TV3 commentators much less so: I could imagine them saying entirely more interesting things than I'm sure they said.

Fashion in the field: too many short, short skirts on girls who are too old to show their wa-was in public (ladies, you are not Madonna!); and too many people whose substantial wealth still faield to buy them dress sense.

At least the race was good.

And it was a bloody good race, wasn't it? We all bellowed like nobody's business, especially me, because for a change I had a horse that was in it from the beginning.

So "in it", in fact, that it won. (Shame about the crying jockey.)

And most uncannily: The Trouser had randomly picked the same horse in his office sweepstakes. We're in the money, baby!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Photos, finally

My nails. (Quite blurry, and my hands don't usually look so pink, but you get the general gist.)

The lovely and wayyyyyyyyyy overpriced yarn. Knitworld, charging me $10 for a 50gm package you send via regular mail is highway robbery. I won't be ordering from you ever again. Seriously.

River's first detail shot, with 2 days' worth of knitting. 2 days' worth of knitting later, I'd done just over half of the pattern, only to discover a weensy error. Really weensy, but it made it imperfect, and this is a gift, and my second time on this pattern. So I unpicked to row #73, which was a bit heartbreaking, but better done sooner rather than later!

I've almost knitted back to that point again (sick day yesterday), and have decided to closely examine my work by spreading it out on a navy blue pillowcase (for the contrast) every 10 rows. Here's hoping it'll keep me from needing to frog back so far again!

And for the sake of completeness, here's my sleeve from Martha. It looks like there's a colour splotch, but I'm pretty sure that's just my amateur photography. (Gahh, I hope it is!)

Incidentally, how much are you loving our carpet in these photos? When The Trouser first announced he wanted new carpet (the old stuff was old, stained, peach cut-pile) I wasn't convinced. But since I like to lay my knitting on the floor for photo-calls, I'm now grateful that it's attractive enough to show the rest of the world, and also actually clean.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Highs and lows

I'm still having trouble putting photos in - instead of simply freezing up as I upload the pics, they upload but don't insert. Guess I'll have t try later... Again...

I've always been the "bad news before good", "dirty work before fun" kind of person, so let's start with the lows...

- I've had the same snotty, coughing, yucky cold for 4 weeks now. I'm really, really sick of it.

- When we saw the A&E doctor he was an ass. (Don't go to the Beach Rd A&E in Auckland City if the only doctor on is a man. He's a snotty man who leaves anatomical models around, but doesn't like you touching them. And if you d and you're not the patient, he questions why you're in the consulting room. Actually, if you aren't the patient he doesn't like you there at all, and is rude about it.)

- He gave me forms for blood tests and a chest x-ray. I've never had an x-ray and an terrified at the thought of needing one, let alone having one. (Teeth don't count, I love my dentist!)

- I did the blood tests, and they made me feel gross for the rest of the day, because I have low blood pressure, and I always get really dizzy for ages afterwards (even though I'm lying down). This time it took about half an hour for me to be able to get up and go.

- The antibiotics he gave me (which I didn't even have to ask for!) are making me feel tired and a bit nauseous, even though I eat loads when I take them.

Ok, enough whinging...

- I had a lovely manicure and while my nails are a weensy bit shorter than I'd like (my fault, I said quite short, and for once someone took me literally), I love, love, love the black nailpolish I chose. And my manicurist was really lovely.

- I have a facial this afternoon. Mmm, facials.

- I finally received the Kid Silk Haze I'd ordered from Knitworld. Okay, it was late, and really, really expensive ($54 for 2 balls, plus a whopping $10 for postage - which was just mail, not a courier - I'll order direct from Christchurch next time and have it couriered for $5) - but it arrived. So last night I made a start on Grammie's River. I managed to cast on and knit 36 rows, which is great progress.

- I've finished the sleeves for Martha. More on Martha at Summeralong

- We're having a tasting for the wedding reception food tomorrow night, and my parents are coming along. Then on Saturday we're going to meet the cake lady, who is really lovely, and apparently an old family friend. Even better, we pretty much know what we want, which will speed things up a fair bit!

- Although he can't make it for our wedding, my favourite person from high school is coming home for Christmas, and bringing his girlfriend/ partner with him. It's the first girl he's shacked up with, and the first one he's brought back to NZ, so I'm really looking forward to meeting her. I hope she'll excuse my very poor German!

- We had trick-or-treaters on Tuesday night - our good friends with the world's cutest almost-one-year-old. She was dressed up as a chick, and her dad rented an enormous yellow fluffy chicken suit. It was hilarious! What a shame this is anonyblogging, and the photos are too fantastic for you not to want to send them on to everyone you know - otherwise I'd post them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hello, Blogger?

Will you please let me upload images? I have two lovely, (moderately) interesting posts all ready to go, save the images - which are integral to the post.

Are you complaining about the very amateur quality of my photography (The Trouser was at yoga), or is it a more general refusal to load all photos?