Popcorn.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been fairly pleased with my cooking skills. I’ve made some well received meals for my friends and I’m enjoying trying some new things.

However, apparently there are still some basics that I can’t manage.

The directions on the popcorn packet said not to leave it for more than five minutes, and not to leave it unattended. I put it in the microwave at work, set it to four minutes and returned to my desk where I could hear it popping. After about three minutes I returned to the kitchen to find smoke seeping out of the microwave …

I panicked, and ran out to find somebody who would know what to do. After my previous experience with pine nuts catching fire in the oven, I was reluctant to open the door to the microwave in case the sudden rush of air made it burst into flames. I did remember (finally) that turning it off was probably a good move …

When one of the guys at work did open the door, luckily it wasn’t actually ON fire, but there was plenty of smoke. Inevitably, this set off the alarms, and our entire floor was evacuated into the hallway until the firemen arrived and declared the area safe for us to go back in. I stood sheepishly with my colleagues and couldn’t meet the eyes of the firefighters …

I guess all’s well that ends well, I’m now facing various teasing including the accusation of trying to burn the building down (I really wasn’t!) or just wanting to see some Aussie firement to brighten up my Friday afternoon (not true either).

One thing’s for sure though, I won’t be eating popcorn for a while …

My intranet post after the event – the photo is from google images, not the actual event!

Moving Day!

In comparison to the events surrounding my move across Manly, the actual moving in day itself was very unstressful, if tiring. The drama started a few months ago, when Andrea’s flatmate announced that he was going to start looking for a new place. Having been coveting her beautiful view for months, I was really excited!

Having small, furry, rather noisy and sometimes smelly housemates was starting to wear on me, and it wasn’t long before my impatience got the better of me. When Rachel’s room unexpectedly became available, I decided to change my plans and move in to her place in Little Manly. It also comes with a beautiful view, not as amazing as Andrea’s, but from the bedroom itself which is rather nice.

The view from my room

However, Andrea was less than amused! Luckily for me she is also the forgiving kind though, and plus she eventually realised that she’d probably had a lucky escape.

A couple of weeks before the move, I had arranged for the internet to be connected at the new place … sadly, they also cut off the wireless at my old one! Cue a week or so of frustration – it’s amazing how I now feel totally lost without super fast internet at my fingertips wherever I go. Possibly something to do with also wanting to make Skype calls on a regular basis.

Over the next few days, Rachel was away so I stayed in what would be my new room, admiring the view from the bed, and counting down the days until I could move all of my stuff in! I made endless phone calls to the internet company, and unplugged and replugged in every single cable to my modem at least a hundred times until finally they sent a technician. On Friday morning, Vivi and I sat with our laptops and a 3G connection while he took apart the phone socket, discovered the phone line wasn’t connected properly, and promptly sorted it out. We stared and crossed our fingers as the modem light went from flashing red, to blue, and then back to red, until finally it stayed blue. We named our home network magicworks, because at that point in time I think we both believed it!

I went back to my own place for the last two nights, then finally the day arrived! We had a great girls night out on Saturday, with the result that I wasn’t feeling the best on Sunday morning, but I had a long day ahead and there was no time for hangovers. I left the house to get the car, only to return two minutes later having forgotten my glasses. This pretty much set the tone for the day …

First stop, IKEA

My first stop was IKEA: I needed a set of drawers for some extra storage space. I haven’t been to IKEA in ages – I haven’t really done much shopping in ages either, but I had to curb my shopaholic tendencies and stay focussed on just buying what I needed: drawers, and some storage boxes. I left with just $4 worth of impulse purchases, which must be a new record.

Next stop: Harvey Norman to pick up a tumble dryer. I found the shopping centre in Chatswood, found the right floor, went to get out of the car, and couldn’t find my key (GoGet have a really cool system, similar to Street Car in the UK, where I have a credit card sized “key” that locks and unlocks the car – the actual ignition key is secured inside the car). I searched my bag and pockets, but nothing. I was beginning to panic: I couldn’t even leave the car unlocked because it would automatically lock itself after a few minutes, so if I closed it then I wouldn’t be able to get back in. I didn’t understand how I could have dropped it at IKEA … eventually reason set in, and I found it down the far side of the passenger seat. Phew.

Shopping done!

Back on track … dryer collected and loaded into the car, and back to the new place to drop it off. I arrived, and nobody was there, they’d all gone out for breakfast … I managed to drag the heavy boxes out of the car and into the garden on my own, but it’s been a while since I wished that much for a strong man to help me!

Back to Pacific Parade, and the first car load took nearly an hour to load, but most of the big stuff was in. The drive across town took less than ten minutes, but included about twenty sets of traffic lights … luckily I wasn’t really in any hurry, it was still early afternoon. By the time the first lot of cases and stuff had been emptied, I could barely get in to my bedroom (not because I have THAT much stuff, but I didn’t do a great job of arranging it).

First load ready to go

Andrea was also moving stuff the same day, she’d hired a ute to pick up a fridge and some larger furniture from across town, having sourced it on Gumtree (her flatmate was moving out and taking all of his furniture, so she was about to have a pretty empty flat!) We decided to go together to the mall then to drop off her ute, so that she didn’t have to walk home. She was jetlagged, and exhausted … I suddenly realised that I was actually pretty tired already too, and I still had another car load to go, and furniture to build!

The car all stacked up for the final run

We made it to the mall, and finally the last car load was emptied. I dropped the car back in its spot near Pacific Parade, and collected my bike and my surfboard, which was too big to fit in the car so had to be moved on foot. I wheeled the bike over to Andrea’s, where my surfboard was going to stay in her garage at least until the summer! Finally I biked over to the new place. It was kind of strange to finish off the move on my bike :)

Viv was home by then, and together we got the new dryer into its new home and reconstructed my small shelves in the utility room, they looked pretty cool actually and Viv was delighted.

The new dryer

I managed to clear a way through the stuff into my room and stacked the cases against the windows. I was still determined to finish putting together my new drawers, even though both Silvio and Viv had told me to take it a bit easy, it had been a long day, but I was stubborn as ever …! Eventually, with the help of a couple of glasses of wine, they were done. And they looked good too!

I do follow instructions …

Getting there with the drawers

Moving fast!


By ten thirty, finally, I had managed to unpack enough clothes to last a couple of days, make up my bed, and bring enough order to the room to be satisfied. My eyes were almost closing …

It took a few more days to clear out the rest of the suitcases but I’m delighted with my new room! It’s light and quiet, and I can’t imagine a better place to wake up in :)

New home

New job – two months in.

On the first day of my new job at Atlassian, after a couple of fairly intense but pretty standard induction presentations, I was shown to the desk that would be mine for the next couple of weeks. It was in the middle of the 16th floor, in a pretty spacious office (especially compared to London standards) with windows all the way around, so I could look across the room and see across the city. Pretty nice :)

On my new desk was: a branded t-shirt (a pretty nice one actually), a box of Lindor chocolates (didn’t last long), a bag of jelly beans (didn’t last much longer), a cup for my tea, shiny new Mac Pro with two huge brand new monitors, and a notebook and pen. It was such a nice welcome!

First day

Most of my first week was spent doing two things: attending “Boot Camp” presentations, and slaying dragons. Not real ones … but that was the name of the exercise! As part of my induction and in order to learn about the different products I’d be working with, I had to set them all up on my computer, which actually took quite a while. Apparently, I can now get a t-shirt proclaiming myself as a dragon slayer :) There is a big culture of having company branded stuff here which I really like.

Aside from that, I spent a lot of time getting lost inside the maze of articles and blogs on the wiki. Like ThoughtWorkers, Atlassians often have quite a bit to say (so if you judge me by this blog, I’ll fit right in) so there is a lot to keep up with.

What with the dragons, presentations and wiki, by the end of the week my brain was buzzing with all the new information I’d taken in – so much so that I woke up on Sunday morning from dreaming about JIRA (the product I’ll be working on).

On Friday evening, I headed downstairs to the 15th floor, where the rest of my team was located. I was supposed to sit in the bootcamp area for my first two weeks, but after spending half an hour or so downstairs I didn’t want to wait any longer – it was nice to be around the people I’d be working with, and a bit cosier and noisier than upstairs.
By Tuesday of my second week, my new desk on the 15th floor was arranged. One of the advantages of being a female in IT is that you can usually get people to help you move your equipment :) Actually I managed most of it myself, except for the Mac Pro, those things are heavy!

Moving all my stuff

So over the last few weeks, I’ve settled in rather nicely. It’s a nice change to have a permanent desk, and to be working as part of a product team again, rather than always being the outsider working on a client site. Over the time I’ve been at Atlassian, I’ve completed their induction program called “Bootcamp”, an overview of all aspects of the company and the products and their development, culminating in a short “graduation” presentation last Friday.

The talking token

I’ve started out working in a team for the Bonfire product, and now my days are now mostly spent coding in JavaScript. What’s really cool is that we have a REAL SWORD that we use for a talking token in stand up meetings – the product started out known as Excalibur, so that’s where the sword came from. We’ve already completed one new release, and the next one is nearly ready to go – it’s very cool seeing things that I’ve worked on ready to go out to the customers, I just hope they like it!

We have a real sword!

One of the other amazing things about the office is the amount of free food. I’ve grown accustomed to free fruit, crisps, snacks and chocolate at ThoughtWorks, but here there is cheese, ham, and salad stuff for lunch, breakfast cereal, even some microwave meals. I was warned that most newcomers put on weight, and so far I’ve stuck mostly to the healthier snacks, although yes I did nail those chocolates on my desk within two days.

There are also vending machines for drinks, which is pretty special, there’s something cool about not having to put any money in before you press the button and get a drink.

The view from my desk

I’m now just starting to not feel quite like the new kid anymore, although when I mention my upcoming holiday people keep telling me I’ve only been here five minutes, and how can I have a holiday already?!

As for what’s coming up: I was originally allocated to a team known as Kick Ass, who work on the JIRA product, but after a shift in priorities I’m going to go and work on Greenhopper instead, in September when I get back from my long trip to the UK. I’m looking forward to getting the chance to get into some Java code as well as the front end stuff!

The Waiting Game.

When I was skyping my cousin Julia recently, she mentioned that I hadn’t been doing very much on my blog recently. She wasn’t the first person, I think Mum had mentioned it too, a week or two ago.

I’ve been meaning to post for some time about my new job, but other than that, I haven’t felt like I had very much to say. Over the last six weeks, I’ve been trying to get my head around some significant changes in my life: a new job and a new relationship, both of which are fantastic, but bring their own stresses – like being six thousand miles apart from the person I most want to be with, most of the time.

And if that wasn’t ENOUGH excitement, in one more week I’ll move house. I always seem to try and do everything at once, but the last few months seem to have been one long waiting game :) Maybe this year I will finally learn patience. Andrea has also spent the last two months travelling for work, so my social life just hasn’t been the same!

Since getting back from Malaysia, it seems like most of my time when I’m not working has been spent either on Skype or exercising. After several months at Fight Gym, I switched to Virgin Active, an old friend from the UK – much as I liked the Fight Gym, I needed to do something different. VA manage to change it up with new stuff pretty regularly, so now I’m “enjoying” body attack, body pump and cardio routines on the powerplate – although the boxing classes are not as good as before.

Exercising at 7am on beautiful beaches like Dee Why is a great start to the weekend … but hard work!

I also flirted for a little while with outdoor fitness classes at 7am on a Saturday. For three weeks, I got up before 6 and rode my bike up to 10km to varied locations along the northern beaches, where trainer Penny Walsh shouted at a surprisingly large group of us to run up sand dunes and hills in between crunches, push ups and step ups – with REALLY big steps.

On the fourth week though, sitting in the Wharf Bar with Viv on a Friday night, the temptation of a second bottle of wine to share was too much … luckily I was off the hook when I discovered the class was cancelled anyway (it was, honestly!). That was over two weeks ago, after that I was attending a conference on a Saturday which ruled out the morning workout, and last weekend I just couldn’t face it. I was so tired and needed a nice, long lie in! In a funny way I do like the 7am class, the beaches are beautiful and empty and I feel amazing afterwards, but it’s really hard to get past the fact that the mornings start off so dark and freezing cold! Maybe I’ll try it again when it warms up a bit more :)

One thing I have kept up is running: from being able to just about manage the 5k from home to Shelly Beach and back, I’ve worked up to now running over 10k on a fairly regular basis. I’ve found a small group of guys at work who come running on Thursday lunchtimes, and they’re all faster than me, which has had a positive effect on my speed. Last week was the best yet: ~7.5k in 42 minutes, well over 10kmh which was my original target.

Lastly, I keep promising myself – and other people – that I will go climbing some time. There is a wall at the gym, and a group at work who go every week, but so far I’ve bottled out. This can’t last forever though: Silvio is a keen climber, but perhaps this is something to save for later in the year :)

All of this is paying off though: I still have a little way to go to my target weight but I’m closer than I have been for a long, long time. With the big wedding looming in just a few weeks, this is definitely a good thing!

As part of the new routine, I also tried (hard!) to cut back on alcohol – but there’s still been room for indulging!

I’ve spent many happy nights at the Wharf Bar putting the world to rights with Viv and Rach, including the night when Lucy, still jetlagged after just getting back from the UK, locked herself out putting the rubbish out … poor thing! I’ve also had some lovely chilled evenings cooking at Viv and Rachel’s, and discovered that I can actually rustle up some pretty good dishes, given time, wine, and good company. I can’t wait to try my skills out on Silvio when he gets back from India … luckily for him, I haven’t yet learned how to cook curry :) Anyway, hopefully there’s a future blog post coming up on that!

The next few weeks are looking promising: moving house this weekend, Andrea returns on Thursday, the end of (financial) year party at work, which is currently shrouded in mystery, and then my first ever Christmas party in July, just before I head off for a few days of skiing in Falls Creek. So hopefully I’ll have lots more inspiration to actually write some posts again!