Life and stuff.

I haven’t had much to blog about in the last couple of weeks! No big trips or stand out events really … life is just going along nicely. So I thought I’d do a bit of a general update instead …

Last week was a bit crazy. The people who know me well will know that I like to have a plan, and I had my week neatly lined up: Tuesday I was starting my fit2date class, I had a haircut lined up for Thursday and heading to the Space bar afterwards with Andrea, then hoping to be diving over the weekend. At work, we were expecting to start on our next project.

Right from Monday morning everything went awry … the project was delayed, leaving us with barely anything to do but surf the interwebz, the fit2date class in Manly was cancelled and I had a choice of a refund or doing the Sydney CBD class on Thursday. My first reaction was to be cross and want a refund, but I was really looking forward to the class, so did decide to reschedule in the end.

Things at work didn’t really improve much, we switched to look at another project but that didn’t go anywhere either. I headed out to the Ruby on Rails user group on Tuesday, which can be an effort sometimes but is always worthwhile, especially now I know quite a few people there. I managed to avoid mid-week alcohol and made it to the ferry home before nine, but I got mistaken on the way out for the bar maid which didn’t help my ego …

Wednesday turned out better when I got an unexpected date :) so the week was looking up. Thursday, I arrived far too early for fit2date, and when I first joined the group there was a few minutes of wondering what on earth I was doing (kind of like that feeling you get when you turn up to a speed dating event). The night turned out pretty good though, I left after to get the ferry but realised pretty quickly I wasn’t going to make it, so went back to join the group in the pub. I was glad I did, they are all good fun and I ended up getting the ferry back with a girl called Amanda – we chatted all the way home, so I was hopeful that I’d found a new friend.

Friday night finally rolled around – I had intended to go out for a run, but it was cool and windy and I just couldn’t be a***d, in all honesty! So I poured a glass of wine instead :) I sat outside with my housemate Chelsea putting the world to rights for an hour or so, then slowly got ready to head out. I was dressed and doing my hair when Andrea rang, to say she’d locked herself out of her apartment having lost her key while she was out running. Her flatmate was away until the next day, so she needed a place to stay, something to wear, something to eat, well, everything basically. Nothing was too much of a problem, except that she couldn’t sleep on the sofa because it was full of dog hairs and she’s allergic … well, thank goodness I have a big bed, because I also have a tendency to fidget a lot in my sleep! Poor Andrea, when her phone alarm went off unexpectedly, I forgot she was there and as I leaned over she got an elbow in the mouth. Whoops!

Anyway, I was still determined to go out for drinks, and eventually … we made it! We met a guy called Ron in the Space, he seems to be a regular, and he invited us to go out on his boat! There are some interesting people in Manly (I’m not going though). Halfway through our second bottle of wine, we were tired and I’d had enough – for some reason we decided it’d be a good idea to try and leave with it. Turns out, that wasn’t so much of a good plan, at least that’s what the security guard and policeman outside told us! We were relieved they only took away the wine then sent us packing, they were probably laughing at us though as we scurried away. Bad girls.

Saturday, I headed out for a morning run just as it was warming up, I was pretty damn hot by the time I got back. I run 5k along the beach, not on the sand (that’s way too much like hard work) – it’s a really pretty run, just long enough to feel like I’ve done something but not so long I get fed up with it. In the afternoon, I was off to Andrea’s – she’d got back in to the flat by then – for a barbie and a bit of a party with some friends, while we watched the Australian Open of Surfing from her balcony. The view from there is incredible.

The party went on all day and into the evening, until eventually I’d had enough cider and headed home. I carefully gathered up my belongings, still managing to leave behind my camera and iPod … I’m so forgetful.

Sunday was surfing and gardening! I met Andrea and Lucy down on the beach, and later Jess and Phil joined us too. The waves weren’t too bad, we managed to paddle out quite a long way and rest on our surfboards. I tried to sit up on mine – which was pretty easy on the big foam boards we had for our lessons – but on my surfboard, it was like it was trying to buck me off! Andrea laughed at me, especially when I fell off it (three times). I’m useless at surfing!

Towards the end, I managed to get both of my feet on the board – I was still holding on with my hands, but still, this is a first! By then, the waves near the shore seemed to be a bit bigger, and Lucy and I were having trouble getting over them to get out. After being thrown back down on the shore four or five times, I gave up and crossly marched out with my board, promptly getting turned over again before I managed to get myself out.

There's a spider like this in my garden

In the afternoon, I headed up to my herb garden to pull out the weeds that just won’t stop growing. I found an enormous black and yellow spider – it’s just an orb spider, which isn’t dangerous, but it isn’t one that I particularly wanted crawling through my hair, so I tried to avoid his web as much as I could. With my plants fed and watered (the rocket is ready to eat now!) I moved to the lower part of the garden, and just managed to finish weeding the front and side path, before Matt and Chelsea got home. I planted out a few of my pepper and beetroot seedlings which are starting to look really good, but it was clearly getting ready to pelt down with rain, so I decided to stop and start on the wine instead …

I put the barbie on a bit later, Andrea was going to come over for dinner, and I was feeling nice and chilled after the weekend, just writing a facebook status to that extent, when I realised the barbie was smoking a bit. I opened it to discover that the charcoal beneath the gas burner was on fire … that’s not supposed to happen, dammit. It wasn’t too bad though, it went out pretty quickly once it was turned off, and when we did eventually cook our dinner it worked out fine.

Then it was Monday again … back to trying to figure out what we were doing at work. I managed to run again on Monday night, then it was Tuesday, now let’s see … oh yes, Valentine’s Day. I headed out to my boxing class at lunch, which was nearly empty! It was wet outside, and I slipped over in my flip-flops, think I tore something in my right quad as it was a bit painful walking to the class after that. It didn’t bother me too much though, except when I tried to run across the road coming back to work there was a sudden twinge.

Now Valentine’s Day is not my favourite day of the year as a long-term single girl! I had re-booked my haircut deliberately, so after a lunchtime boxing session that was nearly empty, and seeing piles of flowers at the mailroom at work, I headed to Ebony in Manly to get a trim. I don’t want layers, so really my hair looks much the same as it did, except to me!

New haircut, looks completely different, right?

Wednesday, and we moved up to the 22nd floor in our building. It’s a much better view and lots more natural light, which is nice! In the evening I went to SydJS – the JavaScript user group, where I ran in to quite a few people I’d met there before, so it was nice to catch up on what they’d been doing in the month in between. I was tempted to stand up for the Open Mic segment – I’d been preparing and practicing a lightning talk for Web Directions next week, but I decided I wasn’t quite ready, and wanted to save it for next week.

View from the 22nd floor

Thursday night was my second fit2date event. I was a bit worried that my leg would hurt when I was running, it was fine for the warm up jog but when we played a bit of a team soccer game I went to kick the ball and it hurt! I had to run a bit slower during the games, but luckily it didn’t interfere too much with the post-class beer drinking.

So now it’s finally Friday! The milk was off this morning, which was a great excuse to have a naughty ham-and-cheese croissant at the cafe downstairs instead, I thought I’d try and be healthy with a mango smoothie but that tasted way to good to not have naughty stuff in it too.

Tonight I have another date – getting dinner cooked for me too :) Maybe I’ll write more about that sometime.

So … that’s it for now. Life’s good, not very exciting maybe, but pretty good …

How the garden grows.

Sunday was going to be a day for gardening. Andrea and I rented a car for a couple of hours in the morning to head to Bunnings and stock up with heavy stuff like earth, pots, and some big shears, then back home I was on a mission to do a bit more work in the garden. I also bought a few new tiny vegetable plants to try out: some rocket, broccoli and cauliflower, and some geraniums, petunias and marigolds to brighten up the lower part of the garden.

Back home, I started off hacking away some of the growth in the garden at the top. I’m fed up of going up there only to be attacked by spider webs! I’m pretty sure they are just orb spiders – which do bite, I think, but it’s rare and they’re not poisonous – but you never know. I wanted to at least clear back some of the bushy trees that the spiders were spinning their webs on, and hopefully make the garden look a bit tidier too.

The back of the garden looks a bit tidier now!

I cut away quite a lot (still more to do, one day in the future) and filled both the green bins with all the rubbish. I also wanted to tidy up the overgrown plants along the side of the house, so that we could actually walk up and down the path without being attacked by the plants there.

I did a bit more weeding at the top, there is still loads to do on the bottom half of the garden, but I’m saving that for a later date! The weeds are a lot thinner now but they still keep coming back – I don’t want to use weedkiller because Mau the cat lives in the back garden.

Flowers!

I potted the new flowers and put the pots at the back of the garden, they still look a bit small and lonely at the moment though. The new veggies went in three to a pot – probably a bit too many, but I wanted to see how they got on, if they’d actually survive and flourish first. The rocket should be ready in about three weeks – yum, can’t wait. I took a couple of my strongest beetroot seedlings and put them in pots on their own. Two days on, they seem to be perking up and enjoying their own space, but I’ve read that they often die at this stage so I’m not counting my beetroots yet.

Beetroot seedling sprouting its second set of leaves

I also planted two sunflower seeds – wonder if they’ll grow, and how tall? – and some pansies and zucchini (courgette).

A couple of the other plants are not doing so well: one of the tomatoes is wilting badly and looks very miserable. I think it’s not getting enough water, so have tried adding a saucer below the pot to stop so much water running out. It’s funny that the other one seems to be doing fine though – perhaps one just has more fruit, or the sun is hitting it harder, I don’t know.

I’ve also killed the coriander again! This time through over-watering – I put it in a pot without holes, using some stones at the bottom to help keep the roots dry, but I can see it’s just drowning. I tried to empty the water out this morning but accidentally emptied the plant out too … oops. One more try at bringing it back to life, then it’ll be off to plant heaven, and Harris Farms for a new one! The basil is growing wonderfully in a similar pot though, the mint is picking up in its new shadier home, and the chilli continues to flourish! It’s now big enough to need a larger pot, and I’m going to need to start using more chillis. I’ve found that although they’re tiny, they’re about as powerful as a larger chilli.

Chilli needs repotting

I’m impatient now for something else to start providing me something I can eat! More updates coming soon.

Green Fingers.

Up the stairs in our garden is another space with lots of sun ...

Living in Manly, I love the fact that we have a small outdoor space, and I’ve been determined for the last few weeks to start growing something. Every time I go to Harris Farms for food shopping, they have various herbs outside and more recently tomato plants, and I’ve been so tempted! My Grandad always grew loads of tasty vegetables – I don’t have enough space, or time, to grow many, but I do love the idea of being able to eat something from my garden. Hopefully I’ve inherited at least one or two of his green fingers :)

When Andrea left for a few weeks away in the UK and Chicago, she entrusted me to look after some of her herbs. Two weeks in, I’ve managed to at least keep them alive, and love having fresh basil for cooking, and used the mint for tea.

It was all a bit overgrown

I decided this weekend was the time to set up my herb garden. As part of our garden we have a small area on a higher level, with a steep wooden staircase leading up to it. It was really overgrown but gets plenty of sun (and rain, these last few weeks …) so I made it my mission to clear it out so that I could grow some herbs up there. Starting, of course, with shopping!

I headed out to the market in Manly, where I knew there was a guy selling herbs and chilli plants. After that, I cycled on to Harris Farms to buy tomatoes! I brought them all back on the handlebars of my bike, had to cycle really slowly until I got used to the steering.

Herbs on the handlebars

My steering was all wonky from the chilli. It bashed my knee too!

Chives, Basil and Mint from the market



Ready to attack the plants!

I ended up with: chilli, basil, lemon thyme, chives, mint, and coriander. I also got some cutters for the more determined plants, and girly gloves to protect my nail varnish … all set to go gardening! By the time the shopping was done it was nearly five o’clock, so I spent just over an hour randomly pulling up herbs and hacking down the dead old palm leaves from the tree by the top of the stairs. There was a kind of creeping vine plant wrapped around everything, I think it was a blue dawn flower but I wasn’t too sure. It seemed really invasive, which was a shame as it had a few lovely flowers.

By the end of Saturday I was tired and getting bitten, so left the weeds alone until Sunday, but I did put all of the herbs into new larger pots. I still need to get some stakes for the tomato plants though. I ran out of potting soil as well, so some of them are a bit low!

All ready for new pots, just need planting

Basil and Mint in nice bright pots!

The coriander looked a bit sorry for itself after repotting, it's perked up since though!

Chilli plant in its new larger pot

Mau contemplates munching on the chives



The sun was shining on Sunday although it wasn’t boiling hot, perfect for doing a bit of gentle weeding in the garden. I started by clearing the steps, then moved into the main area. By about 2pm it was finally done and I could bring up the herbs – fed with a bit of fertiliser in the hopes they’ll grow big and strong! I brought Andrea’s plants up too – hope they all do well in their new home.

The steps looked nice when they were finally cleared.


The herbs in their new home!


Just need some sunshine!


The original area was so overgrown!


View across the steps before much was cleared