Saturday, November 16, 2013

Round the Bridges in Hamilton, New Zealand

Often when I travel there will be stuff going on, crowds gathering, etc. and I'll have to ask someone what the heck is going on.  This time I came prepared, though, I was in the know, and even signed up!   This weekend is Round the Bridges, which is apparently the oldest race in New Zealand.  I had to be here for work Monday morning, so I signed up for the 12K run and hoped I wouldn't be too jet-lagged to do it.
And I did it - 7.52 miles in 78 minutes and 53 seconds!  Go Me!!
I'd done 7.5 miles last weekend but there are a lot more hills here, and just to make sure I would have something to lay awake worrying about, I walked around the lake yesterday afternoon in shoes without socks.  I ended up with blisters on 4 toes on each foot and 2 blisters on each heel.  Last night I kept waking up every hour or so to slather lotion on my feet.  The treatment worked, and after the run I still have some blisters that haven't broken, and they didn't bother me at all while I was running.
The lake is in the center of town and has some scenery that reminds me very much of lakes in Ontario for some reason.  There's lots of reeds, water lillies and Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks.The water lillies were particularly beautiful - white, pink and yellow.  I haven't seen them in years. 
These are birds I haven't seen before so I think they may be native to New Zealand.  This guy was carrying that rotten orange in his beak across the path.
Here's a mother with her two little ones.  When I was here about 6 weeks ago, there were a lot of mallard babies, but this time there were a lot of these little guys.

This is just a typical Canadian scene right here - Canada geese and a mallard.  Maybe they're called New Zealand geese here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Indoor/Outdoor Cats

In our neighborhood, almost every week there's new posters announcing a missing cat, or an actual dead cat on the street.  That's why, when Reggie joined our family, and Hermie decided that he was now going to be an indoor cat, I was kind of pleased.  We've always had indoor/outdoor cats, but we've never lived in such a busy neighbourhood before.  Although the suburbs can be just as dangerous.  When we lived on a quiet cul-de-sac Hermie got hit by a car and got a broken jaw and lost an eye out of the deal.  I tried to make him an indoor cat after that, but after a few weeks he wasn't having any of it.  He made such a fuss we finally started letting him out again.
When we moved close to downtown he was still going outside, but I tried to keep better track of him and made sure he was getting inside often.  Many's the night I'd wake up at 2 am, hearing thunder and get up to let Hermie inside.  It usually went like this:  run down the stairs to the 2nd floor balcony and call for Hermie - no response; run down the stairs to the main floor and call for Hermie - no response; go to the back door and call for Hermie - no response; climb back up all the stairs and go back to bed - MEOW!!!!
Ever since we've had Reggie though, he has no desire to go outside - not sure what his reasoning is, but cats are deep thinkers so I'm sure it's very logical.  Having two indoor cats means dealing with a lot of poop and a lot of cat litter and cats with a tendency to porkiness.  I can deal with that, the thing I don't like is that Reggie walks around like a 9 year old a month into summer break.  She clumps around the house meowing that there's nothing to do!  What?  I'm supposed to be entertaining cats now?

So I've started letting her outside in the backyard.  It's Harley-proofed and she's not much of a jumper, so she hasn't tried to escape, and there's geckos and leaves and birds chirping, so it keeps her amused for a while.  She's still very tentative out there though.  She thinks the small pebbles are hot lava, so she only uses the larger stepping stones.  Hermie comes out once in a while just to supervise her.

She doesn't last too long out there, she still prefers the indoors.

Harley thinks they're both idiots.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hallowe'en and Quilting

On Hallowe'en night, since we never get any trick or treaters we went out to see a scary play - Veronica's Room.  I'm always amazed at the high quality of theater in Houston - there are so many theaters, and many of them are very small, but the quality of the acting and the production that they put on are incredible.  We volunteer usher at 3 theaters, so we see a lot of plays.  This one we paid to see though - it was a spooky play on Hallowe'en, at a theater we could walk to, so I impulsively bought tickets.

We were both really glad we went.  After a slow first act, the second act was full of twists and turns.  I've seen a lot of plays, including a lot of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, but this one was different than anything else I'd seen.  

On Friday I went to the Quilt Festival, browsed the market and took a few classes.


It was interesting - in one class the teacher was encouraging us to be so precise - "make sure you sew along the edge of your pencil line, not on it" and in the other class the teacher was a little more slack - "hopefully your points all meet at the center - if not, that's a good place for a button". Anyway, it was a fun change from knitting, although I did take home a little alpaca from the WC Mercantile booth.