Friday, May 30, 2008
Leo the Kitty
After madly clearing caches and so on, I am now allowed to post photos, so here is our little Leo, isn't he cute?

posted by Ally at 8:47 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 3 comments
Slighjt Photo Frustration
Blogger will not let me add photos today, nor yesterday - this is quite annoying, as apart from VQ progress, I have such a nice photo of a four week old ginger kitten that lives down the street from work. He is extremely cute and lives with his mother and siblings who are tabbies. We have christened him Leo, as a compliment to Leo, now that the real Leo has left the project and shortly the company. ~About which we are all sad.

It has been so hot that I have been going home just when it gets dark, then stitching and drinking water for about an hour or so while I watch the news, then going to bed not long after - this in the hope that I will be able to get up earlier, as the early morning is cooler. The getting up earlier does not seem to work very well, but I am getting some rest, which enables me to cope with the hotter days and my increased workload while Alec is away.

Re Victoria's Quaker, yes, I am using the VC silks in the recommended colours, I bought them with the chart from Jacky at a salon in France last year. I bought two packs of the silks, because I knew I would not be stitching it one over one on 32 count, but I still had to order some more Diane's Rouge and Basic Black from Vicky Clayton. I thought the colours were dark when I first started, but, as one goes on, they seem to balance each other out, and the overall effect is not too dark, I think.

I'm actually going to get some of the VC premium silk for the Quakers I have charts for, I think, as it would be nice to work with one thicker strand......... not sure when I will be ordering this, though, as I have succumbed to a few other things lately! Like a new design from Reflets de Soie with silks, and the Victoria Sampler "Where Stitchers Gather" with the linen and accessories........
posted by Ally at 10:23 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, May 26, 2008
Victoria's Quaker Weekend Progress
Here is all of Victoria's Quaker, so that you can see how much I have left to do:

The UT at the bottom is actually the bottom of the piece, so it is getting on. By the way, mine is twice the size of the original, which I have seen, it was stitched 1 over 1 on 32 count, while mine is 2 over 2.

Here is a closer picture of the most recently stitched part:

This one shows the colours quite nicely, I think, and it was only taken this morning, in daylight, in my sitting room, so I wouldn't have said it was fantastic light, so you can never tell.

Apart from this, over the weekend I have been swimming twice again. I go mid-morning, a couple of hours after breakfast, as the pool is quiet then, and I am quite energetic, having woken up by then. I am not a morning person, which is a waste here, as it gets light soon after 5 am, and it is one of the most pleasant times of day. This weekend the only other people at the pool in the morning were a few sunbathers, in bikinis, with the obligatory tattoos and stomach piercings (don't those things get hot in the sun?), who look at me as though I am mad when I get into the water, and madder still when I get out, put on a sunhat and loads of SPF 50 and retreat under an umbrella.

Then, after swimming, I go back inside, read newspapers, have lunch, stitch, knit, sleep, etc, in roughly that order. Play with hotel kitty for a while, or go on kitten viewings around the neighbourhood, I know where all the new families of kittens are living now. This idyllic weekend existence will continue next weekend, then on Wednesday next week I fly to Paris for four days, to do hairdresser etc. Alec is away this week and most of next, but Kent, our top tech guy will come on Wednesday to keep me company for a couple of days. He is going to do some tuning of the system and perform some other technical miracles, as usual!
posted by Ally at 10:12 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
This week is flying past, I have been quite busy, although there haven't been a huge number of problems with our go-live. I've had huge amounts of admin stuff to do, because they said we had to do everything like timesheets and expenses until the end of May, and I've also had to do some Danish translation for one of the sales people. And some Swedish, as well, because it turns out the sales people don't know the difference and some of the stuff they sent me was Swedish. Well, my Swedish is not that great, but it was OK for what they wanted.

At present my database is being refreshed, so I have some spare time to write a bit. I'm still rather tired and the 37 degree heat today is not helping. At the weekend, I slept a lot and went swimming on both days, not much stitching, although I am getting on with Victoria's Quaker and I WILL take a photo in the next couple of days, because there is only about 25% left to go.

Re swimming, I was the only person in the pool, but there were a few people sunbathing, including a woman who was wearing only a very small bikini bottom. It was a bit much, all that flesh, and I hope she had sunblock, there are some places you would NOT want to get burned.

I've also knitted a simple lace scarf (6 row repeat) from three skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere - when the big boss was here last week, he talked about sending me to Poland or Estonia after the summer holidays, so I think I need to be prepared! Although I am rather tempted to crochet a sunhat at the moment, I have a skein of Noro tape yarn that is just crying out for this, we shall see, I just need to find a pattern.

Ah well, off to see whether my database is back.........
posted by Ally at 2:30 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Swimming Pool At Last
This week has been very hectic at work - I achieved about 10 stitches of Victoria's Quaker all week - and I have one evening when I went home at 10:30pm and another was 9:00pm. Last night I was unbelievably tired, and still felt tired when I got up at 8:00am.

I've been shopping, the kiosk for newspapers, Ulla Popken (a robe thing I can wear over my swimsuit on the way to the pool) and the supermarket, which was crowded with about 150 ancient ladies and required great patience. Then home for a swim, and I was the only one in the pool, yay!!! After that I feel really quite terrific compared with anything else I have felt since Wednesday, and now I have come into the office, to see if anything horrible has happened, but apparently it has not.

Actually nothing really bad has happened the whole week, the go-live has been without any serious incidents, I think the worst that happened was that two wrong batch jobs got run, and we had to remove data, one time Alec, and one time me. Our very big boss from London was here for a couple of days and talked to the client, and told me that they are very happy with Alec and me here, and we will stay until the end of July, at which time the arrangement will be rediscussed.

I plan to go home not later than 4:00 pm, and get things organised there - there's clothes everywhere - and have a lazy evening. I can use the washing machine this evening, the water laws allow it on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8pm in my area, and I bought shrimps and salad at the supermarket, so I will not go hungry.
posted by Ally at 12:15 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Some NZ Photos
This one is the Silver Fern ball in the Civic Square in Wellington, it is lovely, but the wretched thing moves every time I try to take a photo, hence the off-centre placement here:

The Civic Square was rather a revelation to me, I had not seen it before, everything is so much nicer, and the old library (haunt of my childhood) is now an art gallery. My father's old office building, Civic Chambers, is still there. When I was little, I used to get put on the bus in Oriental Bay by my mother, then my father would collect me at the stop by his office and walk me across the road to the library - I'm talking about when I was five or six, but it was a different world then, no problem about putting a child on the bus alone.

And here are some carvings from the marae in Te Papa, the national museum:
I loved the high pastel colours of these, but my mother and sister were a bit dubious about the colouring. Te Papa is amazing, it's huge, so we didn't see nearly everything, but we did see some pieces we remembered from the old museum, and some new paintings, and we had coffee and cake in the cafe, which is a stunning setting, looking across the whole museum to a giant copy of the Treaty of Waitangi.
This is Wellington from the terrace of the museum, a typical view of water, buildings and hills:

The whole waterfront area has been renewed, with walkways, marinas, restaurants and so on, and it seems well-used by Wellingtonians, there were a lot of people walking, cycling, skating etc.
I did wish I could have stayed longer, but sadly duty calls...... in fact, today I am sitting in the office in Nicosia, having flown back yesterday. I had a huge stroke of luck when I was checking in yesterday in Paris, the guy who was directing people where to go in the queues remembered me from last time, and told the woman behind the desk to look after me - this meant that I didn't have to go through the whole charade of where do I actually live, why am I going to Cyprus, do I have a visa etc etc. And now I've just checked my email, and I have another one from the new US lawyer, who sounds quite appalled by the whole saga of my work permit and says she has asked the Cypriot lawyer to send my whole file for review. I wouldn't be too sad if the Cypriot lawyer got into trouble over this, she's not my favourite person.
At least everyone seems pleased to see me, from flight attendants to taxi driver to receptionist and waiters at the hotel. And of course, Hotel Kitty was waiting for me - it was funny, she trotted over to my old doorway, but I am upstairs now, and she won't take the lift, but she realised where I was going and bounded up the stairs to wait for me outside the lift. My new abode is smaller than the palatial two-bedroom apartment I had before, but has a balcony, a new airconditioner and more cupboards than the old one, so it's not too bad. The balcony has a view over the pool area, so I will be able to watch wedding parties etc on Saturday nights.

posted by Ally at 9:38 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Yes, Still Alive
I'm completely over the jetlag by now, and feel really quite good - ready to get back into the fray of work on Sunday. I'm pretty sure I will be in the office in Sunday, as the great conversion kicks off on Friday night, and it will be all hands to the deck. In fact, Roddy was talking about me coming straight from the plane to the office on Saturday night, but I think I will go to hotel first at least.

I have not done a lot this week, apart from washing every article of clothing in sight, buying a few more (summer dress, tops, trousers, and two pairs of shoes), buying some yarn and also buying the three Toccata Four charts plus the linen and silks. I also got at the same time a Sylphide Toquee hornbook, the Chardon (thistle?) one, so I ended up spending about 150€ at Des Fils et Une Aiguille in the rue Chabanais. I'm off to Le Bon Marche to get some extra DMC after this, so I will be well-equipped for Cyprus. Of course, I've also bought a stack of sun block, moisturizer etc to take with me, so as usual the suitcases will be very well-filled.

I am also dealing with lawyers re Cyprus work permit again, it is now three years since I first applied! They are still asking for more documents, so I don't know what is going on, and now we have a new lawyer in the US, although the same one still in Cyprus.

Anyway, I'm going to spend a little while looking at all the things I've missed in the stash enhancement line while I've been away (it took me by surprise to see Toccata Four in the shop), then off to Le Bon Marche and then home to do some stitching, the first good session in a couple of weeks!
posted by Ally at 11:47 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Back Home
Goodness, the journey back to Europe is long, very long. An hour to Auckland, 90 minutes there, 11 and a half hours to Hong Kong, two hours there, then 12 and a half hours to London, two and a half hours there, and finally an hour to Paris. We arrived an hour late in Paris, having sat on the tarmac in London for an hour waiting to take off, and I was horrified to find that my luggage did not arrive with me.

Actually the British Airways staff at CDG were very helpful and found that my luggage had been put on a later plane, which eventually arrived after midnight - not that I waited for it, I went home, as they said they would deliver it the next day, and eventually it turned up just before midday. I've got no idea why it was on a later plane, particularly given that we were so late leaving London, but I think it may have been something to do with the incredibly disorganised transfer desk at Terminal 5 - the woman there was distinctly odd. Actually the whole of Terminal 5, while new and beautiful, is incredibly disorganised, not nearly enough signs and so on. They have an army of customer service people to direct the lost, which is practically everyone. However they do have very nice showers, the best I found during the whole journey.

I'm so glad I made the journey in the convertible bed seats, it was much more comfortable for that length of time. I would have to have to sit up in little seats for such a long trip, I think all my joints would have fused, and think of the jetlag.... as it is, I was only a little sleepy yesterday and I woke up early this morning, but nothing serious.

By now, I am semi-organised, over the little jet lag, more or less unpacked, have food in the house etc. I'm not going to do a lot during the week, except pack for Cyprus, and catch up on the stitching. I did very little while I was away, as my sister's house simply does not have the right sort of light, I had to sit in semi-dark a lot of the time. She doesn't stitch, or indeed do anything creative, so I expect it's not important for her. And she gets up at 5:30am to go to work - I guess they do start earlier, 7:30am, but I don't think I could do this. Getting up at 7:30am is my earliest, I think. Of course she gets home really early too, before 5pm, so it is completely different hours.
posted by Ally at 5:48 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments