zeborah: Zebra standing in the middle of the road (urban)
In the end I did completely rest yesterday, and went to bed at 8:30 to allow for plenty of sleep. I don't think I needed all of it in the end but decided to enjoy the dreams.

(As opposed to the dream that ended yesterday afternoon's nap on the couch, a flash in which a cyclist ran over my foot and I woke with another (painless) muscle spasm. A little adrenaline, not too bad but still, just the once is just fine by me. It reminded me of a dream I had right after the February quake, again a flash of slipping in liquifaction and waking with a jolt.)

I got picked up at my gate by a friend/colleague, who likewise returned me to it this evening. My ambition is to at least bus to her place and back, but discovered (getting from carpark to office) that my arms aren't quite as strong as I'd thought. The supermarket trip on Thursday fooled me, probably because while it took a long time, that time involved lots of stopping and standing. So, darn. The bus home might be within my capabilities though: the busstop that way is particularly close to my house.

At work I put a dalek under my desk and a cushion on top for my foot. This was about as perfect as one could get without a custom-made desk so not perfectly comfortable but pretty good. At one point for a tea break I tried sitting on the bed in the sickbay (next to my office!) with my laptop, but the wireless in there is hopeless so I won't be remoting in from there any time soon.

So, as probably anyone with any kind of mobility issue already knows, fire doors are an accessibility nightmare, specifically the spring-loaded ones. I bet there's ways to make them not be, because there's ways to do anything you're willing to spend money on, but my workplace hasn't implemented them. (Honestly I consider it one of my major achievements last year to have got momentum going to get a glass pane put in that particular fire door. It's a major thoroughfare coming from the tea room and the number of near-head injuries and near-scaldings was terrifying.) Slightly counterintuitively, it's a lot easier to pull the door (because you can pull it all the way open and then just go through) than it is to push it (because you aren't forward enough to push it all the way open so have to try and do it in stages which does. not. work).

I got stared at by All The Students as I crutched my way through the quiet study zone to the lift to take my ACC forms down to my boss.

Also everyone I work with wanted to hear the story. For some reason "I ran in front of a car" just inspired more questions, though I once got away with "I ran in front of a car. Don't do that." I should have made little cards with the URL of my blog post printed on it.

By the end of the day my foot was holding up pretty well. A bit of swelling, I'd guess, but not as bad as even Saturday after just a few hours at the 90th birthday party. Will duly rest for the remainder of the evening of course. Also my colleague doesn't work Wednesdays so I'll take those as work-from-home days for the next few weeks.

The scab on my knee has reached the point where any member of homo sapiens sapiens (and a lot of other species of mammals, come to think of it) would want to pick at it. I am womanfully refraining, not only for the usual reasons which, to be honest, probably wouldn't suffice, but also/really because there's a numb patch of skin about there so I wouldn't be able to tell if I was picking to the point of would-be-pain. --I didn't notice the numb patch until today because that area's always been Bruise-Don't-Touch!!! but nerve damage seems unsurprising all in all and neither my intuition nor Dr DuckDuckGo find much reason to worry about it at this stage.

My hearing seems to be coming right! <knocks on wood> Not normal yet, but a definite improvement. I'm testing by rubbing my fingers by my ear: before I started the olive oil treatment the doctor suggested, I couldn't hear a thing by my right ear, now I can hear the lower tones, just still missing the higher ones.

State of the Scaredy-Cat: hiding from the crutches behind the couch, which seems an improvement on fleeing the house.

<ponders icon choice> Oh oh I can't believe I didn't think of this one for my first 'got into a road accident' post. Better late than never! --LiveJournal users will have to either click through or live without my frankly awesome array of thematically deployed zebra (with occasional Helen Clark) icons, sorry about that.

(Need more thematic zebra icons. Never too many.)
zeborah: Zebra standing in the middle of the road (urban)
Today started (after a certain amount of groaning and dragging myself out of bed) with a vendor breakfast. I avoid vendor things labelled as "hors d'oeuvres" because they're generally at the time of day when you're exhausted and starving and they want you to stand around attempting to subsist on food that would barely satisfy a sparrow and alcohol that would inebriate an ox. But a seated three-course breakfast seemed worth tolerating some vendor speeches for, even if it was at seven thirty in the morning. Luckily my cold was much alleviated overnight plus I planned ahead and took my own tissues.

Course one was muesli, yoghurt and fruit; course two was a breakfast steak, bacon, poached egg, tomato, mushrooms, and smashed potato; course three was various breads. Courses one and two were actually on the table the whole time, along with tea, coffee and juice; the above order is based on the menu which we all, more or less, obediently followed. Smashed potato, for the curious, appears to be what happens when the cook is too lazy to either mash the potato properly for hash browns or cut it properly for fries. I sound like I judge, but it does create a fun random mix of soft and crispy.

There followed eight hours' worth of sessions and mingling. I caught up with an old colleague who now works in Dubai, various other old colleagues, a lot of vendors at their stalls (they like someone to tell about their products; I like the free USB sticks. Also some of the products even if mostly we still can't afford them - actually it's often most useful to talk to the vendors whose products we already subscribe to because they can tell us the goss as I can nag them about those bugs we keep reporting), and a few strangers who have migrated to a system we're going to migrate to. After the last session there were drinkies and sparrow hors d'oeuvres, but it was bearable because there was also icecream (provided by a vendor, I think) and a magic show.

Then I came back to my hotel to crash for a couple of hours before dinner and realised it was already seven twenty. So that was a day.

In new and unexciting random maladies, my socks are perhaps too tight for twelve hours of conferencing because I now have an achy ankle. Also using my salbutamol inhaler because my lungs like the air conditioning (plus virus) as little as the rest of my respiratory system, yay.

--Okay, the "30 free minutes per 24 hours" doesn't seem to have a set rollover time, it wants to be at least 24 hours since you last used it.
zeborah: Zebra standing in the middle of the road (urban)
I'm kind of hoping the heat wave will break first. Either way though I'll be flying in on the evening of Wednesday 29th and flying out on the evening of Friday 7th February.

This is a work trip so most of my time will be taken up with two site visits to libraries followed by four conferences on four different subjects. But the weekend (1st/2nd) should be my own and I probably won't be spending *every* evening at vendor cocktail parties. (Actually I usually avoid vendor things unless they include food more substantial than hors d'oeuvres because by that time of day I'm starving and my feet hurt. But there are some where attendance will be politically preferable.)

So does anyone I know live in Melbourne and want to catch up? Or does anyone have any recommendations for Must Visit places?

(Also does Melbourne have mosquitoes? I've heard it doesn't but what I really need to know is does it have mosquitoes this summer. Because traditionally Christchurch doesn't have mosquitoes either, And Yet.)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
It was originally predicted to be Snowpocalypse 2: Worse Than 1992!!!! and the supermarkets accordingly are all out of bread. Therefore all of yesterday it merely rained.

When I got up this morning it was raining particularly miserably so I took some extra clothes to change into at work if I got too drenched. Normally I shut Boots out of the living areas during the day, because she has a tendency to accidentally set off the burglar alarm (I don't even know how but she does), but when she saw I was going she said, "Yeah, not today, bubs," and went back to the bedroom to curl back up on my warm waterbed.

This seemed fair enough.

It started snowing on the way to work. By the time I got out there it was thick enough (though not yet settling) that the bus driver was saying if it kept up they'd be off the road within an hour. So (having shaken a quantity of snow to the floor) I relayed this to the boss, and about quarter of an hour later she decided to send home anyone who doesn't live in the local township, and offered me a lift back.

By the time we got back into town it was definitely sticking, in a slushy way. I've brought in Boots' litterbox, swept my porch, and turned on the kettle and the gasfire. Boots remains curled up on the waterbed but she'll probably exchange it for my lap once it's warm enough here in the living room.

Now to catch up on a few hundred journal articles and do some planning for that rapidly-approaching conference paper....
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
Behold, I have avoided housework by creating this housework icon! (For LJ people: )

I'm meant to be emptying all my water containers and refilling with five drops of bleach per litre of water. My intention is for this to be an annual thing every Show Day (which was last Friday, and is an easily memorable date on which I theoretically have time for an annual chore).

I'm also meant to be packing all my books and sundry other goods so that earthquake repairs can be done on my house starting November 28th. Repairs consist of:
  • replacing a window;
  • straightening and bracing a header tank;
  • a bit of repiling;
  • taking down the living room chimney and rebuilding it to the same look;
  • putting weatherboards up in place of the current plywood-and-polyfiller where an external chimney used to be;
  • fixing cracks in the foundation (non-structural);
  • rejibbing and plastering a bunch of ceilings;
  • repapering and painting a bunch of walls;
  • and making sure all the doors and cupboards open smoothly again and the wardrobe has straight rather than curved walls.
  • Oh, and rebuilding the garage wall so you can't push parts of it.
I did make a start on boxing up books on Sunday morning, so that's something. I need more boxes, but may be able to borrow some from work. (We've been moving a bazillion books around and have lots of boxes, so as long as they're not needed again before New Year it should be fine.)

I'll also have to pack suitcases full of stuff to live off for a few weeks while repairs occur. This'll be more of a nuisance, but the really hard part will be Boots. The three choices are:

a) leave her behind (returning every day to feed her) - which would waste time, make her lonely, and anyway the noise and excess people doing the repairs would stress her out;

b) take her to a cattery, which I'm pretty sure she'd hate and also my insurance wouldn't cover; or

c) take her with me to whatever short-term rental or motel I get(1), which will require keeping her indoors to be sure she doesn't flee and get lost, which she'll detest. She understands the concept of litterboxes, but neither of us really likes them. But this is still the best solution so we'll have to cope.

(1) I've got a lead on a possible short-term rental, otherwise I've got a couple of other ideas too.

In any case, I got packing anxiety dreams just packing for a few days at conference, so I expect much REM fun over the next couple of weeks/months.

---

In other news, have spent the last couple of weeks doing strategic planning for my brain, since I had a day where I got too much good news at once and it made my head go all flaily. (To be fair to my head, much of the good news requires me to do a bunch of work in tight deadlines which are getting ever closer; plus stress lingers from various other things.) My brain now feels much more strategically organised, although the operational plan may take a bit more work. What'd be handy would be if I could task some clones to set up action groups and report back once their projects have been completed.
zeborah: I found this humerus (humorous)
I guess this is what happens when you kill all the people who created the world
and then take over in their place
there is no transition meeting
no one tells you these things

(from Better Myths which is fantastically funny; generally it has language which is problematic in multiple arenas, but this one's fairly good)

In unrelated news, rewriting my CV keeps giving me fantastic revelatory ideas for new (professional) blog posts. Well, technically one came from staring out the bus window at the Beams of Hope, but I was meant to be rewriting my CV at the time, so that kinda counts.
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
Spoilers, sweetie )

In other news, on Sunday I developed the sudden miraculous ability to sing In Paradisum without my voice cracking on every single note. The concert went pretty well. As noted on Twitter, the microphones are arranged so that from the choir, the politician giving his politician's speech sounds like he's saying "Wurble wurble wurble". (Unfortunately the effect extends to the soloists, ah well.)

There are three jobs in other cities I could be applying for. Well, one closes today so call it two. Either would be a fantastic opportunity. But leaving my house and friends and family is a daunting proposition, and I wouldn't even get the opportunity to learn Kazakh into the bargain. And then some days I think that my current job (despite Everything) does give me room to do all sorts of the things I enjoy doing. So I dunno.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
It's been a while since we had much aftershock activity -- the unprecedented pair of snowstorms we had three weeks apart seems to have insulated against them or something, which was one good thing about the snow. (I also enjoyed playing in it and having time off work; otoh I didn't like being cut off from being able to feed my cat, twice; and it made life harder for people who didn't need life being made harder in the slightest.)

But we did get a 4.2mag. aftershock at 5am-ish today, which seems to have ruined a lot of people's mornings. My own reaction was a groggy, "Bah, I'm not letting a piddly - hmm, feels like a low 4 - stop me sleeping in." And went back to sleep. From evidence, the cat's reaction was similar, which is gratifying progress.

In other recent EQ news, I got my letter from EQC listing all the damage the inspectors noticed while they were around here. It takes a page and a half, each line being one wall or ceiling or window or other feature, notated with a super-brief "Collapsed chimney" / "Structural damage" / "Floor has moved less than 100mm" / "Impact damage" etc. I also get a "Broken glass" and "Broken power fittings" and "Cracks to ring foundation", but the vast majority is "Cosmetic damage".

There's also a new Red Cross grant which was called the Alternatives to Sewerage Systems grant until someone noticed the acronym and changed it to something I can't remember because it's nowhere near as fun. Anyway it's NZ$500 for anyone who went without city sewerage for more than 90 days, and after a few days of being vaguely aware of the grant, it suddenly occurred to me that that included me again.

This perfectly solves my voucher-from-work dilemma: I can pass said voucher on to Women's Refuge and never have to think about it again, and use the grant money to buy myself something nice without any unpleasant aftertaste about where it came from (plus not limited to shopping at the single mall).

On the subject of Red Cross grants, there are three broad philosophies:

1) the Red Cross is making it too easy for people to get money;
2) the Red Cross is making it too hard for people to get money;
3) the Red Cross is doing pretty well actually, as evidenced by the fact that the Letters to the Editor display a perfect balance between philosophy #1 and philosophy #2.

My uncle, it turned out at my Mum's sixtieth birthday dinner, holds philosophy #1, believing that the Red Cross should investigate more exactly which people need exactly how much money. My sisters pointed out that investigating would cost money and delay people getting anything, and corrected him on some points of fact, all the while referring to the Red Cross as "we" (with admirably faint emphasis) until it clicked for him and there was this brief pause and he said, slightly horrified, "You mean you both work for the Red Cross?"

This is how my family celebrates our sixtieth birthdays, people! --Actually it was all good, and we stuffed ourselves full of mains and dessert and cake and then went to Scared Scriptless (a theatre sports show which is a Christchurch institutions -- their normal venue has been red-zoned so they've been bouncing around, at the moment performing in an intermediate school's auditorium) which was brilliant as usual. (I mean there was the game that's funny because foreign people have silly accents, and the game that's funny because date rape's hilarious, and the games that are funny because homophobia and transphobia; but y'know, it was my Mum's birthday so I'm just going to give in to the kyriarchy this once.) The brilliantest thing was that one of my family managed to get a note slipped to their coordinator about Mum's birthday, and so he asked her some questions and then got the guys in the team (yes, they're all guys, this may have something to do with the kyriarchy both cause and effect; see also the demographics of QI and the predictable "Women just must not be as funny as men" that you get when you point this out to fans on their fan-forum, but that's a story for another day) -- anyway, he got them to improvise a song for her which really was utterly fantastic.

Oh oh! And apparently my bus, my normal bus, my dear #23, is now running out my way again! I saw it! This means I could catch it straight from here straight to the door of my work again! --If that building is ever my workplace again, anyway, which to our rage and dismay is sounding increasingly unlikely, but that's a rant for another day. In the meantime the #21 gets me almost-straight from here straight to my current workplace, just takes a bit longer.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Because my skin can't bear the touch of iron. I break out in itchy bumps that ooze pus. This is annoying as it seriously cuts down on the number of my few bits of jewelery (and my prettiest hair thing) I can wear.

In other news, should I apply for a job in Kazakhstan? I think I won't, but so tempting. I just wish they had the salary range up there so I could prove to myself that I couldn't afford to keep paying my mortgage on it. The fact that Kazakh is agglutinative and has seven cases and I know from Mongolian that vowel harmony is not as fun in practice as in theory and I rather suspect that the evidentiary verb ending system is most probably the same, though it'd still be cool to try -- is, you see, not helping.

(It does help that I had a good week at work.)

I have patches of snow in my garden that are very nearly a week old.

I have a doubly static kitty. She's curled in the sun not going anywhere, and her fur crackles if I try to stroke her.

I have an iPad borrowed from work to work on for work purposes, so can testify that Angry Birds is astoundingly addictive.

And I have a need of recipes that make use of stale bread. So far I can:
  1. dice and freeze for croutons
  2. toast (but I don't eat much toast - oh wait, it could be the best excuse ever for spaghetti on toast. Guess what I'm having for lunch in ten seconds time?)
  3. dice and mix with all the leftovers and some milk in a casserole dish. This turned out surprisingly good considering the diversity of the leftovers, but not so good that I'm likely to make it on a regular basis.
The bread doesn't go stale that quickly, it's just I'm only one person. Actually it's remarkably long-living. If it was store-bread I'd joke about preservatives, but I made it myself so I've no idea why it takes a week to be properly stale and never goes mouldy. I keep it wrapped in a teatowel on top of the fridge (so the cat can't get at it) -- this is the extent of my bread-preservation efforts.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes falling off (stress and confusion)
So now my laptop says a) the battery's condition is "replace soon", which apparently means it's basically fine but be prepared, and b) the battery is not charging, which in my mind is rather further down the track than a) would suggest.

I think this doesn't portend any major problem for running off mains and that's how I mostly use it at the moment, but just in case, if I suddenly disappear from the interwebs, this is why.

(It's actually mildly tempting to just get a new laptop -- I've had this one for several years, and mostly it's fine, but more memory would I think make my speech recognition software a lot more reliable. It might even make Firefox stop hanging all the time, though I realise this is a longer bet.)

The battery now thinks it's recharging, but its estimate of how long this will take is slowly going up.

Anyways.

In other news, I've come up with a plan by which I could theoretically keep my house but move to a job elsewhere in New Zealand (or, for that matter, the world). I'd rather not move, but in the present climate it feels safer and healthier to have an exit plan.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
The One of many problems with earthquakes is they're over before you get a chance to pay attention to what's happening. The bigger they are the longer they last, but the more time you're spending trying to get into the safest possible place. Of course after several thousand of the blighters I no longer bother moving at all for anything less than a 5(*), which gives me a bit more time to look around (not that I bother looking up for anything less than a 4).

(*) "Yeah, whatever" is not a recommended safety measure, just for some of us an inevitability. For recommended safety measures, follow my cat's example: in anything above a 4 she darts under the nearest couch until the shaking's stopped, then calmly evacuates the building and doesn't return until safety inspectors have given the okay dinner time.


But so anyway I remain curious, and so whenever I can I watch videos like this:


What I particularly like about this video is that it brilliantly demonstrates the aftershock experience in that long buildup of surface tranquillity with stressy music: you know what's coming, but you don't know when, so you just have to wait, and wait, and wait.

--Though actually that's more my September experience than my current experience (vide supra re "Yeah, whatever").

But anyway and also, tomorrow we get to go back to work, though our Available Library count -- which was 5 pre-February, dropped to 0 straight after, had slowly climbed to 2.5, and was closing in on 3.5 or even 4 -- is now back to 1. We'll be able to start tidying up and providing some virtual services again though. I've done a bit from home in the meantime, mostly due to Bored Now -- have also done a lot of Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreading for the same reason -- but getting back on a proper 9-5 basis will be much better. Ooh, and I can borrow a barcode reader (as I'd meant to on Monday) to let me inventory my books properly.

Mental note to leave early tomorrow morning, as they've moved the bus-stop again.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
I did admittedly have couple of hours of my ordinary tasks first thing in the morning -- part of which involved communicating with some Internal Relationships (to use position description jargon) about whether or not they could attend the seminar. Then my manager instant messaged me to ask if I could a) make posters and b) do the physical set-up for it, so I made the posters and checked about extension cords and such.

Usually it's quarter of an hour to walk between campuses, but I had to go via another branch to pick up the dataprojector, so it turned out half an hour. Half an hour to set up. One hour for the seminar. Half an hour for lunch (which I spent with the speaker) and then a 40 minute meeting with her and an Internal Relationship who hadn't been able to make the seminar.

Then back to the other branch to return the dataprojector and discovered that the office it resides in was occupied. Now, this colleague -- just as, if you go between campuses you have to spend quarter of an hour walking, so if you meet this colleague you have to spend an hour and a half talking. Law of nature. I don't understand everything he says or how on earth he segues so smoothly between so many disparate subjects, but it's always fascinating.

Then I walked back to my current home-branch. I'd planned to check my email for emergencies before I left, but (partly due to a blister -- I may eventually give up on these boots :-( ) I only got there in time to pack up, phone the pharmacy, and grab the bus.

Attempted to return an interloan to the (temporary) public library except, even leaving earlier than I would on days when I have a 1-hour lunch plus proper tea breaks, it was closed by the time my bus got me there. On the way though I got attacked by a sudden fit of melancholy at seeing a glimpse of its proper (but inaccessible) location and walking over a hump in the sidewalk(*), and haven't figured out what I'll spend the evening doing to combat this yet.

(*) Have I mentioned humps in the sidewalk? And in the road, of course, but many/most of those are more or less levelled by now. I must have. But they're so fascinating. The asphalt has actually stretched over the sand volcano that's erupted beneath it. Stretchy concrete! So cool!


Oh, also I'll recommend the charity anthology Tales for Canterbury. 34 stories, extremely competitively priced DRM-free ebook (print version coming soon), proceeds to Red Cross. I reviewed it on Goodreads.
zeborah: I found this humerus (humorous)
Conversations on a bus:
Three teenagers (two girls and one boy). One of the girls was rehearsing her defense for the school board of trustees about drunkenness at school. It wasn't that she got drunk at school, see, she got drunk before school and just happened to still be intoxicated when she got there. Also when she gave some drink to another student it was because said student wanted it, not because she'd peer pressured her or anything.

The conversation turned, as conversations do. In due course the boy was telling how once, when a friend had been pressuring him with "Bros before hos", the boy retorted, "Mate, chicks before dicks."

--

The Press cheerfully mentions that over 50% of the buildings in the CBD may have survived. This is a stunningly glass-half-full mode of reporting for the Press these days. Also, I shouldn't read the newspaper while waiting at the supermarket checkout: going shopping is enough of a punch to my emotional immune system as it is, and today is pouring with rain and I spent all morning looking after part of the church fair's white elephant sale so resilience has been going steadily down all day anyway.

(On the plus side, at said fair I got two skirts for a dollar, and some violets, and some feijoas in red wine which I'm planning to take to friends for a dessert with the plan that she and I can eat the feijoas and he can drink the wine. I restrained myself from going near the book stall, it seemed for the best.)

--

Boots has returned to her ordinary self, ie restive with outbreaks of annoying, and the vet's battery of tests all read back in the normal range.

--

There are all sorts of things I keep meaning to say, but I've forgotten them all. Oh! One of them was that I worked out what's been splitting my skin open when I empty my chemloo tank; I then put one bandaid on my finger and one bandaid on the jaggedy part of the tank.

--

At work I'm still bouncing between three locations, though one predominates. Unfortunately it's the one I hate the most. It's deathly quiet; we share with people we don't know that well and they complained about the beeps of our virtual reference application, so now we need to wear headsets if we want to notice our customers calling us. The only redeeming feature of this place is that it has my computer in it -- my actual computer from my actual office, with my lolcat version of the 5 laws of library science taped on and my rights to modify the software on it which IT accidentally-on-purpose left me because they trust me not to modify it too much. And on Monday we get a new manager and he's going to be sitting at that space.

Sigh. Oh well. At least I worked out how to get my desktop picture (of The Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library) onto the other computers I have to use. Why I mentioned work was really to keep on with the alcohol theme, because in one of the other locations the tiny little tearoom has, next to the coffee and tea and milo, two bottles of wine. They must have come from some function or other. No-one would ever actually open them on worktime, but I feel it's comforting just to know they're there.
zeborah: Zebra and lion hugging (cat)
There's this plaintive wail Boots has started doing about 30 seconds before she throws up everywhere. This turns out to be enough time to leap up, scoop her up, and dump her on linoleum instead of carpet. ...I didn't know she'd even eaten that much tonight. <thinks> Unless she saved some of her breakfast and only ate it a little before I got home, that'd make sense.

Her other new thing is to stand at the dish I've filled with kibble and to chirp questioningly at me. The question is, "How about that nice gloppy stuff instead?" Then we come to a compromise, which is I mix a bit of gloppy stuff into the kibble.

In pilling news: mashing the pill into the gloppy stuff (separate from the gloppy stuff added to the kibble, that is) has worked two days in a row. Thanks for all the other suggestions; I'll keep them up my sleeve in case Boots bamboozles me again.

In other news entirely: have been back at work now for three days. The first day I managed to go something like two whole hours before bursting into tears. Yet the second and third days, no problem. Possibly it's just that for the last weeks before my holiday I was feeling like crying all the time, and the associations were still there? Or possibly because we're at a point where we need to be more future-looking, but in terms of work, looking at the future feels like looking into a vacuum: it makes my head implode.

Anyway, if it was the former it was solved by spending a chunk of the evening reading library blogs and lolcats, and if it was the latter it was solved by my manager being sympathetic and also giving me a project to work on. Literature review, whee! Not the most exciting thing in the world even for me but I know its shape.

Also today I met with a phd student who explained to me all about his research. Normally they say something brief like "gold catalysis" and I struggle with how to tease this out to work with them because I don't know anything about these subjects. Whether this one was just a fluke or whether it was helped by an inspired tweak I made yesterday to my standard introductory letter remains to be determined by further experimentation; but either way it was terribly cheering.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Sunday afternoon I bused around town to spend the night with friends+baby. This was an excellent boost to Operation Keep Eating (though I did contribute my banana cake) plus we watched Finding Nemo on Sunday evening and How To Train Your Dragon on Monday morning. Plus baby and kittens! <3 They kept apologising for baby's 2am screaming fit, but since I was at the other end of the house this was approximately as disturbing as your average Mag4 quake, ie I woke up and registered it and went back to sleep. Since their house provides the protection of distance from said average Mag4 quakes, this really evened out quite nicely.

After lunch on Monday I went to work for a meeting, which went exactly the same as every other meeting we've ever had about that subject ever in the history of time seriously ever. (Short version: "Look at this awesome technology which can be used in highly awesome ways to support awesome pedagogy! But yeah no, in practice you're only going to be using this one boring feature, and by 'use' we mean you'll be getting other people to contact us about how to use it.") Normally this would just leave me rolling my eyes; this time I was struggling rather not to cry, until I could get outside and put my sunglasses on.

Also it was hot and the bus was packed (it's still free and not yet as frequent as normal) and the traffic was horrid (the roads are either munted, especially in the east, or full of the traffic fleeing the munted roads, especially in the west) so I felt nauseous for the 1.5 hours it took to get home from there.

This is not -- to reassure people -- so much a desperate plea for help and/or sympathy, as an educatory narrative. I cry easily anyway; situations like this it's just a signal. Dry mouth signals thirsty; teary eyes signal stressed. The only reason I don't like crying in public is that the public is apt to consider it as signalling a worse emotional state than it really does. So I kept my eyes mostly dry while out and when I got home I phoned up a colleague and shamelessly whined to her for sympathy (which she duly gave) and then, having cooked dinner and scooped myself a bowl of jellytip icecream, watched three episodes of Sandbaggers in a row.

On the last few minutes of my trip home I caught a glimpse of the "cannabus". Apparently the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws have decided Christchurch is in need of medicinal marijuana. This so annoyed me I believe I actually dreamed about it last night. I have serious qualms about advocating self-medication in times of stress. (I'm not dissing self-medication by someone who knows themself. But advocating it willy-nilly to people whose reactions you don't know seems wildly irresponsible.) Plus, though the word "politicalise" is getting thrown around a lot, I think this really does qualify.

Today I worked entirely from home again, and have actually managed to achieve various work-ish things, in between the painters coming to work on my porch while it rained, and a visit from the Salvation Army, and the sun coming out so I luxuriously put on a load of washing! in the washing machine, with water and electricity!, and eating lunch, and watching a fanvid, and a phonecall from Dad, and cuddling Boots between her disappearances. She keeps going outside and then not being able to get back in because the painters have the powercord going through her catdoor and she doesn't know how to open the flap towards herself.

<ponders> This actually seems like a useful skill for a cat to have. I think I'll try to teach her someday. I shall of course report back on progress.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
My inbox is a mess. I've read it all but can't remember if/what I wanted to reply to. At one point I managed to reply to something twice but mostly I'm forgetting everything. I'm going to go through and trash the bulk of it so I can stop feeling guilty. If you asked me something that wants a reply, try again.

Just, I have the concentration span of a-- I think I was just doing something. --Also my verbal faculties are back to abnormal. ("Back to" because I remember them doing the same in September.) Where was I? Oh, right, I was going to say I'm sort of reading my friends' lists but if something's a bit long or if I've fallen into the kind of stupor where my bed could burst into flames and I'd just shift back a bit, or maybe into the kitchen(1) if it got too hot, then chances are that even if my eyes move dutifully down the page I won't have actually read it. Responding to things that require any thought or consideration of nuance is utterly out of the question. Occasionally I start to try then give up and just close the tab.

(1) Footnote. Um. I'm generally sitting in my bedroom these days. Partly because the living room is full of a) books on the floor and the chairs and generally everywhere except the bookshelves and b) a cracked fireplace that isn't really any immediate danger but on the other hand why take risks? But mostly because I can see out the window if anything interesting happens, like posties or Red Cross or Aussie cops or the army; and likewise people out there who notice that the two houses on either side of me (that is, two on the left and two on the right) are all destroyed can nevertheless also notice that mine is occupied. But the kitchen table is also a validly useful place to sit, and the spare bedroom is also a comfortable option.


I think that concludes those notes.

Went to work for a few hours Tuesday morning. Getting there takes 50 minutes (including walking to/from the busstop) because the roads are still quiet that early; coming home took 2 hours (waited longer for the bus; more traffic; stopped to buy lunch). Original plan was to stay at work and later go to choir, but work had insufficient space and I had insufficient energy. I could still have gone out in the evening but that really would have taken 2 hours travel to get there, and even though someone'd promised me a lift home afterwards I just. The energy expenditure in going, being sociable and trying not to cry all evening just would not have been worth the rewards of singing.

I got another piece of mail - a phone bill, dated 17 February. My time sense is shot, but careful calculations confirm that was 5 days before the earthquake. (Day-before-yesterday's bank statement was from the 2nd March.) It does appear from NZPost's website that we've officially got full mail delivery in my street, but I suspect things will be wacky for a while. If anyone particularly wants to take the risk of sending something, comment with an email address and I can send you address options, but really I do have everything I need and everything transportable that I want; I'm just in the entirely predictable energy/emotional slump that arises when things thump you and then everything else is twice as hard as usual. You can't turn on the tap to brush your teeth, you have to go and get the kettle from the kitchen.

(I'm pretty sure the kettle is still on the bathroom floor. I was in a rush yesterday morning; caught the bus by a whisker and slumped by a window feeling like the bottom of a bird cage, planning to sleep. Ended up giving directions to two sets of passengers instead, which despite destroying all hope of sleepytimes did at least lift my mood.)

Yesterday evening read a bit, and frowned at Sandbaggers disc 3 which has "bad sectors" even on my good computer (will try it at my parents' house sometime), and dozed for a while, and tinkered on the web, and went to bed early and got up late. Telecommuting this morning again, da de dah.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
I think I ended up doing a reasonable amount of work all considered; just with one glaring hole because I started dozing off trying to read the background information about it. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

At one point in the afternoon I jumped out and ran outside because there were posties cycling along the street. I got a letter! It was a bank statement about the state of my mortgage, but it was pretty exciting. I suspect there must be a pile of mail stockpiled somewhere else because, while I'm not a great correspondent I do usually get more than one piece of mail a fortnight. Consequently I'm not sure I really trust the service just yet; it may go off and on a bit, like the water.

After logging off for the day I drew up an "earthquake map" of the local area, showing water, portaloos, dairies, supermarkets, foodbanks, ATMs, showers, laundry, doctor, pharmacy, library, recovery assistance centre, etc, including the free phonebox which'd be handy for the helpline numbers and other tips. (I missed out petrol stations because I couldn't see any nearby at all, and ended up deciding if people have cars they've probably already driven far enough to find somewhere.) Finished just in time to rush down to Warehouse Stationery where they were discussing where the nearest supermarket was. When they saw my map they asked if they could keep a copy themselves and ran my copies off for free. I then went back home again to cover them with clear sticky plastic (normally for exercise book covering) then stuck them on the posts at the main intersection where people wait for the pedestrian crossing lights. While doing that I chatted with a student who's been having to check his email at the Recovery Assistance Centre to find out what's happening at the uni.

(People keep talking to each other so much! Except for the occasional person desperately avoiding eye contact, like the woman I saw weaving along with a sleeping bag / quilt under one arm. :-( )

I was feeling a bit worried that the map might be ridiculously too little too late, but while I do wish I'd thought of it a week ago, and keep thinking of things I could have added, I think there still are plenty of people desperate for information.

In other cool news, the dairy right by that intersection reopened today. From sheer happiness I popped in to get an iceblock, but those are being delivered tomorrow. They do have fresh bread and milk though, which is the important thing.

Also, I may be in love with The Sandbaggers. It's certainly going to define my recovery from this quake as rewatching Yes Minister defined my recovery from September's.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Got up in time to have a proper shower while I still had water (turning it off while soaping up in order to conserve water) and even washed my hair.

On the way to church I stopped at my parents' house to test my Sandbaggers DVDs. When I let myself in I discovered of course the burglar alarm was set. I used to unset that alarm every single day for years but for the life of me, and just like in my old dreams, I couldn't remember the code. I immediately discarded the code for my own alarm, and tried another that my fingers seemed familiar with. In retrospect, it was my credit card PIN. Fortunately my brother was upstairs (asleep) so could rush down and turn off the siren. He was remarkably nice about it, considering.

Anyway, it turns out I unfairly maligned the DVDs. There's nothing wrong with them; further experimentation proves the fault is in my laptop's DVD drive which, when the earthquake induced the laptop to do a flip off the chair it was sitting on and land upside-down on the floor, must have got jolted a bit. Yay, more insurance claimage; guess I'll have to take it into the local Mac store sometime. Sometime when it's operational again. In the meantime I've dug out my old snail of a laptop and set that to chugging through the conversion instead. And in the meantime-meantime I watched episode 3 on my parents' DVD player (having watched 1 and 2 on YouTube in order to decide that yes I was totally buying this) and... wow, that was rather dark. I love this show so much.

Church was... They warned us that last Sunday's service might be emotional, but forgot to warn us that this Sunday (whether because we were back in our own church or that things have had more time to sink in or that we're just more tired) would be worse. There's this beautiful Shirley Murray hymn which is a mashup of Ecclesiastes and Corinthians: "There's a time to be planting, a time to be plucking, a time to be laughing, a time to weep" etc in the verses, and the chorus "But there's never a time to stop believing, there's never a time for hope to die, there's never a time to stop loving, these three things go on."

And, yeah. It elicits tears at the best of times. I'm weeping just writing it up now; I had a hell of a time trying to sing it; I think it was only the third-and-last verse and chorus I finally got my voice under just enough control. And the readings (Lamentations 3:17-26, 31-33; Matthew 11:28-30) were likewise a bit on the nose, and we ended with another Shirley Murray hymn - "Give thanks for hope, that like the wheat, the grain / lying in darkness does its life retain / in resurrection to grow green again" (to Sine Nomine) and I was not the only one in serious tears, by far.
On the way home saw someone attempting to go into a dairy which wasn't yet open for business. He just wanted somewhere, anywhere, that's selling food. I pointed him to the nearest dairy (a bit of a walk) or around the corner for fish'n'chips - I think he decided on the latter. What I need to do is draw up some maps with vital services and post them on lampposts at that intersection. So many people don't have any idea where to get things with so many shops closed or destroyed around here; I only do from spending significant time poring over eq.org.nz maps. And it's going to be a long-term problem because cheap supermarkets are closed and only more expensive dairies are open (unless you drive, and then you have to pay for petrol) and people will have lost jobs and this is a lower socio-economic area to start with. It makes me sad and angry in advance at all the people who won't care about or even see the problem.

I'm increasingly angry at the letter Eastgate put in mailboxes a few days ago to say "McDonalds will be open in 5 days and the supermarket will be open in 4 weeks and the Warehouse will be open in 5 weeks" and blah blah blah, and not a single line to let people know where they could get food now.

Spent the afternoon visiting friends - about an hour and a half to get there, I think, since I have to take the bus right around the suburbs instead of through the city, so all up I spent more time travelling than with them, but it was well worth it to catch up and hold their baby. Then did some shopping at their local supermarket before catching the bus back home. Failed to have energy to cook a proper dinner, but did snack as much as I could manage and read myself to sleep.

---

Working from home this morning. So far I've got the "from home" part down pat, anyway; though I've just "answered" a student's question by IM, for values of "answered" that consist of saying essentially "God only knows." It makes me feel like a bad librarian, but it really is all we can say about pretty much any library service that can't be transacted purely electronically.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Started the day taking a piss in the lawn, ended the day being pissed off at bloody out-of-towners who sanctimoniously think it's "too soon" for people (who are, btw, primarily Cantabrians) to be taking the piss out of the earthquake. The most annoying of the concern trolls is of course not even in New Zealand at all.

Anyway, if you're not a sanctimonious git, let me point you to these #eqnz pickup lines. (Warning: some of them may be objectionable for entirely different reasons.)

Moving on to the rest of the day: washed in a litre of water, caught a bus (bus!) to work and did what work I could until I ran out of things I could do with a serious lack of concentration. Used the porcelain toilet while there and also filled up my water bottles (I'm told there's even a shower there) and caught the bus (bus!) home again. This went well until, near the end of the journey, the bus went over a new bump in the road which the driver hadn't seen in time to slow down, throwing my bottles forward, ripping the plastic bag they were in and spilling a bit of water(*). Managed to juggle things enough to get them all home anyway.
(*) Old milk bottles are utterly useless for storing water. Just don't. I got it out from my pantry and discovered the lid had cracked; I'm only still using the bottle to fetch water because it's what I've got.
Out of habit tried a tap. Water came out! Instinctively turned it off again and blinked for a bit. Then filled a bucket; considered filling a second bucket but it felt kind of greedy. But then gave into temptation and did some small washing jobs. If it stays on, I might even run a very small load in the washing machine, maybe, in a couple days' time.

Read Memory, was about to drop off to sleep when Mum and sisters arrived to
  • deliver my mail (the Sandbaggers DVDs - I generally get parcels delivered to my parents' address as mine is a bit close to an intermediate school in a lower socioeconomic area and things have gone missing; I need to get around to redirecting all my mail there while NZPost don't like my street)
  • drop off a rabbit cage (am looking after sister's rabbits while both sisters go up to Palmy for a week); and
  • go shopping for supplies for the welfare centre at Aranui Primary school. Arrived just as they were closing so didn't indulge in much looking around but saw signs for water and laundry facilities, which is good: for a while Fisher and Paykel's "around the city" free laundrettes were handily located in the areas where everyone has power and water to run their own washing machines anyway. (And also: Kaiapoi what are you doing on that map you're not even part of Christchurch!)
Finished Memory; rabbits arrived; checked the internets and dealt a bit belatedly with a work email that had come in after I'd left. Possibly I shouldn't have - working at 9pm on a Friday sets a terrible precedent - but since I'd skived off before 2pm it technically evens out.

Should really go to bed now. But first, icecream!
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
I think I'll rename Boots "Scaredy Cat". Currently she's hiding under the bed in the spare room (which appears, btw, to be where she's sleeping these days, and is incidentally a superb choice; I often put my laptop there it's so sturdy) because a truck with a skip drove by outside.

Work is involving more work at the moment. Day-to-day communications are the most disjointed ever. A bunch of us are working from home so I don't even know who's available at any given time. Am suggesting some possible fixes for this but I don't even really know yet enough of what the current situation is as to whether these are even practical.

Caught the bus(!) to my sister's in the evening and made a putiputi under her guidance. Also got updated contact details for my brother, who asked me about something I'd been meaning to do; "I'll do that right now," I said, and walked downstairs to my laptop, and promptly forgot until he came down to check on me.

Finally finished reading Pride and Prejudice! Have now started Margaret Mahy's Memory. I think I was too young when I read it last time, I couldn't get into it at all. (Too much "real life", I think.)

Should get an early night.

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