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We've just come back from a weekend in Adelaide. A couple of Eric's friends are moving to the US next week, so they had a big farewell party on Friday night. They rented out a bar and it was insanely full of people. I managed the whole social interaction thing quite well, if I may say so myself. Let's just say that being brought up in a dysfunctional family leads to some interesting social skills.

We also went to an animal sanctuary (http://www.warrawong.com/) in the Adelaide hills. There was the funniest possum sleeping on top of a tree fern, just a ball of fur in the middle of all the fronds. And I think we saw a couple of potoroos. No platypus though, given the constant clumping of little feet on the boardwalk. We also went to the animal show, ranging from spiders (Eric wasn't pleased) through tree frogs, blue tongue lizards, and snakes. Oh oh oh! I want a sugar glider! They are the cutest things imaginable!

On Saturday, we had a luxurious breakfast at our hotel - Hotel Richmond (http://www.hotelrichmond.com.au/) - which has a gorgeous huge dining/lounge room, hung with gauzy curtains and filled with Asian/modern furniture. Then we headed out for a stroll along the banks of the Torrens River to try and compensate for the breakfast. *grin* Adelaide is full of lovely sandstone buildings and street art. We went to the beach area at Glenelg for lunch with Eric's friends and their family. Lots of fun. Beautiful weather.

We also went to Haigh's, of course, then out for dinner at a really nice Chinese restaurant. (With aquariums containing decorative fish, rather than food, for a change.)

Oh, and I found my perfect library... http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-10/ff_walker?currentPage=all

Back in time to pick up 1634: The Bavarian Crisis from the library. Twenty laps at the pool - our first time back since winter started - 10 breaststroke, 5 backstroke, 5 freestyle (without drowning!).
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Yesterday, I swam... *drumroll*... 30 laps!
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And there was pilates (level 1), ballet, a lunchtime walk, and swimming (24 laps!)this week. So far. We have plans to swim tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday, in between the Living for the Future sustainability expo, my friend Jacinta's birthday picnic, and Eric's birthday on Sunday.

Work is good. I love being useful. I like it that I have to go to work tomorrow to make sure that something gets done.
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There was ballet and pilates and swimming (22 laps of half-and-half on Friday night) last week. There was much dancing at the Lebanese-Italian wedding last night.

There will be pilates tonight.
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There was pilates on Monday. For no apparent reason, the mat class turned itself into a reformer class. For those of you who don't know about reformer, it can be summed up by saying that there's a complicated piece of metal and wood and leather that tortures you. It felt much like going to the gym, with the added possibility of falling off the sliding platform. We hurt yesterday. And today.

We went swimming last night anyway, in an effort to loosen up some of the stiff muscles. It seemed to work (the usual* 10 breaststroke/ 10 backstroke), but the effect wore off by morning. Pity.

Fresh from the Dalemark quartet, I have fallen into the deep pillowy goodness of the Chrestomanci chronicles. Life is good.



* Usual?!?! Three months ago I was sure I was going to drown and now swimming half a km seems normal...
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There was an impromptu red wine and Monopoly (Marseille edition) session on Friday night, lasting into the early hours of the morning. Actually, we still don't know who won, since neither Meg or Matt would concede. (And, to be fair, they were in fairly equal positions.)

Yesterday was a lazy day, filled with Diana Wynne Jones' much-loved Dalemark quartet. I don't know what it is about this series. It makes me happy. Much like John Scalzi, without being sappy or stupid. (I think one of the reasons Phillip Pullman's books polled particularly badly with my brain is because I've read so much Diana Wynne Jones. Her kids are smart and real. They have suspicions about inconsistent behaviour. They wrestle with right and wrong and don't always choose right.)

I also read another Shannon Lush book, Spotless. Lots of overlap with Speedcleaning.

PS. Exercise update:

We did make it to pilates on Thursday. Tomorrow, we're going to try the next level up.

We also have fifteen free double passes to the swimming that have to be used by 20 April. So we went swimming. Twenty laps - 4 with kickboard, 8 breaststroke, 8 backstroke. I'm starting to feel better in the water. Imminent drowning seems to be much reduced.
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Ballet last night was one of those sessions where I felt short, fat and stupid. I'm not saying that this isn't true, but it was painfully evident. Particularly at the points where I kept stepping on one foot with the other. Ow.

Swimming this morning was okay. I swam in a middle lane to avoid the overcrowded slow lane (despite my paranoia about drowning whenever I'm away from the edge). My brain did not get up this morning. It took me several minutes to determine that 8/20 was not equivalent to 4/5.

I must be crazy. I've invited two other colleagues to go for a walk at lunch today.
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Well! I started my new job on Monday and spent a day and a half reading business plans. Tuesday morning was a write off because of the fire drill. I do think that it's silly having a fire drill at 10 am in the morning. Half of us don't start work until 10 am and the elevators get locked down 15 minutes beforehand, which means that we skip the drill, skip work, and sit around all morning at the assembly points. Have one at say, 2.30 pm, and your odds of getting higher participation rates are much better. Ballet on Tuesday night, of course.

Wednesday was a busy day of meetings in Canberra, where I finally gained some idea about what I'm going to be doing for the next three months. One of the things is a fairly routine RFQ process, another is some facilitation work and minor process improvement, and the third is a giant amorphous process improvement project-monster. Luckily the first two are more urgent, so I can work on those while the latter simmers in my back-brain. We missed swimming due to my early flight. (Day flights to Sydney or Canberra mean leaving the house no later than 6 am and getting back around 9 pm.)

Thursday was lots of chatting with people. I suppose I should call it liaison work or research or something, but really, it was made up of chatting with people. Focussed chatting, but still. And then it was the weekend! For us anyway, since we'd both taken a day of leave on Friday (in lieu of the two and a half weeks that we'd been intending to take between Labour Day and the end of Easter). So I basically had a three and a half day week!

Eric and I went to the Thousand Steps walk in the Mount Dandenong National Park on Friday. It wasn't too bad, actually. I should point out that there are less than a thousand steps in the climb. We were a bit sore in the hips the next day though. On Saturday morning, I went over to the parents' place to do lots of water changes. With 80 litres of water being removed and 80 litres substituted, you can imagine that my arms got a bit of a workout. I also managed some house cleaning, although we've been very good with keeping things clean since the big floor excavation in our room.

On Sunday, we did our 20 laps at the swimming pool. This time, I managed to change between breaststroke and backstroke at every lap, making 10 of each. I think this exercise thing must be sinking in, because we weren't drop dead tired at the end. Sunday was also garden pruning and giant laundry day. I set up our new compost box (polystyrene fruit box from the greengrocer's rubbish bin). We have potato plants. I'm not sure if this will work, but then again, I wasn't sure the tomato plant would work and I think we've already harvested about 50 tomatoes in the last month.

And then we went over to play Settlers of Catan with my mum on Sunday night. I think that the best that can be said is that I have an addictive personality. I dreamt about the game that night. I woke up and invited a friend over so that we could play today. (Yay! Public holiday!) I downloaded the trial computer version (no good, go to the free online versions at ASO Brain Games instead). After he left, I played online half the evening. Yeah. When they said that INTJ's overindulge in sensory activities from time to time, they weren't kidding.

I hope you've all had a good weekend.
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Well, that was certainly a busy weekend. More detail )

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