Yesterday was not the best birthday ever.  For a start, deadlines and panics meant I had to go to work, and it was a frustrating day with all sorts of technical problems putting us even further behind (though on the plus side, one of the analysts did go out and get pastries for afternoon tea as a birthday treat for me, which was sweet of him).  And I wasn’t feeling all that birthday-ish anyway – what with post-nuclear family meltdowns, and a spot of rockiness on the home front this week, there’s been a definite deep dark pit of despair vibe in the air recently.

Oh, and to totally top off the day, there was an earthquake yesterday – just a 4.0, which to us toughened Cantabrians hardly rates a mention these days, except that I was sitting on the toilet at the time!  And there really is nothing more disconcerting than feeling that rumble and wondering whether this will be a big one, and if so, are you going to be able to get your pants up in time?

But MrPloppy did his best to get me in a happy birthday sort of mood, with some really thoughtful and fantastic presents (highlight is the 150th anniversary edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which is a gorgeous book, combining the original text with contemporary and modern illustrations of various species he mentions, and sidebars with biographical details and extracts from his other writing – weighs a tonne though, so I don’t think I’ll be reading it in bed…), and an attempt at a birthday cake (except the never-fail recipe he used somehow failed, and it didn’t rise properly – but I did appreciate the thought, if not so much the cake).  So it wasn’t all bad, really.

Otherwise, life has just been full of work and study. I did force myself to take a break last weekend and do something fun instead of hitting the books yet again, and spent a few hours pleasantly ensconced in my long-neglected embroidery project:

Until of course I ended up with a kitten on my lap and had to stop and hide the dangling thread temptations.

Talking of kittens, I should probably post some pictures (more difficult than it sounds with Parsnips, who is such a bundle of energy and craziness that most of the photos I’ve attempted just show a blur).

They alternate their time between destroying the house and decimating Christchurch’s weta population (seriously – I think they bring in at least one a day at the moment, and chase it round the house until the poor thing has lost all its legs, at which point they get bored and leave it for us to find… I’m just glad we only get the little ones down here, not the giants!)

Snow Day(s)

It’s way too early in the winter for this!

I keep telling people it hardly ever snows in Christchurch, but I may have to revise that.  It seems like the last few years we’ve had several big (for NZ) falls each year, instead of one small one every two or three years.

This latest one started in the early hours yesterday morning, and we woke up to a reasonable dusting.  I went into work anyway, because the forecast was for it to ease off pretty quickly, but by mid-morning it was obvious that wasn’t happening, and they’d started taking the buses off the road, so I told my boss (by email – he lives up in the hills, so hadn’t come in at all) I was heading home while I still could.  I was just in time, too, because the bus driver told me he’d been told to finish the route then to go back to the depot, so if I’d left it any longer I would have had a very cold and wet walk home.   And they closed the campus about an hour after I got home anyway.

The snow kept falling until early evening, when it started to freeze over, so this morning we’ve got a beautiful icy scene outside (not that I’m planning on going out to admire it!), and completely treacherous roads (because snow is such a rare thing in Christchurch (supposedly), the council doesn’t own useful things like ploughs and grit-spreaders).  We’ve been listening to cars attempting to negotiate our intersection this morning, with various degrees of success.  No actual crashes yet, because thankfully everyone’s going very slowly and carefully, but it’s just a matter of time.

The university’s closed until at least lunchtime while they try and clear broken tree branches and shovel some safe walking routes, but the buses still aren’t running anyway, so I’d be working from home no matter what (I’m not walking in on this ice – I tried that after last year’s big snow fall, and it wasn’t a fun experience).

Oh well, a good chance to catch up with some reading for my linguistics paper.

(And needless to say, we totally missed out on seeing the transit of Venus yesterday 🙁 )