“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Welcome 2010

Happy new year, dear readers.  I hope that this year, 2010, will be better than the last, but honestly, do you think it will? I suspect more of the same bullshit. Ok, that's totally pessimistic of me, I know. For the record, my new year resolution is to "be a better person" and this probably includes having a more positive attitude. Really, what do I have to complain about that is so bad? I have a job that I like, a husband who loves me, 2 dogs and 2 cats who need me and are nice and cuddly, and I live in an absolutely gorgeous country that's not overpopulated (yet), New Zealand.  I also lucky to have good friends here, many of whom I saw over the xmas/new-year holiday.

We certainly have enjoyed gorgeous weather lately, and it coincided neatly with my holiday time off.  Darin and I headed up to our land in Maungaturoto on Boxing Day and camped for 4 nights. The first day we went scuba diving with Poor Knights Divers.  We have dived with them before, and they are really great. They took us to Tye Dye Arch and Blue Mao Mao Arch, both places we hadn't been before and are infrequently dived due to conditions.

We were lucky to hit a calm day.  There were tons of fish, stingrays, eels, and nudibranchs.

The colors on the rocks were amazing. It was an excellent way to spend a day off work. When we returned to our garage on our land, we filled up a plastic tub with fresh water, from our tank that collects rainwater from the roof, to rinse our dive gear. Then we hung our gear on our trailer to dry. We had a hot shower using our propane water heater, which is hung in a private location in the trees behind the

garage.  The dogs obviously couldn't come, so we left them in the orchard. They seemed to handle this just fine, so we did it again the next day when we visited Bayley's Beach and Kai Iwi lakes.  Both places are so beautiful, just look at these photos.
Trout are stocked in the sand dune lakes of Kai Iwi, and I waded out into the soft sandy warm water to cast into the deep part of the lake. We didn't get any nibbles, but it was still a great afternoon.  Afterwards we drove to the west coast beach, Bayley's, which remided us a lot of the Torrey Pines beach reserve in San Diego, only bigger, and you can drive on Bayley's (and no Torrey Pines).

We spent the remainder of our time up north on our land getting work done, playing with the dogs, and reading. 

I recently read Night Watch, a Russian novel about "others", made into two movies which are really fun, Night Watch and Day Watch.  Thus I followed up with the Swedish vampire novel, Let Me In, made into a movie also, Let the Right One In. The book was excellent, better than the movie!
We celebrated New Year's Eve with friends and MEAT. Here's Darin, Master of the Grill:
I got some great specials at the butcher shop on the 31st, because they were to be closed for the following two days.  I used the leftover beef rib meat (yummy!) in a home-made chili with whole, dried New Mexico and chipotle chilis, which I've brought from the US and keep in either the freezer or
refridgerator, ground up in a coffee grinder. 

We've borrowed my sister's wood chipper (visions of Fargo, the movie!) to do some yard work. Our yard has been seriously neglected, and the previous owners planted a lot of plants, so this quickly grew into a huge job.  It's great to have all the wood chips to put into the compost, under the plants, and on the path around the garden. 

The garden is looking pretty sad, unfortunately.  I had one good cucumber, but the ones on the vines now are turning yellow and the leaves have the powdery mildew. The zucchini has the blossom end rot and is getting the mildew as well. The cabbage (my first) looks pretty good, despite all the green catepillars eating the leaves.  The lettuce I pulled out and fed to the chickens because it was stunted and started to bolt before really growing at all.  The silverbeet (aka chard) looks really good though, and the tomatoes are setting fruit.  I have two tiny jalapeno peppers.  I guess I'm a lazy gardener; I don't weed, feed, or water as often as needed. 
One more day of vacation, then back to work.  I'll be opening two trials for recruitment in January that I helped set up: One is a radiotherapy trial for prostate cancer, the other is a medical oncology trial for Wyeth's HER-2 + breast cancer drug, neratinib.  Should be exciting!