Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ahhhh on holidays

I finished my last exam for the semester - yay! Now I get to be sociable for 4 whole weeks! I've been pretty unsociable for a while. Between losing Joshua (it's been nearly 10 months can you believe!), preparing for surgery, recovering from surgery, then getting back into study and life in general, I haven't done very well at catching up with friends or replying to emails.

Now I can try to do both those things, plus get back into regular fitness (it's been very sporadic), read a backlog of books and do some more cooking and baking (anyone got any requests?).

There's two more things I'm looking at doing. The first is training to become a National Disaster Animal Response Team volunteer - it's run through the Humane Society of the United States, and it's a group of trained volunteers they can call on to help out when national disasters hit (floods, earthquakes, fires etc). The volunteers help evacuate the animals, provide emergency sheltering, track down owners, and generally be the animal version of the Red Cross type groups.

The other is getting some "studio" equipment for our Nikon D80 to do portrait photography. I need to get a Speedlight (external flash), stand for the speedlight, a background, and something to hold up the background, and I guess maybe an umbrella for diffusing light, and will start off with doing kids and pets for friends - just as a hobby. If anyone has any recommendations for equipment, I'd love to hear it!

I think my 4 weeks "break" will go fast!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Quest for the ultimate Polar watch

Ultimate meaning "best watch for me". I started off with a basic running model, and it was ok, but didn't have the "Own Code" feature, so would pick up everyone else's heart rates as well as mine, and most annoyingly - didn't have a back light! It was very annoying to be training in low light and have no idea what was happening - the screen was a different colour than the watches with a back light, and it also made it hard to read.

The battery died on it ages ago, so since I'm getting back into exercise, I decided it was time for a new watch. I got the Polar F11 - a cute fitness watch which had a backlight (yay!), and seemed to do the basic heart rate monitoring features I figured I'd need. Only as it turns out, it doesn't do laps which is REALLY annoying while swimming as I can never keep track of laps, and once you start exercising, it will only tell you whether you're in the pre-determined OwnZone limits (it's a pain in the butt to tell it you're doing low HR exercise rather than high HR exercise or whatever), or it will tell you your total exercise time, and nothing else.

If I'm swimming, I want to know laps, I want to know lap times, or I just want to know the actual time! None of these I can do with my current watch. Sigh.

So now I'm thinking of selling the F11 (which is a nice basic HR watch if anyone wants it), and buying a watch that has:

Own Code
Min., max. and ave. HR over the total exercise
"Heart Touch"
Foot Pod would be nice for when I start running again
And doesn't cost a fortune

So I'm looking at the Polar RS200SD which I believe has all of these things. Has anyone got one of these, and have any opinions on it?

Do you have a watch that also does these things and would recommend? I'd be open to suggestions for the Garmin Forerunner as well. Any opinions would be appreciated!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

This looked like fun...

From Angie

A fun game if you have a few minutes to waste!


1. Think of the first word that comes to mind when you think of me.

2. Go to Google Images and search for that word.

3. Reply to this post with one of the pictures on the first page of results (don't tell me the word).

4. Do this in your own blog, if you wish.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New foster kitten

I got an email from the volunteer coordinator at the shelter saying they had 2 kittens that needed fostering. As of yesterday, one was still looking for a foster home. Her name is Sally, she's 12 weeks old, and had been found injured at a local beauty place. They took her to an emergency vet who diagnosed her with a fractured pelvis, and transferred her to the shelter where she's been recovering in a cage.

So I picked her up today and good time too - apparently a couple of kitties have gone into the room she was in sick with upper respiratory infection (kitty cold), so glad she's out of there.

She is an absolute lovebug! She's in a cage in our spare room, and I let her out for some attention and socialisation. I've been letting her out for a half hour at a time, and have done that a few times today. Each time she has purred constantly, rubbed against us, and meowed happily. I imagine she's so pleased to get out of the cage, and some attention. After about half an hour she starts getting hyper and wants to run around the room attacking everything and climbing everything, so for her own good I have to put her back in the cage :)

Apparently when she was found she couldn't put any weight on her back legs, but now if she's just walking, she walks almost normally. Doing anything like running, pouncing, and jumping (all which I try and not let her do!), she is a bit wobbly, but looks more stable than Stumpy when we first fostered her with similar injuries. I think she'll be up for adoption within a few weeks.

Here she is:

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Oh it's nice to be home.

It was a typical trip... we got up at 5:30am to get our flight from Zurich which was delayed by an hour. Our landing into Heathrow was kinda scary - the pilot slammed on the brakes just after we hit the ground, and everyone's faces pretty much got slammed into the chair in front. We were still braking hard when he made a right turn, which we only just made - I was on the left of the plane, and there wasn't much concrete between the plane wheels and the grass. I believe they're mostly automatic landings, so I'm not sure what happened.

Heathrow we had a shortish transfer, but it was fine, then got to San Francisco, and our bags didn't. They're still to arrive, but were apparently on the next flight which should have gotten in by now, so hopefully we'll get them soon. They said around 7 and it's almost 7 now. I don't want to stay up too late!

The kitties were a bit blase when they first saw us, then finally realised it was us, and Smudge got appropriately excited. She was on Andrew's shoulders rolling around in ecstasy. Stumpy came and jumped on my lap purring as soon as I sat down, and Lily came out to say hi. All 3 have been following me around all evening so far.

We were up at 5:30am, and it's now about 3:45am Zurich time. I have a tired headache, but need to wait and see if the bags turn up, make the bed and maybe think about food (although food sounds too hard at the moment).

Photos are up at our photo website. There's still no captions - hopefully there will be at some point.