25 March 2013

Sunshine and procrastination

The last two weeks have been pretty mostly sunshine and I have been doing my best to make the most of it. Which means a lot of time outside, reading books, walking the dog on the beach and doing the garden. Did I mention I was learning to garden? The first big job was cutting back all of the trees that have been massively encroaching upon the lawn here at my sister's house - they have probably not been looked after for 5 years or more. I found some interesting things in amongst them too - a good spade (which I have now managed to lose again), a cricket ball for the dog to destroy, a little rose bush trying to survive under a huge flax bush and a tidy little brick border around the entire garden. The dog tried to help, by dragging away the branches that I  chop down and chewing them into lots of little pieces. But now that that's all done it's time to plant stuff which is more interesting, but not great for my budget because there are so many nice bulbs and flowers to buy. The garden here is going to be amazing next spring, though if all goes well I won't be here to see it, because I will have found a job and move somewhere to start a proper life. For now though I will plant stuff, because gardening is a great excuse to be outside in the sun.

While I'm here in Invercargill I make sure that the dog stays tired and quiet by taking her on long bike rides. There is a track that goes about halfway around the outside of the city, starting near here at my sister's house and ending at the estuary. The dog loves it, she swims about half of it altogether in her effort to chase the birds. She's even started chasing the swans, which surprised me because swans are usually pretty aggressive; I thought they would have chased her away.

With the surprisingly warm Autumn weather the scenery along the cycle track is so nice that I had to stop and take photos, and you know it's surprisingly awkward to bike with a heavy camera around your neck. I probably looked a bit silly too. At least I didn't fall off and break it. And for all that trouble I got a nice picture of the Waihopai river mouth and the big blue sky.

On these walks I also generally end up with a very muddy dog. But at least she's tired and leaves me alone for a few hours. Now all I have to do is start being more productive in those hours, because the real things, as in work, are on a bit of a go-slow. But at least I've got the dog to keep me cheerful so work (or lack thereof) isn't getting me down.

Now it's pretty much Easter so that's cause for a break, right? Making hot cross buns is definitely on my to-do list, and apparently helping prepare food for a hangi. Hopefully there'll be chocolate, and I should probably try to get in touch with all of my overseas mates (who are currently snowed in, but I'm preferring our sunshine). Of course, I should also stop slacking off and get back to work, otherwise it will never finish. So I have a small list of PhD related tasks for this week and then next week it will be back to Colac Bay to get serious about writing again, even though I still haven't had any corrected drafts back from my supervisor. Though I'm loving the hot weather, I'm sort of hoping it will peter out after Easter so that I'm not so distracted by pretty views like this one:

08 March 2013

Dog Doings

I've not got much to say this week because it seems that nothing has happened. I have stayed in town and tried to work - half successful I think, but I keep procrastinating. Or at least it feels like I am, because I've been trying to focus on a chapter that is really not in my field, and it's hard. Plus at the same time I've been trying to keep up with my supervisor's comments on what I've already sent her, half of which need to be followed up on really well and the other half that need to be refuted with a lot of evidence so that she realises that I do actually know what I'm talking about, I've researched it and I'm right. So that's my task for tomorrow. Tonight my plan was to write a cover letter for a job I'd like to apply for but I haven't done that - again, because it seems overwhelmingly hard so it's best faced on a new day. Instead I will watch tv and relax with the dog, who right now is on a time-out because she chases the poor cat who hardly ever comes inside now and was hungry. I'll go to Colac Bay next week for the whole week and hopefully the cat will relax and have some time in the house.

Since I have nothing to say for myself I will tell dog stories instead. This week we graduated from obedience lessons and I have to say, while I'm sure the lady is great with dogs it was a lot of money considering that my dog required hardly any work - she's pretty much automatically obedient and very clear on who her mum is. She got to choose a toy as a prize for passing, so she chose a little cat and pulled out all the stuffing within about an hour. It'll still be good to play with for another week or so though.

So what obedience lessons really did was teach me a couple of tricks about dealing with certain behaviours and give me ideas of tricks to teach her. As well as sit, stay, lie down and roll over she can now high-five, spin in a circle and go through my legs when I tell her. Next we'll work on jumping through hoops, putting away her toys and shutting the door. Now she's hanging around as if she wants something to do but Autumn has well and truly set it, with cold weather and shorter days. So it's dark outside and I don't want to go out there. She'll just have to entertain herself with toys until bed time. I've gotten a little lax about letting her on the couch and bed - when I'm sitting around studying and she's tired she settles down faster if I let her up beside me. So she snoozes on the end of the bed sometimes (here she's sleeping with her duck, who is now pretty much dead, but it's OK because she has a new pink gorilla to eat).

Unfortunately she also hops up in the morning when she wakes up and gets bored because I'm still asleep. I let her because I want to keep sleeping and it's just easier. I've also invited her up onto the couch a couple of times because she wouldn't stop whingeing - and now she's really taking liberties, hopping up to sleep on the couch with me whenever she likes. You would think that would be enough, that being allowed on the couch would satisfy her and she would settle down - but no, she still jumps up to bark at people and chase the cat and most recently to bark at the printer, because she had never heard it before. Now that the printer has been thoroughly put in its place she is happily asleep again against my legs. I know the couch is not the best place for a dog but at least she keeps my legs warm.