Tuesday, 30 August 2011

On rain and hurricanes and getting lost

And rain it did today, no hurricanes yet thankfully. I watched with interest the track of Irene and was very thankful when she veered off after hitting Puerto Rico and went north. Thankful in a selfish way, my thoughts go out to all those who were affected so badly. Our turn will come apparently. It's still early in the season here and being now up to letter J, does not bode well.

Today's rain was very heavy, sheets of big drops plummeting from the skies and pooling on the road. We could see the raining coming, it was on us soon after the skies blackened. On Sunday we were out sailing and a short sharp storm hit, thunder and forked lightening and strong winds. We made a run for the dock and got in before it hit, it actually went around us so we didn't get as much as the rest of the island.

I got lost because of today's rain, too busy watching the puddles and not watching where I was going. Soon the landmarks looked less than familiar. Should the sea be on that side? I wondered. Mmmm nope, but I have seen most of West Bay now. Renee kindly gave me directions to get me less than lost while laughing at this Polly Anna who didn't get directions when she left the office. There was a blond comment made much to the delight of my other colleagues.

It's yoga time now, I can't wait. My body needs to bend and stretch and last week was a crazy one so I missed my usual class. This week is going to be a better one as we embed much of the work undertaken in the past 4 months, hard to believe I've been here that long now. This week I plan to exercise most days, the good living here is taking it's toll on my waist line so I need to. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Busy!

I'd been wondering why I've not been writing lately then I thought about what I've been doing in the past few weeks. It's been hectic at work, hectic in a way work hasn't been since I worked at the Open Poly at the end of a semester, marking while writing new courses and dealing with students. There's a high level of multi tasking and decision making, I'm having to get used to that again. My brain has worked so hard that I've not got much brain space for anything by the time I get home.

And then there's my after work things. I work late most days, essential while establishing systems. Monday evenings I have yoga; Tuesday night is quiz night; Wednesday's Jo and I have planned to do stroke and stride but have not managed to leave work in time to complete this mini duathlon; Thursday is either spin or swimming and then there's happy hour on Friday. Weekends are similar, sailing, swimming and today my first game of touch rugby for many years. So I'm turning back into sporty spice, all good for my energy levels. I love the outdoor lifestyle here.

Take today. There's an influx of new teachers on the island. We took a group out for happy hour, got chatting and made friends with two in particular, one from Ireland and one from Canada. Jane has also arrived, fantastic to have her here, so today we all went to West Bay to get Cayman car licenses. It was a fun outing that included coffee and some sightseeing for the new ones. Susie had to move into her new place so Jane, Allie and I did some more sightseeing then went off to touch with Jo. House hunting was on the agenda after that, then another game.

It's really sticky here at the moment, the high humidity increasing the heat index, so touch was exhausting. Smiths Cove was inviting for a cooling dip in the ocean. We're just home from a lovely dinner, almost time for bed. Sailing is the plan for tomorrow plus a pool party and dinner at a friends, all go, all good. I'm hoping to do some back stories soon to catch up on travels I've not written about including an excursion into a part of the world I wasn't supposed to while living in the Emirates. That's another story for another day.

The photos are from Keri, chilly scenes from Christchurch's big snow. I'm pleased I'm on this side of the world at the moment. Thanks for sharing Keri!

Keri Granger: Snow of 2011, Christchurch NZ

Love the light in this shot

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Brrrrrr

Just a small look at a cool Christchurch. Play the short vid, if it works, and see the amount of snow that has fallen. Apparently there's a tropical storm heading my way. I suspect I'd choose that over the chilliness that is New Zealand at the moment. I'm not exactly sure what a tropical storm entails but I suspect it will be a little warmer. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Normal transmission

Will resume soon. I've been flat out, mostly at meetings and on the computer leaving me very little head space for writing. Going out yachting every weekend take time, especially the lovely socialising after. I should have some pics from that soon from a couple of people who take their cameras, mines not water proof enough I suspect. Funny how being on the computer, brain full on all day takes away my motivation to get on it in the evenings.

I'm loving here, getting into life and finally some good exercise. I've begun spin classes, have my yoga and trimming the main sail takes care of the upper body. Not sure how I'll go racing, that was mentioned last weekend as we watched the best crew go through their paces. I was very impressed, and a little depressed realising just how slow I was moving around the boat. Practice is the key. Two outings a weekend, each moving through the paces a bit quicker and who knows.

So I must go to work now, I've got a launch to prepare for logistically and emotionally. The Unit have worked really hard to get things rolling here, now we present to our public. Fingers crossed for a positive response. I'm thinking of all my New Zealand friends, enjoy the snow. It looks very beautiful, cold but beautiful! If Keri agrees, I'll publish some of her pics here. She is a talented photographer and has some wonderful shots of the winter wonderland. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Sunday night

Another weekend done and dusted. I'm waiting up for Elaine who is coming in from the UK, via Miami, tonight. True to form, Miami Airport was a struggle but her plane was delayed so no inconvenient over night stay. I'm listening for the plane then leaving home. It's very close, one good thing about being in such a small place.

We went out sailing this morning, in perfect conditions, to have some race practice. I think I get why I have to do the things I do when trimming the main sail and gybing and tacking and putting up the spinnaker. Today most things went well, not the spinnaker putting up, but most other things. I've learnt that my dragon boating muscles need to return so I can take up the slack in the ropes quickly. That shouldn't take too much time. Apparently the next outing I'm on the foredeck. I've had one go in light winds, not sure I'd like it in heavy winds. The feats of balance and agility might just be past this grandma.

On Saturday we went shopping. There are a surprising amount of shops here, not obvious to new comers but known by those who have been here a while. There are, thankfully, no malls or McDonalds. I managed to do some damage and stock up on work clothes. I now need a pair of shoes to go with the brown skirt and jacket, Miami for a shopping weekend has been mentioned. We're also looking into a weekend trip to Honduras to go exploring, that sounds more like my speed.

Anne got some photos of today's outing and hopefully she will send some to me to post. I've been very slack about getting out and about with my camera. With working such long hours, weekends are the only time and I spend more time socialising than taking photos. Most of my UAE crew are heading back to work from their summer hols, I'll miss the photos and stories of their summer adventures. Best get to the airport, can't wait to catch up with Elaine and see how she enjoyed her time at home and in France, sigh, Europe seems so far from here. Here's treat from Sicily, 3 young lads with amazing talent.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Today

What a day, one of those best not talked about today. A gin and tonic day really. Unlike my two day birthday. I've had a lovely celebration including the best part, talking to my family. Noah likes to say hi then shut the lid on flat grandma. Eve is happy to coo and talk to me from her play mat. They are both so very cute and precious and together in Brisbane for the first time. Cousins meeting. Brothers who are fathers spending time together.

Renee is an excellent baker, she made me an upside down pineapple cake for my birthday. It was huge and able to be shared with my new colleagues. I seemed to have a lot of male colleagues in my office seeking cake, Renee's yummy cake. One even asked me today if there was any left, nope I had the last piece for breakfast. The best thing was the card my team made for me. They looked for photos of me and didn't find many, I tend to hide behind my camera. They found this one taken by Katherine and printed it for my card. It's one of my favourites, on top of the world in Oman. An excellent choice.

Some of us went out to dinner on my first Cayman birthday and then to see the last Harry Potter. 3D apparently. Luckily one of the group realised we needed glasses and went off to buy them. I enjoyed the dinner, enjoyed the company and enjoyed the movie, the trifecta.

So here I sit, down loading so I can sleep well after a stressful day. I have missed my exercise all this week, missed swimming tonight, so feel like I need some strenuous exercise. Maybe tomorrow but more likely the weekend. Two more sleeps till the weekend, roll on! 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Long distance birthdays

Yeah right!
Long distance birthdays are odd, they make you very aware of time zones. My first birthday wish came from Jane who shares my birthdate, well the day and month anyway. One of the many born on or near 3 August that I discover around the place. There are two that I know of in my current workplace. Maybe Leos are the education people, actually I suspect it's because we are a little bossy that we are in education!

There have been happy birthday messages all day from various places around the world as the world turning awakens my friends to a new day. Social networking makes the world a much smaller place, imagine still having to send cards and aerograms. Facebook has helped us to follow each other and not lose touch, very important. I've heard from a couple of friends I haven't heard from in a while this week via email too. One is a reader who doesn't leave messages, but that's okay I get them through email instead.

Then there's Linked In, the networking site that I've joined. I get some odd friends requests, people who want to network because we have have something to offer each other work wise. I'm not so sure about that, I have just included friends who are elsewhere. With all the changes in the Middle East, and the summer holidays, my friends are well scattered. I got to talk to Sue via skype phone and Tracey is in the place I'd like to be, Brisbane. All my sons and their families are there, I'm hoping to skype with them soon.

So tomorrow will dawn as my actual birthday. The rest of the world will have passed that date. I have plans, work for the day then dinner with Jo and Kim and a movie, Harry Potter I think. It's been a while since I've been to the movies so I'm looking forward to it. Apparently the theatre is over air conditioned, arctic temperatures just like in Al Ain, so I will remember my coat and pashmina. Happy birthday Jane and all the other August 3 Leos, enjoy where ever you are in the world.



Monday, 1 August 2011

Saturday night in Cayman

Had a lovely night out last night, a quick email around friends and 8 of us went out for dinner at the lovely Agua Italian restaurant. We'd been there once before and the menu really needed further exploring. I suspect I could eat there every night of the week and still enjoy new tastes, totally superb food all round. It was there that I actually decided to explore getting my long hair cut. One of the servers had a style I really liked and as another week of sticky weather passed, I decided that I really needed to do something about my mane. I'm now much more streamlined for swimming on Thursday. I might even manage more than 1000m.

We had the best meal, lots of chat and slow dining and Brad wasn't the only boy. Round tables are great for conversation, this was one a good size so we all got to interact. The seafood at Aqua is stunning. I had shrimps and gnocci and huge mushrooms stuffed with crab. Others had black pasta with an amazing array of seafood. One of the new arrivals, newer than me, has the same diet as me. We can order for each other and share food, a bonus when only one of us can read the menu without glasses.

We finished dining quite late. We had noticed that it had been raining with lots of lightening and thunder but really didn't notice it that much. Outside was a bit of a mess, the dancing venue closed due to the flooding and lakes of water everywhere. One friend was wandering along the beach to meet us, we ended up at his place for drinks. Wading through the lakes in heels after a few is not that advisable, mine got quite wet on the way in, so I wandered bare foot, splashing with them in my hands on the way out. Liberating.

Dancing will have to wait until another night. My new look went down well, it always looks best when the hairdresser has just styled it. I got some product so I can make the attempt but I suspect after sailing and swimming today it won't quite look the same. But it will be easy to dry and keep out of my face when the wind blows and I'm trimming the mainsail. Yes, it's that short. I just hope my hat stays on with nothing to pin it to.