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Sing-a-long Friday


Things that made today end up okay

You’ll be pleased to know:

  • a bale of hay can fit in the Mini*
  • pretty sure that two bales of hay can fit in the Mini if needed
  • driving around with a bale of hay in your back seat will kick start sneezing, runny nose, and sinus headaches
  • the cat has a bladder infection and antibiotics will keep her with us a bit longer
  • vets charge like wounded bulls
  • Brother, Where Art Thou is the perfect early evening movie
  • Spotify is great #fact
  • the bunnies loved getting baby carrots (complete with green stalks) for supper tonight**
  • bubble baths are best soaked on a school night

*Gravity is your best friend when trying to move a bale of hay out of your Mini and into your back garden. Pull the bale a wee bit out of the back of your car, then tip an empty wheelie bin underneath it. A tug and a tip and before you know it, your bale is inside the wheelie bin and it’s easy to push up the garden path. Who knew gravity could be so useful. #lifetips

**Rosie is a little dwarf breed of rabbit. She’s black and, like the other two black rabbits who live in my back garden, she’s suspicious of humans (me) and very aggressive towards other rabbits (she doesn’t mind Pepper). She spotted the carrot and waited until I wasn’t looking to eat in case, you know: TRAP! After I gave the other rabbits their carrots, I came back to see that she was eating the carrot and startled her with my reappearance and she picked up the carrot to run under the tree for some private time with her carrot. These baby carrots still have their green tops and Rosie’s dragged under her belly as she hop/ran with the orange carrot in her mouth, tripping her up and making her tumble. Like a trooper, she never let go of the carrot (which, for scale, would be like you trying to run with a baseball bat in your mouth) and made it under the tree to eat her delicious supper in private.

so. cute.


Wednesday Matinée


(Get yer shit together) Sunday Update

The trouble with not blogging for a while is that the list of things I want to tell you build up until the list is so long it’s practically impractical to blog about them all so I don’t and then the list grows and the days go and I end up not really knowing what to do!

Do you remember what it was like making things for the internet at the turn of the century? The way we web professionals didn’t really consider things like the experience of our users, or what the client needed so much as what we wanted to - or more to the point what we could - build and deliver? The way clients didn’t “understand technology” used to drive us crazy and we didn’t understand clients because some of their needs seemed petty and unimportant to us compared to the big picture and so our communication and collaboration was often token and poor and our projects tended to suffer with scope and budget creep. We then sometimes had to deal with unsatisfied clients and burnt out developers. It was stressful and not a lot of fun and we had to evolve fast to sort out a better way of working.

Various flavours of this attitude is continuing to be phased out as we and this digital industry matures and a lot of us have changed the way we work in the last decade choosing a more of a collaborative approach. We’re realising we need to educate our clients and bring them along with us as we deliver solutions. At the same time we’ve also realised we have a lot to learn from our clients. About the way they do things, what they need, what their problems are and what their organisations can bare to change or what software we need to bend because changing fundamental operating systems to make our lives easier could break the company even if it looks amazing on our porfolios and award cabinets.

Many of us have learned, and continue to learn these lessons. It makes for more successful projects and much richer client connections and development of rich and valuable company cultures. There are, however, a couple of pockets of the ‘old ways’ and attitudes still out there. I am not interested in working with people who are still stuck in that old way of thinking and treating people. Besides it being condescending and arrogant, it also produces and causes acceptance of poor work.

I need to dip into one of these old attitude pockets far too frequently for my liking and it’s contributed to a feeling of sadness and erosion of personal resilience.

That stops today (last Thursday, actually). It’s time to start dancing sideways and stop head bashing the brick wall that has been years in the building. This means mediocre work no longer gets a sign off or approved just because it’s as good as it gets/that’s how we’ve always done it/everyone’s worn out and doesn’t know any better. No tantrums, no tiaras, just an agreed level of quality that if not met will not be accepted. I’m done with the repetitive grey background I’ve let in these last few months and I’m ready to texture up the joint.

So let’s look at what’s coming up in the active and interesting world of The Jamjar for this Winter:

Climbing Mt Everest

Right out of the gate we go for a really big goal tempered by a pragmatic participant. Mt Everest is 8,848m tall (from sea level) which equates to climbing the stairs at work 407 times - so that’s how we’re going to achieve that goal. I need to iron out the details such as breaking the goal into milestones; determine measures; draw up a timeline.

I Quit Sugar

I don’t need a redo. I loved the program so much, I’ve signed up again. This time I’ve encouraged my sister, mother, and two work colleagues to join me learn to eat nutritiously dense delicious seasonal food that kicks sugar’s cravings to the curb. It started last Monday, and I’ll be taking way more photos of the food and posting them so you can follow me on Instagram if you fancy it.

Rails Girls

Getting more women into programming is good for the community, and for the industry. This is the first time Rails Girls’ weekend has come to Auckland and I’m lucky enough to be able to attend. See, they need more grandmothers who program too. I am personally invested having three young grand daughters who I intend to entomb in the basement and have them churn out apps that will make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. But first things first, I’m gonna get a bite of that Ruby cherry!

100 Days Project

Want to do something every day for one hundred days? Registration is now open. While I’m a notorious starter and a non-finisher, I did manage to complete the I Quit Sugar 8 week challenge so maybe I have another “finish” in my somewhere.

Associated Links:

So that’s me feeling better and you updated. I have a roast lamb about to come out of the oven, to be served with seasonal vegeable and shared with family. The rabbits are good and the weather is cool and clear. Monday is going to be awesome and so are you.


Wednes Day Links

Thank goodness for Wednesdays otherwise I would never update this blog! I’m in a sketchy kind of mood so I’m trolling through the internet looking for a framework or a list or a challenge to underpin a reboot. Feel like getting your scribble on? check out the links below and let’s get drawing :)


Wednesday Matinée


Guava jelly recipe

Bush dwelling guavas

I live with creatures who love sweet guava berries. Some of those creatures are rabbits, and one of the creatures is human.

The human sometimes takes exception to the rabbits gobbling up the ripe red berries in our short guava season; so to ease tentions and keep everyone happy, I make jelly from the guavas picked from the tree, and leave the ones that fall to the ground for the rabbits.

Guava jelly mathematics

Guava jelly is all about the fruit to sugar ratios and you won’t know how much sugar or jars you’ll need until after you’ve boiled and strained the guavas.

I picked a colandar full of berries which when boiled yielded two litres of juice. My highly developed math-skills told me that halving the amount of liquid determines know how much jelly I’m going to end up with; in my case 2 ltrs of guava juice reduced to 1ltr after boiling which means I needed 4 x 250ml jars.

Guavas make the prettiest jelly

Guava jelly recipe

  1. Gather as many guavas as you can fit into your biggest saucepan (I didn’t remove stems)
  2. Cover with water and bring to the boil.
  3. Boil until the berries start to lose their structure; turn heat off and leave to cool.
  4. When the mixture is cool, mash carefully with a potato masher.
  5. Strain liquid through a muslin clothlined colendar (I use a tea towel which gets stained but does the job nicely) overnight - you want all that lovely juice but none of the pulp.
  6. Return juice to your clean saucepan. Add half a cup of sugar for every cup of juice.
  7. Bring to the boil. This is where making jelly is exactly like jam making: the jelly needs to live in this boiling world until, when tested, the skin of jelly wrinkles. For my jelly, it took about 20 minutes but this time will vary for yours.
  8. Once the jelly/jam wrinkle test level is achieved (there’s a link to a video on testing jam/jelly below), remove the mixture from the heat, and pour into sterilised jars and seal.  BE CAREFUL: everything is super hot and will burn you really really badly. SO BE CAREFUL!
  9. Once cool you can store them in your pantry until needed.

Guava jelly on toast - a sweet autumnal treat

Associated links