A Wedding Weekend

We spent the weekend at the wedding of a friend of ours, where Kevin was the best man. Here's the two boys together before the ceremony itself:

Groom and Best Man

The weather forecast was rather bad and although we didn't get weather as bad as we might have, it did rain on the post-ceremony photographs which was a shame! The day was great all round, the happy couple were infectiously happy and everyone else was dressed up and being happy along with them. There are more photos on my flickr account - although in a rather wonderful testament to what a good time I had last night, I don't have any photos taken later than the cutting of the cake. The evening event was a ceilidh and I literally danced the night away, not realising Kevin wasn't taking any photos either, so hopefully someone else did!

Congratulations to Andrew and Rachel, here's wishing them a long and happy marriage.

Seaside Sunset

Here's the view from my hotel balcony yesterday evening:

So far the Netherlands is a great experience, my colleagues are friendly and its a lovely country to visit.

European Adventure

For once it'll probably be pretty quiet around here next week. That's because I'm catching a ludicrously early plane to Amsterdam in the morning to spend a couple of days in the Ibuildings Vlissingen office, and then flying direct to London to work there the rest of the week.

There are going to be a lot of firsts, I don't fly a lot and haven't flown outside the UK alone before - so flying through both Schipol and Heathrow in the space of a few days is going to be probably a bit scary! I don't visit London much either (haven't been for almost a year in fact) but I have an Oyster card and an underground map to assist me. I'm also delivering training for Ibuildings which is a new career step for me but one that I'm very excited about (as well as hyperventilation-inducingly anxious) so all in all its going to be a pretty exciting week! I'm also getting to meet colleagues from both offices and practice my dutch for real :)

(Of course, there will be lots of blog action if I find myself at a loose end and with internet connection!)

Learning Dutch

I now work for IBuildings who are really a Dutch company, and as a result I'm starting to realise it would be useful if I could manage a handful of Dutch phrases. My colleagues and other IRC friends from The Netherlands have all been very helpful and have promised to teach me new phrases one at a time. So far the list goes like this:

(Dutch -> English)

  • hallo -> hello
  • hoi -> hi
  • dank je -> thankyou
  • hoe is het? (apparently pronounced as "who is hat") -> how are you?
  • thee tijd -> tea time
  • ik heb zin in taart -> I feel like having cake
  • I'm sure there are more phrases to come, I'll be keeping them here to help me keep track of what I have learned :)

LornaJane Moo Cards

Whenever I attend a conference or other geeky gathering (GeekUp for example) I'm often asked for my card ... but I don't have one. I don't have work business cards, because only sales people need those, and I don't have personal ones because I don't freelance (or not usually). I finally cracked though and ordered cards from moo.com as recommended by many many people. Here they are:

On the other side I put the angel motif made for me by Gretchen from www.girlscantwhat.com, which I love and use as my online persona in a lot of places. She didn't quite fit and I didn't want to shrink her so instead she peeps out at you:

So if you see me around, and you'd like my card, try asking me again if I have one :)

The Pitter-Patter of Tiny Paws

We are cat parents. Orbit is a gorgeous glossy and slightly ditsy boy cat belonging to Cally who has gone abroad for a while, so Orbit has come to live with us. I'm not sure exactly how he feels about this so far, its much noiser here than he's been used to, but he's a cute guy and very welcome.

Here he is:

I've also started a flickr set of Orbit.

2007 Review

I was going to skip the essay thing and just write a quick "Happy New Year" post, but then I read last year's entry and couldn't help remembering how far I've come in what is really a short space of time. Two years ago I had no job and was about to move to Leeds, and this time last year we were in despair over the house buying problems.

Career

This year I changed jobs in the spring, to go and work for a small web agency (they think they're a digital marketing agency but I'm not convinced) as a web developer. More interesting than the job side of things is that this year, I met the PHP community.

PHP People

I haven't met the whole community, and hardly any of them in person, but meet them I did. Through phpwomen.org I have a mentor, the lovely Ligaya and she initially suggested I spend more time in IRC since that's where things happen. Usually I can be found on freenode in the #phpc and #phpwomen channels. In February I met Cal Evans, at the PHPLondon conference. This was a fabulous conference and I also met a few other people, including monxton from phpwomen and also Rasmus Lerdorf (father of PHP) although I was too overwhelmed to say anything to him! Since then I've made loads of friends and learned a lot from this community. In November I attended the International PHP Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, and wrote about it for phpwomen. While there I attended some good sessions (of both conference and drinking varieties) and also got to meet lots of people - some friends that I knew already but hadn't met in real life, and some other new friends. I know the people I met this year will be a big influence on 2008 for me.

Home

This time last year we'd had all our belongings in storage for almost a year and had two house sales fall through in four months. Well, it took another failed sale and a full 5 months but we finally did it and bought our first house in May 2007. For the full saga (and a saga it was) read the house category posts, I warn you it does take some reading! Anyway we are now in possession of a 4-bedroomed house, set over four floors, with two bathrooms, gardens and a garage. Notably it has the kitchen in the basement, which floodes, and we bought the contents of the house, which we hadn't really planned for. Since buying the house we have had people in to patch up the roof and guttering, fit central heating, and totally rewire the house. We're now at a point where the brick dust and missing floors are gone and we can start getting the place straight. Plastering, carpentry and decorating skills are now in demand and at some point we need to figure out how to choose, purchase and lay floors. At the moment the house looks like a disaster area but the place is really growing on me and we really are making progress, even if that's not obvious to outsiders at the moment!

Website

Last year I did a whole round-up of the site and how I was getting on with it. I can't see me getting around to it this year, mostly because its not that interesting but rest assured that the bulk of my traffic is visiting the recipe pages! Here's a quick snap of the dashboard of the google analytics tool for this site, things seem to be a bit quiet over the summer, but maybe that's because I posted less at that time.

In Conclusion

2007 was a very good year, here's to 2008 :)

Midwinter

Tomorrow marks the winter solstice, the shortest day. Already we've reached the deepest, darkest part of the year (and its not all that dark, I'm only 53 degrees above the equator). Now begins the longer days and lighter nights, taking us through to summer time - yay :)

I'm a Birthday Girl

Its my birthday today, I have the day off and will be pottering about doing many things that don't involve working :)

No Blogroll

I've had a few requests recently to exchange links or to add people to my blogroll, its a way of giving a bit of kudos to people that you admire and whose work you read. The thing is, I don't have a blogroll, and if I did I fear it would cause more problem than it solves. As a minimum, I'd need to consider:

  • where to put it on the site, its already quite cluttered
  • who should go on it
  • how to maintain it to reflect my reading habits as they evolve - maybe a direct link to my feed reader?
  • how do I prune it if it gets too big? Its like deleting friends from your phone but much much more public!

Its not that I don't want to share some link love around either - there are many blogs I read that I'd like to own up to loving. Including (but not limited to) GirlsCantWhat, PHPWomen, Lig, Sara, Davey, Matthew, Jon, Ubuntu Tutorials, DevZone, Simon, DevChix and of course XKCD and Dilbert.

Is it a problem if I don't have a blogroll? I quite like my site the way it is, I enjoy reading other people's sites too and I share my appreciation usually through commenting. I'm not sure I should add something like this when I clearly don't have the enthusiasm for it, what do you think?