Dec 12 2011

Zen Working

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:46 am

When we return back to Kazakhstan, I will need to start considering how to use my time more carefully, and try to ensure I maximize earnings along the way. When Irina goes back to work, looking after Tim and Anna at the same time is likely to be pretty knackering at first, so I’ll need to try and set aside a few hours every couple of days where I can focus on work related tasks. I probably need to start thinking about changing the physical work environment a little as well. I had wanted a little whiteboard to write tasks to do, contacts to chase up etc., but as my PC is in the living room back in Astana, this adornment would not be welcome on the wall. In the end of the living room that we’ll call my office chairs are not a problem, however trying to type from a sofa or armchair is a bit impractical.

Office Chair

We currently have a dinner table seat at the desk, as the original proper office chair was broken when a couple of friends decided that it could take them both at the same time! It now permanently tilts all the way back. Even I had to agree that it looked messy. Rather than throw out a mostly functioning piece of furniture, we relocated it to the living room balcony, which is where people can smoke. Once Anna was able to walk though, I no longer had use of a comfy reclining seat on the balcony though, as Anna proved very early on that she had the dexterity to lock Daddy out!
Part of the problem is that any PCs/hardware I’m attempting to fix then competes for desk space with another couple of PCs and a printer, and all sorts of odds and ends. Maybe I should set up a very narrow study/office on the balcony!

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May 21 2010

Anna has her very own chair! I…

Category: Anna's Photos,TweetsChrisM @ 9:15 pm

Anna has her very own chair! Ira picked one up after her first aid course today. Anna seems to like it so far…

Anna In Her Very Own Seat

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Jul 06 2009

Amsterdam 2007 Photos #8

Category: Amsterdam,Friends,Personal,PicturesChrisM @ 2:07 pm

Next we have a typical sight around the streets – someone passed out, not appearing to move at all. (Shots taken out the fire exit, still in Coco’s Outback Steakhouse.) Eventually someone saw he was moving, and therefore not about to die probably. He makes the transition from lying down on a stone slab, to sitting up, to proudly making it to a cafe table and chair!

Amsterdam Chris Merriman AlexC ChrisD 2007
Amsterdam Chris Merriman AlexC ChrisD 2007
Amsterdam Chris Merriman AlexC ChrisD 2007

Wow, tried to find the restaurant on Google Maps, and several candidates presented themselves. Until Alex or Chris can provide clarification, or I find that notebook, I’ll not publish the map.

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May 24 2009

Bouncy Chair

Category: Anna's Photos,PersonalChrisM @ 2:50 am

Although not quite the panacea to Anna’s refusal to sleep when we were back in Britain, the bouncy chair that we were given over here is definitely very useful, we now use it at meal times so she can feel a little more included whilst we eat, and when we come in from our (very nearly) daily walks, Anna can be put in the chair whilst we collapse the pushchair, wash our hands, and generally go back into house mode 🙂
Anyway, here is a quick shot from the 24th May, showing Anna enjoying the chair. I’m hoping Irina will occasionally add to these posts with comments about Anna’s clothes, as I’m not exactly an expert on them. In general, they are pretty, and lots of them were given by lovely relatives and friends. To be honest, if Anna is comfortable in them, and they aren’t black, purple and brown pinstripes, I’m happy 🙂

Anna In Her Bouncy Chair

Anna In Her Bouncy Chair

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Mar 31 2009

Amsterdam 2008 Photos #12

Category: Amsterdam,Personal,PicturesChrisM @ 1:28 pm

The Greenery In Holland

arrrrrrrrrrrrgh, lost all the text I originally entered for this post during the downtime my sites had. Will try and remember what I was thinking about roughly…

Two types of Greenery, the first are coming, the second are at the end of the post, click the Continue Reading or similar link…

1) Shot out the window of the bus to Keukenhof (having changed forms of transport at Leiden, with a stop off to Double A, a coffeeshop a little off the beaten track. Tulip fields abound in this area. May well do a separate post for Keukenhof itself, these photos are all from a collection I posted at a couple of Amsterdam Coffeeshop forums a while back.
Amsterdam Holland Chris Merriman Irina

Here we have a pretty water fountain/sculpture at the entrance to the gardens.
Amsterdam Holland Chris Merriman Irina
A shot of a man playing with his organ in Holland. Wonder if that will get me any search engine based traffic 😉
Amsterdam Chris Merriman Irina man playing with his organ in Holland
Continue reading “Amsterdam 2008 Photos #12”

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Oct 26 2007

Alcoholic Cleaners or Over Zealous Security?

Category: Amsterdam,PersonalChrisM @ 3:09 am

So, following on from the previous Amsterdam post, onto the trip itself…
I left for Astana airport around 6am on the 21st September, feeling happy that I would be meeting up with two friends very soon, going back to a city I enjoy for many reasons, but also sad as I would be apart from Irina for the longest amount of time since we first met! The first section of the journey went well, with no problems from Kazakhstan’s sometimes over-eager airport officials. One small hitch was my inability to make outgoing voice calls once I had got to the departure gate – this had happened before though, so I didn’t worry too much, and just texted Ira asking her to call me, so I could confirm all was OK thus far. Having only had 2.5 hours sleep, I was a little tired, but there was no chance I would drop off before I got on the plane.
Once I arrived in Kaliningrad, (where Alex flew through on her recent trip to see us), the whole plane had to go in reverse through the normal procedures for leaving the airport. We left the plane and entered the terminal through a departure exit. There appeared to be three cleaners operating an x-ray machine, which looked a little odd, and some of the people in the queue ahead of me were already loudly grumbling (in Russian and Kazakh) about something or other. It turns out the cleaners security staff were not allowing any bottles of liquid larger than 100ml INTO the building. Had this been on the way out, with us ALL heading to a European country, I could understand the confiscation of large bottles of liquids. However, this was to get into the building, and the staff appeared to be concentrating on alcohol, much of which had been purchased by my fellow passengers in Astana’s duty free shop. Suffice to say separating a Russian or Kazakh from their spirits is never the easiest of tasks, however the x-rayers ploughed on, dumping all the bottles into a washing up bowl or three on the floor.
When it came to my turn, a stout lady loudly informed me there were several problems with my hand luggage, at least their x-ray machine told them. I decided to play it even dumber than in reality, and pronounced very slowly (& even more incorrectly than normal), that I could not speak Russian. She attempted to say the same thing again louder, to which I smiled, and started pulling random things from my bag. She gave up and put the bag through the x-ray machine again, and started squawking about a problem again. I decided that as I had no liquids in there, other than a nearly empty spray deodorant that I did not pose too great a security risk. After several more ‘helpful’ suggestions from myself (pulling out my books one by one, followed by the spare set of clothing, each time offering them to her), she eyed the queue behind me, and pointed me away from the security station. I gladly obliged, and took the opportunity to grab a cigarette by a bin that several other people had congregated around. There was a no smoking sign, but as everyone else was taking the opportunity for a nicotine fix where there were no cameras, and the staff were too busy to give a damn, I joined in. During the course of what I thought might be my last cigarette until I had cleared passport control in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, I observed the passengers who had had their booze nicked (various conspiracy rumours had already been started, mainly revolving around the possibility that the cleaners/security staff were having a party that evening and wanted to save their budget for other items) wait until the staff were busy arguing with the next incensed passenger, and then calmly walk up to the confiscated goods, and retrieve their own bottles. Most managed to get away in time, a few were stopped, shouted at, and a few just stood and argued until the staff gave up.
Anyway we proceeded up the stairs, into a departure lounge where we showed our tickets (for the flight we had just been on!) and passports, and waited for the plane full of passengers (minus those who actually finished their journey in Kaliningrad and so left the airport immediately) to get past the initial security checks downstairs. At this point we could see the main airport area, with its large screen with flight info on, a smoking area (ooops, I now know for the future), and a few shops. Those who wanted to buy a coffee (or even a duty free bottle of alcohol!) were allowed out of the departure (masquerading as an arrival) lounge, as long as they left their passport with the security staff present in this room. Around 30 minutes later we were all together again, and I had noted a few foreigners speaking German (it is good to know who to turn to if you really need some assistance with officials whose language you are not completely au fait with). We then presented tickets for our next flights to someone sat at a computer terminal. As this was a departure lounge, and we were arriving, the room layout meant we all had to file past her whilst looking at the screen ourselves, with the lady needing to swivel round her chair away from her computer to face us each time she needed some info. Having got past this stage, there was a three person posse waiting at the exit/entrance to the departure terminal (we were almost at the point of syncing our direction with the rest of the inhabitants of this airport by this point.) These new people each took a turn to check each person’s passports, old and new plane tickets and then allowed us in….
More to follow soon 🙂

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