kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Hello! You are a person! You are probably lovely! I like people!

This journal ends up being a bit of a mix of Srs Business (rants; things I've learned from counselling; &c), fannish & scientific joy, linkspams, poetry, & misc life updates. I tag fairly compulsively, though not always helpfully; I use content notes; I aim to maintain this as a safer space, and appreciate (but do not expect!) call-outs when I mess up. Possibly helpful: a little about (some of) the important people in my life.

I like it if you introduce yourself when you subscribe, but it's definitely not required. Probably 30% of this journal is access-locked; I give access very readily. Fanworks are always public; AO3 is the canonical place to find my list of works. I'm very happy for you to link to anything that's public, and I'll be even happier if you let me know you're doing it. :-)


permanent wishlist -- care & feeding () -- contact info ()

[archiveofourown.org profile] kaberett -- at the LashBlog -- [ravelry.com profile] kaberett -- BPAL.org -- kabe@rett.org.uk
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
I have decided that my least favourite season is probably summer, though it was quite hard to work out: because binding becomes vastly more uncomfortable and because the UK is so staggeringly ill-equipped to handle hot weather, and it's only for a day or two at a time so you never really have time to acclimatise.(Summer in SoCal was fine! I got used to it and adjusted habits to cope! This is never possible in the UK.) It is sticky and I have to pay more attention to hydrating enough and temperature regulation is harder. (I mean, winter has its downsides - my hands get proper unhappy with wheelchairing etc - but on the whole they bother me less.)

THINGS I LIKE: the moments when I do get to just sit and absorb sunlight and heat and don't have to think. The plants all being sturdily enthusiastic and making there be flowers and fruit and, eventually, baby plants. Fresh raspberries and strawberries. The sea being warm enough to stick toes into. The length of the days. Long evenings. Open-air concerts and plays. Properly fresh vegetables. All the colours the sea goes. :-)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Perhaps the big thing for me is that I conceptualise myself as relying not so much on scripts as on roles. Figuring out new roles to play is generally the hardest; it's easy enough at this point for me to Nice White Posh (Disabled) Lady at shops and customer service if it'll get me the outcome I want (as discussed); it is easy for me to slip very quietly into the body language that cues other people to treat me as an authority figure (which I picked up via spending time around animals); it is easy for me to step through my specific scripts for teaching. ("Okay, please tell me if I'm going either too fast or too slow - and what's your background in X/what do you know about Y/are you comfortable with the concept of Z?")

New situations are harder: when I switch to a new role (being someone's PhD student! Meeting someone's parents for the first time when it is totally unclear whether they are thinking of me as a friend or a partner!) I have to feel out the shapes that are expected of me by trial-and-error, which is stressful. Mostly I handle it by asking lots and lots of questions about what I should be doing, but that is sometimes intrusive, so I flap around feeling sadly and anxiously as though I'm a failure. It is easier for me to act within paradigms I understand, and so on.

-- actually, that's a lie, I totally do use scripts some of the time. With doctors it's more obvious if I'm helping someone else prep for an appointment, but - it's a case of running through the plausible discussion tree (time-limited conversation with constraints on topic matter) and work out what we'll want to respond under various circumstances. But - working out scripts for myself, as opposed to other people? Not so great. Mostly for that I use Captain Awkward.

Which is the how, to some extent. As for the when -- mmm. Mostly I care less about what the situation "looks" like and more about what it feels like to me; if I'm getting stressed and clumsy and feeling unsafe in terms of just working in good faith towards a mutually-agreeable arrangement (which! happens a lot! I hate capitalism!) then I will slip into a-script-(or-role)-I-prepared-earlier. It's not really about the other party, to any extent.

Hmm. Perhaps not terribly clear. Apologies.


Dec. 20th, 2014 04:44 pm
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I am curled up on a sofa in a bay window overlooking the Ouse, on which lights are reflecting, listening to P remind himself how pianos work. His parents are through in the kitchen putting together dinner (I helped with food last night). We bimbled briefly through town this morning - along a stretch of the wall around the minster, via a cafe that served us pistachio-rose-cardamom cake - and I spent much of the afternoon napping while he caught up on marking at his desk. Over breakfast I managed to actually help with a couple of Araucaria clues - P's mother had been saving the crossword for the next time he was around. This is proper lovely.
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)

in spite of the flu jab.

everything is terrible the internet is sending me hot + sour soup.

I have spent most of today horizontal.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
... are dependent on my geographical context. In cities I like it for the first few hours and then find it enormously stressful, because it massively increases the difficulty of getting around (balancing becomes much harder; if I'm wheeling, control is hugely more difficult and my hands get soaked in freezing water and it's the worst thing).

Whereas: in mountains I adore it and even in relatively flat countryside I adore it. Basically, anywhere it's not going to get compacted to ice. Because it smells good (I love the smell of approaching snow) and it reminds me of glaciers and it makes the world blue and dazzling and -- yes. It feels like home, for one of my various definitions of home, and that is a comfort and a grace.
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
Okay, there is Something wrong with my hips and I really don't understand what (and maybe it is my shoulders too idek). What is going on is: as of a couple of days ago my hips are really not liking me moving my legs forwards or backwards particularly. Stairs are awful. The bending required to get socks & shoes on or off is the worst. Sitting cross-legged isn't really possible. Transferring between sitting and standing is also pretty grim. It's taking vastly less time than usual for standing/walking to get me to actually-shaking-uncontrollably (starts in my knees, moves up to rest of motor control particularly hands if I push it) and needing to perform controlled falls.

  • I am hypermobile and my hips are Not Great in this respect.
  • I've been wearing flat shoes and walking a bit more than usual?
  • I haven't been doing anything terribly unusual in terms of Things To Sit On and in fact have not done any of the really vile stuff involving full days sat on wooden stools in lab.
  • Sex is not a plausible culprit on this occasion.
  • ???

Thoughts much appreciated because this is not fun and I don't know what is More Wrong and it is bothering me. I do not like yelping in pain when I try to reach my wheelchair bag or check a clock behind me or take off my damn shoes. It is extremely tedious.
kaberett: A pomegranate, with eyes and mouth drawn onto masking tape and applied (pomegranate)
... which means that dinner was: roast potatoes with thyme, lightly steamed broccoli and green beans, stewed red cabbage, and CHEESE SOUFFLE. MY FIRST EVER SOUFFLE. THEY WORKED. I WAS SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

Followed, natch, by profiteroles, which: also not something I had ever made before. THEY WORKED, give or take slightly burning the first batch (but not the second!); topped off with melted dark chocolate and filled with plum-brandy-and-vanilla-sugar-whipped-cream.

So pleased with myself. Two foodstuffs I'd worked myself up into being intimidated by, and they both just worked. :-)
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
In a whole bunch of senses [personal profile] jedusaur and I ~grew up together~ - we met in [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes back in the day, have met up in person a couple of times now, and did a lot of thinking about sexuality/gender/theology/fandom/ethics/etc in at least peripherally related ways; I know Julia's influenced my thinking (even if we haven't always agreed) & I'd like to think the reverse holds. ;)

-- which is relevant partly because I'm speculating about why she asked this particular question (when I could, you know, just have asked her, but hey!) and partly because I think it's useful context for how & why I'm framing my response.

Two key points, I think: (1) yes, becoming a more aware feminist has changed some of my attitudes to what I find funny and; and (2) no, becoming a more aware feminist hasn't meant I no longer have a sense of humour.

Read more... )
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
1. Mulled apple juice. I mostly don't consume alcohol, largely because I'm chronically depressed and adding a systemic depressant to the mix is just plain a bad idea never mind the fact that it makes my doctors cry inside, and first came across mulled apple juice when I was organising a winter concert in a Methodist church and trying to work out what we could serve with the mince pies in lieu of wine and suddenly it occurred to me that there was probably prior art on this topic. Because I am a bit awful (i.e. I resent paying that much of a mark-up when I already own all the possible constituent ingredients, plus I want to have a personal mix) I tend to make up mulling spices myself and stick 'em in a teaball; one of my vast collection of bay leaves (from my mother's tree, which did rather better in food mile terms when I was still living in Cambridge but whatever), plus whatever of star anise + cinnamon sticks + nutmeg chunks (I have some whole) + cloves + allspice + black pepper I feel like. Because I am snobby if I am doing this for myself I will get Slightly Nice Apple Juice, whereas if I'm doing it for a crowd I will tend to up the spices a bit and get cheap stuff (sorry, folk).

2. Hot chocolate. I have been ever-so-slowly working my way through a tin of Hotel Chocolat gingerbread hot chocolate I picked up in a sale a couple of years ago, and finished it a few weeks ago. And then smitten kitchen encouraged me to make my own hot chocolate blend, and I haven't quite got my act together to do so yet but you better believe I am going to. I will pretty much drink any hot chocolate going, but the darker & more viscous the better; I default to whole-fat dairy milk, keep meaning to try with hazelnut milk, and for bonus points have been known to whip cream with a bit of vanilla sugar and a splash of plum brandy and dump it on top. I've got very strong location-associations with this, too: the February week I visited the Black Forest near Freiburg with family friends, and was astonished by snowdrifts as tall as I was, and sat outside eating Apfelstrudel and drinking hot chocolate; and, a few years later, the German exchange to Heidelberg where a Starbucks was giving out samples; and cocoa at Guides; and Supper at the mouldering ancestral pile, where to this day at bedtime Papa will creak to his feet and make cocoa in the front kitchen for everyone present, and will offer you just a snifter of some liqueur or other to go with. Every time I make hot chocolate (I do it in a pan; I've never got the hang of microwaves on this one) I end up half-smiling, half-wincing about the time I heard Papa berating Mama for leaving the pan to soak instead of getting the milk fat out straight away; and I remember that I am perpetually baffled at people apparently not liking the taste of scalded milk, because to me it tastes like home and comfort and love and a house creaking gently in the sea wind and the sound of waves breaking down on the beach.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
We are getting to the time of year that contains my favourite weather: blue skies and streaming sunshine and crisp air that turns you into a dragon and numbs your face just a little. I've been gently envious of the people getting frost - that doesn't seem to be a thing London is doing, just yet - but nonetheless I get bare branches and autoexfoliating plane trees and bark and bite to the air and -- yes. Yes. When first the air smells like ice, and such.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
1. Fic. Why Wouldn't She Be My Friend? I'm Fantastic, as recced to me by [personal profile] jedusaur, who was spot on, seriously, this is so good, it -- just -- everything. And similarly, though less fluffily, my end and my beginning by [personal profile] recessional (-ish the latest in your blue-eyed boys) is heartbreaking and grounding and amazing.

2. Other fanworks! In particular, today I have been having FEELINGS about this Orphan Black s1 fanvid set to Vienna Teng's Closer to Home, because it is perfect.

3. I made it to my wheelchair dealer and back without messing up public transport at all! It was pretty astonishing! I mostly didn't panic! My chair has been tuned up, I've got my repaired wheel back (thank you all, seriously, so much), and I had a good chat with someone else who was getting a chair tuned up.

4. I continue preposterously mushy about facesfriend in ways that are causing me great cheer, not least because he linked me to a bunch of photos (largely of LARP) to which my reaction was guh. For bonus points largest smallcousin grabbed me and was all SO YOU SAID YOU'D TELL ME ABOUT YOUR NEW BLOKE so I got to gossip with her, and it was great!.

5. My housemate made me pizza last night even though I was out, and I ate it all for lunch, and it was great and amazing and delicious and I am super super lucky.

6. SOFA WAS STILL THERE and housemate very patiently helped me get it down the stairs. It is now drying off a bit outside. I am assured that I only think it's incredibly vibrantly purple because I am a geologist, and it is in fact grey or possibly taupe. ('s purple.)

7. I did make it into work despite having to navigate public transport by myself, and got done some labwork that I've been blocking on (hurrah!). Now I just need to keep up momentum and go in tomorrow to do a bit more handling of Stuff, but that should be doable.

8. I tidied the kitchen! It was a multi-stage process but it made me happy, because having a clean kitchen is happy, and I sorted it out while housemate's guest cooked us dinner, and <3 (I also tidied my room a bit, HURRAH.)

9. Out of largely-idle curiousity I attempted a French plait on myself for the first time in several years and to my utter astonishment I did a reasonably tidy job, which means VICTORY and more specifically that I am going to do that thing more of the time as optimal for a. keeping hair off my face and b. my gender presentation (idek).

10. ... no okay pretty much you are all fantastic and I am so lucky to have you around me. Thank you, so so much; I am so grateful for your kindnesses & generosities & for how much you are willing to trust me. I will continue to do my best to deserve it. ♥

(AND ALSO: my Yuletide fic is well over wordcount and just needs another paragraph or two, then tidying, and I have finally worked out what on Earth is going on with it; and I have finished washing out a honey jar with decorative embossed glass bees on it to hold tealights for when I want Ritual Fire. And -- just -- yes. Yes.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Oh goodness, I've only been visiting since late summer, so I'm not sure I've actually got a terribly good handle on this! Definitely I have readers who are more familiar with the place than I am, so I encourage you to weigh in in comments, but--

Light through autumnal oak leaves, red and gold, against blue sky.

-- I adore the oak walk. I suspect I will adore it as much in spring with just-barely-green and summer with full leaf cover as I do in autumn, and I am going to enjoy it in winter too because bare branches are A Thing and I love how structural oaks are -- at which point that's not terrible helpful, because I've basically gone "Quercus are always amazing, go any time of year!!!"

I am similarly fond of gingko; there follow three photos from a few weeks back taken in fact on the A4 rather than in Kew, but -- there's a couple of gorgeous big gingko trees in the gardens, which are as might be expected spectacular in late autumn.

Read more... )

Kew also has an excellent collection of Wollemi pines, which are pretty much good all year round.

... honestly, I am pretty much an autumn person - it's my absolute favourite season, with some trees going bare and chestnuts everywhere and leaves beginning to turn and holly coming into its own and autumn crocuses - but I do also adore botanical gardens in the spring, so I'm looking forward to that especially too. The glasshouses are good all year round; I'm a big fan of alpines (which again I associate with late summer/early autumn) and of kitchen gardens (which I prefer in late summer/early autumn because that's when the majority of exciting things are fruiting), so! I am biased. I am hideously biased. But: lots of excellent trees, fantastic selection, Kew is very good, if any of you ever want to visit I am a member so get a guest in free, please do let me know.


Dec. 11th, 2014 08:19 pm
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
Lyrics to that one Vienna Teng song I keep quoting at people. )

Last night I sat on Brighton beach and listened to the waves come in and ate chips and onion rings and talked with [personal profile] sebastienne about this and that and the other and bravery - various different media we imprinted on, which boil down to: you can't be brave without being scared.

Which -- obviously resonates with all my current Feelings about being afraid, and the varieties thereof; but also ties in to something else I've been thinking, that I fake bravery by calmly and quietly making space in which other people feel safe to risk speaking their hopes, thereby neatly avoiding ever being the person who goes first or ever being the person who looks scared or, really, ever being the person who takes the risk. I close myself off with fear, and dress it up prettily enough that by and large people don't notice. (I'm perhaps being unfair to myself here: I put my shonky python up on github, and I put poetry up here, and both of those terrified me to the point of day-long adrenaline spikes when I started; and now they're just things I do, without fuss, and that represents more progress than I think about terribly carefully most of the time.)

A bit relatedly, I've been thinking some about compassion and generosity, and about how I might consider going about feeling compassion for people who've hurt me (specifically, I was thinking about how in the hells I might ever feel compassion for my father). And I... don't think I can. I think I can pick apart how they got there and feel pity for them, but that's condescending; compassion, I think, presupposes an equality I don't feel inclined towards; perhaps that I don't feel safe permitting? Something to come back to, I suspect.

& lastly for tonight - trees-post to come tomorrow - we have home internet again; and I am deeply frustrated that a gorgeous wing-backed purple corduroy sofa left on the kerb by some neighbours for rubbish collection tomorrow morning is just too awkward for me to have managed to get it down the stairs solo when I got home at 1am, so I am just going to have to hope that the "please don't take this away" note I left on it is respected and I can badger my housemate into helping me get it down the stairs in the morning, because it is squooshy and comfortable and the right shape for curling up on and I really want it, okay, and I even know where in my room it would live.

Goodnight, Dreamwidth. xx
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
For starters, I knew it was an option because I grew up being mentored by a bunch of folk (hi ♥) who viewed poly as normal and fine and just the way some people work; I got to see lots of examples of people making it work, and people not making it work in ways that were nothing to do with being poly and everything to do with the fact that sometimes relationships don't work or stop working.

As it happens I was still massively insecure; one way or another it was the case that I was cool with the concept of me having more than one partner, but got incredibly tied up in knots about the concept of people I was seeing having other partners, and consequently didn't think it was good or kind or fair for me to try to do the thing. Thus began (after my useless ex & I broke up) a period of ill-advised monogamy (ha, folk, I am so so sorry for turning into That One Friend Who Keeps Making Inexplicably Terrible Relationship Decisions), from which I emerged blinking and very, very mad. In the aftermath of getting on anti-depressants and out of that particular horrorshow, I found myself increasingly spending time with the boything and increasingly doing things that were unambiguously flirting and dates. I didn't properly register what was going on until his boyfriend Lucian cheerfully turned around during a birthday party and went "so, are you and [insanejournal.com profile] dreamfracture a thing, then?" whereupon I went "... I DON'T KNOW WE HAVEN'T REALLY TALKED ABOUT IT??? :D"

And that was how hanging-out-with-a-person morphed into a relationship in spite of the boything having other folk in his life, and mysteriously the world didn't end. I thought I was treating it as fairly casual; I was still surprised when I turned out to be completely fine with him rolling over one Sunday morning and going "alex alex alex last week I slept with a PERSON", apart from the bit where I still wanted to be asleep.

Read more... )
kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
First and always: Cambridge. Cambridge, which I've seen through enough different eyes -- town and gown, resident and caretaker, political and utterly independent of any given inhabitants -- Cambridge, which had me for two decades and change, and has me still. My parental home is a 1960s newbuild semi in Arbury; my college contains an archway that predates its foundation in 1350, that's had chunks carved out of the limestone by bicycle pedals over the last hundred-odd years. I've laughed, fondly and otherwise, at the new undergraduates with their shiny new college scarves and no idea how to cycle; I've dodged punt touts and helped my baby brother pass his hiring test to be a punt chauffeur; I've rummaged through the stacks in the University Library and put up and repainted street-signs. I know where the permanent graffiti is and I remember some that's been and gone; I've delivered leaflets at 6am on election morning and I've observed the counting of votes and I've walked across town at four in the morning from the Guildhall (where the outcome was known) to a common room (where people were glued to the news); I've walked across town at two in the morning (Homerton to Trinity Hall) very solemn and slightly wobbly with a viola; I've leaned my forehead against stone and felt where it's come from and been reassured by its solid indifferent presence; I've punted to Grantchester and back and eaten strawberries in the meadows in the sunshine. I've lost and found and found and lost religion and confidence and friends and trust and love. Cambridge is mine, or I am Cambridge's, and so it shall be forever, amen.

Zürich was next. I spent a summer soaking up sunshine, glancing up from my commuter paper to see the Alps crowned with glaciers as we crossed the river, looking out the window on my way to tearing down the stairs from the eighth floor to see the turtles and the fish in the pond way below. There are fields opposite the Spital Limattal -- apple orchards up the hill, but immediately opposite - by the bus stop - pick-your-own flowers and an honesty box. I found cafes and restaurants and friends and I learned a whole new language and I lived by myself absent a support network for the first time, and I explored and I fell in love with museums and was baffled by art and I swam in the lake and learned to like blue cheese on a Roman customs point in the rain overlooking a river with P. I miss pear bread most of all.

I didn't learn how to love LA. Mostly I got as far as baffled affection: for the sky that only ever got as dark as a glowing orange-purple, that turned opaque blanket of smog when you drove high enough into the mountains to see the stars, that left my lungs a wreck for six months; the fantastic street art and terrible public transport; the storm drains and dry river; the jacarandas and the humming birds. My experience of LA is less that, more a haze of heat & food & Caltech campus, with a dream-sequence weekend-long road trip up to the Bay Area somewhere in the middle.

And, of course, London. London, and its river-that-is-a-dragon. I would (as I thought) have hated moving here when I was 18; now I find myself delighting in how joyfully small it makes me, in exactly the same way I am small when I look at the stars or (closer to home) the Moon. I don't belong here but the river-dragon will let me stay a while, and so for now I will fling myself into proms and parks and concerts and gigs and museums and the poetry library; I will stand breathless with delight on the bridge at Embankment or at St Paul's; I will be a mirror for this city and the city shall be a mirror for me, and I will learn more about how people work and more about how I work and I will adore its trees and mysterious statuary and, most of all, I will learn.

(Honourable mentions go to Oxford and to Edinburgh, neither of which I understand, in part because of how intensely my experiences of them are bound up with how I relate to the people I love who relate to these cities; to my patchwork understanding of Heidelberg, all castle and computational linguistics and music and cheap beer by the river; to Rome; and to Paris, and in particular the sunrise walk between Gare de l'Est and Gare du Nord, and a toast to fifth-floor balconies and wine, and croissants by the Seine at dawn.)
kaberett: curled decorative end of curtain rail casts a heart-shaped shadow on a wall (heartfruit)
I love you means
that I would have nothing of you that
is not freely given; that
you have no obligations, are
not beholden unto me, that
you owe me
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
Alas, part of the reason I am so wrung out, so strung out, so tired and sad at the moment - is precisely that I have been living a life without a wheelchair in it, that I've been avoiding not been able to face the mechanics of getting it up stairs and dealing with buses and on and on and on. I just... can't. And in turn that means I get tireder, and it's all a bit grim.

Democracy is the worst form of government ever tried, and all that. I resent that I am ill enough to need a chair. I resent that it forces interactions in public space. I resent so much.

None of it is about resenting the chair. The chair means I can sit up without things hurting; the chair means travelling 500m doesn't exhaust me (I don't even know how to deal with the idea of gradually building up stamina when walking 500m on one or even two or three consecutive days isn't a problem, but beyond that I don't recover, I don't get better or stronger or faster, I just get ground down).

And yet: it is so difficult not to resent myself, not to resent the tools I need, because of the ways in which interaction with the world work. And it's further complicated by the fact that resenting my body ends up resenting the chair by implication, not because my body necessitates it but because it is part of my body. I'm not quite sure how to explain this to people without the relevant experience, but -- it's an insensate part of my body; thus the intimacy of people-who-are-permitted-to-touch-it-without-asking and thus the revulsion and horror and discomfort when people not in that set do.

Perhaps that is some of why I'm finding this hard to talk about: fundamentally I think I think about life-with-a-wheelchair in approximately the same way as I think about life-with-my-brain or life-with-my-hips: essential, unreliable, often inconvenient, doesn't play nicely with others, and of necessity something to nonetheless be kind and compassionate to. Over and over I learn patience, and I do what I can with what I have, and I keep my head down and get on and try not to break my heart dreaming about the impossible. Or, to circle back around: it's a lot like living with my brain.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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