kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. A. feels that I was Making Something Of An Understatement when I said to you all, the other day, that the furniture fits like I hoped it would. Or, more precisely, that given that I'd got it accurate to the millimetre I was selling myself short. So have a poor-quality photo: the dresser is A's, the fridge-freezer is the landlord's and hard up against the worksurface. (We are still Working On finding places for everything, hence the stack of aprons on top of the fridge-freezer...)

Read more... )

2. While bimbling around charity shops today, I found that tablecloth + six napkins for £4. I am very pleased, not least because Mama always used tablecloths and therefore they have a strong sense of "comfort" and "home" for me, which combine with the part where my subconcious interprets the view out the window by the dining table as the view out the attic window in the Mouldering Ancestral Pile, which therefore also pings "comfort" and "soothing" really hard.

3. I rescued a weed-filled terracotta tub from the Secret Patio and relocated a cut-price live mint plant into it. It is now on the Actual Patio, hopefully settling in adequately. I intend to add some parsley to it.

4. A conversation with A. the other morning: given that online grocery shops already have a bunch of aliases implemented ("chickpeas", "tinned chickpeas", etc etc etc), why do none of them (as far as I can tell) let me set private/personal/individual aliases? I would much prefer to be able to search "Adam pasta", which is what we call it over here, than have to remember the full name of the stuff he specifically likes. We... got into a fairly lengthy conversation about what the code would look like, because Of Course We Did.

5. ... this mostly seems to be about house, shockingly enough. Want to take a guess about what I've been up to this week? ... yeah. We are pretty much down to at most one layer of box on any given surface, though, with the surface area covered in box rapidly decreasing...
kaberett: A stylised potato as background, overlaid with a list of its applications. (potatifesto)
I am currently having the problem with Duolingo French, you see, that it is trying to teach me the word for wallet, and the word it thinks means wallet is "le portefeuille". Which is all fine and good, as far as it goes, except that the French word I know meaning wallet is, er, "das Portemonnaie". Because German, you see, or at least my flavour of German, went through a phase (as did much of the rest of Europe) that can summarised, somewhat crudely, as You Know What's Really Sexy? French. French Is Really Sexy.

I have no idea whether Duolingo thinks le portemonnaie is an acceptable translation, and I suppose I will find out next time I find myself learning how to talk about clothes in French. (I am dubious. Duolingo persists in not believing in potatoes, you see, even if it has condescended to believe in priests.)



The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, meanwhile, have an attempt at Engaging Their Younger Visitors, as best I can tell, that consists of sticking a bunch of laminated Shakespeare quotes near plants mentioned in said quotes, which series is entitled Bill's Blooms.

I was delighted to realise that one of these was taken from Much Ado About Nothing (II.i):
The count is neither sad nor sick, nor merry nor well; but civil count, civil as an Orange, and something of that jealous complexion.

... except, to my slight consternation, it was attached to an example of Citrus madurensis, the Calamondin orange.

I perambulated the remainder of the Conservatory, which contained a goodly set of Citrus. (A fact of which I had not previously been aware: nobody knows what the fuck lemons are. Citrus medica x Citrus aurantifolia, suggest Oxford, with which Wikipedia does not agree.) Not represented, alas, was Citrus aurantium, the bitter - or Seville - orange. Well, fair enough, thinks I; if they have no Seville, it is reasonable that the quotation not be attached to a Seville.

... they do so have a bloody Seville -- it's just over in the Palm House.

I have sent them an e-mail thanking them profusely for my lovely afternoon, and inquiring as to whether they just... don't think that joke's as funny as I do, then.

(It's okay! I was actually more polite than that, I promise.)



"Excuse me," I said to the woman in the charity shop, bent to peer at the bookcase, "could I trouble you to reach me down a book from the top shelf...? Oh, thank you so much -- second from the left, Americanah..."

"Oh, good find," she said, "I'm trying desperately to quickly find something to read, that looks like the only good thing on that shelf. But--" and here she brandished some Orhan Pamuk at me.

... and having thus Bonded over Literature, we went our separate ways, which at least in my case involved being briefly deeply embarrassed about What It Is I Have Become, as a result of which I knocked a shoe onto my head; it thonked pleasingly as it bounced, somewhat sadly, to the floor.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
1. I've dealt with two scary e-mails this evening.

2. DW work! Cackling with [personal profile] azurelunatic over spite-driven development, updating the list of babydev bait in [site community profile] dw_dev_training, staring in horror at the codebase a bit but then writing a fix that seems (after very cursory testing) to largely behave as intended (so I have submitted a PR so [staff profile] karzilla can tell me to nest conditions instead of replacing them). (The horror in question: the if-statement that determines whether notifications of new entries/comments/whatever provide http or https links? Currently lives in LJ::User::Styles. NOPE NOPE NOPE.)

3. Bimbling about my mother's garden this evening; I've got a box or so of blackberries to take back to London with me, my hands still smell of Liebstoeckel, and I got to eat ripe raspberries and figs straight off their respective plants.

4. Three games of Scrabble with my mother over the past few days! And it is sort of telling that they just went, unlike the last several months, which strongly suggests that this round of antidepressant is starting to work properly. (I normally score 350-400ish. Game the first: opened with three bingos, ended up scoring over five hundred slightly to my surprise. Game the second: I remain extremely pleased about GAZeTTED for 92 and WASH/Ski/Ham for 50ish, finishing comfortably over 400 and on a tie prior to sorting out deductions. Game the third: actually significantly more lacklustre scorewise, but I was still pleased at getting out with OO/bOa/rOte for 15.)

5. I picked up beads for the shawls on Tuesday, and have been cooing gently over them ever since. They are tactile and pleasing and I am making a scientific joke with them that I find far, far too amusing.

6. Cambridge-Oxford-Cambridge over 5 days is actually a really sensible way to spend time: it means middle brother and I aren't in the same building for more than 48 hours at a stretch, which means that we don't hit him actually starting to set me off badly but we do get a high incidence background neutral-to-positive interactions.

7. Lovely grounding restorative reassuring extended conversation with [personal profile] sebastienne this afternoon once I'd finally dragged myself out of bed. I have more of a sense of purpose and more of a sense of where I'm going.

8. That first tattoo makes me think that all of a sudden I know what I actually want Westminster Bridge to be, if I get it. An idea to sit with for sure, but seeing that photo felt like things clicking into place.

9. Pushing home up the hill from the bus stop, toward fiercely atmospheric sunset clouds, followed by turning toward a nearly full moon suspended in the pale blue sky.

10. Here is temporarily who I am.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
facesfriend: Aha I was looking up whether aloe vera is actually effective as a burn treatment
facesfriend: And found a page with general "how to treat burns" advice
kaberett: it does appear to be
kaberett: ...
kaberett: would you like an aloe vera
kaberett: please say you'd like an aloe vera
kaberett: please?
kaberett: ...
kaberett: there's another three in the back garden
kaberett: that have managed to survive the winter
facesfriend: Wow. Didn't think you'd be able to conscience leaving them out to freeze...
kaberett: THE BACK GATE GOT LOCKED
facesfriend: (page includes an assortment of general points about burn treatment, general medical stuff such as you might find on NHS website or similar)
kaberett: (did you burn yourself)
facesfriend: (plus a single bullet under the various bits of treatment advice for "if the patient is still on fire")
kaberett: hahahaha "put the fire out"? :-p
facesfriend: (BECAUSE IF THE PATIENT WERE STILL ON FIRE YOU WOULD BE LOOKING FOREVER FIRST AID ADVICE ON THE INTERNET, RIGHT?)
facesfriend: No I am not burned but I was pondering adopting an aloe and wondering if they were actually effective for that or if it was just placebo
kaberett: they are actually effective
kaberett: please take an aloe
kaberett: (... were you considering adopting someone else's aloe)
kaberett: (if you're not dating them can I pull rank)
facesfriend: (baby I only have eyes for your aloe)
kaberett: (THANK GOD)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Somewhere around the turning of the year one of the sunsets particularly caught my eye, and I wandered a little way down the lane to take pictures. The tide was out; there are sheets of waves coming up the beach, which was very smooth (the sand was very high), and on the left of the picture are the rocks that we-as-a-family call the Cat's Ears displaying rather nicely. Mullion Island doesn't look quite as much like a lion as it does from some angles, but nonetheless I think you get the idea.



Then on Sunday my housemate enthusiastically followed me around Kew, and my useless ex trailed after us poking at the Internet on his phone and occasionally saying "yes, dear, that's very nice, it's a plant" (or words to that effect). Well, and occasionally stroking the odd plant I pointed out as having particularly fuzzy foliage. <3
+11, of Kew. )
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.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
The shot I was most pleased with from last trip in early October: three lilypads in a row, in different colours.


Another seven photos. )

And my absolute favourite shot, from the oak walk (where I was very excitable and very pleased by ALL THE OAKS), is light through oak leaves:
kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
Today houseguests & I bimbled off to Kew, which is all of 20 minutes away on the tube (plus some deeply irritating faff to do with crossing the tracks - no sensible step-free route immediately apparent, so I will examine harder for next time). CONSEQUENTLY I have bought myself a membership to Kew, so like, if you are ever in this neck of the woods and feel like having me drag you around some botanical gardens and going "LOOK THE PLANTS ARE MY FRIENDS"... :-)

As you may or may not recall, back in July I was very confused about trees. Well, I found a candidate:



See, what Q. ellipsoidalis looks like is this:



More! )

Not pictured: the treetop walk is actually accessible, in that it has a lift up to it! It contains truly baffling sculptural poetry and to my intense irritation does not label the trees you can see at useful height. The autumn crocuses are out in force and are fantastic; the dahlias likewise; the sweet chestnuts are doing their thing, and the gingko are turning.

I thought the weather was pretty much perfect, and all in all am looking forward to spending lots more time there. :-)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. A tiny quilt arrived from [personal profile] jelazakazone! It is gorgeous! It is lava! I squeaked and flapped with delight in the lift and have been showing it to anyone who'll stay still long enough!

2. ... also in my work post! A book from my largest smallcousin! I have been sending her care packages, frequently including books and occasionally painkillers, so she got the collected works of Arthur C Clarke delivered to me because she is apparently appalled that I've read barely any of his stuff.

3. Yesterday in e-mail! My poster abstract for a conference this autumn has been accepted, with the slightly baffling additional bit of
At the moment, your contribution is high on the reserve list of oral presentations, but is not yet scheduled for a talk and currently we are only able to offer you a poster contribution. We anticipate that there may well be some contributors who withdraw, in which case a slot may open up. We will let you know as soon as an opportunity occurs to move you into the talk schedule.
... opinion among those I've polled is divided on whether this is a bizarre courtesy measure or something they actually mean.

4. Interactions with housemate continue just routinely absolutely fab. <3

5. Have heard from a friend in a way that suggests that (1) he doesn't hate me and (2) the reason he dropped off the face of the earth around March is not another major depressive episode but instead that he has been arranging to move in with his girlfriend.

6. ... I just became the trans rep for Imperial's staff LGBT network. Accidentally. This is probably good, in that I will be able to be useful, but also a bit facepalmy.

7. I voted on some action to be taken by my institutional branch of my union, for the first time, which feels like being a very particular kind of grown-up.

8. It was spitting this morning - raining gently enough that it was quite pleasant to be out in in t-shirt, but hard enough that the normal congregatory points for smokers on my way into work were mercifully mostly clear. And the rain'll be good for the garden - the hebe was starting to look a bit sad but I hadn't quite got my act together to water it.

9. There's another really enthusiastically happy hebe on my way into work - currently lots of big purple floral spikes, and behind it a tree with graduated pink-to-white floral spikes that I don't understand at all but suspect is another NZ species given how that one's planted up more generally; I should take photos and get my mother to identify it, I suspect...

10. Yesterday was extremely wobbly, but I was sensible and took care of myself and today I am managing to leave not only my room but also the house again, HURRAH.

gratitude

Jun. 11th, 2014 06:56 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. Sunshine.

2. The strawberry plant is starting to have actual fruit on it. Still nowhere near ripe, but nonetheless!

3. Flomping around in vest top and linen trousers.

4. My new wallet. It was a ridiculous extravagance and I felt super-guilty about it, but... it makes me happy every time I look at it, so.

5. Living close enough to friends that if my housemate is out for the evening and I'm not doing brilliantly at food, I can ping someone over IM and ask them to come over for dinner and they will. (I really love that "do me a favour? let me feed you?" is a thing I can ask people.)

6. I am on my first reread of Ancillary Justice because it became perfectly apparent that my brain wasn't going to let me settle into anything else until I did. It is a long time since that last happened.

7. ... apart from the bit where my ereader ended up partway through Famine (by [personal profile] lightgetsin, part of A Deeper Season, the epic Vorkosiverse AU I love to bits) and ~for some reason~ this time round I ended up highlighting huge chunks of it. Ways to fit myself into the world, indeed.

8. My supervisor has replied usefully to the last e-mail I sent her, which means she doesn't hate me forever and I can get on with the things I was trying to get on with with rather less anxiety, thank goodness.

9. People: in addition to spontaneous-friend-tonight, I'm seeing my mum for lunch tomorrow (and possibly visiting London Volcano in company), and [personal profile] randomling is coming over for dinner Friday night; and TOG is staying Friday-Sunday morning. And I then have about three different options for Interesting Things I Can Do With Nice People on Sunday afternoon.

10. Having finished The Middleman, I have persuaded my housemate that A:tLA is a good choice for Next House TV Show. However I am probably going to try to get my act together to make Orphan Black a thing we can do together next season, given how much the entire Internet seems to like it!
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
It is light outside when I wake up for early starts. It is light while I eat breakfast, when I walk over the road to the station. I sit on the District line with sunshine through the windows: it's above ground between home and work. There's some clematis and - a plant I know only as "abominable potato weed", sorry[1] - growing enthusiastically in a garden that backs onto the platforms.

Breakfast was apple-and-pear juice, a beautifully ripe satsuma, and a pear and hazelnut muffin made for me by CN Lester because of the boything.

I finished reading Saladin Ahmed's Engraved on the Eye (free collection of short stories; it's fantastic). I turned to [personal profile] alexconall's poetry collection Lavender Blue (and other poems) (also available for free), discovered it's dedicated to me, and promptly burst into happy tears on the tube at 7am.

I got in to work in good time, via the gingko coming out outside the Royal Albert Hall and a string of beautiful I-believe-military horses being trotted down Exhibition Road. I've started my columns, and so far they're running nicely. I'm wearing Fils de Dieu and continuing to adore it. I'm reading Audre Lorde's The Black Unicorn in lab, and it's fantastic.

Today is pretty brilliant so far.


[1] It's not Lycianthes rantonnetii or Solanum rantonnetti ("Royal Robe"). Hmm. Looks like this var. "blue potato bush", but none of the other photos for that search term are quite right - it's definitely got the pointier petals that point back upwards, and the flower clusters. - ah ha! Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin', there we go. [ETA for interest -- my initial search term was "potato weed purple flowers" and that was the chain of results I followed to get an answer. :-) ]
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Huh, apparently I haven't actually recced A Litany for Survival here, at least not any place I can find it readily? So let's start with that.

A Litany for Survival )

from Walking Our Boundaries

The sun is watery warm
our voices
seem too loud for this small yard
too tentative for women
so in love
the siding has come loose in spots
our footsteps hold this place
together
as our place
our joint decisions make the possible
whole.
I do not know when
we shall laugh again
but next week
we will spade up another plot
for this spring's seeding.


from Eulogy for Alvin Frost )

Gratitude

Apr. 9th, 2014 08:33 pm
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Yesterday I woke up at around 6; by 6.15 had started to worry that I was this awake without my alarm having gone off and checked the time; and at 6.20 decided I wasn't getting back to sleep and might as well go into work. So I did, and I got a lot done, and oh but it is light at six, and the air was crisp and lovely as I made my (grouchy, limping) way up Exhibition Road; I was in lab by 7.30, whereupon I started the process of drying beakers, weighing out rock powder, and faffing about with HF. That I was quite so underslept and quite so ill goes a long way towards explaining why I had a Minor Incident (but no exposure; deets in a locked post). But! I got more Science Progress done than I'd even been hoping to manage, which puts me in a really good position for next week; and then I printed off and posted some documents for [personal profile] alexseanchai; and then in sunshine and relief I made my way home and ate apple cake my housemate had Produced (as if by magic!) while packing.

And then I got myself onto a train - in, still, the sunshine; you might be spotting a theme here - towards the dwelling of Those Two People; and upon arrival I took the gentle wander up the hill and smiled with delight about all the cherry blossom, and also about the fact that everything is getting ready for Holy Week: the forsythia and catkins are all exactly as they should be.

Upon arrival I was greeted by That Fucking Cat. I was, in fact, accosted at the top of the stairs, and required to scritch her. Including her belly. (She does this utterly bizarre thing of rolling over onto her back, looking appealingly at you until you scritch her belly, and then closing her eyes in bliss and not attacking your hand at all. The closest she comes is very gently bracing a back paw against your forearm, claws carefully and delicately sheathed. It is bizarre.) That One Lady ended up glancing over from the sofa to see why I was taking so long to actually make it into the house proper and say a proper hello, and then burst out laughing.

Obligatory image of the terrible animal. )

Read more... )

It's amazing how productive I can be when I'm avoiding sewing and hoovering.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
1. My peas are germinating! All of them! I am ridiculously excited about this.

2. I have a lab coat of my very own. It only took five months!

3. My enormous stash of Misc Dried Stuff arrived in the post, such that I have an Adequate supply of dried apricots, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, misc raisins, etc. (Couscous salad! Toasted cashews! Raspberry-hazelnut brownies! Trail mix to keep at work! Dundee cake!)

4. Sunshine.

5. I didn't kill myself during routine lab work! (And I got the routine lab work done, which I wasn't certain I'd manage for a little while.)

6. The household's enormous pile of daylight bulbs arrived in the post, too, so the place will soon be brighter.

7. Ridiculous raspberry moisturiser I keep on my desk at work [context: it is not uncommon for me to wash my hands upwards of ten times a day when I'm doing any even-slightly-involved lab work. Moisturiser kept at work is a necessity.]

8. Seanan McGuire & her music.

9. Mia's latest art update. [Mia's Patreon.]

10. The book!presents I asked the Internet to send to my tinycousin have been dispatched. Hopefully she will enjoy them.

(More, because that is how this lists thing works: tasty dinner planned for tonight. Cuddles with housemate yesterday. Getting to make myself pots of tea. The lecturer who threatened to take away my meteorite hasn't, yet, and therefore has probably forgotten about it. The e-reader that means I can finish one book and swap seamlessly to the next. Brilliant conversations with [personal profile] liv. All-supervisor meeting yesterday went not-terribly. On Sunday I get to attend an S Bear Bergman talk (and maybe manage More Outing). Tomorrow is a Captain Awkward meet-up, and also I get to perform at a friend's birthday party. I have more-or-less worked out the shape of the next two weeks, including probably managing to see TOL & TOG twice *during* next week, and then again at the weekend. Things. :-) )
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I'm a bit wobbly at the moment, it seems - I keep thinking myself in circles around last night I woke up terrified/blue lights were floating around my walls/only to later realise it's just an ambulance on a late-night call/a grim 2am reminder of my own mortality/I only wish that I could find a way/to accurately describe the effect this has had on me; I guess it's pretty telling that I shuffle in my sleep/admittedly it leaves me with a bed that's rarely neatly made/I wake up every morning, my back pressed against the wall/what my sleeping body's scared of I'm not really sure at all - and there are a few obvious reasons (ongoing Situation; two hours of one-on-one interview for trans-activist purposes so far this week; and Monday and Tuesday both involved trips home via Dead People; never feeling like I've got enough done) and probably some more underlying January Is Always The Worst And February Isn't Much Better. When looked at that way, I'm mostly pleased I'm only this bad.

Still, I wish I had a word for the way the world glitches, stutters, when you run out of executive function briefly but repeatedly because you're pushing yourself too hard.

Still, I've got some useful things done today: I didn't go into work and therefore was not even briefly tempted to cross picket lines (I'm a crip in wheelchair-inaccessible accommodation; there's a tube stop right over the road from me; it makes a big difference to how functional I am; intersectionality is hard, y'all); I sorted out the monitor that was Being Difficult; I made lasagne and salad; I poked my compost bin gently; I did a small pile of VP admin; I got caught up on 2/3rds of the work stuff that was scaring me; I kept the kitchen tidy; the Situation with the Partner got some useful progress made on it last night; I'm caught up on all the scary e-mail; I had some really useful conversations with my housemate, including one that goes some way towards explaining why my attitudes to activism and science differ so very much. And I e-mailed my counsellor to set up a date sometime next week.

Oh, also, I seem to have failed to mention - over the weekend we made it to a garden centre and I got my garden started, about which I am really excited. I accidentally a Scarborough Fair pot - I bought parsley, garden mint, sage, thyme, and rosemary plants, and had a pot with space for four things in, and realised I had to do the obvious - and I have seeds to go in in about March (basil and chives for a pot; and poppies, Margeriten, globe thistles, and corn flowers for the scrappy little border along one edge of the patio that will look much better for having wildflowers in it). My housemate put in some rhubarb; my subsidised compost bin - mentioned briefly above - arrived, and has been installed and filled up with a winter's worth of leaf mulch from the patio. Still to come, in their season: tomato plants, some strawberry plants, and if I can track any down some bilberries. I am resisting the urge to plant a camellia because I'd only be sad at having to leave it behind; I am probably not going to resist the urge to put a clematis up some of the sad empty trellises. (At this point it's been a month since I asked whether I was permitted to do things to the garden and I've not had a response; as such, given the state it was in, I'm just going ahead with a reasonably light touch.)

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