kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
I didn't (unsurprisingly) get the greenhouse, but looking at it did substantially clarify my thoughts and the eBays do regularly contain less fancy greenhouses that, actually, probably will perfectly well do the job now I know what I'm after.

In which I ramble about hardware and tell stories about secateurs. )

In terms of my upcoming jobs and planting...

Well, I need to spend some quality time pruning the Ribes bushes various; the plot came with a red dessert gooseberry, a redcurrant, and what-I-think-is-a-jostaberry, all of which are a little neglected and tangled. Tidying them up was on the list for Sunday immediately after the teasels, but a pair of secateurs that couldn't handle a teasel was... erstrecht not going to cope with actual wood. They also need top dressing with manure and then probably mulching, but that can wait until after I've tidied them up a little.

Next door, I've come to the conclusion that what I want to do with my ground-level bed (squash, pak choi, and failed calabrese last year) this season is set some broad beans and peas going down the middle around now, and then sow quinoa down the edges some time later. On the one hand, it's not known that this is a good idea; on the other, intercropping legumes and quinoa is a topic of active research and growing trials, and it looks to me like it ought to be sensible, so no doubt you will collectively get Running Commentary while I experiment.

At home, it's time for me to get the purple chillis and the orange bell peppers started (if I'm going to); that can't really happen until we're back full time, and while I'm happy to heat the house to a temperature that is safe and adequate for me to exist in when I'm actually there most of the time, that is... less the case when I'm away. (I'm attempting to resist the temptation to acquire a heated propagator.) Also the tomatoes, though there the thing I really need to do is work out where I want to put them -- whether I want to grow them on at home again, or if I'll be looking to plant them out at the plot.

Which is a general problem -- the working-out-where-to-plant-things. I'm dithering but probably about to come down on the side of putting the saffron bulbs in around the base of the cherry tree; I think I know where I'm going to put the comfrey once it's established itself a little better; and I'm tentatively leaning towards growing the poppies-for-seed in a patch of mixed wildflowers. (WHERE, though, Alex, you need to work out where you're going to put this. Probably also in the general vicinity of the cherry, if we're honest.)

But. Yes. Priorities: getting misc. seeds started; actually sourcing and constructing my proper raised beds so that I can plant out into them (which will inevitably involve More Weeding); pruning and dressing the Ribes; and working out what I want by way of asparagus, because my mother has offered to buy me some crowns.

So, you know, if you have asparagus cultivar recommendations, please by all means go ahead! I prefer the stems to the tips, and I am resigned to growing at least some purple...
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
  1. Waking up to (mostly) clear streets, against a backdrop of snow on the hills.
  2. I have in the fridge my first ever tub of The Collective Dairy's passionfruit yoghurt. It... is my new favourite? It is very much my new favourite. (I was forever into the limited-edition raspberry trifle which is, alas, no more; the plum and honey is also Good; but I think passionfruit is My New Fave.)
  3. The ritual of sourdough continues soothing.
  4. Today I finally had a proper poke around the Professional Caterers' Shop in the centre of Belfast and successfully didn't buy anything, though honestly this was mostly because they only sell cheesecloth in 10m rolls and I thought A would be... Unimpressed... if he came home to find one.
  5. To my minor astonishment, I have actually managed to string words together today in the context of the PhD! More words than I have managed for the past week! It is a relief, and also things continue slotting into place.
  6. A & I have been having a bunch of Conversations that on the one hand have been hard work, in terms of leaky feelings and vulnerability, and on the other feel immensely productive and positive and affirming.
  7. Nice clothes today: the mostly-cotton definitely-peacock-blue V-neck sweater and the black-blue-purple-white striped herringbone shirt, both from a charity shop (and specifically the BHF). They're both new-to-me enough that I'm Wearing Them A Lot and being delighted.
  8. I have been playing... a lot... of Dominion Online, mostly against the bot but sometimes against friends, and (1) enjoying it (!) and (2) getting to try out a bunch of ridiculous okay-but-what-if-I-don't-buy-any-money decks (to go with the okay-but-what-if-I-do-endless-gardening ones).
  9. Problematic Aunt got me cheese for the new year, from the Snowdonia Cheese Company; the Little Black Bomber is always a win, but I hadn't had their vintage Red Leicester before and it is good.
  10. I am struggling somewhat with uncertainty around illness, but: I'm being kind to myself, and letting myself rest, and doing a bunch of self-soothing and self-care around No, Really, Love, You're Ill. I've got so much better at this specific skillset, and it's such a relief.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Item the first: a letter from my great-great-grandmother Spain, to Papa as a young man, informing him of various familial goings-on relating to his younger siblings (at that point in her care, because reasons) and to various aunts and cousins going fishing. This is the first actual written artefact of Grandma Spain, rather than simply references to and stories about her, that my mother has ever encountered; it was lurking (of course) in a sturdy leather bag we'd assumed to be Yet More Photographic Equipment on top of Lord Whoever's Mahogany Wardrobe, where we unearthed also the commissions yesterday.

Item the second: it transpires that one of the Spinster Aunts Who Lost Their Fortune In The Australian Gold Rush and Lived Out Their Days In The Convent As Paupers... pseudonymously wrote a book of literary criticism. Of Dante. That's still in print.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
On the downside, however, it was purchased in 2002 -- the Woolworths receipt stapled to the distractions advertises the release of The Two Towers -- and is its own standalone device, i.e. very much not the attachment my mother remembers Mama using while she was an undergraduate.

Which -- given the nature of the house -- means there's at least one more ice cream maker somewhere, in addition to today's finds of yet another Kenwood Chef chassis (this one complete with bowl and mixing attachments, hidden behind the stack of disused breadmakers), a coffee grinder, a fourth mincer, and a mysterious thing I know not what.

This is particularly disturbing because I've now gone through as much of the cellar as I'm going to prior to the clearance firm arriving (there is, for example, categorically no way I'm investigating the locked wardrobe that's wedged along a piece of wall behind a wine rack that has been bolted to said wall) and it's... not there. (I was briefly excited by the two potato peelers, previously mentioned, because "a glorified bowl lined with sandpaper and a stirring device similarly coated" has superficial similarities to "a freezable metal bowl and miscellaneous churn", but nope!)

Maybe it's in the freezer that is just getting taken away as-is because No? Maybe it's somewhere under the rafters? Maybe it's in the garage, somewhere, horribile dictu?

Either way, the clearance folk arrive on Thursday morning, and on Thursday morning I will turn into my grandfather: I shall become a wretched little gremlin insisting on poking through every single container they try to remove from the property in the course of the job of work they've been hired to do, in case any of said containers contains something precious.

But then again I did, earlier and at my mother's direction, find on top of the ridiculous wardrobe in the hall, in a nest of dust and spiders and pristine LPs, Papa's commission. And great-grandpa's commission. Signed by the actual respectively relevant kings. Which Papa had sworn blind were Probably In The Attic, and had been keen for us to find, and to be fair the attic would have been A MUCH MORE SENSIBLE PLACE TO PUT THEM but THERE YOU GO, Papa, THERE YOU GO.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
... to the thing that appeared to be grass growing up through my planted-out cut-price live-baby-salad-leaves, when I stepped onto the patio just now -- full moon or thereabouts shining down serenely -- to retrieve something from the garage (we have a garage) and to pick some tomatoes for tomorrow's lunch. (The fact that my patio tomatoes are still happily ripening up, while sat on the patio, in late October, is... Another Matter.)

So I picked it, and I picked another of it, and I was reaching for the third when I thought "... hold on a second, everything suddenly smells of garlic."

I tasted, cautiously, the "grass blades" I had just broken off.

... the wild garlic I brought back from the Mouldering Ancestral Pile way back at the beginning of the year, as I was passing through Plymouth for my pre-op consultation with my top surgeon? That I planted in a trough, watched shrivel up sulkily, and then exasperatedly planted some cut-price live-baby-salad-leaves on top of, in the vague expectation that I would probably actually see them again?

Like wheat that springeth green, indeed.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Yedi Kocalı Hürmüz at the Arcola several weeks ago now, performed by the in-house Turkish-language company (Arcola Ala-Turka), with my friend D. A little rough around the edges (e.g. the surtitles frequently just sort of... didn't) but the energy & the audience engagement were fantastic, particularly in the segments that were just sort of... mini interconnected folk gigs? Lots and lots of clapping (and singing) along. I was very entertained -- there was comedy "whack people over the head with an inflatable stick and over-the-top sound effect" that worked really well -- and I even understood the occasional word and sentence fragment, go me.

2. Baby's first paper has been formally accepted. It is going into various preprint archives as we speak; I will link once it's actually usefully available. (Did I mention how good it is that I fixed the graphics driver issue with my desktop such that it's actually usable? It is SO GOOD.)

3. Off to Cornwall on Thursday, for approximately a fortnight, for the hundredth-birthday-that-isn't, coming back for the middle weekend because Reasons. I am looking forward to it. I will be bringing wild garlic back to plant out. Cornwall in early May is, in my unquestionably objective opinion, the best place in the entire world.

4. Frantically getting lab work finished up for pre-interruption-of-studies before that, so far as possible. Cocked up yesterday in a way that adds an extra week in lab (boo) but it was one I would otherwise have been anxious about not doing (yay), so that's worked out fairly well.

5. British strawberries, reduced in the supermarket. Yes. Good.

6. Started thyroxine (low-ish dose) on Friday last (the 20th). So far no conclusive changes, but excitingly the water is muddied by the part where I finished the most recent course of iron supplementation right before I started the thyroxine.

7. Have had first salad-and-cheese-and-bread dinner of the year on the PATIO. We have a PATIO. It has been WARM. I am very excited by this, and also by linens.

8. I have participated in A Bunch of research recently -- autism + the social model of disability in higher ed, intersection of trans status + disability, Being A Grumpy Tran At Market Researchers for fun and profit (and actually they were really great and give me hope), miscellaneous cognitive function for the long-term psychiatric study I'm participating in (£15 in vouchers, whoo).

9. Voucher has thus far been used on a bamboo travel mug, with a succulent pattern and duck-egg-blue silicone bits. ([personal profile] staranise, I keep restraining the urge to put together the succulent-themed care package you did not ask for and probably don't want because it would be silly to do the Shipping To Canada thing if you don't, but if you'd like preposterous succulent-themed tat let me know and It Will Happen.)

10. I spent a lot of the weekend making friends (at A's step-relative's Significant Birthday Thing) with both nibling S (who has, correctly, decided I am interested in them, and now greets me with enthusiasm) and -- which is what I was going to go with when I started this point -- a ridiculous ornamental cherry, which had the big-blousy-white blossoms as most of its canopy... and one branch, comprising about a third, that had been grafted on from a dark-purple-leaves and bright-pink-flowers tree. It was Good. I went and patted it on the graft and told it it was good, and made A admire it.

(The mint I rescued from the supermarket has established itself sufficiently aggressively that I'm starting to worry for the parsley it shares a tub with. I shall clearly just have to consume more of it.)

In memoriam

Nov. 5th, 2017 12:07 am
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Papa died today (yesterday); my mother phoned me from the M5 near Exeter -- "We just missed Papa." I'd assumed she was calling me about the All Blacks game she'd been supposed to be watching at Twickenham.

Nothing feels particularly real, yet, so emotions to follow. I'm being looked after.
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 patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
1. Okay, hold onto your hats, folk who've been around for a while: middle brother and I haven't argued yet. Not only that, we have cooperated in moving furniture for my mum (and despite having worked construction over last summer he didn't think crippy ol' me was totally useless, which was nice ;) and have managed to talk about science in a way that didn't end in bloodshed! I am... kind of astonished, and really hoping it manages to hold for the next few days. (I leave on the 27th, you see.)

2. I swung by college when in town running errands earlier, and spent a little while sat in the chapel and a little while sat on the back wall swinging my legs over the river. Seven or eight years ago I stood on that bridge and looked into the library windows and said "I'm going to be one of them"; it turned out the floor I was looking at was the sciences one. So -- yes, I sat on the wall with my legs over the river and the punts dry-docked behind me and watched people walk over the bridge and listened to the single solitary punt guide and -- yes. This, too, is home.

3. DRD HAS PUBLISHED THAT ONE PAPER I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR HIM TO GET AROUND TO PUBLISHING. Seriously pleased about this. It is A Big Deal in terms of mantle plumes, and I think his work is solid.

4. I have played the piano some! Really badly, but less badly than I did this weekend. My hands and elbows and shoulder blades really bloody hate me and, well, this is why I don't play any more, and it's extremely bittersweet to be stumbling over playing stuff that is fundamentally still in my muscle-memory and completely incapable of sightreading, but -- I made music, I made music, and I didn't end up crying on the sofa like I did this weekend just gone, and -- it is a comfort and a blessing that I still have this. Also, I am starting to remind myself how to sight-sing.

5. I have had a lovely time interacting with baby brother also. We have been being gently rude at each other and very affectionate (hugs! hair-ruffling! sarcasm!) and he popped his head round my door earlier to be all "SO I thought of a PRESENT for you do you want a slow-cooker" and I was all "that's very sweet but thank you no my housemate has one" and he was all "awwwwwww I was gonna say, coz I want a blender, and if we both just had to go to the same shop..." -- so I provided him a list of DVDs I'm after in decreasing order of priority (and I think he's picked up lots of them?!) and then I was mildly profligate but it is a blender that should last him a good long time, so. I also acquired gjetost for my mother and consequently we have a mildly ridiculous cheeseboard, which makes me very happy. (It is my major contribution.)

6. My mother is making tiramisu as we speak. :-)

7. I am hoovering up Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series courtesy of my housemate's copies, and am Forming Several Opinions. Some of them are favourable; some of them are really not; but I am at least enjoying thinking about them.

8. I appear to have been wearing Liminal and only Liminal pretty solidly since Friday. It feels right for this time of year, and for reorienting myself and taking a moment to be inwards, and so on.

9. My mother made a somewhat involved and very tasty dinner, and we had it with wine from one of my favourite Austrian grapes that I very rarely actually get around to drinking, because it's not really worth getting a bottle when it takes me well over a month to get through one if I am working at it, and I think of it as A Special Treat To Be Savoured because it's slightly hard to acquire and therefore wince at people gulping it; perhaps the moral of the story is that I should host more dinner parties, but in any case, it was tasty and I am happy and contented.

10. Kinda intimidating emotional work/conversations have been going well, and it is a relief and a comfort. AND I SOLVED AN ENTIRE GRAUN CRYPTIC CLUE ON MY OWN. ONE WHOLE ONE. Now to try for a few more. ;) (Why do I list them together? Partly because I have run out of ten, but also partly because they feel like similar amounts of thinking sideways around a corner to work out solutions.)

kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Well, let's see, there's the standard-ish stuff: every year my mother makes fruitcake and Christmas puddings, very kindly leaving out glacé cherries because I consider them an abomination, doing the marzipan and royal icing herself; Teebäckerei, whose recipe I have unaccountably failed to type up, which are biscuits with much of the flour replaced by ground nuts (usually a combination of walnuts and hazelnuts though almonds are also acceptable) and a small quantity of grated dark chocolate; as mentioned, my father makes around twelve dozen mince pies every year.

There is a Thing my mother and I started doing when we went hiking the summer after I turned 18, the summer before I went to university, the summer I decided I might be a geologist: we collected a small handful of cranberries and brought them back with us and froze them, and then come the Solstice and such we boiled them up with bought cranberries, on the general principle of holy water. (Er, for those less steeped in this stuff than I am: you add any amount of holy water to a vessel containing water that has not been blessed etc and the whole lot is rendered sacred. (This is a thing that never made any sense to me about Buffy: why would anyone buy multiple bottles of holy water! You just... add some more to the stuff you got out of the tap! Or like add it to the reservoir and BOOM. As it were.)

Other than that, the main traditional food is non-veg and as such I haven't eaten it in years. Discussion of meat preparation. )

Satsumas and clementines are a thing, from Heiliger Nikolaus on. Increasingly, cheese & crackers & port (my mother keeps getting asked to play the organ at weddings, which she detests because she is not terribly good at it, and being given nice port in payment).

Nusspotitze! That is also a thing that we make fairly regularly at this time of year.

And that is more-or-less that. If you would like me to elaborate on any points or discuss things I've failed to touch on, let me know! ♥
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: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Lunch was sourdough bread made from my breadpet that was identifiably sourdough, it was great, I will add more water next time; and leek-and-potato soup with bay leaves & lovage (Liebstoeckel) from my mother's garden, & the best parev chicken-style stock.

2. I continue to listen to Vienna Teng on loop.

3. I was rather irritated by the most recent poetry-in-translation I read (because of the translator, not the author!). I accidentally had a bit of a rant and consequently feel somewhat better.

4. My largest smallcousin is a fuckin' rockstar and I am so proud of her.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
They say, I think, that moments
can hang preserved in drops of amber
suffused with bone-deep memories
of setting autumn suns.
In Mass I see the elderly &
think of my Grossmutti, who
placed sacrificial flowers on
the altar, very nearly til she died
& in so doing offered up
her blood, her knees, her strength;
I think of Papa, who still heaves
his way through grassy lanes
to kneel, to genuflect, to offer peace.
And in Mass I hear the children
as they whisper to their parents
having not yet realised just how well
the church carries their voice
(nor yet been taught: above all else is silence);
in them, and in the fretful babies
this strange unwieldy future
reflects me backwards to myself.
That imperfection is inevitable
is without doubt its greatest grace:
the same is true of love.
Take heart. Take strength. Take space.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
(By which I mean: I own more button-up shirts than I do clothes hangers. I tend to wear button-up shirts to work if I have anything resembling a healthy amount of grip, so when I am making it to work regularly in clothes that aren't the ones I slept in, this isn't an issue - enough shirts are in the wash that I've always got a couple of spare hangers in the wardrobe. Currently I have two shirts sat in the bottom of the hanging-section of wardrobe, because insufficient hangers. I think I am probably going to ask my GP to a bloods workup checking - among other things - vitD levels, because I'm already at max dose of antidepressant and on a daily vitB supplement, and ruling out other easy fixes seems like a plan, sigh.)

In addition to crossing the housework items off my list (not therein discussed: emptied green bin, moved lots of things through to recycling, etc) and somehow managing to get all my chemistry done in an approximate 9-5 (... 8.30am to 5.15, okay), I have finished up responding to poem prompts:

Book meme!

Sep. 6th, 2014 02:29 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Because my medium smallcousin asked nicely and because she included a book I gave her on her list, Ten Influential Books (in no particular order)...

1. Karen Armstrong, The Bible: The Biography (as a consequence of which I stopped feeling guilty about religion)
2. CS Lewis, the Narnia series (a gift from my godmother, who is into feminist SF, and my first speculative fiction)
3. Lewis Wolpert, Malignant Sadness -- An Anatomy of Depression/ (because it provides a very useful way for me to think about my mental illnesses, and it's written charmingly and beautifully from the perspective of a professor of biology who has a history of depression, which means there's no defence/perfect enough to keep it from coming back -- I picked it up from the bookshelf of a counsellor several years back)
4. Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice (despite having only come out last year! I had to read it three times in a row because I couldn't settle to anything else, and I can't remember the last time I had to reread a book immediately at all; it's about identity and selfhood and mental illness and loyalty and trust and love and choice and it took the insides of my head apart and buffed out some dents and shaved down some edges that were catching and oiled them and replaced a couple of broken springs and then put me back together, running more smoothly)
5. JK Rowling, the Harry Potter series (yes, really -- I was 7 when Philosopher's Stone came out and 18 when the series ended; in a very real sense I grew up with Harry & Hermione & Ron, and Hermione made me feel more like there was space in the world for me and I still cry at the drop of a hat thinking about Dumbledore saying, in OotP, "there will come times when you have to choose between what is right and what is easy", and HP fandom was an enormous part of my teens)
6. The poetry anthology Staying Alive (which doesn't actually include Carol Ann Duffy's We Remember Your Childhood Well but does have plenty of the rest of her stuff that I found incredibly formative)
7. Terry Pratchett, particularly the Susan books, but honestly I don't particularly feel like picking one (Susan Sto Helit is another person I felt I could model myself after or aspire to; if I ever achieve that level of gently-exasperated getting-things-done I think I'll be quite pleased; and if I need comfort-reading and grounding I go to either Howl's Moving Castle [I read pretty much everything by Diana Wynne Jones in the year I took out of uni to go mad] or the Tiffany Aching books)
8. Paula Boock, Dare, Truth or Promise (teenage social justice lesbians, 'nuff said, though these days I wince at Everyone Is White in a way that I didn't when I was 12)
9. Oddly, given my current reading patterns, Victoria Routledge Friends Like These (another thing I imprinted on pretty hard in my secondary-school library, which made me feel like maybe I could be a grown-up and maybe I could have friends and probably I would make it)
10. Another recent one: Janet Mock's Redefining Realness (which is unflinchingly honest and open, and is absolutely unyielding on claiming that we are what we make of ourselves)

And one(s) for luck: Julia Serano's Whipping Girl, in the wake of reading which I decided I could be out and a scientist; and Kate Bornstein various, who has been a liferaft more than once.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
Thank you so much for letting me play with your ideas. Mass spec time largely done now - data! - but if you still wanna leave something please by all means do and I'll try to get to it. <3

Poetry
Ficlets
Other
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: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
From my mum, just now:
Grausi used to call gooseberries 'ogrosln'. I'm working on a Slavic etymological dictionary at the moent and on the very first page I've spotted something interesting 'Stachelbeere' leapt out at me and then I looked at the Slavic words agrestu etc.:
It gives: medieval latin 'agresta', modern German Austrian 'agras' (this in 1886), Hungarian egres, Slovenian agres. FUN!

Now back to finding out whether this publication ever had such a thing as
a title page or preface/list of abbreviations. This copy doesn't!
("Grausi" is my maternal great-grandmother.)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Highlights include: the Dvorak 'cello concerto in the Royal Festival Hall with That One Lady on Thursday night, followed by a late dinner; watching the food I made vanish into people, and especially watching people discover that they really liked food they thought they didn't (and watching the food I'd made mostly vanish in ways that were pleasing); Saturday morning brunch, involving breaking in the new griddle pan; the binders I got from E&C; TOL got me Perfumes: the A-Z guide which I proper squealed over; introducing many, many people; date with That One Gent on Saturday afternoon; P. brought me champagne and strawberries from Paris (he lives there at the moment, to be fair!); the cake came out very well for my first attempt, such that I now feel I've undergone yet another rite of passage; the concert my mother played in on Saturday night, where I got to see my favourite bits of the clan and my favourite small cousins, and medium smallcousin gave me a present into which I actually burst into tears about (it's an ink-and-approximately-watercolour painting she's done of the view out to sea from the steps at the bottom of the garden at the Mouldering Ancestral Pile); I visited C. this morning and was reminded just how much I enjoy spending time with them, and how much I want to spend more; I spent the afternoon sitting in a pub surrounded by a crowd of people talking, and I mostly dozed but had a brilliant time of it; my mother gave me a Scrabble set from the attic of the Mouldering Ancestral Pile plus a stuffed chough plus a jar of blackberry & apple jam; and she fed us more Haus-u.-Hof Torte and Schlag[obers] and strawberries; and we collapsed collectively in helpless giggles on the patio as we sorted out Grossmutti's furs. And I am home with a very dear friend curled up to sleep on my floor and I have drafted an abstract and rediscovered a skirt I am going to love wearing when I have had top surgery (it and nothing else; it is black floaty linen) and I furthermore managed to bring home with me one of my saddle stools so working at my desk is going to be less vile for me. And there was the Elementary finale and I have the Masterchef finale yet to watch and, and and and.

This is not the half of it.

It has not been a terribly quiet weekend, but oh-- it has been so good to me; I have had such a fantastic birthday. Thank you, lots, to absolutely all of you; thank you for making the time to celebrate with me, and I am sorry I didn't give more of it to you, and I'm sorry I couldn't fit you all in, but I had an amazing time and I am grateful and delighted and peaceful and very, very happy. Thank you.

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