kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
  • Movement. Read more... )
  • I got a phone call from a Dublin number while I was at the gym. ???, I thought. And lo, it was the passport office, wanting to confirm my card details so they could take a payment. (This does not mean I'm getting the passport any time soon; it just means they're processing it, which means that in the next phone call we'll get to discuss a. my name and b. my godmother's phone number, I expect.)
  • A's lavender -- that we got for 50p from a stall by the side of the road on our trip to the south coast to pick up [personal profile] chiasmata's wheelchair, and which has spent the winter resolutely grey and miserable and dormant -- is sprouting with enthusiasm from its base, and getting visibly larger day by day. (This is going to be one of the plants that lives on the back porch at home, at least until it gets big enough to layer, at which point I might move a baby plant over to the allotment for the sake of pollinators.)
  • w8rose had more reduced thyme! so I have another bucket of thyme that I HOPEFULLY won't kill off instantly, which gets to go live... on the porch. (Also there were reduced tiny carrots and cavolo nero, so dinner tonight was sausage + mash + veg, and reduced yarg, so belated lunch was cheese + ajvar + Ryvita + cucumber.)
  • I have allllllmost finished moving the furniture around. (It's not perfect but then it wouldn't be with the constraints we're working with; it is nonetheless an improvement, I think, and I'm appreciating having A Book Corner.)
  • On Monday I collected some rhubarb from the allotment; we have spent the week consuming pear-and-apple-and-rhubarb crumble.
  • Bread bread bread. A continues to set the oven to be hot when we actually wake up, which is making fresh sourdough for breakfast a much less time-consuming and sleep-disrupting process, hurrah. (Still working on the timings of feeding the tiny god for optimum rise. Unfortunately, this means lots of experimental bread. It Is A Trial, etc.)
  • I have more-or-less decided where I want to stick the comfrey on the plot. At least one of them can go under the cherry tree, and I will probably attempt to distribute the other two in the Awkward Corner.
  • [personal profile] rydra_wong has pointed me at some footage of Beth Rodden being amazing, and I have the firm intention of curling up with it tomorrow afternoon in the post-meeting adrenaline crash (if I don't just disappear off to roll around in the mud, which is also a possibility).
  • A is great and has spent the evening wrangling soldering irons and heatshrink in service of streamlining my life; we have sorted a batch of towels for disposal; more bits have been put on freecycle/freegle; I have Progressed Some Of The Mending (by which I mean "I have taken the memory-foam travel pillow out of its wrapper in order to facilitate sewing repairs to the disintegrating wrapper, also lol whoops the pillow... has a massive tear? never mind", but this is a significant executive function step); make house a home, etc etc etc.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. I waited in all day, slightly fretfully, but shortly before 6pm UPS actually arrived with... ten... large... cardboard... boxes... of Stuff... for A. (Specifically, garage storage; two sets of three-by-seven Really Useful Boxes, in rainbow colours.)

2. In turn this means that (i) I am about to have WARDROBE SPACE (at least assuming A is as excited about filling the boxes up with stuff as he was about constructing them -- we spent a significant chunk of the evening in the garage...) and (ii) conveniently we turn out to have a bunch of Very Large cardboard boxes and an enormous volume of bubble wrap... just in time for them to be incredibly useful transporting a greenhouse across London. (Whereupon they will GO ON FREECYCLE and vanish fairly rapidly and be No Longer Our Problem, also hurrah.)

3. I finally remembered to actually cut a tag out of a shirt (by dint of hanging it up to dry inside out so that I'd have a shouty visual prompt when it came to putting it away) & suddenly I have an actually comfortable black button-up, instead of one that seems like a good idea until I've been wearing it for longer than about five seconds at which point it becomes Unutterably Wretched.

4. I am almost done wrangling an Enormous Spreadsheet. It is Large, and also Big, and if there is a way to usefully tell Calc "I want everything in this row to three significant figures" I haven't found it yet, but -- one of the big tedious data-wrangle jobs I've been stalling on for the current paper is NEARLY THERE.

5. Bodge-repaired oven meant we got sourdough breakfast bread, hurrah, and maybe I'll manage to deplete stocks enough that I can actually start feeding it again. (I took a small aliquot to Belfast, and ended up bringing back... a significant quantity, so I now have two healthily-sized household gods and it's A Problem and I might actually have a go at pizza dough.) (There was OVEN PHYSICS and it made us both laugh.)

6. TOMORROW I will LEAVE THE HOUSE and GO TO THE ALLOTMENT and SOW SOME NIGELLA SATIVA because having got The Wretched Spreadsheet mostly wrangled I will gleefully and with relief Take A Morning Off. I am really looking forward to this.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
spot the difference!

preferment: the selection of clergy to hold positions of senior office in the Church (of England) (largely obsolete)
preferment: a preparation of a portion of a bread dough that is made several hours or more in advance of mixing the final dough

my recreational reading, you see, currently includes a nontrivial amount of Austen and a nontrivial amount of The Theory Of Sourdough. APPARENTLY in this modern day and age we don't believe in clarifying punctuation. as a result I am spending a lot of time being very confused about theology.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Reading. Mostly Predator's Gold, the sequel to Mortal Engines, because I found it for two quid in a charity shop and I wanted to know what happened next. Spoilers beneath the cut. Read more... )

TV. Slow progress with Leverage S4, encouraged by a visitcousin who's very into the show. Still pausing several times an episode to go YOU WHAT. THAT ISN'T HOW ANYTHING EVEN. (It's possible I've been spoiled by Matt Damon's Important Space Potatoes, but like, show. SHOW. That is NOT HOW POTATOES.)

Food. I had... two surprisingly faily attempts at sourdough, after a long run of Good Bread. One was in no small part because I started cooking it using the grill rather than the oven because I was Not Terribly With It (...), but both were more of a bread-puddle than they ought to have been. I eventually worked out that I'd made the starter slightly wetter than it had been previously, which meant I needed to decrease the liquid some. Nevertheless our guests this weekend (my parents; a cousin) have consumed three loaves in their entirety, and cousin will make further inroads into the fourth once I've baked it tomorrow morning, so that's all gratifying. For bonus points the cousin is in the process of setting up her own starter so I am getting to do lots of Sourdough Nerdery with her.

Tiny adventures. Yesterday we took a trip to the Giant's Causeway, because it's right there and it would have been silly not to (and also I only waited this long because my mother had put in a special request that we delay it until she could join in). It turns out that despite perfectly well knowing the relevant physics for columnar jointing and therefore what the scales involved are, I'd somehow interpreted "Giant's Causeway" to mean that the jointing itself was on a giant scale i.e. I was expecting diameters of, oooh, at least 75cm or so? Rather than... the thirty-odd we were actually getting. Which, to be fair, is still a good deal larger than my previous in-the-wild encounter: we'd plonked ourselves down in a pile of bracken in a streambed to have lunch, one day during my mapping project, and went "oooh, that's a funny-looking rock..." It turned out, on slightly closer inspection, to be a very small exposure of some really small columns (diameter ~5cm), and I was charmed and delighted. (They were SMOL.) So, yes, this was much more impressive than that, in both scale and definition, and I'm very glad to have seen it, even as I wist after being able to do the proper hike. I hadn't realised about the concave-and-convex ball-joint horizontal fractures as a result of vertical contraction because they're less spectacular so my lecturers just... didn't bother mentioning them? But they were charming, I was charmed, hurrah.

Today we visited HMS Caroline, because my mother is interested in naval history (and my father can be persuaded to be) and it spent nontrivial amounts of time stationed near HMS Essex, which my great-grandfather served on; in the most recent trip to the mouldering ancestral pile some of the things we dug out were A Lot of records pertaining to his time aboard both the Essex and, before that, on the cable-laying ships working the Atlantic. The Caroline is remarkably accessible -- they've installed three lifts, and the ramp to get on board is only unnavigably steep at high tide. I... had a bunch of feelings. [personal profile] me_and's favourite fact was probably that regarding the ships mascots during WWI: two cats and... a rabbit. (I'm not sure I can generate one, because feelings.)

This week coming. Hopefully actually managing to send off a draft of my paper; hopefully actually getting the final data for the final segment of it; hopefully getting to spend a good deal of time at the allotment.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Good things: this afternoon the fracture clinic cheerfully told me to piss off; my cousin managed to arrive just as I was leaving for said fracture clinic and therefore get a key off me (and my parents didn't arrive til after I'd returned); and for bonus points there was a rainbow.

And over the course of the afternoon and evening I have prepared a second loaf of bread, to prove overnight and to eat for breakfast, hopefully after just baking it rather than grilling it.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Food: gosh but the sourdough was Excitable about having milk sugars to eat. Very tall, very soft, very close crumb, much less chewy than the water-based ones I've been making; also rather sweeter and rather less tangy. Definitely an interesting variation and I'm definitely going to use up the rest of the flagon of milk tomorrow to make another loaf.

Politics: I keep thinking to myself with grim hilarity that, hey, if this is actually about parliamentary sovereignty, well, the EU has never been found to be in contempt of Parliament, which means it's doing rather better than other party in these negotiations.


Jan. 29th, 2019 02:10 pm
kaberett: (sokka-facepalm)
Item the first: I am absolutely become, apparently, the kind of person who gets Mildly Cross about not taking cheesecloth with them when they travel for more than about a week. (I'm still not buying the 10m roll.)

Item the second: this means I'm using up some of the milk-as-needs-used in a slightly experimental loaf of sourdough, instead of just turning it into paneer for dinner. (This has the bonus that I don't need to get my act together when A is actually in the house; the sourdough's generally happy with filtered water than with mains water, as recently mentioned, and while we have a filter jug at home out here we've only got A's filter-as-it-goes-along water bottle.)

Item the third: I was most of the way through mixing this up before I remembered I'm not supposed to eat calcium at breakfast.

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: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
My starter is much happier when I feed it filtered water than when I feed it mains water; this is presumably because it is, fundamentally, A Culture, and mains water is deliberately treated to discourage that.

So: currently, after I've removed 100g of starter to make bread with, I'm feeding it equal masses of spelt flour and filtered water (in theory to approximately double the volume; in practice, I'm often doing ~50g of each), giving it a good stir, and popping it back in the fridge. (I did have it in a Kilner jar, with the seal ring removed; currently it's living in a Sistema soup mug, which most importantly means that if I drop it it won't shatter everywhere, but has the added bonuses that it's fairly light and that the lid clips on firmly and it can still be exposed to the outside environment and air and local cultures by dint of having the steam vent opened. In addition to which the pot is freezer-safe so I can Just Transfer It To The Freezer if I'm going to be neglecting it for longer than a week.)

The day before I want to make bread I'm removing the starter from the fridge and sitting it on the side to warm up overnight.

Read more... )


Oct. 22nd, 2018 07:31 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Today in doctors: I have bronchitis (I am forever amused that so many illnesses are just called [Greek for body part]+[Greek for "it's a bit cross"]) and an antibiotic prescription and stern instructions to spend some time steaming myself. Apparently I am to expect coughing for two weeks after the end of the antibiotic course, just Less Bad Than This. On the upside this has provided some helpful-for-my-brain calibration on "what's bad enough to bother a GP about" in this specific domain, so hopefully less time it'll involve less angst.

Today in cookbooks:
  • the copy of The Fat Duck Cookbook that I had espied in the window of a closed charity shop yesterday was... still there. So I popped in to make its acquaintance, having already told myself very firmly that it was probably going to be twenty quid and I wasn't to get it if it was more than a fiver and anyway it was probably offputtingly mostly meat... so I sat there leafing through it, increasingly absorbed, and finally grudgingly checked the price. Which was £6. So I got it, obviously.
  • while browsing the library shelves for more of the Leiths books, I came across an actual copy of smitten kitchen every day, found a sticky-toffee-pudding waffle recipe, and decided I needed to bring it home for A to poke at (his current favourite waffle recipe -- have I talked about the waffle iron here? -- is a lightly tweaked version of smitten kitchen's essential raised waffles, adapted to work better and more consistently with our set-up, and writing it up For The Old Blog is on my todo list), and then to my mild outrage found... a recipe... for porridge... I'm actually plausibly willing to eat, neatly solving at least some of my breakfast problems (provided I use non-calcium-fortified milk): caramelised pear baked oatmeal.
  • ... and also The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry, which looks like a fascinating memoir of a year (two years?) of study at Le Cordon Bleu, so I intend to nestle into that good at proper.
  • finally in Today In Cookbooks, I continue getting on very well indeed with the Leiths How To books; I think this attempt at sourdough is going to be my best yet, possibly to the point that I get to tick "get competent at sourdough" off my culinary skill acquisition list for the year ("learn how to make neat pastry" is also tentatively in the running for getting ticked off, again thanks to Leiths). I will find out tomorrow.

This week in allotment: compost bin had cooled down a fair old way again due to running out of food while I was in the Peak District, but I gave it a big feed onnnn Saturday, and temperature was rising again by Sunday evening. (I'm about to have another big feed for it, because I'm using up the last of the frozen veg stock in tonight's stew and therefore boiling up a new batch from the scraps bag, which will then go to become More Vegetables.) The squash is recovering well from the powdery mildew; the damage is increasingly less miserable. I only have one large fruit ripening up, though, so I'm not convinced I'm going to get a whole heap of them this year even if I do let them just keep going in the unseasonable weather. The spinach, however! Is doing magnificently! So our future contains A Lot of spinach.

This week in HOUSE: A has indulged me A Great Deal on the topic of DIY, including an IKEA trip to acquire (1) a blackout blind and (2) a curtain rail. The idea is to make the living room both more lightproof (for when we have guests staying) and warmer (because A has pre-existing Big Velvet Curtains that will cover the French window nicely, in addition to the current slightly flimsy blind); he put up the blind last night while (heteronormativity!) I was making pasta sauce (using tomatoes from the patio and courgettes from the allotment...).
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  1. I keep being startled by how at home I feel, here: how settled and secure and stable I feel. This is unequivocally the most secure I've ever felt about housing. I keep going "hmm, might be nice to rearrange THAT a little..." and then just... doing it. I just acquired new shelving for the bathroom so the guest towels will be more accessible and the second bedroom can hopefully get sorted out some more; I'm acquiring miscellaneous cooking accoutrements (most notably all the ridiculous piping and pasta gear); I'm acquiring stuff, like somehow my subconscious believes this isn't short-term, this isn't something where there's no point getting Stuff to make it nicer because I won't be (in a position conducive to) sticking around for long enough for it to be worth the financial outlay and the hassle. This is a new and precious feeling and I'm not quite sure what to do with it.
  2. I appear, touch wood, to have fixed some longstanding issues with my desktop machine by simple expedient of installing the proprietary nonfree graphics drivers rather than the open sourced ones. I am really quite relieved that using it is likely to be massively less frustrating; it's very useful when I'm wrangling multiple spreadsheets or graphs or whatever.
  3. Went to the cinema with A tonight and am glad of it, and am looking forward to working my way through the rest of the list of films.
  4. I am very grateful to all of you lot for looking after me; I've been feeling much better for the conversations you've been having with me over the past few days.
  5. This afternoon I left the lab at a sensible time at a sensible breakpoint with some of what I'd hoped to do left undone, in order to get home in time for Cinema Plans, and I'm glad I did and I'm finding it very interesting refocussing from "didn't do everything" to "I have lots of time, I'd not have gained much by getting to the point I first thought of today anyway, and I stuck to my timetable for the day and had a lovely and fairly low-stress evening as a result."
  6. ... not harmed by the ineptitude on the part of people responsible for medical scheduling, which means I no longer have a high-stress low-reward medical appointment next week, and can instead quietly get on with spending an afternoon in lab (and probably going for a walk through Hyde Park after).
  7. Where by "I have plenty of time" I mean "to get the lab-based necessaries done before I go on interruption for surgery, even taking into account my plan to spend approximately two weeks in Cornwall over the end of April and beginning of May". I thought I was only going to be able to go down for one week, given lab work; I'm increasingly convinced that two (coming home for the weekend in the middle) is actually plausible, and I'll miss A but Cornwall at the beginning of May is one of my favourite places in all the world. I'm looking forward to being there, for the hundredth-birthday-that-isn't, and I'm looking forward to bringing back some wild garlic to plant out in the tub I have set aside for that and sage. (Currently growing in boxes on the patio: rosemary, parsley, mint. I'm nursing some basil along indoors; we'll see how it does. And then there's the decorative succulents, and today's bonus cut-price orchid...)
  8. I am not cold all the time. There is sunshine and daffodils and the weather is very nearly perfect for me.
  9. Tomorrow I get to paint people colours; a friend is coming over to have her hair redyed, and I'm going to take the opportunity to retouch A as well. I continue delighted at being presented with convenient non-allergenic animal fibres to play with.
  10. I am pleasantly surprised by how well my sourdough culture is getting on with being fed buckwheat. I much prefer the results to those I was getting with a rye-based starter, and finally feel like I'm starting to get sourdough to do what I want it to. Experiments ongoing, but positive.
kaberett: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
Defining my terms at the top of the page. )
The part where I wryly tell anecdotes so you can gauge your interest in reading several thousand words on the topic
I've been talking intermittently over the last little while about shit like theology as repository of psychosocial extelligence (e.g.). Thursday lunchtime I realised with some dismay that I needed a purification ritual and I needed one fast and all of this is stuff I'm cobbling together as I go along, but I ended up with: sorting out my hair; showering even though it was hard; scrubbing my face and hands with some of the nice salt we keep in; moisturising with the E45 that I stuck a couple of bay leaves in lo these many years ago; eating half a teaspoon of honey from a friend's parents' hives; and then I spent the journey over to the tattoo shop meditating, and now I have symbology etched on me, and it is good -- but I have also realised that I've been doing most of my talking about this stuff via chatting with people one-on-one and I might perhaps benefit from going into a bit more detail, a little more formally.

So. )


kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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