a note--

Jan. 11th, 2015 12:29 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
-- to say that I am doing very well! The absence here has been because I have slightly-to-my-surprise been busy.

I am currently actively reading Saladin Ahmed's The Throne of the Crescent Moon for book club; I have poetry by Audre Lorde, Stephen Dunn, Carol Ann Duffy and Rilke out on loan; I have just finished reading a book by Nnedi Okorafor (Zhara, the Windseeker) and am now intending to read everything else she has ever written. I continue listening to Vienna Teng on loop; I have just watched Elementary S0309 twice and am having lots of feelings about it!

Yesterday I made three huge vats of curry, some rice, and some chapati. I fed lots of people. It will keep feeding lots more of us.

I have code that increasingly does what I want. My slightly scary meeting with my supervisor on Friday was in fact incredibly exciting: I plotted up all of the data I've spent the past 15 months acquiring, and some really intriguing things popped out. The paper we were conceiving as "the ocean island basalts" paper - relating to intraplate volcanism only - looks like I might actually have things to say about all volcanism on the planet. And ergo mantle processes in a much broader sense than expected. Which -- yessss. All of a sudden I feel like my project is taking shape and making sense.

Also received a very pleasing compliment-shaped-thing on the topic of my poetry, aaah.

I have just flung myself through the shower and am heading out to Kew for a little while now with my useless ex and my housemate; this evening we are going to watch a free livestreamed CN Lester gig at 8pm GMT (I seriously seriously recommend CN if you haven't come across them - singer-songwriter, pianist, dealing awesomely with interpersonal interactions and mental illness; plus they're genderqueer so, you know).


Dec. 20th, 2014 04:44 pm
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I am curled up on a sofa in a bay window overlooking the Ouse, on which lights are reflecting, listening to P remind himself how pianos work. His parents are through in the kitchen putting together dinner (I helped with food last night). We bimbled briefly through town this morning - along a stretch of the wall around the minster, via a cafe that served us pistachio-rose-cardamom cake - and I spent much of the afternoon napping while he caught up on marking at his desk. Over breakfast I managed to actually help with a couple of Araucaria clues - P's mother had been saving the crossword for the next time he was around. This is proper lovely.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
... are dependent on my geographical context. In cities I like it for the first few hours and then find it enormously stressful, because it massively increases the difficulty of getting around (balancing becomes much harder; if I'm wheeling, control is hugely more difficult and my hands get soaked in freezing water and it's the worst thing).

Whereas: in mountains I adore it and even in relatively flat countryside I adore it. Basically, anywhere it's not going to get compacted to ice. Because it smells good (I love the smell of approaching snow) and it reminds me of glaciers and it makes the world blue and dazzling and -- yes. It feels like home, for one of my various definitions of home, and that is a comfort and a grace.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I think in fact I am going to turn to the thing closest-to-hand, which in the current instance is that I am reading a volume of Borges' selected poems in parallel translation; unlike my recent rant about Bly's translations of Neruda here the translations are a joy. They were prepared by a group of approximately eight different translators (I have on loan a copy of the di Giovanni edition), in close collaboration with Borges himself, and it is an absolute joy and clearly a labour of love.

(The other thing I am reading at the moment - well, I might as well make it what-am-I-reading-Wednesday, I suppose, slyly participating for possibly the first time ever - is Lightspeed's Women Destroy SF special issue, which again is a collaborative work: 109 women directly involved in bringing it to fruition, and over a thousand submissions. Again: it is a labour of love.)

-- I think, in fact, what I am attempting to tease out here is not the specifics of any one piece of art, much as the Borges poems are breathtaking both in their choice of words and in their ideas; instead I think what I am seeking is the concept of playing catch with art (thank you, [personal profile] elisem), of collaborating in the creation of beauty.

Thus, of course, my adoration for Elise's work, too; that it is created to hold stories, and part of the joy is finding the story that goes with the art (or at least that will sit with it for a while). That the tangible object is beautiful is a bonus: the same is true of intangible objects. The feeling of being part of a puzzle of a hundred or more people, breathing and moving in time to fit complex transient shapes together -- there is nothing like being part of an orchestra: in the playing, Purcell's chords are played away.

This is, slowly, a perspective I am managing to bring to bear on organised religion: that it's a collective attempt to codify what we've worked out about how we work, by muddling through, to put it in a form that we'll be able to remember. Thus "count your blessings" - despite how often it's said dismissively, as a challenge, whatever - resurfaces as my ten good things; thus everything happens for a reason; thus the focus on the universality and inevitability of both imperfection and love; thus ritual, thus remembrance, thus honour. (No Glory Save Honour, explained over the next few pages of that comic.)

So. Fact and fiction and poetry, all wrapped in beauty: how earnestly we try across time to take care of one another, to give the best advice we can, to work together and to make love: the collaboration, not the thing itself.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
On Friday evening we sat on a fifth-floor balcony under darkening skies with cheese and bread and fig jam and alcohol. I dangled my legs through the railings and admired the railings across the way. We talked and talked and talked some more. I gave him the selected works of Neruda I'd picked up in the branch of Foyles at St Pancras on my way over; I note with sadness that it shuts at the end of the month. (Still in England, barely outside London, the train passed a field of red double-decker buses that had been put out to pasture.)

On Saturday we ate at an intriguing vegetarian restaurant recommended by a friend (welcome to identify yourself in comments, just wasn't sure whether you'd be okay w/ naming <3) who was very kind about texting back & forth enthusiastically over the course of the morning. The afternoon we spent at the Louvre, where I was very fond of dragons and the cuticles/lines on a Nisus&Euryalis; and there was a tiny gallery of watches about which I was very excited because there was actually a set-up I'd never seen before -- watches with inbuilt sundials + compasses, presumably so that when they wound down/went too badly out you could establish the time in order to correct them! (Really, really excited - I've visited enough horology galleries to be genuinely surprised to come across styles of timepiece I haven't met before.) Said gallery also featured a very nice implementation of the hourglasses-displaying-subdivisions thing -- instead of a rack of 3-4 hourglasses to be turned simultaneously, it was a column of glass blobs that (one infers) emptied sequentially on the quarter hour. AND there was a gallery of scientific instruments and tiny portable armillary spheres, which always make me happy.

In addition there's currently a formal-gardens competition going on -- Notre Dame and a few other associated places seem to have decided on a theme of "The Illusion", by which they mean they've dumped a bunch of 5' tall mirrors in flowerbeds, which is fascinating if slightly creepy.

AND in the EVENING, after a route home via the confusingly-named Luxembourg park that to its credit contained an excellent brass band, we had EIERSCHWAMMERL. I was staggeringly excited to find them at the shop round the corner from P's, because they are very difficult to get hold of in any appropriate form at any appropriate price in the UK, but I got to do all the appropriate things with respect to frying them in butter with garlic and then drowning them in parsley, and lo it was good :-) (At same said stall I was delighted to find that at least in some parts of France the thing I would call Zwetschke is a questche! Not sure which way the etymology goes but will have a go at hunting it down.)

And then TODAY I slept a lot and then feasted well for breakfast (both mornings P popped to the bakery around the corner and returned with a bag of fresh croissant & pain au chocolat while I murbled around still being asleep in bed; it was great) and eventually we left the house; we walked past bookshops & coffee shops & through parks & the Musee d'Armee (nice dome!) & paused to eat fresh bread & fig jam & Selles-sur-Cher, which is my favourite goat cheese and much more readily available in France than in the UK; and ended up at the Musee d'Orsay, where I fell in love with the giant clock faces as architectural features on the top floor and also suddenly got the point of art galleries in front of le jardin de Monet, les iris -- or at least, I suddenly understood why someone might want to just sit and stare at a painting for hours. Additionally: lots of very nice stuff in the Art Nouveau exhibits, and once we got chucked out we hung around on the bank of the Seine to see the Tour de France go past -- P sort of felt he ought to, and so did I, as I'd ignored it in both Cambridge and London and it was right there and due to go by pretty much as the museum was closing...

... and that, having skipped over a fair amount of the intervening raspberry-and-pistachio-ice-cream, was that; I waved at the Centre Pompidou, managed through cunning overscheduling to fail to make it to Etat Libre d'Orange's flagship shop, for which my wallet no doubt thanks me, exclaimed with delight over a very great deal of architecture and a large number of flowerbeds, was delighted to come face-to-face with ponies, swore a lot about how much I hate people, was very glad I'd taken the wheelchair with me, and ate cherries. I continue impressed by how thoroughly pleasant it is to travel by Eurostar with chair - flat rate gets you business lounge & business premier & actually genuinely tasty food on board, so! I was happy and will do the thing again in the future.

Yes. Good weekend. No work, lots of reading of books, good company. Good.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I worry that I love you
because you are a mirror
(because I have made of you a mirror)
that reflects me whole-not-broken, shows me who
I can aspire to be and what
I am, elsewise unseen. I worry that
I love you selfishly. & yet - & nonetheless -

(you are the early morning thunderstorm
I drink hope from
that shakes apart my skies and scours me clean)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Codeine. (Codeine and HF turn out to be less axiomatically lethal in combination than one might have expected.) Basically: I've been having a pain flare since the middle of last week, to the point that I've gone "fuck it" and am taking maintenance codeine in addition to having upped my paracetamol dose. (I try not to do that because my supply of opiates is Limited, but hey. Sometimes the thing is necessary.)

2. Slightly to my surprise, I am actually bang on where I wanted to be with the ridiculous schedule [image|text], give or take the thing last week with a question mark on it, which I am... impressed by, given (1).

3. [personal profile] jjhunter wrote me a poem, and then wrote another poem that might as well be for me with as many of my buttons as it hits.

4. [personal profile] elisem made more shinies! Hel was over, and we SQUEALED WITH DELIGHT; it was brill. I am particularly coveting Night Protocols, The Idea, Rising, Emergent Properties, and How The Message Travels; I genuinely cannot tell if I want Watching Over The Lines (to go with Keeper of the Lines, about which I have written a tiny short prose poem THING that explained my own psychology to me more than I ever expected), because the wirework is glorious but it's not quite my kind of rock (both in terms of colour and in terms of research). And I'd love to love 'Much Ado About Nothing' As Performed By Fish for all sorts of reasons, including that it's my favourite play, but that one is definitely not something that wants to live with me for all it's glorious.

5. Burnt toffee dark chocolate, and unrelatedly blueberries.

6. Sunshine!

7. Talking to strangers on the bus, with the specific aim of helping lost tourists find a place.

8. P, who I am actually managing to catch up with some, which is great.

9. Watering my plants (the strawberries are trying to strawberry!)

10. Hel-who-came-over, who is coming over regularly on Wednesdays at the moment because housemate has gaming, I do better when I have someone to feed, they like being fed, and there is TV I adore showing people that they're wanting to get caught up on. Today: leftovers of yesterday's All The Minestrone (seriously, about five litres) and also courgette fritters, with wholemeal bread + lemon + lettuce.

I am tired and in pain but I am also happy. It is nice.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Last night's dream: arriving home (an amalgam of several rooms in college) to find that it had been broken into, and all my paperwork neatly filed and all my big stuff - my chairs and the like - scattered broken across a lawn out of sight until one went searching. (I say "more subtle than usual" because teeth ). This one at least was novel!)

I passed the transfer viva in spite of epically screwing up (I sent an old version of the report to my examiner, that didn't include most of the two weeks' frantic work; I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I MANAGED THIS but on the plus side my report is vastly the better for it and I learned a lot during the process).

I did the thing.

And now I am going to have pancakes with [personal profile] sebastienne and TOL, and after that TOG is likely to be visiting me, and Mia made more stunningly gorgeous art, and... yes. Yes.
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.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
A little while ago I put a cake in the oven. The tin is from my grandma; the Kenwood mixer I used from Papa; and the recipe was e-mailed me by my mother: she transcribed from Grossmutti's copy of the recipe in Cornwall, which she in her turn transcribed from Grausi's recipe in Feldkirchen, probably sometime in the forties.

Happy birthday, me. :-)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Item the first: I turned Rilke's Briefe an einen jungen Dichter into an ebook. Here's the epub; if you'd like other formats let me know, because I can trivially do conversions (with calibre) and upload. (There's a free translation into English as HTML; if you want that ebooked too, get the translator's permission and let me know and I can do that for you.) A favour request: Rilke's letters aren't up on Gutenberg, hence making the conversion myself. I'd offer my ebook to them but, er, they appear to require signing up to a forum to go "here I made you a thing", and I absolutely cannot face that, so if any of you are already involved with them, I'd appreciate it if you'd pass this on? (And, you know, if they wanted to compile it into a volume with the rest of his letters, that'd be nice too, but I'm not going to bother doing that til I've decided whether I get enough value out of this set for it to be worth it.)

Item the second: I've taken a small pile of not-terribly-good photos of entertaining/otherwise pleasing bits and bobs in my area. (I am... getting used to my point-and-shoot. The last one I owned took 35mm film, didn't have any ability to zoom, and I haven't used it in, er, A Very Long Time.) Seven photos below the cut. )
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
You do not press me neatly. You
do not fold me small. You do
not reduce me to simplicities.
You let me sprawl. You say
when I have (inadvertent) hurt you.
You give me choice and chance;
you ask that I be not afraid, and
take me by the hand to show the way.
It grieves my heart to give you pain, and yet
all this and more I'm joyful thankful for.
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
as our place
our joint decisions make the possible
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 )
kaberett: Yellow gingko leaf against teal background (gingko)
These are the steps of the morning: get out of bed. Daylight bulb. Teeth. Shower. Dress. Select jewelry; select perfume. (Try to remember, to summon energy, to brush my hair.) Breakfast. Pills. Is everything in my pockets? Is everything in my bag? Do I need a coat?

-- it's not that simple. It's never that simple. Sometimes "get out of bed" gets broken down into minute steps. "Shower" is almost always smaller than that: pyjamas? dressing gown? towel? bathroom. remove clothes. hang towel on rail. stand staring blankly into space. eventually remember how to step into the shower. eventually summon motive force to do it. is my hair up? do I know where my shower cap is? should it be on my head? did I actually remember my towel? fuck. hot water: hot water helps. now what? choose shower gel. spiky or warm? was it cold outside? did I get daylight when I opened my eyes? rinse. turn off water. try to remember how to get out of shower. wrap self in towel. stand staring blankly into space.

Some days, I can run through on autopilot. Some days, every motion is a choice (and every choice is hard). This is what living with executive dysfunction, exacerbated by depression, is like.

Read more... )

I still find it unsettling to realise how hugging myself in the bathroom, lost and all forlorn, somehow strings moment into moment into being, into brightness and beauty and confidence. I curl myself around these rituals; I draw strength from them; and I am building myself a life.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Creativity. What do you mean when you say it, or think when you come across the word?

This post brought to you by a conversation on a train.
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
1. Made it home in one piece, via some actually good interactions with people. I think particularly fondly of the woman who fussed at me a bit when I was attempting to get on with crossing a road, then suddenly realised that it was actually a kind of unpleasant non-light-controlled junction. Whereupon I grinned cheerfully, informed her that nobody was going to run me over, and so we crossed... and she grinned back and said, yes, okay, that was useful. Hurrah for turning the tables on that expectation. (Also there was a lovely Yorkshire lady being baffled and miserable at how to escape from King's Cross Underground to the mainline station, so I helped, and she was lovely too.)

2. When I got back in, there was trifle, and I got to eat it.

Read more... )
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
+ my mother is home from a week hiking - I'd been really missing her - and she very nearly the first thing she did after getting in the door was go rummaging through her backpack to show me the rocks she'd brought back. And damn does she have good taste - in addition to a bunch of really pretty stuff, there were three that wouldn't be out of place in the reference specimens collection for second-years in my old department. (One garnet-bearing amphibolite - seriously, the whole bloody matrix was dark amphibole needles; one specimen of a unit boundary between calcareous deposits + mudstone, all heavily metamorphosed; and one staggeringly beautiful hand specimen-scale example of garnet pressure shadows - the garnet's fairly well developed, about two inches diameter, hosted in Glimmerschiefer [sorry, I've forgotten the English, it's one up from shale], with astonishing green chlorite in the pressure shadow to either side. I cannot even. Garnet pressure shadows happen because they're Really Bloody Hard and very difficult to deform, so you get little protected areas either side where the squooshier minerals have wrapped around 'em.)

+ my baby brother ran his half-marathon and finished in - I think I remember correctly - 1h52. Between them, they've raised very nearly £13.5k for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (and at least £250 of that has come in since they finished!). One of the team came in at 1h21, 19th (out of over 500 people entered)! This resulted in me giving him a foot massage at the dinner table, after dessert - he started out Deeply Sceptical, but ended up asking me to explain how I'd done it so that he could carry on with it himself...! (I get a lot out of physical contact, within certain parameters - hurrah autism, all else aside - and being able to make people feel better is a Really Big Deal to me, in this as in cooking.)

+ Papa - my maternal grandfather - phoned up specifically to ask if I knew about the big geological news this week, and to offer me the newspaper clipping on the topic. I jumped at the chance, and also at his offer to read the article to me - because he thought of me, and he phoned me, and he loves me for all that our last phone conversation degenerated into a monologue about The Awful Queers (no, I'm not out to him), and - I hadn't actually read any of the details yet, and the fact that I'd had the paper open in tabs since it went around the facebook geologists yesterday is really neither here nor there compared to the fact that he loves me. We've seventy years and a lot of life experiences and a good deal of politics between us, and yet-- and yet.

This got long. This is good. )


Aug. 24th, 2013 05:14 pm
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Stones tell me stories.

[personal profile] elisem, on the other hand, tells stories with stones. I am perpetually in awe of her artwork, & strongly recommending going & having a look even if you are not interested in either jewelry or spending money.

(I am having Thoughts about the way I interact with necklaces and other jewelry as part of genderfuckery, and... it is interesting. In much the same ways that I interact with perfume, in fact, only this time with Rocks, and we know what I'm like about those.)


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

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