kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
  1. The dishwasher may be broken but we did, in fact, blitz the washing up. All of it. In about twenty minutes. So now the kitchen is livable again, at least temporarily, while we wait for the electrician to show their face again, hurrah. (The dishwasher is A Saga. tl;dr the first time it blew the 15A fuse in the consumer unit we assumed the fuse had merely reached the end of its natural life. The second time it did it, we summoned an electrician, who pulled apart the plug and went "I think that's your problem, mate", which seemed reasonable enough. The third time, there was an audible pop from the dishwasher but the 13A fuse in the plug was fine and the 15A fuse in the consumer unit had gone again... and so did the fuse in the circuit for the washing machine, immediately, when A swapped it in to try to finish the cycle. So then we spent a bit of time Not doing the washing-up, and summoning an electrician, and so on, and now hopefully said electrician will reappear tomorrow.)
  2. I am 3.5k words into structuring and fleshing out a benefits appeal for a friend. It Is Gonna Be Okay. I am Somewhat Tired but, also, this is a thing I can do and do well, and it's important work, and it feels like a concrete contribution to both the friendship and, like, Society As A Whole, so that's a thing.
  3. A picked up burritos on his way home, so that (a) I didn't have to think about food and (b) we didn't generate any more washing up.
  4. Turns out I enjoy Barack Obama's writing, too, not that I am particularly surprised by this at this point. I'm finding it absorbing and soothing. (I'm not managing to focus on it much, but I am managing a bit, and that's currently something of a relief.)
  5. I'm not sure what the source of the bells that chime the hours is -- whether it's one of the churches, or the Albert Memorial Clock -- but the tolling of the bell across the water soothes & situates me.
  6. Slightly to my own surprise, I am actually, in the middle of all this, managing to generate ideas and sort-of string together scribbled and highlighted sentences in the current PhD paper, some of them involving ideas.
  7. On which topic, I am in fact in Belfast this week. There was some degree of uncertainty: I might have been pulling a couple of long days on the mass spec, but as it turns out the machine is having a strop, which means that instead I am At Home and looking out across the river and in company.
  8. I am very much enjoying the ongoing uptick in activity around these parts, long may it continue; I'm perpetually low on generating-interactive-words (between the current paper and the benefits-wrangling for myself & others) but it's lovely to get to brush against your collective individual lives from my sofa in the corner, and it's lovely to receive comments, and thank you all.
  9. Yesterday, at the penguin enclosure, I put a Piplup on the adjacent gym, to keep the shiny Psyduck (also blue) that was already there company. It's still happily sitting there being a tiny blue penguin Pokemon, and I am smiling every time I think about it.
  10. We definitely didn't steal a red panda and absolutely have compelling alibis (animal went missing; was recovered safely).
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: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  • there is now 4G signal downstairs at the mouldering ancestral pile. Four bars of it! This is astonishing; for a long long time you could just about get half a bar of signal for making phone calls in a couple of spots in the attic if the weather was fine. So that's instantly added to the property value without us even having to do anything...
  • abstracted from the m.a.p.: an icing-spreading implement, a hopefully-competent bread knife, an ice-cream scoop, a tiny fork, and two butter curlers. (One of them is steel-handled and larger and probably more usable; the other is smaller and wood-handled and very emphatically from West Germany.)
  • after a quick triage (and unloading the Phormium tenax from the car, I now no longer have three clumps of P. tenax cluttering the place up, the car is Very Muddy but it's a hire car so that is FINE) we pottered off to Roskilly's for lunch and a little grockleism, via Goonhilly and an introduction to Arthur, because A had not been before. Apparently they're moving the Jersey herd onto a New Zealand-style once-a-day milking regime (rather than the standard British twice-a-day option) so we didn't get to see the milking (AND health-and-safety means you're no longer allowed on the dairy floor to cuddle the calves, boo) but we went up to the gallery anyway and showed A all the explanatory signs and pointed out the high-tech milking stations to him. (The once-a-day milking is from around 10 to around 11:30, so given that I'm intending to commandeer A for another visit to the Hepworth museum and sculpture garden at St Ive's, we might have another go at saying hi to the cows on our way out one day.) We DID, however, meet quails (smol round angry borbs!), and Long Ducks, and a guinea fowl, and some turkeys, and A Lot of chickens, and some very enthusiastic goats, and a Tamworth pig (which A bought food for -- 50p -- and then fed delightedly).
  • In the course of my afternoon it became rapidly apparent that the Pile in the cellar, which I'd assumed was mostly empty cardboard boxes and disintegrating plastic bags and the leads cut off expired toasters... was, once upon a time, Papa's work area, such that underneath a thin veneer of soggy cardboard boxes and disintegrating plastic bags (and expired medication) is, in fact, an incomprehensible jumble of rusty pipe wrenches and even rustier tins of paint and brand-new still-in-packaging tools misc. from Coopers of Stortford (a curse upon their house). The thing is, it also contained Grandpa B's Billy Hooks (these are apparently A Thing) -- and at the back of the second cutlery drawer (do not, gentle reader, be fooled into believing that there are only two cutlery drawers) we also found some miscellaneous silver napkin rings and more importantly Grandpa B's service napkin ring (with his WWI ships and deployment dates engraved on it), and Papa's equivalent (off the Royal Engineers). The other thing is that we have house clearance people coming next week and we... really can't! just let them do their thing! without losing stuff like that! so we have to sort it ourselves anyway first.

... it is An Adventure.

Misc.

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. A. very gently and patiently telling me to pick a film, and when given précis of Ponyo and Kiki's Delivery Service picked the latter. So I watched it again, having forgotten most of it, and was charmed again.

2. A. made dinner, in which we continue using tomatoes and herbs from the patio, and I find it soothing.

3. I took a break halfway through the film when a friend arrived to spend the weekend holed up in the second bedroom having a thesis-submission-related essay crisis, during which I made plum-and-apple cobbler and also made substantial progress on putting together the wheelchair I'm to deliver next week. (I have now met a Quickie Xenon and its baffling folding mechanism, being very used to the Kuschall Champion that is my main chair.)

4. While I did have a panic about having Cocked Up relating to all the various wheelchair-related parts that were required, I've got some bonus kit out of it and I asked for appropriate help & support in Sorting It Out. (Actual Sorting It Out to follow, but sketch plans exist.)

5. Neither of my computers has gone bafflingly wrong in several days, and as a bonus I "fixed" the issues I was having with playing mp3s in Firefox by... "upgrading" (slightly dubiously, via the magic of being extremely selective about the unstable repository for Debian) to ESR 60.1, having established that Tree Style Tab now exists for this brave new world. I am genuinely mildly surprised at how much I don't hate it. (I would like there to be more and better ways to get rid of visual clutter, but at least some of it has an API in development honest guv, and as for the rest I can just about remember how CSS works and I can definitely copy and paste other people's code.)

6. I have just had an excellent giggle with H over Captain Awkward imitating life; we both read the first two sentences of one of today's short question and went "IS THIS US"
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. I've been complaining a fair old bit, over the past few months, that I've been feeling very resistant to writing up therapy notes but I couldn't tell whyyyyyyy and it didn't make any seeeeeeeeeense. It turns out that, as ever, brains are sneaky little buggers, particularly in self-defence, and the reason I was so reluctant to engage with therapy notes is in fact exactly the reason I go to therapy. Which is: I want to have a responsible adult around to spot me while I do a bunch of emotional heavy lifting, and as it happens part of why I find writing up therapy notes so useful is that it makes more stuff cohere, i.e., it's more emotional heavy lifting. Only I try to do it all in one chunk without a spotter. And over the past few months, when the reluctance has really set in, I've by-and-large been stable enough that I've actually been digging into long-term change, which is much more intimidiating than short-term fire-fighting when it comes to looking at it solo. Well done, that brain, but it's okay, I promise, we got this.

They get less ambivalently positive! )
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
On Friday night I got back from Cornwall, for the second time in a fortnight. Treasures found include a leaflet from the opening of Goonhilly Downs, a brief diary kept by Papa in the latter half of 1940, typewritten letters both grumpy and endaring, and lots of photographs of varying vintages of relatives various including my great-grandmother and -- of particular interest to me -- Mama icing the Nikolaus biscuits she made us every year, and a family holiday with people standing on the bit of mountain that is the reason I'm a geologist. Horrors included the new mouse nest in the piano, the headline "Don't invite vermin into your home" adjacent another different nest, the receipt from 1964 (WHY, Papa), and guidance on completing your tax return from the early seventies to the mid-nineties inclusive.

I brought back patient letters about European voltage harmonisation for A to read, along with Kerrier District Council guidance pursuant to the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and an ancient newspaper clipping about a brood of 27 ducklings.

Last night I ran a pile of coppers through vinegar before feeding them to my whale; this morning I spent some time placidly experimenting with picking rusted keyless padlocks while A put waffles in front of me. This afternoon I have been scrubbing down the top of the picnic bench, having acquired the necessary materials to generally spruce it up slightly earlier on, and I've repotted my ridiculous little jade plant into a better soil mix (and confirmed the presence of rootlets in the process). The wild garlic and sage I brought up from Cornwall last weekend are doing well in their tub; the rosemary is incredibly cheerful about the run of dry weather; the parsley is starting to think about flowering.

I'm doing okay.
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.)
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: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  1. The parsley has enthusiastically established itself in the pot I liberated from the secret patio. (The mint is also doing well, if in the process of considering hibernating.) This means that I can open the patio door, step outside, grab a handful of parsley, and put it on whatever I'm eating. This is a way in which the world is As It Should Be, and is deeply soothing.
  2. I am now, with A., a lot of the way through season 2 of Leverage. I continue to entirely predictably swoon over Elliot, and am particularly enjoying his dire threats of violence against his teammates (which, M, reminds me A Lot of Bucky and Natasha, which is probably some of why I find it so endearing).
  3. I am super bloody impressed with myself for Putting In Place The Necessaries For My First eBay Sale, having been putting it off for approximately ever, which will hopefully lead to slightly fewer wheelchairs and mobility scooters in my house (current count is five; in principle that's going to increase to six on Monday because Reasons; writing up the saga of why even is something I have a tab open for). Go me for being something approximating brave and resourceful, largely through a lens of stubborn.
  4. I continue greatly enjoying Pokemon Go; I'm absolutely delighted by the number of Round Blue Friends in generation three (which I never actually played -- the only game cartridge I actually owned was Silver). (Friends! That are round! And blue!)
  5. It is looking rather as though I will (unexpectedly!) be able to play in both of the remaining concerts of this academic year -- I was anticipating medical faff preventing me from Orching, but Silver Lining to some of the ongoing nonsense is, actually I probably get to keep making music. I'm now feeling somewhat sheepish about how little I've practised over the holiday (though I should probably try to remember that I have been rather ill, all else aside), but! Music!
  6. I appear? To have persuaded the chair I'm currently mainly using ("big chair" -- the one with the power-assist and the supportive seating)? To stop having a meltdown every time I look at it funny? One of the wheels kept getting itself very inscrutably unhappy (error code "7", which the manual helpfully describes as -- not in quite these words -- covering a multitude of sins), in a way that was only fixable by unseating and reseating the ten kilo battery, and eventually having sent it off to the manufacturer and had it come back in an identical condition twice, I grittd my teeth and faffed with the for-dealerships-only badly-translated-from-German ("not" and "now" are importantly different words) manual (the first time I did this particular thing I ended up just going back to the German) and recalibrating the damn' wheel and... it hasn't done the thing again? In almost a week? I am cautiously hopeful.
  7. I am feeling Enthused about Dreamwidth stuff (possibly because I've decided I categorically don't have the brain for actual sentences this week, and have given myself permission to stop banging my head against that particular wall) and in particular have got my act together to start tentatively organising another volunteer weekend (if you want to know about this and don't, see [site community profile] dw_dev).
  8. Sleeping all the time notwithstanding, I am so far doing a reasonable job of Actually Interacting With People More, and it's lovely & very, very good for me. (Thank you especially to the folk I'm repeatedly flaking on -- your patience & understanding & kindness etc is particularly appreciated.)
  9. I am dealing with A Lot of stressors with, if not aplomb, certainly solid application of self-care skills and minimal fallout for other people -- two wheelchair sagas, two medical dramas, an academic deadline, ongoing mental health work; and while I'm definitely operating at elevated anxiety levels, I'm only operating at elevated anxiety levels, and frankly that's pretty fucking magic. Well done me. Very well done me indeed on the curious observation & the self-directed kindness & the patience & the acceptance.
  10. Having had one day of it already so far this year, I am really looking forward to the weather being generally mild and pleasant enough that just propping the patio door open and curling up in the breeze is feasible. It's going to be lovely. (And also, as ever, because it is a perpetual delight, the accessibility of the flat in general. And the PANTRY.)
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
  1. NEW HORN CASE NEW HORN CASE NEW HORN CASE. I have been meaning to get one for Literally Years -- basically since I got this horn, in fact -- because my horn... doesn't actually fit... in the case that was supplied with it... such that I had to remove a slide every time I put it away, and this massively raised the barrier to doing practice at home. More recently, the zips have been gradually giving up. SO. On Saturday A accompanied me on an exciting adventure to Paxman, whose step-free entrance is hilariously locked up at weekends so Everybody Learned Something, and I now own a case that (a) my horn fits in, (b) has working zips, (c) fits on my lap much better for wheelchairing, and (c) is BLUE. Detachable-bell, space for a mute, I totally failed to spot it on the website, props to Paxman for pointing it out to me (it was actually slightly cheaper than the thing I'd gone in expecting to buy).
  2. Because Borough Market is right there if you've visited Paxman, we had excellent fresh pasta for lunch (I had the pumpkin and ricotta tortelloni; they were brilliant). Further inspiration for the Surprise Charity-Shop Pasta Machine, etc. I just looked up how to make tortelloni.
  3. On Sunday I finally got around to adjusting Lightweight Wheelchair: I'd extremely belatedly spotted that the pushrims were on the wider of their two settings, and if I moved them on to the narrower the chair would probably need slightly less finessing to get through the front door. However, changing the setting involved removing the tyres and inners and both layers of rim tape, so I didn't get around to it until Sunday afternoon (sat on the picnic bench on the decking in the sunshine, with the patio doors open). I only holed one of the inners, promptly remembered that set of tyre levers always does that, and added them to the charity-shop pile! The chair fits through the door comfortably! My wrists are still somewhat sore (my hand strength isn't great and these are Schwalbe Marathon Plus on 1" rims, okay), but I am pretty pleased with myself, and with finally living somewhere that all my chairs are actually trivially usable. Give or take getting another cushion so I don't gotta swap them around as much.
  4. I absolutely adore The Ruin of Angels (the latest in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, the first five books are available as an ebook omnibus for under a tenner, highly recommended) to the point that I'm researching what the blue mineral most likely to be local to Kavekana is so I can Have A Relevant Theological Necklace. (I'm gravitating toward sodalite, but have tweeted the author to ask...) (... and he hasn't responded but I did on Etsy find an Exactly Correct pendant bead so, er, whoops? Whoops.)
  5. I am having Feelings about the latest Check, Please! and partnership and mutual support and interaction. (Cup I - Playoffs, future Alex.)
  6. When my baby brother got into the van at Bristol Parkway on our way down to Cornwall the other weekend, he handed me a milk chocolate trilobite that he'd picked up at a museum because it was a trilobite and obviously. Naturally I have not yet been able to bring myself to eat it, so I keep finding it when I'm shuffling things around in the kitchen and grinning again.
  7. PASTA PASTA PROOF-OF-CONCEPT PASTA. Ricotta tortellini with sage butter; and then we ran out of ricotta, so tagliatelle with Italian Hard Cheese, pepper and Parsley From The Tub On The Patio (which is looking very cheerfully established, HURRAH). Turns out tortellini are actually easier than tagliatelle at least at the proof-of-concept who-cares-if-they're-all-the-same-size stage; I have learned Many Thing and am looking forward to trying again, and am genuinely impressed with how well the dough worked given that I arrived at it by eyeballing a Graun How To Make The Perfect... column and then fiddling with ratios to achieve a quantity I thought we could actually eat.
  8. Having seen Night At The Museum 2 doing the rounds on Tumblr (specifically the scene with the Tuskegee Airmen and Amelia Earheart), when I stumbled upon Night At The Museum in a charity shop for £1.10 last week I jumped upon it, having got the two confused. Happily, today I discovered the sequel for £1 in a charity shop, so next time I am feeling Sad and want to Curl Up On The Sofa Watching Something I have that lined up. I will cry.
  9. I continue Greatly Enjoying Pokemon, and am particularly smug because today I took part in a raid and ended up with a Suicune with shit IVs, so I... caught it on my second Pinap berry, for 12 candy, because double-candy event. (I will explain this in more detail if anyone is actually interested & doesn't understand!) (Also I really need to write up my Fascinating Sociological Study in Pokemon Go at some point, but for now suffice it to say that the person I've most made friends with is currently ill? And I ran into her mum outside the sorting office yesterday morning, and we had a brief chat about the world, because obviously.)
  10. I am about to embark on a His Dark Materials reread, not least because A has acquired us tickets to An Evening Of Conversation in the relatively near future, with ticket price including a copy of The Book of Dust -- so given how hideously behind I am on new releases, I think I'm just going to do the reread and then read the new one once I have it. But AAAAAAAAH. :D
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Yesterday afternoon, at 4.30pm, I sent off the latest draft of the current paper to my co-authors in advance of our meeting on Tuesday. I had been working at it steadily, in small chunks every day. At no point did I stay up past midnight working on it. It isn't perfect, partly because it can never be and partly because most of the outstanding stuff relies on getting input from a co-author who's been avoiding my e-mails since April; I'm very pleased with myself for maintaining sensible sleep cycles, and for sending it off "unfinished", because I don't think there is actually much to gain from me carefully polishing the presentation and formatting of an appendix that is not yet complete.

2. The casserole my mother bought me (I think when I started the PhD) is currently full of apples I brought home from my parents' on Saturday evening; I've done about half the bag, and everything smells correct. (It's James Grieve; they're mostly not available commercially, but they're what I grew up with, and I'm always faintly disappointed by apples that aren't them. So: I gathered up a quantity of them, and I'll gather up a quantity more when I go for dinner tomorrow, and I'll jar them, and I'll have enough to put on yoghurt and in crumble and in cake for the next year, I hope.)

3. Passing a pound-a-bowl market earlier today, it transpired that the cardboard crates of two-or-so kilos of blueberries really were one quid each. So I got one of those (I was not going to buy more, to get home on public transport), and I need to decide how many to freeze and whether o jam any and if I want to make clafoutis happen, and so on and so forth. This is a lovely problem to have.

4. Shortly afterwards, while poking around charity shops looking for yet more tablecloths (pace the Graun), on my way home from a hospital appointment that was uninspiring but unproblematic, I found a pasta maker for fifteen quid. Nobody I asked said it was a bad idea quickly enough, and that's how I ended up heading home on public transport with a lap full of pasta machine and two kilos of blueberries. "...", said a friend. "How does this stuff even happen to you so much" "I really don't know how you live like this" "But well done" -- which I will take. (This also, conveniently, provides me with My Next Cooking Goal. I think I probably don't care about the spaghetti attachment but I am eyeing up the ravioli one...)

5. I am sitting in the corner of my sofa, facing the French windows, looking out on the grass and the sunshine. (I love this house.)

6. I am now, after today's adventures in public transport, most of the way through CN Lester's book Trans Like Me. I keep crying over it in public. I have been earwormed with a song off Come Home, Not Again (and have just put it on: I'm used to breaking - but not this time/Of all the things you've taken, I'm not giving me from mine/I know I'm better lonely but alive).

7. On which tangentially-related topic, I recently got my act together to actually listen to Jesus & His Judgemental Father's latest, It Might Get Better, and I just absolutely adore the lyric my breakfast is an existential crisis. And I have a whole pile of books to curl up and wallow in, which I'm very much looking forward to -- Provenance, which I haven't yet had brain for, and the new Max Gladstone, and the new Nnedi Okorafor along with some of her back catalogue, and all the Kai Ashante Wilson I just acquired, and...

8. Board games! On Sunday I went to a board game social being run by my BSL-teacher-now-friend (having been a longstanding friend of A's)! I negotiated social anxiety in the run-up! I played two new-to-me games, with one person in the group each time that I didn't previously know, and it... worked? I didn't cry? I panicked a bit at the start of the second one but actually it was okay? I did the thing? I won one of them? I... am really, really proud of myself. I am so aware of how much progress this is: eighteen months ago, or thereabouts, I finally finally managed to persuade myself to sit down with a rulebook and an Adam in our living room and have a go at playing Thud!, which I'd wanted to basically since I saw it being play-tested at a Discworld convention. I think I ended up crying twice just reading the rulebook, while A was in the kitchen carefully giving me space to have a panic? I ended up crying a bunch more over the course of our couple of experimental collaborative games? ... I just played two new-to-me games with strangers, on no more prep than breezily informing people that I have hilarious boardgame-related trauma, would want to spend five minutes anxiously reading the rules in silence before starting, and that if I asked a question about game mechanic and it wasn't addressed to you by name then pretend I didn't say anything and let A answer. I... am so pleased with myself.

9. ... slipper socks. I sort of resent that I like them so much, and they are the precise opposite of what the podiatrists I was seeing wanted me to do for wearing around the house, but fundamentally I really hate slippers and would by defaul be barefoot but also my feet get really cold really quickly. So now I own two pairs of ridiculous slipper socks, and I wear other socks underneath and slouch around in them, and I spend much less time with my feet painfully cold?

10. ... and on Thursday I'm heading down to Brighton for The October Ritual, an aquarium trip, and Terre á Terre, which I've been curious about for a while.


There is lots that is good that is going on. I'm spending the weekend in Cornwall (well, driving to and from -- a lightning visit is To Be Made), and while there will be Wrangling To Be Done I am also, very much, looking forward to going (however briefly) home.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
(at which point I'm moving house) (we are picking up the keys on Thursday morning) (NEW HOUSE NEW HOUSE NEW HOUSE)

We -- [personal profile] me_and, [personal profile] sebastienne, [personal profile] shortcipher -- got into London Euston at a quarter to seven this morning, having taken the sleeper down from Edinburgh. We got up to the Fringe on Saturday and spent most of the time there running between shows (sorry to everyone I totally failed to give a heads-up to, or to visit!), and I am Very Happy about this, and was also Very Tired. So I spent quite a lot of this afternoon -- after a medical appointment at the wrong end of town -- asleep; A, meanwhile, went into work and then promptly fell asleep in my lap more or less as soon as we'd eaten dinner after he got in. I have spent the intervening time doing paperwork of variously terrifying nature (HOUSE and also PhD), getting slo-o-owly caught up on parts various of the internet, and being gradually encroached on.

Some edited highlights:Read more... )
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
1. Food. )

2. I received a quotation for the wheelchair repairs currently ongoing; they're somewhere under half of what I was bracing myself for, which is a great relief.

3. Excellent lunch with a good friend in a small friendly deli in South London. I was particularly intrigued by (but alas did not sample) the tiny gluten-free strawberry-and-elderflower cheesecake.

4. The trip to and from same: a beautiful cherry-blossom mural on a building's front wall; a garden riotous with poppies somewhere between bud and full bloom; irises and weird little fuzzy orange things and colours everywhere.

5. Physio, on the train to and from, and reading books with it: still working on Hope In The Dark, but I'm about halfway through now and then I'll move on to Hugo reading.

6. I dyed A's hair again last night, and am pleased with the result. (It is all-over red, because red seems to wash out of his hair more quickly than blue, in the interests of i. checking whether the new red is actually a red and ii. getting it to a state where I can actually try putting a rainbow in it with minimal rebleaching of previously-bleached hair. In fact, because this means I put a lot of red on over blue, he's got what is in essence a red-into-deep-purple ombre going on, with a darker red layer on top and a lighter red layer underneath.)

7. I am delighted by the conversation that's going on in comments over at the enchilada recipe. Thank you, folk, I keep cackling with delight. <3

8. Academia. )

9. I am continuing to sincerely enjoy Pokemon Go.

10. Chelsea Manning.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  1. food )
  2. Also food. )
  3. Still food! )
  4. I am still chewing over last week's Elementary, and redemption arcs and chosen family and boundaries and necessities and narrative imperative in tension with multiple kinds of emotional satisfaction, and the things I find myself wanting -- superficially -- from the story, given points-of-view, and the odd and bittersweet relief at instead getting what I need. The murder plots make no sense, but then they mostly didn't ever; I am still very much here for the characters.
  5. My new CEA card arrived in the post yesterday, which means I will stop feeling faintly guilty about "wasting money" every time I go to the cinema. This is a Good Thing, given how much I'm looking forward to Hidden Figures.
  6. I'm having a really tough time writing an abstract this week, for a variety of reasons, but in the face of that I got a draft in more than 18 hours before the deadline that I was actually reasonably happy with, via the iterative-improvement approach to writing. It needs substantially rewriting, but I've demonstrated that my techniques work, and I've got reasonable confidence that the substatial rewriting wasn't in fact me wildly misinterpreting what was going on.
  7. I said no to someone, and it was fine. (And indeed several other someones, which was less fine but which left me feeling better than I would've if I'd stayed silent.) I told someone I'd screwed something up, face-to-face and more-or-less straight away rather than stewing for six hours over sending an e-mail, and it was fine. Both were really difficult, and I did them.
  8. I appear, via UCH, to have found a sustainable set of strength-building exercises to do that are resulting in measurable improvements. I'm dealing with a lot of complicated Feelings about this pretty well.
  9. Some stripy tulips were much reduced in the supermarket last week; they've been sat in a glass jar on the dining table slowly drying out and turning interesting shapes ever since, and they make me feel soothed and safe and at home.
  10. I am forever gently amused by the thing where, when A is around, we sleep under a single lightweight duvet and are frequently too warm. When he's away, I end up nesting in a pile of that duvet, my three-season much-larger covered-in-dinosaurs duvet, a weighted blanket, and a big soft non-allergenic stripy blue blanket -- and I end up comfortably warm, and with a lot of weight on me, and it's very nice to have occasionally.
kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
1. Rose lemonade. Read more... )

2. Pad thai. Read more... )

3. Orphan Black. It turns out that I am still very emotionally invested, okay: I have to keep pausing it to squeak. (I also paused it to stare, narrow-eyed, at the perplexing geology, and then to, um, take a screenshot. to keep staring at. later.)

4. Cyanocitta stelleri (Steller's Jay), and #dreamwidth, who identified the source of this image in particular for me. Excellent blue; ridiculous crest.

5. Aphelocoma californica (Western Scrub Jay). Also an excellent blue.

6. This hedgehog, which tumblr thought it was important for me to see.

7. A Brief History Of Tax Evasion In Britain (Or: Panama Is For Posers, Now Brick Up Your Windows).

8. Check, Please! fandom is giving me lots of people-adoring-each-other to roll around in, and is also giving me lots of really thorough and thoughtful incredibly iddy fic ([personal profile] staranise wrote a really detailed soulmates AU that I just want to smoosh my face on, okay?).

9. An amble round the charity shops in the sunshine this afternoon yielded a film and a gift, in addition to, you know, the part where I got sunshine.

10. I am having a possibly ridiculous number of Feelings about continuity-of-community and shit about this thing in passing, and I... really need to be asleep so I'm not even slightly going to go into the details in any depth now, but I've been having A Rough Week Or So on several related topics so this was A Good, alright.

ALRIGHT. Sleep. xx
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Tulipa 'Gavota'
Circular bed of interplanted tulips and primroses. The primroses are Primula 'Stella Snow White' (white) and Primula 'Stella Lunar Gold' (yellow); the tulip is Tulipa 'Gavota', with tall pointed petals that are a very deep rich red on their body, with brilliant yellow edges.


+3 )

  1. Yesterday, after doing a lot of tedious and stressful administrivia, I dragged myself over to Kew on the grounds that it was sunny and I should take the opportunity while it existed. (Today has been drizzle interspersed with hail; I made the right choice to drag myself out there yesterday.) The various Prunus are doing excellently; the camellias are gorgeous, though I'm still working out which white double cultivar I'm after; the rhododendron are not quite there yet; and the tulips are magnificent.
  2. I am enjoying SL Huang's Russell's Attic series immensely. Huang is an MIT maths graduate; the eponymous Cas Russell is very, very good at maths, and uses this to work decidedly illegal job markets very competently. I'm not in a position to judge how good the mathematics is, but I will say that the villainous supervolcano lair subplot in book 2 only made me pull a face very briefly, and one of the principal characters is a wheelchair user who's done competently. They're fun; I'm tearing through them; if you have issues with mind or memory control, or gore, or violence, these are probably not for you, but perhaps go read Huang's short stories instead?
  3. This afternoon's foray into capitalism involved the acquisition of Mad Max: Fury Road and some ceramic baking beans that were substantially reduced. (This evening's plans involve "curling up in bed with hot chocolate and MM:FR".)
  4. Food! )
  5. Food! )
  6. Food! )
  7. My xkcd Garden contains a tortoise! And, bafflingly, two humans, and some things that are possibly pet rocks. A. informs me that his contains an octopus, and I am deeply envious; on the whole I am finding this comic strip a much more soothing implementation of the general idea of Mountain, and to be perfectly frank if anyone gets around to writing an Android app I will be all over that.
  8. It is seven twenty pee em and it is still properly light. I came back from a brief shopping trip at eight forty-five last night and the sky wasn't completely dark yet. You had better believe I am basking in this.
  9. I have some (slightly unexpected) clarity on health misc, which involved less of a fight than I expected it to (I am so, so tempted by the noncompliance is a social skill t-shirt), and I'm doing a good job of sorting through brain misc as well.
  10. I have outline notes for all the sections of the job app; I'm going to turn them into first-pass sentences, because apparently this iterative work thing is good for me, and then I'm going to curl up with a film, I think. Yes. Good.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Tuesday afternoon I went to Otherworlds with [personal profile] sebastienne -- an exhibition of space landscape photography -- and it was so good, people, so good. It was so good I started crying less than fifteen seconds after entering (good little space robot). I accidentally left with a scarf and two postcards. I am going to drag [personal profile] me_and along and let him wander the hall while I sit and cry over my favourites. I am willing to take absolutely anyone else along at all to wander the hall while I... sit and cry over my favourites, with breaks for getting loud and overenthusiastic at you about how geology is fucking FANTASTIC, okay, BECAUSE, right, [a totally relevant and utterly enthralling fact]. The curation is brilliant (you get to see reflections of other photographs in the black backgrounds of the ones you're looking at). I just -- I had a lot of feelings, okay, and then they leaked out of my face.

(And then we went and recuperated in the Members' Room for fifteen minutes before braving the thronged hallways of It's The Natural History Museum And It's The Easter Holidays once more, and a small child sat thoughtfully on the sofa said to its mother, "I wish the WHOLE WORLD was made of candy... except for us," and then in the queue for the accessible loo I had a fantastic chat with another three small children about why I use a wheelchair, and how it's polite to ask people before you touch their wheelchairs, and how they could give me a quick push to see how easy it was, and how I could do wheelies. OFFICIALLY COOLEST GROWN-UP IN THE TOILET, okay.)

And then! An Evening Of Unnecessary Detail! This month's -- it is a monthly thing -- featured Tom Scott (talking about emoji), Morgan and West (the time-travelling magicians), and a couple of other people [personal profile] sebastienne and [personal profile] shortcipher were actively interested in, I think; it was a show in three thirds, each third being subdivided into three acts; there was one act I Actively Disliked (a whole bunch of misc oppression-perpetuating not-actually-very-funny jokes strung together as a thinly-disguised ad for an upcoming show), but the other eight + MCing were great. I am now actively into Helen Arney and Marian Call (particularly Good Morning, Moon), and I also learned a great deal about how to cook in hotel rooms from [twitter.com profile] georgeegg (it had not occurred to me that balancing a cereal bowl on top of the kettle would give you a double boiler, e.g.).

Meanwhile I have been reading a lot of excellent short fiction. Over the past few days I have particularly enjoyed John Chu's Hold-Time Violations (the politics of physics; content note for ill mothers) and Restore the Heart into Love (orthography); SL Huang's By Degrees and Dilatory Time (transhumanism and aids and vision; content note for cancer and surgery), and the diptych Hunting Monsters (content note for abuse) and Fighting Demons (... I mean this also has content notes but I am struggling to word them); and I have finally got around to starting T Kingfisher's The Raven & The Reindeer, which thus far I am finding very comforting.

And there is sunshine, and I am basking in it.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
1. One of the picture prompts Duolingo gives you when you're learning German and it asks you to translate "the sugar"? Is a bowl of sugar with vanilla pods in. I am charmed, and also sort of curious about whether it does that for other languages and I just... haven't noticed.

2. I am signed up to the London Business School Behavioral Research Lab, which means I sometimes get an e-mail inviting me to participate in a study in exchange for cold hard cash. This morning I got to drink a small quantity of beetroot & passionfruit juice (selected from a tray containing a variety of juices), read some feedback about it, and then give my own. It took about 15 minutes all told, I got paid a tenner for it, and I continued very gently learning to like beetroot. (It was surprisingly tasty, and paid for half my new ereader. This makes it a win all round.)

3. I've actually been managing to swap e-mails with P over the past few days! He's been responding! It's been lovely, not least because he pointed out an excellent bit of costuming that occurred in Elementary 4x17 that completely passed me by -- namely, Read more... ).

4. I think I have worked out why some of the creme brulee attempts have gone grainy! I'm pretty sure (I have not kept adequately detailed notes) that it happens when I pick up cheap extra-thick double cream and let it out with a little milk, as opposed to just using double cream. So that is a mystery solved, for all the mechanism remains somewhat opaque to me. (Ideas?)

5. ... A. just brought the last creme brulee through, with the last of the strawberries he picked up for me last week on top, and two spoons, and proceeded to lean companionably against me while telling me all about how en-GB-oed is his problematic fave. hashtag domestic bliss, etc etc etc.

6. I got to stick my name at the top of a file in the Dreamwidth codebase, today, because I'd written more than 10% of it (or 100 lines, whichever is smaller; in this instance, 10%). It's a tiny feature that like one person (possibly two people?) is going to (be able to) use, but I think that's still actually the first time I've got to do that, and I am Contented.

7. I had shakshuka and bagel for breakfast, and bagel and cheddar and cucumber and a strawberry for lunch, and textures and flavours and yes.

8. I was on time to (or early for!) all my appointments in spite of Tube Shenaniganry (the Piccadilly line just wasn't for much of this morning, okay), and the staff at my local station did a top-notch job of looking out for me, and then pleasant brief commiseration occurred on my way back in. (People who have had that much of a morning 100% get me explicitly thanking them and wishing that the rest of their day gets better.) (I gotta say, given what today's been like for them, I really hope they enjoy tomorrow's strike.) And then I made a phone call I really didn't want to, and removed another source of uncertainty; and then I dealt with some other stressors. Yes.

9. I am so endlessly, immensely grateful for having a warm and comfortable bed that makes me hurt less and that soothes me. (I have a memory foam topper from freecycle; memory foam pillows from my mother; a weighted blanket of my very own; soft duvet covers, and soft micofleece blankets, and stripy tulip pillow cases my mother thought I should have.)

10. Have a ridiculous song. (Oh right, what was actually going to go here was mild amusement at the intersection of interests of public transport, graphic design, zoological illustration and a specific animal species that means I've probably managed to luck into sorting A a Very Appropriate Present -- this is not spoilers, I've had a chat with him about how much effort I'm willing to go to in order to achieve the thing -- but I sort of wandered off into being distracted. So have two cheerful things for the price of one.)

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