liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I got to the airport far too early and let myself get funneled through beyond the decent shops. At least they have cheap internet, so I can give you a brief catch-up of the last week or so.

family visit and Xmas stuff )

Now I have used up the dead time between clearing security and boarding the plane. I'll probably add more links and explanations to this when I have more time. I am going to be in England until 3rd Jan, though most of that time I'll be pretty hard to contact as I'll be at Limmud or various Christmas parties. I am looking forward to seeing some of you, which should partially make up for being offline. UK mobile number is 07803 000865, though I shan't have my phone switched on all the time.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
...to Screwy who has been awarded a Masters degree in philosophy, with distinction noch, and has a place to start a PhD next year.

...to my mother, who turned 60 recently.

...to [livejournal.com profile] hatam_soferet who has been honoured as one of the 50 most important Jewish figures of 2007. Woo!

As for me, I haven't been home before 9 pm all week, and even later than that several times. So I'm still alive, but I have no time to do anything.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Now, where was I up to? Oh yes, I got back to England safely with [livejournal.com profile] lethargic_man. I then set off on a mad dash all round England trying to cram a year's worth of socializing into a couple of weeks.

yay friends )

I think I'll break this here so it doesn't get too long. There's still quite a bit more account of wandering round England to report; I spent the next week and a half in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Brighton, Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, London and Cambridge, seeing all kinds of lovely people.
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
Remember that discussion where I was trying to explain why Screwy doesn't believe in memes? Well, he showed up to put his own point of view. If you're at all interested in philosophy of biology, go and read it.

While I'm on the subject of my clever sibs, P'tite Soeur recently graduated from Nottingham with a 2:1 in French and Latin, so many congratulations to her. That's all four of us through higher education at long last (Screwy is supposed to finish his Masters at some point around now, but I haven't heard an official announcement yet). So between us we have just under 50 GCSEs, nearly 20 A Levels and 20 cumulative years of tertiary education. None of us has a steady job yet, mind you, but we're working on it in various ways.

It is midnight (which means I should be in bed) at the summer solstice, 60 degrees north. You don't quite get midnight sun here, but it is un-dark, with the sky sort of pinkish.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Several minor domestic crises meant that I didn't make it into town on Friday, just stayed at home chilling out with the parents. I was falling-over tired by supper time, but decided I should at least stay up to greet Screwy when he arrived. It was a good thing that I did as he'd managed to forget a small but critical part of his lifting equipment and needed several people to help lift him into bed manually. But we chatted for hours so I still didn't manage to get a full night's sleep.

Saturday we went to synagogue. The community here are so dedicated that even the weekend before Passover we had a full congregation, so it was a good opportunity to catch up with lots of cool people. Screwy didn't make it until the final hymn but managed to do his gracious celebrity thing during Kiddush. The community have moved to a new and much more suitable venue which happens to be exactly opposite [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas' flat. We decided we couldn't get Screwy into the flat on the first floor with no lift, so we went into town to hang out at ground level.

Lunch at Clowns, to relive our teenage years and because a place with a convivial atmosphere and cheap, hearty food and fantastic desserts is still a good thing. Then we moved to Jesus Green to continue our convoluted philosophical debates. We were so absorbed in the discussion that we brought [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas back with us to continue it.

In order to give Mum a break after she'd been cooking all day, we decided to order takeaways from the new Indian restaurant that has just opened in Shelford. This turned out to be a complete farce; they kept us waiting for over two hours, and then admitted they'd lost our order. You can give them some leeway since it was Saturday night and they're very new, but this was way beyond reasonable. We managed to finish the Times Jumbo crossword while we were waiting, at least. Ended up with someone else's order which they'd given up waiting for, which fortunately didn't contain anything obviously treif but unfortunately was an order for two or three, not six. So we bulked it out with some rice and leftovers, and we were all relaxed enough that we took the fiasco calmly.

I still didn't get the early night I was hoping for though, what with eating so late, and another long conversation with Screwy. He doesn't believe in memes!!! I'm working on getting his arguments into a form I can post here so you guys can join in this debate.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
My cousin J is getting married! Yay! He proposed to his girlfriend (they have been living together for several years, so it's not exactly out of the blue) and she accepted.

I like J's fiancée a lot, so I'm really glad that I'm going to be related to her. Plus, weddings are cool. And J is someone I grew up with so he seems very much of my generation.
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
So. I have booked a one-way flight to Sweden for 27th April.

...

Nothing organized, but it will be. I'm playing the same trick as I did when I set myself a hard deadline to make myself finish my thesis.

You might not see me on LJ very much in the next few weeks. Please write emails, even if you'd normally just rely on my keeping up with you via LJ; emails will cheer me up a lot even if I can't check them every single day.
I wouldn't in a million years wish for Screwy to be stuck in bed for a week, but I'm still selfishly glad I got to spend some extended time with him this week. He left while I was on the phone to my future landlord finalizing things, so I didn't get to say goodbye to him. But hey, he's my brother, he'll be around.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Yesterday we spent with the brothers in Brighton, as planned. family news )

Today I joined the University Library as a temporary reader. It's a surprisingly non-scary and efficient procedure. Then I came home and found an email suggesting that progress is being made towards finding me somewhere to live in Sweden, at least short-term. I went to tell my mother about the development, as she likes to be involved in this sort of detail. And we ended up having a blazing row, the more frustrating because I had no idea what we were arguing about and when I tried to get Mum to explain she just cried and apologized for being stupid. Blah. I need to move out, though the prospect gets more scary as it gets more real.

Now my diary plans are firmed up a bit, let me talk about next week. I will have some free time in London on Sunday afternoon, Wednesday morning, and potentially any or all of: Saturday lunchtime, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening. I will also be at Coffee in Borders on Tuesday evening. Does anyone want to meet up any of those times? Please tell [livejournal.com profile] neonchameleon if you want to come to Borders; he's the official organizer.

Yay family

Dec. 25th, 2005 08:37 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I've had a lovely day with my family. We had a huge argument, mainly about education but also about social mobility and prescriptive grammar and politics and all sorts over lunch. The we spent the afternoon watching Shrek, which is cute, and nicely animated, and does a reasonable job of defying expectations. I'd like it as froth apart from the fact that it utterly, horribly butchers Hallelujah. There are some bad covers I just can't forgive.

Then the first chanukah candle, interspersed with lots of silliness. I don't care very much about chanukah, but having the whole family together singing cheesy chanukah songs badly is lovely.

Happy!

Sep. 16th, 2005 04:58 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
My brother (Screwy) is here, yay. He's just come from Israel, and was planning to spend the night and then head straight off to Leeds, but they don't need him in Leeds any more so he's here. Yay. It's good to see him, and hang out with him, and argue with him.

Also, I have encouraging noises that aren't quite a job offer yet from another quarter (German p53 factory, and I shan't be more specific in a public post). It's probably the job best matched to my skillset of any job in the whole of science, so I was fairly certain my application would be favourably received. But it's still gratifying.

On a further happy note, [livejournal.com profile] greengolux is very, very funny.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
When I got back from Dundee my aunt R and cousin S were at home. They decided more or less on a whim to come and visit from Australia. They're both fun people and I haven't seen them in years (due to an excess of geography) so it's good to catch up.

At the weekend, we made a trip to Brighton to see my brothers. adventures )

Oh, and gradually catching up with book reviews:
- Poul Anderson: The broken sword
- Iris Murdoch: The sandcastle
- Mary Doria Russell: The sparrow
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I have spent over 16 hours travelling in the past two days in order to go to my sister's 21st. This is probably an indication that I'm completely mad, but I'm glad I did it anyway.

party on! )

OK, so I'm dog-tired and my nose and throat are irritated by all the cigarette smoke which is also making my hair and clothes smell disgusting. But it was a fun weekend and it's very lovely to have the freedom to do crazy things like that!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I just got an invitation from my baby sister to her 21st birthday! Now, this really shouldn't be news, because straightforward arithmetic would have told me that she was turning 21 this year. But that doesn't mean I was actually expecting it. Buh! Scared now.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)

Sociable shabbat, part a

Friday evening, I was invited to dinner with a cousin. relatives )

Yay for excellent cousins!

News flash

Aug. 18th, 2003 09:34 am
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Yay, my brother is home!

He's currently living in Bridget's in Cambridge, until he can sort out more permanent accommodation. He has a flat lined up in Brighton, and is planning to go back to Sussex to complete the final year of his degree. Between now and the start of the university term, he's planning to spend time camping at an illegal festival in the depths of the Home Counties, and travel round central Europe in his van with some mates. So no, not behaving like a decorous just out of hospital citizen, but if you know Screwy at all, you wouldn't expect anything else.

I realize that there are some people who read this who aren't going to have any idea what I'm on about. So, for the benefit of those people: back story )

So this is really excellent news, Screwy was going mad being cooped up in hospital when he wasn't ill, so it's great that he can now start to get on with his life again. If you know people who know him and don't read LJ, please feel free to pass on this good news.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
So, the funeral. Not because I'm trying deliberately to be depressing, but because it's something I think worth recording. And some of this story is amusing rather than depressing.

First amusing thing: I get on this train Thursday evening to get back to Cambridge. And it's just over six hours, so by the time we get to Doncaster, I'm getting a bit too tired to do anything stimulating, but therefore bored just sitting watching boring parts of the NE go past the window. And I hear this announcement This train is now arriving at Doncaster where a disabled passenger is boarding the train. I think, duh, what was the point of announcing that? I wonder what Screwy would say if he heard! And then what should happen but both the brothers get on the train exactly at the door I'm sitting by. I completely wasn't expecting my brothers to be on the train; I had no idea that Screwy was even going to be allowed out of hospital for the funeral!

Not so amusing: Funerals should not be full of twenty-somethings, apart from the chief mourners who are all much older than the deceased. This is just obscene. It's also the first time that I've managed to be on time to an Orthodox funeral and so managed to hear the first part of the liturgy. It's quite... bizarre, basically a selection of quotations to the effect that God's judgement is always right and above human questioning.

More generally amusing stuff: Lots of family there, leading to plenty of embarrassment because I really can't tell all my second and third cousins apart. Screwy is greeted like a minor celebrity, as many of these miscellaneous cousins haven't actually seen him since his accident, due to his being stuck in hospital most of the time, and quite a lot of them living abroad.

Granny calls Dad's sister a a bossy bloody Jewish bitch (pot, meet kettle; at least Auntie E doesn't say that kind of remark out loud!) And Screwy calls our first cousin E a corporate whore, though not quite in so many words. But E takes this in good part, because she's way too good-hearted to take offence even at Screwy's total lack of... inhibitions.

And we get to meet E's famous bf at last. In appearance he is the ultimate Latino fantasy: Argentinian, very dark colouring, tall and well-built, sculptured face with jet black curls and huge blue eyes. Poor boy, the funeral wasn't the ideal time for him to be introduced to the mafia, but he coped remarkably well, and he was generally approved of.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Details: (c) Barbara Kingsolver, 1999; Pub Faber and Faber 1999; ISBN 0-571-19763-9

Verdict: The Poisonwood Bible is an all-round good book, though nothing exceptional.

Reasons for reading it: Impressions from the media that it was my kind of good thing meant that I'd vaguely intended to read it since it came out.

How it came into my hands: The library

detailed review )

***

Now I am heading to my parents' for a family funeral, namely that of my second cousin JC. He died yesterday of brain cancer caused almost certainly by the treatment he had for leukaemia as a child. He was only a few years older than me; it's one of those tragedies that are so common as to be almost banal. Anyway, I didn't know him very well, but I am quite close to his mother and younger sister, so I'm going to their funeral to try to find some sort of words that are not offensive. Back Sunday.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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