Climbing

Nov. 21st, 2016 10:16 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
So my OSOs' middle kid is about to turn 8 and she very emphatically wanted to continue the nascent tradition from last year that I'd take her out for a treat rather than giving her a physical present. There's lots of evidence that people (above a minimum subsistence level) get more out of experiences and spending time with loved ones than physical objects, but I'm surprised to find a small child who can resist the short-term gratification of a gift enough to be clear on that! Plus extremely flattered that she considers my company enjoyable enough to constitute a birthday treat. It's true that as long as she's known me I've been kind of useless with children as such, and she knows I love her and mean well anyway, and we've gradually built up our own ways to interact.

When the new child friendly climbing centre opened a few months before her birthday, the choice of treat was obvious. experience )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Things that are awesome:

  • It's spring, and we used our barbecue set and our garden to have a spontaneous BBQ just because. And before it we played in the park with OSOs and kids and after it [livejournal.com profile] ghoti stayed over so we actually got some time together and I feel so very loved.
  • [livejournal.com profile] ghoti made an entire multi-course fancy dinner out of chocolate, and it was even more amazing than it sounds from that description.
  • Cascade aka the animation from the end of Homestuck Act 5. I mean, it will probably make little sense and / or be spoilery if you haven't read Homestuck up to the appropriate point, but it's mindblowing.
  • [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel triumphed over geography and we managed a whole week together. And no, we did not spend all of it watching Homestuck.


Things that are decidedly not awesome: My cooker decided to die completely near the beginning of [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel's visit. Fixing it is probably going to be both expensive and a hassle, and meanwhile I can only cook at all with a microwave, which is really irritating. Besides, I shall probably have to throw out most of the groceries I acquired for feeding to [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel.

Also there is too much geography and too little time, and I want to see more of my people but can't see my way to sort out any of the relevant logistics.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Reasons for watching it: It sounded cute and [personal profile] jack and Judith wanted to see it.

Circumstances of watching it: [livejournal.com profile] ghoti was super organized and managed to book tickets for all of us to see a popular new release on bank holiday Monday when every family in Cambridge wanted to go to the cinema. Which meant I got to sit next to Judith and she could cling onto me during the scary bits. That was somewhat of a novelty, up to now she's never really come to me for comfort. Though being pleasurably scared by a film is not the same as being actually scared, but even so.

I'm super proud of myself because I cycled to the cinema, the one in the leisure park behind the station, from our home in north Cambridge. That's my first attempt at cycling through town; the roads were mostly fairly quiet due to the bank holiday, but not completely without traffic. And the longest distance I've cycled in one go, not quite four miles out and I still had just enough energy to come back. [personal profile] jack was really helpful at coaching me in dealing with tricky junctions and other road awareness stuff, which is what I most struggle with at the moment, and also took charge of the navigation so I didn't have to worry about that.

I'm really slow, but I always knew I was going to be a slow cyclist, and cycling to the cinema was still faster than taking a bus. Also more convenient and companionable because we could all cycle back together; my people have been really accommodating about taking the bus because of me not being confident at cycling, but it's clearly easier for everybody if we can all cycle. The advantage of being slow was that we could actually chat at the same time as travelling in a little convoy. Andreas noted that I'm not very good at cycling, so I told him that's why I need practice, and having done that once I now feel pretty confident that I will fairly quickly get to the point where I can use the bike as a viable means of transport.

I did completely crash when I got in in the evening; I knew I was hungry and tried to eat enough to replenish my used up calories, but I was still pretty shaky and exhausted. I think that's something that will get better with more experience, or else I need to increase my estimate of how much extra I need to eat on days I spend a couple of hours cycling.

Verdict Zootropolis is really sweet, but probably doesn't want to be thought about too hard.

detailed review, discussing metaphorical racism )

So I don't know, it's all good fun, but I wasn't able to turn off my brain quite enough to fully enjoy it.

Happy

Dec. 28th, 2015 07:22 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I finished university work on 18th, and since then I've had the most perfectly wonderful break. Generally I've just been glorying in uninterrupted time with various of my people, in groups and one-on-one, and I'm really happy.

while I was offline )Basically I want this to be my life and not just a special couple of weeks at Christmastime; I mean, I want a job, holidays are only fun for so long, but I would really like to be in Cambridge full-time so I can be with my people and not be constantly pushed for time. I will see if I can make that happen in 2016.
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
I've had such a lovely weekend! Though very little like I ever imagined a lovely weekend would look. contains religion )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
So one advantage of being out is that I can write diary posts about what I'm up to without being coy about spending time with my partners. Terminology wise, we've more or less settled on saying OSOs when we want to make a distinction between spouses and other partners, so I'll probably use that term a bit going forward.

In fact, [livejournal.com profile] ghoti introduced herself on the coming out thread and offers: But friends-of-Liv who'd like to get to know me better perhaps may wish to know that I will be doing December Days and that might be a good place to ask questions? [livejournal.com profile] ghoti is very much an LJ person and doesn't really do DW (indeed, DW-[personal profile] ghoti who is in my DW circles is an entirely different person whom I'm not dating, so I hope this does not result in any confusion.)

recent fun things )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
So this weekend I got to join in with excited small children going on An Expedition to the Science Museum. thoroughly wonderful weekend adventures )

So yes, weekends with lots and lots and lots of time with lovely people, and space and dressing up and dancing and tasty Asian food lead to a very happy (if very shattered) Liv.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
I spent some of the weekend at [personal profile] emperor's readthrough of Joss Whedon's Firefly. I'll write about the social experience behind the cut, and while I'm giving you the choice whether to read about the event, I'll also make some comments about the portrayal of sex workers in the series, and mention potential small spoilers.

mostly the good kind of drama )
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
  1. It's the first day of Succot. Yesterday several people from the community built a succah which is neither properly kosher nor structurally sound, but we had a lot of fun looking for branches and building our den in the sunshine. And I led an erev Succot service, which was cosy and homey and just the right emotional contrast to Yom Kippur. And yes, I still have the Eighth Day and Simchat Torah next week, but I feel like I've successfully done the hardest part of the major festival season.

  2. It's also the first day of the academic year. Campus is full and lively again and I don't start teaching til tomorrow. I have some trepidation about the coming term but I'm also really looking forward to the change of rhythm and to active teaching again.

  3. This is absolutely my favourite time of year, when the weather is often crisp and clear and the leaves are starting to turn and the air smells of fresh starts.

  4. I saw the super-blood moon eclipse! I hadn't intended to get up at 3 am to see it, but I just happened to wake up and I remembered that it was eclipse night, so I threw on some clothes and went outside, and there it was. It was a really clear night, the kind you never get when there's exciting celestial stuff you want to observe, and the moon was full and really did look red, and I saw just the sliver of it reappearing from shadow.

  5. Because of the start of Succot, I had a very truncated weekend in Cambridge. But I did get to spend a morning chatting to [livejournal.com profile] ghoti. And I went to the most amazing concert on Saturday night, with [personal profile] cjwatson. De Profundis are a very good all-male choir who do historically authentic Renaissance music, and they were singing sacred music from St Mark's Basilica in Venice, in Trinity chapel. I know about De Profundis cos [livejournal.com profile] megamole is one of their singers, but I would have definitely wanted to go to that concert even without that personal connection.

    I don't quite have the vocabulary to talk about what was exciting about the concert, but it was extremely memorable. Partly just I love choral music and I love Early (ie pre-Bach) music, and partly it was very good musicians in an aesthetically and acoustically excellent venue. The specific thing I'm excited about was something to do with the way it was specifically polyphony rather than the melody and harmony I'm more used to in Classical-influenced music. I felt completely submerged in sound and sensory experience, and at the same time completely intellectually engaged by the fascinating complexity. I really wished there was a recording available so I could listen hundreds of times and pick up all the nuance, but it was pretty stunning as a live concert.

    ETA: [livejournal.com profile] megamole linked me to a different group performing one of the pieces from the concert, which gives you some idea.

Life update

Sep. 8th, 2015 12:56 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
As I mentioned in a footnote to a reading post, I've had a really great but also really intense few weeks. Let me put a bit more detail here, partly cos I want to record some of the fun exciting things I've been doing.

diary, bit of angst )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Which is the kind of thing I not only don't do, but never have done. Only [livejournal.com profile] ghoti wanted me to go to a Blue Öyster Cult gig with her and although they claim they're always on tour they are not so very young any more and their only UK gig was Ramblin' Man Fair. So we decided to attend the fair, and in fact had a great time.

not very successfully pretending to be cool )

So yes, I'm really too boring for rock festivals, but it was fun to pretend for a few days that I'm the kind of person who travels across country and sleeps in a tent (albeit a posh tent) and stands around in muddy fields in the rain to hear bands I like.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I had a really lovely weekend. diary stuff )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
In an astonishing feat of logistics, we've managed to organize things so that I got to spend two consecutive weekends with [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and [personal profile] cjwatson and their family. And it was awesome.

diary stuff )

So two really lovely weekends, which have done a lot to make me feel relaxed and connected and good. I think I never really imagined my life as containing entire weekends planned around "family" activities, in the sense of family that means adults with children. So I'm doing quite a lot of assimilating of new experiences and building new skills, and it hasn't all quite melded together in my mind into something I can articulate usefully.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Back in England, back to work – exams season starts in earnest today. Also back to an official presence on LJ, after a six year gap. So, hi, LJ folks! There will probably be more noodling about this shift later, but for now:

what I did on my holidays )

Basically I really want to go back in time twenty years and tell my teenage self that she'll grow up to be the sort of person whose friends invite her to goth festivals, as a brief break from a grown-up life with a proper job. That she'll be able to wear the goth clothes she's just starting to pine after, and that people will think she looks good rather than ridiculous. And she'll come home to loved ones. I find it quite hard to believe that the past two decades have been so good to me, really.
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
I've had really not a minute to update DW since I decided that I'd post a bunch of short pointers to other content. And I'm not doing at all well about even writing my diary here. I'm going to put a brief summary here because I had a really great April this year and I want to remember it.

social diary )

Still, in spite of all this wonderfulness in my life, I've been feeling more or less perpetually anxious for much of the past couple of months. I think it may be partly the imminent election, for which I see basically no possible outcomes I'm going to be happy with. But it's mainly a work thing; there's not much specifically wrong, I'm just really struggling with the balance between short-term urgent stuff and long-term career goals, and I'm finding impostor syndrome feelings harder to ignore. My chest hurts pretty much all the time I'm alone and paying attention to my body rather than interacting with other people, and it doesn't quite feel like asthma and it doesn't quite feel like a cold and it doesn't quite feel like heartburn, just... sore. I have a bad feeling that this is somatizing a proto-decision I don't want to face that I don't have a future in academia. But I might actually be ill, and I might just be anxious in a way that doesn't mean much long term, dunno.

Anyway, I started the bit of the course that I'm somewhat in charge of today, and having started it feels a lot better than waiting expectantly for it and dreading that I'm not well enough prepared. So hopefully I will be busy in a positive and satisfying way for the upcoming three weeks. And at the end of that I'm going on a really really exciting trip with [personal profile] ceb and some other excellent people, so there's that to look forward to.

Stuff

Feb. 23rd, 2015 08:12 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Various bitty things to record what I've been up to lately:

diary )

Also, congratulations to [personal profile] randomling who correctly guessed that what I was thinking of in Pessimized Twenty Questions was Croatia. [personal profile] randomling, you're of course welcome to start a new round if you like, but perhaps a single game was enough, playing by comment discussion. Honourable mention goes to [personal profile] seekingferret who played with great cunning, coming up with informative guesses and not getting trapped in assumptions based on what had been discovered so far.
ETA: [personal profile] randomling started another round, do go and join in!

Home

Sep. 15th, 2014 03:04 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I'm a bit nervous that everyone is sick of this topic by now, but we finally finally moved in to our house on Wednesday. details, mainly for my own records )

So Saturday afternoon our friends started arriving for the housewarming. We had about thirty people over the course of the day. P'tite Soeur made amaaaaaaaaazing snacks and a gluten-free orange and almond cake iced with "Woohoo New House". Parents and Granny dropped by briefly and mingled with our friends, and lent us some chairs and plates to help cope with the numbers. Thuggish Poet showed up in the early evening with his new partner. People like [personal profile] doseybat and [livejournal.com profile] pplfichi and [personal profile] hairyears came all the way from London, and [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and [personal profile] cjwatson and [livejournal.com profile] alextfish and [livejournal.com profile] woodpijn brought their respective small children to run around in the garden. [livejournal.com profile] atreic and [livejournal.com profile] emperor showed up straight off the plane from America, which was extremely flattering! [livejournal.com profile] redaloud, a schoolfriend I've always been fond of but often only manage to see every few years, turned up and I took a break from hosting to hide in a corner and catch up with her properly. I was super-excited to see [personal profile] kaberett briefly between other social commitments; somehow hosting them was what really made me feel like the house was properly warmed. [personal profile] rmc28 and [livejournal.com profile] fanf arrived later in the evening and kept the partly lively until midnight.

It was exactly a perfect party, really; lots and lots and lots of good conversation, and I feel really loved and appreciated because so many lovely friends were excited to help us warm the house. People have been really positive about my spending more time in Cambridge and it's really doing me a world of good to feel so much part of that social circle. It's pleasing to know that the house works so well for hosting that kind of event, though we'd worried it might be a bit cramped. And we're looking forward to hosting smaller events where we can actually chat to people properly, now that we're not spending all our spare time on moving house and now that we have a home to invite people into.

Life update

Sep. 8th, 2014 01:35 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
We've been more or less occupied with househunting, both emotionally and practically, for most of 2014. It suddenly all ramped up mid-August and we ended up exchanging contracts at almost no notice and then completing 27th. We weren't able to arrange the move quite so precipitously, so [personal profile] jack has carried on living in his rented flat for a couple of weeks, with moving day scheduled for Wednesday.

holiday )

And then back to work for just a few days before the move, the second half of last week on campus and the first half of this week WFH at [personal profile] jack's place, giving us the weekend in between to sort everything out. I know moving is supposed to be stressful, but we've actually done really well this weekend, we got just about everything sorted and ready to go and even managed to find time to socialize at a BBQ chez [livejournal.com profile] sonicdrift and [livejournal.com profile] mobbsy. I've always felt like [personal profile] jack and I work well together as a team, and I think we're getting better at it with more experience.

I find it hard to believe we're actually moving in on Wednesday; getting a house together has been just over the horizon for so long. I am excited we will finally have our place to arrange as we feel like, but it's also quite daunting! Sorting out storage for all our stuff is going to be an ongoing challenge, I think. Anyway, once we're settled we will have both more free time (hopefully) and a better space for hosting, so I look forward to inviting lots of people round.

Oh, and lots of people are doing the meme of listing ten books that stay with you or that have influenced you or something. I thought I'd done this before and it turns out that yes I have, but nearly ten years ago! I think about three quarters of what I was going to list are still the same as the ones I put down back in 2005.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[As we used to say back on LJ: Been Away, Not Kept Up with Reading, Please Tell Me if You Posted Anything I Need To See.] It's not actually as bad as it used to be now that we have smartphones, I think I'm actually more or less caught up with LJ and DW, but I've been skimming. And I have been feeling semi-withdrawn from my online life, I've not followed Twitter or FB where the more real-time updates tend to be these days, but equally there's no point reading back when you've been out of contact for a while. I've not been commenting on posts or even cogitating and sparking ideas off them as I usually do. So I would definitely appreciate it if you pointed me to anything significant, either thinky or in the big life news vein, from the last couple of weeks.

My August has looked like this:
  • New PhD student starting in my lab
  • Long weekend with [personal profile] jack's family in Shropshire, with good food and the proper hiking I've been missing and time for sitting reading.
  • Long weekend in west Wales with [personal profile] angelofthenorth and [livejournal.com profile] gwyddno, with a different style of appreciating beautiful countryside and eating good food and all kinds of memorable experiences.
  • Exchanging contracts on the house I'm buying with [personal profile] jack
  • Worldcon, which is when I really started falling offline. I definitely do want to write up the con but the summary is I had a great time socially, including meeting some new people from DW *waves*, whereas the actual programming did not inspire me.
  • [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel visiting for a few days, which was extremely wonderful and felt, as their visits do, like a holiday out of time.
  • Long weekend in Cambridge seeing [personal profile] jack and my parents, and a production of Much Ado about Nothing.
And there isn't much of the month left but I'm hoping in the next few days to actually buy a house (if all goes smoothly, which it should at this point, tomorrow), and to go away for a few days actual holiday with [personal profile] jack.

And it's Elul, how on earth did it get to be Elul? That means I have less than a month until the High Holy Days and the start of the new academic year both hit at the same time. So I'm not absolutely promising more content here in the coming weeks, but I would very much like to get back to participating properly in my online communities.

Worldcon

Jun. 20th, 2014 10:45 am
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
It seems like almost everybody I know is talking about Worldcon, so I'm getting to the point of looking forward to a gigantic party with loads of people I am excited to see in person. 7000 people in a huge convention space is going to be extrovert heaven, omg.

I actually really wanted to get properly involved, not just attend as a visitor. So I signed up for the science track and put my name down for volunteering and panels and stuff. And then I got lots of emails and didn't really have time to deal with any of them. I have to conclude that getting properly into the con scene is just not going to fit into my life, sadly. However, the good news is that someone with influence has put me on a couple of panels anyway, I suspect maybe [livejournal.com profile] purplecthulhu or [personal profile] emperorzombie, so many thanks if it was you!

Namely, on Friday afternoon I'm on a panel called Scientists without borders which says:
Science may strive for objectivity, but all scientific communities are grounded in their host cultures. The panellists talk about working in different scientific cultures, working in multinational teams or transporting a team or project elsewhere.
I really like the sound of that and I think it's going to make for some cool discussion, yay. And on Sunday afternoon I'm playing giant Pandemic live in front of an audience. I've also submitted a poster for the science poster exhibit, actually one made by my excellent PhD student, but I'm waiting to hear whether that has been accepted.

So, first of all, who's coming to Worldcon and would you like to hang out? This applies equally much if I already know you in person as if we've only met online, if you're ok with connecting your DW identity to a physical body and possibly offline identity. It would be really awesome to use the event as a chance to spend time with some of you in person. If you want to show up and support and / or heckle my panels, that would be lovely too; I have plenty of experience doing this kind of thing professionally, but almost none of doing it fannishly.

Relatedly, is there anyone who can arrange to be in the same geographical location as me and has a copy of Pandemic that I could practise on? I am really bad at Pandemic, even though I am actually a scientist IRL! Board-gaming friends, if we can get a game together before August so I'm a bit more in the swing of things by the time I'm playing in public, that'd be cool, and also a good way to socialize. Generally I can be in Cambridge or London or anywhere else within a couple of hours of there or Stoke most weekends. And I'm totally happy to try several games if there are multiple groups volunteering to help out.

I am contemplating doing a DW meetup, what do people think? It would simply be advertising and time and showing up in a central area of the con. I'm not up for organizing an actual official Party, especially given that you have to order catering through the hotel and I can't be doing with that. I am also going to want to escape from the con at some points, because from past experience one thing I don't handle well is being trapped in a hotel miles from anywhere else over several days. So there will be at least a couple of expeditions into London to eat real food somewhere a bit quieter and without having to pay hotel prices for crap. If you'd like to get together in a smaller gathering of that sort, ping me and we can make plans.

oooh, I'm so excited! )

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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