May. 30th, 2009 09:20 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Last few days have been fun but hectic.

festival doings )

I have a million things to do in the next three weeks to be ready to leave Sweden, but I seem to be spending most of my time relearning how to play go ([personal profile] jack is at a pleasingly similar level to me, generally competent at abstract board games but not very experienced at go), or writing patches for Dreamwidth. I am just at the stage of learning programming where I find it very satisfying, I keep discovering I can do things that a few days ago I had no clue how to start. [personal profile] jack's explanations of what's going on under the hood are very helpful with this (actually knowing what a class is is very useful for working with S2!)
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Today's headline news is that the country has passed a law giving formally equal rights to same sex couples, including the right to marry in the state church. (The situation was nearly equal de facto anyway, so really the new law is fixing minor technicalities of wording and such, but it's still good progress.) Anyway, this isn't why I like Sweden; no, why I like Sweden is because the (female) leader of the opposition party decided to celebrate by setting up a photo op snogging a woman who's a big shot in one of the gay rights groups. One of the trashy newspapers headlined this with: HOT LESBO KISS celebrates equal marriage law... this refers to two middle-aged, smartly dressed but not conventionally "sexy" female politicians.

In other news, I'm mostly offline at the moment, because [ profile] cartesiandaemon is visiting, and I am overwhelmed with Pesach prep and other urgent stuff, and because my main computer is dying.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I had a very long and tiring week last week, but at the end of it my experiment didn't yield any useful data, bah. The weekend was fairly quiet; I spent Friday sending out job applications and not doing as much tidying as I'd intended, and the guests I'd invited for Friday night couldn't make it. Saturday I gave the sermon and led the Torah discussion as planned; they both went very well, the sermon especially. I spoke about the ways that the section about constructing the Tabernacle exemplifies building a community and valuing everyone's contribution, which I didn't think was incredibly original, but people went mad for it.

SA was there, and invited me to join her for lunch afterwards. 1:30 on a Saturday is not the best time to be looking for lunch here, because Swedish people generally eat rather earlier than that, and most of the restaurants are only open in the evening on Saturday, whereas most of the cafés are running out of food by that time. Still, we ended up at Nero (not the coffee chain!), which is sort of pretending to be a trendy bar from 80s New York, a bit pricey, but the food is really very good. SA described the place as "yang" in the way that it is all black and white and hard lines and full of motion and very crowded. Weekends they do a sort of set menu where you take a basket containing a salad, a glass of fresh orange juice, a slightly symbolic bloody mary, and two small desserts, and then a choice of American-Italian main course. It's always lovely to spend time with SA, and we talked nineteen to the dozen.

Although the weather yesterday seemed to have the promise of spring, just warm enough for wandering around the city to be pleasant, and the first snowdrops just coming out, it was all a lie, because today it's snowing again. I have to admit I'm less childishly excited about this than the last eight snowfalls this year. But still, pretty.

What else? I have a lot to do with Jewish community stuff, sorting out the services I'll be leading next weekend in Oslo, and then Pesach in Copenhagen and Stockholm, and then in April I'm planning a teaching service and a youth service. And I'm starting teaching at college next week; I can't quite believe all these commitments are looming, I thought Pesach was still far in the future.

job hunting progress )

Also, [ profile] friend_of_tofu poses a really interesting question: Who do you turn to first or most often for support?, and discusses relying on your friends, partner(s) or family and how those balance. Recommended.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I am busy at work, scrabbling a bit to fit in enough experiments to have something to publish by April. I don't honestly think it's all that likely at this point, but I want to give it my best shot.

Apart from that, lessee )

The weather is weird at the moment, temperature swings from -10 to +10 within a 24-hour period, and including several heavy snowfalls which quickly melt when it suddenly gets warm again. I think this kind of thing is not abnormal for the transition from winter to spring here.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
  • I definitely approve of a country where they enthusiastically celebrate Shrove Tuesday with buns containing cardamom, almond paste and unreasonable amounts of whipped cream, but have very little idea what Lent actually is, let alone any willingness to give up good things.

  • Chelm stories should not mention the Holocaust. Really. I know there's an actual town called Chelm, but it's not the same as the mythical place where the inhabitants got an extra share of foolishness or wisdom and nobody knows which. And it's deeply creepy to say that 8000 inhabitants were murdered or deported by the Nazis as your introduction to a jolly little story about trying to trade moonlight.

  • There was a really good and satisfying snowfall this week. I'm a little jealous of Swedish kids who get weather like this reliably for at least a couple of weeks every winter, and get taken on sledging outings during play-time. OK, they don't get a day off school every time a few flakes of snow fall, but still.

  • Lots of friends and Jewish community folk are really upset about the prospect of my leaving Sweden, even though I haven't committed to anything like that yet. This is making my social interactions a little embarrassing, as people don't know whether to encourage me in job-hunting or hope that everything goes wrong so that I have to stay here. If I actually end up leaving it's going to be unbearable.

  • I am really enjoying playing with programming for Dreamwidth. It's satisfying, and it makes me regret spending 20 years not coding at all ever.
  • liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    I didn't want to count up my nano words because I knew I'd not kept up with it in the last week of November. But actually now I've done it, and it's not as bad as I thought: 47391 words of meaningful communication in the month of November, so only 5% short. And that's partly because I didn't write anything at all over the weekend when [ profile] cartesiandaemon was here. Chart, as much for my own reference as anything.

    I feel pretty good about that, even if I didn't technically win. 50k words felt like just the right level, it was enough to be challenging, but it would have been vaguely possible if I hadn't got cold and depressed and disorganized. And it had the intended positive effect of keeping better in touch, even if I'm still short of where I want to be.

    In other good news, I gave a very successful talk to the department today. I cut it finer than I'd like to finish writing it, but once I got up in front of an audience everything was peachy. And I got lots of interested questions which implied people had listened and taken it in, so yay. Also, today I made tasty tomato soup. All in all could be a lot worse!
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    So, I realize I haven't posted anything since whinging about the cold. I haven't actually died of hypothermia or anything like that!

    Complaining to LJ got me two good effects: firstly lots and lots of friends commented or messenged me with comfort. I still feel slightly guilty about complaining that my central heating was working less than optimally when, since I am in the mood for cliches today, Some People Have Real Problems. But it did me a lot of good, since venting saved me from just giving up and bursting into tears, and then I felt really loved because everyone was so nice, and all those positive things gave me the spoons to contact my landlord and say, look, when you fixed the heating a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't actually fixed, plz hlp. My landlord is lovely and agreed to come the following evening and fix it again, treating any indoor temperature of less than 20 degrees C as a housing emergency. So he did, and now my living space is all lovely and warm and I have amazingly more energy and my mood has totally turned round. Yay warmth.

    I've had kind of an awful week work-wise, in that my experiments got absolutely nowhere. Not gave the wrong result, but gave no results at all, and that included a 12-hour stint on Monday. Bleh.

    However, now I'm at the airport waiting for [ profile] cartesiandaemon's flight to get in and looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend with him. I am going to have a teaparty on Saturday, I think, but otherwise just stay in the nice WARM flat and enjoy my Beau's company. (I am not generally this devoted a girlfriend, to come all the way out to the airport to meet my visitor, but in this case I was teaching in town until 8, and didn't really have sensible time to go home and come out again, and I didn't think I could abandon [ profile] cartesiandaemon to navigating night transport on his own.)

    Other good news: I had a wonderful time at the inaugral Limmud (pluralist Jewish learning day) at the weekend, and didn't post about it because I was too depressed by the cold flat. But I shall post some snippets of learning from that next week. I got chatting to someone I thought I might have offended the first time I met her, and it seems that she's cool with me and is even coming to the teaparty. Also, this evening I taught a really good class on "the future", so I'm pleased about that too.

    Between the course I was on last week, and being cold and then stressed this week, my wordcount for Nano has gone to hell. I think I have around 40K, but I'll count up properly after this weekend. Hey, it was a fun thing to do even if I didn't win.

    Whiny post

    Nov. 23rd, 2008 06:28 pm
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    My flat is cold.

    that's pretty much the entire content of this post )

    Sorry for whining at everyone; this is getting me down surprisingly much.


    Oct. 7th, 2008 11:28 am
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    This year has started reasonably well, I think.

    diary stuff )

    Other than planning the discussion session for Saturday, I haven't really done any spiritual preparation for YK, mind you. I haven't even contacted people to give them new year greetings (which is the Jewish equivalent of keeping barely in touch via sending Christmas cards). I've had good conversations with [ profile] cartesiandaemon and [ profile] pseudomonas, and corresponded a bit with [ profile] darcydodo and [ profile] lethargic_man. But I still owe lots of people lots of communication. It's always my number one resolution at this time of year, to be better at keeping in touch with people I care about, but it's an uphill struggle against disorganization.

    It's very late to be leaving this, but if I've hurt you or you have any resentment against me from the past year, please talk to me and make suggestions of how I can make amends.
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    So I came home from my committee meeting just after 11 pm yesterday evening, and it was at that point I realized I had forgotten my house keys.

    arrrrrrrgh )

    And this is why my email address used to be


    Sep. 16th, 2008 08:30 am
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    This is my thousandth LJ post. I've been here for just over five years, and I've learnt all kinds of things and made real friends and even found partners. The best reason I love LJ is that it's the anti-geography; it's allowed me to keep in touch with my friends scattered round the world, and really in touch, knowing what's going on in their day to day lives and how they're thinking and actually have a relationship rather than occasional updates.

    LJ babbling )

    Anyway. Yesterday I was interviewed by a journalist from the major Jewish magazine (an actual glossy magazine that is sold in newsagents) as part of a project on women's experience of Judaism. It was a very fun interview; the journalist was (or at least gave the impression of being) genuinely interested in me. I emphasized the fact that egalitarianism has always been the default for me, it's nothing new or radical for me to expect to be involved in religious life as a woman. And ended up doing quite a lot of explaining Progressive Judaism, but that's not a bad thing.

    Also a good thing: I had a really good conversation with [ profile] doseybat; she's a post-doc biologist and a very good person to discuss work worries with. Also extremely lovely.

    Home is...

    Aug. 14th, 2008 04:43 pm
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
  • Being able to breathe. Asthma cleared up within hours of getting to Sweden; I'm still coughing a bit but I don't care, because it doesn't hurt now that I can actually use my lungs properly.

  • Tea! Lots and lots of tea, whenever I want it, just the way I want it with too much milk and not needing to feel like I'm imposing by asking for it.

  • Ripe, gorgeous plums falling off the heavily laden plum tree in my garden, and into my mouth as well as plum PIE.

  • Lovely lovely [ profile] hatam_soferet staying in my house. She's writing her Torah, right there on my rickety kitchen table! And she's there when I get home, and we can talk and cuddle, and it's worth the effort of making nice meals for two. I generally strongly prefer living on my own, but we understand eachother so well that I have all the advantages of a housemate with none of the annoyances.

    domestic delights )

  • Missing friends I was lucky enough to see in person last week, but getting my in-computer friends back somewhat makes up for that.
  • liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
  • Went out for SA's birthday at an Indian restaurant called Shanti soft corner (no, I have no idea either). It's about as nice as some of the better Cowley Road or Mill Road places, pretty good value, and tasty food, and plenty of choices for an entirely veggie party. Both the atmosphere and the menu are a notch above bog standard curry house; they had rather fun throne-like wooden chairs. Anyway we had some really fun conversation, and it was a good evening.

  • Helped Joanna plan our alt minyan for the autumn. I need to do some more admin for that before I leave for England, but nothing major. And she fed me waffles, yay!

  • Finally finally finished the paper which has been hanging over us for half a year. And submitted it, and dealt with some last minute technical problems. *happy dance*

  • Did some major grocery shopping so I can cook with fresh produce while I have guests. And spent over a thousand crowns, which is a first for me; I think it's a mixture of food getting more expensive and buying slightly more than I usually do.

  • Tidied my flat enough to be respectable for visitors.

    And [ profile] cartesiandaemon is on his way here (not that I'm counting the minutes or anything) so I am about to start a much-needed couple of weeks' holiday.
  • liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
    I think I'm starting to be connected enough that July doesn't mean I'm absolutely high and dry with no social contact at all. Partly it's that most people in the lab aren't taking vacations this year, because they're right at the end of their doctorates and can't afford to, or because they took a big vacation at Christmas, or because they're not Swedish and do things differently anyway. But also partly it's that I know enough people that the few who are still around include some of my friends.

    relaxed but fun )

    Also appreciating lots of good connections with friends using telecommunication. I managed to talk to [ profile] rysmiel on the phone earlier in the week; this is noteworthy because it requires so much organization to deal with timezones and so on that it only happens about once a year. But the rest of the time we keep up a lot by IM. Also I've been talking to [ profile] hatam_soferet regularly (and she's coming to visit in August, yay!); on Thursday night she taught me some really cool stuff about exactly what aspects of holy texts are holy. I should post about that properly, partly so that I get it fixed in my head and partly cos it's interesting. And writing emails to [ profile] lethargic_man and just about managing to touch base with [ profile] compilerbitch as well as my beau.

    Communication is good. Please do get in touch if you'd like to arrange some real-time conversation; I've started using VoIP again, but I'm happy with phone or IM if you prefer those media. I have lots of usernames in my profile. And I'm not so madly busy that long chats mean I don't have time to keep up with my life, at the moment.


    Jul. 9th, 2008 09:12 am
    liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
    I've noticed that I haven't been posting much recently. I should do something about that.

    social )

    Not much else. Getting on with work, fairly steadily. To make up for my lack of content, have a fantastically filthy poem that I happened to run across in a random feminist discussion of sexuality. It's theoretically NSFW, but it's plain text and Elizabethan English at that, so you can probably get away with it. Also, hilarious.
    liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
    I am having a slightly frustrating couple of days, but whining is boring and there are many good things in my life, so I'll talk about those instead of the boring stuff:

    things that do not suck )
  • I spent the weekend at A&A's summer place, getting a little taste of the idealized Swedish summer experience. Going out to the countryside to sit in A&A's beautiful garden, or stroll through the forest picking berries. Eating herring with new potatoes and breathtakingly delicious homegrown strawberries (I didn't even like strawberries until I moved to Sweden!) Sleeping in cute traditional red wooden houses, which are just rustic enough to be cute, but modern enough to be convenient. (Well, fairly convenient; they have electricity and heating but no plumbing.) It was even sunny, and I'm really flattered to be invited there, cos by custom you go to your summer place partly to get away from people you have social obligations towards but don't personally care about.
  • liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    But not a whole lot, to be honest. Yesterday I attended the bar mitzvah of one of my pupils, and realized that that was the first time I'd made it to shul in a month. That pretty much means that I've barely socialized at all in that time. Well, not completely, but I have been far more hermitty than is good for me recently.

    stuff )
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    I had a busy schedule today, but still didn't do a great job of getting out of the house.

    mild work whining )

    It started sleeting heavily some time mid afternoon, and the yucky weather continued. I'd dressed for the spring which appeared to be firmly here when I got up this morning, so I was a bit cold and miserable coming home.

    On the way, I overheard two women having an earnest discussion of Latin verb conjugations.

    I got home at 10:30, and completely failed at putting chocolate spread on a cracker. It turns out that the state of "oh look, I appear to be covered in chocolate" doesn't have many fun outcomes available when you're on your own.

    Well, at least I've got a fair bit of experimental work done. And now I have tea, and don't have to deal with today any more. So that's positive overall, I think.
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    Things that are pleasing:
    1. I have given my two lectures with a degree of success. That was believe it or not the first opportunity I've had to give university-level lectures in my own professional subject. A good group, tiny (officially 6 people but not all of them show up), but really keen. That meant that the lectures were more or less large tutorials or small seminars, but I got lots of good and interesting questions. I'm generally proud of myself.

    2. This means I can now catch up on sleeeeeeeeeep and start attending to the rest of my life.

    3. I had lovely friends supporting me through the painful process of recovering from the worst deadline mismanagement I've ever committed. Thank you all so much, especially [ profile] darcydodo and [ profile] cartesiandaemon and [ profile] rysmiel, for holding my hand and for refusing to accept that needing my hand held makes me pathetic and worthless.

    4. I am blessed with a particularly wonderful beau, who is very cuddly and fun to talk to.

    5. I have lovely, accomplished, enthusiastic bar mitzvah pupils, and generally an excellent Jewish community.

    6. I have booked flights to come to England for Pesach.

    7. Teeeeeeeeeeea

    whining about unpleasing things cut )


    Mar. 26th, 2008 10:29 am
    liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
    I have about a dozen posts I want to make, lots of book reviews, talking about the fun social stuff I've been doing, thoughtful essays about things like the future of LJ, ageing, stuff from Limmud that I still haven't caught up with... However, I am in a bit of an uncommunicative mood, and it's not helped by feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff I need to post about before I can post about other stuff. I have several emails that I've started and am not really making headway with too.

    On a practical level, I have the first of my bar mitzvahs this Saturday, and my first ever opportunity to give a real lecture in my actual professional field on Tuesday. Both of those are things that I'm hugely looking forward to, but both require intellectual and logistical preparation, and I'm really struggling with procrastination. So as much as I am capable of getting my act together in this mood, those have to be the priority.

    Many apologies; I'm not really managing my own life very well just now, let alone being there for friends. And I don't even know what's brought this funk on, there is plenty of light (bright skies over snow) and I've had lots of highly social fun in the past couple of weeks, and I have interesting things going on at work, and I've been enjoying plenty of really positive chats with friends. But I'm not entirely coping.


    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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