Monday, March 2nd, 2015 03:31 pm
Hackbridge Cafe, Hackbridge, London SM6

Afternoon RGL crew!

This week's featured article is for the Hackbridge Cafe in sunny Hackbridge. They serve greasy spoon breakfasts with just the right amount of grease, and pay close attention to how long your teabag is brewing for.

There are updates to two pubs: the Goldsmiths Arms in East Acton, and the King's Arms in Ealing. The Goldsmiths seems to be a case of quantity over quality, but the King's Arms has plenty of beer and a perfectly reasonable Thai buffet. If I were equidistant between the two, I know which pair of arms I'd run towards.

Finally, staying in West London, Coco Noodle Bar in Ealing has closed, and is now a sushi restaurant.
Monday, February 2nd, 2015 03:22 pm
Top trolling, Mr P, having it in Lancashire.
Top trolling, making sure we had to hike up a bloody great hill to get there (Mr P was very fond of a hike over moorland, especially if it had a pint at the end of it).
Top trolling, stipulating the 1655 Book of Common Prayer service that the vicar was clearly unfamiliar with and kept stumbling over.

And well done for picking Jerusalem, which both me and Dad could boom out in our sleep.

Requiescat in pace, Alan Petford.

Sunday, March 1st, 2015 07:02 pm
I gave myself until March 1st (hey, that's today!) to decide whether or not to turn in my grad-school applications and pursue my Masters in rehabilitation counseling (basically, counseling adults with disabilities).

I've decided not to do it. At least not this year. Rather than spend next year doing school and work both, racking up more student-loan debt, and changing career paths, I've decided to spend that energy/time/money on actually finishing some writing projects. This week, I'll decide which project(s) I'll be prioritizing, but I already feel happy and relieved, which is one way I can tell it's the right decision for me.

I may start blogging a lot about writing. I will try to be considerate with cut tags. Wish me well.
Sunday, March 1st, 2015 03:25 pm
I have registered for OU study again after stopping for a year.  I'm going to be doing B292: Management Accounting from next month until September.  If it goes well, in October I will retake the business studies module I deferred last year.

It is going to be hard to fit the study time in around work and children and running, but I think I'm convinced it will be possible.  The children are that bit more self-sufficient, and I am that bit less tired, and I really want to do it.

In the meantime, it's about 18 months since I finished studying Financial Accounting and I'm going to spend a bit of time in the next couple of weeks reviewing that course and reminding myself of the basic concepts.
Saturday, February 28th, 2015 01:02 pm
I haven't breastfed for nearly four weeks.   The first couple of weeks were uncomfortable and messy in the way it was when N was very new (for the first time in ages I had to worry about whether the clothes I wore would show milk stains) but that too passed.

I moved all my nursing bras into a box for storage and I'll ebay them at some point.  I got a lot of nursing bras from ebay in the first place - it's kind of heartbreaking how many descriptions go along the lines of "tried to breastfeed but it didn't work out" - because even with a 50% failure rate for good fit, it was a lot cheaper than buying them new.

I think I'm less easily tired than I was, but it's hard to tell - too many other things that also make me tired.  I'm definitely less hungry though, and for that alone I'm grateful.
Saturday, February 28th, 2015 09:00 am
Friday, February 27th, 2015 11:30 pm
If you're seeing slow page load times, pages not fully loading, missing icons, 'naked' pages (the text of the page only, without any styling, etc): please shift-refresh your browser, clear your browser cache, and then just hang tight. We're switching CDN providers, so your browser may have cached the wrong copy of things.

If the problem hasn't cleared up by tomorrow, then let us know and we'll look into it further!
Thursday, February 26th, 2015 07:48 pm
I am now officially out at work. Pronouns and all. :D :D :D

Here's the letter I sent to my colleagues once I'd personally talked things over with management (who have been super awesome from start to finish) and my team (ditto):
It's a bit long )
And now I collapse in relief.

:D :D :D
Thursday, February 26th, 2015 09:00 am
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 10:36 pm
What I've read
I've not finished anything in the last two weeks - after my colleague's death a fortnight ago I found it hard to settle to anything for a while, even short stories.   I did decide not to continue with my trial Scribd subscription.  I enjoyed reading on its app and it has lots of books I want to read.  The trouble is that I already have a vast quantity of books paid for and not read, so adding a monthly fee and hundreds more unread books did not feel helpful.

What I'm reading now
Still working through Kaleidoscope and Women Destroy Science Fiction! one story at a time (slowly).  I've put down the the Angela Slatter short stories until after the Hugo nomination deadline. (9th March, self, remember to submit them)

I'm reading Spin by Nina Allen for bookclub on Friday and finding it fairly engrossing.

What's next
No idea at all; ideally something Hugo-eligible.
Partner by Lia Silver as it just got released :-)  I expect werewolf marines are just the thing to solidify the reading-properly again.
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 09:43 pm
Just Finished
Okay, I must admit, I got kind of stuck with Otter Country. It was all the internal eye-rolling at the overwrought Nice Middle-Class White Lady Deepening Her Connection with Nature stuff. I couldn’t take it after I realised I had another 220 pages of it left. So I did some fun re-reading to cleanse my palate and rejuvenate my interest. In rapid succession, I consumed Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and Margaret Atwood’s Morning in the Burned House.

In Progress
I then started Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table and got completely sucked into the autobiographical narrative. It’s an account of his crossing, by cruise ship, from Sri Lanka to England when he was eleven. His prodigious powers of observation (and diary-keeping) made it an absorbing nostalgic indulgence, written at the request of his children. The navel-gazing and bite-sized, evocative, anecdotal layout of the chapters is exactly to my taste (see: my love for DW and LJ)..

Up Next
Miriam Darlington’s Otter Country. I’ll give it one more try. I always get the sense she’s just on the brink of using the phrase “spirit animal”. If she does, I’m letting it go.

After that, it’s David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. I got this for the bloke’s birthday, thinking it was The Bone Clocks. It turns out he’s already read it. Fortunately, his brother got him The Bone Clocks!
Monday, February 23rd, 2015 05:23 pm
Yesterday it was so warm that when I stepped outside to go for my walk, I went back in, changed into my gym clothes, took my walk, and then went to the gym and worked out for the first time in months. And then I made an appointment with a personal trainer for today, and kept it even though I was sore, and he was VERY helpful and totally supportive of me being a read-as-female person who wants to build upper-body muscle bulk. (I didn't want to have to explain non-binary-ness etc. so I said "Just treat me like a really small dude" and he did!) He's had the same type of arm injury that I have, so he knows just how to strengthen around it without aggravating it, which is vital. My arm's a little sore post-workout (even after I iced it) but not in a dire way, which is pretty impressive given how much I was pushing myself.

I upgraded my gym membership so that I can go to other branches, and I'm going to try to figure out how to fit workouts into my work schedule when I'm working from the library or the office, even if it means making myself use a locker room (ugh, why is everything SO GENDERED). I also booked more training sessions; that gives me incentive to work out during the rest of the week so that I have progress to report. :)

Bodyweight resistance exercises are just the best thing. I kind of fell in love with back extensions today--they're even better than leg raises! The trainer said, "I usually suggest back extension sets of 15 to 20, but for you it should be 20 to 30." Oh yes, sign me right up. There's just something about that kind of controlled refutation of gravity that gets all my endorphins flowing.

Not getting to the gym has been one of the hardest things about endless winter, and I'm really proud of myself for managing to do it today in windchill of 5F/-15C. (Yesterday's warm weather was, sadly, a fluke.) I've proved to myself that it can be done, and that will make it a lot easier to go in the future. Yay for fleece-lined sweatpants!