Thursday, April 17th, 2014 09:35 am
Everyone is home this weekend for a change, so we are all sitting down for a roast "like a family". It's my job to acquire the chicken. I was told to go out early before butcher ran out; I knew this wouldn't go well because I didn't sleep til 1am having taken Ritalin at 8pm. But I didn't realise how little my brain would function.

Me: "I'm looking for a chicken."
Butcher: "What kind?"
Me: "…a dead one?"
Butcher: *falls apart laughing* "Medium or large?"

I need coffee.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 08:50 am
I had three hours to walk around Rome on my return from Frascati to the UK. I decided to wing it, setting out from Roma Termini with no map and my phone off.

Apart from a lot of chaps trying in vain to sell me an umbrella to ward off a few measly drops of rain (I was wearing a coat with a hood), the first thing I found was a tunnel.

Navigation. ) I ended up exactly where I needed to spend my remaining leisure time: The Forum.

The scale of The Forum is mind-boggling. I walked up and down and side to side across the space, pausing many times to look, and look again, at all the layers of history revealed. My knowledge of history is appallingly thin, but even without the depth of context, it gives the impression of a vast and powerful empire, which sank slowly into my stunned brain.

+Many )

I reluctantly turned my feet away from The Forum to see if I could find one more object of interest before returning to the train station. (Notice that despite spending two hours exploring The Forum thoroughly, I managed to miss the Colosseum. *slow clap for self*) But at least I managed to find the Trevi Fountain.

+1 )

Finally, yours truly, about to depart for Fiumicino Aeroporto.
Week 12: In Rome
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 05:33 pm
Spoilery thoughts on Winter Soldier. I keep meaning to turn these into some sort of coherent post, but I haven't done that, and having a tab I can't close is annoying me, so here, have a bunch of paragraphs.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS if you haven't seen the movie and don't want spoilers then CLOSE THE TAB this is your FINAL WARNING EJECT EJECT EJECT etc.

Did I mention SPOILERS )
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 05:33 pm
Fun things, Apr 15: took possession of the new apartment!
Apr 16: ate tasty Seder leftovers

The apartment remains amazing. I cannot wait to move in. Sooooooon.

After several days of my ear being very blocked and loud, I woke up at 5:40 a.m. today with mild vertigo. Blah blah details blah ) Nine days since the last bout. They're getting further apart and milder. Still lasting an obscenely long time, but I don't mind so much as long as I'm reasonably functional.

We're moving in ten days. X has a "what if R gets vertigo on moving day" plan all ready, which means I don't have to worry about it, so I am doing my best to think about anything else. Like culling and packing. Once I can move my head again.
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 08:30 pm
Haven't done one of these for a while, but it's always fun (and will reduce the number of tabs I have open)

Captain America: Winter Soldier
We went away on holiday just after the film opened in North America, and the great outpouring of fannish response happened.

So, there was [personal profile] musesfool posting after seeing an early preview in New York: and [personal profile] selenak who posted after seeing it in Germany shortly after I saw it in the UK:

Two different long thoughtful pieces on the politics of the film:

A links roundup so I don't have to (which includes a link to [personal profile] coffeeandink 's links roundup):
A couple of fic-rec posts: (also includes review/meta) and


Changes in the population / behaviour of people in public space (in New York) between the 1950s and now (a couple of months old, but I looked it up for someone else this week, so may as well mention it again).

Unisex toiletries aimed at the teenage market (which for sure needs it): Once I've caught up my accounts, I'm seriously tempted to see if I can afford some of these pour encourager l'auteur

A lovely poem (The Sciences Sing a Lullabye, by Albert Goldbarth):
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 02:53 pm
The broken toe is very colourful today. The full impact of yesterday morning's clumsiness is beginning to sink in.  Google autocompletes "running with a broken toe" awfully quickly, and the results generally indicate Do Not Do This.

No neolithic half-marathon on 4th May.  Probably no meeting up with my dad that weekend either.  More of a question mark over Flaming June half marathon on 1st June as that's 6.5 weeks away.  No lunchtime runs in the spring sunshine.  I had just got to the point of running 3 short and 1 long each week comfortably.  (Zombies Run 3 is now confirmed to release tomorrow.  Bah, etc.)  Six weeks of sitting with my foot up is going to put me how far back in my fitness?

I can cycle without it hurting, if I tape the toe up, so at least I can still do my daily commute / childcare runs.

I am investigating the university sports centre, which is about 5 minutes' bike from my office.  If I can do some lunchtime & weekend cardio work that doesn't hurt the toe (elliptic? rowing? bike machine?), I might keep up enough fitness while the toe heals so the June half marathon is still possible.  In any case it might help my mood; chronic pain + lack of runs to work off stress => grouchy Rachel
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 11:54 am
Am considerably better than i was but still coughing and convalescent and thoroughly bored of it.
Yesterday i did manage to get to the "Knit and Natter" at the LYS - which was great - between the ill and being backward and forwards to London i'd not been in ages.

I have had a lot of time to knit during the ill (well during the convalescing phases - not wanting/being able to knit is one of my definitions of being properly ill!) and i've finally finished the project i set myself in the middle of last year to make 8 pairs of socks with zauberball 6 ply which is a reasonably durable but still soft DK weight yarn that makes great socks for wearing in boots. It was a very geeky project because i wanted to make top-down and bottom up socks that were otherwise identical with reinforced, plain heels and the two kinds of mixed heels* so that i can work out which suits my feet best. I'll try and remember to write up how it goes when i've gotten some wear out of them.

Now i'm moving on to finishing a couple of lace-weight shawls i started last year but are so time-consuming i can only bear to work on with in chunks interspersed with quicker projects and a pair of socks for my Mum. After that i want to make a leftover sock yarn jumper for myself like the ones i've made for various babies.

So what are you crafty people currently working on?

*with either the base or back of the heel reinforced and the other part plain
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 10:00 am
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 08:11 pm
I bashed the little toe on my right foot this morning by walking into my own bedroom furniture (I have form for this).  From its state this evening I suspect I broke it.  NHS Choices assures me that there is little to be done but strap it up and wait for it to get better.  I am supposed to be running another half-marathon in 2.5 weeks, and doing a long training run this weekend.  Humph.

To cheer myself up, three good things:
  1. ALL THE BLOSSOM.  There are multiple trees in blossom outside the window of my office.  SO LOVELY.
  2. I actually used "On your left!" appropriately while cycling past a pedestrian on one of the shared-use paths on my commute.  Then I felt terribly self-conscious.  But I will probably do it again when appropriate, because it makes me giggle inside.
  3. The children are being lovely: Nico is using "Dada" and "Mama" consistently, and Charles is being very solicitous while I sit with my foot appropriately raised.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 08:12 pm

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

I’m running a free Introduction to Permaculture one-day course at Burgess Park Food Project on the 26th April. Contact me, or the address on the website, to book.

There’s lots of other cool stuff going on there this summer, too. (JPG only at that link, sorry; have requested text version.)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 12:20 pm
Yesterday we like found that someone had like chalked "Bad Wolf" in big letters on the pavement by the not-a-bandstand in the middle of town!
So like do you all think we should like be worried?
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 12:03 pm
Cineworld Haymarket, St James's, SW1


This week's featured article is Cineworld Haymarket, which is a cinema I find myself visiting quite often (for membership related reasons). It's an actual old cinema building, which feels rare enough in the centre of town, and screen 1 is excellent. I'd be wary of the smaller basement screens, though.

A new (stub) article is another new cinema, ArtHouse in leafy Crouch End. The other new entry is a write-up of vegan stalwart the Bonnington Cafe in Vauxhall. Depending on when you visit, there will be a different chef, but the food should all be fresh and tasty.

Finally, we've marked the Windmill in Sydenham as permanently closed.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 02:38 am
Fun things, Apr 14: giant ice cream sundae.

I earned that ice cream. Today was the Menière's treatment study enrollment day, which ate four hours of my work day with a lot of paperwork, a blood test, a hearing test, an ear exam, and more paperwork. I put on my most bright and cheerful and funny attitude, and made the study coordinator's day when I pulled up all my carefully tagged LJ/DW entries and was able to give exact dates for diagnosis and various treatments. I was the perfect patient. Then I got lunch, got ice cream, attempted to work a bit, came home, and fell over.

In four weeks I get a cold liquid injected into my ear that then turns into a gel and hangs around for a month. Four months after that, I find out whether it was the medication or the placebo. Yay science, or something.

The hearing test shows that the hearing in my right ear is the worst it's been (or at least the worst it's been on a day when I'm getting a hearing test). I've been braced for vertigo for days. I almost wish it would show up just so my hearing would improve for a few days. Only almost, though. Being hard of hearing in one ear is better than vertigo. It's just tiring having to work so hard to hear people. And today I got talked at a lot, by people with thick accents who were telling me very important things that I needed to understand fully, so there was a lot of active listening and careful hearing going on. I am so wiped.

I went up on the roof earlier to watch the lunar eclipse for a bit, but it was chilly and I was tired, so I came back in. It's nearing totality now, so I'm going to take one last look. Then I'm passing all the way out, with no alarm set.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 03:01 am
Fun things, Apr 13: got prettied up for the Seder.

Today's outfit was entirely logic-driven:

* going to the Seder at my mom's place, so dressing up a bit
* want to wear a skirt and sandals because it's warm and breezy
* needs to be a long skirt so my mother doesn't give me the hairy eyeball over my hairy legs
* following the recent de-femming of my closet, I have precisely one long skirt, one top that goes with skirts, and one jacket that goes with that top
* oh right, girly clothes mean earrings and a necklace, I remember that
* it's warm enough to justify a straw hat


a photo of me in a long black skirt with a grey short-sleeved blazer and a pale straw fedora with a black band

(Image is a link to a larger image. Photo by [personal profile] xtina.)

When I cleaned out my closet, my rule was that I would keep any femme clothes that make me think "I look smashing in this", on the theory that those are the ones that really work for me rather than being about conforming to what other people think I should look like. This was my first time testing that theory and I am extremely pleased with the results. This blouse (which you really can't see at all under the jacket--it's a black sleeveless blouse with a deep v-neck) was my cleavage blouse back when I had cleavage, but I've lost so much weight since then that my chest is practically flat, which is great for menswear and gives me a fun bit of cognitive dissonance when I femme up. I also just got my hair buzzed, and gave my face a nice proper shave this morning. I didn't feel like a guy in drag, though. I just felt like me, looking and feeling good. It's nice. :) And something of a relief. I always want to have the option of girling up, even if I don't often take it.

Originally I was going to wear a women's wide-brimmed straw hat, but it didn't quite work when I put it on--too much of a muchness with the long skirt--and then I tried the straw fedora and it was far better than I expected. I think I always need something just slightly gender-dissonant like that. Even if I'm not in a particularly transgressive mood, I look better and feel better when I'm a little bit audacious.

Oh, and I think this is my first photo post since going back to wearing contact lenses! (Contacts + completely buzzed hair = my face looks naked, so when I got rid of my hair I switched to glasses.) I LOVE them. I love how I look in them, I love how much easier life is with them, love love love. I plan to stick with this hairstyle for a while--still buzzed on the sides and back, but longer on top--so I can keep wearing them.
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 10:00 am