We also planted some purslane seeds, will have to see how that goes.
My pepper plants are tiny, but living, and everything else is thriving. I've a tiny fig and a diminutive almond, three growing currants and a blueberry, a happy looking fuchsia (before its sibling was stolen, this was a miserable fuchsia), a rosemary, a handful of raspberries and strawberries, one potato and a lot of Jerusalem artichokes. Two clumps of rather downtrodden clives. Also, on the other side of the path, a Mirabelle with rather fewer aphids than before I put a lot of mail-order ladybirds.
In other news, I have new glasses which always makes life easier.
Watching: some kind of Lego superhero thing, because we're excited about the Lego Batman movie which we'll watch later.
Reading: Death's end by Cixin Liu which suffers somewhat from being the first thing I've read since Ninefox Gambit but is otherwise rather lovely
Eating: a lot of veg and hummous, in a tomato sauce with soft cheese stirred in at the end, served on spaghetti with garlic bread and salad, and a fruit salad made by chopping all the most attractive fruit in the shop, adding chocolate covered raisins and chopped dried apricots and leaving to soak with vanilla sugar and apple juice, and then serving with creme fraiche mixed with more vanilla sugar.
Playing: lots of lovely bridge!
Making: working on a sleeveless dress in bronze and black stretch velvet.
ETA: It occurs to me that rmc28 already told me where to get the ideal dress as described above, and it's eShakhti, but if any of y'all know where to get them in the UK, I'm interested to hear where.
I've not been in the White Stuff shop before, it was as pleasant as a shop can be. They have a waiting room with a TV showing children's stuff and colouring and things, and I think I spotted a coffee pot. And helpful staff, an clothes that don't make me look like a sack of potatoes, for similar price to M&S, whose design principles seem to be 'everyone loves chips, right? So that's what we want people to think of when they see someone wearing our clothes'.
Judith recently agreed that, rather than pack a ton of books, I could load some onto an ebook reader on her tablet. When we went to Hungary, she packed 47 books. While we were out she remembered that the McDonalds free ebooks are Kobo brand, so she'd like Kobo, and I have installed that and am filling it with books. She's got a bunch of Ever After High short stories, a couple of Tinkerbell books, some free things I figured might be worthwhile but haven't read, Pollyanna, Black Beauty, Heidi, the first Harry Potter, the first two Narnia and Minnow on the Say by Philippa Pearce. Because I can never resist a book recommendation, and because it's fun to think about, what would you give to an 8 year old who is just becoming enthusiastic about books, and who likes the sort of thing I mentioned (plus Worst Witch, American Girl books, Lord of the Rings). Also, do any of y'all have experience of using the Kobo app for Project Gutenburg books? Is it easy, or should we find a different app for that?
This weekend marked two years since the flapjack muse and I started dating. It feels quicker than that, largely because I'd had a crush on him for years, but also because neither of us quite felt confident so it felt like a very casual series of one off dates for months before we realised it was probably a relationship. But also, because of said feelings, and because he has long been a good friend it feels like longer too. We celebrated by a day in London; a visit to the House of Illustration, which had a Jo Brocklehurst exhibition. Brocklehurst did a lot of drawing in clubs, lots of gay bars and punks and generally an artist of the alternative scene. She also spent a lot of time doing Alice in Wonderland themed drawings, which were simply delightful. Because of working in such dark spaces, she used a lot of neon and UV reactive colours, which make her work really distinctive. Or maybe she used those materials already and that's why the darkness of the clubs didn't bother her.
Then we walked to the Thames, because both of us love walking through London, and we ate ice cream on the beach until it was time for dinner. Dinner we ate at Ethiopian restaurantLalibela, lots of lamb and pumpkins and aubergine and plenty of injera, and delightful coffee ceremony coffee afterwards.
Reading: Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, as I enjoyed Three Parts Dead which I just finished
Watching: finishing up Orange is the New Black, and there's more coming
Eating: I will definitely cook something any minute now
Playing: Jack and I played Small World which is a fun rise/decline of civilisation game, and he beat me 94 - 91. Andreas and I played mancala. The rest of us have been playing Lego Harry Potter, which has lots of sliding staircases.
Making: I bought a new bobbin plate for my sewing machine, so I totally intend to start sewing again soon.
Saturday we pottered. Judith and I played Flags of the World, which is a memory game about flags, and we are slowly learning flags. We did tidying and cleaning and reading and all that stuff, and then in the evening we watched Doctor Who, both the new episode and the Christmas episode which we had previously missed.
Sunday, Bärli and Jack came over for Dungeons and Dragons. jack has a write up if you're interested in the precise details, but it was nice to play the five of us and Andreas kind of wandered up and rolled my die occasionally. Judith's really getting into it, and it's nice to have a thing which Benedict enjoys. Benedict's character got badly injured, so when out of game B had to go to work, the rest of us had a side quest to do anyway and that worked really well. I recently read this article on the educational nature of DnD as a game, this seems like a good place to drop the link.
Monday, Bärli and I had planned some shopping, but not very well, so when we got to the shops we wanted to go to, they were shut. So we went to John Lewis and then lunch. Bärli got the yarn and knitting needle she needed for her next project though, so that's good. Immediately after lunch I got super sleepy so B put me on a bus home and I enlargened the print on my kindle so I could keep myself awake with reading, and then as soon as I got home I took a two hour nap and felt a lot better.
Monday evenings are Colin date time, so we watched the Expanse. I'm also currently reading the first Expanse book, and keeping a little way ahead of the TV series, which is interesting. It's very dark, visually, which I often find difficult, but it fits with the Miller as Sam Spade thing they have going on, and I'm loving the story. There are bits in the TV series added from later in the books, which is interesting, and there was one point where I had to find the relevant bit in the book to show Colin because the TV show dropped some nuance (or hasn't shown the nuance yet) but on the whole I'm finding both at once quite interesting.
And I've been talking again about how I find it weird that everyone else reads the same books and stuff, but I'm a bit more shy about talking about that, so I'm going back to adding my media consumption to the end of posts. So.
Watching: mostly the Expanse at the moment
Reading: Ditto. Also I just finished the second Cafe la Femme book, which I didn't like as much as the first, and the first Max Gladstone book.
Playing: lots of flags! Can now recognise Kyrgyzstan.
Eating: nothing exciting, carbonara yesterday
Making: I can't find my knitting :( I had planned to spend April finishing things and then it didn't happen, so, more on that soon maybe?
Content note: there's a trans* kid who gets forced off his meds. It's so emotionally hard, and that's the point, to show how he really needs that help.
I'm reading Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire, which is the latest InCryptid and told from Antimony's perspective. Lots of roller derby and lots of fun. Also Taking the Village Online which if you like academic parenting books, you might be interested in, but otherwise, maybe not? IDK.
Playing: Colin just got the Ghostbusters boardgame so we haven't played that yet but it's our next plan. I haven't been playing so many games recently though.
Also, yesterday I made blackbean enchiladas which made Colin happy, and Jack cooked for me so that made me happy. A nice salsa though, finely chopped onion, tomatoes, mixed salad leaves, lime juice and a lot of pepper. And lime and black pepper soured cream, I normally just offer plain soured cream or yoghurt, but that was a good plan. Also in recent menu, mixed nuts fried with rice wine and rice vinegar, they were really good.
I finished the Emily trilogy by LM Montgomery. Unlike the Anne series, this is deeply creepy and uncomfortable. It's a story of the grooming of a young girl, how she was broken and how it affected everyone around her.
Judith and Bärli and I watched Hidden Figures at the flicks, and it was glorious. Judith is just starting to notice racism, and of course loves space stuff and she described the film as 'fascinating'. I find I don't have a lot of words, but it was wonderful and if you think you might like it you want to see it.
I started a knit along for the Iditarod, but I haven't got very far. I think April is going to be finishing months, I've got so many left gloves and bits and pieces! Maybe lots of months will be.
There's an art postcard, a couple of necklaces, a bracelet, some stickers, a gyoza maker, some heart shaped stones with words painted on, and a small snail for clipping your teabag string to your mug.
Or I suppose it could just sit on the side like this:
Rest of life:
Reading: still Oz Reimagined
Watching: Colin and I watched Once Upon a Time and Judith and I are watching our way through Hannah Montana. Love that mummy/Judith time.
Making: Lace fingerless gloves for a knit along and simple crochet hat for when I need something with less concentration (also a crochet along)
Eating: bratwurst, mashed potatoes and carrots and Apple sauce last night. I've a sweet potato and black bean casserole from the box for tonight which will be more interesting but I haven't tried it yet.
Playing: introduced the littles to Cat Boxes, quite successfully. Andreas is really into Blokus at the moment.
13 in total.
6 written by women
7 written by men
3 written by authors of colour,
10 written by white authors
4 non fiction
3 slice of life
Actually, right now I'm reading Oz Reimagined which Colin gave me, a set of short stories inspired by The Wizard of Oz.
Knitting my Alice gloves still, photo when I'm done
Watching The Secret World of Alex Mack with Judith (90s Nickelodeon show about a girl who gets caught in a chemical accident and has to hide that she has resulting superpowers - I loved it then, and I'm enjoying introducing the rest of the family to it)
Playing, well, I got dragged into a Skylanders game yesterday but mostly
In other knitting news, I signed up to a Mystery Knit Along, a shawl based on Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb, and the group that's in is pretty dogsled enthusiastic (they do a knit along for Yukon Quest and Iditarod as well, and I plan to do the knit for the Iditarod. Basically the pattern will be released at the start of the race, and the group tries to finish before the Iditarod is over. This has lead to me also paying attention to dog sled racing, which turns out to be quite exciting even over radio or watching online trackers.So if you see me and I'm talking about the weather in Alaska, or something equally random seeming, that's why.
Reading: Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb :) and Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. Both compelling in different ways
Playing: date night! Pandemic Legacy
Eating: meatballs for the beef eaters and beans for the bean eaters, in tomato and courgette sauce and topped with grilled aubergines, very tasty, would eat again.
First with Bärli, who wanted to relearn to knit, I provided her with a Yarmulke kit and we sat and she worked on that and I worked on the shrug in my userpic, and we watched White Christmas, which is about what people do when they've been trained for war and the war is over, with lots of singing and dancing.
Then I made dinner for the Flapjack Muse which I was really proud of - chicken stuffed with halloumi (he doesn't eat pork) and brie, fondant potato and swede, buttered leeks and chili-garlic butternut squash. The squash and swede were late additions I threw in because they were in the fridge and needed using up. It all worked together beautifully and he was happy :) and we played Tokkaido because I love it and it was new to him, but he was instantly keen too.
Last night, Colin and I watched To Walk Invisible, a Brontë biopic. It was written by an acquaintance of ours, but I think we'd have watched it anyway as I'm reading a lot of good reviews. Anyway, it was beautiful and wonderful and if you're at all interested, I'd recommend it. Colin doesn't have a lot of Brontë experience but he was swept away too.
Tonight, I'm going out with Jack to celebrate his birthday; happy Jack day!
Anyway, I'm not doing brilliantly with the first - I've started on the Korean book but very slowly, and also picked up the Swahili book again which is lovely, Swahili as a language just feels right. I did, however, make a whole scarf and I have been doing well at revisiting languishing knitting projects - I've nearly actually finished Judith's Halloween hat which she wore almost finished as I ran out of yarn.
The main problem was that I was feeling like there was no time for me. I was too busy with everyone else's projects and needs and not managing my own. My partners staged an intervention and have been making sure that changes somewhat, especially they've been making sure I get to church which is great. Conversation with Colin didn't exactly go 'If I don't spend any pocket money for two years I can buy a spinning wheel' 'We should double your pocket money then you can get it in one' but it sort of almost went that way. We also finally got round to making me a separate bank account. Ideologically, we both feel that anybody in my position - the no income partner in a relationship where not everyone has income - should have a running away fund, but I've felt that actually making one for me was more hassle than it was worth. Well, it turned out that it took about 5 minutes on a website and was super easy. So my pocket money's being paid into there, and if I wanted to funnel more in I thnk that would be easy.
So I am trying to make sure that I actually do something me-ish and not just be subsumed into family. I can't wait for later as 4 of my family aren't going to grow up and not need me, and the other 3 need the example of me learning and growing and being a proper rounded person!
One of the things I want to do is to have a me-party like I used to. Slow, long events with people in and out, very casual, and cocktails and food and stuff. I wanted to do it over Christmas, and even bought cocktail ingredients, but I have run out of days which aren't booked, even with moving Epiphany to Sunday.
Playing: Top Dogs, which is a game of dog sledding and betting and arithmetic, of which Judith seems to have an instinctive grasp.
Reading: Dear Leader by Jang Jin-Sing, which is an account of his life in the North Korean propoganda machine and his escape from it. I'm finding it riveting.
Watching: We're on season 5 of Once Upon a Time again, and I'm really enjoying the direction it's taking.
Making: as mentioned above, finishing Judith's halloween hat, and I've a wee shrug to finish and my DebConf shawl and my November hoodie, for which I keep losing the hook but it'll be OK.
This is also a reminder that I'm running a bookswap in January, sign up here, if you fancy some new reading material and are happy to enthuse about your favourite books, it's as simple as 'send a book you like to someone else' and it should be low-pressure and mean we get to read something a bit new.
Also, yesterday I was;
reading: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
watching: just finishing up a Gilmore Girls watch through, and then I'll watch the new ones agan
playing: Andreas nad I had a round of Princess Cupcakes, and Colin, Judith and I played Tsuro of the Seas
eating: dal with roast butternut squash, fried onions and flatbreads
So it's an over simplification, and I told Bärli I'd witter a bit more about it, on here.
The main thing is that I like tabletop games because there's a clear set of rules, which you have to follow, and I dislike video games because there's no clear rules, you're often set up to work it all out for yourselves. So Minecraft, for example, I can't make head nor tail of, and I find it very frustrating. That's more or less true for a lot of games. So why do I like Mao or other games where you have to learn the rules? It's because you're told when you transgress them and the telling is usually explanatory, unlike in life where they're often universally understood but vague and difficult to explain.
Board games on a computer can have the same property, difficult to work my way through, the interface is an extra level of obfuscation I can't uite manage. Some of the Yucata games I find difficult for this reason, and a lot of other implementations. Some of them, like Set Online, are sufficiently close to the board version that they make sense to me.
So what do I like? I really like the lego games. I haven't played Lego Dimensions although I expect that to be the best of the lot as you get to build lego during it. In general, though, they're very good at saying 'You have to do this' and you get going before you get to a puzzle that's hard to solve, and then it's quite satisfying to be able to think about the puzzle rather than having to work out all the commands at the same time as working out the puzzle.
I like puzzle games like Tsum Tsum and Emoji Blitz, the kind where you have to join up similar characters. They're quick to play, and easy to get the hang of, and for some reason I find them a lot more intuitive than most puzzle games. There was a hidden object game on Facebook I used to like, but it disappeared and for some reason I don't understand none of the others have the same appeal for me. Actually, I just went and looked at Facebook games in case there was another one, an it's back! So Gardens of Time, that's where I'll be for the foreseeable.
So, taking Kit down from the shelf to give to her (Kit used to be Benedict's but he asked that I give her to Judith when I considered she'd be most appreciative) we decided to watch the Kit film. I used to have all the books of all the historicals (up to Rebecca) but there have been some releases since Rebecca and I can't now find any of the books except Rebecca and one of Josefina's. I should acquire new copies maybe.
Anyway, watching the Kit film allowed us to talk about the Great Depression and the New Deal and the Chicago World Fair, and the World Fair we're going to next year, and flu, and innoculations, and casual sexism.
Life stuff: I didn't read anything all day because I put my book down somewhere and now don't remember where. Andreas and I played Colt Express, which is a game where you play train robbers and have to get the most loot. He likes it mostly for the mechanic, which is programme your move then move, and it's quite physically satisfying with bandit meeples and a cardboard 3d train instead of a board. We ate coca-cola chicken wings (http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/
I almost finished Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole and had to leave Sailing to Serantium by Guy Gavriel Kay at a particularly exciting point, so quite a frustrating book day. Both excellent in very different ways - and there was a point where about 6 or 7 train journeys in a row featured a pretty woman reading Kay as one of my fellow passengers (not the same woman) so I assume that reading Kay makes me more attractive?
Tom and the littles and I played Splendor, which is a resource management game - Andreas is an interesting person to play with, because he wants to stockpile rather than manage his resources. At the end of the game, Tom won but Judith and I were both within a turn of winning so pretty well balanced I think.
Dinner was pasta with broccoli (because our cauliflower had gone off) and cheese sauce; pasta and broccoli cooked separately because the children don't eat sauce (they had cheese with it, and we also had baby sweetcorn with it). This particular cheese sauce, I melted some butter and fried some mushrooms (I meant to add onions and garlic here but forgot), then added a spoon of mustard, stirred well, and added a splash of milk several times stirring well, then a generous dash so the mushrooms were all covered, maybe a pint and a half in total? At this point I added fresh sweetcorn kernels (just sliced off the cob) and a lot of grated chededar and grana padana, and kept stirring until it thickened. Mixed it into the pasta and broccoli, then grated more cheddar on the plates when iut was finished.
After dinner we played Princess cupcakes game, which is a child-aimed game where you have to build your princess' cake before the time runs out. Andreas is very enthusiastic about this game :) And then Transformers Shuffle, which is a nice battle card game, a good family game and you can play it on the tray tables on aeroplanes, which is what I was hoping when I bought it at the airport :) It also isn't all about turn taking ,everyone plays on every turn, so might be good for more impatient players?
This weekend for my birthday treat we went to Ramblin Man, a new rock/blues festival in Kent.
We camped, the first time the littles had, so that was exciting. But we did the option that meant we hired a tent and it was all set up.( Cut for pictures. )
The first morning we made it through a long but fast moving queue just in time for the first band, No Hot Ashes, an 80s hair metal band who outgrew the hair.( Read more… )
We then wandered over to the prog stage for the o f Touchstone, who played a very bouncy Mad World which worked better than I would have expected, andalso caught a touch of Toseland on the main stage - pleasant hard fast aspromised.
A break for lunch and Ferris wheel followed.( Read more… )
Blue Öyster Cult, who were the band we most wanted to see. They are getting old and rarely venture outside of the US any more - this was their only European gig. They're back on stage tonight though, in Paso Robles California. They played an absolutely amazing set, starting with The Red and The Black
ThenBurnin For You
(This is when I consult the internet setlist) Harvester of Eyes, ME262, Bucks Boogie and so to Godzilla, which is when Andreas started headbanging <3
( morepictures )
Don't fear the Reaper, because they have to, and finishing with Cities on Flame with Rock n Roll
They were heavy, fast, energetic and clearly having a good time. I'm so glad B got to see them, and that everyone really enjoyed them.
After BÖC, we caught a little of Pendragon, classicprog. Then Haken, who reminded B & me of Gong but heavier - I'm glad someone is still doing that and mean to look out their work.
Next up, Dream Theater who I think were Liv's top pick? They sounded nice enough, slightly dancey metal, but A needed a break so I ended up taking him to the Ferris wheel again and wasn't really concentrating.
Lastly, back to the prog stage for Anathema (more prog and less Goth than recorded, and definitely more energeticand passionate live, I'm glad we saw them) and Camel (really tight, excellent prog as promised, all the Camel fans were right and we had a good time.
On the way to bed, we caught the last of Scorpion too but they didn't really grab me.
The next day was more of the same!
We had intended to go straight to the prog stage, but our attention was caught by Blues Pills on the main stage, Judith'sfavourite non-BÖC band.
Swedish bouncy danceable rock, and another that we intend to look up more fun.
We did make the second half of Anna Phoebe's set, and she didn't disappoint. Prog's answer to Vanessa Mae, she's a highly talented violinist who rocks hard.
Then we ran back to the main stage for Solstafir, whose songs I vaguely recognised - Icelandic stoner, exactly my sort of thing and I'm so glad we saw them.
At this point, we needed a break sowe had pancakes and went to the playpark outside the arena but behind the prog stage. From there we heard a little of Knifeworld, who sound like they think Bjork is good but too cheerful, and The Pineapple Thief, who sounded nice enough. We also caught a little of The Temperance Movement, blues metal which was very fun, before Riverside.
Billed as Poland's answer to Porcupine Tree, they did sound like a heavier PT, and they were one of Andreas' top bands. So glad we heard them.
Sadly, I wasnt too keen on Alcest,up next, who were technically fine but lacked passion, so Andreas and I took a walk past the blues stage, where we heard the tail end of Joanne Shaw Taylor, a brilliant young guitarist from Birmingham playing hard and fast and again, one to look up.
Back for Ian Anderson, Andreas' other top pick, who was tight and heavy as well as all the things one would expect from Jethro Tull. I took pictures but lj isn't letting me add any more!
Then there was a break for tea and the tail end of Bernie Marsden, who was mostly playing Whitesnake songs. Definitely fun and I'd be glad to hear him again, but probably just because I'm the right age? Idk.
And back for Marillion, who played a binding set, absolutely beautiful and over too soon, but they filled their 80 minute slot with music.
And again, the main stage hadn't finished as we went to bed so we got to hear the last strains of metallic jazz that Gregg Allman was playing.
All in all, a brilliant weekend, and a nice reminder that a life filled with music is happier. Thanks to all who helped celebrate my birthday in such style!
I first brushed the edges of Debian with my friendship with Chris. Chris was a developer, and through him I met Wookey, and at Chris' funeral, Wookey introduced me to a man who struck me as kind, sensitive and interesting. Reader, I married him.
So far, so good. By the time we got married, Colin was already working on Ubuntu, a Debian derivative, I moved to Ubuntu for my personal machines, and didn't think a lot about it, really. Then in 2009, Colin, who has until that time been going to the annual conference alone, suggested that we might like to join him in Caceres, so we did, and we hung around the edges of the conference, sight seeing and meeting people. Since then, we've missed on DebConf, and gradually got more involved in that; I feel like part of the community to the extent that when I went for breakfast the first morning this year, I looked around and the only people I didn't know where students of the university whose halls we were staying in.
Gradually I've come to feel like I want to contribute - I get so much out of Debian. It's given me a husband and family, friends, my mortgage gets paid, not by Debian, but by a Debian derivative and a job which Colin wouldn't have were he not so well known in Debian. People have offered me other roles, which largely don't interest me - I want to programme. I enjoy not so much the blank slate panicky feeling but the point where I have a bunch of gibberish which I shape into a thing that does something.
So in what limited free time I have, I'm slowly (very extremely slowly) with lots of stops and starts, hoping to work towards contributing, and occasionally I stop and listen to talks to keep up my enthusiasm, and I talk to people, and I read Yakking to keep me going until I can actually do something that I enjoy that will benefit the wider community, both those I know and those I don't.
Now, I'm looking at yarn choices, and I think my best choices are either Vanna's Choice, which is the practical choice and comes in the colour I was initially thinking of, or http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/yarn.
Which would you go for? I'm leaning Alpaca Silk, either beige as close enough or violet as similar to the author-approved photo.