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Finished a languishing application for an audio transcription job. Not sure whether I'll get it or not, but at least it's done now. Applied (successfully) for a website testing job. Both of these are self-employed, no guarantees that I'd get actual work from them but worth a try. Boggled at the adverts for 'work from home' jobs many of which are prison officers.
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Continuing our adventures in mainstream popculture, Andreas and I are baking cookies and boogeying to Little Mix. I'm having fun and I'm quite enjoying both the music and the dance and of course the cookies :) So he also asked to watch X Factor and we've set it to record, although it's a few weeks in, it turns out.

Cream 40g of marge, granny sugar and light muscovado, add a beaten egg and a few drops vanilla sugar, then 75g sr flour and 50g mixed dried fruit or chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls on a baking tray and 180c/gas mark 4 for 10 -12 minutes.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
Today we went on a ridiculous journey to a hill in Norfolk, where there is a zoo with dinosaurs instead of other animals, and then a SURPRISE goat field with a barn full of assorted chicken,s bearded dragons, snakes, guinea pigs &c. THere's also a giant adventure playground and a rather nice cafe with a huge treehouse, and a soft play, and we didn't play on most of the stuff, we mostly looked at dinosaurs.

So we had a great day, but decided that the middle of nowhere is Too Far when it contains lots of walking and reasonable if you can get a bus from the train station and be there already.

And people have invited me to stuff and I feel very appreciated, thank you.

Books

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:16 pm
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I read a book today which I really liked, but I can't find online. It's called The Princess And The Broken Heart revised by Smaul the Troll. It's almost a Sleeping Beauty retelling and almost a Snow White retelling. I love that genre and this one has another trait that I love - it doesn't assume anyone is irredeemable. Consider this statement about the evil stepmother queen 'Now, Leonora was not born cruel, and she had never been mean, but she had taken up a terrible way of thinking that consumed her like a fire'. The copy I picked up feels like it has a bit missing, because it talks about puzzles that the reader solved, and there weren't any that I noticed, but apart from that, it's a lovely story about love and change.

But autumn is upon us and I am feeling better enough that I've caught up to my Goodreads challenge of the year (which is just the same as last year rounded up, and I was a couple of books behind, having got loads ahead in the spring).

I also noticed that two years ago, I read a lot of dross that I picked up in the library, and last year I read mostly recommendations and it went a lot better, and this year I've read almost entirely recommendations and presents, and have enjoyed a lot more. I think I've been too busy reading random stuff that wasn't very enjoyable to listen to you lot.

So, here's my question - what's a book that 'everyone's read' that you would recommend? Imagine I've been living under a rock for the last ten years.

My contribution is 'The Bray House' by Eilís Ní Dhuibhne . It's Irish post apocalyptic fiction, and it's super popular in Ireland, the sort of book you find in guesthouses &c throughout the land. It's also brilliant.

Lunches

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
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On Wednesdays we are out all day, so I make packed lunches. Except tomorrow, because this evening I put a bunch of stuff on the table (including a roast chicken and a bowl of boiled eggs) and the children made their own.

Judith has chicken, carrot sticks, dried mango, rice cakes, crisps, mini cinnamon rolls and jelly. Andreas has eggs, carrot sticks, dried mango, bread (plain), fruit winder, crisps and jelly. It'll do. (I've got sushi rice, eggs, chicken, mixed chopped veg and hummous, some mixed dried fruit and jelly.) We'll all drink water.


In other news we watched Toast, the autobiography of Nigel Slater, yesterday. It actually just covers the first half of the book, his childhood, and I was touched by how sympathetically it portrayed even the people he didn't really like, I'd recommend it whether or not you read the book.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
This summer I have spent a lot of time wandering around Europe with my family, and a small amount of time playing with exciting people, but they were particularly exciting people. [personal profile] forestofglory visited, for example, and we had Friday night dinner and talking.

Then there was Bärli's parent's 40th anniversary. Bärli's family are so lovely. At one point there was a bit of a clash of understanding between Bärli's mother and Andreas, and both of them said to me they were worried the other would think they didn't respect them. But it was OK. And the whole family is so lovely and welcomign to us.

This weekend was [profile] huskyteer's birthday. Huskyteer is one of those people who is just so cool I can't imagine why they'd want to talk to me, but of course, also cool enough that they don't even think like that. Anyway, I can't think of a better person to introduce me to my first complete James Bond film (which I greatly enjoyed).

Now it is back to term, and I am doing so much! Band twice a week and karate, and Wednesday home ed stuff, and playdates. Remember how a year ago I was grumbling about never having time for me? Well, my people arranged it so I could, and it's wonderful. Thank you my people! I get two whole hours of cycling by myself, plus band (it's 10 miles away and I get a lift to Friday band but cycle on Sunday).

Rest of life round up:
Eating: sausage ragu with rice, made by the lovely [personal profile] jack
Reading: Just finished 'In My Own Time' by Nina Bawden, her autobiography, which is rather lovely. Her respect and love for the people around her really shines through, and she seems like such a nice person.
Playing: Argo. Not my cup of tea. Littles were playing Stratego, which I also can't get my head around, so I'm glad they have each other to play with.
Watching: Pororo. Cute Korean penguin and friend.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
So, earlier in the year I had a whole lot of blood tests which resolved into 'so you should take this extra strong folic acid and continue to eat horse two or three times a week and exercise immoderately'. And it became obvious that that's exactly what makes me feel physically and mentally a lot healthier so I've been trying to do much better at that, and I got to the point where I felt like I really needed heavier weights. But weights are expensive so I've been dithering, until today I made up my mind that weights now were better than a spinning wheel later for health and happiness, and bought a set of 4kg, 6kg and 8kg dumbbells and I expect I'll want heavier in the future but for now that will do me, and the spinning wheel goal is just set back somewhat further.

SO the nice new heavy weights are in the flapjack muse's workout room, and now we just need to move Jack's weightsbench there and it will be perfect, and I will be all strong and happy and you should feel free to ask me to flex because I will be glad to.
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On Friday it was my turn to cook for me & Tom, and I had no ideas and no decision making powers. So I went to Iceland and found a random selection of food that sounded nice, with only one text to Tom asking him to decide, and we had quite a pleasant dinner of barbecue duck, pulled beef, macaroni cheese and salad. I do like that that's a strategy that more or less works, turn up at Iceland, choose a couple of ready meals, and throw it all in the oven/microwave at Tom's. He said he'd decide on only one thing in that situation, but narrowing it down that far was beyond me. We played Kingdominoes while the food was cooking, and started on our lego rocket when we'd finished.

Yesterday, I noticed that there was nothing in either child's pencil case. I mean, they have about three pencil cases each, but the one for each that we could find had nothing in. So we went to town for stationery, and then to Tom's for more lego. I tried to persuade them to eat cake at Tom's/on the way, but Greggs has new fruit pots so they ate fruit instead, which I guess is a win? And Tom and I had Belgian buns because they were out of bread pudding. The second part of the lego was four identical pieces, so we each took one and built them in parallel. It was hard, especially for Andreas, but then, the box says 14+ so that's to be understood.

Today I have band, so I have to remember how to get to Eversden and which way up a euphonium goes, but it will be fun :) and we are into Benedict's last week at home, he leaves for university on Saturday.

Media roundup:
Reading: still brothers Karamazov
Watching: the Art of Japanese Living, a BBC documentary about Japanese art, with surprise porn just as Judith walked in. Oops. Also, they mentioned an interesting sounding book by Isao Takahata (which doesn't seem to be translated) about how anime grew out of earlier art forms.
Playing: yesterday I played Disney Apples to Apples and Paku Paku, because there were 6 of us wanting to play and those are good for bigger family groups.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
Andreas and I have just done some weeding, so now seems like a good time for this.

I got two mirabelles from the mirabelle tree, which is two more than last year, and they were delicious. The almond and fig didn't fruit but look to be holding their own, the rosemary doesn't look so healthy but is hanging in there. There are two redcurrants, a blackcurrant and a blueberry which produced a handful of fruit between them. Lots of chives. Two tiny pepper plants in flower, so I'll look for fruit in a month or so. Jerusalem Artichokes flourishing and will feed us well. Raspberries which have so far produced very little but one plant is covered in white fruit now so we'll see if any of those survive the squirrels long enough for us to eat. Strawberries still look alive, still no fruit. One fuchsia looking very sad. And surprise! One of the pumpkins I planted last year appeared this and is producing flowers right now.

Irish flag

Aug. 30th, 2017 08:28 am
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Yesterday, Colin and I watched Michael Collins, which is a film about the war of independence leading up to the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922, and in particular, the revolutionary Michael Collins who lead the guerilla army. I was surprised to see them using the tricolour, given its symbolism of peace; sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs, but the Irish flag still in use today is a tricolour green - white - orange which, in the words of the Irish government "green represents the older Gaelic tradition while the orange represents the supporters of William of Orange. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'Orange' and the 'Green'."

I'd always assumed it was adopted by the free state in 1922, with people fed up of fighting, or even the Irish republic in 1937. No. It was first used as a symbol in 1830, and used extensively until 1848, at which point it fell out of favour somewhat as a symbol, and was one of many, until it was adopted during the Easter rising in 1916. I'd kind of assumed it took something like the Croke park massacre (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Sunday_(1920)) to make people long for peace, but no, basically, that's always been part of the Irish call for independence.

Anyway, I basically didn't learn anything about the Irish war of independence before, so generally, very interesting, and I'm told it's more or less historically accurate (although the bit where the directors decided to show tanks shooting at children because it was less scary than what really happened is a bit grim, but, British empire, what do you expect?) so if that sounds like the sort of thing you might be interested by, and you can cope with ALan Rickman's 'Oirish' accent, might be worth a try?


Rest of life round up:
Reading: still Brothers Karamazov
Watching: Michael Collins
Eating: spaghetti with broccoli, smoked salmon and a creme fraiche sauce, and Judith learnt that she likes smoked salmon!
Playing: Paku paku, but I got a present of Founding Fathers which is a US political history game I'm super excited about
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Tiny planets sofa)
If you change planes in a country but don't leave the airport, does it count as entering the country? What if you're entering/leaving Schengen there so you go past passport control, does that make a difference?

I'm trying to work out which countries in our pinboard of where we've been to stick pins in, and while on the way out we stopped in Denmark, which we'd already been to, only I had previously been to Sweden.
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Berklee College of Music in Boston is the largest college of contemporary music in the world, according to Wikipedia. Every year they host a 5 week string orchestra performance course, with a concert at the end. I've just learnt about this, thanks to this year's tribute to Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks, founder members who died earlier this year (as I mentioned in the music meme). Have a wee listen to this, it's amazing.
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Lots of things covered in lingonberries, sour cream and dill, and stuffed with curd cheese. Lots of pancakes (often stuffed with curd cheese and covered in sour cream) and rye bread. In Finland, award winning reindeer pizza, in Estonia, curd cheese toasts and bear with cucumber, in Latvia, dumplings, and in Lithuania a zeppilin (stuffed with venison and covered in sour cream). Smoked salmon of luxurious thickness, and cheap caviar.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Photo)
I have listened to your advice and gone with Flickr. It's a bit confusing, but easy to share more widely, I'll try and remember to put links here if I think you'll be interested.

This is my favourite photo of a cormorant from the other day when I saw a cormorant for the first time.
A cormorant takes flight from a river.
And this is the bulrushes which always give me an earworm when I go past:


Bulrushes

And this is the song on my mind, My Old Mate the Coypu by The Doctor Spacetoad Experience.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
One of the things I've been doing recently is learning photography. I'm getting the hang of a proper camera, and taking a lot of photos and hopefully improving. I've taken a couple of photos I'm really pleased with, and want to share further. Where's a good place for that?

This is what I've thought of: Facebook, but then Colin can't see. Tumblr, but I basically only use tumblr from my phone and that's a bit tricky. Just putting them on public galleries on Google, but I find the permissions hard to get right. Instagram, which seems to be a place for editing photos rather than showing off raw photos?

Any other ideas I didn't think of yet? Or is there a reason I'm just wrong about one of those?
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
I first met Tom in 2001, and he appears to have spent much of the time since dedicated to making my life happier. He assures me this is not the case, and happiness is merely the natural consequence of spending time with him, but I suspect that's because of the myriad of things he does almost without noticing - tea when I'm overwhelmed, holding the baby so I can have a hot meal, switching attention to the toddler just before she got jealous, sharing his knowledge with us, finding exciting day trips.

Head and shoulders portrait of Tom


Anyway, enough about me. The children spent some time thinking about why they love Tom, and came up with some brilliant answers; because he is funny, kind, caring, because he answers questions well, and understands what question you want to ask before you can find the words to ask it. Because he is imaginative, which means he both tells good stories and really understands people.
They landed, however, on what I think is the perfect description: we love him because he is full of love.
Thank you, darling. Here's to the next 40!
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Dancing in the sand)
I've often wondered why my shoes seem to wear out more quickly than other people's, given that I don't wear them often and I don't walk very far. Only Tom said I walked more than other people so I went to find the statistics to prove him wrong and it turns out, he's right. So, I generally walk about 15000 steps a day, according to a few varieties of pedometer I've tried (10000 on sedentary days, 20000 on busy days) and according to the NHS an average person walks 3000-4000 steps a day. So no wonder my shoes wear out quicker!

I do feel like more walking would benefit me, though, I don't tend to do very well on 'moderate' exercise, I get sleepy and lethargic and sad.

Speaking of, I am seeing a response to the folic acid. I'm getting fewer pins and needles in my legs, and they're generally more comfortable. I'm still very tired a lot, though, and I still feel worse if I eat less meat.

Other stuff:
Reading: I just finished Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond, edited by John Joseph Adams, which is delightful and if you like Oz related stuff, worth reading
Watching: nothing yesterday, but I've been listening to LeVar Burton Reads, which is a podcast of short stories with an introduction and a few words at the end.
Playing: On the Underground, Colin and I drew! Child favourites at the moment are Hey! That's My Fish and Coup. I really like Coup, can take or leave the penguins.
Eating: orzo with a tomato, mushroom and mozzarella sauce for the adults and lamb chops for the carnivores.

new skill

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:12 pm
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It occurred to me that I should take up a new craft, so I could use the slogan 'Come for the embonpoint, stay for the needlepoint'
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
I've been getting parcels from Bobcat in a box for about 6 months now, and they're still making me smile. There have been a few misses recenty, which make me wonder whether it's time to take a break. Like I'd do better doing a search occasionally myself on my keywords and choosing a thing. But I do like the surprise element. For now, I've turned down the amount of money I give it/the amount of stuff it buys.


That's always the thing that attracts me to these surprise boxes, and the thing that makes me give up. For the children, who had first a periodic art box and then a periodic science box once we'd had all the art boxes they do, I pick something from their wishlist about once a month and send it to them.

I sort of want a thing where I set a budget and then someone buys a random thing from my wishlist for that much or averaging to that much or something, so that I can get both the surprise and the little things that I would probably buy if my little thing budget didn't go to bobcat. That's not a thing that would work, is it?

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