juliet: (Default)
Further to my previous posts musing on getting stuff done and the perils of the ticky-box approach, I have realised another interesting thing, which is that I can find researching and (in particular) Planning a Thing more satisfying than the actual Doing of the Thing.

The thing with planning is that you can research and consider and analyse and generally collate lots of information into a cohesive whole, and then make a considered decision based on appropriate factors. All of which is (I find) quite satisfying. And after that you can work out what needs to happen when[0], and whether you need to acquire anything, and generally, once again, consider and analyse and collate things into a Plan. A Plan is a beautiful thing.

But then comes the actual Doing, which involves hard work (physical or mental) and finding that you forgot to allow for this, that, or the next thing; and often the Doing does not entirely match up with the Planning in outcome either[1]. (Though sometimes it does, and sometimes it is better.)

And yet, Planning without any actual Doing is (probably) (right?) eventually going to be unsatisfying.

I could use getting better at Doing.

In other news, we are (hopefully) going to get solar panels! (They should be Permitted Development but due to the specifics of our covenant we have to get permission and it is proving a little more intricate than I expected. Which, really, I should have expected.) Planning the solar panels was fun, and also takes me one step closer to finishing my Permaculture Diploma which I am now aiming to finish by July. There is, inevitably, Another Plan.

[0] If you are very lucky, there may be a Gantt Chart.

[1] I often find it difficult to start writing something, for example, because in my head it exists in a whole and, it seems, perfect form, which is necessarily going to suffer when turned into cold hard words on paper. I am trying to get better at this. Also that is the point of editing, but it is still sometimes sorrow-making to read back something I've just written and realise just how clunky it is.
juliet: Avatar of me with blue hair & jeans (blue hair jeans avatar)
My investigation in November into "taking more time off" was positive in that I felt better for it, and have tentatively concluded I should do more of that. (Where "that" is "having at least some time where I am not staring down a to-do list".) Actually doing it, as ever, proves harder. I'm experimenting now with ways to fit more work achieved into work days and thus have more time off. As Leon gets bigger (and so doesn't demand me as often) in theory this should be easier as I can be less interrupted and therefore more efficient. I am also hoping that lovely new noise-cancelling headphones will help a bit with focus (rather than, say, listening to everything else that's happening in the house at the same time.)

Read more... )
juliet: (Default)
How is it nearly November?

For the first time in a couple of years I'm probably going to do Nanowrimo again. I spent a couple of weeks getting way ahead on work commitments, as I was expecting to spend October/November/December working on a big project. Big project will hopefully still materialise but hasn't yet, which in turn means that my work time is pretty empty, so I may as well do *something* with it.

I have also been doing a surprising amount of socialising, including a trip to Oxford to meet up with various folk, a couple of dinners with various friends I haven't seen in ages, drinks ditto, a visit to my sister, and yesterday, a very splendid party. Arranging social things is still a lot harder than it was pre-Leon (...obviously...) but in comparison to, say, a year or so ago it is much easier. Which is lovely.

I still miss climbing. I manage to go once or at most twice a month; it's still lots of fun but that's just not anything like the amount I should be doing to get any better. Maybe I should apply my "tiny changes" theory to this, but that warrants its own post.

I am slightly, superstitiously, scared to say this publicly, but Leon, over the last week or so, has been regularly sleeping 5-6 hours at a stretch after going to bed. This is the first time since he was born that he's done anything like that consistently. I don't think I'm entirely feeling the benefit of it yet, possibly because I can't bring myself to believe it / count on it yet. But this may yet mean that "being less exhausted" becomes a marginally more reasonable aim.

(He made up his first story the other day, too, albeit a pretty basic one*; and has suddenly got the hang of piggy-back rides; and grown about 2" overnight. Children are terrifying.)

* "Once upon a time there was a little Leon, with his mama, in the sling. Then they were very tired. So they went all the way home." He was, at the time, on my back in the sling and we were on the way home.
juliet: (glasto love)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

I have a couple of stories out in various places right now, should you be interested:

  • “The Loyal Dragon” in kids’ (age range 9-17) SFF magazine FrostFire Worlds (May 2014 issue). It has a dragon in it! (I have a long-term fondness for dragons.) Only available in print, and I suspect UK shipping will be expensive.
  • “Breaking Free” in Outposts of Beyond (July 2014 issue, also print only). This is set in the same world as my story ‘Blocking’ (published in Strange Bedfellows).
  • And forthcoming sometime soon in New Realms, “A Gift of Memory”, about gifts, trust, and mistakes made and forgotten.

In other news, I spent much of the last couple of weeks camping in fields. Firstly with a bunch of unschooling types down in Dorset (just me and Leon). Which was lovely, apart from the bit where Leon came down with a stomach bug. (In a tent. Not fun.) Still, at least the weather was good.

Then there was Glastonbury! For the 12th time for me (since 1997) and the 2nd for Leon. The weather was not so good there (intermittent rain, but I’ve certainly been there in much worse conditions) but the festival was as ever fantastic regardless of a bit of mud and damp. Leon was particularly keen on the Kidzfield, and on Shangri-Heaven early on Sunday night, where there were angels with bubbles and lots of running around space. Photos here.

juliet: (Default)
I hate editing. (She says, 8 pages down, 16 to go. Deadline Monday, which really means today or at most tomorrow for practical reasons.)

I keep not blogging here, because I haven't blogged here, because (insert customary spiel re catching up and not feeling able to catch up and...). I blog over there sometimes and it propagates magically over here, but I am less inclined to write personal-ish posts there.

Anyway! Stuff! Things! Leon is 2, using more and more complicated language structures (pronouns are very tricky), and obsessed with the written word (with particular reference to tube station names). I am writing about computer history for Linux Voice which is fascinating and great fun; trying to write more fiction; and doing more permaculture work. Yesterday I gave a talk at the Edible Gardens Show, which I think went OK, and will probably blog about next week. Bloody terrifying though; it's the first time I've spoken in public for years&years. I doubtless talked too fast.

Time is elusive. I am sure there used to be more of it. Or I used it better? (Every time I angst about this I remind myself that I used to not have a kid, and children are kind of time-sinks. In a good way, mostly.)

I am making more things, though. Sewing especially. I still love knitting, but sewing is quicker.

So. Things. Misc. There you go.
juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

Twisted Boulevard (featuring ME) now available from Amazon UK. (As far as I know this is the only UK online retailer; although your local indie bookshop ought to be able to order it in for you.)

(I still haven’t seen my contributor copy, but looking forward to reading it when I do.)

In other news, I have had a lovely weekend up in Manchester. Leon was particularly fond of this train, where by “particularly fond of” I mean “refused to get off until it stopped running for the day”. After that there were ducks, and vegan curry; an excellent day all round.

This week: lots of writing to be done. Story to edit for another forthcoming anthology; novel to work on; Linux Voice article to finish.

juliet: My rat Ash, at 6 wks old, climbing up the baby-rat-tank and peering over the edge (ash exploring)
Leon, at 17 months on Saturday, is definitely an actual toddler now, even if he still spends quite a lot of time with his hands up in the air, still busy keeping his balance. It's a bit weird -- where did my teeny tiny baby go? -- but also kind of awesome. Some things, today, in no particular order.

cut for babystuff )

News!

Sep. 20th, 2011 08:49 pm
juliet: (Default)
So, hey, I'm 16 wks pregnant[0]! [livejournal.com profile] uon and I will, if all continues to go well, become parents sometime in early March or thereabouts. This is both exciting and somewhat terrifying, which I think is an entirely reasonable set of reactions to have to the upcoming reality of being responsible for a whole new human person.

The first scan was a couple of weeks ago & the foetus is looking fine in there. I kept going "holy shit there's actually a real life proto-human in there" (because what was I expecting, a puppy?); it still seems a little bizarre, tbh. The foetus woke up halfway through and waved its hands around at us which was, again, both awesome and terrifying.

obligatory blurry photo behind cut )

I am mostly done feeling sick, now, except for when in a car (thankfully not likely to be a problem again)[1] or when I haven't eaten for a while (also not, as a rule, a big problem). There were a bad few weeks early on, though. I now await further exciting physical developments as my entire insides are reconfigured for my temporary internal guest. (Pregnancy is weird.)

In other news, in the last few weeks I have moved house; done quite a lot of painting, DIY, etc; had huge numbers of Competent Professionals through the house to fix boiler / do more painting / put floor down; spent a fortnight in Devon learning about permaculture, which was awesome & v v interesting but INCREDIBLY hard work; and spent a week in Aberdeen for my parents' ruby wedding anniversary, which was absolutely lovely. Now I really need to do some damn work, and also to get the house sorted properly before e.g. March. BTW anyone who has visited since we moved will be pleased to hear that as of today our sofa has finally migrated up to the living room, courtesy of some exceptionally buff & very professional chaps from a company called SofaAssist.


[0] 17 wks according to the scan, which is wrong. Let's hope I don't wind up going lots overdue.
[1] I reckon I spent more time in a car during my trip to Aberdeen than I have in about the last 2 years total. Possibly 3 years.
juliet: (waveform tree)
Sadly no tipi this year (the tipi people were all at Bestival instead, apparently), but Waveform was nevertheless once again splendid. [personal profile] doop heroically dragged the bike trailer with the MegaTent all the way there[0], which helpfully gave us somewhere to keep the bikes as well as actual space.

We did fetch up camped next to the Nitrous Kids (nitrous for breakfast, nitrous for lunch, and a fully balanced meal... no, wait, nitrous again), which helpfully enabled one to locate our tent in the dark. Just stand still, wait a couple of seconds... ffffsWHOOSH, aha, there it is. They were a little noisy but as I saw them carefully tidying up their campsite on Monday morning I will forgive them. Actually, the whole thing was remarkably litter-free, possibly due to the fact that about 50% of the people there seemed to be some variety of staff (or were at least accustomed to being staff at other festivals). Next to no nitrous canisters left lying about the place! Also on the 'potentially iritating drugs' front, Team Ket also remained largely not in evidence, apart from one chap who after a few minutes of uncoordinated stumbling was gently escorted off the dancefloor by his friend.[1]

We danced to lots of psytrance, some splendid crusty acid techno (possibly one of the Liberators, but it was bloody good whoever it was), a bit of random crusty folk at the very-UV-tastic solar stage, and Back To The Planet, who I last saw at Phoenix in 1994 (my first ever festival, awwww). They were ace. And/or I was monumentally nostalgic, whichever. Also we ate several vegan burgers, and sat around watching the world go by extensively. I had a go on a swing bike, and both of us got our faces painted by someone who turned out to be Ian Bell. [personal profile] doop managed not to fanboy too much.

Small festivals are *aces*. I hope they manage to run it again next year; the whole thing often feels a lot like a random conglomerate of crews who just happen by glorious serendipity to fetch up in the same field at the same time (although I am sure it actually takes a lot more planning than that), and as such you always wonder whether they'll manage to bring it together again next year... Still, 4 years so far ain't bad going. It is pretty much the *nicest* and friendliest-feeling festival I've been to; wish they'd bring back the compost loos, though!


[0] This was a Learning Experience in terms of the bike/trailer/train thing; mostly we Learnt that you need to allow rather more time for changes than normal, and that it's always quicker to rehitch the trailer even if this does currently require the use of a spanner. Plus not all trains will let you on, if they're small trains (but the odds decrease dramatically if you're running late, hence the need to allow more time).
[1] One often seems to encounter these teams of a K-ed up person with a sober-ish mate translating for them. [personal profile] doop is obviously the one who has these conversations most often, and he reports that they go a little bit like this:
"Hurbleburble hurble, vrrr."
"My friend here says that he thinks your glowsticks are splendid."
"Oh. Thanks."
"Vrrbur blurl, frr. Hurble!"
"He says that he finds the interplay of the blue with the green of the lasers particularly exquisite."
"Right. Good."
"Hurble, vr."
"He says..."
"'Nice one, mate.' Yeah, I got that one."

Round-up

Apr. 23rd, 2010 08:14 am
juliet: My rat Ash, at 6 wks old, climbing up the baby-rat-tank and peering over the edge (ash exploring)

I have been meaning to make an actual post but keep totally failing, so here is a round-up of bits & pieces instead.

Sidney & me at the BP AGM last week. In further PUPDATE news, Sid is doing v well, apart from an unfortunate tendency to wake up at 6am (and when Sidney wakes up...). Ignoring her gets her to settle down until 6.30 but no longer than that. Also she chewed the laces & the Velcro off my bike shoes yesterday. She's getting pretty good at coming when called in the park, though, unless she's found something edible elsewhere (e.g. another person with *better* biscuits). She is, of course, generally utterly adorable. (Currently she is bugging me to go for a walk, but has given up and is killing one of her toys instead.) Another Sidney photo.

I have been ludicrously busy of late -- it's That Time Of Year on both allotment & balcony, & with the latter in particular as I am in the process of writing a book about growing stuff in containers I am having to make sure I don't let things slide this year! Having a bit more time to get down the allotment in the week is making things there seem more in control now, though, which is nice. Also the asparagus has started (v tasty although a slight odd bitterness to it; I have no idea why & the internet is unhelpful), as has the rhubarb.

Been visiting or being visited by lots of people ([livejournal.com profile] lovelybug, some old friends from school, C and [livejournal.com profile] ladyjulian), which has been lovely; and went up to DO RESEARCH (or to BE RESEARCHED ON, rather) by [livejournal.com profile] menthe_reglisse last weekend, which was great fun both in terms of the actual workshop & the sitting around chatting to nice people afterwards. Plus it was a seriously gorgeous day, just right for wandering up through the village and sitting out in the garden & later the pub. This weekend I am off to Bangface, so am hoping the good weather will continue.

Informative Things:

  • Petition to stop Kiana Firouz being deported. She's an Iranian lesbian, who's been refused asylum and now faces being deported to a country where homosexuality is punished by 100 lashes on a first offence and potentially death on a third. Apparently the Home Office believes that it's OK to deport gay and lesbian people in such circumstances, because they can be "discreet". Never mind that, as [livejournal.com profile] ladyjulian in a country where women are strongly expected and may even be forced to marry, "discreet" means at best a loveless marriage and at worst regular rape. Good to see the Home Office looking out for the rights of women and minorities, there. See also this short document from UKLGIG (link from [livejournal.com profile] ladyjulian) which had me raging.
  • LJ has started rewriting outbound links to include its own affiliate codes again. (see also here, which includes how to stop this happening to your links. Or if you want a Dreamwidth invite, let me know.

Right, I must away and finish packing.

linky linky

Apr. 8th, 2010 09:51 pm
juliet: Tiny baby shoot of rhubarb (baby rhubarb!)

Just to get rid of open FF tabs again...

ION: have had a lovely fortnight's holiday in, variously, Northern Ireland, and Boston (Lincolnshire, not the other one); of that latter, more anon. Now I am back in London & surprisingly busy for someone whose work is only full-time in the loosest possible sense (i.e. that sense in which it is the only thing that I am doing in the paid work line, rather than any sense in which I actually work an approximation to what this society considers to be full-time hours. I like it very much this way.). The dog continues to be adorable, time-consuming, and an agent of chaos. And it is spring properly today ftb I wore my sandals to the park. Down with proper shoes! Also the first tiny asparagus shoots are appearing in the allotment.

juliet: (round the world)
[personal profile] doop & I are in Northern Ireland for the week, visiting his family. We travelled up yesterday; given my well-known antipathy to flying, this meant bike/train/ferry. And it all went incredibly smoothly. All the trains were bang on time, there were bike spaces available (we booked in advance but in fact were not asked for our bike-tickets, although I STRONGLY RECOMMEND booking on Intercity-type services[0]), & they let us on the earlier ferry at Cairnryan when we arrived 4hrs before our booked tickets[1]. All a very positive experience.

Plus we found a lovely cafe in Stranraer for lunch -- McCoag's Bistro, Charlotte St, strongly recommended for v tasty beanburger & chips, fantastic home-cooked chocolate cake, and a friendly proprietor. Then there was a splendid 6 mi ride up the road to Cairnryan (where I beat doop to the ferry terminal! I did have a head start when he stopped to take his jacket off, BUT STILL); then 13 mi around the water from Larne on the other side, which was admittedly a little hilly. We stopped to watch the local starlings doing their murmuration thing on the way, which was gorgeous against the dusk over the loch.

Plans for this week: Giant's Causeway, trip into Belfast, lots of sitting around being lazy.

[0] Ideally, book at the time you buy your own ticket, from NXEastCoast, who have a "bikes" tickybox, bless them. Otherwise, in person with your human-tickets to hand at any mainline station. London Bridge are helpful but often have to spend 15 min working out how to do this; KX/Euston/Paddington are more knowledgable & thus faster.
[1] We booked on the 8pm ferry with the intention of leaving London at 11am or something; then discovered that the 11am train was going to cost about £200 as we hadn't booked early enough. The 0539 was £25 each, London-Stranraer, which was a bit more reasonable, but would have left us with 6 hrs to kill in Stranraer had they been more intransigent at the ferry terminal. 0539 is admittedly not my *favourite* time to have to be at Euston for.
juliet: Part of a Pollock artwork in the Tate (art - pollock)
First up: this poem by Taylor Mali is seriously awesome, and this video of him performing it is even better.

Secondly: Pupdate! Sidney has now mostly got the hang of housetraining (i.e. she is now prepared to go in the square, which was FAR TOO SCARY for a while, & she will ask at least once to go out) except when on her own in the house. She has also got the hang of "opening the recycling boxes, dragging all the recycling out, and shredding it into tiny pieces". The recycling is now outside in the cupboard, although I am unsure what the long-term solution is.

Other things she is very good at include: demolishing a proper bone in sub-15 min; getting things out of a Kong in similarly short order; chasing the crows in the park. Yesterday PetPlanet delivered a squeaky stuffed sheep, which received a Two Paws Up result, and to date has remained both interesting and largely intact for nearly 24 hrs. Long may this continue.

She also jumped the fence around the lake in the park last week, in pursuit of a moorhen. And then, obviously, paid 0 attention to me calling her back. Happily she's still nervous of water, so she just stood on the bank doing her Alert Dog Is Alert pose, while I climbed the fence to hoist her back over. Then she belted off into the children's playground (which is No Dogs Allowed, though there were already two other dogs there which is why she went in), and I got a bit irritable. We are now avoiding that half of the park.

On the more positive side: she's getting v good at sit, down, "leave it", and we're working on stay. And right now she is having a nice snooze under the radiator next to me. Watching her hurtle round the park at speed is fabulous (and the walks are doubtless doing me good too).

In non-dog news: I spent the weekend mostly at the London Free School, which was awesome. I watched several films (was facilitating the movie space on Saturday), including Made In Secret (an anarcha-feminist porn collective! sort of) which I strongly recommend (watch the making-of in the DVD extras to get a different view of it). Sunday I went to one workshop on the experience & politics of the menstrual cycle (fascinating) and another one on feminist self-defence (massively empowering; the facilitator is probably going to do a series of sessions sometime soon, so let me know if you might be interested. Self-identified-women-only.).

Also chatted to many interesting people, helped carry a sofa+occupants through the house to resolve a debate about where the debrief session should take place, played Tag (it was really very cold in that building!), and facilitated the final debrief. It was the talking-to-interesting-people thing that was the best part; the weekend as a whole left me knackered but inspired. Hopefully there will be another one in a few months!
juliet: White flags against a blue sky, at the Glade Festival (glade flags)
Totally failed to go to either of the parties I wanted to go to last weekend, due to my knee being out of action YET A-BLOODY-GAIN. It's a little better this week, and I am back doing the physio exercises from last time again, because they did actually *work* last time, albeit over a period of about a year. On the upside, geared bike is once again in action so I don't have to stomp up Hornsey Rise (twice) or Muswell Hill (once) on 72" gear again.

Did go down to Mum & Dad's for belated birthday lunch, which was lovely, both in terms of getting to hang out with family, & in terms of the fact that lunch contained two of my favourite things in the world, viz, roast potatoes, and blackberry-and-apple crumble. Which is a good thing for a birthday lunch :) Then came back to Bermondsey and there was home-made pizza.

This week I have mostly been trying to finish knitting my second pair of nice warm socks before I have to teach again & therefore need them to keep my toes warm; going back to the osteopath (not content with knee/hip breaking down, neck is now joining in*); and writing (assorted work articles are due soon, and I really ought to start pitching some other things).

Tonight: curry! Also keeping a surrepitious eye on Twitter for #appletablet news (why yes, I am something of a Mac fangirl, why do you ask?).

* I haven't been for 6 months, so we had to do the medical history thing all over again. I am getting a bit bored of reciting my medical history to people after the last few months. But it was kind of entertaining when we'd got through the "so why are you here?" part (nice simple upper back/neck, probably triggered by poor posture), & then I told her all the *other* stuff. "So... there's quite a lot going on there." Yes, yes, there is.
juliet: Me sat on the side of a mountain with my snowboard, all bundled up in boarding kit (snowboarding)
You are being shagged by a rare parrot.

ION: this week I have mostly been staying in, specifically staying in *bed*, because I can do writing-type work from there, it is warm, and it means not having to attempt not to fall over on the ice. Today, after putting on 3 layers, a fleecy skirt, a shawl, two pairs of socks, and fingerless mittens, I concluded that it might be time to put on the radiator.

My sinuses hurt. Ow, grumble, etc. Off to work meeting now which should be ... interesting.
juliet: Paper Xmas tree and paper Tardis (home-made Xmas decorations) (xmas tardis)

  • Finlay likes eating snow, apparently. It is about the most excited I have seen him be about anything outside since that squirrel he chased in St James' Park. (Well. I say 'excited'. What I really mean is 'focussed'. He's not what you'd call an excitable dog, in general.) Unfortunately he seems to have some belief that snow is a sensible alternative to actually eating his dinner, but hopefully getting Xmas leftovers will help with that.

  • Stomach bugs really, really suck. Particular highlights: throwing up so hard my sinuses hurt; the stage at which moving from upstairs to downstairs required a five-minute lie down on the landing in the middle. Feeling a bit better now but still wobbly.

  • Saw Nine Lessons & Carols For Godless People last week, which was fun. Some good, some less good, but the good was well worth attending for, & if they ran it again next year I'd go.

  • Will the Xmas knitting be done in time? Who knows! Current bets say: maybe, just about.

  • I am sure other things have happened, but I can't remember any of them. Trafalgar Square clearup, LARC solstice party, snow snow snow. My ongoing attempt to get rid of more stuff (have just started to go through the CDs. Anyone know of somewhere that will take piles of CDs in exchange for cash? Only worth it if they will just take the lot, so the MVE is no good.)

juliet: Part of a Pollock artwork in the Tate (art - pollock)
Went past LARC today to do diary-synchronising (A BETTER SYSTEM IS NEEDED) and potter round the garden briefly; then on up to the Castle for an hour of very energetic bouldering.

Climbing is *awesome* fun. I am very pleased with myself for doing two 4C problems[0], both of which were overhanging & thus Harder. Doubtless tomorrow I will ache, but hey, I can climb things that require me to hang backwards off them! That is pretty damn cool! Plus it does the thing that I wanted to get out of it, viz: when I am climbing I am not thinking about anything else at all. (See also surfing.)

[ BTW, anyone who fancies having a go at climbing, I am happy to sign people in. Doesn't matter if you have zero experience -- all you need to know for top-roping is how to tie a harness, & how to belay, both of which are straightforward to demonstrate. ]

ION: after all the faff with the boiling up bones &c, Finlay is *very impressed* with his lentil stew stuff, so it was at least worth it. It'll still be vegan next time.

IOON: am on target with NaNoWriMo (hurrah!); have worked out that I am trying to fit more things into the day than there is available time for things (so nothing new there, then); the Archive Of Our Own is in open beta! (I have a spare invite code if anyone wants it) & I have top running in a window over there <-- so I can keep an eye on it; & teaching is going well except that my individual lessons keep getting cancelled due to e.g. torrential rain & 30mph winds.

[0] It's indoor climbing, so what you have is sets of coloured handholds set onto the wall, and each colour is one problem. Ratings start at 4A, & I've been climbing 4A and 4B pretty reliably recently; 4C I tend to fall off. Bouldering is not far off the ground, so you don't need a harness or someone to belay you. Top-roping is where there's a rope & a pulley at the top & it goes up a lot higher because you're attached to the rope so it's OK if you fall off. I mostly do bouldering because I go up on my own in the daytime. I think possibly problems is the word in bouldering & routes is the word when top-roping? I dunno. I am a beginner!

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