intertext: (snowy sensation)
Sunday, April 10th, 2011 02:51 pm
I've always liked the idea of cycling, but I've never been any good at it. I love going down hill, hate going up, never managed to be able to get to the level of fitness necessary to ride a long distance and enjoy it.

And now, there's this, and my cycling life has changed.

I love it. I absolutely love it. It allows me to get a workout, to enjoy the fresh air, to leave my car at home, but doesn't stress my hips and knees or make me arrive at work all red in the face and sweaty. I've been happily riding to work and on short errands, and am working up to some longer trips, as long as I don't go so far as to strain my battery.

I have a carrier thingy on the back with two drop-down panniers; on Friday I did a round trip and came home with two bottles of wine and the weekend groceries. Today, I rode to the farmer's market and bought asparagus, and got home in time to make soup. Last Wednesday, I rode home from my evening class for the first time and got to enjoy literally riding into the sunset and watching the changing colours of the clouds on my way home.
intertext: (Default)
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 05:31 pm
Enjoying His Birthday Treat

He's fourteen today. He doesn't look it in this picture, does he? But what you can't see is that he's nearly blind and quite deaf and has quite wobbly back legs, and spends 90% of his time sleeping. But he eats well, and so far he's not having any problems with his bladder or bowels and doesn't seem to have any painful bits except his back legs...

Living with an old dog is so desperately bitter-sweet.

But today, he's fourteen, and seems healthy, and had a lovely afternoon puttering about in the garden. I appreciate every day I have with him.
intertext: (K9)
Saturday, February 12th, 2011 08:14 pm
I've just (very late to the game) watched Torchwood all the way through. I'd seen some of Season 1 before, but Season 2 and Children of Earth were new to me.

Shit.

Russell T Davies, or whoever it was, ought to get the Joss Whedon Honorary Award for killing off favourite characters. What a blood bath!!

Children of Earth was awesome, though. I'm shaking. Very powerful.

But no wonder they're having to move Torchwood to America. There's no one (or hardly anyone) left alive in Wales, apparently.
intertext: (little my)
Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 09:56 pm
Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

1. Thoughtless people
2. General lack of manners
3. Students who ask "did I miss anything important?"
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Monday, January 24th, 2011 09:14 am
Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

A day late, because I didn't feel like doing this yesterday. And for some reason I'm having a hard time thinking of quirks... (I should have saved the "I drink coffee with Coffeemate" one for this category)

1. I don't kill spiders.
2. I never mix milk from a new carton with some from a nearly empty one (my mother taught me this - probably dates from getting milk fresh from a dairy, which she did as a child)
3. I kiss my hand to a magpie if I see one.
4. I often inadvertently refer to more than one sheep as "sheeps" - this was a family joke, dating to a foster-child we had at one time who did that. I get some funny looks.
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 09:44 am
Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

1. Jo Walton's Among Others. It's wonderful.
2. I'm really enjoying The Vampire Diaries at the moment.
3. If you haven't read Megan Whelan Turner's Thief series: why not?
4. Of the current crop of supernatural YA's, the only ones I've really loved have been written by Maggie Stiefvater.
5. And she recommended (she's on LJ) a folk artist under the name of The Gentle Good. He sings in English and in Welsh, traditional ballads. Lovely.
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Friday, January 21st, 2011 08:42 am
Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

1. Quit smoking
2. Bought my first SLR (Olympus OM1) in ... um ... 1979? Photography has been a pleasure almost all my adult life.
3. When a friend wrote to tell me that the university she was working at in China was looking for people in the following year, I wrote back and said I was interested - that was the start of my teaching career, and of a continuing love for travel.
4. Answered the ad offering a Bearded Collie puppy.
5. Renovated my house last summer
6. Started writing in LiveJournal - it has given me enormous pleasure in many different ways.
intertext: (Default)
Thursday, January 20th, 2011 07:57 pm
Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

Hmmm.

1. Are we really such a relativist society that my students have no faith in any kind of absolute truth?
2. What is it with guys - why is it always MEN who are the Bartleby's - who don't want to comply with some kind of external regulations, even something as minor as the off-leash hours at the dog-park?
3. And in a related sense, why is it always the two alpha males in our committee who have to find fault with last meeting's agenda, and never anyone else?
4. The whole Huckleberry Finn censorship episode. Where do we draw the line between "editing" and "censorship" and "bowdlerization"?
5. What are the implications of having one's Dean as a "friend" on Facebook?
6. Was Philip Larkin right all along?
7. Can we escape our destiny?
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 08:46 pm
Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

1. Courage
2. Attention
3. Loyalty
4. Humour
5. Intelligence
6. Empathy
7. Imagination
8. Creativity
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 08:46 am
Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

It's hard to think of things that you don't know already, but here goes:

1. I once had an older sister, but she died before I was old enough to really know her.
2. I put Coffeemate in my coffee and like it that way
3. I never learned to ski, and regret it because now I never will (downhill that is)
4. I used to be quite an accomplished recorder player, good enough to play at someone's wedding once.
5. I was the "star" of a TV show in China.
6. When I was in 2nd year university, I won a nation-wide essay competition for Classics.
7. I like living alone.
8. My middle name is Winifred
9. I'm very adaptable, having gone to fifteen different schools in 12 years.
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Sunday, January 16th, 2011 08:53 pm
This comes via [personal profile] mamculuna and I'm doing it because I like it better than the other ten day meme that's going the rounds

Day One: Ten things you want to do some day.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight qualities you think are awesome in other people.
Day Four: Seven (semi)interesting things you've pondered or thought about recently.
Day Five: Six things you are glad you did.
Day Six: Five books/movies/tv series/etc that you'd recommend
Day Seven: Four silly quirks
Day Eight: Three pet peeves
Day Nine: Two things for which you're proud of yourself.
Day Ten: One secret plan

Ten things you want to do some day.

1. Sail to the Galapagos Islands
2. Write a book
3. Sing in a choir. Particularly if it involved singing The Matthew Passion.
4. See dolphins in the wild
5. Become a much better photographer
6. Stop caring about things that happened in the past
7. Live somewhere with a view of water
8. Grow blue mecanopsis and get them to come back for more than one year.
9. Watch the sun rise or set over the Pyramids
10. Fall in love again.
intertext: (snowy sensation)
Thursday, January 13th, 2011 12:09 pm
In the last couple of days I have suffered and actually managed to recover - BY MYSELF - from my Mac Book Pro undergoing a major crash. But it is still somewhat unwell, and I have a suspicion that the HD may be on its last legs. I was prompted by a kindly twitter message from [personal profile] green_knight to post here before doing anything drastic (like taking said computer in to have a new HD installed). The collective brain of the interwebs never ceases to amaze me.

So here's what's been happening, and what I've done so far.

Mac has been lagging, running slowly and programs have been crashing. On Tuesday, everything froze, I shut it down, and it wouldn't start up again, just hung at the startup screen. After various trials and errors, I discovered a way to start up in a kind of DOS like screen (I think it's called single user mode, if that means anything to anyone) and was able to run something called fsck and then reboot, which got me going again.

So far, so good. But my research had told me that I needed to try a disk repair, running disk utilities. When I tried to do that, I was not able to, and it said that if I couldn't I should do it by running the OSX install disk and then go into disk utilities in there. When I did that, my HD didn't even show up, which my research now tells me means that my HD is in bad shape.

On the other hand, there are programs out there, that cost less than a new HD, that purport to fix things. And there's the possibility of an erase and reinstall. Any thoughts?

Meanwhile, I have at least been able to get Mac running again, though he seems fretful (I'm writing this on my old macbook, which is luckily just old and still runs perfectly well) and the other thing I've achieved is to format an external harddrive and backup my photos and all documents (which are really the only things I care about). Oh, and that reminds me, I should do my itunes library, too.

So I'm actually feeling quite pleased with myself. I know that many of you are much more accomplished computer whizzes than me, but I think I've just passed at least into the intermediate ranks :-)
intertext: (rudbeckia)
Friday, December 31st, 2010 05:45 pm
December 2010

Here is the final mosaic from my 2010 365 Photo project. I did it! In fact, in my complete set for the year on Flickr, I seem to have MORE than the required number (actually it should be 366, because this was a leap-year). It's lovely to look back at a whole year's photos...

Will I do it again next year? Stay tuned...
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Friday, December 31st, 2010 10:03 am
It was not the best or worst of times for me, although I know that for some of you and for one or two of my closest RL friends, it has been dreadful. Looking back, it feels transitional. I feel myself right now to be at something of a cross-roads; were I twenty something instead of fifty something, I'd be thinking about changing my profession or embarking on a new course of studies. At fifty something, I think it's more a case of consolidating what is important in my life, taking stock, and perhaps making some important changes. Read more... )
Tags:
intertext: (xmas beardie)
Sunday, December 26th, 2010 10:22 am
HandmadeI'm having a lovely Christmas this year. It's the first year since my mum died that I've been able to enjoy Christmas (almost) unreservedly. I nearly went away this year, because I'd been having such a hard time, feeling desperately lonely and bereft, forcing myself to enjoy something that only reminded me of lost childhood happiness. It's not that Christmasses with my mother - especially in the final years of her life - were so great; they were not. They were also characterized by a kind of forced gaiety and what I thought was over-indulgence in both food and gifts, and the burden of preparations fell entirely on me, and it was a strain without a lot of payback. My mother was happy, but I was not. But continuing the traditions was as important to me as it was to her.

Then, after my mum died, I tried to convince myself that I didn't care, that it was only another holiday. But that wasn't true, either. Christmas has always been special, magical. For me, I think Christmas is tied up with my Englishness. My ideal of Christmas is based on remembrances of my early childhood in England, of romanticized versions in books and stories, or Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas and The Snowman and The Jolly Postman and Rumer Godden's The Holly and the Ivy. Even Susan Cooper and Connie Willis have coloured my view of it. It was something I longed for, as I've longed almost all my life to be living in England. It was (English) robins, and little villages with warm lights in the windows and a little church with carol singers singing the old traditional carols. And I had it for much of my childhood, even here in Canada. In my heart, I know this probably doesn't exist even in England any more, and you who live there are probably laughing at my foolishness. But, you know, I read some of your blogs, and it all sounds very familiar, even down to the Queen's speech. And I thought I could continue some of those traditions on my own, but after my mum died, listening to the Queen's speech made me cry. And listening to the lessons and carols from King's College made me cry. And even reading Raymond Briggs made me cry.

But for some reason, this year, I've been able to bring some of those things back into my Christmas. Oh, not the Queen's Speech. Really, I can do without that. But the carols. And the robins. And I've managed (mostly) not to cry. In some ways, it was as if, this year, I gave myself permission not to grieve, or at least to accept that, yes, I was going to feel a little bit sad for a few minutes here and there but that was ok, and it was okay to feel happy the rest of the time. To enjoy those traditions for myself and not for some memory of childhood. And I've almost entirely ignored the hype: I haven't watched TV and have hardly been to the mall. And I cooked a luxurious meal because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to, and invited friends over and we had a lovely evening.

And it was a real, unaffected, unforced pleasure.

And now I have two whole weeks before I have to teach again, and my house is warm and bright and full of good things to eat. And I think I have my Happy Christmas back.
Tags:
intertext: (xmas beardie)
Friday, December 24th, 2010 11:00 pm
And all the blessings of the holiday season to all.

intertext: (little my)
Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 05:23 pm
Some of it was a colossal waste of time, and I would rather have been marking, but miraculously I think we did accomplish something, although we were all so tired at the end that it didn't really sink in.

There were no muffins, but there were scones. And soup. And new-agey music and wind chimes.

The psychological profiling was ... odd. I tested "Dominant" and ended up in a group with people I would characterize as difficult to work with and rather self-absorbed. I hope that's not how people see me :(

Oh well. I'd been dreading it, and now it's over, and I'm exhausted but perhaps the department can now move forward. A bit.