Mostly notes for myself:( Read more... )
Still not happy that I'm stuck with all the on the spot meeting with people, but at least owner#1 is coming by to mow while I'm away this weekend. He seems to have made a decision to be more involved and is following through (second time mowing).
My internal to the condo past due to do item is to settle on and order 3 ceiling fans (the second bedroom one is dying a slow death, the living room was dead when I moved in, and the first bedroom one died at the tail end of summer). I have a quote for installation (2 people, 2 hours, much better than me struggling with it for a day, so throwing money at the problem it is). I've lost the link to the one I found and thought I'd book marked and I'm lost in a sea of choices. I think I'll go with the Hunter brand whisper quiet ones, just trying to decide if I get all three the same, or make fashion based choices on a per room basis. :-) Mostly worried about spending enough that I don't have to replace them again in a couple years. Tips welcome!
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This is a series of essays about the experience of being an ethnic minority in the UK. A lot of the ideas were things I'd encountered before, but all presented thoughtfully and engagingly, so it would be a really good starting point for someone who hadn't thought much about race relations to introduce themselves to some of the common ideas and experiences. But there was also a lot that was new to me. Thoughts about representation and tokenism in popular media, about the relationships between generations with different levels of integration, about colourism and casteism, and about the impact on ethnic minority children of growing up learning that stories are about white people.
Seed to Harvest (Wild Seed, Mind of my Mind, Clay's Ark & Patternmaster) by Octavia Butler
This is a collection of four of the five Patternist novels (the fifth is set in the same universe, but I understand doesn't include any of the same characters, and is disliked by the author). These are all exciting and easy to read novels, but other than that and the plot thread that runs between them, they have surprisingly little in common. Wild Seed is alt-history, Mind of my Mind is a near future story about psychic mutants, Clay's Ark is gritty apocalyptic stuff, and Patternmaster is in a distant future that feels more like fantasy than sf. They're all great though - lighter than Kindred, but still packed with ideas about society and hierarchy.
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
This book has a phenomenal amount of detail about the anatomy involved in five major lifts - the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and power clean. A fairly tedious read, but one which I hope will make me less likely to injure myself.
Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr James Martin SJ
I really like Fr James Martin, and his "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" is one of the best books about life and religion that I've ever read. This is a short book in two parts; first an essay based on a talk about how the Church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics can heal the divide between the two groups, and secondly a series of suggestions of bible passages and questions that LGBT Catholics and their allies might find useful in prayer and reflection. I liked the essay, although more because it echoed a lot of my own thoughts back at me than because I learned much from it. I think that the more traditionalist members of the church could benefit a lot from reading it and taking it to heart. I think that most LGBT people, especially those who aren't Catholic, would find the suggestion that they too need to show respect, compassion and sensitivity towards those in the hierarchy who have hurt and oppressed them quite frustrating. I have a lot of sympathy with that, but ultimately I think that Fr Martin is correct, both because we are called to love all our neighbours, not just those whom it's easy to love, and because I don't think we will see change any other way.
So I've got about a thousand buttons that I have no obvious use for. They're generally in good condition and they're sorted by slogan.
I could just throw them out, but does anyone have any better ideas?
Would anyone like to pick up the buttons? I'm in South Philadelphia. Or I could mail them. I'm estimating the postage at $50 to $100, paid in advance. I'll come up with something more exact if anyone is interested.
*Removing "Free Hugs" was an error. I'll be putting it back in the trays.
Museums cost in Madrid, luckily many do a special last 2 hours free entry for EU citizens on certain days (although they did not check just queued for a bit) , so it is perfect to see a glimpse of the big museums for short trips also work in the palace).
The Prado is pretty amazing so could easily spend a few more hours there but this was a short trip so it worked perfectly for us, especially as I had prepared a short list of my must see: Goya Saturn, Witches Sabbath, El Coloso, Third of May and discovered a few more from his black series. The Bosch collection , especially Garden of Delights was just extraordinary and lovely to finally see some of those iconic Velasquez.
Afterwards we went on search for food, that is the most complicated bit in Madrid, finding food, Spanish people never seem to eat, bars are full but apart from the odd tapas it sometimes seems quite hard work to find proper menus, also very pricey for a few croquettes. Lunchtime much easier but evening. We were trying to be on Spanish time..looking for food around 9.30pm but i guess till way too early..in the end we had to accept defeat and go for big jug of sangria and a few tapas before being back to hotel and collapse as everyone only start to head into town.
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That morning we caught the first tune to Heathrow to catch our mid morning flight to Madrid ( we both been to the airport a few times but never to Madrid so it was time to remedy it). then more tube to get to our little hotel in the Anton Martin area. Hard work with a big suitcase, 40+ degree and 3rd floor room with no stairs.
Finally started being tourist mid afternoon.
we went straight to visit El Retiro Park, beautiful with lake, sculptures alleys, palaces and gardens.
We also went to see the fountain of the Fallen angel, claimed to be the only known public monument of Satan.
Great party at Jake and Ian, what a marvellous multi levels gardens they created. The theme welcomed time travelling divas, cosmic beings, space captains and aliens as well as of course , Shirley Bassey and Daleks. Fittingly the basement was turned into a spaceworld dancing room (made from paper and cake plates and its own tardis) , an Egyptian cocktail room (sadly I had decided to drive back and what a full on drive it was crossing all London) . Lots of fun & fab outfits.
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As some of you will know from Facebook, the fireplace was installed yesterday. I'd got all worried that it was too big (not in a "it won't physically fit" way but in that it would look wrong). That was the anxiety speaking - it looks perfect!
Sunlight is good for me. Even though it's been too hot even for me the last couple of days, I still feel better than I have in about two years. Today has cooled off but it's also overcast and sticky, so I hope I stay feeling well. In order to avoid over-thinking and stressing over packing for the Newfoundland trip (6 days away!!!) all weekend, I have decided to go to London for the weekend to catch up with some people. This was mainly made possible by the new super off peak train fare - it's not as cheap as, say, booking the coach a month in advance, but it's faster than the coach and I can catch any train on the weekend, so I can come and go when I am ready rather than either rushing or having to hang around.
Have not done any book blogging for several months now. I could start, or I could continue to prevaricate over whether to continue doing it here or to start a "proper" blog. Guess which I've opted for?
Yesterday I also went climbing for the first time in years. I used to climb quite a bit when I was a teenager, and then about five years ago I tried going with emperor as a day trip from Ardgour, and found it depressingly difficult. Since then my strength to weight ratio has improved significantly, so last night I had a much easier time hauling myself off the ground. I was still distinctly conscious that the kind of strength you need in order to lift a heavy thing and then lower it five times before putting it down and having a break to recover is quite different from the kind of sustained effort you need to put in climbing a wall. I started with what was probably the easiest route on the wall, and then gradually increased in difficulty until I found a couple of routes that I made it up but just barely, and a couple more that I couldn't manage, but which are now on my target list for next time.
1) What makes a good potty? The number of variations is overwhelming. We want something pretty simple, I think: looks like a toilet, no branded characters, doesn't play music, sits on the floor, is basically a bucket with a seat. In the more distant future we'll need one that folds up or goes over the toilet seat or something, for when we're on the road, but right now this is just for Kit to examine and contemplate and get used to the idea of.
2) Like most 18-month-olds, Kit is full of energy. Unlike most 18-month-olds, Kit can barely walk unassisted and can't run or jump. They've only just started climbing around on the most low-level playground equipment and are very uncertain; they can get up five steps to the top of the baby slide but haven't yet sorted out how to slide down it. When they can't burn off all that energy, they get very agitated and fussy. How do we help them get something like vigorous exercise on the weekends? So far my only idea is to take their walker wagon to the park so they can toddle along at a fairly fast clip for longer distances than our apartment allows—there's a good smoothly paved straightaway there—but that's a pain because the sidewalk between here and there is very uneven and narrow, so I'd have to figure out some way to carry the (heavy, bulky, non-folding) wagon while pushing Kit in the stroller, and that may surpass my own physical limitations. Maybe a lightweight folding medical-style walker? Is that a ridiculous expense for a kid who probably won't need it anymore by the end of the summer? And what do we do when it's not park weather? The nearest real play space for kids is the Brooklyn Children's Museum and it's kind of a haul from here—two buses, and you have to fold the stroller on the bus. They can only crawl around our apartment for so long.
EDIT: We did have a great dance party to the B-52s on Sunday—their pure sincerity is a perfect match for toddler sincerity, plus a good beat—so I should remember that's an option for indoor days. Friends on Twitter and elsewhere also suggested walking while holding Kit's hands/arms; playing follow-the-leader movement games ("Stretch WAAAAAY up high! Now bend WAAAAAY down low!") or doing movement to songs; setting up a tumbling mat and big foam blocks to climb on if we can get some that fit Kit's room (need to measure the open floor space); getting a cheap flimsy lightweight doll stroller to use as a walker in the park.
I'd really appreciate any suggestions on either or both fronts!