rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-08-20 07:46 pm

Tourism through swimming pools

Both children love swimming. Charles is a competent casual swimmer, Nicholas is still in beginner swim lessons and needs the full-time attention of an adult whenever out of his depth. So I like to take them swimming whenever possible, and made sure to pack swimming things for this holiday.

So far we have managed 2 pools in Helsinki, 1 on the ferry, and 2 in Stockholm.
Read more... )
Today we arrived in Copenhagen and our current airbnb in Fredericksberg is a very short walk from another local pool, plus there are a number of others I am investigating in case we have time for a second one ...
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-08-11 09:40 am

Oh hey, there it is

I was commenting last night to a couple of friends that I was not as fatigued by the holiday as I had expected.  And then as I got back to our apartment in the early hours this morning, I felt that familiar drag set in.  Spoke too soon!   So Tony is getting the 'night passes' for the rest of the con and I'm going to be pulling bedtime cover with the children.

(This holiday so far is being an excellent illustration of just how much we have life-at-home optimised for everyone's needs and just how much work it is to cope without those optimisations.  I'd thought my physical stamina was going to be the limiting factor on what we got done; instead it's the family's collective emotional comfort level with being in new places and Doing Stuff.)

Before staying up too late talking to lovely people, last night I danced my legs off at the Clipping concert.  Clipping's hip-hop Afrofuturist dystopian concept album is up for the Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form, and the con managed to persuade them to come over and play a gig to a bunch of geeks.  The queue for entry was long, and the room was set up with seating, but the band basically said "ok, we're not allowed to get rid of the chairs - we asked - but there's a lot of space here at the front", which was enough to get [personal profile] ceb up and dancing, and I followed.  It was ace.  I think that about 90% of the population right in front of the stage was female-presenting (and within that, mostly white, and mostly around mid-thirties or older).  I am not sure this is Clipping's usual audience demographic? I had a moment of looking around and realising I was dancing in the vicinity of a number of amazing women who I admire greatly and just feeling overwhelmed and joyous and incredibly lucky to be there at that time.  (Speaking of,[personal profile] mizkit also liked the gig.)

So I not only danced at a Clipping gig a few metres away from Daveed Diggs, I had a short appreciative conversation with him in the bar afterwards, and my internal squee may not stop for days.

Totally worth being shattered today.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-08-05 06:16 am

It's actually happening

A bit less than two years ago, I was in a hospital bed creating a googledoc named Helsinki, with https://www.seat61.com/Finland.htm open in another tab, starting to build up the shape of the holiday we could have using Worldcon as an anchor.

Now I'm in an airport hotel room, about to wake up the children and go get our flight to Helsinki.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-07-26 08:49 pm

So much for planning

The first week of school holidays; a big to-do list to get done at both home and work before Helsinki; in particular a big code push early on Tuesday morning.  I had a whole carefully worked-out schedule of when Tony and I would be at work and on leave and working from home and doing childcare runs.

Early on Monday morning, I woke up very suddenly and proceeded to have a very thorough stomach upset for much of the day.  My boss is the best boss, for taking over and sorting out my Tuesday work for me.  I had to reorganise the cleaner, and my routine bone marrow appointment due today (because taking a potential stomach bug into a ward of cancer patients is distinctly antisocial) and completely redo the who-is-home-when plan for the week.

But I was at least able to work today, and (fingers-crossed) I'll be back in the office tomorrow.

The most exciting thing this week has at least gone to plan so far.  My dad made a flying visit today to collect Nicholas for a long weekend at WOMAD. His first time away from home without a parent in tow; not his first time away from both parents though, and it should be a lot of fun for them both.  I look forward to hearing all about it on Monday.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-07-23 09:08 pm

Exertion hangover

Last Sunday (after Saturday's epic dog chase where I lost my keys) I woke up feeling the most hungover I have in years.  And I didn't even get drunk first!  I did manage to pull myself together by early afternoon, and we successfully hosted Nicholas's birthday party at the Little Gym in the late afternoon.

Yesterday was tiring, but for a much more pleasant reason. I took Nicholas to see My First Ballet: Cinderella at the Peacock Theatre, and for icecream at Ruby Violet afterward. We walked to Ruby Violet through pouring rain with bright new umbrellas, and had the whole shop to ourselves.  By the time we'd finished eating it was bright and sunny for the return walk to Kings Cross.  This morning I was thankfully free of hangover symptoms, but did (need to) spend the morning in bed again.  (Reading fanfic and re-reading All Systems Red; there are worse ways to spend a Sunday morning.)

The shiny new phone runs Pokemon Go and on Friday I let Charles talk me into installing it and going for a daily walk with him. The first evening, we passed the charity shop and saw the biggest Angry Bird toy I have ever seen.  Charles bought it at opening time the next morning.  Today our walk took us past the noticeboard in the park - where someone had hung my lost keys!  About five minutes later, we met one of the people who'd put them there, who said they'd found them about 5 minutes after I'd gone home last week from grumpily trawling the park!  I thanked them profusely and asked them to pass it on.

Nicholas says he wants to be called Nick rather than Nico, and I'm slipping up far too often, but at least making sure other adults taking care of him are made aware, and giving him some standard reminder phrases to use on me and others. (It's really not my preferred version of his name, but it's his name not mine, so I need to get over that.)

School has finished for the summer, and in less than two weeks we will be in Helsinki!  I have so much to do between now and then ...
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-07-15 09:45 pm

Not what I had planned for the day

I lost my house keys this evening, almost certainly while trying to help catch a loose dog in the local park. The dog is unharmed and reunited with his owners, who live nearby, but there was some terrifying running into a busy road first, and a bunch of talking to people after (including a long-overdue catchup with my neighbour).

Between that and my subsequent pacing around the park failing to find my keys, I am 50% over my target step count and extremely grumpy with tiredness.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-07-14 10:50 am

Frustrated by computers and my impatience

First of all, I accidentally bought the wrong shiny new phone outright, but that's ok, I'm being sent a returns envelope and I'm being refunded, and that's a lesson to double-check the version number before hitting buy.

Then I bought the right shiny new phone on contract from my current mobile SIM provider. I had it delivered to a local store, because it was that or my house, and slogged into town yesterday to collect it.  I was under the impression that the local store staff could sort out moving my number - this isn't a PAC situation because it's same-company to same-company.  But no! They were powerless! If I had come into the store to buy the thing in the first place they could have helped me, but because I bought in online I had to ring up the helpline to sort out my number.

So I did that this morning. But apparently because I have Not Done Things The Expected Way, the only way the person on the phone could resolve things is to have the phone company ship me another phone, and separately ship me a prepaid envelope to send back the other one -the one I have already spent ages setting up, naturally.  The idea that they could just update the records on the database on which they can see the details of both my contracts is just not possible, and there was a definite flavour of them graciously helping me out of my own mistake because it was clearly stated on the website that I had to go into a store to upgrade. 

(I checked this morning, and the relevant page does say "you can upgrade by going into a [brand] store" - in a page that has a bunch of other stuff on it, and in definitely smaller print than the big banners saying "get special deal on our shiny new phones".  Were it me, I'd change it to say "to upgrade, you must go into a store".)

I mean, I think I'm not going to be out any money due to my Not Doing It Properly, just some tedious admin.  But it's annoying and I'm frustrated both by the weddedness to Going Into A Shop, and by the idea it's somehow better to ship two phones back and forth than to update a database.

The phone is very shiny and lovely though, and I'm sure its twin will be just as good.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-07-11 02:35 pm

Consumerism

I am getting increasingly frustrated with my phone (a Fairphone One), which is about 3.5 years old now and frequently crashing, as well as physically a bit dodgy (because I am clumsy and drop it quite often).  My previous phone was an iPhone 4 which I also had for a bit over 3 years.

I was dithering about the options for a replacement (including going back to Apple rather than sticking with Android), and was thinking of posting a poll, and being systematic about the options.  But then I started reading reviews at Which? and decided a Galaxy A3 would work for me (at the top end of a size I can cope with holding, not horrifically expensive, should be a significant improvement over the current phone, available now) and bought one to be delivered to work tomorrow.

It's possible I am a satisficer rather than an optimiser. 

An impatient satisficer.
rmc28: (tony)
2017-07-09 08:23 pm
Entry tags:

12 years

We went out for lunch, all four of us, as a low-key celebration of:
  • my birthday (last week)
  • our wedding anniversary (today)
  • Nico's birthday (tomorrow)
The walk there and lunch were mostly pleasant, the walk home rather less so (too hot).
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-06-28 09:50 am

Made it!

I'm forty years old today. My second birthday Since Cancer.

I've not done much about it: cakes in the office yesterday & I may get a takeaway tonight rather than cook.  I am vaguely thinking of doing Something on the weekend that includes 1st October (my arbitrarily-declared Happy Being Alive Day) but I haven't worked out what Something will be yet.  In the meantime, a good friend is holding a party on Saturday so I'm going to enjoy being part of their celebration instead of organising my own right now.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-06-25 10:04 am

Events of note

Last weekend we made a family visit to the inlaws in High Wycombe, for some low-key hanging-out time together for the cousins to play together and the adults to gossip.  It was Too Hot, but at least every train on the way home had aircon, as did the taxi.  We experimentally departed from Cambridge North, as we are roughly equidistant from the two railway stations.  Advantage: not going through the centre of Cambridge. Disadvantages: only one direct train per hour to London on the weekend, no cafe or shops (yet), slightly more expensive by taxi.  But it was worth conducting the experiment to be sure.

We all struggled with the heat this week.  This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake.  We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.

I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who?  This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?".  The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.

Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-06-11 01:50 pm

Five things make a post.

Politics. On Thursday night I posted that I expected nothing but disappointment from the election, and it was ... not quite that bad! Locally I am gutted for Julian losing. Purely selfishly, the size of the Labour majority puts it well into "we need to reevaluate the whole campaign" territory, not "we just needed to work a bit harder", which means I don't feel personally guilty for not doing anything.  (For clarity, I don't mean "oh the LD campaign was terrible" - I claim no insight into any of the local campaigning because I wasn't doing anything political - just that it's important to figure out the reasons why the change in vote was so dramatic.)  I was also really pleased to see Jo Swinson re-elected in Dunbartonshire, and Layla Moran elected for the first time in Oxford West & Abingdon.  I'm afraid I'm still in distantly-watching mode where politics are concerned; if the LibDems were likely to be offered a coalition or similar agreement I'd be clearing the decks to go to the members' special conference, but that doesn't look like it'll be happening any time soon.

Wonder Woman. Tony encouraged me to go see this with him when I wasn't feeling especially keen on it, and I'm SO GLAD he did.  I enjoyed it very much, I had very strong emotional reactions to Themyscira and the No Man's Land scenes in particular, I thoroughly enjoyed the slow-mo OTT action choreography and creative use of shields in combat.  (I want ALL the fanfic about current-day Diana comparing shield techniques with current-day Steve Rogers.)  I guessed one "plot twist" almost immediately but the other took me by surprise. It was a lot funnier than I expected too!  It's not perfect, but it's very very good and I'll be preordering the dvd as soon as that's possible.

Trailers and adverts. There was an advert for England Women's Cricket team before Wonder Woman.  I can't remember ever seeing such a thing before.  Was the thinking "women + athleticism" perhaps? Anyway I am in favour.  The Spiderman: Homecoming trailer makes me want to see it even though I'm still bitter about it bumping Captain Marvel back a year when Spidey already had LOTS of films. Transformers: The Last Knight has Anthony Hopkins delivering ridiculous lines in the trailer, and Bumblebee doing something cool enough I gasped aloud and I actually might agree to see this in the cinema if the 10yo Transformers fan so wishes.  And finally I managed to see the Black Panther trailer this morning and am very excited and that is one for me to see in the cinema.

Working (musical). I went to London to see this yesterday afternoon and really appreciated it.  It's 90 minutes without an interval, and it's "just" a series of vignettes in dialogue and song, based on a book of interviews with the US workforce, originally from the 1970s and updated with interviews from 2007-8. The vignettes themselves all have something to reveal, and how they're placed next to each other does interesting things too.  This production has the main parts played by six experienced actors, and a "chorus" of six new actors (as it happens, each of them in their first professional part), and the choreography, of movement as well as dance, was as delightful to me as the music. Two songs were added to the musical for the 2012 version, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and I carefully didn't look up which they were in advance so I could try guessing them.  I got one right, and completely missed the other but it's obvious in retrospect.  Annoyingly, I can only find a cast recording of the original version of the musical, without the LMM songs.  I liked the Southwark Playhouse too - it's small and friendly and relatively easy for me to get to: one train and one tube from Cambridge.

Fatigue. I am paying for all this fun today though.  I started off yesterday feeling tired, and despite taking it very easy both ways to London I had to go to bed early once home again. Today I can barely get out of bed and it's taken me half a day to pull enough brain together to write this.  If I'd gone to just one of Wonder Woman or Working but not both, I would probably be in a better state today, but it was probably worth it.