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.

 
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-06-08 08:20 pm

Ta-da for today

  • Emergency shopping for bread (for C's lunch), beguiled by Nico counting to 100 in 10s, 5s and 2s.
  • School run
  • Cast my vote at my local polling station
  • Last minute-revision
  • Cab to exam, to be kind to myself
  • Exam
  • Cast proxy vote 1 very near exam (with bonus meeting with [personal profile] dearheart & family!)
  • Cast proxy vote 2 on way home
J has offered to babysit so I could go to the pub this evening ... except I really don't think I'm up to it. Bah. Instead I think I will have a quiet wibble in a corner once the children are asleep, and then try to sleep before any exit polls are out.

I don't expect anything but disappointment from the election results, but I have work tomorrow, and a date in the evening with [personal profile] fanf to see Wonder Woman, and on Saturday I am Self-Indulgently Going To The Theatre In London with [personal profile] ses and [personal profile] wildeabandon .  And on Sunday I need to get back to my last remaining OU course ...


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-05-30 09:10 pm

Bank Holiday migraine

I had planned a fairly low-key long weekend, involving some studying, and taking the children swimming as much as possible.

However, I got a migraine on Saturday evening which was not shifted by sumatriptan, and which didn't really clear until Monday evening.  So we had an even lower-key weekend. Charles made a cake (over two days, because we ran out of ingredients), and Nicholas watched/listened to/sang Mitch Benn's Very Hungry Caterpillar rock opera song repeatedly, and spent ages engrossed in a puzzle book I later realised was marked "7-10 years", and Tony gently herded and fed everybody and got retweeted by Mitch Benn, and I spent most of the time in bed.  Though I did go food shopping yesterday afternoon, which for reasons meant wandering around Aldi in one of my more glamorous dresses and a huge pair of sunglasses.

This morning I had an appointment with my cancer consultant at Addenbrookes, and decided I was still too tired to cycle, so I went by bus which takes about twice as long, but at least it's reading time? All my results are still clear, including the DNA tests which were backed up for ages, but are now getting turned round quite fast - even my most recent stabbing results are back, and completely clear.  I'm now nearly half way through follow-up.

I mentioned feeling like my recovery had plateaued, and she listened, but pointed out I'd had multiple colds over the winter, and it was a bad winter for cold viruses around here apparently, and viruses do cause fatigue.  The physiotherapy department is offering a newish "exercise for recovery" programme, and she's going to refer me. From previous experience of stuff like this, I don't expect it to tell me much new-to-me, but I'll give it a try anyway. I said something along those lines, but she said "well, I want to know if it can help my patients, and you can tell me what it's like if I refer you".  I agreed that I probably would be able to report back on who would be helped by it, even if I wasn't.

My reading time on buses and in the waiting room was spent on All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries), a novella by Martha Wells, which [personal profile] fanf read recently and recommended, and which I'd seen multiple people on DW and Twitter enthuse about. I loved it, and I would happily read many more instalments of adventures of the grumpy socially-awkward soap-opera-watching security android who stops pissing about the moment something dares to threaten its humans. I have not previously read anything by Martha Wells, but I see she has quite the back catalogue, mostly fantasy. Anyone who has read both All Systems Red and her other books, are they similar?
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-05-28 04:29 pm

Heat and vanity

The temperature went over 20 degrees C this week, at which point I discovered all the things in my wardrobe that aren't really suitable for hot weather. One of my favourite Svaha dresses is too lowcut for me to wear without something underneath, unless I can figure out some kind of insert to the neckline. (Or possibly go to a professional alterations place and get them to do so.)  Another of my staple dresses (from Evans) is beginning to wear out. I have had a spendy month and ordered a bunch more Svaha dresses, which will turn up at some point when shipping and customs get around to it.

cut for mention of weight + body image )

The weather also prompted me to actually get my hair cut.  It was getting increasingly shaggy and annoying me; while it was just long enough to tie up off my neck, I really wanted to get it tidier.  The post-chemo curls were also a constant reminder of having had chemo. The more recent growth seemed straighter, but I wasn't sure if it was just being pulled straight by the weight of hair below.  Spoiler: nope, my hair seems to be straight again (photos at Twitter).  I am quietly delighted and enjoying having my hair back again.

(I promptly spoiled the lovely blow-dried effect by letting C persuade me to go swimming yesterday afternoon, but my hair seems to still be straight.  Woohoo.)

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-05-23 02:11 pm

Hamilton-adjacent shows

There are two things coming up I want to see, and would like to encourage friends to come see with me. I'm not quite at "buy a ticket to something fun" today, but I'd like to get there.  Please comment / message / email me if you're interested in coming too, ideally by this weekend.

Show one:
The Southwark Playhouse is putting on Working, a musical with songs by "Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor". So obviously Lin-Manuel's contribution is among lots of other people's, but the musical blurb itself sounds interesting: based on a book of "interviews with the American workforce" and "a strikingly dynamic and contemporary look at what it is to work and what it is to be a musical".  Also I like the theatre's access information page which seems a better effort than most and would therefore like to Turn Up And Support This Kind Of Thing.

I'm looking at going to the 3pm show on Saturday 10th June.  This is both my least-busy Saturday during the run, and immediately after my exams.  Tickets £25 / £20.


Show two:
There is a touring professional production of Bring It On, the cheerleader musical, which I saw a local amateur production of recently. I am considering either:
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 23rd September, at the Milton Keynes Theatre
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 14th October, at the New Wimbledon Theatre
Both of them are do-able as a day trip from Cambridge by public transport.  I lean slightly toward the Wimbledon one because that's by train not coach, but I could be persuadable to either.  (Both is probably overambitious).  Tickets are between £43 and £57.50, plus a transaction fee (because of course there is).


Also, I'm looking longingly at an amateur production of In The Heights in Birmingham 14-15 July, but as I'm running a child's birthday party on 16th July I don't think it's going to happen.

(yes, I am mildly obsessive about Seeing All The Things related to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I also kind of like the idea of aspiring to a lifestyle of travelling the country seeing musicals ...)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-05-09 09:43 pm

Best spouse

On the Monday of last week, after we'd got back from a family gathering in High Wycombe, I managed to utterly trash my laptop.  I did something stupid[1] trying to fix something else, and before too long it was xkcd-sharks territory and I was completely out of my depth, and stressed out, and mildly frantic because I have two OU assignments due before the end of next week.  I was, thankfully, not too worried about data loss, because I do backups regularly, thanks to [personal profile] simont helpfully equating it to housework.  But I need a device to work on.

I was able to say to Tony last week: help, I have cocked this up quite thoroughly and now I can't even boot the thing, and I am so upset about being stupid I am making myself even more stupid.  Can you please take this from me, and hopefully as you aren't all emotionally tangled up about it, you'll find it straightforward.  Please make it boot again, and reinstall Ubuntu, and once I have Dropbox installed I can take it from there.

And he did, by the next day.  (I was sufficiently busy and stressed out I avoided checking it until the weekend, but it works! Huzzah.  I have lost a small amount of data because my backups are only weekly, but nothing disastrous.  Thank goodness.)


[1] Truly, I didn't think this through kind of stupid, yes

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-04-29 06:49 pm
Entry tags:

Hugo voting!

I got the email that my ballot was open a few days ago, and I have just entered my votes-so-far into it, based on what I've already managed to read / watch / otherwise consume.  Ballots can be edited right up until the deadline, but this seems like a good way to make sure even the limited preferences I have right now get recorded.

My intention is to make brief posts about how I'm voting and what I think of the finalists, as I complete each category.  As a general rule, I pay no attention[1] to stuff by Vox Day or his publishing company Castalia House.  For this Hugos, I intend to pay no attention to Puppy nominations unless I also see buzz about them from elsewhere​, so some of my Hugo posts will list five finalists, and some six, and that is why.

[1] wording deliberate: attention is probably my most limited resource and I've a lot of other things I'd rather spend it on

So far, I have managed to read all the non-Puppy finalists for Short Story and for Novelette, and while in each category I have a clear favourite, ranking the remainder is proving something of a challenge, but in a good way.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-04-23 08:09 pm

Feeling stressed

From last weekend until 8th June is literally the busiest I will be all year: 2 OU courses with exams on 6th and 8th, and a third that just started and will run until September. I knew I was going to be stressed and overloaded and wrung out for about 8 weeks and had basically made my peace with it as the price for getting done this year rather than next.

And now 8th June is a general election, and I have no time to campaign, and have to fight the guilt gremlins that think I should surely be able to carve some time out magically, somehow, and funnily enough being even more stressed does not increase my productivity, or help me sleep.  This has not been the best week!

I've now logged out of Twitter and Facebook on my phone, so I can't take the stress with me everywhere.  I've devoted the weekend to resting and sorting out money (thus removing some other stress).  I'm behind on everything, but Facebook reminded me that I wrote this time last year about being behind on everything. While I'm still perpetually running too close to my limits, those limits have expanded in the last year.  I'm routinely working a 5-day rather than a 4-day week, I'm studying at a higher level, and my fitness has improved a little.

So I'm going to trust that if I take care of myself, I can get through this.  At least by 9th June some of my stressors are guaranteed to be gone.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
2017-04-22 08:14 am
Entry tags:

Bring It On: The Musical

+ went to see this amateur production last night, with lovely friends (and bonus extra lovely friends who I didn't know would be there)
+ the dancing was ace, and some really impressively athletic cheerleading stunts
+ now I actually know how the plot runs together (Skylar is a lot funnier than I'd expected)
+ acting and singing pretty good
- no non-white performers, for roles that are meant to be non-white and whose race is plot-relevant
+/- discovered from wikipedia after I got home that one of the characters was played as trans on Broadway, but that subtlety didn't make it into this production
+ also discovered from wikipedia there's a professional production on UK tour this September (when I am FREEEEE from studying)
- there is no fanfic for the musical on AO3. at all.
- I failed to get to sleep for ages, and am paying for it today