I am noticing that the first running interval each time is almost always uncomfortable, but everything seems to loosen up by the second or third, so I'm trying to make sure I take that first one as gently as possible while still actually running, and trusting that it will get better (and so far it always has). I am definitely reaching the point of actively enjoying most of the running intervals and coming out of the overall exercise with a nice endorphin buzz. Whee.
Inevitably, looking at Jeff Galloway's site has got me thinking about longer runs and what's practical. ( more notes-to-self about target paces and distances )
So far today I have run a small chocolate hunt around the house, defrosted the freezer, taken another bite of the elephant that is sorting out random stuff in the study-to-be, and gone for a run by myself without it being part of my commute. This evening we are visiting friends for a party and tomorrow I have ballet-at-the-cinema to see.
Things that did work: the subtitles were nicely done, the cameras were set up well and switched between sensitively, and the performances were all technically good as far as I can tell, including the countertenor who sang repeatedly. They had this cool "catwalk" going out from the stage over the audience as an extra way of getting people on and off the stage. My French comprehension is not good enough to cope without English subtitles but is good enough to catch some of the humour-in-translation when I have the subtitles to anchor me. There was a really nice little interview with the actors and director beforehand which covered things about the translation and the gender and sexuality issues that the play brings up.
And the rest is me mostly complaining. Content notes: nudity, brexit, suicide
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1 litre stock (I used a chicken stock cube in boiling water because that's what we had handy)
1 packet of fresh tortellini (I always have these in the house as a staple for the children)
~150g chopped onion (I am never ever going back to chopping onions as long as Iceland has frozen pre-chopped in bulk quantities)
~350g of other frozen veg (we did roughly equal quantities sweetcorn, carrots & spinach)
grated parmesan for topping
Add everything but the parmesan to a big pan and bring to the boil (takes a little while because of all the frozen veg)
Simmer for 3 minutes to soften the tortellini
We had halved the quantities from the original recipe (and dropped some of the fussier ingredients), so this was allegedly to serve two. It gave me and Nico two bowlfuls each and now I am very full.
I will definitely make this again, it's simple enough to do on a schoolnight, and also filling and tasty.
 A recent impulse purchase: the 2-line review is I already know the science bit, most of the recipes are rather too fiddly for me as written, but there's enough good basis for me to experiment with for a while. Glad I bought it.
Part of last week's Irish 101 course was watching a short Irish-language film, Yu Ming is Ainm Dom, where a young Chinese man learns Irish in preparation for travel to Dublin. 13 minutes including credits, English subtitles, worth watching, happy ending.
This week I am doing week 4 of 4 of Irish 101 and Week 1 of Irish 102. I am not quite sure why the course-runners are doing it this way, but hopefully I can keep on top of it.
HumbleBundle currently have a language-learning bundle with keys to access online learning for 3 months / 1 year depending on level bought. Spanish / French / German/ Italian / English / Chinese / Japanese / Korean plus related phrasebooks and guidebooks in ebook format.
The Light cinema is having an Anime season. I've seen the four Studio Ghibli on DVD and will happily see them on a big screen, I want to see Mary and the Witch's Flower, and I've no idea about Dragon Ball Super: Broly but willing to give it a try. So that has tipped me over from dithering about getting an Infinity card to actually doing so.
Because we were on a deadline, I had to firmly restrict us to removing only the obvious rubbish/recycling as we went, and merely contain the rest of Stuff That Needs Sorting to shelves and boxes, so there is still lots to do there, but it all feels more possible than it did yesterday morning. I did take before and after photos but I have to dash out to the cinema with Nico in a moment so sharing those will have to wait.
This follows a fairly successful wardrobe assembly last week in Charles's room, and I feel like the house reorganisation which has been stalled for months is finally moving again.
( much pondering over run/walk intervals and desired pace )
And now I am up too late and should sleep.
- I'm not enjoying cycling very much these days and would rather walk if at all possible
- for child-related reasons it would be very useful if I was fit enough to run a lot more than I currently can
I'm definitely feeling the effects of the extra effort. I'm tired a lot sooner in the evening, and I suspect it contributed to my two recent migraines. But in the longer term my body should adjust in response to the load, it always has before. I've already noticed my baseline walking pace is faster and easier than three weeks ago.
Avengers: Endgame: same trailer I've seen before a few times, still feeling meh about it
X-Men: Dark Phoenix: YES I AM HERE FOR THIS please give me angry Jean Grey burning the world down. Brief discussion with Tony about how much X-Men we need to catch up on beforehand, have concluded we can get away with the copy of First Class sitting in the to-watch pile.
A Netflix series/film about a bunch of ex-soldiers stealing a lot of money from a drug cartel head, which I wasn't interested in enough to note the name of.
Also a bunch of adverts for cars & phones, and all the many ads for videogames had the "game does not actually look this cool" disclaimer on them, but I was mostly playing Pokémon Go during that section.
The CGI de-ageing of SLJ and Gregg Clark was a bit uncanny valley for me, but not so much as to throw me out the story altogether.
The mid-credits scene has made me slightly keener on seeing Endgame, but not enough to change my current plan of "maybe a week or two in, and a cheap showing, and not a date-night".
An assortment of more spoilery thoughts:
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Oh, and I'm definitely planning to see it again, but probably cheaper showings and either alone or taking Charles if he's up for it. And I want to dig out the Carol-specific episodes of Earth's Mightiest Heroes this weekend because I had a déjà-vu moment or two in the film and I honestly can't remember if it's from EMH or literally just my brain glitching because I was tired.
So when I last did a major update, I had returned to work after the magic of steam inhalation banished a terrible cold. I've been running to catch up ever since, and I never quite feel I have enough time to write a "proper" entry, so this will just be a really quick summary of Stuff I've Done so I don't forget:
- At the start of half-term, mum and Mick came to Cambridge for a few days to see their friend Joye. We hosted them for dinner Sunday evening (roast chickens with accompaniments), and I took the children to eat out with them on Wednesday evening, both of which were fun.
- Tony made very delicious chicken soup from the leftovers from Sunday which made a number of great lunches in the following week
- I went to see Don Quixote by the Royal Ballet, live from the Royal Opera House, and liked this version much more than the Bolshoi Ballet version I'd seen before Christmas, mostly because this choreography felt much more connected together. I also really enjoy the additional extras the ROH put together for these cinema screenings.
- I took the Friday of half-term off work and travelled to Sheffield with the children to see my in-laws / their cousins, which we haven't managed in aaaaages. The journey up had some epic stresses due to reservations being unexpectedly dropped, but everything else went well and we had some lovely extended-family time together.
- Last weekend I took Charles to see Bumblebee in the cheap morning slot, and it remains the only one of the recent Transformers movies for me to actively enjoy watching - enough to see it more than once! I think Michael Bay's move to producer rather than director may have something to do with this. Also the music is full of nostalgia for me (it's set in the 1980s, and it feels right, though I am not enough of a music nerd to know if they have it completely accurate).
- Tony and I went to ceb's birthday party and had a lovely time talking to people and staying up too late.
- I had a migraine Sunday so didn't get to go and see Free Solo in IMAX as planned (returned for one week due to the Oscar win I think).
- Between cold and migraine I've missed about five weeks of Morris practice and ditto swimming+sauna sessions, but I'm hoping to maybe resume at least one of them next week.
- I impulsively signed up to the Future Learn Irish 101 course which started on Monday because a friend was doing so. I tried once before and dropped out in the first week, so I'm hoping to stick it out to the end this time. And maybe even do the following courses.
- Coming up this weekend is Captain Marvel (yay!) and more ballet at the cinema (Sleeping Beauty by the Bolshoi)
- The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie landed on my ereader last week and I've read about 25% of it so far and it is really good and I want to carve out a few hours somewhere so I can finish it.
Then the character gets to Cambridge, where there are apparently semesters, and dorm rooms, and RAs, and payphones which take quarters, and they are clearly not even trying.
I have refrained from leaving feedback to this effect on the story, but I had to vent somewhere.
(Also, if you want to have a character go to Cambridge, you could do worse than read this helpful website the university has put together for its students.)
He also completely changed my understanding of how I should be treating cold symptoms.
(cut for discussion of cold symptoms)
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Last Monday I had the morning off to go to a child-related appointment, and had enough time afterward to squeeze in some semi-urgent clothes shopping for the children and was feeling very accomplished even before I got to work. I started feeling a bit rough in the afternoon so thought "ah, I'll take the evening off Morris practice and rest up and I'll be fine tomorrow."
I was not fine the next day, or really the rest of the week.
By Saturday I was feeling nearly well again, which was good because I'd made plans months ago to see Come From Away with my dad and stepmother. I wrapped up warm and ventured to London taking it very easily all the way so as to be fine Sunday (spoiler: this did not work). The production was even better than I'd hoped, but I won't buy cheap theatre seats for my six-foot-plus dad again!
I am much better today than yesterday but not as good as Saturday, so I'm still off work and hoping my intense boredom indicates the end is in sight.
By coincidence the children were watching an episode of Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes with Carol in at the weekend, which is the instance I first imprinted on.
The swim+sauna project continues: I have managed to keep up my at-least-once-a-week plan, and I've figured out that I definitely have a preference between my local sports centres, and I have tried out both weekday evenings and weekend time slots. I am beginning to settle into a routine that I hope will become habit: one weekend afternoon and one weekday evening (to be skipped if I am going to the theatre / cinema on an evening in the same week). I've done the sums for PAYG, monthly and annual fees; my reward if I stick to this routine for the whole of February is an annual unlimited swim+sauna membership.
Other events of note:
- The children and I visited my mum & stepdad for a weekend just before her birthday, and ALL my brothers made it there too, so that was fun. (I kind of bodged my swim+sauna for that week by getting my swim at their local sports centre, and my saunas - yes plural - in their house, as they have one. But so good.)
- I went to see a student production of Othello at the ADC and was impressed
- I took one child to see Spider-Verse at the cinema, and the next day the other child to see Northern Ballet's Tortoise and the Hare children's ballet at a different cinema, and generally both went well and a good time was had by all.
- I'm pleased to see that as well as the other two children's ballets we have tickets for, Northern Ballet will have both Victoria and Dracula streamed to cinemas later this year
- I went to the Pinpoint annual conference, Pinpoint being a local organisation run by and for parents of children with special needs, and have promised to write up some notes for other parents at school
- Charles and I went to see Twelfth Night at the Southwark Playhouse this weekend and had a really good time.
- I've managed to get to Morris practice 3 weeks out of 4 so far, which is considerably better than I managed last term
The Nutcracker live from the Bolshoi Theatre, in the cinema
The Convert at the Young Vic
Hadestown at the National Theatre
The King and I from the London Palladium, in the cinema
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Mary Poppins Returns
I would like to write more about things I see, so if you want to put a vote in for any of these, please comment to say so! Or if you've seen any of them and want to talk about them / have any questions, please go ahead! I will make no promises about the timeliness of my answers, but I'll do my best.
(And then I will belt back to King's Cross as fast as I can in hopes of getting home only slightly after midnight. Matinees are much more civilised.)
This is a thing I have become more thoughtful about as my children grow up. I don't post as much detail in unlocked posts as I did when they were small. I'm more careful about what photos I post - and I would as a matter of course take down any photo if they wished me to. For the last year or two I've been explicitly asking for Charles's permission before posting anything about him, including to the private groupchats I'm on with family; Nico I'm still mostly telling after the fact rather than getting permission in advance, but I can see that balance shifting. I don't know if I'm getting it right, but I'm trying.
I very nearly didn't go because the house really does need tidying and my to-do list is enormous, but I'm so glad I picked the "just have fun" option.
Last spring I had a few weeks in a row where it was easy for me to fit in a swim and a sauna and I kept saying "I should find a way to fit this into my routine regularly" but then didn't manage it. I still don't really have a good time to go regularly or have even decided which of the two local sports centres with a sauna to go to regularly (different timetables, prices, ease of getting there, etc etc). But today at least I managed to stop worrying about finding the Perfect Time and just go.
Next week I will still be on leave so it will also be easy to just go (probably to the other sports centre, on principle). And then maybe I can look at my schedule for the following week and find a time that works for that week, and repeat.
I don't really do new year's resolutions, but I think it might be a very good thing for me to manage a swim+sauna every week this year.
John Scalzi has some interesting things to say, especially on the use of animation and the cleverness of the layered origin storytelling.
Interesting interview with the directors which has more detaila bout the animation techniques.
And three favourite fics (behind cut because of spoilers for a specific character reveal):
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Italic = read it. Underlined = not this, but something by the same author. Strikethrough = did not finish.
* already on my to-read pile somewhere
( the full 100 )
14 read, 17 authors I've read something else by, 7 on my to-read pile already. Lots of interesting suggestions in the remainder for future reading.
The Nutcracker was really beautiful and very much worth seeing, I floated on the glow from it for the rest of the day. I should book myself another set of ballet-at-the-cinema tickets for the next few months, but maybe not in the very middle of the row again.
In the evening I watched the second half of Watership Down and it remained disappointing. In case I never get around to writing a longer critiique, my main problem is that the adaptation doesn't understand leadership at all, and as a result does both Hazel and Woundwort complete disservice.
Monday I had a few last gifts to get and then in the late afternoon I shut myself in the back room to wrap gifts. Nico ferried gifts to the tree for me at intervals. So I finished well before midnight for the first time in ... years? I did stockings for the children and a goodie bag for me and went to bed at a sensible time.
Tuesday was deliberately low-key, with just the four of us. I insisted the main presents waited until Tony was up and we'd had some salmon-and-bread. After a number of presents had been opened a natural break occurred while Lego was assembled and the remaining presents got opened in fits and starts during the rest of the day. For next year I think I should let the opening start earlier and encourage more breaks during the day.
Tony made us a large but simple meal of roast chicken, roasties and a few sides, and rather later he and I had some dessert. (The children's dessert came when we opened a couple of boxes of chocolates from under the tree.) I downloaded all the promising-looking Yuletide fic as ebooks to go through at my leisure, and then fell down a hole of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse fic instead. We made a couple of video calls to grandparents which went fairly chaotically but seemed well-received.
My brother came over for a bit on Wednesday to exchange gifts and hang out with his nephews, and we ate Tony's ham and bubble+squeak fritters. Otherwise we have remained quietly at home, everyone fairly content to read or watch things and not do much else.
(I have been fairly aggressively catching up on all the very-overdue tasks on my reminder app since Saturday, mostly changing bedding and laundering All The Things, but by its nature this is the kind of catching up that has a lot of sitting around in between times. I could have been reading some of my unread books pile, but instead I have reread a bunch of particularly comforting books.)
Tomorrow Tony and I are going to see The Convert at the Young Vic (written by Danai Gurira, starring Letitia Wright, I am very excited) which functions as a seasonal gift to each other.
Yesterday I finally sorted out travel and accommodation to see family in Sheffield in a few weeks, and today I managed to score a Friday Rush ticket to Hadestown at the National Theatre (as reviewed by swaldman ) for next weekend. That was an experience! I was a bit disheartened at first to be told there were over 350 people ahead of me in the Rush queue, but I decided to wait it out, and when I got let through to booking, my second-choice performance time still had some tickets left at the price I wanted to pay. Then I hit a second queue to get tickets for the specific performance, but much shorter, and I was still able to get the ticket I wanted. And my confirmation email is from 13:23 so the whole thing didn't really take that long, it just felt like it.
After we came home I watched Watership Down part one, about which I have rather more mixed feelings. I didn't actually give up on it, and I'm going to watch part two tomorrow, but my list of postiive things is rather shorter than my list of quibbles.
And then I read the LibDem email giving us the sad news that Paddy Ashdown has died and I am feeling a bit too numb for words about that.
The other day Tony introduced me to gitlost - a twitter bot that finds GitHub commit messages containing swear words and tweets them. Reading down the whole lot at once is delightfully cathartic - oh yes, my fellow developers, I have been there and I know those feelings. (I am actually too stuffy / professional [delete as preferred] to put swear words in my own comments, although I frequently wish to.)
From the Radio Times: 2x 100m episodes on BBC1, Saturday 22 December 7pm & Sunday 23 December 7:20pm. Then they'll go onto Netflix internationally. I am excited enough to have actually put the times in my diary. They have a star-studded cast of whom I'm most interested in John Boyega as Bigwig. Olivia Colman is voicing a gender-flipped Strawberry. (How is that going to work? Doesn't it undermine a fairly fundamental driver of the plot?)
I did a read-through of Watership Down a few years ago. There's an unfinished index post that I may get around to finishing one day, but we did make it all the way to the end and all the entries are tagged watership down read through if you want proof. siderea wrote a really cool 3-part long essay on Watership Down around that time:
rachelmanija writing as Lia Silver has a couple of characters for whom Watership Down is deeply important, and one of her other readers made a brilliant icon:
(Also, it took me all day yesterday to remember that painkillers are a thing that helps with RSI. Competent adult here, honest.)
Brief history of me and Yuletide:
2011: it got me through a holiday week made miserable by pregnancy, and continued to bring me happiness for some considerable time after
2012: I felt I should Give Back, signed up, and wrote my Very First Fanfic with great seriousness. And also bashed out a treat in a few hours just before the deadline, which got nearly as good a reception, so that showed me
2013: did not sign up due to Life Being Busy with a toddler
2014: signed up, greatly enjoyed local Yuletide writeins, wrote my assignment and picked up a pinch hit, and collaborated on a very silly short story
2015: did not sign up due to being ill
2016: did not sign up due to finishing degree
2017: signed up, enjoyed myself, only one story this time though