zcat_abroad: (Default)
On Yahoo News' "Most Popular Headlines", number 6 reads "Scientists Discover Big Bottoms have Benefits". Immediately below it, number 7? "Full Moon Brings Nudists Together". For some reason (the moon, maybe) I've got images of gravitational pulls...
zcat_abroad: (WOB)
Borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] gillpolack I'll give it back, I promise!
In 2012, zcat_abroad resolves to...
Overcome my secret fear of detective stories.
Find a new sci-fi.
Give up medieval manuscipts.
Take evening classes in ethelthryth.
Be nicer to eye_of_a_cat.
Spend more time with my ncis.

Get your own New Year's Resolutions:


Dec. 5th, 2011 05:31 pm
zcat_abroad: (Default)
So this afternoon I was pottering around the garden (mostly wondering where I'd plant the three punnets of lettuce, two of peas and one of broccoli which I bought yesterday in the driving rain) when I suddenly noticed a new, and very pleasant scent. I looked up from ground-level, where I'd been concentrating, and discovered that the standard sea-foam rose had finally burst into flower.* This means that my little patch of paradise is awash with white blooms and filled with a gorgeous scent, thanks to the foxgloves (taller than me), the sea-foam (which has a touch of pink around the edges) and the alyssum (with a lovely honey smell). The holly-hocks are about to burst into flower - and I don't have a clue what colour these are, as I bought the punnets two years ago.

I am still no further forward with finding a sunny spot for the peas, as the sunniest space is filled with flowers. The lettuce and the broccoli are sharing space with other, less-edible, plants.

*I am especially pleased that these have a scent, as I bought the plant on the basis of the description, and didn't notice much in the way of scent last year. I am of the firm opinion that roses should smell good.


Nov. 2nd, 2011 04:33 pm
zcat_abroad: (Default)
The problem with finding the perfect tea-bag* is that, having finished a mug of tea, one has to get up and make another. In this house, that means walking about 6 steps from the couch. A pot of tea, on the other hand, provides you with 3 cups at a time.

None of this is getting my writing done.

*Dilmah's Exceptional range - I have Perfect Ceylon, and Valley of Kings Ceylon - the second is perfecter!

(Was going to post this on Facebook, but I have resolved to try and post here more often, and wean myself off FB).
zcat_abroad: (Default)
THIS is a fascinating step in the right direction. Not sure how the passports will be received in other countries, though!
zcat_abroad: (Default)
- a warm purring kitten (11+ years old!) on your lap.
- sunlight on a winter's day.
- discovering that you've got a potential article in the making, and can perhaps have something positive to say at this week's weigh-in (count-in?) on the Writing Group.
- finally getting a battery for the bathroom scales and discovering that travel is good for the waist-line.
- having Mondays and Fridays at home.

There are frustrations in the world, and that's a whole other post - about social justice, poverty, and what issues to get upset about, but here and now, there's a lot to be thankful for.


Jul. 7th, 2011 09:57 pm
zcat_abroad: (Default)
Siena - city of bells, drums and strange views through arches. We both really fell in love with the place - though part of that may have been the temperature. It was lovely and cool after Rome. Very hard to put into words, but our four nights there were a total holiday.
Read more... )

And now we're in Ravenna, which is hot, but the mosaics are amazing...
zcat_abroad: (Default)
Rome was hot. And big, and dry. But there were a lot of old buildings to see, and some cats. So lets see if I can cover the basics.
Pics and words )

And that was Rome. Siena is a totally different kind of place, and we're loving it, but that's for another day.
zcat_abroad: (Default)
Days 4 – 10

On Sunday, we got up at a leisurly rate – which is to say we woke up around 5, and read, and played Race for the Galaxy (a card-game), until a reasonable hour. We had decided, owing to tube-closures, to catch a cab to King's Cross, where we caught the train to Hull – along with my supervisor and her partner, though they were in First Class. England through the window was flat, green, and had occassional huge cooling towers, which look like nuclear stacks, but there were so many of them that we remain unsure.

Hull, on arrival, was not bad. This time, the hotel really was only about 100 yards from the station, but this hotel does not have free wi-fi, or breakfast. It will be interesting to see what the next hotel is lacking in. Laundry, working out how to get to the university ('Which one?' “University of Hull” 'Yes, there's more than one...'), and another early crash. We're really not doing very well with the time changes at the moment, but reassuring ourselves that we're pretty much bang on for Italy next week.

The conference was good – though as usual, the best bits were the interactions between sessions. We had a couple of interesting outings arranged, including a walking tour of 'Ull, and a visit to some interesting manuscripts on Tuesday, and a very long drive through the fields and eventually the hills and moors to look at nunnery sites, and have a very big tea provided by the local church ladies.

More importantly – I have met the enemy, and she is slightly shorter, slightly older, and not much immediate danger to me. The author of SoD, the Book of Doom, was one of the convenors of this conference, and has been working on one of the manuscripts I wanted to work on, but in discussion, where she was very helpful, it turns out that I should be fine to get on with stuff I want to do, without worrying about her spiking my chances again, as she seems to have a lot on her plate.

And today, we're going to investigate Beverly, as it's a lot closer than York, and we may get to York from Leeds. Also, as my grandmother very kindly gave me some travel money, and there is a very nice teddy-bear shop here, I think I might start a new collection... Or at least, add to an old collection. My uncle, on the day I was born, rushed out and bought the biggest bear he could find. Winnie-ther-Pooh is now smaller than me, but still in existence, thirty-something years later.

(Written Later)
Beverly was a bit of a disappointment, but the Minster was great - and we found another Mouse by Thompson. And I now have a bear taking up a fair bit of my hand-luggage - called Beverly. Photos to follow.
zcat_abroad: (Default)
Travel Diary – With Suitcase and Notebook across the Globeclick to read more )

Today, we're off to Hull, taking a taxi to Kings Cross so we don't get caught in tube closures.


Jun. 8th, 2011 09:40 pm
zcat_abroad: (Default)
Has anyone else had LJ change their display on them? I know I didn't order a one of these. Bleugh. And dial-up is too slow to change it back tonight. I have to read my friends' page in bleugh.

zcat_abroad: (WOB)
I just found this on a friend's comments section on FB, and think it needs to be more widely read - and all the links it provides, too. If agreeing with this makes me a feminist, I'm proud to be so. And [FB-friend-with-whom-I-will-take-issue-once-I've-calmed-down] you can even call me a fembot...

Rape Culture - Alive and well in the 21st Century!

Said FB friend made (yet another) madly anti-feminist rant on FB, and sure, it's his post, but I read it on my page. I know he is very young, and very conservative, but I am concerned that he is not thinking things through clearly enough, and I can't quite figure out how to bring it up.

And now I'm just fuming over all the injustices in the link, and knowing that it only scratches the surface, and still don't know what I can do.
zcat_abroad: (Default)
‎"Make sure that your lemming is registered, or it won't work." Phrase running through my head when I woke up this morning. Can't retrieve the dream, but I'm pretty sure 'it' was not the lemming, but rather some cunning plan.

So, friends, what would you use a registered lemming for?

A new goal

Apr. 1st, 2011 09:46 am
zcat_abroad: (Default)
Well folks, it's a month and a day until my graduation. During that time (along with applying for a couple of post-docs) I plan to make myself a medieval outfit for said graduation. I have the material, I know what I'm doing for the undergarment, and have no clue what shape to make the main dress in. So, who wants to come on a month-long dress-making tour? Obviously, this is not going to be of interest to everyone, so let me know who wants in on the filter!
zcat_abroad: (indecision)
A couple of links I've found recently. Not looking hopeful. I've got a six-month post-doc, to write articles, so that the next lot of CVs I send out are more healthy-looking, but it doesn't look as if it will help much. Especially as there are a couple more post-docs I want to apply for (starting after my current one finishes), which I still don't have the articles on CV for... Feel like a hamster on a wheel - running furiously, and getting nowhere! And I'm not alone. If we connected these wheels to some form of generator, we could have achieved clean energy by now!


(Note these are/were written by the same person, hence some of the same expressions.)

Is it bad that I want to feel Survivor's Guilt?
zcat_abroad: (North Piha)
The 22/02 earthquake in Christchurch has led me to think about the practicalities of living in this small country. Friends overseas have been wondering how we were affected - and the answer is straight out of Tolkien: "Yes, lots, and no, not at all". (Ok, so some editing was needed.)Rambling considerations of geography )

Kia kaha, Christchurch!
zcat_abroad: (Default)
We had a great time in Dunedin for the biennial ANZAMEMS conference. My paper was on the first day, and I was still writing about 2 hours before it was due (owing to the world and its forces conspiring against me - not to mention my own procrastination!!) Once that pain was over, I relaxed and enjoyed myself, although as usual, the balance between supporting friends, and going to papers I really wanted to hear, was not easy. There were at least 6 options for most sessions, and I hate chopping and changing in between. (Not to mention how rude it is.) Did get to hear some interesting papers on Old English.

And one of the days had nothing interesting on, so we hired a van, and skootled out to the Dunedin peninsula, where we looked at the gardens of Larnoch Castle, and then watched albatross (the only mainland colony of Royals) land, before getting to see their nests from inside hides. Also saw seals, looking like badly draped rocks, though I did see, from a cliff-top, one disporting himself in sea. And it was FREEZING! Okay, not US weirdly-cold-winter freezing, but incredibly cold for me. In the middle of one of our hottest summers, I was wearing four layers of clothes on Friday - including a jumper and a jacket. I strenuously object to that. (The day after we left, it was then 35C!)

Since then, I have two new classes to teach - a different balance, with more Japanese and Arabic speakers. This leaves very different cadences in my head at the end of the day - much less annoying than the Korean. Now I just have to deal with classes in which the Saudi boys think that the world revolves around them - each and every one of them! Teaching them how to behave in a classroom with others is a new skill for me to learn. Thus far, I think I've been doing ok.

And I have now worked it so that I can teach the final session of the day from the beginning of semester - thus keeping some income, while tutoring and WRITING ARTICLES. And applying for things.


*Note to self - a) pad desk. b) apply for things tomorrow. Stop putting it off!*
zcat_abroad: (Default)
Step 1) Resolve to finish reading the book.

Step 2) Start making cup of tea to help with Step 1.

Step 3) Leave cup of tea on bench, to deal to washing, because the machine is beeping.

Step 4) Try and juggle two loads of washing onto a small rack, because, lo, the rain has arrived.*

Step 5) Despair over ever getting that blasted damp smell out of clothes.

Step 6) Return inside, to discover tea growing cold on the bench.

Step 7) Splash milk in anyway, and sit down.

Step 8) Start computer (because I'm meant to be writing this review).

Step 9) Resolve to write the saga of the review that didn't happen.

Step 10) While connecting to the internet, open Word, so as to write the saga while the whole connecty-thing happens. (Dial-up - Oh Joy!).

Step 11) Discover that connecting to the internet while having Word open, causes the whole computer to freeze.

Step 12) Manually turn off the computer.

Step 13) Turn on computer, and read book, because it takes about 10 mins to start up.

Step 14) Connect to the internet without writing in Word.

Step 15) Load LJ, and write this up.

Step 16) Discover tea has mysteriously disappeared from mug. Go to Step 2.

*The most annoying thing here is that the washing was all dry, two days ago. I just didn't realise the weather was going to change (having not had time to watch the news), and so was happy leaving it out on the line. Left for work on Monday to blazing blue skies, and returned home with the clouds sitting on the hill-tops.
zcat_abroad: (North Piha)
But I got to swim at the icon-featured beach today - thanks to my mother-in-law. The weather was perfect, the sea gorgeous, both warm and green. However, the sea was really choppy, while the waves were no higher than about 1 metre.

Then there was sleeping. Because I could.

Tomorrow, I'm taking a road-trip to Taupo to visit my brother for lunch. 7 hours driving for lunch! But I've got a couple of friends to come with me, and so it's going to be fun...


zcat_abroad: (Default)

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