st_aurafina: (Yuletide: Spirit)
First up, we're not on fire. There is a big fire down on the coast, and they've closed the Great Ocean Road in that area but it's not that close to us. We're watching it and the weather but we feel pretty safe right now.

It's still very hot, though it's starting to cool down and tomorrow is supposed to be a lot nicer. Today was hot enough that our lizard neighbour came for a visit and to sit on the hot pavers on the patio. It's good to see him, because blue tongues eat snake babies, and out here, snake babies are deadly babies. I don't like deadly babies. I tried really hard to get a photo of him, but the turkey coma was strong. It was so hot last night we all went to bed around 9pm, and then I bloody forgot Duolingo and broke a 140 day streak. DAMN IT!

Christmas was fun! Like, actually chill and relaxed and fun! This is mind-blowing to me. My sister came to stay for a couple of days, and she is lovely and clever and funny, and happy to hang around and internet or watch TV. I thought it was going to be too hot to cook the turkey (we had one of those rolls of breast meat), but it was also too hot to sleep, so I got up at 6:30 and had the turkey in the oven by 7:30. I turned the oven off around twelve, and We sliced it up and ate it warm with salad and roast veggies when we were hungry. Then we all lolled around and rubbed our bellies and watched Selfie. It was so low-stress and easy. Apart from the fires.

Yuletide is here! I have three fics in the main collection: one for a fandom I've written before, and two for new fandoms. So excited! So much new fic to read!

I received two fantastic gifts!
Indiana Jones and the little black dress of fandom! (AKA, an Indiana Jones/Torchwood crossover, which is GENIUS.) I love the way you can shoehorn Jack Harkness into any fandom, and this was done skillfully, and with exactly the right sense of fun. I love a fun crossover! And timey-wimey cleverness!
Indiana Jones and the Provenance of Relics (2456 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Indiana Jones Series, Torchwood
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Henry "Indiana" Jones, Marion Ravenwood, Jack Harkness
Summary:

An improbable number of absurd things had happened in their lives before now, so they couldn't really conclude that this, of all things, was a bridge too far.




Beautiful mermaid #FindTheGirlsOnTheNegatives femslash, which fits the mood of the photos perfectly, and is a gorgeous piece of worldbuilding. You know that feeling, when you can't describe the thing you want, but then you get it and it's perfect? This fic is that.
Return To Waves (1865 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: #FindTheGirlsOnTheNegatives
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Woman In Blue Dress/Woman In Red Dress
Characters: Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Merpeople, Yuletide Treat
Summary:

They came from the waves to learn the stories of the people above. After two years on land, it's time to go home.



Thank you to both of my mystery authors - you made my Yuletide lots of fun. And very gay!
st_aurafina: Comic of Scully, saying "I detest dancing" (X-Files: Scully detests dancing)
Things happening right now:

- X-Files friending meme
(Hi to the new peeps!)

- [community profile] femslashex is open for sign-ups!



That what have you been up to meme:

So what have you been up to?
Um, work, random medical stuff that seems to take an age but never really gets done. I still have a cold. This is the cold that never ends, it goes on and on and on, my friends. It's not even that bad, it's just that every time I think I've kicked it, something stressful happens and it stops in the doorway, turns around, and gets comfy again.


Major life changes? Same old same old?
My grandfather passed away last week. It was sort of expected - he was 94, he had dementia and was quite frail - but it was also kind of a shock. I am weirdly sad, though I wouldn't say we were close, and I'd definitely say we had some conflicts. I don't know, mortality and all that, I guess, and I was sad for my dad who has cared for him. And nobody wants to see their tiny Nonna crying broken heartedly at the door of the hearse. (But she told me she was glad that Dad got him a really fancy coffin with brass bits and so on. I'm glad that made her happy.)

It was deeply weird to be around family members from whom I am estranged. Need to unpack that later with the therapist. But I got to meet my little sister's boyfriend, which was nice. He's from a very conservative background which has been a source of conflict between them - I think we were the first gay people he's ever met - but I think it was really gutsy of him to go to the funeral, and if he's willing to do that to support Nat, then I'm giving him some Brownie points.


What fandom are you in/do you spend most of your time in?
- MCU fandom, still working on the Captain America fic. Currently embedded with Howard in WWII.

- Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter, smashing out my [livejournal.com profile] marvel_bang. I thought I'd missed the deadline but because I'm doing my own art, I get more time, which is supposed to be for actually doing the art, but I'm still finishing the writing, oops. Currently hanging with Peggy Carter in 1946.

- GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF omg, but mostly on Tumblr. I love Bake-Off time, yay!

- Sense8 - I've finished, and I really want to write some fic. But I have to Mavel Bang first. And omg, NaNo is looming.

Where do you hang out online?
[personal profile] st_aurafina
[livejournal.com profile] st_aurafina
[tumblr.com profile] st_aurafina
[archiveofourown.org profile] st_aurafina.
Oh, and [pinterest.com profile] dansnark, if you want to see a million pins of art journals and crochet scarfs.


What are you reading?
I am having such a crappy time reading right now. My concentration has been busted for months. I read fic, and I'm having iddish fun reading through [livejournal.com profile] ckingsbridge's novels. She's got the kink and the cuddling, it's all beautiful.

What are you watching?
Hannibal, for the last time. My non-spoilery finale reaction: Omg, Hannibal, you're the worst. No, Hannibal, stop! Stop! What am I watching? Is this fic? THIS IS FIC, ISN'T IT? THIS ONLY HAPPENS IN FIC!!

Killjoys:
This show is awesome and almost everything I wanted Firefly to be. Four episodes in, still think it needs moar actual queer. But otherwise so far, I love it. Love Dutch, love her team, love the brotherly relationship, love the zingy UST, love the world building. Love the ship.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Because we've got access to it via Stan, and the ridiculous luxury of being able to dial up any episode any time is heady. I'm mostly cherry-picking favourite episodes. We just watched Time's Arrow, and I love Guinan.

What are you making?
I'm still crocheting the epic blanket, but I keep taking detours to make other small projects. I'm working up an infinity scarf for me. FOR ME. (I mostly give everything I make away.)

What are you squeeing about today?
Hannibal, but it's a slightly nervous, somewhat confused squee. That scene from the credits, wtf, we will be debating that for years.

If you could rope old fandom friends into a new fandom, it would be...
I don't rope people into things! But there's a lot of new stuff out there. Hey, is anyone watching X Company? It has some damn pretty people, but I don't normally do real life war fandoms. (Only, you know, Winter Soldier, and that one amazing episode of Sanctuary.) Is it really sad? Or just regular sad?

I should really watch/read/dive into _______ and then come talk to you about it!
Come and tell me about anything! I'm nearly all caught up on TV now, I'm going to need more stuff.
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
Thanks for everyone's comments on my last, somewhat hysterical post. Things are going okay - I'm going okay. My little sister is going okay. I really appreciate knowing I can blow off steam here, in safety.

Anyone here play Howrse on the Australian server? I'm about to delete my game, and I've got some stuff I'd be happy to pass along to another player here before I advertise on howrse. Some unicorns, some black market items. Leave me your username, I'll message you and we can set it up.

*sending hugs to everyone*
st_aurafina: The Winter Soldier wearing a mask and showing his metal arm (Marvel: Winter Soldier)
In my Yuletide fic, Laurent was the one with the tiny pinhole where the feels come from. (Per my drunk post.)

I was just cruising through tumblr, and hugging myself, and telling [personal profile] lilacsigil (for the millionth time) that winter soldier!Bucky looks like he has no feels, but is in fact all full of feels. (This I do with my head inside my stripey jumper so I can pretend I am Natasha in her stripey hoodie.)

She said "But no tiny pinhole where the feels come from."

THIS IS EVERYTHING I WANT IN WINTER SOLDIER FIC. Omg she is so smart!

(And she is also my knight in shining armour, for reasons I can't tell, but just know that she is.)



I have only managed one fic for [community profile] fandom_stocking, and this makes me sad. I'm just so tired and depleted after the visitors (and my mum managed to freak me out, even though I'm shunned, even though we did not talk at all over Christmas. It seems unfair.) It's taking so long to recover. But I will recover. There is cuddling and cats and leftover icecream concoction that we made for the wee nephews. It's plain vanilla, with chopped up chocolate bars in it. It was a massive hit with pre-teen boys! And tired fangirls.



I go to bed now, because tomorrow is another day. And I will feel better.
st_aurafina: The Winter Soldier wearing a mask and showing his metal arm (Marvel: Winter Soldier)
Still haven't moved. Send help and reinforcements. The real estate agent has a tenant lined up for our old place; she keeps knocking on the door to ask when we'll be vacating so we can lease the house. IDEK. At least it won't be sitting empty. At least it's rentable without major renovations (and at least this tenant is willing to move in while the not so major renovations are done.)


I survived my major dental appointment by having a panic attack on the Sunday beforehand that was so intense and so horrifying that two hours of crown work was nothing to fear in comparison. The panic attack wasn't even to do with the the dental appointment - it was my mother's birthday on Sunday, and when I went to text her, I had to scroll and scroll to find our last communication, which was in January - hence panic attack and waves of self-loathing that far outweighed my fear of dentistry. I do not recommend this as a method of dealing with dental phobia. I feel like a piece of fruit leather at the bottom of a schoolbag. But the temporary crown is in and the next appointment is not so arduous. OR SO THEY TELL ME. /dire looks


Tinee media review:

- Doctor Who: tentatively enjoying it on the proviso that I read no negative reviews and allow myself to soak in a syrupy non-critical solution of self-care while watching it. A new Doctor is always a treat, in that assorted chocolates way. I don't really know what Twelve is like yet, but I'm pretty sure he's not a soft-centre. (OMG where is this analogy going? I release my grip on sanity! Let it go!)

- Reign: Watched the first two episodes and really, really enjoyed them. It's like, history on crack with fancy dresses and ooooh, boys, and lots of girls hugging.


Tinee linkspam:

- Seriously adorable crochet pattern: Crochet a baby Groot (warning for animated gif)

- Somewhat underbaked science that nonetheless rang true for me and my many hearing problems: Middle ear may hold answers for autism treatment (Warning for discussion of familial abuse)

- H/T to [personal profile] cofax7 for this one: The Most Amazing Lie in History (I feel like I want some kind of Peggy Carter encounter with this guy. Maybe Judy Dench's M can be in it, too. She must have been pretty deadly in WWII.

- Misty Copeland will be performing Swan Lake in Australia - this photo from her instagram is just beautiful. I love the strength and compassion on her face - I usually find Odette a bit mimsy, but this is amazing. (Eeeeeh, using facebook to embed from Instagram to my journal - this is a little too close to crossing the streams, if you ask me.)

Instagram clearly too evil - am hotlinking like a crime lord )

- I wish this scene had been in the Winter Soldier: This Is What Hawkeye Was Going To Do In Captain America: The Winter Soldier

- Speaking of Winter Soldier, [personal profile] famira has made a trillion textless icons from the movie: all under their Captain America tag. Go snaffle them up!


Since my last post, I've mostly been reading comics: re-reading Captain America's Winter Soldier arc, also Young Avengers (omg Miss America! Amerikate foreva!), Ms Marvel (omg the latest team-up killed me with the adorability).


Also made a bunch of icons suddenly and out of the blue: some Doctor Who, some Young Avengers which are, admittedly, 90% America Chavez )

And that's all there is. There isn't any more.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Tonight's Monster of the Week X-Files rewatch is Teliko, aka the one with the melanin vampire. It is dire.

I bought some ginger cordial to mix with vodka tonight. Genius. That's not a recipe, as such. More like life advice.

Something I cooked recently:

Chargrilled zucchini (and some meat, in case that's something you don't want to look at) )

We brushed it with olive oil and grilled it until it was soft in the middle. It was very tasty!


Panini bread

Honestly, I didn't see much difference in this to my regular pizza recipe, despite it being a long and complex recipe involving a starter sponge and a whole lot of mess. I was anticipating something with a more open texture, like a ciabatta. I wouldn't bother with all the mess of the very sticky dough again, for what I got out of it. It tasted okay, though. But my pizza recipe would have worked just as well.

Mergatrude's Super Easy Butter Cake

[Disclaimer: the recipe is good. The baker suffers under a curse.]

I followed the recipe faithfully, and it all looked good when I put it in the oven. After the alloted twenty five minutes, it felt suspiciously liquid, so I left it for another ten. By then, it had cooked on the outside, and smelled amazing, but still felt a bit... sloshy. I used a skewer, which came out clean (OH TREACHEROUS SKEWER!!), and it was getting very brown on top, so I took it out. I let it cool in the pan, then I turned it out, and like the Titanic, it broke in half. Unlike the Titanic, it oozed raw cake batter. Oh, the humanity. It was a terrible caketastrophe. No, actually, the bits that cooked were really freaking tasty. But my shame and disappointment left a bitter aftertaste.

I think that either my oven is misbehaving (in which case, I've got a thermometer to check what the actual temperature is) OR I had it on the wrong temperature. The markings on the dial are getting smaller and smaller as time goes by. (Solution: get [personal profile] lilacsigil to check the setting, because according to the optometrist, she has the eyes of a ten year old.)


Something I have solid plans to cook soon:

The before mentioned butter cake. I WILL NEVER SURRENDER. ALSO THE COOKED BITS TASTED GOOD.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Ice-Cream, only with mangoes. Because I walked into the greengrocer this week, and the mangoes smelled amazing. I think it should work well? All of the ingredients taste good on their own, and that's usually a good sign.



Something I'm idly thinking about cooking in the future:

The zucchinis are coming. I think we're going to get four or five this week. Big ones. Hence:

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


Zucchini Bread, which is more like a spice bread than a bread bread. It makes a good teacake.




We're going out to dinner on Sunday night with my brother and sister in law, and our two nephews. I am trying to be less socially anxious about things. I wish I knew how to go about being less socially anxious about things.
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
URGENT ETA: Please don't describe the things you see when you google the thing I said not to google!

Last year I had a lot of concentration issues, and I really didn't keep track of what I read, what I started and never finished, what I put in the to-read pile. This year, I will do better! I know I read a lot of books last year, before I fell into the Mercedes Lackey epic re-read, but I didn't really think about it. So.


What have you just finished reading?
London Falling, by Paul Cornell

Someone on my flist - [personal profile] glinda, I think? - posted about this, and I remembered that I had tried it, and given up. She said that the start tripped her up at first, with a lot of police procedural talk. Which was the reason I put it down - I felt trapped in an episode of The Bill. So I picked it up again and pushed on and I really enjoyed it - the magic system was interesting, I loved the history and mythology of magical London and football culture, and the way the characters adapted to police work with magic was super cool. I'm looking forward to more from this series. (I presume it's a series? It's set up that way.)

Also, canon gay characters, canon POC characters. Yay.


Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch

Because I liked London Falling, and because I like the trope of 'London is old and full of magic', I gave this a go, too. Yeah, I liked it? Well enough? I adored the spirits of the rivers - I want all the fanart of them at their various gatherings. I liked Nightingale, I loved the Folly and Toby and Molly and Leslie. Took me a while to click with Peter, though; he's kind of an arsehole at the start. But we worked it out. I'll definitely read more. Because there is more. Needs moar queer tho. Lots more queer.


Divergent, by Veronica Roth
[Redacted rant about invisible queer people] We know all that. I should know better than to have picked that book up in the first place. I need to stop grabbing the ones that have all the buzz and the upcoming movie, and look for the ones that don't have all that attention.


What are you currently reading?
I've started Moon Over Soho, second in the Rivers of London series.


What do you think you'll read next?

I'm going to go plumb [tumblr.com profile] diversityinya. It's a good tumblr. [ETA: Going to read Inheritance, the sequel to Adaptation, by Malinda Lo.]



Other random thoughts I am thinking right now:

- I like cooking and baking, but I am crap at cakes. They're either weird and rubbery or dry and horrible. What is the secret of cakes? Why can I bake something complicated like bread, but not a cake?

Ditto for hummus. (Entirely prompted by someone's delicious homemade hummus on my flist, drool.) Why is tahini so gross? It grosses up my hummus, and I don't understand what I can substitute for it.



- It turns out my Harvest Box code is reusable, so if you're in Australia and you want to try out a service like Graze in the US, here: 86231FJMCVJ (You get two half-priced boxes, and I get a $4 discount.

It's working out pretty well for me; there's only been a couple that I really, really hated - the one with dried rockmelon (ugh, like bitter leather wrapped around my teeth) and the one with the spoopy berries that set off my things-with-holes phobia.

The website is here: HarvestBox, you get four snacks in one box, and as you rate them, they tweak what you get. So no more spoopy berries ever again, thank goodness because they were nasty. (They were dried white mulberries, don't google it if you have trypophobia and DO NOT GOOGLE TRYPOPHOBIA IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE IT. DO NOT. NO. GET A FRIEND TO DO IT. Ugh, even the word has too many holes for my comfort.)



- I wrote some fics for [community profile] fandom_stocking. Not as many as I would have liked, but since the mod has unfortunately been sucked into the polar vortex, I'm taking the opportunity to peck away at more. Stay safe, people in the icy north!



- I had a good therapy time on Tuesday, which involved a discussion of Klingon birthday rituals, and the visualisation of pain sticks becoming matchsticks. (In preparation for my family's heinous birthday season in April/May.)



- Every now and then I remember that Derek Jacobi is the narrator on In the Night Garden (of the genre of trippy British children's puppet shows) and will exhort you to catch the ninky-nonk. I think this is either really good or really terrifying, or maybe both. Sample at 2:25, under the cut.

Catch the ninky-nonk! )
st_aurafina: (Yuletide: Super Secret)
I had my little sister to stay for a couple of days over New Year, and it was lovely. She is so nice and easy-going and happy, and sometimes I wonder how she came from my family but I don't care because she's awesome. I love her so much. But now she is gone, and all that remains are some haunted cats, a unicorn doona cover, and 'dogs bum looks like jesus' in my google search box. Such good times!



Yuletide reveals! This is me:
Four Times Rolan Spoke For Valdemar, and Once He was Speechless For Himself (1884 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Valdemar Series - Mercedes Lackey
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings, No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Talia (Valdemar), Rolan (Valdemar), Talamir (Valdemar), Dirk (Valdemar)
Additional Tags: Soul Bond
Summary:

Rolan is not like other Companions. He Chooses again.



Sparkly pony Christmas! I couldn't say anything in the lead-up to Yuletide, but I had the best time reviewing canon! I read Arrows, Winds, Storms, Vanyel, and then went and read some of the anthologies, and Alberich's books. I hadn't read Alberich's story, and there was a lot in there I needed to know about Talamir and Rolan and Monarch's Own business. And then, because I was on a roll, I re-read the Diana Tregarde novels, which aren't holding up as well in the fail:nostalgia ratio as Valdemar is. I remember loving them so much when I was younger. *sigh*



I'm still on prednisolone for the asthma flare-up I'm in the middle of, and it's such a monster drug. I'm all hyped up and twitchy, and HUNGRY, and my calves are spasming and crampy, and I want to jump down every tourist's throat. (Actually that last one probably doesn't have much to do with the prednisolone. Tourists, man. I hate'em. BE FUCKING POLITE ON YOUR HOLIDAYS, YOU RUDE FUCKING FUCKS. YOU'RE FUCKING GUESTS IN MY FUCKING TOWN OMFG.) The prednisolone has also drastically cleared up my sinuses, to the point where I am rediscovering just how bad we all smell. Ugh. Everyone has this cloud of smell around them, even me, and it's like my personal space has been reduced exponentially. We smell! All of us! It's weird and I don't usually have to spend energy processing that information. Ugh.



In conclusion, we have caterpillars in our tomatoes. This is not a metaphor. They are cabbage loopers and tonight we go at them with chemical weapons, aka detergent.
st_aurafina: Plus sized lady in a pink bathing suit, completely underwater (Exercise: Swimming)
1. Tonight's X-Files was Hell Money, which I tend to skip in my constant rolling rewatch because it's kind of shitty. But we're keeping up with Monster of the Week which means no skipping. (Last week was Teso Dos Bichos, with the amazing fake kitties.) Anyway, this episode had surprise!Lucy Liu! And surprise!B. D. Wong! So the rewatch was definitely worth it.

2. This week is Freezer Food Week! (Which comes around whenever we've filled up the freezer.) It's a surprise with every meal. Except breakfast.Tonight was lasagna! And this weekend, I'm cooking a giant batch of curried sausages - lovely Nana food, especially when it's cold.

3. I had a really, really good swim on Tuesday, for the first time in five weeks. The Warrnambool pool has been so crowded, but they just opened the outdoor pool for early morning laps, and it seems to have eased the pressure on the mid-morning lap swimmers like me, yay. And they're filling the local outdoor pool now, so hopefully soon we'll be swimming laps closer to home.

4. The green zebra tomato seedlings are ready to go out in the main beds. The cherry tomatoes aren't far behind. I planted some Lebanese cucumbers, but most of them didn't come up, so I shoved in some cantaloupe seeds. And then some things came up but I'm not sure if they're cucumbers or cantaloupes. I guess we'll find out.

5. Crochet!

Pics of crocheted things, mostly hats )

Sadly, as a result of all this handcraft, I have amped up the tenosynovitis in my right wrist, but I've got a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and hopefully there will be a cortisone shot. Hopefully. Because I'm sad about rationing my crochet time.
st_aurafina: (Star Trek: Uhura)
1. It's still raining! And blustering, and hailing, and hailing SIDEWAYS. So much water here! And it's icy, icy cold, the best kind of winter weather. Spring may be lurking, but winter isn't done just yet. I still have many beanie-wearing days ahead.

2. Knee is still good! I didn't take any NSAIDs at all today, huzzah. I managed my Tuesday swim with only a few quibbles from the knee department, and tomorrow I'll do my first land-based workout since the Saturday before last. Fingers crossed, I can get to my personal trainer on Friday.

3. I finally got off my arse and printed photos from visiting my grandparents and [personal profile] lilacsigil's family. I have one of those tiny Selphy printers, and it's actually really easy to use, but I use it so infrequently that every time is like the first time and I have remind myself how it works. But I'm done, and I've got photos to send to various family members.

4. Had a professional interaction with my dad that was not hideous, and did not cause me emotional suffering. This is noteworthy. And very positive. Something to tell my therapist.

5. I think crochet is my new fandom:

- I'm onto the last skein of yarn for the baby afghan. I think it's going to need some kind of decorative edge, so I ordered some yarn in an autumn brown colour. And I've scoped out this cute little flower hat to put with it - to make a kind of woodlands themed baby gift.

- Moogly has a round up of free Doctor Who crochet patterns. Kudos to the person who made the Ood mask - that is epic.

- I love that people use Pinterest and Ravelry to preserve patterns from the past. There was some spectacular crochet fashion going on in the seventies.

Is it just me, or does she look like Captain Janeway? )
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
My knee is not awesome, and my anxiety level is creeping up. I was just getting good! I was just starting to be able to walk without a limp! I keep telling myself it's going to get better but tonight I'm cranky and sick of being stabbed in the side of the knee.

I am searching for my happy. Let's see.

1. I'm a quarter through this baby afghan. I don't know if the colours are right for a baby, though I'm trying to sell it in my own mind as a contemporary baby's blanket. I do like it, but I might gift it elsewhere and make something more light-hearted for the baby.

See? It's quite like I've made it out of kelp. )

2. It's been raining pretty steadily since Saturday, and the Curdies River has broken its banks. That's a really good thing - this will be our summer water, soaking the undergrowth, replenishing the water table and hopefully setting us up for a not too bad fire season. We saw lots of swans, a couple of which had started building nests.

3. We had lunch in Warrnambool. At the new kebab place, yay! We had the kebab plate - lots of meat, bread and dips.

4. My auntie made it back to Canada, which is great news. I was really, really worried she was going to sell her house and move back to Australia to nurse my grandparents - which is what they've brought her up to do, and bullied and badgered her throughout her life. I'm so glad that she's back at home. She's a nurse educator in Toronto, really competent and totally boss, and it always makes me sad to see her around my grandparents being totally browbeaten and apologising in every sentence. I hope she's feeling okay, and I hope her people are supporting her.

5. I think I have a cold, so it's great that I have Wednesday off work. (Okay, that last one was reaching. But it's true.)
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
1. Helped my little sister with cooking adventures over the phone. When she was visiting in June, we did some baking and tried out some low-FODMAP recipes. She wanted to have a go on her own, and she did great! She made a great risotto, and a chocolate almond slice, and she's taking them both back to university. She can provision herself, yay!

Conversations we had: how to roast pine nuts, how to cut up pumpkin, how to chop spring onions. (Onions are generally out for low-FODMAP eaters, but the green parts of spring onions or leeks are okay for low-FODMAP, according to Monash's FODMAP app.)

These were the two recipes she made:

Gluten free, low FODMAP chocolate almond slice

Spinach, bacon and pinenut risotto, which she made without the garlic, and with only the green parts of spring onions.

2. Genine's August calender August calendar was a bit too dotty and busy for me to use on my desktop, but I found a nice alternative, with a cabbage moth, here. Moths! Seem to be a bit of a theme for me lately. Genine's calendars are normally a favourite, though - she uses a lot of handcarved stamps in her art, which I love.

3. My knee is, if not much better, definitely not worse. I'm moving around, and I'm hoping it will be okay for aqua aerobics tomorrow, even if I take it a bit slow. Cutting for body image talk )

4. I got my new crochet project started - it's a baby blanket, with a kind of a lacy structure. (It's here on Ravelry, if you're interested: Ocean Tranquility afghan.) It's the first time I've worked with something that wasn't acrylic or wool-acrylic blend, and it's a bit tricky. Definitely less grippy, if you know what I mean. I'm also not sure the colour is right for a baby's blanket - I'm using Claudia and Co's Cotton Ball in Whirled Peas, a variegated green which turned out to be a lot more olive than mint. But I'm pushing on - I got the first six rows done and it's certainly eye-catching.
st_aurafina: lotsa little rainbow hearts (hearts: lotsa hearts)
- As predicted, I did wake up cranky and weepy and stressed after the past few days. I am proud to have seen it coming, and for not beating up on myself for things like leaving my bed unmade and not really doing much today. Must remember to tell my therapist. I like to tell her when coping strategies are working.

- I left my bed unmade until I felt like making it just before lunch, so it was in full sunlight when I pulled all the blankets off. Baggins leapt up and was ridiculously adorable in the sunbeams, so I lolled around with him and had epic, epic cuddles. I have been fully kneaded by giant paws.

- my mum is being super weird and making oblique references to the dinner with [personal profile] lilacsigil's family without actually saying anything outright. My auntie was visiting them today, so she must have said something. Mum's the one that had freakouts whenever I tentatively mentioned [personal profile] lilacsigil's family. I wonder where she thinks [personal profile] lilacsigil came from? Under a cabbage? Anyway, I'm listing this as a good thing because I'm not feeling in any danger from it, I guess. She can't do anything or have any effect on me without directly saying what she wants to know. So she can play her weird mind games and chase her tail around and around, but the basic fact is that I had a good time and I was glad my auntie did, too.

- I baked ANZAC slice for the third time, and got the baking time just right for my oven. If you're trying it yourself, you'll want to underpitch the baking time - take it out just before you think it's done. If it's solid but very squishy, it will set with a lovely chewy texture. And I remembered to put some sea salt in the recipe this time - it really makes a difference. Or at least, it does in my mind!

- I am making this hat - Waving to Granny Hat - only in wild rainbow colours like my tea cosy. I'm up to the even rounds now, and it's turning up at the edges just like in the picture. I love it when that happens!

- Back to work tomorrow. I must be a grown-up, since I'm listing that as a positive thing.
st_aurafina: Two fat brides dressed in white,  kissing. (Fat brides)
- The visit went really well. Really, really well.

Cutting for talk of aging grandparents and end of life issues, though I don't think he's on death's door actually )


- We had a lovely dinner with [personal profile] lilacsigil's parents, her brother and sister in law, and our two nephews. When they heard that my auntie was in Melbourne, they invited her, too, and she was really excited about coming. That's the first time my side of the family has met [personal profile] lilacsigil's, and it was really, really freaking awesome. I can't explain properly how good that felt. It was great to be able to give my auntie a bit of a break from the intense emotional whirlpool that is my family. It was great to introduce her to a part of my life that is important to me, but my family continually refuses to acknowledge. It feels good to show my auntie that I trust her and want her to know them. (See? Complex and hard to articulate but really important.)


- It's so good to be home! So good to have cats all over me, and so good to be in a quiet place after the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. We had a nap when we got home, and it was so lovely to be in my own bed.
st_aurafina: Puffin, walking tilted forwards, expression of great purpose (Puffin: srs business bird)
- We're watching the new season of Project Runway, after skipping the show for a couple of seasons. It's a lot less wracking to me for some reason, maybe because I'm less emotionally invested in it, or maybe because the little tweaks they've done have reinvigorated the show a little. I really like that the runway show is anonymised, that the judges are asking for Tim Gunn's input, and that they get to see the fashion up close and discuss it. I adore/hate/adore Timothy the unicorn boy's utter wankitude. I love that Justin, the D/deaf guy just switches off his cochlear implant when the bitching gets to him.

tl;dr, it's really good crochet telly.



- This link from [personal profile] beatrice_otter:
“The Borgias” vs. “Borgia: Faith and Fear” (accuracy in historical fiction)


I love the way they discuss the concept of historicity, comparing the two Borgia shows. Also, this:

In fact, Cardinal Shocked-all-the-time, according to the writers you are supposed to be none other than Giuliano della Rovere. Giuliano “Battle-Pope” della Rovere! You have a mistress! And a daughter! And a brothel! And an elephant! And take your elephant to your brothel! And you’re stalking Michelangelo!

Lol, elephant.


- Apparently today is the last day of Moth Week! At least, over there in the summerlands. Our moths are... wherever moths go in winter. Still, I love this list of enticing activities for your mothing party. Nothing more Victorian sounding than a mothing party, right? Even if you have to paint your house with mashed banana and rum.


- We're going to Melbourne tomorrow to see my grandparents, and while that's going to be stressful and hard to get through, I feel as prepared as possible for it. I know it's going to have emotional impact, so I'm planning to be gentle with myself, and I'm going to let myself be upset afterwards. Poppy is very rambling at the moment, but from what my sister says, he's not violent or angry. For various reasons, it will be good to see him.
st_aurafina: Puffin, walking tilted forwards, expression of great purpose (Puffin: srs business bird)
Things that are good:

- I survived a combined family birthday party. Not sure how. (Yes, Mum had her fancy white marquee.) We knew in advance there was a petting zoo (WHHHY, omg?) When it arrived, it was actually Australian animals with a keeper who gave an educational talk that was very informative, but so very unintentionally hilarious. (The Tamar wallaby, when threatened, tucks her baby joey away in a log to come back for later - BUT SOMETIMES LATER NEVER COMES. All marsupials have a cloaca - that means the poo, wee, and babies all come out the same hole!)

- I haven't written a thing for ages, but then I took a pinch hit for [livejournal.com profile] rarewomen, after checking my mail in the middle of the night, which was really stupid of me. But it worked out fine, and I got the fic done and posted. There is hope! The words might come back.

- In lieu of writing, I've been doing a bit more art journalling. Online classes have become a lot better and far more accessible lately, so I'm having fun catching up on what I've missed in the past five years or so. A lot of people are using a micaceous watercolour product called "Twinkling H20s", which are casually referred to as "Twinks". As in "I love using my Twinks, they give everything such a nice touch of glamour." (If you want to get to know this product, I'll refer you to this class, Mastering Twinks. I'm sure there's something there for everyone.)

- [tumblr.com profile] scientificillustration has a round up of Scientific Illustration tumblrs. I follow this tumblr, and it's an awesome collection of modern and vintage illustrations, including some beautiful Victorian-era stuff. Occasionally gruesome, though, as nature is. Another one I'd rec, for scenery and nature porn, is [tumblr.com profile] chasinglinnaeus.

- Puffin, Penguin and Panda icons! *points to new icon*

- The Great British Sewing Bee is adorable and low-key fun in the same vein as The Great British Bake-Off. I can happily watch people struggling with rolled hems and concealed flies for hours.

- Lastly and bestly, [community profile] twinpeaks has the Twin Peaks Fanwork Fest. Go leave prompts! The words are coming back!

So, I'm quiet but I'm okay, just a little paint-splattered with my hands full of twinks. (Please forgive typos; I wrote this with three fingers taped together, like a flipper. This must be how it is for penguins to type.)
st_aurafina: (Christmas: Shiny balls)
It's too busy, it's too hot, I'm too cranky and brain fried. It happens every year and it sucks. Bleh. It was a stay inside in the dark kind of day, too hot to move, too hot to think.

Christmas in my family is something to be endured, so I should be glad I'm having it at home this year with only [personal profile] lilacsigil and the cats, but for some reason, I am really feeling sad when I see people meeting up with their families and being genuinely excited about the holidays. And it's busy at work, there are a million scripts - so many that I kind of go into Tetris mode and keep processing them in my dreams. Someone saw a giant spider on a shelf (we have really ginormous ones, Huntsman spiders) and it vanished before [personal profile] lilacsigil, our spider wrangler, could catch it and I know it's going to pop out at the most inopportune time.

Oh, and there's been a massive recall of Ventolin inhalers - there's a pdf from Glaxo Smith Kline here with the batch numbers if you want to check yours, the fault is that some inhalers may only deliver a third of the dose per inhalation which could be dangerous. And that's cut our stocks down to a quarter, during Christmas week when we won't get another order until Thursday. So that's actually really fucking shitty timing, if you'll pardon my French.



Things that are awesome:

- It's cooling down pretty damn fast. Which is good.

- We ate a pea off the pea vine! It was delicious! The beans are making beanstalks and it's all very like a fairy tale at that end of the garden.

- I'm looking forward to Yuletide. It is Christmas for me - [personal profile] lilacsigil and I do a round up of comics fandom stories for [livejournal.com profile] comicstore_news, we have a cheese platter and some nice crackers and we put stupid stuff on the telly and we work at it all afternoon, and it's the most fun thing about December 25th for me. (I've written one story this year. I don't normally say that my fics are obviously written by me, but there's something about this one that makes it pretty clearly mine. Standard Yuletide thing: guess the fic I wrote! I will write you a ficlet.)

- It's going to be cool enough to do a roast on Christmas day. I will read Yuletide fics, and I will enjoy and I will drink wine and eat weird biscuits from a Christmas hamper I was randomly given this year. We're slow cooking a leg of lamb, and having it roast beet salad with walnuts and goats cheese, and couscous with currants and slivered almonds. And potatoes and pumpkin because that's what you do with a roast.

- [personal profile] ignipes linked to this awesome, awesome thing: Snapshot Serengeti, which puts up the images taken by the motion sensing camera in the wildlife parks, and teaches you to identify things. For science! It's mostly wildebeasts, zebras and Thompson's or Grant's gazelles, but there's all sorts of other things. Lions seem to want to loll in front of the cameras a lot. I have seen spectacular buffalo testicles. I mean, really spectacularly large. Baboons, hyenas, jackals, warthogs, ostriches. It is so much fun. For science!

These are my two favourites under the cut.
Laser hippo and Slenderman giraffe! )

I will survive this Christmas. I will find some merry spirit, either within or within the liquor cabinet.
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
Really enjoyed the opening ceremony - Prospero and Newton and Stephen Hawking, and nobody used the word inspiring once. (I think Channel 4 might have issued a blanket ban on the word, which is good thinking. I wish I could say the same for the Australian commentary.) I loved the inclusion of the phrase "For those who are able" in the request for people to stand for the National anthem. That's something that I hope becomes a standard thing.

Sir Ian McKellan was brilliant in his button coat. Miranda with her punky blue hair was just fantastic. (Get her on TV now, someone! I would pay good money to see her as the next companion in Doctor Who.) The two of them were awesome together, and Sir Ian's incredibly dorky dancing made me grin. I loved the umbrella theme, the physics ballet, the book seagulls and how much fun everyone was having. On a more serious note, Channel 4 had a Canadian paralympian athlete commentating on the show. He had a lot to say about the inequality of access to equipment and training between nations, and how that's the next thing the Paralympics should be working on, which. Yeah.

The Lexi system they're using to explain the classification system for the categories is really straight forward. They explain what the physical abilities of the athletes are, and what that means for that particular sport. It's enhanced the way we understand the strategies the athletes are using in their events. I think I love the Paralympics for the chance to see all the adaptive technology in use - the pool has adjustable starting blocks, for example, that's something new. But the most awesome thing is that there are more and more athletes that have competed in the able-bodied Olympics first. I hope that one day the two events can be fully integrated. They had a go at Sydney, with a couple of demonstration events but it doesn't seem to have caught on.

But the sports are fantastic - there's an easy-going, friendly atmosphere about each event, all the athletes seem to be good friends, and I love all the hugging at the end of each race or game. It's great to see new world records popping up again and again - part of this being a relatively young event, and one in which adaptive technology and training are making big and rapid changes in the way the events play out.

If you're an Aussie or if you use a proxy, you can see the Aussie coverage on the ABC iView. It's pretty good - occasional maudlin moments, but on the whole it's a thousand times better than Channel Nine's commentary for the able-bodied Olympics.



My Nonna is doing well! She had surgery the day after she fell, to put a plate in her hip where she fractured it. On Saturday she moved to a rehab centre, she's started sitting up in a chair for most of the day, and today she took a few steps in physio. The family has settled somewhat, I think? My Auntie flew out from Canada last week, and she's been co-ordinating care and hospital transfers and so on. But nobody is talking about the big issue, which is making the house safe for Nonna and Poppy or investigating alternative safe housing. I am staying out of it now - just keeping in touch with Nonna. I sent her a postcard from Mount Gambier, and I'm hoping to make it down to Melbourne again before my Auntie goes back to Canada.



I learned a new word from my therapist, about a thing I do: when I get all doom-laden, I'm catastrophising. That is EXACTLY what I do. I guess knowing is a good start on the way to heading that tendency off. (But the last couple of weeks, with Nonna, and family stuff, has meant a lot of catastrophising.)



Things that exist that seem too awesome to exist:

Sue Perkins is writing a TV show where she plays a forty year old gay vet who hasn't come out to her parents yet.

THIS:

Photobucket

Gillian Anderson and Archie Panjabi! Together they solve crime!
st_aurafina: dark headed man, standing by a porthole (Sanctuary: Henry)
Cthulhu take the wheel: on Facebook, someone recced Fifty Shades of Grey. To my mother.


Editing blows. Why does editing give me plot bunnies for things I can't write? (Admittedly, [personal profile] likeadeuce is responsible for one of those plot bunnies.) Current wiki tabs: Pupa, St John's Wood, and extremely relevant to Sanctuary writing, List of animals named after animals. (I bookmarked that one. I'll be using that a lot. Arctic Woolly Bear Moth, anyone?)


My podiatrist added a wedge to my orthotics. My feet are so messed up, I can't even. Forty years of walking like a duck takes a toll. The only comfort I'm taking from this (apart from reduced knee pain, yay!) is that I am some kind of interesting challenge for my podiatrist. I think I'm the case you talk about at conventions and so on. She stares at my feet with wide, amazed eyes.

The upshot of these new, higher orthotics is that I can no longer wear Doc Martens - they're just not high enough across the bridge of my foot to accommodate my foot and three centimetres of plastic. The sad part is that I have a brand new pair that I was saving to break in once I got my orthotics.

Aussies, does anyone want a brand new pair of Docs? They're black lace-ups, smooth with yellow stitching, as seen here. They're a UK size 7.

I can donate them, and if nobody here wants them, they'll be going to Lifeline next week. I thought I'd check and see if someone I know can use them first. I'm happy to cover the cost of mailing them inside Australia. (If you're interested, leave a comment. Or PM, if you prefer privacy.)


ETA: Shoes sorted!
st_aurafina: Tiny Anne, with her straw hat, in profile (Anne of Green Gables: Wee Anne with an ')
- It's koala mating season. Nobody's getting any sleep right now, not just the koalas.

This is what I can hear wandering past the bedroom window at night. There's also screaming possums, but I can't find a recording of that. It's pretty wild out there. Whooping and grunting and screeching, and thundering across the roof. I feel like there should be some kind of punchline here, like "And that's just the humans" but honestly, I'm too underslept to formulate it.

BTW, people seem to think koalas are cute. LIES! LIES LIES LIES! They are cranky, mean, smelly little bastards. This is why you shouldn't get out of your car when you see a cute fuzzy koala by the side of the road. Those little fuckers have great big claws and they will fuck you up.



- I am in mourning for Stanza, the beautiful, free, intuitive iPhone app that let me read ebooks and fic DLed from the Archive. iOS5, the latest software update, killed the app dead. Amazon bought it and shunted it into limbo, presumably to stop it from competing with Kindle. Amazon: still harshing my squee, in new and exciting ways even when I don't shop with them.

I've tried two options: i2reader is a paid app - don't pay for it if you use Calibre, because it's currently not functional with that program. I'm using ShuBook which is free but has an in-app purchase to access higher functions. Shubook is clunky, but it works okay. You need to adjust the font and size individually, which is a big hassle. You can make it talk to Calibre by selecting '+' in the downloads menu, and select 'Add a catalog'. Then it goes looking for your Calibre server, and you can select from that menu as you would in Stanza.

Some links to reviews of ebook apps to replace Stanza:

Dear Author's review of eBooksearch, Megareader and Shubook

A bunch of reviews from the Mac forums, where the merits of various replacements are discussed.



- My brother got married on the weekend. I wore the enormous heels, and I did not fall. I ROCKED those shoes. Then I took them off for the reception. The whole thing was a strange and exhausting experience, during which I was wracked by emotions. When the bride got out of the car, she was crying. This set my mum off, which set every family member off in a strange and confusing emotional domino race. Then I talked with a whole lot of people I haven't seen since I was under ten, which, you know. Awkward. But I strode around blithely introducing [personal profile] lilacsigil as my partner, and nobody batted an eyelid. So, either, people had been carefully prepared by my mother, or they were blissfully drunk, but either way, there were no problems of the homophobic kind.

And this was the cake!
Photobucket



- NaNo is coming. I had an idea, but I've completely failed to realise it into some kind of plot, so I'm doing fanworks this year. FaNo, if you will. [personal profile] lilacsigil did that last year, and it looked like a lot of fun. Next year, serious writing. This year, fun and fannish writing. As long as I hit 50K for the month, I'm calling it a win.



- I have an Anne of Green Gables icon! I'm using it just because.

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st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
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