Jul. 28th, 2016 01:47 pm
ellenscult: (funky)
I have a thing about notebooks. Whenever I see them in the shops I have to have a look over them. I don't know why - maybe I'm expecting to find one mythical, magical notebook that'll fill with writing and drawings without me having to do any work at all. The thing is, notebooks aren't just the sum of their contents (or lack thereof) - notebooks are amazing combinations of potential, emotion, place, history, community.

These are my current notebooks (I have a drawerful upstairs): Notebook Photos )
So there you go. Notebooks. A hope, a promise, a memento, a legacy. (My father-in-law has diaries going back nearly 70 years - his own stack of little notebooks.) They connect me with family and friends, with the inside of my own head, with the past, and they hold promises for the future. They also remind me that even though I cut the grass (yesterday), I still need to hoover the stairs.
ellenscult: (perky)
As an early 40th birthday present from our amazing older sister, my twin and I, plus her Dear Husband, said Big Sis and partner, and The Marvellous Little Dan are in Chicago. We're here to visit Aunt Pauline, who is 92 and still tap dancing in her apartment's laundry room. My own Dear Husband is home with the dogs and apparently a feral kitten, although that should have been dropped off at the vet's this morning, and I miss my boys very much.

The view from my window )

I'm writing this from a very comfy bed in the apartment on the 47th floor of a building close to Miracle Mile. I can see the river and Lake Michigan from here! And you can feel the building sway in the wind! It's very very cool! Anyway, I'm still in bed because yesterday was an extremely long day which, for me, started the day before; I think I was up for over 30 hours by the time I got to go to bed, ouch! Our flights were delayed by 4 hours, and it took a good couple of hours to find each other at O'Hare, book transportation and get into the city, but thankfully none of it was actually stressful.

Also, the Whole Foods store? I'm moving into its Gluten Free aisle. Just sayin'.

Today is for recovering, resting and regaining some sense of coherence, for me at least. But mwah ha ha! Chicago! I am in you!
ellenscult: (perky)
So, Christmas was nice. Alas, I woke up at 3am this morning to go to the loo and didn't manage to get back to sleep again. On the upside, I've most of the presents wrapped, including the fox cowls for my nieces. On the downside, I'll be heading out shortly along with my parents-in-law for the drive to Belfast City Airport to pick them up.

A quick photo: )
ellenscult: (perky)
I spent the afternoon with a friend, having taken Planck to visit his best buddy, Duke (her boxer dog). We had a good natter and exchanged tips on apps, so have the results of that after the cut:

Brushstrokes app )
ellenscult: (passed)
Posting three days in a row? Surely not! Today, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I finished sticking pages in the book I've written for my nephew and I trimmed the edges, so it's ready to be parcelled up to post off tomorrow morning. It's called "Where's My Tractor?", and I picked up a little board book from a charity shop, which I've very cheekily stuck my pages over.

Where's My Tractor? )

So, there's that, which is a good reason to feel accomplished, I think. Other reasons are that I got up at 11, despite falling asleep around 4am (again!), prodded the pups, visited my in-laws, did a yard pickup (3 large dogs have 3 large bottoms and leave lots of large 'presents'), went to Lidl, put away the shopping, peeled and cooked a pan of roast veg, made a pan of veg soup, fed the dogs, unstacked the dishwasher, and knitted most of a cowl. I've even made my not-unsuccessful way through today's 5 minutes of Italian and French practice (DuoLinguo really is an awesome app) and made another Kiva loan.

Cue much tiredness! In a couple of minutes I'm going to kick the dogs outside for their last wee and give them their dentastix (best tasty ever!) and go to bed, where I'm hoping I'll actually fall asleep earlier than stupid o'clock, so tomorrow I can get up and Do More StuffTM.

Here's hoping tomorrow won't be another tired day! I need to go get the Tesco shopping, post Dan's book, pay the vet bill off and pick up more Loxicom for Planck, then head round to the council offices and pay Planck's dog license renewal. There's always more to do! G'night, y'all!
ellenscult: (decisions)
Thinking once there was a sea here But there never was a door )

The state of my inbox: nearly 90 e-mails.

Today's reading:
  • A Study in Doubles chapter 10 by Jupiter_Ash
  • Reflections by KSL
  • To Be a Man chapter 9 by closer
ellenscult: (car at my head)
A Man, A Plan, A Canal... )

The state of my inbox: 68 emails.

Today's reading:
ellenscult: (girl writing)
My dad called to say one of his friends had died. Stan Barstow passed away on the first of August. He'd been one of my dad's close friends since some time in the 1950s, had been an infrequent presence in my life as I grew up, but he was a constant: kind, genial, wise, intelligent, gracious, good-humoured; a man who always had time for myself and my siblings.

He was one of the great British writers of our time; of course he was. But he was also the man who told my twin and I that he'd had a dream of beautiful women in long dresses flitting across his lawn at dusk, one summer party, making it clear that we were the embodiment of his dream. Exactly what shy fifteen-year-olds need to hear, putting us at ease among his distinguished guests.

Stan wrote A Kind of Loving, a novel that helped changed the face of English literature, following it up with other novels that cemented his justly-deserved reputation as a great writer.

He's not the only figure from my childhood to pass away; Glyn Hughes, novelist and poet, passed away at the end of May. Another of our unsung literary giants, Glyn encouraged me to write, going as far as to take my adolescent stories and offer me valuable feedback.

These men helped shape my childhood, helped shape my awareness of my heritage, of the bleak-hilled industrial background I lived among. They encouraged my literary pretensions and above all they were kind to a shy and awkward girl who fit in best among the pages of books.

RIP Glyn Hughes and Stan Barstow. Great writers both; I'll miss you.
ellenscult: (car at my head)
That'd explain the weight gain... )
ellenscult: (writing)
Dear friends, once more...

So, still not dead... I'm in Lymington at my twin's house (she made stew which was amazingly good, including dumplings) and am on my way to Dinan, in Brittany, with [ profile] ravenlas, Sue and India, and the new (to me) car. In case anyone's interested, I have: sewed by hand a medieval dress and hood, knitted 3 pairs of socks, written an 18,000 word Stargate: SG1 story and failed to cut my grass. I've also proofread a few books, not been fired for my terrible sick record, and driven around 900 miles. I miss not being on LJ, not seeing you guys, not keeping in touch, however peripherally, and I hope to be back properly in a couple of weeks when I'm home and have internet access.

Btw, the original series of Star Trek is a lot better than I remember, a lot more complex, and the remastered box set is definitely worth it.

So, stay well, stay safe, and I'll catch up with you soon.
ellenscult: (bad day)
Fire, flood and transportation... )
ellenscult: (fist of doom)
Bit of an update... )

A plug: if you're after anything in classical or jazz music, please consider ordering through/purchasing from the Lamb CD shop on Micklegate in York. It's an independent music shop, it's struggling to stay in business, and it used to be one of the largest classical and jazz music shops in the country. If you're after a specific recording, even if it's been deleted, chances are they may have it, and it'll be available at its usual cd price rather than the 'it's deleted so we'll hike the price up to 60 quid' which Amazon have a habit of charging.

Another plug: if you have a special event coming up, need decorations for cakes or buns, consider ordering them from Anita's Sugarcraft. Anita makes all the decorations by hand, to order. She's a friend, and she's very talented.

Last plug: if you're in need of any games, dice, rpg stuff, go visit Jorvik Games. It's run by a couple of friends of mine, who will post stuff out to you, arrange to meet up with you to hand things over, or even hand-deliver items (in York, that is).

Keep the economy going! Go forth and buy stuff!
ellenscult: (funky)
On Saturday, I got to see my godson, his shiny new sister and his parents on Saturday, which was ace, even if all the frogs and frogspawn seem mysteriously to have vanished from the pond. On Sunday, I met up with my older sister and her mum and step-dad over at Lotherton Hall and got to go round the bird garden and see an Andean condor, a hornbill and some rheas, among many other birds, then went home and played D&D. And yesterday I couldn't get my brain into gear at all, spent an out-of-focus day on the sofa with some SG-1 fanfic, and in the evening, cut for being a bit depressing )

I didn't sleep well over the long weekend, least of all last night. I'm tired and I'm shaky and I'm going to be out of touch for a while, in all probability. Hopefully I'll get my batteries charged this week and be back in the saddle again soon.
ellenscult: (awesome)
I went to see Waiting For Godot this afternoon, along with [ profile] kissmeforlonger, [ profile] ravenlas, [ profile] alasdair1076, Kate and my mum. Also in the audience, [ profile] o_faolain and Claire.

The cast:

Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Simon Callow, Ronald Pickup.

Holy crap, that was a good performance! To those of you who didn't want to come see it because Waiting For Godot is Just Too Depressing, this was the least depressing version I've ever seen. There was a lot of comedy, a lot of laughter. Even, dare I say it, hope.

It's left my head in an odd place, though, and when I came out of the theatre, I was so myopic I didn't even spot [ profile] o_faolain standing all of 3 feet away. So sorry! *hugs* It took a pot full of jasmine tea and a plate of chicken fried rice at Heihei just down the hill (and incidentally a conversation about which films would or wouldn't be improved by the addition of a giant squid - the oddest, possibly Ghandi. Or Zulu...) before my head had settled down a bit.

Newcastle isn't that far away, but given a 180-mile round trip, all I'm good for now is the sofa, some wine, and possibly Castle. Or Dollhouse. It's a beautiful evening, and this has been another amazing theatre performance to remember and tell my kids about. Or my twin's kids, if she has them. Or just random people on the bus when I'm a crazy old lady. But still. I should go. But I can't go. Why can't I go? I'm waiting for Godot. :)
ellenscult: (bunk)
Well, not quite - I've finally uploaded a few photos, though, so I'm putting them under a cut to save bandwidth for those who aren't interested in suchlike.

This way to the photos! )

In other news (not under a cut so people don't run into the photos if they don't want to, sorry...): my bike is in the bike shop! I took it down Sheffield with me last Wednesday and dropped it off at Decathlon for its free 3-month service, expecting them to adjust the cable tension and leave it at that. Instead, it appears to have some kind of gear problem, which I'm hoping they've either fixed or replaced the gear arm (under warranty) by tomorrow so I can pick it up again. I'm starting to feel as though I have finger-of-death for bikes... Or it could be that they use cheap derailleurs...

I went to my ME course on Friday and learned about Graded Exercise Therapy. Which is how to, when my energy scores are consistent and I'm feeling as though I'm ready to start increasing the amount of, well, anything I'm doing, increase my activity level without causing an increase in my ME symptoms. Of course, since my bike's been in the shop since Wednesday, that's meant I walked home from the train station on Wednesday evening, then back in on Thursday morning and out again, then to my course at Bootham Park Hospital on Friday morning and from there into town and home again, and into town on Saturday. I got the bus home on Saturday afternoon. (I also walked into town and back on Tuesday night to the writing group, but that was because I didn't get [ profile] ravenlas to get me a lift because he has an ear infection, which is now clearing up nicely.) So today has been spent largely on the sofa doing little more strenuous than knitting and occasionally hanging out another load of washing on the washing line, and I am tired, and my legs are a little wobbly and I'm running just a touch of a temperature. Ho hum, so it goes. I shall go to bed shortly and should be fine in the morning.

Anyway, thanks to the ME course, I have a letter, which I took to the council offices on Friday, and I filled in a form and had my photo taken and as of in a few days time, I should have a free bus pass, enabling me to travel on the local buses and not have to pay the extortionate fares. Awesome! It'll mean I can try walking into town to the station one or two mornings a week and be able to catch the bus back, thus getting a bit more exercise but not tiring myself out. Hurrah!

So, I have handouts. I'll type them up soon and post them here for anyone who's interested. Have a great week, y'all! I'm going to duck back below the parapet again.
ellenscult: (fearless)
Bonjour! Comment-allez vous? )
ellenscult: (Casey)
Has been quite busy after all. Let me tell you. No, there is too much. Let me sum up... )
ellenscult: (marker)
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Why yes, I'm still Yorkshire through and through. But I have so much to give thanks for. So. Another post brought to you by SoppyMare Inc. )
ellenscult: (Corporate Tool)
On seeing family, friends, colleagues, strangers... )
ellenscult: (balls)
So the month is almost over. My aim was to finish editing Squirrels in Space. Have I done it? Nope. Bah. But I've got a lot further with Shed World and made some writing contacts, and despite the tiredness, I haven't had complete brain fade, which is nice. I've also written a dark piece of fanfic, which has (I think) very effective misdirection in it while also sticking to plausible characterisation. So that's good. :) And I have tomorrow off work, so I may get more done.

Speaking of which - Shana Tova! I wish you all a happy and sweet 5769. May it bring you all health and prosperity and joy.

Health stuff and the weekend: )

The stats:

Exercise: 13.5 miles on the bike with .5kg weights on my ankles (don't ask) (8.5 miles today). Weight: 154-153 lbs. Alcohol: 2 bottles of wine.

Squirrels in Space edits: chapters - 2 of 10 fully edited; 4 of 10 rearranged, replotted, with complete synopsis and scene-by-scene breakdown of the new bits I have to write.

Shed World: 1 story abandoned at 2,500 words, rewritten from another POV to 2,600 words so far.

Fanfic: Desperate Measures, over on my [ profile] the_proofreader lj, at 3,600 words, iirc. Part 2 to come some time later.


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