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In order.

1. My roasted beet, goat cheese, and cranberry salad for lunch. I roasted some beets this morning and walked down the hill to get lettuces for it. But of course, pregnant lady is pregnant and right now I am thoroughly enjoying my chemical laden Cool Ranch Doritos. Serious tasty yuck. I was actually craving the chemicals. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

2. Adam returning from his 2.5 week trip to the US (he doesn't leave til next Thursday). Mostly because I'm exhausted just thinking about taking care of B for that long all by myself. I've been so queasy and tired. I really hope it passes soon. But Adam is also going to bring me back some special loot from the States.

3. I keep forgetting to mention this. Adam, B and I are going to Paris for a week in a November! We'll be spending the Thanksgiving holiday there with Adam's parents. Adam's parents went there last Thanksgiving and totally fell in love with Paris. They don't speak French know anything about art beyond Monet's flowers and definitely know nothing about French food. Such a very very unlikely match! And yet: love. So they are going back. And it only costs £50 round trip per person for us to get there. WIN! I've never been to Paris and I am *so excited*.

4. Having a baby. It still feels quite abstract. And February is a long way off. I'm scared about what this is going to do to my studies. But I'm thrilled to have another child.

5. The Twig is coming to visit me next summer! She and I talked via Skype yesterday and she said she had enough miles for a free trip to the UK. Yay!
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My weekend was dull, great, fascinating, sweaty - all kinds of things, all over the map. Let's begin, shall we?

It takes a damn long time to get to London from Lampeter. An hour bus ride. At least a 30 minute wait for the train. A 5 hour train ride with multiple switches. But on this Friday there was something wrong with a signal and so it took me two more hours to get where I was going. I had to make a change of train route and then a bus. I was so tired when I got to Roehampton that I skipped going up to Richmond Park. I got settled, had a cup of tea, then bused back to Putney in search of dinner and a walk on the Thames. I walked down the Putney embankment in the evening sun. Loads of people out, sitting and standing along the river, enjoying the evening out. It was beautiful. You can have an open container here so people were carrying out their drinks from the neighboring pub. It felt festive, like a summer evening should. I walked to end of the benches and sat. I like to sit cross-legged a lot. A bald guy with a motorcycle helmet walked past and asked if he could join me on my bench, then he asked if I was meditating. We ended up talking for two hours. He told me about growing up in Belfast, getting stabbed for being Catholic and alone in the wrong neighborhood. He told me about practicing tai chi and nonviolence. He couldn't be much older than me but he had three teenage boys, the first born when we was about 15. Crazy.

After that I was truly hungry and excused myself to go eat some sushi. I had scoped out a neighborhood sushi place on line. It had really good reviews. But boy was I underwhelmed. It wasn't bad sushi (that would have made me sick) but it didn't really taste like anything. I was really disappointed. I had been looking forward to sushi all week.

Then I bused back to my room at the uni, read my book and went to sleep.

Saturday, my birthday, was a true disappointment. The conference was so-so. I did some thinking, which will get a post all its own later, and met a really fabulous woman who is hoping to start her PhD work at Roehampton. She studied with Tina Beattie there as an undergrad and had wonderful things to say. She studies womanist theology (black feminist theology) and is very social justice minded. She's also a lesbian with a daughter, in a bi-racial relationship. She was fab. My main adviser, SB, was sick and couldn't be present. I couldn't call her because she was suffering severe laryngitis. We had planned to go out for dinner, but alas.

So, now it was birthday and I had no plans of any kind. And no friends. After the conference I was ravenous. I decided to head out and go into Richmond to eat somewhere nice and slightly upscale, and to walk along the Thames there. I had been there last time I was in London and remembered the stop I had got on and off. But...... turns out there must be clusters of high street stores that go together in every neighborhood, because I got off and later discovered that I was only halfway to Richmond. I spent an hour and half walking around trying to get my bearings, in 80 degree heat. The neighborhoods were lovely, but I was hot, sweaty, tired, and very very hungry. A yellow lambourghini passed me. Twice. Finally, as I was at my wits end, deep in some green upscale neighborhood I saw a restaurant tucked in among the houses: The Victoria. Looked like my kind of place, but I passed it by because we just don't have loads of money for that sort of place. And then I stopped to think about it: I was lost and hot and hungry and it was my birthday dammit. So I went in.

This is like my dream place. A nice, but not fancy, place where everything is sourced and you can drink excellent wine and your kids can play in a tiny private playground at the back of the patio. There were families at every table. I was the only person eating alone. Le sigh. The waiter, who must have been no older than 27 - if that - was very attractive and I was tempted to ask him what time he got off work. Really, really tempted. The last thing I wanted to do was go home and read my mediocre novel. But that's what I did.

Turns out I was in East Sheen. Thanks to Wikipedia I learned just now that Daniel Craig and Robert Pattinson live there. Of course, wikipedia also says that Robert P lives in nearby Barnes. Awesome. ETA: Simon Le Bon, Nick Clegg, and Sir Richard Branson live in Putney. Wikipedia is a goldmine of (dis)information!

Sunday was surprisingly much much better. I took the bus to the British Museum. It took an hour, but I got to see loads of things and get a feel for the lay of the city. Man, London is a spectacular city. I've always preferred British literature to American literature, but I'm only coming to terms with just how much of an Anglophile I am. I LOVE BRITAIN. And I would live in London in a heartbeat (assuming we had money. ouch is it expensive). It's so green, and I love the architecture.

The British Museum was wonderful. I saw nearly everything there. I did not pay 15 pounds for the Da Vinci drawings. The most crowded things were the Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian room. The mummies were neat, but didn't knock me over with awe. The Greek statues, mosaics and busts were spectacularly beautiful. The busts were exquisite. Damn, those Greeks could sculpt! The faces had so much personality; it was as is magic had captured their life and soul and frozen it for all eternity. And yet, there was something cold about the Greek stuff. The Greeks have never sung to me, and seeing this stuff first hand confirmed that.

What did bowl me over were the Assyrians. This too will get its own post. I am nearly rendered speechless by what I saw and felt. This will also cover the next me meme post: art.

That evening I bused back to Putney, walked around, then ate at Wagamama. Putney isn't so interesting or original. I walked down the Putney embankment and then..... kept going. Turns out there's a long green biking/running trail along the Thames that connect Putney with Barnes. It was great. I had to pee the entire time, but it was great. And then I spent the evening reading my boring book, which I'll review in its own post. In the morning I woke at 4.45, of my own accord, and then eventually made my way back to Lampeter. I arrived home to a little boy who has no more traces of babydom about him and a house which Adam said he'd tidied, but really is filthy.

And that's that.
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I'm getting super jazzed for my trip. Here is my latest plan:

Friday - I arrive at 2.34 in the afternoon. I'll walk to the uni, check in, get settled. Then I'm going to walk about 10 minutes up the road to Richmond Park - it's three times the size of Central Park! Maybe I'll have a cup of tea at one of the cafes and then I'll just stroll around and sit and look at 700 year old oak trees. Win.

After that, I plan to take the bus into Putney. I found a sushi place that has excellent reviews and happens to be along the bus line. Then I'll walk two blocks to the Thames and go for a walk along the embankment there. Then early to bed.

Saturday - Conference.
Sunday - The British Museum. There are loads and loads of other things I'm interested in, but since it will be my first time going into the city proper, and I'm a cautious city-goer, I figure I'll take it nice and slow my first time. I may end up eating at Wagamama again. Putnety doesn't seem to be all that original in the shop/eatery department.

Next trip I think I'm going to explore Richmond or Mortlake, and hit some other major site on a Sunday. I'm debating between another museum, Buckingham Palace and Kensington Gardens, or the Tower of London. It's so hard to choose.

London!

May. 17th, 2010 09:54 pm
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This post/question session is for those who know London at all.

In three weeks I'm back to Roehampton. This time I'll have Friday evening to myself, which I plan to fill with a movie and dinner (either in Putney or in Richmond), Saturday is an all day conference and then I think I'm going out to dinner with my advisers and fellow scholars. Sunday is an entire day free. I will be back in the area two weeks later and then three weeks after that. What do I do with myself on my Sundays?? There are SO MANY choices! I don't know where to begin. The Tates, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the British National Library, the different Castles, the different gardens and parks, various bookshops. And on and on. What's reasonable to fit into a single day? I have no idea where to start. Do I go into the city? Or do I stay near the Roehampton area and explore Richmond, Mortlake (John Dee's house!), Richmond Park? I'm overwhelmed by choice. I plan on getting an oyster card to facilitate public transport.

Lastly, does anyone know if you can walk the Thames? Like, is there a path that I could just meander on, or is it broken up by sections that don't allow pedestrians? I fell in love with the Thames on the last trip and want to explore it more. I even picked up Peter Ackroyd's book, Thames: Sacred River (same guy who wrote London: the biography) today at the library.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!
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I am writing on the train, on my way home from London. I’m sitting in the first class quiet coach. Traveling by train is delightful. Better than car or plane, I think. Britain is an amazing, beautiful country. It is so green! Even London is green! I am sure there are parts that are as urban as any city, but there are so many parks and tree. The University of Roehampton is in greater southwest London. It’s the only uni in London with an actual campus. There are a few small lakes and while the uni is a mish-mash of architecture and planning, there are several spots that are green and secluded. Overall the uni feels like a real, honest-to-god uni, with students of every race and creed and a library that was actually being used. I had really nice accommodations, quiet, and with the best shower I’ve had since I left the US.

I got to go out on Tues night. I took the bus into neighboring Putney. I stood on the edge of the Thames!! I sound like a total tourist, but wow –the Thames is an inspiring river. There is something that feels quite alive about it. So beautiful. That night I went to a movie: I saw Iron Man 2. Such fun! It was sheer brilliant ridiculousness. The plot was quite weak in parts, the science laugh out loud absurd, but who cares? Scarlett Johanson is sex on a stick. And I am not ashamed to say that if Robert Downey Jr/Tony Stark asked me to run away with him, I’d go in a heartbeat. SO HOT. The one thing that annoyed me about the movie was seeing Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johanson walk around in 4 inch Laboutins. They could barely walk. They minced. It gave them sway backs. So very awkward and actually quite disturbing (they are actually rendered mildly disabled by these shoes). Oh and Mickey Rourke, who is HUGE by the way, was excellent as the baddie, but whoa does he have some wierd fingernails. After the movie I took myself to Wagamama, a Japanese chain, and had noodles and a glass of wine. Then went back to my room and crashed for 10 hours.

As soon as I get home I must nurse. MUST. NURSE. I am in a goodly deal of pain – sharp pinpoints and what feels like internal bruising, as if I’m being pummeled from the inside-out. My breasts are hard as rocks, lumpy, and hot. I am quite surprised that my brief journey away from Bennett –who is nearly 2- has caused me so much discomfort.
*******

And I’m home. Wow, Lampeter is out back of the beyond. So beautiful and wonderful to come to.
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Tomorrow morning I leave for greater London, Roehampton specifically. Short of the train station and Heathrow airport, I've never been to London. I also realized today that I haven't traveled without either Bennett or Adam in over two years. I am *really* looking forward to the time by myself. Since I'm still nursing B during the daytime I expect to be quite sore but I'm only gone til mid afternoon on Thursday. Not that long. And if B weans... so be it.

The trip is quite long for such a short visit. A 40 minute bus ride to the train station, a 5.5 hour train ride. But I'll get to read, work on my paper, stare out the window, and listen to music. BY MYSELF. My adviser is meeting me at the train station, walking me to the convent where I'll be sleeping (yes, you read that right, a convent), and taking for me tea. She has to teach an evening class, so I'll be on my own. I know nothing of Roehampton, except it's green and well-to-do. I am hoping to find some sort of thai/sushi/Korean dinner and then go see a movie. It's a me date! Wednesday will be all about meeting professors and admin folk, discussing transferring and other academic stuff. I don't really know what to expect. If there's time and I can find a place, I'm desperate for a new pair of trousers - I am literally wearing holes into all the ones I have.

I don't expect to have access to internet til evening time on Thursday. See you in a few days!

Kablooey

Jul. 27th, 2009 09:16 pm
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*Tomorrow morning I am waking at 3.30 to be on the road at 4.30 to catch a plane that leaves at 6. Two and half hours to Seattle, a two hour layover (for diaper change, bathroom, food, and to let little legs run around) and another two and half hours to Juneau. A ten minute car ride to the harbor, a half hour boat ride, my 60 year old father rowing us all ashore. Sometime around 5pm I expect to have "landed."

*How much longer can my father expect to row us ashore, to be the only one who knows how to run the generator, the wind power tower? I can run the boat, but not well.

*I will be off line for the better part of two weeks. Two weeks in Juneau. I haven't been home since I was married two years ago. I can't wait for whales, water, the smell of the sea, the mountains, moss, salmon, crab pots, quiet, the wussy cries of bald eagles, my nieces, long twilights, boat rides, the Future Gov, old friends, murders of ravens, Silver Bow bagels, the stories of amazing people doing inspiring things.

*Bennett is busting my chops lately. He is beyond clingy. It's weeping and gnashing of teeth if I am not paying 100% attention to him and/or holding him. Ay yi yi. But it's understandable. Between moving and a traumatic facial accident, I am not surprised. Poor kid.

*I think ComiCon has eaten my brain. I had an extensive and detailed dream about Twilight last night. Whoa. I was dreaming that I was watching a sneak peek from the next movie. The director had decided that it was so ridiculous a story that opera was the best inspiration. There was music, not necessarily opera per se, but the comparison was apt. And it totally worked.

*Now, to pack and to bed.
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*Thurs, July 16, 4pm: Give Away, Go Away party. Come for the free stuff, stay for the deep fried turkey! Snuggle the baby one last time and say goodbye to us. Private message me if you want to come and need directions.

*Sat, July 18, Bennett and I catch a flight to San Diego. Adam and his father drive the Uhaul with the cats down to SD.

*July 20: [livejournal.com profile] snowcalla is in San Diego and I might to get see her that week?

*Thurs, July 23: I go to ComiCon with Adam.

*Tues July 28: Bennett and I head to Juneau. We'll be incommunicado out on Shelter Island. Sis arrives Aug. 2.

*Fri, Aug 7: Go to Juneau proper, the Future Governor of Alaska and her babe join us.

*Tues, Aug 11: Back to San Diego.
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Packing for PCon. Bennett is pulling out all of my pumping stuff. I have the shakes but no discernable fever. Looking forward to the con, but trying to take things one moment at a time so as not to run myself into the ground. I am grateful that we have a room at the site itself and not at one of the overflow hotels. This happened at the last minute when a friend of a friend had to cancel her trip - we took her room. AWESOME.

My baby is fab. My life is pretty good too. There's lots that stresses me out and scares me. For instance, I still haven't heard back from adviser. I just want her to acknowledge that I'm moving across the world to study with her. Go? No? I just want to know she knows I'm coming.... At this point it feels like the tide is sweeping us over there.

When I'm sick my posture goes to shit.

Alright homies, I'm out for the time being. I hope you all have a great Friday the 13th. Don't get ambushed by the pope's minions!

HOME!

Jan. 25th, 2009 01:30 pm
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We made it! Strangely an easier flight home than going over, even though the time zones work against us. Nearly empty plane so we had an entire row to ourselves. Bennett PUKED big time, all over Adam in hour 3. Ew.

The time in Sydney was wonderful, however Saturday was 41 degrees Celsius = 105.8 F. Highest recorded temp in Sydney ever. Keira, no wonder we were zombies! Too too hot, especially when lugging around a baby in a black sling. Not wise.

Will post more about how much I love Australia, all about Aussie food, why things were hard with my parents and other stuff eventually. Brain currently is struggling to function. But it's only 1.35pm on my second Sunday. It's going to be a looooong day.
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In Sydney. It's humid and in the 90s. I am EXHAUSTED. Run down and gaining weight and sleep deprived and did I mention hot?

Ending with my parents did not go well.

Our friend in Sydney is fab, however her modern Australian condo has neither fans nor AC. WTF? One wall is entirely windows and they open up to a sort of balcony - neat, except then all the mosquitos come in at night. Bennett looks like he has the chicken pox. We stopped counting at 32 bites. :(

I love Sydney.

Meeting my second LJ Aussie friend tomorrow. Whee!
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It's been a good food weekend. Today is the big conference in Santa Rosa. I'm at work getting things finalized and then we drive an hour north. I will have B strapped onto me all day long. Oof. I can't wait until this day is over because then I can concentrate on going to Australia - we leave in 2 WEEKS! So soon. There is so much to be organized before then.
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Yay! Leaving for the airport in 15 minutes.

Fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly.

Alaskalaskalaska!
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1. Save money
2. Lose 15 lbs so I can fit into my swimsuit
3. Go to Anchorage to see my sister, the Future Gov, her baby, and Alaska
4. Deal with my mental health
5. Set up the office to deal with more of my absence
6. Pack my bags because we're going to Australia

What had a 5% chance of actually happening just became a 97% chance of actually happening. My grandmother has alzheimer's and so my sister, my nieces, Adam, B and I are all going to go over to Australia to be together as a family for the first time in 14 years. Grandma will be covering airfare. Guaranteed ports of call include Canberra and Junee (near Wagga Wagga), Sydney, Woolongong and hopefully south coast NSW. Maybe Melbourne and Victoria wine country, and maybe (only because I've always wanted to check it out) Adelaide.
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In San Diego. Recovering. I was exhausted last week and flying here on Thurs night, while easy, set me back even more in the sleep dept. OUr plane was 1/2 an hour late. We got to Adam's parent's place near midnight and of course the grandparents and the great grandma had to have their snuggle time. I let them do that while I was unpacking, then nursed and tried to sleep. But that put me at near 2am and then we were up at 6.30 to go get breakfast before Comic Con.

Comic Con. Really not so much about comics. It's more a huge tv and movie promotion. But it's still fun. I think I handled it well: nursed and carried B in a sling. He did well. I was so tired by the end of the day that I probably would've burst into tears if something had gone wrong.

Other notes:
Cloth diapers rule. Using disposables this weekend confirms it. They ain't got nothin' on cloth. We figured why bring cloth and have to do laundry twice in 4 days and we had a stack of disposables that the NICU gave us, so why not use those up.... Well, we should've done the laundry. B is too big for the premis dipes (in length) and too small for the other one the NICU gave us. So my inlaws had to run out and by a third size. Plus, disposables just don't contain the wet like cloth do. My love of cloth diapering has been cemented.

I'm also nervous about going to back to work regularly. Because of the breastfeeding thing. It's exhausting. And when B is in the sling all the time he doesn't eat as much, which means he is STARVING at night time and it's also not so good for the steady weight gain. But I can't quit my job, so.... we'll have to figure it out.

I'm tired

Jul. 24th, 2008 08:18 am
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Last weekend was super busy.... for having an infant. It was the first time we tried being spontaneous. It was a success, but two days of that, plus working Monday and Tuesday has me wiped out. B slept for 6 hours straight last night, but there's something about getting sleep that actually makes me feel even more tired when I wake up. As if, by starting to get some rest it is a reminder of just how much more sleep I need to catch up. I don't know how I'm going to manage going back to work three days a week. I can totally see why mothers stay home! This breast feeding this is hard work.

And I'm not going to get any more rest this weekend. We are going to San Diego tonight. B's first flight. We're going to see Adam's parents. His grandma from Kansas is coming out (B is great grandkid #6!). But really, we're going because it's ComiCon. The biggest comics convention in North America. I've never been and I'm quite excited. I'm only going tomorrow; Adam's going all weekend. We'll take B in a sling. I figure now is better than when he's a toddler and might get lost or trampled. I'm going to attend talks by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Craig McCracken (Power Puff Girls, Foster's Home...), and Eric Powell (The Goon, see icon). Fun!!

I'm nervous about staying at Adam's parents' place. One bathroom for a full house. The walls are THIN. And even in the heat of southern California, their house is really cold, especially the room where Adam and I and B will be staying. I always catasrophize though when going to be with Adam's family and it ALWAYS ends up just fine. I have some serious prejudices that I need to work out so I can get over this nonsense. His family is nothing but generous and loving, completely welcoming and accepting of me - and I can't say that my family is the same to Adam.

Oh, and I get to east some AWESOME Mexican food. Woot!

Vacation

May. 5th, 2008 10:01 pm
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Ok. We did it. I'm still not sure how we're paying for it, but that is inconsequential right at this moment. Adam and I just bit the bullet and decided to go here for three nights. We booked the Chapel Suite, of course. It's gonna be great. We love Sonoma, the trip is about relaxing and enjoying each other.... god, so why do I sound like I'm talking myself into this?? I have five weeks to sink into the reality of the trip.

I SUCK AT VACATIONS.
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I'm going here. Does anyone have some extra thousands lying around?

I'm scouring places for our vacation. The requirements are:
*less than a day's drive from Oakland
*possible spa
*comfy room
*good food nearby
*green
*other activities nearby (for example, wineries, maybe golf, etc)
*money is a consideration - we neither have loads to spend, but we don't want to be cheap. We often use budget as an excuse to not have a vacation at all.

You'd think a master planner such as myself would find this a delightful task, but no.

Vacations

Apr. 12th, 2008 04:01 pm
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Adam and I suck at taking vacations. We often sabotage ourselves - talking ourselves out of spending money on them, or only going to see friends or family, which is important, but defeats the purpose of a private vacation. I usually use my paid vacation time to get home to Alaska. Even then I am such a Planner and Doer that I make sure I get my fishing, hiking and socializing in. This year I'll be using my paid vacation as maternity leave.

At my last midwife appointment, the midwife pretty much told us to take a vacation. I've heard from one or two other new moms that spending some quality time together before the baby comes is crucial. I think we should take a vacation too. We never even took a honeymoon! I talked us out of that one....

But what do we do? Where do we go? We don't have a ton of money. We don't own a car. I'm thinking it might be nice to get out of town over Memorial Day weekend - 4 whole days! But everybody else will be vacationing then too. Our work schedules are super flexible; getting time off is no problem at all, but it would be nice to vacation on a paid holiday, rather than lose money! We can't go camping (no gear, not comfortable at this point in my pregnancy). Adam doesn't like the beach (at least, he doesn't like sandy beaches) and I don't like the hot, so I'd prefer to go north rather than south.

Any suggestions? Seriously. Vacations have me stumped.

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