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This week Autumn has been making its descent. Last year had a bit of an indian summer. It was beautiful - uncharacteristically so, we were told. It is mid-August and getting colder and wetter by the day. In fact it is so cold today that I have worn two sweater. I just cannot bring myself to turn the heat on in August. Tonight the wind and rain and grey tap at the windows. It's a soothing sound that I love very much.

But pregnant me, living at the top of a hill, with a toddler, sighs heavily. It's interesting to me how having a child can change my perspective toward something I normally love.
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Today is CRAZY weather-wise. It's been raining like the flood is coming off and on all day. Then it'll heat up and be warm for 20 minutes. Then cold. Now, it's back to lashing rains - with thunder and flash lightning! Woo-hoo!

In the last 24 hours I have written just over 2000 words (actually took me 2 hours, plus an hour of revision) and mailed it off to my advisor. Neat. The essay is on Margaret Barker's ideas, which, if true in any way would totally throw conventional Christianity for a loop. Maybe I'll post my essay under a filter.

I also read, in the last 24 hours, a book about Taoist sexual practices that I found used. While I do not doubt there can be spiritual and physical benefits from various forms of Eastern sexual practices, a dude wrote the book and his tone plus the content (heavily centered on how fellatio has physically restorative and spiritual benefits) makes me think: yer a douchebag.

Adam leaves for the US tomorrow. He does the dishes. It dawned on me today that I now have to do the dishes too while he's gone. Ack! Come mid to late afternoons I am *wiped out* and just want to watch tv. I feel like the worst parent ever because I know B and I are going to watch copious amounts of cartoons, movies and whatnot. Ah well. I'm pregnant. So there.

In more 'awesome parenting and domesticity' we are having left over tuna casserole. Don't all rush over for dinner, now.
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It's a gorgeous summer day, solstice weekend, and I'm SICK. It's been a comatose day involving naps, zombie-esque football watching, and internet refreshing.

So, let me share some of the gems I have discovered:

Firstly, http://www.theseventeenmagazineproject.com/ is a great blog, by a young woman who graduated from high school this week. All the feminism you need when reading Seventeen magazine, with none of the theory and bitter snark that more experienced/older feminists throw around.

Secondly, what do you get when you cross music with fanfic? Snoop Dogg loves him some Sookie Stackhouse/Tru Blood. He has written a banal song called 'Oh Sookie' and you can watch the video here. I could only get through half the video, but the mere premise is highly amusing.
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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 still recovering from the trip to London - a week later. Adam is slammed with work (yay!) but juggling the child care is hectic right now. Putting B down at night has been a pain in the ass lately too. So come 8.30 I'm done in. Same old whinge, different day.

The smell of female sex is wafting through my living room. ?!?

While cooking dinner tonight (roast chicken, kale, chick pea patties and beet yoghurt) I had this idea about Kung Fu Panda being an alternative take on the Make Over Movie. Maybe I'll explain that tomorrow. Also, try the beet yoghurt - finely grate a raw beet, add plain thick yoghurt, one large crushed clove of garlic, eat. I found it delicious, refreshing, and very nutritious. Bennett wouldn't touch it.

[livejournal.com profile] haloquin convinced me today to ask for all fees back from UWL since I have to transfer schools. We'll see what happens with that. But I am going to try. I'll just play the role of obnoxious American.

Once again I have too many books started. I finished The Spell of the Sensuous. I think I may buy my own copy. I noticed the used book store has one (that bookstore makes me want to cry. Sad little bookstore). It's perhaps the first book I've read where I think I'd like to read it in a book group.
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I'm barely cognizant of what is going on in British politics. What I do know is thanks to Facebook updates. How sad is that?

Come 5.30pm I am downright knackered. I've got a brief second wind, but I suspect I've got only 20 minutes left.

Bennett is growing so fast. New words every few hours. And the hitting. Oh my lord, the hitting. It's mostly just me. I'll take it. At least he's not hitting other kids.

B loves to tells stories. He loves to tell the one about when he and I were at our favorite cafe and the owner's baby A--- knocked over a glass of water. It goes like this: 'A---. Knock. Aga.' (That's how he says agua, water in Spanish) Points to the floor. He also tells me the story of how one day he and Adam and I were in the cemetery. I left and he cried and was sad and ran around with Adam. Every single time we go through the cemetery he tells it (which is at least once every day). That story looks like this: I'm pushing him down the hill in the pushchair. At the same place every time, he waves good bye in front of him. 'Mama'. He looks at me. He makes his sad sound and sign and points to the field on our right. 'Papa.' If it weren't so cute and such a fascinating developmental leap, I'd be driven mad by the repetition.

I keep forgetting to make vegetables for dinner. It's been very meat and carb heavy around here.

I'm reading way too many things at once. Mentally I feel like I have too many loose ends. They're all non-fiction items. I'm super close to finishing one book. When I do, I'm starting a novel.

Ok. I'm fading. I give myself 10 more minutes before I turn into mush.

My week

May. 2nd, 2010 09:54 am
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This last week has been so odd. I have crashed after more than a week of high energy, focus, and massive amounts of reading. I now can barely bring myself to string a coherent thought together. At the beginning of the week Bennett started a new trend of waking up at 5.30 am. At first I thought his was great: I was fed, dressed, checked in, exercised, etc all before 8am! Win! But it's been every morning this week. Doesn't matter what time he goes to bed, he is up with the birds. It hits me right in the middle of a dream cycle and I spend the beginning of the day somewhere in the spaces between dreaming and awake. It's unsettling. It is also difficult because he's waking up demanding boo-boos and crying when it doesn't happen RIGHTNOW. Being followed around by a whining, crying toddler whilst trying to pee and feed the now also whining cats at that hour of the morning is too much for me.

Yesterday was the worst day yet. I decided to take advantage of the early start and work on my paper. I need to add a section about suffering. I went to my cafe of choice and bought a coffee (which I rarely do). I had already had a cup of tea at home. Later in the morning a friend came by and bought me more tea and then.... it hit me. I had had WAY too much caffeine on far too little food and by 11 am I was CRACKED OUT. It was incredibly uncomfortable and I couldn't think. My mind was racing. Then I crashed in the late afternoon and felt ill. Whee.

So today, I'm wrecked. Up again at 5.30. But the house is clean(ish), the laundry hung. I made huevos rancheros. And then Bennett dumped all the cat litter out of the box and onto the floor.

Seriously, gypsies? I'm offering a special: I'll pay YOU to take him.
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I am full up. Mental overload. I've been reading like a fiend (not really school related, I must admit), and the internets have gotten all het up and I feel like I'm swimming with airy, heady, wordiness. It makes me tired at the end of the day. I want to tune out and just watch shows that make me laugh out loud. But I can't really unplug when I have a toddler.

It's 10.30 am on a Saturday and I've been up since 5.30. I've got to write this section of my paper and I am seriously procrastinating. Look! Over there! Interesting blog about politics and paganism! Did you read the ridiculous BBC article on obesity? Oooh - over there! Shiny blog about fashion! Gotta check in (again) on Facebook just in case some one posted another link to yet another Important Political Outrage.

Sounds like I need to unplug for a while. Good thing I'll be doing so next week when I head to London for 3-ish days.

I am now officially hopped up on caffeine and sugar. Maybe now I can write 1000 words on suffering.
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Life seems to be a bit of a see-saw daily. I think it's because I'm PMSing. Adam thinks I'm pregnant - as he has for the last four months. I told him if he was wrong this month I'd never listen to him again! I'm sooper sensitive, quite tired, and a little fuzzy brained. Could be because for school I'm reading about suffering. Shoot me now. Standard Christian writing on suffering is some of the most awful theology out there. Thankfully, I started reading Dorothee Soelle's little book (called 'Suffering') and while it too is depressing, she and I are at least on the same page. No sado-masochism for us, thank you very much!

Study sessions have been laborious and tedious lately. I'm also supposed to be going to greater London at the beginning of May - going to Roehampton to meet Tina Beattie and see the school, find out about transferring, etc. I am oddly daunted at the task of finding transportation there. There are multiple ways to get there, but all involve at least three legs. UGH. I think I have to go into the heart of London and then get the tube back out of the appropriate suburb. This feels overwhelming right now.

In happier, little daily gems... Yesterday was full of great food: breakfast was perhaps the best omellette I've ever made (the eggs were perfection, plus goat cheese, green onion and zucchini) and dinner was poached haddock (enh) with an excellent easy lentil/cherry tomato/feta salad, with a glass of white wine. Tonight we're having shrimp (Welsh caught!) and corn chowder with crusty bread and green salad, and white wine.

Also yesterday I found two gems at a charity shop. A little book for B, How Do You Feel?. It looked brand new and B LOVES. IT. In less than 24 hours it's been read 10 times. At least. It's about feelings and it's super cute. I love that there's a peacock that feels proud! Pride too often gets confused for arrogance (as compassion does for pity). And there's a goat that feels naughty. Adorable.

For me, I found Nigella Lawson's Feast. Hardcover, decent (if well used) condition, for one pound fifty. !! It makes me want to throw a party. I'm very excited to have a source of culinary inspiration.
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I finished Mircea Eliade's Patterns in Comparative Religion today. I wish I had known of Eliade when I was in junior high and high school. It is possible that my academic trajectory would have been slightly different. I am also nearly done with Karen Jo Torjesen's When Women Were Priests. I think there are several readers here who would like this book. It's not overly academic but it is both a great overview and full of detail about women in the early church and how attitudes in the wider world undermined women's place in the church. Whilst reading about Hellenistic symposiums I got a little sick to my stomach - metaphorically, that is, which is unusual for me. The view of women in the Greco-Roman world was thoroughly disgusting. ....Oh who am I kidding? The general view of women has generally always been disgusting.

Adam invited a couple over for dinner tonight. Grumble grumble. I'm really not in the mood to entertain. I want to curl up with a book and some tea or play with B. I don't want to vacuum, sweep, and cook. Usually I'm happy to entertain. I enjoy conversation and playing host. But for the last few days I'm just disgruntled at the thought of it. Tonight's dinner could be fascinating or awkward. The couple are Nigerian Muslims and they have a one year old boy. The little boy doesn't do much. The woman is gorgeous and a real bright spirit, but I've only met her husband once in passing. The menu is curried lentil with spinach and brown rice, wine-free, and a cheese cake (store bought I hate to say) for dessert.

I've been SO uninspired with cooking lately. At least once a week I feel like asking for recipe spam, but even then I think "I'd eat that if some one made it for me, but I don't want to cook it." Blah.
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So..... we did get to see the moon tonight. That's because a little boy slept for an hour and hasn't been back to sleep. Ai yi yi. I keep telling him the books, the boobies, the cats.... all asleep. It's half twelve. It is rather a romantic, bewitching scene: a little boy in fuzzy footy pajamas making a mess by candle light.
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Today started off rough, but got better fast, then declined downhill like a car with out brakes. I am either coming down with the stomach bug Bennett had or I'm getting the flu. I'm not sure I've ever had the flu, so I may not know what I'm talking about.

When I feel better I am going to write up a short review for Breastfeeding Matters, a book I recently finished, and I'm going to post two recipes.

Nothing new to report otherwise. Bennett's sleeping is like clockwork and he's started sleeping through the night. He doesn't wake to nurse until about 5 am. If I wasn't glued to the comfy chair with my mug of ginger tea I'd throw a parade.
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I feel like I've been bitching a lot lately. Bennett is a handful at bedtimes and Adam and I aren't on the same page. Of course, I'm wishy-washy about I want at bedtime too, which makes things worse. We're poor. We have colds. I'm waffling on my research ideas. I'm bored with the paper I'm (not) writing. My hair is just ok.

We all know what that means: it's time for some gratitude.

I am grateful for:
*flexible schedules
*great neighborhood boys
*Adam - in spite of my wanting to throttle him every now and again, he makes my flexible, scholarly life possible by paying our bills and being an amazing father. He makes me laugh and in general, is the greatest partner. It doesn't hurt that we make cute offspring together.
*Bennett makes me happy beyond anything I have known
*the weather - we have some. Every day is just a little different from the one before. Wind, rain, snow, sun, warmth, chill, hail, slush. All, some or none. It's beautiful every time I leave the house
*I get to read and ponder theology, religion and spirituality all day long
*I don't have to look at my hair! Neither do I have to brush it or wash it more than once a week
*I've lost weight. I'm guessing I'm easily back at pre-pregnancy weight. Although my shape is not, I fit into things and can see my collarbones again
*my peaceful life
*a new sweater

Lastly, tonight's dinner menu: (grass fed, local) stir fried beef with red quinoa, broccoli and baby rainbow chard, with ginger, tamari and lime! And wine.
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syzygy.

Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] keypike
Today Adam is generally irritable and I seem to be triggering it. I seem to do this regularly. Bennett is napping. I read for 4 hours straight today. I finished this, read this for fun, read about 100 more pages from this, and some other stuff.

Then I tried to look for good quality blankets in this town and couldn't find any. But a friend is going to loan us a nice wool blanket. I'm tired of freezing all night long and spending a fortune on heating the bedroom all night long when it doesn't do much good. Grumble grumble. The weather can't decide if it wants to snow properly or not.

For dinner tonight I am making mac n cheese, but we're going to add some jalepenos and see what happens.

I'm not doing too well on this no tea or coffee Lenten thingy.

Ouch

Feb. 14th, 2010 08:26 pm
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Today at church I got hit by lightning. Ok. Not really, but it felt like that. I got a *piercing* headache in the left front lobe of my brain that felt like I had been lashed. It's been coming and going in the same spot off and on all day. Not as severe, but it's pretty bad. I didn't think I was that stressed out.
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I have a head cold. I had the shakes when I went to sleep last night, but THANK YOU JESUS Bennett slept like rock (a baby rock), so until my sinuses blocked up completely and I became a mouth breather I slept quite well. Bennett is full of energy this morning. I must leave the house if I want to rest or read. Really I just want to crawl back into bed and sleep some more, but I think having a kid has effectively rendered that wish null and void.

I need to take a shower. I could just pull the hair back and not care. I need to study. My office will be conducive to that. I need to find about about this fees thing, maybe it can wait one more day? That's really stressing me out. I am so stressed out about money these days. What I think would be really helpful is a big fat cry, but crying just doesn't come easily to me. It's such a good release. I'm trying not to beat up on myself - I'm really proud of how much money I saved before I moved here. I'm proud of how Adam's business is coming along. I'm proud of the smart steps we've taken to manage our debt and be frugal. I'm proud of the tasty nutritious meals I'm making on very little money. But forgetting to budget in the break in business over Christmas and this fees fiasco may just be our undoing. I'm really, really not ready to leave Wales, so I hope it doesn't come to that.
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Ohmygod. WTF is up my child? We had a total night time fake out. Zonked out at 8.45pm - WIN! Up at 10.30 and we tried *everything* in our tool box, including making up some new tools. No sleep til almost 1.30. Two hours later? Bennett is squirming and crying and keeps scooting up in bed bonking his head. And it's COLD, but he won't abide by covers. Every hour. Ay yi yi. And the nursing. My god, the nursing.

It was almost enough to make me want to attempt a DIY hysterectomy, to ensure that the ol' uterus doesn't ever put me through this again.

But while I am bleary and coming down with a cold, I am surprisingly alright. Not having to be anywhere at any set time is *so helpful*.

Still. Good thing lil' tykes are so damn cute and snuggly.
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About church. I know. Not surprising. It is the story of my life. Now that I no longer feel a desire to Belong to Christianity I find that there is more room for me to enjoy it and participate. I like going to the school chapel on a Sunday morning. I like singing and I like the hour to sit quietly and meditatively smelling incense and thinking about divinity and being child free. In fact, I'd even go from time to time if I wasn't singing.

But the choir. It's awful. Two weeks ago I was running late and sat in the congregation listening. Oh man, the choir blows. There are more sopranos than anything else and one of them goes sharp and bright all the time. I'm sure I add something nice. But it's really uninspiring putting in two extra hours a week and sounding like crap. And it's no fun barely learning music. I don't know. It's still singing. It's also the best group in Lampeter. Lower my standards and be a part of a nice community?

As you can tell from the time stamp, I'm skipping church this morning. There's a second service tonight and normally I'd be super excited about it: evensong. But our chanting sucks. Suuuuuper uninspiring.
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I have decided that I love Lady Gaga. I know, I'm late to the game, but she's fab.

I have also decided that I just have to suck it up and stop trying to have it easy. I can't do yoga, get school work done, be well rested, see friends, be on the internet, have a clean house AND be a fun mama all in one day. Nope. Gotta pick.... two in any given day.
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I'm in work mode. Working on getting productive and being focused. So far, so good. Turned in version 2.1 of essay. Working through a book. Taking care of errands I hate: financial. My remaining school fees were doubled in November. I though maybe I could pay them. But I can't. So I'm trying to figure out who to speak with to knock some heads about. Trying to pay some bills via skype. I'm cranky, let me tell you. Good thing I have glass #3 of red wine by my side and a belly full of fabtastic lasagne. Yes. That's right. I did spell fabtastic.

I have two other posts I want to make. One on the recent Economist "We did it" cover and articles and one on some theological thoughts. But I just haven't had the time or space in the last 48 hours to do so. I'm also reading waaaaaay too much right now. I'm discovering that too many things open ended - books, shows, tasks - makes me feel spacey, just like too much time on the internet. I'm actually on LJ and Facebook far more than I post. Not the healthiest thing I don't think.

Ok. Break is over. Back to student loans.

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