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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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I've been reading Wind in the Willows to Bennett. It seems far too advanced to be considered a children's book - the language is complex and the plot is not quite what I'm used to in kids' literature. But we're both enjoying it.

However, I am beginning to see far too much of Mr Toad in me for my liking. Yet some how he manages to keep a close band of loyal friends about him, so perhaps it'll be alright in the end.
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Today Prince Charles and Camilla open the Welsh Quilt Centre here in Lampeter. Ten past one, to be exact. If you're interested. There are barricades and bobbies and many older couples that I am convinced are in town only for the Prince. I am already developing a sense for who lives here and who doesn't. I may be the youngest person who is obviously hanging around for a glimpse. My friend's mum owns the quilt centre and afterward Camilla is going to mum's house for a private shop of extra-special Welsh quilts. Amusing.

Also, for those of you new-ish to my LJ, I thought I'd post links to my rants on the whole Twilight thing from a couple of years ago: My first write up of the first film, More thoughts on why I feel so strongly, and after I'd read the book. The discussion in the comments ended up being great. But do enter at your own caution.

What else? It's delightfully grey here today. The Fourth of July is this weekend, so the annual homecoming to Juneau is beginning. I feel the usual homesickness and sadness that is typical of this time of year for me. I am beginning to miss a bit more excitement in my life. I think this indicates that I'm settled in, but also might be indicative of summer and a need for more energy, outings and excitement in general. I also wonder if I might have missed my calling and I'm in the wrong phd program. Maybe feminist media studies would have been better? Dunno.
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I have too many books going. Of course I have a stack of books to read in my student office. Of course there are books in my house that I have yet to read. And of course I have recently borrowed four books from a friend, checked out four books from the local library, and three books from the school library. No wonder I feel all up in my head!

I am reading:
* The Wind in the Willows This is slow and ongoing. I read to B while I nurse. It is a guaranteed sleeper for him.
*A book on local trees
*The Dark is Rising I believe this series was [ profile] hrafntinna's childhood favorite.
*The latest Sookie Stackhouse, Dead in the Family Just got it in on special order from the local library.

Also in the home reading line up are a book on sacred foods from the around the world, Nourishing Traditions a whole foods cookbook, and Eros by Anne Carson.

Today I finished a school book, so I'm not sure what to start next. It'll probably be another Mary, Co-redemtrix book from Queenship press. Sigh.
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Watching Australia v Germany. The Aussies are outmatched. Sigh.

It's been a rough day. B is feverish and miserable. Hardly ate. Napped twice. Passed out at 6.45pm. He crawled into 'Bennett cama' (Bennett's bed) of his own choosing at noon and asked to watch cartoons there, so that's what we did. It was sweet. All the business items I'd planned to do will have to wait until after football. I can probably quote Kung Fu Panda line for line.

Poor little guy.

I started reading Barbara Kingsolver's 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' but I'm not feeling it. I think I've just read too much food writing: I'm the choir to her preaching, and I don't garden.

Leffe brown Belgian beer is really good. As are my mashed potatoes. I discovered the secret: butter FIRST, then milk.


Jun. 11th, 2010 01:49 pm
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*I started the process wherein I ask UWL for my fees to be refunded.

*I discovered that there is a Hindu temple complex on the way to Carmarthen, Skanda Vale. They have a petting zoo, elephant, and their main temple is devoted to Kali. !!! ETA: Now that I've actually explored the site, it looks like there are 3 temples and no explicit Kali temple, rather it's a maha shakti, but I've been told they do Kali puja.

*I discovered that someone I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know is a devotee of Gurumayi, the guru of John Friend, who developed the Anusara style of yoga that I practiced, and also is the guru in Eat, Pray, Love.

*I have received two great books. One from [ profile] hrafntinna, Witching Culture by Sabina Magliocco, and XVI by Scarlet Imprint books, and it is a beautiful book to behold. It is wonderful to see that book arts are not dead.

*Adam just got his new desk and chair. Oh praise be! He's been suffering with a too small falling apart folding chair and a desk appropriate for kids.

*Tonight we are going to friends so watch Game 2 of the World Cup. Yay! Let the beautiful games begin!
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A fictional book: Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. Here's the Amazon review:
Fingersmith is the third slice of engrossing lesbian Victoriana from Sarah Waters. Although lighter and more melodramatic in tone than its predecessor, Affinity, this hypnotic suspense novel is awash with all manner of gloomy Dickensian leitmotifs: pickpockets, orphans, grim prisons, lunatic asylums, "laughing villains," and, of course, "stolen fortunes and girls made out to be mad." Divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. Waters's penchant for byzantine plotting can get a bit exhausting, but even at its densest moments--and remember, this is smoggy London circa 1862--it remains mesmerizing. A damning critique of Victorian moral and sexual hypocrisy, a gripping melodrama, and a love story to boot, this book ingeniously reworks some truly classic themes.

I loved it and could not put it down. It is my favorite of Sarah Waters books. Her first three (Affinity and Tipping the Velvet) are far superior to her more recent two, although she is such a good writer and really captures the quintessential English-ness of English literature.

A non-fiction book. I read FAR more non-fiction than fiction these days. Right now I'm reading Georg Feuerstein's Yoga: Technology of Ecstasy, as one of my home books. It is easily one of the best books about yoga I've ever read. It's not a how-to manual at all. From the Amazon blurb:

"The impulse toward transcendence is intrinsic to human life. Nowhere has this drive found a more consistent and versatile expression than in India. The civilization of India has spawned an overwhelming variety of spiritual beliefs, practices, and approaches. The goal of Yoga, the most famous and globally widespread of India's spiritual traditions, is to take us beyond ourselves to the Absolute Reality, to the utterly blissful union of the individual self with the transcendental Divine... This book features a lucid explanation of Yoga's roots in Indian culture, outlines its relationship to other important Indian traditions, and discusses the diverse forms it has taken in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism."

A fanfic: N/A
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B and I have been down with colds since Sunday evening. We're both doing better, but today has been a very hard day to be Bennett. Super fussy, tantrums, not hungry, super clingy, wants to nurse all day, and he keeps waking up every 20 minutes crying in his sleep. Poor guy.

Since I've been home on the couch for three days I've read all of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. So not worth it. The first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was great. The writing is very utilitarian - all telling, no showing - no subtlety at all, very little nuance or description, but the main female character is fascinating, I love the 'polyamorous' relationships, and the feminist angle. The second book was alright, but the third? Basically, the first part of book three should have been included with book two. It feels like an editor made an arbitrary decision to cut the books in half. Book one was stand alone; book three will make no sense if you don't read book two. The most disappointing part of the book is that Salander (awesome possibly Auspergers female character) plays hardly any role in book three. In 743 pages she hardly does anything but has shit happen to her. And why spend hundreds of pages on intricate build up only to need a mere handful of pages to tear it all down in the court scene? Sigh. What a let down.
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My favorite book.

This favorites thing is a challenge. I love many things, but favorites? The book I've read the most (not counting parts of the Bible) is Orwell's 1984. For many many years CS Lewis's novel Til We Have Faces was it, but I haven't read it in years. I was blown away by MZ Bradley's Mists of Avalon, especially the first 2/3. But I adored Stoker's Dracula and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina are also way up high on the list. Both of those books I read and wondered why it had taken me so long to get around to reading them.

I adore books and reading. These days I read LOADS of non-fiction, for fun and for profit.
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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.

[ 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.
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*Too tired to post coherently.
*Up a 6am every morning. By 11 am it feels like it's 2 o'clock.
*Really good meals this week. Tonight is amatriciana and red wine.
*Bennett is going through something: clingy, won't listen well, tired a lot.
*We ordered him his own bed. I will be grateful to move him out of my bed, and I'll miss his wee hour snuggles.
*Lots of change and energy. Some evenings I feel I lose my focus.
*Got some sunburn today - sunkissed. From a two hour walk. Delicious. The green looks almost unnatural here.
*So many 'at home' books to read: Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Nigel Slater's book/cookbook Tender, and The Night Watch by some Russian guy.
*I 'cleaned up' my friend's list today. I'm cleaning up security on a bunch of sites (like Facebook) and I'm contemplating my intentions around them.
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I created a wish list on the UK Amazon.

My birthday is coming up. In 5 weeks I'll be 35. Dood. For some reason this birthday makes me feel old. Maybe it's just motherhood that has aged me.
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Some quotes from my reading:

Prayer as a concentration of will and desire is a subversive act. (paraphraase)

"You have to look our for a person with out fear; he is capable of anything."

"A person cannot tell you anything about God as long as he rules over you." (quote from Thomas Muntzer)
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Bennett is 4 weeks + shy of his 2nd birthday and he is 36 inches tall. He still only has 9 (of 12) teeth. Perhaps his body could put some of that growth into more teeth, eh?

Last night's chowder was delish and so easy. I will make a recipe post later today, because wow, I've gotten some good stuff! Tonight I'm making amitriciana (or something like that). Basically, it's like puttanseca with more pancetta and no anchovies, olives or capers. But I might add anchovies anyway. MMMMmmmmm.

I am reading The Spell of the Sensuous. It's beautiful. The first chapter helps put into words some of what felt so suffocating in the Bay Area, what I miss about Alaska, and what I love about living here. I'm certain this book will provoke a longer post in the future.
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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.


Apr. 19th, 2010 08:45 am
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I think living in Wales is killing my LJ habit. There's just not much to write about. Life is peaceful, delicious, green, and utterly magical in its sheer ordinariness. The days blur: reading, laughing, eating, walking, playing outside. Bennett thrives. He is night weaned and is sleeping through the night. His language skills leap every day. In fact, for some words and concepts he seems to be functioning only in Spanish. Crazy. He knows colors in Spanish, English and Welsh. And he's nearing two. When he's tired - hoo boy: tears and gnashing of teeth, I tell you.

Over the weekend I read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. It's an easy, quick read and pretty enjoyable. What makes him enjoyable is also what makes him downright annoying to me. Just stick with a damn story and I don't need three examples of cultural miscommunication to get your point, thank you. However, I greatly appreciate his dismantling of the American success myths: being self-made, talent and genius being innate, etc. I've never bought into the first. I've long understood how one's context, environment, access to opportunity, etc can help or hinder a person's chances of success. Gladwell talks a lot about class being a factor in educational success but I think it's more of one's cultural class than just monetary class. He has several examples that point to this, without being explicit about it. This idea led to some personal reflection.

My family definitely had upper middle class values but was very, very working class (until I was in solidly in my teens). My father hasn't moved much out of the working class mind set - call him retired and he bristles (he's busy growing his own food and building the houses he lives in), call him wealthy and well.... I wouldn't say that to his face, even though he and my mother split their time between two continents. I see how my parents' value on education helped me pursue my academic desires. They may not understand the content of my studies, but they very much respect that I am pursuing these degrees. Fitting with the more working class idea of kids doing their own things, I was left to cultivate myself. I'm grateful for this because I think kids need to ample time to play and do nothing and learn about being bored. But this is easy to say because I have always been self-directed and one to take the initiative in my interests, which my parents would then try to facilitate. But we never went to the theatre or to hear live music, or all those other 'townie' things that I wished I could have done. It's amazing that I started singing at all.

Which leads me to another reflection: I completely bought into the 'genius is innate' idea. I started singing thinking I had some natural ability, which I do, but I think I've always thought that if I was really talented it wouldn't be so hard and so fraught with angst. But that's not true. The people who get to be great singers and performers are people who didn't let the angst and hard work stop them, people who had opportunities, who loved the process and worked hard, all the time. I can't say that I did those things, or at least, not very consistently. This 'talent is innate, so if it doesn't come easily then what's the use' idea is sadly ingrained in me. I see it crop up in many other areas of my life. I think it was easy to believe because some things have come absurdly easy to me: reading and most school. I didn't have to work hard to get a respectable B+. A smidge of effort and I'd get an A. (Except math, but that's another story for another day.) Reading and words are like breathing to me, so I think I just assumed that's how everything was. But what I didn't take into consideration is that my mother read to me from an early age (I don't remember this at all), that the house was filled with books, that I saw my parents read all the time, that I was allowed to spend entire days engrossed in a book. Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes about 10,000 hours to become a master at something. I'm pretty sure I've more than logged my 10,000 hours reading.

Interesting stuff.
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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.

* entry

Mar. 29th, 2010 06:31 pm
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*Keypikian? Keypikite? Keypiker? I think I like the first choice.

Weather: It's wet and grey here. But the birds are chirping happily. It's neither cold nor warm.

Dinner tonight: roast chicken, carrots, and potatoes with garlicky salad

Currently reading: a collection of essays called Archaeologies of Consciousness: Essays in Experimental Prehistory by a guy known only as Gyrus. It's neat stuff.

It's a full moon tonight. I don't think we'll be able to see it.
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I'm feeling just better enough to get up off the floor/couch/bed, but not well enough to actually do anything. Can you tell? I figure I'll finally get around to a few things I've been meaning to post all week.

Breastfeeding Matters by Maureen Minchin review: Read more... )

My refried bean recipe )

Excellent inexpensive bath scrub )


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October 2010



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