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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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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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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.
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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've been asked my thoughts on the Arizona immigration law. It's impressive how well informed people are about US news. Of course, after living in the US my standards for informed people are pretty low. I have to say that I don't know much about it. [ profile] snowcalla is basically my only source at this point! And the Daily Show. Hee. I figure the Economist will clue me in next week too. It's hard to get too worked up about it, even though I think it's a terrible law. But, of course, I do have some opinions!

Firstly, I'm wary of spouting off on Arizona. I think this law is a reaction to specific issues in the state. I have always been wary of people spouting off about Alaska and it's issues, including opening ANWR and wolf culling. Most people get all worked up, but don't really understand the complexities of the issues. (And do not get me started on the idea of 'untouched wilderness.') So I'm going to ignore Arizona, since I don't know anything about it.

Secondly, and I'm not defending the law, mind, but if the US as a whole won't deal with the issue of immigration, then I guess the citizens of Arizona have to take the lead. Even if Congress start debating this issue I can't see any real change occurring. It will be like health care - a start. But as we've seen, even though everyone will get health care, but it's still at the mercy of the insurance business and the medical-industrial complex. I see the same thing happening in immigration issues: band-aid beginnings. Unless the US is willing to pay the REAL COST of food corporate farms, producers, meat packers, restaurants, etc will continue to hire (and in many cases BUS IN) illegal immigrants to do the work that US citizens refuse to do for such low pay in such abysmal conditions. Are you willing to pick produce in the California sun for less than a dollar a boxful? Yeah, I didn't think so. And are you willing to pay $9 for strawberries? Or $11/lb for sustainably raised, ethically slaughtered, grass fed beef? No? Then chances are good you won't want to pay that much for feedlot fed, mechanically slaughtered meat when US citizens are working the cattle yard.

My liberal compatriots in the United States are all up in arms over this Arizona bill - and my conservative friends want stricter enforcement - but if they/we are serious about creating immigration reform then we've got to look at the much bigger and more uncomfortable picture.
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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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I would like three things:
1. Any spring time recipes you have. I am beyond bored with my usual repetoire. Fruits, veggies, salads, fish - all those lighter things are calling to me. But I'll take anything awesome at this point.

2. I was given some dried chipotle peppers today. I took one sniff of them and decided to make mole sauce. But I've never done it before. Do you know how? Please guide me.

3. I want to start to garden. I've never done it before. I think starting with a tub of herbs would be wise. Help!

Thank you. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
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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.


Mar. 22nd, 2010 04:30 pm
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Spring is here in full force! This past weekend was the equinox. Most of the ideas I had for its observance fell by the wayside in the face of my continued queasiness. However, Sunday was better and the beautiful sunny morning drew me out. I picked up the litter from our hedge (people walk past and litter ALL THE TIME, despite us keeping our trash can open out front in hope that they'll deposit litter there. SIGH) and then walked to the 'fairy tree' in the big open field just past the housing estate. As I approached, a red kite took flight from the tree. I really need to take a picture of this tree. It is magnificent - half dead, half alive, huge, beautiful. I picked up trash around the tree, mostly old broken beer bottles, and sat on one of the limbs in the sun listening to the wind and the birds.

Today the day started wet, windy and cold, but by 3pm the sun came out, warm and inviting. Walking through the cemetery today I noticed that almost all of the graves have fresh flowers. Clearly it was the weekend for remembering loved ones. The daffodils are popping up and the trees and bushes are budding. I am filled with joy at these small things.

In delicious food news, Adam is squeeing with glee at his new found cooking abilities. When I met him he could make pasta and jarred sauce. These days he cooks breakfast for everyone, he makes the most amazing turkey melts, the most amazing burgers, and now.... he makes french fries/chips. They're delicious. He's so proud of himself, as well he should be!

Tonight for dinner we're having 'nachos' with the left over burger meat. The butcher here raises his own beef. So many things about this place leave me happily shaking my head. There are so many things I prefer about this place to the US.
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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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(Btw, what does keypike reference?)

This morning the fog was so thick I could barely see across the field in front of my house. It didn’t clear until close to noon. The spring day is delicious. I appreciate the lift in my mood and bounce in my step that spring brings. Eventually summer will set in and I really won’t want to spend anymore time than I have to in my office. For now, though, it is working to my benefit.

I’ve started meeting some of the other postgrad students here for a coffee a few mornings a week. They are mostly anthropology and archeology students. The men seem far more socially awkward and stereotypically nerdy than the women. It is nice to chat with other students and learn a little something about fields outside of my own. In theology and religious studies here there are mainly Koreans studying Biblical studies and Malaysians doing Islam studies. 90% seem to have families and keep to themselves. Honestly, I don’t mind not talking with the Biblical studies students. I really don’t understand how there can possibly be anything new to say about the Book of Mark or 2 Corinthians, etc. Unless one approaches the books with a modern, cutting edge ideology, I just don’t care. I try to avoid the bible as much as I possibly can.

In general I feel clueless about my own work. I cannot speak intelligently about my topic, ideas or methodology. I was asked at one of these coffee mornings what my methodology was and I replied, “read a lot, do some thinking, write some stuff down, read some more.” That elicited a blank look. Not quite what the guy had in mind.

Adam is meeting some of the Islamic mothers and kids at the Family Centre, which I think is neat. Next week we are going to a birthday party at Nigerian Muslim family’s house. The mum is really bright and cheery, and beautiful. We discovered first hand the racial difference in visa applications: Her husband is a student and they have to apply every year. She was shocked that I was given a three-year visa. I felt bad for a second or two – ashamed a little for myself and how my whiteness benefits me, frustrated for her and her family, who are upstanding and hard working and have to deal with the Home Office every single year, and angry that we live in a racist world. And then I got over it. It is beyond my control.

So reading. I am currently reading Sergius Bulgakov’s ‘The Burning Bush: on the Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God.’ I was just loaned ‘Introducing Thealogy: Discourse on the Goddess’ so I’ll dive into that next. At home I’m reading a poetry volume, Victor Anderson’s ‘Thorns of the Blood Rose.’

Dinner tonight is lasagne and wine. I’m also making refried beans for Sunday brunch: we’re having friends up for heuvos rancheros. YUM.
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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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Couple's Retreat is an AWFUL movie. Do not watch, even if you're looking for something light and funny. It's not funny. Just bad. Not even bad funny.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is good fun.

Pizza, wine, and brownies cannot be beat for a lazy weekend meal.

I'm finally reading Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon and it is blowing my mind.

I can't get enough of Sarah Haskins. And I watched this 18 minute Jamie Oliver talk that was great. Jamie Oliver is hot, as well as a bit of a twat, and also right on about food.

My son is so fantastic I can hardly stand it.

Spring is just around the corner.
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Inspired by [ 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.
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I think spring is on its way. There have been three spider sightings in our house. Two have been whisper thin daddy-long-legs type of spiders. But this morning there was a nice black spider on the front door. In spite of the cold temperatures I think spring is making an effort. I certainly notice the lengthening days. I feel the surge of energy from the sun, the spring in my step, it's easier to get up in the mornings - all welcome signs of spring for me.

I made my own refried beans! They aren't excellent yet, but they're good. And my recipe made TONS all for the low low price of a fiver. Massive win. Will post the recipe later, if any one is interested.

This afternoon I'm going to Bristol to hear Ronald Hutton, author of the book on modern paganism. I'm looking forward to getting out of the region, seeing something new, and hearing this man speak. Will report back tomorrow!
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Things what are on my mind lately:

Bennett. We are definitely entering into uncharted territory here. Teething? Just hitting the 'terrible twos*'? After two good nights of sleep he was up from 3-5am, generally unhappy. He's cried a TON this morning already and if he sees me all he wants to do is nurse. He's really into repetition. We read the same 6 books over and over and he points out the same things over and over. But his attention span is wavering. He'll pick out a book and then halfway through go and grab another. It is intense these days.

Theology. Always theology. I had a whole post in mind last night, but I've lost it. Finding uninterrupted writing time at home while an idea is fresh in my head is nearly impossible. Thankfully B is sucked into a basketball game with Adam right now.

Food. We have been so poor lately that I've gotten very good at stretching meals and cooking healthy on the ultra-cheap. It's been great! Loads of veggies and grains. One chicken can last for 5 meals! But wow, have we been craving cheese and meat. I just ate a grilled cheese, bacon and spinach sandwich, with mayonnaise. Hell to the yeah. But it's not just fat I'm craving. I'm also craving tea and wine. I've given up tea, coffee and wine in my house for 'Lent'. Not when I'm at other people's places because tea is such a part of the social fabric here. And it's not just alcohol I miss, I miss California wine. In fact, I was laying in bed in the wee hours of the morning thinking about specific wines from specific vineyards that I miss.

Tomorrow though I'll get my food and wine fix. We are going to our friends' house (the people who own Town Hall Cafe). He is making ribs. I'm making my own refried beans and 7 layer dip. Hopefully they'll bring some of the stuffed peppers they sell in their deli - they are AMAZING and go beautifully with wine. We're going to watch the Super Bowl. Yes, a day late. Adam is hoping to download the game - with commercials! He (not Adam) is very into sports and She has no idea what the Super Bowl is all about. Should be really fun.

My body. I am missing exercise something fierce. I keep thinking about how fit I was before I had Bennett. Even while I was pregnant. I biked three miles to work every day (so I guess that's 6 miles total) up until I was 4 months pregnant. I was doing intense yoga up until the week B was born. I don't expect to get back to that level of fitness for the next pregnancy. I'd love to lose the stomach flab, but I'm pretty resigned to it. Short of giving up cheese and working out every day, neither thing interests me in the least, I don't think it's going to budge. I am back into my old jeans, but my body is different. Up until I had a baby I looked much younger than I am. Last week another mother assumed I was 24 or so. But the tired eyes, the growing grey streak, the stomach flab.... yeah, I'm not 24 anymore. And this stomach flab is what built Bennett. The flab isn't my favorite thing and I hate how it folds over my pants, but for the most part it's a badge of pride.

*Which I think is a misnomer. It's really not terrible so much as baffling. I feel worse for B most times than I do for myself! And he's not two, but then I've heard from some people that the months leading up to 2 are worse than 2 itself. We'll see.
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*I am obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance. I have season 6 (no spoilers!) and I just love it. I would love to take a dance class. I tell myself year after year that I will.... and then I never do.

*For Lent this year I am going to do two things: stop drinking tea or coffee in my house and not buy any alcohol. Currently thanks to our Massive Mega Budget Crunch we are eating super healthily and frugally. I can make one chicken last for 5 meals. The secret? Lots of carrots and whole grains.

*Also in the spirit of Lent: being more focused with my time online. I really don't need to check in with Facebook all that often. No, really I don't.

*Bennett is 34 inches tall and 27.5 pounds at 20 months.


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October 2010



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