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Posting challenge 7/15: Home alone

I spoke too quickly about things easing up at school, unfortunately. It might just be one of those semesters. So let's talk about other things and focus on the positive.

* I got a long, newsy, handwritten letter in the mail last week! I'd almost forgotten how lovely it is to communicate in this tangible way and to find something personal in the mail box.

* I visited my brother and sister-in-law and the two nephews (ages 4 and 7) last weekend and have apparently passed on some bad habits: the 4YO now declares that he "has to do a little work" in his high-pitched little 4YO voice and then goes to his desk and scribbles on a post-it until he can't fit any more scribbling. Clearly, I need to stop saying that (and also need to remedy the underlying problem), but really: could that be any sweeter? Watching him reminded me of the magic that adult life holds for kids.

* The grocery store has had clementines on sale for several weeks now (YAY!), and I've been buying a bag to bring to class and share with the students on days I feel particularly cranky. Fruit makes everything better.

Also: am I the only one who thinks clementines are tastier than oranges? I can hardly eat oranges (they're too tart), but the little clementines are just right.

* I'm home alone for a few days while the better half is on a work trip, and I'm appreciating the silence--that deep kind of silence that allows you to hear the thrum of the refrigerator and the distant sounds of people out on the street.

How are you, flist?

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Posting challenge 5/15: A messy, messy week

This past week has been messy. Cut for pointless whining about winterCollapse )

Hope you're all doing well out there! Apologies for comments still owed--my computer finally died last week, and it's taken me quite a while to get back online again. I still owe you cookie party pictures! That will be a happier post.

This entry was originally posted at http://magnetic-pole.dreamwidth.org/83373.html. It has comment count unavailablecomments.
I'm not sure how it got to be mid January, flist. Perhaps because December and early January were so warm, I didn't really believe it was winter? In any case, the universe has been conspiring to correct me before I got too comfortable: the temps are down around 20F/-7C right now, a winter storm is on its way, and I just had my first class of the semester. Let 2016 begin!

I really want to post photos from our annual cookie party, but that may need to happen later this week, when school demands die down. In the meantime, have a few links to things I've purchased recently that are brightening a grey January. I try so hard not to purchase unnecessary things, and yet these prove that every once in a while, it's okay to loosen up.

Exhibit A, in the category of "Consumerism works!": the fleece headband! I've been fretting about how I'm going to continue to run in the mornings when it gets cold, and suddenly it occurred to me that I could go online and type in "winter exercise clothing" and see what other folks were doing. And in fact, a little headband does make being outside much more bearable. Who knew?

(Speaking of exercise: It's been so warm here that I signed up for game_is_on last week and didn't think twice about committing to take runs/walks for exercise for the next four weeks. I'll need to rethink that if we get a few inches of snow here over the weekend, as forecast.)

Exhibit B: Patterns! Color! The better half and I did some dog-sitting in Brooklyn over the holidays, and on the whole it was very low-key affair: walk the dog, make lunch, walk the dog, take a nap, walk the dog, do a little reading. (All of which was profoundly relaxing--no complaints!) But we were also close enough to the Brooklyn Ikea that we could walk there, and we did--twice! I love Ikea but can rarely go, since the one in my region is difficult to access via transit. And how much better to walk? The better half and I treated ourselves to two pillow covers and a new duvet cover as our year-end gifts for each other, and I'm delighted at how nice the apartment looks.

Hope you're all doing well and staying warm (or cool, where applicable)!

This entry was originally posted at http://magnetic-pole.dreamwidth.org/83033.html. It has comment count unavailablecomments.
Anyone out there making resolutions about health, well being, or good habits in the new year? Anyone in need of a little support and accountability?

Over at game_is_on, mindabbles is setting up a group for encouragement and tracking progress. If you've been following this journal for a while, you know game_is_on has gone through a couple iterations--we did the full Game On regimen back in 2010 and 2011 and a more relaxed, make-your-own-challenge competitive game back in 2013 and 2014. This time Min's proposing something even more relaxed: you sign up, set your own goals, determine your own point system, and we all check in once a week to see how we're doing. Any goals related to health and well being are welcome. No competition, no rewards or penalties. Low stress.

Her first post is over at the comm, though you'll need to be a member to see it. (Just request membership, and she'll approve you.) It looks like we might start next Monday, so you have a couple days to think about things. Hope those of you who are interested can join us!

This entry was originally posted at http://magnetic-pole.dreamwidth.org/82893.html. It has comment count unavailablecomments.

Posting challenge 1/15: London Spy

[personal profile] lash_larue pointed out the other day that if we don't keep the home fires burning it's bound to get awfully cold 'round here, and L's comment hit home, especially because I love reading all of your posts but haven't been contributing myself much lately. So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to post once a week throughout the grey winter months, at least until my spring break in mid-March. Which makes fifteen posts in total. Enough to bore you folks, I'm sure. In a good way.

Anyone want to join me?

Just a quick note on London Spy. Anyone else watching? (Spoilers below. And architecture talk.)Collapse )

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A householdy meme

A householdy meme, appropriate because the magnetic_pole household is currently celebrating the acquisition of a huge, comfy couch! Folks, I have been sitting virtuously upright on a futon for twenty-odd years now, and I can't tell you how excited I am about lounging around on a plush couch with more than enough room for the two of us. Plus there's a giant ottoman for putting the feet up. Life is good.

Householdy meme (with an astonishing 61 questions)Collapse )

Want to play along yourself? The questions are in a text box below.

First off, happy birthday, Harry! (And best wishes to you, too, Neville and Dudley.) Hard to believe you're 35 today. For some reason this morning I remembered that a few years ago I had written a tiny fic about July 31, 1980--both baby Harry!fic and a little celebration of the birth of my first nephew--and it shocked me to realize the nephew is now eight and the oldest of three (the oldest of five, if you count nieces and nephews on both sides of the family).

That was fast.

I've been feeling a little adrift fannishly lately, flist. I haven't written a word of fic yet in 2015, which may not come as too much of a surprise, given how little I write in any case, but writing is what makes me feel like a fan, and I miss it. Even worse, though, I'm not reading much, just keeping up with journals on LJ/DW. A few of my seasonal activities have fallen by the wayside--no [insanejournal.com profile] hp_beholder this April, and I didn't run lgbtq_recs this June--and I haven't been good about trying cool new(ish) things, like hp_silencio or reading221b. How do I get my fannish enthusiasm back? How do you do it, flist?

That said...

I was lucky enough this past weekend to have lunch with kellychambliss, who updated me on her whirlwind trip to Florida earlier this month, and I shared a spectacular diner breakfast (berries! waffles! french toast!) with onehundredmoons, who listened to me prattle on about my little nephews yet again. Last week, closer to home, I met up for the first time with [dreamwidth.org profile] king_touchy, who gave me the most lovely orange-flavored decaf coffee and reassured me that fannishness ebbs and flows over the years. (And who might be able to keep me company at Gridlock in Bethesda, MD, in August, so that's something to look forward to.)

On vacation in June, I met up with whymzycal, enjoyed some Ben and Jerry's and gorgeous weather, and revisited the book store where I used to work more than fifteen years ago (now a trendy bar-and-games locale). And earlier in June, I crashed a Snarry meet-up and *finally* got to meet flisters torino10154 and alisanne as well as new fannish comrades [dreamwidth.org profile] lilyseyes and emynn. And even earlier this summer, I spent a weekend with rose71 and talked until I felt slightly light-headed. (Thanks, Best Listener Ever.)

In short, it's been a lovely summer, filled with fans, if not with fic or my favorite fictional characters. I can't feel too bereft looking at this list--I may not be reading and writing the way I used to, but you folks are still there, and even more brilliant than ever.

This entry was originally posted at http://magnetic-pole.dreamwidth.org/81162.html. It has comment count unavailablecomments.

A dozen first days of summer

On the internet for the first time in more than a week, whew! (I'm on vacation at a lovely Airbnb apartment in the Bay Area that unfortunately doesn't have internet.) And of course, first thing I notice is a work-related deadline that needs to be met today. *sigh* Post first, then work.

Summer's my favorite season, and every year I love marking its first-times. The last day of class (and the first day I don't actually need to be anywhere), the day grades are due (the real first day of summer), the first time I pull out my summer tee shirts, the first time I spend all day in the library writing, the first time I wear shorts (inflicting my hairy legs on the world--I'm still a bit self-conscious about that, after all these years), the first time I have ice cream (for some reason, a summer thing for me), the first time I take a cold shower after a walk because I'm just TOO DARN HOT. The longest day of the year. The day the outdoor public pool opens.

And the day I realize summer's going to be over all too fast.

I had that realization last night, checking my calendar. How did it get to be the last day of June already? How I can I make time slow down? I wish it could be June forever.

How are you all doing, flist? As excited about summer as I am?

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Connected to the internet again, thank goodness! Between a long move and some delays scheduling the internet provider's installation visit, I've been largely without internet except at school and at cafes for the better part of ten days now, which is not a state to be desired. Having the internet at the new apartment is what makes it feel as if I'm now fully inhabiting the place.

News from my end:

* I own far, far too much stuff. I don't think about myself as someone who owns much because I try so hard not to make purchases, but I'm just now realizing that I also rarely throw away anything. Ever. The new apartment is larger but with less closet space, which means I need to mend my ways.

* The better half and I have instituted something we're calling "pajama day." The rules are very simple: pick a weekend day and stay in your pajamas all day, no exceptions. It's astonishing how relaxing this is. Once you've settled on this, there's no guilt about doing the grocery shopping or getting out to do something or see someone--you just lounge, for hours.

* Cherry blossoms! Pear tree blossoms! Magnolias! DC is in full bloom this weekend. It's a perfect storm of a weekend: the "peak" has fallen on a weekend--and not only a weekend, but one with beautiful weather (sunny with temps in the 70sF/mid 20sC) and one that falls at the tail end of the spring break for some of the public schools. The metro stops near the famed tidal basin and monuments are so crowded you can hardly move. Once I find my camera cord (*meeep* so many boxes), I'll post some pictures!

* Enjoying the poems posted for (Inter)National Poetry Month by flisters liseuse, secretsolitaire, and musesfool. Happy April, all!

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Still here! And recs...

I just realized that I didn't post in January at all, making that the first month in nine years that I haven't appeared here even briefly.

Let's not let that happen again.

First, a little emotional honestly: I'm a little overwhelmed at work, flist. Intellectually, I know I can do this, intellectually I know it's all going to be fine, but perhaps my long-time strategy of panicking inside but pretending everything's okay needs to be amended. ARRGH! TOO MUCH GOING ON! I'm anxious all the time and waking up at 3:00 in the morning, and maybe I should talk about that instead of keeping it all inside. It's okay to panic a bit and feel insecure, right? The key thing is keep turning the page in spite of it all.

I haven't been reading or writing or commenting much, but I'm trying hard to remember that you can't just skip important everyday things like sleep or proper meals or fannish fun in the name of Getting Things Done. Balance, balance. Breathe in, breathe out.

Second, something for you: recs!

* femslash_remix posted last week! _hannelore wrote Up in the Air (Minerva/Rolanda, rated PG, 1100 words), a remix of a story by kellychambliss about Minerva's insecurity and confusion in the face of Rolanda's infidelities; woldy wrote A Love Story in Six Baths (Minerva/Augusta, Minerva/Augusta/Frank, rated R, 1900 words), a remix of a story by cranky__crocus about the tensions in a three-way relationship between Minerva, Augusta, and Frank Longbottom (the father of the Frank we know from canon); and kellychambliss wrote Bequest (Minerva/Walburga, Minerva/Rolanda, Sirius, rated PG-13, 6000 words), a remix of a story of mine about the present-day reverberations of a youthful relationship between Minerva and Walburga Black.

I was absolutely delighted with Kelly's remix, which took a story about unspoken pain and turned it inside out by shifting the POV from reticent Remus to Minerva and Sirius, two characters who can't help speaking their mind. But all six fics are worth reading as a set, because the three new stories are very much about the therapeutic powers of remixing. All three authors chose stories about pain and difficult relationships (and Minerva McGonagall!) and turned them around by changing tone, changing the frame of reference, or even encouraging characters to intervene where they had sat silently in the original. Head on over and enjoy these!

* For those of you interested in the women of Sherlock, the Three Patch Podcast recently had an episode on femslash that includes a great list of femslash recs.

* I'm really enjoying a Sherlock WIP by splix, The Case of the Green Gown (Mary/John, Sherlock/John, rated explicit, six chapters and 37,000 words so far). Splix has done an extraordinary job setting up this mesmerizing story--there's both a case for Sherlock to solve involving a deadly green gown and an equally compelling mystery for the reader: how, nine years on from BBC canon, did Sherlock and John's relationship become so distant and strained? Given what I know of ACD canon and Splix's past fic, I believe this story is headed towards Sherlock/John, but it's remarkable right now for a beautiful, nuanced, realistic depiction of tension within John and Mary's loving but troubled marriage. Mary's just exquisitely drawn. Splix is posting regularly and can be depended on to finish WIPs, so please go enjoy this one!

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