::dances around the office in public:: Okay, yeah, so no one else is here right now. There's windows!
In other news, I saw Gambit last night. Cameron Diaz was surprisingly good and funny. Alan Rickman looks entirely too good naked for his age. And what can one say about Colin Firth that hasn't already been said? It was laugh-out-loud funny and I did not see the twist coming at the end. I love art heist movies. They make me feel better about my career choice.
Lastly, I guess I'm going to have to see BD2 on my own. I have to see it because I've seen the others, and I hate leaving movie series unfinished. I even saw the last Spiderman even though it sucked. And Matrix. And X-Men. And the 3 Star Wars that should never have been made. So I feel like I need to, in order to get on with my life. I think I'll go to a cheap afternoon showing on Monday and sit in a corner and try not to me embarrassed (I hate going to movies on my own!)
And in still other news, I guess I'm going to have to see Les Mis, even though listening to Anne Hathaway sing is not my favourite thing in the world, and though I love Hugh Jackman, he is not Colm Wilkinson. The sacrifices we make.
I have so much travel in the next 5 weeks! It ends off a very well-travelled year, I guess. And exciting travel plans for next year (*cough*Camino*cough*RingCon*
I need Hobbit icons. Like now. So I can abuse them for a whole month before the xmas ones get used.
Also, seriously, the City of Bones trailer makes me so proud! What an odd feeling.
More than a few people told me I was crazy to fly 10 hours across the planet for a weekend wedding. Those people don't know my family very well.
I have never won the 'came the furthest distance' until last night. The rest of the family got lumped together under Toronto, and the two from Calgary got a mention, but I was the 'one from London'! Wearing a fascinator, of course. A woman from Denver complimented me to high heaven on it.
I won't say I've been to A LOT of weddings but I have been to quite a few. Last night was the best one. It was a great choice to have it at their newly finished (renovated, not built) old farmhouse in Denver. Their neighbour's house is the oldest in the city!! My cousin has a double lot so plenty of room for the ceremony, dinner tables and a dance floor (the driveway). The theme was red, black and white, just really classic (the red was the roses in bundles). They put Christmas lights on the trees and strung them up across the garden. Every little detail was taken care of, from food to drinks to designating other people to take care of things. Everyone had a clear role and it was so organised without seeming like it at all! If anything went wrong, us guests never knew about it!
They had a lovely couple who sang and a great guitar player for the ceremony as well as a live band from Colorado Springs for after. All the music was familiar classics you'd have at a wedding but all sung live. My cousins performed two songs to welcome the new bride Lyndsay to the family. Great fun and really well done. The food wasn't anything fancy, just well cooked, still hot and very good. And they severed dessert before 10pm! They also had late pizza delivery which was welcome after all the dancing. It was just all well done. The ceremony was simple and beautiful (and non religious). Read a passage from the Dalai Lama which I thought was perfectly chosen and then Bride and groom did their own vows. Kind of wedding I want, to be honest.
So great to see quite a bit of the family and talk to them all. Lyndsay (the bride) was so sweet and told me how surprised and excited she was to get my RSVP about coming and the nice letter my parents sent her as they were unable to come. And Shawn was just, clearly, so happy and in love last night. It's a good look on him. Standing at the alter waiting for Lyndsay to walk down the aisle he looked terrified! :)
I'm just really greatful I could be here and share that with them. We have a family brunch this morning, though my favourite cousins have to fly home and will miss it. Whenever I'm.away from my mom's side of the family I love our reunions. Rein was sooooo happy to see me and surprised too! Least someone was! He's the closet thing I have to a brother and we just naturally have become very close over the years. It's nice to have that to fall into whenever we see each other. He hugged me so hard last night I couldn't breathe!!
I won't say that things are perfect. I've been updated on a lot of things in recent days and I know the next years may be very difficult for my family and things are going to get very bad. But at least we had this. Right now that's what matters most. I'll post pictures a bit later when I'm not on my iPhone.
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I will be in Denver and London dealing with various members of my 'blood relations means never having to say You're Kidding' family. Yes, proper use of icon is proper. Special doesn't even begin to describe them.
And then I'm taking a holiday to recover from my holiday. I should be backback by September 8th.
Right, the wedding RSVP is going in the mail. Yes it is. Now I have to go.
Also, I found a hotel in London for £40 a night. With an ensuite. I think that counts as a minor miracle. I will bring earplugs, turn the lights out (there's NO WINDOW!!! :D) and sleep for 24hours after my whirlwind tour of America...mostly by aeroplane. I heard Denver is nice, though. but windy.
Damn, I forgot about the wind. It's outside too. Crap.
I just want everyone to know that I am expending more effort for this wedding than I am ever likely to do for a friend (other than people I'm besties with, of course, or pseudo-related to). And it is going to be SO MUCH FUN!
=> London to Denver return (direct) and a few days in a nice hotel in London showing the parentals around a city they have sworn never to visit. The Aunt will inevitably be pissed about something, but other than sharing a hotel room with her (and making her pay for meals), there's really no other interaction needed. I can enjoy Denver on my own, if needed. Ooh, now I'm thinking of a side trip to Vail for day! [Totally because I wrote a fic set in Vail, you understand.]
Anyways, right now, things are PRETTY DAMN AWESOME on all accounts, except for that one where I'm losing my mind.
So, no change there really.
The only downside is that I won't get to see you J! Ah well, I shall have to make a trip out west at some point, if you are still there. ;)
This week I went to Belfast.
( And it was amazing! )
Pictures are available here: http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g242/
But first, there will be Swiss Chalet. I think I've ticked the ticky boxes the last two weeks on Canadian food.
I managed to get nothing done this morning, partly because (with the clock change) I slept until 10am, which rather destroys the vast part of the morning. And then I watch telly and ate a begal. After that I forced myself to go to the library instead of eat lunch (2 hours after breakfast). I was doing great, until Anita (one of my flatmates) presented me with Easter chocolate eggs. So there went that idea out the window. However, I never ate lunch, and only snacked at 3pm on crackers and cheese and a plum, so on the whole I'm doing not badly. So long as I can go the rest of tonight without more snacking, but the fajitas were rather filling, so there's hope.
Yesterday I bought the Hunger Games (1st book) with firm intention to wait until I saw the movie on Thursday to read it. Wow, I suck at best laid plans. I have promised to only read Part 1, however, because I pretty much know what happens from the trailer and hype anyways. But the rest...I'll hide it if I have to. And I have no time the next 3 days anyways, really.
Speaking of the next three days...tomorrow is an 8 hour day. Tuesday is a 13 hour day. Wednesday is another 8 hour day. Normally, that means lots of actually free time, but I have research that I need to do when I'm not at the conference presentations, other grunt work and I want to go to the Brown Bag Wednesday, so I won't even get lunch off that day. Thursday I will either pass out or be really productive. Could go either way. Could be both, in fact. But then there will be Hunger Games if it kills me (it may just).
Saturday, I plan to take the day off. I don't have high hopes of that actually happening, because I will probably realise how much work I have to do and only a week left to do it and panic. And panic is a really good motivator for working.
I did, however, pack for Canada today, because I'm not taking back anything I need, just some stuff I haven't worn and lots of presents and such. That was relatively painless, as packing goes. The return trip will not be.
Two weeks of hunched over a desk reading and typing has led to a permanent ache between my shoulder blades that no amount of stretching or pilates has cured. It's not painful, but it is damn annoying and does twinge if I twist the wrong way. As the next three days I really need to be in decent shape, this is a bad thing. Amazingly, it hasn't led to a headache yet. I'm just waiting now...
I am watching a BBC version of the love story of poet John Keats. God is it boring. It's not a good weekend on BBC, apparently. I might have to try ITV!
I really need it to be April 7th, because then my work will be done, for better or worse and I will be about to go to London and the V&A and then on a plane! And even though it's Canada, travel gets me excited. And the first 5 days will be really good...
The Aunt may be crazy, but at least she's happy.
Guess which I hope to turn out like?
I am enjoying keeping secrets from my mother SO MUCH. Aunt and I have lovely trips and plans to talk about behind her back. It's So Much Fun! Aunt is making her own awesome trip this year, flying to Denver and back from Toronto in August: 3 week solo flight! I will worry incessently, but I am still glad for her. And me, well I'm...;)
'Parents' is not one of my tags. Let's keep it that way.
Grateful for: word counts, bacon and libraries.
This post will not be about pancakes.
It is, only very rarely, that one may watch a film that changes your life - or at the very least makes you think about your life - and take away from it some appreciation that, with a little hope, will last you some years. It is only very rarely that a film maker manages to make such a film. And when they do, the results are spectacular.
'The Way' is the story of a journey - or rather, many journies and yet all the same - that does not preach, it does not demand, it does not tell, it does not even imply anything beyond the natural inclination of the human brain to be moved to consideration. However, I think I would be hard pressed to find a viewer who did not take something of measure from the tale.
The film is not about the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. It is not about the relationship between a father and a son. It is not about the friends you meet on the way or the journey you undertake to get somewhere. It is not about religion or God or penance. It is, in some ways, a measure of all and none of these things. Like the Way of St. James, each viewer will take away their own enlightenment from watching it.
And, like those that reach the end, it is not about who you were before, but where you go afterwards.
One day, I will walk the pilgrim road from St Jean Pied to Santiago de Compostela. I will not do it for religion, as I am not a Catholic, but I might do it for belief, and for The Road and for myself.
Most of all, I'll do it for myself. As everyone does.
2. Unlike in Quebec (and other countries), Germans aren't insulted if you don't speak their language.
3. The text panels in German museums have to be the most boring things I've ever read.
4. Germans are obsessed with hockey.
5. Most of Bavaria looks exactly like south-western Ontario. Especially when driving in the snow.
The thing I knew: There is no better meal on the planet than sausage on a bun with mustard and sauerkraut.
But Ross said there might be a chance for me to go to Denmark in November to meet with a prof and some of her phds for a few days...funded!
WEEEEEEEE!!!! As the prof is one I referenced in my last paper, this would be awesome. Also, Denmark. Also, FUNDED.
It so won't happen now, but I can dream (and wish and pray).
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Anyways, the aunt and I talked and I reminded her that I turned 30 in 17 (OMFG) months and that I plane to do SOMETHING AMAZING. Which, considering my life, means things like taking off to New Zealand for 6 months or cruising around South America to Antarctica or, you know, something crazy. But since I will be in the second year of my PhD, and taking more than a couple of weeks off is just not feasable, I'm narrowing the playing field to Something New. I mentioned diving. Then I mentioned Sardinia. Then she mentioned a liveaboard, and hey, I've never actually done that. So, that's the game plan for my 30th: a week aboard a diveboat in Sardinia and/or Corsica cave diving. And the really fun thing about dive trips with the aunt? They go well.
In other words, the best part about turning 30 will be being so caught up in everything that I forget I'm turning 30.
Now, back to the game plan for 29, which I a hell of a lot closer!
STOP SLAMMING THE DAMN DOORS PEOPLE!!!
- but it was meant to be 3000. I sort of ran out of steam on constructivist theory, which, can you blame me? I can make it up later, or simply add something else to that section. There is research I did for this paper that so far isn't planned to be part of it. I might add it in later. Fixing the damn thing will be December 26-January 1st problem.
Preliminary plan to make a weekend trip down to Gillingham (Kent) in January to spend a few days at a nice B&B, visit a dear friend of my parents, and tour two museums that have been on my To Visit list for a while. Obviously, January is not ideal, but I'll take what I can get. It is, however, cheaper. Then it will be Germany and hockey! [And more museums].
So, the latest one was 13,000 and change. There was also the 6,000 one on the weekend. Everytime I think I know my daily word limit, Twilight surprises me. I think I'm starting to understand why the books are so long. SM probably couldn't stop. For which I can sympathise. Unfortunately, unlike SM, I'm not making money off of this and so would prefer it fill up less of my time. The world has definitely tilted if I write more than I read. It's not right.
The good weekend approacheth, but I have to get through the next 3 days first. Bugger that.
Oh, the Aunt deigned to email again, with a subject line instead of a body message, followed by a one line dig about Kindle. It's heartless, but after I get my Christmas presents from her, I'm not talking to her until Easter. Because I am just that much of a hypocrit. Thank you very much.
The best evidence I can come up with for this is that I love museums. I love them so much I am trying like crazy and putting myself head over heels in debt in order to have a career in one, maybe, one day, if I'm lucky. Every time I travel somewhere I visit museums, no matter what the purpose of the trip.
And I hate the British Museum.
So after that little philosophical ramble, let's move on. It was a long day. We were only there for 5 hours and it felt like 10. I just sort of wandered around aimlessly and got annoyed at all the tourists and school groups that were crowding hallways and galleries. I poked (not literally) at a few statues and then spent an hour walking around the Enlightenment room, because it's the only new thing the BM has done in about 150 years (yes, I'm exaggerating; the point is that I'm not exaggerating much). It's an "interesting" exhibit. I'm not sure it quite worked the way the curator wanted it to (and I listened to her talk about it for 30 minutes during the tour I stole in on). I think it works for non-museum/history people, but I just identified all the thinks that didn't jive at all well. It just looked like a rather large mish-mash of forcing things into some sort of theme, according to the curator's view. Interspersed with a library. Now, it's the enlightenment period, so books are a big part of that, but many of the books were much more recent than that and many of them were on topics that had nothing to do with the values and philosophy of the period. So, I don't think that worked. They were just going for the 'it looks very traditional right?' and the 'we have all this stuff and nowhere to put it...'. That's only half an excuse for how you design an exhibit. Especially when a lot of it is on loan (and don't get me started on that one, because designing a permanent exhibit with stuff that's on 5-year renewal loans is asking for it).
To that end: the Parthenon marbles are still in London, the Rosetta Stone is still the most visited piece in the whole museum, the gift shop is still deadly, and the humidity readings are 20% higher than they should be in all the textile galleries.
In conclusion, I cringe about a lot of things when I walk around the BM. But hey, despite the 6 hours on a bus, it was still nice to get out for a day.
The flight over was decent. Drank a bottle of free champagne (Go Upgrades!) and I guess that helped, because I got a few hours of restless sleep. And then I had coffee for breakfast. Probably all that got me through until late afternoon when I napped before meeting Chantel (yeah for mini-Laurier reunions. Twice in a week!). The girl beside me was going to a wedding in Leicester, ironically, for a cousin. She hadn't been back to England in 20 years. We chatted quite a bit while they served dinner, which I didn't eat, since it was 10:30pm!
I am moved into my term time room. It was available before they thought it would be. There are only 2 other girls in the flat so far. One is from Wales and is in the medical department, so she started 3 weeks ago. The other is from southern Pakistan, but has family in Edmonton! She knows all about winter in Canada. They should both be relatively quiet people, especially the one in medicine (research oriented). The others should be in by Sunday. Guess they might not be international students, since they aren't here yet.
Registered and paid for accomodation so far. Settled everything I think I need to at the uni. Campus is a disaster zone. The city is replacing gas lines all the way along University Ave and, of course, it's not finished on time. The entire road is dug up and construction vehicles are parked on campus. And the 'reno' they have been doing to the outside of buildings on campus is still a work in progress, so there are baracades up everywhere. Nixon is finished, in so far that the buildings are done and open, but the landscaping is a work in progress. They are hard at work on my little back corner, and the forescast is to finish by Sunday. At least they go home between 6pm and 7am. Because it's LOUD. But once they do finish, it should be quite quiet back here, as it is the far corner of the property and doesn't back directly onto anything except that large white roofed warehouse, which I've now been told is the offsite storage for the library (who knew?). You can hear the trains when they pass by, but they aren't breaking or whistling, and they pass quickly. Like GO trains.
The room is decent. About the same size as Opal, but with more storage. It looks well lived in, but it's very clean, as is the kitchen. All new appliances in there. It will do. Especially for the big difference in price from Opal!
Had a good visit with Chantel. Uni has made changes this year for the sub-wardens and everything is much more complicated and involves a lot more of her time, which in her final phd year, she doesn't have much of. Will be busy for her, but I'm sure we'll do evenings together on occasion. She gets half-price tickets to the theatre at Morrisons, so that's good! If only there were good movies out...
Went grocery shopping today for the week. Cost £23, so I am hoping I can do groceries for the week for under £50, including a night out. Food isn't any more expensive than last time, which surprises me. And I can live without alcohol and meat quite well. Some things are ridiculously cheap; like cereal and eggs. Good!
Will have to do bank and cell phone tomorrow. Hopefully I will have the energy by then.
Have already added a desk lamp and laundry basket to my room. Everything is unpacked and hopefully I'll get to the office store tomorrow for pins so I can decorate the room and it won't look so boring! I'll need a fan if this weather continues. 30* humidex today...without air-condioning and I'm on the sunny side of the building. And it's really loud with the window open. Hopefully better by next week. 16* and the landscaping should be done! One of the lanscaping crew is Scottish and he's hilarious to listen to, at least. Another has to be from Yorkshire, I think, and is barely understandable.