Previous month:
July 2014
Next month:
September 2014

qotd + shameless promo

“Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the "London once-over" - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.”*

 Ben AaronovitchMidnight Riot 

* I'm not reading-reading Aaronovitch but, rather, listening to the audiobook. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith might be my new favorite narrator. And hat tip to Brenda Dayne for recommending it.

In running news, I'm looking for a used TARDIS. Anyone?

my constant companion

Everywhere I go, there she is. I think she might have missed me.


This picture was taken while I was lying on my bedroom floor and stretching after a run. Maybe she was doing corgi stretches?

She has improved since we started her on antibiotics for the Lyme -- but isn't back to her usual self. Today we go back to the vet to see where we stand. Or, as above, sploot.

many things make a post

* My motto.

* Marmot!

* What post-partum depression looks like.

* On teaching and parents and what students want.

* Been there. Still have no good answer.

* The Pizzly Bear!

* What we don't talk about when we talk about violence. Also: it's a great use of online media to tell a story.

* Our ginger cat is the same; our black and white cat is the jerkface, although I could see him doing this just because it would be irritating.

* Honestly? I LOL'd.

* "Ms. Parton, though, has always found a way to appeal to the better angels of the South’s nature, one in which gentleness, civility and faith shine."

and the rest of them

This will be the last installment of U.K. pictures. Prepare to be either sad or elated, depending on how you personally feel about looking at pictures of someone else's trip. 


I made it to the V&A, where I was greeted by Chihuly, whose work really is everywhere.


One of the current exhibits is Disobedient Objects, which is about the intersection of art and protest. One of my localish groups is featured.


A question we still have to ask. 


Does this remind anyone else of Donkey from Shrek? Just me, then?


This crypt amused me, mostly because of how inflexible the deceased's clothes are.


The museum has a big courtyard and fountain in the middle of it. Kids are encouraged to play in the water. What you can't tell from the photo is how flippin' chilly it was. Not sure how those kids didn't get frostbite. Which is something my parents would say, come to think of it.


One of the collections that drew me to the V&A is their theater/performance focus. I could have spent even more time poking around in there. The curators walk you through the whole process, from idea to casting to rehearsal to performance. And they've thought to collect the items the audience never sees, like prompt books:


There was a scale model of a set for Sweeney Todd and you could play with the sliders to see what light can do:


And a scale model of a fly system:


It's the sort of resource that I wish our students had access to. Sadly, until such time as Star Trek-style transporters are on campus, not gonna happen.

One of my other favorite sections involved collected bits of old (old) houses. 



Further proof that little boys have been the same since the dawn of time:


It was a fountain. You can imagine where the water came from. 

Oh - and I couldn't resist tea and a scone.


I've fallen in love with clotted cream. Why is there not more clotted cream in the States? Seriously. We're missing out.


While wandering, I've found the tile I want in the house that Scott and I will retire in. I mean, as long as I'm living in a fantasy world, might as well go all in.

And on the walk back to my hotel, I found my future car:


And ... there is one more U.K. story to tell but, to be a total tease, I'm saving it for this week's mother runner column. Yes, it does involve running.

After a long series of planes, trains, and automobiles, I'm home again and about to leap my jet-lagged self back into classes. My luggage decided to spend some additional time in the Dulles airport. I hope that we will be reunited soon. Such are the perils of air travel, I guess, and a little irritation is a small price to pay for such a lovely trip.

more snaps and some shameless promo

First: the shameless self-promotion -- this week's mother runner column is up. Yes, I am talking about the trip. And potatoes.

Second: I'm back in London. One more day, then I shall fly home again. While I love being here, I'm ready to get back to my actual life (and actual bed). Today is for nothing more strenuous than a trip to the V and A. I've been looking forward to it all trip, frankly. Love the V and A.

So some pictures from yesterday's trip back from Cambridge.


Oh my.


Cambridge market. I may have bought a bag.


I didn't buy strawberries, although they smelled divine.


King's College. I might have spent all of my free cash on a purse so I didn't take the tour. 


I did make a pilgrimage to Liberty. It's best that I only had a few minutes to look around. I could spend days in there.


Finally - the Brits (or maybe the French) are really kicking our heiners when it comes to chocolate. So good.

conference pictures aren't exciting

On the walk to the conference this morning, I found the house where the Husband and I will retire.


It's lovely, don't ya think?

I most of the day talking about Lois McMaster Bujold in front of a roomful of other people talking about Lois McMaster Bujold, which is the reason I'm actually in Cambridge. Near as I can tell, the paper presentation went well enough. 


Even Lord Ashcroft approved. I think. It's hard to tell. He's very stone faced.

The bulk of my day was spent looking at some variation of this:


So I didn't take many pictures. I did get some knitting done.


Which is what I do when I'm listening intently.

I've also learned what to do when I've run out of all other options:


Good to know it's there.

on to cambridge, with no punting

The morning started strangely, with one really aggravated young guy trying to pick a fight with all of the other guys near him on the train. What made it strange is how infrequently this sort of thing happens, not just in the UK but in the US as well. What was amazing, however, is that none of the other young men on the train took him up on the fight and, instead, tried to talk this hyped-up kid down. Calmly. With no yelling. Remarkable, really. 

Oh - and is it telling that my first thought was that I was happy that there was no way he could be armed? 

The day improved after that. I made it to King's Cross:


and to Cambridge.


(Dunno who the gentleman is. Sorry.)

And then to the B&B where I had a cup of tea and some biscuits because I am absolutely exhausted.


Suitably revived, I went for a wander.


Damn scenic.


These were on the Midsummer Common.


Apparently, it's a thing



I couldn't resist a selfie on the Cam.



And, as is my habit, I was distracted by a sticker.


What does this mean? Dunno - but I like it.

Tomorrow - or, rather, today, by the time you read this - is the conference. I'll let you know how it goes. Unless I manage to get run over on the walk to the campus because I my muscle memory keeps making me look the wrong way for oncoming traffic. I reckon I'll have those muscles rewired just about the time I have to pack up for home.

selfie day! (plus shameless promo)

No "many things" today. Since I've been forced out of my dark cave and out, blinking, into the world, I haven't been spending much time in front of my computer. So, instead, a shameless promo and some snaps.

First: my issue with names, from the local almost daily. 

Second: I decided yesterday was selfie day. Who doesn't love selfie day?

Here's me on my way to the convention center to help woman the Locus table at LonCon. This is at the transfer from the DLR to the Jubliee Line so that I can transfer back onto a different part of the DLR. The DLR is cool but not at all linear.


This part of the city reminds me of Manhattan, specifically Wall Street. Same kind of white collar, big money vibe. Plus, most of the buildings are relatively new. Well, new for London, which means less than 150 years old.


Me on the Emirates Airline Cable Car, which gives you a scenic view of the East End. Great fun and something I could never do if the Boy were with me. The height would have freaked him right the heck out. Oh - and my pictures were crap because it was rainy. Take my word for how interesting the scenery was.

I had time to give Greenwich Park a good wander, before I had to head back to the hotel to finish up on the paper I'm presenting on Wednesday. 


Me and King William IV. He's the tall one.

The view from just below the Royal Observatory, where I sat to drink a coffee. As views go, it didn't suck. What I also found fascinating is that most of the dogs being walked in the park were off-leash. And I was accosted by a Yorkie, who I wish I'd managed to get a picture of.


There's also a rose garden. I didn't stick my face next to the blooms because their beauty made mine look so slight. I did stick my face next to them, though, to absorb the lush smell.



Last: this is definitely in the running for Favorite Bar Name. 


(Sadly, the bar itself did not live up to its name and I didn't stick around. I wound up a bistro, which was good but not awesome.)

By the time you read this, I should be on a train to Cambridge. I hope dementors aren't wandering the cars. Cambridge and Hogwarts are the same, right?

this might make sense

After many hours on planes, trains, and in automobiles, I am in London. My brain, however, is still on Eastern time, which hasn't been helped by the whole hour of sleep I managed on the flight over. I'll catch up eventually, tho, at which point it'll be time to head home. Same as it ever was.


In my bleary haze on Saturday, I managed a stroll about Greenwich, which is where I'm staying until Tuesday. I found one of the book benches completely by accident. This one is celebrating On the Origin of the Species. I wandered until I got to weary. Didn't make it up to the Prime Meridian but have planned another jaunt for later.


Makes me giggle every. dang. time. 

Then, randomly, I stumbled on another another book bench.


Can you guess what it's honoring? It's one of my favorite books.



To be honest, if I'd set out looking for the benches, I doubt I would have found them. Which is fine, because stumbling upon them was more fun.

There was a big football match that late afternoon. Bars were offering specials like this:


I ws tempted to go in and order a "jug of cocktail" but decided that would be unwise, even if ripe for unintended comedy. Instead, I wandered into a nearby hole-in-wall Indian place and brought this back to my hotel room:


When I walked in, the owner/waiter and I had a chat about the menu. He told me what I should have so I don't really know exactly what this is. What I know is that there is Naan and that the curry has pistachios and coconut milk. What I also know is that it was sooooo good and exactly what I needed. Love it when that works out. 

I spent today at Loncon helping staff the Locus vendor table. 


Robert Silverberg and Gail Carriger just stopped by. Just because. 

I also saw this: 


What you can't tell from the picture is that it also played luau music as it rolled Dalekly past. How do you say "exterminate" in Hawaiian?

And another book guessing game from the exhibits hall -- can you guess what this artifact is honoring?




It's another one of my all-time favorite books.

I've spent most of the day pining for the rest of the family and feeling guilty. While I know I should enjoy the experience for what it is, well, I'm having some problems getting on top of wishing they were here, too. Or maybe that's just the jet lag talking. It's always something, eh?