I met the lovely xanthe and her adorable cats Harley and Jemima - they truly are gorgeous. We drank copious amounts of tea and had some wonderful conversation. It was such a pleasure to connect. I was only sorry to have missed bluespirit_star. I hope you and Mr B. had a lovely time in the States!
Now I am back in the thick of 2nd semester. All's well. Hope everything is going fine with you all.
I had a good year last year. From August, my son had some emotional issues to work through and he decided to give up drinking, so I did too, to support him, but also for my own well-being. In our numerous skype convos we got onto healthy diets and the end result is I have lost 23-4 kilos! I am so glad to have done this. I feel so much better physically and emotionally/mentally.
I cut out everything processed, basically. Kept it to fresh fruit and veges, my own cold-pressed vegetable juice, my own home-baked whole grain bread and sometimes some whole grains like brown rice or quinoa or meat with dinner. Smaller meals and I don't eat lunch usually - just an apple or my own juice (no time to sit and enjoy a meal anyway). I still have a bit of cheese and a couple of olives most days when I get home and some chocolate after dinner (favourite being 70% cacao).
I have also developed an addiction to good coffees - flavoured and one-origin coffees, so I'm having fun grinding my own beans and brewing up every morning. At the moment I'm trying out African coffees. This morning it was Burundi Kirimiro. The other day it was Tanzanian Peaberry and before that, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. All very tasty, though so far I like the Burundi coffee best.
I also increased my gym regime from just swimming 2 or 3 times a week to doing the machines as well, so I spend about 2 hours there 3-4 times a week. Feel so much more energy every day. It's great!
The down side of this of course is that nothing FITS! I have thrown out basically my whole wardrobe in dribs and drabs and have had to replace it. Not cheap, but I have discovered some great online sites for shopping in Japan, in the process!
I had a couple of visits during the summer last year. My friend Barb and her sister came over and I got to see Koya san with them. Mum came over a month after they left and we went to Takayama and Osaka. It really made the difference to my year seeing people I care about come visit me!
Seeing bluespirit_star's lovely Princess Buttercup costume (fabulous first attempt at sewing!), put me in mind of the Halloween costume I made last year - a generic Autumn Fairy Queen costume I took from concept to reality. Of course that corset and 3 or 4 others I have bought at various times in the past don't fit now, so I am wondering what to do about that. What a waste of money. Oh well!
I am also currently seeing the dentist a lot - he is taking out all the old (pre-japan) amalgam and (mid-japan) metal crowns. I told him I want white teeth! So that is an on-going project.
I have been watching quite a few shows of course - the usual suspects like the Big Bang Theory, but also House of Cards, The Blacklist, Wolf Hall, Bad Education, Modern Family, Outlander, Mr Selfridge, Happy Valley, The Fall, Hinterland, Shetland (I like the locales and accents of the latter two, not so much the police procedural, itself) and GoT, now that it has started again, even though I'm not so enamoured of it.
Anyway, again, I hope you are all doing fine and having a good year. Mine is busy and a bit stressful at work, but going well.
I have frittered away the last week on my professional website and being a general slacker.
I watched Lovelace - then I had to watch Deep Throat of course. I have never watched vid porn (except for the odd occasion I stumbled upon it) (just an avid reader of fanfic slash porn), but I wasn't at ALL shocked. Actually I am wondering if Sarsgard's reluctance to play the Traynor role is not a bit disingenuous since he has played lots of scumbags before.
I am so glad I am not that young and naive anymore but I am more concerned there are still predators abounding and with the different ideas that the younger gen are growing up with as a result of exposure to internet porn, I worry about the sexual violence towards women in that and what passes for standard or acceptable behaviour. Does the world actually get better for women? Sometimes I have to wonder despite a sense of complacency that generally, it does.
Photo taken with Nikon D5000 and Nikkor 70-300 mm lens from a rocking wooden boat. I am really pleased with how this turned out. It has not been touched up in any way. You can check out the slideshow of Varanasi (one of 4 places I visited in 2 weeks) here. The vast majority of the Varanasi photos were taken along the Ganga R. either from the boat or the bank, so it is what life on the Ganga looks like every morning and throughout the day into evening incense offerings.
It was a pretty amazing trip. I met some wonderful people, both Indians and fellow travellers who took the loneliness out of travelling alone - many precious memories - especially of crazy driving in autorickshaws, the Indian train experience (not to be missed!) and of course beautiful places. I really made photography a bit of a focus for myself this trip and am pleased that I got just a very few photos that I am particularly pleased with.
( Spoilery reactions and thoughts under the cut ... )
I can't wait for Part II!
OmniDiskSweeper was brilliant for tracking it down and deleting it. Now it seems completely resolved and I have plenty of disk space left - more in fact, since I moved so much stuff in my early attempt to fix it! Yay!
I have had the flu but am recovering.
I just read rageprufrock's latest installment of The Least of All Possible Mistakes and am thoroughly enjoying her female George Lestrade, as well as all the other characters!
I also saw my son a lot, met his girlfriend and caught up with his flatmate Paul for the 2nd time. We had some good times. I had dinner with an ex-colleague from Japan - we had re-connected when they came to Japan last winter and we went skiing together then. I also did my clothes shopping early and on the last couple of days of the trip, so I had lots of time in between for travel.
One major trip involved a 2 hour drive to a National Park north of Perth, colloquially known as the Pinnacles (in Nambung NP). It is basically desert country but the wildflowers were all around and I saw some galahs and even an emu (although I didn't manage to catch a pic of the latter).
Here is a flikr photostream of just a few of my pics of the Nambung / Pinnacles day trip.
Nambung and the Pinnacles
On Tuesday my seminar student came to visit and we made a chocolate cake (packet mix, sadly but we spiced it up with almonds and cardomom). She had never iced a cake so I assigned her that task with some guidance. She was chuffed to have done it! We had a lovely time chatting and eating.
I loafed off on Wednesday, then yesterday went to Heiwa (Peace) Park for a picnic with a girlfriend/work colleague. It was a glorious day with scudding clouds and we even discovered a eucalyptus forest the park people were growing in plastic hot houses - poor things - they looked rather chopped off and not at all natural in their shape. There were also some wattle (golden) which made me a little sad for home. Then after that, a nice hot coffee and home made cheesecake in a coffee shop on the way home. It was such a relaxing day and lovely to be out!
Today, I treated myself with nail manicure and pedicure, plus nail art - waaay too expensive, but I didn't care! I loved the whole treatment - being massaged and coddled for an hour and a half. Then it was down to the hairdressers where I got a cut - of course a cut means shampoo and shoulder massage too, so I feel very pampered right now. I am colouring my hair right now and might go out for the night.
Tomorrow the same friend from the picnic on Tuesday and I are off to the countryside/mountains for a BBQ and digging up some takenoko (bamboo shoots) on my friend's friend's mountainside of bamboo forest. I am really looking forward to it!
Hope my flist is having a wonderful week!
Am at home most days, it being Spring vacation … my herniated disc (lower back) is giving me hell - it is scary when it takes 10 minutes to actually get upright from a position laying down on my futon (especially when you have a full bladder motivating that getting upright), but on the plus side I have now mastered the skill of putting socks on with my feet! Hee! Gosh, my calf muscles were killing me for a few days after relying on them so heavily to squat down for things and then get up again since they were the only muscles I could use to get upright. Back muscles/spine are just so assumed, that when you can't use them you are really up the creek!
Whoo whoo! I got a Kindle Touch so have been busily filling it up with SGA fic, free classics from Project Gutenberg and I have even stumbled on the Sherlock/John Paradox Series, which I thoroughly enjoyed! I think I still prefer reading on the Mac though - the Kindle is just for traveling or when I can't sit any longer due to my back, and have to walk. Does anyone have any links for good long sherlock/john fic? I am loving the Sherlock series and gnashing my teeth at waiting until 2013 for the 3rd series to start filming!
There are even a few tiny flakes still falling.
I am really excited about the Christmas Day Doctor Who Special! I haz it precious, yeeeessssss! Is there anything else exciting on BBC for Christmas that I should know about?( My Christmas Day )... Have a nice Boxing Day everyone!
I am having a quiet but nice day. My Mum and brother are likely to skype me in a while, so we can chat. I made up a huge pot of soupy stew from the turkey carcass remains of the Student's Christmas party. It was the first time for me to carve a turkey, actually!
Also went into my local foreign foods shop and picked up my Christmas pudd (Walkers brand from Scotland). They specially got them in for me from the Shizuoka City store which is about a 100 km away since they had sold out in Nagoya earlier. I had gone in three nights ago to buy one they told me they had sold out. I put on a sad act/face and told them my Christmas would be very SAaaaaaaD! They even asked me if I wanted the small or large ... one or two? so of course I went for the large and ordered two! The shop people were wonderful! The guy I spoke to on Wednesday even recognised me when I walked in and he recalled my name instantly (I had an official order form with my name on it, so he knew it from that).
As for my pot of soup/stew ... yummy comfort food! I think I will be living on it for days, it is so huge!!
Now I have a new free webhost - 000webhost (hopefully this one will turn out to be of a more upstanding character.
Thank you to causette for her post, which I originally used many aeons ago and found once again!
As well, I have got blimey_icons's mini mcshep LJ user icons back too!
After Mum went home, I rented a car for one day and went up to the Gravity Discovery Centre, which I had heard about on my radio podcast of The Science Show and Yanchep National Park, north of Perth. On the way back I drove down to the coastline of Joondalup - cold blue ocean and rocks. The people at the GDC were great and really got people involved in trying out all the science exhibits. I enjoyed Yanchep - I walked around the lake Wetlands Track, but even more, I loved getting behind the wheel of a car after so long and just driving! Also did lots of clothes shopping, so I feel good to have a supply of decent clothes for the next while. I have tomorrow to pack for Spain (and Marrakech), but am catching up on Torchwood, Dr Who and True Blood. I love TW ep 7! We are finally seeing a serious amount of Jack's past life (love the period chosen) and whoo whoo for the Angelo love!
Some interesting science-y facts about this quake from the Vancouver Sun and the USGC.
Earth's axis has reportedly shifted ten inches as a result of the quake, and Japan's coast is said to have permanently shifted 2.4 metres.
Nice to see DH on Twitter being positive about Japan in response to a follower's nuclear-related criticisms.
Swaying means rubber in the foundations or some such high-tech building thingy. Japan has excellent earthquake- resistant tech, building codes and much better responses since the Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) quake. It wasn't hugely strong where I am (just looong) and nothing shook loose. Nagoya is also protected by peninsulas, so we didn't get tsunami either.
Hope everyone is well!
It was nice - I met another woman from Brisbane (hometown) and we friended on FB. After the dancing I and my students had a lovely walk through a massive temple - Tofukuji on a beautiful day and I took lots of pics! Then it was lunch and home - such a lovely day! So nice to do something silly and get outta town for a while!
( See pics! )