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Date:2016-12-09 19:12
Subject:I have used my snow day…
Security:Public

…for some work, but in my break I’ve called my state rep and the house oversight committee. I’m a bit concerned by the fact I got through. Last time I tried to do this, I spend the day being redirected from engaged tones to voicemail to mailbox full errors.

This time I got straight through.

I’m hoping this isn’t a sign that people are losing momentum on the issues at hand and just that it’s the end of the week so most people have got through.

As a reminder, if anyone needs guidance on things to do: there’s a spreadsheet here.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-09 18:41
Subject:Today I have an unexpected snow day
Security:Public

It’s not like I couldn’t get to work, but the campus is closed, which is quite annoying as I have stuff to do. So instead I’m stuck at home with not enough of my stuff (I should have brought more work home with me, but I seriously didn’t expect it to be closed today).

Bah.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-09 05:37
Subject:Glacial progress
Security:Public

So I’m unsure if our house progress is going to be one of those things where making progress is going to feel like a sisyphean task, or whether its like we’ve shoved a glacier enough and now it’s going to move inexorably forward.

I doubt the latter, but it does feel a little like we’ve managed to get the glacier moving. Today our septic plan was submitted to the county, along with payment. Now what happens is they go out to the land and hopefully assess it as being fine. What I’m hoping is that they don’t get all overexcited about the culvert that drains into our land and decide to get all “this is wetlandy”.

If they do that I’ll be very unhappy, given the number of times that I went down there before hand and said “is this wetland? is there any way that you could consider it wetland?”

But I’m going to cross my fingers, toes and any other thing I can think of.

In other house news our copy of the LEED book arrived, which is filled with exciting novel materials that make me go “ooh, perhaps we could build with that”. Almost invariably (from past experience) this is followed by “just after we win the lottery”… but hope. Eternal.

Incidentally, I’ve turned off the Tumblr-duplication. So blog -> Tumblr is still on, but Tumblr -> blog is off. That’s because it was hammering my little webserver (and appears to have consumed a vast amount of space)

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-12-04 06:25
Subject:And or decisive nature comes out again
Security:Public

So we’ve been pretty settled on the house design for a while. It didn’t thrill either of us, but we were pretty happy with the general thing.  Then we watched the entire 2016 season of Grand Designs. And we remembered that a big part of why we want to build is to create something interesting and novel. Something with some degree of integrity. 

And while find may end up finding that we can’t do anything near as interesting as we’d like, we’ve now spent days trying to find a way to do something more architecturally interesting. 

So if anyone knows a good architect (or student)  who’s something to fill their time… And isn’t too painfully expensive… Point us in their direction,  eh.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-30 05:23
Subject:I see this as a bit of a problem
Security:Public

One of the things which concerns me about the situation here is American exceptionalism. See, America is exceptional, it is unique. But then so is every other country. Every country is unique and different and a special little flower. Some things are better here, some things are worse.

The US has been responsible for some great advances, and some terrible things. It is populated with humans who are just as great and just as flawed as every other country. And it worries me greatly that people seem under the impression that an autocratic dictatorship couldn’t happen here, because the US is in some way special and different.

I hate to be the one to break it to you all, the US is just as capable of slipping into an autocracy as any other country. As Masha Gessen said, the institutions will not save you. So it is time to start fighting, because the signs are really, really not good.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-28 05:38
Subject:I suppose I don’t really know
Security:Public

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I mean, I know there’s been sporadic posts, but my old frequent posting schedule has gone by the wayside. That’s mainly down to the new job, but some of that is not being sure what to say. I mean, talking about what’s going on in my life seems pretty… well, lacking, when I’m looking at what’s going on in the US and the UK at the moment.

Looking at Ursula Vernon’s post she captures the utter insanity of where we are at the moment. To paraphrase: “bought gas masks for protestors, did some gardening“. It’s terrifying. As I’ve got older I’ve become increasingly aware that I’m not white. It’s something that I was aware of as a kid, that faded into the background through the 1990s, where we actually seemed to be making progress.

And now we’ve arrived in 2016, and the UK has actually voted for a surveillance state, and to attempt to take itself into being some kind of third-world pariah on the edge of Europe, led by a racist and a buffoon. And the US has voted for a racist can of tango, who’s brought with him actual neo-nazis. And we can call them the “alt-right” if you prefer, but either way, they’re horrific.

And I have a list of US people to call, although last week when I tried I got busy-tones and full voicemail boxes. But at the same time we’re booking a rental car and a hotel so we can go and visit my mother. And I’m reading about protestors being treated like they’re in a war-zone but I’ve just come back from seeing friends for thanksgiving, and spending hours in Powell’s looking at books.

Never has my world history felt so close. I feel Mr Ross, my history teacher’s explanations of the rise of fascism in Germany as terrifyingly present. I feel wary and on edge. And I watch as people excuse and say we should wait and see. We don’t need to. We let him show his colours. It’s not what he says that worries me, it’s what he does. Journalists don’t seem to have got that yet. They report his words like they’re meaningful.

But they are just noise. Just pacification. It’s like when my friend read the antibiotic guidelines to a baby who’s mum had disappeared from our ER. He was settled by the soothing noises, the words themselves were immaterial. Trump utters these phrases that soothe and console, but his actions speak to a truth that will tear the US apart.

It will not make America great in any sense of the word. It’ll make him rich, and drive people to poverty, despair and destruction. It’ll rip and lay bare divisions in society. And it leaves me feeling hollow and scared.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-12 16:21
Subject:Quick question
Security:Public

Did anyone keep the receipt for 2016? I think we need to take it back, it’s clearly broken.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-09 14:36
Subject:Fuck.
Security:Public

Well, fuck.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-07 03:35
Subject:Today was.
Security:Public

We were definitely going for some kind of adulting / granola lesbian award.

– Home made pancakes for breakfast (spelt…)
– Already cleaned the house this weekend…
– Hardware store for implements of destruction
– Farmer’s market (just after opening) for our shopping
– Coffee at a local coffee place
– Home for lunch (rather than our usual disorganised “oh, we’ll get it at the farmer’s market”…because we were so early)
– Out to the land and filled in one of the perc holes by hand (most of the way, turns out neither of us is as fit as we remember being)
– Spent a couple of hours pruning and trimming the route that we want the mini excavator to come in though to dig the new perc holes.

IMG_20161106_161046

…it may not look like much, but it was hard work and it is where we’re hoping our drive way will run… and I’m torn between “oh my god, we’ve cut down so many tiny bushy things” and “yay! progress!”

– Then we sat in our Electric SUV, drinking herbal tea, eating home made spelt/citrus loaf and eating nuts and dates… before driving home.

Uh. So yay for us, but also I suspect we can’t get that much more granola. If only we had a Ford Ranger EV, then we’d be totally there.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-11-02 04:17
Subject:Well, it’s been a while
Security:Public

So the quiet around here, which those of you familiar with my blogging will be well aware of, is because of the new job. See, the new job is challenging in a way that is totally familiar – I feel way out of my depth, I feel stressed and anxious, and I spend approximately every waking hour preparing for – or doing it. Which is much like when I first started working in the ED.

Of course, the students are expecting a teacher, so they get one. I have tapped lots of really amazing teachers that I know at various points to get suggestions. And I know plenty more… so hopefully I can continue to improve without driving everyone nuts.

But it has meant that everything else has pretty much gone to the wayside. I’m managing most mornings to put in 10 minutes or so of Yoga, which is my new attempt to conduct a little bit of self care. And recently I’ve been committing to not working on Sundays, which is hard, but it does mean that I come into Mondays feeling a little bit rested.

But I keep reminding myself that this is a new career, not just a new job, so it will be hard. It’s not news, but it is amazing how much I’ve forgotten over the years and how much I need to update, which makes it extra challenging. Still.

It would be way easier if I didn’t care so much. But damnit, I’ve discovered I care about getting the students a good education. So that sucks, because otherwise I could do a half-assed job. :-/

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-09-25 02:27
Subject:Just occasionally
Security:Public

Just occasionally I feel slightly settled. I still have to catch myself and remind myself that I live here. This is home now.

Coming back to our apartment does feel like home, kinda. It’s not decorated the way we would decorate (I know Americans, at least in the PNW seem to love brown, I still don’t). It’s not our style of building. But it’s got our stuff laid out in a cozy way.

So that feels much better.

But now even outside, the americanness of it doesn’t make me feel weird, the post mail boxes on sticks outside everyone’s houses, the low-lying buildings, mainly single story… it’s becoming background to where I live.

I still flash back to random things, the railway station in Windsor, the streets of terraced brick, and have a ‘wow, I really don’t live in the UK any more’ moment. And they’re still pretty frequent.

But as I lay on our sofa I think, hey, I’m home. With my love. And that’s good.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-09-20 14:00
Subject:Uh, oh.
Security:Public

I appear to have traded a job where my availability was horrendous because my hours were all over the place, and where I was exhausted from switching from days to nights all the time to one where I am exhausted from working an improbable number of hours in each week. At least for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited by the new job, and it’s fun teaching. But I’m knackered already and it’s only day two…

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-30 20:14
Subject:Okay, maybe I should do more with it
Security:Public

So, on my night shifts (last for a good long time, I presume), I re-read my NaNoWriMo chunk – from 2013. It turns out I still don’t hate it, and I’d quite like to know what happens ‘next’. Which makes me think maybe it’s non-awful and potentially worth me fiddling with it some more.

I mean, there are problems, many and manifold, and there’s some continuity issues. But overall, I quite like it.

Meh.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-30 20:11
Subject:Prolonged Wailing
Security:Public

So remember how last week I said we would be getting perc holes dug? Remember the proto-enthusiasm?

Yeah.

’bout that.

No.

See, we called on Monday – agreed a rough time with our groundworks contractor – and then called the septic guy – and arranged a time. Then Kathryn called back our groundworks contractor – and couldn’t reach him. She tried 3 more times up to yesterday leaving messages each time. I tried this lunchtime – still couldn’t reach him.

Given that we were meant to be there tomorrow afternoon we finally gave in and rang our septic guy and said “we think we need to cancel, we can’t reach Chris”.

Our septic guy messages our groundworks guy and…gets an answer a few minutes later. Apparently he’s out of town now because ‘we didn’t confirm the time’.

Seriously?

So I think we now need a new groundworks contractor. Which is upsetting because we liked Chris. And he didn’t talk to us like we are idiots. Right at this point I feel more like going and renting a damn digger and doing it ourselves. I know that’s foolish, it would take far too long and wouldn’t be nearly the standard someone skilled would do. But it’s really, really frustrating.

So I’m feeling really demoralized. I realize this is just overflow stress because yesterday was my last day as an Emergency Nurse – which is what I’ve been for the past 9 years. And it feels weird to not be one, and to be technically unemployed* – and I’m having that whole existential angst thing related to my soul probably having made it about as far as Newport**, and me being here.

It’s not so much homesickness, it’s more trying to understand who I am when so many of the supports of the constituent parts of who I am have gone or are far away. If I wasn’t so set in being me, it’d be a great opportunity to reinvent myself.

* well, super-technically, I’m unemployed from Thursday – I’m just not working today or tomorrow.
** Arcturuan mega-camel speeds.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-28 03:02
Subject:Arr! Make it walk the plank…
Security:Public

So I have been trying to set up our Subsonic server so that I can actually listen to podcasts (and – I suspect – with a bit of cunning BBC radio 6 music, which would be amazing) while I’m in the car (via my phone). This, one might imagine, would not be difficult.

Open the relevant port on the router (which I always forget to do) – and lo, it registers the service on subsonic.org and you can connect. Only not.

Because it turns out that the Xfinity Arris router is, shall we say, “well known” as a point of failure in anything which needs port forwarding. There have followed several days of trying to work out what I was doing wrong – I’d opened the port, and when I tested it at home it showed as open – but I couldn’t connect when I left the house. I discovered today that it just randomly re-closes the port. It’ll be fine and open for a while and then will suddenly close. It still says that the port is open. It still reports that the port is open. But it isn’t.

If you tell it to close it and reopen it then it will reopen it, for a bit. For an unidentified random period of time.

So that’s a quality piece of hardware.

Having checked the Xfinity forums, the answer is “buy another router, these don’t work”. Which reminds me muchly of my experience with a BT router. The funny thing is that if you are using the port (so if it’s open when I leave the house and I hit play on Subsonic as I’m leaving) then it works until I pause playback. Then at some point after that it’ll get bored and close the port.

Which leads me to think that perhaps I’ll have to add a router to the list of stuff to buy, which is irritating, because frankly, this is a pretty basic router feature and it really, really ought to work.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-27 11:40
Subject:And that’s some quality homesickness
Security:Public

So for work we’re having a potluck. And I am bringing in clotted cream – assuming I successfully make it – and I was hit by this blinding desire to be sat in a rain drenched cafe in the Lake District, damp kagoul on the back of the chair, watching the rain streak down the windows… Hot steaming cup of tea and a scone with clotted cream and jam in front of me.

Sometimes being so far away is remarkably hard.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-25 23:30
Subject:So next week (house updates start here, we hope)
Security:Public

So when we got our septic design done, we failed to communicate sufficiently well that the giant, old, big leaf maple tree was one of the trees that we were absolutely committed to saving. Since then we’ve moved house and got new jobs, and furnished our new apartment and so on. This has meant our house has been on hold. Given that we can’t put it up this year, that’d taken the pressure off anyway…

But now? Now we want to get moving again which is always tricky. Getting momentum going for something as big as a house project is challenging.

With that in mind, next week we are hopefully* going out to cut a little pathway so that we can move the septic. The first step in getting our house built. We also really need to go out and fill back in the original perc holes.

The original plan** called for the septic to essentially lie into the roots of the maple tree:

original_layout

The new plan:

modified_layout

See the beautiful modifications. Actually, this was done as a very quick sketch to explain to our septic guy what we want to do. He is, shall we say, ‘reluctant’ to be drawn on whether there will be any problems doing this, although we’re unsure why there would be, or why the soil 50 ft to the east of the current perc holes would be dramatically worse than the soil in the place they dug the first lot. And we both are of the opinion that there’s a lot of land we’re currently planning to leave ‘as is’ and just maintain, all of which we could consider for septic sites…

Anyhow, this time we’re going to be there in person so we can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. We’ve also marked out roughly the route of the drive (which we’ve kinda-sorta-sketched on the map). We’re also hoping to put the septic near the drive so it can be emptied, when that time comes.

Once the septic and well are in… we can actually start moving forward. Septic, well, power, foundations… then we get to design the building. The yay.

* While our groundworks guy gave us the suggested day, he’s not yet confirmed that we’re booked in with him for the time we said.
** We’re actually building a 2 bed house, but putting in a 3 bed septic

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-25 05:35
Subject:ElectraWoman and DynaGirl
Security:Public

So, tonight we watched ElectraWoman and DynaGirl.

EW & DG

It was fun, funny, and at times had some great, great jokes.

But it really needed a waaaay tighter script. I dunno if this harkens back to the original, but seriously, it was slow moving. Which is a shame, because like I said, fun and funny.

I think it was worth getting and watching.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-24 18:16
Subject:Org Failure
Security:Public

So my theory, such as it was, with setting the training class for 1200-1500 (rather than 1500-1800) was that I would grab lunch before hand. BUT I didn’t count on me actually hauling my ass into the outside to do exercise*, but which mean that because I didn’t get back until 9:30, and I spent 10 minutes faffing around warming down and drinking water… and then I spent another chunk of time trying to work out whether I was going to start baking bread before breakfast or after**, so I didn’t get breakfast until after 10.

Now, were I still back in Brizzle I’d go and grab a yummy but not too big lunch food from Hart’s***. But because I’m not, and I don’t yet know where to get a yummy but not to big lunch food (around here. I could in town, I think).

The only place I know near me that does a decent lunch is Bagel Brothers. They do a yummy bagel, but it’s not really small lunch before CPR training sized.

So today’s lunch shall be a banana, a plum, 3 crackers, a small piece of Welsh cheese, and a Lara bar.

Which is one way for me to lose the few kilos of weight I’d like to lose. But not really ideal.

I perhaps should have thought through the timing of my run a bit more.

* which I did, go me.
** neither, I cleaned the breadmaker and then discovered that we’re too low on yeast. But there were several vacillating moments of “I’m hungry” and “but the bread won’t be ready in time” and “I’m hungry” and then “it won’t be ready in time whatever I do” and “oh, shit, there’s no yeast”.
*** Mmmm. Pastie.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-18 05:32
Subject:Enter title here (because I’ve not)
Security:Public

The last few months have continued the stressful theme, with us moving to an apartment/cottage/small place having concluded that the amount of building that we’re going to get done this year is – well – less than we’d hoped. We’re still hoping to get the septic, well and possibly the foundations and drive / access road in. However, any building of the house is conclusively off until next year.

When we realised that we decided to move, and the last month has been a fairly urgently toned attempt to get our apartment to somewhere comfortable and relaxing. We trekked down to Portland to order our sofa*, and we found a book safe, which is beautiful and turn of the (last) century, and is filling up with our books, and looking delightful.

It’s facing our 1896 piano, which seems appropriate, albeit a little odd in what is clearly most commonly a student/bachelor pad.

Anyhow.

So last weekend we decided to say stuff the world and spend some time looking after ourselves. We had a massage, we used our gift tokens to go and buy tea and spices (we’ve had only salt and pepper since we moved in here), we had lunch at Darby’s, played board games, we watched Ghostbusters (2016)**, we went swimming in a lake, and we went and sat in a park eating icecream, reading the paper and enjoying the view of the inlet. It was pretty much awesome and wonderful and really necessary because Kathryn and I have seen each other only in passing so far this month – and will for the rest of the month because of my working hours.

And at the weekend we got a call to say that our sofa was ready. Up until now we’ve been using camping chairs, which are reasonably comfy but have no snuggling capacity. And then today, thanks to our lovely friends lending us their minivan, I made the run to Portland and back to get it. Sadly I couldn’t drop in on friends down there although traffic was so bad coming into and out-of Portland, I probably could have done without actually impacting the journey back substantially.

We even managed, after some trepidation and somewhat inept failure, to get the sofa into our house (it just fits through the door). And now we’re sat on a delightful modern take on mid-century and it’s suuuuper comfortable.

And y’know what? It’s starting to feel more like home.

I still have internal conflict about leaving the UK, or leaving the UK for the US (and not somewhere more liberal and lefty – and that would be more challenging for us both linguistically and culturally – like, say, Iceland****), especially as the debate continues to rage around Trump (you won’t be able to unsee that link) and I worry that the US will follow the UK’s deathspiral into rightwing insanity. But, at this point, I’m sat on the sofa, with a cup of one of my favourite teas, and I’m with the person I love, and y’know what, it feels pretty good to be in this moment.

* 4 to 6 weeks for delivery… being as it was handmade in Oregon – just a block or two from the store in which we saw one design and said “we like that, but we prefer the fabric on that one”….
** Which was awesome.***
*** I’m really disappointed to find that Kate McKinnon seems to have some significant transmisogyny in her recent past, because I was busy adoring her and her character.
**** Which I’ve never been to but is, I’m given to understand, very pretty

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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