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Lately, I have not been proud of myself. Not ashamed, either. Just doing my best to manage everything I've committed to in a functional way. Today hasn't felt much like a weekend day, but I've felt pretty good about it. Some days, I can be proud of big achievements. Today, I am proud of:
* Cooking a totally awesome House Breakfast: potatoes sliced and roasted in the oven with oil and spices; butter beans with tomato, onion, and lime juice; scrambled tofu (with nutritional yeast!); steamed spinach; shitake and swiss mushrooms in truffle oil.
* Doing my greek homework, whole days before it was due!
* Finishing a (rough, very awkward) draft of a short story.
* Practising some ukulele, including reading tabs and finger-picking,
* Doing the dishes for my poor hungover housemates.
* Finding some time to be social a little, and go for a couple of short walks in the sunshine.
* Tying up some loose ends for work.

There were other things I hoped I'd get time to do today, and I didn't. And that's okay. This is enough.
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This week has been painful. I've been filling in for our admin assistant, trying to mark a stack of essay plans, and preparing for the lectures that I gave today and on tuesday. Also, I've had a cold and a sore throat that's been steadily building up - I suspect that it's still getting worse. Still, I feel reasonably happy about how things have gone. I've been busy, but it's mostly felt like a productive kind of busy-ness. Also, I saw my supervisor, and he thought my last chapter draft was quite good. He also said that when my 3rd and 4th chapters look like that, I will only have a month to go.

Let's take a moment to mull on that, dear reader. At some point in the future, I will only be a month away from finishing my PhD. Did you get shivers? I got shivers.

For now, it feels ridiculously decadent that all I have to do for the next hour and half is stamp a stack of essays and blow my nose. Thrills!

*waves*
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* Apparently, if you pump up your tires, cycling is much, much easier. I didn't have to walk up hills! Delight!

* My brother and his housemate are newly enamoured with green tea, and with Green-Tea-Guy from the tea shop. I stopped by last night with J and they did a tea ceremony for us, and told us all of their newfound tea knowledge, and I started off a new beanie for Kyle, who is crocheting like crazy. Also, he showed us his garden, which made me happy. Growing things!

* I got an email from someone I met at APSA, which was nice. They're working in a different area from me (real-life pirates on the high seas!), so it'll be interesting hearing more about their work.

That is all for now! On with Chapter Two restructuring! Viva excessive use of exclamation marks! Viva morning coffees!

UPDATE: Oh my! I just may pop...even more excitement...I just got mail (which is quite thrilling in itself), quite unexpectedly, Agenda the magazine from South Africa that I wrote for a while ago, sent me two copies of the issue I was published in. I had kind of given up hope of ever getting a copy, because of the trouble sending money to them, but now I have an actual, real, printed, book-sized thing that my writing is in, with pictures, that actual, real, people have (presumably) read.

I think I may need to run up and down the corridor for a bit until my desire to make little squeeking noises and bounce up and down passes.
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I have been busy. How unexpected! I am getting used to it, I think. I didn't get everything done this weekend that I wanted to. Here are some updates on my life:

Family:
My family continues mad, and I have been full to bursting with love for them. My mother has managed to find a way to see her astronomy club through the lens of politics, my father continues to play the accordion and probably wasn't joking about having started a secret livejournal, my grandfather is capable of deriving hours of amusement from a sweet potato sitting on a shelf, my brother has reached heights of hippydom that I can only aspire to, and my grandmother continues to declare in a loud voice that noone should ever get married.

I have been wanting to spend more time with all of them, but that seems to be the theme with me and people lately and time has not magically appeared.

Bicycles:
I am wishing for a site like whereis, but for cyclists. It would give you routes that avoid too many hills, and maybe favour routes with nice views. It should also have safety options, that would let you pick routes that don't go along main roads, or that only go through well-lit areas for night-time rides. I have been wondering a bit how difficult a site like this would be to make up, and whether it could be based on community-fed data (you could give ratings to certain roads for nice views and lighting and so on, and it would have an algorithm that took these ratings into account when making up routes).

Nevertheless, I am enjoying cycling, especially cycling new places. Three longish (30 or 45 mins) seems like a nice amount of cycling to do in a day now, although I still get off and walk up hills sometimes.

Uni:
It is going well, but still not as quickly as I would like. I wanted to have Ch 2 done by last Thursday, but it is still half-finished. I feel okay about it, though. I will feel better when I hand it in.

There aren't too many distractions this week, as I don't need to prepare for tutorials. A big pile of marking just came in, but I'm actually feeling rather enthusiastic about it - I'm looking forward to seeing which questions my students have developed, and I think there will be a few good ones there.

Nature:
The flowers are so pretty! Oh! They are everywhere, and I just want to look at them and look at them until my eyes hurt. I am so amazed! I want more growing things in our garden. Hopefully there will be planting soon, when I have a weekend free.

Election:
*sob*

People:
There are so many lovely people! Some of them I haven't seen for forever and a day, but I am trying to remember that it's ok, because now I am one of those people who has friends that last for more than a year, and so I can always see people later, when we are all a little less busy. Still, I have been doing a bit of fretting for some of my people who are rather beset by the world, and have been doing a bit of Missing. The nice thing is, though, that now I am better at following up Missing with Seeing, rather than Abandoning All Hope.

That is all!
*waves*
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Last night I had a dream that I was hanging out with Ms. S. Think-Tank, and we were going to work on our theses together. Don't worry though, gentle readers, there was some excitement in the dream: I found some marigold seeds, and planted them.

*sigh*

Supervisorface has requested Current Chapter by Thursday, neatened and restructured or not. I am hoping to avoid the humiliation of handing it in its current form.

Mostly, I am trying to cheer myself up with thoughts of gardening (and Galapagos tortoises, but that's another story). This weekend, or maybe the next one, brotherdear might come over and help me plant some corn and, um, whatever one plants in this season. Also, cycling to uni through King's Park is lovely right now - wildflower season! Hurrah!

Also: Flora's Dare arrived. I am being good and saving it for post-chapter treat number #2.

Ok! Back to work!
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Yesterday I went home early, and made map-origamis, wrote little stories, tended to my garlic and compost, and read some words from real paper pages. I met up with delightful people for dinner, and then we worked in the same room. It was good to sit and talk about my current chapter with K, who had been lovely enough to read over it in detail. I finally feel like I know how to fit all the messy pieces into a slightly-less-messy whole - I am writing out a New Plan for the restructuring now (taking a tea break), and I have high hopes of turning it into something readable soon. Maybe I will have a thesis, after all, in a few months. I liked that other people were working too - Lisa tippetytapping away at her verymanyexhibitionworks, Jarrad stuffing a thousand papers into a thousand envelopes.

I like to be tired out from 'working', when it is a good kind of working. Making new things (this chapter! it is a New Thing!) It would be nice to do more of my playwork with people, and happily I have plans to do more in the coming weeks - crafternoons, and thesis-workshopping, and maybe I'll organise some fiction-writing, too.

In other exciting news, it is possible that the organic pesticide I do-it-myselfed on Sunday is starting to deal with The Caterpillar Plague. That would mean: basil again! Sweet potato leaves for eating! A less be-laced garden!

I am happy. Now, back to writing words about India.
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I've had a good weekend. In fact, my general ratio of good days to bad is improving a lot, these days. I'm still rushing a lot, but it's mostly rushing that makes me feel like I'm ticking things off my list.

This weekend was: walks in the sunshine, riding to Subi markets, arguing with silly young men at a party, gardening, reading.

I had some nice people-time, feeling like I fit in places. Family-types came around on Saturday, and on Sunday I hang out with crafty ladies, and then cooked dinner with housemates.

Also, I really enjoyed cycling to Jessica Monster's house, because it was a new path for me. Cycling new places, or even places that I don't go so often is pretty exciting for me these days. It makes me feel intrepid, plus I really enjoy all of the new flower-smells and things to look at. I'm going to try a bit more going-new-places from now on.

Also, also, I just found out that Flora's Dare, the next Flora Segunda book, is out. I ordered a copy from book depository, I am so excited. Hurrah!

That is all.
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There is a very particular kind of tired I get sometimes, when I feel like I'm tired out from doing good things. I feel kind of like that now. It is a bit like when you were a kid and went to the beach and were all exhausted afterwards.

Monday was lots of thesis, plus tax and lot of little things that needed doing, plus meeting two new students (who are lovely and terribly clever), then cycling to Greek class, then cycling home, then feeling overwhelmed by the effort of feeding myself, then preparing for my tutorials (on my xo!) until I keeled over. Yesterday was pretty much entirely preparing for tutorials, going to a lecture, then running tutorials. It all felt very rushed, but it was fun because my students are enthusiastic and do the readings. Hurrah! And today has been more progress on my thesis, albeit slow.

Tonight I am going to a talk, which I am mostly excited about because it means I get to cycle a different route from usual, and then a meeting, and then I will sleep and sleep and sleep.

I am looking forward to when things calm down a bit, but thinking about it I suspect that it may even be uphill from here. What I am hoping is that I will continue with good work patterns, and keep feeling enthusiastic about my work and teaching and possible-think-tank activities.

(I still miss you all, though.)
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I've had a very nice weekend, although I remain considerably behind on both the getting-work-done and seeing-people fronts. I felt like my time was well-spent, nevertheless, and that I did things that were worth doing.

On Saturday I climbed the tree that overhangs my roof and sawed off the branch that scrapes around in the wind. It felt like an Adventure, because it was quite a large branch and there were moments when the whole endeavour seemed unwise. I also cleaned the gutters, which I probably should have done before all the rain. I subdued the compost pile, and planted more garlic, and did a heap of weeding. I cycled to the Subiaco markets: a) cheap food for the week (a lot cheaper than supermarkets), and b) sunshine! which I was very much wanting. I babysat Z and A, which made me feel more like I am helping my little community of people instead of just being helped. I hammered in all the loose posts on the garden fence and gate. I cleaned the bathroom.

It may not sound all that exciting, but I think I really needed to do these things...to be in the sunshine and fresh air, to do work that I see results of straight away. I like that my muscles are sore and my hands are scratched, and that I feel like I have given my house love.

I also had some nice people-time, including watching Persepolis with Miss C and visiting my grandparents. I feel a bit like I am neglecting several of my friends, but I think I am doing all the people-time I can manage for now. Slowly I am learning that is the best way to go.

Also, I worked out that I can use my music-pog as a recorder, which makes it easier for me to record my grandparents' stories, something I have been wanting to do for ages. My favourite story for today was about Γιαγια's brother, who wanted to be a musician. He would lock himself in the bathroom and practise playing guitar, and make Γιαγια sing along. He also used to be in demand for parties, and used to play at the nightclub sometimes. When she was telling me about it, I thought, "My grandmother was the singer in a band!" She says that she wasn't really, but I am still delighted by the picture.

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July 2012

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