nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
( Mar. 18th, 2014 09:59 pm)
I felt the urge to rewrite my introduction so I thought I’d use it as a starting point for a Subscription Meme, as I haven’t seen one going around for a while.

I’ve made a template, which I’ve filled out very wordily below. Please feel free to adapt it to your wishes, and please link this post wherever you like. (Please participate or share? I'm going to feel very sad if this entry sits here alone with 0 comments...)

Subscription Meme template:
<b>People in this journal</b>
<b>About my job</b>
<b>Some random facts</b>
<b>Things I like to do</b>
<b>Fandom</b>
<b>Social media usage</b>
<b>>Subscriptions, access and commenting</b>
<b>What I’d like to get from my participation here</b>


My responses! )
tags:
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Mar. 30th, 2015 08:19 pm)

Two dual nationals and their Daddy. The sticker on Humuhumu's shirt is Neptune, from her Usborne "Space" sticker book. (This means that her version of the solar system as recorded in the book has only seven planets.)

+1 )

Last Friday we headed to the embassy in London to register Keiki's birth and apply for his other passport.

When we did this for Humuhumu, the bloke's trousers split as we were navigating the packed morning Tube. He got to swear his oath of truthfulness before the consular officer with his jumper artfully tied about his waist to keep his pants from peeping out playfully from beneath his trousers. We were therefore anticipating some manner of sartorial disaster to befall one of us during the adventure.

It didn't happen during the commute, which was unnecessarily exciting due to the cancellation of our first train. We hustled to get on a train going in the opposite direction so that we could travel instead via fast train. The fast train, by virtue of being fast, was also rammed, so we ended up getting on the next slow train, which stopped at the station we started in, only 15 minutes later. Humuhumu, who loves public transport, entertained morning commuters on the busy platform by gleefully greeting the arrival of every train with, "OH, TRAIIIN!", whilst her parents attempted to disappear into their hats.

Despite the delay we still arrived a comfortable margin before our appointment to go through the security checks and unintentionally play "spot the celebrity". (Last time it was Jay Rayner. This time it was Rita Ora. Her assistant interrupted our initial check-in to determine where to go for a VIP appointment.)

Once we were through into the citizen-only waiting room, Humuhumu gravitated towards the soft play area and promptly befriended a small boy. Or rather, attracted a small boy follower whom she scarcely noticed. (This is a theme at her nursery as well. She has a staunch attendant there who always fetches her coat and bag when we come to pick her up.) He toddled loyally after her, presenting her with blocks that she could integrate into her sculptures, which she then kicked over gleefully.

After paying the fees for the registration and passport, we settled down to wait until we were called before a consular officer. Keiki woke, realised he hadn't been fed for a while, and squawked. I arranged my cover and sat down to feed him. When he was finished, I removed the cover to find that the sartorial disaster had struck. These days I find I don't have much leakage from the opposite breast whilst feeding, and when I do, a breast pad is more than sufficient to soak it up and protect my clothing. But of course, not this time. My entire right side was soaked. There was no way to conceal it without putting my wool coat back on, which I did, even though it was tropical in the waiting room.

In the end, I swore my oath of truthfulness to the consular officer whilst sweating profusely and smelling faintly of stale milk. Classy.
nanila: (me: art)
( Mar. 26th, 2015 02:34 pm)
Mia has made one of her recent pieces available on Redbubble to purchase on a number of items. “Aswang, at Night” is an incredibly powerful image wrought from many hours of work with ink and watercolour.



I've ordered a set of 16 postcards. If you would like me to send one to you, please provide an address that will reach you, either by leaving it in the poll below or in a DM. Please note the following. First, I’m happy to send outside the UK as I have a stockpile of international postage. Second, if you provided your address in one of the previous postcard polls, you don’t need to leave it again. Just say, “Yes, please” or equivalent. If you need to check whether or not you've left me your address before, links to my previous postcard posts for "When Dragons Speak" and "Princesa" can be found by looking at the free stuff tag: DW and LJ.

It usually takes several days for a Redbubble order to reach me, so these will be going on over the next two to three weeks.

Poll #16560 Aswang, at Night
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 4

I would like an aswang postcard by Likhain. Please send it to this address:

I finally got a few pictures of Keiki in Big Purple, getting ready for a walk. He was practising his "Haaa haaoo" noises during the photo shoot, which led to pulling some interesting faces.


"I can eat this, y/y?"

+1 )

Humuhumu is presently obsessed with the set of five Meg & Mog books that sister-out-law gave her for Christmas. I think they're from the seventies; both the bloke and sister-out-law remember them vividly from childhood. Meg is a witch, of the spellcasting-pointy-black-hat-and-cauldron archetype. Mog is her black and white striped cat. The illustrations are colourful and the story lines are quite sparse and more than a bit absurd. I have them memorised now as we frequently have to read all five at bedtime.

Shirtless man with children behind the cut )
Photo: Keiki on Humuhumu on Daddy, reading Meg's Eggs, in which Meg magics up three big eggs for supper, but the shells can't be broken. In the night, the eggs hatch into dinosaurs, two of which are plant-eaters (Diplodocus and Stegosaurus). The third is a T. rex who wants to eat them all. Meg makes another spell and the dinosaurs are miniaturised to a non-threatening size. The End.

This one is second only to Meg's Veg in Humuhumu's view. Meg's Veg is her favourite because there is a page on which Meg fetches the muck for her garden. Which, of course, means we all get to shout, "POO!"
It’s becoming a tradition for us to stay in Landmark Trust properties for the bloke’s birthday. Our first one is still my favourite, St Winifred’s Well, but is sadly now not an option for us for a few years because it only sleeps two plus a baby small enough for a cot or a moses basket.

We stayed in our third LT property last weekend. It’s also one of the newest LT properties, not in terms of its age but of their acquisition of it (2012). It was restored by its anonymous donor, who lives in another property he restored in the woods nearby. The log book lore says that he couldn’t bear to see the place extended or altered after he’d tried to be so faithful to the original dimensions, so he gave it to the LT. Sadly, I didn’t get to delve into the cottage’s history since I was so ill, and neither did the bloke, since he was fully occupied with toddler and meal management.

But I still managed to take some pictures. We even had a brief outing on Saturday morning to the nearby picturesque riverfront town of Bewdley. We had coffee at a lovely shop, where Humuhumu behaved impeccably, right down to drinking her babyccino out of a pretty ceramic cup without spilling a drop. They gave us a slice of carrot cake so generously proportioned that all three of us walked out feeling stuffed. We managed a quick stroll along the riverfront promenade before I needed to be returned to the car and then put back in bed with Keiki.


This is mostly what I saw in the cottage during our visit when I was in a state to notice my surroundings: the play of light through the tiny-paned windows across the bedroom.

The cottage interior )

Trip to Bewdley )
Ready to jump down.

Since this place is so close to us and can sleep four, I predict we’ll return there so we should get another chance to learn more about its construction and former occupants.
It's Red Nose Day and we were asked to bring the children to nursery wearing red. I got a little ladybird outfit for Humuhumu, with a polka-dotted dress, armlets and wings. It arrived on Monday and she's insisted on putting it on every evening when she gets home all week. I didn't tell her she was going to get to wear it all day today, so when I put her in it this morning, her excitement knew no bounds. She dashed into the nursery without looking back at me.

I hope she's having a brilliant day.

Keiki recently outgrew his 0-3 month clothes. This was a bit sad-making because it means he’s not a tiny baby any more, and also that we have two massive bags of clothes sitting on the floor waiting to be taken away.

However, it is also happy-making because it means we get to bust out Big Purple. Big Purple is the 3-6 month North Face outdoor fleecie onesie that my parents sent when Humuhumu was born. We loved it so much we kept putting her in it long after we could no longer turn the foot covers over her feet (i.e. she’d outgrown it). But it was just so cute.

As a reminder, here is Humuhumu in Big Purple.


Riding a Viennese tram.

Photo of Keiki in Big Purple to follow when I have energy to take one.
nanila: (Bush Fire Hazard)
( Mar. 10th, 2015 04:25 pm)
The last week of radio silence has not been the result of a sudden conversion to Mennonism or an internet outage or even a flounce.

It was the flu.

It started on Wednesday. My temperature climbed to 39 degrees C (102 F) and spiked at over 40 C (104 F). Repeatedly. For five [string of vituperative expletives deleted] days. I spent five days alternating between shivering under all the blankets & duvets I could find, and sweating like a pig in pants and bra. I haven't been this ill for this long since I was ten and I had an ear infection. That probably doesn't sound too bad until I add the little detail that I managed to conceal how awful I was feeling the morning it started so I could go to school. A teacher found me at the end of lunch recess. I was slumped against a concrete pillar, screaming, in an attempt to drown out the pounding in my head and the tinnitus in my ears.

The tinnitus decided to stage a comeback with this round of flu, too.

I'm now recovering, though still very weak. I can, thankfully, perform simple household tasks again. I never thought I'd be so pleased to do the washing up. I'm very far behind on all forms of communication. I hope you can all forgive me if I draw a line under replying to comments left prior to today and start afresh. If there are any posts here or anywhere else - Dreamwidth, Livejournal, Twitter or Facebook - that you would very much like me to see and acknowledge, let me know. I suspect it's going to take me at least a week to get back to full strength. I missed it here. Please consider waves, "HI!"s, shoulder-bumps and hugs distributed as desired.

PS Keiki is fine and seems to have escaped contracting it. Am v thankful for antibodies in breast milk right now.
tags:

This is my British passport.

I'm afraid my first contact with it rather lacked the reverence it deserved. I stepped on the envelope with a muddy welly boot as I walked in the door.

It's been 18 months since I became a British citizen & over a decade since I moved to the UK. I have handed over a lot of money to the Border Agency and jumped through innumerable bureaucratic hoops to achieve this. It means a lot to me. It's the last bit of documentation cementing my life here, with my large partner, chosen children & beautiful mortgage. I may have mixed up my adjectives there. Forgive me. I'm emotional & might need to have a bit of sugar in my cuppa to calm me down.

Yes, my British friends, you're stuck with me now. And I'm also now indistinguishable from you (so long as I don't open my mouth, which is unlikely).


Finally, apropos of nothing, cat and boy.
Just Finished
Okay, I must admit, I got kind of stuck with Otter Country. It was all the internal eye-rolling at the overwrought Nice Middle-Class White Lady Deepening Her Connection with Nature stuff. I couldn’t take it after I realised I had another 220 pages of it left. So I did some fun re-reading to cleanse my palate and rejuvenate my interest. In rapid succession, I consumed Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and Margaret Atwood’s Morning in the Burned House.

In Progress
I then started Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table and got completely sucked into the autobiographical narrative. It’s an account of his crossing, by cruise ship, from Sri Lanka to England when he was eleven. His prodigious powers of observation (and diary-keeping) made it an absorbing nostalgic indulgence, written at the request of his children. The navel-gazing and bite-sized, evocative, anecdotal layout of the chapters is exactly to my taste (see: my love for DW and LJ)..

Up Next
Miriam Darlington’s Otter Country. I’ll give it one more try. I always get the sense she’s just on the brink of using the phrase “spirit animal”. If she does, I’m letting it go.

After that, it’s David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. I got this for the bloke’s birthday, thinking it was The Bone Clocks. It turns out he’s already read it. Fortunately, his brother got him The Bone Clocks!
As usual, I’m more than a year behind the curve when it comes to viewing films. First of all, let me state that I enjoyed this one very much. I liked that it was a nuanced mother-daughter story. I found Maleficent’s shifts in character (mostly) believable. I cried over the revelation of the meaning of “true love’s kiss”, even though it was blindingly obvious what was going to happen. It’s visually beautiful, and I will certainly re-watch it many times - though probably not until Humuhumu and Keiki are a bit older.

Still, there were things that bothered me.

  • Racefail: Rant 1: The fairies - the good, happy, sunny, nature-loving, communist fairies - all have RP English accents. I imagine this is at least partly because Ms Jolie does best role-playing an RP accent, as she did in the Tomb Raider films. But then the film-makers decided to give the humans - the greedy, vain, grabby, grubby, feudal humans - Scottish accents.

    And then the one human who ends up proving to be the unifying element between the races is the one raised by the (English) fairies. Who, of course, doesn’t have a Scottish accent.

    Nice job there, film-makers, for (possibly unconsciously) enforcing and even glorifying the English colonialist perspective. You’d think Americans would know better, given all that business in 1776. Especially since there is plenty of evidence about that it is still entirely possible for people to oppress one another for racial, religious and socioeconomic reasons, even if they’re not officially doing it under the mandate of colonialism. Er.

  • Racefail: Rant 2: The one (visibly) black actor with speaking lines is pretty much just there to get smacked in the face by the human king. Er.

  • The Ending: Rant 1: The fairies - the good, happy, sunny, nature-loving, communist fairies - start off by having a lovely society in which everyone gets along by cooperating and sharing resources. They have no rulers. Maleficent, though she is powerful, pointedly requests the assistance of her peers when facing an outside threat.

    Then after getting a massive bee in her bonnet over the wing-stealing business, which is fair enough, she suddenly decides to set herself up as queen. An ill-tempered, capricious and dictatorial queen.

    Okay, in the end she has a change of heart and all is wonderful and beautiful again and she hops gladly off her throne. And instead of going back to their peaceful, delightful, communist society, the fairies decide, “You know what I miss about that period of darkness and fear? Having a queen! So let’s appoint this teenage human - humans have a wonderful history of tolerance and peaceful accord - that we hardly know into that capacity. What a great idea.”

    I mean...What?! Why not just declare peace between the two realms? There was no need to introduce a completely different and obviously flawed system of monarchical governance into the one that got along fine without it for centuries before that. And again, wtf @ Americans. Er.

  • The Ending: Rant 2: Diaval. Am I mistaken, or did Maleficent set him up a little with that whole I-saved-your-life business? And then use him as a slave? And then at the end, he’s standing next to her, looking like he’s now her equal and after that flying around joyfully, looking like a partner and friend? Because that really bugs me.

    Yes, most American films err on the side of spelling out far too many things that don’t need to be. But in this case, I think we could have done with some explicit statements. Specifically, Maleficent releasing him from his obligations, which it appears she obtained on false pretenses and oh, I don’t know, at least verbally apologising for robbing him of his autonomy for a mere sixteen years. He deserved a little more compensation than, “If I take off the hair-shirt and step off this self-appointed throne, you’ll forgive me and we can have a normal relationship, yes? Yes. Good.” Er.


I know that most of these complaints can be easily dismissed if one takes the view that, for all the improvement in gender dynamics on the original Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, it’s still a Disney film. But I think it’s worth considering the places where it could easily have been done better (casting a more diverse set of actors), and where problematic elements were unnecessarily introduced (the rest of the above list).
This weekend, we had confirmation that Humuhumu now has medium-term memory capacity.

We make regular visits to our local National Trust property. It has lovely gardens, including a vegetable garden where you can buy interesting produce, lots of walking trails, a pretty tea room and a cute playground.

It also has a motorised buggy to take people who are disabled (and/or burdened with small children and their accoutrements) between the entrance to the grounds and the stately home.

Humuhumu thinks this is a “bus”. She loves buses more than any other form of transport. We have several toy buses at home, including a big wooden double-decker with wooden peg “peoples”.

On her last visit to the NT property with her daddy five or six weeks ago, she got to ride on the “bus” on their way back to the car park. We didn’t think anything of this until we were about to leave after the visit this weekend, when she stopped bibbling along the path in front of the stately home, tilted her head at us, and politely enquired, “Bus?”

The bus wasn’t there. We told her that the bus was probably taking other people who needed it somewhere else. Disappointed, she carried on toward the car park. We were three quarters of the way there when suddenly the “bus” appeared, traveling in the opposite direction. Humuhumu greeted it with such happy cries of, “BUS! Oh, BUS!” that, er, we had to walk all the way back so we could catch the bus.

The nice chap driving the “bus” didn’t just take us from the house to the car park. He gave us a turn around the grounds. Humuhumu had a huge smile on her face the whole time. “Ridin’ da bus,” she informed us proudly at intervals.

And now, a picspam from an assortment of recent weekends.


Humuhumu doing her best “....Please?” face.

Lots more )
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