I have many photos to share of my one full tourist day in Pasadena, as I spent most of the day at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. It is quite expensive to get in, so you want to make the most of it. Fortunately there is enough to see both in the gardens and the library that it is well worth the money, assuming you’ve given yourself the entire day to explore it.

I begin with a post dedicated to the section of the Japanese garden that is devoted to bonsai.

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When I am retired, I shall build myself one of these, and the carefully placed bench to sit in contemplation of it at precisely the right distance.

More tiiiiiiny trees )
I have been outrageously busy at work this week and I don't have the brain to string these together into a proper narrative. My apologies. So: Have a series of happy photos from the past week or so.

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[Keiki with freshly dug potatoes in his fist, ready to deposit them in one of the two white bowls in front of him.]

We ate our first potato harvest tonight. Yum!

+6 )
nanila: nellie kim is awesome (purple nellie)
( May. 25th, 2017 06:21 pm)
Back story: The garden behind our house is a very peculiar shape. It is quite wide at the back of the house for about 10 metres, then narrows abruptly to a very skinny path alongside the canal towpath hedge. It goes along like this for about 5 metres and then ends in a round, fenced-in patch about 4 metres in diameter. The round patch has a concrete pavement in a pretty circular pattern.

We’ve been trying to work out what to do with this odd space since we moved in. It’s a fair way from the house and not visible from the back door. Jacuzzi? Too much maintenance, plus it’s too far to trek on a horrible winter night. Bike shed? Functional but boring, and also bike sheds are ugly. This is a pretty space, ringed by climbing roses and vines.

A few weeks ago we went to the garden centre and found a display of cute playhouses with trimmed roofs and windows, and an interior upper floor reached by a child-sized ladder. The 6’x6’ models were on sale. As we had to carry the children away from them, literally, we thought, perhaps this is the optimal use for that round patch.

Thus far, we have been proved entirely correct, and the expense has been justified. Since it’s been installed, both children come home from nursery, dash through the house and out the back door into the playhouse to draw, play on the tablet or just run up and down the steps and in and out the doors. (There’s an adorable toddler-sized door out the side in addition to the larger front door.) The only things that brings them back to the house in 15-20 minutes are the requests for drinks and fruity snacks, which are then carried back up to the playhouse.

tl;dr version We got the kids a playhouse for the garden. Photos below!

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[Keiki on a wooden chair outside the playhouse. “Oi* shut da door on moi sister!”]

+3 )

* The Black Country is strong with this one.
** There is a whole separate post brewing about how I simply do not understand Danger Mouse.
Sorry guys, I've been working almost every night for the past couple of weeks. I got nothin'. Except cute baby photos.

Midwest love from the West Midlands

Here he is in the garden, wearing his Midwest Love onesie from [livejournal.com profile] dizzykj, which works nicely in the West Midlands as well.

Yay watering can

And here he is, still in the garden, still in the onesie, with a watering can. Sometimes I don't know why we bother to buy toys. He played with that can for a good 45 minutes. There isn't much else that holds his attention for that long at this age.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Apr. 2nd, 2016 08:15 pm)
World's least comfortable pillow
[Telstar using what looks like the world's least comfortable pillow.]

Today did not get off to a promising start. It was freezing and sodden and for some reason we decided to put on our waterproofs and go do Parkrun (or more accurately, "Parkswim") for the first time since last year. We ran some errands, came home, ate lunch, looked out the window and suddenly it was sunny and warm enough to work in the garden in t-shirts. So we spent the rest of the day outside. Telstar circled us while we dug, pruned and weeded. He had a dirt bath. He lounged in the grass. He lounged on the bench. He lounged on top of the shed. And then, he lounged in the position photographed above, on top of some scratchy blue tarpaulin with a rough stone for a pillow, just to remind us that cats are capable of taking their ease literally anywhere.
Keiki and I spent two part-days visiting Smithsonians in Washington DC whilst we were staying in Silver Spring, MD, for [livejournal.com profile] dizzykj’s wedding. I’ve wanted to go to a Smithsonian (any of them!) since I read about them as a child, and I was as thrilled to be able to go this May as I would have been thirty years ago.

On our first expedition, we rode the Red Line from Silver Spring to Judiciary Square, and walked from there to the Air and Space Museum. Judiciary Square was eerily deserted. I got the feeling it was a bit like being in the City (in London) at the weekend: places that are absolutely heaving Monday through Friday are completely empty on Saturday and Sunday.

+15, Air & Space Museum )

After all the tech, I wanted to spend a little time appreciating nature so we headed for the nearby Botanic Gardens. I was hoping to get a cup of tea there, but it turns out to be pretty much the only place on the Mall that doesn’t have a cafe. I had a quick spin through the glass houses and then went back to the Smithsonians.

+5, Botanic Gardens )

I chose to have my late lunch and very delayed cup of tea in the National Museum of the American Indian. I later discovered that I’d chosen one of the best of the overpriced Smithsonian cafes to eat in, according to the locals in the wedding party. I did think my enchiladas were pretty good at the time, but it was still nice to have my unintentional good judgment validated!


The very beautiful internal architecture of the mostly harrowing National Museum of the American Indian. I didn’t take any other photos inside, just experienced all the exhibits, which apart from the modern ones designed by Native Americans, were pretty unremittingly depressing. It’s kind of hard for them not to be when the treatment of native peoples by the US government was (is…) appalling for most of the US’s history.

Keiki sat with me and quietly watched a fifteen minute film about the tragic nineteenth century removals of native peoples from their land, so when he took a shine to a rattle in a Navajo design in the shop afterward, I got it for him. It’s now one of his favourite toys.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Jul. 17th, 2015 09:56 pm)
The weather's been lovely in Norfolk and that means the pool had been awakened for our week's holiday at the bloke's parents' place.


The bloke dives in.

+4 )


Humuhumu snuggled down in a sleeping bag in the tent, gazing up adoringly at Telstar, who is lording it over the pillow.

In honour of Caturday, some photos Humuhumu playing shepherd with Telstar.

+4 )

+2 photos by Humuhumu )
Postcards
I received more requests for dragon postcards than I had postcards! Never fear, I have ordered another pack and will be able to fulfill all of them. I’m sending them out slowly in batches as I have a chance to write them.

Crossposting question
Is anyone else finding that, if they edit an entry that’s been cross-posted from DW to LJ, it re-posts to LJ instead of modifying the previous entry? I’m getting grumpy about it, as I usually have to edit entries 3-4 times after initially posting because I’ve forgotten a tag or spot a grammatical error.

Beautiful sky rock
[personal profile] kaberett, did you see the cover of this week’s Nature? It is gorgeous. From the Nature web site:


The Esquel pallasite — arguably the most beautiful meteorite ever discovered — consists of centimetre-scale gem-quality crystals of the silicate mineral olivine embedded in a metallic matrix of iron-nickel alloy. The pallasites are thought to originate from a ~200 km radius parent body that separated into a liquid metal core surrounded by a rocky silicate mantle shortly after the birth of the Solar System. High-resolution magnetic imaging of the iron–nickel matrix of two pallasites (Esquel and Imilac) by James Bryson et al. reveals a time-series record of magnetic activity on the pallasite parent body, encoded within nanoscale intergrowths of iron-rich and nickel-rich phases. This record captures the dying moments of the magnetic field generated as the liquid core solidified, providing evidence for a long-lasting magnetic dynamo driven by compositional convection. (Esquel image from Natural History Museum, London.)


I have a paper copy of the issue if you would like me to post it to you.

Birds
As mentioned in my post about the long-tailed tits (DW/LJ), I received a new lens for my dSLR for Christmas and have been keeping vigilant watch on the bird feeders so I can rush out with it when the light is good (not a common occurrence in January). I’ve been posting selected shots to [community profile] common_nature, but wanted to put a record of them on my personal journal for safekeeping as well.

Birds, birds and more birds )

Cat and boy

Telstar and Keiki napping together on a spare room bed. Telstar has decided he definitely prefers infants to toddlers. Especially toddlers who chase him around gleefully shouting, “No, Teldos!”
.