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2017-04-03 09:55 pm

Posting challenge 4/17: Happy-making

Last week [ profile] write_out tagged me to post ten things that were making me happy, and, deep in the midst of my self-indulgent spring-semster doldrums, I was stumped--could I think of ten things that were currently making me happy? And then my router broke, and I wasn’t able to get online much at all for a few days, and a proper sense of perspective was restored. Wifi makes me happy! That’s one, at least. :)

But equally happy-making is the DC Eagle Cam, which is aimed at a pair of adult bald eagles in the National Arboretum who are raising two eaglets, hatched March 29 and March 30. These little puffballs are going to become majestic, intimidating predators in just a few months. It’s amazing. You can watch their hatching videos at the site or just check in to see how they’re doing...and what new unfortunate animal’s been brought to the nest for food. (Today it’s a fish; a few days ago it was a duck.) Enjoy!

What's making you happy these days, flist?
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2017-03-21 05:26 pm

Posting challenge 3/17: Meme time

I'm at home in bed today with a stomach bug and am feeling *just* well enough to infect the flist with memes. (Not well enough to grade, of course.)

Here's one from Tumblr, which in true Tumblr fashion asks right off about your height, sexual orientation, and ethnic background (does this make me old, feeling reluctant to share personal information right off the bat? Or even considering that information personal?) and then becomes extremely polite, lobbing softballs like "Your favorite animal?"

MEME: Identify yourself! )

The second one, borrowed from a number of you, thank you, seems to be composed by a US resident whose idea of the adventurous life is a little more expansive than mine. Had I not broken my elbow that one time, the answer to almost everything would have been "no." Well, I do travel quite a bit. And eat sushi. But otherwise, I think the meme-writer would be quite disappointed.

MEME: Living on the edge )
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2017-02-05 07:05 pm

Posting challenge 1/17: Fight another day, big smiles

Okay, 2017 posting challenge, here we come! (Are you joining me? Check out my original posts at LJ and DW. I'm offering drabbles/double drabbles for infrequent posters like me who manage 17 posts in 2017.)

Flist, I'm slightly overwhelmed. It's not as bad as the first year or two of teaching, when every day presented an existential crisis: can I really do this? I can. But between the commute and some very time-consuming committee work this year, it feels like I'm always juggling one more ball than I can really manage. I'm late with everything, and I hate being late.

Also, I feel like I should be out there in front of Congress or the White House or something every single day. I keep telling myself that we all need to pace ourselves, live to fight another day, but the sense of immanent freaking catastrophe never really goes away.

Okay. Sorry. I'm going to set aside my complaints and political fears for something light: celebrity photos. I don't usually pay much attention to celebrities and don't usually find strangers very attractive...but I think I have a tiny crush on Viola Davis.

Click for the most beautiful smile you've ever seen [link goes to my tumblr]

Don't you feel a bit better now? (I'm a little weak in the knees.)

Flist, do you have a favorite photo of a favorite celebrity? Post, please! Distract us from everything else on the internet right now.
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2017-01-09 11:18 pm

Posting challenge: 17 posts in 2017

1. A very happy birthday to two extraordinary literary characters, Sherlock Holmes (January 6) and Severus Snape (January 9)!

2. I have a challenge for you: are you, like me, an infrequent poster here on LJ or DW? But do you still read your flist and enjoy the community? Pledge to post 17 times in 2017.That's only once or twice a month. Not so hard. We can all post once or twice a month even at the busiest time and keep the home fires burning throughout the upcoming year. We'll need the community and the support.

I'll do it if you will.

The fine print:

* What's the reward? If you reach 17 posts this next year and let me know in early 2018, I'll write a double drabble for you.

* What if you reach 17 posts before the end of the year? Fabulous! Keep going. That's the point, right?
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2016-10-19 10:18 pm

Posting challenge 11/15: One-word meme

A rough couple of weeks, flist, but the biggest deadlines are past now. A meme, to celebrate? Apparently this is the "one-word" meme, though I had to fudge in a couple cases. Text box below, if you want to give it a whirl yourself. Thanks, [ profile] alisanne and [ profile] akatnamedeaster!

1. Where is your cell phone? Nearby
2. Your hair? Damp (still!)
3. Your dad? Terse
4. Your other half? Cooking
5. Your favourite food? Donuts
6. Your dream last night? Vivid
7. Your favourite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal? Retirement
9. What room you are in? Living/dining/main
10. Your hobby? Fandom, of course!
11. Your fear? Mice/rats
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Employed
13. Where were you last night? Chicago
14. Something that you aren't? Asleep (yet)
15. Muffins? Yes (please!)
16. Wish list item? Bok choy
17. Where you grew up? California
18. Last thing you did? Commute
19. What are you wearing now? Jammies
20. Your TV? = computer
21. Your pets? Nonexistent
22. Friends? Appreciated
23. Your life? Good
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Car? Trains!
27. Something you're not wearing? Many hats
28. Your favourite store? Grocery
29. Your favourite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight
31. Last time you cried? August
32. Who will redo this? Sorry?
33. One place that you go to over and over? My mistakes
34. One person who emails me regularly? Partner
35. My favourite place to eat? Couch

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2016-02-24 09:32 pm

Posting challenge 7/15: Home alone

I spoke too quickly about things easing up at school, unfortunately. It might just be one of those semesters. So let's talk about other things and focus on the positive.

* I got a long, newsy, handwritten letter in the mail last week! I'd almost forgotten how lovely it is to communicate in this tangible way and to find something personal in the mail box.

* I visited my brother and sister-in-law and the two nephews (ages 4 and 7) last weekend and have apparently passed on some bad habits: the 4YO now declares that he "has to do a little work" in his high-pitched little 4YO voice and then goes to his desk and scribbles on a post-it until he can't fit any more scribbling. Clearly, I need to stop saying that (and also need to remedy the underlying problem), but really: could that be any sweeter? Watching him reminded me of the magic that adult life holds for kids.

* The grocery store has had clementines on sale for several weeks now (YAY!), and I've been buying a bag to bring to class and share with the students on days I feel particularly cranky. Fruit makes everything better.

Also: am I the only one who thinks clementines are tastier than oranges? I can hardly eat oranges (they're too tart), but the little clementines are just right.

* I'm home alone for a few days while the better half is on a work trip, and I'm appreciating the silence--that deep kind of silence that allows you to hear the thrum of the refrigerator and the distant sounds of people out on the street.

How are you, flist?
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2016-01-27 10:09 pm

Posting challenge 5/15: A messy, messy week

This past week has been messy. Cut for pointless whining about winter )

Hope you're all doing well out there! Apologies for comments still owed--my computer finally died last week, and it's taken me quite a while to get back online again. I still owe you cookie party pictures! That will be a happier post.
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2016-01-19 06:14 pm

Posting challenge 4/15: Still easing into 2016

I'm not sure how it got to be mid January, flist. Perhaps because December and early January were so warm, I didn't really believe it was winter? In any case, the universe has been conspiring to correct me before I got too comfortable: the temps are down around 20F/-7C right now, a winter storm is on its way, and I just had my first class of the semester. Let 2016 begin!

I really want to post photos from our annual cookie party, but that may need to happen later this week, when school demands die down. In the meantime, have a few links to things I've purchased recently that are brightening a grey January. I try so hard not to purchase unnecessary things, and yet these prove that every once in a while, it's okay to loosen up.

Exhibit A, in the category of "Consumerism works!": the fleece headband! I've been fretting about how I'm going to continue to run in the mornings when it gets cold, and suddenly it occurred to me that I could go online and type in "winter exercise clothing" and see what other folks were doing. And in fact, a little headband does make being outside much more bearable. Who knew?

(Speaking of exercise: It's been so warm here that I signed up for [ profile] game_is_on last week and didn't think twice about committing to take runs/walks for exercise for the next four weeks. I'll need to rethink that if we get a few inches of snow here over the weekend, as forecast.)

Exhibit B: Patterns! Color! The better half and I did some dog-sitting in Brooklyn over the holidays, and on the whole it was very low-key affair: walk the dog, make lunch, walk the dog, take a nap, walk the dog, do a little reading. (All of which was profoundly relaxing--no complaints!) But we were also close enough to the Brooklyn Ikea that we could walk there, and we did--twice! I love Ikea but can rarely go, since the one in my region is difficult to access via transit. And how much better to walk? The better half and I treated ourselves to two pillow covers and a new duvet cover as our year-end gifts for each other, and I'm delighted at how nice the apartment looks.

Hope you're all doing well and staying warm (or cool, where applicable)!
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2016-01-05 11:15 am

Well-being in 2016: there's a comm for that

Anyone out there making resolutions about health, well being, or good habits in the new year? Anyone in need of a little support and accountability?

Over at [ profile] game_is_on, [ profile] mindabbles is setting up a group for encouragement and tracking progress. If you've been following this journal for a while, you know [ profile] game_is_on has gone through a couple iterations--we did the full Game On regimen back in 2010 and 2011 and a more relaxed, make-your-own-challenge competitive game back in 2013 and 2014. This time Min's proposing something even more relaxed: you sign up, set your own goals, determine your own point system, and we all check in once a week to see how we're doing. Any goals related to health and well being are welcome. No competition, no rewards or penalties. Low stress.

Her first post is over at the comm, though you'll need to be a member to see it. (Just request membership, and she'll approve you.) It looks like we might start next Monday, so you have a couple days to think about things. Hope those of you who are interested can join us!
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2015-12-07 10:19 pm

Posting challenge 1/15: London Spy

[personal profile] lash_larue pointed out the other day that if we don't keep the home fires burning it's bound to get awfully cold 'round here, and L's comment hit home, especially because I love reading all of your posts but haven't been contributing myself much lately. So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to post once a week throughout the grey winter months, at least until my spring break in mid-March. Which makes fifteen posts in total. Enough to bore you folks, I'm sure. In a good way.

Anyone want to join me?

Just a quick note on London Spy. Anyone else watching? (Spoilers below. And architecture talk.) )
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2015-08-20 03:26 pm

A householdy meme

A householdy meme, appropriate because the magnetic_pole household is currently celebrating the acquisition of a huge, comfy couch! Folks, I have been sitting virtuously upright on a futon for twenty-odd years now, and I can't tell you how excited I am about lounging around on a plush couch with more than enough room for the two of us. Plus there's a giant ottoman for putting the feet up. Life is good.

Householdy meme (with an astonishing 61 questions) )

Want to play along yourself? The questions are in a text box below.

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2015-07-31 04:37 pm

Still fannish after all these years (happy birthday, Harry!)

First off, happy birthday, Harry! (And best wishes to you, too, Neville and Dudley.) Hard to believe you're 35 today. For some reason this morning I remembered that a few years ago I had written a tiny fic about July 31, 1980--both baby Harry!fic and a little celebration of the birth of my first nephew--and it shocked me to realize the nephew is now eight and the oldest of three (the oldest of five, if you count nieces and nephews on both sides of the family).

That was fast.

I've been feeling a little adrift fannishly lately, flist. I haven't written a word of fic yet in 2015, which may not come as too much of a surprise, given how little I write in any case, but writing is what makes me feel like a fan, and I miss it. Even worse, though, I'm not reading much, just keeping up with journals on LJ/DW. A few of my seasonal activities have fallen by the wayside--no [ profile] hp_beholder this April, and I didn't run [ profile] lgbtq_recs this June--and I haven't been good about trying cool new(ish) things, like [ profile] hp_silencio or [ profile] reading221b. How do I get my fannish enthusiasm back? How do you do it, flist?

That said...

I was lucky enough this past weekend to have lunch with [ profile] kellychambliss, who updated me on her whirlwind trip to Florida earlier this month, and I shared a spectacular diner breakfast (berries! waffles! french toast!) with [ profile] onehundredmoons, who listened to me prattle on about my little nephews yet again. Last week, closer to home, I met up for the first time with [personal profile] king_touchy, who gave me the most lovely orange-flavored decaf coffee and reassured me that fannishness ebbs and flows over the years. (And who might be able to keep me company at Gridlock in Bethesda, MD, in August, so that's something to look forward to.)

On vacation in June, I met up with [ profile] whymzycal, enjoyed some Ben and Jerry's and gorgeous weather, and revisited the book store where I used to work more than fifteen years ago (now a trendy bar-and-games locale). And earlier in June, I crashed a Snarry meet-up and *finally* got to meet flisters [ profile] torino10154 and [ profile] alisanne as well as new fannish comrades [personal profile] lilyseyes and [ profile] emynn. And even earlier this summer, I spent a weekend with [ profile] rose71 and talked until I felt slightly light-headed. (Thanks, Best Listener Ever.)

In short, it's been a lovely summer, filled with fans, if not with fic or my favorite fictional characters. I can't feel too bereft looking at this list--I may not be reading and writing the way I used to, but you folks are still there, and even more brilliant than ever.
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2015-06-30 01:15 pm

A dozen first days of summer

On the internet for the first time in more than a week, whew! (I'm on vacation at a lovely Airbnb apartment in the Bay Area that unfortunately doesn't have internet.) And of course, first thing I notice is a work-related deadline that needs to be met today. *sigh* Post first, then work.

Summer's my favorite season, and every year I love marking its first-times. The last day of class (and the first day I don't actually need to be anywhere), the day grades are due (the real first day of summer), the first time I pull out my summer tee shirts, the first time I spend all day in the library writing, the first time I wear shorts (inflicting my hairy legs on the world--I'm still a bit self-conscious about that, after all these years), the first time I have ice cream (for some reason, a summer thing for me), the first time I take a cold shower after a walk because I'm just TOO DARN HOT. The longest day of the year. The day the outdoor public pool opens.

And the day I realize summer's going to be over all too fast.

I had that realization last night, checking my calendar. How did it get to be the last day of June already? How I can I make time slow down? I wish it could be June forever.

How are you all doing, flist? As excited about summer as I am?
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2015-04-12 01:32 pm

Home is where the internet connection is...

Connected to the internet again, thank goodness! Between a long move and some delays scheduling the internet provider's installation visit, I've been largely without internet except at school and at cafes for the better part of ten days now, which is not a state to be desired. Having the internet at the new apartment is what makes it feel as if I'm now fully inhabiting the place.

News from my end:

* I own far, far too much stuff. I don't think about myself as someone who owns much because I try so hard not to make purchases, but I'm just now realizing that I also rarely throw away anything. Ever. The new apartment is larger but with less closet space, which means I need to mend my ways.

* The better half and I have instituted something we're calling "pajama day." The rules are very simple: pick a weekend day and stay in your pajamas all day, no exceptions. It's astonishing how relaxing this is. Once you've settled on this, there's no guilt about doing the grocery shopping or getting out to do something or see someone--you just lounge, for hours.

* Cherry blossoms! Pear tree blossoms! Magnolias! DC is in full bloom this weekend. It's a perfect storm of a weekend: the "peak" has fallen on a weekend--and not only a weekend, but one with beautiful weather (sunny with temps in the 70sF/mid 20sC) and one that falls at the tail end of the spring break for some of the public schools. The metro stops near the famed tidal basin and monuments are so crowded you can hardly move. Once I find my camera cord (*meeep* so many boxes), I'll post some pictures!

* Enjoying the poems posted for (Inter)National Poetry Month by flisters [ profile] liseuse, [ profile] secretsolitaire, and [ profile] musesfool. Happy April, all!
magnetic_pole: (si se puede)
2015-02-04 10:11 am

Still here! And recs...

I just realized that I didn't post in January at all, making that the first month in nine years that I haven't appeared here even briefly.

Let's not let that happen again.

First, a little emotional honestly: I'm a little overwhelmed at work, flist. Intellectually, I know I can do this, intellectually I know it's all going to be fine, but perhaps my long-time strategy of panicking inside but pretending everything's okay needs to be amended. ARRGH! TOO MUCH GOING ON! I'm anxious all the time and waking up at 3:00 in the morning, and maybe I should talk about that instead of keeping it all inside. It's okay to panic a bit and feel insecure, right? The key thing is keep turning the page in spite of it all.

I haven't been reading or writing or commenting much, but I'm trying hard to remember that you can't just skip important everyday things like sleep or proper meals or fannish fun in the name of Getting Things Done. Balance, balance. Breathe in, breathe out.

Second, something for you: recs!

* [ profile] femslash_remix posted last week! [ profile] _hannelore wrote Up in the Air (Minerva/Rolanda, rated PG, 1100 words), a remix of a story by [ profile] kellychambliss about Minerva's insecurity and confusion in the face of Rolanda's infidelities; [ profile] woldy wrote A Love Story in Six Baths (Minerva/Augusta, Minerva/Augusta/Frank, rated R, 1900 words), a remix of a story by [ profile] cranky__crocus about the tensions in a three-way relationship between Minerva, Augusta, and Frank Longbottom (the father of the Frank we know from canon); and [ profile] kellychambliss wrote Bequest (Minerva/Walburga, Minerva/Rolanda, Sirius, rated PG-13, 6000 words), a remix of a story of mine about the present-day reverberations of a youthful relationship between Minerva and Walburga Black.

I was absolutely delighted with Kelly's remix, which took a story about unspoken pain and turned it inside out by shifting the POV from reticent Remus to Minerva and Sirius, two characters who can't help speaking their mind. But all six fics are worth reading as a set, because the three new stories are very much about the therapeutic powers of remixing. All three authors chose stories about pain and difficult relationships (and Minerva McGonagall!) and turned them around by changing tone, changing the frame of reference, or even encouraging characters to intervene where they had sat silently in the original. Head on over and enjoy these!

* For those of you interested in the women of Sherlock, the Three Patch Podcast recently had an episode on femslash that includes a great list of femslash recs.

* I'm really enjoying a Sherlock WIP by [ profile] splix, The Case of the Green Gown (Mary/John, Sherlock/John, rated explicit, six chapters and 37,000 words so far). Splix has done an extraordinary job setting up this mesmerizing story--there's both a case for Sherlock to solve involving a deadly green gown and an equally compelling mystery for the reader: how, nine years on from BBC canon, did Sherlock and John's relationship become so distant and strained? Given what I know of ACD canon and Splix's past fic, I believe this story is headed towards Sherlock/John, but it's remarkable right now for a beautiful, nuanced, realistic depiction of tension within John and Mary's loving but troubled marriage. Mary's just exquisitely drawn. Splix is posting regularly and can be depended on to finish WIPs, so please go enjoy this one!
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2014-12-20 12:19 pm


OMG KORRA COME TALK TO ME FLIST! (Spoilers beneath the cut) )

In other news, there's still grading to be done, but I took the night off last night and slept in this morning, and I'm finally feeling a bit more like myself again. I can't work the way I used to--I'm quicker to get tired, less productive, irritable and cranky all the time. I'm just now getting some gifts for family and friends and starting to make our new year's card and catching up with [ profile] rs_small_gifts and some of the entries at Snupin Santa and [ profile] holmestice. Thank goodness [ profile] hoggywartyxmas runs a little later in the month, when life isn't quite so hectic.

Hope you're all doing well as 2014 draws to a close!
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2014-11-05 10:48 pm


Is anyone else watching "Transparent" on Amazon? I really want to talk about this show.
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2014-10-14 07:26 pm

Fests, television, recs

Home again! I was out of town for a few days last week/weekend and can't tell you how happy I am to be back, catching up on the flist.

Fandom news:

* Sign-ups have started over at [ profile] rs_small_gifts! Delighted to see both old friends (including a couple of you who've participated eight times already) and newcomers.

* I've got my assignments for [ profile] hp_halloween and [ profile] hoggywartyxmas, hurrah!

* I've just caught up with the first two episodes of the latest Lewis, and cut for those of you who aren't yet caught up )

* KORRA! This show just gets better and better. again, a cut for those behind on their television viewing )

Two charming, sexy Janine-centered recs (Sherlock BBC):

* [ profile] achray's Seven Times a Night in Baker Street, Janine/Sherlock, with background Sherlock/John, 4200 words, explicit
"What if we experimented? Kept count? Would you be...amenable?"
"Oh my God," said Janine. "I'm never letting you go."

A clever fix-it fic that responds to the gap between the sexually confident, on-the-prowl bridesmaid of Sign of Three and the apparently gullible girlfriend of His Last Vow. A nuanced and perceptive look at sexuality--nothing in this fic falls into easy categories, but everything rings true.

* [ profile] holyfant's When in Rome Janine/Irene Adler, 2300 words, explicit
The woman smiles. "Irene," she says, and puts out a hand.
And Janine, who came here to get away from people who knew that life, only hesitates for a second before shaking it.

I'm helpless in the face of [ profile] holyfant's femslash. A confection--light, sweet, mouthwatering.