kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

We visited my mom and her husband in Florida! It was a bit warmer than usual, mid-80s; their pool was about 70F, so the kids and Chad had a blast and I watched from the side, as usual. We took an airboat tour of the Everglades and saw little dolphins super-close; found shark teeth and shells and dogs on the beach; and generally had a nice unstressful vacation. (The air travel was not the greatest, but we didn't have to stay overnight in an airport hotel like we did coming back from our New Year's trip, so hey.)

A couple links:

Because G+ is shutting down, my community there is testing other social media platforms, and we've moved on to federated/distributed ones. I have a Hubzilla account on an experimental fannish instance, and also a Mastodon account that I haven't started using yet but will soon, probably. If you've got a compatible account, feel free to add me/let me know!

(I really like the idea of Hubzilla and I want someone to make a turnkey install so that I can host my own, a la WordPress, which seems vastly unlikely at the moment, alas.)

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 9


View Answers

9 (100.0%)

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
We did our annual mid-December trip to visit my mom & her husband in Florida, and their Christmas gift to us was a trip to Tampa's zoo, including a behind the scenes tour. The Pip got a little antsy during the more logistical sections, because he is six, but I found it all very interesting. And in more kid-friendly happenings, we:

1) scritched a rhino (such hard skin!);

2) witnessed the rather amazing quantities of bodily waste that an elephant can produce (literally, the sound effect was "splat"; I will spare you the picture);

3) fed a giraffe, well, the kids did anyway: one big leaf of lettuce just sucked in whole;

4) watched elephants play with Christmas trees decorated with produce as an enrichment activity, including one who just picked up an entire tree and carried it around upside-down.

So that was pretty great.

Here's SteelyKid mugging for the camera and the Pip contemplating life while brushing a goat.

(Yes, I completely failed at everything DW again for . . . many weeks, idek. Hi! Sorry!)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
1) We are renovating our house. We had no spare bedroom and our kitchen was falling to pieces, so we are a) gut-renovating the kitchen, b) expanding the mudroom off of the kitchen to include a bathroom with a shower and enough space between the sink and toilet that people over the age of five can comfortably sit on it, and c) expanding the little room above the mudroom into an actual bedroom, rather than a small low-ceilinged room good for nothing but random storage. The new bedroom will become SteelyKid's room (she and the Pip will have closets that back on to each other now; regretfully, I declined her request for a secret door between the closets), and SteelyKid's old room will become a guest room. (For instance, Chad's parents live two hours away, regularly come up for the day to visit . . . and then go back home again the same day.)

The end result will be great. The process has been . . . interesting. Getting the loan, for instance, involved regular and literal rage headaches on my part as speaker-to-the-mortgage-people. And while our contractors are awesome, the ridiculously wet weather we've been having delayed the start of construction until mid-May (they'd hoped to start in April), and then more rain while we were on vacation led them to advance some indoor work, so we came home to find our kitchen half-gutted and couldn't figure out where anything was. (It wasn't that much stuff, because we had been moving things out in preparation, but still. I wanted to cry.)

2) Oh yeah, vacation. We went to Mexico for a week with Chad's grandmother, who took her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids (except one grandkid + family, who couldn't make it) on a collective trip to a fancy all-inclusive resort. The kids had a great time with their Midwest cousins, who they'd never met, and spent a good 50% of their waking hours in a pool of some kind, and we enjoyed catching up with everyone. Check out the sillyheads with dolphins!

3) also I concussed myself and messed up my neck, but everything will be fine )

Edit: Chad has more detail about vacation in all its aspects.

4) Readercon! I will be there seven days from now. I have a schedule:

cut for length )

I will also be taking Safety Committee shifts--this will be my last con on the committee, I've handed in my resignation solely on the ground that I've been doing it for a long time now and it's time for me to move on.

So, given the panel times above, and the possibility that I may have to bolt off if the phone rings, a poll:

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 8

Are you going to be at Readercon?

Yes I am. . .
6 (75.0%)

. . . and we should try to get together!
4 (50.0%)

I might be, touch base with me later!
2 (25.0%)

(If you don't tick the second box, I will assume that you are entirely swamped and it would not be plausible, and I will hope to see you in passing.)

5) What with vacation, and the concussion, and making the non-demolished parts of the house fit for human habitation, and work, and Readercon prep, and staring balefully at my notes for the Books of the Raksura post I promised Tor.com pre-concussion . . . I have not read Twitter or DW in more than two weeks. I am sorry! I miss you all! It is just . . . a lot.

And now, we are taking the kids to an amusement park tomorrow, so I really need to go to bed.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
and I can't tell if it's fatigue or adjusting to being on land. Or both.

Thanks to the extreme generosity of Chad's parents, we went with them on a Disney cruise this last week in the western Caribbean. I have been almost entirely offline as a result, and have opened half-a-dozen posts from the last page of my reading list to read and respond to, but am unlikely to go further back than that, sorry (see above).

Cruise was great; challenging solely because of the children's ridiculously narrow tastes in food, which the staff bent over backwards to accommodate, and a little because SteelyKid has a very low melting point. Also I did get a smidge motion sick but not that often. Rooms very comfortable, lots of stuff to do (even if you're not that into Disney characters), quite good food, generally a well-oiled machine. SteelyKid snorkeled for an hour and a half straight and swam with a dolphin, the Pip touched a sea turtle and went on a waterslide ten times in a row, and I smeared sunscreen on the kids at every opportunity and some that weren't and they didn't burn, go me.

Sadly I was on the same ship as Susan Egan, who voices Rose Quartz in Steven Universe, and did not lay eyes on her or, more to the point, hear her sing. (New episodes next week!)

. . . there was more, but I have no idea what right now. (Oh, wait, it was about the MCU, and therefore needs the next rock.)

(Edit: Chad has a more thorough review.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Yesterday afternoon, Chad's parents picked the kids up (both kids; their first overnight with the Pip without us there).

Last night, I stayed late at work, had a lovely dinner out, fought Quicken into admitting that my account was too reconciled, cleaned off my desk of a week's worth of mail, took all the ornaments off the tree and put them away, and then slept so soundly that my back is stiff this morning (apparently my body is no longer used to sleeping the night through and, I don't know, doesn't automatically move or something any more?).

The only bad things about this are (a) look how adorable they are! and (b) I am worried about inflicting the Pip's variable sleeping ability on people not used to it . . .

But as changes of pace go, on the whole pretty nice. Now, pack and dress and off for a whirlwind vacation.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Just for the sake of completeness:

I have no luck with the iHome alarm/iPod docks that are becoming standard in hotels, and thus slept through my alarm Wednesday morning and got, again, a late start. But I spent a couple of hours at the American Museum of Natural History, taking a nice leisurely look at the evolution of vertebrates through dinosaurs and into mammals (dodging school groups all the while) and then at shiny gems. (I usually play a game, at art museums, of what I'd take home, assuming I had somewhere to properly display it and so forth. At the Met this time it probably would've been this triptych of Japanese landscape hanging scrolls: one, two, three. From AMNH I think it would've been some of the opals they just acquired.)

Then the train in the rain back to Albany, only slightly delayed, and home. SteelyKid was having a snack when I came in so I was able to get my suitcase up the stairs without her noticing, but then we had a lovely reunion and I got to marvel at how much more verbal she'd gotten in just a week.

It was a great vacation, just long enough to really feel like I did things and to be ready to come back home. I woke up Thursday happy and refreshed and full of resolve to keep better habits, which mood still lingers. What more could one ask for in a vacation?

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Last night I saw the Roundabout Theater Company's revival of Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie. I highly recommend it.

I don't really understand why I like The Glass Menagerie, since ordinary people doing ordinary things and being unhappy while they do them is really not my usual kind of thing. But it was my favorite of the Williams plays I read in high school for a paper, and pieces of it have stuck with me. When I saw that it would be playing while I was in NYC and got a good review, I went to some trouble to get a ticket.

I think I'm going to put most of this behind a cut so that I can talk spoilers freely. Non-spoiler points: it's funny, it's sad, it's very well acted and staged. One of its characters has a physical disability; I didn't see the play's treatment of that as problematic, but I'm not a great judge. If you like the play and you're able, you should definitely see this production (except that it ends the 13th, so you'll have to hurry).

spoilers )

Still NYC

Jun. 7th, 2010 08:43 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Sunday, brunch at Bee Desserts (formerly/sometimes still Cafe La Palette), which had a shady back garden, very nice savory crepes, interesting honey cakes, and crepes Suzette that were not as good as they should have been.

Then to the World Science Festival, where Chad's book signing went well and where the street fair was really impressively extensive and energetic. In a few years SteelyKid will love it.

Then after a few hard-earned lessons on my part [*], we made to it New York Classical Theater's production of Richard III in Central Park. This is the free & roving Shakespeare I've mentioned before, and as always it was a lot of fun. I'd never read Richard III or seen it performed, but I was familiar with it from The Daughter of Time and The Dragon Waiting.

It really is quite a piece of propaganda—most blatant, I think, in the Duchess of York's laughably over-the-top dialogue—yet survives as art because it manages some plausibility all the same. When it sounds almost not ridiculous that Anne should kinda-sorta-half consent to marry Richard (the murderer of her husband), or that Queen Elizabeth should agree to try and convince her daughter to (later) marry Richard (the murderer of her brothers [**]), or that we should feel a bit of sympathy for Richard when it all comes unraveling, well, that's good writing.

[*] (1) When getting subway directions via Google Maps, be sure to put in the proper date, as some trains do not run on weekends. (2) Check ancient hazy memories about restaurant density against reality ahead of time. (3) Do not buy an unsalted pretzel from a vendor who is packing up for the night. Also, later: (4) Pretzels from street vendors aren't as good as you remembered even when they actually have salt and a consistency softer than rock.

[**] This production omitted young Richard for the sake of time, rather to my confusion.

Then we had better street cart food and overpriced Times Square diner food and went to bed.

Today I went to the Bronx Zoo, where it is baby season. Two words: lion cubs. There will be pictures, oh yes.

The weather was perfect, the many school groups (I wonder if there were more because it was a Monday and therefore other museums weren't an option?) mostly avoidable, and I had a lovely time meandering around and backtracking and imagining SteelyKid's reaction in a few years ("Oh! Kitty!") and playing Where's Waldo to my heart's content.

Then dinner with [livejournal.com profile] oyceter at the Shake Shack, where the food was perfectly fine but nothing to inspire cult-like devotion in me, and now some more writing or maybe cross-stitching or reading. Because hey, vacation!

NYC so far

Jun. 4th, 2010 03:02 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Frozen yogurt at Pinkberry, really excellent vegetarian food at Gobo, and overpriced tea and snacks somewhere I can't remember, in the company of many excellent people. I imagine the people around us may have been a bit traumatized by some of the topics of conversation, but oh well.

Night at Staybridge Suites in Times Square, which is very nice indeed; go, Priceline.

A wander on the Highline, which is pretty neat, and then a slow stroll back up to W 37th to the new hotel, enjoying just being somewhere so lively.

And now I think I'm going to shower (it's hot, even using my umbrella as a sunshade) while I wait for Chad to arrive.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Finally, a bunch of birds.

14 pictures )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

An extreme miscellany this time: tigers, lemurs, Amazonia exhibit, wolves, and a beaver.

15 pictures )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Orangutans and the reptile and amphibian house.

19 pictures )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Some big mammals, and a bunch from the small mammal house.

23 pictures )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I, uh, kinda went crazy with pictures at the National Zoo earlier in the month. I've whittled them down to 92, and you can see them all in this gallery, or behind this cut and those in subsequent posts.

Here we have giant pandas, Asian small-clawed otters, some big cats, and some other random other things. As usual, click through for big versions.

Note: indoor pictures were taken without flash, so are sometimes dark. Sorry.

20 pictures )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I've pulled out 32 pictures from our visit to the Freer and Sackler Galleries in DC, almost all Asian art, and posted them in this gallery or behind the cut, whichever method of browsing you prefer.

For almost all of these, I took pictures of the labels and so have more information; if you're curious, just ask.

32 pictures )

Zoo pictures next.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

We spent Tuesday through Friday in D.C.; I was there for a workshop (which was great), and Chad came with to make it a bit of a vacation. He wrote up the cultural part of the trip over at his blog—visiting the Sackler & Freer Museums, wandering the mall, and going to the Zoo. He also has a picture of the imperturbable mandarin ducks, and will be posting a few more. (When I have time, I'll go through my museum pictures and the rest of the zoo pictures and put them up, but I took a lot, so it won't be for a while. That's really the revolutionary thing about digital cameras, I think, the number of pictures you can take conveniently.)

Anyway, great trip, even though my brain refused to get out of post-vacation mode yesterday when I could really have used it.

In other news, we've picked a contractor to turn our garage into a library/office, thereby allowing us to use the current spare bedroom as a nursery and Chad's current office as a new spare bedroom. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases on two walls! And I've been feeling fetal movement for the last couple weeks, which is reassuring though occasionally weird—I never expected anything that feels like a water cooler sounds when it's refilling: "blurp, blurp." We have daycare visits and a fetal echocardiogram scheduled for this week.

Some more discussion sparked by those culturally-appropriating fake memoirs: [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija on Memoir, Fiction, and Truth, and [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks on Memoir and Honesty.

And some more links behind the cut, mostly food and cute:

links dump )

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

I've put my pictures, with very minimal editing, up in this LJ gallery. They are rather peculiar, in that I mostly took pictures of (1) stuff that interested me that Chad wasn't going to take a picture of (he took many pictures and usually has a better eye than me) or (2) things in museums because my camera is supposed to be better for no-flash situations. So this is not representative by any means.

I apologize for the minimal editing and annotations, but I will never finish posting them if I don't do a hasty job. Feel free to ask questions about any of them and I will elaborate if I can.

ETA: now with cross-references to the relevant travel posts. Offer to elaborate still open.

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
We're in a hotel that rents out laptops, so I've just posted two other travel updates and am now current. We're arriving home sometime late Saturday or mid-day Sunday.

Read more... )

Oh, and I intend to write a post summing up Worldcon and summing up Japan; I'll probably work on those in airports and such tomorrow.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
We left Yokohama for Takayama on Wednesday morning, stayed two nights, and are now in Ôsaka waiting for our flight out tomorrow (Saturday). This was written piecemeal from Wednesday to Friday.

Read more... )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (wood cat)
(Written Wednesday on the train to Takayama.)

On Tuesday we took the long trip to Nikkô.

Read more... )

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