Friday, March 25th, 2016 05:54 pm
tourmaline: (coffee)
Yes, I am still here, although I am more frequently found on the Wii Fit these days. And I'm still using Facebook like a proper Facebooky person. But as my last post was about Tim Peake and he's now more than halfway through his mission, I thought I'd better get back on here again so that the post on his EVA wouldn't then be directly followed by an end-of-mission post.

Generally, and specifically now )
Have also been enjoying The Night Manager, even though I doubt I'd have tuned in if Hugh Laurie wasn't in it. Spy dramas, no matter how brilliantly done, aren't my thing. But it's so good to see Hugh playing a properly evil baddie. And Olivia Coleman is awesome as always.


Friday, January 1st, 2016 02:16 pm
tourmaline: (coffee)
Ten years ago today I followed many of my friends on the Devoted to Hugh messageboards and set up my LiveJournal. The first post was short and sweet. I don't post very often these days but I'm glad I still come back occasionally, sometimes a longer post is required and it's nice to have somewhere quieter to retreat to.

So, 2016: the Road to Rio 2016 is already well-worn yet there's some distance still to go. Hoping for a decent defence of gold medals won at the Home Games, even though many have retired and many more will no doubt do so after Rio. It's likely to be a closer call in terms of the GB-Australia rivalry though.

Space: I notice Tim Peake looks well settled in on the ISS, his somersaults and flips are more controlled, which is a good indication he's used to moving around in microgravity. A crew swap in March will see the ending of the Year Long Mission, and the end of 2016 will see the launch of Thomas Pesquet, the last of the ESA Class of 2009 to go into space.

Work: Don't want to think about it. There's a reason we eat lots of cake and biscuits in our industry. One work-related highlight expected is a workfriend is to become a first-time Dad in the spring.

Home: I discovered this Christmas how much I prefer my own home-made versions of goodies to the shop-bought stuff. So in order to get them right for next Christmas I need to practice during the year. A friend gave me an afternoon tea recipe calendar for Christmas so I might try some things from that if I'm in the mood to make something new. Also, I am hoping I can actually grow some flowers this year instead of crabgrass.

Screen stuff: Certain articles are hinting that Peter Capaldi is about to give notice on his tenure as the Doctor. I think he's right not to stay too long but he's the best Doctor ever and I don't want him to go.

Last Of The Summer

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 09:31 pm
tourmaline: (coffee)
So I was off work for eight days altogether to help out at Mum & Dad's, and came back to work on Monday.

More )

Meanwhile I am continuing to watch all my M*A*S*H DVDs and I have nearly finished my kingfisher cross-stitch. This will be followed by all the fuss of framing it and finding space on the wall for it. But then I can start the one my friends bought me for the birthday the year she was pregnant with their older son (he's 15 now).

So Far, So Good

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 08:15 pm
tourmaline: (home-made bread)
It's only Tuesday but I seem to have done quite well so far at spending money this week. It's stuff I need (really), and I've done OK in terms of bargain-hunting etc. The only negative in this was my trip to Hobbycraft and subsequent search online for card blanks for the cross-stitch cards I currently have in progress - I was hoping for red or green card blanks with large round apertures but have only been able to find white ones, and they're only just big enough. The tricky part will come when I have to wash & iron them without anyone noticing me taking over the kitchen for a big seekrit cunning plan.

So, the successes yesterday & today have been:

  • New trainers (even though they have pink trim), which means the old worn ones are now in the bin

  • A new watch strap

  • Pizza bases! Just scoffed the first home-made pizza, with rocket, mushrooms, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and two types of cheese. Way better than the ones they make up instore

  • Three pairs of little flower clips for my hair (black roses, cream roses, sunflowers) for an office-friendly trombone-less Elizabeth Lea look

  • Jellybeans, naturally

  • Hotel Chocolat selectors, including rose & lime creams

  • Marks & Spencer yummy food, including Macarons, which I've never had before

  • Two pairs of jeans - I have to go to M&S for jeans as only they & Next (sometimes) do them short & wide enough. Not a fan of the current trend towards lightweight denim & engineering though, when I first saw them in Sainsburys I thought they were just cheapo supermarket ones but it seems they're all like that now :(

Tomorrow we're picking Jessica up from nursery - she's now in the top age group, as it's the start of her final year at nursery. She now also goes to pre-school one morning a week at a nearby church hall - this is to give the kids more of an idea about what school will be like, and she's also there alongside other neighbourhood children, so when she starts school there will be children there she already knows. So I guess for now I'm making the most of these opportunities.

Week off

Saturday, September 14th, 2013 03:04 pm
tourmaline: (home-made bread)
Today is the first day of a week off work, assuming weekends count, which they do. No major plans yet apart from the usual visit to Birmingham, but hopefully I can incorporate a visit to the Library of Birmingham in my trip (so cool how it was on the front page of Wikipedia for so long). Today's loaf is partly made from polenta flour, and is in its second proving so I'll be downstairs soon to bake it. I made a beer bread loaf a couple of weeks ago which was excellent, but having discovered a bottle of beer (ie pale ale) is enough for two loaves, I might try baking double and freezing half next time. Having shared the leftover beer with Dad, I think I prefer beer to wine, though I'm pretty sure I prefer plain orange juice to both.

So happy for Tokyo in winning the 2020 Games, I hope they have as amazing a time as hosts as we did. Already there's talk of a South African bid for 2024. And I seem to follow more sportspeople on Twitter than space people, but it's awesome cos most of them are Team GB people or British sports associations, and it's great that sport never goes away - each weekend is the start, or the final, of a world-class event.

I saw some online TV coverage of the official meeting & greeting of the next Soyuz crew earlier, they launch in just over a week's time. I hope when it's Tim Peake's turn the BBC provide full coverage. It's an opportunity they cannot miss.

May Day Weekend

Sunday, May 5th, 2013 08:10 pm
tourmaline: (coffee)
May Day Weekend, and future weekends )
Hopefully I will report back again after tomorrow's outing, with photos. And possibly a short review of Hugh's episode of Perspectives.

While I'm 39

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 06:19 pm
tourmaline: (coffee)
Today was my last day in work before I turn 40 (which happens tomorrow). I arrived to find my friends had decorated my desk:

Birthday Desk Decorations

I had to clear most of it so that I could work, there was also a banner across the bookcase near my desk and a long banner down the pillar by the bookcase. There was other decorating going on in the office too - a woman from another team goes on maternity leave tomorrow, and one of the directors is retiring tomorrow, so there were balloons in his office, and the walls were covered in a variety of photos of him from his 20ish years here. Also leaving tomorrow is one of my friends who has secured a permanent job following six years of temporary contracts (due to her working on time-limited projects rather than any aspersions on her awesomeness) at our place. She's having a night out in Birmingham with some current and former members of our team - unfortunately my birthday arrangements preclude me from joining them.

Tomorrow we are going out for lunch, having visitors (and no doubt phonecalls) in the afternoon & evening, and then Friday is my best friends' wedding. After some issues which pitted my ideal outfit against the weather, I finally found suitable shoes yesterday which will allow me to wear the new dress and jacket as originally planned, albeit with my big winter coat added for outdoor scenes. Weather-wise it's due to remain cold, but without additional snow of any capacity to cause concern. I shall report back here after the events.


Monday, March 4th, 2013 01:37 pm
tourmaline: (coffee)
Hen nights, birthday plans, and Sherlocking )
So tomorrow it's back to work, then next week it's the baking of my bake-off cake - I hope it all gets sold because I'm rather caked out of it for now, nice though it is.
tourmaline: (coffee)
Cut for Norovirus tales including vomiting, arse-rain and assorted horrid smells )

So, happy new year. It's Stargazing Live from tomorrow so am looking forward to that.

New Television

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 11:59 pm
tourmaline: (strawberry shake)
I bought a new TV today, a little LED HD-ready widescreen TV to replace the one I bought in 1998. This is a little cheap & cheerful one I picked up from Sainsburys. It's a really good picture, especially now I've figured out how I can change the aspect ratio settings on my DVD player, my combi and my cable box. I wish I'd known about the cable box settings before, I could've recorded stuff in widescreen but now I'm stuck with everything in 4:3 and everyone has a fat arse when I watch this stuff on my new TV.

The issue with the TV is that despite the instruction booklet insisting there's a Power On/Off switch, it's nowhere to be found and isn't even pointed out in the diagrams illustrating what all the buttons and slots are on. Trying to turn the TV off, I came downstairs to see if there was anything on the illustrated outer box about the switch, and when Dad asked what I was doing I told him, and of course he had to come and see for himself and fiddle with everything. Which meant the signal was lost and it took ages to figure out how to get it back, and even worse he blamed me for buying a cheap TV when it was him who was fiddling with switches and lost the signal. When it came back he carried on ranting about how no-one listens to him and why didn't I get one from the Co-Op, ie the place which is only open office hours and has no nearby parking, so you have to take a day off work to choose a TV and then another day off work to have it delivered.

Yes, I know it's my fault for telling him the truth rather than lying and saying I was looking for a barcode or something. He nearly broke my first Ladyshave because he was playing with it and pressed on the foil - ie the Ladyshave he & Mum had just bought me for my birthday. Perhaps this TV is like the cable box, in that there's still a little light on even when it's switched off, and perhaps it's not an issue to the same degree as my previous TV as it has power-saving things my old TV didn't have. If we hadn't got plans in place to upgrade our cable package - to a cheaper package that comes with HD channels - I wouldn't have been even considering a new television, the old one worked perfectly fine except for one of the latches on the remote control battery cover.

But so far I've watched Gavin & Stacey on TV, Last Shuttle on my combi, and an episode of House (Half-Wit) on my old DVD player, which took a bit of fiddling to get the aspect ratio set properly as the instructions for it are long filed away safely. However, I'm pleased with the picture, the episode of House in particular looked very good but then maybe that's Hugh and Jesse looking delish. The space shuttle looked amazing too, the picture quality is reminiscent of watching NASA TV HD online. This might be a cheap TV (£100) but I'm sticking with it for now. Even if I'd got a more expensive brand it's no guarantee Dad wouldn't find fault anyway.

Test Post

Saturday, May 26th, 2012 10:05 am
tourmaline: (coffee)
This is a test post. For some reason I can't get into LJ since we got this new broadband, but other people have seen and commented on my LJ posts during that time. This means I can't read my friend's posts on LJ and I can't access any communities, so no new fanfic :( It looks like it's a problem for me rather than LJ as a whole, unless LJ is being intermittent.

Any suggestions to remedy this are welcome! Please comment at DreamWidth ( not LJ! Or email me or Tweet me (@tourmaline1973). I've never encountered it before, but it seems to be a problem for me an no-one else :(
tourmaline: (coffee)
I am on leave all week this week, and have had the good fortune to pick the week with incredibly unseasonal weather - high summer weather, cloudless blue skies.

The week so far )
Tomorrow is my birthday. There are two cakes waiting, a giant French Fancy cake for friends and family, and a large Madeira cake with Haribo sweeties on it to share at work next week. I will try and get pics to share before they are eaten.

Hacked Off

Saturday, December 10th, 2011 01:37 pm
tourmaline: (coffee)
Mother just trimmed my hair, saving me from the nightmare of a visit to the hairdressers'. Actually, she hacked a great huge chunk off, it now has a neat line but it's shorter than I like. I can still tie it back, and it'll be much quicker to wash and dry, but it feels really short cos it just touches my shoulders. I've had it this short before, but it will take some getting used to. It'll be too short for Christmas but hopefully will be back to a more agreeable length for the Olympics.

On a positive side, I've been resurrecting my musical side recently. I now have three recorders, with a fourth on its way as my Christmas present to myself:


Top to bottom: Treble; Sopranino; Descant. I have a Tenor recorder on its way to me. All are mid-range Yamaha recorders, their top range ABS recorders (without paying extra for rosewood-effect finish), however the Sopranino only has this model below expensive wooden and professional grade recorders, so this has a flat windway (like in school recorders) and the others have arched windways, which are the standard on the higher-grade recorders. The descant is nice, I was surprised it needs a bit more finesse to play than my old Dolmetsch from school, but then that's the point of a higher-grade instrument. The sopranino is interesting to play, it was completely new to me, tho I can't practice too late in the evening because it's naturally rather shrill. The treble has a really awesome lightly-mellow tone, I'm trying to play it frequently so I get used to playing a recorder in F for itself, and not as a transposition of recorders in C. Am looking forward to this afternoon's practice.

What To Do

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 11:12 am
tourmaline: (coffee)
I have the week off work, and yesterday was spent with a visit from my sister and Bean, who is now fully walking (except when she crawls for speed). I read one of her books to her - That's Not My Dragon - and she was dancing to the sounds on her Chuggington book.

Today I had thought of going to Birmingham, but I have thought since 'What for?' The highlights of a visit to Birmingham tend to be buying JellyBeans, buying something from Hotel Chocolat, and a jacket potato for lunch. Not a lot for a minimum 60 minute bus-and-train journey, especially when the first two aren't totally healthy.

One idea behind having this week off was that I could start Christmas shopping, which might have been underway if my local branch of Dunelm hadn't burned down. I know a few shops have started getting in gift stuff in store, but it's generally not the stuff I'd planned to get. I have quite a few ideas now about what to get people, mostly my cousins & their kids, hence the original plans to go to Dunelm for double-sized throws. They have an online store but I might wait to see if M&S or somewhere similar has anything good in stock.

So apart from catching up on House, not sure what I'm doing today. It's nice not to be under the treadmill of work so I'm taking advantage by not getting up early. I've thought of walking to the big Tescos for some exercise and some sushi, I'll see what the weather forecast looks like. Or maybe staying in will push me to get out just for the change of it. I'll see after breakfast.

A Week Off

Monday, August 1st, 2011 07:51 pm
tourmaline: (strawberry shake)
I would've posted last week, I'm sure, if LJ hadn't been hit by the DDoS. I had a week's leave last week, I wanted to get a bit of a break in before everyone else starts their summer holiday leave. I didn't really do much, got plenty of studying in (trigonometry, which is for me one of the easier branches of mathematics), went to Birmingham and bought lots of sweets as usual and also as usual had a jacket potato for lunch.

I also bought Bean's birthday present - she's a year old mid-month, and is growing up fast into a proper little girl. She's still a bit away from walking I think, but I think the main obstacle is that she's not interested and can get about quickly by crawling. She can now crawl down the step into the extension. The first time she crawled of the big step at the bottom of the stairs she overbalanced and ended up gamboling off the end - she was lying there on her back, there was a brief silence which I thought was one of those brief silences you get from little children just before they wail and howl the building down, but instead she started laughing and giggling and then got up.

The only downside to all this time spent with Bean recently is that picking her up on Saturday I twinged something in my back. It hadn't been great to start with, I must have been sleeping at an odd angle, and picking her up finished it off. It's much better than it was now (ie I can walk and I don't need painkillers during the day) but I think a return to Zumba classes will have to be postponed.
tourmaline: (hugh laurie)
I have a rotten cold in advanced development. I woke up to it yesterday, it was caught from my mother. It's one of those colds which can't decide whether it's going to have coughing, nasal "fun", a sore throat or aching ribs as its main feature. Whatever it is, I hope it's over & done with pretty sharpish because I don't want it spoiling my enjoyment of Friday night. And I want it to let me get a decent night's sleep across the week.

Birthday Day

Monday, March 28th, 2011 09:50 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
So now I am another year older, which is meh. But have had a nice day today, my last day of leave from work. Had some nice smelling toiletries and lots of Amazon giftcards, and my sister & niece visited this afternoon for birthday cake. My friends and their boys visited this evening.

And this morning, I managed to book tickets to see Hugh Laurie at the Arts Centre! sfjsklafsjfklsajfkslajflkasjflasflsakfjsaklfj ZOMG Yay. I have to collect them from the Box Office tomrrow, no problem, but a bit of to-ing & fro-ing because they've decided to rake it in with car parking charges and have moved the free parking time to start at 6pm rather than 4pm, and extended it to all year round rather than just term time. So, it'll be a trip to Sainsburys, then back to the University to collect the tickets. Still haven't heard from my friend who was on about coming with me, but that's likely to be me having given my number wrongly to her. If she says no, I have a few other people in mind to ask. But given that the Arts Centre website now has a 'tickets selling fast' thing on that page, it's a good job I did book them early. Altho oddly he's at the theatre, rather than the hall, which is where most music performances are, and the biggest venue. However, all the seating in the theatre is tiered whereas in the hall the stalls are level, cos they use it for exams and all sorts of performances. The seats I got are on the side, but nearest the aisle, so should be an OK view.

Been Busy Today

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 11:09 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
Day 1 of my five-day weekend began with a lie-in, of course, followed by a two-course breakfast - my usual cereal (with a cup of filter coffee), and a mushroom & spring onion omelette. Perhaps a bit too heavy on the mushrooms in relation to the onions, but spring onions (known to some as salad onions) are excellent in an omelette. Got the amount of butter right I think this time, and also remembered to season it first. It cooked well, I like them well done, perhaps will try a cheese & onion omelette over the weekend. Another good thing about omelettes is that the washing-up isn't too onerous.

In the afternoon we went to see my sister and Bean. Bean was happy and smiling as usual, she got a bit grumpy when she had her fingernails trimmed, but that's fine cos I was a bit grumpy at her attempt to gouge a piece of flesh out of my cheek with her sharp claws. She was also playing in her bouncy chair, which she absolutely loves, and with the Winnie-The-Pooh spinning top I bought her for Christmas.

I have also had a major sortout, one of the drawers in my chest of drawers collapsed, followed by another teetering on the edge, so in an effort to lighten their loads I have sorted out some clothes and other stuff (scented oil burners, candle-related items) to go to the charity shop. I also threw away loads of stuff, and discovered the real size of my toiletries bounty. This is the stock of toiletries I have built up by only buying stuff when it's on offer and so on, and was revealed to include four deodorant sticks, seven toothbrushes, five bottles of shampoo (plus a two-in-one), two tubes of handcream, and a collection of miniature things I'd swiped from the hotel we stayed at for that awful staff conference. Anyway, the drawers have had running repairs, which will become full repairs once some parts arrive, and I've now got a full large drawer free - but with items earmarked to be transferred there so as not to overload the others.

Have also heard that Discovery has had another extra day's extension, meaning she will have accumumated exactly 1 year in space overall by her retirement. Landing is due late next Wednesday afternoon my time, so I should be watching that online at work followed by a dash home through rush-hour traffic in time for Zumba. If there's a one-orbit waveoff I should know in time to leave work at the usual time, but no Zumba cos I'll be watching the landing.
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
So, in seven-and-a-fraction hours it will be 2011. Not sure I'm looking forward to it, everyone is predicting a year of doom and gloom, thank you coalition government. So, I need to focus on the positives, such as watching Bean grow up. We visited this afternoon, she's in her own bedroom now - I think she would've been a few weeks ago but cots are excellent storage spaces for Christmas presents. The other event to look forward to in 2011 is Ron Garan's ISS residency (March to September). I've been following his progress since he was named to Expedition 27, he's been blogging and tweeting during training (latest blog post here).

Hopefully I will also be hearing something positive from the Olympics people in the New Year, I hope I get selected for a volunteering post. Also I'm considering another short course with OU - not for the studying itself, but I really miss having access to the online library. And I'm not generally one for New Years' Resolutions, but I'm thinking that a good one might be to make sushi more often :)

Happy New Year all *hugs & kisses*
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (Default)
Day 360 Following yesterday's present haul, I'm not short of DVDs to watch:

Something To Watch

Although for now, I'm quite happy enjoying the silence while spending hours at a time on Wikipedia reading about EastEnders characters from the 1980s or whatever. Also my sleep schedule is totally wrecked, because it's so cold at night my sore throat is irritated further and I'm up most of the night coughing, so sleep happens mostly between 5am and 11am, with odd hours before or after if I'm lucky. So long as I can shift this cold I should be fine about getting back on schedule, I'm not in work until 4th January, and I'm past the stage in my cold where I need an extra snooze in the afternoon.

We don't really have any leftovers apart from the turkey and half a jar of good quality cranberry sauce. Because we had Christmas dinner late in the afternoon we didn't have a buffet-type meal during the day, so we never bought the accompaniments usual for this (eg dips, breadsticks, cheese straws, etc) that are so yummy when eaten as leftovers. We do have the stilton of course, plus some strong cheddar, various relishes, and the box of biscuits for cheese, which I made a start on as part of breakfast. I was thinking it was a shame we didn't have the dips, but then they're so predictable, everywhere sells the same quartet, it's no longer a novelty and no-one ever wants much of the thousand island dip. But I still plan to make sushi at some point next week.