Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and Hargreaves

Isn't Dean's pumpkin cool? We just put it up in the front window. We're not expecting many trick or treaters (it's the UK...they've been a bit slow on the Halloween uptake), but I insist on having treats and decorations!

On to other things...a most productive day including bulb planting and Christmas baking (for the freezer). On the continuing subject of my family rocks, my mother makes things grow from nothing and knows how to plant anything at any time. I don't. Argh. (Other things she can do that I did NOT inherit: sewing things that require spatial awareness and striking up conversations with total strangers).

And as I mentioned at some point, I won Frank Baker's Miss Hargreaves in a giveaway on Simon's blog. He's reviewed it, as have many others, but I'll say again that the book is a quick read and especially sweet. 'Droll' may be a bit of an old-fashioned word, but it suits.

Norman and Henry are on holiday in Northern Ireland and are trying to get into the village church. When the vicar proves dull and rather un-encouraging, they invent Miss Constance Hargreaves - an old woman they claim as a common acquaintance (Surely you know Miss Hargreaves?). Their little joke continues as they invent her cockatoo, her lap dog, and her bathtub. For kicks, they write to her at her hotel and invite her to visit.

The 'Spur of the Moment' (I appreciated the books judicious use of capital letters), however, is a dangerous thing, and Miss Hargreaves herself arrives to see Norman shortly after his return from holiday. He can't get rid of her without turning the whole town against him, but she just won't go away...

Thanks very much to Simon for the book, and I recommend it for a quick read or a Christmas present!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh yes.

It's amazing. AMAZING. I'm actually not sure if I'd hand it it too over the top? But still AMAZING. And clearly suitable for my industry. It's designed by Eric Stevens of Tower of Babel, who I now believe rocks.

Image from simple + pretty (and courtesy of eric stevens; tower of babel design)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My family rocks

If any of you ever read the comments on my posts, you'll have seen that my Dad mentioned he may get to visit the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Why is this cool, you ask? Well. TINTIN. Enough said.

My dad is also travelling the world based on certain famous anthropologists. Accidentally, maybe, but that doesn't matter.

Also, my uncle sent my sister an email from his cat. It was amazing. So is she. She's Woofing in Chile. And my brother is working for the SW Conservation Corps in the Arizona desert. Argh it's cool.

Image from Raffles website

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Explain to me again why I'm not there?

AND they have a card catalogue as shelves. Remember that obsession? Yeah.

Even though it would be kinda silly to get a hotel when I go home when I have my mom's beautiful farm to go to (plus a billion friends' houses), I really want to stay at the Ace Hotel. It's just that cool.

Going to get my ring sized today.....!!!!

Image of the Ace Hotel from SFgirlbythebay via gruber

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I'm engaged. Yup. I'm doing a little engaged-person dance right now (it's kind of funny and would probably make Dean reconsider. But hey).

We were out at Dean's students' end of year deal, with all the staff and our friends as well. And he gave a big speech to the students about how they have done well, what they should do to keep doing well...and then said that they needed a 'me,' and loads of lovely sweet things about us. And then he proposed.

It was so cool. I am the luckiest girl ever.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Read All Day

I'm torn...part of me says, "How cool is this woman?" She's Nina Shankovitch, and she's reading book a day for a year. She gets to spend all year doing what is one my absolute favorite things in the world, just because. She will emerge after 365 days with so much more understanding, although maybe some eyestrain as well. And she's clearly doing something right with her kids as well; according to this New York Times article, "Peter, her 16-year-old, is reading Pynchon; the 14-year-old, Michael, reads Ayn Rand and political screeds like those by Al Franken; and asked what kind of books he likes to read, George, the 11-year-old, replied, 'Long books.'"

At the same time though...she's having to give up just about everything else in order to accomplish her goal - by her own words, "the garden, The New Yorker, wasting time online, ambitious cooking, clothes shopping, coffee with friends" (from the above article). No friends? And as far as I can tell, no job? No baking cookies? Hmmmmmmm.

I would LOVE to have more reading time, and I read pretty quickly, but I think even I would find myself frustrated with trying to finish a book a day. And although I'm pretty sure reading is one of the most enriching things in life, there are other things it would be a shame to miss...

That's my take anyhow. Regardless, it's still cool. And she's got some pretty interesting choices. Check it out!

Image from Iguana Joe made available under a Creative Commons licence

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Random Find: Eye-Pod

So. Will and I were sitting on the front steps of the Clarendon Building having lunch, and all of a sudden about 30 steampunk-ish dressed people came wandering by. Steampunk is not really a typical Oxford thing (somewhat would fit quite well), so we were both a bit bemused.

Five minutes later, I was walking down Broad Street, and realised that they had all come from the Museum of the History of Science, which is hosting a Steampunk art exhibition. Somehow I missed this (was there press? I didn't see it!), but I had a quick wander through and really enjoyed it. It's not particularly large (I spent about 15 minutes there, and even a sloooow wander would probably only take about half an hour), but it's curated well. I don't know a lot about the steampunk scene, although it theoretically combines things about which I get very excited (fashion? science? Victorians? yes, please); even if you're not into it so much, the artwork is amazing. My particular favorite was the Eye-Pod, by Dr. Grymm, which got me Googling...needless to say, there's a lot of incredibly talented stuff out there, and I would really like this clock by Eric Freitas:

The lineup of events surrounding the exhibition sounds great (lectures on Science and History of Fashion, learning about clockwork, craft days, and film nights -- see the Museum's page for details). If you're in Oxford, have a look!

Eye-Pod image courtesy of Dr. Grymm's blog, clock image from MHS Steampunk blog

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Excuse the rubbish picture, but PhotoBooth seemed far easier than camera right now! Last night, when I should have been going to sleep to be ready for work today, Dean read my mind and asked if I would "pleeeease bake something." The staff canteen at work had these new lemon muffins yesterday, and I kept staring at them and thinking of the jar of lemon curd in my fridge...and then Dean asked...of course, I had to make them. Lemon muffins with lemony cream cheese frosting. They made a great breakfast!

Anyhow, in other news:
my Dad had breakfast with koalas today
a high school trio of friends reunites tomorrow morning
I got a new (half) a job (my other half stays the same)
and I will be posting soon on this Noble Peace Prize business...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I acknowledge it's sappiness, it's possible misogyny, and all other flaws. But I still LOVED The Time Traveller's Wife (although not so much the film). It might have something to do with the fact that it pulls at all the right heart-strings, or that it was a present from my best friend, or that Henry is a rare books librarian, or that Audrey Niffenegger already rocks because she's a book artist (yes she is. She is COOL).

So I've been waiting patiently for her new book to come out, something I don't usually do quite so expectantly. And it came. To me. Yesterday. I started it this morning, while munching on blueberry-muffiny goodness. And although I can't say much yet, I can tell you it's off to a good start. One character is (was) a rare books dealer. Another gives tours in Highgate Cemetery and writes on Victorian death rituals. I am so excited.

Review to come. Plus my take on Miss Hargreaves...

PS. My sister is spending six months in Chile working on organic farms. How cool is that?

image from

Monday, October 5, 2009

Words for the Day

I went searching for a quotation I think of from time to time, and decided it was posting it here...

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

-Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island
1974, New Directions

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Card Catalogues

So. As Dean knows, I've been lusting after a card catalogue/apothecary table for the house. It wouldn't aaaaactually fit anywhere. But I still want it. And Uppercase read my mind. Sigh.

Other things I'm thinking about:

-getting over this stupid flu
-seeing Zoe tomorrow for the Chiswick Boot Sale
-seeing Dean's family for the first time in what seems like aaages!
-finishing the latest Holmes/Mary Russell book!

photo from Uppercase