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sakon76: (Sakon)
Home safe and sound, after a day that started around 7am GMT and ended around 10pm PST. Which means I was up for 22 hours before unconsciousness was achieved. Not that I counted or anything....

The (ten-and-a-half-hour-long) flight was actually blessedly uneventful, and lightly loaded. Which was good because it meant Wonderful Husband was able to relocate to another seat for a while so Squiddle could stretch out and get a few hours of sleep. The flight time had actually been shifted back a few hours, so we ended up arriving at LAX around half past six on a Saturday. Customs went fast. No crowds thronged the sidewalks waiting for pickup. It was almost eerie, and kind of nice. My parents picked us up, took us for food, and dropped us off. Squiddle was in bed by half past nine, his parents by ten.

Then Squiddle woke up around three in the morning, and though I was able to get him to go back to sleep, it was a feat whose emulation eluded myself. So I eventually got up and started tidying and dealing with stuff. My three a.m. wakeup means, I figure, that I'm currently on New York time? If I can stay awake until ten tonight, I'm hoping that will see me safely time-adjusted.

Luggage contents have mostly been put away. Grocery shopping has been done. My dead car battery (fortunately still under warranty!) has been replaced. And my roses had the annoying timing to all bloom while I was away, so they're almost all ghosts and hips now. :( Time to deadhead them and see which ones give me another flush in a month or two.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Only a few hours left until we drive back up to Heathrow and wait a couple more hours to get on a plane back to California. Yesterday, as if to say goodbye, the British weather gave us cool and raining all day. Today it's sunny - better for the drive.

Our luggage is all packed and sort-of-weighed. The kind that involves standing on the scale, holding it, and subtracting how much you weigh. We'll reweigh it again at the airport, on their more accurate scales, and probably have to shift some dirty laundry around from one outer pocket to another. But I think two out of the three pieces are under the weight limit, and the third one only slightly over.

Right now Squiddle is out playing in the garden with his granny, squeezing in a few more minutes of long-term memories for her, and shorter-term ones for him. At two years and seven months old, I doubt he'll remember this visit forever. But the rest of us will. He's blossomed so much in the last five weeks, learned so many words and is talking on level with his peers now. It will seem like forever until my inlaws come over to visit in November.

Part of me really wants to stay here like this forever.

But the rest of me wants to go home, to my garden, my cats, my own house and bed. To get on with the many things I want to do, and create.

I may have failed my goal, and not written anything while on holiday, but I am returning refreshed and ready to try again.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Back in Eastleigh, with my inlaws. Had a FANTASTIC time with [livejournal.com profile] toothycat in Cambridge, as always. Got hailed on in two places (Flag Fen and the Cambridge Botanical Garden) but only drizzled on at the Craeftiga crafts fair at Sutton Hoo, where Wonderful Husband and I purchased some honeycomb (for my father-in-law), some honey (for us), and a handmade vase and wooden bowl (for my mother-in-law's birthday present). The weather, as always, conspired to remind me of why the British have historically loved wool. Also, given that this was at least partially a reenactment craft fair, I'm feeling the medieval costuming vibe again. Probably in linen not wool, given I live in SoCal....

This afternoon we went into Winchester in search of the used bookshops, where I lucked out on a couple cookbooks, some Victorian costuming books (including Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines for seven and a half pounds!) and Mansfield Park in the old red hardback Everyman's Library edition. And a jar of ginger preserved in honey, which Wonderful Husband says I am entirely welcome to.

I am thinking costuming thoughts for when we gt back. We're returning halfway through RenFaire season, so I won't have time to sew anything up for that this year (I should get off my duff and do it in the OFF-season!), but both SDCC and Costume College will be coming up in July. I've had a brainworm about making the Squiddle, with his blue eyes and dark blond hair, a TOS Captain Kirk outfit. And making a science blue matching set for Wonderful Husband. And a red minidress for me to complete the set. Which I could wear at both SDCC and CoCo. And if I have time, I have several lengths of fabric I've earmarked for Regency dresses, but I would need to make new stays for that, so we'll see. I know the CoCo packet will be waiting for me at home. Eager to see what classes will be offered this year. Since I made the executive decision not to teach this year (among other reasons, I burnt out after teaching, and screwing up, four classes last year), I'll be freer than usual to decide what I want to learn.
sakon76: (Sakon)
We flew back to the States on Friday, on a nicely uneventful flight. Our shuttle service, however, left much to be desired. Going to the airport, our pickup was wonderful! Which is why it is so very disappointing that we waited 40 minutes for our pre-booked private shuttle, and then discovered that (a) none of the seatbelts ratchet-locked, which meant it was not safe for the Squiddle's car seat, and (b) the seat I was in, the seatbelt wouldn't retract at all. Thank god we were not in an accident, because two out of the three of us would have been severely injured. We're going to be filing a report about Primetime Shuttle van #525....

But amusingly, while we were waiting on the curb at the airport, I pointed out a cosplayer to Wonderful Husband. Anime Los Angeles, after all, happening this weekend just up the street from LAX. Still, that kind of implied the person had flown in costume....

Sleep that first night happened early and fractured, with the Squiddle spending most of the night in bed with us. Can't really blame him, he was alone in a room he hadn't seen in a month. Last night was much better on all counts.

Also, we seem to have brought rain back with us from Britain. Just over an inch fell between yesterday and today. Hooray! I'm hoping the rain stays a good long while. I'm sick of drought.

The luggage has been unpacked and is ready to return to its nest in the rafters. The mess resulting from unpacking the luggage has been... mostly dealt with. Grocery shopping has happened, as has Wonderful Husband evincing signs of airplane crud. And we've borrowed my mother's Singer 201, as I've read testimonials online saying it's a wonderful machine for free-motion quilting, and my Babylock has decided it's had enough of that, thankyouverymuch.

I currently have two finished quilt tops lined up with their backings and their battings. The first one is actually going to get a double batting, as I opened up the first roll of Mountain Mist that I inherited from my grandmother, and it was as light as the name "mountain mist" would lead you to think. So it's getting the second roll too, which, hooray, is all heading toward freeing up space on my shelves! And it's going to be a gift, as were the last two quilts I did. So the next one is tagged to stay with me and go on my bed.

And a final amusing thought. We got our Costco ad when we picked up our mail on Saturday, and did a shopping run there that night. Among other things acquired was a Frozen-themed box of baby wipes. Umm, the last thing you want wipes to be is frozen.... ^_-
sakon76: (Sakon)
We came to Britain with three luggages and are leaving with four. But that's okay; my inlaws frequently do the same thing on their trips to America, so we trade luggages back and forth across the Atlantic. Also okay because we're flying Premium Economy this time, so we're within our luggage allowance.

Less okay is getting up at 5:30am tomorrow because Virgin Airlines cancelled our nice, leisurely afternoon departure flight, and slotted us onto their morning departure one. Sigh. Que sera sera.

I'm feeling a bit smug because I got the first three luggages to all weigh exactly the same (48.6 pounds) almost by accident. No idea on the last luggage yet, because it will need to include things like our pyjamas and bathrobes.

We've had a lovely time over here on our long holiday, spending time with family and friends. Going back to our daily lives is going to be a change, and we're going to miss everyone we visit and hang out with over here. There are only two things I'd change about this vacation. One is to somehow magically make Squiddle happier about sleeping in a playpen when needs must. And the other is to have experienced a little bit of snow. We had freezing temperatures, and we had precipitation. We just never had them at the same time. Alas. Perhaps next time....

Or, who knows? Maybe it'll snow in Los Angeles again. ^_^


Jan. 6th, 2015 03:30 am
sakon76: (Sakon)
December ended up being a decided no go on the novel writing thing (though I did manage to squeeze out three fanfic chapters for Christmas), mainly because of the Squiddle being jealous of &/or wanting to use the laptop himself. That being said, this morning I managed a page and a bit of novel writing (343 words) before everyone came downstairs and conversation and breakfast became a thing. No promises on further writing today, though.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Signs pointing the way, in all blunt honesty and with no trace of irony, toward Corpsewood Park.

I love these gruesome images.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Read Ysabel. Now have read both the books I brought with me, and finished 3/4 of the craft projects. I may ask to go back to the local craft shop, if it's not inconvenient, just to get something to do with my hands. Because I can only write in silence, and while I love my inlaws dearly, the television is always on. At the moment I've retreated upstairs to the guest bedroom to try to clear my head and see if I can find my words.

Yesterday's trip to London was mostly a success. I can report that Chipotle here is very nearly as good as the one at home, with just a hair's difference of quality. We did Hamley's, Liberty, Harrod's, failed at the V&A because I'd forgot to check opening hours, went to Trafalgar Square and saw the 65-foot Norwegian spruce Christmas tree, and took a look at the London Eye.

Squiddle, unfortunately, threw up in the sandwich shop in Harrod's, and again on the train going home. Other than those two minutes, however, he was in good spirits. He didn't have a fever last night, and has had no recurrences today, so we think it was just a tummy bug. And fortunately there were two changes of clothing in his diaper bag.

After hauling a stroller up and down stairs and escalators through London, however, we have concluded that handicapped access is a distant dream in the face of the Underground. Between three of us adults we were able to handle the one infant and pushchair. A wheelchair would simply not be possible.
sakon76: (Sakon)
My sleep pattern seems to be drifting closer to normal, which can be nothing but good. I've hit a roadblock on one of the stories I was working on and so shifted to the handwork projects I brought with me. I packed three, all "finish ups" from this year's Costume College. My Regency reticule is now done, so the next time I need a 19th century purse, I'm set. I also finally finished beading the two sample bags for the beaded fringe evening bags class I taught. There is a qualitative difference produced by running the beading pattern horizontally versus vertically, so now I can show that. And while I've been working with my hands, my brain has produced the solution to my writing block, so tomorrow I'm planning to switch back to that.

Wednesday we're going to London for the day, so I'm making a short list of places we want to go. Harrod's, Hamley's, Liberty of London, a quick pop in at the V&A just to see if they have a gift shop outside of the pay entrance, because there are a couple of books I want, and because I am a dork like this, tracking down a Chipotle in London for lunch, to see if their fare is of any greater or lesser quality than the branches back in the USA. (It happens. Ask my husband about the difference between UK and US Burger Kings, KFCs, McDonalds, and Pizza Huts.) Maybe also going to the London Eye? We shall see.
sakon76: (Sakon)
I'm really hoping this won't be one of those trips where I never adjust to the time difference. Because after getting up to nurse Squiddle at 1:30, I laid in bed for three hours, trying to get to sleep, before finally giving up and coming downstairs for tea, toast, and internet.

The weather here has been cool and damp, though we haven't actually got rained on yet. The BBC weather reports are including 50-foot seas in the Outer Hebrides, though, which pokes my bunny brain into thinking "Hey, I can use that..." though I have no idea how or where. The Hebrides, of course, being where Berk is fictitiously located.

I have been able to poke at some writing over the last couple days, though setting myself anything like a number of words to do a day is useless. The editing program on Laptop-chan is SciTe, which has no word count function that I can find. Also, the Squiddle is not fond of me reading or typing or, in fact, holding much in my hands that is not him. Still, I'll have at least one piece to post on Christmas this year, and have managed to read my way through American Gods, which was more to my taste than I'd feared. The blurbs which mentioned horror elements had me worried, but apparently for naught. So now I'm two books behind on my 2014 book reports.

Time to finish my tea and see if I can find any of that elusive sleep before dawn.
sakon76: (Sakon)
After a flight that seemed shorter than usual, we arrived safely at Heathrow. Squiddle was mostly very good during the flight, except for one crying fit when he was overtired, trying desperately to sleep, and just couldn't. But he got there eventually. Wonderful Husband and I got very little sleep on the flight, and didn't get to watch more than half an hour of a film. So yesterday was a very long day. But hopefully it helped reset our inner clocks.

Safe in Southampton, at my inlaws', and trying to convince myself to start working on writing stuffs.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Have been running around like mad whittling down the list of stuff-to-be-done-before-we-go-to-England. Thus the radio silence. Most of it is now done, which is good, given that I have about 36 hours left before we leave. Included in the stuff I've knocked off the list is shipping another batch of milk to the milk bank. 302 ounces!

Anyhow, midnight. Bedtime. I'll probably be more chatty once I'm on a different continent. Later~!


Jul. 24th, 2014 07:13 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
While I was on vacay, between time with [livejournal.com profile] hoshikage and time with my sister, I made two dozen jars of jam. Largely because on the Monday Wonderful Husband had to work, I kept myself and the Squiddle entertained by the picking of blackberries from the bushes in front of our hotel. And ended up with a LOT of berries. And decided to just keep going from there. Of the two dozen jars, I kept half, with a thought to presents for this Christmas. These dozen jars came home in the checked luggage. Having flown with jars of homemade jam one time before, I was pretty much betting on what would happen.

I opened my luggage to find pretty TSA ribbons (okay, sticker tape) festooning my jars of jam. Or at least the bubble wrap around them.

I have made TSA-approved jam! :)

(In other news, home at last. Until godass early Saturday morning, at least. Also, the Squiddle took both flights well, nursing on the way up and then sleeping through the first hour and a half each way. And he's popped four teeth pretty much simultaneously, two on top and two on bottom.)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Last day in Washington. Luggage is mostly packed, and one last batch of jam (blackberry sage) is cooked and cooling. I love the architecture up here and wish there were a lot more houses of this age and style in Orange County. The weather's cooler than I'm used to anymore, but I like the rain. Glorious greenery everywhere! Home is going to be warm. But we're barely there for a day before going off to SDCC, and then I have less than a week before Costume College. No costumes for me this year. No time.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Currently in Tacoma, WA. The hotel we're at is literally right behind my sister's house. As in, if there wasn't a rather tall iron fence around the parking lot, we'd just walk out of the lot to her side door.

So far we've been to Charlotte's Blueberry Park (the fruits of which were made into jam and pie today), and day - tripped up to Vancouver. We were kind of disappointed that Canada didn't stamp any of our passports. Ah well. Sister has also taken me to an antique mall (see: weekend activity, growing up in our family) and an architectural salvage yard. Oh the potential for wallet-dangerous activities...

Tomorrow's plans involve hieing into Seattle and doing the tourist thing there. Space Needle, ho!

Vacay Days

Jul. 13th, 2014 11:28 am
sakon76: (Sakon)
On vacation with Wonderful Husband and Squiddle in the Pacific Northwest. Currently in the Portland area, having a good time. Moving on to SeaTac later this week. Posting from my phone because my RAZR 2 broke and I got dragged kicking and screaming into the era of Smartphones. Has made taking lots of pics easier, at least...
sakon76: (Sakon)
It has been a very long day. And tomorrow starts very early. But for now, I will finish my soup, go to the bedroom, and collapse onto the bed. Various quasi-amusing anecdotes about the day to come later. 'Night, y'all.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Now in Cambridge, for the next couple days. Wales had the effrontery to be completely sunny and gorgeous the day we left. The peak of Snowdon, the day after we visited it, was completely clear. Of course. :)

The drive was broken up by stops for lunch, petrol, at the Glassblobbery, where we got to watch a glass dragon being made, and at Shugborough, which is a working historical estate that really would require a week, not an hour, to explore properly. Just a little bit after leaving the Glassblobbery, we passed a bison farm! So, to my tally, Wales contains uncountable cattle, even more innumerable sheep, half a dozen llamas, five goats, two pigs, and a herd of bison.

Then, coming down the A14 about 30 miles out of Cambridge, we watched a rainbow (the second one of the day) grow. And it hit the point where it was doubled. Gorgeous! Of course, as soon as I thought to fumble my camera out of my bag in the backseat, we had passed through the rainstorm and it vanished. :/ But the world is a richer place for such things existing.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Yesterday we got off to a late start, and went to buy tickets to take the train up Snowdon mountain; given the times that were available, we ended up purchasing tickets for today, then went off elsewhere. Elsewhere included the Trifew Woollen Mill, which was an interesting contrast to the Whitchurch Silk Mill Wonderful Husband and I visited earlier this trip. We then went to Conwy, where I can now say I've had the genuine British seaside experience: eating ice cream (lemon curd flavor!) on the beach, in the cold. :) We then walked Conwy's medieval town walls, then came back to Beddgelert and had the most delicious stir-fry, followed by games of Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne..

Today, we went to Snowdon and rode the train to the top. Which was all fun and neat and fantastic views, until we hit the cloudline. Then we eventually started noticing the snowdrifts outside the train car. Then we reached the top, and before the doors even opened, we noticed the ice on the gridwire mesh below the handrail, and how from the ice you could tell the direction of the prevailing wind....

We went through the cafe and climbed up the slushy steps to the top. The grass was coated in ice. The visibility was probably less than thirty feet. The wind was blowing so hard that I angled myself against the rocks on the ground. We weren't up there long, just a few minutes (the train only stops for 30 minutes at the summit), then, as we climbed down again toward the cafe and the promise of hot chocolate, we got attacked by stinging wind-driven hail. After we'd ducked it multiple times before on this trip, it finally caught up with us. I do have to say, any inclinations I might have had toward becoming an Alpine climber have now been thoroughly quashed. Everest is not in my future. :)

Upon reaching the bottom of the mountain, we sought sustenance and a honey/mead shop [livejournal.com profile] toothycat knew about, then decamped to Anglesey in search of standing stones and burial chambers. We found four discrete ones, which were each neat in their own way. Though uniformly in locations that made us break out in variations of "cows to the left of me / sheep to the right / here I am, stuck in the middle with you." The last burial chamber was in a very obscure demi-offroad location by an abandoned farm, which made me want to adopt it and fix it. :(

And then after the mild and temperate weather in Anglesey, on our way back to Beddgelert, we got hailed on again. :)
sakon76: (Sakon)
Thus far this trip, Wonderful Husband and I have ducked hail three times. First when we were driving out of the carpark in Stratford-upon-Avon, yesterday when we had gotten back on the Ffestiniog Railway to return to Porthmadog, and this morning just now, when it started hailing outside the vacation home we're renting in Beddgelert. Given that it was in the 80s shortly before we left California.... :)

Though it did clear up yesterday afternoon and we had a lovely sunlit walk around Beddgelert. It's incredibly beautiful here, and Wonderful Husband, a very urbanite person, was heard to remark that he could live somewhere like this.

Part of the fun of going around Wales is, of course, figuring out how to pronounce (if not actually understand) all the signs in Welsh. Double ds, as in "Beddgelert," are actually a "th" sound: "Bethgelert." Double fs, as in "Ffestiniog," sounds as an f, so "Festiniog." Single fs, however, as in "Caernarfon," are actually vs: "Care-nar-von." Doubled ls, like doubled ds, are a "th" sound, but harsher, like in Cthulu - "Llewelyn" becomes "Cthewelyn." The th in "Porthmadog," however, is pronounced as a straight t: Portmadog. And, amusing because it should have been obvious to me, on the signs that say "siop / shop"? Both are pronounced exactly the same.

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