jencat: (Default)
... is really the only word for it.  Cold outside, and it keeps drizzling with rain, and I seem to have done things every night last week to the point where I just curled up next to the fire for the whole weekend.

Well, almost.  There was the tree to put up, and a mad search for another gang plug so that we could have white and coloured lights on the tree (I managed to break the first two sets of 100 bulb white lights as I was putting them up, which left one sad little string of 50 bulbs working. That only covered about half the little 4ft tree, so the extra long string of coloured lights had to be be found a plug socket to fill in the gaps.  Convoluted, methinks...)

It looks pretty now, anyhoo.  Just the outside lights to go up at some point (not my responsibility, phew) and it would be nice to drape the little red cranberry lights up somewhere, but it's not looking very practical at the mo.  I've only had to rescue three baubles from the Demon Doodle Dog so far (he likes the big red/gold harlequin ones, apparently), as Kitten restricts herself to snagging things from the tree and chucking them on the floor (where the dog finds them. I'm starting to think they have a tag-team thing going on here.).  She's still completely agoraphobic, which means she's stuck in neurotic baby mode for a while longer and needs to be constantly amused.  I miss her being all grown-up and staying out all night playing with the foxes next door, even if that did entail 4am crying outside the back door. *sigh*

Ack.  Thursday night was our annual Grinch and eggnogg and present wrapping night, but it didn't start all that well.  Five minutes after I left, I noticed the car in front swerve and had to slam on my brakes and hazards when I realised there was a little white dog lying in the road. 

Read more... )

Friday night was what they usually call the Frost Fair down on the South Bank, although this year they actually ditched all the historical 'Frost Fair revival' schtick and started calling it the Winter Fair.  Not as much going on this year, by the time I got down there (the huskies had gone home for the night!) but it was pleasant enough.  We walked further down to the Festival Hall to catch the Cologne Christmas market, which was fun - Dutch pancakes and cutesy wooden ornaments and a carousel right out of Mary Poppins (of course we went on it!) so I proceeded to spend far more cash then I intended... Oops!

Today was.. constructive.  The bathroom is clean, the pickled onions are currently having a pre-pickling soak in salt, and a big vat of Nigella's Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup is sitting on the stove.  I maybe should have checked the veg a bit sooner while they were roasting so as to avoid quite so many burnt bits, but hey... tasted good enough to have for dinner with stilton crumbled on top. Nom!

So I managed to watch the repeat of the finale of Devil's Whore, Persuasion (the replacement dvd arrived, yay!), the Strictly semi-final (yay, actually pretty damn glad their mathematics went wonky as the judges were being mean to poor Tom) which has caused much upset from strange people who apparently don't want to see all the cool dancers do the final next week, then caught up on the last three eps of Prison Break (lordy, just realised there are so few series left to ship anymore, as Sarah and Michael are breaking my little heart and this series is playing out so well).  Tonight was... the big shock eps of Eastenders, which even I had to watch after all the drama this week, then the bits of Merlin I missed from last night (surprisingly, this has been a fairly respectable effort all round, although they are seriously just playing into the idea of Merlin/Arthur slash in some of the scenes from the final ep, and I am never going to buy into this Arthur/Guinevere in a million years.  Sorry guys, but they have zero chemistry - Gwen/Merlin are quite sweet, as they're both Rather Nice People, and the battling Arthur/Morgana were always fun, although Morgana is seriously vindictive/crazy/psychic enough for this to end Very Badly.

To end with a complete contrast, I finally watched Elf (awwww! And Zooey Deschanel as a blonde!) and then the final Wallander...  Very impressed with the three Henning Mankel adaptations they had, and an intriguing way of adapting foreign language detective fiction to TV.  Still identifiably Swedish -- all the writing was in Swedish, and they filmed on location in Ystad like the Swedish language adaptations did -- but acted in English with English accents, so they find ways of translating any vital written Swedish to being incorporated in the English dialogue so you don't miss anything.  Elegant, harrowing and very grown-up, it's a complete mystery why playing grey and rumpled makes Kenneth Branagh quite so adorable, but my god it does...

Lordy, it's late, and my hands absolutely still reek of onions after hours peeling for the pickling... off to find the scrubbing brush!

jencat: (Default)
Well, that's one way of easing back into work gradually... the hacking cough i flew back with has settled in nicely now, so that's most mornings and evenings out for the count.  I made it into work for the afternoon on Thurs/Friday but was mostly minus most of my voice, which didn't help much with answering the phone...!  It was mostly for various people's last days, so worth it for that anyhoo.  Thurs night was a leaving do, and prosecco was had, so that was nice for a couple of hours (I was coughing quietly on the sofa in the corner, lol)

And for yet another year, I managed to catch the Xmas light switching on at Leadenhall by sheer luck ( i seem to have some mental block about checking the date) but felt some strange urge to swing by the bookshop up there, and walked straight into the Xmas tree as it were. I go every year, but nor usually on my tod, so it was kinda quiet standing there waiting for the Lord Mayor in his pretty hat to show.  But there was rose prosecco (seems to be a theme emerging) and a jazz band with a bass player who was extremely easy on the eye (oh, ok, I spent half an hour standing at the front ogling), and new books! So hey...
Then I randomly caught Mona Lisa Smile when I got home and crashed infront of the tv, which wasn't as bad as I'd heard, and damn, what a cast.

(Randomly: I'm seriously wondering how one of the X Factor contestants is managing to sing Not a Girl, Not yet a Woman actually worse than Britney did it.  That was atrocious. And apparently, she's the favourite...)

Kinda strange (and kinda peaceful) being at home without the Demon Doodle Dog.  Our neighbours did us a huge favour by kitten-sitting for the fortnight, but they got worried she wouldn't come home if they let her out, and kept her indoors for the entire time... Oh lordy, we got back to Little Miss Neurotic as it turns out.

Demon Kitten isn't exactly demonic any more, just agoraphobic. And minus the doodle, she doesn't really see any reason to leave the house... gawd, it's like she's a baby kitten again, sitting in the doorway getting freaked out by how big the sky is.  And indoor kitties mean stinky litter trays, so I'm hoping she passes this phase really, really quickly...

jencat: (Default)

Ok, now I'm sat next to a radiator, with a Demon Kitten curled up beside me (she likes the laptop fan blowing in her ear, go figure), and brainless cookery comfort programming (Barefoot Contessa does Paris, apparently.  Again, go figure.) on in the background, today doesn't seem so bad after all.

I could happily have done without most of the crap that was today, having smacked my head rather hard on the frame of the loft hatch this morning (head went smack directly upward, and not being an immovable object, neck therefore goes crunch) in An Incident that was Totally Not My Fault.  Naming no names, but it wasn't remotely my idea to try chucking bags into the loft without the aid of a ladder, and lordy, I do not weigh little enough these days to be picked up so that I'm high enough to chuck said bags.  My neck feels like it's going to be exceedingly unhappy tomorrow, but fingers crossed I can just mainline ibruprofen and get to work.  And those months of working in a spinal clinic are coming back to bite me and my overactive imagination now.  As you do.

Then there was a trip to the local animal rescue to see about a new dog... there was yet another unseasonal blizzard, lots of insanely loud unhappy dogs and my mother bursting into tears within five minutes of arriving.  And hell, yes, I am going to vote for the little black dog that likes cats, rather than the labradoodle who would probably try to eat Demon Kitten.  Although, given the odds of an expensive breed like a choc labradoodle (called Alfie Doodle, which is undeniably cute) showing up aged ten months in our local extremely low-rent dog rescue, perhaps we should take the chance. Heh.

The rest of the day wasn't so bad, except that Kit fouled up jumping down from a high counter before we left, and must have been feeling a bit fragile as she then curled up in her igloo with Red Mousey and refused to come out.  So we left without putting her plastic stitch-protecting ruff on, as it's impossible to fit in the igloo (the vet cage having been dismantled to stop Somebody whining about how much of the kitchen it took up), and get home to find that she's undertaken a little DIY stitch removal while we were out.  Gah.  There's one left, and lord knows how much damage she'll do to herself before the next vet visit on Saturday.

*deep breath*  Lordy, I'm up to ep 6 on the Sarah Connor Chronicles, and starting to remember just how much of a Terminator fangirl I've always been.  T1, mind, not really T2 (and how can you even figure T3 into any meaningful discussion?!)... Now that the name Kyle Reese is getting mentioned, I'm getting all nostalgic for my old Michael Biehn crush (this may warrant another viewing of T1 and Aliens in the near future). *sigh* those were the days.  And I love what they're doing with the mythology in Sarah Connor, even if the prospect of T4 isn't exactly heartening (McG?! But, maybe, Anton Yelchin will do..).

And now I have to go stop the kitten pulling out her last stitch... Hmm, Barefoot Contessa is making me want to visit Paris again, I wonder why...

jencat: (pushing daisies; speedy)
Heh.  I feel like a slight spoilsport, but this year's Pratchett adaptation just isn't... grabbing me, thus far.  I never managed to finish Colour of Magic when I tried reading it way back when, and I've spent the last half hour with it on in the background, mainly.  It does look beautiful, and it's faintly amusing every few lines, but... just not enough.  Hogfather had a lot more... pizzaz to it, and all I've done so far this time is chuckle at the Pratchett cameo right at the start.   Shall have to start trying to read the books, yet again, and actually finish one this time, methinks...

Elsewhere.. Demon Kitten managed to give herself a nasty post-op kitty hernia this week, involving many trips to the vets and what is going to be a delightful scar she can show off to her kitty friends...  All because she won't sit bloody still.  Leaping about like a demented grasshopper is not advisable post major surgery, but kitty brain can't quite compute that.  So far she's been subjected to sleeping in a big scary cage at night wearing a horrible plastic ruff, and trailed round the house at all other times to stop her gnawing on the humungous external stitches from the second repair op... All these things do not a happy kitty make, funnily enough.  

I also made easter sugar cookies, which were... interesting. Slightly charred, for the first couple, and the icing never quite did work out, but hey, they're getting eaten! And also meant I didn't have to buy easter eggs for anyone this year, go figure.  Now I have to go watch Ladies Detective Agency (which looks gorgeous from what I've seen so far) and mourn the fact that it's the last Anthony Minghella work we'll see. So sad...

jencat: (pushing daisies; windmillery)
Any minute now, I really need to clear up the sixteen balls of yarn, three lots of needles, half the weekend papers I still haven't read and several books (oh, and the penguin of death bed warmer, natch) and go to bed.  

Not exactly a productive weekend, although I did manage to consume my own weight in Green & Black's white chocolate yet again, knit a practice glove (it's not terrible), order all the yarn to knit the actual glove, finally read Casino Royale and established that, in the eternal question of Who Shall Be the Next Amy Winehouse, Duffy kinda beats Adele,  It's a whole retro, big hair and cracked voices thing.  Leaving aside the fact that Duffy's songs are vanilla well-behaved, they do have that sixties kick that stays in your head...Pretty much ticks the boxes for me, anyhoo.  

Wicked was last Monday night; this week is Much Ado at the National.  And I still haven't worked out how Simon Russell Beale manages to appear in both Much Ado and Major Barbara in the same night, which is what looks like is happening.  And it's not like I haven't been looking.

Painfully, Demon Kitten decided that the mere presence of yarn and needles was excuse enough for ABH, and proceeded to turn my legs into something resembling a pincushion.  And that's quite beside the stuff she inflicted during the Flea Drop Incident.  I haven't mentioned to her that there's a trip to the vets on Wednesday for an O-P-E-R-A-T-I-O-N cos she's sneaky and would find a way to thwart it...

And the Penguin of Death? He really does have a enigmatic smile, for a plush toy...
jencat: (hello)
  Aw, the Demon Kitten climbed her first tree today.

Not that she had any idea how to get down again afterwards, but hey, she's only a touch over five months old, give a girl a chance...
jencat: (dessert spoons)
Odd weekend, away with family at a rented cottage near Cheltenham... Family managed to do no more than vaguely threaten to murder one-another, so that was an improvement on the usual.  Much blustery, freezing hill walking and viewing of famous race course was had, and I think we spent the vast majority of Saturday afternoon wandering around the chav end of the lovely spa town.. go figure.  

It was nice enough, just that the cottage itself had a slightly strange atmosphere and it made me uncomfortable being there.  Last night, especially, was one long round of nightmares, and my middle sis woke up this morning and said exactly the same thing. 

So odd certainly... but the cottage was a new-build, albeit in a historic area, and although my friend texted me  last night about all the hauntings she'd found online in the next road to where we were staying, that really wasn't what  freaked me at all.  It was just one of those places you run into occasionally, where you don't feel welcome.  Everyone else seemed to think it was just fine, so there you go.  Another one to chalk up to experience (not as odd as the great Haunted Motel 6 in New Hampshire last year, but hey).

Demon kitten was left with nice cat-loving neighbours, and proceeded to disappear the moment we drove away, sending them on a 6 hour panic-stricken kitten-hunt.  She was, of course, curled up in a corner sleeping somewhere and emerged to torment them as they gave up looking.... Stands to reason really.  I've been back five hours and she's already chewed through the cord attaching my laptop pointer pen and keeps trying to knock vases down from the cabinets.  We're Having Words.  I'd be happier if the several bunches of birthday flowers sitting around the place weren't stuffed with lilies, as the smell kinda turns my stomach and the pollen is basically kitten poison.  Ick.

My poor hands had 48 hours to recover from their kitten wounds but she's more than made up for any healing since I've been home... she's demented and spiteful and sadly I still adore her.  Obviously I made the mistake of joking to my grandmother that people might think the interesting array of scratches across my hands looked like they were self-inflicted, haha...
Lordy, remind me not to do that again.   I can really do without the lecture on 'what people might actually think' and how I shouldn't let the cat scratch me.  Because apparently I stand there and invite her to inflict all this damage... (no, really, I just get stuck with putting her to bed every night and shutting her in the kitchen.  It's a ridiculously long and painful process as she tends to be hyper and spend all day sharpening her claws, but that way she doesn't jump on my head at 3am).

elsewhere... I devoured all of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere over the weekend; my bookreading muscles hadn't been stretched so much in months, and it was fabulous.  It's ticking over strange half-memories of when the tv series was on many moons ago and I so very much have to go buy the dvd now.  In terms of retroactive casting, yep, I can totally see Laura Fraser as Door, that totally works.

And now I need some sleep...

war wounds

Feb. 1st, 2008 12:14 am
jencat: (pushing daisies; speedy)
Demon kitten is uncharacteristically snoozing on my lap, which at least makes a nice change from 
a) chewing and scratching my hands to bits (I keep having to tell people I have a demon kitten as they seem to leap to the strange conclusion that the mass of scratches that used to be the back of  my hands is self-inflicted. Go figure. I'm really not the type.)
b) walking on laptop keyboard and bashing the touchscreen
c) chewing the side of the laptop
All standard feline behaviour, basically... I have to leave her alone in the house for the next two nights, and I'm panicking about it already.  Someone will be in to feed her and hopefully keep her company for a while, but she's still just a baby and prefers to be around people.  I have to keep reminding everything that she's only just four months old now, however much she may have grown in the past few weeks, and can't really be expected to act like a grown-up just yet...

On another note entirely, there was a singularly annoying article on the Times site today deriding all chick-flicks made in the last three decades... If the writer had any concept of genre, or been able to tell the difference between 'chick-flicks', 'rom-coms' and 'chick-lit', it might have not have been so completely irritating.  But she blatantly couldn't, slated all my favourites--and all in the name of promoting the new Ryan Reynolds blokey rom-com, written by the idiot who adapted Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason *urgh*  
Whiny writer unfortunately makes Definitely, Maybe sound dull, worthy and irritating.  Add to the fact it has an annoyingly meaningless title nicked from an Oasis album, there's been zero buzz about it (I hadn't even heard of it until I saw a bus ad yesterday in town, and I devour about three film magazines a month), and it's 'political', its chances of Richard Curtis-stylee world domination are slim.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm still considering How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days a classic of the genre.  And The Holiday makes me cry.  So there...
jencat: (hello)
Hmmm... finding a wikihow on 'how to communicate with your cat' I thought, hey, maybe I can talk the demon Kit down into some semblance of calm.

'Cats love people blinking slowly at them; it's a sign of great affection!'.  Allegedly.

So I wait for kit to settle down, try the slow blinking thang...and then had to dodge rather hastily out of the way as she tried to take my eye out with a single claw.  Cats.  Moving things.  I should *really* have known better.

Did I mention the part where she is Demon Kit? 
jencat: (Default)
Having two jobs is not wise, I have decided.  Going back to the job I left 18 months ago, however briefly, might mean I have money coming in, but it's also making me revisit a hell of a lot of stuff I thought I'd managed to ditch back then.  Come January, it looks like I'll be working two days at parliament and three days back at the hospital, which is theoretically a good way of working things, but also perhaps a disaster waiting to happen.  We shall see.  

And I still haven't gone ice skating yet!
Honestly, London must have the most fake ice rinks of any non-icy city in the world, and I've managed to never even set foot on most of them.  And I love skating!! The problem, it seems, is finding anyone to go with...

My xmas checklist is going pretty well... we made (fabulous) eggnog, wrapped presents and watched The Grinch with mince pies on Saturday night (there was also watching the last few eps of Gilmore Girls finally, but that wasn't very Christmassy.  End of an era, but not exactly seasonal, methinks).

Friday night was the Frost Fair, which was fun as per usual.  Didn't manage to see the huskies this year, and there weren't any stilt walkers etc as late as we went, but the stalls were nice and the mulled wine was rather lovely.

I still have to somehow fit in the German Market (if not the ice rink) at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, as it seems like the only place left to get my lebkuchen this year.  And I will have me some tacky iced german gingerbread cookies if it kills me, oh yes...  

All that's left otherwise is Oxford Street (but I may give that a miss due to a sudden attack of, er, common sense), my mad dash to nearest shopping mall on Xmas Eve, and, er, watching Dead Again on Xmas Eve night. Don't even ask. Traditions make no sense if you stop to think about them...

The kitten is growing up and gorgeous already - the vet said she was insanely small for her age but that really hasn't stopped her attacking everything in sight (and then running off to hide in case that plan backfires).  She's adorable, and slightly insane, and still a very small baby at heart.  I couldn't work out why she was crying and scratching when I put her in her furry kitten bed last week, until I realised she thought it was her mum and was trying to suckle through the fake fur... gah, that might be the saddest thing I've ever seen.  Kit is now not allowed in that bed unless it's cove red with a fleecy throw, I've never seen anything look quite so pathetic.

On another note, the BBC adaptation of Cranford finished on Sunday, and I've never been left in tears by a costume drama quite so much before. The death rate was quite astounding, and I was quite distraught at the thought of poor Sophy Hutton not getting her adorable doctor after all the scandal last episode...

One of the most intriguing things about it was the character of Mary Smith; obviously based on Elizabeth Gaskell herself, but not the obvious romantic heroine or even the main protagonist in such an ensemble cast.  She was just the sensible, compassionate outsider who came to stay in town, saw what needed sorting out and made sure it all happened as it was supposed to.  Letter-writer extraordinaire and Dr Frank's surgical assistant whenever he needed to amputate something, she was cool, calm and collected and did it all wearing newfangled glasses. It was like a British Victorian Amelie in a corset, and I'm missing Cranford already... now just to wait for the DVD in February...
jencat: (hello)
Oh dear.... been pretty much whining constantly since losing Herself a couple of months ago.  And then yesterday there was this mad rush where someone my sister knows had one last kitten left out of a litter, which she wanted rid of as another queen was due to drop a litter tomorrow.

This particular kitty was the last one left because she, er, ran away from home at the age of *nine weeks* and spent two days hiding out under a shed before her mum could drag her out. 

Feisty, I think, may be an understatement.

So we made a mad rush down there after work tonight, only pausing on the way to buy some kitty food, and basically fell in love with a real live lolcat.  This is Siouxsie Sioux...

suzy


She's an escape artist to rival Houdini, far too cute to be true, and basically we're heading for shedloads of trouble with her over the next couple of weeks...!  She has this very uncanny way of staring you down, like she isn't really a fraction of your size.  This goes for people and dogs, we've discovered so far, including both the Yorkies and the fab alsation/timberwolf cross she lived with.

We picked out the name (well, the little sis did) before we found her, but damn, if a tiny baby kitteh can be punk, this is the girl...

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Jennifer Howell

July 2015

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