There is a passage by Christa Wolf (one that I highlighted, alas my books are some 900 kilometers away from where I live - and some 400 from where I am right now) where she talks about how she could not live in the vicinity of the Alps, how their greatness is too much, how their presence would be a constant pressure. How the vastness and emptiness of the Brandenburg landscape is preferable for everyday life.

While the passage itself impressed me, it's not a feeling I do usually share. Landscapes impress me and leave me speechless: the power of the Niagara Falls. The size and vastness of the Isle in the Skye viewpoint of the Canyonlands. But they hardly ever make me feel as if I could not live in their presence. Except two of them: Eyjafjallajökull glacier as seen from the Dyrhólaey peninsula in Iceland, a giant presence peeking through the clouds - the only thing I could think of is a giant alien ship descending onto the Earth, the end of the world imminent. Having that in my back - I don't think I could live with that. And more immediately: and the sheer walls of the Soca valley in Slovenia on the very Southern edge of the Alps, a giant rock slide and in front of it, going on as if nothing a full farm. The rockslide is likely old, much older than the farm. And yet, and yet … And it's not about any real danger; it's about the sheer power, the sheer possibility of unstoppable power they represent.

(At some point of my life, I need to see red lava. It will likely be alike.)

((The photo is not of this particular hike. There is no way to take a photo that would express what those places make me feel.))
I.
I'm in Venice - I met a colleague at the airport who suggested to take a direct taxi boat to the city instead of the bus + boat combo that my guesthouse suggested. We had to wait in line for half an hour (being too loudly upset about politics, but that's what happens when you put together an
Iranian-born Swiss-American and an Eastern-Europe born Jewish German) but otherwise it was the best decision ever. I got a bit of sightseeing that I do not expect to manage for the rest of the week.

3x mobile photos )


I am regretting that I did not take my camera with me. But on the other hand: I don't think I'll gave time to look around much, anyway.

II.
That said: that review talk on Tuesday? Still not done. Ugh. And tomorrow will be a busy day. (Expect very exciting science results to hit the news; not mine, but it will still be full of excitement.) And I know, I am procrastinating now again, but there is only so much talk I can write given how tired I am by now.

III.
I know that I shop when I am stressed. I lost my black shawl while in Slovenia and it's such a staple that I needed a new one immediately. Also those new skinny dress pants I bought when changing airports in Paris really need different tops that the ones I own, so I now own a wide lightweight wooly sweater in grey and a black popover blouse. And since I was at it, also a set of rose-plated triangle earring (I mean, it happens so often that I find earrings that I live that are silver I had to buy them, right? … On the other hand, wtf my new fascination with gold-colored jewellry? Am I getting old?)

IV.
Also, new phone. Because my old one decided that I abused it too much. It's not fully dead but there was a pattern of guest-touch behavior that made it crash several times and I am not risking being without a phone with all the current and upcoming travel. Unfortunately, I missed that the successor model is half an inch larger when I ordered it. The old one wasn't small, but this one is giant. Well. I am trying to convince myself that whatever phone I would have gotten it would have been the wrong one because it's not my old one. (And I could not have just bought the old one again, I considered, but I ordered it using motomaker in a configuration that was only available from Motorolla USA, not from any resellers D:)

V.
Voltron really isn't a good series. But I keep watching. Because Lotor. And we are at the point when he actually becomes really interesting. (I even tried to go fanfiction, but ugh, nothing along the lines that would interest me D:)

VI.
I complained to [livejournal.com profile] sophiawestern (through whom I have one of my current favorite soup recipes) that there is no Kabocha squash in the Netherlands - I only found two sad kabochas at one market stall a few weeks ago. But now my local supermarket has them! Yeah! Take bets on who is going to eat all the Kabocha & chicken & pear salads!
I still have a ton of roasted kabocha and carrot soup in the freezer (the aforementioned favorite soup made from the aforementioned two sad kabochas), otherwise there would be some soup cooking forthcoming next weekend.

VII.
I'm not sure I agree with everything in this blog entry (I often find myself disagreeing with xykademiqz, the blog author), but the last paragraph is important (to realize for both kinds of people) and I absolutely loved the last sentence: I need to emit into the world, hoping the world receives some of it.

Now: bed. And finish that talk tomorrow.
Heh, so I guess I can now officially say that I've been to a dinner with a nobel prize winner? One with four people on a small table in a nice place in Cambridge (Boston), MA, that has since been damaged in a fire but hopefully re-opened (I really should ask my former colleagues about it).

Anyway, all the articles you read about Rai Weiss (who got half of this year's physics prize for his contributions to LIGO and the detection of gravitational waves) portraying him as the nicest person ever are true.

There is this article on Weiss in Science (from more than a year before the Nobel Prize and thus from around the time of my dinner) "Meet the college dropout who invented the gravitational wave detector" where it says: "As a junior faculty member, he says, he published little and didn’t worry about advancing his career. MIT’s Shoemaker says Weiss probably got tenure only for his teaching—and wouldn’t get it today." (He likely would indeed not. I've seen too many people go down this way. Great people who do not fit a certain pattern that is definitely not good for science as a whole.)

So here is my bit of the story: when we've been running a seminar series (with another postdoc who is now faculty there, huh ...), there would be the usual pattern: when the speaker was a big name, faculty would turn up. If they were not but a mere early-career researcher, they would not. Except Rai, who would often be there regardless of the seniority of the speaker and ask amazing question and generally be awesome.

I guess what I want to say is this: there are amazing people in science and I am honored to be able to have met some of them and glad that the right person won the Nobel Prize.
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[me]
I envy people who travel solo. I can't.
I'm not afraid of travelling alone (although I do tend to be a cautious traveller in general, but I guess this is a relative thing). But I do not enjoy it. I need someone to enjoy it with, someone to point out that building or this lizard to. If this is someone with whom I can compare this view to the other one from two years ago, it's even better. I understand the beauty of the landscape and the history of the city but I only feel them if I can share them with someone, reflect them.

****

[me]
I love coming back. Perhaps even more so than travelling to new places. When the new and the memory overlap, when the surprise and the recollection overlay in complex patterns, when you see everything twice, through your eyes now and five years ago, comparing the past you and the current you and realizing what all changes in between and what stayed the same.
(Travelling intertextuality? Something like this. In any case, definitely related to the way I read.)

****

[and this is also more about *me* than you, even though it sounds differently]
Travelling and living somewhere is not the same. I know, what a surprise! But here is a thing: it's really hard for me to find a common language with people who have not lived abroad for a prolonged amount of time (although this is not always the case; my partner has not lived abroad for various reasons not to be discussed here). It is not country specific. But there is something that having lived - truly lived! - in a different society changes about you. And yes, there is a part of me that rolls her eyes every time someone that tells me about the few months they spent somewhere else. I know it's not very fair (maybe it's even elitist; but then again I could also make an argument that it's a luxury to have a career - if you want a career, of course - that allows you to stay in the same country); but especially when it comes to academics - well yeah, sorry, this does not really count ...
(And there is no coming back, of course. Once you lived somewhere else you are forever changed. There is no coming home because your home is now a liminal space between countries and cultures.)
I have so many food photos to show you folks! I have been slightly obsessed with cooking this year - well, or perhaps not that much more obsessed than I usually am ;) Anyway, I have a list of things that I want to cook (not new things, just things I haven't cooked since I moved to the Netherlands) on my fridge and it may be four pages long? A5-ish pages, though, but narrowly spaced.

But let's cut the long story short - here are 25 thing I made. Mainly this spring; summer dishes will be another post, I have enough photos. But not quiet enough time.





25 photos )


P.S. If you read this on DW and can't see the pics, check whether whatever security extension you use allow pics from livejournal (for some reason, security badger would allow those with http link but not the https ones - just ... don't ask, I guess).
This weekend I spent mostly on my couch. Well, I did go grocery shopping and I did cook and I did run (ugh, I should talk about running at some point, shouldn't I?) and I did iron all the clothes from the last month (and watch quiet a bit of the third season of Voltron; I still think the series is meh, but the female/male ratio both in lions and in general is suddenly much better and Lotor *is* a delight), but mostly I spent it on the couch.

Last weekend, however, was rather different. I went to Rosenheim, where I did:

1. Drink

Read more... )


2. Go to the mountains


Read more... )


3. Forage

Read more... )


4. Make dessert


Read more... )
Each of this things was supposed to be a post of it's own or a part of a thematic post. Oh well ... You'll just get a wild potpourri from a picture of what remains of a spacecraft after a rocket failure over food in Prague to random impressions from living in the Netherlands and food hauls from the market:




This one is from the visit at the main mission control center of the European Space Agency ("European Space Operations Centre" in Darmstadt) - they invited me to give a talk and gave me a nice tour of the facilities, including this showcase with what remains of Cluster I spacecraft after the failure of its carrier rocket. Cluster II went into space four years later, in 2000, and is still used for very cool science by some of my colleagues.


Read more... )


And now I'm off to Amsterdam to eat some Georgian food with friend/acquittances (somehow it's mainly afterwards, once they or I moved away that I know what of the two people are ...). Maybe more photos of that, who knows?

screen things

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:18 pm
pax_athena: (lotor)
I.
I've finally seen "Wonder Woman" (it did come out later in the Netherlands and then I was travelling and had no time to breath). I left in love - it was a flawed movie (that boat trip was just hilariously wrong), but oh, did it do things right. I did stay out of the overall discussion, for various reasons, but two thoughts that I keep coming back to.
1. Am I happy that they went for the "wrong war". I am so, so, so tired of American stories using WWII as a backdrop. I know that it is part of the history of the character, but well ... Sometimes, if we tell the stories anew, we need to change them.
2. When writing this, I am sitting on a plane, the passengers boarding walking past me on the way to their seats: people flying from Munich to Amsterdam, from Germany to the Netherlands. And it brings it home once again: Gal Gadot would stand out among them - for being somewhat darker, somewhat different, foreign enough to be seen as "not one of us". Is it my own experience talking? Perhaps. I'm pretty sure they have not thought of this, making an American movie. But to me, with my experience of being the other in Western Europe, with the movie taking part in UK, Belgium and France, with Gal Gadot's own Israeli background, this is an Jewish woman, a woman representing an ethnic minority, a woman representing a certain Middle-Eastern look that would draw racism and discrimination, being powerful on screen. This gives me so freaking many feelings.

II.
American Gods. (Thanks, [personal profile] giallarhorn!) I'm two episodes in and I love it. I found the Bilquis sex scene less impressive than the online discussion let me to believe, but it *was* well done. The casting so far has been superb - different from what I thought (in my imagination, Shadow was rather Native American than black), but working in a way that is definitely overwriting my assumptions. The only thing I wish for were proper prononciation for the Zorya's names, especially among the Zoryas and Czernobog. But oh well.

III.
They did change Druckfrisch to a bi-monthly schedule, didn't they? I am so freaking sad about it, it still is perhaps the only German TV show worth watching D:

IV.
Also seen the two first seasons of Voltron. Meh. I will give it another try - in the end, the next season has Lotor. But so far it gives me zero feelings. It does certainly not help that even as a kid, I loved the vehicle Voltron version a lot more than the lion one. I'm kind of sad about this - I really wanted something else to be fannish about (not that I grow tired of Marvel/Loki but I have the distinct feeling that the whole universe goes into a direction I do not like). Oh well.
(Both Wonder Woman and American Gods are too good. Fannish needs a story with enough holes to feel them up with imagination but at the same time not enough to totally throw me off. I'm strange like that, it's hard to get me there, only very few shows ever managed.)
So I guess this was the third time I introduced someone to the amazing world of Michelin star restaurants. Which is fun, given how I've been to some only five times (this one included) myself. There was [livejournal.com profile] advdiaboli, there was F. (who promptly suggested to repeat the experience soon-ish) and now J. (yes, another J., I did not mention this particular one in any previous post yet!), my Amsterdam-based restaurant-buddy. Well yes, I am the kind of person who has restaurant-buddies now. What does this make me?
Anyway I: actually, it were four people, but ♥ does not count, because you are supposed to enrich your partner's life.
Anyway II: all three people above loved it. J. and I plan our next adventure for sometimes late summer and F. and I have decided on a Michelin-recommended (albeit not Michelin-starred) place in Prague that I need to make a reservation for soon. And - spoiler! - I will definitely be bringing ♥ to Vermeer not just because of the food but also because of the amazing wine-pairings. And they *do* half-pours. But one thing after the next, I'll get there.

We made our reservation for 6:30 - and oh, was I happy that we did. Because we did not finish eating until 11:30. It gets dark super late - so you get most photos in good light, even!

They started by asking us whether we want to start with a drink - they are supposed to have great cocktails. Yet I am lightweight when it comes to alcohol and definitely did not want to spend the last courses in a drunken haze, so no cocktails for us. I would like to say "next time", but I also loved, loved, loved the wines and wound not want to miss a single wine pairing.




Amuse-bouche I: rhubarb ice cream and rhubarb, coated in sugar and pepper and something else. I thought I am not a fan of rhubarb. I may have to re-think this. This rhubarb stick blew my mind.




The non-menu. Of course we went for all six courses. Plus the cheese platter. Plus the morel dish. Plus the coffee with little sweets. It was pretty amazing to be there with someone who had the same approach to the whole game as I do: if we are here already and spending the time and money, we can go all the way.
We also asked for the wine pairing. I know 6 wines are far too much for me, so I was prepared to ask for a selection of three wines. But we've been offered half-pours! I'm not sure whether it only worked because it has been the two of us asking for the same and if it was more expensive than a single "full pour" (I should have checked on the check, but at that point of the evening I was far too happy and tipsy to do so), but it seriously did not matter. The wines turned and "A" dinner into an "A++" experience!


18 more photos and A LOT of gushing words about the food and drinks )


Tl;dr: it was amazing, highly recommended. Also, I clearly need to write about foodish adventure shortly after I've made them, this way you get a lot more text and unfiltered gushing about the food and the wine (although: is this really a good thing? Hm?).
Tags:

Italy tips?

May. 26th, 2017 09:00 pm
pax_athena: (california)
So, we have five days to drive up from Rome to Verona. Where should we stop more or less along the way?

It's not that we don't have ideas, it's more the feeling that you have in the morning, standing in front of the full wardrobe and still feeling like you have nothing to wear because the choices are too many.

We especially appreciate both insider's tips and and the obvious places that are as great as everyone says (and if you really thought something was oversold, say so, too). History is great but more in terms of really impressive buildings than in terms of long tours and reading up on this or that pope (we'll do enough of that in Rome). Beautiful landscapes and great hikes, especially great short hikes, are love. My favorite landscapes are the ones where stone meets water (think gorges or coasts), but seriously: any great landscape that we should not miss.

In short: just shoot and give whichever tips you want, we'll sort through them :)
Yesterday, I spend a good part of the evening/afternoon reading on the balcony, with the Hoellenbecq book and its discussion of art and my RXTE cup with coffee:



I did, at a point get rid of my long-sleeve shirt and the socks and would have, if I weren't too lazy, put on shorts. It wasn't that warm in general, but that particular corner of the balcony, warmed by the sun and protected from the wind was perfect.

And then the neighbor's cat came to visit and did even let me pet it for a bit - it also finally dared to come in and got exploring, particularly my bookshelf:

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***

Today, I woke up to this piece of anxiety-inducing news: U.S. May Ban Laptops on All Flights From Europe. I do not have immediate trips lined up (I did have one roughly planned but was anyway likely not to do it this year given the trip in April that I did not originally plan for), but all the US-based people I know who are in Europe right now (J. and L. and D. and finally my dear N. who is to arrive on Saturday in the early morning) and all the people in transatlantic relationships I know (the other J. who is flying over every third week or so and F. who is married to an American but has a job here in Europe) and all the people I was looking forward to seeing at some point this year (M. in Rome, J. and L. and N. in Warsaw, one more J. in France, another M. in Prague ...), all the reviews that you need to be present for in person. This is a catastrophe on both personal and work levels. (And I've just been telling people who plan to organize a certain conference in the USA next year - this year it was in Europe - how they should keep an eye on the overall political situation and whether some people would not be able or willing to travel to the States. Jinxing much? I hate being Cassandra.)

***

The day after tomorrow, eight people will meet for brunch at my place: two Americans, two Germans working in the USA, a Dutch person working in the USA, a Venezuelan/Argentinian working in Germany and USA, a German working in Spain and married to an American woman, an American working in the Netherlands, a Canadian working in Germany a German working in the Netherlands but for an international organization. It is going to be amazing - and sad, because I don't know when I'll see all these people again. Even though some of us had elaborate plans for how and when we would meet.
1. L. was here the whole week - it was amazing but I am all talked out and want to not communicate again ever. She is still in the area (but in a hotel not on my couch anymore :() because of a conference so we plan a dinner on Tuesday. And then other friends arrive on Thursday and stay over the weekend, partly at my place.

2. So much great food this week. French-inspired great food and Indonesian great food (rijsttafel) and Dutch pancakes-great food and fondue-great food and great cocktails and great beer/cider and great fresh stoopwaffels.

3. We had a post-colloquium dinner with all women, two of them faculty, another one with a signed tenure track position contract. It was a first for all of us. (It also made the most liked facebook post of mine ever.)

4. Ooof. That's the overall feeling today night looking over to France. (Did you know that Paris is just three hours by train from Amsterdam? I still find it somewhat mindblowing.) Also reading Houellebecq again. (No, that particular restaurant does not exist on this street, at least not anymore, but I've actually been in two of their other locations. Yes, his freaking society analysis is to the point. And if you haven't read anything by him, you totally should.)

5. There isn't a single position I could apply for out this month. Not a freaking single one.

6. It took me several months to work up the nerves how claiming works with my health insurance (we have to pay first before we get the money back) - of course it is totally painless, but gosh, did it drive home that I hate dealing with this stuff. I want my German health insurance back just to never ever have to deal with the money side of it.

7. Are the Sunday Seven going to become a thing? Likely not. But right now they seem a good idea.

Stir, Boston

May. 4th, 2017 10:57 am
pax_athena: (foodish)
Talking to [livejournal.com profile] das_elysium about Boston reminded me that I haven't come around to post about the two nights I spend in the Stir test kitchen. I know, I know - posting about restaurant visits from last summer is kind of ... late? Lame? But then again, does it really matter to the readers here when I was in a given restaurant? And I myself love to be reminded of the great food I ate. Mo worries, I do not plan to make detailed posts about every of my restaurant visits, only the fanciest ones, i.e., the "starry" ones or special ones like Stir: one theme for the any given evening, 10 people, wine (or non-alcoholic, but warn them in advance about that) pairings, one table around a cooking station where some of the cooking happens live, accompanied by the cook's explanations about the food and cooking techniques and the sommelier's commentary on the wine and wine pairings.


Visit 1: Cookbook Series: The Basque Book



So this is what the place looks like before the cooking starts.

the rest of the night )




Visit 2: Rosé, Corn and Tomato


second visit )


I should have taken notes of which dishes were voted best - not necessarily always the ones *I* liked best. But we've been also told that it's by far not always the same dish that wins on nights with the same theme. And even given that there may be differences in the cook's performance from one night to the next (which I do not think to be great, the guys are extreme professionals), in the end it is about the taste of individual people and a group of 10 means small number statistics on any individual night (I know, I out myself as a scientist talking this way, but well ... so I am. And statistics and understanding what small numbers statistics or biases mean is important, even if it comes to food). The voting itself was a lot of fun - while we talked about food all the time at the table, it gave us a chance to stop for a second and consider the meal as a whole, to revisit first impressions and think how they stood up to everything that followed.

Anyway, if you are in Boston and have a chance to plan ahead some 5-6 weeks (the individual evenings/master classes are sold out quickly and far in advance, one usually needs to book within a short time after they are announced), totally go there. And if you have the spare money, of course. But then we are back to the discussion of food as art and the money we are willing to spend for, say, a music festival.

Sunday Seven

Apr. 30th, 2017 06:56 pm
pax_athena: (candy)
1. I rocked the interview. It till means that at least two other people need to louse up theirs badly enough to outweigh the fact that my research focus is not what they are actually searching for but at least I did not shoot myself into the foot. I will also be a lot more relaxed about the next interviews (if I ever get one).

2. Finally found a sports bra. It's really not that easy if you want one that does not have any fasteners in the back (because I *hate* them when doing any of the rolling-like-a-ball variations).

3. [personal profile] shiny_crystal was here! We talked a ton, went to the March for Science in Amsterdam, had giant pancakes and fresh syrup waffles (well one syrup waffle, since we shared) at the Albert Cuyp market. I hope we get to repeat this soon-ish, the next time without me trying to finish my job application talk.

4. If you read Russian, READ Narine Abgaryan's (Наринэ Абгарян) "С неба упали три яблока". This was a rec from [livejournal.com profile] fikuz and it's just ... warm is the best word for it. Not unrealistic or cloying warm (not in a story about a tiny village somewhere in the war- and history torn parts of the Caucasus), but life-warm and real-warm and sad-warm and hopeful-warm.
(Not yet translated into English, but a translation is planned for 2019).

5. So the neighbor? Freaking eats pretzels. Like wtf, you are a cat not a dog ...? He is still the cutest (and fluffiest), though. Also lying next to me right now.

6. Sushi and talking to friends over good food is the best. So are car rides when people give you good carrier advice (and have the kind of "everything that is said in the car stays only in here" conversations with you).

7. L. is arriving in Leiden tomorrow and staying until Sunday. I expect little sleep and a lot of work done. (So this entry is meant to say that I am back in the land of LJ/DW. If onlt kind of half-back.)
I had a list of things I wanted to buy in the USA - so many things you only realize you miss once you don't have them anymore. Most of those I ordered online - it's one of the many advantages of staying with friends, you can ask them to send stuff to their address. There more advantages to that, of course: proper duvets instead of tucked in hotel blankets (which I deeply hate); a possibility to cook (pasta with salmon in cream sauce and pancakes were on the menu this time); someone to share hard apple ciders with so you can try more; great conversations; pokemon go geekery; the feeling of coming home because you've visited this person so often in the last years.

But back to things - this is what this particular magpie brought back:

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I know, cooking posts in such a quick succession! But I just need the creativity outlet that cooking gives me. Plus I am making photos of a lot of the staples that I cook for the first time here in Leiden, things that I do not photograph when I cook them the second or the twentieth time. Although the definition of "staple" is an interesting one once you hit a certain number of recipes - my "yummy" folder alone contains 90 PDFs and there are tons and tons of dishes that I don't have a written recipe for, from pancakes to plov (in two rather different variations), from baked fish to endless variations on "classic" salads. So even a staple can sometimes only return onto the menu after a year. Or have to wait until I'm in a country that has a certain ingredient readily available.

Anyway, less talking, more food. As always: if you are interested in a certain recipe, let me know, I am glad to either provide a link or to try to write it down:



Grapefruit cake that I made with N. It was nice and moist (this was the first time I soaked a cake with extra juice - I was hesitant but it worked greatly) and all around delicious. Having a loaf pan is a great thing.

24 more )

my people

Apr. 5th, 2017 06:01 am
pax_athena: (Default)
So I asked myself what's the worst thing that can happen and that would be to loose my little community - you folks keep me sane and functioning. Given how a few people I cherish went DW only, I will be cross-posting, I think. And keep an independent archive of my LJ to keep all the comments. Filters etc. will be set up once I have a bit more breathing room and am not in meetings 12 hours out of 24 and jet-lagged.
Tags:
Hello from Shiphol. Yes, an airport again. I may be functioning on less than three hours of sleep. It was kind of my fault - I knew there is something that needs to be done by today 4 PM (actually by today 10 AM but in a different time zone) and that I did not want to risk finishing the work on the plane, i.e, count on WiFi being available. And well, instead of doing the work I went on an extended shopping tour.

But then - if you pack for an important trip and realize you hate all your non-jeans pants at the moment, what else are you to do? Well, not true about hating all of them, but none of them felt like one of the two pairs of pants (the other being the dark jeans) I wanted to pack. I knew this was long coming - my non-jeans pants tend to be wider, the kind of wider classic trousers, very conservative side of business casual, whatever. And everyone in freaking Netherlands seems to be wearing the skinny version and yes, I am not immune to being constantly confronted with a certain look that I also like. But I was hoping to avoid this; I do have enough pants and sometimes this kind of urges just go away once I waited a few months. This one clearly did not.
Anyway, now I am a proud owner of skinny business-like trousers that are almost ankle length - short enough to look fun with both sneakers and oxfords and even afford some glimpses of red socks (packed two pairs), but not short enough to give me the feeling that my legs would freeze. I am very particular about feet not being too cold or too warm.
I want to wear them all the time now. (I haven't worn them a single one yet. Let's hope that the decision to buy and take them with me will not turn out to be a wrong one.)

I also looked around for good red ballet flat. No chance - not unexpectedly, I've been on lookout for some for a while now and could not find a pair I liked, not even online. Both C&A have cheap pairs though (both with a bow - a no-go for me - and both terribly uncomfortable) so I have hopes that I may have more luck this summer. I really, really need a pair, I have a thousand outfits that only work with red ballet flat. I miss my old ones :( (but they were falling apart).

*****

I still love clothes as a creative outlet. But man, do I understand the appeal of just having a uniform or a tiny capsule wardrobe. I would be unhappy with one but sometimes I just wish ...

*****

I'm also kind of missing the outfit posts from last year. I enjoyed them. Actually, I tried to keep making them but in winter there is absolutely no natural light in my apartment in the mornings - or in the evenings, by the time I come home. And it just does not work with the lamplight in my bedroom.
There is plenty of it even at 7 AM right now. But do I want to add another five minutes to my morning routine? Outfit photos vs. five more minutes of sleep or a glimpse into Internet in the morning? Hmmm.

*****

We'll see. And in the meantime I hope I can get some sleep on the plane. Maybe staying awake for so long was not a bad idea and will help me shift to east coast time sooner. Also i have dinner today with people whom I haven't seen for a few month now and have dearly missed. I want to board sooner and then be done with the flight and the airport security and the looong taxi ride to where I need to go.

(At least I used the long night yesterday for two useful things besides the actual work that needed to be finished: a) to do my nails which are b) re-activate my US-phone so I can continue playing pokemon go, partly with my friends there.)
I kind of feel strange - here I am, posting about Iceland while sitting in our airbnb in Naples and having written most of the text of this post in the train to Paris. I've never expected this to be my life and I am pretty sure I am not going to keep this pace for long (neither want not be able to), but for the moment ... Well.



Just a random shot along the road (it's all the ring road). Isn't the landscape just gorgeous?


Read more... )


And in case you want more - previously in the Iceland holiday series: goats, surfaces/pattern/colors and Reykjavik to Höfn, counterclockwise.

Paris 2017

Mar. 21st, 2017 10:14 pm
pax_athena: (birds)
I walked 24 km on Saturday and 15 on Sunday. On Monday, I gave a talk in the morning and spent the rest of Monday and the whole of Tuesday pretty much in non-stop discussion with old and new-to-me colleagues, bouncing off ideas, discussing possible projects, trying to understand each other's approaches, interrupted only when the core group of the four of us were sharing funny stories about things that happened at this conferences or that meeting or sad/scared/desperate musings on world politics (understandably, between an American, a German living in the Netherlands and two French people).

I spent all the time pretty much non-stop with J. (yes, half of my friends seem to have names starting with this letter) - which was a bit of a risk: being the kind of people who, by our nature, need long to become friends with someone (friendships were something that we talked about on one of the mornings), we only grew closer towards the end of my stay in the USA. But it was amazing. I never ever want to miss the people I met through science having been part of my life, no matter where I go next. (And funnily, this J. and I are usually on different sides of many scientific discussions, but it does not stop us from liking each other).

The weekend program consisted of Sainte Chapelle (somehow I missed what to expect from the Sainte Chapelle and was, when we entered the lower half, deeply convinced that this was it; my gasp once we entered the main chapel may have been very loud), the museum of Asian art (I need so much more time here), Louvre (I need a year here, at least; this time with the Vermeer special exhibition) and the catacombs. We've eaten at a basque place (less good than last time - last time was the first time I had tripe in my life and I fell in love with it), a random tiny&homey maroccan place (tajine, couscous, mint tea and an appertizer of which we don't know what it was - but it was amazing) and a fancy French place with an amazing dessert, intense cheeses and tongue for a starter.

I was a Vermeer fangirl (even though the exhibition highlighted mainly a very certain motif in his paintings): a set of coasters (that contain my favorite, "The Little Street"), a magnet, a postcard and a poster/print (all of "the astronomer", I clearly could not have passed on this one). Also, the French know their fashion - I took home a long-sleeved blouse (white), a sleeveless shirt-blouse (red), a sleeveless shirt/untershirt with thin but not spaghetti straps that finally fits the way I want, and a short black sweater with bird applications (that I did not need but that looked freaking good on me). All bought why I had to wait - because no, I did not really want to waste my limited time on shopping but when at the train station an hour too early or having fifteen minutes to kill waiting for your partner in crime to arrive but not able to check in into the hotel yet ...

A few impressions:



Sainte Chappelle.

9 more )


[eda:] When leaving the house on Saturday, I realized that I forgot my power cable at home - I went back and lo-and-behold, there as not also my power cable, still plugged in (I have an extra one at work so I usually don't need to pack it), but also my wallet, still waiting quietly on the shelf next to the door. And 10 minutes before leaving the Paris institute, I realized that I am missing my wallet. The last time I could remember seeing it was when I took it out of the pocket in the bathroom, to prevent it plunging into the toilet. Luckily, we caught up with the secretary on the stairs. Two minutes later and I would have been stuck in Paris, about to cross two country borders (France/Belgium and Belgium/Netherlands) without an ID. Not to mention all my cards, but I've been least worried about them at this point.

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