briarwood: (ZenFen Moon)
I just caught my 72 year old mother reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

I think the world is ending.

(I guess I should be glad it wasn't Twilight. On second thought, given that she's a former midwife, her reaction to Breaking Dawn would be worth it.)
briarwood: (Lost SunBeach)
Yesterday's shopping trip with Mum went really well. We successfully acquired a dress with a matching jacket for Mum to wear to V's wedding. She was determined to get a hat or fascinator to go with it, but this turned into a bit of an adventure. See, after we'd tried what Mum thought were the logical places to hat-shop and rejected them, I suggested Accessorize. Mum said no, Accessorize is cheap and looks it. Which is usually true, so I didn't argue. But then she said we'd try Monsoon. I didn't have the heart to tell her they are the same chain. Especially as she found a hat she liked in there!

While we were in M&S Mum talked me into trying on a pair of jeans I really wanted, even though my budget is tight just now. I tried on a size 16 and they actually fit! Seriously, I haven't been able to get into a 16 in jeans for 20 years. I didn't care about buying them then, I was just really happy. Mum ended up paying for them as a celebration. I also acquired a beautiful dress in the sale in Debenhams - not somewhere I'd usually shop as it's way too pricey, but we were shopping for a wedding. And when I saw this, I just couldn't resist. It's blue-grey, a shift dress and there's kind of a floaty layer over it with a print that reminds me of a kimono. I just couldn't not buy it. Now I just hope we get some warm weather soon, so I can wear it!

Today has been a quiet day. I'm trying to write fic but it's just not coming. Or rather, it's going so slow I may as well not bother. I don't know why. Guess it's just not right today.

So I'm gonna snuggle down and watch something light. Stardust maybe.
briarwood: (No1 LDA Smile)
A childhood memory. I'm not sure how old I was, but certinly younger than 10. Most likely older than 6, as I don't remember my Dad being present and I do remember Sis being there.

It was a family day out at the beach, somewhere with a long stretch of sand, not pebbles. It was a hot day and there were a lot of activities going on: beach ball games, Punch and Judy, sandcastles and there were donkey rides. I watched the donkeys from a distance: there were six, and each was led by an adult with a child on its back. They went at a slow pace from the top of the beach almost to the water's edge, where they turned in a wide circle and then broke into a run on the way back. To my eyes it looked very fast.

Later, I was allowed a donkey ride myself. This was not my first ride, but I was scared, because I had seen them running. I was afraid I'd fall if they went fast. Although I wanted a ride, I said I would only do it if we didn't have to run, and the adult leading my donkey promised we would go slow the whole way. I agreed to the ride.

My vivid memory is not of enjoying the ride, though I'm sure I did. It's of getting to the part where earlier I'd watched them break into a run before and being so convinced, in spite of promises, that my donkey would do the same that I screamed to get down. The adult repeated her promise that we would go slow, but I simply could not believe it. I was lifted down from the donkey and walked at its side, just as slow as had been promised, all the way back.


Today I wonder, why was I as a child so unable to trust? Memory is slippery and mine may not be accurate, but as I recall that incident, I had it all reasoned out logically. I had been watching the donkeys and they always went fast on the return trip. Grown ups thought that going fast was fun. I was scared of going fast, but they would lie to me because they thought if they forced me to go fast, I would find it fun, too. I was so certain the promise was a trick I nearly had hysterics until I was allowed off the donkey.

Did someone trick me or lie to me in that way before, and I don't remember it? Or was this part of the shattering of trust that happened when I discovered Mum lied to me about Dad dying? I don't think so...I was older when I found out about that lie.

I don't know why it's bothering me today...it was years and years ago. But it is.
briarwood: (Amber Santa)
I don't have a lot of news, but in the effort to keep myself posting...

The UK is once again in the throes of the snowpocalypse. I think it's pretty out there...but it does have its disadvantages. Today I did the weekly shopping for Mum because she was sensibly too scared to leave the house. She's 70 now; last thing she needs is to fall on the ice. I have YakTrax for my boots and they work really well - it didn't feel slippery at all. But Tesco car park was a nightmare. It looked like they'd made an effort to clear the snow in places but most of it was thick, dirty slush. It was like paddling on the beach...only without the fun. If the weather forecast is to be trusted, we won't be getting more snow this side of Christmas, which means the roads should stay clear. Let's hope.

We haven't had any post for two days, and the folks who were supposed to fix our cooker never showed up yesterday. Sis is panicking about that: from her POV, a Christmas without turkey is a Christmas ruined. She's talking about using a friend's oven who lives in the next street (they're going away for Christmas) but I don't know how practical that is. If it were me, I'd just plan on a different kind of meat: our top oven works fine, we could roast beef or pork in there. It's just too small for a whole turkey. *shrugs* Her problem. I'd be happy with fish and chips.

I have finished one of my planned gift fics and am now working on the second. I'm still finding it a struggle to write, but my Yuletide fic turned out okay, so I'm hoping I'm over the worst of whatever was blocking me. If all goes well, I'll post both these fics on Christmas Eve.

It's the Strictly final tonight. I was more invested in the semi-final last week than I am in tonight's show. I think it's because of these three couples, I'm not bothered who wins. They all deserve it. Last week the two couples I thought should be dropped were, so for me, tonights show will be perfect no matter who wins. I suspect it will be Pamela; she seems to be most popular with the public, but who knows?

Next week I'm working right up to Christmas Eve. It sounds like it'll be a lonely week: the rest of my team are on leave and I suspect most people in my branch. It suits me, actually. I work best without distractions and I can get more done that way. Then the office is closed Mon-Wed next week, and I'll be working Thursday and Friday. So I get a decent break for the holidays anyhow.

Well, to those starting the holidays next week: Happy Holidays.
briarwood: (Amber Santa)
We had a break-in two days ago. Not the house, though. It was the garden shed, and I suspect the would-be theives got more than they bargained for. The shed used to be a playhouse when Sis and I were little; later it became a place for Granddad to store his garden tools and pots, but now it's just what we use instead of a skip. I think the only thing in there worth stealing is the fish tank, and frankly anyone who takes that off our hands will be doing me a favour.

Anyhow, around 6.30 the other night I guess the dogs heard something, because they both wanted to go out. I let them out and saw that the shed door was standing open. When I went to check it out, I found one of the old PC monitors smashed on the ground just outside the open door. I think what happened is the would-be-thief forced the lock, yanked the door open and the monitor fell out. Hopefully breaking his toe. I don't care about the shed: like I said, there's nothing worth stealing, but it's got Mum a bit shaken up. We reported it, of course, but the cops were pretty useless. They didn't even dust for prints...I mean, given how cold it's been, I know they wouldn't have found any, but they might at least pretend to make an effort to reassure an old woman who's alone most of the day.

Yesterday was Mum's 70th birthday. She's been complaining for days about the snow, afraid it would stop us from going out for the birthday dinner as planned. Then after our shed-adventure, she didn't want to go out in case the house was burgled. I thought I was going to have to offer to stay home, but in the end it all worked out. We went to this tiny Italian place on the other side of the river. Expensive, but the food was very good, and Mum had a good time, which was of course the point.

Today...today it keeps trying really hard to snow, but we're just getting these occasional sprinkles of light, dry snow. You don't even notice unless you're out in it. Which I was - it managed to happen both on my way to work and on my walk home. Either I'm special, or it's been doing that all day and I didn't notice :) On the bright side, I now have Yak Trax so I'm prepared if the weather does turn icy again. (Last year I nearly killed myself by slipping almost literally under a bus 'cause Mum insisted I go out in the snow to do her last minute Christmas shopping. I didn't mind the shopping part, but the city centre was an ice rink and I have crappy balance at the best of times.)

Tonight, I must knuckle down and work on my Yuletide fic. I'm about halfway there, but I've been "researching" all week (i.e. watching DVDs). Now I must actually write.

Writing...

Aug. 23rd, 2010 10:40 am
briarwood: Supernatural - Jessica Moore (SPN Jessica)
I've been working flat out on the re-write of my Jessica-centric story. I didn't think I'd get it done in time for [community profile] ladiesbigbang but if I can get some beta help I just might do it. I need someone who can give me some concrit about the story, not just a proof-read. Because this is nearly all in Jessica's POV, I need to know if the things Jessica doesn't know come across clearly - stuff like Sam trying to investigate a haunting while keeping his friends out of it.

So this is me begging for help again.

It's about 35,000 words, so I know this is a tall order, but if anyone has time to look at it for me by the weekend, I'll have time to submit a final draft for the big bang. If not...no harm. I'll just post it anyway outside of the challenge.

And, because I love a teaser... this is a snippet of one of my favourite scenes in the current draft )

Other fics - I've started four different short Inception fics over the past week, and finished none of them. It's not that I don't know the endings, either, it's just every time I sit down to pick up the thread of one I've already started, some new idea pushes in. I'm not usually this undisciplined in my writing...I'm not sure whether this level of inspiration is a good sign (yay!inspiration!) or a bad one (never-gonna-finish-a-fic).

ION...All my family but me are going away next weekend. I am being left home to look after the dogs. This is no hardship, though it'll be hard on them. I can't walk them properly because they're too used to being walked by the Useless Fiance. If I let them off the lead, they go searching for him and won't come back to me. But it'll be nice to have the place to myself for a few nights.

Also - Poppy is fully recovered from her snake bite (yay!). She's still got a scar, but she's all healed now.
briarwood: My dog Poppy (Poppy)
Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. If Poppy could read my emails she'd be grateful for all the good wishes :)

Sis finally updated me and Poppy is fine today after our snake-bite scare yesterday. No more swelling around the bite, and no signs of trouble. Although the vet said 24 hours, I think it would be obvious by now if she'd gotten a poisoned bite, so I'm much happier. Of course there's still a risk of infection but she seems to be out of danger.

I've got to give props to the vet: yesterday when we found the bite on her belly Sis called them right away and they said to bring her in asap. In the time it took Sis to drive there they'd called some kind of expert to confirm the correct protocol to follow, and they treated Poppy right away.

Poppy wasn't too thrilled at being rushed to the vet - after all the trouble with her leg she's started to associate the vet with pain - but she was watched pretty closely by all of us yesterday. This morning the injury looks healed and she seems back to normal.

So much relief all around. I don't think any of us could have dealt with losing Poppy so soon after we had to put Rocky to sleep.

Thanks again :) *hugs you all*
briarwood: My dog Poppy (Poppy)
Poppy has been bitten by a snake. She must have disturbed it chasing the ball and it got her on her belly.

Thankfully we spotted it (I spotted it) quickly and Sis got her to the vet. Unfortunately, no one saw the snake, so we don't know if it was an adder. John said she didn't yelp or anything, but that just means he was busy watchig Amber. But we know there are adders living on the golflinks, which is where the dogs are walked.

Sis just got back from the vet: they've given her steroids and antibiotics but not antivenom; apparently that's a bad idea unless you're sure. So we have to keep an eye on her for the next 24 hours and zoom her back to the vet if the bite swells or if she's behaving oddly (that's nice and specific, isn't it?)
briarwood: (SPN Meg Blue)
Yesterday [livejournal.com profile] admiralandrea and [livejournal.com profile] krazykipper got their degree results and I couldn't be more happy for both of them!

My OU course result showed up this morning. Not as exciting as theirs, since mine is a pass/fail thing and only a level 1 course, but I passed. I got an 81% average on part 1, 74% on part 2. Which is pretty darn good considering how many issues I had with the material on part 2. Now I've got to decide whether or not I'm continuing with this next year. Part of me really, really wants to. But the bigger part of me is focussed on the cost: in money, but mostly in the things I'd have to give up to really concentrate on study. Like fandom. I reckon I could deal with the monetary cost but the rest? I doubt it.

I got a frantic call from Sis yesterday telling me Mum had texted her and she was really sick and when was I going home. I was almost at the end of my work day so I begged a lift from a colleague and headed home double-quick. I don't know what she'd told Sis but Mum seemed fine to me. She'd been unwell, and was being sulky and miserable, but Sis made it sound like I'd need to call an ambulance the instant I got in. Someone needs a stern talking to about exaggerating ailments. I just need to figure out which one. Grr.

Poppy has her next checkup at the vet tonight. She still isn't walking properly on that leg, but I don't think it's hurting her any more and she's back to being fit and active and running everywhere. She'll use all four legs when she runs - that's why I'm sure it's no longer hurting her - but if she's walking or standing still she still tries to keep it off the ground. Habit, maybe? Hopefully the vet will be pleased with her.

I made a start on a fic for [community profile] hc_bingo: just outlining so far. It has an...unusual pairing, which seems to be a habit with me just lately. Then it occurred to me that I've got a WiP which fits fairly well with another of my squares. I'd just have to make the 'hurt' stuff a bit more graphic than I originally planned and it might be the push I need to finally finish this one. And then I sat down to write...and ended up with more than 5,000 words of a completely different story. And this one is no good as a bingo square!

How does this happen to me? I know how it happens. I just have this really well-populated back-burner. I get ideas, I shove 'em back there and someday they pop up as if to say "Right, my turn now!" and it just flows. It seems easy, but it's because I've been thinking about it at odd moments for years. In this case, it was an idea about Sam and his friends staying in a supposedly haunted house while he's at Stanford, and how would he deal with it while trying to keep his friends both safe and ignorant of who he really is. Then I thought about tying that idea in somehow with The Haunting of Hill House, just, you know, because. But the idea when I originally thought of it went nowhere. Now suddenly I've got the 'hook' I needed to make this work and I've got all this stuff written...and weirdly, it's all from Jessica's point of view. I think that's a big part of my 'hook': I don't need to explain who Sam is or what he knows - the reader knows all that. The interesting part of the story is Jessica's ignorance: how does she perceive the paranormal activity, how much does Sam inadvertently give away, what will she see in his actions? In a sense, she's a perfect unreliable narrator because the reader will have more information than she does. This could be really good.

Of course, no one will read it because it's icky het and from Jessica's POV :D

I really must do more than outline that [community profile] hc_bingo fic. And get back to that TV meme. Soon.

Meeses!

May. 13th, 2010 12:55 pm
briarwood: My dog Poppy (Poppy)
This morning we trapped our first mouse!

I am exceptionally relieved, as this would tend to indicate the problem isn't rats.

Huh. I haven't mentioned this before, have I?

Cut because there isn't really a short version of the explanation. )

In better news: Poppy is doing well, but still in recovery. The wire the vet put in her leg is troubling her, but the vet says it's better to keep it there than remove it. If it slows down her recovery, that's better than risking the joint coming unstuck again. Which I understand. But I thought she'd be all better by now. She is, mostly. She mostly walks on all four legs now, but when she's standing still she keeps the bad leg off the ground. I'm not sure if that's habit or pain.

Tonight, I'm going to see the new Robin Hood movie and tomorrow is season finale time for, hell, a lot of my shows.

Working...

Feb. 8th, 2010 03:47 pm
briarwood: Supernatural: Jo Fights Like A Girl (SPN Jo Fighter)
I managed to forget until this morning that I'm training in work all week. As in, every single day this week. And I'm not being trained - I'm the trainer.

Which means super-stress, and working late every day this week (except today) because I have to make my data delivery deadlines this week as well. Doing all this training doesn't get me out of business as usual. If I'm really, really lucky I might be able to finish at my regular time on Friday.

Why exactly did I volunteer to do this? I'm having trouble remembering.

Actually today's session went fairly well. My trainees said so, anyhow. I mucked up a few times and I never did get the hang of writing on a white-board, but so far the feedback has been good. I'm confident of my written material - it's the face-to-face thing I'm not so good at.

Roll on the weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the bright side, Mum just offered to treat me to Chinese take-away tonight - because she's craving one and this way she can make me go and get it instead of paying for delivery. I don't think the math works out in her favour, but I'm not complaining *grin*
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (DarthPotatoHead)
My digital camera isn't very good and my camera work sucks. That said, I've got a couple of short vids of the new puppy for those who love the cuteness.

Vid 1 is Poppi and Simba. Poppi is ball crazy. She loves playing ball. She begs you to throw the ball, she'll collect balls and pile them around your feet until you get the message. But here, she's in the middle of playing throw-the-ball and she actually stopped to check out Simba!

http://www.youtube.com/v/xzOlxd4YSgs

Vid 2 is Simba playing in the grass. I don't think you can see it too clearly, but she tickled her nose on a long blade of grass and started playing swat with it...just like a kitten!

http://www.youtube.com/v/qw7W2LMuM_A
briarwood: Supernatural: The Winchesters (SPN Brothers)
We have a new puppy! Her name is Simba and she's a terrier.

Pictures behind the cut )
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Morgan Sentinel Blair)
I'm slowly shaking off this silly depression. I'm beginning to suspect it was some sort of sympathetic illness with Poppi, as she had her operation a couple of weeks ago (about when this started) and I seem to be recovering as our darling dog gets her bounce back. Or maybe having her bouncing around again is cheering me up. Don't know.

Asylum con is getting closer, so that's something to get excited about. [livejournal.com profile] admiralandrea and I are going to travel up together and hopefully have a fantastic weekend and meet loads of our LJ friends. Yep, I'm definitely getting excited about that.

My fic o'weirdness is taking an odd turn. I'm beginning to think this one's gonna end up a bust but I'm sticking with it for now. See where it goes.

Tomorrow is (if all goes to plan) the day the builders are gonna take down our kitchen ceiling and give us a shiny new asbestos-free one. This means I can't come home until they're done, which is likely to be much later than I usually leave work. I was going to head into Cardiff and maybe see a movie, but the choices seem pretty thin. All the six o'clock films are horror movies. I like horror movies, but I've got to be in the mood. OTOH, I've got a meeting tomorrow that might just put me in the mood for some slash-and-burn :-)

Okay. End of post. Must make tea...

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briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)Morgan Briarwood

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