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Alexandra Leaving
04 September 2013 @ 04:06 pm
Baking and I are becoming some real friends. I find the process relaxing (is this why people like knitting) and the results are usually good.

I made this on Sunday: Lemon Cream Sponge Cake

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Alexandra Leaving
03 September 2013 @ 07:26 pm
I am finding my way around Twitter. My first impressions:

- Everything works!
- It is very tempting to post something, it takes no time at all.
- It seems that all the authors I like have Twitter accounts.
- Posting on Twitter has put me in a mood for posting in LJ for some reason
- I am still not settled with the user name. I had @AlexandraLeavin at first but was bothered by the lack of g in Alexandra Leaving, so I changed it to @mindneedsbooks (from ASOIAF quote). I was sad that NorthRemembers was already taken.

In audiobook news, I am listening to "Emperor of Thorns" by Mark Lawrence and loving it. James Clamp, the narrator, really fits the voice Jorg as well.

And then I saw the gif below and have got an overwhelming urge to finally watch Game of Thrones season 2 and 3.

Jaime, it is all about Jaime. Spoilers for the season 3 of Game of ThronesCollapse )
Alexandra Leaving
19 August 2013 @ 01:40 pm
I have been thinking for a while what to do with my posting habits. On one hand, I really like to type my thoughts on keyboard and throw them out into the sea of Internet. On the other hand, LJ is always having problems (What has happened to LJ notifications - I am not getting any for a while?????) plus the state of my back doesn’t allow me for long stretches of computer sitting anymore. I have been thinking for a while and decided to try Twiiter for now, as it is: short, brisk, many people are on it (including my daughter who likes to fangirl there).

Here I am on Twitter, I would love to follow any of you who are there:

I am going to continue posting personal entries on LJ for a while.

Summer so far has been good:

- I had a steroid injection in my back (L5/S1 area) in July which made a difference!!! The pain is still there, but with considerable (30%) reduction

- This means the problem is actually in my spine! Degenerative disease (everyone has it, for some reason some people get pain!)! The consultant whom I am seeing at the moment is the first NHS doctor who actually seems to know what he is talking about. I was really skeptical when I first was referred to him (after a year of bad NHS experiences), but I now I can say - I like the guy. His name is Jark Bosma and I totally recommend him (http://www.ramsayhealth.co.uk/consultants/ashtead-hospital/mr_jark_bosma.aspx )

- The family and I had great time on holidays in Northumberland!!!
Alexandra Leaving
11 July 2013 @ 07:03 pm
 photo the_killing_zpse276ce14.png

I have finished watching the season 2. Oh, I am so sorry reginaspina and maddeinin, but the end I didn't like USA version of The Killing at all. I still adore Sarah and Holder is wonderful.

But! I really didn't like the way the show portrayed American Indians. I have a special BIG problem with stereotyping/demonising of ethnic minorities, especially when a person of ethnic minority is also a female (The Evil American Indian Female Chief ).. And I think I find stereotyping/demonising of American Indians the most problematic of all. Because - white people came, killed (or displaced) the locals, took the land and never gave it back..

Plus, to tell you the truth the Ethnic Teacher was much more likeable in the Danish show which I noticed from the start but I didn't give this too much thought on it's own.

I am so very disappointed, even more disappointed because the Danish show was so pitch-perfect in racial and ethnic sense. I don't think I will be watching any more of the USA version of The Killing.

But I did guess the killer (not all of them, just one) from the start.
Alexandra Leaving
 photo the_killing_zpse276ce14.png

- I am in the middle of the season 2. I like this show a lot.

- I have my guesses about the identity of the murderer. Please don’t spoil.

- US version is really different from the Danish version. This is great. I am watching a new show.

- Danish version is like “The Wire”, USA version is bit like “Twin Peaks” .

- I like both versions of Sarah.

- US version of Sarah is a heart that bleeds for all the unfairness of the world. I want to give my blood to her. I adore her.

- Danish version of Sarah is A Man (Woman :D) With No Name (or Omar Little). Female Goddess of Crimesolving. I worship her.

- I do not care for the USA version of The Politician at all. In my opinion Billy Campbell murdered the political side of the story.

- I adore The Danish version of The Politician. If you haven’t seen the Danish version yet, watch it for Lars Mikkelsen in the role of Troels Hartmann.

- I love Holder to bits. He is the best change in the US version. If you haven’t seen the US version yet, watch it for Holder’s sake.

- Every female character is 6 dress sizes slimmer in the USA version (in comparison with the Danish version). There are no female characters with the dress size above the US size 4, and the majority are size 2. I am not taking an issue with this, but still..
Alexandra Leaving
30 April 2013 @ 03:46 pm

The better, principled part of me says to me: "See, this is a series overcrowded with serial killers. It will not show you anything better than improper use of mushrooms and cannibalism on-screen." The other, not so principled side of me screams: "I adore Mads Mikkelsen! I want to hear him speak English! I want to see him eating whatever he is eating on my TV! I want to see him wearing his odd but interesting waistcoats! I want to make a collection of waistcoats myself!"

 photo mm1_zps22395c77.gif

I have a long-standing waistcoat obsession and I own a few (nothing is as good as a waistcoat suit for interviews). You might like Hannibal the TV series, or you might not, but here is a waistcoat collection to admire: Mads Mikkelsen in waistcoatsCollapse )
Alexandra Leaving
22 April 2013 @ 03:29 pm
Having finished, FINALLY, all seven Harry Potter books I felt compelled to fill a meme (of my own creation):


1. Most awesome character: Dumbledore

The one and truly.

2. Most thought-provoking character: Snape.
I used to like reading WW2 spy novels when I was young, so I guess it is no wonder I find Snape’s character so interesting. Although I must say that I wouldn’t have liked him as much if I read the books first, before watching the movies and seeing Alan Rickman as Snape. I am a huge fan of Alan Rickman since forever. And the fact that I was spoiled for the ending helped me too.

3. Character I find most attractive: Sirius Black.
But then again, if it was someone other than Gary Oldman, I might have thought differently.

4. Favourite young adult character: A tie between Hermione and Ron. But Neville and Luna are really close as well.


1. The house you think you belong to: Gryffindor

I used to think I am a Ravenclaw , but I did Pottermore (my daughter made me do it) and as according to Pottermore I am a Gryffindor. When I thought more about this I decided : ok. Yes, I am not that interested in power or knowledge for it’s own sake. And I am not steady enough to be a Hufflepuff. I am more of a “charge into the battle and start fighting” type.

2. Favourite house: Ravenclaw.
The description of Ravenclaw common room is one of the most awesome things in the book. I want to live there.


1. The saddest death: Dobby

It makes me weepy even to think of it. the way Harry dug a grave for Dobby ? So so sad.

2. The death that was most unnecessary: Sirius Black
I thought that the author exceeded the quota of deaths allowed per young adult books. ** tsk, tsk ** Some of the characters "had to" die otherwise the story wouldn’t have worked out. For example, Dumbledore had to die so that the young adult characters could take the responsibilities of leading the resistance and solve problems by themselves. Snape had to die because he was a spy and they always do. Dobby had to die because he is a Big Tragic Hero. But why did Fred have to die?????? And even more: why did Sirius have to die in that pointless "just fell beyond the veil" way?? Why???????


1. Favourite ship: Dumbledore/Snape

Am I alone in the whole world shipping them? If there is any Dumbledore/Snape fanfiction out there, please let me know.

2. Favourite young adult ship: Ron and Hermione.
I always wonder where the high numbers of Harry and Hermione shippers come from, especially considering the books were released before movies. There have never been any hint towards Harry and Hermione having a romantic interest in each other, but there are hints of Hermione viewing Ron as "not just a friend" as early as in the second book.


1. Best book: Prisoner of Azkaban

There is a kind of bell-cure distribution of the quality of HP books. It reaches the pinnacle in the middle (I think Goblet of Fire is a good book too) and slides into abyss towards the end.

2. Worst book: Order of the Phoenix
This was a seriously tedious book, but The Deathly Hallows with its endless camping wasn’t much better.

3. Shippiest book: Half-blood Prince

PS: I know everyone but me finished these books ages ago, but I am dying to discuss. :D
Alexandra Leaving
21 April 2013 @ 03:20 pm
I can't resist an urge to post the picture of baking .Here is a Banana , Date and Cherry loaf I made today. This is so far one of my favourite recipes, totally yummy:

Also, coming back from the few month of rare posting I have noticed one thing: all the Lj-users I like the most, the ones I love reading and commenting to are still here!! This is so so great!
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Alexandra Leaving
18 April 2013 @ 05:42 pm
I am so happy to report that I think I have a baking talent. I have never baked anything before as baking always looked very complex, even mystical, but to my surprise after 40+ years of life I have discovered that baking is like programming: you put correct ingredients in correct amounts in correct order and cook under correct temperature in correct pots, and it all is going to be fine. The secret is that you need to pay attention to detail, but again - this is LIKE PROGRAMMING!

I have tried two simple recipes last week (Banana, date and cherry loaf and Victoria sponge cake) and they both worked perfectly.

The credit must also go to the British Queen of Cakes Mary Berry whose book I have purchased. Thank you so much , Mary, the recipes were simple, cheap, and worked well!

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Alexandra Leaving
10 April 2013 @ 01:59 pm
Hi! I have become an infrequent poster.. My sincere apologies! This is an update, in short , of my current life

The back/leg problem. It is still there. I have learned to manage my life so that I can live it. I have reconciled with living with some pain, and have found things that make it bearable. For example, a light swim every evening (with sauna and jacuzzi) allows me to sleep without painkillers. I have completely weaned myself off the codeine-containing strong painkillers by doing swimming-sauna-jacuzzi every day. I only use simple paracetamol and ibuprofen on some nights.

My workplace is quite good as well: they have allowed me to work 3 days a month from home, in combination with my 4-day week this makes only 3 days to commute (on most weeks).

And I love my new team leader job. I have never thought that I will like something that involves working with people so much. :D

But unfortunately sitting is still something that makes me feel worse, so I try not to spend any time sitting after work, and because of it I don’t spend too much time near computer..

As to actually resolving the back problem, it seems that the way is long and windy. It isn’t even quite clear what is wrong with my back yet. My physiotherapist thinks it is a problem with SI joint, but the consultant I saw recently told me that I have a small tear in the cartilage of the spine (from MRI) . So now he is going to try to do something about the cartilage tear (steroid injection). If this doesn’t work I can be later referred for a steroid injection into the SI joint. All this process is taking ages because waiting time is added to every step of the way. On the positive side the consultant was very attractive.

In fannish life, I am back in Kdrama wagon as I am watching several of current dramas simultaneously. I have a decent flat sofa (it is very cheap but comfortable for some reason) which allows me to lie in a decent position whilst watching TV. I have even marathoned some of the older dramas ( Oh FAMILY’S HONOR, how I love you!)

Plus I am trying to find some other interesting light non-sitting things to do. I can only lie on a sofa for so long because the back hurts after doing this for too long. And walking long walks is not very good as well (I know, I am falling to bits). But short walks are fine. The best activities for me seem to be the ones where I can change positions. So I have decided to try baking! I have never done much baking but I like baking in theory because I like cakes. I made some of my simple Russian recipes and bought a cake book. I hope it all goes well.

(the cake in the picture is not mine. but I hope I will have some good pictures soon)

And I am still listening to audiobooks – I am finishing Harry Potter at the moment. I listen to audiobooks whist commuting/shopping/any other activity that allows it. There are even water-resistant mp3 players one can purchase, so I might get one for swimming.

I have even created a Goodreads page, here: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/18357339-alexandra-leaving

On the book theme: Have you read anything good lately?????? Please recommend!

How have you all been? How are things?
Current Mood: determined