edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-08-21 09:31 pm

5 things: eclipse, doctor's office, squash, rummage sale, and rental office

1. I totally forgot today was the eclipse -- I plead lack of sleep and also distraction (volunteering at the final day of my church's annual rummage sale) -- but fortunately I got my two sale rooms closed down by 2pm and was able first to see several pinhole projections other church members were using out on the sidewalk, and later to get a direct look through some glasses that Upstairs Neighbor E lent me while I was out walking Dottie.

It was pretty cool to see the moon take a bite out of the sun. :) It was also vaguely disquieting, because the sky went... not dark, you couldn't remotely call it dark... but noticeably gray. The color desaturated. Also, when Dottie decided that her midafternoon walk should end with a five minute relaxing lie-down in a sunny patch of grass, the direct sunlight was not nearly as warm as it should have been for that time of day and the ambient temperature. So, nothing dramatic, probably nothing I would have noticed if I hadn't been aware of the eclipse and therefore actively paying attention, but still. Pretty cool. :)

2. I called the doctors' office about getting a psychiatric evaluation/anti-depressant prescription, but was unable to make an appointment yet because I'm in a weird limbo where they're not sure if I count as a new or a returning patient, since my last appointment was apparently three years ago. The clerk who answered the phone took some information about my insurance and has sent an inquiry to their billing department. A representative should call me later this week, after which I will be able to schedule an appointment.

3. Three of my squash plants seem pretty definitively dead. The fourth (which was worst hit by the powdery mildew but seems to have escaped the wilting sickness that subsequently struck the other three) might be in the early stages of slow recovery. So I think I'll uproot the dead ones on Wednesday or Thursday and plant new seeds.

4. My church's rummage sale went pretty well, all things considered. I worked 12-4pm on Sunday, and 10-2pm today. The sale runs Saturday-Monday. Saturday is full-price, Sunday is half-price, and Monday is free with a donation box placed prominently at the exit. (We used to have Monday be 10-cent day, but that was immensely aggravating to everyone involved, so we swapped over to "free, but have you seen this donation box???" It turns out we not only save time this way, we actually bring in more money!) Monday is also the day we do preliminary breakdown, starting around noon -- first we start taking down a bunch of the shelving, and then we box everything up and cart it downstairs to the parlor so as to make things less inconvenient for the people hauling the unsold items away Tuesday morning.

(I think the unsold books go to the Friends of the Library book sale, but I wouldn't swear to it. The remaining fabric scraps probably go to one of the local sewing co-ops. I am also unsure what happens to the unsold linens and toys, though I think again there may be arrangements with various local charities. The rest... well, most of it goes to the dump. *sigh* But hey, it was going there anyway, and the sale does save an astonishing amount of stuff from being scrapped.)

5. Cornell classes started today, which meant that last week (and specifically Saturday) were the crush days for students moving back to Ithaca. And also students panicking and realizing they've forgotten to rent parking spaces. *wry* So the rental office was VERY BUSY -- in fact, Mom Boss and Aunt Boss came in to work from ~11am-4pm so we had four people in the office (usually Miss Cactus and I cover Saturdays alone), and that extra staffing was NECESSARY.

We will continue to be busy through... hmm... early October, probably? Here is why: A) people working out the glitches in their new apartments and returning their damage deposit inspection forms; B) the final parking rental rush; C) quarterly rent payments are due; D) people hurrying to pay for internet service after the free trial period ends; D) price listings for the 2018-19 year go up and we start apartment tours; E) current tenants get a couple weeks to renew or switch apartments before open renting starts; and F) open renting starts halfway through September.

But at least we're mostly done with key returns and sign-outs, we have the nice new folders for next year's leases set up, damage deposits and summer photographs are all done, and most of the giant packages in which people ship furnishings to themselves have arrived and been picked up. So that's something!
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-08-18 09:55 pm

wherein Liz admits that her "mild" depression is probably more serious than she's wanted to face

Iiiiiiii.... kind of totally forgot to make "stuff done" posts for the past week and a half? Hmm. I am still keeping up my to-do lists (though obviously not getting everything on them done every day), but I think perhaps if I keep stalling out on posting them, that part of the project is now doing more harm than good, so.

To summarize, over the past week and a half, I did some intake/sorting/setup for my church's annual garage sale (which runs this weekend, Saturday-Monday). I also acquired a set of four white wine glasses (which are actually pink -- "white" in this case refers to the shape/style rather than the actual glass color) for my parents and put an IOU into the box since I made off with them before the actual sale. The glasses, btw, are now safely in NJ at my parents' house.

I acquired a temporary dog. :D

I bought a replacement pair of slippers and a new pair of black not-quite-dress shoes for work. (I have had the damndest time finding black shoes that both look good and have enough support that they don't murder my feet if I walk a mile. Apparently nobody in the shoe manufacturing industry thinks women are going to regularly walk a mile in office work shoes? This is very short-sighted, in my opinion.)

I think my squash are dying. I am not sure if it's just the powdery mildew, or that plus some other thing, but they are all in extremely bad shape. I may just cut my losses, uproot them all, and start over with eight new seeds. I mean, I still have a solid two months of reasonable weather. It's worth a shot.

...I'll decide on Monday, I guess.

All nineteen of the peppers are fine, incidentally! Whatever attacked the squash has completely passed them over.

I posted my WIP Big Bang fic, but because of reasons, it is still not as edited as I wanted it to be, so I think I'll hold off on actually doing a link/advertising post here until I get it fixed up a little more. *sigh*

I am starting to think it really might be a good idea to look into getting back on antidepressants, because this general malaise, while not what I think of as "real" depression, has lasted for far too long and has been seriously affecting my quality of life for going on two years now. I find it hard to work up enthusiasm/energy for things I KNOW I like, and I have been letting far too many brickspace life tasks slide because I just can't pull myself together to deal with them.

Of course, figuring out how to get an antidepressant prescription is exactly the kind of brickspace task that currently feels impossible, because depression is evil like that. *deeper sigh*

Mnrgh.

On the brighter side, I have a pretty solid idea for my remix, and some halfway-solid ideas for my NFE fic, so hopefully I will be able to get enough sleep to sort of bootstrap myself into functionality for the next couple weeks and get them written by their respective deadlines. *crosses fingers and lights a candle for good measure*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-08-17 10:08 pm

wherein Liz plans a dognapping

Greetings from New Jersey!

I drove down from Ithaca this afternoon in order to kidnap my parents' dog, mwahahahaha!!!

Or, in less dramatic terms, to pick up Dottie so she won't have to spend the next two-plus weeks in a kennel while Mom and Dad are off gallivanting around Norway. (Dad is giving a paper at the 11th International Conference on the History of Chemistry in Trondheim -- his conference papers are often their nominal excuse for trips to interesting places -- but they will spend most of their time on general tourism stuff.)

We went out to dinner at Charlie Brown's, I have washed a bunch of laundry, and tomorrow I will head back north through A) rain, B) far too much roadwork, and C) god only knows how many families flooding into Ithaca to drop their kids off at Cornell for the start of classes on Monday the 21st.

And then I will have a temporary dog. Yay dog! :D
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-08-07 09:47 pm

stuff done: Saturday-Monday (10 days)

1. Called Vicky Saturday evening and talked about various things for a hour or two.

2. Changed linens.

3. Bought Susan's birthday present. I started by going to the Farmer's Market down at Steamboat Landing, but they didn't have anything that really jumped out at me. So I drove up the west shore of the lake to American Winery and bought her three types of specialty fudge. I am mostly neutral on Americana's wines -- a few each year are pretty good, most are okay, a few are emphatically not to my taste -- but I have never yet disliked any of their fudge varieties, so. I got her Maple Bacon Chocolate, Amaretto Chocolate Swirl, and Dark Chocolate Covered Cherry. :)

more items under the cut )

21. Susan's birthday celebration! We met at the G family house around 7pm, where Cat and I admired Susan's kitten (Abbie, a gray tabby with white socks and a bit of tan around her ankles) and Susan opened our gifts.

Then we went to Yuki Hana, a local sushi place, for dinner. We got three items to share: unagi don, orange dragon rolls, and ume-shiso rolls; before the main course, Susan and I each had miso soup and Cat had the complimentary salad that came with the unagi don. We declined desert, but received a plate with three watermelon slices apparently just because, which was unexpected but tasty. I had to preemptively take a Benadryl because of raw avocado and cucumber, but it was totally worth it. :)

After dinner, we returned to the G family house and chatted for a while before Susan suggested we try some of the fudge I'd gotten her. Rev. and Mrs. G were invited to join in, and the general consensus was that fudge is good. (This is not a terribly controversial conclusion, I feel. *wry*) We enlisted Rev. G to take pictures of the three of us before Cat had to bail (since she needed to get some sleep before driving to Pennsic on Monday), and I am very glad we were able to get together like that. :D

22. Finished the beta draft of "Intervention" (my WIP Big Bang fic) and sent it to beta. \o/

23. Drove back to Ithaca. I should mention at this point that on both the drive down and the drive up, I was listening to a lecture series on tape: The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes, by Prof. Kenneth W. Harl of Tulane, which is part of the Great Courses series. There are 36 lectures in total, two per CD, and I have gotten through 17 of them. (I started on lecture 3, since Mom and I listened to some of them on a previous car trip and while I couldn't remember exactly where we left off, I knew it was past the first CD.)

I don't know why I never tried listening to nonfiction audiobooks or audio lectures on car trips before. (I specify nonfiction because I find fiction audiobooks intensely distracting; the voices never quite match what's in my head, and also the pacing tends to be indefinably wrong.) But listening to lectures while driving uses one problem to solve another in the most beautiful way. First, the lectures help me stay alert and focused on the road in a way that I otherwise find difficult -- caffeine is not infallible, and music gets samey after a while -- because I have to be paying attention to what the lecturer is saying, and relating it to previous lectures and my own general understanding of world history. Second, driving is a visual/kinesthetic task that eats up enough of my concentration that I actually CAN pay attention to the audio input, which is something I otherwise find nearly impossible and have had to resort to sewing projects or coloring books in order to listen to occasional podcasts that I decided were important enough to make the effort.

Anyway, I think I can get at least one more round trip to NJ and back out of this lecture series -- and then probably down to NJ again -- but after that I need to look into my local library's audio offerings, because I didn't get drifty even once on this trip, and I promise you it's not because I'd gotten any more sleep than usual. *wry*

...

And that is that, and I really have to remember to make these posts more often because covering ten days at once is ridiculous.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-31 09:42 pm

wherein Liz cooks some stuff :)

chicken and vegetables on rice, topped with lemon yogurt, with a bottle of hard cider to the left



Tonight I attempted to reconstruct one of the Blue Apron recipes -- the Persian-style chicken with rice -- to... moderate success? It tastes all right, though I think I know some things that would make it better if I try again later this year.

Anyway, I wanted to try this both as a way to use the first two summer squash from my porch garden, and as an experiment to see if I even could approximate the recipe. So I bought some turmeric and cardamom, acquired some dried currants and some roasted almonds, and kind of winged it.

I cut out some of the fancy steps -- zesting an actual lemon to make the lemon yogurt topping, baking some of the rice -- because I don't like baked rice to start with and there is a reason I bought a small bottle of lemon juice concentrate a while back: namely, "I don't have the time or patience to deal with freaking lemons when all I need is some lemon juice." I roughly doubled the quantities of onion and squash (and of course substituted yellow squash for zucchini), and both substituted chicken thighs for chicken breasts and increased the quantity of meat, though not as much as I increased the vegetables. Also I used plain medium-grain white rice instead of jasmine rice, because that's what I had on hand.

I completely guessed on the proportions and amounts of the spices to use for coating the chicken, but I think I came pretty close. (Mostly I went by the smell and color of the blend.) I think if I were doing this again, I'd use slightly less onion (proportionately) and also use six chicken thighs instead of just four -- the vegetables ended up drowning out the chicken a bit, which is not terrible from a nutritional standpoint but does affect the overall flavor. I also had to add spices to the veggies as they cooked, twice, because there wasn't enough spice gloop left over in the pan when the chicken was done cooking. While that definitely helped, I think that A) more chicken and B) even more spice would have been better.

All flavor issues aside, I wound up with SO MUCH of the chicken-veggie mix. SO MUCH. I will be eating it for a WEEK. (This is not a bad thing!) One cup of rice only got me maybe three to three-and-a-half portions there, but rice shouldn't be kept indefinitely as leftovers to start with, not to mention that it's a lot easier to make a new batch of rice (plus currants soaked in lemon juice) than it is to make the chicken-veggie mix, so I am okay with that wild mismatch.


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-28 10:03 pm

stuff done: Monday-Friday

1. Put away remaining laundry.

2. Took weekly photos of my vegetable garden, but forgot to post them. Ah well, next week!

3. Trimmed some overgrown bushes in my front yard, such that a person can now walk between the house and my car instead of finding the way impassably blocked by greenery. I must attack some other shrubbery this weekend, and possibly drag out my stepladder and give the lilac a thorough pruning.

4. Acquired cardamom and plain Greek yogurt in preparation for an attempt to approximate a Blue Apron recipe.

5. TOOK A NAP.

6. Took compost to bin. (I did this on several days, actually, but I am only going to list it once. Also the compost company finally came to empty the bin, and provided us with a new plastic liner bag which they'd neglected to do that last couple times they swapped bins.)

7. Remembered to bring a new box of tea to work, since my old one had run out.

8. Cleaned bathroom sink and toilet.

9. Called Cat Thursday afternoon and chatted for an hour and a half.

10. Cut my fingernails.

11. Vacuumed my apartment and did a little hand-dusting in awkward corners.

12. Volunteered for my church's recycling sale; I will presumably hear back from the organizers sometime this weekend.

13. Looked up hours of operation/donation for a few places I need to get to over the coming week.

14. Bought groceries (including almonds and dried currants for the previously mentioned recipe approximation attempt).

15. Backed up my computer files.

16. Began sorting my final coffee table storage box, which is full of I don't even know WHAT all kinds of completely unorganized stuff. I am taking a leaf from Cat's book and doing this in 15-minute increments, so I only take out small sections at a time and if I haven't figured out where they should go, I just put them all back in the box when I'm done. So far, I have sorted a handful of stuff into a permanent home in my nice new storage basket, recycled about twice as much, put two items aside to use a couple pieces and then throw out the rest, and set one thing in a place where I can't ignore it so I will finally get around to framing and hanging it properly. (It is a ridiculously twee baby's-first-cross-stitch project of a rearing unicorn that I sewed back when I was... I dunno, 10 maybe? which came with its own super-twee pink plastic frame, but dammit, it's adorable and I will display it with PRIDE.) And I stuck a bunch of other stuff back in the box because I have no clue what to do with it, so.

We shall see how that project continues.

17. Called my parents to discuss trips to and from NJ in August and September, and also to wish them a slightly early Happy Anniversary. As of tomorrow (Saturday 7/29/17) they will have been married for 43 years. ♥

18. Rescheduled a planned phone call with Vicky, because today turned out to be bad for her after all.

19. Posted two mini-ficlet prompt meme fills: How Easy All Can See (Rabadash talks to Ilgamuth about the political implications of courting Shezan) and Queen of the Night (Lucy decides that a queen of Narnia can set her own bedtime). Both went slightly diagonal to the prompts, but I think they turned out all right even if they're not what I meant to write. *wry*

And that is pretty much that for the week. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-23 10:39 pm

stuff done: Wednesday-Sunday

1. Emailed DRE about rescheduling our meeting; have not yet heard back. I will email her again tomorrow.

2. Paid rent.

3. Texted Landlord Dude about the compost bin, which I pulled to the curb on Tuesday the 11th but which had not been picked up as of Friday the 21st. He said he'll look into it.

4. Photographed my veggies and made a special post about the rapidly-growing squash. :) I also harvested two of the squash and have made tentative plans for what to cook with them.

5. Arranged phone calls with Cat, Susan, and Vicky.

6. Changed linens.

7. Washed laundry, dried laundry, folded laundry, put away laundry, hung other laundry up to air-dry. (I also got stuck at the laundromat for half an hour after folding my linens, because a thunderstorm blew through and it rained buckets -- enough that I didn't even want to walk two blocks home to get my car and bring the dry laundry home that way. So I read fic on my phone, bought a bag of chips and a soda and called it dinner, and later had a small container of yogurt to sort of pretend that was a less screamingly un-nutritious meal than it really was. *wry*)

8. Bought groceries.

9. Watered my houseplants.

10. Boiled a dozen eggs.

11. Called Susan and chatted for about two hours. :)

12. Finished the rough draft of my WIP Big Bang fic! It needs so many revisions, but I have something TO revise, and that is the biggest part of the battle right there. Which I win. \o/

Now I am going to read fic for a while and then crash into bed, because I have been tired enough to hibernate for the past few days and I would really like to pay down enough of my sleep dept to feel like I have energy again.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-18 10:53 pm

stuff done: Tuesday

1. Cut my fingernails and toenails.

2. Paid my credit card bills (and reconciled my credit statements).

3. Took kitchen compost to the communal bin.

4. Collected trash and took bag to the outdoor bin.

5. And then my parents visited! This was a business visit more than a family-time visit, but even so.

They arrived around noon, whereupon we had Chinese takeout for lunch. Then we drove over to Seneca Lake via a stop just north of Trumansburg to look around a farm to which I... may, kinda-sorta, have a pass to do a u-pick option on one afternoon and/or just collect one bag of produce? I am not sure of the details; the person who arranged it was unclear when she handed me the card, and there were no staff visible at the farm itself and I would have felt weird just stuffing random vegetables in a bag without giving anyone advance notice. But I got a phone number so I will try to call and see what's going on sometime later this week or next week.

Anyway, we continued on to Seneca Lake and stopped at three wineries -- Penguin Bay (which we all liked very much); Red Newt Cellars (which is VERY EXPENSIVE, and where Mom bought four wine glasses to replace my Aunt Cara's old set, which have broken over the years); and Chateau LaFayette Reneau (which we liked, but not as much as Penguin Bay) -- before heading back to Ithaca.

We went straight to dinner at Luna: Inspired Street Food, which is possibly the most hipster restaurant I have ever eaten at. I mean, the food is good! But so hipster. I had the pork belly bao bun, Mom got the fried chicken bao bun, and Dad got the half-portion of bacon smoked gouda mac & cheese. For reference, all the bao are deconstructed.

After eating, we drove back to my house, fed Dottie, and made sure we had all the recycling sale donations in the minivan, leaving the Camry with only the book sale donations (which I will drop off another day). We cruelly abandoned Dottie yet again and drove back to almost the exact place we'd just left, whereupon we unloaded all the donations. Dad and I got a bunch of them to the correct sale rooms, while Mom got one of the organizers to sign her charitable giving record sheets.

Then we came back to my house again so they could pack up their stuff and hit the road, which they did shortly before 7pm -- leaving me with the Camry, which I believe I will retain custody of until Thanksgiving. That will make my life logistically simpler in several ways. :)

6. Posted my weekly gardening report and accompanying photos.

And now I think it is time for bed, since I have to be at work tomorrow by 9am. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-17 11:54 pm

stuff done: Monday-Monday

1. Finished arranging transcripts for TC3. (One has not actually been sent yet, because the college in question is operating on an approximately two-week delay, but they have received both the request and the authorization and I should get an email when the thing finally ships.)

2. Photographed my plants and made my weekly post about them. Also added another batch of crushed eggshells to their soil.

3. Made weekly Facebook update.

4. Watered my houseplants.

more items under the cut )

28. TOOK A NAP.

29. Made weekly Facebook update.

30. Finished first mini-ficlet prompt meme fill! \o/

And hopefully I will remember to make these record-keeping posts a little more frequently from now on, because that was kind of ridiculous. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-09 07:43 pm

stuff done: Saturday-Sunday

1. Texted Upstairs Neighbor E about leaving her family's seltzer cans in a box outside my door so I don't have to fish through the gross communal recycling bins to collect them. (Her family is not interested in returning them for the bottle deposits. I am.) She said yes, so I have put out a box.

2. Finished one transcript request for my application to TC3. Another one is in progress -- I just need to print, sign, and either fax or mail a document, which I intend to do on Tuesday (taking shameless advantage of the rental company's printer, and possibly also their fax machine). The third transcript request must be done via telephone, so that's a project for Monday.

3. Boiled four eggs.

4. Poked around the Not the IRS continuing education/re-certification website and signed up for an online course. No live in-person events seem to be scheduled for my area yet, but I will keep checking back periodically. (Hopefully district management will also send out an email about that by the end of July.)

5. Washed laundry. Dried laundry. Folded laundry. Put away laundry. Hung other laundry up to air-dry overnight. Laundry is serious business!

6. Changed linens.

7. Made a weekly to-do list and taped it to the wall over my computer, which is another new scheduling hack I am trying in addition to my daily to-do lists.

...

I am considering going to bed very early tonight. I am also considering making a bag of microwave popcorn (courtesy of a former tenant who has yet to cancel their mail-order snack service a month and a half after moving out) and watching Moana on Netflix. I am not yet sure which option will win.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-07 07:54 pm

stuff done: Monday-Friday

1. Took weekly Monday photographs of my vegetables, but forgot to post them online. Ah well. I will do a two-weeks-in-one post this coming Monday.

2. Walked to the Cayuga St. bridge to watch my town's fireworks display at 9:45pm Monday night. (Ithaca usually does fireworks a day or two before the 4th. I am not sure when or why that offset started, but at this point it's a tradition and continues through sheer inertia.)

3. Wrote four fic DVD commentaries. :)

more items under the cut )

21. Applied to TC3! (I mean, I fudged some dates because I don't remember the exact end dates of my association with my high school and previous colleges. I can tell you month and year, sure! But exact day? Pfff, no. I assume they will understand and cut me slack on that front.) Tomorrow I will start arranging for transcripts. I believe I can do that online for the two colleges. For my high school, I think I have to make a phone call, so that will wait for Monday.

22. Emailed Vicky about some super-secret plans we may or may not be conspiring over. ;)

And that is that!

For the record? My productivity was wildly uneven this week. Points 1 through 8 took four days (Monday-Thursday), whereas points 9-22 were all done in a single day (Friday). This is because I knocked my sleep schedule completely out of whack and did not manage to yank it back on track for several days, during which I kind of zombied around doing nothing in particular. I can't even say I was relaxing and enjoying myself; I was mostly just going through the motions and hoping some spark of emotion/inspiration would light me up.

I really need to stop letting my sleep schedule drift. That is utterly devastating to my ability to be a functional person.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-07-03 12:01 am

stuff done: Friday-Sunday

1. Finished unpacking and put my empty luggage away.

2. Scheduled calls with Cat and Susan.

3. Called Vicky to chat about writing and general life stuff. There may be project news at some point in the future... *mysterious smile*

4. Bought groceries.

5. Boiled eight eggs.

6. Watered my houseplants.

7. Took kitchen compost to communal bin.

8. Checked up on my back porch vegetable garden, photographed them, rearranged them, and got rid of about half a million fallen mulberries and mulberry seedlings. (The last I have to do daily. I will be SO HAPPY when all the mulberries are gone for the year.)

9. Made some gardening posts.

10. Attended church and chatted briefly with the DRE. We ended up not actually meeting-meeting, since she's had some major life chaos this past week which will continue for the foreseeable future, but we have agreed to an email exchange on Thursday and we'll see what happens from there.

11. Changed linens.

12. TOOK A NAP.

13. Took recycling bins to curb for pickup.

14. Called Cat and chatted for about three hours, wow, where DID the time go???

And now I should really get to bed so I will be more awake tomorrow. :)
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
2017-07-01 01:46 pm

Star Island, Days 7-8

I am sadly behind on my posting. Woe, alas, alack!

Anyway, Wednesday was another slow day -- you may note that was kind of the running theme of my vacation. This is not a bad thing! Unwinding is necessary and beautiful! But I think if I'd had a two-week vacation rather than only one week, in the second week I could really have started to tackle some chores and trail maintenance.

Wednesday breakfast was catch-as-catch can, which for me meant toaster waffles and another clementine. It rained several times, but Mom and I got in a decent walk (the inland path to the south portage, and then home around the southeast shore of Windigo) without being dripped on excessively, so that was nice. I also finally started reading Don Quixote, though I did not get past the translator's notes and the prologue on that day.

Dinner was BLTs, and we had champagne cocktails beforehand to celebrate general island happiness and getting a firmer answer about both what the problem with our boat was and when the repairs would be complete... though alas, we did not have a returned boat itself to celebrate.

I think I forgot to mention the boat problems earlier? Anyway, there was a leak in the bottom of the boat, so we took it in to the marina for repairs. (We still had the rowboat, which is equipped with a 15-horsepower motor, so we weren't stranded or anything, but that's not a great boat for rainy or windy days.) There was some confusion about the source of the leak, but eventually they proved it was a crack in the fiberglass hull, which had to be scraped and widened, filled in with new fiberglass, and then coated with several layers of protective material that each take a while to dry/cure.

So on Thursday morning, because the boat was not yet ready, the marina owner sent one of his staff out to pick us up in one of their general maintenance boats, and then loaned that boat to my parents for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning while the boat repairs continued. We got to the airport on time, and all my flights went smoothly. There was a minor delay at Detroit when the plane door didn't close correctly, but maintenance came and promptly fixed it so that was all right.

I am sad that Fuddruckers no longer has an outpost in the Detroit airport, since that had been my go-to travel dinner for many years, but I guess nothing lasts forever. And now I am home, and in fact back at work, so, you know, life goes on. *wry*
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
2017-06-27 10:35 pm

Star Island 2017, Days 4-6

The thing about the island -- and this is both good and bad -- is that it's very easy to lose track of time because the rhythm of the days is very different from the normal workweek.

Anyway, on Sunday I don't think I did anything in particular, aside from finally finishing the edits and extensions to "Second Chances." No, wait -- Dad, Mom, and I collectively walked down to the east portage and then I peeled off to come home via the woods while they continued on to the south portage and walked home from there.

On Monday, we had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Mom has also been feeding me clementines, which is nice; they are just about exactly the right size for the amount of fruit I want in the morning. I went down to the dock to get some reading done -- still working through Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations -- after which I took a nap. Then I took the big hedge-clippers and did some trail maintenance along the east portage loop trail I'd walked the day before. It still needs a LOT of work, but it's slightly less dire so I feel I got something accomplished. And I got home in time for us to have steak (grilled out in the back yard) for dinner, so that was nice.

I also wrote and posted another installment of "Edmund and Ginny Go to Harfang," because why not.

Today we had soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, accompanied by the leftover apple-bran muffins from Friday. Then we walked all the way around Lake Windigo (the lake in the center of Star Island). That is a fairly decent walk, though we stopped several times to admire various views, and also to chat with two of our neighbors up at the north portage. (The portages are all from Cass Lake in to Lake Windigo, in case that was not obvious. The north portage is suitable for anything; it is very short, wide, and sandy. The east portage is suitable for canoes. And the south portage is not really a portage -- it is just a regular woodland trail -- though I suppose you could carry a canoe along it in a pinch.) The trail needs a bunch of clipping, though, and a few places really will need to be rerouted over the next few years because they are in danger of collapsing right into the lake.

When we got back, I took a nap (longer than I meant to, but I suppose that makes up for staying up later on Monday night than I meant to -- Dad and I were talking about this and that, got really into our conversation, and mutually lost track of time), and then went down to the dock to finish Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations. So that's two reading projects knocked off, go me!

(I have signally failed to start reading Don Quixote, though. *sigh*)

I also picked a starship design for the Amber Lotus -- the Red Cross ship in "Intervention," aka my WIP Big Bang fic -- since my artist wanted a visual reference. That was a little annoying/embarrassing, since I had actually picked a starship type a year or two back... and then forgotten to write my choice down, so I had to recreate it from scratch today. *headdesk*

Hmm. Other things, other things...

I do most of the table-clearing and dish-washing at the cabin, since I find it meditative and also I don't help much with the cooking. I have obviously been doing a bunch of that.

Mom and I have also been working through a book of crossword puzzles I bought a few years ago for use on trips (sometimes crosswords are more my speed than a book; sometimes it's the other way around) and while most of them are pretty reasonable, there was one that had straight-up terrible clues -- hopelessly non-specific, and not even any clever jokes to resolve ambiguities. We had to cheat repeatedly to get anywhere, which is annoying since we have done harder-rated crosswords with much less difficulty.

And now I think I will go to bed, since I want to get through tomorrow without collapsing for a two-hour nap. *wry*
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
2017-06-24 10:04 pm

Star Island 2017, Days 1-3

I got up at 4:00am EST on Thursday, so as to shower, eat breakfast, finish packing, and set up my apartment before heading outside shortly before 5:00am to wait for my cab. In the event, the cab was about ten minutes late, but I still got to the airport and through security in plenty of time. The flight from Ithaca to Detroit went smoothly, and I made my transfer with several minutes to spare even though they were slow to unpack the plane-side checked bags. (These are bags that would be carry-on items in larger planes, but small jets have small overhead compartments so they basically wrap a tag around your suitcase handle, stash it in the cargo compartment with the actual checked bags, and then hand it back to you at the end of the flight.)

cut for length )

As for my reading: I got through the entirety of C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, which was one of my "I am not entirely sure where I picked this book up, but I should probably read it before donating it" books, and another several sections of Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations, a textbook composed of various themed excerpts from other works and brief explications thereof.

Lewis is, as always, infuriating because I disagree vehemently with a number of his assumptions, with most of his theology, and with a bunch of his implicit politics... and yet he keeps coming to conclusions about human experience and what a good life should look like that are unnervingly close to my own in some respects. So it's a constant swing between, "yes, exactly, that was beautifully put!" and "but HOW can a reasonably intelligent and well-meaning person be so WRONG?!?!" Some other day I should probably quote one of the passages I thought was most apt, and also take a stab at analyzing one point where I think he went most terribly awry.

(Also science has marched on and Lewis's chapter on animal pain and consciousness is consequently even more awful and wrong-headed than when he wrote it, though I think I would have considered it awful and wrong-headed even decades ago because he's arguing from a foundation of theological assumptions which I utterly fail to share. But that is something where I could point to actual science to prove that he is talking through his hat, whereas the other point is more of a philosophical/ethical thing, and thus less subject to hard proof... though one could probably cite various studies on criminal justice and prison reform which I believe tend more toward my side of the argument than toward his. Hmm. *makes note to look into that* But anyway, I'd want to do more research and marshal my arguments in logical order before venturing into that particular alligator swamp.)

And that is what I have been up to for the past three days. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-06-21 09:24 pm

stuff done: Monday-Wednesday

1. Laundry! Washed, dried, air-dried, folded, hung, and put away.

2. Changed linens.

3. Withdrew cash to pay for cab rides to and from the airport.

4. Bought gum for airplane takeoffs and landings.

more items under the cut )

21. Finished packing, aside from a few things I am still using/will use overnight, which I'll add to my suitcase or backpack in the morning.

The plan is to go to bed at 10pm tonight (and take a Benadryl in hopes of knocking myself out) so I will not be completely brain-fried when I get up at 4am in the morning. UGH.

I must remember to light candles to Meteora, Constructa, Constricta, Wayland, and Trilitus, to request good weather, no mechanical troubles with the planes, a smooth and timely flight, no airport delays or complications, and no taxi delays. (My pantheon of travel gods is about 85% a joke with myself. But only 85%. The other 15%... well, that's between me and my superstitions. *wry*)

And now, if you will excuse me, I have to go wash some dishes and clean my teeth.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-06-19 10:09 am

stuff done: Monday-Sunday

Wow, I kind of forgot to make one of these posts for a while, didn't I? I knocked my sleep schedule out of whack midway through and got stuck in a rut where I am a little too brain-fried to be productive and instead spend hours surfing the internet and not getting to bed early enough to fix the sleep debt problem. But I think I may finally have started wrenching myself back into a more useful schedule as of last night. *crosses fingers*

Anyway, stuff!

1. Took my weekly vegetable photos and posted them. Also applied some MiracleGro.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

3. Finished reading Marie Brennan's Within the Sanctuary of Wings (which I enjoyed a lot -- I really do think the Memoirs of Lady Trent series gets better as it goes on, and I'm sad to see it finished) and returned it to the library.

more items under the cut )

15. Finally pinned down a meeting time with the DRE to talk about Youth Group activities this summer and in the 2017-18 year. Unfortunately, because we kept getting distracted and I will be gone for a while, the meeting isn't until July 2, but hey, at least we now have a time and date.

16. Took my trash bin to the curb for pickup.

17. Took recycling bins to the curb for pickup.

And that is that.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-06-16 10:09 pm

Persian-Style Chicken & Crispy Rice (with Summer Squash, Currants, & Lemon Yogurt)

chicken and vegetables on rice, topped with lemon yogurt, with a bottle of hard cider to the right


I finally made the third Blue Apron dinner tonight, so.

What Blue Apron assumes you have: stove, oven, cutting board, knife, small cooking pot with a functional lid, pan of reasonable size, a zester, several bowls and plates, measuring spoons, measuring cup, a whisk, a baking tray, a cooling rack, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

What Blue Apron provides: chicken (pre-cut!!!), 1 zucchini, 1 onion, 1 lemon, some parsley, a small packet of whole almonds, a small container of currants, a pat of salted butter, a packet of spice mix (cardamom, cumin, and turmeric), 1/2 cup jasmine rice, and 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt.

The recipe is as follows:

1. Cut onion into thin slices
2. Cut zucchini into quarters (lengthwise) and then into slices
3. Chop parsley and almonds (they can go into the same dish)
4. Zest lemon, then cut into quarters
5. Dump currants into a bowl and squeeze two lemon quarters over them so they can soak in lemon juice for a while

At some point in here, start the rice (the exact time will depend on how efficient you are at cutting and zesting):

1. Dump 1 cup water, the rice packet, and some salt into a small cooking pot
2. Bring to a boil
3. Cover and reduce heat to low
4. Cook ~13 minutes, or until all water is absorbed
5. Transfer ~half the rice to a baking tray and spread into an even layer
6. Set the rest aside in a warm place (I suggest removing it from the pot to avoid sticking)

At some point in the rice-cooking process, you will want to start pre-heating the oven to 475F.

While the rice is cooking, you can start the chicken:

1. Rinse and dry the chicken.
2. In a bowl, mix spice packet, salt, and black pepper
3. Dump the chicken in and mess it around until fully coated
4. Heat olive oil in a pan
5. Add chicken, cook on medium-high for ~7 minutes
6. Put chicken in a dish and set aside in a warm place

At this point you start the vegetables:

1. DO NOT CLEAN THE PAN; YOU WANT THE SPICE AND OIL AND CHICKEN GUNK
2. Add the onion and cook ~7 minutes
3. Once onion is soft, add the zucchini and cook ~7 minutes
4. Once zucchini is cooked, add the parsley, almonds, and chicken
5. Cook 1-2 minutes to mix flavors
6. You can add salt and pepper to taste at any point in this process

While the vegetables are cooking:

1. Drizzle olive oil over the baking tray
2. Bake the rice for ~8 minutes, stirring halfway through
3. Theoretically it should turn lightly brown and crispy
(NOTE: I did not cook the rice this long, because noticeably crunchy rice is kind of texturally gross to me)
4. Set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes
5. Mix into normal rice
6. Add the currants and lemon juice, mix thoroughly

Also while the vegetables are cooking:

1. Mix yogurt, lemon zest, and 1 tsp water in a bowl
2. Squeeze the remaining two lemon quarters into the mixture
3. Whisk everything together
4. Add salt and pepper if you want (I don't think it needs any)

Then you put the rice on a plate, dump some of the chicken and vegetable mix over it, and top everything with a blob of the lemon yogurt. The rice makes two portions, but the chicken-veggie mix makes three, so I guess I will be making some rice (and squirting it with lemon juice?) on Sunday night to go along with the third portion.

I was a little skeptical of the lemon yogurt, both as a general concept and as an accompaniment to this dish in particular, but trust me, you WANT to make and use it. It really pulls the whole meal together!

Also, this time the super-dry hard cider was the correct beverage choice. ;)


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edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-06-12 11:42 am

stuff done: Friday-Sunday

1. Cooked the second of my three Blue Apron meals. Details in this post. Took all resulting compost (and compost from previous days) to the communal bin.

2. Boiled two eggs.

3. Deposited a check.

4. Paid my dental bill from my May 15th appointment, which had finally come in the mail.

5. Posted another tiny installment in my Narnia/HP crossover: The Test of Gold, in which Edmund and Ginny take an unusual boat trip.

6. Baked brownies.

7. Walked to Stewart Park on Sunday morning for my church's annual picnic, which is preceded by a brief service composed of a few songs, a volunteer appreciation segment, and a youth bridging ceremony (ie, welcoming middle-schoolers into high school, and graduating seniors into adult life). The day was sunny and bright with a mild breeze, the songs were fun, the bridging speeches were moving, and the food was delicious. :)

I get to Stewart Park via the Renwick Wildwood Bird Sanctuary (which is both more direct and VASTLY more pleasant than the other potential routes), and this year the cottonwoods are all shedding their seeds so thickly that parts of the path looked like they were covered in snow or swathed in a million spiderwebs.

Also three mosquitoes attempted to bite me, but I squished them all and only one got far enough into the biting process to leave an itchy welt.

8. TOOK A NAP.

9. Changed linens.

10. Outlined a fic I may or may not ever get around to writing, but the idea wouldn't stop bugging me until I fed it a little structure, so.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2017-06-09 09:51 pm

Seared Steak & Salsa Verde (with Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus, & Radishes)

rare steak and a vegetable and potato medley on a plate, with a bottle of hard cider to the right


I forgot to take process photos this time, but here is the finished product!

You may notice that I put the salsa verde on the side rather than spreading it over the vegetables and/or the meat. That's because, given how terrible the charred lime from the last recipe ended up being, I wasn't sure the flavors would actually mesh well. But they do, and when I reheat the leftovers I'm totally dumping it over everything. :)

(Note: I chose the wrong hard cider. This meal really needs something fruity, but I grabbed the driest option in my variety pack. Oops.)

This recipe is pretty simple in concept: steak plus roasted vegetables plus a bit of zing. I doubt I'll ever recreate it exactly, but I do like steak an awful lot so attempting a slightly simplified variation is not out of the question.

What Blue Apron assumes you have: an oven, a stove, a baking tray, a frying pan of decent size, paper towels to pat the steaks dry, a cutting board, a good knife, aluminum foil, a whisk, measuring spoons, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

What Blue Apron provides: 2 steaks, ~1/2lb fingerling potatoes, 3 radishes, a bunch of asparagus, 1 lemon, some garlic cloves, some parsley, and some capers.

The recipe is roughly as follows:

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
2. Clean and chop all the vegetables.
3. Cut the lemon into quarters.
4. Smash or grate the garlic.
5. Put the potatoes (cut side down) on a baking tray.
6. Cover them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (I would advise getting some oil UNDER the potatoes as well, if you want to remove them with any ease.)
7. Bake ~15 minutes. Turn the oven off and set them aside to cool.

While the potatoes are baking:

1. Clean the steaks and pat them dry.
2. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
3. Heat some olive oil in the frying pan.
4. Cook the steaks 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how rare or well done you want the meat.
5. Set the steaks aside on a cutting board and cover them loosely with aluminum foil.
6. Allow them to set for at least 5 minutes.

While the steaks are setting:

1. DO NOT CLEAN THE FRYING PAN; YOU WANT THE STEAK JUICE AND BROWN GUNK.
2. Dump the radishes into the frying pan and cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes.
4. You can add more salt and pepper at any point here, if you want.
5. Add ~1/2 of the garlic and cook ~1 minute.
6. Turn off the heat, add the potatoes.
7. Squeeze 2 lemon quarters over the mix. Stir.

While the veggies are cooking:

1. Mix parsley, capers, ~1/2 of the garlic in a bowl.
2. Squeeze the other 2 lemon quarters into the bowl.
3. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and whisk together slowly.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the veggies are done:

1. Cut the steak (crosswise) into slices.
2. Plate and serve.

This time I think it really does serve two. (Well. I probably could have divided it into three portions, but as mentioned above, I am kind of a sucker for steak, so. Two it is!)


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