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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.
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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.
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1. Survived tax season! \o/ My last day at Not the IRS was Monday, which I worked 9am-9pm. I finished the season with five returns still 'on hold,' only one of which was somebody I actually expected to come in to finish up. (The others either weren't required to file or made clear that they didn't intend to file through us for various reasons.) I think that's a pretty good record, all in all.

2. Photographed my plants and posted the pictures online.

3. Took my kitchen compost to the communal bin, and the communal bin to the curb for pickup. (It has not, in fact, been picked up. I am not wheeling the blasted thing back across the yard while it is still full and heavy, so it can just sit there until the compost company get their act together.)

4. Watered my houseplants.

5. Called my parents with some information that is relevant to planning their visit in a couple weeks.

6. Prepped for a graduate student housing fair thingy on Friday, which Miss Cactus and I are responsible for since Mom Boss and Aunt Boss (tentative nicknames) are both on vacation this week.

7. Went to the end-of-season dinner my Not the IRS office throws for ourselves every year, which was a lot of fun. We commandeer two tables at a local restaurant, order a bunch of appetizers to share around, and drink several pitchers of classic margaritas. :)

I also accidentally acquired a succulent, which I will attempt not to kill. See, it's tradition to buy a small nice gift for the manager and the receptionists, I doubled up as a tax preparer and a receptionist again this year, and one of the other receptionists didn't make it to the dinner... so I wound up with her gift (the plant) as well as my own (a pre-paid debit card). The plant itself is housed in a glass bowl with purple fake-amethysts for its 'ground,' and since amethyst is my birthstone, I am choosing to consider this a Sign of Favor from the universe at large. *wry*

8. Not really a 'thing done,' but I have ants in my kitchen again. *sigh* I have been squishing them when they get up onto the counters, but the ones on the wall and the baseboard I am mostly leaving alone for the poison in the little plastic traps (I always have four to eight ant traps on my counters and walls, because this happens every year) to kill slowly. I will have to buy some new traps on my next grocery run, though, because the poison does eventually get used up.
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1. Boiled a dozen eggs.

2. Took kitchen compost to the communal bin.

3. Attended Easter service at church, since it's an inter-generational celebration and I therefore had no youth group to facilitate.

4. Withdrew cash, half of which will go toward the Not the IRS office 'we survived tax season!!!' dinner this coming Thursday.

5. TOOK A NAP.

6. Changed linens.

7. Paid all my monthly bills: rent, health insurance, and both credit cards.

8. Un-potted my narcissus bulbs, which I will try to get replanted outside in the coming weeks. I then washed their saucers and the rocks I use to reduce water loss through the terracotta pots' drainage holes. I will wash the pots themselves later this week.

9. Punched holes in the four plastic storage tubs I am using as squash planters. This is pretty simple: all you need is a hammer and some kind of metal tool with a reasonably small point, e.g., a screwdriver. (Note: I did not actually use a screwdriver, because I have an unidentified metal doohickey I keep around specifically for when I need a punch-tool, but I think the point holds.) Anyway, you hold your punch-tool in an open flame for ten or fifteen seconds -- I used my stove burner, but I bet a candle flame would also work if you increased the heating time -- then set it onto the plastic and hit it a few times with the hammer until it punches through.

10. Transplanted four squash seedlings to their new homes, as gently as I could. (I used two large bags of potting soil, plus the old dirt from the narcissus pots, because why not.) Time will tell whether I managed to do this without irreparably damaging their roots... and if I didn't, well, I can always plant new seeds directly into the plastic tubs and try again. *wry*

11. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

12. Suffered my first allergy attack of the year, blargh. Spring is lovely and all, but I could really do without the pollen... *hoards eyedrops and Benadryl*
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So I was working on an alternate fill to my remaining mini-ficlet prompt meme request this morning at work, accidentally clicked the wrong link when I wanted to check a thing (the computer I was using at Not the IRS has an annoyingly unresponsive mouse, and often either fails to register a click or registers a right click as a left click or vice versa), and lost everything I'd written.

*headdesk*

However, I think that, upon reflection, I have found a way to fit the new concept into my existing fill attempt in a way that will make everything come out all right.

But I will work on that tomorrow morning rather than tonight, because today I have worked a 12.5 hour shift and have also just finished drinking a Black Russian and I am therefore both punch-drunk and tipsy and should probably not attempt delicate word surgery. *wry*

(You do not want to know how many times I had to backspace and retype things in the preceding paragraph. Or this paragraph, to be honest.)

But tomorrow I get to sleep in until the wonderfully decadent hour of 8am! So I should hopefully be compos mentis enough to finally get the dratted ficlet finished.

*resolve face*

*resolve face x20, actually*

And now, bed. :)
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1. Photographed my kitchen garden. Did not post photos, because reasons. At this point, I think I will just make a combined two-week post on Monday the 17th.

(Spoiler: a couple of the squash seedlings just shriveled up and died. This is nice since it saves me the trouble of figuring out what to do with them. Now I'm just debating whether my plastic storage tubs are larger enough to support two seedlings per tub, or whether I will have to buy a trowel and a hoe and plant the others in the yard.

...I should buy a trowel and some other tools anyway, since I will have to plant the narcissus bulbs regardless of what I do with the squash. *makes note on Sunday to-do list*)

2. Put away my remaining clean laundry.

3. Worked thirteen hours straight on Monday the 10th, ugh. *wilts*

4. Foolishly agreed to go in to Not the IRS at 8am instead of 9am Thursday morning (district management is getting pushy about extended hours), but because the #13 doesn't run a 7am outbound route, I had to walk a mile into town to catch a #30 bus instead, which meant I had to either get up at 5:30am or forego eating breakfast at home. I chose the latter option, and wound up buying myself a small yogurt, a bottle of lemon-flavored tea, and a donut (plus five more donuts for the office at large, because I'm nice like that and also you get a discount if you buy a half-dozen at a time). That was not the healthiest of choices but at this point in tax season I officially Do Not Care. It has calories and/or caffeine? GIMME.

5. Bought groceries after work. In the process, I acquired two small sample bottles of Ocean Spray 'mocktails' that were included around regular bottles of cranberry-pomegranate juice. I just wanted the juice, which was on a buy-one-get-one sale, but I suppose I will try these 'mocktails' if only for curiosity's sake.

6. Stewardship committee meeting.

7. Failed to make much progress on my remaining request ficlet, because brain-fry, argh.

8. Decided to try outlining/brainstorming my FandomTrumpsHate fic to see if switching projects would grant me a few minutes of clarity. Result: well... I made a bullet-point list of stuff my bidder and I talked about in emails, so I have all that organized in one place? But then I ran out of spoons, so.

...

I think I should go to bed.
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I worked 13 hours straight at Not the IRS on Monday, and only finished one of four returns. (One turned out to be a consult in disguise; one was missing documentation; one was just a MESS. The last few weeks are when the complicated returns all come flooding in.)

Please can tax season be over already?

-----

In other news, I poked a little more at my fourth prompt ficlet this morning, trying to get the scenario to resolve in a single scene since that will both save me from having to write an in-depth fight scene and a couple thousand words of emotional resolution later on, and will let me end on an uncomplicated happy note and dammit, I want A) fluff and B) a finished ficlet I can post.

I think a few more tweaks should knock the draft into something generally functional.

*resolve face*
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1. Watered my houseplants. I also saved two of my peppers from a bout of dehydration, via emergency watering and temporary toothpick stakes to lean on. I keep forgetting how fast the peat pellets dry out. :/

2. Failed to floss my teeth Monday night because I was so tired from working 8:30am-9pm at Not the IRS (plus travel time). This is noteworthy since I think that is the ONLY time I have failed to floss my teeth since I started my "if you don't floss, your mouth and teeth will feel gross and be totally icky" campaign, which, considering how many years I had previously spent trying and failing to make flossing a daily habit -- I tried guilt and shame, I tried logic, I tried financial panic (cavities are stupidly expensive to fix), I tried flossing at work on my lunch breaks, etc. -- really says something about the power of revulsion as a motivating factor.

The problem, of course, is that revulsion is horrifically easy to misuse. But I think in this particular case, it helps a lot more than it hurts.

3. Imported my Livejournal to Dreamwdith, which, um, ran into some problems.

4. Opened a mini-ficlet prompt meme. (I am still taking ficlet requests, if anyone is interested!)

5. Bought groceries.

6. Attended the Stewardship committee meeting on Thursday night. I now have a list of people to call in the second round of "please pledge money, we can't run a church by wishing," and I will call them... Sunday afternoon, probably. *adds to to-do list*

7. Boiled a dozen eggs.

8. Wrote three prompt ficlets. I am still working on a fourth, but I couldn't finish it before work got busy and I hit the exhausted and brain-fried portion of my day. (Another 8:30am-9pm shift today, joy. By the time I leave the rental office tomorrow, I will have worked 60 hours this week. And next week I get to do it all again! What fun! (Kill me now.))

9. Wrote twelve thank-you notes to church members who have already pledged for the 2017-18 fiscal year. I got six of them into the mail for Saturday morning pickup, and will drop the other six off on my way to work in the morning. The remaining six envelopes are stamped and return-addressed, and I will write the cards tomorrow.

10. Changed the scented wax in my wax melter.

11. Backed up my computer onto my external hard drive, which I really ought to do more frequently. I wonder if there's a way to harness revulsion for that task as well...?

And now to bed. Mmmm, bed.
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1. Failed to get a haircut on Saturday morning, because my barber was out of town on vacation. *sigh* I will try again this week.

2. Walked to Agway on Sunday morning in search of trellises for my squash, but did not find any of the type I wanted. Ah well. Perhaps I can train them up the posts of my porch railing?

3. Returned a library book I'd been meaning to return for over a month now.

4. Caught a mouse under a bathroom plunger.

...Uh, okay, context. context )

And that is how I know my work-related dead mouse karma is still going strong. *sigh*

5. Bought four plastic storage tubs for planting squash.

6. Changed linens.

7. Acquired a new back screen door and door frame, yay! (Thank you, Landlord Dude. Thanks are also due to Landlady, who came by and did a whole bunch of yardwork.)

8. Took kitchen compost to the communal bin in the back yard.

9. Photographed my vegetables.

10. Repotted Damocles, one of my big hanging spider plants.

11. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

12. Got some writing done over the weekend and Monday, even if it wasn't always the writing I intended to do, nor was it as many words as I'd hoped for.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Took photographs of my various vegetables and posted them online.

2. Changed my wax melt.

3. Finally finished beta'ing the Small Fandom Big Bang fic I'd agreed to edit. It is a good fic! It's also creepy, claustrophobic, and potentially highly upsetting, but since that's more or less the point I am inclined to count those aspects in its favor. I am a little sad that it's not in a bigger fandom so more people will eventually read it, but I suppose that would rather defeat the purpose of the 'small fandom' aspect of the challenge. *wry*

4. Sewed a new button onto a pair of pants, since the old button twisted loose and fell off during the day. :/

5. Stitched up a tear in my laundry bag since I already had my sewing basket open.

6. Bought groceries. I am planning to try the cheesy spinach roll experiment again on Sunday and needed appropriate supplies, and also some honey to bring to the rental office for my endless cups of tea.

7. Stayed an extra few hours at Not the IRS Thursday evening, since we didn't have a Stewardship committee meeting this week and Hill Boss stuck me on the schedule in case of walk-in clients. (We did not get any walk-in clients.)

...

I am really looking forward to the end of April, when I will revert from working ~50-55 hour weeks to working only ~27 hour weeks. My bank accounts will be sad, but man, I did not realize how much I depended on having those 10-15 hours until I lost them, to say nothing of getting two days off per week. *sigh*

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Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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