edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Okay.

Today I emailed TC3 about my missing transcript and asked them to double-check their mail room because I had a confirmation email from SUNY ESC saying it had been mailed on August 1. And I got a reply saying, essentially, "Oops, sorry, we actually have the document; it just never got entered into the database." So my community college application is back on track and hopefully I should hear from them soon, after which I can arrange an appointment with a student adviser to figure out my fastest path to an AA degree.

Today I also called Family Medicine to ask about the insurance issue. I got put on hold a couple times while the clerk tried to figure out who had the relevant information, but she was able to track that down and I now have an appointment with a nurse practitioner on September 7 -- not quite as soon as I'd ideally like, but soon enough to be getting on with.

So that is some good and useful progress on two things I'd been low-key dreading all last week. :)
edenfalling: stained-glass butterfly in a purple frame (butterfly)
In happier news:

A) The Lazarus pepper's fruit is starting to turn red. Yay ripe vegetables! Also one of my assumed-dead squash plants has not only survived (...for now), it is growing a new squash. I reiterate: yay ripe vegetables! (I have cleared out the two dead plants, mixed up the dirt to cut through the root mats, and planted new seeds. We shall see what happens.)

B) My church's kitchen is tragically beset by ants... but never fear! A brave spider has set up shop above the sink, and I informed everyone (while I was volunteering for coffee hour cleanup this morning) that it is our new mascot and nobody is allowed to disturb it while it hunts. I like spiders. :)

C) I am slowly getting on top of various chores I've been letting hang undone for the past two weeks. There's a bunch more to go, but it feels more like a large task now instead of an immovable mountain crushing me. The return of semi-functional brain chemistry for the win? *wry*
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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!
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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*
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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
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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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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]]
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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. :)
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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)
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*

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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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