cat fight

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:03 pm
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I heard the most godawful noises coming from outside my window around 9:30pm, whereupon I went outside and discovered Wilson (my diagonal neighbors' cat) in a standoff on the porch railing with an unfamiliar tailless, all-black cat.

Wilson then dived off the railing and under Upstairs Neighbor E's bicycle, where he proceded to make continuous upset noises while the stranger prowled silently along the railing and scented my windowframe.

I attempted to see if Wilson wanted rescue, but he swiped at me. Then I attempted to shoo the stranger cat away, but it swiped at me in turn.

Wilson was very polite about the swiping -- soft paws, no claws. The stranger made me bleed in seven places.

I went inside to clean and disinfect my wounds, after which I returned to see if Wilson was feeling any better/safer. The stranger cat was gone, but Wilson was still on edge, and swiped at me even though I approached very slowly and never got within two feet of him. So I went back inside again and applied a bandaid to the one cut that hadn't stopped bleeding.

When I returned to the porch a third time, Wilson was once again feeling relaxed. He came into the foyer as I opened the door, meowed in greeting, and asked for petting. So I scratched behind his ears for a couple minutes, before he decided it was time to head upstairs and find his people.

I've heard similar noises from the porch occasionally over the past month, and now I wonder if this is an ongoing conflict between Wilson and the stranger...
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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. Dental appointment at 8:15am. My teeth are fine, yay! The office manager was out for the week because of some unspecified life crisis, so I did not pay my bill on Monday (the hygienists have not been trained to work the billing program -- scheduling yes, financials no) but I should receive one in the mail sometime this coming week.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update.

3. Emailed the DRE about summer and fall youth group plans. I have not yet heard back, but I will try to corner her in person on Sunday and chat for a few minutes.

4. Caught a bus out to the mall and watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which I enjoyed A LOT. :D

more items under the cut )

19. Bought groceries.

20. Repotted my peppers!


You will note that I still have not cooked the fajitas for which I did ingredient prep last week. The containers of sliced onion, pepper, and chicken have been sitting in the freezer for a week and a half now. I may try to get that dealt with tomorrow night, but give that I will already be baking brownies (church obligations), I am inclined to doubt I will manage the fajitas until Monday. *sigh*

I failed to get any writing done whatsoever -- like, I got a couple hundred words toward a prompt response, but there were aimless twaddle, totally unusable, and I haven't managed to get any of the slightly less awful ideas onto a page. Blargh.

I think, on the balance of evidence, that I have probably been stuck in a mild blue funk for the past couple weeks. I hadn't noticed sooner because I haven't felt particularly disconnected (one of my main depressive symptoms), but I have definitely been suffering from executive dysfunction (aka, lack of can-do), disordered sleeping patterns, and a general lack of enthusiasm for things I would normally enjoy. I also may have fic-binged a couple times, which is a telling symptom even without the disconnection that usually triggers it.

There is really nothing to do except try to fight the disordered sleeping patterns and wait it out. And maybe to grit my teeth and force myself to write, because that CAN be done and I do generally feel a lot better for up to a full day after completing some kind of creative work in the face of my brain's attempt to paint the whole world gray. I guess I'll see if I have any free time at work tomorrow to get that prompt response pinned down.
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So my narcissus bulb from last year, which began sprouting with such promise in November, turned out to be kind of a bust. Not only did it fail to bloom, it also couldn't properly support its own leaves and is just very sad. :(

a small narcissus sprout in a black ceramic pot . narcissus leaves falling over under their own weight
1) old narcissus, Monday, 21 November 2016
2) old narcissus, Monday, 19 December 2016


I went to this year's solstice ceremony on Tuesday the 20th, and the narcissus bulbs seem to have become a tradition because I got a new one. In fact, I got six; there were a bunch left over and the organizers started encouraging people to grab extras as the service broke up into general socializing. :)

I left my new bulbs in a shallow, water-filled dish over the weekend while I was away, and they responded by enthusiastically sprouting roots. So when I arrived home this afternoon, I went to Agway and bought two bags of potting soil (I didn't actually need both now, but I will need a bunch of dirt in March or April for my next batch of peppers and I figured I might as well stock up now) and duly potted them.

six narcissus bulbs in a shallow dish . six narcissus bulbs in terracotta pots
3) new bulbs after a weekend in water, Monday, 26 December 2016
4) new bulbs potted, Monday, 26 December 2016

My ultimate plan is to move the bulbs out to the back yard -- probably between my porch/deck and the scraggly raspberry canes that Upstairs Neighbor E planted last summer (they lived! barely, though, and they produced, I think, one berry between the three of them. drought, you know?) -- after they finish blooming this winter. And then perhaps I will have OUTDOOR narcissuses (narcissi? narcissus? argh, whatever) in April 2018. :D

[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
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1. Finished my NYS tax training and renewed my NYTPRIN for 2017. Yay!

2. Bought and wrapped Mom's Xmas present.

more items under the cut )

12. Finished and posted my Yuletide fic. \o/
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1. Pepper photos and posts.

2. Thanksgiving, etc.

3. Bought groceries.

4. Acquired bus tickets for my two December trips down to NJ. (The first is for Mr. M's memorial dinner. The second is for Christmas.)

5. Boiled some eggs.

more items under the cut )

11. Threw out my peppers that were done for the year and had been freezing out on my back porch. I knock the dirt into the little garden patch at the foot of my porch/deck, and lay the plants themselves in a small pile at the back of Downstairs Neighbor S's carport; they compost pretty well by mid-spring.

12. Cleaned the now-empty pots and stakes, and put them away for the winter.

13. Changed linens (pillowcase and towels only).
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1. Halloween! Downstairs Neighbor S put out my twelve bags of candy and my TAKE 1 sign around 5:30pm, and it was entirely gone within an hour. I know this because I got permission to close the rental office at 6 instead of 7, but by the time I got myself organized at home and thought I'd try handing out candy personally instead of just leaving the basket on the porch, there was no candy left. So I taped a Sorry, out of candy :( sign to the front door.

Then Downstairs Neighbor S came home from her sister's house with the equivalent of five bags of candy -- her sister lives in a less ridiculous part of the neighborhood and therefore her house wasn't mobbed the same way -- and we put that candy out in the basket around 8:00pm. It was entirely gone when I went out to check its status around 8:45pm, so I taped the Sorry, out of candy :( sign up again and left it there until roughly midnight.


My parents average about ten trick-or-treaters total each year -- I think the maximum ever was fifteen, and there have been a few years with as few as five or six. I also wasn't home on Halloween for years and years, because I was working evening shifts at the smoke shop, so I am still trying to calibrate the necessary candy stash for a neighborhood that is basically THE go-to trick-or-treating destination in Ithaca. Like, it is comparable to my friend Cat's childhood street, which gets so ridiculous on Halloween that the residents have declared October 31st a block party day and set up traffic barriers at either end of the street to slightly reduce the chaos.

There are quite literally hundreds of kids stopping by my house every year, and I think next year I really must be proactive and tell my housemates to please chip in a minimum of six bags of candy or $15 from each apartment, and then try my damndest to be home to exert more stringent control over how much candy each trick-or-treater receives.

more items under the cut )


I feel like I should have done more things, but I did work an extra day this week so I think I will cut myself a little slack.
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1. Talked with Upstairs Neighbor E about supplementary dogsitting and gave her my new spare key. I will drive down to NJ on Sunday and drive back Monday with Dottie, who will be with me until Wednesday the 28th when my parents will pick her up and head home while I'm at work. But my job at the rental office involves very long days and Dottie needs a mid-afternoon pee break, so I've enlisted Upstairs Neighbor E to drop by between noon and 3pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays to take Dottie outside for a bit.

On Wednesday the 21st, I will just have to take a 45-minute lunch break instead of a 30-minute break and get the person who has admin access to the timekeeping program to adjust my punch times for that day -- which shouldn't be a problem, but I didn't want to say, "Hey, you only just hired me and now I need to inconvenience you by taking extra-long lunch breaks for my next four days," because that is a good way to wear out any welcome grace period really fast.

more items under the cut )

And now on to today's list. :)


Jul. 6th, 2016 09:10 pm
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My parents visited today, mostly to drop off stuff for my church's recycling sale in August. We did some shopping and trimmed some of the lower mulberry branches... only to discover, upon our return from dinner, that Landlord Dude was actually being efficient and both cleaning the clogged gutters and trimming the upper branches which brushed Upstairs Neighbor E & T's windows.

We also took my laptop into Best Buy for repairs, because it's been glitchy as hell the past two weeks. Hopefully it's just a software issue, but there's a signifigant chance I may need a new hard drive. (Fortunately I have all my files backed up on an external drive.)

And in more computer news, a TWC technician is coming out Friday morning to determine whether the reason my internet connection keeps dying is their cables, my modem, or a combination of both.

Until those things are fixed, I'll be using my parents' old and dinky notebook computer at the public library. *sigh*
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twelve pepper seedlings in terracotta pots and plastic windowboxes
twelve peppers, Monday, 4 July 2016

wilted pepper seedling in terracotta pot
the smallest pepper, probably dying

pepper leaf with blight spot
that funny leaf patch, now more obviously not-quite-right

slightly deformed pepper leaf
another leaf with issues

Last week I mentioned that one pepper was clearly smaller and growing more slowly than its fellows. Well, it just got worse and worse through the week, and then -- adding insult to injury -- got uprooted by a squirrel early Monday morning.

(Let me tell you about these squirrels. So there's an evil mulberry tree bang up against the post of my back porch, right? Which means a good half of its branches are growing right toward the house. I clip the ones I can reach, but I'm short and so is my stepladder, and I only have hand-clippers rather than a proper extendable tree-hook thingy, so my area of control is limited. There are several branches that grow right up against my upstairs neighbors' windows.

And two days ago, some enterprising squirrels investigated one of those windows, discovered its screen had a hole, wriggled through, and were gleefully tearing up the kitchen when my neighbors got home. Upstairs Neighbor E complained to Landlord Dude -- as she damn well should! -- but who knows when he'll get around to doing anything. I wish to god he'd just admit he can't handle all the necessary repairs himself and hire contractors, but apparently pigs will fly before that day comes. *headdesk*)

But back to the peppers. When I righted the poor seedling and packed dirt back around it, I noticed its stem had a funny weak/brown section perhaps a quarter centimeter long, suggesting that it's doing poorly because the roots and leaves are barely able to send energy and/or nutrients to each other. I have no idea how to fix that, or if it even IS fixable, so I'm just going to water that pepper along with the others and expect it to die. :(

There continue to be some minor leaf irregularities. I have not sprayed insecticide, so I think this may be a reaction to the (obviously completely ineffective) anti-squirrel spray. Yet another reason Bonide Repels-All sucks!

[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]


ETA: [ profile] madamehardy informs me: The symptoms you describe – a browning stem, withering leaves, and stunted growth – sound exactly like fusarium wilt, a.k.a. "damping off". It's a fungus that hits anything in the nightshade family (potato, tomato, eggplant, pepper) and is viciously destructive of basil. I've given up trying to start basil from seeds. You can, of course, use fungicide.

For tomatoes, your best bet is to look for varieties that are labeled as fusarium resistant. Tomatoes will generally be labeled something like VFN or VFNT in the variety name: that means they're resistant to the fungi verticillium, fusarium, nematodes, tobacco mosaic virus: it's a long list. Alas, there's nothing similar for peppers because no resistant varieties have been discovered

Tl;dr: Damping off sucks. It's not really under your control; you just throw away the plant (NOT in the compost) and move on.


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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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