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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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I didn't have as much free time at work as I'd hoped (and then I had to drive down to NJ, so there went my evening), but "Intervention" is now at 22,100 words total, with 525 words left to bash into shape.

I will finish the damn edits tomorrow, OR ELSE. *resolve face*

...But for right now, I'm going to take the first load of laundry out of my parents' dryer and then crash into bed, because it's been a long day and I am exhausted.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
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)
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. :)
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The taxi was ten minutes late, but Ithaca airport security is pretty efficient so I got to the plane on time. All my connections went smoothly, and though takeoff from the Twin Cities was a little delayed by weather, that flight actually landed at Bemidji a few minutes early. Victory!

I am on the island, in the cabin, and will probably make a longer post tomorrow after I have pulled myself back together a bit more. :)
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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.
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1. Taped, sanded, and painted a fifth frame; touched up the two I painted on Thursday. Then I touched up the fifth on Saturday morning before packing them all into a laundry basket, carefully cushioned by towels, and took them down to NJ.

2. Made a packing list. Then packed.

3. Bought groceries.

more items under the cut )

10. Went to see Rogue One with Susan at 4pm. I liked it a lot!

cut for spoilers )

On the other hand, as Susan justly remarked, there wasn't very much of that ineffable sense of joy/wonder/boundless possibility that is the hallmark of Star Wars at its best and most inspiring. For me, the movie's virtues outweighed that flaw -- I am totally down with Star Wars attempting a gritty and morally gray war movie (the tragedy is not a departure; tragedy is a central theme of the franchise, just as much as hope) -- but judging by reviews a bunch of other people feel differently. And that's okay!

more items under the cut )

17. Responded to all the comments on my Yuletide fic and my Daredevil Secret Santa fic. \o/
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1. Washed laundry, dried laundry, put laundry away.

2. Changed linens.

3. Took recycling bins to the curb for pickup. Brought them back in Monday morning, and consolidated the stuff that didn't get taken (because it was frozen to the bins, argh) into a single bin.

more items under the cut )

And now I think I will try tackling that missing scene in my DDSS fic, because it will be easier for Vicky to edit a complete work than a work with a gaping hole in the middle. *wry*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Went to New Jersey for the weekend. This involved catching a bus to the Ridgewood park-and-ride, whereupon Dad picked me up and we drove to my parents' house. While in New Jersey, I:

more items under the cut )

16. Set up my drying rack as a humidifier, by which I mean I soaked two towels (oddly-sized misfits, kept for this specific purpose) until they were sopping wet, and then hung them over the rack and let evaporation make my apartment slightly less bone-dry. This process is not completely effective and needs to be repeated every three to eight hours for the duration of winter, but it's effective enough, and a lot cheaper than buying and running an electric humidifier to boot.

And on that note, I will go soak the towels again and then go to bed, because I have work in the morning.

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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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