Busy Week

Let’s see, I last posted Wednesday. But I forgot to mention that my truck acted up on the way to work, so I dropped it off at the shop.

Ron had been over to his truck for one reason or another every day since getting home, a pattern which continued all week long. Yes, pretty sure that the week off after orientation & training is for truck setup.

Thursday felt like Friday.

Friday I took off for birthday party (mine belated 50th, and Ron’s). I didn’t get quite as much done as I could have. The shop called, they couldn’t get my truck to act up (it had done it once previously, a week or so before, so not a surprise). Probably a transmission thing, choices were to start poking around in the transmission or to wait and see. We opted for wait and see, so all I paid for was the oil change they’d also done.

Saturday morning we had a MuseCon meeting to iron out some bumps that had come up in the road. Which was held in our back yard, and added to the party preparation fun. Between the meeting and the party several strong people got into the trailer and got out gridwall, which is now packed in Mongo the truck until MuseCon.

Then we had the party, which was a little lower-key than Ron’s 50th last year, but still fun. I didn’t go quite as overboard on food, either. Pen met and held Ying, my big carpet python. Other snakes got to come out and be social. Dogs did not for much of the day, due to allergic humans in the house, but survived without *too* much complaining. And when they did come out Gimli decided that Doug was his new favorite person.

Saturday, thanks to the wonder of Amazon Prime, we got a solar trickle charger and a giant stuffed bear skin that were ordered Saturday; and Ron ran to JoAnn and picked up 10 pounds of stuffing for said bear. The trickle charger is so that my truck can go to the yard and be left without the battery running down while Ron is on the road – we’d been waffling about one, but figured it could wait as we thought my truck would be in the shop until the middle of this week, as they were busy. The bear and stuffing are Ron’s co-pilot. There were many interesting comments while Ron stuffed the bear during the party. Most were of questionable taste. Bear is more orange the light brown than Ron was expecting, so it was named Sweet Potato, as in the famous “I Has a Sweet Potato” blog post on LJ.

Ron was supposed to go back on duty at 9:00 am yesterday. He didn’t have a load assigned Saturday night, or when he got up in the morning. Went to the yard, was ready to go, and still no load. I brought his perishable food and a couple other things I found in Mongo, and still no load. I went off fabric shopping, went home, and about lunchtime Ron came home to lurk around the house. Still no load. Fleet Manager said try again in the evening. Nada. This morning they finally had a load, to be picked up in Madison on Wednesday. So Ron’s home for two more days. Waiting and not knowing when he’d get a load was frustrating for him, so this is an improvement.

This morning we discovered that Tanis the corn snake’s enclosure was infested with whopping big flies. Mr. Shop Vac was called into service to suck most of them up, then we completely changed her substrate. As far as I can see they spontaneously teleported in, and that’s the explanation I’m sticking with, especially since we cleaned snake cages on Friday. Then we did some running around – to the yard to get some stuff Ron had left in the truck that he’d need/want before Wednesday; to Dick Blick to NOT use a coupon that was for Michaels, not Dick Blick, oops; lunch; back to the truck for Ron’s trucker’s atlas tablet; and then home with a brief stop for me to run in at Osco for dairy enzyme pills.

This afternoon, since Mr. Shop Vac was sitting out I cleaned up the dog hair and whatnot from the window sill behind the couch, sucked the dust off the fireplace screen, and blew the dust and whatnot off the downstairs bathroom window screen. A little off on the timing, I should have done those things Friday. Oops.

And I’m working on the MuseCon program book. Yes, it’s long, grim slog of doom time. For reasons related to bumps in the road I’ve simplified the page-layout in the programming section a bit, which is making it easier, but smooshing down said bumps will be adding other complexity to make up for it.

I have no special plans for tomorrow, except to cook the rack of ribs I got and forgot to cook on Saturday, and I’m thinking it would be an appropriate time to watch “Independence Day: Resurgence”, probably after watching “Independence Day”. And I expect I’ll be putting Gimli’s Thunder Shirt on tonight. He could have used it last night, but we realized that only after we were in bed, and it was downstairs. Fortunately, although we’ve always had one dog afraid of bangs, they’ve never been of the panic and tear around trying to escape variety of fear. The “worst” problem we had was when I gave Lobo a tranquilizer that kicked in before we went to bed, and Ron had to carry the resulting 65-pound puddle of limp husky up the stairs.  🙂

Hot & Sticky Monday

Yesterday was Robin’s last day slaving in the pizza mines! Yay! The one-hour block scheduled for today was an error. IIRC he’s going to start going to CDL training on Wednesday; Mondays they have limited or no classes, and Tuesday evenings he goes to gaming, so his plan is to make Mondays and Tuesdays his weekends. Works for me.

Robin and I went to see Wonder Woman last week. It was really, really good. We both enjoyed it. In my head-canon Princess Buttercup grew up to be General Antiope (same actress).

I finished cleaning the computer desk Friday night. There’s still a small pile of papers on the scanner that should go live elsewhere, and a significant pile of junk on the floor between the desk and the ball pythons, but the desk itself is less cluttered than its been for a while. Note to self: make labels or a list of what I put in which drawers, so Ron can find things.

Saturday morning I got the MuseCon program book as far as I can for the moment. After lunch and Robin leaving for work I went up to the air-conditioning to take a nap, since the dogs got me up annoyingly early, and I stayed up way too late Friday night. Saturday night I didn’t stay up as late, and the dogs didn’t get me up quite as early. But I still fell asleep on the couch mid-morning yesterday, with a nice breeze from the window and another from the fan. In the afternoon I retreated to the AC again and changed water in the fish tanks.

When that was done I still didn’t want to go downstairs, so I re-arranged some small storage furniture in the bedroom, which has been needing to be done since Robin put the air conditioners in last week. I “stole” some shelves from Ron and grafted them together with mine. When I was done, the combined shelves still held everything they did before moving, plus Danger Noodle’s tub, through the magic of putting photography equipment into a photo bag that was mostly empty. Now we can get to the dressers and Danger Noodle isn’t in front of the air conditioner or un-shaded window, or partially blocking access to my dresser (which he’s been doing for last week).

Ron and his trainer (named Gary) made stops in Iowa, bounced around Wisconsin over the weekend, and are now back in Gary Indiana, where Ron will be handed off to a different trainer, as it’s time for Gary to have some home-time. Ron’s has to do, IIRC, five trips “on his own” (ie: trainer only observing), and I think at this point he has one down – they didn’t count two or three really short ones today separately. Not sure why they couldn’t hand Ron off to somebody at the Wisconsin Roehl terminal they were to-ing and fro-ing from, presumably it has something to do with Ron doing his training in Gary.

Doing Things

I had another out-of-town conference last week, this time Tuesday-Thursday in Galena, IL. Very pretty town, reminds me of Houghton/Hancock. It’s a river town, with *real* *hills*. Only about a 2-and-a-half hour drive away, and I didn’t have to drive there. I rode with a co-worker, and drove a new-to-us pool car back (old one went in for an oil change, and was declared dead due to rusted-out frame). I stayed at the DeSoto House hotel, which is reputed to be haunted, but I didn’t see any ghosts. I sketched a lot of snakes.

Yesterday I scanned the sketches, enlarged three of them by cropping and printing to as large as possible on letter-sized paper, then traced one onto ledger-sized vellum-ish marker paper, and inked and colored it with my Copic markers. I also did the same with some I did at the floodplain manager’s conference earlier this month (see G+). Not sure if I’m getting better, or if the one I did yesterday was just an easier one to do – the snake in question has simple, bold patterning, and a simple head-shape. OTOH, the background is not a mess, despite being experimental.

Got the Otter Necessities Etsy shop up and running again.

Yesterday and today I did Otter’s business taxes and our personal taxes. Haven’t filed yet, I want Ron to check and see if I missed any bits.

Ron’s CDL training continues, hopefully soon he will actually be allowed to get his butt in the seat and learn to drive.

Working on learning to read German. I had two years of German in HS, and a few bits have stuck with me, so not quite starting from scratch. Ron’s trying to learn conversational Latin American Spanish.

Last weekend I made three small snake jungle gyms. Moresby had taken to perching on the power cord for his light, so he got a simple one since his enclosure is very short. Scatha and Diaval got two level ones with a platform on the upper level, as they’ve got more headroom. Scatha approves, she hasn’t moved off hers – partly because she went into shed. Moresby has been soaking for the last day or so, he may be going into shed. He continues to be sweet-natured. Kajura is feisty, which may be their (don’t know their gender, so I’m using gender-neutral pronouns) nature, or may be just scared-baby defensiveness. Kajura’s also a very good eater.

This evening I made a DeviantArt account – MrsMorelia.deviantart.com I wanted to be Prognathodon, but somebody already had that userid. I’ve posted the enlarged color versions of my snake drawings, and a couple of the pencil sketches. In a definite ego-boost, I had people favoriting things almost immediately.

Higgledy-Piggledy Month

Since I last posted things have kind of turned upside-down and inside-out and higgledy-piggledy.

Ron and Toshiba have amicably separated, as of February 1.

Ron is working on getting a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) endorsement, so he can drive big trucks. At this point he’s passed the written exams for his CDL learner’s permit, not sure when he gets behind the wheel.

Since Ron has been at home, he and Robin made most of the baked goods we sent to the Capricon Cafe – banana bread, corn muffins, and many different kinds of scones (I did a few scones).

Nageswari definitely seems to be getting more used to us – she’s been seen out soaking several times.

Robin cleaned the pantry a couple weeks ago. Wow, space!

I could *not* come up with any good ideas for birthday/Christmas presents for my Mom, and finally in a fit of possible insanity I ordered her a reproduction china doll (with soft body) similar to mine, and sent here a couple Japanese-style outfits. She was thrilled. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!

More natter about things that have been worked on over at the Otter blog.

Last Monday I fell off the step-stool while spot-cleaning snake enclosures. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch. Mostly just stiff Tuesday, pretty sore and uncomfortable (and stayed home) Wednesday and Thursday.

I was going to do some sewing last Monday afternoon, but instead I spent the day flopping around the couch being sore and headachey (did go to acute care, they didn’t think I needed imaging after physical and basic neuro exam).

We have new neighbors (house to the north sold, finally), Mom, Dad, and four grade-school-ish boys. They seem very nice.

The weather last weekend was insane. 30-40 degrees F would have been warm for Capricon weekend. Mid-60s was mind-boggling. Then last week lower-70s.

Had the house open to get fresh air in much of last weekend.

Then it got cold again, and so for the last week or more I’ve been reminded on or off that my sinuses hate big temperature swings.

Capricon: Robin commuted and worked for Dave, Ron commuted and lurked around the Cafe a bit, I stayed home.

We have a new stove, since the oven died in the old one (a while back).

Also a “portable” countertop dishwasher. Was not willing to sacrifice more floor/counter space to a larger unit.

Got rid of the full-sized dish drainer and mat, and obtained a small mat and a roll-up grate-mat that can sit across the sink for larger items that don’t go in the dishwasher (cast iron, larger pots & pans, etc.).

The downstairs bathroom faucet has been replaced with a high-arch bar faucet, with a hose adapter, and there’s a coil-y hose with good spray head hanging on a rack in the bathroom. Watering snakes is much simpler now.

Got the drafting table mostly cleaned off again (see Otter blog), and used my big cutting mat.

Did sewing this weekend – two vests and a jacket, all un-lined. The jacket is kimono-style, vests have kimono-style collars, and square shoulders. Finished the vests, except for a good pressing that will hopefully tame trim issues on one, hand-sewing on the jacket to go.

Vests are to wear over mock-tee shirts at the annual floodplain managers’ conference next week.

Waiting on a new enclosure for Fezzik, Tanami, or Nageswari – depends on how big they all are when it arrives in a couple months. Yes, a long wait, but worth it.

Non-Nesting Bullets this Week

Let’s see, what have I accomplished in the last week:

  • Nobody complained about how I dealt with the stench at work.
  • Got supplies to make a portfolio and started work on it. For extra bonus fun I decided to change the size from the instructions, but I was intelligent and went through and worked out all the sizes first. The instructions make a portfolio for A3 paper, mine will be for a hybrid of A4 and US letter (i.e.: larger dimension of each). I mis-understood one bit, but not so much because of dimension changes, but have figured out a fix.
  • Procured two more storage tubes, so now I have one holding un-cut paper and book cloth, one for cut paper, and one for cut cloth. When I finish the portfolio, I’ll probably put smaller odds and ends in it.
  • Yingarna is six and a half feet long, and goes where she wants to, dammit. Well, not exactly, but she tries.
  • Smaug is about half the length of Ying, but just as thick, if not more so. This is to be expected, as Ying is a ball python and Smaug is a carpet python.
  • Bruce had a really awful shed – patchy, flaky, a real mess (ideally a shed comes off in one piece, like taking off a sock). Three snake saunas and a bath and he’s mostly shed, what’s left are small patches that won’t cause any problems. The bath was amusing, but not actually helpful – we were trying to get his head cleaned up, and he was doing a really good periscope impression.
  • After Bruce’s bath, I tried Nageswari. She obviously didn’t quite get the memo that blood pythons often like to soak, and was Not Happy.
  • Updated the MuseCon brochure (dates and hotel) and created a legal-size flyer/sign.
  • On Sunday I chewed out the manager at a Panera Bread – one of the employees stood on a piece of paper on the stainless-steel counter to change a soup sign, then assumed she hadn’t stepped off the paper and didn’t wipe down the counter. Wow, both safety and sanitation fail! The employee waiting on me was not happy that I closed my order with “and wipe down the counter where the person was standing”, and pointed out the TREAD MARK on the counter, and not quietly/discreetly, dammit. She sulked, but eventually the counter was wiped. And then I spoke to the manager, who the counter-standing had happened about 3 feet away from. I didn’t tell him I called BS on his claim that he wasn’t aware it had happened because it was behind his back, but it was close. I’d actually have been marginally less grumpy about the counter-standing without the paper – that was just asking for a spectacular slip and fall. As we were leaving another customer thanked me for calling them on it.
  • This is the same store where a couple years ago I pointed out to a manager that he really should get the missing floor tile replaced, and not have the bread-slicer sitting there rocking when in use because it was on a non-level floor.
  • Got a manicure and Halloween-ish nail polish – orange sparkly on one hand, black with red sparklies (that read as close enough to orange to make no nevermind) on the other. Did the same thing last year, although it may have been a darker orange. Ron got the same colors, but alternating fingers.

Another Bullet-Point Update

I really don’t mean to keep forgetting to blog, but here we go again.  Since the last post, on January 22nd:

  • I have obtained a backpack for future short trips.  The next expected one is the floodplain managers’ conference in March, which will be two nights, in Bloomington, to which I am taking Amtrak again.
  • MuseCon grid build on the 24th was not going to happen, so I stayed home and worked on things for Military History Fest. Also did not attend the follow-up on the 8th.
  • Military History Fest was the 30th through the 1st, at Pheasant Run. Yes, the weekend of the big snowstorm. In 20/20 hindsight we should have packed up Saturday night, and taken the trailer, etc. home then. But we didn’t, see the Otter Blog if you want more natter about that.
  • Biffed a curb Sunday morning of that weekend with the Kia on the way to Pheasant Run, couple days later noticed a shimmy in the steering wheel and slight pull to the left.
  • Spent the 7th baking for the Capricon Cafe. IIRC it was 3 ginormous (4x) batches of bacon-cheddar scones, and 2 ginormous batches of Heath Bar scones.
  • For future reference, that’s the basic King Arthur Flour scone recipe, using sour cream for the dairy, and 1/2 of a big GFS bag of Heath Bar chips – 5-6 cups. Bake the at the same temp as the bacon-cheddar scones, for 25 minutes (5 less than bacon-cheddar). Total: 5-6 dozen scones
  • Heath Bar scones are really really good.
  • Robin made a triple batch of banana bread (5 loaves).
  • That took 5 pounds of margarine, a stupid-size tub of sour cream, and about 4 dozen eggs, about half of a 25-pound bag of pastry flour, a big bag of bacon pieces, most of a bag of shredded cheese,  and a big hand of bananas.
  • On Sunday we moved Elrond’s crate to the living room, since he’d stopped coming upstairs, and was getting more and more fussy if he couldn’t sit on the couch.
  • He only had to be shown where his crate was once, and remembered.
  • He still prefers the couch, but now has somewhere to go when he can’t have it.
  • Wednesday I dropped the Kia off at John & Scott’s (see above).
  • One rim bent, front tires worn to wear bars, one rear tire suffering belt slippage, so since they can’t match the other rear tire, that’s 4 new tires and a new rim. I’d probably have had them replace the 4th tire anyway.
  • Also need to replace (front) ball joint, and yes, need an alignment job.
  • And the oil change I requested.
  • They won’t get the rim until Monday, which is OK, since I have Monday off.
  • Ouch. I was pretty much expecting to need new front tires, but was hoping for just those, alignment, and an oil change. I expect the bill to be $850-ish.
  • Because of a scheduling issue on the part of the hotel, I helped set up the Cafe Thursday, since I had the day off.
  • Because of time off issues as a result of the ‘flu in December, I’m not taking any time off for Cap.
  • Last time we boarded Elrond, the dropping-off process was stressful, so not taking time off means the dogs can stay at home with me.
  • The scones, both flavors, seem to have survived freezing and subsequent thawing fine.
  • I had to work yesterday.
  • Today and tomorrow I’m working on the program book for the floodplain managers’ conference.
  • Last night I got an e-mail that I’m taking to mean that the conference chair had gone into labor. This was not unexpected, and AFAIK not an emergency. Hopefully labor is done and baby and mother are happy and healthy.
  • Will be taking a break tomorrow to pick up Ron, since I took the truck after helping with Cafe setup, and Robin will be going with Dave to help unload all the A/V equipment into Dave’s locker, which Ron would rather skip.
  • On the way home Thursday I stopped at Fresh Fields, at the corner of Dundee and Milwaukee.
  • I was expecting a Whole Paycheck-style store.
  • Nope, more like Eurofresh on steroids.
  • Escaped with just pork for stir-fry, polish sausage, and thin-sliced short ribs.
  • Made rice pilaf with the pork (because there were no reasonably-sized packages of chicken thighs) Thursday night.
  • Had the polish sausage last night, and some of the leftovers diced up in an omelet this morning (2 really big sausages – about 4 average-sized sausage equivalent).
  • Short ribs are marinating, to be something like Korean-style. Which I’ve never had, thus “something like”.
  • This morning Duckon announced on Facebook that there will be no Duckon this year, but working on 2016.
  • I have my doubts they will pull off a convention in 2016, but I wish them luck. Really. I’m sad/sorry that Duck has been having problems.
  • The dogs have taken control of the couch, and are sound asleep. Unless/until I move toward the kitchen, of course.
  • And now, I think it’s time to get back to the program book.


Moving Closer to Sewing

Ron didn’t get the hems pinned on my long vest over the weekend, but that’s because we got busy doing other things.

I spent most of Saturday working on the latest program book (for the floodplain managers’ conference next week), and bits of Sunday morning and evening, so I could send it off to the printer Monday morning.  Yay! I have my life back!

Placing a PeaPod order on Friday, I was tempted strangely by a frozen “Cajun” Turtucken with sausage, which was on sale. We had it for dinner Saturday. It was more like a turkey roll with an inner layer of duck, and some bits of softer brown stuff that I think was either sausage or stuffing, with green herby bits. It was rather dry. It was greatly improved by making curry out of it on Sunday, chopped up and mixed with browned onions, coconut milk, a chicken bahai (spelling approximate) seasoning packet, a slosh of key lime juice, and chunks of oriental sweet potato, all cooked in the crock pot. The oriental sweet potato (as well as the seasoning mix) was from Eurofresh. It had a darker, more reddish skin, and white flesh. It also seemed to be less sweet than the standard sweet potato/yam. It wouldn’t look right in a sweet potato dish on Thanksgiving, but I’ll probably buy them again for things like curry. The one I got was really big – one was plenty for a batch of curry that mostly-filled the 4-quart stock pot. That may just be a function of time of year, IIRC the available yams were also big.

Other not-sewing things done Sunday included getting new hiking boots for Robin, since his old pair had developed a hole, and hitting a couple places looking for a new case/cover for Ron’s iPad (he ended up with an Otter Defender).

Getting closer to sewing, on Sunday afternoon Ron went with me to JoAnn, to look for fabric to coordinate with my long-vest brocade to make a sash, to wear if I don’t want to wear a corset (externally), and possibly trim for the neck opening and cuffs of the shirt. We couldn’t find any brocades/fancy-schmancy fabrics that coordinated with the dark burgundy, but I did find a pretty teal sari-ish fabric with a gold brocade pattern and selvedge borders. I got a couple yards of that, which is more I need for a sash, but I wanted to have enough selvedges for shirt trim. I also got 5 yards of solid teal kona cotton, to make a skirt or pants or something with, and for the back side of the sash.

Found sash directions on a Civil War-era forum I’ve been lurking on for a while, which confirmed how I’d pretty much planned to make it – sew the fabric over a stiff lining, close with hooks and eyes, and use a fake knot or sew the tails to hang one from the back side and the other to flip over the top edge.. I suspect I may have read the directions previously. Not sure if I’m going to go in search of buckram to stiffen it, or hit the stash for cotton duck. I’m thinking I may get some embroidery floss

The sari-ish fabric was on sale, I’m wondering if I should have gotten another yard or so to make a vest for Ron. Or maybe that would be too much matchy-matchy, not sure.

Debating what I want to cover my butt for this outfit. So far the choices are baggy/blousy pants, as in the ones in the Folkwear Sarouelles pattern, a split skirt, probably this one from Laughing Moon Mercantile, or the Folkwear Walking Skirt, which I think is more Edwardian than Victorian, but whatever. I’m not sure the walking skirt is going to work on my figure, I suspect it may not have enough space over the hips.

Currently a split skirt is the front-runner. The Folkwear version has the front panel permanently attached to one leg, and one review implies that it’s awkward to wear/walk in. There’s a version from Truly Victorian, based on a 1901 tailoring guide, which I like the look of but thought I wouldn’t have enough fabric for, but I see now that I was looking at the longer version. I like the back pleats and side openings, which I think would work better if I need to take it in for shrinking-me. Hmm, decisions, decisions. Neither the Laughing Moon or Truly Victorian goes big enough for my hip size (unless I’ve lost more there than I realize), so maybe I will go with the Truly Victorian one.

The Folkwear Vintage Vests and Victorian Shirt patterns arrived yesterday. Shirt fabric is out for delivery today, but it doesn’t appear that the vest fabric has shipped yet.


Catching Up

So, as I mentioned on Monday, I got whatever Ron had. Instead of going to my lungs, it went to my sinuses, although the antibiotics or something kept it from getting too bad. Went to work Tuesday, Ron took me to get a fill in the lap-band Wednesday morning, then I had him take me home and I went to bed, where I slept for over an hour, On my back. I rarely sleep on my back. Made it to work Thursday and Friday, although I question how much good I was there.

Started feeling better yesterday/today, although I’m still tired.

Made successful chili-type substance yesterday, despite being out of chili seasoning.  So I remember, it was beef (chunks), somewhere in the neighborhood of a pound (whacked off a bigger piece, didn’t weigh it), an onion, cook the beef and onion, add a can of green chile enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, a can of beans, some middle eastern-ish 7-spice powder from Pita Inn, chili powder, and cayenne. After a while I added a box of shoepeg white corn in butter sauce, and later yet a couple handfuls of crunched-up tortilla chips to thicken it up (a trick learned from AB).  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 quarts. Cooked in the crock pot.

Still waiting for vendor registration for Teslacon to go up, but since tickets became available again (I think they’re being released in batches), I went ahead and got 4 – me, Ron, Xap, and Robin. I also made a hotel reservation. Spaces in the main hotel did not appear with more tickets, and none of the hotels have great parking options (ie: pull-through 2-space long space) for the trailer, so we went with the closest option.

So, we’ll be needing steampunk or something related (dieselpunk, gaslamp fantasy, whatever).

My long brocade vest is still waiting to have the hem marked. Maybe this afternoon, since I seem to be at a holding point at the program book for the floodplain managers’ conference (probably more to come about that on the Otter Necessities blog).

I have a bunch of OD fabric samples, come Friday I’ll probably order a bunch of fabric for Dragon Corps gymnasterkas.

On Friday I’ll probably order a couple more Folkwear patterns: #202 Victorian Shirt, and #222 Vintage Vests.  With a shirt and a vest (thinking the shawl-collared (round collar) option and his top hat or bowler, and either kilt or pants Ron should be good. I might even be brave enough to make a vest with an obvious diagonal. The nice thing is that a vest fronts only uses in the neighborhood of a yard of fabric, so you can get pretty fancy without breaking the bank. Cheaper than, say, a floor-length brocade vest-ish thing, for instance.

Victorian pants were higher than modern – to a man’s real waistline, not the hips. Not sure if I’ll bother with those, since modern pants can probably pass for Teslacon, and kilts from UT Kilts are relatively cheap.

I figured a couple military-ish tunics would be fine for Robin with his kilts, but when I asked about the vests, he liked them. I don’t think Ron and Robin would be able to share, since that style vest is more fitted than the modern cargo vests they both like, but I won’t complain if they can.

Read Ben Aaronovitch’s “Midnight Riot” on Friday. UK title was “Rivers of London”, and have started the next novel, “Moon Over Soho”. They’re about an apprentice wizard/modern UK constable in London. They’re good fun. Mystery/police procedurals, but with a sense of humor. At least in spots. People with their faces falling off isn’t fun.

More Not as Planned

Thursday went mostly as planned. I drew a Germanic Dragon Corp logo:

German Dragon.jpg

This is a picture of the draft. It has since been scanned, and traced and cleaned up and colored in Illustrator, and my craptastic hand-drawn lettering replaced with better lettering. The red and gold in the shield have been reversed, we went with the gray wing panels, and the sword blade is gray.

Unfortunately, Thursday evening Ron had to give up saying he was not-sick-dammit, and admit he was sick with an upper respiratory thing.

It wasn’t any better Friday morning, and using his nebulizer didn’t help his breathing, so off we went to the doctor. Two more nebulizer treatments at her office, with different/better/additional drugs still didn’t help, so she sent us to the ER. Although she did say I could drive, she didn’t insist on an ambulance. I also saw a doctor, since I was afraid I was coming down with it. No signs, but she sent a prescription for a Z-Pack (antibiotics) for me, if I did get it.

At the hospital Ron got an hour-long session on the nebulizer, along with antibiotics and steroids and oxygen. He eventually started feeling better, but immediately after the nebulizer treatment his blood oxygen level was dropping below 90% even while he was on oxygen.

You can see where this is going – they kept him. Happy Valentines Day, eh what.

More nebulizer treatments and drugs later, along with a distinct lack of sleep, and he was feeling better Saturday morning. Not great, but better. And the doctor agreed he was better, and turned him loose. We even had time to get lunch before the 2:00 MuseCon meeting.

I skipped the MuseCon meeting to work on a program book for the floodplain managers’ conference, and also ended up cooking two meals – chicken curry that we had for dinner, and a quiche of unusual size – made in the 3-quart sauteuse pan, with spicy breakfast sausage, cheddar, and onions. Very oddly, the egg and cream mixture got under the crust and floated it, so the crust is in the middle of the quiche. But it tastes good.

Sunday morning I started taking the antibiotics, after Ron picked it up Saturday evening (at which point I was waffling) with his meds. Hopefully between the drugs and not being as tired and stressed as Ron was last week I won’t get it as bad.

Had today off for President’s Day. I cancelled my dental cleaning, don’t think the hygenist needed my germs. Got some more content for the program book, so I worked on that this afternoon. Ron also had the day off, so we sent Robin off to school with the truck. We told him to call if the roads were too bad when he got out, and we’d come down and get him home, and he wisely decided to do so.

Knitting-wise, Friday and Saturday I finished the mittens I started at Capricon. Yesterday I started another pair. I’ll try to get pictures real soon now.

Yesterday: Not Quite As Planned

Robin and I had yesterday off (President’s Day), so Ron declared us in charge of getting the first pass of bins to the storage locker. Robin has clearly inherited Ron’s tetris genes, he got more into the truck than Ron or I expected: 10 14-gallon bins, 7 or 8 10-gallon bins, and our 5-gallon beverage cooler. That’s all the new bins we’d bought and filled (mostly from the spare bedroom), and the smaller ones that have been living in our bedroom. Still to go over are the air conditioners, coolers, and backpack(s) (backpacking type, with rigid frames). Not sure how much after that we’ll have room for, but that will be space gained in several places.

As noted over on the Otter Necessities blog, my plan for most of yesterday was working on a program book, but that fell through due to lack of content, and instead of cleaning the dining room/working on leather instead, I went spelunking in the dining room, found a project, and sewed instead.

I pulled out the long middle-eastern-ish vest, in a brocaded satin, that I cut out a couple-few years ago. Kind of a sleeveless take on the entari from Folkwear’s “Turkish Dancer” pattern. The satin is a pale gold, with a slightly darker pale gold leafy-flowery patterning, and more leafy-flowery patterning in burgundy. The lining for it is dark burgundy calico with a leafy-feathery pattern in black.  Silly, me, I thought it would go together quickly.

It may have, if I hadn’t lined it, or if the lining pieces had been the same size as the fashion fabric. But the calico was slightly narrower than the brocade, so the skirts of the lining aren’t quite as wide as the outer skirts, which made for some interesting little tricks in construction, so that I could do the necessary separate hemming of the sides of all the pieces parts. And there was a lot of hemming, as I cut it over-long, so its currently dragging on the floor, and the side seams stop at about waist level.

I also made my very own bias tape for the first and second times – I made it out of the lining fabric, to be arm hole facing, and made it too narrow the first time. After all the machine-sewing was done, last night I was hand sewing down the arm hole facings and tacking the fashion and lining fabrics together along the front edge, down to about the same level as the side seams. Got that all done, the only thing left to do is actually hem to length. I’d have had time last night, but Ron is not-sick-dammit, and didn’t want to get down on the floor to pin it up for me, and I didn’t feel like talking Robin through the process.

My original plan for the outfit that the vest is part of, which is a steampunk outfit, is that I’d wear the vest over either bloomers or a skirt, Gibson Girl blouse, and corset worn over the blouse and bottoms. I still haven’t gotten around to the blouse, and have been feeling a little intimidated by it (more fitted than I’ve ever done before), so when I went to the fabric store for pale gold thread, I got some pale gold fabric to make one of the “Shirts of Russia and the Ukraine” as an alternate. I think I’m going to make the center-opening version of the shirt. I may also see if I can find some coordinating mostly-burgundy brocade, so I can make a sash to wear instead of the corset, if I’m so inclined.

Did I mention that the dieselpunk outfit may have become a group thing? I may be making OD off-center opening shirts for Ron, Xap, and Robin also. Robin’s OD kilt is a good color, and Ron wants/needs new kilts, so all he’ll need is one in OD to match Robin. Robin also asked for a gray shirt, as his officer’s-style cap is gray, so we got some gray fabric while we were at the fabric store.  In a slightly surprising turn of events, Robin had decided to go to the fabric store with me. His intent was fleece to make terrain markers for miniature wargaming (which he got), but he didn’t argue about getting the gray fabric while we were there.

So, if we’re going to do a group outfit kind of thing, we need some kind of emblem. A couple-few years ago we made a Civil-War era cartridge pouch, and Ron commented that it would be cool to get a stamp to put some kind of emblem on it, like the US and CS emblems used on the originals. He came up with “Dragon Corps” and we made a stab at a couple designs that ended up looking more DC-Comics than we wanted.

At Capricon, I made a stab at a Dragon Corps emblem, with a Russian feel. Instead of the double-headed eagle, I went with a double-headed dragon. Not shown are the early attempts, that included feet and tail(s). Several iterations later, I got to one I was happy enough to photocopy and try coloring:


Dragon Corps, Eastern Division (of the Rodina, or Motherland)

No, not a great picture – taken with my phone camera, and Copic markers bleed more on copier paper than paper made for them. Which I could have tried putting in the photocopier, but forgot about while standing at the copier, oops.  Anyway, I think the general color scheme is good. I didn’t resist putting some shading in, although that wouldn’t be in an embroidered version. And my hand-drawn lettering sucks like a giant sucky thing of suckiness. My cunning plan is to find a font I like, and use the power of Illustrator to make the intertwined DC.  The next step is doing that, and getting Ron to do a tracing of the original drawing in Illustrator, so we have the image digitally (with and without color).

I think the horns need to go back farther, and maybe up a little, on the heads, now that I look at the colored version. Not sure why I didn’t see that before. At least this time neither of the heads are smirking.