Oops, Fell Off Again

Yes, I kinda fell off the internet again.

Robin is still wandering the country in training. I hear from him, usually a short Facebook post, about once per week. He’s on trainer #4, and I’m hoping will be done soon. He’s spent a couple weeks waiting for trainers, but at least he’s been being paid for the waiting.

Two weeks ago Ron started orientation with Schneider, half of last week was kinda flail-ish with getting his truck and getting it fixed and cleaned, so today starts his first real week. He left stupid early this morning, and will be back Saturday, so home Saturday night through Sunday night. So far he’s happy with Schneider, and his shoulder is enjoying not dealing with tarps.

The dogs are Not Pleased with being crated all day. Once we settle into a more predictable pay schedule and pay off some bills that have accumulated, I’m hoping I can get a daily service to come and let them out around the middle of the day.

Thanksgiving with the extended family-by-choice was fun. 8 of us total, which meant we all had “real” plates and flatware, and the house was pretty much full.

Last weekend we bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree – Peanuts brand and everything. We were at Ace Hardware, and saw a pre-lighted 18” tree, and we considered it. I wandered through the aisle of holiday stuff and found the Charlie Brown tree and snagged it. It’s a proper straggly thing, crossed-boards base, one red ornament, and a “Linus blanket”. It’s sitting on top of the living room water bottle (to be fairly safe from toppling by playing dogs), and Christmas presents are being piled on/around the “Christmas Chair” nearby.

Natter about craft shows at the local high schools can be found on the Otter blog.

Yesterday we went to the storage locker for a couple Otter-ish things, and cotton duck from my fabric stash. In the afternoon we made an apron for Ron from said duck. It’s fairly long, and the bottom turns up and is attached at the sides, and the edge stiffened with some leather, so it forms a big pocket to catch chips when he’s woodcarving.

I also shopped the stash for upholstery fabric, and made new slipcovers for the bolsters that live on/around the couch. They’re 2-3 couches old, and an icky faded blue that do not match the blue couch we have now. Once I had the covers done (which didn’t even take too long), we decided to pull the old dead foam out of the bolsters, and re-stuffed them with fiberfill from Sweet Potato, Ron’s co-driver bear, who has developed holes in multiple seams. So now we have a pair of cylindrical bolsters that look nice and are actually useful again.

The Water Resources Christmas luncheon and staff meeting is on Thursday, so last week I made myself a new shirt and vest. Both had some issues, but were solved. I just need to put a hook and eye on the neckline opening of the shirt. I should consider ironing it, too, but I don’t know if I’ll get that far.

Semi-Random Natter

I know we’ve been doing things since I last posted, on Wednesday, but my brain seems to have turned to mush.
 Wednesday evening we had our guitar and banjo lessons. The Music Room is having a recital for adult students in October, and my instructor asked if I’d like to try to have something ready. I’m brave/foolish, so it looks like I’ll be working on “Scarborough Fair”. In preparation, I’ve been working on learning my first two chords. The excitement, it is incredible.
 Friday I meant to go to work, but was tired and whiny and had a bad case on don’t wannas. So Ron came home about mid-morning. I was feeling better in the afternoon, and my noon conference call ended in time to make the first matinee of “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Robin had to work at 5:00, so it was that show or go without him). In the evening Ron took me out to dinner.
 And then Ron didn’t sleep much at all (an hour or so?), for reasons.
 Saturday morning we went to Woodstock to pick up two tabletop printing presses and other letterpress things. I drove.
 Ron was pretty much a zombie, so not a lot else got done on Saturday.
 We did go see a Gershwin musical, “Crazy for You” at Cutting Hall. In 20/20 hindsight it would have been a better one to start with – real sets, good costumes, not much of a plot, but happy and fluffy, and a very full house. OTOH, I’m not a dancer, so not sure if I could have gotten a part – lota and lots of dancing.
 And yesterday’s matinee featured an un scheduled appearance by a bat, who reportedly bit an audience member. Bats don’t scare me, but I can’t say I’m sorry we missed that.
 Yesterday I made sweet refrigerator pickles – AB’s summer fruits (plums, pears, and lemon), with added starfruit, key limes, and peaches. I went a little overboard, as pickles are won’t to do, and ended up with five quarts.
 I also have most of a quart of thinly sliced red onion soaking in the citrus sweet pickle juice from last summer’s pickling attack, and a quart and a pint of key limes on their way to becoming pickled (brined) limes, ala “Little Women”.
 After re-reading “A Little Preserving Book for a Little Girl”, a book from Project Gutenberg that’s a combination storybook, instructions, and recipes, I may try some jam or something next weekend. A SMALL batch. I also got two modern books (ebooks) of small batch preserving recipes by the Food in Jars blogger.
 Just exactly what I play with next weekend may be left to Robin to see what looks good at the Farmer’s Market.
 I have a board and brackets for another shelf in our room, where I’m going to move my dolls. Once somebody does three edges of the board with the router, which he didn’t do yesterday, for no adequately-explained reason. Hopefully that has been rectified, and Ron can get the shelf up this evening.
 – Posted using software from hardware

MuseCon Report

Looks like my last post was the “Titanic” report. After TtM finished we had one free-ish weekend, then last weekend was MuseCon.
 I’d planned to take the Thursday before MuseCon off, requested it, and even had enough leave time to do so. Then I forgot I had, and had enough work piled up from all the time off I took in July that I worked Thursday. Which meant I had to go back and do corrected paperwork yesterday, but there are worse mistakes to make than working when not expected to.
 The dogs were out late enough in the afternoon Thursday that I went to the hotel after work and had dinner with Ron, Xap, and Robin, and hung out for a bit before doing errands on the way home, finishing up athe last bits of signage and handouts, and sent them off for printing.
 Friday morning I packed up the last odds and ends (almost everything went in the trailer, in one of the Otter Necessities Things), picked up Marmaduke, dropped the dogs off, another errand, and then to the hotel.
 Put up signage, hand-wound yarn into balls (silly person didn’t think to bring it in from the car and use her ball-winder), and kept an eye on the Open Build (including blinkies) room setup. Eventually I got my stuff for my Japanese-style doll clothing and Turkish braid knitting open builds and settled in to be room coordinator.
 It was a MuseCon. Didn’t have some issues we dealt with last year, a repeat or two, and a couple others came up, nothing horrible.
 Our panel talking about Japanese-style clothing for Cosplay went well. I’ve been asked about repeating it Maneki Neko Con, which I can do, as long as I get a dummy or two to dress up, since Ron and Xap will be busy with our vendor booth. Making doll clothes was not such a success, only had one person, although a second person was interested but our mutual timing was incompatible.
 Only had 4-6 people for my Turkish braid knitting hands-on demo, but that was ok. If I’d been willing to dig in the stash it would have cost me nothing (I was lazy and picked up yarn and needles). I forgot to make up a little handout, but the process is simple enough that once you’ve done it once any directions you find on-line should be enough of a reminder.
 Dramatic Readings of Poetry was a definite success. With Marmaduke’s help, we got the audience involved. Pieces I did included “If I Were a Rich Man” in a southern drawl (worked really well), a song about the Titanic (not from the musical) in a happy cheerful perky voice, and the “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” in a sad and tragic manner.
 I think the letterpress overview/intro went well.
 Worked on lots of doll clothing, finished a couple things, and now I’m working on the samples I had gotten to various stages of completion.
 Packing up Sunday went pretty well. We left the trailer at the hotel and sent Robin and Marmaduke home with the truck (really need to teach Robin to drive stick shift, so he can also use the car); and Ron and I spent the night.
 After dinner Sunday (at the hotel restaurant, as Happy Elephant is closed Sundays, alas), we went up to the Necro-Muse post-con music party, and performed really-solo in public for the first time.
 Ron started out with “Puff the Magic Dragon”, with some flailing. I tried accompanying myself on ukulele (chords) for the “Mingulay Boat Song”, but ended up doing it a capella. Next round I tried “3 Jolly Coachmen”, with just hitting the chords on the changes and an intermediate word or two, and that went much better. Probably the best thing I did. Did three verses of “Ronald, Where’s Your Trousers?”, dropping the uke out again. It would have been better if Ron had been wearing a kilt, of course. The last thing I did was “Rivers of Texas”, where I flailed on when to play the chords.
 Overall, it wasn’t too bad. It would help I’d actually, y’know, practiced more. I think “3 Jolly Coachmen” was the best in part because it is first line twice, second line three times, then the last line, and the verses and chorus all have the same rhythm/chords.
 Sunday afternoon I’d looked to see how bad the guitar chords would be for some of the songs I plat on ukulele, and discovered that while the F chord on uke is an easy 2-finger one, on guitar it’s an ugly barre-chord 4-finger thing. And lots of the songs I know for uke use it. And also I couldn’t pick up the other chords fast enough to play anything on guitar that evening.
 Which reminds me, a week ago Ron and I started lessons at The Music Room, our local music store. I was waffling, and then decided that the opening with a guitar instructor at the same day/time as Ron’s banjo lesson was a sign. I’m doing classical-ish guitar, because I’m hoping learning single notes first will help with the flexibility of my weird left ring finger. -Ish, because classical guitar is properly done on a nylon-strung guitar, and mine is steel, and I’m not limiting myself to strictly classical music. My instructor is good with those caveats, and suggested fingerpicks (which classical purists don’t use) before I brought the question up (steel strings are harder on fingernails).
 Not sure if I’ll make it to my lesson tonight, as I’m writing this from the juror’s waiting room at the Daley Center, in the loop. The summons says plan to be here until at least 4:30, and my lesson is at 5:30. OTOH, the other times I’ve been summoned I haven’t been here past midday. So I’m waiting until lunchtime to decide on re-scheduling (when I checked the calendar this morning my instructor had an open slot tomorrow evening).
 Monday morning I picked up the dogs while Ron dropped off the refrigerator con suite used, and the blinkie supplies and Mr. Slushie. Partially unloaded our belongings, and brought a few more in last night.
 Robin went to a session at MusCon on Friday (IIRC) on drawing Celtic knotwork, and enjoyed it. So he spent much of the weekend drawing knots, and other general sketching. As the head of and one half of the staff of Logistics he worked his butt off, so Monday evening I took him to Dick Blick, and got him a couple drawing pads and some colored pencils (he already has some other pencils and supplies). I also said I’d dig out the book I learned to draw knotwork from, so he can see the method I use.
 Running around Monday evening also included getting Robin black shoes for his new job at Little Caesar’s (first shift is Friday, had orientation/paperwork-filling before MuseCon), and finding a replacement for the pseudo-milk care I keep,patterns in. It fell apart over Robin’s head, after over 20 years of use, so it lasted pretty well. I replaced it with three smaller metal mesh file thingies, which will be lighter, and let me sort things more.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Quick Updates

“Into the Woods, Jr.” was good. Some bugs, probably due in part to it being opening night. Instead of the 2nd act, the youth theatre group did a “cabaret” of musical numbers. We sat in the front row of the balcony, which wasn’t too bad.

Saturday was busy. Dogs to vet’s office for baths and getting Pippin’s stitches out, breakfast, errands errands and more errands, Robin to and from karate, picking dogs up, lunch, a MuseCon meeting, and then finally home. And maybe another errand? I forget.

Yesterday was more relaxed. I finally built my Lego Maersk container train/truck set. I think Robin worked on miniatures. And I washed all the dirty dishes and cooked dinner. And then we ate dinner which created more dirty dishes. Damn vicious circles. (viscous circles are more interesting).

The south hive absconded and is empty. The north hive isn’t doing a lot, and Ron said they were pissy, but they are storing some honey. The top-bar hive seems healthy. The east hive, however, has three supers. I think that’s the most one of our hives has needed, although a couple years ago we extracted twice, so it’s hard to say.

Finished Liscentia’s jacket, working on the knicker-ish hakama-ish things. I really need to put her wig on one of these days. IIRC I was going to order a silicone skullcap to go under it (helps hold it in place), too.

Work-wise, the biggest news is that the office refrigerator appears to be dead.

Yes, such exciting lives.

Progress & Book Review

Turns out that one of the fabrics I ordered was out of stock. The one that I was hoping would match some brocade I have, of course.  No further progress on sewing, although I did raid the bins of fabric for doll clothes this morning, to cut out something for Licentia. I’m thinking knickers-like hakama relatives, like the ones shown here:


Not sure what I’m going to cut out for the top half.

Still waiting on my pattern from Reconstructing History.

Mostly we’ve been hiding from the heat, and yesterday I advanced some more on the Program Book Death March.  The end of the death march is in sight – my plan is to get it to the printer Monday, maybe Tuesday. Yesterday I got the grid done, despite the Drobo flaking out. We’re hoping it was only suffering from the heat, as Ron was able to successfully run a backup this morning. Fortunately, after shutting itself down the Drobo came back up long enough to synch with my laptop, so I was able keep working from my laptop’s local drive (was working off the Drobo).

I’m really glad we got Chrono Synch a couple years ago – I was looking for something to synchronize data on a USB drive with a hard drive, and although it was overkill, it was what I decided on, as most lighter programs seemed to push data one-way only. Besides synchronizing data, Chrono Synch will do automated backups, yadda yadda. And a year-ish ago they came out with Chrono Agent, which makes it even easier to set up automated synching between machines. I have Chrono Agent installed on my laptop, and when it starts up, it goes and looks for the desktop machine and synchronizes auto-magically if it can. Before I got Chrono Agent I had to manually fire off synchronizations. Mac-only, last time I looked, though.

This morning Ron went to fetch Robin, who’s been off dog-sitting since Friday. In a house that is, IIRC, air-conditioned. I’m getting tired of the bedroom. Not that I’m complaining, it’s better than no A/C at all!  Today is also a holiday for Ron’s office, and he’s taking off tomorrow, as are most of his co-workers. Not sure what his plans are for today and tomorrow.  He was nice and told me to take the truck today and tomorrow. I wasn’t unselfish enough to argue, since there’s nowhere he *has* to go. Hopefully he and Robin got home before it got too hot (no A/C in the Kia).

After getting the grid done yesterday, we went to see “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer”. It was a fun, fairly brainless, summer movie. Ron says it’s fairly different from the book, and that the book is better. We’ll probably go see “Brave” this weekend (checked yesterday to make sure it would still be at our preferred theatre), we waited until Robin got home since he wants to see it too.

Earlier this week I read “Unorthodox: the Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots”, by Deborah Feldman.  I’d looked at it a while back, and then Ron mentioned hearing an interview with the author, and he thought it was one I’d enjoy. He was right. I think I went through it in about 24 hours.

What “Unorthodox” is not: an ethnographic study of a modern Hasidic community, or a dispassionate dissection of her experiences. You do learn a few things about the particular sect the author belonged to, but mostly because it either relates directly to her life (how much schooling girls get), or incidentally. It also doesn’t strike me as a tell-all marvel-at-the-freaks book. She wasn’t happy living that life, and is critical of things, but it is a very self-reflective story.

Some parts of the book just made me cringe: when she’s contemplating her impending marriage she thinks about she and her fiancee will break free of stifling traditions, etc. You know that it’s just not going to happen, and you want to tell her she’s setting herself up to be let down.

I don’t get the impression that the author hates the Hasidic members of her family. Not necessarily loves all of them, but although I don’t think she ever says it, I’d guess she still loves her grandmother, who raised her after her own mother left the Hasidic community. Or maybe I want her to still love Bubby, because Bubby is just as much a victim of the society as she is.

Currently reading “The Crossing Places”, by Elly Griffiths; the first in a mystery series with a modern archaeologist/forensic pathologist protagonist. I seem to have developed a thing for British mystery authors. Probably related to watching BBC mystery/detective shows. I’ve also read and enjoyed a couple of the Midsomer/DCI Barnaby books by Caroline Grahame, and most of the “Simon Serrailer” series by Susan Hill (although the reviews of the current one aren’t good, so I haven’t bothered with it). The first “Bryant and May” or “Peculiar Crimes Unit” mystery by Christopher Fowler was also good, need to get more of those.

I’ve figured out one thing with series like these – I need to  not read them too quickly. A few years ago I started the “Sookie Stackhouse” series and enjoyed them, but read too many too quick, burned out, and haven’t read any more.

Weekend Report? Again?

Yeah, that’s what happens on Mondays, another weekend report.

Friday afternoon Eowyn demonstrated that she’s still not too old to get into trouble. She decided Licentia’s hair looked tasty. Fortunately, Robin caught her before she did any more than damage packaging.

Friday evening we went to Menard’s and picked up a router bit, three 8′ long clear pine one-by-eights, and brackets to put up in the living room on the west and south walls. The space on the west wall is 73″, we decided not to sweat the extra inch. The space on the south wall is 131″ – just shy of 11 feet. The original plan was to miter the boards meeting in the corner.

But, as many plans do, it got changed. On Sunday Ron routed three sides of each board, and put one up on the west wall  of the living room – no, the ends of that one didn’t need to be pretty, but it was easiest to just do all three boards the same. But instead of figuring out the least messy way of filling the whole space on the south wall he put one up there, and the third went up on the south wall of our bedroom, above the beds – which is another space we’d talked about putting a shelf.

No, we didn’t bother finishing the wood. But the brackets are decorative, gunmetal in color, and we got black wood screws to attach the shelves to the brackets, and black self-anchoring screws for the wall, so they look good. Routing the edges of the boards really dressed them up. Now Ron’s considering routing the boards that make up the brick and glass block bookshelf in our bedroom, but that means unloading the shelves first. Ron spun one of the living room track lights around while loading the living room shelves, and after seeing how it looked I’m considering adding a couple low-power/flourescent light fixtures to show off the stuff on the shelves.  Oh good Ghu, we’re getting so civilized…

The majority of the models and tchotchkes that were on the mantle moved up onto the living room shelves. A few of the taller things were left on the mantle, and the rest of the space is now occupied by Ron’s Lego Unimog, my dolls, and a Lego motorcycle that’s been hiding in a corner in our bedroom for ages. Not sure why it didn’t move to the bedroom shelf, but whatever. Currently the shelf in our room is empty.  I’m sure things will migrate up there.

I didn’t get around to grabbing a good camera with a flash to get pictures of the living room, but I did get a camera-phone picture of the one in our bedroom. It’s not great, but it gives you the general idea. Click to embiggen.

On the doll front, I heroically refrained from starting any clothes for Licentia. I knew if I did, I wouldn’t have the self-control to stop until they were done.

Saturday morning was, typically, flailing around – ran Robin to the bank then to Games Plus to pick up some miniatures he’d ordered, then karate. During karate Ron and I got screws for the shelf project and other errand-ish things.

Saturday afternoon Marmaduke came over. We’d gotten Robin a starter set of the miniatures game “Warmachine” for Christmas, they played a couple rounds of that, another one that Marmaduke recently discovered, and then the locusts descended on the chili and nachos I’d made for dinner. After dinner Marmaduke was introduced to the first Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law “Sherlock Holmes”.

Saturday afternoon/evening and much of Sunday I was working on pouches. Pouches pouches pouches. You can guess where the bloggy natter about that will be, right? I did, however, keep up on the dishes, which I think meant at least three passes? And made a decent dinner – bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin chops (from GFS), green beans, and spuds.

The cran-cherry mead had spent the week apparently doing nothing, so last night we pitched it a concoction of some warm water, honey, yeast nutrient, and two packets of dry champaign yeast. Apparently the concoction was potent, there was a geyser when it was added to the carboy. But this morning it’s perking along nicely, so the cleanup (on tile floor, so easy) was worth it.

Civility and Yao

To start out, here’s some of the least-bad (and G-rated) pictures of Civility layer-by-layer on New Year’s Eve.  Click to embiggen. Heads shouldn’t be cut off in full-size versions.

We’ll start with her already in the green hakama and white-on-white kosode.  You may note that the kosode is a bit snug on the upper arms/shoulders.  But not too snug to wear. The green hakama are long enough to wear properly high, in fact they may be a bit long – she’s standing on the base of the doll stand, which is about a 1/2″ thick.

Next, we add the orange and yellow kosode, then the new blue and black kosode:

The blue kosode fits well over everything, but it could be a bit longer.

And now, on to Yao.

Warning! Nekkid Dolls Below!

Yao arrived shortly after dinner.  I had to sign for her, then unpack her. And unpack and unpack and unpack.

Finally, there she was, in all her (gasp! shock! horror!) anatomically accurate nudididity:

Since she’d had to make the trip all the way from Korea to the San Francisco area to the distributor I bought her from (junkyspot.com), then from SF to here, I’m not complaining about all the packaging she was in (hands and feet wrapped, head wrapped, body wrapped, in a bag, then more padding), or the amount of packing in the box.

Yes, she’s a faun. She has pointy ears, hooves, feathering on her legs, and horns (which are magnetic). She also has very long dark-red-brown hair, but we seem to have not gotten a picture with her hair on. Her hooves, feathers, and horns will be painted. Soon. Flesh-colored horns, etc. are just wrong. She currently has blue eyes, that may change. The eyes are a bit creepy, the follow you. I’m not kidding, I’m not exaggerating! Like a really good painting, the eyes follow you.

Yao informed me in no uncertain terms that “Yao” is her family name, *her* name is either Fauna or Licentia. I’m thinking it’s Licentia. Comments?

She has joints. Lots of joints. She can pivot and turn and bend in alllll sorts of ways. I need to get a better doll stand for her, that I trust to support her better.

She looks taller than Civility, but they’re the same height (with straight legs), Civility just looks shorter because Yao is slimmer.

Being that her upper arms are a little less, ahem, blessed with embonpoint, I told Civility she was going to have to share some clothing, as I undressed her to get to her white kosode.

“Not with that trollop” was heard.

Ron turned a funny color and abruptly turned back to the computer (don’t let him fool you, he was playing with dolls as much as I was last night).

Civility is adamant that “that trollop” is not in any way her relation, much less evil twin. She was a bit put out about the clothing donation, too. As it turns out, it’ll only be temporary.

Then I discovered that Yao had lost her right ring finger! Oh no! I don’t know how it happened, I don’t see how it could have gotten caught on anything  and stressed enough to break, but super glue fixed it. Yay Ron!

The white kosode is too big on Yao through the shoulders and neck – the neckline needs to be narrower, as do the body panels. The sleeves end up full-length on her. I considered the red hakama, but was voted down, so I had Robin fetch me some ribbon and just tied the kosode shut.

I believe the phrase I uttered while trying to dress her was “slippery little shit”.  She’s going to take some getting used to.

She doesn’t have quite enough bend at the hips to sit up politely like Civility, the best she can do is lounge. As in chaise lounge, I’ve been informed. Right, I’m supposed to find a quarter-scale chaise lounge now?

So, I propped her up a bit in her box, with the padded carrying bag she came with underneath . . .

Then . . .

Oh dear, it’s kind of painful to talk about . . .

The sheep . . .

The sheep with the demented grin . . .

Oh, here, see for yourself:

Her hands. The sheep’s ears. I don’t even know if the sheep is male or female!

Civility disapproves, and pretends not to notice and stares stonily (porcelainy?) straight ahead:


But look where’s Civility’s sleeve is. I have a suspicion she’s not quite so disapproving as she pretends to be.

Oh, and Ron says we need to get a satyr doll now.

I think I know what the new girl’s first outfit is going to be. Sooo wrong. But so right, Ron says. I probably should not spend time this weekend on it, I’ve got pouches to work on . . .

What a strange, strange evening it was…


I Like Long Weekends!

Let’s break this up into topical bits:


Ron took me to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner Friday night.  I don’t actually much like crab, but shrimp is another thing. Most of their shrimp entrees had more going on in terms of breading, etc., than I wanted, but the bucket of steamed shrimp appetizer and a side sounded like a good meal to me. And it was. Yummy yummy sweet shrimp.

Saturday and Monday, however, were not so good for eating out. For lunch at Olive Garden on Saturday I got soup with gnocci, and bruschetta. I would have liked more than 4 gnocci  in my bowl of soup, and bruschetta that didn’t taste canned. And the liquid looked like tomato sauce, not like the juice leaking from fresh tomatoes should. The manager mumbled something about a balsamic glaze, but he also comped my whole meal. But the Olive Garden waitress was good, and we tipped her based on what the total would have been with my food included. Late lunch/early dinner yesterday was at “La Magdalena”, a Mexican place at Deer Park. The service was stupidly slow, my food was closer to room temperature than “hot”, and Ron’s wasn’t too hot either. The waiter got 10%, and I left a note on the CC slip why.

We should have gone southeast a bit on Rand to the grungy hole in the wall that makes yummy yummy burritos as big as your head (and also smaller ones). While you wait and watch. Oh well, next time.

Saturday morning we took Robin to GFS. We got not only the pre-seasoned nacho sauce and chips we went for, and also lasagna, soup, chicken kievs and cordon bleus, lunch meat, and other things. The lunch meat was, IIRC, about the cost per pound of what the grocery stores charge per half-pound. You do have to buy 2-lb packages, but zippy bags and the freezer take care of that.

The 8-lb block of soup was mostly-thawed when I dumped it into the 4-quart crock pot this morning, then bailed out a couple cups so we wouldn’t make a mess. Cheddar chicken tortilla, or something like that.

Making quiches Sunday night, I commented that I should have picked up more of the pre-scrambled eggs like we got for the dog, since I knew I was going to be making quiche.  Still learning how to shop there.

Fun Stuff:

Friday night after dinner we tried again to go to the Lego Discovery Land/Store at Streets of Woodfield. Waste of time, their selection was unimpressive. Obviously the draw is the kiddy amusement aspect. We then went to the Lego store at Woodfield Mall, which was much better, and where Ron made sad eyes at me and came out with the ginormous Unimog truck set that consumed much of Saturday. He posted pictures on G+ and Facebook.

Yesterday we went to see the new Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law “Sherlock Holmes” movie. More ripping good fun. Stephen Fry was a hoot as Mycroft Holmes. When Mycroft said something about going to a peace conference at Reichenbach Falls, part of what was going to happen was obvious if you’ve read the stories or watched other Holmes incarnations, but at least one person in the story yelled “No!” when it did.

Yesterday morning brewed the cran-cherry mead.  In the past we’ve used cool-tolerant yeast and moved things into the basement to ferment, once they got going. This time Ron decided he’d prefer to have them upstairs, which is warmer. Eowyn hasn’t used her crate in ages, so Robin took it apart and hauled it to the basement, swept up the drifts of fur, and now the ginger spice and cran-cherry mead are in our bedroom.

Last night I was poking through a couple bins that are now easier to get to without Eowyn’s crate in the room, and pulled out Patricia Kennealy-Morrison’s “Keltiad”, specifically, the first three books about Aeron – “The Copper Crown”, “The Silver Branch”, and “The Throne of Scone”. Still enjoyable, although I’m only a few chapters into the first book. I probably won’t bother with any of the other Keltiad books, they weren’t as good. I was actually looking for my “Quest of the Riddle-Master” Omnibus (“The Riddle-Master of Hed”, “Heir of Sea and Fire”, and “Harpist in the Wind” by Patricia McKillip), but I hadn’t really expected to find it in those bins, I think it’s in the attic or on the stairs up to the attic. Foo.

Fun Stuff, Doll-Related: 

Got the white blue-and-black kosode done Saturday. I should have made the sleeves on the white a bit bigger, they’re a bit snug on Civility’s upper arm. For the blue and black kosode Ron also voted to use the wrong side of the calico (so it would be solid blue), which does look good. OTOH, adding the front extensions isn’t quite enough fullness, I do need to make the body panels a bit bigger, or maybe make them flare out a bit (totally inaccurate, but it fits well at the shoulders, just needs more rump-room). I also want more train for the final layer, but the length of this one was dictated by the material.

I picked up a doll stand at Hobby Lobby that extends tall enough for Civility, but it needs some tinkering so that it will stay tall enough. I took pictures as I re-dressed her in the white, orange/yellow, and blue/black kosode with the green hakama, but I’m not sure if I’m going share the pictures. I used the G9 and a flash, but with her shiny white porcelain skin against a darkish background, the contrast issues are horrible. To get good pictures is going to mean using the studio lights, probably a white/pale backround, the light meter, and setting things on one of the full-featured SLRs. Which boils down to getting a Round Tuit and rigging the backdrop.

Yao’s last known location seems to have been the San Francisco area. ETA is now Thursday. Civility continues to resolutely refuse discussion.

What To Do With Stuff:

The Lego Unimog is currently in our bedroom, and Civility is sitting on a folding table in front of the couch since Robin took the Christmas tree down. Time has come to Do Something about the living room, specifically the mantle, which is the location of a convoy of assorted mostly-military models, mostly 1/35th scale armor.

Fortunately, this is a theoretically-solved problem. Long ago one of us came up with the idea of putting shelves up, just above the windows, over the computer desk and one bookshelf from the DVD shelves into the corner, and then over the other bookshelf and couch from the corner to the tall bookshelf opposite the fireplace.

The plan is to install said shelving next weekend. Then the models can move onto the the new high shelf (and eventually they need dust cover/display boxes), and then we’ll have the mantle free for larger things. To that end, when I went to Menard’s on Sunday, there was an excuse for a router to follow Ron home.

To Sum Up:

With all that, plus the leatherworking I’ll natter about on the other blog in a bit, it was a busy weekend, but a good one.

Slow Day

I’ve finished all the work-work that’s going to get done this year. Now I’m thumb-twiddling.

When, at lunchtime, I unfolded the white-on-white calico, I discovered that washing hadn’t gotten rid of what I thought was water-spotting. But I was able to cut a kosode out of it.

That went quick enough that I had enough time to do another (there’s no benefit to shortening lunch, can’t leave any earlier if you do).

The navy calico with black print that I brought with me is a piece salvaged from a dress that had an untimely accident, part of which became a section of the Very Loud Afghani Nomad Dress skirt. This piece had obviously been stored near light for a while, or had a close encounter with bleach, based on the fading to purple-ish in a couple spot. Based on the shape of the spots I’m thinking it’s fading.

Regardless, I was able to cut around it. I realized the pattern is kinda directional, so the body and sleeves will have shoulder/top of arm seams. I also cut front extensions, so it’s more full. I was going to give it a black collar, then I realized that I had enough good fabric to cut a collar, provided I didn’t mind a center seam. I’m debating about putting it on right-side out so the pattern shows, inside-out so it’s solid navy blue, or waffling back to a black collar. Currently leaning toward the back side of the fabric for a solid blue collar.

The sleeves will hang lower than the orange and yellow kosode, and I also cut it longer. I think long enough to form a train. Which reminds me, before I start sewing I need to check and see if the fronts should be shorter.

The blue and black fabric has washed an unknown number of times, and the white has been washed at least once, maybe twice, so both are softer than brand new fabric. I may stop and pick up some starch. They could both use ironing even if I don’t starch them, and the boys are out of starch anyway (for their kilts).


Wednesday afternoon I went back to the podiatrist to have him deal with a missed or re-grown bit of ingrown toenail. I had the option of gritting my teeth or getting it numbed, I voted for local anesthetic, the injection of which has been the worst bit about the visit or healing so far.  🙂

In one of Robin’s classes they’re doing group movie projects. Robin’s group is starting to film today, having done nothing on it for most of the last two weeks. I’m not clear on exactly who was the holdup, but I know it wasn’t Robin.

The mysterious Yao may or may not be arriving a week from today. Civility is still having the vapors. I plan on cutting a kosode out of the white-on-white calico at lunchtime today, and possibly another out of navy blue calico with black flowers, perhaps that will distract her.

Yesterday I had relaxation of brain-cramp, and started looking at/for generic food warmers instead of  strictly “nacho” warmers. With the widened field of results, I think I may be narrowing my search down to deciding what size and wattage of new units. I checked the power ratings of some 4- and 7-quart commercial warmers against my 4- and 6-quart crock pots, which confirmed that they should heat things faster than the crock pots.

I may run over to GFS this weekend for a can of the pre-seasoned nacho sauce, and more chips, for the next round of taste-testing.

At some point this weekend we’ll be brewing a 5-gallon batch of cran-cherry mead. The ginger spice mead has a nice healthy fermentation burbling merrily along.

Eowyn had a couple bad days, but is back to her (older, slower) self. I think having everybody home and many disruptions to her rest for the long weekend were part of the problem. With just Robin home and spending significant time working on minis she gets the benefits of both napping where she wants to, and doing so with minimal disturbance.