More Bullet-Points

  • Since I’ve been more than a bit remiss in posting . . .
  • Robin passed the difficult 2/3 of his CDL test two weeks ago. I supplied fundage for couple more hours of driving practice, and this morning he re-took the road driving portion and passed. Yay!
  • MuseCon is dead. I have feelings about this. They’re complicated.
  • There are still brush piles in the backyard, but the still-growing stuff (some of which is grass, most of which is . . . not) has been trimmed to a reasonable level. I think I’m just going to buy a fire ring after all.
  • Still playing both versions of “My Singing Monsters” despite getting repeatedly annoyed at the sequel. Ron suggests the annoyances are what keeps me coming back. He might be right.
  • Done some Otter Necessities stuff. More about that in the usual place.
  • After thrashing herself out of her enclosure and falling to the floor while attacking her food two weeks in a row, I have successfully learned how to feed Aurora the corn snake without so much excitement. She still gets excited and thrashes around, but I open the door enough to admit the rat and tongs, so she doesn’t have space to fall out. This is particularly silly as she doesn’t get live food.
  • Robin took the air conditioners out of the windows a couple weeks ago. There were many, many shield/stink bugs.
  • Robin and I investigated the new (as in moved) Schaumburg Dick Blick store. I had a not-too-large fail, and also got Robin some additional sketching supplies to take with him during training.
  • Ron has started woodcarving, as he needed a truck-friendly hobby for his downtime. Chainmail is too itty-bitty if when rings are dropped.
  • I now have a set of tube watercolor paints, some test bits of basswood, and two dwarf/gnome-ish figures to paint.
  • I left my iPod in a skirt pocket and it went through the wash. RIP iPod. And Apple has discontinued the Nano, now all they have is the phone-size Touch with a bunch of features I don’t want/need.
  • OTOH, I’ve determined that I can use my iPad to play music from my portable hard drive through my portable speaker, which accomplishes what I used my iPod for, without stuffing the memory on my phone or iPad with music. I found Ron’s old iPod and Xap found a cable for it, and then Robin handed me his green iPod Nano, which he doesn’t use any more. So, options, I has them!
  • I downloaded recent-ish purchases from iTunes to the desktop computer, and keep forgetting to update the music on my hard drive, and/or replace some of the music Robin likes on the green iPod with what I like. D’oh!
  • My new-ish co-worker is loud, and I don’t always want to have my door closed, which only does so much good anyway unless I shut it tight.
  • At least I promptly quashed the use of speakerphone in his open cubicle. Speakerphones are only for use in conference rooms or offices with DOORS, which should be SHUT when using speakerphone, dammit.
  • Last Tuesday morning at oh-dark-thirty Gimli insisted that he really needed out. He caught a rabbit. There’s a reason I keep my wellies in the dining room. He was reasonably good about giving it up, both the initial confiscation and after we played tug with it.
  • I got back to bed about 4 am. Then I had to try to settle a wound-up Tommy, who had missed most of the excitement by being on his cable and/or in the house.
  • I kinda slept in. Then I gave up and stayed home.
  • Since Robin was home and mostly-unoccupied last weekend, the weather wasn’t stupid hot, and it was a bonus long weekend for me, we made pasties.
  • Lots and lots of pasties. 90 of them. The freezer is not quite full.
  • This weekend I made something like onion soup with lots of meat and Italian-ish seasoning, put it over French rolls in foil loaf pans, topped with provolone cheese, then froze it, so Ron and Robin have very wet Italian-ish beef sandwiches to take with them on the road. I was restrained and the batch was only a six-count.
  • We also made a usual stupid-big batch of chicken macaroni salad.
  • This morning Ron left with pasties, chicken macaroni salad, and I’m assuming at least one beef sandwich brick, in addition to the usual supply of canned or otherwise shelf-stable food.
  • I think Robin has decided to go to work for Werner. No schedule for training, etc. yet.

Bullet-Points, we got Bullet-Points

  • The brush piles did not get ground up this weekend, for boring reasons.
  • I did get cleaning done in the dining room, and Robin worked on the spare bedroom, since we weren’t out dealing with brush.
  • We found floors!
  • I got pictures of Buford the very shy snake with his enclosure door open. He did not approve.
  • Baljeet the snake seems to have resumed eating after the trauma of mites and mite treatment.
  • Caudimordax was pretty good about getting a snake sauna and having stuck shed removed from his head.
  • Tommy earned himself the name “Mousebreath”.
  • Kajura the snake was fed on Thursday, as the mouse they were supposed to get on Tuesday “mysteriously” disappeared.
  • Pumpkin pie spice mix is appropriate any time of year, and yummy, on baked apples.
  • Baked apples would have been even better with Granny Smiths than Honeycrisps, and could have used a tiny pinch of salt.
  • Another round of baked apples, happened, because a bag of small back-yard-tree sweet apples of unknown type appeared at work. Cut in chunks, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, butter, baked, then topped with salted caramel coconut milk ice-not-cream was yummy.
  • Chicken fricassee-like stew made with coconut milk instead of cow milk is pretty good.
  • Not sure the little new potatoes in it are usual, but I put them in anyway, and don’t regret it.
  • Leftover Minimalist Potato Salad is pretty good for breakfast.
  • I need to pick up more eggs, potatoes, and mayo next time I get groceries.
  • Lummy the tortoise doesn’t care if other tortoises think prickly pear cactus is wonderful, he wants his greens, dammit.
  • I prefer the original “My Singing Monsters” to the “Dawn of Fire” sequel.
  • I blame Robin for Singing Monsters infesting my iWhatsit.
  • I need more keys to buy more Dibblers!

More Stuff Accomplished

Let’s see, since I last posted almost two weeks ago…

My sister’s closing did happen on the Nth scheduled date. Robin drove to Escanaba on Wednesday (before Labor Day), helped her move Thursday, and instead of coming home on Friday stayed until Sunday – he and my (step) Mother helped get things in place on Friday, Robin hung art; they showed Robin Gladstone, where my Dad grew up), and visited the family farm on the Stonington peninsula. And then Robin gave his grandma a ride to the ferry in Manitowoc, as her car was having issues.

Which left me wrangling beagles on cables, because fence. On Labor Day Robin cleared brush along the back/east fence line, accidentally taking out the neighbors’ internet line in the process. And a little later Gimli charged the door when I was dealing with Tommy and escaped. Fortunately, the back neighbors snagged him. Over Labor Day weekend I worked on Otter stuff, more natter on the Otter blog.

Last week was fairly routine. Ron got home Friday evening, yay! Yesterday he had to go to the Gary terminal to swap trailers and pick up tire chains. While he was doing that Robin and I measured the east fence, and got ground contact-rated pressure-treated lumber. After lunch Ron and Robin trimmed the lumber and Gimli-proofed the fence. And there has been much beagle rejoicing, as they’ve been able to run loose.

While they were working on the fence I cleared off “my” end table and added a narrow section of shelving where it was sitting. I filled the shelves with junk that was on the end table, in front of the snakes by the desk, and stuff that had ended up piled on the desk. So now we have a nice-looking usable table, and less mess.

Today we did some Otter-ish stuff, and later in the afternoon I went grocery shopping. This evening I ground up a big chunk of beef and chopped up a bunch of onion in the food processor, then cooked it all. I was planning on grinding 2/3 of the beef for tacos and chili, and making stroganoff with the last third. Normally I use chunks of beef for stroganoff, but I decided on laziness for the win and ground all the beef. So now I have a bunch of beef and onion ready to finish making dinners tomorrow and Tuesday, and had tacos tonight with the last bit.

MuseCon Report

Looks like I last posted on Tuesday of last week.

I’d been on the MuseCon Board for about two years. If you recall a previous post, we had an un-planned ConCom meeting back on July 1 to deal with some bumps in the road. Over the last couple months I’d come to the decision that it was about time for me to be done, with changes at home and whatnot. More than once Ron convinced me that I should stick out the last bit of my term, until elections in September.

On Wednesday, dealing with things directly or indirectly related to said bumps in the road made it clear that my I’d developed too many differences of opinion to other board members to make my continued tenure useful. So I resigned. And if you see my Facebook posts, completely ran out of fucks.

Anyway, Thursday I finished up MuseCon signage and sent it to be printed, finished up Otter Necessities stuff, getting all the merchandise I planned to take into the Point of Sale (PoS) inventory and tagged (except I couldn’t find my tiny safety pins to tag doll clothes, so the tags were just tucked inside kosode).

Friday morning Robin helped me stuff the dogs into a truck, I dropped them off of the vet’s for boarding, stopped at JoAnn to get a dress form-shaped pincushion to display doll clothes on, forgot little safety pins, stopped at Kinko’s for signage, Then to the hotel. By then I was slightly less devoid of fucks. I got signage either put up or distributed, talked to some people, ordered dinner, and was very happy to see Ron when he finally arrived – he went from Iron Mountain to L’Anse where he swapped trailers, stopped at a drop yard south of Milwaukee to swap trailers, then home, without running out of 11 hours of drive-time in 14 hours of on-duty time.

Saturday Ron and Robin both helped me set up two tables and a triangle of gridwall in the vendor’s room, and I theoretically supervised the room. Since there were 5 vendors in total, it wasn’t a very hard job. Sales weren’t bad, but I’m not used to doing such a small event any more (I think attendance was in the 200-225 neighborhood).

Yesterday we packed up, checked out, Ron and I headed toward home had breakfast, did some grocery shopping, picked up the dogs, were glad to see Robin eventually get home, started dehydrating vegetables, and marinated skirt steak for jerky. Dogs were very happy to see us, and we were very happy to see them.

Today we did even less: Dehydrated the jerky, ran to JoAnn to pick up an American Girl doll clone I’d ordered on-line for store pickup, and Robin and I took stuff back to the storage locker.

I’ve reserved space for Otter at the Fremd HS holiday craft fair at the beginning of December, and will probably also get space at the Palatine HS version the Saturday before Windycon. Fremd is the other HS in Palatine, and both are one-day events. I plan on taking no more than I can cope with myself – purses, satchels, buckled belts, doll clothes, books, and maybe potion bottles.

Wait, What?

How did we get over halfway through March?

Vests came out pretty well, except for a minor issue trimming one, which pressed out. I wore them to the floodplain managers’ conference, and one of them to a meeting last week. In other sewing news, I also made a couple sorta-scrubs tops, one of which turned out fine, and one of which had to be rescued from a failed attempt at a boat-neck. And I looked at fabric at, and have a rather large wish list.

Took Metra and Amtrak to and from Springfield for the conference. From now on I’m paying the extra for Business class on Amtrak – slightly nicer seats, more legroom, priority boarding, and access to the something something club at Union Station – a nicer waiting area with snacks and drinks (including alcoholic, at certain times of day).  You can access the mumble club and get priority boarding by paying for it, which is what I did, and accidentally making 2/3 of the trip in Business class.

There are four more snakes in the house. Two weeks ago we went to the local herp/exotic animal show, and a Corn Snake and Irian Jaya carpet python followed us home. Yesterday we went to a big twice-yearly show, and almost made it, but a King Ratsnake and Water Python jumped out at us. I was also admiring Reticulated Pythons, but they’re tooooo big. And smart, from what I understand.

Today I went to Ikea and got some more shelving, triggered by evicting various things from shelving we had to make room for three of the four new snakes (My water python baby in a half-size Cambro tub (9″x12″-ish as Kajura (sex unknown) is so tiny).

The biggest chunk of shelving is on the second-story landing, replacing the laundry hamper, and holding new hamper bins. I don’t know why I didn’t do that years ago, much more useful than a hamper with unused space up above. The other pieces are under the windows on my side of the room and Ron’s.

Made a small rib roast for dinner, with new potatoes boiled, drained, cut into chunks, and added back to the pot they cooked in, where onions had been cooking in butter/margarine, seasoned with Penzey’s Fox Point seasoning (salt, alliums alliums alliums, and green peppercorns). Yum yum yum.




Natter, Not Politics

Posting seems to have gotten irregular again, eh what?

I voted last week Thursday, so I can enjoy my day off (one of the actual perks to being a Mind-Numbing Bureaucratic Ghoul is getting General Election Day off, which IIRC is every other year). Aaaaand, that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Braising a cut-up pork shoulder roast for dinner. Still haven’t gotten the big oven repaired, so I’m doing it on the stovetop in my big enameled cast-iron dutch oven.

After a week of having a 6-ft table set up at the end of the living room I was ready for finding a better table/stand/something for Lummy. Friday a week and a bit ago I on-line shopped Ikea, then did a commando attack on the way home. I got an Ingo table, which is a fraction of an inch under 4′ long, and about 30″ wide, so a decent fit for the 2′ x 4′ stock tank. I also got an Ivar chest of drawers to sit under it, and an Ivar shelf for the chest to sit on, since it is designed to sit on/in an Ivar shelf unit, not directly on the floor, so has no bottom-edge clearance. The light-wood Ikea-ization of the living room continues!

That Saturday morning Ron assembled the table and chest, while I “read” the directions, and Robin cleared off his desk. Then we moved things into position, including Lummy and his hardware. Much better. The desk will be going to Windycon to be Mongol-expressed to a new owner. The 6-ft table is still lurking around the living room, but at least in a folded-up state. I think that was the major accomplishment that weekend.

Last week was a week. I got fed up waiting for my order of seeds for Lummy-food and ordered from a different place, so now I have two batches on the way. Oh well, some can be saved to seed his outdoor pen come spring. I also started researching materials cost for an outdoor pen. Currently, landscaping timbers are winning (vs. retaining wall blocks) in terms of not breaking the bank, or our backs. Given our gravel-pit excuse for a yard, the pen will bear a certain resemblance to a raised garden bed.

The most recent past weekend I did . . . Not a lot.

I started making a CAD drawing of our yard, working from our Plat of Survey and measurements for things not shown on the plat. I’m also going to include the septic field. The year of the Plumbing Catastrophe on ACen setup day I scanned the sketch we have of the septic field (made when the house was built and the field installed), but it doesn’t seem to have transferred over to the new computer. The old desktop is in Robin’s room, when he gets home from work I’ll find out if it would be less effort to boot that machine up and (hopefully) get the scan off of it, or dig the original septic field drawing out of the safe and re-scan.

The tortoise pen is planned for the top tier of the back yard, but we haven’t decided north or south side. South side means trundling material farther by hand/cart/wheelbarrow (no driving across septic tank/lines), but is more screened from neighborly attention by shrubbery. North side is easier to get to for materials, but room has to be left for septic-tank access, and there’s less visual screening (or shade).

I had a short attack of new-guitar lust on Sunday, but it was beaten off with a trip to Barnes and Noble. Where I didn’t buy anything, as it happens, but Ron got a Lego Wall-E. Yeah, I went to a bookstore and didn’t get any books. Shocking, I know. Blame e-books.

When Robin gets home from work I’m going to run out to PetWhatsit and get some more coco coir substrate for Lummy, so he has more burrowing depth. Seeds are expected Thursday, so I need to get more substrate in Real Soon Now. He’s also got a different UVB bulb and fixture on the way, the spotlight UVB bulb isn’t getting a lot of the tank, and a number of keepers have had issues with the compact-fluorescent bulbs messing up tortoises’ eyes. The fixture holds two tube-style fluorescent bulbs, and comes with a couple daylight-color tubes. The plan is to run one UVB bulb, and one light-only bulb, plus the ceramic heat bulb in the spot fixture. A lot of people like mercury-vapor bulbs for UVB and heat combined, but I’d prefer to control heat and light separately, and the MVBs are still a spot-type bulb.

How odd, even though the door is open, I have all three dogs on the couch with me. Must be nap time. Which reminds me, I hate time changes, even the fall-back get an extra hour sleep one.

Lazy Otter

Oh noes! No Monday post!

Yes, I’ve been a lazy slob. Lazy lazy lazy.

Last week Thursday was Robin’s birthday. We decided to celebrate Saturday, and then moved that to Sunday, since he had to work Saturday night and had Sunday off. I once again failed to provide birthday pumpkin pie. We had ice cream cake, made with chocolate cake and frosting, and Snap-O-Lantern ice cream, which is pumpkin ice cream with gingersnap pieces. It was pronounced quite an acceptable alternative to pumpkin pie. Dinner was meat loaf and acorn squash. Oddly enough, Marmaduke had never had acorn squash before.

I gave Robin a book I’d made – graph paper pages, which were folded and collated into 5 signatures (sections). The cover is black book cloth and paper that’s black with a metallic copper diamond pattern. Still haven’t finished my portfolio, for reasons below.

  • Reading-wise, I’ve been busier.
    “Feedback” by Mira Grant – a new one in the Newsflesh universe, following a different team of bloggers assigned to the other presidential candidate.
  • “Ghostland, an American History in Haunted Places” by Colin Dickey. The subtitle is reasonably accurate – history looked at through haunted places.
  • “The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue – fiction about a British nurse who is sent to oversee an Irish girl who has supposedly not eaten in 4 months. Set about 7 years after the Crimean war. I can understand the Protestant-raised protagonist having a certain amount of anti-Catholic biases, but I think the author agrees with those biases. Didn’t spoil the book, but it was A Thing for me.
  • “Blood, Bones, and Butter, The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef” by Gabrielle Hamilton. More about her life and how it always revolved about food and cooking than about the nuts and bolts of becoming a chef (particularly since she didn’t come to it through traditional training), but definitely enjoyable.

Last week Tuesday I stayed home with Ron, went with him to see our doctor, and then to the hospital for a CT and ultrasound. Diagnosis: diverticulitis improving, continue with antibiotics (which he’d been on for a week at that point).

Either that day, or the previous, I’d seen a Facebook posting that one of the reptile shops we like had baby Russian tortoises. Russian tortoises don’t get stupidly big, and at one point we’d (mostly jokingly, I thought) discussed getting one to put in with one of the sand boas. The problem is, baby tortoises are really really cute, and I was feeling vulnerable with Ron not feeling well and was he going to get kept at the hospital, yadda yadda.

So I started buying and reading e-books. (Ha! Fooled you!). And thinking. And researching. And put baby Ibera Greek tortoise (about the same size as Russian tortoises, and very pretty) babies on a wish list at a breeder’s on-line store, and put a repeating reminder on my calendar to check on availability.

Thursday evening I poked Ron to see how he felt about a tortoise, and he said he could go either way, and after sleeping on it, I decided Friday morning that I was mostly attracted by the cute, and would pass, and took the reminder to check on baby availability off my calendar.

Friday evening I think Ron circled the conversation back to tortoises. He likes the Sulcata, or spurred tortoises, which are big. Like up to 200 lbs big.

Saturday morning found us out shopping. We got breakfast, went to Menard’s for an under-bed bin, and a couple other things, then off to Reptile Rapture in Madison. At that point it wasn’t clear if we’d be coming home with a baby Sulcata or a baby Russian.

I held out against Sulcata, and we came home with a captive-bred baby Russian, and some supplies/hardware. His name is Lummox, aka Lummy, as in the critter in Heinlein’s “The Star Beast”. Lummy may be a boy, and I keep using male pronouns, but is really too young/small to sex accurately – he’s about 2 inches in diameter (Russians are almost round).

Lummy’s bin would fit on a 2’x4′ table, but they’re all buried up at the front of the trailer, so it was easier to finish cleaning off the 6′ table that was in the spare bedroom, and bring that downstairs. The bin had a flip-lid that Ron cut the center sections out of to create a lip, to help prevent escapes, as Russian tortoises are good climbers. I was still concerned about the depth of the bin, so I ran to Ace and got some netting to cover the openings, but not so dense that it would block UV light.

Sunday morning we went to the new Farm & Fleet in Elgin, and procured a 2′ x 4′ x 1′ deep galvanized stock tank, and a heated pet mat. We could have permanently attached the netting to the bin lid to help prevent escapes, but the bottom of the bin wasn’t smooth, so it was going to be hard to put under-tank heat on it usefully, and the bin wasn’t deep enough to be useful long-term. Hence the stock tank.

Monday evening I brought home some succulents from work – aloes and sedums, which are both tortoise-snacking-safe – and I split and planted them in Lummy’s tank. He displayed his appreciation by eating the smallest sedum Tuesday, and munching on aloes yesterday. 🙂 I need to split the rest of the sedums I have at work to encourage them to keep expanding in case he keeps eating the ones I gave him. I’m not a big fan of aloes, so he got all I had. I’ve also ordered a Russian tortoise seed mix – various broad-leaf “weeds”, and dandelion and Malabar spinach (a viney thing, not actually a brassica spinach). The seed mix I plan on sowing directly in his tank, the dandelion and Malabar spinach in pots. I may stop at PetWhatsit and get some “cat grass”, too. And probably some (mostly-) spineless Opuntia (prickly pear) cactus, at some point.

If you’ve ever seen our yard in the spring, you’ll question my sanity on buying dandelion seeds, and if it wasn’t fall I’d agree. But at this point there’s a limited amount of dandelion to be had from the front yard until spring (and the back yard is dog…fertilized). Although I did go out Tuesday night and pick him some violet and dandelion greens. He definitely liked the dandelion the yesterday morning. Last night I found some grape leaves that aren’t too big or brown, and a rose bloom. Ron’s comment a little later was that our house is weird – open the refrigerator and find a rose. Lummy liked the couple petals I gave him last night, and the fresh dandelion leaf Ron brought him.

As for the cactus, it’ll probably wait until spring and building an outdoor run for Lummy, since I can also get it from Eurofresh, both chopped and whole pads. And definitely “spineless” – In my one experience with them, the tiny, fine, hair-like spines had nooooo problem migrating from a car’s back seat to the front, and while more itchy than painful, were No Fun.

  • So now my weekday morning routine goes like this:
  • Let dogs out
  • Put Lummy in to soak in shallow warm water under his heat lamp
  • Change dogs’ water
  • Feed dogs
  • Make Lummy’s salad and put it in his tub (on a paper plate, for easy clean-up)
  • Call dogs back in and give Pippin his meds
  • Take Lummy out of his soaking dish and plop him near his salad
  • Dump water, wash hands, yadda yadda yadda, upstairs to take a shower and get ready for work.
  • In the evening Lummy get soaked again – babies can drown in 1/4″ of water, so they get soaked (they can take water in through their cloaca) and a chance to drink instead of having a water dish.

Ron is still attracted by Sulcata tortoises. I’ve suggested that if he still is come spring, we can build an outdoor pen and some kind of shed/hutch with heat (for winter), and look at getting a rescue adult. We’ll also be making an outdoor pen for Lummy in the long run, but he’ll be only outdoors during the day for a couple years, and small enough to winter indoors. We also need to build a less expansive table for his tank. Right now the big table is blocking the back door, but a 4′ long table will fit where Robin’s desk is/was (he’s clearing that corner, since the desk is just a convenient flat surface, and rarely used).

Continuing cautious optimism that we have Danger Noodle and Kiyo eating. Danger Noodle is back up to his peak weight before his long fast. Wonambi is also continuing to eat pretty well and has definitely grown. Wadjet and Nageswari shed Monday night or Tuesday, and I suspect Fezzik is going into shed, since he didn’t eat last week Thursday.

Why yes, we are insane. Why do you ask?

Long Weekend with Nesting Bullets

The weekend was good. Not too busy, but we did get some things done:

  • Clipped dog claws
  • Got the first spots on the new couch
  • Need to get another cushion/pillow or two for the lounge side
  1. Or make stuff/compression sacks for one or both spare body pillows
  2. And make covers for the blue bolsters that absolutely don’t go with the blue couch
  3. I worked on books (see Google+ for pictures):
  4. Three books completed (including tail end of last week)
  5. A squeegee works better than the brush I’ve been using for glue for large areas
  6. And results in less glue loss than the mini paint roller I tried previously
  7. Obtained a small plate for a glue palette (yoghurt lids are a bit small for the squeegee)
  8. Buying one small plate that isn’t a replacement confuses Crate & Barrel clerks
  9. Used my sewing frame for the first time
  10. And the second time, after some hardware tweaks that improved things
  11. Ace Hardware staff (not just Modelmaker) are used to us shopping for unusual projects and are rarely confused by said shopping
  12. Making progress on adding new techniques
  13. Started using my bookbinding press
  14. Thinking about getting yet still another type of press
  15. Bought some paper which is somewhat outside of my usual color/pattern comfort zone – pastel teal with elephants
  16. But not the paper with cutesy pink elephants and glittery red hearts
  17. Successfully worked with off-white book cloth without getting it grubby
  18. Discovered that text weight paper from Papersource differed in weight between two colors
  19. Made the Halloween book with it anyway
  20. Need a second tube to keep rolled paper/book cloth in
  21. May liberate a cardboard tube from work, until I get to Dick Blick for a nicer one
  22. This will not be a problem – every so often we thin the herd of empty tubes and other packaging that the office packrat has stockpiled
  23. Thinking of making a portfolio/folder to keep smaller flat pieces of paper in
  24. Which may require purchase of some larger plain paper
  25. And follow-up to a smart-aleck comment that Ron made will require purchase of thread
  26. Have three book blocks (interiors) ready for casing-in, and paper, cloth, and board cut for cases (covers)
  • Straightened up the bedroom while changing water in the aquaria:
  1. Beagles were napping in the sun and had to be coaxed in with snacks
  2. Put bins in the attic stair closet
  3. Was sensible and removed Nageswari’s water dish before moving shelves to get to said closet
  4. Put other bins on shelves
  5. Moved dog crates off register
  6. Brought my white drawer unit up
  7. Put garb “away”
  8. Other general straightening-up in the room
  • Cooked a ham in the crock pot:
  1. The “Cook on low for 8 hours” found repeatedly on-line is excessive – meat was a little dry
  2. But there was plenty of liquid to help
  3. OTOH, the bone just fell right out, so that was a plus
  4. Need to obtain split peas for soup
  5. Do not add ham to the soup until *after* applying stick blender
  • Got the AC units out and taken to the storage locker, and:
  1. Sandbags put in Mongo
  2. Retrieved my bookbinding books
  3. Improved labeling of some boxes of books
  4. Forgot a table and some other odds & ends
  • Issola brand gluten-free mini gnocchi are pretty good. Buy again
  1. (Didn’t buy because they were GF, noticed that when making soup)
  2. In the refrigerated case above the eggs at Eurofresh
  • Survived the monthly tedium call this morning
  1. Chocolate. Chocolate would have helped
  2. Chocolate because alcohol is not allowed at work
  3. Drat, forgot to break out the conference call bingo card a co-worker made
  4. Some day I’m going to work from home on conference call day…
  5. …and use the bingo card as a drinking game guide…
  6. …and get stupendously drunk
  • Achieved minor office hero status for dealing with a stench.
  1. I won’t subject you to the details, but I have smelled worse things in my time
  2. One of my super-powers is Taking Out the Garbage


Categories: Uncategorized

Pause . . . Resume

Not too bad a pause this time, I suppose.

Been doing . . . not a lot. Apparently a lot of my productivity the past couple-few years has been trying to keep my internal monologue quiet. And now that I’m on meds (anti-depressants) that are keeping the monologue under control, I don’t feel the drive to knit/do leatherworking/printing/bookbinding to keep it quiet.

To be clear, the internal monologue is not “voices in the head” kind of thing, it’s more like a self-narration, occasionally a conversation with myself, that I assume most people have. It’s been running all my life, but most of the time it was only occasional. But at some point it got . . . more and more so. And it got to the point where sometimes it Would. Not. Shut. Up. But because it has always been there, and got worse slowly, I didn’t realize how noisy it had gotten. But now I have quiet in my head when I want it and that’s really nice.

So, I haven’t been doing much to speak of. I got some new yarn and knitting patterns after Christmas, but haven’t gotten around to doing anything with them yet.

Ron and Robin got the Star Wars X-Wing game after Christmas, and have been having fun with it. I think it was just after New Year’s that I picked up Star Wars Armada. X-Wing is basically a space dogfight game, Armada is fleet battles. I’ve played two games against Ron, playing the Imperials. The first time was close, yesterday I beat him. The front batteries on the Star Destroyer are really nasty. The ship is a pig for maneuvering (and I was calling it “The Pig” the whole game), though.

Today I went on a cooking binge – I defrosted a beef brisket that was in the freezer, and a chunk of pork roast, and ground them in the food processor. I also ran a bunch of onions through it. From the straight beef I made a big batch of red sauce with meat, tacos that we had for lunch, and chili that we had for dinner. From a mix of pork and beef I made meat loaf, that went into the freezer, and kibbeh, which is essentially a middle-eastern stuffed meat loaf. I’ll use the red sauce to make a batch of lasagna tomorrow (state holiday – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day).

Normally I make kibbeh with beef and/or lamb, but I had beef and pork today so there we are. Instead of crackers/bread crumbs it uses cracked wheat for a filler (and onions, garlic, and spices). It goes into a wide baking dish – a layer of the meat mix, the filling, and then another layer of meat, with a good coating of olive oil on top. Bake at STP until done. IIRC the filler is typically straight labnah, I do a mix of labnah and feta. That’s in the refrigerator for baking later.

Last week I had a state car break down on me – I stopped for gas and smoke started coming out of the vents. Fortunately, I was at a gas station, so the wait for the tow truck and the rescue party from the office was not a big deal. Turned out the A/C compressor burned up (and spewed bits of metal around in the process), but the rest of the engine didn’t catch fire. Soooo, I finished the inspections I was going to do that day on Monday. In my own truck, since they were all in Lake County, and I didn’t feel like driving to Bartlett, getting in the state car, driving around Lake County, back to Bartlett, then back home. I did some inspections, had lunch with Ron, finished up, then went home and spent the rest of the work day dealing with my inspection photos.

This coming week I go to Springfield by train Thursday evening, inspect levees a couple hours from Springfield with one of my Springfield co-workers on Friday, and then take the train home Friday night.

Snakes keep growing. I expect to hear Real Soon Now that the next new Animal Plastics T8 cage has shipped. When it gets here, we’ll probably move Caudimordax and Haku into it, and then move Morimi and Wadjet (the baby ball python girls) into bigger cages.

Got Morimi and Wadjet switched to frozen/thawed with relatively little difficulty. I think our first attempt was probably foiled by new surroundings more than anything. Which leaves only Kiyo on live, so I’m just stopping and picking up her food on feeding days, instead of keeping the Mouse TV colony. We have a plan and are trying to switch her slowly to frozen/thawed, but that’s on hold at the moment since she’s in shed (eyes get very cloudy, so vision sucks to non-existant, so not even bothering offering food).

Today I computed 10% and 15% of all the snakes current weights and compared them to the weight ranges for the frozen rats and mice we buy, to see if we’re still feeding appropriate sizes by that method (we’ve been going by a bit bigger than the largest body girth). That pretty much agreed with what we were feeding or thinking we needed to move various animals up to. Then I re-did the feeding chart that lives on the freezer. Which was really getting to be a mess:


And now it’s time to get colubrid mice and rats out of the freezer, and get ready for bed.

After-Christmas Report

Wow, blogging *again*!

Christmas dinner was yummy.  The dogs got their shank bones in the afternoon. Pippin eventually came in; the beagles came in when I went out and confiscated the remains.

Saturday we did some running around doing boring errands, with more interesting stops at Games Plus where Ron and Robin got X-Wing games, and I went down the block to Mosaic Yarn Studio and got a new knitting project (colorwork socks). Then we stopped at Target to look for a new card table, as the one we have is probably 40+ years old. We wanted a plastic one, like our banquet tables, but struck out. I decided to just exercise my Google-Fu, and found a 48″ diameter round table on-line, and ordered it. Yes, that’s larger than a card table, but Robin frequently uses a 48″ square for miniatures games, and extra space is good.

While I was table shopping, Ron and Robin were playing a game of X-Wing. Fun was had.

Saturday afternoon, while playing guitar, things started feeling odd. This is why:


Kiyohime decided I needed help practicing.

Yesterday I finally got around to making the noodle kugel I mentioned Friday. It was yummy. I also made shepherd’s pie out of the leftover roast beef and gravy. It was also yummy.

This morning I started to go to work, and by the time I’d gotten to the intersection of Ela and Palatine decided that I’d had enough and turned around at a church just to the west of the intersection. Palatine Rd. was not in good shape, nor was NW Highway, and I was driving the Explorer, which is 2WD. And I lacked motivation. So this was my view on the couch a little while later:


And now Pippin has switched to the other end of the couch. I expect dogs-on-couch is going to be the order of the day, unless I exert my rights and evict them, temporarily.

I should know that the weather is horrid when the husky sticks his nose out the door and says “no thanks” – horrid in a cold and wet way, that is. If it was cold and *dry* that would have been a different matter.

I went upstairs Saturday to get the last three mice of the latest batch for Kiyo and the baby girls, and discovered a litter of babies. We’d already defrosted pinkies for Wonambi, Shai-Hulud, and Danger Noodle, so some of the bigger snakes took care of things for us.

Henry shed about a week ago, and Fezzik shed Saturday. Here’s a picture comparing their scale sizes:


Fezzik’s shed is the top one, Henry’s is the bottom. Henry is probably close to fully-grown. Fezzik is about half Henry’s length, but his scales are *much* finer. He has plenty of growing to do.

Which reminds me, I need to call Animal Plastics to pay off Robin’s birthday present skink cage (still in the waiting/design period, since it’s a custom size); and order another T8 for us, thank you parents!