Eventful Week

It’s been a busy week.

As noted on Monday, Robin passed his CDL exam.

Tuesday I stayed home sick (cold). Robin went to the DMV and got his temporary paper CDL. Shortly after he got home Wolf called with a paperwork oops. In the afternoon, the Werner recruiter called. Orientation starts Monday (as in tomorrow)…



The dogs seemed very snuggly the rest of Tuesday.

The first thing Robin did after talking to the recruiter was to institute a fix we’d come up with for the edge of the linoleum at the kitchen/dining room doorway, but hadn’t gotten around to. I love him so much.

Wednesday I made it to work, Thursday and Friday I stayed home sick and tired, while Robin ran here, there, and everywhere getting ready to go and I worked on doll clothes. Being sick I forgot to call a dog-walking service to arrange mid-day trips outside for the dogs.

Orientation is at Werner’s terminal in Indianapolis. They’d have sent him a bus ticket, but Gimi and I are going to take him – they don’t have space for parking/storing personal vehicles. Werner is building/enlarging a terminal in Joliet, so when that’s done Robin will be based there.

Friday night I didn’t sleep, between too much naptime during the day, coughing (drainage), and being unable to get comfortable – both temperature and propping myself up enough to minimize coughing. About midnight I finally got something like comfortable and fell asleep. About 3 AM I woke up (hack hack hack) and tried to poke my iPad to see what time it was. No iPad. WTF?

The sticky holding the metal plate to the case had given way and it had fallen off the wall, fortunately no damage, thank you Otter case. Turning on the light to find my iPad meant the dogs woke up enough for Gimli to demand a trip outside.

I took a blanket downstairs and spent the next couple-three hours on the chaise. I’d considered doing that while it was still Friday night, now I know I should have. Fortunately, I improved enough yesterday that I could sleep with only one extra pillow last night, which my back highly approves of.

Ron is on the way west to Peoria, depending on where he stops and how falling apart I am about my baby bird leaving the nest I may detour to see him on the way home this afternoon/evening.

Excitement, with Dogs

My sister’s closing got re-scheduled *again*! AAARGH! Current schedule is Thursday, and she has the paperwork and it appears in order; so Robin is driving to Escanaba tomorrow, helping her move Thursday, and coming back Friday. Robin should be starting behind-the-wheel training for his CDL once he gets back (currently out getting his schedule, then coming home to pack).

Friday morning Ron took Tommy to the yard to visit his truck and put groceries away. Tommy enjoyed the trip, especially sharing Ron’s breakfast, despite twice attempting to hang himself.

And then there was Gimli . . . Gimli figured out how to escape from the yard on Friday, and did it multiple times over the course of the weekend. In order to find the escape route, Robin started clearing brush from the south fence line Friday evening while Ron and I piled the cut stuff up. And then Robin and I continued Saturday morning, after Gimli broke his collar and escaped again and I made new collars for both beagles. So the yard is effectively much wider now, except that it isn’t a yard so much as a series of brush piles (even without dog escapes the brush-clearing really needed to be done), which the plan is to run through a chipper.

Meanwhile, we had not actually found the prime escape route, which Sunday night Gimli demonstrated to be the east fence line. All 60 feet of it. Headdesk, headdesk. We’ve formulated a plan for dealing with it.

Ron left Saturday morning, so he missed most of the excitement of me trying to impale my foot on a small stump/spike (only a bruise and lump on my left arch, thanks to good hiking boots), Robin getting lots of minor scrapes and scratches, both of getting minor sunburn, and me clipping a couple Pippin claws too short Sunday night, so now my light blue skirt is liberally blood-spotted. Fortunately, the skirt was already spotty (bleach, I think) and disreputable. And Pippin was very good about us getting the bleeding stopped (time, pressure, and super glue).

Sunday morning about 3 am my body announced that the UTI I had a couple-few weeks ago was back with a vengeance for round 2. Eventually I got back to sleep. The acute care associated with our doctor’s office opened at 9 am Sunday, and I was there very soon after. More or less uncomfortable the rest of the day, improvement started overnight.

I was not up to the MuseCon wrap-up meeting/party Sunday evening.

Baljeet the baby rat snake did not eat last week, dammit. Trying again tonight, will try what I did last time I got him to eat (annoy him into striking).

Meanwhile, Ron’s temporary crown came loose yesterday morning. A Google search determined that real dental professionals say that denture adhesive can be used until you can get to your dentist to get it re-cemented. Then in the afternoon-evening yesterday, Ron ended up sitting an a highway doing a parking lot impression while the mess from a semi having its fuel tank ripped off was cleaned up.

When *that* was done, and Ron was therefore in violation of his allowable drive time and trying to get to somewhere to park, he discovered that Kentucky has some badly-designed off-ramps, and he got hung up on a guard rail. Apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence, and other similar ramps have been modified, but not this one. Headdesk, headdesk. After a chunk of guardrail was removed with a cutting torch, he was pulled back onto the road by a wrecker and sent on his way only needing two new tires, some tie-down straps, and a bungee or two. The officers at the scene were very nice about it all, and even invoked pizza.

But I was a stressed, Tommy was baying at various things out the window behind the couch/right next to my ear, Gimli really doesn’t grok this out-on-a-cable thing, and I was up too late plus not sleeping the best the last couple nights (see above, re: UTI), and still off this morning, and took a mental health day.

So I was home when Ron called and said he’d probably be sleeping at home tonight, as he’s got a bright and early appointment with the dentist tomorrow morning, as he has now, it seems, *swallowed* the temporary crown.

Robin just got home to retrieve a piece of paperwork the CDL school doesn’t have, which is needed before he can drive their trucks. Yes, he’s taking his binder of all relevant paperwork back with him.

In better news, the bruising and swelling on my foot is going down. Most of the above chaos is chaos, but not crises. And most of all, we don’t live in SE Texas.

Mid-August Already?

Last week was reasonably quiet. Or maybe not, re-reading? Are schools really re-opening this week and next? I’m not complaining about not having really high temperatures, but I’m having trouble grokking that we’re already halfway through August.

Ron went back on the road Tuesday morning, and Tuesday afternoon/evening I went to the yard twice – on the way home to retrieve food Ron thought he left in the SUV but actually left in the pantry, and with Robin after he got home from gaming to fetch home the SUV, since the Kia was acting up. That was repaired and Robin picked it up today (John & Scott’s was busy last week), so we met at the yard tonight to drop the SUV off and proceeded to get dinner on the way home.

Thursday afternoon I went to the doctor for a UTI. At least the antibiotics kick in quickly.

Saturday I did mostly Otter Necessities stuff (natter over on the Otter blog), with breaks to hunt for an un-eaten mouse, and check snake water bowls while I was hunting. Scatha has taken over hiding un-eaten mice from Tanis, apparently. Earlier in the day Ron had obtained pasties and crossed the Mackinac bridge at about 20 mph (truck speed limit) in very nice weather. That knowledge did not help the mouse hunt. I eventually consoled myself with sorbet, fetched by Robin.

Yesterday I did some Otter stuff, and more general housekeeping. I got groceries, changed water in the aquaria, continued the battle against snake mites in Baljeet’s tub (cautiously optimistic that we’re winning), worked on doll clothes, folded laundry, did dishes, and made skirt steak and dressing for dinner with Robin’s help. And did not vacuum the living room and front entry, which in no way look like the cleaning fairies just came Tuesday. Part of the Otter stuff meant straightening up in the dining room and front entry (including throwing some stuff away), which led to tracking shredded aspen around from the front entry. And there was also a lint explosion from a load of white towels/rags.

Saturday Gimli was very worried, as moving Otter stuff around looked too much like getting ready for MuseCon for his comfort. He was better yesterday, I think because things were getting more put away.

How I Spent My Summer Not-Vacation

Short Version:

Last week I got tummyaches and backaches and they didn’t get better and got really bad, and Friday night/Saturday morning I was wondering if I should go to the ER. Saturday I was a little better and I mostly-finished the MuseCon program book and really-finished it on Sunday and sent it to the printer. Then I went to Kenosha to see Ron and still had a tummyache and had dinner and came home and more tummyache. Monday morning I went to the ER, and eventually they said it was my gall bladder’s fault and admitted me. On Tuesday they took my gall bladder out and yesterday I went home and now I’m kinda sore and really really tired but no more tummyache, exactly. The end.

Plus Some Other Natter:

So, I’m pretty sure that the assumed food poisoning I had back on July 5th was actually a gall bladder attack. And the tummyaches and backaches last week seemed to start out as plausibly the usual monthly discomfort in my lower abdomen.

My target date for getting the MuseCon book to the printer was actually Monday, Tuesday at the latest. But I think my subconscious was telling me that I really was sick and it wasn’t going to just go away/end well, so get the damn thing done. And I did.

I drove myself to the ER, which I believe amazed some of the hospital staff. The abdominal pain at that point, when I was poked and prodded, was between my appendix and gall bladder. And I got pain and anti-nausea meds, yay! If I understood correctly, CT didn’t show my appendix at all (or else the doctor meant it didn’t show as abnormal), and is lousy for the gall bladder; so then it was time for ultrasound, which required much pressing down on uncomfortable bits.

Meanwhile, Ron was waiting in line to unload in Kenosha…for about 5 hours after his 7 am appointment. His original schedule was that he was supposed to do another short run back to the same place.

Ultrasound showed no gall stones, but thickening/inflammation of the gall bladder wall. The ER doctor kinda implied not having it operated on right away was a possibility, but since I wasn’t going to get better without getting rid of it, my response was to go for it.  So he called the surgeon and I waited.

Because of all the waiting to get unloaded the first time, Ron didn’t have time to make the second trip before running out of available on-duty time, and eventually got his truck down to the yard and then to the hospital.

Blah blah blah admitted blah blah blah, Tuesday night blah blah blah, originally scheduled for 6:00 pm Tuesday surgery, but then midday it got moved up to, oh, right now. Which still involves a certain amount of time between leaving my room and the operation starting blah blah blah. Surgery, waking up in a panic and demanding Ron and I have a vague memory of having a grip on a recovery nurse before they got Ron to me (before he’d normally be allowed to see me), blah blah blah, recovery, back up to room, blah blah blah.

So, even Tuesday night I was feeling better – still sore from 5 holes in my abdomen (laproscopic surgery for the win!), especially the main one. Blah blah blah recovery, another night in the hospital blah blah blah home early afternoon yesterday to SHOWER. And recover. Not bothering with narcotic painkillers, Alleve seems to be sufficient. No energy, though. Taking off through at least Tuesday to recover, Ron goes on duty tomorrow morning, but I have Robin to help with the dogs.

The end. For real.

April Marches On

The post title would have been a lot better in March.

Ron started driving today, in the training yard. Forward and back, forward and back. But butt in the seat!  Robin is planning on going to the Secretary of State office to take his first exam (to get his CDL learner’s permit) tomorrow.

Latest color version of a snake drawing has made a little progress – Friday night I finalized the outlines and inked them.

Stayed home Wednesday, with miserable sinuses. I hate weather and tree sex.

The mouse and Wacom tablet seem to have recovered from the spilled water incident.

The project to turn a set of shelves holding glass snake enclosures into a rack with tubs for the ball pythons was finished up yesterday. Lots of natter about it in a thread I made, with pictures, here:


Short version: It didn’t go quite according to plan, but obstacles overcome without any snakes escaping. Two short enclosures that are in the bedroom currently will be moving down to the shelves at some point after Moresby sheds, so by replacing the tall glass enclosures with shorter tubs, we’ve gone from four snakes to six on the shelves.

Kajura is definitely settling. Tried to attack my phone last night, but it was hovering overhead in a possibly threatening way. After the unsuccessful attack, Kajura alternated between ignoring and investigating the phone. Kajura has gained 7 grams since mid-March, which doesn’t sound like much without context, but going from 16 to 23 grams is significant growth.

And, I think that’s about it for news. It was a week.

Last weekend and last week and today

Friday night of last weekend we went to REI so I could get a new sunblock shirt, since my previous one has been AWOL for a year or two, and a new hat. Because a sunblock shirt and hat are a lot less annnoying than sunscreen goop.

Saturday morning Ron and I went and got manicures (first ever). Due to a mis-communication, now I have short nails on both hands, not just the left.

After the manicure we hit the farmer’s market, where I was beguiled by lemon cucumbers when intending just to get a summer squash to have with dinner. And then I needed some sweet onions to put into yogurt with the cukes. And we stopped at Eurofresh for yoghurt.

I also ended up (refrigerator) pickling some, in not-sweet brine with Vindaloo and lots of garlic, because it looked like too much for salad. Silly me, I question if I can make too much yogurt/cucumber/onion salad. One of the (plastic) jars of pickle also has baby carrots, because there was space.

Sunday morning Ron and I went to the Bristol Ren Faire, with Xap, Pat, Cathy, and Becky. The fair is big, and will be even bigger next year. Found a very nice lightly-used surcoat at Felix’s that fit Ron, but resisted. Had a surprisingly decent pasty, with a proper not-flaky crust. Saw Dirk Perfect and Guido Crescendo, The Swordsmen. Hot and sticky. Cheese fritters are decadent. Got funned out before the rest of the group.

So, Ron and I left about mid-afternoon, and proceeded to the Illinois Beach Resort, which is in the Illinois Beach State Park, which I’d visited the previous Tuesday while inspecting some watersheds that drain to wetlands in the park.

Sat on a bench on the beach in the evening and snarked wedding party (awful colors – hot pink and bright blue, bridezilla-ish behavior, doofusy photo setups). Discovered that I’m a wimp, in terms of walking on the beach/rocks.

Monday morning we sat on the beach for a bit longer, but rain looked iminent, so didn’t stay past mid-morning.

After we got home and schlepped things in, I kept Ron company while he sorted glass to re-figure-out what he’d gotten for a couple stained glass projects, and put labels on the pieces.

In the afternoon I got a pounding sinus headache, so I took some Alleve and a hot bath, and Ron went out Ingressing. Then I made a garlic/mustard/kofta kabob seasoning rub for the boneless leg of lamb. After that I went back upstairs and sewed the front extensions, sleeves, and side-seams on two of the kosode I cut out Friday, and trimmed the necklines.

Worked on doll clothing over the course of the week. No new pictures here, but a couple and more natter to come on the Otter Blog, which has been neglected of late.

Left work a little early yesterday, on account of the storm, and wanting to get Robin to work dry. I left at 3:30, and didn’t get home until 4:40 – normally a 30-45 minute trip. There was a semi on its side on southbound 59 over 90, I think the wind blew it over. Both 59 and Bartlett Roads were closed north of Higgins. Chaos, disorder, panic, cats and dogs living in sin, yadda yadda yadda. But we got Robin to work on time.

This morning started out with a trip to the ER for Ron, at 3-ish, for what we thought was a kidney stone – trip was to get pain meds. But nothing showed up on the CT scan, ER doctor suspects its Ron’s back. But pain meds achieved.

Meanwhile, Robin, who had been stuck at work until 1 AM, over-slept and missed half of his farmer’s market job with Modelmaker. And he was back at work at 5-ish today. Oops.

After Ron and I got home and got showers, we set out to get the prescription for said pain meds filled. CVS at Smith & NW Hwy was closed, no power, so we hit the Walgreens at Palatine & NW Hwy, where we succeeded.

After that I got a haircut, where I learned that we wouldn’t be grocery shopping at Eurofresh, as they were closed. And when I commented that I guess we’d be going to Jewel, another customer said it had no power and was closed, too. Mariano’s was open, but I wasn’t interested in learning a new store.

After that we tried a different nail salon, where we got no-chip manicures, and although the ladies also didn’t speak the best English, they understood the trimming instructions. They also seemed rather distressed at me wanting clear polish, and I let them talk me into a very light pink – light enough that it looks fairly natural, if rather shiny.

Another couple stops, back home, flopped around, I took a short nap, then out to Toreo for dinner, since we never did get groceries. The power was back on in the Eurofresh strip mall, but they weren’t open (not surprisingly). I really hope they had a backup power source to keep the meat cases, etc. running.

To bed soon, since I set the timer on my nap to limit it to a half-hour, and so I’m still tired.


About 4:00 yesterday I posted to Google Plus: “I really really really hope this not-good feeling on my throat is allergy- or weather-related sinus drainage and not con-crud or some other upper respiratory thing.”

Yeah, not so lucky. I woke up this morning with a sore throat and swollen glands. And very tired, despite the alarm somehow not getting turned on, oh dear, however could that have happened, how awful. But since we were at the theater until at least 11:20 last night, I wasn’t rushing to blame fatigue on being sick.

Diagnosis after a quick culture and doctor’s exam this morning is not-strep, generic upper respiratory thing, if I want to have any chance of feeling better by this weekend, take naps, push fluids, steam is good (I don’t do nasal spray or neti pots).

Slept a large chunk of the afternoon, got up, ate dinner, and shortly I’m going to take a hot bath/shower and then go back to bed. I e-mailed my one costume question that I was hoping to have answered at rehearsal tonight to Ron and Xap. At this point I’m still very tired, which I’m pretty sure is from being sick.

Last night’s rehearsal was slogging through the second act. Had an extended “fight scene” session that was boring as could be, but necessary since it was the first time with the platform lifted. Which also necessitated re-positioning people for the final scene, since it isn’t being lowered until after each performance.

Tom was building the lifeboats during rehearsal last night, so we had interesting power-tool-noise accompaniment. And the sides are much too high for most people, especially women in skirts, to step over, which was what the director had planned.

The remote-controlled tea trolley did not happen, as we kinda expected (at a key point in a song it is supposed to roll across the stage). We were prepared with a big roll of paracord. The first run-through of that song featured me sneaking across behind the actors with the cord to tie to the cart, and then back to pull it. Steering fail. Second run-through Robin pushed it, which provoked amusement. More experiments finally resulted in an arrangement we think will work – two cords, tied on the swivel-caster end, for steering. Although we really should have it roll the direction the set will be tilting, we were backwards last night.

Lighting people are expected tonight, sounds like with some confidence this time.

Dogs approve of me staying home tonight.

And now, I think I hear some rice pudding calling my name . . .

The Rest of the Weekend

“The Rest of the Weekend” sounds a little odd, since the weekend ended with set construction, but that was the big event for the weekend.
 Friday night I had to use up a hour of comp time, somI got home early. We hit several thrift stores looking for black dress slacks and/or a black suit coat for Ron, but struck out. We ate dinner out, did a little more shopping and home to order finger- and thumb picks.
 Saturday morning Robin was gone to work for Modelmaker at the Farmer’s Market before we woke up. We got breakfast, then went to Men’s Wearhouse, to get a pleated-front dress/tux shirt, black bow tie, and get Ron measured so we could order a Prince Charlie jacket to wear with his new kilt.
 Wow, that was a fail. We got the shirt and bow tie . . . And more. Let’s see, the shirt needed studs and cuff links, and here’s amp norther set of nifty cuff links on sale.
 A vest; and dress slacks, which are being tailored (in for a sheep…). Then I found nice blue linen semi-casual short-sleeved shirts on sale, so we got Ron one. And then I called Robin, who confirmed he could use a new nice shirt, so one for him, too.
 Bow ties: one in a plaid that’s an almost perfect color match for Ron’s kilt. And this orange one with blue dots would look really good with Robin’s new shirt. Ties are buy one, get one half-off, so what else looks nice? Yellow paisley, that’s what.
 Men’s Wearhouse didn’t have Oxfords to fit Ron (really wide), but there’s a place just across the street that has extended widths. So now Ron has, after umpty years, a nice pair of dress shoes. And a new pair of the slip-on loafers he wears most days.
 And I even succumbed to the lure of shoe-shopping. They pair of nice but not actually dressy shoes liked best didn’t come wide enough, and the >$300 ones were way too rich for my blood, but I did find another very comfy pair of OMG they actually fit me women’s shoes I like. But they didn’t have the brown I wanted, so I don’t actually have possession yet. But soon.
 Did some more shopping after that, a little for fi pun, but also a new battery for Otter’s UPS, and a second UPS to use at events. Then back tomexchange the battery for one that’s actually the right form factor, oops.
 Home, where I decided to practice guitar in the air-conditioning, and work on the MuseCon program book once it hopefully cooled off in the afternoon/evening, except I was ambushed by a nap, so not so much program book got done as I intended, what with all the shopping We hadn’t planned on to start the day.
 And we did order a Prince Charlie jacket. So Imsuspect Ron will be the best-dresses cast member. Which was really an excuse for the good clothes he needed anyway.
 Sunday was also not quite according to plan, which was breakfast, then home to work on the program book by me and Otter stuf by Ron until evening and set construction.
 The problem was the piece(s) of breakfast that utterly jammed in the lap band constriction, to the point of not even water going down. So off to the surgeon’s office at the St. Alexis hospital in Elk Grove, where one of the Physician’s Assistants was doing rounds. She pulled fluid out of the band, allowing the traffic jam to un-jam, then re-filled it, mostly.
 My upper digestive tract and throat were/are Very Annoyed, so liquids/very squishy food until tomorrow. So that meant a stop at the store for soup, etc.
 I did get a fair bit done on the book, but not quite ready for proofreading yet. I don’t have rehearsal tonight, so I should be able to finish it off.
 Dogs are pretty much recovered from the excitement last weekend, although still a couple/few days of antibiotics left. Elrond woke Ron up early this morning, almost making it up onto the bed (thunderstorms), and after Ron boosted his back end up, he later snuggled up to me. So I had both dogs. At least this time they were both on the same side of me.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Mostly Weekend Natter

Quick note on the previous post: it was actually written on Friday, although not posted until Saturday morning.
 Titanic Natter
 That clarified, Friday’s dance rehearsal went reasonably well. I’m one of a grou in a line (or two) behind the people actually dancing, doing some very simple steps. The choreographer has not, IMO really grokked the whole edge-of issues relating to the platform(s) we’ll be on, but they’ll get resolved some way/how.
 Ordered my shoes and Ron’s kilt Saturday morning, both were delivered yester, yay! We need to make a longer sporran hanger, butthat’s well within our capabilities. We also . . . bought a sporran. Yes, I know, but it has decent fur (although only rabbit), and a proper metal cantle, which I have not obtained any of or designed for yet. And it was on sale, <$30. So worth it on the time vs. Price curve.
 Spent Saturday morning and early afternoon working on the MuseCon program book. Then a MuseCon meeting at 2:00. After the meeting we hit Guitar Center to see if they had any thumb picks that would fit Ron better or allow more adjustment than the one he has. Nope, same brand as what he got from Sam Ash. A clawhammer (banjo technique) video did follow him home, though. On-line shopping is probably the next step in the thumb pick quest.
 Sunday I intended to spend the day on the MuseCom book. The dogs changed those plans.
 Canine Chaos
 While I was in the shower Sunday morning there was a noise you don’t want to hear if you own huskies: the scream/squeal. Elrond had gotten mad at Pippin. Robin is adult/alpha enough they broke it up when he yelled and intervened.
 Pippin seemed fine, just pawing at the right side of his muzzle – I actually suspect bee sting rather than a result of anything Elrond did.
 Not sure what the cause of the altercation was. Robin had already picked up Elrond’s uneaten breakfast. He ate very little dinner Friday night, and his abdomen seemed tight to Ron, but not sore. His previous UTI symptoms have been not eating, soreness, and grumpy, so Ron and I took him to the vet.
 Urine test didn’t show anything, but if we caught a UTI early enough it wouldn’t. Briefly discussed X-rays to see what’s up with the possible tumor on his spleen seen last year, but since at 14 we wouldn’t put him through surgery anyway, we decided to try a course of antibiotics for the possible UTI.
 Got home, and Robin said Pippin had a very sore ear. Right ear was grungy, left ear was very messy, with blood, and definitely painful. I figured it was an ear infection (Eowyn got them most spring/early summers, so I know what they look like), so off Pippin and I went, back to the vet’s. Ron had a migraine, and Pip has no trouble getting in the car, so Ron stayed home.
 Not ear infection, just normal/grubby ears. And a hole in the left ear. Just about the size to be from one of Elrond’s canines (we’d mentioned the squabble when we had Elrond in), which was bleeding/draining. No stitches, just a cleaning (and since we were there, the annual blood draw for his epilepsy meds), home with antibiotics, drops, and anti-inflammatoryies/painkillers. And the observation that he can be a drama queen.
 Huskies, in my experience, are either incredibly stoic, or drama queens. And the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Actually, the husky scream/squeal mentioned above is only bad when coupled with other problem noises. Other times it’s just a sign of drama.
 Ear is much less painful now, I can look and Ron applied drops last night with only an annoyed reaction.
 Eventually I did get some work done on the program book.
 Learning Guitar
 Flailed away at my guitar on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. Working on playing single notes to start with, hopefully as I do more my left ring finger will gain some more flexibility and chords will be less intimidating/difficult.
 Picked up an ebook about classical guitar, which explained that The Rules of classical guitar are only nylon/gut strings and other XYZ instrument characteristics, only this way of sitting, holding, hand positions, blah blah blah fishcakes. Yeah yeah, whatever. And I’m going to do it on my improper steel-stringed guitar anyway. (Although I do understand some of The Rules have Reasons, some are purely arbitrary, if not downright snobby). As long as I like how it sounds, I don’t care if it gives the purists conniption fits.
 That said, the book in question assumes a little more ability to find particular notes than where I’m at yet, so still working from another very-beginner book. But at least as of last night I could produce not-un recognizable versions of “Jingle Bells” and the basic/simplified melody of “Ode to Joy” – of which I un-simplified a couple bits, because I grok sixteenth notes, thanks.
 My mandolele called out to me Saturday night after I decided I’d passed the point of useful practicing on my guitar. So I spent some time with it, playing stuff I already know for ukulele. All chords, which is another reason to not start guitar with chords, I don’t need to get the two sets of chords confused.
 Today (Tuesday)
 Taking a day off. I just finished dishes, now editing this entry, which was mostly written yesterday. Robin is cleaning up the living room, prepatory to the Cleaning Fairies’ visit later this morning. When he gets on a roll, he does a good job.
 And Robin’s working on emptying the big freezer so it can be defrosted. Yesterday he plugged in the smaller one in the basement, and transferred some things to it. Other things were taken out to eat this week. And he’s declared that we’ll be eating sides/vegetables from the freezer.
 Now to work on the MuseCon book.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Busy Weekend

It was a busy weekend. But first, a couple updates on older stuff:

Sewing: Not happening, because I’m working on leather instead.
Knitting: The yellow, blue, and purple mittens (of which Pippin stole one) aren’t much farther along, because see above.
Robin’s floor: Still there, but he says it needs work. Being that this week is spring break, he has some time.

New stuff:

Cranky Prognathodon is Cranky: I have to be in Springfield at 8:30 am Wednesday morning for a meeting. Bleah. If my boss hadn’t approved me for an overnight stay I’d probably have been cranky at him. But he did so I wasn’t. Well, I’m still cranky that I can’t do the meeting by phone, but I place the blame more on politicians than my boss.


Last Sunday I assisted and accompanied Ron on a quest for coffee, as in, the ability to make it at home. We have a blade grinder and a drip coffee maker, but the results of the grinder are at most charitably described as “inconsistent”, and the coffee maker is another thing to sit on the counter. Plus, we have an Breville electric kettle that we like a lot and use regularly, so we don’t need another thing to boil water. We got this nice basic (and not stupid-expensive) pour-over coffee maker from Ace Hardware, a hand-cranked burr grinder (because electric ones are bulky and stupid expensive) at Williams-Sonoma, and some whole bean coffee and a nifty  storage canister at Norma’s Coffee Corner, a coffee shop just down Northwest Highway.

So, Ron and Robin have been doing coffee in the mornings. I really like the smell, but can pass on drinking it.

Yesterday Ron got some more beans at Beans and Leaves, a coffee and tea cafe (with music circles some evenings) in Long Grove, and stopped at Crate and Barrel for another couple more canisters. And other things, that I’ll get to down below . . .

Pickled/Preserved Kumquats:

I picked up a couple little bags of kumquats, to try pickled kumquats, ala the infamous “Little Women” pickled limes of Amy’s humiliation, or preserved lemons. Saturday evening I cut them in half, and packed them in a Mason jar with salt. I decided that doing them in layers was not resulting in good packing, so I dumped it all in a big bowl, mixed it up, then packed it all into the jar (quart):

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Reading instructions at various websites, mostly this one at the “Food in Jars” blog, and this one about preserved lemons, the process is supposed to pull enough juice out of the fruit to make a brine, but kumquats are not especially juicy, so I added bottled key lime juice (and some more salt, to keep them covered):

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Looking at them yesterday morning, Ron suggested I’d added too much juice, so I poured some off, and added a little more salt. Now they get to sit for several weeks and ferment.

Not-Tagine Pilaf:

Thinking about preserved lemons made me think of a tagine that I’d made before, which is supposed to use preserved lemons, which you fry for a bit in butter. I didn’t have have preserved lemons, so I used fresh. Fresh lemon slices fried in ghee smell amazingly good, and the peels, while kinda bitter, are soft enough to be edible.

This time around I didn’t want a stew, so I made more of a pilaf. Fried the lemons (2) and browned chicken thighs (4), removed the chicken, added onion (one absolutely ginormous one, because I forgot that I’d just bought leeks, and had started cutting up the onion), and some orzo. I got the onions (and lemon and orzo) fairly brown, then added rice (1 cup), water (3 cups), a bunch of garlic puree, and chicken and vegetable base, brought to a boil, then baked at 350 for 45 minutes.

It was yummy. It was also too much rice. I was trying for just a little bit of pilaf, but got more than I wanted. Next time 1/2 cup.


When we got married we got Corelle dinnerware, 8 servings. Its nice, but not a pattern I’d have chosen. We never ever use the tiny cups, and the rimmed saucers are annoying to use as small plates, as they have divots to keep the cups in place. And everything has ridges/sharp corners, which are wonderful if you want to accumulate hard water stains. So I end up bleaching the dinnerware every couple/few years when things get bad – especially if tannin from tea of fruit is involved.

A while back I was looking at the Crate & Barrel website looking for small plates to use instead of the Corelle saucers. Not just because of the rim on the Corelle saucers, but also to encourage us to take smaller servings.  I found these little square 6″ dessert plates by the dozen, but didn’t buy at the time, because I wanted to look at them.

As I wandered around Crate and Barrel yesterday, I remembered that on-line shopping, and took a look. I found the plates, and also smallish square bowls. They’re nice plates, but I liked these appetizer plates, from the “Roscoe” line better. They’re about the same size (6″ round), and just feel nice.

So waffled, and looked, and pondered. Here’s the whole Roscoe line. The Roscoe white isn’t as bright white as the square box-o-bowls. The bowls in the box, which I do like, despite interior hard water stain-catching interior corners, are a bit smaller than the Roscoe bowls. In the end, since we couldn’t get a good color match, we decided to intentionally not match. We got the box of 6 square white bowls, and then from the Roscoe line 8 of the dark grey appetizer plates, 8 light grey salad plates, and 4 orange bowls, for when we want larger bowls.  None of the stuff is very pricey, so even with two more coffee canisters, it didn’t break the bank.


When we got home I bleached all the Corelle, and Robin packed it away (except for the platter and two bigger serving bowls, which get used fairly regularly). Ron went through the other cupboard, and Robin packed up a whole bunch of coffee mugs, plastic cups, and we got rid of some somewhat mangy plastic cups/mugs. The Corelle is now Robin’s, probably also the mugs if he wants them.  We’ll probably also pack up our “good” Noritake stoneware, which is nice, and I could possibly have gotten appetizer plates to coordinate with. But I didn’t.

So now all the coffee paraphenalia is off of the counter. If we pack up the Noritake, as well as two salad bowls I don’t use – anybody need a salad bowl?  One is wooden or bamboo, the other is glass in a wood or bamboo base (which it lifts out of), free to good home. – I should be able to get some more things off the counter.

Where are we going to put this packed-up stuff?  Robin says the storage locker is getting full, I’m thinking maybe we can make space in the pantry closet. But packing up the Noritake then putting away boxes will have to wait until I get to the Container Store and get some boxes (cleverly, I asked for boxes at Crate and Barrel instead of bags, so we could use them for the Corelle).

To wind up:

And I did a bunch of work with leather and cleaned up bits of the dining room this weekend, too.