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.

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.

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.

MuseCon Prep

I last posted the week before last, after being released from the hospital after having my gall bladder evicted. Ron went back on duty Friday morning, but I had Robin so I wasn’t too worried, as I said previously.

Robin took care of me and the dogs. I spent most of that weekend on a binge of cutting out doll kosode, then doing all the machine sewing on them, then starting on the hand-sewing. IIRC I cut out 22, which is 11 coordinating sets. That’s a lot of doll clothes. OTOH, cutting out and sewing primarily involved sitting on by backside on the couch with a table in front of me to work on. And not, it seems, having to think too much, since I never got around to starting on MuseCon signage, which would have required more application of thinky bits.

I also stayed home Monday and Tuesday of last week, and went to work Wednesday through Friday. In hindsight, I should have just stayed home all week.

This immediately-past weekend I mostly did MuseCon prep. Saturday morning Robin and I went to the lockup to fetch home the coolers, bus bins, etc. we loan to Con Suite; gridwall hardware and shelves for the Salon; and and the bin of lace-knitting patters, alpaca yarn, and knitting needles for me to try to sell in the Emporium. After a stop at the grocery store on the way home, we went spelunking in the trailer for leatherworking kits, tools, and hardware to put up for sale. Robin did the work, I poked through Max, the Grinch, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 and decided what Robin was to schlep.

Then I proceeded inside to work on MuseCon signage. While I was sorting through images, Robin brought the pile of stuff that had landed in the kitchen for MuseCon to a slightly less chaotic pile of stuff in front of the back door. And I worked on bringing some more order to the pile later in the day. And around dinner time, a bowl of stir-fry appeared by my side while I was working on signage! Neat!

Yesterday I did more work on signage, plus more attempts at bringing order to the merchandise I’ll have for sale. Since I lost, essentially, two weeks to my gall bladder, getting ready for MuseCon is a rather daunting task. The stringy stuff had been removed from the Point of Sale (PoS) application inventory, and I have a pile of other merchandise – hardware, books I’ve bound, and doll clothes – that need tags and entering into the PoS app. In the past, I figured costs and prices, and typed descriptions or dictated them to Ron, who entered the data into spreadsheets, and then did some kind of voodoo to get it into the PoS app, and some other voodoo to print stickers to put on price tags.

Unfortunately, Ron won’t be home until Friday evening. When I was talking to Ron on the phone, he confirmed my suspicion that trying to talk me through both kinds of voodoo was probably going to be a lot more frustrating and less efficient than just typing the inventory into the PoS app and hand-writing tags, if not entirely unsuccessful.

Fortunately, the stringy bits are already tagged, so the main job there was data-entry. So far I’ve gotten the stringy bits and books entered, books tagged, and have made progress on number-crunching on the hardware. I’ve also been getting things packed up better. And tonight, while looking for the blank tags, I found the conchos and concho display, and extracted them, and the tags, from the dining room.

Fortunately, I realized today that I’m taking Thursday off, in addition to Friday and next Monday. Which gives me some more time to get things done. Or flail. Whatever.

Busy Week

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

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

Thursday felt like Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Settlin In to New Routine

In the last week Ron and his trainer (who’s name promptly fell out of my brain) have moved steel, concrete formwork, and hardwood gym flooring, making deliveries and/or pickups in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and are currently in Georgia. We have a Google Keep list of things to get when Ron gets his own truck. I have a rolling Google Keep list of things I need to do.

Monday Robin put the air-conditioning units in the master bedroom, Yay! Comfortable sleep again! Which means now there’s an item on my to-do list of re-arranging some shelves and things that were moved, and to re-locate Danger Noodle so his tub isn’t sitting right in front of the AC output on my side of the room. I also need to make a new draft stopper, currently using a rolled towel.

Floating to the top of my to-do list is doing the MuseCon program book. The first step of *that* is cleaning the computer desk. This morning the whole desk was a vaguely flat surface with monitor screens rising from the sea of mess. Even the chair was encumbered. Not conductive to doing, well, anything. Since the first content deadline for the book is tomorrow night at midnight, I really need to get the desk cleaned up. Started that task, and actually cleared enough carp to make it possible to use the computer. Along the way I found *eight* pairs of non-prescription reading glasses. Plus there’s two more over by the couch. Now, I know a pair or two lived at Ron’s desk at Toshiba previously, and they’re not all the same power, but ten pairs is fecking ridiculous. And I may have sent Ron a shouty e-mail or two to that effect.

On Sunday I got the snake enclosure re-arranging done – Kajura moved to a bigger enclosure in the bedroom, and the short black enclosures moved to the living room. I still haven’t swapped Moresby and Sif, but at least there’s been some progress. Kajura still seems to be busybody snake, so not all the out-and-about-ness in the small tub was from limited space. Robin helped by rearranging shelves for the black enclosures, and carrying them downstairs and putting them on the shelves.

Buford also seems to be getting a little braver. I’m seeing his snoot at the hide entrance fairly regularly, and Saturday through Monday morning, before there was AC in the room, Buford was actually seen out of his hide, and for a while was soaking in his water dish. I haven’t seen him in his dish since Monday, so I suspect the soaking was to keep cool.

Tuesday I was completely exhausted, so after I let the dogs out and fed them at the normal time, I went back to bed. I think the problem was mainly that the bedroom had been too warm for me to sleep comfortably for several nights – even though windows were open on both sides, there just wasn’t enough air flow for the room to be comfortable until the early hours of the morning. Still a bit tired, but I feel like I’m catching up.

Last night I took Pippin to the vet. Bacterial infection in one ear. I think Gimli cleaning the ear was more of a symptom than a cause, but it certainly didn’t help. Fortunately, the treatment is oral meds, and the goo the vet did put in Pip’s ear won’t hurt Gimli, and apparently smells/tastes icky, so he hasn’t been trying to clean it much, either. Otherwise, the only solution we (me, Robin, and the vet) could come up with was to put both Gimli and Pippin into Cones of Shame. Not something I wanted to deal with.

Robin said he had four days left at Pizza Workplace, but I see he also has an additional one hour on the calendar for Monday evening. I need to ask if that’s dropping off keys and whatnot, actual work-work, or just an oops. I also want to ask if the pair of Ron’s shorts that appeared in one of the dog beds was tossed there by Robin when he was doing the air-conditioners, or if a dog moved it. 🙂

Reptiles and other Ramblings

Yes, this post will include more reptilian ramblings, with pictures. But just of cages, no reptiles to be seen.

At the moment I’m sitting at the desktop, with Gimli under my chair, playing with Pippin. Happily, they seem to be avoiding nipping me while aiming at each other.

Saturday evening was annoying. A couple neighbors had planned a block party, but looking at predicted thunderstorms, had cancelled it on Friday. So when I took the dogs out around 7:00 what was the weather like? Cooled off to actually pleasant temperatures, including a light breeze, a few scattered non-threatening high clouds, and not even mosquitos. WeatherBug predicted no rain at for the next 12+ hours. Perfect outdoor-party weather, in other words. How aggravating! The aggravation was topped off by missing mango sorbet. I’m sure I saw it in Friday’s PeaPod order, and Robin remembers putting it away (probably hiding because he thinks he left in a bag with something else, and I haven’t looked for it again since asking him about it on Sunday). I made do with guava paste and cream cheeze on ritz crackers, which is not at all a bad dessert, but not what I wanted, dammit.

I think Tommy being a noisy brat over the weekend might have been because Ron wasn’t home – I’m wondering if Tommy had declared himself protector of the house in Ron’s absence. Which is pretty silly, since he was “protecting” us from the neighbor dogs and a visiting terrier that was maybe half his size. When Ron got home I was in the living room with Tommy on a leash, so the other dogs could go in and out, and I could still keep Tommy under control. I my believe my first words to Ron were something about being . . . annoyed with Tommy.

Saturday night I sat up with the lights out to watch for Scatha. Eventually I realized that that spot in some of the greenery was her head, she was lurking and watching. After a while I realized that she was going to win a contest of patience and went to bed. But Sunday morning when I got up I found Smaug out pretending to be a branch. And one early morning this week Ron got up to take the dogs out and found Scatha roosting in some of her greenery. Because tiny snake can do that. I think she approves of the greenery – more hiding places, and it screens the openings on the larger hides.

Ron liked Scatha’s greenery, so he picked up some for Smaug’s cage on Monday. And when Ron got Smaug out that evening to be weighed pre-feeding, we noticed that his eyes were cloudy (looks like a sudden case of cataracts) – a sign of impending shedding. He took a little extra zombie-mouse-dancing before he decided to strike, most likely due to not being able to see as well as normal. Some snakes won’t eat during the shedding process, so a slight delay before deciding is no big deal.

If I’d been paying more attention on Saturday, I might have noticed subtle skin/color changes. It was probably also why he wouldn’t un-curl out of the ball python-ball when I was holding him – they get extra shy during shedding. OTOH, he was out Sunday morning, so maybe not. By last night his eyes had cleared, which means the actual shedding is coming closer. Probably before we leave before MuseCon, which is good – we can make sure he sheds completely. This morning when Ron peeked under the hide he thinks Smaug hissed at him, which is in line with the shyness-during-shedding thing.

Neither Ron nor I made music lessons last night, for Reasons. I did get some mango-carrot Italian ice at Daisy’s, the new-ish ice cream shop that’s opened up where Ben & Jerry’s used to be. IIRC they said the carrot is there for sweetness, not flavor, and I can’t taste it as carrot. Their Italian ice is really really creamy, not a dairy-free poor relation to “real” ice cream at all.

Because I am an absolute nerd, I have a set of spreadsheets for figuring out future cage sizes for the snakes – most of the books and websites make suggestions based various sizes of fish tanks, in gallons, with various modifiers like “long”, “breeder” (similar to long), and “high”. However, I’ve been looking at cages that can stack, are opaque on 3 sides (more privacy/ insulation), with front openings, and which are not measured in gallons.

I started out with making a list of suggested sizes from various sources, for both ball pythons and kingsnakes.

Then I found a website that has dimensions for various aquariums (,

how convenient), and created a spreadsheet which has what type of tank, dimensions, and calculates square footage of the floor and total volume in both square inches and square feet. The square footage is the important information, since neither Smaug nor Scatha are arboreal species that need tall cages for climbing space.

Then, for each type of snake, I have a table that lists the source of the recommendation, size suggestion, square footage, and volume (in feet). I’d included the volume before thinking more about it and realizing that it’s a less important number, and haven’t bothered deleting that column. Each list is sorted by square footage.

Turns out for both ball pythons and kingsnakes, most of the tank suggestions are either 2.5 square feet (30″ x 12″), or 4.5 square feet (36″ x 18″). One of the place I was looking at cages makes a 5 square foot model, which at 30″ x 24″ isn’t too much bigger than the footprint of Smaug’s current home (18″ x 18″ -ish on a 20-mumble inch square table), so it would be easiest to fit in the house. But we’ve got time, both snakes have some growing out to do before they need bigger homes.

Wandering back from snakes to MuseCon, via Smaug shedding, MuseCon is rapidly approaching. I believe the plan for tomorrow night is to go to the storage locker with the trailer, take the two Things, Max, and the Grinch in, unload one of the Things and return it to the trailer empty. Then either Saturday or Sunday Robin can take the trailer to pick up blinkie stuff, and we’ll pack all of our stuff into the Thing. And this weekend we really, really need to trim the gridwall down that we got at ACen and want to shorten – some of the pieces are mildly banged up, so those are the ones to be modified. Also need to remember to get the zip-ties, zip-tie guns, and clippers out of Max or the Grinch to assemble gridwall at Muse.

Robin’s been working on making banana bread for the Con Suite. The process is slightly hampered by the “yellow” bananas I got from PeaPod on Friday being more green than yellow, and the fact that the big oven was pronounced dead on the 4th of July, so he’s baking one loaf at a time in the toaster oven. Which on the plus side heats up the kitchen a lot less than the big oven.

This year I’ll be Room Mom for the workshop room again, and doing the Turkish Braid knitting as an open build. I may bring along doll clothes stuff to keep my hands busy, too. Or maybe knitting. Or both. We’ll see. The dogs are boarding at the vet’s. I have adamantly refused to wrangle all three dogs by myself for that trip, not sure who’s helping with that rodeo. Ron has walked all three by himself, I’m not that insane.

To finish up, I got pictures of both snake cages in their current configurations with greenery. Click to embiggen.

Snake_Cages-20150726-001 Snake_Cages-20150726-002 Snake_Cages-20150726-003 Snake_Cages-20150726-004 Snake_Cages-20150727-005 Snake_Cages-20150727-006

Smaug and Dogs

We have a new resident in the house:


This is Smaug, a Ball Python. I’d say he’s about 18″ long, about as big around as Ron’s thumb. Ron says he’s not big enough for his bite to actually break skin (the woman at the pet store wasn’t confident about handling him, so Ron got him out of the enclosure). I’m calling Smaug “him”, but we really have no clue.

Here’s a couple pictures of Smaug’s terrarium:

Smaug_Home_1 Smaug_Home_2

It’s something like 16″ x 17, and a couple feet tall. The branch is fake. The store employee said Smaug likes to lay in the water bowl, so we got a fountain instead of just a small bowl. The back wall decoration is styrofoam, and as you can see, Smaug can use it to climb. The upper section of the front is two doors that swing open, or you can open the (screen) top.

The terrarium is sitting on the end table between the couch and the computer desk (the blue front door in the picture above is a reflection), which has been pushed back to the wall, after removing the bookshelf that used to be between the wall and the table, since Smaug was going to block access to most of the shelves.

When we first put him in the terrarium, Smaug investigated it fairly thoroughly. Currently he’s wedged between the fountain and the back wall, on the side toward the branch. I assume this is part of the settling-in process.

Smaug has been eating thawed previously-frozen mice, currently one small one a week, on Thursdays, so now we have a box of mice in the freezer.

This is Gimli after noticing Smaug moving:


He really wasn’t sure about it. At all. A few minutes later he woofed a couple times. Tommy has noticed the terrarium, but Smaug froze when Tommy’s nose got close to the glass, so I’m pretty sure Tommy didn’t notice him. I don’t think Pippin has either – as far as I can tell Tommy and Pippin are writing it all off as just another weird human thing that caused a lot of living room chaos this morning.

Thursday morning we noticed that the raw spots on Pippin’s lower jaw were worse, and more of his face was raw and irritated. Robin didn’t work until evening, so he took Pippin to the vet, and came home with oral antibiotic, cleaning fluid, and an ointment that combines a corticosteroid, anti-itch medication, anti-fungal, and antibiotic. We started the meds and cleaning Thursday evening, and Pippin is looking better. Vet’s SWAG is that the cause was related to allergy season, with the cut he had in his lip a couple weeks ago (and we thought had healed) didn’t help.

ComEd contractors came by Wednesday afternoon and got the half-tree off of the utility lines, and cut free from the parent tree. The neighbors had a neighboring service out to give them an estimate on taking down the rest of the tree, and were looking at it (and the remains) in our yard, too.

The MuseCon program book is aaaallllmost done. I have to do proofreading and the table of contents, and then it goes to the printer this coming week.

And I have an earache. I’m hoping it’s related to allergy season.

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

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