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.  🙂

A Week in Bullet-Points

I feel like doing some bullet-points today!

CDL training:

  • Ron’s been driving on the road, and “real” driving, out on “real” roads, not just circles around the industrial park.
  • Saturday’s instructor thinks he needs just a few more hours and he’ll be able to pass the test.
  • Which is good, because he tests a week from today.


  • Saturday night I started coloring the large version of “Shai-Hulud and the Fremice”. I’d had some reservation about a change I’d made to once of the mice’s legs, in ink, but decided to carry on.
  • And discovered that the reviews that said to use the back side of the Bienfang marker paper (relative to how it is bound in the pad) were correct.
  • So I abandoned that drawing, and will try again, soonish.
    Instead, I did “Smaug has a Flower”, pretty much a copy of a photo we took a couple years ago, with a baby Smaug peeking around a plastic aquarium plant.
  • I modified it so the flower is more like an impressionistic peony.
    Got carried away with the green around things, but not horribly.
  • I need to go back and add some darker shading on a couple of Smaug’s light spots. Which may not true to the photo, but as-is they look wrong.
  • Ordered three books (by one author) for myself, two on imaginary creature design and science, and the third a gallery of the author’s imaginary creatures.
  • A couple weeks ago we were at Dick Blick, and Ron found a good sized (11 x 17-ish, or it may be the A-series paper sizing analoge) LED-driven light box on sale. I said get it and call it my birthday present.
  • It is nice – Ron didn’t see a point in making me wait to use it, so I traced the Fremice using it. IIRC maybe half an inch thick, and adjustable brightness.

Weekend Natter:

  • Friday night I was pretty much a slug.
  • Saturday we were pretty much slugs, until it was time for Ron to go drive, when I worked on drawing, as nattered about above.
  • I did get my hair cut on Saturday.
  • Yesterday we were less slugly.
  • Robin had to go to open at Pizza Workplace (after closing Saturday night, boo hiss), and Ron felt like getting out of the house.
  • We waffled between Brookfield Zoo and the Field Museum, with extra “do-anything-at-all?” waffling because my back was stiff.
  • I was leaning toward the Field Museum, which led to “drive or train?” waffling.
  • I checked the Metra schedule. Train was leaving Palatine in 13 minutes. Fortunately, the dogs were already in their crates and we had our shoes on. To the Mongo-truck! (Trains only run every 2 hours on Sundays).
  • Yes, we made it, with a few minutes to spare.
  • Free parking on the weekends, lots of open spaces in the garage, and the Ventra app for ticketing helped make it easier.
  • Brunch at Ogilve station, then a taxi to the museum.
  • Since I couldn’t find my Field Museum membership card, which I never remembered getting anyway, we approached the member service desk humbly, craving their assistance.
  • Which was very pleasantly rendered. Cards should be (re-) sent.
  • We saw the “Tattoo”, “Specimens”, “Cyrus Tang Hall of China”, and some other bits of regular exhibitions on the way in and out of the named ones.
  • Those all happened to be on the west side of the museum, which is where I spent my visit last time. Next time I need to go through some of the stuff on the east side. Just because.
  • Ron took some pictures, mostly playing with his new wide-angle lens and the automatic HDRI mode on his camera.
  • Decided it was time to go, stopped at one of the shop for a couple books that called to me and weren’t available as e-books, and was also called to by another book that was available as an e-book, which I got that way, then out to a taxi.
  • I’d been pointedly not checking the Metra schedule at all until we got into the station and checked the board at the foot of the escalators.
  • Next train on the Northwest line was leaving in 5 minutes. Made it, but without time to get something to drink.
  • Got home, found and consumed beverages, and were slugly for a while.
  • Then I made dinner, loaded the dishwasher, and we were slugly for the rest of the evening.


  • Beagles are snuggly creatures.
  • Pippin contends he’s not snuggly, he’s just forced into contact with us because we don’t give him enough space on the couch or bed.
  • Lummy has apparently decided he does not like radiccio this week.
  • Snake enclosure rearranging (moving a couple from the bedroom to the living room, who’s in which, and upgrading Kajura) following on from moving BPs to tubs has not proceeded. See above re: “slugly”.
  • The largish enclosure that’s been on order for a couple months arrived last week. Still un-assembled, re: slugly, again. I think Fezzik will be moved to it.
  • Nor have vacated glass enclosures been removed to storage. Yeah, slugly.
  • Got some indented kraft paper to try as a substrate for Buford, who has a certain special scent all his own, and which is probably best dealt with by more frequent complete substrate changes.
  • Large sheets of paper should be faster/simpler to change than shredded aspen, which is best removed with a shop-vac, and fresh stuff always always escapes and gets spread around the room while being put in enclosures.

Aaand, I think that’s about it.

Scatha, Smaug, and Dogs

Warning, this is a picture-heavy post.  I’ll put a cut-tag in before them.

I worked on the MuseCon program book, finished it on Thursday night, and uploaded it to the printer. Ron has lower-resolution copies of the book and the single-sheet grid to post on the MuseCon website, not sure if he’s had a chance to or not.

Pippin’s face and ears are much better, after a week of cleaning and applying ointment twice a day. Still giving him antibiotics, but that’s minor, just an extra pill at pill time. Need to clean everybody’s ears today.

My earaches continued on and off, although not as bad as last Sunday. I was at the doctor’s Friday to follow-up on anti-depressant dosage, and my were diagnosed as likely due to sinus pressure, no sign of infection. She suggested sudafed to relieve the pressure and prescribed a prescription antihistimine. They seem to be helping.

I suspect it’s a bad year for allergies, Pippin hasn’t broken out like he did in past years, and I don’t usually get earaches like I have/had been (sinus pain, yes). Eowyn and I used to have bad allergies on the same days, maybe Pippin and I are also allergic to (some of) the same things.

Sunday evening we gave Smaug a couple hides – inverted tool bins. Much better than trying to hide behind the fountain.

The original plan for Friday night was to go see The Tooles at an Irish festival in Arlington Heights, but the weather was toooooo disgusting in terms of heat/humidity, even without thunderstorms. Instead we got dinner and went to a movie – “Minions” started first, so that won (vs. “Ant-Man” and “Mr. Holmes”). It was a lot of fun. After that we stopped at Menard’s and got a new hot glue gun, as our old one has disappeared.

More snakey natter and pictures below the cut.

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Another Bullet-Point Update

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

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


Catching Up, Again

Since its been almost a month since I last posted, let’s revisit some of the topics from last time.

Ron’s still fighting insomnia. Visited our family physician yesterday to discuss options. We’ll see how those work out.

The Tree of Damocles (an American Elm) is scheduled for removal the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, along with another little elm and a branch coming over from the back neighbors’ yard. We could take care of the little elm and the branch ourselves, but the minor cost increase is definitely worth letting the professionals take them out/down, and dispose of the remains. Emphasis on the disposal part.

Banjo and guitar lessons still going well.  And Ron got me a wonderful new guitar-like thing, an “Inuk” by Godin Guitars, which is based on an Oud (middle-eastern-ish). It has 11 strings – the highest-pitched 10 are tuned in pairs, same tuning as a guitar. The lowest string is a single. All sets of strings are wound, usually the three highest guitar strings (on metal-strung guitars) are smooth. And the strings fan out as they go (each pair stays parallel). It does have frets (Godin also makes an oud, which does not have frets). It has its own unique sound. And I need to fret it differently than my regular guitars. Short audio/video clip of somebody that knows what they’re doing with it here.

No progress on Bollywood films.

Got a vest made for Robin (the black and silver), which came out well. Got another made for Ron, without the collar of damnation, which came out ok. I thought I could fix the wrinkling on the neckline by adjusting the shoulder seam, but more investigation while Ron was wearing it makes me think the real fix involves alterations to the body.

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 Got a new outfit made for myself. Dark brown skirt, made like hakama, dark red shirt, and a gold brocade jacket, cut along the lines of a kosode, with burgundy trim. The jacket went together as planned, although the very fussy details I committed made it take a while. The shirt, from a Simplicity pattern, turned out well, once I added gussets down the side and underarm. The pattern is set up for different bust sizes, and fits pretty well. I’ll be modifying my gussets (so they play nicely together) and making another couple. I also plan on re-drafting the sleeves, which are fine if you never want to get your elbows away from your sides, but make the shirt ride up funny otherwise.

Teslacon was interesting. I don’t know how to just attend a convention. There were some (IMO) issues – a schedule that was in micro-print, didn’t include the dealer’s room or entertainers, and which left off the hotel map (that was in the PDF version on-line), and opening the dealer’s room an hour early on Sunday without telling the dealers.

Ron got two corset/vests at Teslacon. He looks very very snazzy in them. Also a couple ascot ties. I got a cowl (hood) that matches my new outfit fairly well, a couple big scarves/shawls, a pile of books, and a cuttlefish.

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 Robin got a hat and mask from Blonde Swan. I will post a picture of Ron in one of his corsets and me in my new outfit once I get it from Ron. I also got extremely drunk on Friday night. Ron assures me I was not an annoying drunk. I remember the general gist of everything I said, which was pretty much lacking any brain-mouth filter.  I do remember torquey-torquey-turkey (I was wearing one of Ron’s torques), and that my drinky was smiling at me.  Which it totally was (pumpkin martini).

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Took a vacation/recovery day yesterday, have today off for Veteran’s Day.

And now the cleaning fairies are here, so I’m going to get out of their way…


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.

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

Musical Natter, Titanic and Otherwise

Last Friday we went to see Gaelic Storm at Durty Nellie’s. It was much fun.

TtM rehearsals continue. Blocking (who goes where/when/how) started last week, so Ron, Robin, and Xap have been coming most nights. No rehearsal last night, as the only dance rehearsal is tonight. I’ve gotten off of dancing the very active “Latest Rag”, but am still going tonight, as my 1st Class character will be Mr. Ismay’s partner for the scene, strolling about, possibly doing some less strenuous dancing.

In a move that I may pay for later, abetted by Xap, Ron now has a small speaking-but-not-singing part, Major Somebody, who is light comic relief. He’ll be wearing a kilt and fez, and hopefully she can come up with a proper Prince Charlie jacket (because Ghu knows I have no time to make one). So we need to order Ron said kilt Real Soon Now. This is the tartan we chose, with the director’s input:

I also need to order shoes for myself – I have wellies and sneakers, nothing even vaguely appropriate, and I don’t expect the costume stash of the director and/or theatre group are going to have anything. In large part, because I have large wide feet for a woman, I just can’t find women’s shoes that fit me in stores (so I cheerfully buy 10 or 10-1/2 regular-width men’s shoes). Much searching on-line later, I finally thought to look at Zappos(.com) this week. These got the OK from the director, aren’t too high-heeled, and I can wear them with a couple of my dresses that call for nicer shoes:

Took our purple-and-gold and burgundy-and-gold kosode to rehearsal one night to see if the director could use them, since there’s one or more scenes where almost the entire cast needs to be in nightwear, and in that time period kimono were very big as bathrobes. Yes, she definitely can. I also dug out three more kosode I’d spaced on, as well as a kid-sized one, and sent her e-mail about those. Pity we’re not doing “The Mikado”, I could put a good dent in the costume needs for that…

As you may have noticed if you have me in G+ circles, on Sunday night a guitar followed me home, and a banjo followed Ron home. They’ve been declared Mother’s/Father’s Day presents, and since my birthday is usually right on top of Mother’s Day, we’re going to re-purpose Father’s Day to Parent’s Day. Works for me.

Making very little progress actually learning to play said guitar, see above re: TtM rehearsals. Although on Monday I discovered why I have trouble with some ukulele chords – when I curl/arch the fingers on my left hand, the tip of my left ring finger is inclined to end up under my middle finger – it definitely curls toward the thumb, not more straight-ish down like my right ring finger.

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The result is that I can’t reach a point as far away from the middle finger as I could if my finger didn’t do that. With the closer frets on a uke I’ve been able to deal with it, first attempts at some guitar chords are not encouraging. I’m not deterred, hopefully with practice I can get it to loosen up and reach out farther. And instead of starting with chords (quicker gratification in “playing a song” terms), I’m starting with individual notes on individual strings.

Meanwhile, Ron is figuring out how to do clawhammer, rolls, and other banjo things. Pippin is underwhelmed, but doesn’t seem to actually mind. I’m pretty sure he prefers it to everybody being gone at Titanic rehearsals.

Week before last, while attempting to repair a leaning wall on one of the front planter boxes, Robin discovered we had a nesting mallard in said box. We pretended to ignore her, and she mostly-ignored us, until the babies hatched and they all left a week ago. Meanwhile, because the attempted repair failed, Robin has been demolishing the planter boxes and hauling the dirt to the back yard. We need to freecycle away the stone blocks that were the fascia and otherwise get rid the concrete blocks and bricks that backed up the stone, once the last section of the wall (where Mama Duck was nesting) is demolished.

– Posted using software from hardware

Odds and Ends

I think we’ve pretty much completed the dinnerware/flatware replacement. The flatware I’d ordered from Replacements, Ltd. finally arrived on Friday, after several days of teasing me via tracking. It’s flatware that matches the other stuff, except for being unused and therefore more shiny. Not much else to say.

The new platters arrived a day or so before the flatware, passing it in the various shipping processes. The dark brown has a matte finish, but the pale blue is glossy, even though they’re from the same line. Odd. But shape-wise they work with the Roscoe stuff.

Previously I’d mentioned that we’d gotten a 9″ white “Every” bowl for Elrond, and I was considering getting some more to replace our large Corelle bowls, since it goes fairly well with the Roscoe. There is a set of 5 bowls in the Roscoe line, which look really spiffy nested, as they’re shades of grey, but the three smallest sizes would be less than useful for serving, and they’re all deep. So yesterday we got the white Every bowls, we did go ahead and get 4. We also also got 4 more large dinner plates (rounding that out to 8, like the salad and dessert plates), and a slotted spoon, which I’d forgotten to do in the day of annoyance in trying to get serving flatware.

To keep Elrond’s bowl identifiable, Ron colored the bottom ring of the foot black with a permanent marker. Since that portion is un-glazed, it should hold fairly well, and is easy enough to re-color occasionally.

I took Friday off to use some comp time before losing it.

Friday morning I attacked a piece of brisket. The previous half of it was good as pot roast, but a little too dry/hard to swallow. I started to chop it up to cook all day in tomato sauce and chili powder (which I figured would reduce it to reasonable tenderness), then got lazy and tried throwing it in the food processor. The results were a not-unreasonable alternative to ground beef. I made half into chili, and saved the other half to use yesterday.

Yesterday I made mole casserole with it, which I usually make with chicken, but beef was pronounced quite acceptable. I don’t know if our mole casserole is an abomination unto proper Mexican cuisine, but it tastes good:

  • 1 tall juice glass jar of mole sauce, thinned 4:1 with broth, or 1 can of coconut milk and then broth if you’re feeling decadent. “Broth” is usually water + soup base. Put down a thin layer of mole in a 9×13-ish pan.
  • Put down a layer of corn tortillas. Whatever brand is local and fresh.
  • Cook meat, in the neighborhood of a pound or  however much 4 or so boneless skinless chicken thighs weigh, along with a chopped onion. Mix meat, onion, and a can of hominy (soup can size if you’re good, bigger can if you want more filler) with some of the mole.
  • Put a layer of meat, hominy, and mole in your pan. Top with cheese.
  • Then another layer of tortillas.
  • And another layer of meat, then cheese.
  • And another of tortillas
  • Top with the rest of the mole, and more cheese.
  • Bake with foil on top at 350-ish for around an hour, although a half hour would probably be sufficient.
  • Uncover and bake until the cheese is brown and crispy, or starting to brown if you’re hungry or a coward.
  • Eat.
  • Call dibs on leftovers so the locusts (aka Robin & Marmaduke) leave you some for lunch today.
  • Wash now-empty pan.

On Saturday I made soup-ish substance, with cranberry beans and andouille sausage. Also onions, tomato paste, garlic, and green enchilada sauce, for character. I thought we’d soaked a reasonably small amount of beans, but I was wrong. They grew overnight, which was not unexpected. I drained them, added fresh water and garlic, and turned the crock pot on. Aut they kept on growing as they cooked. I added the onion, tomato, and enchilada sauce  And the beans kept on  growing. I ended up getting more andouille, as what I had wasn’t going to be enough for the amount of beans. I was thinking of adding vegetables, but had run out of room in the crock pot. But it tasted good.

In other food-ish news, last Friday Ron and I tried to go to the local Indian restaurant, Lal Quila, for dinner, but found it closed for a private party. One of Ron’s (Indian) co-workers had recommended India House in Buffalo Grove, so we went there instead.

It was good. It was very good. And Robin enjoyed the leftovers.

On Saturday this weekend Robin and I went back and had the lunch buffet. I declared my plate full before I got to the goat curry, sadly. Robin only got one meat dish, and commented that he could be a vegetarian if the food was Indian. I can’t disagree (but not vegan, because we like cheese). We did go back to the buffet for dessert, because the mango ice cream was not to be resisted.

Other than that, we’ve been working on pouches and things for ACen. More natter about that over thataway. Quite a bit of my workshop has migrated out to the living room, but will be de-migrated tonight, as the cleaning fairies come tomorrow. And we got into Anime Midwest, which is in July, so if we do at all well at ACen, I expect we’ll be busy recovering inventory-wise. And then MuseCon in August. So maybe I’ll get back to sewing sometime after that.