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.

Snakes – Hardware, Mouse-Cicles, and Stoopid

The heat tape ​and Wonambi’s radiant heat panel (RHP) and thermostat for it arrived yesterday: as did more of the tool chest drawer inserts Otter Necessities has been providing for hides.

Ron decided not to replace Wonambi’s under-tank heating pad with heat tape for under-tank heat (UTH), since it is working well. He did install the RHP on her ceiling, while I made another attempt at feeding her. The cage is 16″ X 16″, so a 12-1/8″ X 9-1/4″ panel should cover a bit over half of the ceiling, right?

Wrong. The removable screen/mesh ceiling panel sits inside of the cage frame, and has its own frame. That means the RHP sits centered, and pretty covers most of the ceIling, but does leave enough room for the LED light bar that should arrive tomorrow. The cage has enough side venting that airflow is not a concern. Weeeellll, I guess we’ll set the RHP’s thermostat to provide the ambient/cool range (80 – 85-ish), and the UTH for the hot/basking temps (up to 95, and some people will go even hotter).

I was thinking of a 12-1/2″ square panel for Smaug’s 17″ X 23″ cage, now waffling if we should get one like Wonambi’s.

Wonambi initially was uninterested in her thawed mouse-sicle. I’d been telling myself not to fuss unless/until she didn’t eat tomorrow, and partially failed. I made said mouse leak a little, and that got her attention. Mouse gone. Smaug also ate, and had gained a gram despite not eating on Saturday.

I got Henry out for some attention last night, and realized his eyes had the cataract-like look that means he’s going into shed, too.

Tonight, after guitar lessons, I got Caudimordax out for his nightly handling.  Note to self: when the little voice inside your head says “maybe you shouldn’t do that” in regard to Caudimordax, listen to it!

Caudimordax was looking out of his hide, and tried to zip away when I reached in, but I persisted. For my trouble I got peed on, chomped, and musked. The musking was the worst, especially since he managed to miss the towel I had in my lap. I held him for a couple minutes until he settled a little, to try to train him that being Mr. Pissy Pants won’t work, but I didn’t last long. I’m wearing clean clothes now. Woof. I think that’s the first time he’s actually musked me.

After changing, I started to pack up two Etsy orders. Tanis was out watching me get out shipping labels (which live on her shelf with the snake books), so I got her out. She was well-behaved, and would have been happy to help get the orders ready. As long as “helping” involved exploring the junk-cluttered cave created by the lower shelf of the computer desk hutch. Er, not so much. Got her back out now that I’m just typing and can keep her under control . . . let go of the chair, girl!

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That Was A Week

Last week was fairly dull. Cold, but dull.

The weekend, started out fairly mundane, but took a turn for the no-fun Saturday evening. That’s the big news, so I’ll just take things out of order.

Saturday evening, a few minutes before 5:00, Robin went out to get the mail. Coming in he tripped, fell, and landed with his knee on the edge (probably a corner) of one of the cinderblocks at the base of the wooden front porch steps.

It was immediately obvious that stitches would be necessary. While I was upstairs getting one of his kilts (he was wearing jeans, see above re: cold, which now had a big rip in the knee, plus being wet from snow), I said I would also grab some gauze for the expected bleeding. Ron said no, get some rags, and then said he was calling 911.

I got downstairs to find a very pale and shaky Robin on the couch. Ron was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get him to the truck, and adding a head wound because Ron dropped him would be a bad addition. Robin wasn’t bleeding all that much, but Ron was expecting lots of blood based on the size of the gash in Robin’s knee.

Ron went upstairs to put the dogs in their crates, and I piled blankets on Robin, who was rather cold. Shock, no pants, yadda yadda.

Paramedics arrived, checked Robin, bandaged him up, and helped get him out to the truck. They confirmed that stitches would be needed, and impressed on us to get X-rays.
They’d had a busy day, since starting their shift in the morning they’d been at the station for all of 20 minutes.

Off we went to the local acute care center. We waited while another set of Palatine paramedics picked up a patient to transport to the hospital, then they wheeled Robin to an examining room. Vitals, recite events, wait a bit, then shift over to a treatment room. Tetanus shot time! At first the doctor was concerned they wouldn’t be able to get X-rays, I think there was an issue with a machine. The tech said that she could do it, but then a more serious problem popped up – a couple days earlier the doctor had had to stitch up an elbow wound, which used up all the heavier suture material she wanted to use on Robin’s knee. She was concerned the finer stuff would just pull out.

All of the staff was very apologetic about it, and Robin’s nurse was definitely not pleased. I can’t blame him, its not like sutures are particularly large or perishable. Just left a message with the general number for Alexian Brothers Medical Group that I’d like to talk to somebody about that.

So, off we went to NW Community hospital ER, which was the closest, and the acute care center had called ahead. Not sure if they were expecting Robin or not, but there was nobody waiting and we got into triage with almost no wait, then to a treatment room, after another round of vitals and what-happened. X-rays happened pretty promptly, then an oral painkiller, lots and lots of wound irrigation. The X-rays showed no fractures. Getting local anesthetic injected around and into the wound sounded painful, but it worked, and 3 sutures (to pull things together) and 8 staples later, Robin’s knee was much less gruesome.  Ron took before- and after-suturing pictures.

Then it was wait, wait, wait for the discharge paperwork and prescriptions. While we were waiting a nurse brought a big knee immobilizer brace (covers most of his leg), and crutches. Bending the knee is likely to pull out the stitches/staples, hence the immobilizer. Prescriptions were for pain meds and antibiotics, get the wound checked in 2-3 days, stitches out in no more than 10 days. First time for Robin to have stitches or be on crutches, at least he missed the trifecta of including broken bone.

Off to the 24-hour Walgreens to drop off the prescriptions, Palatine Inn for dinner, pick up prescriptions, and finally home about 9:30.  Much progress made on the current socks. Ron commented that it was odd, he was in the wrong position all evening (ie: not the ER patient).

Robin’s bed is in his loft. So not with an immobilized knee, so he’s been sleeping on the air mattress in the spare bedroom. Except not so much Saturday night/Sunday morning – he woke up between 2:30 and 3:00, and the Norco he was prescribed didn’t help enough to let him get back to sleep.

Robin looked pretty miserable yesterday. The knee brace was keeping his leg too straight, he felt like it was being hyperextended. Ron put a little more bend in the aluminum bars up the back, but it didn’t help. I extracted them, and that worked better. There’s still bars that velcro on the sides to keep it mostly-still, he doesn’t really need complete immobilization. Also, the elastic bandage keeping the dressing on was uncomfortable with the staples. So Robin spent much of the day on the couch with a TV table protecting his knee from dog-bumps, and his leg wrapped in a blanket to keep warm.  He’s been using one of Ron’s canes around the house.

Not surprisingly, Robin went to bed early yesterday. For pain meds, well, let’s just say that he got the last Vicodin that somebody had leftover from something.  He slept all night long, and was still (mostly) asleep when I left this morning. Pippin was snuggled up to Robin while Ron and I were getting ready for work, and probably joined Robin again when I left. Ron got him an appointment with our doctor just after lunch, haven’t heard the report on that visit yet. Fortunately, yesterday afternoon Harper had cancelled classes for today, so Robin got another day at home to recuperate, I’m pretty sure it has been a good thing.

In other news, last week’s cold made me decide I wanted insulated boots again, for the first time since, um, before I went to Tech. So Friday night we went to Cabela’s. I got wellies!


Ok, not exactly proper wellies, but close enough. Neoprene and rubber, 15″ tall, Bogs brand, rated to -40F.


I’m absurdly pleased with them. They’re verra niiice, but work better, as I determined, with lightweight wool socks than thin cotton ones. Which reminds me, I need to “hand” wash socks tonight, I’m out of wool ones.

I also got an inexpensive pair of hiking sneakers to leave at the office, and Ron got a new pair of the loafers he wears. Yesterday when he went out to shovel he was wishing he’d gotten a pair of boots, too, but then he thought and went rummaging around the front hall closet, found his pair of Sorels, and there was happiness and warm feet.

Some more natter about letterpress, but I’ll put that on the Otter blog.

Work Stoopid and Other Natter

Sunday evening the director of the agency I work for sent out e-mail announcing that all offices/facilities would be open Monday, gosh darn it. Oh, and be careful driving with the bad road conditions and the cold.

I saw that e-mail when I checked my work e-mail from home (which I do only very very rarely) Monday morning to see if the office was open. So I bundled up: T-shirt and sweatshirt, cotton leggings, jeans (yay for weight loss, I can not only wear my jeans again, I can wear them over leggings), and then a skirt over all that (because the jeans are pretty mangy looking), wool socks, and hiking boots. My boots aren’t insulated, but they provide another layer over the ankles, and keep the leggings pulled down. For actually going outside on my head I had a thing cotton hat-thing, a scarf, and then a second thin cotton scarf (which mostly I just wrapped around my neck). My larger coat, because it has longer sleeves and more space for bulk, and my insulated motorcycle gauntlets. Usually I only wear the gauntlets the few coldest days of winter, for about half the trip to or from work, then I switch to the thinner gloves that stay in my coat pockets. And I brought fingerless mittens to wear, as I knew the office would be cold (see below).

Robin went out and started the truck when Ron got out of the shower, and then Ron started the car when he left, so the car was reasonably not-too-cold (I won’t go so far as to say “warm”, as I wore my motorcycle gauntlets all the way to work.) Got to work, piddled around with one thing and another, and about 8:20 actually checked my e-mail. Specifically the 8:12 message from the director, forwarding a message from the governor saying that in view of the weather, non-essential offices would be closed/closing, e-mail to employees to follow. Yay!

We few, we chilly few, we band of brothers that had made it in waited a little longer for the official dismissal, then somebody called the capital. Out of a couple dozen people that normally populate OWR, it sounds like about three were in. Our boss confirmed we were free to go, so I went. Fortunately, the car was still not too cold, and my feet had warmed up while I was in the building.

The trips to and from work were about what you’d expect from the road conditions – some slipping and slithering, but nothing too dramatic.

Last night we got e-mail again saying the state would be open for business today. And another reminder to be careful on the poor roads. Grumble. Bundled up again, with the substitution of a flannel-lined shirt for the sweatshirt. Roads were marginally better, and in theory the weather is supposed to get less fucking cold this afternoon.

I arrived at the same time as the heating technician. I was hoping he was just here to deal with normal problems in our system – essentially, we don’t have thermostats, the system has to be manually controlled.  This means that the building temperature mirrors whatever the outside temperature does. Because our heating system is in-floor hot water, with a defective air-heating system, at least my feet stay warm in winter.

Not today. The boilers are out. I’ve given up and turned on the space heater I got a few winters ago when our floor heat was being turned off on weekends. That winter it was taking up to two days to re-warm the slab, I expect this time around to be on the long end, given the outside temps.

No, we are not actually supposed to have electric space heaters in our facility. Ask me if I care, so I can laugh at you. Yay for having a door and a space heater, I’m starting to thaw out.

Normally the dogs are on whichever floor of the house contains the most humans, but when I got home yesterday they were upstairs in our bedroom, even though Robin was in the living room.

At home we’ve been keeping the cover on the dog door, and only opening it to a few times a day to let the dogs go out. Elrond stays out longer than Pippin, but still not very long. Yesterday afternoon Robin brought a pile of dog blankets (cheap fleece ones) down, and we tucked them along the bottom of the back and side doors, and strategic areas along a couple windows, and under the couch to at least re-route the draft from one of the windows. I don’t know if it helped, or if the benefit was mostly psychological.

My Monster High doll arrived yesterday. Her name is something like Abbie Bominable, she’s the daughter of the yeti. Whatever, she was the cheapest one from Target.com, so I have a model for doll clothes. Wow, she makes Barbie look . . . not quite so unrealistic. Hips?  Nope, got none. And short little arms – she couldn’t reach the top of her head, even with elbows. Maybe if she had elbows and a not-ginormous head, but still.

Also got letterpress things, and did some printing, will natter about that later on the Otter Blog.


New Year’s Eve and Day

Ron’s investigations with the AT&T store near his office revealed that I could get a new 16 GB iPhone 5C for $100 and a two-year commitment to my contract. And the way the contracts run, which is by phone/number, not by whole bill, we can wait and upgrade Ron’s in a month or so.  The store near home was only open until 5:00 on New Year’s Eve, and the store in Vernon Hills was going to be open normal business hours New Year’s Day, so the plan was to go out in the morning and procure my new phone.

Tuesday night Ron printed up some calling cards for me, while I played around on the computer with laying out short poetry on smallish pieces of paper. I set the type for and Ron printed “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat” by Lewis Carroll:

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.

Then we went to bed, well before midnight.

Yesterday morning I decided I wanted to procure some patterned paper for bookbinding experiments. The paper crafting store at Deer Park Towne Center was closed for the holiday, but Dick Blick in Schaumburg was open, and there is an AT&T store nearby. So off we went.

I should have called to confirm the hours for the AT&T store. Normal Wednesday opening time is 10:00, but they were opening an hour later yesterday.

It worked out, though, as Robin wanted to hit a fabric store or Hobby Lobby, Robin wanted to get another couple slinkies for print drying racks, and I was in quest of a Monster High doll, and the Hobby Lobby and Toys R Us were both open. Robin got a half-yard of green fleece (instead of felt) for making forest blobs for wargaming, and I found some decent fabric remnants for my costuming thing at MuseCon at Hobby Lobby.

Ron found Slinkies at We Be Toys & Shit, but I struck out on Monster High dolls – they didn’t have any single dolls, only more expensive playsets. Not many Barbies, either – no more Pink Aisle of All Things Barbie. Even Robin was aware that Monster High and other dolls were taking a bite out of Barbie.

On to the AT&T store, and only a few minutes wait for them to open. I got my new phone, without the salescritter wasting too much time trying to sell us UVerse or other things we didn’t want. I got a blue phone, and a blue and green Otter case for it, which was half as much as the phone. And a new cable for at work, since the new phone uses the new tiny connector. A cable I promptly forgot this morning, oops. In the Otter case, the new phone is about as thick and as wide as my old one in its cover, and a little taller.

Had lunch at Olive Garden, then hit Dick Blick. The designated “bookbinding paper” was stupidly expensive ($15 or more for an 18″x24″ sheet{, so I got a couple sheets of “gift wrap” instead (same size, $3.50/sheet). I may be willing to buy the more expensive paper later, but for the first attempts, cheap is just fine, thanks. I also got some pH neutral white glue, bookbinding cloth, and another exacto knife (since one has permanently moved to the printing bench). I did not buy an awl, needles, thread, or bone folder, as we have those at home. I may have to split the linen thread I have down by a ply or two, but that’s OK.

Got home, and while Ron went upstairs to come up with calling cards for Xap, I went hunting for shorter poetry by Kipling. I decided on two Seal Lullabies from “The White Seal” in “The Jungle Book”:

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas!


You mustn’t swim till you’re six weeks old,
Or your head will be sunk by your heels;
And summer gales and Killer Whales
Are bad for baby seals.
Are bad for baby seals, dear rat,
As bad as bad can be;
But splash and grow strong,
And you can’t be wrong.
Child of the Open Sea!

I decided to do the first lullabye. I ran into two problems. The first one was that the lines of metal type ended up shorter than the lines in the digital font I used for layout in InDesign. That was relatively minor, it just would have meant a little more fiddling about setting up the press.

The second problem was more serious.

Over the weekend Ron had written a perl script to count characters, but I didn’t run it. I counted the lowercase As in the poem I was doing, and compared it to the count of the font I’d planned to use (metal type for English has a fairly predictable distribution of letters, so they’re sold as x-A, y-a fonts, where x and y are however many of each type of A). I thought I’d be fine.

As you’ve probably guessed at this point, I wasn’t. After the first four lines I was looking at the number of lowercase Es I had left and getting worried. Ron counted Es left in the tray and I counted Es in the last four lines. Then I pouted while putting the type I’d set back away, because there weren’t enough Es left.

I’m not sure if that font has an add distribution of letters, if the poem does, or if I checked the a-count on the other size of that font.

I suppose this means that I should start the quite possibly long tedious process of counting all the letters in all our fonts and entering it into my type spreadsheet. Or at very least, count the upper and lower case As for every font – the fonts we got with the presses we’ll have to do that physically, the ones we’ve bought separately we should have at least the A-counts in the listings. Grumble.

And we probably need to pick one font and buy a bunch of it, so that we can set more than an 8-line verse at one time.  Like these from Kipling:


What is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?

She has no house to lay a guest in—
But one chill bed for all to rest in,
That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in.

She has no strong white arms to fold you,
But the ten-times-fingering weed to hold you—
Out on the rocks where the tide has rolled you.

Yet, when the signs of summer thicken,
And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken,
Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken—

Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters.
You steal away to the lapping waters,
And look at your ship in her winter quarters.

You forget our mirth, and talk at the tables,
The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables—
To pitch her sides and go over her cables.

Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow,
And the sound of your oar-blades, falling hollow.
Is all we have left through the months to follow.

Ah, what is Woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?




I met my mates in the morning (and oh, but I am old!)
Where roaring on the ledges the summer ground-swell rolled.
I heard them lift the chorus that drowned the breakers’ song—
The Beaches of Lukannon—two million voices strong!


The song of pleasant stations beside the salt lagoons,
The song of blowing squadrons that shuffled down the dunes,
The song of midnight dances that churned the sea to flame—
The Beaches of Lukannon—before the sealers came!


I met my mates in the morning (I’ll never meet them more!);
They came and went in legions that darkened all the shore.
And through the foam-flecked offing as far as voice could reach
We hailed the landing-parties and we sang them up the beach.


The Beaches of Lukannon—the winter-wheat so tall—
The dripping, crinkled lichens, and the sea-fog drenching all!
The platforms of our playground, all shining smooth and worn!
The Beaches of Lukannon—the home where we were born


I meet my mates in the morning, a broken, scattered band.
Men shoot us in the water and club us on the land;
Men drive us to the Salt House like silly sheep and tame,
And still we sing Lukannon—before the sealers came.

Wheel down, wheel down to southward! Oh, Gooverooska go!
And tell the Deep-Sea Viceroys the story of our woe;
Ere, empty as the shark’s egg the tempest flings ashore,
The Beaches of Lukannon shall know their sons no more!



There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.


Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.


When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair,
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.


When the body that lived at your single will,
When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!),
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.


We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?



Neither the harps nor the crowns amused, nor the cherubs’ dove-winged races—
Holding hands forlornly the Children wandered beneath the Dome,
Plucking the splendid robes of the passers-by, and with pitiful faces
Begging what Princes and Powers refused:—’Ah, please will you let us go home?’


Over the jewelled floor, nigh weeping, ran to them Mary the Mother,
Kneeled and caressed and made promise with kisses, and drew them along to the gateway—
Yea, the all-iron unbribeable Door which Peter must guard and none other.
Straightway She took the Keys from his keeping, and opened and freed them straightway.


Then, to Her Son, Who had seen and smiled, She said: ‘On the night that I bore Thee,
What didst Thou care for a love beyond mine or a heaven that was not my arm?
Didst Thou push from the nipple, O Child, to hear the angels adore Thee?
When we two lay in the breath of the kine?’ And He said:—’Thou hast done no harm.’

So through the Void the Children ran homeward merrily hand in hand,
Looking neither to left nor right where the breathless Heavens stood still.
And the Guards of the Void resheathed their swords, for they heard the Command:
‘Shall I that have suffered the children to come to Me hold them against their will?’

Not Completely Letterpress Natter

We did not spend all of last weekend playing with letterpress printing. On Saturday we had an SCA event north of Milwaukee, so that was our Saturday. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to overdose on dairy with dinner, so the trip home was prolonged by a couple stops for gastric distress. Dinner was a fried chicken salad from Cracker Barrel, which included a deviled egg, a chunk of colby cheese, shredded cheese on the salad, and honey-mustard dressing. Our best guesses are dairy in the dressing, really cheap “cheese” that hasn’t had the lactose fermented out, and/or milk in the deviled egg. Very strange.

Sunday we went out in the morning for new rollers for Ron’s little press. The person we got the rollers from is in McHenry, and at first we thought the increasing snow on the ground as we went north was due to areal variations in distribution, not accumulation. We figured it out on the way home.

Monday night I had an encounter at Eurofresh with a person who had issues with my driving and followed me to a parking spot to tell me about it – as best as I can tell, she was in a hyper-snit because I refused to turn left on a solid green when she thought the gap in traffic was large enough. And I failed to just walk away/into the store, foolish mortal.

Tuesday morning I had a low tire pressure warning, and discovered a flap in the sidewall of my driver’s side front tire. Snit-bitch had parked on the driver’s side of me Monday. Coincidence?

Maybe not, as John and Scott’s determined that the wheel bearing(s) for that quarter were in bad shape, so the flap in the tire may have been from whatever caused that damage. And I’d also be needing a front brake job soon, which would be cheaper by one wheel disassembly worth of labor if I had them do it now.  Which I did, because while it was a lot more expensive than Ron and Robin doing it, we don’t have a garage, and the brakes weren’t going to last until spring. The noise that John & Scott’s attributed to the bearings has gone away. I had thought it was noisy tires, as I had the front tires replaced in April. Apparently not.

After much flailing, Robin has signed up for classes for next semester. I don’t think he’s entirely decided if he really wants to continue with college or do Something Else, but Ron pointed out that whatever he does, college credits won’t hurt. And for him to be covered by Ron’s insurance he has to be a full-time student. (Although now there is the ACA, Yay!).

This morning I made the house payment. This evening I pay the deposit on tuition (Harper has almost-automatic tuition payment plans, yay). Plus car repair bill Wednesday night. Listen to the giant sucking sound from the bank accounts . . .

So this week I ordered envelopes, another printing book, and parts/supplies for the presses. I also ordered spaces for my Parsons type, because it didn’t come with any. Ron also got some type that didn’t come with spaces, but its in a size we have spaces for from other fonts. Some of the orders have arrived – I got the wrong book, and they missed one of the supply items.  I already own the book I was sent, so I couldn’t just say to charge me for that one and send the right one, which probably would have been my solution otherwise. Fortunately, the missed supply item is one we have some of already.

But we do need to find a really long allen wrench to put the parts on the larger press. The 6″ ones Ace has are not long enough. We’ll probably check Menard’s and Berland’s house of Toys tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday we sorted one of the pied fonts of type, and printed up some business cards for me. Unfortunately, a lowercase U snuck into the lowercase N spot in the type tray, so I’m a Eugineer. It would be more amusing if it didn’t have that icky eugenics connotation.

Here’s pictures of other print experiments, on cheap yellow cardstock that we had around the house:

photo.JPG photo.JPG photo.JPG

I think this weekend we’re going to try printing some Christmas cards. Wednesday morning, while home with the car in the shop, I cut and creased cardstock for cards, and sorted some of the press accessories.  We’ve also been sorting type into the plastic multi-compartment craft containers we got.

Tomorrow afternoon is Cookie Lab and a MuseCon meeting. Not sure how much baking we’ll do, since cookies are not exactly conductive to weight loss. Baking isn’t required at Cookie Lab, but then again, the baking isn’t the problem, sampling is.

Yesterday was the work Christmas party with our downtown Chicago office and whoever was willing to make the trip up from Springfield. It was at Pilot Pete’s restaurant at the Schaumburg airport, which was surprisingly busy. Unfortunately, the heat hadn’t been turned on in the private room we were supposed to be in, so we were in the main restaurant, which was noisy, and we were kinda crowded in. But the food was good, and not too expensive. This year the secretary who organized it tried something new – everybody just ordered off the menu and paid their own bills. It seemed to work out well, and saved her a mountain of hassle in figuring out a menu and dealing with getting money from people, no-shows, unexpected unpaid attendees, etc.  Hopefully it also dealt with the  people who have bitched about the prices previous years.

Last night Pippin discovered that yes, he can piss me off. I was cutting up cauliflower, he tried to steal Elrond’s piece of stem (Crunchy people food! Yum yum!), and discovered that The Alpha Bitch of the household Does Not Approve of that kind of behavior. Then he went out to the living room, got in trouble for trying to investigate Ron’s plate, and then came back to the kitchen to see if I was going to give him any more cauliflower.


How Much of this Fun Can We Stand?

Co-worker A (for awesome) got back from several months of maternity leave Tuesday.

Today Cow-Irker S (for stupid sexist something-S) made one of the borderline sexist comments that he pretty much hasn’t made since A left.  She and I both heard it. I think S tried to explain to A something something something, oh cut the bullshit.

A couple-few minutes later I remembered I had a spine and called him on it. I pointed out the timing, that he’s danced right up to the line before, and that he doesn’t do it to me, or B (and somehow forgot C). Then I walked off. B could tell I was upset and I told her about it while I had a protein shake. Low blood sugar doesn’t help.

I’ve never been S’s almost-target. He isn’t my direct supervisor. I think he’s more clueless than anything. But my hands are still a tiny bit shaky. And I wasn’t even sticking up for myself. This crap is hard. Hopefully if S noticed he attributed it to me being pissed at him (which I was).

No, not asking for a cookie. I couldn’t eat it anyway, because a week ago today I started the abominable pre-surgery diet: protein shakes. I can have tea or decaf coffee or diet soda, BLECH. I can also blenderize in yogurt, smooth peanut butter, or bananas (and some other fruit). And make them with soymilk.  I don’t see a point in running plain yogurt through a blender, so I’ve been eating it with a SPOON, DAMMIT. With curry powder, because then I can pretend. Broth is also on the list, but my system seems happier without it.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m mostly not hungry, but I still want real food. Maneki Neko Con, Friday and Saturday, was before I got to that point. I’m not as thoroughly disgusted with the shakes as Ron got (yet), but I also discovered that cinnamon helps the flavor, and I’m mixing mine with soymilk. Still looking forward to eating ANYTHING ELSE.

The other day I called Pippin in just to see him ZOOM diagonally across the back yard. He didn’t seem to mind, although I think he told me all about what was interesting in the far corner.

Surgery is scheduled for next Friday, the 11th, midday. Tuesday I had what I hope are the last tests (blood, EKG, chest X-Ray, upper GI with pop rocks and a barium chaser, EWWW). Tomorrow I go see our family doctor, hopefully for her signoff. Planning on taking the whole week after surgery off.

Ok, hands not shaky any more. Fight-or-flight reflex has worn off.

Got some more Copic markers Sunday, and a pad of the Copic bleed-proof vellum-ish marker paper. (Engineer’s version vellum, not artist’s vellum), and a basic calligraphy book. Monday I picked up some calligraphy tips, after discovering the standard chisel marker tip is cut the wrong way, and a basic book about drawing flowers, since they seem like something I can manage, and more fun to draw my own than just coloring flowers from Dover books.

Today I managed to make burgundy, or at least a nice dark red, with bright red and shades of purple/blue-violet. I think I’m getting this blending thing down, but it wasn’t easy. The bleed-proof paper was indeed bleed-proof.

Fall has gotten into my brain, I want nice dark reds and other autumn leaves colors.

Pippin was kvetching at us last night for staying up too late while I worked on the Windycon program book.

EBay continues to be evil, in terms of navigational and surveying instruments. Reaper Miniatures has a second Kickstarter running for bonus evil.

The cleaning ladies came Tuesday. They must be getting us trained in keeping the house clean, it wasn’t quite so obvious. It still gives me the giggles to find the end of the toilet paper folded into a point, though. And the bath mat belongs in front of the tub, so you can step out of the shower onto it, not in front of the sink.

Headdesk, headdesk, with a side of AAARGH!

Last week Wednesday I had my sleep study. Blech. This week Wednesday I called the surgeon’s office to see if there were any (epletive) more tests that would be necessary. Person A followed up on a couple things, then called me back to say that everything appears to be in order, I should be getting a call Wednesday/Thursday to schedule the surgery.

Yesterday my new-to-the-position boss (internal promotion) came up to visit the office for the first time since becoming our boss, so in hopes of being able to give him an actual date, I called the office about lunchtime to see about that whole scheduling thing.  A told me that if I didn’t hear by B by 2:00 today (Friday) to call her.  Later in the afternoon the pulmonologist’s office called to arrange for pickup of my CPAP. Well, that was unexpected.

Today, 2:00 came and went, and I held out a little longer (almost 20 minutes), called, got put on hold, and hold, and hold, transferred, not transferred, transferred, transfer didn’t work again, tried to leave a message the old-fashioned way, and finally ended up with B. Who seems to have not been appraised of the fact she was supposed to be calling me to schedule. She said she’d get my paperwork together, move it up the pile, and call me back by the end of today.

Color me less than optimistic. Is my paperwork roaming their office like a bunch of feral cats?

I went to the restroom. I figured that would trigger the phone call. Nope.

I watered my plants, so she could call while I was away from my computer/calendar. No luck.

OTOH, I came back to find my computer re-booting. I was only gone long enough to get water and water one small plant! I assumed I’d juuuuust missed a 2-minute warning or something. Nope, one of the co-workers came by, and his computer rebooted with what amounts to no warning (if windows flicker by too fast to read/click, that’s not warning). So now we have Office 2010. Color me less than enthused.

And still not optimistic about getting a call back before 4:15 (normal quitting time). I really dislike taking calls while driving.


Headdesk, Headdesk

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to a 3-day class which begins tomorrow. I decided that instead of going west and south to my office to meet my co-workers, and then riding with them east and south some more to Naperville, I’d just drive myself south and south and a little bit west to NIU’s Naperville campus. Also, I’m bringing my “own” laptop, and I’m perfectly capable of reading the published agenda myself, thankyouvery much. So, Mr. Cow-Irker, I’ll just excuse myself from your meeting about tomorrow, now that I’ve stated my plans for transport and laptop.

Cow-irker was gobsmacked.  I’m gobsmacked that the meeting has lasted longer than 2 minutes. Other than arranging what time people are meeting at the office to take a pool car to the class, WTF is there to discuss???

In other news, I’ve decided to do a side-gore thumb on my mittens, using the simple pattern from the palm on the thumb and gusset.

Last night was Doggie Torture Time, aka claw clipping. It was simplified this time around by a supply of stale oyster crackers – Pippin does not like being restrained, but rooting in a hand for snackage is enough of a distraction that Ron was able to clip claws and the long (dirty trying-to-mat) fur between his toes.

Pippin was apparently into the mulberries again yesterday, judging by the purple streaks on his face.