10/31/08 09:17 - 46ºF - ID#46440
I have to finish my costume. I have to make (e:zobar)'s costume, because he was going to do it today but got called in to a bunch of meetings. I have to do a lot of laundry and pull down the storm windows. I was going to re-caulk windows too but I don't think I'll have time. It's supposed to be back up in the 60s next week-- Tues and Wed-- so I'll postpone most of my winterization and gardening stuff until then, I guess.
But costume! Costume costume. Eek! Still so much to do.
I'm really excited about it all. Did I mention.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/29/08 11:06 - 36ºF - ID#46416
I was going to blog about the country-fried steak, but I'd have to find the cable for my camera, and I just can't face it right now. I'll blog about it when I get the pictures off and I'll be all like "Oh wow I forgot about that yeah that was awesome!"
I like to leave myself little surprises, y'see.
But. Today's blog: Winterization. What do y'all do to winterize your house?
So far, I have done nothing except close the windows. (Yes, it was not until today that I realized that the double-hung window in the guest bedroom had slipped about a quarter inch down when someone had closed the lower half of the sash, so cold air was pouring in. Am I a genius? Perhaps, but consider (e:Zobar), who sits at the desk up against this window almost every day, and seems not to have noticed the wind, er, draft, though he did complain that it was cold in that room.)
But. It is supposed to be warm on Friday, so I will seize the opportunity to embark upon several projects. A partial to-do list (not all on Friday!)
1) Close the storm windows. If any are damaged, either repair them, or do the ghetto thing and stick them down with weatherseal plastic tape.
2) Remove the screens from the doors, and replace them with the Plexiglass storm door panels.
3) Wash the windows and re-caulk the edges with silicone. Z did the living room and bedroom when we repainted them.
4) Put plastic sheeting over the windows. The large one in the dinette leaks air badly, and the north window in our bedroom is a close second. I will probably also do the one in the kitchen, which is damaged. If there's plastic left, I'll do the one in Fi's bedroom. I am debating doing the picture window in the living room-- it's just so huge, and the plastic is just so expensive. Oh yeah, I am going to have to beg the loan of a hair dryer from somewhere-- maybe Fi has one, since she's coming to visit. Speaking of which, brb-- I'm going to email her and ask. (No, i don't own a hair dryer.)
Yes, I just emailed her, for real. Multitasking!
5) Put up insulated curtains. This is ambitious. I haven't finished making them. But I am a much better seamstress than I was when I started, so I have faith that I can actually finish them. Insulated curtains are easy to make, though not inexpensive-- curtains aren't cheap unless you really luck out on material. I did OK-- picked out about $500 worth of fabric at FWS only to discover that everything was 50% off in the decorator area that day only. Awesome!!!
6) Make draft stoppers. I'm looking for a good pattern for these, but I've noticed how much cold air comes under the doors-- the door from the sunporch, the front door, and the door leading to the uninsulated attic in particular. I will look into weatherstripping for the outdoor-facing doors, but for the lower-traffic, indoor ones, I'm going to stuff wadded-up old clothing into tubes made of curtain remnants, and wedge them firmly against the cracks at the bottoms of these doors. For the attic door, I may even make an insulated curtain to cover it.
7) I'm seriously considering making insulated tapestries to hang on my walls, since I have no insulation in my plaster walls in this old house. What do y'all think-- funky, or creepy? It's just a thought for now. I've really wanted to do up (and this is Z's idea, lest he get snarky for plagiarism) Where the Wild Things Are in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry. Would that be hot or what? I'll get my needles.
Bonus*) This isn't even winter-necessary, in my house, but put insulation on your hot water pipes. If your basement isn't heated, put insulation on both hot and cold, but if it is-- pipe insulation will keep your hot water from cooling off in the pipes, so you don't have to wait so long for hot water to come out when you turn on the hot tap. It also is supposed to be beneficial to put insulation over your hot water tank, but mine is not warm to the touch, so perhaps it's already insulated and I just can't tell. I'll look into it. Anything to save a bit on the gas bill, which is likely to be crippling in this uninsulated little shoebox of a house.
I wish I could afford solar panels. My parents installed solar panels in 1980. They used them to heat our water and to give a little bit of forced-air heating to a few of the rooms of the house. They also put in a huge sliding glass door that faces directly south, and every sunny day, it raises the temperature in the living room by 5-10 degrees. They heat the house partly with oil, and partly with wood they harvest themselves from their 50-acre property. The furnace is dual-fuel, alternating between oil and wood; there is also a woodstove. They don't have a gas line, because they're too far out. They have propane in big tanks to power the stove and the dryer. They rarely use the clothes dryer, but hang clothing out whenever the temperature is above freezing.
And they've always lived like this, since before I was born.
I don't think of living like that as a sacrifice, I think of it as normal. When (e:zobar) makes fun of my Amish ways, he's just being a dick. We're not Amish. We were just both poor and educated.
Anyway. We'll see how well I winterize. What do y'all do? Have I missed anything? It's comforting, to line your nest and prepare.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/29/08 12:16 - 38ºF - ID#46402
Anyway. I got home all stinky, and took a shower. And I got out of the shower, and sat in bed for a while, decompressing. I had a Reese's peanut butter cup when I got home, and a big thing of water, but I was still unsatisified.
I mentioned this to (e:zobar), who said, "I had a sandwich, a little while ago. There's enough left for half of another sandwich. Roast beef and some cheese."
"Oo!" I said. "That sounds really... no, I don't need it." I still sometimes fall into these I-don't-deserve-food things. Not seriously enough to get eating-disordered, but enough that I still get confused and can't tell if I'm actually hungry or just want to be "rewarded"-- which is fucked-up, if you consider it. It's like saying, "I'm going to breathe extra today, because I deserve it!" That doesn't help; you don't need to breathe extra. So you don't need to eat extra. It's dumb. But it's even more stupid, and dangerous, and ridiculous, to breathe less, to deny yourself air that your body needs to oxygenate your tissues, because you've arbitrarily decided you don't "deserve" it. How stupid is that? It's completely stupid.
Food's pretty much the same way, only we're more aware of the pleasure of ingesting tasty food than we are of breathing clean air. And "tasty" is not always as simply good as "clean" is. (Though when you think of chemical "air fresheners" that simply mask possibly-toxic scents with actually-toxic ones, perhaps the comparison is easier.)
I pondered the sandwich for a moment, trying to decide whether I was really hungry or just wanted a "treat", and then said, "Could you make it for me?"
"You know how to make a damn sandwich," Z said.
"But you make them better than me, and it would be more special if you made it." It's true-- he really does. He just takes more care over sandwiches. When I was a kid I hated sandwiches because they were always cheap pepperoni or peanut butter and jelly, and my Mom almost always bought weird bread, and I just always preferred other foods. But (e:zobar) does things like... spreads the mayo, then grinds a little black pepper on it... sometimes shakes a little oregano on the cheese... aligns the meat just so, so it's even all the way around... folds the cheese neatly...
It's just way more special when he makes them.
Also, I've done all the cooking and fed him twice, sometimes three times, a day for the last month or so, while he's been busy and I haven't been so much. I haven't minded, though I've let the dishes pile up a bit. (Whoops.) (I do mind doing all the grocery shopping, a bit. I asked him what kind of olives he likes and he gave me a half-hour treatise on their relative merits. I know I'll just blank out next time I'm at the shop, and just dump some of each in there like I always do. Oh well.)
So I had this perfect sandwich in my mind, made by this perfect sandwich master. Really. Seriously. He makes a good sandwich.
But he wouldn't make it for me, and wouldn't acknowledge that it is more special to have food prepared for you by someone special than to just make it your damn self.
But am I crazy? Am I just being the typical controlling-whiny-bitch female here, to think that it would have been way more special that way?
I made myself the sandwich because I decided that I don't care about my fat ass or my new stretchmarks, and I hadn't had much protein today (actually, I was vegetarian all day up to that point! Well, meat's expensive, lately, so we don't eat as much as we used to), so I was going to have the damn sandwich. Also there wasn't enough to have for lunch tomorrow or anything like that. (I don't know what I'll make. I was going to finish up the leftover curry but Z said he didn't want it a third day in a row, so I'll have to think of something else. Boo, I don't want to go shopping.)
And I ate it. And it was okay. And I did feel better once I ate it, and hadn't realized I didn't feel great, so obviously my body did want it after all.
But it would've been way more special if he'd made it. I swear I'm not being crazy.
Am I being crazy? Is food more special when someone else makes it?
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/28/08 06:03 - 40ºF - ID#46392
I am (e:retarded).
Or should that be (e:tarded)?
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/28/08 02:22 - 38ºF - ID#46386
The link to the original recipe is here:
This is a great recipe to make when you're in the doldrums of a lingering autumn cold. Fresh veggies have vitamins, right? And the spice kicks you in the nose and breaks up some of the congestion. Even if you're not sick, this is wonderful comfort food.
Put on a pot of rice to cook. For extra nutrition points, use brown rice, or as we do, half-and-half brown and white. (Start the brown rice according to directions. Cook half the cooking time specified. Add white rice, and some extra water. Bring back up to boil and cook according to directions. Voila!)
Then, here are her directions:
Microwave a whole head of cauliflower, leaves and core discarded, in two cups of water for 5 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, warm a large pan, preferably one with a cover, and add the following ingredients:
3 tbsps vegetable oil
4 minced cloves of garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
2 tbsps curry powder
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tsps whole coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, minced
1 hot pepper, minced (optional)
Sweat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the cauliflower, including the water it was cooked in, and:
2 cups chopped tomato (fresh or canned according to season)
Stir well, coating the cauliflower with the other ingredients. It will break up into smaller florets as it cooks. Reduce to a steady simmer and let it cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
(I would put that in the quote tag but it makes it huge, so that's not easy to read.)
About 4-5 minutes before the end, she recommends mashing a tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of flour, and mixing that paste into the sauce of the cooking veggies.
Last night I did one better, and in a separate pan, I combined a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of flour, and about half a cup of heavy cream. (I have too much heavy cream in the house. don't ask why. Regular milk would have worked fine.) I then added several cups of the sauce to this mix, just to see if it would curdle. It didn't, so I brought it up to nearly a boil to thicken it a little, then dumped it into the cauliflower mixture.
Since I'd added a hot pepper, it was spicy-- I grew the peppers myself and they turned out to be Peppers Of Fiery Doom, for some reason, this year. I never know, when I grow hot peppers, how they'll turn out. So the cream sweetened it and cooled it down a little.
Serve the cauliflower stuff atop the rice, and it's a wonderful hot vegetarian (vegan, if you don't do the butter-cream thing), very filling, very warming dinner. (e:zobar) loves it, and so do I. I have leftovers! Mmmm.
It's kind of bright green from the turmeric. Mmmm. It stained two of my fingernails when I fished out a piece of cauliflower to taste-test.
It's even kind of good if you eat it cold. What? No, I'm not at all cheating on dinner by eating it cold straight out of the fridge.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/26/08 12:31 - 53ºF - ID#46344
Remi, Fi's cat. Fi will be here Thursday, incidentally, with plenty of time to get her costume ready for the (e:strip) party and her Buffalo debut. Whee!
Remi really likes to fondle my boobs. Fi blames the victim and says I'm leading her on. Whatever.
Missing Image ;(
This photo may not work but I'm trying it anyway. (It uploaded, but the code didn't appear in the box, so I kind of hacked it. We'll see.) It's both cats, side by side, eating dinner, so you can see their relative sizes.
Nope, didn't work. Oh well.
Chita and I are watching Remi with great suspicion.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/26/08 12:05 - 53ºF - ID#46341
Watching Chita today I have become convinced that I understand the religion of cats.
They worship the god of Sleep, and are his truest servants.
She sat on Z's flat belly (he sits slouched, his "lap" starting as a perfectly flat surface just below his ribs, over his pelvis, and down a very long way to his knees. There is a great deal of territory there for a cat to lounge upon) and washed herself, then moved from his belly to the couch beside him. She finished her bath, then settled down to nap.
This was not just any catnap. This was a nap of epic proportions. This was a creature thoroughly, blissfully dedicated to sleep, the way the dervishes abandon themselves to God in their dances, the way a choir's mingled voices swell toward heaven: that was the way Chita slept, with devout abandon.
I believe her nightly tantrums, Remi's morning rampages, the yowling and chasing and invasion of our bedroom, loud destruction of furniture and banging of food bowls: these are the sacrifices they make to placate their God. Interrupting the sleep of others is their sacred duty. It makes us prize sleep the higher, and increases the glory of their deity.
And then, their sleep is the devotion they perform. Toes curling, whiskers twitching, head flattened upside-down against the cushion, belly exposed, tail wrapped around: it is all a slow-motion, sometimes-purring, beautiful offering to the God of Sleep.
Chita is a champion sleeper. While Remi simply curls up, nose to tail, Chita alternately sprawls and curls. She stretches frequently, toes curling. She prefers, when curled, to use her back feet as a chin pillow. And her long tail, much longer and more mobile than Remi's, is often awake long after she is, twitching in obscure little rhythms as she talks in her sleep. (Cats, for the non-cat-owners among you, speak with their tails, most eloquently.)
Chita is like a priestess in the cult of sleep. Yesterday, she made her devotions for about six straight hours, from before lunch straight through dinnertime. She is truly touched with a special gift.
If only I could get some damn sleep in this house. But no.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/26/08 12:00 - 53ºF - ID#46340
I posted a couple of atmospheric little essays on my Livejournal but didn't get much of a response. Chita was being super cute and I figured people like essays about cats. I'm reposting them here, since I should've put them here in the first place: I got Chita via (e:strip) after all!
So, revised, edited, updated, and shortened, here I will post my little observational essays, but I'll do it in two parts. :)
Part the first: Rainy Caturday
being more a rumination and observational piece about life in my house on a rainy Saturday morning in autumn.
Chita is reciting moody emo poetry all over the house because it is raining and she cannot go outside. Well, she could, but she knows she would be miserable. But she is miserable in here: all there is to do is alternately chase and be chased by Remi, all over the house.
Moo, says Chita. Moo?... Meoo. Ao?... Prrrmao? Rao. She is disconsolate. It is steadily pouring, and across the street, on St. Joe's new all-weather fake-turf playing fields, teenage boys in sodden long-sleeved shirts are sprinting around after soccer balls, while adults in raincoats watch with strangely close attentiveness. It's not a game, but some kind of specialized practice. I can't believe they can keep their feet and not die of hypothermia.
Someone's blasting something from their car stereo, which I think sounds an awful lot like the shit people listened to when I was in high school-- has nothing happened in music in a decade? I swear it sounds like Lit. Or maybe Matchbox 20. Seriously, guys. Just the same song over and over, two guitars and a bass drum and a drum set, and one of the boys has terrycloth wristbands and a tight t-shirt and a whiny but clear voice, and tells the microphone with his eyes closed and his mouth wide open about how terrible the world is.
Moo, says Chita, forlornly, broadcasting her discontent from the kitchen table where she crouches, bored. And then the mailman shoves mail through the slot in the door and she comes tearing into the living room, badly startled. The song which I couldn't really hear ends on a harmonic of drawn-out guitar, and the car door slams.
Chita slinks back into the living room. Rrrrrrmm, she mumbles to herself, rolling it in her throat. Rrrr, rrrrmmmm? Inng?
I hear Siamese are very chatty. I can't imagine why anyone would want that. I have quite enough operatic narrative out of my little whiny emo mongrel.
Rrrm, she says, picking her way over to the couch so she can sit on Z and lick herself. She'll be quiet for a while now.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/25/08 05:04 - 55ºF - ID#46326
This Livejournal user posted a video she took when she encountered a group of protestors lobbying for Proposition 8. She simply walked up to the group with her phone out, and they attacked her.
The Face of Proposition 8 from Theremina on Vimeo.
I was on my way home from the Lakeshore district when I encountered this group of supporters of Prop 8. After turning my vidphone on, I was screamed at, physically intimidated and eventually attacked by one of the more aggressive sign-wavers.
Approx two dozen people were standing under the I-580, chanting "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" and "Mom and Dad, not Dad and Dad", etc. There were at least three counter-protesters present as well.
For several minutes prior to shooting this footage, I watched from a distance. One of the Prop 8 supporters lunged at a solitary man holding a "Vote No on Prop 8" sign. She didn't actually touch him, but she got right up in his face, screaming. She was loud enough that you could hear her several blocks away. As far as I could see, he hadn't provoked her in any way beyond the dissenting opinion stated on his sign. The man seemed to remain quiet and calm throughout. Witnessing this, I decided to turn on my phone's video application and approach.
Proponents of Prop 8 have gone to great lengths to try to deny the inherent fear, anger and bigotry fueling their camp's desire to ban gay marriage. However, these Prop 8 supporters (and many other protesters I've seen in recent weeks) were visibly enraged and screaming themselves hoarse in their righteous indignation over the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of California.
Having documented this clash between fellow Oaklanders, I'm putting it online because I think it's important to convey to as many people as possible --supporters and dissenters alike--- just how irrational, hysterical and potentially dangerous the situation actually is. This is bigotry, blind rage and senseless hatred of the saddest kind."
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/24/08 01:39 - 52ºF - ID#46302
(e:tinypliny) mentioned something about a novel-in-a-month, that someone else on here is doing? I'm assuming she means National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, which is next month.
The object of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in a month.
I have done NaNoWriMo for... five years, I believe. I have never failed to clock in over 50,000 words during the month.
2002 I wrote a space opera with pirates and sort of ninjas, though I didn't manage to get any dinosaurs in it. It was very angry-feminist, which I think not enough space operas are. I reached 75,000 words and then my grandmother died and then I went on a trip to Germany, so I didn't finish the novel, but I won NaNo.
2003 I wrote a historical novel about my ancestors. Well, I tried to. But it turned into a really really smutty romance novel, which skeeved me out so much I never finished it. This was my first clue that perhaps a lucrative career in young-adult fiction was not to be mine.
2004 I had begun to catch on to the fact that I could write 50,000 words without a problem, but I couldn't finish a fucking novel. So that year, my goal was not the wordcount, but to get a coherent story. In 20 days I wrote 94,000 words and made a complete novel. It was about a young Welsh girl who gets kidnapped by Viking raiders (ca. 1000) and falls in love with her captor, a Dublin Norseman. It had a lot of sex in it, and did indeed go from start to finish. Unfortunately, the ending sucked, and most of it wasn't very good. Some of the sex scenes were good, though. This is notable for being the only novel I had actually intended from the beginning to be a romance/erotica novel.
2005... What did I do in 2005? I think I had caught on that yes, I could hit the wordcount goal, and yes, I could theoretically write a whole novel, but so far I had failed to actually create a *salable* novel. So that year, I "cheated", and rewrote an existing novel i'd started working on in January of 2004. (It's "cheating" because you're supposed to start fresh, from 0, on Nov 1.) The novel was about, well, it's changed a lot, but at the time it was about a young, very hunky, very duty-bound Iron-Ageish barbarian, and his forbidden love for the virginal daughter of a nobleman from a "civilized" neighboring city. I'm actually working on this novel right now, but I'll come back to it.
In 2006 I had a different idea. I worked on a time-travel novel, about a woman from an alternate version of current history-- only with magic-- and a man from Bronze Age Ireland. I hadn't planned on this, but it wound up being mostly sex scenes. Really surprisingly hot ones, too.
So, 2007. I know I did it in 2007. I almost didn't, and then I did. At the last minute, kind of halfheartedly. I can't find any reference to what I wrote, except that I mentioned on my LJ that everything I tried to write turned into porn.
Which brings me up to now. I will probably do it this year. But I'm working on the 2005 project again. Now the virginal nobleman's daughter has been changed to a courtesan spy from the distant but sinister empire to the south, sent to secure favorable trade agreements for her people, but waylaid by bandits and rescued by the virginal hunky barbarian hero, who his marked by a god and is sworn to celibacy. Of course they fuck, but there's more to it than that.
I think I'm doing well-- I finally came up with an ending that makes sense, after five years. The coherent draft is up to 40,000 words, and I'm rather proud of myself because the first sex scene isn't until... well... oh. Crap. I forgot. OK, well, the heroine and (virginal!) hero have known each other for at least twelve hours when the first sexual scene happens, though there isn't full-on actual-fucking sex until at least the third chapter. Which is better than the last draft.
I don't know about y'all, but I find the virgin heroine to be kind of boring really. But a virgin hero! Now that's hot. And I don't know why.
Location: Buffalo, NY
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