ilex_cassine: (queen)
Over half done with this challenge of posting a bit o' gratitude for 30 days. I don't think its working as well as I thought it would to boost mood. But. Carrying on.

I'm glad I and my husband can fight and then make up and its all okay. I'm grateful we aren't playing the angry for days game, that game sucks, knock on wood we've matured past that.

I am normally not grateful that my school job doesn't have a lot of work for me and I wind up just sitting there, but this week and next I'm perfectly okay with that because I have no time and can use the time at work to read. I think I will be leaving early tomorrow and that is a good thing.
ilex_cassine: (queen)
Today I am grateful for something perfectly mundane. Beef stroganof. I have had it for two suppers in a row, once out and once homemade. Mine has nutmeg, theirs has smoked paprika. I liked the smoked paprika, I may need to get some. I am also grateful that the London Broil I got was "Reduced for Quick Sale" and thereby affordable (usually, I'm stuck with Chuck, if I venture to make this at all).

If I knew the world was ending in like, a few hours, I'd make my self a dinner of beef stroganof and eat up. With really good beef, since why not get the best tenderloin or sirloin if the world is ending.

(I am also grateful to the cows... I really don't eat red meat very often at all. I've made it with seitan, and its okay but not amazing, however, seitan doesn't agree with me these days.)

Also, I googled for beef stroganof festival, didn't find anything, wishful thinking. I'd totally dig trying other versions though- I just read up on some via Wikipedia. I guess the wacky Finns add pickles to theirs? Interesting. And the Russians serve theirs with potatoes, which I've pondered doing for sometime, but the hubinator wasn't on board with so I haven't. I may yet, just to try it. Potatoes makes sense to me. The pickles I'm dubious about.
ilex_cassine: (queen)
Fast fast post, as I'm under a horrible migraine (day... I've lost track but I think its four). Yesterday I came home from work and went right to bed. So there really wasn't a lot of gratitude in there, hmm... surely something nice happened yesterday... oh, I helped a student while on duty at reference, it went fine and she was appreciative, so I was grateful I could help her.

Today I left work early, I'm grateful I could. And that the Chao Bella vanilla ice cream was on sale, I had a weird strong craving for vanilla and I haven't been wanting to eat, so vanilla ice cream it is.

My cat is getting worse with his respiratory illness, but I'm grateful he is still eating.
ilex_cassine: (queen)
Meh. I'm sorta struggling for gratitude. I have a migraine and the predrome for it was an emotional melt down. Its weird to realize that a lot of the "crazy" and "depressed" feelings I've had over the years are likely nothing to do with anything but migraines.

Anyway. I'm grateful my cat decided to eat after being peckish and worrisome. And that it was a beautiful day weather wise and I got to sit outside for a bit.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Otherwise known as the xmas shopping season. Home Depot has their Xmas crapola up already. Feh. I'm tempted to write them an irritated letter about that. And shopping Saturday was zooey, and horrible because unlike Home Depot (who I give kudos for excellent staff in quantity) everywhere was under staffed. I walked out of Marshall's without buying the tights I was going to purchase because the line was too long. Life is too short to spend unnecessary time in Marshall's. I couldn't find staff to ask about the unpainted picture frames I was hunting for at Michal's and left without purchasing anything. I'll find the frames online, it'll be faster and I'll pay shipping as a reduction of frustration tax happily.

So I'm trying to think of all the sundries that will need purchasing in the next two and a half months, and I'm going to run out and get them in the next week. That and a Trader Joe's run should do it. Then no shopping till January except at co-op and online. It feels a bit like I'm stocking up for a siege. Extra TP, extra cat litter, sponge refills for the dish wand, light bulbs...
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So, I got some fall planting done today. Some of it is a little late, probably should have happened two weeks ago but it was so hot I couldn't bring myself to do it. Poor seedlings would keel over in the heat and so would I.

I basically cleaned out my seed box, so I don't know how well all of this is going to do. Especially the carrots. I've tried them in spring with no success.
Mokum Carrots
Red Chantenay Carrot
Early Wonder Tall Top Beet - three rows
Purple Top White Globe Turnip - one row (why yes, I like beets and beet greens better than turnips)
Cucumber Straight Eight (Bot Interest brand seeds, don't know how well these will germinate)
Pumpkin Warty Thing (Bot Interest again, from the grocery store...hrm)
And, in an act of defiance, Cannellini Beans. This is the wrong time to plant them, but they were in my seed box and I want to wait on the kale and chard so I pitched a row in. We'll see how that goes.

I didn't realize till I read the extension booklet that cucumber was a fall crop here. I had wondered about when their growing season was. I wish it was a summer thing, but I expect they get bitter in the summer (I don't blame them for that, I am getting bitter and stir crazy myself in the heat).

I'm going to put a net up to keep the deer off this bed, and I'm thinking of finally building a cold frame for it too, so I can have kale in the winter. All of these frames I've checked out on the web look so elaborate, I think its silly. I'm planning on making a rectilinear frame and stapling sturdy plastic to it. I can just lift the whole thing off when I want to get at the plants, it'll be light enough.
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Why can't there be Venus Transit viewing telescopes set up at a bar? All the events that I've found for viewing are aimed at small children. Its great that there are science events for small children, no doubt, I'd never argue against that. But why do you have to age out of being curious about science/astronomy as a layperson (which is the implication, if you aren't a kid or don't have them, you aren't welcome/shouldn't be there)? It seems to me that there ought to be adults interested in this for its own sake, really. And it says bad things about our culture that most public science events are aimed at children, adult folks should have events too, to stay engaged, educated and curious and especially to be better citizens. I imagine that there are more adult events in larger urban areas... at least I hope so.

As it is, I'm debating going out to the M. Planetarium event. But I really don't want to wade through acres of small children engaged in Venus related art activities to check out the transit on a scope. And I hate pinhole cameras, I've never gotten that to work on my own, so that's out. Meh. Maybe I'll just watch some coverage on the web.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I really wish I had gotten around to getting the strawberry bed in this spring, but next year. I at least have the spot picked out now.

I planted some summer bulbs. Three kinds of glads: atom, abyssinian, and envy. And a couple of crocsmia, Antique Montbretia and Meteor. I really hope some of them make it. Unfortunately, some of them got unearthed after I planted them, by cats I think. They didn't get eaten so I'm thinking its not rodents. And the feral cats, for all that they mess up my beds, do keep the rodents away, I really suspect its the cats using the beds as a litter box and kicking things around.

The squash and okra (its red okra, I'm planting it as an ornamental mostly) didn't come up. The okra I get, it really wants it warm and I have seeds left so I'll give it a go in a couple of days and try again (and I'll let them soak for a full 24 hours, I did soak the first time but I'm not sure about the timing). The squash is a little mysterious, but I'll give it another go next week as well. I was hoping to find thai peppers in plant form but no dice, I only found seeds. But the growing season here is long enough that I think I can pitch them in and they'll produce by first frost. And I need to do another round of beans, I'm staggering them to prevent bean overload and lengthen the harvest, since my hubby doesn't really like string beans.

I still need to plant the poor roses I rescued as rejects from my nursery job last year. Poor tough as nails dears. I think I'll reserve a day next week and get those planted, finally. I'm just not sure about how I want to structure my hedge, more interspersed species or homogenous.

I kind of took a yard break this week, I'll pick up again next week. I'm feeling pretty good about the garden beds. The lawn is a problem, I hate the whole notion of a lawn, for the most part, and now its been ripped up by the tree we had taken out. I tried seeding some bald spots, but without constant watering I don't think they'll sprout. Not sure about trying again, I think maybe in fall I'll give it another go. Given my negligent mowing (which is partly deliberate, I'm enjoying the yellow buttercups that have sprung up as weeds and don't want to mow them down), there may be some seeding in from grass gone to seed too. But this is definitely, even with the lawn, the best the beds have been so far (so out of three years now)- unemployment is good for the garden if not my mental health. Next year will go even more smoothly I think, as I won't be adding a ton of soil to the beds in addition to everything else. I'm looking forward to that.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I am completely overwhelmed at this point with even prepping the garden. I need to add a side bed and plant about 5 shrubs and trees, I'm stressed about pulling the trigger on putting those in, its kind of a huge decision. I have about 4 cubic yards of compost/topsoil mix to distribute. And the trellises need to go up and the one bed will get deer proofed.

I'm still wondering about doing battle with the squash beetles again, ugh, to squash or not to squash. I get my tomatoes as seedlings from the farmers market, I hope they have Sungolds, that was a problem last year.

These are my seed orders, I hate starting seedlings so I get seeds that can be direct sown.

From Baker Creek:
Perpetual Spinach Chard
Envy - Zinnia Meteor - Zinnia
Hill Country Heirloom Red Okra
Dragon Tongue Bush Bean
Golden Wax Bush Bean
Crookneck Squash - Early Golden Summer
Eskimo Marigold

From Natural Gardening Company:
Love-in-a-Mist (OG)
Moonsong Deep Orange Sunflower
Lemon Gem Marigold (OP)
Empress Of India Nasturtium (OP)
Calendula Sunshine Flashback (OG)
Benary's Giant Zinnia - Deep Red
Thai Basil Seed (OG)
Borage (OG)
Waltham Butternut (OG)
Queen Sophia Marigold (OP)

I don't think I'll use up my non-flower seed packets (except the chard), if there are seeds someone wants I can send my extras (since y'all plant a month after me it should work out). Heck, there may be some flower packets I don't use up, the calendula is kinda huge.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Gingrich? You've got to be kidding me.

I feel like I've spent my whole life disgusted by that man. I can't even think about him as president. Egomaniac lacking basic compassion- I really think he may be a psychopath. Guh.

Gail Collins had a nice amusing column on his infidelities, here, and this is a choice bit:"There is, however, a lot of difference between giving up drinking on the eve of middle age and giving up adultery at about the time you’re qualifying for Social Security. Cynics might suggest that Newt didn’t so much reform as poop out." I do like Gail Collins, I feel like she carries the tradition of Molly Ivins very well. I cannot get over the fact that people are so willing to forgive his hypocrisy in trying to impeach Clinton. Why does nearly everyone in the media give him a pass on that? Oy oh boy. Its gonna be a long year in politics. I'm not exactly over the moon about Obama (nor am I negative about him, I am planning on voting for him) but criminy I'd volunteer for a dead anteaters re-election campaign if it meant not having the sorry excuse for a human that Gingrich is as president.

At least Gingrich likes science fiction. I can relate to that, the way I related to Reagan's liking Monkey Bread, which I also adore. Small, insignificant things but they humanize them an iota at least.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
boot to the head!

2012, I look to you for improvement.

2011 has been a year of, "oh, it could be worse..." and then the worse happens. The broken wrist which is in the process of repair w/ pins and plates I received on Dec 9th is a case in point. Only a few days before I had remarked in regards to household items falling apart or going missing that it could be worse, I was still intact. Guess I didn't knock on wood hard enough. Typing is slow and annoying, but I will put this one resolution out there.

2012 is the year of it will get better and thinking of where I want to go instead of where I don't. When I took my motorcycle safety class the instructor said "look at where you want to go, not at what you want to avoid or you'll hit the object you are trying not to hit" and this is very true. So optimism instead of it could be worse thinking for 2012.

I hope all my LJ peeps have a grand NYE and 2012.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I was thinking of writing something similar, but somebody a bit higher profile and more eloquent beat me to it: http://robertreich.org/post/13567144944#

I wish I could post these things elsewhere (like, ahem, Facebook) but I feel like until I have a steady job at the very least, it behooves me to keep my political views quiet on forums where employers can look me up.

As an aside: I should be getting ready for bed but I'm bouncy up. Erg. I think I ate too much chocolate today. And slept in a bit (only an hour) but its enough. Well, I'll threaten myself with doing the dishes and that should get me to bed. Bed or dishes? Bed. Always.

Second aside: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Shortbread Stars? Absurdly yummy.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I just posted this on another forum, but I figured what the hell, for the record I'd post it here too.

This bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (at Open Congress) currently before the Congress is really troubling. It will, essentially, make the internet more like television, in the sense that content from the masses will be limited.

This is because say, you upload a video of some folks singing happy birthday at a family event. Happy Birthday is a song under copy write. You have, under this bill, committed a felony (same goes for a video of singing a copywrited song at karoke, or whatever). But it doesn't stop there. YouTube, or where ever you upload the video is also culpable for the felony, as is your internet service provider.

What that means is that in order to protect themselves from lawsuits, internet service providers and hosts are going to have to severely limit who is allowed to upload content, so they can manage it. Or they are going to have to aggressively screen it, which means that if they want to block, say, videos of police brutality they can very easily. More details here at the Wiki page.

Yahoo has left the Chamber of Commerce over this bill, and Google is considering following suit, here is a WaPo article discussing their concerns. They are taking this very seriously.

I urge you all to contact your representatives with concerns over this bill. The senators don't seem to have a good understanding of the implications of the bill, I doubt many of them even understand the implications of this bill. It is very important that citizens let them know they are concerned.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I finished reading a review of a Murakami novel, his new one, in the NYT (yes, with me its always the NYT I'm afraid) and it made me realize that like I have become with television I may have become with fiction. I like reading reviews of television shows, because then I can relate to the people who watch them and know what the popular culture is about. But I have zero interest in watching TV shows. I enjoyed the NYT review, but I have zero interest in reading the novel. Murakami is a tricky one, though. I don't like authors who have repetitive quirks, and his is an obsession with describing foreheads, so every time I run into that I get annoyed. And as the reviewer said- "I am troubled... by the general ethical impassivity pervading this book" which is a quality I find in all his work.

Then for some reason thinking of Murakami made my brain take a turn down a bad path. I've been losing my hair, lots of it, strands of it sit around the house in little faint golden heaps which I eventually sweep up and it occurred to me that this was something that seemed like something out of a Murakami novel... and I started crafting a literary metaphor out of it. But then I put the breaks on that thought train, hard with some screeching wheels and sparks flying. Treating ones own life like fiction and analyzing it as such isn't a step away from madness, I think it is madness. I've seen people do this and really, it convinced me that they were bonkers. And it made them miserable to boot. A total loss of perspective. So no, I won't be going there. I do wonder what is causing me to lose my hair, however. I have a feeling if I went to a doctor the diagnosis would be stress. But I don't think that's it. I just hope the hair loss stops soon as its become annoyingly messy and worrisome.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I was looking at my Twitter feed (I like the links that people post, its a good time waster when I need to sit and chill, which I do need to do- gotta watch my spoons) and someone (who, I'm not sure anymore, such is the way of Twitter) posted: What female character in literature represents your ideal?" in my head I parsed it more as "what female character in fiction would you respect/emulate?" and it caused me to pause, in a full stop brain stutter sort of way. I couldn't think of anyone. Not a one. And yeah, my memory is scary bad lately, but this seems odd. I can think of plenty of real women (Julia Child springs abundantly to mind) that I'd nominate, but fictional? I'm a damned English major for pities sake (double with Anthro for undergrad) a serious reader, and I can't really think of anyone.

I think this is because there are many, many poorly written women and the ones that aren't poorly written have dramatic flaws which are there for point making/effect/etc. Amelia Peabody, that character from the Elizabeth Peters mysteries maybe? Molly Millions? She's not very estimable though. Jeez. This is bad. Anyone have any suggestions so I can smack myself on the forehead and think "oh duh!"?

PS, a follow up to my last post- We did buy a car. A Honda CRV, which is a good hauling things car, with far, far poorer gas mileage than I wanted (comparable to my wagon though). The market for used cars is hideous. We paid twice as much as we were hoping, and man, I think in spite of liking the car (its like driving a sofa) it sadly is a bit of a lemon. We've been back to the shop with it twice now, its under full warranty for the first month, so lets hope replacing the catalytic converter will be the end of it as the first 30 days are flying by fast. Carmax was a good buying experience, but hasn't provided us with the best after buying experience, unfortunately.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
A long time ago, well, 1001 days ago, I made a list of things I wanted to do. Like a lot of people ( http://dayzeroproject.com ) have done. Of the things on my list I managed to do 27, which is low. My list is here: http://listography.com/3960285971/to_do/100_things_in_1001_days__for_fun

Was this worthwhile? Yes, but not in the way that it should have been. A list like this is kind of a time capsule. A big reason I didn't get more things done is that priorities changed. For example: I moved into a place that doesn't need curtains over the kitchen window, it needs more serious things like a proper vent for the dryer. There were other life changes, too. But it is a very interesting snapshot of where I thought I was and where my priorities were nearly three years ago, and how these things have shifted.

I think I'd give portions of it tighter deadlines. 1001 days is too long. Long enough to forget why one wanted to a thing in the first place. Long enough for serious things to happen that make things on it irrelevant. Breaking things into 100 days, 300 days, etc. goals would be better. Plus, I get things done better with tight deadlines, even if they are artificial.

I'd think more carefully about the things on the list. Nothing should be dependent on money. That was a hang up. Nothing should be dependent on other people- eg gatherings, etc. because people get too busy to come out to things like board game nights and my social circle where I live is small. I kept two lists, a "job oriented list" and a "fun list." I ponder making a more targeted list than those even, I've seen 101 cooking things lists that are neat. Making it targeted around a long term interest instead of using it to spark new interests might help with the relevancy issue. Or doing the opposite and having a mix of professional/personal development things and fun things, which would probably lead to a higher success rate. Also, being more honest rather than aspirational would improve success. I had high ambitions for volunteering, which isn't going to happen unless I tie it more carefully into my interests. Tutoring high school students, probably not. Volunteering at the herbarium? Way more likely.

I like making lists, its fun. So I might make another list, just for the heck of it. Though I have so many places I want to travel to and I really shouldn't include them, because it'd be impossible- I can't see the money being there for that. Which is frustrating. And I hesitate to put the things down that I really do see as priorities, after my experience with the last list. If I put house stuff down odds are we'll sell the house or something rendering those goals kaput. So a real actionable list would require a lot of thought, which I'm not sure I shouldn't use elsewhere. We'll see.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I am having a great deal of trouble finding the beginnings of things and being able to concentrate lately. In spite of being "at liberty" aka unemployed I have a bagillion projects and skill improvement/creation goals that need doing. Its like a train wreck of task lists, my old little nested to do lists annotated with A,B,C priority/difficulty labels are failing me at the moment, which is shocking.

Anyone have any recs for project organizing software for PC that is free? Le sigh.

I have been running regularly at least. I am very nearly at my goal of running a 5k without stopping to walk in under 24 minutes. I walked for only about a 1/4 of the time today and finished in 25 minutes. After I make the 24 minute goal I'll try for 21, and then switch to swimming for a while, if I can afford it.

A two-day research working group meeting (the geologists are coming from out of town) is set for this weekend. For not getting any funding, and not having much by way of university affiliation, we get shit done, yo. I expect we'll have two articles out of this meeting. I should probably review my talks, and review some ideas I want to suggest regarding comparing data via ratios, but I think I'm set pretty much. Oh, and I need to clean the coffee pot out, as I've been tasked with providing coffee. That'll be two days where I am focused on one thing which will be nice.

This is a very journal-like lj entry. I have been thinking lots of dire thoughts about over population and the future of work, too. Maybe I'll make a more essay like lj entry about that at some point.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I just turned down an offer of work. I was offered another Anth 101 class for the fall. I decided the "oh, graduating just meant I was fired and re-hired without benefits" true joke was getting old. During my MN visit I gave my brother some advice that he needed to turn down these crappy coaching jobs he was employed at and focus on launching his future building/design career or doing something with his recent MA in architecture, that the coaching was steady but it was sucking all his energy and time away from career building he needed to do. And I realized that I was in the same situation, except in my case it wasn't coaching soccer, it was adjunct teaching that was sucking away all time and energy. Adjunct teaching is not something where one can just give two weeks notice and walk away from, the way you can with some jobs. I'd be committed for the semester. Ugh. I'm so torn about if it was a good idea, I just want to pretend they didn't offer me the job at all. If I had other work lined up that'd be different, but I don't. Bird in hand and all that. But its done now.

I constantly feel like I was such a chump for going to grad school. At least I don't have enormous amounts of debt, many PhDs I know have student loans that look like mortgages. I need to get over feeling stupid for having gone so I can move on, I think.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I made a great salad tonight- sauteed two ears of sweet corn kernels in olive oil and let them cool, added 10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half and one half of a cucumber diced/peeled, sauced/spiced it with some roughly ripped up fresh mint, thyme w/some black pepper, a tiny amount of lemon juice and one and a half tablespoons full fat yogurt. Chilled for a bit before eating. Served two as a side. It was really yummy.

It was a good accompaniment to the "Greek-esque" flavored burgers I also made- dried mint, fresh oregano and minced garlic in the burger topped with chevre and tomato (feta in the burger prolly would've been better but didn't have it).

I have more sweet corn to use up, too, anyone got any good recipes?
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I am having a fantastic trip to MN and WI.

CONvergance was so awesome. Some years it makes the whole year worthwhile and this was one of those years. So much lovely socializing, etc. And fun moments, like seeing the Tick in the hottub.

I saw a corpse flower this trip. That was really neat.

In WI, while canoeing with my family near my parents new house (under renovation- they are gutting it and rebuilding, its intense and my brother is completely wrapped up in working on it- when they finish it I look forward to vacationing with them as often as I can) in a bay off of Lake Superior, I saw Sandhill Cranes for the first time. They were sitting in reeds only 10 feet away from us and didn't get freaked out at all, they just looked at us calmly. That sighting is one for my birding lifelist.

The fireworks in Bayfield WI over Lake Superior were awesome. The lake made the noise from them really interesting, the lake shaved off the high end. The reflections off the lake were also great. And the audience did not do that crazy "ooooh, aaaaah" nonsense, they just clapped after the most impressive fireworks.

I highly recommend the Thirsty Pagan in Superior WI, good pizza and fun beer. We had a sour beer (so odd, difficult to describe) and a wheat beer brewed with spruce tips, which was awesome, shades of Earl Grey tea. I wish the microbreweries in NC would innovate a bit more, I've had so many intriguing beers in middle of nowhere N Wisconsin and not in NC.

We didn't bring our camera, I took a few with my phone but they aren't great. Maybe I'll manage a little album eventually. I kind of regret not taking more pics of Con. Oh well.

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