Jun. 29th, 2011 09:59 am
ilex_cassine: (Default)

Just want to see if this will post before I write up a longer post.

ETA: Well then, switching to a new computer (I got a fancy pants Lenovo this month) from my cheapo Dell and using the same version of Firefox seems to make LJ happy- even with Scriptblock going. What the hell was going on with my Dell that LJ forced me to use Chrome to post? I expect I'll never know.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
So, we had a shed delivered. I had spent a lot of hours and sweat and trips to homedepot and brain time building a platform for it. Which was completely wasted, as the trailer, in spite of having a visit from their manager dude to confirm the platform being okay, was not able to back up to it and dump the trailer. And, as it turns out, the way I had stacked the blocks probably wouldn't have held up anyway... ugh.

The worker delivery dudes dismantled what I built and are using it to shim up the shed in a part of the yard I didn't want it in, but was the only place the trailer could dump it that wasn't over underground plumbing.

We need a shed, for reasons of space and security (our lawn mower was stolen from our front porch and it was even chained up there). So I'm glad of the shed, and glad we could afford the home depot floor model on sale. But I'm very disappointed that I wasted so much time building a platform and now the shed is in a spot I would have rather kept empty which maybe is a little over onto the neighbors property, which is an empty side lot, so I doubt they will complain.

Oh well. I'll cover it with climbing roses and passionflower vines and maybe put a mural on one side, so it won't be an eyesore, or as much of one.

I cleared out a big chunk of our wooded area to place the shed in, I guess I'll stick a fruit tree back there. Or a chicken coop, eventually, maybe. I'm very much on the fence about chickens. Bleh.

Now I must clean for unexpected house guests. One of whom is five. Does one need to childproof a house for a five year old? I really have no idea.

First world problems... first world problems.


May. 10th, 2011 08:16 am
ilex_cassine: (Default)
So, LJ hasn't let me post anything or comment in almost a month. Will it let me now that I've switched to Chrome from Mozilla to test the notion that its not wanting to play nice with Firefox?

Edit: Ah ha. That seems to work. How irritating, I don't want to open a separate browser for LJ, that's silly.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I need to institute a no bread baking after 6 PM rule. Hot Cross Buns are just now coming out of the oven. I have to work tomorrow. Good grief. And I managed to forget the egg wash and I'm skipping the cross part, and some managed to get scorched (lame!). I'd give the recipe another go and not use all whole wheat flour next time (a modification I made because that's all I had), starting at a sensible hour. Recipe here:

It does satisfy my urge to have baked the darn Hot Cross Buns though. I'd never even eaten them before, and I got it in my head that I should make them and couldn't shake it. It reminded me of the time as a wee one when I woke up at 5 AM and barged into my parents bedroom, demanding that we make a gingerbread house that day no matter what or I was going to have a colossal never ending melt down. They caved, we made gingerbread houses that day. The hot cross buns urge was equally powerful and irrational. I'll probably be more exhausted and cranky as a consequence of my late night than when I was a kid waking in the wee hours though.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
if I make it through the next three weeks without failing to get something important done. If I could get by with less sleep and not have it provoke headaches there might be a chance. I will have to do a couple of 24 hour days to finish grading, I expect. Trying to remember my old tricks... sticking my feet in ice water worked well to keep me awake and studying as an undergrad, I may need to try it again.

Time to hit the data entry, these grades won't make themselves, even though that's how its supposed to work. Someday I'll give an online exam that will dump the results into a spreadsheet and it'll be easy peezy lemon squeezy. Until then, difficult lemon difficult!

And I have no time for proper LJ posting. I have garden updates, and migraine musings, and all kinds of things I'd like to chat about. But it will not happen until my personal independence day, May 11, when all the big tasks will be over and my schedule is sensible again.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
So, I made this Pastitsio recipe tonight. With modifications. I don't eat Parmesan these days out of deference to my migraines, and I hate plain bechemel so I made the sauce from this recipe to top it. That didn't work so well. I expect it'd be great in the original context and with full fat sour cream (damn the Weaver for being out) but it didn't work here. I subbed beef for lamb and omitted feta out of deference to my pocket book. That was fine, though maybe the feta would be a good add. I added kale out of deference to not wanting to make a side dish and needing some veggies in my diet. That went well.

The dish just didn't do it for me, I expect the original is tasty and I may try to get closer to that at some point. I really like the mint, oregano, cinnamon, sumac combo. I think I may try making the meat with sauce and oodles of veggies or some beans as a cassoulet sort of thing instead. There are lots of left overs, and I'll eat them, but the prospect doesn't excite me.

At least this recipe for Yedoro tibs was a winner last night, so I can console myself with the memory of it.


Jan. 15th, 2011 01:54 pm
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I really wasn't expecting to be offended as a feminist by reading an article about Zenyatta the race horse in the NYT... but this really offends me:

"For the second year in a row, she [referring to Zenyatta, the horse] finished second in voting for the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, this time to the gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn."

Oh for pete's sake. They couldn't come up with a human female athlete for second place? Would this ever happen in their voting for a male athlete? Would a horse even be allowed on the ballot for Male Athlete of the Year?

Soon, I hope, women will be breaking into male pro-sports and things will become more co-ed (I think baseball is close to having this happen). I hope at that point more women athletes will have enough notoriety that the AP can stick to humans when they vote for these awards (however pointless awards like that may be in the grand scheme).

Now that I'm good and irritated, I believe I will take a turn about the yard since the temperature is supposedly over 40 degrees and get back to grading after that.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I'm not going to do a post about the New Year or a summation of 2010. I am feeling too much of a sour puss and would be mostly bitter and cranky. Who needs that?

So, something good. We made a bookshelf for me. It was based on this design plan here. Very clever. I had the Home Depot dudes cut the lumber for me, so it was just drilling and sawing off excess metal rod with the dremel. The dremel is always fun. Dremel dremel dremel! I made you out of pay! Ahem. Anyway. It seems very sturdy and we attached to the wall for extra sturdiness. It was certainly no more difficult than assembling flat pack furniture a la Ikea, and for 175 bucks it wasn't much more expensive either.

The only modifications made from plans were size differences, I did not use acorn or cap nuts for the ends, as they would have cost nearly 20 bucks (which is outrageous, in my opinion) versus 2.00 for regular nuts, and I didn't find a threaded bar that could be cut, they were all 12 or 24 inch lengths, so we just cut them to fit after the thing was assembled, which worked better than I think cutting them the correct length to start with would have.

And I must say- what the hell is up with lumber people calling something 4 inches when its 3.5 inches? And all the rest of the screwy measurements. In this era they should ditch the anachronism, its confusing for all of the building stuff dabblers like myself.

Pics are here )


Dec. 27th, 2010 12:46 am
ilex_cassine: (Default)
This has been a very marginal weekend, actually. Worst migraine I've had in six months and it refuses to leave, its day four. I was curled up on the floor at the radio station yesterday after thinking I could be functional and help the hubby spin for six hours. If I was in my right mind I would never ever lie on that floor because that floor is disgusting. So yes, I spent the better part of Christmas lying on a filthy floor trying not to puke. I hope your holiday was much better, my wonderful LJ peeps. And on top of all that...

Well, Merry Xmas everyone, I've joined Facebook. Shoot me now.

I pulled the damn trigger. It looks awful. I don't get why people dig the interface or anything else about it so well, thus far. I can't figure out if I post something in any heading where it will go or who can see it. Maybe it'll grow on me. At this juncture I just hope I locked it down enough that none of my lovely students find the damn thing and that it never ever gets to this account.

Honestly, I think I'd prefer if everyone was just on twitter. It seems like a much simpler version of the same information.

I suspect I'll just wind up ignoring the stupid account, seeing as it took me a good twenty minutes just to shift the privacy settings to something less than "transparent" and I'm not sure I got all of them I don't really feel comfortable saying anything there anyway.

And it keeps suggesting I friend acquaintances. I friended my friends kid because she's the only one on facebook from that family, but I think in general I am going to draw the line at "has the person been in my house at some point." And there are certain folks it keeps suggesting that I friend who I really would prefer to stay away from all together.

Ugh. I regret having made the account all ready. Oh well.


Dec. 24th, 2010 12:12 pm
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Having a migraine, its not a horrible one but its the auxiliary symptoms that are getting me- weakness, nausea (really bad), and visual disturbances. Suffice to say my plans for the day are being scaled back. But progress is being made on building a new bookshelf. Once I finish it I'll post about it as the design the hubby found online for me (thanks hubby!) is pretty spiff. The bookshelf has spurred me to consider painting the walls before setting it up, which is a large kettle of fish I was not intending to mess with, but here we are. I'll make soup.

Oh right, I titled this art did I not? I get kind of cranky sometimes about the local art situation, we are kind of in the boonies. But honestly, everywhere is kind of the boonies if its not NY or LA, so I shouldn't get too cranky. And the Nasher has really picked things up. The art of the record exhibit that we visited last month was neat, if a bit uneven.

I really want to go see this, in NY but obviously that will not happen for scores of reasons. The wee little Ackland is actually pretty good with Asian art occasionally, but its wee and the exhibits are also necessarily wee. Seeing something on that scale would be lovely.

There is a painting hanging in the library on campus which I adore, but I could never find the artist or his stuff online. It looks like some older things of his (Eric Karpeles) are up now. I really like his work because he evokes landscapes and the textures of landscape to my eye. I doubt that's what he is going for but that's what I see (except in the piece that I like, which is entitled Horizons and is an abstract view from a car window, according to the blurb).

I haven't yet been to the refurbished and expanded North Carolina art museum, it is on the agenda (if anyone else wants to go, pipe up we could make an outing of it). The problem is that they never seem to have much there for a special exhibit that isn't "impressionists redux dejour" and their permanent collection never spoke to me. They do have an Anselm Kiefer painting though, who is another favorite of mine. He had a recent thing up in the NYT, here (be warned, grim!). Unfortunately it rather depicts my mood as of late rather melodramatically well. Hmm... anyway.

Off to fight the crowds in search of paint and 8 more threaded rods for this darn bookshelf (I totally cleaned Home Despair out- the dudes there are really nice and helpful, I'm starting to have preferred helper guys, the fellow from millwork is especially good, if a bit hard of hearing). Off to Lows.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I stayed up to watch the lunar eclipse last night. I checked it out just as it was starting, a bit after 2:00. It just looked like a normal not quite full moon at that point. The most exciting thing going on was what sounded for all the world like a pack of coyotes howling. I believe we have them around here, so it may well have been. I tried to take a picture at that point as a test but they were too blurry, even with the ISO cranked. The moon is hard to photograph.

At 3:20, when NASA said the thing was going to be at its most exciting, I set up the tripod with the camera, I even added the little clicky doodad that lets you take a photo from a cord so as to not disturb the camera. But when I got outside it had totally clouded up. There was absolutely no stars or moon to be seen. Bummer.

Now we are going to get a couple of new tires for my car, as the state inspection has deemed my current tires unsafe. Is there anything less enjoyable to purchase than tires? I suppose the new ball joint for the car probably qualifies as less enjoyable. At least I can see the tires.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
My hubby just put on a swinging 60's salsa record for me. It makes me feel like I should have a bouffant, a martini, and a delighted demeanor. I am delighted by the tunes so at least number three is covered. Hubby is sweetly putting up with it, even though he doesn't like the chachacha ala 60s cheeserific orchestra.

Oh, as a follow on to my mention of the collapsed bookshelf in the last post- the day after the shelf fell I opened my medicine cabinet and a shelf in it collapsed, two of the little tabs holding it in popped out. Yes, you are very funny ol' Universe. Now quit with the jokes please. I did in fact check all the kitchen cabinet shelves for stability. Just in case.

We are cleaning like mad cleaning fiends in preparation for our cookie party. I finally purchased a new cheapo vacuum to replace our dear departed "Boss" who became unstable at the end (that's what it was called, the Boss, it was even labeled by the manufacturer as such) throwing sparks is exciting, but I don't really want exciting while vacuuming. The new bagless "Powerforce Easy Vac" was a frivolous purchase given the Car-apocalypse that is happening to our household- 400 bucks or my ancient VW won't pass inspection. I have a huge ol' rant about inspections in NC but I'll stow it. Suffice to say, its making some folks money and costing a lot more folks money, like many things in the world.

But all of that isn't what I came to write about. Everyone has something that makes them a little nervous and uncomfortable. Some people its heights, some its blood, or ghosts or dogs or whathaveyou. Me, its the shape of the universe. Thinking about the shape of the universe, its qualities (finite or infinite) the space between universes, all of that just makes me a little squicked out. My brain reacts in a "here there be dragons" sort of way. Occasionally I'll ponder the topic just to kind of spook myself a bit, like looking over a very high cliff and imagining falling. Anyway, this headline here, about how our Universe has been "bruised" by bumping into other universes= yikes! yikes! yikes! Watch where you are going, Universe! Pretty squicky.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Yesterday I unearthed my desk, cleared out papers to be recycled, took a large box of books back to the library, and put a bunch of books back on the shelves above my desk. I could finally grade at my desk instead of on the couch for the first time in months. I took a break from grading and there was a rumble. Hubby thought maybe it was a break in, but no. The bookshelf above my desk had fallen, scattering books and my seed collection everywhere. One of the Breyer horse models I want to get around to selling had a leg snapped off, and I'm not sure about the lamp and my external back up hard drive, but it could have been worse. I could have been sitting at the desk and been injured. This little incident of yesterday evening is very indicative of how my life is- I make a little progress and it is almost instantly negated and then some. This state of affairs has been the case for a year and a half, ever since I graduated. I don't want to wallow too much so I won't list all the incidents and areas which provide examples of the phenomena, they aren't limited to any one part of my life, either, it permeates. But I do wonder if I've been hexed. Nothing has been moved forward without being negated.

I know things could always be worse. And all my problems are ultimately first world problems, I'm not starving and if we lose the house we can go live with my folks however uncomfortably. But good googly moogly I'd like to catch a positive break for a change. Really.

A good thing: I am happy about frog populations showing signs of rebounding. Excellent frogs! Evolution in action! I will attempt to emulate the frogs.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I am horrified by the capitulation happening amongst the Dems. The Bush tax cuts need to expire. Especially for the top 1%. I emailed my reps about it, and got a very tone deaf form letter (the form letter wasn't the problem, it was the tone deaf part) from Sen. Kay Hagen, her letter basically said "I know taxes are bad and will work to reduce them" oy oh boy. I rather expect my fellow constituents writing her are not the brightest bulbs if she feels she has to pander to the no taxes crowd.

Wil Wheaton tweeted this today, and I agree: I wish President Obama would get as upset with obstructionist Republicans as he does with disappointed Democrats.

The Republicans need to be made to fight. I want Obama to make them take the heat for failing to pass the unemployment extension. There needs to be a fight, not constant one-sided capitulation.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Question for the locals: Got any recommendations for HVAC/heat pump repair services?

Our exasperating heat pump has started pumping air that smells very strongly of burnt plastic. It doesn't look like anything obvious is blocking any intakes and the fan is working fine, so its time to call someone I think.

I now know where the electrical connection is for it, however. And we know the brand (Goodman PH036-1D) and have a diagram for it. Which is good.

My head hates this weather, but I'm glad its warm today.


Nov. 27th, 2010 01:04 am
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I am going to dwell as much as possible on the positive. I feel like calling the whaaambulance! as I am a frustrated kitty at the moment, but no. Let's not call the whaaambulance.

I got health insurance. At this point I feel like its a miracle. I went with the HSA plan, and I think it was the right choice. Because it had no pharmacy component they dropped the migraine restriction on doctor's visits. Which is nice, even though I'll be on the hook for the pills, I won't be for the doctor's visit to renew the prescription or whatnot.

So, what is good. Tuataras are good. Tuataras are excellent. The NYT had an article about tuataras this week, so if you don't know about tuataras you can learn about them. I first learned about tuataras in a weird kids book which provided many facts about tuataras, though it inexplicably did not talk about wetas, their preferred food source.

I also just found out that the wild form of horseradish is in fact edible and is pretty much the same thing as a cultivated variety. This is good. I was going to mail order them, but I think now I will find some in the wild to stick in my cage match garden bed. And to eat. I have great confidence I can identify the plant, too, which isn't always the case with wild edibles.

My mum dug up some genealogy, and at first we thought that the ancestor on my dad's side was a soldier in the revolutionary war, but she revisited it and he got here in 1780 from England. Little late, many greats granddaddy James, I almost could join the Daughter's of the Revolution if y'all hadn't been a bit slow on the boat. She's not sure if he's the first over though, so there may be developments.

Right. The lecture I'm working on is not going smoothly... I've got writers block on it something fierce. Being distracted is not helping, time for bed.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I made this cake today. Ina Garten calls it a Tatin, it isn't, and I think she should've called it like it is, an apple upside down cake. Good concept, bad recipe is my verdict. The caramel bit is more like syrup, really. And I knew she was off, I should've just used my own recipe for that. Oops. I added a bunch of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamon) to the cake, and that was a good thing, because it would have not stood up in flavor to the sweet syrup otherwise. And when I got the batter together it wasn't pourable. It was more scone or biscuit like in texture. So I added some milk to smooth it. That may have been an error. The cake came out heavy and had an almost custardy texture to it. All good, especially with the addition of some Ciao Bella Tahitian Vanilla gelato (I only purchase this on sale, but it is a worthy indulgence). The hubby had three pieces in short order, but I won't make this recipe again. I'll just modify a good pineapple upside down cake recipe and stick to better caramel making instructions if I want a cake like this again.

Now, what to make for supper? Hmm... I'm thinking root vegetable red curry. Or General Tsao's chicken al a Dunlop. I have Chinese green onions that need using up because they are stinking up my fridge something fierce, so I think it'll be the General Tsao's.
ilex_cassine: (Default)
I made this recipe today. I modified it a little. I halved it. Instead of a shallot I used some leeks (yay for Trader Joe's having bags of frozen leek slices for cheap) and a few leaves of swiss chard with the mushrooms because I didn't have quite enough mushrooms. I added some rosemary along with the thyme. And I did not flip over the pastry or put egg on it. After wrapping the filling parts of the pastry got thin, and I didn't think it was up to being flipped over and maintaining structural integrity.

Verdict: Good. The goat cheese and butternut squash combo is an especially winning one. However, really, puff pastry makes almost anything yummy.

I made egg noodles with cumin as a side and that was a bit of a mistake, it was what came to hand and not optimal. I think roasted brussel sprouts with almonds or some other kind of green veggie would have been better as a side.

I have also been on a pumpkin quick bread tear. But I have yet to find the dense and moist pumpkin bread I want, its all been very fluffy and sometimes kind of dry even. I think upping the fat is the next step. But if anyone out there has pumpkin bread recipes to recommend, let's have them please. Or apple cake recipes. I'm thinking of trying this apple upside down cake here, Ina get raves and I haven't made any of her recipes yet I don't think.


Nov. 14th, 2010 11:16 pm
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Dark chocolate covered peppermint Jojos from Trader Joe's are sooo damn good. They are what Girl Scout Cookies wish they were. I shouldn't eat them, because they are probably not good for the ol' migraines, but I had a few today because they are fantastic.

What I wanted to post about is running and my recent exercise routines, however.

Running )
ilex_cassine: (Default)
Just want to let you know that I'm still reading your posts, but I can't comment on them. For some reason, no matter what ticky box I select and information/passwords I enter the darn thing thinks I'm trying to post anonymously and rejects my comment. I've tried different permutations and it still doesn't work. And often times when I head over there to comment it says I don't have permission to view the entry, even though I just did over here.

And trying to set up an account over there? For an LJ clone its not terribly intuitive.

Dreamwidth is not getting any kudos from me this morning, no siree. Quite annoyed.

Now off to networking and academic meetings for which I am not technically paid but need to accomplish to keep my career afloat.


ilex_cassine: (Default)

October 2013

   123 45
6 78910 1112


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 10:59 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios