serinde: (food)
I am somewhat covered in bees this week. It's mostly not start-of-semester crap, strange to say, but other things that are all landing at the same time; and I am never at my mental/emotional best when I can't exercise, so this is of course going to end wonderfully for everyone. But Mom is coming to visit this weekend, and I need to clean house, and tonight was theoretically the only evening I can do it. At the same time, I am again overpressed with farm share bounty; but lo! there is a work barbecue/potluck tomorrow! My bees were making it difficult for me to even figure that out, and I lost some time to general lazy-ass nothing, but in the event it proved that the avoidance brain would rather cook than clean.

I am not posting the recipe process per usual, because I am using nearly straight-up recipes from Smitten Kitchen: Slaw Tartare, which cuts down on the strategic cabbage reserves as well as finishing up some cornichon and capers that have been sitting around forever[1], and Dimply Plum Cake (fnarr fnarr), because I have all of the plums in the world[2].

It is now 9:40 and I have not cleaned a blessed thing other than dishes. The whole place is covered in cat fur, I have pieces of a Bronzino sari dress and a half-done chemise all over the living room, the bathroom is a right mess, and the bed Mom is theoretically sleeping in may not in fact have sheets or pillows on it; I haven't checked. Oh, and I have no clean towels. Perhaps I shall buy new ones. ><

[1] Change from printed: I used half yogurt, half mayo.
[2] Change from printed: I used lemon olive oil in place of canola.
serinde: (food)
Although I like a nice bit of roast chicken as much as the next carnivore, it's almost the least part of roasting a bird for me. It's about the golden-brown, warm-smelling grease I'm siphoning off to make gravy. It's about that crispy salty herbed bit of skin right at the top of the breastbone that I nip off and nibble on before I carve. It's about the scent of the carcass rendering slowly down to broth overnight. It's about looking at the juicy breast meat and seeing ginger chicken salad and cold chicken sammiches and who-knows-what-else.

And it's about taking all of those bits and making CHICKEN PIE later in the week.
serinde: (determination)
Apparently yesterday's mental vomit cleared the poisons from the system. Although I did wake up a few times last night, it was for purely climatological reasons ("too chilly with the fan on, turn it off" "too stuffy with the fan off, turn it on"). And that shall be addressed with the purchase of a ceiling fan, which I shall undertake today. Watch this space for hilarious tales of home improvement follies--though at least, after blowing a fuse two sewing nights ago, I know which circuit to turn off while messing with the electrics.
serinde: (zzz)
[Edit: Cut tags appear to be b0rked at present, both at DW and LJ, so you get to read the whole thing. Sucks to be you.]

For aeons uncounted, my cat hygiene needs were very adequately met by regular old Fresh Step scoopable (or a comparable brand if the store was out of it). In the last year or two, however, problems have developed; not the fault of the product itself, but behavioral changes of my goober cat. His current methodology for personal relief is:

1. Pee right in the door of the litterbox.
2. Don't cover it over.
3. Turn around (in the box), sniff.
4. Walk through it as he jumps out.

Since this litter is designed to dry into rock-like, easily-scoopable clumps, by walking through the just-produced effluvium Spinach Cat will get daubings of befouled litter on his paws and legs which then dry to a nearly-impossible-to-remove crust. It gets tracked everywhere, and leads to what [livejournal.com profile] audiovile dubbed, in their kittenhood, "little shitty kitty prints" all over the apartment, and plus it's just incredibly nasty and gross. And we will not even discuss trying to clean him off. Over and over and over.

I tried various methods of mitigation (chiefly, being incredibly diligent about scooping), but nothing really helped, so it seemed time to explore other options.

This is a clumping litter that claims to be environmentally friendly and even flushable (though I'm not going to risk anyone's pipes on it, and I'm continuing to bag and garbage the refuse). The packet claims that it reduces litter scatter, which is a giant lie, as you might expect--Spinach Cat is still kicking it all over a 5' radius outside the box entry, and some grit is attaching to his paw pads and getting tracked further into the apartment. But, the waste soaks right down into the lower layer, rather than pooling on top before hardening, and so the main problem is sorted; dry litter may be escaping, but not Precious Bodily Fluids.

It is harder to scoop, as the clumping action is much less firm. There is also a slightly-noticeable, unusual scent to the litter itself; it is not unpleasant, rather like a clean stable or gerbil bedding, but some might not prefer it. It's slightly more expensive than regular scoopable (and thus a lot more expensive than plain clay). I will probably continue to use it, though, because anything is better than washing my cat's back legs repeatedly.
serinde: (maneki neko)
I observe that my last several non-cooking posts were heavy on the stress and upset, so let me take a moment to reassure the Gentle Readers that matters are improving on most fronts. Ranger is in fine fettle and appears to have entirely recovered from his abscess. I have not yet been able to take him back to discuss the potential kidney issues, but he's eating, drinking, relieving, active (for age 17) and engaged; even his coat is looking better. I have been diligent in getting settled into the new place, and although there is still a dauntingly long list of Things To Do, it is definitely in a livable state. Not yet an entertain-able state, perhaps, at least not IMAO, but matters are progressing. And, I am finally reunited with all my STUF, including that which had been stored in [livejournal.com profile] sweh's garage for the last four years.

Work is still getting ahead of me. The first session of the leadership program was terrific, though intense (duh), and there's a lot of homework and what-not I have to do; the idea is that you take these principles and apply them in your daily work, and then you need to Show Your Work. So there's that, and then there's also the big software implementation project I am running; and when you add that to the day-to-day, plus me being gone for a week, then various other people being gone for training, and now I'm going to be out three days for training on said software...I feel like it's all getting ahead of me. I'm not as stressed as I was last year about this time, thank fuck; it's not spoiling my sleep and I don't have electric worms running along my nerves; but I have definite moments of EVERYBODY PANIC. Well, I knew it would be a tough spring. Keep on keepin' on.

I am putting out cautious buds on the creative front as well. A Super-Secret Knitting Project, which is using a number of techniques I've never done before, is going well and may even be done on deadline for a change. At the last minute (and I do mean the last minute) I put my blue, unlined GFD into the A&S competition at Mudthaw...which, to be honest, I thought was a display not a competition, or I might not have done it...and got tolerably good feedback, and in the course of discussion of it I somehow committed to teach a class at Pennsic and also at Southern Region War Camp; and I'm excited to get to work on the summer sewing. (Though I need to bung the spare room/sewing room into better shape before that can advance.)

The main stressor, other than direct work stuff, is that there's so much I want to do and there aren't enough hours in the day. I can win some time by managing my time more wisely, but I fear I am still going to have to re-engineer some expectations, and I hate that. And I haven't even started folding in workout choices--extra time/extra hassle if I start commuting by bike, or timing and logistics if I start going to the neighborhood dojo or yoga studio. But I know I'm going to need one or more of those in order to not go mad. I really love the local hang-out/cafe/bar; they have a quiz night, they have a KNITTING CIRCLE, they have good live music, but if I go there much I shall be in the poorhouse, let alone the time sink. And I want to chum around with the peeps who live up here. At the same time, I want to stay in and nest and bloody well finish Skyrim and catch up on TV shows and and and.

This working-for-a-living thing. What bosh.
serinde: (domestic)
Yay Teh Broadband )

On the Nesting Process )

I find myself somewhat paralyzed by choices for what to do on a beautiful Saturday now that I am no longer waiting for Godot. I'll be going out to [livejournal.com profile] sweh's around teatime, but until then, I could:
* explore Inwood Hill Park
* schlep down to BB&B or Gracious Home or Container Store to get kitchen garbage cans and things to put things in
* schlep down to Home Despot to get a stepladder and drill (I have no idea what drill to get) (yes, I would like to shop locally but the local hardware store burned down in January)
* go up to the Indian Road Cafe and have a really damn good cup of coffee and start becoming known as A Regular
* go to Jeff & Lorree's for an afternoon symposium on How To Display At A&S Exhibits--which, I mean, it's not as if I'm not surrounded by Laurels, but a different perspective would be interesting
* walk the parts of the neighborhood I haven't seen yet, like down at the foot of Seaman where the aikido dojo and the bike store and stuff are
* do laundry (no.)
* continue to nibble away and rearrange the stuff already here, for greater efficiency so that more stuff can be absorbed

Whichever thing occurs, I MUST drop off my living room curtains at one of the local dry cleaners, as they are horrifically skanky at the top, and I want them clean before I hang them again.
serinde: ("What fresh hell?")
I need to be out of my apartment in 2.2 months. That...is rather soon, when you put it down baldly that way. I had consciously put packing out of my mind, because that's one of those tasks in which early action does not redound to your benefit, mostly, and trebly so when Your Life In Boxes becomes a sliding-block puzzle on account of a total lack of storage; but the sweet spot of when to pack is at the pinnacle of a very, very narrow spike on the graph over time. And I think I am rapidly accelerating upslope.

So, pack what? Books (I can make do with the ebook reader), DVDs (I can make do with Netflix), stalled sewing projects (haw haw). The kitchen stuff I rarely use. Tchotchkes. ...that should keep me busy for awhile.

I'm also debating how best to acquire boxes. Last time, I caused U-Line to deposit an Imperial butt-ton of them on my doorstep, which was okay because there was a garage with no car in it to stage them in. I think that won't work here. But, it seems fiscally broken to buy them in batches-of-five from Staples or whatever. How do normal apartment dwellers deal with it?

I want to go to sleep, but I'm actually more awake now than I was at 5pm. I have also noticed the last week or so that I'm starting to get that electric-worms-under-skin feeling that accompanied last spring's extended freak-out. It would seem that I am stressed, and sublimating it. I would like that to stop now, but I don't know how to fix it.
serinde: (domestic)
1. Get antibiotics prescription filled. (For those of you not on Teh Facebookz, the condensed plot: got an infection in my cuticle, it was physic'd yesterday, this is follow-up care to drive away the fever demons.)
2. Laundromat, since I was thwarted in my quest last week, and I am now out of socks.
3. Change the sheets & duvet cover.
4. Mop floors, bleh.
5. First entry in Cooking With Skyrim series, Apple & Cabbage Stew
6. Maybe do some sewing, maybe some knitting, maybe play some Skyrim.
7. There is some work stuff I really ought to catch up on.

In between this I have to soak my finger 3x daily in "hot salt water".

I feel like doing very little of this.
serinde: (domestic)
I looked forward to a nice lie-in followed by productivity, but this was truncated by Spinach Cat taking a leaf (haw haw) from Chaos Cat and dumping a pile of CDs off my dresser sometime around daybreak. Slogging towards functionality now. I am feeling a little bit enervated, though whether that's processing from the wake last night or hormonal stuff or what, I do not know.

Point of self-aggrandizement: my funky new galoshes came through yesterday's snow/sleet/rain/slush horrors with flying colors, and were therefore an entirely justifiable purchase. Because, honestly, the average snow boot is useful maybe once or twice in a New York winter (barring last year's silliness), whereas something like this will be useful on a near-daily basis.

Anyways, on to the list:
1. Pay bills, balance metaphorical checkbook (by which I mean Moneydance), go through paperwork, etc.
2. Make hotel reservation for next weekend.
3. Pickle the backlog of squash.
4. Tack down lining of red wool gown, and possibly the checked wool as well, so that they can be PUT AWAY.
5. Wind the 2nd skein of current-project wool into a ball.

Extra credit:
- Pick a day to hit up Butterfly Silks (anyone wanna go fabric shopping?)
- Pick a day to exchange camisoles that are too big, preferably before the 90-day return period is up, ahem
- Noodle a bit on rental sites, see where apartment-hunting efforts should be concentrated when the rubber hits the road.
- Morally, I oughta get some stuff written up for work.

Tomorrow's priorities:
- Procure and mail a birthday card for Mom
- Call Callen-Lorde and shout some more since it seems they still have not submitted the bill for various tests to the correct insurance company. (Quaere: does it work to call the testing company and give them my insurance info directly? or will it then be rejected because it didn't come through the primary care provider? YES WE HAVE THE BEST HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD)
- Send back the last Netflix disc lest I own a copy of it forever. When I switched my account to "no DVDs just streaming" the other week, I expected them to have the clue to say "oh we'll delete your DVD queue then". Not so much.
serinde: (domestic)
After a week or two of malaise, ennui, and what I would term "mopery" if that didn't already have a meaning which is entirely different, I seem to have my head somewhat back in the game, and hope to get this and that accomplished today:

1) Transform a nearly-gone-off pumpkin and some of yesterday's acquired apples into soup
2) FINALLY haul the two large bags of unwanted clothes and shoes to Housing Works (this still leaves a box of books, of course, but.)
3) Do something with the remaining 6oz of ground beef that is also about to go off; hopefully also to involve more of the vegetable bounty. I am thinking the head of cabbage is likely to be involved
4) Stop at store for flour, dental floss, and other necessities (this can be combined with #2, above)
5) Move furniture (and the jasmine tree) around so that the workmen who are coming tomorrow to fix the fire escape can reach the window with all their stuff
5a) Bring in window box still on the fire escape railing (maybe to take it into work for the nonce)
6) Launder ye unmentionables

Extra credit:
* Tack down lining on both wool dresses
* Have another go at spinning
* Get wine. WHY IS ALL THE WINE GONE? Let them drink prosecco!
* Answer some email that is owing
* Figure out some other errands this week that require, like, planning and stuff

If I am particularly moved, I may back-update with two more Experimental Kitchen entries from last week (Arabian-style baked beef and eggplant; fettucine con sugo di spinachi, only with collard greens).
serinde: (domestic)
As most of the Gentle Readers are aware, I have been happy in my apartment for the past two years. I was wibbling a little bit when renewal time came around this year (which I must needs sign in January, for a cycle date of April 1), but that was because I could use just a little more space to get my sewing on and reunite the last of my stuff that [livejournal.com profile] sweh is storing for me, not because I wasn't content. But because I was still happy, and because I knew that the winter/spring was going to be direfully busy & I would be in no shape to hunt a new place, I re-upped.

Immediately, of course, my DSL and phone line started having continual issues, my drains started blocking up, and a bunch of annoying people moved into the building, which also compelled the live-in super (who can be ... tricky to deal with, but who thinks I'm dandy and was always happy to sign for my packages) to retire because she was sick of dealing with their shit.

The telecomms have been fixed. The drains have been fixed (New Super managed that, and seems nice enough, though he's a bit of a dip). However, the crazy Russians on the fifth floor still have their periodic shrieking, door-slamming 1am fights into the airshaft, the drunken twat on the fourth floor still slams all the buzzers at the wee hours 'cause she always forgets her keys[1]...and then there's Downstairs Guy.

I met Downstairs Guy in passing when he moved in, and he seemed like an okay guy; bit awkward. Local gossip via ex-super says he's a divorcee who is Getting Himself Together and all--well, I can surely relate. However, we find that his method of Getting Himself Together seems to revolve around a relationship with Mary Jane, if'n you knows what I means. This is none of my business and I would neither know nor care, except that he leaves his back door, some eight inches below my window, standing open when he lights up, and the smoke comes right up into my window, permeating all the way back to the bedroom. Apparently he does not like his apartment to smell of ganja. WELL NEITHER DO I.

Anyone who cracks wise about "lol contact high lol" will get nad-punches, because I cannot stand the smell of pot smoke; I never could, and if there is enough of it I get sick to my stomach. Nor am I going to close my windows, because a) I live for fresh air, and b) I don't have aircon so the instant we stop being 55 and rainy the place will be deadly if I do. After a certain amount of agonizing and whining on Facebook, as one does, I penned a polite note in which I mentioned that I had no objection to his pastime but I really disliked having the smoke in my apartment, so if he could close his door when smoking up I'd really appreciate it; and this I slipped under his door one fine morning.

Mirabile dictu, it actually seemed to work for a time, but in the last two weeks he's started up more than ever. One evening, fortified by cocktails, I actually yelled out the window "PLEASE TURN YOUR WEED DOWN", but I have no idea if he even heard it... New York custom permits of some several responses to this situation. Passive-aggressive, sarcastic notes posted publicly in the stairwell is a respected art form. There is always shot-rolling, i.e. making horrendous noises on my floor/his ceiling at hours of day or night for equivalent annoyance. One could whine to the super and/or the landlord. There is the nuclear option--hollering copper--but I have moral objections to that (and it's not like they'll put it at the top of their to-do list anyways). Or creative, specific solutions such as reaching down through the fire escape slats with my broomstick and closing his door forcibly when the smoke rises.

Or, hey, I guess I could go knock on his door and try talking to him. I have all kinds of resistance to this idea, as I am still deep down a self-effacing, non-confrontational, good Midwestern child. (Not to mention, if he decides to get stroppy, he will know for sure who His Enemy is.) Tonight, however, I actually got to the point of getting dressed again in preparation of so doing, but by the time I did he finished his doob and the smell was gone so I didn't really have anything to propel me.

I have no idea what I'm going to do if this doesn't work, though. Can one break one's lease because of smoky neighbors?

[1] This is much more amusing in Breakfast at Tiffany's than it is in real life, I do assure you.
serinde: (self-control)
I still have not found a way to balance Doing Stuff with required downtime. The analogy I used to [livejournal.com profile] sweh yesterday was, it's as if I'm one of those terrible drivers whose technique is a continual alternation between stomping on the gas and then slamming on the brakes, rather than maintaining a relatively consistent speed. And I feel not unlike a passenger of one of those drivers.

I've considered methods such as "every Thursday is at-home" or "no more than X days out per week" but I cannot seem to make this work. There's always something I absolutely cannot miss and the system breaks down. Moreover, by the time I do have a day or evening in, I'm usually so wiped I don't have the brain space to do at-home things like putter or steady-state cleaning or handwork. So I have to push those into a giant day of effort, which is then deeply exhausting and not "downtime" at all.

And thus, of course, I was about to volunteer to be Ostgardr seneschal. I AM A FLAMIN' IDIOT.
serinde: (fighty!)
I have had cause to wonder whether Ranger might not do better with a companion; he has spent his entire life being half of a duo, and his behavior has gotten a little odd and proprietary (co-dependent?) over the last year, and he seemed to tolerate visiting kittens not too badly, and [livejournal.com profile] nedlnthred has had problems finding home for poor Domino, a most sweet-natured cat; so I decided to take him on a trial basis and see how it worked out.

I picked him up on Friday morning and decanted him, whereupon he went directly under the couch. Ranger was, of course, hissingly displeased per usual, but not making much of a fuss. So, when I left Friday night, Domino was quietly hiding under the futon, and Ranger was watching with disapproval from the bed. Domino would occasionally make a tiny "mew mew mew" and poke his head out, or explore a little, at which point Ranger would hiss (giving himself a hairball) and he'd duck back under. But they were pretty much staying each in their own room.

Begins now the tale.... )
serinde: (zzz)
The party can, I think, be labeled quite a success. My clever decompression techniques notwithstanding, almost everyone was there between 6 and 10pm, but there was enough population rotation that it did not get too crowded to move, so that's okay. I never did make the gougères, and at that, I still have a lot of terribly unhealthy stuff left over, in spite of giving a whole bunch to [livejournal.com profile] elibalin and [livejournal.com profile] nedlnthred. And a full pitcher of sangria, yet. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison. (I am not as who should say hung over, in spite of a steady rate of booze consumption from 1pm - 10pm, but my stomach is more pleased with herbal iced tea today than is usually the case. Yes.)

I did hang the curtains and I'm pleased with 'em, as well as my purchase of a retro-ish metal table fan. The balcony chair and table also served well as the smoking section, though I think only the PFY took advantage of it. I may spend some of today's lounging time there.

Apparently we all missed a car bomb at Times Square that failed to go off in the early evening. My parties shake the earth, yo.

The dishes are mostly done, the floors swept (though the kitchen area could use a bit of mop action), and most stuff is squared away. I have to square away some leftover soda and beer, and make the bed, and that's about it.

Shout-outs to:
[livejournal.com profile] sweh, for pre-game moral support, schlepping, and making me rest my ankle
[livejournal.com profile] nedlnthred, for doing the first round of dishes, and procuring breakfast
[livejournal.com profile] elibalin, for also procuring breakfast
And all of you lovely people who came. Thank you all!

Now, I shall relax, with periodic breaks to lounge, and occasionally bask.
serinde: (domestic)
(I think just about everyone here is on teh facebookz too, but in case you're not: Yo! I am having a housewarming on Saturday! Come any time after noon!)

So after much greater mental labor than is quite right--I've gotten lazy from having a house with a grill where it was just a matter of laying in burgers, buns, and beer--I think I know what snax shall be passed at various points in the afternoon/evening:

* gougères (I have Artisanal's recipe!)
* crab dip (w/crackers)
* chili cheese dip (w/chips and fresh veg)
* bleu cheese dip (same)
* spiced nuts
* ginger chicken salad (cold, on baguette slices)
* shrimp salad (broiled, on baguette slices)
* rosemary loaf cake
* walnut cookies
* burnt-butter cupcakes (those with which I won the coveted Gold Cupcake award at [livejournal.com profile] erinfinnegan's birthday competition last year)

Because I shall be entertaining from noon til midnight, in theory, it occurs to me I should prepare some easily-dished up lunch for myself too. I'm just dithering about what. My inner crazy person wants to make the picnic fried drumsticks I tried a couple years ago, which were really good cold, but they are labor intensive. Dither dither dither.

I concocted this list and realized that anyone who cannot tolerate dairy is in for a woeful time. Maybe there should be a salami.

Now I must decide on beverages. Sangria? Pimm's Cup? Try for one of the fancy punches and risk embarrassment? (I am going to fill the tub with ice and chuck beer/soda in it, too.)
serinde: (determination)
Having determined to go down and restart aikido today, I was gifted with raving anxiety both before (heart racing, explodo brain) and during (wacky dreams involving trying to get downtown via skateboard to meet people for brunch and being delayed by, first, an SCA fighter practice/hangout involving Their Majesties processing in with elephants, and then by getting into a fight with trucker guys who were unloading their shit into a bike lane) sleep. I have no idea what is triggering this bullshit, but I will none of it.

Today I also intend to shed the stigma of my NJ driver's license; the express DMV is tolerably near to the dojo, so that should work out nicely. For a trifecta, I shall either start the process for my 2nd pair of glasses, or shop for a vacuum (requirements: 1. small, 2. ACTUALLY WORKS) as my current fur-management system is wholly inadequate.
serinde: (Cygnus X-1)
I woke up today with a feeling of upset and off-kilter-ness, in part due to a dream I shall not recount at this time. Today at work kinda sucked rather lots, which didn't help. I came home intending to cut out the lining for a new 14th c. overdress (running a copy of my green wool one that has garnered acclaim) (because yes it's great but I NEED TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE OUTFIT FDJKLSFJDKLJF) (ahem.) (It shall be, per pale, black velvet and gold-tapestry-woven-with-a-diamond-and-fleur-de-lis-pattern.) (Should I counterchange the sleeves?) (Am I speaking in LISP?). Instead, in the middle of ironing, I felt myself getting more and more agitated, unable to settle for the state of the apartment as it is, with things bursting out of closets and cluttered dresser tops I can't dust and STILL A BOX OF BOOKS UNPACKED and and and and. So I pulled apart closets and have been rearranging and letting things go and so on. It is going promisingly so far, and I feel calmer and less agitated. So maybe no new dress to fit this weekend, but it seems that I needed to do this thing.

I think I'm even ready to let go my boom box. This is a large entity Mom gave me when I went away to college. The tape decks don't really work so well, the CD player works but is fussy; chiefly I use it for radio (or CDs) when I'm playing games at the computer and so don't want gfefx also playing music. It has really good sound for its size, but...the size. It's huge. It takes up half of my dresser. It could be replaced. What I replace it with won't sound as good, but does it really matter?

If I can sort out a way to keep all the sewing stuff together and accessible, I will have done a good evening's work.
serinde: (self-control)
I was on the way home tonight, for the third evening running of being at home (which may be a new record since moving in), and I found I was castigating myself for wasting a beautiful evening & not going out to Do Something. "But I'm tiiiiiired..." "SHUT UP GO DO SOMETHING YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIIIIIFE"

I am indeed at home, though will go out to drop the sheets etc. at the laundromat since the coin-op is closed for sorely-needed renovations. Possibly I will bake.

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