Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Soup's On

Or: How my Carrot-Dill Soup morphed into Pumpkin-Curry Soup.

Or: why I shouldn't be allowed near the spice rack some days.

Let's begin with snow, for after all, that's how my morning began. At least four inches of new powder on top of the older layers of snow. This time though, it was windy all night; there was snow up to the front door, up to the back door, in my windowsills. Even the Art Heads on the front porch were wearing little caps of snow. So I shoved some paths in it, got all sweaty and out of breath, and decided the driveway could wait until later. Much later. Like Spring.

My brother came over, he brought me a couple of his ravishingly beautiful handmade porcelain marbles, a belated birthday gift. He's doing well, his bloodwork was such that he didn't have the shot they usually give him each week. Human Growth Hormone, I think. I lose track as he has different shots and treatments different weeks. He's on his off week for chemo, so he's not fatigued. Still working, still needs a new used car for the family. They're refinancing the house for the gazillionth time. I worry.

Soup sounded perfect for lunch. Mmm, carrot-dill soup, that's the ticket! A short batch, the recipe makes many monstrous servings. I knew I had baby carrots in the fridge, although you and I know they aren't baby carrots at all, but shaved carrots, whittled carrots. Anyway, I diced up an onion, threw it in butter in my big pan, and added the dried dill. I know, this soup calls for fresh dill, but I'm right out. Dried works. I sprinkled in some ginger, because I like to punch up the taste. Went to grab my bag of frozen chopped celery. Oops. No celery in the freezer. Hmm, celery seed, it will do. So into the butter that goes. Smells yummy, fabulous. I grab the carrots and dump them into the strainer for a quick rinse. Uh-oh. They've gone over. Ack! I turn down the heat and scurry down the stairs to check the pantry. One sad can of carrots. No carrots in the deep freeze. Okaaay, then, I have to do something with that sizzling goodness upstairs on the stove. Hmm, canned pumpkin, big cans. Not pie filling, just pumpkin. Hey, orange and kinda sweet, very much like a carrot, no? So I toss in the lone can of carrots, two cans of chicken broth, and the can of pumpkin. Tasty, but too sweet. I add graham marsala (Indian spice mix) and some yellow curry. Better, but flat. Cayenne, check, the recipe calls for it anyway. And cumin, because I like cumin. And some more curry powder.

After the soup heated, I turned it to simmer, covered the pan and let it go for 40 minutes. The timer dinged, I grabbed the big spoon and tasted it, very yummy. The next step is to cool it and puree it, but I was very hungry. I dished it up and topped it with grated white cheddar. Horseradish cheddar at that, which sounds wrong with the curry and ginger, but worked beautifully. Yes, I know, the recipe calls for creme fraise, but I don't have any darn creme fraise, not even sour cream, not even yogurt. The soft cheeses kill my arthritic joints, so white horseradish cheddar it is. I didn't mind the lumps and bumps of carrots and onions at all, I enjoy texture in my food. However, I will puree the rest of the batch. This soup is so hearty, I could dump it over rice and it would be great.

Hint: you will cry tears of stupidity if you touch your face after handling cayenne pepper, cumin and curry powder.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recycled Art and Ciggie Tins

Not much of note today, I did stay off the computer until I'd exercised. That's three days in a row. Not remarkable, but a beginning.

I've begun another art phase; tin collages. My brother Larry (I know, confusing) gave me eight flat round tins which had held Hannukah chocolates he bought at the Cheap Store. I'm covering them in bits and pieces from the Survival Guide from Burning Man 2007, and each one has a fortune from a fortune cookie glued in it. So far I'm not impressed with the design, but they're getting there. These tins a a bit flat for ciggie butts, not impossibly so, but will be good for ash, or condoms or stamps. We'll see. I only have five Altoid tins, and I think I know where a couple more are stashed. Doing the collages with Mod Podge takes some time, waiting for one layer to dry before the next can be applied. This is slow art, not at all exciting. That's why I'm doing it first!

I went out to bring in the trash cans, threw on my clogs and polar fleece vest. Cold. Very cold, I could feel the front coming in. I took a nap late this afternoon, I meant to be reading but zonked out hard for two hours. When I woke up, a snow shower with wind had moved through. There's a thin new layer of snow covering everything outside, a pure white unbroken layer of mean sparkle. My windchimes are chuckling to themselves and there's snow up to both my front and back door. The porches are sheltered, minimally, but the snow has whipped around and is covering my mats. The wind has sculpted the snow on the Trailblazer, making it look futuristic, like some prop for Star Wars. Off-roading on Hoth anyone?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Let the Art Begin

Okay, I've sorted through the art bin in the hall and yanked out the tins and boxes and such which will be mod-podged with collages. Great stuff, mod podge, sort of like adult library paste, but less tasty. I had an extra Burning Man map from 2006, so I covered a mailing tube with that, and next is a box shaped like a tree. I know, I should be using Green Man 2007 for that. Actually, the first piece finished was the Art to Bludgeon With, the thick chunk of wood with the wood-burn lady on it. Someone liked that well enough to hang it on the wall. That is some Wayward Art! The framed pictures are curiously enough, signed Clayton. Godzilla will make an appearance in those, for sure! I just have to decide if I will leave them badly painted or over-paint in my swirly van Faux Gogh style. The painting begins after I get the tins done. Little decorated tins are at a premium at Burning Man, to hold ciggie butts. Leave No Trace!

A quick note, Wayward Art is Art gone Bad, Lost Art, Found Art, small or medium art which needs love, Folk Art, Satire Art, Art which has been abandoned in the thrift shops and needs new parents. And my original paintings, which are very, very wayward. Last year I moved 300 pieces of art, or more, at least, I had 300 adoption cards. Many generous folk committed art to the Home for Wayward Art, while I brought the bulk of it myself. Genius did some wonderful woodblocks and photography, Lady D brought jewelry and amusing trinkets and boxes, and Claire brought amazing bits and bobs. Dave 23 and Coco donated cool original collage and mixed media pieces, and a number of decent paintings appeared. And bags and patches and stickers and posters .. and on and on. Amazingly wayward art. I don't want to get too much bigger, but it can't help but get better! I'm hoping to have enough art for not only the main event, but both regionals, Element 11 and Dark Skies. I've never had the Home at Dark Skies, I think it would be wonderful to share.

Snowing, again, heavy and nasty, windy which is miserable. I-15 is closed down by Payson, 30 car and truck pile-up. I have no idea when, or even if, MyLarry will make it home tonight. Poor guy! I tried a little shoveling, but the snow is heavy and I only made some tracks and trails. Trent came over when he got off work and finished up. I adore my neighbors, they're so very nice! Trash day tomorrow, but I'm not setting the cans out until after the snowplow comes by. Otherwise they'll be iced in!

Pictures: Genius brought me these framed landscapes, ready to be Godzilladated. The dreaded art bin in the hall, note the owl. People love owls, and I have no clue why! Wood-burn Lady, front and back. The collages have begun, and the table is full.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Yesterday was bright and beautiful. All the lovely icicles which have been growing from the eaves melted and shone in the sun, then snapped off to tragic melty deaths. MyLarry got up on the roof of the patio and garage and shoved all the snow off, he's been worried about the weight of the snow load. There's more snow due in today, later this afternoon.

While MyLarry was down in West Valley loading steel, I decided to have a real meal and tackled the refrigerator. I'd thawed mild turkey sausage and a pound of our lean free range ground beef, but hadn't cooked them up while I was doing the fasting and purging and recovering. I decided to make meatballs, pineapple teriyaki ones like mom used to make. If you make them small, you can toss them in a slow cooker as a buffet dish; make them larger for meals. They're baked, extremely lean so there's no fat run off whatsoever. I have to use foil to line the pan, otherwise I have to grease it! No dry bread or crushed crackers in the house, I used oatmeal for the starch binder. While oatmeal doesn't look as pretty as other starches when mixed in, I prefer the taste and I can pretend it is health food.

The meal: pineapple-ginger teriyaki turkey-beef meatballs on brown rice with peas. The soda is a Knudsen's Juice Spritzer, mandarin-lime flavor.

The secret of the meatballs is a teaspoon of Chinese five spice. The secret of the pineapple teriyaki sauce is minced candied ginger in addition to the grated ginger. The secret of the brown rice is a brown/white mix and a decent rice cooker. The secret of the peas is a can opener.

And on another note: I don't make resolutions for the new year, but I do periodically set new goals. I have decided that I will not get online until I have exercised. It might be bounce on the ball or get flat on the mat, hop on the gazelle or shake that thang to the belly dance workout tapes, or lift weights, but I will do something every morning. If I am up to it, I will also do a bit more in the afternoons or evenings. More dog walking once the bitter cold and slippery ice has gone!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

These pipes are clean!

Ah, the colonoscopy went well ... other than the prep the night before sucked ass (get it?). As usual, knocked me out, did their thing, handed me a lovely set of photos, suitable for framing. One polyp, snipped it, biopsy results in a week or so. No worries. That makes four years cancer free! Well, almost, I do need those biopsy results. That makes three and a half years on the breast cancer .... while having two types of cancer in 2004 was awful, it was also kinda convenient!

Came home, and slept, slept, slept. MyLarry went out to register the car and came back with seasons three and four of Farscape, a lovely dark blue and gold shawl from Nepal, a lucky bamboo for the kitchen window, and a box of See's dark chocolates. No, he did not go all the way to Nepal to get the shawl. He's loading steel this morning, should be back this afternoon.

Nothing else of note, nothing. About time to gear up the art studio, the kitchen table has served the holiday and party functions, time to make Bad Art! Mod Podge or Godzilla first? Or Naughty Folk Art?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh Snap!

I am sitting here at four-thirty in the morning with a cup of coffee. Zero-dark-thirty as we used to say in the Navy. I was deep in odd dreams, something about Yokohama, a dance troupe and training to be a Burning ninja, when something woke me up. I was pinned by warm fuzzy cats, as usual, and I got up to use the bathroom, as usual. When I crawled under the blankets again, I kept hearing noises. Sharp cracks and taps and snap crackle pops. Loud too!

The guy across the street came home from work, or the brother next door went to work, but that's not what I heard. A Crack! sounded above my head, I thought our outer storm window had broken. I pushed the curtains around and realized, no, the ice on the roof is talking. I've never heard it before. The slow language in which ice converses is harsh and startling; Crack! tap tap tap. Silence. Snap! Pop! Silence. Tap tap tick tick, pause, pause, Crack!

I laid in bed, listening to the ice, wondering if my windows are breaking, if the roof is going to come down on me. Visions of disaster and frantic media coverage. Of course mylarry is not home, and it is too early to call him in Nevada anyway. Not that he'd do anything but panic and give me improbable suggestions and wildly impossible instructions. So I got up, bundled up in my flannel gown and black velour robe, and my oh so political incorrect fleece and leather slippers, and stood on the front porch. The moon is out again, reflecting up from the snow, I can see perfectly well. That's when the ice in the rain gutter above my head started talking. Snap! Crack! Huh. Nothing to see here, move along. I moved, back into the warmth of the house.

I bumped up the heat and made coffee. I mean, I know perfectly well I can't sleep when the ice is chatting like that. I'm hungry, which is bad, today is a clear liquids only day. Tomorrow will be even more heaps of fun ... more about that later. Thank the moon and stars above that coffee is a "clear liquid." I'm going to drink pots full.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Objects of Desire

For someone who thinks stuff is just stuff, I surely am addicted to things. I have my new random Stargate Atlantis figure, a Wraith, naturally. It will hang in the guest room with all the other random action figures. I still want an Edgar Allen Poe, with Raven and opium pipe.

The icicles from yesterday are now longer, faster, better.

MyLarry got home last night, covered in diesel fuel. He emptied the pockets in his vest and jacket so he could wash them. He wears a hunting or fishing vest so he can haul extraneous keys, flashlights, tools, napkins, small sacrificial goats, whathaveyou. He is a PacRat after all, his tattoo says so. Apparently he's been carrying a gift for me for a week or so. He handed me a Secret Service pin, Clinton Protective Division! Turns out that when he was hanging out in Coyote Ugly last week, so was one of the off duty Secret Service guys. They chatted and had a few beers, and MyLarry ended up with a pin. Way cool, huh? Almost as good as Clinton touring flooded Fernley with the Burners without Borders! Clinton got a BWB patch, I got a Secret Service pin. Almost as good!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Terror and Beauty in the Night

I did not sleep well last night, I tweaked my shoulder and neck pushing snow around, and finally gave in and took a vicodin in the late afternoon. The trouble with opiates is they make me drowsy but wakeful. I put the fat old Cricket dog on the foot of the bed; Harry Buttlicker was insulted but hung around, and Oide went nutty and ran around all evening. He does that thing with his toys, carries them in his mouth and cries. I've never figured that out in a male cat.

I finally did fall asleep, into vivid dreams of parades and horses and amusement parks. I dreamt I was thirsty, so I got up to get some orange juice. The backdoor was partially open, the outdoor spotlight had flipped on, motion activated. I glanced down and the lights in the basement were on. I was terrified, someone was in the house! I ran back toward the bedroom, grabbing the phone on the way, headed for the shotgun. None of the buttons would push down! ... Then I woke up, safely tucked in bed, Oide tucked against my thighs and Cricket stuck to the back of my legs. My heart was pounding and my mouth dry, so I did get up, I had to get up. After a swig of orange juice, and a compelled check of the backdoor, I went into the bathroom. I pulled up the blinds to have a look into the backyard. No one has been back there since the heavy snow, the white blanket is thick and smooth. I couldn't see the moon from my angle, but it must be near full; the light through the branches cast the black shadows of the maple tree down in startlingly clear patterns. I could see the stars, and the snow sparkled and glistened under the moonlight. Ebony veins on a field of diamonds; stark and deeply beautiful, and something I could never capture with my simple photo skills.

I did manage to sleep some more, but I still woke up with nasty neck and shoulder pain and a numb left hand. I did get my neurologist referral authorization; I can call for an appointment today. Even if there isn't much he can do, I would like to know what's going on in there.

Picture: Backyard with bird feeder, Snow bikes, Cricket hates the cold, Icicles, Snow House, looking north up my street to Ben Lomond, Oide and Harry stealing my bed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Day After The Day After

Oh my, whatta weekend. A very lively little party, with new friends and old. Now they have all gone home, MyLarry has scuttled off to Vegas with yet another Mighty Load of Steel, the house is mostly clean and I am mostly sober. Have to work on that. The snow is falling, another six inches on top of all which fell previously. I blame Canada.

Lady D flew into Salt Lake City on Friday morning, Genius and I drove down to pick her up. Genius had a little time to kill before work, so we swung into downtown SLC to check out Temple Square. We parked behind the new Conference Building, marveled at the power of a church which can purchase a block of Main Street and close if off for a private park and reflecting pool for the Temple. Checked out the visitors' center withe the lovely Christus in front of the swirling space murals, peeked in the Tabernacle at the famous organ, and headed over to the old Hotel Utah to ride up to the observatories to check out the views. An nice older gentleman showed us around, he seemed disappointed that we weren't active members of the church. In fact, Genius and I are Ex-Mos and according to the doctrine of the church, we're straight to heck. But the original crystal chandeliers in the ex-hotel were nice! Yes, the church bought the old Hotel Utah and turned it into the Joseph Smith Building, home of offices, the Family Research Center (geneaology), and gift shops and cafes. There will be a bridal show there today, complete with modest wedding gowns suitable for temple weddings.

Stopped in the Navoo Cafe; I had Coca-cola porkloin on a toasted wheat roll with cranberry-orange relish. Amazingly good meal. Mormons may be plain home-cookers, but it is tasty and filling food.

Ah, the party. The pecan pie was fabulous, so good I hid a piece and had it for breakfast this morning. The secret was a few tablespoons of robust dark molasses and a teaspoon of rum extract in the pie filling. The cake came out heavy, very tasty with a coconut-pecan frosting, but more like a brownie in texture than cake. I think the almond milk is the culprit, no milk protiens to give the batter loft. It will take me a month to eat the leftovers! There's ice cream and fruit pies and jalepeno poppers and chips and tomatillo green salsa and cheeses and veggies and fruit and nuts and Malibu rum-filled chocolates and orange juice and champagne. Really, really cheap champagne. And 29 cans out of a 30 can block of Coors Light 3.2 beer. We need a skeet launcher for those. Pull!

Seven Deadly Sins was fun, but we played the express sinners version and skipped the trivia questions, went straight for the sins. I was laughing so hard I couldn't do some of them. I was supposed to be the Mirror from Snow White and tell each person what I thought of them. Oh no! The sin that everyone could earn a token was to spank yourself and tell yourself what a dirty pig you were. That was sight! I thought I was going to hyperventilate.

White elephants was hilarious, one person brought a "date with yourself" box. Too funny. The calving glove is beyond words. There was a blown-glass rooster, a glass cock! Children's books, a Sugar Plum Fairy ornament (a man in tights and a tutu), a welder's helmet liner, ceramic figurines of pioneer girls spinning (scary), and I got a bottle of Boone's Farm Blue Hawaiian "wine." That's really scary! And a decorated Christmas paint can, now I can has bukkit!

Oh, The Trip with Peter Fonda was on in the background. How perfectly horrible! We mocked it endlessly when we weren't distracted with conversation and boozing.

The haul: a Nun-Chuck, which is a spring-loaded launcher for tiny plastic nuns, from William. He always chooses spot on gifts! Genius had been on an aerial photography run with a patron, he took a fabulous picture from the back of Mt. Ogden. You can almost see my house in the print. Poster size and framed, it will hang in the stairwell. I got several bad old horror movies, suitable for Bad Movie Night. We did watch Sweeney Todd, the original 1936 version. So frightening to think of the mind which saw that film and thought, hey! That would make a wonderful musical! Let's see, I also have a receipt for Seasons Three and Four of Farscape. Yay! And I got a copy of Family Guy's Blue Harvest on DVD plus the T-short which goes with it. So pleased! But the time with friends was the best, we're scattered and do not get together often enough.

Sunday the boys took Lady D down to the airport after a tasty breakfast of mimosas, bacon and croissants, veggie sausage for her. Me and MyLarry and Genius went to the burn meeting at Brewvies in SLC (Brew+ movies, you can sit in the front and eat and drink and shoot pool or order food and beer and the theater has trays). Very good to see old friends there. I'm a community adviser now, Genius is now a board member, and Larry is, well, he's Larry. Smoky Mike is coordinating fire and other dangerous art, we will be on his fire safety team as fuel masters again. Way cool. Don't care for all the changes, but won't pass judgment until after the event and I've seen how things play out. There's a lot of heart and effort going into this year.

Dropped by the boys' place, nice little duplex, but the house they're buying is on the same secluded cul-de-sac, darling tiny Victorian with a lot of potential. Moving party in February!

All in all, very fun, very satisfying, and now I'm even more hopped up for Burning Man than ever!

The pictures: Still Snowing. The Haul, the long shiny black glove is the calving glove. The green frog was one of MyLarry's white elephants. Desi with her white elephants, her glove is a left-handed high voltage or physics glove. I sense a theme here. The Bar, post party. I think Genius took pictures of me, but the blackmail has not yet commenced.

Tomorrow: recipe for Zombie Punch. Mmmmmmm!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bitch'n in the Kitchen

Okay, I know I have to get a cake baked two days before I want to serve it, because it needs a day to rest before frosting and decorating. I hauled out the cookbooks and the decorating books, and started looking. I don't keep cake mixes anymore, just as simple to bake from scratch. Just as simple if you don't pick a recipe calling for cake flour when all you have is all purpose, that is. So I switched recipes and doubled it up. I wanted to do a triple batch, enough for a four tiered cake, but my round tray is still in Genius's possession from New Year's Eve. That big bottom layer will fit on nothing else. Okay, three tiers, that fits on the pedestal. Double batch, no problem. Hmm, almond milk instead of milk. Should work. I got the eggs and butter out to let them come up to room temperature, but I miscalculated the butter and had to get more out of the freezer. It got stuck in the whip and the mixer threw batter all over the counter, all over me. Joy. I had to dig out the butter and zap it, which melted it, and so it didn't blend in well. My batter had an odd speckled appearance. Tasty though, mighty tasty. I threw in black cocoa instead of melted bittersweet chocolate, and the almond milk was unsweetened chocolate. Lots of spices too. Into the oven and a change of apron and shirt for me.

So the layers finally finished baking, one at a time because they are different sizes. I try to turn them out of their pans after cooling. Nope. Oh, most of the cake came out, but the edges are deformed. The texture is very coarse and crumby, very delicious, but no way can I do a smooth buttercream on that surface. I let them stand, and then boiled some peach preserves to do the underglaze. Out of apricot jam, of course. Now the layers are stacked and glistening alluringly under the glass cake dome. I have to decide what I'll can manage for frosting. I could do a heavy chocolate buttercream and just pipe it on, that would fill the holes. The other choice is a boiled and poured fudge icing with a little piped trim to hide the holes. Or just the poured icing and let the holes show.

Next in line, a pecan pie. I adore pecan pies and they're easy as, well, pie. Especially since I have pre-made piecrust on hand. Just unroll it and slap it in the pan. Not that I can't make piecrust, I can. Why though? Pillsbury does a fine job! Sure scratch has a buttery taste, but scratch ain't happening today. So I get the pie in the oven and eat my lunch, my very late lunch. I manage to spill jalepeno-peach-pineapple sauce all down my shirt. I'm sticky. Sigh.

And I wanted to make fudge. And cookies for Larry. Sure, right, that's going to happen. I do have another pie crust out, maybe a nice sweet potato pie. Guess what the commissary had on clearance? Yep, sweet potato pie filling, just add eggs and milk. Evaporated milk in cans, that I have.

The dishwasher is running and I have to handwash the pans and cooling racks, already got the stainless steel Kitchenaid bowl and beaters finished. Nice to have a Kitchenaid mixer, but a pain in the rump to handle and clean. The pecan pie got a simple hand whisk in the giant glass bowl, easy as pie, simple as cake.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Short Stop

Yeah, I got my Burning Man tickets today! Actually, yeah, I purchased three tickets and paid convenience fees and secure shipping. I will have them in hand soon. I never have liked Will Call at the Gate. I like to fondle my shiny bits of cardboard as the year rolls by and the day to pack the trailer and head to the desert approaches.

Nothing of note. My brother stopped by for a visit, he's doing four days on chemo, four off, in rotation. He does not feel sick, just a little achy and fatigued. he is still losing weight, down to 175. He is still driving a bus, remarkably. We dance around the subject of his death, but not as badly as I had feared.

Much busyness tomorrow, I have to get a cake and maybe some pies started. Lady D will be in Friday morning, whee! Genius and I will go get her.

Ah, K-Bay, any style of birthday song will be outstanding and stupendous. May we begin with reggae?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More bits, more pieces

It never stops. If you wash one dish, two more will magically get dirty. If you mop the floor one day, it will need mopping again the next. If you vacuum once, you'll vacuum forever. The laundry baskets are bottomless pits and there are only two of us! There's a reason I don't wear my glasses around the house, I'd see the dust.

I did get the kitchen counters clean, as clean as that ancient linoleum is going to get. They look good in that funky brown faux wood 70s way. I almost have the kitchen table cleared off, then I can get a fresh tablecloth on it. It is covered by things like coupons to clip, white elephants to wrap, and my Furlow goggle project to hide away. Just stuff, stuff in the way. Scrubbed the basement shower, it never looks right. The guest room is next to done, and every room is shaping up nicely except my workroom. My workroom will never be completely tidy. My workroom can, however, be something other than a disaster zone ringed with caution tape.

I even filled the bird feeder. Cold outside, twenty something and dropping. The little birds need food! The wind chill is wicked.

The freecycler who wants the puzzles never showed up yesterday, I shot off an email. I haven't heard a thing. I'm annoyed. Just because it is free does not give one allowance to be rude.

I put my party on the yahoo group and have gotten four inquiries, one from an odd duck we know, a couple from folks whose names I recognize, and one from Hotcowboy69. I don't know hot cowboy and he's new to the Element 11 group. Him, I worry about. Not too much, the house will be full of friends and most importantly, Black Rock Rangers. Can't go wrong with rangers on hand.

The SIL called, apparently she got a working party together and painted and repaired the basement workroom, all new windows and lights. Very good! She wants MyLarry to come over and fix a bookshelf before they put everything back in the room. Uh, he's not here. He's headed for Vegas. He'll be back tomorrow night and right back out the road in the morning. And Saturday is my birthday party and we have guests. She should ask that parish of hers; she bends over backwards for them, they could at least cough up a carpenter. (Hey, that's ironic and I wasn't even going there. Now I am).

More to do, pieces and bits, bits and pieces. Almost time to tackle The Pit. And The Food. And The Cake.

Burning Man tickets go on sale tomorrow. Woot woot woot! Ten ayem Pacific, I will be online, plastic in my sweaty hands, waiting in the electronic queue. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bits and pieces

Bleh, boring day. Fussed and did fiddly things. Colored my hair, washed the dishes, changed the sheets, laundry, mopped, mended, dusted, straightened, neatened. Freecycled. Boring. Need to sort the linen closet. Really Boring. Much more boring stuff to do tomorrow. I did get some of my new Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine read, and updated my Zooba reading list. Zooba is great, 9.95 for a book including shipping. You make a list and they send a book a month. As far as I can tell, it is overstocks from BOMC and related specialty book clubs. Good stuff.

Hung up the "Reserved for Theme Camps" sign, hung up my new Daniel Jackson Action Figure. My guest room walls are covered in random action figures. Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, Willow from Buffy, Rosie the Riveter, Frank N Furter, Riff Raff, Samurai Baker, STNG, Last Action Hero, Bubba Ho-tep ... and on the table is the Gender Bender and Ask Me Jesus and the Family Guy ensemble. I need an Edgar Allan Poe, I know they exist. I do like Fishy's contribution, the Visible Human Body Model which is actually a transparent Green Frog. I love odd things.

Now my back hurts and I have to get some dinner rustled up for MyLarry. He'll be home late, he waited for one of the other drivers and they blew by the truckstop and didn't bother to tell him they wern't going to stop. Grrr.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Curious little side note

So I was browsing the SGA forum on the scifi site, in the where'd you get your username thread. They were talking Zodiac signs and mentioned that Rachel Luttrell, who plays Teyla, was a "cross-over." I thought that was a strange term. Turns out she was born on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius. As was I, although I was born a good many years beforehand. Interesting. I've always known about Edgar Alan Poe, Janis Joplin and Doll Parton sharing my birthday, and now there's one more to add to the list. One more I'll remember at any rate.

I watched Ratatouille, very cure and enjoyable. Watched Amazing Race, YAY the whiners got eliminated.

Did stuff. Did not do enough stuff to get ready for the party this weekend. I need to do more stuff. The world's invited by the way. While Lady D is flying in, I do not think the rest of the world outside my circle of friends will be attending. Just as well, the spare beds are spoken for. Although as burners, we have any number of air mattresses, sleeping bags and backpacker rolls.

Week End

MyLarry made it home later than expected Friday ... quite late. He had to pick up steel once he got back up from Vegas.

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. We did a lot of the pre-birthday party shopping, crackers and chips and frozen snacky bits and eggs and bacon for brunch. Plenty of OJ for mimosas, and Cook's Extra Dry Champagne for under $5 a bottle. Cheap champagne, or sparkling wine to be accurate, makes for better mimosas. You want dry with the sweet of the juice. Plus the usual commissary shopping, and Costco and the mall. I wanted shampoo at the mall, and we also found giant four foot plush Christmas stockings on clearance. Very nifty and went right into storage bins. We tackled the cleaning when we got home, and threw a turkey into the oven. I need to check the temps, those little fourteen pounder turkeys take forever to roast. Weird.

Dropped by to see Dad, he's down. With all this snow it is hard for him to leave the house. He's very worried about my brother, although I don't think he has a good grasp on the situation. He doesn't always wear his hearing aids, so even though he's sharp, he sometimes misses details. He gave me a little bit of a birthday present, some fancy licorices and the bone china cat Sue sent him for Christmas. Beautiful pure white chine cat in a long stretch. Lovely. He really likes it, but doesn't want to put it on the mantle where his cats climb up and knock things down. I had to re-arrange the china cabinet a bit, move the vaseline glass cats over so I could put the vaseline camel dish next to them; no room on the cat shelf (three Lladro cats and two Royal Copehagens) so the new cat ended up next to the three Lladro polar bears who are surrounding the baby in an acorn shell. Hey, knick-knack still life takes work to be appropriately macabre.

And MyLarry has left for Vegas once more, so I have the house to myself and may actually be able to get some of the real straightening done. We did get his closet cleaned out, he has let go of some of his old magazines and cut-off shorts. I am freecycling my old work clothes which are still like new and in style, and Mom's jigsaw puzzles. Next feeding frenzy , I'll start getting rid of
more clothing, especially some of mom's things which were special but I can't and won't wear. If only I had a way or place to display her kimono ... white silk with embroidered pastel chrysanthemums.

I've heard nothing new from my brother, I don't expect he'll say much until he knows more. he's still working every day he can before he begins treatment.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Uphill Slog, Dreary Uncheerful Blog.

So, I'm still trying to wrap my head around my brother's cancer. I haven't talked to him face to face, and I don't know when I will get the chance. I think he is working this one last weekend. The SIL needs to find true employment instead of part-time tutoring at the elementary school. More than she's done in the past, but still, the family has to have an income. All the kids are "adults" now, but there's still one at home plus his girlfriend and one who comes home all the time from college. Sure, those two have jobs, but these are part-time jobs. As in a couple shifts a week because they're in college jobs. Their money goes for their wants, not the household needs as far as I can tell. Neither of the kids has a car, so that's another strain, transportation. The Jeep we sold them is still doing fine, it's a good vehicle. Their old minivan, that won't pass inspection next month, as usual, there's so much that needs to be done they can't afford to keep throwing money at it. So now the SIL is talking a new used vehicle. Which they can't afford either. We can't afford to help them, and my brother wouldn't take money anyway. I don't mind him borrowing the Trailblazer now and again, but when the kids want our cars, well, not so much the happiness in lending.

When Wayne died, it was tragic and unexpected, but quick. Nine days, not enough time to think straight. This time, this time we have time to fret and fuss and use up in terrible ways. I want to be supportive, but the SIL will shut me out unless I play her religious stereotyped games. Argh. We are dying off too soon, three out of four siblings with cancers, yes, plural, and the remaining one has polyps removed each year. He's destined for cancer too if he ever loses his health insurance. There are not enough Bad Words in the world to express my dismay and anguish. I can try though, I can try.

All my life insurance, my brother is the beneficiary after MyLarry. I have to change all that, but I've been dragging my feet. I haven't told MML that I had two cancers in 2004. I was hoping to hit the five year mark so I could duck the health questions. I disapprove of my behavior, but we have a lot of money sunk into the annuity insurance. The term was bad enough when I turned fifty, but the agent who called let it ride at the pre-cancer level. He said I could get the new brackets at the five year mark.

I have to redo both our wills also. We have not heard from Lonny in over a year; I don't want my things to go to a complete stranger, a stranger who hates his dad. Thanks a heap, Dawn. She is evil, pure stupid evil. Ford and Desi will get everything, except a few family things. No reason not to do that, they're here for us, they take care of me when I need them. Can't say that about any of my nieces. Tiffany would if she could, but she's not nearby.

And then there's me, fat old me. I did get a new PCM, much joy. He flat out told me I needed to lose weight, which I do. I'm heavier now than ever before. Winter and menopause and Tamoxifen, oh my. I am supposed to wear loose clothing so the nerve across my hip doesn't pinch and make my leg tingly. Right. I usually wear jeans and a t-shirt around the house. Now I am supposed to wear sweatpants. I have a couple housedresses, but those scream "I'm sick and didn't get dressed" to me. I have two pairs of jammy pants, or sleep pants, a Family Guy and a Pink Floyd pair. These scream "I'm schlubbing and depressed." I don't even own sweatpants. Um, maybe one pair, in a drawer. Um, maybe the lack of exercise outfits highlights my lack of exercise. Could beeeee .....

I have always mocked fat old ladies who wear stretchy pants in public, now I am one. I am NOT giving up my jeans when I go outdoors! NO! NO! NO! They aren't tight! They're not!

And I spend too much time on the computer. Sigh. And the snow total was 18 inches. Sigh. even my fat old dog is well, fat and old.

I need MyLarry to get home this afternoon and prove to me I'm the most beautiful woman on Earth. Three or four times. He excels at that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Still Snowing and Racing Downhill

It is still snowing out, I had to go redo the driveway or mylarry could never get the Scion in. My back aches, but that's no big deal compared to this afternoon's news.

What a craptacular day, my brother now has multiple myeloma on top of his amyloidosis. The amyloids are protein chains in the major organs, unusual without cancer, but that's what he has. But now, now! Now he has cancer, the blood markers rose to the levels indicating cancer. Myeloma is cancer of the blood plasma cells. Ugly incurable diseases both of them.

When he was diagnosed with the amyloids, they said he would die in six months, they were wrong. Now he has cancer, everything changes. He begins chemo next week, and some other treatment I don't understand. I hate to ask and ask, so I will wait a bit. If the chemo and the drugs work, he has a few years. Real specific, that. If the treatment does not work, he has six to eight months to live.

crap crap crap ... I may write more about our Cancer Family, but not today.

Snow Dayz II

Second picture was Sunday afternoon, after the snow fell and the sun dipped below the clouds. Ha! Okay, NOW it is snowing ... I have a foot in the yard and there's more snow falling until this evening. At least four inches fell since I took pictures and there's four more coming down. This is a lot of snow! No plows on our street yet, we aren't in a high enough property tax bracket to get early plowing. Maybe tomorrow. My neighbors rock, they shoveled and snowblowered for me. It is all covered back over though, about half as much! Compare the snowcover on the roofs of the houses across the street, and the base of the basketball hoop.

Monday, January 7, 2008

This Ship won't Sail

A disclaimer: I am not talking about anyone in particular in this blog entry, nor am I trying to bait or insult shippers, I'm just doing my thing, expressing what's in my pointy little head. You are responsible for your own reactions. Comment, please, but do not think you will change my mind. Enlightenment and discourse are encouraged. Snark and bashing, doubly so. Hehehe.

Okay, so I haunt the scifi boards, primarily SGA and SG-1. More SG-1 than anything, I am an unabashed Dr. Jackson fan. Hmmm, well, near-unabashed, my geek friends needle me about it. But hey, I embraced my inner fangirl and I'm having some harmless fun.

One of the things which confuses me is the proliferation and tenacity of the shippers. Okay, I can see why the ship is intriguing, I mean, I've had the random hook up thought. What would this person doing that person do the the dynamics of the show? Or, hey, they'd be a cute couple matchmakery ideas. For me it is primarily just thinking out loud and wouldn't it be interesting if sort of mental exercise. I never try to read more into the show than what I see on the screen. If it isn't there, it isn't there! I can grasp slash more easily, which is an another entire caselot of cans of worms entirely. On clearance yet.

Yes, wearing the romantically tinged rose colored glasses could be fun. And what little fanfic I've read with "explicit sex" scenes has been hot. But I still don't see why some shippers insist that the pairings exist and cling to them. What is the appeal of finding romance where there is none? Perhaps there is a reason I never took to Harlequin and other assorted bodice-rippers, besides the really bad writing, and lack of plot and character development.

Here's a chunk of my confusion: why ship? Why not invent yourself into that world or universe and go for it yourself instead? If you're going to imagine love or sex or simply happy cuddle-puddles, why not picture yourself in the mix? Almost every show, I can see myself, not as one of the characters, and most assuredly not as my old lumpy self, but as my alter ego, interacting and saving the day or being tragic or having really hot sex with the other characters. Or saving the day by having tragically hot sex. Hey, I've done it in my head! Could it be other people do not have these ideal alter egos? That this vision departs too widely from the episodes as they exist? Can it be that some shippers lack an imagination of that variety? Does their reality preclude envisioning themselves as fictional characters? Am I mad?

I have a theory. I had invisible friends as a child, but I always had an invisible "me" to talk to and play with. Yes, I was a lonely only girl whose father was in the military. We moved a lot, I had no long-term childhood friends. When I got older, the invisible me was no longer a buddy, but populated my books and movies. She was ten foot tall and bulletproof. As a teenager, I was angsty and a proto-goth. I would have out-gothed the current goths, had there been goths in the 70s. I made do with Tolkien and Edgar Allen Poe. And sometimes I'd talk to myself, we all do, but I had a tall blonde talking back to me. She still hangs around now and then, a vision of lost youth and impossible possibilities. She's the one who creeps into the shows I watch now, creating fanciful stories which vary widely from what's been written for the screen. She's the one having the good hot time with assorted fictional characters. She's a Very Naughty Girl. (On the other hand, I am a DOLL, a Dirty Old Licentious Lady.)

Yes, I have written a bit of fanfic, primarily to see if I could do better than other fanfics which annoyed the snot outta me. Yes, what got posted was the expunged version, the Lost Chapters were for private consumption. Yes, I may drop it onto, but maybe not. She's a personal thing is the Invisible Me.

So, I have to wonder, why picture a character loving another character when you could be right there, virtually speaking, yourself? Sex, romance or cuddle puddles, why them and not you? I don't get it! As Dr. Phil might say, "This Ship won't Sail."

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snow Dayz

We're on Wave Two of the Terrible Storm. California got hit much harder, but we've seen snow and yuck for days on end. Today we should get five to nine inches. The mountains are piling up, good for our summer water reserves, very bad for avalanches. Friday saw a heavy snow and rain mix following high winds, which cleared off the roads, melted the icicles and then smashed down the thicker blankets of white on the lawns. now it is snowing lightly, a medium snow shower, neither heavy wet nor light fluffy. Ogden sits between the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Range; the lake keeps our temperatures level while the mountains catch the snow. Further south near Salt Lake City and Tooele and Utah county, the Salt Lake throws moisture up into the snow clouds; they get the heavy lake effect snow. We're up on a bench (geology, ancient seashore) so we get more than the valley floor, but in our little spot we stay warmer and drier than much of the rest of the Wasatch portion of Utah. We should see another storm front tonight or tomorrow.

MyLarry was home for Saturday; we got the holiday decorations down, in their totes and out into the garage. All I have to do is the tree in the front room, and all the fiddly bits which go in the teabox the tree is standing on. The kitchen looks bare without the poinsettias and velvet bows. The next two weeks are going to be full of mundane chores getting ready for my birthday party. Lots of tidying and putting away, dusting and vacuuming, stashing away the candle makings so we can use the big table as a buffet. I don't even get to do the fun parts yet, wrapping the white elephants, choosing food, selecting the perfect bad movies and the correct shots to down while watching them. Or the correct cocktails, isn't there a drink called a Stinger we could have during Swarmed? And what does one drink with Mega-Snake?

Anyway, we whiled away the snowy afternoon and evening in The Pit in front of the fire, watching awesomely awful SciFi like Beyond Loch Ness. Yeah, baby.

Oh yes, mundane chore I do like: redressing the Buckys. They're still in their holiday finery, I must find their new Easter outfits soon, or something frilly and outrageous for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sailing the Sea of Snark

People who don't get my burner world are going to find this post confusing.

Snark = Sarcasm, snide remarks, backhanded compliments, mockery ... snark can be unkind, but snark is also funny and a an art. Snark is best served room temp, provided the room is full of people with a good sense of humor and a wicked perspective on the world. I love snark, although I know snark has a place in the world. I don't snark much on the Scifi forums, the audience is too varied and and for the most part, the snark is seen as mean. I get that. Over on eplaya however, unless I'm giving serious information to a newb, it is all snark all the time. We have a bar thread, a F*CK thread, politics threads, joke threads ... you name it, we'll talk about it. Say the word "manifest" and you're a snark magnet.

Then there's Tribe. Tribe is social networking and I belong to many tribes, each with a specific focus. Most of my tribes are related to Burning Man in some fashion, except the Farscape and Hail Darth Vader tribes. I left the "main" Burning Man tribe, it got too snarky even for my blood. So I'm on the Other Burning Man tribe, some Utah tribes, playawear, trading post, and Burning Women. I adored BW, Armadillo is the moderator, and she rocks. Very low snark content there, when I joined the people who posted understood snark and let it ride. As we moved away from the end of the event into the slack time, the threads became, well, still women's threads, but weird. Weird to me. So most of the time I'd skip them, but now and then I'd be drawn in to a conversation. No, a discussion. No, an argument. And suddenly I was the bad guy, seen as snarky and mean. Me! Me so nice I was made a mod on eplaya nice! The women on tribe have become self-righteous and dogmatic, unwilling to participate in dialog. I left, I blew up on the Burning Bridges tribe. Double-check the name of that tribe: Burning Bridges. Oh yes, a place for snark and ranting and sillyness and whatever you choose. But the one woman who put me over the edge must have checked my profile/bio, and saw my last post out of context. She had no idea what BB was, only that I was bashing her. I got a PM taking me to task for that. Sheesh. I did get it all straightened out with her, which I needed to do, she's a Utah burner. That led to my first friends only blog post on Tribe, and I was overwhelmed by the supportive nature of the posts, and how many women have given up on BW. This makes me feel bad for Armadillo, she deserves a tribe as awesome and fabulous as she is.

Now all this happened after the JoeMallozzi weblog with the resolutions hit, I went back and reread his resolutions, and sure enough, they rang a bell. Be less charitable, be less accommodating, be less patient. In fact, be less nice is what it boils down to for me. I mean, I will always be nice, I aspire to nice because my Mom was the epitome of nice. But I will also not suffer New Age hippy-dippy morons to intrude upon my sense of order and justice in the world. I will suffer good hearted, well informed, and eloquent hippy-dippy New Agers who are willing to engage in discourse, even when contentious. I mean, some of the people I love dearly are hippy-dippy New Age wide-eyed innocents. Just because I disagree with your ... worldview, dietary restrictions, healthcare choices, lifestyle ... etc. does not mean I do not respect you. I do. You have to understand that your choices are your choices, and if I deem the choices fit to be mocked, mock I will. Up to you to understand I find some things funny which you may not. Doesn't mean I think you're stupid or whatever, simply means I can see humor in anything. Just because a cause is near and dear to your heart, doesn't mean I won't wipe my bum with it now and then. Grow a thicker skin and move on, and know I love you.

TMI: menopause, which was on and wonderful, is now off. Lovely. No wonder I'm such a raging bint right now. Note to ovaries and other assorted female organs: knock it off. Didn't you get the No More Estrogen memo?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Weekend

Oy .. tired and out of it, but that's okay.

MyLarry has been home for days, so strange. I don't get anything done when he's here.

Sunday was alright, went to the commissary on base, stocked up on party supplies and animal food, bought too much clearance holiday snacks. So much for clearing the temptations out of the cupboards. Sunday evening we went down to The Dave 23's birthday party, me and mylarry and Genius and Desi and the pup. The puppy was a big hit and snuggled with several people. Much hugging and helloing, and spread the word about my impending birthday party for those not on Tribe. I didn't have a drink, and only munched a bit, made a shrinkydink and remembered how much I suck at Trivial Pursuit.

Monday was shopping day, I was snarly and mylarry was testy, he ended up dropping his new mug in the sink and breaking it. Yay, wonderful way to spend he last day of the year. We settled down and went shopping for plates and cheese and tiny fruit pies. We also headed for Tandy Leather and picked up more leather making stuff, he does beautiful work. The party was at Genius and Desi's place, small gathering, we had way too much food and booze on hand. Genius made Mongolian dumplings from scratch, tasty, although I thought they were very much like gyoza without the frying. We brought our Greek sheep cheese, which I still can't pronounce, sharp white cheddar flavored with horseradish, habenero pickled garlic, uncured baby beef smokies, crackers and a rather mundane cheese tray. And some clearance Lebkuchen. Yum. And some chocolate dessert cups which weren't even opened. And the tiny fruit pies which were killer with the cheese.

Two glasses of champagne and that was it for me. Okay, two and a half, and Chandon at that. Plus half a glass of Italian Asti, Santini? which was far too sweet. And half a glass of Beaujelais which really needed to breathe more. I didn't feel well, I hadn't all day, so I went up into the library loft and curled up on the futon. Mylarry brought up my soft cape to cover me, I was also covered in cats. Edward is so tiny; she weighs maybe five pounds; the vet says she's a dwarf. I listened to the party; Genuis had a download of a MSFT3k which was overlaid on his copy of 300. Freakin' hilarious even if I couldn't see it. Still, awfully long for a party. As usual, I started taking off my jewelry, I can't abide wearing it when I'm lying down. Eventually I slipped off my bra, mylarry had come up for his kiss. We were naughty and tossed the bra over the loft wall into the living room. That got plenty of shrieks and laughter from the young'uns. Silly geese. I sense a trend here, the party ain't a party until the old lady loses undergarments.

Today was more clearance shopping, all my Christmas staples for next year. We were hungry and neither of us felt like cooking, we ended up at ... I know ... Golden Corral. The one in Ogden is managed by a very conscientious person who makes sure his buffets are clean, the right temperature, and the servers on their toes. I'm such a foodie, but a buffet style meal is so much easier than ordering around our combined and several food allergies than trying to custom order from a standard menu. And GC has baked yams and rice, so I have starch choices which do not involve the dreaded nightshades. Sigh. Golden Corral. The epitome of fine dining in Ogden. At least it did not involve sparklers. (Long story involving The Maya, fire spinners, and a special dessert topped with sparklers. Yes, sparklers.) This evening has been dozing on the couch and watching Pirates.

Happy freakin' New Year. No resolutions today, no profound insights or funny stories. Just getting on with 2008. Time for cuddles and snuggles!