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[personal profile] twotone
The weekend really flew by. We got a lot done on Saturday, but then I ended up feeling headache-y and nauseous (might have gotten a little dehydrated) so we took Saturday evening and all of Sunday easy, watching Peter Pan Gone Wrong (and other bits by the Mischief Theatre Company) and also Spy and also SING.

So, here's the past week in photos.

September 11: I knew that Daniel had a rough week ahead of him, and I didn't have my work materials yet... so I spent some time hunting down a good food-processor cookie recipe, and baked a batch of S'Mores cookies (using a chocolate chip/graham cracker/marshmallow blend).
Read more... )

September 12: It's getting to that time of year when I start to crave green growing things in the house... specifically, sprouts and cat grass.
Read more... )

September 13: In the past few weeks or months or whatever, I've been making meals with fewer leftovers (1/4-lb burgers, nachos, pizza night, etc). In order to save Daniel from having to eat at the cafeteria all the time, I'm trying to make meals specifically for him to take to work. This particular day, I did some quick googling and discovered a recipe for pepperoni green peas fried rice. The recipe called itself a late-night meal (i.e. drunk people food) but I think it's decent enough for lunch!
Read more... )

Daniel had dinner with his co-workers at Bonchon, so I'm doubly glad that I got to cook a meal for him that day.

September 14: Bento of the day! Today's experiment - flavoring the tamagoyaki with Bulldog sauce and mayonnaise and aonori for an "okonomiyaki-without-cabbage" vibe.
Read more... )

September 15: Daniel and I got an invitation to an EX Raid in Pokemon Go - a special invite-only Mew Two raid, for which we got 2 days advance notice! We ended up with some 40-50 people at the raid, and after a few false starts (my game kept crashing or not showing the gym), we finally took down Mew Two!
Read more... )

Despite MewTwo having a much higher catch-rate than the other legendary Pokemon, I did not manage to catch him. Hopefully I can get another invite to an EX Raid.

September 16: We went out to the Sloppy Waffle again! This time, I was determined to try more of their Liege Waffles!

September 16 2017

...but I couldn't resist ordering the Chicken n Waffle AGAIN because it was soooo good. Daniel also ordered the S'Mores Liege Waffle, and paid extra to make it a chocolate-chip Liege Waffle.

As previously noted, I ended up feeling headache-y and nauseous and once we got home, I lay on the couch and watched the BBC presentation of Peter Pan Gone Wrong on the TV's Youtube App. I had seen a clip on Tumblr and assumed that it was just broad gags about wardrobe and rigging malfunctions; it turns out that it has a meta-story going on in the background about various dramas going on between the actors. I really liked it, and now we're looking into seeing The Play That Goes Wrong on Broadway, possibly for my birthday.

Of course, the last time we tried to watch a Broadway show for my birthday, it was Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, a different sort of Play That Goes Wrong... and it went so wrong that the show on my birthday was cancelled (I think after a performer was injured and hospitalized). So... we shall see what happens.

September 17: I still wasn't feeling 100% better, so we had an easy relaxed day of watching movies - Spy via Netflix DVD, SING via Netflix Streaming. And we picked up a pizza at DaVinci's, where Daniel made a friend.
September 17 2017
twotone: A toy figure in a penguin costume is dismayed. It stands next to a mug with a penguin illustration and a broken handle. (Default)
[personal profile] twotone
The weather forecasts continue to be uncertain as to whether we're going to be significantly impacted by Hurricane Jose, which has apparently been meandering around the Atlantic in loops, getting downgraded to a tropical storm and then upgraded back to a hurricane. Every time that it gets humid and cloudy, I think that it's the hurricane, but no; apparently the current forecast is for Jose to hit us around Friday.

In other tales of indecision, I'm taste-testing's Thai black tea and Thai Chai tea. Apparently I've been looking for a replacement for Celestial Seasonings' decaf Sweet Coconut Thai for over two years, and I need to decide whether I want to go with a caffeinated thai/coconut chai, or continue my search for a decaf chai-adjacent beverage.

The Thai Black tea offers to main advantages over the Thai Chai. First, it's about a dollar cheaper. Second, it contains honeybush, making it slightly less caffeinated by volume.

Official description:
Served hot or iced, our Thai Tea adds something refreshingly exotic to your day. Blended to replicate delicious Thai restaurant tea at home with notes of coconut, cardamom and vanilla. To tickle your taste buds with a tantalizing authentic experience, prepare your own traditional Thai Iced Tea by pouring the freshly brewed tea over ice, topping it off with your choice of sweetened condensed milk or coconut milk. One sip, and you will feel as though you’ve been transported straight to the streets of Bangkok.

Blended With Black Tea, Honeybush Tea, Apple Pieces, Cardamom, Dried Coconut, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Safflower And Natural Coconut Flavor"

I don't know if it's the honeybush or the apple or the vanilla and coconut flavorings, but the first thing I noticed when I opened the pouch of Thai black tea was the sweet scent. And now that I've brewed it, the main thing I'm noticing is the combination of sweet coconut and cardamom.

...Dangit! This is basically DavidsTea's Cardamom French Toast, or possibly 52Teas' Coconut French Toast with Cardamom Maple Syrup! I think it might be a little more subtle than the DavidsTea equivalent (which has lemon peel and cinnamon and at least two different kinds of sugar) and a little less coconut-y than the 52Teas equivalent.

So now I have three containers of fairly similar (but subtly different) tea. I'm torn between using up the 52Teas (to clear it out, because it's the oldest) and using up the Adagio Thai tea (because it's cheapest).
twotone: A toy figure in a penguin costume is dismayed. It stands next to a mug with a penguin illustration and a broken handle. (Default)
[personal profile] twotone
One of the problems with buying and taste-testing as much tea as I have is that when I encounter a tea that tastes familiar, I have several hundred tea reviews to scroll through before I can find the original. (254 posts tagged with 'tea', according to Dreamwidth.)

To this end, I just spent half-an-hour going through five years of old posts and opening them in new tabs. Does this tea remind me of DavidsTea's Cardamom French Toast, or 52Teas' Coconut French Toast with Cardamom Maple Syrup? Could it have been the Republic of Tea Gingerbread Cuppa or Cardamom Cinnamon Tea or Hi-Caf Toasted Coconut Black tea? Maybe it was Green Teahouse's Cinnamon Cocoa Rooibos

And I have discovered:

1. I was really into coconut-flavoured black tea circa 2014/2015. Possibly due to Bigelow Tea's Girl Scouts Caramel and Coconut Cookie tea.

2. The tea I was thinking of is the now-discontinued DavidsTea Coco Chai Rooibos, which I thought might make a good substitute for the discontinued Celestial Seasonings Decaf Sweet Coconut Thai.

I had been interested in Coco Chai Rooibos because it was a rooibos (i.e. non-caffeinated) chai with coconut, which made it fairly similar to the discontinued Decaf Sweet Coconut Thai... but I waffled over whether I wanted to spend $7.50 on 2 oz/20 cups of DavidsTea or just get the not-yet-discontinued Celestial Seasonings Coconut Thai Chai (caffeinated) for $5.49 (for a 20-satchet box).

It's now two years later. I still haven't committed to a substitute for Decaf Sweet Coconut Thai. But if I'm willing to put up with the caffeine, I think Adagio's Thai Chai might be the best and most cost-effective option.

Official description:
"Creamy sweet coconut and playfully floral lemongrass highlight this succulent black tea chai blend. Let the aroma draw you in and you'll swear, you hear it beckoning to come closer, just take a sip. We suggest two heaping teaspoons per 8 oz cup, sugar, cream or coconut milk if desired.

Ingredients: Black Tea, Cinnamon Bark, Ginger Root, Dried Coconut, Cardamom, Lemon Grass And Natural Coconut Flavor"

It's $8 for 3 oz, which makes it cheaper than DavidsTea. Adagio helpfully estimates that to be 21 cents a cup (I think that works out to 3 oz making 38 cups of tea? So about 12 cups per ounce? That seems about the same as DavidsTea's estimate of 10-15 cups per ounce of tea.) That would actually make it cheaper than Celestial Seasonings (but only if I ordered $49 worth of tea at Adagio and got free shipping).

I'll have to compare this to Adagio's Thai Tea, as I apparently added 3 oz of Thai Tea for $7 to my last order. The Thai tea has "Black Tea, Honeybush Tea, Apple Pieces, Cardamom, Dried Coconut, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Safflower And Natural Coconut Flavor"... it won't have the ginger, cinnamon, or lemongrass. Hrm. We'll have to see if that makes enough of a difference for me.

I last regularly ordered tea from Adagio in 2010. Their tea prices have crept up a bit since then (I see that my first non-sample order was 4 oz of the Valentine tea for $6 - current price is 3 oz for $7) but I really had forgotten how affordable their stuff is.
twotone: A toy figure in a penguin costume is dismayed. It stands next to a mug with a penguin illustration and a broken handle. (Default)
[personal profile] twotone
This has been a hell of a month for weather.

Our neck of the woods has been spared the nightmare storms of Harvey and Irma (as well as the fires on the West Coast) but we've still been careening wildly from chilly "bring your plants indoors" cardigan weather to hot humid weather that's murdering my plants.

This means that I've been focusing all of my energy on finishing my Lycka tee before the weather is officially too cold for short sleeves.

WIP Wednesday
Pattern: Lycka by Stefanie Schuster
Yarn: Knitpicks Cotlin in Blackberry

I'm currently working on the front of the Lycka tee, specifically the right side after casting on for the sleeve stitches and dividing for the V-neck. I think my decision to go down one needle size and recalculate the numbers has worked out.

I need to consult my phone while knitting the Lycka tee (both because I keep forgetting the pattern, and because I need to keep track of my rows so I know when to stop decreasing). But occasionally I run out of power, or my phone is otherwise occupied screencasting shows. Yesterday, I took that opportunity to knit a little bit more of the Forest Ridge shawl. I will finish it someday! Probably!

WIP Wednesday
Pattern: Forest Ridge by Mary Formo
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow Kettle Dyed in Pacific (probably)

I forgot to take a photo of the Wolkig cowl, which I worked on quite a bit while waiting in line for Force Friday II. Hopefully I'll be able to wear it when cardigan weather returns!
twotone: A toy figure in a penguin costume is dismayed. It stands next to a mug with a penguin illustration and a broken handle. (Default)
[personal profile] twotone
I'm trying to improve my morning routine by actually getting up at the same time as my husband and doing some morning chores - emptying and washing Chester's bowl, feeding her breakfast, and so on. I still have a long way to go before I'm able to fit in a 30+ minute workout (which is kind of sad, because I seem to recall one of the reasons I got those exercise DVDs was so that I could do my morning workout while Daniel did his workout on the elliptical machine). But I'm going to try, and maybe by the time we can move into a house that's more workout-DVD-compatible, I'll actually get there.

Helping me along on the road to "being functional before 9 AM" is my morning cup of tea. I fed Chester before I had my first sip of tea this morning, and now I'm not sure whether I remembered to sprinkle PEG powder on her food (polyethylene glycol, which Dr. Licht at Tufts recommended for Chester's chronic constipation).

Today's morning cup of tea is another Capricorn-themed blend from Adagio Teas. This one is Capricorn Tea Blend by Aera Crystal, who wins my award for "person most likely to secretly be an elf or elemental mage". It's a blend of Assam Melody ("Rich aroma, more sweet starchy than malty, like roasted plantains. Rounded mouthfeel, malty without being overpowering. Slight notes of raisin. Brisk astringency and not extremely pungent. A solid, 'friendly' Assam, from the well-regarded Meleng Estate.") and Blackberry ("Bright, citrusy Ceylon black tea infused with sweetly tart blackberries is an adventure for your palate. Pleasantly sweet and bakey aroma, like fresh berry scones, floral-fruity aroma and slightly dry finish") and my beloved Hazelnut ("...the full, bright taste of Ceylon black tea with the cozy creaminess of hazelnuts. Very nutty and aromatic, slightly roasty with a rounded, sweet flavor. Toasty dryness. A mellow, very well-blended cup of tea.")

And indeed, this is a mellow sweet tea! I was a little nervous when I saw the red peppercorns that accented this tea, but I think this is peppercorn in its "slightly perfume-y" incarnation rather than "omg spicy hot chai". The Chestnut Ceylon blends well with the Assam Melody, and the Blackberry Ceylon manages to be sweet and lightly fruit-scented rather than overwhelming.

I dig it! I might get more, when I next place an order at Adagio! (Among other things, the sample tins are cute but kind of hard to scoop tea out of due to being tiny and packed full of tea leaves. The sooner I can upgrade to a 3-oz pouch, the better.)
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[personal profile] twotone
September 1: We stayed up quite late on the 31st for Force Friday II, so we slept in a bit on the 1st. And once we were up, I was able to spend some time on household chores.

I set up the collapsible greenhouse on the porch, to protect our surviving pepper plants from the cold:
September 1 2017

We went grocery shopping, and also swung by some Target and Wal-marts and Toys R Us for items that we didn't manage to find at the midnight opening.


September 2nd: We decided to spend a chunk of the day pursuing the newly-released Legendary Beast Pokemon, Raikou. There are three Legendary Beasts, representing Fire, Lightning, and Water; in the Pokemon Gold/Silver games, they were maddeningly difficult to capture because they fled one square in a random direction for every step that you took. In Pokemon Go, each one is showing up in a different area (the Americas, Europe, and Japan, I think) and will shift to a new area after a month.

We went to the mall and then to a nearby park. Daniel caught one Raikou; I caught zero. I did, however, get to meet some cute dogs.

September 2 2017

The Shiba Inu kept looking away from the camera, so it took me several tries to get this shot.

September 2 2017

The Shiba Inu's "little brother", a big Akita dog, was a lot friendlier.

After the less-successful-than-hoped-for raids, we went to Toys R Us and Bonchon for a late lunch. I spotted yet another Porg Plush at Toys R Us, but passed on it due to insufficient fluffiness.

Read more... )

September 3: It was supposed to be rainy, so I begged off of further Raikou raiding and instead suggested that we open our Force Friday II toys while watching Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens with our Sphero BB-8. BB-8 has now been joined by the evil-looking BB-9E and of course R2D2; all three have a "Watch With Me" gimmick where they sync up to the Star Wars films and react appropriately to scenes.

Unfortunately, our BB-8 kept losing its focus and falling back on generic idle animations. BB-8 is supposed to have a BIG reaction to Han Solo's death, and our BB-8 didn't seem to give a crap. Alas!

Read more... )
I did not get a good Picture of the Day, so here is a photo of the Limited Edition Cookies and SCREEEM M&Ms that I bought on the 2nd to console myself over my lack of Raikou.

September 4: Monday was Labour Day, so I figured that people would be off doing Family BBQ-type things rather than hanging around looking for Raikou. Nevertheless, I kept checking the local Pokemon Go Discord channel to see if anything popped up near us as we had our fancy/quirky Omelets at the Cosmic Omelet (The Vermonster, with maple sausage and bacon and cheese; the Space Jam, with some kind of spicy bacon jam, OMG so delicious). And lo, two of them showed up at the local community college! And we got a group large enough to take them down!

Read more... )

While we were catching up on TV, Daniel checked his phone and discovered that one of our friends had passed away. It was a shock, and deeply saddening.

September 5: I took advantage of the morning light to try and take some better photos of the resin eyes from Dreaming Tree Studio.
Read more... )

And I harvested our lone Hungarian Black pepper, since I figured this was as ripe as it was getting. It was pretty tasty, but I really wish we could have had a bigger crop. I would love to have some kind of solarium where I could grow a variety of ornamental-but-edible hot peppers.

September 5 2017

September 6: The final stop on the ArohaKnits Seeker Challenge was New Zealand, where Frenchie of ArohaKnits is from. New Zealand does not have a long tradition of knitting, but Frenchie honours her Maori heritage by incorporating imagery and symbols from Maori weaving into her knitting designs.

September 6 2017

Unfortunately, I realized that I'd made a significant mistake at the beginning of the pattern when I was maybe 5 rows away from the end of the pattern. I probably should have ripped out and started over again, but I didn't.

September 7: I knew that I wasn't going to be around on Friday the 8th, as Daniel and I were driving down to Providence, Rhode Island for the first annual HasCon (Hasbro Toy Convention). So I made sure that I finished my translation project early, which meant that I got to spend some time out of the basement. Tammy kept putting her paws up on my leg like she wanted to jump into my lap.
Read more... )

September 8: HasCon! The convention officially opened to the public at... I wanna say 11 am, maybe? So our goal was to be there by 10 AM so we could line up, get in as quickly as possible and buy the HasCon exclusive toys, then rush to the 11:30 AM Transformers panel in the Main Stage.

We brought along Daniel's Love With Food snackbox along as an emergency measure.
Read more... )

We ran into a couple of our friends, which was nice. There didn't seem to be an official line, just a couple hundred people milling about... so once we had a group of our friends together, we sort of made our way to the front and waited for the doors to open (and puzzled over the fact that none of the maps we'd received showed where the Main Stage was).

HasCon 2017

The rest of HasCon: some minor hiccups, but mostly a lot of fun with good friends )

Our group of friends ended up meeting up with another friend at the Providence Place Mall for dinner. And then we parted ways (but not before I hit up the LUSH store for some of the discontinued items) and Daniel and I began the 2-hour drive home.

When we were less than 10 minutes away from home, we had a close call on one of the back roads. We were making a slight right turn, and I'm guessing that the pick-up truck headed our way was right in Daniel's blind spot, because Daniel didn't see him. I could have sworn that the pick-up truck sped up, but that was probably just the adrenaline/terror in me.

Daniel swerved into the oncoming traffic lane once it was clear that the pick-up truck was going to hit us/trying to occupy the same lane as us, then returned to our lane because there was oncoming traffic. Meanwhile, the pick-up truck slowed down and stopped, and the driver got out. Since this was happening on a poorly lit country backroad, I was briefly but sincerely worried that we were about to be the victims of a drunken road rage incident.

Instead, the driver asked if he'd hit us, and apologized for driving so fast. We assured him that we were fine and he got back into his truck as I tweeted furiously on my phone. Perhaps it was the late night exhaustion talking, but I had begun to worry that maybe we HAD been hit by the truck and were experiencing an Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge situation. By tweeting and seeing people respond to my tweets, I hoped to somehow convince myself that we were okay and had survived the encounter intact.

September 10: We usually go grocery shopping on Saturdays, so I took the opportunity to go through our crisper and fruit drawer to determine what needed restocking. And I discovered that all of our apples had gone wrinkly or outright bad...

September 9 2017

...except this one, which was pristine despite being (I think) the same age as the one next to it. I think I bought them either last fall or during the Winter Farmer's Market. Either way, yikes?

I cut up the intact apple and served it with peanut butter. And then we went to Stir the Pot for brunch, and then drove out to West Hartford to hit up the Toys R Us and the Best Buy (to get the Best Buy exclusive Kong: Skull Island in 4K and 3D) and the LUSH Store (to try and get more discontinued LUSH products).

Read more... )

Also, we checked the Disney Store to see what Star Wars merchandise they had, and they had the plush porgs that had been spotted at the Disney Parks as well as the porg mug. And a t-shirt that just said "STAR WARS" and had a bunch of porgs on it.

As I hemmed and hawed over whether to get one of the two (!) plush porgs that were left in stock, a family came in and the daughter immediately said that she wanted a porg t-shirt and one of the plush porgs. That meant that only one porg would be left in the store, and I REFUSED to potentially rob a child of The Last Porg In Stock... when a Disney Store employee asked if we needed any help, I asked if they had any more porgs in the back of the store.


September 10 2017

And that is my exciting story of how I got a porg that was beautifully fluffy AND didn't have the downside of squawking and chittering if I hugged it the wrong way.

September 10: After the excitement of the past few days, Sunday was pretty laid back. I checked on my succulent, which had gotten even more sunburned. We went out for brunch again, because I wanted to try the other two weekend specials (Chipotle Taco Omelet and Banana Pancake Dippers). We looked for toys at Wal-Mart. We came home and did some laundry and watched the documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and I cried. It was interesting seeing how certain wrestlers had clearly inspired certain characters from Netflix's GLOW series, and it made me really eager for another season of Netflix's GLOW. It also made me really sad for these women, some of whom had suffered great physical injury or mental anguish through their experience in professional wrestling... but their sense of sisterhood was so beautiful, and I hope that they watched and enjoyed the Netflix GLOW series.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] twotone
I have a complicated relationship with astrology, in which I don't necessarily believe in horoscopes but DO enjoy using astrological signs to sort people into different "types". I like being able to say "Oh, I get along with THIS guy because he's a Pisces, but I don't get along with THIS Pisces because I have Mars in Capricorn" and "I exhibit THESE traits because I'm a Capricorn, but also THESE non-Capricorn traits because my moon is in Libra".

I guess what it boils down to is: I don't expect the stars to forecast my future, but I do like using them as a lens to examine human relationships.

And I like buying astrology-themed STUFF.

Unfortunately, because Capricorn is traditionally seen as the most dour and sensible of the Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), a lot of Capricorn-themed stuff disappoints me. It tends to be brown, black, green. Capricorn-themed perfumes tend to be heavy on patchouli and resins (if going for the Earth theme) or herbs and florals (if going for the "Capricorns love tradition" theme). And judging from the four five Capricorn-themed Fandom Blends and official blends on, Capricorn-themed teas tend to have lapsang souchong and a focus on bold/smooth flavour and caffeination, presumably under the assumption that Capricorns are going to be pulling a lot of all-nighters.

The Capricorn tea that I'm trying today is Stephanie Rabig's CAPRICORN. It's a blend of Adagio's Chocolate, Orange, and Almond black teas, with accents of orange peel and chocolate chips. It smells fantastic (maybe a little more bitter than the Terry's Chocolate Orange scent I was hoping for) and tastes... good. I don't know if I'm getting much chocolate out of this... maybe the chocolate chips haven't melted completely?

The presence of chocolate chips in this blend means that I can't be as leisurely as I'd like with this tea, and I certainly can't do that whole "brew a pot, wander off, return several hours later to find an oversteeped pot of tea" thing that I so often do. Or rather, I can (and will) do that, but then I'll have to deal with a pot and infuser basket clogged with congealed cacao solids.

On that note: argh, DavidsTea's new Chai Collection includes a S'mores Pu-erh Chai and a White Chocolate Chai. Both contain chocolate that will inevitably congeal and clog up the infuser. But they sound so delicious!


Sep. 9th, 2017 04:36 pm
reynardine: (study_scholar)
[personal profile] reynardine
Cleared most of my schedule for next week, except Thursday, which has a doctor appointment and then a contractor coming by for a bid. As usual, writing documentation for QPT is tripping me up. It shouldn't be, as I actually DO RESEARCH before I do a project, and I even took pictures during the process, but it's a challenge figuring out how to present my materials and also explain things to judges who do not have specialized knowledge in my area.

I do usually get valuable feedback from them, if only a fresh perspective, and my work gets seen by others as well, so entering an arts and sciences event is useful and educational. But I do have to think about educating my judges as I write my documentation, as does anyone who has an unusual entry. There's one guy this year doing an entry on fishing flies. I'm sure he is facing the same issue!

I know I tend to procrastinate, so I'm being proactive in freeing up my time next week. The two weeks after that also look to be busy.

Day 2 of wretched headache, a mix of allergy and tension. My life is/will be changing a lot, and I'm in waiting mode right now as I see how things are coming into place. More on that as things happen. I'm just setting things into motion right now. Some will shake out, some will fall by the wayside.

Anyway, I should get back to writing.
reynardine: (evening_kaze_hikaru)
[personal profile] reynardine
Eric the Engineer sent us his Structural Engineering Report, and it was not pretty, although I suppose it could be much worse? He recommends piering around the basement, replacing the garage door header, and replacing both central columns.

No idea on cost. We'll have the first contractors come by to give us a bid on the 14th. I'll schedule a couple of others, too.

Got Eric's numbers to the garage door people, who came in with their change-order bid. We're going to have them replace the garage header, since they'll be working on that area anyway to install the new garage door. It doubles the cost of the project, woe. However, we can get that done now, since Dad helped us with the money for that. They need to get the work scheduled, but we're probably looking at late September, early October.

As for the rest, I can't figure out my financing options until I find out 1)how much it will cost; 2)whether we can spread the project out, or if it needs to all be done at once; and 3)how on earth we will pay for all of this. I'm already toying with it in my mind, but by the time we get all the bids in, we'll be well into autumn, and I don't think they can do this kind of work in the winter. So there's some time to figure all this out. Hell, we lived in the Dubuque house for nearly 12 years before repairing its foundation.

However, I think we need to move faster on this house, or more damage may occur. The problem in the Iowa house was caused a botched rehab job from the 1950's. The problem here is a result of bad architecture, unstable soil, more botched rehab (that basement window!) and a fucking earthquake due to Oklahoma fracking. Honestly, if it had not have been for the earthquake, we probably could have put this off longer.

We also have to consider ancillary costs. The landscaping around the house will either have to be moved or just pulled out, and probably we'll need some regrading done. One of the center poles is in the garage, but the other is enclosed in drywall. They'll have to tear into that, so we'll have to have that replaced, cracks repaired and then most of the interior of the house will need to be repainted. The basement carpet is already partially pulled out from water damage--we'll need to repair whatever issues are there, replace the damaged window, replace MORE drywall, MORE painting, and put in some kind of flooring there. NOT CARPET, obviously. I dunno, that south wall may need more work.

Other possible costs: plumbing inspection, probably more irrigation system repair (maybe we can pull the damn thing out?), some interior doors either repaired or replaced. Also may have to have concrete work. Oh, and what the hell, let's replace the upstairs carpet while we're at it.
reynardine: (fox_swirl)
[personal profile] reynardine
Realized I hadn't posted all week.


Hello, ragweed season and headaches that make my teeth hurt! I so did not miss you.

Sewing night on Tuesday went okay. Almost done with smocked apron. Not entirely happy with results--I think the smocking went okay, but I pulled it apart some when I put on the waistband and it doesn't look right. Also, the ties are barely big enough--I followed someone's advice for the length, but she's much thinner than I. It will tie, but barely.

I may pull some of it apart, re-do the smocking, add pieces to the ties to lengthen them (who's gonna look for seamlines there anyway, right?) and see if that looks better. There's no hurry on this--it actually doesn't go with anything I have. I just wanted to learn how to do smocking.

Kosode pattern is way too wide, once I put the migoro (body panels) and okumi (front overlap panels) together. I think the okumi width looks about right, but the migoro is way too big. In one way, that's good news because there was some fabric I wanted to use that would have been too narrow, but now I think I might be able to use it. So I'm taking apart what I basted together (thrift store cotton) and cutting down the migoro a bit, then trying again.

No, I probably won't have something new to wear for Queen's Prize next weekend. I hate rushing sewing projects.

Working on Queen's Prize documentation. Outline is done and I should be finished with the writing this weekend. Trying to figure out a way I can stage it so it looks good. I think Uji (the scroll's recipient, who it turns out will also be one of the judges*) may bring the scroll with him. I was thinking of buying a standing folding screen to display it (and some of the drafts I did), but Bob nixed that idea.

*Yeah, normally he'd disqualify himself. But Queen's Prize is a novice event and he was the only one with Japanese studies experience willing to drive that far south. Besides, I tend to ask the judges not to grade me with points, but just give me feedback.

One of my other judges, Aiden, is a calligraphy/illumination Laurel, who I already know. The other one, Catalina, has a Laurel in Islamic culture (IIRC, her focus was on costuming and cooking?)--we've met but I don't really know her very well.

Music night at Margaurite's went well, although I ended up playing tenor when I had mostly practiced soprano. The fingering is the same, but you have to spread your fingers out more on the tenor, and after a while, your hands cramp up! I'm told I will get used to it. Evidently, my recorder is too shrill--Roderick lent me one of his extra plastic soprano recorders to use for now. Much mellower sound. Still practicing. Margaurite said I should be up to speed within six months or so. Until then, I just try not to be too disruptive.

LOL, Tsuki thinks my recorder is too shrill, too. I start practicing and she will dash out from wherever she's been sleeping and meow at me! It's so cute.

Shodo lesson also went well, although wow, I'm up late on Tuesday with the sewing and music, then up early the next day for shodo. We've started carving inkan (signature seals). Tony has done a lot of studying on the subject, so it's been interesting. He does tend to prefer using the dremel tool to hand-carving, but wants me to learn both methods. I've carved wax and linoleum, but not stone, so learning to use a chisel has been interesting. It's really cool, though. I definitely have some things I want to try to do with this (beyond designing my own inkan).

Tony also wants me to branch out to sumi-e painting. He's not an expert himself--it's just something he plays with, but for doing SCA scrolls, it would be a useful skill. And we're going to play with paper-mounting and making emakimono (vertical) and kakemono (horizontal) scrolls and experiment with paste recipes. So between carving inkan, learning basic sumi-e techniques, scroll-making and continuing my actually calligraphy brush-work, I will be busy!
twotone: A toy figure in a penguin costume is dismayed. It stands next to a mug with a penguin illustration and a broken handle. (Default)
[personal profile] twotone
(I started writing this post on September 1st.)

Today (Friday) was Force Friday II, the day that the toys and merchandise for the upcoming Star Wars Episode 9: The Last Jedi were officially released. We lined up at a Target around 10:30 on Thursday night to be... well, not first in line, but third and fourth in line to get into the store at midnight.

(And then the teenagers behind us in the line tore past us to run to the toy section as soon as the doors opened. This is one time that I wish they'd gone with the Black Friday-style "only let a few people in at a time" system.)

So. How was the latter half of August?

August 21: The Great American Solar Eclipse! We were outside of the zone of totality, but I still popped outside a few times with a colander to peek at the sun's shadow.

August 21 2017

Also exciting: Daniel got a co-worker to pick up a box of Mrs. Murphy's Donuts! He has been telling me about these amazing donuts from a donut shop in Massachusetts for... months? a year? I'm not sure. But he finally got a co-worker to get a box so I could try them!

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They are so good and worth the wait. I think they're a bread-y donut rather than a cake-y donut? Either way, they're delicious. My favorite was the plain one; Daniel's favorite was the chocolate.

August 22: I signed up for ArohaKnits' Fiber Muse Challenge again. Last time, it was a 5 Mini-Shawls in 5 Days challenge, taking me on a journey through multiple shawl architectures and vastly increasing my dolls' wardrobe. This time, there was a geographical/historical theme as we explored different knitting traditions...

And I discovered, on Day 2, that I absolutely HATED doing nupps. Part of me didn't want to give up on the challenge, since the whole point was to get outside my comfort zone... but HOLY CRAP was it frustrating to try and knit 5 stitches together. It didn't help that the leftover sock yarn I was using was composed of multiple plies, which kept snagging or splitting or ARGH.

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It was actually something of a relief when ArohaKnits decided to post-pone the challenge by a week while the patterns were re-tested and re-knit. The revised challenge gave us 2 days to finish each pattern, and also gave me a chance to try nupps using lace yarn instead of splitty fingering-weight.

August 23rd: I think I never got around to posting my WIP Wednesday photos this week, because I discovered a major issue in my Lycka tee.

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I got this far into the front of the tee - I cast on for the sleeves and divided for the v-neck - and discovered that the front was several inches longer than the back.

After debating whether I should rip out the whole thing or work a different number of lace repeats or what, I decided to start the lace repeats earlier and hope for the best.

August 24th: Our 14th wedding anniversary! We had dinner at The Mill on the River, a romantic local restaurant. (Next time, I'd like to reserve a table with an outdoor view.)

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August 24 2017

We swung by DavidsTea to get my free tea and free tin, then came home and opened our Re-Ment Pose Skeletons (glow in the dark version).

August 24 2017

August 25th: I took a moment to compare the labels between my ancient bag of DavidsTea Blueberry Jam (from... back in 2013) and my new tin of DavidsTea Blueberry Jam. Apparently, the new version has more black currants than blueberries in it (by weight).

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August 26th: We met up with Daniel's parents in Blueback Square to watch Logan Lucky (close-captioned, to our surprise) and have lunch at BarTaco (which was a bit of a misfire, since apparently FIL wasn't happy with the finger-food aspect of the street-style tacos). MIL and FIL brought us gifts from their recent trip to the Canadian Maritime provinces.

August 26 2017

After lunch, Daniel and I walked to MilkCraft and got some fancy ice cream in a bubblecone.

August 27th: We met up with some friends and their 6-year-old daughter at the Sloppy Waffle in Newington. I had the chicken and liege waffles and HOLY COW LIEGE WAFFLES ARE GOOD, they've got caramelized bits of sugar in them and oh my gosh I may never eat regular waffles again.

Please excuse the blurry photos.
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Our friend Rachel gave us a marching Darth Vader toy she got us in Japan, and her daughter finished and gave us a condolence card about Pan.

After lunch, Daniel and I hit up the nearby Targets and Toys R Us. I managed to find a doll I'd been looking for, as well as this Shriners Lodge.
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August 28th: I managed to snag one of Armeleia's Seed Arts Diamondback "Snooter" dragons. It's a 2 inch tall resin cast dragon, and I got the Twilight Chameleon version - glittery dark blue that lightens in colour when heated.
August 28 2017

I have yet to take a good photo that really captures its beauty.

The dragon was accompanied by a four-eared "Kindness cat" sculpture. I believe it was originally created for Armeleia's Endure 4 Kindness 2014 fundraiser - at the time, I donated money to receive a two-headed fox. I'm glad to have another companion for my collection!

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August 29th: While attempting to photograph the Twilight Chameleon Diamondback in better lighting, I discovered that apparently, I have an Aesthetic.

August 29 2017

Also - the Seeker Challenge re-started! The 2-day knitting period worked a lot better for these elaborate shawl swatches, and ArohaKnits even released two "bonus patterns" for those who had already knitted the shawl-swatches from the previous week.

August 29 2017

August 30th: Our Black Hungarian Pepper finally turned garnet-coloured! I was beginning to suspect that it was never going to change colour (which is why we brought a purple-black one to the Hot Sauce Guy as our portion of the pepper harvest) but apparently we just needed to be very, very patient.

August 30 2017

Sadly, the plant has not produced any more flowers so we haven't been able to give the Hot Sauce Guy a properly ripened one.

August 31st: A whole bunch of stuff arrived! I got my custom Adagio Tea blends...

August 31 2017

And I got some resin doll eyes (technically irises) that I custom-ordered from Dreaming Tree Studio on Etsy. She included a free pair of eyes!
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twotone: A toy figure in a penguin costume is dismayed. It stands next to a mug with a penguin illustration and a broken handle. (Default)
[personal profile] twotone
The past few days have been cool and drizzly-thunderstormy. I'm not sure if it's the effects of Hurricane Irma, or if it's just our usual August-to-October Hurricane Season weather.

Today, I'm sipping some of Cara McGee's Jam Thumbprints. And... wow, the scent is amazingly thumbprint-cookie-like. I've only made thumbprint cookies once (I can't remember the circumstances, but I believe I was trying to use up something in the fridge... maybe almonds?) but the tea has that perfect blend of nutty shortbread-y cookies and fruit jam. It's accented with orange peels, strawberry pieces, and cherry.

Once it's brewed, though...

The tea is blended from Adagio's Hazelnut and Vanilla black teas (the source of the nutty cookie flavour) and Berry Blues (an herbal with apples, blueberries, rosehips, and hibiscus). So it has the same sour taste I get from DavidsTea's apple-heavy blends, magnified by the presence of rosehips and hibiscus. I like the tea in concept, but in execution it's a little too sour for me.
twotone: A toy figure in a penguin costume is dismayed. It stands next to a mug with a penguin illustration and a broken handle. (Default)
[personal profile] twotone
I don't think our vets have ever said anything interesting about Chester, other than general talk about how "she's a fighter" during her recovery from the stroke. Tammy gets comments about having "the wimpiest mew in the world" or having "hypnotic eyes"; Chester, not so much.

I wanted to convey Chester's warmth with this blend. I wanted to share the feeling of having her in my lap, batting at or chewing on my yarn as I knit. I wanted to include Chestnut flavor (because Adagio's Chestnut black tea was one of the first teas that I liked enough to order a 8 oz tin, and because Chester is named after her fluffy white chest) and Tiger's Eye (because the vet lists her as "brown tiger" on their paper work, and because Tiger's Eye is a black tea flavored with chocolate and caramel which sounds AMAZING).

For the first version of Chestnut Tiger, I ended up going with 20% Chestnut Black, 30% Gingerbread Black, and 50% Tiger's Eye with an accent of cacao nibs. I think I was spot-on with the ratio of Tiger's Eye to Chestnut (the tea has a wonderful chocolate-caramel scent that exudes coziness for me) but I think the Gingerbread was a mistake. I wanted it to represent Chester's personality (sweet to me, but prone to occasional bouts of smacking her siblings as they pass by her) but I think it's a little jarring with the chocolate-chestnut combo.

I've already edited the blend to be 20% Cream Black, 30% Chestnut Black, and 50% Tiger's Eye. The Cream tea now represents Chester's fluffy white chest (and should tone down the intensity of the black tea). If it mutes the chocolate-caramel too much, maybe I'll swap in hazelnut, for a general chocolate-nutella-dulce de leche vibe?

...But first, I'd like to order a sample of the Cream version, to see if that works better.