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ashes

I'm off facebook, and the news. Self-defense. My apologies to everyone I've rebuffed this week.

Perhaps my best description is that I'm experiencing a crisis of faith.

the sound of home

we had a forecast for a tremendous storm this weekend. we didn't get it.
i'm fine with this. we laid in some disaster supplies that we should have had ready anyway (hello, ring of fire) and spent a bunch of quiet time that was pretty great.
i've been worried about C's mental health after returning home from NH. being away from home and having to spend so much time in isolation with his parents and their needy dogs exhausts him on every level. so i bought him Gears of War 4 (which means that i bought an Xbox One S to play it on). we set it up together on Sunday once we knew we weren't going to see any power surges. i know that it sounds a bit odd to say that it's comforting to see him taking headshots and blood spraying on the screen, but it's really comforting to see him taking headshots and hear the sound of a chainsaw parting flesh. (the trademark weapon of Gears is the Lancer, which is a chainsaw rifle. not to be confused with the shotgun axe.)
i also had a lot of peppermint tea and made a practice swatch of the textured stitch for my sweater. i think i'll cast on for real tonight.

turn turn turn

it's starting to really feel like fall. the sky is grey, and the rain is here. the tree in the courtyard is waving around and i think the drip cups for one of my planters blew away.* C and i both have colds, so i regretfully put our Sounders tickets up for sale this morning. i thought i could manage standing for a couple hours, but standing in the rain for a couple hours isn't very wise. i will take an extra-hot shower and put on my jersey and my lucky socks** and we can watch from the couch while wrapped in blankets and sipping throat coat tea.

***
earlier this week Seattle was splashing out with the last perfect days before the long nights arrive. last month one of my coworkers took a group of us out on his sailboat on Lake Union. we just lazed around in circles, but it felt amazing just to be on the water. so i started prodding C about going canoeing - it's something he loved as a Boy Scout that we would talk vaguely about and not actually do. it's not like it's hard to get to a body of water here, or even to rent a canoe.

the University of Washington main campus is bounded by Lake Washington and the ship canal (which connects to Lake Union and the Puget Sound). UW rents canoes by the hour. so it was kind of brilliant - i walked from work to the train station, got off at UW, and walked less than five minutes to the rental desk. the process felt way too easy: can you swim? give us your ID, here's your life jackets and your paddles, that dude will help you get in the boat, pay up when you get back. so that was it.



we puttered through the wildlife sanctuary past dozens of waterfowl who were completely unconcerned about our presence. C was reasonably good at giving novice me paddling lessons. it was peaceful and quiet and profoundly good. i was nervy about how high i was sitting and turning around to get stuff from the middle of the boat and not dropping my paddle. once i got over feeling like i was going to tip over, i started to feel connection with the paddle and the boat and manouvering it where we wanted to go.*** no mishaps, other than stumbling as we returned the boat. i'm sorry we tried it so late in the season; an hour of paddling is definitely $10 worth of fun but i don't know if we'll have a chance to go back together before they shut down for the heart of winter. next time i'll be willing to risk the good camera and take wildlife pictures. we've started some tentative talk about paddle-in camping :D

both of us left bubbling with happiness - endorphins from the exercise, peace from the water, the pleasure of working together. we got tacos on the way home, and sat at the bar where C made enthusiastic small talk with the bartender, which is how i know that he was pretty much giddy because he is not one to talk with strangers. it was a grand evening, i'm glad to have had it.

*sorry downstairs neighbors. or perhaps they welcome sky tupperware.
**they have not lost when i have been watching and wearing these socks. go go correlation.
***i went home and looked at buying canoes. we don't have a place to put a 12-16ft anything. but i looked. they make folding ones...

Mobile workflow

enjoying the friending meme, lots of fresh activity on the friendslist *waves*

but this is underlining my problems with the LJ mobile experience.

dear hivemind, what can i change to make things better?

specs:


  • Samsung phone with Android Marshmallow

  • email client is Google Inbox

  • browser default is UC Browser, with Chrome and Samsung's "Internet" as backups

  • official LJ app

problems:


  • the official app doesn't properly display a bunch of custom LJ tags - usernames, community names, polls

  • the official app won't let me choose a freaking userpic

  • the official app can't negotiate CAPTCHAs

  • browsers have more functionality if i display the desktop page but still can't negotiate CAPTCHAs (and it's really easy to fat-finger the wrong link)

  • i can't respond to comments from email

has anyone found a better way?

i see there's a .ru app. anyone know if it works any better and if so, if there's a way to sign in with a .com LJ?


my thread

hopefully this isn't all busted on the mobile client.

hi.

the right thing

i've largely avoided the internets today. i'm not interested in whatever political stupidity is going on.

***
today is my 14th Seattleversary.

i went dog walking, then silent writing and lunch with varina8, and then a largely spontaneous gathering of my knittas where i spread the gospel of The Great British Bake-off.

it was a beautiful day.

i needed that.

Stranger Things

well, that was great. it could have been larded with references, jump scares, and tear-jerking. it's not. it's a period piece, and it does sing a particular song to me: it starts with a D&D session and the opening credits are the beautiful lovechild of a classic Stephen King novel cover and Terminator. but it's not built on references. it just is.

for me, the horror elements were mild, the suspense was compelling, and the characters were king. highly recommended. happy to talk spoilers in comments.

Jul. 19th, 2016

C comes home tomorrow. i am too excited to sleep.

Things that are making me happy this week


i am enjoying the heck out of these podcasts:
More Perfect: stories from the history of the US Supreme Court. this is from the people who do Radiolab.
Code Switch: talk about race, mostly in the US, from a group of PoC working at NPR. stay woke.
Invisibilia: this one is roughly themed around invisible influences that shape our behavior. the one that hooked me was about how learning to express feelings helped an offshore oil rig reduce their accident rate.

i drafted a new knitting project bag pattern and made a prototype. it's pretty rad. now i feel more confident about making one with mimerki's fabric.

i eyeballed pictures of a handknit sock and have reproduced the effect without reading a pattern.

Pokemon GO. it deserves its own post, but suffice it to say that i enjoyed the downtown bus slowdown immensely this morning, since i was earning XP.











C will be home for our annual camping trip in less than ten days.
i'm worried about C. we've had sporadic contact the past few days. he's been able to tell me that he's unhappy and that this trip has been harder on him than the last one, but not exactly what is going on. he's promised a call tomorrow when he's finally settled back in NH. (at least now things are set up so that he is in the guest room and has a fucking door that closes. that was not the case during the last trip.)

so i've got that going for me.

his departure had a bit of a tornado effect on the house. and then game was cancelled this week. so i'm having trouble marshalling the spoons to clean up the house since i started in a hole instead of just dealing with the filth and disorder i generate on my own. i've even managed to misplace my kindle. i can't adequately express how not-okay that is. (at least i feel pretty confident that it is in the house somewhere.)

so i've got that going for me.

lots of things went well this week and this weekend. i made experimental raspberry-lemon curd. there's a roast in the crockpot insert, ready to cook tomorrow. i had an excellent lunch yesterday. i had an excellent walk with Leela this morning. i mail-ordered some new pants and they are so damn comfy.

which is nice.

fuel

C is driving from his parents' house in NH to PA to get crap out of his parents' crap-filled house in PA. while I love living in a future where we can chat on and off all day, it means that the weasels have started to whisper in my ear because I haven't heard from him for 12 hours.

validation

i put C on a plane again tonight, and he'll be gone for an indefinite amount of time.

i will miss him desperately. as noted previously, i don't need him in order to function and in some ways things are easier without him around. but i want him around.

i have felt some existential horror at the not-needing. what if C has no utility?

the real question is, why do i think that he has to be needed rather than wanted? relevant article: author posits that we are all conditioned to value men solely for their utility.

come to the woods, for here is rest

originally C was supposed to be home for two weeks. but the treatment schedule opened up a bit, so we pushed his flight out a week - which meant that we could get in some camping.

prior to the whole cancer thing, our plan for the summer was to go camping as much as we could and get Leela used to the idea (or determine that it was never going to work) before our annual trip in July.

realizations and a change of plansCollapse )

on Saturday we got up, went out for coffee, and once C's breakfast had settled, he was willing and we were off. Leela doesn't love the car. i had given her some benadryl to make her a little drowsy, and rode in the back seat with her. she proceeded to drool copiously in a way i had never seen. like, soaking my pants copiously. i spread my flannel on my lap to help sop it up, which was good, since it caught the vomit :/

after puking, Leela felt much better and lay down for the rest of the ride. fortunately, dog vomit is basically scentless, so i just had to keep from spilling until we arrived. after that, pretty much everything was fine.

Dash Point
feels surprisingly isolated for being on the edge of Federal Way and under a flight path to SeaTac. the park has a salmon stream and a pleasant hiking trail along it through a second growth forest, from the campground to its outlet on a Puget Sound beach. we saw rabbits, and ate the occasional salmonberry, and Leela splashed in the stream. the sound, well, that was a step too far. (we didn't go down early enough for the minus tide.) there were wee six or eight inch waves. Leela could see that other dogs were playing in the water, and she would run up to the edge, but then THE WATER MOVED and that was not okay. i guess if the waves came up past my knees i would be a bit wary too.

we made steaks and baked potatoes with the campfire, and generally chilled out. between the tree cover and being relatively close to the shore we had steady cool breezes and as long as we stayed out of the sun the temperature was great. Leela slept pretty well in the tent, although she did alert a couple times during the night. (placid Molly did that too, so i feel pretty okay about that.) the important thing is that she didn't flip out every time someone walked by the campsite. she didn't mind being on a run (we attach an elastic lead to climbing cord run between a couple trees; leashes are the law). she totally loved walking in the woods, and picked up on the campsite being "home" immediately.

C did okay too. it was definitely not-NH.

the campground was busy, mostly families. i was delighted that it was only maybe 50 or 60 percent white people, and not all of those white people were speaking English. ditto the day use side of the park with the beach. parks are for everyone <3 <3 <3

the only problem heading home was that when we parked the car, Leela didn't really want to get out. eventually i had to pick her up, which is hysterical because she sticks all four legs out as far as she can, like some kind of deformed starfish. still, it was pretty easy. we can do this again.

*there was filming going on a few tables over, seemed to be people in the music business telling anecdotes. didn't recognize anyone, wasn't going to get in their way to find out. we live in a city, motherfuckers.

things that are making me happy this week

C is home (for now). it's good.

i signed up for the comiXology Unlimited trial Tuesday  night, and promptly read three trades (two i knew about, one that was a new discovery). where Marvel Unlimited is narrow (Marvel only) but deep back through the Silver Age, comiXology Unlimited is broad (pretty much every publisher other than Marvel and DC) but shallow in that it only seems to offer first volumes. i found out about the service because Paul Constant instantly bitched about it being terrible for creators.* having used the app, it's as terrible for creators as Baen Free Library (i.e. not at all) with a side order of consumers being able to instantly buy the issues that aren't included in the subscription. seems like a money-spinner to me - i'm going to have to come up with some rules about spending. it definitely beats the eternal waits for library copies of trades (especially when my local branch is closed for renovations).

seriously, Sex Criminals and Trees! <3 <3 <3

I got caught up on the finale of The Flash.




*comiXology is owned by Amazon, so it must be the devil's tool. i'm sorry the book store you worked for went under. it's been like, 20 years man. i admit that i still hate Lowe's for fucking over the hardware store i worked for in college, but i don't write a doomsday screed every time Lowe's sneezes. i ignore them.

C is coming home for two weeks, starting Thursday.

it's only two weeks, but i'll take what i can get.

he was so cute on our video call tonight. *muppetflail*

no, let me sum up

on Thursday, i had ice cream for dinner.

***
i had a draft post about how well my routine has been working, that Leela super-loves daycare, that i miss C but everything is suprisingly okay.

this is all still true.

but.

Wednesday night buhrger and butterflydrming met Leela for the first time. and she would not calm the fuck down. she just stood under the table and made her siren noise: roorooroorooroo. i took turns with mimerki sitting on the floor with her. she does react to new people entering the house, but it has always subsided quickly. not this night. she stopped being noisy eventually, but it was easy to set her off again and i had no idea why (other than the basic "you people aren't C, get out and send C in").*

that night she woke me up repeatedly with these horrible gagging noises. and i'd swim up enough to think that i needed to get her to the emergency vet, and then she would curl up and fall fast asleep, breathing normally. so we stumbled along until the regular vet opened in the morning, and they did a phone consult and assured me that nothing life-threatening was going on and they could see her Friday. having slept for shit, i called off and kept her home, where she eventually started to hawk up phlegm. so yeah, the vet saw her and confirmed that she has kennel cough (basically a doggie cold) and she'll get over it on her own. but she's very contagious, so she really shouldn't interact with other dogs for 10 days.

no daycare. no playing with her neighborhood friends. oof.

since she's so skittish with people, i can't have a dog walker come in. i need to figure out this weekend how to plan my work schedule. the next couple weeks are also the viaduct closure (traffic doom in downtown Seattle) so traveling between home and the office will have additional challenges. i think i'll probably just do shorter office days and log on from home in the evenings.
***

D starts weekly radiation soon, on top of the chemo. i told C about the dog drama (because in his position i would have wanted to know) and the dumbass told his mom. therefore D, who is retired but will never stop being a cop, has figured out that not everything is okay here and is fretting about disrupting our lives and making noises about how C doesn't have to stay.

i want to yell at him for that.

but i understand. i want people in my life to understand that stuff is happening, but that i also need to be treated mostly like i am a normal person on a normal day and not some fragile glass thing. i got a haircut this week, and my stylist V who i love for NOT being an incessant small-talker and cutting my hair in a businesslike fashion while i sit quietly and enjoy having her hands on my head, asked how i was doing...and i told her. she then talked about cancer stuff the entire time. which was really very sweet. but what i want when i see people is to NOT talk about cancer or how living without C feels like a rehearsal for life after he dies.

it's like wearing a backpack. the weight is distributed pretty well and my conditioning gets better all the time. some days it feels heavier than other days. this week i had to rebalance the load. i'd say that eventually i will get to take it off, but the truth is that it's only the weight and how well it's fitted that changes. everyone is carrying their stuff all day every day.

it's a beautiful day. i'm going to go see the sounders probably lose. My hair is cute, Leela's coughing less and less, The Blue Sword came out as an ebook, and last night pirate A brought me Twizzlers. i am, in spite of everything else, reasonably happy.




*i wish it worked that way. if yelling at everyone who enters the apartment would magically produce C, i would do it too.

put the hinges in the hands

thanks to my influence, the chatbot at work now randomly quotes DJ Khaled when you type ".wisdom"

which gets you things like:
.wisdom
You smart.
.wisdom
And another one.
.wisdom
And another one.

***
i am afraid to watch the new Powerpuff Girls. but i am delighted to powerpuff myself.

***
i had an interesting thought recently, when some people were wrong on the internet. i think of myself as having grown up in the least racially and culturally diverse place possible, and i should be even more of a clueless asshole than my WASPy cousins. but that's not actually true. i grew up with visible religious minorities woven into the fabric of my daily life. it was just so normal i don't think about it at all. i'm not frothing at the mouth about those scary Muslims and their different habits because i grew up with the Amish :D

***
i'm on another Marvel Unlimited binge. i was trying to read Secret Wars, but wow, beyond the Last Days of Ms. Marvel* i can't make myself care. instead i'm reading all of Civil War. it isn't perfect, but much of it is good.

reading Civil War definitely makes the Mr. Impossible storylines in the Venture Bros richer.** man, this season was a real return to form and a pleasure from beginning to (too-swift) end.

*Kamala and Carol Danvers work together, and Kamala's family is awesome. it's the sweetest. <3 <3 <3

**the great thing about Venture Bros is that everything works on its own. you don't need to know anything other than the text. if you can see the references and echoes, then there's another level to appreciate.

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We are out of furniture

this morning C started singing Ana Ng while we were walking the dog. it's remarkable what a deep and continuous groove is worn in my head - i'm pretty sure that i can sing all of the songs on Lincoln and Flood in order. (They Might Be Giants get progressively less awesome for me after Flood. Apollo 18 was uneven, and once they brought in the band i really lost interest. we had grown apart.)

i don't know if TMBG made me or knew me. it's indistinguishable now.

lemony crack

i am addicted to Ellenos yogurt with lemon curd. while the flavor is quite tart, it actually has more sugar than their other fruit flavors. yogurt is great breakfast food for me, but the sugar isn't. (and a cup of Ellenos is expensive enough that it should be a sometimes food.)

after confirming that commercial lemon curd + Fage scratched the itch, i could move on to getting the sugar out of the lemon curd. it turns out that a)sugar is not the thickening agent in lemon curd b)lemon curd is remarkably easy.

low-sugar lemon curd
based on David Leibovitz's improved lemon curd.

Makes 1 very generous cup

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons SugarLeaf (this is a sugar/stevia blend. sweetening equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar.)
2 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

i used a double-boiler made from a saucepan + shallow metal mixing bowl.


  1. half-fill saucepan with water. heat on low.

  2. in the mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.

  3. add the butter cubes and set the bowl on the saucepan, whisking constantly until the butter is melted.

  4. increase the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens to the texture of hair conditioner.



i had to restrain myself from just eating it with a spoon. a test with yogurt nicely replicates the flavor and mouthfeel of the Ellenos lemon curd.


  • for this test i used bottled juice. i have fresh juice in the freezer, i'll use it next time.

  • i have plenty of SugarLeaf and i like it. i'll try a sugar-free version with erythritol eventually.

  • the unused egg whites went in the freezer for later.

  • the original recipe and several others called for straining the mixture when it's complete. i couldn't find anything to strain out, and i don't think i would do it for rogue pulp from squeezed juice.

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