redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Mar. 4th, 2019 12:16 pm)
We just had what is definitely a French toast storm, with lots of snow, schools closed, etc. (though Somerville seems to be doing well at clearing the streets, and the buses are running down Highland Avenue). Being a prepared sort of hobbit, I have milk, eggs, and challah--a bakery at the winter farmers market makes good challah, and sometimes I freeze some for days like this. So, I am about to make the canonical lunch, and there will be much rejoicing.

The maple syrup is local, also from the farmers market.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Feb. 17th, 2019 09:56 pm)
Despite being awake late last night, I woke up a little after 7 a.m. I made tea, then went down to the fitness center. This time I did a few exercises and soaked in the hot tub for a bit, which my legs appreciated.

That took me to about 8:30. There was no Sunday morning programming that interested me, and I didn't feel like hanging out for a couple of hours hoping someone I knew would walk past and be in a mood for conversation, so I got dressed, checked out, and headed home. (Judy Bemis saw me in the lobby as I was heading out; we hugged goodbye as she explained that she was on her way to a shift in the con treasury.)

I stopped off at South Station and grabbed a savory croissant at the Pret a Manget; I hadn't wanted to wait in line at the hotel lobby Starbucks, but it seemed imprudent to wait until I got home. One disadvantage of this year's Boskone is that the con suite had only packaged snacks--chips, candy, cookies, I think some little packets of cheese and crackers, rather than bagels or donuts, or the lots and lots of hard boiled eggs they've had in previous years. There wasn't even milk for the coffee and tea, just packets of sugar and creamer. (This seems to have been a change in hotel policy.) If I go to another con at that hotel, and stay overnight, I am going to make sure to bring yogurt and other food I can keep in the fridge. (I'd bought a couple of single-serving yogurts, and forgot to grab them on my way out of Adrian's apartment Friday; if I'd known how limited the con suite would be, I'd have stopped in South Station and at least gotten some more yogurt.)

Since getting home I have played three games of Scrabble with [personal profile] cattitude, combed Molly, proofread one short article for Queue, stretched and exercised, and unloaded (twice), reloaded (twice), and run the dishwasher. Tomorrow's plan is more Scrabble, proofreading, stretching, and playing with the cats.
combined because I've already made three posts today

I sewed two buttons back onto my clothes yesterday, one on my all-purpose cardigan and one on the black silk shirt, and I think that's the last sewing until I get my new, improved eyes.

I finished editing a machine learning paper this afternoon, and sent it to the client, with an invoice. She has already paid it; the time stamp on the Paypal notification was *three minutes* after I sent her the email. I think that's the fastest a client has paid me, and will be a hard record to beat.

Having spent a couple of evenings unable to find anything on my kindle that I wanted to read, when the King County Library told me yesterday that the ebook of *Artificial Condition* (the second Murderbot story) was ready, I grabbed a half dozen other things, semi-randomly, to allow for a variety of moods. I have no idea if this will work, but couldn't think of a reason not to try it. So far, I am happily reading Murderbot, and just picked up two hardcover books I'd had on reserve at the Somerville library.

The neurologist's office called to say the insurance company has approved the Ocrevus. Next, the specialty pharmacy will call me, I will say that yes I want this medication, and they'll send it to the neurologist and we can schedule the infusion. (I think my OK is necessary because I do have a small copay for the drug.) a small fee for the drug.) I want the first half-dose is February 5 (which gives a few days slack between the second half-dose and the cataract surgery), and based on what they said today, I'll have more than enough time.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Dec. 2nd, 2018 08:57 pm)
Our electricity went out around 6:00 this evening, and was out for a bit over an hour. I used my keychain flashlight to find the big camping lantern, called Eversource to report the problem, and then we used the lamplight to play Scrabble.

When the power came back, I made a mug of tea (which I had been about to make when the lights went out), and some iced tea. During the outage three weeks ago, we decided to get a better flashlight—which we have—and I thought about keeping iced tea in the house, but hadn't done so. I may wind up throwing this out and making another batch, but I get grumpy (and less functional) without my caffeine, and tea bags are relatively cheap.

We had dinner, and then I loaded the dishwasher and tried to run hot water before turning it on. We have no hot water; the radiators are cold, but it's warm enough in here right now that I don't know whether the heating system is running. I called the building management company (or, it being Sunday night, their answering service) and reported the problem. I just checked, and we lost heat and hot water after the outage three weeks ago; that time they said they needed parts.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 22nd, 2018 10:19 pm)
[personal profile] cattitude, [personal profile] adrian_turtle and I had Thanksgiving dinner at Adrian's house this year. The apple crisp came out particularly well, and we remembered the cranberry relish; Adrian made gravy, which the turkey very much needed. Note to self: don't get another turkey at Whole Foods, we've been disappointed two years in a row.

Lunch was squash soup, which Adrian made before we got there (in some past years we haven't really planned lunch, and it got late and I got grumpy).

Also, it has been cold here today (now down to 14 F/-10 C, feels like 3/-18); given that and the holiday bus schedule, we took Lyft in both directions, and I am very glad we did so.
Friday was my (rescheduled) date night with [personal profile] adrian_turtle. We had a quiet evening (and morning) at her place; we cooked chicken, and had that, rolls, and salad for dinner, with enough left to make another meal for her. Saturday I came home via Arlington Heights, stopping at Penzey's for nutmeg, horseradish powder, and their latest free sample offer, "Bavarian seasoning," which I decided was worth trying as a blend with neither salt, sugar, nor hot peppers.

I baked Quick After-Battle Chocolate Cake, because I felt like baking. It was quite tasty, but would have been quicker if I hadn't had to start by mixing up chocolate soy milk*, and if I hadn't then spent several minutes looking for the electric mixer, and thinking about what to make since I couldn't find it, before [personal profile] cattitude found it behind something on a shelf in a closet.

Cattitude made salmon and asparagus, and after dinner he put a candle in the cake and he and Adrian sang "Happy Birthday" to me. We were eating seconds of the cake when the power went out. Glancing around we saw it wasn't just our building, but a multi-block area. If I can believe the Eversource phone system, I was one of the first people to report the outage. About half an hour later, I got a call that T-Mobile flagged as "SCAM LIKELY," so I let it go to voicemail. It turned out to be Eversource with an update on when they thought they'd have the electricity back on, which has me wondering about their scam detection algorithms.

Adrian left around 9, and we got the power back about 9:40, which was long enough to conclude that we need more, or better, flashlights (and not just because one of mine is vacationing in Cambridge).

When we woke up this morning we had no heat or hot water; it took me a while to figure out that this wasn't just me feeling cold. The repair crew got those back on about 3 p.m., so it could have been a lot worse. The management company told me (around 10:30 a.m.) that it would be a few hours because they needed parts; I don't know if the timing on this is coincidence, or if the power failure (or restoration) provoked the failure.

*The recipe calls for the milk from a chocolate cow, but I used milk from a patch of chocolate beans instead, so Adrian could eat the cake.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Oct. 28th, 2018 08:11 pm)
  • I went to another Friends of Captain Awkward meetup this morning, and had fun talking with half a dozen other women, and even did a bit of coloring.
  • In addition to my postcards to voters, I just mailed twenty "please vote because..." cards that came, pre-addressed and postage-paid, from a group called Need to Impeach.
  • Two people complimented my blue hair within about ten minutes today; one of them was a barista whose beard was dyed a striking dark blue/purple (over natural brown)
  • As I was getting dressed this morning, I grabbed my Black Lives Matter/Love Is Real (etc.) t-shirt, though I expected it would be covered by another layer. I also put on my Scrabble-tile earrings, as a reminder of my beloved (the tiles are their initials) and the Hebrew-letter pendant [personal profile] adrian_turtle gave me as a love/relationship token, which I hadn't worn in a while. (The reminder hasn't seemed as important/necessary now that I live near her.) All together, that's dressing for symbolism and psychological comfort.
  • Getting off the T at Davis this afternoon we ran into [personal profile] jbsegal, who I hadn't seen in a while, and chatted with him for a couple of blocks. He was on his way home from the same rally we were; several people on the train were coming back from the Yes on 3 rally that started an hour earlier.
  • It seems worth noting that before the rally, someone came through the crowd giving away "kosher pareve cookies"; I took one, something in a chocolate chip direction. The cookie was okay, and that they were just being given away was cheering.

I decided to take advantage of the combination of my improved hips and knee, and a warm (for October) day, and wander around outside, and asked [personal profile] cattitude to join me. He happily agreed, so we got lunch in Davis Square, took the train to Alewife, and walked around Alewife Brook Reservation.

We spent a lot of time looking at plants; I photographed things and uploaded the pictures to iNaturalist in the hopes of identifying them later, or of someone else identifying them for me. I also took a few photos of things I did recognize: a monarch butterfly, a sumac tree whose leaves have turned bright red.

Cattitude spotted one frog (which just looked like a dark lump when he pointed it out to me), a wood duck (too distant for me to tell from a mallard), and a muskrat or two (we might have been looking at the same animal twice); the muskrat was a pleasant surprise. Plus some less surprising animals, including mallards and robins.

I may have overdone things slightly, but got home okay by walking slowly and carefully for the last bit of the trip, and found enough energy a couple of hours later for some PT exercises.
I was planning to go to a protest today (against the proposed change to the "public charge" rule). I wrote down the location, and looked up transit info; the MBTA suggested taking the red line to Downtown Crossing and walking from there.

I allowed lots of time, so I could grab a bite to eat at Pret a Manger. Then I tried following Google Maps directions. Which not only got me lost, but was sufficiently confusing that the "distance/time to destination" was increasing as often as decreasing. I finally got to the address I was looking for, and there was nothing there: not only no rally, but no park or other space one could have been held in.

By then it was well after the announced starting time, so I decided to cut my losses: I might not have known where I was going, but I knew where I was, and how to get to the Green Line from there. I thought "chalk it up to exercise," then remembered that two weeks ago (or any time in the year or so before that) I would have been in pain after doing what my phone thought was a little over two kilometers. Today, I got off the train at Lechmere and walked to Toscanini's for a restorative hot fudge sundae (adding about another kilometer to the total for the outing).

At Tosci's, the server commented that she liked my "I stand with immigrants, and I vote" pin, in a way that led me to ask if she'd like it. She said something like "if you're sure," and I told her I had two more at home, and then explained where I'd gotten them. (The last time I volunteered with MIRA to register voters, they had a bagful and were happy for me to grab a couple of extras to share.)

The ice cream was good, as always: I had raspberry and sweet cream in my sundae, and brought home pints of chocolate chip and raspberry. The rest of the afternoon involved a little bit of paid proofreading, and some (mostly PT) exercises.

Dinner tonight was ravioli and a roast koori squash, a variety we hadn't had before: small, bright orange, and based on one sample [personal profile] cattitude and I both prefer acorn squash, but I would be happy to eat this again, and it's a better size to serve as a side dish for two people. A roast acorn or butternut squash for two people is the centerpiece of the meal.

Tomorrow will be a rest day; more proofreading, but no long walks or exercises for the sake of exercise.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 28th, 2018 03:48 pm)
We'll be going away for a few days and have hired a cat sitter, but the cat sitter wants us to have an emergency backup person in case she and her staff can't get here. [Bad username or unknown identity: jenett"] kindly agreed to do this for me, so I went to her place yesterday with a set of spare keys, and spent about half an hour visiting, which was fun. (Given her and my limited spoons, neither of us visited the other in the 18 months I lived half a mile from her, in Arlington.)

The keys were more of a hassle than they should have been, because the first set of spared we got didn't work. Apparently the apartment door lock )(which our landlord put in within the last year) uses an obsolescent blank, and the first hardware store used the wrong one. The second hardware store explained the problem, but didn't have the necessary blanks; they gave [personal profile] cattitude the name/code number for the correct blank, and referred him to Commoonwealth Locksmith, which is conveniently located near Porter Square. He got three keys made, that being what he thought we needed (two for the cat sitter and one to give Jen); I'd been thinking four, but I'd forgotten that the spare I gave [personal profile] adrian_turtle also doesn't work. So, I stopped in there and got two more copies of the key, which I tested as soon as I got home.

All this also means that the cat sitter, who came over a few days ago to meet us and the cats and get the spare keys will be coming back on Monday, to get spares that actually work.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 4th, 2018 01:49 pm)
In the last few days, I have finished and sent back the book edit I was working on, and fitted in two chapters of proofreading for a different client.

I have also dealt with the broken elevator—including both calling Saturday to report it, and buzzing the technician in this morning; I assume he came straight here rather than stopping at the management office for a key. With the elevator working again, I took some trash out, and stopped across the street to vote, before heading over to Davis to pick up an on-hold library book, have lunch, and get boring basics like milk, yogurt, and bananas.

And I'm keeping up with my exercise routine. I think I'd better take it easy for the next few hours, before going out to talk to strangers about Yes on 3/transgender rights.
First, I am very glad I woke up around 7 this morning, had tea, pulled clothes on, and headed out at about 7:30. [personal profile] cattitude and I walked slowly down the Community Path to Davis Square. That early, walking was pleasant, as we looked at greenery and lots of flowers, mostly yellow but some nice purple morning glories and blue dayflowers. Then we bought groceries and took a bus home; I did one of my PT exercises while we waited for the bus (stepping on and off the curb, sideways). It was "only" 27 C/82 F when we got home, at a quarter to nine; the high for the day was 40C/104 F, a level of heat that would be bad not just for me but for enough people that the National Weather Service issued a warning.

I spent much of the day on paid proofreading and editing work (different projects, for different clients). It was a productive day, and apparently Cattitude and I can both work from home at the same time, which is worth knowing. (He usually goes to the library to avoid distractions, but that would have meant going back out in the heat.)

This evening I watched/listened to a webinar, training for the volunteer work I'll be doing on Primary Day for Yes on 3, to protect transgender rights in Massachusetts. We're going to be approaching primary voters and asking them if they support transgender rights. If they say yes the follow-up script includes asking whether they know about this ballot question, a bit about why it's important, and then asking them to sign a card pledging to vote yes in November.

Apparently only 1/10 of Massachusetts voters know this is going to be on the ballot. So: a YES vote will keep the existing law protecting transgender people in Massachusetts from discrimination. (Yes to protecting people, yes to upholding the law.) That's been the law here for a little over two years, and now we have to fight to keep it.

While the scripts we have do talk about why this is important, next Tuesday we won't be trying to persuade people who don't already support the law—this is a get-out-the-vote effort. If someone says "no" or "I'm not sure" to "do you support transgender rights?" we're supposed to say "that's cool, have a nice day" or the like. (Ben, the organizer who was explaining this, suggested "that's great, have a nice day," but if she can say that with a straight face she's a better actor than I am.

This is a sales-y kind of task, and the script is a little long, but I'm going to at least try, weather allowing.
The first day and a half that I had this haircut I was noticing that my head felt weird. Literally, not meaning I had a headache or balance issues, but my head was enough lighter for me to notice the difference, and I had not expected that.

By yesterday morning, I was used to it except when lying down; that may take a little longer. (It's not a bad "feels weird," just noticing change.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 8th, 2018 09:16 pm)
I got my hair cut today. It's very short, shorter than I've ever had it before.

I had been thinking in terms of something a bit edgier, more likely to be read as queer rather than just "practical older woman," but when i talked to the stylist it turned out that all those interesting-looking hairstyles involve hair product, blow drying, and other things that I doubted I'd follow through on.

What I have is short enough that combing is redundant. It shows off the white hair I inherited from my maternal grandmother, and makes me look a lot like my aunt Lea—not so much the hairstyle as the way it frames my face. I like my aunt Lea.

If I want to keep it this short, the stylist said I'll need it cut again in 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast it grows. At that point, I may try a more interesting but higher-maintenance style.

I'm also considering unnatural colors, but I want to give myself time to get used to rocking the white before I cover it.

(Photo posted separately.)
Our cat Molly is recovering quite well; I've been putting a chair next to my desk so she can jump up easily, after seeing her leap from the floor once. (She succeeded, but leaping could be bad for healing, given that the incision was in her abdomen.) We have finished with the liquid medications (an opioid pain-killer and an anti-inflammatory) and are just giving her antibiotic pills, much easier on the humans and the cat.

I only got to spend a couple of hours at [personal profile] adrian_turtle's place last week, because dosing the cat is a two-human job, so I couldn't be out overnight. Instead, Adrian came over here for dinner Thursday night, and kindly offered to make chicken and turmeric soup because I was finding the prospect of making the curry I had planned rather daunting.

Being less stressed, and needing to spend less time and energy on cat care, I am caught up on my own exercises. I didn't walk very far today, because my hips started to hurt soon after I stepped out the front door. My recovery is going a lot more slowly than Molly's.

I am likely to be busier than usual with freelance work this coming week. The latest chapter of the book I'm editing is more than twice as long as the one before it. Despite that, I asked my newish client for another chapter to proofread, and my contact thee sent a longer one than any I've done for them before.

I got an excellent yellow watermelon at the farmers' market in Copley Square on Tuesday (along with lots of berries, a cucumber, and some smoked fish pate). This afternoon, [personal profile] cattitude went to Shaw's (Star Market) for groceries, and bought another watermelon, which I should cut into soon, before the next farmers' market trip.
My usual method for black beans and rice is based on the recipe on the Goya can; however, rather than buy their seasoning mix, I grab whatever seems good at the time, usually including cumin and oregano.

So, I had the chopped onion and bell pepper ready, the bacon was cooking (the base recipe not only doesn't call for bacon, it's quietly vegan), and I grabbed the jars of spice and the measuring spoons. Singapore seasoning, cumin, garam masala, ginger…and then realized I'd forgotten the garlic, and threw in a bit of garlic powder because it was quicker than using fresh.

…I took the bacon out to cool and cut up (and put back in at the end of the cooking), sauteed the vegetables in the bacon fat, added the beans to the pan, stirred in the spices and a bit of water and vinegar, and realized that I'd mixed up the spices I would normally use for a chicken or shrimp curry.

At that point there wasn't much to do but finish cooking and hope it worked.

It worked well enough to be dinner, but this isn't going to become my standard spicing for black beans, though I may try using more cumin and ginger than I have in the past. It's also not going to replace the rather tomatoey chick pea curry recipe I've made a few times. Still, variety is good, even if in this case it came from getting sidetracked on something that I've made often enough that I don't need to think about it.
I got a call this afternoon from someone who may be sending me freelance work (editing and/or proofreading). They are looking for one or more people to do anything in the range from 20 hours/month to full-time. Their approach seems congenial: thorough editing and proofing, including checking the art, and enough time to do it in, and she assured me that they cut checks weekly.

The woman said she'd found my name in the EFA directory, and apologized for calling without warning, but said there was no email address on my resume there. That seemed odd, and I was going to check my directory entry when we were done talking, but when I gave her my email address so she could send me relevant information, she said something like "oh, I thought that was a website or something." Oddly, [personal profile] rysmiel and I were discussing old email providers (prompted by their having written to a friend who is still using a hotmail address). I mentioned some site (I don't remember which) whose software rejected both my non-gmail addresses as invalid, but we didn't expect a human being to look at a panix address and think "that's not an email address."

I answered the call because I generally answer unknown-number calls unless T-Mobile identifies them as "Scam Likely" or the claimed originating number shares my cell phone's area code and exchange. One advantage of having made two interstate moves while keeping the same phone number is that the scammers aren't faking calls from 617 or 787; those numbers are usually calls I actually want, like my doctor's office or the person delivering a pizza.

I had physical therapy again today; the therapist asked if I thought the PT was helping my knee, and I told her I don't know. We did most of the things we'd done last week, plus a couple of new exercises; one of the new exercises is now part of my at-home routine, and she told me to come back in two weeks, because by then we'll have a better idea of whether the exercises are working/helping significantly.
[personal profile] cattitude and I went to the farmers market this morning. I had hoped to get ginger cheese: last week the vendor told me she had none left, and promised to keep some for me this week. As I walked up to her table today, she said she was sorry, but they didn't have any ginger cheese, because they're not making it right now. I commented that she had a good memory, and then we talked a bit more about the cheese. I am probably out of luck, since they're not coming to the Somerville, Arlington, or Cambridge summer farmers markets this year; she said they don't do enough business in/close to Boston.

So we bought apples and pasta and beets, and went upstairs to the Boston Smoked Fish Company so I could get my free fish (for having made ten purchases). I said hello, and that I had free fish coming. The seller asked what I wanted, and then gave me a container of smoked salmon pate. I thanked her, put it away, and asked if she needed my phone number. No, she'd recognized me too.

The combination of those had a "Somerville is a small city" feeling; I know I'm somewhat recognizable, but "that's the woman who wanted ginger Adelisca" is a bit different from "we owe this woman free fish, and I can find her in the database without asking for her phone number." When I talked about this with Cattitude, I thought of another thing that might be relevant here: we're at the farmers market almost every Saturday, because we like walking to a farmers market on Saturday morning, as we did in Inwood. (Wednesday afternoons are nice too, but the combination of Saturday morning and walking distance feels very right.)
redbird: purple drawing of a trilobite (trilobite)
( Mar. 13th, 2018 01:04 pm)
We're in the middle of our third nor'easter this month, and it's only the 13th. The National Weather Service has confirmed that it reached blizzard status in Boston, the nearest official station.

I was scheduled for PT this morning, but called the PT place yesterday afternoon to postpone. They may charge me $25 for the short notice, but I am hoping not: the buses are running, but everyone is saying "stay inside unless you have to travel," so the PT place may not even be open today.

I made us French toast for lunch, as is traditional—with challah, since I bought a loaf on Saturday at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market (which I heartily recommend: Saturday mornings at the Armory on Highland Avenue, through April 14), along with more Hudson's golden gem apples.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 10th, 2018 07:33 pm)
I feel as though I've started the year by dealing with the cold weather (mostly by staying indoors) and having a cold (which I suspect I should have taken seriously sooner than I did). Neither of these are helped by the fact that I've had my menstrual period not-quite-continuously since December 19. not very graphic details )

I ordered two pairs of earrings from [personal profile] elisem recently. When I ordered, she sent a note saying they would look good on me (because of my coloring). They arrived today, and are as nice as I hoped.

I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow, for follow-up on a couple of things; I will mention the cold while I'm there, but don't expect her to tell me to do anything different than I already am.

Other than that, I've been spending a lot of time on the Zooniverse "Cheetahs of Namibia" project, which I find more rewarding than the "elephant expedition," or the Cleveland and Chicago park wildlife projects: I haven't spotted many cheetahs in the photos, but very few photos have "nothing here." Along with the few cheetahs and leopards, there are a lot of pictures of baboons; warthogs; birds; oryxes, kudus, and other antelopes; and once in a while something like a giraffe, aardvark, or honey badger. There are about fifty possible classifications (including "livestock" and "bird (other)," and I'm amusing myself by keeping a list of the ones I have found so far.

*Yes, I know oryxes are antelopes. But oryx, warthog, baboon, and "bird (other)" are what I see most of.

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