Dept. of Unfortunate Announcements

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:36 pm
kaffyr: (NaruOMG)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Well, This is Not What I Had Planned at All

I have now concluded to my unhappy satisfaction, that I am, for the foreseeable future, Off Cinnamon. 

Given the huge place cinnamon has played in our menus, this involves a sea change in the way I approach non-savory recipes. It also requires that I give away at least one of the huge containers of cinnamon that I have. 

The apple harvest cake will be divided, with one half for BB, and the other to be given to FB and Miss Em. Same for the cookies. Both have been pronounced excellent by BB, but both have provoked cinnamon reflux, for lack of a better term, in Your Humble And Culinarily Careless Servant. 

And it's my own fault, for misreading the recipe in the first place. (Or not washing off the apples and starting fresh, instead of trying to make do.)

Damn. 

Dept. of Wobbly Cookery

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:47 pm
kaffyr: Princess Jellyfish goes to work (Reporting for duty)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Saturday In The Kitchen

The kitchen is a sugary-cinnamony mess*. Particularly the cinnamon, since, while making my mother's Apple Harvest Cake - which calls for 1T of cinnamon on a bunch of cut-up apples - I misread the recipe and put 3 tablespoons in. 

The cake turned out OK, largely because I separated the apples from the cinnamon sugar mix, and BB assures me the result is really good. But now I have a lot of cinnamon-sugar mix (I added what seemed like a metric shit-ton of sugar to the mix in an effort to balance it out correctly) that I need to make cookies with. I believe it will involve rolled oats, orange extract and chocolate chips. Hush, it will be wonderful. 

Meanwhile, there was so much cinnamon in the air, and in some that I unwisely put in my coffee, along with sugar and milk, that I'm burping up uncooked cinnamon. It has an unpleasantly chemical aftertaste. That doesn't appear to have affected the cake; presumably the cooking process allowed it to become less chemical. But burping the stuff is not pleasant. My stomach agrees, so I had some cold, slightly salted rice, because I'm apparently incapable of leaving my stomach well enough alone. 

(I realize that in reading this, you may recoil from my cooking skills , adjudging them - possibly correctly - as non-existent. You may decide that you will, if presented with an invitation to dine Chez 
[personal profile] kaffyr , politely decline. And you may vow never again to read anything I post about cooking. I am taking that risk, because in this TMI age, you deserve to note my weird-ass culinary stumbles, as well as my equally weird-ass culinary triumphs.)

Once I've stopped burping cinnamon, I'll venture back into the kitchen to attempt the oatmeal cookie-things. Wish me luck.

*Update - I've cleaned the kitchen. It's much more civilized now. 

Dept. of Poor Kitty

Sep. 22nd, 2017 05:49 pm
kaffyr: Kitty from "Kiki's Delivery Service" (kiki cat)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Phil's Very Bad, No Good Day

Poor Phil. Our little black kitty, who we've been treating for the past couple of weeks for ear infections - and taking to the very nice vet twice in those past couple of weeks - has been, finally, diagnosed with an ear polyp. It's bleeding when it gets jostled, which is why one ear has been smelling nasty; old blood. Eurgh. It doesn't seem to hurt him too much, and it's not awfully itchy, as ear mites would be ...

... but he needs surgery. And the surgeon our vet recommended is 30 miles outside the city limits (in Buffalo Grove, oddly, where I spent 19 unpleasant months covering the community. In fact, when our vet handed BB the booklet, I thought "I'll bet this is somewhere way the fuck out, please let me be wrong," and of course I wasn't. Fucking Buffalo Grove.)  Since Phil goes unhappily nuts for the 10 minutes it takes us to drive to the regular vet, this promises to be extraordinarily stressful for him, and for us. Especially since he'll have to go out for a consult, and then back out for the actual surgery. 

It's going to cost, too, but to not do it would be wrong. There is also the possibility, we're told, that the polyp may have grown through the eardrum; and that may mean they can't remove the entire thing, and that it may grow back. Aaack. 

Poor guy, he's really so forgiving of us. He's already climbing back into my lap, and wanting to be petted. I love him, and I hate stressing him out.

In happier human news, I feel much better. And it's the weekend. So there's that. 

Reading Friday!

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:52 am
frayadjacent: Connie Maheswaran on a beach reading excitedly (!reading)
[personal profile] frayadjacent
I've been travelling a lot, which means plenty of time for reading but not much for DW posting.

What I've finished reading since my last post:

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty. What I thought would be a fun, tight-knit murder mystery turned out to be a big story covering hundreds of years, major political upheavals, and some thought-provoking ideas about clones. I enjoyed this a lot.

Redshirts by John Scalzi. It was a fun book and made me laugh, but as my first Scalzi novel, I can't say it made me want to read more.

The Thessaly series by Jo Walton (The Just City, The Philosopher Kings, and Necessity). An interesting series, especially as an exploration of utopia. I never thought I'd read a book that would make me excited about the god Apollo. I found that even though I wasn't enormously taken in by the plots or characters, I couldn't put them down, and I think that's just because the prose is so damn readable. I came to particularly love the character Maia, and was bummed that she wasn't in the last novel.

Lavinia, by Ursula K Le Guin. I've had the e-book for ages, and after I finished The Just City, but before I realised there were two more novels after it, I was in the mood for more Bronze Age fiction. Le Guin's prose is as wonderful as ever, and I loved the use of the device that Lavinia -- and everyone else -- was a character in the Aeneid, not a historical figure. I find Le Guin's tendency toward gender essentialism more annoying than I used to.

The Small Change trilogy by Jo Walton (Farthing, Ha'penny, and Half a Crown). Detective noir/political thriller series set in an AU where the UK made peace with the Nazis and the US never joined WWII. In the first book, one of the POV characters is happily married to a man with the same first and last name as Mr. Adjacent, and it was very strange! At several points I thought I'd have to stop reading it because this character was under serious threat and I thought he might die. The end of the series was narratively satisfying but politically annoying. Between this series and the Thessaly series I have read two instances in Walton where the oppressed and their allies basically convinced those in power (or rather, a sympathetic faction of those in power) to stop oppressing them. I'm with Fredrick Douglass on that one.

What I'm currently reading

My Real Children by Jo Walton. Yes, I'm on a kick. I've just started this, but I'm hoping it will be more the intimate, character-driven story that Among Others was. As much as I've enjoyed Walton's books that I've read since then, none of them can hold a candle to that one.

Also, I'm slowly re-reading Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand by Ursula K Le Guin. I read it for the first (and only) time more than 15 years ago, so all I really remember is the overall feel of the book.

What I'll read next

I pre-ordered the new Philip Pullman book, La Belle Sauvage, and it will be arriving in less than a month. I told myself I'd re-read His Dark Materials first. Also, last year I purchased N.K. Jemisin's Obelisk Gate but decided to wait until the third book was out before reading the whole trilogy (including re-reading The Fifth Season). Now the third book is out but I haven't bought it yet. And finally, I have four books on hold from the library and I plan to drop anything else to read them once they become available. In other words, I don't know.

Free book-shaped space

I finally got my account set up to get e-books from the library and my book buying is plummeting (excepting the Le Guin haul, described below) while my reading rate soars. I'm so pleased.

I recently learned that Worldcon 77 (in 2019) will be in Dublin! I really really want to go -- Dublin is cheaper to get to than London and almost as easy -- but it's within a week of my 10-year wedding anniversary, when we are also planning a big trip. I know this is nearly two years away, but August always ends up filled with family travel, so I feel like I do have to plan this far in advance in order for it to happen.

I went to Portland, Oregon in August, for the first time since probably 2003. I went to Powell's and re-purchased many of the Le Guin books I'd gotten rid of in a misguided purge a few years ago. All the books I bought were used -- I prefer to buy used books anyway, but these were necessarily so since I bought out of print books. Anyway, my Le Guin library is slowly being restored. Also, I almost bought a few missing Earthsea novels, but then a guy at the checkout counter told me that next year they'll be releasing a new illustrated version of the series, so I decided to hold out for that. Speaking of, the fancy illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is coming out soon. I seem to be collecting them all, but I'm really curious to see how they'll do the later books, as even The Philosopher's Stone is huge and unweildy.


Dept. of This I Believe

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:47 pm
kaffyr: (Deficiency weekly)
[personal profile] kaffyr
You Know ...

Sitting in front of a screen, fighting codeine-generated nausea and an increasingly bleak mood, listening to Steely Dan warble about crossing one's old man back in Oregon, pleading with an unseen authority figure, "don't take me alive" ...

... is not necessarily a shining example of emotional hygiene. 

Perhaps it's time to go to bed. 

Yes, I know it's only 7:50 p.m. 

WHAT??!?!

Dept. of Pain

Sep. 17th, 2017 07:40 pm
kaffyr: (Clara didn't ask for this)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Okay, This Is New. And Awful

Pain. Pain. Pain.  )
kaffyr: The OT3 together, before PotW (Jack and Nine and Rose)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Title: Hearts & Moons Recall the Truth
Author: [personal profile] kaffyr  
Chapter: 28
Previous Chapter: Chap. 27, here, on LJ, or Teaspoon
Characters: the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: In which even villains think they're patriots, and we edge closer to a conclusion.
Edited by: the remarkable [personal profile] editrx , who helped me excise unnecessary verbiage and streamline the narrative - thanks! And by my beloved [livejournal.com profile] dr_whuh, without whom none of this would be possible. 
Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole property of the BBC and their respective creators. I take no coin or credit, but do thank the BBC for letting me play in their sandbox. 

*************************

Dept. of Woo-Hoo!

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:11 pm
kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
[personal profile] kaffyr
I Am Typing This Headline ...

... on my own, my very own, my beloved and darling, laptop PC. 

Vacation!

Sep. 11th, 2017 06:01 pm
jenavira: Crop of a picture of Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden, lounging (Default)
[personal profile] jenavira


I am back from vacation! I had a fabulous time, took way too many pictures, saw all kinds of fabulous things. Let's see if I can sum up halfway decently. Most pictures are linked, to spare us all the bandwidth.

The train ride out was gorgeous - lots of great views, and I met some lovely people. Spent the first afternoon in Powell's City of Books, which was just as delightful as expected, and I managed to spend less that $100, which is pretty astounding. We wandered around that night and saw some waterfalls in Ainsworth State Park, and the next day drove down to Florence.

I could've stayed in Florence for months. Sure, it's a tourist trap, but it's in a terrific location, right in between the sand dunes and Heceta Head, a glorious rocky outcropping with a cute little beach (where I picked up a driftwood sea snake) and a historic lighthouse. The first night we walked out on the jetty and saw jellyfish (I think they were lion's mane jellyfish) and a nice sunset; on the second day we went out on the sand dunes and then to Heceta Head. On the third day we sped through Sweet Creek Trail which was quite lovely even though it's been so terribly dry out there that there wasn't a lot of water in the waterfalls, and then came back to town to have afternoon tea. And I mean full tea: salad, sausage rolls, sandwiches (curry chicken, cucumber, pear and walnut, and salmon with dill), scones with lemon curd and clotted cream and fresh blackberry jam, and biscuits and petit fours. All made in house. If you're ever on the Oregon coast, I highly recommend Lovejoy's Tea House.

On the second of September we drove south, thinking maybe we'd go as far as California, but Highway 101 was closed because of the smoke from wildfires, so we took it easy instead, stopping at two more lighthouses (and the accompanying bays that I absolutely love) and Shore Acres State Park. The coastline down south of the sand dunes is stunning, rocky and dramatic - according to the interpretive signs, that's the Juan de Fuca Plate jutting up at a forty-five degree angle into the ocean. And I saw a whale! I took a video of it, but I'm damned if I can see the whale in it now. He was a ways off shore, but he hung around for quite a few minutes. The park itself used to be an estate, and they still have glorious rose gardens. At the end of the day we stopped to see the Darlingtonia, carnivorous plants that only grow in a tiny little area (usually in a swamp, but again, it's been very dry), and Mom's cousin Esther came over to visit for a bit.

And that was the end of Florence; the next day we drove down to Newport, which was a hell of a lot of traffic, but then again, it was Labor Day weekend. There was a rather nice sunset that evening (and, yes, another lighthouse), and we had dinner at Rebel Brewing, where I really should have bought a case of beer to have my parents bring home for me. Monday we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which was delightful in every way. Petting tidepools! Happy pufferfish! Carefully maintained shipwrecks! Dramatic eels! Shy eels! Pelicans! After that, Mom was wiped out, so Dad and I went alone to Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, which is exactly as advertised, and was probably my favorite place on vacation. There's another lighthouse, of course, and Cobble Beach, which is the opposite of the sand dunes at Florence: fist-sized volcanic rocks, which rattle together at high tide like music. Purely by chance we turned up about fifteen minutes after low tide, so we went tidepooling and wildlife-spotting. There were seals, lots of them, and a pelican, lots of cormorants, and another whale! This one couldn't have been more than a couple hundred yards offshore, feeding for the better part of an hour. The sunset was gorgeous, but my phone camera wouldn't do it justice.

The next sightseeing was meant to be Mount Saint Helens, but...well. Hemmed in by wildfires on three sides, the view was absolutely nothing. Up at the Johnson Ridge Observatory, they were on the loudspeaker every ten minutes warning people not to spend too much time out in the smoke. It wasn't a wasted trip, though - the interpretive centers were excellent, and the trail at Coldwater Lake was really pretty nice, even in the smoke. (I left my octopus back at the RV, it didn't seem fair to bring him up into the smoke.)

So we gave up on central Washington pretty quickly, heading back up to Chimacum and Port Townsend, so I could see my parents' new summer home - a large "destination" trailer they bought in July and parked in their lot. (It's really pretty nice, although they're still getting settled in.) We went into Port Townsend in the evening, which turned out to be a terrific idea, because it was the night before the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, featuring all kinds of wooden boats, though of course I mostly have pictures of the tall ships. They actually have a School of Wooden Boat Building in town, so tons of their boats, of course. And I stopped in a little yarn store on the pier and bought some Washington wool.

We came into Seattle a little early for my trip home to see the Waterfall Park and the Yukon Gold Rush National Park, Seattle Division, since that was the park sending rangers on the train this year. And for my trip home I had a sleeping compartment, which was great because a) there was not much view, given the smoke; and b) I was pretty much done spending all my time with people. It was glorious to have a door I could close for privacy, and very nice to have meals provided for, although three restaurant-sized meals a day is really too much for me.

And now I am home and unpacked and very happy with my vacation. I was so proud I'd gotten all my photos organized already (I did quite a bit on the train), but I've just remembered I did a lot of sketching and I haven't gotten those scanned yet. Look for sketches soon, I suppose.

Dept. of Ear Worms

Sep. 10th, 2017 08:02 pm
kaffyr: Two elegant dancers (Dance)
[personal profile] kaffyr
It Won't Let Go

I find myself still drenched in Steely Dan, with many of the band's songs in my head when I wake up. This one especially; it's the one that makes me want to dance, and the one whose words least remind me of Becker's and Fagen's intermittently irritating schoolboy cynicism. 


Dept. of Things Get Better

Sep. 9th, 2017 07:54 pm
kaffyr: (Happy Kyouso Giga daughter)
[personal profile] kaffyr
A Productive Saturday

After feeling uncomfortably down by the end of Friday night, and after worrying about having to clean up the storage basement so early Saturday morning, I found that it worked out quite nicely. I rolled out of bed, staggered to the grocery to buy some bagels, orange and grapefruit juice for whatever laboring condo owners were going to turn up to help clean, and discovered a nice little group of them ready to go. That was a relief, since one of my worries had been that no one would show up (I was supposed to put out a pre-cleanup notice by email and forgot; that, too, made me feel down.) I did discover that yesterday was one of the days where I couldn't drink grapefruit juice, which was a shame, since I love the stuff, but by the end of the cleanup, I felt a lot better than I had going to bed Friday night. 

My mood temporarily tanked when I came into the house and found that I'd forgotten to put the lid down on my work laptop; Phillip immediately got on it, and managed to turn on a function that I couldn't turn off, and which made working on the laptop progressively more difficult. I reached the point of screaming at the computer, because doing that prevented me from actually slamming the thing into the floor. I'm not kidding. When I get furious, physical action is something that often happens, and is often the stupidest thing I could do (i.e. tossing everything out of a dresser drawer when I can't find something I want, or physically hitting a piece of machinery that's acting up. It's a serious and dangerously immature habit of which I've never quite broken myself.) Hence the screaming, which damaged nothing except, possibly, my husband's sense of calm. 

All hail, therefore, to 
[personal profile] owlboy , for answering my plaintive cry for help; he correctly ID'd my problem, and led to the brightening of my world. (And since my own laptop is still in the shop, this is even more important.) I told him he deserved a sonnet, but I didn't have the mental wherewithal to write him one. I may yet do it, although I'm not sure whether that's a threat or a promise ....

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