Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Right, then, spring. Verging on summer. Household update.

Can I blame the weather? Yesterday it was 77. This morning I removed a tick from my belly (how it managed to find a vein through all the fat....). The crocus are in bloom, although it cannot be for long. Peepers are peeping.

My bees did not make it through the winter. The past week I have been watching (and feeding) a bunch of honeybees going in and out of the hive, but it turns out that they were from somewhere else. The week of Hope and Belief have been very useful for rekindling my interest, which is either a good thing, since I have the infrastructure or a bad thing, because bees are at least as expensive a hobby as beads.

I have just tried to kill a tea-leaf. I hate ticks.

In cats and other housemates: Barb has moved into a condo she and Doug hope will one day be their home (it's in Connecticut, but he has not found a job nearby, so he is still here. I do not want him to leave, as a friend around and a thoughtful, hardworking housemate, as well as a tenant who pays rent are all things difficult to replace). Doug is moving a piece of furniture at a time. But in February he moved Mal and Wash, the former kittens whose sugar-daddy he has been since we got them. They seem to be doing well, not making Barb's life too much of a living hell despite not going outside. A week after they left here, there was an ad

(Interrogated mole on my arm. It looked like a terrorist tick.)

an ad, I was saying, about a brother and sister pair of cats whose previous staff had moved to Australia. The day I read the flyer was the day before the cats had an appointment with a shelter.  The person who put up the flyer did not want them to be separated. I caved. Now I have four cats, Marten and Willow , who have been here awhile, and Arthur and Sheba , who look a bit like I hired them to play Marten and Willow. Everyone is tabby. The males are swirly. If Arthur lost about seven pounds (the women who was fostering them said he had been even fatter) he would have lighter bones than Marten, but as it is he's just huge and makes Marten look svelte. The females are more evenly-marked, but where Willow looks like a Chinese demon (puggy, short, compact body, tense and hostile -- it's cold out there for a demon),

 Sheba looks like she had parents with money. She's quite lovely, and her fur is soft.

She also talks a lot and screams bloody murder (much louder than "I'm bein' oppressed") at times when Marten is NOT thinking about beating her up. Though he often is, and someone has bitten Arthur hard on one hip. We are hoping it will just heal up.

These are very nice cats, although not kittens, and the blended-family stress has been noticeable.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It is winter, which is as it should be here.

By which I mean it is cold (under 25F out of the sun) and there is snow (and significant ice) on the ground. It is January, and it should be this way here. Before the cold snap. I was worried by the swelling buds of lilac and magnolia. And then after it did get cold, we lacked snow, which was hard on plants and mice and anyone hibernating in the leafage, to say nothing of the tourist industry. We need people to come and ski and so on because the state is broke. The legislature is full of Tea Partiers, who may have mixed feeling about the state providing snow removal on the roads, or indeed, roads... they have lowered the cigarette tax and are trying to eliminate the Department of Cultural Resources. Doing so will disqualify NH for a bunch of Federal aid (The government shouldn't be putting paintbrushes in people's hands? Just guns?)... I am going to a hearing tomorrow in Concord to try to persuade that committee to keep their hands off my archaeologists.

It's too early in the day to drink.

I am having trouble with the picture a day thing. How many sunrises can I stand to post? It's not that my days are ugly or even uninteresting, but they are not very photogenic.

 I signed up for a small online painting course, which gave me almost my money's worth just in anticipation and art supplies, mostly kindly supplied by my mother. Monday I start rather slowly... clear off half the table in the window (covered in beads, try to put them away tidylike) listen to podcasts while doing the warm-ups, eat lunch, you know... it's 3:30. Bang. Had to go buy food as should have done so previous Friday. Bought food. Bought power strips/extension cords because the living room, the bedroom, and the loom room all have perversely placed and a scanty number of electrical outlets. Talking a picture of the hardware store? No. Nor the supermarket, thank you.

Now it's dark, Doug is home, we had wine and knitting and badinage. Never opened the water colors. I considered taking a picture of the half-tidied work area with the art supplies laid out so bravely-o. Nah.
Tuesday, I make an early start, get down there by tennish, look at the workspace. It could be better. I could put just a couple more things away. At this point, we had the freshly lowered sewing machine table, the freshly raised cutting table, the ironing board, and the bead table. The futon was folded and covered with cloth and cats.  I had realized even in the small amount of art the day before how much too tall the beading table was, so I'd been considering either cutting it down, too, or not having it. Since the cutting table was taking up nearly all the remaining floorspace, removing one table would be good, and the beading table was a) too nice to ruin by abbreviation and b) not mine but Doug's, I figured I would ask him to find it a different home.
At this point the phone rang. It was Nathaniel, a dear person who digs with SCRAP and is doing research for his PhD all over the place. He needed crash space.  I was delighted. Thought it might be nice if he could get to the futon. Even nicer if there were room to unfold it into a bed.

I had to go into Concord for an NH Arch Soc meeting that night, but by the time I left the beading table was clear, the sewing machine table had moved into its place and was almost clear (the sewing machine doesn't mind living in its case), the power strips were in place.  Put clean sheets next to futon, adjusted cat, made it look homey. I have an insight that my life would be better if NOTHING was stored as a matter of course on the work surfaces, since they always have things that aren't supposed to live on them, on them anyway. Moved furniture around. Removed a bookshelf from my bedroom (not the books, of course. Tomorrow is another day, when maybe a comet will hit the earth).

  Went to Staples for printer ink (so I could, if I chose, print out the art class sheets, which might cut down on the web-browsing when I am supposed to be making contour drawings) and Lowe's to see if there was something like a tracklight fixture I could stick up and plug in (If I waited to wire it in, the Messiah would come first and sometimes it's nice NOT to have to have a big fat hairy deal involving holes in the wall. So lazy. So dark in half of that room. The working half. The sitting and reading or sleeping half has so many tracklights they actually warm you up, which, despite the energy waste, I am not replacing just yet. Winter, remember). Did not take a picture of the NHAS board or Lowe's.
 Obtained such a light, and two water-hyacinth baskets to put on the shelf. Survived board meeting. Found Nathaniel. Had a Chinese dinner that couldn't be beat. Remembered once again that I need a nice sampler with my network password on it.

The next day I went into lab early and actually got work done on the inventorying of the glass-mounted boxes with the goodies in them. I left the lab a little after 5:30 pm to go to the Central NH Permaculture meetup, which was supposed to be less than an hour away in New London.  I arrived in plenty of time, and didn't even get lost on the way home, which is always a nice surprise. The Meetup was for people who wanted to hear more about the permaculture movement; the college is offering a certification class this spring and Sarah told me about it because I had been grouchy when the Concord version had cost $50 (though that was two nights). One of the teachers in her certification class was giving to talk and he was fun and sensible and a good speaker. The room was full (about 50 people). It was encouraging. The Wikipedia article is pretty good, and offers a lot of links. I don't know if permacultural ideas can save the world, but they look like offering more hope than any of the other alternatives (ignoring the unsustainability of the current industrial and economic models, or paying attention to that and screaming a lot before thinking about something else seem to be favorites).

That being said, having hope is uphill and probably involves trusting other people.

This morning I surveyed the near-Hoarders condition of my house, and decided that what I really needed to do was to put up a birdfeeder. Found a bracket, screws, drill, drill bit, extension cord, ladder all in the right places (!!!!)  and put it up, and put all the tools away properly. Did not actually put the feeder in the right place, but since it was 15F and I was wearing pajamas, I think I might have done worse. (I am dressed now. I would never appear to my dear readers in less than clean, business-casual wear. Or not that you'll ever know, right? In fact I usually wear a prom dress.)

The post is for me to hide behind, so as not to scare the birds?

Then, of course, I had to get most of them out again, but the end result involves three brilliant fluorescent bulbs and decent light in the loom room. If you get bright fluorescent lights, you may want the soft yellow ones even if you think you would prefer the bright white ones (which are still warmer than the alleged 'daylight' ones, which look like maybe you're on a planet of Rigel or Vega). Even the mid range ones look somewhat industrial, like I should be drinking straight grain alcohol instead of a nice up of tea.

Look into the permaculture stuff. It might cheer you up.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Photo365New Year's Eve Sarah
P1000548 deer x chickadee crop

365, a set on Flickr.

This is the location of the Flickr set for my Photo-Nearly-Every-Day undertaking. Many of the pictures will be mediocre, because Apple hates me because I don't want an iPhone. Blame me for loving USCellular, it's my destiny!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's (after) Christmas and I don't know where I am.

This isn't quite true.

For Christmas I made, starting in about October (when I found the Catkin Quilt fabric and I decided to make it for my ex, who is fond of cats and bright colors): a quilt (it strongly resembles the one in the model, but has interesting fudged things and an extra border)

; two pairs of fingerless mitts; two Bandana Cowls (which are splendid); a false entrelac scarf for Doug; several tiny elephants, dispersed among the nations, about forty imperfect classical beaded earrings, waiting for perfection; a bracelet for Lisa; several pairs of simple earrings showing how much work I have before I become better at making decent wired loops; six batches of biscotti, two batches of fruitcake, one of World Peace cookies, and probably some other stuff I forgot. What you can do when you have No Job and are lazy.

My right hand is not entirely happy about all this.

I owe many thanks to Sarah, who asked if I needed her to hold a gun to my head to finish the quilt (I did, it didn't take that much but I was stuck); Donna, Chris, and Sue the Bead-It! goddesses; the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast; and as always, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And now, feeling directionless, I have begun making some of the Catkin leftovers into a quilt for Barb and Doug, which will undoubtedly eat up a lot of non-scrap cloth, too, because its accessory fabrics are so pretty with the main pieces, and hard to match otherwise. Doug has thoughtfully sawn the legs of the sewing machine table lower, and made pieces of plastic pipe to raise a cutting table to the height of the ironing board, which makes a terrible cutting table but was better than anything lower. The cutting table, like the ironing board, folds away, but the loom room is hard to navigate these days.

It's snowing. The only significant snow we have had this winter was in the autumn (yeah), and it lasted only a day or so. It has been cold enough to be hard on all the beings who could use snow for insulation, to say nothing of the tourism.

Meanwhile yesterday I spent reading Sepulchre, which held the attention and did not degrade my morals, even though it took place near Rennes-le-Chateau and usually anything with the word Templar in it makes me wild (not in a good way). The HolyBloodHolyGrail content was minimal, however.

So this coming year I am going to try the 365-pictures thing, which I will put a link to as soon as I get going.  And I'll try to blog more, because it's a useful way to see what I am doing and what I think of it. Mostly right now I am thinking about my digestion, which is not happy with anything.