sakon76: (Default)
2017-07-24 11:21 am

On Blueberry Hill...

Last week Sprouts had a spend $30, save $5 coupon. Right under their 18 ounces of blueberries for $1.98 ad. Right, I thought. Challenge accepted. And I went to the store and walked out with sixteen of those 18-ounce clamshells in my shopping bag.

Saturday, as Jazzy and I are still sickish and I do NOT want to spread this to the other babies, we skipped Mommy-Baby Yoga. And since I had the morning free, I turned the first six clamshells into five quarts of blueberry pie filling. Except the darndest thing happened. When I opened the water bath canner, there were blueberries floating on the water. My heart sank. A jar broke, I thought. It happens sometimes. Except, as I fished the other four out and set them on trivets to cool, I saw the jar hadn't broken.

Somehow the ring had unscrewed itself and the lid had floated off.

I've never had that happen before.

Regardless, the contents appeared to be good and mostly in place, so after it cooled I placed the jar in the fridge and used its contents to make a blueberry pie this morning.

I love the convenience of having pre-made the filling. But the proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. We'll see what it tastes like when we cut into the pie tonight.
sakon76: (Default)
2017-07-21 08:15 pm

Sick But Busy

Squiddle and Jazzy continue sick. In a particularly snotty way, eww. And Wonderful Husband and myself have, of course, caught it too, if to a lesser degree. Ugh. Maybe it's a good thing that we're not going to SDCC this weekend? On the other hand, this is my prep time for Costume College, so it's not great on that front either.

BUT. I've got everything done for the 1950s Petticoat workshop. Well, 90% done. I have it all stuffed into a bin, the lid taped on so Jazzy can't pull it out and the "take these too on the day of" list taped to the lid.

And I just spent the last two hours on either side of dinner (tri-tip roast with sweet corn, baked potatoes or buttered homemade bread, thank you very much, because sometimes even on sick days I can knock it out of the park) servicing the 1924 Singer 99 in a bentwood case that I picked up from Goodwill this week. It cost me $12.24, and I figure it will likely go for more than that in the Bargain Basement auction. Since I'm not throwing anything else into the charity pot this year, I figure that's good for my contribution, and the machine will get rehomed to someone who appreciates it. I cleaned and oiled it, refilled the grease tubes for the motor, glued one of the wood supports back in place, replaced the bobbin case felt, gave it a new spool felt, fixed the tension, and repaired the cracked wiring. It's still not whisper-quiet, but it runs smoothly now and sews a nice seam.

When I step back from my "any trained monkey could do what I can" mentality, I sometimes feel a bit like Han Solo: "Sometimes I impress even myself." And I think indulging in a little of that feeling is good from time to time. Otherwise you get worn down. But at the same time, a little goes a long way, and there is a hell of a lot I do not know about vintage sewing machine repair.
sakon76: (Default)
2017-07-17 04:22 am

I Have Come To My Desk...

Posting at half past four in the morning, with a sole hour of sleep under my belt and an unconscious baby on my lap. Why? Not insomnia, to be sure. Squiddle has been sick (fever/congestion/cough) since Wednesday, and just as he started to get better, Jazzy caught it yesterday. And you can't explain to a baby why he feels crappy and can't breathe. And the only place he seems to want to sleep in on someone....

Going to try to sneak back to the bedroom and see if "between Mummy and Daddy" is a close enough compromise that he won't wake crying. Again.

ETA: Nope. No dice. Apparently only the Mummy's lap/desk chair combo lets Jazzy sleep. Joy...
sakon76: (Default)
2017-06-28 09:50 am

TLDR; Politics, Disney villains, and Wonder Woman

Apologies for the political commentary, but Squiddle has of late been watching Disney's Robin Hood, and all I can think about Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Sir Hiss is "ah, the Republican party." I'm far from the first or the last to note the resemblance between that particular party and various Disney villains. (Yzma also comes to mind.) But oh what painful times we live in.

On a lighter (?) note, I'm darkly amused by how when The Avengers came out everyone was saying how Warner Brothers must be kicking themselves for not letting Joss Whedon direct a Wonder Woman movie, but now that his actual script has leaked, the tide of opinion has shifted to "oh, thank GOD they didn't!" :)
sakon76: (Default)
2017-06-24 09:31 pm

Boys and Noise

Jazzy has taken to randomly screeching like a pterodactyl. Squiddle never did this! It doesn't seem to be linked to unhappiness, though, so we're figuring it's just him testing out his vocal chords.

He has also taken to banging on things. This evening I pulled out Wonderful Husband's doumbek and let both the boys have a go on it for a while. Then Wonderful Husband took over and started playing an actual rhythm. Squiddle's comment: "You're making me dance!" :)
sakon76: (Default)
2017-06-20 10:13 am

50 in '17: #10-12

Squiddle and Jazzy are watching The Sword in the Stone at the moment. Good classic Disney, though it's giving me a hankering to reread The Once and Future King.

Title: Wyoming Bride
Author: Joan Johnston
Length: 404 pages

Review )

Title: In the Land of the Big Red Apple
Author: Roger Lea MacBride
Length: 338 pages

Review )

Title: Secret Santa
Author: Fern Michaels, Marie Bostwick, Laura Levine, Cindy Myers
Length: 386 pages

Review )
sakon76: (Default)
2017-06-19 12:13 pm

Crafty Catch-Up

On Friday, I got to take a class with Bonnie Hunter, one of the stars of the quilting world. Which was my first quilting class since the ones I took with my grandmother circa 1992! And I picked up some neat tips and techniques. But, honestly, string-piecing (one of Bonnie's favorite techniques) is a touch exhausting! So I'm just going to do a wall-hanging from the workshop pattern and call it good.

The weather, meanwhile, is turning devilishly hot. As in an expected high of 90 today and 95 the next two days. I'm trying to get as much as I can done in the mornings while it's cooler, and then hauling myself and the boys down to my parents' place in the afternoons. I'm getting close to done with the last cross-stitch quilt block, though, so I think today or tomorrow I need to start hauling the Christmas tablecloth along with me again for my to-go handwork project.
sakon76: (Default)
2017-06-09 11:43 pm

[fic] As You Wish

Holy crap, I actually wrote something! This is a Wonder Woman/Princess Bride fusion, on account of Robin Wright playing major roles in both films.

Hot off the presses and unedited, since I need to go to bed now:


As You Wish
by K. Stonham
released June 9th, 2017

click for fic )
sakon76: (Default)
2017-05-28 10:29 pm

Teeth and Cake!

Jazzy now has three teeth, having just cut his upper left incisor.

And today I tried making an icebox cake for the first time. Basically just alternating layers of whipped cream, graham crackers, and sliced strawberries, chilled in the fridge for a few hours. I was slightly dubious. We were all slightly dubious. It rocked, the moisture in the whipped cream transforming the graham crackers into a perfect cake-like texture. Definitely a keeper recipe! I've seen a variant with layers of pudding replacing some of the shipped cream. I may have to try that next time....
sakon76: (Default)
2017-05-23 09:46 am

Catching Up + 50 in '17 #8-9

Hot weather arrived and with it, flea season. Yech. The cat has been Advantaged and I'm working my way through washing the everything-that-can-be-washed and vacuuming the everything-that-can-be-vacuumed. And squashing every flea I can catch. :/

I've also been working on quilts in a dual-purpose sense. Firstly, going through my vast collection of Works-In-Progress/UnFinished Objects (WIPs/UFOs) and getting some of them done (I'm aiming for one a month) and simultaneously targeting those which will neatly become Christmas presents. For further details, see my quilting blog.

Jazzy is now crawling forward and pulling himself to a stand so I'm having to go through the house with an eye to re-babyproofing it. Squiddle continues to be a bit of a threenager and had a wonderful meltdown at a Chinese restaurant the other day over wanting soup. Which we were ordering for him at the time! Fortunately the waitress also had a three-year-old and went and put in the order for the soup first and then came back to take the rest of our order. (And it was really good soup, too.)

And I've been working my way through rereading Marie Bostwick's Cobbled Court and Too Much, Texas books. So, quick book review time!

Title: Yarn Harlot: the secret life of a knitter
Author: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Length: 219 pages

Review )

Title: From Here to Home
Author: Marie Bostwick
Length: 351 pages

Review )
sakon76: (Default)
2017-05-15 10:01 am

Mother's Day 2017

We didn't do much around here for Mother's Day this year. We did send cards and a gift card to my little sister, as she's now a mother, which I think she wasn't expecting. And my mother continues to be out of the country until Wednesday, so I told her on the phone this morning that we're delaying Mother's Day for her until next Sunday.

And for me, well, Jazzy had an unhappy night the night before, where no matter how deeply asleep I thought he was, I was not allowed to put him back into his crib. So eventually I gave up and he spent most of the night in Mummy and Daddy's bed. Where he wet himself thoroughly. So part of yesterday was changing the sheets, washing the comforter, and including the next size up of disposable/overnight diapers on the shopping list.

On the other hand, I got up an hour and a half before my boys and Wonderful Husband, and spent the time sewing. In fact, I managed to put together another quilt top yesterday, and am hoping today I can put a backing together to go with it. I have it earmarked for a Christmas present.

Plus I cleaned out some science experiments from the fridge and made some double chocolate banana bread and chicken pot pie for dinner. Win!
sakon76: (Default)
2017-05-11 03:40 pm

A toddler's bed is his castle

Squiddle is finally down for a nap. In his new castle bed! Which is very spiff:



It got assembled a week ago. And last Friday the convertible bed got converted back to a crib. So now the boys are sleeping in the same room. Well, the first two nights Jazzy woke with screaming fits around 2am and had to come back into Mummy and Daddy's room. But the last three nights, bar me getting up 3-4 times a night, they've both slept in the same room. Hallelujah...
sakon76: (Default)
2017-05-10 09:12 am

First DW post!

First post at Dreamwidth! Not much going on, but a few amusing things to share. Squiddle, ever more articulate, told me the other day that "The moon is a planet made of cheese." And Wonderful Husband came up with the idea that the little mermaid wasn't really walking on knives and glass, just no one had told her not to walk on the Legos.
sakon76: (Sakon)
2017-04-08 07:25 pm
Entry tags:

Going to feel this tomorrow...

I went out with the weed-whacker this afternoon and decimated most of the paths in the kitchen garden. (The last path has lot of weeds that go to fiber when whacked, so those need to be pulled by hand.) Then I cleared one of the remaining three (long) beds of weeds, and got about a quarter done on the next.

I know I have two soaker garden hoses that need mending/splices, but if I have any ability to move tomorrow, I'd like to get a working hose on the cleared bed and plant it. I grew corn in one half of it last year, so I'd like to do beans there this year to replenish the soil, and maybe shift completed trellis #2 there and put either melons or summer squash on it to grow upward....

Maybe this evening I'll sew?
sakon76: (Sakon)
2017-04-08 10:14 am
Entry tags:

Que Sera Sera

Ah well. No Comic-con for us this year. Once again Wonderful Husband got let into the sales room only after all badges were sold out.

So, (a) doubly glad we got to attend Wondercon, and (b) we are vowed to do something fabulous that weekend anyway.
sakon76: (Sakon)
2017-04-03 09:51 am
Entry tags:

Wondercon 2017

So this weekend was Wondercon! And in some ways it's a good thing I didn't end up needing to fly up to help my sister after all, because Wonderful Husband is sick. Cough, stopped-up nose, etc... no fever. But he ends up extremely run down each day, which is not a good state to be in while taking care of a very active little boy in the form of Squiddle.

But we did the con, taking two separate cars on Saturday (he left about an hour and a half before I did) and going together on Sunday. One nice thing about being local to the con (we live ~5 miles from the convention center) is knowing where to park. The signs were directing convention center parking to Anaheim Stadium, to be bused in! We parked at the GardenWalk instead and walked over.

I took four books and got them signed by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon. We bought a couple new variants on Ticket To Ride (Rails and Sails, and a card game), Amy Mebberson's Disney Princesses books, a pair of Stupid Fox books for Squiddle (and a Furret sticker he really really wanted), some Pokeball hackysacks for juggling, and a HTTYD shirt for me. We didn't attend the Masquerade, but there was some wonderful hall cosplay going on. I only attended one panel (the Mercedes Lackey/Larry Dixon panel), but overall I left the con feeling inspired both for writing and for sewing. And also, yesterday Wonderful Husband was extremely patient and minded both boys while I donated blood. It's been years since I've done so, and I feel good about getting back into the habit.

Now to wait until this Saturday and see if we can get tickets to Comic-Con. We tried for the prereg sale, and Wonderful Husband got in the sale area at the last minute... only to be told that there were no tickets left for sale. Which was not well done of the ticket sales mechanism.
sakon76: (Sakon)
2017-03-29 08:59 pm

The Almost Emergency Trip

I got another of this year's new blueberry bushes into a pot. Only one left! I mix the potting soil with a cup or so of cottonseed meal to acidify it. So far so good. And having more bushes around, albeit in the small from-the-nursery pots, during flowering time definitely made an upward tick to the amount of blueberries per bush we'll be getting this year.

This afternoon was spent in something of a more hectic mode, though. My sister has been readmitted to the hospital for a mastitis abcess and infection. She wasn't going to be able to keep Niecelet with her, and there's no one else to take care of things. So the social workers at the hospital were going to arrange for me to fly up. A good chunk of the afternoon was spent back-and-forthing on this with her and Wonderful Husband. Jazzy was to go with me; Squiddle was to stay with Wonderful Husband. About an hour before the last possible time I would have been able to leave to catch the flight, a different doctor came in with a different verdict. Sister's getting admitted overnight, probably will be released tomorrow, and a friend of hers can room in and be the responsible adult so far as Niecelet is concerned.

So, I can go to Wondercon this weekend after all.

But at least now I know how quickly I can tidy up necessary crap around the house and pack for a trip.
sakon76: (Sakon)
2017-03-28 11:16 pm
Entry tags:

Squiddle Report

I'm taking care of things at my parents' place while they're out of town. Today that included deadheading the rosebushes I planted out front years and years ago. This was actually done in self-interest, as I'm cutting myself a bouquet of roses for my dining room table every week. Today also included weeding their vegetable and herb beds, during which chore Rey, one of their cats, tried desperately to get under my hands to elicit gentle caresses. I summoned the Squiddle to help. His exact phrasing was "Rey, you naughty kitty. Come out of there!"

My baby, all grown up and talking in complete comprehensible sentences. (Sometimes.) It wasn't that long ago that he was at "Wei, wheh ah yu?" when talking to her....

Of course, I was slightly less pleased by his opining that a snail was yucky. I mean, sure I don't want them in among my vegetables, but I'm even less sanguine about him disliking them because of... reasons. Whatever they are. I suspect Peppa Pig may be to blame for this one.
sakon76: (Sakon)
2017-03-26 11:07 pm
Entry tags:

Captive Things, Kinda?

I am... mostly okay now. The first couple days were the worst. But I have more deadlines I'm running up against, and little boys to take care of, and a husband who makes sure I'm as okay as I can be at any given point.

When running errands after Mommy-Baby Yoga yesterday, I took said little boys to the pet store. Squiddle always wants to look at the hamsters first. But he's not getting one until he's probably at least eight! What we were there for was to get some ghost shrimp to add to the fish tank. I got six, for a grand price of $.39 each. (Woo, really breaking the bank.) One has died; the others seem to be doing fine. And since we got back from our holiday I've only seen one African Dwarf Frog. (Though I haven't located a corpse for the other.) Still, a replacement each for the shrimp and the frog, and one more set of fish, and I think the tank's good.

(And a few more live plants. Always more live plants)

Unrelatedly, Wonderful Husband has been playing Pokemon Go for months. It's also a wonderful distraction for Squiddle at, say, restaurants. I finally gave in and downloaded it onto my phone while we were up in Washington....
sakon76: (Sakon)
2017-03-23 05:31 am
Entry tags:

R.I.P. Paris

Up at five a.m. I think I got a couple hours of sleep between two and four? We just got back from a week visiting my sister and niecelet up in Washington, and came in the door to find the cats' water bowl bone dry and Paris collapsed in the hallway and weakly meowing. We spoon-fed some water and wet cat food into her, then I ended up taking her to the emergency clinic. She was severely dehydrated and in critical condition - her core temperature was five degrees below normal. She weighed only seven pounds. I knew she was light, but I hadn't known she weighed so little. She was at least fifteen years old and the vet made it clear to me that even with hospitalization, her chances weren't great. I had to make the hard call to put her down. I've spent hours crying and I don't know how to explain this to Squiddle when he wakes up and asks where she is.

I should have left more water - though what I left was more than my parents' two cats go through in a week when my parents are out of town. Or I should have tried harder to get one of my cousins to check in on the cats. I think Paris just had so little in the way of reserves that everything collapsed. Sushi, who is by comparison quite sturdy, was just able to shrug it off.

I swear that I felt her weight on me while I was lying in bed earlier. Maybe it was her coming by to let me know it was okay, that she's okay. Stranger things have happened. Ask me sometime about my late grandfather showing up in my and my mother's dreams.

I will miss Paris dreadfully. She was the cat who would tolerate Squiddle and Jazzy touching her, only hissing when the former got too rambunctious. She was very vocal, so much so that had she not already been named when we got her, "Cricket" would have been a good name. She had a stutter-meow that let me know when she was bird-watching, and a deep "mur-OW" that told me when she'd found a lizard in the house. She loved sunbathing in the kitchen garden, and slept on the same spot on the back of the sofa.

It's never hard letting go of a pet, and it's one of those things that makes the ephemerality of the universe seem so cruel. But how much poorer would we be without them in our lives?