Friday, January 31, 2014

Week One: Success!

Today's vegetarian lunch consisted of a salad with baby carrots, kumato, 'zesty' sprouts, and a combination of cottage and mozzarella cheese on a bed of baby mixed greens. I topped it all off with some balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  On the whole, it was fairly tasty. I found myself feeling full after about two thirds of this tasty dish. Not too shabby for throwing it together on the basis of what I had left kicking around in the fridge.

I didn't snap pictures of yesterday or the day before's lunches because those were made by Mark's Pizza. Tuesday was just random stuff I had in the fridge. Nothing terribly attractive there. My salad for Monday, however, was pretty good. Another kumato, more baby carrots, 'zesty sprouts, and baby greens topped with some italian dressing.

That is some peppered tofurky. You can't really see it, but there is some mozzarella on this salad too. Again, fairly tasty and quite filling.

Sunday's lunch was a twice baked potato with sour cream and cheese. I also had some broccoli with it and some of those 'zesty' sprouts. (I got through most of the package before I hit any of those radish sprouts in there. I was kinda disappointed with that.) The tofurky here is the hickory smoked variety. It was ok but I think it was better with some kind of dressing or mustard on it.

All in all, I am pleased with the progress I am making on sticking to this healthier diet.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Veggie burgers are not that bad.

For lunch today, I had the remainder of my veggie calzone from Mark's Pizza. When I finished it, I was still hungry. Since I finished the last of my tofurky, I decided that I was going to try out the veggie burgers that I picked up. I put a little bit of the left over marinara sauce I had from the calzone on it. I have to say, this was really a good decision. I actually think this would be something that even Beloved would enjoy.

I don't have a picture of my lunch from the last few days. I want to start documenting what I make myself for my vegetarian lunches. Partly because I really don't have enough pictures on this blog and partly because it helps motivate me. It is now a full week into eating vegetarian lunches and breakfasts everyday. I think it is part of the reason why I have a bit more energy, to be honest.

I don't know if I have lost any weight doing this. Next week I see my therapist. While I'm at that appointment, I'm going to borrow their scale to check my weight. Starting next Monday, I am going to be doing fifteen minutes of exercise every day. The weather is just too cold for me to be going out and walking two miles a day. When it warms up, though, I am definitely going to start doing that again.

I want to drop fifty pounds by the end of the year. That makes a little over a pound a week. I have been looking at different strategies for how to do that. I like the idea of little changes that accumulate to big ones. I remember reading that if you lose your extra weight gradually that it is more likely to stay off. That is my goal.

I figure stuff like veggie burgers for lunch will help me lose that weight and possibly lower my cholesterol. I have a fairly low cholesterol diet to begin with but I really want to knock that down lower. The family history of high cholesterol coupled with the fact that I had my gall bladder out really means that I don't process it as well as other people.

When I eat foods that are high in cholesterol they don't agree well with my stomach. I'm adjusting my diet and trying to do the 'eat like your diabetic' thing. It's been kinda rough because I get the urge to snack fairly regularly. I think I still need to adjust my grocery shopping habits to take that kind of thing into consideration. I had way too much junk food yesterday and I want to avoid that.

I want to make that delightful bar of chocolate that I have sitting in the fridge last me until next week. That is one of my little goals right now. I figure if I can wean myself off of high sugar content foods, that can only do me good. That, however, is what I'm up to right now.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The little grocery store in Livonia, NY, near where I live, carries this brand of chocolates called Chocolove. I figured that chocolate is chocolate. That said, I was in the mood for some when I stopped there in the course of running all over the countryside doing errands today. I have learned the error of my ways.

Chocolove is more then the Hershey's Special Dark. Imagine something like the fancy imported chocolates for the prices of a Special Dark bar. That's what this stuff is. It says on the package that they use Belgian chocolate. I have to say, you can really taste the difference. This stuff is amazingly good.

I'm half tempted to take Beloved's bar and hide it so that I can eat it later. I am not going to do that, however, because I love him and I want to not create marital strife over a bit of sweets. My goodness, this Chocolove bar is wonderful. It's just what I needed after the whirlwind today was.

I didn't sleep well last night. I woke up after a few hours of sleep and then was wide awake for several hours. It wasn't stress keeping me up. I just couldn't fall back to sleep. When I finally did get back to sleep, I had some weird dreams about reliving my childhood as an adult. It was strange and for some reason involved zombies and bloody plants. As in, plants covered in blood. It was gruesome but not terrifying.

I'm sure if I wanted to, I could pull all kinds of meanings out of that. I'm not going to, however, because I feel like bragging about the sheer volume of stuff I got done today. I washed a mountain of laundry, resolved the storage issue for the recycling stuff, and took care of some housekeeping related stuff with my Etsy shop. I also mended what has become my favorite pair of jeans.

I stuck to my diet today, even in the face of the temptation of McDonald's. I will confess, however, I was a little bit wicked and had some cheap chocolate as I was waiting for the laundry to finish drying. Out of my choices, though, I did pick the stuff that had the highest amount of good for me stuff to it. I blame Beloved for turning me on to the chocolate-peanut butter combination. I did surprise myself because I couldn't get through the whole candy bar. Perhaps this whole dieting thing is working.

My plan is when I go to see my psychiatrist next month, I'm going to weigh myself. I figure if I do a monthly weigh in, I won't obsess over the number and focus more on putting healthier habits into place. Right now, I'm focusing on portion control and what type of foods I eat. Next month, I'm going to start adding in more exercise.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

15 min turned into 1.5 hrs

 So, FlyLady's Flight Plan for today included a mission to clean 15 min in the zone of the day, which is the living room. Specifically, the mission was to pick up things that didn't belong in the living room and put them where they were supposed to go.

I did a bit more then that. To the left are the before shots of the main spaces of the living room. I picked up some of the toy cars before taking the first one and then remembered I wanted to start documenting my progress with FlyLady.
 This is actually an improvement over how the room was a few days ago. With everybody being sick most of the last few weeks, all of the cleaning piled up. I think the living room was the worst offender, to be honest.

So, I snapped a few pictures and then put on some music and set to work. I started out focusing on picking up one corner of the room and working my way around the room counter clock wise. Widdershins to banish the mess, why not, right?
 I paused for a little bit to eat a quick lunch (that ultimately proved insufficient with all the cleaning I was doing). I didn't bother snapping a picture of my lunch because I was pretty much eating all the veggies that were left over from dinner over the last few nights.

The corner toy storage area is improved, though looking at this picture I realize that I missed some stuff. I think, however, it will be a simple matter of telling the boys now they need to 'help' clean up before they get to play with the blanket fort.
 I still have laundry to fold and put away, but that is no big deal. I am more then a little bit confident that the laundry will be a fairly straight forward affair this afternoon.

Tomorrow's laundry run, however, is going to be a lot of work. I didn't get the wash done this weekend and just wasn't up to doing it this morning. So, tomorrow is laundry day. If I had enough laundry baskets, I would fold everything as I took it out of the dryer.

The days of being able to fit all our laundry into two baskets, however, are long gone.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How the 'Manosphere' is a problem.

Perhaps you have heard of the Manosphere? It was started via the Return of Kings site and has grown to include over 20 listed pages on the Best of the Manosphere. There are countless other less advertised sites espousing similar sentiments. A quick review of Return of Kings' beliefs statement, it is immediately apparent that misogyny runs rampant through the group. A terribly heavy emphasis is placed upon the value of women on the basis of their sexual performance and Return of Kings even states directly "A woman’s value is mainly determined by her fertility and beauty. A man’s value is mainly determined by his resources, intellect, and character."

Such a front-loaded position makes clear that women are not viewed as equals. Reviewing the material on Return of Kings and other Manosphere blogs, this repetitive dismissal of women as little more then sex objects is blatant and receives no greater consideration then the function of gravity. The target audience of the Return of Kings and its brother blogs is not the enlightened men of the 21st century. No, the target audience of these sites are men who yearn for an imagined past where rigid sexual roles defined how men and women interacted.

It is easy to find articles upon these sites that describe women who do not fit their ideal as damaged goods. More disturbing is that these are not just circulating within some dark corner of the internet. No, they have been found on outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and other major social networking media. Part of the rising popularity of these sites are from the people who share the outrage that they feel and include a link back to them. Another part of the appeal of these sites is that there is a significant population of men who feel intensely threatened by the cultural shifts that are taking place.
As such, these men react by lashing out with their words to belittle and denigrate those who do not fit what they believe are the correct mold of behavior. Derogatory comments as to the quality of a person with respect to their gender have reached near epidemic levels on the internet. Sites that make up the Manosphere serves to perpetuate this behavior when we should be decrying it. When women are declared to be flawed on the basis of the length of their hair, it is apparent that they are not being considered upon the merits of their intellect, efforts, or other personal qualities that are being applied to men.

Actions such as this deny women their humanity. Indeed, Return of Kings even has an article talking about how women 'train' men to rape. This type of mentality is dangerous for society at large. It dis-empowers women just as racism dis-empowers people of color. Repetitively teaching one group that the other is valueless or inferior to them, the message spreads to the other group by way of inference and context cues. These are the unspoken elements of language that can be found in both written and verbal communication.

Communicating the inferior status of another group escalates the potential for violence against that group. It encourages a negative position with respect to someone from the scorned group at the outset of any exchanges, irregardless of the actions taken by that person. The Manosphere may claim they do not condone violence against women but the attitudes that they espouse and express are frequently used to justify abusive behavior, sexual assault, and subtle second class person status behaviors, like the refusal to pay equal compensation for equal work.

The solution to the problem presented by the Manosphere is not simple. While one could theoretically create a demand for these sites to be taken down, these sites would simply come back. People who ascribe to this misogynistic approach and are especially vocal in their efforts could be simply ignored. This works on a small scale but once one moves out of the scale of individual interactions, it becomes far more difficult to remove their audience. It is more effective to create an alternate message and disseminate it with intensity and vigor.

A combination of spreading an alternate, more balanced perspective and shunning of those who are particularly virulent has a significant chance of success. A counter message that informs and educates women and others marginalized by the Manosphere how to respond to the scorn heaped upon them is vital. Encouraging the people in charge of forums such as Facebook or Twitter to apply their decency standards equally and to discourage hate mongering is also an effective tool.

If the community of the internet comes together and publicly denounces the sexism and related precepts espoused by the Manosphere, it would be a major step forward towards a public forum where people are not verbally assaulted for their differences.

January Beer Tasting: Edmund Fitzgerald

I had been curious about this particular beer for a while. Namely because anything named after a tragedy makes me go 'wait, what?' I realize that was part of the marketing ploy and I tip my hat to Great Lakes Brewing Co. on their cleverness.

On the bottle, it is labeled as a porter. I honestly don't know what that means. According to BeerAvocate, a porter is a blend of three different types of ale (old, new, and weak). The label describes this as a complex flavor with a bittersweet 'chocolate-coffee' taste.

The hops are present in this beer. It isn't as overpowering as it was in the IPA that I tried earlier in the month. After the strong influence of the hops, there is a subtle smokey quality. There is some after notes that could be described as bitter chocolate/coffee. It was a surprise, because I totally didn't expect that. I

I tried my first sip at room temperature. It wasn't terribly exciting and the hops were much more potent. After I chilled it down, the more subtle tastes of the beer came out. It went fairly well with the beef stew that I had for dinner last night. That little bit left in the glass was left as an experiment. After being allowed to sit in the fridge until about dinner time today, I can honestly say that the coffee flavors are much stronger.

The subtle chocolate qualities in this were enough that I came away from drinking half the bottle wanting to have some chocolate ice cream. Strangely enough, this beer paired surprisingly well with Chocolate Therapy ice cream. It was honestly the last thing I expected. While this isn't entirely my style, it was still a relatively pleasant beverage.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

On Tofurky and other things.

From Here
Day one of intentionally eating vegetarian for breakfast and lunch was a bit of a challenge. I spent most of yesterday on the run. I was tempted when I was at Wegmans getting groceries to pick up some of the meat sushi but I got the vegetable instead. It was quite tasty, though the seaweed salad was not to my liking. When I got home with my groceries, I found that I was hungry again. So I busted out my noodle salad left overs from Thursday and ate that up.

A few hours later, I was ravenously hungry again. I was bad and I bought a jumbo sized rice krispy treat. I ate the whole thing in the time it took for me to drive from Geneseo to Lakeville. I am not proud of this. I considered my lesson learned and have had more protein today.

Today's breakfast was boxed cereal. I'd feel a bit guilty about this except for the fact that it was literally the easiest thing I could manage with the kids bouncing around like crazy this morning. Lunch was a tofurky sandwich and a bowl of curried lentil soup. I didn't expect it, but the tofurky sandwich filled me up enough that I managed a few spoonfuls of the soup. I have put it into the fridge to either have tomorrow for lunch of dinner tonight.
From Here

It smelled really, really good. The taste wasn't quite up to what the scent advertized but it was good. I'm thinking that next week, I'm going to make a big batch of chickpea chili. I forgot to get ground beef but I can chop up some of that stew beef that I purchased in my little food processor. I picked up a bunch of veggies for me to use in my lunches this week. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I had most of what I needed for dinners in my pantry already.

I walked out of Wegmans with the smallest weekly shopping bill that I have ever had shopping somewhere other then Aldi's or Save-A-Lot. It was $110. My menu plan for this week is pretty much the same as what it was last week. (Look below the jump for my menu. Breakfast and lunch are planned for myself. Dinner for everybody.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014


It struck me today that a possible route for me to go in my efforts to lose the 15 or so pounds that I want to is by changing my diet. Most days, I am on my own for breakfast and lunch. As such, I could eat what ever I want. I feel a bit silly realizing this so late, but it was a delightful thing to realize.

As such, I could start eating a more vegetarian diet. I think this would have a lot of healthy effects. I am more then a little bit sure that it would lower my cholesterol. Getting more fiber would be good for my digestive tract. If I do it right, I could possibly even manage to work myself to eating the correct amount of calories to be at my ideal weight (150 lbs) for the lifestyle that I have right now.

Today, quite by accident, I did just that. I had my usual morning breakfast of oatmeal with fruit and a bit of maple syrup. I blame McDonald's for getting me hooked on that combination. I'm not using instant oatmeal or artificial maple syrup for this. I do the refrigerator trick with quick cooking oats (I tried using steel cut and it just didn't work). To cut down on fat, I have been using just plain water for it. I must say, I prefer it this way. It could be because I'm a closet oatmeal purist but I doubt that. When I remember, I chop up half an apple and throw in one of those mini-boxes of raisins and a mini-box of dried cranberries.

This afternoon, I was feeling hungry but I didn't want to do much cooking. Then I remembered that I had ramen. Ramen cooks up fast and I will confess, I enjoy it far more then I rightly should. As I was boiling the water for the noodles, I realized that I had some veggies that I was going to cut up for a cold noodle salad last week. The clover sprouts that I was going to try turned questionable. So I tossed those, but I chopped up some celery, a tiny cucumber, and half of a small zucchini. Once the noodles were cooked, I drained them and rinsed them with cool water. Then I tossed everything in a medium sized bowl with a few tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

I ate about half of this. It probably was more then I really should have but it tasted SO good I couldn't help myself. I put the rest into a container and stashed it in the fridge. Because it is something vegetarian, I know that Beloved won't be terribly interested in it. As for the boys, the container is not see through, so I won't have little food bandits pilfering my noodle salad. Huzza for that, am I right?

Upon some consideration, I like the idea of eating a diet that is more vegetarian then not. One reason why is because I think it may help me control my PCOS related blood sugar issues. When I was pregnant with the boys, I was eating a diet that was low in processed foods, high in vegetables, and meat only when I craved it. I think I must have kept the grape producers hopping with how much I scarfed down. I found that when I had cravings, it wasn't for stuff like junk food. (No pickles and ice cream for this momma!)

I think the closest I came to craving junk food was when I wanted popcorn. (That's a whole story by itself. I'll tell it later!) I suspect that if I go with that kind of diet that I accidentally did while I was pregnant, I'll lose a few pounds all by itself. Throw in some increased exercise (I've been bad about that one) and I may see even more improvement. But, that's what's on my mind right now. I thought I'd share. :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

First of the Yule projects.

This is the beginnings of Moo's yule gift. It is 300 stitches long. The edge is worked in double crochet. I then worked 9 rows of wattle stitch. I'm now doing 9 rows of granny rows. I'm debating if I should then do a row of double crochet followed by 9 rows of inverted shells or if I should then do 9 rows of wattle stitch.

I'm going to be alternating colors. I have this petal pink that I'm doing right now. After I get 18 rows done, I'm going to switch to the pink camo. Then I'll do 18 rows of that and switch back.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Flammable objects, Mjollnir, and a bit of insanity.

This week has been challenging. My psychiatric health issues have been making it difficult to get much done. Feeling exhausted all the time didn't help very much either.

I picked up the crochet hook and started working on a simple project to help me keep my wits together. It sort of worked. I think as I continue forward and deliberately put time aside for this kind of thing, I will get more benefits out of it. I am pleased with my first 'sanity' project of the year. I call it the Buzzy Bee Bag.

Beloved and the bag
I wrote up the pattern and posted it up on Triond.
We'll see if it gets a bunch of views or not. Right now, I am just pleased that I finished this project with out running out of yarn. I was a little bit worried that I was going to run out of the black before I got near to where I wanted the top of the bag was supposed to be.

I had planned initially to have two stripes of black on the yellow flap but I didn't have enough for that. I'm not going to be grumpy and upset, however, because the bag looks good either way.

I mentioned flammable objects. One object was intended to be flammable. I took up the wax that I had sitting around from old candles. I melted it into a glass container with a pre-made wick. Thus, I created for myself a candle out of 90% recycled materials. I dedicated it to Dea and burned it for my little Full Moon observance. My plan is when I meditate, pray, or otherwise focus on Dea, I will burn this candle for her.

My habit of burning jarred candles has me acquiring a good number of jars. Because I don't trust them to be food safe, I have been working on coming up with alternate uses for them. I picked up a package of chalkboard labels that I slapped onto half a dozen jars. I think I am going to sell the clear ones on Etsy. The ones that are made out of pottery, I am going to keep. I have a plan to use one for buttons. I haven't decided what I will be doing with the other. I will figure something out, don't you worry!

I have been looking for a little over a month now and having no success for a crochet flat Mjollnir. I have been attempting to make one but I am not pleased with the results thus far. The first attempt here was based off of altering a cross pattern. Beloved and I have made several cracks about how it looks like a mutated form of Yoda from Star Wars.

My most recent attempt is on the bottom and it looks vaguely closer to
what I have been seeing people craft out of wood. I'm starting to think that this is going to be more challenging then I had initially thought. You'd figure from looking at the image that is popularly used for pendants that it would be fairly simple to create a flat shape like that in yarn. This is what I get for thinking it would be simple.

Now to return briefly back to the matter of flammable objects. My stove caught fire again. It happened as I was attempting to boil water. (This seems to be a theme. I attempt to boil water and something catches on fire. It's almost funny, if it weren't so damn annoying.) Now, the last time this happened, the drip pans (which I had thought were matte black finish) were so caked with grime and debris that they were a fire hazard waiting to happen. Seriously, the things were actually supposed to be shiny aluminum.

Apparently, they had NEVER been cleaned. I first attempted to clean them. When this ended poorly, I broke down and bought new drip pans. We didn't have any problems until last night. Now, let me first preface this with I regularly clean my drip pans (every month, and after I cook something greasy). When I was baking earlier in the week, I smelled something a bit burned. I thought it was the scones. When I took them out of the oven they looked ok, so I figured that it had to be that some batter had dripped down into the bottom of the oven and I paid it no more mind.

How does the baking relate to the attempt to boil water, I hear you asking. Well, it is very simple. Let me present you with exhibits A and B.
To the left, we have exhibit A. There's a little bit of mess from a few things splattering. All of which is easily wiped up with a warm, damp, soapy cloth. This does not look like it would be a fire hazard.

A touch messy, but not terribly dangerous (unless you're compulsive about cleaning.)

The drip pans are clean. There is no debris near the burners.

To the right, we have exhibit B. This is the space under the range top and over the oven proper. This is what caught fire last night. This is what it looks like after a good scrubbing by yours truly. It looked worse.

The truly disturbing bit about this is not the mere fact that it is utterly filthy under here. It was the fact that it was bolted down to the rest of the oven. Not only that it was bolted down, but the fact that ALL of the areas under the burners look this bad, if not worse.

The gods were watching over us last night. It is the only reason why I can think of that the whole bloody thing didn't catch fire. It is making me seriously think that I should move my bakers rack with books and such on it. I was too stunned to laugh in the property manager's face when he brought me a fire extinguisher. His solution to this mess: give it all a good scrub down.

Let's forget the fact that this area has at least one hole in it (note that gap in the center of the circle area with the scorch marks around it, that's what was burning last night). Let's forget the fact that this is not the first time I've had this problem with this stove. He brought me a fire extinguisher and basically stood there, pointed at it and said 'well, THERE'S your problem.'

My friend Lily is strongly encouraging us to take the cost of the cleaning supplies off of our rent check. I've already decided that if I can't get this bad boy clean, I'm going to demand a new stove. It has been almost a year now that I have been dealing with this nonsense. I am at a point where I am honestly questioning the safety of my stove. What other problems are lurking with this damned thing that aren't going to show up until I'm attempting to cook dinner?

Do I need to be worried about my home burning down just because I'm trying to make something to eat?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crochet stuff.

Crochet for sanity's sake is underway! To the right is the messenger bag that I am making. It is just freehanded, no patterns involved at all. I'm using up some yarn that I had sitting in the project room. I am more then a little bit certain that there is not enough black yarn to make the rest of the bag black, but that's ok. I figure I'll do a few more rounds with the black and then switch to the gold. When I get near the top, I'll alternate between the gold and the black a bit.
To the left is the sock I am making with the Adironack sock pattern from Interweave. I am using Lion Brand's Sock-Ease yarn in their Toffey colorway. I'm not completely thrilled with the yarn but I like how the pattern is working up. I think if I'm going to do this again, I will be making it up with the Cotton Candy colorway. The dark blue and the occasional sections of slate colored yarn makes it hard to see the stitch definition under normal indoor lighting.

I have started the process of acquiring the yarn I need to make blankets for the Danger Duo. I have also begun looking over patterns. I am drawn to the Moorish Mosaic afghan pattern. I really like the way it comes together. I have also been considering taking the quilt pattern Grandmother's Flower Garden and adapting it for a crochet blanket. Along the lines of adapting a quilt pattern for use, I have been considering using the Log Cabin block too.

One blanket is going to be heavy on the shades of pink. The other is going to have more purples in it. I just can't decide what I'm going to do for these. Either way, the blankets are going to be modular so that I can carry sections with me to work on them. I don't want to be lugging around a huge blanket when the weather gets hot.

Oh, speaking of quilt patterns, I have decided that I am going to make another needlepoint sampler. This one is going to be like the one that I made years ago and had gotten stolen. I will be drawing on the canvas several traditional quilt blocks and then stitching them in. I'll be posting up pictures of these projects as I work on them. Right now, I am still in the planning stages. I figure in about a week or two, I should have these planned out and be ready to start working on them.

I have no idea what I'll be doing for the other girls. I'm sure I will figure something out. I'm crafty like that. And I have the whole year to think of something.

January Beer Tasting: Pine in the Neck

So, as I said at one point last year, I am going to start doing entries on beers that I have in my exploration of this range of alcohol. Right now, I have a chilled glass of Blue Moon's Pine in the Neck. It is a double crafted India Pale Ale with juniper berries. I'm not very familiar with IPA, so please bear with me.

This stuff has a palate clearing sharpness that kinda hits you square in the face. It's not entirely unpleasant but I don't think I'll be getting another bottle. The juniper is very present. I find that this stuff has a strong flavor of hops (which I think is typical of IPA, but I'm not entirely sure). It does linger on the palate a bit but not excessively so.

It did NOT go well with the tacos I made for dinner tonight. If I were to pair this with something, I would go with a nice sirloin stake and mashed potatoes. I have been reading some about IPA and this seems to be a fairly standard run of the mill IPA.

Score: 5/10

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Feeding the sweet tooth!

The scones earlier today turned into muffins because I accidentally measured something wrong and doubled the batch. Now I am sitting here enjoying some chocolate as I review my notes in preparation of writing up an entry in Veiled Witch. I managed to connive the kids into picking up some of the toys they had scattered through out the apartment today. It looks like tomorrow will be a school day, provided the weather is decent. I am profoundly thankful for this.
From Here

I need a little time for me. I have some writing stuff I want to get done tomorrow. I also have a huge pile of laundry that desperately needs put away, a fish bowl to clean, and the checkbook to balance. I feel a little odd confessing this, but I am actually looking forward to working on these things tomorrow. I have been feeling like running around after the kids has kept me from taking care of other things that need done. It will be, dare I say it, satisfying to get caught up on that stuff.

Snow day and Momma's stir crazy

I am feeling restless. This is an amusing bit of irony, to be honest. We have a snow day today and the kids have been hopping around like mad little rabbits. I suppose it's the restless energy of the wind getting to me. Or perhaps the kids' restlessness is infectious, I'm not sure.

In an effort to use up some of the biscuit mix I have sitting on the counter and make something to satisfy my sweet tooth, I think I am going to whip off a batch of cranberry-walnut scones. It may not be brand name biscuit mix in my pantry, but I don't think that will change how these come out. I may even have something of a brain storm and come up with something good to write for Helium. I have two articles due in two days. They're both fiction, which should be relatively easy to work on.

One is on the topic of 'the spoiled child' and the other is 'a moment of madness'. My word limit is between 200 and 400 words. I am just at something of a loss for what to whip off for these right now. The kids have been distracting me. It made writing the 8 line poem that I had due today a touch difficult. I won't be surprised if that doesn't make the cut. I really feel it wasn't my best work.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Aftermath of Ion storm

Schools are closed in my area. Governor Cuomo has declared most of this area of the state to be in a state of emergency. The wind is just screaming around the corner of the house. We were outside a few minutes ago and the last view I had on the car's thermometer it was a bare 9 degrees above zero (in Fahrenheit or -12 Celsius). The cold is bitter enough that just the few moments that I was in it walking from the car to the building, my hands got painfully cold.

In all honesty, I am not going to worry about this. This weather system is not going to determine how stressed out I am going to get. Nonsense on the internet, however, may make me twitch a bit. I do my best to keep the first rule of the internet in mind at all times in all of my actions regarding this glorious interface of technology and such. I truly do. And I work very hard not to take it personally.

As someone I know once said, they just can't help being so painfully stupid.

When I have people yammering about how energy spirals differently through a crystal depending on how it is cut, I twitch. When I encounter this yahoo insisting that intercourse (of the penis in vagina variety) is rape, irregardless of context, I twitch a bit more. The former makes the scientist in me want to commit random acts of homicide via textbooks and pointy rocks upon the people who perpetuate this silliness. The latter drips with such privileged filthy entitlist attitude that I want to do horrible things to teach them what it means to actually suffer, because clearly they have never experienced it in their life to so blithely insist that insanity is true.

Rather then going head-explody over all this, here is some pretty music. This should do a reasonably good job of covering the weather situation.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Blog, blog, bloggity, blog.

I've been making a mass of snowflakes of late. To the right, you see my latest creation. It covers approximately half of the kitchen table. I made it from some boucle yarn that I loathed. It proved a surprisingly effective method of using up that damned yarn.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with this thing now. I am tempted to take some of my other yarn (like perhaps the variegated purple that I have in the other room) and do a few more rounds on it. On the whole, as much as I hated the yarn, I am fairly pleased with how this thing came out.

I have decided that I am going to do a blog entry every day from now to the end of the month. I am going to attempt to put together posts that are a bit better then what I did most recently. I will also be posting up some links soon to the things that I have been writing else where.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Scrumbling along.

From Here
I've decided that I really need to use up this baby blue boucle yarn. While the option of yarnbombing something, like the tree in the front yard, sounds like fun, I recognize that it would do absolutely zero good. I'm pretty sure that displays like the one to the right are frowned upon by the local ordinances and would land me into a bit of hot water. Never mind the fact that it is terribly cold out there and not ideal weather to be making a tree cozy in.

A bunch of other crafty people in the world have been making these things called scrumbles. I have decided to expand on the experiments I have been doing with crochet snowflakes. Thus, I have started work on a gigantic scrumble. I may sew the little scrumbles I will be making and the snowflakes I have made to this thing. I am not decided yet.

Currently, I am working the boucle yarn with a size q hook. The yarn is still fighting me mightily and I am rather annoyed with it all. The sooner I have this thing finished, the better, in my opinion. Not because I feel a great rush to finish this thing but because that means the faster I can stop doing anything with this silly yarn and get to working with stuff that behaves better.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Damn this weather.

From Here
Currently, it is terribly, terribly cold outside. I am sitting here at the computer wrapped up in a fleece shawl and sipping hot tea whilst thinking warm thoughts. It is doing precious little to warm me up right now. Winter storm Hercules has blown through and left a significant amount of snow out there.

The boys were excited when the property manager showed up to run his snow plow through the driveway. They were also squealing with glee when one of the neighbors fired up the old snow blower and took a whack at getting the white stuff off the sidewalk.

For my part, I just want it to warm up to freezing. The day has been cold enough that the apartment has not gotten out of the mid sixties in temperature. This has had the effect of the boys actually keeping their shirts on today. I suppose that is one good thing I can point to out of this whole mess. Snuggle Bug even kept his new sweater on today.

I have been busily at work drafting articles up for my Veiled Witch blog. I am optimistic that my work on that blog will prove helpful to somebody out there. I really want to try to get this whole working professionally as an author going into high gear. At the same time, I have been really struggling with this fear that I'm not good enough.

From Here
I am doing my best not to pay those thoughts any mind. I tell myself that they're the mental equivalent of my muscles complaining when I am exercise. I'm doing my best to soldier onward with the 'no pain, no gain' approach. I would be lying if I said that it was easy.

It is crap yourself terrifying, to be perfectly honest.

Still, I am going to do it because it needs done.
Shield up and push forward.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Fiction: The smallest elf.

She hated them and their oh, so kind gestures that hid their scorn like snow over ice. Yes, Hilda hated her companions so intensely that she could vomit. They made her dress in the nonsensical garb of modern images of the alfar. Twirly toed shoes, gaudy colors, and enough bells to choke a horse were the least of Hilda's problems.

The old contract with Odhinn still demanded they work to help him meet his new obligations. Old One-Eye cleaned up reasonably well and the glass eye did a passable job of making his missing eye less obvious. As the shortest of her people and the one that fit the stereotype of 'elves', Hilda had the misfortune of having to accompany the grim gallows god on his journey through Midgard. On one hand, Odhinn didn't drop scathing and patently vicious remarks about her parentage. At the same time, he was so solemn and silent on this night that Hilda got uneasy being around him.

The sleigh was loaded with gear. Odhinn was dressed in the same stereotypical garb as his unwilling assistant. Whereas Hilda looked to be the picture of an 'elf', complete with cheeks painfully pinched for a rosy blush, Odhinn looked nothing like the war deity he was. He looked almost kindly. There was something dangerous in that kindness that set Hilda's teeth on edge.

It was, she realized, time. As she struggled to climb into the sleigh an enormous hand gripped her wrist and pulled her up. Hilda gave an alarmed cry as Odhinn, great grandson of the first frost giant, did something unexpected. He laughed. Her fellow alfar laughed along with him and Hilda's cheeks burned with shame. He leaned down and murmured something quietly in her ear.

Suddenly, the mockery of her peers didn't matter. Her bastard lineage didn't matter anymore. Only his words burned through her mind. They don't know your strength like I do.