Sunday, May 31, 2020

a small lack of cope

in which our plucky heroine briefly lost the ability to cope...

well actually I lost control of the coping saw, while cutting out the glued in place backing plywood from around my new printing block, and the sawblade ran into the side of my hand. Only a flesh wound, and not requiring actual medical attention, but boy howdy did I feel dumb. Now to finish trimming the edges of the block, so I can do a trial print.
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I have been craving a salad for days, nay weeks now... finally satisfied: two different salad greens, radishes from the Mud Bay gardens, homemade pickled beets, persian cucumbers, hardboiled egg and a precious bacon slice cut into "bacon bits". Gracious thanks to friends who made this delicious dinner possible!!

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Today the good thing was the arrival of Heather and Brandon with a delivery from up north, including pantry staples and some fresh produce, and best of all, a piece of kid art from K. It was good to see their smiling faces, even if from a distance. They drove out to Grimms Fuel and brought me back some garden soil for growing more veggies here, once I cobble together another option for raised planter(s), and they took away the horrible last remains of the floor joists, from the plumbing flood in 2006 to dump at the transfer station (I had hoped to somehow reuse those large floor joist beams, but instead they simply sat in the back yard slowly returning to their constituent atoms).
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Did a bit more pruning today. Managed to use the pole pruner saw to cut through the part of the side yard plum that needed removed. Started another batch of pea microgreens.
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Was resting this afternoon when another curfew alarm went off for tonight. So much adrenaline! Wow!! Since all the crepuscular hours are included, curfew will make getting in any walking really difficult. I will try and be ready to walk at 6AM, when curfew ends for the day, but will sorely miss my evening/nighttime walks. Sanity strolls are really my only useful defense to maintain my mental health, but I know this is a first-world old-white-lady problem. I have nothing useful to contribute to the conversation about racism other than we all can educate ourselves and do better. When I look at what is happening here in the US, I see militarised police, I see people continuing to try peaceful protests in response to grievous and fatal harm done to unarmed individuals of color, and I see various violent interlopers, mostly white, mostly male, mostly young, taking advantage of the civic unrest to wreak havoc and destruction. I have seen a few news images showing community people trying to clean up their damaged neighborhoods, showing black men protecting an isolated policeman separated from his group, showing white women holding the line between police and peaceful protestors, or showing police and protesters respect and kneel together here in Portland...
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So, another household I know has been contaminated by COVID... some of my beloved Blue Cedar House pals are sick. Two housemates there are CNA's, work at a care home that turned out to be a viral hotspot, and have tested positive, and the third adult there is waiting to be tested, but very symptomatic. So far the children of the house are not ill, and I keep reminding myself that most people who contract the virus survive it. But I worry nonetheless.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts apple tree prunings
5 Heather maskstarted arugula/cilantro yard waste bin
6 Kestrel apron planted bok choy starts
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7 floral blouse harvest more pea greens
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8 clothespin bed planted kale x
9 2 Barb masks
x x
10 micro quilt x x
11 tiny mattress x x
12 orange curd x x
13 mini mosaic table x x
14 5 Gods block x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes -  I just love kid art, and now K is old enough to draw me a thankyou... I got a piece of construction paper with a moose drawn on one side and a pile of poo on the other! (images labeled by parent) Who knows what lurks in the mind of a two year old....





Saturday, May 30, 2020

a visit from the pixel pals

in which our plucky heroine looks forward to seeing her friends...

This morning I actually managed to wake up at 5-ish, so was able to get out for a walk while the streets were mostly deserted. However, the weather was somewhat uncooperative; rain doesn't bother me, but the thunder and lightning made returning to Acorn Cottage seem the better plan alas. I did get about a mile logged on the pedometer before breakfast though. (and that turned out to be the last option for today, since now we are under curfew, so my evening walks are literally verboten)
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I've been gradually pruning the quince, some plum, some persimmon, some apple. Also need to do more thinning of the apples, as it set heavily this year. Zucchini seeds, a gift from Gwen, have been planted in small pots in the hope that they will soon sprout. Young Heather is going to bring me a half yard of garden soil on Sunday, so I am going to try and intend to find some way to create/contain another small raised garden bed in the back yard... I managed to not-kill the baby bok choi which got wilted in our heat wave Thursday; they have perked up a lot after being watered repeatedly.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 77:
I don't remember seeing so many fairy house front doors in years past as in the last few months... This one is new, in a nearby alley. There are tiny painted rocks near the doorway, echoing the larger painted rocks next to the steps, and a cylindrical "mailbox" next to the door itself.
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Crafternoon-zoom planned for after the NASA/SpaceX launch attempt.

I am going to make made some citrus rosemary shortbread (with homemade pomelo-saffron marmalade) by using this recipe but cutting it in half, because all my guests will be virtual. I also found this useful chart of how to convert pan sizes. I don't have the exact useful sized pan, which would be a 6" round, or a 5 x 6 inch rectangle, so I will try my 5 x 7 rectangle, and perhaps bake it a little less time (25 minutes instead of 35 minutes, as it will be thinner in the pan and more likely to overcook. It will be an was a successful experiment! Little 1" squares of rosemary citrus shortbread crumble bars... my Crafternoon indulgence and a wonderfully complex flavor profile. I used homemade pomelo saffron marmalade as the filling layer, instead of the commercial tangerine suggested in the recipe. I will, in the future, also be a wee bit more generous with how much fresh minced rosemary I include in the shortbread, since it could be a tad more emphatic than my first cautious attempt.
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As the country leans into peaceful protest about entrenced injustice and increasing murders of POC, the unrest is being coopted by other more sinister forces looking to further their own white supremacist agendas. Portland, like a lot of other cities across the USA, is now feeling the effects. The curfew alarm in the middle of Crafternoon was shocking and it took a while to figure out how to turn it off. I remembered the time the Emergency Broadcast System played the wrong tape, the "this is not a test, this is an actual emergency" tape. I was in high school and listening to the radio. It sort of helped to see the faces of some of my friends today on zoom and it sort of intensified the weirdness.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 18 ~
dancing rats and crows... I first drew this design for Michele, and liked it enough that turning it into a printing block was my next step. Really looking forward to printing this Bujold-esque World of the Five Gods motif as garment trim, once I get a backing glued to the soft-kut.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts apple tree prunings
5 Heather maskstarted arugula/cilantro yard waste bin
6 Kestrel apron planted bok choy starts
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7 floral blouse harvest more pea greens
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8 clothespin bed planted kale x
9 2 Barb masks
x x
10 micro quilt x x
11 tiny mattress x x
12 orange curd x x
13 mini mosaic table x x
14 5 Gods block x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes -  friends, always friends, that remind me that they want me to remain in the bright world, that send me food, and their good wishes... also that in the midst of all this, we had a successful launch, and clever humans working together

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

wishful Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine has lots of emotion...

was hoping to watch the SpaceX launch this afternoon, but was also understandably glad that they err on the side of caution as far as weather issues... will be glued to my screens here again on Saturday. Somehow I always have so many feelings about space exploration, partly because I grew up in a family where we moved wherever the engineering jobs were, because my dad worked on the space program for his whole working life. I have a Very Early Memory, like before age 6, of being taken outside at night to "see the satellite" passing overhead. There were no satellites when I was born. Sputnik 1 launched just before my kid sister was born.

That we now have an international space station makes me proud to be human. When I saw the artwork mosaic of the Earth, made from images of everyone from the class of 2020 (from kindergarten through graduate school) all over the planet who sent in a photo, I started crying. In these difficult times, while I pretend that isolation in Acorn Cottage is like being on a spacecraft, knowing that I will never leave the planet, actual space exploration is still continuing...

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this article, by the estimable siderea, talks about ways to manage and consume news in a useful and not excessively overwhelming fashion. I found it useful. Indeed, I find a great deal of her content to be useful, as her early posts about the current pandemic helped me to be prepared in the first weeks of isolation, and think clearly about the situation...
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 76:




yesterday while out walking, I found these little Hobbiton-style fairy houses in the parking strip outside a house on one of the neighboring streets. Some people have so much imagination and creativity!
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 18 ~
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I remembered a thing I read in a craft magazine when I was a child, about using eggshell to do mosaic, and I thought... hmmm  could do that into the recessed top of the lil plastic gizmo and make it really look like a tiny patio table repurposed as a nightstand. Once the layer of white glue completely dries, it will be reasonably sturdy. It would be really fun to do this with Araucana eggshells, which come in colors like blue, and green, or with Copper Maran eggshells which are dark brown.

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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts apple tree prunings
5 Heather maskstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 Kestrel apron planted bok choy starts
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7 floral blouse harvest more pea greens
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8 clothespin bed planted kale x
9 2 Barb masks
x x
10 micro quilt x x
11 tiny mattress x x
12 orange curd x x
13 mini mosaic table x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - so many SCA people are posting classes online now, and I have been really enjoying discovering various sites where there are things to learn... I watched a scribal class that had me enthused about getting back into painting, in a style I had previously thought was way too complex, and today have been watching a presentation "Introduction to Online Teaching" in the hope that I can figure out a way to still be able to share information while remaining isolated at home...

Sunday, May 24, 2020

the long weekend of Not-Egils

in which our plucky heroine wishes she was camping...

In over twenty years this is the first Egils weekend that I am not there. None of us are there, and it feels very odd indeed.  Normally right now I would be bundled up in my Norse wool clothing, hanging out around the fire, listening to stories, maybe drinking a bit of athollbrose if Yseult had some to share...  Living in a different reality now, and trying to figure out how... on Saturday, I organised (with help from Michele) a virtual Crafternoon for most of the latter half of the day. Getting to "see" a few of my faraway friends was a treat, got to hear Beth play the harp, and seeing various projects in process helped ameliorate a bit of the isolation
That afternoon I completed more than a third of carving a printing block. The medieval dancing rats and crows motif I drew out earlier for Michele is very Bujold "World of the Five Gods", and I am thinking it will make great trim for a modern pinafore or petticoat.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 73:

a particularly charming Little Free Library kiosk...
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Did a bit more mask sewing, made two with ear elastics for my dear SIL, and started cutting out a large set for Sharon Rose, for when she will reopen her practice. I also started cutting out the black/turquoise linen blend pinafore, to go with the floral blouse just completed.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 17 ~
to amuse and distract myself, some not quite finished 1/12 scale whimsy. The bed is a free pattern from Ann Wood, the nightstand is a ground score from years ago which I have been told is part of a pizza box, and the quilt is made with 99 patches cut from scraps from my mask making.

Tiny bed has yet to be painted, and it will also get a little tufted mattress. The nightstand will be painted black (faux wrought iron), and will get an eggshell mosaic top. The quilt still needs edge borders and backing fabric.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts apple tree prunings
5 Heather maskstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 Kestrel apron planted bok choy starts
-
7 floral blouse harvest more pea greens
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8 clothespin bed x x
9 2 Barb masks
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - Yesterday, the end of what turned out to be a quite long splinter began to emerge from my index finger, and with the use of my extra tiny pointed metalworking tweezers, I was able to remove it. Much repeated soaking in hot water ensued, as did slathering it with Neosporin and fresh bandaids. My phalange is a lot less painful and swollen, and with luck it will continue to improve. If in actuality the inappropriate wood bits are no longer embedded sideways,  I can cancel the appointment to get ultrasound and surgery. I really do NOT want to go to the multistory medical treatment center if I do not have to!

Also, Marian just posted this:

Every year at Egils, in our encampment at night in the firelight, Raven reads her wonderful Seussian poem "Norse of Course", so in that spirit, and from their backyard instead...




Wednesday, May 20, 2020

word of the day: aestivate

in which our plucky heroine thinks about goals, while walking around in circles...

The current pandemic situation is changing all of us in unexpected ways. I am not overly worried about my mental health, and am taking action every day to support the connections I do have with other people, albeit in non-physical ways ie phone calls, zoom calls, social media, and blogging... but what I miss the most is the ease in daily life, the small random positive interactions, and the planned high points of the year wheel, with events and visits with friends and family. My tactile self is in aestivation, in the same way as a desert frog will bury itself to wait out the drought until the rains come again)

I have no four legged friends living here, I have no other human living here. I am doing my best to stay sane. I know that it will be months probably years before it will be safe enough for me to be in contact with other humans any closer than six to ten feet away. I have no idea what sort of person I will be by then. My goal is to stay sane.

My midrange goal is to both stay sane and to stay alive, and to be in better physical health in 2024 than I am now.

My shortrange goal is to accomplish at least one thing every day beyond simple survival. Logging in my SMART goals, and writing here, help me remember that I am often successful...
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Two wheelbarrow loads (so far) of apple tree pruning, one of bracken prunings, despite the drizzle and rain. The baby bok choy were planted, a strenuous effort that involved moving two concrete blocks and almost a full wheelbarrow of garden soil. And, most excitingly, the Oregon Spring tomato start I planted on May 10th already has a baby tomato forming!

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one new-to-me mask pattern has a somewhat better fit than the "origami style" one I have been making recently... a second mask pattern, was somewhat less good - having a seam down the center front is something I find really tactilely annoying

well double crap! the masks I made last week, with the new aluminum wire - the wire snapped to pieces inside the mask when I washed it in the washing machine. I think that instead, I will boil the masks on the stovetop, and hang them to dry rather than use the washing machine for them... benefit, hotter water, drawback, extra procedure... And I have sent messages to everyone I made masks for, warning about the wire, and offering to make new wires from a different material (copper rather than aluminum?)
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My new floral blouse now has buttons and buttonholes, so yay, only three more items to sew for SWAP 2020! I just might make the end of June deadline, and also successfully add to my everyday wardrobe garments that has been long planned as Useful Additions while still adding some pleasantly seasonal details.

I was worried that the micro rick rack would end up being a bit too twee, but I think I like it. It works more as subtle punctuation than overly childish effect. Next project, dark turquoise teal pinafore...
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A wonderful brunch yesterday morning of "Friendship Tostadas": the blue corn masa came from my Mud Bay pals, the tomatoes in the Awesome Sauce came from my next door neighbors, the lettuce came from Aelfflaed, and the beans/yoghurt/cheese were shopped for by my friend Heather. (I did also slather the beans with homemade salsa verde)
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beauty in the time of isolation - reset day 14:

unknown but pretty flowering tree...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts apple tree prunings
5 Heather maskstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 Kestrel apron planted bok choy starts
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7 floral blouse x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the spirit of improvisation, which allowed me to create tomato habitat from assorted household objects

Sunday, May 17, 2020

sleepy Sunday

in which our plucky heroine attempts forward momentum...

without much success, really. Slept in until almost 10 AM, I guess I was tired. All the work managed today was a bit more on the kitchen: dishes washed, floor vacuumed and then the whole floor scrubbed clean. For some reason that was really exhausting. Had a bit of a chat with my neighbor Tracey (at suitable distance) about gardening, fruit tree pruning, and where to acquire additional garden supplies) There is a small pile of yard dirt in the alley behind the house two doors down, which we have permission to use, so one of my activities tomorrow will be partially filling the planter pots that Bill sent down here, so that more of the starts can have homes
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The other do-this-first will be calling my primary care doctor, as I realised today that my right index finger has not actually healed from the infection. I hadn't paid as much attention to it while distracted by recovering from my bad fall earlier this month. While finger is much improved, in that I can bend it, and type, the swelling has not subsumed entirely, there is still a red patch with a dark center, and today when I accidentally banged the finger in that area, the pain was quite intense with a definite sense of wrongness. I suspect that there is still a splinter in there, and soaking the finger has no effect at all.
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By all that is holy, this has got to be a bad idea for community health. Some guy is being a good little capitalist/moneygrubber, without wearing a mask even.. there is an Ice Cream Truck parked on the street, and all the families the young people on my block are clustered around it buying ice creams! I know that I've not seen all their families being social together, so they are not quarantine pals, and no one keeping a safe distance or wearing masks. Even if this is legal (and it is, I checked), it is not safe...all it takes is one cough...or one lil kid not having clean hands, and touching the truck or the ice cream guy, and him maybe not washing hands between customers, and I didn't see him swapping gloves between each customer, or... or... and that truck goes all over this sector at least, since I heard it for quite a long time before it showed up on our block
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I started making some additional masks, using different patterns in an attempt to find something that is less painful to wear with my still Very Painful sore nose and face. I am currently trying out this pattern, in several different sizes. I like how the bi-directional chin dart snugs the lower edge of the mask up neatly and sort of anatomically.
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beauty in the time of isolation - reset day 11:








assorted color combinations of columbines...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts -
5 Heather maskstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 Kestrel apron x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - my face continues to heal, slowly... I was able to wear my glasses, which I re-bent back into shape, for almost an hour today. Hopefully over time I will be able to return gradually to wearing them all day long.  Also, I noticed today that the peas I planted in the yard now have flowers! that means that eventually there will be peapods!!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine attends a party...

actually it was a Zoom birthday party! It was nicer in some ways than a realtime party, because I never had that horrid awkward feeling of not knowing what to say, and it was much much odder than a realtime party because everyone was tiny squares on a tiny phone screen, and not even all on one screen, so I had to flip back and forth to see who was talking. It was interesting to see people I only know by their online presence, to begin to have a face to go with the names mentioned... I am actually quite hungry for contact, even such attenuated contact, and I stayed "at the party" for the whole time it was happening, whereas in realtime, I never would have stayed that long...
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this video... beautiful music, beautiful words, beautiful dancers!

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well that was right weird... someone I do not know, just walked up on my front porch, and was about to take my baby plants! She waved and said, through the two layers of glass to where I sat typing on the laptop: "Hi, I'm Brenda, I'm here for the cherry tomatoes" Ummm (shaking my head nope) those are not cherry tomatoes, and you can't have them, they were gifts! and I think you are at the wrong house?! Seriously, I have not one but two easily visible street number signs, one at the front facing the street, and one next to the front door...

After I posted about this on our neighborhood/street FB group, it turned out that there was someone down the street who was in fact giving away cherry tomato starts. But how could you miss the street numbers on the house here?!
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 15 ~
This morning I made a kitchen apron for Kestrel, who has outgrown the toddler baprons I made for her... my hope is that the rainbow stripes and fun spirals will also bring joy. Plus big pocket because pockets are vital!
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The revised mask design fitted Heather quite nicely, and after delivering all my groceries today, we had a bit of time to chat before they had to head back north. We all were sad about no Egils this year, and indeed no SCA events... The two of them have a place that they can go camping, on "abandoned" land that actually belongs to his mom, so they will be camping next weekend on their own, at least. I miss camping with my friends soooo much!
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beauty in the time of isolation - reset day 10:
Culinary sage blossoms, from the plant that lives at the end of the walkway to the front door here... Bill gave me that plant when I moved away, and I nurtured it for years before I was able to plant it. Putting it in the ground here at the entrance to Acorn Cottage was a statement. Here I remain, hopefully until they take me out feet first...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts -
5 Heather maskstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 Kestrel apron x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the visible bruises on my face are fading, which gives me hope that in time, the Very Tender bruised places will also fade back into my ordinary body.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine can't do it all in one day...

progress was made on the kitchen, but it will take more than one day per room to bring them back to order and beauty. Tomorrow, washing the floor.
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read a good short story : If a Bird Can Be a Ghost by Allison Mills, and put her novel on hold at the library.
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experimental cooking every day, because use what is at hand. I was given an ear of corn. not quite enough for Sister Gigi's Sweet Corn Cakes recipe, so instead... cut Joy of Cooking pancake recipe in half. Use dried buttermilk instead of wet. Use oil instead of melted butter. Toss in a few tablespoons of instant masa instead of cornmeal... the pancakes were almost too delicious
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noticed that it is time to thin the apples on the backyard tree... they are about between dime and nickle size. Really do not want a repeat of last year, when a huge chunk of the tree tore off the trunk because too many apples were too heavy
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Young Heather had suggestions for improving mask construction by reshaping the bottom edge of the origami style mask to better fit the chin. I agree it is a better contour, as it begin to approach the curved front style of mask. She also prefers ear elastics, so an additional mask was stitched up today - they will be here tomorrow with a grocery delivery for me, including the highly desirable package of TP, and Q-tips from Costco...
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Baby plants seem to keep showing up, it would be a good idea to acquire garden soil somehow, and figure out another garden bed or pots to plant them into. I will look into what the cost is to have a cubic yard of garden soil delivered, with the thought to possibly split it with the neighbors
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As additional long-term food stores would be great, and as a way to support the local food systems, I want to acquire a half lamb, or a whole lamb for freezer storage. Have a recommendation of a farm that Liaden was very happy with in the past, and I will contact them... I also want to suss out the farmers market preorder app, for much the same reasons
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 14 ~

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This charming little coin purse kit has been sitting on my resource shelf for several years, ever since Danni brought it from China as a gift, when she and her son took an enameling class from me. It was a fun project to sew up, I did my best to follow the illustrations in the directions (since I do not read Chinese), and it will be useful to hold tiny projects for now, until whenever being out in public and shopping is safe again...
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beauty in the time of isolation - reset day 9:
European Black Elder flowers
Sambucus nigra
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens recycling bin
4 coin purse
planted tomato starts -
5 xstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Bill called today, and they will be sending down to me some more pantry items, as well as some apples, a few planter pots, and some more assorted plant starts. While I am not central to anybody, I am peripheral to a number of families, enough so that they include me as part of the web of sustenance. Remembering this is and will be a coal of warmth in hard times.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

hypochondria stay away from me...

in which our plucky heroine is still feeling quite puny...

All I accomplished today was to get dressed, take about a half-walk early this morning just at sunup, and make a very little sewing progress on my floral blouse. Still have a terrible headache, though it was somewhat subdued when I remembered that I could take Tylenol, and took a three hour nap in the afternoon to make up for waking at about 4AM this morning. My face still hurts, I still cannot wear my glasses, and my neck is still stiff. I really hope that all this feeling physically off is a result of my bad fall last week (combined with allergies), and not signs of the virus...

Had a Zoom call with my parents and sister, and while that was being setup, my brother and sister in law arrived with a groceries for Mom and Dad, and actually went into the apartment, just long enough to drop off the food and set up the tablet for Zoom-ing. Seeing half my family in masks felt odd. This whole thing is so odd, but I am starting to feel like life will always be this way.
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beauty in the time of isolation - reset day 8:
homemade butter from dear Heather, a vintage butter dish (longago housewarming gift) from Beth and Karen, and in the back, some fresh veggies from Zabet... doesn't get more beautiful than the lovingkindness of friends
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I've noticed today that pretty much all the rooms here in Acorn Cottage are beginning to show random clutter clumps. This is a sign I have seen before, when I am not coping as well as I think I am. One cure, since the current stressors are not going away, is if I simply pick one room at a time, and actually tidy things back into their places (at least all the things that do have places, which at this point is most of them). I do not need to have random projects scattered about, cheek and jowl with clean laundry, drawing supplies, and the scraps from the last mask making madness... Tomorrow I will start in the kitchen, and if all goes well, by the end of the next week I will both feel physically better and also have a more visually peaceful home again, which will make me feel mentally and emotionally better. I have learned over many years that rather than waiting for feeling better to inspire me to clean and declutter, simply making small changes bit by bit irregardless often has better results.

"Inspiration is for amateurs,
the rest of us just show up and get to work..."
~ Chuck Close
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greensyard waste bin
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens -
4 x
planted tomato starts -
5 xstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - being able to take a nap when tired... Also, getting a letter today from my dear friend Vesta!! I plan on answering her missive tomorrow (so there is even a thing for me to look forward to)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

a slow Tuesday that ended well

in which our plucky heroine has a wretched headache...

Must have slept wrong on my wrenched neck. I hope! Or, maybe it comes from having to do without my glasses for so long, because my face is still painful. Or, maybe I was unlucky, and got nailed by virons. Only time will tell...

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making slow steady progress on my floral blouse... today I'm working on the front button bands, and decided to go ahead and attempt to insert the micro rick rack into the inner seam. That turned out to be a lot simpler than the collar, though still fiddly, as I can sort of "lay in" the trim as I slowly topstitch the upper layer of the band in place.

If I can get this blouse done by the end of the week, there will be six more weeks left of SWAP sewing. Surely I can manage to finish another three pieces of clothing in that time? Thing is, I haven't been very motivated to make new clothes, and my ideas about what I *want* have shifted away from my former carefully planned, mostly grey, addition to my everyday clothing but it would feel very weird to me to be official SWAP coordinator for the year, and not complete it!
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beauty in the time of isolation - reset day 6:

mystery tree covered in small clusters of white blossoms
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greens-
3 lemon curdharvest sunflower greens -
4 x
planted tomato starts -
5 xstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Aelfflaed came by today with a whole box full of produce for me! I can have SALAD! and tomorrow I am going to make beetnik eggs... I gave her my jar of lemon curd (I will make more) in gratitude, particularly for the whisk of awesomeness

Monday, May 11, 2020

Monday miscellany and music

in which our plucky heroine has a productive day...

For some unknown reason, it was a very early morning for me today, as pre-dawn crepuscular light filled the bedroom window. Since sleep was not returning, I gave in to the desire for a shower. Which led me to then scrub down the shower walls, since already there... Given how nice and grey it still was outdoors, just as the sun was rising it was a great time for a bit of a walk; I got in about two miles, and also had a long conversation with my Venerable Aunt.

Finally it was time for breakfast, a scrambled egg with feta and a basil leaf. The feta is probably getting towards the end of it's lifespan, having been in the fridge (in brine) for about three months, it is much more strong flavored than I prefer, though still edible. Yesterday night I noticed that the back door light bulb was burned out, so the morning project was to replace it, which led to cleaning the cobwebs, washing the fixture glass, and then sweeping up the entire "back porch" zone.

Garden tasks of the day consisted of amending the empty trays in the salad table with some plant food, then planting them with cilantro and arugula seeds. Also started chitting some more peas for microgreens, so there will be some more fresh greens in a week or so
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The new tomato starts were planted late Sunday, in the Very Large pots that formerly held my little fig trees. As the weather is not going to stay in the 80's (thank goodness! (as May is a little early for that)). I am going to put jars of water around each plant to help smooth out the daily temperature fluctuations, and then wrap the tomato cages in bubblewrap for a faux greenhouse effect. Since I have no "wall-o-water", my hope is that DIY with things on hand currently will work fairly well.

I hope this works... surrounding the starts with containers of water to hold heat and even out temperature fluctuations. I am using some very old bottles of water from my earthquake supplies, that are at least ten years old (and hopefully can be replaced, as they should have been years ago!)
.
I wrapped the tomato cages in bubble-pack, since the weather is forecast to drop at least 20 degrees and return to the moderate and damp normal to this time of year. While bubble-pack and duct tape are neither sustainable or durable in the long term,  they are what is here that will serve. I even figured out how to tape together the two criss-crossed pieces stuck atop the cages, so that they will stay in place, and also be able to slide upwards on the frame to vent the faux greenhouse.
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started sewing my teal floral blouse; I must say that inserting the micro-rick-rack in the collar edge was not easy! I had to re-do a number of sections more than once, as there is just barely any clearance between catching enough of the trim and burying the fun little points inside the seam.
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Eeeee!! A surprise package on my doorstep from Michele, and it was an omnibus edition of "Digger" by Ursula Vernon, which I had read once when visiting friends, adored,  and attempted unsuccessfully to find online... Soooo excited, and looking forward to a pleasurable re-read! I have the best friends...

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Over the weekend, figured out that if there is to be some creative activity in the day, that putting the doing of it at the start of the day is best. A second best is to decide on some small project to begin, or to explore possible options. If none of these happen, the creative impetus is subsumed into the daily round of maintenance efforts. This sometimes feeds into my imposter syndrome, as "real artists" always are making artwork...
~ 100 day challenge - still day 13? ~
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beauty in the time of isolation, reset to day 5:

nearby nigella, found at 6AM
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greens-
3 xharvest sunflower greens -
4 x
planted tomato starts -
5 xstarted arugula/cilantro -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - cooler temperatures, while not ideal for tomato plants, are very much ideal for plucky heroines...

Sunday, May 10, 2020

not just for mothers

a still true, still resonant post from 2012...

our tiny plucky heroine
with support from Mom
I love my mother dearly, for who she is, her tender heart, her eye for the whimsical and wierd oddities in this world, her clever fingers that taught me at an early age so much of the handwork skills that have brought so much enjoyment into my life, her determination and bravery through all that life has brought her way, has been a great gift to me in addition to the fact that without her, I would not be here walking in this bright world in the first place. So to her, I say, not just for today but for every day, I love you so much!

But I, through fortune's turn and various hard choices, did not and will never follow in her footsteps. There are no children of my body that will look to me as I look to her. As a young woman, I chose not to marry the alcoholic man that was the only one that offered to share my life and bed, carefully chose to make certain that I did not bear a child to raise alone, and for years now that has not been even an option, even before the most current surgery took away those parts of my woman's body. Maybe 'tis only as a child of the fifties and sixties that there is a bittersweetness in the idea of a Mother's Day, for as a child the paradigm was to grow up to be a mommy, despite all the other things that were already possible even then... There is no holiday for single women, no fairy tale in our culture of the happy ending for the woman alone. So be it. That means it is up to all and each of us who walk outside the storied path to find our own celebrations, our own happy endings...

Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine is mighty grateful...

Today I had many reasons to think about my beloved circle of friends, and how people want to be kind, and how long it takes to learn to ask for help, and to notice and accept kindness. Our culture equates needing help for weakness, (and being weak means being in danger of harm) when in fact everyone comes in and goes out needing help, and often in the middle of life as well. This new confined-by-COVID reality brings out the lie in the heart of radical self-reliance and instead points out how without mutual cooperation, we all die sooner than needs must.  Just like how "my mask protects you and your mask protects me" we can each find ways to help and encourage one another, if there is the will...

My back yard is half covered in bark mulch, put down last year with the help of my BCH pals, and while that has reduced the former lawn, the areas around the edges without mulch, about half the yard, had not been cut back since last year, started growing in March, and were now heading above knee height, spewing pollen, and setting seeds. I called my friend Farbjorn yesterday to see if he was willing to spend several hours with the weed wacker to beat the foliage back, and he offered to come over today! It was a somewhat beastly job, as the weather suddenly turned hot and it was over 80F, but when he was done, the back yard went from fearsome to fantastic.

In addition, his housemates sent me over some extras from their produce delivery, and are going to add me in every other week so I can "order" a few fresh produce items. I now have two sweet potatos, an extra onion, and a small packet of basil and dill. Aelfelaed also sent me some spare chargers to add to my collection (my intention is to have a charger in every room, so that my dumb phone which won't hold a charge, can be used to play podcasts or audiobooks wherever I am doing chores) and has offered to be a tech adviser to help keep my collection of random items functioning, that allow me contact with the outside world...
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beauty in the time of isolation, reset to day 3:

it was a very Maxfield Parrish sky tonight...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peaslong grass backyard
2 strawberry rhubarb harvest pea greens-
3 xharvest sunflower greens -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - All the people in my circles, that together in so many ways remind me that I am not alone in this world. Your kindness and help, both tangible and intangible, is the breath of life to me

Friday, May 8, 2020

nightshade dreams

in which our plucky heroine wishes for tomatoes...

This all started earlier today during a conversation with my little sister, who described the most delicious (and currently impractical because it needs late summer produce) salad, combining chopped tomato, fresh corn kernels, arugula, and in my case feta (in her case bleu) cheese and a nice baslamic vinagrette. I began to crave tomato.

This turned into a terrible yearning to go to the garden center, and instead of giving in, I bought two tomato plants online from Fang (a local independent pet food and supply store that also has a small garden center) and walked my bike the four blocks over there, and picked them up curbside outdoors while maintaining distance protocol. No one I saw on the street were wearing masks. This makes me nuts. Wearing my mask, and my safety goggles, and my bike helmet was painful (as you can see, my poor face is terribly bruised), but only needed to get there and back home.  Fang is really making what I consider a very good attempt at doing this well, the garden clerk was both properly masked and entirely willing to simply set the plants down, move away, and let me pick them up and wedge them into my bike baskets. It has to be difficult to so turn the common courtesy rules on their head, for everyone.
Now I am going to read up about what tomatoes need, so I can fix up the big pots that used to have my figs in them, and plant the tomatoes tomorrow. Now (with luck) I will have some tomatoes this summer. It is almost 80 on my front porch right now. Hopefully Mr Robertson will come over here Saturday and use the weed whacker to cut back the tall grass in the back yard. I will feed him tea, and homemade banana bread, from a safe distance.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 collage bird netting peas-
2 strawberry rhubarb sauceharvest pea greens-
3 xharvest sunflower greens -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - okay, so I am definitely calling the microgreens a success... just cut up some of the pea greens, and added some of the sunflower greens, plus the last of my care package cucumber and with a little tahini/goddess dressing, it made a very nice salad indeed! I have been wanting salad for almost two months now...