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The Week(end)  That Was 

The Week(end)  That Was 

I don’t wanna go home… 


Alas, today’s the day. We’re all delaying packing up, and to be fair we do have a couple of hours before we have to get serious about leaving. But the drive to accomplish has faded, and we’re all staying to think about the responsibilities waiting for us back out in the Real World. 
We all made good progress on our various projects. Nikki finished the formatting and uploading for her first self-published book. (Go buy it.)  Deb did her research  and her taxes and got the logo for her new podcast (which is awesome!) How did I do? Hrm, let me look at that list. 

1. Scripts accomplished! I got the intro and exit scripts written, picked a session topic for the demo, and even came up with a name. No Small Questions. Just need to round up some people to do a recording session with. 

2. Draft ritual is done. I still need to write quarter calls and gaming text for the working, but I’ve ordered the supplies and have the major details all nailed down. 

3. Finished a clue and a half on the test knit. One small hiccup, but I’m not the only one having it, so I’m taking that as a good sign. 

4. Nada. Sorry, Mom. 

5. Does two blog posts count? Nothing in the bank, though. Maybe I’ll brainstorm ideas on the drive home. 

6. Garden plan is complete! Well, as complete as any garden plan can be. And I have my seed list generated, although I haven’t priced it out yet. It’s gonna hurt though. Worth it. 

So all in all I’m counting it as time will spent. I don’t feel as rested as I would like, but who knows if I ever will. It was good just to step off the treadmill for a few days, though. Hopefully when I get back, things won’t feel quite so overwhelming. 

Of course, none of us have looked at Twitter for four days, so… 

So… 

So… 

My excuse is I’ve been busy.


Since the Women’s March, I’ve been to at least one political/social action meeting a week. This past week I went to three. It’s exhausting, but other people don’t have the privilege I do of being able to step away from it, so I don’t feel right complaining.

The progressive group that meets at my church is turning into an Indivisible group, which I’m glad of. I’m looking forward to seeing what it develops into.

I’ve also started attending the local Democratic party meetings. I consider myself pretty well informed civically, but I’m learning a lot at these meetings. And yes, I am changing my party affiliation. I’ve been a registered Independent my whole adult life, but to remain so at this point in my life and in our history feels like the worst sort of entitlement. I don’t forsee being ethically able to vote anything besides Democratic for many years, and I live in a closed primary state, effectively shutting me out of that process as an independent. I hope to one day be able to change back, but for now this is the right thing to do.

One thing I am noticing is the party groups seem to be unaware of uninformed about the Indivisible groups, which is definitely not in their best interests. Not all the Indivisible groups are politically focused, but they’re too important a grassroots movement not to connect with as a resource.

Spring is coming, and with it thoughts of seeds and dirt and growth. I’ll start writing about those things again. I need to. It’s just hard when it feels like other people’s lives are at stake.

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Citizen of the World

Citizen of the World

20161008_095909We had an International dinner at church last night.  I’m a sucker for a church potluck, but this was especially fun because of the theme.  Hero and Karma came with me, although they mostly hid out in the youth room rather than have to make grownup conversation.  It was an interesting variety of food, from Korea, Colombia, Germany and Boston.  😉  Okay, some people stretched the International idea a little bit, but to be honest, I hadn’t realized how much I missed Boston brown bread!  My favorite was the Korean Chap Che, a beef and cellophane noodle dish that I really need to get the recipe for.

My contribution was zaalouk, an eggplant and tomato cooked salad from Morocco.  I do not like eggplant generally, but I love it in this.  It’s one of three salads that come on a salad platter at the Moroccan restaurant we like to go to, and I can now make all three of them.  For those who are interested, here’s the recipe I used.

Zaalouk

(Adapted from a recipe at about.com)

1 large eggplant
large tomatoes, seeded and chopped3-4 cloves of garlic, diced or smashed
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley (you can go halfsies with cilantro, but I hate cilantro, so…)
1 T paprika
1 T cumin
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water

First roast the eggplant.  Slice it in half, put the halves face down on a baking tray lined with parchement paper, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the skin starts to collapse slightly.  Remove and cool, then scoop out the insides.  You can do this a day or two in advance, as you have time and the oven on anyway for something else.

Dump all the ingredients in a dutch oven or large sauce pan and bring to a boil, then turn back the heat and simmer for half an hour.  If the ingredients are too chunky at this point, mash them with a vegetable masher, but leave some texture.  Continue simmering until the mixture is thick enough to mound up in the middle of the pot.  This can take a while, but resist the urge to turn up the heat, as it will burn easily.  Long and slow gives the flavors time to develop.  Mine cooked almost 2 hours, but it was totally worth it.

This mixture freezes beautifully, so don’t be afraid to make extra.  I got two eggplants off the discount rack at the store for this and roasted them that day, keeping the pulp in the fridge until I was ready to make the salad.  There were plenty of leftovers, so I’ll pack them up in individual containers and bring one out any time I want to dress up a boring bit of chicken for dinner.  Or just for snacking!  It’s best eaten with pita, but any bread works, and I bet it would be great as a topping for roast chicken or kebabs!

On the road (again)

On the road (again)

By the time this goes live, we will (hopefully) be on our way to Delmarva. But at the moment we’re neck deep in last minuting. We actually have about 80% of our stuff loaded already. I ran all the checklists yesterday, so today the kids were able to get it all in the car. They’re getting very good at that, especially Morgan. It helps that now we’re able to take the very back seats out. Makes a lot more room for all our stuff.

Meanwhile, I’m putting the finishing touches on the food. Despite my surgery, I still think about travel in terms of the food. We have an almost set menu for camping, but I’m trying to mix it up some. We are having bacon and eggs, and grilled ham and cheese, and s’mores. But I also made cold fried chicken and potato salad for lunch tomorrow, which was standard road trip fare when I was a kid. And I made these beauties.

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I realized I hadn’t shared these before. These are the traveling cheesecakes, like the ones I made for movie night, only bigger. Aren’t they pretty? And I’ve got wiped cream to go on top when we get there!  I also discovered that a dozen and a half eggs equals a quart.

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I figure I’m less likely to break a mason jar than a carton of eggs. Plus this makes mixing them easier! I just took a batch of corn muffins out of the oven to go with the chili, and we have a whole pan of cinnamon rolls to go with those bacon and eggs. So yeah, we’re going to eat well. We may even take a stab at crab, if the kids decide to try their hand at crabbing. They’ve all said they’re willing to at least try.

Other than that, I’m not sure what all we’ll be doing. Watching the ponies, obviously, almost certainly swimming. We’re taking the bikes as well, so we can tool around on those. But part of me is hoping that, unlike Acadia, this is the kind of campground where you can hang out in your campsite and watch the world go by.  I could use a couple of days of that.

The Perils of Mercury

The Perils of Mercury

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This mercury retrograde is biting us hard. 

My debit card info got stolen. Thankfully the credit union noticed some fishy charges and froze it, but that meant I had no access to my bank account for two weeks while I waited for the new card to come. This of course happened right when I needed to be paying bills, so I had to get creative with the cash I had on hand, checks, Paypal and begging Morgan to borrow his account. Not fun.

Then yesterday I realized something was wrong with my cell phone account. I have a simple pay as you go plan with 300 minutes. That’s plenty, as I really only talk to Mom for any length of time and call home occasionally. But yesterday, two weeks into my month, I tried to call Hero and got a message that I didn’t have enough money on my account to make the call. WTF? Went to look at my calls and there were a bunch of half hour calls TO MY OWN NUMBER and one for an hour and a half to India. So I had to call Virgin to try to straighten that out. They reset my phone so the mysterious calls should stop and have me credit for 200 minutes while they research what went on. I can’t imagine how I got hacked, but it was seriously annoying.

And dealing with it threw me off schedule enough that I couldn’t pull a small Imbolc observation together. Disappointing. But I did get the new altar space cleared and organized. I may try to do a dedication of it tomorrow while the moon is still full.

And poor Morgan spilled a bottle of water on his laptop and now the keyboard isn’t responding. Monday and Tuesday are his long days, so he hadn’t been able to take it in to get looked at, but he’ll do that tomorrow. He also has to go camera shopping, as the photography class he signed up for is old school, not digital, so he had the wrong kind of camera. I would have thought in this day and age they’d teach both in an intro class, but I guess not.

This might not be the best time to commit to regular blogging, but I’m going to any way. Need to build the habit, and the reflection may help inspire me.

Or you may just get a lot of weird pictures for the next 25 days. Who knows?

Well, that week got away from me…

Well, that week got away from me…

Time has a way of slipping past me.  I have to live focused on the moment, on the next thing that has to get done, and there’s always another thing that has to get done.  I’ll be going along and suddenly it’s three weeks later and I have no idea where those 21 days went or what I did with them.  This is especially true when it comes to paying my bills.  “What do you mean I have to pay them again!  I just paid them…  Oh.”

Last week was definitely one of those weeks.  Hero had two evening activities, I worked an extra evening, took everyone to get haircuts, sort of started the new job and suddenly it had been a week since I blogged.  So my apologies for the radio silence.  I do have lots to talk about, so I’ll get back on track.

In the meantime, have an arty picture of an old bike.

oldbike

Oh, and I paid all my bills.

 

The Garden

The Garden

My biggest project at the moment is my garden.  I learned gardening from my parents.  My mother always had a big vegetable garden when I was growing up, and Dad was all about the flowers, especially iris.  I’ve tried as I’ve gone through the world, but it’s been very hit and miss.  The last few years have been largely miss, as I’ve had three surgeries in four years and the separation with all the extra burdens that has put on me.  But this year, THIS year is going to be different.

Note the rabbit.

Everything was overgrown and weed infested, the raised beds were rotting away, the front flower bed was so overgrown as to be indistinguishable from the lawn, and the compost bin was just getting turned back and forth without actually accomplishing anything.  No more.  I invested in 6 self irrigating planters which now hold the bulk of my vegetables.

I’ve got them planted with tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, two kinds of carrots and head lettuce, bok choi and spinach.  The four raised beds had to be hand dug (and I do mean HAND) to pull out all the grass and weed roots.  Once that was done, they were all down to less than half of their soil capacity.  So I had Elder Junior turn the compost bin halfway and then sift the other half into the beds.  Lovely stuff, three year old compost.  But there was nowhere near enough to fill the beds.  So each one got a bag and a half of garden soil and a quarter bag of peat moss so they’re all nice and full and loose again.

 

One bed is completely devoted to beans, lots and lots of beans.  Mostly pole beans, because I want to have dried beans for winter soups, but I did put in a half dozen bushes of green beans for eating over the summer.  I just have to learn how to french cut them.  The next bed has the peas, basil and parsley and is the feeder bed for quick growing, short season veg.  Right now it has leaf lettuce and green onions planted.  I may add some beets yet.  Brussel sprouts will go in where the peas are after they go past.  The third bed is three different kinds of summer squash, four plants each of zuccini, yellow squash and these interesting round green squash which I’m curious to try.  They might be fun stuffed.  The last bed is melons.  Three different kinds of yellow fleshed ones and one plant of what supposedly grows 100 lb watermelons.  We’ll see if that one actually pays off, but it should be fun to watch!

In addition to that, I made 5 self-irrigating planters out of 5 gallon buckets and planted one up with cucumbers and the other 4 with my winter squash.  I have a hard time with winter squash because the squash bugs are so dominant in our neighborhood.  But I am determined that this year I will have squash to put away for the winter.  I’m hoping that with them in a more contained space up off the ground, it will be harder for the squash bugs to get at them in the first place and easier to find the bugs and eggs if they do get in there.

And then there was the front flower bed.  Good lord.  I have that bed planted up with lots of bulbs, all iris, daffodils and day lilies, and then a couple of oddball things, lavender and comfrey.  But again I haven’t maintained it in a couple of years, and the grass had reclaimed much of it.  So I started in with the shovel and turning fork and dug the whole thing down six inches.  Out came the lavender, now dead beyond saving.  Out came piles and piles of iris corms, of round little daffodil bulbs, of clusters of day lily roots.  Out went buckets of grass and roots and dead leaves and trash.  In went three bags of garden soil and half a bale of peat moss.  I edged it in bricks left over from the original early 19thc sidewalk that had been in front of our house when we bought it, which should make it easier to mow around it.  I put back in one row of iris, one row of day lily and one row of daffodils.  The comfrey plant is still there, and I added a sedum and a coreposis (I think) that a co-worker had given me last year which I’d never gotten into the ground and was sure were dead until the started poking their heads up.  She gave me a bunch of new stuff this year, some geranium and black eyed Susan and some other lilies, so I put those in yesterday.  It still looks a little pathetic, as the daffodils have all fallen over and can’t get up, but I’m going to mulch it do death with straw and hope they’ll poke their heads back up in the spring.  The day lilies don’t look much better, so we’ll see what happens with them.

Now the only thing I have left to fight with is the rose bed.  I put a rugosa rosebush in that bed probably 15 years ago, and it has just gone like gangbusters.  The original bush is about 8 feet tall, and it’s put out runner pushes 10 feet away.  It’s taken over the bed, which I’m fine with.  Except.  It has no ground cover, and the thorns on rugosas are ferocious.  Forget about those refined thorns you know from florist roses.  Rugosas are wild roses, and they will not be fucked with.  Their thorns are needle-fine fuckers completely covering the stems, and you screw with them to your own peril.  Just reaching in to pull weeds is a risky proposition.  And there are a lot of weeds.  I tried planting mint hoping it would work as a ground cover to keep the other weeds down.  The mint took, but it seems to be living in harmony with all the other crap trying to keep a foothold in there.  Bastards.  So I think it all needs to come out, around all the rose canes that are popping up in there, and then I need to put down HEAVY mulch to try and keep the weeds from getting back in.  Time for heavy shirts and leather work gloves.  May stuff some of the mint roots in the lawn so it smells good when we mow.

 

 

 

 

 

Cast of Characters

Cast of Characters

Names you’ll see around the blog:

Me – I’m Stephanie, or Savvy, or hey you.

Morgan – My eldest son.  Often referred to as Elder Junior.  Morgan is an artist and gamer who is starting at community college in the fall, financial aid willing.

Xander – My middle son.  Often referred to a Junior Junior.  Xander is a pistol with a bit of a misfire.  He is autism spectrum, not quite Asperger’s but enough behaviors to make social life a challenge for him.  He’s a builder and gamer, starting at the local tech school to study drafting and design.

Hero – My daughter.  She may be the youngest, but you wouldn’t know that talking to her.  You’ll also see her referred to as Her Majesty for obvious reasons.  She’s a gamer and geek girl, loves origami and drawing and raises rabbits. Kids

Tux and Taffeta – the rabbits.  Tux is a black and white satin.  Taffy is a pure bred angora.  Both of them have way too much personality for such small critters.

Lewis – the cat.  He’s a grey tabby indoor/outdoor cat.  Pretty good hunter, except when he brings live critters into the house.

The Ex – what it says on the tin.

Nikki – My BFF.  Also goes by Mydeira.  We share a brain, except she despises camping.

Deb – My other bestie, and the third part of the Wholigans triumvirate.  She’s a BNF, although she won’t admit it.  She’s also a little bit crackers.

Am I missing anyone?  Probably.  There are my parents and siblings and nephews, but these are the regular cast and crew.  I’m sure you’ll get to know them more as we go on.