Chaos taming - a qualified yes

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:49 pm
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
Of the first set of tasks set, I think I did quite well -- all the dry washing was taken off the lines and sorted, although at least some of mine hasn't actually made it all the way away. Most of the clothes around the house have been sorted and either taken to the laundry or put closer to away (if not all the way). And not one but two loads of wash happened!

I didn't get back to the computer and set another set of. three smallish tasks, mostly because I was busy working on things, and so wasn't too fussed about the idea of setting tasks. I've sorted things that came home from the con, I've done a bit of cataloguing, I've ironed handkerchiefs.

Of the larger goals:

The washing is not yet under control. However, it is well on the way. If the two loads done today are dry and brought in, then there should be enough line space for the rest. There is a third load in the machine, but its start was delayed by the fact that we had somehow run out of laundry soap, even though I was sure that there was another bottle.

Getting the kitchen functional - well. The entire island counter was cleared and cleaned, but the spaces beside the stove and the sink and surrounds were not. Said island counter is now my staging place for items coming in from outside, and thus is half covered again.

getting the patio cleaned and sorted -- initially, this was just the back patio. However, I got Eldest to sweep the side patio (under the wash line) while there wasn't any wash out, so that one is much better than it was. The back patio is a work in progress. Eldest has cleared the top of the BBQ of Stuff!, most of which needed significant washing. I've thrown some things out as too damaged (which is why they were out there in the first place). Some of the rest I've found homes for, and some I've no sodding idea what to do with at all.

As for tomorrow - I'm sticking with the three goals. Washing under control, functional kitchen, patio cleared to the point that we can actually take the pergola down so that it can be replaced. Possible, but not probable that all three will be done. Highly likely that one will happen (probably the washing), and I'm optimistic that with both Eldest and Middlest working on the patio tomorrow that we might get a long way through that.

Advice tidbits

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:31 pm
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse

In one of the boxes that was sorted through today, a small bag of snippets out of magazines was found. Each snippet contains a single piece of advice that at some point in my life I thought worth remembering. Before I throw them out, I'm going to semi-immortalise them here. Note that at best these are 20 years old; most will have been cut out at least a decade before, and the magazines then would have been second hand....

  • An ordinary ballpoint makes a good marking pen for clothes and linen. Write on the article, allow ink to dry, then press with an iron as hot as the fabric can stand. The marking will be permanent.
  • Take a cut lunch if taking a small child with you while you do your Christmas shopping. Put in stroller; it saves stopping
  • Decorating a large number of cakes is much quicker when you use a clean, plastic squeeze bottle to dispense the icing or cream. Use only bottles which once contained food products, such as sauce. So much cleaner and easier than using a piping bag.
  • An old skirt with a towel underneath makes a good cape when you cut someone's hair
  • When painting downpipes, place a piece of cardboard between the pipe and the wall to prevent paint getting on the wall. You'll do the job much faster.
  • deodorise jars and bottles by pouring in a solution of water and dry mustard and allow to stand for several hours
  • line the pockets of children's hand-knitted cardigans and sweaters with cotton fabric of the same colour as the garment. The fabric will save the pockets from stretching and from general wear and tear
  • Use your microwave for preparation of vegetables before freezing. Blanch in the microwave for one minutes, cool, then seal in freezer bags before storing
  • When measuring golden syrup, heat the measuring cup or spoon with hot water first. The syrup will slide easily off the heated surface giving accurate measurement with little waste
  • help children to avoid pulling out drawers too far and spilling the contents over the floor. Glue a bright warning spot on the upper side edges of each drawer. The warning spots should indicate how far each drawer can safely be pulled out
  • When washing dusting cloths, add a third of a cup of turpentine to warm soapy water and don't rinse. The turpentine softens the cloth and allows it to pick up dust easily
  • clean a badly burned saucepan with olive oil. Cover the burned areas well with the oil and gently heat for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for a few hours, pour off the oil and clean in the usual way. It makes the job much easier.
  • For some relief on a hot night, fill a hot water bottle with iced water

Looking at those, there are some that I can see as more generally useful, and some that I don't think I'm ever going to think on again!

(I also found several other interesting bits and bobs, most of which I'm deciding aren't worth keeping. Including someone's hotmail email address...)

Taming Chaos

Apr. 23rd, 2019 10:04 am
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse

For any number of reasons, my entire home is chaos. I'm on leave today, don't work Wednesdays, and Thursday is a public holiday. So, I can afford to go all out today and tomorrow, and see what I can achieve, and still have a day to rest.

The first three things I want to achieve today

  1. bring in and sort whatever wash is on the line (this includes inside lines). Say 30 minutes
  2. sort out all the clothes that aren't clean that are all over the place; determine what needs washing -- this probably includes sheets, Say 45 minutes
  3. put a load of wash on. 5 minutes, if I've done the previous task correctly.

The three major goals for today (and maybe tomorrow)

  1. Get the washing under control
  2. get the kitchen functional
  3. get the patio clean and sorted

And now for breakfast!

(no subject)

Apr. 22nd, 2019 11:02 pm
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
Am home again from the long weekend away (we have been sleeping and breakfasting at home, but otherwise at the local science fiction convention). I've done a quick scan through my dwircle, and have queued a stack of things to read in the morning. Am certainly going to have missed things, because there is far too much for me to actually read.
catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf
My standard intro: a couple of years ago, I started an annual Earth Day post on things we were doing to make our household greener. Previous posts: 2018 2017 2016
Some of these things may be useful to you and yours if you're looking to tread a little lighter on our poor planet. I also do it for me since it's a way to remind myself of what we've done so far and what I'd like us to tackle next.

It is worth noting that we've spent years on this, making a few changes every year. My goal has been to add a few new things every year, which we are on track for. I will also note that most things on my list have had a direct cost savings in the longer term, particularly the ones with start up costs. But there are also things we can't do because of finances or the state of our yard and so forth, such as growing our own veggies (our trees shade much of the yard) and there are things that stay in the planning stages for years at a time while I figure out budgeting and so forth. We also own our own home in a very urban environment in a city which supports a lot of green programs and I've done quite a bit of research and planning on all of this to approach it holistically. I recommend Green America as a good resource for tackling environmental impacts from one social justice perspective.

What we've done so far:

Switched to reusables: lunch bags, dish towels, handkerchiefs, cups, straws, traveling utensils, grocery bags, yard waste containers, etc.
Switched to recycled/refurbished: all paper products, aluminum foil, electronics where feasible (refurbished iPads, router, etc.), some furniture, some clothes, plastic containers, food packages, garbage bags, etc.
Other things we reuse: wash and reuse plastic bags, recycle magazines and single use containers for art projects, buy bulk and reuse single use containers for storage.
Basic house greening: swapping out light bulbs to LEDs, additional insulation, improved windows, green cleaners, green care products, biodegradable cat litter, energy efficient appliances, solar fan in the attic to keep the house cooler in summer, water barrel, yard waste compost, city compost, city recycling, new plumbing with water efficient shower head, toilet and faucets, yard is completely organic and planted with pollinator-friendly plants, electric mower, we use grit to deice and our house is powered by 100% wind power through our utility.

Additional stuff: Committed to buying the bulk of our groceries at the local coops and farmer's markets.
  • In addition, we look for reuse and donation opportunities for everything we want to get rid of that's usable: clothes go to clothing swaps as well as donation bins, books go to libraries and benefit auctions, jewelry to benefit auctions, reusable computing equipment to organizations that refurb and donate it, etc. At this point, we compost and recycle much more than we throw out.
  • Committed to not driving anywhere a few days out of the month and carpooling more and taking public transportation when we can. Biking is not a option for us physically or scheduling-wise and we still need two cars for the moment, but I hope to go down to one car and car sharing in the future and we do walk a fair amount.
  • Meat free meals and days multiple times a week
  • Carbon offsets, particularly for plane flights and longer road trips. Offset programs that I like: Nature Conservancy, MN Tree Trust, Cool Effect, Million Metres Stream Project (if we travel outside the U.S., I look for local organizations to donate to).
  • Use CREDO Mobile for my cell phone as a much greener alternative to other companies
  • Investments - I screen out oil companies and other big polluters from my 401K, have my mutual fund holdings with Pax World Funds and own small amounts of stock in our local coop and in Terracycle.
  • Switched out my credit cards to cards with B-corp banks or credit unions. Regular accounts are at a local credit union.
What we've done since last Earth Day:
  • This is the first year we've gone backward. We had to have to our big ash tree in the front yard cut down due to various factors (Emerald Ash Borer, roots growing into the foundation, etc.). We'll be planting a serviceberry in its place and getting something more durable, better suited to our small front yard and producing edible berries in the bargain.
  • Got rid of one air conditioner and put in insulating curtains in the bedroom.
  • Replaced the utility sink in the basement. No more leaks!
  • Added insulation in the garage.
  • Added more native plants
  • Doubled down on cutting our food waste with more meal planning, more freezing of leftovers and more focus on making sure leftovers get eaten by incorporating them into other meals and so forth.
  • Added scrap metal recycling and rag recycling, as well as getting a paper shredder so we can recycle more paper.
Next up:
  • Getting a new energy efficient furnace/AC this summer
  • Redoing the attic (finally!). Between this and the furnace, we should be able to cut our house's carbon footprint by at least 50%.
  • Digging up more of the lawn and replacing it with native plants
Other things as I discover them.
And that's it for now. Feel free to share the things that you're trying or any questions you have about what we're doing.

(no subject)

Apr. 18th, 2019 05:08 pm
fred_mouse: bright red 'love' heart with stethoscope (health)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
Yesterday was an exhausting one for any number of reasons. Today, I'm blaming the complete noodleness of my appendages to be related to the flu-vax I managed to get organised for yesterday.

I have so many things in my head I want to write down, and I have run out of oomph. Expect emoji comments to continue for the next week.

ClexaCon writeup

Apr. 17th, 2019 08:57 pm
catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf
And we get double posts tonight because I skipped a week.

I spent a long weekend in Las Vegas at ClexaCon, which was an adventure. I flew out on Sun Country on Thursday morning in a blizzard, which was fun. 50 mph winds, snow, ice, other airlines canceling right and left, but Sun Country is hardcore and they just kept de-icing until it was determined that we could go (about 5 hours late).  It was pretty bumpy but we made it. By then, I’d been up since 3AM my time and just wanted to get to Tropicana quickly. I foolishly took a cab (the nice fans that I met traveling to ClexaCon from MN took a rideshare) and we both arrived at the same time. Then we waited and waited and waited. The hotel let us all hang out in the checkout line for 45 minutes before more staff arrived. Then there was something of a scramble to connect with my table assistant, Theresa, to get my badge, dump luggage and deal with FedEx, which charged an extra “resort fee” just for being there, on top a $200 shipping bill because I didn’t ship “early” enough (I thought 4 days would suffice). But they had my box of books and my table banner and we were able to get set up without too much pain. Then I went off to dinner with Rachel Gold, Andi Marquette and Rachel’s friend Patrice. This was followed by an hour or so of lounging in the lobby with Andi and sharing publisher gossip, writing careers, conventions and other fun stuff.
Friday was an amazing sales day. I gather it was not the case for many of the other vendors, but for our table, it was terrific. We had Queen of Swords Press titles, Blind Eye Books titles and Rachel Gold titles and everyone sold at least a few books. Lots of cards distributed, lots of newsletter signups, all good. We did a decent job of spelling each other and it was a fine, if overly long, day (the dealer’s area is open 10-12 hours per day, for 3 days running). I wandered upstairs, took a hot bath, read and collapsed. Saturday was about the same, only somewhat less so. I bought Season 1 of Wynonna Earp and some comics, chatted with a bunch of folks and sold books like mad. The hours continued to be pretty grueling. There were also many, many artist tables with similar items for sale and no signage for the vendor area, and no good way for the artists to make their table stand out, for the most part. This became significant as the day wore on. I noticed that foot traffic was definitely down from last year, but sales for us were better than last year. Sunday, foot traffic was nil, sales were very low and a lot of people were not happy on many levels for many sound reasons. In short, it was a very uneven con to vend at. Other publishers had not great weekends, but I think the comics folks had the worst of it.
I had already had some issues with programming, who after insisting on adding an author to a panel we had already set up, failed to ask either her or the rest of us when we were available. They then proceeded to schedule the panel in the last timeslot so that it overlapped with the close-out of the Dealer’s Room on Sunday (where closing out early is discouraged, taxes have to be paid in cash and Theresa would have had to deal with packing up if I wasn’t around). When I asked them to consider changing it, I was informed that I “could just close up early.” Given that tables cost over $300  and last year’s Sunday sales were pretty decent, I opted to not appear on the panel. The author they were so eager to add? Left Saturday due to a scheduling conflict. The moderator was never informed that half the panel had bailed, just to make things exciting.
And speaking of exciting, there was a Saturday night dance party, scheduled to run until 4AM. I was on the 4th floor. At 2AM, I got blasted out of bed by a wall of dance music. From the first floor. Neither the air conditioning nor ear plugs made a dent in the volume. In desperation, I called the Tropicana Hotel desk to ask if they could get the volume turned down (apparently on the lower floors, beds were shaking from the noise) and was informed that they had “no control” over the event space (which is in in fact part of the hotel) and that lots of other people were calling so maybe they’d send somebody by to ask about turning things down a bit. Reader, this did not happen and I thought a whole lot less of both the Tropicana and ClexaCon as I lay awake for 2 solid hours before finally falling asleep for another hour before having to get back up again for another long day in the vending area.
In the meantime, other vendors had a much rougher weekend. It turns out that there was a leadership shakeup between this year and last, which was definitely better organized. Lots of things went awry and responses ranged from the clueless to the disrespectful and people are pretty pissed about it. There were apparently differences in what people were charged for tables, no signage for the vendor area and other significant issues that made this a very expensive con to travel to, but not make money at. Sales wise, we did well, but it certainly didn’t cover all our costs. We worked the table in shifts, which helped with the ridiculously long hours. But it still sucked doing it on too little sleep, which was the case for all of us. Would I go back? It depends. I’d like to because I sold books and met some nice people and I had some good chats, but this year’s event has taken a huge physical toll on me and the various and sundry semi-spontaneous fees (FedEx, noted above for example, plus The Tropicana’s charges) meant that I spent more than I budgeted for. So very much a mixed bag. At the same time, it is a unique event that focuses on queer women and allies in fandom and I hope they get their shit together and that there are more of these to come. Apparently 6 members of the leadership team resigned in the last two days so it’s not too clear what will happen next. Sigh. Now to rest up and prep for the
UntitledTown Book Festival in  Green Bay in a week and a half.

catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf

Queen of Swords Press Title #8! I feel a sense of accomplishment and such! :-)
Available at Queen of Swords Press and a bunch of other places. It's terrific, just saying.

One good thing, one bad thing

Apr. 15th, 2019 04:09 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
[personal profile] feuervogel
Good: I passed my thesis defense!

Bad: I had to put my cat to sleep at 2 am.

reading - assorted links

Apr. 14th, 2019 04:07 pm
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse

Still working back through a long list of links! These are somewhat arbitrarily grouped, with commentary.

Issues with the Lipstick lesbian flag. This isn't something I knew a lot about, although at some point in the past when I was ordering an assortment of pride enamelled pins, I picked one in a version of these colours. I'm not sure quite where I came across these links -- I started by reading a creators response to people who had attacked them for withdrawing a poor selling item in these colours, and the following links are the only ones I still have open.

Australian Indigenous Weather knowledge on mainstream scientific sites.

  • CSIRO: Indigenous seasons calendars -- currently nine calendars, most of them for northern areas of the country. Eight of these are a bit of information on the web page and then a very colourful poster of the seasons; the Ngadju one is the report to the Ngadju people about the project. This last is of more interest to me than the posters -- it talks about how the information was gathered, who was consulted, where previous written records existed.
  • BoM: Indigenous Seasonal Descriptions - links to the rest of the text aren't visually obvious, but it is more than the one page! Bit disappointing that there are only three regions represented. The Nyoongar calendar listed is relevant to my local area. Watch out for frustrating language that puts Indigenous people as people of the past, not of the present. There is a brief reference to damage done by colonisation

Misc - only one thing per topic here!

And something more cheerful to end with: Generation Xers Have The Most Gen X Response To Being Left Off The List. Two interesting follow ups by one of the original people whose tweet features: GenX, That Damned Newsweek Editorial, George Michael, and the Twitter Hellscape (I don't agree with some of what he says, but well, that would be the GenX way); GenX Tribe: Breaking Bones and Other Stories of Walking it Off

^I've not seen any. The first advert for his stuff I saw so horrified me that I've never gone near any of it. Because if the ad is that racist, sexist and argh, the show is going to be worse, right?

state of the me

Apr. 14th, 2019 01:29 pm
fred_mouse: Wooden mouse shape with leather ears and dots for eyes, wrapped in a piece of green blanket (blanket)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
Went to a lovely wedding yesterday afternoon (may remember to post on that separately). Despite scheduling rest before and after, am wiped and uncomfortable today. Have not taken an anti-inflammatory for a number of reasons, most important of which is that I forgot at the point that I'd eaten.

I think i'm making progress on the house? I moved some stuff back in to the spare room, giving myself time to process what is going in there. The large black tubs have been sorted through (and labelled) this year, so I'm just moving them (but I do have to check that one of the labels hasn't fallen off) without looking in them. I know that they are full of craft materials and UFOs, I don't need to overwhelm myself with the list of things I don't have the energy to work on. Swapping the cupboards means that the main scrap fabric box is now in easy reach, and lo, I am putting random scraps in it when I find them, rather than stockpiling and forgetting. Yay for the do it now approach!

I've also found two lego projects that are in different levels of assembly ('probably complete' and 'where on earth is the rest of this' with a side order of 'what do those bits go with'). I'm trying to work out whether to disassemble or display them. Even if not 'complete' I'm trying not to care. I'm unlikely to try and sell them as 'complete sets' ever (although maybe the bagusaii will in the far future) and I don't care that much about variation from the packet, but I do a little.

Have lapsed on a whole heap of tasks that I'd like to be spending time on, including slow incrementing ones like playing music and language learning. Going to be on the computer most of today, might at least try and do some of the latter! Am trying not to let this bother me, but it does a bit.

Help wanted

Apr. 13th, 2019 08:22 pm
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
My google-fu is failing me, so I'm hoping either that someone reading this will have links to resources already, or will be intrigued enough and better google-fu to find an answer.

I want to cut about three seconds out of a livestream. That livestream is currently happening, but will presumably be done by the time I get back to it. What kind of tools would I need for that? I'm on a Mac, if that makes a difference. And, once I have it, how do I turn it into a .gif?

So I have a chance of finding the link again:
but there is also a youtube channel

Editing to add details:
FREE SKATING - 2/5; 2019 - ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships
(not currently up at youtube; check playlist at
33:31 is the point to start capturing (well before the first fall) [different view at 37:07 in replay]
first fall - at the right of the circle (33:40) after jump. [replay ~ 37:10 - just keep going from the first one!]
second fall at 33:44 - looks like first person pushes second person.
third fall at 33:49
(off the ice at 36:39)
coach reaction in replay immediately after second fall [get from 37:15 to be sure to get the cut to the coach]

Reading - assorted links

Apr. 11th, 2019 10:06 pm
fred_mouse: line drawing of mouse sitting on its butt reading a large blue book (book)
[personal profile] fred_mouse

without commentary, because it is in that liminal time between 'desirable bedtime' and 'that time I think of as bedtime', and I just want to get some tabs closed! I think most/all of these were previously linked by someone on DW, but I've lost track of which and who.

“Revolutionary Girl Utena” Transgresses Gender and Sexuality (from 2013)

What Actually Happens In Your Brain When You Have A Migraine, According To Experts

Meanwhile in Australia - food historian Gillian Polack on fruit

Fanfic - assorted

Apr. 11th, 2019 07:45 pm
fred_mouse: line drawing of mouse sitting on its butt reading a large blue book (book)
[personal profile] fred_mouse

When I like a story I read on the AO3 enough to bookmark it, for whatever reason, I add it to a list of fic to blog. I've been doing this for a long time, and far too rarely posting them, because I'm lazy. Markdown is making posting a little easier, but urgh, so many. So, I'm randomly picking from the list of links, and then adding them here. I'm going to say nothing about them other than length, fandom, and rating. And I'm going to hit post when I have to leave the house in 15 minutes.

General Audiences

Teen and Up




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