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Stabbed by an onion and the mysteries of optics [Nov. 18th, 2019|07:39 pm]
Jerry had a cold this weekend, and I appear to have caught it. Boo! Here's to hoping I got the zinc lozenges in my system fast enough to mitigate it.

I had my annual wellness exam about a month ago, with nothing really to report, and then a couple weeks later (Saturday, October 26th, to be exact), I got stabbed by an onion.

I was reaching for an onion in the produce section at the grocery store and a dried-out root jabbed right into my finger. Because it was a little tiny puncture wound, there was no good way to get it cleaned out or to get antibiotic ointment into it. And, of course, because it was (literally) dirty, it got infected.

So I made a doctor's appointment and Monday morning I got a tetanus booster and a course of antibiotics. (It wasn't being all that troublesome, but I looked online and everything said "yup, go see a doctor", because circulation in your fingers is lousy and it's easy for infections to turn nasty.) A couple days lastser I was squeezing out some yuck out of it and managed to get a 3 mm sliver out of it, and after that it healed up pretty quickly.

And then, on the 29th, I was taking my contacts out, and just before one of them popped out and went flying (as hard lenses are sometimes wont to do), the sink drain lost its grip and opened up and the lens went sailing right down the drain. I tried to recover it from the trap, but had no luck. Well, I was overdue for an eye exam anyway, so I checked to see when the next available appointment was at the nearest Kaiser, and there weren't any until the end of November(!)... except for one slot the very next morning at 7:45! So that bit of good luck made up for the bad luck of losing the lens in the first place.

The exam went smoothly, and they gave me some disposable soft contacts for temporary until my gas permeables came in. These lenses were WAY too strong. The first pair I put in made me seasick and I felt like I couldn't see anything, so they gave me a pair that were half a diopter down from my new prescription, and I still felt like they were much too strong. I could see things on the horizon with perfect crystal clarity, even in poor lighting, but I really couldn't focus on anything less than 3 feet away. And, well, I'd say that 80% of my life happens at less than arms' reach; I picked up a pair of reading glasses, but I was wearing them basically all the time except when I was driving. And I concluded that I would much rather have good vision for everything withing 30' and have some weak distance glasses for driving. So I was convinced that my prescription was bad and needed to be changed up.

But then, a week and a half later (after three extra trips because I got a message that they were in, but that's not the same as them being ready or the person who readied them being in the office), I got my new hard lenses with the even stronger prescription, and... they're fine! I still need to pull out the reading glasses for really close up, or when my eyes get tired, but overall, I feel like the prescription is totally acceptable. So I don't know what's up with that.

So I've made a lot of stops by our local Kaiser office lately for not very much.
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Paradoxical laziness [Nov. 12th, 2019|10:57 pm]
We're already halfway through November and I'm kind of not okay with that given how much work stuff I need to get done between now and the end of the year.

I mean, I guess I'm on top of it. Tomorrow I am giving a work-in-progress talk for my lab, and I've had the slides ready for a couple weeks. And last week I finished my poster for AGU, which is the second week of December. There's just a bunch more stuff looming in an alarming fashion. (And which I knew was coming, which is why I got that other stuff done early.) Just, ugh. It's gonna be a lot.

The thing that's weird about it is that in college, I was a terrible procrastinator. And I'm not sure what changed. It's not like I switched from being sorta lazy to being all ambitious or anything.

I think now I'm just lazy in this preemptive and long-range way, where I get stuff done ahead of time so I have more room to slack off later on. Like, I'm productive because it's waaay less effort than letting things slide.

Is that a thing? Well, it's how my life is going, so I guess it must be.
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Tie Dye pics [Nov. 7th, 2019|11:15 pm]
As requested by [personal profile] kybearfuzz, pics of the tie dye shirts I mentioned in my previous post. Be sure to click to embiggen!

Behind the cut because many images:Collapse )
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Catch-Up Post (part 1) [Oct. 31st, 2019|12:29 am]
A long catch-up post, not so much because I expect it to be interesting as because my memory is terrible and if I want future-me to have some recollection of various goings-on.

We did tie-dying on the weekend of August 10th at Eaton Street. It was a big party; lots of fun. I went a little overboard and did five different shirts.

I did three ice-dyed shirts. The long-sleeved green-black one came out good. The short-sleeved green-purple one is a bit muddy, and I think I will tie-dye it black and leave that as the background. The short-sleeved red-orange one looks like fire and is AMAZING. The only downside is that it's a little tight...

I did a regular tie-dye of a silk shirt with wrapping up marbles so they make circles, and it turned out pretty good. I wasn't totally clear on what to do different with silk instead of cotton, and it took the color well but just kept bleeding every time I rinsed it. I let it hang for several weeks until I got around to dealing with it. I washed it with half a packet of Rit color remover in the washer, then ran it through twice with just water, and that seems to have fixed it.

Finally, I did a shibori shirt that I really like, folding it into triangles that make a neat lattice pattern. Could probably have folded it a little less tightly; it's still mostly white. Jerry make a tie-dye shibori using clips and marbles that looks beautiful and spells out "fuck trump" in Morse code.

Had a McGinnis family dinner at an Olive Garden down in Lakewood the day after. Enjoyable, though there were lots of relatives who I sorta recognized but mostly didn't know. Bo & Barb gave me a big packet of photos and genealogy charts my dad had put together.

Labor Day weekend I went to two pool parties: at CJ's on Saturday and at Bob's on Monday. Both were fun, with weather on the cool side. Jerry was able to come to the one at CJ's, hooray, but had to work Sunday and Monday, boo. But his hours are (finally!) going down now that they've hired on Sensei John.

Saturday Sept. 7th I cooked a whole bunch (I made fenugreek cauliflower and zucchini curry) and then Dave & Michelle came over and looked at home repair stuff. It looks like the phantom sink drip is probably not an actual leak, and all the rest of it should be doable. Still need to figure out if the downstairs shower is actually leaking.

That Sunday, we had dim sum at Star Kitchen with Jon, Gene, Brandon, & Matt. (JonGeBraMatt?) Nom! On the way home, Jerry and I stopped at Home Depot and picked out light fixtures and sinks for the home repairs. Adulting!

On Monday, I did the zoning meeting thing, which I wrote about previously. I found out at our board meeting that it passed, hooray! And apparently my speech did help, so that was nice. At Chris's games night that week, we played a neat coop game that Tom M. brought which was sort of a cross between Dominion & Sentinels. I liked it! (And then we played a quick game of Dominion.)

Saturday the 14th was lots of Getting Things Done. I went to the credit union and got a new credit card because the chip on mine had died. Then I got a haircut, and then I went to the Home Despot up on 120th and bought more stuff: 3 sinks, 3 toilet kits, and a folding door for the furnace room. I actually ran into Michelle there, which was a surprise. I ended up deciding that I actually wanted slightly different sinks with a better style of lip, so I took them and two light fixtures (because talking to Michelle I found out we needed one big one instead of two small ones) to a different store up north that had the sinks I wanted in stock. And THEN I went grocery shopping!

Lots more to come, but I almost lost this post to a reboot once already, so here it goes.
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Naponee weekend [Sep. 23rd, 2019|10:26 pm]
Jerry was able to get Friday and Saturday off, so this weekend we took a trip to Naponee to visit my Mom & Larry.

The drive out was a lot greener and a bit more interesting than the last few times we've been; not only has it been a very wet year, we're usually heading out there more in the winter. We saw a lot of sorghum that was an interesting red-brown color.

We left around 11, which got us there right around 6 pm. Grabbed a salad for lunch in Byers, switched drivers in St. Francis, just over the Kansas state line, and gassed up in Atwood. (The distance to St. Francis is now "half a Pamble-get", since we drove there and back to meet my parents and pick up Mr. Panthro-kitty, who is sometimes "the Pamble".)

They had us stay in the fifth-wheel, which was quite comfortable at this time of year. (It can get a little chilly in the winter.) We opened the windows and ran the fan the first night, and that worked pretty well, except that the hose for my APAP kept collecting water and waking me up. (Probably because I had the humidity turned all the way up for arid Colorado, and it was way too much for Nebraska; I turned it down to 2 on Saturday night, and that worked a lot better, although it also ran out of water.) The second night, we cooled the fifth-wheel down in the afternoon with the AC, then kept everything closed up because a big front moved through and it rained a fair chunk of the night, and we both slept better.

It was a pretty low-key visit with a lot of down-time. We went for a walk with Mom & Squirt and saw all the progress they've made on renovating the former restaurant into a bunkhouse for visiting hunters. Helped Mom pick tomatoes and thin out the plants; Jerry got a great picture of a big ol' bumblebee harvesting nectar from an artichoke thistle. Took down the birdhouse on a big pole and helped cover up the boat and a bunch of sacks of cement in the back of Larry's truck. Sunday morning we helped move a big refrigerator from the bunkhouse back to the house, to be swapped later with one of the smaller fridges.

We drove down to the lake and had a look at how far up the water still is. A lot of campground and boat dock stuff got flooded this summer, and the water came all the way up to the road on the bridge (and was still way up when we drove over it), although the lake was only at 25% of full flood-prevention capacity.

The building across from the bunkhouse has partially collapsed. You wouldn't think a big solid brick building would be vulnerable to just falling down, but the mortar erodes over time, allowing things to shift around, and then wind comes along and puts stress on the whole strucuture, and the bricks start to fracture, and then a big chunk of wall comes down.

Mostly we just hung out and chatted about nothing of much consequence. We showed them our honeymoon pictures. Paid lots of attention to the cats and the dog: Toodle is a sweet boy who loves scritches, Bobbi is soft and affectionate until she gets fed up, Squeaker is still too spooky about strange humans to do more than scurry across the room, and of course Squirt was very excited to see us.

We took Hanshin Tigers t-shirts and a bunch of ice-dyed handkerchiefs; Mom sent us home with a bunch of tomatoes, a salad grabber, frozen ground beef, the diet peach soda and ginger ale she didn't like, some jars of jam, a bunch of chai teabags, and a carpet cleaner. We managed to avoid bringing home the strange gilded cat statue a 6-year-old huckster at an auction sold her. (6yo: "What would you like to buy? How about this?" Mom: "No thank you, we already have three cats at home." 6yo: "Well, the more the merrier!" Mom: "I guess I'm buying a weird cat statue.")

We took off after lunch on Sunday and got home at 6-ish. The I-70 mess was mostly cleared up by the time we were passing up, so we only had to endure a few minutes of slow-down. We got home in plenty of time to unpack, go grocery shopping, refuel and wash the bugs off the car, reassure our kitties that we were in fact home now, and get some relaxation before bedtime. It was a nice trip.
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YIMBY [Sep. 11th, 2019|09:28 pm]
Monday night I went to a zoning hearing and argued in favor of an affordable housing development near my house. Which sounds pretty dull, but was a thing what needed doing.

I had been to one a few months ago and I knew that a bunch of my neighbors would be there being all gross and NIMBYish and saying "ew, poor people," and I felt it was important to counter that to the extent that I could.

(I am pretty disappointed this swath of my neighbors. Also in my HOA, which has been sending out lots of email encouraging people to show up to the hearing. Oh, but they "have NO opinion or position" on it. Really? Liars. If you really had no opinion, you wouldn't have brought it up...)

I also knew that there would be a huge number of people who wanted to make public comments. So I left work in the middle of the afternoon so that I could get to City Hall and be there waiting at 5 when the sign up sheets came out and be first on the list. I was hoping that I might set the tone a little, and also maybe take the wind out of some of the complainers' sails. (Also, I knew that if I had to sit through a bunch of people being awful, I would end up thinking about nothing but how much I wanted to set them all on fire when it was my turn to speak, and would not make a good impression.)

What I said:Collapse )

The second speaker was a lady who works with the homeless, and the third speaker was a lady in a wheelchair who talked about how she lost her home after the car crash that disabled her, and how important affordable housing was to her. (The fourth speaker was a lawyer for some third party who started droning on about some point of procedure, and I didn't stick around after that.) So I think maybe we did set some tone.

I had my advisory board meeting this evening, and I found out that after three and a half hours of public commentary (until 11:30 pm, ugh), the council did indeed vote yes. Hooray! And the councilor who comes to our meetings said that my comments did have some influence, so that felt good.

I mean, it's a drop in the bucket when you think about the big picture, but it's not nothing. You gotta do good where you can.
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Annibersary Pewpumes [Aug. 31st, 2019|12:46 am]
We didn't do anything for our anniversary on Monday. Honestly, we kinda forgot, because we've been celebrating it in April for a decade and a half and we only got married two years ago. I only remembered when my Mom mentioned it on the phone.

But Jerry got Friday off, so he met me at work at lunchtime and we went off to DSH Perfumes and bought more stink-pretty and that was our belated celebration.

He got drams of December (conifer and spice with a little citrus), Become The Shaman (woody, spicy, smoky), and Arabian Sandalwood (woody and sweet) (which we both wear). I got one of Shimotsuki ("frosty moon" - hawthorn and orris) and then I wanted to get something green-smelling. (My skin scent is green, woody, and sweet, IIRC, while his is sweet and fruity.) I couldn't decide between Le Jardin Vert and Vert et Noir (green and mineral vs green and vetiver), so I ended up getting both.

You get three free samples with every purchase; he got Prophecy, Tunisian Amber, and Black Coconut. I got Viridian, Aquamarine, and Iridum. Basically, the stuff he wears is all mystical and exotic, and my stuff is all "I'm a plant!" (Or a color.)

Afterwards we had lunch at Garbanzo, which is not super-exciting, but it's tasty and we knew he could get dairy-free and I could get low-carb, so that was an easy decision.

And then I spent the rest of the day redoing (yet again) the final stages of the data processing I've been beating on all week long, because I had a typo that made the 25-km and 11-km versions copies of the 44-km version instead, but I finally got it all finished and next week I can move on to other things, hooray!

(I am way behind on posting and have some catch-up to do, but I wanted to say something quick to stop putting it off.)
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So Much Adulting [Aug. 4th, 2019|08:44 pm]
I wasn't really aiming to be productive this weekend, but I managed to get a lot done, so that felt good.

Saturday morning I bought vegetables at the farmer's market, then got a haircut. (Making note of it because I keep losing track of how long I go between haircuts.) I got rice vinegar and some more little bowls for kitty wet food at POM (they were small but deep and had fishies on them, how could I not?), then hit a couple thrift stores looking for shirts to dye next weekend. (No luck, alas.) I then remembered that I needed to put air in the tires and actually did it, which was a bit of an achievement, to be honest. Dropped everything off at home, recovered for a bit, then went grocery shopping.

I wanted to make something to bring to the bonfire. Friday night I had made some ramen eggs (ajitsuke tamago) for snacking on (I made the first batch last weekend and needed more because they are AMAZING), and I was thinking I'd take those, but I didn't have very many and they don't halve well, so I decided to make deviled eggs instead. I tweaked some recipes I found online and ended up making Japanese deviled eggs with J-mayo, miso, mirin, wasabi, sesame oil, and crunchy chili garlic, and was very pleased with the outcome. I wrote down the recipe to make again, definitely.

Then that evening Jerry and I went off to Brighton for a bonfire at Bob's, which was very pleasant. Got some good hangout time with Geoff and Mitch and Brandon & Matt and Craig & Joe, and managed to get enough DEET on me that I wasn't eaten by mosquitoes.

Today we got going relatively early and went off to get some shirts for Jerry to dye and a new stunt ring (inexpensive and easily replaceable silver wedding band), since his previous one served its purpose by getting lost while we were in Japan. We stopped at the Goodwill on 120th, and not only did we find a half dozen shirts for him (plus a long-sleeved one for me that wasn't there yesterday), we also found some nice low shelves that we could use to clean up and organize a bunch of clutter in the living room (like all the board games). So we bought two sets of them.

There's no jewelry counter at the Walmart on 120th anymore, so after some lunch we found one at the one on Sheridan, got the ring, came home and put together shelves. Put lots of things away and rearranged the living room a bit, and then I spent the evening cooking.

Well, mostly chopping vegetables, since I made ratatouille. I made two batches, one traditional and one Indian. (Indian ratatouille: mostly the same, use cardamom, cumin, garam masala, and coriander instead of thyme and basil.) I used the bag of frozen tomatoes my mom gave us last fall, so I didn't have to spend much time cooking the tomatoes until they fell apart, just a long time simmering away all the water. I did both batches at the same time, and that worked well except for a bit where I got a little behind prepping the tomatoes (because I'd forgotten to do them in advance like all the other veggies) and the time when I spattered hot oil on my naked belly because while I had remembered to wear a shirt while I was cooking, I forgot that you have to actually button it to get any protection, yes, even when it's all hot and gross right next to the stove. (No actual damage, happily, just some ouch.) Anyway, both version turned out pretty well, I think, so that'll be nice for dinner all week.

Oh! And! I finally summoned up the gumption to call Dave & Michelle (who does carpentry & home improvement), and they're going to come over some evening this week and look at the various things around the house that need fixing, so we'll get that in motion finally, hooray!
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Small Triumphs [Jul. 28th, 2019|04:54 pm]
Small triumphs:

On Thursday, I stopped working when I had planned to, went down to the basement of the building, and got a workout, just like I said I would.

Yesterday, after shopping at the farmer's market, two different grocery stores, and two thrift shops, I made four different dishes, and for one of them I used the mandoline to julienne three daikon and a half-dozen carrots and sustained zero injuries. That includes using needlenose pliers to straighten some bent teeth on the julienne blade beforehand and cleaning it afterwards.

And today, I successfully changed our Comcast plan to drop cable TV entirely and switch to internet-only. (People online reported that it was easier to do it in person than over the phone, and I realized that I would need to go by the Comcast store anyway to drop off the unused, still in its original shrinkwrap cable box, so that's what I did. In and out, no waiting, helpful salesperson, no argument, and she gave me a sign-up discount without me even asking.)

We also had a check-in meeting at work on Thursday, and going through the page-long list of all the little tasks that came up over the last six weeks always makes me feel better about not having made more progress on the big tasks lingering on my to-do list. I also have an entire category now for time spent talking to people about things that I am an expert on, so take that, part of my brain that things nothing counts unless I took a class in it and got an A.

Other stuff:

Had a nice double dose of boardgaming last weekend, at Chris's on Saturday and Eaton Street on Sunday. Jerry got the "Channel A" card game, where one player puts down two premise cards and then you have to pitch a new anime series that fits that premise with a title composed from cards in your hand (e.g., "Infinite Sword Gate" or "City Agent Noir X"). The rules say just vote on the best title, but we grafted on the rules from Cheapass Games' Big Idea, and that worked really well. Oh, and I also did a Barbie Tarot reading for Matt, which was fun.

My sister Mollie is in town for her high school reunion, so we met her and her family for breakfast at Olive & Finch this morning. We're meeting Van for dinner at Wishbone this evening. Nick came over to hang out on a couple Friday evenings, which was lovely and delightful. Things are generally good on the home front.
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Spectacles: O, the Strip, Fireworks [Jul. 9th, 2019|07:39 am]
Wer'e home! We came home on the 4th.

'O' was AMAZING, nay, astonishing. It's a Cirque du Soleil show, so of course it's all about mind-blowing feats of athleticism, but 'O' is also about water. They built a gigantic pool, and the stage rises up out of and sinks down into the water, so one minute people are diving into it from 60 feet up and the next performers are walking across the stage a quarter inch below the surface. People and things vanish into the water and never reappear. Pretty much the whole show, the entirety of my thought process was "what even just happened?!" A wonderful, wonderful experience. Highly recommended, and definitely worth spending extra on good seats.

(Tickets are ~$100, there are 1800 seats in the theater, they do two shows a night, five nights a week, and it was mostly sold out on a Wednesday. It's been open since 1998, and sales passed a billion dollars sometime in 2012. And it deserves every penny.)

After the show, we wandered outside and watched the fountains at the Bellagio, which dance to music every 15 minutes or so. If you ever wonder how lucrative gambling is, just consider that, in a city in the middle of a freakin' desert, someone was able to spend enough money to build a gigantic building with a lake out front the size of a city block, and every 15 minutes hundreds of motorized air cannons spout giant streams of water into the dry, dry air, and nobody charges admission; it's all completely free for anyone passing by to enjoy, because it's advertising, basically. (Advertising that costs, reportedly, a few hundred thousand dollars a month to operate.) And it works! Because the fountains are pretty darn nifty. There's also a whole ceiling of Chihuly glass in the lobby.

And then there's this weird garden area, which has all this decorative Italian stuff, like fake lemon trees and a giant sun sculpture and great big motorized swans and mosaics made of beans. Except it's all bad; the art is clumsy and the signs are poorly translated and the statues are creepy, and it's just weird because it's badly faked classiness, but it has to be intentional because the place makes so much money that they could very easily do actually classy if they wanted to; just take a look at the lobby not fifty feet away. So that was very perplexing.

We took in the Strip a little, wandering down to where we could cross the street, then back up the other side, and through a little indoor mall along the way. The amount of sensory overload was awful; I think working in a kiosk in that mall would be one of the worst things in the world. Anyway, after that we decided that was enough, and concluded that, yeah, neither of us really likes Vegas.

We flew home the next day, Thursday, with was the 4th. Got back to the house mid-afternoon. Jerry was wiped out and oversocialized after the week, but I was undersocialized, so I went off to Broomfield to hang out with Floyds et al (and see Marty, who's in town for several weeks, yay!) and watch fireworks. We got rained out; the fireworks were due to start shortly but the clouds were looking very threatening and there was a LOT of lightning, so we all decided that maybe it would be better to get indoors. I pulled over and watched fireworks from my car on the drive home.
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