Oh, my gods, minimum wage? Minimum fucking wage? For a goddamn YEAR??? Eugh. I fucking hate temp agencies. Because you know that this contract pays $15+/hr and they're just taking 1/3 of it. :-P

Okay. I'm cool. I'm fine.

Right: None the less, it's 15 hrs/week in the afternoons and would net me $132/week after taxes AKA a little over $500/month. And I could really, really use that $500/month. It would mean I could for-sure-for-sure pay my portion of the rent and still be available to take modeling jobs (most of which are in the mornings and finish up a good hour+ before I'd need to be at the Human Rights Commission[1] for this contract job) - which would go towards paying for groceries, utility bills, and communications bills. It would also still allow me my non-modeling mornings to work on poetry and other artsy stuff. And it's down town, so I wouldn't need to buy a bus pass to get to and from my day-job.
As such, and in spite of the crappy wage being offered, this is still pretty-much exactly what I need and a really good opportunity that I'd be foolish not to go for. So I'm sending in an updated version of my resume, crossing my fingers, and hoping they say YES to ME with a February start-date.
Think good job vibes for me, please!


[1] It doesn't hurt that this is for the Human Rights Commission, either. I like the Human Rights commission.
So I'm sick.
This is irritating and frustrating, although part of me is enjoying the "guilt-free down-time" that comes with it.
the dishes are piling up like nobody's business, though, because neither of us is particularly healthy at the moment. Ghost is directing her energies towards finishing up for-pay leather work in the interests of making back the money she's lost due to missing work (the same bug + a doctor's appointment) over the past week or so. And I'm just a mess who can't go ten minutes without blowing her nose, apparently. :-P

None the less, We have emptied the last of the packed-stuff (er... sort of...) that was sitting on the living room floor, and it's now distributed appropriately around the house. And I've shifted some of the stuff in the boxes in the kitchen so that I was able to cart one box up to my Studio/Office (it mostly consists of lamps). The Studio is still a mess. I still have curtain rods to put up. And a mirror and a shelf (YAY SHELF!), and a slew of things to put away - ideally on said shelf - before it's a really functional space. None the less, I can at least move around in it, which is a help.

Still to do in The Studio:
Put up the curtain rod.
Hang the curtains.
Set up the rug (small, to go under the spinning wheel).
Empty the bags - one of winter woolies, a couple of bathroom stuff - into the appropraite recepticals.
Move the under-bed-storage-unit intot he bedroom and under the actual bed.
Move the beautiful - but fragile and ricketty - tea trolly to a different part of the room. Not sure where, though.

I have a list of books that I want to read this year:
Imogene Binnie's Nevada (novel - not sure what I'm going to make of the stream-of-conscious writing style, I'm a little worried it's going to read like Lisa Foad's The Night Is A Mouth which... I didn't like at all)
Dane Figueroa Edidi's Yemaya's Daughters (novel - though the prose is lyric & has a cadance like poetry - I'm looking forward to this one)
Casey Plett's A Safe Girl to Love (short story collection)
Trish Salah's Lyric Sexology (poetry)
Morgan M. Page's At Land (chapbook/novelette - I'm a little nervous about this one since psychological horror is absolutely NOT the kind of stuff I want to read[1])
Ryka Aoki's He Mele A Hilo: A Hilo Song (novel) and/or her Seasonal Velocities (poetry, short stories, & essays)[2]
Amber Dawn's Where the Words End and My Body Begins (poetry)
Leanne Simpson's Islands of Decolonial Love (short story collection - I went to a reading of this one a couple of winters ago)
Saleema Nawaz's Bone and Bread (novel - also: Hee! I went to school with her when we were little, and also when we were big. "I knew her when," etc).

I've got Morgan's novelette and Dane's novel on order - who knows when they'll arrive in the mail - and the rest I'll get ahold of as and when I can scrape together the cash to do so. But that's the plan. I can get Nevada from amazon.ca for about $20 (and Leanne's and Saleema's books for less than that), but Ryka's and Trish's books (in paperback) are both running at over $100, so... looking elsewhere for those, I think. I can probably find Casey's collection at Venus Envy, even if I can't find it elsewhere.
We shall see.

Links to Things You Should Read:
The Heat of Us: Notes Towards an Oral History - a short story in Uncanny Magazine that is absolutely glorious and makes me want to cry.
When Every Day is Judgement Day - Terri Windling on Perfectionism.
My New Year's Wish - Neil Gaiman on Making Mistakes (2012)

Anyway. So that's the world of reading.
I've started editing the first third of The Novel. I decided that it was probably a good idea to take a break from the content-production part in order to try and get the first chunk of Draft One tidied up enough that I could see the way forward a little more clearly.
It's almost 46,000 words long. Which is awesome, but also slightly frightening. The goal, right now, is to fix any obvious inconsistencies (stuff like "making sure I keep the names straight") and trim off 15,000 words of dead-weight, if I can manage that - ideally by combining scenes so that twice as many Relevant Events/Statements happen in half the space. Here's hoping.

Artsy/Creative Goals for 2015:
Get closer to finishing The Novel - ideally by finishing Draft One and handing it off to Ami_B for editing purposes
Write enough (and curate enough already-written) poetry to fill two manuscripts: "How to Cook A Heart" (an exploration of love, vulnerability, openheartedness, polyamoury, and emotional abundance through the lens/metaphor of cooking/growing/foraging seasonal food), and "We Are All Jezebel" (an exploration of the intersections of femme (empowered/autonomous queer femininity), slut (desire, lust, erotica), and sexworker (professional nake girl, pornographer, but also solidarity, and a bunch of other related stuff), with the idea that they'll be ready to perform, even if they're not much published, by June of 2015
Continue teaching myself to edit video with the goal of producing some sort of weird, dream-scape-y "music video" for a piece of poetry or similar
Learn how to make audio recordings using a cheap-but-serviceable mic and, perhaps, a looping pedal (or downloaded open source looping software) and try to do something arty and fun with it, ideally in conjunction with the above-mentioned video production
Sing more - both in terms of frequency and in terms of learning new repertoire
Grow food & make a garden - Not artsy, necessarily, but something that will feed me in more ways than one, so worth putting here none the less.
Figure out how to do contouring makeup, and get better at it

Anyway. So that's where things are at right now.


[1] Then why am I reading it? Because the author's an acquaintance of mine. Because if I want to do a show with her, it would help if I was familiar with her work.

[2] I admit, I'd prefer Seasonal Velocities, but it'll depend a lot on which one I can find at an affordable (read ~$20, ideally less) price.
So, last night I made "Carpathian Onion Soup" (we are now nearly out of onions, plural, which is something I never expected to say, beleive you me) and spent the evening chatting with a lovely couple (one member-of-whom I got to stick needles in at Harvest and the other member-of-whom turns out live just up the street from DA_Gibbs - small world, but no big surprise) and then having tea and cranberry-coconut coffee cake with them plus our friend Moderatrix, which was quite lovely.

I now have about a litre of this soup left over (it has paprika, and I didn't remember that paprika is a bell pepper - one of our guests is alergic - until after I'd added it, so I wound up make a separate pot for her) plus half a tin of coconut milk and a tub of red pepper hummus.

So The Plan for this evening is to take the imersion blender to the remains of the soup, then stir in some of the hummus, the rest of the coconut milk, a little bit of curry powder, then top it up with some water (or actual dairy milk, we'll see) and serve it as a cream/purreed soup with - still - bread with melted cheese added on top. :-) It should be tasty and filling and delicious. Here's hoping! :-)

Here's the recipe I've come up with (as if making it from new and not from leftover Carpathian Onion Soup):


Sesame oil OR lard OR butter
1 red onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (raw)
1 carrot (grated)
¼ C red lentils
1 C coconut milk (or table cream)
1 C water
½ C mashed sweet potatoes (OR unsweetened canned/mashed pumpkin)
½ C red pepper hummus
1 tsp each: soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, apple juice
1 tsp each: ketchup, grainy mustard
½ tsp each: dried basil, dried winter savoury, curry powder
1 C white wine
1 C Water OR coconut milk (OR table cream) + extra to desired thickness

1. In a deep pot, combine fat, onion, garlic, and carrot and allow to cook on very low heat for 15 minutes (covered)
2. Add the lentils, coconut milk, and water
3. Bring to a boil on high heat
4. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for half an hour, or until lentils are cooked through
5. Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender (easiest and safest way to do it), puree the soup (which should be quite thick at this time)
6. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes, hummus, and seasonings
7. Slowly add white wine, then water (or coconut milk) until desired thickness is achieved (this can work as anything from a bisque to a pottage, so as you will)
8. Return to the soup to the stove and heat through
9. Serve as-is, or garnish with (a) pea shoots, (b) sautéed shiitake mushroom slivers, (c) yoghurt/sour cream, (d) sautéed red peppers, OR (e) broiled cheese-on-toast slices, as for Carpathian Onion Soup
10. Serve and enjoy
Slowly, we are moving into the new place. Slowly, we are moving out of the old place.
Ghost spent a good chunk of the morning cleaning the new fridge and stove. The fridge is still sitting in the sunshine, drying, but we've moved the stove into the kitchen. (Turns out, it's missing its knobs, so it'll be a while before I get to use the stove-top. Alas. None the less! Oven! :-D
The contents of the altars have been moved to the new place, though the actual flat surfaces are all still in the apartment. I may be able to get one of the (smaller) bookshelves shifted this evening, which would be nice.

I spent most of the morning unpacking things into the craft cabinet. Ghost also unpacked a few bins and got her workshop that much more set up, so Go Her. I've got five rubbermade bins emptied out, as a result, that can be re-filled with things like wine glasses and fancy china, but also stuff like stationary and office supplies. I've emptied a couple of bags, too, that can be used to cart less-fragile stuff over as needed.

Anyway. Ghost has gone down town to do a bootblacking workshop... thing until 5pm, so I'm going to cart my computer back up the street to the new place and make some jewelry (the picture of what I'm making is on the computer). Onwards! :-)

Amazon. :-)
So I'm about 1/3 of the way through the (first draft of a) manuscript for a book of poetry that I'm planning on calling "How to Cook a Heart".
It's poetry about food - five poems per month of the year, basically, though we'll see which month I wind up starting in. Probably May, knowing me. It's also poetry - at least this seems to be the case, and increasingly so - about polyamoury, relationships, vulnerability, abundance, generocity, and having enough [food/love] to go around. That bit was kind of an accident, but it's an awfully happy one, and I'm very glad to see that this is what's coming out in my work. :-)
Today I (finally) wrote the title poem.
I'm rather pleased with it, though it - like all of them - will need some polishing as time goes on.
Still: Poem! Hurrah, and yay for me! :-D

I also:
Returned a library book, and took out two more
Packed up four shelves (not cases, just shelves) of books
Worked a little bit on a cabaret costume
Bought Ghost a little paint-brush tote in-which to keep her metal-detecting stuff
Bought new shoe laces (finally) and replaced the badly-frayed one on my autumn boots (hurrah)
amazon_syren: (Feast Icon)
( Aug. 25th, 2014 01:56 pm)
Made another 2.5L "bruschetta-in-a-jar" today (currently processing in the canning bath). Have also started the apricot butter (FINALLY), though I'm not expecting a lot of end-product by the time it's done... Maybe two cups at the most? We'll see.

Canning Update:
5 pint jars of bruschetta + 7 one-cup jars of bruschetta = 4.25L bruschetta in a Jar
2 pint jars of diced tomatoes + 8 one-cup jars of diced tomatoes = 4L diced tomatoes
5 cup jars of tomato-peach sals + 1 half-cup jar of (mild) tomato-peach sals = ~1.3L salsa
8 pint jars of garlic-dill cucumber pickles
1.5 C black currant jelly
2 one-cup jars of asparagus relish (one of which lives in the fridge, as it didn't seal quite right)
4 half-cup jars of black currant curd (made with ribena – aka black currant simple syrup – about a month ago)
1-2 C (flattened out in a single freezer bag) frozen edamole (made from previously frozen edamame)
9 half-cups of frozen roasted-and-diced Sicillian eggplant
2-3 C frozen golden zucchini rounds
2 C frozen (freezing) raspberries
2 L (or so) frozen serviceberries
1 L (or so) frozen red currants
~1 C dried nectarine chunks (stored in the fridge because they're not totally dry)
~2 C dried peach chunks (stored in the fridge because they're not totally dry)


I'm hoping to add the following (but we'll see what we can get):
2+ one-cup jars of apricot butter
12-20 half-cup jars of roasted-garlic-balsamic tomato sauce
8 one-cup jars pear butter (with maple syrup for some of the sweetener)
8-12 one-cup jars pumpkin butter (with maple syrup for most of the sweetener)
8 one-cup jars of apple butter
4-8 half-cup jars of crab apple jelly
4-8 half-cup jars of cranberry curd
9 (more) half-cups of frozen roasted-and-diced Sicillian eggplant (this will totally happen, as the eggplant is already part-way processed and just needs to be rinsed, roasted, diced, and frozen before I can check it off my list)
2-3 C (more) frozen golden zucchini rounds (we'll see when I get around to this - I'm quite enjoying having them fresh right now)
24 half-cups of frozen blanched rainbow chard and/or other cooking greens (wish me luck)
1-2L dried tomatoes (here's hoping I can slice them thin enough to make this work)

NOTE: I will, of course, also be availing myself of as many bags of frozen broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, snap beans, and edamame as I can manage to stuff into my chest freezer... but I'll be letting companies like Arctic Garden and President's Choice do that bit for me.

Wish me luck with the rest of my canning! :-D

Amazon. :-D
Hey there!
So the Glebe Metro is now carrying Seed To Sausage sausages (3 for $10 or so, so not cheap) in a variety of flavours. (Apple & sage, Red wine & garlic, Maple & walnut, Onion & peppers, and I think there's a spicy/chorizzo type as well).
You'd think I'd just go to the actual store half a block from my house, but NOOOOOOOOOO, I have to go to the grocery store and get them that way. :-P

But anyway. What I'm aiming for here is this:
They get their pork from local farmers. I have no idea if they get their pork from local ethical/humane farmers, although I hope so. (Maybe I should just stick my head in the door and ask for the names of the farms?)
But you guys, their sausages are actually really good.
Like the "free from" and "traditionally raised" stuff that I usually get? It's got nothing on this stuff!

So. While, in my experience, fancy-ethical-artisanal-expensive animal products... don't actually taste any different from the not-so-ethical stuff, and while I'm typically buying it for reasons of Better Quality of Life for the Critter... This stuff is also better because it's amazingly delicious.

Anyway. That's it for me. Tasty sausage is tasty. :-)

Amazon. :-)
I just got a call from one of my temp agencies offering me a shot at (just a shot at) a four-month part-time contract. $42/day - which would work out to about $2,600.00 for the contract in its entirety. Enough to cover my part of the rent AND most of our groceries for the four months in question.
The hours are 3-6pm, Monday-Friday. About a 40-minute walk from home, with a grocery store (among other things) on the way if I need to pick something up.

Sounds pretty good.

And I'm angsty about the whole possibility for the STUPID reason that I'm afraid I'd "always be late" due to working on other crap until I had to hope I could catch a #14 to get there in 15 minutes instead of 40.
It's ridiculous.

Yes, IF I got it, I'd have to work out a way to do Fabulous Friday Dinner as something other than a Braise - roasting things, or else determining that we would have Hors D'Oeuvres every Friday to snack on while the dinner cooked in the oven after I got home (it's Friday - that would be fine). If I had to work it so that Writing Time took place, long-hand, at the Sparks-and-Metcalfe Bridgehead and I set an alarm to go off in my purse at 2:40 so that I'd only have to walk two blocks to be at work on time, then that's not going to hurt me and will probably mean I Get More Done - heck, working as a receptionist during the "late" hours, might mean I have the opporunity to type up what I hand-wrote earlier in the day, each day. Maybe. (Maybe not, but I can dream).
The fact that the part-time hours are (a) above minimum wage, and (b) still during my wife's standard working hours? That's a fantastic bonus! :-)
The fact that the 4 months thing is... kind of being suggested as a "probationary period" of some sort... might work out. (I mean, I don't want to be temping for ever, but $14/hr is quite respectable as far as I'm concerned).
Would I prefer to get the part-time gig that's 20 minutes from my door, at a CHC, and pays $18.50/hr? Fuck yes! But I haven't heard from them at this point, and I'm not really expecting to anymore (they closed the competition about two weeks ago, so...)

Yeah. Basically, I'm posting this in the hopes of people sending me some Good Job Vibes. Because I'd like some of those, please. :-)
So I spent the past hour chopping up peaches and nectarines.
Know what I've learned?

(1) For some reason, the stone-fruit that I'm getting at the grocery store (Foodland Ontario peaches and netarines from Nicastro's + Foodland Ontario peaches from the Glebe Metro) have cracked pits, or pits that are not-too-solid and that slice open when you go to cut the fruit off the seed. I have no idea what this means, though I'm somewhat inclined to try growing a peach if that's looking like it could work out.

(2) The nectarines I got were cling-stone rather than free-stone, so not all that easy to work with.

(3) Even when the fruit that you get is from in-Province (so, like, a day away by truck rather than a day away by airplane - still a day away), you're going to have a mixture of already-ripe, nearly-ripe, and not-ripe-at-all peaches/nectarines in your 3-litre box of fruit. Gods, that's a piss-off. :-P

Anyway. So here's what I've done:
I cut something like 9 peaches and 18 nectarines into eighths (so cut them in half, and then cut each half into quarters) in the hopes that (a) they'll dry a little faster - I'll talk about that, shortly, and (b) they'll be pre-sized for as many different purposes as possible (so, like, good for thowing into a coffee cake OR into a yoghurt parfait OR into a braise OR into a bag of car-snacks... without having to be trimmed or halved or whatever once they've already been dried).

Drying times for nectarines are listed (in the instruction manual that my dehydrator did, in fact, come with - it was tucked between two of the trays rather than down the side of the box) as 6-16 hours. Drying times for peaches are listed as 14-18 hours.

I know that I'm going to have to rotate the trays - bring the ones on the top of the stack to the bottom and vice-versa - rought every three hours.
I also know that my peach chunks aren't all the same size. Same goes for my nectarine chunks.
Basically, I'm going to have to keep an eye on things all day. :-)

So we'll see how this goes.

Right now I'm feeling weirdly stressed about it all. This may have more to do with needing to eat breakfast than anything else, but my shoulders are kind of up around my ears a little bit. Also, the dehydrator totally sounds like an electric hand-dryer is going on the other side of the room. I suspect this is going to become a little grating by the end of the day, but we'll see.

I'm fretting about a dozen things right now - mostly to do with Vigilance and worrying about who/what is going to come out of the wood-work (and try to eat the food) if I leave the house for a couple of hours between tray-rotations.

I'm trying to distract myself by (A) listening to podcasts, (B) sorting out my to-do lists, and (C) writing a chocolate-chili peanut-butter cookie recipe that... I think is going to be pretty damn good. :-)

Anyway. I've got candles and cookies to make - which will hopefully take me the hour-and-a-half that I need to fill between now and the first time I have to rotate my drying racks (after-which point I am hitting up the grocery store because I'm out of yeast(!) and need that if I'm going to make me some bread - so I'm going to head out.

Amazon. :-)
Making garlic-dill cucumber pickles.
Except that they contain very little garlic (alas). Let this be a lesson to me: Plan Vietnamese Garlic Chives that are available early-on and are perenial... y'know, in the event that I have a yard to garden at some point in the hopefully-not-TOO-distant future.

Last night, I processed half of my eight pint-jars in a boiling water bath... A process which resulted in a lot of over-flow and a lot of lost (leaked) pickling solution... So I'm trying again, this morning, with the jars the other way up[1].

The funny thing is that the jars that lost all the pickling solution? They still sealed. They might have been just fine to eat from in a month or three (or six, or twelve...) but I don't know that, so I opted to try again.

Anyway. The first batch is out (one jar has already sealed, I'm waiting for the tell-tale "plunk" from the othe three), and the other batch is processing. :-)

I'm hoping that this works.
So far, this season, I've done a moderate amount of freezing - serviceberries, strawberries, pesto, raspberries, "edamole" (although that was made, in large part, from previously-frozen edamame, so I'm not sure if it counts), and red currants - but only a little bit of canning (two cups of asparagus relish, four half-cups of black-currant curd). The pickles are my first "big batch" of canning in 2014, and I'm hoping that they'll work out, in part because - while Fridge Pickles are great and all - I don't want to have to eat through four litres of vinegarry, quasi-cooked cukes in a couple of weeks. (Ha! And a second jar just sealed! Woohoo!) So make that three litres of vinegarry, quasi-cooked, cukes. But you get the idea.

I continue to have high hopes around preserving - particularly tomato-based preserves (roasted-garlic balsamic tomato sauce, for sure, as well as a significantly larger batch of spicy tomato-peach salsa[2] - think 8-12 cups rather than three - and (maaaaaaaaaaaybe) some crushed tomatoes, most likely done as one-cup jars rather than two-cup jars... in the name of getting them to seal.

Which brings me back around to my pint-jars of cucumber pickles and my hope that they, too, will seal properly.
Getting a half-cup jar to seal is easy. It's small. Five minutes (ten, tops, for if you're doing fruit curds or other "dense...ish" preserves) and the lids'll plunk shut, fully sealed, in no time. But, I find, the bigger the jar, the longer the processing time (this is not surprising) but also the longer it takes for the seal to form after coming out of the bath. I'm not sure why this is, but it makes for some (mild-to-moderate) anxiety while waiting to see if the seals form at all.

So that's where I'm at with the canning and other forms of preserving.


[1] When I'm processing half-cup, or even whole-cup (half-pint), jars of preserves, I do what my mom did and use a frying pan with the jars flipped lid-side-down. Less water, yeah, but lots of steam (which is quite a bit hotter than water, thank-you-very-much). It works just fine.

[2] I admit, in the interests of finding out if it would work[3], I'm inclined to try making this stuff using slivers of dried appricots rather than diced fresh peaches...

[3] Because The Goal is to eventually own a yard that is big enough (20x12?) to grow a dwarf, two-variety apricot tree for the purposes of harvesting fruit for fresh-eating, drying, possibly fermenting into Country Wine, and canning as fruit butter, fruit-in-simple-syrup, "jam", and salsa.
Hey, you guys!
So I got a call from a temp agency, saying that they want to present me for a PART TIME reception gig that could be one month and could be six (medical leave) for a construction company out on Walkley Road.
Basically, if I got this, I'd be spending $6/day to have a two-hour (round trip) commute for a four-hour shift... which sucks. BUT I'd ALSO be making $13/hr (so call it $35/day after taxes and transit fees), five days a week, for at least a month, possibly more. Also it would be only one bus - the 86 - which is kind of a relief to know. And roughly half of my commute would be walking (lovely during most of the year, doable during 100% of it): 15 minutes to the 86 stop at the bottom of the hill. Then another 15 minutes (or there-abouts) to get from the 86 stop to the workplace. Alternatively, I could take the 95 to Hurdman and transfer to the 192, and that would get me there (in theory) in the same amount of time, but with less walking, if the day turned out to be crappy. Either way.

Anyway. So I'm kind of relieved to hear that there might be a job in the offing, and I'm hoping (sorry, person I'd be filling in for) that the current receptionist's medical leave actually takes longer to heal up than the bare minimum. I would like it if this gig lasted most/all off the summer (I think). Because it would give me some decent work, that I'm already good at, and would net me about $700/month... AND it would see me through to the beginning of September, when my day-time modeling jobs (which I would pretty-much be borked for, if I took this gig) will be starting up again, and also when all the summer employees go back to school and various Help Wanted signs might start turning up a little closer to home.

This could (maybe) be exactly what I need. Fingers crossed for me, SVP? :-D

In other news:
(1) I voted this morning - DONE! :-D

(2) Took a walk around the neighbourhood and chatted up a neighbour about their container garden (she works at the LCBO, and they straight-up gave her a super-dwarf apple tree as part of a promotion - I totally want to work there, now!) -- I have since found her on facebook (we have a specific person in common, so she was easy to track down) -- and I think we will get along just dandily. :-D

(3) My attempts at fermentation continue apace. Right now, my fermenting-tea smells really terrible. As in: It smells less like beer and more like farts. Which is, I gather, par for the course when using yoghurt bacteria (as well as yeast) to do the fermenting. I figure, if I keep it in the fridge for 2 months, and routinely unseal it to keep the pressure from building up too much, then I might just wind up with something ever-so-slightly-fizzy and delicious. But we shall see.

Still To Do:
Write 1000+ words on The Novel
Do Laundry (and change the sheets)
Do some dishes (I don't wanna, but they're taking up a lot of space)
Text Ghost the address, apartment number, and buzz code for my mom's apartment
Get myself out to my mom's apartment (leaving around 5pm) for my brother's 30th Birthday Get-Together

Ghost may or may not actually come to the birthday thing. She had a bit of a work-accident on Tuesday - seven stitches in her arm, but nothing torn or broken except the skin (THANK YOU all the gods(!!!) for that one!), and is fine but rather sore - so she may or may not be up to an evening out, depending on how her arm is doing (she's keeping a pretty close eye on it wrt infection, which is part of what that's about).

Amazon. :-)
So I just got back to the house.
I headed out with Ghost this morning - she to catch her bus to work, and me to drop off a resume at The Red Apron. It's a cute little shop. The fanciest of fancy grocery stores, but there you have it. It smells good when you walk in. :-)
Here's hoping that someone gets their dream job offered to them with a July start-date, and that they decide to hire me to take over the position.

Further to this, I... )

This afternoon will include:
Writing at least 1000 words for The Novel (I may already have most of the next scene or three written, so I will have a look and see if I can't get a little bit ahead of myself on this front)
Grating cheese (ideally using the food processor)
Making pesto (probably)
Changing the sheets (probably)

Up, up, and away! :-)


[1] Think: 3 cups of roughly-chopped garlic chives + 1/4 C crumbled walnuts (or chestnut meal) + 1/4 C grape seed oil + 1 tbsp white wine vinegar + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast + 1 tbsp dried basil + 1 tbsp water + pinch each salt & black pepper --> Chuck it all in a food processor (possibly before grating mozzarella cheese) and blend until well purreed. Freeze by the cup OR half-cup for use on pasta and pizza.

[2] Okay, yes, freezing cheese kind of screws with the texture. However since this stuff was bought to be melted anyway? I'm fine with chucking it in the freezer.

[3] Black currant syrup from the grocery store. It's, like, $10 for a litre of the stuff, and I use it to make black currant curd - it's delish.
So, the concert yesterday was awesome. :-)
It was wonderful to see Heather again, and lovely to get to chat with s00j more than I usually get to. She says "I love it when the internet gets out of the way" and gave me a big, big hug. :-) Ghost told her a story that she'd never told anyone before. We're curious to see where it goes from there.
We picked up "Fairytale" and "Wonders" from the merch table, and I'm (slowly) ripping them to my computer.

I also picked up tickets to the June 14th twelve-hour telling of The Iliad (woohoo!) which Ghost and I are greatly looking forward to. (There will be wine and snacks and knitting and other good things to be enjoyed during the telling, as well).

This afternoon there will be weaving, I think, and possibly some knitting as well, but this morning will involve (A) a little bit of tidying (just the coffee table, I think) and (B) a little bit of baking, as well. :-)

So, having listened to them both about a billion times on YouTube, I finally ordered Carry the Fire (Delta Rae) and Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Against Me!) and will have two new CDs in my hot little hands in... ab out another month. I hope they'll arrive earlier, but there you go. By the end of May I may even have forgotten when I ordered them and getting them in the mail will be a wonderful and fabulous surprise.
I also ordered a (cheap!) copy of Wanting, in Arabic which is Trish Salah's first book of poetry (many years old, at this point - her new one is coming out in, like, five more days). I'm honestly not sure what to expect. Trish's poetry is... Okay, the pieces of Trish's poetry that I've read ten towards the dense and word-play-ish. Stuff done with aliteration that follows the order of the alphabet.
So we'll see what I think about it.
Beyond that, I got to go on a road-trip with Ghost today - her bike broke down in Sharbot Lake yesterday afternoon, and we got to go and collect it in a cube van this morning - and I managed to finish a knitted cowl (for my sister). My Ghost wants me to make her one in black, which I think I'll do - I've got some black yarn left over from her hat (which was, originally, going to be a shrug for me) that I can put towards such a thing, and it'll give me an idea of what amount of yarn will be needed to do a knitted dress for myself out of similarly-weighted yarn.
I have PLANS to make myself a knitted dress (or, alternatively, a cobbled-together dress made of t-shirts and tank tops from, like, Giant Tiger or something) with leather accents, so it would be good to know how many skeins of yarn I'm likely to need (answer: a good 4-5 times an many as it will take to make a cowl, but I can work with that).
Anyway. It's another project to work on while I wait for the next round of Shawl Yarn to come in. :-)
As a side note, there is this song: Shivers. It's a cover of a Rowland S. Howard song, performed by Against Me! Meaning: Performed by a trans woman. The lyrics take on a particular meaning in that light).

So. A friend of mine has a family with a sugar shack.
She's offered to haul home an order for me in May. What I've ordered:

1 gallon (8 tins) of maple syrup
1 kg (two packages) of cassinade - which has the same consistency as brown sugar, so it's reasonably soft and can be used in baking
1 box of a dozen maple-butter filled chocolates

I'm figuring that this will keep us in syrup for a good two years, possibly more, and it'll mean that - next time I run out of a brown sugar (which should take a little while, I realize) - I'll have a much more local source already on hand. YAY!

I'm really happy about this offer. She's only making it to some of her close friends - I suggested that she put that list on facebook or something, as it would get her family some extra business, but she's making the run by train which means a lot of heavy lifting for her. So she's trying to keep things "in the family" as much as possible.

It makes me wonder about Buying Clubs, however, and whether or not something closer to home - like the Vanier sugar shack, for example - would do a bulk order with similar prices. Don't know, but it's something to consider.

I'm interested to see how much maple syrup I use when it's (sginificantly more) affordable than usual. Like... I know I use maple syrup as part of the sugar in my home-made pumpkin butter preserves. Maple-based brown sugar is about six times as expensive as cane-based brown sugar (though it's only one-and-a-half times as expensive as organic, fairly traded cane-based brown sugar, so... Apples to apples, right?)
But I'm wondering... will I scrimp on expensive sugar? Or will I use it as a plentiful thing when I've got four litres of the stuff Just Lying Around?
In terms of canning, I can - apparently - only use maple syrup in place of 1/4 of the necessary sugar. I suspect that maple sugar would be more of a 1:1 exchange, but I could be wrong. Anybody know?

This is sort of Step One in my quest to do a lot of my grocery shopping "by year" with up-front payments through CSAs and bulk-buying.
Here's hoping it works out! :-D

amazon_syren: (Writerly)
( Apr. 9th, 2014 03:16 pm)
I didn't get the job.

I mean, I'm fine. Nothing's changed, and I no-longer need to worry about juggling RHO, modeling, and VERSeFest (the latter of which is volunteer, mind you) committments with another, much-larger-time-committment job. But...


A little part of me kind of wants to cry.
I actually wanted that job. It wasn't just some stop-gap until I could afford (ecconomically, I mean) to go back to Normal Life again.

I guess I'm kind of mourning the might-have-been, y'know? The extra $1200 or so per month would have opened up SO MANY doors in terms of housing and savings, and we don't get to have that now (or, more accurately, we don't get to have that yet). It would have meant some wiggle room in terms of what we could afford to rent - an extra $400/month would give us a (cheap) rental house - the kind with three bedrooms, a laundry machine, a garden-able yard and maybe even a garrage for Ghost's tools and canoes and such. And that would still have meant $700+ after taxes that I could put into savings (read: towards a down-payment on a house we'd OWN). It would have made SUCH a difference!

I admit, I was kind of counting on it. :-(
Not in a particularly heavy "spending money I don't have" way[1] but... Oh, I hoped. I hoped so much. And I wasn't enough.
I feel so awful saying that. Both in the sense of "over-dramatic" and in the sense of "actually heart-broken". Even though I know I was a good candidate. Even though I know it was because someone else was more qualified (broader network of contacts, and a LOT more fundraising experience) than I was, not because I wasn't Good Enough. When they called to tell me I hadn't made it in, they said I was one of six people who go interviewed at all. Out of more than a hundred.
That's not much of a consolation prize when what I've missed out on is something that basically translated into Security and A Future through ethical and joy-inducing means. But... It's something. Worth remembering, anyway.


Anyway. Maybe the job'll come up again in another three-to-five years, and I'll have a lot more finance-related stuff under my belt to get it this time. Or maybe I'll have found something else in a similar (or not?) vein that provides the same kind of security and opportunities, and we'll have a house on the go and a garden to grow our own produce and everything already.

Here's hoping.


[1] Although I did get us yoga classes, and I did re-stock (ish) the "wine cellar" to the tune of about 8 bottles of wine + 2 bottles of sortilege (and 1 of their cream version) and a few other odds and sods, and the combination of those things probably works out to about $600-$650 worth of goods and activities
Reading Little House Off the Grid about a family of four who moved to the Napanee area (not that far from where I live, for those of you not in Ontario) to live in a Clearing In The Woods using solar and wind power and stuff like that there.

While this book will most likely be extremely helpful in terms of knowing what the pitfalls are and how to (hopefully) avoid them... gods, the authors (or one of them, anyway) are getting on my nerves! Preachy-vegetarian, preachy-environmentalist, and not very neighbourly... at least when they start out.
Granted, part of the not-very-neighbourly stuff may have come from being the go-to people when one of a number journalists wanted some kind of "extremist" (or possibly actually-extremist, I'm not sure) enviro-view on whatever was happening in Burlington at the time.
But still. It's irritating to have to deal with that Voice while trying to just find stuff out.

It's funny. Because I read this, and I pick up on the eco-snobbery, but I also pick up on the... "Barhavan" attitudes of the writers, if I can use Ami_B's term. I wonder if it would be pissing me off as much if the authors had been more "grass-roots community solidarity" (yep, I'm totally using those buzz-words to make a point ;-) or if it'd blow right by me.
It would probably still piss me off, honestly, but... I could be wrong. :-\

Right now, I'm looking at solar panels, and how much I would need... I'd like (in the hypothetical situation where I own a house and, thus, have a roof to put these on) something like 1000 watts worth of solar panels on each slope (east and west) of the roof. Or, alternatively, 1000 watts on the eastern slope and 2000 watts (meaning 8 250-watt pannels) on the western slope, which gets hotter and brighter sun in my neck of the woods.
I don't actually have a clue how many watts, say, a full-sized fridge or an electric oven will go through...
It's funny. One of the authors talks about giving away all her small apliances - like the bread-maker and the toaster oven and the microwave - and all I could think was: Yes. But don't all of those use way less electricity than an electric stove/oven? (They do. But this family was using a propane-fed stove, so...)
It's something I'd really like to have a clue about. I know that the authors also had a wind-turbine going on, and I'm not sure how much of their electricity came from it vs their 8-12 75-watt solar pannels.

I mean... I'm using a 100-watt lightbulb right now. Plus my laptop. Plus the slow-cooker. Plus my fridge that runs 100% of the time. Plus my electric (urgh...) heat, which also runs 100% of the time. That's a LOT of wattage going on.
Cancel out the heat, because gods know I don't want to be relying on electric heat, and that takes care of a big, BIG chunk of it. But I don't actually know how much I'd be using. What if I add a chest freezer in there? How much is that?
Wrote out a stocking pattern a few days ago, and have had to change things up.
Making ankle socks first, as I've got (I think) enough yarn to do that.
Socks will be pink (rose/cerise?) cotton with teal (acrylic) heels and toes.

Cast on 40 stitches (pink)
Knit back-and-forth two rows
Knit-in-the-round 10 (maybe 12?) rows of [K2, P2]
Knit back-and-forth 40 rows
Knit-in-the-round 20 rows
Switch to teal yarn
Knit-in-the-round 10 rows(?)
Knit-in-the-round 10 rows, REDUCING using [K, K2tog]
Cast off (ish)
Crochet final bits of toe, and close

Put on sock. There should be a big hole that neatly fits your heel.
Using teal yarn, crochet the heel into the sock (diamond-shaped... sort of) by working around your own heel. Custom fit! ;-)

You can finish the sock by adding two rows of crochet/knit in the teal yearn around the top of the ankle, if you're so inclined. :-)

In theory, this will give me an ankle sock that (a) breathes, thanks to the cotton, but (b) has fairly sturdy wear-points, thanks to the acrylic. Any thoughs on this?

I may try to pre-shrink them by dunking them in hot water, wringing them out well, and then fitting them over my custom palster lasts (which will need be stuffed into plastic bags for soginess-avoidance) and drying them with a hair dryer. We shall see. :-)
So, I made these:

[caption id="attachment_1205" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Key to the Cure Piece A Seven pairs available, but that's it. 8mm amethyst beads + surgical steel hooks and silver-tone findings. 1.75" long, not including hooks. $20/pair. Key to the Cure
Piece A
Seven pairs available, but that's it.
8mm amethyst beads + surgical steel hooks and silver-tone key charms and findings.
1.75" long, not including hooks. $20/pair.
Click on the picture to go to their shop.[/caption]

If the picture isn't showing up:
Keys for the Cure Earring Collection, Piece A
8mm amethyst beads + surgical steel hooks and silver-tone findings.
1.75" long, not including hooks.

Available here.


amazon_syren: (Default)


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