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I have written!

Two thousand words of Part III of "And Fear Finds Nothing Left to Mend." Pretty rough, but that's what revisions are for. Not sure if I should fish for betas now, or see if I can push through to the end. This part is painful, but it's Part IV that will be REALLY painful.

The construction on the walk-in closest for the front bedroom starts next week. We have a couple more pieces of furniture we have to get out of the bedroom and onto the back porch, but we've already cleaned out most of the stuff we have to move, from both the bedroom and the back shed. We are SO ready for this. Once that's complete and we get everything re-arranged, we're going to have to clear off the back porch and see if we can assemble the carport I bought. Which will be exciting. I ordered (and paid for) a 10x20 steel carport. I had to rent a huge U-Haul truck to pick it up from the warehouse, and it was a bitch and a half to unload all the pieces,because, well, steel. However, when I got it all unloaded and looked at the construction plans, I discovered that what they'd given me was actually an 18x20 double.

To put it mildly, ARGH. It's way, WAY too much trouble to try to take it back and exchange it. After studying the plans, I think that I can modify them so as to smallify it -- I will have to cut the roof panels in half, basically. Should be interesting. And probably not something we want to do until the temperatures drop some.

The fritillaries have done quite a number on the passionflower vine. There's hardly any leaves left on the poor thing. We have zillions of butterflies, though, so I guess it's for a good cause.

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Assorted things

Back when we were looking for roses, we picked up a few other plants: a shrimp plant, and a blue passionflower. They're both nostalgic flowers for me, as my grandmother used to have shrimp plants in her back yard, and we used to have a blue passionflower vine growing on the trellis beside our carport when I was a child. The shrimp plant we got is a slightly different variety than Grandma had, but it's still pretty.

I had not realized, when I planted the passionflower vine, that they are the sole food of several varieties of fritillary butterflies. A couple of weeks ago, I started noticing the caterpillars, and now the butterflies are hatching out of their chrysalises. We had three our four of them hatch this weekend, and there are several new caterpillars munching away. Hopefully the passionflower vine will grow large enough to provide for all of them without being skeletonized; I am not inclined, in these parlous days, to kill off any pollenizing insects.

Speaking of which, the bees have come back to the lippia. We had tons of them in the yard when the citrus was in bloom, and then they disappeared for awhile, but they seem to have come back. When we moved into this house, back in 1988, there was a tiny patch of lippia nodiflorens (also known as frogfruit, though I am not sure why, as it does not feed frogs, attract frogs, or look froggish in any way) in the front yard. Lippia has, if you aren't familiar with it, fleshy, dark green leaves and lots of tiny white flower clusters. It's one of those ground covers that was popular back in the 50s, and then fell out of favor because it was too invasive or something. (Though I'm fairly sure that it's too dry here for it to spread far if one doesn't water it -- it's drought tolerant, but not THAT drought tolerant.) We had quite a lot of it in our front yard when I was a kid, and going barefoot was in consequence extremely perilous. Sooner or later, you WOULD step on a bee.

In any case, the lippia in our front yard sat there doing nothing much for most of our tenure in this house. five or six years ago, it suddenly took it into its head to start spreading. Now it covers about half the front yard. (The rest of the yard is a mix of Bermuda, dichondra, a bunch of tufty desert grass I don't know the name of, two or three kinds of annual clovers, desert mallow, and assorted weeds which don't fall into the Bad Weed category.* I was reading an article recently on how Lawns Are Bad Because Monoculture, and thinking that our lawn certainly does not qualify.) If I were still in the habit of running around barefoot I might consider this a mixed blessing, but as it is, it's providing much needed bee habitat.

The grapes and the figs are coming along. We've had an unnaturally cool spring, and now summer; it's the first weekend in June, and the temperatures are barely topping 100F. Normally, it's up around 105 by now.

Next weekend we're heading over to L.A. for Whedoncon, and when we get back, the closet project will start. I don't remember if I mentioned it here, but we have a sort of porch/shed area under our existing roof which we're going to have enclosed, and make a walk-in closet for the front bedroom. Really looking forward to that being done. We're probably going to be making the interior fixtures and whatnot ourselves, since we don't need anything super fancy -- just some shelves and clothes rods.

*Bad Weeds: Foxtail, bullhorn clover, burr clover, pigweed, wild mustard, and the cluster of related weeds we call dandelions but which don't look much like the classic dandelion because they are much taller with multiple small flower heads. These weeds either have Painful Seeds, or grow excessively large and eyesoreish if left to themselves. Desert mallow does get excessively large, but it has pretty orange flowers and therefore is allowed to stay.

We watched Good Omens, and liked it a lot, though I have to agree with the reviewer who pointed out that the trope of capable women falling for hapless or unpleasant men for no particular reason could have been done away with, and nothing of value would have been lost. It would have been rather nice to see Anathema decide she could do better than whatsisname, and what Tracy saw in Shadwell I have even less idea. We're all here for Crowley and Aziraphale anyway.

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We're catching up on season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. I liked season one, but it didn't feel like Star Trek to me. Season 2 feels like Star Trek. I LOVE they way they're writing Captain Pike. I also like the guy playing Spock more than I expected to. I could never quite buy Zachary Quinto in the role, even though he's an excellent actor, for one petty reason: he's a tenor, and Spock is a baritone. I'm sorry, Quinto, I don't make the rules; that's just the way it is.

We also binge-watched S4 of Lucifer, and while I can't add much to [personal profile] shapinglight's review, we enjoyed that as well. It's still popcorn viewing, but it's way better written and produced popcorn than it was before Netflix took it on.

Watching a recent-is production of Gypsy on the Broadway channel at the moment. I've always hated the character of Rose with a passion, and it doesn't help to have Dolores Umbridge play her.

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My Seasonal Spuffy entry

Is here: https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/663108.html

If you haven't already checked out this round's entries and left the creators some love, go, now! I know what I'll be doing this weekend!

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Would anyone be interested in beta reading my Seasonal Spuffy entry? It’s a little over 3000 words, the next installment of “And Fear Finds Nothing Left To Mend,” which I started a few SS’s ago, and my posting day is the 20th.

I am going to do my darnedest to get more done on it, since it seems to be flowing right now. But I'm at a good cliffhanger ending point, so I'd rather get this part polished up nicely so I can be certain that I have something decent to post.

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In Which Bo Endures Much

A while ago, I noticed what looked like a tiny scrape on Bo's nose, as if a teeny piece of the black shiny nose skin had come off. It wasn't bleeding or anything, and he didn't seem to be bothered, so I assumed that one of the cats had taken a swipe at him. Over the next couple of weeks, though, the spot got larger. Then I noticed that he was licking a place on his tail, and when I checked it out, I could see he'd licked it enough that there there was a bare spot where the skin was irritated. So I took him in to the vet forthwith. She looked at the places and scratched her head, and said she wasn't absolutely certain, but thought it might be an autoimmune thing. So they shaved the surrounding fur off the spot on his tail so I could see the condition of the skin more easily, and gave me a topical steroid solution to spray on his nose and tail twice daily, and told me to let them know on Monday if he'd improved any.

The spray stuff does seem to be helping; his tail is definitely healing up, and his nose seems better. Bo does NOT like getting his nose sprayed, even though we bribe him with cheese, but he's putting up with it resignedly. I'll let the vet know tomorrow how he's doing, and see what we need to do from here on out.

We didn't do a lot for Easter -- colored a few eggs, made a lamb roast (which was delicious) and planted a Blue Girl rose. The roses we planted last year have all done very well, so I'm hoping this one follows suite.

Kathy will be going to Vegas to meet her mother next weekend, so I'm hoping I can get some writing done while she's out of town. I have managed to get enough done on one of my shorter WIPs that I can post an update for Seasonal Spuffy, but I'd like to get a little more done if I can.

We took out a home equity line of credit this month, so we can get some projects done around the house. I'm waiting for a last estimate on the largest of them (enclosing the little porch/shed which is the northeast corner of the house to make a walk in closet for the front bedroom). Judging by the estimates we've gotten so far, it is, unfortunately, going to cost more than I'd hoped, but that seems to be par for the course for renovations. We have a whole list of other smaller projects we want to do, but we won't know for sure which we can do first until we know for certain how much the big one will cost. Hopefully they'll get back to me tomorrow.

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Ugghhhh, I have fallen into another non-posting slump. I must forcefully drag myself out.

The leather corset I ordered at the Ren Faire arrived last week, and my new, improved steampunk costume is just about finished! I still need to find or make a cloak clasp of some kind to keep the capelet from sliding off, but otherwise, it's pretty much done. I'm fairly pleased with the way it's come out.

This is the underskirt I made:

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Sunday was the Phoenix Pride parade, and Kathy had volunteered us to march with the group from her work. We got there around ten o clock, which was when the parade was supposed to start, but it didn't get going until almost eleven, and we were group #235 of what was probably about 300+ entries. There were all kinds of people marching, from big corporate groups to local non-profit and community groups, to cosplay teams to "I don't know what they're supposed to be, but they sure seem to be having fun."

Some of the groups were absolutely huge, and way better funded than the State Farm people (as in we had a little red wagon and some bubble guns, they had an air-conditioned bus and their own music system.) But it was fun nonetheless, and we seemed to be one of the few groups who were passing out trans and bi flags in addition to the standard rainbow ones, so we got semi-mobbed by people wanting those. The parade covered only about a mile and a half, from Virginia to Indian School, but we'd parked the car about a quarter of a mile away from the starting point, and once the parade was over, we had to walk back to where we'd parked the car, and what with the milling about before we started, we probably walked about four miles all told. It was pretty warm, and I had chosen aesthetics over comfort and worn my Doc Martens instead of sneakers, but I got out of it with only minor sunburn and no blisters.

Unfortunately being in the parade made it difficult to get any good pictures of the parade, but here's some milling about behind the scenes stuff:
PhotosCollapse )

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Editor list updated

I see someone already updated the editor list in several places -- thank you! I did the extra list on LJ, and updated the Tumblr list (which was so old it still had Gillo on it, eep.) It gave me some issues because it didn't want to save until I updated all the http:'s in the custom HTML to https:'s. :P I did that, but I have no idea whether the sites the graphics links go to have actually updated to https, so there is a possibility that some of the links may not work. However, I sincerely doubt that anyone ever clicks on them, so we should be fine.

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In Which Irish Eyes Are Not Smiling

If my mother's tales are to be believed, my ancestry is mostly Scots and Irish, with some English in there somewhere. However, on her side of the family, we've been in the US since the 1700s. On my Dad's side, which appears to be mainly Scots/English, we've been here since the 1800s at least (the trail for his side of the family peters out in the 1880s or so because everyone's named freakin' George or Mary.) So I've never seen any point in doing the whole Performative Celtic Thing. I am not Irish (or Scots) in any meaningful sense. I crankily refuse to wear green, and wish a top of the morning to no one.

Sunday morning a friend of ours, who is very much into Being Celtic, called and said "It's St. Patrick's Day! Let's go to {local Irish-themed pub} for corned beef and cabbage!" As we were in the middle of catching up on cleaning the house, doing five loads of laundry, and still had the weekly shopping to do, we tried to hint that it was too short notice, and we were busy. They didn't take the hint, so we ended up dropping everything and going to meet them.

It being St. Patrick's Day, the bar was of course crammed to the gills with people, standing room only. They had a Celtic band playing, which I do like, but the crowd was so loud that you literally couldn't hear them more than five feet away. I don't like corned beef, I don't drink (OK, I drink occasionally, but only fruity umbrella drinks, and only one at a time.) Fighting my way through a crowd of drunken, yelling strangers for a decent-but-not-fantastic plate of shepherd's pie that I have to eat standing up in the middle of said crowd of drunken yelling strangers is not my idea of a good time. We agreed that perhaps we ought to come back some time when it was not St. Patrick's Day.

In more cheerful news, we did a run through SAS last week, (which, for the uninitiated, is an amazing fabric store in Phoenix which sells all kinds of mill-ends and odd lots of fabric at far more reasonable prices than your average Joanne's.) I had been intending to pick up some plain muslin with which to make a pair of drawers for my Ren Faire costume, which I did. But I also happened upon some incredibly cool fabric which would be perfect for my steampunk wardrobe. Since anything you see at SAS is likely to be gone the next time you go in, I grabbed a bunch of it, along with some really nice black linen as backing fabric. I decided that I didn't want to just wing it with this stuff, so I ordered a skirt pattern from Truly Victorian. Pics once I get it sewn together.

Work has been... weird since the software changeover. Hopefully things will improve, but I'm going to polish up my resume just in case.

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