Things and Stuff

This has been an... interesting month. Election week was incredibly stressful, and I don't think I'll fully relax until they drag the orange menace out of the White House in January. Not even then, really, because we've got to start planning for the 2022 midterms. God, I long for the days when I could safely ignore politics.

In the meantime, we'd bought a couple of pie pumpkins back at Halloween, and when we cut them up to boil down, we discovered that some of the seeds inside had started to sprout. So I planted a dozen of the best-looking sprouts in a flowerpot, and this weekend I transferred the seedlings to a plot in the backyard. I don't know if they'll survive long enough to set fruit (normally you plant pumpkins in the spring) but this is supposed to be a warm winter, so they might surprise us. It will be interesting to see what sort of pumpkins they turn out, if they do set any, as these are just randomly pollinated seeds rather than carefully created seed company hybrids.

We also built a fire pit in the backyard, out of concrete pavers. It was almost a disaster, because I mismeasured, and the concrete base I poured for it was too small. But I managed to extend it by cutting up a couple of spare pavers with the tile saw and mortaring them onto the edge of the base. No one would mistake it for a professional job, but it will do – and it's way better than the little metal dish thingy we'd been using.

We're having a very small Thanksgiving this year, just the two of us, one friend, and my brother. But then, we always have a small Thanksgiving. Regardless, there WILL be pie. We made pecan pies today, and I'll make a blueberry one Tuesday.

I have absolutely zero ideas for Seasonal Spuffy. Sigh. Hopefully I can at least come up with a drabble for the last free for all day. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

One Day More

Saturday morning we went to Trader Joe's for groceries – TJ's is pretty conscientious about limiting the number of people in their stores, so it's not unusual to have to stand in line for a few minutes. This time, there was a little group behind us, two women and a man, who were probably in their sixties, ten or so years older than I am. They were complaining loudly and bitterly about having to wear masks and stand in line, because covid was no worse than a cold and Kids These Days were weenies who wanted the government to take care of them. I wanted nothing more than to turn around and tell them that they were the worst bunch of whiney, entitled crybabies it had ever been my displeasure to share a line with, and they had some nerve complaining about Kids These Days when they themselves were so delicate that they were unable to deal with the minor inconvenience of standing in line for ten minutes. But I gritted my teeth and confined myself to muttering "Three more days," under my breath.

Saturday afternoon I spent several hours working on the fire pit for the back yard, which did not go very well. I decided to give it a rest and tackle it again next weekend.

On Halloween evening, we had a very small, socially distant get-together with our weekly gaming group – first time we've seen each other in person since March. It was fun. We'd left a bowl of candy on the front porch with a "Please Take One" sign; I rather expected that someone would take all the candy, but they took the bowl, too. :P It was a cheap plastic bowl, so no big loss, but this is why we can't have nice things, people.

Sunday we delivered as many of the GOTV flyers as possible – when I synced my address list, some of them had already voted (yay!) and a lot more of them, unfortunately, lived in apartments on the interior of gated communities, which I had to mark off as inaccessible. But we did our best. Bo was much aggrieved that I kept turning around to get addresses I'd missed – in some ways, electronic lists are awesome, but it's damned hard to read a cell phone in full sun.

I'm going to spend the next few days gnawing my fingernails off. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Twelve More Days

I've been meaning to post for awhile, and keep blowing it off. So before I forget again...

I had a cool thrift store find a couple of weeks ago: a set of hand-blown art glass tumblers – the kind you see at art fairs, with all the multicolored swirly glass. I've wanted a set for a long time, but they usually cost twenty dollars a glass or more, and couldn't really justify it when we have plenty of perfectly nice glassware already. I thought at first that this set had to be mass-produced, because you don't usually see hand-blown art glass at Goodwill for two dollars a pop. But upon examination, they had the artist's initials etched into the bottoms. So I snatched them up. There were six tumblers and two tall glasses that I guess are for cocktails, not that we ever have cocktails. We got rid of a few cheapass wine glasses to make room in the cupboard.

In my quest to do something constructive about the election, I volunteered to drop off get out the vote leaflets in my neighborhood. I downloaded the list of addresses the local legislative district sent me today, and I will do that this weekend -- all the addresses look to be within three blocks of our house, so it shouldn't take long. It's all no-contact stuff, just drop off the pamphlets at the front door and skedaddle. Which is infinitely better than the stuff we did before the mid-terms, which involved (shudder) talking to people. We also plan on running over to Lowe's and picking up some curved pavers and a few bags of sand, because we're finally gonna start building the permanent fire pit in the back yard.` comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Doggy Dental Adventures

Bo went to the vet today to have his teeth cleaned, and have one bad molar extracted. He's home and doing fine, but he's all groggy from the anesthesia, and his hind legs are wobbly. For awhile he kept getting up, wandering around, and collapsing, from floor to couch to floor again, but he's finally fallen asleep. We'll have to wake him up before we go to bed to give him his pain meds. The vet said he could have a little food tonight, but he hasn't shown much interest.

He did blithely attempt to kill me before I dropped him off in the morning. There's a landscaping strip between the vet's office and the Starbuck's next door. The vet's parking lot is a good six inches lower than the Starbuck's lot, and the curbing around the landscape strip is about twice as tall as the normal curb height around here. I was letting Bo sniff around while waiting for the vet to open up, and he went up into the landscaping. I started to step up after him, and right as I was lifting my foot, but hadn't lifted it quite high enough to clear the tall curb, Bo smelled something interesting, and pulled on the leash. I felt my toe catch on the curb, and had time to think "God damn it, not again!" as I fell gracefully to the ground, bashing my knee on the curb in the process. Bo, with his usual lack of empathy in the face of human suffering, paid absolutely no attention to my muffled curses, and kept sniffing the sage bushes while I clawed my way to my feet.

At least I didn't drop the leash. 😛 Luckily, I had a cold pack in my lunch box, so I could put that on my leg when I got to work. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Fic Search

Does anyone remember the title or author of that fic series where Spike has a pet flying snake that was not at all borrowed from Alan Dean Foster's Flinx series? comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me


My weekend:

1) Mowed Lawn
2) Stabbed hand with cactus thorn while mowing lawn. Knuckle is still sore.
3) Drove to Ahwatukee to pick up a set of china I bought on eBay
4) Moved furniture, including Ma-San's kitty condo.
5) Laid more tile.
6) Grouted tile.
7) Moved furniture back.
8) Unpacked new china. Packed up the china set we are getting rid of.
9) Discovered car battery was dead. Called Triple A, replaced battery.
10) Took packed china to consignment store. Told to come back at the end of October, as china isn't selling right now.
11) Rage-donated to ActBlue.

On the bright side, we got almost all the tiling done. Bo and Ma-San were VERY unhappy with us for moving all the furniture yet again, but things are back where they should be, and all is right with the animal world. The fact that Ma-San stayed in the living room the whole time and complained loudly is a huge improvement for her – had we tried anything like this the first year or two she came to live with us, she would have panicked and hidden in the closet for a week. We have one more small section of floor to do. It requires moving the entertainment center. Which requires taking off all the electronic stuff and all the knick-knacks on top. As we've been doing this, we've been trying to declutter, so hopefully there will be a little less stuff to put back than we take off.

Re: the new (to us) china, as some of you may remember, my mother collected a china pattern called Phoenix Bird. It was made by many different companies, and came in many different variations on the basic pattern. I never much cared for the classic Phoenix Bird pattern, but Mom had one tea set made by Noritake, which was a more modern re-design of the Flying Turkey variant.* I always liked that set. When she passed away, I divvied up her collection between assorted relatives, and sold the rest. I kept the Noritake tea set, and had picked up a few other pieces that matched it.

A few weeks ago, I was idly browsing eBay, and saw that someone had a full set of that pattern up for sale – a huge set, with all the serving pieces and everything. It was listed as local pickup only. "Ah well," I thought, "there is no chance that this would be close enough for me to get." But I checked the location anyway, and to my surprise it was Phoenix, AZ. I talked it over with Kathy, and she said that she liked the pattern and would be willing to retire our old Blue Willow set in its favor. So I put in an offer, which was rejected. A week or two later, I saw it was still up, so I put in a slightly higher offer, and they accepted.

We went through all of it today, and separated out the pieces we wanted to keep – it was obviously put together over time, as Mom's collection was; there were still stickers on some of the pieces from yard sales or antique shops. We put together a service for twelve, with some extras in case of breakage, and packed the leftovers up again. I'm not sure if I'll try to sell the extras on eBay, or take them to the consignment place in October. There are quite a lot of them.

The cats are informing me that it's Food Time. All right, you furry little bastards...

*The main difference is that in classic Phoenix Bird, the bird is looking backwards, and in Flying Turkey, it's looking forwards. I have no idea why it's called Flying Turkey, because both variants look more like stylized pheasants than anything else. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Still too damned hot


I left my phone at work on Friday, so I can't post pictures yet. But it looks really good.
We disassembled the entertainment center Saturday morning – Kathy had taken everything off/out of it over the previous week. We laid the tiles, went out grocery shopping, and when we got back I made a peach/blueberry pie to use up some of the frozen fruit in the freezer. It came out fairly well, but it's a tad dry, because the peaches came from a not-so juicy batch, and the blueberries were older ones that were starting to raisinize a bit. Tastes good, though. We had our weekly online RPG game in the evening, and went to bed early.

Sunday morning I did the biannual Trimming Of The Bougainvilla, with surprisingly little loss of blood. I had opened the gate to the back yard so I could wheel our organic waste bin back there and stuff bougainvilla trimmings into it, and left the gate open for wheeling it back out front for pickup. Normally, when I do that, Bo chills in the back yard, making sure I don't run off into the wild blue yonder without dogly supervision. However, this time, I noticed he'd disappeared. I found him in the front yard, under one of the grapefruit trees, scarfing something down. I assume it was dead bird parts, since the couple down the street that used to feed a feral cat colony has moved out, and the cats are ranging farther afield in search of sustenance, and I've seen the remains of several kills in the last few weeks. (Mostly sparrows, pigeons, and ring-neck doves, all of which are invasive species here, so no loss.) When he saw me, he did the guilty "Oh hi, fancy meeting you here, I'm not eating anything suspicious at all, why do you ask?" thing, and trotted back into the back yard as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. (Which it wouldn't; he'd eat it before it could melt.)

We got the tile grouted after that, and then we went out to kill some time until it was dry enough to move the furniture back. We wandered around the local Goodwill, to see if they had any interesting thrift items in, and I picked up a couple of shirts, some unused stretched canvases, and a little wooden organizer for my sewing stuff. (I don't really have room to set up an area to paint at the moment, but some day...) I also grabbed some hospital scrubs that I plan to use as a costume for Halloween – add a mask and gloves, and I have a covid-friendly costume for handing out candy if we get any trick or treaters.

After we got back home and put the entertainment center back together, we spent the afternoon moving all the stuff back into it. We cleared out about five boxes of old VHS tapes, cookbooks, and tchotchkes we weren't in love with any longer, which I will take to Goodwill tomorrow. It's the circle of thrift!

I am more furious and terrified about the current Supreme Court shenanigans than words can say, but I'm trying to direct that energy towards long term goals. This battle is lost, but there's still a war to win. I volunteered to be a poll worker here; that's something concrete I can do to help. And now I'm gonna take a hot shower. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

In which it is no longer QUITE so hot

Still considerably hotter than normal, though. Supposed to get up to 108 this week. We got more tile done this last weekend. The last part is going to be tricky, because we'll have to move Ma-San's kitty fortress, and that will freak her out.

Costco had a bunch of citrus trees of various kinds this week, and they finally had the stripey pink lemons we saw there many moons ago. Back then there was only one, and someone bought it out from under us while we dithered about it. This time there were several, so I grabbed one, and we planted it next to the lime tree in the back yard. They're both dwarf varieties, so I don't think they'll get large enough to interfere with each other.

The vinyl shed that we got used nine years ago is finally giving up the ghost. The hinges of the door are breaking and it's hard to get it to close. I'd like to replace it, but I think we're going to have to wait a bit. I get occasional fits of madness thinking I could build one, but I think that may be a trifle beyond my skills. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me