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November 14, 2015

Not Paris
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:54 AM * 112 comments

The wise, kind, and much-missed Mike Ford wrote this in the wake of Katrina; I’d urge you to read it if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

If you’re not quite to the “shut down the computer” stage, but want to talk somewhere about good and joyful things, here’s a thread for it. What have you been cooking, making, reading, doing, planning? What was the deepest joy you felt last week, and why?

Remember: joy replenishes our emotional resources. Building one’s own and fostering it in others is also part of the work of making the world a better place.

Sunset at Zaanse Schans
Comments on Not Paris:
#1 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 06:53 AM:

We have cleared our study; had it re-decorated; and are getting a new bed for it today. We have also passed on some of the old bookcases to friends of ours, who are setting up their first home together. All this fill us, and them, with joy.

#2 ::: Sherwood Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 08:58 AM:

Sometimes the simple joys can heal a little bit.

#3 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 09:28 AM:

What a beautiful picture.

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 09:35 AM:

Cat @3:

Thank you. I took it a couple of weeks ago, when I finally got to meet one of my oldest online friends in person.

I've known her for twelve years or so, following her online as she's changed jobs, married, and changed countries. She and her husband were in town for a conference and stayed the weekend with us. It was every kind of delightful time, all piled up together.

On the Saturday we cycled with them to Zaanse Schans, our local windmill museum, and learned that it's a great place to watch the sunset.

#5 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 09:35 AM:

I just finished making another plush mayhaps. I've made a bunch by now, in all different fabrics, but they never stop making me smile.

Sherwood Smith (#2): That's wonderful. Go look, everyone, if you haven't already.

#6 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 10:59 AM:

I'm making raisin bread today, and doing my annual "sort through accumulated pile charity solicitation letters and figure out who is getting a share of a thousand bucks."

#7 ::: Dwight ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 11:14 AM:

For the past several years I've either been unemployed or working jobs that gave me little sense of self-worth. There is such a tremendous toll that this takes on a person.

Last night I dined with my best friends, who have seen me through some of my darkest times. It happened to mark the end of my third month into my new job that challenges me, affords me opportunities to grow, and gives me a tremendous sense of community and self worth as my skills and successes are recognized and put to good use.

Over good food and drink, we reflected on the value of meaningful employment and reveled in one another's company. My deepest joy of the last week came in dwelling on those connections and opportunities, a reminder to appreciate things that might easily be taken for granted. Sometimes something as routine as leaving work and meeting some friends for dinner can feel like a tremendous blessing.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 11:38 AM:

Abi, do you have any photographs of watermills, by any chance? One of the streets in Paramaribo is the Watermolenpad, which, I presume at one point must have led to a watermill on the Surinamerivier. Of course, it may not. I doubt very much that there were any princesses on the Princessenstraat, though a count probably did live on the Gravestraat.

#9 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 11:53 AM:

abi, your picture link seems to have disappeared between Cat's post and the time I found this thread. Now it's just text.

I will shortly be going to the First Saturday Arts Market (rescheduled from last week due to severe rain) and then to a gallery show by one of my friends who does amazingly complex kumihimo work and hand-printed silk scarves.

#10 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 11:59 AM:

Lee (9): I'm still seeing the photo*. Maybe check your browser settings?

*and a beautiful photo it is

#11 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 12:36 PM:

Fragano @8:

The mill in this entry is a watermill. I've seen the Archimedes screw underneath it, even. I didn't know until this spring that it's still in use to regulate the water levels in the nature reserve it sits in; I thought it was purely historical.

Lee @9:

I've just checked the entry on a browser that hasn't displayed it before (to make sure the image wasn't cached), and the picture's still there. This is consistent with what I see on the back end. Its absence must be something closer to you.

#12 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 12:57 PM:

I've been busy lately, so I've been mostly lurking. Last night's horrors have prompted me to reflect on the good things in this world. Even as my partner is off in Hawai'i, visiting her grandchildren (they moved back in July), I'm taking this time to do some improvements around my house. Today is going to involve a second round into the crawl space -- not a wet horror, thankfully, only a dry, dusty, rocky, vented-to-the-outside, unfinished space with ducting, pipes, and old insulation that needs to come out. I will be making measurements and attempting to improve the ground into a less rocky obstacle course. Later steps will include the placement of the vapor barrier, as well as rigid foam board insulation, and then finally a new door, custom-made for the size of the existing opening. After that, I may well attempt to put additional insulation into the attic, but not today.

#13 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 01:15 PM:

"Joy is in the ears that hear, not in the mouth that speaks."

I have been married for (almost) thirteen months now,and it's still a joy to wake up next to my wife in the morning.

#14 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 01:15 PM:

My husband and I had a night away together, ate a lovely meal at a restaurant we normally don't indulge in (amazing but expensive), and this morning we went to see this exhibit. Amazingly beautiful.

#15 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 01:39 PM:

It also gives me a chance to be grateful for the more-easily-solved problems we're dealing with this week: a dead washing machine, a broken water-heater (that's going to take 3 days to replace, while we had a house guest scheduled). We have enough money to deal with the problems, and what is going on is much more inconvenience than crisis.

And I went to the doctor for a wellness visit, and need to do a little bit for my health -- but mostly, all is good, and my doctor is a lovely older woman who is incredibly competent and fun. She commented that it's a joy to see either me or Karen (we both have the same MD at Group Health) because we're always so positive. And that's a good thing, right? "Except when it comes to HIV," I replied -- and she said "That's exactly what I mean!"

It's very good to be able to appreciate the difference in levels of problem.

#17 ::: Ali Burtt ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 03:07 PM:

So I've been trying to make this southern cake called Lane Cake for a week and it's just...I need a good mid-century era frosting that isn't insanely sweet because the yellow cake and custard pecan filling is plenty sweet enough. Thoughts?

#18 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 03:11 PM:

Ali Burtt @17:

Maybe something with cream cheese?

#19 ::: Catherine ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 03:36 PM:

This is just to say

I have read
the posts
that you put

and which
you were often
for others

but you kindly
left open
to all comers

Thanks from me
they were juicy
so sweet
and so warm

Long-time lurker on social media here, so grateful for the posts, replies, blog moderation, essays, fiction, poetry, and photos that members of the Fluorosphere have offered on ML and elseweb over the years.

Abi, special thanks to you for your contributions here and also for your Twitter feed, which has recently become a haven to me. I deeply appreciate your articulation of struggles and joys and your acts of witness and compassion.

#20 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 03:40 PM:

Last night, I had barbecue with friends, including a couple expecting their first child. They're doing it the right way, in my opinion, waiting it pops out to see what sex it is.

Then we went to see The Dexateens open for Drive-By Truckers. Though I was a little down and unadrenalized and had to sit for a few minutes, I still felt that joy and pure lifeforce from looking around from the bands to the crowd and back again. The direct experience of that transcendent mystery and wonder, the emergent property of art committed in front of a crowd.

Literally everyone I've encountered in Chicago this trip has been kind. I was trying to make my transfer from the Blue Line to the Green Line and asked a nice white lady about my stop. She didn't speak English. Then I asked a nice young black guy. He was deaf. She could understand the word "Ashland"; he could jump up and touch the sign where it said "Ashland" and point down the tracks.

So with their help I got my train with confidence.

On the green line, two young black ladies thought it was so sweet that young black guy had a "Love You" balloon and wanted to know if it was for his girlfriend. I mentioned to them he couldn't hear and told them that story. They found a way to communicate a little with him and they both hugged him. One of them left and he borrowed a pen to ask if the other one had a boyfriend.

"No," she said, looking where he'd written on her palm and smiling, "I have a girlfriend." He smiled back. I got off at my stop and walked to the hotel, where they let me check out real late.

Tonight, I'll be at night two of the rock show. I expect more good things to happen--got a hunch we might hear a new song--and I plan not to be down. I hope to have another dinner with friends.

Tomorrow I sing in choir, then teach sex ed for high school students. Monday I get something resolved and am hopeful it will work out well. If it doesn't, I am fortified for the possibility.

#21 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 04:11 PM:

Tonight is Meet The Artist night at Artomatic and I will be hanging our beside my little photographs in Area 5 (down the right hand corridor and almost all the way to the end). It is my second time to ever show my photographs in public. I always fear rejection but I really like my photographs. Last night I had a nice talk with about tree shapes with some visitors. I talked about this at work but nobody expressed interest in visiting or viewing. Part of me is sad but part of me is kind of glad.

Anyway, I am showing 35 5x7 photos focusing on small details of color, shape, line, etc. from the world around me. I like to notice and acknowledge the beauty I see in the tree line or leaves plastered against the path or close ups of blossoms. Appreciating the beauty of the small things opens my mind to find the beauty in the big picture which can be pretty gloomy and oppressive. Just looking at the photos makes me happier.

#22 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 04:33 PM:

I find cooking therapeutic, so yesterday I braised a pork hock in soy sauce & ginger, made a beef stew, and assam laksa (a noodle soup with a spicy sour fish broth). These are not the sort of dishes I cook during the week because they tend to take longer, with more steps and tending is required. But yesterday was a good time to do something distracting that was also homely & nurturing. [My waistline isn't going to thank me for this, but that is a problem for later]

The backyard's weeds got reduced and a few plants got repotted. It's a bit surprising to realise that it is already mid-November. Where has the year gone? An upside though, is that the weather is warmer here in the southern hemisphere, so the range of seasonal vegetables available is getting more diverse; asparagus season is well underway.

The thing I try to keep in mind amidst all this, is that life goes on.

#23 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 04:43 PM:

On Friday, after three weeks of imposing on the kindness of the neighbours for our showers, we got to use our new bathroom for the first time.

Much needed. The previous owners had wallpapered the old bathroom, and of course the mould got behind the wallpaper, and could not be eradicated.

Neighbours have received a small token of our appreciation, which they in turn appreciated.

J Homes

#24 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 05:41 PM:

I've never bought their app as I'm not into guided meditation, but's website is soothing to watch and listen to (the button in the lower right-hand corner next to the volume button lets you switch between landscapes/animations).

#25 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 05:55 PM:

Last week I went up to New York and saw my high-school friends, including my best friend from that period. We did Burger-and-Bond as a group, and caught up on various news, then I spent most of the next day wandering Bay Ridge with my best friend (and having Pho for lunch -- I hadn't had proper Pho in a long time!). Later we went to hang with another of his old friends, who's a pretty cool guy. Other days of the trip I spent going to a couple of museums, and noshing in Chinatown. I think I gauged the length of the trip well -- I managed to get in most of what I'd planned, and left just as I was getting exhausted.

Tomorrow I've got billiards with my local friends, followed by a birthday party for my nephew. (I just finished the main sketch for his card -- a raccoon.)

#26 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 05:56 PM:

I have spent the last week with my dad. He's fighting cancer, and probably won't win the fight given the circumstances. Every hour we spent together felt terribly important to me. I kept thinking of all the times I'd been in the same room with him but not really been *there*. It was different this trip. (Also, this setup sounds like it should have been a dreary or sad trip, but it wasn't.)

A lot of our interactions were more functional than fun--me taking him to his radiation treatments and other doctor's appointments, making or buying meals so he'd eat (he's lost a lot of weight, but seems to be rallying for now), and running errands with him. And we really didn't spend a lot of time in any kind of deep discussion. (He's lost most of his hearing, so if we're not in a pretty quiet place, we can't have much of a conversation.) And yet, almost all of our time together we were together, even if it was just watching TV or eating a meal.

I had a lot of time to myself during this trip--he needs a fair bit of rest, and I stayed at a hotel close to his house to avoid a very cigarette-smoke-filled house as much as possible. (If I'd slept in his house, I'd have ended up in the hospital with asthma.) And yet, I couldn't really *do* anything with the time--some part of my mind or soul or something was occupied processing how frail he's gotten, how much weight he's lost, how much better his attitude is than I'd expected, and what it's going to be like to live in a world without him, whenever that day comes.

This doesn't sound like joy I'm sharing, exactly, except that every second I spent with him this week was an amazing gift. And like I said, the trip could have been dreary or depressing, but wasn't--he's managed to stay quite positive about surviving as long as he can. (Every time a prominent old person's death is reported on the news, he now says "outlived that one!" This may tell you something about his sense of humor, and mine (since I got it from him).

#27 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 06:18 PM:

albatross @26:

I get what you mean. It's kind of the reason I used the word "joy" rather than "happiness" in the original post, but it's even further in that direction, somehow. (It's gone midnight here and I'm pretty tired.)

I'm sorry that you're facing losing him, but it's good to hear that you're making the time you have with him worthwhile. I hope that will be a comfort when you lose him, whether to this cancer or some other cause later on.

#28 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 07:44 PM:

I'm at my mom's place, preparing to take on the annual marathon of making pfeffernusse, which job I have inherited. We went to a rock show this day and I got a beautiful bismuth crystal. Yesterday I saw one of the local rivers in spate and it was an amazing sight. I have always gotten a thrill out of that and wish that no one ever had to live so that their homes, property or families were in danger.
I'm a bit nervous about the big city I pass thru to get home, but Jim's posts have helped some.
Stay safe, people.

#29 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 08:52 PM:

On Thursday, my Girl Guides had a meeting about accessibility and what kind of different things that can mean. I gave them some challenges - navigate around the meeting space with your eyes closed, communicate with each other without speaking or making eye contact, tie your shoes without bending your fingers at all and asked them to look for ways to make our meeting space more accessible. They surprised me with how thoughtful and creative they were.

I was also very proud of their kindness. As an exercise to emphasize that everyone has strengths, I asked them to write down three things: one thing they like about themselves, one thing that makes them happy, and one thing they're good at. One girl said that she couldn't think of anything she liked about herself, and immediately all the other girls jumped in. "C, I like how funny you are!" "C, I love the clothes you choose!" "C, you're super smart! Remember when you helped me with that math homework that one time?"

Good kids.

#30 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 09:01 PM:

I've just acquired an e-bike, and they are wonderful things for the local landscape.

Auckland is full of small, steep hills, thanks to our 50-odd volcanoes, and cycling is a bit of pain. Getting to work 9km away takes 110m up and 90m down. The motor doesn't do anything if you aren't pedalling, and it doesn't really affect the top speed, which is still limited by gearing. What it does do is take most of the extra work out of going up hill.

Also, yesterday I made a YouTube video with a set of pictograms for Wisława Szymborska's lovely poem "A Contribution to Statistics"

PS: Soon Lee What's a good place to get laksa leaf/Vietnamese mint/Persicaria odorata in Auckland, or should one just grow one's own?

#31 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 09:47 PM:

Thomas, I'll check with a Vietnamese-Chinese colleague when she is next in the office - she even mentioned that she was going to try making some dishes from there this weekend (she left as a child).

#32 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 09:53 PM:

Errolwi: Ta much.

#33 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 10:45 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @16: This made me laugh out loud. (I wonder if they've ever done "Dueling Banjos")


Here's mine: I have lately become (Ghu only knows why) obsessed with monkeys. Last weekend, I ran across the little gem below.

Set up: Nearly as I can work out (based on Google's translation): Masha (the monkey, a rescue, I think) grew up in a barren environment, and consequently exhibits stereotypy when she gets stressed or angry. This is where the vid starts. Where it goes from there—let's just say, I'd love to give Masha's human a big hug.

"The legacy of past lonely"

Here's another another cute one.

#34 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 10:50 PM:

A couple weeks ago my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and I went to Oregon and worked in a friend's haunted house (Fright Town in Portland, FYI.) We worked in the Lovecraftian sacrifice room. I chanted the names of Lovecraft's gods to the tune of the Isis Astarte chant. My daughter and daughter-in-law hid in corners and jumped out at people. My daughter-in-law and I bonded when together, we made one teenaged boy pee in his pants!

Just imagine this: "Dagon, Shudde-Me'll, Ithaqua, Azathoth, Hydra, Glaaki, Cthulhu... C'mon everybody, you know the words, sing along!" And one woman's face breaking open in horror as she realized that there was an eldritch chant somewhere inside her...

Good times.

We are still trying to give away kittens if anyone lives in Southern California. I named them after dictators so nobody would get attached.

#35 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2015, 11:01 PM:

thomas #30:

I grow my own. Once established, they grow like a weed. Some places it's been spotted include La Cigale, New World (College Hill), Farro Fresh (Mount Wellington), and also the Avondale markets.

IIRC, mine was originally a fresh sprig I stuck into water until it sprouted roots before planting. That was some years ago.

#36 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 12:42 AM:

I started this morning with a sunny country drive to visit a church rummage sale in the smallest possible red-state town. There was a huge cheery sign (larger than all the sale signs) directing strangers to the accessible entrance. I don't need that, but it was so welcoming it made me smile. I scored a skookum table for two bucks that I was going to use in my garden, but it was really too nice to expose to the elements, so I found a better (indoor) home for it as my brother-in-law's computer table. Then I went and picked up about a gallon of fat pecans under some neglected and unloved trees I know about. Simple pleasures.

#37 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 08:47 AM:

Last night we did the firework display for the local Model Engineering society at their outdoor layout. I wasn't really looking forward to this since the weather forecast was for rain during setup and heavy rain + 45mph winds during the display and clear-up.

Thankfully it didn't rain at all from our arrival until we were just putting the last of the kit back in the van, and a splendid time was had by all.

Hot food, a large bonfire, train rides for all the family, and the nicest group of people you could ever wish to meet.

The only problem is that this moose is sufficiently bushed to constitute an entire shrubbery by himself.

#38 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 09:29 AM:

Yesterday, Sarah voluntarily wore a dress (this is the first time since she was about three, so ten years) to go to Chatterbox (a sort of local freelance dance event that's once a year, by invitation) along with her JV field hockey team members (undefeated champions). She had to wear a dress back in grade school once to portray a pilgrim, but this time she was up for it and shopped and made sure of her shoes. Many photos were taken for relatives to enjoy. She reports that it was fun and she had a good time. We did not press her for details.

Next week, I'll drive to Massachusetts and see various family members, as well as Geri Sullivan. Dad (90) is visiting his little sister (75) at her place, giving my sister a considerable respite from caring for him around the clock, as she's been doing the past few years. I've gone up to the UP to give her brief breaks, but nothing this sustained. On Monday, we'll go as a group (along with my cousin who lives up by Waltham) and visit the Pease Collection of Historical Instruments, and possibly the affiliated museum. The Collection is a store, and it's open two days a week. The museum has the cream of the instruments, and it's open when Mr. Pease decides it is. I'm hoping the sight of our eager faces will help decide that.

My classes continue to go well. I used three hours in the car repair waiting room to take eight pages of handwritten notes on a movie I have to write about for Soc. The next day I used one hour (the other car) to get a start on a modest job I was somehow unable to turn aside. My figure drawing class is going gratifyingly (I hope whatever is making my left thigh feel like it's been kicked in the balls won't keep me from standing to draw for the next few weeks).

I feel like this is the first actual drawing instruction I've had in a college career that goes back to the 80s. My teacher is actually teaching me things, and my drawings look better than they ever have.

A couple of days ago, there was a big deer with four points on each antler, cooling his hooves in our back yard. I opened a window to take pictures, during which he moved, and movies, during which he was a statue. After a while, he was overtaken by discretion and left through the tree fringe back there, and a moment later, his doe showed up, checking to see if it was safe for Bambi to return. I could discern that his antlers were moving up and down behind her and concluded he was sniffing her butt or worse, so I quit watching. Pervs.

#39 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 10:28 AM:

Cadbury Moose (37): Commiseration on the tiredness, but I love this phrasing: sufficiently bushed to constitute an entire shrubbery by himself.

#40 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 10:31 AM:

Yesterday was Round Two in Humans Vs Leaves - Fall Cleanup. Since we've moved from an 8 oak tree 24+ bags little city lot to a 3 tree ~7 bag suburban lot that is bigger, the rake to bag-stuffing ratio has basically inverted. I had my two little helpers out - not as big a pile as they're used to, but they still had fun. Tweeted a few pix just now. Wish I'd taken one of them trying to get the stragglers off the Maple in front! My wife helped with the last bit when after the kids got picked up I discovered I had only 45 minutes left to get all the leaves to the free dropoff before it closed. Made it! The scattered remnants will be left for the wind to play with.

I also busied myself with some other tasks. Got the side gate leveled and swinging nice again, took off the excess retaining wall height in a bid to get it to stay up a bit longer, and got the electric start on the snowblower working. Oiled and greased the various bits what need it on the blower and the two parts ones, plus gave every exposed fastener a hit of penetrating oil. Hoping for removal of bolts vs breaking them. Figured out snowblower needs constant choke to run so a jet may be clogged. Didn't get it fully warmed up, though, so hard to be sure yet. Parts blower (nearly identical, but from '66 vs '80) has an identical carburetor, so may rebuild it instead of messing with the running one.

My parents are in town for a number of weeks - they took the kids last night so Stef and I got sushi. Yum! Then we got to watch Alien 3 with decent volume. Not the best of the franchise, but we're re-watching in order.

My brother went through foot surgery on Thursday, and is doing well. Doctors got his toes uncurled and got about 10 more degrees of flex on his ankle - while he was out. If his PT can keep even 5 of them as it heals it will greatly reduce the limp, which will be a big help to him. He fell off a roof while clearing an ice dam 2 years ago and basically shattered that ankle, but really good Workers Comp paid for really good medical care, so he's bounced back and has started a small business cleaning Cedar Shake roofs. Yes, more roofs - he's an outdoor type and got right back on that one. Parents are in town to help him out until he's self-mobile after this last surgery.

My family is hosting Thanksgiving at our new house this year, as we have room now. Need to get the turkey frier out of storage and get the 3-5 gallons of peanut oil to fill it. Need to find the good plates and silverware, buy chairs (got an IKEA table we like that expands, but haven't found chairs we like yet), and do some moving of boxes. Yes, stuff still in boxes and storage - new place is bigger but less storage, and needs more shelves. Somehow we've misplaced the kids' winter coats, too!

Work is going well - got a Merit Bonus out of the blue last week, first time ever! Manager said it was for the hard work I put in getting a project through RTM. I have DVT parts being built in the cleanroom on two flavors of that product that didn't make it to RTM, so a bonus - especially when we're on a tight budget quarter due to an industry slowdown - was quite unexpected. Nice to see appreciation for effort, and understanding from management that the project overran due to management over-focusing the project 2-3 years ago. Gotta buy pizza or something for the cleanroom folks again - couldn't have done it without them.

So, despite stressors here and there, all in all stuff is going pretty well for me and my family, for which I feel quite lucky.

My abilities at using words to help others aren't all that great unless there is quite a lot of shared context and familiarity, but I'm pretty good at instructions for fixing stuff with recalcitrant engines. If you're in the Minneapolis area, I have tools and an ultrasonic cleaner that does a great job on gummed up carbs. I'll help how I best am able.

Thank you all, and especially abi, for making the world a better place with the words and pictures shared here on Making Light.

#41 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 10:52 AM:

I came home from a business trip yesterday. I realized after I got home that I was missing my slippers, and gradually realized that I was missing everything that had been in a particular dresser drawer in the hotel. Sigh. Nothing of deep sentimental or economic value, but a nuisance.

This morning I had an email from the hotel, with a connection to a website called through which I could arrange to have my stuff shipped back to me. I have done so, quickly and easily. The shipping fee in this case is close to the replacement value for the items, so it's borderline worth it.

I approve of a world in which people put their energy and their ingenuity toward creating a business that fills a market need (for individuals and hotels) and works well. (Perhaps I should wait until my stuff actually arrives to say it works well. But all the signs are good.)

#42 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 11:18 AM:

cajunfj40: (Hey, you got "your" comment #!): Need to get the turkey frier out of storage and get the 3-5 gallons of peanut oil to fill it.

I hope you're on the case with safety there -- I believe Jim Macdonald did a post mostly devoted to the hazards of turkey fryers. With some scary-spectacular videos....

#43 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 12:08 PM:

Got a pretty decent icon designed for a work project (Windows application and window icon, tiny little things). Also, been rather enjoying working on the application itself.

And have a couple of roughs of a book cover I'm working on ready to discuss (very much not finished work, more in the line of "sketches" except executed with Photoshop by assembling pieces, so some parts lushly fully detailed and some not; if we settle on one, I'll go back and create it from scratch in the requisite quality). This is really beyond my competence, but fun to work on.

#44 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 12:51 PM:

Kip W @38: Um, if your thigh is feeling kicked and was not actually kicked, you might want to check hip and knee joints. Just in case.

#45 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 01:15 PM:

We just had a nice overnight soaking (the drought's not over, though), and I am going downtown to look at sparklies, to get in that mile-a-day walk, and to refuse to consider December's existence until absolutely necessary.

I have now seen The Black Adder. Currently, both (partial) sets of The Forsyte Saga are being fed to memory; Damian Lewis so far is not that bad, but Eric Porter is still Soames.

YouTube today has the French colors under the "Tube."

#46 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 01:32 PM:

Kip W@38 (to echo D. Potter) -- unexplained leg pain like that can be deep vein thrombosis, and if you have any history of clotting problems should be checked out by an MD. Particularly at the level of pain ("kicked in the balls") that you mention. Yes, there are lots of other things it could be, and most of them are not serious -- some are best treated by massage or a chiropractor. But some are actual medical problems that Western medicine can work well for.

#47 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 02:16 PM:

Abi, thank you for that picture, it's now my desktop background for the next few days. Do you know if it's a sunrise, or a sunset?

Just got back from a night out planned weeks ago. Went to a string of craft shows, then dinner in a new to us Indian restaurant that turned out to be excellent, then a night in a hotel away from the yowling cat, dirty dishes, etc. Agreed not to talk politics for the duration, so Martin explained division algebras to me over dinner. He is now making candles, which will occupy him and the kitchen until dinnertime.

It's a beautiful day in Minnesota, for November anyway. Sunny and highs in the low 60's, so I'm going for a walk.

#48 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 02:22 PM:

Magenta @47:

It's a sunset.

#49 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 02:28 PM:

Today, I met up with a bunch of people from my running club at East Croydon station, we piled onto the train to Coulsdon Town, then ran from there up onto Farthing Downs and approximately along the London Loop back to the clubhouse in Croydon, from where I jogged back home. Total of 12 miles of hills and fields and woods in great company, always looping back to pick up the slowest runners, followed by a jog back home with a diversion to make the total 16 miles. Amazingly mild temperatures for November, and windy, but no rain.

This at just shy of five months since my broken ankle was plated.

Every run I do since I was able to run again, I enjoy and appreciate.

#50 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 04:20 PM:

I just came home from the second of the two concerts I had with my choir this weekend. Lovely music, and just as important, lovely people to make music with. I have lots of appreciation for this particular group of people and hope to sing with them for many years to come.

#51 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 04:40 PM:

A good college friend is staying with us while he starts at a promising new job (his first day is tomorrow, yay!). Husband and I are greatly enjoying living with a friend again.

Yesterday, I triangulated a recipe for corn chowder from several sources, and it turned out incredibly delicious. Everyone had at least two bowls. Here's what I did:

1. Pan-roast about 8 cups of frozen corn kernels. I did this by preheating two 12-inch cast iron skillets over medium heat, then adding 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to each pan, then putting half the corn into each pan. I stirred at 5-minute intervals until some of the kernels started to get dark brown; this took 20-30 minutes all told. When it was done, I put it into a big bowl for later and removed the pans from the stove to make room for the next bit.

2. While the corn was cooking, I chopped 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 large celery ribs, and nearly a whole head of garlic (I like garlic). I also chopped up 4 strips of bacon. Once the skillets were out of the way, I put my soup pot on the burner, turned it to medium, and put in the chopped bacon. I cooked it until the bits were all brown and crisp. Then I removed it with a slotted spoon. Then I put the chopped vegetables into the hot bacon fat (I added 2 T butter because I didn't think there was quite enough fat) and sautéed them for about 20 minutes.

3. To the cooked vegetables in the pan, I added 1/3 cup flour, and cooked, stirring, for about 5 minutes. The idea here was to make a roux with the fat remaining in the pan.

4. I stirred in 2 quarts of chicken stock and half the corn. I simmered this mixture for about 10 minutes to see if I could thicken it up a bit.

5. I puréed the mixture in the pot. Use an immersion blender if you have one; I did it in batches in my regular blender (carefully, standing well back after pushing the button to avoid being splashed with hot liquid).

6. I put the purée back into the pot and added the other half of the corn, the cooked bacon, a good pinch of thyme and of sage, two bay leaves, and salt and pepper. I let this simmer for half an hour and then served it forth. No milk or cream; the creaminess comes from the puréed base.

Today I am making red beans and rice. I greatly enjoy using the weekend to cook tasty things that take half a day to prepare -- especially when they freeze well for eating after work during the week.

And the house is clean! And has stayed that way for half a week now! Hooray!

#52 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 05:01 PM:

dcb, #49: Yay for being able to get back out again! I can imagine how much that must mean to you.

#53 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 05:13 PM:

Lee @52: Yes, it feels very, very good. Pictures taken of me during my first couple of parkruns all have me grinning from ear to ear.

Cadbury Moose@37: I too love "sufficiently bushed to constitute an entire shrubbery"

#54 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 06:11 PM:

Today I sat outside in the sunshine, re-reading an old favorite novel and slowly feeling the winter depression sloughing away. With a large side-order of "oops, it snuck up on me _again_."

I extended my exposure by marking limbs on the pear tree for pruning, once the tree actually goes dormant in January or so. Once the leaves are off, I can never remember which branches need to go. And that will get me outside during the cold month.

It occurs to me that living in a Mediterranean climate has rather spoiled me for weather, and I'm awfully lucky to be able to do all this in mid-November.

#55 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 08:06 PM:

I did a lot of walking this weekend. Thirteen miles? Including some walking in the rain. Caught up on podcasts.

Alas now feeling a bit ill. Hmmm.

#56 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 09:06 PM:

Iain Armitage, Broadway's favourite seven-year-old theatre critic, wrote an alternate ending to Hamilton, and here it is, performed by the cast.

#57 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 09:44 PM:

The weather was spectacular this weekend in Pittsburgh, just about up to 60 F, with perfect blue skies. There was enough wind to make the last bright leaves on the trees flutter, and the the dry leaves skitter on the sidewalk.

We went for a walk in Frick Park, which is a big, un-fussed-over woodland. There are some lawns near the edges, but once you pass those, you can feel as if you're hiking in a forest, if you squint past the dry gravel path underfoot. We've seen deer and wild turkeys.

#58 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 10:35 PM:

David Harmon @#42:

The Underwriters Laboratories videos of why you won't find their mark on any are quite illuminating as well.

Been doing this for 15+ years, so I know the drill, but it is worth repeating: these things are dangerous and must be treated with respect. Outside on paved surface, fire extinguisher handy, keep track of oil temp, thawed and well drained bird, long non-synthetic clothing, make sure someone else knows I'm out with the fryer, etc. Sure, it is less handy to do it out front on the drive, but a spill on or under a wooden deck would be, as they say, bad.

Still get the occasional "yeouch!" from accidental contact with hot bird/dripping oil from hot bird/hot fry basket but that's back in the kitchen and about on par with my average skillet/oil interaction. No fires on my watch so far. Plan to keep it that way.

#59 ::: Nancy Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 11:01 PM:

Took the new dog (had her about 2 months) out for the first walk in over 2 weeks, since I twisted my ankle up badly. I hadn't realized how much fun I was having on her walks, until I came back to it.

The dog is a joy to come home to, and I get my daily quotient of lucking and wiggling upon, which is a wonderful daily happiness.

Inspired by abi and Lori Coulson, I've learned to attach beads link by link, and made a St. Patrick's chaplet, and a Purgatory chaplet, and I want to thank you both for this awesomeness.

#60 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2015, 11:43 PM:

A neighbor, Cindy, has an awesome garden. I admire it, and she has very kindly given me permission to take flowers from it, so for the last week my house has been filled with brilliant zinnias, chrysanthemums, and marigolds. This afternoon she dropped by with a living plant, a purple zinnia, in a plastic pot, and five packets of zinnia seeds, all different colors. Woot! The seeds will keep till spring. I will re-pot the purple zinnia tomorrow, and try to keep it alive until I can plant it in my backyard. Flowers!!

#61 ::: Nancy Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 06:19 AM:

Licking, not lucking

#62 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 06:27 AM:

cajunfj40 #58: Well, you're clearly well on top of that, so I'll quit advising Grandma on egg-sucking. ;-)

#63 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 08:36 AM:

Okay, I've made an appointment for today. I suppose it's actually possible to be too careful, but I don't think this is that occasion. I'd say "a doctor's appointment," but I'll be seeing an assistant. I have not, in fact, met my doctor. So far it's been "you can see your doctor in March, or you can see an assistant today." I've come to think highly of assistants.

#64 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 08:42 AM:

Oh, I did have one other bit of nice news. I had to punch a new hole in my belt again. It's the fifth new hole in the belt, but only the first since I modified my diet from having a medical assistant put the fear of sugar into me.

Last time I came back from a visit to my sister in Escanaba, my weight was at 223, which scared the cottage cheese out of me. I got it back down some, but also got some blood work back that hinted at possible diabetes if I didn't change my ways, so I changed my damn ways. In particular, soda and fruit juice passed from my cup. This week, I had an 8 oz Coke for the first time in about a month and a half, because I still had two in the fridge (as well as a couple of hard lemonades), and intend to polish them off eventually.

I tried some lemony fizz water, which was vile, so so far there's been no real replacement for the sweet beverages. It's a good thing water is so drinkable. I wouldn't mind having a special weekend thing to have one or two of, but so far nothing's come along, and I'm not in a hurry.

My readings at the gym have gone from that 223 down as low as 204. I learned this week that their scale can be gamed. If I start measuring with the slide weight below where I am, I get a higher reading than if I start with the weight above where I am. This varies by two or three pounds, making me doubt the exact veracity of my good readings, but of course the losing trend is real, happily.

#65 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 09:44 AM:

We had friends over for dinner last night; invited them in the morning for a zero-planning meal together. We made butternut squash lasagna (the sauce was pureed roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and ricotta, which we've enjoyed on pasta for years but hadn't tried with lasagna before) and shredded brussels sprouts with pancetta (for most of us) or hazelnuts (for the vegetarian). After dinner our kids played together in the next room (they're two and a half and finally able to do that without us in the room) while we sipped wine and did not talk about the news.

#66 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 11:52 AM:

Kip W #64: I tried some lemony fizz water, which was vile, so so far there's been no real replacement for the sweet beverages.

Have you tried watered vinegars and the like? Diluted balsamic vinegar, other infused vinegars, or Chinese black vinegar, can be pretty refreshing.

#67 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 12:25 PM:

cajunfj40 @40: ultrasonic cleaner

If you're a glasses wearer, I'm told that running them through the ultrasonic with a spot of Electrosol or similar produces The Cleanest Glasses EVAR.

#68 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 12:28 PM:

Kip, #64: Good for you! Not sure what you mean by "lemony fizz water", but some of the things I drink instead of sugary stuff are:

- unsweetened iced tea
- unsweetened flavored soda water; there are a lot of good flavors, but for some reason grapefruit seems to have become my favorite, and I don't even like grapefruit!
- diet flavored soda water; after I'd been off sugary drinks for a few months, I discovered that many diet drinks had actually become palatable, which helps when I want something sweet-tasting.
- plain water with a little lemon or lime juice in it (about as much as you'd add to a glass of iced tea)

The good thing about doing this voluntarily is that you can say, "Okay, I'm going to have a slice of my birthday cake" and not worry too much about it. :-)

#69 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 12:44 PM:

Kip W: I've discovered I really like just plain fizz-water, gotten with a SodaStream. I really don't like club soda, because I react badly to bicarb's taste (and it's in club sodas because it makes the fizz fizzier and lasts longer). It's also possible to add a small amount of lemon or lime juice directly to the fizzy water, which is much nicer than the commercial lemon/lime fizzies. The SodasStream is moderately expensive, but actually significantly cheaper than buying pre-fizzed water. That, and still water, and the occasional decaf coffee, are mostly what I drink these days. Sugar sodas are (to me) really cloying and Just Too Much, after a few years of this.

#70 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 12:49 PM:

I recently discovered that most bitters aren't actually bitter, and can be used to add some good flavor to water.

#71 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 01:19 PM:

Over the weekend, while wrestling with the very early stages of a long solo comic-book project, I experienced for the first time ever the feeling of having written a realistic scene that feels like an effective unit of story, and having created a character who spoke dialogue I didn't consciously construct. It's a hell of a thing. Now I just have to avoid getting too pleased with myself and being unable to edit any of this stuff out.

#72 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 02:36 PM:

Hob: My hack for that is, even if I have to edit it out for the integrity of the story, I still keep it for myself. It goes into my "Things I Like, So There!" folder.

#73 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 03:09 PM:

Ooh! Thanks, everybody for all the food drink for thought. I will look more closely when I am back from the doctor's office. Well, more likely when I am back from the Irish jam, which goes from sixish to about nine. I hate to miss that, especially since I'll be out of town next week.

#74 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 04:13 PM:

I had to go to another building at work today, and stumbled across the weekly classical music concert in the atrium. It was lovely.

dcb: congratulations on running again!

#75 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 05:33 PM:

Nancy Mittens -- glad you've found a new craft. If you're into "old things" there are people producing replicas of Victorian/Edwardian Catholic medals and crucifixes on Etsy, Caritas Dei.

Kip W -- for water flavoring I use Crystal Lights "Pure" Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, or Grape mix. Directions say "16 ounces of water" but I use 20 ounces, as the smaller amount tastes too sweet to me. The "Pure" blends use no artificial sweetner.

#76 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 10:14 PM:

As it turned out, things did go remarkably well for me today. I have hopes this is a turning point.

#77 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 10:27 PM:

I have been sprung from the hospital after six long weeks. More weeks of home health care to come. It was an infection (cellulitis) that developed six weeks after surgery for an arterial bypass in my leg. Everything seemed to be going well and then I woke up with a painful leg that didn't work very well. Then it got worse. Thank God for antibiotics.

Some positives: My weight is down 18 lbs, but I don't recommend this weight loss method. I was able to binge watch reruns of my guilty pleasure "murder shows", fictional and true crime. Didn't read anything because I can never read in the hospital. Did a little knitting. (Anyone need a cunning hat?) Saved a bunch of money by not doing any driving, buying any food, or eating out.

I am so happy to be home.

#78 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2015, 11:29 PM:

Welcome home Tracie!

#79 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 09:53 AM:

In good news for me, my boyfriend is coming to visit at the end of this week. I am excited.

Tracie @ 77:

Welcome home, and good wishes for a speedy recovery the rest of the way. And, as a matter of fact, I do need a cunning hat.

#80 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 10:53 AM:

Tomorrow, I go into hospital for surgery on my back. I'm hoping it will go well and I'll come out with less pain than I've been having over the past few years.

#81 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 11:01 AM:

Fragano... My best wishes.

#82 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 11:19 AM:

Yes! Fragano, I hope you get your own back.

#83 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 11:23 AM:

So glad you're doing better, Tracie!

And best wishes to you, Fragano.

#84 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 12:05 PM:

Healing vibes being sent toward Tracie and Fragano. Tracie, 6 weeks in the hospital, wow. Glad you are doing better.

#85 ::: alenahk ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 04:02 PM:

Since I'm still rather new here I don't know how many links it takes to upset the gnomes, so I guess I'll forgo links for now. I can definitely talk about what I've been cooking, though:

Saturday I made Homesick Texan's Cauliflower and Gruyere Macaroni & Cheese, which is wonderful, but something I'd call "nutritious but not healthy" due to all of the heavy cream. I just ate the remainder for lunch at work... reheats very well too.

Sunday I made a Cuban Pork Shoulder crockpot recipe from Cooking Light that was very good (I substituted dry pinto beans for dry black beans this time as that is what I had on hand); my husband and I will have leftovers from that for dinner tonight. I know I'm lucky to be able to get good pork shoulder from the local farmers' market... I don't eat it very often so I don't think I've ever bought it at the grocery store.

Yesterday I made another Cooking Light recipe for Meatloaf Bolognese, and served it over polenta. Also a nice meal but now I think I need to take a break from rich food for at least a few days, especially since Thanksgiving is coming up soon.

Something that made me happy in the last week is that my husband and I may be able to attend the Italian Heritage Festival in his hometown next September. We have been together for almost 15 years, but have never been able to go to that event as his hometown is in a different part of the country than where we now live, plus there have always also been financial and work-related things preventing us from going. Things are looking good for next year so far though.

#86 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 04:10 PM:

alenahk @ 85... (yum)

#87 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 06:44 PM:

Tracie, welcome home! Fragano, best wishes!

#88 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2015, 08:14 PM:

While I've got a variety of frustrations going on presently[0], the repointing work I've been doing has been infinitely accelerated by using the Arbortech AS170, which is getting the sort of cool tool points that has me looking for excuses to use it! It feels more than a tad silly[1] to say that a power tool makes me happy, but it's Really Cool!

Along with that, the cat that owns me has been unusually cuddly for the past week-or-so -- for a semi-feral cat to not only enjoy curling up in bed with an arm around her like she's a teddy bear, but to come up and insist on it is ... lovely!

[0] Including the stench of partial combustion from the neighbours, who assure me that it couldn't possibly be anything they're doing, despite their devices that burn things being in pretty much the exact location.
[1] ... or inapproriate

#89 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2015, 07:22 AM:

Today's edition of "taxonomy is fun!" is brought to you by two of my colleagues, who have just described five species in the new spider genus Palindroma. These critters are Palindroma aleykyela, P. morogorom, P. avonova, P. sinis and P. obmoimiombo. Sadly, P. amanaplanacanalpanama did not make the cut.

#90 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2015, 10:05 AM:

Pendrift @#89:


#91 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2015, 03:18 PM:

Thomas @30
In a local update (not hyper local, as it isn't even my suburb), my source gets hers from her auntie. She had noticed pots in Plant Barn if you want to start yourself off.
The Vietnamese grocer opposite Try It Out Restaurant in Otahuhu is a good source (and is a good distance from the central and west locations mentioned upthread. Besides Farro locations, Nosh is probably worth a look too.

#92 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2015, 04:49 PM:

Thanks for all the good wishes. I'm back home after having had my back drilled into. I'm told I should expect several days soreness.

#93 ::: Stefan S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2015, 06:02 PM:

I saw a wonderful singer, Gillian Welch, in concert, who sang just the sort of sad songs I like. She was onstage with some other talented musicians too. It had been so long since I'd been out to a show that my sense of joy was very keen.

Not exactly joyful, but I'm feeling very lucky and warm from all the people reaching out to me for medical issues I've been having. I'm a natural sort of isolate so it's really nice to know that some of those bridges are still there, mossy and untended as they are. My transplant is scheduled for the 8th. I also feel lucky that I live in a time and place that such a thing is available to me, so that I may continue to live.

#94 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 12:47 AM:

Errolwi #91: Thanks, I'm in Onehunga, so I'll try the place in Otahuhu and new Farro in Epsom.

#95 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 11:12 AM:

Last weekend we boardgamed with friends who are doing well from an ill happenstance earlier this year. Very silly games were a good balance to a performance later by Circa (accompanied by Shostakovich string quartets) -- which delighted me by sharing the foundation and elevated roles in acrobatic formations, instead of everything being cutified little women on top of male hulks.

Caroline @ 51: sounds delicious; I'll have to see if I can come up with a blender to try it, but probably after the holidays (which include singing two concerts and preparing a giant batch (~4 gallons) of in-my-grandfather's-memory spaghetti sauce).

((I don't get drippy over the flood of holiday music in the stores, but as usual there's at least one piece in the program that I'll find warming -- and I'll add \two/ languages (Swahili and Mongolian) to my life list, a compensation for not getting to sing a piece in Farsi due to a schedule conflict.))

re Hob @ 71 / Jacque @ 72: and you never know when the piece will fit in elsewhere....

#96 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 04:22 PM:

Tracie @77: Welcome home! Here's hoping all goes more smoothly now.

Fragano @92: Good to hear you're safely over the op. Good luck for rapid, infection-free healing, as comfortable as possible.

Pendrift @89: Fun!

#98 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2015, 04:39 PM:

Pendrift #89:

Lovely. And shared.

#99 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2015, 05:14 PM:

It's not the first time our spider guy has had fun with names—he and another researcher named one after Brian Eno a few years ago.

#100 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2015, 11:23 AM:

HLN: My community project this round is mittens from thrift-store felted sweaters for the children on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Largely fueled by enthusiasm on Ravelry, we blew past our original goal early.

You can find a PDF with info at

#101 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2015, 06:12 AM:

Perhaps something vaguely SFnal but also linked to inspiring things in difficult times I would recommend the album The Race for Space by spoken-word and electronic music duo Public Service Broadcasting.

#102 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2015, 11:04 AM:

Here's a +1 for James Harvey's rec for PSB's "The Race for Space". (You might also enjoy their eponymous first album.)

#103 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2015, 11:08 AM:

Pendrift @ 89...

Speaking of taxonomy, remember this about Gary Larson's creator of the Far Side?

"...On March 15, 1989, a newly discovered insect species was named after Larson by Dale H. Clayton, head of the Committee of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. The Strigiphilus garylarsoni is a chewing louse of a genus only found on owls. Wrote Larson: "I considered this an extreme honor. Besides, I knew no one was going to write and ask to name a new species of swan after me. You have to grab these opportunities when they come along."..."

#104 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2015, 11:13 AM:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has existed for longer and deeper than I thought... SHIELD's recently introduced - and quickly demised - Von Strucker posed as Bruce Willis's son in "Unbreakable", in which Nick Fury pretended to be a comic-book nerd. And Jessica Jones went to high-school with Veronica Mars, whose father really was the alien Mathesar, of "Galaxy Quest" fame.

#105 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2015, 01:45 PM:

Amazon launches a rocket, and has it land down softly.

#106 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2015, 04:29 PM:

Serge, Bezos' rocket was trying to land on dry land. The Falcon 9 retrieval failures mostly seem to involve problems with landing on a barge in the Atlantic. AIUI they've got permission to fly back to the Cape on the next attempt, which makes the probability of a successful landing somewhat higher ...

#107 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2015, 06:55 PM:

Charlie Stross @ 106... thanks for the clarification. Still, it's neat that all these things are happening.

#108 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2015, 09:39 AM:

Two weeks ago I was visiting a friend in northeast CT. She operates a cat/kitten shelter and rescue. She recently bought a house and I was there for a housewarming party. I also played with kittens and a couple of cats. What could be possibly be better than playing with kittens?

#109 ::: charming.quark ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2015, 07:14 PM:

A really fascinating article in the New York Times Magazine about
the autonomous region of Rojava in Northern Syria.

#110 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2015, 04:51 PM:

Interstate news... Local fan is currently at employer's Fremont office in the San Francisco Bay Area instead of his usual New Mexico location. This morning, upon leaving the train station, local fan heard then saw two geese honking their way in the sky. Later, at the office, local fan found that nobody has a stapler.

#111 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2015, 08:02 PM:

There is a kitten asleep on my lap. A very straightforward and everyday joy, but just what's needed right now.

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