mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Thanksgiving seems like a good day to re-start Thankful Thursday posts; I have a lot of catching up to do, so here goes...

Today I'm thankful for:

  • FAMILY. Blood and chosen, near and far. I have an amazing, wonderful family. I especially have to mention my love Colleen, our kids, Emmy and Kat, who just keep getting even more amazing with time, my sister of choice Naomi and her kids, and my Seattle relatives, with whom I'm finally getting back in touch.
  • Friends and friendship. Friends online and off, near and distant. Friends becoming closer friends. I love you all.
  • Rainbow's End. We -- my crazy extended family and I -- found ourselves a wonderful house in West Seattle this year, and it has become our home.
  • Employment. I've been employed here in Seattle for a little over a year, after far too long a gap since I lost my job in San Jose. A skill set that continues to keep me employable.
  • Our cats. I hadn't realized just how much of a cat person I was until Curio walked up to me in the shelter and told me "Hi there. I'm your cat." Naomi had to translate for him, but I'm learning.
  • Medical insurance. The American health doesn't-care system sucks, but I shudder to think of what Colleen's tab would have looked like if I hadn't had insurance through my employer.
  • A kitchen big enough for more than one person to work in, and a Thanksgiving dinner that came out amazingly well.
  • A lot of little and not-so-little things. Backups. Good tools, both hard and soft. Colleen's PT and other support people.
  • ... and most of all, the fact that things haven't turned out nearly as bad as they could have. I've been lucky, and I know it. (I've also been incredibly stupid at times, but that's another post.)
mdlbear: (flowers for you)

Mostly not such a good day? Something like that. Not terribly productive, no walk (it was raining), and some bad news. I wasn't particularly depressed, mind you; just somewhat down.

I got a call from the person at the bank who had called me a couple of weeks ago suggesting that I could get a better rate by applying for a new equity line of credit. The appraisal came in -- about $40K under the last one. So... no. Another $42K and the place will be underwater. So much for that.

And Mom called to say that Tom, one of her dearest and closest friends, had died. He'd been in declining health for several years, but still...

So... not a good day, on the whole. I did book my hotel room for Norwescon, and buy a membership. So that's ok.

And it's Valentine's Day. Or Lupercalia, which some people apparently call Horny Werewolf Day, if you prefer. Here's wishing you love and joy for the year ahead.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Yesterday we did our usual Christmas/Newton's Birthday thing, making a huge pot of Ukrainian borscht and telling our friends they were welcome to come over. About a dozen of them did, and we now have only about 1/3 of the borscht left.

This was probably my most successful borscht yet; it was much more of a stew than a soup and had more beet (six bunches) and more beef than usual. Very much to yum.

I did a fair amount of singing, and generally managed to stay out in the living room being sort of social a little more than usual.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

A quiet Newton's Birthday at home. I spent the morning making Ukrainian-style borscht, which came out very tasty. Probably the best batch ever, probably because I left out the potatoes, used nearly 5 pounds of fresh beets, and tossed the cabbage, turnip, rutabaga, and half the carrots in at the very end so they stayed crunchy.

Not many visitors; a combination of bad weather and other things to do, I suppose. Hopefully we'll get more next week. Good talk with Moira, though, and we only had a gallon of borscht left to go in the fridge.

Finished packing, and threw together a CD of scratch and sample tracks for Amethyst Rose because I wanted Mom to hear it, even though it's way too rough for public consumption. (Mom's mostly deaf, and very prejudiced.)

Quite a few links, many of them somewhat twisted holiday-themed stuff.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Well, some things haven't gotten done. But it was a good day. Work had the day off, so I mostly sat around the house and puttered. One trip out, mainly to Cosentino's for the beets and cabbage that Safeway punted on, but stopped at Guitar Showcase and ran into a coworker in the consignment shop. Fun!

Dinner was odds and ends of leftovers, and I sang a few songs for Colleen. A good day, but quiet. A couple of links.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

Whatever you're celebrating, if anything, may the season bring you joy, and may things be even better in the New Year.

And just to add a little gravity to the celebration, happy Newton's Birthday!

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So, definitely a day and season for gratitude. I'm going to name names.

  • Colleen, and her slowly but surely improving health. Also her optimism, love, and stubborn belief that I'm better than I usually think I am.
  • My family-of-birth and family-of-choice. Mom, still going strong and turning 90 next month. My brother Al and his kids and grandkids (who I need to get closer to, but that's another post). My daughters, Kat and Emmy, and Kat's husband Selkit. Sister-of-choice Naomi, her kids, and sister-in-law-of-choice Callie. Sister-of-choice-in-law Marty, and niece-of-choice Kaylee. Decoding the notation for extended relationships is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Friends, too numerous to mention here. If you're reading this, you count.
  • Our house, Grand Central Starport, and the crazy bunch of people who come to our parties and Wednesday night open house.
  • Conventions. Most especially Baycon, our home convention, and their invitation to Colleen and me to be fan guests this year.
  • The filk community, filk cons, and the wonderful people I've been privileged to make music with over the years.
  • Tempered Glass, and my music partners Naomi and Callie. Their continuing willingness to put up with me, and to challenge me.
  • Computers, and open-source software, especially Linux, audacity, emacs, perl, and make. The wonderful Internet, that lets me stay in touch with friends no matter where they are in the world.
  • Moore's law.
  • Modern medicine, and the continuing employment that makes it financially feasible. Kaiser, Sameer Awsare, Susan Rothman, Catherine Reed, Renee Faahs, aspirin, citalopram, bifocals, my SAD light,...
  • My job; the smart, fun people I work with; the cool products we work on; and an employer, Ricoh, that actually gives a damn about their impact on the environment and the communities around them.
  • Coffee, dark chocolate, brown basmati rice, eggs, tofu, fish, bacon, ginger, garlic, blackberries, our rosemary bush, Kyocera and Kershaw knives, our gas stove,...
  • Books, far too numerous to mention.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So here I am in Shoreline, far from my kids (not so far from the older one, but she's off LARPing this weekend). I still get to feel proud of them, though. They're growing up to be wonderful young adults.

The usual scrim of nostalgia for my own Dad, lost to pancreatic cancer 11 years ago.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, stepmoms, and soon-to-be moms out there! All the best wishes to you and your families.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

A happy Valentine's Day to all my friends.

I especially want to wish a happy Valentine's day to my sister-of-choice Naomi, to Callie and Marty, to my lovely daughters Kat and Emmy, and of course to my oldest and dearest Valentine, Colleen. Today marks our 35th (or maybe 36th) Valentine's Day since we became a couple, and I'm more in love now than ever before.

Here's wishing you all love and happiness in the coming year. It's also Chinese New Year, so wishes for health and prosperity are also in order.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

A good day. Slept over 9 hours; Colleen got up well before me to watch the Rose Parade. After I joined her I spent what was left of the morning in the living room watching the parade, chatting with N, and feeling happy and hopeful. And loved -- let's not forget loved.

I didn't get much done, and due to the late start didn't get in a walk either. (The step count, a miserable 3847, clearly reflects this, and the lack of exercise may account for my difficulty in falling asleep.)

Around 4pm, while Selkit was packing and K was still cleaning and chattering, I got somewhat overloaded and peopled out. Fortunately, people understand "peopled out" as an excuse, so I was able to minimize the damage in both directions.

I did get to try out the new coffeemaker, transfer the DNS for six domains from GoDaddy (which remains the registrar for most of them) to Dreamhost, and move the last of my websites off of the gateway, also to Dreamhost. It needed doing, and was a lot easier than putting them on the interim gateway. Some work is still needed. And I put the new gateway machine on the rack shelf where it belongs, and did some pre-party decluttering in the kitchen.

So, OK, I guess I did get some things done. And a day of relaxing and recovery is good every once in a while.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

It was a pretty good Christmas day. Morning, especially, was delightful -- I woke up in a good mood, had bagels and lox for breakfast and had a blast watching the kids squee over their presents. I didn't even mind being woken up before 7am to go get the bagels and lox.

Afternoon was mostly spent making the borscht, that and the remains of the ham made up lunch and dinner. There were only a handful of people over besides the five currently in the house; even so, I spent a fair amount of time in the office.

Colleen gave a Creole cookbook to Chaos and Selkit; now she wants one for us. I should probably get a copy of There's a Wocket in My Pocket.

I made a couple of River posts -- I'm pleased about that. I'm also pleased about being pretty sensitive to my moods throughout the day. No walkies, though, and no progress on the FSA forms. I'm rather annoyed at myself for those. Still, a pretty good day.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Father's Prayer (Christmas 2009), from this post by [livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar.

... But I have had cause lately to see that men love their children quite as much as women, in a way mysterious to women. And so I got to thinking about Joseph, who is surely one of the most famous adoptive fathers. I'm sure he too looked up at the sky and said, "God, I hope I do this right."

To which all I can say is "amen to that".

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Yesterday was, of course, Mother's Day. The morning was lovely -- we went out to brunch at MacArthur Park - a lot more crowded than I was expecting, more expensive than Colleen was expecting (I'd read the website), but very tasty. The YD came along, of course -- it wouldn't be Mother's Day Brunch without at least one kid. I'm going to miss that.

Back at home I had a lot of cleaning up to do (TMI later, but you can get some idea from my subsequent purchases). Colleen went to bed feeling worn-out and sore; I went shopping and was feeling thoroughly wrung out and drained. No walk :(, though the shopping and rollycat-wrangling included a fair amount of exercise.

Dinner helped both my energy level and mood considerably, as did a phone call from the [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf with mostly encouraging news, as did a nice IM with the [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi. Did a little lyric tweaking, which I immediately went in and tried out on Colleen.

What I sang was Get Up and Go (with the lyric tweak), Where the Heart Is, Gentle Arms of Eden, Riverheart, and QV. I need to make lyric files for a couple of songs, and print a new songbook. Baycon is coming up frighteningly fast.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

Here's wishing a happy Mother's Day to all the moms reading this today. Have a good one.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Welcome to the last year of the Naughties!

Please join me in the fervent wish that it will be a far, far better year than 2008.

mdlbear: (flowers for you)

... to all the Moms out there, but especially to our own [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The tax data-entry is done. There are still a few receipts to be sorted out, mainly from charities, but those are just supporting documentation: the actual numbers come from the check register and the AMEX year-end summaries. I still have the various forms 1099 and the W2 that I need to get out of their envelopes, but those get entered directly because they don't have to be subtotalled.

So I'm going to declare the data-entry finished, and spend most of tomorrow on music (and being social with our various guests -- we've invited three or four, and we often get drop-ins). Call ahead if you want to drop in, and bear in mind that our idea of an Easter celebration involves barbecued rabbit and a ritual showing of The Wicker Man.

mdlbear: (cthulhu-santa)

... Newton's Birthday, as well!

I woke up a little after 6am, having foolishly neglected to disable my alarm. The [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat woke as well, so we snuggled for an hour before she went back to sleep and I got up to take my drugs and make coffee. [livejournal.com profile] super_star_girl came down a little before 8am and woke the Cat, and [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf came down about half hour later, at which point we opened prezzies. I got a case of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, three cans of Stilton and port wine soup, and a huge quantity of very dark chocolate. I'm always good for edibles and drinkables, and it saves the trouble of figuring out where to store them.

The family got a copy of Universe from "The East Coast Clan" -- [livejournal.com profile] asavitzk and family. All I can say is "Wow!" It's impressive -- huge, gorgeous, and as informative as it is beautiful. I'm hoping that the kids like it as much as Colleen and I do. We've left it out in the living room for guests -- if I or Colleen starts reading it we'll end up being unsociable all afternoon. And we don't want that.

After presents we started making the borscht. There are two kinds of borscht -- the cold, clear kind I grew up with, and the hot, thick Ukrainian kind we make now. They're both made with beets, cabbage, and lemon juice, and served with a dollup of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh dill, but that's where the similarity ends. I first encountered hot borscht in the little newsletter that came with one of our first bills from Pacific Gas & Electric; it vanished a few years ago but we've found another recipe that's similar and even better in a Russian cookbook called Please to the Table. It comes from the area around Kiev, where my mother's mother came from.

Proper borscht, as we make it, involves a 4-pound chuck roast, a ham hock, about two diced onions, four cloves of garlic, (brown the meat and onions, then add...) three quarts of water, six peppercorns, two bay leaves, four potatoes, six baby carrots, a stalk of celery, (simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, then add...) eight more cloves of garlic, two parsnips, two heads of cabbage (at least one of them red, for color), two cans of julienned beets (better if you do 'em yourself, but it's messy and we couldn't find eight large beets this year), three bay leaves, juice of a lemon or two, and a partridge in a pear tree. Simmer for another hour or so, until the roots are cooked and the meat is almost falling apart. Pull the meat out and cut it into bite-sized chunks.

I went out for my walk (wearing a Santa hat) at noon after adding the last round of ingredients to the soup. Twice around the Rose Garden. By the time I got back an hour later the house was full of happy visitors and the smell of borscht just ready to serve.

Happy Christmas!

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Today for Solstice I gave each of the kids a Bag of Holding from ThinkGeek, and gave the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat a Cheshire Totoro Face T-shirt.

Juneteenth

Jun. 19th, 2006 08:40 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Briefly noted: Juneteenth (Wikipedia)

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an annual holiday in the United States. Celebrated on June 19, it commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas. The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas; for more than a century, the state of Texas was the primary home of Juneteenth celebrations. Since 1980, Juneteenth has been an official state holiday in Texas. More recently, however, its observance has spread across the nation.

[...]

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived on Galveston Island to take possession of the state and enforce slaves' new freedoms.

I will refrain from editorializing on the probability of such a thing happening today.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there, but especially to my own Mom (who probably won't read this, but that's OK) and the incomparable [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat. How she manages to keep this family of weirdos functioning is beyond my limited powers of comprehension, but I'm glad she's doing it.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

... to lovers everywhere, and especially to my own beloved [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat. I hope you liked the pot of purple tulips. And the kids, of course -- can't forget the kids: [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf and [livejournal.com profile] super_star_girl; and [livejournal.com profile] _amethyst_fire_, who sometimes feels like my kid even though she isn't. (And who I ganked this icon from -- I hope she doesn't mind.)

Either I'm in a particularly strange mood, or I'm coming down with the flu. Maybe both.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Welcome to 2006. We had a great party (with enough cake for three times as many people as we had, but surprisingly few other leftovers). More tomorrow, perhaps.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

(If you were expecting fanfic or a filk, I'm sorry to disappoint you. It just seemed like the right title for a post-Christmas wrapup.) Just as a reminder: this year's Starport party is this coming Saturday, 12-31. I'll post a more explicit and detailed invitation later today, but if you're reading this, you're welcome to come.

The [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat and I exchanged only small, token gifts this year; our big-ticket items (the knife set and the walk-in tub) were all a sort of give-as-you-go, combined Christmas and anniversary extravagance. I found some great little 8-LED flashlights at Computer Surplus to use as stocking stuffers. The Cat gave me/the house a big tray of dried fruit, the same as the one we always order for my brother. I wrapped up the copy of Peter Beagle's The Unicorn Sonata, which I had picked up at either ConChord or Loscon but was pretty sure she had forgotten about. She had.

The big-ticket item for [livejournal.com profile] super_star_girl was a new computer: a WinXP box plus LCD monitor from Fry's. She really needed it -- her old box was still running Win98 at 700MHz. Looks like that one's going to [livejournal.com profile] misdev -- one less box to clutter up the house. Naturally, I spent much of the morning getting it set up and installing Firefox 1.5, OOo 2.0, and putty, and configuring the printer (shared, on the main server). The rest of the morning was spent doing dishes and working on the borscht.

Our traditional meal for Christmas Day is a big pot of borscht -- the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat found a good Ukrainian recipe in Please to the Table a couple of years ago. She kind of overdid the sour salt (pure citric acid) this time, but most people seemed to like it. We always throw the house open to drop-ins -- nothing is more miserable than having noplace to go on a holiday.

Big change in the relationship between [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf and [livejournal.com profile] grendies -- they're now "brother/sister" instead of "boyfriend/girlfriend". Doomed from the start, probably, but it's hard on both of them. Here's hoping that neither of them ends up doing something stupid on the rebound. (Update 9:22pm Or maybe not. At least they're talking about the relationship instead of basing it on unfounded assumptions and wishful thinking. This is a major improvement, no matter which way things eventually go.)

mdlbear: (rose)

In a little while I'm going to crawl off in a corner and sing a couple of songs by Eric Bogle: "No Man's Land" and "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", specifically. Just because it's a good day for it.

My late father was a WWII vet. He never talked about it. Not a word. I learned from his obituary that he had coordinated radar operations for the Allied air offensive in Europe. I never asked, but I think he felt that, although going overseas and killing people is something you occasionally have to do, it isn't really something to be proud of. Sort of like taking your kids' dog to the vet to be put down. He didn't talk about that, either.

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