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April 2017

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Since I moved into this house, back in July, my primary living space has been the huge walk-out basement. My bedroom is down there, and my big-screen TV and comfy squishy sofas, perfect for lounging on with dogs and cats while working (or playing) on the laptop. There's easy access to the backyard, by way of the screened porch, and it's just an altogether more convenient and pleasant "critter space" than the upstairs. (It also allows me to keep the upstairs relatively cat-free, since I have friends and family who are allergic to the feline members of the Reddogs clan.)

Last night, having spent most of the day upstairs doing laundry and unpacking books and generally doing rainy-day chores, I headed down the stairs to grab a laundry basket and realized that the carpet looked funny. Then I got closer and realized the carpet was drenched. Oops! The basement was flooding

As I started the process of contacting the insurance company (who ultimately didn't cover it because it was a "groundwater incursion" for which I'm not covered) and moving furniture to the dry side of the basement, I also relocated all the animals to upstairs. The cats all got caught and stashed in the small bedroom, where they're safe from the possibility of escaping while workers are in and out of the house. Conveniently, that room opens onto the main upstairs bathroom, so I can go into the bathroom, close the hall door, then open the bedroom door to go in and feed/water/snuggle cats, letting the bathroom act as a kind of "airlock" to keep kitties from escaping.

Then I drug all the dog crates upstairs and stashed them in the master bedroom, which is my temporary sleeping space (on a twin futon... bleah) until the Big Noisy Fans are gone from downstairs and I can have my room back. The dogs have taken this in stride, 'cause they're pretty much just happy to be wherever I am, and they can still hang out in the living room with me (Thunder the English Setter looks very elegant sprawled on the leather sofa). The cats, however, are extremely unhappy about this turn of affairs. They're used to being able to sleep with me, and to snuggle against me while I'm working on the laptop. They do not like being banished to a single room, but we've got at least three more days of contractors being in and out of the house to finish drying out the basement and I can run the risk of freaked-out kittie escaping through an open door. :-(

I want my bed back... and my DVR (it's hooked up to the big TV downstairs)... and I want my house to not sound like I live in a wind-tunnel. But we can all survive a few more days of this, and the good news is that the water was limited to the floor... the walls aren't wet, and the carpet is probably okay (yay for really good water abatement crews!), and in a few days life will be back to normal.

Originally published at

So... I've been trying to eat somewhat healthier, and to watch my calories (LoseIt! on the iPhone is helping w/ this, 'cause it makes it easy to track calorie intake, including putting in custom recipes) and I wanted to make something that would be healthy, tasty, and use up some of the stuff already in the cupboard. So this is what I did, and it's yummy!

Funky Green Bean Casserole

2 cans French cut green beans, drained
1 can Campbell's 98% Fat Free Cream of Celery Soup
1 can of sliced water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 bags of Pine Nuts (I bought Fishers)
2 tbsp Shredded Parmesan
Bread crumbs (see below)

In a medium casserole dish (I used one that's about 9" square x 3" deep), combine the first three ingredients and one bag of the pine nuts. Top with crumbled bread crumbs and the other bag of pine nuts, then sprinkle the parmesan on top. Bake at 350 'til bubbly.

Bread crumbs... I had a loaf of sourdough bread that was going stale, so I took one good-sized slice, toasted it, then chopped it up into crumbs. If I wasn't trying to save calories, I'd've buttered the crumbs, but I was good and used them dry.

It's tasty and crunchy and assuming that casserole dish is eight servings, it's about 175 calories per serving (11 grams fat, 3mg cholesterol, 695mg Sodium, 15g carbs, 5g protein). Kinda ouchy on the sodium... next time I make it, I may look for a way to cut that a little.
In an effort to start using the blog on my website, I'm going to start cross-posting from to LJ. With luck, this will all just work. Of course, that would be somebody else's luck. With _my_ luck, smoke will start billowing from the laptop at any moment!

testing the cut-tag, and a gratuitous cat photo )

Comments will be enabled in both places, so you can comment at or on LJ... whichever makes you happy! :-)

Originally published at

Today was a landmark of sorts... it marked the first time that I've managed to mow the Whole Damn Yard at one time at the new house.

When I closed on the house, the lawnmower was still at (and still needed at) the old house, where it spent the next two weeks. Then it went off to the John Deere place for its annual servicing and they kept it for over a week before they kindly delivered it to the new house for me. Then I was busy with the actual, well, moving and stuff, and it was another week before I realized that OMG I'm going to need a hay baler if I don't do something about the yard!

The first mowing saw me getting through the top third, at the highest possible deck setting, which at least tamed all the part around the house itself. I'd started down the long stretch out to the road and the bottom fell out of the clouds and I mowed a funky twisting path back to the garage in the most direct possibly fashion. Whee!

The next mowing got me through the middle third at the high deck setting, and back around the house at a slightly lower setting. It was starting to look almost civilized, then we got a bunch of rain. Oops. And somewhere in there, the rocks for the firepit/drum circle got delivered, which involved a small Bobcat running around the bottom third of the yard making weird tracks and lumps and bumps all over the place.

Last weekend while my parents were here, I finally went out to tackle the back third for the first time. Discovered that there's a lot more to mow than I'd realized, as the creek does lots of little snaky loopy things, leaving me w/ all these little peninsulas to mow. Fun, but time-consuming! That also let me mow the fire circle for the first time, where I found that I did, indeed, leave myself room to mow between the inner and outer rings and around/between all the boulders (I'd made the circle too small at the old house and doomed myself to a lot of work with weedeater or pushmower when I couldn't navigate with the tractor).

Today, I bumped the deck down an inch, checked my watch, and went out and mowed the whole darn thing. W00t! I also moved the corner stakes for the soon-to-be fence in a couple of spots when I realized that I was creating spots that would be a bitch to mow. It should be tolerable in its current configuration. (There are some hills that can only be taken head-on, and the fence was going down one at an angle. Oops!)

I still need to spend some quality time with the weedeater, but hopefully I can manage that tomorrow after work, now that the mowing is all done!

(Afterwards, I rewarded myself by going, with [ profile] nycgadgetgirl and Snickers, down to the drum circle and fire spinning at White River Park in down town Indy. It was a gorgeous night for it, and it had been way too long since the last time I drummed just for fun.)
If you're on Twitter (or even if you're not) and you're interested in space stuff, checkout Twitter users MarsPhoenix and STS124. MarsPhoenix is a "first-person voice" twittering written as if by the Mars lander. Pretty cool... little 140-character-or-less snippets about a lander's day on Mars. STS124 is, unsurprisingly, a Twitter feed about the space shuttle. It's a little more "newsy" and less personal, but it frequently has things like links to the live video of the spacewalk, which is a pretty cool way to keep up with the cool stuff! (If you're a Twitter user, I'm there too... username tollers, just like here.)

random bits about moving )

The cats have figured out that Something Is Up. The abundance of boxes, and things that keep moving around or disappearing, has them all just slightly off kilter. It's going to be interesting to see how they all react when they get put in the Evil Cat Carriers and hauled away to a strange house. Hopefully the giant screened porch will be fascinating enough that they won't be too freaked out!
When I'm on the computer in the evening, I'm usually surrounded by cats... one or two on each side, usually, snuggled up against me and occasionally resting a chin on the laptop.

A few minutes ago, I set the laptop over on the sofa for a few minutes, with Gorby curled up on my left side facing me.

Izzie took advantage of the empty spot and crawled into my lap... facing right.

This left Izzie's tail tip just barely brushing Gorby's face, causing her to twitch in annoyance.







Annoyed Swish...



Ow. I think she left claw marks when she went leaping out of my lap.
Downsides of today... I'm sick (my annual all-spring-long case of allergic bronchitis, with bonus head cold), and I just got back from looking at houses w/ my agent and none of them were anything that made me jump up and down wanting to make an offer.

Upsides of today... it's an absolutely gorgeous bright sunny day, and I hung my lovely copper and beach glass wind chimes on the corner of the front porch, where they get just the right amount of breeze. Windows are open, airing out the house. Cats are snuggly. Dogs are silly. Salad from Moe's was just spicy enough that I could actually taste it (yay for something tasting reasonably normal through the stuffy head).

houses, houses, houses... )

This week, we'll go see the inside of a house that's very near several friends (and my veterinarian's office!) and has a huge already-fenced backyard, and we'll try yet again to go see inside the cool-looking farmhouse out from Lapel.
Filed taxes on the 14th... got refund on the 18th.

Of course, it was the $34 refund from the state. Now I wonder how long it'll take the feds?
That's what it sounds like outside my bedroom window... 18 different birds, all in series, a car alarm, a frog, and occasionally a cell phone.

It appears that I've got a mockingbird in residence.

He amuses me. In previous years, I might have found it annoying, but spring was so late in really springing this year that I'm actually enjoying the night-long sound effects.

(Hey, birders... is he really a mockingbird, or is there something else that mimics and sings all night? I don't remember the mockingbirds back home being such nightowls.)
Recently, Leo Laporte tweeted in search of advice on hiking boots. In return for the tips, he posted a link to what he claimed was "the best way to tie laces."

He was right!

I have a pair of hiking boots with the slippery round laces that hate to stay tied, so inevitably I've ended up double-knotting them, which can be a pain when they decide they don't want to come undone at the end of the day.

This shoe-tying method is far superior to the one I've been using all my life. The ties look neat, don't come undone on their own, and release easily at the end of the day.

Finding out there's a better way to tie shoes is kinda like finding a better mousetrap. Cool... and totally unexpected.

I approve!
Back in August, I got stopped for speeding on my way home from a housefilk on the other side of town. Cop was a jerk (I didn't mind the ticket as much as I minded that he was being a jackass about it) but I was polite, at least until I'd closed the window so he couldn't hear me.

Last night, on my way back from dropping [ profile] sweetmusic_27 in Dayton so that she could go visit her family, I made it to within about five miles of home (in the pouring rain and mist and general road-disappearing nastiness) and got stopped again. This time, I was on the county road that's the "back way" to get from the interstate to my house, and I know perfectly well that there's a long stretch that got changed from 55 to 40 and they watch it religiously. I'd been really good, and had in fact been going just exactly the speed limit because an idiot behind me was riding my bumper with his brights on and I was being Ms. Passive Aggressive and refusing to speed up. He turned off (finally), and I think I was so relieved to be able to see again that I sped up... a lot. I then realized what I'd done, slowed back down, and about 30 second later got hit w/ the Blinky Blue Lights of Doom.

Oops and damn.

Had my license waiting for the very polite young officer when he came to the door, then fished around in the glove compartment and found the registration. He asked if I knew why he'd stopped me, and I told him the truth. "Yes... I was speeding. I'd actually just realized it and slowed down before I saw you." I also mentioned the guy who'd been tailgating me with his brights on, and commented that I'd sped up unintentionally out of sheer relief at being able to see through the rain again after the jerk turned off and wasn't blinding me any more.

The polite young officer asked if there were any problems with my license or registration (suspensions or anything like that) and I said "No" and he went away to do all the checks that they do when they go radio things back in.

I sat there, swearing at myself and trying to figure out whereintheheck I was going to come up w/ money to pay a speeding ticket right now, and then he came back... with just a warning.


Apparently sometimes it really does work to just be honest and look contrite.
Next weekend, I'm meeting [ profile] sweetmusic_27 at [ profile] billroper and [ profile] daisy_knotwise's to record fiddle tracks for "Dream of a Far Light". Drummer is going with me, partly 'cause he will enjoy the trip (and could use the socialization, since he suffers from a bad case of "second child syndrome") and partly to see if Gretchen is allergic to him, since they're considering adding a dog to the household at some point, and are looking for a breed that not only fits their lifestyle but doesn't trigger Gretchen's allergies. The original plan had been to take Chase, so now I'm taking Drummy instead. Of course, Chase was almost too good... he was sweet and calm and friendly and calm and outgoing and calm and, well, you get the picture. Drummer is sweet and friendly and loves people as long as he doesn't get swamped with too many new people at once, but the one thing he's never been described as is "calm." Thankfully, the Ropers have a big fenced back yard, so we'll practice Better Behavior Through Exhaustion while we're there. :-)

Of course, in the past, any time one dog went somewhere with me, that meant two dogs were left home w/ the petsitter, and they could keep each other company. That dynamic has changed now, and I hated the idea of leaving Thunder home alone, but now I have the perfect solution! The new owner of my favorite pet boutique does petsitting, and she'll also take a couple of dogs at a time to just go live at her house for the weekend. So Thunder is going to go home with Cristi on Friday, and hang out with Kaizen, her German Shepherd, then she'll bring him back to the store on Sunday and I'll pick him up there when we get back to town.

Yay! Drummer gets to go visiting with me, and Thunder gets to go sleep over with new friends, so everybody should have a great weekend.

And right now, both boys are over getting bathed and groomed, so I took advantage of the dog-free time to move the dog crates and do a thorough vacuuming of the house. Now it's time to make an omelette.


Mar. 3rd, 2008 09:48 pm
tollermom: (Default)
Just made (and ate) my first omelette in the new Pampered Chef skillet, which arrived this weekend.

Yum. Yum yum yum. Very tasty omelette, and it was pretty, too!

I've missed making omelettes... it's good to have a skillet that cooks properly again! :-)
Over the course of the weekend, I made minor variations in Chase's med schedule, with the cumulative effect being that he can now have meds at 8 and 8 rather than 12 and 12, which means I don't have to continue taking 90-minute lunches to go home and feed/medicate the dog.

By yesterday, he was having a not-so-good day... no energy... a little wobbly... and completely not interested in food. This morning was my first attempt at getting up an hour earlier in order to have time for the extra dog-stuff pre-work, and it went well... I got up when the clock went off, stumbled to the kitchen, prepared his food and then left it to sit and soak. Fell back in bed for a bit to continue convincing myself that being up that early wasn't a mistake, then got up and showered and got ready to meet the day. By the time I was done showering, Chase was awake, so I walked all three dogs, fed Chase (he was, thankfully, hungry and thirsty again), and then caught up on a bit of TV while sitting with him through the obligatory Vertical Dog period post-breakfast.

All that, and I even had time to stop for a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit at McDonald's and still get to work on time.

So far, the magic recipe for food for Chase seems to be his daily ration of Eagle Pack Holistic Lamb & Rice, soaked 'til it's soft then run through the blender and served with enough water to make it about milkshake consistency (I'm adding a couple of tablespoons of Missing Link and a couple of tablespoons of oil to boost the nutrient and fat counts). Conveniently, this gets him most of the water he needs in a day too, since water seems to stay down better if it's not drunk plain. Currently doing three meals a day, which is manageable even on workdays. We see Dr. R. tomorrow afternoon for the bloodwork that got postponed on Friday due to crappy roads. His gums don't seem as pink as they should be, which is worrisome when combined with the fact that he was somewhat anemic when bloodwork was done in Chicago, but his attitude and energy levels are good. I have plans on the way for a "Bailey Chair," which is basically a custom-built high-chair for dogs with megaesophagus... it lets them eat in a vertical position, and then they sit in the chair for 20-30 minutes after each meal. Currently I'm having to hold him in a vertical position after each meal (basically, letting gravity do what his esophagus can't) and while I'm not averse to snuggling with the dog, it's getting to be really tough on my shoulder, plus it's hard to keep him vertical for that long... hopefully the chair will provide more support than I'm able to, so he'll stay upright for longer.

I talked to my former across-the-street neighbor, who'd talked to another neighbor who actually got their certified letter on Saturday. Turns out that it's not from the developer (so it's not our "intent to close" letters) but from the city instead. There's yet another public hearing scheduled, on March 11. This one is apparently during the regular monthly meeting of the City Plan Commission (no, that's not a typo... I don't know why it's "Plan" and not "Planning," but it is) and I have no idea what it's about or whether it will hold up the closing dates. I hope not, since I can't make an offer on the river house 'til I have a closing date in hand. *sigh* I'll swing by the Post Office and pick up my letter in the morning, then call the Plan Commission if I still have questions once I've seen the letter. Entertainingly, the one other house that I'd been watching, a big ol' farmhouse out from Lapel, finally posted interior pictures and it's really pretty, so now I want to go see it in person. It's not got central air, though, and between the purchase price and the cost of retrofitting it for central air, it's really close to the top of my price range, where the river house, even with replacing all the floors with tile or hardwood, would be easily $50k less.

In other news... had a fairly lazy weekend... caught up on sleep, went to a Pampered Chef party, did a bunch of dishes and a couple of loads of laundry, fueled up the Beetle (dear gods... diesel was at $3.69/gal) and picked up a few groceries. Also caught up on watching some of the stuff that was piled up on the DVR, so there's actually room for it to record this week.

Now I need to go start another load of laundry and walk and feed the RowdyBoys... with all the time I'm spending on caring for Chase, I fear that the younger two are getting less attention than normal so I'm going to spend some concentrated time with them before Chase's last feeding of the evening. Thankfully they're very tolerant of the vagaries of my schedule and they seem to be taking all of this in stride.
I just got mugged by my trashcan.

It's WayWindy outside, and the wind had knocked the big green trashbin over. I picked it up, flipped its lid closed, and started to wheel it back where it belonged and the wind flipped the lid open, smacking me in the face.


I think I'm going to have a bruise on my forehead, but at least I may avoid having a black eye.
So... I'm supposed to leave for Chicago for Capricon on Thursday afternoon. The guy who did the work on the Beetle over Thanksgiving did a really crappy job and the timing has been off (and getting worse) ever since. The guy in Greenfield, who's the only mechanic in the state who's recommended by the TDI Club members, has been too busy to get to it and is doubtful that he'll be able to do so this week. In the meantime, it's gotten WayCold here, which makes the cranky Beetle even less happy. The Trooper's not an option 'cause it needs a new timing belt and maybe a new alternator, which I _really_ can't afford to get done in the next three days.

On top of all that, my petsitter's developed an unexpected conflict, so now I've gotta find something to do with the RowdyBoys before I leave. (I may end up boarding them... Chase is going to Cap w/ me, and the youngsters are pretty resilient... they'll probably think staying at the kennel is fun.)

Oh... and sometime between now and this weekend, I have to finish getting ready for my Internet Cafe set (Friday afternoon at 2... come see me!).

(On the plus side, Wild Mercy rehearsal went great tonight and we're really looking forward to doing a full set of songs from the Dream of a Far Light project. Yay! Oh... and fiddler... we get [ profile] sweetmusic_27 for the weekend... that will definitely make my week better!)
... does it take to change a VW Beetle headlight bulb?

Apparently, the answer to that question is one owner, two mechanics, and a partridge in a phone call to Seattle.

Sunday night as we were leaving band practice, [ profile] harperjen called me and asked "Do you know your left headlight is out?"

somewhat silly saga back here... )

Comment afterwards was pretty much "You know, I was swearing at it 'til it slid right out in my hand... then I was all, like, 'cooooool'..."

Tally for the visit... $32 and change for headlight replacement, two new wiper blades and a new air filter. Total labor charge... $4.50.

Sooooooo worth it.
Grrr... post-game wrap-up of the stuporbowl ran long last night and the DVR slavishly followed its normal schedule, leading me to arrive back home from band practice and discover that the DVR was missing the last 20 minutes of last night's episode of House.

So... not... happy...
Lazy weekend here... catching up on stuff that the DVR recorded while I was off on the west coast for 16 days.

Finally broke down and got a Twitter account, after sitting at a table one night after MacWorld with a bunch of folks who were twittering incessantly on their iPhones. Dunno how much I'll use it, without easy access via smartphone (and I'm still refusing to get an iPhone because I have a healthy dislike of AT&T), but I've got Twitterific installed on the laptop so I can at least watch and see when interesting conversations go by. Same username as here, but I haven't actually posted anything yet, so it's not like there's really anything to see.