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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Grey Badger's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, October 27th, 2012
10:28 pm
Not even Moveable Type accepts my LJ address!
I know Blogger doesn't. But non-blogger entities?

Has anybody else had that problem?

The word from Moveable Type is that my lj username doesn't seem to be an LJ endpoint!
Friday, May 25th, 2012
1:39 pm
Ask and it chall be given!
Beatrixal invited me to the local warehouse store, where they were having a sale on silk island-style shirts. I bought a soft light pinkish-orangish one and an equally soft greenish-blue one. They are a bit generously cut compared to most, but I'm not complaining in the least!

She also took me to a major high-end outdoors co-op store, where I found the very anklets I needed and am wearing them now. They are wool, of all things, of a non-itch brand I have worn in the past and am very happy with. No gimmicks; just nice little socks, in colors that match my new summer shoes.

Afterwards we had lunch at a quiet, lovely little neighborhood Thai place.

And it was only about 80 degrees or so out. As I told my lunchtime companion, who also put up with my fussiness and clumsiness (water in the lap + desertweight pants + temp = 80 +! problem!) in March you whine "Oh, it's 80 in here! I am going to DIE!" In May you cry happily "It's only 80! How lovely!"

When you come to the end of a perfect morning....

Current Mood: thankful
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
4:08 pm
Running errands is fraught with difficulty - how do people do it?
Either Mercury is retrograde, Loki is loose, or the heat's got everybody.!

Paldon says it's the latter, and has been since Sunday. What's interesting is that everybody is being nice and trying to be helpful, it's just that everything is a lot harder, and things went wrong on a small scale most of the day. Followed by a phone call rescheduling the PT for two weeks in June, but the caller didn't say which two weeks. Easily cleared up, a simple move from Thursday to Wednesday.

Anyway -- three tries to get a steering wheel cover fuzzy enough to actually keep my hands from burning on the wheel. Then the clerk couldn't find a bar code tag on the thing and searched desperately. I offered to pay him for the most expensive cover there, but he kept trying to find the Real Thing while a 5-minute errand morphed into half an hour. He was, might I add, a Millie. A more senior clerk (late 30s?) who took up the hunt looked at the two shaggy ones also offered (not fuzzy - shaggy loops) and suggested he try a number which proved to be the manufacturer's general code. He looked at all of them - alas, no picture of the product, just a name like Moxie for the style. But we agreed to accept that.

Then I couldn't get the old cover off. I needed strong hands to get it off. The car place was understaffed but offered advice.

Backing up - try #1 was Target, which I dropped into for some lightweight - summerweight - ankle socks, which I found. And put on when I got into the car. There were knitted-in ridges on the socks under the wide cardboard band covering their midsection. So now I'm standing on pot scrubbers. And the socks grabbed my feet in an iron grip. Aha. "4% Spandex for better! Longer-lasting! Fit!" [Family Dollar further up the street had some humiliatingly inferior ones - they only had 2% Spandex in them. I decided not to take the chance.]

Oh, and there were no short-sleeved blouses or camps shirts to be found at Target. Tank tops and similar sundress-type tops aplenty. You know - just thought I'd look. But the Target people were really nice.

Onward & upward for some books only a vague sense of principle kept me from hitting Amazon for. Title Wave, in the same strip mall as Car Place #2, has closed down. Craig Chrissinger from the SF club, who used to work there, had little good to say about their management.

Onward and upward to Page One. Alas, no luck. back to the car. Where's my hat? Not there! The customer service guy - actually the used book buyer - hiked all over the store with my looking for it, after seeing it had not been turned in, and took down my name and phone #. I checked the car again just to be sure --- in the trunk? What's it doing in the trunk?!?!?

Lunch time. Wendy's value meal. Three bites in, "This tastes like Cheez Whiz and where's the green chile?" I politely mention the lack of green chile and they hand me another burger without complaint. They even put up with my fumblign and bumbling with the coin purse.

So I call Paldon to ask for help with the steering wheel cover. He said he would meet me at home. Bless him. Sitting on the front porch swing, got it off and tossed it, got the new one back on. Pattern looks line a white cat with light grey shadow-stripes.

Then a phone call from the PT people on the need to reschedule two of the June appointments. BUT --- I am still up for doing the assigned exercises. Which I did not do with the entire morning eaten up.

PS - the Spandex-laden sox are going into the washing machine ON HOT! And the dryer, ditto. Besides, I need to do a wash. The Frostie I had with the lunch dripped on my pants. When you come to the end of a perfect day ...

PPS - will hit Amazon for the books and check Hanes for lighter and less feature-laden sox. Or possibly even REI.

PPPS - I looked at my "small things but hard to find" wish list and threw the entire lot onto Freecycle, in hopes of a miracle. Except for the books I was looking for. Support your local book dealer be hanged - if you really want the books, got to www-dot-EvilEmpire-dot-com and ORDER THEM!

Current Mood: tired
Friday, May 11th, 2012
12:32 am
That recipe said "SIMMER", not "turn down to 1/4 heat and ignore for half an hour.

Pat, now soaking the bean pot, with the chile transferred to the crockpot, whose heat is controlled with electricity.
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
6:17 pm
Not your mother's ingredients!
I inherited some of my mother's recipes, and somehow these days they just don't taste the same. Of course, I live at 5,000 feet - she lived at sea level. But this evening I gave it one more try, because how can you mess up the stew she called "Chile Con Carne"? Not that any Southwesterner would recognize it as such, but I loved it as a child. So let me walk you all through the process - it's as much "redacting the recipe" as any attempt to use a medieval cookbook!

1 1/2 cups ground beef.
**Redaction: NOT "lean" or "very lean" or "ultra-lean" or bison, turkey, or ostrich. Plain old ground beef as it was back in the day. There are only two ways you can get it. At the supermarket, the stuff that comes in rolls and is labeled "ground beef" is the right mix of fat. Alas, it almost certainly contains Pink Slime. Back in the day it didn't. NOT because "all the meat was purer then, girls were girls and men were men..." but because that level of processing was too much work at the time.

1 tsp salt. Dash of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, allspice. [Told you this wasn't Southwestern}. BROWN until crumbled.
**Redaction: She didn't say in what. She didn't have to. Use a cast-iron skillet. No extra fat needed. And note: the teflon-lined jumbo cooker didn't work as well, I think because it's not designed for hot heats. The skillet is. And the old-fashioned meat crumbled when browned, unlike the "mega-lean" stuff.

Put the meat in a large kettle. We all have a bean pot, don't we? I do!

BROWN in the fat from the meat 1 large chopped onion and 3-4 talks of celery chopped. [No leaves. This isn't veggie soup.] Add to the meat [in the kettle] and simmer on low heat.

**Redaction: in the cast iron skillet, they WILL brown. Pour off the extra fat into an empty can and stick the can in the fridge. When it's full, just throw it away. Quick, easy, does not clog the drain.

ADD: [into the kettle] l large can of tomatoes cut up, ~ 3 cups [and] 3 cans of kidney beans [I use pinto beans] ~ 3 1/2 - 5 1/4 cups.
**Redaction: today's large can is 28 ounces and the regular can, 14.5 ounces. Use one of each for the tomatoes. 3 cans of the beans work quite nicely.

SIMMER indefinitely, stirring occasionally. Tastes as good if not better warmed up the first day.

***And there you have it. 2012, a culinary odyssey. Serve with corn bread, any of the southern corn breads like hush puppies, fried corn grits patties, or Indian oven bread is really good.


Current Mood: hungry
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
2:11 am
The Naming of Cats
I called him Buster when he was so young I wasn't sure he was a boy. Now, I think his real naming-of-cats name can only be Bustopher Jones!


My Mister Jones wears a tuxedo, too.
Sunday, January 8th, 2012
10:21 am
More on this past week: what's going on with me?
I got sick to death of using my home as a cold weather survival tactics training ground and put in a call to the furnace guys. Having heard nothing from them, I will call early Monday morning. Meanwhile, two separate people who have been to my house this week have noticed there is no air coming out of the front floor furnace, and think the fan is broken. If it's that straightforward, I will not begrudge the cost of parts or labor to fix it!

More on the lower off the hog business -- I made a resolution not to get gas station hot chocolate unless I was actually on the road. Now I've decided to make hot chocolate- at home - a Sunday morning treat. As always, if I'm out, I drink whatever beverages ore on offer, but there is usually a good choice for me to pick from.

Victory! I found out how to best wash the "disposable" white cotton gloves that protect my hands from cracking and bleeding in the cold, dry air! No amount of laundering helped, not even soaking them in bleach and washing them on Hot as Heavy Dirt. But today I ran my hot bath, put on the gloves, and thoroughly washed my (gloved) hands with ordinary bath soap. A remarkable improvement!

And the light and warmth in the study is a lot better than in the front room until nightfall, which should get me working on the financial backlog.

Current Mood: satisfied
10:12 am
A week after New Year's Day - more notes on living lower off the hog
1) If I want to sharpen my healthy-food-fu, I can go through the supermarket as if I had a tight budget and an iron mandate to eat as I should get use to eating, and see what I can do with what. Emphasis on what I'd get out of a garden if I had one.

2) I tend to crave sweets when I'm tired and overstressed. If I'm tired enough to want to pop a sweet, I'm tired enough to lie down.

3) If my primary beverage of choice is water, that's a lot lower off the hog than 99% of the country.

4) So running errands on foot exhausts me because of hauling even my purse around --- for what else do I own a rolling book bag?!?!?

5) At what place to eat can you control your portions, your ingredients, and your price? Hint, it's very close to where Dorothy of Oz said heaven was.

6) Rolling book bags have room for brown bags. Little known fact.

Current Mood: satisfied
Monday, January 2nd, 2012
9:19 am
Shake that booty
It was Friday at Weight Watchers, with a substitute leader, or I might not have spoken up. I mentioned my resolve to do all my neighborhood errands on foot unless they involved hauling a heavy load or truly nasty weather. Then I spoke of having chickened out when the pre-Christmas cold spell hit, and feeling cold at home. The custom is for the members to offer suggestions, and I got the usual barrage of "Get in your CAR and go to the MALL and walk around the BORING CREEPY DEAD EARLY MORNING MALL!" or "Get in your CAR and go to the Medical Center and do boring laps around the track on the second floor and NOT stop at the snack bar on the first floor on your way out!" Then one member said "Why not put on some music and dance at home?"

Bingo! That should warm me up!

Saturday night I watched Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, with it's bits and pieces of 40 years of the Top 40, and danced as much as I wanted to, with nobody but the cats to offer judgment, and the cats didn't care. I toasted the New Year with a full glass of red wine on top of a modest low-on-the-hog supper, and went to bed quite contented. Slept like a kitty-cat, too.

Today or tomorrow I will go through my CDs and pick out those suitable for dancing to, and haul out the portable DVD player.

Meanwhile, this morning's 3-card reading ended with "Choices for the future (today): the King of Pentacles." Which is to say "Haul out the Bookkeeping for Dummies and get cracking on half a year's unposted - unsorted! - checks and receipts!" If New Years comes, can tax time be far behind?

Current Mood: awake
9:10 am
Welcome to 2012
2012. The year Heinlein predicted would see the election of Nehemiah Scudder as President, which would begin a theocratic state that - on his timeline - lasts 80 years. I note this is exactly how long the Soviet Union lasted - i.e. one person's lifetime. This, like _1984_ is the sort of prophecy written in order to avert it. The Hebrew Testament is full of such warnings, though, alas, not about the dangers of theocracy.

2012. The year the Mayan Calendar is supposed to end, Read more...Collapse )"Yeah, yeah, been there, done that, I'll wing it from here."

So I'll keep everybody posted if anyone is interested. Meanwhile, discovery #1 is that one can order a simple bean and cheese burrito at the Frontier, for a quarter of the price of their massive Frontier Burrito, and walk away feeling neither hungry nor full. Now, that is a strange sensation in itself, and the beans are quite good, for beans.

And I walked home from there.

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
7:20 pm
Well, DUH!
What part of "rained out" have I never heard of?

No -- the rain dwindled to nothing, and I felt myself well punished for ingratitude, but set out for the park. It picked up again in a dampening drizzle. With thunder and lightning in the distance.

A homeward bound spectator who used to be in the band said "They won't risk their precious instruments in wet weather." Then gave me detailed, simplified-for-dummies, instructions on checking the City website for such matters.

Sigh. Guess the average bear is smarter than me!
6:35 pm
We have rain!
Real rain coming down, wetting the pavement. Serious enough rain for me to go out to the back porch and pick up Dufus Claudius bodily and bring him in. Oh, how badly we have needed that!

Old Man Coyote, who is in charge of high desert weather, hit our neighborhood with our first rain in like forever on the very night there was to be a band concert in Hyder Park, the park within walking distance of my house. My picnic chair is sitting out, ready to take down there, but if I go, I'll have to put my crocheting in a water-resistant bag. I don't know whether to cuss at the fate which has probably ruined our only band concert or Arts-In-The-Parks event of the summer, or to offer thanks for the rain, though it's really a no-brainer.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

But your timing could use some improvement.
6:21 am
Leif Ericsson Day 2.0
Happy Space Day. Remember that? The anniversary of the day a human being first walked on the moon? A day that was supposed to be as important as Columbus Day?

However, as Heinlein famously remarked, "when it's time to railroad, you railroad." And conversely, if the time is not right, you try it and fail. Ask the Vinland colony. Ask the Greenlanders. In fact, ask any of the Old Norse. As The Wanderer said in his musings on exile, "Fate is fully fixed." Or as many another has put it, "you can't fight the laws of nature."

The time was not yet right. Look us up again sometime around 2035.
Thursday, July 14th, 2011
12:38 pm
WHO said "Antique stores - ugh"?
My take, from Antique Specialty Mall, just prowling - of things I saw my mother use and that she taught me to use -

1) "Old Fork - $8". A cooking fork - the kind I call a "threek" that is to my modern one what the skilliet I also scored is to a Walmart throwaway. It looks to last forever, too, unlike the one I have.

2) Vintage Griswold cast iron skillet, size 5 (next step up from the little one-egg one I got on Freecycle) - $30. The iron is as smooth as a baby's bottom. No, the roughness of modern cast iron is NOT a certificate of authenticity, any more than the crudeness of some hand-made pottery is. The website from which I copied and downloaded pretty nearly a chapbook on the subject said Griswold and Wagner are the best, and that back in the day they machined them smooth. But don't try it at home with the modern ones, you'll wear them too thin. AND I test-hefted the Size 5. Either I'm getting stronger, or it's lighter than the ones at Tru-Value Hardware. Anyway, yum, YUM, *YUM*!

3) Black lid, $1. Enameled, looks and feels sturdy and strong. Fits the new skillet. $1 lousy $1.

4) Hand can opener, the kind you jab the point into the can and jerk it around the inside edge. Lots of points - which is to say, all purpose cutting & hole punching. $3.

5) Small tin measuring cup, $2. Now, why, you ask, would I want that. Now, let me see. The glass one from Walmart has the numbers - the very things that make it a measuring cup - just painted on the sides? And they're coming off? And being glass, you can't take it camping if you should so desire? But largely because the numbers on the tin one are stamped in and permanent. And you can see them at all times.

6) Lastly "Wagner Ware Kettle, $30." Which is to say, a 2-quart cast iron Dutch oven - which I also have no trouble picking up. Having read the bottom of the kettle, which merely says "Made in USA" so maybe "Wagner in a pig's eye." And the bottom feels rough, though how much of that is how it was made and how much just needs to be cleaned or burned off is anyone's guess. However ---

It's a cast iron Dutch oven of just the right size. It's pre-seasoned. (as is the new skillet) And unlike any other I've had or tried, I can lift it easily.

So --- did I make out like a bandit in the quality kitchenware department? Or did I not?

And how much would all this have cost me in a fine kitchenware store?
Saturday, July 9th, 2011
1:21 pm
Scored - 1st person post-toastie!
Someone on one of my many lists and forums, in a discussion of the same, pointed out that nobody living knew what it was like to live through a collapse of civilization. I pointed out that in a literate society, there was no such thing as "nobody knew first-hand what it was like" as long as there were writings on the subject.

Today, on my way into a class in greywater reclaiming (very informative), I passed a freebie box, and there in the box was just such a first-person account. Read more...Collapse )There's your source.

*Assuredly they knew about China. But not much.
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
7:11 pm
Science fiction? Or why I'm about to give up ...
I just read the reviews and summaries in sfrevue online. Vampires. Zombies. Angels. Demons. The Fae. More zombies. More vampires. A vampire cop. A zombie teenager. Ay=yi-YI!!!

This reads like the Best Sellers of 1011 a.d., except that those had the marvelous bestiaries and travelers tales, many of which had a grain of truth to them. And the illustrations were wonderful.

[I mean ... 'men' in Africa with heads like dogs, who barked like dogs? And had doglike fangs? .... if I've identified them correctly, they also traveled in packs, bachelors on the outside, females on the inside, and were actually monkeys. Grassland monkeys. Though I love the legend that St. Christopher was one of them.]

"In 947 we took a little trip
to intercept the northern men and in the bud to nip
Their plans for our invasion, the Norsemen and the Scots
So we gathered up our Wessexmen and punched them in the snots!"

[Lyrics from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, translated by Yours Truly in the vulgar idiom of her youth] -- now, there was a culture that knew how to write.
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
6:10 pm
Update on Los Alamos --
From the University of New Mexico News Minute: "THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT is now home to the highest priority wildfire in the nation. This week, New Mexico in Focus has a candid conversation with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall about the fire-fighting efforts, the risk of a nuclear disaster and future of the nuclear mission at the Los Alamos National Labs. KNME’s one hour public affairs show New Mexico in Focus airs Fridays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 a.m. on KNME, Channel 5.1. The show can also be seen on KNME’s Digital Channel 9.1 on Saturdays at 5 p.m. http://news.unm.edu/?p=16796"

Current Mood: anxious
Saturday, June 25th, 2011
11:21 am
Old songs, new overtones
On the radio today I was listening to someone sing "Rambling Boy", a bright, cheerful tune with all sorts of "footloose and fancy free" connotations. Until I came to the verse where the singer and the rambling boy, partners until then, came to a town where they looked for work and there was only one opening. Rambling boy conceded the job to his partner and went on his merry way.

I heard that verse with a slight catch in my guts, being all too able to imagine it happening today, and why. Forty to sixty years ago they might have been footloose and fancy free. Today, as it would have been eighty years ago, there's a mini-tragedy implied in that scenario.
Friday, June 24th, 2011
5:46 am
PNM unclear on the concept --
As told to me by Chilefudge -- true story --

She called PNM to find out when the power outage in her neighborhood would be over. She got a robovoice which remarked that her phone number was from an area currently experiencing a power outage, and "for further information, please log onto our website at ....."

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
1:59 pm
Now reading: Dreamsnake
This old novel is as fresh as it always was. It's high-concept hard science fiction, hard enough to scratch diamonds unless you dismiss the biosciences as magic. The idea of healing with bioengineered snakes that produce designer drugs on order - in a culture that may not be able to produce hypodermic needles in mass quantities for lack of resources and factories - is startling and logical at the same time.

It's partly an old-fashioned post-toastie, but the after-WWIII setting is background, not the main point. However, the postwar world is a world with no easy answers. Everything is a tradeoff. The process that immunizes healers against snake venom also leaves them with hyperactive immune systems, hence sterile and very vulnerable to auto-immune diseases. A hard and isolated life leads to ignorance and fear; an easy affluent life, to easy contempt for the maimed and wounded. The low-hanging fruit was all picked before the war, and resources are scarce indeed. Scavenging is an accepted and sometimes profitable occupation, and there is a great, if unspoken, concern with keeping the birth rate down. And the greatest virtue is simply to keep on keeping on.

And yet it's a hopeful book. The characters are likeable, by and large. There seems to be a cooperative spirit among the people of this post-cataclysmic world, or at least certain shared cultural dictates which everybody but the bad guys and the people of the locked and fortified underhill City accept. Snake in particular is a memorable character.

Highly recommended as a reread.
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