zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
I originally made this stool in woodwork class about 26 years ago. I got the fabric from Mum, and I remember her pointing out ruefully that I used the wrong side of it. I disagreed: whatever the manufacturer had intended, I much preferred it this way out.

26 years later the fabric has faded and worn and frayed. And then it got in the way of my cat dealing with an upset stomach and I tried cleaning it, but well. So before I went to shop for new fabric I asked Mum if, by any chance, she still had any of that fabric.

My family is a family of hoarders. I really shouldn't have doubted.

So I unscrewed the base, pried out the staples holding the old fabric on, and on my next visit to my parents used Dad's staplegun to affix the new fabric. (I even managed to ward off Dad's attempts to Help. It wasn't that hard.) Then just put the screws back in.

Not that hard, but stunning results:
Stool upholstered in blue/green/yellow maybe-damask-like pattern or something, I don't really know fabrics
Pictured is the stool with its new fabric, and on the left the faded old fabric for comparison (its corner turned over to show the "correct" side). That should do me for another quarter century, and there's still plenty of fabric left over for when that time comes.
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
I go through phases. There are Reading All the Things phases, and Writing Every Spare Half Minute phases, and Sewing Sewing Sewing phases and Teaching Myself Latin Yes Again I'm Using A Different Textbook This Time phases.

I recently found myself in a lull between phases but it's important for me to keep achieving things or I start feeling guilty for being useless and then I get the blahs. I find it easier to prevent the blahs than to get out of the blahs so try to pay attention when I feel the urge to sit on my couch and read fanfic for too many days on end. Fortunately they don't need to be spectacular achievements: doing the dishes often works.

This most recent lull has lasted longer than usual though so although I've read/written/coded almost nothing in my spare time for weeks, I have:

  • cleaned and tidied like my entire house. Not actually my entire house, the spare room is turning into storage and there are Certain Cupboards, but definitely like my entire house. (Much of this was achieved while watching Star Trek Next Generation on the laptop or I'd have been super bored.) The floor is cleared and cleaned! Mopped even!

  • done so much gardening. Spring is awesome, you put seeds in the ground and they start growing food! (I have asparagus and lettuce and celery and silver beet and spring onions, and am working on courgettes and pumpkins and tomatoes and bok choy and lemons and strawberries.) On the downside, other things propagate themselves by root and next minute you've got a forest of plum shoots and ivy. Over the last couple of weekends I've been sawing down and rooting up eight years' worth of plum-and-ivy growth. The ivy goes into the green bin to be dealt with Elsewhere, the plum growth gets cut up to as much as possible go back on the garden. The parts I've achieved look awesomely tidy!

  • sewed the handle for a carrybag back on! This is an awesome grocery shopping-sized rugged zebra-pattern bag which I've had for ages and the handles broke once but Mum fixed them, and then I carried too much in it and it's been sitting around broken for possibly years and now I can use it again!

  • started going to a regular "speaking Māori" date with some once-strangers! My first week I started off all "What is kupu how do I reo???" and then after an hour I was talking to them about my Master of Library Studies research project. Really badly but communication was happening! Similarly today actually (ended up talking about my current research into open access and conference papers). I need to learn more kupu. Also more grammar but especially more kupu. I might start writing a diary.

  • invented a dessert. I'm working on the name but something like "Jellytip slice" / "Jellytip cupcakes". First you make a base out of biscuit crumbs and butter. Cool it. Separately make jelly but with half the water, and cool that until it's starting to set. If you don't cool it enough then when you pour the jelly on top of the base, the jelly will sink in and the biscuit will float up and it'll still be delicious but it won't be what you wanted. Then you put them back in the fridge. When completely set, you melt chocolate and spoon a thin layer on top of the jelly. This is the part I was most nervous of failing but it's really easy; don't dawdle about smoothing it out but you're not really on the clock even. Then back in the fridge until dessert time. Cut up / remove from muffin cups and serve with vanilla icecream. My friends approved of it last night. Their 4.5 year old son refused to eat anything but the icecream but that's normal for him and meant more for us.

I am now about to go to bed on time so while I'm sleeping it's your turn: in what way have you been awesome recently?
zeborah: Zebra with stripes falling off (stress and confusion)
So there I am, hanging up the washing, and this happens:

rotating washing line, laden with clothes, fallen on its side due to the centre pole breaking

Apparently this has been happening:

closeup of broken pole and all its broken rusty edges

So since my washing still needs drying I've now done this:

clothes rearranged on the parts of the washing line that aren't touching the ground and that I can reach

But I feel further action needs to be taken for the longterm and I don't know where to even start looking in the Yellow Pages....
zeborah: Zebra with stripes falling off (stress and confusion)
Flickr theoretically can post directly to Dreamwidth, but today it chooses not to. It also chooses not to give me back my highly entertaining and heartrending account of my curtain adventures. Thanks to an unexplained interoperability error, the tale is gone, more transitory than even the campfire tales of old. Sic transit gloria fabuli. So you'll have to make do with an abbreviated version.

I made thermal linings several months ago for my living room and bedroom curtains, and lo, they are good. I also started on new yellow curtains for my sunroom, but shiny things distracted.

The leadlight windows in my bedroom had no curtains, which is bright too early in summer and cold in winter. So with $0.50 of navy polyester from an op shop, leftover thermal lining scraps, tape and hooks scrounged from some dirty old netting curtains, a bunch of salbutamol to resolve the asthma triggered by said dirt, and railings and old nails found in my garage, I spent Saturday sewing and now have:

Leadlight Curtains

They make my bedroom super dark, it's fantastic.

On Sunday after church and grocery shopping I peeled, cored and sliced 2kg of cheap apples to throw in the dehydrator, bleached a path across my back porch where I won't have to slip on moss (I'd have bleached the whole thing but I have this habit of stopping work when my exertions start making me nauseous), and bought another 16 metres of curtain tape. Then I spent the rest of the day watching West Wing while sewing the tape onto three of the four curtains for the sunroom.

I went to bed with a slight headache (either bleach or lengthy-sewing induced) but it's Queen's Birthday weekend so I could sleep as long as I like, and accordingly had many cool dreams. The coolest was preparing to fight against a larger force and splitting our rearmost battalion so each member held up flags as if they were a battalion each. Our enemy promptly surrendered. It was fantastic.

Anyway, at the proverbial 2am I was mulling over this dream and thought: "...I shouldn't have sewn the tape at the top of the curtains." This morning I checked and yes, the curtain looks okay hung up as I sewed it, but if I had an extra 6cm of curtain on top of the tape it'd reach to the ceiling and thus block out more light and cold. It's just to do this I'd first have to unpick twice 11.2 metres of seams.

Poll #13606 What should I do now?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5

What should I do now?

View Answers

0 (0.0%)

Unpick 22.4 metres of sewing and resew
0 (0.0%)

Just go ahead as planned
1 (20.0%)

Make the last panel with 6cm above the tape, and leave the others to fix on Some Other Day
3 (60.0%)

Eat some leftover trifle
1 (20.0%)

zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Apologies in advance for another boring post. The short version is: eating food is good for you.

I did get over the worst of the laryngitis thing a good while back; was only off work a few days. (Things that ended up really helping the cough: the experimentally-proven warm moist air; keeping hydrated; cough suppressant; and salbutamol. I keep forgetting that when it comes to anything to do with my lungs, salbutamol is almost always going to immediately improve the situation.)

However it has been lingering on, unhelped by a Bonus!Rhinovirus of about ten days ago. So have got a tad tired, and the housework's suffered accordingly, and similarly grocery shopping and the will to cook, and thus haven't been eating properly, and thus have been lacking energy, and so on and so forth.

Until Sunday I piked out of my ordinary commitments--

(Meaning: I missed the bus to church, attempted to walk instead, realised my blood sugar was way low so stopped at a grocery to buy breakfast, wasn't able to eat it all, made it to my parents' house and sat on the couch for several hours; then phoned friends to cancel my normal Sunday evening visit, and went home to sleep for several more hours. After which--)

--made myself buy groceries and cooked with them. I also cooked and ate food on Monday and today, and also along the way got some more extra sleep; and then today, by complete random happenstance, minor items of housework have started achieving themselves.

(Possibly it helped that if I didn't do the laundry soon I was going to have to raid my go-bag for clean underwear.)

So I think I might possibly be getting functionally better, albeit with the occasional coughing fit (eg tilting my head back to drink the last drops is contraindicated because it stretches the throat and coughing) and singing two or three tones lower than normal. Planning to book annual leave for this Friday just to solidify this whole healthiness thing.
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
So I came home around lunch; ate lunch; made gingerbread cats with the prepackaged dry ingredients a friend gave me at Christmas; picked all the remaining peaches and sliced them for the dehydrator while rewatching Untold Scandal; put together most of the paperwork needed to switch my mortgage to another bank ("EasySwitch", hah!); left a message at said bank to clarify the remainder ("I'll get back to you within two hours," hah!); paid some bills; trimmed some plants off the house and letterbox; wrote up a book review and answered a Statistics New Zealand survey and returned a message from a mysterious bricklayer (someone at the Earthquake Commission seems to have got their wires crossed?) while someone pruned back my hedges as far as they could be safely pruned; put away my laundry; and discovered a remnant of chewable Milo while fossicking for jars and tins to put dehydrated peaches in tomorrow.

(Most of my jars got used up for dehydrated plums, but I think I've got enough left.)

And now, having chewed my Milo all up, I've kind of run out of things to do.

Things that I feel like doing, that is. I mean, I could do the dishes, clean the shower, scrub at some paint stains with meths, write a short story, submit some more old stories to the next markets on the lists, or all sorts of things like that. For that matter I could read one of the books on my to-read pile, but reading a book is what you do on the bus when you don't have a laptop with you.

Ooh, I know, I'll email my friend and ask her what was in that gingerbread package, because those were even more more-ish than most gingerbread. After that, I guess I could go to bed early? I mean, people do that sometimes, right?

...Oh, or dinner. I could have dinner too, I guess. Gosh, I'm bad at this eating thing.
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
It's the eve of my return to my house, and I'm occasionally tidying up bits of my motel in preparation for starting to pack maybe. I popped out through the ranch slider to check on some towels I had drying and got slightly more distracted than I'd planned. Next thing, Boots (who's been sitting at windows meowling for outside for the last week or two so I should have known better) is stepping out beside me.

It's possible that I swore.

Fortunately it was all too new for her to be comfortable just dashing off into, so I could just scoop her up and deposit her back inside.

In other news, I don't feel like I've got much news. Uni's finished for the year, so I've got until the 4th January to complete the final draft of a journal article, write some more code for the software it's about, finish writing the <counts> four or five fanfics I'm halfway through, create a literal fanvid of awesomesauce, and I bet I'll find some other projects pop up along the way. How do people get bored again?

--Actually I guess I could mention that they'll be finishing up painting after I move back in, which I'm fine with, and I won't have a heat source for a while because when they removed the gas fire (to pull down the cracking brickwork of the fireplace) they discovered it wasn't up to current standards so couldn't put it back in and will have to get some other organisation to talk to me about a replacement, which I'm fine with except I think they should have told me upon discovering it rather than me have to notice an offhand comment they made and ask probing questions. Still, y'know. They're good folk and going above and beyond otherwise. I think they like that I'm easygoing about things (I can imagine other homeowners being stressed) but my philosophy is that I've got water, power, a flushing toilet, and wireless: all the rest is bonus features.

Also I could mention that my choir sang in a small concert in a town that a week later got its own state of emergency due to sudden flooding (I disclaim all responsibility) and in a couple of church services in which I got a solo in a verse of Gabriel's Message. So that was my minute of non-fame. It's absolutely fascinating how I can sing three verses in chorus absolutely fine, but the moment I'm by myself singing the exact same tune and words I've known by heart for years I completely tense up which makes my voice crack; so all my rehearsals were me trying to figure out how to stop doing that. Adequate success.

And finally, some plugs for TV shows that pass the Bechdel test flyingly:
  • I've mentioned Covert Affairs, which is full of awesome blonde spies (and a blonde sister homemaker). Ordinarily it's candy floss (fun but no there there), but has recently started having the occasional episode with a bit more kick; I hope they keep at it.
  • Recently one of my siblings has turned me on to Lost Girl which is full of awesome brunette fae (and a brunette thief sidekick). Like Covert Affairs it suffers from Ms Protagonist being required to have the hots for Mr Male Love Interest but I think that can be ignored for the plots, which so far (I've seen 2 episodes) include Ms Protagonist is... possibly not bisexual, but bi-whatever a succubus is. Bi-hungry? Ms Sidekick insists that she's straight but that's never stopped slash before.
  • And another sibling has turned me on to Once Upon a Time which has a mixture of awesome blondes and awesome brunettes. I think there's a Mr Male Love Interest again but it's developing more slowly and less obnoxiously (again, I've just seen 2 episodes). Prince Charming is in a coma and will hopefully stay there, because he was every bit as smarmy a hero as you'd expect Prince Charming to be. In a brilliant move, Ms Protag is introduced to the strange new world not by a wise elderly male mentor, but by her son who she put up for (closed) adoption ten years ago; this makes the dynamics instantly so much less skeezy.
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
Behold, I have avoided housework by creating this housework icon! (For LJ people: )

I'm meant to be emptying all my water containers and refilling with five drops of bleach per litre of water. My intention is for this to be an annual thing every Show Day (which was last Friday, and is an easily memorable date on which I theoretically have time for an annual chore).

I'm also meant to be packing all my books and sundry other goods so that earthquake repairs can be done on my house starting November 28th. Repairs consist of:
  • replacing a window;
  • straightening and bracing a header tank;
  • a bit of repiling;
  • taking down the living room chimney and rebuilding it to the same look;
  • putting weatherboards up in place of the current plywood-and-polyfiller where an external chimney used to be;
  • fixing cracks in the foundation (non-structural);
  • rejibbing and plastering a bunch of ceilings;
  • repapering and painting a bunch of walls;
  • and making sure all the doors and cupboards open smoothly again and the wardrobe has straight rather than curved walls.
  • Oh, and rebuilding the garage wall so you can't push parts of it.
I did make a start on boxing up books on Sunday morning, so that's something. I need more boxes, but may be able to borrow some from work. (We've been moving a bazillion books around and have lots of boxes, so as long as they're not needed again before New Year it should be fine.)

I'll also have to pack suitcases full of stuff to live off for a few weeks while repairs occur. This'll be more of a nuisance, but the really hard part will be Boots. The three choices are:

a) leave her behind (returning every day to feed her) - which would waste time, make her lonely, and anyway the noise and excess people doing the repairs would stress her out;

b) take her to a cattery, which I'm pretty sure she'd hate and also my insurance wouldn't cover; or

c) take her with me to whatever short-term rental or motel I get(1), which will require keeping her indoors to be sure she doesn't flee and get lost, which she'll detest. She understands the concept of litterboxes, but neither of us really likes them. But this is still the best solution so we'll have to cope.

(1) I've got a lead on a possible short-term rental, otherwise I've got a couple of other ideas too.

In any case, I got packing anxiety dreams just packing for a few days at conference, so I expect much REM fun over the next couple of weeks/months.


In other news, have spent the last couple of weeks doing strategic planning for my brain, since I had a day where I got too much good news at once and it made my head go all flaily. (To be fair to my head, much of the good news requires me to do a bunch of work in tight deadlines which are getting ever closer; plus stress lingers from various other things.) My brain now feels much more strategically organised, although the operational plan may take a bit more work. What'd be handy would be if I could task some clones to set up action groups and report back once their projects have been completed.
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
Every now and then I get in this thing of being all Organised and stuff. I think it's an attempt to wrest control over a chaotic world. Usually it starts with general reluctant resolutions and lasts a couple of days at best, but occasionally when my mindset's just right, cleaning the inside of the microwave gives me the most satisfyingly self-accomplished feeling ever. Like, "There's no longer any cat puke under my dining table, I'm totally awesome!" Last time this happened, it lasted a couple of weeks, I think. Not sure about this time. After the spurt of "Eek, EQC inspectors coming, must hide evidence of slobbiness!" on Wednesday morning (I'd been putting off vacuuming up all the cat hair because first the vacuum cleaner needed emptying, and it was a pain to empty because the bag has a strategic knot sewn in the middle of where you'd empty it, I don't know why. "Had", I should say, having now taken scissors to it, so I might now vacuum and empty it at actual regular intervals, who knows?) -- so, since then, just maintaining a decent house might require sufficient enthusiasm without going so far as to actually clean the stovetop and vacuum up the potting mix that got spilled on the 22nd February.

(Oh God, someone remind me, tomorrow when it's light, to scrape at the bleach I discovered that had been spilled onto a bare untreated floorboard inside a cupboard since 2:20pm on the 13th June. Turns out bleach turns wood very white and very soft, but I have yet to determine just how far through the softness goes.)

This is starting to sound like I'm not all that Organised at all, which admittedly is the ordinary state of affairs. Let me explain:
  • I'm now making all my own bread in my breadmaker. This was originally so I wouldn't have to haul bread from far-off supermarkets or risk running out between shopping trips, but now it makes me feel so clever I'm likely to keep doing it even though the supermarket's back here. Ten minutes each loaf to measure ingredients and wash the breadpan before reusing it (while I wash, the yeast/liquid mixture sits in warm water to start rising) and then I go to bed while it bakes. It beeps in the night which wakes me, but I'm kind of used to being woken in the night now so who cares. Then in the morning I get up and I'm already an accomplished baker! Possibly it's more nutritious, tasty, and cheap too, I dunno, the important thing is it makes me feel like a genius.
  • The other cool thing to do in the morning is to dump the laundry in the washing machine on the way to the shower. The way my shower works, this is not a recipe for pain. Instead I shower, get ready for work, cut myself some fresh bread for breakfast nibbles and lunch sandwiches, drape the now-clean clothes over an A-frame in the bay window, and go to work knowing that by the time I get home again they'll be dry.
  • One morning I also did several days of accumulated dishes before even checking my email. And I didn't even miss my bus!
  • Another day I did some weeding! Of course that was while I had a cold, but I stopped when I realised that the effort was making me nauseous. Whoops.
  • Did I mention cleaning all the things on Wednesday morning? It's now Friday evening and they're still all clean! I walk into a room and there's floor! The clean parts of the bench are expanding! I even got carried away and wiped an edge of the dirty stovetop!
  • My old M.O. when I discovered a pair of tights has got a hole in the toe was to put it aside for mending. My new M.O. is to put it on and darn it while reading my email. (The way I do this it's perfectly safe as long as Boots doesn't try to help.)
  • I eat food most nights. I'm trying to get in the habit of buying meat on the way home and not freezing it. Occasionally I have nights where I'm like: "I have stale bread, cabbage, red peppers, cheese, cooked chicken, and milk - what happens if I throw it all in a casserole dish?" But since what happens isn't all that bad this works out quite well.
  • I changed a lightbulb that's been gone for a couple of months.
  • I'm working steadily through my pile of Highly Overdue paperwork. I started with the unthreatening "Return to sender" letter, now finally posted. There remains an insurance bill (I try to have everything on automatic direct debit, or at least automatic credit and then my credit bill is paid in full on automatic direct debit, but the history behind this one is complicated; fortunately this insurance only comes into effect if I die so I'm not actually all that fussed, which may be why it's maybe a year or two overdue) and taxes (only half a month overdue so far, and I think I get an extension) and submitting my earthquake bills and content claims (except my laptop's DVD drive is miraculously working again) and... oh yeah, some earthquake people wants my up-to-date contact details. Also, as of today the government wants to know how I think they're doing with earthquake stuff. Do you think they'll care if I tell them that I think since they're spending 500 million on supporting insurance companies, maybe they could spend 500 thousand on Women's Refuge?
  • (Oh btw, the home and contents insurance have paid out for all the burglary repairs beyond my excess, which was nice of them considering that the lovely door repair guy - friend of a friend - has a unique style of invoicing which consists of scribbling his ridiculously low labour charges on the bottom of the receipt from the hardware store for whatever he didn't scrounge from his garage. Don't get me wrong, the insurance company totally phoned to Ask Questions about this, but then they paid it.)
  • Generally being awesome at work and reading lots of books and working on Distributed Proofreaders (whose forums took it remarkably well when I suggested we could maybe try finding more non- white-and-male authors to work on) and... not actually doing a lot of writing, but a bit, and a bit of critiquing.
I do fear that I'm already neglecting a choir commitment I made; Saturday's to-do list (Sunday being reserved for the ordinary rush of church, and critique group, and potluck dinner at friends' house) includes weatherproofing the boards they put up in place of my chimney but didn't weatherproof because they didn't realise things would drag on this long (wtf? *I* could have told them things would drag on this long, and wouldn't be surprised if those boards wait another year before a permanent fix. Also it could have poured with rain any time in March), and getting new lightbulbs which have been waiting to be changed for a year or two, and booking in for that massage I've got a coupon for, and insurance and taxes and baking a dessert for potluck dinner, and printing out the choir music and phoning up the nice person who said she would help tutor groups of us, hoping desperately that she didn't start doing that like two weeks ago.

Oh yes, and the bleach thing.

Also there's that list of things that I'm totally going to get around to any day now, including cleaning the shower properly, and mopping the floor properly (including the pantry floor, after relocating the civilisation that's developed there in the meantime), and deciding whether or not my ill-fated potted mandarin has enough life force remaining or should just be put out of its misery, and finish weeding the 'rosary', and writing all the books.

So, all the stuff to do still feels quite overwhelming, but I think I'm in a space where I can actually chip away at them, and hopefully I can get through most of the really important ones at least before the inevitable burnout hits.
zeborah: Zebra and lion hugging (cat)
This morning Boots was still eating very little but was a lot perkier about it: wandering around a little and sitting, rather than staying it one spot with her chin to the ground for hours on end. On the strength of that I decided not to take her to the vet, though I did stay home watching her rather than go anywhere.

This afternoon/evening she perked up even more and ate a bunch more super-nommy glop and even a little bit of kibble. (At one point she even asked for kibble; she just got tired of it quickly and decided she'd rather have some more super-nommy glop instead.) When a chunk of lamb mince fell off my plate she practically pounced on it and fought a valiant fight against the fact that it was still very hot from being cooked; that now vanquished, she's sitting watching me eat the rest, very attentively.

Have made power-off images for my Pocketbook and read an old F&SF epub I'd had sitting around.

Chores today included: washing laundry, washing cat carrier, and emptying chemloo. All water sourced from the drippings of my leaky tap (which also provides water for my kettle and washing dishes). I really will get onto a plumber soon, but in the meantime it relieves my guilt a bit that I'm getting increasingly efficient at using the waste.

Attempted to book online for someone to come mow my lawns, but the company's upgraded the website and now it doesn't work in Firefox or Safari on Mac.

What else was today? Ah, yes, Doctor Who. You know, while under urgency due to the earthquake, our government passed a copyright amendment that provides for your internet to be cut off if three accusations of downloading infringing material from a file sharing site are sustained against you. (You see how vital this legislation is to Christchurch's recovery, of course.) The bill as passed plugs a few outrageous holes pointed out in the #blackout campaign a year or two ago that kept it from being passed back then, but keeps this same outrageous premise. So there's not much I can say about Doctor Who. At least not in public.

In general, feeling much less stressed with Boots improving. If I keep sleeping 10-12 hours a night I might be able to cope with going back to work next week...
zeborah: Zebra in grass smelling a daisy (gardening)
In battling with my RSI I've resorted to a mixture of wonderful amounts of catch-up reading, ridiculous amounts of TV, and rare amounts of gardening.

I've nearly finished weeding the cracks in the bricks that run a path around the roses in my back garden. Granted the cracks I weeded first are now sprouting new grass again, but in the meantime I've discovered bricks I didn't even know existed for being buried under the encroaching lawn. Also in the meantime the plums, peaches, and grapes are ripening - I even ate a particularly early plum yesterday. But it got to 32 degrees outside (my thermometer claims 29 inside) so even my usual practice of going out for a few minutes then coming back in seems insufficient to avoid sunstroke.

(A flannel with cold water helps, though it dries amazingly quickly.)

So I read more than usual today, lounged on the bed in the coolest room in the house while the cat attempted to aestivate on the windowsill. I finished two books (an easy and fun YA and a classic that alas didn't have a plot to my taste but nevertheless told its plot extremely well) and... well, one gets tired of reading. Especially because holding the pages open anything less than carefully actually places a certain strain on one's wrists which one doesn't notice when one isn't battling RSI.

And unfortunately today I ran out of Boston Legal DVDs (need to visit my sister to borrow the next season) and the TV's marathon of Queen Seondeok has expired so I only get one hour a day instead of four. (I could rave about both series but even with my microbreak software on high my wrist is protesting.)

I would also love to be writing right now, but, well, I may have overdone it a bit yesterday.

[Software-enforced break during which I make the bed]

<remembers some video files my brother copied for me>

<on reflection, turns microbreak software up even higher>
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
I have this cunning plan that if I go to bed when it gets dark (currently around 9pm; my cunning plan is not suited for winter time) and then get up early (I think it's getting dawnlike not much after 5am and I don't need much light to shower) then I never have to turn on the lights and I can save about 20cents worth of electricity or something. The main problem with this is that I'm constitutionally uninclined to go to bed much before 11pm, so two weeks of attempting to implement my cunning plan has met with limited success.

Last night however I didn't go to bed very late, so this morning I got up at 6am instead of 6:45 and:
  • washed my hair
  • hung out the laundry
  • made breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • caught up with DW/LJ/other RSS feeds
  • fought crime
  • and left at 7:39 for my bus to work.
On the downside, my laundry seems to be summoning some serious rainclouds.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
The awesome thing about my bus home from work is that it goes straight through the Bus Exchange and to my home without me needing to transfer. Remember this, for it will be important to my story.

Last night, I left work half an hour later than usual, and my bus was running 20 minutes later than usual, and I still had to cook and eat dinner before going to choir. Eventually I decided to just go to choir late. So I worked out an alternate set of buses to go on. The first was just a bit late, but I still had plenty of time to wait before going out to the stop. I worked on my laptop, glancing up at the real-time arrival information. My connection was ten minutes away... eight... five... five... five... been and gone. I wearily considered going home but really wanted to sing, so I found yet another bus going that way and waited another twenty-odd minutes. Finally I got to choir (in the part of the building which hasn't lost bricks), an hour later than normal.

Singing is good.

On the way home, I missed my favourite bus by a minute so had to wait for quarter of an hour for the next one. It was raining, and the bus shelter might be brilliant, for all I know, at sheltering buses, but it's terrible at sheltering humans from the elements. By the time I was inside I just blobbed in exhaustion, and thus at the Bus Exchange forgot that this wasn't my bus home from work so I had to actually get out and get onto a new bus. I remembered before it had gone far, but then had to walk in the dark, dodging the rain and the cordons around red-placarded buildings, back to the Bus Exchange and wait another twenty minutes for my bus.

[It should here be noted that when I finally got home, Boots was waiting for me. She didn't stay the night, but did return in the morning to wake me up and then wait outside the bathroom for me to finish showering and come feed her.]

So then I had a full day's work, which is... busy with coping-ness. Good to be doing stuff but oh my brain is getting fluffy. It'd be easier to focus on one big thing than lots of little things. Plus it's not so good to learn an external colleague has lost her house and an internal colleague was hospitalised yesterday with a heart attack and my local library is still closed until further notice and my choir can't sing at a certain church because it's getting an increasing number of cracks. Anyway I was very relieved to finish the day. Even more relieved to have the bright idea of phoning my siblings to invite myself to their place for dinner, during which conversation my coherency skills deserted me utterly (in particular, I failed at prepositions, eg substituting "to" for "from").

So there I was finally on my bus home bus, telling a colleague about my failure at buses last night, and reminding myself constantly that although this was my bus home from work, I wasn't going to my own home so I'd have to get off at the Exchange and transfer. Then we reached the Exchange and my colleague and I said goodbye as normal and she got off as normal and I stayed on as normal and the bus left the Exchange as normal and I silently swore a little bit.

Walking through the central city during daylight you can see the brick dust on the pavement. It's not layers thick or anything; probably about the same as pollen in spring, hardly noticeable in places but very clear in others. In areas where actual bricks have fallen, grittier pieces crunch softly underfoot. There's probably a poem in this -- spring comes, bricks and blossoms fall -- but Mum's already dreading the inevitable influx of bad earthquake poems so I won't inflict mine on the world.

Eventually I got on another bus. And not only was it the right one but I got off at the right stop! I just needed to walk past my childhood library (cordoned off) and my secret dream house could I ever have afforded it (chimney fallen down) to get to my siblings' place. And lo, we had dinner and watched Serenity and there was much familiality without any requirement for thinking.

[Then I came home, and Boots was waiting, and I decided I'd move back into my own bedroom, and just as I was bringing something back out to the kitchen bang! There's me under the dining table and Boots out the door. These are just getting silly. (Hmph, just a 4.4. Shallow and fairly near but still, the #eqnz tweeps agree it felt (and sounded) bigger.) ...Also I really need to clean my kitchen floor.]
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
I seem to be talking a lot lately. I'm sure I'll go back to silent mode soon enough.

Generally every four weeks I go to the library, return four books (mostly unread) and borrow four books (mostly not to be read). This time I grabbed a pile of mostly YA stuff in the hope that I'd read some of them.

So this weekend I've read:
  • Encyclopedia Brown Cracks the Case (a childhood favourite)
  • A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (set in 13th century Korea, written well and researched well. The only thing that made me blink was the description of spicy kimchi; though various spices were used, hot pepper wasn't introduced for centuries. But the description of celadon-making was wonderful. Celadon is simply beautiful; when I was in Korea I hunted for months to find a piece to bring back home. Linda Sue Park has written more books set in Korea; I'd like to read them.)
  • The Five Ancestors: Tiger by Jeff Stone (formulaic crap about a group of five orphans schooled by secret monks in leet animal-style kung fu, apparently with super talking-to-animal powers thrown in)
I've also read pretty much everything from this list of posts about the cultural appropriation debate than inspired my earlier rant.

I've read a few stories from Expanded Horizons which aims to not be Whitey McWhite in Whiteland (and which rejected one of my stories belatedly but politely and now I see why it's not really their thing). I want to read more. Also read 'Poison', an award-winning sf story by a Henrietta Rose-Innes of South Africa.

I'm going to want to read everything linking to this idea of reclaiming one's own myths.

I've also finished reading 50-pages of a thread on a forum covering an epic 7-month long bait involving about 20 baiters making a 419-scammer's life a misery. I've taken up baiting because it combines fiction-writing, my (not-in-this-context-sexual) mindgames kink, and doing good in the world. Many 419 scammers are in Nigeria and nearby countries eg Burkina Faso. (Many others are in Thailand, Spain, Ireland, Norway, the UK, the USA, Australia... but Nigeria and Burkina Faso are really big ones.) It makes sense to me that if I'm doing this anyway, and if I want to research some part of Africa for the purposes of basing some story there, then that area would be a good one. Particularly since being ignorant about a place is just ignorance, but deliberately letting my mind be filled with only the negative things about a place is stupid.


In other news, it looked like rain this morning so I didn't do laundry. Then the sun came out with a vengeance so I did laundry. As soon as the laundry was ready it started raining. A while later I noticed it hadn't rained much and was now well past, so I put the laundry out anyway. As I was doing this it started raining again, and since I stubbornly left the clothes on the line it's now thundering.

In other news again, I have a bazillion of plums. And that's just the windfall. Aside from giving them away, I'm pondering whether I can do a quick-and-dirty preserving job by just cramming them whole into jars and pouring hot sugar syrup over.

(Wow, that's quite some impressive thunder.)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again. -- Joan Rivers

Dear Martha Stewart,

I desperately need your advice. As a single homeowner, full-time employed, and amateur procrastinator, there are limits to the amount of housework I can do in a day. But today I noticed my cat take a break from miaowing piteously for her dinner to nibble a tidbit of something from the carpet, which I hadn't vacuumed for several weeks. I immediately realised that my routine has to change, so please tell me: what's the best use of the 30 seconds each morning and evening I'll be saving from feeding my cat now that she can forage for herself?

Efficient bachelorette


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

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