Apr. 13th, 2017 08:05 pm
Jumped ship. I am puzzle_me over at Dreamwidth. I'll still check here for the few of you who post, but any new posts will be over there and crossposted. Friend me over there, or leave a comment with your DW username.
Allen: Your phone is offline from gchat
Allen: How am I supposed to properly send you cute kitty pictures?
It's rare that I want to listen to a song more than a couple times in a space of 24 hours, but I've been grooving out to this cover of Sweet Dreams every few hours and I'm not sick of it. When I heard a snippet of it elsewhere, I spent some time tracking it down, and I'm so glad I did.

Allen and I marked the one year anniversary of our first date this past Thursday. We had a quiet celebration at home, and it was perfect. I feel so lucky to have met him. He makes me feel safe, and loved, and valued for everything that I am. I could go on and on, but I don't want to be that girl who just posts about her boyfriend. And given how little I post here these days, I'm kind of in danger of that just by posting this at all.

Weight Loss

May. 1st, 2012 10:55 pm
My weight has always fluctuated up and down over the course of the year - but over the last year, I've put on more weight than the normal fluctuations. It's not a weight I'm happy at, and I also don't want to buy new clothes. My weight is headed back down - I'm currently down about 5 lbs from my high weight - and I wanted to post about how I've been going about that.

First though, the reasons it went up. Reason #1 was a medication I was on. Reason #2 is that I eat dessert more often when I'm dating someone who keeps bringing home delicious desserts every time he goes grocery shopping. Reason #3 is that I have been eating out more, and making some incorrect assumptions about what's healthier and what's not. I have since gone off the medication and at my request Allen is much more restrained about picking up desserts to bring over. This caused my weight to stop going up, but simply cutting out the med and the desserts as not caused my weight to go back down.

When I decided to try to lose weight, I went about it by counting calories, primarily. My first attempt was last December/January. I downloaded a calorie counting program from online, but it turned out to be too arduous a process - the program I had just was too much work to use. It also gave letter grades for all the food I ate, and they seemed to be pretty arbitrary, and which were also discouraging me from eating perfectly healthy foods. Finally, it didn't help me align calorie goals with weight loss goals in a way that was effective. So, I abandoned calorie counting for a few months and just tried to eat a little healthier and get more exercise. The problem with going about it this way is that I tend to get into a mindset that if I've exercised for an hour I can eat whatever I want, so I again wasn't having any success.

A few weeks back I decided to try again with the serious calorie counting. I poked around more online and ended up downloading Lose It! for the iPhone. I am also using a weight tracking program called WeightTrend+. I find Lose It far easier to use than the other calorie tracker I tried. Looking up foods is not as arduous, and most supermarket foods with a bar code can be scanned in using the phone and entered into the calorie tracker that way. You can also enter in calories from exercise pretty easily. If you are trying to lose weight, it has you set a weekly goal (between 1/2 lb and 2 lbs), and it gives you a target calorie value. I have mine set at 1 lb a week, though my actual loss has happened at a slightly higher rate. WeightTrend calculates a moving average of your weight, and you can graph weight over time. It's a good reality check when I have a sudden overnight drop or gain that's more than expected.

For exercise, I have primarily been biking, gardening/doing yard work, and going to a yoga class. By tracking my exercise in addition to my food intake, I'm able to give myself leeway to have treats after my workouts without going overboard. With food tracking, I was extremely surprised to find that I could figure out a healthier and lower cal lunch option from Chipotle, that I really like, than I could from Jimmy Johns, which I've usually gone to when I really would have rather eaten at Chipotle but was trying to be healthier.

Have any of you tried using apps to help you lose weight and/or exercise more? I like the ones I'm using, but I'm open to trying others.
A couple weeks ago I noticed that my water heater had a little pool of water around the bottom of the tank. Eek! Since it was very old, I assumed it was time for a new water heater. I had it replaced last week. As it turns out, there was a slightly broken pipe that might have been the source of the water. But, given how old the water heater was, I don't feel bad about replacing it. The new tank is way more efficient. Also, it's now possible for Allen and I to both shower without it running out of hot water.

Today I had my handyman-of-choice put up the tile for backsplash. It looks fantastic! Pics after he's grouted it tomorrow. Now I need to start thinking about painting my kitchen - right now it's a shade of yellow that is kind of painful against the shiny red tiles.

This weekend Allen also put up two towel rods in my bathroom, and we got an over-the-door robe hook. They look great! Now we won't have to hang our towels and robes on various door handles and door stoppers! In related news, I have a double shower rod I got eons ago and didn't install in a timely manner. When I did decide to install it, I realized that there wasn't actually a good place for it to fit (the wall space that was long enough is where the door opens - and the double towel rack sticks out too far to go behind a door). So, I have a double shower rod for sale. It's this one. I also have a matching double robe hook. I have a number of pieces of hardware in my bathroom from the same collection, and I've been happy with them. I'd like to get $25 for the towel rod and $10 for the double hook. Both are still in plastic, and come with hardware to install into drywall. If you're installing into plaster (as we did), you can pick up molly anchors and they install just fine. Let me know if you're interested in either. I'd need you to be able to pick them up from my house in South Minneapolis, unless I'm going to see you in person in the near future.


Jan. 15th, 2012 10:16 pm
Those of you over on FB have already seen this, but Figaro passed away sometime during Friday night or early Saturday. When I went in to feed my birds Saturday morning, I found him dead. :( It looked like he'd collapsed forward from the perch he had usually been sleeping on, into his food dish. I want to think that this means he died peacefully in his sleep, though I'll never be able to be certain. Allen was with me when I found him. I picked him up out of the cage, and held his little body in my hands while I said my goodbye to him, and then just cried while Allen held me. I will bury him in my garden in the spring.

I adopted him just over 10 years ago. He was my second bird - my first was another lovebird named Tobi. He was at least a year old when I got him - he had the beak color of an adult lovebird. However, I expect he was older than that - I think he would have acted more like a baby bird still if he'd only been a year old when I brought him home. While there are a few people who have lovebirds at or near 20 years of age, the generally accepted lifespan ranges from 10-15 years. I expect he was pretty close to 15, if not a little older. He has been in a decline since about October, so his death wasn't unexpected. But it was still a surprise. He'd been fairly active when I'd had him out this last week, and then to have him just gone - I wasn't really ready for that. :(

The rest of the weekend was a rollercoaster of ups and downs.. )
I've been battling a leaky sink for a number of months now. First one handle on the faucet was leaky - Allen helped me replace the O-ring, and the leak just moved to the middle part of the faucet. Allen took it off, and realized the threads were pretty close to bare. He got some plumber's putty and put it back on with that - it worked for a while, but last week it suddenly started spraying water from the bottom and then the main part of the faucet just kind of fell forward into the sink. There was no getting it to stay on again. Two days after my sink bit it, my microwave stopped working, in the middle of heating up some leftovers. It was apparently a bad week to be an appliance or fixture in my kitchen.

I decided that it didn't make sense to have the work done to replace the faucet without replacing the sink as well. (And as it turns out, the plumbing was such that it was necessary.) The sink couldn't be replaced without tearing out the 1950's era vinyl countertop - which I've always hated, so it was pretty easy to make the decision to plunk down an extra $60 or so for the new formica. I was able to schedule time this week to have my preferred handyman come do the work before he starts student teaching next week. So, now I have a new countertop, a new sink, a new faucet, and a disposal. My kitchen has finally entered the last century! Woot!!

I have ordered tiles for the backsplash - these. I'm going for a red-white-black kind of look when all is done. In a couple more months, I will paint, put in a new floor, and replace my refrigerator. It's going to suck for the couple months that my kitchen doesn't really match at all, but I'll survive. :)

I also lucked out with the microwave - [ profile] bertine and [ profile] gwangi were getting rid of one. Thank you again bertine and gwangi!

Before, during and after pictures behind the cut.
Read more... )

Sushi Date

Nov. 6th, 2011 08:44 pm
For the fourth year running, I gave each of my nieces a sushi date for their birthday. (Their birthdays are both in late September, but my sister's family had a lot of travel during October so they are only just getting around to being able to redeem their sushi dates.)

I like giving them this as a gift for a few reasons, but the big one is that I rarely spend time individually with my nieces, usually I see them both together. It's nice to be able to have time to focus on spending time with each girl individually. Still, this year when they opened their cards, I wondered if maybe they'd tired of this as a gift. It was what they expected, so it wasn't all that exciting, at least not at the time.

This evening I took Molly out for her sushi date. She chose to go to Ichiban - where she's chosen to go every year. Ichiban has an all-you-can-eat sushi deal. If you have or know a kid who likes sushi, it's an excellent deal. The kids' price is $12.50. Molly ate just as much sushi as me, for less than half the price. Part way through dinner, she said to me: "Taking us to sushi is a really good present! I like sushi and I don't get to go out for it very often. When I'm grown up, I'm going to take Kiera's kids out for something they like to eat as their birthday present." It was one of the nicest ways she could thank me for the gift. I have awesome nieces.


Oct. 24th, 2011 08:09 pm
My old-man lovebird, Figaro, either has an inner ear infection or a neurological disorder. If it is a neurological disorder, it is likely not treatable. My vet gave me meds to treat for an ear infection, which I am going to do for the next two weeks. I am hopeful, because (per my vet) lovebirds are susceptible to inner ear infections. I have had Figaro for ten years and he was *at least* two years old when I got him (based on having a full-adult beak color), but was likely much older. He has always seemed like an old bird, but until now has always been healthy. So while I am still hopeful for the time being, I am bracing myself for worse.
This weekend I bought a big bag of apples and a jug of apple cider at the farmers’ market. I guess it’s really fall! I feel ready for it. Waking up to crisp, cool mornings just feels right at the moment. And I love fresh apple cider so much. It is one of my favorite things about fall.

I’ve been doing a lot of hawk watching the last month. I actually spent two weekends in a row up in Duluth – the second and third weekends of September. This last weekend I stayed in the metro – and kept super busy. A few weeks back I took a hedge trimmer to my barberry bushes and clipped them way back, which opened up a lot of room in my garden. So, Friday night I went to Gertens and bought some new perennials. Saturday I went to the Ren Fest with Allen and his family, then out to the Toby Keith bar with Allen for one of his friends’ birthday parties (the best thing I can say about the bar is that it was interesting people watching – maybe that deserves its own post). Sunday I went to the farmers’ market, then to my parents’ house to pick up some plants my mom was pulling out, then I spent 4 hours planting all my new plants, and then I topped it all off with a clothing exchange. Is it any wonder I haven’t updated lj in forever?

Tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah – so shanah tovah to all the other Jews on here! I’m looking forward to dipping my farmers’ market apples in the honey I got there back in the early summer. And drinking apple cider.
When I was in the DR, I learned a new cold remedy that I've become fond of. Pour honey over pineapple slices (or pineapple and papaya, or pineapple and cantaloupe) and eat it. This is also commonly served as a dessert. While the pineapple here isn't anything close to as good as the pineapple over there, I had this tonight with raw clover honey I got at the farmers' market. It was sooo delicious, and it felt so good on my sad, sad throat.

Beep beep!

Jun. 10th, 2011 10:53 am
I bought my little Honda Fit one year ago this week - happy anniversary car! To celebrate I'll take you to the fancy carwash this afternoon.

And with the anniversary, comes news that my car may have actually appreciated in value, over the last year. Or, at the very least, not depreciated at all. Maybe I'll get it detailed as well. :)


May. 23rd, 2011 11:19 pm
There was a tornado that hit Minneapolis yesterday. It's been eclipsed in the news by the far worse tornado in Joplin, Mississippi. But, here in Minneapolis, it's a devastating reality. It hit the northside of the city hardest, which is about as far as you can get from me and still be in Minneapolis, so my house and I are completely unharmed. But two people on the northside died, one of whom was active in the local birding community. Several hundred people have been displaced from their homes.

I drive past north Minneapolis during my daily commute. There are large walls up for sound barriers, so it's easy to forget what's beyond them when you're going by at 60 mph. This morning, I noticed an unusual number of great blue herons circling. It's common for me to see 1 or 2 over the freeway, but I saw at least 11.

After I had gotten to work, a bird blogger I read posted that the North Mississippi heron rookery had been destroyed in the tornado. These herons were circling aimlessly because their nests were gone - in some cases the trees they were in had fallen or snapped in half, in other cases the nests had blown down. We're talking about approximately a hundred nests here, nests that have been on this island for years, just gone. I read firsthand accounts of several people who had gone to assess the damage at the rookery - they reported that herons were flying back and forth along the river, and circling overhead. Some were perched in the trees and on the ground.

I find myself wondering if herons feel the pain of loss that humans do. It's easy to anthropomorphise them; to see their aimless flying as an expression of their sadness and confusion. It's easy to see analogies between them and the residents who have lost their homes. But do these birds even understand what has happened? Do they mourn for their eggs and chicks? Do they mourn for their mate, if their mate died?

I don't want to minimize the sadness of the loss and devastation of human life and property, but it is the loss of the heron rookery that has hit me the hardest. This loss that I'm not even sure the birds feel.

Free Stuff

May. 16th, 2011 09:09 pm
My grandmother moved into a new assisted living facility, and downsized. The following is free to a good home:

- Green upholstered rocking chair
- Wood rocking chair (emblazoned with the seal of Wittenberg University) - possibly claimed
- Toaster oven - possibly claimed
- Electric hand mixer - possibly claimed
- Set of kitchen knives
- Laundry hamper
- Desk chair on wheels (brown fabric, no arms)
- Metal magazine rack
- Wood magazine rack
- Small wood spice rack
- A few miscellaneous pots (as well as various other miscellaneous kitchen stuff - a cheese grater, a muffin/cupcake tin, things like that) - cupcake tin possibly claimed
- Shower/bath chair

If you'd like any of it, you will need to pick it up from my parents' house (right next to Como Park) by the end of the week. I can put you directly in touch with them.


Apr. 17th, 2011 09:43 am
I'm back from the Dominican Republic! I got in late last night, and while the weather was not a particularly nice welcome back, sleeping in my own bed was. The trip was amazing. I expect I will be posting more stories and pictures over the next few weeks, but for now there are some thoughts I wanted to put in writing before I forgot them.

-I took Spanish for 4 years in high school, and a couple of semesters in college, but haven't really used it since. This is the first time in my life I've ever had to rely on it so completely. I had to get over my fear of saying things wrong and just go for it, hoping that I'd communicate what I wanted to communicate and they'd forgive me for using the wrong tenses. More and more was coming back to me by the end of the trip, and my first day back in the US I still woke up thinking things in Spanish.

-I loved learning the local names of birds there. Hummingbirds are zumbadors, hawks are guaraguaos. When I post up my bird list for the trip, I plan to include both the English and local name for each.

-I never knew pineapple could taste *that* *good*. I may be forever ruined on the pineapple you can get in Minnesota.

-It's amazing how what can seem very foreign can come to feel like the norm very quickly. Chickens running around loose next to houses. Entire families crammed onto a tiny motorcycle. Trucks crammed full of bananas or plantains with someone sitting on top. Brightly colored shanty huts with corrugated metal roofs. Lizards skittering all over the place.

-Without getting into TMI, while it looked the same at the outset, the sanitation system wasn't quite what I was used to. But the rules of what you were and weren't supposed to do were never spelled out in full. Save for one comment made by someone who lives there early on in the trip, I probably wouldn't have even realized there were different rules for their system, and it made me wonder whether the all-inclusive resorts spell it out in full, or just let the tourists mess up the DR sanitation system with abandon.

-This is the first time I have gone abroad and have not used my credit card once in the country I'm visiting. They just aren't the accepted norm there at all.

More later. It's good to be back - time to start getting ready for Pesach. :)
A few weeks ago, I dropped a piece of sushi on my down jacket. It left a little bit of a stain - but worse, it made my jacket smell like fish. I decided it was high time to launder it.

This forced me to survey the contents of my coat closet, something I haven't done all that thoroughly in a number of years. One of the curses of having a house, that you live in by yourself, is that it's easy to just accumulate stuff. There's more room than you actually reasonably need for yourself, and there's no one else around to pressure you to throw away or give away the crap you're not using or wearing anymore. I actually did end up wearing my old down jacket for part of the time that my nice down jacket was being laundered - but the zipper is broken and the lining is ripped. Why the hell was I keeping this? In case I have a friend who is visiting from a warm climate who needs a jacket? Why am I keeping a beat up old coat for something entirely hypothetical? Plus, I realized I'd sooner buy them something at Saver's with a working zipper for their visit if they actually needed a coat. I also surveyed my other coats, and realized there are quite a few I'm not using, or are too beat up to justify keeping around. (Lest you wonder if I'm really hard on coats, there was one in my closet that I've had since *high school*. My sister brought it back for me when she went to Nepal, and even though I haven't worn it in years because the pockets have long since ripped to shreds I was keeping it for sentimental reasons.)

So, in all, I am purging five coats and jackets. In addition to not wanting to be a packrat, I feel like it's kind of an atrocity to keep all these coats I'm not using when there are people who may not have a coat to keep them warm. Not all of them are beat up - some of them are just similar in weight to coats I like better. If you are someone who needs a coat, and are a similar size to me, please speak up (either comment or contact me privately if you'd rather), and you can come over and claim one.

In addition to coats, these are other things I had in my closet:

- five scarves (I've used all but one of them in the last year)
- three fedora style hats - even though I haven't worn any of them in years, I couldn't quite bring myself to throw any of them out
- two winter hats that are designed to look like penguins (keeping them both)
- seven other winter hats - I've actually worn all of these in the last year, but in an effort to cut down on stuff I am going to part with at least a few of them
- four baseball caps - two of them are from Hawk Ridge, one of them is advertising a potent opioid my company manufactures, and the fourth has my company logo on it. Anyone want a baseball cap advertising a potent opioid?
- five pairs of gloves/mittens (I'm getting rid of the scratchy wool pair I never use)
- one pair of gore tex socks - Cabela's used to make these, but no longer. It's a pity, these are awesome to wear over smartwool and under neoprene boots for cold-water kayaking
- one pair of waterproof pants
- one pair of legwarmers
- two umbrellas (one a golf umbrella, one a compact umbrella, both with my company logo on it)
Bristol Palin's dancing on TV set off man in standoff

According to the complaint, Cowan and his wife were watching “Dancing with the Stars” when Cowan jumped up and swore as Bristol Palin appeared, saying something about “the (expletive) politics.” Cowan was upset that a political figure’s daughter was on the show when he didn’t think she was a good dancer, the complaint states.

Cowan went upstairs for about 20 minutes and returned, demanding his pistols, which had been taken by his daughter about a month ago for safety reasons. He was carrying a single-shot shotgun, which he loaded and fired into the television.

I guess he really showed that TV.


Nov. 16th, 2010 08:56 am
Anyone have any more information on the exact address of this fire that happened this morning in South Minneapolis? Based on the description (2200 block of Garfield, 7 residents) it could well be a house that I rented a room in during my second year in Minnesota.

ETA: Okay, now they're showing photos of the dwelling in a few articles, so I know it is not my former residence. Still feel bad for the people affected though.
Well really, if I had $8 million, I could buy the House on Haunted Hill. That would make for some great slumber party potential, and you'd all be invited. It's a 1924 Frank Lloyd Wright designed house, and was also used for scenes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

If I did have that kind of money, I probably wouldn't actually throw it at expensive houses, but I'd certainly use it as leverage to get a viewing.

ETA: The house has it's own website, with better pictures!



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