ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today's plans got dropped in a blender, but it turned out great anyway.  :D  My parents couldn't make it to the Krannert event, so we had to rush out early to get the tickets from them, but then we had lots of extra time to kill.  So ...

* We had lunch at Core Life.  They always have different stuff.  Today I noticed they had fresh ginger root and fresh basil, and I was having beef with purple rice and some other stuff.  Let me tell you, fresh grated ginger and chopped basil is magical  as a bowl topping.  I usually use them dried, or cooked fresh, not raw.  But now I plan to make a batch of quinoa (another option there, and I don't have a source for purple rice, drat it), grill some beef, chop it, and top with the fresh herbs.  It will be awesome.  :D  Well, for hardcore ginger fans.  The fresh root has far more bite than most people like, but I lick my fingers after grating it, so.  This is my idea of fun.

* We bought candlemaking supplies for Imbolc.  Bulk paraffin now comes in a block with divisions about soap bar size, not a giant slab that has to be busted up with a hammer and screwdriver for 10 minutes to fit in the melting equipment. \o/  Seriously, a blessing on whomever got a clue and made that change.

* We visited a music store and made note of some things Doug will want to buy.  And I fell in love.  :D  It's called a sea drum, and I bought one on the spot.  I picked it up out of curiosity and was instantly mesmerized.  It's a drum with two clear synthetic heads and in the middle are many tiny steel balls rolling around.  This is a fantastic fidget if you like watching, feeling, and hearing things move.  As a musical instrument, it makes rain or ocean sounds, along with more normal drum sounds.  I'm only so-so as a drummer.  But it only took me a minute to figure out how to make a good rain sound and quiet surf sounds.  I will need a little more practice to make crashing waves without stopping the balls -- that's tricky -- but I'm confident I can do it.  This is a musical instrument I can play  and not feel like my remaining musical ability is trying to walk on a broken ankle.  I pick it up and feel normal.  I got the 12" version, which sounds fantastic and is a comfortable size for me to use.  There are larger and smaller ones, including some with natural heads.

* We went to World Harvest looking for pear white tea, which they did not have, but they had a couple others I wanted and haven't seen in a while, so I got those and was well pleased.

* Supper was at Merry Ann's Diner.  I tried the turkey swiss grilled sandwich, which was pretty good, but saltier than ideal for me.  I still love the place because it's right across from the Krannert Center where we go fairly often.

* Krannert performance tonight was the ballet Sleeping Beauty.  Now I've seen Russian ballet in Moscow, and while the technical performance there was a bit higher on average, there was no pageanty -- just different colored leotards and a bit of lighting.  Tonight there were spectacular costumes and gorgeous sets.  Some of it was very subtle, like a lace curtain representing the wall of thorns around the castle.  All of the dancers were capable, the animal actors were hilarious, and the lead couple were definitely as good as the Bolshoi Teatre.  The male lead was extremely callipygian.  He could walk away from me all night and I would love the show.  :D  If you love the male form, you would love this show, because some of the men are costumed above the waist but below it are wearing nothing but tights and shoes so you can SEE EVERYTHING.  We also did some Ayyam-i-Ha shopping: I bought Doug a DVD of the performance and he bought me a paper quillwork card of a squirrel.

EDIT 1/24/19: My partner Doug reminded me that after the show, we stopped at the Intermezzo to share a slice of Swiss Chalet cake.  That was chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and a vanilla cream filling between them.  I love their layer cakes that have multiple flavors like that.  Fancy-dancy desserts!  :D

I'm really glad that I made the effort to scramble out of the house several hours early today.  Totally worth the trip.  \o/
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I went outside to bring in the stones.  The moon is very white again. It's so bright I can see colors: the dim periwinkle of my gloves, the red of the lawn mower, the green of the stones.  The sky is a dusky blue instead of black, and most of the stars are gone.  It is cold that everything crunches.  The air crinkles in my nose when I breathe.  My coat crackles.  The ground beneath my feet is covered in frost, glittering and brilliant, ice tinkling with every step.  The shadows the tree branches crisscross the ground with black.  It is all very beautiful. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We have a fabulous view of the lunar eclipse tonight.  The moon was very bright a couple hours ago, with stars around it, when we set out the stones to be charged.  Now it is all dark with a lot more stars!  Sometimes the color doesn't really change much.  Tonight most of it is black with just a little orange left.  We even got a bit of a diamond ring effect as the last light was fading.  :D 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Identifying animal tracks is fun.  I still have the habit, despite not being a hunter in this life.  I always step around them, not on them.  Over the last week or so I have observed the following tracks in our yard:

* cottontail rabbit
* fox squirrel (tracks are similar to these gray squirrel tracks)
* birds (likely including mourning dove, sparrow, dark-eyed junco, and cardinal)
* cat
* canine (dog, fox, or coyote; probably coyote from the size) 
* human
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Birds are swarming my hopper feeder today.  :D  There are lots of sparrows and dark-eyed juncos, along with some mourning doves.  I saw a red-bellied woodpecker.  Then I saw a pair  of downy woodpeckers!  I don't think I've ever seen a pair before.  Both sexes are deckled black-and-white, and males have a red spot on the head.  \o/
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I fed the birds today.  I saw a red-bellied woodpecker, a downy woodpecker, and a goldfinch.  :D

I also walked around the yard.  Daffodils are sprouting in the flowerbed by the parking lot.  It's the earliest I've seen them; before this, the earliest was in January.  :/ 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I saw a red-bellied woodpecker at the hopper feeder today.  :D  There are a bunch of woodpecker species in Illinois. Remarks about the rise and fall of different ones in the article match my observations here.  We used to have red-headed woodpeckers but I haven't seen any in a long time.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I went out to feed birds today.  It's trying to rain.  I keep hearing thunder and the ground is a little wet.

I heard the distinctive KEE-ARR of a red-tailed hawk.  I looked up but couldn't see it.  Then I heard it again.  When I walked in the direction of the sound, the hawk flushed out of a tree in our yard.  :D  I think they're drawn to all the sparrows hanging around the birdfeeders.  Or possibly the squirrels.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I saw a downy woodpecker at the hopper feeder.  :D  He was nabbing seeds and dodging a cardinal. 


Nov. 14th, 2018 11:12 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
It's snowing here again.

The birds were quite interested in the feeders today.  I saw a small flock of mourning doves.  So far they've only showed up one or two at a time.   The squirrel was on the hopper feeder, too.  That's fun to watch.


Nov. 12th, 2018 04:40 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
It's a real flurry outside, enough to catch in the leaves and frost the fields.  So pretty!

I brought in ceramic pots, which I should've done some time ago, and fed the birds. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We went up to Champaign today.  We had to go early, expecting the parking to run out for our show.  So we started with supper at Merry Ann's Diner.  I wasn't expecting more than decent food from a diner, but it turned into a pleasant surprise.  First, the menu has some out-of-the-ordinary items, like the Diner Stack that my partner Doug got or and the sandwich I got consisting of a burger, Swiss cheese, bacon, and gyro meat.  Then there was the pie.  For love of all things good, if you go there, get the apple pie.  It's the best I've had in years, homemade with a crumble topping.  I slobber in memory of the pie.

Since we had time to kill, we rambled around the nearby shops.  One of them is a very well-conceived French fashion shop, not the ridiculous stuff, but the dressy basics.  Black-white-red section. Sailor stripes.  Little and long black dresses.  Gray section, which actually had a warm and a cool gray heather.  Navy section.  Rustic section.  A few pastels.  The tie-together pieces like patterned scarves and jackets that are so hard to find.  Not the kind of clothes I wear, but so much fun to look at.  Almost any piece would match most of the others, or all of the others in its own section.  You could make a capsule wardrobe without half trying and wear it for months without anyone noticing the repeats.  It's like a tiny little version of T-America's Classique. 

The other shop we hit was also not my usual style; Dear 72 is mostly cosmetics and a few fashion garments.  But they had something very interesting: Demeter, a line of featherlight perfumes with nature-oriented themes.  These are good for two things: layering several together, or people who can't stand heavy perfumes.  Most are so subtle that even I could barely smell them, which means normal people probably won't at all unless you're wearing five of them.  However, if you want to wear perfume and standard ones make you gasp for air, definitely consider these.  The accuracy does vary; Thunderstorm actually does smell like ozone (sadly that one's not on the website), although Paperback lacked the leather-spice-vanilla aroma I was looking for.  Pixie Dust just had a floral-candy smell, good if you like girlie fragrances.  They're the lightest scents I have found for sale.

We went to see Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.  It was like being back in Mexico City -- about half the program was the same as what I saw there, lo these many years agone.  :D  Tonight's performance was quite good, although I've got a lot to compare it to.  Most of the costumes were great; the skirts must have been at least double-circle, because the dancers could pull both sides all the way up at the same time.  (For comparison, a circle-skirt is considered very full.  Mexican dance outfits use stupendous amounts of fabric.)  "The Great Tenochitlan" was a splendid bowing dance.  "Revolution" was new to me and utterly delightful for its celebration of women soldiers.  \o/  "Tlacotalpan Festivity" featured puppetlike costumes from Candelaria.  "The Quetzals of Puebla" was competently danced, but disappointing in costume: they used the cheaper ribbon crowns instead of the authentic feather crowns I saw in Mexico, and it's just nowhere near as good.  :/  "Life Like a Game" was hilarious beyond words, much inspired by Tarot figures, with a dragon-devil who excelled at comic pantomime.  Various numbers included tap dancing, which was delightful; the Mexican style is slower and stompier than Irish or African-American ones, so they made quite a lot of noise.  My hands-down favorite was the Yaqui "Deer Dance," which is indigenous and much like the equivalent ones from our part of Turtle Island.  That was easily the best Deer Dance I have seen outside actual ritual context, and I'm not sure I've seen a better one even at a powwow, given minor stylistic differences.  Dude not only nailed the body language, he had his totem prancing around stage with him, for those of us able to appreciate such subtleties.  Well played.

It's been a good day.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is mild, breezy, and partly sunny.  I fed the birds.  House finches are out today.

Also I found a package of 20 mixed Dutch iris, so I planted those in the savanna. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We went out to run some errands. We actually got out of the house earlier than usual, expecting this to be a reasonably concise excursion for the handful of stops we had. We just got home at 10:30. LOL

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is cloudy and cool.  My partner Doug brought in a bunch of firewood, and then I helped finish the stack.  We'll be buying a fresh load soon.

Then I fed the birds, and planted the other half of the crocus around the septic garden.

This morning I saw three squirrels around the hopper feeder!  I think it's the first time I've seen more than two at once.  :D  I also saw a male cardinal, several house finches and sparrows, and some dark-eyed juncoes.  The Bewick's wren was there too.  

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny, breezy, and cool.  Yesterday we bought a big bag of 60 mixed crocus, so today I planted some of them around the septic garden.  Maybe about half?  Whew!  That was a lot of work.

Many of the plants are dead after the frost.  Most of the trees haven't turned color and there are dead gray-green leaves on a lot of them.  :/  WTF, Nature.

This morning I saw a squirrel, a bluejay, and a lady cardinal around the hopper feeder.  I saw a dark-eyed junco in the hopper feeder.  :D 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We went up to visit my parents today.  Yesterday there was a windstorm and today we saw signs of it everywhere.  Some of the leaves on the sycamore by our upstairs window are flogged down to veins.  There are green leaves torn off trees -- still not much color change here -- and branches blown down.  We saw a sign that was partly torn off.  0_o

I bought a Buddha's hand!  :D 3q3q3q!!!  My partner Doug is all excited about making Buddha's hand shortbread cookies and candied Buddha's hand.  I'll probably make Enlightened Chicken too, and we got a tenderized steak so I may try the Buddha's hand-pepper combo on that too.  If you want to try this amazing fruit, now is the time to look for it, because it doesn't stay in season very long.  The one I got today is huge, the size of my two open hands, easily worth the $9.99 we paid for it.  I know that sounds like a lot, but you can get a week's worth of recipes out of one fruit.  I will be cooking tomorrow!  \o/

My efforts with the chia pudding continue.  I made a batch of chocolate that, frankly, tastes more like cocoa powder than chocolate.  :/  But I have two more ideas for that: 1) use the fabulous chocolate milk that we sometimes find, or 2) use hot chocolate mix.  Meanwhile, we actually found a small bottle of almond milk.  I plan to try a batch flavored like rice pudding with rosewater and cardamom.  Fortunately Doug has faith in my kitchen chemistry and is tolerant of the trial-and-error phase.  We've had  a great batch of chia pudding, so we know it's possible.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today we went out to run errands, and a bald eagle flew out of our yard!  :D 3q3q3q!!!  It paced the car for a few seconds, right at eye level, so I got a crystal-clear view of the head and tail lights.  Huge bird.  We saw a redtailed hawk a little farther down the road and it looked so much smaller in comparison. 

The eagle looped around back to the yard, the way our owls do, so maybe we'll see it again someday.  We actually have everything eagles like except for waterfront, and the drainage creeks aren't far away -- eagles have huge territories.  We have tall trees, some with standing snags, and lots of open field to hunt in.  I suspect the raptors are out looking for rodents swarming the fields after harvest.  There's spilled grain everywhere and no cover, so excellent hunting.

This is so awesome.  I am as excited as the time a bird landed on me and sang for a couple minutes.  \o/ 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny and cool.  I went out and sprayed weed killer on poison ivy.

We had a light frost this week, so some of the summer flowers are dying.  The zinnias are almost gone.  Marigolds are still going strong though. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny, breezy, and cool.  I fed the birds.

I planted two bags of 7 Scilla Mix under the trees along the south side of the driveway. 

EDIT 10-17-18: I planted 12 Dutch Iris Mix in the wagonwheel garden at the end of the driveway.

The soybean field across the road is being harvested today.  Chaff everywhere, so thick you can see it hanging in the air. Bleh.


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