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Because apparently fic is a thing I do again.

First It Was a Question Then it Was a Mission

Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Explicit


Relationships: Peggy Carter/Steve Rogers


Summary:

Steve Rogers would crawl across Occupied France for Peggy Carter. By comparison, the distance between the perimeter wall and the rear fire door looks pretty trivial.



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I see Fred Phelps, Sr., has met his Maker.



. . . AWKWARD.

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Le jour du BOOK RELEASE est arrivée!

The March North, which I recently wrote about copyediting, is now available on Google Play for the Incredibly Reasonable Introductory Price of $3.55 CDN.

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Sephora has given me a sample vial of Dior Hypnotic Poison (eau du toilette)

Experience and the ingredient list suggest that if I try to wear it I will

A) react violently
B) make at least one spouse react violently
C) smell like a brothel on payday. (That's a comment on me+Dior X Poison, not on the stuff itself)
Also D) I have more perfumes I love than I have chances to wear it.

SO:

I will mail it anywhere on the planet (it's light) ideally but not necessarily in exchange for any similar small light amusing thing that cost little or no money: makeup/skincare sample, unloved single skein of yarn, silly fannish toy from a cereal box ... I dunno. Make me an offer.

Comments screened.

ETA: it's an atomiser, and if that's the "eau du toilette" the parfum must have a kick like a missouri mule.



ETA: rehomed, thanks all!

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Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
C is for Cookie
*all three of us rush to the kitchen*

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I have spent the last three weeks working on a copyedit for [personal profile] graydon; the book is called The March North, it's been GREAT fun to work on, it'll be out soon, and I shall be linking to it here. He described it to me as Egalitarian Epic Fantasy, which is quite true but perhaps too simple; it's got some deeply twisty, subtle world-building, characters of whom I got extraordinarily fond, and A FIVE-TONNE SHEEP NAMED EUSTACE, who is a) NOT comic relief, and b) awesome like an awesome thing.

I was inspired to commit fanart:


a line-drawing of a battle-scene, with Eustace in the centre

And the very large stuffed sheep we keep around for Oscar and Vivien has a new name now:


me, working on a laptop whilst leaning on a large stuffed sheep

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I am enthusiastically in favour of addressing people as they wish to be addressed, and referring to them by the pronouns, etc, that they prefer, or, if lacking data, using 'they'.

And there has, thankfully, been a lot of discussion of the matter to help me get this right.

So now I am wondering about formal modes of address for general and specific addressing of people whose genders are non-binary.

[personal profile] staranise sensibly points out that when addressing groups, "Honoured Guests" may reasonably be used along with, or instead of, "Ladies and Gentlemen/Mesdames et Messieurs". (ETA [personal profile] anne adds "Amis Distingués")

Suitable substitutes for "Sir", "Madam" "Ma'am", "Mr." "Ms", "M.", "Mmme", and so forth, however, elude me.

Has anyone seen anything good on this?

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[personal profile] davidklecha is the best enabler.

This?

Is all.

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Litany For A Season of Night and Storm

For the hand that speeds the plow, and the shovel, and the sand truck,
We give thanks.

For the hand that repairs the transformer, tames the downed wire, and directs the traffic in the cold,
We give thanks.

For the hand that drives the firetruck, the tow truck, and the ambulance,
We give thanks.

For the hand that leaves the safety of the sidewalk, the warmth of the car, and the comfort of the house when a stranger needs a push,
We give thanks.

For the hand that brings warmth to the shivering, makes welcome the stranded, and feeds the housebound,
We give thanks.

For the hand that counts the candles, splits the firewood, and fuels the generator,
We give thanks.

For the hand that knits the sweater, zips the snowsuit, and finds the lost mitten,
We give thanks.

For the hand that pulls the toboggan, throws the snowball, and laces the skate,
We give thanks.

For the hand that lights the fire, makes the cocoa, and bakes the cookies,
We give thanks.

For all the hands that build, protect, and maintain the community by which we live and thrive, we give thanks, and we pledge the strength of our own hands, be it great or small, to work and to play together, in this season and in all the winters to come.

Many thanks to [personal profile] karnythia for beta.

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Early in September word came that the Canadians had been shifted to the Somme front and anxiety grew tenser and deeper. For the first time Mrs. Blythe's spirit failed her a little, and as the days of suspense wore on the doctor began to look gravely at her, and veto this or that special effort in Red Cross work.

"Oh, let me work—let me work, Gilbert," she entreated feverishly. "While I'm working I don't think so much. If I'm idle I imagine everything—rest is only torture for me. My two boys are on the frightful Somme front—and Shirley pores day and night over aviation literature and says nothing. But I see the purpose growing in his eyes. No, I cannot rest—don't ask it of me, Gilbert."

But the doctor was inexorable.

"I can't let you kill yourself, Anne-girl," he said. "When the boys come back I want a mother here to welcome them. Why, you're getting transparent. It won't do—ask Susan there if it will do."

"Oh, if Susan and you are both banded together against me!" said Anne helplessly.

One day the glorious news came that the Canadians had taken Courcelette and Martenpuich, with many prisoners and guns. Susan ran up the flag and said it was plain to be seen that Haig knew what soldiers to pick for a hard job. The others dared not feel exultant. Who knew what price had been paid?

Rilla woke that morning when the dawn was beginning to break and went to her window to look out, her thick creamy eyelids heavy with sleep. Just at dawn the world looks as it never looks at any other time. The air was cold with dew and the orchard and grove and Rainbow Valley were full of mystery and wonder. Over the eastern hill were golden deeps and silvery-pink shallows. There was no wind, and Rilla heard distinctly a dog howling in a melancholy way down in the direction of the station. Was it Dog Monday? And if it were, why was he howling like that? Rilla shivered; the sound had something boding and grievous in it. She remembered that Miss Oliver said once, when they were coming home in the darkness and heard a dog howl, "When a dog cries like that the Angel of Death is passing." Rilla listened with a curdling fear at her heart. It was Dog Monday—she felt sure of it. Whose dirge was he howling—to whose spirit was he sending that anguished greeting and farewell?

Rilla went back to bed but she could not sleep. All day she watched and waited in a dread of which she did not speak to anyone. She went down to see Dog Monday and the station-master said, "That dog of yours howled from midnight to sunrise something weird. I dunno what got into him. I got up once and went out and hollered at him but he paid no 'tention to me. He was sitting all alone in the moonlight out there at the end of the platform, and every few minutes the poor lonely little beggar'd lift his nose and howl as if his heart was breaking. He never did it afore—always slept in his kennel real quiet and canny from train to train. But he sure had something on his mind last night."

Dog Monday was lying in his kennel. He wagged his tail and licked Rilla's hand. But he would not touch the food she brought for him.

"I'm afraid he's sick," she said anxiously. She hated to go away and leave him. But no bad news came that day—nor the next—nor the next. Rilla's fear lifted. Dog Monday howled no more and resumed his routine of train meeting and watching. When five days had passed the Ingleside people began to feel that they might be cheerful again. Rilla dashed about the kitchen helping Susan with the breakfast and singing so sweetly and clearly that Cousin Sophia across the road heard her and croaked out to Mrs. Albert,

"'Sing before eating, cry before sleeping,' I've always heard."

But Rilla Blythe shed no tears before the nightfall. When her father, his face grey and drawn and old, came to her that afternoon and told her that Walter had been killed in action at Courcelette she crumpled up in a pitiful little heap of merciful unconsciousness in his arms. Nor did she waken to her pain for many hours.

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YPRES 1915

The age of trumpets is passed, the banners hang
like dead crows, battered and black,
rotting into nothingness on the cathedral wall.
In the crypt of St. Paul’s I had all the wrong thoughts,
wondered if there was anything left of Nelson
or Wellington, and even wished
I could pry open their tombs and look,
then was ashamed
of such morbid childishness, and almost afraid.

I know the picture is as much a forgery
as the Protocols of Zion, yet it outdistances
more plausible fictions: newsreels, regimental histories,
biographies of Earl Haig.

It is always morning
and the sky somehow manages to be red
though the picture is in black and white.
There is a long road over flat country,
shell holes, the debris of houses,
a gun carriage overturned in a field,
the bodies of men and horses,
but only a few of them and those
always neat and distant.

The Moors are running
down the right side of the road.
The Moors are running
in their baggy pants and Santa Claus caps.
The Moors are running.
And their officers,
Frenchmen who remember
Alsace and Lorraine,
are running backwards in front of them,
waving their swords, trying to drive them back,
weeping
at the dishonour of it all.

The Moors are running.
And on the left side of the same road,
the Canadians are marching in the opposite direction.
The Canadians are marching
in English uniforms behind
a piper playing ‘Scotland the Brave.’
The Canadians are marching
in impeccable formation,
every man in step.
The Canadians are marching.

And I know this belongs
with Lord Kitchener’s mustache
and old movies in which the Kaiser and his general staff
seem to run like Keystone Cops.

That old man on television last night,
a farmer or fisherman by the sound of him,
revisiting Vimy Ridge, and they asked him
what it was like, and he said,
There was water up to our middles, yes
and there was rats, and yes
there was water up to our middles
and rats, all right enough,
and to tell you the truth
after the first three or four days
I started to get a little disgusted.

Oh, I know they were mercenaries
in a war that hardly concerned us.
I know all that.
Sometimes I’m not even sure that I have a country.

But I know that they stood there at Ypres
the first time the Germans used gas,
that they were almost the only troops
in that section of the front
who did not break and run,
who held the line.

Perhaps they were too scared to run.
Perhaps they didn’t know any better
– that is possible, they were so innocent,
those farmboys and mechanics, you only have to look
at old pictures and see how they smiled.

Perhaps they were too shy
to walk out on anybody, even Death.
Perhaps their only motivation
was a stubborn disinclination.
Private McNally thinking:
You squareheaded sons of bitches,
you want this God damn trench
you’re going to have to take it away
from Billy MacNally
of the South End of Saint John, New Brunswick.

And that’s ridiculous, too, and nothing on which to found a country.
Still
It makes me feel good, knowing
that in some obscure, conclusive way
they were connected with me
and me with them.

Alden Nowlan

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It's cold and raw and windy and my allergies are still horrible, so I am making

Outaouais Onion Soup

(Not strictly canonically French Onion, but close and pretty damn' good.)

This can be easily doubled; I'm actually making twice what I'm giving directions for, so as to have soup for four and soup to freeze.

1800ml/2 quarts/2 boxes of beef broth. If you don't eat meat there are some fairly good 'beef flavour' broths you can use, or you can sub veggie broth, in which case it won't taste the same, but it will taste good.

4 large onions, sliced

1-2 T cooking oil.

1/8 C dried mushrooms, any vaguely European sort, powdered in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. If you lack either, chop them as finely as possible and you're good. This is pretty much what I do for mushroom broth these days, having given up on finding an affordable commercial version that isn't full of sugar and salt.

1/8 C or I head garlic, minced.

1 Tablespoon bouquet garni (which you can buy or make or fake: savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill weed, marjoram, sage and tarragon, in that order, or as many of them as you have. As long as you wind up with about a tablespoon total, you're good.)

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

I don't generally salt this: even no-salt-added beef broth has a salty taste. Use your excellent judgement, carefully.

If you have 1/2 C red wine around, you can add it. I usually don't, so I usually don't.

Put the sliced onions and the oil in a frying pan or chef's pan and cook them at just under medium until they go clear, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile combine everything else in a large pot or slow-cooker and set it to medium (pot) or auto (slow-cooker). Add the onions when they're clear, bring it to a boil, turn it to simmer and leave it all to cook for 1-3 hours (pot) or put the lid on and walk away for 4-6 hours (slow-cooker).

Meanwhile slice 1/2 loaf of slightly stale bread (I like whole wheat, white's fine, sourdough's great, use whatever you have) into largeish cubes and put them into a 250F oven to dry out and toast very slightly. If you're using sandwich loaf, dry it out really well and then toast it golden-brown: sandwich loaf tends to sog easily.

Grate about a cup of cheese, too: whatever you have that's firm, not *too* sharp, and melts well. You can combine types. I can't really suggest a vegan alternative: if you want vegan you should probably google "vegan french onion soup" and do what they tell you.

When the soup is cooked turn the oven to 400 degrees. Put the bread on the soup and the cheese on the bread, and put it in the oven for roughly 30 minutes, keeping an eye on it. The cheese should be bubbly and a little brown.

Eat it on its own or with a salad.

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Boring Chicken Soup

This recipe has two major virtues: it's tastier and somewhat healthier (because fewer odd additives) -though probably not cheaper - than canned and the prep time is roughly 1 cup of tea, so the cook can leave it to simmer and go back to bed before they fall over.

A certain amount of advance hoarding is desireable, because cold and flu season, and if you're making this you don't feel like shopping, but you can skip pretty much any ingredient you don't have, including, oddly, the chicken (in which case add the beans if possible). Veggie broth and canned beans is a completely valid approach, if you want vegetarian soup, too. Turkey works fine and then you'll get a dose of tryptophan, which can only help. Chicken boullion is ok but salty: watch how many salted things you add or it's going to taste like ass and you'd have been happier with canned.

Depending on head-count, you need:

1-3 litres of chicken broth, which you made or bought a club pack of and squirreled away when cold season started.

1-3 lb frozen skinless boneless chicken pieces, which ditto. Thaw them and chop them into cubes. Chicken sausage works, if it's not too heavily spiced with something you don't feel like eating right now. I am not responsible for what happens if you use chicken or turkey dogs, though it will probaby be edible...

Celery, fresh, frozen or dried (you can buy three heads, chop it, bag it and freeze it, some day when you're feeling healthy and it's on sale, if you like. The dried is pretty useful though, and cheap and easy to store.)

Carrots, fresh or frozen. Babycut are pricey for soup but *very* handy.

Garlic, the prechopped stuff.

Dried or frozen onion

Fresh and/or frozen vegetables , as many as you can fit in. Pretty much anything you like enough that you have some around.

A can of beans, if you feel like it. Six-bean mix is good, but whatever you keep handy. If they're packed in anything but unsalted water, rinse them. Otherwise toss the liquid in, it's tasty.

Spices: figure out what you like when you're sick and keep it on hand. I use Penzey's Adobo and pump it up with extra ancho pepper and cumin, which is pleasantly decongesting without being super-hot, but anything works: curry, italian, french ...

Herbs, dried: herbs de provence, bouquet garni, fines herbes, italian herbs, cilantro, dill, parsley, whatever you like and keep around and think will go with the spices.

Noodles. Or pasta, or rice, or quinoa, or diced-up plain oven fries or, oddly enough, tortilla chips or ripped-up corn tortillas, which will go very noodly in the soup but don't disintegrate. Mind your total salt if you use tortilla chips, especially if you're also using canned beans and commercial broth. Should be okay, just don't add more til it hits your bowl. It's going to condense some.

Salt, pepper, dried parsley to taste.

Bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer at least 60 minutes, go back to bed. Serve with ... actually, people can serve themselves, you did your bit.

Freezes well, keeps 3-5 days in the fridge.

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Lemon-Rose Shortbread Cookies


(Note: I am working on my Cooking For People Who Don't technique. This recipe is (hopefully) written so that a person who has never cooked could use it, even though it is primarily for [personal profile] skud, who actually cooks better than I do. People of all skill levels are entreated to let me know how the style works for them.)

Time:

About 90 -120 minutes of work, depending on cookie size, spread over three - four hours of time.

Yield:

Makes about 3 dozen large or 7 dozen tiny cookies, depending on thickness. Thinner cookies are crisper, but tend to have a higher icing:cookie ratio; I advise thinning the icing to suit (dip one or two cookies and see what you think).

Difficulty:

Requires no exotic equipment or ingredients except the rosewater, which can be found at most Indian groceries; everything else can be gotten at a Western grocery store. Can be successfully made by a careful absolute beginner. Does require some arm strength for mixing and rolling a fairly stiff dough. Can be made sitting down. Does not require significant lifting or great physical precision. Rarely if ever fails: is not sensitive to drafts, humidity, room temperature, things getting dropped near the oven, etc. Can be doubled or halved easily.

Equipment:

1 large mixing bowl,
two cereal bowls,
wooden spoon,
cookie sheet,
paper towel,
cookie cutters or a water glass (large cookies) or shot glass (tiny cookies),
rolling pin,
2'x2' clear surface you can spread flour on,
thin metal lifter, such as you might flip an egg with.
oven, with a rack set 4" from the bottom element.
oven mitts or hotpads.
A working timer, or a visible timepiece, preferably with an alarm (because you'll be working while the batches bake).
two dinner plates lined with paper towel or a baking rack, to cool cookies on.
Waxed paper, to set cookies on while icing hardens.

Preheat oven to 375 F. With a paper towel, grease the cookie sheet with a thin layer of butter.

Cookies:

2 C table or caster (granulated) sugar
1 lb unsalted butter, let stand outside of fridge until it is at cool room temperature, so that it is workable but not completely soft or - god forbid - runny, which will make greasy cookies.
5 C all-purpose or cake flour
1/4 C vodka (this will evaporate during baking and the final product will be alcohol-free non-alcoholic.)
1 T vanilla

1/2 C flour for rolling, in a small bowl or coffee mug.
3 T butter for greasing cookie sheet, on a piece of paper towel.

Icing:
2 C icing (powdered) sugar
2 -3 T rosewater
2-3 T lemon juice
Optional: a few drops of yellow and red food colouring.

Cream the sugar and vanilla into butter (put the butter in the bowl, mash it up until it's a paste rather than a block, add the sugar 1/2 C at a time, mix it in thoroughly) with a pastry cutter or two knives or a wooden spoon, as you like.

Work in flour until mixture has the texture of cornmeal.

Add vodka slowly, mixing with a wooden spoon and with hard strokes, until you can make a soft ball of a teaspoonful of the dough. You may not need all of the vodka, or you may need a little more.

Let the dough stand while you clear, wash, and arrange a space to work in.

Wipe your surface clean and make sure it is completely dry.

Take a small handful of flour and spread it evenly over the surface. Flour both of your hands, as well, and the surface of the rolling pin.

Take a small handful of dough (1/8 - 1/5 of the total) and form it into a soft ball. * Place the ball in the centre of the work space and flatten it gently with your hands until it is a large, thick circle of dough.

Flatten it further with the rolling pin, being sure to a) roll gently, away from you, b) give the dough a quarter-turn every few strokes so it doesn't stick to the surface c) add flour to the top of the dough if the rolling pin begins to stick d) toss some flour under the dough as you turn it if the dough is beginning to stick. Don't flip the dough over: because we have carefully avoided activating the gluten (this is why vodka instead of water) it is much more fragile than bread or pizza dough and will break.

When your dough is about 1/4 inch thick, dip your cutter or glass rim into the flour and start cutting cookies. Cut each cookie as close to the others as possible to get the maximum number from each rolling. Place the cut cookies on the cookie sheet with your lifter, being careful that they have at least 1/4 ' of space between them so they won't expand into each other and stick together while baking.

When you can cut no more cookies, gather up the scraps, take another small handful of dough from the bowl, mix them together in your hands to make a ball of dough, and go back to the *.

Keep doing this until you can cut no more cookies.

When the sheet gets full, put it on the bottom rack for between 8 minutes (tiny cookies, baked but not browned) and 15 minutes (larger cookies, baked crisp and slightly brown).

These bake FAST. Set a timer for 3 minutes less than you plan to bake the cookies and check them, just to be safe. When they are crisp and golden and move easily when you shake the cookies sheet, they're done. Take them out and set them to cool, being careful not to pile them on top of each other. Regrease the cookie sheet lightly and start arranging the next batch.

When the final batch comes out of the oven, you can start making icing.

In a small bowl combine 1 C of your icing sugar with the lemon juice. Stir until it is completely dissolved. You should have a thin, rather watery icing, more of a glaze. Add more juice if necessary. If you like, add 2-3 drops of yellow food colouring to turn the glaze a pale yellow.

Dip each cooled cookie halfway into the lemon icing and lay it on the waxed paper to dry.

When all cookies have been dipped in the lemon icing, make the rose icing in the same way you made the lemon icing: icing sugar, rosewater, food colouring to make the icing a soft pink if you want.

Dip the bare side of each cookie into the rose icing, starting with the first ones you dipped in the lemon icing. Lay each cookie on new, clean waxed paper to harden again.

Allow 30 minutes for the icing to set from the time you dip the last one for the second time, then pack them in layers, seperated by paper towel, waxed paper, or tissue.

They will keep about a week, if they're well protected from humidity.

Options:

Instead of icing each cookie with lemon and rose, divide cookies into two batches and ice one batch with lemon, the other with rose, leaving half of each cookie un-iced.

Use orange blossom water, or another food-quality floral water, instead of rosewater.

Use lime or orange juice - or another fruit juice - instead of lemon.

Add 3T powdered basil or dill or powdered rosemary to the cookie dough at the butter-and-sugar stage, use citrus icing only.

Or 1T cinnamon, 1T cardamon, 1T black pepper, citrus icing only.

Ice only two corners of each cookie, not both halves.

Try whole-wheat flour or demerara sugar or both in the cookies.

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Between the awful verdict in the Zimmerman trial and various states passing variously awful bills limiting access to abortion even further, all on top of the usual low-level awful that has become the background music of politics, there has been ... a lot of trolling about, especially of women and POC, especially especially of WOC.

This is respectfully dedicated to them, with love.

Profuse thanks and credit are due to my amazing beta @sairaforreal. All blame rests firmly with me.

Content below cut may not be SFW (text only)
Here, however, are the Muppets singing Yes We Have No Bananas, which totally is, unless your boss hates Muppets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrmBWtOWYsA

cut for a truly ridiculous amount of swearingCollapse )

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(lightly edited for coherence and to add full citations)

[personal profile] zingerella: "Exchange between humans and gods: In the later version of Stark’s theory, religious life is analyzed in terms of the conditions influencing the nature of the exchanges envisioned between humans and gods in terms of the relative rewards and costs of the different kinds of transactions imagined."
[personal profile] commodorified: I seem to recall this. Rodney Stark, as in Stark and Bainbridge? Or as we used to oh-so-sensitively refer to them, Stark and Raving?[1]
[personal profile] zingerella: Stark, Rodney, The Sociology of Religion. It's from the glossary to the textbook I'm proofreading.

[personal profile] commodorified: Alternately, awesome prompt for Tony Stark/Thor.
[personal profile] zingerella: That was kind of where my mind went.

[1] The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival, and Cult Formation is... a very ODD book.

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Cat in ORD, being quietly heroic about how her wife keeps fucking greying out at her.
Sorry. Y'all can't have her, I grabbed her first. I'll share, but I'm keeping her.

Have had three app'ts and a Nexray. Ppl keep telling me to take deep breaths. Hilarious.

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I have some really awesome notes from Poly501 to clean up, expand and repost.

They might be a trifle late. Once I can think they'll probably be a good thing to do while not moving much this week, though.

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Wiscon was great, and I feel like the panels I did went well and were worthwhile, although 5 panels over 2 days left me feeling like I didn't get to really get immersed; I didn't go to anything I wasn't on, there were several people I hugged but didn't get to talk to, and I was so incredibly tired the whole weekend and my throat hurt like hell and I kept waking up coughing, which I attributed to my lingering cold. Somehow I managed to magically overlook that I was sufficiently over said cold to have spent the weekend before hiking, including walking to the top of Dome Rock.

So then I said goodbye to everyone, packed my stuff, went to Benet's, and crashed.

... And woke up coughing and retching four times in the night, despite glugging down some antihistamine and cough syrup when it started.

I'm allergic to mold. Viciously. And Madison, being on two lakes plus whatever else goes into these things, has a thundering black mold problem.

The last couple of times I've been to Madison have been okay, one being WisCon 36 which was warm and dry and the other being October, but after Wiscon 35 I had the horrible awful allergies of doom and eventually changed my ticket and left early after coughing so hard I badly strained a rib. Which is incredibly painful, btw, and having done it once I'd do almost anything not to do it twice.

So I kind of freaked out.

So then I texted Cat and she came and got me and we went to breakfast and then to Nelle and Izzy's so I could nap on the sofa surrounded by air purifiers, and I got worse, and started having actual trouble breathing, and so Cat called Aeroplan and changed our tickets so I could go home the next day and she could stay an extra day to escort me.

And I cried a lot, which was ill-advised, but. And we went for supper with Benet so I could at least say goodbye and the pizza place was full of spores and we finished our pizza and Cat noticed that my lips were turning kind of white and we went to urgent care, where they put me on a nebuliser and gave me a prednisone scrip and an inhaler and I went back to Nelle and Izzy's and lay miserably propped up on the sofa until Cat got us packed and we headed for the airport.

And Chicago had a ground-stop on and we were delayed a bunch leaving and the Dane county regional airport has carpets. Which have spores. So I was back to shallow panting and trying hard not to think about how this would be going if I weren't prednisoned and albuteroled to the gills, because when your lips are already a fetching shade of white around the edges is not the time for panic attacks.

Apparently it was for a VIP, the pilot said Air Force One. I must really like Obama. That extra ninety minutes sitting over a rug full of death was unutterably awful, but I forgives.

So we got into, and eventually out of, Chicago, and my Favourite Ex came and picked us up and we had pho and I came home and crashed hard, but not as hard as Cat, who is now and forever my superhero.

Seriously people, she spent 36 hours basically making sure I kept breathing. She made me let her spend the money to change both tickets. She kept Ian and Rayne and Andrew updated. She made me go to urgent care and didn't give me shit when I did that Canadian thing about how I couldn't pay out of pocket for medical care it would ruin us and never be reimbursed and just get me home I'll go to the clinic and she got my stuff from Benet's and did all the packing and bear-led me home and sympathised with me when I bitched about the prednisone and held my hand when I felt like I might die and now that I can spare the energy to notice I begin to realise how fucking awful this has been for her. Please send her ALL the love ever in comments. She is my Captain Marvel forever.

Other awesome people: Nelle, Izzy, Benet, Ian (by phone from Toronto where he's working his ass off at CUPE50), Gibbs.

So now I'm home, and I'm on all the meds, and I'm still not breathing right. Plus my chest and face are full of crap, but hey, now I feel like I have pleurisy, instead of like I'm being smothered.

It sucks, but I'll take it.

I don't know what my future holds wrt Wiscon. I was semi-ok in the hotel this time, but this keeps getting worse; I'm not acclimating, I'm getting more sensitive.
I don't know what I'm going to do about the fact that people I love very much live in Madison, either. There must be some safe period to visit in. Maybe.

I'm not thinking about it right now. I'm not thinking about much. All I'm really thinking about is breathing.
Later, I might ask for advice. Right now, I don't think I can deal with it.

Yes, I have totally utterly quit smoking again. Horrible junkie that I am, even I can recognise the line between 'this might kill you someday' and 'this might kill you some day this week' is crossed.

It was a wonderful WisCon. It was worth everything. Later, I want to do some panel writeups, but right now all I can do is lie here and breathe, and watch Cat sleep.

ETA and then things went a bit South again and we went to the walk-in. So now I'm also on Advair and have instructions not to do things. FML. I'll just sit here and pant, then, shall I?

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Last call for music, y'all. Probably going to take it down in the next 48, unless I get a serious rush of interest.

ETA: 48 HOURS. Not 48 minutes, sorry about that.

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Back, or trying to be, this time with a playlist.

In which we put paid to the notion that Marna only listens to SRS MUZIKS. Because I like pop music. I like pop music a lot. So here are my favourites from the slightly over three decades of pop music released since I began to like it.

With a hat-tip to Jarrow's awesome vid Give It Up, which everyone should go watch Right Now.

Dance Your Ass Off (Shameless Pleasures) 378MB, zipped, please comment if you grab it..

Alison Krauss & John Waite: Missing You

The Bangles: Going Down To Liverpool

The Bears: Aches and Pains

Berlin: Sex (I'm A...)

Blue Peter: Don't Walk Past

Bryan Ferry: Slave To Love

Cheap Trick: I Want You To Want Me (Live)

Cobra Starship: Good Girls Go Bad

Coldplay: Viva la Vida

Cyndi Lauper: Iko Iko

Cyndi Lauper: I Drove All Night

Depeche Mode: Shake The Disease

Devo: Working In A Coal Mine

Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians: What I Am

Eric Carmen: Hungry Eyes

Fall Out Boy: My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)

Fleetwood Mac: Second Hand News

Flesh For Lulu: I Go Crazy

A Flock Of Seagulls: I Ran

fun.: Carry On

Gene Loves Jezebel: Desire (Come And Get It) (12 Inch Remix)

Giorgio Moroder & Philip Oakey: Together In Electric Dreams (Extended Remix)

The Go-Go's: Our Lips Are Sealed

The Go-Go's: We Got The Beat

The Go-Go's: Head Over Heels

Gowan: Moonlight Desires

Hey Ocean!: Big Blue Wave

The Hit Nation: Too Much Time On My Hands

INXS: Need You Tonight

Jane Siberry: Mimi On The Beach

Jann Arden: Could I Be Your Girl

Jimmy Eat World: Electable (Give It Up)

Joe Jackson: Is She Really Going Out With Him? (Live)

LaTour: People Are Still Having Sex

Madness: Our House

Marc Cohn: Walking In Memphis

Marillion: Kayleigh (Single Version)

Martha And The Muffins: Echo Beach

Michael Penn: Someone to Dance With

Moxy Früvous: The Drinking Song

New Order: Shellshock

Nicki Minaj: Starships

The Northern Pikes: She Ain't Pretty

Oingo Boingo: No One Lives Forever

OK Go: A Good Idea At the Time

P!nk: God Is a DJ

The Payola$ (with Carol Pope): Never Said I Love You

Prince: Raspberry Beret

The Proclaimers: King Of The Road

Psychedelic Furs: Pretty In Pink

Pukka Orchestra: Rubber Girl

Pursuit Of Happiness: I'm An Adult Now

Rihanna (with Fall Out Boy): Shut Up and Drive

Rough Trade: High School Confidential

Sarah McLachlan: Building a Mystery

The Spoons: Old Emotions

Starship: We Built This City

Steve Winwood: Back In The High Life Again

Supertramp: Take The Long Way Home

Suzanne Vega & Joe Jackson: Left of Center

The Thompson Twins: Hold Me Now

Violent Femmes: Blister in the Sun

54-40: I Go Blind

ETA: It became apparent while I was playing this over supper that I had missed some Very Important Songs. Have a CanCon Supplement, 32MB

Barenaked Ladies: Pinch Me

The Be Good Tanyas: Light Enough to Travel

Bruce Cockburn: Lovers In A Dangerous Time

The Lowest Of The Low: Rosy and Grey

Tom Cochrane & Red Rider: Good Times

Crying Shame: Wild Strawberries

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ETA: IF YOU SEE THIS AFTER YOUR SCHEDULED TIME COME BY THE ROOM, WE'LL WORK IT OUT AND GET YOUR FACE DONE.

OK, so I'm at MJ and I can't seem to find Hagiologic, so I'm going to go ahead and say we're doing this in our room.

I'm in 513.

Schedule:

1:00 - hagiologic
1:30 - alasbabylon
2:00 - elucidate_this
2:30 - riverlight
3:00 - raven
3:30 - crowgirl13
4:00 - silsbee
4:30 - zeenell
5:00 - spuffyduds
5:30 - fairestcat

Please comment as soon as you see this so I know you are coming. If you have a conflict, please drop in and see me and we'll work it out.

Reminders:

If you're already all dressed up when you come to be made-up, please bring a towel to protect your clothes.

I have facewash so we can start with a fresh clean face; if you have some you love, please bring it. Otherwise it's body shop tea tree.
If you wear moisturiser, bring that too.

I have disposable applicators and nascara wands and sponges and alcohol for brush-clearing; nevertheless, if you are getting a cold or otherwise might be contagious, please tell me. You'll still get makeup, I'll just know to be extra careful about brushes.

I got some little hair-decorations, flowers and whatnot; I don't do hair but these are giveaways.

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I have a room. I have a schedule. Subject to permission from the room owners, we're running from 1pm to 6pm.

Schedule will be posted from next rest stop; please check back this evening.

Tentative schedule below. If you have conflicts with your assigned time, please let me know asap.

1:00 - hagiologic
1:30 - alasbabylon
2:00 - elucidate_this
2:30 - riverlight
3:00 - raven
3:30 - crowgirl13
4:00 - silsbee
4:30 - zeenell
5:00 - spuffyduds
5:30 - fairestcat

If you're already all dressed up when you come to be made-up, please bring a towel to protect your clothes.

I have facewash so we can start with a fresh clean face; if you have some you love, please bring it. Otherwise it's body shop tea tree.
If you wear moisturiser, bring that too.

I have disposable applicators and nascara wands and sponges and alcohol for brush-clearing; nevertheless, if you are getting a cold or otherwise might be contagious, please tell me. You'll still get makeup, I'll just know to be extra careful about brushes.

I got some little hair-decorations, flowers and whatnot; I don't do hair but these are giveaways.

And in conclusion: SQUEE!

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ObDisclaimer: I was one of the proofreaders of this book. I do not, however, benefit in any way from its sale, except by acquiring more people with whom I can discuss the ideas in it.

This is a compendium of speeches, essays, introductions, afterwords, blog posts, and travelogues, spanning a thirty-year period, covering a wide range of topics, and seriously, I can't remember the last time I had so much sheer fun proofreading anything – probably the last time I proofed a Bujold novel, actually. My query emails back to Lois[1] contained large amounts of unprofessional squee and at least one episode of actual incoherent keyboard mashing.

Because this is one of the smartest books of essays I've read in a very long time. It's funny and thoughtful, it's observant, it's passionate and compassionate ... there's stuff in here I'm going to be going back to and chewing over for a good long time.

Being fairly bad at reviews qua reviews, I will now attempt to sell you a copy of this book by dint of quoting a small cross-section of teasers taken from some of the bits that particularly delighted me, enough so to make me need to stop work and past things to my wife so that we could squee over them together. There were a lot of those: I have restricted myself severely here, to short bits that strike me as being able to stand alone without entirely losing their power.

In Sidelines, Bujold talks about writing, of course, the craft and the business and the travel (I really, really want to go to Croatia now) and the occasional surreality (I can't quote any part of Editorial Dining; it's a piece that has to be read as a whole, but dear God, it is funny) of writing SF and F for a living, but also about reading:

for me, this sheaf of inked paper with the gaudy cover glued to the spine is not the book. The book is not an object on the table; it is an event in the reader’s mind. ...[t]he words on the page are merely the means to that end, a think-by-numbers set, a bottled daydream.


and readers:

Some people have far too much life already, and need to get away from it for a few hours ... I like to think of "Ms. Average Reader" as a children's cancer hospice nurse, home from a particularly bad day at work.


wars in the fictional future:

If geography is the mother of strategy, surely technology is its father


genres:

I expected to learn a lot about romance through writing one, and I did. I was more surprised to learn something new to me about fantasy and science fiction—which is how profoundly, intensely, relentlessly political most of the stories in these genres are ... I had not noticed this the way a fish does not notice water.


and gender:

action-adventure, for a woman [character] with children in tow ... is not fun. In fact, it is a fair approximation of hell.


As of now it's available, for the quite reasonable sum of $6.99 USD, on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. It will be available on iTunes shortly.

[1] "Lois" being a person I sometimes write to, whereas "Bujold" is an author I sometimes write about.

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Which [personal profile] lasergirl has named "Berry Vesuvius". Or Berry Besubius. Or Bear is Dubious. It's sort of half-dumpling, half crumble. Or something. Looks like Ye AntiChrist, is very quick and easy, tastes excellent.

4 C frozen berries
1/2 C maple syrup (or 1/8 C sugar) (optional)
1 capful vanilla

Combine in a large, oven-safe pot and simmer on low until completely thawed and bubbling. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F and combine in a bowl:

2 C all-purpose flour
1 T Magic baking powder *
1 t cinnamon
1/4 C brown sugar (optional)

When the dry ingredients are mixed, add 1/2 C milk and 1/2 C water (or a full cup of water for vegan) and mix. You may need up to another 1/2 cup of liquid to get all of the dry ingredients wet. When you have a thick, lumpy dough:

(This is the only tricky bit: work fast and don't let the dough get hit by any amount of cool air or it will be really heavy)

Make sure that the oven is up to heat and the berry mix is bubbling briskly,
Pour the dough into the berries
Get it into the oven immediately
Leave it to cook uncovered for 45 minutes (which should give you time to eat supper)

Serve alone or with ice cream, or with a dollop of maple butter on the crust.
If you omit the sugar and syrup the texture will be different, but it's still good.

*Baking powders seem to vary; if you use a different one and this comes out heavy or full of airholes, experiment: a bit more, a little less... increments of 1 teaspoon seems to work best.

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[personal profile] elucidate_this
[personal profile] silsbee
[personal profile] raven
[personal profile] riverlight
[personal profile] zeenell
[personal profile] crowgirl13

hagiologic
alasbabylon

Possible: [personal profile] spuffyduds

I think I am closing this offer at 8, so one more slot.. Eight confirmed and a probable, so we're closed.


Please use this thread to tell me what kind of look you're thinking of, tell me about specific tricks you want to learn, tell me of anything on your schedule that you need me to work around, and let me know if you have, maybe, a room which we could maybe use, as my roomates may not, it occurs to me belatedly, be totally thrilled to have the bathroom invaded like this.

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... About fangirls who would like to like makeup but don't quite know what to do with it.

If I brought my full makeup kit to MJ and/or WisCon, would people like me to do their faces before the dances? I've taken two courses in, and have some experience with, theatre makeup and I can do anything from super-subtle to smoky/pinup/sexpot to full on glitter machine. Subject to panel assignments at WisCon and roomies' needs at MJ, I'm willing to spend 2-3 hours each time on this, which is 8-12 faces.

I can do basic FX work as well, but this must be pre-negotiated as I will need to bring quite specific stuff and I may need to send you shopping.

I am also willing, if asked, to talk about what I am doing while I do it.

If enough people express interest that I do pack the whole kit, I will purchase a packet of disposable mascara wands and also one of disposable eye-makeup applicators, for safety, though I am also happy to guide people in buying their own mascara.

Please feel free to repost, etc.

Please note that I think compulsory makeup and compulsory feminine display are abominations. This offer is for people who would enjoy this, and this comment section is not your space to vent about how much you loathe makeup or girliness. I don't loathe it. I enjoy it. I'm a femme, and I don't feel like being beat up for it.

ETA: somehow I'd missed that [personal profile] sparkymonster and a few other people already do this at WisCon. Am reaching out to them to make sure I'm not stepping on their thing and see if I can join them. Will update.

ETA2: I'm an idiot. You absolutely do not have to identify as a fan*girl* to have makeup! Makeup for all as wants it!

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Preheat oven to 350F and move bottom rack to second-from-the-bottom position.

Cookies:

1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C salted butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/8 t salt)
1/4 C white sugar
4 T lemon juice

Cut butter into flour and sugar with a pastry cutter or two knives until you have a sort of pile of crumbs effect; add lemon juice and mix gently until you have a ball of dough.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and roll it thin (about 1/4 inch). Cut it into interesting shapes with cookie cutters, or just slice it into rectangles if you prefer. Arrange the cookies on a very lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, checking them at 8 minutes in case your oven is a bit too efficient. They are done when they are puffed up and crisp; they should not brown much, maybe a bit goldenish at most.

Turn them out to cool and combine

1 C icing sugar
2 T lemon juice
1 drop yellow food colouring (optional)

Beat until you have a thickish, smooth liquid, cautiously adding more lemon juice as you need to - icing sugar needs what always seems like astonishingly little fluid added to it. When all cookies are baked and cool, apply a thin coat of icing to each with a spoon and leave to harden on waxed paper.

This would double or even triple fairly well. Also, this would probably be good, if less homespun, as well: substitute for 1-2 T of lemon juice in the icing with rosewater. Next time, perhaps.

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Quoted entirely, in the midst of a very interesting and useful post on transliteration of Arabic,

T.E. Lawrence ... in a 1926 exchange with his proofreaders...

Q: I attach a list of queries raised by F. who is reading the proofs. He finds these very clean, but full of inconsistencies in the spelling of proper names, a point which reviewers often take up. Will you annotate it in the margin, so that I can get the proofs straightened?

A: Annotated: not very helpfully perhaps. Arabic names won't go into English, exactly, for their consonants are not the same as ours, and their vowels, like ours, vary from district to district. There are some 'scientific systems' of transliteration, helpful to people who know enough Arabic not to need helping, but a wash-out for the world. I spell my names anyhow, to show what rot the systems are.

Q: Slip 1. Jeddah and Jidda used impartially throughout. Intentional?

A: Rather!

Q: Slip 15. Bir Waheida, was Bir Waheidi.

A: Why not? All one place.

Q: Slip 20. Nuri, Emir of the Ruwalla, belongs to the 'chief family of the Rualla.' On Slip 23 'Rualla horse,' and Slip 38, 'killed one Rueli.' In all later slips 'Rualla.'

A: Should have also used Ruwala and Ruala.

Q: Slip 28. The Bisaita is also spelt Biseita.

A: Good.

Q: Slip 47. Jedha, the she-camel, was Jedhah on Slip 40.

A: She was a splendid beast.

Q: Slip 53. 'Meleager, the immoral poet.' I have put 'immortal' poet, but the author may mean immoral after all.

A: Immorality I know. Immortality I cannot judge. As you please: Meleager will not sue us for libel.

Q: Slip 65. Author is addressed 'Ya Auruns,' but on Slip 56 was 'Aurans.'

A: Also Lurens and Runs: not to mention 'Shaw.' More to follow, if time permits.

Q: Slip 78. Sherif Abd el Mayin of Slip 68 becomes el Main, el Mayein, el Muein, el Mayin, and el Muyein.

A: Good egg. I call this really ingenious.


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4 lambshanks
1 large can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 litre box beef broth
1 t rogan josh curry powder
1 t maharajah curry powder. (Substitute sweet or balti curry for milder, vindaloo for hotter, etc.)
1 generous handful onion flakes

Preheat oven to 350F
Brown shanks in a large ovenproof pan with a lid.

Add broth, tomatoes, onion, curry. Cover, bake for four or five hours, until very tender. Serve over rice, possibly with Inauthentic Saag, q.v.

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1 pkt Knorr Vegetable soup mix.
4 C water
1 large can beans, 6-bean mix or great northern or whatever sounds good.
2 large potatoes, cut into 1" pieces.
Dash of cumin, handful of tarragon, handful of onion flakes.

Combine, bring to a boil, let simmer until potatoes are soft. Could certainly add some veggies, frozen or not. Is improved by sitting on low, if you happen to do it early.

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Via [profile] delux_viviens

An open letter to all my relations: On Idle No More, Chief Spence and non-violence.

I am writing to you, all my relations Indigenous and other, because in all I have seen and felt in 31 years, now is the most afraid I have been for you and for myself, the most ashamed I have been of my Prime Minister and of my Governor General, and the most proud I have been of my Indigenous relations and so importantly, our settler allies who have surprised and amazed me. I am humbled by their good words and actions.

I want to explain these statements and to share my feelings with you about the historical moment we are witnessing. In so doing, I speak only for myself.


...

For my non-Indigenous relations,

I do not want you to “go home”; this is your home and I will defend your right to be here. As partners in Treaty with Indigenous peoples, you have a treaty right to be here and I honour that. Feel no guilt about it. I have learned much from you and your ancestors and I am grateful. More practically, through my mother, who is not of Indigenous ancestry, I am you and there are many like me. I honour your presence here.

You, too, must honour mine. That means that you do not get to tell me to live like you, if this is not how I choose to live. Indigenous peoples are not minorities who moved here on your terms. We are not stakeholders. We are not an interest group. We are treaty partners and but for our partnership there would be no Canada today. My relations are buried throughout this land you rightly call home. They lived and died here long before you knew your present home existed. It is not for you or your leaders to decide how a life should be lived for both of us. This is what we agreed to. When your leaders presume to decide how my life should be lived or what values I should have, they have given up representing my interests and they are no longer my leaders too. This is my belief and I will defend it. To the best of my understanding, this is what Idle No More is about. Indigenous Canada wants a just and respectful relationship with the state and with non-Indigenous Canadians, not one premised on unacknowledged and tacitly accepted continuing colonial violence. All my non-Indigenous relations, if you accept less than an end to colonial violence, have you not quietly accepted that Indigenous Canadians are worth less than you?


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Spinach, chopped fine. Fresh, frozen, canned...
1-2 onions, sauteed until clear in a large pan.
Vegetable broth.
Garam Masala paste or powder.
Sweet or Maharajah or Rogan Josh paste or powder.
Vindaloo paste or powder, if you like super hot.

3 T oil or ghee if using curry powder
1 T ground cumin.

Paneer or sauteed mushrooms or diced lamb stewed in broth or diced chicken, sauteed in lemon juice.

Add curry, cumin, and oil if needed to the onions. Add equal parts of each curry paste or powder.

Add the spinach, and broth to cover. Let it all simmer until the spinach is soft. Puree with a stick blender, or mash, or do neither, as you prefer.

Add paneer/mushrooms/meat.

Serve over rice.

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1 lb pecans, in halves.
2 C maple syrup
2 C demerara sugar, or regular dark-brown sugar.
1 C butter.
1T vanilla extract or lemon extract or both.

Toast pecans in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring regularly. When they look and smell done pour them onto a greased cookie sheet and spread them evenly.

Combine syrup, sugar and butter in a LARGE saucepan with a fairly heavy bottom. This mixture foams as it boils, give it lots of room.

Go put on long pants and clear the room of unsupervised small children and pets. Boiling sugar syrup is basically napalm; it sticks to skin and burns horribly. If you do get some on you DO NOT put the burn into cold water: the surface will harden and the inside will cook. As will you. Scrape the syrup off gently with a butter knife and then put the burn in cold water.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Continue to stir and let it boil for 15 minutes or until it darkens slightly or until your candy thermometer says 220 F. Add 1 Tablespoon of vanilla or of lemon extract or both and pour the mixture over the pecans. Let cool completely, break into pieces.

Maple syrup carmelises at a low enough temperature that you can't quite make brittle with it, but this makes a fairly hard candy. You can substitute other kinds of nuts if you like; we just like pecans. I bet salted nuts would be interesting, too.

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If I ever don't make this at Christmas I think [personal profile] fairestcat will leave me.

Pastry: use whatever short-crust pastry recipe you like or find one on the internet or buy Tenderflake piecrust or tart shells if you like. I am not the boss of your pastry!

When I make my own shells I use a mason jar or teacup or mug to cut them and I bake them in muffin tins.
I think putting the tart shells on a cookie sheet would let them brown too much.

But anyway, you have either tart shells or a bottom piecrust, just sitting there. Set your oven to 375F.

Layer your tarts or pie with:

A layer of blanched sliced almonds.
A layer of sliced pear, skins on.
Small dabs of butter scattered on the surface
Small dabs of brown sugar, also scattered. With the butter, this forms a glaze.
A gentle dusting of cinnamon.
Fresh blackberries, or thawed ones with the liquid drained off. Blueberries work as well, and raspberries probably would too.

Bake 30 minutes for tarts, 50 for pie.

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Tsardust seasoning can be bought at Penzeys, or you can do what I did, not having enough on hand, and mix your own from the ingredient list in the site. Though I had some handy to compare with, so. Just keep the amounts in the order given and you'll be fine.

Make two deep slices in your lamb roast and rub in great gobs of the seasoning mix; put a sprig of rosemary at the top of each slice; tie the roast up with twine to close the slices. Note that this will make it cook a bit faster and keep an eye on the thermometer. Scrape out the spice mix when carving; it's too strong to leave in.

Sour cherry and onion sauce: carmelise 6 large spanish onions. Pour one large jar of preserved sour cherries over them, add a tablespoon of Tsardust, and simmer the sauce until the lamb is done. Add about a half cup of meat juices. Serve.

Bourbon brussel sprouts:

This is actually [personal profile] fairestcat's triumph, not mine.

Wash and trim sprouts, boil in lightly salted water until slightly underdone. In a large saucepan melt 1/8 C butter, add 1/8 C bourbon, whiskey or rye, and a pinch of sugar.

Add sprouts and chase them around until they are well coated. Add more booze and butter in equal amounts if the sprouts don't seem covered enough. Serve.

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Ginger spinach:

Dice 2-3 inches of fresh ginger, place in a quart/litre mason jar. Fill jar with sherry, medium or dry. This makes sauce for 3-4 dishes of spinach. Let sit for 3-7 days.

Sautee spinach in a frying pan or chef's pan on medium, with a dollop of sesame oil.

When spinach is wilted, pour on generous dose of sherry, sautee for 3 minutes, return extra liquid to jar, serve. Store jar in refrigerator once you've used it once.

Mushroom gravy:

Slice portobellos, 1/2 per person, fairly thin, and put them on to sautee with butter. If desired, add 1-2 sliced onions.

While mushrooms cook melt 1/4 C (for 8 people; tweak as desired) butter in a saucepan and make a dark blonde roux, that is, add flour until you have a matte paste and continue to cook it over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is a sort of tanned yellow. For vegan gravy use olive oil.

Add sauteed mushrooms and vegetable broth or reserved water from other vegetables, or both, until mushrooms are floating freely. If you want to, add garlic, one or two minced cloves.

Bring to a boil, still over medium heat, stirring continually, to cook flour and thicken gravy.

Add pepper, salt, dill, and/or any other desired herbs or spices (I used Ozark Seasoning this time, and if the main dish has rosemary I often use that, and so forth) to taste. If gravy seems too pale add soy sauce instead of salt.

Serve over potatoes or anything else you like gravy with.

This recipe is highly tolerant of experimentation, and of other kinds of mushrooms. I have not liked the texture when I used dried mushrooms, but if you don't mind that or can grind them to powder, the flavour works well.

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Health: notably improved, which has led to me being very busy playing catch-up with basically my whole life. Now taking Synthroid, love it. Still have specialist appointments to follow up on some stuff, but life is improving rapidly.

Derby: Progressing! I can skate backwards now,and my transitions are getting better. Also Ian gave me wheels for my birthday ans they are AWESOME. Also Also My Jen is back in town so I get to go to skating WIF MY JEN.

Birthday: celebrated with excellent concert (Jeremy Fisher at the Black Sheep) and smashing dinner out, which I should write up with pictures. Short Version: Petite Bill's Bistro, go there, it's completely awesome.

Holidays: Just had early Christmas/Yule dinner with Ontario Inlaws. Cooked and baked All The Things.

I want to post recipes and know I won't do all of them, so I'm taking requests.

So. If you want to know how I make any of the following, comment and I'll write it up.

Leg of lamb with Tsardust seasoning served with onion-sour cherry sauce.

Onion and kale pie with sweet potato topping.

Spaghetti squash stuffed with moro beans, corn, and salsa.

Bourbon glazed Brussel sprouts.

Sherry-ginger baby spinach.

Garlic and cheese mashed potatoes.

Vegetarian mushroom gravy

* * *

Mince tarts

Pear-blackberry tarts

Frosted gingerbread cookies

Thumbprint shortbread cookies with blackberry jam

Maple-pecan brittle

Holidays 2:

I realised earlier today when kibbitzing about what to give my FIL that my theory of gift-giving can actually be expressed as a fairly simple formula. I offer it to that section of the world that is presently staring at a list of names wondering where the Hell to start for whatever it's worth.

Caveat 1: This formula assumes that the people you are giving gifts to basically deserve them.

Caveat 2: This formula assumes that you are giving GIFTS. Not gift cards, not money.

Caveat 3: Anytime I mention time or money I specifically mean "In proportion to your reasonable means." This formula is meant to make list-making simpler and pleasanter for people who have Hell's own time deciding what to give people, not to encourage anyone to break their back or their budget.

Caveat 4: It is somewhat less useful for deciding what to give children, but honestly, I generally give children I don't know well enough to choose for myself whatever their parents say they currently need or like.

Caveat 5: There's nothing especially original about any of this, and I do realise that. I was just feeling very pleased at having gotten it all nicely systematised in my head, and felt like it might be useful for people who hate winging it and like having systems to follow.

Ok, so. You have your list of names, you've set a budget, you need to make some decisions.

The first step is to pick the general type of gift: consider where your recipient is on the continuum between Young and Not Established and Old and Well-Established.

The closer someone is to the "University/FirstJob, First Apartment" end of the spectrum, the more durable the object. The nearer someone is to the "Retired, Smaller House/Apartment/Assisted Living" end of the spectrum, the more ephemeral the object.

Examples:

The four month old on our list got Bunnykins. Bunnykins dishes, as you know, are built to feature in the archeology of the 189th century.

My Father-in-law got some really nice gloves. They will probably last him 3-5 years.

When my grandparents were alive, I used to get them really nice edibles, because not only did they not need anything, they didn't have ROOM for anything.

So now you have a list of names and beside each one it says SOCKS or FOOD or KNICKNACK or DISHES or LINENS or whatever.

The next step is choosing what SPECIFIC thing you're going to give them. Step one, if you don't already have the information you need to narrow things down, is research.

Snoop shamelessly. Find out their favourite colour, fabric, artist, jam flavour, brand of bath product, scent. Find out what they're allergic to. Ask their friends and family, or make some excuse to ask them, even if you have to resort to saying "I need to know your favourite colour/whether you prefer leather or suede/whether you like roses, lavender or jasmine and *you can't ask me why*."

The last step is Adding Specialness. A gift should be, well, gifty. You want to give them something that makes them feel that you regard them favourably and wanted to make them happy.

The two things that add specialness are

1) Quality. The way to keep this affordable is to keep the size of your gift down. Instead of a six-pack of decent socks, give them one pair of really lovely socks, that will look good with what you've seen them wear, of a quality slightly nicer than they would regularly buy themselves. Instead of an okay sweater, give them a really gorgeous scarf. A small bottle of really amazingly good hot sauce, or And so forth.

3) Effort. Track down the food or clothing or whatever that your friend from somewhere else adores and can't get locally and get it sent. Scour the thrift stores for pieces of your aunt's discontinued china pattern, or the used book stores for the no longer in print first two books of a series your dad really likes. Take a how-to book out of the library and make apple jelly for your mom. Get a friend or the lady at the store to teach you how to cast on and do garter stitch and buy three skeins of awesome yarn from the clearance section and knit your sister a scarf. Record yourself reading a book your grandmother wants to read but can't find in large print and give her the cds. Make a sampler from your music collection and give it to your co-worker with liner notes so she can find the artists she likes and buy their stuff.

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So I feel like The Very Worst Everything, lately.

On the bright side, it's only taken me, what, three months this time to realise that maybe if I, I dunno, tell people what's going on, that might help?

So I'm having more health problems. For which I have many doctor's appointments, do not be alarmed. It is, however, time-consuming and incredibly boring.

The two that are messing with my ability to be there and be reliable for people the most are, I'm persistently seeing double and spending a lot of time wearing an eye patch, (for which I have seen a neurologist and am getting an MRI, also have an appointment with an opthamologist *and* a neuro-opthamologist, ooh fancy).

It did mean I ended up dressing as Nick Fury for Hallowe'en, though. :-)

And I'm having Epic Exhaustion, for which we're testing my thyroid (as well as everything else), and while I am aware that The Internet Does Not Have a Licence to Practice Medicine, I will not be at ALL surprised if that proves to be it, what with the whole epic sleep events, paper-dry skin, perpetually being cold, ability to gain weight while mostly uninterested in food, etc.

I have not turned into whatserface from the Lord Peter story, I just feel like her.

The bursitis is... well, actually it's an unstable sacroiliac, and it's getting better, slowly. Too slowly for my tastes. I would really really like to stop taking opiates. They're much less fun than popular literature suggests. I am getting an SI belt, yay. KT tape is awesome when it stays put, which it does NOT do when deployed along one's waistband-line.

Somehow in the midst of all of this I am managing to help Unfuck the Habitat, though I am much less help than I'd like to be, which is making family life a lot better, and I'm managing to do roller derby, though I miss more practices than I'd like. I'm even trying to make it to, if not the gym, the pool once or twice a week so I can do physio in the hot tub, which is actually really productive. I need to get out walking more, which being cold and tired all the time is rotten for, as is not being able to see properly and feeling vulnerable as Hell in an eye patch.

I got to actually skate up and shadow the refs Tuesday, and MAN do I need to work on my speed and my turns. But I made it through the scrimmage, and I can see the road to where I need to be, and I feel like I'll get there by the start of the season.

But I'm shaky, and unreliable, and kind of curled up inside myself, and sleeping too much and at all the wrong times. It's boring and crazy-making and thank GOD I have spouses who are willing to haul my dippy ass to the appointments I need to make it to in order to get this under control and get my life back.

So if I've neglected you, or flaked out on you, please nudge me. It's not you. It really, really is me.

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I am attempting to make enough pea soup to feed exactly four people, with no leftovers.

As dried peas appear to be directly descended from Napoleon (la soup du jour de gloire?) this is something of a challenge.

I think I've cracked it, though:

One small hambone or a handful of cooked, diced ham (omit if desired)

1 1/2 C dried green peas
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 3 C veggie broth
4 6 C water
1/4 C onion flakes
2 bay leaves
1 t Pepper
2 T Ozark seasoning

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stir every so often for 3 hours or until the peas are correctly mushed)

So far so good ...

ETA

Exactly four servings. Happy slurping has ensued.

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So, seriously, when did it start to be socially acceptable and even normal to greet the news of someone's death by convening an inquiry on the spot to decide whether they "deserve" sympathy or not?

Ok, actually, forget that question. how do we make it stop?

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... what the Avengers dress up as for Hallow'een.

I suggest that Tony Stark is probably the guy in the This Is My Costume t-shirt.

Your theories are welcome, as is your commentfic

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Madam or Sir,

Your band-aids are very good. I have been using them for many years, and am generally very satisfied with their quality, variety, and price.

In light of their intended and customary use, however, would you be willing to consider packaging them in boxes and wrappers that can be opened one-handed in less time than it takes for the blood from a badly-cut finger to distribute itself over half of the surface area of the average bathroom?

Yours, bloody but (finally) bandaged,

Marna Nightingale.

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Just saw We Are Wisconsin.

I HAVE ALL THE FEELINGS NOW. ALL.

*draws sparkly hearts around ALL the Madison/Milwaukee family*

We may have hugged Rachel Friedman several times as a sort of proxy for all of you. Not that she isn't awesome and huggy and huggable on her own, just, you know, ALL THE FEELINGS.

Anyway, it's awesome. Not just as a record of the first chunk of the Wisconsin movement, though it is absolutely that, but also it's a great piece of documentary filmmaking.

You could go see it when it comes to your town. Or ask them to bring it to your town, if they don't already have plans to. Or just buy a copy and have friends over.

If you want the version with French Subtitles that we saw tonight, drop me a line, I can hook you up.

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Dear Canadian Media: "Let's privatise the tar sands via silent auction at a Conservative fundraiser" is a controversial statement. "Thomas Mulcair helped kill Jack Layton" is merely unparliamentary, slanderous, and vile. Get it straight.

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So, my Mom just moved into an Assisted Living complex. This is, on the whole, a Good Thing.

One of the things that is being hardest for her right now, though, is that she's had to downsize pretty radically, and one of the biggest losses is that she isn't going to be able to collect books and cds and dvds so much anymore.

So I'm thinking of getting her an iPad, and maybe a Netflix account. Books, music, movies ... and the ability to use Facetime to talk to me and my family. I talked to the worker, I can get her wifi very affordably, all that stuff is easy.

The only catch is this: my mother is almost completely computer illiterate, and while iPads are ridiculously intuitive, she also has some cognitive and memory issues. So she's going to need to be walked through how to do stuff, and she's going to need a set of printed out instructions that she can go back to if she forgets how to do something.

The staff seem like pretty awesome people, but they don't seem to be super tech-literate. The assisted living workers would be happy to help her when she gets stuck, if they have those written instructions to refer to, but they can't actually teach her.

So I am seeking, as above, a person in the West Kootenays who likes a) iPads, b) slightly vague old ladies c) teaching, d) cookies, knitted goods, books, gas money and similar expressions of deep gratitude.

ETA: I have considered paying someone from a local computer store, but just because they can fix them doesn't mean they can make my Mom feel good using one. What I really need is closer to a gerontologist who owns an iPad then it is to a computer expert.

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Apropos of a slightly surreal conversation with Cat just now, it occurs to me that the pre-chloroform method of giving a patient liquor with or without laudanum to make a proceedure more bearable seem as if it couldn't possibly actually work.

cut for the comfort of avoiders of This Sort Of Thing. Which is a non-explicit discussion of pain in surgery.Collapse )

please opinionate!

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I'm not saying I've been ill but tonight Rayne made pot roast and I made dumplings and I'm calling that "cooking".

Always and precisely (the proportions; you can halve, double, wev.)

2 C white flour
1 T Magic[1] baking powder.
1 t baking soda

The Part You Can So Totally Mess With:

1-2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T tarragon, dried, pounded to dust.
1t Rocky Mountain Seasoning (Penzey's)
1t Ozark Seasoning (Penzey's)

Mix all dry ingredients very well.

Bring broth/stock/thin gravy/stew to a rolling boil in a pot with a lid that seals.

Add 1 1/2 C cold water, mix coarsely, i.e. just until all the dry is wet, and ladle into boiling broth.

Replace lid immediately, lower heat to just below medium, keep at high simmer for 17 minutes, serve immediately onto warmed plates with rest of dinner.

This will make enough large, old-fashioned, floury dumplings to feed three to four hungry people.

Don't open the lid, or mess with the timing, or let them get chilled, unless you like Lead Zepplins :)

[1] I am not usually a brand fiend, but here's the thing: baking *soda* is baking soda, but baking powders are all different. So, yeah, Magic, and if you want to use another brand you might want to do some googling for equivalencies.

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And then, of course, you walk into a coffeeshop in Rossland, BC, see a guy wearing a Keeping it Riel tshirt which his daughter brought back from her trip to Winnepeg with Katimavik, and discover that said daughter almost certainly knows [profile] pyroclasticgrub.

Then you headdesk, like, a lot, while your Yank wife maybe laughs at you a little.

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Still Out West. Trip *nearly* perfect.

3/4 of us caught colds last week; mine has, as sometimes happens to me, left a sinus abcess in its wake. Cat's has left her with an ear infection.

We drove into Nelson to the walk-in today - we're both being promptly and properly treated, worry not.

Only - these are just about the ONLY circumstances under which either of us would EVER be unhappy about spending vast amounts of time driving and walking up and down mountains - having infected ears popping all the time is, obviously, vile, and for the benefit of those who have been spared sinus abcesses, they feel as if you'd stopped a punch with your cheekbone. Unless you spend a day driving up and down mountains, with all the pressure changes that entails; then it basically feels as if you'd stopped a line drive. I keep looking in the mirror for the bruise that isn't there.

I grumble. A lot. Damn thing better have drained before I have to fly or I'm going to be a Very Surly Bear indeed.

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