commodorified: cartoon moose wearing a Mountie uniform. Text; "eh." (canadian moose)
So, I like to wake up to music. I also wake up slowly. I ALSO like big-band and 40s music.

If this is also you, you may enjoy this roughly 15-minute alarm clock mix:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n3sy0285zjmm469/Morning%20Mix.m4a?dl=0

Contains: (as a single track, some light editing)

Sleep in Late, Big Sugar
Begin the Béguine, Glen Miller
O, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning, Irving Berlin
Bugle Call Rag, Glen Miller
Song of the Volga Boatmen, Glen Miller
Dam Busters March, Billy Cotton

Let me know if you like it!
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
It's great that Terry Karney/[personal profile] pecunium, as a member of the Arisia concom, is apparently speaking out on Noel Rosenberg's behaviour and I have no particular reason to feel that he is less than sincere in his condemnation of Noel Rosenberg's stalking of Crystal Huff.

I do have reason to believe that if he has strong feelings about the wrongness of having intercourse with someone without a condom without asking for or getting consent when all previous agreements said that condoms would always be used, that would be a conclusion that he came to sometime after 2009.

That reason being, for the avoidance of doubt, that he did that precise thing to me in the autumn of that year. When I asked him, later, why he had done it, he said he had felt like it. I accepted that explanation at the time. His life was very difficult just then; I guess I felt like that was a generally acceptable reason for doing shitty things. I don't accept this now.

In the course of our relationship I introduced him to a fair number of people, a lot of them women, and, further, introduced him as a safe person and one of the good ones. He met his now-wife at my wedding, so, you know, I guess there's a through-line to Arisia from there. I now regret many of those introductions quite a lot, and recommend women and organizations exercise caution with him in the future.

As far as Noel Rosenberg, I have known him slightly for a decade or so. I know his now ex-girlfriend and her spouse very well. I don't know Crystal, but I believe them, and I support them. I didn't know anything concrete to Noel's discredit before this but I can't say I was surprised, either.

I don't know Maura, either, but I believe them, too.

The reason I am posting this now is that I can't face the thought of Crystal having to deal, after their tremendously brave statement, with a ConCom -- which I guess is now supposed to be doing the right things and trying to make amends -- containing at least one other person who has done some of the same things, without speaking up.

If Arisia is serious about addressing their problems and moving forward, this is information they require. If they are not, this is information that potential future attendees and volunteers require.

I have not contacted Arisia and have no plans to. Having read Crystal and Maura's accounts of attempting to handle things privately and through established channels with Arisia I am entirely disinclined to go that route myself. There appear to be dangerously sharp rocks in those channels, and nowhere safe to land at the end.

It is okay to link or otherwise share this post.

ETA from Cat/[personal profile] fairestcat: this post is currently set to screen all comments from people not on Marna’s (small) access list. I will be checking this post throughout the day and unscreening/deleting comments as necessary.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
In which time the soup post got nearly 500 spam comments. I have despaired of deleting them all and deleted the entry, so here’s the recipe again:

Chop 6-8 potatoes and 3-4 onions (depending on size. )
Put potatoes to soak in salted water.
In a heavy pot with a lid, combine onions and a generous knob of butter, turn to medium-low and cover.
Go watch an episode of Elementary*
Drain potatoes and add to pot with a large handful of frozen mirepoix (diced onion, celery and carrots), one box of chicken or vegetable broth, salt, pepper, tarragon, savoury, and dill to taste.
Turn to medium, replace lid, go watch another episode.
Add 2 cups potato flakes to thicken and two cups of milk or one cup of milk and one of cream. Turn to low.
Go watch a third episode. Put it on pause halfway through for long enough to stir the soup.
Put a loaf of frozen bread in the oven on 300F while you grate 1 cup emmenthal or similar cheese and fry 1/2 lb bacon to crisp. Sprinkle bacon and cheese on top of soup and eat, possibly while watching more Elementary.

*you can watch something else if you want, as long as it's roughly 45 minutes long.
commodorified: a stuffed polar bear on wheels. (bear on wheels)
I will be getting into Toronto this Saturday evening, staying with [personal profile] mycrazyhair until the afternoon of Tuesday the 9th, vanishing into the convent until the morning of Friday the 12th, returning to [personal profile] mycrazyhair's for one night, and taking the 2:20 home on Saturday the 13th.

I miss my Toronto people very much and wish to see something of you all. Please comment if it's mutual.

(Dear [personal profile] graydon I know you very much enjoy exactness and clarity so, yes, this means you. Decidedly.)

If there's enough interest in Brunch, I have not eaten The Meal Of My Toronto People in awhile and we could do that.

The convent is at Yonge and Finch and I would be willing to emerge briefly for a coffee if that's the only thing we can make work, but in general I'm planning to be solitary and quiet while there.
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
I am sharing my sickbed with this goober:



And his Resting Distraught Face:



RIP Christmas Duck Toy: we scarcely knew you, yet you were very much loved in your tragically short life.

commodorified: very worried stuffed crocodile clutching a pillow (not coping)
Christmas was quiet and fairly good, except that over the course of the afternoon it became obvious that I have a FILTHY cold.

I am now lying resentfully in bed drinking mint tea I cannot taste and being grumpy about missing Christmas II: This Time Someone Else Is Cooking with the inlaws and feeling guilty because I cannot help with getting Bogart his required amount of outdoors time when it is -20 and I have a fever. At least I can get him dressed for walks, which as I am The One Who Can Get His Boots On is quite useful.

I feel too crap to want to a) watch Dr Who or b) check out Yuletide, which is to say, very crap indeed.

But I have an electric blanket and a snoring dog and the awesome [personal profile] fairestcat made me tea and is heroically dealing with the dishes from last night's Roast Beast and trimmings.

Also I had allsorts and winegums for Boxing Day breakfast, washed down with Tylenol Sinus Cold and Flu.
I am happy with this choice.
commodorified: And now all road are uncommonly flat, and all hair stands on end. (roads uncommonly flat)
Caught the train to Toronto, found out the Canadian was delayed, switched to a flight into Kelowna, my brother in law picked me up and we drove to Trail.

I missed her by just under an hour.

She wanted her ashes to go to St Thomas, beside her Mom and Dad.

I'm bringing her back with me, by train. One more ride.

I still have no idea what my schedule is.

Comments off. I love you all, but. Not yet.
commodorified: And now all road are uncommonly flat, and all hair stands on end. (roads uncommonly flat)
Actually I'm catching a train out West this Saturday to say goodbye to my Mom. Bogart is staying home.

If you live somewhere the Canadian stops and would like to see me on my trip back drop me a comment?

No condolences yet, please. I need to keep my shit together for awhile longer here.

<3 you all.
commodorified: Our pointer cross, asleep, taken from below his chin (Bogart)
Though I do presently have the flu. Which probably means a few posts in the next couple of days.

At the moment I'm researching the best way to get the dog (Oh, heck, um, hi, everyone, we got a dog! This is Bogart!)

Bogart hoodie
Bogart Hyperbole

Anyway, that's where I've been. Glued to a dog who's had a stressful start in life and is still half-convinced he's going to be taken away from us and moved to another shelter cage at any moment. It's a lot.

So. Researching ways to get Bogart out west with me when I next go to see Mom. If that seems the best option — like a lot of rescues he's anxious, and he bonded to me first, so the question is is he best without me but with the family or with me for the long visit but crated for the trip.

Most dog-owners I've asked about flying with dogs too big for the cabin have said, basically, "well, if it's your ONLY choice ..." and that has been consistent across many people who don't know each other, so.

Via Rail allows dogs on the Canadian, under certain conditions.

A test-run seems indicated once he's doing better with the crate thing.

Do I have any friends in Toronto or Montreal who would enjoy having me and a 40lb dog to visit for probably two nights? He is good with kids and adults and possibly TOO fond of cats — he tries to bring them his toys.

He is *great* with other dogs and that's not me being fond - he continually surprises me by his diplomacy and capacity to get shy or tiny dogs to play with him. He was in the system for a year before he got to us (and a stray dumped in the Everglades before that) and so finds the human environment puzzling quite often - stairs and leashes took a fair bit of explaining - but it turns out he has vast experience in group dog situations and is a joy to walk off-leash.

He's not as good about distinguishing toys from not-toys, but I stay on top of him fairly well and would likely keep him out for most of the days anyway.

GIP

Jun. 12th, 2017 11:46 am
commodorified: Photo of a pin that says "bi-furious" in red letters, with flames. (Bi-furious)
Remember GIPs?

This, my friends, my darlings, is a GIP.

With thanks to [personal profile] redbird who is kind enough to share.
commodorified: very worried stuffed crocodile clutching a pillow (not coping)
Since I'm half-packed and we're leaving in less than 24 hours it's probably time to announce that I am coming to WisCon. (Now watch me wake up tomorrow with Lorayne's cold or something.)

I'm not signed up for any panels, I'm not volunteering this year. I'm not 100 percent sure that this isn't going to end in disaster again. Depending on how I react to the various allergens in Madison I may be very low-energy, I may be sneezy and stuffed-up, I may be spending a lot of time asleep, I may be slow and forgetful due to being low oxygen, I may recuse myself rapidly from controversy or trouble if I don't see an immediate way to be useful.

I may have to leave panels abruptly due to coughing fits. We may be leaving town abruptly to get me back to Canada for treatment. (My out-of-province insurance isn't going to cover me for another serious asthma event in the same damn' city as the last one. That's kind of the definition of 'pre-existing'). We have a plan for this. It's as solid as we can make it.

Or we may have trouble at the border and not get there at all.

Or it all may be just fine. I really don't know. There's no way to tell.

But I'm on a new med (Singulair), and taking ALL the other ones, religiously, and so far my lungs seem to be willing to stay fairly functional. I'm bringing my bike. I'm hoping to stay an extra week and see friends. I'm cautiously optomistic.

A small request: if you see me, and we're friends, and you possibly can, grab me for coffee or food or a quick chat? This is almost certainly my last WisCon for some time, and if I do have a dangerous reaction, it's my last WisCon, period.

I know that I've lost touch with a lot of you due to missing the con and generally being offline and preoccupied trying to get my health under control. I'm sorry about it, and I'd really like to connect this weekend if we can, because you all are one of the communities of my heart, and to be honest I'm coming much more for y'all than for the "official" con.

If you or someone near you is wearing scent, I may have to back away rapidly. I'm sorry.

I'm not really accustomed to being a fragile little flower, you know? I'm still working out how to handle it.

Also, if there's a volunteer task I can do, something you need help with, that you can grab me for on the spot, please do. It's hard to contribute meaningfully when you can't make any promises, and I'll appreciate any chances to do so.

Allergies

May. 8th, 2017 05:17 pm
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
So, this area is experiencing severe flooding, I mean holy crap lookit it which means that I am experiencing severe allergies and have in fact been having an asthma attack for, um, at least a week? It got bad enough to be undeniable last week.

As far as I can tell, most of this continent is having an especially severe allergy-asthma spring. I feel fairly awful about having been stuck in bed when people are losing their homes, but there it is. I can't walk up a medium hill or take a shower or do an hour's housework without being breathless and miserable for hours, so that's where it's at.

(Note: I do not want advice, please. Unless you are A) an allergist, B) who accepts OHIP and are C) taking new patients, in which case speak up, I'm in the market, my current Dr takes forever to get an appointment with — Son? Just Don't.)

So WisCon is now an "expect me when you see me" deal. I am not very happy about this, but I'm going to have to make a call based on the forecast and my health the day before the car leaves for Madison. I really do not want to repeat the time I turned blue and had to make an emergency run for home at great upheaval and expense.

The rest of the family expects to be in attendance.

ETA On the upside, I thought I was in Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Physical Condition, but it turns out that when I can supply them with a reliable flow of oxygen, my muscles are fine.
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
I was discussing this with [personal profile] fairestcat and she suggested I write a blog post about it. I'm grateful to her and to [personal profile] staranise and [personal profile] yatima for moral, intellectual, and practical support in writing it and, indeed, in general.

So, many years ago I was a member of alt.support.step-parents, and I made some amazing friends, many of whom I still have today (you know who you are; I love you all), and I learned a truly vast number of useful things about relationships. This may possibly be the most universally useful: how to bootstrap a relationship that's become angry and despairing and combative, or just grimly resentful, with or without the active co-operation of the other person — that last being especially relevant because I learned it in the context of parenting, where it is frequently incumbent on the part of the adult to make unilateral decisions.

[personal profile] staranise and [personal profile] yatima both recognised it, when I started talking about this, as coming originally from Dr John Gottman, which was news to me. I learned a much simpler, third-hand version of it, freely modified for parental situations, and then modified it back on my own, so I think it's fair to say the exact phrasing and ratios he discusses are optional.

I can honestly say that it's been instrumental in saving two of my current relationships, and has improved all of them.

It's simple, if not always easy, but a bit counter-intuitive: don't worry about the conflicts. Don't worry about fighting less, or "more fairly", or whatever. Don't try to minimize the negative or difficult aspects of your relationship. When things are going badly, it's natural to focus on those things, but the more we focus on them the more overwhelming they can become.

Instead: focus on maximising the number and quality of your positive interactions, however you can.

Say "thank you." Say "I love you." Hug. Go for walks. Send each other silly pictures. Admire their shirt. Pat their ass, if they like that sort of thing. Give small silly gifts - quantity beats quality, here. Flowers on your birthday is nice, but coffee every weekend morning or cocoa at night or a cup of tea when they're exhausted are way more to the point.

Whatever you can think of and make happen. You'll still fight. Try not to fret too much about it. Fit the positive stuff in around the fights. Wedge it in with a mallet if you have to, in the ten minutes a day when you quite like or at least don't much mind each other, which I swear is very nearly where we started.

Your conflicts won't vanish, but the number of times they drive you to waves of overwhelming despair will diminish rapidly. The fights will get shorter, less damaging, more productive. Next thing you know you'll be discussing things respectfully and with obvious affection, and having valuable insights into each other's mental and emotional processes and stuff.

What you're doing, basically, is building strength and resilience into the relationship. That strength and resilience, in turn, generate trust and comfort, which will give you more energy and more will to use to address the conflicts, and more motivation to keep conflict from becoming combat. Plus, it becomes a pleasant habit very quickly: I cannot actually count the number of rituals and habits and kindnesses and silly in-jokes that have built up in well over a decade of this, and every single one of them both makes me, personally, happier, and makes my relationships stronger.

Ideally, in a peer-to-peer relationship, you want to discuss this and get everyone onside, as soon as possible, but I confess that I'm fairly certain that my husband is finding out, um, nowish that this was a conscious, planned thing I did. (Edit: I ran this past him before posting it, as one does: would it surprise you all to hear that I am not nearly as subtle as I like to think I am?) So, it's ideal but it's not absolutely vital. If you're trying to repair your relationship with your kid (or stepkid) or if you're at the point in your relationship where you really can't talk about anything at all without it potentially turning into a battle, or you're trying to repair a professional or collegial rather than a personal relationship and discussing it isn't on the table, it really does still work. It takes longer, but it still does work. They'll start doing it back, just because it's enjoyable, and it's really not that hard to get people to do enjoyable things. You won't always end up with a great relationship, but you'll get the best one it's possible for you to have with that person. Sometimes that's still not good enough, but usually it is.

I'm finding this surprisingly hard to write because it sounds too "one weird trick" to be true, but amazingly, it actually is that simple. See, we tend to think that we treat people badly because we dislike them, so we try to address the emotions so that the behaviour will change, but actually, we tend to dislike people who we treat badly, and like people who we treat well. Nobody wants to be the sort of person who treats their friends and family badly for no damned reason but habit, so we tend to invent reasons. We don't mean to. It's unconscious.

There are only a couple of caveats, but they're important: firstly, it's important not to try to use this to try to make someone else feel badly about how they're acting or to derail or shortcut conflicts. The goal is not to persuade the other person that things aren't that bad, or to praise them for things you actually hate. Equally, the goal is not to convince them that your behaviour is kinder and more loving than it is. That's gaslighting. The goal is to do more kind and loving things and appreciate the kind loving things they do, and so make things actually better.

The second is, if you know or strongly suspect that you're in an abusive relationship, exercise extreme caution in trying this approach. If you're doing this unilaterally the other person may not reciprocate right away, but they shouldn't respond to your efforts by becoming more angry, hostile, or demanding (as opposed to more clear and open about what's already bothering them.) If you're working to lower the bar and they respond by raising the stakes, you've moved out of the area of problems you can both take an equal hand in solving and into problems that require outside intervention and fundamental change on the part of one person before anything is going to get better.
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
1) When you follow someone, do check their profile. Odds are you'll recognise one or more names from Over There that you want to follow. I have found this MOST useful.
ETA dammit, Poll! There was meant to be room for TWO suggestions. Sorry. Just stick 'em all together.

2)
Poll #18147 Who else should I be following?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 19


Anyone else?

How's your week going?

Little boxes

View Answers

Little boxes
12 (63.2%)

On the hillside
8 (42.1%)

Made of ticky-tacky
11 (57.9%)

Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
11 (57.9%)

Little boxes all the same
11 (57.9%)

This post

Apr. 6th, 2017 02:11 pm
commodorified: the words Anglican Socialist Weirdo on a Green and Yellow abstract background (Anglican Socialist Weirdo)
Is for people to leave me their contact info in the aftermath of the latest and probably last Great Fannish LJ Exodus.

Anon is on; comments are screened.
commodorified: a stuffed polar bear on wheels. (bear on wheels)
So I did get the mixed tape and I like it a lot. Like, so very very much. It's comfortable, it's light, it's got a delightful range of gears. It's excellent in town and I think I'm going to like it for touring - Ian and I did one long ride last year and it was brilliant.

As it's bike season again, and some of you may be shopping, I feel compelled to note that it's still available, women's/step-through frame only, in size Large only, $595.00 CDN, free delivery in Canada, the usual amazing MEC service and warranty.

The large is perfect for me — I take a 33" or 34" inseam and have a shortish torso, and this bike fits me like a dream.

commodorified: cropped pic of woman with short curly red hair looking up  impishly from the lower left corner (femme)
She's even hotter and totally a trophy after nearly 15 years, and always will be, however much time, chance, and friction do to the "young" and "American" parts.

Happy Birthday, Darling.







commodorified: And now all road are uncommonly flat, and all hair stands on end. (roads uncommonly flat)
Our beloved calico, Sovay, is dead. Details on [personal profile] fairestcat's journal, here and several entries before and after.

I miss her desperately and can't seem to stop crying. Meanwhile the world we knew is ending, brutally and finally, and practically everyone is posting ... cat pictures ... as distraction from the outrage and horror. (Please don't stop doing this. Please don't link me to other distractions. Experience suggests that when I'm ready to stop feeling terrible I'll stop on my own. I don't especially want to stop crying for her just yet.)

I want to write about her and I don't know if I ever will. It's just too hard, and I couldn't stand to have done it badly.

So I'll write about one of the moments of comfort, instead. I woke up at 4 today, because the bed was too empty and still. She liked to sleep on me, you see, and whenever I woke up and rolled over she'd take a tour over to the food dish, eat a few kibbles, and then come back to see what part of me was available for lying on now. I woke up cold, and sad, and hungry, and Cat came in to sit with me, and after a bit we made tea and porridge.

Combine

2/3 C Red River cereal (or other multigrain hot cereal mix)
2/3 C steel-cut oats
1/3 C quinoa
1/3 C dried cherries, preferably unsweetened
3C water

And bring to a boil, stirring slowly.
When it boils, reduce the heat to the minimum, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes
Then add

1/2 C milk
2T honey
1 t cinnamon

Stir through and give the milk a minute to get hot,

And serve with hot, strong orange pekoe tea.

Consoles two, briefly but very well.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Like a lot of people who grew up in, well, straightened and difficult circumstances, not to mention having had a fair amount of experience of institutional food, I've spent years roundly despising the entire notion of "mixed vegetables", especially frozen mixed vegetables.

Which is a bit odd, when you consider that I'll cheerfully buy and cook with unmixed frozen vegetables: frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen spinach, frozen brussel sprouts, you name it. I live in Ottawa and I have health issues that reduce my energy a lot and I try to shop local and feed my family a lot of green (and red, and yellow) stuff, and that means we eat a fair number of frozen and canned vegetables in winter.

But until recently the very sight of one of these:

was enough to inspire a faint but definite desire to never eat anything, ever, again, except possibly buttered toast. "Sans Nom", indeed.

Friends, I was wrong. So wrong. Despite having learned decades ago not to boil things to death in heavily-salted water and wonder why they don't taste good, I had never until recently applied this knowledge to mixed frozen vegetables. I just assumed they tasted of nothing in particular, yet at the same time unpleasant, no matter what.

Last fall, with soup season closing in on me, I tentatively bought a small bag of mixed frozen carrots and green beans. I never seem to have cooking carrots handy exactly when I want them, and anyway if they're fresh I'd rather roast them, and using the baby-cut ones for cooking is, though handy as heck, kind of extravagant (or at least it makes me feel faintly guilty). And apparently frozen sliced carrots, alone, is no longer a thing you can buy, so I thought "well, we do like green beans," and went with the mixed. At worst, I figured, I could separate the two and use them in different things.

And it was awesome, and I started making vegetable soup oftener. And it was good.

So yesterday I was in The Store Formerly Known As Hartmans (btw, everyone local, they're having a VAST sale on boxed and canned staples. I brought home so many cans we had to reorganize the pantry. Beans! Baked beans! Beets! Seasoned green beans! Soup! Average outlay= $1 CDN/can.)

And I bought a huge bag of the aforementioned mixed vegetables (the exact bag pictured above) and today I spent ten minutes putting supper together and this is what we're having:

1 litre carton of beef broth (vegetable broth would obviously work as well, but we accidentally bought six-packs of beef broth twice running at Costco and with the price of beef I'm not making a lot of beef dishes, so it needs using.)
1 litre water
1 C pearl barley
1 C dry beans (Rancho Gordo Vallarta because I really need to use up my Rancho Gordos, but Great Northern or Navy would be good too. Beans are good, I tend to feel. Canned would also be good, and had I less time for the soup to simmer I'd've gone with a can of black beans or chick peas or six bean mixture —they sell it for bean salad, but I use it to liven up soups and stews— or whatever)
1/4 C dried onion flakes
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 C mixed frozen veg

About 1 Tablespoon each:
Thyme
Marjoram
Dill
Penzeys's Northwood seasoning
2 bay leaves

I bunged it all into the pot and turned the heat to halfway between low and medium. It's simmering away cheerfully now and should be perfect by suppertime, which will be about four hours from now.

ETA: a-heh-heh-heh I now recommend using a HALF cup of beans and the same of barley, unless you, like me, want to end up a) hastily adding a second carton of broth and b) racking your brains for people to invite to supper so you're not eating this all week.

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