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.
commodorified: Alexander wearing his imperial cobwebs and breastplate of shining worms wakes and looks for his glasses (history)
[livejournal.com profile] papersky reminded me of this poem by Auden, who is seeming far too uncomfortably timely right now:


Here War Is Simple by W H Auden

Here war is simple like a monument:
A telephone is speaking to a man;
Flags on a map assert that troops were sent;
A boy brings milk in bowls. There is a plan

For living men in terror of their lives,
Who thirst at nine who were to thirst at noon,
And can be lost and are, and miss their wives,
And, unlike an idea, can die too soon.

But ideas can be true although men die,
And we can watch a thousand faces
Made active by one lie:

And maps can really point to places
Where life is evil now:
Nanking. Dachau.
commodorified: And now all road are uncommonly flat, and all hair stands on end. (roads uncommonly flat)
It is midnight when we arrive at our positions. The men we are relieving give us a few instructions and leave quickly, glad to get out.

It is September and the night is warm. Not a sound disturbs the quiet. Somewhere away far to our right we hear the faint sound of continuous thunder. The exertion of the trip up the line has made us sweaty and tired. We slip most of our accoutrements off and lean against the parados. We have been warned that the enemy is but a few hundred yards off, so we speak in whispers. It is perfectly still. I remember nights like this in the Laurentians. The harvest moon rides overhead.

Our sergeant, Johnson, appears around the corner of the bay, stealthily like a ghost. He gives us instructions:

"One man up on sentry duty! Keep your gun covered with the rubber sheet! No smoking!"

He hurries on to the next bay. Fry mounts the step and peers into No Man's Land. He is rested now and says that if he can only get a good pair of boots he will be happy. He has taken his boots off and stands in his stockinged feet. He shows us where his heel is cut. His boots do not fit. The sock is wet with blood. He wants to take his turn at sentry duty first so that he can rest later on. We agree.

Cleary and I sit on the firing-step and talk quietly.

"So this is war."

"Quiet."

"Yes, just like the country back home, eh?"

We talk of the trench; how we can make it more comfortable.

We light cigarettes against orders and cup our hands around them to hide the glow. We sit thinking. Fry stands motionless with his steel helmet shoved down almost over his eyes. He leans against the parapet motionless. There is a quiet dignity about his posture. I remember what we were told at the base about falling asleep on sentry duty. I nudge his leg. He grunts.

"Asleep?" I whisper.

"No," he answers, "I'm all right."

"What do you see?"

"Nothing. Wire and posts."

"Tired?"

"I'm all right."

The sergeant reappears after a while. We squinch our cigarettes.

"Everything OK here?"

I nod.

"Look out over there. They got the range on us. Watch out."

We light another cigarette. We continue our aimless talk.

"I wonder what St. Catherine Street looks like--"

"Same old thing, I suppose--stores, whores, theatres--"

"Like to be there just the same--"

"Me too."

We sit and puff our fags for half a minute or so.

I try to imagine what Montreal looks like. The images are murky. All that is unreality. The trench, Cleary, Fry, the moon overhead--this is real.

In his corner of the bay Fry is beginning to move from one foot to another. It is time to relieve him. He steps down and I take his place. I look into the wilderness of posts and wire in front of me.

After a while my eyes begin to water. I see the whole army of wire posts begin to move like a silent host towards me.

I blink my eyes and they halt.

I doze a little and come to with a jerk.

So this is war, I say to myself again for the hundredth time. Down on the firing-step the boys are sitting like dead men. The thunder to the right has died down. There is absolutely no sound.

I try to imagine how an action would start. I try to fancy the preliminary bombardment. I remember all the precautions one has to take to protect one's life. Fall flat on your belly, we had been told time and time again. The shriek of the shell, the instructor in trench warfare said, was no warning because the shell travelled faster than its sound. First, he had said, came the explosion of the shell--then came the shriek and then you hear the firing of the gun . . .

From the stories I heard from veterans and from newspaper reports I conjure up a picture of an imaginary action. I see myself getting the Lewis gun in position. I see it spurting darts of flame into the night. I hear the roar of battle. I feel elated. Then I try to fancy the horrors of the battle. I see Cleary, Fry, and Brown stretched out on the firing-step. They are stiff and their faces are white and set in the stillness of death. Only I remain alive.

An inaudible movement in front of me pulls me out of the dream. I look down and see Fry massaging his feet. All is still. The moon sets slowly and everything becomes dark.

The sergeant comes into the bay again and whispers to me:

"Keep your eyes open now--they might come over on a raid now that it's dark. The wire's cut over there--" He points a little to my right.

I stand staring into the darkness. Everything moves rapidly again as I stare. I look away for a moment and the illusion ceases.

Something leaps towards my face.

I jerk back, afraid.

Instinctively I feel for my rifle in the corner of the bay.

It is a rat.

It is as large as a tomcat. It is three feet away from my face and it looks steadily at me with its two staring, beady eyes. It is fat. Its long tapering tail curves away from its padded hindquarters. There is still a little light from the stars and this light shines faintly on its sleek skin. With a darting movement it disappears. I remember with a cold feeling that it was fat, and why.

Cleary taps my shoulder. It is time to be relieved.

From Generals Die In Bed by Charles Yale Harrison.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Of Somewhat Southwestern Soup

(Quantities are kind of a judgement call, but for 3-5 people:)

Chicken broth, one box.
Chicken thighs, diced, roughly one per person, or one breast for two people or the chicken leftover from last night.
Can of black or navy beans, undrained, or a couple of cups of cooked black beans with their liquor.
Can of tomatoes, diced
Frozen corn, maybe a handful. Maybe two.
Fairly tough greens (spinach disintegrates), chopped fine, as many as you want.
Onions and garlic, dried or diced, a ridiculous amount.
Ground ancho pepper, about a tablespoon.
Cayenne pepper, about a half teaspoon.
Black pepper, about a half teaspoon.
Oregano, about a teaspoon.
Cumin, at least a tablespoon.
Salt, maybe, carefully.
Tortilla chips, or corn tortillas, or flour tortillas.

Combine everything but the tortillas/chips, simmer for an hour. Longer if you want.

Pour over tortillas/chips.
You can also add:
Grated cheese, on top of the tortilla chips.
Cilantro, diced, on the chips.
Green onions, on the chips.
Toasted cumin seeds, on the chips.
Ground chipotle pepper, if you want hotter smokier soup.
Cooked rice, instead of tortillas/chips.
Veggie broth instead of chicken and skip the meat.

There are lots of ways to make this fancier, but I tend to end up making it quickly, on impulse, usually because someone's sick or in pain or just out of cope.
commodorified: a stuffed polar bear on wheels. (bear on wheels)
So, I test rode The Mixed Tape.

It fits like a dream and the handling makes me grin.

Reader, I bought it.
commodorified: a stuffed polar bear on wheels. (bear on wheels)
So, I love love love Matilda my 3-speed Kunstadt Glebe, but this, the third summer of our life together, I'm running up against her limitations quite a lot: I need more gears, she's heavy (I don't know exactly what she weighs but it's roughly twice what [personal profile] random's Norco does, even though it's an XL, leading to my thighs becoming ever more womanly and him being deeply impressed at my ability to carry it up steps and keep up with him on trails), I had to replace the lovely seat because it starts to hurt like hell at 50 km, and the frame is on the bleeding edge of being too small for me, because while I am only 5'7" I have stupidly long legs and arms, which means the seat is so high she's kind of top-heavy and the handlebars, set as high as they'll go, are still lower than I'd prefer.

It turns out that while I'm a utility rider, and I will probably continue to waltz Matilda all over Ottawa, my natural distance is, well, medium-long. It turns out that I feel wobbly and weak and thirsty and crabby for the first 5 km of every serious ride not because I'm out of shape but because it takes me 10-15 km to get warm, loose, and happy. So there is probably some gentle touring in my future, and Matilda isn't the bike for that.

I've been looking at the MEC Mixed Tape for a while now, and now it's on sale, which MEC being MEC suggests it may be going away entirely or else being radically altered for next season. So now I need to make a call: am I buying this bike?

The main con it presents from my POV is that I love Kunstadt. I adore them. They are my bike shop forever, but they just do not have the bike I need.

However: I don't know a tonne about bikes. I'm learning — my tool kit and ability to fix minor issues is improving radically. I'm learning the lingo, but DAMN there is SO MUCH.

So, as I know there are many people here very fluent in Bike:

Is there a bike of which I am not aware which beats this bike and that you want to tell me about?

There are certain features I absolutely need in a bike, or else have decided I don't want to do without:

1) I require a step-through frame or a LOW mixte. The advantages of a diamond frame are entirely irrelevant unless you're getting me a new left hip, so please assume I'm aware of them and don't need to be told. Please also assume that I've read enough blog posts on how crap step-throughs are that I'm defensive on the topic and may bite if you take this as an invitation to air your theory, which you're certain will be new to me, about the crapness of step-throughs.

2) I require an almost entirely upright riding position. Again, unless you're an orthopedic surgeon looking for shoulders to rebuild, please don't try to convince me otherwise. My skeleton is hooped, and while conditioning can palliate this, it's going to stay hooped and throwing my weight onto my shoulders while I ride will lead to pain and injury.

3) I'm willing to put up with a lot of compromises to have an internal hub, and after serious research have concluded that the Nexus 7 is reliable, rugged, and possessed of all the ratio I expect to need anywhere in Ontario or Quebec I can forsee riding to in the next decade. It seems to be the sweet spot of affordable, effective, and reliable - the newer hubs have more gears but also more problems.,

4) I'm not willing to spend my life at the bike shop, so ruggedness and tolerance of the crappy pavement around here are more important than super low weight or incredible performance.

5) I'm not looking to pay a lot more than this - this is nearly twice what I paid for Matilda and that seemed like a lot at the time - though for the right bike I'd trawl second-hand bike ads. I love the Electra 7-is I've ridden, but they're heavy and yeowch the price.

I need it to be available in Ottawa, or at a stretch Toronto or Montreal. I'm not happy with the notion of buying a bike I have not test-ridden.

So. Anyone want to tell me about a bike I should test-ride before I go for this one?
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
I've been experimenting with various basic brownie recipes to work out a recipe for a half-batch at a time (because my family has requested that I make smaller amounts of a wider variety of treats).

While I was at it, I reduced the sugar, upped the cocoa and vanilla, of which no recipe ever has enough, (so if you're one of those cooks who, like me, habitually ups the cocoa in brownie recipes: um, don't. I already did that and this really does appear to be the upper edible limit) and added fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips for maximum decadence.

Very rich, not very sweet, very dense.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C

1/4 cup melted salted butter OR unsalted butter + 1/8 t salt.
1/3 C sugar, white or brown. For a sweeter brownie, 1/2 C.
1 T vanilla
1 egg
1/4 T baking powder
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/4 C flour

In a fairly large bowl, using first a whisk and then a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together in the order they're listed.

When no dry or white patches remain in the mixture, add (if you like)

1/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips and
1/4 C dried cherries and
1/4 C pecans or walnuts

Spoon mixture into a well-greased small pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes.
commodorified: (nothing like the sun)
I wrote:

Between the Wars (2113 words) by MarnaNightingale
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Betty Ross/Bruce Banner, Jane Foster/Thor Odinson, Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, Pepper Potts & Natasha Romanov, Sam Wilson & James Rhodes, Natasha Romanov & Nick Fury
Characters: Bruce Banner, Sam Wilson, Pepper Potts, Natasha Romanov, Thor Odinson, Jane Foster
Additional Tags: Slice of Life, Aftermaths, Rolling Remix, post Age of Ultron, pre civil war


Which was the originating fic, so I didn't remix anyone, but I was remixed three times, which was tremendous fun and they're all great! (I also didn't guess before reveals because - heh - having done my bit, I had mod privileges).

For Team SSR:

Skin in the Game (1930 words) by Sholio
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Captain America (Movies), Iron Man (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sam Wilson (Marvel), James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers
Additional Tags: Friendship, Team Bonding, Not Captain America: Civil War (Movie) Compliant
Summary:

Sam didn't realize Tony's offer to build him a new set of wings was going to come with quite this much baggage, emotional and otherwise.



For Team Tony Stark: (I don't know why this is still showing as Anonymous; it's Sevenofspade

DEFCON 3 (1530 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Natasha Romanov


For Team SHIELD:

There Is No In-Between (the Fight The Good Fight remix) (3274 words) by tielan
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Maria Hill & Peggy Carter, Maria Hill & Clint Barton, Maria Hill & Steve Rogers
Characters: Maria Hill, Steve Rogers, Clint Barton, Peggy Carter, Melinda May
Additional Tags: Backstory, Friendship, Parallels
Summary:

We’d rather have you with us, than against us, Peggy Carter told her after Madripoor. At the time, Maria thought it foolish flattery – appreciated it, sure, but it was a sweetener, not the truth. Then again, she’s now Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D, so it seems the former Director was right.



The full list of fics, writers, and writing order is here, and you should go read! The rolling remix set-up was huge fun and produced an awesome supply of fics.

And, of course, thanks one more time to [personal profile] muccamukkfor being such an awesome, patient, hardworking mod and more particularly for a wonderful beta.
commodorified: (nothing like the sun)
Find it here.

Quoth our clever and talented organiser and mod :


There was one original fic, and three streams of remixes, if anyone would like to make guesses as to the order of the streams and/or the authors of the fic, please have a go in comments. No prizes past bragging rights, but I would consider checking the archive numbers of the fic cheating.

Go forth, enjoy, comment!

(This is a little late due to anticipated rl on my part)

Reveals of order and authors 5 August.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Our microwave is still at the vet, which is a vast pain but has led to some interestingly creative approaches to leftovers. Tonight's supper was inspired by leftover rice from the cottage.

Combine in a largeish saucepan:

2 -3 fillets of cod, thawed
1/2 brick of medium-firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch chunks.
1 can coconut milk
A solid dollop of Trinidadian green seasoning
Ginger, to taste. I use the stuff that comes in a squeeze bottle, but powdered would work fine or you could grate fresh. I used about 2T and the results are noticeably gingery.
Creole-style hot sauce, to taste. I used about 1T and there's a definite bite, there.
Pinch of salt
Let simmer covered on low for about an hour, then add

3 cups leftover white rice (you could obviously make fresh rice and pour the fish and tofu in sauce over it, but I just dumped it in and broke up the chunks)

Leave covered on lowest possible heat until the rice is heated through.

It looks like chunky rice pudding, but it's flavourful and pleasantly spicy.

As we also have leftover salad from the cottage, there's supper sorted out nicely.

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