sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
If there was any lingering delusion that autumn wasn't here already, it got blown away this morning, when the temperature dipped as low as it's been thus far: a mere 5 degrees Celcius. The nights are cold enough to really make me appreciative of a nice thick blanket or comforter. The afternoons are warmer, but there's still that particular kind of chill on the breeze that makes you shiver no matter how warm the sunshine.

With that all in mind, I bundled up this morning when I walked my daily three miles.

Well, I say "daily", but I've actually been slack on my walking goals over the weekend. Partly because I spent a good deal of Saturday hanging out with Cass, and Sunday was a day pretty much devoted to staying indoors and watching Rei play Ocarina of Time, watching a movie, and then curling up in bed with old episodes of Ranma 1/2 to keep us company. We did go out, but it was a short walk (a little less than 2 miles) to get some cake.

Tomorrow's going to contain a lot of walking, I'm sure. Not only will I have to walk uptown to get rent money from my bank account (1.5 miles), but then I'll walk from there to the north end (about 2 miles, I'm estimating) to pick up a few groceries, and then home again (1 mile). That's more walking than I normally do, but it all needs to be done, and it'll help me catch up on my weekly goal for HealthMonth. I haven't been doing too badly with those goals, but this weekend's slackness did put me a bit behind schedule, so I'm glad to have a good excuse to make up for that.

Fortunately, that should only take me a couple of hours, so if I leave early enough, I'll still have time to come home and make another batch of baked beans for supper. I want to make some multigrain bread, too, but I'm not sure if I'll leave that until Wednesday, to give me something specific to do on that day. I know I want to make a loaf of bread, and I also thought that using some leftover sausages to make some little sausage-and-cheese buns would be nice, too. Nicely portable, good warm or cold, and handy for Rei to take for lunch if he likes them enough.

Maybe on Thursday I'll try to scrub the rust off the muffin tins (they got rusty thanks to a ceiling leak in the kitchen, and I haven't had the patience to scrub them clean yet) and then make a batch of honey bran muffins for snacks. I might see if Cass's offer to give me some old bananas is still good, and make a loaf of banana bread too, just for fun. I've never made it before, but I do like eating it!

And with the exception of the cheese for the buns, all of these delicious things can be made with what's still in the kitchen, so I don't need to go and waste the little grocery money I have on buying a bunch of ingredients. It makes me feel good to know that I can make so many tasty things without needing to spend a lot of money on them. It just takes a bit of creativity and patience, and I'm learning more how to channel creativity into food and to be more patient with it and myself when I make mistakes. Cooking is good for me in many ways!

Today the only cooking I'll do will be to add another few potatoes and carrots to the leftovers of the turkey-vegetable stew, and some water. I ended up putting too much salt in when I first made it, and adding more vegetables and water to it will end up balancing that out quite nicely, and making the stew last longer. And since we still have plenty of potatoes and carrots in, this gives me a good chance to use them up before they go off.

Oh, for another icon spot so I can add a "Happy Domestic" icon. :p I know that when I get a job again, I'll be buying a paid account here. I really like Dreamwidth, as it's much more like what LJ was before they started to care more about money than pleasing their userbase, and I want to support them where and when I can. Just have to wait until then.

I've managed to keep up both a good amount of reading and writing since the beginning of the month, too, which bodes well for NaNo. I was worried for a while as to whether I could manage to keep pace with my NaNo writing as well as keep reading a good amount for my bookblog, but if this month is any indicator so far, it shouldn't be too big a problem. Even if I end up getting a job next month, so long as I stick to hard copies of books (rather than e-books, I mean) and read over my lunch and breaks as well as during the trip there, I should be just fine.

Making sure I write 1000 words a day this month is also a good warm-up for NaNo. I've been working again on Fractured. I'm only about halfway to where I was when I had to reinstall my operating system and lost everything, but it's going a bit better this time, with the plot and the flow of events, that I don't mind being a little slow with it.

Speaking of NaNo, though, I really ought to devote some time soon to planning out this year's project. I know what I want to write, but I thought that this year I'd actually do more advance work and create a chapter outline plan, so that things flow better and that I have more of an idea of what I'm doing if I end up, say, writing at work. In the past, when I worked in call centres in November, I'd have time to write some in between calls. But given that my main work was at home, I'd often end up starting what I knew I wanted to be the next chapter, whether or not I was done with the previous one. This led to me coming home, updating my writing file, finishing what hadn't been finished of the previous chapter, and trying to finish whatever hadn't been done of the chapter I'd started at work. Things got disjointed easily, phrases got reused far too often, and the whole thing felt like a mess. I didn't enjoy writing that way at all, even though it was a good way to boost my wordcount. So this year I'll do more planning and hopefully be able to avoid such situations in the future.

Of course, if I don't end up getting a job by November, this year may be a repeat of last year, where I met my 50k wordcount goal a little less than halfway through the money, and then couldn't keep myself motivated to write any more even though the story wasn't finished. Chapter outlines will hopefully prevent that from happening again too!
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
The building is still shaking. I was hoping that the deconstruction people would take the weekend off and leave me with a few days of stability, but I suppose they couldn't just leave huge piles of rubble there for two days. For one thing, the rubble is nearly blocking off the only entrance to the lowest apartment in the building. I pity them for having to pick their way around broken wood and glass shards in order to get to and from their home.

Rumour has it that the fire marshall told them they couldn't tear down that building in the way that they ended up doing, since it was so close to a lot of homes and would be a fire and damage hazard. Either they went ahead without approval, or argued the fire marshall down, I don't know. I'd say that they probably argued him down by saying that leaving the building standing would be an even greater fire hazard, but quite honestly, that building's been unoccupied and boarded up for the better part of a decade now, and there were no fires in that that thing during that whole period.

I admit I'm glad to see it come down, in a sense. It's been standing abandonned for so long, and had started to come apart anyway. But what really makes me uneasy about the whole thing is that they first had to clear it out before tearing it down. I don't just mean getting rid of any fridges and stoves that may have come with the apartments in the first place. I mean removing couches, beds, and even toys. It was like everyone got evicted overnight and weren't allowed to get their stuff. I'm sure there are some situations that might warrant that, but I can't imagine what they would be. I know if I was told to get out of my apartment and not come back, and no I didn't have time to move all my belongings, I'd be kicking up one hell of a fuss and wouldn't let it go without a fight.

Very strange.

But since the shaking can't stop me from getting done what I need to do, I've already washed a load of dishes, will wash the other load later, and I plan to make a vegetable stew for tomorrow's supper. (Tonight Rei and I are going to a friend's place for good food and company.) We have carrots, potatoes, and parsnips that need to be used up, and some onion and garlic that will add a nice flavour. I'm tempted to tweak the recipe and throw in the leftover bits of turkey that are still in the fridge, which will make it not-a-vegetable stew, but the turkey does need to be used up soon and this would be a good way to do it.

We've still got a lot of potatoes that need to be used up soon, too, so I'm tempted to experiment with dehydrating them. That way they won't go to waste, and next time we fancy mashed potatoes we won't have to go spend money on buying a new bag.

Of course, I haven't dehydrated anything just using the oven before, so it'll be an adventure. I'll probably try that on Monday, and make that day a kitchen day or something. If I'm not cleaning, I'll be cooking. It'll be the day before my EI money comes through, too, so it'll be a good time to take stock of everything that's in the kitchen, use up what I can before it goes bad, throw out what I can't use (or get stuff together to donate if it's still good but I can no longer tolerate eating it), and make sure I don't waste any of the money I get. I may find enough food to be able to put off grocery shopping for another week, if I'm a little creative with what I make.

Rei and I have been amusing ourselves at night by watching a few episodes of Ranma 1/2 before bed. I'd watched some of it before, at the old anime club I used to belong to in high school, but the club was disorganized and would pretty much just show random episodes from random anime, with no continuity at all. Thus I hadn't actually seen much, and had never seen the beginning. It's fun to take a bit of a nostalgia trip and watch really old stuff every once in a while.

And as a last piece of news, I have a job interview tomorrow morning. Yes, on a Sunday. It's a little unusual, but I guess it's the only time that was available, and I don't mind things being a little unorthodox. The interview's for a job as a night auditor in a hotel I'm actually rather fond of and would enjoy working for, so once more, my fingers are crossed and I'm hoping that they want to hire me.

Ah, let me be very specific here. I'm hoping that they want to hire me and don't demand ridiculous forms of identification in order to do so. I've already had that headache, and I don't fancy reliving it. I have enough rent money now for a few months (thank you, very old tax returns!), but the sooner I get a stable job, the better!
sarasvati: Greyscale image of Sae, from Hidamari Sketch (happy)
I walked 2 miles today to get groceries. There's something to be said for not having a bus pass when the weather's still decent. Thing got kind of tricky to carry back, though, as I overestimated my strength and ending up buying a little too much (I'd forgotten, until I was there, that I need more dish soap and eggs), but I still made it back before my lungs burned and my muscles ached.

I love getting stronger! I'll be doing the same walk tomorrow, too, even if I don't end up carrying back as much.

Sometimes it's scary to think that even a year ago, that walk, even in very mild weather, would have left me wheezing and tight-chested, and I'd need a while to recover before I could go out again. Four or five years ago... I'd probably need to bring my inhaler with me and take it at least once before the walk was finished. My lungs have really gotten better in the last few years, and I'm loving every second of sweet delicious oxygen!

Health-related stuff. )

There's a turkey roasting in the over now, stuffed with homemade stuffing (leftover bread that's going a little stale, sausage, and onion), and it should be ready for Rei coming home from work. We bought it last night, taking an impromptu trip to the grocery store to grab a few things, and they had whole turkeys marked down to an incredibly low price. The one we bought was originally $37 and was reduced to $11, since their sell-by date was today, and they wanted to get them out of the store. No problem for us, since a 5.5 kilogram turkey will make an excellent couple of meals, and the price was too good to pass up! what we don't eat for supper tonight or turk into sandwiches tomorrow will be made into turkey sausage balls for later consumption, and since it also came with the neck (stuffed into the body cavity, which I always find weird), I suspect there'll be a nice turkey broth in the making, too.

Carrots, potatoes, and probably peas will be done up closer to the time the turkey's done cooking.

And we have delicious ice cream for dessert!
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
It's a beautiful day outside! It started off chilly, cool enough to really make wearing my new autumn coat feel really good, but it's warmed up a bit to a more comfortable temperature. But underneath the warmth, there's still that bite of autumn's chill on the breeze. It makes me feel refreshed, and makes me want to get in the kitchen and cook all sorts of delicious things.

Which is exactly why I went out and bought another bag of beans today, and a ham steak. I wanted to get bacon, but the store only had Ready Crisp bacon, and that wouldn't work very well with the beans, so I settled on the ham. It was a good price, and will add some tasty flavour to tomorrow's bean supper.

I love that Rei likes the beans that I make. They're incredibly cheap ($1.28 per pound of white navy beans), filling, and tasty. A pot of them costs less than $5 to make (including the tomato soup and the meat that I usually add), and will usually do us both for two meals. When money's tight, it's hard to get much better than that.

I expect we'll be eating a lot of beans this winter, too. The heating vents in the apartment don't actually go into the kitchen, so if we want to keep that part of the house even tolerably warm, the oven has to be on for a long time. No better way to accomplish that than by making baked beans, unless, of course, I'm also baking bread!

Or baking anything, really, but I do need to get more practice with my bread recipes, so this winter will be a great chance. Helps to warm the apartment and keep us fed!

I've been feeling the urge to do some embroidery again lately. I've got a half-finished cross-stitch butterfly pattern that I need to find and get back to, since it'll be a Christmas present for Rei's aunt this year, but until I can be arsed to find it, I'll work on a needlepoint kit that my mother got me ages ago but I have yet to do more than just look at. I haven't done needlepoint before, but it looks simple enough, and I can't imagine I'll have too many problems with it. My only complaint is that I don't like the stiff canvas that it's done on. I much prefer the pliability of Aida cloth or evenweave fabric rather than something that feels all plasticky without being actual stiff plastic canvas. I'm one of those people for whom textures can make or break a thing.

But I'll try to get used to it, since I like the pattern and want to actually complete it some day.

I'm thinking of doing some cross-stitch Christmas/Yule cards this year, too. I like making my own cards, and doing so can keep me amused for hours. Drawing, painting, stitching, you name it. I haven't made too many, mostly owing to the fact that I keep forgetting about such things until it's too late, but maybe this year I'll try to get a head start on them. Even if I only make a few embroidered cards and paint the rest, that'll be something.

That's another thing that fall weather does to me! It gives me a great burst of creativity!
sarasvati: A picture of a sign featuring vegetables and the text, "Welcome friends, I am POTATO." (I am potato)
In an effort to keep from buying food and then forgetting about it until it goes bad and has to be thrown out, I'm trying to make more trips to the grocery store more often, but buying less at a time. I buy food for a few meals in advance, and with luck and diligence, this will help cut down on waste and thus cut down on cost.

So today I bought some cans of cream of mushroom soup for the chicken-and-rice casserole I plan to make tonight, as well as some potatoes for croquettes, and some smoked salmon to go in onigiri. Carrots too, and some small bags of dried apricots and mangos that were on sale for half price.

Tomorrow I'll probably pick up more milk, yogurt, and butter after I go to the gym, and probably some eggs too.

Rei's been going on about the baked beens I made a few nights ago, but I don't think I'll be making them again for a while. Not because I didn't like them, but because the weather's still too hot to be using the stove for 5-6 hours a day. Maybe in the fall, and definitely in the winter.

So while the casserole is baking, I think I'll break out the rice cooker and make those onigiri tonight, and surprise Rei with bento for tomorrow. I know he'll get a kick out of that. Onigiri, carrot sticks, leftover casserole, and some dried fruit will do nicely, I think.

Have to remember to change the bedsheets and pillowcases before tonight, too.

I really have turned into a happy domestic lately. Got the cooking groove going, and I'm actually enjoying cleaning, so long as I don't do much of it in a day. And when I take a break for some online TV, I'm now sewing a new skirt for myself, since my current one's so full of holes that patching it properly will practically involve me making a whole new skirts anyway. And contrary to what I would have thought only a few years ago, it's all fun!

Maybe I should get married and be a housewifehippo. Or, you know, not. I'll just stay unmarried and keep being Rei's househippo instead. :p

Or would I be a housetater*..?

* For the curious, I frequently refer to myself as "tater". It started when I was trying to find a gender-nonspecific "parent" type name, to use for myself when referencing my cats. (...Quit looking at me like that.) I took the T from such gender-neutral words like "they", and then with root words like "mater" and "pater", decided that the best one for me would be "tater."

Which makes this sign just that much funnier!


sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)

August 2011

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