darkemeralds: detail of beaded purse, caption One Bead At a Time (beadwork)
Today my niece came and took away my collection of beads.

Farewell, my little beads. )
darkemeralds: Jared Padalecki laughing, with text MIAEL, Mine Is An Evil Laugh. (Laugh)
Good Halloween decoration? Or best Halloween decoration?

aka: The Unexpected Uses of High Technology.
darkemeralds: Healing hands with white, blue and violet rays of light (Hands of Light)
These are the days when I feel the need of soft, peaceful things. A cup of tea, maybe. Or cake!

Or, inasmuch as the weather took a twenty-degree plunge last night and it was pleasantly cool this morning, a couple of hours under the duvet with a hot latte and about five episodes of Dawson's Creek. That was fun.

Up next: fireworks. Oh joy.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Just got an email from Portland Fire and Rescue, urging us to have a safe 4th of July holiday.

The message points out that all but the most modest fireworks are illegal in Oregon, concedes that anyone can cross the river to Washington and buy as much explodey goodness as their little heart desires, then begs us all to consider the following, which seemed worth sharing:

Illegal fireworks cause:
  • Countless injuries including trauma and burns from unplanned explosions
  • Reoccurring trauma to many of our returning veterans suffering the effects of their service to our Country
  • Emotional trauma and anxiety to many small children and animals, who are especially vulnerable
  • Enormous property loss each year by causing fires to residences, landscape, and wildland
  • Environmental pollution, measureable in both air and noise

"Given the physical, emotional, environmental, and economic costs, as our population becomes more aware about these real consequences, it will become increasingly clear that illegal fireworks in the hands of amateurs is no longer a 'patriotic' act."

darkemeralds: Gina Torres and Alan Tudyk being hugged by Sean tMaher on the set of Firefly. Gina's smile is brilliant. (Alan Tudyk)
It's quarter after eight, the firecrackers have started up here in the neighborhood, and I'm spending my New Year's Eve on Restraint. I've decided to try to get it published, and began yesterday to tackle the massive rewrite that professional publication will require.

So, though I don't do New Year's resolutions, I do have a project and a goal for 2013. I'm hoping you'll all wish me luck!

And for my part, I wish everyone here a splendid new year. I've been less present in the LJ/DW 'verse than I'd like, but I follow a bunch of you guys on Twitter so I don't feel completely disconnected, and think of you way more than you might suppose.

Blessings and joy to all.
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
It rains here, famously, until the 5th of July, but this year it stopped a couple of days early, and the Glorious Fourth really is glorious for a change. Also, there's been a crackdown on illegal fireworks, so my street is peaceful.

Sunshine and no fuckin' firecrackers. It's awesome.

It's bizarre to have a Wednesday holiday, but I'm making the most of it. I got a couple of extra hours of sleep-, then deleted spam, fixed some DW settings that will hopefully end it, and turned a pair of boot-cut jeans into a pair of straight-leg jeans.

Now I'm decked out in red sandals, white chinos, and a true-blue shirt (three colors I never owned before Dressing Your Truth), because, what the hell. I also drank lemonade. Now I just need to bake a cherry pie (which isn't gonna happen) or make ice cream (which...might, actually), and I think my passport is secure for another year.

Is anyone else finding The Newsroom incredibly dull? I made it through 1.3 episodes and quit out of annoyed boredom. I was hoping for the kind of thrilling engagement I remember from the first couple seasons of The West Wing, and boy am I disappointed. How does such a great writer become so tedious?

Ah well. Happy Independence Day to my American friends.


Dec. 31st, 2011 10:48 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
One of my many sources of motivational and self-help material posed this good exercise the other day: sum up your year in a newspaper headline.

Mine was easy. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
After the little flurry of family angst yesterday, Christmas Day turned out to be perfectly splendid. The oh-so-casual beef dinner at Xmas-Sister's house was not only delicious (seriously, the best beef I've eaten in a long time, and home-grown green beans, plus mashed Yukon gold potatoes and a really good key lime cheesecake of which I had a sliver), but entirely relaxed and enjoyable, AND attended by all available local family members.

Technical difficulties )

I was dropping off the Zipcar by 6:50, so No-Xmas Sister and I went to have a look at some pretty Christmas lights...

Pretty Christmas Lights )

...and then I came home. I found a Hacker's Diet-compliant weight-loss tracking app for Android, and have been fiddling with it happily like a happy weight-losing geek all evening.

And to top it all off, I did not overeat today one bit. \o/
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
...Happy New Year, too.

Actually, there is no darling in my life unless you count this laptop, but that's my favorite pop Christmas song (Karen Carpenter had an amazing voice), and it sprang to mind, ironically, this crack-o-dawn Christmas Eve as I find myself in the unexpected position of juggling the family.

Family. I sweartagod... )

Damn it.

Merry Christmas, darling. Happy New Year too.


Nov. 25th, 2010 12:03 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
This morning, seeing that all the kool kidz were tweeting about what they're grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day, I added my 140-characters' worth:

Never sure, as an atheist, what to do w/Thanksgiving. I'm glad of so many things, but thankful? To whom? So will be gladder than usual today.

Possibly 140 characters aren't enough for a statement of a semantic stance: I immediately got some tweets in reply suggesting (as it seemed to me) that my gratitude-challenged nature is sad.

My argument, as I really did try to convey in the limited Twitter space, isn't against noticing and celebrating life's good things--or even against doing so an extra lot on one designated day of the year. I'm just trying to come to terms with the idea of non-specific gratitude.

Being glad of, versus being grateful for )
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
I got a Twitter this morning from a bike-program guy at my work, asking me if I'd like to drop by for Christmas brunch. I've met him all of twice in the bike-parking garage. So, what the hey! [livejournal.com profile] avventura1234 and I, looking for an excuse to get out and show off our Christmas-decorated bikes, Tweeted back "yes" and headed on across town.

It was the start of what has been my best Christmas in ages. GORGEOUS day, sunny and freezing with a bit of a wind-chill. The ride to the brunch was into the wind and up a slope, so being cold was not a problem. An interesting group was gathered to eat cinnamon buns and drink coffee at the home of a couple who have gone car-free. They had a parking lot in back for ten guest bikes!

When I got home, I spent two hours listening to my gift podfic from [livejournal.com profile] riverbella while putting together my potato dish for Christmas dinner. Taking everyone's brilliant suggestions into account, I wound up making the simplest possible gratin involving the greatest possible amount of heavy cream.

I pulled it out of the oven, wrapped it up in swaddling clothes, and laid it in my tea strainer* furoshiki, then pedaled furiously to my mom's house, where I was the last to arrive. Amazingly, the spuds were still hot when I got there! A standing rib roast was just coming out of the oven. We squeezed all nine of us around a couple of tables in my mom's small condo.

There were no gifts. No wrapping paper, no batteries, no excess spending, no concealed disappointments. There was just a delicious meal (the gratin was a smash hit), and passed-around phone calls from distant relatives. We don't even drink at family gatherings because of some alcoholism in the clan, so everything depends on laughter, of which there was an abundance.

On my way home, a small clutch of other cold-hardy cyclists came ching-chinging up to me with bells on and declared themselves to be Cycle Santas. They gave me a blue ribbon! Presumably it was for just being out cycling in the cold on Christmas night.

So, it was a winner of a Christmas. And now, eleven days of vacation.


*hat-tip to [livejournal.com profile] executrix and her vegetable Jesus heresy.
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
Usually I ignore Christmas as much as possible...

but it caught me this year. )

Merry Christmas, everyone!
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
A huge public thank you to [livejournal.com profile] executrix, who found me the perfect holiday gift, then made it better by adding something beautiful that she created with her own hands.

I can't believe it! I got home tonight to find an odd flat package on my doorstep. Peered at the return address label and recognized the RL name of [livejournal.com profile] executrix and, utterly mystified, I opened it to find...these! )

I have no clue what I did to deserve this bounty, but it's absolutely fantastic and I'm overwhelmed. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] executrix! Happy holidays!
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Dear Friends List,

Most of you are in the Northern Hemisphere, so happy Longest Night! And to my one or two Southern Hemisphere friends, happy Longest Day! I hope the snows clear, and in the meantime, I hope you're enjoying some quiet time.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it's doing what it does best: raining and being mild. There are very short days of rain, and very long nights of rain, but it's little, intermittent rain and doesn't prevent a person from going outdoors and doing stuff. It will rain for Christmas and probably rain for New Year's, and that's okay with me and Clyde.

I have a confession to make: Feedly, which I've been using--and fawning over greatly--as my reading aggregator, has a flaw. LJ doesn't feed friendslocked posts to it. I knew that. No feed reader gets flocked LJ posts. But Feedly is so pretty that I forgot.

So for about ten days now, I haven't seen a single flocked post. I'm sorry! Journals on my flist that are mostly or entirely flocked, I've missed you altogether. I'm playing catchup now.

Good Yule to everybody!
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Gah! It sneaks up on me every year. I need ideas.

As a single person with no kids living in a very small house, I ignore the damn thing as much as possible. I've never hosted a holiday meal, I have mutual-no-present pacts with all of my friends and family.

So when people around me start mentioning "Christmas" and "next week" in the same sentence, I'm invariably surprised.

But still, I do have friends and family, and they do like to sit down and eat together on festive occasions, and this year (next week...gah!) we're going to my mom's. I was going to volunteer a big pot of my fabulous-if-I-do-say-so-myself boeuf bourguingon, but my older sis was before me and trumped me with an offer of prime rib.

Younger sis then whumped me in the dessert category.

This leaves me holding the bag on some kind of potatoey, starchy side dish offering. Any ideas?
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Dear GOD this is delicious!

Tonight after work, with the cold and the bike-riding and my little incident earlier, I was in the mood for some comfort food.

So I made a beef Burgundy (well, more of a beef Bordeaux) from a recipe by one of those wonderful curvaceous women TV chefs--Nigella Lawson or the Barefoot Contessa or somebody, who clearly stole it from Julia Child: all cubes of beef and wine and bacon and mushrooms and carrots and onions and pepper and garlic, slow-cooked in a heavy pot in the oven. It just came out, and I am enjoying a bowlful of it now.

There's a loaf of ciabatta bread and some butter, and gosh, I wish I could share it with all of you--I've got a nice salad too, so the vegetarians could join us!

Thank you for my star cookies, [livejournal.com profile] sparky77, [livejournal.com profile] llaras, [livejournal.com profile] lambourngb and [livejournal.com profile] buffyaddict13. You've helped make the winter holiday season so bright!
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Aught Five was a pretty good year for me, containing as it did a couple of very colorful trips, some fabulous new friendships and the revival of some old, old ones; Monsoon, and the Bathtub of Resuscitation.

I haven't made resolutions in years and I'm not going to start now, but let me share with you a bit of Rob Brezsny's "A Prayer For You," which [livejournal.com profile] ilconditoreador sent me yesterday. (Don't worry. It's not religious).

It starts out 'I'm happy to announce that this is the perfect moment.' )

The whole thing is here.

Happy New Year, everyone.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Monsoon came back today from his long (but very comfortable) exile at my mother's house, and after a bit of a pout in the basement, seemed very glad to be home.

My Serenity DVD arrived this afternoon, and I'm going to make a new Christmas Eve tradition of watching it. With a shot of Laphroaig. And maybe some cake.

I hope all my LJ friends are enjoying as pleasant a holiday as I am. )

Okay, I'm cracking my bottle of Laphroaig and cueing up the DVD.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

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