darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Today I nudged my bedroom project past the point of no return: I completely emptied what's left of the closet. There is no rail, there are no shelves. No hooks, no drawers, no bedside tables, no reading lamps, and no horizontal surfaces left in the room except the bed itself.

I have no clear idea of where I'm going to sleep when that goes. )
darkemeralds: (Monsoon)
This is what the porch is for.
Looking out from an old-fashioned front porch at a damp front yard towards the street in Northeast Portland. A big red bike and an empty flower pot are on the porch
A still, damp, cool early evening in September. An armchair, a book, neighbors walking their dogs or riding their bikes...

...and cats.

Ivy and Graydie's battle of wits )
darkemeralds: Image of an open book whose pages are turning into wings and flying away (Winged book)
Five things on a Sunday night )

Back to work tomorrow. Work is evil. I can hardly wait for the Singularity.
darkemeralds: (Cat)
As I sat over coffee this morning with my mom, yapping about my trip (from which I got home late last night, and about which I hope to do a bit more writing soon), the piteous crying of a cat gradually impinged on my awareness.

Rescue! )
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
Crossposted from [community profile] shutterspeed

The last of my neighborhood purples. In order to continue the challenge for the rest of the week, I think I'm gonna have to pile up all my purple possessions and find ways to photograph them.

Is that saffron in the middle? )
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
  • Wonderful: Scale shows a reduction for the third day in a row
  • Fabulous: For kicks I tried on a pair of Land's End straight leg jeans in size 18 tall, to measure how many more inches I would need to melt off to button them. None, apparently. I'm wearing them now.
  • Not bad: this damn cold has sloped off ten times faster than it sloped on and I'm feeling mostly human today
  • Very good: I came home last night to find that Leroy, the neighborhood handyman, had been by to complete a yard task that he began about a month ago, and while he was here he fixed the flat on Clyde's back tire! (Poor Clyde has been flat for a couple of months because I hate changing the rear tire). It was such an unexpected gift!

So next we're making a family excursion--sis and BF, mom--to Ikea for some kind of little shelf on which to display my Fibonacci plates. And it's not even 11:00 a.m. yet.

Excellent Saturdays FTW!
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
There's an itinerant guy who comes around from time to time and offers to wash my windows. I'm both lazy and guilt-wracked, so though he does a crappy job and likes to hang out and tell more hard luck stories than I need to hear, I say yeah, okay, wash the windows, and I pay him something.

He disappeared for a long time, and showed up again a few weeks ago with more hard luck stories: deaths in the family, the need to take both of his children in a Greyhound bus all the way to Upstate New York where there was a small inheritance awaiting him. I helped him with his bus fare, though it was after dark and thus not a good hour for window-washing.

He just turned up again. This time he had a truly wonderful story--maybe I heard about it on the news, he embellished. Someone offered him a hundred bucks to wash their car, so he had taken it to his friend's hand carwash and there discovered two bodies in the trunk.

Holy shit, said I.

He called a halt to the presumably accessory-after-the-fact activities of scrubbing evidence, called 911, and...well, I lost track of the rest, but after that he was robbed of his car, his $4000, and his window-washing equipment. So I gave him a bucket, some rags, some detergent and rubbing alcohol, and the thirty bucks in my wallet, and he cleaned the outsides of my windows--which is actually a reasonable deal.

Next he needed to use my phone. I'm very leery of people needing to use my phone, so instead we arranged a quick charge of HIS phone. He made a couple of calls of the "Hey man, I'm in trouble" kind, then asked me for nine more dollars because there's only one Trailways bus going to Salem today, and he's living in Salem now, and the fare is $38.

I gave him the four singles I had left, mostly to hasten his departure.

Then, because eventually I do remember what it was like to have addicts in the family, I got online.
  • There have been no bodies found in car trunks in the Pacific Northwest in the last week (or, as near as I can tell, in the last couple of years)
  • Trailways doesn't seem to operate out of Portland anymore
  • There are five Greyhound buses a day between Portland and Salem, two of them later this evening
  • The fare from Portland to Salem is about $14
I know. I know. This is why I developed a Secret Family Knock on the front door--so that I don't get suckered into this stuff.

On the plus side, my windows are noticeably cleaner.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
'Bout 1:30 a.m. last night I went out to get my sheets off the clothesline so I could make my bed and proceed to lie in it. There was a visitor.

Evil Zombie Raccoon Says Om-Nom-Nom )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Wow. That was...really dull.

Almost exactly a year ago, someone climbed in through my kitchen window during the workday and stole some stuff. The police came, got a good solid handprint off the kitchen windowsill, and eventually made an arrest.

Today was the grand jury, where I was subpoenaed to testify that I'm the victim of a crime and that there's something to prosecute.

Let me tell you, it is NOTHING like on TV. I entered a dowdy little 8th-floor room with plastic chairs and sad carpet. The arresting officer introduced himself, and in the chit-chat that ensued, he told me a surprising amount about the guy he arrested. Drugs weren't an issue in this case, he said; just plain poverty and young men's desire for stuff and the money to buy it.

Of dozens of this guy's victims, I was the only one testifying because my house was the only one where a clear print was lifted, making mine the only charge the guy pleaded guilty to.

I swore to God (it wasn't worth the trouble to make the atheist argument) and answered three or four questions about the burglary--did I know the guy and had I ever let him into my house? (no, and no.) How did I know I'd been robbed? (Interesting question, when you think about it.) What was taken? (Computer, camera, cash, jewelry.) Did I call the police? (Yes.)

And that was it. Thank you very much. We'll subpoena you again when the trial begins.

So that's that. And I have tomorrow off! Yay!
darkemeralds: Photo of duct tape with caption "May actually prevent head explosion" (Duct Tape)
This past week hasn't been my best ever, and I still have this grand jury witness thing in front of me tomorrow, but it was getting better, right? The sun came out, the temperature rose, Christian Kane tweeted that he was happy with the weather (I'm so relieved, Chris, really), and I headed home this evening in a moderately sanguine frame of mind.

I made a miscalculation on my bike and inconvenienced (I do not say endangered!) a motorcyclist, who laid on his horn and shouted at me. I shouted back, probably not my best move, but it doesn't take a lot to pierce the fragile veil of my newly-reinstalled calm. One of the things he shouted was, "I hope you make it home alive."

I did, and there was (perhaps ironically) a disc of Dead Like Me awaiting. I love that show--I find it heartwarming and soothing, despite the title and subject matter, so, fairly useless for anything else, I sat down to mass-consume all four eps.

About halfway into the third one, I hear a screech and a crash-boom VERY near where I'm sitting in my living room, and, before I'm off the couch to look out the window, a whole lot of shouts and cries of "Call 911! Call 911!"

Warning: scene of accident depicted behind the cut. Non-grisly, no blood. Amazingly, nobody was hurt. )

The fragility of my nerves is a scary thing. One little personal attack and the edifice of my calm shivers and shifts dangerously. My mood is affected, my judgment becomes impaired--timing, sense of direction, depth perception, eyesight, hearing, the whole thing--so that I become frustrated, and more tense. I handle life's unrelated troubles--like my sister's accident on Sunday--badly, and feel more fragile, which leads to my making more mistakes, which bring more attacks, to the point where even something as random as a car wreck outside my house feels as if it were mystically attracted by this nexus of bad.

I must absolutely clear this state before going to court tomorrow. I really must.
darkemeralds: (Cat)
Glee made me cry. In other news, I like to eat chocolate.

(I want to make an icon with "Brunettes have no place in show business" on it. And was it just my lack of taste in dancing that made me think the dance accompanying "Bohemian Rhapsody" was stupider than most stupid things?)

I have nothing to say, so have a photo )
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
My nephew and I made Napoleons last night. See what I did there with the subject line?

I have conquered gluten-free puff pastry, you see. I had half a batch in the fridge (the first half having gone to make little test crackers), and I wanted to use it up before it went off. So I told my nephew, who's getting to that always-hungry age, that I was going to make Napoleons, and would he like to help out and then eat them?

"What're Napoleons?"

"They are delicious stacks of puff pastry layered with rich vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate-striped fondant."

Nephew, being a sensible boy who has been raised on good food, a) actually knew what I was talking about in that description and b) instantly perceived its appeal.

We ran to the store for a few things, then came back and he read me the recipe and measured stuff (in between playing with his iPhone and talking to me about Halo Reach), and by and by we had these sort-of Napoleons.

The pastry cream was too thin--more of a crème anglaise, really. We could not be bothered with fondant, so settled for powdered-sugar icing. The chocolate stripes were more like little blobs ("polka dots," we decided), and the result was incredibly messy and the portion had to be served in a bowl, with more custard spooned over the top to make up for what smooshed out upon cutting.

It was not photogenic, so I didn't photograph it.

But oh sweet mother of Jesus, it was delicious. The puff pastry (made from rice and tapioca flours, mostly) was absolutely perfectly croustillant--it crackled between the teeth with the most delicious crunch, and stayed crisp even in the face of the too-thin pastry cream. The pastry cream was rich and sweet and vanilla and cold. Eating this thing was dessert heaven.

Nephew and I each had a portion, then my 17 year old niece came over and she and I split what was left. She agreed that this was one of the greater family pâtisserie achievements ever.

Then I went to bed, and oh the dreams I had. The tossing and turning. The noise of my brain. I awoke this morning with a genuine, honest-to-badness hangover from the sugar. It took me two quarts of water, two ibuprofen, and two large cups of black coffee to begin to feel like a real girl again.

It's been a long time since I sugared out like that. Makes me realize how far I've come, because I used to be in that state, like, most of the time.

So will I be making gluten free Napoleons again? Oh hell yes. But I'll make them presentable, so that I can present them to others before they kill me.


Apr. 20th, 2010 08:53 pm
darkemeralds: (Monsoon)
Well, that was unexpected! I just had a knock on my door, and the guy who knocked said he used to be Sam the Stray Cat's person.

He told me which house they used to live in, and said that after two litters, Sam (who is evidently not a boy cat after all!) went kind of feral, and changed from a lap cat to a wild, untouchable thing almost overnight. She's been spayed (I figured--no pregnancy, which is kind of why I thought she was a he). She's about five years old, apparently, and has identical-looking offspring living around town.

Dean, the twin brother cat, was the neighborhood cat-bully, and not related as far as this fellow knew.

Sam--or Graydie, as he called her--ran away when they moved, about a year ago. They came looking for her for months afterwards, and left food near the rental house they'd moved out of, but couldn't spot her or get near her if they did. He's been asking around the neighborhood, and someone finally said, oh yeah, that big gray cat is staying with that big gray lady on the corner.

He was almost in tears to see her looking so well and actually wandering in and out of my front door as we stood talking. I was feeling strangely protective, and was sure he wanted to take her away, but no, his purpose in coming was to offer to help pay for her care and feeding, because he now lives where he can't have a cat.

Graydie seemed to remember the guy--at least, she let him pet her head, which she doesn't let anyone do.

So, it's not Sam-Sam-the-Kitty-Man anymore. It's Graydie.

Strange. Kind of nice.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
This is kind of unnerving. I came home tonight just before dark to find that the old dishwasher that I've had out on my porch for a couple of months had vanished.

There were dings in my front porch steps. One of my walkway lights was broken. And the heavy, awkward, ancient and not-that-functional dishwasher was gone.

Now, I'd been meaning to get rid of it as soon as I could work up the gumption to get it down the stairs and out to the street, so it's not like I'm sorry to see it go. Someone actually kind of did me a favor. But whoever it was came up to my front porch and stole a big old dishwasher in broad daylight and that's just disturbing.

Fire signs

Jul. 31st, 2008 09:32 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
After a whole day of stomping out fires at work, trying to meet a hot deadline, I'm getting a little late dinner onto a plate and anticipating a quiet, if short, evening.

My phone rings. It's my sis, [livejournal.com profile] avventura1234, who's had a call from some neighbors. They're out on the road. They've left their oven on, with a loaf of bread inside, and could my sis run over and turn it off?

Well, she's stuck at work, so she calls me. I put my dinner down and walk over to the neighbors' house. My niece and nephew are already there, and nobody can find the spare key, and [livejournal.com profile] avventura1234 is conveying messages from the neighbors during pauses in her busy work.

No smoke, no burning smell, and no way to get into the house, so we're about to wander off back to my dinner when my niece sees a fire--at a different house, three doors down. Flames erupting in a window box and licking up the porch post, ready to rock. We go flying over there, catch another neighbor, reel out a garden hose, and put it out.

Then my phone rings, and it's my sister again, this time with clear instructions on finding neighbor number one's spare key. We dash back and let ourselves in. The oven is on high, the loaf of bread is black and smokin', and we save the day AGAIN!


How much do we rule?

Looking up

Apr. 9th, 2006 05:07 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
One of my heroes, Milton Erickson (the father of American hypnotherapy and, as it happens, a sharer of my birthday), is said to have cured low-level depression by having the patient count all the chimneys on his walk home.

Erickson understood that the simple act of looking up altered the state of the nervous system, in some cases enough to break the cycle of depression. I've found it to be true, and it doesn't much matter what you're looking up at, though of course lovely trees and sky are nice.

Not wishing recent trials to send me into the Pit of Despair, or even the Shallow Gutter of Being More Bummed Out Than Necessary, I set out into the neighborhood today for a little eye-raising.

Rocky the Neighborhood Watch-squirrel says 'It's worth a try!' )

And you know what? It worked.

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