Sunday, January 30, 2022

Oranges to Juice: A Photo Essay

During orange season, which runs roughly November to March or April, we go to the grove and buy whatever varieties they have (it changes all the time).

You start with this:

Cut them:

Look at this one, so pretty in the middle:

Next, squeeze them, which brings us to this: 

And voila, delicious juice!

So good, you won't believe it's good for you.

Friday, January 28, 2022


We aren't getting the foot or two of snow that's hitting the northeast this weekend, thank all gods, but we are facing colder weather than south Florida has seen in over ten years. 

Which means, yes, it's falling iguana weather. You've been warned. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

A (Partial) Month of Lap Maggie

Sometimes I think back to when I was looking for a cat, and specified that I wanted a lap cat. Maggie certainly came through on that!

January 1, morning and night:

January 2:

January 3:
January 4:

January 6 (the 5th was the worst day for my bee-stung toe, which is probably why there are no lap pictures that day), morning:

And not on the lap, but come ON:

I missed the 7th, too; it was quite a week. January 8:

January 9:

January 10:

January 11:

January 12:

January 13:

January 14:

January 15:

January 16:

January 17:

January 18:

January 19:

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Four Books I Already Know I’m Buying in 2022

I do buy books, oh yes I do, but my first line of action (level 1) is always the library. I have neither the shelf space nor the budget to buy everything I might want to own; better to borrow it and find out if it needs to be with me always. I love the library.

For that matter, I have a pre-library step in most cases (level pre-1?). Using the power and might of Amaz0n, I frequently look a book up there and check for the “Look Inside” flag over the cover image. Not all books have that feature, but many do, and I can read the first few pages and see if the style suits me. How many books, after all, have I picked up, started, and not liked? This method cuts down on that.

So, if I’ve read a little and want more, I’ll get it from the library. Some of those I start but don't enjoy enough to finish (level 2), and some I am interested enough to finish, but no more (level 3); if I finish it and have to own it, then I’ll buy it (level 4). Once in a while, a level 4 book is so good, I find myself ordering the author's next book without even bringing the library into the equation (level 5).

Then there is a short list of authors whose new books I preorder without hesitation, that I know I just will want, period (level 6). And when I say a list, I don’t have a literal list, but I know them when I see them. 

For instance, Patricia Briggs comes out with a new one every year, in one of her two intertwined urban fantasy series (Mercy Thompson, and Alpha and Omega) and I buy it, period. Hers usually come out in March, but this year’s, Soul Taken, has been pushed to June, so a bit later to wait on that.

A newer entrant to my list is Katherine Addison, who wrote the fantasy novel The Goblin Emperor, which I adore (the audio version is so well done). I also really liked the not-a-sequel, The Witness for the Dead, and now she has a sequel to that coming out, The Grief of Stones, also in June but a week before the Briggs comes out.

Last year I read a new author, Everina Maxwell, and loved the fantasy/romance Winter’s Orbit so much that the not-a-sequel to that went right on my buy list. Ocean’s Echo comes out in November.

On the same day, in fact, as Freya Marske’s sequel to A Marvellous Light, which I also adored (though let me point out that, as the NPR review mentioned, "the sex scenes are spicy and don't fade to black" so if that's not your thing, pass on this one). Edwardian England plus magic and mystery plus romance? I fully expect A Restless Truth to be just as good, and I can't wait.

If they both arrive on time, I don’t know how I’ll decide which to read first. It’s a good problem to have. 

Do you read a lot? Use the library, buy, or a combo?

Saturday, January 15, 2022

No Lift

Our building is over 30 years old, which naturally means there are things that are going to need updating. One of those is the elevator, and as we live on the sixth floor, you can imagine that we are in favor of them doing whatever needs doing (and particularly before the elevator breaks down). Unfortunately, the nature of the fixes involves the elevator being taken out of commission.

They had originally planned to do some work last August, but supply chain delays meant that didn’t end up happening. More recently, we heard that the work would be done in two pieces, with a shorter outage (about two days) to replace the pump as soon as it was in, and a longer outage (possibly two weeks, ugh) in spring or summer, doing I no longer remember what-all. 

So on Monday, there was a sign in the elevator that said the first one was happening this week, and the elevator would be out of commission on Wednesday and Thursday, sorry for the short notice. I had a chiropractor appointment on Wednesday, so I changed that to Friday (ominous foreshadowing).

They weren't here first thing Wednesday, but mid-morning we were told that hey, yes, they’re still coming, on the way, but it might go into Friday now. And Wednesday late afternoon, yes, they’re coming tonight to remove the pump, replacing it Thursday.

Thursday morning’s update was that they came the night before but didn’t realize they needed a lift to get the pump in/out of the elevator room (no one noted there are stairs? really?), so they would be starting Friday and finishing Saturday.

Friday morning, they were actually here! Which of course meant that I was climbing the stairs after my appointment, huff, huff, huff (my knees hate that many stairs).

This morning, a neighbor told us that they heard that they had to order a part…and were “hoping” the elevator will be working again on Monday.

This afternoon, official word: they had installed the pump and it didn't work, so they need to have engineering figure out what part isn't working in order to fix it. And of course, Monday being a holiday* will probably complicate things**.
*Before this, I was pleased that Monday is a holiday. Of course, I usually like living on the sixth floor and having the view, too.
**This is the part that kind of broke me. I've head a moderately bad headache all day and this just had "final straw, time to lose your shit" written all over it.

So: further updates to come, but meanwhile, who wants to place a bet as to when it will really be working again? 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Deep Thoughts

Such a pretty girl. 

Frogging, Five Years Later

I have lots of knitting projects that are in limbo, put aside for one reason or another and sitting there, ignored while I do other things. This doesn't greatly concern me, to be honest: I haven't run out of room yet, and there we are.

Recently, though, I thought of a certain project out of the blue--seriously, no idea what brought it to mind--and felt calmly confident that no, I'm never going to pick that back up, might as well frog it and move on.

The pattern is called Farfalla; I bought the yarn for it in 2017, cast it on in 2017*, discovered it was not social knitting (still in 2017), and, well. It's 2022 now, isn't it?

*Where in a touch of ominous foreshadowing, I wrote, "This is going to be fun." Narrator: It would not be fun.

So I pulled it out, contemplated it:

And returned it to the state from which it came.

Felt pretty calm afterward. It's nice yarn, it should get another chance.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Manatee Boat Tour

(My foot is doing better. As confirmed by Doctor Maggie this morning: she usually rubs on my feet but has been avoiding that foot recently, and this morning she was back to it, so it must be healing. In fact, Wednesday was the low point, and although Thursday was a bad day for me, that had more to do with work than foot pain, so yay for that. As for the steroids, I have had a few moments of rage that even I could tell were out of proportion, but nothing too scary, and I take the last pill Monday morning, so it seems to have been worth it.)

So, back to the story! We took a boat tour when my brother was here, a new one to us, that all-but-guaranteed we'd see manatees. I have caught tiny glimpses of manatees on other boat rides, but more of the "oh, there it was, did you see it, oops it's gone now" variety than actually clear sightings.

Ready for the photo dump? It was a beautiful day. 

This company does small groups, not all on one bigger boat, so it was just us and two other people on the boat (which probably had room for 8-10 passengers). The captain was informative and very funny.
I also thought it was nice that they gave us polarized sunglasses to wear; they made a surprising difference in the glare off the water! I might have to get some of those.

A little hard to tell, but there's a bird on the dock in the middle of this.
Headless bird.
See Santa's sleigh and the snowman on top of the boat? 
And now it's time for the parade of gators. Apparently they were all up warming themselves in the sun. The idea of stepping out to your yard and encountering these creeped me out.

Oh, and three, above and parallel to the water.
There were more, but those are the best photos. They're not small, are they? Good thing none of them moved suddenly, I'm sure I would have embarrassed myself by jumping (not off the boat, just startling away from the motion).

Next we started looking around for the manatees. Which at first involved studying the ripples and shadows.

Fruitlessly at first, but then, hints.
Ah ha! A mother and baby, he said.
See them?

It was pretty darned cool. Even though that day was when I got stung by the bee, it was still a good day.