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Na-na-na-na na-BAT BAT

Warning: the below contains frank discussion of cats being tiny predators, and also sometimes dumbasses.

Also, while I cannot find this in my posted blogs, I wrote this in mid-July of this year, so if you have read it before, a), I apologize, and b), please let me know.

Na-na-na-na na-na-na-na na-na-na-na na-na-na-na…

🦇

Continue reading

Brewfest, a late-posted Blog Post

This weekend  September 28th was Brewfest. 

I got a little behind in posting these.  Oops!

“Is Brewfest just Oktoberfest with a fedora?”

“It’s more like… Oktoberfest without a hat at all.”

That being said, around here, Brewfest, at least the one we go to, is at the Boathouse, which used to be Thee (yes like that) Amish Market and is now a nice combination of a brewpub on one end and a flea market/craft store on the other end.

With your ticket, they give you a little 6-oz mini “pint glass” and 12 tasting tickets.  Continue reading

Dollar General, a blog post

This is a little outside of my normal blog topic scope, but today I am going to talk about Dollar General, specifically Dollar Generals opening in poor rural neighborhoods.

There are lots of articles about this.  I mean lots.  Dollar General actually has a practice of opening (to quote one blog post, “where Wal-Mart won’t go,” which makes the pundits talk about “shutting down Mom & Pop stores.”

Which – might be true in some places.  I don’t live in an urban area right now, although I know that most of the grocery stores left downtown Rochester when I was a teenager.  Your options are the corner bodega, the one sort of sketchy Shur-Save, or take a bus (or drive, if you can afford a car) out to a Wal-Mart or a grocery store on the edges of the town.

Where I live – Where I live, there’s not even the old half-carcass of a former grocery store.  If you want groceries, you drive/take the bus into town.  Or you buy them overpriced and stale at the gas station – which is what a lot of people I ride the bus with did.  Continue reading

Apple-Picking

So, the first year we were in our house, someone came onto the property and just started picking apples.  Claimed they knocked, but T. was in the garage and they didn’t, say, leave a note or anything, they just started picking.

T. told them to Get Off My Property and, as far as we know, they’ve never come back.

I giggle about this sometimes.

Couple years ago, this guy who looked like a hipster except with a thick Eastern European accent stopped by and wanted to photograph our tree.  I told him only if he took some apples. 😉  He took like three reusable-shopping-bags worth and came back later for more.

Last year, a nice guy brought us a gallon of cider BEFORE he started picking apples, and brought us some maple syrup too, and then more cider.  Took a lot of apples – we did not have any shortage, let me tell you.

Just got a note from him the other day and, in addition, there’s a nice older lady who stopped by with her grandkids to pick some apples.  Hooray!  I am super thrilled by people who come to me to get apples.  (Especially when they leave cider behind).

But only if they ask first.

Or, you know, happen to bike by while we’re picking apples.

Or come with a good recipe for something we haven’t done with apples yet.

(And we still have more than enough for ourselves, let me tell you, even without breaking into the weird apple trees in the hedge row).

Also, tonight for dinner: Kale Apple Soup.

Bright Lights, Small City (a blog post)

I’m generally the sort of person that likes to have plans, well, planned out well in advance. 

But sometimes a friend drops a link in your chat box and says “do you guys want to go to Binghamton tomorrow?”

And… well.  It looked good  — the link, the hanging out with close friends, the relatively short drive (1-½ hour or so).  And we didn’t have anything urgent to do that Saturday, and…

So we drove to Binghamton. 

Binghamton is… well, let’s start.  NYState is in the Rust Belt, which I’m sure you know if you live around here.  It has a lot of remnants of former glory — for instance, I grew up in (near) Rochester, which is the birthplace of Kodak, Xerox, and Bauch and Lomb (film cameras, photocopiers, and eye care/vision enhancement).  You can see not only, say, the Eastman House (George Eastman founded Kodak) but the old Kodak building, the Xerox tower, the great mausoleums for all these people, then Gleason (works) and Strong… hold on I need to google… oh ha.  Henry Alvah Strong, first president of Kodak. Via Helen Strong Carter, his daughter, First Lady of Hawaii in the early 1900s, go Rochester. 

…Strong Museum of Play, it turns out, is a totally different Strong family.   Continue reading

Blog Post: Eseme Visit (and Bullet Journals)

This weekend marked our new tradition of Eseme visiting me for a long weekend each year.  

(Last year was mid-July; the visit before that was several years before and I don’t remember quite when)

It was an awesome visit, of course!  Es and T and I went to Thai Thursday night in Watkins Glen because it was first day of classes for the Uni I work at and, well, that’s not a great day to be downtown in MY town, so we went the other way.   Then we hit one of my favorite ice cream places (also in Watkins Glen) and headed home to decompress (me) and not be driving (Eseme).

(Eseme lives nine hours away from me.  I cannot even IMAGINE driving nine hours on my own.  I don’t even really like driving FOUR hours on my own to see my friends in Troy.) Continue reading

Blog Post: Four is Too Many

Yesterday, I did not bring a cat home.

This was… tricky.

One of my co-workers brought four kittens into work.  They were *tiny*, and my only picture is pretty blurry, but they’d been abandoned under her porch and she was taking them to the SPCA.

You could hear them (down the hall, around the corner) in my office, and their little squeaks and cries just hit me in the gut.

They weren’t cuddly; they were scared and crying and altogether not interested in bonding, and that was probably the best thing, because, well.

We have three cats. Continue reading

Toilet Troubles, Grilled Cheese, and Garlic

 It’s possible that I mentioned that we got a water softener a little while ago. 

And by that, I mean my mother, sick of me putting it off, found a plumber in Ithaca, picked out a softener, had it installed, (SCHEDULED the installation), and paid for the whole thing. 

Um. 

Sometimes I manage to stop Mom from getting carried away.  Sometimes. 

Not always, clearly. 

So, the problem was, before that we’d installed a toilet. 

And hard water – and our water was both orange and REALLY HARD – and toilets are a bad combination, it seems.  Our toilet wasn’t really flushing the way it oughta anymore. 

So we took the tank off the toilet and scrubbed iron residue off of every bit we could find, put it back together – nope . Still not working. 

That means, as far as we can tell, that the problem is in the bowl, probably in the interior bit where the water swooshes around before shooting into the bowl proper. 

Thus, tomorrow or Saturday I’m buying a new toilet.  Le Sigh. (by the time this posts, I may have already bought one.  Still Sigh) Continue reading

The Wild Kingdom of House Thorn and Cat-nanigans

This weekend, we had one of those heart-stopping moments, and we had only ourselves to blame. 

Actually, that happened twice in the last few days, one far less bad than the other, and only myself/ourselves to blame in both cases.

So, Sunday, we were hanging laundry, so we let the boy-cats out on the patio, as we do sometimes.  They can hang out there and eat grass (their favorite activity) and roll around on the concrete (second-favorite activity) for 10, fifteen minutes and all is right with the world. 

Except T & I got distracted talking about which trees we were going to prune.  We headed back to the house – and Oli was looking guilty and Theo was nowhere to be seen. 

I wasn’t worried right away. Theo likes to hide under the lilac near the corner of the house and sniff out chipmunks. 

No Theo. 

No Theo under the car, behind the heating-oil tank, under the patio chairs.  Continue reading

Blog Post: What an Old House (Attic Edition)

We’re still on the attic… of course we are, we’re going to be on the attic forever…

Well, okay, maybe not forever. 

It stalled for a while, due in large part to a combination of physical and mental illness on my part, but we’re back!

And we’re making things I insist on calling keystones, even though they’re not nearly that important.

We took each rafter (the things that go /\ to make a gable roof) and we “sistered” a long 2×4 to the bottom of it, to provide depth for insulation and some extra structure (considering that the rafters are… not as deep as they oughta be, no matter how long they’ve lasted.

But these /\ joins are in many cases imperfect, so now, with the aid of a hammer, a chop saw, and a sander, I am taking little wedges of scrap lumber and gluing them in between the / and the \ where they meet. 

This means that any pressure from the sistered rafters will have something to push on, rather than just pushing into the air (If the rafters have pressure going –> that way or <– that way.  Pressure going up and down is handled by glue, nails, nails, glue, and three braces nailed to each rafter & sister, and side to side by braces nailed between each pair of rafters)

(we have probably doubled the structure of this attic, to be honest) 

So the process goes: note a measurement on a scrap of lumber, cut the piece, fit, sand down, fit, sand down, fit, glue, hammer into place… repeat.

This is really not that time-consuming a process; I think sweeping down all the cobwebs from the roof took longer. 

But man does it involve a lot of up and down on that step ladder.  

Next after that: framing in the tiny bit of ceiling /–\ that we’ll be putting in there — just enough to put in some new lighting once this is done. 

It’s starting to look a lot like attic….