Done!

Jul. 22nd, 2013 10:25 am
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (DeCordova Laura Ford Bird)
I finished up the leaf compost yesterday with another four hours of work.  So now I know it takes about 10 hours total to spread 10 cubic yards of soil.  The final third of it was easier in some ways because the heat was much less intense yesterday, but on the other hand, the pile had compacted a bit and gotten rained on a little, so it was heavier soil on Sunday than it had been on Friday.  I raised the overall level of the yard high enough that I had to shorten the downspouts.  I'm just so, so excited about my terra rasa!

I did end up with sun poisoning by the end of my work on Sunday, with big itchy rashes all over my arms and neck.  I wore sunscreen all weekend; I didn't get burned on Sunday but I guess whatever it is that triggers the rashes isn't stopped by sunscreen.  I'm still bumpy today but it's going down.  I need to look for some long sleeve gardening shirts.

We watched John Carter on Friday night.  I guess the movie was a box office flop, but it wasn't a bad film.  It wasn't a great film, either, but it was a solid piece of mid-summer hot night escapism.  The aesthetics were really perfect.  The set design and costuming looked like real labors of love of the original source material, because Barsoom and its inhabitants looked exactly as one would have wanted them to.  The character of Dejah Thoris was really well done, so much so that it occurred to me as I watched that I wished the story could have been told from her point of view instead of John Carter's.

Saturday we binge-finished The Fall, the police procedural set in Northern Ireland starring Gillian Anderson.  As I think I've noted before (if not here, then certainly in FB), it is very difficult to watch in parts, but it is truly a feminist crime drama, something really pretty unique.  The Prime Suspect series showed feminist thought in its portrayal of the life of Jane Tennyson, but The Fall extends that line of thinking from observations about Stella Gibson's life to the situation of women in society as a whole, with Stella clearly using her own experiences with the power struggles in the police hierarchy to understand what is going on in the killer's mind.  As much as Scully will forever hold an important place in my heart, this is by far the best work Gillian Anderson has done.  The rest of the cast is also very strong.  I was astonished to discover that the evil, bad, bad, bad murdering man is played by the same actor who played the Huntsman on the tv show Once Upon a Time, in which he was so nobly doomed.  It's been renewed for another series, which is great because there is not exactly closure at the end of this one.

I have heard that there is a deer and her fawn hanging out in the Cemetery.  It wouldn't be the first time, but it's unusual.  I'm sure they are hunkered down somewhere for the day, but it would be sweet to see them on my lunch walk...
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
I planted stuff in my balcony garden and it felt very very good :-)  One pot seems to have gone AWOL in the move, I hope it turns up as it was a nice ceramic one.  But I now have gazania (I thought I was buying a flat of multi-colored ones, but upon getting home I found they were all yellow--Yellow Kiss, to be exact--oh well, I guess they'll match the house), ornamental bacopa, cascade centradenia, moonflowers, morning glories, variegated purple petunias and basil.  Also there is a perennial that I brought with me from the old place in its pot, I forget its name but it's already putting out flowers, so it clearly likes its new sunny balcony location.  Much as I miss having a little bit of actual land to work with, I do have to say it was nice to be able to buy full/partial sun plants, and not just shade loving ones.  Due to the timing of my zipcar rental, I ended up going to the garden center for all this stuff in the rain, but I am feeling so satisfied now that it was well, well worth it.

Last night I conked out on the couch sometime between 11 and 12.  Mathew woke me up at 1 to go to bed.  I got up at 8 to take care of Sissy and had a half hour coughing fit.  Took a couple of ibuprofen and some children's benadryl and slept until 1pm.  I'm not sure how much sleep that amounted to in total, but I feel so much better today than I have all week.  Still a little congested--and this very delicious hefeweizen isn't helping but gosh is it tasty)--but I feel kind of almost normal.  Not great enough to go up to Darq in Salem as I had hoped to do, but hopefully by tomorrow I will be in good shape for the social events of the next couple of days.

ah cool breeze, you are lovely...
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
  • Sissy continues to do well.  Her belly was shaved for her ultrasound, and so we can literally see her tummy starting to fill out again.  Ianto is chugging along too.  Both of them were frisky and affectionate this morning, which makes it awfully hard to go to work ;-)
  • Why did I never before know how awesome foundation brushes are?  I bought one recently for my stage foundation, which is rather thick and wasn't going on well with the sort of sponge I usually use, but I will now use it for my every day foundation too.
  • I want to arrange my own belly dance intensive for myself by taking a week off and assigning myself a different batch of DVDs every day.  I've got all these wonderful DVDs that I never have the time to work with, and others that I'm interested in buying.  I think the only way to get to work with them is to make the time. 
  • On a side note it is increasingly frustrating not to have my own studio space in the apartment.  Some nights I get home from work and I feel inspired to work on dance all night, but I really can't, not without exiling M from the living room, which usually means he'll play guitar in the study, but even with the guitar on headphones, the strings still make enough noise that it's really distracting and the general circumstances are enough that it makes it harder to concentrate.  It's a no win situation.
  • I usually don't mention fiction books that I am reading here because I go through genre like junk food, but I came across an author recently who bears noting:  Mark Del Franco, who in his Connor Grey series writes about an alternate present in which the land of the Fae collided with the world as we know it in the 1900s and profoundly affected socio-political history ever since.  Best of all, the series takes place largely in Boston, so there's that thrill of recognizing familiar places.  There's one section about downtown in the middle of the night that is just perfect.  The Fort Point Channel area is a huge Fae ghetto in his books.  The hero is a Druid, so a Fae sort of human, who has fallen in some particular ways that I will not spoil and as a result earns his living consulting with a local cop on cases involving Fae.  It reminded me a bit of the Dresden File books, only much, much better written.  Totally recommended and I'm looking forward to reading more.
  • That Ron Moore pilot-without-a-show Velocity is airing tonight on Fox.  Oh Fox, why do you treat genre so badly when it has done so much for you?
  • Weeding last night in the garden revealed a hitherto unknown bumper crop of mint.  I see mint juleps in my future, say 8 or so hours from now!  I also found much parsley scattered all over the place, which is odd--it's never grown well for me, and now all of a sudden it's everywhere, even popping up between the cracks in the concrete front steps.  Tis not mine to wonder why, tis but mine to make chimichurri later this season!
  • I got nuthin on the recent celebrity deaths, except to say that I am of an age where of course I wanted to be a Charlie's Angel when I grew up, so that makes me a bit sad.
  • dark chocolate Reeces Peanut Butter Cups are evilly addictive.
  • June was a month of intense extremes of good and bad.  I won't be sorry to leave it behind.
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SYTYCD

Jun. 26th, 2009 11:55 am
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
dancey dancey dance )

The first morning glory of the season was out in bloom as I left for work today--I think it was greeting the return of the sun.  Certainly made me feel rewarded for weeding after I got home last night!  I don't know for sure, but I think some of the moonflower seeds that never came up last year might have sprouted this year.  Not all of the vines have the same sorts of leaves, some of them are solid colored and some of them have faint spots.  I guess I'll just have to wait to find out.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
  • Caprica:  A+!  Still dubious about how the concept will spin out into a series, but enjoyed the premiere episode that's been released on DVD very much.
  • Gardening!  I bought mostly purple plants, even their leaves.
  • Mother's Day:  much being busy!  Fun though.
  • Wrentham Outlets: somewhat disappointing in terms of the bargains to be found, but I did really well at my new favorite store, White House Black Market, where all the clothes are black and/or white.  Finally I have found clothes made for grown ups that totally suit my style, and I know I will like the color ;-)  Did well at the Jockey outlet too, though I expected that.  The Hot Topic outlet was ridiculous, clearly it was the junk bin and that's saying something when talking about Hot Topic merchandise.  In light of South Park we were amused by the wall of Twilight stuff.
  • Found truly waterproof foundation that works well for my skin, Make Up Forever's Face and Body Foundation.  Reviews online complain about it being lumpy and hard to remove, but I think those reviewers do not read their product packaging, which clearly says to shake well before use and that water-based makeup removers will not suffice to remove it.
  • Watched "Wounded Knee" on American Experience and recognized someone I knew in Chicago who had always said he had been at the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 but I was never sure whether to believe him or not.  It was definitely him, though, and as he's dead now (bar fight) I feel very badly for having doubted him.  I'll do something appropriate in his memory the next time I have the opportunity to do so.  It's an excellent documentary.  I felt like I knew a lot about that time period and the politics involved, but I was surprised by some things, and hadn't made the connections between other things before.  I think it's something every US citizen should watch, to understand these things about their country.
  • Off to see Star Trek at the Imax now!  Whee!
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
The thought of going to the plant nursery and picking up herbs and annuals is far more enticing than the thought of going to the laundromat and watching our comforter spin in circles.  Leaving the comforter at the laundromat while buying plants isn't really an option, unfortunately--maybe if I had a car, but not when traveling by bus.  Decisions, decisions.  I have to do some housecleaning today too, as we're having my parents over tomorrow for a belated mother's day dinner.  Oh!  I should go to the plant nursery, because then I could get my mom a planty present!  All I could get her at the laundromat would be boxes of cheap detergent.  Then again, if that's my plan, then perhaps I should go to the nursery tomorrow so whatever I get for her is nice and fresh.  Plus, there's the Preakness to factor in.*

I picked up my new costume from the post office yesterday and it is stunning.  The photos at the website didn't begin to do it justice; there's fiery green metallic foil throughout the fabric and it sparkles even when you walk by it in regular lighting.  It will be dramatic under stage lights.  It is as expected a couple of inches too long, so I think I will have our local tailor's shop do the hemming for me.  I want to roll up the excess material rather than cut it, and I think doing that with slippery stretchy fabric is beyond me and my sewing machine's abilities.  There's also a couple of rhinestones missing, which I think is inexcusable for expensive costumes, but I've got an email into the Belly Dance Shop to see if they have any extras.  If they don't, Playtime is a Swarovski dealer so I'm sure I can find something close enough there.  For some reason the waist strap is enormously long, it goes around me one and a half times, enough to make me think that perhaps part of it is supposed to go somewhere else, but I can't figure out where.  But all these things are trivial--I'm enormously pleased and can't wait to wear it!

Thursday at the Athenian Corner made me realize how much I really, really miss performing regularly.  I don't think I can reasonably commit myself to more performances yet (and I promised myself not to take on more obligations before a show at the end of June), but I'll be raring to go once my foot is under control!

*an autopsy was completed on Eight Belles, btw.  There were absolutely no pre-existing conditions or any discernible factors that could have led to her fatal accident.  The owners and trainers are sensitive enough to public opinion that they ordered complete drug screens, etc on her.  The article I read mentioned that horses with her long, low running style have a tendency to trip over or knock together their own feet, and it's thought that this is what happened to her, combined with extremely bad luck in how each foot landed as she tripped.  So, while there are lots of reasons to criticize horse racing, her death is really not a rallying point for that, and I plan to watch the Preakness.  Think about this--the more people who watch racing, the greater the public scrutiny of the sport, and that's a good thing.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
I can't believe I just harvested another pesto batch's worth of basil from the garden at the end of October.  But as I'm about to have some for dinner, I guess I'd better believe it!

Ran through my set for tomorrow--oh how I love Saad, I love him as much as he loves his donkey.

I managed to do a bad thing to my knee yesterday, not by dancing but by shifting my weight on it while sitting in a chair.  I heard a loud POP when it happened and today my knee is sore and swollen.  I fell up some steps on the T yesterday so I have a huge bruise on my other shin.  I think I should start wearing a big padded suit so I will stop hurting myself.  At least I was able to dance today without too much pain in my foot.  I think wearing my bloch foot thongs actually helps to stabilize my foot a little, but I don't know if I can bear to wear them while performing, they are so very not pretty.

Huh, just realized I forgot to put the parmesan in the pesto.  Oh well, it's better for me that way anyway.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
We went to Bernie and Phyl's and bought a coffee table, that's how exciting it was!  I suppose it sounds more exciting if I note that coffee tables are now called cocktail tables.  Or perhaps not.  We won't have it for a few weeks but it's going to look very nice.

Then we went to Naked Fish where I had some swordfish whose flavor was utterly muddled and suppressed by its panko breading, but the balsamic glaze, tomatoes and olives it came with helped compensate somewhat.  It's not good when the taste of your fish makes you instantly think of meatballs.  It wasn't awful, but it was one of those "what was the chef thinking" kinds of dishes.  I think the chef was thinking panko is trendy.

Afterwards we watched Hot Fuzz, which was not very good as movies go but was nevertheless Totally Awesome and thus tremendously enjoyable.  The cinematography was oddly brilliant.

I'm glad I did all that weeding yesterday but my sinuses are suffering for it today.  The good thing about procrastinating on weeding is that there are fewer plants to pull up, as the large ones have killed off the smaller ones.  The bad thing is they are larger so they tend to fight back.  I note that the peppermint that did not thrive where I planted it is now coming up between cracks in the pavement in the surrounding area.  Oops.  I suspect I may have infested the neighborhood.  I was happy to see that the scrubby juniper bush, which was looking very unhappy last summer, looks very happy this summer.  Maybe it does well in the years that the lilies do poorly, and vice versa.

Time to dance, do yoga, shower, eat, pack my stuff, get purty...  I'm dancing at 10:40 at the Middle East tonight, should dear readers happen to be in the area.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
Words can hardly express how happy and relaxed these cool breezes make me.  I got up this morning, walked to Alewife surrounded by butterflies and the rustling noise of the wind in the reeds, prowled unsuccessfully but enjoyably around Central Square looking for a black chiffon skirt*, and then spent a very productive hour at the Dance Complex working on my diva pageant stuff.  I decided to really run with the golden era film thing and liked what I saw in the mirror with that as a guiding visualization, so I'll stick with it.  I also ran through my set for the Middle East tomorrow night, which includes Fatme Serhan's Taht al-Shubbak.  That's the first time I've ever danced it in front of mirrors, and I had no idea how much I really try to channel Dina when I dance to it--not her choreography as such, just her style of interpretation and movement.  But that's just fine with me :-)  Throughout my practice session I was smiling happily, just having fun dancing in the pleasant air after a good night's sleep.  A perfect little moment in time.

*Teddy Shoes now carries some belly dance stuff, I think they're getting it from Anatolia Imports--somewhat pricey but if you need something in a hurry, it's worth checking out.  Great Eastern Trading Co. had a black chiffon skirt made by Shadia, but it was a smidge too short for me, enough that I knew I wouldn't be happy with it, plus it had a wired hem, which I do not want.  Goodwill had a skirt that I almost could have cannibalized for its outer chiffon layer, but it had a pattern on it that I thought would clash with the dress I want to wear it with.  Oh, and Ten Thousand Villages did not have seed pod rattle anklets, although they had actual rattles.  But I had fun poking around in all those places. 

Now I am going to weed the garden--hurrah!  I am somewhat afraid that at this point I will be disrupting ecosystems by removing so much greenery, but none of it was supposed to be there in the first place.

bpal

May. 31st, 2007 12:03 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
Got in some new imps, so a new batch of reviews will commence.  Today is Jazz Funeral, "Considered a great honor, this is one of the most distinguished aspects of New Orleans culture. Its roots lie in the customs of the Dahomeans and Yoruba people, and is a celebration of both the person's life and the beauty and solemnity of their death. The procession is lead by the Grand Marshal, resplendent in his black tuxedo, white gloves and black hat in hand; almost a vision of the great Baron Samedi himself. The music begins with solemn, tolling dirges, moves into hymns of sorrow, loss and redemption. When the burial site is reached, a two-note preparatory riff is sounded, and the drummers start the second-line beat, heralding the switch in music to joyous, upbeat songs, dancing, and the unfurling of richly decorated umbrellas by the “second line”: friends, family, loved ones and stray celebrants. Strutting, bouncing, and festive dance accompanies the upbeat ragtime music that sends the departed soul onto its next journey. Bittersweet bay rum and a host of funeral flowers with a touch of graveyard dirt, magnolia and Spanish Moss."  I like this one.  It does have a dusty dried flower/earthy undertone with a rich but not sweet predominant overtone somewhat like good pipe tobacco.  It's a little manly but I don't mind being contradictory.  And yes, I'm already looking for a scent for my Voodoo Dolly piece in October :-)

Yesterday and the day before was Bastet, "Bast, Ubasti, Ailuros, Ba-en-Aset. Represented as both a domestic cat and a fierce lioness, she truly evidences traits of both. She is the Mother of All Cats, Goddess of Sensuality, Fertility, and a guardian and protector of women. She is also one of the Eyes of Ra, and in that aspect is an Avenging Goddess, seeking retribution and punishing enemies of her people. Luxuriant amber, warm Egyptian musk, fierce saffron and soft myrrh, almond, cardamom and golden lotus."  Doesn't that sound amazing?  It does to me, as those are all scents I like very much, but unfortunately this perfume disappeared on me in short order, leaving just a very faint musk behind.  Even sweating in dance class on Tuesday and gardening on Wednesday did not bring it out.  The reviews at the BPAL forum tell me I'm not the only one on whom it fades, but other people really like it.  Disappointing, but some perfumes just do that on some skin types, it might work fine on other people.

Planted basil last night and I swear it was bigger already this morning.  I'm glad it gets some gentle weather to acclimatize to its new location.  I also started a big container of curly mint, added some purple ageratum to the front tier of the yard and a couple of lilies of the valley.  Those last are perennials, I'd like to fill in the lower tier a bit with things that can fight off the vinca vine.  Ideally there would be a plant that blooms with little machetes and wages war on the vinca vine as it flowers, but I suppose I'll have to settle for something hardy and better adapted to that particular location.  It will make me sad when we eventually have to leave it all behind, but I'm enjoying it now and I know the landlord appreciates that he doesn't have to do anything about the yard so we get brownie points. 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
Finally, I have attacked the garden and more or less won the battle against the creeping vinca vine.  The great thing about vinca vine is that it covers a lot of ground and chokes out most anything else that might grow there, so it leads to a low-maintenance yard. The bad thing is that it doesn't just stay where you want it to, but rather tries to take over the world and in the process tries to choke out all the other plants in the yard.  My poor lavender was being engulfed.  But I have freed them all, and hopefully can keep up with it throughout the summer.  I also uprooted 5,072 (an approximation) of those damn ornamental onion things.  They smell like onions when you pull them up.  I think the little onion root balls catch a ride on the vinca vines in order to spread around the yard.  I planted basil and parsley; I've never had much luck with parsley, but I've never tried it here before so maybe this time it will work out.  And what else...  I planted a hyacinth M's mom gave us at Easter, and some fuschia and purple petunias with lacy veinwork all over the petals.  I definitely noticed a difference in my ability to garden comfortably thanks to these months of yoga, extra flexibility and core strength is a good thing when weeding.  Last summer, 2 hours of that would have had my lower back aching but right now it feels pretty good.

Now I can relax for the rest of the day, maybe do some light yoga later to make sure I don't stiffen up after the yardwork.  It's a good way to end the weekend.  Friday night's show with Najmat's class was fun and a good bonding experience for all of us.  I was able to see most of the dancing that came after us; it was a great mix of all kind of stuff, hula, Balkan folk dancing, modern dance to Radiohead, all of those different oddly named modern dance things, a karate exhibition, and I finally saw Shakti's tribal group.  It looked like most of the women were pretty new to dancing, probably the first performance for most of them, but it was still neat.  Not very high energy, but perhaps that could be put down to the group's inexperience.  I had hoped to have a chance to chat with her at the reception afterwards, but she cleared out right after her performance.   The reception was nice, I had a chance to catch up with a couple of people I hadn't seen in a while, and meet some new people.

Yesterday was the Kentucky Derby and a very fine race it was.  I think it was probably the most satisfying Derby I've seen in years, where a very talented horse runs a very powerful race and wins authoritatively, no luck or chance about it.  One has cautious hope for a Triple Crown... In an unrelated development, I made the best mint juleps I've ever made.  I can't find a muddler anywhere, but I improvised with the wooden handle of a spoon and it made a big difference.  Using nice bourbon undoubtedly helped as well.  At the Derby, they were selling $1,000 juleps as a fundraiser, in gold-plated cups and sterling stirrers with boutique bourbon, ice from the Arctic, mint from Morocco and sugar from Barbados.  Their version was more like a slushy and didn't have club soda.  I bet mine tasted better!

Yawn.

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