Working Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I am now officially invigorated by fall, or at least the approach to it. The weather here has been paradise–seventies all week with balmy breezes–and I survived another birthday, so all is well with the world. And I’m finishing up my two current crochet projects (the monster shawl in Blackstone Tweed and the Suncatcher in Hawthorne) and getting ready to dive into the dozens of projects I started and then lost interest in or just lost. Also have a new idea that might solve my white board problem. And I got two full year calendars, one for house projects and one for writing. And I put up the last of my wall organizers in my living room that is now my office. I am on fire, I tell you. Plus Nita. Argh.

What did you do this week?

52 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, September 18, 2019

  1. I’m making a slapstick, which is a percussion instrument used to make whip-crack sounds. Professional ones cost $18+, mine will be $5, because I got the wood free from Home Depot scrap. $3 for the hinge, and then because I don’t own a drill and don’t feel like getting one just yet, $2 for a pack of nails to substitute for drilling pilot holes.

    Meanwhile, an artificial intelligence attempts to make crochet hats: https://aiweirdness.com/post/187489831262/first-there-was-skyknit-now-theres-hat3000
    I find it utterly delightful that, after this, its attempts to generate degenerate fanfiction erotica would degenerate into generating another crochet recipe.

    9+
    1. That was fascinating, especially the way the computer thinks, and how it put crochet into the erotica it wrote afterward.

      5+
      1. It seems that the machine learning done to figure out vocabulary/grammar patterns doesn’t carry over learning math patterns. It couldn’t figure out that the number of stitches in a row should stabilize after a while, only that numbers were increasing in the beginning.
        (And every student who is good at English OR Math says “well, yeah.”)

        5+
    2. That is so cool! And it reveals a universal truth: “The tiniest instability turns exponentially into yarn-eating disaster.”

      8+
    3. It’s an odd coincidence that you’re making a slapstick. My dad has been making one for the last week or so. He’s actually making three – one in ebony, one in mahogany and one in pine. It’s a real project for him, but it keeps him busy!

      4+
      1. I’d be interested in how the sound differs between the different woods. (I’ve heard that oak is the idea, and I guess it makes sense that the densest material would provide the most solid sound.)

        3+
        1. I just joked that he could choose the wood that best matched his shoes. 🙂 But I’ll ask about the sound.

          4+
        2. I asked my dad if he noticed a difference in tone. His reply:

          The answer is yes, the two that were present at practice, because I just finished them, same size slapper the Mahogany one was the most mellow, The other, pine had a sharp crack

          0
          1. Yeah, the one I made had a lower pitch and “rounder” sound than the professional ones. So it seems that the selection and shape of the wood makes an important difference!

            Makes sense to me that the pine would have a sharper sound.

            0
  2. ARRGH. We have rain. And more rain. And -yet again- more rain. This is payback for all summer when everyone else was having storms and hurricanes and tornadoes and we were having weather in the 70’s and low 80’s and I could not post because it would have been smug. Ahh well.

    This week I have been dusting my reference book case (hundreds: travel, gardening, history, cartoons) and sorting books to get rid of some and make it more useful. I am done and I actually got rid of 6 books. Go, me.

    11+
  3. Yes, those zeros do tend to pile up and the day after is like that wasn’t so hard was it. A very happy belated birthday to you, Jenny.

    4+
  4. Speaking of work, does anybody here know a good freelance editor for fiction? Asking for a friend. (No, really asking for a friend, I don’t need an editor yet.)

    4+
      1. Copy edit and “minor stuff;” I don’t know what “minor stuff” is so just go with copy editor.
        And thank you!

        4+
  5. I’m flying to Las Vegas for a romance writing workshop tomorrow!

    We have to submit a story when we arrive, and it has to be set in our current place of residence, so I’d love to hear any more autumn details from people. Right now, I hear a cicada. It’s not hot in Eastern Ontario (11 degrees Celsius is 52 Farenheit), but the cicadas are still chugging!

    5+
    1. The thing about autumn is that it’s more of a feel than a look. It doesn’t look that different around here (northern NJ) but the day temps are all in the 70s now and the air is crisp not muggy. And nighttime temps are in the fifties, which, since we’re not used to them, feel like snuggly weather, get the extra fuzzy blankets out, curl up with a cup of cocoa weather. (By winter, temps in the fifties will feel balmy.) It’s just paradise weather. Never uncomfortable, always comforting in that warm breeze sliding over you way. I love September. Best weather ever.

      10+
    2. Fall is food to me. This week was moving away from French Vanilla creamer to Pumpkin Spice for my one cup of coffee treat a day. Also cinnamon goodness. Crispy mornings I start out the day in long sleeves and might change two more times is as the day warms up. The sad part is when the boats are pulled from the bay and loaded up into trailers to be put into storage. They’ll be hauled right by my house and some of them are so big the workers that are riding on them have to make sure they are beneath the wires strung up along the street. Like a parade it’s awesome.

      5+
    3. Location; Portland, OR but this hold true of Seattle too. Generally, on good days, it’s low 70s and the mornings start out with a light overcast or fog, especially near the water. Then it burns off and it’s all intense blue sky and puffy clouds. Right now it still is summer and nothing has changed color. By October it is the same as above but really fantastic colors. The mix of all the different deciduous tree colors with evergreens is wonderful. On regular days it rains. When we moved here 35 years ago in October it proceeded to rain every single day for about 45 days. Last year we barely had rain until late November.

      After all my bitching this morning, the rain has blown away, the skies are blue and colors are intense, almost shimmering in the clean air. Lawns which have had a week of steady-to-torrential rains vary from emerald green to british racing green. Everything is in jewel tones.

      5+
  6. I’m at physio waiting my turn.

    It has been a nicely productive week. We made sausage on the weekend and cut up a giant piece of meat steaks. The shed was cleaned. Yesterday the town had a toxic product round up so I took a bunch of crap to that including some CFL light bulbs that have been hanging out in my house for 7 years. We took bottles to the depot ($47 in returns!), made a dump run, and tidied up the yard.

    I have to move some dirt into flower beds and add mulch before I go away for the weekend because we are forecasted for 1 cm of the S word (not sword). Yup, an overnight low of -1 is coming.

    We had a nice visit with friends on Sunday and ran errands in the city. I’ve been going to the paint nights run by a company called Yaymaker and went to one last night. They are fun and have inspired me to start painting on my own.

    When we get home from physio, I am waiting for the therapist to be done with Paul, we have a plumbing and heating guy coming to see about installing our tankless water heater and a new heater in the garage.

    Fall is a busy time.

    6+
  7. https://www.instagram.com/p/B2j3QSIgrzY/?igshid=1wftwb1r4f4jy I’m trying to keep myself together. Had a stomach flu, made them add Vitamin C to the IV for immune boost. I must’ve needed it badly, my ahem, pee ahem, was not orange after. (I taught all the grade 1s to 3s I’ve taught to say urine and urinate!) 😁

    Trying to make healthy comfort food choices. Not doing too badly. Chai is very comforting. As is soup, and oats.

    6+
    1. Acquaintance “Uther Pendragon” (not the worst pen name) writes a series about Bob and Jeanette Brennan. They, after years of trying, have a single daughter named Cat for short. Bob would normally just say piss. Jeanette doesn’t like very many Anglo Saxon words outside the bedroom, so Bob has taught Cat to say “Micturate.” Bob is a Doctor of History, and a complete smart-ass sometimes.

      2+
  8. Happy belated birthday wishes! I’ve been missing for a while and didn’t realize. Hope it was a good one!
    Autumn has finally come to California. At least we’re feeling the change this week. Next week could be another story. With it being darker at 6 am, and the night temps being cooler, I’ve gotten up late twice this week. I’m usually at the construction site by 7:30. Fortunately, the roofers who were supposed to arrive early today, did not show until 11am. When I pulled into the driveway I could see Max’s ears as he slept near the front window. So cute it made me smile. He adores that spot and loves watching the workmen. He’ll be one bored dog when all is finished and his supervising days are over.

    6+
  9. Working from home today, copy-editing bios for our next playbill. Pros: quiet, lack of distraction, pajamas. Cons: WHY CAN’T ACTORS CORRECTLY SPELL THE NAMES OF PLACES THEY HAVE WORKED?

    On a more fun note, finishing the first 10,000 words of a novel I’m ghostwriting today. I just have to make it through the day job first.

    7+
  10. Happy birthday, Jenny! Your living room is now the office? Oooh, sounds cool.

    Today an account exec called and I said, “How ya doin,” and after a split second we burst out laughing. All our clients have gone insane. It’s like playing ping-pong against a football team.

    Back to it.

    7+
  11. I’m back from two and a half weeks away and feeling tired – which isn’t logical. Went hunting for damsons yesterday, but the abandoned orchard has been fenced off so I had to leave them rotting on the trees and buy some instead. Both yesterday and today were spent plum-hunting, doing a load of washing, making a batch of jam, ironing and gardening. In between I’ve been trying to get some freelance work, but the promised abundance seems to have turned into a drought, which is a bit worrying.

    The weather here is crisp and sunny. I changed to my autumn duvet as soon as I got back, but am thinking of going for the winter one.

    6+
    1. Is it possible to ask the owner if you may glean some? When my SIL had a plum tree, she let people who asked pick the plums. Her stipulation was they could only do it if she was home because otherwise her neighbors, on seeing unknown people in her yard, would call the cops.

      3+
      1. Blimey. I’d expect the neighbours to ask what I was doing first! But this orchard is on an estate, and the ground under the trees is quite treacherous – there are all kinds of things in the undergrowth. So I daresay they’re trying to avoid trespassers hurting themselves. Once I got there and saw the new fence, I remembered I promised myself I wouldn’t go in alone again – I nearly had an accident when I was scrumping last year.

        Usually I ask around my local contacts to see if anyone has plums or damsons going spare, but I’d almost missed the season by the time I got back from holiday. (I did have a couple of pounds of damsons from my friend’s in Surrey.)

        3+
        1. Neighborhood Watch programs tell you to call the police if you see someone in the neighbor’s yard that you think should not be there but are not sure. Some people casing a place can be very glib but if they know that the police have seen them there and identified them, it may warn them off. Also, if you are older it is not considered advisable to confront a stranger.

          3+
          1. I don’t think our police have enough manpower for this sort of thing now. We don’t even have a functioning police station in Oswestry now (population over 20,000).

            0
  12. Loving the fall weather here but it’s going to get warm again soon. In the meantime, the shorter days and lack of rain means I can cut down on the lawn mowing. Yay!
    The bad news is, of course, the shorter days mean more driving at night. There’s always a trade-off.

    4+
  13. I’ve been putting long hours in at work, but I’m looking forward to stepping out this evening and feeling the cool crisp air that has made it down from New Jersey. The next several days will be glorious! I’ll probably regret that I haven’t yet brought in the house plants, but I’m hoping they can tough it out since we have a forecast in the 80s over the weekend.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been working on completing my organization of my craft / sewing room. It felt so good that I just had to sit down and put some quilt pieces together. If all goes well, I’ll have a border on it on Friday, and have it quilted on Saturday. Then I’ll put it in the State Fair in October. (I’ve put various articles into competition at the State Fair, because it is local and why not – it’s free to enter. It’s become a tradition now. )

    I did have a lot of assistance when I laid out the blocks to figure out the placement of colors:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2b4YZVh8BR/

    7+
  14. To me, autumn is movement, like Keats describes in his poem “To Autumn.” Summer kind of matures as harvests ripen and almost burst. I think my area is in that bursting phase now — goldenrod and wood aster have been around awhile, sweet corn and gravensteins are being replaced by pumpkins and macouns, and every day leaves are showing orange or red against the green. It will all continue through the beautiful, finite times of apple cider and falling leaves. Finally, the green will be gone, the trees bare, the light harsh. Instead of my southwest view over Pumpkin Hollow to Old Cricket Hill, I’ll have an almost 360 degree panorama of gray hills.

    I love autumn.

    4+
  15. I spent a long weekend working on my Bourbon palate in Louisville, KY! We visited six distilleries and tasted 25 different Bourbons. They also consider themselves a southern foodie town, so we had some excellent gourmet meals.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2jRMU7gLB7/

    Also, I have the next book in my historical romance series coming out next week, so working on all the marketing. This story has the charming cad hero with a dark secret. I’m excited to get it into readers’ hands!

    3+
  16. I notice the light in autumn. It seems bright, but I have to take my sunglasses off to see. School kids look excited but a little uncomfortable in new clothes and shoes. I kind of want a plaid skirt, knee socks and loafers. And new notebooks. But it feels autumn is climbing up a steep path to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years then…falling off the cliff of winter.

    5+
  17. I’m still working away at my sister’s shawl. I’m on the last ball of orange, though, so the end is in sight at last! The colours are great together, very much her style.

    My flatmates and I had a productive weekend of plant thievery as well. We took cuttings from some lovely perennials on a nearby street potted them up for our yard, and also started some trays of leafy greens. By the time they’re big enough to plant out, we should be past the last of the frost. Spring is springing.

    3+
  18. I’m working on fighting to be a bit more cheerful while living in a place I utterly loathe and despise. The climate here is just killing me. The suburban strip mall vibe is depressing. The lack of nature is so incredibly awful.

    I’m working on the house, trying to get it into a shape where we might actually be able to sell it and move to at least a slightly more interesting neighborhood. Where I could actually walk to shops.

    Meanwhile, my realtor seems utterly unable to come up with a guess as to what I could sell the house for, and the houses in the neighborhoods I’d rather live in are much smaller and much more expensive. I don’t mind smaller. But ouch, the prices!

    I’ve been advised that people in this market cannot expect to have an offer contingent upon the sale of their current home be accepted. But, I really can’t know what I can afford in a new home without having either a pretty good idea of what I can sell this one for, or having actually sold this one.

    How do people do this??? One person advised me to take out a bridge loan to cover buying the new place, and then carry two mortgages and a “bridge” loan for the new down payment, until I sell the old place. Then pay off the old mortgage and the new down payment bridge loan.

    That seems so crazy risky, especially, again, without a firm idea of what I could sell this place for!

    Ugh.

    1+
    1. When we were going to sell my MILs place we talked to several realators, two of whom did a comparables analysis. The prices seemed low to us so we spent days on Zillow and Redfin. (Be aware that Redfin – at least in our location – was always lower than current market). I think that Zillow was the one that offered a comparables option. It took us days because not all comparables were truly comparable but knowing the property we could assess for that. The price my husband arrived at as comparable was 10 percent higher than the realtors estimate (about $50,000). There were several siblings involved so we ended up compromising on asking price and offered it at $10,000 more than the relator advised. We actually were offered the price my husband came up with but it was with a developer none of us wanted to deal with. But the final price we accepted was $30,000 more than the initial realator’s estimate.

      3+
        1. Jesse’s advice is good.

          Before talking with realtors, I went through the past 3 years of house sales in my area. I compared houses as closely as I could (mine was unusually old) and decided pretty much what were the lowest and highest reasonable amounts I would get. Then I checked with real estate agents, chose the one who knew more than I did, and listed the house at $10,000 lower than his suggested price. (We’d already moved into a new house.) We had a full price cash offer that night. Losing the $10,000 was worth avoiding keeping an empty house on the market for an undetermined time.

          0
  19. I am almost 3 weeks into my new job and about a week from finishing the last project from my old one. I work 8 hours during the day and then go home and work another 4-6 in the evening. It has been a challenge.

    I am rediscovering (as I do with every 9-5 job) that I am an inveterate night owl and so not a morning person. It is physically painful to get up at 6:30am. And actually going to bed before midnight–how do people do it?

    Once the secondary project is done, I will be able to plan my life better–prep lunch the night before, force myself to get in bed at 10:30 or 11, etc. I hope!

    5+

Comments are closed.