madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Beware the Ides of March. (And while we're at it, what is it with the middle of March? Pi Day, the Ides, and St. Patrick all cuddled together. I'm trying to imagine a cake that would be appropriate for all three.)
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)

Well, here it is. The figures on top are Ruby and Sapphire from Steven Universe.

And a little closer view.

Finally, a view of the ritual disembowelment of the second (Gluten-Free) tier. Apparently the whole cake vanished in the night, into the mouths, one assumes, of all attending (I was out of there, with my auntie in tow, by 8).
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Julie and Joe Get Married

Despite cold and unexpected power outages, this happened on New Year's Eve. It was perfectly wonderful, and now Julie and her Beau, Joe are married. I'm going to lie down, at least until tomorrow morning when I go to work...
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
So my daughter is getting married tomorrow afternoon. Outside (in December in Northern California, that means a balmy 40-50 degrees. The bridal party will wear parkas) at the home of a friend. In order to do it all as cheaply as possible (their choice--they're poor as church mice, and every time we point out that the Parents of the Bride traditionally carry many of the costs, they say "but still..." which is noble but occasionally annoying, as I've had to reassure the kid over and over that the costs she's incurring are reasonable and well within tolerances, etc.).

But of course I'm making the cake. Which is actually three cakes, in order to meet the dietary needs of all parties: the top tier is vegan (lemon, with "vegan lemon curd" filling and vegan lemon "buttercream" frosting), the middle tier is gluten free (chocolate, with dairy-free "buttercream" frosting), and the bottom is spice cake with rum buttercream and no freedom whatsoever from eggs, butter, or other traditional ingredients. All three tiers are, as of this writing, made, frosted, and ready for stacking (on little pillars which will keep the various tiers from cross contamination). I am still figuring out how the hell we're going to transport the tiers to the site and keep them chilled (probably just leaving them outside over night will do it).

My refrigerator is a jumble of things shoved where things do not normally go, in order to accommodate all that cake. And I keep thinking that if I'd had more leisure to make it beautiful I would have done so... but I may have reached the limits of my skills.

It's cake. And frosting. It will taste good. That's the important bit, I think.

And at the end of the day the really important thing is that the kid is getting married, and a long and goony life extends before her with her sweetie.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
A joyous feast of the sun's return to one and all.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Now we are sixty-five, and we're clever as clever
So I'm eligible for Medicare forever and ever,

(apologies to Pooh, Christopher Robin, and A.A. Milne)
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Having rooted around fruitlessly one day this week for my vanilla (and finally going to buy more at the currently insane prices) I of course discovered half a bottle. Which moved me to clear out the three shelves above the stove where bottled condiments and spice jars to large to fit in my spice drawer live.

Lessons learned:
• I really don't need to buy broth cubes of any flavor for a long while.
• I have at least a decade's worth of various sprinkles and cake decoration stuff, all of which is going away because I'm not sure of the shelf-life of dragees (those little silver balls) is, but I'm sure 10 years is pushing it.
• I must have stopped using artificial flavorings some years ago, because there were a couple of bottles of stuff that had simply evaporated.
• Consolidation is a good thing.

I wish I were more organized about this sort of stuff, but at my august age I think it is wisdom to simply shrug and admit that I'm not.


Aug. 5th, 2018 09:12 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
The museum where I work being a small business, our cash register is an iPad, which we use both for ticket sales and for sales in the gift shop (two different systems and two different dongles, but that's another, and uninteresting story). We have a wonderful small exhibit in the front of the museum on cookbooks; it's free to the public, so people come and go. This has not been a problem--most of the time when there are people in the museum one of us is at the front, watching the shop and being available for questions etc. But sometimes you have to run upstairs or something.

On Friday a guy came in--respectably dressed, seemed interested in the show--and stole the iPad. Because of the two different dongles etc. it was not in the dedicated Square stand, which plugs into the ear-jack but leaves the charging port (where the Eventbrite dongle plugs in) blocked. All this is by way of explaining why the iPad wasn't somehow locked down.

We have ordered a refurbished iPad, remotely locked the stolen one (with a message from me if thief attempts to use it that says "You have stolen this iPad. It is locked. If you'd like to return it..." and our address. We won't get it back, but I found it remarkably relieving to write) and notified the two sales services. All is slightly inconvenienced, but on its way to well.

But I reflected, on my way home yesterday, how glad I am that my life is such that I don't have to steal small things that won't realize much in the way of money, just to survive. Some of that is on me, but some of that is simply really good luck. For which I am deeply thankful.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
I love watching fireworks. I really do. And I haven't seen them in years. Because Dog, see. Throughout the day, as neighbors let off Bangs and Percussives, Emily walks around the house with an increasingly haunted mien. Briefly, during dinner, she came over to offer her toy to Lev, Becca's sweetie, who is with us for the summer (Lev plays soccer with Emily, and she has adopted him as Hers). But otherwise, unhappy dog . And as night drew in, and the neighborhood bangs became more frequent, she wandered from room to room looking for a place to hide herself. When taken out for her evening walk she refused to perform her necessary functions. We watched The Producers and made room for her on the couch, offering to be a familial Thundershirt, but even that didn't work for long.

And then the real fireworks down in the Bay began. That's the point at which Em crawled up between us and allowed herself to be aggressively cuddled.

Today she has a fireworks hangover. Poor pup.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Jeff Sessions is being tried by the Methodists with a view to throwing him out of their congregation.
Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled out of a Mexican restaurant.
I keep sort of wondering/hoping if we're drawing close to a Greg Stillson* moment for the Current President.

Maybe I'm overthinking this, but one can hope.

*Dead Zone reference
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Last night we met a couple of friends for dinner at a really fun restaurant called Whitechapel that looked, fittingly, like a Victorian basement, and specializes in gin drinks. I had a flight of gin and tonics (house, Italian, and French) and the fish and chips (because fish and chips need no explanation in my book).

Then we went on to see a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and after that, a Q&A discussion with John Cleese, hosted by his daughter Camilla. Which was wonderful. When Cleese laughs (which he does often) it takes over his whole body, and his forehead turns bright red.

Highly recommended. And thanks to Sandeep and Leslie, who got our out of the house and having actual fun. Must do more of that fun thing.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)

Last year somehow the electronic pipeline between our accountant and the IRS got hacked. After several months of back and forth establishing that 1) we are who were say we are; 2) our identities do not appear to have been endangered; 3) it was really okay to send us our refund, the ruckus died down.

Then it was late October and I was informed that the deadline for filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for Becca's school was NOVEMBER 1st. So I started the online process. At some point, rather than filling in all the financial stuff yourself, you're supposed to click a little button which will let the IRS pour the information from your last tax filing into the FAFSA. Only, because of the whole identity theft kerfuffle, the button doesn't work for me. So I scramble and get a copy of our tax return (did I mention I was down in LA with my aunt during this?) and fill in the information requested, and push the SUBMIT button just before the deadline, and we all relax.

Then, earlier this month, we get a notice from the Kid's school's Financial Aid office. They need me to push the IRS button. So I go back to the FAFSA and try again, and the little button -still- doesn't want to work for me. I call the Financial Aid office, explain the problem, offer to send them a copy of the damned tax return--but that doesn't work, because anyone can fill in a return, but if the IRS supplies the numbers then they're guaranteed official. I must call the IRS. Specifically, I must call the Identity Theft Department of the IRS.
Here is where some will accuse me of fantasy, but I swear to God, it's all true. I called the Identity Theft Department, and got a lovely woman named Gloria, who painstakingly established my identity (after all, I could be anyone over the phone), then heard my tale of woe, and said the IRS would be happy to send an official transcript of our return. It would take 5-10 calendar days, no charge. Did I need anything else? Well, then, she was very sorry that we'd had this problem with identity theft, and hoped I had a good day.

The transcript arrived tonight. I will forward the thing to the Financial Aid office. What interesting paperwork will the universe demand of me next?


Jan. 12th, 2018 07:58 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Last year our accountant's link to the IRS was hacked, or might have been hacked, or something. Which meant that even after our taxes were e-filed, we had to go through a massive back-and-forth to prove that we were us and the taxes were our taxes and so forth and so on.

Enter, some months later, the FAFSA (that's Financial Aid Federal Sucks Air out of the universe to you), for which I devoutly hope this is the last year we provide answers. THere's a cunning little button that will automagically fill in your tax return numbers in the FAFSA by direct link to the IRS. Unless, of course, there's any question about the verifiability of who you are and who your taxes are and so forth and so on.

I filled in the numbers manually in October. The financial aid office at The Kid's school alerts us that it is not, alas, complete, because they don't have the link to the IRS info and and and...

I foresee a good deal of time on the phone with the NCF Financial Aid office AND the IRS and possibly with FAFSA as well. It is, as they say, to weep.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
When your name is Ma_eleine an_ you frequently go by Ma_, a keyboard malfunction can be paralyzing.

Just, as the young folk say, sayin'.

Why, Hello

Dec. 12th, 2017 07:39 am
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
I have derelict, but things have been a bit more whirl-windy than usual.

Danny's mother died last week--she was 94, she was tired, and she lost her most beloved husband last year, but still. Everyone is coping as well as could be expected--or perhaps a tad better. Meanwhile we survived our 20th (I think it's 20th) holiday party, gave most of the leftovers to the kids (Sarcasm Girl and the Fiance, who come in to SF every weekend to work the Dickens Fair at this time of year). Last night we got to go to an employee screening of some movie with Luke and Leia and a cast of thousands. Further I am enjoined from saying until Friday, but I enjoyed it... and wept at the end when the dedication to Carrie Fisher came up.

We will not speak of the political landscape. I Have Opinions, but in the main they are similar to the opinions of most of my friends, and I'm not as good at discussing them as others are. The mayor of San Francisco died last night--sudden heart attack, apparently--so it looks like we have a new mayor to get used to. And yes, I'm watching Alabama with terror, but... I did say I wasn't going to speak of politics.

Beyond that? It's holiday time, with all the chaos, stressors, and overeating that suggests. I swear I'm going to have my mouth sewn shut come January 2... but I've been binge-watching The Great British Bake Off, and somehow I have the feeling that there's a little mutual opposition thing going on. Oh, and I'm binge reading Edna Ferber, and enjoying it.

How's by you?
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
I had pumpkin pie for breakfast this morning. This afternoon I will have stuffing and cranberry relish for lunch. I am a simple creature.

And I'm glad for this little enclave of long(ish) form socializing. I am not, however, grateful for autocorrect which thinks it knows better than I do (looks meaningfully at screen, gets no reaction, shrugs and goes on).

Off to work--the museum is open 10-4. If you're local and not shopping, come by!
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
“The Road South," written by me with Becca Caccavo (aka younger daughter), will be appearing in Welcome to Dystopia in early 2018. It’s Bec’s first fiction sale, my first collaboration, edited by the estimable Gordon Van Gelder, and including many names far more illustrious than mine (like Ron Goulart, Eileen Gunn, Janis Ian, Yoon Ha Lee, Lisa Mason, Barry N. Malzberg, David Marusek, Mary Anne Mohanraj, James Morrow, Robert Reed, Geoff Ryman, Harry Turtledove, Ray Vukcevich, Ted White, Paul Witcover, and Jane Yolen).

And it's available for preorder. Just in case the times we live in aren't dystopic enough for you.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
When I exercise (every other day, like broken clockwork) I listen to Storycorps podcasts. Today's was about "Philip", an Iraqi interpreter for the US Military who was able to emigrate to the US and, just before the election, bring his family here too.

He was asked, during a follow-up interview, what was the most important difference about living in the U.S. I paraphrase, because I'm too lazy to go get my phone and listen again, but... "Safety. When you feel safe you can build up."

I wish the Masters of the Universe would stop investing so heavily in making us all feel unsafe. Think of what we could build--and the real problems we could solve--if we weren't kept off balance with the sense of imminent doom.
madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)
Before this small, lovely film disappears, go see it. It's funny, it's well acted, it's based (as they say) on a true story. No big special effects: just a very funny stand-up comedian who happens to be Pakistani, who falls in love with an American girl. Complications ensue: cultural, familial, medical. It's lovely.


madrobins: It's a meatloaf.  Dressed up like a bunny.  (Default)

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