September 19, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 275.
Words total: 1350. No, it doesn't match. I frogged a couple paragraphs.
Reason for stopping: This is what happens when you stay up late watching all-night deputations to Council's Executive Committee. Such are the wages of municipal nerdery.

Darling du Jour: Three blackened dots along the inside of her left forearm, where she'd hugged a century-old girder and the massive iron rivets pressed hard into her skin.

Mean Things: The kinds of bruises that are going to make even strangers want to ask who's been hitting you. Sleeping 48 hours straight and not knowing where those two days went.
Research Roundup: Construction of 1920s buildings; how dark bruises on your neck actually get.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.

I am trying this in present tense. Nothing seems to be objecting so far.

The fun volunteer gig of Sunday was indeed fun: I spent the afternoon alternately manning the Not Far From the Tree info desk and helping wash, chop, grind, and press apples into cider at City Cider, at the Spadina Museum. Let me tell you, working on a demo of cider-pressing under a big blue sky and apple trees, with a nice crisp breeze and music, chatting with the other volunteers all afternoon? That is not work in the slightest. That is hanging out and playing with a cider press.

Also we got to drink some of the leftovers. The benefits cannot be overstated.

Today was rainy and crappy from dawn to midnight, so today I slept in, stayed in, and puttered around the house. Potato salad and honey walnut cake got made. Apple rings will come out of the dehydrator in the morning. Ideomancer duties were done. Three (3) author interviews/guest posts were written up and dispatched, and some receipts filed, and most of my inbox cleared. And then I got sucked into watching Council and there went the rest of the evening, but it was still and all a reasonably productive day considering I never got out of my pajamas.

Tomorrow there must be out: there is some extra yarn to exchange, and a new bedside lamp to buy, and other little things. Vacation continues to be more productive and less stressful than dayjobbing. There's a moral in that, I suppose.

To bed.
April 22, 2010 Progress Notes:

"Ache for Pomegranates" (or "The Imperative of Pomegrantes" or something like that. I haven't decided yet.)

Words today: 250.
Words total: 250.
Reason for stopping: Finally got this as close as it's getting without some outside input, after about a month of chipping at it.

Research Roundup: Pomegranates in mythology; the Song of Solomon; a reread of "To His Coy Mistress".

Books in progress: David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
The glamour: Home sick today. And after I called in sick (around 8:30 this morning) I slept like the dead until 2:30pm without being woken up by the jackhammers that have been living under my floor for the last month and a half or so, so clearly my sick day has been approved by the universe.

Formal poetry again. It took about a month to stick together, between the tweaks and rhythm decisions and fussing endlessly over the title I'm still not done fussing with. The last formal poem is still sitting in a folder on my hard drive. I dunno what's wrong with me here.

It is beautifully sunny outside.

I do not have any juice, orange or four-berry or mango or otherwise, in this apartment. I don't know why it's not here, but I don't approve.

Still feeling kind of woozy, even after the application of Advil and the bonus! six hours' sleep, but may well attempt some writing tonight. Stay tuned.
August 24, 2009 Progress Notes:


Words today: 500.
Words total: 10,400.
Reason for stopping: Bed, bed, bed.

Darling du Jour: But if Gregory didn't know the repertoire cold drunk or sober, he'd hand over his left arm and play tonight with his teeth. There was one thing you could say about Gregory Thyrse: before everything went kind of sour and time took its toll, he had once been the best damn bassist in the city. And that wasn't because it'd been a slow year.

Things Yet to Cough Up Their Names: The band name Zeke and Gregory have been gigging under; the somewhat tragic singer of Gregory's old band.
Mean Things: Gregory is doing the equivalent of sticking gum in a cute girl's hair to show off, which pisses Zeke off immensely. And what's mean to me is that I love that metaphor, and couldn't find anything to tie it to in the whole scene. This feels not unlike having a really killer bingo in Scrabble and finding nowhere to put it.

Books in progress: Daniel Rabuzzi, The Choir Boats.
The glamour: Not the most optimal of days over here by a long shot. But I did get laundry done, and finally write some e-mails that have been a long time delayed, and finally get the milk I've been putting off getting for the better part of a week. Also, no poop on the shirt at last inspection.

I have discovered how to get Zeke to talk nonstop: all I have to do is get him on the topic of his guitar, or set lists, or the smell of a crowded club at twenty past eleven, and he gets this rapturous look on his face and closes his eyes and feeds me paragraphs and paragraphs of narration. Considering how hard he works to be a gruff snippy dude, it's...insanely sweet.

Apropos of nothing, one of my little tomatoes is ripening. Which I would take a picture of, but my cellphone died the death this weekend, taking all my camera capabilities with it, which also did not improve my day. So you may just have to take my word for it.
leahbobet: (gardening)
Another article on delicious land reclamation for the purposes of sexy urban farming; this time, in Cleveland. I could not tell you why reading about projects of this type gives me such mad utopian joy, but there you go.

In other news, the beans were out of flower and growing themselves mightily when I checked on them this morning, and my first batch of small spicy death-radishes will be ready to go very soon. Perhaps pictures tonight, once I'm packed for Readercon.
leahbobet: (gardening)
I am halfway to my revising goal for tonight, and thus there is some LJ.

Clockwork Phoenix 2 is officially released and starting to accrete reviews, including this glowing one from [ profile] juushika and this hint of a double-shot Locus review -- Rich Horton and Gardner Dozois both -- that I know not the text of yet. So if anyone has the July Locus on hand, that'd be much appreciated.

Amazon also appears to be offering a deal where you can buy both the first and second anthology in the series for $20, so if anyone's wanting a double dose, this appears to be the time to get it.

In other news, it is cloudy again today. I am drinking the Hamoa Beach black tea that [ profile] thesandtiger brought me back as a gift from Hawaii, and the spider who lives on my balcony has finally put a web up in a place that isn't directly in my way or blocking my access to my spinach planter. I'm personally glad we've reached this understanding. There are some more peas out, and some tiny beans that aren't even fingernail-sized yet, and I may take pictures of them tomorrow.

And I should probably get back to work.

Ladies and gentlemen, the aristocrats glamour.
leahbobet: (gardening)
From the garden this evening:

Also, I started knitting my first pair of socks today while at [ profile] cszego's, where we had our Canada Day lunch/picnic thing/hang around and eat and chatter party. They are purple and green and lovely. I have already messed up the toes a little, but this just means the toes will be a bit pointy.

This evening, there will be farmer's market cherries and revisions.

Since today is the first day of the rest of your life second half of 2009, I think that's a pretty good halftime show.
leahbobet: (gardening)
Apparently when I just stuck those two containers of mixed salad greens and spinach that had gone slimy in my fridge *cough* weeks ago out on the balcony*, it wasn't because I'm a lazy so-and-so who didn't really feel like going down to the building's green bin collector that day. Or on the *cough* many days after it. Apparently it was secretly because once it renders down to mush, dead spinach and mixed greens make some really kickass compost.

The mush in question, as well as today's used tea leaves**, is now mixed gently into the old soil in some spare planters I had kicking around, in an effort to wake it up. Judging from the smell and consistency (nice and earthy!) this will probably work. A bean and some radishes have gone into one of them in the spirit of a test balloon. It's nice to know I was only posing as a lazy first-world wastrel who doesn't appreciate a nice mesclun mix in order to covertly further the pursuit of AGRISCIENCE.

Also, having checked this afternoon more closely, I don't have two delicious wonderful homegrown snow peas out there. I have two million and a quarter.

If any of the first batch of radishes are ready? Tonight I'll actually make some salad. *g*

*And yes, I have learned my lesson re: this and bought the smaller size of salad greens. Buying lots of mixed greens does not, in fact, make me eat more healthy salad.

**Black tea with lychee, and great with milk.
leahbobet: (gardening)
Yes, I have been remiss in my garden reportage. I am reminded because I just went out to do the watering now that it's cooled down a bit, and couldn't figure out why the leaves on one of my pea plants were so tangly, and started to untangle them and realized it wasn't leaves. I have my first two peas of the season. :)

So! Since I have two sets of pictures to show you, one from early in the month and one from just on Monday,

We'll just side-by-side these suckers... )
leahbobet: (gardening)
Readers, the temperatures are up. The rain, it has been falling, and all these things have committed Agriculture upon my balcony.

Agriculture! )

Next project? Figure out what I want to do with the blue fake raised beds. And maybe start shuffling tables around out there to optimize my sunlight-accessible growing space.

And buy more seeds.
My life is honestly more interesting when I am actively writing a novel. I really do not do directionless very well.

The past week or so has mostly consisted of knitting my Ms. Marigold, aka The Neverending Sweater, some puttering in the garden, some puttering in other people's gardens (the weeding and replanting of the city planter outside my building that I mentioned last week), seeing Terminator: Salvation for [ profile] ksumnersmith's birthday, dayjobbery in volume, jumping through necessary hoops to renew my passport in time for Readercon (which I haven't heard from re: panels yet; this may be a cause for e-mail-bouncing concern), a binge viewing of Life on Mars series 2, and reading more WWI books. Actually, if you ever find yourself wondering what I'm doing for some inexplicable reason, it's probably puttering in my garden, knitting my neverending sweater, reading up on the First World War, and wishing I had a reliable writing project ready so I could be doing some real work.

Yeah, about that exciting around here.

Clockwork Phoenix 2 did get a starred Publishers Weekly review, which [ profile] time_shark already blogged, but which I shall reproduce:
Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness Edited by Mike Allen. Norilana/Fantasy (, $11.95 paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-60762-027-3

Allen finds his groove for this second annual anthology of weird stories, selecting 16 wonderfully evocative, well-written tales. Marie Brennan's thought-provoking “Once a Goddess” considers the fate of a goddess abruptly returned to mortality. Tanith Lee puts a stunning twist in the story of a morose prince in “The Pain of Glass.” Mary Robinette Kowal's “At the Edge of Dying” describes a world where magic comes only to those at death's door. In “Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela,” Saladin Ahmed tells of a small village on the edge of a desert, a hermit and a woman who may be a witch. Each story fits neatly alongside the next, and the diversity of topics, perspectives and authors makes this cosmopolitan anthology a winner. (July)

I also got a rather vociferously negative review on "Miles to Isengard" from Gardner Dozois in the May issue of Locus, which I will also dig out and reproduce here if you, the populace, are interested.

Now I will go find dinner. Or wear my trousers rolled. Or something.
It's been quiet here because, well, it's been quiet here. For example, after work today I went to the drugstore for saline for my contact lenses, got two tomato plants and some light groceries around the corner, planted the tomato plants (pictures later), watched the CM season finale and made Chinese beef dumplings, which is a several-hour process what with all the leaving the dough to rise fifty times. After this, I expect to curl up with Bright Young People and my notepad and continue the deathless (!) TEG research reading.

(I did get my new research books in the mail. So I have Vile Bodies, Letters from a Lost Generation, which is probably next, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age, and a memoir called Jellied Eels and Zeppelins that looks like it was dictated to a journalist by a woman of said generation and published at a very, very small press. It purports to be a window onto Edwardian working-class life, which I need. And even if it's junk, it was only three bucks.)

There is Other Stuff also going on, but it's either not for public consumption or I'm waiting on other people/events/decisions. So instead of all of us being twitchy about it, I'll just talk about all that when I have results to report.

Lucky for you, on Saturday El [ profile] wistling has corralled a few of us into another scavenger hunt, this one mostly computer-based, and on Sunday some of the people from the Tenants' Association are cleaning out and replanting the concrete planter outside my building, so there will in fact be signs of life on this LJ.


Sometime. *g*
leahbobet: (gardening)
It's Victoria Day, and I bought myself an eggplant seedling this afternoon. This calls for...a Garden Post!

We'll start off with the inside stuff, and work around to the outdoor... )

Major planting happens in the other windowboxes and fake raised beds next weekend, I think. And then we will be in business.
1) Leisurely homemade smoothie for breakfast in front of computer, in the sunshine, whilst chairdancing to Bowie.

2) More sunshine on the way to work. Tee-shirt weather kind of sunshine.

3) Workday that was sufficiently worky, but not rushed; we had a lot to do today, but we also had time to do it and the decks are clear for next week.

4) Lunch out in the sunshine on the front lawn with the workfriends.

5) Soft serve ice cream truck on University Ave. Ice cream! Dipped in chocolate! Om!

6) Nice e-mail and notes and such from nice peoples re: birthday (thank you, nice peoples. :) )

7) Pea plants sprouting in earnest in my balcony boxes.

8) Sushi and dessert shortly with The Peoples.

9) Partial requests (yes, that's plural) in my inbox.

Oh, monkeys. This is a good birthday. :)
leahbobet: (gardening)
Home sick today, after two hours at work that convinced me I wasn't going to get through the six that came after them on my own steam. So today has been mostly an exercise in strong pain meds, napping those meds off, reading Robert Graves (so I felt like my useless ass was earning its oxygen a bit), a bit of halfhearted knitting, and some vague puttering around the apartment to tidy up things. This has really not been a day to write home about. The most exciting thing that happened is that I have a pea sprout coming up. Yes, that's all.

So yes. I'm reading Robert Graves. Specifically, Goodbye to All That, which has a lovely black and white photograph as a cover. I am stealing the appearance of this man, who I assume to be Graves, for a character somewhere.

So far, I find I like Robert Graves a lot more when he's telling a no shit, there I was story than when he's being *cough* *clear throat* The Memoirist. There is a palpable difference between the two voices. One is assumed, and one is real, and I think I like the real guy more.

Also, the differences between him and Vera Brittain, who was pretty much a direct contemporary (there are two years between them, now that I actually check, which surprised me because Graves's family and presentation thereof are so much more Victorian) are...fascinating. It's in social perception and writing style and what they choose to leave in and leave out; it's in detail and what's shown and what's ellided. I suspect these are mostly issues of class -- the upper class preserving certain Victorian habits and traditions versus the more modern Edwardian middle-class, where if you want to be with it, you have to hop on a different bell curve, that of modernism? But I'll need some more datapoints to really get that down.

(One or two more memoirs, I think, and then I have to go find some of the contemporary fiction. There is no better way to learn about an era than to find out what they were reading.)
Despite today starting with getting poured on on the way to work, forgetting my lunch at home, and the elevators at work not working?

1) The sun is shining in a most delightful way.

2) I checked outside and I have radishes and lettuce sprouting.

3) I will be starting training for an additional work responsibility at the end of this week, which:
  • a) will make me a fully operational battle station member of the Dayjob; and
  • b) bodes well for my performance appraisal, also at the end of the week.

4) Clockwork Phoenix editor [ profile] time_shark has demonstrated the existence of the Clockwork Phoenix 2 ARC, wherein resides "Six", the roof-sheep apocalypse story, as well as much other fine fiction by other people whose livejournal this ain't. *g*

5) Getting sushi for dinner (actually deferred sushi I earned by revising 130 pages on Sunday).

6) I have alllll evening to revise this book to the end. Or as close as I can get it.

Some days? It's just good. :)

Tell me yours!
leahbobet: (gardening)
It was cloudy and chilly this morning, so I wasn't prepared for how, when I left work tonight, it was suddenly spring.

But yeah, the sky is brilliant blue, it's sunny, and everything is suspiciously greener. The daffodils and crocuses are out, and the tulips are starting to turn from stalky green things into possible flowers. And I got the most unbearable urge to stick my hands in some dirt.

Thus is inaugurated the 2009 balcony garden. I shall torture you with garden posts until at least October. :D

Okay, so no pictures today, since for one, my phone needs charging and for two, there's not a lot to report. I picked up 40 L of potting soil on the way home (almost gone already), and used it to freshen up my old balcony railing boxes and fill up the two new ones. So really what you would have to see would be some boxes with dirt in them.

Seed inventory shows that I still do have quite a bit of stuff, but not so much with the variety, so I only planted the two boxes on the east side of the balcony and left the western ones for when I get more kinds of seeds. The overall strategy this year, I think, will go towards mixed-use zoning -- the ones that did best last year had two or three kinds of plants, and I think that was a nitrogen issue.

So the green box, the one that we saw last year:

--has been planted with peas, beans, and cucumbers in the same configuration as before: niiice tall beans in the back, shorter peas in the front so they can climb the pigeon netting, cucumbers on the side. This did me really well except for the fact that the cucumbers never got pollinated properly, and I think I can fix that by putting in a greater variety of flowering things and some marigolds to drag the bees in.

It now has a brownish sibling sitting right next to it (right behind where that pic was taken from) which is a little more experimental. I've done the beans along the back and one or two pea plants on the westernmost side, but the centre is spaced-out radishes and the easternmost side some small lettuces. We're going to see how that flies.

I still do have spinach and strawberries, and since the strawberries need full sun, I need to think carefully about how to do that. The spinach will probably go in the west-railing boxes, which are another of those big ones and this guy (also shown as per last year):

Greens are the plan; the plan is greens.

Further photolicious updates to follow!
leahbobet: (gardening)
Ohhh. Monkeys:

Trees Across Toronto is the city’s native tree and shrub planting program that responds directly to the tree canopy goal and is a major step forward in reclaiming some of our underdeveloped and “un-treed” lands.

Join us on Saturday April 25th at one of the five locations across the city to help plant trees. Our staff lead volunteers on how to plant native trees and shrubs in a designated planting area on site.

I wanna.

You wanna?
leahbobet: (gardening)
Okay, so you guys remember this guy? This planter of great balcony rail-sitting love which, due to its ability to get all sunlight ever, gave me beans and peas well into October?

I bought two more of those suckers at Canadian Tire this afternoon.

Come Planting Day, my life is going to rock. *bouncebouncebounce*
leahbobet: (gardening)
From today's National Post: Farms in the city win backing -- but not pigs in the city.

(And come on, could we not all write a tidier headline than that drunk with one arm tied behind our backs and typing with our noses?)

But anyways. Never mind that. This means despite their constant taking-away of my hypothetical awesome balcony chickens, check this out:

Corn stalks growing along the Gardiner Expressway, tomato plants lining University Avenue, and chicken coops in thousands of backyards.
To nurture the brainstorming process for the city farm policy, due in the coming months, the city's parks and environment committee invited gardening activists to plant seeds of inspiration. A panel discussion produced suggestions ranging from turning more parks into community plots, edible landscaping and markets to sell off produce raised in leased-out backyard gardens.
Richard Butts, the deputy city manager, said untangling a nexus of zoning regulations that hamper the plowing-over of parking lots and bylaws that complicate rooftop gardens are expected to be a major part of getting Toronto growing.

It's like they looked in my head under "Paradise."

leahbobet: (gardening)
There's a frost coming on tonight. I just ducked outside in my pajama pants, fuzzy sweater, and thick socks* to pull the last three peas off the plant before they died overnight.

I suspect this is the End of the 2008 Garden.

My harvest stands at 12 beans, 19 peas, 4 small spinaches, 2 tiny chilies, and 2 radishes. The carrots never really rooted, I left the green lettuce out a bit too late and it died, and we have already explored my deficiencies as a turkey baster for some otherwise lovely, lush, and green cucumber plants.

Things we learned working this summer's garden:

1) If I think I'm going to survive the apocalypse in some utopian rooftop-agrarian fashion off this, I perhaps have another thing coming. At high speed, and forcefully.

2) Things I grow taste better than things other people grow and sell to me in stores. I don't think this is just psychological. They really do. I didn't even cook with those peas; I ate every single one off the vine. They were too good.

3) My problems, I think, were generally issues of sunlight distribution and soil nitrogen; or to use smaller words, this is what happens when you just stick things in the dirt and water them without knowing shit. There were much greater yields and much bigger plants when I mixed a few in a container, ie beans, peas, cucumbers, peas and spinach (winner), or beans and radishes. There were much greater yields when I moved certain pots to better spots. I actually went and picked up a few how-to books for container gardening at the beginning of the fall, and hopefully with their magic purchasable knowledge I can stop busily rediscovering fire next year and actually grow enough to eat semi-regularly and maybe even put up.

4) It's not even worthwhile to start seeds indoors. Not enough light. They grow all spindly and then snap at the first strong wind. Just do 'em outside.

5) More windowboxes. And the ones that sit on the balcony railing. Snap those things up next spring. That idea about climbing the vining stuff up the pigeon screening totally worked, and maybe if I get better coverage and start sooner next year, I can achieve Leafy Bower.

6) The herbs don't actually benefit overmuch from being outside. May as well leave them in next time and use the space for something else.

7) Speaking of space, I need to work on some ideas re: levels next year. The things that are at a premium are space and sunlight, notably space with sunlight.

8) Despite not knowing my ass from a hole in the ground on this topic, I have good instincts. Be proud of that, monkey. You made this work. Trust them.

Gardening season being over, I declare it knitting season. And will be drawing up some actual plans for this garden for next April. Next year, we do this forewarned, forearmed, and with diagrams. :)

*Heating or not, my toes aren't going to be warm until March.

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