anotheranon: (busy)
Coming out of the winter lethargy:

A couple of weekends ago D. and I caught the Anglo Saxon hoard exhibit. It is small, but excellent, and not only is the detailed work breathtakingly beautiful (I'm still in awe that tiny filigree and inlay could be done in the 7th century, and in such volume!) but the story behind it is one of incredible good luck: a weekend metal detector treasure hunter found it after searching for half an hour on an acquaintance's farmland. No catalog because it's going to be years before all of the thousands of pieces are sorted, cleaned, cataloged and restored.

Given that we don't get downtown often it seemed a shame to pop back out, so we went out for truly dangerous pies afterwards: all fresh ingredients and real fruit instead of processed everything and corn syrup!

This coming weekend has a lot going on as well: a morning of Federal/regency-o-rama costume lectures followed by lunch with [ profile] skill_grl, finishing with summer nationals qualifiers in the afternoon. Whether I qualify or not it's gonna be a good day :)

And I got permission today to view another museum's 6(!) Fortuny gowns behind the scenes! I'm excited but nervous, as I indicated in my application for viewing that I'd be open to publishing my findings if I discover anything worth sharing. While this is true, my research on the Peplos gown construction has been going on intermittently for about 2 years now and at this rate I'm skeptical that I'll be making any sort of breakthroughs - this is to satisfy my own curiosity.

Badger is inviting me onto Pinterest to share shoe pictures. A worthy endeavor to fill out gaps in my schedule (haha!)
anotheranon: (foodporn)
The theme for the weekend was chocolate :)

On Saturday D. and I went to a historic chocolate sampler event at a local historic home. Their foodways historian prepared examples of 17th-20th century chocolate recipes accompanied by an informal lecture on the history of chocolate from harvesting to end product, and the improvements in quality control and seasoning that took it from a bitter, watery drink for the wealthy in the 17th century to the democratized sweet everyone knows today.

Most interesting discoveries:
chocolate trivia )

Sunday was the ChocoTherapy fencing open. No chocolate was in evidence but I had a good time anyway, and did surprisingly well. Probably the best I've ever done at a C and under event, I wound up finishing in the middle of the pack instead of towards the end, and there were some very good and difficult fencers there! I stayed as long as I could after I was eliminated to watch my clubmates keep going.

So clearly tons of chocolate is the ideal, nay, PERFECT preload for quality fencing! I'll have to test this again in the future. Lemme just get a slab of lightly sweetened Baker's chocolate and I'm good to go :P
anotheranon: (busy)
I've been remiss in updating the ol' LJ, mostly because I'm still in lazy holiday mode/on west coast time:

Christmas week was great but hectic. We went out to Seattle to see D.'s family. Rarely and wonderfully, mom and stepdad and all of the siblings and their families were able to get together, and Seattle was chosen because that's where the new niece is - and she's an ideal baby, all smiles and never cries unless something is really wrong. Four-year-old niece is on a princess kick and got the most fabulous dress-up dresses with twirlable skirts. The older nieces are going through preteen rockiness but mostly well; the nephews are for all purposes adults and fun to talk to.

The siblings all seem to be happy, and togetherness was balanced by time apart - each family had their own place to stay (including a two-level delightfully minimalist loft in the arts district that set my aesthetic lust all a-quiver!) I'm very fortunate that I get along with my in-laws and enjoy spending time with them!

We did spend a good amount of time walking, mostly around the hotel and the Pike/Pine area, finding record stores with genuine vinyl records and almost as rare, an independent brick and mortar bookstore that reminded me of the late lamented Oxford Books of Atlanta. I made a deliberate trip to Red Light Vintage, and though I found nothing that fit I recommend it to vintage seekers if you're ever in town as the prices are criminally low.

Due to the whimsical inclinations of Google Maps we got to see even more of the city, driving past multiple (as in, every corner, sometimes twice) coffee houses, wig shops (?) tattoo parlors and restaurants in search of a drugstore (that ended up being a block from the hotel :P) I'm surprised that I like Seattle in winter as much as I do in spring, even without the blisteringly bright plants in bloom. It's more casual, funky, and relaxed than DC, which was much needed as being at home can be such a roller-coaster. Our hotel was nice (free coffee every morning!), so we spent much of our quiet time just sleeping and reading.

And oh, there was reading! D. got me a Kindle for Christmas and despite my misgivings (I can't share books, I'm limited to Amazon's format) it's addictive at first use - at last I can read all of those obscure novels that the library doesn't get, without eating shelf space! There's also internet access so it functions as a limited laptop.

As with all holidays there was an unholy amount of food and wine. We found gut-busting Italian, old fashioned pies, Belgian waffles and deep, dense coffee (of course).

Saw the new Sherlock Holmes (a total scream, especially Stephen Fry as Mycroft) and New Year's Eve (better and more poignant than expected).

Due to a 10-hour break between hotel checkout and redeye flight home, we visited the Museum of Glass and marveled at tiny glass flowers, and had a quiet evening at Indochine, with just about perfect food and wine.

It was good :)
anotheranon: (foodporn)
Something D. and I have been doing in our spare time is go through the Everyday Guide To Wine DVD course.

This was initially D.'s idea, the seed having been planted during the '08 Italy trip where we learned to let red wine breathe. Our aim is not to become wine snobs who look down their noses at everyone else, but to learn what we like, where it comes from, and how to get it (without paying an arm and a leg). D. has been visiting every recommended wine shop in the area for our "course materials" and found some very good ones (wines, and shops)!

We've only done a couple of courses but I'm amazed at how much science goes into winemaking: the flavor is not only reliant on the grape variety but on the preparation and for how long; it's not just the soil that makes a great grape but also what it's grown with and where. Of course the long, long history appeals to me, involving as it does aspects of geography, chemistry, trade, etc.

I've also learned some common words for describing flavor, but find that I lack the flavor experience to use them: blackberry vs. raspberry means little when I can't tell them apart. I find myself using words for texture (round, thin, crispy, velvety) to describe what I'm tasting instead. I also learned that bouquet doesn't always correspond with flavor (we tried one that smelled, I swear, like burnt rubber - but tasted fruity).

Given that we open 3-5 bottles of wine to taste for each lecture and have busy schedules, we estimate it will take us a year to get through the whole thing (and at least a week to get through each lecture's bottles).
anotheranon: (790)
I don't think I would have believed in the record early snowfall if I hadn't been out in it (my hair was pushing down my ears so cut COULD NOT WAIT). Happily there was enough to be pretty, but warm enough so it didn't mess up the roads (though visibility was tough).

Watched the 2011 "Jane Eyre" and enjoyed it - I thought the acting was great, and the actress playing Jane Eyre was suitably plain but Michael Fassbender was miscast as Rochester, not because he can't perform the Broody McBrooderson but because he's too damn pretty. ObCostume: I'm no 19th c. expert so I'm not sure how accurate they were, but I'm reminded why I think the 1820s-40s "Dickens"-era women's clothing is among the least flattering of any historical period: the dresses that look like they belong on china dolls, the hair that looks like dog's ears - though the bodice construction is fascinating (are those front panels bias cut?)

Cold weather calls for alpaca socks (so springy, not to warm or too cold!), chicken biryani, and cocoa brownies. These suckers may keep me up later than I'd like :P
anotheranon: (Default)
Had a fun weekend with [ profile] shemhazai:

I finally got to faire this season, to wander and debut the pirate coat (alas, no pix taken). Shem hadn't been to one in years and I let her lead the way. So many bright colors, food-on-stick smells and luscious leather to pet and sniff! We stopped by [ profile] dreamtigress' booth, saw the joust, stumbled upon Wolgemut (forgot they were playing this year) and shopping/windowlicking (sword earrings, and a belt for D. that I've been promising him for a year). Was a bit more crowded than I would have liked and I let myself get run down (note to self: don't resist the food on sticks next time) but the weather was just about PERFECT, especially after a week of rain: breezy with blue skies and barely 70F.

Recovered nicely with mountains of sushi for dinner, as discovered by D. My eyes were bigger than my stomach but it was all. So. Good!

Felt a bit faded Sunday so we stayed in and talked and watched movies. I showed Shem The Guild, and she showed me Gjallarhorn (can't find a good example, but think celtic + didgeridoo + kulning [YouTube] (Scandinavian cattle calls).

All together a good weekend, I only wish my un-allergies hadn't been a damper.
anotheranon: (strangelytroublesome)
Why being into cats is essentially the same as being into psychotic tweakers. Though the author starts from a faulty premise (cats are not like humans - they are better, and know it), this is screamingly funny. The illustrations make it. Courtesy [ profile] geekchick

Black Blood of the Earth self-described "weapons grade coffee". Probably too dangerous for everyday but for my next con/symposium I've gotta get me some of this! Hat tip [ profile] nminusone, who probably understands the distillation process.
anotheranon: (foodporn)
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My mother's biscuits, whole wheat and white. I have her recipe but mine are never as good as hers.
anotheranon: (busy)
It was a good weekend :) Sometimes it takes company to get me to get out in my own town, and [ profile] shemhazai had some excellent suggestions:

Friday night we ate unholy amounts of Morrocan food. I'd been before, but not for years, and I'd forgotten how good b'stella is!

Saturday: local and very beautiful park that reminded me a lot of the creek near my grandmother's house when I was growing up. The smell of the water and the tangled greenery took me back to some really pleasant childhood memories. I can see going back again.

I also hiked for the first time, inadvertently jumping in with both feet! Several rocky trails were labeled "billy goat" and by mistake we started the most difficult of them. About halfway through we took the "emergency exit" back to the canal towpath, but not before we'd clambered over high uneven rocks and scaled a not-sheer-but-definitely-steep rock face. No falls, ankle twists, or freaking out over heights. I have to admit I felt kind of badass after we escaped :)

Sunday we met up with [ profile] dreamtigress for conversation and sushi. It had been too long since either of us had seen her, and I didn't remember the last time I'd had sushi. A fun and filling time was had by all :)

Then we hit the U.S.S. Constellation. I'd heard of it but never gone, as naval history isn't my "thing", and I found it an interesting experience from a technical viewpoint. I think I'd have made a lousy 19th century sailor due to my apprehension about heights, depths, and small spaces, but the organization and austerity that allowed several hundred men and relevant supplies to be housed and used in a relatively small space impressed me.

I need to remember how good it is to catch up with people and "play tourist".
anotheranon: (foodporn)
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Most likely a bowl of oatmeal, with a smattering of cinnamon and one tablespoon of sugar.

Until recently I ate this most mornings, now relieved by occasional smoothies (weekdays) or pancakes (Saturday).

My ability to tolerate repetition on my plate is astounding, even to me. As a child I had a cold cheese sandwich and bag of Doritos every day for lunch.

From 1st through ~9th-10th grade.
anotheranon: (exercise)
I'm almost 3 months into 2011 and I'm at least partly on track:

  • Eating more fruit: we got a blender and I've been having a fruit smoothie for breakfast at least twice a week. So far I prefer blueberry and strawberry, but as most of the flavor comes from vanilla whey powder (lactose free!), I think I could eat almost any fruit blended regardless of whether I enjoy the whole version.

    Also still eating apples at least twice a week, or if I'm craving something salty, nuts. I'm successfully avoiding the snack machine :)

    I'm aware that these are far below the recommended daily allowance, but I figure "some" is better than my previous "none".

  • Trying new things: in the past 6 months I've been 3 places I've never been before (Las Vegas, Gatlinburg, Detroit) and at least partially rolled with it instead of letting the "out of my cave" feeling scrape on me. Tried a new spa this weekend (ahhhhhhhhhhh), tried some new recipes. These are small things but I think they count. What other new things should I try?

  • Meditate more: er.....not so much :( Counting my breaths while trying to fall asleep doesn't exactly count; neither does focusing on the target while fencing because I'm still thinking. I'm still trying to wrap my head around scheduling time to do nothing.

I am at least doing fewer things. I finally realized the reason I couldn't get organized was because I had too much on my plate - or rather, D. pointed out that I was so busy I was never home, and usually harried when I was. Much as it chafes, I simply don't have time for SCA/historical "unpractice" anymore.

It was hard to drop because I was afraid of disappointing others, reluctant to give up something so interesting, and unwilling to admit that I was trying to do too much, but it was slicing both my week and Wednesday nights so perfectly in half that I felt like most of my time spent at home was either getting ready to go back out or getting ready for bed after coming in. I'll still fence rapier at events (and with more at home time I might feel more inspired to get out and about on weekends), but just can't do a regular practice right now.

I am doing cardio crosstraining at home - it's repetitive, makes me gulp for air and sweat even without wearing 10 pounds of cotton canvas. But I gotta if I want to outlast those freakishly fit young things on the other side of the strip.
anotheranon: (Default)

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anotheranon: (busy)
or How I Spent (Most) of the Holiday Weekend:

My frustration with book storage at last came to a head. Through strategic rearrangement and clearance/use of bookcase tops and bookends, I've managed to clear most of the books off my ersatz cutting/work table(!) and even have a few inches of spare space left over for future acquisitions (!!)

Getting on a roll, I also moved things around enough on another shelving unit that I am now storing my printer, USB record player and 3 milk crates of vinyl in the same place. No longer do I have to keel on the floor to get to a record (yes, I still have records) or worry about dust and cat dander getting on the turntable!

I'm going to attempt my final feat of rearrangement-fu after this post: refolding and replacing everything in the linen closet. Admittedly at least part of this may have to wait until next weekend.

Other activities of note:

  • Gave the new residential fitness center a whirl, mostly for my upper body that gets very little work through fencing. All of the equipment is brand new with clear instructions and it wasn't too crowded. Though, IMHO, something that makes me this sore should also probably make me sweat more.

  • Visited with college friend J. and his new girl D., in town for the weekend. We went out for (Americanized?) Russian with vodka samplers. Large samples led to large conversation and a good time was had by all :)

  • Dyed and redyed a thrift store skirt to cover a stain. Note to self: if the garment is small enough, stovetop really works better.

  • D., fed up with the constant crashing of the latest iPhone OS, upgraded us to Droids. Still getting used to the keyboard. Not as many apps but I'm liking it so far.

Now, about those linens...
anotheranon: (Default)
  • 12:20 My mom's biscuits are still so much better than mine :) #
  • 15:12 Taking MARTA down to hotel for #sn10. Damn hot, real hot (90F+) & I'm glad I won't have to haul gear + suitcase for a few days after this! #
  • 15:52 Checked in for #sn10 - can see venue from my room #
  • 15:57 Hotel elevator can only take 3000 lbs - good thing my #fencing bag only FEELS that heavy in this heat. #
  • 17:05 Took LOONG way 'round from hotel to venue (pant pant) - getting roomie to room; meeting @bodhibadger for dinner. #
  • 17:30 Found roomie, is cool person. Splitting cab fare or shuttle back to hotel given ridiculous heat #sn10 #
  • 17:33 Saw old rave site on way down; is now "rodeo disco". Sometimes you really can't go home again. #
  • 17:37 RT @MargoEve: Are you a good Kisser? Come to our "Kissing: The Eloquent Silence" class 7/13; <- think this wd b gd 4 kids. #
  • 19:47 Lost in Atlanta on way to Iberian Pug in Decatur. It's an adventure.... #
  • 23:21 Hearty rec. of The Iberian Pig restaurant in Decatur for hungry # fencers. Delicious plus fantastically attentive service. #
  • 23:22 Off to bed - I'm gonna help my Div II buddies warm up tomorrow #sn10 #fencing #
  • 23:23 @MargoEve I know it's not - apologies if I wasn't clear. But still I think a class about kissing would be great for teenagers. #
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anotheranon: (Default)
  • 13:23 ; #
  • 16:37 @bodhibadger Do not know - I won't be on site @ #sn10 until Thurs eve. Eagerly awaiting info on list. Must get RFA on Twitter! #fencing #
  • 18:00 @iamscully -I was very briefly, & quite unplanned. Sorry I missed you! #
  • 18:41 RT @quasigeo: #Warehouse13 Season 2 premiere tonight. W00t! #
  • 18:42 RT @USFencing: Hurley wins women epee title 15-7 #sn10 #fencing #
  • 18:43 RT @fencingnet: I uploaded a YouTube video -- Morehouse vs. Igoe 2 of 2 #sn10 #
  • 18:46 #fencing sorts in Atlanta, PLEASE use the #sn10 hash tag- makes it easier to find up-to-the-minute results. #
  • 19:20 Small dinners of fruit & muffin + watching birds in Mom's backyard = calm before the storm that starts Thurs. #sn10 #
  • 21:31 RT @USFencing: Live streaming video from #sn10 in Atlanta starts Weds @ 1p.m. EST. Check out for all the action #
  • 23:03 RT @TimMorehouse: Meet Olympian & Nat.l Champion Tim Morehouse @ FENCING.NET 12-3pm Tomorrow @ GA Congress Ctr: #sn10 #
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anotheranon: (Default)
  • 11:38 @racheline_m crap, just catching up - glad Bristol is still on & hope worst really IS over! #
  • 12:45 Catching up on test & visiting with fam. Also: chocolate cake. #
  • 12:46 On site @ #sn10 sometime Thurs. Doing stretches & footwork to keep limber #fencing #
  • 17:22 1st trip to a Fry's - media/appliance heaven. Mom has strong opinions on washer dryers. #
  • 19:13 RT @TimMorehouse: Images from Summer Nationals of #Fencing in Atlanta: #sn10 #
  • 19:42 Saw old photos of my hometown@ Fry's. Dust roads, wood plank houses, surprisingly not all long gone. #
  • 21:01 @iamscully Yes. #
  • 21:07 I swear, 1000 years from now archaeologists are going to dig up Memphis & decide Elvis was some kind of deity. #
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anotheranon: (foodporn)
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Scrambled eggs + applesauce - specifically, my mom's homemade applesauce, but the grocery stuff in a jar is ok in condiment-like quantities.

D. has tried it. IIRC, he thought it was ok but not mindblowing. For me it's an ideal breakfast (plus biscuits, of course).
anotheranon: (Default)
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anotheranon: (Default)

  • 15:11 Frozen dark M&Ms are very heaven. #

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anotheranon: (Default)
  • 09:16 Left phone @ work last night. Now restored to precioussss... #
  • 12:17 Chipotle burritos = more burrito than I want or need. Tasty though. #
  • 12:32 Wore a white shirt = of COURSE I have guacamole stains :P #
  • 12:40 @TimMorehouse - promote use of #fencing hashtag! #
  • 14:18 RT @TimMorehouse: Flat Broke and a US Olympian, but Worth It #
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