liralen: (Road)
There was very intermittent internet in Winnemucca, NV. So I'm catching up today.

It's funny sitting nearly halfway across the country, still thinking about the water from Crater Lake...

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liralen: (Road)
From Alturas we went north and west and wandered about until we got to Lava Beds National Monument, another of our National Parks stops. There we did some extensive exploring of the lava tubes underground, and then headed to Ashland. There we found our cottage for the next few days, and met up with family and friends for dinner and some time together before heading back to our little home away from home, and there to bed.

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liralen: (Road)
We ate breakfast in our room. John was the early riser, and walked a few feet to the gas station/grocery shop and bought us a half a gallon of milk. So we had cereal, yogurt, fruit, and some of my granola with dried blueberries as well. It was a great breakfast. Jet started up the boiler for his morning tea while John and I walked two blocks up the road to The Roost to get some coffee.

The coffee we found was far better than what we'd gotten the previous morning, and actually better than I've had from various coffee shops.

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liralen: (crane)
We've been in San Diego for our annual visit for Thanksgiving. It's been a little crazy thinking it's been a whole 'nother year. I've also been very absent from these pages.

I think it was mostly because of the habit of keeping private the happenings at UCC Longmont, and it went even further now that I am friends with dozens of very Internet-active men in their teens and twenties. They're all great people, but are very private about their private names, they keep very strictly to their gaming labels, and they've seen what fame can do both bad and good. So they're careful about not giving out private information, and I respect that.

Plus, nearly all of them are in the tldr camp, it seems. So I just don't. Or haven't. *laughs* Don't like being boring, in some ways, but it does seem like I've left the places I used to frequent all the time.

But sometimes I feel like I left my old loyal audience behind... )
liralen: Finch Painting (dandelion)
We woke up when we wanted to wake up, on June 28th, as there wasn't really anything we had to get to, and after the last two early mornings, it was nice to laze in and sleep.

But I did get up eventually, and we'd done a little research the night before about the various breakfast places in town. One seemed a little too posh, relying on "Best Breakfast in Radium" advertising along with lots of types of Eggs Benedict and fancier dishes. There was one that was just around the corner from our hotel, so we went there, instead, and were very glad of our decision.

For the usual pictures... kind of... )
liralen: Finch Painting (teacups)
One June 27th, we came up with a great plan and it worked out really well, and it was a lot like the one that we used to get to the top of the tramway in Jasper. We basically got up early, left the campsite before nearly anyone else had even gotten up out of their tents, and we hit the local bakery before heading up to the parking lot at Lake Louise.

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liralen: Finch Painting (sparrow)
I got my breathing capacity test today at the allergy clinic. I knew that I needed a checkup with my doctor to continue getting a couple of my prescriptions refilled; so I called this morning and the receptionist said that Dr. Murthy had an opening at 10:30, so I just up and went.

And I now have 75% lung capacity, when four years ago I had only 67%. This is good news.

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liralen: Finch Painting (teacups)
It started out rainy, with the fog still visible from the night before, though, in a way, since we were up past midnight the day really 'began' while we were still coming home from Phantom...

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liralen: Finch Painting (flying snow)
Sadly, that night, the fire alarm went off. Three times.

The first time was a good hour long build up of the alarm getting louder and louder and... finally we actually got up and went out into the hallways, and there were firemen in gear, going to find something. There were also people in their pajamas going back to their rooms, as they'd found out, already, that there was no fire. Some of them had been standing outside for most of that time, in the rain.

Then it went off again. This time it was relatively short, and everyone got to find out that it was being caused by a wiring short that was happening because of the rain getting in through one of the fire alarm throw switches on the outside of the building. Nearly everyone had assumed that it was one of the kids, because we were also sharing the entire floor with a summer camp as well as our own. When it went off again at 4am, I just put my pillow over my head, rolled over and went back to sleep. I was so tired, it was easy.

It did make the day a little harder, but I slept like a log for the first week and a half back home, too. I did, however, in the morning, manage to upload the picture of my painting for the challenge, and people highly approved the fact that I was using what I could while traveling.

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liralen: Finch Painting (tenpou_books)
In Log Horizon Akatsuki, the tiny amazing ninja lady, often turns to an pan when she's in need of comfort. They're a Japanese bread, with red bean paste in the center, so it's a sweet. She gets them and uses them to try and comfort Shiroe and the Princess Lenessia at different times during the series.

I'd had one, I think, in San Diego, when we went to the Taiwanese bake shop, I see a picture of it at least, and I'm sure I had a bite of it when one or the other my boys bought it. And I've had a lot of other sweets that have had red bean paste in it, and after seeing them so many times in the series, I started craving them.

I even looked up an amazing recipe for them, but I also knew that there were two fairly large Asian markets within driving distance of us. H-Mart is really well-known, and I was sure that their little bakery would have something close. Pacific Ocean is a local Asian market chain that also has a pretty extensive bakery. So I went to both today...

Of shopping sprees and what I found... )
liralen: Finch Painting (powerLir)
This year, as with every year, [livejournal.com profile] amberley and I started planning for the run up to BigBadCon and the convention itself months in advance. It's good to build upon the delicious bones of adventures past to create precise structures for the future with just enough room and juice in it to allow for the wonderful surprises of what's to come.

We actually created a wiki for everything, including what we were doing each day, and details of the games and everything. And during BigBadCon's signups, I didn't get into several games I'd wanted to get into, including one of [livejournal.com profile] amberley's, and I was pretty disappointed at first, but then I realized that 1) I'd gotten into a lot of stuff I really truly wanted to get into and 2) I had room for something to surprise me in really good ways.

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liralen: Finch Painting (Finch)
We got up a little earlier than usual because we knew we'd have to go a good number of miles before we got where we had to be that night. I'd also been pretty disappointed by Whisk the previous morning, so I looked through all the food magazines in the hotel and found Brown's Court Bakery.

Two words: Sriracha Croissant. )
liralen: Finch Painting (Otter)
I've had a really bad cold for the last two weeks, upper respiratory that went into the lungs and aggravated my asthma all to heck and back again. So I missed doing the digital transcripts for the 911 dispatch center last week, and also had to skip on my bee venom shots because they don't like me doing them when I need my immune system to fight something off. For that matter, I probably shouldn't like dampening my immune system when I am fighting stuff off.

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liralen: (crane)
I need to do a quick write up of BigBadCon before it escapes me. I've been so busy since I got back that I haven't really had the time to sit down and write down anything, though I intend to write up two of the games I played, maybe three, but definitely two. But I want to capture the days before they get too far away from me, and it's already been a week.

Carl and I had fun by planning a lot of this months and months in advance. It's just one of those things that we've been doing, since I go to visit him at least once a year, on the most part, and we have a habit of putting together a wiki page and putting down everything that we're doing to do, everyone we're doing to see, and everywhere we're going to eat. Especially the eating. In fact, one of the things we figured out, early, was that we were going to go to Pican instead of going to Berkeley and eating at Chez Panisse. Thing is that Carl has a gang in Oakland who make a tradition of going to Pican before Minicons at Endgame in Oakland, and Eric asked him, via Twitter, if Carl was going to Pican before BigBadCon.

Carl was a dear and asked me if it would be okay to open the door to everyone, and we ended up in the backroom at a table for eight enthusiastic gamers. That was really fun and entertaining, given how much they all loved food.

Cut for foodie pictures and quick thoughts about my games... )
liralen: Finch Painting (China)
Suzhou is just West of and a little north of Shanghai, and it's on the Grand Canal, an enormous canal that was built all the way from Beijing, and was used by an emperor or another to do the Grand Inspection, a euphemism for Tax Collection. It's beautiful, though thinking about the fact that it was all dug by hand with what was essentially slave labor, it isn't that surprising that it was one of the reasons why that particular Dynasty didn't last more than a few years.

The city is also the site for one of the largest and oldest private gardens now owned by the Government. The Humble Administrator's Garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was originally built in the Shaoxing period (1131-1162) of the Southern Song Dynasty, but in 1513 CE Wang Xiancheng, who was an Imperial Envoy and a poet of the Ming Dynasty, took it over and created a garden when he was retired by the Emperor from Imperial life. In Chinese, the name of the garden was The Stupid Administrator's Garden, given in a fit of bitterness at being discarded by the Emperor. The gentler name was given through a well-meaning translation. I kind of like the original better.

It was an extra trip out to Suzhou, and we paid a fee to do it in addition to the rest of the tour. The only alternative was to go shopping in Shanghai or lie in my bed in the hotel. I was so sick at this point I couldn't really speak, but I'd been looking forward to this for much of the trip, ever since I found out that the Humble Administrator's Garden was the one the Portland garden was modeled against. I really wanted to see the original, and so we went.

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liralen: Finch Painting (orihime and dragon)
We spent two shellfish and family packed days in Bellingham, WA, where we went to a hang gliding take-off point, a beach through the woods, and all around town (especially Mallard's Ice Cream). We stayed late on Friday to have dinner with Yuri and Emily, and then went to Redmond with John's mother, Isabel.

From here we took Saturday to visit with [livejournal.com profile] niherlas and [livejournal.com profile] crimini, Sunday to visit Eastgate Congregational UCC and [livejournal.com profile] blackwingedboy and Jo in Ballard and meet with a bunch of Synarians at the Pellerin's for dinner. On Monday we took Isabel to the Great Wheel on the waterfront and Pike's Place Market, and then today we spent getting all kinds of stuff from Frye's, Ballard Bees (two medium supers!), and Trader Joe's.

It's been kind of busy.

It's also been kind of amazing realizing that I've been friends with Jim for more than 26 years, William for more than 16 years, and I'm not even going to be able to count years with all the people from Synario.

Best of all, there's news from the folks in Butte that while the head warped when the Eurovan ran out of coolant, it and the engine block didn't crack. So they're waiting on a head gasket, but have the machining to take care of most of it, so we'll hope. No chickens while the eggs are still round and smooth, but it's looking more hopeful for us to actually be able to *get* home in the Eurovan.

Okay... now for the long form, with pictures... )
liralen: Finch Painting (China)
Okay, I found this cool quick reference for all the Chinese Dynasties on Wikipedia. The best is that there's a graphical representation near the bottom of the page as well as the table at the top. Most people don't actually start listing these until the Qin Dynasty (the sixth one down) because they don't actually consider all of China united until the Qin Emperor (for all that it only lasted 15 years because of his excesses, obsession with immortality, and having a son whose sense of entitlement was way beyond his means of influence).

The Ming Dynasty was the one just before the last Qing Dynasty, and overlapped contact with European powers. Most of the dynasties that lasted several centuries did well by art, literature, and the whole country made all kinds of progress because of their stability and treatment of the people in China. There were seventeen Emperors of this Dynasty and thirteen of them were buried, with their concubines and wives and one eunuch, in one valley. in 2003, they were designated as another of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

While some efforts on the Great Wall were started way back in the Qin Dynasty, the majority of the effort to create the vast network of communication, military coordination, and safety that was the Wall was done during the Ming Dynasty.

Just overall context for this day's explorations.

Cut for the usual plethora of pictures and adventure notes! )
liralen: (crane)
These are my cinnamon rolls. They've evolved over time and with experience. Normally, we just have them without the caramel topping or the icing and just the apples... but it's fun to be able to change it up whenever I want something different. The lovely thing is that you can start this recipe in the afternoon or evening before you want them in the morning. I've started these as early as 3 in the afternoon and had them turn out beautifully the next morning.

Cut for length... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
We really should be used to snow in November... but it's always something of a surprise to see the world in white when it was in the 70's just days ago, and I had to dig out my shorts in order to walk outside. Now our nights will be in the teens.

I've been... busy.

Writing, supporting a [livejournal.com profile] demented_dee, walking, learning... making her gluten-free Oreos too. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] flit for pointing me at the site, as I have a friend who can't have even a trace of wheat in anything, and she was missing Oreos something fierce, so I took a few days to figure out all the ingredients, and then spent an afternoon making one batch, and another afternoon later in the week making another... for us. *laughs*

They were so good, we loved them just as cookies, especially with crushed peppermint candies stuck in the cream. They were very much like Trader Joe's Peppermint Joejoe's. Very nice. I do have to say that it feels like a minor miracle every time the dough actually comes together.

I'm also dealing with a mild depression, and doing the things that can distract me from it. Yesterday, John and I went to see Skyfall. Today we went to see the DaVinci Machines Exhibit here in Denver.

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