New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

The garage door is open!

Jane got it. I don’t know how, but she got it. Now we have to clear the water-logged snow in the driveway. Freedom is in sight.

Meanwhile I used our local grocery’s delivery service and was pleasantly surprised. 7.00 flat fee, and I ordered a hundred dollars worth of staples and fresh veggies. To heck with these online recipe offerings (which I hear don’t always pan out, pardon pun). Our grocery folk picked primo veggies, no culls, and we’re set for some nice fresh stuff after two weeks on pasta.

There were surprises. I thought I ordered 2 large mayo jars. What came were minis. Got to read more carefully.
The chopped garlic could supply the US Army. That jar was large.
And two of the items were out of stock, at which point I learned you can find a recipe for anything on the internet. I googled ‘chicken sweet potato’ —which is what I have; and stirred up a lot of recipes I’d never have thought of. I’m going to do that with the rest of the lot. It’s as good as a meal service: you order ‘what they’ve got’ and look up recipes for what arrives.

This is going to turn into a baked curry-spiced diced sweet potato chicken thing, maybe with cauliflower on the side. You dice raw sweet potato, add diced chicken and curry spice, stir with olive oil, bake 15 min, stir, bake 15 more at 425. And they show it with broccoli. I have cauliflower. I’ll make do with a cauliflower steam-bake with parmesan cheese.

24 comments to The garage door is open!

  • paul

    Big excitement in the neighborhood when I came home from lunch–the neighbor across my hay field had a home-invasion robbery! John was at work, his 10-year old daughter at school, but his wife was home. She barricaded herself in, called 911, and they stopped the perps making their escape down the long driveway. They didn’t try to take off across my field–perhaps the one smart thing they did, because they would have quickly been in up to the axles, like the Sheriff’s Forensics van. Through yesterday we had 6″ of rain in 6 days!

  • Psider

    If you’re interested in saving recipes from the internet, I can recommend Paprika Recipe Manager. You can create shopping lists from the recipes with a single click and set the number of serves, which automatically adjusts the volume of ingredients. You can also add notes and search by recipe name or ingredient. Plus other features I haven’t really used yet.

    I currently use the Android app, but am tempted to get the Windows program so I can sync between the two.

    It’s not free, and the pain is having to buy on each operating system, but it works very well.

    One tip for the android app – if sharing from browser to app doesn’t detect the recipe correctly, copying the URL and using the browser in Paprika usually picks it up.

  • CJ

    We’ve got a big snowy mound out back that’s either a bear or our waterfall. Everything’s a foot and a half bigger than it used to be. But it’s finally melting. A series of 40 degree days even if the nights are in the 20’s.

  • Our rain didn’t show up until two yesterday afternoon. And this afternoon we got a t-storm with hail – up to half inch, which is quite large for L.A. (Hailed for almost ten minutes, and lightning and thunder for about ten either side of that.)

    • chondrite

      We’re in the wet season here, which may translate into the Pineapple Express bringing lots of moisture to the Pacific NW. Earlier today the heavens opened and we got a deluge; naturally, right as we were starting a program here at the library. I’m wondering if all the rain may cause landslides along the windward side of the island. They’ve had problems with that for the past month, and the slides will frequently block part of the circum-island road, which is the only way in or out of some isolated communities.

      • paul

        We’ve had landslides all over town during the past week. But truth be told, there are “slopes” all over far beyond “the angle of repose”. If it weren’t for tree roots… And that hasn’t been enough in some cases. I ended up with 6″ in 6 days.

        p.s. I did pick up Doughty’s “Ultimate Guidebook”. Thanks for the recommendation. I think we’re “on”, just trying to ease old lady Kendall’s last days, weeks, months. (Long-hair tortie.)

        • chondrite

          It rained madly off and on all night, although I got up around dawn to feed the cats and the back yard was brightly illuminated by the setting full moon. Right now, it’s blowing rain, and the 3 outdoor cats are sitting by the back door and staring daggers at the inside cats, dry and smug.

  • paul

    It’s already about time! Time for us to get about spring pruning! Not temperature, exactly, photoperiod counts. Terminal buds are already swelling.

    We got a sunny day for a change, and it’s getting on to mid-February, so I got some hand pruners and loppers and started on my apple trees (4 Esopus Spitzenbergs, 2 Gravensteins, on semi-dwarfing rootstock), just the stuff I could reach from the ground. I got the south side of 5 done, hoping for a cloudy, dry day
    so’s I can do the north sides. Next it’ll be with the pole pruner, and doing the north sides with that on a sunny day, even with sun glasses, is a problem. I expect it’ll take a few days, given how much I can do at a time. When I have less time I can give the roses a go.

    If you can find Esopus Spitzenbergs at a farm stand, buy ’em! Thos. Jefferson said they’re the best eating apple in America. He’s right! They’re not “commercial” because the trees aren’t robust and disease resistant enough. I can forgive them!

    • CJ

      Never tried a Spitznberg, but I do like the Gravensteins.

      • paul

        Oh, you must!!! They’re red, peg-shaped like a Red (un)Delicious, crisp, juicy, sweet/tart, umm, tasty. (I suppose it may be a parent of the original Red Delicious, given as a “chance seedling”, before the commercial interests started “improving” them.) But they’re a “winter apple”. Mine don’t ripen until late October or November, give or take!

        But you’ll most likely have to hunt for them as “heirloom apples”. It’s something only someone who knows them and grows them deliberately would do, not something they’d “bet the farm on”. Stop at farmstands by the road and farmers’ markets. Mebbe later this year I could mail you a few if Washington isn’t too picky, but mind you, I don’t spray!

  • 82Eridani

    It was 70F degrees here in Kansas City — and dry. As much as I dislike cold weather, we desperately need snow. I dread what our summer is going to be like this year.

  • WOL

    I have a honey locust tree in my (landlady’s) back yard, and the couple that lived here before me were elderly and very frail, and the yard guy doesn’t rake the beans. I’m supposed to get plenty of fresh air and exercise . . . I have a rake, lawn & leaf bags, and a Radio Flyer wagon. . . Weather’s warming up and I’d better get busy if I want any grass in the back yard.

    BTW, my little red wagon (Radio Flyer with the wooden sides) is the greatest thing not just for yard work (I always hose it down really well afterward, especially the tires). When all I had was a carport or a parking lot, I used to keep it in the house, but now I have a store room in the garage to keep it in. When I shop groceries, I can usually empty the trunk in one wagon load. I just roll it from the garage, up one step, then right into the kitchen. Even though it’s just me, I only by groceries once a month so I come home with a trunk full. I’ll bet I’ve had that sucker for 15 years. Money well spent.

  • Hanneke

    Off topic: Raesean, was it you who was interested in safer street design? Someone here was. I just discovered that a professor from Boston made a new video explaining for Americans the principles behind safer Dutch street design.

    And to answer all those who immediately react by saying that this emphasis on safety instead of speed, and filtered permeability instead of ubiquitous rat-runs, would make the Netherlands a horrid place for driving, here are the results of Waze’s driver satisfaction index; the Netherlands is again the top scorer.

    I know that the accident statistic for cyclists are rising slightly again in the Netherlands, but that increase is almost completely in the over-70s (most in the over-80s), the older the worse, and also mostly in single-person accidents. Translated: more and more elderly people are cycling on, often with the aid of an ebike. This is great for their mobility and selfsufficiency, but it’s a problem when the ebikes go faster than their eyes or reaction speeds can deal with, and they hit a stationary target and fall over, and break a hip or something else.
    Any fall when you’re more than 80 years old can be dangerous, and that is the most likely primary reason for the recent rise, though further research is being done. It’s why the new cycling policy is aiming to remove most of the bollards that guard cycle paths from motor vehicle incursions, and rely more on people being well used to not driving there and on policing that.

    • Hanneke

      And here is the short article about that video, containing more links to the American professor who originated the text; and an earlier more complete explanation, from BicycleDutch, with examples.

      • Raesean


        Thank you for the link to the Safe Street design, which I immediately checked out and enjoyed several days ago… And then could not successfully post my reply and thanks then or for several days because the site also kept on asking me to log in when I already had.

        However, this evening it flashed straight on “Leave a Reply” even before I clicked on “Reply,” so I am going to before it changes its mind…even though I haven’t had a chance to look at the additional article and explanation you’ve posted.

        All this is especially useful because — at my day job doing public policy and advocacy — we are getting ready to do a forum on urban and neighborhood design, including streets and transportation.

        • Raesean

          Wow! And I can reply a second time too!

          The article and the links to Professor Furth of Northeastern University will be very handy preparing for our forum. I might even get in touch with him. And, I got a great chuckle when seeing the picture of Boston City Council chambers in the article. I’m well familiar with that (cold, concrete) space, having attended many a hearing at it (very hard benches) and even testified in front of the council one or two times.

          It’s a nice testimony to the connective power of the internet that I can get onto an Sci Fi/ Fantasy Internet blog created by CJ on the opposite side of the North American continent; read a set of comments posted by you in the Nederlands and be taken back local to me, advocacy for better Boston street design… that I can use in my work!

    • Walt

      Wow, I can log in again, too, though it was behaving a little oddly.

      I was interested in the biking videos you posted earlier, and I enjoyed this video, too.

      My area follows most of those principles, I think. Traffic lights offer protected left hand turns so often, it makes mistaking one of the few unprotected lights for a protected light much more likely. I caught myself recently: “Wait! That isn’t an arrow I’m seeing, just a green circle.” They really need a more distinctive unprotected green light–maybe shaped like a Yield triangle? (▼)

      Generally bike lanes are offset from parkways and the parkways have large medians, but it’s a pretty new area. It’s also a hilly area and built with separated housing/commercial/business zones, so few people bike–it’s just too much up and down and too long a distance; bike paths are laid out for recreation, not transportation.

      Older areas have all the faults you would expect, plus the separated housing/commercial/business zoning that dates back to post WWII: pretty suburbs with almost no shopping or business in walking or biking distance.

      But, it looks like this is going to get “solved” by self-driving cars before any redevelopment solution could possibly be implemented. Tesla is talking about going fully automatic by the end of the year.

      • Hanneke

        Hi Walt, it’s finally letting me log in *and* reply again. Self-driving cars have a lot of trouble with recognizing and responding to people on bikes, so they won’t be safe around our cities for a while yet.
        More importantly, they don’t solve the two mayor problems caused by using personal motor vehicles for short journeys inside cities and towns, which are the lack of space and the air & noise pollution.

        A self-driving car needs just as much space as a regular car when parked, and at least until all vehicles are self-driven on a grid or something like that they will still need (almost) as much space on the road around them while driving as other drivers need to have the time to see & react to their actions.
        Self-driving vehicles will by themselves not cause much less noise pollution, except for honking – the noise of tires on asphalt is a main component of that and that’s the same whoever drives it.
        They also need fuel, and thus cause air pollution. Even if they go completely electrical, with the emphasis the USA places on fossil fuels the electricity-generating plants will most likely be causing pollution for quite a long time; and delivering all the extra electricity needed to power all those cars will need a big investment in the powergrid infrastructure, including building extra power plants.

        Meanwhile people’s activity levels keep falling and obesity levels keep rising, while the percentage of trips that people take in the USA that fall within an easily bikeable distance of less than 3-4 miles aren’t much less in the USA than in the Netherlands. If only it could be made safe, easy and pleasant to do so!
        Research and experience have shown that making cities bikeable and walkable is a very good way to revitalise town centers and improve both liveability and shopping spending while also improving public health, and the investment needed to realise that is a lot less than is needed for getting everyone into self-driving cars. But the latter improves the income of big oil and car companies, instead of local shopkeepers & small-scale infrastructure builders etc., so guess which is being promoted in the USA?

        I may be getting a bit cynical as I grow older, sorry.

  • Hanneke

    Bah, I can’t comment on the next post, it keeps asking me to log in even though I am logged in.
    Anyway, as someone who’s afraid of spiders that anecdote made me go turtle and shiver; next time please tell her to scoot back quick before you try the rescue!
    I’d much prefer the momentary interruption caused by such an order, than the scare and the not wanting to sit under things or put my legs under the desk and being tense about unexpected touches for days…

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