Dresden: Harry magicking

Pumpkin Loaves

Doing another 'posting this recipe for posterity because we keep losing recipes' post. Feel free to make if you would like. They are very good! They come from my mom's mom's side of the family, where there were 11 children. Hence the sheer size of the recipe. I suggest halving it if you don't want a plethora of pumpkin-based baked goods.

PUMPKIN LOAVES (makes 3 loaves or 24 muffins)

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup water
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
OPTIONAL: 1 c add-ins (raisins, dates, chocolate chips, pecans, etc.)

BAKE @ 350F for 1 hr (loaves) or 20 minutes (muffins)

Will work well with a sugar substitute if you so desire. I usually do half white sugar substitute and half brown sugar blend. The muffins are quite moist and dense, a little bit like pumpkin pie filling in a cake form. This entry was crossposted on Dreamwidth (https://awanderingbard.dreamwidth.org/311851.html). Replies are welcome in any location.
Dresden: Harry magicking

Greetings from Flynn!

Hello from my new computer, who I have named Flynn, in honour of Flynn Rider from Tangled because he is a nice, loyal, guy who also is a lot of fun and that's what I'd like this computer to be for me. Mum and I may or may not have watched a great deal of the Tangled tv series on Disney+ over the last year. Spoiler: we did.

Flynn is awesome so far and I'm enjoying it greatly. I had a game I was trying to play on Issie that took ten minutes to load up and lagged like crazy and it was loaded in less than 30 seconds on Flynn. I even downloaded and installed Photoshop while playing that game and nothing lagged. Also, it came with a mechanical keyboard that goes clicky-clack when I type, so bonus. Also, it has rainbow lights on it that I can programme to do whatever I want, which is completely unnecessary but makes me feels special.

Getting my files over has been somewhat of a nightmare (my USB stick wouldn't work? It just wouldn't read it. And everything I read on the Internet was like 'Mac and PC use the same file systems for USB drives and it will be a seamless, easy thing to share files!). I tried several different methods, but ultimately Dropbox has been the one that worked. Transferring 14,000 icons from one computer to another takes time, though. The only part of the new computer that sucks.

Speaking of things that suck, America, I'm really sorry your country is a mess right now and I hope things look better for you soon.

I'm posting this on Dreamwidth and LJ. One of my New Year's resolutions is to try to remember to crosspost. I've also changed my LJ journal layout, though that was also something of a nightmare, as, apparently LJ just got rid of the Flexible Squares layout sometime last year and didn't tell anybody, and if you change out of that layout, you can't get it back now. And guess who changed that layout for the first time in several years testing new ones? Thankfully, there is a workaround using custom layers, but, it's lame that it's no longer available normally. This entry was crossposted on Dreamwidth (https://awanderingbard.dreamwidth.org/311585.html). Replies are welcome in any location.
Dresden: Harry magicking

Happy Almost New Year!

Hello, world! Happy Almost 2021. Good job on making it here! You did really well and I'm proud of you.

It doesn't seem to matter what kind of Christmas we have, Mom and I are always wiped out afterwards. Every year we pare down more and more and every year, we still seem to need to sleep for a week once it's over. We didn't even have company this year! But we had a really good time anyway. I can honestly say, doing it over Google Meetings wasn't much different from having my brother and his wife in the room with us. It would have been nice to hug them and all, but we still had a lot of fun the way we did it. And Paxie was very well behaved! We had him out the whole time we were eating and opening presents and he only ran off with a couple of empty bags and his own presents, so he was a very good boy. There is perhaps hope of him settling down into something we aren't constantly saying 'Pax, what are you doing?!' to.

I had hoped to be writing this from a new computer, but one of the packages missed the cut-off point, so I have a monitor but no desktop, and because of the holiday, I won't get it until Monday. I took advantage of the Boxing Day sales to get a not-cheap but also a not-too-fancy computer for myself, since poor Issie isn't cutting it anymore. She's very slow and beachballing a lot and freezing her programmes and even trying to open the save dialogue in Photoshop is a struggle. I've tried everything to help speed her up and help her out, but I think she's just past her prime. But she served me well. She came to rescue me in the woeful hour of the Great FlashDrive Crash of '15 and has been as faithful and stalwart as I hoped she would be. She hardly ever crashed and never lost a single file. I'm going back to Windows again, because Mac just doesn't have what I need for what I want to do now. Also, I was a Windows girl for 29 years and even with five years of Issie, I still am only vaguely aware how to do anything on a Mac without googling it first. In my decision making, my mom pointed out that I should have what I want since we're still going to be stuck at home a lot and apparently I deserve to be happy or something. Having supportive parents is wonderful, but I feel like my parents didn't get the memo about discouraging their children from --

Okay, my computer just arrived in the middle of me writing about how my computer wasn't going to arrive. Poor Canada Post is very confused this year. They are under a lot of stress and we've had a series of strange events in regards to packages.

But yay! New computer!

Anyway, I shall finish this post as intended, which is just to say I hope everyone has a safe and happy and better new year than this old one. Hang in there, keep doing what you need to do and keep yourself healthy. We'll get through it. Thanks so much to everyone who still reads this journal. I know fewer and fewer people are using LJ these days and I'm not posting much interesting still, but I don't have any desire to move to somewhere else at the moment. I love you!
Dresden: Harry magicking

Happy Holidays!

Hello, all you cool cats and kittens out there! I hope you are enjoying or will enjoy your winter holiday celebrations. In a safe fashion.

Our COVID cases are on the rise here, so my family has decided to do virtual Christmas this year to be on the safe side. My dad is at very high risk of COVID complications, and my brother and his wife aren't in our bubble, and we just want to be safe. And it's just one year. And my parents are both medical professionals and worked shiftwork all my childhood, so celebrating holidays in a prescribed 'we do this same thing every year' way is not how we've ever done things. So, we'll be fine. My brother is coming later today to safely swap presents and then tomorrow we'll have virtual dinner and virtual present opening. I know we're still a long way from everyone being vaccinated, but it seems silly to be risky now that we have hope of an end of all this within the next year.

The upside of not having guests over is that we don't have to clean, or cook a big meal, which is good because my body has totally given out on me. On Friday, I sat down in a chair to take my morning pills and when I stood up again, I...couldn't stand up. My back gave out, like really, really gave out. I was able to sort of walk, but it was a struggle and caused a significant amount of pain. I have no idea what I did, but it was not happy about it. My mum thinks it's just way too overtired and is trying to tell me to rest, which is perhaps valid. Thankfully, the very acute pain was short-lived and I felt about 75% better by the next day, but I still can't stand for very long and am quite sore and stiff. However, I don't seem to be actively passing stones at the moment, so that's nice. I wonder if there is a connection. Like, the kidney stone passing muscles relaxed and the ones protecting the kidney stone muscles went 'Imma head out' once their job was done. Anyway, it will be a quiet Christmas, and that's fine. I'm mostly just sad I can't sing all the Christmas songs on my karaoke app. It's my favourite time of year for that and I'm in too much pain to have any breath support. :-(

Ontario is heading into a 28-day lockdown on Boxing Day, but not quite as severe as the one in the Spring. I hope it will help stop the post-Christmas spread.

Hope everyone else is staying safe and sane! Hang in there.
Dresden: Harry magicking

I'm running out of creative titles to say it's me again

Hello! Back again with another check-in post. Things are getting a little more serious around here, COVID-wise, but we're still pretty low in numbers. The new cases are from people who travelled out of our region and brought it back. We're in the Yellow Zone now, which means things close a little earlier at night, but other than that, everything is still open. We all have to wear masks to enter any public building and everyone is complying, so hopefully, we can keep things down. Though I'm worried for the Christmas season. I hope people stay home. If we do this just one year, we hopefully won't ever have to do it again. Please stay home.

Health-wise, things have been kinda shitty for me overall. Lots of stones, a few bad episodes of colic, and my period cramps are otherworldly of late. Plus some migraines, due to the change in weather (and also possibly staring at my iPad watching states change colour for a week back at the beginning of the month...). My GP put me on birth control continuously for the next three months to give me a break, so hopefully, that will help out, and I've started seeing a physiotherapist again for the migraines. He's going to give me a TENS unit to help with the pain. I just feel like I need to get on top of something because right now I feel it's coming it at me from all angles.

My brain is still pretty shot, but I've been learning how to photoshop with my character portraits (and consequently redoing them, because the better I get at it, the more I dislike the ones I did before). I also just got the new Crusader Kings game, which is a learning curve, but will be fun to figure out. Mum's having a bit of trouble with the weather and her knee, but otherwise is doing well.

Paxie continues to be a delight and also trouble, but mostly a delight.

Hopefully, y'all are still hanging in there. I know it's been a hella weird time for everyone, and I wish you peace and health!
Dresden: Harry magicking

The Giving of Thanks is Upon Us

Happy Thanksgiving from Canada! COVID restrictions mean we really aren't allowed to get together and while I'm sure that many people will be flouting that, we are obeying, so we're doing a little dinner tomorrow instead of having my brother and his wife over for brunch like we usually do. And she is his wife now because they got married last week! Again, due to COVID restrictions, they did a private civil ceremony, but that was their plan anyway. They were just going to have a big party afterwards, which they are saving for their anniversary next year (hopefully things will have calmed down enough for that by then). We have pictures from the ceremony and they're very sweet and they look very happy, so we're pleased for them, even if it's a bit disappointing that we couldn't celebrate with them.

We have a pretty big second wave of COVID happening right now in Canada, especially in my province, but, thankfully, my area is still very low. I don't know how long the schools will stay open, though, and I suspect we might be going back a phase or two for lockdown restrictions again soon.

Healthwise here, we're all trucking along. Mum's knee is playing up, probably due to the change of season, but she's doing well otherwise. I have been feeling kind of like shit lately, but in an overall run-down sort of way than anything in particular. The stones have been quite good lately, aside from yesterday, in which I had the feared combination of epic period cramps + stones made worse by said period cramps. Yesterday was NOT a good day. I find it funny though that my mum is so proficient at stone whispering that she can rub my back and go 'yeah, this one's turned the wrong way, okay I've turned it now, I think there are three of them, they're right here, they should be turning the corner soon'. Like, she could get a job as a professional Stone Hurry-Alonger.

I've been keeping myself busy with a new Tunisian Crochet hook set and playing around with ArtBreeder, making all my OCS. Look, it's Vampire Mat!:


It's a lot of fun because I can't always get exactly what I want with the website itself, so I can take the photo into Photoshop and practice some manipulation skills to get it right. I also discovered you can 'breed' two photos together, which is good for making children of characters. It's...a deep rabbit hole. I'll probably post everyone once I get them done.

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there! The world is a strange place, I hope you are managing to find some joy in it.
Dresden: Harry magicking

Scottie Time

It was Pax's birthday yesterday! He's two years old now. Here's a picture of him, just after eating his birthday cookie:


Don't worry, he's scheduled for a hair cut. I still can't figure out the vagaries of my camera, so it's a bit noisy. Here's a better picture from last month, with him and my dad being bros in the Scottie Chair:


He's a big boy Scottie now and starting to behave like it. He mostly obeys and is less crazy and he's much better about nibbling on people, though he still gets a little too excited sometimes. He's just the happiest boy and a delight, even though he's trouble too.

Hope everyone is doing well! Stay strong!
Dresden: Harry magicking

Still here, still

Man, 2020 distorts time so much. It feels like it's insanely long, but also at the same time three weeks go by and you're like, where did the time go? I haven't posted since, like, June, which is weird. But I also didn't have much to say. And still don't. But I thought I would check-in.

Same old news around here. Everyone's fine, Global Pandemic wise. We still have a super low number of cases in my area, which I am insanely grateful for. Our city introduced mandatory face coverings a couple of months ago and everyone seems to be complying, which is good to see. I think most everything is opened up now, with restrictions in place. I'm able to get massages at least every two weeks, if not every week, which is good because my kidney stones are being little bitches right now. I had a big flurry of them, but they seem to be settling down once more. My hormones have also settled out and I'm sleeping a lot better and I'm hoping a combination of those two things will make me feel better in the long run. The kidney stones are something I think I just have to live with, barring any great discoveries, but I could do without insomnia and missed periods.

I've started crocheting again and have begun a Christmas present project. I always try to start really early for those because I have a tendency to start a pattern and not like it and freak out and go through four other patterns before I find something I like, but even then there's something about that pattern I can't live with and have to rework and then spend the week before Christmas frantically trying to sort out sleeves while my mum gentle soothes my nerves. So far, though, I'm a third of the way through my first choice of pattern and I like it, so yay! Although I'm not sure about the lace trim on it, so I may change that...

Also, herringbone half doubles are gorgeous but doing rows of 226 of them is very hard on the wrist!

In other creative news, I came across a website called Artbreeder, which uses machine learning to create portraits of people. Basically, you can upload a photo of a person or use an already uploaded photo and tweak the features on it to create different looking people by changing the age, gender, race, hair colour, angle of the face, expression, etc on it. You turn a dial and the algorithm layers in millions of samples of other photos to create realistic portraits or make them look like digital paintings. You can also do landscapes, album covers, and full-body characters (almost like concept art), but I haven't played around much with those. I thought it would be good for OCs or for getting inspiration for OCs. There are some limitations, of course. You can only do blue or brown eyes and there's no way to change lip or eye shape without using the race sliders which change the rest of the face, too. But you can probably download a photo and work it in photoshop if you need a very specific detail. And it's just kind of fun.

Hope everyone else is hanging in there. 2020 is throwing a lot of shit our way, so take care of yourselves physically and mentally!
Dresden: Harry magicking

A Midsummer Night's Awesome

Hello friendly friends!

If you are in need of some entertainment and are in any way a fan of Shakespeare, I highly recommend checking out The Bridge's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream:

(website link: here)

It will be up for a week from yesterday, thanks to National Theatre Live, who are putting up one show a week for a week from their archives in order to raise funds during COVID-19. Obviously, the theatre industry is being hit hard, but I'm grateful they're finding creative ways to let us enjoy it in other ways.

This production is really, really fun. It's a much different take on it, but it works, and even my mum, who doesn't like Shakespeare, was giggling along as I was watching it. It's super joyful and the performances are great. I really like the dynamics between Titania and Oberon (who they had swap roles, Titania taking Oberon's dialogue and role in the story and Oberon taking hers), and the way they contrasted it with Theseus and Hippolyta (who are played by the same actors). All the aerial work is amazing and the use of music and adlibbing and audience interactions is really cool, plus the way the sets work. They really played up the aspect of 'this may all be just one weird-ass dream' and I liked it.

Hope everyone is doing well in these crazy times! We're in the midst of some non-Corona related stress, but, on the bright side, my menstrual cycle seems to be righting itself and a lot of the PCOS symptoms that go along with that being out of whack
are resolving, so that's good.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Dresden: Harry magicking

Hello World!

Hello there, folks! I hope everyone is keeping safe in these chaotic times and if you are out protesting you are wearing a mask to keep yourself as protected as possible and getting tested if you can.

If you desire/need a small mental health break or two, here's a couple of things to provide a smile:

BBC Radio is reairing Cabin Pressure from the beginning. John Arthur mentioned it on one the last episodes of Cabin Fever. I'm not sure if they're airing the whole thing or just the first season, but definitely the first season at least. It's up on the iPlayer, which is not geo-locked for radio.

And Taika Waititi is reading James and the Giant Peach with his celebrity friends on YouTube and it is delightful. There are new episodes up Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, about 20 minutes each. It's to raise money for Partners in Health in the UK and the Roald Dahl Trust will match any donations.