Metatalktail Hour: Happy Thoughts October 28, 2017 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, because it's been a long one, please share a happy thing that's happened to you lately, whether it's something super-fantastically awesome or just binge-watching Stranger Things this weekend. Tell us the good stuff going on in your life!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:36 PM (104 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I came in 3rd place overall in the 10k I had been training for! I took a trip out to Chuncheon yesterday that was incredibly long and tiring, but I saw cool stuff, learned about the Korean novelist Kim Yoo Jeong and got to eat and drink wonderful things!

Also and more generally, my life has been doing great recently. I have an interview Tuesday for a PhD program I applied to (the only one I applied to, as I am on the fence about actually, you know, doing it). My job is going great. My kids are still little monsters, but I can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel there (the youngest will enter daycare in March, which will hopefully relieve a bit of stress on everyone). So yeah, I don't want to brag or anything, but I am killing it lately.

(OK, I do want to brag, sorry)
posted by Literaryhero at 5:46 PM on October 28, 2017 [18 favorites]

I defend my thesis on Monday, so I hope I'll have a happy thing to report soon!

Literally 30 seconds ago I glanced out the window of my apartment and saw someone walking down the street carrying a big honkin' Cloud Strife sword on his shoulder, presumably on his way to a Halloween party. That was pretty great.
posted by btfreek at 5:47 PM on October 28, 2017 [17 favorites]

Five things:

1. I rescued a cat from a tall tree, which involved some climbing and deliberately not looking down at the ground (so I guess my fear of heights is at least partially conquered now, maybe), and the use of a packet of salmon pieces from Marks and Spencer.

2. My fridge contains several jars of homemade jam, including blackberry and apple, blackcurrant (several), raspberry, rhubarb and ginger, damson, and green plum. These were given to me by a jam maker I met at a village fete over the summer. Back story some other time because discretion.

3. I have eaten the first Stollen of the Christmas festive period.

4. The annual watch of my three favorite movies, namely Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Princess Mononoke, and Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, has just been completed.

5. Have also completed the annual minimum target of 1,500+ miles of rural hikes and walks for the fourth consecutive year. Related: 88 pounds lost, 12 to go. Though, yet again, I need to buy more clothes to replace the clown outfits my clothes have become.

+ + + + +

Autumn is often fleeting and the last few months seem to have passed by more swiftly than usual this year. In my head the personal yearly seasonal calendar is pretty much:

- November through March (or from when the clocks go back to when they go forward): Winter
- April: Spring
- May through to mid-September (birthday): Summer
- Mid-September through October: Autumn

And so, as the clocks have just gone back for the small upside of an extra hour of sleep we suddenly get the downside of dark dinner time and sunset during afternoon tea, and with Halloween and All Saints Day just a couple of sunsets away, and most of all as the England mens cricket team have now flown away for their annual winter in somewhere hot and exotic where they will struggle to win matches for several months, it feels like a sudden lurch into the dark times.

The new camera remains an annoying instrument, resulting in few pictures I'm happy with. Events and incidents, accidents and allegations, have gone unrecorded because of it, which I'm not happy about it. A few over recent weeks that are up on Flickr include a nice harvest festival dinner. I've been to eleven harvest festival lunches, dinners or suppers at various churches, which has led to the odd side-comment by my local leftie vicar, recently photographed wearing her purple kicking boots while operating, or trying to operate, an apple press.

On the religious theme (even though I'm distinctly not Christian), a recent trip to Lincoln to visit my second favorite Cathedral, get there a bit early for the organ recital, and take a photograph of a cafe which has greatly excited two of my American friends who share the same first name.

And the usual wanderings, across fields, past woods at sunset, by late season crops, through spooky church graveyards in daytime and nighttime, over stiles, past cottages, and attending the occasional event. And, when the desire takes, the odd trip on a steam train and tea in the cafe.

In conclusion; it has been a short autumn. But a good autumn.
posted by Wordshore at 5:50 PM on October 28, 2017 [23 favorites]

It is Halloween weekend, and me, my toddler, and my dear wife CatastropheWaitress went to a friend's party this evening dressed as the Quartz-Universe family from Steven Universe!

Tuesday is the Halloween parade at the kiddo's daycare, and she'll be going dressed as the tiniest Janelle Monae (last year she was Tiny Frida Kahlo). We're excited.
posted by duffell at 5:52 PM on October 28, 2017 [15 favorites]

I have a personal hobby research project that's been on and off my radar for years. One big piece of it is finding the underlying data, which doesn't seem to exist anywhere, which is really surprising in the internet age.

Well, this week, I finally asked the local librarians if they had any thoughts about where I could dig up the data. While I was waiting for a reply, I myself thought of one avenue that turned out to get me about half the data - and then my fabulously helpful San Francisco librarians got back to me with an even better approach! So now - although it'll take me some time to locate and untangle all the records - I should be able to compile my underlying data and build my project, and it just makes me super happy because I've been grumbling vaguely for years about the data not existing, and now I will get to compile it and put it out into the world and enjoy it myself and just having this nagging question resolved after years of dead ends makes me feel tremendously happy and satisfied.

(I'm being deliberately vague so it'll be a surprise when I put it up on Projects, but trust me - it's completely trivial and mundane but it makes me very happy. It might well be the sort of thing other MeFites will also enjoy.)

Also I've been having a really hard time finding time to fix some old code, and I finally got a few hours to spend on it this weekend and made some progress, so that's quite nice too.

AND, there's a slice of cherry pie for dessert!
posted by kristi at 5:59 PM on October 28, 2017 [10 favorites]

Waitress at the Toronto airport restaurant where I was having breakfast on about 4 hours sleep and hungover yesterday morning asked me, “Has anyone told you before that you look a lot like Jimmy Kimmel?”

It may not be Brad Pitt, but at this stage of my life I’ll take it.
posted by The Gooch at 6:02 PM on October 28, 2017 [7 favorites]

Part of my job is teaching 6th grade beginners how to play string instruments and there are about 2.5 months at the beginning of the year when it just suuuuucks and everything is new and hard and omg you bought WHAT untunable garbage instrument on Amazon and what end of the case is up again and it is just kind of a drag. I fake a lot of patience and enthusiasm: you can do anything for 45 minutes, right? It’s a lot like this.

And then at a certain point most kids kind of get it and you can start doing real stuff with them- that point in one of my classes was this week and all the sudden most of my 42 kids have reasonable technique when reminded and we can read notes and Twinkle and it’s lovely and fulfilling and whew. Finally.

Also, I have to wait until we have real snow to know for sure but I am pretty sure Ask folks solved a problem I have been having for three years now in about 10 minutes on Friday. That was nice.
posted by charmedimsure at 6:08 PM on October 28, 2017 [15 favorites]

I had a really rough week with regards to my mental health. Work was stressful and I feel like I took some steps back into a dark place that I thought I had put a little bit behind me.

I've been avoiding a lot of social media and trying to focus on happy things: Destiny 2, Stranger Things 2, & coffee. In fact those three things are all I'm doing for the rest of the night. It's 9:16 p.m. and black coffee at this time is both a great idea and a bad idea. But I'm off tomorrow, so it's a great idea right now.

Coffee. Eleven. Destiny 2. I'm holding on to these good things because there's a lot of bad out there.
posted by Fizz at 6:17 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]

I’m at a wrestling match in the southern second-ring suburbs of Minneapolis. It’s basically one remove from backyard wrestling. We’re in a veteran’s club. The citizens bags are dropped and the panels are so near the wrestlers that they broke one flipping each other. Drinks are $5 a pour and enormous.
posted by maxsparber at 6:29 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]

The team I was supporting invited me back in the Spring to continue my workstudy in a characterization lab. So stoked.
posted by chaostician at 6:32 PM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

I bought a '37 Epiphone Electar lap steel guitar about a month ago (linked image is not my actual instrument, I don't have a good pic of mine), and after some tinkering realized that the pickup had to be rewound. Got the repaired pickup back early this week, and threw it in, and it's marvelous. And I have tomorrow off so I can start figuring out how to play the dam' thing.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:43 PM on October 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

It's APPLE BAKING TIME and I've already baked an apple galette with white chedder crust and my favorite cake, an apple-raisins soaked in brandy-pecan cake with a brown sugar brandy glaze. So much butter, so much brandy. So.Good.

I have over a ton of rocks, most of it chalk, in my living room and basement, which I have been slowly and painstakingly separating into the thinnest of layers as it extremely fissile. And for a certain 2 foot section of roughly the same age many of the layers have had the most exquisitely preserved fossil jellyfish and cephalopods. There was no clue about it when we were cutting these rocks out of the outcrops but it's like I stumbled onto a lagerstätte for jellyfish. It's been an amazing and unexpected find with lots of scientific meaning to unravel, even better! Anyway, just as I started cleaning them poffin boffin made 2 comments in the Hamburger Helper thread that just delighted me to the point of making a little song out of them which just makes me wiggle with happiness each time I sing it as I clean the fossils:

Paleo nerds!
This vertebrate hegemony is holding us back!
Oh let's be a jellyfish, let's be a squid swimming in the BLACK
Get rid of shells! Get rid of broody brachiopods!
Get rid of dumb dinosaurs with their boney connecting rods!
Why have a skeleton, why not be a helpful CEPHalopooooooooood!
posted by barchan at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2017 [24 favorites]

I might have said this in a recent metatalktail, but I had my WHOLE ENTIRE FAMILY here for the first time ever!!!!! (because we added two new members this summer so the new Expanded McGee Family had not yet gathered) We didn't think we were going to see my sister and her husband and brand new baby until Christmas or even Easter, but the wildfires drove them out of San Francisco because the air quality was too poor for his teeny baby lungs, and they hightailed it to Chicago. And *I* just moved my family up here about 10 weeks ago now, and my parents, who split their time between Chicago and NC, were up here for the weekend anyway, so we were all in one place! All my siblings and their spouses and my nieces and nephews and my parents, who got to see all six of their grandkids at once for the first time ever (since grandchildren 5 and 6 just arrived within the last 12 weeks). Wildfires are terrible, but for the McGee family, this one had a bit of a silver lining. It was glorious and my new baby nephew is a snuggle nugget of the highest degree!

Also I hate fish and never eat it basically ever but my husband's doctor wants him to eat a more Mediterranean diet so I learned to make salmon en papillote and everyone says it was fucking delicious and I thought it was not completely intolerable and ate almost half my portion! I had my whole huge family over (9 adults, 4 children, 2 babies) and made Salmon For All to wild acclaim. (My brother suggested it was a bit of a Monkey's Paw talent, that I can make excellent salmon but hate to eat it.) Got to put the leaf in the table and use the china and silver and have a kids' table and everything. My kids agree it was our best Feast so far, since there were so many people we love there!

Meanwhile my kids are totally into latchhook, which I grabbed at the craft store for a rainy day project. It's adorable. I kind-of thought they'd be interested just for the rainy afternoon, and then I'd get to finish their projects, but they're totally into it and I may have to get my own!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:45 PM on October 28, 2017 [14 favorites]

Now it is dark, and I can go out and see how my $1.00 ceramic pumpkin, with the autumn leaf cutouts, looks on the front porch. It is a modest endeavor.
posted by Oyéah at 6:45 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]

What a great thread. (Love the sound of that cheddar crust, barchan.)

This is almost embarrassing to mention, but it made me so, so happy: I got thanked in the acknowledgments section of a cookbook by someone whose food and cooking I really admire. And then I found out a day later that I was mentioned twice in the upcoming book of another culinary hero!

It’s been a bananas week.
posted by veggieboy at 6:47 PM on October 28, 2017 [15 favorites]

Last weekend my wife's chorus got to be in the Boston production of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess. It's a touring concert where they have an orchestra play music from the game, with the chorus singing in parts. Meanwhile they had a giant screen with clips from the various Zelda games, and the conductor conducted with a click track so the music was all synchronized with the video. They had clips of the various game designers, producers, and composers talking about what the games mean to them and stuff like that. It was at the Wang Center in Boston and it was filled with nerds and people dressed up as Link and other characters and my son and I really enjoyed it. Amy was rehearsing at home for a few weeks and she really thought the music was interesting. I don't know classical music at all and she doesn't know video games at all but we all really loved it. And it's always really neat to see my wife up on stage at a big production like that.

Next Saturday night I get to see my favorite band ever (Eddie From Ohio) play in my town (at an arts center that used to be a firehouse) and I have second row center seats, so that should be cool.

And then there's my job...

Earlier this summer my son and I were hiking in Acadia National Park in Maine. It was a gorgeous day and we were walking along a cliff overlooking a large lake. Couldn't have been more perfect. We were two days into a six day family camping trip. That's when I heard my phone buzz. My boss texted me with "Jim, there's been a reorganization and I need to discuss it with you ASAP. Please call me."

So, there I am in the most beautiful spot on Earth faced with a dilemma. Do I call him and ruin my vacation, or do I ruin my vacation worried that I don't have a job anymore? I called him.

Fortunately, I still had a job, though some others weren't so lucky. What did happen is I was taken out of my team and tossed into a new team with a director I didn't know and a manager TBA. It was scary and frustrating and, while I eventually managed to put it out of my head and enjoy my vacation, it did put a damper on things. I returned to work on Thursday and started to deal with the changes, which would also involve a physical move.

Long story short... I love it! The director is the complete opposite of my old director and manager. She's transparent and treats us with value and respect. She's pleasant where my old director was miserable. I'd been working for terrible people for so long I'd forgotten what it was like to work for someone who isn't terrible. My job is mostly the same and will in fact get a bit harder eventually, but my moral is up, I'm slacking off less, and I feel like the things I do matter more. I'm not being asked to do pointless TPS reports that nobody will ever read. Even little things like adding my name to the directory or sending us regular emails to give us news mean a lot and were never done by my old boss.

I knew most of my new teammates but had never really worked with them much. They're all mostly cool and it's just a nicer environment in which to work. They even have cake once a month! Cake! We never, ever had cake. We never had anything. It fucking sucked. Now it doesn't.

I'm sure the honeymoon will wear off eventually but I really feel like I'm now working for someone who respects their employees instead of treating them all like scum. It's nice.

There are other things going on in life, some good, some bad. And of course we're all living in some sort of giant political nightmare, but we'll get through that. The good things have been pretty good though.

And I'm still working on that fucking bass. I had to sand it down and refinish it because I wasn't happy with how it looked. I just want it done so I can move on to something else.
posted by bondcliff at 6:49 PM on October 28, 2017 [20 favorites]

I have hiked many miles this week. 10 miles at Point Reyes Tuesday, 4.2 of the steepest miles ever at Armstrong Woods on Thursday, 4.6 miles with my Meetup group today. During today's hike I had a really, really nice conversation with someone I'd met once before but never really talked to, about the trauma from the wildfires here and how it's totally normal to still be reeling emotionally, and about trauma in general, and about post-traumatic growth, and about how it's horrible to bump up against the reality that the universe can be an arbitrary and uncertain place but that accepting that can lead to amazing possibilities for growth. It was odd, and wonderful, to be having that conversation as a participant rather than a therapist, and I felt like we were connecting at an emotional level we both needed in that moment.

Today I also went to an open studios event and bought this little print of a watercolor by a local artist, and it makes me happy. There was other art that I liked more, but this was $30, and the little birds just look so cozy and I like the colors, and it makes me smile. Still not quite sure where I'm going to hang it, which also makes me happy because it means I have enough art on my walls that such decisions are difficult.

I then went to one of the local Dia de los Muertos processions, which was more of a fair than a procession, but I ran into a bunch of people from church and it was kind of nice to realize that now I'm a person who runs into people I know at local events. I also had really good tacos al pastor. Then I hit crowd overload and went home, and now I'm cozy in my pajamas with some peppermint tea and I'm sure that cats will come cuddle pretty soon.
posted by lazuli at 6:58 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]

It's been really fun following your step by step progress on that bass, bondcliff. Your talent/skill is awesome - it looked beautiful in your last picture.
posted by barchan at 6:58 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

This week I got two dental implants after years of struggling with a tricky bridge and a broken tooth root. Despite getting sick the day after, and having a sore jaw right now, I am insanely grateful that (a) we were able to afford to do this, and (b) that it is possible to have brand new teeth at the age of 60.

Plus, thanks to the hip replacement exactly one year ago, I can now swim a half-mile three times a week for the first time in my life and am having more fun than ever.

It has been a tough year but Metafilter has helped me a lot. It has been the one place where I can always find encouragement and reassurance that the entire world has not, in fact, gone insane (yet). Thanks, guys!!!
posted by kinnakeet at 7:02 PM on October 28, 2017 [11 favorites]

" I got thanked in the acknowledgments section of a cookbook by someone whose food and cooking I really admire."

Was it for waffling unlikely things? Because my husband makes your sausage waffles like every weekend now ...
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:03 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

Heh. It was waffling-related, yes. I mean, I have written other books. But, like, you don’t get to pick what sticks with people, you know? I’ve mostly made my peace with that. (And I’m happy to hear of the sausage waffling.)
posted by veggieboy at 7:14 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

I’m finally, finally feeling meaningfully connected to people that I don’t sleep with or work for in the city where I live. I just got a lead on a job that looks pretty great. The weather isn’t bone crushingly cold yet. I have put up over 100 jars of summer abundance for winter enjoyment. I’m doing my best and while it may not be enough, it’s something. Also my cold is much improved, thanks mostly to good old dm cough syrup. Maybe tomorrow I’ll pickle these beets and carrots.
posted by bilabial at 7:14 PM on October 28, 2017 [13 favorites]

One of my favourite bands, Hey Rosetta!, recently announced that they'd be playing their final shows this December, in Toronto and St. John's. I love this band with all my heart, and was willing to fly to Toronto to see them. I booked plane tickets and got ready to jump on concert tickets. They initially released on Oct 16 but sold out in minutes; the band managed to change venues to accommodate some of the demand.

The new tickets were released yesterday and I managed to snag one - and judging from what I see on Facebook, I'm one of the lucky ones. I am so, so pleased, and excited to be sending off such a talented group of people. ♥
posted by invokeuse at 8:02 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

I got an instant pot and learned how to use it today and made potato soup and it was delicious!! And then I learned how to crochet. Goal: to crochet Emmet Otter and Ma Otter from a pattern I found on etsy.

I've also spent the day watching really sappy Christmas movies on Hallmark. The endings are all happy! And there's snow! And Christmas decorations! And true love!

I also learned from the kid neighbor that #1 it is not too late for me to write a letter to Santa. and #2 that I am not too old to write to Santa.

I'm a couple of months early with Christmas this year I guess.
posted by ilovewinter at 8:15 PM on October 28, 2017 [10 favorites]

Good luck, soon-to-be-Dr. btfreek!

Last night I went to a halloween party, and was greeted by a really friendly soft long-haired black cat as I was stumbling around trying to find the house.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:15 PM on October 28, 2017 [10 favorites]

Driving home after a long day last week, I was waiting at a stop light when a stretch limo drove by. The only passenger was a white American bulldog with her head out the back window. For some reason there was a dog riding around Eugene in a stretch limo.

I've since been informed that this dog (apparently there are two, actually) is a thing - other people have seen them riding around at various times. Of all the happy things I have experienced this year, this may be the happiest of them all.

Party Limo Dog!!
posted by DingoMutt at 8:31 PM on October 28, 2017 [23 favorites]

• I recently set up the new recording equipment I'd bought at the end of the summer but hadn't gotten time to work with, and it's already making a difference in the quality of my recordings. My goal this year was to record myself singing a song a day, and I've managed to do it roughly every other day, so that's still not bad. A week ago I posted the first song cicadaverse and I collaborated on (shameless self-promotion? don't mind if I do!). I've been working on a couple others over the course of this week, and today I got about 4 hours of unbroken time to rework some of the vocal lines, so I'm pleased with how it's going. Yay collabs!

• I also got a change of pace this past week while covering some colleagues' projects, which was nice—I got to hang out with some coworkers and clients I hadn't for a while, and it felt nice to be warmly welcomed back. Taking on a new (or old) challenge and doing well with it feels so satisfying.

• Last night after happy hour I submitted my first Chromium bug report, about the failure of a 2-frame Zoidberg GIF to display properly in Chrome, and it was quite gratifying to see it get attention, reproduction, a potential fix found, and assignment within an hour. It hasn't been fixed yet, but even that much action on it was cool. I'm not sure whether all bugs in Chrome are seen that quickly or someone just wanted to see what the Zoidberg bug was all about, but the whole thing was amusing and made me happy. Even if it was just the latter, hey, why not Zoidberg?

There's plenty of badness in my life and the world lately, but those are definitely some good things that happened in the past week!
posted by limeonaire at 8:41 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

I finished my last day of work in the emergency department and am now officially on parental leave until July 2018! Of course now I have no excuse not to dedicate my every waking moment to the masters thesis that is due in...16 days holy shit why am I wasting time on Metafilter oh god why arrrrrrgh. *runs screaming into the night*
posted by supercrayon at 8:45 PM on October 28, 2017 [14 favorites]

I am writing this from my tiny camper, currently parked in Santa Rosa, New Mexico! Tomorrow I’m heading to Albuquerque, where I will leave the camper at a repair place to be treated for a host of small ailments while I head up into the Colorado mountains to spend a week with some very old and dear friends I hardly ever see. I love this trip, I love traveling, I love the solitude, I love discovering the country beyond the East coast - really I have been so happy for the last couple weeks, it’s so unlike me! I don’t quite know how to act. Fortunately I can be justifiably cranky tonight about this RV Park which is very noisy, overpriced & grrr the WiFi sucks. There! But i’m still pretty happy.

Wednesday and Thursday I spent at Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo, Texas and it was just awe inspiring. So so beautiful and there were wild turkeys just hanging out at the campsites, falling out of trees and chuckling. I saw roadrunners and then I woke up at 2 am and heard coyotes; it was amazing. The West is like Mars to me, so beautiful and strange. Yesterday I went to Cadillac Ranch and today I went to a great crazy little roadside museum, supposedly dedicated to Billy the Kid but really just a loving home for everything old and/or odd. I had a delicious taco at a gas station for lunch and, just, well, I am always afraid to say things are good because it feels like tempting fate but. . . Things are good! And hey, northern NM MeFites - let’s meetup, i’m planning on a week or more in Taos and Santa Fe when I get back from CO.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:47 PM on October 28, 2017 [22 favorites]

I finally fixed my Litter Robot today! It's been broken since January and I've been too depressed and then moving house and then too depressed to fix it. Then I got rid of the two analog litter boxes. I also unpacked a few boxes! And earlier this week I finally submitted my paperwork to the local Indian Health Service clinic so hopefully I can go see a doctor soon.

And this evening I'm catching up on the latest season of Call the Midwife, warming my feet in front of my wood stove, and knitting a hat for a friend. Also I have all of the Halloween candy.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:07 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

We got a Trader Joe's!!! It happened just in time, because work has been crazy, and Trader Joe's is a godsend when you don't want to cook after you've worked an 11-hour day. Anyway, if anyone has advice about what to buy from Trader Joe's, I'm all ears. So far, I'm enjoying the Japanese fried rice and the lemongrass chicken sticks.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:26 PM on October 28, 2017 [13 favorites]

I don't know if they still have all of this, ArbitraryAndCapricious, but that was my list of staples when I used to go there a lot.
posted by limeonaire at 9:38 PM on October 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

Karl the fog is back and so it is properly chilly and I can wear a hoodie again, and nothing smells like smoke. You cannot imagine what a relief this is (well, some of you can).

I cleaned the bathroom and folded some laundry, and then took a nap and had a weird dream where gingerbeer gave the wood flooring of our front room to someone who had a debt he needed to pay or he'd get beaten up. It was one of those dreams where you know you're dreaming, but every time you wake up you are actually still asleep.

Then we walked to our favorite bar to eat smoked fried chicken (Saturdays only for now) and watch some baseball. We had nice chats with other people sitting at the bar and our bartender bought us a round and a shot and then we came home in time to see the Astros lose the game. Sigh. But it was a lovely day all around.
posted by rtha at 9:39 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]

Hey, mygothlaundry, you just reawakened all my travel lust. I too puttered around the west for years but I had lived in Tucson for 14 years so it wasn't so new to me. Northern NM is gorgeous and pink. I'm sorta sorry I sold my RV but it was time to hang up the keys, what with the battered old body and all. Have a great time.

Speaking of the old body, I made myself happy with the purchase of a Sweethome recommended electric blanket, and my old joints love it. And tonight is going down to 28, coldest night so far. And my electric company notified me that my equal-pay amount will be lowered a bit for the next year. That's right: lowered. I did a light jig. And I ran into an old bookstore customer of mine who lamented my closing the store [10 years ago]—nice to be remembered.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:43 PM on October 28, 2017 [9 favorites]

Oh that's wonderful! I went from living in a city with half a dozen Trader Joe's, three of them within 5 miles of my house, to living in a town where the nearest TJ's is 80 miles away. However, it IS the biggest Trader Joe's I've ever seen, which is nice.

I try to get down there once a month to stock up. Their dairy products are excellent, especially the cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, butter, and cheese (although check the expiration dates on cheese first). Oh and eggs. Anything with cookie butter in it is usually awesome. Pizza dough. Nuts. I have to be careful when I buy frozen foods, but I love their chicken potstickers (the pork ones are too peppery), the paneer tikka masala frozen meal, oh and they brought back the frozen canelés! I know there's other things I love, but I can't remember at the moment. Oh! Flowers! And their orchids are usually nice too, if you're into that (my mom, aunt, and cousin are).
posted by elsietheeel at 9:44 PM on October 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

I've been going over my photos from my time on the Colorado Trail. I really miss being out in the woods and very desperately want to get back to that.

But, I've got a new gig doing lightning suppression and power supply engineering for a WISP, and will be headed to Telluride to assess some towers the company has there. It's good work, in the mountains, and the pay is excellent.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:50 PM on October 28, 2017 [10 favorites]

Oh, man, so much good stuff for MeFites!

I mentioned it over in the Fucking Fuck v5.0 thread, but the last few months have been full of a lot of long-term slogging come to fruition:
  • Finished the PhD.
  • PhD has been conferred and I'm a Legit Dr. now (graduation is in December though).
  • I got the exact teaching job that I started doing the PhD to get, and I start in January. Being a small city, a number of good friends and colleagues are already working at the school (where I was a student several years ago anyway), so it'll be like coming home.
  • My new employer is putting me forward for a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching, and an Early Career Fellowship which will partner me with a senior academic outside of my immediate field for mentoring and networking events.
  • I've had two academic articles accepted for publication this year.
  • After some drastic lineup changes to the band, including a good friend being replaced, and dropping our bassist entirely, we've found a really good and creative team that is really aggressively innovating.
  • DomesticPartner7 and I have finally started to confront the mountain of inherited crap that her mum left us with after moving out of her regional Victorian home to house-sit through her retirement. We've cleared bootload after bootload of stuff to the Op Shop, and can navigate our house a bit better.
  • I go to Singapore in early January, and again in March/April to premiere a major new work there.
  • I've returned to one long-term creative partnership to develop new skills, and am putting those new skills to use in what looks like a new long-term creative partnership (almost a creative love affair, tbh!)
  • The director and writer who gave me my start, and who combined again to push my skill and profile to a whole new level, have engaged me to work with a company that gave me a space to grow as an artist in a lovely kind of full-circle.
I'm not going to lie. This is 10 years of hard work, years where my income was <$6000 per annum, huge personal and relationship stress, shit jobs, long hours and late nights. People have told me for ages "all good comes to those that wait", but I worked like a bastard for this. Waiting didn't get me shit. I didn't make it on my own - there's a whole village of people (which includes MeFites) whose love and support got me here, and I thank the Good Lord Bog for them every damn day.
posted by prismatic7 at 10:12 PM on October 28, 2017 [30 favorites]

Well...I made my mother's picadillo recipe this week with great trepidation, because while it's a favorite of mine, I was not sure my sweetie was going to cotton to spicy hamburger stew with green olives, raisins and cinnamon, eaten in hard tacos. He did! He really liked it! So that's one family recipe that can continue in the new household.

Last month sometime I got a postcard from my mom in the States with another, unrelated postcard stuck to it, addressed to someone in Taiwan. A Chinese colleague at work read the text for me (basically "having a wonderful time, wish you were here," probably from a girl to her boyfriend) and I sent it on to the given address with a note (in English) explaining the circumstances and wishing the recipient well. Yesterday I got a card in response, written in a mixture of English and Japanese, thanking me for sending the postcard on and urging me to visit Taiwan any time. One pleasant connection made, thanks to somebody at the US Postal Service with (literally) sticky fingers.

Less happy: today is another goddamn typhoon, how many is this year planning to throw at us, and why the hell are they all on Sundays? Still, I made it to orchestra rehearsal and back, and now I'm wearing dry clothes and my sweetie's sheepskin jacket and being glad I don't have to go out again today.
posted by huimangm at 11:10 PM on October 28, 2017 [12 favorites]

...spicy hamburger stew with green olives, raisins and cinnamon, eaten in hard tacos.
I'm sorry huimangm, but you can not leave us hanging like that. Recipe please!
posted by prismatic7 at 11:13 PM on October 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

I had a great week. Partner was away the whole time in cross-continental junket to Seattle for work (that's not why it was good!!). The youngest got shipped out to the sister-in-law's for half the week (a regular arrangement), and I left with the eldest, we had a really lovely time. She and I are really peas in a pod, temperamentally, behaviourally. So we had a great time doing mutually enjoyable stuff like watching nature documentaries, cooking, and practicising reading. Her reading has just jumped up a level, and it thrills me to see her starting to really enjoy it, as we are big readers in the Smoke household.

Prior to partner's arrival, I put the girls to work cleaning. As any parent will attest, this kind of thing is something that kids always beg for, and ends up being far more work for you as a parent compared to doing yourself. True to form, thirty seconds after this pic, my youngest (the one clearly faking hard work in the picture) kicked the bucket over accidentally, and then took her pants off and wandered away saying her arms were tired.

To my utter shock, though, my eldest (only six) powered through, and not only cleaned all the bottom cupboards over about forty minutes (approximately eight years in kid-time), but she actually managed to do pretty good - about as good as an adult half-arseing it, which is incredible, and both of us were delighted!

This Dickensian splendour offers tantalising possibilities for the future....

Congratulations on your phd Prismatic, and Fizz, I'm sorry work was so hard for you this week. Last year I had a job that wasn't what I expected, and it's amazing how fast that kind of situation can catapult you into really negative thought patterns. My thoughts are with you buddy.
posted by smoke at 12:39 AM on October 29, 2017 [14 favorites]

I had a job interview for an incredible job last week (full professor, managing a new national institute with a multimillion dollar budget) and I've just heard that they have since contacted my referees, so I think that's a good sign.
posted by lollusc at 1:06 AM on October 29, 2017 [19 favorites]

Not particularly meaningful, but happy: Today the spouse and I managed to spend the morning getting our kid's passport application submitted, see a friend's art installation, eat glorious bahn mi for lunch, go grocery shopping, cook breakfast and dinner for friends with a shiny new baby, turn a little brown hoodie into a dog costume, spend a lot of time throwing ourselves and the kid into a pile of leaves on the front lawn, carve pumpkins, go and harvest the last delicious runner beans from the community garden, and turn a half bushel of tomatoes into my mom's lovely sauce, which is slowly cooking down and filling the house with the smell of childhood autumn. (I'm tired, reading this. But a good day.)

Poor kiddo woke up after an hour of sleep, stricken with croup and coughing like a sea lion. This means no visit to the above shiny new baby tomorrow, but she's handling croup with a level of humor and calm you wouldn't expect from a three-year-old, so it's still kind of a win.

Also, at this time of year we can see the sun rise and set over different mountain ranges from the windows of our house.
posted by centrifugal at 1:07 AM on October 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

oo, what's your favourite banh mi centrifugal? I'm a sieu mai man, followed probably by nem noung. My local also does this incredible, albeit non-traditional, coconut chicken.
posted by smoke at 1:18 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I got to do my code boot camp last year through a state grant program with some very particular requirements. They're running into the last year of the program now and seem to have more money than they actually know how to spend, and I've just confirmed that even though I got a job, I can continue to get them to pay for or reimburse more training. I spent Thursday and Friday trying to find an online part-time program that would involve working with real people and cover some of the JavaScript stuff that I want to be doing with my life once I leave my current job, where I have to keep aggressively reminding my boss that I was hired to be a web developer and I am disinterested in learning how to maintain Access databases or whatever. I think I found one, and hopefully by early next week will know. That'll put me finishing that program in about six months, which is also a good time frame for me to be looking for new work in general.

I basically just need an outside program to motivate me to actually work on stuff when I get home instead of just zoning out in front of Metafilter and Youtube every night, which has become tempting but is not helping me get out of this place. By which I mean more than the job; I'm also starting to poke at what city I want to live in after I'm done with Omaha. Boston and Chicago are both looking fairly appealing.
posted by Sequence at 1:33 AM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

I spent yesterday morning in the hairdressers and now I have blue shading to green streaks/under layers with dark brown on top. I haven't had ridiculous hair for ages so I am very pleased. It will shift more blue next time as we were working on my partial dyed hair.

Then there was a very nice sushi lunch, a trip down to the new games (video and board) & cocktail place that has opened by the seaside for a cocktail and a game of love letters (which I won) and then home via groceries for pumpkin carving (I am quite pleased with my spooky tree and bird), non-scary scary movies (Coraline) and a steak sandwich supper. :D
posted by halcyonday at 1:47 AM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

hi prismatic7, consider this a modest congratulations for your successful Ph.D-ing:

Chop some onion and garlic fine and sauté in olive oil; add ground meat (all beef or beef and pork mixed) and cook through (brown or gray/cooked meat color), draining off the fat as needed; add a can of chopped tomatoes, a jar of green olives (the kind with the pimentos, chopped in half, do not add the brine), a large handful of raisins (yeah, a handful, not a sprinkle), a large sprinkle of cinnamon and some dried hot peppers to taste. Stir all together and simmer for anything from 20 to 60 min, uncovered, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the saucepan. Serve with warmed tacos (crunchy, not soft) and plenty of napkins.

There are lots of more detailed and more authentic picadillo recipes online (I still don't know how a version of this Cuban/Puerto Rican/Mexican dish got to be a staple of our New York Ashkenazi Jewish household), but this is how we do it here. Enjoy!
posted by huimangm at 1:49 AM on October 29, 2017 [12 favorites]

After taking a 20-year break from driving, having moved first to London and then to a smaller northern town, where public transport and walking met most of my needs, my non-driver husband and I inherited a very nice car, among other things, when my father-in-law passed last year, and we decided I would try to learn to drive on the left, so we could keep it.

So I started taking lessons, and happily found I didn't completely forget how to drive, and switching sides of the road isn't really all that big a deal. Roundabouts aren't that bad, and actually make sense once you've used them a few times! Who knew? I still have some way to go, because the driving test here is notoriously hard, and I have a bunch of road signs and markings to finish memorising, and parallel parking remains an adventure, but I am pretty sure I can do this, and road trips to some of the birding sites I've fondly dreamed of are in my future, not to mention selling up and moving house seems much less intimidating, once I can just stuff things we need to dispose of in the back of the car and drag them to the charity shop or the tip, as necessary.
posted by skybluepink at 2:01 AM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

veggieboy: It’s been a bananas week.

Today, on the other hand, it's a quinces day. I bought some quinces and today I'll cook them into jelly which will take several hours and will make the house smell delicious.

The new bathroom, that we have literally been working on for years and which we built from the ground up, is getting close to being finished. It has underfloor heating, a bathtub, a separate shower, and yellow tiling with blue mosaic fish. The ceiling is ice blue. It's très retro and we just got a really neat early '60s ceiling lamp with hand painted yellow fish-like shapes that look even more fish-like now that I added some blue painted dots as eyes.
We found a glass shower door that someone accidentally bought in a mirror version of the one they needed, so they sold it below a third of the original price after taking it out of the box and putting it back in.
This is the vintage sink we're getting and we'll be putting that in soon.
Bit by bit, this is turning into a really neat bathroom, best one I've had in any house I've ever lived in.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:43 AM on October 29, 2017 [13 favorites]

2017 has been the best year I've had in a long time, which is weird given that it's been consistently pretty horrible in global politics terms. I attribute a huge amount of this to the fact that I've been really strict about staying away from pretty much any mention of what's going on in the world - no news media, very limited social media, not even the blue (and sometimes the green/grey slide a little too close to information-that-will-definitely-make-me-unhappy). It's been a bit of a shame in terms of contact with people I don't really talk to beyond social media, but on the whole it's probably the second-best decision I've ever made for the good of my mental health (just behind not drinking alcohol).

I bought a house this year, and saw friends who I haven't seen in a very long time and had a really good time (we did a Rhine valley day cruise, which was fantastic). Those same friends are coming to stay this week and we've booked a seal-watching boat trip off the Norfolk coast (with a tiny chance we might see BABY SEALS, though it's pretty early in the breeding season so maybe not) and I'm going to take them to a bunch of places that are hundreds of years older than their entire country (US) and blow their minds.

I'm writing fiction semi-regularly, which I haven't been able to do for years, mostly because of mental health stuff. The time I would previously have spent consuming information about all the horrible things that are happening in the world is going into reading fantastic escapist YA fantasy, and in turn filling up the tank enough that I can write. We have room for a piano now and got the one from my mother's house delivered a few weeks ago, and for the first time in my life I am jazzed about scales and drills and improving my music theory. I am mentally healthy enough to be paying attention to my physical health as well, and my job is the most interesting and fulfilling it's been for a couple of years.

Basically my whole life is fantastic right now, and I feel incredibly lucky about this, mixed with some guilt that so many other people are having a lousy time. I can't recommend the media diet enough - freeing myself up from worrying about horror that I can't do anything about has been transformational.

My mother in law is coming over for lunch later and we're going to have a big pot of yellow dal and it's going to be delicious and warming, and then I'm going to spend some quality time with the Kindle under my gigantic soft blanket.
posted by terretu at 3:40 AM on October 29, 2017 [10 favorites]

I've been listening to the Jeff Beck 2014 Tokyo concert and it reminds me that music can provide so much enjoyment. Highly recommend everyone going to their musical happy place.
posted by mightshould at 3:43 AM on October 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

Too-Ticky, I found quinces, too! Totally made my day, although I'm planning on roasting my first batch.
posted by skybluepink at 3:44 AM on October 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

My happy thing this week is I flew out to Colorado to visit mochapickle, after much cajoling that I never would.
First time I've been on a plane in something like thirteen years, but I am super glad I went.
After having become good friends over the internet, it was wonderful to finally meet in person.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:52 AM on October 29, 2017 [11 favorites]

Thanks huimangm! That definitely looks tasty!
posted by prismatic7 at 4:11 AM on October 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Today, winter time started in Europe. We won one hour! And I am awaiting second coffee. Is there more to tell??
posted by Namlit at 4:15 AM on October 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

Yesterday we went to watch a cyclocross race which was amazing and then went to have Korean soon tofu soup which was great, but more importantly my sons (4 & 6) liked it too so there's another type of restaurant/cuisine we can add to our repertoire. The best part though was coming home and deciding to take a nap. My six year old crawled in beside me followed by the four year old (and of course the dog),and we ended up sleeping right through until this morning. There was no room left for my hubby so he was relegated to the den but the rest of us are so refreshed today.
posted by biggreenplant at 4:57 AM on October 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

I got a nice wall calendar and a bunch of cute stickers to track some things I'm doing. I chose foxes, trees, silver holographic stars, and assorted sushi to mark off the different activities. I sometimes hesitate to set goals so this is a way, at the end of the day, to just recognize some things I'm doing. We'll see how it goes!
posted by Mouse Army at 5:10 AM on October 29, 2017 [9 favorites]

I had an Indonesian midterm yesterday, and the visiting instructor complimented my accent. Then I went over to my boyfriend's house and made apple crisp while watching the OSU-Penn State game. Stakes were high because he's a Penn State alum and I got my PhD from OSU, so he's been sending me Crying Brutus memes all week. Ohio State pulled out a miraculous win, JT Barrett had a great game, and one of my former students sacked McSorley. I was magnanimous in victory, and shared my apple crisp.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:14 AM on October 29, 2017 [15 favorites]

I'm a consultant and every year there is this one project I get which pays extremely well but eats up all my time from November to February (literally - not a single day off, working late into the night), It always leaves me shaking and waking up with nightmare for months afterwards. This year, for the first time, I was in a position where I could turn it down.
posted by tavegyl at 5:21 AM on October 29, 2017 [18 favorites]

In this past week:
Sunday I worked a day-long conference that I had been part of the planning committee for, and we nailed it.

Tuesday I ran a smaller conference all by myself, and I nailed it.

Wednesday I had a whole day of slogging through a difficult software transition that’s going bumpily, and I nailed it.

Thursday I led a two-hour seminar for forty students, and I nailed it.

And Friday, I had the foresight to take the dang day off.

On the personal side, I spent that Friday preparing for my five-year-old’s birthday party. The party was Saturday, and my daughter did a terrific job of greeting her friends, thanking them for the gifts, and thanking them for coming. I’m so proud of her, and of her brother who has been generally a good kid lately.
posted by Liesl at 5:33 AM on October 29, 2017 [10 favorites]

My eight months of living and working abroad this year have gone better than expected (though they're not actually over yet): my students are truly lovely, smart, weird in all the most endearing ways.. I've been facilitating a Friday night film series for students living in the residential college I'm affiliated with (we watched the original Bladerunner [prevailing opinion: rapey and racist, which... well yes, jarringly so] and Delicatessen, and next up is La Jetée and Twelve Monkeys before we switch gears to focus on weird films from the global south about globalization -- first up is A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke). I'm bringing a friend who's a former asylum seeker here to give a talk about demystifying the asylum and refugee process. Then tomorrow I'm giving a short guest lecture in a colleague's class on approaches to fieldwork in the humanities and interviewing, which is truly the blind leading the blind but in its most pleasant sense.

Also last fall I finally got the IUD I asked about a couple years before, while I was feeling (rightly) anxious about reproductive autonomy as the election debacle was heating up. It turned out it made me remarkably depressed and I finally got it out seven months later and have been really glad to discover that I'm not irrationally miserable and unstable (despite the extraordinary extent of debacle-ity), which is an extra bonus while I'm far from home and my usual support structures.

On the flipside, in the last good news thread I think I crowed about being halfway through a new book manuscript, but in the meanwhile my focus and drive has evaporated. I'm full of hopes that it'll come back before my winter travels ruin December's writing time entirely, but who knows.

Also it was my partner's birthday last week, and I commissioned a friend of his to slip him some presents, and a neighbor to leave a charming cootie catcher I'd made (resurrecting my InDesign skills) using copyright-free Victorian etchings and a weird fortune-telling poem-in-segments I'd written about trickster gods (after reading Louis Hyde's Trickster Makes This World). We've been talking about getting married, though it makes me feel like a sellout, there's no one else I'd rather spend a long while with.
posted by tapir-whorf at 5:37 AM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

I got a hot coffee for a street-cleaning lady.
posted by runcifex at 6:02 AM on October 29, 2017 [18 favorites]

I agreed to make mittens for a good friend. First one's 90% done. Second is coming along but isn't quite photo worthy yet.
posted by janepanic at 6:16 AM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

I actually had kind of a shitty week, and yesterday wasn't much better, but every morning, before it's time to actually get up, I roll over onto my side and my cat Victoria comes over and starts purrrrrrrrrring and purrrrrrrrring and then she curls up against my chest and purrs some more and we both fall back asleep and it's very nice.
posted by JanetLand at 6:28 AM on October 29, 2017 [15 favorites]

Ditto what Janetland wrote above!
My week was not great either, but I am constantly, consciously grateful for my lovely cat Phoebe, and I’m so glad that she waited nearly a year at the shelter to meet me! She is such a wonderful furry little soul. Pets are just the best.
posted by bookmammal at 6:38 AM on October 29, 2017 [12 favorites]

We got whacked by Hurricane Irma, and we're just now getting to the point where our backyard doesn't look like a blast zone, our pool doesn't look like The Black Lagoon, and things are getting back to normal on a daily basis.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 7:13 AM on October 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

I had what was clearly the best problem of my life this week.

I'd been working on my house for a while, finally put it on the market, and got 4 offers in the first few days. So I had to reject 3 people who really wanted my house, which I actually felt bad about, but as problems go, I can't ask for a better one.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:18 AM on October 29, 2017 [11 favorites]

- I have been regularly going to the gym since the beginning of September, and holy crap you guys. This past Monday there was a lot of traffic and I couldn't get to the gym on time so I just did some squats in my office, sans weights, and it was AMAZING how much stronger my legs are, how they felt they could hold me up and actually work for me and be healthy legs. This may seem like a silly thing to others but I almost teared up over it; I've NEVER felt like I had a body that worked for me. Wow.

- I finally buckled down and started on my doctorate reading list. Comps are a year and a half away and this list is 26 pages long, broken down by category (literature, culture, linguistics, etc.) and time period (Golden Age, Romanticism, etc.). So, I've read 3 books in the past 2 weeks and starting Wednesday two of my classmates and I are going to read Don Quixote together. Next step is to buckle down on my Chinese.

- I went to my first ever performance of Rocky Horror yesterday. It was super fun.

- I started a second job tutoring, which doesn't sound fun, and it isn't, but every time I do it, I think "this is money that will go towards paying off that car loan for the car we don't even have anymore" and that's a great motivation.

- My first job is going well and I really feel like this is the first year that all of my classes are great. Only took 9 years in this field!
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:24 AM on October 29, 2017 [13 favorites]

I'm going on a very posh trip next year and have a shipment of posh frocks from a posh consignment store in my spare room. I'll only keep one, but I have about a week to decide and I really am enjoying the idea that the frothy pile of designer frocks are all mine. I'm like Charlotte Vale
posted by crush at 7:51 AM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

3. I have eaten the first Stollen of the Christmas festive period.

But was it stolen cheese or stolen chocolate? Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:42 AM on October 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

3. I have eaten the first Stollen of the Christmas festive period.

Sacrilege! Stollen is baked in early December and eaten at Christmas! Also, for the real deal, i. e. the true high carb high fat version, go for Bremer Klaben instead.
posted by Namlit at 10:07 AM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Recipe of Bremer Klaben
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Ingredients (for 1 loaf)
3-1/2 cups golden raisins
1/3 cup golden rum
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
2/3 cup sugar
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons candied orange peel, finely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons candied lemon peel, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of one organic lemon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3-1/2 oz finely chopped blanched almonds

Place the raisins in a colander and rinse under hot water. Drain well. Place them in a bowl and mix with the rum. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the milk with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until it starts to foam.
Mix the flour with the salt and the remaining sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast mix and butter and knead into soft elastic dough that detaches from the bowl by hand or, preferably, with the kneading attachment of an electric mixer. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Add the orange and lemon peel, lemon zest, cardamom and almonds to the raisins and mix well.
Place the dough on a clean work surface. With your hands, gradually work in the dried fruit mix, including all of the liquid. It takes a while for the dough to absorb all the fruit, and the dough will be very sticky. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan (a meatloaf pan is ideal) as well as the shiny side of a large piece of aluminum foil. Place the dough in the loaf pan and push it down gently so it fills the entire pan.
Tightly cover the loaf with the foil, greased side down. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Uncover, reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. If the raisins turn too dark and the loaf is not done yet, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
Unmold the loaf immediately onto a wire rack, then gently turn it over so the bottom rests on the wire.
posted by Oyéah at 10:50 AM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

We had some exceptional musicians at International Folkdancing Friday night; it's such a pleasure to dance to good live music. I injured my tailbone 2 weeks ago, and limited my dancing, which was difficult. Even so, I am not able to move much today, and had to bail out of a beer walk with a good friend whose visit ends tomorrow.

I made 2 apple crisps this week. 1st was was okay, 2nd was soo good. The deal is you have to add 1/4 cup of the total sugar and the juice of 1/2 lemon and let the apples sit and give off liquid. Then bake way longer than Betty Crocker thinks. I like apple season.

Wet weather has arrived after an unseasonable and long warm, dry, spell. Cold weather will follow. It's rare that I haven't had the heat on until November, and have only had a few brief fires in the wood stove. The house needs a few things to be ready for winter and the yard could use some cleanup, no idea if I'll get to it. But I did get the whole deck treated, and that was a big goal.

So much good news! Congratulations all you achievers!
posted by theora55 at 10:55 AM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

1. We had a chili cookoff at work on Friday and the first one I tasted was so good I didn't bother with the others and I'm making it today for dinner.
2. Went to a Halloween party last night and enjoyed catching up with friends I haven't had a chance to see for a while.
3. Worked on a donor report for work, the hardest one I do because it's crazy complicated and there are lots of moving parts but the numbers all worked the first time I ran it and you have NO IDEA how rarely that happens.
4. Daughter is finishing up her college application essays today and will likely submit most, if not all, by tomorrow which is a full TWO DAYS before the deadline and that means Halloween night will be low key and fun and we won't have the November 1 deadline hanging over our heads.
5. I am currently snuggling with my dog.
posted by cooker girl at 11:07 AM on October 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

Quince Tart homemade here.
posted by Oyéah at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]



posted by poffin boffin at 12:19 PM on October 29, 2017 [12 favorites]

Today I discovered a new cat food that my elderly and failing cat seems to love. She's been a no-fish and pate-only cat her whole life - and is now largely a "might grudgingly lap at the warm water blended with the pate" cat - but this new chunky fish option*, bought on a whim, seems to be a real hit. The number of specific foods she'll consider eating is now up back to four! (Which puts off the looming day when she won't eat any food at all by at least another few months.)

It's a rather small victory. But, it is by far the most satisfying thing I've achieved in a week filled almost entirely with frustrating and unpleasant tasks.

*The food in question is Fancy Feast Creamy Delights Tuna, in the unlikely chance it's useful to someone else. I assure you this isn't some Catfood Blue pitch.
posted by eotvos at 12:54 PM on October 29, 2017 [10 favorites]

My best friend sent me plane tickets to bring me out to Texas for almost a week. This will be my first vacation in seven or eight years. At some point I'm going to watch the cattle being led through town. I can't wait!

Also, my long-lost sister invited me and my son to Thanksgiving dinner, so we aren't alone on the holiday.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 12:56 PM on October 29, 2017 [12 favorites]

We have five live, apparently-healthy five week old puppies.

This was not a sure thing.

Zhora was whelping with no real problems... first girl took a little while and some reorientation, then three boys in half an hour, and then... nothing, but we knew there was another in there. Nothing for two hours. Four hours. Six hours. Eventually we end up at the repro vet's clinic at opening where they checked the puppy's heartbeat, everything looks good, so they do a bunch of gross medical (nonsurgical) stuff to get the puppy out but nope. The most amazing amount of extra-gross poop, but no puppy. So in the end they do an emergency c-section and fish out a little 150g baby girl and get her breathing, and a couple of hours later everyone is home and nursing and happy. It turned out that the boy before her had lost his placenta in the uterus and it was blocking her way and her sac had ruptured so she was dry, both of which made it very difficult for Zhora to move her along. Sometime during all this one of the vet employees burned some microwave popcorn so the whole place smelled like burned popcorn, which of course made the wee girl Popcorn. The others are Ruffles, Chex, Frito and (breaking the theme) Orson. They'll get real names (and fancypants registered names) later.

And it was still touch and go for little Popcorn. She was always little, and had had a traumatic birth, and had gotten a side-dose of Zhora's anaesthetics, which is tough on a little puppy. The first couple of days she wouldn't gain, which put her at nontrivial risk of death, but stayed strong and active and fiesty. So... if she wants to keep trying, we'll keep dying, so we start tube-feeding her, which fills her tummy up with formula that she didn't have to do any work for. And she gets up to 175g... 200g... and keeps on not dying. And then she's the first to open her eyes, the first to get well up on her arms and haul herself around, the first to take poorly-coordinated half-assed little steps, and now she's lying in the pen with the other four. Still just a little mouse, about 60% the weight of the biggest one, but also still a feisty little shit. I suspect she'll be the first to taste my blood.

So yeah. Five live puppies. Puppycam is in the profile but probably won't be active today.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:01 PM on October 29, 2017 [14 favorites]

After decades of startlingly loud snoring, my husband was diagnosed with sleep apnea and got a CPAP machine. I of course expected that he would sleep better, but I had no idea how much better I would sleep without all that racket. It's astonishing.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:03 PM on October 29, 2017 [13 favorites]

I've been petting out yellow lab's fur when he comes up on the bed at night before I go to sleep. It help me stay connected to the biosphere, as stupid as that sounds.

I love reading about travels & from people who live out west. My partner and I are so tired of the east coast and are somewhat stalled getting the condo ready to sell because we need $ for tile and labor to finish the bathroom reno before we can put it on the market.

I'm having some doubts about my business but trying to remember it's only been back live for about a month and things take time to get rolling and there are still people asking for quotes almost weekly so there's that.

I wish we had a village where all us MeFites could live & have our own little pubs and places for dogs.
posted by yoga at 5:06 PM on October 29, 2017 [9 favorites]

My husband and I had a really rough week with marriage issues that come up periodically. I think we are out of the woods, though. There will be some changes made on both sides, which is better than the endless talking and churning that we default to..

Anyhow ! Last weekend huz got tickets to a free Lupe Fiasco concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago which was SO good. This week I'm working in Worcester MA , so I flew out early Saturday and spent time in Boston with one of my college friends all weekend, and we did the most touristy shit and had a blast.

Next weekend on Saturday I'm doing a 5k and then brunching with some friends. Sunday, my husband and I are seeing the matinee of Hamilton (!!! Even more exciting the second time !!!), getting dinner, and maybe going to an SNL museum exhibit somewhere in the weekend.

Then, Monday is my birthday (a year that ends in -5 which I think is a quasi banner year), so I took Monday and Tuesday off of work, and am planning on some indulgent laziness. Or, maybe getting some stuff done around the house iv been neglecting because of a crazy busy spring--summer--fall. Whatever happens , I am very excited for it.
posted by Fig at 5:12 PM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

Irma or not, Fantasy Fest happened. Crowds were down from the usual 70-80,000 we expect for the Saturday parade, and the whole island was much more civilized than usual. Bartenders and service workers reported much better gratuities on Thursday/Friday/Saturday as well as people just handing them cash and saying they wanted to help out.
Folks up the keys are still having a bad time of it - the debris pile is slowly being carted off in enormous scary trucks on a narrow highway. Housing is in rough shape and will take a long time to get back together.
Just for fun, we got Tropical Storm Phillippe on Saturday, but it was just a little rain and a stiff breeze.
It's starting to look like Key West again. The Royal Poinciana trees which usually bloom in May have all decided to bloom again, and the other trees that had all of their leaves blown off have already re-leafed and started looking lush-ish.
So we got a large shot of business to get things moving again, and the 45 day mark is looking pretty good.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:01 PM on October 29, 2017 [9 favorites]

I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at Orchestra Hall with live musical accompaniment and it was as glorious as I had hoped and dreamed. Nothing raises the spirits like a soaring John Williams film score. "You Americans... always overdressing for the wrong occasions."

My dad commented that I'm getting deep into my late 40s--like double digits deep.

There's a Frank Turner lyric "I can well recall the day my father reached the ancient age that's now bearing down" that sums up the feeling of passing 40 for me.
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:17 PM on October 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

I met my newest great nephew this week. He's a sweetie, less than a month old, and his mom (my niece) is sooooo happy to be able to a) enjoy his company without the pregnancy-related issues, b) hand him off to equally-enraptured relatives and friends, c) take allergy medicine -- she has bad allergies and this summer and autumn have been horrible for her.

Major spoiling is in the works. My niece reports that several sets of university-branded outfits are available, depending on who's selecting his latest outfit for football season. That particular day it was generic onesies and a tired, bored expression, interrupted by occasional droozy smiles (gas? chasing rabbits? who knows?)

He's a country boy, raised by ranchers for several generations back -- the pictures of him on the back of a placid steer are adorable! Proud papa is holding him securely, but frankly the boy wasn't particularly impressed. Being the son of a former rodeo cowboy may take some adjustment. That's okay -- his big sisters (nine-year-old twins) can teach him how to ride a horse.
posted by TrishaU at 11:29 PM on October 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

I just bought a tea advent calendar, because that's a thing that exists and I needed it in my life. It'll make me happy to brew a different cup every day in December, a secret little box of joy and flavored tea.
posted by PearlRose at 8:46 AM on October 30, 2017 [8 favorites]

I just bought a tea advent calendar, because that's a thing that exists and I needed it in my life. It'll make me happy to brew a different cup every day in December, a secret little box of joy and flavored tea.

!!!! I will be doing one of those too! My sister bought it for me for my Christmas gift.

Word of warning, after you take the tea out of the little box, turn the box around and put it back in the case. There is a picture on the back, and after the 24th you will see the whole thing! I was unaware of this last year, when my sister bought me this gift for the first time, and just threw away the little boxes. So I asked her to gift me a Tea Advent calendar again this year so that I can do it right.
posted by chainsofreedom at 9:26 AM on October 30, 2017 [6 favorites]

Holiday un-happiness: it seems this year, folks in my neck of the woods desert scrub lands are less inclined to put up Halloween decorations, as if to say "this year is spooky enough, what are fake cobwebs and ghoulish decorations compared to the present reality?"

Which is to say, we hadn't decorated until yesterday, and those decorations are all fun finger paint chaos, which stemmed from decorating two pumpkins with paint by two little boys. Thing #1 kind of freaked out about getting the face wrong, but then let go and had fun, while Thing #2 went all-out, starting with bright pink and going from there. Mrs. light thief was her crafty, creative self and made bloody red handprints up the walkway and on our glass/screen door, and the crazy things added more color elsewhere.

But next weekend we might get our fake Christmas trees out and put them up with the lights only, to add a bit of festive sparkle and joy to our living room, as we did last year. TBD.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:10 AM on October 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Last week, a thing I've been working on for literally ten years finally had a hearing in front of the local Bd. of Supervisors. It went beautifully, with the Supes pushing the relevant city dept on why they couldn't move faster, all of the many people we turned out to speak had good things to say (including one who moved the whole room to tears, Supes included), no one turned up to oppose it, my boss got to hear several members of the Board praise me personally for my work on it, and the department head committed to making it happen in the next 8-12 months (but probably sooner). It got good coverage in the papers and it's feeling like it will finally become a reality and save some lives.

In smaller victories, the morning of the hearing I had to go to the DMV to renew my driver license, complete with photo, and not only did I manage to make it in and out of the DMV in time for the hearing, but I was having a really good hair day for the photo!
posted by gingerbeer at 11:22 AM on October 30, 2017 [13 favorites]

This weekend I was able to have a lovely Saturday morning all to myself, which was wonderful; I have only just realized how important puttering around quietly by myself in the morning is, now that I don't get to do it very often thanks to earlier and earlier work meetings. This weekend, though, my partner slipped out to attend a work event and so I was able to sleep in, make coffee, read the paper, wash some dishes, and just sit in the sunlight with a book, which was glorious. Then he came back and we did errands like maniacs and cleaned the house in time for people to come over for drinks before a Halloween party. Somehow in between all that we binge-watched all of Season 2 of Stranger Things, and I'm wishing we'd seen the last episode (no spoilers!) sooner because there was an iconic costume opportunity that was missed.

I love this thread--it's like the best friend who inspires you to live more fully and do more fun things while totally not judging you and making you feel like you are already living your best life!
posted by stellaluna at 1:35 PM on October 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

In local news here from a decade ago (a few of those involved are active in the circles I move in) never piss off a witch who has an Internet connection.
posted by Wordshore at 3:13 PM on October 30, 2017

I did it - I defended my (master's) thesis! My committee had very nice things to say about my presentation (apparently all those summer jobs in science communication pay off eventually). A few minor revisions, which is to be expected, especially when your supervisor up and DIES while you're writing up (an unhappy situation documented in slightly embarassing detail elsewhere on this community weblog). I only regret that he wasn't around so I could have shown him this relevant xkcd comic - I think he would have gotten a kick out of it. And then somehow arranged for an actual sword to be present during my defense, because that was how he rolled.

We used to have big post-defense celebrations in the lab, but since we're sort of slow-motion imploding at the moment, instead I'm at home in my hammock with some hard cider and a (medicinal) joint. Things could be worse.
posted by btfreek at 3:15 PM on October 30, 2017 [9 favorites]

My son went off to college last year so I don't see him much anymore, but in September our family (husband, son and I) and my mom managed to align our schedules and we took a brief but fun trip to Taiwan. Much fun was had, but we had to leave our 13-year-old dog Charlie at our vet's boarding kennel for a total of about five days, and apparently the ordeal was a nightmare for him and he was so frazzled when we picked him up. He was treated fine, he just hated being there.

My mom's getting on in years so I kind of came to the conclusion during our trip that it might very well be our final overseas vacation together. I'm glad we went.
posted by misozaki at 6:25 PM on October 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Being of a certain age, my favorite movie ever is The Goonies. Sean Astin was my first celebrity crush. And he's going to be at RI Comic Con next weekend with Ke Huy Quan. On his official website, Sean Astin included in his personal details, with two exclamation points, that he has the power to make you an honorary Goonie. So after 11/12, you'll all be able to yell "Ruki, you Goonie!" if I'm ever stuck down a well.

I'm so ridiculously excited about this. An actual childhood dream come true. And by all reports, Sean Astin is a genuinely lovely person, which is a bonus. I'm probably going to cry.
posted by Ruki at 7:51 PM on October 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm taking an EMT course, which is making me Feel Prepared in ways that the Girl Scouts never did. We just finished learning about medical assessments and are moving on to trauma, and I am unreasonably excited.

I got a part-time job at a doggie day care, which is kind of awesome. Yes, I have to clean up a lot of effluvia and break up tussles before they get too rough, but I also get to hang out with 20-30 dogs and just the other day, a Great Dane and a Saint Bernard decided they both wanted to sit on my lap at the same time. I felt like I had received some sort of benediction.
posted by coppermoss at 4:22 AM on October 31, 2017 [9 favorites]

I celebrated my 50th birthday last week. I had nothing special planned and then my wife suggested that we go to Pompeii. I've always wanted to go but was for some reason saving it as something special. So this seemed like a good conjunction.

Honestly, it was even better than I imagined. There's this feeling of walking through a Roman town and at moments feeling like the residents might return at any moment. We went twice. The first day we went in the afternoon, the sun was low in the sky and most of the tourists had departed so we walked through long uninhabited streets. The second day, we went first thing in the morning but at a lesser used gate. So we again had the place to ourselves until we ran into tourists arriving from the other end.

At times, I had to pause, overwhelmed that this place even exists. And seeing the signs of life, the courtyards, the eateries, the baking ovens, the political slogans scrawled on the walls, makes the place so intensely human.
posted by vacapinta at 5:25 AM on October 31, 2017 [8 favorites]

a Great Dane and a Saint Bernard decided they both wanted to sit on my lap at the same time. I felt like I had received some sort of benediction.

An extremely weighty benediction.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:14 AM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I adopted a kittawn! She is a squirmy pouncy tortie whose foster family children had named Tara. I kept her name because Tara is the goddess of many colors. I have had many cats now, every one of them the Best Cat, and Tara is no exception. She's particularly sweet and cuddly – her foster mom told me she'd never seen a kitten so eager to sleep with humans, and indeed, miss Tara's favorite thing is to cuddle at night and wash my nose. My big fluffer Kanoko is once again happy to be papa-cat – Tara is his third cat-friend and his second kitten.

Yesterday afternoon there was a mudslide in the RER A commuter train line which takes me home... terrible as commuting times go, but this morning it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got a bus ride through Neuilly to the Arc de Triomphe, and had to take métro 6 to connect to my usual métro. Métro 6 is the one that goes over the Seine by the Eiffel Tower. It was a beautiful morning and Paris was awash in soft morning sunlight. Photos in my Instagram feed, can't link them directly because it's blocked at said office :) Took me two and a half hours to get to work when usually it only takes one, but I can't complain.
posted by fraula at 7:03 AM on October 31, 2017 [7 favorites]

Here in rural England, under a grey sky and with the daylight hours shrinking, it will shortly be sunset on the Samhain or Halloween. Wishing Druids, restorative Albigensians, Pagans, Waldensians, Librarians, MeFites, Moderators and any and all combinations of the aforementioned a healthy, peaceful and productive time during the (northern hemisphere) dark months.

The tune I play on this particular day is Skakka by Amiina, as it's nicely atmospheric and appropriate.
posted by Wordshore at 8:17 AM on October 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

I went out yesterday afternoon with Bruiser the brushcutter to trim back some of the blackberries and scrub. We will add half an acre to our yard, eventually. I got started on the ditches, too. After a while, the gas tank got low and Bruiser cut out. My back was aching by then, so I lay down on the grass for a while.

The sun was warm then and I closed my eyes. Every time I opened them, the sky was blue overhead and entirely cloudless, with the treetops edging my peripheral vision. And I lay there for a long time, as the grass was strangely soft and not scratchy.

A year ago we were house hunting. While my husband inspected a barn, a realtor and I chatted next to a blackberry bush. I picked a few black ones, but they were tart. She pulled one off every now and then, and offered them for me to pick from her flat palm like a horse. And hers were juicy and perfect. I wondered how she did it. She shrugged.

In April, we talked about trimming back our new blackberry bushes, but we didn't know how they would produce and held off to see what the summer would bear.

In late July we started picking. A neighbor walking past pleasantly mentioned that the berries looked good and would be really ready in a couple of weeks. We thought the picking was fine already and devoted about an hour to it every day, canning jam about every third day when we had enough collected to bother. I tasted berries as I went, to see what was truly ripe and what wasn't. I wondered then whether blackberries protected poison oak, or if poison oak protected blackberries.

Growth was rampant. A neighbor commented about another neighbor down the road who "couldn't control his blackberries." We edged our section of the shared road.

By the second week in August berries were dripping from the vines in the trees. We could collect a canners worth of berries in an hour or two. And I could say for a fact that poison oak protects blackberries, because I could spot the plump juicy ripe ones and tell from three feet away whether or not it was worth it to go after them.

In September, we gathered wood instead. Once the rain came, the berries turned to mush on the vine. Those that still ripen on dry days are waterlogged and thin tasting. The summer's growth has been amazing. Trees that were backed by berries last spring are surrounded by them this autumn. I am working on clearing space again and preventing them from taking over the yards and meadows. So far, I have rescued a large rhododendron, a willow, and two cedars. And a whole lot of ground. The lower meadow is next, where several small cottonwoods are engulfed.

Last night the temperature dropped to 28 and we had our first frost. The hoop house held at 35 degrees and we will still get a few more tomatoes. Today was easily 15 degrees cooler than yesterday.

But yesterday I lay in the grass.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:59 PM on October 31, 2017 [11 favorites]

Still just a little mouse, about 60% the weight of the biggest one, but also still a feisty little shit. I suspect she'll be the first to taste my blood.

I feel like I should note that one of the boys claimed that particular honor today, but Popcorn continues (a) being alive and (b) being a little shit. This batch are all delightful little shits.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:42 PM on November 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Congrats, btfreek!

And then somehow arranged for an actual sword to be present during my defense, because that was how he rolled.

Did you know that in Finland you can get an actual sword with your doctorate?
posted by invokeuse at 11:12 PM on November 1, 2017

Did you know that in Finland you can get an actual sword with your doctorate?

Goodness. I wonder what The hat of a D.Sc. (Tech.) looks like.
posted by tavegyl at 12:25 AM on November 2, 2017

OMG, I love everything in that link. The Doctor's Sword is a symbol for the scientist's fight for what he or she, in rigorous research, has found to be good, right and true. Damn straight!

Also: Women have to carry the sword in a manner suitable for their outfit because the material of the evening gowns cannot support the scabbard. I think I can safely say that having a sword and fancy dress constituted about 60% of my childhood pretend fantasies. As an ostensible adult who has very little interest evening gowns or doctorates, it's alarming how much I want to get a doctorate in Finland now.
posted by btfreek at 9:36 AM on November 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have an art account on Instagram, and my work has resonated with a particular follower and customer. Last week I posted an Instagram “story” about frantically searching through my kitchen for some chocolate I maybe have hidden somewhere (but no luck). Turns out this customer works for a fancy chocolate company, and today I received a huge box filled with incredible looking chocolate bars, a container of drinking chocolate, and a box of fancy truffles, all packed in ice packs, along with a super sweet note about her appreciate of my work and the importance of it.

posted by sucre at 6:49 PM on November 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

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