rescue

So we rescued a couple kittens this weekend.

We took them to the emergency vet to verify that they didn’t require extremes of care (they don’t), that they can eat solid food (they can) and that there was nothing major wrong with them (so far, so good). Three hours later we were ensconcing them in the upstairs bathroom, where they seem to be settling in. Yesterday I set up a webcam so I could keep an eye on them … and really, who doesn’t like watching wee baby kitties running around? Only people with hearts as black as a really black thing do not enjoy wee baby kitties.

Despite epic amounts of cute, I am fighting not to keep these little guys. We’ve already got 4 cats and 2 dogs, and I just can’t see us with six cats. People already call me a crazy cat lady; I’m pretty sure six cats would put me well into “insane cat lady” territory. (And why is it just me? Why doesn’t my sweetie get any “crazy cat guy” flak? I ask you.)

So we’re going to get them checked out by our regular vet next week, and start their vaccinations, and then we’ll try to find them a good home.

Do you need a wee tiny kittie?

More pics here.

I made yogurt!

Since we’ve been trying to eat more healthily, we’ve started going through yogurt at an alarming rate, probably 2-3 quarts a week. The plain, lowfat kind is great for our new carb-conscious eating habits, and I’ve been dressing it up with Splenda and chopped fresh strawberries. It is a thing of awesome.

It’s also a thing of expensive! It’s at least three or four times more expensive than the milk it’s made from, which just makes me cringe. So when I stumbled across a blog post about making one’s own yogurt, it was an epiphany moment.

It’s ridiculously simple: You need milk, and a bit of plain yogurt for the cultures, and a saucepan, and a bowl, and some cling film, and that’s pretty much it. Oh, and several hours. I started a batch early on Sunday afternoon, and it was technically ready to eat Monday morning.

There are a ton of recipes and instructions out there, but here’s what I did, complete with helpful tips I didn’t see anywhere in my admittedly brief searches.

Equipment I used:

  • A heavy-bottomed saucepan (you could also use a double boiler made with a glass bowl set over a simmering saucepan of water, or a slow cooker, although this would take quite a long time.)
  • A spoon
  • A glass bowl
  • A thermometer (the probe kind I poke into turkeys and roasts and things)
  • A heating pad (you could also use your oven’s pilot light, if you have such a thing. My oven’s electric and therefore useless in that regard)
  • Cling film
  • A towel

Ingredients:
5 cups milk*
1/4 cup plain yogurt, with active cultures (read the label)

Process:

  1. In the heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until it reaches 180°. You’ll want to stir fairly constantly with this method, especially once the milk starts to steam a bit, because it can totally burn, which is icky. If you’re using the double-boiler method, you can walk away for a bit.
  2. When it reaches 180°, pull it off the heat, pour into the bowl, and cool to 120°
  3. Stir in the yogurt, cover with cling film (into which you’ve poked a couple holes for ventilation), wrap in a kitchen towel and set on your heating pad, or in your warm oven.
  4. Go read a book or watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy or something, because this next stage is … well, sort of unpredictable. I saw time estimates ranging from 4 to 24 hours, but nothing to indicate how you’d know fermentation was done, which was … annoying. I pulled mine off the heating pad after about 8 hours, when it seemed slightly thinner than the yogurt I was used to. This led to a really, really tangy yogurt**. Oh, and it thickened considerably in the fridge over night.
  5. Pop it in the fridge overnight. This stops the fermentation process and thickens it quite a bit.
  6. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING TO YOUR YOGURT, pull out 1/4 cup for your next batch. I forgot to do that, because I am a doofus.

And that’s it! You could also do what I did, which is to plop it into a cheesecloth-lined colander overnight to drain off the whey, which results in Greek yogurt. I stirred in some Splenda and oh my gods. It was like fucking pudding, you guys.

I’m so looking forward to experimenting with this stuff. This is cheaper and easier than just about anything else I’ve done, and the results are so awesome. Plus it lets my sweetie use that hilarious D&D analogy***, so, y’know, bonus.

 
 

* This will work with literally any kind of milk: whole, 1%, fat-free, goat, you name it. Apparently, though, there are issues with soy and almond milk, though, so if you go that route, do some judicious Googling.
** Tanginess is apparently a function of fermentation time, and possibly the cultures in your starter. I shall continue my investigation and report back!
*** So you know, in the old-skool D&D computer games, you could load your character up with gear, save it, then roll a new character, bring up the old one, offload the cool gear, and repeat until you had a full party with the same awesome gear? This is the concept of re-using a bit of the last batch of yogurt in your new batch of yogurt. See also: sourdough starter. It is also an illustration of how we’re just a little too nerdy for our own good.

I am angry at food

So a couple weeks ago, my sweetie and I were both diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It was not a huge surprise to me as I’ve got blood-sugar issues all over my extended family. My sweetie was somewhat nonplussed by it, but we’ve had a couple weeks to come to terms with the finger-poking, blood-testing, pill-taking, food-weighing, carb-counting reality that is Our Life Now.

Well, when I say “come to terms”, I mean “get irrationally angry about it”. Because it’s changed how I have to think about food, and I am (hopefully temporarily) pissed.

I was potato girl. I was firmly in the “butter in everything” camp. Huge bowls of Cheerios for dinner were not uncommon. I was not terribly alongside the idea of dark green leafy vegetables. I made homemade ice cream like it was going out of style, including several based on caramel. I have fourteen pounds of pasta in my pantry, for fuck’s sake, and I love me some homemade Alfredo sauce and a whacking great chunk of garlic bread. Hell, sometimes my entire dinner was a toasted baguette with olive oil.

Do you know how many grams carbs are in a baguette? I believe the technical term is “metric fuckton”.

Now, to be honest, I haven’t really cut any of these things out of my life, because I was told by the nutritionist girl I didn’t have to; instead, it’s about portion control. It’s about being aware of what I’m putting in my mouth. It’s currently about weighing things and taking notes. It’s also about making tradeoffs: if necessary, I will skip the rice with dinner so I can have ice cream later, because if I don’t, someone will get cut.

It’s also about fresher food, more veg and whole fruits, more lean protein. And to be honest, it is all delicious and I’m hardly ever hungry, while staying within my allotted grams of carbs.

Y’know what else fresh food is about? Dirty dishes. Guys, we are rocketing through plates and salad bowls and tupperware like twelve people live here. It is crazy. Homemade strawberry yogurt for two every morning means ten plastic containers in the dishwasher by Friday — and that’s just breakfast! Want cantaloupe with your lunch? Well, lunch is in a plastic chinese food container, and cantaloupe is in yet another plastic bowl.

It’s also pretty expensive. Fresh veg is not cheap, and even taking into account our black-market organic-lettuce supplier, our grocery bill has skyrocketed.

Finally, finally, though, it looks like we’re settling in. We’re each using a couple apps on our phones to track carbs & blood glucose, and we’re being as good as we can with how we’re eating, and trying to get more exercise, and we’re working our way towards the day when all of this is second nature and we can eat sushi without agonizing over the weight of the rice. And that will be a good day.

In the meantime, though, I’ve lost four pounds. Feature!

snowball effect

Now that we’ve got our hands on the new CD (which will now release at the end of March, for real, we swear), I realize that I really want to display all our CDs on the wall. I’ve found some nice frames, and all that remains is to buy half a dozen or so and put them up.

But wait! I want to hang them on the wall outside the studio, and that wall is currently a hideous beige, as is the rest of the upstairs hall, and I really want to paint it all. We bought an airless sprayer so we could finish painting the 18-foot-high walls in the library and entry, and whatever else struck our fancy, but we haven’t actually used it yet.

I did buy the paint, however.

I guess what I really need to do is carve out some time and just fucking do it, but every damn weekend since about November has been filled with something, and the foreseeable future is no different.

And we also need to get some more photos taken, which means dread creation and installation, outfit selection, makeup, the whole nine yards. And we really need some proper videos, not just crappy live performance ones, which means all of the above, plus hours sitting in front of my computer futzing with video.

Just like possessions expanding to fit the available space, projects expand to fit the available time, plus more. ARGH.

so, we played a show

Reliquary [click to embiggen]

So Reliquary played a show this past Friday, in support of our favorite photographer’s first solo show. The sound was surprisingly good; we didn’t freeze to death despite playing on an outside stage in temperatures below 50°F; and a goodly number of people seemed to enjoy our set.

It was kind of a mess in every other regard.

Kara [click to embiggen]

We forgot a perfectly ridiculous number of things:

  • milk crates to stand the gear on;
  • power strips, to plug the gear in to;
  • Loki’s outfit;
  • to set up a merch table, despite having brought our Big Bag O’ Tshirts and Stickers and CDs* and Things;
  • Kara’s earphones for her monitor

I managed to put mascara on one eye’s worth of lashes, and somehow forgot to put mascara on the other eye.

Worst of all, I forgot an entire bassline, during the set. And it’s not like I forgot a complex one, no. I forgot the one for Dusk Falls, which has all of three notes. I did somehow manage not to sink through the stage in humiliation, which, I suppose, is a plus. Hopefully everyone thought there really wasn’t a bassline for that song, and didn’t smirk too badly at the stupidly-swaying bass player.

Loki & Suriel [click to embiggen]

So we closed on Love Songs, after which some people** screamed for encores. Nothing daunted, we played Lakme, after which I muted my pedal and started taking off my bass. Well, people*** were still screaming, so we’re all, “I guess we could do Winter World …” So we did. And I screwed up a couple times because my fingers were so cold I could barely hold the pick, to say nothing of fretting properly, but just kept going, because that’s how I roll, right? Then, after the last note died out, I turned to mute my processor, only to see that … I hadn’t un-muted it for Winter World.

I nudged Loki and pointed at my processor.

“You … you were muted the whole time?”

“Yep.”

“Heh.”

It was that sort of night.

Kara and fans [click to embiggen]

We hung out for a little while longer, chatting with friends, and then went home. In my case, it was because I’m still grieving and my nerves are a little raw. Loki was also worn out from insufficient sleep and carrying all our gear around four times in one night.

So we went home and played Deathspank and reflected that, on the whole, it could have been a lot worse.

 
 
* Not Path of Hours, though, because our copies arrived the next morning.
** Ok, it was The Other Tom, a friend.
*** Ditto.

heartbreak

I’ve been trying to compose my thoughts for a post about the loss of our beloved Carrot, but the words just piled up in my head and wouldn’t come out in any coherent fashion.

Carrot

He’s been gone a week, and it’s been the hardest week … pretty much ever. I’m fairly certain it’s because of how he died. If he had been ill, or old, it might not have been so hard. We would have done everything we could to save him, and while his death would still hurt, it would be mitigated by the knowledge that we’d done all we could.

But when he climbed, unnoticed, into the clothes dryer, there was nothing we could do. When Loki found him, there was nothing at all to be done but try not to collapse under the weight of a whole world of grief and guilt and pain. I feel like I’ve spent most of this past week crying. I’m still not done.

Carrot and Fenris

I’ve been going through pictures today, and watching videos, and remembering our fearless, endlessly curious, dog-loving, snuggling cat.

I’m remembering a particularly awful day at work that was blurred and fixed by a small orange-and-white cat crawling up onto my neck and purring so loudly it drove everything bad away.

I’m remembering the way he used to drape himself across my shoulders and try to nap.

I’m remembering him chasing Freya like it was the best game ever, and I’m remembering the look of delight on Fenris’ face when he realized that here, finally, was a cat that would play with him.

Carrot and feather

I’m remembering a cat who could be kind of a bastard sometimes, but who was loved and petted and snuggled regardless, and who will be badly missed, every day, forever.

 
 
 
And yes, I’m posting this on my birthday, but I finally felt able to write something … anything … about the way our new year started, and today has definitely been colored by that, and denying it or ignoring it wouldn’t have helped.

remember Paris Burning?

Ahhh, memories!

Eleven Twelve years, ten days and five or so hours ago, Paris Burning took the stage at the Mason Jar for a truly horrifying show, that nevertheless had some fairly awesome consequences: it spawned The Killing Jar, which led to great bands coming here; and to to Conspiracy, which was mainly silly; and when Paris Burning went on extended hiatus, Reliquary rose from the ashes.

In honor of that historic day, we’re releasing everything Paris Burning recorded, as a free download! Hit the site and grab what you like: either our original album, Whisper in the Noise, our unreleased 2nd album, or both.

Get mugged in Memory Lane today. I know I am.

Tracks:

Whisper in the Noise :
Dust
Signal to Noise
Sleeping Beauty
Bleed for You
Sea Beneath
Dust 1.1
California Dreamin’

Unreleased 2nd album :
Blue Morning
Cold
Come Home
Don’t Cry
Dreaming
Maybe Someday
Never Again
Nightmare
Nightmare (The Azoix mix)
Pale
Sweet Disease
The Other Road