leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
My first order of roses for 2013 will probably show up tomorrow. I am ready and waiting with potting soil, sterilized pots and rose gauntlets! We had a miniature snowstorm yesterday but thankfully most of it has melted already. But it's been cold, really cold, and I can't believe that at this time last year we were getting daytime temperatures in the 80s!

I made another batch of my "famous" brownies tonight, this time with amaretto frosting. I wanted to try out the frosting before I used it on a cake. I almost killed it when I added a bit too much amaretto to the mixing bowl (2T amaretto to 10T butter and 1 1/4c of confectioners' sugar, probably too much) and the frosting came out too runny. Thankfully adding a few extra spoonfuls of sugar corrected the consistency. The recipe calls for a standing mixer, but the damn thing is so heavy to lug around that unless I'm baking a cake I try to make do with an electric hand mixer. Never again! The frosting comes out much fluffier if you use a standing mixer. I probably should store my standing mixer upstairs on the kitchen counter but it takes up so much space and I use it on the average of once every six months. The few times I need to use it I have to lug it upstairs from our basement and I think it weighs about 30lbs. No kidding.

The frosting is pretty nice but I think it would probably better suit a white cake.

The roses I have in "cold storage" are starting to leaf out already. I'm not looking forward to putting Marianne back in the ground this spring. She's apparently recovered her rootball and has grown quite large in her pot. I really am gonna have two Mariannes....hot damn! So the only rose we lost to the mole assault was Lavender Lassie. I love Marianne, but I'm not thrilled about having to find a place to squeeze another 8-12 foot rose. Maybe I'll plant them both side by side as a Marianne hedge? I heard that birds like to live in Marianne. I like having lots of places in our yard for birds to live. It gives Lucas something to look at from the windows...when he's bored he can be a real freak. It's hard to believe he's going to be six years old next month! Oh BooBoo, may you live forever!
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
We haven't seen much yet today, but most of it is supposed to fall in the overnight hours. Globbit! The roses had finally start poke their way out of the snowdrifts. Our bottom-of-the-hill roses (AUSjo, Madames Hardy and Plantier, Paul Ricault, etc) appear to be intact but Quietness has likely been squashed flat. No more snow, please!

I gave Nycteris her boil-perm tonight. She actually has turned out a lot better than I expected. I even managed to do the side braids in her ponytail! The only thing I changed from the design was to give her many small curls in back instead of one big one. I thought that if I used drinking straw rollers in her hair it would but the wrong scale for her face.

I don't know why the hairstyle and face option I used for her isn't pictured on the official Fire Emblem: Awakening website. I haven't seen anyone use the same hairstyle I did, either. As for her hair color, I just have such an obsession with blue hair...I couldn't help myself.
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
Hopefully we won't get too much this time! :O I had really been enjoying this warm spell. It made me forget that we're still in the dead of winter...

I tried making Brigadeiros again yesterday. I cooked the mixture for about 15 minutes longer and the candies came out about 50 percent firmer than last time. I'm not sure if it's possible for them to hold their shape as perfectly round balls, rather than devolving into flat-bottomed drops. They still taste pretty good! Unfortunately we won't be able to try them again for a while, because we ran out of bling bling to roll the balls in. Michael's has a great stock of candy and cake-decorating supplies, but those sugar pearls are like 6 dollars a jar...oh well. Maybe we'll try the coconut ones next.

In order to counter the effect of me stuffing my face with chewy chocolate candy every day, I've been aiming for 4000-5000 steps a day on the 3DS pedometer. That's just counting my work-outs, mind you. I have no idea how many steps I take for the rest of my day. I'm probably completely sedentary, LOL...

We finished watching G Gundam this weekend. I don't remember the last time I've watched such a long TV series. And I say, fie on everyone who says that show is the worst Gundam series ever! Fie! I thought it was hella fun, and most of the characters did grow on me by the end, with the exception of Rain and Sai Saici.

The only other Gundam series we have on DVD are the original 1979 series and Zeta Gundam, and we haven't watched either of them yet.
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
We're making pot roast with carrots and small red potatoes. The recipe also calls for parsnips, but no sir, I do not like those. Not one bit. I like most vegetables, excluding parsnips, brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas. I don't like vegetables that taste like weird, bitter versions of common vegetables (like parsnips versus carrots), or vegetables that get stringy and try to choke you. I guess I don't like green beans very much, either. They're boring and devoid of nutrition. I have an insane love of broccoli. And swiss chard.

I didn't do much for New Year's Eve. I was too tired. =_= I do have to say that Limoncello tastes like it would make excellent lemon buttercream frosting.

Cat for thought: If Lucas were a human being he'd weigh 237lbs...and be 7'5''.
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
Because the Shop-Rite in the next town makes this totally boss pull-apart danish ring, and the pineapple danish is the queen of all the other danishes. With the cherry danish in second command, followed by blueberry, cheese, apple and the lemon and peach danishes are kind of gross.

Why doesn't anyone make pineapple preserves? Why why why?

I found a recipe for it online and I just might have to try it. I'd love to make a pineapple jam tart. Or pineapple crumble squares with walnuts or...::gasp:: macadamia nuts.

The recipe makes 2 pints, so I wouldn't bother canning it. I'd be afraid to do that, anyway. I wouldn't want to end up with botulism!
leene_chan: (Default)
It's absolutely amazing that we've escaped without a scratch considering the damage that has happened in our little state. Just 30 miles away. I wonder if this is how the coast felt at this time last year when the interior got clobbered with that freak snowstorm? We really thought we were going to freeze to death back then, but at least our house hadn't been damaged. It's not like we were underwater. Jesus. I hate to think this is going to keep on happening up here. We have had the lousiest luck with weather for the past few years. When's the last time Florida got hit by a hurricane?

I keep thinking that Gloria hadn't been that bad, but that was the only storm that left our yard in ruins. Broken trees everywhere--since I was a kid, I thought it looked like a playground. I guess we don't have much to lose any more. I've been eye-ing this one 100+ foot tree on the border of our yard that would cause quite a bit of mayhem if it fell, but it isn't really close to the house. If that tree fell, I'd never have to worry about hurricanes ever again. CL&P made us cut everything else down about a decade ago.

I can't believe how well Marianne is doing in her pot. She's starting to leaf out again! I'm kicking myself for ordering another band for next spring. Oh, well, two Mariannes are better than none.

Too bad she's going to be 12 feet tall...

Julia Child has really pulled herself together. She's a lovely potted rose. Margo Koster is a sad sack, though. The only positive thing I can say about her is that she doesn't have foliar disease.

EDIT: My parents work in West Haven, and a few of their co-workers who live on the shoreline have had their houses literally washed away. God. All we lost were two medium-sized tree branches.
leene_chan: (Default)
We got a nasty rain/windstorm yesterday. We also got put under one of those rare but FUN tornado watches. Our third one for CT this year! The SPC outlooked our area for 10 percent tornado the night before, costing me an entire night's sleep. By the morning we were down to 5 percent but we still got put under a watch. It seems to me that they've been issuing more and more tornado watches for the Northeast lately. I guess I should just get used to it, but they terrify me. Severe weather terrifies me. But if it didn't terrify me, I would have never bought those awesome Coleman lanterns that got us all through Hurricane Irene and last October's snowstorm!

Sprayed Liquid Fence for the first time in awhile this morning. I hate that stuff, but I'm 90 percent sure that the rabbits are living under our deck. I'm concerned that Hazel-rah has been munching our Oriental poppies. But they still aren't as bad as groundhogs!

I've noticed that Duchesse de Montebello has grown as big as Marianne, in spite of the fact that I bought DdM as a band and Marianne as a gallon. Even though for the first month her foliage didn't look so hot, now it's lush, green and spotless. I can't wait to see that rose bloom next year.

On the flip side Felicite Parmentier looks about ready to disappear. I think that we're going to have to grit out teeth, dig her up and make her be a pot baby again. It did wonders for Julia Child, so who knows? Seeing her in the bed with Evelyn is kind of ridiculous. Evelyn now looks like some kind of spider mecha. She's probably 4 feet tall and wide now, and we've only had her for five months. Ridiculous!

Thinking of planting Golden Princess and Honeysweet in the garden. Of our RVR bands, Siren's Keep, Rook and Capitaine John Ingram are doing great. I'm actually really impressed with both the David Austin and Paul Barden roses in our garden so far. We've obviously not had them for very long, but they show great vigor and disease resistance. They make me feel better about Charles de Mills buying the farm...
leene_chan: (Default)
Explosion Number 1: My second pink Parker Jotter. It finally ran out of ink after weeks and weeks of marathon writing. When I took it apart to change the cartridge, I discovered to my shock and horror that the spent cartridge had exploded inside the barrel, leaking blue ink everywhere. I had to throw the pen away. It was my favorite! Boy, am I pissed!

Explosion Number 2: The washing machine. Not an explosion of machine, but an explosion of suds. I accidentally used regular laundry detergent in our front load, HE washer. Don't ask me why we still have regular detergent in the house considering that we've had that new washer for about five years! The disaster it created reminded me of that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when they ride the car through the Wonka Wash. Oh God. We had to scoop handfuls of suds from the washer and dump them in the downstairs bathroom sink, then run that load of towels through the wash with no soap four times before we got rid of all the mess. I can't take full responsibility for the incident, because I'm not the one who bought the wrong laundry detergent. And the lighting in the laundry room is so poor!
leene_chan: (Default)
We got it good last night. Twenty-four hours later, the house still smells awful. Rather than the typical mildly offensive cabbage smell, this smells like someone dumped a huge pile of the worst take-out Chinese food they could find in front of our house and set it on fire! Have you ever been Omega Skunked before? It's so foul that it wakes you out of a sound sleep, and you'll be smelling it for more than a week!

Some small good news to report: we managed to find a 1.0 Frankie Stein on sale at Target's website. They were doing one per customer, and she lasted about 20 minutes. She was the first Monster High doll I fell in love with, even though I bought Phys Dead Ghoulia instead. Just the same, I let Kristen have her because she really wanted her. Also, I have four Frankies. Probably enough, right?

I hope Howleen/Clawdeen aren't too hard to find once they come out. I'm not going to have a lot of opportunities to look for them in the next few weeks. I strongly suspect that some Target employees have been buying out the dolls and scalping them. Eventually, people are going to stop buying them, right?

As of tonight, I've written 22 pages toward my third goal. Six pages of those are notes...but I'm counting them, because I don't want to discourage myself from planning ahead. You know that when you write one character saying something, then cross it out to make another character say something, then cross that out, it's time to start outlining! I wanted to write more, but I started feeling like one of those characters in a movie who points a gun at someone and pulls the trigger only to hear ::click click:: Out of bullets!

Ugh...I can still smell that skunk. Omega Skunk! :O
leene_chan: (Default)
I usually don't talk about my dreams in my blog, but last night's dream was too weird not to share! I dreamt that during the day Lucas had gotten out of the house and squeezed himself into of the numerous animal den holes in the back yard. He stayed there with his head poking out and the rest of his body buried underground, mocking me with squinty eyes. As I desperately tried to dig him out, this raccoon was running around the back yard in broad daylight, dead set on killing Lucas. I kept beating it back whenever it came close, and got myself bitten a couple of times. I kept thinking, "Okay, now I've got rabies, I've got rabies, I've got rabies again." Eventually I managed to fling the raccoon down the bottom of our hill and dug Lucas out before it recovered. Lucas had spent so much time buried underground that his body had become a sweet potato. That's right, a sweet potato! He still had a cat head, legs and tail, but his torso had become a sweet potato! And there he was frolicking around the back yard with his sweet potato body, and I was freaking out thinking I needed to bring him to the emergency vet.

Just before I woke up I remember finding a paper bag poking out of the ground near one of the gutters behind the master bedroom. I dug it out and opened to discover several heads of excellent quality garlic. I said to myself, "Wow, it's still in great shape after all this time!" because I had buried that garlic next to the downspout a year earlier for safekeeping. What the hell.

I do not take drugs. I swear.
leene_chan: (Default)
Happy New Year! by Leenechan
Happy New Year!, a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

Beating up bunches in throw rugs and fuzzy purple balls since 2007!

leene_chan: (Default)

I am not pleased!

It's not like it's never happened before. The last time I remember getting a snowstorm in October I was a little kid in elementary school and always looked forward to snow days and 90-minute delays. Not anymore. Now all I can thinking about is shoveling, shoveling, shoveling and dangerous road conditions. Bleh!

We're slightly more prepared than we were last year. We still don't have a snow blower, but we do have a genuine lightweight, twenty-foot-long Snow Rake. I hope we don't have to use it yet! Compared to the storms we got last winter, six inches of snow is nothing. Unless, of course, we get more like twelve. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

It can't be as bad as that three-footer we got last January! We had blueberry pie to console ourselves that time, and this time we'll have apple! I hope that apple pie works as a good luck charm...

leene_chan: (Default)

Thank God that the warm and humid weather is finally at an end! I've always thought that October was the greatest month of the year. Cool days, cool nights and my birthday is right smack dab in the middle. XD

Speaking of which, "Julia Child," my birthday rose, will be blooming for the first time next week. The petals peeking out of the bud are bright orange! Even though it's listed as a yellow rose, I remember that when I saw it in person it had a strong hint of peach. And the bud looks flawless. The thrips couldn't have gotten to it because it had good-sized buds when it arrived. They usually work their way into the buds when they're small.

I'm almost done with the "James Mason" bed. "James Mason" is already in it, along with herbaceous peony "Scarlett O'Hara." There may or may not be a yellow-jackets' nest in the mound of grass I haven't raked out yet. I hope not! The bed is as big as a small whale so far--plenty of room for herbaceous peony "Coral Sunset" and another rose in the spring. I asked Northland Rosarium if they were planning on getting "Madame Hardy" for next year, and they kindly offered to do a cutting for me for the spring. I'm really glad, because I wanted a white OGR and I was worried that "Madame Plantier" would be too big. I want to make a point of growing roses that can't grow in warmer climates. I'd like to feel that I have something over the Zone 7+ people who never have to worry about winter protection. XD

I've noticed that slugs have been eating the leaves off one of my Oriental Poppies "Princess Victoria Louise." Damn! I set a little tupperware container of beer out in the side garden so they can drink themselves to death. I hope they like Rolling Rock!

After the bowl was out for a half hour, I found two slugs on the rim. Jeez!

I hope that no woodland creatures find their way to the bowl. I don't want to deal with any drunk chipmunks or squirrels.

A skunk just sprayed somewhere around the house. I hope it isn't intoxicated!

leene_chan: (Default)
A Purple Cloud. by Leenechan
A Purple Cloud., a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

I love these so much that I can't stop photographing them! Here's a picture of "Bluebird" in full bloom. I learned recently that it's no longer referred to as a "New England Aster" but a "Smooth Aster." I'm not sure what the difference is.

This morning I saw what I presumed to be a rabbit nibbling at the base of one of the aster plants. It turned out to be a squirrel burying a stash of acorns for the winter! I had actually dug up one of those stashes yesterday when I was digging out the bed for "Aptos." I felt kind of bad about it. It's pretty funny because we don't have any oak trees on our property. I keep seeing squirrels running across the street to get the acorns from our neighbors' oak trees and coming back to bury them in our yard! I wonder if so many animals hide their stashes of winter food in our yard because we're one of the only households on the street that don't have dogs outside?

Watched two silent films last night which thankfully didn't have to be reconstructed with production stills like London After Midnight. The first was the classic horror movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It was only 67 minutes long and grainy in spots, but I thought it was a pretty unique and disturbing film. Apparently, Conrad Veidt's character Cesare was Tim Burton's inspiration for Edward Scissorhands...

The second movie was Kiki, starring Norma Talmadge and Ronald Colman. Comedic silent films usually miss the mark with me, but I thought this one was hilarious! I was especially interested because I'd already seen Ronald Colman in two "talkies," The Prisoner of Zenda and Lost Horizon. I was prepared to see him in heavy makeup, mugging and gesticulating wildly, but he was just the same as he was in the later films, just with no sound. I can see how a lot of movie-goers found him appealing in the silent film era. He was so dignified!

leene_chan: (Default)

So...a few days ago I spied what I assumed were ladybug larvae crawling all over one of my potted parsley plants. I thought, "Gee, these will be useful in controlling the thrips on my rosebush!" and figured that I'd relocate them once the torrential rainfall washed all traces of insecticidal soap from Moondance.

Well, tonight I went outside to cut some parsley to use with dinner. To my chagrin, I discovered that the three larvae had grown significantly and were in the process of having my parsley for dinner.

I didn't know that ladybug larvae ate plants. I don't know if they do or not, but it turns out that these creatures are not ladybug larvae. They're this:


There are green butterfly eggs all over the bottom of the parsley plant. Naturally, I'm not going to do anything to harm these caterpillars. I'll just move the pot away from the other plants and hope they'll be satisfied with just one...

I'll probably take a picture tomorrow. They're getting pretty lively.

EDIT: The caterpillar's on a parsley plant in that photo, too!

leene_chan: (Default)

I've been having the hardest time taking a picture of this Japanese anemone. Like most springy, long-stemmed plants, they bounce around like mad in the slightest breeze. This is one of the runners we transplanted last summer. I'm glad that it still hasn't reached its max height of four to five feet yet. I wonder if planting this on the side of the front walkway was a great idea?

The Japanese anemones, Snowpuff cosmos and butterfly bushes are going to pull us through the fall. Everything else is pretty much done. I've pulled up cosmos "Cosimo Sparkling Wine" already; it had burned itself out by the last week of August. The tomatoes are gone too...but the Fairy Tale eggplants are continuing to produce. God, I love those plants. I got six of them and they still don't produce enough fruit for me!

Not much else to report...we made our first peach pie this weekend and it was pretty terrific. The credit goes to Kristen, of course. She's the one who can make pie crust. I just cut up the peaches and brushed egg white wash on the crust before we put the pie in the oven. XD

leene_chan: (Default)

We lost power from Irene at 7:30 am yesterday, and had it restored around noon today. After being warned that we might be in the dark for more than a week, we're all relieved around here! It was an unpleasant experience, but we escaped mostly unscathed. Our home wasn't damaged, and our gardens only got dinged a little. All our shrubs are fine, even the fragile ones like the mountain laurel and yellow lilac. There are a few small to medium-sized branches lying around, and lots of leaves. No one on our street ended up with a tree on their house. Phew!

Major Lesson Learned: How to flush a toilet without electricity when you have well water. It takes 3 gallons of water to fill up the tank. In the days preceding the storm, fill up lots and lots of large containers with water for flushing. It will probably still not be enough. Pray.

I have two big, beautiful Coleman lanterns that take eight D batteries apiece. I got them last year from Amazon when we were worried about Hurricane Earl, for about $20 each. They were a great purchase. Unfortunately, D batteries were very scarce a few days ago. I was in terror that I'd run out of juice before we got our power back; I think you get like 13 hours of illumination if you run the lantern on the lowest setting. And they told us that it could take longer than a week to restore power! I almost wept from joy when I found two tea light burners and two huge bags of tea light candles in a cabinet last night. Obviously, we wouldn't use them until we put Lucas in his room for the night...but I felt like a starving person trapped in a house during a blizzard who just found a big bag of leftover Halloween candy under her bed. Seriously. Events like this really put things in perspective. I might never buy a doll ever again. Even twenty dollars can save you in an emergency. The joy you feel from realizing you have enough stored water to flush the toilet one more time is even sweeter than what you'd feel from receiving a doll purchase in the mail.

I'm very glad to report that my new roses "Quietness" and "Prairie Sunrise" received no damage from the storm. "Quietness" is actually sending out new growth!

leene_chan: (Default)

So Kristen and I were hanging out in the basement last night watching Sanjuro off the DV-R when we heard a very loud explosion in the laundry room. At first Kristen thought it was the furnace, which is located at the far left of the room and is prone to all sorts of malfunctions. I didn't think so, because I didn't smell smoke, and when the furnace has mishaps it makes a very different kind of boom. I thought it might have been coming from the downstairs bathroom. The toilet pump, maybe? Everything seemed normal around there. I went upstairs to see if anyone (like Lucas) had knocked something over that only made a sound like an explosion. Nothing.

So just as we were about to work ourselves into a full panic, Kristen mentioned that it kind of sounded like a soda can exploding, like they sometimes do when the refrigerator is too cold and they freeze. I checked the downstairs refrigerator and found a can of Diet Coke with Lime blown out in the back of the bottom shelf. There was Coke-colored slush all over the inside of the fridge. XD

Apparently, we had forgotten to replace the thermometer in the fridge. It's 24 degrees in there. This morning when I was upstairs washing dishes I heard another can explode. Holy crap. I haven't had that happen since the microfridge I kept in my college dorm froze all my seltzer water!

leene_chan: (Default)

And it's only going to get hotter! It's a good thing that we got our AC repaired quickly and without drama. Our central air unit started leaking water through the ceiling last Friday. Luckily the company that services our oil burner also does air conditioning; they sent someone over to our house within a few hours to remove the clog in the unit that was preventing the condensation from draining properly outside the house. Thank God it was a quick fix and didn't do too much damage. Our central air unit is a good twenty years old, and I don't even want to think about how much it would cost to replace it!

I forgot to mention that on July 15, our robin fledgling left the nest for good. I know that at fourteen or fifteen days old the baby was more than ready to leave the nest, but it was still sad to wake up that morning to an empty nest. Mama and Papa are nowhere to be found either. The departure was right on schedule. They're probably hopping around somewhere in the neighborhood. I hope they all live long lives...

We made a spicy tofu stir-fry with a few of the Fairy Tale eggplants this weekend. They were really tasty, tender and without a hint of the bitterness you sometimes encounter with the larger eggplants. I just wish we had more of them right now! They're growing fast but not fast enough for me!

The "White Wonder" cucumbers are much fatter than they are long. They're starting to lose their intimidating spikiness. The tomatoes are ripening very slowly. I think everyone's excited about them but me. I have to admit that I don't really like raw tomatoes. Now, the eggplants on the other hand...

Now that we're nearing the end of July, most of our garden plants have completed their blooming. The butterfly bushes and cosmos will continue to bloom until frost, but the daylilies and poppies are pretty much done. The Solar Flash sunflowers are almost ready to bloom. I haven't seen any flower buds on the morning glories yet. I remember that they bloom close to September, so I'm not too worried about them yet.

I'm thinking I should cut Lulu's hair a little shorter. I don't like the way it flips out at the ends.

leene_chan: (Default)

Now that "Honeycomb" is sleeping soundly in its bed, I must contemplate the fact that once autumn rolls around we're going to have ten butterfly bushes growing in our yard.

I think they really are a benefit. After all, not only do they attract beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds, but also the bees that later move on to pollinate our raspberries and potted vegetables. What would happen if we didn't have bees pollinating our stuff? We'd have to pollinate it by hand, wouldn't we?

The "Anne" raspberries are ripening to a pretty golden yellow. All three of them. That's right! Since we only planted those yellow raspberry bushes this spring, they're only giving us three raspberries this summer. ::snickers:: I will take a picture of those raspberries when they ripen.

I swear, the Fairy Tale Eggplants are growing at a rate of an inch a day. How cool! So far we have five on the plants. I'm praying that tomorrow's potentially heavy rain doesn't knock them off their stalks!

"Imperial Pink" has a big fat flower bud that's getting ready to open. It looks like Kermit the Frog without eyes.

Four "Weird Poppies" have survived the summer so far. I'm very interested in seeing if these plants that came from free seeds actually bloom.

I think the robin living in our Rose of Sharon only had one chick this time. It looks to be about a week old. It's so cute to see its tiny face peeking out from beneath its mama's red breast. I have to get careful about standing too close to the nest, though. Both the mama and her mate have tried to do the angry bird rush on me before. I think they're just paranoid because the mockingbirds keep trying to chase them out of the tree, but still...I ought not to push it. I'll just peek on them from the window.

I had to take a break from rerooting my Raili because I hurt my back somehow. I thought I ought to not exercise for a few days, but strangely enough it feels good to stretch it out. Maybe I slept it on wrong...

The survival guide we have lying around in our basement says that if we have a major disaster that destroys the infrastructure of our society, all the people living the suburbs will be growing food in their gardens while the city folk starve to death. I wonder if I can sneak some carrot plants into the ground somewhere?

July 2017



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