January 1st, 2020

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Happy New Year! and Post Muscadine Grape Juice

So we toasted in the New Year with Post Muscadine Grape Juice.  If you are unfamiliar with muscadines, they are Southern grapes with an intensely sweet flavor that has floral and musky notes.  (Some idiots are trying to breed out basically everything that makes a muscadine a muscadine.  A blight upon them, I say!)  Alas, these grapes only grow in warm climates and are rarely sold in stores or even farmer's markets.  Skip all that and just buy yourself a bottle of the juice.  It smells and tastes exactly  like muscadine grapes, less the flesh and the seeds.  That heady aroma, the burst of sweetness and symphonic arpeggio of floral notes descending into rumbles of musk, like distilled late-summer afternoon: all present and accounted for.

I am all asquee!  :D  And this is now a permanent addition to my wishlist, suitable celebratory beverage for any special occasion.

Best. Toast. Ever.
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Goals for 2020

Each year, I think about what I have accomplished and what I want to do next. I have a point system for encouraging progress. (See my goals for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.) These are some of my goals for 2020:


* Actually look at this list of goals, at least twice a month, before the end of the year in hopes of meeting more of them and not trying to cram in December. [1/4/20, 1/5/20, 1/6/20, 1/8/20, 1/9/20, 1/12/20, 1/13/20, 1/15/20, 1/16/20, 1/18/20, 1/20/20, 1/23/20, 1/25/20, 1/27/20, 2/7/20, 2/10/20, 2/11/20, 2/12/20, 2/14/20, 2/15/20, 2/16/20, 2/17/20]

* Fill in desk calendar with repeating posts and other memoranda. [Started 1/1/20]

* Clear out some backlogged email.

* Place one new book-length project on the market, either by writing a book proposal or by writing a complete book manuscript.

* Experiment with self-publishing a chapbook in ebook and/or home-printed format.
draggon-flye.livejournal.com, [personal profile] siliconshaman, and [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron have volunteered to help with this.

* Finish compiling the manuscript for The Origami Mage collection. Add supporting materials as necessary. Submit completed manuscript to Hunt Press.

* Write at least 400 poems.

* Continue holding one Poetry Fishbowl per month. [1/7/20 Short Forms, 2/4/20 If the devil's nicer than the church folks then we've got a problem]

* Use a specific storyline as a theme for the main Poetry Fishbowl. [MET 1/14/20 Broken Angels for March 3]

* Collate at least three more poetic series into collection files. [MET 1/20/20: Arts and Crafts America 1/4/10, One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis 1/18/20, P.I.E. 1/20/20]

* Create more supporting materials for poetic series as necessary, such as character cast lists or scientific notes.

* Supervise updates of the Polychrome Heroics material. [Started updating Dr. Infanta thread 1/6/20 finished 1/18/20, Aquariana updated 1/19/20]

* Make more pages for individual threads in the Polychrome Heroics series.

* Launch at least one new poetic series.

* Sell at least one poem of 10 or fewer lines, eligible for the Dwarf Stars Award. [MET 1/9/20]

* Sell at least one poem of 50+ lines, eligible for the Rhysling Award long category.

* Finish at least one poem that was partly written and then abandoned.  [MET 2/16/20 "Maple Everything"]


* Participate in at least six bingo fests. [Less Usual Bingo Patterns 1/1/20]

* Participate in the [community profile] snowflake_challenge. [Begun 1/1/20]

* Run the Rose & Bay Awards for 2020. [Begun 1/1/20]

* Keep up with writing records better, updating at least monthly.

* Finish at least two orders for spring plants by the end of February. Orders sent in March or later do not count. [MET Begun 1/26/20, finished 1/27/20 for Michigan Bulb Company and Oikos Tree Crops]

* Complete at least one significant outdoor project.

* Seal the new hopper feeder and hang it up.

* Go through closet to remove clothes that no longer fit, and take them to a charity.

* Keep track of my crowdfunding activity as the year goes on.

* Keep track of things I would like to receive as gifts.

* Read at least four cookbooks, marking recipes of interest. [The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook 1/14/20, 200 Curries 1/27/20, 365 Skinny Smoothies 2/7/20]

* Give away at least one cookbook that is not worth its shelf space, based on marking few or no recipes of interest. [MET Put Slow Cooker Cookbook in giveaway box 1/11/20]

* Make at least one new recipe per month. ["Ruby Hot Chocolate" 1/4/20, honeydew smoothie 1/5/20, Spiced Cider from the Elder Scrolls cookbook 1/6/20, strawberry rose yogurt smoothie (drinkable yogurt version) 1/8/20, Triple Chocolate Hot Cocoa (hazelnut) 1/9/20, Cucumber Smoothie Base + pear 1/12/20, Hazelnut Steaklets and Chocolate Milk That Isn't Completely Terrible for You 1/15/20, Antelope Burgers and Alan’s Going Green Smoothie (without jalapeño) 1/16/20, strawberry rose yogurt smoothie (almond milk version) 1/17/20, spinach bacon quiche 1/18/20, cantaloupe smoothie 1/20/20, Blueberry Muffin Smoothie 1/23/20, gluten-free blueberry pancakes 1/25/20, mango-pear smoothie 2/10/20, mango-almond smoothie 2/10/20, strawberry mango guava smoothie 2/12/20, orange mango guava smoothie 2/14/20, papaya mango smoothie 2/15/20, papaya strawberry smoothie 2/16/20, banana chocolate hazelnut coconut smoothie 2/17/20]

* Attend at least two events that include physical activities. [YMCA Sampler Day 1/5/20]

* Organize at least one area that is currently a mess.

* Promote the 2020 elections with at least four activities.

* Take a family trip to Chicago in late 2020 to see the night display at Lincoln Park Zoo and go shopping.

* Fill in the blank: __________. This slot is left open because, during any given year, I usually pick up some "surprise" goals. This time I want to give myself credit for that. [MET 2/14/20]

Defrosted freezer 2/13/20-2/14/20.

Add obstacles or exercise equipment to the yard?


What are some of your goals for 2020?


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Cuddle Party

Everyone needs contact comfort sometimes. Not everyone has ample opportunities for this in facetime. So here is a chance for a cuddle party in cyberspace. Virtual cuddling can help people feel better.

We have a cuddle room that comes with fort cushions, fort frames, sheets for draping, and a weighted blanket. A nest full of colorful egg pillows sits in one corner. There is a basket of grooming brushes, hairbrushes, and styling combs. A bin holds textured pillows. There is a big basket of craft supplies along with art markers, coloring pages, and blank paper. The kitchen has a popcorn machine. Labels are available to mark dietary needs, recipe ingredients, and level of spiciness. Here is the bathroom, open to everyone. There is a lawn tent and an outdoor hot tub. Bathers should post a sign for nude or clothed activity. Come snuggle up!

Welcome to 2020!  In honor of the season, I have brought Post Muscadine White Grape Juice
 Let the potlatch begin!
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Bullies at the Birdfeeder

Some people like squirrels, blue jays, woodpeckers, and other assertive guests.  But it's kind of a bummer when they chase away everyone else.  Here are some ideas to deal with that ...

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/when-136-bird-species-show-up-at-a-feeder-which-one-wins/

http://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/how-to-deal-with-bully-birds-at-your-feeders/

http://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/birding-basics/bully-birds-feeders/

https://birdwatchinghq.com/feeders-for-small-birds/

http://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/attracting-birds/feeding-birds/feeding-birds-keeping-squirrels-away/

http://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/attracting-birds/feeding-birds/squirrel-proof-bird-feeders/

https://www.squirrelproofbirdfeeders.birdsofna.org/

I handle this issue primarily by offering feeders in different locations.  The hopper feeder, thistle sock, and small tray feeder are in the forest garden just east of the house.  The suet feeder is in the birdgift tree just south of the house.  The fly-through feeder is in the apricot tree south of the house and a little west of the suet.  No bully can cover all that territory.  At other times I have had feeders on the west and north sides of the house, although I don't right now.

For additional impact, offer different foods in widely separated locations.  One feeder station with many foods will crowd all your critters together.  If you put the thistle seed and safflower seed far away from a feeder with sunflower seeds, corn, or peanuts then the bigger critters are unlikely to go after small disfavored seeds and will gravitate toward the bigger stuff.




If you want to get fancy, pick any small technological item for outdoor use that moves when activated.  You can either rig it to activate based on weight or other trigger, or you can watch your feeder(s) and manually activate it from indoors whenever bullies appear.  This is easier than rapping on the door/window or going outside to run them off.  If you're persistent enough, you may convince them that your yard is too much trouble.
 
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Accomplishments

Today is a bright sunny winter day.  I took window cleaner and shined up my window prisms.  Now I have more rainbows.  :D  I'm more prone to do housework that actually achieves something I care  about. 

After lunch, we hung up all the new wall calendars for the year.  \o/  They're pretty much all nature images of some sort, mostly wilderness scenes.  One is tropical, though, and we always put a flower calendar in the bathroom.

The birds are out. I've seen at least 3 cardinals, a downy woodpecker, and a flock of sparrows.  They don't need food, though, the feeders still have some.  I haven't seen any at the suet feeders even after I hung up the older more accessible one.  :/  I'll give it a while longer, but I may need a new location.
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Less Usual Bingo Patterns Card 1-1-20

[personal profile] yntoila is hosting the Less Usual Bingo Patterns Fest over on [community profile] allbingo from January 1-January 31. Look at all the different designs you can make!  (See all my 2020 bingo cards.)

If you'd like to sponsor a particular square, especially if you have an idea for what character, series, or situation it would fit -- talk to me and we'll work something out. I've had a few requests for this and the results have been awesome so far. This is a good opportunity for those of you with favorites that don't always mesh well with the themes of my monthly projects. I may still post some of the fills for free, because I'm using this to attract new readers; but if it brings in money, that means I can do more of it. That's part of why I'm crossing some of the bingo prompts with other projects, such as the Poetry Fishbowl.

Underlined prompts have been filled.


LESS USUAL BINGO PATTERNS CARD

BlueFrybreadEggplantAccidentKnow
NightRemorseFirst performance Pick up trashTraumatic Brain Injury
Writing your name on a wall DisasterWILD CARDEarthDiscovering your orientation
WarInjuryFireGenius Fish 
ParenthoodTalent Give yourself a treat Family visitMaple Syrup