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$850 later we nave a spiffy new water heater that heats more water, faster, hotter than the old one. The old one was 15 years old so we were due. I'm just glad it didn't blow up and send 30 gallons of sludgy water over the basement floor.

Nothing to do with most of my plants except pray over them right now, but I have done a couple of little things lately.


A few days ago (Friday, 4/26, I think) I consolidated all my bits of Schlumbergera 'xmas flame' into one pot. Darned if I didn't break off a great huge honking branch in the process, so I now have four more little bits than I'd expected. I let them cure for a couple days and yesterday I stuffed them into the pot as well. If they root, and there's no reason they shouldn't, I expect to have a splendid full pot of orange-y flowery goodness next November/December. Next up for consolidation is [ profile] clindau's 'madisto.'

I also potted up the pineapple today. The roots aren't as long as they were in the pictures for that website [ profile] karenkay found for me, but something inside of me said that it's time.

Yesterday Roy and biked down the Lakes and then tied up our bikes and walked around the smaller of the lakes. It was good exercise and we saw spring springing -- elm trees leafing out and such-like. But no sign of the swans -- I guess a fox got them or something. I came home and heeled in the big canna that my neighbor Sybil gave to my next door neighbor, who has forgotten all about it. (That's okay -- she announced her second pregnancy yesterday and she's due on her son's second birthday, so she probably has a lot on her mind.)

Slowly, slowly, I am starting to entertain the notion of chucking all the Hippeastrum that may be infected with the dreaded mosaic virus. Which means the old Trader Joe plant, the Apple Blossoms, and the entire classes of 2006, 2009, and 2011. Ummmm. Maybe not...but I don't want my new and exotic crosses to become infected. Sigh.

This morning I woke up at about 4:00, dozed until 5:15 or so, and then came upstairs. I got some significant office-cleaning done and large quantities of old files tossed into the recycling bin. (I also packed up all Civil War History Consortium files in a box since that account is dormant.) With the decks cleared, sort of, I was pretty productive despite being punchy from insufficient sleep. I expect to sleep well tonight and work hard tomorrow.

*Yawn.* Need toothpicks to hold up my eyelids. Must.Have.Coffee.
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Been a busy few days since I updated last.

my exciting week, let me tell you about it )
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We have a project manager for a new grant-funded project. She wants to maintain her own part of the web site. This is good. She wants to do it as a WordPress thingie. This is perplexing to me, but I'm a good egg. So I set up a subdomain for her installation, and have clicked the "install" button on the GoDaddy admin panel. It worked like a charm and I turned the administration over to the project manager. I sure hope she isn't expecting technical support from me because I am, as they say, totally clueless!
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Not so that you could really tell unless you were looking for me, but in "Photo 1 of 2" I'm to the camera's right of the guy in the vibrant orange shirt.

It was a pretty interesting conference, on creating a Philadelphia encyclopedia.
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Yesterday it hit 50F in Philadelphia, so I hopped on the bike, rode 2.5 mi to the supermarket that was selling whole pork loins for $.99/lb, ran into a sale on whole roasting chickens as well, and lumbered back with another 35 lb of meat on the bike. Afterwards, my knees felt...more or less like they used to when I hopped on my bike to go for a little ride, pre-diet. That tells me something.

It's another nice day today. When I break for lunch (as opposed to breaking for LJ), I think I'll repeat the experience, except that I'll stop at the Asian grocery on the way home to pick up vegetables and tofu.

Today I am doing something pretty mind-numbing: reconciling three sets of changes to the bylaws of the nonprofit I work for. Important work but fiddly, extremely fiddly.

I have felt so cozy in my home office over the weekend, using it as my den: listening to an audio book version of Little Women while knitting, with Flickr photo sets or groups done as slide shows on my monitor, and with poor old senile Ferko yowling to herself as background. I can hardly wait until I can pick it up again.

After Little Women, I think I'll do A Tale of Two Cities...
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Here's my overwhelming happyhappyhappy for the day:

The University of Pennsylvania award is actually ours, with Penn being the host library and fiscal agent. Whee!

Also making me happy: our final quarterly board meeting of the year is this afternoon, and after this we go into the semi-somnolence of year-end accounting and so on. So I'll be archiving files, chasing the last checks, etc., and maybe even returning to dropped projects such as refurbishing our web site.

I had a slam-bang happy time with my sister yesterday and learned that the interesting mural on the side of Harry's Occult Shop was done (at their own expense) in 2000 by the tattoo parlor formerly on the other corner. She had delivered perfectly appropriate shinies for all the Blanchard girls. So that's all right.

Also also making me happy, but not exactly. All my Christmas cactus are blooming. I was grumbling to myself that they're far ahead of Christmas, until I realized that Christmas is -- gulp! -- a week from tomorrow. Certain aprons have not been made. Certain other gifts have not been made. Other gifts have not been ordered. No gifts have been shipped. Oh my oh my oh my. Well, there will be happy confusion this weekend with the sewing machine whirring, the paint pots out, etc. For some reason, now that Mom is gone, I have totally stopped stressing about Christmas on some deep visceral level.
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081215vetriOkay, here are my daily happy things, pretty early in the morning:

1. I found the discrepancy in my nonprofit's books (we had about $3K more than I was expecting, a better class of error than losing $3K!) *Worry*worry*worry woke me up at 4 am, which is not especially happy-making, but the result is pretty good, I think. I also have a cunning plan to deal with it.

2. Via [ profile] mamatiger, I found out about a realty TV show on A&E that's all about the Philadephia Parking Authority, notorious for its take-no-prisoners attitude to ticket writing. I love those guys -- they give motorists their comeuppance and make money for the school district.

3. I have worked hard enough over the past few weeks to justify taking a few hours off -- and my sister to lunch at the Union League.

4. I have half a case of wine and half a case of beer sitting in the back house for our quarterly meeting / holiday party. And! I brought it home! on my bicycle! yesterday. Imagine that -- a six-pack and four loosies in my front basket, 3 bottles of wine and one loosie of beer apiece in each of my back baskets. Let me tell you, I got some looks and smiles.

5. As I was walking Mr. Darcy yesterday a man of middling age approached me, shyly, apologizing for speaking to me. "Do you live on Christian Street?" When I nodded, he explained that he has walked by "and I sometimes see you through the window, playing your beautiful piano." Awww.....

And the bonus happyhappy, upper right, is the new mural in process on the side of Vetri Ristorante, 1312 Spruce Street.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Let's see what happiness I have today:

1. I forgot the starting time for a meeting so I won't be going to it. Instead I'll stay home and finish the books for work, whee!

2. St. Michael the Archangel is on the case at Harry's Occult Shop (pictured, right), smiting our would-be insect overlords and making the mantis pray instead of preying. (My sister and I are going there tomorrow so she can moon over crystals and such.) I have a heap o' detail photos on Flickr, which you can reach by clicking the photo.

3. Temps are supposed to be in the sixties today, a good day for a leetle bike ride.

4. Roy is off to Maine now so I can work on his Christmas present tonight.

(EDIT: No work on his Christmas present -- I spent the evening chasing $3K I didn't expect to have in my nonprofit's books at the end of the year.)
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There's a lot of day left, so I may add to this.

1. I have identified every bank statement and every deposit ticket I need to do the PACSCL books. Probably all the invoices, too. So now it's just a matter of data entry.

2. Our grand-daughter is coming here for Christmas and doesn't want to run around to the rest of the family, thankyouverymuch (very tired of that).

3. Roy is getting a rentacar because he has to go to the airport Mon. and car rental is only $5 more than getting a cab. So I can shop without worrying whether all the stuff will go on my bike. Useful just before Christmas.

4. I have my Pandora classical/romantic station almost perfectly tuned for music that sooths me. It only tries to give me vocals once a day now.
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I have a couple of nice happyhappyhappy comments for the day:

  • It stopped raining! The sun shone every now and again! I was able to get on my bike and go to various stores

  • There is a brand of inexpensive South African red wine called "Herding Cats" -- I picked up a cabernet shiraz. The cats being herded on the label are a pair of rather annoyed-looking leopards.

  • I managed to keep up with the press of business at work.

  • I did a back of envelope calculation and my little organization will end its thirteenth consecutive year in the black.

  • My sister has made shinies for my daughters-in-law and my grand-daughter so I am supporting the family by buying presents.

On the unhappy side, I haven't heard from Roy since he left for Maine on Wednesday, and he's overdue for his return by about 90 min. I was way too busy to notice he hadn't called until about 30 min. ago.

ETA: This would explain it:

CONCORD, N.H. – An ice storm to compare with some of the Northeast's worst made a mess of the region Friday, leaving 1.25 million homes and businesses in seven states without power as it forced schools to close and toppled ice-laden trees and power lines onto slippery roads.

Most of the outages were in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York, and it was expected to take several days to completely restore electricity. The storm wreaked havoc from Maine to Pennsylvania, leaving a sparkling, ice-covered landscape that was too destructive for many to find beautiful.

No power, no cell phone recharging and/or cell phone lines jammed.

ETA II: Ooops. I confused his trips. He was to go to Maine next week. He just called me from Washington DC, where he's sitting on a private car waiting for CSX to hook them up to an Amtrak train. Poor baby. Looks like his Maine trip may be off, though, judging from the news reports.
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[ profile] chakolate's meme, and I'm in the mood to do one.

I am happy about several things today:

  • It's very wet out but not cold so I can go stamp*stamp*splsh in the puddles on my way home from my meeting (and I did)
  • My actual revenue and expenditures for the symposium came within a gnat's eyelash of matching the budget
  • The folks who want us to trim the budget on the grant we got are being humane -- just revise the budget and timeline and explain the changes in a cover memo
  • My treasurer liked the three ideas I offered for finding more funding for said budget trimmings
  • I got something excessively shiny for my kitchen for next year. It came in the mail and the lj user responsible knows who she is. Proper thanks will be forthcoming

More happy happy happy tomorrow.
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Haven't done this for years, and I only did it a wee bit when I *did* do it.

But I have 5+ GB of audio files from the symposium, way too much for any website I have access to, and I don't have a clue about streaming audio any more.

Some time ago I downloaded a freeware program called Audacity so that I could digitize some of my guitar lessons. I'm striving to compress a file from 44100 Hz to 11025 Hz. I hope it will be less than 1x the size of the original...we'll see, I guess....
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Judging from the size of the buds on the various Schlumbergera around the house, I think I'm going to have some in bloom from now until New Year's. The two yellowish holiday cactus have small buds and will, one hopes, be in glorious bloom at Christmas.

The symposium is now part of my past, thanks to a palate cleansing day spent doing nothing at all. I'm ready to tackle the aftermath: the writing of some 20 thank you letters and the accounting for an event whose total cost is pushing $20K.

It's time to turn my attention, at least a little bit of the time, to getting ready to ship out gifts to the two out-of-town bits of the family. That means finishing aprons. Not today...
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081204chandelierImage, right: the great chandelier in Lincoln Hall, the Union League of Philadelphia, where Day 2 of the symposium was held.

Two days of staying 15 min ahead of the agenda to make sure everything is on track while simultaneously fielding questions from three or four sources. Two days of being on my feet for hours on end. The payoff was hearing rave reviews from attendees who compared our event favorably to those put on by organizations with staffs of several people just to put on events.

Last night I came home at 6:00, slept for an hour, ate a wonderful dinner that Roy made, dozed over a movie, went to bed and slept for ten hours. Now I'm just staying awake long enough that I can in decency go take a nap.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
It's actually a planter full of ferns, sansevieria* and gourds that I passed on my way home today after running a few errands.

I am not feeling so productive today, but I did go out and buy $500 worth of wine for the reception for our symposium. (Much cheaper if I buy it than if the caterer picks it up, even though the caterer physically picked it up from the State Store.) On the way there I purchased my Christmas stamps, so all that's required now is assembly. Everything I need to make the aprons is likewise assembled in my office or the upstairs kitchen. Now all that's called for is a little motivation...

*Or maybe a bromeliad...
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
It was unseasonably cold this morning, with temperatures in the low 20s and a brisk 15 mph wind out of the west. The first test of my winter dress-for-biking skills. Three layers on the lower body (pantyhose, leggings, microfiber pants); big honking parka; scarf; earmuffs; gauntlets; neoprene toe thingies. Dressed like that it's a wonder I could move, but I was toasty warm as I biked over to the Free Library.

I delivered a bunch of brochures and bookmarks for this book artists' fair, and bought some stocking stuffers -- wee handmade blank books. Shown here, a wee handmade book vendor.


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