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Amparo Bertram

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09:34 pm: Mirror, mirror...not quite on the wall
It has been a busy couple of weeks. It started last week on Friday, when I left straight after work to head off to Seattle for a potluck. (It can be convenient to work at the airport.) Benny did get a chance to check out my chayote bread before I whisked it away.

I arrived late at night and picked up a rental car for the weekend. I found my motel without too much difficulty, though I began to regret not springing for a more expensive place from the moment I checked in, when a random lady wandered in and began muttering nonsense to herself. (The man running the front desk even asked her if she was on a Bluetooth, but no, it was just the voices in her head...) I walked past the creepy guys hanging out in the hallway, locked myself in my room, and didn't come out until it was time to leave for the potluck around noon the next day. (Luckily, I had brought plenty of books to keep myself occupied.)

Fortunately, traffic was light, and I made it to the gathering without stressing too much over driving an unfamiliar car in a new place. The trip was slightly unsettling because the speed limit on the highway I drive every day for work is 65, while the two stretches of highway I followed out of Seattle were 60 leading to 70. So half the time I felt I was going too slow, and the other half I was traveling unnervingly fast. The potluck itself was a great chance to see a lot of people I usually only interact with online. It lasted until the guests all trickled out at 9pm, at which point I accidentally set off the car alarm while trying to get the engine started on my rental. Oops. Sorry if I woke the baby...

The next morning I met up with a former high school classmate I haven't seen in ten years. We went out and had breakfast while getting caught up. (It occurred to me while reading the menu...a lot of burger places serve veggie burgers these days...where are the veggie sausages and veggie bacon for the restaurants that specialize in breakfast? They offered turkey bacon for the diet crowd, why not soy bacon?)

Anyway, I made it back to the airport with plenty of time to spare before my afternoon flight. I went with Virgin America, and their seats were much more comfortable than Delta's, which is the airline I typically fly. (Too bad Virgin doesn't have any flights from here to Japan.)

This weekend I only had one day off. I had planned to go up to the SAS store and pick up my new shoes, but I got a message that the bathroom mirror I had ordered was ready for pickup, so I got that instead. (It was in the opposite direction, so I really didn't have time to do both.) I brought the mirror back in my parents' minivan and carried it to the master bedroom. I haven't opened the box to check it yet; I'll have to do that soon to make sure the glass is intact.

I continued tinkering with my video encoding project, and I finally figured out that I needed to install a new codec to compress the audio along with the video. Once I did that, I managed to get the files down to a reasonable size.

I spent most of the afternoon working in the garden. I planted some late season cabbages and a few root vegetables. I also made a new cage for them in the hope of protecting them from all the animals that dig in my yard. One of my squash plants is finally beginning to flower. It feels rather late, but I keep reminding myself that the weather will probably stay warm for another three months, so I might get some kind of harvest from them. Some of the tomatoes are beginning to show a blush of color. They should be ready to pick before long.

In the evening I worked on making a batch of nightshade jelly. The color is a beautiful, deep purple. However, I didn't use any additional pectin, so it's really more of a thick syrup than a spread. (Maybe it will solidify more in the refrigerator. We'll see.) It tastes good, regardless, and it's much easier to eat with all the seeds strained out.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:July 29th, 2012 01:05 pm (UTC)
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Yay for a great weekend in Seattle and visiting with new and former friends.

I was just remembering how much pectin chayotes have. Maybe adding one to your nightshade fruit would help the jelly thicken up.

I hope the video encoding project proceeds without a hitch.

[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:July 30th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
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I'll just use it as syrup this time. It's still great on toast, particularly because it soaks in all the nooks and crannies. Next time, I'll add the juice to some strawberries and make jam out of it.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:July 30th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
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Benny did get a chance to check out my chayote bread before I whisked it away.

Did he get a treat for sniffing it out?

Eek! Glad you made it out of Seattle alive.

I keep reminding myself that the weather will probably stay warm for another three months,

The weather here is so painfully inconsistent. We will have crazy hot temps through October, but I'm wondering if the squash is late to bloom because of the chilly, fog-bound mornings? Or is your home warmer in the mornings?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:July 30th, 2012 11:17 am (UTC)
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Did he get a treat for sniffing it out?

No, because it's not prohibited. However, he did get a treat for putting up with me trying to take his picture.

I'm wondering if the squash is late to bloom because of the chilly, fog-bound mornings? Or is your home warmer in the mornings?

I suspect it's because I didn't get the seedling in the ground early enough. I didn't plant it until after I got back from my brother's wedding, because I didn't want to risk it dying from lack of water while I was gone. (I can put seedling pots in trays of water, but plants in the ground are out of luck.) If it had gone in the ground earlier, it would probably be more mature by now.
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:July 30th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
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a lot of burger places serve veggie burgers these days...where are the veggie sausages and veggie bacon for the restaurants that specialize in breakfast?

I saw this at a restaurant when I was in Durham! So you just have to look around for the right place, I guess?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:July 31st, 2012 03:14 am (UTC)
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So you just have to look around for the right place, I guess?

If they're out there, that gives me hope that I'll come across one someday.
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