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07 January 2009 @ 12:14 pm
If you've been reading my LJ here for a while, you're probably not surprised by this. I'm going to be winding down my involvement on LJ. Lately, I've been using LJ less and less to post, preferring Twitter for daily updates. I'm interested in starting lifestyle blogging and have made some attempts at that, but will probably end up doing that on Blogger. Blogger seems to be more publishing-friendly and doesn't seem as reliant on networks of friends.

With the recent news about LJ, it seems like this is as good a time as ever to say au revoir.

I will keep my account (it's free) and probably still read my friends page to keep up with the few people I still keep up with here (but won't really be adding new ones). I may also still post with it to genrechallenge...

Otherwise, come see me on Twitter or on Blogger: thecottagewitch.blogspot.com
15 December 2008 @ 09:43 pm
I need a little help here. I'm putting a list together of things everyone should know how to do. Basic things, that you should be taught growing up but just ... aren't. I know there are a lot of things I have forgotten (this is just the beginning), but please take a minute to look at this list, and let me know a few things in the comments that you think EVERYONE should know how to do.

25 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do:Collapse )
10 December 2008 @ 12:46 pm
Okay, I think I'm going to get a new cat.

I don't know if I want an adult or a kitten; it might be easier to integrate a kitten into the household, so that Shakti won't feel as threatened.

I will probably go to SPCA, but I might also be willing to take a stray. Let me know if you have anyone who needs a home for a kitteh...
03 December 2008 @ 11:58 am
In 2008, foojournal resolves to...
Give up cooking.
Admit my true feelings to metafrantic.
Ask my boss for a gourmet.
Be nicer to bellacrow.
Start a food fund.
Take evergrey writing.
Get your own New Year's Resolutions:
01 December 2008 @ 09:36 am
Hooray, we're in a recession!

The NBER has officially declared us in recession, and says we have been since December 2007. This is good news! Why? Because NBER is notoriously slow to declare recession. Usually, by the time they do, it's over or nearly over.

In this case, I don't think it it's over, but it might indicate a bottom.

Furthermore, check out the sidebar in the story I linked to. In the two worst post WWII recessions (the ones we're closest to now), the total length of the recession is 16 months, max.

If it did indeed start in December 2007, we only have to endure to the spring. (This matches everything else I've read that states the worst will be over by Spring - barring another catastrophe.)

Now, that doesn't mean that all will be awesome come May. I think recovery will be slow. But I do think there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
30 November 2008 @ 04:16 pm
For the second straight year, I won National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It's something like running a marathon, but with words.

Last year, I decided to do it at the very last minute, and soldiered through even though my story was pretty disjointed. At the end, I was proud of having written so many words, but I didn't feel like it was a "real" novel. Still, it unlocked a flood of creativity for me, and really got me past my self-imposed writer's block.

This year, I had a really good idea up front, and spent a lot of time researching and planning. And though this story is still very much a draft, I can see a solid framework in it. I feel like I've written a "real" story.

That said, I'm not quite finished. I'm about 2/3 of the way through my outline. I hope to finish the story in December (at someone of a more relaxed pace), take a few weeks' break from it, and come back and start polishing next year. I want to have something that people will want to read by the end of 2009...

But this is a good start to that, so .. yay, me!
27 November 2008 @ 08:56 pm
This year, I swore I wasn't going to cook. And if I did cook (because who can resist a kid who begs for her mom's home cooking?), it was just going to be us. BUT I always cook so much it seems a shame to waste it on just us... BUT I have friends with nowhere to go... BUT, but, but...

So, of course, I ended up with 5 people around the table, and you know what? It was awesome.

The deal I made with Bailey was that no matter what, I wouldn't stress out, so I didn't. I took yesterday off and got almost everything made in advance: I brined the turkey, made a nice giblet gravy, did a cranberry/orange sauce and assembled the stuffing, green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole. I also made some ice cream. My friends were bringing mead, wine, rolls and pie, so I just concentrated on the main meal.

We also decorated the table really nicely. I got out my wedding china and we had little maple leaf place cards. I filled the cornucopia with real fruit, and put out the cranberry relish in a Mason jar. In spite of using Lenox china and Waterford crystal, it still had a really warm feeling to it. I also set up the buffet as a dessert/coffee bar, and decorated with orange lights and a pumpkin wreath. The food was on a separate table to the side.

By the time everyone arrived, the turkey was ready and all I had to do was pull out the casseroles. I felt very relaxed the whole time. Everyone gushed over the food (one guest said, "I've never had turkey that was flavorful before!"), and everyone had seconds. Bella brought an absolutely fantastic mead, and C's rolls were awesome.

We drank mead and wine and tea and ate ourselves silly. Then we sat in the living room, knitting and watching Supernatural and cracking jokes. I was worried, because none of my friends had met each other before, but you wouldn't have known that from how relaxed everyone was with each other.

They stayed a good long while, and I sent everyone home with doggie bags. At the end of the day, it was just what I wanted: delicious food, great company and very low-key.
14 November 2008 @ 12:50 pm
I've tried a lot of things in my quest to lower my monthly expenses, including driving less and lowering the thermostat. (One victory: my electric bill last month was half what it normally is. My goal had been to lower it 30%.)

I didn't expect that getting a job would help, but apparently it did. Since the bank offers free checking, savings and reward credit cards to team members, I set that all up today. I'll save on my checking account (which I've had for ten years, so didn't get a good deal on) and on my savings. Plus, I'll earn more in rewards on the card.

In addition, they have a commuter benefit which will let me save a substantial amount on my bus pass. I was saving money taking the bus over my old commute to WM even without the discount, so this is just icing on the cake.

So, all told, my new job will shave an average of $40-50 a month off my expenses. Not too shabby.
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10 November 2008 @ 12:19 pm
So I'm odd, but easy public transportation excites me. Getting quickly and easily into the city every day with no more stress than locating my bus pass makes me happy. I like to drive on a quiet highway with a beautiful view; in a raging city? Not so much. I don't like the traffic, I don't like parking lots, I don't like not knowing where I'm going.

For the most part, I have easy access into most of the city's hot spots through BART. I take a short drive up the hill, hop on a train and am on Market street in 20 minutes.

The one area of the city that has been hard to access is Golden Gate Park and the associated museums there. Sure, there's bus and MUNI train access, but it's not easy. When I went to the RenFaire, I spent $20 on a cab one way, and then took an hour-long, stressful train ride back to the BART. I have been hoping for a better way.

Now, there's CultureBus. It's a bright yellow public express bus that starts on Market street and goes out to Golden Gate Park, dropping off right at the new Academy of Sciences (which I have not yet visited, because I didn't want to drive). On the way, it stops near all the major museums and cultural spots, including Union Square. The total round trip is 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic.

A pass is only $7, and is good all day with on-off privileges. So, you could go to as many of the Museums as you wanted, using the one bus, then get dropped right off at BART. Plus, the buses are eco-friendly. Apparently, SF has already seen Museum attendance rise.

So, chalk this up in the "good use of taxpayer dollars" column. And I'll be making a trip to the California Academy of Sciences very soon. :)

Check out the routes!Collapse )
29 October 2008 @ 10:20 am

Your result for The A-Muse-ing Test...

Your muse is Clio!

30% Clio, 0% Erato, 20% Euterpe, 10% Melpomene, 20% Calliope, 0% Thalia, 20% Urania, 0% Polyhymnia and 0% Terpsichore!

Clio is the muse of history known as the "glorious one." She is one of the least called upon muses and perhaps one of the most unappreciated. Yet without her knowledge of the past we would not ever be prepared for the future, for it is well known that we learn from past mistakes. It is the education and knowledge that she offers that can help someone become great in their lifetime.

Call upon Clio when you need to learn from the past and not make the same mistakes.

Find a comfortable quiet spot where you can be alone for a time. Recount your past, mistakes and all. Know that you can speak and your confidence will not be betrayed. You can speak without fear and without shame. Here is when you can then take your journal and write until you feel that you are in control of you life again. Let go of the past and look forward to your future. You should value yourself and value your history. No person in this world has ever gone through life perfect. We are all flawed, but it is how we cope with this fact that makes the difference.

Take The A-Muse-ing Test at HelloQuizzy