I think I'm sensitive to the fragrance in the blackberry soap I bought recently, since I've developed a slight rash on my chest and neck. I'm switching to an oatmeal-based soap and see if it clears up.

This is at least the second fragrance that I've wound up sensitive to -- artificial sandalwood was the first, and the third thing that makes me break out into a rash (mango skin being the worst). I hope that it's not a trend.
Scallions, sourdough bread, garlic cheese curds, unsalted butter, tilapia and black bean empanadas, jar of local honey, 5 pints of strawberries, and three chile pepper plants -- fish, buena malata, and escamillo.

Currently I'm making Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Jam, and will probably make Whole Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup tomorrow. It's just a process of cooking it down, since it is only suppose to fill 2 half-pint jars, and it starts with a dry quart of strawberries.

I did look at the value tomatoes, but they were all slicers, not pasters, and thus not a good buy, so I won't be making ketchup just yet. On the upside, I talked with the guy who makes vinegar from scratch -- fruits and vegetables to wine and then to vinegar, and I think using his Spicebush Vinegar for half the vinegar in the my tomato ketchup recipe might give a really good base -- really savory and flavorful.
Went to see Synetic Theater's Hunchback of Notre Dame tonight with [personal profile] greenygal as her treat.

This one was a wordless production, but fairly true to the book, including the 'everyone's dead' end.

The use of masks in the production was fantastic, especially with Frollo. There are several scenes where he seems to be fighting his mask -- his real feelings against what he should present to the world -- and in the finale it is Quasimodo against Frollo's mask, to the point where Frollo was killed when Quasimodo broke his mask into two.

Actually, some of the best sequences were of Frollo against himself, generally protrayed by Frollo, a dance troupe of six gargoyles mimicing his every move, and his fevered image of Esmerelda, portrayed in a change of dress and a concealing full-face mask to show this was Frollo's image of her, and not actually her, as Esmerelda wore lighter colors and was one of the few actors not wearing a mask as at all, though she did have make-up making a partial mask across her forehead, as did many of the 'beggar' characters. Phoebus and the guard were portrayed in shiny, military-style gasmasks, which emphasized their authority and also allowed several members of the ensemble to play soldiers (gasmask), gargoyle (plague-doctor mask), or beggar (domino make-up) as the scene required.

The next and final production of the season is going to be Mark of Cain, an original (instead of adapted) peice. I'm not sure if I'll go see it, but generally Synetic doesn't disappoint me.

Next season is already available for subscription, being: The Adventures of Peter Pan, The Trial (Kafka), Titus Andronicus, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is a bit of an odd mix, in my opinion. Of course, it all depends on my employment status when next season rolls around.
Yesterday I went to [personal profile] greenygal's for a jisgsaw puzzle party -- 5 people, doing a 1000-piece Star Wars Posters puzzle and a 1000-piece Wonder Woman puzzle, while eating snacks and pizza.

It was a lot of fun, and I hope to host a jigsaw party of my own in June. I only have one 850-piece puzzle (and several small Bafflers), so I might have to get a second puzzle if I do that. Possible a Ravensburger antique map puzzle...
Cheese curds, eggs, spanakopita, tiropita, melitzanosalata, strawberries, pink lady apples, tomatillo and chile pepper plants -- jimmy nardello, fish, buena malata, and king of the north.

I'm hoping the buena malata is productive so that I can make salsa morada this year.

I'm also thinking about making strawberry preserves of some sort, now that strawberry season is fully upon us. I have recipes for strawberry syrup, strawberry vanilla jam, honey sweetened strawberry jam (would a light or dark honey be best?), strawberry meyer lemon marmalade, quick pickled strawberries, and whole strawberries in vanilla syrup.

And lastly, I was at the library yesterday and looked through a cookbook titled Vintage Cakes -- it has a recipe for Watergate Cake with Impeachment Frosting, so I at least know what to serve if the time comes...
... I'm all for them getting useful feedback, but eShakti only asked about 2 skirts and 10 dresses this time. Not one thing that I would actually buy in the bunch, especially not the trapeze silhouette dress...

I actually included in the feedback "I have bought one dress and one skirt from you -- EVERYTHING else I've bought has been a top or pants. Ask me about your shirts, jackets, and pants!"

I want to tell them about what I want in shirts, jackets, and pants! I know it's not a major part of their brand, but it's what I actually buy from them!
Yesterday, I watched Eurovision with [personal profile] ell and [personal profile] temve.

That was an experience...

I personally found the winning song bland and forgettable, but Salvador Sobral had the most hilarious reaction faces every time Portugal got another 12, so I was glad for him.

Afterward, Tem and Ell showed me a selection of past winners, and really, this year's finalists were downright staid in comparison to some past winners...
Olive bread, spanakopita, pita bread, melitzano salata all from Baklava Couture; black pepper chevre, alpsiago (asiago-style) cheese both from Shepherd's Whey Creamery; strawberries, pink lady apples, an ear of popcorn; batard of sourdough from Atwater's; burrata ravioli, fresh fettuccine, and mushroom ragu from Cucinia al Volo as part of their market deal.

Also picked up the following seedlings:
creeping thyme
two Purple Blush tomatillo
two Purple Beauty bell peppers
two fish hot peppers
a Czech black hot pepper
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Went to the 2 nd Thursday contradance at the civic building. Le Vent du Nord was the band -- I stayed the entire three hours and will probably be sore in the morning, but it was totally fun!
I made kimchi jjigae again today, since it's easy and [personal profile] quigonejinn's post made me think about it. Plenty spicy, but great with rice.

I've started more seeds -- hopefully I'll have some transplantable tomatillos soon. They go like gangbusters when they reach size, but they're incredible fragile when they've just started. Also, I'm trying even more bean varieties -- Flor de Mayo and Sangre del Toro -- which I hope will be productive. It's supposed to rain starting tomorrow through Saturday, so it might be worth it to scatter a few in the ground and see if they do fine on their own.

Oh, and thrift is Armeria maritima; I don't know if I've ever seen it in the wild, and certainly not under that name.
My desktop abruptly stopped connecting to the internet last night, even though my laptop and Kindle use it just fine... and it swears up and down in the settings that it's connected to the internet.

So I guess that's some sort of configuration issue? I'm going to look around at help fora, but if nothing works, I guess I'll have to call Verizon tech support... D:
Planted the maize, squash, peanut, eggplant, bean, and chile pepper seedling today. Used twine to tie up the pea plants into trellises -- there are already pea pods forming, so I might have fresh peas by the end of next week!

It's raining right now, but I might plant more beans tomorrow -- I want to try some tepary beans and Good Mother Stallard beans, and I should put out some tomatillo and cowpeas as well...
I planted my three hardy kiwi plants in pots today. As they arrived as four inch tall plugs, I figure they could use the time to grow a bit. I also planted za'atar (Syrian oregano), Provencal lavender, 2 pink-flowered strawberries, a red snapdragon, spearmint, and an Italian oregano in pots.

I was going to plant some of the hot peppers, so I weeded out the larkspur which is everywhere in the one bed -- at first I was hoping it was carrots, but it's definitely larkspur and while it was nicely shading out the mint some idiot planted in the ground years ago, I don't want larkspur when I could have vegetables. And piling the pulled larkspur plants on the mint makes a good sunblock, so maybe that will help control the mint for a while, too.

However, I can't find my trowel, at least not this early in the morning. I'm going to clean off -- transplanting pots gets you covered in potting soil -- and look for it again.

At the very least, the day is comparatively cool and a bit overcast, with rain promised this evening. I've set out most of the seedlings. I want to put in the ground out in the approximate places I want to put them, to get them acclimated on a not-brutal day. I'll plant them today or tomorrow, even if I have to buy a new trowel to do so.

And at the very end, I was scattering bone meal and blood meal among the plants in pots and in the ground, and one of my neighbor's French bulldog puppy was very enthusiastic about investigating what I was doing. It probably smelled wonderfully disgusting to him.
Chicken empanada, batard of sourdough, pink lady apples, bosc pears, strawberries, a four-pack of marigold plants, and an assortment of seedling plants -- snapdragon, sunflower, milkweed, lemon verbena, Syrian oregano, Provencal lavender, spearmint, chile peppers, pink-flowered strawberries, and Asian eggplant.
I was going to go to the Smithsonian Craft Fair with [personal profile] fabrisse today, but a combination of large crowds for the Climate Protest and a problem that she could only get a 2pm appointment to deal with meant we met up in her neighborhood, waited until her appointment, and then went over to Eastern Market.

But as it turns out, it's Tabletop Game Day -- we found this out when we stopped in Labyrinth Games & Puzzles.

They had a 1000 piece jigsaw out that is all the original trilogy Star Wars posters -- it's ridiculously hard, but I kind of want it. And it turns out Rampage (the game where you are kaiju destroying a city, that I got for my nephew three years ago) has been renamed Terror in Meeple City and is out of print; it says it's available on Amazon, but the price is up considerably. [personal profile] fabrisse was interested in all the Ticket To Ride expansions, and a game called Bruxelles 1893 about being an Art Nouveau architect; unfortunately, they don't have an open box of that, so we'd have to consider reviews before buying.

Math Fluxx is also out, and I seriously want to try Set one of these days.


Honey cupcakes, made using Killer Bee honey from the Bee Folks, for my book group on Sunday. We’re reading Tooth & Claw by Jo Walton.

Not bad considering I use a pastry bag once a year.

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eShakti just sent me a survey, which I dutifully filled out in the hopes of getting better options.

However, in a list of13 garments to give feedback on, there were on 3 tops (2 of which were the exact same cowl top in different colors) and 1 pair of trousers -- everything else was dresses.

Considering out of everything I've bought from eShatki over several years, I've bought 1 dress, 1 skirt, and 2 trousers, with everything else being a top - mostly shirts with a smattering of jackets (and if you know me IRL, you know I love jackets).

You'd think they'd be asking me about their shirts and jackets, not dresses. I don't buy dresses.

Basically I suggested the following:

  • More princess seaming

  • Use darker skinned models for some of the items, especially with colors that would look good on them

  • Trousers must have pockets! No pockets, no sale!

  • Trousers should have a length option appropriate for people wearing flats.

  • More blazers

  • The boatneck is not a great neckline

  • Offer the square neckline option more often

  • Less waist seams on tops

  • Given actual fiber percentages for poly/cotton blends

  • How about you actually make a line of pantsuits?


That said, eShakti is still one of the few places doing mass customization of women's clothes at a price point many people can afford, and I've been quite happy with almost everything I've bought from them.
I went with [personal profile] greenygal, [profile] ipleasance and A to see Muppet Treasure Island and The Manchurian Candidate (1962) today.

Muppets Treasure Island was a delight -- from Billy Conolly as Billy Bones, through Kermit as Capt. Smollet and Miss Piggy as Benjamina Gunn, to Tim Curry's star turn as Long John Silver. Also, just imagine how difficult it must be to do the fight choreography for a sword-fight with Muppets! Also, Gonzo's occasionally Star Trek jokes! The opening song! The Hans Zimmer score!

The Manchurian Candidate was also quite enjoyable, and I need to see more of Angela Lansbury playing villains -- this and The Court Jester are the only two times I can recall seeing her really get to be evil, and she's so good at it. Also, all of us were suspicious of Janet Leigh's character Eugenie Rose Chaney, mainly because her sudden attachment to Frank Sinatra's Maj. Bennett Marco came out of nowhere and was inexplicably fast and dedicated -- we suspected she was another agent, actually, though apparently not.

Laurence Harvey's Raymond Shaw was very pretty, very charismatic, and quite often a jerk. Also, his accent slipped noticeably during some scenes, which threw me off. Otoh, I definitely sympathized with the character and found Harvey's performance excellent.

The most conspicuous problems I had with the film is the use of non-Asian actors to play Asian characters -- Henry Silva was very obviously not Korean, for example -- and the black & white film stock flattening out the black characters, which is a known problem in a lot of movie history.

I'm really glad the movies were shown in that order, because I don't think it would have worked nearly as well to see The Manuchurain Candidate first.
Asparagus, sandwich steak, medium and extra large eggs, pink lady apples, pint of cream, pint of chocolate milk, half gallon of whole creamline milk, spanopita, tiropita, flaouna, pita, melomakrona, batard of sourdough bread, cheddar cheese biscuit, garlic cheese curds, chive quark, seedling plants -- jalapeno, bell pepper, dill, basil, oregano -- and cider masala pickled beets from Number One Sons.

Ran into [personal profile] ellen_fremedon at the market, and went with her on the rest of her errands to the grocery and hardware store. On the way home, the left wheel came off my cart twice, but we were able to jam it back on and make it to her apartment, where she had tools and we were able to hammer the bits back together. It seems solid, at least for now. On the other hand, it was originally hers, so if it becomes unrepairable, I'll owe her a grocery cart.
My town just had a hailstorm, with hailstones the size of glass marbles -- between 1 and 2 cm in diameter.

That's pretty weird -- we don't get hail as a rule. I hope we're not in for a summer of weird weather...
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