hannah: (Martini - fooish_icons)
Standing around in Central Park, waiting for the shuttle to take us from the Boathouse to Fifth Avenue, we chatted about how we were doing at such a late, tired hour. I said I was going to crash when I got back to my apartment - "Don't say crash," someone else told me. I laughed, and said I was okay. I explained, I'd had a couple of drinks and then some coffee, some water too, and I was at a good balance of everything to keep coasting for a while. At least until I got back to my apartment, after which, I said, I won't say anything more.

I got driven out of the park, and I got driven into the park. My brother had the time and willingness to drive me and the Gala's baked goods to the Boathouse, and took deep pleasure in doing so - as he said, it might be the one day in his life he drives in Central Park. It was a good day for it, too: that brief time when both flowers and leaves are new and everything is fresh.

I got there early, almost too early, two and a half hours to spare. I walked around the park some, enjoying the people and sunshine. I set up everything, and watched it go into the kitchens for safekeeping until it was time for the after-dinner coffee. I hung out with a couple raptor people from New Jersey, and met a Barred Owl named Mitzi and a Red-Tailed Hawk named Ruby. Both of them got a lot of attention from the birds nearby, with the jays and blackbirds - of course it was the corvids - being the first to start shouting about them, with the sparrows and cardinals joining in. So I joked they should do bird walks with raptors as bait. Bring out the other birds and let people listen.

Things were being set up and arranged up until the last moment before the doors opened for the guests. As it's been said, the show doesn't go on because it's ready, the show goes on because it's showtime. And what a show it was! There was a cheese table, a specific table for cheese, with seven different kinds and someone who'd cut small slices off the logs and wheels when someone wanted a piece. I've been to weddings that aren't as fancy as that.

This is the Flocktail's first year in this space. Far more expensive than other years - the previous locations were all provided for free - and also far nicer. Not just for the catering. It was an airy, open room, with a tall ceiling and windows all around, plus a view out to the Central Park boating pond. When someone got up onto the small stage, everyone could hear them, and when someone got onto the floor to perform, everyone could see them. It wasn't huge, just a couple hundred people. Enough you couldn't meet everybody, and enough you could feel comfortable with just about anyone.

Sometimes the party picked up, sometimes it slowed down. A lot of it was standing or sitting around, eating fancy food and talking to people. It was an open bar, but I've learned since college, and just had two drinks, counting the prosecco they were handing out on trays at the door.

The moments of picking up were numerous, though. There were three dance numbers. There was a short performance by Nellie McKay. The live auction had a professional auctioneer, the kind that talked at fifteen miles a minute and whipped the audience into clapping every time the bid hit another hundred dollars, do I hear sixteen hundred, sixteen, seventeen hundred, eighteen hundred, he's bidding the boat, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one!

It ended up being over twenty-one hundred dollars. I think it went for thirty-one hundred, outbidding the two all-access passes to the Tribeca film festival and the tickets to Hamilton. That one was for a walk in Central Park with the director of the Wild Bird Fund. And Bill Irwin.

It takes a particular audience to get whipped up about Bill Irwin - who would, in fact, be sailing a little boat he'd brought with him out on the Reflecting Pool during the walk. And I was so, so happy to be in that audience.

I approached him near the end of the night, told him I loved how he moved on stage and shook his hand. I did the same for Nellie McKay. But I didn't give her my card. I gave Bill Irwin my card.

As part of the preparations for this, in addition to baking so many cupcakes several people took about a dozen each home with them, I got business cards. So yes. I have cards. Do you want my card? I have a card, drop me a line. I can send you something, here's my card. You need my name, it's on my card.

Though I have to say, much as I loved casually offering out my card, much as I adored exchanging meaningful words with Bill Irwin, glad as I was to attend this sort of thing where the full cost of ingredients was much less than a ticket, what I liked most was being there at the start and the end. Seeing what goes into making it possible, getting it set up and taken down. The stillness before and after all the dancing, when it's open and ready for the night, and when it's just a few people left out in the night, ready to be home.
hannah: (Sam and Dean - soaked)
I spent a brief, intense few minutes this evening coordinating logistics between four different people, myself included. It was something that would've been simpler if everyone was in the same room, or at least reachable by phone, but at least it's reasonably completed now. Making sure that a car can take me and the masses of baked goods over to the party location tomorrow afternoon shouldn't be so tricky, but when it's in Manhattan, it needs a lot of checking assorted regulations. Like if privately owned cars are allowed in Central Park. Turns out, yes, for a small number of reasons and if they follow specific rules.

In more pleasant news, I finished the rough draft of the Gunn/Wesley fic. Outsider POV, keeping in the everyone's-human-and-the-demons-don't-matter setting, probably not to everyone's interest and something I enjoyed the experience of writing.

Also the Cordelia/Phantom Dennis thing.

The first one's about 2000, the second about 3000. It's kind of odd to write something so short after getting used to taking at least 20,000 to tell the story, but these didn't need to be all that long, either.

I know they need to be better than they are right now, though, so if anyone's open for beta-reading, feel free to drop me a line.
hannah: (Pruning shears - fooish_icons)
I got woken up this morning by rain. Well before dawn, wind and thunder and hail, heavy drops pelting against the windows. Far beyond a downpour, lighting flashing through the curtains a couple of times, though after I turned my face towards the pillow I couldn't see it anymore. Just the sounds of what came through.

This morning, I got caught in a brief storm. Nothing strong, nothing long, just a few minutes of rain falling straight down. It ended by lunchtime, and the next few hours were the echoes: hard breezes, gray clouds through the sky, dampness suffusing everything. Spring chill, not winter cold. The blossoms are coming down fast, but the buds have some promise of color left in them yet.

By the time it was over, by the time I was on my way home, the air felt new. The only clouds were the nonthreatening kind, the ones that slipped in front of the sun just long enough to make its reappearance that much more brilliant.

The wind's come back and the rain's left. There's a strong chance it'll return soon - it's never far gone here. But on its own time. Rain doesn't come in a hurry, even when it comes in hard.
hannah: (Pruning shears - fooish_icons)
When I left my apartment this morning, it was cool but not cold, and damp but not wet. There wasn't any real alert that it'd switched over from March, but that came in its own time. Specifically, by midafternoon.

Two weeks ago it was orchids; this week it was magnolias and cherry blossoms. I got off at the 50th street stop, thinking I'd do an errand and head right back onto the subway, but then I saw how close I was to Central Park and decided to walk uptown the whole way. It was the right call. As I was heading up, the sun broke through the clouds, so by the time I got to the park, there was enough sky to not feel any wintertime want for it.

The trees weren't in peak blossom, such as it's measured by hashtags and official botanic garden websites, but they were the first I've seen in full and proper bloom. Not just buds or tender petals. There were sparrows singing from the branches, in between the flowers bigger than they were. Pigeons were taking outdoor baths in big puddles, fluffing up and looking pleased. I saw other birds flitting around and watched them gather grasses and twigs for their nests, tucked up high and hidden unless you saw the bird flying right there. The grasses haven't yet covered the ground, but there's steady encroachment speaking well to May. Sometimes April has blizzards to show she doesn't care, and sometimes she's generous with herself.

I zigged and zagged through the park and up the blocks, taking in the warm air on my arms. I did my errands and then some, and I came out of it feeling ready - if not eager - to take on some work ahead. Whether this will continue into tomorrow remains to be seen. But today, at least, gives me hope it might.
hannah: (On the pier - fooish_icons)
I spent a good chunk of the afternoon fixing a mistake I'd made. There ultimately wasn't any harm done, just a lot of inconvenience. The only part that gets to me is it could've easily been avoided both from me asking a couple more questions at the outset, and from the person sending me on the errands being slightly more specific from the get-go. All right, and from me remembering my cell phone to discuss stuff while it happens.

That last part is something I'm pretty sure I'll remember for next time.

On the plus side of the day, I've been informed that I've reached my volunteer baked goods quota and anything more is just extra. So of course, after I got that news, I made two more batches. I might go for another one tomorrow morning, just to be that much more extra. It's really tempting. But it'd require getting up early. It's a dilemma.
hannah: (Breadmaking - fooish_icons)
So far, I've figured out the following:

- Any sort of glaze, streusel, or topping other than "frosting applied at the very last instant before serving" isn't worth it going forward from here.

- Even the frosting is up for debate.

- Everything I made tonight is delicious.

- Nothing I made tonight has any significant consistency in the appearance of the finished product.

- I can make at least two batches of cupcakes a day, if I begin in the afternoon and do nothing else with my time.

- I can possibly make upwards of three or four if I start before lunch.

- I have enough materials on hand to keep going with several more batches of various varieties and get to a point where I'm satisfied with what I'm making.

- Always wear oven mitts.

- I need to clean out even more space in my freezer, good God, these things take up room in there.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
A thousand words into the draft of a new piece, I realize I've written the whole thing wrong and need to start over from scratch. Thankfully, that was my goal: I started out with nothing but a vague idea, so this is a step in the right direction.

It's Gunn/Wesley, outsider POV, where everyone's human and the demons don't matter. A Set Off Like Geese sidestory that I think would be fun to write, so I'm writing it.

This is in addition to the Cordelia/Phantom Dennis fic I wrote this week that I'm putting aside for a while before taking another read-through and then finding a beta. The demons are real there, but the physics of ghosts matter more.

I won't have time to work on either of them for a while, since cupcake baking starts in earnest tomorrow night. There's a few ingredients left to source - mostly stuff from the farmers markets - but once they're in my grasp, it's go time. No space for words. All flour and baking.

Okay, maybe a bit of Stardew Valley in there, since the capacity for long-term plans is a thrilling one to have. Even illusory ones.
hannah: (Laundry jam - fooish_icons)
Today I tried to find some information on a long-since closed art gallery in Maine. I had a name I used to find references of its existence in third-party sources, and a fax number that was attached to another business which spoke of its closing. I tried calling another gallery still in operating in the same town, but didn't get anything. Then I found a street address instead of just a PO Box, and exclaimed, "We can use this to look up property tax records!"

At least, we would have in a movie with a montage scene. In someone's living room, we just laughed and moved on with our business, at least part of which involves major changes of plan on my part. Though since I haven't yet started anything, I have at least 18 more hours before major worry sets in.

The gala I'm baking for is still on. I'm still committed to bringing something on a scale I've never yet attempted. And what they want are single-serving cakes. Not sheet cakes cut up neatly: cupcakes. Frosting optional, single-serving mandatory. My guess is it has something to do with health regulations, neatness, or both. This isn't a huge problem. I can find suitably fancy options without fuss, and when I got the news, immediately thought of one recipe for lemon cakes baked with a honey wheat ale I made a while back that would be excellent with a little powdered sugar glaze.

What I need, besides many pounds of flour and quite a lot of sugar, is a lot of single-use cupcake/muffin tins. Whether they're all individual ones or multi-cup sheets doesn't much matter, as long as I get them by Friday so I can start baking like a madwoman next week. So tomorrow's going to be a deep dive into what the internet has on offer.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'm thinking I might just get a couple twelve-cup pans someplace nearby and rotate them through the oven as needed.
hannah: (Captain Jack Harkness - darththalia)
Today at the Orchid Show, up in the Bronx, I kept telling random strangers to stick their noses into the flowers and smell. There was one moment where a couple of people were doing close-up photography of one strange, dragon-looking orchid, and I told them it smelled great. And it seemed to be almost a surprise to them that they could smell the flowers, too. It'd never occurred to me to not go to a flower show and smell everything I could reach.

For the record, that one had a strong, deep, almost Platonic 'flower' scent. Another smelled like chocolate, to everyone's delight. One more smelled like fresh-cut melon and there was one variety that smelled green. Just green. The idea of the color when you're out in springtime, after rain, when everything's fresh and growing, when the grass is bright and the leaves are all new.

I spotted a large frog in the native plant garden, and my favorite carp, the one I call the Queen of Diamonds, in the lily pool. There was a very well camouflaged hawk and purple crocuses spreading out across the hills - several of them, so the plural qualifies.

At the farmer's market this morning, I told someone I had things to look forward to.

Everything is on the cusp now. The sky's getting ready. There's one part of the conservatory that's a stairway set around a large tree, so you get to climb up and look down, around, and through the small rainforest biome as well as the flanking corridors - the upper level of greenhouse technology that hasn't much changed except for the shape of the sprinklers. Glass and water and heat, fresh plants no matter what time of year. Soon it'll be the same inside and out. They almost matched up today. Give it a few more weeks, when the cherry blossoms hit, and that's when it'll be summertime.
hannah: (Spike - shadowed-icons)
After threatening to do it for several months and then making the commitment during this year's Snowflake Challenge, as of last night and at just over 23,500 words, the new fic's done. The first draft of it, at least. It's a sequel to Set Off Like Geese, so everyone's human and the demons don't matter. It's also what I've joked is the obligatory post-season five grief fic, with Dawn hanging out with Spike on warm summer nights in a small Californian town while processing her thoughts and feelings.

I need someone to look at it and tell me what I need to change to make it better. Because, like I said, first draft. So I figured, I'll ask the social networks and see what happens.
hannah: (Captain Jack Harkness - darththalia)
A couple of weeks ago, the morning after the Buffy Prom, I had an early-morning phone call preliminary job interview. I did it on under six hours' sleep after being out late with the additional whammy of Daylight Saving Time, and managed to spin things well enough for an in-person interview. Which was this morning.

The long wait time aside - unforeseen circumstances hit the place before and after my scheduled time, pushing everything around - things went fine. I answered everything as best I could, and while I stumbled once, it was on such a specific point I'll know exactly how not to do that again, so that alone makes the crosstown ride worthwhile.

They didn't say "please come in on Monday" but they did say "I'll send you an email by Monday and we can see if we can work something out."

Which, if nothing else, isn't that long to wait.

First, PT, and then it's time for some ice cream.
hannah: (Martini - fooish_icons)
I guess the day before a dentist's appointment is an appropriate time to have something fiddly in my mouth go twang. There's a wire running across the inside of my bottom front teeth to keep them aligned, and part of it's come off. It's not life-threatening or dangerous. It's just ferociously distracting and bothersome, and I'm glad for the remarkable coincidence.

It being Purim is the appropriate time to break open that bottle of cherry wine I got at the market a couple weeks ago. When I bought it, I told the salesman that there's a singer I like with a song called "Cherry Wine" where he compares love to the drink - "It's not a happy song, but he sings it beautifully." "And isn't that what's important?" He replied.

Well, words to that effect. He sells very good wine.

It being the equinox made it seem like a good idea to buy Stardew Valley. The controls aren't as intuitive as, say, Bioshock, where you're really in there. And I need a map of some sort. And to keep playing, because it took ten minutes to burrow its way deep inside my head. Which is the sign of something going really well.
hannah: (Sam and Dean - soaked)
No pie today, but there was some ice cream. At some point I need to write up my Buffy Prom thoughts and feelings, and that point isn't going to be tonight. Soon, though, I hope.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
It really felt like spring today. There's still a tiny bit of snow and slush hanging around at the very edges of lawns and streets that should be gone by tomorrow. It's highly unlikely they'll be more until next winter.

As birthdays go, it's been a short one on account of sleeping in so late, and a slow one for not having done much. But it had ice cream, and a dinner I didn't have to cook myself, and some good conversation. I poked at my ongoing WIP a little bit, and I expect there's going to be some more comics before it's done. Not a bad way to start a new year.
hannah: (Laundry jam - fooish_icons)
Because I didn't get to the gym today, this is now the first week in almost two months I won't have gone six days in a row. Sometimes it's a heavy workout, sometimes it's as little as a mile on the treadmill, but it's always been something. Except for today.

To be fair, there were extenuating circumstances.

Not just Daylight Saving Time, though that had a lot to do with it.

I'd been out late, way too late, because of the Buffy Prom's after-party, where I ate garlic fries and talked about pigeons after having drunk and danced for several hours without having sat down at any point in the evening. Once I got back to my apartment, after the ringing in my ears went down and I had a hot shower, I thought I'd be able to wake up at a reasonable time and get on with the rest of Sunday. After maybe four or five hours' sleep - I'm not really sure how much it was besides "not enough - I managed to get out of bed to turn off my alarm. Then I went back to bed.

Then I got out of bed when I got a phone call an hour later.

Being kind of not really awake yet seemed to work in my favor, because it was a phone call a family friend arranged that I managed to leverage into an in-person job interview. I've no idea if anything will come of it other than a visit to the office itself, but at least I've got that going for me.

After that, I was up and moving, so I figured I'd have some breakfast before a quick gym session.

Except the milk bottle shattered.

It was a glass bottle, the kind where I put down a small deposit on it at the farmer's market, and because the hairline crack wasn't leaking, I thought it'd be fine. But I put the cap on with too much force, and it broke along said crack in a few large pieces, spilling almost a quart of milk onto me and the floor.

After I changed out of my pajamas and finished my tea - no sense in cleaning up a mess like that without caffeine in my system - I used every available towel and most of the paper napkins I'd been hoarding for exactly this sort of emergency to wipe up all that I could. I sprayed and cleaned the hard surfaces, triple-bagged the glass, and went to spend almost an hour and a half staring at the internet until it was time for the Buffy Prom's Sunday Brunch.

When that was over, and I'd gone out to buy some more milk for the week, there really wasn't going to be any delaying laundry until tomorrow. Not with the amount that'd piled up in cleaning up that spill. It being the afternoon and not the morning, it took me a while longer to get it done than usual. And now it's time to finish it up so I can get to the bed.

It's not the Sunday I'd planned, and it's not a Sunday I'd want to have again, but as the last day of being 32 went, it's been pretty well worthwhile.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
With yet another set of bookcases, my apartment's now reached capacity. I still have piles of books on the floor - three qualifies for the plural - but they're manageable, and I'll be able to deal with them easily enough.

What's strange about all this is that between the bookcases, and a little reorganization I did, I've got so much more open floor now. I've walked back and forth over and around it a few times, just to occupy that area. There was something comforting about having a lot of stuff around, all these objects and things, and it's also nice to have unoccupied space.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
There's a strong temptation to stay up late reading comics, but there's an even stronger pull to try to get to bed before midnight and get started on bread early tomorrow morning.

But first I want to make a note that today two different people complimented me on my hair, and that's worth remembering.
hannah: (Captain Jack Harkness - darththalia)
I've started reading The Legion of Superheroes, which is consistently more Comics! than anything I've read in a very long time. I wanted something as wide-open and weird as Farscape and it's scratching that itch pretty well. Though given the aliens, metaphors, dark sense of fun, regular continuity reboots, strong core concept with rotating character sets, inconsistent numbering, lack of a complete collection, and all the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, Doctor Who might be a better point of comparison.

Now for the next step in participatory consumption: finding a podcast. Hopefully one that isn't entirely comprised of straight white guys, because that's not a demographic whose opinions I need more of in my life.
hannah: (Library stacks - fooish_icons)
I was planning on doing PT tonight and maybe baking something, but then I got a new bookcase. And it's a handsome one - made of wood and nails, white paint, a little dusty from being discarded from another apartment but nothing permanent or unsightly, especially now that it's got books in it. Rescued from the curb after being placed outside on the weekly recycling/garbage pickup day, which tends to offer this sort of thing on a fairly regular basis.

I'll need some heavy-duty bookends to help with the big, tall books I'll be putting up on top.

The new shelf's taken up the old CD rack, the DVD rack, and a little wooden shelf, and it wasn't until after I got it all put up that I realized I don't have any pictures of the old arrangement - the arrangement I'd had since I moved into this apartment. Blast. It's not all that different, glancing over and seeing books lined up neatly instead of glancing over and seeing digital media formats lined up carefully. It's just the principle of everyday documentation that's only now widely available to us as a species. I'll have to keep it in mind.

Like when I get those bookends, and can show stuff off.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
It's two weeks to my birthday.

It's also a week to a home bakers meetup event as hosted by the local greenmarket network.

It's also two weeks to a job fair hosted by that same network.

It's also twelve days to the Buffy Prom and thirteen days to the Buffy brunch.

But none of that's important yet. What's important right now is that today I learned birds make excellent hats.

Gigantic photos for direct viewing under the cut. )
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