Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Got home yesterday night from the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, Chicon7. Attended some panels, chatted with some wonderful people, got some books signed and made a few purchases in the dealer's room. Also did some supporting for some bids, saw the opening ceremony and had a great dinner at Lou Malnati's with some of the Fluorospherians of Making Light

Should have taken more pictures, alas. Here's a bit of what I got on the train trip there and at the con.

I was on the Southwest Chief, but this poster was near  my compartment and
I thought it was cool. Also, may just take this train up and visit with
some friends in the Seattle area someday.
Somewhere in New Mexico - wish the layers of rust and umber stone on those buttes were clearer,
they were really beautiful
This is from the next day when we were way up in the mountains in Colorado. The highest we got was over 7,000 ft.
The contrast between the red stone of the desert and the beige of the mountains was what interested me.

View of Chicago at night from the Marriott, which was very near Lake Michigan.

Toastmaster John Scalzi doing his opening monologue
The Guests of Honor 
Jay Lake's reading

Friday, August 03, 2012

Dawno, Bookseller

I have this dream - owning a bookstore and owning a bead store. Dawno's Beads & Books kind of thing.

Until I win the big Lotto, I have to settle for having a couple of online shops for my jewelry and, as of today, Amazon.com to sell my books. Yep, I'm selling as many of my non-Science Fiction books (mostly first edition hardbacks) on Amazon.

Other than SF, I love procedurals of various sorts, mysteries, thrillers and military fiction, so I have tons of those plus a few outliers - NY Times bestsellers, award winners and that ilk.

If you want to grab a hardback in great condition (read once, carefully & put away) for just $3.00 + 3.99 Amazon mandatory minimum shipping (and it'll be less than the mandatory minimum if you contact me directly - see contact info to the left side of this post) please visit Dawno's Books.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My New Back Yard

I've been moving stuff from my beading workroom to the new house's converted garage studio over the past week. It's slow going because I can only cram so much stuff into the Mustang. On top of that, just getting it from the condo to the car is a hassle since there are two very inconvenient steps leading up to our door, which means I can't just put everything on my trolley inside the condo and roll it straight to the elevator. Nope, I have to haul everything down the inside stairs then take it all outside to the trolley. If the steps were just a little broader I could ease the trolley down, but they're just narrow enough that doesn't work. Oh, well.
Anyway, this morning I took a car load up to the house, unloaded and fed the kitties. Then I remembered I hadn't shared any shots of the back yard, so I grabbed a few on my iPad.

Here's the view of most of the back, that's a fountain and pond in the corner
A closer view of the pond and curved bench beside it
on the other side of the studio (converted garage) through some nice french doors is a little patio 
In the first picture (top left foreground) you can see a bit of this tree
I got a closeup of the flowers on it - maybe one of you knows what it is?

The little yard is really lovely and shady all day, quite cool to sit in even when it's very hot outside. Last weekend we had a little Father's Day/open house party out there and the temps were in the 80s but we were all cool and comfy in the shade.

I really can't wait to get all moved in, especially to set up my studio. It's going to be really wonderful to have such a great workspace (and there's a full bathroom in there, too!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More New House Stuff

Made a couple trips to the new house today to get ready for a little family gathering tomorrow. Bought a portable Coleman propane grill so we can bbq, some lawn-chairs and also a few carloads of stuff to stash in the studio.  While I was there I took a couple pictures inside and out front. I'll try to get some good ones of the back tomorrow.

Front of the house

I have roses! (There are other bushes out back, too)
The previous owners tell me that one of the rose bushes out back was from the Huntington Garden. They have rose & other plant sales there every now and then. There are a lot of plants & trees out back, it's going to be interesting figuring out what to keep and what to pull. Besides the plants the back yard also features many feral/semi feral cats, young (maybe a year, maybe less, old) cats and a kitten. I'll try to get some pics of them, too.

Living room west wall

Living room east wall 
The living room is a pretty good size and I look forward to figuring out what I want to do with it. Our current living room furniture is very den-worthy and will be put in my husband's 'man cave'. 

Dining room - window to the front yard (east)
 The house very obviously used to have a side entry. I like how they turned that into a niche with the narrow windows beside. Not crazy about the chandelier but it'll be fine until I decide on what kind of look I'm going for in here.
Roomy kitchen with granite counters
(finally have an icemaker/water dispensing refrigerator, too!)

Above the stove is a vintage fan & hood - the fan is noisy but I think easily fixed. Range is a bit dated and there's no microwave, so we'll need to get a countertop one. There are so many possibilites! Floor is travertine tiles (I think). I love the green in the granite, I'll probably decorate in the kitchen around that color scheme.

I'm beat, gonna rest now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

John Scalzi Stepped on My Toe!

I went to the local indie bookstore, Vromans, tonight to see John Scalzi and get a few of his books signed, including his new one Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas. Photographic evidence follows. Except for evidence of him stepping on my toe. The aisle I sat in was narrow and he was chatting with a friend sitting nearby. When he finished I didn't get my foot back quite fast enough and he stepped on the very tip of my shoe (I barely felt it). I'm just glad it didn't trip him!

Anyway, when he took the stage,  the first thing he did (saying that he had to get it over with) was sing the wonderful Redshirts theme, written by Jonathan Coulton, and self accompanied with a borrowed ukelele.

My dear husband joined me about an hour before the event and was on hand to take the pictures below with his iPhone.

John was fun and charming and the reading had some special "bonus material" that I am not allowed to talk about as John made us swear not to.

Side Note: There were a handful of folk, who like me, wore red shirts to the reading and one fellow had an official Redshirts tee-shirt (you'll see him behind me in line in one of the pictures). Unfortunately, mine didn't get here on time or I certainly would have worn it. I should have ordered it earlier than I did, as it was from Zazzle and they make 'em after you buy 'em so you need to remember to add the manufacturing time to the shipping time if you have a deadline you want to meet.

Captured just before John took the stage

Note the Coke Zero :-)

I thought this would be a tighter shot, so I leaned in,
but I'm glad it's wide enough to show the guy in the  "official"
Redshirts red shirt

John was so nice to pause and listen to me blather

And there I am with my signed copy!
BTW, I loved Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas - it is quirky and clever and a darn good read. If you want to buy it, why not click the link here so you'll go to my Amazon Affiliate link and I'll get a penny or two for your thoughtfulness :-)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Another in My Series of Lazy Person Recipies

You may recall my Apple Thing post some years back. I think I may have also mentioned other really lazy recipe ideas here like Snack Pack Chocolate Pudding Pie (buy a chocolate crumb pie crust, fill with Snack Pack pudding, top with Cool Whip, voila). So now I am pleased to introduce a new easy, lazy, Food Thing, Chicken Rice Thing.

My husband and I used to enjoy having a chicken and rice dish that was super easy to fix thanks to Lipton (now Lipton/Knorr) Chicken Flavored Rice. Comes in a packet and all we did was follow the directions on the packet plus add a can of cooked chunk chicken. I am avoiding gluten as much as I can, having recently found some stellar personal health benefits to doing this. The chicken rice packet has these tiny rice like noodles in it which, of course, are pasta made of wheat. So much for that easy meal.

The other day, though, I came up with a pretty good wheat-free imitation. I'm having some now and was inspired to share.

Chicken Rice Thing

One can chicken (whatever size and type you like)
One to one and a half cups cooked rice (I make a pot of steamed rice in a small steamer every few days, so I always have it handy - you can substitute instant cooked rice or boil-in-bag rice for a quick substitute)
a packet of Chicken Flavor Boost
Poultry seasonings
butter or margarine to taste (I think the recipe on the packet called for a tablespoon, I always use more because I like it butter-y)
two tablespoons of water

Put the flavor boost (I guess you could use a bouillon cube), water (stir those two up a bit), butter and poultry seasonings in a small cup or bowl and nuke until the butter is melted. Stir that into the rice, stir in the can of chicken and nuke the whole thing for 2 to 2 and a half minutes. You can also add other flavors like soy sauce, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes - you name it. That's it, you're done. Have another veggie on the side, some fruit for dessert and it's a fairly balanced meal. Kinda carb heavy, though. Quinoa has fewer net carbs, but because quinoa is not flavor neutral like rice, it significantly changes the flavor of the dish.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The New Casa!

In a couple weeks my DH and I will be moving to our new home. It was a rather nerve wracking experience buying a house, but I'm so happy to finally have a place to call my own again where I can put up whatever kind of curtains I want (there's a story about the HOA where we currently live behind that) and put up pictures and paint the walls purple if I please.

The house is a smidge under 1,400 sq. ft., not counting the studio which is a converted garage with a full bath and french doors to its own private patio.

This is the picture from the brochure - the little inset on the left is the studio in back, converted from a garage.

floor plan

I can't grab a good enough shot of the back yard from the brochure, (the ones above were taken with my iPad) but it's very nice with a little walkway to a fountain in the back corner, a very nice patio area and lots of shade from mature trees.

Needless to say, I'm counting the days!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Yes, it's been awhile. I am well, just haven't had much to share. Since St. Patrick's day is coming up I thought I'd put up my seasonal banner and say hi.


Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

P.S., I will be up in Walnut Creek, CA at the end of the month for FOGcon. If you're attending, please come visit me in the Dealer's room!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Here! A Girl and Her Fed (Rise Up Swearing) In Print!

A while back (2008?) I sponsored some revision pages at A Girl and Her Fed. I got some beautiful art in return. Didn't really think about it much after that.

Today I checked my mail and there was a package for me from the artist...

I tear it open:

Ooh! Woot! It's the print edition of A Girl and Her Fed!
Here's the back cover
Here are the goodies I found inside the wrapper.
Here's the donor's page - I'm the name to the left of reflection...

Signed with an original ink sketch. Thank you, thank you!

You can get your copy at the AGAHF Store. That links to the standard issue, but there's a special Artist Edition which "comes with a personalized message and inked sketch of the comic character of your choice. Please describe your message and which character you want sketched in your book on your order form."

I don't get a commission or anything - I just really love this artist's work and hope you will too.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Thanksgiving, LosCon and the 'New' Mac

I'm going to begin with the 'new' Mac. My husband bought himself a brand new MacBook Pro and I got his old one (which isn't that old and is quite robust enough for my simple needs). I'm slowly adapting to the things that are different from a PC.

What I'm a bit sad about is the loss of the simple photo editing & previewing features I was accustomed to using on my PC. I'm sure that the Mac can do the same (and probably better) things than my PC, but as yet I've not uncovered these features.  The thumbnails I am seeing are too small to sort through and the photo editor I have has some quirks I'll need to figure out. I'm sure I'll adapt fairly soon.

So, this post is my first (on this blog) with the Mac. Now, about Thanksgiving.

l-r: my dad, me, my husband at my brother's
beautiful home for Thanksgiving
It's been years since our part of the family (my daughter, my husband and I, at least) could be with the rest of the family on Thanksgiving. The logistics of traveling over 350 miles without a couple days off before and after the holiday made it impractical for us. Now that my husband and I live in Pasadena and my daughter in parts just a bit further south, we were able to join the rest of the family this year.

I've been on a gluten free diet for about a month now, ever since I read Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D; there have been some interesting, positive results, too. My sister has a gluten allergy, so she is definitely off the stuff as well. I've been experimenting with various gluten free recipes, so I brought my cornbread stuffing and some pumpkin muffins, along with gluten free turkey gravy (thanks Trader Joe's!) to the feast.

Dad helping me at my table at the con
Los Con is held at the Los Angeles International Airport Marriott on the Friday, Saturday & Sunday after Thanksgiving. This year was my 3rd year in the dealer's room there. The last two years I've driven down on Wednesday and stayed through the Monday after with my dad. This year I still ended up staying at Dad's place for two nights, but since I only live about half an hour away from the venue I was able to drive home for the night on the other days. The con was a lot of fun, got to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones, too.

I didn't dress up on our first day, with setting up in the morning, I needed to wear comfortable clothes I could move easily in. That didn't stop me from dressing up on Saturday & Sunday, though:
On Saturday I wore my Victorian(ish) Shopkeeper outfit with a new hat (I've since found my original hat) with wonderful purple feathers and lace.

On Sunday I succumbed to temptation and purchased this Renaissance(ish) ensemble.

I've got some pictures of costumed folk who wandered near the table, too:

 Buy More (from the TV show Chuck) couple
 Festive Pirate
LosCon 38 Klingon Crew

All in all, a really great weekend. Thanks for dropping by!