• Lisa Millraney

whew, summer!

Well, I did make it back before Halloween! Seriously, I posted a silly ‘hello’ meme on my facebook and was shocked when a couple of dear old friends specifically called me out to get this blog updated! I swear, I wonder a lot whether anybody reads it or cares, and those replies were so kind, timely and amusing. (waves to Tammy and Cindy) Granted, part of my problem is that even though I have feedback enabled over here, I, um, forget to come check for comments. (blushes furiously) So if you read here and have posted a reply and I haven’t responded, that’s why. My brain is a colander sometimes.

Hope everybody has been having a good summer (winter, if you are in the southern hemisphere. I figure I better say that since I know I have friends down there. Not sure if any of y’all read here, but if so you know I love ya.) It’s been hotter than hades around my parts, so a great excuse to stay inside and do crafty-writey-readey things. One big thing, I landed a gig writing reviews for a pen website! It's right here: My first piece went up last week, and I was fortunate enough to get to review a highly anticipated brand new pen before it was even released! (fun fact, I sent the link to this blog with my application, and the editor said she particularly liked my post about getting my holy grail pens from earlier this year!)

My little garden is hanging in there, and I go out early to weed and water and whatever. (Early being relative. I like to stay up late and sleep late, and since I’m still working from home and set my own schedule, I can. LOL)

The butternut squash plants are threatening to take over not only the garden area, but the whole darn back yard.

I wish I’d taken a picture this morning when some of the blooms were open. They are HUGE and very pretty, and there have been quite a few of them. Hopefully that bodes well for lots of fruit this fall. Almost anything you can do with sweet potatoes or pumpkin can also be done with butternut squash, so, soup, bread, muffins, stir-fry, you name it. And just think, those overgrown freaks came from one squash I got off the produce sale rack at Kroger last fall for 99 cents. lolol

I’ve gotten a few tomatoes, small but very tasty, and one jalapeno pepper, so far. The sale produce at the grocery comes in really handy, though. I scored a bag of bell peppers and was casting about for something to do with them, besides eat them raw, put them in quiche or omelets or salads or assorted other dishes, or stuff them with leftover hamburger. All of which I like, but you know me, I’m always in search of something new. So in browsing a cookbook I ran across a mention of pepper jam. It sounded intriguing so I hunted up a recipe. Now I have a big jar of red pepper jam in my fridge! It’s not very spicy; I figured it’s earlier to put heat in than take it out, so it’s more sweet-savory. I can mix in some hot sauce if I want it. Hot sauce, one of the handiest things ever invented, in my humble opinion. But because of that flavor profile, the jam is good on everything from bagels to black bean burgers!

(Oh yeah, I learned how to make those since we last talked, too. I had a couple of cans of beans in the pantry as part of my pandemic stock-up, so gave it a whirl and they were delicious! They don’t taste like meat, but then they aren’t supposed to. To me, the black bean burgers I make taste like a really hearty chili, in patty form.)

Let’s see, I’ve also learned to make patatas bravas (a Spanish version of home fries with a spicy tomato sauce and garlic mayo), curry noodles, watermelon rind pickles, and chocolate éclair icebox cake. Mom made the last one on occasion, and I hadn’t had it in literally years, but I hunted up a recipe when my cousin summoned the fam for our first get-together at his house since he remodeled his kitchen (he’s the mad chef of our clan, I just play at it.) and it went over spectacularly.

It was great being able to get together with everybody indoors again, since we all have our shots. The Rolling Stones concert I bought tickets to a year and a half ago is back on, for October, so here's hoping all goes well between now and then and people keep getting their shots. Before that, though, is Dragon Con! It’s on for live and in-person again this year. The virtual version was very well executed last year but we geeks desperately need to share meatspace! They’re going to decide in the next week or two what precautions they’re going to take to help keep people safe, and whatever they work out suits me fine. I’m still wearing my masks when I go into public spaces (hey, I made the darn things, I’m gonna get my use out of them. Besides, they are cute; and they come in very handy in various situations. Boy, was I glad for it the day I came out of Wal Mart and a skunk had unloaded somewhere nearby! it didn’t block all the stench but it sure helped. lol)

Honestly, too, regular readers of this blog may recall me mentioning an occurrence common to cons, known as con crud. People pass germs at cons under normal circumstances. So, should Dragon Con ask folks to wear masks indoors, that’ll block that crap too! Doggone it, I’ve dodged covid this long, so by now it’s just the principle of the thing. I do not intend to even catch a mild and annoying case, if I can possibly prevent it.

This year, I have big plans for the con. I’m going to cosplay for the first time! if you’ve seen the tv show Loki, you may be familiar with the concept of the multiverse, and variants. If not, suffice it to say, the multiverse includes many timelines where history went slightly differently, like one where the Vikings settled North America, or aliens invaded earth in the 1950s, or superheroes exist, or whatever you can imagine. Variants are the versions of a given person across the multiverse; and here’s the key point, they don’t all look or act alike. Thus, instant authorization to cosplay as whoever you want to be and not worry about whether you look exactly like the way the character is described in the book or shown in the movie!

In the Loki show, one of his variants is a gal named Sylvie. I’ve made her Asgardian crown (this is the first time I’ve built anything for a costume, and I think it turned out pretty darn well for something I put together out of craft foam!)

And a t-shirt which verbalizes her opinion of the term ‘variant’ (she doesn't like it. She is who she is.)

And I’m going to cosplay as a variant of her! Accompanying me is yet another variant Loki…

Yes, that’s an alligator, wearing Loki’s crown, sitting on my shoulder. Don’t ask. LOLOL.

He's going to ride shotgun that day, as my tiny Tony usually does. I've worked out an elastic harness-thingie so I don't have to try to pin them to my bra strap through my shirt, thank HEAVENS. Tiny Tony gets a day off, but he and I will still wreak our usual havoc on the vendors' building shopping for Christmas gifts. Fun is afoot!

Right now, as I said, I’m staying inside where it’s not a hundred degrees (and away from the smog from forest fires thousands of miles away. Seriously, people, climate change, let me show you it. UGH.) It’s Olympic time, and despite the various issues, I have to confess, I still love vegging on my couch and watching everything from horseback riding to fencing to ping-pong. There’s a long-standing tradition in the fiber arts world, to set aside a project to start during the opening ceremony and work to finish it before the torch is extinguished. Mine is a hat from a series of patterns named after national parks. Naturally, it’s…any guesses…duh, Great Smoky Mountains. The colors and stitches are very pretty and I promise to share it next blog, since I hope it’ll be done by then. I mean, that’s kind of the point. hehe.

It may get put on hold for a couple of days though; I pledged a couple of dolls to the FicFacers charity auction put on by the Supernatural fandom. One’s already done and gone to his new home, but the other high bidder just got back to me with her request, so I want to get him going. Also, I made the mistake of signing up for an art swap on another forum, so may break the paints out again for that. And I read a sweet romance last week centering on a cookie blogger, so now I’m reading every cookie book my libraries have, as if I need to learn any other food-things. Ha!

Ooh, I have the tv on mute as I write, but I just looked up and it looks like some serious Olympic swimming is about to go down, so I’ll end here for now. Hugs and love to all y’all, and I will blog again before Dragon Con (maybe more than once, but I don’t want to promise too much. *snort*)

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