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Promised myself I would give myself permission to cook again. I'd found a recipe that I really wanted to make - an apple chai cake. I do not crave sweets, so I am left with a huge cake, but it's all good.

I really wanted to try out my new-from-last-year apple peeler. So, yesterday, when I left my therapist's office, I bought a bag of Grammy Smith apples at Aldi:

Let"s test out this apple peeler. Apple Chai cake in the works.


The entire contraption is right-handed and I am generally ambidexterous, but with these sorts of things I am very much left-handed. I couldn't get it to work until I put the apples on backwards. And the handle goes counter-clockwise when you are left-handed. This was hilarious. But after I reversed *everything* I was completely amazed:

This feat of mechanics is freakin" awesome. #applepeeler #applecake


I peeled that entire bag in what was essentially ten minutes, after I got the thing working backwards properly. I had a bowl of lemon-water waiting for the apples.


The peeling of the apples was so easy that I didn't expect the assembly of the batter to take so long, but for some reason it did. And then the apples needed to be dried, broken up from their spirals and then tossed in a spice mixture. When the cake came out of the oven, it looked like this:

Apple Chai cake just out of the oven.


I have switched to using the Camera+ app on my iPhone and it takes infinitely better photos. I waited for the cake to cool and turned it over:

Apple Chai spice cake, right side up.


The recipe called for a maple cream cheese icing, so that's what I did:

Apple Chai Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing.


I waited for a while and then sliced into it. I was somewhat astonished to find that it was fantastic. I'm not bragging. I just was really surprised that it was as good as it was. Came out remarkably like the recipe's picture.

Recipe notes:
1) I would dial back the ground cloves to 1/2 tsp
2) I doubled the amount of vanilla
3) I doubled the amount of cream cheese, mainly because I didn't want to be left with half a box of cream cheese

Slice of apple chai cake with maple cream cheese icing.


I ate that slice and now I'm good, I don't want any more.

In the middle of the night it occurred to me that I could freeze it in sections, so I will do that. Every now and then I could take out a slice and that would be neat.

Pretty psyched. It felt good to be cooking.

I used Calibre

Learned something interesting this morning. I have been working hard at converting a published hardcopy book into an acceptable e-format. The author had uploaded a PDF of her book to Amazon and it came out very badly. (The book was only available on Kindle; that's how I saw how bad it was.) I proposed to fix it in exchange for her services. I decided to use Smashwords as a distribution tool for non-Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing for Amazon.

I finally finally finally finished fixing the book yesterday. So, I uploaded it to Smashwords to distribute it out to the world (iBooks, Barnes & Noble, library repositories, etc.)

Smashwords came back late last night and said "nope, your book failed epubcheck, you will never be a published author ever ever ever unless you fix all of these errors and chances are you can't so hire someone already."

Yeah.

So this morning I said "Oh yeah? Show me."

Smashwords said "Go here to the online epubchecker thingy and it will show you."

So I did and yep, there were lots of indecipherable errors. I tried to track them down via Google and what I found gave me significant pause. I had seen that the upload had reduced the quality of the photos, but this was crazy.

But then I thought "I couldn't possibly have effed up the book that badly."

Smashwords made me convert my .docx Word file to a .doc file, which I then uploaded. I thought to myself "Self, I know that Word's conversion abilities are diseased at best." And then Smashwords further converts the document into epub and other formats.

So then I converted my own pure Word document into epub all by my lonesome. I then uploaded that file to the online epubchecker. And voila, 'twas perfect. All of the photos are perfect. The text doesn't flow perfectly in some spots, but I can fix that easily. All of the photo funkification I noticed last night was gone.

I headed back over to Smashwords, overrode their "Word doc only unless you really are an expert and you probably should have hired someone anyway" message and uploaded my clean new perfectly beautiful approved epub file.

And right away the message came back saying that I'd passed their epubcheck.

Because really. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Never assume it's all your fault.

It's my birthday!

Yay! It's my birthday! The weather will be just beautiful - clear skies, high 60sF to low 70sF. Wonderful.

Very little time because I slept later today.

Spiralize All the Things!!

A couple of weeks ago, on a lark, I ordered a Spiralizer. Actually, I've been wanting one for a while now and I finally decided to order it.

Tried it out today. I spiralized three Russet potatoes into one pie dish and one large sweet potato into another pie dish.

I'm really liking the shape.

I took the sweet potato noodles and shook over them some cinnamon mix from Pampered Chef plus some brown sugar. I massaged the noodles with that mixture and then dotted butter over the top. Covered the dish and put it into the oven. Came out fantastic. I want to try this with apple ribbons. And put roasted sweet potato noodles with caramelized onions on a pizza. Baked sweet potato curly fries. And so forth.

I am able to digest this very, very well. Thrilled.

Here is a picture of the single raw sweet potato, cut into noodles. I think if you're trying to stretch vegetables, this is an amazing way to do it:

Spiralizer Raw Sweet Potato

Okay

Okay deep breath. At work now. Good.

I am damn determined to be kind to this technician tomorrow. I will do that and keep my trap shut.

Besides, there is phenomenal news today. So many of my friends in Florida can get married today. That's far more important.

Studies

Psyched. I tackled the first chapters of my chosen Statistics text and my Cognitive Psychology text. One chapter a day, I figure, will be good. I don't expect to be going back to work until the 12th or after, so I expect that I'll have the bulk of the work done by then. (15 chapters each.)

Sunday afternoon coffee

The sun is finally back out today and I am most grateful for it.

I didn't sleep much last night. It was a dark night. Not sure why. But I woke up around 4am thinking feeling as if the darkness had broken.

Today I was determined to get a wreath to hang on the deck. Dad brought me one last year. So, I went out and got a kissing ball, plus a wreath for the front door. Kissing balls remind me of Mom: she had kissing balls of yellow daisies for her bridesmaids and white for her at their wedding.

I also brought up the new Christmas decorations that I'd picked up last month. And I went down and brought out the Christmas tree and brought that upstairs. I took the container of Halloween decorations downstairs and tucked them away.

I can't seem to get pictures to upload at the moment so I will edit later.

I also decided that it was time to set up the desk. So, I'm now sitting at the computer back in the old office/laundry room location. It's cold back here but not as bad as I expected, and I do not have any heat going except for what's blowing down the hallway from the living room.

And now India's discovered that I'm back here so I'd better post so I can give her attention.

Bedraggled

The universe has been making noises for some time that a cat was coming my way. Henry came. I figured that was it. This morning, a new critter entered my life. I haven't had any new critters since 2006 and now the universe has opened back up.

I leave at the same time as a fellow in the old Bartlett house. About 6:10am. This morning, he was passing just as I got to the bottom of my driveway. He took the first left up Minnetonka. I usually always go straight to Cherokee (the third left) without thinking. This morning I considered taking Minnetonka and considered taking Sequonia (the second left), but said forget it, I prefer Cherokee because it isn't freaking vertical. I rarely give it much thought but this morning it was a deliberate decision.

I turned onto Cherokee, which is a street about two houses long. I quickly saw a cat walking slowly up the street. It didn't run even as my car approached. I beeped gently. The cat stopped and turned its head vaguely in the directly of my headlights and then kept walking. Highly unusual because typically the neighborhood cats run. I rarely see stray cats.

I inched forward behind the cat. I started noticed that it was walking unsteadily. Oh boy, I said. I put the car in park, pulled the emergency brake and got out. The cat was walking slowly enough that I was able to catch up to it. I called out and it stopped. I very gently approached (her) and she voluntarily rubbed her head on my hand. I was able to stroke her back. Very thin, skin and bones, rough coat, soaked. Then I lifted her up and put her onto the grass. She immediately got back into the road and came back over to me.

I petted her some more. Then my heart melted. I picked her up and brought her to the car and put her in the back seat. She was unhappy about that and tried to get out immediately. So, I picked up her again and brought her to a different patch of grass and stepped away. She got off the grass and came back to me. Very unsteady on her feet. I picked her up again and put her into the car more firmly. I shut the door and drove home.

I set up her on the ground floor. Brought a litter box and food/water for her downstairs. While she was eating, I took one of mom's new jersey dresses that I won't ever wear and laid it on the floor for her to sleep on. Then I went off to work.

I called Dad and warned him about the creature downstairs. I made a vet appointment for Saturday morning.

Dad later reported that she had followed him into the back of the basement and when he started making noise, she promptly left the back of the basement and went and settled down on the dress I'd laid out for her.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get supplies. When I got home, I was happy to see that she was still alive. I underestimated how weak she was and put stuff too far apart. She used the litter box but also had accidents. I saw that with Wooby who was too weak to make it to the litter box. I threw out the soiled dress and laid out a new dress for her to sleep on. I set out the new and lower-to-the-floor litter box and she got in it and laid down. I set out food and she got out of the box and ate. While she was eating, I washed the floor and then arranged everything close together so that she wouldn't have to walk more than a foot in any direction.

She is drinking water. She's keeping food down. She ate both soft food and crunchies. She actively used both litter boxes. I also checked under her tail, she has no problems with me touching her (unlike Henry) and I think she's a girl.

I left her alone for about an hour and when I came back downstairs she was fast asleep. Crashed on the new dress, head face down into the cloth. I arranged a blanket around her, too. It won't be all that warm, but she'll be a lot more comfortable there than outdoors. And she'll be dry.

She's keeping her food down, which is a good sign. She appears to have some kind of hip dysplasia, but it could be weak muscle tone. She weighs no more than five or six pounds but judging by her frame she should weigh closer to twelve. She looks to be quite senior given the appearance of the claws in her back paws and the white around her muzzle. She also purrs quite loudly and is fairly vocal.

I managed to get a picture when I came home this afternoon:

2014 October 24 bedraggled
About 2.5 hours ago Dad texted to say he was coming over. I was at the grocery store at the time, so I came home and have been getting the house as ready as I can for Dad. It will have to do.

I've just heard from the rescue society in Long Island. They have found someone to bring Franklin-the-cat across tomorrow. Alrighty then! This time is later - they would take the 2pm ferry and get to Clinton about 4pm. That means I need to cancel my oil change.

It also means I can't make it to Niantic tomorrow to get to the bookstore. (That'd be too much driving in one day.) The two spots - the bookstore in Niantic and the Dunkin Donuts in Clinton, are only 18 miles apart on I-95, but the off-highway trip is 40 miles because the Connecticut River must be crossed in New London and there's only one bridge and that's 95. Forget it. Google says that the entire day would be 102 miles.

I will think about it, though. It would be an adventure. The main issue is that my right knee is killing me. Plus it's swollen. It's odd. I woke up Friday. My leg feels as if it wants to go into a charley-horse, so it's not just the knee. I took two Advil about 4:30pm but it's still not pleasant.

Typically if the knee is sore, walking around cures it pretty quickly. That's not the case today. Maybe I'm low on potassium. Anyway, that's why I don't want to drive a hundred miles tomorrow.

And, Dad's here.