Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Recipe Book & Deadlines

I'm the oldest grandchild on my mom's side. I have a cousin who's a couple months younger, and then a sister and cousin who are two years younger. When I was in university, my mom wrote down a bunch of family recipes and gave all of us a recipe book.

As time went on, the computer that had the original file crashed and the file was lost. As others grew up, the old recipe books were photocopied and shared.

Two or three years ago, I thought, "Hey, we should make this an ebook."

I started copying out the recipes one at a time. I was doing this at work on the days when I stayed late because it didn't make sense to come home after boxing.

After a few weeks, it occurred to me that scanners could easily scan the book, and I could use Acrobat (which was on my work computer) to translate the resulting PDF into text.

That was much, much faster.

There was still some proof-reading to do, but it was a good start.

I moved everything into InDesign (also on my work computer) and tried to figure out how to make each recipe its own link under a table of contents. (The answer, it turned out, was to make each one a separate file in the book.)

Then I discovered that I had too many recipes, because InDesign has a hard limit of 150 files. I'd have to make multiple books and then merge them in Calibre.

That was in December 2013. In January 2014, I changed to an earlier boxing class. I had no time after work to work on the book.

Last week I picked it up again. Now that I had a deadline - the work computer has to go back - it didn't take long to finish it. (Probably a couple of hours, and that was mostly because I found a formatting error that needed to be fixed in each of the 150+ files.) I made a title page on Wednesday and finalized the book.

It's finally done.

At least until someone finds a typo.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy birthday, Miss B

It's my niece's birthday. She's eleven, somehow. I got her the Harry Potter novels, knowing that she claims she doesn't like them (even though she has never read them). She was ... Less than pleased.

But she started to read them.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Yes, again

Last Thursday, I was laid off.

It wasn't a total shock - no one has been able to tell me what I'd be doing this year, and I knew changes were coming.

Unlike the last couple of times, I'm still expected to work u til the end of the month. I like being able to transition things, but three weeks is a little longer than I'd like.

I've got an appointment with the outplacement service next week, and I plan to get my act together job-hunting wise on Tuesday. 

But first, I need to get through winter camp.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


As you know, I had a cold at the beginning of January. At one point, I was sick enough to try the cold remedy my cousin posted on Facebook:
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp vinegar
dash of cinnamon
hot water

It sounds terrible, but it actually tastes pretty good, and it seemed to make a difference.

Unfortunately, I ran out of honey as a result. I don't often eat honey, but I'd bought some excellent local honey a couple of years ago, and I would happily buy more, so I looked up the website and found their current kiosk off of St. Laurent. They were open until 5 most weekdays, until 7 on Thursday, and on Saturdays.

The first Saturday in January, I was still sick-ish, so I didn't go. The second Saturday, I set off to find their location.

I decided to take the "most direct way" and got lost, but after far too long, I found the kiosk. 

It was closed.

I came home and checked the website. There was a note saying they were closed due to illness.

Not a big deal - I could go the next Saturday.

Last Saturday, I got up and checked the website. There was a note saying that they were kicked out of the mall they were in due to a misunderstanding with management.

Since then, they've updated their site to say they will arrange a pick-up location for orders > $50.

I don't have an order >$50. I want one jar of honey.

I could order off their website, but they charge $7 for handling +$10 shipping. The honey is $15-ish.

This is a lot of drama for a jar of honey.

I think I'll give it a month or two and see if they get this sorted out. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I got a cold over the holidays. In fact, it was particularly bad (I.e. head-cold-y) on Saturday - not last Saturday, the one before that. 

You'd think I'd be over it by now, but I'm not - I have a lingering cough. It's the kind that's fine for hours, followed by a burst of uncontrollable coughing.

The suddenly cold weather is not helping. My asthmas does not like sudden temperature changes, so going outside triggers a coughing fit.

I'm a joy to be around, let me tell you.

I guess it's a good ab exercise, if nothing else.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Over the past few years, I've started getting more into quilting - at least from September to December. 

The first quilt I made was for my sister, many years ago. It was a very simple quilt, but it took a long time. After that, I started making baby quilts - they'r'e a lot smaller, but they still took a long time.

These days, I make far more complex quilts, and it takes me a lot less time. 

There are a few reasons for that. Of course, just being more familiar with the process makes a difference. 

I also have better tools - I got a cutting mat and rotary cutter a couple of years ago, and that helps make sure everything is straight. 

I've also learned when to rip out the stitches. When something is really wrong, there's no amount of ignoring it that will work, and procrastinating will just mean it's a bigger mess to undo. 

And finally, I've learned that that most mistakes are fixable. On my niece's quilt, several of the squares were too small, so I added complementary fabric around the edges. Yes, you can still see where the problems were, but it looks good and she doesn't care.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

And my niece's birthday quilt

This post and the last one explain why I've disappeared for the last two months.