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Dec. 14th, 2014

cougar

Bookmark: poly myths

New research on polyamory is challenging popular myths

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cougar

Dance the night away

Well, my lungs are shot. So is my right knee. And I know my feet won't speak to me in the morning until I've given them a hot soak and an apology.

It was totally worth it.Collapse )

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Dec. 10th, 2014

cougar

Totem check

I've been thinking again about my totem animal. I shifted from owl to cougar during my last redefinition; when this one started, I sort of wondered whether I would shift again. I'm still not sure. It feels like cougar still describes me, though.

I am not a pampered housecat. I'm strong, graceful, and independent; when something needs doing, I approach it directly and get it done, but always with an eye to conserving my resources (sometimes that looks like efficiency, sometimes like laziness). I have patience enough to wait and observe until the right moment, then when opportunity arises, I take it quickly and with precision. Deception and illusion are not my element -- I am direct and true to myself, honest almost to a fault, though I know when to keep quiet and say nothing. I am very pragmatic, eyeing the ideal before moving on to the realistic. If there is a shot at the next level, I'll consider it carefully before committing myself, though I am not timid. I am not generally one to get fussed over petty details.

Like most cats, I am far more comfortable with the routine and the familiar than I am with excitement and adventure. I'm an introvert, needing time to simply sit with myself and be quiet. I'm generally even-tempered and mellow, tending toward a dry humor, but I am dangerous when my anger is roused -- I will savage whatever threatens the things which are dear to me. That happens rarely; anger is so energy-intensive. I don't suffer fools gladly, but they are most often met with sardonic irritation, not being worth the effort of getting angry.

And, of course, like any well-adjusted cat I will happily take caresses and attention, but I accept them most easily from those I know and trust. Strangers are to be assessed and their motives determined before they get close to me, even if I'm not worried about my own safety. I feel better when I can see the lay of the land around me and everyone in it, rather than being surrounded by the unknown. I am not xenophobic, simply cautious.

I suspect that most of these qualities will remain, even if I open up more to those around me. My basic values haven't changed, just the way that I see the world through the lens of my experiences. Cougar still feels right to me, and I enjoy being a lazy cat.

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Dec. 9th, 2014

cougar

Impolite lemon shortbread

When you look up lemon shortbread recipes, you find cookies with butter, flour, sugar, perhaps a little vanilla, and a touch of lemon zest (or lemon extract, or waving a lemon over the dough three times and calling it good). These are polite lemon shortbreads, the ones meant to be baked until light golden and served with tea, and scones, and little cucumber sandwiches. "The perfect touch of lemon!" the reviews purr. "Just right!"

I didn't want tea cookies. I wanted lemon cookies. So these are up-front, aggressive, punch-you-in-the-mouth cookies. There is no hint here, no subtlety. They're what would happen if the filling mated with the crust in a lemon meringue pie. The dough is even more so. :)

The recipe is just Michael Ruhlman's shortbreads with lemon juice and a touch more flour, nothing complicated. So here you go:

4 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) *fresh* butter (unsalted or salted, your choice)
12 ounces flour (about 2.5 cups rice flour, all-purpose will be a little less)
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon zest
the juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

Use a mixer for this if you don't want tired wrists. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla, salt, and lemon zest, then start adding the flour gradually. Stop when the dough refuses to form a ball, turning into a bunch of pea-sized lumps, and set aside any remaining flour; if using standard wheat flour, try not to mix it more than you have to, or it'll go tough. The dough should be firm but not crumbly when you shape it in your hands.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll portions of the dough out to your desired thickness (I usually like about 3/16" or 3mm) and cut into shapes. Don't re-roll more than once; I usually mix the scraps into a fresh ball of dough to recycle them. Place the cutouts close together on 2 baking sheets and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they turn the lightest shade of gold and any corners are starting to brown. Allow them to cool fully before moving them to an airtight container for storage. This made about 55 2" hearts.

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Yes, you can add more lemon, though if you add a lot more flour to keep things from getting too wet they might go sort of cardboard-like. Exercise restraint, and consider topping them with lemon curd or lemon frosting or this evil concoction if you really can't resist the one-two punch.

The key with any shortbread is really good butter. Buy it fresh for this, from a store that has high turnover. You really will notice a difference if it hasn't been sitting in your fridge consorting with the forgotten occupants of the crisper, believe me.

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Dec. 4th, 2014

devourer

*thud*

Doing interpretations of two accurate tarot readings (for someone else) at the end of a long day is pretty draining. Just sayin'.

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Nov. 27th, 2014

cougar

It's that time again.

Time to take stock and appreciate what I have, before I look to what I'd like to have.

Cut for neatnessCollapse )

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Nov. 18th, 2014

cougar

Coming attractions

Post tomorrow. Sleep tonight.

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Nov. 10th, 2014

cougar

The gift of grace

I'm starting to surprise myself.

I have a well-refined sense of duty and responsibility, and I try to be conscious of others' needs and accommodate them. So it's not too surprising that, no matter how much I really wish I could spend another hour (or just another ten minutes) with Akien -- with the whole household -- I can look at the time, say "I should go home now, so that you can sleep/spend time together", and actually follow my own advice. I'm accustomed to reining in my own desires for the common good.

What's surprising is how easy it's getting. I still crave him, I'm still reveling in the sense of belonging, I still run down there every little chance I get... but it's getting so that I can leave without a stab of regret.

I think that the reason lies in the dynamic there. The extraordinary thing about it is that looking out for each other is so basic a function of the relationships in that house that it's completely a given, no thought required. And, as someone who has been accepted as a (provisional) member, I'm included in that. So my needs are considered right along with everyone else's, quite naturally. And that's where the magic happens.

I'm discovering that, if I really believe that other people are looking out for my needs, I don't have to focus so much on protecting my own self-interest... and that effort which I would normally put into always looking out for myself (as a self-sufficient island) gets freed up. Then I can put those extra cycles into looking out for their needs instead. So, since I know they're looking out for what I need, I can look out for what they need; since they're caring for me, I can relax and do what's in my power to care for them, without feeling stretched thin.

This is, essentially, the gift economy applied to relationships: everyone understands their own requirements, provides for them as best they can, and gives away any surplus... and we all end up with extra floating around, because everybody's filling in the gaps for everyone else. Except that instead of tools or generator capacity or food, we've got extra caring floating around. It's something I never expected to see.

This is why I can say, Akien needs time with Leah for a change, and extract myself easily; they've done such a good job of recognizing my needs that I don't have to worry about it. It's easy to be graceful in relinquishing something precious to you when you know everyone understands how important it is, and they'll make sure it's still there when you get back.

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Nov. 1st, 2014

cougar

Coming home

So, those of you who caught my vaguebooking on FB are probably wondering what on earth is going on in my sphere these days.

This is one of the points in my life where I can see clearly that I'm on the cusp of serious life-changing stuff. I have some idea what's involved, but I'm sure that things will come up as I go along, because that's how any renovation goes.

(There's a public component to this and a rather more private one; if I've friended you on LJ/DW it's likely you'll be able to see the private angle. If you can't and you actually want a peek into my headspace, ping me.)

DetailsCollapse )

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Oct. 20th, 2014

cougar

Because some people are useless sexist tools

This expert in racial studies thinks that we have the perfect term for entitled, privileged white men who want to step on everybody else on their way to the top: Douchebag.

Lots of rather accurate observations and comparisons in there. Come for the definitions, stay for the douchebag-or-not game using popular comic-book characters.

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