March 23rd, 2009

Magritte

Furnishing the Fortress of Solitude

Ever so often, we get fliers in the mailbox addressed to "Future Mountain View Homeowner". Having run the numbers, we may not actually be in this category -- 30 years of our current rent is less than the price of homes we'd be interested in, never mind interest and property taxes and so forth. (30 years of more typical rent is closer; our rent is in something under the 5th percentile for comparable apartments.) But the fliers make me wistful.

One particularly wist-inducing flier was for a bit of land down near the library which has, upon close inspection, three separate buildings -- one three-bedroom house, one two-bedroom house, and one thoroughly finished ex-garage. I have got some folks I would love to move in next door, so I know exactly what I'd do with an extra house if I had my druthers. (And entirely separate units are nicely flexible, too, in the event that drutherless reality interferes; much more pleasant to rent out a separate space than a couple of rooms.) But what to do with the ex-garage, I wondered, while carrying the flyer around from room to room with me to sigh at the nice pen-and-ink drawings of the bigger buildings. And then it came to me: it can be my Fortress of Solitude.

I do not, like Superman, have such good hearing that I need to be continents away from other people to not hear them holding up banks or falling into chasms or cussing at video games. But something with a little more insulating power than a typical interior wall is helpful. A couple of exterior walls and a dozen or two feet of intervening air would make an excellent sound baffle for me.

The next question, then, would be what to put in there. I shouldn't put my computer in a Fortress of Solitude -- it's better for me to have people around now and then when I'm working and so forth, and computer lazing time is mostly not very good introverting time. Games are all right, but internet stuff is all interacting with people really, so it doesn't work too well as recovery from Too Many People Disorder. So the Fortress of Solitude shouldn't be my office. It should be just for things that I'd rather do without anybody around at all.

So that means the furnishings go like this:

1. My piano.
2. A comfy chair.
3. Good task lighting.
4. A nice window or skylight.
5. A small cabinet for art supplies; some shelves for sheet music and a few particularly rereadable books.
6. A desk or table (ideally some kind of fold-out desk so it doesn't take up too much space most of the time but can be deployed as necessary for crafting).
7. A chair for the desk.

And nobody else will ever ever go in. If I wind up living with anybody who likes listening to my piano playing, I can open the window and they can sit on the lawn. Art is nicely transportable, so if I feel like working with other people around, I can just carry it in to the kitchen table like I do now.


I don't know that I'm ever going to wind up with a Fortress of Solitude -- we've got more important things to look for in a dwelling, and better things to do with most possible rooms. But it's a very nice place to have all tricked out in my imagination.
sword

Vegetable Report

I picked up our first box from the community-supported agriculture subscription on Friday. I am quite pleased so far. Things from the box are bolded below for your agriculture-following convenience.

Friday night, I made, from a recipe included in the box, pasta with shredded beets, sour cream, and parsley[1]. I also sauteed chard with green garlic. The chard was super-fantastic. I like it quite a bit. I was going to put the beet greens in with it, but andres_s_p_b requested that they be segregated in case they're nasty, so they haven't been cooked yet.

The next day, andres_s_p_b made stir fry that included some of the Savoy cabbage, and also cooked up a chicken breast and mushrooms for him and chinders.

My plan for Sunday was carrot-and-parsnip soup, but we got invited out for Mexican instead, so I'll do that later.




[1] The recipe included, about halfway through, "meanwhile, make the pasta", so I started water boiling before I began chopping things. The pasta was finished well before I was done peeling and shredding the beets; beet-shredding takes a while. Oddly, the recipe left out the clearly necessary step, of, just after shredding the beets, staggering into the office to groan piteously at andres_s_p_b and display one's poor wounded hand, clearly covered in blood and bits of viscera (or possibly beet juice and stray shreds).
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