Long Day

I have: hosted a clothing swap charity benefit, segued into having a few friends over for board games and snacks this afternoon, gotten my student worker started on copyediting the second edition of the cookbook (yes, that means we’re getting close to done, finally!), packed away half the swap clothes to take to Brown Elephant, fed the children dinner, did half the dishes, managed to find someone to come shovel snow for an hour and lay down pet-safe melt / gravel so the sidewalk is clear (civic duty done, check), only shouted at Anand once (he was being VERY trying), read the children half a graphic novel (Ben Hatke’s _Mighty Jack_), and put them both to bed.
There are still clothes to pack away and put in the car, there are still tables to fold and get to the garage, there’s still a dishwasher to empty and another load to load in, and there’s a massive pile of recycling waiting to be broken down in the basement. But given that this cold still has me falling down tired (intermittently — sometimes I go a couple of hours feeling fine), I’m declaring this day a) a success, and b) over.  Yes, it’s not even 9 yet, but I to my bed.


I had to cut game night short — I still have enough of a cold that I really couldn’t concentrate on games at all. Kavya ended up playing for me in both Carcassone and Apples to Apples this afternoon while I kind of zoned out. But that’s okay — she had a lot of fun.
Pictured here with Franki, whom you’ll likely hear me mentioning again — she was one of my independent study students, working on a novel, but is graduating in a few days and will be helping me out with some copyediting and other projects. Editorial assistant for a couple hours a week, plus a bit of babysitting. 🙂
It’s nice having all these bright young people moving through my life…most of them don’t stick around for long, going on to bigger things, but while they’re around, it’s awesome.


I don’t know where I saw this idea recently, but it’s been comforting me, maybe because I have a terrible memory.

We don’t always consciously remember much of the books we read, but in the moment of reading them, they affect us; they lay pathways in our brains, traces that linger and shape who we are from that point forward. As someone who reads a lot, and forgets a lot, I feel better thinking that all that reading is still in there, somewhere. That it’s changed me. It’s making me want to choose what I read a little more carefully.

And as I finish this semester and think about my students, who will soon forget most of what I’ve said, most of what they’ve read in my classes, I hope that whatever traces were laid down end up shaping their thoughts and lives in useful and interesting ways, going forward.

Gym update

Just a quick update on gym stuff. I’m nine weeks into training weekly with Justin. We checked numbers again today:

Arm gain 1″
Chest gain 3/4″ (This also includes back)
Waist 1″ lost
Hips 1″ lost (Also includes buttocks)
Thighs 3/4″ gain
Weight: stable

So essentially, not changing my diet at all and doing weight training once a week, I’ve put on a little muscle in arm and back and thighs, and lost a little fat in waist and hips. That’s all good, in my book.

I’ve gone down about a dress size — today I tried on a dress I last wore in 2006 (at our not-wedding-party), and was delighted to find that it fits; it had been distressing me, perhaps unreasonably, that I haven’t been to fit into that for years. There’s still a little of baby belly left, but I can zip up the back now, which is great. I’m also notably stronger and have slightly better cardio and flexibility. It’s easier to exercise than it was when I started.

I have two more sessions with the trainer, and I was going to sign up for more, but I remembered that in early January, I’m probably going to have the second breast reconstruction surgery, after which I’ll be pretty restricted from lifting for a month or two.

So we talked it over, and the plan is for me to try to keep up cardio (lots of walking, since I won’t be able to jog or swim) through January / February and calorie-restrict a bit (since I won’t be building muscle). I’d like to lose five pounds in that period. Then come back to him in March (if the budget allows) for another three months of training.

So far, so good. Onwards.

Sri Lankan Recipe: Egg and Potato Sothi

This is a relatively mild dish, good for people who don’t typically eat spicy food — you can even leave the green chilies out entirely if you want. Traditionally, sothi makes a nice breakfast served with stringhoppers, a little coconut sambol, and possibly a fish or meat curry.

2 medium onions, chopped fine
2-3 T oil or ghee
1 T ginger, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 green chilies, sliced fine
1 t. fennel seeds
1/4 t. turmeric
1 t. salt
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 can coconut milk
4 eggs

1. Boil eggs, peel, and set aside.

2. Sauté onions in oil or ghee on medium-high, stirring as needed. Add ginger, garlic, green chilies, fennel seeds, turmeric, and salt; continue cooking until golden-translucent.


3. Add potatoes, tomato, and coconut milk; cook, stirring as needed, until potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.


4. Slice eggs in half and add to dish. Serve hot with rice or stringhoppers.




Math conference

Kevin has gone out of town for eight days, and we are all a bit sad. I am sure he will do brilliant math, which is good for math, but math will have to deal with my being a bit cranky with it. The children and I have taken to my bed, where we have turned the heated mattress pad on and curled up under the covers. We may emerge for food, but otherwise, I think we’re tucked in for the night. Hooray for bed. And heat.


Shout out to Kevin. When I talked to him last night about how I might possible want to run for office at some point, he was entirely supportive. I was honestly a bit surprised, because it’s potentially asking a lot of him in terms of additional childcare, housework, etc. His only concern was that he wouldn’t enjoy being much more in the public eye himself, but that’d be unlikely unless I got up to something on the national stage, like state rep. School board or alderman or anything along those lines shouldn’t involve a lot more publicity for him. Anyway, just feeling grateful for him.
We also talked about the fact that a lot of the work I do, like the Survivor anthology, and the Invisible anthology, make us basically no money and eat a lot of my time, all of which has consequences for our household. This new workshop Kate and I are planning to run next summer — we’re charging something for our time in teaching and setting it up, but not anything close to a reasonable market rate, this first time around. But as I long as I think these projects are worthwhile for the community, he’s willing to back me. And of course, he’s been supporting my writing for decades.
I found a good one. 🙂


Last day of classes, and the traditional wearing of jeans to teach. I used to wear jeans regularly my first year or so of teaching, but found that it made it a little harder to keep my classroom focused on their work; I looked too much like one of the students. I’m getting older, though, so this is probably less and less of an issue as time passes. Maybe in a few years, I’ll just teach in jeans all the time? Probably not — I actually do enjoy dressing up a bit for work. But last day, we all let our hair down. Now to go pick up donuts for class. 🙂

Christmas prep

I don’t know if it’s just 2016 or endless colds or the novel I’m itching to start drafting or what, but this year I’m finding myself seriously cranky about Christmas tasks. They’ve historically mostly fallen to me, in large part because a) I kind of enjoy them, or at least I enjoy the results, and b) if left to Kevin, he wouldn’t think most of them were worth doing.
I’m actually cranky enough about that this year that (instead of just doing it all and resenting him for not suddenly, miraculously, realizing I’m resentful about it), I’m thinking of sitting down with Kevin, making a list of tasks, and asking him which ones he’s going to take on, and which ones we should just skip this year. He can disappoint the children with me.
I did just outsource hanging up our Christmas lights, which I have traditionally done. I do enjoy, sort of, clambering around on the porch roof hanging lights, but I am sick and tired and we can afford to pay someone else to do it this year, so.


THIS COLD. I woke up and got the kids off to school and thought, sure, I can get a few hours of work done before the Garden Club board meeting. Two hours later, no work done at all, just sitting in my comfy chair watching tv, trying not to fall asleep again. Tired enough and coughing enough that I eventually sent a note saying I wouldn’t make it to the board meeting (feeling guilty, but also feeling like I shouldn’t cough all over those lovely ladies).
Thought I’d use the time to either work or put up Christmas decorations, but the thought of going to the basement and hauling a dozen green plastic bins up the stairs is just beyond me. I managed to take the Thanksgiving stuff down and it’s now strewn across my kitchen island, but that’s as much progress as I’ve made. And I put one load in the laundry. That’s it.
The lack of productivity is starting to drive me nuts, so I really have to get SOMETHING more accomplished soon, but it’s going to have to be a super-low-energy thing, as even stairs are feeling difficult right now. Probably a bit more history reading for novel research. Maybe some e-mails and phone calls. And a nap. Today, naps count as work.