Today was dank and grey and raining and I made Kevin close all the windows and actually turn on the heat because I was freezing. Look, I love rain, but I am not okay with essentially going straight from summer-hot-and-humid to the most wretched part of fall.

I demand a string of perfect autumn days, weeks upon weeks of them, with sunshine and a crisp breeze merrily blowing brightly-colored leaves down the sidewalk, a cozy fire in the backyard fire pit for roasting marshmallows and sipping spiced hot chocolate by, and possibly even a game of touch football in the park, while I’m waiting for someone else to finish making the turkey and stuffing.

I didn’t move here from California to be deprived of my seasonal delights. Got it? Good.

Drafts and drafts

When I handed in my novel a week ago, my agent said he had several other books in the queue ahead of it, so it’d be a few weeks before he could get to mine. I admit, my initial response was — “Good, because I can’t stand to look at it anymore.” That was the fourth? fifth? draft, and I had read most of those words many, many times.
But now I’ve had a week to decompress, and I could use a few more weeks, but I can actually see a time when I will be happy to read his comments, even if his comments involve lots of rewriting, because I want this novel to be great, and in service to that goal, I am apparently willing to hurl myself at the wall, over and over and over again.

Garden Club

Hosting the Garden Club board meeting today, which gives me an excuse to pick up some yummy TJ maple cream cookies and mini pumpkin chocolates. So autumnal! Also to do a whirlwind house pick-up and garden clean-up, which one might argue is a lot of unnecessary work for a board meeting, but one might also notice that it gets one to do a variety of little chores that one has been putting off. This is part of why I entertain so often — it encourages me to clean up.  🙂

img_1059 img_1060 img_1061


Boots! I had to get up early to finish grading, but it’s okay, because it’s cooled down enough that I can wear my favorite autumn outfit, the dress that reminds of me of needlepoint, along with tall brown boots! Why are boots so pleasing, anyway? It’s mysterious to me.

img_1031 img_1046

Anand Turns 7!


He hasn’t stopped playing with it for half an hour, so I’d say the giant Pikachu balloon is a hit.

img_0925 img_0928-2

Cupcakes in the shape of a Pokeball:


It turns out that you can rent a bounce house for your backyard, and they will set it up and take it down and Velcro on various character-themed options, such as Pokemon. Neat, and way easier than hauling all the kids out to the suburban bounce house places. I feel like I’ve levelled-up in kids’ party hosting skills.


This is not really a Pokemon thing, but the kids were pretty delighted by it anyway.  (Familiar to gamers.)


Mirna was in town and able to come to Anand’s party. Yay!

img_0954 img_0958

One could do a neater version of this, if one were so inclined, but it still amused me and the kids.  Fruit in the shape of a Pokeball.


The kids were super-amused that Mommy was Team Rocket. But I have to say, Kavi wears the wig MUCH better.

img_0962  img_0970

Charades (Kavi was having a hard time figuring out how to do ‘berry’ for ‘blackberry’), cake.

img_0968 img_0976

Elaine was here, eating my curry. 🙂 What a lovely birthday party day, with Mirna visiting at the beginning, Jed in the middle, and Elaine at the end. I now think all of our birthday parties should involve multiple out-of-town visitors. After the main party with little kids ended, we segued into board game night, and played Pandemic (ALMOST won, but not quite), Guillotine (three rounds, v. fun and easy card game), and Wise and Otherwise (making up proverbs game).


Thanks to everyone who helped us clean-up from Anand’s party @ 8, so that I could send the kids up to Kevin to put to bed, and then take Elaine to Amanda‘s excellent Oktoberfest party, which was a delight for the second year in a row. We sat by the fire and talked for two hours, and then Elaine and I came home, sat in the backyard, and talked for a couple more hours. Clearly, seeing her once every few years is insufficient; we had a fair bit of catching up to do. 

img_0992 img_0993


I have nothing scheduled today. Literally, nothing I have to do at a particular time. I am staring at the calendar in disbelief.

I will, of course, actually do stuff. Anand’s birthday party is tomorrow, so sometime before then, I’ll go get groceries and cook some curries (because apparently my brain thinks that even if I’ve invited people over for pizza and cake, everyone will be happier if there are also some curries on offer). Anand has requested cupcakes and donuts, so those should get picked up too. I’ll count up the kids attending and make goody bags, and try to figure out if there’s enough helium left in the tank to inflate a Pikachu. Kavi asked if we can make a balloon forest for Anand tonight, which entails buying a host of yellow balloons, blowing them up, and tying them to things on the ground. I have two roses to plant, a rose arch to assemble and install, and lots of allium bulbs to get in the ground. I am supposed to exercise at some point today, and I might even write a little. I have various short story ideas poking at me.

But still. I don’t have anything actually on the clock, that I have to do at a particular time, which has not been true for….oh, two solid months, I think? Amazing.


I consider myself extremely restrained for only putting in *one* caveat, when I sent the full novel draft to my agent just now.

Tomorrow, I teach, but after that, I think I might declare a holiday from *thinking* for at least a day.

88,510 words. In an approximation of coherent order. Now I pour myself into a bath. I think I can fit in one more Star Trek re-run before I collapse.


Just a quick note that I’ve signed up with a personal trainer for once a week sessions for the next three months. I seriously winced at the cost, but one consequence of the whole cancer thing is that I am trying to prioritize health-related spending over almost everything else one might spend money on. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.”

And while I *can* exercise on my own, I know from the time I had a personal trainer before (many years ago, for three months), that it really helps me stay motivated if I can externalize my willpower. If I have appointments to go to, if I have someone to check in with, to keep me honest, I’m much more likely to actually do the exercise I intend to do. (I already walk about 10K steps a day in the normal course of my life, so I’m trying to kick it up a notch from that.)

I’m not planning to change my diet much — a little less carb, a bit more protein and fiber. Mostly, daily exercise, including weights. Goals: increase cardio fitness, get stronger, lose fifteen pounds by the end of the year. Should be eminently do-able. Eventually, I’d like to find a competitive sport to play — soccer or racquetball or tennis. Can I turn myself into a sporty person in my mid-40s? I intend to try.

The first workout with Justin went well today. If by ‘well,’ you mean that he turned my legs into noodles. I almost fell down the stairs trying to walk down them after the session. I’d never have pushed myself so hard on my own — I would have quit at least a dozen kettle bell squats earlier.


They cancelled the GS meeting I was supposed to lead in the woods due to incoming thunderstorms, and I am simultaneously disappointed and relieved. More novel revision time. Eleven chapters down, 45,000 words out of 88,000. It’s going fast, because most of it is good — this is a last pass, fixing little edits I hadn’t gotten to yet, mostly. But will I be done by end of day? We’ll see.


Had a really long working day yesterday — basically worked from the time I got up at 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. on either teaching, grading, revising, helping with homework, or domestic tasks (cooking dinner and laundry; Anand was out of undies, so the latter was necessary). V. tired by end of day, and then for some unknown reason, slept badly. When the children were slow in getting dressed this morning, after repeating myself several times, I asked them to PLEASE get moving, and then promptly burst into tears. I really don’t cope well with lack of sleep; it’s amazing to me that I survived their infancy.

They were very apologetic and came over to hug me better, and I’m okay now, but also going to try to take it easier today. All that’s on the schedule is a) work on the novel revision (I’m really so close), b) go into campus for a meet-and-greet lunch, c) finish the novel revision, and d) go to the gym, and e) take the Girl Scouts to Thatcher Woods for an hour. I can do that.

But first, I’m going to spend an hour drinking tea, knitting, and watching Star Trek re-runs.