Anand got the toy he most desired for his 8th birthday (a Nintendo Switch) and I am not sure I have ever seen a child so ecstatic. He is trying to play the game (Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) but is so happy and excited that he keeps getting up and jumping around. He can’t contain himself. He is trying to explain the game to us (he has watched many, many YouTube play through videos about it), and not spoil it for us, but he can’t help giving us hints — ‘the old man isn’t just any old man! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!’ Just now, Kevin went downstairs for something, and Anand ran down a minute later because he had gotten to a particularly exciting bit and he didn’t want Daddy to miss it.
TFW the street construction worker comes to your door to ask if you know who owns the car they’re about to tow, and you’re really glad you have a robe hanging nearby that you can grab.
A little groggy this morning, with a super-scratchy throat — oh, hello, first cold of the season. Right on schedule.
Things to work on:
– Patreon — Chris tried to schedule a few posts yesterday, but we had a string of technical difficulties — trouble connecting his computer (fixed, eventually), trouble editing photos (fixed, eventually), and even trouble cut-and-pasting (bizarre). We did eventually manage to schedule a post to go out at 9 a.m. this morning, we’ll see how that works. I feel a little weird that the Patreon content is basically all the same content I’m posting here already, but I figure FB’s strange algorithms mean that there’s no guarantee anyone reading here will actually see anything I post anyway — with Patreon, you definitely will.
I’m going to go ahead and set up the remaining posts for the week for him now — I already sent him the fiction post for Wednesday; I’m going to write up the curried potato salad recipe for Thursday; I’ll send him another fiction post for Friday, I have a plan for the knitting post for Saturday, and I have a writing prompt ready to go for Sunday. There was a while when I was working on a book about writing and identity, so I have a half-dozen exercises prepped from that. It’d be nice to do more with that project; we’ll see.
– bulbs — it rained last night, and I have some alliums (caeruleum, schubertii, gladiator) to get in the ground — I’m not going to bother with cayenne, I think, because alliums are sufficiently stinky on their own that the squirrels and bunnies should leave them alone
– course prep and grading; about an hour of each. I have some student meetings before teaching today too, so a longish day on campus. Best get going — turning off FB now, so I’m not tempted.
Signs of autumn.
It’s nice to have the house full of flowers again — I usually don’t do much with indoor arrangements over the summer, but as we head into the darker part of the year, the need for brightness emerges.
Winter is coming. But it’s not here yet!
Plan for today: scan some materials in for my students to read (excerpt from Russ’s _How to Suppress Women’s Writing_) and send it to them, then head to Loyola for six-month mammogram. Try not to stress. It will probably be fine. Take laptop with me, spend any free time between 9 and 12 on e-mail. Come back, meet Chris and go over what he’s doing for me today (he’ll start by watering the lawn, finishing up the party dishes, and taking out any remaining party trash from yesterday’s union BBQ, but after that, I’m hoping to get him started on cataloguing how many extra copies of my books I have, and then setting up a quick clearance sale on my site. I’ll let y’all know. Also starting the Patreon daily posting, woot.).
From noon to 3, try to write. I’ve gotten comments back from several people on stories (THANK YOU!), and I think I know how to fix “Skin Deep” now, or at least know more clearly what was wrong with it. (Essentially, I rushed the character development for one character, so her motivations for a fairly dramatic action felt unclear and implausible. The fix is probably going to involve going in and writing another scene or two from her past, so you can see why she did what she did.) Russ (agent) also read the first four chapters of the novel that I gave him and sent me comments late last night, so I’m itching to get back to that.
At 3, I meet with a representative of the League of Women Voters to tell them about what’s been going on with the library board, the last three months. They usually send an observer to the various boards, but they didn’t have anyone available to cover library (local folks, especially younger folks, the League of Women Voters could really use a little of your time and energy!), so they’re sending someone to get a report from me. (Matt Fruth, if there’s anything in particular you want me to pass along, please feel free to send it.)
I have time tomorrow morning to finish grading and prep before class, so then I relax for a bit, hang out with the kids, maybe knit or putter in the garden. There’s a local Indivisible meeting at 6:30 at Edwardo’s, and I’ve been meaning to check them out, so if I have the energy, I’ll go to that. But mammogram day means all bets are off, even if the news is good, as we expect it to be — it’s just a stressful day. If I want to tuck myself in bed this evening and eat leftover strawberry-topped cheesecake from the BBQ, that is totally okay.
Puttering day. At 4, we’re hosting about 50 people for a faculty union BBQ. After going to the leadership conference this summer, one of the things Kev and I talked about with our union organizer was how to build community within the union members, and build a sense of shared goals, as we fight for a stronger university for ourselves and our students.
The union sends out lots of communications to us, but we’re all flooded with e-mails, and it’s easy to let those slide by. How do you motivate people to join committees, to spend time and energy volunteering to improve community? Well, starting by feeding them is a time-honored tactic. We’ll eat, we’ll drink, we’ll get to know each other better, we’ll find out more about what the union is working on right now, and where they could use help. (I may have gotten drafted into the Communications team. Mary Anne, stop putting your hand up. Why don’t you ever listen?)
Food and drink is mostly bought (thanks, Costco), though at some point will duck out for ice and maybe some more lemonade. The Village decided to tear up a good part of our street this week, which is great for getting new sewer lines, but a little intimidating if you don’t know what’s going on — you can still park there, but it looks terrible. Oh well — hopefully, people will figure it out. We may get a little rain just before the party, but if we need to cook and hang out inside, it’s not the end of the world.
Plan for the next eight hours — straighten up in a lackadaisical manner while watching lots of silly tv. There’s not much actual cooking planned, but I do need to marinate some chicken and make some potato salad. But what kind of potato salad? That is the age-old question. So many delicious choices…
Owl and owlet. These are made with my speediest form of decorating — make a six-second icing, color it, dip cookies and scrape off excess (takes a light touch to get the right amount off, but you get used to it), sprinkle with colored sugar.
These are quite time-consuming, adding these details, because you need to mix up different colors, put them into separate squeeze tubes or pastry bags, and apply the layers with time to dry between each one. But they are super-cute, so I suppose that makes it worthwhile.
Lots of little cookies, dipped and sprinkled, goes pretty fast, even if you do a few different colors.
I plan the color layers so I can do it all in one bowl — start with white, set aside any white you’ll need later for detailing in a mini squeeze bottle. Stir in yellow gel color to the bowl, ice some cookies. Add orange, ice some cookies (set some icing aside for detailing). Add copper, ice some cookies. Add burgundy, ice some cookies. Add brown, ice some cookies. Add black, set aside for detailing.
Tried a new technique this time, marbling, which is super-easy — dipped the cookies to get the base color, squeeze bottle to add a line of a contrast color, use a toothpick (while both icings are still wet) to draw lines through them both. Really like the effect, suspect I will do it often going forward. A little sugar sprinkle makes it even more festive; these are my favorites out of this batch.
Finished little batches — cookies & owlet. Hopefully will sell lots of them for Pem‘s hurricane fundraiser! I think they’re pretty darn cute, and would make a nice little snack for yourself, a treat for your kids, or a sweet gift for a friend.
Cookie recipe: http://sweetopia.net/2009/12/sugar-cookie-recipe/
Icing recipe (thinned with hot water to 6-second icing): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/royal-icing-recipe-1941917
Dragging the last few days; think I’m fighting a cold. Just sneezed, sigh. Still, going to try to stick to the plan — ice cookies for fundraiser this morning, hopefully done by 9-ish, then go to co-working space and spend day working on novel.