Apparently in autumn, the inside of my house turns into a whimsical animal wonderland. I’m okay with that.
I didn’t have time to sew a matching mask for teaching today (alas!), but I did put together an outfit with a coordinating KN-95, and I’m pretty pleased with it, even if I do sort of feel like I look a little bit like a bird with a beak.
More importantly — it’s cool enough outside for boots and flannel! V. happy. New wrap from Target, super-cozy.
Last night, Kevin and I tried pinning up Kavi’s homecoming dress so she could figure out what length she wanted. We knew that she’d have to have me hem it some, because it trails on the floor (she’s about an inch taller than me, so 5’1″), and she was very firm that she did NOT want to wear heels. Kavi is pro-comfort in her dress. Also, I think this is going to be outdoors, possibly in the grass, so heels are definitely not ideal!
I think ankle-length would’ve looked fine, but Kavi was fretting that homecoming is not as formal as prom. I have not been to a homecoming ever (and neither has Kevin), so we really have no clue, but happy to follow her lead.
There are three layers of thin fabric, so pinning it up was something of a challenge. We tried just folding the pinned version up again (without unpinning) to get it to knee-length (third pic), but that gave it a really goofy poofiness at the bottom that made it hard for her to assess.
We unpinned it all and tried again, pinning it up pretty much at her waist to get it to knee-length. Not the neatest pinning job! Can I blame Kevin for the goofy bits? But I was glad for the help, because I was pretty darn tired, and Kavi decided it was good enough to give her a sense of it. She wants knee-length, which I think will be very cute.
I was definitely too tired to risk cutting last night, so I put a pin in at knee-length on her, unpinned it all, and I think tonight I’ll try cutting and hemming it. Three layers, which means cutting and hemming three times, fun for me. But worth it to give her an outfit she absolutely loves.
All that fabric being cut off means it’ll be easy to make her a matching mask. I *think* I’ll even have enough that I could make her a matching cape, but Kavi did NOT think that was a good idea. Ah well!
Kavi also decided she doesn’t want dress flats, and is going to wear her new black boots with it (pictured), sort of the Doc Marten look of my own college years (the 90s). She thinks it’s a goth look, but I think those boots are more grunge, if I’m remembering right? Regardless, I think she’ll look great.
Okay. I think I’m through the really intense sequence of one thing that HAD to be done right after another for three days, and back to normal levels of busy-ness. That was a bit much.
Plan for the rest of today — alternate e-mail & course prep with a bit of knitting and gardening for the next two hours, then go into campus and teach my 3 p.m. class, then come home and if not too tired, work on Kavi’s dress alterations.
Autopilot cowl coming along. I was distracted and did too many rows on the border before switching to the main pattern, but eh, it’s a cowl, it’ll be fine.
Mondays are normally long, but had an extra board meeting in the evening on top of it. So yesterday looked like this:
7 a.m. — up, dressed, showered, see if Kavi needs a ride to school (stayed home because convalescent, which saved me ten minutes)
8:30 a.m — got Anand’s lunch ready, packed up, out the door by 8:35. Collected Kevin and drove into campus.
9:30 a.m. — traffic was unusually horrible, took 15 minutes longer than usual, messaged students on Slack to tell them I’d just parked and would be 5-10 minutes late, stressful, I hate being late.
9:35 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. — taught. That was fun. I love teaching, most days.
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — walked to department, joined monthly GLAS meeting on Zoom. I’m affiliate faculty, so don’t generally have a lot of responsibilities with GLAS these days, so listened to the meeting while simultaneously answering some urgent e-mails, chimed in on a few things with hopefully helpful comments.
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 — lunch break, in theory. In practice, packed up some Delany books I’m loaning a student, walked up to the mailroom to leave them in my box for him, walked down to the first floor cafe and got a chai and some chips to supplement the frozen saag tikka masala lunch I brought from home (brand Deep — was tasty, esp. when I added in the crushed red pepper I keep in my desk), ate lunch while answering more e-mail.
1:30 – 2:15 – SLF weekly meeeting on Zoom. Lots of stuff progressing, is good, will tell y’all more about it soon. Kickstarter launching Oct 1, mark your calendars! I’m going to be trying to raise about $15,000 for the Portolan Project, eep. Will be paying a lot of teachers a lot of honoraria.
2:15 – 2:45 — prep for my next class, organizing bookshelves in my office that had gotten chaotic, cleaning out old papers I no longer need, figuring out what I want to teach today — I came up with a new game for developing characters, which I called “Character Jam” — if I have time, will post about it separately. I think it worked pretty well.
3 – 4:15: taught next class.
4:15 – 5:30: drove home (commuting time is brutal, but I did manage to deal with two doctor’s appointments on the way, hooray for hands-free, and ended up talking to Jed for a while as well)
5:30 – 6:00: Hadn’t quite finished conversation with Jed, sat in garage for 30 minutes talking, until I got a text from the school board president reminding me that we had a special board meeting that night, earlier than the normal time.
6:00 – 8:30: Sat in basement and attended board meeting, which was actually a super-helpful overview of the last twenty or so years of the financial history of OPRF, board decisions, the financial crisis, the levy, etc. and so on. I have a much better understanding of it all as a result, and also of the evidence-based funding model at the state level. Big thanks to Tom Cofsky and Ralph Martire for putting in the time to organize those presentations and teach us all — as a new board member, it was particularly helpful to me.
8:30: board meeting still going, but hunger drove me upstairs (hooray for the ability to turn off Zoom video and mute) to grab a quick sandwich of Roshani’s chicken curry and bread to get me through; I was actually feeling a little faint. Must remember to eat even on busy days.)
9:30: board meeting finally ended. I had some things to do for my students, but I just hit my limit, so hopefully they don’t mind too much that they’re getting this reading a little late. Climbed into bed with a book.
(I’ve been on this weird Pern binge, reading the later books written by Anne’s kids. Not nearly as good, I think, but the completist in me is sort of satisfied to fill out the Pern history. I may write more at some point about what Todd McCaffrey did in writing the same story from multiple different points of view in multiple books — I don’t think it quite works, and I’d like to talk about why. Might be a better reading experience if I weren’t binging, though.)
Woke up today and I admit, I mostly don’t want to work at all. But the cleaners are coming at 1, the house is a disaster, so I’ve been straightening up so they CAN clean. I have a staff check-in at 11; I cancelled the 11-2 staff meeting I would normally have here at the house (we’re meeting out on the porch) because Anand has a doctor’s appt. at 1, and I have a dentist appointment at 3.
This evening, I’m going to probably spend a few hours making alterations on Kavi’s dress for HOMECOMING this Saturday, I can’t even. She picked a gorgeous dress, though. She’s going to look terrific in it.
Now, scanning in some materials for my students and uploading, if any are reading this here, thank you for your patience!
Another day of teaching, another day of masks, hooray, hoorah. Kavi is feeling better, but still convalescent (tummy bug), so is staying home today.
She says she particularly likes my outfit today, and says I look like a doctor. I’m not sure where Kavi gets that, but this *is* my Perennial design, with the cancer stuff (cells dividing, the structures of the breast, cancer cells) woven in with the flowers (scilla, tradescantia), so I guess it’s apropos?
Kavi, who’s been a little sick for a few days: Do we have any chocolate?
Me, dubiously: We have chocolate chips.
Kavi, pathetically: Anything more dessert-y?
Me, thinking: How does chocolate pudding sound?
Kavi, cheerfully: I haven’t had chocolate pudding in forever. That sounds great.
Me, a gleam in my eye: Give me a few minutes.
….ten minutes later, drumroll….
Presenting very dessert-y chocolate pudding!
(Instant vanilla pudding we happened to have on hand, cooked on the stovetop with chocolate chips melted in, chilled in our fanciest gold-flecked dessert bowl, with gold candies scattered over, graced with graham crackers…)
I am happy to inform you that milady was pleased with the offering; there will be no chastisement in the kitchens tonight.
It’s honestly been a terrible gardening season for me, the last few months. For a host of reasons, I haven’t done much of anything in the garden since April, and you could really tell. It started to revert to wildness, with weeds popping up everything and getting tall.
Finally, this week, I got myself together enough to hire a college student to help. I didn’t want a regular service, because I have a lot of natives and other random unusual plants in my garden, and I was afraid they’d just tear through it all. So, this is slower, but safer — every time he comes, I walk through with him and give him a few specific tasks, telling him what to pull or cut out, what area is safe to clear, etc. It’s better.
As for me, I’ve starting doing little tasks too. A few weeks ago, I picked up some mums and asters for fall, hoping to get them in early enough that they’d have a chance to put down good roots and perennialize. But then I procrastinated planting them, and wasn’t good about watering either, and within a few days, they’d gotten sad and crispy.
I started watering regularly then, and most recovered, though I did lose one entirely. They still had lots of crispy brown dead flowerheads, though, so this morning, I’ve been sitting with my snips and just slowly going and snipping those dead heads off, with a gardening podcast for company.
There’s plenty of new buds that have emerged since I started watering regularly, so I have some faith that if I actually plant these today AND keep up with the watering, they’ll do just fine this fall, and give me some more flowers. And with a little luck, they might even come back next year…
Isn’t this sweet? Pamela Calvert came by on Friday and introduced me to a new local, Willa, a sewist with a lot of overlapping interests to me. (She makes the cutest bags — check out @tomboyfemmegoods on Insta.)
I admit, I am sufficiently pandemic-overwhelmed that I initially had a little bit of ‘why did I think socializing was a good idea?,’ but once they arrived, we had a lovely 90-minute chat on the porch. AND they modeled two of my scarf/mask designs for me.
Autumn Logophile and Temple Flowers in jasmine gold. So cute!
I’m really grateful that at this point in my life I have guerrilla cooking skills, because they are really helpful in times of exhaustion. Example — meals for this week:
– I took a pork shoulder out of the deep freeze and stuck it in the fridge, planning to cook it the next day — maybe vindaloo or tamarind pork curry?
– I was too tired to cook the next day; we ordered Indian takeout instead. Indian, because I was still planning to cook the pork soon, and so I figured any leftovers would go with
– the saag paneer that came with the Indian food was blander than usual — Kevin and I ate about a fifth of it, but without joy. I knew I’d want to add flavor before eating any again.
– the cilantro chutney that came with our samosas was thin and watery — it had some flavor, but needed more intensity and less wateriness
– next day, still too tired to cook from scratch. But hey — I heated some oil and cayenne in a big pot, took the pork shoulder and put it in, searing it (turning to sear both sides), and then dumped in the saag paneer and also the cilantro chutney and also some salt. Added some water, brought it to a boil, then covered and turned down to medium. Went to basement to chill out with TV for a while.
– eventually wandered back up, flipped pork over, gave everything a stir, tasted the sauce. Delicious. Added in the leftover devilled potato curry from the other day, turned heat down to medium low. Let it all cook another hour while I watched TV, checking periodically to make sure the liquid didn’t cook off too much.
– checked pork temp with thermometer — all good. Removed pork from sauce, sliced it up, and rinsed a few slices for the kids (too spicy for Anand otherwise, and I wasn’t sure Kavi would go for the saag sauce), Kevin and I had it straight up with naan / rice, pouring sauce over.
– next day, needed chickpea water for vegan love cake experiment. So had to open can of chickpeas. Perfect — added chickpeas to remaining sauce and simmered for 15-20 minutes. Delicious straight up with rice / naan, also good with pork slices added in.
Somewhere in there, I also pan-fried some chopped up chicken thighs with salt and pepper, added the restaurant tikka masala sauce, along with the tamarind sauce that came with their samosas. Yummy.
And so it goes around here. Nothing wasted, everything delicious.