Official SLF Cowriting Sessions

I’m delighted to announce that with Victor Raymond’s help, the SLF will now officially be hosting regular Saturday cowriting sessions from 11am to 2pm Central time. This is a session for writers who would like support for their writing, and is currently open to SLF members, staff, and my writing students. (We may open it up further once we work out the kinks. 🙂 )

There will be 10-15 minutes of introductions, followed by 45 minutes of SILENT writing; doing this three times, from beginning to end. People are welcome to show up on the hour; if you join at another time, Darius Vinesar will welcome you via chat.

These sessions will be a great time to catch up on the writing you’ve been meaning to write, while also being in the presence of others doing the same thing. Write whatever you would like to write – it’s completely up to you.

Our first session will take place tomorrow, Saturday 4/17 from 11-2pm. If you’re already a SLF member ($2/month), you’ll be getting an e-mail with the Zoom link.

In the near future, we will have a place for the cowriting sessions officially on the SLF site where all the info can be found for members and staff.

Hope to see some of you there!

Membership info:

Garden Log 4/15/19

Redbud Syrup

This recipe uses roughly a 1:1 ratio to make a simple syrup out of redbud tea and sugar. The thin syrup is suitable for creating lovely spring drinks; the thicker syrup can be drizzled over pancakes or used to soak a pound cake. Redbud has a delicate floral flavor, so be careful not to overwhelm it with other ingredients.

2 oz (roughly) redbud blossoms
4 c. water
sugar to measure

a little lemon juice

1. Rinse blossoms. (Since you’ll be draining the blossoms, no need to go to a lot of effort to pick off stems.) In a medium pot on high heat, bring blossoms and water to a boil.

2. Remove from heat, cover, steep in fridge 6-8 hours or overnight. You’ve now made redbud tea.

3. Sieve flowers out and weigh redbud-steeped tea. Combine tea with equivalent weight of sugar in a pot on the stove.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer 20-30 minutes for a light pink syrup (suitable for drinks), stirring occasionally. For a thicker syrup, such as you might use to soak a cake, simmer another 15-30 minutes, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (If you let it go too long, you’ll end up with rock candy.)

NOTE: If your liquid isn’t looking very pink, add a little lemon juice to change the PH and bring out the pinkness.

5. Let cool, and transfer to lidded jars for storage; store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Travel Through Food

Lunch today — I’d ordered seafood paella from a local restaurant a few days ago, excited to try it. The last time I had paella was on the beach in Mexico, and it was so good, and I miss beaches. So travel through food, yes? One way of getting through sheltering in place.

Unfortunately, the paella was…not great. I mean, it was fine? But not DELICIOUS. And I wanted delicious. Also, it was mostly rice with a little seafood, and I’m not sure how traditional that is or isn’t, not being a paella expert, but I wanted mine to be more seafood with a little rice.

So I messed with it. I diced an onion and some bell pepper, sauteed those in a good amount of olive oil with salt and pepper and smoked paprika and garlic powder. Added in a little wine and some already cooked shrimp I had on hand. Stirred in the restaurant paella, and then a good amount of lemon juice. (I like tang). Tasted, wanted more spice, ground in a little more fresh black pepper.

Reader, it was delicious. Anand came over and tried some, and then served himself a huge helping, so that was an extra win — I wasn’t expecting him to go for paella, but he does like rice, so I should not have underestimated him, I guess. 🙂. It’s not the same as being able to go dive into the ocean beforehand and work up a big appetite, but for now, I’ll take it. Vacations will come again.

Garden Log 4/14/21

Time to pickle the redbuds!

Pickled Redbuds

Do you like capers? Pickled redbuds are very similar, but with a faintly floral taste (a little like a sweetpea at first, then tangy), and a lovely color.

1 c. redbud blossoms
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 c. water

1/2 t. salt (ideally kosher or other non-iodized)

1. Gather redbud blossoms (in bud will work a little better for pickling than fully bloomed) — they come easily off the tree. Rinse blossoms and pick off stems; they’re easy to remove in clusters, so this won’t take long.

2. Combine vinegar, water, and salt; stir to combine.

3. Fill a clean jar with blossoms and cover with brine; add a little water if necessary to completely fill. Screw on top; all blossoms should be submerged in liquid.

4. Leave at room temperature for three days, away from direct heat and sunlight.

5. Transfer jar to refrigerator; it will keep for a few weeks. Enjoy pickled redbud wherever you would use capers.


It’s Sri Lankan New Year right now, and it’s making me sad. Usually I have a house jammed full of people, I’ve been cooking for days, and my kitchen island is overflowing with delicious food.

Tonight, I ordered pizza, because I’m too bummed to cook. Stupid pandemic. I miss people.


🙁 🙁 🙁

Long Pandemic. Little Victories.

I have been more than a little stressed out about the house mess. For some reason it’s really been getting to me this week, and I’ve had to restrain myself from seriously snapping at the kids about not cleaning up after themselves, but I finally cleared the first floor enough that I can actually run the Roomba, and the buzz of the little robot as it scootches around is making me feel better.

Long pandemic. Little victories.

On the Temporary Suspension of the J&J Vaccine

Passed along with permission from a Johns Hopkins doctor, re: the temporary suspension of the J&J vaccine:

“I am not particularly worried. Any medication or vaccine distributed this widely is likely to have some reports of adverse events. I think we were unusually lucky with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to have so few reports of problems. Even there, there was at least one report of a platelet problem that might’ve been related to the vaccine. Obviously this has to be kept in the context of an enormous denominator. I would view these events as being akin to people being killed by their airbags. It does happen but it is extraordinarily rare and the benefits of the airbag obviously greatly outweigh the risks of having them in your car.

We had a grand rounds lecture on the J&J vaccine last Friday by the developer of the vaccine, who is the brother of a faculty member here. The science behind it is very robust and it looks very effective. I would not hesitate to take it myself if I were not already vaccinated.

It is quite literally a one in 1 million occurrence. The government is trying to be super careful, but this has the unfortunate effect of fanning the flames of vaccine phobia.”

Finished U+ Board Meeting

Finished U+ board meeting (we meet at 7 a.m. my time because it’s an international group). Heading towards our next general assembly, prepping for sequence of narratopias workshops, looking forward to November 5-6 Other Futures festival in the Netherlands — I don’t know if I’ll be able to attend in person this year, but I’d surely love to. We’ll have to see where we are with the pandemic at this point. Jed, maybe come to Netherlands with me?

More about Plurality University (U+) — artists, designers, utopians, and activists imagining diverse futures:

Garden Log 4/13/21: Extreme Gardening Edition!

I spent much of last year’s gardening season wondering if I should get a headlamp in case I wanted to garden at night, and thinking that was silly, and talking myself out of it, and somehow this year I just went ahead and got one last week, and today was a long and complicated day (in addition to all the normal stuff, I had to take my husband to the doctor, and my daughter to her first haircut in over a year), so it was dark by the time I got home and had a chance to water the seedlings in the greenhouse, but that was fine, because I had a HEADLAMP.