Community Check-in Post

I just posted notes for my students asking how they’re doing this week, with the recent attack on the Capitol, the ongoing high COVID counts, the Inauguration on Wednesday. I asked if they’re having trouble focusing on schoolwork, feeling extra-stressed.

I know I am. Mostly, I’m trying to keep busy with work, which generally helps me in tough times, but sometimes I just can’t focus at all. Hooray for physical work in that case — I’ve been alternating recording videos this morning with putting away laundry and straightening up while listening to the Seamwork podcast. A cleaner house is good for my sanity.

How are y’all doing, my peeps? A little extra stressed? I wish I could hug you all. In the absence of that, here’s me and Arya in the basement last night, reading a romance novel together. Cats make everything better.

Kitty Was Helping

Garden log 1/9/20. I may have realized that if I bought Jiffy 50 mm seed pellets in bulk, that I could get them for half-price. So I now have a LOT of Jiffy pellets; more than I can use this season, I’m pretty sure. So I thought I’d put together some giveaways for the garden club group this spring, to encourage novice gardeners.

First up, some tomatoes (flowers and other veggies coming soon):

These are little packets of about 10 tomato seeds each, and I’m happy to include 3 pellets with each packet. You’ll want to sow about 2-3 seeds / pellet, somewhere around mid-March. You need bright grow lights to start seeds, and you may want a heat mat to help with germination. Covering the seeds with plastic (milk jug, etc.) will help retain moisture, so you don’t have to water quite as often.

Seeds available:
– Sun Sugar Tomato
– Micro Tom Tomato
– Juliet Tomato
– Chocolate Cherry Tomato

– Yellow Tumbling Tom Tomato

I’ll be doing the giveaway in the Oak Park Area Garden Club group, for porch pick-up, so mosey over there if you’d like to snag some. 🙂

Kitty was helping.

An Elderly Lady

Traditionally, the pets get stocking gifts too. The treats went over well, but Ellie is an elderly lady these days (fifteen!), and where she used to fall on these toys at the holidays, generally shredding them within a few days in her eagerness to get at the squeakers, she is either too tired or too wise to fall for it now. That would require exertion.

So if any locals have more enthusiastic doggies and would like a brand-new teddy bear with squeakers for pet disassembly, we would be very happy to leave it on the porch for pick-up. Let me know!

Heartless That Way

My evening plans to work out (after a long stretch of not working out because too stupid busy) were delayed 20 minutes because a cat climbed into my lap and then fell asleep there. Eventually, though, I moved him, because I am heartless that way. And worked out, huzzah. The cat went right back to sleep after being moved, just in case you were worried.

Is That for Me?

Ellie says, “Is that for me?”

Sorry, baby. Gnocchi arrabbiata (potato dumplings in a spicy marinara sauce with pancetta), pollo alla fiorentina (chicken breast sautéed in lemon butter sauce, layered with spinach and mozzarella cheese), and sautéed broccoli (all delicious) are for human people, not doggy people.

All from La Notte Ristorante Italiano, which has recently moved into the Carleton Hotel (where Barclay’s used to be), which means that they’re now less than a block from my house. Oh, happy day. I love gnocchi, but I am super-lazy about all the effort that goes into making it, so I’m particularly delighted to order it from a local restaurant.

Harder than You Think

I forgot to take my sleep aid medicine last night, which meant that I woke up after 3 hours, and have been up since 3 a.m., and I did get a LOT done (baked love cake! cut out fabric for a half dozen masks! made candles! made soap! posted about Kickstarter! got into long discussion about school reopening and running for office on Facebook group with local moms, okay, that might not be an accomplishment exactly, but anyway), but now I am groggy and having a little trouble focusing.

I ended up going down to the basement for the fabric cutting, and seem to have settled in there for work today, which may not have been the best choice, as it’s a real disaster down here at the moment — we’re talking tripping over things when you try to walk across the room, because I got so harried the last six weeks of the semester, I was just throwing stuff in the basement to organize later, and then sometimes the piles fall over — so I keep wanting to get up to clean and organize at least a little bit.

I really need to keep my butt in the chair and do some writing — I have a Wild Cards blog post that’s overdue, despite poor Stephanie reminding me every darn day for the several days beforehand. I *meant* to do it on time. And then George sent a note chiding me for lateness, gah. And I even know what I want to write about — trying to create alternate history for Sri Lanka in the Wild cards universe and not stepping in political landmines in the process. Harder than you might think.

It’s fiction, so you think it’d be safe, but alternate history can be particularly dangerous, often re-inscribing and reinforcing violently racist, sexist, etc. political and social structures. (Benjamin, maybe a good topic for the podcast? Do we know anyone who does a lot of alternate history? Or examples of alternate history that is particularly pernicious?)

The cat has just come to purr next to me (thank you, Arya, for not sleeping on the stack of just-ironed tea towels, which I clearly need to move off the couch as soon as I get Kevin to help me bring a folding table down to the basement). The purr is very soothing and also rather loud, so maybe it will function like white noise and help me focus? Fingers crossed.

I’m about to go into an hour of co-writing with my students (and anyone else who wants to join, drop note in comments for Zoom link), which is also useful for focus. You don’t have to be working on fiction! Just dealing with e-mail or whatever is also fine. We usually work for 50-55 minutes on the Zoom with video / audio off, then check in for 5 minutes, then repeat.