Dishes and such

Anand came and woke me up for breakfast and I said okay go get ready for camp and he said it’s Sunday! and I said oh and he said you forgot it was Sunday and I said yes.

So that’s about my state of mind today — yesterday was a long day with a six hour library strategic planning meeting (went very well, I think, our library staff is awesome & we are going to make our libraries even better next year!) and then a quick sewing job to get my space dress to fit again (borderline, but made it) while watching an episode of Project Runway with Kavi, and then into the city for Mary Robinette’s book launch party. I pretty much fell into bed when I got home and I’m still a little tired / groggy.

But there’s no real plan for today. Taking the day off writing / e-mail, I think, so it’s more of a weekend. Watch tv, read books, cook a little (vegetarian marshmallow experiments, maybe bake rosewater-pistachio cookies before it gets too hot). I told Kavi I’d take her to the fabric store and let her pick something out to work with at camp this week, which means I have to figure out where the closest one is, now that Hancock has closed. But mostly putter and clean — the dishes and laundry are kind of a disaster after a few busy days.

It falls apart so fast if you’d don’t keep on it daily, and while I have an assistant to help now, he’s not here every day. (Even if business grew to a point where I could afford to have him here every weekday, I’m not sure I’d want someone here daily; it’s an interesting balance between getting things done and having someone in our space.) Anyway, time to get the kids to empty the dishwasher…

Tall Lilies

I can see the tall lilies from the writing shed!  Eventually (maybe two years), I hope to have a lush garden of flowers out that window, something gorgeous to gaze at when I’m stuck on a story (which happens all too often). This fall, I’ll be dividing lots of perennials from the front to fill in back there.

I slept poorly last night for some reason — finally got to bed around 3, instead of my normal 11. So a slow and groggy start today, but I’ve managed to do some formatting of the marshmallow e-book — I just need to develop hopefully acceptable vegetarian and vegan recipes this weekend, then write some notes (like why honey vs. light corn syrup, or vice versa) and an introduction, and it’ll be ready to go. Should set up a pre-order page too, maybe today. Also posted flower photos.

Other items in the queue for today are to write a slightly overdue blog post for Wild Cards (about disability in WC, a tentative stab at a difficult topic, probably more raising some questions than offering any answers, but it’s a step, at least) and hopefully at least a scene or two in one of my Wild Cards stories. I’m almost done with one, just starting the other. On Monday I’m planning to dive deep into the novel again (after six months away), so the next few days are for finishing up little bits and pieces of things, I think. Also dishes left over from the 4th. So many dishes…

Therapy / ADHD / meditation update

So, you may remember that sometime in spring I started seeing a psychologist. The proximate cause of going was to see whether an ADHD diagnosis might be appropriate.

We did a couple therapy sessions and then she said that she’d be willing to recommend a full testing assessment for me, which I have only now gotten around to scheduling. It’s going to be three 3-hr sessions of testing, which should be covered by my HMO insurance, which means probably a $20 co-pay / hr, so $180 total. Something like that? Will report back with the verdict after the testing; am quite curious.

I saw her weekly for about a month, talking through some of the cancer / work anxiety / family stuff / etc., then switched to biweekly, because I was running out of things to talk about. I’m basically pretty happy these days. At today’s session, we agreed that I’d check back in at the start of August, see if I wanted to continue sessions or not. It was good, talking to a competent stranger about all that, getting a check on my take on things from someone unbiased.

She was most useful, I think, in the interpersonal dynamics aspect, helping me see how other people might be thinking about things, and where I was putting a little too much of my own view of the world on them, if that makes sense. My view of the world is maybe a little more idiosyncratic than most, but I suspect that in general, that’s something we’re all subject to. Interesting to think about.

Another thing I started doing this year was meditation. I signed up for the Headspace app, and did daily meditation for a month. That was really useful, I think, in that it got me to a point, after a month, where I could very quickly feel when I was getting into a stressed-out, unproductive headspace.

Sometimes I actually meditate to pull out of it, often I just switch tasks, take a walk, etc. But it helped me ‘tune in’ to what was going on in my subconscious, which is actually a pretty cool result for 10 minutes / day for a month. I wish we had this as a default part of the elementary school curriculum, because I think we could all use it. Maybe if I run for school board. Although it’s probably simpler just to suggest it to the D97 board or staff…and I bet there’s some stuff like this built into the Second Step curriculum they’re already doing.

Today I scheduled Anand to start therapy, after we get back from California (visiting the in-laws for the second half of July). I’m hoping it’ll help with his new habit of perseverating — when something bad happens, out comes a litany of everything bad that’s happened to him in the last month, and he remembers it all in excruciating detail, poor munchkin. The card game that went awry when someone didn’t play fair, the camp counsellor who wouldn’t let him out of the baby end of the pool, etc. and so on. Hoping they can give him some tools to be able to switch out of that mindset. Also I think it’ll just be good for him to have another adult to listen and validate his emotions, someone who isn’t his parent.

I suspect that if I do keep seeing my therapist, we’ll mostly be talking about parenting strategies. Sometimes it’s bewildering, when Anand is behaving in a way that is so unlike anything I would ever do, and I really am not sure how best to support and help him. Again, wish this sort of help was available to everyone.

Universal healthcare now, please. Raise my taxes if you have to (though if you can tax the billionaires first, that’d be good). And if we include massage therapy as part of it, that would be very nice.

What would a truly healthy, happy society look like?

Broccoli-Cheddar Sous Vide Egg Bites

Another sous vide egg bite experiment, pretty good. This was mostly using up farm share stuff in the fridge — garlic scapes, zucchini, broccoli, plus eggs and cheddar. Could’ve used a little more zing, maybe more black pepper, though Kat recommended just eating it with hot sauce. Maybe a little cream cheese too, so it sets a little fluffier.
But good, will likely make again, next time in 4 oz., straight-sided canning jars so that I can un-mold them easily and have it pre-portioned to an amount I’m likely to want to eat. Thought eating it with a spoon wasn’t hard, and you could just stick it back in the fridge for a day without any negative consequences, I think.

Poppy Mallow

After finishing the novella yesterday morning, I planted a bunch of perennials and then basically collapsed for the rest of the day. Writing through the weekend tired me more than I’d realized.

I really do need to get back to Wild Cards today (esp. since the holiday tomorrow is probably going to mean no writing — marching in the parade as an elected official and then hosting a BBQ in classic American tradition). But I may need to work up to the writing.

Reading galleys for Survivor now and sending authors proofing questions (Brooke and Erik, check your e-mails, please), also need to do a solid pass or two on my own e-mail, which I’ve gotten woefully behind on the last few weeks. Again. And then @ 1, hopefully talking to Kay about the SLF fund drive, which reminds me that among my tasks is talking to the Kickstarter Drip people about some issues we’re having with their system.

Okay, yesterday was fun (I watched much Project Runway), but today, head down, back to work. If I make good progress, maybe I’ll reward myself with an hour of playing with soap-making this afternoon. Oh, and I’m going to teach Kat how to play Magic, see if she likes it.

Keto ‘Naan’

Made coconut flour keto ‘naan’, out of curiosity. It’s not naan, but it’s good! A little odd, and definitely soft — you have to be careful flipping it, or it will tear / mush. The texture isn’t really bread-like — closer to injera, maybe.

But I actually kind of love the sweetness of the coconut with a tangy pork curry. If you’re looking for a gluten-free (or higher-fiber) desi bread-like option, this is a good one; I might even make it again myself.

Novella done

Novella draft, finished. Clicked in at 40,638 words, which is a little long, but I’m sure there will be some cutting and adding still, so I’m not going to worry about getting it under the 40K mark yet. (This is mostly only an issue for Hugo voting, since there’s a firm cut-off between categories there.)

It’s done, it’s done. Feels v. good. Going to go eat lunch and then plant some perennials to celebrate.


Plan for today — garden and write, prep for the next SLF fund drive, which was supposed to be this week, but I just couldn’t get it prepped it time — hopefully next week. That’s mostly it.

The kids are switching camps, going to Steve and Kate’s, which is a little more expensive but much more free form, which I think suits Anand better. I’m hoping they’ll both be happy there, so I can let them stay for several hours each weekday for the next two weeks and I can really sink into the work.

Plan for this morning — finish draft of novella; I’m so close to done. Just need to revise prior version of epilogue so it makes sense with this new draft. Then it’s going out to first readers — I’m really happy with the first 35K words, but the last 5K are all new, and I think may need some more work.

Well, and assuming the ending stays as it is, I probably will need to go back into the earlier material and layer some more stuff in, so that it builds as effectively as possible to that ending. But it’s really close. And oh, damn, I need a new title, because the old one really makes no sense now.

After that, the rest of the week is dedicated to Wild Cards, finishing up my story for Joker Moon, hopefully, and starting to draft my story for Three Kings. I’m not at all sure how much time that’ll take, and it’ll be intermittent over the rest of the summer, since it’s a mosaic novel with other writers, and we have to be responsive to each other as we go.

And after *that* — I’m a little waffly, honestly. Part of me wants to dive right back into the big SF novel, that I got 30K words into by last December, and haven’t really touched since. I think I could get a draft by end of summer. Part of me also wants to take a break from fiction, clear my brain a little, and do some memoir work. Lay down a first draft of the domestic resistance book, which should go fast, since the bones of it are all in FB posts. Hmmm…

This post brought to you by clematis, gooseneck loosestrife, columbine, and lamium. Need to get some mulch down over that mess on the ground, and sometime this week, I hope to find time to go to a stoneyard and hopefully find a nice big threshold stone, but it’s going to look v. pretty soon.

Sri Lankan Spinach-Egg Sous Vide, take one

First try at a Sri Lankan-style sous vide egg dish was not fabulous. Spinach, scallions, cumin and mustard seed, chili powder and salt, sautéed in a little ghee. I tried to make it lactose-free / paleo vegetarian, but without cheese or heavy cream, the eggs set a little hard — I mean, they’re fine, but they don’t have the delectable fluffiness that I want for sous vide eggs. If you’re avoiding dairy, I’m not sure what you should add to get that texture — coconut cream might be your best bet? I’m not sure.
Next time I try it, though, I’m going to just add some heavy cream, which I’m pretty sure is how many restaurants get such delectable saag paneer. 🙂 Also, more salt (without the cheese, I under-salted this), and maybe ground cumin and mustard instead of seeds, to maximize the creamy texture. I have a lot of eggs cooked right now, so it might be a week or two before I get back to this…