Tea for 10th

In a week, Kavi will turn 10, but we’ll be full swing into anniversary party guests & prep at that point, and we didn’t want her birthday to get lost in all that. So we celebrated part of it a little early, with a birthday tea party at Serenitea (a local black woman-owned business), which was just lovely. The scones there are delicious — I wish I had her recipe!

The girls had a terrific time, and Anand got to demonstrate his pinky-out tea-drinking technique, which he somehow knows about from tv even though he’s never had tea before. Their strawberry-chocolate rooibos herbal tea was a big hit with the kids.

  

Super

I can’t remember how it came up yesterday, but somehow I told Anand that one the qualities I liked best about him is how honest he is. Anand is a straight arrow — he will argue you into the ground in the most infuriating way, but he is unbendingly honest about it, and in the end, you have to give him props for that.

Kavya was with us, and asked what her best quality was. I told her it was her kind heart. Kavi deliberately made friends with the new girl in class, so she wouldn’t feel left out. That’s what Kavi is like, pretty much all the time.

If I could meld the two of them, they’d make an ideal superhero.

Hither and yon

Okay, ran Kevin up to his topology one-day conference at Northwestern which was in theory a favor for him (spouse points!), but in actuality an excuse to do my spring planter shopping at Gethsemane in the city (garden points!). Home now, going to buy lunch for a political staffer who really impressed me in a DFA meeting; I’m hoping to pick his brain a little about how I can best lend my energies to help the Democrats going forward.

Then home, where my main priority will be setting up the registration page for my upcoming June 30 – July 2 writing workshop. Shouldn’t take more than an hour or so, so look for that by mid-afternoon, if all goes well. I’m going to hold it to twenty-five slots, and ten are already spoken for, so I’m expecting it to fill up pretty quickly.

After that, I may try some fabric dying. I have a little project I want to work on, though am a bit anxious that I end up covering everything in the laundry room in pink. We’ll see. Dharma Trading Co. has pretty detailed instructions on their website, including for a front loader, which is what I’m hoping to use, although they admit, they don’t use one themselves. Eep.

Capacity take two

I had three undergrads and one grad student who were all wanting to do independent studies with me this semester, and usually I only supervise 1-2 of them, but I didn’t want to say no, and they were all working on speculative material in one form or another, so I ended up saying yes to all of them, but then putting together a working group.

We all met together about once a week and they read each others’ work and gave each other feedback, which made it more manageable for me time-wise, and according to our final check-in today, they found the extra critiques and conversation with the other students helpful. So win-win, and wanted to note it as a pedagogical strategy.

(I also had another undergrad who wasn’t doing speculative work, and I just met with him separately.)

Capacity

Co-coached another soccer practice today, by which I mean I shouted encouragement while the other three more experienced coaches actually ran the practice. Was pleased that Kavi seemed to be keeping up a bit better this time — less standing around and walking, more actually running, and getting in there and trying to kick the ball. She was so tentative the first time, but she’s starting to get the hang of it, I think.

They let her try goalie this time, and she actually did just fine, and loves it, because she doesn’t have to run. Heh. We’ll keep working on building up her cardio capacity — we ran together yesterday, and it was definitely run a quarter block, walk, run, walk, but I think a week of doing that will have noticeable effects for both of us!

Lunching with Ada

Plan for today:

– meet with independent study students (for the record, six independent study students is too many for me to take on, now I know! and I am taking one of them to lunch today to apologize for getting so behind on reading her work; I’m finally caught up now)
– pick up remaining final papers and portfolios to grade over the weekend
– lunch also with Ada Palmer and a friend, where I will tell Ada how much I enjoyed _Too Like the Lightning_ even if I was desperately confused much of the time as well, and I’ve already started the second half (next book)
– Ada’s giving a talk from 3-5 at UIC today; I’m not going to make it, but encourage others
– come home and bake cookies with the kids for the anniversary party
– coach Kavi’s soccer practice
– maybe have a little lie down after that. Feeling slightly tired today, probably mostly from lifting weights yesterday.

Spicy

I really, really like this chocolate-chili cake. I put in a touch more ancho chili and cayenne than the recipe called for, and next time I make it, I would use a little less frosting as the proportions were a bit off, but overall, excellent, if you like chili & chocolate. Maybe not quite as good as my memories of Charlie Trotter’s chili-chocolate cake, which I think might have had chili in the cake too, rather than coffee. But I am not Charlie Trotter, and this will do very nicely. Easy, too — nothing complicated about this one if you’ve made a cake from scratch before. I dusted it with a bit of cocoa powder too as well as cinnamon, for the two-tone effect.  It goes very nicely with a glass of red wine.