Delicate Skin

Nabokov has a passage in Lolita about the skin atop real hot chocolate, and every time the cream in my coffee cools in this particular fashion, I think of it. I also put off stirring for as long as possible, studying the thin wall as it ripples and responds to heat. It never fails to fascinate me.

Such a delicate thing, skin… and yet it’s the largest organ, our first line of defense.

I know hand washing is a big thing now (justifiably! it should always be!) so our own skin might be feeling a little dry and cracked. Lotion up to keep that barrier strong, my friends. Hydrate, and take as much care as you can.

We can’t afford to lose you. Yes, you, the person reading this, whoever you are. Treat your skin–and your self–as gently as you can, please.

Ferment or Roast

A lovely daikon, sliced and placed in brine, then left to think about things. It ends up looking very pink, because I didn’t want to bother with peeling.

And it tastes marvelous. It took me a long time to start fermenting things, but now I can’t stop. I look at all sorts of vegetables and think “hrm, can I pickle that bitch? Or… maybe I can roast it?”

Ferment or roast. Either I drown the vegetable and encourage beneficial rot, or I toss it with oil and engage in controlled burning. And let’s not even talk about what I have planned for summer fruits, since I have all these canning supplies.

Food is weird. And with that thought, my darlings, I leave you to embark upon your weekend. Hopefully you have something tasty to snack on while doing so.

No Snow, But Hope

I was told snow was in the offing, but it ended up being a nonevent. If any did fall, it was gone by the time I hauled myself wearing from my Monday morning bed.

At least I got some good rest over the weekend, for once. I tossed out my to-do list on Saturday, which meant I was liberated from most of my Sunday chores. (Not really, but I felt liberated.) I ended up doing them anyway because I let like it, but I also got one of the grapevines moved to its new home.

February means the garden needs attention again, so I’ll have dirt under my fingernails on a daily basis. I even have the energy this year to get a couple things in the ground, which is a welcome change. I think it comes from disengaging from a lot of social stuff. One can’t create in a vacuum, but one also can’t create with the world crashing in every five seconds to spray one with a firehose of raw sewage.

I did not get the proofing done that I wanted to, but I needed the time for my body and brain to cycle down a bit. The proofing system’s been changed to include new hardware, so I’m probably refraining until I have enough spare brain-cycles for a learning curve.

The house still smells like garlic, tomatoes, and fresh bread from yesterday’s red sauce. Our dinner guests bailed, so we have so much red sauce, but that’s fine. I froze some of it, the rest we’ll eat for about half the week. Thankfully, the kids like every single iteration of it I’ve been able to come up with–baked pasta, regular pasta tossed in the sauce, fresh bread and fried eggs with the sauce. Next time I should add capers and olives; the kids don’t like mushrooms.

I keep telling them “mushrooms are hobbit favorites” but the Little Prince fixed me with an arch look the other day and said, “Mum, I can’t be a hobbit, I’m taller than you now. Don’t worry,” he added hastily, “I know you brought me into the world, you can still take me out, and all that.”

That busted us both up pretty good. I couldn’t stop chuckling for about a half-hour after that. Still… well, the goal is to raise them to be reasonable adults, not to have them little and dependent forever. It’s just weird to look up one day and realize the tiny thing you carried for ten lunar months is now TALLER THAN YOU.

I’ve today’s Soundtrack Monday post to arrange, tomorrow’s free writing post to get together, dogs to walk, and all the business of a Monday to embark upon, but I think I’ll set a timer and just breathe for a few minutes before I begin. Kitchen timers aren’t just for wordcount, you know.

And who knows? There might be some pretty snow that doesn’t turn the roads into a slop-melting fiasco. It’s getting closer to spring, the snowdrops are out, the cherry down the road is still in its robe, laughing at the rest of us slow sleepyheads.

We may have survived winter after all.


For various reasons, I never used to like my eggs any other way than scrambled.

Fortunately, though, I’m now forty-mumblemumble years old and have cultivated the habit of trying things I never liked every once in a while just to be sure. And I’ve found out that fried eggs with salt and pepper, their yolks maybe not entirely hardened, are great on sourdough toast. And each time I eat them, I say a silent little fuck you to the abusive asshats who tried to rob me of simple joys.

It makes them taste even better.

It’s nice to try new things, it’s nice to try things you once disliked and find out you like them now, and it’s also nice to try things you never liked once in a while and think “Nope, still not for me.” All three are useful, especially to a writer.

Have a lovely weekend, chickadees!

Begin the Leftovers

I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one, my friends. Mine spawned a crop of leftovers we’ll be eating from all weekend, including this marvelous bread pudding from yesterday’s leftover plain bread.

“Didn’t you use the challah?” the Princess asked, and I explained it was silly to use the leftover challah because we needed that for ham-and-stuffing sandwiches later in the day. And lo, her eyes lit up.

Age and experience triumphed again. Leftovers are Serious Business.

Have a good weekend, my dears.

Globular Children

Yes, my lovely globular children! You will be brushed with oil and roasted, then I will SCRAPE OUT YOUR FLESH and PUREE IT and CONSUME IT WITH SPICES and quite possibly a crust.

…if you can’t tell, I had quite a lovely Samhain, and I hope you did too. I got a lot of things done, watched a lot of terrible movies, and bought myself a Shudder subscription so I can watch even MORE wonderfully terrible movies. Plus, there was all the candy I could stomach. (Which is less than it has been other years, but age brings some discomfort to us all.)

And now it’s NaNoWriMo; I’ve decided to write the next Watcher novel this time around. If you’re doing NaNo, buddy me! We’ll get through this together.

Technically I’m on a four-day weekend, but you know I’m going to have to work at least a little. Can’t let the iron cool too much before striking.

Enjoy All Saint’s Day, my chickadees, and I hope your candy hangover is just bad enough to suit you roundly…

Small Prices

She-Wolf & Cub

I promised myself I wouldn’t start autumn’s round of baking until the daily high temp became a comfortable mid-seventies1 or so. The forecast appeared good, I put together a starter while prepping the pot roast yesterday…

…and today the forecast has changed and the goddamn high is supposed to be in the eighties, just where I didn’t want it.

Ah well. A little sweat is a small price to pay for the season’s first bread.

Last night Damage finally dropped into its groove with a deep, satisfying internal click. One of the characters is a cagey beast indeed, and I had to wait just outside his mousehole for him to get interested and stick his nose out. Now I’ve got him, and the real work can start.

So much of this job is patience. Waiting, while frustrating, is often the most efficient strategy. If childhood didn’t teach me that, motherhood certainly did, and writing’s just sealed the deal, so to speak.

I also have to put together a short survey. I may cancel HOOD after only two seasons and shift to a different serial. It’s sad, but the story is structured like a TV series and that might be a little too much for some readers. Sometimes when the audience numbers aren’t there, one has to refocus.

So if you like Robin Hood in Space, be ready to say so when the survey comes around. Only actual Serial Time or Nest Egg subscribers will get a chance to vote, since they’re the ones funding the whole deal.

I’ve the dogs to walk, bread to mix and set for its bulk rise–if I get it done early enough I might escape the heat later–and more of Damage to write. It’s going to be a busy day, just how I like it.

And so, off I go.