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Keep a Working Pantry (read all 19 entries…)
Pineapple-Apricot Jam

Made this jam with canned pineapple tidbits, fresh and dried apricots, and my daughter’s help.

It made about 11 cups. Some we’ll give away, of course, because I doubt anyone can eat 11 cups of jam in a year. It generally takes us three months to go through one store-bought jar. But then, we don’t really eat PBJ very often.

The flavor turned out well, but a bit too sweet. I had a total of about six cups of fruit and six cups of sugar. Next time I’ll add a quarter cup of lemon juice and reduce the sugar to four or five cups.

We processed the jam with a stick blender to get a smooth, rather than a chunky consistency. It is like a fruit butter now. We like it’s spreadability. One thing we’ve never liked much about store bought grape jelly was that it tends to be so hard set that it tears bread when you try to spread it. This goes on much easier.

We tasted one jar, which isn’t really even cool yet. It is pretty runny still. I hope and believe it will set up a bit more firmly once it’s thoroughly chilled. It is such a fine line to walk between having the jam too runny vs. too solid! But whatever happens I know it will be eaten and enjoyed.

I look forward to coating my Christmas Ham with this jam this year as a glaze. It will be very special.

Keep a Working Pantry (read all 19 entries…)
Back to Canning!

I am inspired to begin canning again. I have a new favorite YouTube guru. Her name is imstillworkin and she’s the smartest and clearest instructor I’ve ever found when it comes to canning, dehydrating, and otherwise preserving food for long-term storage.

I feel a bit conflicted, though, because the first thing I’m going to can will be apricot jam, and the second will be cherries in sugar syrup. I’m trying to give up all extra sugar, so these foods I’ll make won’t really be for me. They’ll be “to have”, so I can feed them to other people I love.

I’ll give some as gifts. The jam will be mostly for my daughter, because that’s her favorite kind. Part of me feels odd gifting people with food I consider unfit to eat because the sugar level makes it poisonous to me. But if THEY aren’t diabetic or insulin resistant, then they should be fine indulging in these treats occasionally.

Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
Re-upping a goal

Would someone please remind me how to get a goal back onto my home page from my “already did it” page? I clicked “I want to do this again”, and it said I was doing it again and could add new entries, but it still doesn’t show up where I want to see it.

I’m re-upping the goal to create a working pantry.

Eat like a caveman (read all 10 entries…)
Good Morning!

Today I woke up with no headache!

Though I don’t suffer from daily migraines anymore, I still usually wake up with a headache. It goes away with aspirin and a caffeine pill, but it has happened most mornings even after I gave up milk. Something about sleeping badly I guess.

This morning my first thought was a luxuriant enjoyment of my legs still not being swollen. I can move them and feel them and they are supple and wonderful. Then I realized that though I was waking up as groggy as usual, I wasn’t in a bad mood and I didn’t have a headache!

Somehow giving up starches must have something to do with my head aching too. Maybe it has to do with a general inflammation.

I made a soup yesterday with beef, lentils, split peas, cauliflower, and barley. I was worried that the barley might have counted as a “starch”, but either the proportions were well within tolerance or barley is just naturally different from refined wheat flour and potatoes when it comes to spiking an insulin response.

So this morning I feel great! I hope I can keep this good trend going!

I also seem to have misplaced about five or ten pounds… I stepped on the scale and saw I had lost them. Most likely they’ll turn up sooner or later, but for now it’s fun to notice they’re gone.

Camp NaNoWriMo (read all 4 entries…)

I am making an amazing amount of progress on this goal! Namely, none.

I am rather amazed. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I thought I’d be able to write SOMETHING. But no. Not a word.

I don’t know why I’m unable to write. I try, but it’s like there is a repulsor-field around this project. The very idea of “making something up” just feels so wrong to me. I cannot tell a lie! I cannot say something that isn’t true, because I have no idea how this goes! I cannot make up characters. I cannot envision situations. My mind, which is normally so full and varied, becomes a vast empty chamber of echoing hollowness.

I wish I could change this. The month is only 1/3 over and I still have time to make a showing, even if I don’t finish. But I cannot deny that there is something magical about this process. It is magically repulsive.

I wish I could remember why I thought this would be a good idea, or thought that I could do it!

Eat like a caveman (read all 10 entries…)
Seven C's Soup

This was my first successful food that let me enjoy eating without any starch or sugar. I made it in a huge pot, and enjoyed it for two days. Now I think I should have made more…

Seven C’s Soup
Chicken (one whole)
Carrots (one bag, peeled and sliced)
Celery (one bunch, washed and sliced)
Cabbage (one, cored and diced)
Cauliflower (one, cut into small florets)
Corn (fresh-cut cream-style from 2 ears)
Chopped Onion (I cheated on the name to make this fit)

In a large cauldron (my water-bath canning pot) place wire rack on bottom to stop things from sticking. Add whole chicken and all bite-sized vegetables. Cover with water. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of salt or bullion granules. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes.

Pull chicken whole from pot, and remove skin and bones from meat. Chop meat and return it to the soup.

Adjust for seasoning as desired.

::Next time I make this I will have 5-6 clean canning quart jars handy. If I do not choose to actually can the soup, I will ladle it into the jars, cool them, and store them in the fridge. Few if any germs will survive the heat of cooking and the vacuum-sealed near-sterility of the jars, and if any do they will not grow in the fridge. The soup could last for months that way. (If I don’t eat it first.)::

Eat like a caveman (read all 10 entries…)
I Gotta Save Myself from Diabetes

This won’t be easy.

As hard as it was for me to give up milk and dairy products, probably giving up starch and sugar will be harder. But I think I MUST do this for my health, because I’m afraid I’m killing myself by eating these foods.

For the past several years I’ve noticed my legs are starting to swell. Sometimes it’s worse than others. Sometimes they’re like water balloons, and I have to lie on my back with my legs elevated to help them drain. It feels very uncomfortable, and it’s embarrassing, and worst of all I think it’s indicative of weakening kidneys or veins. These may be early signs of oncoming diabetes. That thought terrifies me. Both my parents have diabetes, and one of my best friends has lost a leg to it. It’s no laughing matter.

I haven’t been able to place exactly what the cause might be up till now. No websites that talked about edema ever mentioned giving up starch and sugar. They only ever said to give up salt. But recently I figured that if I’m becoming diabetic the thing I need to stay away from is anything that will spike my insulin response. I need smooth, stable blood sugar, not a roller-coaster ride of zoom and crash. So for a few days I’ve been eating only meat and vegetables and fruit and I’ve been staying away from bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, etc. And miraculously, the swelling in my legs is almost completely gone today.

It feels so amazingly good to have my real legs back!! I never would have thought how delicious it is to look at my foot and see the skin revealing nuances of veins, muscles, and tendons. I never would have though how sublime it would be to stroke my foot and see the skin wrinkle beautifully instead of mashing in like a chub of sausage. My legs can bend now without feeling pressure at the knees that used to make me feel like a balloon animal. My calves have regained their loose flexibility and appropriate floppiness when I jiggle the relaxed muscle in my hand. I missed that so much!

This is the result of me giving up “evil carbs” for one or two days. I know now that I must give them up for life.

I also know that I will occasionally cheat. I still have pizza parties promised, and birthdays to bake cakes for, and holidays that simply wouldn’t be the same if I had to be utterly stingy with my diet. The thing is, I’ve decided that for me starch and sugar will from now on be treated like alcohol. Something to be shared at celebrations, but not consumed alone, and ALWAYS in moderation. And since I can’t have much of it, whenever I do have some I want to NOTICE and deeply enjoy every mouthful. No more unconscious eating for me.

And then, just as now when I sometimes cheat and have a bit of milk or cheese, I have to know the next day I risk suffering. I have to know it’s a trade-off, or at least a gamble.

This isn’t a low-carb diet in the sense that I’m counting carbs and trying to lose weight. Losing weight would be groovy, but what I really want is to delay the possibility that I’ll become diabetic, which I see literally looming ever closer with each drop of insulin I force my body to produce.

I’m sad because I know pasta, bread, rice, sugar, and all forms of simple carbs are cheap, tasty, and easy to store, and changing my diet may well end up being expensive, troublesome, and boring. I plan to take up canning again to increase my availability of meats and vegetables, because I want the best and I cannot stand the thought of eating factory-canned stuff much. It all tastes like metal to me. Home-canning happens in glass jars, so I know it’s more pure and I also control exactly what goes into it. That’s for me.

I’ve heard eating fruits may be problematic for diabetics, and fruit juice is definitely out. But I’ve also heard if you eat a fruit whole there are enzymes and fiber etc. not found in processed foods which slow its glycemic impact on your body, so I’ll keep an eye on those and see what my own reaction is.

One food at a time, I’ll build a menu of choices to live with.

Joyride (read all 12 entries…)

I don’t know where to put this entry, so I’m putting it here.

Today I spent most of the day hanging out at the cabana. My house is cooler (in temperature), but I wanted to be “social”, at least to the extent of making it possible someone might run into me and chat or act friendly.

Lots of people hang out at the pool on a hot day like today, but nobody wanted to be indoors. I can understand that.

Still, I had fun. It was almost like a vacation. I was in a beautiful room that was clean and spacious. I got to play chess and Connect Four with a very smart little girl. I got to watch Freaky Friday, and a PBS special about local dams. I got to stay away from food for six hours straight, though I did drink a full two quarts of lemonade and ate quite a few M&M’s. Mostly I read a book, but that was fine too.

I got a chance to talk to several of the people who were at the party yesterday. They all thanked me again, and praised how great the pizza was. They even said they could chip in and donate some plastic cups or cans of olives or something. So that made me feel a lot less taken for granted.

I felt depressed this morning, but I feel much better now. I feel like I really helped strengthen my connection to this community. It isn’t easy for me. Staying in my home and being a hermit is easy. But when the pain of being alone outweighs the pain of being social, you make the change.

Saturday Night Pizza Parties (read all 3 entries…)
Sat. Aug. 4

Today was the first day that really felt like summer around here. It got above 90, which is really unusual at any time, but especially strange since it has been loitering in the 60’s up until now.

The pizza party seems to have been a success. Ten people came and ate pizza. I made about five pizzas all together. Everyone wanted pepperoni and cheese, about half wanted mushrooms and peppers, and one wanted everything, which included onions and pineapple, and was disappointed I didn’t have any olives to put on.

Nobody really wanted to play any games. I’m disappointed that pretty much everyone wanted to come and treat me like a free pizza parlor. Some even came in to give me an “order” before going back out to the pool.

I served Country Time strawberry lemonade, and that was well-received. I think anything cold would have been fine.

Everyone wanted to take home their leftovers. That was fine, though I was a smidgen disappointed in the one who wanted to take his entire pizza home.

I was so busy cooking pizza after pizza that I didn’t really have much time to visit and really get to know people. Although I like cooking, it wasn’t much of a party for me. It almost felt like a job. But not only am I not being paid, I actually paid for the ingredients to feed all these people.

I don’t think I thought this through well enough.

I need to find a way to minimize costs on this if I’m going to do it again. Also streamline my time better. Cooking one pizza at a time kept me tied too closely to the kitchen. I need something I can serve all at once, like a casserole.

Most people were quite nice. One kid, about 11, was a real brat. His parents were not with him. I had no way to make him leave when he became disruptive. I’ll talk to the apartment manager about him tomorrow to see what could be done.

Towards the end of the evening I did manage to sit with some folks. The guy there was flirting with me a lot. I don’t mind the flirting, but it seems odd. He seems like a nice enough guy, but I was far too busy to flirt back even if I’d wanted to. I don’t know whether he’s really as nice as he seems, or whether he’s just buttering me up because he likes women to think he’s nice. We’ll see I guess.

Nobody offered to help me clean up at all. I don’t know why that makes me feel so sad. They probably couldn’t have helped anyway. But I feel sad they didn’t want to stay and at least offer, or keep me company, or something. That last bit made the whole thing feel more like a job than anything else. Even the guy who flirted left me to go walking after the meal was over.

I don’t know how I feel about this, really, or whether I can fix the things that feel wrong. I’m not sure about this goal at all anymore. It needs tweaking, to say the least.

Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)

Random question of the day:

1. Have you ever worn false eyelashes? If so, what kind, and what did you think of them?

2. Have you ever known anyone else who wore false eyelashes? (Are you SURE?) What did you think of how they looked?

clean for 30 minutes for 30 days (read all 13 entries…)
Am I still doing this?

I don’t even know.

I think I am. I woke up this morning and cleaned out the dishwasher, and I did lots of laundry today including all my son’s bedding. I got my kids to do some chores too. But I was hosting a sleepover guest for my son and we focused on going swimming today. That’s where my energy went.

I got back from swimming feeling rather sick and dizzy. I think somehow sitting in the sun got me too hot, and the chlorine got in my eyes and skin and up my nose and made me feel icky. I went to bed and tried to sleep it off, but here it is hours later and I still feel icky. Maybe I’m sick?

Anyway… nothing in my house right now is really “clean”. But lots of boxes are being steadily unpacked, and that leaves a clutter around. And activity rooms are at least being rotated well… I.E. no crusted-over drifts of clutter. All the clutter is fresh.

Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)

1. What is your definition of “healthy”? How do you know if you are/aren’t, or have/haven’t achieved it?

2. What is your definition of “enough”? At what level of income/wealth/property would you consider yourself “sufficiently” wealthy to be happy?

3. What is your definition of social/familial joy? How many friends/close relationships/family members do you feel you need to be satisfied emotionally?

4. How much leisure time do you think a person ought to have each day or each week in order to pursue hobbies or other optional activities?

Camp NaNoWriMo (read all 4 entries…)
Writer's Retreat

I have learned that I have an excellent place to retreat and write peacefully for as long as I wish every day. I can go to the office cabana and write there. It is quiet, and rarely used. The room is lovely. There is a table, and even a kitchen where I might stock snacks for myself. The room is always clean and comforting. I will also get a bit of exercise just walking to it and back, as it involves a hill.

This will work well with my luddite notion of writing my pages by hand on notebook paper. I’ve always written my daily diary by hand. A benefit will be that I’ll be less tempted to erase pages of content with a keystroke when I recognize they are trash. Anything I write stays written, and counts towards my word score.

Again, I may not succeed in “winning” this game. But I’ll make more progress writing just because I’ve tried than I would if I had not set the goal.

I intend to set aside two hours per day to go and write. We shall see what comes of that.

Saturday Night Pizza Parties (read all 3 entries…)
Me? throwing parties? HA!

I can hardly believe how far I’ve come in the past few months to already be contemplating this! I remember when even having anyone over, or hosting any sort of party at all seemed unthinkable. That was only three or four months ago! Then I realized I didn’t have to host in my own house. That got me out and freed me to practice meeting and feeding strangers, and trying to be friendly. Also, my daughter got a new boyfriend. So that got me used to having someone come over to my home, and made me find ways to fix dinners and be sociable even on my own turf. It took the pressure off when it was HER guest rather than my own.

Saturday Night Pizza Parties will be another attempt to get to know my neighbors. Some people said Monday mornings were a hard time for some people because of work. I hope maybe more people, or at least different people, will have opportunity to visit me to eat pizza. Maybe even the thought of pizza will be more appealing than brunch.

I’ll make my no-knead pizza dough. It is super-easy, and the ingredients are cheap, but everyone always raves that it’s the BEST pizza they ever ate! Nothing better than homemade, I always say.

I hope folks will come with a happy attitude. I’d like to watch movies, but I have none to bring. Maybe folks can play games or something. I just want to know my neighbors. I don’t want living here to be like most other places I’ve lived, where I can go years and not learn anyone’s name. I want to believe I’m part of a community, not just a crowded spot close to the store.

The one thing that is tripping me up a bit is religion. I don’t know why it keeps coming up in introductory conversations. I certainly don’t want to talk about it if I can help it. But everyone seems intent on learning what I believe, so they can measure it against their own beliefs. When I say I’m an atheist I can feel the room chill. I think maybe these are people who watch a lot of Fox News Network and have the impression that the word “atheist” is synonymous with “God-hating, unpatriotic, vile deceiver with no moral compass”. I don’t know what to do about that, other than give them a chance to know the real me.

Camp NaNoWriMo (read all 4 entries…)
Reminders to Self about My Book
Some things I intend to include in this book:
  • Illustrations, especially for “encyclopedia” entries
  • Side notes, “encyclopedia” style, to explain unusual words or things I reference. I want a city kid to know what I mean when I talk about a chicken’s “wattles”.
  • Foot notes—copius. I don’t know why, but I like foot notes. They make me feel like I’m getting something extra out of my book. Maybe a peek into the author’s mind.
  • New mores I just make up. EG: I want it to be culturally accepted in my book’s world that NOBODY has children before they’re 30, unless something is terribly wrong with the world.
  • 24-hr clocks that run “my way”. This is totally personal. I want clocks (and all time) to be based on NOON. This will impact the culture because it keeps folks aware of sun position, so sunless buildings would be unthinkable. This will also influence folks’ priority on staying aware of/in sync with the natural world, not treating it like “just” a resource or an enemy.
  • talk about food – how it’s gathered, prepared, cooked, and eaten. Talk about what food and it’s activities mean to the folks and how they interact. Include one or two passages detailed enough to replicate a real recipe.
  • Keep things light. Talk about nice things. Have the characters all be pretty much friendly and cooperative. This isn’t a novel about hardship or evil, but about the challenge of building a beautiful world folks can actually be happy in.
  • Use “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Swiss Family Robinson” and “Heidi” and “The Island of the Blue Dolphins” as a model. Whenever unsure how to proceed, turn to one of those books and recall how they used language, and made a story flow.

“The Island of the Blue Dolphins” was the first full-length novel I ever read. I read it when I was seven. It is also one of the very few books I’ve ever loved and that had a deep impact on me, which I’ve never read a second time. I’ll have to go find a copy and re-read that old book to refresh my connection with it. Although…honestly I feel like its words are written on my mind indelibly.

Camp NaNoWriMo (read all 4 entries…)
50K in 8-2012

As August 1st approaches I continue to get geared up for my 50,000 word sprint. Or whatever portion thereof which I actually complete.

Quick link to the other entry where I talked about the book I intend to write this year.

Under this goal I will keep track of my progress, in general. I will probably whine and groan a lot. Feel free to respond any way that seems appropriate to you at the time. Please know I’ll probably lose my mind and get snippy, because writing is painful sometimes and when ripping one’s heart out and serving it on a plate, one does not want to hear that it lacks salt.

Still, I promise not to hold anything against you if you accidently say anything I take umbrage to, if you promise not to hold it against me that I’m overly sensitive and cannot take a joke.

Obviously I won’t be posting any part of my writing here. It’s almost sure to be 99% crap. If I’m lucky, though, it will have some potential somewhere, and will be worth a rewrite later.

This goal is for keeping track that I AM indeed still writing. I’ll mention how many pages I finish each day… or since last I mentioned, anyway.

I’ll probably rant and whine about everything that keeps me from being successful, which will be 99% bullshit since we know the only thing that can keep a writer from writing is their own darn self. Mostly this will be a journey of self-revelation for me. I hope to God I succeed, because I really would like to believe this is something I have inside me that is worthy of existing. I WANT to be a writer. I’ve wanted to write a book ever since I was a kid. I love books with a deep and throbbing passion. If I wrote a book of my own, and if it had any redeeming value at all, I would be extremely proud and would consider my life to have finally achieved some lasting value.

Oh, don’t talk to me about all that “being a good mother/friend” crap. I know that’s important. Probably the most important thing I’ll ever do. But writing a book is something that is just about ME, and my ideas and talents etc. It isn’t about doing a duty. It isn’t something I have to do to survive. It’s something extra, which means in CHOOSING to do it I’m giving it honor and value far beyond ordinary life. And in doing it, I’m also saying my ordinary life isn’t just about survival… I have room for extravagance, beauty, reverence, dreaming, and silliness. It’s a Maslow’s Hierarchy thing. Sometimes we NEED to do things we don’t need to do, just to prove we can.

compile a 100-things-about-me list (read all 9 entries…)
26-35 The insane inner workings of my mind

26. I think I’m great at writing poetry. But then, I also think Dr. Seuss was great at writing poetry. I don’t comprehend why everyone doesn’t agree with me.

27. Numbers like 43 or 100 seem like relatively small numbers to me, until I start trying to compile a list of that size. Then they seem worryingly large.

27. I like keeping lots of food in the house. Basements full of food is my favorite part of being Mormon. Sometimes I almost think I want to hang out with Mormons for a while and pretend I’m one of them just so I can pick up tips on how to store food. I like the idea of a pantry you could eat from for a year and not go hungry.

28. Sometimes when I’m dreaming my dream feels more real to me than real life. I can almost remember real life, but it seems like a stupid dream I can easily forget. The dream world is what “matters”, and I can’t imagine why I bother paying so much attention to that other world. This makes it very difficult to wake up sometimes.

29. I tend to have “serial” dreams rather than recurring dreams. It is as if my dreams occur like a TV series, and I catch an occasional episode, and I marvel at how the scenery has changed and story line has progressed while I wasn’t watching, and I almost feel guilty for not keeping up with the various threads of the soap opera. Sometimes my dreams feel like playing a video game, and I have to play the same level over and over, changing small things each time until I get it right. Sometimes I think real life is exactly like those two scenarios.

30. Sometimes I think that if I wanted to date I could find a date quickly and easily. Sometimes I think that I’ll never date again, because I’ll never find anyone who could possibly fit with me and my life. Sometimes I feel very content being celibate and imagine feeling happily secure in my aloneness for the rest of my life. Sometimes I think I’m a sad and miserable hermit who has a mental disorder for ever behaving as if love and connection to others wasn’t the most important part of life.

31. I like strawberry jam. Sometimes I eat a spoonful of it straight out of the jar.

32. I miss having a cat very much. My kitty was extremely sweet and loving, and I think about her frequently, and missing her makes me cry if I think about it too much.

33. My only pet now is my goldfish, that I have had for four or five years. I also have houseplants, a garden, a kefir culture, and two kids. But they don’t count as pets, I guess, though they are things I keep alive. I tend to think of them more as minions.

34. In order to get to my front door you have to go up a ramp, over a bridge, down some stairs, and through a tunnel. Whenever I hear anyone walking across the bridge I feel like rumbling in a low voice “Who’s that walking over my bridge?” to see if I can scare them with my troll impersonation.

35. I like to pretend I’m a lot meaner than I am. And I also pretend I’m not funny at all. It makes my son laugh harder when I act mean and not funny, because he knows I’m really such a softie. I wonder sometimes whether other people get the joke, or whether I sell my deadpan face too well and they really are afraid of me.

clean for 30 minutes for 30 days (read all 13 entries…)
feeling spun-up

My daughter (20) decided to start cleaning out the junk room today. That’s GREAT! There are so many boxes stacked in that room you can’t even reach most of them. She did a good job of going through all the boxes that got left in her bedroom (all her own stuff) sorting through what she wanted to keep or give away or toss or whatever. Now she’s able to use some of that space in her bedroom as a staging area to sort boxes from the junk room.

The problem is that sorting is a high-stress occupation. And tomorrow I’m both coordinating and lay-leading the church service, with many speaking parts, and it’s an odd service anyway because it’s a poetry reading and that’s weird. PLUS, at the last minute last night a friend begged me to watch her daughter tomorrow from after church until about 7pm so she could catch a show in Seattle that she already bought expensive tickets for, because her regular babysitter fell through and she’d already asked a dozen other friends who all said no. And the child is seriously autistic. And mute. So tomorrow is going to be a heck of a day for me.

So I have all this looming stress, and now is the time DD chooses to start unpacking boxes.

I was curious about some of the things in boxes way in the back that I haven’t seen in months. I went in there and poked around a little bit, and she had the nerve to ask me what I thought I was doing, as if SHE had all the rights to that room and I was going to mess it all up. I was very mad at her for that. I snapped that I don’t have to justify myself for looking in some of my own boxes and I’m not hurting anything and she should watch her tone. She apologized.

But now I know she’s pissy. I know I certainly am. And it isn’t conducive to having a good day tomorrow if tonight gets wasted in us being pissy at each other.

We need to put this behind us. She has already put back most of the boxes she dragged out to sort. We have a few things left in the hallway that we need to handle, but it isn’t too bad. We need to baby-proof the house, though, because the child I’m watching tomorrow has the mind of a two-year-old in an 11 year old body. I have to be sure she won’t hurt herself accidently by playing with something I left out, like scissors or whatever.

DD KNOWS this is happening tomorrow. I don’t know why she couldn’t project herself into my shoes a little bit and understand that now is not the best time to begin anything major like going through junk room boxes. I know she felt bored and wanted to be useful, but I wish she could have recognized the flaw in the timing there.

Now I’m all spun up. Normally I don’t hang on to feeling spun-up very long, but right now the tension of tomorrow is making it hard for me to relax. I hate feeling like this, but I hardly know how to calm down. Normally calming down just happens on its own rather quickly for me. I don’t know how to MAKE myself calm.

This bodes not well for the morrow.

Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)

Has anyone out there ever made ghee? It’s a type of cooked and clarified butter popular in Indian food. I found out about it recently and made some.

A pound of butter made two cups of ghee for me. It has a lovely butterscotch scent, if you put your nose right close to it. That comes from the cooking, as the milk solids in the butter actually toasted. Since the ghee is clarified, it cooks at a much higher smoke point than regular butter. It also does not go rancid as quickly as whole butter, so it’s safer to leave on the countertop.

It took about 15 minutes of cooking to reach the proper stage, then I strained it through a paper towel and keep it in a large coffee cup by my stove. It’s fabulous for frying eggs in the morning, or for anything you need to sautee.

YouTube video on making Ghee

Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
Camp NaNoWriMo

I think this is what it’s called when you do NaNoWriMo in the summertime. I could be wrong. I’m not part of any group or cabin or anything. I just picked up my copy of No Plot? No Problem! recently, and the start of August is conveniently close, so here I am again trying to do something I’ve never even come close to being able to do before.

I’m probably gonna fail utterly at it. Last few times I tried I never got past page four. Once I did something that wasn’t exactly a novel, but should have been, and I got close to page 25. But that was really more like a personal history than a novel. Even I got bored pretty quickly with that.

This time the difference is that I think I have a clue what to write about. Not that it won’t suck. But before I didn’t even have a ghost of an idea, and just struck out blindly in the fog, and sure enough got lost inches from my own doorstep. This time I have a faint notion of what my book should look like. I’m modelling it after The Swiss Family Robinson and Little House on the Prarie. I’m gonna write a utopian novel about a little village growing exactly the way I always dreamed it could, with the kind of mores and values I wish everyone held.

I don’t know if it is “supposed” to be in an alternate dimension, or far in the future, or somewhere in the past, or on some other continent, but the point will be that the world is exactly like this world, except for the parts I don’t want to be there. It’s BRILLIANT! I get to play God and make things the way I’d like to see them. At least, on paper.

I’m going to have pictures, too. I like pictures. I’m going to have footnotes galore, and side notes too. It’ll be like an encyclopedia reading all the entries describing the weird things I talk about. I’ll have recipes that you could actually use if you wanted, and information about chickens etc that is not crap. I’ll talk about food a lot, because I love it when books talk lovingly about food. I’ll talk about making homemade gifts, and furniture, and the reasoning behind the hair and clothing styles. I’ll have everyone behave as I wish they would, and change norms of marriage and childbirth and clocks and holidays willy-nilly.

I actually really rather care about this book, and don’t care much about NaNoWriMo particularly. So I don’t expect I’ll bang it out in a month as prescribed. But I’ll get started, and see whether in a month I can get the FIRST 50,000 words written. Of which I’m sure 45,000 will need editing later.

Since I don’t have a job, this should be possible. I want to try to stick to a schedule of writing for at least two hours per day, five days a week. More would be better. I already like sitting at the computer that long, and have been known to type WAY more than that much in comments and posts, etc. This isn’t an impossible dream for me…even if it is rather improbable.

Maybe I’ll even get around to scheduling my housecleaning too. Maybe the angst of not knowing what to write will make cleaning stuff look like fun by comparison.

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