Plantasia

Last night as I crawled into bed, I said to myself, “well, I think I’m pretty much caught up on housework at the moment. That means tomorrow I should probably open my laptop and work on my book.”

😶

But then I had the inspiration (procrastiration?) that it’s been awhile since I have posted on our blog, so maybe I should do that instead.

Ha.

Well, anyway, I have had the gardening bug even worse than usual this year, so here I shall relate the whole Saga. It is very possible this will be interesting to no one but myself. In the case, carry on. 😉

Ever since the spring I have been waging war against fungus gnats. At one point out foyer was completely overrun. We are talking HUNDREDS. For a long time I was blaming this bellflower Josh had brought home from the grocery store, but it turns out that Better Homes & Gardens organic potting mix was the culprit. Two unopened bags in the foyer were completely infested when I cut into them — I thought maybe it was a fluke. I had been storing them in that infested room, and maybe the existing population tunneled in? But no! I brought home a brand new bag of the same mix some time later, and opened it to use almost immediately, and it, too, was crawling. So I’ve used mosquito bits, hydrogen peroxide, fly tape, sticky traps in the pots themselves– I have even covered the soil of most of my plants with a layer of sand, because supposedly that will smother them out and they can’t reproduce unless there is exposed soil.

Lies! I watered my indoor plants today, and one of them, a handful of gnats zoomed straight up out of the sand like tiny desert warriors. The battle goes on.

Some incidentals: I started some lavender and rosemary from seed, and they are NOT flourishing. I cut my orchid back today to see if I can get it to rebloom. The spearmint continues to be the highlight of my summer.

But perhaps the plant I have obsessed over the most is my bell pepper. I tried to start some from seed but they didn’t take, and eventually I bought one lone seedling from the store to play with.

It did double or triple in size, but set a couple blooms rather too early and remained stunted for most of the summer. The foliage was sparse enough that the peppers it produced developed sun scald. (I mean, I think so? It sounds like an unusual problem for a pepper to have, but it definitely wasn’t the more common blossom end rot.)

Eventually, I pulled the two tiny peppers off the plant and did some research. I saw it recommended to prune pepper plants to force denser leaves to grow — that sounded like a good idea. So I lopped it back, and for a few weeks it looked very sad indeed. At the same time of the cutting, I also fertilized with a standard vegetable fertilizer and crushed egg shells. After two weeks, it suddenly burst forth!

The leaves are a dark lush green now, and it’s setting buds like crazy and surpassed the size it was when I cut it.

On Saturday night I stood lovingly with it in my porch and photographed its biggest, most beautiful bloom.

On Sunday morning, I awoke to find it ravaged by squirrels or rabbits. The little dodgasted blighters didn’t actually eat it. They just ripped off branches and threw them on the ground. The blossom I had admired just hours earlier lay crumpled and browning.

I felt I could now fully empathize with Jacinta’s squirrel woes.

Well, I have started taking the pepper plant inside every night now (perks of having everything in containers) and it does seem to be pretty resilient. I have high hopes for it now, barring any further marauding.

I guess for last I will mention my oblong box of salad greens. It has been stringy and odd from the get go. It was over crowded, definitely and maybe wanted more light. They started to bolt early in the summer,too, so I had them inside for the most part. Just lately I’ve set them back out, though. I’m wondering if I let them bolt, if they might possibly reseed as a fall crop?

We shall see.

Here was the pepper right after pruning. You can see the two stumps from the cuts I made about an inch below the top of the central stem. Also note the feeble color of the leaves.
Here was the pepper pre squirrel butchery. It has actually recovered in the past two days and looks pretty much the same now. Phew!
My sole surviving green bean plant is starting to fill out! Not sure why the lower leaves started turning BURGUNDY though. Smh. In the background you can see my funky lettuce situation.

Signing off. 🙂

Mr. Heckles

Last time, I posted about birds. I thought it was time to give our squirrels, the Heckles family, a share of the attention, since, really, they take up most of our outside-of-work time. Worrying about them in our gardens, our flowers, our yard, and then, laughing at their antics when they aren’t tearing something up. Which, to be fair, they have only hurt a few things since we started feeding them. Like one poor flower pot that they seem determined to use as a digging practice. It is now stuck all over with plastic forks, garlic, and red pepper, and they still occasionally try to make their way into it. Oh, well. We have taken some rather hilarious pictures of them, which we thought you girls (and posterity) might enjoy.

 

If we exercised like this when we ate, we, too, would be skinny
We have not yet decided whether this is “I’m stuffed” or “I missed the food.”
He is clearly waiting for food to arrive, hoping to access it before the elder Mr. Heckles sees.

I tried to tell him the food was on the other side, but he wouldn’t listen.

He was under there for like five minutes. We decided he was casing the joint.
Did he think if he slunk over on his belly, we wouldn’t see him?
He was stealthily waiting for us to go back inside so he could wreak havoc undeterred.
And, quite possibly my favorite, apparently squirrels also like to tan.

Backyard Birds

One of my newest great joys in life is the birds in the backyard. A good many have discovered our birdfeeder, and a few weeks ago we decided to name a couple of them. Specifically, we have one cardinal couple and one house finch couple who visit daily – or multiple times a day – so of course we HAD to name them.

We call the cardinal couple Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. They usually come together, but don’t always eat together. Often, Mr. Darcy will sit on a branch above and watch Mrs. Darcy eat. Sometimes, when they think we aren’t looking, Mr. Darcy will feed Mrs. Darcy, but he’s a little embarrassed about it because he flies off if we take out the camera to record it. Mr. and Mrs. Bingley ALWAYS eat together. We rarely see one without the other, and they sit side by side – or as close together as they can on a tube feeder. Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and Mr. and Mrs. Bingley also like to visit together and in those cases, Mr. and Mrs. Bingley eat from the feeder while Mr. and Mrs. Darcy eat seeds that fell on the patio. Every once in awhile, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley come together and, if there are any seeds left in the feeder we give the squirrels, perch together and hold nice conversations–likely about their lovely wives.

Speaking of squirrels, we have at least 7 – I think there might be 8. We’ve decided, in an attempt to keep them out of the garden after our third time planting, to bribe them with sunflower seeds. It’s mostly worked–they still dig little holes, but most things are still living. We’ve decided to call them all Mr. Heckles, since we can’t tell most of them apart, and the name seems to suit. I get a little upset about “rewarding” them for bad behavior, but Daniel says we have to sacrifice to the gods to get them to leave us alone.

img_20200616_195841
Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley visiting together

 

 

Daily Writing

I always thought that if I had all day to write, there would be no problem–I would accomplish EVERYTHING I COULD EVER WANT. But apparently that is not the case. These days, my days seem to be filled with indecision as I try to decide which project to work on next. Should I write a short story? Edit a short story? Submit a short story? Should I work on my query letter? My synopsis? My list of agents? Should I do research for my Oregon Trail book, or edit my fantasy novel, or write in my new contemporary romance, or  work on the book we are writing together? Should I read about writing advice, or do writing exercises to improve my craft? Should I work on increasing my online presence or establishing literary connections? Or should I just give up on it all and read, which they say is also essential for writers (for the record, I haven’t attempted that yet this week).

Yup. So, that’s what my daily life is right now. A whole big conglomeration of indecision.

That’s all, folks.

toomuch writing

A Productive Day

I meant to keep a day diary yesterday for my post today, but it seemed like SO MUCH WORK to carry it around, so I didn’t. Instead, you can view this as a retroactive narrative of my day yesterday, since I have decided I rather like the “Day in the life” posts, as it seems to cast a real glimpse into our lives.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

I rose around 7:00 AM, the earliest I have yet risen since the last day of my job on April 3rd. I decided this week that it was time to get back on a semblance of a schedule, and get my life in order, job or no job. Okay. Let’s be serious. God was whispering to me last week that I’d had enough time to myself and it was time to be serious again. Especially about my fitness level. I’ve long suspected God of telling me, not necessarily to lose weight, but to get my body under enough control that I wasn’t huffing every time I went up the stairs. And if I don’t have a job right now, and do not have to waste four hours of every day on dressing and commute, what better time to try and form a habit of working out and having a semi-disciplined day? So, I am currently on day 2 of my renewed goals. (Yes, you may all laugh, having seen me establish the same goals time and time and time again.)

All that aside, I DID manage to pull myself out of bed at 7:00ish, though I looked back at it rather regretfully before pulling on workout clothes and heading down to the basement where our workout equipment is kept. I tend to shudder a bit every time I go in the basement, keeping a wary eye out for one of the large black spiders that were semi-frequent when we first moved in. We haven’t seen one in ages, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t lurking on the stairs, or the handrail, or in the corners or, especially, in the closet holding the workout equipment, waiting to jump out at me so that my heart stops. I hate being so scared, however, especially of a place that I want to become my library refuge, so force myself to go down myself instead of sending Daniel, pull out the equipment myself, and even work out down there, in hopes of eventually convincing myself I am safe.

I am doing a short workout routine right now, switching between legs and arms, to warm myself up for next week, when I intend to use a program to work out for real. I complete it while listening to A Conspiracy of Kings, which always makes the workout seem shorter and more pleasant, and head upstairs. Today’s workout was easier, concentrated on my arms (my legs workout always kills me no matter now few sets I do), so rather than shower, I slip on some clothes . . . okay, let’s be honest. I do what I always do. I open my shirts drawer and look into it with a wrinkled nose, close it, open my jeans drawer and wrinkle my nose at everything there, and close it, and go to the closet, and shuffle through everything I have currently deemed wearable, and finally pull a random shirt off, go back to my jeans drawer and grab shorts, despite the fact it is coldish outside and they are too tight. But then, everything is too tight these days.

By then it is somewhere around 8:00 and I head to the kitchen, where Daniel makes me coffee and I run through the chore cards to clean up the house before making poached eggs, eggos, and splitting a cinnamon roll with Daniel. And for the record, I had only ONE egg, ONE eggo without syrup, and more like a quarter to a third of the cinnamon roll, in an attempt to reduce the amount of food I am eating without feeling deprived. After cleaning up those dishes, I head upstairs to begin my day.

By now it is around 8:45 or 9:00, which is really better than I had hoped for, what with cleaning up the house, making breakfast, and working out, and I admit I am rather pleased with myself, though I occasionally wonder why I’m not skinny yet.

I start out with devotions, finally finishing Fervent, which was actually really good. It brought up a lot about ways satan tries to discourage us and make us believe lies about ourselves and others so that we are not as effective in our prayers or for God, and I am grateful for it, particularly right now when I’m wondering why God doesn’t seem to be throwing a job in my lap, the way He usually does.

Following that and prayer, I go through my email, find no “real” responses to my job applications, and proceed to search for far too long through job advertisements, trying to find any that I feel I qualify for. Far too many require clearances above mine or military experience, which is mildly discouraging. Okay, that’s a bald-faced lie. It’s bite-my-lip-trying-not-to-cry-while-disappointment-and-anger-well-up-inside-of-me discouraging. I finally select one or two I am not fully qualified for and apply anyway, closing everything out, and moving on to what I’m currently living for: writing.

By this time it’s like 11:00 or 11:30, and the rest of the day (with a brief lunch break involving half a cup of macaroni and cheese and half an apple) is spent finishing editing a short story, submitting another short story someplace for publication, writing some in the Gibson Girl story, reading a chapter in Love Letters to Writers, reading some rather discouraging advice in Writer’s Digest, doing a writing exercise from Writing Magic that might actually end up becoming a story, learning how to use Scrivener, and doing some research on writing synopses that makes me feel like I might as well just throw my Drawn Into Love novel into the trash. Interspersed is a French lesson, a few minutes re-learning piano, and catching up on messages from friends. All in all, not a bad day other than realizing just how horrendous and non-unique the book is that my friends are all currently beta reading.

Around 4:45, I change back into workout clothes and head downstairs, where I intend to ask Daniel, who tries to join me when I do a gentler work out in the afternoon, whether he would like to do yoga, practice dancing, or go for a walk. This is a brand-new strategy I am trying out on myself. Doing something less taxing in the afternoon, but still involves moving instead of setting in front of the tv, and even something I enjoy. He, however, is still on the phone with someone from work, so I practice my calligraphy and then play on my phone until he gets off, whereupon he votes for dancing. We spent the next hour attempting to learn new swing dance moves, which caused some anxiety and much laughing, particularly as we tried a move called the knot and had to literally work through it second by second on the video to figure it out. When I started to get frustrated, I decided enough was enough, and we swung our way through a big band song before calling our workout complete.

We begin to prepare dinner–Daniel is cooking some pork-based jalapeno cheddar burgers while I make a baked potato for us to split and get out a can of mandarin oranges–and I get a call from a friend, so spend awhile talking to her, while dinner finishes and we begin eating, and, after I hang up, finish eating while watching the squirrels and birds outside. Ignoring the easily accessible corn, the squirrels have discovered they can defeat the squirrel-proof birdfeeder by clinging to edges of the holes instead of the other parts that would close off the food, and are chowing down the supposedly squirrel-repellent birdfeed, while the birds that come by cannot seem to figure out how to use the thing. We discuss the intricacies of our ninja squirrels and their tenacity, while constantly looking over at our garden like overanxious parents to see if they have dug up or killed the peppers, squash, strawberries, and rhubarb plants we have newly planted (the THIRD attempt at peppers, by the way). They have not, so we only half-heartedly chase them from the birdfeeder occasionally since it seems to be distracting them. Oh, and Daniel comforts me when I bemoan my lack of discipline as I realize I ate the whole burger instead of only half. At least we didn’t have buns with it.

Following dinner, we clean up, finish up the weekly chores that we did not complete yesterday, and, since I have dates in danger of going bad, I begin making date-nut bread while we watch Secondhand Lions, one of our favorites (I seem to notice the swearing in it less and less – am I becoming immune?). Once that is in the oven, I head over and start folding the mountain of laundry that I’ve been ignoring for a solid week. I get about halfway through by the time the bread and the movie finish, almost simultaneously, and we virtuously clean up the dishes again so we can come down to a clean kitchen in the morning (believe me, we don’t normally do that – I told you I’m trying to turn over a new leaf! Again.). Then we head up to bed, where I wash my face (for the SECOND DAY IN A ROW! This might be a record for me) and then read a chapter of Swiss Family Robinson out loud to Daniel before we go to sleep. We’ve read it through before, but recently rewatched the movie, which made us want to read it again, and having just tortured him with the second book in the Series of Unfortunate Events, we decided to go ahead and reread it.

And that, my dear friends, was possibly one of the most productive days I have had in positively AGES. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could keep that up?

notes and observations

I went back to work last week, and for the first time in a month and a half, woke up before 8am. My sole findings from this have been that I don’t think my body is meant to wake up before 8am.

Spring is finally returning to Colorado, and I don’t think I was ever more surprised when I realized it. The winter had seemed interminable — I felt that it would ever end, so you may imagine my shock when I discovered that my feelings do not define reality. (This joy I’m currently experiencing at the end of winter certainly reflects it, however!)

My library offers free language learning software to its patrons, so I have been attempting to learn French. I have recently discovered that I am, apparently, incapable of making the French “R” sound. Instructions for learning how to make this very specific sound run something like this: Close your throat. If you don’t know how to close your throat, tip your head back and gargle some imaginary water. If you can’t do that, gargle some actual water. There. That was you closing your throat. Now, with your throat closed, make the “K” sound several times. Note the place in your throat where the K sound originates from. Now, start closing your throat but don’t close it all the way. Tense your throat where that K sound originated from, and push out a little air. This should sound like a bit of a growl. Or a gargle, if you will. And voila, the French “R” sound!

In other, completely unrelated news, I have a sore throat….

Just a random post

I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. Which was weird and unpleasant as doctor’s appointments are. (I hate going to the doctor more than almost anything.) It was made weirder by being temperature checked at the door and given a mask.

So I came home and ate pierogies. And I really just wanted to say, hello, these are the ultimate comfort food. Even microwaved ones from the freezer section. I am trying REALLY hard right now not to eat the rest of the box.

And also listening to my daily Bible reading on the Dwell app. They lost my place and are replaying the one I listened to yesterday, but it is worth a re-listen. (Though I’m sure you could say that about any day.) Exodus 10-12 which concerns the Passover and lines out very specific rules about Gentiles wanting to participate, and Ephesians 2 which explains how Christ REMOVED all those divisions. What a great juxtoposition! I feel like a lot of careful thought must have gone into the arrangement of this listening plan. Or maybe you can just read any two books of the Bible side by side and have them inform on each other?

A Lazy Day in a Writer’s Life

**Note** You will find a lot more details and feelings in this day diary than normal. Since the day itself is rather boring, I thought I’d bore you all further by bringing you into some of my normal thought processes throughout the day. I almost didn’t want to do this, but reminded myself that daily life isn’t always exciting, and it’s okay to post about lazy days too.

9:00ish: Woke up reluctantly, but eager to begin the day, if such a dichotomy is possible. I’ve been finding that I naturally tend to go to bed around midnight and wake around 8:30 AM, but last night was a little later since I was finishing a book. I’ve been re-reading my favorite growing up series, Judy Bolton, which is about a 15-year old girl who solves mysteries. My version of Nancy Drew, if you will.

After a shower, I dress in a bright yellow skirt, trying to remind the gray skies that it really is okay to let the sunshine through, and a white, cotton blouse, respond to a couple of messages, and make my way downstairs. I kiss my husband good morning, who has been working since 8:00, and make myself some coffee before unloading the dishwasher, while eyeing my book binder, which I left on the table last night after working on editing it. My normal confusing onslaught of emotions and thoughts assail me as I work, including thinking about what I SHOULD do today rather than what I WANT to do, followed by reminding myself that this week is about doing what I WANT to do, while trying not to feel guilty about it.

10:00ish Having finished the dishes, also swiping up the ants that plague us if we leave so much as a crumb out (as we very often do), and retrieved the blender so that Daniel can make us smoothies for a late breakfast, I give in to what I really want to do, and sit down to work on my book for a few minutes while harboring guilty thoughts of the posts on Facebook I haven’t responded to yet. I shove them to the back of my mind, since I’d far rather do this. I hate going on Facebook. It’s usually so vitriolic.

10:30ish Editing my book has turned more into a re-reading while giggling at my own witticisms while sipping my smoothie. That is either a good thing or shows how very biased I am. I occasionally break to look out my bay window, hoping the sun will appear and warm up the cold air. And wonder what I should be doing instead. No one has the right to be this relaxed.

I also sometimes stare at the seeds in front of me and wonder if it will get warm enough to plant them this week. I’ve already planted lots of things outside, but these are new–specifically selected to try and attract hummingbirds to my feeder, so I want to get them out and blooming as quickly as possible. We also got a couple strawberry plants, since they were half off ($1.50 each!) and on the verge of death. But Daniel can bring anything back to life. We had been trying to cultivate what we thought were already strawberries in the garden bed and recently discovered they were actually mock strawberries. Yup. We were attempting to care for weeds. No one should let me anywhere near a garden. So, thoroughly disappointed, we are now attempting to bring real strawberry plants back to life so we can plant THOSE.

And now, back to editing with the slight feeling of guilt for not doing devotions first. But I wouldn’t be able to concentrate anyway, with my mind so fully engrossed in finishing editing my book.

12:08 (ish): I came up for air to turn up the heat (surprisingly, it is harder to keep a big house warm than a 2 bedroom apartment), and make some tea. Looking out the window, I see something by the tree next to the fence in the back yard and go to investigate. It’s a piece of bread in its plastic bag that someone apparently decided to throw into our yard. Who does that?? My moral sense of injustice fumes as I pick it up to throw it away properly, and it’s likely fortunate for my Christian witness that I didn’t see the perpetrators.

As I attempt to calm down, I decide to try the Chocolate Earl Grey teadrop from the package my mom sent me the other day. I make it sound so simple. Really, it went more like this: **staring into the tea cupboard** I really want to try that chocolate earl grey tea. But I tried the rose one yesterday. I should have normal tea and save it for another day. What if I regret drinking it so early? But I really want it. I don’t want any other tea. But then it will be out. I should definitely have normal tea. I shouldn’t treat myself to a teadrop more than, say, once a week. But I don’t WANT normal tea. I want a teadrop. Okay, then, maybe I’ll try one of the herbal teas. Like the green tea. I don’t like green tea, so I should definitely have that one. But the chocolate . . . What is WRONG with me? And in a fit of indignation, I remind myself that I am allowed to have whatever I want, at least this week, and make myself the Chocolate Earl Grey, and proceed to feel slightly guilty while drinking it and enjoying it thoroughly. And in case you are wondering, no, that type of internal moral quandary over small things is not unusual.

I also took two pictures of the tea for instagram–one with the book I finished last night for my “bookstagram” and one with the book I am currently editing for my normal feed. And then proceeded to feel guilty off and on for the next hour about whether I was deceiving people by posting two pictures at once since they would clearly think I was reading when I was really editing.

1:30ish I break for lunch since Daniel has a break, and make tuna for tuna sandwiches before realized I forgot to make bread. I refused to buy bread just the day before to save money. So, I set it aside and heat up leftover spaghetti and meatballs from last night instead, which tastes better anyway, and I eat far too much. The meatballs are a new recipe. Have you guys ever watched Julie and Julia? I did once long ago and ever since have wanted to try making every single recipe in a cookbook. I go through spurts. Currently I am going through another spurt and picked out specific recipes to try this week. The meatball recipe was one of them, and it was DELICIOUS. Man, did it make a mess, though, especially since I heated the oil up too much last night and it spurted everywhere while cooking the meat. Not going to lie, I waited until today to clean that up.

2:00ish: I settle onto the couch under a blanket to continue “editing” my book. Which is still more of a rereading than editing.

3:30: Having effectively worked on my book and nothing else all day, I finish it, vacillating violently between whether it is really good or really bad, and I am now suddenly very sleepy and considering taking a nap. After thinking about it far too long, and replaying Daniel’s words that I am allowed to do whatever I want to do this month, I go up to lie down. Whereupon, my brain immediately decides it is too busy to rest, and I lay there and play phone games instead, while feeling guilty for wasting time, yet still enjoying it.

4:15: Somehow still feeling more rested, despite not actually sleeping, I decide to practice piano for a few minutes, and head back downstairs to make coffee to sip on while I work on scales and Christmas songs (is this a lazy day or what??). As you may or may not know, I wanted to play piano all my life, and finally took a couple semesters of it in college, and got good pretty fast, even surprising my teacher, but I let it all fall to the side as soon as I graduated and have barely touched it since. This week, I decided to try taking it up again and am ashamed to admit I could barely remember where middle C was. I’m working off a level 1 book and some scales to try and remind myself of the basics as I eye the more complicated pieces I desperately want to play. Rissa, can you please come play them for me so I can hear them??

5:15ish. Somehow a few minutes turned into closer to an hour, and as Daniel finishes up work, I turn off the piano, frustrated that I am having a hard time with remembering sharp notes, and we take off almost right away to finish the grocery shopping we didn’t get to finish yesterday, due to how early stores are all closing now. We got a majority of what we needed at Walmart yesterday, and now head to Costco for things like butter and half and half. Since we have moved to Daniel’s paycheck, we’ve gone to a very strict budget and are spending cash only for things like food, so it always takes awhile as I calculate everything we put into the cart, and I am delighted to discover that, after getting what we actually need, I have enough left to buy a $10 package of chocolate covered greek yogurt bars I have been wanting to try. I was sad that I didn’t have enough money in the “extra” budget to buy the gorgeous hanging planters for the front porch, but that’s okay – something to look forward to next year! Maybe even next month depending on if I get another job right away.

Afterwards, we head to the ABC store (which is the state liquor store) to pick up some things since, like everyone else, we are drinking more than previously during this time at home. Upon arriving, we discover, after double checking the budget, that we don’t actually have any money left in the transportation budget (which is what we are currently using for “extras” since we don’t have to pay to go to work). But, it’s almost the end of the month, so I pool the rest of the money from the grocery budget and household budget to get cheap Vodka and Whiskey, since we are really into Earl Grey martinis right now (thanks, Abby!), and Daniel’s go-to outside of that is whiskey and coke. As we walk out, I admit that I am a little sad I didn’t get to pick up some of the Birddog Blackberry whiskey, or, what I really wanted to try, the Black Cherry whiskey, but also kind of proud of us for sticking so closely to our budget. This is very good for us, and I feel rather accomplished to be able to figure out how to get some of what we want while not overspending. Is that the Type A in me?

For the record, far from the sun coming out, it is now cold and rainy. I’m super annoyed. Well. As annoyed as one can be when they are happy.

6:15: We arrive back at the house and Daniel unloads groceries while I begin dinner preparations. I want to try a new recipe I got from my friend Ashley for acorn squash. I intended to try it last night with the spaghetti, but got so caught up in the meatballs, totally forgot. So tonight it will accompany a salad. I melt a bunch of butter and maple syrup together (she used real maple syrup, but that was a little out of our price range this time around, so I’m using the cheap stuff), slice the acorn squash thinly, lay it on a baking sheet and pour the maple syrup mixture over it, sprinkling it all with salt, and roasting it at 425. Then I start prepping the salad–we got a couple boxes of produce from a local restaurant that started selling them to stay afloat–which includes cutting the iceberg lettuce head, shredding carrots, cutting up chunks of cheese (we recently discovered how much better block cheese is than pre-shredded cheese), and using leftover hardboiled eggs as protein. Guys. That dinner was so good. If it is possible to over-indulge in salad and caramelized acorn squash, I certainly did. Daniel made us whiskey sours to go with it, and we watched Hoodwinked while eating, and I FINALLY made my water app happy by having a glass of water as well.

8:00 PMish: So, this new, big house takes some getting used to. One of the things that takes getting used to is the understanding that we do have more than one room in which we can hang out. As part of this, we have decided to establish a “library” night, in which we spend an evening down in the basement instead of up in the family room. Accordingly, we now turn off the tv, clean up the dishes (more or less), I gather all my writing things, and head to the basement. Daniel does this and that down there while I chat with Abby and Rissa, partially avoiding beginning the implementation of book edits into my document, and partially feeling guilty for not doing my French lesson today, and partially feeling guilty for not working out today, and partially feeling guilty for not doing devotions today. Nonetheless, with years of experience, I navigate around all those feelings by enjoying my chat, looking at and talking about books, and then, finally, beginning the insert of edits into my actual document. Daniel eventually settles in, having shredded some documents and made us another whiskey sour, and selects a book on American history from our multiple shelves of books. I have to admit, I looked at him skeptically, but he informed me that it was the type of thing one read in a library, and I conceded. The evening is a mix of chats, inserting edits, and feeling extremely wise as I offer suggestions to my younger sister, who is also working on writing a book, for getting out of a writer’s block.

11:00ish: After a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing evening, which was interrupted only once by Daniel having to rescue me from a spider I saw across the room, Daniel admits he needs to go to bed since he actually has work the next morning, and we clean up and head upstairs. I don’t have to get up in the morning, so I pour myself a little bit of fireball, get ready for bed, and settle into bed to finish inserting my edits while sipping my drink, determined to finish tonight.

12:30 AM ish: I finish, send my book off to Abby, who has agreed to do a preliminary reading before I submit myself to all the criticisms of beta readers, and settle down to go to sleep, content despite all the things I DIDN’T do today.

Thanks for coming along!

 

“Quarantine At Alexander Abraham’s”

excerpt from a short story by L.M. Montgomery

I REFUSED to take that class in Sunday School the first time I was asked. It was not that I objected to teaching in the Sunday School. On the contrary, I rather liked the idea; but it was the Rev. Mr. Allan who asked me, and it had always been a matter of principle with me never to do anything a man asked me to do if I could help it. I was noted for that. It saves a great deal of trouble and it simplifies everything beautifully. 

A “bookstagrammer” I follow (don’t ask me which one!) recommended this short story. I dug it up online and was hooked from the very first line — can you blame me? 😉

To continue the story (highly recommended!) please visit: https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/montgomery/chronicles/chronicles.html#202