Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bread, The Next Frontier

The rye bread was mostly successful, apart from some tomfoolery with the second rising. There's no need to point fingers or try to assess blame over who did or didn't properly cover the loaves with the right kind of plastic.

Whole-wheat is the new frontier. Intriguingly, it requires additives and techniques, since whole grain flours lack the proper gluten to make this whole rising thing happen. (See, this is what's so fascinating about the whole bread-making process: It's science!)

It's probably overly ambitious, given how I haven't mastered the half-white/half-wheat loaves I've tried in past, but I am undaunted. And I have lots and lots of backup yeast and flour.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What We Have

A new kitchen faucet that looks lovely and modern and no longer leaks.

Bikes, on a bike path, here in warm weather. Did we kick some butt this weekend, zipping past all those wee young tots on skateboards and Huffys? Did we leave those four-seater surrey-type deals in the dust? Yes, yes, we did. To the accompaniment of our own Jackie Stewart-style commentary ("She's coming around the motor track. . .")

Soon-to-be-painted kitchen walls.

A writing nook for me, with hummingbird feeder and ocean view.

Tax refunds! (This one is huge, since next year for me will likely not be pretty vis-a-vis freelancing income.)

More wine than most normal humans can drink, with my own special supply of my favorite $9 Spanish red.

A cat who is admittedly in her dotage, with predictable symptoms on the horizon, but doing her thing. This thing involves actually being cuddly and purring nonstop.

Once you stop freaking out about what might happen or all the scary uncertainty, it's possible to see and enjoy the good stuff. It's also possible to put your own productivity into perspective and see how much you've done.

I swear, I can see the movie made from my memoir already.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

These Are the Accommodations One Gets in One's Dotage

It's not quite shuffleboard in Boca Raton or golf-course-adjacent living in Arizona, but it is the best $5 ever spent.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Is It a Mode We Shift Into?

I don't know what it is, but I seem to be in Pontificating Know-It-All phase on my writing. Which is a good thing, since I'm doing some freelance writing and working on a critical paper for school.

The bullshit's flowing, people. I actually wrote a piece authoritatively laying out how to make money off of facebook. HAH HAH HAH HAH!

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm Not Saying I'm Betty Draper, Exactly. Just That I Feel Her Pain. A Bit.

You know what sounds like all kinds of fantastic? Quitting a job that you've been stagnant in for a while, but that was safe, moving across the country, enrolling in an MFA program, and generally getting to have an interlude of intense writing focus. Many people dream of that, let me tell you. Many more dream of living in a gorgeous locale and not having to worry about how one will be feeding the cat or figuring out how one would set up a vinyl tarp next to the woman on the beach-walk bench. (Should I, god forbid, become homeless, that's where I'm heading. Mild weather, close bathrooms.)

I'm so fortunate! I realize that, truly. And I didn't think my stagnant job was any great shakes. Enhancing my future job prospects? Hah! More like sending me toward mental breakdown.

But, but. Dropping out of the "what do you do," even for a moment, even to be a student, is a bit of an identity void at my age and stage in life. I've never been one deeply invested in my career, such as it's been. But I've taken great pride in being a hard worker, a good thinker, one who contributes. And I've also taken great pride in having supported myself successfully since graduating college. There was a brief moment back in the day when I was terrified that I would fail, and that any moment, I would have to move into my parents' basement. Or find kind relatives who wanted to take me in. It took me years to get past that primal fear of failure and dependency.

Instead, I've been taking care of myself for a long, long time. I've been able to take vacations, buy a house, and keep the cat in premium chow. Not that I've been awash in the money, just that I've been okay. And able to save, choose, and spend on--for example--organic produce, if I want to.

Losing that thing you've been doing every day for years is hard. Waking up and knowing it's all on you to write, do your homework, or hammer out that freelance job is hard. No longer being that person who can cover her own bases, take care of herself, keep the cat in premium chow, is really hard.

You don't realize how much your identity is tied up in what you do and what you present to the world until you drop off that standard grid. And the world motors on while you fight your own inertia and attempt to instill structure and meaning into your day.