C. S. Lewis

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."

-C.S.Lewis


Friday, November 21, 2014

Corn Chowder visual recipe

When I want to cook something new, I usually look up a couple different recipes for it. Sometimes I end up picking just one recipe, other times I combine a couple different recipes.

If I am combining, and if I'm particularly organized that day, I will take time to write down what I'm actually going to do.

I made corn chowder last weekend for the first time ever. I combined two recipes, then paused to admire how clear and simple this scribbled recipe is.

To me, at least.

You don't have to read much to figure out what needs to be chopped first, or what goes in the pot when.

I guess it doesn't work if you need to be taught the basics of making soup (like what ingredients need to be heated more slowly) but I'm quite enamored with the whole squiggle based directions things...

Oh... and the chowder came out really well. I did, however, skip the thyme and put in a dash of red pepper instead. 
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

jumping

These pictures are So Old. Look at the green grass and the t-shirts! I had intended to write a thoughtful and translated-to-English post on jumping position and the struggles of getting the right stirrup length (we usually ride long, which is great for everything but jumping).

In lieu of a long, thoughtful, got-it-all-figured-out post, here are these pictures I've been holding out on posting.

Jumping is a fun, practical application of all the hard work on bending and softness. It makes Midas happy.

I'm still trying to figure out how to teach jumping, and how to set up lines and such.

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These pictures are from July/August, before we figured out we needed to shorten stirrups a bit to allow for proper balance in half-seat.

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The poor Ham, his stirrups are way too long for this.

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But look how happy Midas is:

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I have more recent pictures of me jumping Midas (you know....like...September), it is interesting to see how my effort to improve actually showed results.

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This is me working very hard to push my hands forward over the jump in an automatic release and also to wait for the jump, rather than jumping ahead.

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Needs work, still :P

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But jumping has been a fun addition. We haven't gotten to multiple fences yet, but we'll get there. Midas is pretty psyched to have this new fun thing to do.

Monday, November 17, 2014

snatches

Starting a new story is hard. I've written several openings already.

They say you should write, and then go back and start over ten pages in, since usually the first ten pages (at least) are really before the story starts. For something episodic like Zare, it's gonna be less than ten pages that gets cut.

At least I hope so.

I've thought about the story a great deal. One of the things about Zare's life which is so interesting to me is that she lives concurrently with my novel, Godsend. Sort of.

She lives in the back story. Her life interlocks with different points in Godsend, providing depth to my understanding of that part of the world and its travails.

Consequently, one of the side effects is that many of the things that Zare lives will affect Godsend. And that is part of why I've been doing so much thinking. She's forcing me to unravel things that bugged me just a bit about Godsend, which is really good. It's also really annoying. Just go suspend your disbelief, OK? Gosh.

Zare doesn't like to suspend her disbelief.

I see scenes, snatches of story that float past in disconnected and dreamlike whirls. I have to figure out which ones are actually a part of the story. Then I have to figure out where the story starts.


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Friday, November 14, 2014

gladiolas and other things

I resist writing a blog post just to say "I'm still here, in case anyone was wondering." Seems to defeat the purpose of a blog, in some ways. Though, it's a bit troublesome when you're so tired that is nearly all you can think of to say!

Nearly.

It's been a really wild month or so. First, a delightfully activity-less, internet-less vacation, then two days after getting home I spin out in my little car, Duncan, who valiantly crumples to save me from anything worse than mild whiplash. That of course launches a wild and unexpected flurry of car related research, re-imagining the budget (I've not had a car payment for years....), packed in around Zorro's cramming for a miniatures tournament, and house cleaning and planning for Abigail's baby shower.

The tournament, the baby shower, and the bulk of the car stuff all had to happen the same weekend, then we had to clean the house again because my family was coming.

Somehow, it was all finished. We got to the end of the extreme deadlines and had no idea what to do with ourselves. Nothing had to happen right that minute, or else. At the end of a forced march, you sit down. For about two days.

Then, my parents, from New England, and my brother and sister-in-law, from Old England, came for the first 10 days in November. It was a full house!

We toured. We cooked. We played games.

We held an early Thanksgiving, complete with all the trimmings.

I keep forgetting no one else has had Thanksgiving yet. Poor Zorro. I have switched into Christmas planning mode and he keeps reminding me that it's still two weeks till Thanksgiving. Oh, right. Well, that's kind of nice! More time to plan gifts. I doubt I'll be making many of them this year, but maybe I'll surprise myself.

We've only had an empty house for a couple days now, and haven't really been home much for it to sink in. My creative juices have been funneled into an Iliad House project which I had intended to finish in October. The good news? It's finished now. Just two weeks later than my original deadline.

Maybe I can start slogging forward on Zare (and related stories) this weekend, or start concept work for that sweat shirt I want to remake...

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Catch Can

If I write this post, the next time I go to catch Midas, he'll probably go tearing around the pasture.

But I'm going to write it anyway.

Because of late, when I go to ride, Midas brings himself in. This has been going on for months. I know, it's totally normal for most people. But this is the horse who routinely galloped around like a maniac before being caught. For years.

The other day we arrived just after the horses had all be turned out after the farrier visited. They were all galloping around, flinging their heads, prancing, and generally rejoicing in their strength. The farrier said to have fun catching him. I laughed. So I watched them running for a minute, then gathered my rope and Midas's halter and leaned on the gate to wait.

Midas noticed me, then, and stopped running. He stood uncertainly, watching me.

I entered the pasture and asked if he was done.

He thought about it for a moment, and then walked over to me. I patted him and then turned and walked a few steps. He followed me.

With Maverick cavorting along the fence beside us.

Life achievement unlocked.



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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Paprika

I've never really been a big fan of paprika. I wanted to like it, but used it sparingly in recipes that called for it (or dishes that seemed like they needed it). It took a while, but I eventually used up my old cheapo jar of paprika and bought new stuff.

My favorite place for spices is our local health food store--and not for the reasons you think--they actually (truly) have the best prices on bulk spices. Also, I've noticed their spices are generally better quality. And since I'm there often, my spices are fresher than they have ever been, which leads to general taste bud delight. I bought vanilla beans there recently and they infused my entire spice cabinet with their aroma they were so fresh and vital (which made cooking awkward for a couple days, I apparently rely on my nose when grabbing the next random spice for my impromptu marinades, and when all you can smell is vanilla, well...)

Anyway. New paprika.

via wikipedia


My new paprika is a completely different flavor. It smells different. The taste is different. I'm completely floored. It's good, I love it, I'm just blow away by how different fresh paprika is from(*cough* probably 4 to 5 year old paprika. All my dishes, particularly beef stroganoff and my chicken wraps, have taken a definite step up in flavor.

Lesson learned. Freshness matters.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Unplugged

We spent a week on a lake without access to the internet.

It was amazing.


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I got so much done. Including a lot of reading and thinking. I read through Zare in two sittings and got at least one round of editing down.

I culled through the past year of pictures and started gathering pictures to print for my annual album.

There is something to be said for a week without the constant hum of traffic or the attraction of the never-unplugged-infinite internet. I occasionally missed Pinterest (which provides inspiration for what to draw sometimes!) but that was pretty much it.

We cooked dinner together and ate watching the sun set. After that we might read for a little, but something about sitting outside until the world is wrapped in darkness just makes you want to go to bed.


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By the last day we went to bed at 9:30 (making ourselves stay up so late) and woke up before 6 the next day.

We were very ready to go home, but came home with quieter minds and refreshed spirits.

Then it was headlong into a busy week at the office, and my car got totaled, and a we had a birthday party, and a baby shower to plan, and coming house guests, oh my!

We're feeling rather less refreshed this week than we'd hoped.

But we've been married four years now. It's been forever, and just a day or two, really. We're still us, still love ice cream, but we're closer, stronger, and better than ever. I couldn't imagine a better person to do life with than Zorro.

Which is good, because life decided to get rowdy. It's been a bit of a challenge trying to fit everything in these past days--which is why the blog has been completely ignored for two weeks. And why you're getting a vague, scattered, "still alive" post.

I think the week without internet (especially social media) did prep us well for diving into a week of having buckets of boring, overwhelming internet and phone research to do (insurance, car shopping, budgeting...plus all the other things we were already committed to attend or do).

Nothing teaches you how to single task like no wifi. Multitasking is sometimes necessary, but single tasking is so much more fulfilling (and oddly more efficient).

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