Working Wednesday, October 13, 2020

I’ve been cooking, trying to clear things out for winter, working on Anna. Bob and I decided to skip this week’s HWSWA, and then e-mailed about our plots anyway. He wrote that he was giving an old character an identical twin. Secret twins are death in fiction but no shutting people down while they’re in discovery, so I said something like, “Uh huh.” Then he e-mailed back: “Joking.” Turkey. Very excited about tomorrow; I get to go to the grocery, buy stuff to make vegetable soup, nachos, spaghetti. Much chopping for comfort food for cool weather. Hey, small pleasures count.

What did you do this week?

66 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, October 13, 2020

  1. Full time work + a lot of overtime. Not much else here, either. I discovered a new writer. Lilith Saintcrow. I think a lot of argh tribe would like her books. She writes in genres that I have difficulty reading. But she also blogs like you, Jenny. Her blogs are sometimes raw but so affirming of what awake, aware people are going through right now.
    I am linking todays blog because it is beautiful about writing:
    Title: Glass Apple, Silence, Flames.
    Jenny – if you don’t want the link on your blog I won’t be offended if you delete this post.

  2. Just trying to get into the groove after time away. Housework, Italian, exercise, Get Out the Vote stuff. I feel really blah and I suspect part of that is too much news, but this is one of those times it’s really hard not to watch some. . .
    I finished up my last ESL teaching commitment for a while.

  3. I was all set to collate the proofs of the book I edited in August this week. Kept waiting in for the post (they have to be signed for – which at the moment means the postman has to see me pick up the parcel from my doorstep). Got the two proof-readers’ sets; kept chasing the author, who finally responded on Monday night, to say he was on an entirely different schedule, and won’t be returning his set until the middle of next week.

    No luck so far in getting work to fill the gap. On the other hand, the weather’s set fair and the soil’s workable, so I’m focusing on clearing the mass of weeds from my allotment, and on typing up and editing my gardening notes: 40,000 words so far. I’m keen to sort my plans for the next year for both gardens, but want all the research and ideas I’ve had over the years to feed in. I want to order more structural plants, but need to get really clear exactly what I want to buy mail order – especially since the nurseries and garden centres that are open locally are very hit-and-miss with their stock at the moment.

    1. I was in a nice nursery in Canberra the other day, they had a big sign at the entrance explaining the nationwide plant shortage. Everyone staying home so much this year has lead to unusually heavy plant purchasing.

  4. Work. Working from home means kowtowing to the demands of the feline overlords, who have decided they like their time outside, just after the mid morning nap period. I try to time my phone calls so this isn’t disturbed.

    The weekend was rainy, so I took that as a sign that I should NOT do yard work (although there’s plenty to be done!). So I stayed inside and did fun things. I put together the quilt top I had started several weeks ago when I needed a new thing. I shopped my stash, looking for all the needed materials amongst what I already had. It’s at the point where it needs to be quilted, once I figure out a back for it.

    I also spent some time practicing my quilting skills on a set of pieced pot holders. Since they are only for me, I’m perfectly fine with them looking off kilter. And this was another bit of stuff that was in my stash that is getting close to being completed. I just need to put the backs together and sew them on.

    I continue to find joy in working on the crochet project. I have to discipline myself not to start on it too early in the day, or I’d get nothing else done. I’m a little over halfway done – the light area with the triangles on the right side of the picture is the center motif. From here on, it will be echoing back the left side of the blanket.

    (and I bought more yarn to make another one – but I’ll try not to start it before I’ve completed this one.)

    1. I’ve been wanting to try a bit of mosaic crochet — this motivates me even more now!

      1. The resulting blanket comes out thicker than you’d think, because you’re double crocheting over a single crochet. Keep that in mind as you choose a yarn. I also find that I hold it slightly differently than regular crochet, because you’re trying to slip the hook into one part of the previous row’s loop, rather than both parts.

  5. I’ve just seen a picture on twitter of croissants in a can? I didn’t know that was a thing! Are they amazing or terrible?

    I’m so tired, I’ve been so unproductive all week. Sigh. I have DEADLINES and next week they will come to bite me in the arse. I know better. Sigh again. No one to blame here but myself. Nothing but good times ahead.

    1. Allanah, I suspect croissants in a can are Pillsbury crescent rolls, which are fine when you’re in the mood for something quick and easy, but if I ordered a croissant and received a Pillsbury crescent roll, I would be bitterly disappointed. Think of it as if you ordered a gourmet steak dinner and got a cheap fast food hamburger.
      I suspect commercial crescent rolls are made with shortening or oils, not butter. Homemade ones are made with bread dough, not puff pastry dough.
      Anyone who knows differently, feel free to correct me!

      1. I think Jill is probably right. The Pillsbury can stuff is fine for when you’re stuck in non-croissant country (or the kinds of croissants you can get where I live) but it bears little resemblance to the real thing.

        1. I was in the kitchen when someone vigorously whapped the tube on the counter. It sprang open and only my quick reflexes, snatching dough from the air kept them from falling to the floor.

        2. Some of my favorite food memories of childhood were the intensely rare “company’s coming” dinners when my mom would buy a tube of Pillsbury and bang it against the counter. We all knew that meant that, although we’d be limited to one polite roll each, there would at least be one edible item at the table. Very few people with freedom of choice who are treated to my mother’s cooking accept a second invitation to dinner. The saddest part is that she’s well aware of this and feels badly.

    2. Croissants in a can are possible, I guess. It is common to let the dough rest in the fridge between rollings, but I wouldn’t try them without scrutinizing the ingredients first. Trader Joe makes frozen ones that you thaw overnight, do a final rise and then bake which aren’t bad. The question I have about the dough in a can is what kind of preservatives did they add to give them a longer life in the dairy case? And did they use real butter?

  6. Overwhelming regular work here, too. However, two weeks ago I finished the art piece for our son–and he likes it! One of these days I’ll figure out how to share a picture. Meanwhile, I’ll share the inscription: “Painted with lots of love. Framed with lots of swearing.”

  7. Trying to write my cat novel while the real cat is sitting on my lap. Meanwhile, from outside I can hear the cranes departing for the south. It’s mid-october. Winter is coming, as I heard recently.

    1. Yeah, it’s getting chilly enough that it’s broken through my denial.
      There are things about winter that I love, I don’t think I could live in a place without distinct seasons, but mostly, it’s a PITA. Spring and Fall, those are paradise (now that I don’t live in Tornado Alley), Summer this year was heaven, but Winter? Argh.

        1. The iconic bird of the Lufthansa logo. Cranes spend the summer in the Northern part of Europe, and when they travel South, you can hear them calling while they are flying in large v-shaped flocks.

      1. Cranes have long, stilt-y legs, to wade through water, and long necks and long bills to catch fish and frogs… Ungainly yet elegant, strangely enough. Unlike squatter, rounder and eminently edible geese.

        1. I like the chimney nests of cranes I’ve seen in Germany and Poland. The nests are huge — bigger than great blue heron nests.

          Europeans fancy nests for cranes on their houses. I’d never invite a bird to nest on mine — even though the turkey buzzards like to sit on my roof and scope out the view.

  8. Soaker of a rainstorm yesterday. All the leaves that didn’t make to the ground filled the gutters. So today is clean the gutters day. The good news is is that we didn’t lose power.

    Also yesterday I made shrimp salad and with added fillers there was enough for two sandwiches.

    Off to the porch at the library to get my bag of books and dvds. A Michael Connelly, Fair Warning for my husband. I’ll try to get into Deadlock by Catherine Coulter. Returning the Kominsky Method dvd which was really good. In it are Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. Douglas as an aging actor turned acting teacher and Arkin as his agent. What we saw recently was Succession and the only actors I recognized were Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin and Matthew MacFadyen. It was like watching a train wreck but couldn’t avert my eyes. That’s why we’re waiting for other libraries to loosen their hold of the second season.

  9. Planned, purchased, peeled, chopped, sautéed, roasted, baked, our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. It was very good. I was able to find vegan bacon and sausage for stuffing for one son and wife, the other son wanted to know if there would be meat for dinner or a vegan thanksgiving dinner. Made three dishes separately, vegan and full fat with bacon, etc for dinner. Buy white and dark meat real turkey rolls and a “holiday festival vegan roll” so it can be done. Lots of pots and pans. Two sets of stuffing, two sets of turkey/holiday roll and sliced Brussels sprouts, one with sautéed shallots, the second with bacon and shallots. Eldest did a fine job of finishing both dishes. Bought a vegan pumpkin pie which is pretty delicious.

    Painted the replacement window frames for the front door and side panels. Will paint the door and panels today. Wanted to have a clean painted front entrance before the winter rains arrive. Expecting snow too.

    And work, work. Last full day is end of December. Part – part-time in new year. Going to be interesting.

    1. Thanksgiving is a lot of work regularly, but you just did it twice! Your kids don’t know how lucky they are.

      1. Usually we all share the cooking. I felt like cooking. They were appreciative. At Christmas we will share and I will do the stuffings and tweak the vegan one a bit.

        I’m told that I’m the best Mom ever. They come to realize it eventually.

    2. If you’re looking for something interesting for Christmas, I saw a mention of something called “Mushroom Wellington,” looked it up, and it looks pretty good. And the pastry casing can probably be prettied up to a fare-thee-well in a seasonal theme.

      Of course, if a son said, “What, Mushroom Wellington AGAIN?” you’re allowed to require him to do the dishes.

      1. Thanks, Ann. It looks easy and delicious. Will try that. Maybe surprise the vegans for dinner. The crispy potatoes recipe looked yummy. Always looking for a good potato recipe. (The site was the first one on google – a recipe from Australia.)

  10. Killing frost? Check.

    Overnight snow? Check.

    14-day forecast all below 0? Check.

    Yup, it’s October on the mountain.

    Our friend Lisa stopped by on Monday after visiting her family for Thanksgiving. She drove 2 hours out of her way to drop off the plants her mom gave me. Bearing in mind that we will be at her house on Saturday and could have picked them up. That’s friendship. Or a burning desire not to be blamed in the plants all died; she does have a black thumb. You choose. We were having turkey supper that night so she stayed for supper and got in some extra pets with the dogs and cats.

    Other than that it’s been all day job, all the time because we were really, really, horribly behind (like 5000 minutes behind) but as of Monday evening we were caught up, it helped the all the clinics were closed for Thanksgiving, and yesterday I took most of the day off and goofed off. It was less fun than you would think.

  11. Just work. Report still not finished as boss found some details to clarify, argh. Doing overtime, so just managed to do my homework in Ancient Greek with the help of dear son. But no revision done yet. Six months of forgetting almost all that I’d learnt before will come to bite me tomorrow in my next class, argh again.
    Plus I’ve stayed up too late lately, due to watching Sabrina on Netflix. But I think I won’t continue. I just don’t get the appeal of being a witch when it feels so very dark and negative. Though auntie Hilda and cousin Ambrose are totally lovely.
    I should start with knitting for a jumper since I haven’t found anything that appeals to me and it got really chilly here, too.
    Dear son and dear daughter asked for wrist warmers to wear. These sound nice projects – fast and rewarding. Plus I can listen to audiobooks doing the knitting. I just have to make up my mind *what* to listen to…

  12. The AQI is 354 here today; I’m so frustrated and angry and heart-broken about the choices that have led to the current state of the world (including, but not limited to, this most-current climate-collapse-and-capitalism-fueled global wildfire season).

    Work this week has included much plunking along on the treadmill, where bad air cannot reach me. I am listening to a book recommended here (Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education), enjoying it very much, and was making it through one chapter a day. Alas, today’s chapter is 1 hour and 15 minutes, which may exceed my patience for walking in place. Before I find out, however, I will have to figure out the trick of peeling myself off this couch.

    *shakes fist at cloud*

  13. I’m feeling very lazy, reading about all these people working. I’m retired, currently sitting in my recliner, reading the newspaper, working the crosswords, reading email, sipping coffee. It’s 11:50 AM here.

    This past week, I decluttered three cupboards, attended two doctor’s appointments, lost my driver’s license, ordered a replacement, had my son point out the location of my license IN MY WALLET (I had placed it in the wrong little holder). Did the usual household chores, including laundry and frantically straitening up before the housecleaners come. Do other people do that, or am I trying to live a lie??

    1. Yeah, if you want them to actually clean, it’s a good idea to reduce clutter and clear surfaces — actually, a very useful exercise. I try to actually put some stuff away where it belongs or throw some stuff out whenever our cleaner comes (every two weeks), rather than just shove it all into one pile. Less work for them, and you can appreciate clean floors and dusted surfaces when you can actually see them without the clutter (smile).

    2. My take is that I’ve hired a cleaner, not a tidier, so yes I do the same thing.

      I must say that my house has got a lot tidier since hiring a cleaner! 😀

    3. I have a routine before the cleaner comes. She takes my small bathroom throw rugs and puts them in the laundry room. I figure I’ll wash them on my timetable not hers, so I pick them up and put them elsewhere. I also pick up the other scatter rugs around, generally clear the floor of cat toys and other paraphrenalia and clear the counters. I want her to spend her time cleaning, not moving my stuff around.

      Pre-covid, if I was home, I’d move furniture as she vacuumed, to get all the stuff underneath areas. But she insists on us vacating the house nowadays.

      All in all worth it though. I’m helping a friend with her business, I’m not having to clean my bathrooms and the post-cleaning tidied up house just sparkles.

  14. I affirmed my place in the world by making a fuss of the neighbour’s cat. Until a fortnight ago, she ran at the sight of me. Now she runs to me and purrs like crazy. Life feels better with a purring cat in it.

    On the work front, I flew down to visit my mother at the weekend and helped put her vege garden in. That was highly satisfying. I brought some spare plants home to put in my own (non-existent) vege garden; haven’t planted them yet but will this weekend.

    And on the creative front, I drew a dog’s eye. And some other bits of the dog, but I rubbed most of those out. I’ve got till the 11th of December to get the dog picture finished and framed, and at the rate I’m going, I’ll probably just about manage it.

  15. My SIL had her hip replacement surgery and thanks to the time difference (they’re 7 hours ahead of us), I already know that it went very well and she will come home on Friday. Her operation was postponed due to the pandemic and I am sure she can’t wait for some relief from the pain. I am now off to buy a wad of funny cards and international stamps so I can keep her amused while she is only semi-ambulatory.

  16. Just managing to keep up with the ‘housework’. I have a Zoom meeting this evening, which takes care of the meetings for 2 weeks. I need to get my hear cut tomorrow. Covid cases are up in my area so it may be the last trim for awhile.

  17. Secret twins = death in fiction? Wasn’t there a recent film in which the protagonist finds out she is one of many clones? (Clones=twinned people.)

    Or that older book & movie, “The Boys from Brazil”?

    Or any number of Disney movies where an English twin meets her American twin (and vice versa) and they decide to re-unite their parents? (They might all have been named “Parent Trap.)

    1. Orphan Black! I think that’s different, because the secret clones were the premise, not a deus ex machina (or other plot twist). Brilliant performances by Tatiana Maslaney. If I can find where it’s streaming, I may have to binge a second viewing of the whole series.

      1. I know of several huge fans of Orphan Black who said to skip season 3 and go directly to season 4. I’m still on season 2, so I can’t comment on it from personal knowledge.

    2. I’d forgotten about “The Boys from Brazil.” That was damned good and scary. I was a teenager and that book was a whole new genre to me. (My dad always passed on to me the oddest books ….)

  18. I decided to take a whole week (plus the holiday weekend) off from “work.” No writing except emails and internet posts.

    The only rule for my week off is that I can’t waste the day doomscrolling. So I started a new quilt to use up some scraps that have been lying around since I finished a quilt for a friend last November, and I got the center all pieced, just need to add a pieced border. And I cut down two trees (that I should have weed whacked before they got too big for that, and then they were taller than my two-story house). And I baked an apple cake.

    I hope to finish the quilt top by the end of the week off and do some errands and puttering so I’ll have fewer distractions after I get back to working.

    1. “Doomscrolling” — new expression to me, but, boy oh boy, such an apt description!!

      Imma gonna steal that!

  19. Yesterday was rain, rain, rain, which was great, because we have been dry, dry, dry. I tried to do desk work, but my shoulder and hands ached so much that I finally gave up, and just let myself have a rainy day reading a book. It was great.
    However, on the active side, I’ve been prepping canvases and putting polyurethane on the easel and some wooden boxes, and I actually found a lamp shade (Target!) for the thrift store find from last week. It looks lovely.

  20. I work a few hours a week doing property management-lite for my house manager. It’s fun a lot of the time. Did that today — it’s a Wednesday thing. I basically wander the site and look for problems and non-conformist details (I could never live in a condo setting like this. It’s beige and bland and I hate conforming.) Then I write a report (still pending for today). I also get to start giving violation notices to owners — whee. And soon, Lin will feel she’s trained me enough and I’ll get to do this all by myself. Ugh. Oh well, it’s a little bit of money and it helps during this time of continued unemployment. Maybe if I were more proactive and energetic I could find some actual freelance or contract proofreading and editing. Right now, leaving the house is still a work-in-progress.

    The high point of today was getting to hold a 12-week-old miniature long-haired dachshund named Bacon. He was little and warm and soft and wriggly and kept licking my ear. His mom was trying to put some boxes in the trash and he wouldn’t let her out without him, so I took him. Lovely little guy.

  21. I had the physical part of a physical this morning, and while the doctor was pleased with my lab numbers and so on, she wants me to get more exercise, and I have no idea how I’m going to manage that. Probably by buckling down to cleaning the house OUT, most of which can be done indoors.

  22. Day job. Some yard work over the weekend. Accomplished some overdue and important bits of writer business, and a small amount of actual writing.

    I have two M/M novel WIPs and one M/F novel WIP that was originally conceived as a novella but I want this story to breathe more. Was thinking about doing NaNoWriMo again this year and it is tempting to simply work on the project of which I have, to date, written the most (i.e., most likely to get finished by the end of November in view of my current productivity slump). I got spoiled, was averaging 20K words/week for quite a while. Apparently my brain is on strike.

  23. My birthday was Sunday and I thought I turned 57 but realized it was 58. Dang 2020. When I drove in the garage at 1 am on Sunday. It was cleaned. Best birthday present ever. It beat 4 new tires on my minivan And the rugdoctor. Big time romantics. We took the week off and got our safe deposit box drilled out. Looked at our will and sent it to the lawyer. Not our most enjoyable vacation but getting crap accomplished. Next year maybe go somewhere…

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