August at last!

It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who saw my post at the end of May on having the kids home for the summer, but I’m really ready for them to go back to school. Fortunately, that’s just two and a half weeks now!

In many ways, the summer’s been easier than I thought it would be, although that probably has a lot to do with being willing to use electronic babysitters. Yes, my kids have spent an inordinate amount of time on the Xbox, the laptop, and my iPad — playing games, watching movies, and mostly staying out of my hair so I could still work and write. (I’ve even finished and sent out a couple of new stories this summer.) Which isn’t to say I didn’t do things with the kids. Library every week. One memorable trip to a playground (It didn’t end well). A trip to a different park. A trip to the museum.

I’ve made sure the kids are reading (okay, that’s not exactly hard, although my son is complaining that he doesn’t need any more recommendations of books to read now, Mom, thank you) and practicing their math (the boy has his summer algebra packet; I’ve had to print out addition, subtraction, and time worksheets for the girl). And the boy’s started up band camp, too, which takes him out of the house for a couple of hours every morning.

On the other hand, when the kids are both downstairs for any length of time, the squabbling starts. And when the boy has his best friend over, they tend to chatter a lot, which rather distracts me from what I’m trying to get done. And every now and then, we get that age-old plaint of children everywhere — “I’m bored!” (Although my son has learned to follow this up very quickly with, “No, Mom, I’m not asking for suggestions.”)

I’m probably the only one of us who’s eager for this year to start. My son’s still nervous about being a teen, and being in 8th grade weirds him out. My daughter? Well, she went to the same school for kindergarten that she did for preschool, so now that she’s going into first grade, she’s switching schools to a larger place with more kids, most of whom she won’t know. She’s nervous. Last night, in fact, she was telling me she was scared about kindergarten even though it was still the same school and she knew most everyone. So this? Yeah, big step for her.

Which doesn’t change the fact that I’m counting down to August 25.

The taste of summer

Continuing the ice cream saga . . .

I ran across an article about the science of sorbets last week. It had a link to a peach sorbet recipe. I’d bought some of the most luscious freestone peaches at Wegmans, but my son and I ate most of them before I found the recipe. So instead, I went to Scholl Orchards, a farm stand around the corner. Sadly, they only had cling peaches, but I got two pounds of yellow peaches and one pound of white.

This weekend, I made the peach sorbet, mixing yellow and white peaches. The white are sweeter and juicier, and because the yellow aren’t as ripe as they could be, their color’s not very rich, either. I had to tweak the recipe a bit (1 teaspoon lime juice, an extra 1/4 cup of sugar), but it is incredible, even if it isn’t as pretty as the picture on Serious Eats. In fact, I’m going to have to make more within the next couple of days.

peach sorbet


Ever notice how even if the days fly by, the weeks feel long? So much to get done, so much going on.

Of current note:

  • I’ve decided to focus on short stories for the summer and release Corn Maze this fall.
  • Writing can be like cooking some recipes — not necessarily hard or complicated, but time consuming, with lots of steps along the way. (I’ve been doing step-wise prep work to have spring rolls with dinner tomorrow.)
  • Summer vacation for the kids is almost half over already. Maybe next week, I’ll take them to the pool. The girl’s been asking since before school let out.
  • I’ve gotten my son hooked on epic fantasies by Kate Elliott (whose Cold Magic and Spirit Gate I talked about during a couple of my A to Z series).
  • I’ve finally admitted that I do have asthma; it’s not just an occasional ovqd some of those complications.

What’s new in your life?

Kid tested, wildlife approved

Unlike most (all?) of our neighbors, we don’t use herbicides. Thus, our back lawn has plenty of clover, buttercups, wild strawberries, violets (though they’re past their bloom now), purslane, and I’m not sure what else. Looks mostly green when I look out into the humid world. It’s soft enough for the kids to play on. Works for me.

Also works for the deer. One of the local does came by for dinner last night and breakfast this morning.
deer under the apple tree

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Happy Fourth!

For those who are in the U.S., I hope you had a good (and safe) holiday. For those elsewhere, I hope you had a good Friday. Friday flash will rerun next week.

Meanwhile, some fireworks:




Crazy week

Last week, the ongoing copyediting gig was slow (no articles at all that I could grab), the indexing gig had no news, and the proofreading gig would arrive at the earliest on Friday. I got some writing in, but perhaps not as much as I could have.

This week? Copyediting article grist thing this morning, plus proofreading gig landed before noon. Still no word on the indexing, but that’s really just as well, what with the holiday making it a short week and having to take time out to go to the library tomorrow and all.

This, by the by, is perfectly normal for the freelancing life — feast or famine, not steady sane levels. The up-and-down nature also tends to affect my writing, so I’ve been working more on short fiction lately, rather than Corn Maze. I do anticipate it being out by the end of the summer, however. (*knock on wood*)

Oh — and I decided to redo my hair the other day. Used Ion’s teal, which strikes me as very peacock colored. I’ll be adding some yellow to this to get more middle-of-the-road green, but meanwhile, this is the current shade.


It’s summertime and the ice cream is easy

One of my earlier memories is when my dad first got his ice cream maker — a huge (it seemed to me) wooden thing that ice and salt went in the outer ring of while the electric motor churned ingredients into ice cream. I think it was a Father’s Day present, and I was younger than my daughter is now. (At least, I’m pretty sure he got it while we were in Tonopah. I’m sure Mom will tell me if I’m wrong.) He had that same ice cream maker for decades; it moved across the state with us. I think it may even have still been around when he died. Strange how I’m less certain of that.

But ice cream was something my dad made, not something I ever did. He made it seem mystical, as if the slightest wrong move would mean no ice cream would result.

When my husband and I got married, among our gifts, we received a Cuisinart ice cream maker — also electric, but much smaller, and with no ice and salt requirement. We also got an ice cream cookbook, Ice Cream! The Whole Scoop That summer, we must have made two or three different flavors a week, and we had one party where we invited friends over for pizza (grilled!) and homemade ice cream. There was nothing magical about ice cream after all. Sort of. Continue reading

Gallery of the birds

As promised, the gallery of photos from egg to young bird, able to fly. Enjoy.

So soon, so soon

Next week — next Friday, to be precise — is my kids’ last day of school for the year. The last day would’ve been Wednesday, but we had all those snow days, and even giving up the in-service days wasn’t enough. I’ve already laid down some ground rules — I get the computer from 9 to 4, even if they don’t think I’m working; they have to play outside for set least an hour a day; if I have to break up any arguments, they’re going to their rooms — that sort of thing.

It’s going to be a bit of a transition for us. The girl’s been in daycare since before she was 2, and she stayed there for kindergarten. This will be the longest stretch she’s been at home all day, every day. If I didn’t have to work, that would be fine, but especially younger children like time and attention. I have promised them an outing a week to the library, a playground, or the pool. (Pool’s probably going to be the least frequent because unlike the others, it costs money. That’s okay; we have a sprinkler the kids can play in — and no water restrictions.)

I think one of the hardest parts may be altering my morning routine. I’ve just settled into a good one, where after everyone is out the door, I have time to relax, eat breakfast, write my morning pages, read a bit, and enjoy the silence. I might still get to do most of that, but I can guarantee the next three months won’t have a lot of silence.

I’ll probably post in late June or early July on how the routine’s shaping up with the kids around. One thing’s for sure: they’ll be doing a lot of reading!