Increasing levels of control

I am currently the only adult in the house.

There are some very good sides to that.

And there are also some very bad sides.

The good side is that I can decide what colors the paint is bought in.  Yes, the stairwell walls are going to be bright yellow and the banister eggplant purple.

The bad side is that I’m ultimately responsible for just about everything in this little bit of the universe.  That’s a lot of bills to pay with not much of a paycheck.

Since the boys left there has been a grand cleaning, sorting and chucking going on.  It’s a daunting task but by focusing on one room at a time it’s a bit more manageable.

The youngest has been working on clearing out her room for the last month or so.

She has literally laid hands to everything she owns and done one of three things with it; set it aside in her sister’s room so that it could be returned to her room once it was clean, set it aside in that same room so that it could go somewhere else (the Little People and the Brio train set are getting set aside for the next generation but the tyranny of Barbie has come to an end!) and then the inevitable trash and recycling.  She filled both bins.

Problem is her sister is due home from school soon.  She probably would like a place to sleep and access to her belongings.

So all weekend we spent working upstairs.  I spent some time tidying up my own room and guiding her.  She did the majority of the work.  She hit the wall of exhaustion eventually.  She said to me when we finally retired to the couch at the end of a very long day, “Is this what you feel like all the time?”  and I gave her an honest answer.  How could I not?

I hit that same wall the next day while we finished the clearing and began the cleaning.  I was planning on sitting down once her bedroom floor was mopped and drying but only made it through four loads of laundry washed and hung, cookie pick up for scouts and the beginning of the Slaying of the Dust Mammoths.  The final vacuuming and mopping had to wait.

I almost fell over I was so dizzy.  Told Sofie I was going downstairs and literally fell onto the couch.  It took a few minutes for the room to stop spinning and then I went into a coma for two solid hours.  I never nap like that anymore.  Then again, I also haven’t been doing this much up all by myself until now for quite some time.

A good thing about being the only adult in the house is that I can tell the kid to make her own supper out of what’s in the fridge and she’ll do it if she wants to eat.

She could have had pork roast but chose roasted potatoes and a salad.  Said she was going vegetarian for the day.  When there’s five or four people to feed it’s not really possible to survive an entire day on leftovers.  There aren’t that many.  With just two we are able to get three meals out of a deep dish sausage and mushroom pizza.

After my epic nap and a half hour laying on the couch waking up, we tackled the rest of the room.  Vacuumed from top to bottom, floor mopped for the first time in quite a while.  All linens and curtains washed, line dried in gale force winds at 26°.  She carried things in from the staging area in her sister’s room and the hallway.  It was a surprisingly little amount.  I’d say she probably purged about two-thirds of what was in that room.

Everything back in the room

So now it’s down to me to go through the detritus that has been discarded and do one of three things with it.  Set aside somewhere safe and save for the next generation, send back out into the Great Material Continuum, or recycle or chuck.

Goodwill pile under the window. The stuff to the right is all going to school to be distributed as needed.

It all comes back to me as the only adult in the house.  But at least I can get these sorts of projects underway for the eventual greater good (how long has that white bin of stuffed animals been in the hallway under the laundry chute?  And the doll bunk bed waiting for a clear space under the window and holding up plants?) and now that her room is clean, it’s been made very clear that it needs to stay that way.

Mattresses made and the beds ready for Emily and Mia.

I’m so very proud of her.  She’s done s a great job.  She has taken control of her universe and made it what she wants.

Just like I’m trying to do with mine.

I think I just had my first moment of actually feeling like an adult.


Searching for that perfect balance

The older I’ve gotten the more I appreciate the malleable beauty of caramel.

I don’t remember the flavor fondly from my childhood.  I remember one experience with attempting to make a caramel apple with those packaged sheets and it not going well and tasting even worse.  There was probably the occasional hard candy as well but I’m just coming up with a sticky linty flash of vague memory.

And then one day, a few years back, I picked up a container of dark chocolate covered caramels while at Trader Joe’s.  Suddenly I understood the appeal of caramel.

It can be a syrup over ice cream with flecks of vanilla in it.  Works slow baked on popcorn for that sweet and crunchy fix or sandwiched in a torte between shortbread and a bittersweet chocolate ganache.  It can be cooked to the right temperature to become a solid that can be topped with sea salt for a contrast to the sweet or enrobed in dark chocolate to really push one into a diabetic coma.

So many things can be done with a simple sugar, water, cream, butter, vanilla combo.

Beyond my experiments with caramel corn and the aforementioned torte, I’ve been working lately on how to make the perfect dark chocolate caramel cheaply at home.  I’ve been using this recipe for a while and love the caramel it produces.  After making multiple batches I found that if I added the salt dead last, stirred just to combine and then poured into the prepped pan, the salt doesn’t fully dissolve and you get bursts of it among the sweet.  I only use a 1/2 tsp salt and don’t sprinkle with extra salt once it sets but as the eldest says, I’m salt intolerant.  I want to taste my food, not the salt.

I follow the recipe as written for steps 1-3 and don’t bother putting them in the freezer to chill.  The house is cold enough and I generally make it early enough in the day to leave on the counter for a couple of hours before popping it out and cutting with a bench knife.

The directions for doing the chocolate part is reliable but I don’t have the time or patience to temper chocolate.  I also find that dipping the caramels ends up with a lot of wasted chocolate on the parchment paper after dipping and whatever’s left in the pan.  I don’t like to waste good chocolate.  And it just takes too much damn time.

So in my search for sugary perfection I came across this recipe at my favorite place and gave it a try.  It’s not for caramel but I enjoy making my allergies flare up with the occasional Heath Bar so I figured why not give it a try?  It’s good but I left out the nuts so I wouldn’t be miserable and that just makes it too sweet.  Can’t blame the recipe because I left out a key ingredient though.  The youngest ate more of it than me.  I’ll probably pulse the rest of it in the food processor and mix it in with ice cream.  Yum.

Not only is it yummy but you also get to beat it with a hammer!

What did work about the recipe though was the way of getting the toffee and chocolate together.  So I tried it with a batch of caramel and was pleased with the results.  Spread some dark chocolate chips on a buttered cookie sheet, pour over the hot caramel, top with more chips and let melt for a couple of minutes before spreading the now melted chocolate around to cover the caramel.  Let it all set for a few hours and then cut with a bench knife.

Perfect dark chocolate and caramel balance with minimal fuss and bother and the bit of salt in the caramel adds the perfect counterpoint.

The perfect balance.

Now if I could just figure out the same for the rest of my life.


Well, he did it again.

Sy dumped me – again.

I’m using those specific words, even after he asked me not to use that term while we were talking it out.  Where’s the fun in not taking a moment for some self-pitying pettiness?

I knew this was coming?

I had just hoped that we were ever so tentatively stumbling our way towards how we could keep what was good in our relationship while ditching the bad.

Yes, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

Why not shoot for the brass ring of relationships?  Or at least a brass ring that I found particularly shiny and appealing.

I actually prefer us living in separate households.  I just need to figure out the financial end of things.  I’m working on it.

I’m stating the obvious when writing that any relationship, whatever the form, needs to work for all parties involved and I guess our current one doesn’t work for him.

But like I said, I knew this was coming.

When he left in late August he said we were done.  He was back in two weeks and we had our cheesy romantic moment.

He asked me to marry him soon after that.

He’d never done that before.

I asked why.  I just figured all these years that he didn’t want to and I wasn’t interested (or confident?) enough to do the asking.  At the time he said that he figured I was gun-shy.  He’s not necessarily wrong.  And on a completely practical level having to get divorced is a complete and total pain in the ass.  As well as expensive.

Although there are the movies that are going to need to be split up.  That’s going to be a bitch.

He said tonight that he still meant it (the proposal that is) at the time.

So how does that change in just a couple of months?

That’s what’s confusing the fuck out of me.

We went to Vermont together and had a very us weekend. Not nearly long enough but I don’t  think any vacation would be long enough when it’s been 10+ years since I’ve had one and even longer for him.

And then he just kinda dropped outta sight.

Didn’t really answer electronic messages of any sort except occasionally.  We weren’t talking on the phone either but we haven’t been doing that since he moved out.  I gave him his space.  It seemed to be what he wanted and needed and honestly I’ve got bigger problems on my plate at the moment.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a real bitch of a taskmaster.

And then we had Thanksgiving at his place.  It was odd and very different.  I am sooo not used to not being in a frenzy for weeks beforehand.  And I wasn’t cleaning up for weeks afterwards either.  Very strange.  But not bad, just very different and sometimes it takes me a while to adjust to the different but I always get there in my own plodding way.

And then he was gone again.

And then he was here for the open house on xmas day and it was odd and very different but he got me a cool and thoughtful present (even if I haven’t had the time or brain space to play with it) and he seemed to like those that I got for him.

We talked almost through an entire night right after the holiday and spent a few days together over New Year’s.  Yeah, it was a damn fine way to ring it in.

And then POOF.

He said yesterday in a text that he wanted to talk.

I asked if he was dumping me.

He said he wanted to talk in person.

I told him that sounded ominous.

He says he still loves me and that I’m his best friend but he just can’t be with me.  He gets lost.

I understand what he’s saying because I do the same thing too.  We are very similar after all.

I guess the difference is that I’m more comfortable with getting lost in the moment, lost in the other versions of myself, whatever they are, and then going on to the next and not necessarily having them all be completely integrated into one me, one experience.

When I’m at work and slamming though things I never want to leave again.

When I’m snowbound in the house nesting I never want to step outside the door again.

When I’m writing I never want to put the pen down and close the composition book.

And when I’m with Sy I never want him to leave my sight.

But every moment passes, as it should.

Otherwise you don’t get to experience the other ones.

But that’s me.

I’m going to miss him.

Miss us.

Yeah, I don’t get it.

But at least this time I had some idea it was coming.

I don’t have to get it.

I just have to accept it.


Sea of pink

I’ve had the chorus from Patti Smith’s Gloria running through my head for the last week or two and finally decided to try to exorcise the ear worm by listening to it on Saturday night.

It didn’t work.

What’s odd is that I’m not really a fan.

I respect her work and its place in the pantheon but it’s just not my cup of tea.

I read Just Kids and loved it but returned M Train to the library after only reading 25 or so pages. It didn’t work for me even if I could see why it might work for others.

Borrowed Horses from the library a year or so ago and pilfered a digital copy. Might be time to burn a disk for the car and give the entire thing another listen.

I usually don’t listen to women singers with the exception of a few.

Maybe it’s time to add to the list?

My favorite artists tend to be men.  Is that because it’s what’s available or a true preference?  How does gender affect a writer, painter or singer?  Is gender the primary framer of a world view or is it just part of the vast web of personhood?  Up until now I’d say it’s been the former, hopefully we’ll be moving towards a world where it’s the latter.

Watching all the posts of hope and unity scrawl across my feed Saturday was a welcomed balance to the divisiveness of the day before.

Image from

Yes, it was exciting to witness this moment in history.  Hopefully it’s a turning point towards equal rights for all and love trumping hate but it doesn’t change anything in the daily grind of this single mother who is struggling with balancing my precarious physical reserves with my meager financial ones.

I’ve been fighting for 47 years.

I’m getting a wee bit tired.

I’m exhausted.

Time to get to work.

Contingency Plans

Didn’t know what I was doing to ring the new year in until late last night.  Still don’t know exactly what I’m doing but I’m willing to wing it a bit.

Unexpectedly made plans with Sy.  That was a welcome surprise.  Had already made plans to amuse myself but I’d rather spend it with him if possible.  Just wasn’t sure that it was.

While still in a holding pattern last night after work I made what is basically a fancy baked chocolate pudding and the mix for an adult beverage as well.  Even if I was going to be enjoying them alone it’s good to celebrate and now that I’m going to be sharing them, even better.

It’s been a very odd year.  Not all of it good but not as bad as its been either.

Still struggling to get all the hamsters running on their wheels in the same direction.  It’ll happen, eventually.  Just need to keep on top of the little bastards.

I’m hoping that 2017 is going to be a kinder, gentler year but given the political situation I’m not holding on to any great hopes.

Ah well, hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

What else can we all do?

At least there’s pudding.

Happy New Year everyone!

Image courtesy

Round Midnight Pesto

Never watched the movie but I recognize the name and graphics from my time behind the counter of a video store.  You know, back in the dark ages when one had to actually leave the house to get a movie.


The staff got an extra dollar an hour to work in that particular store, compared to the other locations in the small chain, because of the neighborhood.  I grew up three blocks from the store and most of the other employees were neighborhood folk as well.  We called the extra money combat pay and chuckled all the way to the bank.

It sucked being on my feet for an entire shift but the pay was decent and you got to not only watch movies while working but also take them home.  I watched so many movies during those days.  I’d try just about anything because it cost me nothing but a bit of time and I discovered some treasures along the way.

Can’t remember where I was working when Clerks came out but I do remember seeing it at York Square with a group of friends and us all damn near dying of laughter.  We’d worked as clerks in convenience, video and book stores and I’d not only done the aforementioned video store but also a newsstand and so had a couple of others.  Dealing with customers from behind a counter has a certain amount of universality no matter what’s being sold.

We all kept odd hours then.  The job of the month demanded it if nothing else.  Some of us found real careers, some had kids and got married.  Once we were inseparable and now I can’t remember the last time I talked to most of them.  It’s life, it happens.  But at that moment all those years ago, sitting in that theater, we all saw our lives up on that screen and laughed together.

Time shifts as you age. Or at least it has for me. It’s very odd.  Where once a summer off from school seemed to last forever, now I blink and a year has passed by.  How do you grab onto something when its moving so quickly it’s just a blur?

One constant is that I still keep odd hours so there I was the other night coming up with dinner after eleven at night.

Starting dinner that late I didn’t want anything too complicated so I ended up making a sorta pesto minus the bother of a true one.

Cook a pasta of your choice, I used tortellini, and when you drain the pasta reserve some of the cooking water.  Take some roughly chopped basil and add it to the cooked pasta with a generous amount Parmesan or Romano cheese and some of the pasta water.  Toss it all together and let it rest for a moment.  The cheese will melt in the pasta water and make a light sauce.  Add a splash of heavy cream if you want to.  If you want to get fancy include a side salad and some bread and dinner is served, even if it is round midnight.


Nano? Na NO?

Life’s been a wee bit too interesting lately.

Sy moved out and obviously took Mal and the cat with him.

We sat down to talk about something inconsequential that particular day and by the end of it he was saying he was moving out. Okay, not going to argue once you drop that particular bomb.

And I’d thought that we’d been doing better. Guess it was just me that was doing better. That’s not a bad thing. Really can’t have one without the other and if I’ve got to pick one it would be the latter.

Once I got over the initial WTF I realized that while this does suck, it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me and if I’d survived Those Things I can certainly move on from this one.

It also didn’t hurt that as soon as he moved out we started talking again.

I’d really missed that.

Two weeks after he moved out, he texted when he got out of Second Work and asked if he could come by.  When he walked through the door he came right up to me, told me he loved me, missed me and didn’t want to live without me and then laid one on me like he hasn’t in far too long.

It was both utterly romantic and totally absurd. Works for me.

It also worked that in no way, shape or form was he asking to move back in. Not that I would have let him even if he had asked. Once he was gone I remembered how much I like being the only adult in the house.

He found a beautiful apartment. I’m putting my house back into the order that I prefer and doing a lovely sort and purge in the process. I’ve been here for 12 years, it’s time.

We’ve known each other for 28 years in so many iterations. This is just another episode in the continuing adventures.

We can do it this way, for now.

The way that works for us, for now.

Is it perfect?

Hell no!

But what relationship is?

But I’d much rather miss him and be completely present when he’s in front of me, then have him here all the time and not be present because I need a bit of peace and quiet to hear my own thoughts.

And I get more time alone with him awake then I did when we slept in the same bed every night.

We just got back from a beautiful weekend in the North Kingdom. Was it the idealized romantic interlude?  No, but it was perfectly wonderful and very us.

In all the years we’ve known each other, we never went away together. Not quite sure why. Bad timing and worse economics I suppose.

Economics is an issue being the only adult in the house. But when isn’t it?

It’s not unreasonable for me at my advanced age to be financially independent. I was for a brief moment before Cassie but kids have a tendency to change that particular equation.

I have more time for writing now even if this particular bit of the universe hasn’t been reflecting that.

I think I needed to process things a bit. Not unreasonable considering the circumstances.

I’ve got the first chapter of The Tome’s total rewrite printed out. I started with a blank page and went from there.  It’s rough as fuck with chunks that still need to be finished, sections to be filled in and stuff that needs to be saved in a different place for subsequent chapters. But it’s all there from start to finish. Just need to add some frosting to the cake after I clean it up a bit.

Toying around with the idea of doing NaNoWriMo since I’ve obviously got to bring the incremental forward momentum on The Tome to a screeching halt.

At least it’s a distraction with a built-in time limit?

It’ll be fun! Right?

Eh, whatever.  No need to make any life altering decisions, for now.

Just kinda seeing where this takes us all.

One of my favorite pictures of us.
One of my favorite pictures of us.

Pointy ears and all

I’ve been going to ConnectiCon for several years now.  The first year I really didn’t know what to expect but the boys were all into it and so I figured why not tag along.

To say I was absolutely gobsmacked would be an understatement.  What a wonder to be in a ginormous glass and concrete convention center surrounded by people of all shapes, colors and ages united in a love of all things geeky and fantastical.

I’d never seen anything like it.  I’ve been to conferences for work before but never realized that there were ones for nerds.  There are in-depth sessions on topics from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, to Dr. Who 101 and world building for games or fiction and an exhibitors hall where one could blow a sizeable sum in minutes on anything from live steel weapons to handcrafted fantastical wonders to books from a small press I’ve never heard of but want to know more about.  Who knew such a thing existed?

While I loved this little critter I bought a different one from the nice young man at Grinning Narwhal as this one was just a bit out of my price range but I have its picture to remember its smiling face.
While I loved this little critter I bought a different one from the nice young man at Grinning Narwhal as this one was just a bit out of my price range but I have its picture to remember its smiling face.

A friend and I went to a Star Trek convention when we were in high school back in the day.  It was fun wandering about a beige hotel ballroom with other nerds looking at the stuff for sale and the costumes that a few brave souls cobbled together but it was nothing like what is “New England’s ONLY massively, multi-genre pop culture convention” to quote directly from the ConnectiCon website.

Wandering about that sea of humanity, in many ways I felt like here was my tribe.  These were the people who would actually understand what the fuck I was talking about if I started saying “This is mine and this is mine and this is mine” or cracked about Reavers eating our flesh.  I’m not a hard-core fan in that I can quote chapter and verse from the Federation Charter but I am more than passingly familiar with a wide variety of universes across multiple formats whether it be paper, film or television.  I’m not much of a gamer (electronic or board) but I’ve dabbled and the kids keep me in the loop on a lot more.  While I enjoyed Star Blazers and Spaceketeers growing up outside of Boston in the 70’s I drifted away from anime once I no longer had easy access to it.  Mal and Sofie love it though so I’ve seen more contemporary shows then I ever wanted to so if nothing else there’s a passing familiarity with characters when they’re walking in front of me.

Every year I’ve gone to the con I’ve been fascinated with the costumes that people come up with.  Even if I don’t follow that universe I understand the time, thought and effort that goes into them.  Many of them are wearable art in costuming and creativity.  Sometimes it’s something as simple as black clothing, some canvas webbing and manacles to pull of a very fine Riddick or a Boba Fett that must have taken hundreds of hours if not dollars.








Last year some poor young soul was trying to get her corset to sit right and getting quite frustrated with it.  Her friends were doing the suck it in and pull method of lacing so I stopped to help her.  I explained that I wasn’t being creepy but that I wore one occasionally for work at a historic site and would she let me help her.  She literally breathed deep once I fixed it and it felt good to know that she wasn’t going to be bruised by the steel bones at the end of the day.

I don’t know how other cons are but this particular one is very accepting (and enforces that acceptance with words and actions) of cosplay at all levels, shapes and sizes.  I’ve seen men and women that some would call fat or unattractive rocking their own flavor of a bad-ass costume.  It’s not the body that makes it a great cosplay, it’s the spirit inhabiting it.

I envy them their confidence.

Wish I had just a tenth of it.

While picking up supplies the other day at a chain craft store, the young lady cutting the fabric for Mal’s costume asked what it was for.  Turns out she runs the con’s Instagram.  We had a lovely conversation about last-minute prep and the excitement that comes with the terror of trying to get things done in time.  She’s going this year as a Betty Page Rocketeer.  I felt a little better about my own unfinished items to see her costume as a pile of neatly folded fabric on the end of the counter.

My very quiet and shy intern is going as a character from Black Butler.  The first day she showed up at work I thought she looked familiar.  I’ve probably seen her at the con before.  Now we’ll have something to talk about come Tuesday.

How very small the world can be sometimes.

Last year I had a panic attack and ended up weeping in a bathroom stall because it was the only place I could find to be alone with thousands of other people in the same building.  What set it off was being there, surrounded by my fellow outcasts and yet I still felt alone and if I couldn’t feel at home there, where could I?  But it’s not about being at home in the world.  It’s about being at home in yourself.  Something that I am still very much working on.

The kids are further along in this so at least we’ve done that right.  Due to time constraints Mal has shifted his cosplay idea from a character from Bloodborne complete with very complicated weaponry to a Pokemon trainer.  Sofie is also inhabiting that universe and will be Serena as soon as I glue the sunglasses on her bright pink hat.

This is her first time going to the con.  I can’t wait to share it with her.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, my first nerdy love.  I’m knee-deep in the preparations for a Vulcan costume to wear to the con on Saturday.  Mr Spock was always my favorite.  There’s something to admire in a species (even a fictional one) that can out-think a computer and still kick your ass in a fist fight.

There have been setbacks and meltdowns with pulling it all together but I’m still moving forward.  Still bulling through towards the goal of having it ready in less than 48 hours.  At some point I suppose this will be fun.

I know from past experience that I generally don’t regret the things I’ve done, just those I haven’t.

No matter how panic inducing the getting there might be.

Keeping them fed even after they leave the nest

My years of cooking in restaurant kitchens was all about learning the dishes and then slamming them out hour after hour, shift after shift, perfect every time.

Cooking for a family is more about quick and easy, cheap and filling.  That said, having a child, of any age, working with me in the kitchen doesn’t help with the former two requirements of daily meal creation.  I feel a bit guilty that I don’t generally have the kids help with dinner prep, but I also like my sanity and an extra few minutes to do just about anything other than get dinner on the table.

When I’m not in a rush I have them help, especially before they grow out of the ‘wanting to be with Mama and helpful’ phase.  Those experiences are the exception though and provoke regret.  Life in general, and motherhood especially, is about balancing the pain of regret with the reality of what one can jam into a single day.

I learned to cook out of necessity as a kid.  I like to eat on a regular basis, always have.  As a teenager I did it for a living because it was a job that paid well and there was always another kitchen willing to hire me when the one I was at didn’t work out for whatever reason.  The restaurant work trained me well for getting creative with odd ingredients and always keeping an eye on the bottom line.  It would be fantastic if making dinner for those I love most in this world was more of a pleasure but more days than not it’s just something to survive and I work best and fastest alone.

All of the above said, the kids must have absorbed something of my love of food and desire to prepare it well.  Cassie is away at school now and hates the food in the dining hall so for the past couple of years she’s had a dorm room with a kitchen,  She’s probably one of the few students who moves in with cases of home canned sauce and peaches as well as dried fruit of several varieties.  She’s also been asking for cookbooks as gifts and acquiring them when they turn up secondhand.  Somehow she knows how to use a knife and saute garlic and onions until they’re just right.  She follows directions much better than I ever have, so as long as she starts out with a good recipe, she’s golden.

Sometimes though King Arthur or the great gods of Google don’t have the answer she’s looking for and I get a text or email asking how to make a chicken stock or how long is Brie good for.  Who knows, maybe my fiercely independent daughter just wants an excuse to talk to her mother?

She sends me pictures of things she’s made like the braided sweetbread she served her boyfriend with homemade pierogies.

Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried raspberries and dried apples. What's not to like?
Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried raspberries and dried apples. What’s not to like?

Most recently she asked for the recipe for my pepperoni rolls.  I’ve been making them for many years as individual rolls but eventually realized that doing it cinnamon roll style would speed up the process.  And they look pretty cool done that way.

This dough works for both the aforementioned rolls as well as pizza.  I like multipurpose recipes.

1 1/4 c warm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
Proof the yeast if using the kind that needs it.
Add a dollop of olive oil and chopped garlic to taste if making pizza rolls.
Stir in flour, generally 3-5 ish cups, depending on weather, till the dough comes together.
Knead till smooth.
Rise 1 hr or so in a bowl greased with olive oil and covered with a damp towel.
Knock down, let rest 15 minutes if you can be that patient.  I’m usually in a rush.
For pizza this is where I stretch it out on parchment paper, two pies, top as desired.
For pizza rolls you have a couple of forming options, you can make them individually like little stuffed pockets of yum, but they take time to make.  It’s faster to pat out the entire batch of dough in to a 12ish x 14ish rectangle, spread out the shredded mozzarella and pepperoni (chunks or slices work, whichever is cheaper or already in the fridge).  Roll it up like a jelly roll or cinnamon buns, lop off into 1 1/2″ rounds and put cut side up on a greased pan with a bit of room to spread.
Pop in a preheated oven, 425° for rolls, 450° for pie, till brown and bubbly.  If they cook too fast and look like they’re going to burn before they cook all the way, just turn the oven down 25° after the dough gets the initial blast of heat in the first ten minutes of baking which gives the dough that oven spring.

Side salad and dinner is done.  Yes, dough takes a while but the hands on time is minimal.  You can even start it in the morning and tuck in the fridge for the day till you’re ready for it.

And best of all those I love, love these rolls, no matter where they are.


The hamster goes round and round

I’m a big fan of reading.

Always have been.

It’s magical the way that squiggles on a page can convey so much meaning.  We can read tales of a king, his friend and their adventures that were written down four thousand years ago or move into a future where a dinkum thinkum helps bring about a revolution that may never be.  For a few hundred pages that past, present or future exists in the mind of the author and the reader.

And that’s just reading fiction.

I’ve been struggling with The Tome, as always.  The character sketches and backstories are coming along nicely but at least one hamster in the habitrail of my mind is already running along trying to see where things are going to go once I start writing the narrative again.  That particular hamster is rather concerned.

How is this book actually going to be written?  What is the narrative structure?

The traditional straightforward narrative, A happens, then B which leads to C doesn’t ring true.  With five main characters it gets too messy too quickly.  This isn’t trying to be a sweeping historical narrative of a year in this particular family’s life.  I can’t/don’t want to cram it all in.

It’s trying to be something else.  But what?

I recently finished two books.  I’m not sure that I particularly liked either but I still felt compelled to finish them.

The first, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, bounced back and forth across time in a way that was somewhat annoying but moved the narrative forward, eventually.  When I read the final page, my first thought was I would have rather read the eponymous graphic novel than the novel built around it.  The way the author popped in and out of the character’s lives has stuck with me though.  Why choose this bit of a character’s life and not that one?  It’s not a sweeping historical narrative but it does contain the elements of one in that sweeping historical events affected the characters lives and dictated the people they become.

The second, Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, befuddled me with how the death of a main character is covered in a single sentence, never to be reflected upon again and then he spends pages and pages describing an ordinary/extraordinary event in the life of another character.  I completely understand why he did the latter, it’s beautiful writing and brings it all together at the end in a similar fashion to the way he ended his Mars series.  But the former left me feeling that the author didn’t realize the importance of one of his own creations.

Both of these novels are not seemingly connected but they do handle vast swaths of time and experience in a similar fashion.  Dropping in and out, keeping only what is absolutely necessary to move the story forward.

I’m taking a class on digital photography so I’m seeing things with a more visually oriented slant at the moment.

The above novels both use a snapshot method of conveying their character’s lives, inner and outer.  It’s a still photograph, or at least a series of them, not a motion picture.

Maybe that’s what my hamster has been running towards?

Time to dig out the inner camera and take some shots?

Somehow I don't think my mental hamsters are quite this stylish or adorable.
Somehow I don’t think my mental hamsters are quite this stylish or adorable.