twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Hot as Hell…day 3 May 14, 2014

Filed under: life,writing — kathy @ 10:33 am
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Or: What the hell was I thinking when I thought I could live in a Eichler that has no easy way to install A/C?

No kidding. If you’re unfamiliar with Eichlers (you’ve seen ’em on TV, trust me), you need to know that they were built without ductwork, without attic, or without a basement, so I have to forget central A/C. Forget a window unit. If you have a room with a regular window (most rooms have sliding “patio” doors), they slide side to side. Forget the swamp cooler or portable A/C. They don’t work with the patio door. They do work in the sliding window in Bug’s room with a bunch of jerry-rigged plywood, but she won’t let us in there anymore, so I don’t even bother to set it up anymore. We could do a couple of those cool “mini split” units, but they’re rather expensive, even if you have a brother who’s in the air conditioner business. And then there’s the “build the window unit through the wall” option that  no one in this house will entertain. But I digress.

Luckily when we fixed the house up a few years back, we replaced the nasty old tar and gravel roof with a foam roof. And we have a big collection of fans. Big collection.

So, what do you do when the heat gets excruciating? Okay, I know some of you out there love the heat, but 5 days of 90+ temps give me a headache. What the heck? We don’t usually get this kind of weather until September. I know…NoCal is weird.

Basically we just have to cool the house off at night (which is tricky because I won’t sleep with the windows open), open them in the morning to pull in as much cool air as possible with the fans, (it goes down to the 60s at night here)  then as soon as the outside gets cooler than the inside, close it all up and run the fans like crazy.

Yesterday I had a brightish idea and I’d like to share it with you. Likely you’ve heard of it; I had, too, but never did it until day 2 of burning in hell. It’s–drum roll, please–cucumber water! Lovely stuff. Reminds me slightly of the best margarita I ever had, a cucumber margarita, at a little place back home with my other brother in Geneva, Bien Trucha. (This is a wonderful place; here’s another blogger’s take with food pictures!)

Anyway, all you do is get your favorite pitcher and fill it most of the way with good water; then take one pickling cuke, like a kirby (these seem to have the best deepest flavor and are all over the produce aisles and farmstands right now), scrub the outside well, cut off the stem end, cut the rest into thin slices, and drop into the pitcher. Pop it into the fridge for a couple of hours. Then fill a tall glass with ice, fill with your lovely cucumber water, and sipsipsip away the heat. I refilled the pitcher with water midway through the day, and it was still good for the rest of the evening. This morning, the cucumbers were no longer floating, and the water was a little bitter. So, easy fix. Fresh batch.

Tonight, cold soup that I already made this morning.

Step 1: Fill pitcher with good water and wash cuke.

Step 1: Fill pitcher with good water and wash cuke.

Step 2: Slice that cucumber!

Step 2: Slice that cucumber!

Step 3: Put them the pitcher; cover and put it in the fridge

Step 3: Put them the pitcher; cover and put it in the fridge


Writer’s Block May 8, 2014

I always thought I wanted a "lap cat." Not so sure any more...

I always thought I wanted a “lap cat.” Not so sure any more…

I’m so excited! I’ve just finished an extraordinary online writing course called “The Magic of Myth” given by Elizabeth Duvivier founder of Squam Art Workshops. The course began with a three week analysis of the myth of Psyche and Eros, which is considered to be the genesis of all modern(ish) faery tales such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and the like. The second three weeks consisted of writing our own, original myth or faery tale, using different archetypes to craft the piece.

Wow. It was just what I needed to get my writer’s juices flowing again.

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying (and by that I mean, putting it on my calendar, but mostly ignoring it) to take a month to finish the last 2 chapters of my book, “Lore.” Ha. What’s been happening is that generally I try to get myself warmed up and in the flow by starting at the beginning of the novel, and editing the piece (all 562 pages so far) to where I last stopped, and try to finish from there. I think this is a mistake, however, I do it anyway.

One of the things I learned in Elizabeth’s class was that what I actually need to do to get the old brain box in gear is to move around, sing a little, dance a little in my private space here before I sit down to tackle the rest of that behemoth. And once I do, it’s amazing how when I start writing, time disappears. I know that even more than knitting, writing is my truest calling, because of that shift in time for me, that unconscious, effortless flow of heart to head to page…

That is, unless I have help. From someone fluffy, of course. He’s my personal “writer’s block.” Believe me, there’s no place for a laptop if he’s already on your lap.

Quick, he's in the chair, now! Write, write!

Quick, he’s in the chair, now! Write, write!

Anyway, even though it was part of the “class,” I was inspired to write  a really honest short story/faery tale that I feel like Elizabeth really found pleasing; and I was so happy with the piece, in fact, that I think I’m going to work on it a little more and submit it somewhere. You’d be surprised how many fairy tale pubs there are nowadays.

Darling Emma is so lovely!

Darling Emma is so lovely!

Sadly though, with a focus on writing, my knitting time has been pushed to after dinner. I’m slowly making progress with my “Darling Emma,” just doing a half dozen rows or so a night before I feel like I’m gonna pass out. It’s about 30% done now. Having to rip and restart 5 inches into the thing didn’t help, either. Oh well.

After this, I have a couple pairs of socks to finish, and then…I just don’t know. But I’ve got a feeling that the knitting might slow down even a little more, or shift entirely to sock mode since the weather gurus are predicting 5 days in a row of 90+ degree temps next week, and we have no AC. Sigh. What happened to spring?

Well, off to write some more on “Lore.” I see the light, it’s a pinpoint, but it’s there at the end of that tunnel.


The class inspired this new  Absinthe Yarn colorway called "Psyche and Eros!"

The class inspired this new Absinthe Yarn colorway called “Psyche and Eros!”




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