Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sourdough starter - take three

I started this blog in December to keep track of the sourdough starter I was attempting. Because I'd made so many gorgeous loaves of bread by then, I also figured I'd store the pictures here, and write about what had succeeded and what was a miserable flop. The starter turned out to be the latter, as it was just too cold in this townhouse to grow properly. Oh, and then the second time I tried it, I put the container in the oven to heat up, and then promptly forgot to turn off the heat. I haven't thought too much about it all summer - perhaps because we've been juicing so much that there wasn't much need for bread, but I've decided to try it again before it gets too cold, which I'm praying will be sooner rather than later. It will most likely be later.

1/2 cup warm water (85 degrees), 3/8 cup white flour, 3/8 cup rye flour looks like mush. Dryer than I remember. But I put it in the container, and now I let it sit for 24 hours up here in the office, since the air conditioning has a hard time getting to the second floor. I'm sure it won't have grown tomorrow, but perhaps by the third day.

And then I made a very large trip to the store - which was not brilliant of me, considering this was the first week of school here, so the store was filled with every single family who lives in Oklahoma City. But I managed to get a few things anyway, including more potting soil for something John bought me.

The yellow-looking leaf is not actually yellow; that's an error of the photographer's. It's a lovely houseplant - I can't wait to see how big it gets.

While I was out, I also bought a book of ice-cream recipes. And since I've played with the new vacuum all afternoon (instead of doing the writing I was supposed to), I'm going to make myself a martini and find an ice-cream recipe to make before John comes home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Subject matter

A gorgeous walk in the nature preserve after work tonight. Short, but more filling than I've had in a while, and I even ran into a beautiful doe and her speckled fawn. We stared at each other for awhile before they ran away on their long legs. It saddened me that I couldn't get close enough to capture their beauty on the camera.

It was about 90 degrees in the sun, but 85 or so in the shade - which is like heaven compared to the hell it's been here since May. There's almost a fall smell in the air, although I know the pain of excessive heat isn't far away. This is just a small mercy, for now. But I've managed to get in one afternoon run, and now an afternoon walk.

It's been a killer week at work. Still high stress, and I'm having to teach all the CPAs this new time & billing system - a great reminder why I did the right thing by never going into any sort of education. Regardless of how good a person may be at it, they have to love it in order to have, and retain, the necessary degree of patience. Or perhaps I'm failing to take into account the subject matter. I don't want to talk about work codes and engagement designs and billing wips ever, much less all day, but I could talk about character goals and tension and conflict and actions vs. reactions all day long, and still have plenty left over.

My teenage-alien short is getting closer, too. Not there yet, but it's been lovely to have a story that hasn't taken me 9 months to complete like "Child of Fortune, Child of Labor." The subject matter is the reason for that, too. Emotion, versus science & world-building. I'm better at the first, probably too much so.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One year

I had fully intended on more wining and dining posts from California, but the internet was so poor in the hotel room that I gave up, and spent all my writing time at the pool instead. I was also going to do a post yesterday about Mom, but the day flew by quite quickly, and before I knew what had happened, it was midnight, I'd had one too many glasses of sauvignon blanc, and then it was today, our anniversary.

Which we are celebrating with a bottle we brought back from the Zaca Mesa winery. We liked the Bridlewood winery the best, overall, but this Syrah is so lovely - full of coffee and chocolate and dark berry tastes. If I could find the tasting pages we kept, I'd write down how the powers that be at Zaca Mesa describe it - they're the professionals. But the pages have disappeared, so you get my inadequate words, and a picture of the bottle.

And then we grilled steaks, and I made simple baguettes, with happy (happy = unbleached, un-enriched) flour. They were good, but I sort of screwed them up by putting in 1 cup (out of 5) whole wheat flour, which resulted in them appearing more flat than puffy. And while good, the taste just isn't the same.

I really need to try sourdough again, since it's warm enough in the house for it to ferment the way it needs to.

But this week - I'm hoping to get back to some sort of schedule again. I've got ten plus crits to do for both OWW and the Fragments, and the slush never runs out. In my own stuff, I've got at least three stories to revise, two YA books to make into one, and the newest story about a girl and her aliens. All that combined with a brand new time and billing system at work, and John and I starting to run again in the morning, meaning the alarm will be set for 4:45 am - I'm going to need to find some extra hours in the day, somewhere.