Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Fire in the Kitchen

I had another crazy productive day yesterday. For starters, I was on fire in the kitchen. Not literally. With my track record of kitchen mishaps (but only one emergency room visit!), it's important to make that clear because it is a possibility. I made strawberry jam, and I think that not only was it the best I've made yet, but it also went faster than ever and with less mess. There's normally jam all over the stove from filling the jars, but I only spilled a couple of drops. I did see a canning tools kit at Target today that had a jar lifter, a funnel and a magnetic lid lifter, and that might make things even better, but I'm doing pretty well without, and I don't can that often. While I had the food processor out, I shredded some zucchini and made zucchini bread. I also started playing with the slicing disc and sliced some zucchini really thin and wrapped it up in paper towels to get the moisture out. It made something kind of like zucchini chips, though not crispy all the way through. Very yummy. And while the food processor was out, I also used up the rest of a head of cabbage and made some cole slaw. Then for dinner I made a pizza, and for once it actually slid neatly off the pizza peel onto the baking stone and looked like a pizza instead of like a deformed amoeba, like it usually does, or like the last pizza I made, where the crust stuck to the peel on one side, an unintentional calzone. I even cleaned up after all that (mostly -- the dishes are washed, but the counters need scrubbing).

But wait, there's more -- I finished cleaning out the bins in the office and started on the desk drawers, where I found that I've apparently been hosting a paper clip breeding program. I may have bought two packets of paper clips, ever, but I have a drawer full of them, mostly from when I was serving as an officer in an organization back when we used mail for such things, and stuff like membership applications always came with a paper clip. I also seem to have a notepad/ memo pad/Post It pad hoarding problem. I have a whole drawer full from organizations, hotels, former clients and random swag giveaways. A lot of them are for now-defunct companies. I've started using some of them for brainstorming. Unfortunately, I'm now at the phase of cleaning where things look worse than when I started because I have to remove a lot of stuff from one place so I can put other stuff away. I'm also starting a "deal with later" box for the kinds of things that tend to paralyze me. I've found a lot of keepsake items that I don't really want to toss but that I don't need right at hand, and I've found some things I want to start using somehow. For instance, I found the folder of bulletin board material from college. We had huge bulletin boards built into our dorm rooms (probably to cut down on tape or nail holes in the walls), and I had a bunch of stuff to rotate, like the pictures from calendars, comic strips and some promotional movie stills I got when I worked at a weekly entertainment newspaper one summer. I've got a big bulletin board in my office, and maybe I should start rotating the pictures to fit what I'm working on.

And then after all that, I had a couple of major breakthroughs in my brainstorming that built on each other, so now I not only know what's really going on in the main plot, but I've tied the main plot into the major subplot in a way that really raises the stakes for all the characters. In one case, I reached for my notebook to write down another idea I had, saw the one I'd written previously and had a huge lightbulb moment.

Today hasn't been quite as productive since my water was off most of the morning (they were repairing a broken pipe in the neighborhood) and that kept me out of the kitchen. I did go to Target, the bank and the post office, so that should count for something. Now that I have something more concrete for my plot, I need to start outlining. I also have a project in mind to make use of some of those paper clips to create an additional shade for the window in the loft. It's a half-moon window that has a fan-shaped translucent shade. In the winter, all that light is wonderful and makes that a good reading spot. In the summer, it heats the whole house. I think clipping some fabric to the shade to dim the light a little might help.

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