Mold and Gouged Eyes (Are Not My Friends)

19 October 2002

We can't have anything nice. At least, not in this state. We made the lefse on Tuesday night. Cooked it thoroughly. Sealed it in a plastic bag. By last night, it had gone slimy and bad. Just like every sweetbread I make. Just like the pumpkin pie Timprov made on Monday. Just like every time we buy soft cheese. Just like the mushrooms if we don't eat them in 3.2 seconds.

Just like everything.

I don't want to have to thaw a piece of lefse every time I want to eat it, but this may well be my only choice. We had certainly been eating the lefse at a reasonable (= high) rate. I don't know what else we could have done. I've tried everything I can think of with the breads. For awhile I thought they were undercooked, so I was burning the edges of every loaf I made. That wasn't it. Then I thought that the plastic wrap and tinfoil weren't sealing them well enough from the nasty outside air, so I put them in Ziplocs and messed with pushing the air out of the Ziplocs every time I wanted a piece of fruit bread. That did nothing except make my bread taste faintly of Ziploc as it went bad, hurrah, what an improvement. I tried switching brands of flour, sugar, oleo. Nothing. (Oleo is margarine, for those of you who don't know. Oleomargarine. Oleo is shorter on the grocery list. The other night I asked Evan if he had butter or oleo for on the lefse. He said no, just margarine. Evidently the term is not in wide usage in this region. It's not in wide usage at home, either, but people have often heard it enough to know.)

So. Any further suggestions will be welcomed, as to how to combat this problem.

The chocolates Mark sent me are sealed in a plastic bag in the fridge, and if that isn't enough to keep them safe, I don't know what will be. It had better be, is all I'm saying.

Also, does anyone know approximately how many eggs go in one eggsalad sandwich? One? Two? One half? I want to take one on the plane (or more likely, just to the airport terminal), but I don't know how many I need to hard-boil and slice and whether I should plan on having another sandwich the day before to make sure the egg gets used up or what.

I finished the forms for my ASF grant application last night, or I should say we did, because Timprov went into their annoying .pdf for me and made it into a file wherein he could change stuff and then convert it back to .pdf to print. It makes no sense whatsoever to me to ask people to type something and then not offer it as a Word file or a text file or something they can type on. Requiring people to dig out an old typewriter or find one at the library or something is just silly. Anyway, I bit the bullet and finished that, and I know that the travel budget will look totally reasonable to them, but to me it looked huge. "I can't ask them for $2000 for plane tickets!" Well, of course I can. If they don't want to give it to me, they can always say no. And if I ask them for $1000 for plane tickets, I will be able to get to Helsinki (or Stockholm or, heck, Frankfurt or Amsterdam, even), which is a good start, but I think the from is at least as important at this point in my life. If there was a time when I could just wander off to Finland indefinitely, this is not it. I think I blinked and missed it forever. I'm pretty okay with that.

Anyway, so now I have to print it out, pick my 20 page writing sample, and get the whole thing copied and sent. Twenty pages! If they had said three pages, I would have known they were just looking to see that I can write coherent sentences. If they'd said 30, I'd have known to send them a whole story. But 20. I don't know. That just seems like the wrong amount. I'll probably just edit the first 20 pages of the NTMB and send it along. Hmmmm. But I thought it was 15, and maybe in 20, if I used Times instead of Courier, I could send a whole story. Then the question would be which one, and the answer would be, what do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino.

And I really, really hate calling this poor book Sampo, even for the space of a few pages. People familiar with Finnish mythology in even small bits can be expected to know what the Sampo was supposed to be, and I explain a bit in my "what's this project, quick, three lines" thing. But still, I think it's an awful title, almost worse than "the Not The Moose Book," except that the latter is rather unprofessional, so.

Ah well. I worked on it a bit yesterday and also started a new story in the sequence of "MacArthur Station" and "Glass Wind." I'm really fond of these stories. They practically write themselves. For example, yesterday I found out that Toni (the main character) has an ex-husband who lives in Pacifica. Wayne, her partner, was surprised, and I thought, buddy, you think you are! Anyway, the existence of Ian In Pacifica contributes something to the overarching plot that will eventually make this into an episodic novel as well as a bunch of fun short stories. I really didn't mean to, though. I was just going to jot down a line for when I work on this stuff again, and then it was going to be a paragraph, but then it kept going. So.

I also finished a paper journal yesterday. Yay! It's good timing, because then I don't have to take two along to Minneapolis in case I finish one. Which would be inefficient use of my packing space. Now I'm waffling on which one to start today. Sarah bought me a supercool one with a flat, knotted Japanese binding, and it's smaller and lighter than my usual choice of journals, which is a plus in traveling. But Scott painted a really nifty fish on one for my birthday, and I wouldn't mind having the fish painting to show off at World Fantasy Con -- I know of a few people there who would appreciate the fish. When it comes to that, I'm fond of the leaf mosaic painting I just finished on a journal myself. Decisions. (And yes, in case you were wondering, I usually do have a bunch of spare journals. I went through a period when I couldn't find my usual large, ruled ones, and that was No Good. I had to use some with spiral binding and so on. No Spiral Binding. Then I get lines in the heel of my hand. I also had a moment in the post-tornado world when I ran out of journal entirely. I lasted a very, very short time -- one weekend, I think -- before begging Jen to drive me to the B&N in Kato to buy another. I thought I could survive on notebook paper. Hah. No. Not indefinitely.)

I finished reading The Broken Crown, finally, yesterday, and I've come to the conclusion that I should read Michelle West books on airplanes. They just seem like decent airplane books. Many things frustrated me about this one, so I'm unlikely to rush out to find the sequel and buy it immediately. On the other hand, when I'm in the mood for a big fat fantasy and Robin Hobb can't be found, it seems like a reasonable choice.

I also read Preludes and Nocturnes and started The Doll's House (both in the Sandman series). These are really not going to be good travel fare: I get through them too quickly for their size to be worth it in my luggage. They are, however, nearly ideal pre-travel fare: I have them on hand without any further effort, and I get through them quickly, so I'm unlikely to be stranded in the middle of one when we leave. Maybe this isn't a problem for other people (except you, David, I know it's a problem for you, too), but I hate being halfway through a book when it's time to leave. Then I have the choice of leaving it and returning much later to finish it, or of taking along a book that'll take up the same amount of space and have the same amount of mass as a fresh one, but will provide significantly less reading.

Anyway, on the subject of Sandman: why did nobody tell me that this is a series about gouging people's eyes out? This is important information to have, people. I'd appreciate a heads-up next time. Sheesh. It's worse than "Minority Report" and Last Call combined, here.

Still worth reading, but uff da, the eyes.

Well, so. I have quite a few things to do this weekend, some of them fun and some just chores. Makes me glad I read Avi's novel fragment earlier in the month so that I'm not trying to skim it before the writing group meeting tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to get around to choosing my writing sample so that I can get all of that photocopied when I do the Chinese immigration photocopies, which may be today or may be Monday. We shall see. Busy and productive time ahead, I hope.

Happy birthday, Cal! We'll celebrate with you soon.

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