I finished writing a book this week. I wanted to stop and chuck it many times over the past year. But I didn’t. I thought about Octavia Butler instead:
Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.
Persistence, she said, was her most important talent. Sticking with it.
So I just kept going and eventually found my way to the end.
You know what I’m going to do next week? Start writing another book.
Persistence tied to a positive obsession can take you to some interesting places.
I’m a little tired of the meteorological hype for any snow or rain (bomb cyclone! polar vortex!) but it was at least accurate this time.
And cold enough to cancel the usual Saturday group run. People hate on treadmills right up until it’s -30 degrees out.
I was a little worried about how staying mostly indoors would impact these two.
Sure, they look relaxed and comfy now but I could foresee a lot of squeaky toys and wide-eyed, frantic vacuuming by the afternoon.
See, just an hour later, Michelle is working out and Dash is demanding someone play with him.
This week’s adventure in bread baking? Using an Italian preferment called a biga.
An overlooked aspect of bread baking? Room temperature and its effect on bread dough temperature. It was chilly in the kitchen this morning and the final mix temp was much lower than the recipe called for. The cold doesn’t hurt the yeast or dough but it does slow fermentation and adds time to the recipe. You can’t rush these things.
For those Jersey shore people, the empty Johnson popcorn containers are a perfect dough bucket.
There was no question that Ally was going to stay in her pajamas all day. The question became would she get out from under her seven blankets?
She’d been as excited as the chief meteorologists for this cold front. It did provide a good opportunity to talk about negative numbers.
Sure, you could listen to the news or Jerome Powell or watch gas prices but for me the best inflation indicator is the price of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.
Good news, it’s coming back down after peaking at $1.25 per box a few weeks ago.
This is also the best way to bait an Ally-trap. She was up and out of her bed as soon as it hit the cooling rack.
We picked a bad week to skip grocery shopping and eat down the pantry staples. By Friday, we were down to a questionable container of sour cream, a half jar of cornichons, and two frozen Wawa pretzels from August.
Some might call that a Delco special. We decided to go to the food store.
And found this apocalyptic scene…
Turns out it wasn’t the weather hype but an overnight power outage. Still put a crimp in our plans.
This is my annoyed grocery shopping face.
On the plus side, restocked on Jiffy mixes at $1.09.
The cold made it a good day to gather in the kitchen and keep the oven going most of the day.
It was a Haley House weekend, so I worked on my knife skills and made the chili.
Next, Michelle worked on the soup. It was definitely a soup and bread peasant sort of dinner night.
Then Cecilia made chocolate chip cookies.
“Why are you making cookies, Ce?”
“Mom told me to.”
Okay. Whatever gets a teenager out of their room and off their phone.
Then it was time to bake the bread. The kitchen was smelling pretty good.
Another successful bake from FWSY.
As Michelle only allows me to keep one loaf, which neighbor will win the bread lottery this week?
Ally and I are on different ends of the banana spectrum but it works out well as the bananas age.
She likes to eat them pretty green, no hints of spots. I like them with no green all the way to banana bread brown.
Cecilia just doesn’t like bananas but she does like to snack on dry, uncooked pasta. Anyone else have this proclivity?
After the burst of baking and cooking, we all decided to lead a dog’s life and get back in our pajamas at three in the afternoon and find a cozy spot.
I was able to sneak up on Michelle like a Nat Geo wildlife photographer and capture this photo of her relaxing while it was still daylight outside.
We finished the day with bread and soup on the couch and double feature of Napoleon Dynamite and La La Land. Two films that appear almost diametrically opposite at first glance but do share themes of friendship, romance, and sacrifice.
Plus, awesome dance scenes.