What We’re Doing: Spring Summary

SpringSummary2017

WHAT WE’RE DOING

What did we do this spring? Better to ask what we didn’t do. We didn’t fight elephant poachers in Africa. We didn’t storm a dictator’s compound and instate a new leader. We didn’t even leave our state. But we have been so engaged with our projects and new routine that when I finally could take a break and breathe, I noticed the pile of dishes unwashed, the laundry mountains waiting to be climbed, and the toy wastelands our living room had become.

Over the last few months, I’ve published two books (Perdition and Cress and the Medicine Show), finished the draft of another novel, and survived my first time as a panelist (while sick with a cold, no less) at Norwescon. The Reading Selections Year One class concluded with a small pizza celebration and the insistence from my students we continue on to Year Two in September.

Dragon’s spring quarter has gone MUCH better than her first quarter, and with an advisor’s advice, she’ll be making up one of her previous quarter’s classes in an eight day session in fall. Little Fox has been enjoying his new drama class, continuing gymnastics, and attending a Montessori preschool two mornings a week.

Having my son off at a preschool for a set block of time has given him more structure, a chance to play consistently with other kids (play dates sometimes fall through), and gives us both a break from each other. With him out of the house, I’ve been able to focus on getting more writing done and having some breathing room to just … be.

And since the preschool is within easy walking distance, I don’t need to worry about whether or not I can drive due to car or health issues, the latter of which have been a great obstacle for consistent class and event attendance.

For his birthday, my son received more Legos, which are his constant of late, but he also received a subscription to Koala Crate. Two boxes arrived so far, reptiles and rainbows, and we’ve worked on them together during times when he doesn’t want to engage in other activities besides Legos (lately he doesn’t want story time, music time, art projects, puppets, gardening, or cooking. Only Legos. Batman Legos. All. The. Time.). He will happily do a Koala Crate craft if I suggest it. Yay, STEAM!

Since we were all sick for his birthday, and the weather was crummy the weekend after, it took us a couple of weeks to celebrate properly. We took him to Fox Hollow Farm in Issaquah, where we pet bunnies and piglets and kittens, fed parrots, and Little Fox rode a pony for the first time and played on a go cart. When he was worn out, he let us know, and we all went to a dim sum house that actually had gluten free dim sum options.

On Memorial Day weekend, my son and I took a bus and the monorail to Seattle Center for the Folklife Festival. It was his first time, and he was most excited for all the food trucks. We saw Recess Monkey, ate lots of food, ran into some of our cousins, listened to other music, looked at art, and spent an hour in the Rhythm Tent making experimental music with a few dozen other people. When we left for the monorail to return home, he told me how much fun he had.

Here’s hoping he enjoys the Fremont Solstice Parade as much!

WHAT WE’RE READING

41lt0sceyel-_sx325_bo1204203200_Since my daughter has been in college, she’s not reading much beyond fanfic and textbooks, but I’ve been enjoying Graft by Matt Hill, an author I shared a table with at Norwescon, and have been marking up my new copy of Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsythe, which teaches the figures of rhetoric once taught with the classics, but have fallen out of favor in the last century of education. I have a feeling it’ll help me teach creative writing in the fall. The best part about the book? It’s written with wry humor and in a manner that keeps the information engaging, unlike the similarly titled Elements of Style, which is all about the technical aspects of writing.

61sewlxqlql-_sx258_bo1204203200_Little Fox turned into Hei Hei the rooster after watching Disney’s Moana, and that night, we offered him a book about chickens (it was a random selection at the library; sweet synchronicity!) called Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl.

The painted story tells of a young girl named Sonya who cares deeply for her three chickens, which she raised by hand as chicks. One night, a fox steals into the coop and takes one away. Her father guides her through her grief and offers a different perspective. The story offers readers a hopeful note toward the end. In one week, we’ve read the book four times to him!

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Well, as a night and morning of chicken screams and Duplo world building will attest, we watched Moana. I’d held off seeing it because of the problematic treatment of Maui and the mixed reception by the people depicted. I decided after hearing more feedback and reading an article about watching it with awareness to the cultural inaccuracies, there was a lot to enjoy in it.

My partner and I have caught up with The Americans, Better Call Saul, and American Gods. Three of us recently completed both seasons of Agent Carter and are livid the show was cancelled. Watching Carter, Americans, and national news concurrently certainly painted a complex picture of the U.S. relations with Russia from post-WWII tensions, to the Cold War, and into the present political atmosphere, which brought up a lot of discussions with our daughter about the history between the two nations and how it’s led us to where we are now. The trio of media create a chilling awareness of our current political landscape, even where the fiction was sensationalized.

Dragon introduced us to Nightvale, a podcast about a fictional town where nothing is within the realm of normal. While I’ve enjoyed it, Little Fox finds it dull and never wants to listen to it, so we’ve started rewatching Avatar: the Last Airbender episodes.

We did see Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (without the Fox), and Wonder Woman in the theater and loved all three.

WHAT WE’RE EATING

After seeing Wonder Woman, we enjoyed nearly a week of modern and ancient Greek recipes for our dinners, and in the process, I learned how to make halibut in a way that leaves the meat tender, juicy, and full of flavor.

Greek Halibut in Parchment

4-6 oz. steak of halibut per person
artichoke hearts in oil
lemon slices
garlic cloves
sea salt
black pepper
oregano

Preheat oven to 400°F. For each person, place two slices of lemon on a sheet of baking parchment, and cover with one halibut steak, skin side down. Arrange a handful of artichoke hearts on either side of the halibut, and sprinkle the fish with lemon juice, sea salt, and oregano. Then crush one to two cloves of garlic and rub lightly along the top of the fish. Fold parchment into a packet around the halibut and placing on a baking sheet. When all packets are arranged on the sheet, place in the oven and cook 12 – 14 minutes. Grind black pepper over the top of the fish to taste and serve with sides, such as peas with mint, hummus and cucumber slices, roasted golden beets with goat or sheep’s cheese.

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