It’s been a while since my last update (apologies), let me tell you why …
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Our October was almost as busy as our November. We had our emergency room appendicitis false alarm, my first full Reading Selections class, and a visit to Oxbow Farm’s harvest festival. A dear friend came to spend a week with us as a house guest. At the same time, I worked on a new story, and launched a Patreon page, even making an intro video and a reminder on Halloween. (Note: I’m really uncomfortable with seeing myself on video. Still photos, sure, but videos? Blech.)
Since the end of October, I’ve been working hard on the third annual Flash Dash Challenge. Instead of participating in NaNoWriMo (I have plenty of novel projects in various stages of drafts) the past three years, I’ve set myself a goal of writing a new piece of flash fiction every day for a month. In 2014, I only wrote about a dozen stories. In 2015, I wrote about two dozen. This year, I’m going for all thirty stories. (Thus far, I have sixteen stories for sixteen days).
My son and I have been working on understanding autumn, eggs, our bodies and senses, and we’re heading into American legends and Native Americans. He recently made a new friend through the library, and we’ve been meeting weekly for play dates. My daughter’s dating a wonderful young woman, and enjoying her classes, especially the Japanese. At this point, I think she’ll have a solid B for the quarter, though I’m hoping she’ll swing an A- in at least one of them. This past weekend, we spent a couple of hours on a dreary afternoon at the Reptile Zoo, petting turtles and a baby alligator, meeting snakes, tortoises, spiders, frogs, and two rather large alligators, Barnabus and Basker, the former of whom was particularly keen on watching my son and I together. (I’m fairly certain my son was just the right size for a feast.)
Quick tip for Running Start families: We didn’t realize this until it was too late (I swear I don’t recall anyone telling us in the three or four meetings we had with advisors), but the paperwork from the district we’re to take in for each quarter to the college’s Running Start office needs to be in as much as two weeks before registration opens for the new quarter. So, although the Dragon should be able to register for Winter, she can’t until her paperwork is processed (late because we didn’t realize). From now on, I’m getting it done two weeks in advance, so she can enjoy priority registration and not miss her preferred classes.
WHAT WE’RE READING
My daughter hasn’t been reading much outside of her school books and fanfiction, but she recommended the book Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, which is part of her Psychology curriculum. Though it’s poetry, she said it reads like prose, and puts readers into the shoes of an African American woman, making her experiences relatable to most.
While I’ve been working through rather mature graphic novel series (e.g. The Preacher (big ol’ trigger warnings for this series), Bitch Planet, and Saga), my son and I have finished reading books about autumn and books about eggs (and those who lay them). I’ll post more about the books in the latter category, because we came across some amazing materials!
One book outside our preschool lessons worth noting is Where’s the Elephant? While it appears to be a simply drawn and colorful book of seek and find a la Where’s Waldo?, it proves to be a more striking message young children can understand about deforestation and city sprawl. It doesn’t feel at all soapboxy or preachy, but not knowing what it was about as I was reading it, I had that encroaching sense of dread when I figured out what was going on in the book. Thankfully, my just enjoyed finding the elephant and his friends among the trees.
WHAT WE’RE EATING
One thing that’s been a big comfort through the fall is making a simple side dish alongside almost any seasonal vegetables and meats. It’s worked well with salmon, squash, Brussels sprouts, sausages, chicken, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and so on.
What is it?
2 c. short grain brown rice
3c. chicken broth or stock*
2 tsp. sage
pinch of salt
ground black pepper (optional)
Combine ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to low, cover and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes. Serve on the side or beneath the vegetables and/or meats. Excellent with a mushroom white wine sauce.
*If you’re vegetarian or vegan, I highly recommend mushroom broth as opposed to vegetable broth to give it an earthier body and flavor.