Before I get into all things pickle, the marvelous Jolie (of the Western Washington SCBWI) has finally started blogging (after much yapping and wheedling from the rest of us). Yay, Jolie! Today she has just posted a cute coffee-themed interview with moi. It is HERE. (Thanks Jolie!)
Okay, now: pickles!
My friend Chary (pronounced Carrie) and I made pickles last night! It was fun and easy -- but we won't know if they're any good for a few weeks. I'm not really kitchen-girl, but Chary does fancy-shmancy stuff all the time. She makes her own ketchup and mustard, for example, and all kinds of other stuff. Her pantry is a wonderful place of spices and seeds bought in bulk, and if you ever need a vanilla bean on short notice, or some rare salt mined in the kingdom of Faerie, or perhaps some pink food coloring, she's the go-to girl (okay, maybe not faerie salt, but she's got some weird salts). Here are our soon-to-be-pickles in the jar, along with garlic, dill, black pepper, red pepper, bay leaf, and grape leaves.
We sort of followed my grandmother's recipe, but my grandmother wrote it down very vaguely, for people who, you know, know how to make pickles. So we had to improvise a little.
(That reminds me of the mom in Better Off Dead. Remember her? "You like raisins.")
See that bottle in the picture? That's homemade limoncello. We had tiny thimble glasses of it, and it was yummy. Always reminds me of the Amalfi coast! My parents decided they want to make homemade limoncello this year for the holidays. I've thought about doing that in the past, but like I said, I'm not really kitchen-girl.
Despite not being kitchen-girl (and that doesn't mean I don't like to cook, I just am nothing out of the ordinary, and half the time don't think about meals enough in advance to do anything fancy) -- on Sunday I wanted to get a healthy start to the week, so I made a big pot of vegetable soup, and I chopped a boatload of veggies and put them in a tupperware for salads throughout the week -- now all we have to do is stick some lettuce in a bowl and top with this assortment of: celery, jicama, fennel, radish, carrot, tri-color peppers. Then there are sprouts, chickpeas, and corn in the fridge, and sliced turkey or whatever: instant giant lunch salad. Voila.
I've been being awfully lazy with my goals lately. There's this period after accomplishing a big goal (like writing Silksinger) where I naturally fall into a sort of "whew, that's finally done, I never have to work again" routine for a few days or weeks. But this goes much deeper than that -- during the trying months of Silksingering, I didn't go to the gym; during the difficult stuff I went through in the spring, I finished gaining back the weight that I had gleefully lost several years ago. Anyway, it was high time to get strict with myself. A long time ago, in the early days of my blog I went through a similar post-book laziness -- I wrote about it HERE, and I see it is what motivated Sunday Scribblings! (Well, Meg had her own motivation, but that is when we connected and said, "Let's do this.") And the Lips Touch stories, of course, all originated from the early days of Sunday Scribblings! So, you see, good can come of laziness -- or rather, good can come of the gathering oneself back together and getting back on track. There is solid comfort in making a plan; satisfaction in sticking to it, and joy in meeting short-term and then long-term goals.
So, here's to: (1) health, (2) getting a good start on the new book, and (3) being more on-the-ball with creative marketing this year, rather than hiding and watching through my fingers as my new books come out (which is kind of what I did with Blackbringer.)
Oh, and here is an eensy little portion of Chary's hat collection:
(Don't forget to welcome Jolie!!)