flying snow

It's Fall

It's finally fall again, the summer heat has broken, the zucchini and tomatoes are slowing down, the pool is closing in a week, the tree leaves are starting to show a hint of turning about the edges, the nights are getting into the 40's, and the hot tub actually feels good again.

Yesterday, the boys and I went to dim sum together, and, afterward, I spent the time to make meat and vegetable buns/bao from a recipe in a book Mom gave me, and it turned out so well, with my additions, that Jet actually liked them. A lot. Enough that he wants to make them again.

The funny thing, though, was the moment of deja vu when I was wrapping the bao with deft, quick motions of long practice, and Jet picked one up for the first time and I remembered being a kid and thinking I'd *never* be able to make them as beautifully as my mother had. And here I was wrapping them using my left hand to feed the folds into my right hand, and the whole making a perfect little swirl about the center steam hole. It was useful to tell Jet about that feeling and memory as he got the courage up to wrap quite a few of the things. It made dinner prep faster, and he started learning how to fold them. Someday he might show someone else how to do it, too.

Immortality through food. *laughs* My mom's technique in my hands, now, and I'm passing them down to Jet.

Jet's school is now in full swing, and demented_dee and I got the rewrite to the publishers a week or so ago, and they're doing the reread. I'm crossing my fingers and praying a little, too. Didn't think it would be that stressful, but apparently it is. While we're waiting on it, I worked on a two-part William the Hitman story for Crash's kiriban, and on Twin Souls and Winter War and enjoying it a lot. I'm really looking forward to doing Darkprism's kiriban as well.

I'm also helping out with Jet's class on science experiments and it's been kind of terrifying me, though what's funny isn't that the experiment terrifies me, it's Jet's classmates. And HOW to present the material so that they acutally pay attention and do what needs to be done rather than just playing with things.

I'll see how it goes.

Two Sparrows and a Bee
Talked with a couple of other moms about that, and it helped having a few of them say that it would be outside their comfort zone. I *liked* doing tile math with the kids, just running around checking math was easy. Actually teaching things... I'll probably be more comfortable when I figure out the form and procedure of the experiments themselves.

About two-thirds of the way done with Jet's Fall Sweater. He outgrows his sweater every year, so I needed to make him a new one. This morning he wore r0ck3tsci3ntist's hat, and was very, very glad that John found it for him again. *dances about*. But it's definitely getting cool enough that he likes it and I'm having fun making it up as I go. I just measured him all around and went from there with an Aran-style sweater as I just missed doing cabling, and the Schoolhouse Press folks sell this lovely wool yarn called Canadian Regal, that is sport-weight, but mottled, and lovely. A little harsh to the hand while knitting, but once it's knit firmly, it's smooth and strong and warm.

Single Blossom
The one problem the cooler nights has brought has been allergies. My right eye has started acting up a lot lately, and then there have been a series of local fires, one was the largest local wild fire on record, nearly 7000 acres and hundreds of lost homes in the canyons just west of Boulder. There was even an evacuation warning for folks in Boulder just a few days ago, but the fire crews are finally getting a lock on it and containing more and more of the perimeter. Some folks are able to get back in, but the smoke and the debris from it all has been hard on the lungs and eyes.

Last night another fire started up north. The single-digit humidity of the last few weeks, and the winds just didn't help. Still, it's better than some Septembers, and I'm glad that we're pretty much out of the fire zones. A lot of the trouble in the Fourmile Canyon fires had to do with the terrain they were having to work with.

And as you can tell, I'm still going through the challenge, and fishing out a few pieces that I actually like out of the lots. There's plenty of others going into the recycle, but I'm happier and happier with some of the pieces that are coming out of it all. I've been cutting some of my paper into quarters, to have a smaller-sized "page" of the 100, but I'm finding that the limited space actually makes me think a bit more about what I'm putting on it or what I want on it. It's fun to think things through that way.

The spatial aspects are different when things are smaller, and planning white space just makes it all the more interesting. I really like how my broken bamboo painting finally turned out this last time. And finding out that more traditional Chinese paintings have the single blossom wild orchid rather than the multi-blossom orchid that's been cultivated made me want to try that a bit more.

I'm gradually trying to reclaim my life. To figure out what to do with my time while Jet's in class and at school. He's going to have a longer day today as he'll be in Lego class, so I might have a chance to just write this afternoon. That will be very nice indeed.

After months of just scrounging schedule when I could, it's been had and odd and awkward finally having a real schedule and trying to fit everything back into it. I still haven't managed to get my physical therapy for my knee in and it aches still after walks, swimming, and even biking on the wrong bike. So I'm really going to have to do something, and I want to pick up the weight lifting again. I might just take the book to my PT guy and ask him what I can or can't do or should or shouldn't do.

I'm also trying to just get my brain wrapped back around Twin Souls, trying to push back a few ideas that I have with respect to the SF Journey to the West, and working with a lot of lovely ideas from Darkprism on simple romances as well. West and David are progressing nicely, and we've written a lot more than we've posted, yet, in the hopes of getting another book together.

The nice thing is that the David and West ideas are spawning plot lines for the Misfit Toys as well, as David's kind of a sideline for them, but the whole building of the team and how they get from today's people to becoming experts at nanobot clean up and AI wrangling is going to be really intriguing. I am starting to think of them as more of a cleanup-crew that goes into situations other people don't want to get into, but end up finding that they're more than just garbage men.

*giggles* It's kind of funny having the painting spread through the text of the journal, as the journal itself has very little to do with the paintings, but it's kind of fun to have text running through.

Anyway, yeah...still painting and still trying to do a few things... and managing to get something together. Whew. Still feeling a little off-balance and lost, though, I'll figure a way through.
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*giggles* I added a few paintings to the entry while you were here. *laughs* Yes! Pork buns for the win!!

It was really fun to do with Jet and to pass it on...
I keep promising Teo that when the weather gets cool enough to cook some more, I'll make steamed buns with red bean paste in them. He thinks this is a swell idea.

Also, I know what you mean about the smaller page really focusing. When I'm still shaky about a skill, putting extra limits on what I'm "allowed" to do really helps me fill the space creatively. I smack right up the boundaries I set myself and that really amplifies the feedback on my strengths and weaknesses.

A dozen years ago I was on a fanfic list where someone did a 100-word fic challenge. A lot of the writers who were younger (teenagers, mostly) and wrote pretty mediocre stuff generally, really found their voices when given the hard limit of 100 words to play with. It made them focus on choosing words really precisely, made them focus on what they wanted to say, exactly, rather than just throwing words on the page until the teacher told them to stop. I've been a big believer in setting creative limits... as long as you understand the limits are a tool, not a You Must Do It Like This.
Yum! I love steamed buns with sweet red paste... and so simple! *laughs* I should just double the batch of dough, and steam the savory ones first, and then do the red bean ones.

Yes! Exactly that on the limitations.

I love 100 word drabbles. *laughs* I should open up again for those some time.
Your flowers are lovely! I think the bamboo and birds scratch a visual itch for me. (Just as nano and AI tend to scratch other imagination itches. Heh!)
The birdies are fun!!

I enjoy them a lot, but I want to do one of the golden finches sometime.

YAY! AI and Nano!! *dances about happily with scratched itches*

It's fall here as well. The rains have returned, I hear talk of the cruise ships starting to flock for their migration south, and the Wooden Boat Festival (the end of sailing season for many here) just finished up. Projects around the house are not yet finished up. *ack*

Lego class?
Ack! Yeah, when the weather turns before the projects are done... *laughs*

Lego class.

Jet has a Lego class. I think it's called fundamentals of engineering, but really, it's just building things with Lego, though really they do a lot of problem specification work beforehand, building to spec, and then testing against the specification and other criterion. *laughs*
That sounds like a very, very neat class and not at all what I think of as normal grade school fare (to say the least). Is there a story behind how it got started?
It's through the Play-Well TEKnologies organization. They just have it all setup so that schools can just give them some funds to set them up and do them in classrooms across the country.

Since our school has a math/science focus, it seems to fit them really well. It is after school extra activity, but Jet's had so much fun with it that we do the extra driving and pay for it so that he can do it and learn more as he goes.
Mmm, bao. You're amazing to be able to make your own! That takes some advanced skills. :D

And your paintings are glorious. I really like the blossoms, the long sweeping lines of the leaves are so vital.
*giggles* It's fun to make our own, and have them whenever we want them.

*beams* I'm very glad you like the paintings!! I'm having a lot more fun with the flowers as I get them more the way I want to see them.