These aren't the brownies I intended to make. But then the top wouldn't come off the vanilla extract, no matter how I twisted and swore and started flaking bits of rubber off the jar-opener. So I put in almond extract instead, and smelled it. There was a hole in the smell. The hole was the shape of cherries. So I put in some dried cherries, and we will hope for the best.
What bits of your life are improvised lately?
Sunday is generally my day off, which means no writing fiction. It doesn't mean no housework, no errands, or mandatory fun. (Mandatory fun stinks anyway.) It just means no fiction. Also it would mean no paying nonfiction if I was doing that currently, but I don't have any contracts for that in the works right now, so it's just the fiction I'm supposed to avoid. This is good for me. I find that I write more and better the other six days a week if I take a break. I also find that I get antsy to write on Sundays, and that's not a bad thing, either. Writing is my job, has been for years, and it's good to remember that this is because I want to do it, because it's what I love, and not just because it's built into the routine. And a day off gives my brain time to think of things like, "Oh, crap, I hope I don't have to write a whole libretto for this." Useful stuff like that.
Today, though, I got home from my errands and utterly collapsed. I managed to get half the upstairs stuff from Target actually up the stairs, and I sat down to check my e-mail and lj, and when I finished that, the prospect of going all the way back downstairs to get Glasshouse to flop on the bed and read was actively distressing. So I flopped without the book and took a nap. Before the Year Of Sick, I never could nap. Now I can when I need to. It's one of the good things the YoS gave me. (Not an even trade by any means, but silver linings, silver linings.) I only slept for an hour, but I've been mostly puttery since then -- eating leftovers for dinner and reading a little and folding a little laundry, nothing serious. I could have baked bread or swept the hall or filed the mountain of paperwork that needs filing. I didn't. I took the nap as a signal that it was time to not Do Stuff for awhile. Day off. I can do that.
One of the things I have been doing, off and on, is looking for things to put on my wish list for my grandmother. I claim frequently that I am the easiest person in the world to shop for: I have an extensive (!) Amazon list, all of which would delight me if it showed up on my doorstep, and I respond well to random nonfiction, and I like sparklies and chocolate and jam and sauces and tisanes and fiddly little things and kitchen tools and stuff. I am amiable about stuff. I like handmade thises and thats, mix CDs and knitted mittens and such. I'm difficult to fit in clothing, but I wear a lot of dark or bright sweaters, and sweaters are easy to fit. But my grandma wants Christmas gifts to be one big special thing, and while I think From Sibelius to Sallinen: Finnish Nationalism and the Music of Finland would be a most excellent big special thing, for Grandma it is just one book and therefore does not qualify as a satisfying big special Christmas gift. And the catalogs I usually use are not at all promising this year, so I'm kind of casting about for what I would genuinely want that Grandma would want to give me. We'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, I'm doing something potentially appalling: Christmas present research. There are some things that might make very good Christmas gifts, but I don't want to give suboptimal Christmas gifts, so...I've ordered them for myself. To try out. To make sure I don't give anybody something unpleasant for Christmas. This strikes me as sketchy at best, but on the other hand, no one wants an unpleasant surprise for Christmas! I'm just out for their best interests. Really. If the burnt caramel sauce I ordered is no good, I will finish it all myself, and no one else will have to suffer.
Really I'm a humanitarian, is what.