1. I spent last weekend in Texas for my amazing mom's 80th birthday. The weather wasn't all that great--by some odd meteorological coincidence, it was only about ten degrees warmer there than it was here--but it was nice to get out of town for a few days. Had a great time with my sisters and got to visit with some of my mom's friends that I've known for years. Make that decades.
2. We're to the part of winter that gets to me every year. I don't really mind snow--especially not when it's coming down-- and I don't really mind cold --unless it gets below zero, which is not often-- so early winter doesn't bug me much. But by now, the snow is dirty and the roads are a mess and I am a pale, pasty, mushroomy sort of white so I look like something that crawled out from under a rock. A few days in Texas were not enough to fix that, dangit. My car looks like one of those Jeep commercials where they've been 4-wheelin' it through hubcap-deep mud, but all I've done is drive around on paved roads. Well, slush covered paved roads. Come, spring.
3. FAFSA. If you know what that is, I know you feel my pain. If you don't know, you don't want to know. (It's the enormous, bloody complicated financial inventory you have to fill out for your child to qualify for financial aid of any type.)
4. I've seen several recipes for cauliflower couscous around, but having been bitterly disappointed by the whole hoax that was Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, hadn't tried any of them. But I finally got around to testing it out this week, and can report favorably. They don't taste remotely like couscous, but it is a great way to fix cauliflower, especially if--like me-- you're not a huge cauliflower fan. One more veggie recipe I can eat happily. It's simple--toss raw cauliflower florets into a food processor, then saute in a little olive oil for 6-8 minutes--but if you want detailed instructions, just google cauliflower coucous and there are approximately four hundred and ninety-eight food bloggers out there who can describe it better than me.
5. (I KNOW it's supposed to be "better than I" but that always just sounds wrong to me, even though it's correct.)
6. The Montana short stories class I'm teaching this semester started this week. So I have been madly reading short stories. D'Arcy McNickle and Grace Stone Coates get a definite thumbs up if you run across their work. Will pass along more names later as we work our way through the twentieth century.
7. Nothing like spending time with Andrea to realize that while I've been angst-ing about midlife transitions, some would be thrilled to go through this stuff. Message received. Thanks for your kind thoughts, all. And in case you missed my reply in the comments, I don't by any means want to make it sound like I'm one of Andrea's main caretakers-- she has many friends, some of whom have spent considerably more time with her than I have. She is much beloved and will be missed.