September has come and hit me full in the face, and I sincerely cannot believe the shit I’ve gotten myself into. Where do I even start?

Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival is rolling along smoothly, at least. We’re coming up on the last little bit of judging this week, and then it’s on to let the finalists know that their films are moving on. Which is probably the most exciting part of this, outside of the actual festival dates – really, is there anything finer than handing out good news?

In the meanwhile, there are the details: tickets go on sale tomorrow, there’s a final judging party on Tuesday, the shows need to be curated and the program printed, posters need to be made, the trophies need to be constructed… And Sunday Rabbit Heart is the spotlight feature at the 7Hills Poetry reading with Angelique Palmer, so today and tomorrow are going to be a story of mad scrambling to put gear together. Next year we hire an intern, hello. #somanydetails

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Thing I do best in the whole world:

Sweat

I can sweat with the best of ’em. Without even trying, I sweat like a badass. I get uncomfortably warm when the temp noses above 65, and all bets are off. I found myself in the airconditioned haven of Target the other day, fanning myself for relief and looking longingly into the freezer tubs, thinking, I wonder if they’d throw me out if I hopped in and rolled around in the beef? (I did not hop in.)

So why in all the holy hells did we just buy a treadmill?

One word, friends, one word: Research.

Yes, research. I do this, right? I want to know more about something, so I jump in whole hog and make a concerted effort to get to the bottom of things and understand them. And what I want to know right now is what it feels like to be a person who enjoys exercise.

I’ve never been sporty. Ever. I played field hockey for a semester in the eighth grade because everyone had to play a sport to pass the year, and I hated it. I hated the softball team I was forced to join in the fourth grade. I hated swim club (exercise with the added attraction of the potential to accidentally drown? Exercise while intermittently holding your breath? Are you kidding me?) I’m uncoordinated as fuck, and even my yoga practice (which isn’t really exercise so much as rolling around on the floor for 20 minutes) hasn’t done much to make it better.* I remember getting winded riding my bike as a kid. I even remember Kathy Arsenault in the seventh grade, talking about how she loved her morning run and the muscle definition it gave her, and squinting at her, thinking, Man that sounds terrible. I tried running a couple years ago and I cried through the whole thing.** So what the hell is going on now?

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Let’s talk for a minute about the contraband that lives in the head. Specifically, writing contraband. You know, the stuff that you think about while you’re writing for a project that has nothing to do with the stuff currently at the top of your to-write pile.

The majority of my contraband is fanfic. I just discovered this summer that fanfic exists, and I’m kind of enthralled.

No – I’m not joking! I spent the last 150 or so pages of finishing my novel while actively shoving down some cross-fandom mashup stuff that I will either get around to strong-arming into a non-fanfic thing, or will eventually just let go into the aether as a nice idea that I absolutely have no clue how to execute. And in the meanwhile I’ll amuse myself in between my own chapters by perusing the web for fanfic.

Fanfic I’d like to read:
– Supernatural-Hellblazer mashup sans porn.*
– Brakebills-Hogwarts, the post-graduate years mashup.**
– Something to do with Cylons and the clones of Orphan Black.***
– Orphan Black-Supernatural mashup – if only to ship Cosima and Charlie Bradbury, because besties, amirite?

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Charlie Bradbury. Swoon.This is what research looks like for me:

Obsessive hunting down of information (which could take anywhere from hours to months), coupled with a bookmarks list in my Chrome account the length of my arm, coupled with a browser history that brings me the occasional deep and burning shame. And, frequently, an expression plastered on my face that’s somewher between “Oh! Oh, I Had No Idea…” and “What In the Actual Fuck?”

Consequently, my husband & I have an agreement that whoever goes first, the other one will erase their browser history and burn their journals, preferably before family arrives, optimally, before the medical examiner’s big grey van pulls up to the curb.

Because I am a curious fish, and I will Google, really, anything.

I mean, it’s one thing when I want to know about commencement speeches. It’s only mildly embarrassing to admit that sometime in the end of June I will inevitably find myself cleaning closets while sobbing as someone’s YouTube playlist runs on my laptop for three or four hours.*

It’s entirely another thing to not know, and then seach to find out  what the terms “Destiel” and “Wincest” mean. And surely “knot” is just some Aussie slang for the common human penis? (Spoiler: nope. And you can thank me now that I’ve done the research so you don’t have to, because iw.)** For the record, I know now that the descriptor “slash” is not entirely synonymous with “fanfiction.”

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So I opened up submissions to Rabbit Heart last night,* and check it out – first thing in the morning, there was already a submission! From across the Atlantic, even! How cool is that??

I am deeply excited about the festival this year – I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing more international entries than last year, and I’m stoked to see what comes across my desk. I had no idea (no idea!) that poetry films (or videopoems, as I’m hearing them called more often) were such a big deal – apparently in Europe, they’re a really big deal, with 15 or 20 festivals going on through the year.** I jumped into this because I just got tired of not seeing people do anything with poetry aside from performance videos. Who knew?! Well, the Europeans, clearly.

All this to say, submissions are open for the Rabbit Heart 2015 Poetry Film Festival, and please feel free to send in your (non-performance, under 4 minutes) poetry film. ::MWAH!::
*It officially opened up today, but by 10:30, it was clear that there was no way I was going to make it ’til midnight last night. Omg, sleep.
**Aside from Rabbit Heart, I’ve only found one in the US, and their website is down, so I’m not sure if they’re around or not anymore. I really hope they’re still around.

Hello, it’s still cold here. Apparently, as of this printing, Worcester, MA is one of the snowiest cities in the US because of this winter,* with somewhere in the area of nine feet of snow on the ground (and more expected tonight – whee). It’s a bit disconcerting that the piles to either side of our driveway are taller than me.** Pulling out into the street requires some faith in other drivers and a keen respect for taking things slow.

Also, I have a new red cast iron, enameled dutch oven. Put these two things together and it’s time to stay in and make soup. Last night I made a fish chowder that was Damn Fine, and I’m here to share it with you.

This baby started with a recipe from Martha and then got manhandled just a little bit. If you look at the original recipe, you’ll notice that while thyme is not listed in the ingredients, it is mentioned in the instructions;*** I improvised. Also, I added shrimp because I like a more stew-like soup, and I pumped the garlic and the bay leaves a dab.

Fish Chowderserves 4 handily

2 tablespoons butter
6 scallions, chopped thin-ish
2 stalks celery, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
16 oz clam juice
3 medium pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped medium
2 bay leaves
1 pound cod pieces
1/2 pound uncooked shrimp
1 cup whole milk
Kosher salt and ground pepper

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In less than two weeks, submissions open for the 2015 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, and sister, I am STOKED! Guidelines are right here. How’s your poetry film coming along?

So January was a wash. I spent as much of it as I possibly could curled up in bed. I slept like a champion sleeper. I dragged my laptop into the blanket nest and worked on film festival stuff there. I read books in bed. I watched Netflix while working with yarn in bed. I looked at blogs in bed. I snuggled down with Man Cub and watched an entire season of Bob’s Burgers.*  I got intimate with a friend’s (really good) poetry manuscript while wrapped in my orange quilt. Mostly, I got out of bed to handle emergencies involving heating oil** and houshold chores, to play WoW, to go to yoga on Thursdays,*** to grocery shop, and to cook dinner.

But it’s February (white rabbits, white rabbits!) and I’m ready to emerge. I started out the month right yesterday with a delightful breakfast with the afformentioned author friend, and then off to run an assortment of errands. Today I’m going to spend some quality time binding books. February is looking up.

But what I really want to talk about is sauce. Did I mention that I spent a bunch of time in bed reading blogs? One of my favorites is Smitten Kitchen. I’m prone to go fangirl over Deb Perelman – I’ve served her recipes at the family Thanksgiving table for the last three years and it’s gone brilliantly, and her cookbook  is outstanding. Which is the only reason I attempted a sauce that I avoided because every description of it looked like clickbait.****

For serious – this sauce claims to be Something Very Special while being created from the mundane. A can of tomatoes, some butter, and an onion. There is no garlic, there is no basil, there is no stock or glug of red wine, nor is there any olive oil. You don’t even dice the onion. WTF. But Deb Perelman praised it, and that got my attention. She doesn’t publish clunkers.

And I have a new red pot. A Dutch oven, to be specific, but it’s a heavy-bottomed pot (emphasis on heavy – cast iron don’t fuck around, y’all) – Will Dearest gifted me with it after seeing me get wistful over a Le Creuset display last December. So curiosity piqued and red pot in hands, I went to it.

Holy. Carp. Something magical happened in the pot. So I made it again, this time with another brand of tomatoes. Slightly different, but again, freaking magic. When we went shopping yesterday, I bought no less than three cans of tomatoes and three boxes of pasta. The next two weeks hold serious promise. Here’s the scoop.

Three Ingredient Pasta Sauce – will feed four comfortably
(from Tomato Sauce With Onion and Butter on smittenkitchen.com)

1 28-oz can of whole plum tomatoes
5 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, halved

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This fucking mess of a day.

Shit breaks – I know shit breaks. I know how to fix, replace, move on. I do this stuff. I get annoyed when it costs money, especially when money is tight. But we need a dryer, so I bought a dryer. The plan was that Will Dearest would pick it up tomorrow.

Only that’s not a great plan anymore, because I picked Will up from work today, the poor thing suddenly down with something terrible that involves vomit. Also, I am terrified of germs that cause vomiting.* Which makes me a dreadful nurse, and then a guilty wife.

Additionally, I am currently afraid of our apartment. Will is curled up in bed, and with any luck, will stop getting up to puke, and get some sleep, and then feel better. I picked up juice for him and set it on the counter. I can’t go in the bedroom. I am worried that if I take a shower, that the steam will turn the bathroom into a giant petri dish. I keep my toothbrush in there, yo. Is it safe to touch the cat that’s been sleeping with him?

So I fled the house to get him some juice. Also the cupboards were bare with after-holiday and all. So groceries – Man Cub and I had at it. And the grocery store was bizarre. They had almost none of the things that we usually get – the whole list had to be refurbed. I’m not sure what ended up in the cart, to be honest, except for the corned beef. I know about the corned beef, because I cannot stop thinking about it. I would not have bought the corned beef if there had been any chicken. And I’ve been wanting corned beef for, like, weeks, but haven’t been able to justify it until now. I cannot wait for WIll to feel better so we can eat corned beef.**

As we pulled into the driveway, Will texted simply this: We’re out of oil.

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Doublebunny holiday cards for 2014 by Sou MacMillan

I can tell it all in one sentence: upgrade the hardware.

Really, it was that simple. And, really, yes, it did cost money. But because the cost of more ink v. the cost of a new printer, which comes with some ink, and a scanner, to boot, made the difference negligible, I’m just not down that much from the starting line. My beloved Canoscan no longer sits to my right, and Our Man Cub has inherited my old printer, because to replace the scanner, I decided to go with a printer/scanner combo that also prints on dvds.*

And then I pushed buttons and tweaked settings for, like, three days until the scanner did what I wanted it to do. I still have a little bit of foolery to commit in order to print discs in a program other than the one that came with the printer,** but printing to paper is doing quite well (settings matter, sister!) In fact, I like it enough that I’ll be printing the Doublebunny holiday cards in-house this year.

So all’s well in the office today, and the paper being pushed is pretty paper. The engine can, friends. The engine can.

***

*Yes! I can make dvds now! Turns out that, well, you pretty much get what you pay for with this stuff. It was a shame that the free program that came with 7 won’t burn the disc, but, on the other hand, it’s also pretty wonderful to work with a program that has options. I chose Nero Video in the end, and it made a rather lovely product, relatively in budget, even.
**One bit of disappointment with Nero is that its label maker program does not print right. I’m hoping it’s a setting – I have some screwing around to do.

todays

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