Much as I hate to leave my children and grandchildren, I am always grateful to be home again. I allow myself extra indulgences--an extra long nap, an extra glass of wine, a thrown-together supper, often of sandwiches picked up at the Czech Stop in West, though I'm going to stop that because they use that awful soft white bread I can't stand. And it takes me a long time to catch up on mail, newspapers, various odds and ends, etc. So it's been a lazy day in which I've moved from one world to another, back into my own world. I made an extra effort to love my animals, since Moksha, the pet sitter, e-mailed me frequently about how much they missed me--Wywy seemed to respond, but Scoob was much more interested in the bones I gave him. Moksha took him for his summer haircut, and he looks adorable--so skinny, but so pretty. He had really gotten shaggy over the winter. Of course, then it turned cold, and I worried about him, but he seems fine and tonight is happily in the study with me.
Melinda and I had a uneventful drive home, made good time, stopped only once, and chattered all the way, though not about business. I am still on my five-day mandatory leave and incommunicado with the office. I find it leads to some funny situations and occasional e-mails that if I don't either answer or forward will make people think I'm downright rude. I'm having lunch with an old TCU buddy tomorrow, now retired, but she asked,
"Are you sure it's legitimate for you to talk to me?" I plan to enjoy these three lazy days as much as I can. I've set Wednesday aside to go shopping for herbs--surely we are not going to have any more cold spells. Who ever heard of a frost in late March--okay, lots of people, but it's still unexpected.
Last night Megan's good friend Kristine, she of the garage apt., fixed us an elegant dinner. Kristine's family lives in Alaska, so they send her flash frozen salmon. I'm sure she won't mind if I share her cooking technique. She halves tomatoes (prefers Roma but used grape last night because the Roma were not good), tosses them with salt and pepper, puts fresh sprigs of oregano and basil on them, a generous amount of olive oil, and bakes them long and slow at 275. If Roma, she does them, 3-4 hours. Then she seasons the salmon with all kinds of things--salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, whatever comes handy in that line of seasoning and covers it with olive oil. Sawyer helped her season it and turn it in the olive oil last night and had the best time (a picture may be posted later if Megan sends it to me!). For serving, she tops the salmon with the tomatoes--absolutely delicious. She accompanied that with asparagus and roasted potatoes--sweet and white with onions. A wonderful dinner. The Austin family will not only miss "Aunt Stine" for her wonderful presence but also for her cooking when she returns to D.C. in May. Watch for her book, Justice at Guantanamo: One Woman's Odyssey and her Crusade for Human Rights, by Kristine Huskey, due out in June, I believe. . A lawyer specializing in international human rights, she has been to Guantanamo sixteen times. Wow! I am impressed. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Kristine--she's been family since she and Megan were in law school together.
Well, on to my three free days. Tomorrow, grocery stores and lunch with Jan, of whom I see too little these days. Tuesday, a trip to Granbury with Jeannie and then on to Tolar to drink wine with John and Cindy; and Wednesday, a trip to the nursery and planting herbs. In between, of course, I plan to write the great American novel and sleep a lot.I've thought about that business about the great American novel. I read the posts on Sisters in Crime and realize that most of them are seriously dedicated. Writing takes all their time and energy with little left over for other things. They focus, and they're persistent, and I admire it a lot. Many of them are my age or close to it. And yet I don't share their desperation for publication--of course I want it to happen, and I'll work toward it, but I have so much else going on in my life! I went to Austin loaded with notes on the novel in progress, sure that I would put in a lot of work. I didn't even look at it once. And maybe that's okay. Maybe I can enjoy life day to day and write when I can.