Unexpected Bonding

Since I’m injured and ridiculous, I’ve been staying at my parents house. It sure makes things easier to have someone to help you carry things when you are on crutches. It’s also nice to have someone cook for you because standing on one foot while cooking gets a bit painful.

Anyway, my parents had to go to the other farm for a few days so I’ve been left in the care of my younger brother. If you’ve read some of the older posts on this blog, you probably know that my brother and I are NOT the closest of siblings and that it would be easier to do a root canal on a sabre tooth tiger than get my brother to do favors for me. So, needless to say, I was a bit concerned about how this would go since I was going to have to rely on him for a lot of things.

Thursday night I was bored out of my mind so I decided to watch a movie on Netflix. Nothing I really wanted to watch was available for streaming, so I watched The Last Airbender. It was better than I imagined it would be, but not great. Not something I probably would have made a point to watch again. And definitely not good enough to make me want to watch the Nickelodeon anime series it was based on. Except for one thing.

My brother came in while I was watching it and was actually excited. My redneck, cowboy, “I don’t like anything foreign and weird” brother was excited about anime. Granted, it WAS American anime, but there wasn’t much American flavor there. Turns out he used to watch the Nickelodeon show when it was airing and liked it. Really liked it.

So, rather than spending our few days alone together arguing over when he was supposed to feed the animals, we’ve been watching anime together. He remembers so much about the show that he’ll come in in the middle of an episode and say “Oh, that’s the episode where…” or “Oh, that’s so-and-so, I like that character.” We’ve found something to talk about. It’s like a miracle.

So, now I’ve become a fan of a children’s anime show all because my weird brother was so genuinely excited by it. Life is strange. But not in a bad way.

I need a shovel

A few months ago, Jean, my grandmother Peggy’s housekeeper of 14 years, retired. Since Peggy didn’t really have time to look for someone new (and certainly wasn’t about to clean her own house- what a suggestion!) and I had the time and could always use the money, I suggested that I fill in for the time being. It’s actually been working out pretty well for both of us.

My grandfather is a bit of a hoarder. He’s always been one to keep things that could be useful later, but as he gets older it’s been getting more and more out of hand. He now hoards junk and refuses to throw things out or even send things to recycle or donate that he’s saved expressly for that purpose. If you come into the front door of their house, you would probably never know that a hoarder lives there as the common rooms of the house are all clutter free and beautiful. But one glance at the garage and bedrooms and it becomes clear that something is not usual in that house.

We all understand where his impulse comes from- he grew up as the son of poor sharecroppers in the 30s and learned to never take what you have for granted. But it’s now become a compulsion. He would benefit from hoarding therapy but he would NEVER agree to that. He hates when any of us clean up but it’s to a point now where his anger isn’t enough to keep the job from having to be done.

Peggy, finally fed up with trying to get him to clean it up, put me to it. We started with her closet and removed 6 giant trash bags of 40+ years of clothes that I took to donate. She’d been wanting to clear out old clothes for a long time but Granddad would hide the things she pulled out because he was convinced that she might need those things later.

Once done with her things, I started in on the corner of their bedroom where Granddad has been piling crap for the past several years. The most insane and frustrating thing is that we have to work around when he goes into his office (he’s a lawyer and works from home some days) because he would never let us get rid of things if he was there. In about 6 hours, I had cleared the entire corner except for his desk which I’m afraid to even start on. There actually wasn’t as much in that corner as I thought, but it was still a big job. I found several gift boxes of clothes we had all bought him for Christmas the past few years- which he opened in front of us and then stacked up, never to be thought of again. I found several things he’d been looking for for months. I found things that had belonged to my great-grandparents that he had just put in the pile and forgotten about. And I found a LOT of trash: magazines my grandmother bought and he hid, newspapers, plastic bags, paper towels, and tons of his work papers that he won’t get rid of. I consolidated his work papers and stacked them next to his desk. I hung all his clothes in his newly organized closet. I threw away or recycled all the junk. And I brought all the collectables from my great-grandparents home to clean them up and package them for safe storage.

It was amazing what a difference just organizing everything made. His closet looks like I got rid of 1/3 of his stuff, when it’s actually got MORE in it that it did before. His work papers take up a lot less room too. And now everything is clean… for the time being.

Our plan for this week was to start on the guest room, which no one has been able to walk in for at least 5 years, but I went and landed myself on crutches with a severely sprained ankle with some torn ligaments so it’s going to be 6 weeks before I’m able to get back to the job. I’m terrified of what Granddad can manage to mess up in that time…

Library Woes

In the spirit of decluttering and living with less, I’ve been purging all my belongings that don’t have a purpose or mean something to me. It’s felt great to get rid of things that I’ve just been lugging around for years. The hardest part has, naturally, been my books.

For a long time, I was acquiring books at a ridiculous rate. I mean, I wasn’t buying hundreds of books, but I was certainly buying books just because they caught my eye. And then never reading them. Which, for me, is ridiculous. I just can’t afford the money or the space it takes to continue down that path. And it’s not in line with my goals of a more simple, peaceful life.

Anyway, I went through my nearly 500 books and divided them up into groups: those that HAD to stay, those that should really go, and those I was unsure about. I took a bunch of the rejects to a used bookstore, others to donate to the library, and the remainder are slowly trickling out via BookMooch.com. For those that I knew I wanted to keep, I made the decision to find nicer editions that I could be proud of- they didn’t have to be expensive, but they should reflect how much the book meant to me.

The other part of the plan involves utilizing my public library more frequently. Being an insatiable reader, one could assume that I’m a huge fan of the library. They would be wrong. I have an extremely antagonistic relationship with it. For most of my life I have been an acquirer of books- I wanted to possess them rather than read them and give them back. When thought about rationally, this makes no sense because there is nothing to stop me purchasing a book if I really love it AFTER having borrowed it from the library. But, when it comes to books, I have rarely been rational.

One of the main things I hate about our local library is the selection. They have all the mysteries and blockbusters to satisfy that type of reader but, more often than not, they wouldn’t have what I was looking for. And they couldn’t get it for me either. The library for my county is in a system with several other local county libraries and they, ostensibly, share books. The problem for me is that the library in my county is the nicest, most well-stocked in the system, so… if they don’t have it, it’s almost a sure bet that I can’t get it. And even if I could, it would cost me money: 50 cents to request the book and about $2.50 to mail the damn thing back to the library it came from. Idiotic.

When I lived in Austin, TX, everything changed. I was much more strapped for cash at the time because I was only working part-time in order to spend the majority of my time interning with a humanitarian group. Given the MUCH higher cost of living than what I had been accustomed to- I went from 500 sqft for $400 a month to 300 sqft for $900 a month- and the fact that Austin was probably not a long-term placement, I was trying not to buy books. So, I turned to the library. The spectacular Austin Public Library System.

The entire library system is integrated. Basically you find the branch most convenient for you and they will deliver any book from any library to that branch for you to pick up. And you can reserve many, many books at one time- I think 20 was the most I ever had on reserve. Once the books become available, from any library, they email you and you pick it up at your local branch. For free. As in, freeeeeeee.

So, I became a library fan just in time to move back here. Where the library does not have any book I can think of. Or share nicely. Boo. But, I’ve got to make an effort to utilize the library more if I’m going to stop buying unnecessary books. The Magician King by Lev Grossman, the sequel to a book I loved and hated in almost equal measure, is coming out in a few weeks. I refuse to buy it before reading it because the last one went so bad in the end. This was the perfect chance to give the library another shot. So, I hopped on the website to see when it would be available.

And that’s when I saw it. A button marked HOLD. It had never been there before. I was SO EXCITED. Things were finally looking up for me and the library. So I quickly placed a hold on the book and tried to contain my excitement. Then I saw I had an overdue fee from a year ago and that my card needed renewing within the week. Ugh. So I ran by the library this afternoon and paid my $1.80 and renewed my card.

I then asked how they would let me know the book I’d put on hold had come in. And the librarian looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. I told her I’d reserved a book online and just didn’t know how they would contact me. She said that shouldn’t be possible. We both just blinked at each other. So she calls over another librarian and they confer about it. Yes, there’s my reservation in the system. No, no one told them this feature was working. It wasn’t supposed to work. Apparently ever. We all just scratched our heads, me rather irritably, and they took my information down on a piece of paper and told me they’d call me.

And then they reminded me to bring 50 cents with me when I picked up the book. Because that’s how much it costs for them to hold a book.

Right. I had started to think we were in the modern age. But apparently not. Oh well… the library woes continue.

My New Venture

I mentioned in a past post that one of the reasons I’ve been such a bad blogger is that I’ve been pretty busy. More specifically I’ve been busy with wedding plans. Not my OWN wedding plans, of course. Now, that really would be news! No, no, I’ve been busy with other people’s wedding plans. My sister, for one. And now a very good friend.

We have a large covered pavilion with a kitchen and a rather large meat smoker that my great-grandfather had built back in the 1960s. It was added on to a few times since then, and over the years we’ve hosted everything from small afternoon gatherings to company picnics for thousands of people. We’d become well-known in the area for our smoked pork barbecue and my grandfather’s secret recipe sauce. In the last 10 years or so, however, we’ve cut back drastically on the events we host because everyone in the family (otherwise known as the people expected to work these events for no money) had gotten a bit burnt out. And tired of fighting with my famously stubborn and difficult grandfather who didn’t seem inclined to want to spend the money needed to keep the place in good condition or to really utilize the space as it could be.

My sister announced in January that, after changing her wedding date a few times over the past 2 years, she would be getting married here on the farm in June. Which gave us 5 short months to get everything fixed up and ready. The upside was that my grandfather grudgingly agreed to the remodeling we decided needed to be undertaken. He complained loudly through the whole process but he didn’t actually stop us from doing anything we thought needed to be fixed.

As it does in a smallish town, word got around that we were remodeling and possibly back in business. We instantly started getting calls from people who wanted to get married here. One couple was so desperate to have a wedding lakeside that they came out mid-remodel and just put up with the construction.

lakeside wedding

By June, we were all half dead, but it was done. And everything came out quite nicely.

our pavilion, fixed up and decorated

My sister got married under this beautiful arbor our brother built out of wood found on the property.

And the wedding requests just keep coming. We’ve recently had another wedding and are already starting to book things for next summer.

Most exciting for me is that my good friends Lisa and Wes are having their wedding celebration here in September (they got married in February, but neither of their families could be there then). I’m so excited because I’ve known them for several years and they’ve spent so much time here on the farm. It just felt like the place they should get married.

Since they are in Seattle and we’re in Tennessee, I’ve had the added fun of coordinating everything locally. For some reason, this stuff is so enjoyable for me. At the last minute things always get crazy, but the months leading up to it are great: talking about food and china patterns and floral arrangements… These are just things I like to do. Especially when the couple is so much fun and doesn’t mind that I make a million suggestions.

We’ve just made the decision to purchase china and silverware. Previously, we didn’t have anything to offer clients, so they either had to rent china or use plastic. If you’re reading this blog you can probably guess my feelings on disposable plastic plates… they are a NO GO. I hate everything about them. I think they are ugly. I hate that they are almost never recyclable and, even when they are, that people usually don’t bother. I just hate them. I love china, but buying enough new china to feed 100-200 people costs a small fortune. And you end up with a huge, boring set of china, which is almost indistinguishable from what everyone else offers.

But, above and beyond anything else, the very best part of all this, for me, is that we decided to buy secondhand, vintage and antique china and silverware! I had the idea while I was admiring all the photos of weddings with mismatched china. They were just so beautiful and exactly what I would do. I was lamenting the fact that there wasn’t anywhere to rent mismatched, vintage china when it hit me: Why should I be looking for a place to RENT this beautiful china when I could BUY it instead?!?

And so the great business plan emerged. I get to spend the next several months scouring secondhand shops and the internet for cast-off china and silverware. I will rescue these unloved pieces and give them a wonderful new purpose. Rather than sending my dollars to some big corporation, I will give my money to local shops and internet entrepreneurs. I will reuse. And, by basically having the time of my life (oh dear lord how i love secondhand shops!!!), I will carve out for myself a little niche in the market. I will boldly explore wedding decor possibilities that no one else around here can offer.

I’m going to be stinking rich! Well, not rich, probably. But I WILL have the best china of anyone I know. And that, my friends, is deeply satisfying.

So, yeah. I’m a wedding planner/ event coordinator/ china dispenser now. It sure is fun.

And now for some gratuetous photographs of my sister in her dress because it was sickeningly beautiful. And because the farm looks stunning.

Memories on the Land

This is a blog post that I started months ago but never got around to finishing. As you will see, I was going through a mental rough patch. It’s the reason I stopped blogging, because for a while I felt like I didn’t have anything positive to say. And then life got in the way and I got busy (more on why I’m so busy soon) and I just didn’t think about blogging. Hopefully I’m back in the habit.

I haven’t blogged in quite a while. Things have been… kind of crazy and weird lately and I’ve not been able to get my thoughts in order to put anything down. Hopefully I’ll make some sense of a couple of things so I can talk about them but for right now I just want to be a little nostalgic.

Over on one of the forums I read, someone started a thread asking people to post pictures of themselves from their childhoods. It’s a great thread and people are having a lot of fun remembering and sharing. A lot of us realize that our desire to be self-sufficient and close to our food and the land can be traced to our childhood interactions with older people, usually grandparents and great-grandparents, who still embraced older ways of doing things.

This was certainly my experience and I wanted to share it. Mostly, I wanted to commit some of those memories to print so that if I ever start to forget why I’m doing some of these things I have something I can look to. So, this is basically a chronicle of my life on the land.

my mom and I

I was born on a farm in western Tennessee. Well, not ON the farm, but you know what I mean. The farm was owned by my great-grandparents and is where my father’s father had grown up. My parents had grown up in eastern Tennessee, where most of their family lived, but moved to west Tennessee when they got married (at 19) so my dad could run the place. This meant that the only family members I really spent time with when I was growing up were my great-grandparents and my farmer parents.

My great-grandparents with my parent’s at their wedding

My great-grandparents, Ladd and Allie May, had been subsistence share-croppers their whole lives. They struggled a lot but they always managed to make do. When my grandfather made it big as a lawyer, his first order of business was to buy the land his parents had been renting (and as much surrounding land as he could) and set them up for an easier life. But, for them, an easier life didn’t mean grocery stores and modern conveniences (although my grandmother became obsessed with collecting china dolls), it just meant that they didn’t have to worry whether there would be enough or they would lose the farm- there was always enough now.

My great-grandmother’s flour hopper

Growing up, I spent a part of most days with them. Mornings found me, and later my little sister, dodging angry hens while Grandmother collected eggs. She was a serious woman, but not stern, and the most excitable and funny we ever saw her was when she would find a hole in the chicken fence and evidence of a fox intruder. She would scream into the woods and threaten “that damn, infernal fox” with all kinds of horrible deaths if he didn’t leave her chickens alone. After putting the fear of God and an angry Southern woman into all foxes in the neighborhood, we would head into the house to start baking. This is my most indelible memory of Grandmother: the taste of flour in the air, the smell of biscuits rising in the oven, and the whirring arm of an 80-something little granny whipping egg whites and sugar at the speed of light to make the very best meringue I’ve ever eaten. She made those biscuits fresh every day. She made a pie from scratch most days of the week. She bought raw milk from a guy up the street and churned her own butter. She spent hours and hours “putting by” (canning and preserving). And she always took the time to show me how to do what she was doing.

Granddaddy worked a 2 acre garden, growing almost everything we ate, including lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, peas, potatoes, carrots, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, zucchini, peppers, strawberries, grapes, watermelons, cantaloupe, and MUCH more. The back yard was full of tart apple trees, peach trees, pear trees, and fence rows full of wild blackberries. Even when money wasn’t a concern and he was getting on in age, he still gardened his whole plot. It was just in his genes. But his real passion was fishing. He’d take off on his four-wheeler (we’re talking a man in his 80s) with his poles and fish basket and disappear into the trees to his favorite fishing spot. He’d always be home just in time for Grandmother to pop those fish in the skillet and for all of us to sit down to dinner.

My dad brought animals home from the fields

My dad was in charge of all the big things going on around the farm. We raised beef cattle and pigs and grew corn and wheat. I was a serious daddy’s girl. During harvests, he spent so much time on the combine that I started going with him so we could spend time together. He kept a pillow and blanket in the little spot behind his seat and I would curl up back there and go to sleep. Dad was always bringing animals home for me to see. He brought home every dead poisonous snake he found so that I would know how to identify them. He even brought home fawns that he found in the fields.

The most exciting part of the year for me was hog killing time. I know that sounds like a gruesome thing for a little kid to love, but believe me, it was fantastic. It’s a community event with family and friends participating and, later, enjoy the fresh pork. When you kill a hog, it’s all hands on deck. There is a lot to do and time is of the essence. My dad and some of the other men would dispatch the hogs, which can be quite dangerous, and the rest of us would be at our battle stations. First, you have to gut it, but you can’t just go in there and start yanking things about. You want the entire contents of the body cavity to come out mostly intact. This keeps nasty things in the intestines, etc, from tainting the meat. Plus, there are lots of useful organs you don’t want to damage, such as the heart and livers and kidneys, which are yummy, and the intestines which are extremely handy later. Once gutted, the hog is parted up. Most of the cuts are then frozen for cooking throughout the year, but bacon and hams are immediately started in a brine (very salty water) or dry-packed in salt.

where pork cuts come from

The part that I loved was making sausage. Basically, you take all the little bits that don’t really add up to anything (the trimmings from steaks and bits from the shoulders and flanks) and run them through a grinder. We had a hand-cranked grinder, so it was safe for me to operate. This, for a 5-year-old, is possibly the coolest thing in the entire world. Once the meat is ground, you throw it in a big bowl or tub and mix in your flavorings: salt and pepper, herbs and spices, peppers, onions, or whatever sounds good. You mix this up really good and cool for a while. By this time, someone has cleaned and scraped the intestines- a delicate job definitely not suited to young hands. The minced meat mix is then stuffed into the intestines, twisting at even intervals, to create links. These usually go into the smoker. And end up delicious.

Mostly, I spent my childhood outside, growing things and playing with animals. I spent a lot of time around cowboys and bullfighters (commonly referred to as rodeo clowns) because my dad rode the rodeo circuit. I went to fairs and attended the World’s Biggest Fish Fry every year. I had an idyllic childhood. It was wonderful.

good luck kiss at the fair

Me at 3 years old

More Changes

Apparently I’m having a blog design dilemma. I just can’t seem to find the perfect look for the blog. It’d probably be a LOT easier if I could just code my own design but I’m stuck using existing ones.

That’s Coco the Wonder Pig in the new header image. She’s wonderful. 9 months old, almost 200 pounds, and sweet as can be. She loves scratches behind the ears and runs through the woods. She doesn’t seem to realize how big she is because she almost knocks me over a lot just turning around, but I love her anyway. And so does my niece. She will shriek “Go see Coco! PIGGY NOW!” And she takes Coco treats and tells her “Good Pig.” They are very cute together.

Now, Coco just needs a hot date so we can have little piggies…

Fiasco: A Farming Failure


So, the story.

Out of the batch of chicks I hatched last year, I had kept 2 crazy little roosters that were out of my dearly departed Silkie hen, Gretel, and my lovely Easter Egger rooster, Percy. I kept them mostly because no one was interested in a Silkie cross: you either want Silkies because they are cute or good incubators, or you want other chickens because they aren’t tiny. These were beautiful roosters, but they weren’t fluffy like Silkies and they were about the size of my regular sized hens… not a good trait in a flock rooster.

And I couldn’t bring myself to kill and eat them because they have… black skin. Apparently they are highly popular in Asian cuisine, but it was a bit off-putting to my Western sensibilities. It just did not look appetizing.

Anyway, a year went by and they began to be more and more of a problem. They were extremely aggressive with the other roosters and terrorized the hens. These little squirts were major punks. Saturday afternoon when I went to refill waterers, I found my sweet Gulliver, once at the top of the pecking order, with a huge gash along the side of his head and a torn (and very bloody) wattle. I brought him home, doctored him up, and put in him the back part of the coop so he could get some peace and quiet.

I was furious. I have no proof that the little punks did it, but the roosters got along fairly well before those two went crazy, so I blame them. I mean, they were virtually pointless, yet attractive, roosters that I had kept around for ridiculous reasons. THEY HAD TO GO. So, Sunday night I let Gulliver out of the back section and shoved the Silkie crosses back there. They were going to meet the ax (metaphorically, as I don’t use an axe to dispatch birds) the next day.

Monday morning rolls around and I do my morning chores, get everyone fed, and go to collect the soon-to-be-coq-au-vin roosters for their appointment. I open the coop door and see a very unhappy sight: both roosters are laying in awkward positions on the coop floor. My gut sinks because I’m almost positive they are dead dead dead. I start to tear up. Which is one of those unusual things that happens to me as a farmer: there I am crying over two roosters who I was on my way to kill. I walk over to the door that separates the sections of the coop and bend down to confirm my horrible suspicion.

And that’s when a whole horde of wasps slams into the side of my face. The impact and initial stings sends me reeling backwards and I manage to fling my glasses off my face in panic. Once I make it out of the coop (which was miraculous since it’s a 1.5 foot step down and I DIDN’T fall), I have to strip my shirt off because the wasps have made it down the neck and are attacking me from the inside.

So, now I’m SERIOUSLY crying, in pain and surprise and anger. My glasses are god knows where and I’m topless in the middle of a cow field at 9 o’clock in the morning. I stumble to the car and quickly head for my parents’ house a 1/2 mile away (still without glasses, a very dangerous proposition as I am severely nearsighted). I run into my mom’s kitchen a blubbering, splotchy, quickly swelling mess (still topless- thank god I put a bra on that morning or my brother would probably be traumatized). I tell her what happened and she shoves me in a cold shower and goes to get Benadryl.

There I am, crying in the shower, naked, while my mom spoon feeds me medicine. Which is kind of ridiculous, but thank god for her and the fact that we’re comfortable with each other, because I was just totally unable to take care of myself in that moment. These are the times when you really appreciate living next to your mother. She didn’t even point out how silly it was that I was crying over dead roosters that I was planning to kill anyway.

Once I’ve calmed down and we’re sure I’m not about to go into anaphylactic shock, Mom slavers me in watery cornstarch to draw out the pain and swelling. A grand total of 8 stings: one scarily close to my eye, one on my temple, one on my earlobe, three on my neck, one on my shoulder, and one heading uncomfortably close to my armpit.

My dad is dispatched to find my glasses and close the fences that I left open in my haste.  When he comes back he confirms that the roosters are in fact dead. They killed each other. Roosters are instinctively aggressive towards other roosters, but roosters that live together generally don’t become THAT dangerous to one another. They will fight for dominance and fight over hens, but it’s not usually a fight to the death for roosters that have been raised together. I knew they were aggressive, hence the death sentence, but they never really fought each other. I was shocked and horrified. I felt really bad. It made me a bit sick to my stomach to think about. It’s just so gruesome.

Dad also informed me that the wasps probably came from a nest that had been built up on the divider door. There are always little nests in the coop but I’ve never had a problem. The divider door is usually open so I guess I never noticed this bunch. Why they didn’t bother me when I was opening and closing the door the two previous days is a mystery. Maybe the battle royale had put them on edge.

We went down that night to deal with the bug problem. Olive oil and water in a spray bottle was our only weapon (I made Dad go in first). No chemicals because I don’t like them and I certainly didn’t want the chickens getting into them. The olive oil (or veggie oil or liquid soap) coats the wasps’ bodies and wings so they can’t fly or breathe well. The ones that don’t suffocate pretty quickly you just squash when they fall to the floor. The chickens had lots of olive oil dressed protein to choose from the next morning!

Grudgingly, I deposited the dead roosters in the woodlot for the coyotes to clean up. By that time I was mostly past the sadness and on to irritation. Those damn little roosters were so spiteful that they robbed me of a lovely coq au vin, even after all the money I spent feeding them for over a year. And I really hate feeding the coyotes.

I had planned (yes, promised) to post this last night, but, in usual fashion, my internet was down when I got home last night. One of the downfalls of living in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, it’s back today! [Addendum: In the middle of typing up this post, the internet went out again because of a big thunderstorm and won’t be coming back until Monday at the earliest. I seriously can’t catch a break. Posting from my sister’s house.]


I was motivated enough today to do a little overhaul to the poor old blog. Mostly because it’s REALLY hot outside and this made me feel like I wasn’t being a total slacker by staying indoors. 😉

I have to head out to babysit some of my very favorite kids, but I PROMISE to write an actual blog post tonight. Something I can’t possible keep to myself, because it’s horrible and hilarious all at once, happened a few days ago and I think it’s a good segue back into blogging.

Radio Silence…

I am a horrible blogger. Things have been hectic around here and I do actually have a million things I wanted to share and just never took the time to sit down and write.

But things will calm down in 2 weeks or so (it’s apparently wedding season) and I’m going to write and write and write. So don’t give up on me!