Columbus Day update

Last week the weather in LA changed abruptly from high-90°s summer heat to nippy, breezy autumn. It happened quite literally overnight; Erik and I went to bed with nothing but a sheet to cover us (as we’d been doing for months) and woke in the middle of the night shivering. Now that we’ve dug the blankets out from the closet, I’m revelling in the chill. I’m wearing long pants and long sleeves again, and we keep the windows open all day long for the fresh air. Yesterday I infused honey with lemon and ginger and have been drinking spoonfuls of this mixed into hot water. I skipped through the farmers’ market rejoicing in all the beautiful jewel tones of the season: shiny aubergines (you could call them eggplants, or better yet, berenjenas), small round pumpkins, ancient-looking pomegranates filled with their glistening seeds, peppers in all colors from bright red to deep purple, and all the sweet crisp grapes and apples and pears. I feel as though I’d been sleeping under the covers all summer long, and now I’ve come out of hibernation — strange, reversed way to feel about the onset of winter, but I’m so thankful for it.

Tonight’s a full moon.

Posting about the weather and the harvest makes me think of the Orwell Diaries, which I read weekly.

I’ve been exercising almost every day, and eating as heathily as I know how without driving myself crazy with calorie-counting or oil-free meals. Yesterday I made a roasted eggplant-tomato soup and spinach sautéed with pine nuts and golden raisins. Later this week I’ll make an eggplant casserole and baked spaghetti with chickpeas. This cool weather is perfect for all sorts of savory goodies.

I’ve been a little stressed this past couple of weeks, a result probably of Erik’s persistent work-related stress, and traveling often on the weekends. I’m getting back into the swing of my art-making, though. I’ve decided I need to work more on my drawing if I don’t want it to fall completely behind my writing, so I’m going to add three pages of free sketching to my existing routine of three morning pages every day. I tried it today and it was great fun. I’m still working on my horror-comic script from last quarter, and I’ve changed what used to be the ending into the climax, so I have to work out how to conclude the story all over again. But it’s fun. I’ve also started a story about an Obama-like president who has to confront a supernatural threat during his first few months in office; this is a real challenge, because I know next to nothing about political dramas and science fiction. I’ve written the first four pages of this and my classmates will comment on Wednesday.

I’ve been having very vivid dreams again, a new one (or two) every night, and I’m remembering them clearly as well. I think developing my observation and story skills this year has helped me recall my dreams better. Last night I dreamed we lived in an expansive Victorian mansion, with dinner guests every night. I sat upstairs and talked to Daniel about politics, while Al and her friends sat around a table in another wing of the house singing songs from Les Miserables. When a curfew was laid and I was forbidden to leave the house, Al showed me how to sneak out via the servants’ stairs. I left and made my way to a parking lot, where a vintage-objects vendor tried to talk me into buying a beautiful bright green dress with big white dots on it. I told her Erik doesn’t like spots.

I presented my first two segments at a tutor training workshop this past Saturday, and they went very well. I’d forgotten how enjoyable it is to be in front of a classroom conveying knowledge. I’m also tutoring a couple of students myself now, and doing lots of interviews again, so I feel very connected to our tutor and student population for the first time since spring.

This has pretty much been my life for the past two weeks when I’ve been here in LA: the paid job, the unpaid writing and drawing work, cooking, exercising, being with Erik, enjoying the weather. Also listening to good podcasts and reading The Sun, to keep my critical thinker sharp. It’s hard to balance it all and quite often I go to bed feeling tense and like I’ve forgotten something, but it’s not a bad life in any sense. I do enjoy it.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]