Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A lull

It is summer. I should not be having to fend off being a basket case. But this week, and possibly most of June, threaten to turn me into wicker and weave me into an empty container. Or some mixed up version of a strange idiomatic expression.

Teaching fiction is fun. It is so much easier than teaching poetry or essays. There are rules! Obvious conventions. People have read it before. But still. I have 5 ESL students. Their writing can be amazing but some of the conversations are quieter than they would be otherwise. Two people didn't show today. At some point, I think 8 students, I stop breaking even and start getting paid less. How's that for trying to be an entertaining teacher. I wish someone were recording me. I'm pretty sure I'm teaching at 110% capacity for fear of losing students. Also. For fear of disappointing the one student who drives up from Phoenix every day.
The Brady Udall workshop isn't full. It's 75% full. That's pretty good. But, I got an email from his son at 3 today, just as I was getting ready to get Zoe, that the airline had overbooked Brady's flight and there was little hope of getting him up here before the workshop started at 10 tomorrow. Fortunately, our amazing business manager figured out a shuttle plan and, if all goes well, he'll be on it. Now, I just have to stay up late to pick him up from the Amtrack station where the shuttle drops airline victims off.

Also. I think this was a bad idea that, after it's over, it will be a good idea: I'm hosting a reception for him at my house instead of taking him to dinner on Friday night. So far, I've made two terrines--a smoked chicken in gelee and a asparagus, mushroom, and lebneh cheese wrapped in leek terrine. Tomorrow, truffled potatoes and tabouleh. Friday, zucchini frittata and spanikopita. Friends are bringing other snacks. I have big cheese from the evil Sam's Club. And pita chips. And hummus. I hope that's enough food. Maybe I should make salmon? Advice happily taken. This should be for about 15 people. It will be good once it happens and I am excited for the summer of terrines and chacuterie. I think I need to entertain more, not less, so I remember it's not the end all and be all of events.

Other stresses include camp for Zo, Puente de Hohzo waiting list for school next year, last week's garage sale, selling of hutch, plans for remodeling kitchen, fires in the east of Arizona that make me nervous about fires in Northern Arizona, Max's falling off the stairs and hitting his head on the concrete, Erik's job, and the lunching, dining, and workshopping of the Udall, should his shuttle actually arrive. Also, Erik and the kids are going to Torrey for the weekend. I will be lonely without them although I'll be too busy to see them.

Is there writing in that list? No, there is not.

Dear Self: Please remember next summer that summer should be summer.

Stupid, overbooking it self.


Mary Anne Mohanraj said...

Entertaining is a great idea and you will be fine. But to keep your sanity, have as little as possible be last-minute prep, and as much as possible do-in-advance / can freeze if needed. To assuage my 'will there be enough food???' panic, I have the following tricks:

- buy extra cheese and crackers; they keep fine, and we can snack on them for weeks after happily -- only put them out if needed
- buy some Trader Joe's frozen mini-tarts for emergency use; I like the onion ones best, but they're all good

You also might consider mixing in some more casual food, in case your audience is not quite so sophisticate as you. No one ever went wrong with a veggie tray and a fruit tray (especially if there will be munchkins about) -- they also provide a nice balance to the richer / fattier dishes. Spinach dip in a breadbowl is generally popular, and guacamole and chips are forever devoured.

It'll be great!

Nik said...

Thanks Mary Anne. I used to do this so often, it was old hat but something has been off. Your ideas are fab. I never think people might not like terrines. Heck, I might not even like the terrine. Guacamole for the people. We have no Trader Joes (only in Phoenix) so I have to rely on evil Sam's Club. But I'll survive.

Dr Write said...

Just reading your entry exhausts me, so good luck!
I feel overscheduled too, but not in such a proactive way, more like, run here, go there, coffee date, eating, etc. Whatever it doesn't make sense any way.
I hope you find some time to relax & I hope everyone appreciates how amazing you are!!!!!!!!!!

Nik said...

Thank you fine friend. I will see you in Julyish, yes? Not here, I know, but possibly there. I'm almost done with the Udall. And he came! I was so nervous after what you said happened with W@W.

What Now? said...

Good heavens, what a lot going on. Best of luck with the entertaining (I have no ideas to offer, since I have serious anxieties about the entire art of hospitality and rarely offer it), and I hope that all goes well.