Letters to Holly

Thursday, January 1

Catching Up

On the way out of town Wednesday, we hit the grocery store for the duck dish ingredients. We saw the recipe on Good Eats months and months ago. I downloaded the instructions and realized it's a much easier recipe when one buys only duck breasts and not entire birds. We drove to Asheville and found The Noodle Shop is closed for repairs. The sprinkler system damaged their floor. Also, the air was stupid cold. We ice-skated for about an hour, and I fell not once. The trick was to remember to use my heels for balance. We might go back within the week. I also took her to the new comic shop, and she bought a book for her class.

I tried out the telescope Your Dad handed down to me. The cold kept us from playing with it too much, but we did spy craters on the moon, and that's utterly cool. We cooked red pepper asparagus soup (a mix available at Target), and it's very good stuff. Reruns of MASH helped us make it to midnight, and we crashed soon after.

The duck turned out pretty well. Tastes like chicken. You steam it for 45 minutes by placing the pieces in a colander inside a large pot. Then you sear the skin in an iron skillet for about ten minutes. It's very easy.

Since then ... well, I toiled and labored on the comic page. My lettering is pathetic, and I have to find a quicker method of making pages if I'm to publish anything. Your Sis prepared for Monday's start to the 2009 school semester. It was much too cold to run. We saw Doubt and almost came to blows over the story. Great film.

Picture of the Day
I used this as the cover art for Your Sister's new mix CD.

Wednesday, December 31

Quite A Bit

While Your Sis dragged herself back to the school, I started drawing a comic page based on a proposal to the comic publisher last year. The contest sparked five ideas from me, and four of them have potential. It asked for a new superheroine. The winning idea would be written by the creator in a miniseries drawn by a specific hotshot artist. Flash forward to today, and the mini is drawn by someone else entirely, and the publisher has co-writing credit. I think I dodged a bullet in losing. The idea I chose to draw first for these hallway pages is the most fun combining wrestling and Scooby Doo. Sorta. Kinda.

I thumbnailed the page and let that design simmer for a while. Yesterday, I started by altering the page layout and sketching out my panels. It was a good art day, the kind where the pencil cooperates and the art flows without much hassle. I know I'm not going to be completely pleased with the final product, but I have to get the thing finished. The subsequent pages can be better. Frankly, considering it's been so long since I drew anything, the page has no business looking this promising.

You might recall that I inherited a piano in August. It was Granny's (mom's mom) and it had been held at my lat uncle's house. When Mom cleared out his home, I hauled the piano home. Your Sis and I almost got that thing into the house, but it has sat since in the storage room. The local piano company called us back about moving it, and the owner came by yesterday to inspect the request. He decided we could do it, and it was done in about 20 minutes. He had two ramps, a dolly that resembled a lunar buggy, and his young son helping out. Now it sits in the big living room. It needs tuning, and he said he'd call us back to set up an appointment for that. It won't be concert-worthy, but he said it would be in fine condition for home play. I have delusions of writing songs on the thing. Granny would never sully it with a secular song, but it screams to play boogie-woogie. It's got that sound.

I was supposed to go to Spartanburg yesterday to visit with Esther. She had to drive back home instead. Her father-in-law was dying. That's a long drive to race to his side. Mom still mentions the many laws I broke getting down the mountain back in May. I told her I learned from Your Sister.

I used the iron skillet to make fried chicken. You have to use iron and Crisco to get the best dish. It's fundamental. Also, you can't make decent gravy in a steel pan. Just can't. I made my first decent gravy in a decade last night, and we gobbled it up while watching collegiate wrestling from Chicago. And House. Your Sis is on a House kick. I'm going to dry a duck dish on Thursday. we're inviting friends over. The theory is that the probable food poisoning will inconvenience four people instead of killing two.

It's New Year's Eve. I don't know what we'll do tonight. I'd bet money Your Sis doesn't make it to midnight.

Tuesday, December 30

Since Then

Let's see what I can remember ...

We drove down to see Mom on Thursday. We gave her the DVDs (over which she was giddy), and we ate supper at Denny's. Her TV is on a constant rotation of Hallmark Christmas movies, and they don't sit well after a Denny's burger. We arrived home before it got too dark. I appreciate the Nettie Pot. Your Sis got me a iron skillet and socks. She got Shakespeare scripts with CDs of famous performances and a new mix CD.

We picked up the giant TV Friday. Mom was determined to pay for one, and we bought a model similar to hers. It barely sits on our TV table, and this is a relatively small model. It's below the average size of advertised TVs, and yet it's remarkably huge. It makes Guitar Hero much easier to follow, and we played a long while, unlocking new instruments and songs.

I drove back down to Spartanburg Saturday to visit a high-school buddy only to find she wasn't in town. Back up the mountain I went. I did pop in to see Mom, and she seems to be handling the holidays well. She's hypnotized by Mama Mia.

We read research papers this weekend and watched football. Your Sis picked three teams who made it to the playoffs, and I only managed to pick two. We went to the local bar for trivia with another teacher couple, and we almost won on our first try. Also, I drank a lot. As is my way.

We saw The Spirit on Monday. It looks like Sin City but has none of the skill. It's a fun mess. We had the theater all to ourselves. I got a call from the spring director, and I'm again between him and the theatre president over joining the board of directors. I don't even know what they do. I didn't know until yesterday how long a member's term is (three years!). I've done three shows with these people. I've directed nothing. I've stage managed nothing. I have no business leaping into the board. I told the director I need some idea of bylaws and responsibilities before I can sign on. Also, I'm still reeling from the Christmas show. The theatre desperately needs focus; the opening show for this big fundraising effort was a disaster, and someone on the board should have worked with the show to ensure we made the best impression to potential donors.

I've begun running again, and my legs hate me. Still, I manage to keep chugging for a half-hour at a time. I got a running strategy book for Christmas, and it just happens to be written by professors from Your Sis's alma mater. She knows them well enough to pass along gossip.

I don't go back to work until next Monday, and I hope to draw today. I'll be able to post Pictures of the Day again when I'm using a PC with a faster internet connection.