Challenge Day Six


Today almost didn’t happen because of yesterday’s croissants. I was so tired, and so deflated from not having actually baked them yesterday, that after I finished baking them today (see below for photos!) all I wanted to do was play video games. But this is not on the list, so I must procrastinate with chores, things that must be done whether they are on the list or not.

I took Howie for a walk (just a regular one, so I could take the last 5 days of postcards to a drop box and go to the corner store). I did a little gardening (can you all believe that my tomatoes are still going? I don’t think it’s dropped below freezing at night yet, but it’s not warm, and they are persisting!) I Facebooked a bit (okay, that’s not a “must be done” thing, I just wanted to respond to comments, and look at memes and stuff.) I dawdled until I got bored of dawdling and finally just sat down to read and write and do the things.

Daily Challenges

Intimate Time
CookingToday’s Menu: I didn’t have time for breakfast, I was making croissants!; I had a couple of snack items while I waited for lunch croissants; for dinner, we ate leftovers, which is way less exciting than the meat pie I was going to create, but way easier.
Reading (Poetry)Expect to be saddened if you read “Prompts (for High School Teachers Who Write Poetry)” by Dante Di Stefano. For many teachers, this is a familiar wrenching story of love for students, learning to parent as well as teach, coping with loss and other things outside control. It pulls at me in so many ways. [Small world fun fact: Dante and my poet friend Abby earned their PhDs together at SUNY Binghamton! As I was typing his name, I thought, that’s so familiar, so I texted Abby to confirm: I was actually visiting Abby in upstate New York when she attended Dante’s wedding (I stayed at the house and had pizza.) Anyway, I basically know him.]
Reading (Fiction)Gillian Flynn’s novella yesterday was a standalone, so I had to choose something else entirely today. I have about a zillion books to choose from, but I settled on The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s one of those books I feel I need to read to “catch up” with every other reader. It’s been recommended to me multiple times, and I’ve had it on my shelf for over a year now (which is young for a book in our house, truly), so why not today? I’m two chapters in, and finally starting to get a feel for the cadence of the language.
Reading (Nonfiction)My brain was too tired to read scientific or statistical articles today, so I picked up Maid for a bit and gave myself a break. It’s nonfiction! Besides, I’m reading about the real-life experiences of a woman living in Washington, struggling against a system that I vote and pay taxes in, so it’s kind of like doing my civics homework. Right?
MusicI didn’t get to play ukulele as long as I wanted to the other day, so I brought that out again and continued working on “Little Plastic Castle.” I’m hoping that after a few more days, I’ll be able to play anything for more than 20 minutes before my fingers start throbbing.
Postcard PoemThis postcard is from the stack that my poetry professor gave me back in 2002. The copyright date on it is, in fact, 2002:

Yeah, that’s a Christmas-themed Jell-O ad. It really got me thinking about one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Flat Screens” by Danielle Ate the Sandwich, and the absurd consumerism and monetization of the holiday season:
Trash PickupWe took the same route for tonight’s walk as we did a few days ago, and at one point I said to Guy, “it looks like someone’s been picking up around here.” We did a double-long walk and I had very little in my bag….until I discovered a bag of crap stuffed behind a bush—gloves, a hand puppet, dog treats—and that filled my bag enough to justify dumping it in the apartment dumpster next to where I found the jackpot:

Today’s Challenges

I was going to bake a hot water crust meat pie for dinner tonight (sorry, vegetarian/vegan friends), but because of these semi-disappointing (yet also highly satisfying) bad boys, I decided to take a couple days off from pastry:

I don’t feel guilty about this decision for a second, despite it going against my original plan. I’m not not-doing a challenge, I’ve only postponed the meat pie until Tuesday, when it will have ample time to rest (and I’ll build up my appetite) while I’m at dance class.

My big challenge for today, I actually started before I went to bed, while I was still amped up from folding puff pastry. It is the first of four planned installments of “Humans of Interest,” tales of incredible people who touch my life. My inaugural post features Gwen, a musically-oriented multimedia artist whose own goal-setting influenced my decision to start this project, and this blog, and this specific thing. So go read about Gwen and how she’s impacted my life!

After all that, I was left with my abs challenge. I did it. I hated it. I already don’t want to do it tomorrow.


  1. Ladafi says:

    Could the bag with the gloves, hand puppet, and dog treats belonged to someone? Did it really obviously look like trash? Sometimes homeless people hide their stuff in bushes. Just hoping you consider that while you’re picking up stuff on the street! I often have mixed feelings about picking up clothes or things that aren’t obviously trash, because I worry it could belong to someone.

    Anyway, great job on a great Sunday. I love your postcard poem–this is 100% what I think about every holiday, and one of the big reasons that Christmas gives me anxiety.

    1. Keep Right says:

      I do think about that, and I’ve left a number of things where they were for that very reason. These particular items were super dirty and full of spiders, and had clearly been there for a while. I left the bags of dog treats because they appeared to be unopened, but it looked more like a bag of donations that never quite made it to the donation bin at the gas station a few blocks away (or which were removed from the donation bin). This is a regular occurrence near the location where I found the bag last night. You can kinda tell when something is stored, and when it’s been discarded, y’know?

  2. Ladafi says:

    I’m so glad you think about that! I often see things and think about them being lost or belonging to someone homeless, and how I wish there was a collective place these things could live, and then realizing (especially for things that probably belong to homeless people), that would be shelters, but how problematic a lot of shelters can be for people… and then I get sad thinking about the homeless population and terrible issues we have in our society.

    1. Keep Right says:

      Volunteering at the food bank has been rewarding. Not only do I get to pack the weekend bags for local schoolchildren, and know that at least for a few days, they won’t go hungry, but I see the clients shopping while I’m there, and it reminds me that they’re just regular folks, trying to make it work, and there but for the grace of the fates go I. Reading Maid has been pretty sobering, too, since the author’s dealing directly with public services for people with low resources, and the hoops she has to jump through are absurd. And I know she was one of the fortunate ones who was able to navigate everything with relative success and ease, and it makes me ashamed of this country and this society. But I cannot despair! Be the change, right?

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