Zelda, our new kitten (as of last month), is taking up a surprising amount of time--she's got an insane energy level (as kittens tend to) and needs a lot of attention or else she goes nuts and literally bounces off walls and other surfaces. She likes to be underfoot, as in under your actual feet. Or racing across the top of the piano, which is a big no-no that results in the scary voice saying "NO! BAD KITTY!", or occasionally the time-out room. But she's very, very sweet and very cute.
That's not the only reason I've been on hiatus. There was last week's Summer Blog Blast Tour, which meant interviews with authors posted every day at our writing blog. It was really the prep work which took a lot of time--gathering the supplementary information and links, and formatting everything.
I've also had a fair amount of other work--another poster for the Prospect Theater, which I'll post as soon as I make a little graphic of it; a website for my in-laws' law firm (warning: may not look right in IE 6 or below--still tweaking code); essays to grade for Rob's art appreciation classes (he has three this summer, paying for our new AC); planning for the Welsh conference (yup, still President) and a writing conference in LA where I'm going to be part of a panel of bloggers; neglecting my ongoing research job which is actually one of the few of these tasks which actually pays money; and revising my damn novel, which is taking a lot longer than I was hoping. I wanted it to be revised and a proposal out of the house by June 16th. Now I'm just hoping I can get it out before I leave for the Welsh conference on July 21st. I'm very anxious to get this book in front of somebody while it's still somewhat fresh and topical. And I will probably be taking another freelance job--this one's a paid one, yay--doing some sort of editing work and possibly press releases for the State Theatre, an independent art-house theater here in Modesto.
This past weekend was relatively eventful because we attended PR2, aka Pig Roast 2: Pig on a Spit, Goat in a Pit (the official slogan). This year we were involved with the planning committee, which consisted mainly of periodic smaller-scale beer-drinking parties to discuss Pig Roast activities and logistics. It also meant showing up at our friend Brian's ranch house the night before PR2 to help test out the bocce ball court, which was set up in the almond orchard out back, set up lights for the bocce ball court (consisting of half Christmas lights and half tiki torches), and season and spit the pig. My role mainly involved taking some very graphic pictures of a pig carcass being strapped to a huge metal pipe with hose clamps. (Will post some of said pictures soon--not for the squeamish!)
So, yes, as the slogan indicates, this year there was also pit-roasted goat as well as the roast pig. The goat was roasted off-site, however, at one of the planner's parents' place. It involved some elaborate setup involving putting the goat in the fire pit, covering it with banana leaves and sealing it up with mud and cooking it overnight, though I'm sure I'm missing a few steps there. Both roasts were very tasty, and there were an array of pot-luck salads and desserts as well as freshly made sweet potato fries.
Brian's place is the perfect spot for a pig roast, since he lives out in Hughson on a ranchette surrounded on two sides by an almond orchard and on the third side by a tomato field. Hughson is about fifteen minutes' drive out into the country from our house. You drive southeast-ish from our house, past the Modesto airport (now offering 4 undoubtedly tiny flights a day to LAX and 5 flights a day to SFO) and into Ceres (which Rob will assure you is a shithole). Go left on Hatch, and drive for about ten miles straight into the country alongside the irrigation canal, past the orchards, past the sign advertising horses for sale, past the sign advertising chicks and bunnies for sale, past more orchards, past the Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple (lots of Sikh farmers out here), past some oddly incongruous McMansion tract housing, and then make a right into some more orchards and you're just about there.
It's kind of weird to live so close to "the country." On the other hand, our weekly organic CSA boxes rock big-time. This past week we got four varieties of beans (French Filet, purple, wax, and green), cherry tomatoes, summer squash, white nectarines, a cantaloupe, and two ears of corn. Bad-ass, I tell you.