Stephanie Burgis
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I think I have just hit a new all-time low in cooking/domestic abilities, even for me: I screwed up my frozen dinner!

Last night I reheated frozen palak paneer and rice. No problem, right? Well, actually, it turned out to be a little more complicated than it should have been because I forgot to take out the rice until the palak paneer was nearly thawed, but the rice was still frozen...but never mind all that! After an embarrassing incident or two, the dinner was finally ready, and it tasted delicious. (Thank you, Patrick!) I ate half the palak paneer, planned to eat the other half tonight...and then forgot to put the leftovers in the fridge. They sat out on the counter all night long, albeit in a sealed plastic container, and I only found them this morning at about 9am. I stuck them into the fridge, just in case...but here's the question, for the people who read this who are more kitchen-savvy than me: can I still eat it tonight if I cook it all the way through? Or is that meal gone, gone, gone, and no longer safe? The main ingredients are spinach and cheese, if that makes any difference.

Sigh. I keep kidding myself into thinking I might turn out to be a competent adult some day...

In the meantime, Maya and I have done a lot of cuddling and playing. Right now, she's chewing on her rawhide at the top of the stairs and keeps trying to tempt me into coming to watch her do it. (A lot like a little kid - she thinks it's so much more fun to play when someone is watching in admiration!) I had a great afternoon out yesterday with friends, where I got to eat fresh strawberries in whipped cream, drink tea, and talk about books. My favorite kind of outing! And the village fĂȘte starts in less than an hour.

I found two links this morning that are both great writing-stimulation in completely different ways: a fantastic secret garden discovery by Jayne Nelson (who writes my favorite column in the British SF magazine SFX), and an excerpt from Katie Roiphe's book Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939. The excerpt talks about the love triangle of HG Wells, his wife "Jane", and Rebecca West - and I've put the name "Jane" in quotes because it wasn't her real name. She was born Amy Catherine, but when they married, Wells decided to re-name her "Jane", as part of creating an ideal wife...which built into a lot of other "facts" he decided would be true about her, for better or worse. I knew a bit of the story already, from a Rebecca West biography I read last year, but what I found most fascinating in this excerpt were the revelations about Jane/Amy Catherine herself, and how she saw the situation. The whole thing is a very dark, absolutely fascinating study into the way we tell stories about each other and ourselves, and the way our lives are interpreted by other people. (For instance: H.G. Wells said and - apparently - believed that Jane was a delicate, dainty creature who was too frail and high-minded for sex. On the other hand, Jane loved skiing and hiking and wrote short stories about women who were frustrated by their lack of physical satisfaction...but Wells's version of reality gave him the license to have mistresses, to let out his own urges, AND to have a perfect, 19th-century wife whom he could adore and set on a pedestal, high above normal life and messy physical issues.) It's exactly the kind of messy emotional tangle that produces great stories, and in fact all three of them did write their own stories in fictionalized form, to more or less literary and private success... Now I want to read the whole book, as soon as it finally comes out in England!

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