So While I'm Sitting Here Wasting Time: An Update . . .

. . . on The Book. I've spent the past three weeks revising what's already been written with the aim of handing it over to The Editor (or, as we call her at our house, Saint Andrea) just after Labor Day so she will (I hope) agree that yes, we can publish this book in the fall of 2011. So. Yes. Having done that, I'm now wrestling with the current Chapter From Hell, which concerns chickens, industrial agriculture, and agribusiness (trust me: it's more interesting than it sounds) with the goal of finishing it, too, by early September so I can include it in the chapters to send to St. A.

At which point, I will have written well over half the manuscript and then comes the truly hard part (which is already disrupting my sleep): researching and writing the last third of the book by December 31. 

If you don't hear from me again, it's 'cause I've died of anxiety. Here's hoping not.

Or Maybe Not . . .

Got so excited at my progress on the new book that I thought maybe I'd get back to normal with the blog. But --- maybe not. Because I've not started writing the next chapter yet, and my mental benchmark was "Starting writing the next chapter and then you're allowed back at the blog."

But here's something unrelated to that: the kitchen is really, truly finally finished. We moved back into it last Friday. Want to see the final product? Photos at Shutterfly. The first "album"--- "Before and After" ---  is the quick-and-easy tour of before and after. (The rest of the albums there are more detailed and I posted those so the family could follow along.)

So. Back to work. Be back soon.

A Possible Return to Normalcy?

Maybe. Maybe not. But hey! I'm feeling like I'm over the Major Hump of the new book.

Or, okay, that at least I've got a serious and firm grip on the rest of its content. Still tons of work to be done, but I've made major progress since January.

And I'd like to get this blog back to normal after my research/writing hiatus: There's lots going on in the meat world. Indeed, it seems that every day I read about yet another controversy about this, that, and the other in the world of meat. I'd love to be commenting on it (and, yes, I am patting self on back for restraining myself these past three months and keeping my face buried in my work instead of shooting my mouth off about other stuff).

We shall see. In any case, I survived the winter, I survived our remodeling project (which officially ends tomorrow) (*1), and I survived that ugly bleak mid-point that every writer must crawl through when writing a book. Ugh.


*1: Well, the remodeling is sort of officially over: the people who are going to put a couple of top coats on the new floor can't do so until next Friday (the 30th) and then, sigh, the floor has to sit and "cure" for another week. So here I am, staring at my amazing new kitchen --- and I can't use it yet! Oh, the agony.

What's Goin' On?; or My Plan For 2010 ("Sticky" Post)

Note:  I originally wrote this post in late January by way of explaining why I've (intentionally) slowed my otherwise fanatical pace of blogging. I've decided to keep it up front as a "sticky" post. Other recent posts are below (as are about a bajillion older posts.)

The  Gaye/Cleveland/Benson song has been  running through my head lately. Apparently it's the soundtrack to my goal, such as it is, for 2010.

Which is: I'm hell-bent on finishing the book this year. I'm only half-way through the research and writing, and right now I'm feeling a bit hamster-wheelish, but  . . . (No, the song doesn't have much to do with my goal or my work, but a soundtrack is good, right?)

I know, I know: You're wondering: "What the HELL has she been doing? Why isn't she finished?" Rightly so. I've been working on this book since early 2007 --- minus the 18 months I lost to trying to regain the use of my right arm. (Jesus. When I look at it that way, I feel like I'm working at the speed of light.)

But as I've noted before, I do all my own research and writing and I have a "life" beyond my work --- and so it takes me a long time to write a book.

So, determined to finish the book this year, I've got to stay as focused as possible. (I had lunch with two friends yesterday and felt guilty about not being at home working. Sigh.)

I'm also giving myself a crash course in the politics of contemporary food: I'm a historian, so I can tell you what happened a century ago, but I'm not clear where we Americans are now.  And I've gotta figure that out so I can speak coherently to meat, both past and present. (Which I did this week when I talked to two reporters about meat in modern America.)

So on any given day, I'm engaged in two projects that consume most of my brain power. Which means: something's gotta give, and what's "giving" is my blogging time. Which means the blog is more-or-less on hiatus until (I hope) April. I'm still here, but . . . I'm not, if you know what I mean. (*1)

I'm using Twitter to keep myself connected to the larger world (especially the politics of food as we know it in the U.S.) So: I'll be in and out of the blog and more regularly at Twitter (hey! whaddya waiting for? get a Twitter account!). (*2)

Should you miss me (I wish), there's plenty here to keep you occupied. (Click the "other projects" link at the top of the page.) (Yes, since you ask, I am a wordy, ruminative soul.)


*1: If I weren't such a wordy, long-winded woman, I'dve done what most people in my situation do: Just post a single blog entry announcing that I'm on hiatus for five months. But --- something interesting might come along! And I'd feel compelled to provide my two cents worth! And then where would I be?

*2: I remember when I first heard about Twitter that many pundit types asserted that Twitter meant the end of blogging. I can see why they thought that: god knows Twitter is MUCH faster/easier than actually writing a series of sentences and paragraphs. Instant gratification in a way that blogging is not. Still, I love the blogging format and the intellectual rewards it provides. But I'm not kidding myself that I've got time to write the new book AND blog 5 or 6 times a week.

But As Long As I'm Here

The writing proceeds. Making good progress. Although, really, it helps to put the blog on the back-burner for the moment. Not that I don't miss it. I do. And I'll be back. But right now, I want. to. finish. this. book.

Did I mention that we're also remodeling our kitchen at the moment? And a bathroom? We are. So my other chore at the moment is to learn how to cook on electricity (we set up a temporary kitchen in the basement, and I'm cooking on a two-burner  hotplate). I figure I'll get proficient at cooking with electricity just about the time the kitchen is finished and I can get back to my beloved gas cooktop.

(Photos of remodeling at my Facebook page, if you're interested.) Anyway . .  .

Solstice Slowdown

Holiday Hiatus? Whatever. I will not be around much for roughly the next two weeks. We have family in town now, and they take precedence over blogging/tweeting/etc.. I'm recovering from a truly miserable, my-skull-is-a-dead-sweatsock cold, and we're going out of town for week the day after Christmas.

And when we return, we have to move the contents of our kitchen to the basement in preparation for the remodeling project, which will get underway the first week of January. So: not much blogging or tweeting until I resume normal business operations on or around January 4th.

May your days be merry and bright --- and I hope all of you can take time to enjoy that which matters most: family and friends.