Babler Memorial State Park trail view

I made oatmeal yesterday morning in the Instant Pot. I was out of granola, didn’t feel like eggs, the morning was chilly… it seemed like a worthy experiment. It was. Oh, it was! Three minutes on high pressure (but the IP takes a while to heat up, of course, so it’s actually longer than that) and the oatmeal was… I want to say fluffy, but that sounds wrong. Not fluffy like pancakes can be fluffy, but somehow light. And yet oatmeal, so still entirely filling. I guess I can’t explain it, but it reminded me of oatmeal that I ate in England, decades ago, that no other oatmeal has ever quite matched. It might have been helped by the fact that I couldn’t find coconut milk so bought half-and-half, and I put some of that in the oatmeal. Maybe that was the secret, not the IP. Or maybe it was the combination. Either way, oatmeal, delicious.

And I needed a delicious breakfast. I’ve had a weird few days. Two weeks ago, I wrote about avoiding the news because what’s going on out in the world is so horrifying. Who would have thought it could get worse? I should figure out some way to break myself of the news habit. On the other hand… well, psychobabble ahead: the Harvey Weinstein story and the #metoo movement has been incredibly triggering to me. I think it’s possible, though, that the processing I’ve been doing is (or in the long run, will be) healthy. At the moment, however, I am filled with rage and anger and hatred. And grief, too, I think. And I really don’t like those feelings. They are not pleasant to try to sit with.

And that appears to be all I want to say about that, so moving on: I’m at Babler Memorial State Park in Missouri. I haven’t been doing a very good job of appreciating it, even though the weather is lovely. Two nights ago I got my grill out and proceeded to almost ruin my dinner. So annoying! Every once in a while, I still do something while cooking that I can look back on and say, duh, that was obviously wrong, and that was one of those moments. But the dogs appreciated the burned sweet potatoes and the steak was delicious despite not looking very appealing.

But I mention it because this is the kind of park that inspires grilling. Lots of lawn, but nothing except lawn to separate the sites, so it feels sort of like a small suburban neighborhood rather than a state park. Picnic tables and fire pits and lots of neighbors with dogs. Combined with sunshine and 70 degree weather, it just feels like the right moment to grill.

I’ve also been working on Grace, of course. I wish I could say I was making progress, but somehow I seem to be back in Chapter Two again. I also wish I could say I was making it better, but I suspect I’m just spinning my wheels. I think I probably need to find myself a couple readers who are willing to look at one chapter at a time, and tell me whether individual chapters work. But I suspect that criticism would stall me completely and lack of criticism would feel unfulfilling, so I’m not actually sure that would help.

NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I’m definitely feeling the temptation to just dump Grace for a month and try to actually commit to a NaNo project. I started Grace four years ago, during NaNo. Four years! I can pretty much guarantee that it’s never going to be worth the amount of effort I’ve put into it. But I should get back to it. Today is going to be a laundry day and a movement day and a grocery day, and I would like to get at least a few words of writing done before I get on the road.