My Husband Is An Interesting Man

Filed under: Kyle Rankin,Personal — Administrator at 2:21 pm on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I’ve been married to Kyle 14 years this June. One of my favorite things about him is that he never ceases to explore his intellectual interests in a curious and accomplished way. Here are some things Kyle has been interested in lately:

* He decided to take up Speed Cubing, which is when people solve a Rubik’s Cube quickly. I think he has it down to 2 minutes so far.

* He’s 3D printing an entire tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, which will be the size of a turkey when he’s done.

* He’s reading all eight volumes of the The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He’s on volume three.

* He taught himself to play Bach’s Invention #13 on the banjo.

But I was most excited about his decision to make croissants. I love croissants, and I know how difficult they are to make. It was an elaborate, three-day process of making croissant dough, laminating it, taking it in and out of the fridge at various times, then cutting it:


And shaping it:


And letting it rise again before finally baking it.


We had them on the morning of Gideon’s 4th birthday. They came out fresh from the oven, and they were exactly right. I say that as someone who has high standards for bread.

c 1

They may have looked a little stripey, but they were all the things a croissant should be: crunchy, buttery, soft in the center, with good layers.


Seeing these excellent croissants, my dad said to me, “You know, everything Kyle does turns out like that.”

And it’s true.

Spring Is Sliding Through My Fingers

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 8:42 am on Friday, May 20, 2016


You might think I’ve forgotten this blog. I haven’t. There’s just so much going on and it’s a low priority. Here are some things that are happening this May:

* I have a few articles coming out that I’m very excited about. I will post them when they’re published.

* I’m going to the Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency in June. I’ll be studying with Paul Harding, who wrote Tinkers, which is a great book. I’ve never done anything like this before, and I’m nervous and excited and worried about missing my son.

* Gideon is turning 4 this weekend. It’s a weird pressure to plan a kid’s birthday. You want him to have the best time ever, even though you know your son is perfectly happy playing with a rock. I’m making a cake. It has been requested that there be cherries on top.

* I planted my garden:


* For Marcia’s birthday in June, I’m finally going on a hot air balloon ride. I’ll post pictures. We’re also thinking of getting facials, another first for me. Yes, I’m selfishly using my best friend’s birthday to tick off life experiences. She’s cool with it.

* Upcoming things that are happening: remodeling our kitchen, another artist residency, vacation to somewhere, finishing a novel, editing the other novel, writing writing writing.

* My house is haunted:


Food-Related Things I’ve Done Recently

Filed under: Personal — joy at 11:52 am on Monday, February 29, 2016


* I went mushroom hunting a few times. Once I found a bunch of hedgehog mushrooms and took them home and made risotto. Later when I was in Whole Foods, I saw hedgehog mushrooms on sale for $30/pound. Apparently mushroom hunting is lucrative.


* I installed a grape arbor in my yard and planted a grape to climb it.


* I planned my garden for the year. New plants I’m trying include ground cherries, hot pink amaranth, and glass gem corn.


* I baked a lot. I made several loaves of bread, which I’m starting to enjoy. It’s pretty thrilling to cut open a fresh loaf of bread and slather a slice with butter.


* Unrelated, I went on a boat. Here’s a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.


* We drastically reduced the number of times we’re going out to eat, and you know what? I don’t miss it at all. However, one time I went out for oysters and they were great.

* Right now I’m harvesting eggs, arugula, chives, leeks, oranges, and meyer lemons from my yard. I have no idea what to do with all those meyer lemons.

* Most of these images were originally on Twitter.

* Unrelated again, check out this manzanita tree.


Monterey Trip

Filed under: Personal — joy at 3:21 pm on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Last month, I took a short trip to Monterey. Turns out January is a great time to visit. Here are some pictures.


It was a beautiful day.


Me: There’s something very old-fashioned about that man.

Marcia: Is it that he’s wearing a suit to the beach?

Me: That must be it.


Beautiful pelicans.


Flower girls. I saw so many weddings while there. At least five, maybe more.


Carmel Mission with yet another wedding.


Beautiful silken water.


See the seal head popping out of the water? It wanted those men to leave so it could go back to sleeping on the dock.


Tor House, the home of poet Robinson Jeffers.


Sea lions.


I also saw a ton of sea otters but never managed to get a good photograph.

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Filed under: Personal — joy at 5:36 pm on Friday, January 1, 2016


2015 was a great year for us. Here’s some things that happened:

* I wrote for many publications, including Mental Floss and The Atlantic.

* I won a creative writing grant! I’ll talk more about that soon.

* I finished a book and submitted it to agents. Then I wrote the first draft of another book.

* I led a panel at AWP in Minneapolis about freelance writing.

* Kyle got a new job. He’s Vice President of Engineering Operations at Final.

* He works at home now, which has changed our lives.

* Gideon turned 3 and is in preschool, which is a two-minute walk from our house. He loves it so much.

* We went to Yosemite, rented a beach house on the coast, and traveled to Amsterdam and Belgium.

There were sad things that happened this year, including the passing of my best friend’s father, but overall 2015 treated us kindly.

As usual, I’m ambitious as heck about the year ahead. I’ll continue to think big and focus, two changes that have made a big difference in my work process. I may remodel my kitchen. I may finish writing a book. I’ll definitely start working on a third book. And I may go to Europe again–maybe Switzerland? Maybe Germany? Who knows?

Happy 2016.

White Christmas

Filed under: Personal — joy at 6:01 pm on Friday, December 25, 2015


I took this picture outside my parent’s house today. In California, a white Christmas is a rarity. It was Gideon’s first time playing in the snow. I hope you had a good holiday this year.

My Cats Are Buddies

Filed under: Personal — joy at 7:34 am on Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Quill and Pixel, together 4ever.

People Riding Zebras

Filed under: Personal — joy at 7:33 am on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Today’s research hole led me into zebras. Here are pictures of people riding or otherwise domesticating zebras.








Remembering ‘Time of Your Life’ Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 9:43 am on Monday, November 2, 2015

Remember when Jennifer Love Hewitt had that TV show Time of Your Life? It aired in 1999, right after Party of Five was canceled.

In every episode, the other characters would beg Jennifer Love Hewitt to sing and the men would fall in love with her. She’d be like, “Whaat? Me sing? I couldn’t.” Then the other characters would insist, and she’d be like, “You guys are so silly.” And then she’d sing AMAZINGLY WELL (or just competently) and the men would be like, “Dream woman!”

An example:


Ha ha, isn’t she a-dork-able?

Seriously. Every episode.

Time of You Life was canceled after one season. Then Jennifer Love Hewitt produced a TV movie where she played Audrey Hepburn, one of the most beloved actresses of all time.

Jennifer Love Hewitt 005

Oh Jennifer Love Hewitt…

3d Printed Frankenstein’s Monster Candy Bowl

Filed under: Personal — joy at 9:59 am on Friday, October 30, 2015

In addition to 3D printing our Halloween masks this year, we also printed a candy bowl.


It’s Frankenstein’s monster. He has a removable brain so we can fill his head with candy.


He glows in the dark.


Here he is with his brain


Here he is being printed out.


Here he is with his brain and a smaller version, a little brother, if you will.

Happy Halloween!

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