16 October 2002

I am the best Scandichick in California right now. My house smells like lefse. I don't know how it gets any better than that.

Timprov and I were talking about what we should bring to Evan's for dinner tonight, as we have been assigned "the starch." I was going over the options I'd thought of -- baked potatoes wrapped in foil to keep them hot, cheesy potato casserole like my mom's friend Vicki makes, some kind of bread -- and Timprov said, plaintively, "Lefse would be just perfect. But we don't have time to order it." And in a moment of overconfidence, I said, "Order it? I have my mom's recipe, we can make it!"

(Please note that we have not found a consistently good lefse supplier from whom to order anyway. The stuff we had last year at Thanksgiving was Just Not Right.)

So yesterday afternoon I went and bought the only good potatoes in all of Hayward (I swear, I have never seen a more pitiful bunch of potatoes at two grocery stores than these) and started boiling and peeling and mashing and mixing and generally getting ready to make the lefse. We paused when Mark got home, to have some pizza and take a quick break, and then Timprov rolled and I turned and Mark was the lefse photographer.

We were handicapped, of course, because we lack a proper lefse roller and a proper lefse turner. They're on my list for the new house. Lefse rollers are larger and heavier than other rolling pins, and they have a fine waffle cut on them. Lefse turners are long, slender sticks with handles. When you make lefse, you can't cook it more than once on a side, or you'll get tough lefse, so you can sometimes peek under it with the turner to see, if your turning sense is not sufficiently developed. Sadly, I just used a spatula handle. We also mashed the potatoes insufficiently finely, so it was hard to get the lefse rolled thinly enough. Also, we made the pieces much smaller than one generally does (easier to deal with on a spatula), and we weren't practiced enough to make them all perfect rounds. But it got to be pretty easy for me to turn them at the right moment. Lefse is supposed to be like your old Norwegian aunties' skin, white and crinkly and a little floury, with a few brown spots here and there. You can smell when it does that.

And it tasted perfect.

We froze some of the dough, to see if it'll freeze and thaw all right. If it does, we'll see if the food processor is a decent way to mash potatoes once Timprov has attacked them with the masher. We have lefse experiments in mind. They will be good, because even bad lefse is good hot. (Except for the stuff we got last Thanksgiving. I'm not sure that even counts as lefse.)

I make lefse!

Timprov got a little floury in the process.

(Seriously, he wasn't really that floury, but he was floury enough to be a mess that needed cleaning up anyway, so he made it a wee bit more dramatic.)

We could do this again, I think, and it's so worth it. It really is.

My folks have made lefse more times than I can remember, but the one I really remembered while I was doing this was the year we lived in Lawrence, Kansas. We had a huge country kitchen in that brand-new house, plenty of room to mix and roll and any number of other things without bumping into each other. It was probably much better than any kitchen they had before or since, for making lefse. Mom and Dad have their system worked out. Mom rolls. Dad turns. And that year, it felt almost like an act of defiance. It was not our place, but Mom and Dad tried to make it into home, making the lefse. It smelled like home. It wasn't home, but they tried pretty hard for as long as they had to, and then they packed us up and took us home for real.


And I sold "Natural Limitations" to Ideomancer. Woohoo! I really like those guys, and Chelsea had told me she was passing the story on to another editor for opinions earlier this month, so I had hoped. And my hope was not in vain. Hurrah. Now I have something rather more difficult to do: I have to tell them what inspired the story. I know there was something, but right now my answer is, "Uhhh...I like stories...you like stories, too, right? Well, so...stories are good." I think they want something more than that, so I'm going to have to get out the journal I wrote it in and see what was going on.

There may be edits, but that's fine. I just like selling stories. (I'm a bit paranoid about it, I'm afraid. Chelsea said, "It is my pleasure to inform you that Ideomancer would like to publish 'Natural Limitations.'" And my brain went, "'Except for' what? 'Unfortunately' what?" And then I had to say to myself, "Silly M'rissa, they never say it's their pleasure to tell you they'd like to publish something if it's also their sorrow to tell you that they're not going to. There is no 'except for' and no 'unfortunately.'" And there wasn't.)

So. There is much to do today. I'm sending out a few more agent queries. I'm also sending out a rejected picture book and re-sending a picture book for which I foolishly used the wrong address. Our apartment complex may owe us a whole seven dollars, so I have to go through the paperwork to find that out. I need stamps like crazy. Etc. Little stuff. Not that the big stuff isn't there, too. Work on the book, little stuff like that.

And also, I'm going to go through the list of stories I've got out and figure out where I want to send them if they return while I'm gone. This is rather more of a Project than one might think -- to the point where my third or fourth "woohoo!" for selling "Natural Limitations" was "Woohoo, I don't have to figure out where to send it next!" I know, I know, I could just wait and send stuff out when I get home. And maybe that would be a better idea. But I'm already going to have a week of mail to deal with, and I hate dealing with more than a few days' rejections at once. It depresses me. I know that some people get rejections and then just sit on the story, not editing, not waiting for Datlow to send their last story back, just, you know, not sending stuff out again until they feel like it. Hooooo, not me. That's just awful. Not morally awful. Emotionally awful. Momentum, people. I need momentum.

It's a fairly long list, though. Hmm. We'll see what I get to before we go.

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