Recipe: Cherry Pecan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

(Manual crosspost from

We have a few pecans, courtesy of my parents and their tree. I was
trying to decide what to do with them, and as often happens I thought of
dessert. Specifically ice cream. Then I thought about what would go
well with pecans in ice cream…and came up with something amazing.

Cherry Pecan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mix a little less than 2 cups of milk [1], a little more than 1/3 cup
of the juice from a jar of maraschino cherries, and 2/3 cup of sugar
[2] in a big bowl. Use an immersion blender until the sugar dissolves or
you get bored.

Add 2 cups of cream [3]. Dump into the ice cream maker.

After about 20 minutes, add 1 cup chopped pecans, 2/3 cup chopped
dried cherries, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. After about five minutes it
should be mixed up and you can freeze it.

[1] Most recipes call for whole milk, but 2% is what we have in the house, so that’s what I use.

[2] This is half the sugar the recipes in my booklet call for. The cherry juice adds plenty of sweetness.

[3] The recipes call for 3 cups, but cream is sold in 2 cup
containers, so I use an extra cup of milk instead. The good thing is
this makes the ice cream lower fat, but the texture isn’t as creamy
(shocking). So feel free to use an extra cup of cream and one less cup
of milk. I won’t tell.


Being a wall isn’t good enough

(Manual crosspost from

The other night at tennis I was thinking about a writing metaphor.
Last fall I played a guy who was basically a wall. He could get to every
shot I made. All his shots went in. He didn’t make mistakes. He beat me

But I kind of wonder how far you can go in tennis like that, without
the ace serves or the fancy winning shots that increase the risk of
hitting the ball out.

So, the writing connection–not making mistakes isn’t good enough.
Competent stories are nothing more than competent. People don’t talk
about the stories that do everything right but don’t have a spark. Being
a wall isn’t good enough.

I’m better at writing than at tennis, but even though I don’t make
many mistakes, I’m still not making those winning shots. Got to work on

I’m pretty sure “keep your eye on the ball” could be applied to writing, too.


My website is back

(Manual crosspost from

I have a bunch of things to fix. I've updated to a new theme, and it needs to have fewer serifs and more green. I have to reinstate all my old uploaded photos. And I want to play with various plugin settings for comments and stats and crossposts and stuff.

So what happened to my site? The short version is it got hacked, probably ages ago but I just noticed last week, and when I tried to fix it by installing an all new WordPress, something went wrong. Something which I'm pretty sure is my fault although I don't know what I did wrong.

Dreamhost's customer support was very fast and thorough, though, and all seems to be well now. Dreamhost is great, btw. And they don't have sexist commercials (and if you use that other company I do actually think a little less of you).

I'd been rethinking my blog strategy lately, and when I thought I'd be starting from scratch I came up with some new plans. You probably haven't noticed this, but for the last two years I've kept up a pretty regular schedule--writing posts on Wednesdays, and Monday posts that cycle through a certain set of topics. It helped me start blogging regularly, but the problem is sometimes I don't have time to make a good post, but I feel obliged to post anyway. Plus my writing group set up a group blog, and three posts a week is a lot.

So I've decided to ditch the schedule and just post when I feel like it. Even more than the schedule, it was setting aside a specific time of the week to blog that made it possible to post regularly. I lost that regular time ages ago, but I decided a few weeks ago to use Friday lunches.

Which is not to say that blogging is a chore. I like blabbing my thoughts all over the Internet. I just have a habit of a) writing posts in my head instead of in pixels and b) being too busy to do things just because I think they're fun (this is why "read" now has a slot on my daily calendar).

blog go bye bye

I've got backups of posts here on LJ. And to think, I was considering deleting my LJ account entirely. I have backups offline too, but obviously the copies here are the final posted versions.

So I can always spend many tedious hours reinstating old posts (at least the ones I think are more important/interesting). Yippee.

First thing is to see if my web host has the database backup that I was too stupid to make.

Seriously, though, I don't know what went wrong. I did everything on first because I didn't care if it blew up. It worked fine. Then went kablooey.

F*ing spamming hackers. They'll probably just find a new way in next week anyway.


I spent the weekend at ConFusion, hanging out with the group I call the Michigan people, which includes people who don’t currently live in Michigan and one person who I don’t think ever has.

I don’t like reading people’s con reports, so I’m not going to post one. I had fun; I went to panels; I talked with a bunch of people. I also got lots of sleep because I was still getting over a cold.

Now I’m back, and after one weekend sick and one weekend out of town I have a ton of stuff to catch up on. Someone commented that I do a lot of things, and that’s the problem: it goes smoothly until something comes up and then I’m behind on everything.

Mirrored from Elizabeth Shack.


Using TaskPaper as an Outliner

Last week I mentioned TaskPaper and said that this week I would say more about how I use it as an outliner. (It’s Mac only, so if that doesn’t interest you, you can skip this post now.)


Let me begin by reaffirming my love of Scrivener, which has an outline mode and can do everything that I’m doing with TaskPaper. But it’s not on iOS yet, and it’s not completely text based, which makes it a bit more tricky to change things quickly. The real reason I’m not using it, though, is because it doesn’t have all the tagging functionality that TaskPaper has. It has plenty–it has label and status and keywords and user-created fields–but they don’t all behave in the same way.

What TaskPaper has is any tags you want, which means you can create any tagging scheme, and you can create a theme file to color code it any way you like. You can also create more than one theme file and switch between them–so if sometimes you want to color code by location, and sometimes by point of view, and sometimes by status, you can do that. (Yes, I like to color code things. It makes me happy.)

So I’ve got this theme file that color codes scenes by status. Here’s my tagging scheme, which is designed to help me figure out what’s left to do. I’ve also got tags for point of view character, but right now I’m not using them much.

Fiction Theme Tags

Yes, it’s sort of rainbow-ordered in the order that I would tend to label scenes as. Yes, I have a “priority” tag and an “emph” (for emphasis) tag, just in case I need to emphasize things that aren’t priorities. I don’t know. I like colors.

And no, I can’t quantify the difference between the “majorchanges,” “changes,” and “revise” tags. I know it when I see it.

So this means I have an outline that looks sort of like this, except a whole lot longer (and with more notes).


Note that I can click on any tag, and TaskPaper runs a search for that tag. Or I can type into the search box. That makes it super easy to find all the scenes I have to write, or outline, or revise–which is very helpful since I’m skipping around so much and it’d be easy to miss something. I can also hide all the notes if I just want to see the actual scenes.

At the top of my outline file, I have a to do list, which looks just like a normal to do list and isn’t color coded at all. It doesn’t have to be, because it’s so short–the real to dos are in the outline itself.

Now I just have to search for “@questions or @majorchanges or @outline or @tentative or @write or @emph or @priority” and when nothing comes up, I’ll call the draft done.

Mirrored from Elizabeth Shack.