Esperanto, Soap, and NaNoWriMo Prep

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Well non-existent blog readers, it's been a long time. As always, I seem to have more things to do than I have time to do them! The world is just so fascinating.

I recently discovered that Duolingo has an Esperanto course and have resumed my study of Esperanto. This time I'm really into it, like studying the language every single day, listening to podcasts about the language, reading books in and about the language, and learning about Esperanto culture. Eventually I plan to make an "Esperanto Reources" page to share what I've found with any of you who may be interested in the topic.

But I'm willing to wager that most of you are more interested in my soap-making adventures than in my language learning. I recently made my first ever batch of soap from scratch. I used this recipe for DIY Liquid Castile Soap, and it turned out fine. Nothing exploded and no one got burned. In the future, however, I plan to mix my lye and water solution under my stove vent fan, rather than in the kitchen sink. I couldn't get the soap to cool without forming a thick scum on top, so I added more water than the recipe calls for; I used 1 galllon of distilled water in total, and ended up with a little less than 1.5 gallons of liquid soap. I used generic olive oil from Winco, and this refined coconut oil which I already had on hand for making Glorious Butterless Butter from The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner (one of my new favorite vegan cookbooks).

Since I had more soap than would fit in a 1 gallon jug, I left the gallon unscented and added a couple of teaspoons of NOW Peppermint Essential Oil to scent the other portion. We can get into a discussion of my less than premium quality essential oil selection some other day--I am weirdly opinionated on the topic and could rant about it forever. I plan to use the scented soap in my foaming hand soap pumpers, probably diluting it even more with water. I plan to use the unscented stuff for washing dishes and/or scent it as needed.

In the ridiculous span of time I've been writing this blog post, I've also run out of "laundry sauce" and had to make another batch. I use this recipe from Budget 101. Since I've discovered that Fels Naptha soap has tallow and is therefore not vegan, I made this batch with Kirk's Fragrance Free Original Coco Castile Soap. Since the Kirk's bar is only about 4 oz and the Fels Naptha one is 5, I had to use 1.25 bars to make the recipe come out right. I've never done it with this soap before, so I'm not sure how it will affect the laundry. Since it seems to be a bar intended for skin cleansing, rather than removing stains, etc. it might have a greater "superfat" than the Fels bar, and that could potentially leave a residue. I'll just have to try it and find out. Eventually I'd like to make my own laundry bars as well, but I'm not yet that far along in my soap-making adventure. Weird old-lady hobbies sound more fun when you call them an "adventure," right?

Since the Kirk's bars are coconut-oil based and undyed, the finished product is super white, and could easily be mistaken for whipped cream or marshmallow fluff if your spouse/children/roommates happen to be exceptionally impulsive and stupid, so watch out!

As per my usual October routine, I am getting ready for NaNoWriMo. This year I'm rewriting my dystopian fantasy new-adult thingamajig and going through K.M. Weiland's Structuring Your Novel Workbook to try to make it awesome. Wish me luck.

Thus far, the prompts and questions have been a big help in restructuring my first scene. My tendency with beginnings is to start in medias res--perhaps a little too much. In this particular story the opening scene was only a paragraph or two and the conflict didn't really build because it started off just a little too high. So I started the story a little earlier, and that seems to have fixed it.

I still have quite a lot to do for my NaNo prep, so I'll leave you with this:

  • What learning adventure have you taken recently?
  • If you haven't had one in awhile, what steps could you take this week to launch yourself on a new learning adventure?

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