Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sex and Fried Green Tomatoes

That certainly got your attention, didn't it?

And now that I have your attention...

Some of the Playfriends have blogged lately about balancing family and jobs and writing and everything else that life entails. Sometimes you have to engage in something called multitasking.

The term originally came from the computer world and meant running two or more computer programs simultaneously. I remember the old days of DOS-based programs, and how, after the first stabs of dread over learning something new, I was excited about that new program called Windows, which allowed you run two or more programs at once and flip back and forth between them. As I'm typing this, I have three tabs open in my Firefox browser: this tab for Blogger, a tab for my photo storage website and a tab for Google, so I could find a definition of multitasking. I also have my email program open as well as a Word document with my current WIP.

A less technical definition of the word is doing two or more things at once. Like taking a phone call from the bank while making a PBJ sandwich, pouring milk into sippy cup and juggling a toddler on one hip . Or addressing Christmas cards while you wait in the carpool line at school and listen to a New York Times bestseller on tape because the book club is meeting in two days and you're responsible for leading the discussion. Or... I don't have to tell any of you women about multitasking. We are the original multitaskers and could probably have taught the computer folks a thing or two about it.

Because I'm an empty nester, I find I have to do less multitasking because my life is simpler in many ways. I can usually cook dinner without interruption. I don't have to carpool anymore. I'm at home alone all day long.

Stop throwing things or I'll send you to your room!

Monday night I was in the middle of writing the sex scene in the short story I'm working on and I was really in the groove. Things were popping and I was thrilled because it was going so well.

The DH was mowing the grass and as long as he gets his two bottles of Gatorade during the process, he's usually a happy camper. I'd fixed those ahead of time and was so proud that I didn't forget him out there sweating away over the mower. Then I realize he's finished the back and is in the front and that means it's only about 20 minutes until he's through. He'll be starved and I haven't started dinner.

Last spring I planted two tomato plants in an area of my backyard that I laughingly refer to as "Green Acres." I picked a hybrid variety of tomato that had been engineered to resist disease. It also seems to resist ripening. And if by chance one does turn an orangish-red, it's not that tasty. I believe they also engineered the flavor right out of them. But I have a passel of green tomatoes right now (for those of you outside the south, that means I have a lot) and I had decided to try my hand at a southern dish called Fried Green Tomatoes. They're pretty simple to make -- slice the tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, dip in flour and fry in hot oil. We're talking instant calories and as I read the different recipes on I could feel my arteries clogging. I did use canola oil instead of lard and we don't eat fried stuff very often. I know -- excuses.

So I'm thinking to myself, "Self, you can put those tomatoes in the frying pan and put your notebook on the other counter and keep writing this hot sex scene while those tomatoes get all golden brown and crispy on the outside."

My hero and heroine have met in a popular new jazz club in Savannah called Volcano Alley, shared a drink I created called a Savannah Eruption and after a little whirl around the dance floor, they've slipped away to an office in the back of the club. There's a little chit-chat, clothes start coming off, the tension builds, the kisses are smoldering, passion flares and the air is filled with the smell of...


And my hero and heroine have to stop in the middle of their tete-a-tete while I turn on the exhaust fan at top speed, slide the frying pan off the burner and pray I don't set off the smoke detector.

I put away the notebook and concentrated on finishing dinner. The fried green tomatoes were salvageable and were quite tasty -- much more so than the ripened version. And once the meal was eaten and the kitchen cleaned up, I returned to my writing while the DH worked on something in his office.

Obviously sex and cooking don't mix -- at least not when there's hot oil and a frying pan involved.

Are you good at multitasking? What's your best (or worst) multitasking story?

And just so you won't be disappointed, here's snaxy Lenny in the kitchen making my fave dessert, peach cobbler. Isn't he... uhm... the cobbler yummy?


Problem Child said...

Oh, I am the QUEEN of multitasking. I'd never get anything accomplished if I didn't do at least 3 things at once.

I'm sending a fax and moisturizing my skin as I type this.

I read a neat article yesterday about how men don't multitask--it's not genetically in them. Their brains are wired differently. The researchers think that women had to learn to focus on more than one thing so that we could gather our food and listen for the baby at the same time. It just goes to show that women really are two steps above men on the evolutionary ladder (according to my anthropology teacher, the fact that women keep all thier baby equipment inside the body instead of dangling outside is step one.)

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I can multitask when it's necessary, but NOT when one of the tasks is writing. I can't tell you how many things I burned because I decided to go back to the computer and write just a little bit more. Nope, doesn't work for me. I lose all track of time.

I do remember, however, reading Sweet Savage Love while cooking at the same time. :-) I had the open book in my left hand, and a big wooden spoon in my right.


Smarty Pants said...

I can't even differentiate multi-tasking from not. Its just what I do. Last night, I threw a load in the washer, loaded the dishwasher, ran to check my email a couple times, vaccummed, and watched a movie on tv while I cooked my dinner...

DB is physically incapable of this. One thing at a time, one foot in front of the other. Makes me crazy sometimes. I guess that's why the woman was in the hut doing her thing while the men were out in the woods hunting and doing man things. They didn't get in each other's turf.


Kathy said...

While Fred hunts, Wilma has to do everything else. Multitasking? It was the only way Wilma and her offspring survived and the same thing has happened in every culture since.

Like everyone else who probably read this post, I have to multitask. Though like LJ, I don't do this very well while writing. Sometimes I'll wash laundry or bake chocolate chip cookies (my favorite), but mostly, it's just me and the computer when I write.


Vivi Anna said...

Let's just say my daughter won't let me go upstairs to my office when I'm cooking....

Because on several occasions I have exploded the boiled eggs...I leave them on so long, the water evaporates adn the eggs explode..

So, no I can't multi-task.

Yet, I can work on three or four writing projects at once...


Instigator said...

I'm pretty darn good at multitasking - but then I have to be or either my bosses get upset or my girls feel neglected. Of course, that doesn't stop me from feeling like my head's about to explode from overload.

Thanks for the eye candy, PM :-)


Angel said...

Funny thing, just last night I burnt dinner trying to take care of a million different things at the same time. Guess I fit right in here.

But I'm also in the club that can't write while doing other things... with the exception of laundry. Because if I forget it, I just turn it back on.

Now I can do lots of other things while I plot, plan and dream. Chief among them is driving. Put me on a long drive with a hand held tape recorder and I'll have the finer points of my story worked out within an hour or two. Something about driving seems to help me in that area.