Thursday, November 30, 2006
But I probably won't, since I'm notoriously bad at winning contests. Even when I enter, I have no faith that I'll win, which is probably not the message to be sending into the universe, I know. I try to think positively. When I'm hitting the send button on my phone Messaging to pick a suitcase on Deal or No Deal, I try my hardest to channel warm and fuzzy thoughts to...to...where? That's the problem. Should I be imaging some NBC minion pulling my name out of a hat? Or should I push my positive energy down the phone lines? Or just cut to the chase and focus on the call to tell me I've won? I can never decide and generally the contest is over before I've gotten my psychic powers in order.
So my reward for NaBloPoMo will have to be small, silent and personal. I can live with that. I've loved this month of posting. I haven't found it tiresome, tedious, tendentious (?) or tricky. As I said at the beginning, I am never at a loss of something to say. So I shall continue posting regularly. I may miss a day here or there, but I'm making December my own BloPoMo. No badges, no prizes, just ByJane every day.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
To those of you who did make the cut, if you would prefer to be in the 'who the fuck' category, let me know.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
T'was a good trip. I am well and truly a city girl, and LA is my city. However, when I walked into my house here in Sacramento, the familiar smell was so sweet. I love my house. I am absolutely content in my house.
I'm just not content that my house is not in LA.
I am working on this conundrum.
Monday, November 27, 2006
"What are your goals?" she asked. "What is it that will motivate you to work hard and get out of here? Your family? Friends? Your work?"
"The Grove," I answered immediately. I could see I had thrown her a curve ball, and I needed to explain. "My goal is to go shopping at The Grove."
The look on her face was of utter dismay: such an unworthy goal. But I never wavered and I persevered and several months later, there I was, shopping at The Grove.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I read Avocado8's latest post on dealing with her son's willfulness and I got to think about developmental psychology and how kids' need for autonomy conflicts with parents' need for control. When they're born, we vow to do everything we can to nurture their self-esteem. But then they actually have some sense of self and that's fine, as long as it rears its willful little head only when we want it to. It's so hard to balance that line between necessary boundaries and squelching the kid.
And then I was flipping through Flickr and pulled up Dooce's latest photos and thought how her post about going to her mother's cabin for Thanksgiving made me so envious. And I realized that it provoked the same feelings I used to have when I watched Thirtysomething: I want that life. In my eternal quest to deconstruct blog popularity, I'm now thinking, maybe Dooce is the new Thirtysomething. The attractive family with flaws exposed, yet dealing with life and having fun--goddamit--a beacon for all of us who do not feel attractive or whose flaws seem too raw for exposing or who don't have families or who don't have the talent to write as well as Dooce does.
Then I looked at Andrew Sullivan's blog, Daily Dish and he has posted photos of Mormon undergarments. I was fascinated. I remember seeing someone, I think at BlogHer'06, wearing a little white shirt under her sun dress. As a fashion statement, I thought it missed. Now I think it was her undergarment.
I live on a silent street in a suburb. Sometimes the Internet offers the only life around.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Second, please remind me that I don't like turkey. Rather, I like turkey, but only the dark meat. So the idea of cooking a breast for leftovers was a generous act for D who loves turkey of all stripes.
Third, my NaNoWriMo project is coming along nicely, thank you very much. It will be ready for publication sometime in 2008.
Fourth, we're going to Los Angeles on Sunday. I am so missing living there. I feel, I must say, like a fish out of water here in Sacramento.
Fifth, can you tell that I'm babbling?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
But I did...couldn't not, so I bought a turkey breast and cranberries and now we have stuff for leftovers. Should either of us ever want to eat again.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
You can see how my insecurities rear their nasty little heads at every opportunity (if I get a whiff of bad car smell when I'm driving, I assume it's my vehicle--how sick is that). I would like to be the kind of person who has the confidence of the gods, who says what she thinks, does what she does and be-damned to those who object. I'd like to have Rosie O'Donnell's balls (although not her mentality). I wish I was fearless about putting myself forward.
The funny thing is, as I'm writing this, I'm aware of a lot of people who would read this and say, what the hell is she talking about. They see me as someone who doesn't know how or when to take a back seat and shut up. They object to my predilection for saying what's on my mind, even when it's not the popular, read polite, thing to do. They should only know how often I squeeze my throat closed, squelch the comment, bury the opinion, repress the anger/annoyance/whatever. I've learned over time to say to myself, "this person doesn't need to know that you're sure they would be better off doing it another way."
I think the difference is (for I can see I'm positing a kind of schizophrenia here) that I can put myself forward in small groups (which, funnily enough, can be large audiences), but I'm timid when it comes to really, really big crowds. Like the world. I'm aware of that in posting on By Jane. I hold back because I fear the wrath of the internet. My Sally Fields mentality definitely kicks in here.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
This is the thing about aging that is so peculiar, not to mention wondrous and amazing. You are all of your ages in one and the 22 year old gets to comment on the 54 year old who is sharing a moment with the 42 year old who is amazed that she looks better than she expected when she was 32, but jesus, at 60--at 60, shouldn't I feel different? Except I don't, not really.
It's peculiar and wondrous and amazing to me in the same way that a pregnant woman is. She's standing there, whoever she is, but inside her is another person. Weird. And this too, the fact that I am inside myself all the Me's that have ever been. Weird. And exceptionally fun. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Happy 2nd birthday, Bonji Harold!!!!!!
Friday, November 17, 2006
I can't say if my numbers are down, because I just got my counter. But really, any above four would be an improvement. In terms of building an audience, I am working counter to all advice, which is to specialize in something. However, I truly, as my header states, have never been able to focus on one thing. My attention is multi-directional (doesn't that sound important). It's the reason, actually, that I became a journalist.
I never could decide what I wanted to be when I grew up--a doctor loomed large until I proved miserable at science. When that became clear, I was already in college and it seemed more important to be succeeding at a social life, rather than any profession. Not, you should imagine, that I was particularly good at that--my mouth has always proceeded me--but I tried, goodness me, did I ever.
My lack of focus was apparent in my choice of majors. I was for three years a Theatre Arts major and then in my last year, switched to Philosophy. I just kinda took the courses I was interested in, without any sense that they were supposed to prepare me for something. So I ended up with a bunch of English courses, a clot of Creative Writing courses (thank you, Monte Culver), all the Theatre courses I had amassed, plus the Philosophy I had to take for the major, and then there was that lump of Studio Art courses. I am nothing, if not well-rounded. That has served me well in life, even if it's meant I never have Fulfilled My Potential. Which depending on the day, either depresses me or pleases me.
Given that history, it is obvious I am incapable, no matter the well-meaning advice, of limiting this blog to one or two topics. I'd bore the living daylights out of myself, let alone the four of you who are faithful readers.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Eyes right, ladies and gentlemen--
EDIT: Okay, it was late, post Grey's Anatomy and I got the date wrong. Any fool can see that it's the 16th of November!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
What to do what to do what to do????????????????? How about a little soft shoe? Or a few bars of My Yiddische Mama, a song that never fails to make me weep. Oh--you'd rather have something a bit lighter, appealing to a wider audience, a little more commercial?
How about my report on NaNoWriMo? Do I have anywhere near the 25K words I should if I'm to make the deadline? Have I posted anything I've written? Have I written anything? No, No, and yes.
Here's the deal--commitment I believe we were calling it in an earlier post--I made to myself about NaNoWriMo. I never intended to even try for the 50K word count. I know myself as a writer too well, and that kind of a goal is certain writer's block for me. Instead, I promised myself that I would work on my NaNoWriMo project every day. I would make no judgments about it--the quality of the work or it's potential or even whether I was interested. I would just keep on writing every day for thirty days and at the end of that time, then I'd see what I have.
This I have done. And a funny thing happened on the way to Day 15. Something is taking shape here. There's a story that I'm telling that I had no idea I wanted to tell about people I've never thought about before. It's wonderfully weird this feeling of sitting back and reading what happens next.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
So here's what I did: sauteed chopped red onion and garlic until soft. Cut the turkey into bite size pieces and browned them with the onion/garlic. Added the berries and pepitas and doused the whole lot in about a cup of pomegranate juice. Then I waved a bottle of pomegranate syrup over the whole thing, maybe a couple of tablespoons (maybe more). I'm big on pomegranate these days as IT IS EXCRUCIATINGLY HEALTHY AND I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET. Cook the mess for a while until almost all the liquid is gone, the turkey is cooked and it looks all caramel-y. I cooked the brown rice in a broth made of pomegranate juice and water. Serve the Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey Whatsits on the rice. It is delicious: sweet, savory, crunchy, meaty...and excruciatingly healthy.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I give you (in an order that is obvious only to me and Blogger) Exhibits A, B, & C. On the left is A, a tile on which I have done a freehand ink and colored oil pencil drawing of a row of houses. I like this just as it is. But then I think--what's the point?
So to make a point, I laid down a green wash on the small canvas board and using the same media, did a field by a stream. I kinda liked this, but it still looked unfinished. As in, again, what's the point? Clearly something was missing that would pull it all together.
The tile is a three dimensional object and stuck out on the canvas, so I decided something was needed to balance it. That's when I got the idea to do a kind of mosaic using seed beads. I had a hank of multicolored green/brown beads that seemed to me to be perfect for simulating grass. So I attempted to artfully scatter said beads on the canvas.
But not before I truly fucked up the whole thing by drawing a big yellow sun. Why did I do this? I am so not a big yellow sun type person. I think I felt for a moment that as the houses were stylized, the sun would be stylized. But it wasn't. It was just big. And yellow. And it had rays, for christ's sake. Something had to be done.
So I glued gold E-beads to the sun. I hoped this would miraculously pull the entire thing together. It did not. I still had a tile with a freehand drawing of houses stuck on a small canvas board on which were now patches of glued on beads. I fiddled with some green wire, thinking perhaps some simulated grass would do the trick, but even I knew it wouldn't.
Then I spied some fancy pale blue very thin paper in my stash. And I decided, for ill or not, that I would cover the whole canvas with this. But because I wanted the tile, which I still like, to show through, I would wet the paper in the hopes that it would go translucent on the tile and give only a glimmer of the rest of the shit I had wrought beneath. On top of it all, I stuck some of the green wire I had been playing with
My hopes, as you can see by Exhibit C, to the upper right of this post, were dashed. And here's where the analysis begins: how long should one continue working on a project that obviously isn't working? I wrestled with this for a while, before deciding that I would let the Internet decide.
When do you say, enough is enough?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Spent last night at a MoveOn.org party to celebrate The Victory. A lot of happy people. Got up very early this AM to go to the monthly flea market in Sac. Very tired. Goodnight.....
Saturday, November 11, 2006
It's actually quite therapeutic--if you have to spend time with a prepubescent girl who is angry and refuses to talk, jigsaws are the way to go. And it's also a diagnostic tool, at least as far as I myself am concerned. I like small projects that I can finish handily. I like the process of figuring the pieces out, as long as I'm feeling competent. Once I get frustrated, however, I want to pound that piece into place willynilly of whether it fits or not.
The only problem, as far as I can tell, is--what do you do with the thing after it's finished? I know there are people who pour some glue substance on the puzzle and then hang it as art. Ummmm, I don't think that's my style. I could throw the whole thing away, but that seems so wasteful, especially when I know there are legions out there dying to do Wysocki's Cats. I did what I always do in such cases: saved it. I broke it up, put it back in its box, and shoved it in the back of the closet. When I find one of those legions, I will gladly give it to them/him/her/it.
Friday, November 10, 2006
The only new items were the grapevine wreath itself ($3.99 at Michael's) and the ribbon ($1.50 at Michael's). I am so thrifty...
1. I just did a tour through my new and revised blog roll and learned that Dooce is probably picking the person of the year . Jeeze, why isn't that me? Okay, never mind that I'm years past the tall, blonde, beautiful stage--and Esquire's "Thirty Under Thirty" will never toll for me again. Still, I have opinions. Ain't that worth something?
--Sure, Jane, and who would you like to see as the person of the year?
--Um, um, um...
2. M. Kennedy aka Mrs. Kennedy aka Fussy was a philosophy major in college too. And it did her every bit as much good as it did me.
3. I loves my little Counter. Not that I'm real clear on what the numbers mean. Every day I get to go and see where My Readers are from. Plano, Texas. Serbia & Montenegro. Atlanta, Georgia. Fleurieux-sur-l'Arbresle, France. Hey, guys, give a shout out for the smallness of the world!
4. Last night I had a dream in which I gave the following fully realized explanation of why I am not on a diet: Understanding the psychodynamics of overeating as I do, I know that artificially restricting my intake of calories is useless until I understand and deal with the issues that lead to the overeating.
Don't you just wish you were in my dreams.....!
5. Understanding dream analysis as I do....I realize that this dream is a reworking of yesterday's post on commitment.
6. Um, um, um....
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Two words came to me yesterday after I posted, and I was trying to figure out what was different when the words and ideas flowed. Commitment....Courage. When the writing is going well, I am committed to whatever it is I'm working on. And when I'm committed, I have the courage to say it my way, willy nilly of censors in my head.
Courage can be forced, I think. It can be as chain mail that one puts on, an act that enables one to go into battle. But commitment? How is it possible to make a grim determination to be committed? I must, I must, I must increase my...commitment. This is what I've done in the past, stayed at the computer, glued myself to the seat, hoping to break through. I can't bear to go through that again. It only works intermittantly, and it leaves me feeling such a failure.
So, how else to get 'round this commitment issue. Are there breathing exercises I can do? Yoga, perhaps? I've tried the gamut, it seems to me. I've done Morning Pages from The Artist's Way and zen sitting from Writing Down the Bones. I've taken Bird by Bird as my mantra, used it as a screen saver, in fact. They all work as well as they work, which is to say that they can't infuse commitment. It has to be there or the writing just fizzles out like a day old soda.
Or--can it be that one can fake commitment until it's real? Is it possible to commit intellectually and wait for the emotion to follow? Isn't this how arranged marriages work? Isn't this actually where the grit and hard work of any relationship lies?
I'm still trying to figure this out...
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I can't get into my writing these past few days, and I'm not sure why. Which makes it difficult to solve the problem. I'm impatient with creating these characters because they've lost a lot of their luster for me. Not for any reason, probably, other than that I'm actually writing them, rather than thinking about them. I'm always better and more eloquent in my mind than when I have to put the thoughts into words.
But even with my blog, I'm not totally there. I'm pushing the writing. And second-guessing myself. And erasing/deleting a lot.
What's going on? Here's what I think. Getting invested in the writing is too scarey for that part of me that always wants to be in the future, about to happen, all potential. That's why I would lie in bed at night thinking great thoughts, planning great deeds--only to wake up in the morning and forget the details. That's why last week, before I stopped working, I was full of energy for my NaNoWriMo project. Now it's put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is time -- and my defenses are in full sway.
You will not write, Jane. You will not have another interesting idea. You will not come up with that perfect turn of phrase or that on-spot metaphor. When you sit down to write, a hazy brown smog will float in front of your computer screen. Your back will hurt. You'll be hyper-aware of the heat your laptop is emitting. You will write through all this, hoping to break the spell, but to no avail. You will write in shortish, bluntish, tedious paragraphs. You will bore yourself. And ultimately, you'll give up. You'll wander off to do something else. Pay bills. Clean house. Pluck your eyebrows.
I'm thrilled that the Dems took over the House. I'm ecstatic that Nancy Pelosi will be the Speaker, and I'll be fascinated to see what happens when a strong, gutsy woman runs the place.
But can we ever repair the damage internationally that the Republicans have done???? I fear not.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
So let me deconstruct it: Blogrolling: A Meta-analysis of the Psychoanalytical Constructs of the Uber-literary Weblog List.
2. The Blogroll as Identity Construction
3. The Blogroll as Advertisement
4. The Blogroll as Paybacks
5. The Blogroll as Recommendation
Respondants may offer their own chapter subheadings. All papers will be available for analysis before the conference.
Monday, November 06, 2006
1. Why should it be 'what to write' rather than 'what to right'? What makes write right and right wrong in this context? Is this not what makes English neither wrong, nor right, but difficult?
2. Artificial flavoring sucks. My oatmeal has something in it that I think the manufacturers assumed would make it 'buttery'. My ass!
3. Yesterday I did my civic duty for my country and travelled to a nearby town in California to make phone calls to Maryland concerning their choice for Congress. I was not particularly successful as my cell phone got almost no signal and kept cutting out just as I was about to begin my spiel. I sense a conspiracy: Sprint must be a red cell phone service.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
By which I mean: what is your physical stance. By which I mean: what the fuck do you sit at, on and where is it?
I ask because I am, even as we speak, twitching and twisting and writhing. Adjusting my pneumatic chair (which has lost a lot of pneu, if you ask me, since my 255 pound husband started using it). I don't ever remember having such difficulty getting comfortable. Is it because I'm getting old??????
In one room of our house, the one known as The Office is the family PC sitting on a glass-topped dining table from Pier One. In another room of our house, the one know as The Third Bedroom is my above-mentioned office chair and a laptop deskie thing. I give you Exhibit A and B, above.
The dining table is too high. I tried to get a keyboard slider to put under it, but they all need to be screwed into something, which is a wee problem when the something is glass. The laptop desk does adjust but manually, which is awkward to say the least. There is something about this arrangement that forces me into a troll posture, all scrunched up like a player on the Yellow Brick Road. It is painful. And not conducive to creativity.
I imagine that all of you are quite comfortable and therefore effortlessly pouring the prose on the page, so to speak. Where are you doing it?
Saturday, November 04, 2006
It's called Looking For Libby. I started it right when I was looking for a job and there were whole bunches of things (tell me that's not articulate) I was feeling that I didn't want to put in ByJane. It think I explained why in the first post of LFL, so if you're interested, you can read it there. So why am I now coming clean? It has something to do with the level of comfort I now feel revealing myself here. And that's a function of my sense that I'm part of a community of women doing the same. And part of it is a function of my having gotten to that age where "I give a fuck" is a more ready response.
LFL is the place where I'm going to talk about two things: aging and mothers. If you're interested in either of those topics, check it out.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Okay, gather 'round while I give you the secret to Jane's Awarding-Winning Best Ever Pecan Pie: it's in the pie plate. Don't use a regular pie plate. You have to use a fluted tarte pan with a removable bottom.
and you'll need
1 unbaked pastry shell (You can make your own, if you like, but Martha and I, we prefer the Pillsbury pre-made dough.)
Now, take your pie dough round and lay it on top of the tarte pan. Gently, gently pat it down in into place, so that there is dough in all the flutes. Cut off the excess bits all the way around. Place the tarte pan on a cookie sheet for ease of handling.
Now, go forth and make the pecan stuff.
1 C granulated sugar
1-1/4 C dark corn syrup
4 large eggs
1/4 C butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 C pecans, broken
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1. Oven gets preheated to 350.
2. Cook sugar and corn syrup in a pan until the sugar dissolves.
3. Beat eggs lightly and pour into syrup mixture gradually and keep on beating while you do that (or else the eggs will scramble in the corn syrup).
4. Add the butter while beating (I cut it up before hand into bits so it melts easily)
5. Stir in the pecans.
6. Stir in the vanilla (did I mention that you should never ever use anything but Real Vanilla as the Imitation stuff tastes like shit and why would you want to spoil your cooking thusly?)
Here's the second part of my secret: You're not going to use most of the syrup. Yes, it will pain you, as it does me, to throw that which you have labored over away, but that's the trick of the trade. So, to continue
7. Use a slotted spoon to transfer all the pecans to your waiting pie crust.
8. Ladle the syrup onto the pecans until it just tops the crust.
9. Balance carefully on your way to the over and bake for about 45 minutes or until set.
Cool pie. Remove the pie on the removable tarte pan bottom and place on a serving plate. Maybe put a doily under it. Maybe not.
Serve with whipped cream (the real stuff, not the aerosol shit). Portion numbers depend on how big you slice it, but this is an 8 or 9 inch pie.
Whew! That was not easy. My hat is off to cookbook writers. It takes less time to make the damn pie than it did to give the instructions. Next year, photos will accompany each stage.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
But I digress. As is my wont.
Something happened to either my computer or my template or my blog or (pick another)about a week ago and graphics that I upload from Blogger are not appearing. Or at least they're not appearing on my laptop. Which does seem to indicate that it's the problem of this Toshiba laptop, doesn't it.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I'm curious to see how the six month (six month?!) stint of regular employment has affected my freelancer sensibility. For one, I got up at 7:30 this morning, and it's now 9:30 and I've started my NoMoWriMo stint, read some of my favorite blogs, stripped the bed, and here I am, both fingers and brain at the ready.
I don't anticipate a real problem with NaBloPoMo (except getting my fingers to untwist when I type it), since as everyone knows I am never without something to say about anything and everything.
It's the NaNoWriMo that I'll have to push my nose to the whetstone about. (Yeah, I know, that'd give me one helluva sharp nose.) I have deliberately ignored the word count as too intimidating. When I did it last year, I spent half of my writing time figuring out what my word and page count had to be. And when I fell behinder and behinder and behinder, I just mentally hung myself and gave up.
In my defense, I must say, however, that I only learned of NaNoWriMo last year at the end of October. So I'll remove the rope from my neck and admire my courage in throwing myself into a freakin' project that called for writing a novel in a month. As if I haven't been trying to write a novel in a lifetime.
This year I come to the project prepared. I have characters, I have plot (ish), I have tone, I have setting--and now I have some 300 words already. My goal is to write every day. Not to rewrite. To see if I can use the deadline to quell all the critics in my head. If I end November with a first draft that I may or may not want to revise, I'll be happy.
And if I end November on NaBloPoMo with an Audience that justifies the capital A, I'll be happy there too.