Monday, December 31, 2007
So I'm going to bed and tomorrow will dawn, tra la tra la. I'll hie over to Knitique for the annual New Year's Knitting Extravaganza, which begins at six a.m. I don't expect I'll be one of those waiting for Danielle et al to unlock the door. But I'll traipse in around eight or so, and I'll knit some and wander through the store and buy more yarn and books and maybe a thingie to learn to spin. I am still working on my bag of goodies from last year's sale--but I'm also almost done with several projects that have been hanging around for, oh, nine or ten years, so I'm entitled, as all the knitters will atttest.
Goodnight and god bless (small g and large G), in whatever way you think best. I'll see you all anon and anon and anon.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The siren call of Blog 365 is whining in my ear. Do it. Do it. Blog every day for a year, no matter what.
The hell you say, I say to the siren. Don't you remember NaBloPoMo of '07? You never made it past day six.
But the siren will not be silenced. Your motives in NaBloPoMo ’07 were impure; that is why you failed.
The siren, albeit he/she/it sounds an awful lot like Yoda is right. I did NaBloPoMo ‘07 not because I wanted to see if I could blog every day for a month—I’d already done that in ’06—but because (a) everyone else was doing it; (b) I wanted to be part of everyone else; (c) I had some idea it might improve my stats and thereby and fore my income (not to mention my ego), or (d) all of the above.
So what’s different now, Big Guy, I ask the siren. Who answers thusly:
I am not a guy, you silly twit. I am you, your inner voice, and if you are female, then so, thusly, am I.
And I sayeth: What’s different with Blog 365 is that it scares the shit out of you. To do something every day for a year—
Oh, no, I can’t I can’t. I can’t manage that kind of consistency. You know I can’t. I’ll fall down on the job. I’ll fuck up. I’ll get blocked and depressed and pissed off with the world.
Probably. But you know and I know that if you don’t work through this now, you never will. And at your age, my dear, how many chances will you have left. Not to mention that at your age, my dear, who the hell cares.
So now the siren is doing Rhett Butler, but frankly, he-she-it is right. I have a don’t-know-where-it-comes-from sense that this is a challenge I have to take on . I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I don’t know how bloodied and bowed—or triumphant—I’ll be at the end, but I’m signing on the dotted line, as it were. You’ll see something (or other) from me every day for the next year, this I swear.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
My initial intention was to maintain the integrity of my living room, and thus, I took the bone and the dog outside. At first she merely sniffed at the thing, but soon her doggie instincts came out full force (not to mention her gluttony; the thing was loaded with meat), and she took it in her mouth (which was no mean feat, considering the size of the thing), and she trotted off...to the front door. Where she stood expectantly, because--wah, wah, wah, it was coooooolld outside and sorta wet and you know how I feel about getting wet.
I do, I do, Molly my love. And what careth I about the integrity of my living room, not to mention the state of my lime green love seat when your pleasure is involved.
For those of you less into video than stills, I offer A Day in the Life of a Dog with a Bone in pictures:
INT. LIVING ROOM.
Longshot of dog on sofa snarfing bone.
CU to dog on sofa snarfing bone
CU to dog on sofa showing off somewhat-snarfed bone
CU on what remains of bone after it has been snarfed dry.
Establishing shot of dog reclining on three pillows after successfully snarfing bone.
Friday, December 28, 2007
I usually do delete when I get Pass It On emails. But this one, this one I thought was worth the effort. I remember how our soldiers were treated during and after Viet Nam. That, more even than the war itself, was shameful. Whatever you think about Iraq and our role there, you must remember that these are our kids fighting over there, not some enemy spawn of the Bush Administration. Look at that last photo of the soldiers sleeping on the road by the tanks. See how they sleep? I bet the mother of that one who's got his hand between his knees would tell you, "That's exactly how he slept in his crib."
I HOPE I DO NOT HEAR OF ANYONE BREAKING THIS ONE OR SEE DELETED
This is a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq . Pass it on to everyone and pray.
SLEEP LAST NIGHT?
Bed a little lumpy...
Toss and turn any...
Wish the heat was higher...
Maybe the a/c wasn't on...
Had to go to the john..
Need a drink of water...
Yes. It is like that!
Count your blessings, pray for them,
Talk to your Creator
the next time when...
the other car cuts you off and you must hit the brakes,
or you have to park a little further from Walmart than you want to be,
or you're served slightly warm food at the restaurant,
or you're sitting and cursing the traffic in front of you,
or the shower runs out of hot water,
Think of them...
Protecting your freedom!
DO NOT DELETE-PLS PASS ON -Message from Iraq
The proud warriors of Baker Company wanted to do something to pay tribute To our fallen comrades So since we are part of the only Marine Infantry Battalion left in Iraq the one way that we could think of doing that is By taking a picture of Baker Company saying the way we feel. It would be awesome if you could find a way to share this with our fellow countrymen. I
was wondering if there was any way to get this into your papers to let the world know that "WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN" and are proud to serve our country." Semper Fi
1stSgt Dave Jobe
The attached photo was forwarded from one of the last U.S. Marine companies in Iraq . They would like to have it passed to as many people as possible, to let the folks back home know that they remember why they're there and that they remember those who've been lost.
Send this to 13 people in the next 15 minutes. Go.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
One majorly (as they say) reason I've done (tense intentional) ByJane is because I want to play with the big guys, the A-listers. Not because I particularly like them (some I do; some--eh) or because I have anything really in common with them, thirty- and forty-something mommybloggers that they are. I want to play with the big guys because, pure and simple, that will signal to all and sundry, not the least of which is moi, that I have great worth. This is so obviously "ill" that I need say no more.
Another reason, which is nestled right in tight with the one above, is that I want to make money writing. Now I could, as I have done before, work to do it the traditional way: query, article, rewrite, revise rewrite, revise revised rewrite, wait for pay. Can you tell what fond memories I have of freelancing? So one would think I would do most anything to avoid it. Yes, one would. Unless one knew my uber-contrary ways.
Here are the things that I have been told/asked to do on my blog so as to make it PAY: (1) Focus on just one topic. I am constitutionally incapable of doing this. I have ADD for chrissake, people; my focus is in the best of times scattered. And besides, I don't wanna. And besides that, shouldn't the sharpness of my prose make up for the lack of focus? I mean, some days I reread what I've written and I think, hot damn, that's good. I wait for the world to beat a path to my door and...and...and...I'm still waiting. Then I think, hey , maybe it's not so good, maybe I'm fooling myself, maybe I've lost It. And then I'm all depressed and sad and who wants to write cheery things in that state of mind.
(2) Write about the breakup of my marriage. Do you have any idea how my stats went up when I first broke the news? Not to mention that I got a contract to write about divorce for a site that either never got going or is swinging without me. Because, frankly, I'm not so good at putting that ironic twist on someone else's, my soontobex's, psyche. I figure he's entitled to do his thing without my commenting on it and drawing the world's attention to it and creating subtle jokes and cynical snipes about it. And since all of that is one half of the story, I sorta can't write about the breakup of my marriage. Even if it would pay handsomely to do so. And maybe, even, make me an A-lister (because even I realize that Divorce is a focus, a single subject, that elusive grail). Not writing about it also means that some days what is on my mind is a great big ole elephant in the blog. A subtle beige one, with floppy ears. About which I will say no more because who wants to write cheery things in that state of mind.
Okay, the symmetry of these two final sentences is very nice and all, but really leads to the impression that I'm walking around wounded, dragging my limp and shattered ego/heart behind me. Well, t'ain't so, McGee. Generally speaking, I'm pretty up these days. I'm working on stuff and there's movement and life is good. Maybe because I'm working on Stuff. The advantage to having this shrink education (not to mention the wisdom of, ahem, the elders) is that I really can see my Stuff. I can lay it out and go, Ohho so that's what that's about...Hmmmm, very interesting. And then I think, oh, great for the blog. And then I think, why do I have to turn my every insight into a blog post? Am I living my life to live it--or to blog it?
And that brings me right back to the Original Ill--blogging as a manifestation of an untoward ego need.
Wooow! who said that?
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I'm not sure why. Even more, I'm not sure I care.
I seem to have been (past tense, you'll note) spending an inordinate amount of time reading and commenting and writing and commenting. To the exclusion of things that might improve my life and state of mind more. Like decorating my bathroom. Ironing my cotton shirts. Fixing up my art studio. Making my writing office a cozy, inspirational nest.
I'm not reading any more blogs where I don't feel it's a two-way connection. I'm resigning my voyeurship rights to those blogs, well-done though they may be, that are group gropes. Pioneer Woman, you're history to me; I will no longer allow you to depress me with your too-perfect life. Mommy-bloggers, unless I know you personally, forget it; your kid's snot is your affair, s'not mine. A-listers, if you have over fifteen commenters, don't look to me to be the sixteenth. My attention span is not such that I can even get through them all and when I do, jesus! someone has already made that pithy comment that ByJane is known for.
My blog's third--or is it fourth (my how time flies, etc etc etc)--was the day before yesterday. I guess it's not inappropriate that I'm asking myself: why am I still doing this? And the answer is, I don't know, but I'm thinking long and hard on it.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
There's a texture about the sky in this shot that reminds me of watered silk, moire--and I can almost feel it between my fingers.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
If you go to that site, you'll see the back of my head in the next-to-the-last photo. Isn't my haircut great? I spent several days before my trip polishing up that old investigative reporter's elbow so I could find the wonder woman who has cut my hair in LA. Christina Cesna ("as in the plane") and she's at Fabric in BH. And I love her. Because she makes me a reasonable facsimile of presentable.
At the party, I talked to...here's the obligatory listing of fellow bloggers:
Whit, who is first this time because he was forgotten last time, even though he let me slip and slide down the hill and I broke my crown and didn't get home in one piece;
Kevin & his trusty mate, Will, who is a gentleman, even if he's in love with Kevin, who did end up ass over heels on the way to the hot tub when all and sundry were going for that final final drip through;
the lovely Kim who was svelte in a garment cunningly decorated for her by her oldest son, who surely will be on some Bravo reality show so remarkable was his ability to get the chocolate splotches just so;
Neilochka, known throughout the blogosphere as the consort of the lovely Sophia;
not to forget--ha!--Liz who really is goddessy everyday; and the kettlerattler
and the faithful mates, Trish and Karen and Will, and...and...and...
my publicist and my lawyer and my greengrocer, without whom none of this would have been worth the price of a bag of Boston Bibb not to mention those three stalks of celery that have been dogging my steps, stalking me you might say....and...and...and...--!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I, however, prefer to use it as a catch all title for the crap and crud that floats about in my mind, as well as all the rest of the stuff that's in there. Such as:
- So you thought, some of you, that I was writing a legitimate post about Hollywood. Ha! Can you not tell great art when you read it? That is the beginning of the thing I have been working on for quite a while now, and I decided to share it with all five of you. Feel free to comment and critique; I can take it (shure).
- I love Julianne Hough. She is so incredibly cute. And happy. Do you think she ever has a bad day? She makes me want to start wearing false eyelashes again. And face the world with a Halleluyah glow. And diet. And spend more time doing Pilates. And become a Mormon, because that seems to be something to do with dancing talent, not to mention having huge families.
- When I find a new blog to read, I put it in my Tryouts folder on my Google Reader. Then if I like it after a while, it goes to My Daily Read folder, which is just at your lower right. I am a picky picky reader. Remember, I've been ruint by years of reading Bad Freshman Comp papers. So not many people get a pass out of the Tryouts. If they're just okay and I read them when I'm hungry for internet communication, then they go into the And I Sometimes Read folder. Yesterday, for the first time ever, a blog made it from Tryouts to Daily Read in less than 24 hours. It's The Daily Coyote, (thanks to Dooce) and I'm in love with him. Go have a look and you will be too.
- Here's a question for you: what's with all the contests going on in the Blogosphere? Is this not a form of bribery? Read my blog, comment and you'll get entered in the sweepstakes of the century. And some of these contests have HUGE prizes. Like Ree of Confessions of a Pioneer Woman who gave out a $500 Amex card for someone naming a cow she took a picture of. Five hundred dollars! That is not chicken feed--or cow shit, for that matter. Is she just really rich; does ranching pay that much? Or does she get a little payback from the cigarette guys every time she mentions Marlboros? What's the story here? Enquiring minds want to know....
Monday, December 03, 2007
If you made a list of all the different kinds of places to rent in Hollywood you might end up with some sort of architectural history of apartment dwelling in the 20th century. There are your former mansions from the teens and 20s cut down to a rat's nest of one- and two- room flats. The linoleum in them tends to peel up at the corners, and there's a fusty smell about them that one could call Eau de Old Man. In the 30s they built tall apartment buildings, modeled after those on
And then there’s the likes of DeMille Dwellings, where I live. It’s a clustered hodgepodge of duplexes and triplexes that share a central garden feature--and not much else. It was built in the late twenties and is, depending on who you talk to, either a relic of
You can't really see the Dwellings from the street. The entrance to it is a brick portico, covered with scraggily ivy and one die-hard
The fountain doesn't work any more, of course. Or maybe it does, but no one has bothered to try it. It has become a gigantic ashtray cum garbage can. People throw their trash in it as if they were pitching pennies at Trevi. In some ways, I itch to clean it up. I have a thing about old things and restoring them and letting them live again. But I don't expect to be here long enough to really care, to get invested enough to be willing to stick my hands, begloved though they be, into the layers of detritus in that fountain.
I live in Number 3 1/4. It’s a studio bungalow squeezed in behind Number 3-1/2. There is no Number 3.
Friday, November 30, 2007
I hear this song and I'm in the back seat of a car, at the tail end of a double date. We're on our way to the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, just to walk around, hang out, see whatever there was to see. I don't remember who my date was. No one important, then or later. It's winter, cold, and was it really raining or is it that song puts rain into my mind? I don't know. Memory is a funny thing, isn't it. The boy I'm wondering about has dumped me, that I know. Alan. My first short blond. My first kiss. My first makeout. My first breakup.
CUT -- This is just not working. I'm trying to get myself back in the moment to write an amazingly evocative trip back in time and it simply isn't happening. Sorta like the orgasm that just won't roll over...or the sneeze that dies before it's out.
Part of it, I know, is the the bevy of prancing girls circling Del Shannon. Are they doing The Pony? Or just making like a carousel. And if so, to what end? And isn't their hair bouncy? As if they're refugees from a Breck commercial.
That's what we looked like in the Sixties. Exactly. Friends today see the photos of me back then and gush, "You were so good-looking. The boys must have just loved you." Well, no, they didn't. The boys loved the blondes; we brunettes were always consigned to the second banana role. Think Betty and Veronica. Or Sandra Dee and Susan Kohner.
Besides, I was too "ethnic". Read, Jewish. Not WASP. The Other.
And also, too smart. Smart was not in then. Smart came about five years later.
I always was ahead of my time...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Why, you might ask. Because, I might say, as you my faithful readers well know, I'm a magazine junkie. This year, however, due to the absolute dearth of income coming into my house, I've decided I must, absolutely must cut down. So I let this one lapse
because really, now that I don't live in West Hollywood anymore, it's just not the same. Then it was my neighborhood rag and I would check it out just to see who and what was around the corner at Fred Segal's or Revolution....
and this one
because really, although I'm still a makeup and face care aficionado, there just isn't enough new stuff out there to catch my interest. I have read so many articles over so many years about face care, wrinkles, botox, plastic surgery that I could write them (hey, that's an idea: magazine editors...call me!). What I could really write is any of the features about the Sixties, because, guys, I was there! I actually walked the streets of London with Twiggies drawn down my cheeks, and trust me, reading about it just ain't the same.
These decisions to bail on the subscriptions are, I realize, a recognition of my having passed out of the demographic pool of their readers. I feel as if that passed out should be accompanied by a dirge because it really says something significant to me. What, I'm not quite sure, but I am certain it's significant. And sad. But also truthful. [Trust me to make a really big deal about magazine subscriptions....!]
And I had decided to let my sub to Wired go because, I dunno, there's just so much cool stuff in it, and it gets the geek in me all jazzed up, but then I fall flat to the earth knowing I can never catch up with the knowledge base enough to really be a player. Then last night I started reading the December issue, the one that arrived with a big THIS IS YOUR LAST ISSUE card attached. It's got such a pretty cover
but when I opened it and started paging through, I was struck by how this has become a guy's magazine. The Dillard's ads are all for men's clothing and the Garmin ad features a hot babe. Okay, that's fine. I've subscribed to other men's magazines, not for the ads, but for the articles. Here, though, is what I got at Wired this month: The "What's Inside" feature deconstructs athlete's foot cream and the How To section shows me four cool ways to lace my shoes. What's next, Fifty Ways to Blow A Fart? There's an article on aging, in which 20 is over the hill because only teenage thumbs are adept enough to win text-messaging competitions. Um, guys, who's your audience here or, as my college roommate might say, "who's editing this shit?"
So, why, you're still wanting to know, did I sign on again for another year. For "Jargon Watch" and "Alpha Geek". For "Wired/Tired/Expired". For the "Wish List"--and, oh yeah, the articles that I might get around to reading now that my time isn't taken up with the likes of InStyle and Allure.
Maybe not good enough reasons. But maybe I'm just not ready yet to hang up my geek-credentials, such as they are.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I was listening to the TV the other day. Literally. PBS was running one of their interminable pledge drives which feature a bar here and a chord there of songs from yesteryear. They have the original groups on, or what is left of them, to sing the full version of the hit, and the station splices that in between the pitches. I love the music. What I don't love is that the singers have aged so, so, ungracefully. By which I mean: they've gotten old. Lined, wrinkled, puffy, gray. Can I tell you how depressing it is to see the heart throb of your youth looking just like someone's grandpa? The only thing worse is the frequent cuts to the audience who are all bopping along to the song the same as they did the year it came out. Except they are really lined, wrinkled, puffy, gray. Probably, one must conclude, as is one, a thought which instantly stops one's own bopping on one's sofa.
So it is that I listen to these programs, but I don't watch. And thus am I able to preserve a modicum of self-delusion. That self-delusion enabled me to focus on the songs. It occurred to me as I was listening to the television that every major decade in my life has been marked by a specific genre of music. Wouldn't that be a cool frame for a memoir? A memoir! Shit, I'm not old enough--. Oh, I guess I am.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The brined chicken was not successful. Despite being all nicely browned, crispy even, on the outside, it was still pink--oh, yuck!--on the inside. I had to zap it in the microwave which, of course, left it dry. I'm wondering if brining does something to poultry that affects cooking time and temp. I find myself, in this current bout of cooking mania, very interested in the chemistry involved. It's as if--no, it is!--that I've suddenly discovered that cooking is really a chain of chemical reactions. Unfortunately chemistry was my worst, absolute worst subject in school...
The product of my weeding on Sunday: I chopped and trimmed and cut and eventually pulled out a dead bush . It was the sister to the bush below on the left. Why did one live and prosper while the other died? I'm not sure. Maybe it was the incredibly invasive vining weed that had wrapped itself around and through the bush. Or maybe it was just Its Time.
This is the clear space that's left, and now I get to decide what I want to put there. I'm thinking bulbs--I love hyacinths. And maybe herbs. I'm not sure.
When I typed that first sentence above, it came out as , "The product of my wedding on Sunday..." Today, actually, is the anniversary of my wedding nineteen years ago. Do I regret it? No. Do I regret its ending? In some ways, yes and in some ways, no. It is what it is and I am what I am, and today I'm happy with that.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I'm calling it, in a streak of originality, Cabbage & Apple Side Dish. I made it to eat on it's own, but it would be terrific as a Thanksgiving dish. And it's cheap. And easy. And I made it up.
Here's what to do:
- Chop 1 purple onion (nice color, doncha think?) and a couple of cloves garlic and brown them in some oil (I used walnut, but olive would do as well). I got them quite brown, some were actually crispy, but you don't have to do that. You can just saute them till they're limp or golden or however you like your onion/garlic mixture.
- Add 2-3 T of butter (sweet, please, is there any other kind to cook with? d'oh?)
- Cut up half a cabbage into chunks or slivers or however you want to slice 'em. Add to skillet (I did tell you to do this in a large skillet or dutch oven, didn't I). You can use any kind of cabbage. Mine was the frilly kind because--it just was.
- Peel, core and slice a tart apple and mix it in with the whole thing. Do some salt and peppering, if you like. Cover the pot and stir occasionally. Oh, did I mention this should be on a medium fire?
- Cook until the cabbage and the apples are limp. Serve. Eat.
- This is an expandable recipe. Just add more of everything to feed more people. Mine provided a side dish for four (me and three more of me.).
Thursday, November 15, 2007
In the meantime....I retired, as you realize, from NaBloPoMo the other day. The sheer and utter tedium of coming up with blog posts that weren't pathtetically tedious was too much for me. And besides, I never win anything. And besides, my stats were/are down and I can blame that on NaBloPoMo, which has moved from a cool, cute, sorta in-thing to do to a huge Ning event enlisting thousands of people.
Too, all the time I was spending on fripperies for my blog to entertain all three of you who are out there (and thank you so much for your comments, you three) is time that I am not spending on my own writing. My own writing: is the blog not my own writing? Well, yes, but to what end? It has lately seemed the equivalent of tossing down yogurt-covered peanuts: yeah, there's protein there; yeah, it's yogurt and not chocolate; but when all is said and done, has it really been worth the peristaltic action entailed? Nah....
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
So--how closely are you reading me, class? Not close enough, it seems. Did no one realize that I had two Gs? G for gratitude and G for garden. I wonder what other sneaky little errors I'm deliberately planting this month. I wonder....do you?????
Thursday, November 08, 2007
This will not be a touchy feely post. I am not one of those souls who wanders 'round her garden being nurtured by the nurturing nature of things green and growing. For one, there are also things brown and gray and wiggly being nurtured. I once wrote an article about harvesting snails from one's garden. It was a how-to, written in the days when I took any writing gig that paid (okay, so those days have not ended). I researched the thing and as with my articles about things sexual, my readers benefited only from my research and not from my experience. So when I tell you that harvesting snails is no big deal as long as you put them in corn meal to eat and shit for some amount of time (which you can probably find out by googling, or I could dig up the article) before you actually eat the suckers. And I use that last word advisedly.
But back to my garden....self-analysis is a 24/7 thing with me, so over the years, I've learned this about myself via my garden.
1. I am a process person. I love the planning, the digging, the planting, the weeding. To actually harvest whatever, eh, not really. I no longer grow green beans because they get so big so fast that I could never keep up with them. One year I actually made green bean pesto, which was no small feat. And people ate it. Which just proves that garlic, basil, and a good olive oil will make a decent dish of any old thing.
2. I don't believe in watering. If those fuckers, whatever they are, can't grow on their own, they don't deserve to, is my motto. Consequently I have more and better and bigger tomatoes than anyone around. Because tomatoes don't like a lot of water. Which means they deserve to grow in my garden. Other vegetables, not so much, I confess. Like cucumbers. But chard--I once grew a magic potion of rainbow chard. Of course, at the time I didn't know what to do with it, so it just kinda bolted out in the ground, a blessing of red and yellow and green, until it became brown and moldy.
3. I am an organic gardener. Mainly because those chemicals scare me and I'm always sure I'll shoot them in my face--or in Molly's. So if there are pests in my garden, I take care of them naturally. I spray whiteflies with soapy water. I get whoever I can to pluck the tomato worms off the vines. I tried drowning snails in beer, but frankly, my heart broke for the poor unwitting snail, inching his way into that good smelling stuff, working so hard, covering so little ground in so long a time and then--splat, he falls into beer and can't swim and drowns and leaves all his poor snail children alone in the dark. The same with snails and salt. I couldn't bear to watch them writhe. Why not just crucify them? You'd only need one nail.
4. I love weeding. I may save this for W is for... because really, what I would reveal deserves its own post.
5. I rarely if ever sit in my garden. My excuse is that it's too hot, too cold, too wah wah wah, but really, I think it's a character issue. What I like about my garden is the making of it. It's the process, I tell you, not the product. My garden here in Elk Grove is beautiful. As well it should be since I paid Hugo some $10K (okay, that may be a bit high) to put it in. It's got a stone waterfall and a gazebo. Actually, the electronics on the waterfall have frozen, so this summer particularly it has threatened to be a little den of mosquito inequity. And the gazebo--well, it's not fastened down and on windy days, it walks. But the rest of the garden is gorgeous: rose bushes and Meyer lemons, peaches and sweet peas, and them there tomatoes that I mentioned above. And, oh, the grape vines. These were D's special request. I think he plucked one grape, and I got stuck with the rest. Typical. I cut them off the vine and thought I'd make wine, or jelly, but, eh! they ended up rotting. So now I've got huge vines and what the fuck am I supposed to do with them. I look at them and think--grape vine wreathes, esty--I should cut and twirl or twist them and then sell them. I should. I should. I should.
But I won't. Maybe I'll get Bob, who is the Fijian replacement for the Mexican Hugo, to cut them down. Maybe I will.
But probably I won't.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Gratitude is a culturally-specific expression. Here in America, we used to say "you're welcome," in response to someone's thanks. I'm not sure what that means, the etymology as it were. It just is. Or was.
Now, when someone says 'thank you', people say 'no problem.' Huh?
Thanks for the memories. No problem.
Thanks for nuthin'. No problem.
Thanks a bunch. No problem.
Unless you're affected with Spanglish, in which case you would say, "no problemo."
In Britain, they don't say you're welcome or no problem. They say, 'thank you' back again. Sometimes this results in a kind of parody.
Brit 1: Ta ever so for that whatever it was.
Brit 2: Thank you.
Brit 1: Thank you.
Brit 2: No, thank you.
Yank: No problem.
I can see using No Problem if someone is thanking you for bringing in the mail. Or taking out the garbage. Then you really do mean "it was no problem for me to do this small (or large) act of kindness for you." But when the guy on NPR is thanking the Minister of Diddlysquat for appearing on the show, especially at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m., the correct response is not No Problem.
No problem is not a gracious way of acknowledging that a fellow human has marked some action of yours as positive. No problem is just another way of saying, what the fuck, and as we learned from yesterday's post, dropping the F bomb ain't cool.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
But fuck, no. I'm not too old to use it. It is a wonderfully eloquent word, sometimes the only one that will actually do the job. But one must use it wisely and well. Some people overuse it. One fellow I used to know used it as an all-purpose adjective, adverb, and gerund. He talked something like this: "Hey, whassup, motherfucker? How the fuck are you? And what the fuck's with those fucking 49-ers. Can they not fucking throw a fucking ball, or what. Hey, how about another fucking cocktail to wash down those fucking peanuts you've been fucking eating...." etc etc etc
His use of the word was too, too much. It lost it's meaning. People with small children avoided him. I've lost touch with him, told him, basically, to fuck off.
The judicious use of the word fuck, on the other hand, can rouse a crowd. Or convince someone that you really, really mean something. Or be exactly the right turn-on-one's-heel mutter.
Some people are very much against the use of fuck and other such words in blogs and other public places. I think I read the other day a post and many comments on just such a topic. I think I read it because I can't really remember because I was skimming posts and--what the fuck!--if one is writing that using the f-bomb is not good, right, or just then obviously one is not writing to me. Fuck no.
Monday, November 05, 2007
All I can think of today that begins with an E is--Ego. As in, mine is wanting lots of readers with lots of comments. But that means Effort. So E is for effort. I can toss these puppies off in a very short time (oh, you can tell?), but the really good posts, they take a while to write. At least for me. Of course I'm sure that everyone else whose writing I admire just tosses their puppies off, which is why I try to do it too, because--hey, hey, hey, we're back to E for Ego.
I just leaned over my desk and saw this written on a piece of paper: Eco Arts and Crafts. Oh, yeah, that. How did I not think of that as an E? This topic that has been of such great interest to me in the past month? I could answer that question, but E for Ego won't allow me to.
It's amazing what a stern fellow E for Ego is. He runs a tight ship, he does, allowing only certain minuscule pieces of himself to slip out and by and into the public domain. At least he thinks that only minuscule pieces slip out, but maybe whole chunks of him are obvious from even five miles away. You might wonder why, considering that I'm female, he's not. I dunno. Interesting, that. Is this a gender issue, I wonder? Was I too much my father's son, and not enough Daddy's little girl? Maybe.
It is true that I have what is considered a masculine approach to a lot of things in life. That is, I hone right in on the problem, analyze it, and come up with viable solutions. This is not exactly what you want in a touchyfeely therapist, is it? Here's your problem, here's how to solve it, go home and don't come back until you've done it.
So E is for Ego, and Effort, and Eco-Art. And for the last, look at this:
This is a real working radio. You can find it and buy it here. That's the site for African Wire Arts; check it out.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
When the house was really dirty, my mother used to say, "The Board of Health is going to come over." I think this was not merely metaphoric for her, as she grew up on the Lower East Side where dirt and vermin and the Board of Health were probably a real part of people's lives. Not that my Grandmother's house was dirty. Not that my Grandmother had a house, actually. My mother, her parents and her six siblings all lived in an apartment, a flat I supposed you'd call it, although why is not really clear to me. It was on Houston Street, which is pronounced House-ton, as any decent New Yorker knows. I don't remember much about my Grandparents flat, but I'm sure it was very clean. Even though the one time I went into the bathroom that I can recall, there was schmutz in the tub. I was probably six at the time and I can still see that schmutz. And I'm still shocked.
Today I looked at my own house and immediately thought, "The Board of Health is going to come over." So I washed the floor. Or at least, part of it.
Here's the thing about my floors: they are a tile that is meant to replicate stone. Here, have a look:
Now the nice thing about these floors is that they don't show dirt. Mainly because they are already the color of dirt, in all its various shades. But the not nice thing is that they have nooks and crannies, and somehow I don't feel as if I'm able to really get them clean. The other not nice thing about these floors is that they are a two-step job to "do". First, one must somehow remove all extraneous debris and then one must apply the washing stuff to the floors. This is exhausting. When D was still an active member of this household, he would vacuum the floors from time to time. Which was about as often as I was prepared to mop them. But now I must do both steps myself and--I'm tired...my back hurts...I don't wanna.
I was reading some blogs the other day and the writers were bragging about how they got down on their hands and knees to scrub their floors. But then they said, oh so modestly, but my kitchen is just a little bitty postage stamp, so it's not a hardship. Well, my kitchen is not a postage stamp. My house is over 2000 square feet and of that, only the three bedrooms are carpeted. That's a shit load of tile to take care of and frankly, my dear, I often don't give a damn.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
...and yes, I'm seeing them again.
...and yes, I'm questioning myself again.
The clients that I thought I wanted to treat when I was in school--the poor, the needy, the really fucked-up--well, maybe I was wrong. Maybe when I insisted that the one kind of client I never wanted was the Middle Class Woman Who Whined, maybe anyone with an ounce of understanding about things psychodynamic could see that this was a huge case of countertransference. Which none of my instructors thought to mention to me.
Basically what it means is that I didn't want to treat myself. Or people like me. Who I seem to think are weak, sniveling people with weak, sniveling issues to deal with. Like wobbly self-esteem and shitty mates and tedious workplace traumas. No, I wanted the real thing: Bring me your psychotic, your medicated, your traumatized, personality-disordered huddled masses--and I will wave my torch of empathy and grant them instant calm, if not bliss.
Well, ha! And ha! again. The huddled masses--they are so incredibly complicated, not to mention relatively hopeless, and sometimes scarey. They live in neighborhoods that are alien, in houses that are so tiny and ramshackle as to be barely there. If they live in houses at all, because remember, my very first client was a schizophrenic homeless woman.
I loved her. Not literally, but all the parts of her that were middle class, and dealing with a overbearing mother. But not so much when she started getting into the groups of martyred soldiers who were following her down the street, beckoning to her from doorways, trying to entice her into a life of sin. I knew delusions when I heard them. But from a middle class woman? Was it possible--? Nah, it was just me, middle class me, having a major countertransference issue.
Countertransference is a good thing and a bad thing. It's part of what enables psychotherapy at all, but damn, I'd rather not have my shit forced in my face where I can't ignore it. But my choices, it seems, are either to face it--or find an excellent excuse when I don't want to be a therapist after all.
Friday, November 02, 2007
B is for -- Bacon. Should a Jew eat bacon? No, tis an absolute prohibition against eating the meat of things whose hoofs aren't cloved...or is it those that are? Whatever, bacon is from the pig and the pig is the animal that, according to the Torah, has the wrong kind of hoofs...or is it hooves? Thus, Jews are forbidden to have any meat that was at one time a part of a pig. That means bacon. And ham. And pork chops. And pork roast. And also, I think, head cheese.
Now, let me tell you a little secret about Jews and pigs. We love 'em. Particularly bacon. And ham. Perhaps we don't consider that once the meat is cured, that is salted and brined and whatever, it is still of a pig. Pork itself? Not so much. I must confess that my stomach does a mini-heave at pork. Like my grandfather is maybe playing with my kishkes. But that's just me.
Pork is a big deal, I hear, in Israel, where they call it White Steak. As in (and this was told to me as a truly true fact), the bar mitzvah boy wanted only white steak at his reception. Pork is also a big deal at Chinese restaurants, which are the restaurants of choice for Jews looking for a night away from the kitchen. Look at Jerry Seinfeld, how often you saw him picking and poking with chopsticks. And the Rosses across the street when I was growing up: Thursday night was the cook's night off, and they had Chinese. Sweet 'n Sour Pork. Yum. In a gelatinous sauce that is comprised mostly of cornstarch and red dye #2. You don't even have to be particularly adept with chopsticks to jam one into a piece of fried pork and bring it successfully to your mouth.
But this isn't about P for pork; it's a treatise on B for bacon. Which only happens tangentially to be a function of the pig animal. Those of you who are not British or Canadian, you will be surprised to learn that the Brits have a panoply of bacon cuts. Bacon is a really big deal to them. And they don't cook it very well. In fact, they barely cook it at all, so what you get most often is a hunk of ham with some fat attached to it. Not bacon at all, as in American bacon, which is crisp, the fat being cooked away to perfection. I would say that this is just another thing that we do better than they (and, hey, I just said it), but then my friends who are British will come back at me with a harsh comment or two. And they are a snarky lot...
So forget I cast any aspersions on our friends across the pond...can't we all just get along??????????
Thursday, November 01, 2007
When I was a kid, we played a game called, "A My Name is Alice...." Sometimes it was jumping a rope, sometimes bouncing a ball--but the object was to make your way through the alphabet singing the following ditty:
"A my name is Alice
And my husband's name is Albert.
We come from Atlanta,
Where we sell Apples."
It got really hard when you got to X: X my name is Xena and my husband's name is Xerxes....except as young as we were, I don't think our vocabulary ran to Xena's and Xerxes'. More likely we collapsed in a giggling heap at some made-up quasi-syllabic name, like Xerpituitous.
Now I know that you're wondering how this is going to work, considering that there are 30 days in November and 26 letters in the alphabet. My studied solution: there will be four Wild Card days. They will come somewhere along the way, at my discretion and my disposal.
So--what's in it for you? Other than the sheer pleasure, nay, joy of knowing you will have a fresh ByJane to read every single day. I've been thinking about some sort of contest, but I'm not sure what it would be.
Hey! The contest is: you come up with the contest. I give the prizes. This can be a really interactive event, with extremely cooooooool, desirable prizes (not your usual shit). The competition begins now! On your marks.......GO!
Oh, and by the way -- A is, today, for Alphabet...of course.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I seem to have a three season tolerance for TV dramas. The first season I'm in love, I palpitate to find out what's happening to my new friends. I groan and cheer right along with them because they are, absolutely, real to me. I mean, I know they're not really real; I know it's just acting. But I get so into the program that I might as well be part of the mise-en-scene. That's the first year. The second year, I'm still hot and heavy with my favorites. I still care, really, really care. But maybe a shade, a mere tinge of ennui has entered. By the third year--well, by the third year, I could probably be submitting spec scripts for the show, that's how well I know it. And, consequently, the fourth wall has been lowered and I'm not so much in the scene as hovering over it. When I start knowing who's going to do what when because that's what they did the last time or it's the opposite of what they did--then, the show is on life support for me.
Grey's Anatomy died a bit early for me. I suppose I could have taken another season of the pushme-pullme Meredith and Derek arc. I'm marginally curious about the Alex character, although I think they've dragged his mystery out far too long with far too few clues. I like Callie, although what she sees in that weenie George is beyond me. And I'm peeved that Addison has move to LA, but still I can watch her there if I want to. But Sandra Oh--please note that she's the only one whose name I actually remember--she I am missing, badly. But not badly enough to watch the show.
Basically I'm having a one-person boycott of Grey's Anatomy and ABC for firing Isaiah Washington. And I loathe, loathe, loathe Katherine Heigl, who I see as the major irritant urging his firing. I don't think Washington calling George a faggot was cool or right, but hey, in the scheme of things going wrong with our world at the time, was that the best people could focus on? How about Iraq? How about Darfur? How about Health Care and poverty and hungry kids here in the U.S.? Wasn't it interesting--or perhaps not uncoincidental--that Katherine Heigl's constant blathering on camera about how no one could get away with insulting her friend, etc. etc. came at the same time that she was getting a major PR push. Not a bad day when you can get a double whammy of free press coverage to go along with your paid press coverage.
Katherine Heigl is, as we used to say in high school, a bit too full of herself. She should look up the word hubris and write it out a thousand times in purple ink, dotting each i with a little heart, because her day, I'm sure, is coming. However, I won't be there to see it, because I'm not watching Grey's Anatomy this year. Not only because Washington isn't on it, but because Heigl is.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
They're saying that California firefighters are the best in the world. Is that because they're as used to fire as Vermont is to snow and Florida to hurricanes? They're also saying that California is prepared, as Louisiana was not. FEMA is out here, saying 'This time we've got it right.' Reporters at evacuation centers are noting the air of calm, of business-being-taken-care-of.
"It's different this time. This time we were ready."
No, this time your half million evacuees are not poor black people. The evacuation centers are not teeming with the unwashed masses because the unwashed masses don't live along the coast of Southern California. They may clean those houses that were incinerated in the fire, but only after taking several bus trips from their homes in the interior.
Reporters are searching for that human interest piece, the story that kind of socks you in your gut, that doesn't need a soundtrack to stir up pathos. The best they got this time was this: evacuees living in their cars and trucks at the local WalMart, "savoring the safety of acres of concrete--and the camaraderie of shared troubles."
The evacuees in New Orleans didn't have cars to live in. They didn't have cars to flee in. All the Reverse 911s in the world would not have gotten them safely out.
This fire in California is not the same as the hurricane in Louisiana. Not that it doesn't have its own horror and tragedy. But to make of the two similar situations is to enable that complacency that dogs our country at every mishap.
Monday, October 22, 2007
But first, an explanation: My mother had a way with words. Sometimes she mangled them, intentionally. To be funny, as it were. As sometimes it was. But at other times, like when you were trying to say something serious, it was fucking annoying. Which may be why she did it.
My mother liked to use the work orifice for office. As in, "I'm going to the orifice today." Or, to my father, "what happened at the orifice when you were late this morning?"
So, it is in honor of my mother that I tell you that today I am cleaning my orifice.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I did not dream, but did realize in my early morning meditation (would Buddha say it counted if said meditation took place lying flat in bed and sometimes resulted in returning to sleep?) that my clothespin magnets, albeit "colorful" as my cousin said, are also emblematic of what ails me. Which is: the urge to keep the products of my creativity neat and controlled. Small. Within the lines. Showing no signs of the fucking chaos that reigns within.
I must somehow break out of myself. I'm just not sure how to effect it.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
1. Got up early (for me) to drive to Sac's version of the 'hood to open up a community center and sit in an office waiting for my 9 a.m. client to arrive. And my 10 a.m. And my 11 a.m. A hat-trick of no-shows.
2. Read through almost my entire Google list on my Treo. No small feat with a screen that size. Got caught up with lots of people's blogs.
3. Drove back home, listening to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. A very good thing since laughter is the best medicine, etc. etc. etc. Stephen Colbert was on. He's funnier, I think, when he's not doing a character. Wondered whether he has ever discussed why his ears don't match. For the longest time, I thought it was a costume thing. But I think not. I think his ears don't match. And I'm curious as to why.
4. Didn't need to check my email since I had checked and rechecked it while waiting for the hat-trick of no-shows.
5. Packed up for mailing a blouse I bought at a Tupperware party. Well, not really. But like a Tupperware party, except for clothes. CAbi--heard of it? Neither had I. The blouse was too small and too large. That is, too small in the boobs and too large in the shoulders. This is my fate these days since I've grown these headlights. I don't know what to do with them. I have no experience at dressing them. I wish they would go away.
6. Went to Kinko's to mail the blouse. Got the new boy on the job. The one who didn't know what he was doing wrong so he just kept doing the same thing over and over again. Isn't that the definition of insanity? Or maybe just stupidity. I was a model of patience, I must say. He would never know that I'm usually a fire-breathing dragon in such circumstances.
7. Went to Target to see what new tops they have in. For my headlights. I need something that is not T-shirty, clingy, 1% spandex. If you have wandered through Target recently, you'll know how impossible that is. Tried on one top which fit everywhere except--my boobs. Tried on another which was on a rack labeled Voluminous. I believe this was the name of the garment. Or maybe it referred to the size. Either way, it fit everywhere including my boobs, except--it made me look pregnant. This is, I realize, the current fashion. I believe it has everything to do with the latest fashion accessory: the baby bump. That is, pregnant or not, if you wanna be in, you need to wear maternity clothes.
8. Came home. Decided to bake. Was chagrined to realize that I didn't have a stick of butter and thus, was thwarted in my urge to create.
9. Wrote this post. Lucky you.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
No, I'm not going to go off on the greening of American mass culture. Although I certainly could. As you well know. Rather, what I'm referring to are my evolving plans for this business I've been dreaming up, on which I've been spending much mental time doing research and development.
Here, and as they say on Dancing With The Stars, "in no particular order" are my ideas: I'm referring to what I want to sell as Eco Arts & Crafts. That is, all manner of hand-made objects that have as a significant part of their materials stuff that has been around the block before. Repurposed, recycled, found objects. Clothing, jewelry, gifts, and objets d'art. Bags made from old sweaters, necklaces strung of antique findings and watchmakers tools. Collages and collections that use the old and the new to create meaning out of discarded whatevers.
Yes, this is maddenly vague, and sure, I know that whatevers is not a proper noun. When I can articulate what is swirling around in my mind, then I'll be ready to begin. You'll just have to bear with me until then. Or not.