Friday, August 31, 2007

Late Night Ambition; Day Time Lassitude

I get fired up at night. Plans are made, creative juices flow, and vows are taken to realize in the morningthe greatness thought of the night before. When I get up. Around 7 or so. If not earlier.

And the morning, my bed becomes a huge float, bobbing along in the daytime sun. Molly pushes up against me (and sometimes on top of me) for her morning belly rub. Together we're a coccon, rubbing, dozing, bobbing along. In the daytime sun. Until--holy fuck!--it's much later than 7. It's probably later than 8. If I can rip myself from this womb before the big hand is on the 12 and little one on the 9, I consider myself successful. If not, well, so what. I can't remember the plans of the night before anyway. Or if I can, they seem silly, fruitless, or nigh on to impossible to achieve.

Last night, in an effort to harness at least one good thought, I took a pad and pencil to bed. Here's what I wrote:
  • There are the thing I know and then there are the stories I tell myself about the things I know. Stories I imagine to be true, but cannot possibly say for sure. Stories in which sometimes I'm the victim and sometimes the hero.
  • If you could see this page, you would know for certain, as I do, that one of the lasting effects of the cerebral aneurysm is that my penmanship sucks.
  • I am ruled by inertia. And always have been.
  • A friend tonight started spinning the story of D's and my early relationship. Her tale was so full of passion, and it made me laugh to think how little resemblance it bore to reality. But maybe her version is true. What do I know to say it's not? The stories we tell ourselves are, after all, simply narratives. They aren't histories."
This morning I sat down, as I do every morning, hands poised over keyboard, ready to write the Great American Blogpost. And this morning, as has happened every morning for a week or so, I am faced with the Great Meh! I can't get inspired. I don't feel clever or witty or even willing to try. I'm just not really that into it. My ambition is on the waning side of the tides. It'll come back. It always has. But until then--talk amongst yourselves. Enjoy the scenery. Eat an apple. Bake a scone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

BlogHer 07 - One Month Later

Call me Little Miss Timely--or say that I wanted to give the whole experience a chance to shake down. Whatever--this is my entry in the Whadja Think Of BlogHer This Year stakes.

1. It was much much better than '06. There seemed, while it was going on, much less grumbling about cliques and in-ness and A-List bloggers. But the latter may have been because they, them of the A list, were absent this year. No Dooce, no Maggie, no Erin. It only occurred to me after the event that maybe they were gently uninvited this year. To allow the lesser folks to shine, perhaps.

2. I knew people! Yeah! And people knew me! Double yeah! So good for the ego.

3. I met people, I networked, I handed out and was handed cards. Here are some of the people I talked to...and liked...and did stuff with...and wanted to get to know better

Marie Drennan

Grace Duffy

Faye Anderson

Birdie Jaworski

Rachel Kramer Bussel

Shannon Entin

Susan Getgood

Lori Shapiro

Maria Niles

Susan Mernit

Kristin Henderson

Valerie Brown

Mary Tsao

Cynthia Samuels

Elana Centor

Heather Sanders

Catherine McNiel

Lady M (Monica)

Pam Mandel

Jody DeVere

Breanne Boyle

Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

Laurie Smithwick

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah


Robyn Tippins

Judy Coates Perez

4. I learned stuff that I wanted to know about this thing called ByJane. Technical stuff. Some of which you're already seeing; some of which I'm still trying to get a grip on.

5. The W was--all that you've heard. Loud, insistently in-your-face cool (2 way mirrors in the bathrooms, for god's sake), and did I mention, loud. Oh, and expensive. I'm not sorry I stayed there, because it was an experience and I do like my experiences. I am sorry I stayed there alone and had to pay for the whole shebang by myself.

6. During the conference, I was overwhelmed with feelings of, I dunno, sisterhood. Now, post-conference I've got a not-so-warm taste in my mouth. This is the year that I'm feeling BlogHer itself is a closed shop, or at least closed to me. Now admittedly I am not all that I might be these days, and Sturdy Girl would tell you, and me, that it's just a question of my perspective, but--some of the BlogHerettes, that is, the Poohbahs, seem a mite, oh, Kappa Kappa Alpha to me. Not that there's anything wrong with that....

7. Will I go next year? I dunno. I'm feeling little blogged out at the moment.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Girl and her Phone[s]: A Sad Story

This is a sad story about a girl and a telephone and how she misused and abused it and how it eventually did her in.

Once upon a time there was a girl who had several telephones, none of which she liked to use. She simply didn't like to talk on the phone. This was rather curious seeing as she was intimately related to someone who had a telephone permanently attached to her ear. But perhaps the particular gene pool from which these two arose only allowed for one telephone person. Perhaps that was why the girl didn't like to talk on the phone.

Or perhaps it was that when she was a teenager, and harnessed all her courage to call a boy and ask him to a party, when she said, "Shelly (yes, that was his name), this is XY" and paused waiting for him to respond, "Hi XY," instead he said "So what." Perhaps she always hears "so what" when she announces her name to the person she's calling.

Too, this girl is a master at reading faces so as to move in sync with the mood of whoever she's with. This is a tactic that enables her to maintain seemingly precarious relationships. But the telephone does not allow for this mastery, and thus, she is awash in a sea of insecurity when she is on the phone with someone. Do they want to get off? Are they bored? Am I bothering them? Or, at times, My God, what does this person want from me? Is it too soon to say goodbye? Have I missed much of that program? The girl has a horror of evoking such thoughts in a person she's called, and thus, she calls few people.

In fact, she has a syllogism of sorts that rules her calling people. It is this: If X wanted to talk to me, X would call me. Since X hasn't called me, X doesn't want to talk to me. Since I don't want to talk to anyone who doesn't want to talk to me, I won't call X either.

This syllogism, while definitely not valid (or even really a syllogism) from a logician's point of view, is, the girl realizes, SICK from a psychotherapeutic point of view. Especially since the girl is hyperaware of who is and is not calling her. And what they are or are not saying, when they do or do not call her.

The girl is sick of herself and her telephone-phobia and is appealing to all and sundry for HHEEEEEEELLLLLPPPPPPPPPP!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Party Time

I'm going to a party, tra la. I've done my toes and I've done my fingers, and by this I mean I've painted the nails on the digits and, okay, some of the flesh too. But if you can tell, you're too damn close.

As I search for the correct Label for this post, I see that this is my problem: I have no label for Party. Allow me to correct that...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sage Advice on Publishing

This post is for Les Becker of Where the Walls Are Soft.
She just got her first copy of the 2007 Guild to Literary Agents, and she's all eager and sassy to send her stuff off. When she ordered it, her excitement was palpable, and provoked me, veteran of the publishing wars, to promise sage advice. In today's post, I said
Okay, here's my sage advice:  What your writing is to you has nothing
to do with what it is to the people in that reference guide. To them, it
is A Business. Nothing more; nothing less. They may like to read; they
may appreciate Great Literature; but at the day's end what they want is

And her response was: "Ouch. Almost sounds as if the advice is to trash the reference guide."

No, that's not at all what I'm saying. Rather, I'm suggesting that she (and you, if you're in a similar position) try to keep your writing mind separate from your publishing mind. They are two different minds, after all. One is focused on sales; the other on self-expression.

What I'm saying is to keep the agent business in perspective. They're trying to do their job, earn a buck, pay the rent, whatever. They are not your best friend, your confidante, or, especially, your mother who loves everything that comes out of your mouth. When an agent gives an assessment, it is not the word of God handed down from the Great Font of Literary Publishing. It is, rather, one person's take on whether your manuscript has, in their humble (ha!) opinion that day, sales potential. That means different things to different people, and often is dependent on who had what for lunch or whether the kids acted up on the way to the train. In other words, it's a subjective opinion which is guided by knowledge and experience, but, bottom line, it carries with it all the vagaries of any human interchange. You should remember that when you are getting a host of different responses.

You should also remember why you write in the first place. I have a friend who is very successful, and he says he writes to entertain. Me, I write because I can't not write. My friend has to tailor his stuff to the marketplace; I don't. Different purposes; different goals; different strategies.

Why do you write, Les? And you, over there, who are also reading this with interest, why do you write? My sagest advice is this: work on that until you can answer the question clearly, cleanly, and--um--honestly.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Cup Half Full? A Life Half Empty....

Let me introduce you to Love Monkey, or Sturdy Girl as she's now calling herself (for reasons best, I guess, kept to herself.) She is my new BBF, best blog friend. More than that, I want to be her when I grow up. Sturdy Girl is the reason the internet in general and blogging in particular are so fucking fantastic. How else would I know her, if not for our blogs? She knits, she bakes bread, she cans, she writes like a demon and, man, can she say exactly the right thing that I so needed to hear but didn't know it.

She also is one of several people this summer who made me see that, hey, I'm not such a happy-eyed child after all. I used to think, quite proudly I must confess, that I am the eternal optimist. I always think life is going to go my way. I never question whether I'll get the job, the promotion, the whatever. My mother brought me up with a mantra--if you want something, you'll work hard for it and you'll get it. I believed her. And for a long time it was true. Or so I thought. In fact, one of the major bones of contention between D and me is his predilection for seeing failure looming while I allow myself to envision nothing but utter success.

I'm now beginning to question myself, however. Am I really such a perky Pollyanna? Then why the following:
  • Sturdy Girl wrote in yesterday's post that she is now
    "very productive in my knitting of late. I am making great strides in the toddler pullover (cardigan) and the socks and working on two scarfs, one classic and one lacy. I am starting to "get the hang of" the yarn shops and I have decided just to pick yarn I like (to make small things like scarves) and in this way learn the way different yarn knits up. I think this in itself is an education in knitting. Besides, I can now understand why knitters have a stash. We love the feeling of security it gives us - all these yarns we have to look forward to knitting."
Whereas I say: I cannot stick with one knitting project long enough to complete it. I bounce from scarf to sweater to purse to fill in the blank. I have Knitting ADD (along with the other kind) and I am riddled with guilt over the projects I have on needles from FUCKING YEARS AGO....THAT NO LONGER EVEN FIT ME!!! And my stash, my stash, my stash! like my bra cup, it overfloweth.
  • Item #2: when reminiscing with my BFF1 a couple of weeks ago, I was struck that our memories of our early years in school were so different. She remembered the teacher she loved, the playground (okay, I'm making this up because I can't remember all the good stuff that she remembered), while I remembered every slight or failure or bad day I had in Elementary School. I remember that I used to come home from school crying every day over some tragedy or other. I remember my mother telling me that I had to get a "shell" and not let people hurt my feelings so much. I remember the teachers who didn't like me, the kids who made fun of me, and the signal traumas that are with me still today.
  • Item #3: There is the stuff I know for sure, and the stories I tell myself about the stuff I know for sure. Those stories inevitably posit me as the victim. I became aware of this as I have worked at various times this summer to pull myself back from the brink of whatever. I will stop the story and pull out of it just the stuff I know for sure. When I do that, I see that inevitably I've chose the road not only less travelled, but the one that leads off the cliff.
What is this about? Is it a Jewish thing? Some say that part of our DNA is a perennial feeling of never fitting in, of seeing the world splintered in pieces, in need of healing. Or was I a depressed child, even back then in the first grade--and I've been more or less dysthymic all my life?

I don't know the answer, and I'm not sure it's really relevant. What does seem important to my present and future sense of well-being is that I CUT THIS SHIT OUT RIGHT NOW.

Oh, now that's a positive way to begin, Jane....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Me, The Sex Expert

Did you know that I used to write about sex? Have I told you that already? That I was that person telling you how to have better orgasms or twiddle his diddle more efficiently in, oh name the woman's mag I didn't write for. Okay, Cosmo, I never wrote for them, but the rest? Yep, that was me (writing under my married name, Jane Patrick, or, when I got more liberated, Jane Gassner Patrick).

I thought of this today when I was reading one of my favorite daddy bloggers, Childs Play x2. He's got the most adorable fraternal twins (or dyzygotic, as we call them in the psych biz) who could be monozygotic for all that they look exactly alike. But (in my effort to show off), I digress. His post today was about being contacted by someone out there in the Great Wonderful World of Let's Make A Dollah Offa These Bloggas starting up a start-up and trolling for writers to create copy that would attract many reader hits to said start-up which would, in turn, make hay with the advertisers. [Another aside, this one worthy of brackets: I don't know why I've got my tongue so firmly in cheek about this practice when I recently bit on one such trolling myself (and may you, G-D willing, see the results some day)]. ChildsPlayx2 was marvelling in his post about being considered an expert on childrearing. And that, dear reader, reminded me of when I marvelled at being considered an expert on things sexual.

"Jane Gassner Patrick is an expert in psycho-sexual issues", read the bio blurb in one magazine. Ha! Better it should have read, Jane Gassner Patrick hasn't had sex in years. Because that was the funny, nay, the ironic part: during that period of time when I was doing my dance for the women's magazines, my shop was shuttered. Which just goes to prove that old adage: those of you who can, do and those of us who can't, teach.

I thought to write this in a comment to ChildsPlayx2, but why should he get all the love? It's my life, and I'm gonna own it. And if you want a copy of one of my articles, just ask....

Monday, August 20, 2007

Me, Alone

This is not a post in which I'm seeking sympathy. It is merely a stating of the facts of my intercourse with the world over the past several days.

Friday: Talked to checker at Raley's when I bought groceries. She wished me a nice evening. I echoed her wish.
Saturday: Wrong number. Asked for Phil. No Phil here. Caller apologized.
Sunday: Talked to barista at Starbucks when I went for morning coffee. She wished me a nice day. I echoed her wish.
Monday: Talked to dentist's receptionist about my October appointment.

I have not included my intercourse with the internet because I am not sure that that is intercourse.

PS - This post was written about 4 pm, but Blogger was down. Not my fault. Not my fault at all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

California Slick

Yesterday's post had a comment from Denise of Not-What-It-Seems. She noted my vague attempts at updating my reading list and asked whether I had started Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love--and didn't I just love it. The answer to that is yes, and no. I am not finished with the book yet, having just begun the Love part, so I feel it unfair (hah!) to offer an opinion, a review, a critique, as it were. Because who knows what the author will manage in the last section. Suffice to say, the first two sections brought to mind an experience I had when I too was an ambitious writer looking to break into the NY publishing scene.

My career was more than promising then. I had by-lines in respected publications and a reputation as someone who worked with words as well as ideas. Somehow or other I got hooked up with a NY agent who had A Great Idea For A Book. He'd met one of those beautiful women who waft through Los Angeles, providing the look of A Scene, but little else. Her name was--let's call her Lisa--and she was gorgeous. She also had a personality defect; she was boring. Not in a Paris Hilton way, but in a maybe-I've-done-too-much-dope and my-voice-is-a-nasal drone manner. But she had a helluva a story to tell, which included big Hollywood names, big money, big drugs, big drama. So the agent had this terrific looking woman with this terrific story--and an inability to get it down on paper in anything that resembled a coherent or, even, interesting manner.

This is where I came in. I was the writer on the project. Not a ghost, because I negotiated for an AND credit, but certainly I would not be the one appearing on the talk shows. Certainly I would be the one doing all the work. We signed contracts with Random House and got down to work. Hah! Work for Lisa consisted of lounging on her bed, recounting her past exploits in a voice that was just this side of soporific. I would appear at her Benedict Canyon house three or four days a week and--little would happen. There was a manuscript floating around behind her story, a diary written by one of the principles, but I could not pry it out of Lisa's hands. You see, she wanted to be A Writer. I believe she once told me that her destiny was to be a writer, one she had prepared for by reading just about everything she could. She knew this story of hers was her big chance to be A Writer, and she didn't want me taking it from her.

The thing about being A Writer, though, is that you have to be able, physically and mentally, to put instrument to paper, and Lisa couldn't get a grip on that. Her best efforts, those that resulted in several consecutive sentences, were done under the blankets with a pillow over her head. Automatic writing, perhaps, but certainly not productive enough to get the draft for Chapter One that I was supposed to present to Random House in several weeks.

I recall an impasse and several phone calls to the agent. Finally, at last, Lisa handed over the diary and I worked at shaping it into something that would grab the editor. Our contracts, you see, depended on the first chapter being approved. So I winnowed and edited and spun dross and winnowed some more. Then I presented the chapter to the editor. We had lunch, as I recall, and I was certain that this was only the first of a lifetime of lunches with NY editors. He took me back to Random House and loaded me down with free books. Lunch! Free books! Hog heaven for a freelancer! In return, I handed over Chapter One. I don't remember being particularly enthralled with it, but then I never am until I've seen my stuff in print. I wasn't embarrassed, either however. It was what it was, considering the life grip Lisa had maintained on the material almost to the last minute.

The agent called me several days later. The editor had read it. He was still interested, but--it needed revision. It was, in his words, California slick. What was California slick? A genre born of glossy magazines that originated on the West Coast, which meant that they were, by definition less than anything produced by an East Coast writer. Random House needed this memoir to be, I don't know, more New York literary? I sensed that I had fallen down that rabbit hole labeled Coastal Rivalries, and this allowed me to break the contract Lisa and I had had, gracefully as I recall, but maybe not. California slick was the best I was going to be able to do, tied to this pony in a three-legged race. I packed my pages and went back to LA, never to see Lisa again. I don't know what happened to her story; I certainly have never seen her on the book-selling circuit.

So why does Eat Pray Love bring to mind this story? Because the writing is awfully familiar to me. It's the writing of someone in a hurry to get a piece of work done. It relies on quirks of personality to carry the story, on the writer's cuteness and flirtation with the reader. It's a big subject, written small. It's California slick.

But then I'm not done with the book yet, so I could be wrong.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Interview With A Blogger: The Official Version

Whit, over at HoneaExpress, didn't start this, but he's the one who caught my attention. These are the rules, as quoted by Whit:
That's it. According to the rules, which I am a stickler for, I am to post this information: Interview rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
And here are the five questions that Whit asked me:
1.� You've bitten me twice, turning me into a vampire and a zombie, respectively.� What's up with that?
There are many responses that come to mind and tongue here, but the truth is--I thought you bit me. The fact is that there aren't that many kids in my sandbox, so you get picked a lot. I would spread the wealth a little, but having freelanced, I know a needy soul when I see one. There is nothing quite like looming deadlines for shit that you don't want to do to make one pump up the effort in other arenas. When I was freelancing, I had perfectly plucked eyebrows. Used to keep a little mirror and tweezers by my computer and groom away when the writing got rough. So, consider my bites as invitations to play when you're so inclined.

2.� I've had dogs my whole life and I have never seen one in a carseat until your Molly. �Did you come up with that?
I wish I had invented carseats for dogs; I'd be rich if I had. I just googled it and got 3,120,000 hits for dog carseats. We got ours when we travelled a lot with our Yorkie, and she would slip and slide all over the place. Perhaps your dogs have all been on the larger side? Perhaps they are used to riding around in the back of your pickup?

3.� You said that you have a lot of books by your bedside.� Do you always have that many, or do you dwindle the list down before building it back up?
I neither dwindle, nor build. I just haven't edited the list...because I would have to figure out the code for strikethrough, and that would be a pain. But since you bring it up, I will revise my list. And update. And maybe even annotate. I cannot go to sleep without reading in bed for a while. Milk and chocolate helps as well.

4.� Did you ever feel bad that you didn't include me in your list of people you met at the L.A. Blogger Party?� It's because I teased you about the apron, isn't it?
I didn't?! Well, now I do feel bad. Maybe it's because I went straight from meeting you to putting you on my Google Daily Reads list. That's a pretty big deal, you know. Not many people are on it.

5.� The URL for your site is one letter off from a site full of naked men.� Did you do this on purpose?
Are you going to make me guess the letter? And how do you know?

And who's being interviewed here, you or me? Or is this a case of, enough about me, let's talk about you--what did you think of what I just said??????

Well, that was enlightening, wasn't it. If you want me to interview you, follow the rules in green above.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wedding Rings

Here is the post I intended to write, complete with illustrations. Actually, due to a fit of sheer laziness, enertia, and for-chrissake- it's- sunday, you are getting the unillustrated version.

First, a color photo of my hand on my wedding day wearing my wedding rings. They were a sapphire engagement ring that D bought for me and a gold band with invisible diamonds that we traipsed around Sacramento an entire day to find. The engagement ring was white gold, so to "match" (and what's a Jewish girl if her wedding rings don't match), we had to find something in white gold. Except white gold wedding bands look like plumbing pipe, and I was having none of that. The invisible diamonds on the gold band we found made it sorta kinda look like it had an air of white gold about it.

Second, a closeup of my hand sans rings. I took them off, wrenched them if you must know, in a fit of pique round about the second week of the current story of my life. I'll show him, motherfucker, I'll take my rings off--and then he'll be sorry. Don't know if he noticed or cared or what he actually felt. But there I was with my nude left hand, sort of dangling in the air, as it were. I thought it just needed some time to get adjusted to the light of day, but it turns out that the rings had some sort of permanent effect on my third finger, left hand. There is a line there, not of suntan, but of something within the actually flesh. Talk about a fucking metaphor.

Third, a closeup of my new, bought-by-me ring. I got it in Seattle. It is a sterling band, about tenth of an inch wide, brushed metal with the following stamped in cooly-wonky letters all along the ring: IT'S NOT THE DESTINATION, IT'S THE JOURNEY. Another metaphor, true, but this one at least is of my making.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Weather Report: Sunny & Calm

Hey, I'm in an immeasurably improved mood today. 'Cause guess what: my garage walls are being torn apart while an electrician looks for "the worst kind of short you can have," the one that knows no name or place.

When I got home from my Travels With Molly on Wednesday, after I freaked out over some shit about D, I went to cool my parched throat with a Coke and found the garage refrigerator dead. Dead, dead, dead. As were all the lights and garage door. And there was zilch power is the laundry room next to the garage. You can imagine, particularly if you've experienced my creative way with bad words, how I cursed the missing man of the house. The one who knows what to do when bad stuff happens construction-wise. Because he spent 20 odd years in construction. And because he's a man, goddamit, and knowledge of such stuff comes along with the penis. So I called him, and I left a message along the lines of: "if you care anything about me at all, you'll call me back and tell me what to do..." He did and he did, but really fixing electrical problems when you're 700 miles away is a tad difficult.

So today, I looked up E for Electrician and a very nice man is now banging away. I'm not sure how much it will cost me, but at least I'll be able to wash my clothes. Which is a good thing, as Martha says, because I was running out of underwear (I have to use that word every once in a while because it makes my Google stats go up).

But that's not what I want to talk about today. You deserve something cheerful and light after my dirge yesterday, so I've got some Molly photos. She seems to make everyone smile; she's just that kind of a dog.

Lookin' out the window at a rest stop, somewhere near the California-Oregon border.

On the road again. She's in her carseat, which is fixed in the backseat, which offers not a lot of room because it's a little sporty VW convertible, but that's okay with her because she's a sporty dog. The carseat was bought originally for Pupi, our late, great Yorkshire terrier. Molly doesn't mind it being a hand-me-down. Nor does she mind that she is three times Pupi's size. She fits, somehow. Sometimes she leans on the front seat like this, and sometimes she looks out the window. I don't know what she's looking at, but I'm fascinated watching her because she seems to be taking in all the sights and scenery just like a human would. What can be out there that would merit such attention? If there's a dog in the mix, then she goes bananas, but otherwise, she's a Quiet Watcher. She's such a good traveller that I'm thinking of buying a camper and going on the road. Too bad I'm not a guy; she'd be a great chick magnet.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Astrologer Daily: Mercury trine Jupiter. | BlogHer

I started reading KT, BlogHer's Astrology Contributing Editor, just about when she first started posting on BlogHer. Which was just about the time that my errant husband decided he didn't want to be married anymore. KT's daily readings just seemed to speak to exactly my situation, and to give me hope, and whatever else I needed to get through the day.

Which just goes to show how the stars can fool you.

Today's reading is: "Today is one of those great times when we can see the trees as well as the forest. Mercury, the planet that rules thought, logic and communication, makes an easy trine to Jupiter, the Big-Picture Planet. Details and grand plans merge in a delightfully complete scenario. Both planets are in energizing Fire signs. We feel optimistic and hopeful for the future. At the moment, words have more impact than we can imagine, so choose yours carefully. Humor, jokes and games go well now.

Today's moon:
Today the Moon is in Cancer all day. It's in the Balsamic Phase, closing in on the New Moon in a few days. It's 11% of full today."

Today I woke sadder than sad. Then I had to cut short Molly's walk because I was crying in the middle of the street, forchrissakes (fortunately I was wearing sunglasses, so other than the tears streaking down my cheeks and the snot blubbering out of my nose, no one could tell--I don't think). And then I got all weepy over Barbara Morgan, the teacher-astronaut, finally making it into space. A dream not so much deferred, but long in coming.

Shall I tell you why? Aw, c'mon, you already know. Why flog a dead horse, as the Brits say. Or try to shore up one's faith in a lost-cause marriage.

"Optimistic and hopeful for the future" is exactly what I don't feel. Able to see the Big Picture? Nope. Just a bunch of days and days and days ahead. The Moon is in the Balsamic Phase. Would that be, as in vinegar? And since four of my moons are in Cancer, not to mention my natal sign, would I be one big old vat of the stuff?

Phooey, I say. Phooey. And a pox on all their houses.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Still Wandering...

...and not sure when I'll be back. I could go home tomorrow. Or I could take a sidetrip to the coast. Molly's up for whatever, and me--I think all these hours alone in the car are....probably good for me. Maybe.

I had great intentions to blog along the way, but tonight is the first time I've actually achieved an internet connection. Perhaps the drinks and wine at dinner on the nights I was in Seattle had something to do with it. Here we are last night:

Liz and I haven't seen each other in--oh, decades and decades and decades. Our last memory of being together was a week we spent at Lake Candadhota with two other friends, Ellen and Karen. It was the summer before our senior year in high school. Liz and I made our own bathing suits. Hers was a red and black plaid with white piping, a two piece. Mine was blue-green silky print, fully lined, in the most daring of styles, a "hiphugger". I was always the girl with the shortest skirts, even in those days. I left after that weekend and started my freshman year at Pitt; my mother, who was in a hurry for me to get going, shoehorned me into college at year early. I never had a senior year. I never saw Liz and Ellen and Karen again. Do I sound bitter? Well, regretful, no doubt.

Despite the decades and decades and decades intervening, Liz and I picked up as if it had only been days. We marveled at that, and I, ever one for deconstructing every happenstance and emotion even unto death, tried to figure out what it was about us that created such an unbreakable connection. We met in First Grade; our mothers fixed us up, in the days before Playdates were so common. And we just stuck, I guess. Liz is the reason why I'm such a good Catholic: whenever we had Saturday night sleepovers, we had to go to Mass the next morning. She taught me to genuflect, to cross myself, and to bob my head at "Jesus" when I sang Christmas carols.

We didn't go to Mass this weekend, but we spent hours talking and laughing and catching each other completely up to date on our four marriages and her three children, where we've been and where we still want to go. It was, in a word, amazing.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Travels With Molly...

...and apologies to John Steinbeck, but I'm such a fan, and he did do Travels With Charley, and I am about to hit the road with dearest Molly.

We're driving up to Seattle to meet my BFF from the First Grade, henceforth known as BFF1. She's from the East and I'm in the West, but she's got a wedding or something in Washington, which is only about 750 miles north of Elk Grove, so what the hell, why not just load Molly in her carseat and GO!

We leave early tomorrow AM, and I am, of course, taking all electronics with me (I feel so ungrounded without them, doctor, do you think that's a problem?), so I expect to blog and Twitter along the way.

I'm excited. I'm also exhausted--from all the running around and cleaning of car and buying of snacks and washing of dog.

Here she is after a first towel off and then a mad shake and then a rubbing of oneself all over the quilted bedspread. The thing about dogs, or animals in general, is that they do make you laugh. And they do keep you warm in bed. And they are such willing travelling companions.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My DayThus Far: By Jane

Molly and I got up relatively early this morning and hit the road for Starbucks by 8:30. We do the Starbucks trip every other day. When D is in charge, they do it every day: Grande Drip with room for cream and a Maple Nut Scone. They share it. Me, I'm not so generous. I do the Grande Drip, but not the scone. And the reason I go every other day? I only drink half the coffee. You know, there is really nothing wrong with heated up Starbucks the next day. You can trust me on that.

First stop: gas station. No problem.

Second stop: Starbuck's drive through. Very, very crowded. I listened to a program on organ harvesting on NPR. Very, very interesting. Gave my order, and decided to treat Molly to a shared Maple Nut Scone (she is definitely missing D). Waited for my order. Took my order, put the cup in the Very Inadequate Cupholder that my VW offers. Drove away. Stuck my hand in the bag to break off a piece of Maple Nut Scone. Broke off a piece of Oat Nut Scone--gag! Dry, tasteless, not worth the calories.

Third stop: Drove back to Starbucks and exchanged the scone. Drove away, again. Heard a popping sound: the coffee cup had flipped out of the Very Inadequate Cupholder and all the coffee was now sloshing around on the floor. Said fuck.

Fourth stop: Another Starbucks, closer to home. No drivethrough. Went in and ordered another Grande, etc. Mentioned in passing that it was my second of the morning and the barista handed me back my card. "It's on me," she said.

Drove home thinking warm and fuzzy thoughts about Starbucks. Pulled into garage. Exited car, carefully placing second Grande, etc. on a safe surface. Picked up clot of coffee-soaked napkins and keys in hand, went to throw them in the garbage.

Threw something in the garbage. Something that made a metallic sound when it dropped. Clot of coffee-soaked napkins still in my hand. Peered into the garbage can. Saw my keys lying in the garbage soup at the bottom.

Garbage can very, very big, i.e., deep. Not to mention very, very stinky. Can't reach keys. Curse D for not being there with his long arms to fish them out for me. Go into garage to see what is there that I can use to get the keys.

Passing by car on right side, see that I never refastened the gas cap. Have done all this motoring with it dangling outside the car. Flash on what might have been if I still smoked. Yeah, right....flash, indeed.

Get a wire hanger, open it up and, breathing through my mouth, lean into garbage can far enough to fish out the keys. Pretend I am doing it on Survivor. Get the keys. They are coated in something white. Don't look. Dump them in sink and run hot water. Will disinfect and think about them later, at Tara.

---some time later--

Clean off desk. Find bill for health insurance--due July 1. Wonder if I'll have to beg, or if I'll be forced to endure Kaiser. Blue Cross, bless their heart, is amazingly understanding and cancels my cancellation. I love Blue Cross. I tell them so.

It is now 3:06 and my day is only half over. What next, I ask you, what next?!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Randomness from BlogHer'07

I should have live-blogged myself throughout the entire conference, because I was so full of wit and pith, little of which I can now remember.

If you read my post from the airport, you can imagine what a woeful camper I was on arriving in Chicago. There were two beautiful beds in my room at The W and just one beautiful me to sleep in them. But I hooked up for dinner with my old friends, Sueb0b of RedStapler, Karl of SecondhandKarl and Celeste of AverageJane. Drinks were had and food was eaten, and soon I started to feel a whole lot better about life in general and me in particular.

Still, when Elisa, Lisa, and Jory welcomed us at the General Session after breakfast, I got all teary. And at different times during the sessions. And then at the conclusion of the conference, when Cooper & Emily made their pitch for the power of us in BlogHer's community activism initiative. Here's why (aside from my admittedly 'iffy' state of mind): I felt bathed in a huge tub of support, caring, hey-I-like-you, what-do-you-think, all from hundreds of women who valued the things I think are important and who "get" what I do, immediately, organically, thoroughly. That kind of support for each other, particularly from such a wide range of women, is not merely feminism as usual. In fact, I'm from the Second Wave, so I go back to the early days of the women's movement, and I can tell you we have not always played so well together in the sandbox. Even last year, there was a pervasive feeling that many of us left with; Leahpeah calls it oogy. There was no oogy at BlogHer07. I don't know why. I don't think it much matters. I do think that Elisa, Lisa, and Jory have managed to created a huge (11,000 plus) grand group of women who are now a force to be reckoned with, both on the micro and the macro level. This is what we wanted back in the 60s and 70s. It took this long, and these particular women, and this communication tool for it to happen.

The sessions I went to gave me exactly what I wanted, generally speaking. I came. I saw. I laughed. I learned a bunch of technical stuff. Even the session on branding when I was told in no uncertain terms that I could not blog about politics and knitting did not dim my lights.

I met tons and tons of women. And got tons and tons of cards. And I'm not going to even start now naming them or linking them. I'm going to save that for tomorrow.

To Be Continued....