Sunday, September 30, 2007
I've also removed my blogroll. I'm so uncomfortable with that BFF Today and Forever Syndrome which seems to be unavoidable with blogrolls. At least for me. Yes, I check to see if I'm on someone's blogroll. Yes, I burst my buttons when I find ByJane listed. Yes, I want to quickly put them on mine to show that we've got a mutual thing going. And, yes, I can't bear to tell this person or that one that I am no longer reading them because...well, just because. So I'm doing away with blogroll. Instead, I offer you the posts from my Google Reader, the ones I read EverySingleDayWithoutFail. This is a truer blogroll, it seems to me since it's not my entire Google reader, just the top of the milk.
I've added a new photo, my daily posting on Crafting365. I swearswearswear I'll keep it uptodate.
And tomorrow: ta dum! the new masthead. Don't get overexcited; my creativity and my ability to code are only in their infancy.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Now, here's me doing that Hollywood actress thing and saying--I must do what scares me. (Don't you just love when someone beautiful and famous says that about taking a role where she has to be ugly.) Actually I would say--I must do that which scares me, because the other construction is a bit like chalk on a blackboard to me. So--have I talked long enough that you forget what I'm doing here? No?
Then allow me to present my first entry in Crafting 365--oh, jesus, I'm gasping again............
This is a notebook cover that I needle-felted. The base is gray craft felt and the design (?) is done with three different shades of roving, plus bits of yarn from my stash. You're looking at it sideways because I didn't turn the photo around. Because...because...
Can I please go and breathe now??????
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
So what did I do this weekend?
1. Saturday afternoon I sat at Knitique and pulled out the jumbled rows on my rust swing coat (you do remember that one, don't you?). Unknitting can be slower than knitting, particularly when one has ants in one's pants and can't sit still for very long. However, I persevered and I prevailed and I am now once again at the point of the swing coat knitting where the instructions make no sense and I'll probably fuck it up all over again. I think I'll save it till tomorrow, when the wondrous Danielle can figure it out for me.
2. Saturday night I shed a few tears for the missing Molly and then watched the Emmy's. Yeah, I know, they were on last week, but I didn't watch them because...because....I was trying to be a good housemate and not inflict my trashy TV taste on the other inhabitant of the house.
3. Sunday I got up, drank my day-old coffee, read the paper, and prepared to unpack my Fall/Halloween stuff. But I was totally surprised by a phone call from my stepson and daughter-in-law inviting me to dinner. It was really telling how quickly mymood went from stoic Dealing With Life to over-the-top Joyous. Once again, I'm reminded of how much those kids mean to me, that whatever the BS with their father, they are my kids, my family and I need them.
4. Before I drove to the Bay Area, where they live, I stopped in Lodi, to check it out as a place for my shop. I don't think so.... It was dead, dead, dead on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Only one store was open in the area that I was contemplating. Well, two stores, but one of them was having a Going Out Of Business sale. And another store had a For Sale sign in the window, and another was just plain empty. I liked the idea of Lodi because it is close to Elk Grove and I could do the shop and stay in this house. But I know how iffy starting a business is, and I'd like to at least give myself a fighting chance by picking a good location. So, it may be the Bay Area or the Coast for me. Which considering the fact that both sons and daughters-in-law are there, would probably be a good place to be.
5. I spent the night, sleeping in their guest room, which always inspires me to come home and decorate.
6. Which I am doing...and I will post photos and other grand illusions--eventually.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Sounds like a single parent, doesn't it? And that is something I am not prepared to be. I realized this during the week D has been here. I have been out and about every night--gee, a real social life! Which is good, because the grimness of 250 lbs. of Bad Mood or Depression or Simply Lack of Interest is not fun to be around.
I've got a pretty full life going here, and that pleases me. I've got plans for the near and far future that excite me. But I need to be free of responsibility for a while. And he needs to have it.
Still, I'm sadder than sad. I'm suffering from the Welling Tears Syndrome. But I've got to do it. For my sake. And hers. And his.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I've written before of my shock when I moved here and discovered that my house was one of literally thousands, all painted varying shades of brown. But I've adapted. I love the inside of my house. And I'm one of the lucky ones; I don't have an adjustable rate mortgage that is eating up my income and threatening to bankrupt me. So I'm just an observer in the process which real estate expert Norm Schriever outlines in his blog today.
Norm is writing about the Franklin East Reserve area of Elk Grove. That's my area. I think you'll be reading about us soon, because we're going to become, I would bet, the poster child for the ills, varied as they are, of the US new housing market bust. Several weeks ago, The Sacramento Bee did a feature in the their Business section on just one of our problems: vacant houses, absentee landlords, lawns gone to seed. What follows this in any neighborhood, as the police will tell you, is the Broken Window Syndrome: crime, gang activity, further falling property values. The Wall Street Journal picked up the story, and their version is supposed to run on Friday.
I would say the lawns have gone to pot, but that's another problem that's put us in the news. Those absentee landlords? Some of them bought their houses to grow marijuana in. The newly-formed Elk Grove Police Department has gotten more press than it ever expected for their pot busts. Today's headline, above the fold in The Sacramento Bee: "Big pot operation busted in Elk Grove." The major busts several months ago were of houses totally dedicated to growing plants. This time, the growers got smart; they avoided neighbor's suspicions by keeping their lawns mowed, the first floor occupied and only growing the plants on the second floor.
And this is where the third part of my title comes in: Bad Architecture. Our homes were all built so that the living in them takes place in the back. You drive into your garage, and for the period of time that you're at home, you are never seen again. Nothing, I repeat, nothing happens out front. Neighbors? Huh, what are they? Come to think of it, who are they? The days of the front porch, of families watching out for each other, of the village raising the child--these are all non-existent, impossible even, in our area, thanks to the design of our houses.
For the two years that I've lived here, I've wailed about this. The [former] cultural critic in me has tried to deconstruct what it was about society that led to an entire generation of houses where no one was ever home. I know as a [former] cultural critic that the impact on society of culture is in some ways symbiotic. That is, it works both ways: a particular aspect of culture both reflects and refracts the society from which it comes. So these houses where the front yards were manicured, where the garages had trimmed windows that faced the street aping what should be a living room, where the living quarters were all in the far back of the house--these houses gave the appearance of perfect suburbia. But in fact, what they nourished was the underbelly of society: drugs, crime, and a host of social ills.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Seems to me that I did an entire blog post on my hair stylist/cutter/whatever they're calling themselves these days. But on checking back, I may have only done half a rant and then ran out of steam. Lucky you.
I will try to keep this terse and pithy.
Finding someone to cut one's hair is, as most women (and men too, if they're honest) will tell you a trauma fraught with wild hopes, much head nodding, followed by some head shaking, followed, at times, by the pitiful thought that It'll grow. Such has been my state over the last two years when I've lived away from LA, mecca of hair people who know what they're doing. I have traipsed from pillar to post, and now from long to short, trying to find a decent hair cutter. I have been to the Alpha and the Omega of Sacramento County hairdressers. The Alpha is not much, if any, better than the Omega. The Alpha, on the other hand, charges by the follicle.
Today I made my third trip to the Omega, SuperCuts. I had the same person as last time. We had a similar conversation, which has devolved to that same pitiful thought.
I would post a photo, but I'm too embarrassed. Let's put it this way: I look like a gym teacher. A transgendered gym teacher. Which, come to think of it, may be because my Omega hair cutter is a person of indeterminate gender.
Not that there's anything wrong with that....
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sarah's Random Question Game, Revisited
A couple years ago, I wanted to know more about all of you, so I created this game. It was fun. Let's have more fun. Per the original rules, please copy and paste the following questions into your comment post, but erase my answers and replace them with yours.
1. What's your favorite color?
Sorry, but that's a stupid question. I don't think that knowing my favorite color is green helps you understand me at all. Although I suppose it would come in handy if my birthday was coming up and you were mulling over the idea of buying me an article of clothing in cobalt blue, which I would accept graciously but then use as a dishrag. Actually, my favorite color is green as well. But not this green, which I find a tad too flurescent. This green. It's British Racing Green (or it was before the color naming people went crazy) and I lusted after a sports car, a Morgan if you must know, in British Racing Green. That particular lust, as were a number of others, went unfulfilled.
2. If money was not a concern and you could pursue a single hobby for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A photographer. With A+ Photoshop skills. I know that's kind of a bland answer, but few things in life give me the level of joy that I feel when I take a photo and it turns out amazing enough to evoke an emotional response in others. Yep, I have to agree. But if I could have any talent, I'd have a marvelous voice and be a singer. Not as a hobby, though. I want center stage, please.
3. What's one physical thing you wish you could change about yourself?
Only one? What kind of brain teaser is this? Ok ok, if I had to choose just one, I'd get my nose fixed. It was broken many, many years ago, not attended to, and the cartilage healed rather asymmetrically. It never bothered me until my mid-20's when my face kind of settled in and got thinner. While I was on TV every day, I would occasionally get comments about my nose looking big or crooked, which helped feed my self-consciousness. But I'd rather spend my paycheck on a trip to Paris, so I think I'm stuck with it. Yes, yes, me too. I broke my nose when I was seven, showing off at parent's day at camp. I am a one nostril breather. Now I would probably benefit more from some facial tweaking.
4. Sweet or savory?
Oh my, savory, though that's only in the last few years. These days I can do without ice cream, but not without soy sauce. If you cut me open, I'd probably be 65% salt water. And that's an unpleasant visual. Let's move on. Actually, I must have both. Preferably in the same dish.
5. What's the dumbest show on TV that you try to watch regularly?
"The Hills" on MTV. Now I'm humiliated. I hope you're happy. Name your least favorite reality show. Except the ones where they give roses. Gag me....
6. Do you have a favorite Bob Dylan song?
Gosh, you're playing hardball here. Once every few months, I'll dedicate some audio time to Bob, and a song that I haven't been paying much attention to will kind of stand out to me and I'll think to myself, "wow, this is a really fucking good song." See, I'll actually be cussing in my own head because I feel so strongly about it. At this moment, my favorites are 1) Idiot Wind, and 2) Abandoned Love. I think it's the lovelorn Dylan I enjoy the most. Don't Think Twice. Is that the actual name of it. Wait a minute, let me get my Bob Dylan CDs and I'll look...oh, screw it. You know which I mean.
7. Red or white wine?
Is it warm outside? Then white. Is it after dark? Then red. After a bottle of either I will no longer care. I have recently become more conversant with both red and white, thanks to my inert social life. Last night I had a lovely Toasted Head Chardonnay, thanks to the Friday Night Wine Tasting at Raley's. But last week a Jennings, some over-the-top guy gave my friend Susan and me an $80 bottle of Salus Cabernet. It was gooooooood.
8. What profession would you absolutely not want to try?
Aren't you ripping this off from Inside the Actors Studio? Anyway, I've thought about this at length already, and I definitely wouldn't want to be a city sewer worker. Proctologist. Which isn't much different from Sarah's answer, is it.
9. How do you like your eggs?
Fried, over medium. Once served, they must immediately be placed on top of two slices of sourdough and punctured with a fork so that the slightly-hardened-but-not-fully-hardened-yolk seeps into the bread below. Then they must be eaten with great gusto. Gee, this is a toughie. Isn't it interesting how the easiest questions provoke that most thought. How do I like my eggs? It depends, actually, on what mood I'm in. Do I want to sop up yoke, in which case I'll need them over lightly and a side of Wonder bread toast. But maybe I'm in a scrambled state of mind, in which case I want them well-done.
10. What, in your expert opinion, is the best word ever?
Since I discoverd wordie.org, I have a million new ideas, but my new favorite favorite is syzygy. That's a badass word. You can't even play it in Scrabble! My favorite Scrabble word is smegma. I tend to win when I can get the letters for that one. You know what smegma is, don't you? People I play Scrabble with often don't, and then it becomes my really favorite word because I get to define it for them.
So, there you have it. Hope you enjoyed Sarah's Random Question Game. And here's a question for you: Who is she, anyway?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I am not, obviously, in temple, reading responsively and getting ready to cast my sins into the waters of--um, the American River. I am at home, in my office, at my computer, feeling only marginally guilty.
This is the first year since I've been back in California (was it only 1996 that I moved back?) that I haven't done the whole bit at the High Holydays. The whole bit meaning: spent some time during the month before reading and thinking and doing whatever to prepare for the New Year; then spending erev Rosh Hoshanah as well as THE TWO days of the holiday in synagogue; then going to a body of water to cast my sins with other similarly-observant people. Most often this all included family or friends. Never D, who is anti-religion, although he does enjoy eating the apples and honey which we serve so as to ensure a sweet year.
The first years I was back in LA, I went with my niece et al to their Conservative synagogue. It was okay, except that since most of the service is in Hebrew, which somehow I never learned beyond the alphabet (aleph, bet, gimel, daled....), the depth of my comprehension was somewhat, shall we say, limited. When we moved into the city, my mother and I joined a Reform Temple, which just happens to be the one, I'm not name-dropping or anything, where Eddie Fisher and Liz Taylor were married. Truthfully, if you're a Jew in LA and go to synagogue on the High Holydays, you'll probably run into a movie star or two, because as you know we run Hollywood and we're everywhere and the Holydays brings us out of the woodwork like, well, like whatever.
For the past two years, since I've been in Sacramento, I've had to go to services alone. This is every bit as woeful as it sounds. The Holydays are the time when Jews come out in mass and it's a big homecoming, how ya doing, look what I'm up to now. Which is meaningless if you know no one at the synagogue. Also, and I know this sounds somewhat anti-Semitic, but I've never found Jews particularly welcoming in the same way that good Christian ladies know how to make a person feel at home. So the past two years, I've made the necessary arrangements, donned my High Holyday finery (traditionally one's new fall outfit, which then one can sweat in because it is so f...in' hot), and traipsed off to services by myself. Where I more or less remained alone, except for last year when I fell in with a couple of converts who remained at heart good Christian ladies and remember how to do the Welcome Wagon thing.
This year I couldn't do it. I could make all sorts of excuses but the reality is that I couldn't face going to synagogue alone. I'm just starting not to feel like that Grecian Formula commercial--"Rejected!"--and I don't want to be inscribed in the Book of Life this year as some nebbishy, woeful loser.
So I'm staying home, eating my apples and honey by myself and hoping that this year may be sweeter. For you, too.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
It came to me in a flash yesterday afternoon and by bedtime, the whole thing was mapped out in my head. Like it was just waiting in there, ready to come out when the gates opened. Of course, it is something I've been wanting to do since, oh, the early 80s. Something I planned to do if we moved to Central California. Something I intended to do someday when....
I first got the idea (nb: do you think I don't know you don't know what I'm talking about? Ha! Patience, kiddies; it's a virtue, you know) when I walked into a yarn shop in Brentwood. I don't even remember the name of it, but it was a house with three rooms, one of which at least had a fire going in the fireplace. As I recall, but this may be my imagination (or future planning), each room was devoted to a different yarn-related craft: knitting, needlepoint, crewel and crossstitch. I think there was a dog in there somewhere, and the whole place just struck me as the most wonderful way to spend my life. I've held that vision for some 25 years.
When we were looking to move to Visalia in the Central Valley, my plan was to take that concept and open a gift/craft shop. I even looked at real estate there, but we decided not to move then, so I put the shop back in my dreams where it had lived for so long before.
Segue to current moment...yesterday, in fact, after a conversation with D in which he mentioned that he had seen a nice little shop somewhere in that state in which he is still wandering. We used to have a shop ourselves, in Pine Grove, a melange of antiques and collectibles that we took over from his brother and his wife. We called it The Junkman, and it was moderately successful --for two people living on social security. Which we weren't, so we took our junk and went on the road, and that was the end of the shop. But I remember it with great fondness. It wasn't my fantasy, but the lifestyle suited me. So when D told me about the shop he had seen, I said, truthfully, "that sounds appealing." And when I got off the phone, I felt so sad that I would not be a part of this shop. Bereft, you might say. And thinking, why does he get all the fun...
And then I thought, why, indeed? The answer came to me instantly: because he's doing it. He's doing the research and making the plans and acting. So, what's to stop me from doing that, was my very next thought. And again the instant answer: nothing. Nothing's stopping me. So I pulled that dream shop out of the back of my mind, where it's obviously been sitting and growing, and started making plans.
It's evolved somewhat from my original vision, but the gestalt of it has not: a place where people who love things that are original works of art, be they knitted or paper or glass or bead, can come to buy them and/or learn to make them and/or just drink cofffee, eat homebaked cookies, and hang out. I think I'm going to call it Jane's Place. Or maybe I (or you) will think of something more catchy.
I am, as the kids would say, so stoked. Do they still say that????
Monday, September 10, 2007
Last night, and the night before actually, it was Living in the Light of Death and The Northern California & Nevada TourBook. The second was a function of the first and, obviously, they have very different authors and completely different subjects. The former (the first, that is) is a book by Larry Rosenberg on breath awareness meditation or, as the subtitle says, "On the Art of Being Truly Alive." This is so what I'm needing to foster in my life: breathing, being alive, and a knack for taking the piss out of topics that I really do believe in. Ooops. Can I suck that last sentence back? Or at least the final clause--or is it really a phrase with an adverbial in it?
But I digress. The TourBook is the AAA's tome on where and what to visit in--hey!--Northern California and Nevada. If you belong to the AAA, you can go to one of their offices and slide your card in the appropriate slot, punch the appropriate buttons and--woila!--maps and tourbooks come falling out. Sort of like the candy machine at a Motel Six (not that I'd know what that's like, since I foreswore motels with numerals in their names about a decade ago).
I got the TourBook (I hope you're noting the unique capitalization) several weeks ago when I was looking for a likely spot for Molly and I to visit. I found one, but we didn't go; we knitted instead. That is, I knitted at Knitique, my LYS, and Molly veered between greeting the customers and sweeping the floor searching for and finding all manner of crumbs, a task which leaves the floor cleaner and a black low water mark on her chin or beard or muzzle or whatever you want to call that curly white hair that grows on her face.
But again! I digress. I had the TourBook in bed with me because there are three practice centers for Insight Meditation in California, and I wanted to see which was near me. Instead, I got caught up the first chapter of Rosenberg's book: "Aging Is Unavoidable." That's a contemplation, and Rosenberg says it's one people want to avoid. They accept it intellectually--oh, sure, big deal--but to actually take in the real fact of it, of the eventual disintegration of the body--? Nope, that's for someone else. Part of it is a question of self-image, he says, and that, that point is where I got nailed to the wall.
"Self-images are a problem. They are designed to help us feel adequate and secure but also often cause a great deal of suffering. We all have them, and most of us aren't aware we do. We spend enormous time and energy and even money creating and protecting them, trying to keep them intact while our daily experience is chipping away at them. Then when someone sees us in a different way, we are shattered. They mention a senior-citizen discount, and suddenly we see ourselves in Bermuda shorts and canvas shoes, wearing a funny little straw hat. That isn't the image we want to present at all. The pictures we have in our own head are way out of date."
I've been thinking on that. It's a gendered description, so I'm not caught by the Bermuda shorts and funny straw hat. Except--except, the image in my head of a senior citizen is my mother. Short little Libby, who loathed being called cute. Who wore Bermuda shorts and Keds in matching colors. And berets--she was famous for her berets (in fact she was buried in one). There is a whole world of negative images that I have attached to aging, not only clothing, but behaviors and attitudes and ways and means of being that come from watching my mother age. Things I vowed I would not do or feel or say. Except...except...well, you know what I'm going to say, don't you.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I tell you this because it suddenly--d'oh--occurred to me on Monday night that Labor Day was over. The summer was over. And though I didn't have a school to return to, I could stop mooning around acting as if the world owed me a living. So I poste haste made a To Do list and Tuesday morning, I Did. As I am, again, doing today.
Here's what I'm doing:
1. Writing. Something I call, for now, The Night My Brain Burst & Other Stories. I don't know where it will go or what it will be. I do know that the fear of starting something that doesn't have a form petrifies me. Which seems good enough reason to do it.
2. Focusing on myself, rather than other people who shall be nameless. Everytime I think a thought about the Nameless One, I substitute my own name and cogitate on that. As in, The Nameless One is playing games with this not calling business becomes I am playing games with this not calling business. True. I am. I don't want to be out there dangling at the end of an unanswered I Want. Better to pretend that I don't want. Yesterday I returned my cousin's call. We had a funny, loving conversation that went on for exactly the right amount of time. She was delighted that I called her back. Small steps...small steps....
3. Isn't 1 and 2 enough? You want 3, already. Okay, here's 3. That little girl with Molly in the photo? She's my granddaughter. I'm choking as I say it.
4. Do I really think that all of you thought I wasn't old enough to have a granddaughter? You should know that my fear--you don't have to tell me it's nuts--is that you'll say, Oh, my, can't be your friend anymore. Didn't realize you were that old. That much out of our league.
5. Trying to unpack and deal with the shit I have about age. Be prepared: you'll be hearing a lot more about it, because--just because I'm working at not hiding any more. A long time ago, someone said to me, "You talk a lot, but you don't say anything." Weeeelll, not exactly true, but close enough. I am a BS artist, I know. I can sling a phrase and wield a pen well enough to provide my self with cover. I'm trying to stop that.
Monday, September 03, 2007
First, a photo: This is Molly and her niece*, K. K is not riding her aunt; she is guiding her gently down the street via her leash. K does this incredibly well, especially considering she is only 4. But then she does most things very well, including--are you ready for this!--flossing her teeth. I couldn't believe it. My niece and nephew barely brush and K flosses! Wow! This is a testimony to her daddy who is a bit of a tooth care warden.
[*Quiz: what is my relation to K?]
We went to the beach--Molly got her feet wet. She is not a water dog, despite being half poodle. We sat in the sun. We collected shells. We did not get burnt because we were careful with sunscreen. Except for the tops of our feet. However, the Sacramento sunshine has already done it's job on this aging person. I have never been this brown before. I am freckled and age-spotted and--what the hell--my boobs have dropped too. Ah youth--would I have you back? Nope. No way.
Today I am laboring: varnishing clothespins. Yes, you read that right. I am creating, dollinks, and when done shall show all of you, not to mention the world of Etsy, the fruit of my labors..