...a way of seeing beyond inner and outer.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Not for want of inspiration...

It occurred to me this morning, the morning i do not want to be a Monday morning but is, that I have been surrounded by the inspiration to dance with the Maximal. aka the Universe. Here are a few things that have done more than their share to pull me onto the floor.

  1. The planks of eucalyptus bark that my dog delights in destroying.  It makes a mess, but the smell is divine. The dog is pure comedy.
  2. A new tea, though I was forced, FORCED I tell you! to try it because my other coconut favorite was all GONE.  okay.  i'm through ranting, but i'm still bitter. and yes, i realize i benefited.  bitter. still.
  3. My new way of eating, which I'm not talking about any more until I have a picture to go with the feeling but my French friend approves, if by "approves" I meant, "doesn't care as long as I'm enjoying life."
  4. This visionary creature,  this quiet boy , this curious boy, this adventurous girl as well as this one, and all my here close people who teach me daily.
  5. Chopin who I hear here daily and Vusi Mahlasela who I was fortunate enough to hear sing a song he'd previously sung at a precursor event to the meeting of the G8, called Live8 and on Mandela Day.  I didn't know all this Saturday night but when he said, "The world owes Africa." (Eqypt), Ayn Rand spewed her vodka cran across the white carpet of my brain and she kept spewing until I started listening. With the music, Mahlasela said, of Africa, "Let them give something to the world and not just take from it."    If you care at all about jazz, the blues, rock, hip hop, dance, r&b, salsa, rumba, tango, fado (what am I forgetting)...then you know Africa(Eqypt) already has.
The five items are in celebration of a blogging milestone.  The song is for all these people who don't believe in fear either.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Uncertainty Principle

"New stuff" is happening.   It's good new stuff, but it's still new stuff and change is not my favorite as I tend to get attached to the present, particularly when I think it's already full of good stuff.
I'm beginning to think life is best described as a detachment mechanism that may or may not amble in the direction we choose but even when or if it does there's a lot of tangential curly-q'ing involved.  We are undeniably afloat in a sea of constant shift, movement and change, since the universe and everything in it is a seemingly endless array of tiny bits and pieces that eschew constancy in favor of change.

Any given particle: "Are we there yet?"
Heisenberg: "Probably"
It's beautiful if we let it be (as if we have a choice) which is great in the philosophical sense, of "stop weaving and watch how the pattern improves" but it doesn't settle with the little voice that wants me to "accomplish" something.

One of the next_steps that came out of my little life maker machine after 
"go take a shower"
was a question.
"What do you intend to do with all this?"  

My answer? 
"No clue."
 I should probably fix that, huh?



intent:  "purpose," early 13c., from O.Fr. entente, from L.L. intentus "attention," from L. intentus (fem. intentia), pp. of intendere "stretch out, lean toward, strain," lit. "stretched out" (see intend). Intentionally "on purpose" is from 1660s.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's not about cupcakes.

There are days when the sunlight conspires with your inherent, underlying content*ment to remind you the moment you're in is enough, just as it is, and all your ambitions are misguided ideas of what would make you as enough as the moment You fill.

i've lead, and it was very good 
but
the best i've ever had 
was following...


p.p.s
note to self:
it's not about writing books either

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's only pseudo code but I like it.

I should. I wrote it.

while ( calm=0)
{if (restless=1)
do
walking_mediation;
until (hearing(next_step)=1||restless=0);
else
med­i­tate (next_step);
}

"It" was a comment left by me in response to a post written by Damita who finds herself stressed and it was created in that form because the author, like me, is a girl geek, or as we
( yes, I'm appointing myself spokeswoman for all 
leftbrain/digital careered women and will soon 
have an official coffee mug made that says so. ) 
like to call ourselves, geek goddesses.   She understand that stuff up there with all those squiggles.  It's the scratch pad language of computer programming called pseudo code. It won't run, but it will get you to something that will. 
(and in case you're currently a programmer, 
I myself am not 
and haven't been for close to a decade so 
cut me some slack.)


You may have notice a little bit of it in the profile section of this blog.
while { (Breathing = true) Seek (constant Joy); Do { It; } }.

It's the pseudo code for the "be happy" program.

The point of all that code at the top and the stuff right above this is, if you're not calm/engaged in what you intend to do, there's a reason. Figure out what is at the very bottom of the "not calm"/not joy and fix that one thing.  It always is one thing.  Granted, there's usually a next step after the one thing, but you can handle one thing and that's all you have to handle.

The other day I could. not. get. my. head. on board and was struggling like a ..well something that leaps to mind but I won't type.   I remembered my own pseudo code/advise, listened to it and found the solution was pretty simple.

thinkgeek.com
specifically speaking, the next_step was "go take a shower."

You'd think I could come up with this on my own at this point, but no, I need a computer program to tell me.  I was, however, able to take it from there and get it all done.  Next Step is my new friend.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

random pacts of bindness

Post 1:
Totally serious deadpan decided it was going out across the ether, as is, commando:

i have a sewing machine
&
i hate to sew.
the beautiful bleached white linen panels that hang accusingly unseamed unsung and unsewed won't leave me be.

i will give you my "professional" sewing machine
which may or may not work after five years of neglect. (would you cooperate with  someone who put you in a closet for five years?)
to keep for your very own
for all of time
if you fix this for me.
 wandering?wondering?whining..just a pinch 

Post2:
Wholly resigned, pretty reluctant and resentful..just a pinch

thank you for raising your eyebrow when i asked you to do something i could do myself.  come get your sewing machine. well, not right now, i have to finish these curtains, but yes, after I finish these damn curtains, I'm giving you my sewing machine, but you have to tell me why you like to sew and how you get through it without a margarita, so I guess the real question is "Why don't you hate sewing?"
much closer to salient.


Post 3:
Clueless, cross and ..well, that about covers it.
Someone tell me what to do..

P1p.s.  i'm serious but you have to live close enough to "do lunch" aka, the sewing machine handoff and you'd have to answer the question in Post2.
.
P2p.s.:  it would be greatly appreciated if you explain what happens when people "follow" your blog as in "yes I am your follower. Count me!"  vs. follow as in "this is interesting.  i'll check back" or "sweet niblets this girl's a trainwreck. i'm not about to admit reading this stuff"

P3p.s. i kid. i know what to do. "shut up and/or do it."
if none of that makes sense,
i hate my curtains
.
yeah.  this one gets posted

Tea in Tanzania

The house smells like the Zanzibar of exotic stories.  There is a small pot of water simmering on the stove with bits of  cardamom and cloves scatted into it for no other reason than it fills the house with fragrance and moisture like my mother did every dry winter of my childhood.  On my desk, a small candle burns in an indigo blue jar.  It burns amber and cedar smoke into the spice laden air.
     I'm drinking my perennially favorite tea, jasmine pearl.  The jasmine flowers rolled into the tea leaves add the scent of a post monsoonal evening..  This flower queen of the night releases its perfume when the only bees awake to trail their little hairy legs in its pollen are the ones who've read enough Anne Rice to use the moon to navigate from blossom to blossom and back to the hive.
     The last nose-color on my home's olfactory palate this Tuesday is chocolate from Tanzania.  It's a chocolate that leapt into my little red basket when I was restraining myself in the presence of all the other holiday treats being proffered and I'm fairly insistent about how it got there.  According to its makers it is ideally paired with jasmine tea.  What a marvelous coincidence that I had both.  A bit of it on a warm piece of toasted brioche is more than enough for anything you might think you need.
     What would I tell you over a cup and a bite?
     Nothing.
     I'd listen.
You already know everything you need to know.  If anything, I'd only remind you of your own Guide, your Given Wisdom and that:
"the earth is crammed with heaven."
so take off your shoes and let yourself swoon with the muchness of it all.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chaos theory

In part, the phrase, "...the truth shall set you free." is carved in stone on a building at the University of Texas in Austin and is a story my Dad and I share.  Ask him about it if you ever see him. Not that I feel particularly entangled at this very moment, but I read things, one of which is "blogging with integrity", as if  integrity in general didn't cover it all. 
* "For shame. Forsooth" said with the judgmental facial expression 
for which I will later pay because judgement isn't in my job description. 
Speaking of truth and not covering it all,  the photo of my desk that was posted the other day, and man what a good ( read:short lived) day, wasn't very realistic.  It is Monday morning and I'm back to the delightful chaos of "follow". This bothers me exactly zero, because I think creativity is found much closer to chaos than it is to order.  Not a lot of "purdy" in, let's say, Nazi Germany.
There ain't nothin' sadder than Sunday Monday mornin' comin' down..although this was taken on a Sunday evening.
and if nothing else happens, i am going to straighten those two paintings.  sheesh

On a side note, a lovely beauty came to this place the other day and inspired this post. 
She left a little gift in the form of these words
“Behind the story I tell is the one I don’t… Behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear.”—Dorothy Allison
I'm waiting for her to come back and unfold the rest of the story, but it seems to fit since
I can hardly wait to see what stories will unfold this week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blossoms, dearie

A while back, my very favorite photo blogger, Tara Bradford, a woman whose camera I want my camera to be when it grows up, paid me a compliment about the photo of hydrangeas that appear in the header of cookedheads.  Before you read any further: go. Behold. Dig. Envy. Enjoy. Understand. See? The woman is substantive.
My daughter and I were in Houston for a visit with my family and the two of us wanted to do something nice for my mother. A flower hunt began.  We went into a prominent flower shop in Houston and were completely ignored while the clerk talked to someone who may or may not have been buying flowers, but after I watch two people lean on a counter to engage in a ten minute conversation without so much as a phalaenopsis or a forget-me-not crossing either of their lips, I began to wonder. My observation skills are well honed. It didn't bother me, I just figured they didn't need us so we went to find someone who did.
The someone who did was a sublime florist at Plants and Petals by the name of Sean who found me shuffling through the floral cooler slightly catatonic from all the color and form. Forget about the wine cellar, I want a flower cooler.   I asked for X dollars worth of flowers and within a very different ten minutes than the ten I'd spent up the street, he walked out of the cooler with close to 2X dollars worth of hydrangeas.  It was easily two arms full of the truest blues, the most marvelous mauves and just enough chartreuse to know the flowers would last long after our visit ended.
If you're in Houston three things you really should visit:
1) my family, though bias is probable
2)The Menil Collection.
3) Plants and Petals on Westheimer.
You have to love a place that does gorgeous with gourds.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Perfect vision

If you don't get this, I'll do what I can to help you see it, but it seems so clear to me our discussion might be a little like when my husband tries to explain hydraulic engineering to me.  It's hard to explain when you forgot that you had to learn.
I have to tell you, I'd give'em all a kiss on the mouth, 
though I'm not sure if I could get to this guy's sweet little mouth.
We are all beautiful.
Smack yourself if you don't think so, because if you don't, 
and I find you, 
we're gonna talk.  
Ask my kids how fun that is.
...and yes, I'm sober.

This is not a rant. I repeat. This is not a rant.

There is a rant about industry imposed body-image issues, consumerism and elitism here somewhere, but I'm not the one to write it. For starters,  I am a long time subscriber to Vogue but I swear, I only do it for the articles. You're buying that, right?  Well, I'm almost totally serious.
The clothes are often weird and always too expensive for my reality.  To tell you the whole truth, I can't think of a reality where I'd feel okay with paying five thousand dollars for a sheath dress no matter how well it's made though I don't care one whit if other people can and do.  Money is "game tokens" and how other people use theirs is none of my business though I do occasionally allow myself a derisive little snort at the absurdity. I fingered a silk sliver of a scarf the other day and wondered how much of the four hundred and seventy five dollars Mr. Choo wanted was scarf and how much was label, but that's another story.
So, yes, the articles.  Once I got over my need to be like these twiggy girls and have these lovely ( crazy ) clothes, I began to read the articles and found it's a pretty intelligent periodical.  This month it inspired me to buy a book, Lorraine Hansberry's autobiography and to finally send my daughter a leather lariat in imitation of my brilliant cousin and her equally brilliant daughter, Izzy.
Watch out Ms. Wintour...Izzy's on the way.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Things they don't tell you about being a parent:

  1. You'll never sleep the same way again. Oh they tell you that you won't sleep for several months, but they don't tell you the whole truth. Before children, you can sleep through anything.  After children, and that's "forever after", as in after the children have all left the house to lives of their own, you'll sleep with at least 3/4 of your brain listening for someone who needs you, including the two twenty somethings having an argument a block away at one in the morning on any given Friday.  The children need me! must! wake! up! And for the record, it's the kind of wake.up. that suggests someone mainlined three cups of coffee into your bloodstream five minutes before your eyes pop open. Yeah.. you're gonna be awake a while.
  2. You come to understand struggle is a gift because it's a master teacher.  Before children you get irritated a lot about things that aren't happening as fast, as easily, as muchly as you'd like and about the people who AREN'T HELPING YOU!!!!!  After children, you spend a lot of time biting your lip and only looking at what they're doing with the 1/4 of your brain that gets sleep while they struggle to accomplish something because you know it will make them stronger.  Dang this is hard.. and it only get's harder.  Wait until they move out. Yikes large but shut up.
  3. Suffering in untenable situations teaches your children to do the same thing.  Before children you might find reasons to convince yourself it's noble to put up with the horrible job, the abusive relationship, the insanity of martyrdom.  After children, you see someone you care about very deeply repeat this pattern and you realize you have to see yourself as "deserving" or you will inadvertently squelch the thing they were born with that constantly tells them how beautiful and perfect they are.   Fix this.  Soon.
  4. Your children will eventually be much smarter than you.
  5. Being a good parent is like being a good teacher, you become less and less necessary and it's not always cause for celebration.   My daughter moved to Seattle to go to school last year and didn't come home for the holidays this year because she really really wanted to spend time playing in the snow with her friends.  I guess this makes me a good parent.
  6. You can pat yourself on the back and be sad at the same time.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Warning: Meaningless stream of consciousness post

Is there therapy for bloggers, 
because I have some hangups that need to unhang.

  1. I have an irrational aversion to the methods most often used to boost readership.  
  2. I tend toward unhealthy obsession with regard to blog traffic statistics and have thus decided to stop looking at them, except for that last ti...last thr.. okay well, I'm cutting way back.
  3. I do not believe in burnout. Repeated and predictable episodes of burn-out have not changed my mind in this regard. 
  4. I love to write, but I just really want the beach house with a lot of frontage space for the infinity pool and I'm not interested in a sugar daddy.
  5. Lists are my woobie.

mmmm..woobie*y
Peace out to my hangedup homies..

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm only authorized to say thank you.

I have, to my occasional regret, mentioned my ongoing internal dialog that sometimes requires the help of a keyboard to be deciphered. It sloooooows meh down. A very good thing. Martha Stewart sweater set not included.

So yes. This morning, I...well let's back up a bit. Baby writer's block happened. No matter what you do, even if you never write more than a check, you've had writer's block. Basically, it's your brain thinking,

"I want to (insert any manifestation of mental effort here )."

Crickets chirp, people cough while your brain waits for (insert any manifestation of mental effort here) to happen like it's some other body part's job to make it happen.
Writer's Block..
baby, in this case.
"What to do? What to do?
The outlook was decidedly blue."~Gershwin

So yes. This morning, I....  I opened the document to untie the knots, or more accurately, to keep knots from forming in the first place.  Before one keystroke was added, a single thread manifest itself.
"Say thank you."

Thank you,
for a few things.
  • a green hummingbird that didn't dive bomb my head, though i almost wish it had.
  • water.  go stand at the ocean. heck, take a long bath. you'll know what i mean. 
  • the way onions smell when they're cooking in butter
  • my people, all bunches of them.  you are my life. you are life.
  • that c → b♯ → 
  • the very big door that i'm invited through every single time i remember where to find it. this especially.
surreal-paintings-vladimir-kush 5
"Keys" by Vladimir Kush

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tea and syncope

Tuesday has tiptoed into the room like a dog stalking socks so any tea party happening today will be more Hatter than high. 
Cheese-and-crackers, the days are flying...
(and may I just say thank you for the laughs provided by Google, "The Tea Party" and the results of an image search for "crazy tea party"  uh.. yeah... a little hostile out there folks. )
So. Yes. Tea.  Hmm.. somethings from here,  served on something like this, with lots and lots of these all over the place.
Then again, given the hectic schedule we've all got, maybe we should just call these people and ask if they'll come out west for the day. Yes.  I think that's the best course of action.
Definitely. Let's call someone.
Until we hear from those people we're going to call, you may be happy to know, neither you, nor Christi will ever have to have tea with a woman who shakes her matcha in a recycled lemon curd jar, though to tell you the truth, all that whipping was enough to make me light headed.





 


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow days...and globes

This morning, as I sat in my warm and sunny Southern California zip code, I heard on the newcast that every state in the United States save one had snow on the ground. Florida is the lone hold out against the winter blight.

For: the rest of us,
and an argument in favor of print news
From: The LA Times Magazine

baby..it's cold out there..

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I can see!

Someone is determined that I recycle and has finally made it easier for me,as 
and by easier I mean, "has cured my blindness."
   A few months ago I wrote about my brilliant plan to minimize how often I had to do this worthwhile but annoying act.  I'm sorry to all you people out there who eco-warm fuzzy from sorting your trash, but I grew up on a farm where we recycled out of necessity and it's not glamorous.  If you live far enough out in the country, you burn your trash and it doesn't take a chemistry major to figure out that there are things that won't burn, and that paint, plastics and batteries aren't things you want leaching it to your well, twenty feet away from your burn barrel.
So yes, we recycled.    I hate it.  I do it.  I have an old reusable grocery bag that I use to toss recyclables into and every couple of days when we're out, I go by the sorting place and stand there playing this game:
Fun at two years old. Not fun after two years old.
The hitch in my plan regarding the water bottles is that the cartridges have to be recycled, and they build up over time.  I have had a drawer full of and they're steel. Steel does not do a lot of good for a drawer.  There's only so much steel your average kitchen drawer is made to hold, but there's no steel cut out at my recycle center.   I've been looking for a convenient place that wasn't in a part of town that made me feel like I needed an escort or a side arm, then I took the non-recyclables to the dumpster and saw something that just made my whole day.    It had been there the whole time, but I  never even looked at it.   I'm telling you people, we have everything.  We just have to open our damn eyes.
!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tea with Christi

This most lovely and sweet blogger has recently begun a meme that is an exercise in connection, one of the six goals I have set for myself in 2011 and we are not using the R word, tyvm. ggggah.

The past couple of Tuesdays, she's held a blogging tea party. 
love 
that 
game! Yes. Still...  
The great thing about an online tea party is that everyone who participates has a notion of what a really good tea party would look like.  
Something along the lines of the photo below would work for me, preferably in my dining room, in my beach front house with dark hardwood floors and a salt water infinity pool and it would have to be an after work tea party so we'd probably be drinking hot tea punch, but you get the idea.
Little Black Guidebook
Tea with Christi always starts with an exchange of family gossip. She gives us sweet bit about the nephew-baby and baptisms, about being in love with her guy, the good one we all like.  We tell her about our people, which, in my case means I tell you all that I ask my husband to help the oldest daughter download Happy Birds. I would tell you all how we finally agreed to call them Emotional Birds because did it really make a difference if the birds were Happy or Angry? Then I tell you all how much my personal pedant makes me laugh even when I want to throw shoes at him.  Come to think of it, it's why I want to throw shoes at him.  Do you know how hard it is to stay angry at someone who makes you laugh?
We would all laugh at that.  ( I'm scripting this.  Trust me, you laugh )

 We talk about the books we're reading, unless, like me, you're trying to write one so other people's get on your nerves.  If you're me, you nod/smile, weep/gnash teeth.  The rest of you are reading fascinating books that I'm not, but may be tempted to talk about later as though I had.   Man I hope not. I hate when that happens.
Christ asks about you all, and me of course, and I resist the urge to say,   "It's on my blog."  as I hand out my new cookedheads calling cards.  I instead, I try to think of something interesting to tell you and wonder if it's too soon to reuse  the Emotional Bird joke.
I would try to get you all to take home some frozen gumbo because four and half gallons of gumbo goes further than I thought and I'm trying to off load the stuff. I would tell you that Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena stovetop cleaner does a good job getting tea stains out of china and not to bother putting rose syrup in Chamomile tea because you can't taste it so you should probably make a cup of matcha instead.  Then I'd tell you about the clerk at Sur La Table that brought me a bamboo wok scrubber when I asked if they had any bamboo whisks.  (laugh. it's in the script)

It gets pretty wild, in a repeatable way.  To much wild and well, no one wants to come for tea again, except law enforcement.
As we leave, Christi hugs us all and hands each of us a life goodie on the way out the door. 
The rest of you rush out to buy lemon verbena countertop cleaner for yourselves and a bamboo whisk for me because you're embarrassed that you know a woman who aerates her matcha in a used lemon curd jar..

Happy Tuesday...

Netses? We doan nee no steenkeen netses.

I know why high wire artists and aerialists do what they do.
There is an indescribable thrill in being suspended between nothing (in my case the nothing is not writing or "no book") and nothing (writing a book so well and with such ease it's as if it were nothing.). 
You teeter on the brink of utter failure and humilation ( put your book out there before its time. have your pants rip while you're on the highwire, fall to your death because you've said you don't need no stinking net... yah know, bad embarrassing stuff)
When I write well, or maybe the more accurate way to that is: when I have joy as I write,  I am suspended there between my own ego that insists I write a "good" book, resulting in "no book" and creation, which results only in joy. Anything, everything else becomes unimportant. It requires effort but as I do it, I realize the lesson for me is to do it.  To stay balanced between nothing and nothing is the exercise. To live in that place, a place we did not make but is available to us at any moment, is worth any amount of practice.

It's maddening how illusive this point of balance can be sometimes.   I've come up with exercises to learn this craft and I'll be using them on the new website, which will go live the first part of February, but from time to time, it's a real unfun struggle vs. you know, the fun kind of struggle. (?)
like when the flow stops and doesn't want to restart.
I have a tool on my igoogle page that offers writing ideas for blocked writers. It's a magic eight ball for writing.  Not serious, but sometimes you already know where you need to go and need a shove in one direction or the other.  that's what this little goofy app does for me
  This is what I saw this morning when I logged in:
This can't be a good sign...


Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekend recap

Thanks to the golf I was puzzling about on Saturday, I figured out why the universe sent me a man who has such masochist tenancies.
Go baby go! Mama needs a new Weissburgunder!
So, the wife-in-law and I, being submissive followers of all things good and perfect, followed the money to a lovely wine tasting where wine was had, laughter was given, lessons were learned, and I fell deeper in love with my husband, who wasn't even there.
I'd expound, but another thing I did this weekend was read some things that told me to "shhhh" more often.. 

"Inside me a hundred beings
are putting their fingers to their lips and saying 
'That's enough for now. Shhhh'.  Silence
is an ocean. Speech is a river

When the ocean is searching for you, don't walk
to the language-river. Listen to the ocean,
and bring your talking business
to an end"~~Rumi

+
I have a pile to climb.
*grumble
Happy Monday...
...if that's not too much like wishing someone a... 
...Merry Root Canal

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cleanliness is next to sanity

I made myself a promise to clean up my desk while my first cup of coffee was still hot. It's lukewarm, but that's not procrastination, that's a husband who makes coffee before his 6:30a.m. tee time.  Who does that?  I stopped asking years ago.  If the man wants to get up while it's still pitch black to walk five miles carrying forty pounds of gear so he can whack a defenseless white ball around in the grass with metal stick, who am I to judge.
Personally, I cleaned my desk while I drank lukewarm coffee.  That's more than enough achievement for a weekend morning.   I couldn't bring myself to show you the before, but here's a picture of my new blog book:

Now, I'm off to plan my take over of the world, pinkie...
well, my part of it, anyway..
happy saturday, blogobody.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I owe you one.

    Still running, still catching up still using the passive voice. Must. Stop. Now. (the passive voice, not stop as in rest.. must. not. stop.)
So. yes.  must not stop.  But I do want you to know that this place makes me smile is such a unique and good way that I have to at least stop by and remind myself that you're all there being very busy too and in the active voice, I'm sure.   Here, while I catch up with my to stay-employed list, have a cup of tea and a cookie or maybe some chocolate and answer this for me, am I the only one that feels like a b.b.rolling around in a metal bucket this week?


Junk Drawer Cookies.  Ecuadorian Chocolate

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Nibbles & Bits: What passes for dinner around here.

Morpheus was more than a little stand-offish last night and today was another day of being not quite in the routine yet.    After much discussion and palate foreplay, we will stay in, finish the dregs of two bottles of wine from last night's get together with friends and eat one of our favorite meals...nibbles. Granted, these are left overs and they are some maximal nibbles, but as a meal it's not going to win any awards from the AMA, Bob Greene or any of those other people who want you to eat vegetables to say nothing of PETA and I'm sorry for that, but sometimes your energy level trumps your morality...
Dried Cherries
Pâté de foie gras
Point Reyes Farmstead Blue
&
guilt.
mmm...tasty




note to self:  tired or not.. proofread, sheesh

temporary? bliss

  • a good gumbo
  • Louis and Ella singing april in paris
  • a glass of Shiraz
  • a cool and dry California winter's evening, spent with friends
  • a nice long soak in a hot bathtub filled with girly scented soaking sauce
  • insomnia.  It's aways fun to watch the digits on the clock change.  12:34a.m. and 1:23a.m. aren't too bad. It's coming up on 2:34 and it's not quite as fun. I doubt tomorrow, er, today will be much fun either.  Power nap under the desk?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My new boyfriend is a bucket seat from Knight Rider.

   He's all in.cog.nito though, masquerading as a chair massager, as in a massager you strap to a chair vs. a masseuse for your chair.   He even has his own remote, though it's attached to him, so I don't guess you really should call it a remote.  A clicker thingie? High tech stuff. He a geek with a solution to a problem. Love those.
   Field experience for the people who use pain and suffering to get "good intel":

  1. Gather up all the people who want to blow us up when we're trying to go to Grandma's house for turkey or to work in the morning.
  2. Have them sit in a straight backed chair at a computer from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon, and make them start write a book after 5 o'clock. Three pages a day is a good goal.  It will stress them.
  3. Ten years into the computer thing and a year into the book phase, make them blog whenever they're not engaged in one biological function or another.  It will take a while, but they will tell you anything you want to know if you tell them you'll let them lie on their backs for a while, or at least I will.  What do you want to know? 

Yes.
So, 
my husband got me this thing a few months ago. I've kept it in the closet, because,.... well, look at it.  It is navy blue polyester leisure suit unattractive.  In fact, dare I say, it's the cure for decorous.

Never the less, ahm, in luv.   

Between writing, database administering, and planning my take over of the world,  I spend a lot of time abusing my back.   My new boyfriend is helping me with this as well as some of my intimacy issues. He has a heat button...
If you want one of your own Sharper Image, but I'll  you if you buy it from here.  Oh nevermind, I'll
♥ you anyway, but he's good and I'm willing to share.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dang, but it's good.

I'm exhausted. It's always like that after a long break. You forget what it's like to work from the moment your feet hit the ground until after the sun has been to bed for hours.   It's a good feeling.  It's one that I crave as much as I crave beauty, in fact, it's probably in my RNA.  I remember something my grandmother said after watching my mother plant scores of pecan trees from up the pasture.  Have I mentioned I spent a lot of my youth living on a farm in deep East Texas? Anyway, my grandmother said,
"Nothing makes me happier than seeing my children being productive."
My grandmother and grandfather worked like dogs for the fun of it, to make things, things they wanted to give to their kids. I'd like to ask them how they think they did in that.  My mother works the same way, for the joy of leaving something.  Type A?  Restless? Driven? I have no clue.
What I do know is this:   create a day where you did, made, created, produced, left something more than co2 in the world, then you had a good day.
a very very small snifter of single malt scotch from the Isle of Skye and Bill Evans.. today i won. go me go.

now i go make gumbo...

The inner editor and Junk Drawer Cookies

The very funny lady from Yolk: gave me my new writing mantra.
     "Forget the inner editor",   she said
     It doesn't take a genius to decide this bar is much closer to being one I can clear than the quote I had been using is. 
     It removes a lot of self-inflicted pressure and, at the very least, has the potential to improve my writing experience.  It just so happens to be a very good bit of life advise as well. 
     We question ourselves entirely too much.   Imagine there's a smarter, wiser, truer voice deep within you, or high above you that says, 
"Just keep going, you're fine. If you look like you're going to fall, I'll let you know."
 Of course, this assumes you aren't a serial killer, aren't trying to abuse your fellow human being and aren't a heinous person perpetrating genocide.  This answer only works for general and benevolent intent from a compassionate base.
     I've told my inner editor to go fix itself a cocktail and I'll be with it shortly. By "shortly", I mean several months from now when the first draft is finished.  Bottom line: I'm back at work on the book or rather, I will be after I bake coconut almond macaroons, toffee shortbread meltaways ( thank you Amanda ), chocolate chip and junk drawer cookies  for classroom full of lanky geeky engineer types.  Nothing like a sugar high to help you get through a lesson in hydraulic engineering.

Junk Drawer Cookies
The base for this recipe is here but I deviate. (Three or for days later, you'll how much. ) I'm a deviant.
(I'll add a photo to the post later. Right now I have to bake.
My inner editor wants me to put in a photo now. 
I'm ignoring it.)
Three? Four? days later *drumroll



  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c, granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 cup quick-cooking oats Three? Four? days later.. 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oat 
  • and
  • 1/2 cup muesli
  • 3/4 cup egg  nog ( I had some left over )  Three? Four? days later 1/2 cup. I didn't have quite as much as I thought left over.
  • 1 cup crushed nut brittle ( I had some left over..... I think you can see where this is going.)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios ( I.h.s.l.o) 
  • 1/2 dried cherries ( I.h.s.l.o) 
  • 1/2 mixed dried raisin, blueberries, cranberries. ( I.h.s.l.o) 
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips (I.h.s.l.o) three? four? days later, half a bag of white chips.  I found a whole 10ounce bag in the pantry.  They're outta here..

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat (rubber nonstick baking mat). Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Add egg nog.  
     Sift together the flour, baking soda, and spice in separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half. Stir in the oats, nuts, dried fruit, chips and whatever else you have "some left over".. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.


All this blue font will tell you why I will never write a cook book and why cookedheads will never be a cooking blog...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jan.Three and I'm already procrastinating.

The humbling thing about writing a book you hope will be a good book is that the process will show you how little you know of both yourself and of the world in general.
Knowing myself.  Or not.:
The protagonist.  I find I don't like her as much as I'd like to and it dawns on me, I don't know her very well.  It borders on (read: lives in the middle of) weird to begin to spend time with an imaginary person, never mind that an imaginary French woman has changed my daily life in only positive ways, but  the only way to know someone is to spend time with them, imaginary or not.   Then it dawns on me, I don't want to get that close to her...and it's a fictional character.   So, yeah, intimacy issues. My husband has told me he figured out a while ago that I don't "like physical contact", his term for sitting together on the loveseat together.   Not happy to learn that, and not happy about the character and not happy about going back and doing another pass to tell her story better.
I have no clue about anything. 
The plot.  I'm sort of okay with being clueless and with the plot, or was, until I got to the point i don't want to write so I cam here to post instead.  My justification was, 

The truth is, I need help. I'm about to write about war and I don't want to do it.  I really don't want to do it.  I've done research. I've spent time clinically interview war veterans.  I've watched documentaries where other war vets talk about their experiences. Up to this point, I've been okay, but as I begin to write, I'm in that place.  I'm feeling those things.   They upset me deeply.  Is it the same for other writers? Do you have to suffer to write well?  

       "You can't write a book like that with just your brain."

     It was said of "To Kill A Mockingbird" and it was said to Harper Lee by Pat Dye after he told her she wasn't smart enough to have written that book.    That in no way reflects my opinion of my own writing. I am a mewing wet closed-eyed kitten gasping for every labored breath and I know it, but it does reflect my  commitment to writing from honesty and depth.
   I couldn't find the piece of paper under the stacks and stacks of research on my desk.  Rather than waste time digging so I could make sure my memory was accurate, I used google and found out more about that meeting.  The story is here if you'd like to read it, but what I read will be what made me suck it up and go back to writing.  In its entirety what Dye said was this:
"You know ma'am, you ain't smart enough to write a book like that. Ain't nobody smart enough to write a book like that. To write a book like that you gotta write it with your heart, your soul, your guts, your passion. You can't write a book like that with just your brain."



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Six words of wisdom. Five if you use contractions.

"Sometimes, it's just for you."

This morning, I heard Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing, "You're never satisfied until you break my heart" on a local jazz station.  I wanted to download it, or embed it or give it to you in some way.  After many many bits of time spent looking to do that, it dawned on me it was a gift from the Universe to me.   Sometimes you're given.
Rule No. 9: Let people do nice things for you.
All sorts of people. Even the jazz radio d.j. who got stuck with the crack of dawn,  last day of a holiday weekend shift when no one but the people who run out of food for their dogs and cream for their coffee get to hear.
Rule no. 4 Thank you.  No buts.  
Find that song if you can, but paired with a glass of wine the following will make a rainy day before you have to get back on your head to answer the call of the "wilder" database much more bearable.  
Nina Simone and her exquisitely fatty homage to Johann Sebastian Bach. 
Just for you.


this week, aspire to see what was just for you.
look for it.  it is there.
and if you let it be, it's loud.
promise.


p.p.  thank you, Chuck, no buts.  
 
















1-10 things my husband taught me about the universe


That's nine.
Number ten is this:
One set of California King sized sheets, six pillow cases and a week's worth of laundry for two people can be crammed into three washing machines, unsorted and come out their original colors and clean.
Thank you.  No buts.