Sunday, March 10, 2013

I went to a lovely bridal shower yesterday. Usually, if I am at any kind of shower, I am actively working: working because I am the one who's thrown it, working to make sure everyone plays nice and the event doesn't close with barbed tongues and acid words, working to make sure I don't jump face first into a cake to relieve my personal stress...

But as this was a shower held by my best neighbor, for her granddaughter, I could just relax and enjoy watching a lovely young girl's delight at receiving household goods to feather her nest with...and of course the requisite lingerie gifts that makes the recipient's face turn to stop-light red. (See what I did there? Lingerie, red face, stoplight red, red light district...? You're welcome. Stick around folks I got a million of them.)

And because I was pretty much bullet-proof, I felt comfortable to share the following story with the guests...

Jayme, I am really glad that you registered for a cast iron skillet and oven mitts. And let me tell you why...As you probably are unaware, I am from New Orleans. And every New Orleanian worth her salt has a cast iron skillet mixed in with her other cookware. And that's because cast iron is the ultimate non-stick material...but also, it's because a cast iron skillet is a lot like a marriage. (Paused here for the chuckle, which confused me because I haven't gotten to the best part yet.)

See, everything is bright and new right now, just like that skillet. But as you continue your relationship, there are times you are going to be tested with fire. And if you have seasoned that cast iron skillet with some patience, it will get even better than it is now. It won't rust from tears or neglect. And like any marriage, there is going to be some times where things might be too hot to handle. That's when you have to remember to use the mitts and handle with care. If the skillet is seasoned, no matter how things get burned, nothing will stick, things will simply slide right off...and lastly? When the heat is so great that you have to get out of the kitchen? Always remember that the cast iron skillet, when properly used, is an excellent behavior modification tool.

You're welcome.

It was a smash hit. And I was happy for having shared this tidbit of advice to a girl that I will probably never see again. I hope that skillet, and her marriage, lasts as long as they both shall live.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


In my desire to be fully present in life so that I can live more as a participant than a spectator, I have begun trying to be aware of my senses. Instead of blocking out the physical in favor of the interior landcape, I am stopping to smell the roses, so to speak.

Latest sensation to enjoy: books.

One of my Portenzo iPad cases is covered in buckram. (If you are not sure what a Portenzo is, I strongly urge you to get there——right away. They are superb craftsmen.) Buckram is the stiff cover material that you find on the old-fashioned bound periodicals. It has a very distinct feel, whether it's freshly made or worn with age.

My happiest sensory memories come from libraries. I love everything about books—the way they smell, the colors of the covers, the different typefaces, the weight in my hands.

When I find myself anxious, I find that I reach for the buckram covered ipad and stroke it lightly with my thumb and fingertips, ghosting over the engraved title (There and Back Again, with no apologies to Tolkein). It feels solid, stable, enduring and true.

I am not oblivious to the irony: I am a strong proponent of the e-book format. I rarely buy a physical copy of anything these days, because I have problems with storing them. My house is already filled with books, and I have rapidly run out of convenient shelving areas. I buy traditional books only when I treasure the content so passionately that I feel a strong urge to enjoy the heft, scent, and sound of pages turning. And even then I might get a virtual copy, for avid re-reading in my travels.

What makes you feel secure in this world filled with uncertainty?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Musings on writing

I have been longing to write for quite some time now. But everything I came up with felt like hopeless navel-gazing. But today I think I have something, just a little sliver of a thought. It goes something like this:

Today I thought, This is it, no more excuses. I have all the equipment necessary. I have a QUIET, CLEAN house. So I set myself up in a lovely location, and turned everything on.

And then realized that if I didn't unload and reload the dishwasher, I would be viewed as a selfish, lazy slacker. (Even more so than I am already.) And that would not do.

After tackling the dishes, I sat back down at my lovely writing station that is everything I could ever ask for.

And opened Twitter, because it's been awhile and I was interested if AppleBitch or TUAW had posted any new rumors or sightings of the New iPhone.

Got caught in a very long, involved Wired article about art and computers and psychology and stalking laws and national security.

Wow. It was hard to break away from that one. It gave me a lot to think about. Many of my thoughts were I didn't have a foggiest clue about all the programs that were being discussed, and how I should go to the hyperlinks and learn more, they sound very interesting.

But I didn't because I realized that I hadn't done any laundry and I know the clean clothes are getting scarce for the two males in my life. So I gathered all the equipment and set to it.

That ironing board is driving me crazy. I should be able to fix it out of the locked position. I am an intelligent, educated woman. There is no reason that this should stump me so.

After wrestling the recalitrant board out of the laundry closet I set it down on the table to examine the problem. Soon came to the realization that I had no idea what the problem is. But that doesn't stop me because I never quit. I went to the internet and googled the problem. I was pleased to see that there were lots of sites that offered me me any approaches and ideas.

Became disillusioned when I saw most of the answers consisted of, ditch it and get another one from Target. But still I persevered, and watched three different videos that showed step by step how to close this misbegotten tool of Satan. Because who the hell irons on holiday, anyway?

Wrestled with it some more. I will not stop, I am not quit, until I have triumphed!

After ten more minutes of peering at it, trying to force metal to bend and give way under the sheer force of my will alone (because I am afraid of break my fingernails and I don't have my trusty toybox with me) I quit and threw the offending piece of shit into the laundry closet.

And went back to bed.

And lo, I got a sliver of a thought and enthusiastically began bashing away at my keyboard.

And then my wrists began to complain mightily that the angle I was forcing them to hold was not natural and they would extract vengeance at an unspecified hour if I continued to force them into cruel bondage.

So I picked everything back up and headed back to my beautiful writing station, only pausing to get Jim's headphones so I can write with music. My muse loves music. I haven't named the wench yet, but I am thinking about Calliope.

Hm. Calliope. Will be back in a moment, I want to wiki this.

EDITED TO ADD: Calliope it is!! Now that I have her name, perhaps she will not be so coy and come visit me for tea. Or rum. Whatever. My door is always open, Calli (do you mind if I call you that? Silence means consent!). Please come back. And feel free to knock me on the head with a large metaphorical hammer if I do not respond immediately. I know I was cruel and neglected you once I got into University, but that's been too many years now. Can we just let bygones be bygones, can we just get along? We were so very close once.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What is it about a blank screen that I find so intimidating, I'll never know.

A meme:

Ten things I wish I could say

1. I am trying very hard to follow this lifestyle changing diet program, but I have to say that I think your shake recipes suck. I am at a loss for who would actually drink these concoctions if they didn't have to do so. I am frightened that at some point in my life I will actually think these...liquids are tasty. Because when I do, I will formally recognize that it's time for me to die.

2. Please don't stop calling me. I don't telephone you because I don't wish to be intrusive, so I ping you occasionally with electronic means of communication. But don't stop calling me when you feel you're going down for the third time. In fact, call me when you think you're about to slip the first time. Let me help. You don't have to be alone.

3. Oh my GOD please stop calling me. How am I supposed to get anything done? And if you use that cell phone ONE MORE TIME to TATTLE on your siblings, I AM GOING TO LOSE IT. And if I lose it, you most certainly will as well.

4. Beloved children: Please please please do well in school, because college is tremendously expensive and there isn't a lot of extra money on the ground right now.

5. It is truly a sign that we live in a fallen world when your psychotic dog is still alive while my beloved golden is not. My dog never did anything but love the whole world writ large, yours attacks anything that gets too close. And when I say "too close" I mean "within line of sight."

6. Thank you for showing me my entire life what I don't want to be when I grow up. If I can't find anything positive by your example I can least find direction by doing a 180 degree course change.

7. If living well is the best revenge, I will try to fake it as much as possible, because I cannot bear the thought of your being smug. You are just the antithesis of everything I find admirable and worthy.

8. I love you love you love you. In a completely non-creepy, non-threatening way. I would love to be your friend in real life. I can bring a lot of love, support, and laughter to the table. Just saying.

9. I sure hope this party goes well for you but I do have to warn you: I don't know if people like me well enough to show up. I hope the product is popular enough.

10. We need to find a perfume that I like and you aren't allergic to, because sneezing convulsively just kinda kills the mood.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

There's an app for that.

A twitter friend of mine teased me the other day, asking if there was an entry planned in the DSM-V for Apple addicts.

My first response was to joke "There's an app for that."

But then I came curious. Who could say? Perhaps a new addiction had crept into my Closet of Neuroses. (50 kronkites if you catch the reference. I will love you and hug you and squeeze you.)

So like anyone in the golden age of the Internet, I went and googled that.

What I found was amusing until it became alarming. From PC World's "8 Signs You're an Apple Addict:"

1. You have a nightmare about lost/broken iPhone. Nope.
2. You can't pass an Apple store without entering. Uhh...
3. You're a troll calling yourself "AppleHatersSuck." Definitely no.
4. iTunes is your favorite place to shop. Nice, but no. It's my one stop-shopping place for music, but I get my ebooks from whoever has them for less (and usually iBooks is the most expensive vendor) and I don't tend to buy movies online. Although I have rented two from iTunes.
5. You're infatuated with Steve Jobs. No, but I did mourn his passing. RIP Steve.
6. You bought multiple iPhone cases. Ok, that's not really fair. I got the free one, then decided to get another one because the free one was just, well, ugly. Life is too short to have ugly. The I got one designed just for me from Cafe Press and I loved it...until it broke. So, now on the hunt for another one. But it's not like I change the cases out with the seasons or some crazy thing like that. I love the idea, but don't have the cash for such an expensive taste. So this on this one, I say the jury's out.
7. You can outrun the Energizer buddy.  HA! Nope.

and finally:

8. You name your iPhone "My Precious."  A Stanford survey caught a few students naming their iPhone and even patting it like a puppy. One out of four described the iPhone as an extension of their brain or body. iPhone addicts also tend to be loners, constantly staring into the device, even mesmerized by it. Stanford roommates living with an iPhone addict call themselves "iPhone widows." 

OK, WHO'S BEEN SPYING ON ME?! WHO?!...ugh, I plead the 5th. Because that is just messed up. Stalking people just to make a point in an arcane article (put out by PC Magazine no less, I mean c'mon it's ok but nowhere near the quality and integrity of oh, I don't know, MACWORLD) is a sign of serious trouble. But besides that, the fact that I've named my iPhone(s) My Preciousssss, or that I refer to it as my Other Brain, means nothing. Got that? Nothing.

I'm perfectly fine. I can stop whenever I want to. Which I don't. But if I wanted to, I could.

So there.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

I am trying very hard to write something--anything--fictional. Not THE book as Jim keeps asking me, but a drabble to get my mind thinking creatively.

The issue is that I can't seem to create anything separate away from myself and my family. "Write what you know" is a great suggestion, but I don't desire to write a thinly veiled roman a clef.

Come on, muse, where are you? You whispered in my ear constantly in my teens. Now that I have time and energy again, you've hidden yourself. Please come back. I have cookies.