Friday, January 27, 2012

Church Signs

It is one of my duties to change the marquee on the corner for our church. It is a goal of mine to never let it be one of those sappy, punny catch-phrases. But there are also times when I wish I had free reign. This Sunday is one such example, when Jesus is speaking in the Temple with authority. How I long to put up:
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino
Jesus "The Authority" Christ

Monday, January 23, 2012

I've got nothing

Not really. I've got lots. I've got rhythm. I've got music. I've got my man. Who could ask for anything more? Okay, Gershwin aside, I'm quite content. Home, family, puppies, writing when I've got the time. A church member donated a new computer and I didn't lose everything in the crash. It's the quiet before the Lenten storm. I'm attempting to show Buddy Holly all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all of the James Bond movies at the same time.

Buddy Holly turns twenty-five this week but we're waiting to celebrate his birthday and having a SuperBowl party. I'm making fancy (in the most manly way possible) cupcakes. I'll try to remember to take pictures of my success (or failure).

I get my Christmas present this Friday! We're going to the theatre. We'll be dressing up and I'll be wearing opera length gloves that are in the mail. I have a blue gown, a bridesmaid dress, and will be styling myself after Anastasia. I'll try to remember to take a picture of that too. Perhaps even with my music box. It's the hair I'll have trouble with. My hair is quite fine (in the thinnest sense of the word) and does not take to fancy styling, or curling, or volume, or doing much of anything.

So, when I say I've got nothing, it's more that I don't have anything to rant about just now. How boring.

I just finished Gilda Radner's autobiography It's Always Something. The biography, originally meant to describe the humor of her life. took a different turn when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986. She battled it, it went into remission, and then claimed her life in 1989. It was not at all what I expected it to be. I think I was expecting Tina Fey (Bossypants is also a very good autobiography) but, of course, it wasn't because I got Gilda.  She writes about having to find herself, her Gilda-ness, over and over. In the midst of the pain and despair, she talks about losing the clown, the Roseanne Roseannadanna, and having to discover it all over again. It's inspiring and bittersweet. She died of cancer in the end but, I imagine, Gilda would never say she lost or that she wasn't a victor because she learned to live life when she had it and to fight the cancer and the depression it inspires.

Next up is The Great Gatsby because I've never read it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday, the 13th

I'm not a superstitious person. I don't carry a lucky rabbit's foot, real or faux, nor do I avoid walking under ladders for any other reason than it is obviously easier to go around. I do think there is more to this reality (if it is that) than meets the eye but I don't believe that I can alter those mystic undercurrents by tossing a little salt over my shoulder. Maybe I'm wrong. Today would seem to prove that. The thirteenth of the month falling on a Friday has never portended ill for me in the past but perhaps, in future, I won't be so cavalier about my Friday assumptions.

To be fair to Friday the 13th, the real trouble began yesterday, Thursday the 12th - that bastard. My work computer crashed yesterday morning. My work computer crashing is an unfortunate happenstance in itself but not necessarily a cosmic cataclysm. Until you come to understand how vital my work computer is to the carrying on of any work. I am eployed by a small church and my computer is, for the most part, the only computer. Everything is on there. I have quite a bit on flash drives and a backup hard drive and I lost too many papers in college to not run backups once a week. But my computer crashing on Thursday still means that today, Friday the 13th, I have to redo everything I did previously this week. Huzzah. Oh, and that's not mention that the copier/printer is down and the dishwasher is fritzing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tour: The Niche

Welcome to The Niche. The new writing room. To make myself come up here and work I decided to gather around me all the things that inspire me. 

The desk is an antique. It belonged to my great-great-grandmother and matches a dresser in our bedroom. It's quite beat up and does not have the width for a normal office chair but I love it. Buddy Holly keeps threatening to replace it with a proper computer desk and I won't let him. I will chain myself to this desk if I have to.
The oriental rug I got from Church. 
My Japanese calligraphy set and dishes.
There's a second dish off to the left. 

My Chinese tea cup.
This was bought from the tea house at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
I have no idea how to justify these trinkets. They were given to me and I love them.
The dog is carved from wood, my grandmother made it for my dollhouse,
styled after our family's golden retriever.
My Anastasia music box.

My parents gave us this frame.
I've never changed the original paper advertisement out of it.

My Japanese prints. A friend from Kobe gave them to me.
Fountains Abbey, Ripon, England - my favorite spot in the world.
My motto.

I set up two cork-boards to pin ideas too. But they were pretty bland, so I made them pretty.

The postcard is from the Opera Populaire,
better known as the opera belonging to one Phantom.

 Snur collected X-Men cards when we were kids. I don't know where they are now but, before they disappeared, I pilfered two cards. One is Domino and, of course, my idol, Shadowcat. 
All that's missing is a couch. And then the writing...of course.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Zodiac's Gone Around

The new year came quietly enough. Sparkling grape juice (because it's so delicious and only major Holidays can validate the buying of it in bulk quantities), Dick Clark, and Tim Tam slams made up the advent of my 2012.

What's that? What's a Tim Tam slam? Well, let me tell you. Tim Tam's are a cookie, native to Australia and New Zealand, that can be found in the U.S. from October through March, under the branding of Pepperidge Farm. They're a sort of porous, crisp inside coated in chocolate. They are good in and of themselves but slamming them makes them divine.
Tim Tam Slam:

  • Take 1 Tim Tam cookie & 1 mug warm drink (coffee, hot cocoa, cappuccino, etc.) 
    • Warm because you do not want to scald your mouth, duly warned.
  • Carefully nibble off opposing ends of Tim Tam, so that inside is visible
  • Use Tim Tam as straw to draw liquid drink, until Tim Tam begins to disintegrate
  • Eat Tim Tam before it falls apart in your fingers
  • Achieve Nirvana

Gosh, I'd like to say that my new year resolution is to be the kind of girl I think I am in my head. A girl who makes fantastic salads from fresh exotic fruits and vegetables and likes them more than whip cream and scones. A girl who wears pretty, flowing dresses all the time and is comfortable in them. A girl with hair that curls naturally, who wakes in the morning refreshed and pleasant. A girl that keeps a pristine but welcoming home. Gee, that'd be a great resolution and boy, would I louse it up. I'd love to be that girl. I'd love to dress like the girls at A Beautiful Mess and bake like Joy every day of 2012. But I can't and I won't. I'll be inspired by them and maybe, on the weekend, I'll try my hand at a new recipe or wake up a little early to put on make up for once. But in reality, day to day? I love scones and shortbread and hot chocolate and pumpkin anything, more than I care about being a size 6. I'm a girl who loves white eyelet dresses and bright patterned tights but is most comfortable in jeans and boots and a big, slouchy sweater. My hair is straight and that's all there is to it and I'm a grumpy-gills in the morning. My house was mostly clean for new year, which I considered a personal victory, but there's no less than three pairs of kicked-off shoes in my range of vision, just this moment. So, that's not what I'll be endeavoring toward in 2012 because being honest with one's self is just as important as a resolution.

I actually surprised myself by making a resolution this year. On the last Monday of December, after having driven from my parents house to home (a fourteen hour trek), with very little sleep, I had the brilliant notion that I wanted to finish my novel in the new year. Maybe not have it published, not yet at least, but get it out, done -  a good, mostly draft. I began writing this novel in college and it's been slow going at best ever since. But I feel encouraged this time around. I have a game plan and a reward system. As an incentive, I'm converting our "office", which has been a storage room for important paper items and my desktop since we moved, into a writing room, tentatively known as the niche. (We have a thing for naming rooms things other than what they are or elaborating on the name. We have a Geek Room for all things DND, New Orleans Saints, Knitting, Bookish, and Firefly. We also have a Lilac room, so called because the walls are purple. Eventually it will be repainted but it will probably still be called the Lilac room. It's the spare bedroom, maybe in a nod to Narnia I should call it Spare Oom.) This makeover is being done on the cheap but will include another of my resolutions, file all our important papers and shred the rest. Old cork boards, prettied up with quotes, inspirations, and story ideas, newly framed pictures, and an overall Oriental theme, because I got a rug for free from church with a dragon on it. And sage green is totally my color, my vibe color, my heartbeat at rest, deep thinking, sunshiny afternoon with tea, a blanket and a good book color, my book color. (Deep red is Buddy Holly's color. Together we make brown, which we have a lot of in our decorating). I will also keep tea in this room and I may need an electric tea kettle. I'm hoping to find a chaise or big, comfy, reading chair for the corner. Someplace I can go sit aside and think or where Buddy Holly can do his thing while I'm getting my write on. This room will be inspiring and cozy, it will make me think of mountains and pounding waves, but also homemade cookies and a well-worn couch. This room will have scope for the imagination.

Once the room is finished, I will create a timeline for completion of the book. The year mapped out with important landmarks, completion of a certain number of chapters or plot points, matched with rewards, perhaps themed rewards. All of this will be tacked up on the wall in plain view. Then, of course, I'll have to sit down and actually start working on the damn thing. And, this Summer, a research trip. Fortunately (or not so fortunately), the book is set a few states away and will only require a long weekend. Next time I write a book, I'll have to set it in Norway or Ireland...or DisneyWorld. "But Dahling, (the girl I am in my head talks this way) we have to go. It's for my novel."

What intimidates me most, even with all my careful preparations, is that I'm not miserable. How can I write when I'm not in travail? I am willing to make sacrifices for my writing but I don't want to suffer for it. Is it entirely necessary to starve oneself or fall into the depths of despair? It seems so. It seems all the greats were tortured, suicidal, or held at the mercy of the critics - wracked with doubt, drugs or delusions. But then, I'm not out to be great, am I? I don't want to be Hemingway, Shakespeare, or Austen. I don't need to be a classic. I just want to write. This story is there, inside, and it wants to be written. And when I've finished that one, there will be another. Maybe none of them will see a bookshelf but, if I have anything to do with it (which I do), they'll see the light of day.