Avoidance, my old friend


I keep a pretty close eye on myself.

At this point in my life, there is little reason for one day to be much different from the next unless I want it to be, and I like it like that.  I like that each day has promise and possibility and that I can wallow in all of it.  I look forward to every day, anticipating what each will bring with a sort of giddiness.  Yes, I’m fortunate, and I’m grateful for the life I enjoy knowing others do not have the same simple joy.

Continue reading “Avoidance, my old friend”

Oh Look. Writing.

Somehow, all the time I used to look forward to — all the time I spent thinking about what I might write here is gone.  The unfortunate aspect of this is that the writing voice I hear during the day has faded, its insistent prodding, its litany of opening lines, and reminders of possible topics have been pushed aside by life.  And what a small life it is.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?

It should be, but I don’t have the time right now to make it that way.  Too much dust and food, and excuses.  It isn’t that I don’t want to write here.  Honestly.  It’s more about the type of writer I am.

I have to use a food analogy.  Sorry.

If you turn the burner on low and let the water simmer, then turn up the heat as the water approaches the boil, then that would be me.  There’s no turning me on high and cutting to the chase.  I could do that if I wanted, but what’s the point?

Writing is a catharsis for me and if I can’t spend the time, then the words stay in my mind.  And I’m egotistical enough to know that once I’ve formed the perfect line of words to convey the just right thought, they’ll be forgotten unless I write them down.  It’s sad.

I do get credit for:

1) working on a cookbook for a friend which entailed making most of the recipes and snapping photos, right?

2) spending more time than I wanted –surprisingly — looking at products for our home renovation.

3)  getting ready to visit several blogging friends for a week!

4)  having to reposition myself in my home while contractors tear it to shreds and dust settles on every possible surface.


Sad, because so much has happened that I have thoughts about — some lovely, and others, not so much.  And all of which would have been written at one point in time.  But no.  And it’s horrible.

The other problem is, even if I write here, everyone has either left the building, or has stopped writing, their bloggy wonderfulness seemingly forever ended, their words and photos, just sitting, no longer collecting comments.  *sigh*

What to do?

Sign up for that writing class at UCSD extension so I’ll actually write?  Continue to wallow through this strange new life of mine?


Middle Aged Anomaly Tucks in Ass Each Morning

I click “Write” on my WordPress dashboard, waiting for the spinning wheel that is my brain to slow knowing that it won’t and that focusing on a single stream of steady thought on any one idea will seem impossible.

No, be impossible.

In 20 minute’s time, I’ve gone from thinking about working out a recipe for apple cinnamon nut ice cream, to worrying about the huge bowl of bread dough I have fermenting in the fridge, then mulling over tonight’s debate between Palin and Biden before reading through most of this Slate article and being completely distracted by a list linked inside that article. Or maybe it was somewhere else on the page…can’t remember.

I don’t normally spend my time reading these types of articles, but once in a while, one will catch my eye because the writing is good and it actually feels as if there’s a person behind that writing. Quite a concept, yes?  Aspects of it will get me thinking, of course, and the entire time, somewhere hovering above it all (at least today) are Natalie Goldberg’s words about writers I scanned over this morning in the bathroom:

Writers live twice.  They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning.  But there’s another part of them that they have been training.  The one that lives everything a second time.  That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it.  Looks at the texture and details.

Okay, so Natalie, I haven’t been “training” because that would imply that this living twice business is something I choose to do.  You don’t choose it.  “It” chooses you.  For example, not only have I thought about what I’ve described just now, but I’ve thought about it many times since, and am now thinking about it again.  And yet again when revising this paragraph.  Still thinking…

I do this all day long.

It’s like watching myself live my life and even though it’s odd, it provides me quite a bit of time to think about how and why I do what I do.  As much as I can say there’s a soothing (insane) aspect to it, unfortunately it doesn’t lend itself to improving my productivity.  Bills are sitting in front of me, there are quite a few piles of recipes I’ve torn from magazines ready to be recycled sitting in the middle of my family room floor (where they’ve migrated after being on the kitchen counter for several days), and I need to get off my derrier to go for a walk today.

But I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the bloggosphere can be quite the brutal place — at times, what I imagine it would feel like to go through a carwash without my car, each spray of water or rotating brush pushing me first one way, and then another and never quite making it to the end.

I’m tired of it but have no one to blame but myself.  I think much of it stems from the fact that who I am and what I have to say here doesn’t exactly fit anywhere.  This conclusion isn’t earth-shattering, nor is it meant to be accompanied by a whine. I don’t whine.  I have been known to climb up on a soapbox and metaphorically flip the world the bird, however — just not as much as I used to.


I am a middle-aged woman.  That I enjoy who I am at this particular point in my life doesn’t really change the fact that I’m somewhat of an oddity in the Bloggosphere.  Sometimes, it’s overwhelming to be surrounded by twenty and thirty somethings with toddlers, techies with jargon I never completely understand, snarling, snarking political junkies, celeb gossip mongers, and the increasingly less than attractive you-too-can-make-money-at-home crowd.

I’m an anomaly.  And I guess that’s the most annoying part of this since I always have been, so why should my persona here be less so?  One would think I’d get used to being reminded that I’ve always been a square peg.

I have no stories to tell about my toddlers, my Satanical boss, my commute, my gigabytes, and there is no way in hell I could ever sit down here and try to be funny every freaking day because people want a cheap laugh.  But I’m also not going to wallow in the bathos of my life (liar, liar, pants on fire…), lamenting about mistakes and missed opportunities. No, really.

What I will do is continue to look in the mirror each day, and after taking more than the normal minute or so to scan my body and realize it doesn’t exactly look like it used to even five years ago, suck in my stomach, tuck in my ass, smile and know that I am me.  Still.

Sounds like a warning, doesn’t it?


Time for a Remodel

I’m truly in a quandry.  As I look back over the past year, so much has changed that no one would notice but me.  I’m speaking of my blog world, and not the real world, which is so chaotic right now.  I’d like to say that I believe I can impact change on the latter, but for as much as I harp, I’m not close to being a blip on the radar of change. With respect to cyberspace, that’s different.

There’s been a shift of my interests there,  and when I think carefully about that shift, it seems that it’s been coerced by the group that loves to look at, think about, and cook great food.  It’s compelling, and I imagine at times that I have some small shop with a large window in front that people can walk by each day, gazing at what I’ve put out for them, to tempt them to stop and look a bit longer, or perhaps even walk inside and stay for a while.  The key word would be imagine.

I once imagined or even longed for a shop of my own one day, but I’ve decided that having an imaginary shop is much less expensive, and perhaps just as rewarding considering I do get to decide what to prepare, and enjoy it myself.

But as I’ve said before, it’s quite time consuming keeping that shop, and so this place is pushed aside.  And when I have time for neither, this is the space I want to fill.  Often the other is more of a compulsion, a responsibility, a job.

Writing here has never felt that way.

I’m not quite sure how that happened, but I find it all very interesting — interesting enough to wonder about something.  What if the two were combined?  Others have done it.  And as I read through the many food blogs I enjoy, I notice that because their writers only keep one blog, they are more inclined to write about other facets of life and living.  It’s nice. 

But I was thinking of something different.  Certainly it’s been done before, and a perfect example of someone who does it very well is Pioneer Woman.  I’ve always thought that having a single place that contains a space for everything that keeps my brain occupied would be perfect, but have always been limited by my knowledge of how all of this website business works.  Finding time to write, cook, photograph, and learn how to set up and manage an involved website would be quite daunting for me, but I think I could do it. The only aspect of it all that’s holding me back is being unsure about whether the two can actually coexist.

In the long run, I think it would help me be a bit more humane to my readers here.  It must seem at times as if I’m schizophrenic, ranting about politics, moaning over my pets, or snarking about whatever unfortunate person is being lambasted in the press.  Somehow, I think that if each of those personalities could fit into its own box, it would be so much more neat and orderly.

Labeled.  You know how I crave labels…

So think about that.  You know, give it a good three or four seconds of your valuable time and let me know what you think.

In the mean time, I have to get my real world shaped up.  I may not be building a lodge like Pioneer Woman, but this place certainly needs some attention.  I’ve long complained about the damage our pets have done to the carpet, and have finally decided to have someone come out to give an estimate on floors.  I want to get rid of all the carpet so I can enjoy my aging pets who will continue to leak, drip, and drop their various and assorted bodily unmentionables regardless of how much I dab and complain about it.  No more carpet would mean no more dust, fuss, or muss.

The challenging part of this is that our bathrooms need to be done as well.  Needing to be done can be defined as taking out all the early ’80’s fake burnished gold metal that seems to be covering everything, ripping out the shower since it’s feeble at best, and the tile since it’s really good at growing mold that I don’t want to know the scientific name for or what it’s doing to us.

So if we have the floors done first, then have the bathrooms done, the work on the bathrooms will mess up the floors.  If we wait to do the bathrooms first, then the carpet continues to be the disgusting eyesore it’s become. 

In a nut shell, I don’t want to have another blog about being any kind of a weekend warrior when it comes to remodeling or redecorating on a budget.  But it’s one of the things my brain spends time on, so it could have its very own space for you, kind reader, to skip if you’re not into the Martha side of life.

Just thinking, that’s all.

Good thing it’s free, right?

Okay, back to work.

It would be so nice if it was all free!

Yeah? So — what of it?

Last week, one of the bloggers I’ve come across in foodland wrote a post inquiring about what readers like or don’t like in a blog.  Although I always enjoy this particular person’s posts because she’s extremely smart, very opinionated, and an excellent writer, they’re unusual in that they aren’t always about recipes and food porn shots.

No, not THAT kind of food porn.  This kind.

She attracts tons of comments, also unusual for much of foodland. No, not the sheer quantity, which is quite impressive, but the quality. Nearly every commenter has something substantive to say about whatever she has written.

I know I’ve been hooked more than once to chime in — whether it’s in response to what she has written, or to what one of the commentators has mentioned.   And although I’ve taken liberties before with her generous space (she allows 3000 character comments…whoa!) to respond in a near post, I’ve waited on this one, just to see if the slow burn that I developed reading that day would dissipate.


Maybe it’s because everyone has an opinion and that’s annoying.  No, that wouldn’t work since I’m the leader of the pack.

Or, it could be that a blog is such a personal thing as compared to a magazine, or a newspaper, and, well, it’s free. So as much as we all wonder at times who reads our blathering and who doesn’t (or why), it isn’t like we’ll go out of business and stop the presses if no one reads.  We just hobble pathetically along, right?  Uh-huh.  Whatever.

I think my favorite comment had to do with “lengthy blog posts” which is probably why I’m still simmering.

When have I NOT done a lengthy post? Excuse the hell out of me, but Hell would freeze over first.  I found it quite ironic, since the person making the comment was doing so on a blog that publishes lengthy posts. Excellent posts, mind you, but lengthy.  Glad I’m in such good company.   In much the same way that there are political cartoonists who turn huge issues into a few words and an image, some choose to write, far too many talk whether anyone is listening or not, and some joke.  I’d rather not read blogs that only publish one short silly post after another.  What’s the point?  They didn’t invest any kind of thought, so why should I?  *Tsk, tsk.  Cranky, aren’t we?*

A few comments had to do with changing things on the blog. They were concerned that something would change.

News Flash.  Things Change.  You know, like the planet?  Or haven’t you noticed?  Half the fun of having a blog is to CHANGE things.  What?  It’s difficult to read the words and the thinking behind the words if the font changes?  Or the header?  Or the widgets…wait, I need to fan myself…

Some of the commenters groused about music players on blogs — you know, where you open a blog and the author has a favorite piece playing?

I’m thinking that it’s not TOO CHALLENGING to lower the volume if you choose not to listen.  But perhaps for those individuals, finding the volume button is.

Even better?  Some mentioned that since they read blogs while at work, the players were on loud and that others might hear.

WAIT.  Let me get this straight.  A person is reading blogs at work instead of working, but she wants YOU to not have a music player on your blog so HER coworkers can’t hear it...  Okay, the line forms to the left for egotistical maniacs.  Seriously.

Another chimer-inner and subsequent dittoers voiced their complaints about blogs and awards. That they’re tiresome.  That they know the only reason people give out awards is to get credit for links.

Actually, at least from my speck of perspective, when I pass on an award that someone has given me, it’s because I believe that person deserves it.  Go back to the point about investing time in reading blogs.  When you do that, you can actually say thanks to someone else, and recognize that effort in a meaningful way.  Oh, but wait.  That would be a long, involved post, wouldn’t it?  And you’d actually have to be able to say why you enjoyed someone’s blog for a reason other than it’s short. But what do I know?

This one’s the doozie.  Some mentioned that the only time people comment on their blog is after they’ve posted, and only because they want that individual to come comment on theirs.

Huh?  You’ve got to be kidding.  And then some people defended themselves over this crap, like they actually needed to dignify it with any kind of response other than bull*hit.  So let’s see.  I spend my time writing which is no small investment of time, and then my reward is to visit those I enjoy reading AND look around for new ones, and that’s categorized as fishing for comments?  Bear in mind this is BEFORE I do my housework for gawdsakes. What if I read other’s blogs first?  Wait.  I do my email first, and that actually takes a while.  So if I read blogs first, and commented — which I almost always take the time to do — I’d never get around to posting.  Who are these people and why are they so whiney?

Last, but not least.  Advertisements. I bet you knew this was coming?  Several people mentioned the ads and how annoying they are.

Fine.  Ever looked at a magazine?  Newspaper?  Watch television?  I know.  I don’t like commercials, either, which is why TiVo exists, or why I wait to go to the bathroom on the commercials — you know, to piss off the advertisers.  Except for Target.  I love their ads.  Where was I?  Oh yes, advertisements on blogs.  Guess what?  Don’t pay attention to them then.  It’s really not that difficult.  Sure, if a site has ten pop-ups then it’s a problem, but you should have figured out how to block those a long time ago.  Tune into this Bat Channel, yanno?  As for the sites that run lots of those square tech ads?  Hell.  Click on them once in a while.  They actually lead to sites that have good information if that’s what you’re looking for.  It’s not like some boogie man will pop out and bite your head off.  But now that I’m thinking of it, that’s not a bad idea.  At least it would spare us the inane comments.

And while I’m on the subject…my ads pay for my hosting service.  Would you bend over and pick up that check if it blew up against your shoe?  Now it would be swell if they paid for all the time I spent writing and managing, cooking, shooting, and editing.  But it doesn’t.  The MoH pays for that, and I’m sure he’s wishing I’d get off my butt and actually write something that involved an advance and some sales.

But he’s a very patient man.

So, what’s your take on all of this hooplah?  I’m being overly sensitive, right?  I should just shut my mouth and get back to work?

Pass you a slice of that cake?

Hell, I’m relieved none of them said they were sick of people who plastered stoopid photos of themselves all over their blogs all the time.


Books, Brioche, and…Boredom

Finally, finally, all things Italy are done.  The planning, the packing, the photos, the writing.  And when you’ve spent the time that I have getting ready for a trip like this, there’s a kind of void after it’s over.  A huge void.  Kind of like the Grand Canyon.

I just might be…

…and I’m not quite certain…

…but thinking perhaps that…

I’m bored.


I’m never bored.


I’m not quite sure what to do about this feeling.

And even more strange?

Because I’ve been up to my ears with all things flickr, Photoshop, iPhoto, and Blurb,  I’m not in the mood to sit here, either.  It’s Friday and the whole weekend is yawning ahead.  It is Friday, isn’t it?

I thought so.

I’ve got three cookbooks opened to some very nice brioche recipes all requiring overnight refrigeration, (I can’t decide if I want plain or chocolate…) and I’m wondering whether the MoH would like to go down to the water tonight to sit and stare at the horizon with a bit of food and something nice to drink.  Or maybe go see Mama Mia…

But there are other things to consider as well:

  • Like how to get my doggo to stop her incessant scratching and my cat’s interminable yeowling. The fleas are beyond nasty this year, and although I’ve sprayed, and vacuumed, and washed, brushed, combed and yes, finally broke down and bought some Frontline (disgusting poison…), it doesn’t seem to have put a dent in them.  I.  Hate.  Fleas.  Which is why I hate carpeting.  And whomever conducted that study that reported simple vacuuming daily will eliminate up to 99% of the fleas because it destroys their shells?  What-ever, dood.  Sounds good, but no cigar.  Well, not around here, anyway.  My cat is the world’s greatest fleabus.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  We have almost NO dirt anywhere.  There are flagstones, and concrete, a few flowerbeds that are predominantly damp, a patch of damp grass…WHAT GIVES?
  • I need a new book. I loved Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster (laughed my ass off…well…not quite since my scale still insists upon telling me the gawd awful truth).  It lambastes Jenny Craig and the whole concept of a weight-loss plan that includes packaged food AND has the greatest kiss-off line I’ve heard in a long time.  Click the link and watch the video.   I also just finished The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Pachett, one of my favorite authors.  It was her first novel, and I’m letting it stew a bit before I say what I need to say about it.  But her books have that effect on me.  And since I’m on a “thinking about writing seriously” kick (again) and still have 8 gazillion books here I haven’t read that can inspire me from one perspective or another and keep me from actually doing my own writing, Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is next up.  It looks to prove that when you want to write a book, you can write whatever you want, and sometimes, people notice.  Yes, even people like myself, who notice, then let it sit on their bookshelf for, oh, about five or six years.
  • I need to sign up for a photography class and a writing class (you know, because sometimes, homework is a good thing…) through one of the university extensions here.  I seem to have recovered from my post traumatic distress syndrome over all things “school,” and both of these classes will occupy my time, feed my creativity, and give me yet another excuse to not actually start my own real writing. Okay, so writing somewhere other than this blog.
  • I have to make a fix-it list for this house. I know I used to joke quite a bit about it, but jeez.  I’m tired of putting money into having the carpet cleaned and want to rip it out of the house and heave it out the windows.  I need a painter to even out the walls where boys incapable of standing up without hanging onto the walls have left smudges that can no longer be wiped.  And the fence on the patio needs replacing (along with the neighbor it shields us from), along with the drip sprayers and lights.  Then there are the screens the cats wrecked (and the one I totaled while we were trying to break into our house last night after swimming because we were locked out….) because the extra key wasn’t in it’s normal place… and…yes, things need to be fixed.  I checked.  There is a Handyman section in the Yellow Pages.  My fingers will be walking.  Soon.  They will be walking miles.
  • And last but not least, try not to feel so wistful about this blog. It’s sort of crawling along while my food blog is roaring.  Okay, so, not like the Internet Market type roar, but everything’s relative, yes?  As much as I enjoy both of them, this one is special because it’s just about whatever comes to mind.  It’s me.  And sure, so is the other one, but it’s about my food, which isn’t necessarily me, even though they say, “You are what you eat.”  Um, thank-you.  Next?  But the crickets have been chirping loudly here lately, and I’m trying to adjust to the idea that it’s okay and that I didn’t set out to write here to do anything other than expend energy and get back into the habit of writing.  From that perspective, it’s all been worth it.  One step leads to another, right?


So shut up and write.

On to the brioche…

What’s the point of this, anyway?

It’s funny how things sometimes change, and as much as I can see that beginning to happen — to not want it to happen — it does anyway. There’s nothing I can do about it. Things that once mattered end up in a place we never intended for them to be, and they get lost amongst all the other parts of life that are…well, life.

I guess I’ve reached the point where I’m wondering what this is all about. This. At first, I began here to simply write. But I’ve never been a journaler, not having the patience to put down what happened in a day’s time I’ve always been more of someone who has a noisy mind, and writing always helped to get some of what was there, out. It’s been nice that in the process, I’ve also gotten to do something I love: work with words.

I love words. And as odd as it may seem, the simple look of some, or the feel of others as I speak are fascinating. Regardless that English has myriad synonyms able to get across a particular point, only one of those synonyms is the best for a sentence to convey exactly what I intend. When it matters.

But there seems to be so little time now, and I’m not sure why that is.

I’ve had my other speck in the bloggosphere as long as I’ve had this one, so that certainly isn’t the issue, although that speck is extremely high maintenance. Sometimes, unbearably.

I’ve enjoyed working with them both, as they’ve allowed me to know a variety of people with different interests. But with the growth of my high maintenance speck, this one — troubled as it’s been with its identity crisis — seems to get pushed aside. And now, often, it just sits here. Doing nothing.

That makes me quite sad.

As much as I love all things food, and as much as I can have my mind wrapped around it quite a good portion of my day, writing about it doesn’t provide me what this space does. And when I don’t take that time for myself, I miss it. No one wants to hear my horror-scope and then take a gander at my cookie recipe. Or survive my latest rant, and then dig into a chocolate mousse. Somehow, that doesn’t quite work. When I’m in my kitchen, I’m usually not waving a wooden spoon and complaining about the guy I have to listen to on the radio each morning when the alarm goes off. As much as writing here provides me a sense of balance, so does being in my kitchen. The two are completely unrelated.

I miss being here quite a bit.

Are blog years like dog years?

So is this the part where I sort of fade off into the sunset? I’ve noticed when others have stopped writing. Their blogs sit there unattended. Forever. Others just disappear. I know I couldn’t do that. There’s too much of my life wrapped up in these words and to me, a significant part of my life. I’d have to put it somewhere because like all the photos I’ve taken in my life, it’s part of me.

I’ve always embraced change and chided those who avoid it. Change is inevitable. It is the one thing we can count on in life — and learn from. But I also know that in spite of change, constants remain.

Maybe the constant for me here is to write when I can.

For me.

There is a little box I can check to keep my writing private.

Is that what I need? I doubt it.

I was going to write about something I saw on one of those network morning shows yesterday that really got me going. But today, it’s overcast and chilly, and I just don’t care now.

This is the part where Scarlett O’Hara would remind herself that tomorrow is another day, and Annie would begin singing, Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, you’re always a day away…

Tuesday has never been my favorite day of the week.