Tag: books

Secret Messages on Pancakes

tiny GJ plane

The last thing I did before waking up was write a plea on a pancake to be broken out of prison. I signed my pancake note with spun sugar. Right before that there was a strip of desert and a bunch of people hunting snakes but the last pair of people who galloped after a snake ended up killing a deer. Before that there was an epic terrible time in a small Scandinavian town in the mountains that was also connected with the ocean. I was there to visit a friend and hide out from some bad people looking for me and I sat on a bench in her shallow pool surrounded by artwork trying not to be pulled over the edge of the pool into the ocean or the abyss or some sort of death related scenario. I returned to her living room, a cramped (cozy) little bridge of a room under which you could see her garage. Which was on fire. We couldn’t put it out. It seemed certain she was going to have to relocate and I knew she wasn’t going to. There was a point where I wandered into town for some shopping but it turns out the shopping center was in Australia or New Zealand.

I truly don’t have restful dreams. Maybe no one does. At least it ended with a note on a pancake, you know?

During this week of not writing much at all, again, I did come to the realization that I need to change a few details that mean going back and making a lot of adjustments. It means more rewriting when I haven’t even gotten past chapter 11 yet. I will be working on that today so I can move on to chapter 12. The changes are good and will make the story much better. Designing a post apocalyptic prison life is harder than you’d think.

I have been doing some serious thinking on so many things these days my head hurts.

Yesterday afternoon I started having sharp chest pains and joked about my end of days, as I always do, but after a couple people tried to convince me it was either gas or heartburn, other people were more alarmed and suggested going to the doctor immediately. This fed my initial irrational fears of having a heart attack and made me question my decision to not take it seriously. I’ve had this happen before and I was fine. As a person with clinical anxiety I have to constantly find the line between hypochondria and medical neglect due to fear of just being a hypochondria. When your very first thought with every single pain or weird body thing is: IT’S PROBABLY A TUMOR THAT’S TOO ADVANCED TO OPERATE ON AND I’M GOING TO DIE, or I’M PROBABLY HAVING A HEART ATTACK AND AM GOING TO BE DEAD BY TOMORROW MORNING, or THIS IS THE DAY I FIND OUT THAT WEIRD PATCH OF SKIN IS THE BEGINNING OF MY SLOW PAINFUL DEATH BY SCLERODERMA , you learn to stop and discuss with yourself the vast unlikeliness of any of those dire reasons for the little headache or the weird rough patch of skin.

I can’t afford to go to the emergency room unless I’m so obviously sick or bleeding out that the biggest medical skeptic in the world would be scared for my life too. In my big effort not to give in to hypochondria I am sometimes at greater risk of not going to the doctor when there’s a good reason to do it. Going to the doctor and being gently laughed at for what turn out to be nothings makes a hypochondriac feel like total and utter garbage.

I’m still having the small stabby pains in my chest this morning. I don’t really know what to make of it but since there are zero other signs of problem I’m still telling myself it’s just some kind of anxiety thing. I am simultaneously considering calling the doctor on Monday to see if I should be worried for real.*

The season of artificial cheer has already filled me with the desire to rip down all Christmas decorations I come across and blast Laibach’s “Let It Be” cover album in every place I hear horrible Christmas music.

Every time Philip tells the dog to be “Calm” and repeats it over and over I get increasingly less calm.

I sold 7 salves in the last couple of days thanks to being included in The Kitchn’s list of stocking stuffers.

15 Stocking Stuffers That Don’t Suck

I’ve sold out and am making a new batch. This reminds me how much I love making potions. Doing apothecary work is deeply satisfying. This fresh batch includes some of my home grown comfrey so that’s an extra level of excitement! Oh, and some of the plantain was wild harvested by me and Max. I’m finally going to make my lip balm this weekend too. The oil infusion has been ready for weeks but I couldn’t decide on a couple of other ingredients until now. I’m going to do a peppermint and a chocolate version.

In my wildest dreams I make an actual living selling my herbal remedies and my novels. This week the fantasy is pretty healthy. It frequently dies in my heart during bouts of uncertainty and depression caused by lack of sales or interest from others. But I always bounce back. Been bouncing back from crippling bouts of self doubt since 1980.

My mom goes into surgery again on Monday. They need to fix a hernia and also move her insides around to pull her abdominal muscles back together because they have separated. I’m not scared this time around. This is a much less risky surgery than the previous ones and it’s semi-elective. The hernia isn’t hurting her now nor causing any problems – but if she doesn’t get it taken care of, it’s a time bomb.

It’s been raining a lot in the last two weeks and I love it. I LOVE IT! I hope we get a lot more. I’m greedy for rain. GIVE ME ALL THE RAIN.

It’s time for me to sign off and prepare to get some writing done before switching gears to make potions. I hope you all are having a great Saturday!

Know someone with a bad case of book ennui? I have the solution! Get them a copy of Winter; Cricket and Grey:

Need a great wound salve on hand? Winters Apothecary 3x strength wound salve is the best one you can buy!

3x Wound Salve

*Do NOT attempt to diagnose me, or alarm me, or in any way interfere with the delicate balance I’m trying to achieve between my mental illness and my body.

Too Many Screws and Hard Wood

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I’m forcing myself to take some chances on fiction lately.  I haven’t in quite a long time.  The first one I read is an old book called “Neither Five Nor Three” by Helen MacInnes written in 1951 about the evil of Communist propaganda and those brave people fighting it by spreading propaganda about the evils of Communism.  Dear Lord.  What’s great about the book are the characters which are all pretty well drawn and the descriptions of New York which make me feel like I’m there.  What’s annoying about it is the passionate anti-communist propaganda that permeates this story to the point of nausea.  It is the McCarthy era so it was reaching a fever pitch where people were told to tell on their neighbors and family members and friends should they suspect even the smallest whiff of communist leanings.  Which includes nearly all free thinkers or people who question anything that their country does.  Kind of like now.  Only much worse.

I was also disappointed with the end.  This is NOT a romance novel at all but the main character ends up with someone at the end and after all the machinations that bring them together – they don’t even kiss at the end.  What a let down.  I love romantic story lines that aren’t sexually explicit (you all know I loathe the rubbings and throbbings of sexual organs in fiction) but I do expect some kissing.  I mean – just because I don’t want a  blow by blow pornographic report about my main character getting it on with someone (or by themselves) doesn’t mean I want a completely chaste book either.  Giving me something, just don’t give me everything.

So that leads me up to the book I’m reading now called “The Typewriter Girl” by Alison Atlee.  So far I’m enjoying the story.  The main character is likable for the most part.  Two words have so far stood out as blatantly not in keeping with the general tone of the book that the author has set.  “Fuck” was the first one.  As in “A fuck made him a sound sleeper…”  This book is set in the turn of the 19th century.  The main character isn’t upper class and is somewhat course but the narration isn’t coarse until that sentence.  Nothing prepared me for that.  It jarred me and has stuck with me ever since.  It’s not that I have any actual belief that Edwardians never get down and dirty but the use of that word in the narration is – I just hate it.  HATE IT.  “Cock” was the next word, a chapter later, that made me cringe.  It wasn’t in the character’s dialog.  Once again, it was in the third person narrative.  “…Avery laughed and groaned as if he quite enjoyed the sensation of her chilled fingers curling around his cock” was the next bit that made me recoil.  I skipped over the next bit, unwilling to be further accosted by coarse sexual words.  It’s like if you were to make Henry Miller write an Edwardian romance novel.  It’s trying to be modern and tough and frank and liberated – but really it’s just porn words to elicit arousal.  Admittedly, in this particular scene the person curling her fingers around the cock goes on to make that cock hurt and no sex ends up happening.  But this is the sudden tone when the main character comes within arm’s length of men.

The main character is definitely being shown to have no reserve when it comes to sleeping with inappropriate men.  So now I can’t trust her to behave around any men.  And as I’m reading, I can’t relax into the story completely because I’m worried about being jarred out of it by mention of hands slipping into Betsey’s* slit and stroking her clitoris.  Because when you’ve already got fucking and cocks in action (soon to be fucking with cocks, no doubt) – it can only get more graphic from there.  I think I accidentally picked up a romance.  Modern romance novelists always include racy sex in their historical settings.  Apparently most women prefer this.  Considering that the only thing my friend Dave wishes my first novel had more of is sex, I am probably in the vast minority on this issue of taste.  I don’t think Atlee will have many other readers dislike having FUCK and COCK shouted at them from an otherwise genteel sort of writing style.

***later, with more chagrin***

So, on to the next chapters of “The Typewriter Girl” and it soon becomes apparent that this book is soft porn.  The story line is only there to provide a back drop for two people to be constantly experiencing breathless swelling of achy sexual WANT.  The two main characters are just going to constantly be experiencing taught breasts and hard  cocks that are so hard they HURT.  Honestly!  I am clearly supposed to be hot and bothered.  But there’s no sexual tension if the reader (me) is constantly aware that the two main characters are going to stroke each other at every possible moment.  YAWN.  Who cares?  Just have sex, get it over with, and move on?  But no, this is all about two people having sex and the reader is supposed to be excited to be with them every second while they’re doing it.  There’s no real story at all.

There could be a compelling story here.  I could be rooting for Betsey if she could be more aware of herself, her potential, and her goals and less aware of all the men around her.  Even when she’s working she’s always aware of the men around her.  I hate women like that.  I really do.  Women with no true interests or calling outside of men (or other women, same diff) and sex.  What of Betsey’s real ambition?  What about her work ethic?  Why does she have to be aware of her attractions to her many male coworkers and consider using it for her benefit?  Why can’t she be proud of not needing to be attractive to the men around her to get ahead and prove her worth?  She’s supposedly an independent and modern sort of girl for an Edwardian – so why isn’t she acting like it?

The minute I got to the part where the genteel broke man who is determined to marry a rich girl but is so attracted to Betsey that his cock HURTS when they touch – I gave up.  I don’t read soft porn.  I don’t read romance where the plot is mostly about when and how the two main characters will hook up and there’s nothing to look forward to near the end because the main characters have already pretty much done everything to each other they can do without the story being called “Judy Gets Poled” or “Betsey Makes Cocks Hurt”.

How do you know you’re reading porn of some kind?  When the narrator (if it isn’t in first person) uses the word cock or fuck.  If it’s in the dialog of characters it might just be a coarse character and not the character of the book.

Anyway.  This is what makes me scared of taking a chance on new fiction.  This is why I read Mary Stewart over and over and over.  I’m not actually saying The Typewriter Girl is a bad book.  I’m just saying it’s not general fiction.  It’s soft porn.  Which I don’t read.  And I’m disappointed that there was no way for me to know this based on the cover or the synopsis.  If anyone wants my copy of this book I will happily send it to them.

It’s important in having read my report on this book that to consider it a bad review is unfair.  This is not the kind of book I enjoy.  I am not who the book was written for.  I am not the intended audience.  It’s like if a spy thriller ended up in the hands of a Proust fan, the Proust fan would get weary of all the chase scenes pretty fast and be longing for flowery nostalgic descriptions of cookies.

*Yes, that’s how the author spelled Betsey.

**Well, mine has no graphic sexual scenes in it, so no one can make the exact SAME complaints.

Perpetual Awesome

A few days ago my kid said “You know what you are, mom?” I said “No.  What?” and he said “Perpetual Awesome”  Hearing things like that does not change the horror of finding out that I pretty much need a second job to pay for the self employment taxes on my first job because I’m paying 39% of my income to the state and the feds, but you know what it does do?  It makes me feel good.  I wasn’t even doing anything for him when he said it.  It was spontaneous and it made me feel like I’m doing something right in my life.  Something is so much more than nothing, if I’m measuring shit.

I spent most of yesterday lounging on the futon in the game room watching Max play Skyrim.  Have you seen or played this video game?  It’s unbelievably cool.  I don’t like video games but this one is something else.  The art and design of the landscapes, characters, and things that populate this game is incredible, gorgeous and I found I was jealous that I wasn’t one of the people who made it.  The music is also fantastic.  This is quality time spent with my kid.  Perhaps to some parents quality time means cooking in the kitchen or doing something “real” or old fashioned but my kid loves it when I watch him play video games which is his big passion in life aside from reading.  It makes him feel good.  He got to explain all the strange plants and potions his character was acquiring – the game has lots of mushrooms in it!  There are books you can buy or steal that you can actually open and read.  Yep. This game has books with actual content in them.  The level of thought and programing and detail in this game makes it a true work of art.

Philip brought back a few books for Max from the comic book store in Portland.  I caught Max still reading at 12:40 am.  I couldn’t scold him.  It was a Saturday night and my kid couldn’t put his book down.  I woke up late this morning and the first thing I see when I walk down the hall is my kid reading.  This is another indication that we’re doing something right in our life.  Yes, our kid plays hours and hours of video games a week, sometimes in a day, but he also reads and reads and can’t put his books down and doesn’t like to go anywhere in the car without books.  He’s a reader.  He hates going to the library though.  He doesn’t like browsing for books either.  We discussed his aversion to going to the library in his last therapy session and he said it isn’t because of all the people but because he finds the library overwhelming and he can never find anything and there’s just too much there.  The solution is to preview the library catalog online and make choices for what he wants to check out ahead of time then we help him find them.  It was agreed that he needs to go to the library himself so as not to encourage agoraphobia in him.  He must keep going out in the world, we just have to find ways to make it more comfortable for him.

That’s not about developing crutches but about developing solutions.  I say that because when I was a lot younger and making life choices to reduce my anxiety and nightmares I came under a lot of criticism from people who didn’t know crap.  I stopped reading newspapers or watching the news when I was eighteen years old.  This decision significantly reduced my nightmares (from pretty much every single night to maybe every other night) but others implied on more than one occasion that it was a crutch to not read the newspapers, that to not be able to read them made me a lesser citizen of my country and that I shouldn’t be allowed to vote if I didn’t stay informed.  I countered that the media didn’t do much to “inform” me of anything worth being informed of and mostly filled my head with hyperbole, lies, and fear which wasn’t useful at all.  It sunk in though.  This idea that I should fix myself so I could read the newspapers again and that I wasn’t good enough as I was.  That being broken and limited made me inferior and that to “cater” to my mental illness was to encourage me to be more weak.

My psychologist, Dr. Jay Judine (RIP), said that was complete and utter bullshit.  He explained that the only way my not reading newspapers could be considered a “crutch” or a negative avoidance is if I personally felt I really needed to be reading them, that I really WANTED to be able to read them but didn’t feel I could.  Get the difference?  If my life is good and rich and fine without reading newspapers and not reading them also improves my mental health, it isn’t something in need of fixing, it means I’ve found a solution to improve the quality of my life and everyone else can go hang themselves on their own issues and leave me the hell alone.  So I learned to evaluate what in my life and what about myself needs “fixing” or needs help or intervention not based on comparison to other people and what they think or need or want but based on what is important to me.

If not going to the library prevents Max from reading books, something he greatly enjoys, then finding a way for him to use the library in the greatest comfort is important.  How we accomplish it is not.  If picking out all the titles he wants ahead of time in the comfort of his own home makes it easier for him to go to the library to get them, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Incidentally, this is also one of the main ways to decide if your issues are in need of addressing, to decide if you need to be professionally assessed and treated for your mental quirks and challenges.  You could be very much like me in all your anxieties, maybe even have the anxiety levels I do, but if you’re comfortable with the way your life is – if these anxieties don’t get in the way of what you want, if they don’t destroy relationships or impact your ability to function – then it doesn’t matter that we’re anxiety twins, you don’t need help.  That’s a major criteria for diagnosis – how these mental challenges impact your daily functioning.  Mine impact me a lot.  They impacted my ability to parent my child when he was a baby – I spent most of my day just meeting his most basic needs but wasn’t truly present for him – that was a problem that needed addressing.  I didn’t want to miss his whole childhood under a cloud of depression and anxiety.  Getting treatment (both therapy AND medication) made an enormous difference in my quality of life and therefore, my child’s.

If we’re depression or anxiety twins but you function pretty darn well and don’t feel the need for help or assessment – I think that’s great.  I’ll still recognize you as part of my tribe.  Don’t be offended.  You can’t be wired just like me and not be in my tribe – you just don’t have the name tag.  And I’m not eager to give you one if you don’t want one or need one.  But I still know neurologically challenged people when I meet them.  I suppose if you were offended by me considering you a part of my strange mentally ill tribe then we aren’t bound to be good friends anyway.  My tribe, diagnosed or not, is full of the most amazing, talented, bright, cool, kooky, weird, genius, and interesting people in the world.

I realize that I’ve been talking about mental illness a lot lately.  I’m definitely trying to keep momentum up on my informative series but being in such crisis right now as I obviously am in – it’s an important topic for me personally.  I have started using my blog to spew again, as I used to do in the beginning.  Catharsis.  Without being able to afford therapy I must seek it in whatever way I can.  My fiction writing has completely stalled, as I mentioned a post or two ago.  It may be because my head is such a mess and there’s so little light in there.  I need some light to write in a pointed manner.

Spring cleaning has been helping too.  We have unloaded at least 3 boxes full of books, 3 boxes of Max’s Hot Wheels cars, 3 boxes of bathroom stuff (unused soaps from the store stock that I don’t use because the fragrance is too strong and other non-creepy bathroom stuff), 3 boxes of clothes, 5 boxes of fabric and crafts, and at least 3 boxes of miscellaneous house crap that might be useful to others.  All these things to both friends and to families in need.  I’ve got a long way to go.  I’ve been letting go of things I didn’t think I was ready to let go of.  I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t need so much stuff.  I need my tools (kitchen and sewing and preserving tools, for example) but I don’t  need nearly as much stuff as I have.  Not only do I not need it, I don’t want lots of stuff.

On the other hand, in place of the many books I’ve given away and sold – I have discovered a series of cookbooks I intend to have ALL of.  I already mentioned it – the Culinaria series.  I find it so inspiring – the photographs, seeing a culture through its food traditions – this is the first time in a very long time that I’ve coveted things as strongly as I covet these books.  I’d like to have them all in hardback  but I can’t afford that.  The Powell’s credit that Philip generously gave me will allow me to get the Culinaria: Greece in used hardback and the Culinaria: Russia and the Culinaria: Hungary in paperback.  Perhaps someday I’ll replace the paper ones with hardback but I can’t wait to get my hands even on the paperback.  I feel like a kid collecting Barbies.  (I was a serious Barbie collector).

Today is Sunday.  So much better than Friday or last Tuesday.  I cleared my work schedule so that Friday I could go to the CPA (poor dude has to face our hysteria and anger – he did it with complete compassion and grace) and meet with a couple of friends, so that Saturday I could hang out with my kid all day, and so that today I can cook.  I’m going to make a mushroom side to put on Stitch and Boots and I’m going to work on a secret pet project involving marshmallows and bacon, because I need something really silly to amuse myself with.  You know you wish you were in my kitchen with me today!  I may also be making biscotti and a stir fry of cabbage OR perhaps I’ll finally try to make Aloo Gobi.  Whatever I do in there – I’m just going to play.  My kitchen is my playground.

I hope you all have something good and silly planned for today to lighten you up before facing yet another week.  Let go and have fun!

The kid turns 11, virgins in books, and stormy weather.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as sitting at my desk writing during a wailing pounding rain storm with a purring cat in my lap.  I’m almost not even worrying about the enthusiastic leak in the living room window caused by over 10 hours of rain pummeling all the south facing windows in the house.

Max turned 11 years old on Monday.  I’m not going to wax nostalgic at his disappearing little kid years cause, as most of you know, I enjoy seeing him grow older and don’t miss stages we’ve passed.  I’m enjoying my kid in the present and trying to stay there.  I try not to project into the future either because I find it unproductive.  I’m very zen about parenting at least five minutes a day.

Max requested that I make sure he doesn’t grow up to be a serial killer.  So we had a discussion about why I already know he isn’t going to be a serial killer.  It’s funny because back before I was staying in the present with my kid I used to worry about that exact same thing.  Raising a boy really scared me.  I’m still kind of scared of messing him up, obviously, but I work much harder not to focus on it.

He had a checkup last Friday and he’s doing well.  His medication is still working, his vitals are all good, and we’re not to worry about his weight gain because he’s “at that age” where boys apparently experience a lot of physical changes.  In other words the doctor was warning me that he’s about to hit THE HORMONAL STAGE.  Damn.  For his birthday he had his two best buddies for a sleepover (something I never let him do because it makes me hate all children to have three young boys in my house for more than 2 hours at a time, he’s usually only allowed one friend at a time for a sleepover) – anyway – I noticed one of his friends had B.O.  He’s 11 years old and his sweat is stinking!  Max’s still hasn’t started to smell “manly” but I get it – it’s what’s coming.

I’m reading a book right now that has made me realize that if a make-out session lasts more than one page I find it incredibly tedious.  I already knew I didn’t care for all the details of a character’s sexual encounters to be painted out for me, but I was reminded of this fact last night.  I will not read this author again because she has used the word “throbbing” in her sex scenes.  So now I just want to get the book over with.  If there’s another 3 page description of the “innocent” but eager virgin getting taught the glories and delights of being almost deflowered (manually, if you catch my drift) this indicates that I’m going to be treated to the ACTUAL deflowering event (oh joy) and I may just abandon the book.   I want to know what happens and until the word “swelling” was used to describe the state of the hero’s trousers the writing wasn’t bad and the story was interesting.   Bummer.  I’m branching out and trying new authors and new books.  I’m bound to find myself disappointed plenty.

-The Next Day-

My sister suggested I skip pages in books to avoid the shit I don’t want to read.  Brilliant-it has never occurred to me that I can do this.  I will try it.  Even so, I prefer not to read authors who write in a manner I find distasteful so I will not read more of this one.  At least I can finish this book without being further assaulted by the adventures of virginal nipples.

On our way to Portland we (my mom, sister, and I) engaged in a book discussion which was really interesting.  I have realized for some time that I work very hard to protect myself from the kinds of stories that make me angry or that go on to live uncomfortably in my head.  I used to read everything.  Everything.  Just trying new authors at this point is going out on a limb for me.  I have mixed feelings about this.  It makes me feel weak and stupid to only read books that I know will be enjoyable without depressing me or riling me up.  Like back when I chose to not watch the news anymore.  I did it for my mental health but it still made me feel stupid that I would have nightmares about the news all the time and be sunk ever-deeper into my already established state of depression and anxiety.

There is another side to choosing the limitations I do on my reading: ever since starting to write “The Winter Room” I have felt it is important not to allow much influence of other words in my head.  I’ve been re-reading all my favorites over and over because they are known and will introduce nothing to my psyche that wasn’t already there for a long time.  I feel it’s more important to keep my moods neutral as I read, keeping my reading enjoyable rather than life-changing.  That’s truly only a minor issue to me but still, it’s there.

I’m off to Portland again today.  I’m going with my sister, Max, Philip, and we’re meeting my brother there.  Max hasn’t seen his uncle in about five years.  We’re going to Powell’s books and then to the Kennedy School for lunch.  It’s still raining but not storming like it was yesterday.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

The Entertainment Line-up Right Now

The shows I’m watching right now:

  • Medium (almost finished with the whole series): I love this show.  I love Patricia Arquette.  I love her teeth, I love her acting, I love the character she plays, I love that she’s a regular medium sized female lead in a television series.  I also adore the Character Bridgette played by Maria Lark.
  • Ultimate Force (still on season 1): This is a damn bloody and violent show with mostly men and guns.  In spite of all the testosterone, the acting is really good.  I may not be able to stick with it though.  Not because of the gore.  I’m not even sure why.  It’s already been off the air for a few years but there are four seasons total.  I really love Tony Curran‘s nose.  It’s fierce.  Right, but I also think he’s a great actor.
  • Covert Affairs (just a few episodes): This one is already annoying me.  I find the blind agent Auggie to be smug and have failed to really enjoy the main character.  I am watching it because I miss MI5.  I also need to say that the first time I saw the actor Sendhil Ramamurthy (also in Ultimate Force) my first thought was that it was probably a curse to be a man and be that pretty.  He may be the most beautiful man alive and I can’t believe him in the roles he’s playing.
  • Castle:  It’s back.  I’ve seen the first episode of the new season and I’m pretty sure my irritation is only going to grow in this season.  I still love this show but it seems like one of the ones that will just string me along to the bitter fucking end where Castle and Beckett will never be able to get their shit together to be together and both of them are going to piss me off in the process.  The thing is, I can’t hate the characters, I blame the writers of the show.  This is a popular formula and I stop watching shows when they become tedious with their teasing and their “almost” hook ups.  So stupid.  Why can’t they be together and still be a team?  They can still annoy each other and bicker- no need to have one or the other.  Whether or not I continue watching “Bones” hinges on the same issue.
  • Rookie Blue:  I like this show.  Kinda.  I kinda don’t.  I can’t decide.  I think the main character, Andy McNally, is super stupid.  But the rest of them are pretty okay.  Mostly I’m just interested in the Dov character and I can’t stop looking at Gail just because she’s so striking.
  • Combat Hospital: This show is really compelling.  I love medical shows.  I really do.  I’m not even sure why.  The acting and the story lines in this show are fantastic.  It’s possible I’ll get tired of it by the next season, hard to say.  Right now I’m bummed it’s done.
  • Pan Am (Pilot): I watched the pilot episode and it’s not promising.  The main thing I was left with is the nagging need to know how Maggie started off with long bohemian style curly hair and in a half an hour cab ride to the airport ended up with a Funicello-style flip?  Did the cabby cut and style it for her?  Does this character wear a wig while she works and then lets her wild side down when she returns to her sty of an apartment?  I also dislike the blatant campy crap which dumbs down what could, maybe, turn out to be an interesting show.  I do like the costumes.  I’ll give it at least one more chance to impress but my brain will never let go of that hair thing.*

I interrupt this exciting television show list to ask “It’s 12 pm, do you know where your tuna is?” because my brain just shouted it in my head and I like to share.

It would apparently also like to suggest that “what’s good for the goose often isn’t good for anyone”.  (These bits of brain flotsam were pulled right out of the nonstop stream of dialog inside my head.)

  • Lie To Me: Such a fantastic show.  I have nothing else to say.  Except: Tim Roth!  Oh, wait, I do have something else to say.  The hair people who do Kelli Williams’ hair on the show are doing her a major disservice.  At least through the whole first season.  I think last season they wised up a little.
  • MI-5: Excellent show.  I’ve loved every season of it so far.  But how could I not like a show featuring Richard Armitage as a bad-ass spy?  As long as he doesn’t have a mullet, he’s golden.  But he’s not why I watch the show.  The whole cast is brilliant and it’s easy for me to invest myself in their future.  I do love spy shows like this one.
  • The Mentalist: I am afraid that Simon Baker gets cast as very similar characters in different shows.  Luckily I like the character type he plays.  But I like him better in the Mentalist than I did in the Guardian.  Absolutely love the supporting characters too, with special emphasis on the (sadly underused) Kimball Cho (Tim Kang).  Okay, maybe he’s not really underused but the focus has been more on Wayne and Grace and while they are good too, I like Cho the best.  His deadpan delivery is unmatched.
  • Downton Abbey: I can only see it online on PBS so it will be a while before I see the new season.  It is really engaging and well done.  The costumes are superb and I’m still hoping the show won’t go down the tragic route.
  • Bones: I was done watching this show last season but then I saw the last few episodes and now that Bones and Seely have finally gotten together and she’s apparently going to have his baby, I have to see if they’re going to actually work it out.  If they decide to have it but not be together, I’m not going to keep watching.  My needs are simple and they’re classic and they’re very boring.  I always want the girl to get the boy.  Or the boy to get the boy.  Or the girl to get the girl.  Whatever, I want the couple I’m rooting for to get together and if I get strung along and teased for too many seasons, I abandon ship.  So this show is on probation.

That’s my lineup for right now.  I have entered into a complete book lull.  At this time in my life I don’t want a show or a book to turn my world upside down or inside out.  I’m not an intellectual (as is obvious to most people) and I don’t have lofty or major expectations from my entertainment.  I want interesting stories with happy endings.  I want the couple to get together and work things out. I want the killer to be caught.  I want the broken people healed.

I just want it to be well done.

I finally finished the boring book I was reading.  It met all my criteria for entertainment except for that last one.  It was not well done, it was not well written, and it was not engaging.  I need to find some new books to read but I don’t want to be disappointed.

There you have it.  I just needed to share my thoughts on all those shows because I largely watch them alone (a couple of them I watch with my mom) and I want to put my comments somewhere.  Now you can read them and agree or disagree.  And please feel free to tell me what you’re watching right now- I’m totally interested to know!

*Not the show’s fault my brain is obsessive to a clinical level.

Cricket and Grey is Complete

I have finished the second draft of Cricket and Grey.

It took me 1 year and 26 days to get that far.

99,004 words.

Chapter eighteen is pretty bad.

Much of it is really good.

Draft three is where I make the writing even, cleaner (not content-wise!), consistent, and so good that I will find myself an agent within the year.

I am exhausted.  But that’s mostly because while pushing against my self imposed deadlines I have been dealing with my child’s increased need for intervention (we’re back to the psychologist we were seeing before, quite a relief), my mother moving in, working about 30 hours a week, cooking, making room for my mother, cleaning shit out, and getting my kid through strep throat.

I am excited to start the more delicate process of polishing the novel.

I’m going to take a mini-break from it for a few days while I re-establish healthier habits such as getting walks, bicycle rides, and Kung Fu back into my routine.  I haven’t been to Kung Fu for almost two weeks because of the strep and then I was way too overwhelmed last week as we were recovering to do anything but get through each mini-minute as it came.

I drank way too much beer and ate way too much cheese.

I have no regrets.  I don’t believe in them anyway.  I did what I had to do and that’s what I asked of myself.

I’ve never been this close to achieving something that means everything to me.  Writing was an ambition long before designing was.  Although there was no time in my life I haven’t loved fashion, it didn’t occur to me that it could be a vocation until long after knowing I was a writer.  A bad poet.  A good essayist.  A novelist.

I can tell you about 15 reasons why my life sucks right now.

But the truth is, those things that would have made me perceive my life as sucking are so much smaller than what I’m aiming for and what I’m closing in on.

I think you can bear a lot more in life when you’re fulfilling your purpose.

It can’t be denied that I have been able to maintain my more positive and philosophical outlook on what used to be the intense suckitude of my life once I changed medications last June and took a break from most social interactions to readjust myself.  Don’t anyone believe for a second I could do all this, keep from breaking down on the page every day, if it weren’t for psyche meds.

It is ironic, I think, that a major theme in my book is herbal versus western medicine and what people do when they don’t have access to modern medicine.  I know a lot of people idealizing herbal medicine.  It’s ironic because my main character Cricket is brought up to believe that herbal medicine is the only way to proceed to the future because in her lifetime modern medicine has been largely unavailable.  One of her biggest conflicts is discovering that her father worked to get modern medicine to people.

I depend on modern medicine.

This is the first time in my life I’ve completed an entire manuscript.

I wrote 108,000 words for Jane Doe but never really finished it.  There was so little plot organization that I got stuck.  Couldn’t end it.  It’s still incomplete.

I’m not going to lie, I’m very proud of myself.

Now, I need to start work (the paid job), so I’m going to leave you with two brand new words I made up to enrich your language:

enfreakened – to become freaked

embuttered – to be covered in butter

Here is a little transcript from Facebook:

Angelina:

If a person can become enlivened, can they also become enfreakened? If a person can become embittered can they also become embuttered?

Carolina:

LMAO!! Embuttered??

Angelina:

Yeah, why not? Paula Deen is exactly the kind of person you could apply this brand new word to. “Don’t become embuttered or you’ll start talking twang, y’all!” Or how about “To embutter the batter you simply fold it in with air…”

I’m determined to find a moment to tell someone I’m “enfreakened” this weekend. “I’m enfreakened by your embuttered state.”

Carolina:

My arteries are clogging just at the mention of her name. I am “enfreakened” by the notion that she uses it after she showers, like cocoa butter. Perhaps that is a form of use; Embutter: the liberal use of butter slathered on oneself as an emollient.

Angelina:

OH my god- I am enfreakened by the thought of being embuttered! Carolina- I have a phobia of butter getting on my fingers… that congers up a nightmare for me. On the other hand, excellent use of my brand new words! You are AWESOME!

Words are magic.