Thursday, May 31, 2007

If you are my mom, please don't read this.

My friend Tawana, not realizing that I was taking the next two days off, called early this morning from the far right-hand side of the map.

"I've been reading your blog, and it gave me a great idea. I'm telling you--it's the best idea, ever. It's a...well, it's a gift to the world."

Now this is one of the things I love about her--comments like, "It's a gift to the world." All she has to do sometimes, is open her mouth to make me happy.

"We need to get our moms set up with a blog! It'll be fun for them; it'll give them something to do with their spare time."

Look. I'm not suggesting to my mother that she start a blog. First, she'll set up the blog and post two, maybe three times. Then, she'll call during my nap window to tell me that her damn computer is messed up again--that she can't get the damn carriage return to show on the posting. Oh, it's there in the editing window all right, but when she hits the damn PUBLISH POST button, it disappears.

So she'll call the computer store where she purchased her computer and complain. They'll suggest she bring in her CPU. This will require a lot of trouble, a car trip all the way across town, and three days without her computer.

Oh, yeah--and a call during my nap window to complain.

The service department will run a scan and remove some innocuous spyware. They'll charge her $125.00. She'll drive across town again, pick up the CPU, take it back home, and try to enter another post. The damn paragraph return still won't show correctly on the post.

So she'll call the computer store and give them what-for.

Then, she'll call the Geek Squad. My mother loves-loves-loves the Geek Squad. They'll send a kid younger than most of the shoes in her closet. He'll sit down at the computer, type a couple keystrokes and say, "Dr. Vaughan" (Don't even try to tell me you couldn't tell before now that she was a card-carrying Ph.d.), "you just need to go to this screen and hit this button, and you'll be fine."

And my mom will call during my nap window to tell me that the Geek Squad finally fixed her computer. And am I reading her posts?

So, no. I'm not suggesting to my mother that she start a blog.

Thanks to Garrison Photo.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's your own thing--do what you wanna do.

Here's the thing about working at LA. Turn any corner and you're subject to come upon someone sketching, making, photostyling, shooting, or writing about a project that's so cool, you just can't wait to try making it yourself.

And that's always been one of my shortcomings. I just can't wait. Directions? I don't need no stinkin' directions. I mean really, how hard can it be? That, and I've just never taken to being told what to do.

And what I've noticed is that the writers wouldn't dream of undertaking a project without clear, concise, written instructions. But the designers? They don't hesitate to take one look at your project and in just about two shakes crank out another one just exactly like it--only better. These people are so good at this kind of thing that I don't dare leave my kid just standing around, waiting to be duplicated and improved upon.

I'm no designer--I'm a writer. And I've got an entire box of ill-conceived, poorly executed projects to show for my misplaced loyalties. But every now and then my inner artist peeks out and I get something incredible to show for my trouble. Something somebody else just can't wait to try making for herself.

Because really--if I can do it, how hard can it be?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

(Just about to be) hot off the presses.

Here's a sneak peek at Maelynn Cheung's upcoming new book,
Doodling for Papercrafters.
It's the hottest thing in scrapbooking techniques and Maelynn is all over it. Her book gives step-by-step, fear-banishing instructions for putting your unique mark on all your papercraft projects.

And if the idea of taking a pen to one of your pages makes you nervous, just wait until you get a look at all the projects inside. Each of these fantastic doodling designs was created--not by professional in-house designers--but by actual papercrafters just like you.

We loved everything about working on this book--from Maelynn's easy-to-understand instructions, to the totally hand-drawn cover, to the ooohs and aaahs as we unpacked doodling projects mailed in from all over the world. We loved it, and so will you.

Visit Maelynn's blog, the scrappy one.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Decoration Day.

In many parts of the south, Decoration Day is a day in which those who are still living gather together at the cemetery to tidy up the grave sites of family members. This tradition is especially important in those small rural churchyards that don't employ groundskeepers.
Until my people (that is, people within whose arms I remember enjoying an embrace) lay in the isolated country cemetery, this customary maintenance of graves and grounds had always struck me as only a quaint and outdated practice of country people—something for old women in flowered dresses with rolled-down stockings and men wearing overalls and faded fedoras.
But while participating in this custom, I was reminded "not to forget my raising," and that I had come from what are considered to be country people, whether or not I chose to observe their customs. Consequently, throughout the day I carried along with my spade an awareness of my connections to those both in and above the ground.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Six little words.

My dear friend Carol has three children, two of whom are fraternal twins. One of the twins (her only daughter) has always been so sweet, so obedient, so very much her mama's little girl--that Carol never really believed said child's impending adolescence would produce any of the typical problems in her house.
She is the third one of our close-knit group who spent a few blissful years operating under that assumption. As a child, my own daughter (aka Muffin Uptown), was practically perfect in every way. And yet, when the invasion of the body snatchers began, my perfect little MU--like every teenager since Cain and Abel--very nearly drove me to drink. Or extreme personal violence.
So, Carol, in the interest of friendship and perpetuating the continuation of the human race, I offer six little words. These words solved every problem that arose during those stressful times at our house. Without them, I'm certain my child would never have safely come out the other side--a complete and perfect, reasonable, absolutely adorable human being. Speak these words and maintain peace in your house and dignity about your person.

Get. the. hell. away. from. me.

Hear a podcast of this post:

The extremely righteous music on this podcast is a remix of Feel My Pain Miss Jane, words, music, production, and performance by David Henderson.

Making a living.

I've written a lot of words since deciding in January to start a blog. Problem is, I've written them for someone else. As it turns out, I only have a certain amount of creative energy. Once that is expended, I'm headed for the couch, a diet coke, and an episode of Bones.

Not long ago, Amy V., our marketing director, came up with the concept for an instructional series to mimic a fashion magazine (we call it a "leafazine.") It's full of patterns--as usual--but it also includes columns, tips, and photo stories. Because my writers were busy with other assignments, I wrote the letter from the series' fictional editor, Irene. Because they were still busy, I wrote the photography copy. And then the cover copy. I wrote all sorts of things that I usually talk other people into writing. I thrashed and moaned and swore I was dying--but I enjoyed the hell out of it. And I can't wait to do another.

Anybody who has ever seen one of LA's publications knows that this look is a bit outside the realm of the usual. Actually, this look just about skates over into who-the-heck-are-you-people-and-what-did-you-do-with-the-poncho-patterns? I don’t ordinarily fool around with knit, crochet, or quilt publications—those are the forte of my friend Cheryl. And you can be sure that if I even looked like I was thinking about changing a kko or k2p2 or an rpn, those people who work for her would poke me hard in my earhole with a knitting needle. The sharp, lethal end.

Susan J., the editorial writer on my staff, does a wonderful job with the designer profiles, book reviews, and charity column. She is one of the most versatile writers I've ever met. Not to mention the instructional writers who create the Tab-A-into-Slot-B copy, the talented (and patient) graphic artists, and the I-ain't-scared-of-no-full-bleed photographers and stylists who spark the look. Takes a village, I guess.

Then, someone with some measure of authority (read: control over the purse-strings) decided that the aforementioned Irene needed her own Web site, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. No way was I going to be able to squeeze writing a Web site into my schedule (not and still make the trains run on time). But if I didn’t, someone else would. I had to make my peace with another someone writing the online version of Irene. And did they ever. Take a look at the fabulous (informative, entertaining, refreshing) i-createit Web site.

Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?

I can't say enough wonderful things about 3191, A Year of Mornings--which is appropriate, when one considers that the site has few words as well.
The site is shared by 2 artist friends--Stephanie and Mav--who live 3191 miles apart and are photoblogging for a year (and sharing the results with all of us). I have to say that their site represents one of the few times I can remember being thankful that there weren't more words on the page.
The pictures say all you need to know.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My ex-husband used to say that I had such an addictive personality, if he could ever get me to have sex twice, he'd have it made. Now I get it.

At this same time last week, I was furiously sewing potholders in an effort to justify the $52.00 I'd spent at the fabric store for fat quarters and cotton batting. The original plan was to run into the store, pick up a couple pieces fabric for two potholders (as part of Muffin Uptown's pie-making accoutrement I was giving her as a birthday gift).

14 potholders, 12 coasters, and 2 catnip-filled mouse-toys later I am headed (inexplicably) BACK to the fabric store.
Obviously, this is not the kind of thing I should be fooling around with.

This is a stick-up. Seriously.

My friend Tawana keeps an apartment in Providence where her company is headquartered, and a house here in town. Her one-and-only lives here in the house, and Tawana is able to come in pretty regularly, since she travels all over the country for her job.

On the weekends she's in town, she jogs over to my house the first thing in the morning. Nothing makes her happier than catching me at the computer in my pajamas, while she's lathered and smug from a brisk, early-morning run.

This morning, she ordered me into my shoes so she could walk me up the block to see what those crazy kids are up to these days.
At the risk of sounding like a totally dried-up, ancient old lady, this looks way more expensive than the types of auto-vandalism we practiced in my day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Listen to mundane jane.

New Panties.


Download (right click and save)

Music, Jane is on the Phone Again--by The Alice Project.


It didn't seem that long ago--until just this minute.


Download (right click and save)

Music, Feel My Pain Miss Jane--words, music, production, and performance by David Henderson.


It's my own fault--I'm the one who felt compelled to discuss the hairs on my legs with people I don't even know.


Download (right click and save)

Music, Jane is on the Phone Again--by The Alice Project.


Poke a stick in that puppy and give it to me to go.


Download (right click and save)

Music, Feel My Pain Miss Jane--words, music, production, and performance by David Henderson.


Just Wrong. In so many ways.


Download (right click and save)

Music, Feel My Pain Miss Jane--words, music, production, and performance by David Henderson.

Six Little Words.


Download (right click and save)

Music, Feel My Pain Miss Jane--words, music, production, and performance by David Henderson.


The Music, without all that irritating talky-talk:

If you like the music, follow the links and let the artists know you heard them on Mundanejane. While you're there, you can also see what else they're doing, and if you want, buy a tune.

David Henderson--Feel my Pain, Miss Jane


Download (right click and save)


The Alice Project--Jane is on the Phone Again


Download (right click and save)

Tattoo Tees

Tatto Tees/Kerry Politzer Music Video

Save my bandwidth, watch it on YouTube

Music written and performed by Kerry Politzer.

The podcasts.

When part of my job was directing (and writing) the company podcasts:
Audio versions of mundane jane:

My Picks.

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