Good intentions 2013

Just some things I was thinking of doing in 2013:


1.  Read one book a month (except in the case of Les Miserables by Hugo, which may take two; it’s on my list, and in my stack)


2.  Jazzercise (shopping for this outfit, by the way)


3.  Yoga


3.  Regular meditation


4.  Crockpot Sunday!

5.  And this:

Philippians 4.8


And one more quote to end 2012 for me: “Be excellent to each another.”  Party on…and happy New Year to us all.

8 1/2 things

1.  I watched “Hanging Up” for the bajillionth time today; it’s with Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, and Lisa Kudrow, and Walter Matthau.  I cried at the end, like I always do, and the thing that keeps me coming back to this movie (aside from Meg Ryan’s floor-length camel coat, which I WANT in an unnatural way, and can’t even find anything remotely similar to) is that Walter Matthau reminds me of my father.  To be specific, Walter Matthau’s arms remind me of my dad’s arms – his relationship with Meg Ryan also hits a nerve.  I miss my dad every time I watch this movie.  I miss my dad, period.

2.  It’s summer in southern California, never mind the calendar. It’s warm, and dry, and breezy – no giant fires yet, but October isn’t over.  Our seasons should be renamed – Three Days of Rain, June Gloom, Hot like the Surface of the Sun, Still Hot, Fire Season, and Cold and Dry. (We’d go from four to six seasons, but at least they’d be more accurate.)

3.  Go see “Seven Psychopaths.” Don’t question me, just read about how good it is, and go.  This movie deserves attention; it’s well-written, funny, and has Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Colin Farrell (and Tom Waits with a bunny). Who else do you need for entertainment?

4.  I loved how the SF Giants ended their playoffs, 9-0, in the pouring rain.  I also love how they’re playing like bosses in the World Series.  I read a great line once, that baseball is a game of moments, and that’s how I appreciate the sport. And the last game in the NL playoffs was a moment; congratulations, guys.

5.  I have recently been listening to a huge amount of country music.  (When I say “huge,” I mean that before two weeks ago, I would be able to listen for about three songs of any country artist and have to tap out.) I will be back later to expand on this development, as I’m finding it very interesting, but have no way to account for it.  I believe that Joe Walsh may have something to do with it, as I watched him on an episode of “Crossroads,” playing alongside Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, and other country stars. I’m convinced  some  strange sort of transference occurred, because I will now listen all day. I will also take suggestions, as I’m all over the place right now…y’all. Uh-oh.

6.  The bathroom remodel is a go for Tuesday; our guy Mark estimates between three and four weeks.  To have a bathroom with walls, and a pretty shower and tub, after three years, hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Once it happens, I may continue writing from the bathtub, as I plan to take many long bubble baths after being deprived of them for so long.

7.  Please vote.  I won’t ask you to think the same way as I do, but I will ask you to go vote on November 6th (or sooner, if that’s what you do). If you are a woman, remember that we didn’t always have the right to vote, and that women fought, were jailed, and died, so that we could. Vote – vote – vote – vote – vote! It makes a difference.

8.  Knots of Love is a wonderful organization that accepts hand-knitted  and hand-crocheted caps and donates them to cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, so that they might feel better.  One of my caps was accepted by the organization, and sent to someone in Laguna Beach, so that they could wear it and feel better. I share this because it was important to me to do something that I love to do, and be able to help someone who needed comfort.  Also, I share it in case any of you are interested in knitting or crocheting caps for Knots of Love; their website is

Phew! Time for Italian food –  Ciao!

One-day Olympics clearance sale – everything must go!

Pick up one of these little goodies for yourself, but hurry, they’re going fast!

I loved the Olympic opening ceremonies.  I thought they were dark and strange  – and really cool:

The nurses and the poppies reminded me of the movie “Tommy,” and some of it reminded me of a Pink Floyd show, before the fans started crawling around on the floor and up the stairs during the concert (a story for another time).  And a segment on health care in an Olympics ceremony? Danny Boyle must be daft! God save the Queen! And speaking of the Sex Pistols, I noticed that during the music medley, NBC chose to cut away when “Pretty Vacant” started playing (excerpt below is from the  website

Punk goes pop

The Sex Pistols have long passed away from being subversive and instead become quintessentially British. But perhaps not as far as NBCwas concerned. Their song Pretty Vacant only made snatches of the broadcast either side of a break and was largely cut.

NBC did have to cut away for commercials; I just find their timing to be very interesting. I wonder if John Lydon had to give permission for the song to be used, or if he even owns the song any more, or if he even cares about it at all:

John Lydon – the man always has an opinion, even if it’s that he doesn’t give a rip.  Good thing he’s calmed down and become more dignified:


I decided to stop worrying 24/7 a couple of days ago, and it’s going pretty well. I am a gold-medal worrier; I will worry about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, stuff that is going to happen, and if you ask me, I will worry for stuff that is happening or is going to happen to you, for no charge!  A couple of days ago, I surprised myself with a couple of non-worrisome hours (not in a row; baby steps!), and I felt great in a way that I hadn’t felt for years; being able to admit that I worry ALL the time actually makes me cry; it’s exhausting, and I finally figured out that I don’t want to do it anymore.  One of the side effects of not worrying is that my concentration has returned, so I’m not all over the place, and I am able to focus on what I’m doing, without wondering if I should be doing something else. For me, practicing not worrying involves a little self-talk and relaxation, as well as my understanding what needs to be worried about, and what doesn’t; it’s going to take some conscious effort, but I’m already feeling better, and I’m encouraged that in a few weeks, I will feel even better.


This is kind of a neat little list, and I’m lucky in that I have all three:

Happiness is not a word that I throw around lightly – I like that this list makes happiness into something real and recognizable, for me, anyway.  Happiness doesn’t always wear a name tag, does it?  But this song might help you pick it out of the crowd of emotions in your day (sang it in sixth grade Glee Club, and never forgot it):

It’s 2012 – what are you gonna do about it?

Last week I started a list of intentions for the upcoming year, but got bored with it. It’s eleven years past 2001, and we aren’t traveling to other galaxies, or colonizing other planets; the future is here, and it’s less like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and more like “Blade Runner.” I would love if my list included a trip to Neptune, but not this year, unfortunately.

Now that 2012 is six days old, and trying to get up and walk, I thought I would give it another try – this is a fast list, because you have things to do, don’t you?

1.  Write things that people want to read; the rest may not be in any order, but this is number one. I know this because when I’m doing it, nothing else matters…and when it happens, the bunny slippers do a jig of glee:

2.  Go up the coast as far as I can – San Francisco, Santa Cruz, then into Oregon, and maybe Washington, who knows? It’s way past time for some adventures, and time to pack some bags and go see something new.

3.  Take a cooking class – Italian? Sauces? I know some wonderful cooks, and I don’t pretend to become one of them, but I would like to do it a little better (and re-doing the kitchen will fold right into this – see what I did there? Got the vocabulary, now I just need to do the actual cooking).

4.  Knit – and a little yarn bombing, so many perfect spots for this around Long Beach, and this year could be the year…here’s some ideas (and the caption for the last one? “Tank blankie”!) –

5.  Watch movies – does this surprise anyone who has been reading here?

6.  Read books (and work on my ADD, so I can finish…oh, wait, is it my turn on Words With Friends?)

7.  Kickboxing – going to a gym where the instructor yells at us; it’s not pretty, and that’s as it should be.

8. Listen – to music, other people, and the universe (yeah, I said it; what, Mr. Judgmental?)

Have a pleasant 2012 – thank you for shopping around at “Julie Wrote What?,” even if you were only looking for a photo of the tattoo that George Clooney had in “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn.” Hope you stick around after completely grokking George’s tattoo to do a little reading (it makes my tattered and torn heart sing to think that you might). I will refer back to this post as the year gets on its feet and totters around, and you can check on me to see if this was worth the time it took to write it, or if I’m just a list-maker, and not a doer. “Let us go, then…”

2nd annual almost-completely superficial Thanksgiving post

Just took out a lemon cranberry crumble cake from the oven, and I’m waiting for it to cool before adding the lemon glaze.  While this happens, I think it’s time to make a list of those things that I am grateful for on this Thanksgiving.  If you are expecting family, friends, and my dog, not that kind of list. Love you, love them all, but here’s what also floats my boat this year:

1.  Going to the movies – even though the experience isn’t what it was when I was a wild-eyed child, going to the movies is still something that I always set forth to do with the optimistic hope that I will feel the same way that I used to feel when I walked out after seeing “Serpico,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Cabaret,” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” – as if I had been somewhere else, and  could see the world differently now, if only for a little while.  I think the most recent films that have made me feel transformed afterward have been “Midnight in Paris” and “Julie and Julia.” Oddly enough, both films were set in Paris; it’s possible Paris could make this list next year, if I can survive all the happiness this year.

2. Online shopping! (Or what I like to call, “Click, click, boom!” I have no idea why, except that maybe the “boom!” is the sound of my checking account exploding.)

3.  Books.  Don’t roll your eyes and mutter, “Old lady, books are so 20th century…” I bought a Nook, and it’s a slick piece of plastic, really; however, it can’t match turning the pages of a REAL book.  And if it comes to living in a world completely without books, sign me up for the Neptune Society –

4.  Coffee, especially the sound of it being brewed in my handy dandy Keurig coffee maker.  Not to be a shill for this thing, but it was a Christmas present last year, and is a brilliant little machine.  I am also especially grateful  not to have been a married woman in the ’50s, as apparently a woman’s entire reason for existing relied on her being able to make a decent cup of coffee  (check out “Coffee Jerks” on YouTube; it is pretty funny, and explains “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” to me).

5. Finding the funny – sounds simple, but I know that there are souls in the world who can’t find it , and who never even care to try.  Laughing is one of the greatest gifts in life, and what is so cool is that you can give it to yourself and someone else at the same time.

I have to go work out – there is a plateful of carbs in my immediate future.  Many thanks, campers; let’s march on through the holidays with a big drumstick in one hand and a garlic dinner roll in the other! Onward!

Measuring out life with coffee spoons (courtesy of T.S. Eliot)

It’s Friday, and I swear this week has gone by in a nanosecond.  I’ve had the week off, and left to my own devices, have the following to show for it – a clean truck, a fairly clean dog, an almost clean carpet, and yet another scarf that is ten inches (plus fringe) away from being finished (my deadline for said scarf is December 1st, and I will be meeting that date, or I might as well pack my needles away and be done with it, since it’s been a year since I started the thing).  I also started the latest Stephen King novel, “11/22/63,” which has me hooked as only SK can, but with my ADD, which is pretty much full-blown these days, who knows how long it will take me to finish it? I heard a great line last week that stayed with me: “It’s not what you start, it’s what you finish.”

Right now I’m finishing a nice little glass of red wine; I have given up just about all of my vices, except for coffee, knitting, and Angry Birds, but tonight I found a bottle of wine on the kitchen counter, and since it is Friday, and I’m still on vacation…oh, whatever, I’m having it, who cares why?  It’s a big glass of delicious –

I’m feeling scattered right now, like I’m paying more attention to the little things, and not focusing on the larger picture known as “My Life” (now in 3-D and Imax!). Since they just popped into my head,  I also think that the two lines from the poem by T.S. Eliot , “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” apply to me right now:

“I should have been a pair of ragged claws/scuttling across the floor of silent seas.”

Moving forward to survive, unfocused, without clarity – sounds about right.

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is one of my favorites; for me, the magic of poetry is that each time I read a poem, I find something new in it. “Love Song” details the minutiae of a man’s life, and his attempt to find some significance in those details, and his realization that he has lost his true self somewhere. The perfect checklist for me tonight – “There will be time, there will be time/to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;” “And time yet for a hundred decisions and indecisions/And for a hundred visions and revisions/before the taking of toast and tea.”

Go ahead, read Eliot’s poem a few times, and see what you find out about yourself. I triple dog dare you …!

Five completely unrelated thoughts

I love lists, so I’m making one tonight:

1.  “Moneyball” was a fine movie (saw it twice, and glad about it) – if you doubt that Brad Pitt and Robert Redford are somehow related (are they or aren’t they?), please go see it, and then watch “Legal Eagles,” an ’80s movie with Redford and Debra Winger (one of my favorites, and a great movie to compare with “Moneyball”). Better yet, some empirical evidence for you now until you complete this assignment:


Seriously, it’s even eerier watching Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” than seeing him here.  I think the whole father/son idea is too easy – Pitt channels Redford in a way that I believe is a result of a phenomenon that I call “non-familal DNA transferrence.” (Totally made up, but you knew that, didn’t you, you smarties?) See Redford’s hand on his shoulder?  That’s how it’s done; they’ve been transferring DNA since “A River Runs Through It,” and I think Brad Pitt has been concentrating on character roles in movies like “Fight Club” and “Snatch” so that the blatantly obvious would be less so – science should look into these two; if my theory is correct , it could be a breakthrough of epic proportions (or a massive waste of taxpayer money, but at least it would be interesting, wouldn’t it?  Think of the possibilities!)

2.  Steampunk – Just found out about it recently; it seems to be a wide-ranging aesthetic that includes Victoriana, science fiction, fantasy, and various other interests; goggles, torn apart watch parts, corsets, and zepplins seem to be focal points; this necklace sorta feels a little steampunk to me (and I did buy another one that is a torn-apart watch, and I do love it, but I’m not going to be dressing in corsets and wearing goggles anytime soon – well, maybe a corset, who knows?):

3.  “The Dick Van Dyke Show” is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, and is now on TVLand! 

I’m baffled as to why this show hasn’t just been on all the time, the way that “I Love Lucy” has been.  Great writing, physical comedy, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, and Carl Reiner as Alan Brady?  What has been the delay, people? The episode with the walnuts ranks right up there with “Vitametavegamin” for me. If you have never seen the show, get yourself over to TVLand now – zany ’60s home life with the Petries is black and white bliss.

4.  I’ve gone meatless again, yes, it’s true.  A couple of weeks ago I decided to stop eating meat, and pretty much just kept going.  It’s for a couple of reasons, the primary one being health – not eating meat is kinda forcing me to focus on eating more vegetables, fruits, and grains. I will eat eggs and cheese; just trying to stay away from meat, chicken, and pork (you will catch me writing love poems to bacon, but for now it will be unrequited love). Fortunately, I love tofu and veggie burgers, and Morningstar makes veggie bacon that is crispy (and I was already eating it before giving up meat), so it’s not an enormous sacrifice.

5.  The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has a phenomenal collection right now: “Warriors – Tombs and Temples: China’s Enduring Legacy.”  It includes terra cotta warriors, miniature armies, and relics, and is an amazing display. Museums are my treat to myself – whenever I go, I feel like a kid discovering new worlds.  I have a group of friends that I normally try to go with, whenever we can coordinate schedules. I think the Getty will be next on the list, and soon – there is a modern art exhibit going on right now,  “Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture 1950-1970,” that looks like something I really would like to see:

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled life…)

Body and mind, heart and soul

Sometimes (and those of you who know me will bear this out), I can be a ding-a ling. Tonight I am a revelatory ding-a-ling; allow me to elaborate.

Last night I took my LBD (little black dog, in case you weren’t aware) to the vet, because his little eye was was kind of squishy looking, and I wanted to make sure that he didn’t have an allergic reaction to something.  Fortunately, the hospital wasn’t crowded, and while I was waiting, a couple came in with their cat – the woman was interesting to me for a couple of reasons. First, she had long, straight hair that was dyed pink – may I say here that I love when anyone does anything with their hair that is different from the usual, and this was a very pretty pink.  Second, she didn’t have what you would call a perfect body – she was big, and had some areas that could have been more toned.

After thinking these two thoughts, I had a third one – the first two things didn’t matter. Her boyfriend (husband, significant other) was with her, and comforting her, and her body didn’t enter into how he was treating her, because he was there for her when she needed him.

Now I know that I have long-standing issues with my physical appearance; I like very few photos of myself, and for a long time, I wouldn’t let anyone photograph me without covering up the bottom half of my face.  (More issues, and I’m not going to get into it, because then you will know what bothers me, and you will look for what bothers me, and….let’s just keep it a mystery.)

So what I’m getting to here is that I’m working on taking another little step away from the self-loathing that I seem to wallow in so often, and liking myself a little more, the way that I see other women do so well. It’s hard to erase decades of treating myself worse than my worst enemy, but maybe now that I’m a woman of a certain age –  yes, 50, all right? Happy now? (I’m told that I’m allowed to be cranky after 50; I prefer to wear the cranky pants only on special occasions, or else nobody listens), I will give myself a break.  Just thinking today about living without being self-critical and nit-picky made me feel lighter, like the kid in “Up” with the balloons.  A little lightness sounds good right now —-

On another note, today marks the fifteenth year that I have been without my friend and sister-in-law, Naomi Toma Thorpe. I first met Naomi when I was 13, and she was 17, and friends with my brother at Jordan High.  She and I became close friends, and then she became my sister-in-law in 1980. Naomi was a beautiful, funny, brilliant, silly, strong woman who matched my brother in intellect and talent.  She was my confidante and my touchstone, and I treasure every single second that I was fortunate enough to have known her. Here’s to you, my friend; I’m getting along without you, but it’s harder without you….

Weighty issues

I found a pair of jeans with a giant ripped hole in the knee that I forgot I had – I love when that happens:

Time to start journaling my food intake again – not proud to say that I’ve gained five pounds in the last month, and I have to stop the madness, or else I won’t be able to go work. I refuse to buy any larger sizes, so if I can’t fit into my clothes, I’ll just have to quit my job, lie on the couch all day, eating Ding Dongs and watching bad TV, and only wear Hawaiian muumuus with white gym socks and black Chucks.  (No need to thank me for that image – my holiday gift to you.)

I wasn’t going to write about it, or even talk about it, but I realize that talking about it makes it real, and takes away the shame, so I can concentrate on the process without beating myself up about the slip.  So I’ve started with my paper blank book (yes, paper, kids; this is the only way for me, and also makes it real) and listed my breakfast, along with the calorie count and the point count, from when I was still in Weight Watchers. I figure that if I bump up the workouts from two or three times a week to four or five a week, this little hiccup should be history in no time. Stay tuned, campers…

9-5-11: One day down, forever to go….