Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Power of a Network of Women

Good Evening, Loyal Readers.  I should be in bed at this very late hour getting my beauty rest, but for you, I will sacrifice my vanity just a little bit to write here an inspiring tale about the power of the female network.

Today, our daughter Kate called from Brooklyn to tell me that her (and my) friend K was having a terrible time trying to breastfeed her newborn (on Friday) daughter.  She was trying and trying and it was very painful and not much was happening in the way of food flowing from mama to baby.  I related to this in a big way having never really produced enough milk to keep Jack remotely sated in the first four weeks of his wailing, starving, miserable life.  (My DD cup mother was right when she said, "How do you think you're going to breast feed with those?" Yes.  I'm adopted.)  I never even got out of an A cup when I was pregnant.  No heaving breasts for me, no.  Just the same old same old paltry...Oh!  I digress....back to our story...

So, Kate called me, full of concern for our wonderful friend K.  I knew immediately what to suggest and whom to contact to make sure that K got the very best advice in her stressful, hormonal, sleep-deprived, emotionally loaded, overwrought situation. (Do I project based on my own experience?  Maybe just a little.)

I told Kate that K needed to find a Very Good Lactation Consultant.  (Not a Very Crummy one like the one I got stuck with. Oh Brother!  She was 38 (my age at the time) and single and just about all she talked about during the sorry hour for which I paid her probably 75 smackers was how she despaired of being single and how much she wanted a baby of her own.  Seriously.  She did this.  I got just about no help from her.

And to make sure that K got a Very Good one, I emailed my friend Ann Marie who works at BABS here in Bloomington.  AM is a Lactation Consultant EXTRAORDINAIRE.  If I had had her, Jack might have been breast fed for more than the short four weeks he was and might not need the therapy he will most certainly need in later life for attachment and insecurity issues.   What?  I digress again?  So sorry, Loyal Ones.

Anyway, within twenty minutes of my reaching out to Ann Marie, Kate and K had a contact on the ground in K's neighborhood to call for help.  Isn't that so completely cool?  I think it is!

It is time for bed now.  Nighty Night, Loyal Ones.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Your BloomingtonGirl Needs You...Okay, She Needs Your Money

Loyal Readers,  you are probably wondering what the picture to the left signifies.  Has your BloomingtonGirl become a baseball player?  A baseball fan?  A photographer of balls on a plate?

No, silly ones.  This picture is part of a promotion for the Bloomington Playwrights Project Annual PlayOffs!  On Friday October 21, nine playwrights will assemble at the BPP in the early evening and will be thrown a "pitch"  consisting a line of dialogue and a prop that must be incorporated into a ten minute play. The playwrights then draft directors and actors to be on their team.  THEN, we head home to write fast because the script has to be submitted by 7AM the next morning so the directors and actors can rehearse.  The play goes up that very same night.  Phew!  It's a whirlwind.

Your BloomingtonGirl wrote (a brilliant short play) for this event a couple of years ago and had a great time doing it.  This time, Your BloomingtonGirl want to raise lots of money because it's a good cause and (mostly) because Your BloomingtonGirl is CRAZY COMPETITIVE!

Here's where you come in, Loyal Ones.  Click on the link below and support me by donating some green to the cause in my name.  Make sure to mention that you are donating because you love your BloomingtonGirl, or if you prefer,  you can donate in the name of my alias, Joni McGary.  Now, here's the exciting part:  (are you ready?)

For each donation of $25 or more, you will receive a dozen of your favorite cookies, brownies or muffins from your BloomingtonGirl's very own

 LuckyGuy Bakery

(Think HoosierMama Brownies, Oatmeal Jacksons, Spicy Chocolate Snaps, Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies, HomeMade English Muffins, Biscotti...)

I will keep tabs on who is donating and contact you OR you can send me an email with your email and your address.

Please do this!  I want to send you cookies and I know you want to have them.  I know it.

Here's the link:

I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I know that you will thank me from the bottom of your tummy.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Green Tomato Cake?

Green Tomato Cake.  Who knew?  I'll be baking up some of this yumminess tomorrow to use up the bags and bags of green tomatoes we have.  Damn the frost, which cares not a hoot for Your BloomingtonGirl and her poor overworked Kitchen Frau Hands.  

Today, Chris and I chopped about 12 pounds of green tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, onions and cabbage for Linton Hopkins' ChowChow relish, one of the vehicles for the tiresome green tomatoes.  Hopkins'  ChowChow is amazing and delicious - I've made it a few times before - but the prep work is a %$!@#, if you know what I mean.  

We were short on red bell peppers from our garden so we used some red hot peppers that we had.  I donned gloves for that portion of the chopping but the right glove apparently had a hole in it and my right palm is ON FIRE.  If I were an adolescent boy in Catholic school, I'd think I were being punished for you know what and going straight to hell.  

In other news, this weekend has been a whirl of all sorts of things wifely and maternal.  Jack had his birthday sleepover last night.  Five 11-ish year old boys arrived mid-afternoon yesterday and were picked up late morning today.  I'm happy to report that a great time was had by all of the boys.  I'm not surprised but not happy to report that as soon as everyone left, Jack had a complete and profound meltdown.  This happens every time after a sleepover and each time it happens (which is, I remind you, EVERY TIME) Chris and I  say we aren't going to allow another sleepover , and then we forget - well, I forget, more accurately and allow one -  and the cycle continues.  Jack really throws himself into the day-after-sleep-deprived-let-down-from-all-the-excitment "fit", having inherited, unfortunately, Your BloomingtonGirl's impressive TEMPER.  For those of you who haven't experienced my temper first hand, you'll just have to take it on faith that when Your BloomingtonGirl gets really angry, it ain't pretty.  My daughter Meg once said, "When you get mad, you can be a scary little person."  I wish this weren't the case and I really, really (reallyreallyreally) wish that Jack had not inherited this gene, but if wishes were horses....

I suspect that being a woman of a certain age, hormones are playing a role in my volatility, but I've been like this since I was a little kid.  A very wise person characterized me once with that little rhyme...

"There once was a girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead.  
When she was good, she was very, very good.  
And when she was bad she was horrid!"

Good thing I'm a good cook and that good food is very (VERY) important to my husband.  Otherwise, he might not overlook my fits quite as much, right?  

Okay, it's late and time for bed.  I have to get up early and can CHOWCHOW and make Green Tomato Cake.  (Every now and then, I read these sentences and am rather shocked and amazed that Your EAST COAST BloomingtonGirl is living in the HeartLand canning things and making cakes from garden vegetables.  I just felt the need to point out that occasional disconnect.)

Nighty Night, Loyal Readers.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for your Bicycling BloomingtonGirl

Greetings Loyal Readers on this dark and rainy night.  Just got finished watching the season premiere of Boardwalk Empire.  What a visually gorgeous show with conflicted and interesting characters.  I just love love love it.  In a little bit, I'm going to snug into bed, but first, I wanted to share with you a little cautionary tale I was told last week about cycling.
Last Sunday, I was working out at the Y.  I saw a guy who was wearing this very, very fancy neck brace.  I thought, Wow, look at that thing.  Neck braces have really come a long way since I had to wear the foam doughnut around my neck after a car accident over 20 years ago.  I got a little fixated on that fancy brace, how nicely it supported his head and thought, Oh!  That looks relaxing. I'd sort of like to have my head held up for me right now.  I could almost imagine how restful it would be.  (Yes, I know.  It was a strange flight of fancy, but I am simply reporting it without judgement of the whims of Your BloomingtonGirl.)

My reverie about resting my head in such a fancy brace was shattered when I overheard my brace-wearing friend saying a thing that I never ever like to hear -- that he had been in a cycling accident.

I knew I shouldn't hear any more about it because I like to pretend that crashes happen only on the Tour to those crazy fast riders in that crazy large group (yes I do know what the crazy large group is called, if you must know).  I try hard to ignore anything that might make me nervous about getting on my bike.

And yet, like a moth to a flame,  I couldn't resist seeking him out later to ask him more about it.

"I overheard that you were in a cycling accident.  Was it a road bike?"  (Please, please, say no!  Say, I ran into a tree on a mountain bike!)


I pressed on, hoping to hear what I wanted to hear.  "Please tell me you were doing something really stupid when you crashed."  (Please?)

"Actually, no."

And he went on to tell me that he was on a wonderful ride in Greene County alone, just going along on a  beautiful day enjoying himself.  He was going over a bridge when his wheel (his skinny little road bike wheel, just like my skinny little road bike wheels) got caught in a little groove.  He was going 20 miles an hour when it happened.

"I was going about twenty, which doesn't really feel that fast, you know?"

I agreed because it I never feels like I'm going too fast at that speed.  Thirty is fast (and rare for me). Twenty is not rare and has never made me nervous.

"Well, my wheel caught and I ended up getting thrown right off the bridge.  And, I realized that while twenty on the road doesn't seem that fast, twenty in the air is.  It's really fast."

 He landed on his head, broke four vertebrae and fortunately was able to call 911 on his cell.  He has a steel rod in his head and has been recovering since May.  The fact that he is still fully mobile is a miracle and he knows it.  His face showed no evidence of injury.  If he lost any teeth, he sure has a good dentist.

We talked about whether he'd ride again.  He wasn't sure but thought that if he did, he might get something with slightly fatter tires like a hybrid.  He talked about how it could have been catastrophic but how he was lucky, etc. His attitude was impressive.

I've ridden since, but I find myself being a little more alert, more careful.  I think of him every time I notice that I'm going over twenty and his comment that it's much faster when you're flying in the air.  I know, though, that riding a road bike is dangerous.  I weigh this every time I go out but the sheer joy of doing it (and of course, the calorie burn) outweighs for me the possibility that I might crash or get sideswiped by one of those drivers that clearly have some kind of weird hostility toward cyclists.  They are typically driving large cars and even when they are very VERY able to give you room, they don't give you very much.  It's like they're trying to make some little point in a passive aggressive way, but what they don't' realize is that one false move, slip up on either side and a person could be a goner.  That person being me!  It's nerve wracking.  In case any of them is reading this (and of course they are not, because no Loyal Reader would do such a thing)...STOP IT RIGHT NOW!

 People ask why not ride on the shoulder so you don't have this problem?  Thank you for asking!  Most of the routes I bike have either no shoulder or very limited and intermittent ones. If you ride on the shoulder and it ends while a car is passing you, you've got nowhere to go.

Okay, enough about all that.  My blood is starting to simmer and that is not a good thing before bed.

In nicer news, I made biscotti (again!) today.  Whole wheat with oats, dried cherries & almonds.  Substituted flax oil for butter and they still came out great.  Yes.  I'm an addict.  See why I can't give up cycling?  Do you understand how fat I would be? Really, really FAT.  I'm not willing to give up baking these days so a-biking I must go.

Well, Loyal Readers, I wish you a good and gentle night's sleep.  I am looking forward to my own.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Love Letter

Dear Bike,

I adore you.



Friday, July 08, 2011

Philadelphia (and nearby) People....Listen Up!

If you are in Philadelphia on Sunday July 17, please come to see my short play read at the Adrienne Theatre as part of the PlayPenn Workshop Whirlwind.  The reading starts at 6PM.  There are five playwrights participating and each will develop a new ten minute piece for the evening.  We are working on them right now.  It's very exciting and scary and wonderful and scary and inspiring and get the picture.

Please come!  Click on the link below for information.  Workshop Whirlwind!

Monday, June 20, 2011

What I'm Doing on my Summer Vacation by BloomingtonGirl

Your BloomingtonGirl is off to her beloved East Coast for a whirlwind of great activity over the next four weeks.  Here's a synopsis of the plot:

The day after tomorrow, Jack and I leave for New York where I will deposit him at camp for four weeks.  After a very tearful goodbye...well, okay, pretend tearful, because let's face it:  He's eager to be there and I cannot utter the words "get off the computer" or "shut the TV off" one more time without wanting to blow my brains out.  (Please don't call social services).

Where was I?  Yes, after our good byes, I shall head to Manhattan where I will see my friend Max Newman perform at the Gotham Comedy Club.  Can't wait to see my fearless, talented writing partner strut his stuff.  NY peeps, you should meet me there.

Then, I head back to the Heartland for ten days to indulge my obsessive biking/swiming/writing urges sans bored son.  He will be living large at the best camp ever, so I need not feel any guilt.  My husband and I will soak up the summer goodness of Bloomington during those ten days - Farmer's Market, Summer Music Festival...etc., without the thought of having to get a babysitter or arrange a playdate.  Luxury!

THEN, oh THEN, Loyal Readers, I fly back East to Philadelphia to participate in The PlayPenn Workshop Whirlwind.  I'll be one of the July 17 playwrights!!!  Is your BloomingtonGirl excited?  Just a little...okay, okay....  I'm Over the Moon if you must know.  Why?  Because I will develop a new short piece during this workshop and it will be read at the Adrienne Theatre on Sunday night, July 17.  I think that there will be nine people participating - I don't yet have the details.  I am just excited to be able to fit a workshop in this summer and this particular workshop is particularly compelling. I haven't been to Philadelphia in over ten years, so it will be fun to visit.  I have a few must do's on my list and I am very excited.  Between classes, I'll be writing, writing and writing some more.

I'm off to iron on name labels for Jack's camp clothes and then to make sure we have our favorite playlists all ready to go on the IPod for the drive.  Good thing we both love Green Day.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Introducing Sage

Greetings Loyal Readers.  This gorgeous young fellow is the new addition to our family.  His name is Sage. We brought him home today and already he is brilliant and perfect.

You may pick your jaw up off of the floor now.  I do concede that it is more than a little shocking that your BloomingtonGirl, formerly no lover of dogs, would adopt a dog.  And that she finds herself absolutely besotted with this pup is beyond her own imagination.

Of course, he hasn't ruined any of her boots just yet...

More on this love story as it develops.

Nighty Night.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Loyal Readers,
I recently ventured out in the snowy evening to have a glass of wine with two fellow writers - a poet and a novelist. We were talking about being stuck in our work. The (soon to be published) poet suggested that we consider cross-training as a way to become un-stuck. Not in the athletic sense, but in the artistic sense. She reported that was going to try quilting as a way to stretch herself creatively. She thought her poetry would be stronger when she returned to it.

Having experienced first hand how cycling improved my swimming, I was open to this concept. Indeed, I am very, very open to it because I am as stuck as I have ever been in my writing . I have two scripts in progress - one that appeared at first to be promising and now has me riddled with self-doubt and a second that is a variation on the first that all out (forgive me) sucks. I have a great many ideas but can't seem to string together something remotely skillful in the way of a plot line. Perhaps I am not as open to writing shit as one needs to be in the process. I am going to write some right after I finish writing this and see what happens.

But first, I wanted to post some pictures of my own cross-training efforts. When in doubt, I bake. It is something that I do well and is finite. Measure, mix, form, bake. Done. If one pays attention...voila! Success. the results make others very happy - I give away much of what I produce lest I become huge - and I have a feeling of satisfaction having made something beautiful to eat. It doesn't lift fully lift the writing cloud that has been following me along lately, but it helps. Below are photos of Brioche, English Muffins on the griddle, English Muffins in fancy bags (I have lucky neighbors if you ask me) and of a loaf of cinnamon chocolate chip bread with icing.

Another way in which I am trying to jump start my creative writing process is by reading as much as I can. I'm reading a play (The Price by Arthur Miller) and a fun fun little book called Bike Snob. If you like cycling, you'll enjoy this witty read, complete with an interesting history of cycling in this country. It's a fun diversion.

I also hope that seeing some good theatre when I'm back East will inspire me. If nothing works, maybe I'll pick up my camera again or stick to baking. Perhaps there is a bakery in my future with walls hung with my own photographic work.

Then again, maybe not. We'll see.

Farewell for now, Loyal Ones.