Mongolian hot pot

I just fell for a sale on a hitherto unavailable product in Loblaws.  Chinese Fondue in the freezer section seemed to be a bargain. I knew about Chinese fondue from a long time ago (my other life) and I grabbed it. It was called Mongolian hot pot, or simply hot pot, and I used to serve it for a casual dinner. At the time it seemed easy. Later, as a traveller, I had it in Xian (or maybe Shanghai?) at a restaurant that had hot tables, that is, tables each with a built-in pot already bubbling with broth. It's like a beef fondue or a cheese fondue, as you probably know: you cook the food (meat, chicken, seafood, bread) in the hot liquid, be it oil, for the meats, melted cheese for the bread, or chicken broth for the Chinese ingredients.  Then you eat them with various sauces, except the cheese fondue; the cheese, of course,  is the sauce. And with the Chinese version you drink the broth as a second course; it tastes fantastic after cooking all that meat, or chicken or seafood.  Well, you know all that.  So do I. So did I.

But I was careless, not noticing what was in the package I picked up.  I just looked at it. just now; all it is, is meat, and chicken, accompanied by those dreadful instructions "cook until done."  Oh dear.  I need broth, and veggies, and sauces, and I have invited a friend to come for dinner tomorrow night. It's a good thing I know what I'm doing, sort of. The bad news is that I don't have much time. 

Was it Horace who said that that the test of a good general was how he behaved under fire? I quoted that in my first cookbook, because I thought it was a good analogy for a resourceful cook: how she behaves under fire. So tomorrow me and my hot pot will be under fire. Fortunately, I still have my fondue pot, and forks.

happy March first

You think this year has gone quickly so far - NOT - especially the coldest days of this exceptionally cold winter; they went very slowly. 

I have almost put in the 79 days required before I can board  that long-awaited (repaired) ship. I must admit that as embarkation hoves into view I do have a lot to do and wonder if I have time! But that's just about packing and remembering stuff.  I just bought new underwear and I need more night cream. It's like getting married or going away to college (I stayed at home), or something. You have to think ahead. I am tired of thinking ahead. I am about to live each day in the moment, to the fullest.  Carpe diem or  even better, carpe horam.  

It's funny how we all need deadlines. Without them, each day melds into the next and the fiddlies, the some-day-I'll-do-that chores remain undone.  Now is the time, I think, to throw out tired, stale spices, stretch-waisted underwear, moth-eaten sweaters (we had an infestation a year ago - or longer?)  If I told you all the things i've neglected you would be shocked.  Or maybe not. How organized are you?  Oh dear, I just remembered the barometer. 

Years ago, my husband won a barometer as a prize for curling.  This was in Manitoba, where they took curling excellence, or even competence, very seriously. I knew about barometers: I used to see them in movies where an old guy would tap his barometer and mutter a forecast about the weather.  When we moved to Stratford, the barometer went with us. It was a prize, after all. I never saw Bill tap it.  It hung on the wall above the stairs going up, or down, as the case may be. Well, it was on the way down, I tripped slightly and veered into the wall, into the barometer, and knocked it down.  A little piece of it chipped off and I saved the piece, intending to glue it back on some day, maybe the same day I would learn how to read a barometer. 

That day, of course, never came.  After Bill died I had the biggest garage sale in the world and moved into Toronto, without the barometer or the chipped piece. Now you know what a sludge I am.  It's things like that that keep me humble.  When I think I'm doing pretty well, tending to my tasks, following up on deadlines and the like, I remember the barometer.  It's not just for forecasting the weather; it also "reflects changes in circumstances or opinions" (from the online Dictionary).  Now that's kind of comforting. When you put it that way, I think maybe I have a built-in barometer. 

last day of February

And I'm starting to get jumpy - again.  I went through this in December/January and now I'm antsy again, as the countdown begins. I fly to Singapore on March 20.  I asked Siri what the weather is like there today;  it's 31 degrees Celsius. 

My lists are chaotic and multiple and my procrastination is reaching the status of an art form.  I am getting so much done to avoid doing what I have to do  that I am becoming incredibly organized about totally irrelevant things. 

I still have to write the pitch for my book - my assignment for Monday morning.  

Not yet. 

it's never easy

You might as well be in on it, I'm so far in now, I can't not tell you.  You know I'm pitching my memoir about aging and I've been making baby steps, at least forward steps, teensy as they are. So now I have been asked for "support" of my work:  a one-sentence summary of the book, a one-page summary of the book and a list of key selling points to convince the editorial committee that their publisher should publish my book and to enable the publicity staff to convince people to buy it if and when it's published. How's that for homework, to be delivered on Monday morning? I have the weekend to write it.  Isn't it a good thing I'm not on a ship in the Indian Ocean? 

My father used to talk about the School of Life, with new lessons every day and regular tests.  You never actually graduate, just keep going on until the course is finished. I'm not through yet.

And I'll write a bigger blog when I've finished writing this other stuff.

a sea of paper

Paper paper everywhere and not a chance to think.  I'm going through all the Cruise Connections papers because the trip may be about to happen, at last. I received the new travel document today, a catalogue of the truncated tour and its excursions. I have a pile of paper connected with it, including all my shots and pills and preparation and a whole file on what to pack. I must simplify and pare down and be ready to focus on each day as it comes.  A blog is very good for that.  It should be like a sundial, I think, counting only the sunny  hours. Is that possible?  

Well, I love paper in most of its forms but not this disparate heap of noodges, directions, information, instructions and reminders.  My brain feels quite mushy from all the handling and decision-making. I'm trying to finish everything so I can go lightly. 

It feels, in a way, as if I'm preparing to step off the edge of the earth. We'll see.

if I'd knowed you was coming I'd of baked a cake

Another time I might deal with the moods (conditional and subjunctive) and the tenses (perfect and pluperfect). Right now I want to consider OF.  I think I've complained before, wondering about "not that  big of a deal" and "it's about the both of you".  Why did OF start appearing in those phrases? "Big deal" is okay and so is "both of you" - no OF necessary. CORRECTION:  I mean THE in both of you - gratuitous and unnecessary.  Ohm, dear. that's careless of me. Ah well.... Then there's bored. You'll hear people saying they're "bored of something".  I'm bored with hearing that.  It should be WITH, not OF.  I think at some time being tired was confused with being bored. You can be tired of something; I don't think you can be bored of something. 

It's never-ending. The price of eternal vigilance is eternal vigilance.

a fine excuse

I'm going to tell you a story about another family in another place in another time. This incident happened to my husband's mother when he was still a young lad, long before I knew him. He told me the story after he and I were married and I added it to our lore. HIs family used to summer at Victoria Beach on the other side of Lake Winnipeg, across from Gimli (where I summered as a child). Gimli was and is one of the most influential and best known Icelandic communities in North America. It's a summer place but also a fishing village and a diversified  year-round town. Although there was a small permanent population living in Victoria Beach, it was smaller and more dependent on the summer folk. The year-round people supplied the services, ice for the ice boxes, wood for the stoves, food in the store, and so on.  That's a sparse capsule description but you get the idea. It was a case of mutual dependence.

So one summer it happened that Bill's mother, Kate Wylie,  (we named our second daughter after her) was getting very upset as the ice in her icebox dripped away and the delivery man had not brought any fresh ice.  The food was going to go bad, some of it already questionable. Her grumbles increased to rants, and still the iceman did not come.  Oh, just wait, just wait till he came! Oh, she was going to give him a piece of her mind.  What was he thinking of, letting her food rot and her children go hungry?  Oh, just wait!

Finally, he came with a comfortingly large block of ice. Before Kate could say a word, he began to apologize.  Sorry, he said, so sorry, but he was away with the volunteers fighting the forest fire. Forest fire???  Well, of course, the poor man. And how tired he was looking, too. Kate didn't rant, not one word of rant.  And that became the legendary saying.  

When someone seems to be remiss and is not meeting expectations, wait for the excuse in case it's valid.  Maybe they were fighting forest fires.  And so it was yesterday. The person I was supposed to meet was fiighting a personal, stressful forest fire. An elderly relative living in a home had a bad fall and needed to be hospitalized, and he was it. I'm  happy to tell you that I didn't rant. I wrote him an email before I heard from him and hoped that the cold weather and a TTC breakdown had not affected him (as it had affected me). See, I knew about forest fires. 


I'm meeting with an editor this morning to try to sell my new book. It's not like the old days. I used to offer a publisher an outline and one or two chapters, get a contract, an advance and a deadline and go and write a book, usually a book a year but one year I wrote three for three different publishers because my second daughter was getting married and I needed money for the wedding.  Well, we'll see.

I'm going to include part of my preface that reads like a pitch.  See what you think:

My husband died suddenly 42 years ago, coming up 43 as I write, after 20 years of marriage. We had four children, still unfinished, still in the midst of growing up, as I was, in the midst of a life, now drastically, completely and irrevocably changed.

  I had been a stay-at-home mother but with a difference. I was a writer and I worked at it, that is, when I didn’t have dinners or birthday parties, or flu or mumps or vacations or special events to cope with. I was a playwright with some claim to the title, having had several plays produced in Winnipeg, Stratford and Toronto, but I had never had to make a living at it. Now I did.

  There’s a saying attributed to the Canadian playwright, Bernard Slade, that “you can make a killing in the theatre, but you can’t make a living.” I knew that.  What I didn’t know is that you can’t make a living as a writer, either, unless your name is headline-famous. I decided to hang out my shingle as a writer, a journalist if you will, and try to leave enough spare time and energy to keep on writing plays. That way I could still be a stay-at-home mother and look after my challenged, youngest child. Oddly enough, I managed to do this.  The best accounts of how I did this are in my book “The Right Track: How to Succeed as a Freelance Writer in Canada” (1998).

  My first book grew out of an article on my widowhood that appeared in MacLean’s magazine.[That evolved into a commissioned series for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, and then segued into a book, “Beginnings: A Book for Widows” (McClelland & Steward, 1977).  It went through several printings each of 4 or 5 editions, plus one edition, two printings  in the U.S. (Bantam Books, with financial translations by an American business friend), and a Big-Print edition (Allen & Unwin) in the U.K.  It remained in print for 27 years and developed a devoted cult following of absolutely powerless women who lend each other the book.

 I was the darling of the insurance industry, cast as a professional widow, young enough to be a prime example of how not to back into widowhood. London Life used to give a copy of the book with every death claim they settled and they had a wailing wall at their head office where they posted their thank–you letters - no wails, only praise and thanks. Most (Protestant) churches kept a copy in their libraries and a lot of funeral associations did too.  Whenever and wherever I spoke and no matter the subject (frequently playwriting or whatever my latest book was about), there would inevitably be two women in the audience who came up after to touch (!) me and say (exact words) “You saved my life.”

 Now that the book is OOP (Out Of Print) and my friends have reached the age when their husbands are leaving.I buy copies of it from second-hand bookstores via Amazon to help them.  It was the bedside table book I needed and couldn’t find, and continues to be for others. The book costs one cent, by the way, but the shipping is over six dollars. A later book, “Life’s Losses” (MacMillan, 1996), also OOP, sells, used paperback, for $37.86 Canadian, and new, for $119.62. You can get that one for yourself, as I can’t afford it.

     Now you understand my title for  this book: “Endings”. I dedicate it to all the women (mainly) who have grown old with me, plus all the younger ones, men, too, the Boomers who scarcely know how to deal with death, to say nothing of its prerequisite corollary, age.


          What we call the beginning is often the end

                  And to make an end is to make a beginning.

                  The end is where we start from.

                                                                                                T.S.Eliot, Little Gidding


P.S. I was stood up.  :-(


Oy, it never stops, the pressure to keep going. Today was lovely, and I did a lot, but I didn't write my blog. This evening I watched the Oscars with Bill.  It's a standing date I keep with my late husband, for 42 ears now. I served champagne and smoked salmon, baked Brie cheese, fresh raspberries and chocolate and we had a party.

I still have a few minutes  before the date changes. I'm thinking ahead to my truncated cruise, still three months worth of discoveries.  I must keep a record of it, that's why I started this blog in the first place. I mustn't be too tired or too busy to report. 

I learned something I didn't know: Dakota Johnson is Melanie Griffith's daughter. I think I got her name right. I hadn't paid any attention because I refuse to watch Shades of Grey, the film, or read any of the books.  I suppose you don't remember The Story of O. It's an account of female masochistic sexual submission. We don't need that. We don't need Grey.  

Oops, it's 4 minutes after 12. So it's tomorrow already.  Well, I'll write another one today.

family history

When my brother was about three years old he went to my mother, so the story goes, and told her he wanted a little sister and he was going to call her Betty Jane.  My mother always gave my brother anything he wanted and so it came to pass that I was born on this day 84 years ago. And I was christened Betty Jane. Not Elizabeth, just Betty. No hyphen, either, Just Betty Jane. And I've been trying to get people to call me my whole name ever since. It has become a knee-jerk reflex, when people call me Betty I answer Jane.  I finally started writing my name on my e-mail signature as Bettyjane, all one word, and I write it like that, too,with the J of Jane overlapping the y of /betty. It seems to help. If you Google Betty Jane, you'll find me first or second on the list. I'm not like Cher or Madonna or Beyoncé, I mean, it's not a brand name, but it will do. 

My family used to call me B.J. when I was little and I didn't mind but when I grew  up I noticed that some people balked at the double-barrelled moniker  and called me BeeJay to the exclusion of my given name. So when I came east I didn't tell my nickname. Unfortunately a couple I knew in Winnipeg lived in my apartment building and I could tell whom they knew and that they talked about me because B.J. was like a contagious virus and spread, air-borne. Occasionally, people ask me if I am called B.J.and I say "only in moments of passion."  It doesn't work. 

See, I have to have both names.  when I was a child I didn't have an imaginary friend. I didn't need one; I had me, that is, I had Betty and I had Jane.  Betty was nasty so I had to have Jane with us, always.  She was nicer. She still is. I'm lucky to have her.

no expectations?

I have this huge clipping file on aging now and even though I have "finished" (inasmuch  as anyone finishes anything) my book on aging, I  am still collecting comments and insights. 

Tomorrow I will have completed my 84th year and will start on my 85th. (My father used to point out that distinction.)  Next year I will be 85 and I'm going to have a big party. I just hope that enough people I know are still alive and able to attend it. 

An American gerontologist, Dr. Robert Butler, who died in 2010, gave an interview less than two weeks before he died and made some astute comments on aging and the efforts old people make to keep up with the Juniors.  Quoted in the New York Times, he said,  "I think we ought to have a realistic portrait of all different periods of life and not try to romanticize old age as the most wonderful, all these great old wise people. I think that goes too far."

Dr. Anne Basting is the director  of the Centre on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, author of Forget Memory: Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia (2009), and founder of the Time Slips Project (look her up; she's fascinating). She says we go from one extreme to another. "It's either the stories of young-onset Alzheimer's, or it's the sky-diving grandmas. We don't hear enough about the huge middle, which is the vast majority of folks."  Try getting Jullianne Moore to play a frumpy, dumpy, happy grandmother.  

"Anything you do, people are just shocked that your'e alive,"  Dr. Basting said.  "There's no expectations at 90."

Well, I do.  I do have expectations but I'm only (almost) 84. 


I'm doing more reading for the screenplay I plan to write while I'm at sea.  It's fitting because the story is based on a real-life event, the sinking of a neutral ship during WWII that caused a strange odyssey for 7 of the survivors, Canadian women, unknown to each other before that time. The book about these "Captive Tourists" (her title) is by a friend of mine, based on exhaustive and serendipitous research. 

And of course I'm re-reading "Story" by Robert McKee, arguably the best film teacher there is, certainly the best-known. 

And I'm walking every day, inside, in the corridors of my apartment building: no snow, no wind, and heat! 

All this is in preparation for the TRIP.  

What am I going to do next year?

kitchen methods

You all know that urban legend about the kitchen survey team investigating the kitchen performance of young women. Too late, I'm going to tell it again.  The surveyors noticed that one young woman trimmed the bone of a ham before she put it in the oven. When they asked her why she did that, she said that her mother always did it.  The mother lived not far away so they went to ask her why she did this; she said her mother always did it. The old woman was still living and also not far away, so they went and asked her: Why did she trim the bone off the ham? She explained:

"My pan was too short."

Thus are habits and methods born and perpetuated.

I brought that up because I was thinking of some of my habits and those of my friends, people I know well enough to watch them in action in the kitchen. For example, I have a friend in another city whom I visit every year or so and stay a few days. Most mornings she cooks oatmeal with raisins, and I watch her de-stemming them, picking off the infinitesimal, dried stems from any unplucked raisins.  She says her mother taught her to do that. I don't think raisins present much of a threat these days. Most of them are naked, but my friend honours her mother every morning that she makes porridge.

Years ago, on my honeymoon, as a matter of fact, we (my husband and I) visited my cousin in Wisconsin (none of your storied trips to Europe), and watching her, I learned the Eureka system of measurement.  See, I didn't take Home Economics at university.  I think they call it something else now; Domestic Science? Home Management? Tell me, please.  I had to learn the slow way by watching people.  

I used to de-scale asparagus, as do some really high-class gourmet restaurants.  I don't do it any more, nor do I french green beans or peel Camembert cheese.  I do, however, peel Portabello mushrooms and de-gill them , and I save the detritus for soup stock (in a freezer bag along with red onion parings and celery tops).  I also cut out the little green innards of garlic cloves, but I don't keep them. 

It took me a while to develop the latter two methods. I couldn't find instructions to tell me how to deal with the mushrooms or the garlic. I had to figure it out for myself, no thanks to the Net, and it knows everything. There's always something I don;t know.  I need all the help I can get.  Suggestions will be welcome.



I am in deep trouble and I need help. I am so far sunk in listlessness, so deep in depression that I can hardly move.  I need a shove. 

I remember a line in the movie "Tom Jones" when the lady of the house rallied the drunken sods lying about in front of the fire with the dogs:  "Rouse yourselves from this pastoral torpor!" and another one, from the novel "Mr. Roberts" by Thomas Heggen (1918-1949), describing the route of the supply ship plying the South Pacific during World War Two, going from "Tedium to Apathy and back again."  (Okay, I had to look that one up; I couldn't remember apathy.)  And I remember my husband expressing his frustration at the then artistic director who was slow choosing and casting the next season and who finally made a move:

"At last!" Bill said, "he has moved from inertia to lethargy!"

torpor a state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy: they veered between apathetic torpor and hysterical fanaticism.

tedium the state of being tedious

tedious too longslow, or dull: tiresome or monotonous: a tedious journey

apathy lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern

lethargy a lack of energy and enthusiasm: periods of weakness and lethargy  

 (Medicine )      a pathological state of sleepiness or deep unresponsiveness and inactivity.

inertia a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged

 (Physics)    a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force

limbo  an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition

YES!  I am in limbo and I need a shove, an external force. This is my parallax view of January, February and March of 2015, 

parallax the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions

This is not where I expected to be. I'm trying but the cold weather isn't helping. And my birthday is coming up. I don't mind being old. Right now, I mind being cold.




a pinch of this and that

It's hard to write a cookbook, if you're a cook, but also if you're a writer.  I have published  three cookbooks and I am a writer who cooks (as opposed to a cook who writes). I could create in the kitchen and I could create on the typewriter (in those days) but I found it difficult to tell someone else how to do it, how to write down what I did, especially the measuring. I developed a table of measurements in my first cookbook (Encore, about leftovers).  I can't find it now, to give you the exact rendering but the idea was that my various dashes, sprinkles, dots and slooshes actually measured something in reality. The idea is, of course, part of my humour as a writer, not taking anything I do too seriously.  A sloosh, as I remember, was the half cup of water that I slooshed into an empty ketchup  bottle to get all the flavour out of it to pour into soup or stew or whatever.

Years later I was surprised (and a little miffed) when I discovered a set of measuring spoons in Restoration Hardware, with my measurements or the equivalent on each spoon: a dash, a dab, a pinch, and so on.  I bought them to give jollies to new brides.

I thought of all this recently when I read an article about nervous or fastidious cooks, people of either gender who want to measure exactly what they're doing when they're cooking. Exactly! Precision measuring! The article went on to describe the difficulty people have trying to decipher recipes from other ages, even from one's own relatives only a generation or two ago. My Icelandic grandmother's recipe for Bena Súpa (bean soup) was rudimentary and measureless: "Boil beans and onions with browned meat." Something like that.  I experimented with it and included a detailed recipe in my book, and I measured everything to guide others. 

I have a friend who told me that her mother, when/if she wrote down a recipe, would write things like "one lemon juice".  And she was not the only one who concluded her directions with the command: "Cook until done."  Sure.  Old family recipes will measure dry or wet in a teacup or a dessert spoon, whatever happened to be handy. Now,what happens, you may have surmised, is that an habituated cook will measure with her eyes, from experience.  The lines on my glass measuring cup have faded with time, but I can measure a half or a third or a quarter of a cup without looking. I can't do it for metric measurements, though.

I made Hollandaise sauce  yesterday, for the first time in several years, maybe ten or twelve.  I did it, though, from memory and without measuring. What does that prove, if anything? Dare I say that the proof is in the pudding?



flag anniversary

I like the Canadian flag. I grew up under the Union Jack/Canadian Ensign but I was quite pleased to get a flag of our own. The debate about it was going on at  the time my father was dying. He asked me to write a letter to his M.P. in Ottawa expressing his feelings about the new flag.  He dictated; I was his amanuensis.  He said that he had served under the old flag during two wars and he felt a loyalty to it that he couldn't fake for a new flag.  That was his basic argument. It didn't wash, as you know.  Parliament passed the adoption of a new flag design and it was up and flying before Canada's hundredth birthday in 1967.

We were living in Winnipeg then and we celebrated that birthday by taking the kids to  Expo '67 in Montreal.  We noticed the new flag flying as we drove across the country.  It was especially visible, in great numbers, in the home riding of our Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson.  We stopped on the way east to attend the theatres in Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake, and we saw with some surprise, that the Union Jack was still flying in great numbers in N-O-L.  We asked the owner of our B'n'Bs about this old, now out-dated allegiance. 

"I'll tell you the reason," he said. "There's the enemy, over there." And he pointed across the Niagara River to the fort on the other side, the American side, with a Stars and Stripes flying above it.   In Niagara-on-the-Lake they were still fighting the War of 1812.

So it's our flag's fiftieth anniversary and there are two generations who have never known anything else. All it took was time. 

how do you remember?

Have you heard of "source memory"?  I guess I knew about it but I just read something about it, related to a faulty or augmented memory. You  might remember a fact or something that happened to  you in the past but you might not remember exactly how you knew it or where you discovered it.  Was it something you read or something someone told you or something that happened that you connected with something else? You can't remember where it first came from.  I guess it's not important but I think it's interesting.  I keep picking up little remnants of my past, not important, but with little insights useful to me as a writer, if not to my memory store. 

Okay, here's a stupid example. I never put the cap on the end of a stick pen or any kind of pen because, I remembered from more than half a century ago, the cap on the pen I was using stuck on the end and I couldn't get it off and the pen leaked.  It must have been a fountain pen - where did I get a fountain pen?  Anyway, the memory was embedded and I didn't realize until just recently where that bit of behaviour of mine came from. That's an internal source.  What if a memory comes from another person? The source might be contaminated or layered over by other memories.  Okay, so what?

So, it's a clue to the spotty memories of people with Alzheimer's or a similar dysfunction of senility.  Memories come wrapped up with emotions and other people and have to be unravelled to be understood, that is, for you to understand yourself. I don't  think I can ever solve the puzzle, but it's fascinating to try.

What do you remember?  Where did the memory come from?

energy leaks, too

It started well, it usually does. I wake early, I swim, I put together some mailing: a book, a pitch, a promise, and then I went to meet Matt (my prodigal boy) and his counsellor.  Then I went to mail the packages, picked up some wine, and some groceries (guests coming on Sunday), and came home, late, for a brief lunch and a long nap (slept past my allotted 30 minutes).  And then, as happens every day, I run down. I think, a bit;I read my mail, some of it, fun if it's  a catalogue (I like catalogues); I talk on the phone, a little.  But I didn't pedal. The energy had leaked away.

I'll get some more tomorrow.

hope leaks

Hope does not spring eternal; it leaks out of a small spring in your unconscious, most of the time a mere trickle.  The nicest thing about putting off a letter, that is, a pitch, is that as long as it remains a hopeful idea in your mind, your heart and hope leap up and you think of all the splendid possibilities if your letter is welcomed. But then , when you finally stop putting it off any longer, you write the letter/pitch/presentation/application, whatever....then, oh, then...hope dries up, it dies, and you are left hope-less.

Today I have spent the better part of the day writing pitches. Actually, I have spent the better part of three days writing pitches.  My friend and mentor insisted on vetting my letters, copy-editing and improving them.  He used to be an editor for a publishing house himself so he knows what he likes to see.  

Now we wait.  And now hope stops leaking; it starts dying.

If anything comes of all this, I won't have to write a blog. You'll hear the shouts and huzzahs without electronic magnification.  I'm pretty sure you'll hear silence.  As long as I didn't write the letters I had high hopes; now that they are out there, hopes dwindle, shrink, and fade, die, fall into the sere and yellow get the picture. I don't want to think about it any more.


Those of you who know me might be aware that I am the queen of leftovers.  I do not throw food away.  My first cookbook was about leftovers (Encore: The Leftovers Cookbook), and went into 2 printings. So you can understand I had to make sense of my unused dinner when Matt stood me up the other night.  Did I tell you the original menu? I remember mentioning Weight Watchers because I  used  a WW recipe for "Southern Fried" chicken, baked in the oven - two boneless, meaty breasts. Vegetables included green beans, Israeli couscous in pesto sauce, and baked sweet potato.  I ate a small amount of that dinner; I don't have as big an appetite as Matt has, and that night even smaller.  .So:

I cut up some of the chicken and added chopped red pepper, celery, hard-boiled egg, onion heated in curry seasoning and mayonnaise to create a chicken salad filling which I rolled into tortilla wraps, for lunches. (Gave two of them away.)   I had a guest for dinner last night: seared haddock, roasted beets, sugar snap beans, and leftover Israeli couscous - still have some of that left.  Tonight I had sliced chicken on a bed of green beans, sprinkled lavishly with shredded Parmesan and heated till the cheese melted. (Num.)  I guess I'll do something like a potato skin with the sweet potato, have to think about the seasoning.   Maybe the last of the couscous can be a stir-fried thing like I do with rice. 

We go through each day with layers and layers of thoughts,  some more useful than others. My mind is like a pousse-café.