Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Olives of Bliss (aka Castelvetrano olives)

castelvetrano olives
 It all started with an innocent trip to the grocery store. I picked up a deli carton of assorted olives and bit into a kind I've never seen before. It was bright green and firm and stunningly delicious. I think I stopped breathing for a couple seconds. Can respiration halt out of bliss?

I still didn't know what they were called but I eagerly awaited my next acquaintance with them.

The next day, I began the drive home when I got stuck in the most heartless traffic jam ever -- stuck at a light that would not move for 15 minutes within WALKING distance of my precious olives. I thought I was going to shrivel up into a bag of need. Those olives were the only things on my mind; I could practically taste them.

Finally got home and finished them. Now what was I going to do? I'd found them in a supermarket far away. They HAD to be someplace nearby. I put my bet on Whole Foods and made a pilgrimage.


Please don't tell me olives are fattening. YOU MUST TRY CASTELVETRANO OLIVES. They are brined in crack.
A friend following my saga wrote me: "we'd like to schedule some time for an intervention"!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PSA: Every DAY three 747s crash. Fight cancer.

Every 2 minutes, 28 people die of cancer.

Last year, 562,340 Americans died of cancer. That equals THREE 747s crashing every day.

1 in 1,000 Americans is a survivor of childhood cancer.

In memory of Uncle Paul, Uncle Dominic, Grandma, Karen, Linda's mom, Jackie's sister & mom, John's mom, Sue, and for friends (including bloggers like Suburban Sweetheart) & loved ones who've lost someone to cancer.... and anyone who battled, or is battling a diagnosis... or is standing by bewildered and helpless watching someone else one fight, this is for you.

I chose two charity cancer organizations for my workplace donation this year.

1. One is research-oriented.
There are more than 200 causes of cancer, not just one, and so research is crucial. It takes about seven years and more than a billion dollars to get a drug approved. Last year alone there were 850 drugs in the pipeline but only two approved.

The American Association for Cancer Research

2. The other is for people & families suffering through cancer diagnosis & treatment.
Cancer Care, Inc. offers financial assistance, professional counseling, and help for anyone affected by cancer.

If you would like to honor the memory of someone, you can leave their name in the comments below.

This is for you.

I hope for a cure. And for love, support and help for all in need.
"Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope." 
~Hal Lindsey
*Source: American Association for Cancer Research

Monday, November 1, 2010


I just signed up for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month; an online (and sometimes in-person) movement that encourages writing by offering a sense of community to this normally very solitary process.

I did it because I've been thinking about it ever since I met Karen and she told me all about it and shared her amazing and creative novel idea.

And now she's dead.

She never finished her story.

I did it because that was 4 years ago and I don't know if I have a story in me or not, but I might have something in between all the little shards of this year of wind and fire and sun and rain.

I did it because I want to improve. The only way to do this is to practice, like drawing or dancing. It's okay fall down sometimes. If a toddler were overcome with discouragement at failure the way adults seem to be, no child would ever learn to run. But yet babies fall all the time and get up and keep trying.

"What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down."
~Mary Pickford

And so this is my year of falling.

And I did it because it is said that writing prolifically and frequently liberates some portion of the self that cannot be unlocked without regular forays into the depths of the soul.
I've never written a novel before. The last time I composed a fictional story was in 7th grade English class. But I am going to try at least a page a day in the hopes that I find gems even among the garbage.

A writer friend eloquently supported this logic during a recent discussion: "I feel strongly that the act of writing every day, whether you produce poetry, prose, or putrescence, is valuable. To me, it's not just the practice of stringing words together; it's practice at entering that realm where I can see the story." 

And of course, NaNoWriMo says (on why we should bother)
Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you'll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you'd never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.
. . .
Art for art's sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and "must-dos" of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.

 Want to join me? It's not too late. There's a whole month in front of us.

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