I'm a good cook, but a terrible baker. Baking is so scientific, and with cooking, you can be sorta loosey goosey and throw things in last minute. Not so with baking . . . you have to be v. precise with the measurements of everything and know if you use self-rising or all-purpose (which SHOULD include self-rising, when you think about it!) flour, and pay close attention to sifting. MEH. Here's me baking.
We are all on a journey . . . and we should remember that. People can change. We can grow. And we are all in the middle of silent (or not-so-silent) struggles . . . in which we try to better ourselves, we beg God to make us better and/or we beat ourselves up for not being better. Hang in there. A cliché I love.
Listening to the radio right now like I do. A lot. And there are a lot of shows and interviews about (but not enough, they are too busy trying to figure out WTF is up with the latest candidate-we-never-heard-of-but-he's-got-an-ego-and-a-kabillion-dollars-so-why-shouldn't-he-run??!!!) job-hunting, how to survive being unemployed, and I feel the pain. But, unlike the viewpoint of a lot of those shows, it's something I'm used to. So, maybe I should say I'm empathetic, but not really in pain. Anymore. You see, I'm a freelancer. I've been a freelancer for many years. Also, my hubby has been a professional in theatre for decades. And, in theatre, most of your work is year-to-year, month-to-month, or show-to-show contracts. So, we know what it's like to put ourselves out there, work our butts off, and hope people don't stop seeing shows and buying art/cartoons/handbags-I-make-while-watching Rocco's Dinner Party.
My several years of attempts to get back into the "corporate" world just proved to me that even though MAYBE I could get in, staying in was another matter altogether. I mean, they TELL YOU TO DO STUFF. Like, all the time!! And, after you've been a stand-up comic (IS THAT WORD HYPHENATED?! I dunno), and a freelance cartoonist . . . well, let's just say that being a professional smartass doesn't exactly prepare you to EXCEL in a cubicle. (Read: they don't LIKE it when you say what you really think. They just asked you that because HR told them they are supposed to look like they give a flying f--- . . .) gaaaahhhh. See what I mean? Anyway, I gotta stick to jobs where brutal honesty and political incorrectness pay off. So, being a comic/writer/cartoonist/artist, or however you prefer to describe me, is PERFECT for me. I can blog in my PJs. I can sleep in my clothes and then work all day in the same thing. Saves time. I can wear no makeup. Like EVER. I can pontificate on my blog and Tweet and Facebook and other nouns-turned-verbs. Is that a gerund? I dunno THAT, either. SEE HOW HONEST I GET TO BE? See how I get to yell in type whenever I feel like it!! THAT is freedom.
But, there are tradeoffs.
The freedom it does not necessarily allow you is financial freedom.
This doesn't mean you don't make money. It means you never know WHEN you're gonna make money. It is feast or famine. With a lotta famine in between. It works for me to wear my PJs as clothes and my clothes as PJs, first of all because I wear black all the time, so it works as a fashion statement, but also because I haven't bought new clothes in a long time. But, I don't care. I use gift money to buy art supplies. And then I make art and then I sell it. Circle of Life. Like in The Lion King! (Though, as our very little boy pointed out to us when that movie came out, "It's actually a Circle of Death. Because the lions eat the other animals.") Which brings me back to the corporate world.
The thing about not having a job and being in this scary scary market? Well, first of all you need to know that every artist, writer, singer, musician, actor, performer, event planner, filmmaker, freelancer of ANY sort which you know is USED TO SCARY. We live it, we breathe it, we ride the knife edge of when will another licensing check come, and will it, and do I have the money to go after fill-in-the-blank who definitely did not pay up, and thanking God that there are still AWESOME companies and people who value artists and writers, and then back to pleez-let-them-return-my-original-artwork-intact - WAIT!! This knife has too many edges. Bad metaphor. Roller coaster better? More of an analogy than a metaphor? I'm blogging, I don't have time to look these things up, and I have to get back to my 1920's-Paris-Bistro-Table-turned-art-table and make some draw-rings. Man, don't I love the dash? Or hyphen? You can look that up, too, if you feel compelled. I have a Harbrace College Handbook, but it's gathering dust at the moment. I'm too busy downloading vampire novels on my Kindle to bother that thang at the moment.
Anyway, all this yammering is meant to ENCOURAGE you. For reelz. Because, I have put myself out there. As have many others. Many of us are hurting in this economy (and if techies and nurses are having trouble being un- or under-employed, how do you think this economy is treating comics and writers and artists? The non-famous ones, I mean), but you need to put yourself out there. And keep doing it. It ain't easy. Matter of fact, mostly it sucks the biggest wind.
You might be surprised at this, but I'm actually an introvert. I'd rather sit and have a glass of wine with one or two friends than work a room or attend any party. I avoid crowds. (With the notable, which is why I'm noting it, exception of being on stage performing stand-up, and don't get me started on the psychology of that one! I just enjoy. Then I go backstage and beat myself up for all my mistakes, make notes on my set list and wish I'd been skinnier because then EVERYONE woulda liked me, really liked me!) Anyway, I do love performing comedy. I hate the business of comedy.
Trouble is, the business of freelancing ANYTHING is how you get the work. I have a couple of clients right now (and I feel really really BLESSED in this way) who really like my stuff. So, it's a volume game for the most part. If I do ENOUGH work, usually I make sales. It's a LOTTA work, I mean. You'd be surprised how many ideas get generated, drawn, and submitted to get ONE accepted. And I've been in this a while, so I'm not sending in stuff they've seen a kabillion times. But I love it. That's why I'm in it.
I had a whiny little text session with a friend in LA t'other day about how much I HATE the comedy business. Not the comedy, not performing it or writing it, or having tons of awesome hilarious people as friends, but the actual GETTING OF THE WORK. It sucks.
It's gonna suck.
This reminds me of a little thingy I read in (I think, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) Syd Field's book on screenwriting. Someone asked him in a seminar if Hollywood was really sexist and misogynist and racist and religionist and ageist . . . 'cuz that's what they had heard. His answer was . . .
YES. Are you IN or are you OUT?
So, that's the attitude we have to have. Even when we owe people money. Even when we don't know how to look nice for an interview, even when we are sick of getting new photos and spending hours resizing files and posting videos. Even when we really don't want to hear a critique of what we do, even when it seems everyone else is getting the breaks. (They're NOT.)
Are you in or are you out? Your decision.
I am a professional smartass.
And I'm glad my meds finally kicked in.
peace, love, and other things hippies say,
ADDED AFTER ORIGINAL POSTING: BTW, I'm not trying to give advice here. I'm just trying to encourage you. You are not alone. A lot of people feel your pain. And, really, actually know how you feel, deep down. Ignore the politics of this - the politicians who tell you they care usually don't, or used to, but are so far away from our day-to-day, they are clueless. (When your job is trying to be popular, well, I guess it does something to you . . .) So, hang in there, in spite of them. (Okay, maybe that IS advice.)
I love this Dickens quote . . . and I did this piece in my art journal using my palette page pieces - the turquoise pattern is where I blotted my bubble wrap I was dipping into paint. I actually like the way the blotter turned out better than the pattern I put down on the original piece! Happy accidents. I'm catching up on a busy couple of weeks, where I've been cranking on work, doing a couple of outdoor art fairs (the next one is in front of the Blue Talon, Williamsburg, October 9th!), and helping my son recoup, as much as I can, from having his wisdom teeth yanked out!! Today's remedy is a mango-pineapple smoothie from Mickey D's. Have a great Monday, y'all! peace, t
Our power finally came on last evening - just in time for me to watch a new episode of Ghosthunters! You know you're addicted to a show, when you've spent five days without power, without a/c or cold food - and the only thing you can think of is dangit, I'm gonna miss Ghosthunters tonight! But, the power stepped up to the plate about 18 minutes before the ghostie show aired. Yaaaay!! So glad to have power back on, though I know a lot of people are without it still, after Irene. I realized I was getting into the groove of candlelight and Coleman lantern each night, reading, or drawing with a book light on my lap. It works for me, actually! The main thing I missed was easy internet access, so I would drive 25 minutes to Starbucks, take a power strip, make some friends, and charge up. I don't talk on the phone much, but I missed texting, too. (Kept my power usage to a minimum because of the "trouble" it took to power up!) Plus, more than one person advised me to switch from white to red wine . . . but I'm not exclusive to either, thank you very much. I misspoke! The MAIN thing I missed was my icemaker. Sad but true! I was tired of daily trips to buy bags of ice. So, I made some art about it!
Also, I was going through magazines from 1962, and 1965, and I saw the view of women was that we LOVE our cleaning products so much, that we find it downright fulfilling when paired up with a fine one!! I guess that attitude hasn't changed much, else we would see mostly MEN cleaning toilets on TV . . . anyway! If that's what melts your butter, you go, grrrrrl!!! Or come, rather, to MY house, and enjoy MY cleaning supplies for a few hours. I would LUH-UH-UHV that!
Have a great day, y'all! peace, trl (enjoying the cool air in my house . . . aaaaaaahhhhhhh)
what i missed most when the power was gone . . .
Still art journaling during Irene and in the aftermath - using daylight and a tiny little book light to work with at night :-) I cannot scan right now, no power since last Saturday mid-day, so forgive the quality of some of the pics, which are taken with my iPhone and might not show the detail I usually like to! I'll upload scans when I can :-) Happy journaling, all, and I want to remind you who live in the Hampton Roads area (provided you can read this, since 100s of 1000s are still w/o power!), to take care, the trees are still falling!! AND, that I will be teaching MULTI-MEDIA ART JOURNALING at the Williamsburg Art Education Center in September, starting the 15th. Just click on the link to the right, to sign up!
Another way of art journaling. I like to do backgrounds and have them at the ready - sometimes I do collages, sometimes collages with paint, sometimes just very basic backgrounds. That way, I can travel with my art journal and just carry a few pens with me to complete a page, if I wanna go sit somewhere and satisfy that jones I'm havin' for a grande-sugar-free-hazelnut-soy-latté. I'm also fine with just throwing down a silly thought on a background - this rose background triggered this silly thought. I didn't edit my silly thought - I just threw it down. Art journaling can be way fun - and there's a freedom you get in the process . . . especially when you don't try and judge everything you are putting down on paper!
We made paella on a budget the other night, and it was awesomeness! Two considerations for us were cost, and the fact that we had two vegetarians, and we didn't want them to have too much trouble picking out the meat and seafood, so we stuck to big chunks of chorizo, which they could easily spot. Also, we are fortunate in that LaTienda, a Spanish food importer, is based right here in Toano, of all places! So we can shop there. YOU are fortunate, in that they have a kick-ass website where you can order all foods Spanish: http://www.LaTienda.com.
I, BTW, cannot even THINK the word "paella" without thinking of the Fawlty Towers episode where Manuel makes (or talks a lot about making) his famous paella . . .
Here's the recipe - we were budgeting, and we have some great local fresh produce. My friend Alisa bought the veggies from a local farmer's market, and we went to LaTienda for the Spanish foods. I always keep smoked paprikas on hand - they add so much flavor! Anyway, here's the recipe we improv'd:
1/4 c. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt (we had some French salt, but you can use kosher or sea salt)
fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika - we used Spanish smoked paprika (the "bittersweet" style, from LaTienda)
1 large white onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow summer squash, diced
1 large (we used a ginormous one) bell pepper, diced
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
8 oz. Spanish style chorizo links (we got ours at LaTienda) - some recipes call for 1 pound, we went quality over quantity!!
4.5 cups chicken broth
2 cups short-grain rice (we used Bomba Spanish rice - it is awesome! you can sub Arborio)
pinch of saffron threads (don't hate us, but we skipped this, to save dinero)
Heat a paella pan or very large shallow skillet - a big cast-iron skillet is awesome, but I used my flat-bottomed cast-iron wok my cousin Shelia gave me a few years ago (thank you Shelia, I love my wok!!)
Pour in the olive oil, and heat to medium. Add the paprika, and stir it into the oil. Add the onions and the bell pepper, and sauté until softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and chorizo. Cook that about 5 minutes, and add the veggies. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then stir in the rice. Cook without stirring for about 20 minutes.
I noticed that I did add a little more olive oil as I was cooking - use the salt and pepper to taste; I tend to throw in pinches while I'm cooking - you know your own taste :-)
We bought picos (little Spanish tapas breadsticks), cheese, and anchovy-stuffed olives to use as apps and to eat along with the paella, and had a great fresh salad Alisa made - with a great vinaigrette she made. We thought another touch which would be great would be do mince the anchovy-stuffed-olives and add to the vinaigrette!
OH!! and the SANGRIA:
2 cups simple syrup (sugar water - dissolve sugar in warm water) - this part is to your own taste, k? I didn't put much sugar in the syrup, so you have to gauge this to your own liking
1 24 oz (750 ml) bottle red wine (I used 3-buck-Chuck)
1/2 c. orange juice
10 oz. Tonic water
thinly sliced oranges, lemons, apples, or whatever you have on hand
Mix, pour over ice, enjoy - I DID punch this one up with about 3/4 c. of Trapiche Malbec (Argentina) - and that made it JUST RIGHT :-)
Today I'm a wine-tastin', paella-eatin' redhead. Yay-iss.
What do women want? Some of us know . . . and some of us don't.
Today I wanted PAELLA and WINE - La Tienda brought in chefs from Jaleo who made the most humongous batch of paella I've ever seen in my life (pix to come)! It was delish! La Tienda is an amazing Spanish food import biz, based right here in my little town - check them out online! mmmmmmmmm
The wine-tasting part woulda been more fun, if SOME people understood the concept that, as George Costanza said, "We live in a society!!" Some people apparently think wine-tasting means get-all-you-can-and-camp-out-at-the-wine-table -and-hog-it-so-no-one-else-can-have-any . . . but I digress. The wine was good, the paella was awesomeness.
WDWW? Paella and wine is always a good start . . .
"Destiny . . . Destiny . . . no escaping, that's for ME!!" (Ms. Lakshmi! Gordon Ramsey!! Top Chef! Iron Chef! That's for ME!!)
I gotta cook. And I gotta eat. Last night I made a fine Turkish dish. It was egg on sauteéd spinach. Matter of fact, I think that's what it was called, "Egg on Sauteéd Spinach." I'm sure it's losing something in the translation. But it was delicious. You sauteé (am I putting that accent on the right "e"?) - or the quotes in the right place for that matter - or those dashes . . . geez, I'm OCD. Where were we? Oh yeah, spinach. You sauteé the spinach in olive oil and onions, throw in feta cheese, salt and pepper it, and steam/cook an egg on top. It's awesome and low calorie. Salivating yet?
When I watch Martha and Emeril, I get appliance envy.
These food shows are responsible for my buying tongs, a garlic press, and a nutmeg grater. (Once-a-year use: pumpkin pie.)
Not to mention the chef clogs. I bought those first. They are SHOES, after all. Hey, I’m not made of stone. Speaking of stone, isn't Curtis Stone a TOTAL DOLLFACE? You gotta love those Aussies. And, when they can cook, why, they're double yummy.
But now I’m becoming a downright diva: “I need a meringue torch and I need it now! Why can I not find a spatula which matches my dishes? I cannot go another moment without an egg separator!!!”
“I buy vintage cookbooks too. It’s really stepping back into a different era. Wow, I didn’t have a clue you could use lard to make macaroni and cheese.”
“I really DO love to cook. You know this because I own tongs . . . and I USE them. And I use the term “lemon zest” in daily conversation:
“Why, this could use a little lemon zest!”
“That wouldn’t have happened if you had added a little lemon zest!”
“I wish we could all be as happy as lemon zest!”
I also know my garnishes rather well. You’ve got your easy things – your lemon twist, your little radish rose-wanna-be’s. And don’t forget your capers.
I’m lovin’ the capers. Capers work hard. They’re like the Oompa Loompas. You may not notice them, but they don’t care. They’re green, modest, camouflaged, really, but they still do their work. They salt it up, honey. They pack a punch. Not like those freeloader garnishes. Paprika. Parsley. Pimiento. (Why are they all “P” words? Pretty pathetic.)
I mean by this, that pimientos are self-centered little additions. They are not contributing. They just sort of shout, “Look at me! Look at me!” Can you tell me what a pimiento event tastes like? I didn’t think so. They’re showy, shallow, and they do NOTHING. They are the Paris Hiltons of the food world. (Another “P” word!) Because I think we all know that the cheese is the one doing all the work in pimiento cheese. But who’s getting first billing? Yeah.”
BONUS BLOGGY WOG RECIPE:
Teresa’s Deviled Eggs with Capers, or “The Garnish’s Revenge”
1 doz. eggs, boiled
¾ c. mayonnaise or ranch dressing
1 t. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Dill pickle relish to taste
Paprika (oh, well)
Capers to garnish (!), about 36-40 small
Halve eggs. Mash yolks. Add mayonnaise, relish, salt and pepper, and Dijon mustard. Stir together. Spoon into egg halves. Garnish with paprika (oh, well), and three capers per egg! These are delish. The little capers are hard at work for you on this one.
Stay hungry, my friends :-)