Monday, July 24, 2006

Must ... Finish ... Revisions

Forty pages to go on the book in one week and it's hotter than Jabba the Hut's taint, which is really doing a number two on my creativity. Also, I've possibly become more boring than caulk from the 1950s, which is way more boring than modern caulk. The highlights of my days now include: 1) monitoring the baby birds on my front porch; 2) ordering shit I don't need online; and, 3) walking Daisy the Incredible Canine Mop. You know, they say owners tend to look like their dogs, and if so, I'm in serious trouble. If I'm walking around with dingleberries on my ass and a dead leaf stuck to my face, you will tell me, right?

But enough about me. What's new with you? I truly thank you for bearing with my slothful updates these days. But I'm finding that I do my best work more cloistered than a Trappist monk. Which facilitates a social life about as full as Nicole Richie after a public meal, but hey, I do what I can.

Random thoughts: when you were younger, say between the ages of 17 and 24, did you rub the sweaty back of your neck or the bridge of your nose and then stick your grubby, greasy fingertips into the frothy head of your beer to more quickly disburse the foam? The other day I had a flashback to a time when my friends and I actually did this at house parties and I thought, My GOD were we gross!!! Who on earth thought of that neat little trick? A syphilitic panhandler?

Also, what on earth does a Sergeant at Arms do? Is he subordinate to the General of Legs? (Sorry about that...I told you my brain's on auto-pilot for any non-book related issues. Just ask my family. I'm driving them crazy with my poor listening skills and subpar personal interaction of late.)

Finally, is anyone else as addicted as I am to the Sunday night Adult Swim lineup on the cartoon network? (Outing my true geekiness here.) Whenever I'm crabby all I need to do is hum "Jefferton ALIVE!" from Tom Goes to the Mayor and I start smiling.

Okay, that wasn't the last "finally." Here is the ultimate finale. Pictures from the garden I haven't yet killed. (Also known as the Procrastination Series.) See that monarch caterpillar? I got all excited and bought bird netting and everything to protect him so I could watch his magical transformation into a beautiful butterfly, and then on Saturday some asshole blackbird ate him.


A vertical view featuring how goofy the one blue Delphinium in the back looks. (I planted five of these babies, so hopefully they'll fill in and look less scraggly soon.) What you're not seeing: a clump of purple coneflower, white clips campanula, red impatiens, purple petunias, coral bells, lady's mantle, bee balm, catmint, alyssum, and a family of leprechauns that claim to relatives of David Caruso.

Bert the Bluejay.*

Clyde,* our resident Chipmunk. He's currently hanging out in the pile of lumber awaiting placement in our new garage.

My poor, defunct caterpillar, now likely so much bird splay on someone's freshly washed windshield. The circle of life, my friends. Sometimes it really sucks.

*Names have been invented solely for blogging purposes.


  1. Congratulations on being almost finished with those revisions. You've really been working hard! I hope you're happy with what you came up with. As for the garden pics, those were terrific! I love your flower beds, and the chipmunk one was adorable. Nice frames around the pictures, too. Was somebody procrastinating a bit and playing on a photo editing program instead???

  2. the art of procrastination is a fine one indeed. I am happy to read you have not lost your quick wit and funny as heck metaphors!!!

  3. Your garden looks great! Keep going on the revisions ... it will be totally worth it when we're all raving about Larry next summer!

  4. Gorgeous pics. If your book doesn't sell, you could make a calendar. ;)

    (but I'll buy your book anyway...)

  5. OK, how can you spend time working on your book and still be able to come up with such hilarious analogies? Truly, you are a gifted woman. I take it that you are taking a break from all things grant-related?

    Well, best of luck with the revisions. Your garden is lovely.

    Hi from MKE!

  6. A friend of mine achieved the platonic ideal of procrastination when he worked his way methodically through the Concise Oxford Dictionary copying out words he didn;t know in longhand for use in scrabble. The small matter of revising for his BAr exams was put to one side.

  7. Those are some nice photo frames you made, Ms. Riley! (And beautiful pictures within them as well!) Your garden looks fantastic. Would you please come over and plan one for me?? I'll send a rickshaw for you, just give me your address.

    Good luck with the revisions!

  8. Seriously, awesome garden. I am sickeningly jealous!

    I met some people this weekend who take the caterpillars and put them in jars with leaves to protect them from bird savagery. But that might take a bit more involvement than you need in the middle of revisions. ;)

    Good luck!

  9. Damn - I KNEW David Caruso was a leprechaun!

  10. lz-blogger7:38 PM

    I have NO IDEA what you are talking about most of the time (maybe that's the attraction to your blog). But the plants, flowers, animals and insects I get! Go get that book DONE! I won't have a clue what it's about either, but who cares? ~ jb///

  11. Those wildlife photos are amazing.

    That beer trick? Sorry.

    Tacy learned about dingleberries at a young age, thanks to our elderly cats. She would be glad to advise you of any stray ones. Dingleberries, not cats.

    Hang in there. Like a stubborn dingleberry.

  12. "dingleberries on my ass and a dead leaf stuck to my face"

    Uh, Jess, the dingleberry's on your face, and the leaf's stuck to your ass. Get it right, will ya?


  13. How cute is Clyde!?! I love him!

    Good luck w/the revisions. I totally hear you: I'm spending all the time that I should be working on ms #2 on my blog. Sigh.

  14. The garden is perfect! I'm so impressed.

    For me, procrastination frequently leads to your #2. I don't know how anyone can feel creative and productive in this heat.

  15. "Jabba the Hut's taint" *Chokes on drink* Bwahahaha. I'm going to use that in my next conversation. Pray it isn't the boss that walks in.

  16. Did the beer thing, oh yes, because foam makes you burp, and burping isn't ladylike, much unlike staggering around looking for a placce to puke all the beer you just drank. Dainty!

    If you need another Adult Swim fan, plese go check out rennratt's blog (, because she's got a Kolgoth of Barbaria trailer on there and is a huge fan as well.

    Loved the Jabba the Hut comment as well.

  17. Anonymous10:10 PM

    Best of luck with the revisions, Jess!

    And those are some beautiful photos. Very nice. :)

  18. For the love of God, shave your dog! For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!For the love of God, shave your dog!

  19. If you had dingleberries on your ass and a leaf stuck to your face I'd say - SHAVE YOUR BLEEPING ASS! And do your dog while you're at it. IT's going to 100 degrees this weekend!!

  20. Wow..what a green thumb you have...
    Should we start calling you Snow White? You have quite an animal following! :)

    And yes, when I was younger, I did stick my fingers in my beer to bring down the foam...gross, huh? But hey, it worked!

  21. That chipmunk belongs on Cute Overload!

    I've always loved the beer foam. So milkshake-y. Mmmmm.

  22. Hard to believe that a place like Wisconsin can get hot. It's 101 here today.'s hot everyone where the continental United States and yet no one believes in Global Warming? Hmmm.

  23. Thanks for the much-needed laugh ("Jabba the Hut's Taint"-- damn gross, yet frighteningly apt :-)

    Oh, and the garden photos are lovely (Black-eyed Susans are a favorite of mine).

    And hey, good luck with those final revisions!

  24. Hey Beeee-otch, a little birdie, or maybe a butterfly or a freaking caterpillar told me YOU ARE DRUNK!

    What's with us mid-week chickies getting loaded?

  25. You definitely have quite the green thumb and good news re:your revisions. Sounds like your making definite progress.


    P.S. Wonder Boys is my *favourite* movie of all time... has to do with your line of work in case you haven't seen it.

  26. Wow! you have chipmunks and caterpillars! i can't even keep my basil alive in the kitchen window - nevermind attract any wildlife!
    Thx for the hug btw! needed it...

    what's bothering me is the sweaty neck and beer's tickling my gag reflex! course I'm gonna have to try it despite everything.

  27. lmao! I have NEVER heard of touching sweat and then putting your fingers in your beer to get rid of foam! I'll stick with the foamy head, thanks! :D

    gorgeous garden, btw!

  28. "hotter than Jabba the Hut's taint"??? Nice...thanks for that. HA! too funny, Jess.

    And, we've did a lot of weird, gross things, but we never heard of that in our "neck" of the woods...get it? Neck? Sorry...I haven't had my 2nd cup of coffee and it's been too hot here too.

    Garden's looking great!
    And that damn blackbird.

  29. This post had everything: Jabba the Hut's taint, dingleberries, Trappist monks, sweaty necks, squirrels, gardens, laments to lost caterpillars. Well played, Jess. Well played.

  30. Just 40 pages to go? Forget about us and getting writing, girl!!

  31. We TOTALLY did the forehead beer thing? Maybe it's a Midwest college student phenomenon? Dude, you totally have a career as a photographer if you want one. Those pictures are AMAZING.

  32. Just being thorwn into a visual of Jabba the Hut's taint is one of many reasons I love reading your blog!

  33. Oh my God, sister! Adult Swim rules!

    Go Team Venture!

    You are so my friend.

  34. You cracked me up with "hotter than Jabba the Hut's taint." It was all downhill after that.

  35. Since you visited my blog, I thought I would visit yours. Boy, I'm glad I did! I will be back often!