Flamingo Jill and the 2007 Indulgences

Another cold has laid me low, a gift from the universe that has forced me to stay off the roads and away from my family for fear of giving them the plague for Christmas, and it’s turned out to be a very good thing because it’s given me a day of complete quiet to look back on 2006 without thinking of my 2007 resolutions. Those would be the resolutions I have to make later this week along with sauerkraut and hotdogs (my German family’s nod to the gods for a good new year), the resolutions that will make me a Better Person in 2007. But tonight I’m just curled up, staying warm, blowing my nose and contemplating 2006 and my Christmas gifts, among them Flamingo Jill.

Jill is supposed to be Cerise, the flamingo from Agnes and the Hitman, but as you may have noticed, she’s not pink, nor is she cerise. She’s a pretty violent purple, not quite Magenta (although I wouldn’t turn down fishnets for her if I could find some to fit her skinny legs). So I named her after the lovely woman who gave her to me. Just as wonderful as Flamingo Jill herself are the nine outfits that came with her. She’s wearing her Santa costume as you can see, but there’s also a witch outfit for Halloween that will come in handy for promoting The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, and you’re not going to believe the bunny costume for Easter. However there are omissions. There is no Valentine’s Day. There’s no back-to-school for September. There is no Miss June. If Easter doesn’t fall in May, there’ll be no Queen of the May for our Jill. So of course, I began to plan to make them (maybe a fuzzy wig with a little apron and cap . . . sorry, it’s just once you’ve said, “Magenta,” it’s hard to go back).

Where was I? Right, making little flamingo costumes.

Which was when I realized I could. I will have the time to waste on ridiculous fun things. Because for 2007, I will not be working 24/7, criss-crossing the country like an insane person, trying to collect a Dasani receipt from every airport on the continent. The Year From Hell is over. Of course, that doesn’t mean that 2007 might not turn out to be just another flavor of infernality, but at least it’ll be a change of taste. I will be driving to the very few conferences I’m doing. (Except Australia and New Zealand. I would if I could but I can’t. They don’t have a ferry yet.) I can pack all the liquids I want. I can take one of my dogs if I want; Wolfie loves to travel. I can take Flamingo Jill if I want. But mostly I am staying home. I am writing a solo novel in which all the conflict will be on the page. I can do frivolous blogs here about painting my bedroom and the zen of purses and the latest addition to Flamingo Jill’s wardrobe. Honest to God, I want to wriggle all over like Wolfie does when he hears the lid to the dog biscuit jar clink open. Nothing but good times ahead.

Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

And that made me start to think. I’ve got the serious resolutions coming up next weekend, the ones where I promise to cook more and take a yoga class and do all that stuff, but it’s Christmas and I want to be good to myself, so what if tonight I made kind resolutions, the things I really, really want to do but never get to, the stuff that I’d kill to do but never get to because it’s too ridiculous and I have to be Serious About My Life and Career, what if I made my Five Indulgences of 2007? (I decided to limit them to five so I wouldn’t feel greedy.)

Well, that seemed like an excellent idea. I decided they had to be specific so I’d actually accomplish them (not that “Go back to painting” or “Start sewing again” garbage) and after much deliberation, this is what I came up with.

Indulgence #1. Do the paintings in one of the books I’ve done, The Cinderella Deal or Faking It or Nadine’s book that I’ve been thinking about. I’ve always wanted to do that and always meant to but . . .

Indulgence #2. Sew the collage kimono tops I’ve been collecting fabric for. I’ve got the perfect pattern for them, and I’ve got a fabric stash that’s ridiculously gorgeous. Plus I’m a collage freak. It’s time.

Indulgence #3. Draw or paint or collage every day. Remember why I used to love it. Remember what it used to be like to create things just for the joy of creating them.

Indulgence #4. Spend a week in New York without working on anything. Go to museums, plays, see my daughter and my friends, walk through the Village, and not write a novel.

Indulgence #5. Take a course in something with my daughter. We took an art glass class together several years ago that was terrific and billards lessons that helped me write Welcome to Temptation. I’d love to do that again. I don’t even care what kind of lessons, as long as we take them together. Of course this depends on her cooperation but she’s a good person and she lives in New York so there must be a week-long course there in something we could take.

There, that’s pretty good. All things I’ve been wanting to do and putting off because there have been deadlines and a million things I had to do, a million things that were more important than selfish pleasure. Now that I’ve made my promises to myself, those things are more important, too. Along with reading for pleasure which I can justify because it’s really good for my career and making more outfits for Flamingo Jill because . . .

Uh . . .

Because she’s good blog material which is good for my career because . . .

Oh, hell.

Indulgence #6. Make outfits for Flamingo Jill because I want to, that’s why.

Make your 2007 Indulgences today, people. Because tomorrow, you’re going to be stuck making those damn Resolutions and after that it’s all diet and exercise and no flamingo bunny ears in sight.

27 thoughts on “Flamingo Jill and the 2007 Indulgences

  1. I don’t do resolutions. I tried once and they just never got off the ground, so I just don’t. Most times I feel bad enough without feeling guilt over not doing something I “resolved” to do. The indulgence thing? Yeah, I think I can do that. Maybe. I’m not very good at indulging either. I’m guilt ridden.

    And I absolutely ADORE Flamingo Jill.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. resolutions. i figured since i never keep them why make them? and indulgences- yeah, i do those. good luck with all of yours Jenny.

    but did you notice? “Nadine’s book?” YES!

    huh? why yes, i do have a one track mind, why do you ask?

  3. I make the same boring resolutions every year- the idea of doing indulgences instead is a great one and one that I might have to do!

    I can’t wait to see the results of your solo novel!

  4. Flamingo Jill is fabulous, and I’m sure she needs many cool outfits (I’m particularly looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day, though the bunny ears also sound terrific; note the expectation that we get photos – if that turns the Indulgence into an obligation, I absolutely take it back!).

    It’s a wonderful idea – I’m in favor of self-improvement (though it’s gradual and sporadic and I rarely do the New Year’s thing), but I think we also need to take a little time to celebrate being alive and free and the wide variety of choices we have, from time to time.

    Thanks for telling us about it – oh, and I’m sorry you weren’t well! Should 12/26 be Indulgence Day, or does it need another name?

  5. 2/26 is Boxing Day, but you don’t have to hit anyone or anything.

    I love the idea of Indulgences. Very Papal of you. I plan to spread this idea around a bit. Resolutions be damned.

    Hope you recover from your cold quickly. Hope I recover from my cold quickly. And hope 2007 is full of unexpected, unplanned indulgences for everyone.

  6. Not overly fond of resolutions, their like diets, they usually fail. I guess since I’m a goal oriented person, I make goals. The fun part is I set them aside in two boxes, one the “yeah right, like this will happen box” and the “obtainable, realistic goal box.” Funny thing, three out of the five “Yeah Right” happened to me in 06! And my 8 goals, I reached 6 of them. All in all, a good year!

    I have only one indulegence for 07 – to stop apologizing for me being me and to listen to the people in my head…write.

    I hope you feel better soon. 🙂

  7. 2006 seemed to be the Year of Obligations and Responsibilities. Can we just make all of 2007 the Year of Indulgence? Do one thing a day simply because it pleases you and you alone. That way all the things that are good for your career, health etc don’t feel like such an obligation.

  8. I was never good at resolutions either. Just more stress on myself. I do like the Indulgences though. But mine would probably be “read more”. My family will give up on me entirely if I read more than I already do. I’ll have to think about this for a bit.

  9. Hope you are feeling better and able to celebrate your New Year’s indulgences with appropriate glee.

    And I have to say …… oooohhh, Nadine’s book! Thank you.

  10. Resolutions can make a nice tinkling sound when they shatter to the floor. Looking forward to seeing you at the RWAustralia conference!

  11. I don’t believe in resolutions anyway, mostly because I’m perfect just the way I am. But like Jen-T I don’t mind having goals. Reading more would be way up there but the mortgage has to get paid somehow so there will be limits. So, goals …

    1. Spend more time with people who make me laugh

    2. Find 5 new fabulous authors to add to my “must read” list

    3. Spend 7 full days doing only what I feel like doing instead of what I know I need to do (note: they don’t need to be consecutive days, can be a series of long weekends)

    4. Take up crocheting again

    5. Get rid of things in my drawers and closets that I don’t like, even if they are still perfectly wearable.

    I can work with that list.

    iztax (they tax is’s now? Guess I’ll have to switch to ain’ts.)

  12. I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to figure out why reading this post made me so damn angry. Especially since it didn’t seem to have that effect on anyone else. It’s not the “not enough time” issue. Believe me, I understand there are only so many hours in a day and anyone could see your schedule this past year was crazy. It’s not the whole “it’s fun to indulge” thing. I agree with you there and we all need to do that more often.

    I think what makes me angry is hearing you say that it is ridiculous to “waste” time and effort on your other talents. Who the hell is telling you that? Or are you doing that to yourself? I’ve seen pictures of your collages and they are truly magnificent works of art. I don’t know about the rest of it — drawing, painting, sewing, crocheting — but obviously you are one of those lucky people who are incredibly creative and talented in more than one area.

    I think this is the part that really sent me over the edge: Remember why I used to love it. Remember what it used to be like to create things just for the joy of creating them. And coming as it did right after this: …the things I really, really want to do but never get to, the stuff that I’d kill to do but never get to because it’s too ridiculous…

    Why is it ridiculous to spend time and effort on those others areas of creativity and not ridiculous to write? Are you really saying that pursuing a talent is ridiculous if it doesn’t translate into commercial success? Yes, I understand the need to meet deadlines and make a living. But if you no longer got paid for writing (God forbid), would it too become ridiculous fun and a selfish pleasure? Would you stop doing it?

    I’m sure that’s not what you meant and maybe you’re just downplaying your other talents. But as someone who has absolutely no talent whatsoever in those other areas and stands in awe of those who do, it really rubs the wrong way to hear you be so dismissive about it. Maybe I’m just reading this completely wrong and, if so, please forgive me.

    If you want to call something an indulgence for which you’d love to make more time, then fine, that’s one thing. But don’t say in the same breath that it is ridiculous. That’s beyond self-deprecating, it’s an insult to creativity — yours and everyone else’s.

    Geez, here I am yelling at you and you’re sick. Sorry. Just part of my non-existent charm. But damn it, Jenny, hearing you say that really pissed me off.

    Well, it IS still The Year From Hell, so in a couple more days you can just put this comment behind you with all the other bad stuff. I’d resolve to be nice in the New Year, but I know my limits.

    I do hope you feel better soon. Go create something.

  13. My one indulgence would be to read more. I love to read and I just got “Sizzle” and Fred’s book for Christmas. I asked for the whole Crusie collection but that is what I got. /,D

    Hope you are feeling better Jenny and that you have a very Happy New Year.

  14. BTW Jenny it sounds like you need more Fisherman’s Friend to fix that cold. That is the sinus clearer. LOL

  15. I like the way you think, Jenny. And I think I know where you are coming from with the “creating things just because…” thing. IN your profession, everyone expects you to ONLY write and that whatever you write must be published to make money. It’s kind of like being a painter and having to paint pretty pictures so you can sell them to the masses to put food on the table, but what you REALLY want to do is paint huge abstract monstrosities that would NEVER fit in a house and that most people wouldn’t get any way. One cannot create for art’s sake–there must always be a monetary value and goal to be reached.

    But you know what? I think you have reached that point in your career (and life) that you can feel free to do some other stuff. If you want to paint, go for it! Sew those outfits for Flamingo Jill–I can imagine that she will be the best-dressed flamingo on the block! (Personally, I’d like to see her in a flapper dress with beads and fringes and fishnets, but that’s just me!)

    I am glad that 2007 will be less demanding on you physically. Travelling is difficult at the best of times, and when one is a homebody at heart it can become even more distressing to both the body and soul.

    So make 2007 the Year of the Soul. Feed your soul with the things that you enjoy doing, indulge your senses, celebrate life. Don’t worry. We’ll still be here when you get back. Heck, some of us may join you! I could go for some indulgences right about now….


    Rescue Cherry

  16. Jenny, I hope your cold improves soon.

    Will you be bringing Flamingo Jill to New Zealand? I love Sheri’s idea of the flapper outfit, and how appropriate for a flapper to have wings. Hey, maybe we could craft a Maori costume for Flamingo Jill for her NZ sojourn (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and excess luggage allowances permitting her entry of course) and an Aboriginal one for the Aussie trip. D’ya think she’ll have time to learn a poi dance or to play the didgeridoo?(sp?)

    Thanks for the heads-up on an indulgences list. I like to have goals for each year, and love to tick them off (or ignore those unachieved until I can reassess some other time), but too often we forget soul replenishment.

    I gave up my day-job this month to write full-time in 2007 (and beyond) and indulgence-wise I want to:

    1. Have a six-weekly facial or massage with my favourite beauty therapist.
    2. Get back into doing mosaic work.
    3. Spend more quality time with my family in the evenings and weekends.

    Happy indulgences to everyone for 2007!


  17. You deserve your indulgences Jenny, all of them and I hope you get to do them all, too. You’ve worked hard and fast to get the two collaborations written, along with all of the other deadlines for novellas and anthologies and … sheesh, how did you do it? And then the book tour on top of that, plus all of the speaking and teaching engagements. I’m tired just typing it. *grin*

    I think many of us are so driven to succeed, or to keep the promises we’ve made to ourselves, our families, our editors or agents (if we should be lucky enough to have those) that we don’t schedule time to just be. I like your idea of indulgences and think I might indulge for myself.

    Hope you’re feeling a bit better by now. If not, a nice hot toddy of lemon and honey, with a generous helping of Brandy should do the trick.

  18. Indulgence without guilt. That truly is a good resolution to make. Have fun with your indulgences Jenny and I hope your 2007 is filled with the fun and happiness you have given so many in 2006

  19. hey Jenny,
    I once took a week long pilates class in NY. Thats definitely novel material! After class number one you will know what I’m talking about.

    I’m leveled with the flu too…and a bunch of other things during this holiday season so I know what you are going through. Lucky for you, you dont have to go to a corporate office every day because you ran out of sick days.

    Alas, have a safe and happy new year and I’ll try to think about the good in 2006, too. I am always jumping a head.

    Enjoy and best wishes!


  20. I LOVE the 2007 Indulgences idea! I’m definitely going to work on my list. I never do too well with making the resolutions, so there’s nothing to keep…

    Will you ever do a collage workshop? How about one down in Texas? It’s tolerable in the spring here! 🙂

  21. Me also. Caught a cold from the kids, so commiserations. Which would be fine but it’s the middle of summer here and I HATE summer colds the most – they’re so unfair! It’s probably karma for being an unsympathetic mummy – it’s only a cold, you are NOT dying!!!

    Indulgences v resolutions….hmmm. I’m wary of making either. Not much good at keeping them. But I’ve decided that I’m going to ditch some guilt next year, which will be very indulgent of me.

    I will NOT feel guilty that I put the clothes in the dryer instead of hanging them on the line like all the other good mummies. I HATE hanging out the clothes and neither the family or the clothes will perish/suffer so I need to build a bridge and get over it.

    I will NOT feel guilty for having a cleaning lady or making my husband iron his own damn clothes even though realistically I could find the time to do it myself. The older I get the more things come under “life’s too short”.

    I will NOT feel guilty if I have to write on the school holidays (which I always seem to do)no matter how much they look at me with eyes that say “you are ruining my life”. I am trying to build a career from which they will(hopefully) one day benefit. I will smile sweetly and say one word “inheritance”.

    I will NOT feel guilty for sleeping in till 7.30 when good mummies have been up since 5am sowing the chaff and baking home made bread for their darlings lunches. I do not do mornings. Never have. I need to accept this and move on.

    Okay, so they’re just a few off the top. Funny how much guilt is mother associated huh? Does my husband feel guilty when he misses the school play because of work – nup!

    I’ve also just realised that the above venting has been very self indulgent so this blog has been extremely enlightening. As always.

    Nadine book? Woohoo! Just reread “Faking It” a couple of weeks ago. Yes please.

  22. Hope you’re feeling better by now. Don’t waste any down time being sick.

    Will you post Jill’s measurements? The Flamingo, not the donor. Well, I guess someone might want to make Jill the donor something, too. Never know. There are enough of us hanging around who do crafty kinds of stuff, and it might be fun to come up with something for your flamingo pal to wear. Seriously.

    Wow. I wish Google would get this sign in thing fixed. By the time you’ve signed in with your Google account, your comment is long gone. Pain in the a**. With all the brain power they’ve got working there, you’d think they could fix a few of these annoying issues.

    Usability. Another one of my hot buttons. /;+) Well, f***! Three tries and I’m still not signed in. So, I’m posting as bgina, since that’s who Blooger seems to insist I be.

  23. bon cheri bomb said…
    “But if you no longer got paid for writing (God forbid), would it too become ridiculous fun and a selfish pleasure? Would you stop doing it?”

    I wanted to cry. I had to stop doing community theatre (I have a BA in Theatre) when our financial picture dictated that if I wasn’t getting paid for it, I couldn’t afford to be away from home at night. That was over 10 years ago.

    I don’t write much anymore (I’ve never gotten paid for that, either) because it takes away from time with my hubby and 5 kids. On the other hand, I feel more and more on edge and crabby and grumpy every day I don’t put something on the screen.

    I’ve been working either full or part-time or homeschooling my kids for the last ten years. Nothing else, except for a little writing here and there. I managed to complete a “absolutely adequate” (thank you, Julie Andrews) novella that I am slowly rewriting. I have done one flash-fiction story with huge plot holes, and I have started more stories than I can count. I haven’t finished anything else.

    I get about fifty pages (or less) into it, and start feeling guilty and _ridiculous_ again and don’t do anymore. My husband is supportive, and tries to make me sit at the computer, but I still feel guilty. Stupid, isn’t it.

    Cheri, I will try to take your advice and JUST DO IT.

  24. What everybody else said about gifting yourself with indulgences – fabulous idea and I am stealing it immediately. More sequins, dammit!

    Also, am thinking it might be possible to crochet little fishnet stockings for Jill…

  25. I am still using capital letters and have mostly dropped the … from my life, thou I do miss the dots. I do want to work harder to place 2 of my childrens books out there, and have several projects for jewelry workshops. That should keep me going for a while.

    But my thoughts keep going to Jill, and how we could all bring her to be stunning. I was thinking she needed sparkle in her life. Long dangle earrings,maybe necklace (need measurements for her neck please) dripping in Austrian Lead Crystals, have some fabulous new ones called cantalope, change color they do, cool green to peach. In the silver lace they would add so much.

    Wonder if Jill would share?
    Jill could end up being the best dressed bird in Ohio.

  26. My mother-in-law teaches pre-school and my husband used to lend a hand from time to time. It became obvious the kiddies were getting to him after he awoke from a dream one night that the pre-schoolers were having a revolution and they were rallied around a flag. Their battle-cry was “Maaagenta!” (said long, and drawn out, in high pitched voices)

    Yes, it doesn’t make sense, but dreams never do. I had to share this because you said “after you say Magenta it’s hard to go back”. I understand what you mean. That word haunts me to this day and I smile every time. 🙂

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