Greetings from rainy Austin. I love saying that because last summer I thought perhaps I might just lay down on the boiling hot asphalt and wait for the elements to make me into jerky, it was that hot. It will probably get that hot again, but for right now it’s cloudy and threatening to rain and keep raining. As Maria Bamford (see how I just tied the last post in? Ooo) says, “Celebrity moods control the weather.” The weather controls some of my mood…ergo, celebrities control my mood. Suddenly I feel a lot less stable knowing my day is dependent on Jessica Simpson. I take it all back! I just like the rain.

I’m quiet here right now because I’m juggling a lot of things…booking, studio management, a little publicity, trying to play guitar more in my extra hours. It’s all good stuff, although I have just begun implementing The Daily Practice (thought up by one of my favorite bloggers, James Altucher) so that I have scheduled writing time and music time and work time. I also have drink water and eradicate crappy people from my life on the list (I don’t have a lot of crappy people in my life now but the point is to keep watch!).

I’m on day 2 of The Daily Practice. This is replacing my wayward goal of that “Experiment a Month” thing because that lasted a whole two months and then I started traveling a bunch and the only experiment there is to just keep going until you stop and sleep. I’ll report back on TDP in a week or so…pretty excited!

In the meantime, this weekend in Corpus Christi I ate some limes off a real live lime tree. Check something else off the list of “Things I Hadn’t Done And Didn’t Know I Wanted To Until I Did Them.”

Fresh Limes!

Alright, so month 2 of 12 months of experiments is underway, and as explained below, I’m calling this one The Early Month. This has actually turned into a bit of a misnomer because while I tried, I cannot quite tweak my schedule to get up at 5 AM at this juncture. There is rarely the chance for me to go to bed before midnight, and I do not roll well with less than 7 hours. I have learned this about myself, and I accept it.

But! All is not lost. Knowing it is Early Month has definitely helped me focus more on a few of my own personal project things, which are always first to be ignored. One of which was that video below, which as far as I can tell is now done going “folk viral” but the 1.5 days of hit-counting were entertaining.

I’ve also tried out using the first hour of my day as my own creative time, which worked the first few days. Then I shifted to working an hour or more in the evening on things (new songs, guitar, etc.) That’s interesting because that wasn’t the case until I started the month with the intention of doing that. Intention is key, apparently. This is the understatement of the year, and 1600 self-help gurus just smacked their foreheads in a “Duh, Jana” moment.

Twitter Joy

I hung up a photo of Gordon Ramsay over my desk as an extra “get writing!” incentive and I tweeted at him. He followed me right back. Soon my goal of opening a rustic but chic restaurant with him in Santa Fe will come to fruition. Or something.

January was the “ease in slowly” month. Photos are phun. I finally found the joys of Instagram, so there’s that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s nice to have to stare at seemingly mundane situations and have to pull a photo out of them (as in, “CRAP I haven’t taken a photo yet today quick!”). Art is everywhere.

I have decided February will be a little more (ok a lot more) hardcore.

Some of you all might remember my Early Year (I hope you do, it’s an album of mine – hey, iTunes!).

The premise was that I got up early every morning to write. I worked my guv’ment job back then and I had to be at the office at 7:30, so I was up at 5:30 on most days. I wrote that album in the wee hours, and it was a good routine to be in.

I have done other routines since then (mostly at other times of day), but I always think about that process and how well it worked.

Here we go again. Early Month. 5:30 AM. 5 days a week at least. This will be harder, maybe…because we have gigs and will be traveling some, but I think I can swing it. The ultimate purpose is to write daily, and if 5:30 is how I’m going to do it, then so be it. This month seems good because it’s a lot of Texas gigs. March is out of the question. April is far away.

Let’s do it! It’s 11:20 PM already… I need pass out immediately for this to start without a grumble.


My last round of photos…it was a good month. Remembering to take a photo every day was harder than it sounded (heeeeeey, post office!) but it showed me that there’s an interesting picture just about everywhere you look.

Tofu Breakfast Taco from Bouldin Creek Coffee
1/22 – Bouldin Creek Coffee has these tofu breakfast tacos made of AN ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE I cannot stop going there.

Post Office
1/23 – Post office. Zzzzz.

Emily Shirley and Katie Lessley
1/24 – On Tuesday after the aforementioned cooking class, we went to see Emily Shirley play at the Whip In, and Katie Lessley joined in on a few. Heavenly.

1/25 – Citrus. Grocery store.

1/26 – Spent a lot of time at Rubicon this week.

Susan Gibson at Rusty's in Austin
1/27 – Susan played a great show at Rusty’s in Austin with Christa Hillhouse on Friday night.

1/28 – Saturday we found ourselves in Houston for a great show at the Firehouse Saloon. More on that later.

1/15 – I spent a good chunk of time at a coffeehouse…with this Brainstorm book.

1/16 – Monday was mastermind meeting day with Susan and Elizabeth. We each got a cookie. I was oatmeal M&M.

1/17 – Kathleen Edwards album release day! One of the “must buy the day it comes out” artists.

1/18 – I rearranged my workspace and added a whole new writing desk. It is still clean…maybe I can keep from piling junk on it.

1/19 – On Thursday it was one roommate’s birthday and another was leaving for a big trip so we celebrated by watching Midnight in Paris.

1/20 – It’s a homebody theme this week, apparently. Mom made me this afghan and I use it all the time.

1/21 – Gordon Ramsay is a personal hero…he and Steve Jobs should have teamed up. Listening to Kitchen Nightmares while I type this blog! Meta.

So far so good. This week was a productive one.

Grey Skies in WImberley
1/8 – It was grey out the first couple of days. Zzzzz.

1/9 – Yep. Still grey.

Noel McKay, Brennen Leigh, Susan Gibson
1/10 – Susan, Brennen Leigh, and Noel McKay songswapped at the Mucky Duck. Lovely.

1/11 – Spent the day working on a new video project based on Portlandia. Forthcoming.

Susan Gibson, Coley McCabe, Thom Shephard
1/12 – Susan songswapped with Thom Shephard at Main Street Crossing and Coley McCabe joined in on Cloud Nine. Awesomeness.

Elizabeth Wills Susan Gibson Poster
1/13 – I made this poster for the show and it got blown up to epic proportions. I’m glad I picked a nice font.

I-35 South
1/14 – Driving home from Fort Worth to Austin laaaaaate.

All right…since I had to switch experiments after Day 1 this month, I’m doing a photo a day. It’s actually kind of fun to think about which moment I’d like to have encapsulate things for the day. Here’s week one!

1/1 – I hung out with Katie on New Year’s Eve! She wore this hat.

1/2 – I’m trying to drink more tea and less coffee. So far so good.

1/3 – Tuesday I hung out with Dan at the Rubicon Studio…this is his Martin 00-15, which looks just like my OM-15. Twins!

1/4 – On Wednesday I chihuahua-sat for a little bit. She’s tiny!

1/5 – On Thursday I played at Specht’s in San Antonio as a guest of the fantastically awesome Whipples. They have such a good group of friends (and so do I!)

1/6 – I manifested some loafers this week. I was eyeing Dan’s “Sunday shoes” as he calls them, since I am trying to not wear flip flops all the time. Whilst perusing the piles of shoes at the thrift store, I found these new Bass loafers for $7. That’s quite a deal. Boom! Manifested loafers.

1/7 – The weather has been awesome here…it’s like Spring but it’s January. Sitting on the porch in the sun is mandatory.

Let me explain. I had a good one for January – I was going to walk every day. Walking is good for the body and for the brain. Except there have been a series of events in Austin over New Year’s that have made that a little bit hard to do…in that there is apparently a psycho-killer on the loose…so I’m opting to wait until nicer weather and the arrest of that loser before I go meandering about alone. I’m sure I’d be fine, but I don’t want to have to bust out my krav maga moves if I don’t have to. Enough with the happy thoughts!

Hence, January had to quickly change to another Experiment. I’m doing that “photo a day” project thing. I’ll probably post a chunk of them weekly. It’s a least effort required experiment but it does get me in the habit of doing something every day.

I’ll make February’s really good, I promise. Onward. And stay safe out there.

Outside Roswell, NM

Happy New Year and all that implies! So far I have managed to nap, grocery shop, and take out the trash. This is actually considered progress.

Starting tomorrow I’ll be on board with my first of 12 month-long life experiments. I say I’m starting tomorrow because I’m not quite sure what January’s is yet. The idea is to try things for month-long periods that may or may not be something I’m interested in doing for longer than a month. Part of the idea is that repetition is habit-forming, and some of these experiments will be good habits. Some will just be stuff I have wanted to try and need a blogging reason to get going on them.

A couple will be dietary (not eating refined sugar or flour, going vegan). Some will be musical because I have a few instruments I have been meaning to get better acquainted with (I’m looking at you, dulcimer).

This month? Well…we’ll see about that tomorrow.

Happy 2012, all!
Laterz, ’11.