SCREW IT! I’M GOING TO DECORATE!

It may well just be me at Christmas time.
I’ve posted pictures of my Christmas tree over the years. It’s 14 feet tall and plastic. My daughter, Vanessa, persuaded me to stop using real trees about a decade ago and I must admit plastic ones are easier cause the lights are already attached (but I add some red heart-shaped lights). It’s also easy to put up but the decorating part takes 2 days each way…2 days to put up and 2 days to take down and this Holiday I’ll be on my own to do it…with a very tall ladder.

Still, I’m going to do it. I decided today. I’ll start the day after Thanksgiving. I mean, if I’m going to do it I might as well have it up a full month.

My squirrel can see the tree through the window. She’s quite fat now. We’re talking liposuction fat. Should I stop feeding her? There are squirrel experts among you that’s why I’m asking. BTW, when I’m late putting peanuts (in their shells) in her feeder, she comes onto my porch and looks through the window for me.

Most of my time these days is spent writing climate articles and my opening for our weekly virtual Fire Drill Fridays and reading. I read about a book a week. I stop everything around 6pm, watch the Rachel Maddow show and then scroll around for shows to watch. I’ve pretty much scraped the bottom of the barrel watching things I never thought I’d see. I won’t name names. But last night, the new season of “The Crown” started and it’s really good. Also, a multi-parter on Showtime about Ronald Reagan which tells the real story of his rise and the effect he had on American politics. Finally the truth!

I mentioned this before but if you haven’t already seen “My Octopus Teacher,” a documentary on Netflix, you must! It’s amazing and very moving.

We’ve gotten word that “Grace & Frankie” will continue filming our 7th and final season in early June of 2021. A long time to wait but, given the age and vulnerability of the 4 leads, it’s best. I’ll be headed into 84 by the time we’re done. Yikes! This last season will have 16 episodes instead of the usual 12.

It’s clear (and it makes me sad) that when I write a blog about something serious, like the climate crisis, way fewer people follow it as opposed to when I write this sort of every-day-what-I’m-doing blog so I’m trying to intersperse them. And big thanks to those of you who follow regardless. Believe me, I notice.

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114 Comments
  1. Dear Jane!

    A beautiful tree! I really like the eclecticism of the ornaments. I like the ones with history the most. Funny, but today I like the ones most that I found not nice in my childhood. Years later, I take them out of the box with the greatest tenderness and hang them carefully on the twigs.

    I also think that such simple, good things as decorating the Christmas tree are even more necessary and important for us this year. Seeking beauty and goodness in everyday life probably allows you to stay calm and balanced when so much evil is happening outside. Similarly, nature, so I bow my head to the squirrel and I’m glad that she keeps you company and gives you joy. But I don’t think you should provide her with food anymore – I consulted a wildlife defender.

    All the best,
    Magdalena

    PS. I am delighted with the next season of “The Crown” and episode 7 made me feel blown away. The price that people with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems have paid and paid in history continues to hurt and arouse anger. But we can make a deed out of this anger today and fight stereotypes and prejudices.

  2. Jane,

    For several years, I’ve struggled with Complex PTSD, and during lockdown, I decided to finally write about it, not just the flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, etc., but the traumatic events that caused them in the first place. The process has been so incredibly freeing, terrifying and empowering all at once, and through my writing I’ve learned to self-love, confront my own demons, and finally begin to heal.
    Despite the peace and joy I’ve found in writing, I’ve often encountered overwhelming exhaustion, the kind that comes from crying out tears that needed to be cried long ago. It usually has been fleeting, but the past few weeks, that tiredness has multiplied, and the words that flowed so freely have often been stuck inside. I enjoy my various hobbies, and actively practice mindfulness and meditation; but something’s off, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. More than that, I’ve been afraid, and not quite sure what I’m afraid of. Yes, the memories are frightening, but it’s something else, something less definable. I’m struggling with getting the last pages written, unsure of how to wrap things up, and pull it all together.
    Have you, when writing ‘My Life So Far,’ or any of you other books, experienced a similar kind of stagnation, a fear or doubt that you couldn’t explain? If so, what helped you to work through it? How did you find the courage to publish, to share what came directly from your heart? I knew that I needed to write this. I know it’s essential to my growth and my healing. More than that, I feel it’s the right thing to do. I need to finish, but finish with strength and clarity. As a woman, as a writer, what do you think I should do?
    Aside from asking your advice, I really need to thank you. You’ve given me hope in such an unnerving time, not just with your writing, but with your spoken words, with your art, and your ongoing activism, too. I’ve received so much joy from your films, from all that you’ve done, and all that you do. You’ve changed things for the better, and I cannot thank you enough.

    Rosie

    • Thank you for sharing that you’re blocked, Rosie. I have felt blocked many times, especially when writing my most personal memoirs. What I did (I was mostly living on a ranch at that time which I no longer have) is, I went outside and moved rocks to build revetments and I cut down tress and brush to create trails for riding and hiking. I was a trail blazer! I actually bought myself a small, portable, battery driven buzzsaw. I also worked in the garden. In other words, i moved from mental labor to manual labor. I got out of my head and with the rigor of the work, my internal guard, the censor, was turned off and what often happened is that thoughts and ideas came to me. Try it. Do you have a garden? Is there any way you can do laborious work?

  3. Jane, That is one gorgeous tree! “Beau-Ti-Full,” as my aunt Vi would say. I stopped decorating in ’99 when my mom died, but we had a fake tree for eons. Xmas for me is gift-giving. I love it but it has grown harder. Most friends have everything they need and buy everything they want. They are voracious readers like you, so it is hard to know what they have read and if I hear of something just coming out, they go buy it before I can get to it. And then there’s Covid.
    The tall ladder comment brings out red flags and alarm bells. I hope someone is there to watch your balance and break the fall. (D) Or the writers on G&F will be doing a lot of rewrite. No crawling through doggy-doors this time.
    Nameless squirrel has got you well-trained. Good for her. I wouldn’t worry about her plump pouch. She will use it up over the winter. If you put on your exercise DVD, I don’t think she will take the hint.
    I finished “Hinterland” just to see Wales as my grandmother was born there. Pretty dark. I finished, “The Crown” last night. Learned a lot about QE and M. Thatcher. God, we are still reeling from Reagan & Thatcher! Watched the Sophia Loren movie. I loved that she can still get up and dance! Did Octopus when you first mentioned it. Wonderful and touching. Referred to others. Loved Nature on Primates. Talk about dedicated caretakers, learning to scale tall trees to teach baby Orangutans how to climb. Sounds like something you would have done in your youth. I climbed trees too, but not that tall!
    Feedback on the book club. One asked if they were following through on the goals they told you. I can report that that CHASE CARD is going to get cut up! She is working on it and making progress. Another referenced a green resource in your book. Another has been watching FDF. She said, “It’s GOOD!” We were on zoom, so I tried not to smirk or be smug. But a lot of very nice things were said about you and the experience. “Personable” “Felt like they had a “real moment” with you.” “can see why you (me) are such a fan.” Yada Yada, but it was fun to hear.
    Now you know I read everything you write so I won’t go there. I have to hold back as I would write something all the time, and too wordy, so wordy. Like this is. What you say is so comprehensive, well-said etc maybe others just think you got it all covered so well, they have nothing to add. 🙂 xx Dona

    • Well, very glad to hear that the book club visit was a success. It was fun and interesting for me too.

  4. Hi! I can’t believe I didn’t know about your website until now. Better late than never, right?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on life through your blog. I’m really enjoying it. Thanks, too, for being the outspoken champion of an advocate for so many. You inspire me!

  5. Your sadness and disappointment are warranted. It’s difficult to put out serious messages to a world that in ever increasing ways only wants the easy and safe. Interspersing is key and I strive to do that with my podcast. I’ve been thinking about your statement for 2 days and this morning read that a study of podcast listeners aged 13-34 (US and UK) “prefer podcast to books, most prefer unscripted podcasts and the main characteristic they want their host to have is to be funny.”

    While I started my podcast Advanced TV Herstory to share stories and information about the women of TV (in front of and behind the camera), its tone has become more intersectional (read: not funny). I’ve taken it to #MeToo – (That Girl!), racism, sexism and the importance of representation. Listeners tell me they want nostalgia. I want to tell them this is no time for nostalgia. So instead I’m interspersing feminist lessons of more icons into the mix.

    Your legacy of activism is your entire life story. That’s why My Life So Far is so transformative for the reader. Artificial Christmas trees are not only simpler to put up and easier on people with allergies, but there’s an environmental cost to bringing a live tree to market. I’d venture to guess most decisions you make in your every day life are climate-strategic. Your followers are interested in what you do and why you do it. That’s where your influence is strongest. Thanks for all you do –

  6. Hi Jane Fonda, OMGoodness I read everyone of your blogs and stay w it until I understand what you are communicating. Now, we are finishing a remodel of a 1911 chapel in Bow, WA (the kindness town) and I took a couple weeks off from texting and reading. However, I’m back starting today. I enjoy your day to day blogs-but, I need FDF and your serious articles. See you at 11:00 for FDF!

    Best,

    Pam Clifford

  7. Hi Jane !
    Wow beautifull Christmas tree !
    be careful to decorate the top of the tree !
    Great the little visit of your squirrel, it’s so cute
    when I go to walk in the park I look to see if I see squirrels in the alley or there are oaks … but they are often hidden!
    You speak of Greta Thunberg, I admire her for fighting for the climate, she started so young, and she is young and brave.
    fortunately there are these young people who react when others laugh at everything and wreck everything ! we are living in a strange time right now.
    I have a baby girl and I think about her and all these children I fear it will be difficult for them in the years to come.
    Like you I will be alone for Christmas my nurse son will work on December 25th and then we don’t know if we will be confined again !
    Take care of you xxx

    • God bless and I hope you nurse son stays safe

      • God bless you too Jane.
        My son is a cardiology nurse, he is not in direct contact with Covid patients, thank God. it must still be very careful not to be contaminated.
        Take care of you xxx

  8. Wow! the Harper’s Bazaar “conversation” was perfect. Smooth as silk and covered everything, that I’ve heard you say before, but all in one great piece. I wish I could own a copy and play it to my friends and anyone I could share it with. If it was on a disk, I ‘d send it for Christmas. It was just perfect. It was Jane 101 as the passionate, caring, dedicated, inspired, knowledgeable, brave person, I see in my heart. I loved it!
    Stunning. xx Dona

  9. Hi Jane!
    I started feeding a squirrel at the beginning of the pandemic because he was always at the bird feeder and he has a little gimp leg… he is also quite chunky now, but I think it’s good for the winter! I just finished watching The Queen’s Gambit— a very interesting story and well done! I am always searching for something new to read—any recommendations? Stay well and happy decorating!!
    —Jen (from book club in PA)

    • Hi Jen. Try reading “All You Can SAve.” and, for a novel, “Overstory” by Richard Powers

  10. Hola,
    Veo que no se actualiza la página desde hace días, ¿debo hacer algo? ¿Es por el idioma?¿Se puede escribir en español como yo hago o se tiene que escribir en inglés?

    • Ey Floren, I wish I spoke Spanish and Portuguese but I don’t, alas. xx

      • Sabiendo francés como es tu caso, no es dificil, tenemos las mismas construcciones, en realidad ocurre con todos los idiomas de origen latino, son distintos pero se parecen

        • Floren, yo hablo español y disfruto leerte en mi idioma pero tu puedes utilizar el traductor de google, escribes lo que quieres decir en español te lo traduce instantaneamente lo copias y lo pegas, eso hacemos la mayoría que no es nuestro idioma nativo el ingles,a veces la traducción tiene errores pero en general se comprende muy bien el texto, saludos.

  11. Hola,
    No puedo creer lo que está pasando con Trump, cada noticia es peor que la anterior. Esta semana he visto a Guliani en unas tristes imágenes diciendo que Alemania y España recontaban los votos de EEUU a través de empresas afines a Maduro implantadas aquí, es una afirmación espantosa sin ningún fundamento que pretende confundir a los ciudadanos norteamericanos y al mundo entero y de paso desacreditar a Europa. Lamentablemente todo apunta que veremos un final de la función con estas argucias que separan a los ciudadanos, ojalá me equivoque.

  12. Dear Jane,
    I´ve been sleeping really badly since some days. I´ve been feeling restless and depressed. No motivation for anything since the Covid-Lockdown here in Germany has started. Then, this morning I watched a video of you and Lily Tomlin on Youtube and in one of them you mentioned your blog. I took the chance and started reading it, then I started watching the other videos on your website and I am here to thank you, so so so much: this is the inspiration I was seeking for. YOU are the inspiration I needed. I´ve been feeling so lonely and uncapable of anything in these last weeks. I have so much the need of action, of exchange. I am a brazilian multi-disciplinary artist and activist based in Germany and I find so hard to “keep moving” in those Covid times… I feel so blocked. It is wonderful to know that there are people like you giving so much support to those important causes. The love and energy you are investing in all this gives me life. I´m glad that I discovered your blog and that I can share those words with you. I believe that “to connect” is very powerful.
    Much love,

    Luiza Braz Batista

    • A BIG welcome to our online community, Luiza. It’s a very cool, fun and loyal community in my mind. Glad you’ve discovered it. Stay involved. xxx jane

      • Jane, this community is amazing, very diverse and respectful, I can express myself without fear of criticism, You on your Twitter and Instagram do not answer but do you read the comments? I get very angry when people who do not know you attack and criticize you, many of this blog including me and even your daughter answer on your behalf, I admire your attitude, I have a lot to learn from you, I would not be in this mess if I had stayed silent . Anyway I’ll keep trying I love you very much.

  13. hi Jane im ruby im in love with your show with grace and Frankie and when I started watching it it made feel so warm and fuzzy because I have a best friend who like Frankie can get annoying sometimes but its all out of love and I wanted to thank you and lily Tomlin for making me know that I want to grow up with her and grow old with her.

    also I want to be more of an activist for girls everywhere in my town so any tips?

    • Ruby, where’s your town?

      • hi I got your reply thank you I live in Rhinebeck New York on a farm im starting a business called beauty flow for women shelters in my town and everywhere I can send you the details if you would like? its pretty amazing this idea I also want to sell it online.

        • Rhinebeck. That’s VERY close to the Omega Center which is a fantastic place. I’ve gone to many “Women & Power” conferences there. Don’t know if it’s shut down for now. xx

          • oh so great thank you ill look im going to barnes and noble tmr to buy ur new book im so happy to get it hope its signed there.

            its so nice of you to reply.

            xoxo

          • Jane, I found the website of this Omega center on the internet, it is closed until 2021 but they have online programs and some very good relaxation videos available for everyone now so necessary to face what we are going through worldwide.

  14. Your comment is awaiting approval.

    Hi Jane

    This tree is beautiful! You must be careful climbing ladders! I won’t be putting my tree up myself this year. Still recuperating from back surgery. But my son and daughter-in-law will do the honors. I usually decorate the whole house, inside and out.

    I follow you on everything you do. I read all your blogs, though I don’t always comment. I attend all Fire Drill Fridays and, there again, I may not comment other than a Hi Jane from Charleston, SC, I do find the meetings helpful and informative. I have stepped out of my comfort zone, and contacted my congressmen, where in the past I would not have done it, but with your encouragement, I did it!!

    Sorry to hear Grace and Frankie won’t be filming until June, ’21 instead of January, but I do understand the cautions that must be taken. I will continue re-watching seasons 1-6.

    Again Jane, be careful climbing that ladder!! We do not need any broken bones!!

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. With much love and admiration!!
    Elaine

  15. Hello from England! Been watching Grace & Frankie! And now the latest film with Robert Redford! X

    • Sara,
      What latest movie with Robert Redford?? I haven’t heard that he has done a new one. Dona

  16. A propósito de los árboles de Navidad, ¿a nadie le da pereza quitarlo cuando pasan las fiestas? En mi país las fiestas duran hasta el 6 de Enero dia de los Reyes Magos que es cuando nos hacemos los regalos y muchas veces no consigo quitar los adornos hasta 15 dias después, ja ja, todos los años me pasa lo mismo.
    Mucho cuidado con las reuniones familiares, aquí recomiendan que solo nos juntemos como mucho seis personas, así que este año celebraremos la Navidad mucho mejor en verano cuando ya tengamos la vacuna, un año estuve unos dias en Diciembre en la playa en Cabo Verde y era extraño los adornos de Navidad en las sombrillas y la gente con los gorritos de Papa Noel al sol, a mi me resultaba muy simpático, así que tendremos que hacer algo así, juntar todas las celebraciones para cuando estemos seguros. Mucha suerte para todos

  17. Jane, I don’t know If you received my message, because I have been updating your blog since the day you posted about the Xmas tree and did not see my comment. I don’t know why It hasn’t been approved, If you felt offended by anything I said, I’m so so sorry, It was never my intention. I just wanna say that it will mean a loot for me if you read what i commented about the tradition we have in Brazil to set up the Xmas tree on the first Sunday of Advent and I really liked all your decorations.

    On the other comment which was not approved I also said how much you inspire me on college, the course I do which is Translation ( Portuguese and English), we have a subject for Environmental Issues and my professor showed us a video of you and Annie Leonard. I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing with us all your knowledge, dedication and passion for a better and more sustainable world. I watch all the videos on youtube about Fire Drill Fridays and they enrich me a lot, from these videos I started to be able to communicate more in class on this subject, because I will confess one thing to you: I was very lay in this subject before starting to watch your videos, so here is my huge thanks for providing us with this knowledge bag so important and in my opinion, little talked about. So good to know that a celebrity uses his voice for such essential matters.

    You said you notice who engages in your comments to talk about politics or environmental issues or just common, everyday posts. I try to comment whenever I have something to add and I try not to be too much of a drag, as I know this can sound a little irritating, even if the intention was the best.
    Sorry, but I have to say that in the artistic world, you are one of my biggest inspirations. I am 20 years old and have many health problems, and whenever I went to the doctor, he almost begged me to start doing physical exercise, and now in quarantine, I started to suffer from a lot of anxiety and started working out with your videos and my god I’m loving it!! Maybe it may seem a little old-fashioned to you, after all it’s been many years since you released, but believe me: it’s working, I’m loving doing it. I feel that when I do the exercises, I feel less anxious in the day and I can sleep better, because I also suffer from insomnia.

    About Grace and Frankie: I’m sad that the last season will take longer to be released, but at the same time happy that you will be back when everything is normal again.
    I’m a big fan of the show, I’m watching it for the third time right now and I just love watching it before bed, after a stressful day and having a glass of wine, nothing better !! Very sad that the show will end, could you tell me why? Did Netflix tell you about the reason for the cancellation of it? For me it could be like Grey’s Anatomy, thousands of seasons. I’m absolutely sure that Marta and Roward would handle, there is a lot to explore on the show, several plots.

    XoXo,
    Giovanna Montanhan Banho

    • Giovanna, It was Netflix’s idea to end G&F. It has to do with whether the financials make sense for them. every season costs them more. Also, we all think there’s a move toward mini series over the ones that last a long time. I get it but it’s really hard on the ‘below the line folks, the crew and behind the scene workers. Little long-term job security. UGH

  18. What a gorgeous tree! It looks to be full of memories – just the sort of tree I like. Do be careful on that ladder; we need you healthy and unharmed. One Christmas I stood on a chair to place some ornaments high on the tree and slipped on the chair pad. It jarred my back something awful. I now try to be especially careful.

    I’m eagerly awaiting the final season of Grace and Frankie. My husband and I both adore the show. We don’t usually watch much television as we ordinarily lead a pretty busy life promoting music and the arts via our nonprofit. Needless to say, things slowed up tremendously for us this year. I recently finished watching all 7 seasons of The Golden Girls and am almost through Keeping Up Appearances (it’s been good to laugh every night). I’m finding comfort in older shows so next up for me will be The Odd Couple. I’ll have to check out “My Octopus Teacher”.

    Our adult son lives next door and is quarantining with us. We’ve been watching a lot of movies together. A couple of weeks ago we watched “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” which I had never seen before. Excellent! One my all-time favorite movies is “Barefoot in the Park” and my son hadn’t seen it. We watched it together last week and he really enjoyed it, too. So, thank you for entertaining us during this crazy time. 🙂

  19. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone in the US!
    Some of you will have enough food to put on your table, but can’t share because of self-isolating.
    Some of you won’t have any food, and the number is growing as I’m writing this.
    While sorting out my PC I found a silly, old joke, but how relevant, still, after all these years.
    It won’t feed anyone, but maybe it can put a smile, even if a faint one, on some faces.

    There it goes:
    A worldwide survey was conducted by the UN with the only question asked being:
    “Would you please give your honest opinion about the solutions to the food shortages in the rest of the world?”
    The survey was a failure because:
    In Africa they didn’t know what “food” meant.
    In Western Europe they didn’t know what “shortage” meant.
    In Eastern Europe they didn’t know what “honest” meant.
    In China they didn’t know what “opinion” meant.
    In the Middle East they didn’t know what “solution” meant.
    In South America they didn’t know what “please” meant.
    And, in the US, they didn’t know what “the rest of the world” meant.

    Wishing all the people in the world all the best possible xx

  20. Jane
    So my worst nightmare came true. COVID hit my family. My brother and sister in law both have it. Which I thought was because my brother is a musician and he was starting to play again. He played at a wedding and some private parties and also at some bars. They have temps and lost taste and smell. Hopefully it’s not to bad for them. Also I am watching this 8 episode documentary called Trial 4 on Netflix. It’s about journalists who expose corruption and racism in the Boston police Department. I just can’t believe what the police get away with. It’s so eye opening . Just wow. If you ever get time it’s really interesting. Hope all is well.
    Love always,
    Stacey

    • Thanks for the “Trial 4” tip. I pray your brother and sis-in-law get well soon. xx

      • Jane,
        Thank you.I just wish people would listen and just stay home. It’s difficult for him because music and entertaining is his life and job, but no excuse. Your welcome for the recommendation. I just finished it. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.
        Love always,
        Stacey

  21. Hi Jane! I am from India, but still, we celebrate Christmas every year. Decorating the Christmas tree is always so enjoyable. Best of luck with your decorations!
    I am also watching The Crown and am really liking it.
    Keep yourself safe and happy.
    Yours sincerely
    Snigdha

  22. Jane why the calamary? I Love it too😢😢😢

    • Calamari is made from octopus and, after watching “My Octopus TEacher,”: I’ve fallen in love and admiration for octopii.

  23. Jane the new movie from Mary Steenburgen “happiest SEASON” is very good.

  24. Hi Jane Fonda! My sister loves working out and she was just pondering on the thought if you were working on any more workout projects. I just started learning French in my high school class… J’adore ton blog 🙂 As I am writing this, I was just informed that my Uncle attended your wedding.

    Happy Thanksgiving and God bless,

    Carley

    • Carley, which wedding? I’ve had 3 of them. xx

  25. Hi Jane. Normally I would never reach out (I know how private people are, my daughter is a director) but whether you see this or not I wanted you to know I’ve followed your activism a long time and modeled it whenever I could. I teach Anthropology and we spend most of our time on climate science. Your Firedrill Fridays are part of my curriculum through IG. So we are listening. And acting.
    Also my son is co director of NOAA drought task force and he believes that what you are doing has an important role in establishing a conversation for all of us. So please know we are listening and teaching future generations the importance of agency.
    Thank you for your commitment to all of us
    Lyn Morano Lord

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