Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So Long Sammy

Amy wrote me yesterday to say that she had had to let Sammy go. A purr pillow to the last.

I will miss him.

He was such a great fellow: what a love-y, love-y, love-y cat. Although I'll never forget his 7th and 8th lives being forfeited in that plunge off the beam onto the edge of the coffee table. ?! Or his "night out" in the god-forsaken motel off the highway in Missouri on the way here. That was his 9th life right there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

Wednesday night - long day at work. Then a huge helping of "Arrested Development." (Season II).

Thursday - Gloria goes on a veggie cooking binge. How lovely! Feasting in Rio Rancho with the Manzanares clan. Decompressing with Ratatouille (the movie). It rained. A good solid rain. And was nippy. If we could see the tops of the Sandias I'm guessing there would be snow.

Friday - after a leisurely start, a trip to Santa Fe to the Folk Art Museum. Cheap tasty early dinner at the colorful coffee shop/ bakery behind Trader Joe's. Could see the snow line, and the sulky clouds dumping the snow on them. Just out of reach/ a couple of miles off on the peaks that ring Museum Hill.

Saturday - errands. A field trip to Pro's Market (what on earth to they do with all that tamarind? what are the cheeses for?). Then a quick (hurried) late morning walk along the empty ditch. Doug the dog to Petsmart for a bath and claw clip. 12:30 appointment. Tuesday Morning for candles. Walmart looking for things they didn't have. Wall-e ... an impulse buy. Watched it and were delighted.

Sunday - Cleaned and sorted and fluffed at Gloria's. Put up Christmas decorations! At Lowe's, found decorations on sale, so I got myself a set of 4 gold metal stars with twinkie lights inside. Got G bulbs and tinsel. Went home (it was like coming home after a trip). Read some Darwin and ate the end of last week's soup. Weather pretty warm (you can go out without gloves and hats, with a light jacket or windbreaker). And speaking of windbreakers, it was REALLY windy all day. Knocked all the rest of the leaves off the elm. Brown waves frozen in place all over my back yard. The tomato plants now brown; hard to look at. This winter cycle: dying, dead, shrinking back into the soil.

Friday, November 21, 2008

the days are getting shorter and shorter...

Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
(Saturday) November 22nd, 2008

Gloria drove us down to Socorro on Saturday for the day. We read about them on the way down... Sandhill Cranes - from the Cornell Birds of North America. See my Notes? -- Cranes, over-studied? Growing grains. Snow geese. The bumper tractor. Rattlesnakes up by the visitor's center. Some of the craftspeople at the event were people I might really like. (Where are they? What are they doing?) Heard the last bit of Carolyn's talk on the early ornithologists of SW. Came away with some great coloring books: Project Wild.

Different government bodies ? (Tickled bits of Aldus Leopold... that biography that irked me, so I put it down).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Third week of November

Japanese maples
their red fall leaves a hundred
hundred prayer scrolls.

Second Week of November

*placeholder. * i made notes, somewhere in my piles and datebook, my calendars, my To Do pages. there are things i want to remember...

Bueno Bye
Gloria pushed her retirement date up by six months! November 12th, she said, I'm giving you a month's notice. Later, for the bean counters, she realized she would need to make an appearance the 23rd. Oh my!

Mary & JJ leave for two weeks in Tanzania (Friday afternoon off for Amsterdam). ?!

First Week of November

Saturday-Mary takes us on a Rock Retrieval mission to a BLM site out by Cuba. The drive is dazzling. And the area for picking up moss rock magical.

Sunday - We drive back and hike (well, walk. amble.) in the area Mary pointed to the day before, just past the turn off to San Isidro. It was gorgeous.

Sunday night - Day of the Dead parade in South Valley
Kate sent an APB to the girl-gang about this, and Lisa commented to all that it made gay pride look tame. So we made a point of going, managing to get lost and have panic attacks about where to park. It was everything one could have hoped.

Monday night - Gloria went with me to the poetry salon hosted by Ken Gurney and Diane Schliess. Sari Kronsky, Bob Reeves, Ken, Gloria and myself. I brought Walt Whitman. Maureen Seaton made a surprise appearance.

Wanderlust: the dark side.
Or--Office Supply Slut
by Dottie Webb

Dear Notebook,
You are the perfect size and shape.
We had a charmed beginning.
I composed haiku
and sketched leaves.

But now the honeymoon is over--just like that.
I'm carrying you, carrying you,
still taking you everywhere,
hopeful (but secretly defeated)
fallow / thallow / callow
I stare at you. Nothing.
The haiku have dried up.
I have stopped trying to sketch.
And won't stoop to scratching out shopping lists--
I respect you too much for that....

Yesterday I wanted to cheat on you.
I prowled the office supply section of the bookstore,
my fingers trailing lightly over tablets, notepads,
plastic-coated blocks of index cards--ruled or unlined.
Oh yes, I've already dated those--
piles of them everywhere at the house.
I abandoned them too.

That is what I do--give up. Go looking
for the next one. Maybe a spiral-bound bit of French
parchment with extra-still backing.

Saying something--do something to woo me!
There's a 6" x 10" buff, little, recycled Japanese number on an end cap
for five and a quarter and she's
whispering my name.

by Kenneth Gurney

Death comes
right through your door,
not so much as a "by your leave,"
takes the funny papers from your hand,
pours coffee into a dirty cup from the sink,
puts the roach motel in his pocket,
eats the last jelly roll.

He looks over your shoulder,
cusses—the Cubs lost again,
smiles—Sammy’s 22nd homerun.

He takes control of the remote,
hopes for Monty Python’s
"dead parrot" sketch,
turns to the comedy channel,
then A&E, then the History Channel,
settles for a holocaust documentary,
watches until the show ends.

Death grabs a post-it note from the fridge,
writes something in a cryptic script,
paces back and forth pondering,
goes to that old school clock
you keep by the door,
opens the glass face,
moves the hands backward
three minutes and seven seconds,
then places the hand written


on your forehead.

Non sequitur.

In the interest of growing, trying new things, stepping outside my comfort zone, I tried out Flickr (and really liked it), and Facebook (a bit overstimulating while already in a job with swirl and Drama and anxiety and the least personal space I've ever had to cope with for the bulk of my waking hours).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4th Week of October

Bought another pile of candy, for my second attempt at getting a group of people to make monster cupcakes with me on Halloween.



**The young Roadrunner & I, startling one another in the corner of G's yard. This is the closest I've ever been to one. I froze. It froze. What perfect camouflage it had, in her dry tall fall grass.
**Three Whooping Cranes pass overhead a bit later. So high up. Specks. And that unmistakable call, call, call. How high up? Blasting along on a wind river I had no idea was there. Invisible white water. Rapid Swift Knots per Hour. Airspeed. Tailwind. South, south, south, calling the whole time. Calling at roughly the interval of my heartbeat. The two-tone two-note. It's so loud down here, three football fields away, why don't they go stone deaf yelling at each other like that from a couple of carlengths?! Big Honkin' Birds.
**Pairs of black sable squirrels with tufted ears.
**Startling 2 young deer on the mountainside, the shadowy face. Almost invisible, even after you've looked them in the eyes and know precisely where they are standing. They disappear in front of your very nose. Then tease you with a twitch of an ear; the motion grabs all your senses. As if you could smell them out. Late afternoon. The sun reaching only the tops of the trees as the crest above our heads stealing the rest for the west face while we shivered.
**The woman hiking on crutches. The tiny trickle of a stream. The flock of very shy birds drinking. Wings. Who knew they made so much sound; they're clumsy! laughed Gloria. And they were, sort of. We froze and stood very very still. After several long minutes, they started to gather. And return to drinking or hunting bugs or flirting. Hell, I don't know. But that sound, the shirr of wings a few feet away, partially hidden by bushes and young trees. Makes you believe in fairies and angels. Flying is not silent.

  The Loom is here.

  88 pounds?! yikes.

Third Week of October

June Howard. The American Studies Association. Did I say June Howard?!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2nd Week of October

Had a cold front come through. A little bit of Rain. Lots of Wind. Very Autumnal. Yesterday G had frost on her windshield. Today the same. Should bounce back up to New Mexico's sunny accustomed temperament: bright, with calm winds and highs in the high 70s for the Rio Grande Valley. Left is a dry seed pod from the fence along the front of Gloria's yard. A hardy trumpet vine with sensuous deep red-orange blossoms. (Ergh... blossomed when?!)

A above Middle-C is stuck!
Ted Ledbetter, Albuquerque's Organ Repair expert for 32 years (or was it 37)? Small silver aluminum case of tools he brought to work on UNM Music department equipment. After some complicated and silly logistics, he went off with my keyboard. (Gulp). Thant from the Yamaha repair department authorized him to repair it, but not for housecall prices ($75). Apparently there was a manufacturing problem. !! I am vowing to play it regularly when I get it back. ((I take this as a nudge from the gods.))

With a little cash, G is seeing some options at work. And much happier. More spunk. More spirit. This past weekend, she planted bulbs around the base of the Japanese Scholar tree out back. (What were they? Daffodils and hyacinths?)

after having them aggressively take over the garden last summer, we were actually very happy to see the cosmos shoot up and blossom wildly. they attracted our attention more and more brightly as the wild rangy sunflowers withered, turning brown, shrinking into twigs: dozens of wobbly bird feeders for the finches.


the grass by the clothesline is heavy with seeds, and nods at any slight exhale of breath

Monday, October 6, 2008

1st Week of October

An Inch of Rain
Balloon Fiesta began this weekend. (We saw none of it). Saturday night it rained--really rained. Overcast, windy, moist and considerably cooler. (How much? Temps unseasonable?)

Days shorter. Really notice it in the mornings.

Went with G to meet Fran & Stony's baby: Samuel. Went to Village Wools for some more bright string bag thread. G's Loom is looming!

What is in my back yard, the l o n g way around...
Reading Darwin's Century by Loren Eiseley. Sat at the UNM Bookstore Friday & looked at the science section, including a short biography of Darwin. Kind of interested in his Beagle days. Also think his grandfather and Humboldt sound appealing. Read through the wikipedia zoology timeline on early entomology--until my eyes started to glaze over and my brain went numb with lists of names and manuscript titles in Latin, French and German. I was surprised at how early Leowenhouk and his microscope arrive. I found the lack of any bibliographic references irritating. Along with a decided lack of any larger context.

Flip - Snap - Send
Got a new phone. (How long has it been? Hmm). One that sends photos & messages like G's...

Poe Try
G went with me to Ken Gurney's poetry salon last night. (Was that my 3rd time?) Very powerful. I was very proud to have her there. I kind-of thought she'd really like them. He said he was finishing his final issue of Origami Condom, handing over the editor's role.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

4th week of September

Very dry. But cool and lovely. 80s for a high, mid-50s for a low. Sunny. Not a lot of wind. We bird-watched in G's yard (yellow songbirds in the fading sunflowers). Then we had a picnic at the co-op, and took a Sunday drive West on I-40 and south from Tijeras, climbing up into the mountains, stopping off to take a long lazy walk through a canyon. A place that gathers water and has several stands of cattails (as unlikely as that seems to me). Sat near a pool of water under the shelter cottonwood & pinon & juniper & oak, and watched a dainty skittish flock of Townsend Solitaires drink and watch for bugs.

I miss the poets. A lot. (Hey, where did everybody go?!) I got one person's card: http://www.catkidd.com/Site/Welcome.html

And a name to look up. Awww. Those canadians!
Sheri-D Wilson!! "Spinsters Hanging in Trees" (YouTube)
Her Space (Alberta as a Woman)
Panty Portal just a part of it. teaseeeee.

wearing mismatched socks
I suddenly saw my feet
as distinct creatures.

Surprises in my tiny back yard: asters! Killed 2 large brown grasshoppers. Having to water by hand since I got that staggering surprise water bill a few weeks back.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Blur

"A call to arms: How to handle the fury brought on by this election? Register voters, hit the streets, pray. Stop talking about her. Talk about Obama."

Mary sent me the Annie Lamott piece from Salon.com this morning... it was like rain on dry ground.

- - - - -
Beyond that, I feel like I'm losing my grip on time and space...

Sam the baby. Fran & Stoney's bambino. When was he born?! I've already lost track. Gloria and I mused and counted on our fingers. We thing the answer is the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Sept 17th [2008].

This past Sunday, Sept 20th, we took a ride out to Sandia Man Cave. 3 hours and we were both restored. nurtured. soothed by early pinons and very old sharp rocks. Oddly, the public television station at the Manzanares household was playing a special on the Sandias. One of only five places on the planet where the earth's crust is thinning, along a fault line where the continent is still slowing pulling apart. On the west side, the mountains are granite, pushed up and folded. And there is a mysterious layer which cannot currently be accounted for in terms of known geological events. It is called, I kid you not, the Great Unconformity. (In googling this, I stumble on the Earth Science Picture of the day. very nice)

When did the new VP of Enrollment Services start? (August 1st. ish.) The Reign of Terror. G said that Friday's meeting was like watching a bully skewer and torture a bug on a pin. [Can it only have been 6 weeks?!]

  • Friday Joy Park put an Out of the Blue gift on my doorstep!
  • When did Meredith start? [Later, Dot comes across that welcome email from Becky. Answer: Monday Sept 8th, 2008 ]
  • When was Kerry's last day? [ As Dot pins down Meredith, she can back up counting on her fingers... because Kerry's final day was the Friday before Meredith... Sept 5th. ]
  • Last week, my attempts to be kind to others by cooking LSJ & T a meal went awry in the manner of a gentle domestic comedy. Thursday Sept. 18th we had Vicki and Darcy over for dinner. Friday night, Linda, Teresa, Rose and Mwadi.
  • Sunday I talked to my mother awhile.
  • Late Sunday afternoon, after our drive/ hike, we visited/ went to the 66 Diner with her parents. They didn't fight. She took pictures of them. We all laughed a lot. Renting bathing suits. Pick up lines for the cardboard stand-up Bette Boop ("Hey, remember me?"). The doctor saying bring me a doughnut. About her father swimming to Okinawa. Me saying "Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened."

Am a third of the way through Darwin's Century by Loren Eiseley. Stopped and felt the urge, which I followed up on, to ready Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Read that last night.

Wildflower by the side of the trail.
Sandias. 9/21/08

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


juggernaut - 1. (often lowercase) any large, overpowering, destructive force or object, as war, a giant battleship, or a powerful football team.
2. (often lowercase) anything requiring blind devotion or cruel sacrifice.
3. Also called Jagannath. an idol of Krishna, at Puri in Orissa, India, annually drawn on an enormous cart under whose wheels devotees are said to have thrown themselves to be crushed.

dystopia - society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding.

1. any violent upheaval, esp. one of a social or political nature.
2.Physical Geography. a sudden and violent physical action producing changes in the earth's surface. an extensive flood; deluge.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Third Week of September 2008

Robert & Leslie have returned from their Costa Rica trip.

The stock market is crashing & being bailed out. On the heels of the mortgage industry crises and sudden precipitous rises in global gas and oil prices.

McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for a running mate. A move I found insulting and frustrating -- suddenly enlivening his presidential bid for all the wrong reasons.

I was able to wear shoes again today. Who knew you could really get sick of flip flops?! My right pinky toe is healing nicely after that --oops-- miss with the pitch fork (two weeks ago?).

This past weekend, attended the STIR poetry festival. It was a life-time high.

Ditto (last weekend):
Linda and Teresa moved to a new house, with help from 12 women and a UHaul. That was last Sunday. Such a swirl of events...

Gloria's job at an all-time low. The rats are winning...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Second Week of September 2008

Weather: very dry, but mild days with cool nights. 59 degrees this morning. Highs in the 80s.

G & I snagged a few red rocks Saturday. Iron oxide? Sandy gritty things.

Did she photograph it? She had a perfect tomato the size of a sugar bowl in her largely neglected garden. She thought it was going to be rotten from sitting on the ground, but it was maybe the best tomato I've ever eaten in my life. Tender, sweet and juicy.

We sat in her yard in the shade and tried to catch a closer look at the tiny birds in and around her sunflower forest with binoculars. How do I invoke them? How fast they move? How restless? How quick? How well they blend in? And how none of them really looked like the photos in the bird book.

A pair (of young?) hummingbirds buzzed us several times. Then zoomed in to rest very briefly in the elm branches above our heads.

Gloria climbed the golden delicious tree. Reaching, twisting, stretching. Branches grabbing at her hair, poking her shirt. She laughed later. Hadn't done that in a long time: climbed the apple tree. I stood down on the ground pointing her to the biggest prettiest ones. We were a clumsy comedy team with the big yellow ladder. And the tree seemed to have a will of its own, ready to protect itself from our advances. There was a branch blocking every angle.

Rose bushes on sale. Hope they make it into the dirt. G got a 1 gal and a 3 gal. We picked them for fragrance. Some old-fashioned pinks. Probably quaking in their pots at the sight of Rose Neophytes.

I spent a few minutes in my own yard. And found a tomato horn worm. (Then very gradually, another. Four total!)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Third Week of August

15' sunflowers are popping in Gloria's yard.
Pigweeds have turned prickly and the ones we missed have seed heads that are so ripe and full that they bend over in a graceful french curve.
The days feel shorter--almost as if to shrink before your eyes.
I've been taking pictures of the garden like a mad woman, like a vegetable canning frenzy. Against the winter ahead.
It feels like I've done nothing but my day job for way too long. Argh.

Oh. There's me and the Marshmello Man in the car down at the bottom. Just thought it was a funny moment in life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Second Week of August

Sheez. I'm really behind.
  • Martha's adventure as a live organ donor. [Add link]
  • The Poetry Salon. (Aug 4th)
  • The Opening Ceremony for the Olympics [Aug 8th? Add photos. This morning on NPR they reported that ~800 people inside the faux printing press were wearing paper diapers. ?!]
  • Weed Season (goat heads & the relatively benign 2-3' green things are now setting seed)
  • Adventures gathering rocks with Gloria. Last night [Aug 13th after sunset] an extremely heavy round red one. Heaviest yet. Probably our limit (without a hand-truck, says G.)
  • The waning light/ the days get shorter. First week of August, as if someone flipped a switch, suddenly it was dark at 6am when the alarm starts blaring.
  • Temperatures relatively nice. Not a lot of wind, not as much rain as I'd like.
  • Cement. Sculpy. Foam and cork sheets. How might I etch haiku in stone. grin.
  • Tomatoes taking over the back stoop. The Bench.
    After an initial breathless love affair, some heart break with blossom end rot. We've been eating 2 or three orange cherry tom's every few days, but somehow that seems anti-climatic.
  • The apples are starting to drop off G's trees.
  • Neighbor Mike's short sunflowers have opened [add photos] & his front patch is a short sea of plum-hued amaranth
  • STIR Sept 12-14. Why not just be a groupie? i hate being alone in my dawdling delight over words.
    [Add Web link]
  • Read Wendell Barry interview last night in July 08 issue of Sun. Lots of wise tidbits.
  • Is Google Making us Stupid - from the Atlantic Monthly. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google
Dana Gioia (head of the National Endowment for the Arts): Reading and the Web: What We Know and Don't Know
James Evans (Univ. of Chicago) : Research + Web = More Conformity, Less Diversity (At Least, So Far)
Kevin Kelly (Wired Magazine): Time to Prove the Carr ("Is Google Making Us Stupid?") Thesis: Where's the Science:
Larry Sanger (Co-founder, Wikipedia): A Defense of Tolstoy & the Individual Thinker
Sven Birkerts: Reading in the Open-Ended Information Zone Called Cyberspace

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Last Week of July 2008

Took the week off. How very extremely yummy.
*Had phone dates with my brother and nephew, and an old friend. Had lunch with two Marys: Oishi the Poet and Woodward the Industrious.
*Took my bike to be spruced up.
*Bought 2 small but handsome teak benches (procured a rubber mallet & some linseed oil specifically for this purpose). G & I assembled them Sunday. She's very handy but humble about her skills with a screwdriver.
*Cut the plywood, attached it to the bright yellow table at G's. We mixed mortar & squished the tiles down! Acquired pre-mixed unsanded white grout for the next step.
*I sorted one of my many PILES of paper.
*And cleaned out the downstairs closet.
*Mixed my first batch of cement objects. Funny, but Rit dye was hard to find. The entire display at Walmart and one of the Walgreens was empty except for odd colors. I managed to get yellow and purple. More of this!!

Send Something Somewhere.
I began the search for periodicals--magazines and journals that represent communities I respect and would like to join. This was harder than I thought. First in terms of actually finding things to look at: Borders doesn't have much any more. Flying Star & the Co-op have some nice earthy-crunchy titles. Don't you think Mother Earth News could use a salting of haiku?! The stacks in the basement of Zimmerman did not have as many recent titles as I wanted. Though I did make some discoveries & also thoroughly enjoyed spinning the big crank to roll the ponderous shelves back and forth. And my big find was a tiny newsstand across from campus. From the front it looked like "magazine" was going to be a synonym for porn, but I was pleasantly surprised. (Wonder if they lock their dumpster?) And second [harder than I thought--A. to just find a stash of them and B...] because I'm still gnashing about the ethics of my actions. What is it I want exactly? ("Be the change you would see in the world." -Gandhi ) To be part of a community. To listen and hear. To speak and be heard. Hurling bits of paper and self-addressed stamped envelopes out into the anonymous realm does not seem enlightened. Or is it? Words speaking for themselves and all that. ?!

Rattle (journal out of Canada) had a great feature section: Illustrated words... flipping though I realized that is this was the direction I wanted to go in ! So I Started considering ways to present haiku so that they claim some quiet visual space.

Went to the Griegos branch of the library & picked through their magazine exchange bin. Began a ransom note rendition of "From the back his shirt / read "Practice Respect Daily" ... Did a collage of "Yearning is a big word..."

GOAL - 12 9x12s.
GOAL - Make molds to press haiku into garden stepping stones. (Should the letters be raised or depressed?)

Unceremoniously, she plucks and bites into the first tomato of the season.
!! Sunday, Gloria looked at the orange globes on the vine we had tentatively identified as "cherry tomato". I think it's ripe, she said, plucking it and thrusting it towards my head. I ducked, not convinced. You try I said. She took a bite. Then smiled broadly. Yum, she said. And handed me the other half. It was warm ripe tomato goodness, in a bright tight orange package. I'll be darned.

Eek. Blossom end rot!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

3rd Week of July 2008

Sin City
Dumpy, frumpy middle-aged vegetarian intellectual and cultural snob is required to spend three days in Las Vegas for a conference. Here is a moment of reckoning. So am I going to find beauty and poetry or am I going to be a pill/ waste all those hours and all that airplane exhaust and money?! (Tempting.) Okay. So it is a challenge.

Ahhh. The Bellagio fountains! All those marble floors. And surprise, surprise--flopping beside one of the 9 small beguiling pools turns out to be quiet and sane and completely relaxing. Or at the other extreme--because you just have to ogle at the strange architectural and social pastiche--we link arms and walk the Strip end to end. Eating fries. Drinking a frozen margarita while walking down the street being jostled by the crowd, nudged by young parents half-heartedly steering strollers.

Back in New Mexico: rain, delicious rain, humidity -- a strange foreign force, as if someone turned up the heat and the gravitational field. "Monsoon season" is what the locals say, with a slight smile.

Backyard news:
ohmygod the tomatoes are gorgeous. and i didn't get a photo of this, but I had a second ENORMOUS bug crash land in the grass. This one a three inch long creamy yellow and black number that I'm pretty sure is a cicada. (I am NOT trustworthy in this assertion--I seem to believe that everything might be a cicada.) I'm a bit mystified because it was gone when I got home. It looked like it was on its last legs at 8am--did something eat it? Did it rally? Fly off in search of a more dignified place to die? I honestly don't know.

Add Tomato photos.
something striping my petunia blossoms.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Second week of July

Monsoons are here, even though Fruit Ave is still dry as a bone. (I'm trying not to take that personally.) For the record, we have had lovely cool temperatures for over a week, since before the 4th. Very comfortable. High 80's. Partly to mostly cloudy. I threw open all the windows last night to let in the crisp night air. Projected high today in the LOW 80's. Isn't that a long, crisp drink of water?!

What you love, you will come to resemble. (The tomato plants.) I played hymns last night. Drank 2 glasses of California Cabernet. Sprawled in the back yard and rubbed the dried lavender blossoms on my hands. Squinted at all the shapes and sizes, of leaf and pot, brick and rock, bleached wooden fence slats and the occasional lazy, vibrant blossom. Then I went upstairs, threw open the doors and let the cats bounce on the bed while I labeled flower parts and read all the fine print in my Botany Coloring Book.

Feed Creativity, Feed Creativity, Feed Creativity...
Okay. One little thing -- internet jazz radio to soften the trauma of being crammed in cages at work. With no personal space. No emotional space. Chickens peck each other to death when they are treated this way, you know? So--tune out. Go away in my head. iTunes. Radio stations. Jazz Laramie. They play great music. The DJs have lovely voices. No commercials. And bits of BBC news. Thank you Planet. But where the hell is Laramie?!

This week I heard from Susan Isley. It was just nice to see her name pop up. A reminder that I have been other places. Been other people. Done other things than now. All that geography, all those struggles. Hmmm. And Hooper wrote. Miss her terribly. She is considering Japanese Beetles.

TOMATOES. Oh my gosh I adore them. I'm watching them, can't keep my eyes off. I'm searching for little green globes like an Easter Egg hunt in mid-air. Only better.

Sarah Orne Jewett (quote pinned up over her writing desk) - 'Fail! Fail again, fail harder!'

Free Will Astrology for week of July 10, 2008
Aries (March 21-April 19)
"The only way to get a difficult feeling to go away is simply to love yourself for it," says author Christiane Northrup. "If you think you're stupid, then love yourself for feeling that way. It's a paradox, but it works. To heal, you must . . . shine the light of compassion on any areas within you that you feel are unacceptable." While I personally believe this is a crafty strategy, I suggest adding a twist in order to double its effectiveness: As you're loving yourself for your difficult feeling, literally laugh out loud at how crazily worried and wound up you are about it.

--The flip side of this: Resistance generates energy....
Course of Action? Stop running. Scream. Cry. Break down. And finally Embrace the Other.

Here are the ghosts, still shouting in my head: "Useless Intellectual" and "You think too much" ... Here are the critical voices: "Writer in a world where there are already what feels like too many words, not enough listening, not enough small righteous actions. Fearful and cautious in a world that desperately needs daily heroes.

I love myself for being an Intellectual. Another one of those quiet writerly types...

Why not just throw things away? -- There is no away.
There is no place to go. Nothing we need to become that we are not already.

liked G's too...

Taurus (April 20-May 20) According to Harper's Index, 97 percent of us believe that following our own conscience is a sign of a strong character. On the other hand, 92 percent of us think that obeying authorities shows strong character. What that apparently means is that most of us feel we can and should heed the dictates of our own conscience and please the people who control things. In the coming weeks, I think that might be possible for you to do once or twice. But most the time, I suspect you'll have to decide between being either an impeccable rebel or loyal devotee.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Solar Fountain - the adventure begins.

For her birthday, G wanted a solar fountain pump. So I shopped around and ordered something in plenty of time (allow for delivery). What I didn't factor in? Back-ordered supplies.

A month later, it finally arrived! And as with most things we touch, it seems to have brought us mysteries. Conundrums. Puzzles. Minor construction problems and major aesthetic dilemmas. So far, we have a small black plastic catch basin/ reservoir, an old black nylon stocking to protect the pump from detritus, a cement-sized plastic bag of 1-3" round river rock, a roll of hardware cloth, a terracotta Azalea pot to serve as a pump cover/ and general behind the scenes support, a 12" length of 1" copper plumbing pipe for a decorative spout, and 4 chunks of rubber and vinyl tubing of various diameters. We tentatively chose a spot. And we have been experimenting with pots (and stoppers for the pots so the vessel will fill and gurgle over in a soothing sing-song voice). My expert DIY buddy Kerry Renshaw says: a tube of silicon caulk. 1,001 uses. Hmm. And there is still the issue of how and where to mount the solar panel.

I know Gloria looks a little underwhelmed in the photos, but it really is just the intense afternoon light. Really.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Publishing Poetry

Last night I had a little time, so I went looking. My plan was/ is to follow the trail of poets and poems I like, to see where my work might fit in. Where would it make sense to send things? Things=Albuquerque Sketch; Hot Summer Evening (sketch); and some of my zippy haiku.

I started with Dana Roeser (UOregon/ NorthWestReview).
"If You Step Off Now" reprinted by Versedaily.
Books: In the Truth Room, and Beautiful Motion.
I visited Eugene once. My ex and I thought we might like to live there, but when we arrived it seemed a tad tired, dumpy--muddy. It was NOT love at first sight. The publication has a gorgeous web site. I wrote down all the submission information, and the name of the poetry editor. What is holding me back? Well, I don't know how I feel about asking for a spot in a publication that I don't subscribe to. Seems dishonest. Or cheap. So I am sitting with that struggle for now. In general, magazines either intimidate or bore me: the beautiful high culture small circulation rags worry me. So many voices. So much yearning. So little listening. Who is their audience? What is their purpose? And frankly, my mental health, my grip on happiness always feels precarious. Tenuous. I don't trust them not to say something that rips me apart unexpectedly. Brave twisted souls handing me devastation. Dumb huh? I guess my grip on Defense Mechanisms is shaky too. Blam! There went 40 years of Avoidance under the 18-wheels of a gorgeous, wrenching, anguished, metaphorical paragraph.

Next I thought, I really loved Allan C. Fischer's poem: "Firebirds." But I couldn't find hide nor hair of him or it. (Okay. Maybe dig around and come back to him.)

How about "Starfish" by Eleanor Lerman?
[I believe I ran into her poem through the Writer's Almanac. Not a regular haunt for me...]
This search was surprising. She turned out to be extremely colorful. Google handed me a listing at the American Academy of Poets (poets.org), several long interviews, a personal web site, and several blog entries by people who were intriguing in their own right. What a strange journey.

Funny details noted in passing: "Stumbleupon" is a great blog name.

When I have something to say for myself I will say it.
Until then, another poet, a cellist, a saint--
their words will do nicely.
-Kate Horowitz

I wanted to cry after awhile. So many lovely words strung together. So many energetic, creative people. And so much posturing and striving. Such a perilous mountain range. It made me sad to think EL. was tossed up and then stomped so thoroughly. ("A sadder and a wiser man, he rose the morrow morn.")

Gandhi said to Be the change you want to see in the world. I want to live in the world where creativity is valued, nurtured, shared, celebrated. Crushing people, falling into despair or hiding behind ego armor--that is Pure Evil. Murder of the soul. The theft and pawning of joy. Where are my people? What is my work?

And speaking of Gandhi, this morning I stumbled onto his list of Seven Deadly Social Sins:
  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce with morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Worship without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Ma Toes

Tomatoes in Transit by varun taken August 12, 2007.
Tomato surprise! By lucycat taken July 28, 2006 (the groggy frog).
Silly tomato head by flower alice taken July 1, 2006