Saturday, December 31, 2005

Awfully Serious Caffeine

I changed my template for the New Year and then realized it is the same template that Alison at Awfully Serious uses. So maybe I should change it to something else ...

I made sushi for New Year's Eve. My house is pretty clean.

I got an email today that my poem, "Prayer", from Redactions was featured on Verse Daily on Christmas.

I love to make New Year's resolutions. I may post some of them.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

High Society

It's 2:30 and I'm still in my bathrobe. No, I'm not sick. I've been working all day setting up an online class for next term. It is slow going but I think I'm making progress. But the holiday slacking off is drawing to a close, I fear.

This morning I watched about an hour of High Society, a movie from 1956 with Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby. Music by Cole Porter. I recommend it.

Today's collage is from an ATC swap I'm participating in. The theme is "birds" so how could I refuse? I made six and I will get five back, in mid-January. The last time I participated in a swap I didn't receive any cards that I liked as much as the ones I'd sent out - I don't know if that means I'm an egomaniac or what.

I organized my office last night. I decided alphabetizing the poetry books would be more of an exercise in procrastination than anything else, so I just grouped them all together. It was interesting to come across the books of poetry I bought this year, thinking I just had to have them. I think "The Clerk's Tale" by Spencer Reece and "Profane Halo" by Gillian Conoley were probably the ones I read the most from. I was reading some of Tessa Rumsey's "The Return Message" last night and I am going to spend some more time with it. I really think you have to own a book of poetry for a few years until you really get to know it well.

It's been a while since I read a really great novel. I started "On Beauty" this summer because everyone raved about it, but really, I found it rather dull. I didn't finish it. I've almost finished "Dad Sad He Saw You at the Mall", by Ken Sparling, which has bad reviews on Amazon. I like it though - the narrative is very disjointed, but it works for me. I think the last good book of fiction I read and finished was The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

We are having a New Year's eve party, so come over! And Monday I believe I'm having breakfast with Zanni, Daneen and Michele. Zanni and I can have a contest to see who will blog about it first.

I am going to go run three miles now.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

Listening to Mozart on WNYC-FM. More Mozart in 2006, please.

Max said today, "the day after Christmas is the happiest day of the year."

It can now be told - I'm into knitting! Couldn't mention this before since I was knitting a scarf for Michael for Christmas. I don't know how much knitting 2006 will bring, once the term begins. And will I ever progress beyond the simple scarf?

I bought new running shoes today at the mall. It has been quite a few years since I went to the mall the day after Christmas, and it will be many years before I do that again. It is the unfortunate truth that out in the world beyond my cozy house, it is no longer Christmas. People are trudging through the mall looking decidely un-Yule like.

So I was pleased to return home and find it's still Christmas. The tree is still up, the carols are still playing, and Christmas candles are still burning.

Michael gave me diamond earrings for Christmas and I think I won't ever take them off.

I am reading Alan Alda's memoir, "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed." It is engaging and a very quick read - I started it this morning and I think I should finish it by tomorrow morning. A good choice for a holiday read!

Janine sent me some awesome poems. I started a longer poem today, "Blueprint". I like it. I finished three of the sonnets last week.

My four-year old niece insisted the stuffed pink horses I gave her for Christmas were unicorns. I asked her how she could tell they were unicorns. She said "because they have fur." I said, "don't horses have fur?" She said, "unicorns have MORE fur than horses."

Of course.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2005

I am Erica Kane

Someone is trying to prove Adam Chandler is crazy so they can take control of his business or something and some stuffy distinguished gentleman is telling Erica he's in love with her, but Erica doesn't trust him and is telling Tad Martin to please continue his surveillance of this man.

I have no idea what's going on in Pine Valley, but I try to watch at least a few episodes of All My Children while I'm on Christmas vacation. It's a tradition! And I'm so thrilled, I took the Which All My Children Babe Are You Most Like quiz, and the results said I'm most like Erica. Of course!

Kids had the day off from school but I think they'll have school tomorrow - I hope so, I have shopping to do. Laura wrapped lots of presents today. Some of the lights are off on the tree. My bed is unmade, but I did 45 minutes of Tae-Bo today - much to the dog's chagrin (no walk no walk ruff ruff we are going to sleep some more ruff ruff)

I made cookies today for the kid's teachers. Russian teacakes, very easy. Cream a cup of butter with half cup of powdered sugar. Add half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of vanilla and two and one fourth cups of flour. Roll into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cook at 375 degrees for about ten minutes. Then you roll them in powdered sugar when they're done. Very good and very easy.

I need to start class planning for next term but I'm putting it off. Next week!

Cecelia sent me Laton Carter's Leaving, which won the Oregon Book Award for poetry this year. I'm enjoying it - it reminds me a bit of Doreen Gildroy, who I've mentioned here before. Here's some lines from one of my favorite poems in the book, "Between":
It doesn't consume me. Or if it does, not
entirely. As much as I'd like it, I'm
not outside myself: where she sees me.

Self-consciousness, alone, protracted,
is eventually a form of vanity. I want seeing into things
not to dislocate me. And it's that: want.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas is Coming

I got poems back today from a magazine that has had them since June. But they asked to see more - and you know, I really think they meant it. So I will send them more.

Slowly getting Christmas cards out. I read today that in the 19th century, the British post office used to deliver cards on Christmas morning. I wonder if that's true. Also, postman in Victorian England were called "robins" because their uniforms were red.

There's just no way around it, Christmas is rapidly approaching. A week from tomorrow is Christmas Eve!

However, I just vacuumed the upstairs so I'm feeling like everything's under control. Amazing what a little vacuuming can do.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bohemian Like You

Max has just informed me it's 28 degrees outside. I believe him. I'm going for a walk with the dogs right after he leaves.

We saw the Dandy Warhols last night at the Wonder Ballroom. They were great! I'm glad we went. I have to say I think I liked their concert better than Death Cab for Cutie's, even though Courtney seemed to get a little too wrapped up in the droning sound his guitar can make at the end of certain songs. I am putting them on my Ipod so I can listen to them on my walk. I like bands who are aware of the fact that they are putting on a show! Performers. I didn't buy a t-shirt but now I'm wishing I had. Now I want to see Dig!, the film about the Dandys and another band.

I believe I saw Jonathan Nicholas from the Oregonian at the show last night, so I'm going to email and say, was that you? Was he there because he loves the Dandys and has posters of them all over his office? Or was he on assignment? What is his favorite Dandys song? I'm thinking maybe "Bohemian Like You" - hey Jonathan, ME TOO!

I revised one of my sonnets yesterday, but now it's stuck at twelve lines. I wrote another one really fast yesterday. I am going to try to have a set of seven done by the time the semester starts again - January 9. I want to send them out, I've decided, but they have a ways to go.

Enrollment seems to be going up in all my classes for next term. This is a good thing. Next term I will be teaching more classes for the second or third time than ever before - meaning there is only one class that is entirely new to me. The others I have taught before and I think that will make for a better time for all of us.

Laura and I are going caroling with her Girl Scout troup this evening, at a retirement center. I will try to get Max to go with us.

I want to learn Latin. Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

Okay, I told myself last night I was going to walk every day of winter break from here on out. So off I go, into the freezing cold. If you don't hear from me, come look for me. I promise I won't try to lick any frozen flagpoles.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wonderful Life

We saw the one-man performance of It's a Wonderful Life last night. Mark Setlock was fantastic, and the set was great - all of the key locations from the movie on one stage. Dinner afterwards and then dessert at Papa Hayden's. A lovely time!

I bought a pair of three inch black high heels last night - the highest heels I think I've ever worn! I feel very glamorous and a little Anne Sexton-ish in them. A little hard to walk in, but worth it when you're out on the town! (and don't have to walk very far).

Max lost the first three games he played in the chess tournament - but he was playing against middle-schoolers (who obviously know the game of chess a little better than Max's mother). Then he decided to play in the "Intermediate" category, rather than "Advanced", and he won the next four games. I have never been in a school cafeteria while fifteen chess games were being played at the same time.

I worked on some sonnets this weekend, and decided I don't want to write a crown of sonnets, because the last line of one sonnet becomes the first line of the next, which sets up the rhyme scheme, and I don't want the rhyme scheme dictated that way. However, I'm taking the number seven from the crown, and I'm going to write a seven sonnet sequence. Most lines in my sonnets are ten syllables, but they're not iambic. Yesterday I checked out the Penguin Book of the Sonnet from the library. I couldn't figure out at first where I had gotten the rhyme scheme from, but now I see that mine are French sonnets. Mais oui! I realize I may decide to abandon the rhyme scheme entirely at some point, but I'm not ready to do that just yet.

Laura and I walked three miles with the dogs yesterday. I have no excuse not to walk three miles again this morning - I have the time. But I am drinking coffee out of my Charlie Brown Christmas mug, and thinking of things I might do instead.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Tomorrow it's two weeks until Christmas eve, so I'm glad I got some shopping done today.

I also made some Christmas cards - made color copies of ATCs on nice paper and they came out quite nice I think!

Max has a chess tournament tomorrow - a practice tournament. He beats me at chess about 90% of the time. I wonder if this is an indicator of how well he will do tomorrow? Or am I just an incredibly horrible chess player?

I had coffee with Daneen and talked to Janine on the phone. Janine says it snowed all day yesterday in Iowa City. I want snow here! Janine is far away but - like all real friends in their absence - she is always with me.

Daneen said I should write a crown of sonnets, since I've been writing sonnets. A crown! It sounds kind of tricky but I may just try it in January. Then it could be a January tradition? I have been working on a poem that is not a sonnet.

Daneen was nominated for a Pushcart prize too, so we congratulated ourselves.

Janine told me about Like Wind Loves a Window, a book by Andrea Baker. She says she loves it. I'm going to look for a copy. Words and images together - now how could that be bad?

I learned today my mother's favorite animal is a polar bear. Polar bears are one of my favorites too! Who knew?

It's 9:30, probably too late to make Christmas cookies. But it's exactly what I feel like doing.

Maybe tomorrow.

We are getting our tree tomorrow. And maybe a small one for downstairs. Two trees! Who knew?

Line from an Andrea Baker poem, found here:

We are damp with life at the edges of our own enclosure


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Carols

When I was a kid, we had a Simon and Garfunkel record that had a song on it called "Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night". Simon and Garfunkel sang "Silent Night", while an anchorman read the news - it was the 60's, so the news was about Martin Luther King, and the Vietnam war, and Richard Speck, the man who murdered nine nurses in Chicago in 1966. I always found the juxtaposition of the two tracks - the news and a Christmas carol - chilling.

And I've discovered a new, 21st century take on it. Open your iTunes and start playing Christmas music. Then open your Internet browser and read Drudge Report or CNN or MSNBC or another news site, while the Christmas music plays. Do it now, then come back ....

.... weird, isn't it? It's great if you just need a break from all the holiday cheer and want to freak yourself out a little. Pretty sobering. I'm trying to find the perfect song/news story combination. Listening to Tony Bennet sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" while reading about the man who was shot in the Atlanta airport was especially sad.


Tonight after I picked Laura up from Girl Scouts we drove around a little and looked at Christmas lights.

I recycled a lot of paper tonight. It's amazing the amount of paper a writing class generates, every term. Handouts and rough drafts and quizzes oh my.

It's very very cold out, but I think the dogs may actually become depressed if they don't have a walk soon. I don't know how I'll be able to tell if they're depressed, because all they do is sleep anyway. But I am beginning to sense the reproach in the way they sleep, especially when they lie right in front of my office door so it's hard not to trip over them. It seems to say, we would be enjoying this sleep a lot more if someone had taken a mere fifteen minutes out of her day - we're not asking for a three mile walk, we know it's cold, we know you're busy - to walk us.

So off I go.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No More Classes

Last class met tonight. Now it's just finishing up the grading. Term is breathing its last breaths, oh almost over yes.

Dogs are coming in and out of my office, panting and looking around, circling the room, looking anxious. They do this when they haven't had a walk in a few days. They wonder, will it be tonight? Yes it's cold, but it's been two days! Take pity on us! We're dogs, what else do we have to live for?

I think I need bifocals. Reading while wearing my contacts has become rather difficult. But I could be imagining things.

I checked out a bunch of poetry books at the library today, including Olena Kalytiak Davis, Bin Ramke, Joshua Beckman, and Terese Svoboda. All but the Svoboda I've read before. And Kenneth Burke's Philosophy of Literary Form, which I know I will not read cover to cover but will perhaps peruse. Yes.

Max needs the computer to look up ESPN stats.

Here's a little Svoboda for you - whoever you are, reading this - from her poem "Pilgrim's Progress":
You run toward a light,
a cartoon idea?
Running forces its burning,
fuels its whiteness.

Such light capitalizes:
All Good as in a cafe.
Each lifted sole
is a moon left on.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Today I'm responding to the rough drafts of research papers by my upper-division students. They are interesting papers, but I am looking forward to sitting and reading something that I don't have to quickly formulate an opinion on, for the purpose of providing "feedback" to the writer.

The craft fair was fun. I bought some soap. Lots of crafty stuff that seems slightly overpriced, but nice to look at. I can't imagine those crafters support themselves with their wares. I wonder what their day jobs are.

Laura and I went to a toy store. I bought a present for my niece, who is 4. It's pink!

I wrote yet another draft of a poem.

The best way to listen to Christmas music is to load all your 134 Christmas songs onto your ipod, and then press "shuffle songs", so Christmas songs are interspersed with all your other music on your ipod. It keeps you from going crazy with the Christmas music. But you still get to enjoy it. Like this:
Bob Dylan song
Iron and Wine song
Jo Dee Messina song
Shins song
Decemberists song
Stan Getz song
Beck song

It's great!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

First December Posting - Rabbit Rabbit

I never remember to say "rabbit rabbit" on the first day of the month. But I know it's good luck.

I have finished reading all of the essays for one of my classes. Tomorrow I move on to rough drafts of research essays for another class. But the end is in sight.

Tonight Michael and I are going to watch "Persuasion". Tomorrow Laura and I are going to Riches at Rimsky's, which promises lots of crafts by local women artists. I may not buy anything, but I like the Rimsky-Korsakoffee house, and sometimes craft fairs are fun!

I have downloaded all of my Christmas music on to my IPOD, exactly 134 songs. I like the song "Love's What You're Getting for Christmas" by Bobby Sherman, just for its nostalgic appeal. When I was a kid we had a compiliation of Christmas music, that I believe was put out by a gas station chain, and that song was on it. I think I've mentioned childhood memories a few times lately - it must be something about the holiday season.

I am very eager to read something that is not a student essay. However, I have discovered that requiring freshman comp. students to use semi-colons and dashes and colons in an essay actually does give their writing more sophistication. It's like making someone write a sestina - interesting things happen! So, even in freshman composition, form shapes content.

Right now I'm burning votive candles and listening to Cecelia Bartoli sing something from Don Giovanni.

Should I ask for the collected letters of Robert Lowell for Christmas? Or would I not find his letters all that interesting? I don't read him much anymore, but I like reading poet's letters. A.K. Weatherhead, my favorite English professor from my undergraduate days, always had great stories about Robert Lowell. And I can still remember the way Weatherhead would recite the last line of Lowell's "Skunk Hour": "and will not scare." I have the letters of Elizabeth Bishop, but I've only read parts of them. I've read all of Anne Sexton : A Self-Portrait in Letters, more than once. I think I almost like her letters better than her poetry.

Okay I just found this excerpt from a letter Lowell wrote to Ezra Pound, and yes I believe I do want to read more:
I am 19, a freshman at Harvard, and some relation, I don't know what, to Amy Lowell. All my life I have been eccentric according to normal standards. I had violent passions for various pursuits usually taking the form of collecting: tools; names of birds; marbles; catching butterflies, snakes, turtles etc; buying books on Napoleon. None of this led anywhere, I was more interested in collecting large numbers than in developing them. I caught over thirty turtles and put them in a well where they died of insufficient feeding. I won more agates and marbles than anyone in school, and gradually amassed hundreds of soldiers; finally leaving them to clutter up unreachable shelves. I could identify scores of birds, at first on charts, later it led me into nature. Sometime overcome by the collecting mania I would steal things I wanted.

Good stuff.

Next week new poems will be finished - I can feel it in the air.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

No Snow, Band Concert

I decided I really didn't like yesterday's atc so I took it down... I need to make some more.

Also need to finish some poems - have too many drafts lying around.

However ... NO SNOW. It was just a cruel joke on the part of the newscasters. It was a slow news day, they were tired of talking about Iraq, someone got the idea in the Wednesday morning staff meeting: "let's tell everyone it's going to snow!". Flurry of newsroom activity. Sending reporters to distant suburbs - or at least, convincing the viewers that's where they were. I imagine all of them were standing in the parking lot of the news station, looking bundled up and chilly, when really they'd just stepped out for a smoke break and someone handed them a microphone - "pretend like it's freezing!"

I will not be so trusting next time. I'll believe there's going to be snow when I see it on my lawn.

Laura has a band concert tonight - her first. She looked sweet in her white blouse and black skirt. It reminded me of when my mother used to have concerts. The same outfit. I know this could only happen in a totalatarian state, but wouldn't it be cool if everyone wore black and white, all the time? Everyone.

More of my students know the flight number of the plane that went down on the T.V. show LOST than who Bush's Secretary of State is. How do I know this? We played a game today (next to last day of class, remember - besides, it was educational!) The questions were all grammar and punctuation related, except the trivia questions which teams had to answer correctly in order to gain control of the game (I won't go into the rules, because I made them up in about 5 minutes). Students got very excited! They acted very offended when I asked them where Bing Crosby was born (Tacoma!). They didn't know who he was.

They also didn't know who Bush's Chief of Staff is. But they could name all five of the Spice Girls.

I am going to miss my students.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Snow Watch

The possiblity of snow has this house very excited! I have been checking the weather forecasts online and on television every hour or so. I wonder what it's like in parts of the country where snow is a more regular occurence - like Illinois. I imagine they don't interview children there on the five o'clock news and ask them about what they might possibly do if it snows, like they do here. Or perhaps they do.

The term is so close to being over. I'm switching into high grading mode here - lots of essays to read. But then, it will be winter break, and no classes until early January!

Janine sent me an awesome poem today. It must be in the air this week - poems from Zanni, Janine and Cecelia. It makes me want to clear the decks and get busy!

I want to wake up in the morning to a backyard full of snow. I even mentioned it when I said grace tonight at the table - I prayed for snow! We don't say grace every night, but at least once or twice a week.

When I used to say grace growing up, we would all hold hands - and I do that now with my family. The only difference is when I was a kid, my sister would try to dig her nails into my hand so hard that I would scream out during grace. Most of the time I was very stoic and didn't make a sound.

I'm not sure why we used to do that to each other. But it's a nice memory.

Tuesday is fennel day

I decided to get adventurous with vegetables this evening and bought fennel, chard, celery root, eggplant and leeks. I ate some of them. I think the chard is definitely a soup kind of vegetable.

Took a walk with the dogs tonight. Since it's not yet December, the frequency of Christmas lights in people's yards is a little past the novelty stage. It's fun watching the progression from now until Christmas, as more and more yards add lights until the neighborhood becomes a frenzy of blue lights and inflatable things that get knocked over by the wind and look better in the Sunday ad insert anyway. And really, I don't think a six foot leering plastic snowman can really spread as much holiday cheer as a small shrub by the front door, covered with white lights.

There's no WAY that this is REALLY Laurel Snyder. Nobody looks that good after just having a baby. Yes, I'm fairly certain, she hired a model to play that part.

Joshua Clover and Joel Brouer review poetry in the New York Times. I smiled when I read Joshua's "Poetry often stands accused of being prose laid out funny".

Tomorrow my freshman composition students have to write an in-class essay, a rhetorical analysis.

Many geese overhead lately, making lots of noise. I wonder if they are trying to tell me something.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday is Zanni Day!

It's Monday and all I feel like doing is putting up Christmas decorations! Laura helped me put a pine garland on the railing in the living room, with red and gold ornaments. Very festive!

My friend Zanni had a poem accepted at the Iowa Review! I have a picture of Daneen and Zanni on my bulletin board - I will have to get her to autograph it when she's here at Christmas, now that she's going to be ... famous! The atc today is one I sent Zanni last week - except I added a little hand charm to it, after I scanned it.

Laura and I saw Jo Dee Messina in concert last night - we were in the sixth row! It was a great concert.

This is my last week of classes at one school, and the next to last week at the other. I scraped ice off my car last night at the Max station after the concert. I would like to stay home today and build a fire.

Michael has a new blog - check it out at Fortress 'Merica.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Eve

I made two pies today. I'm making another one tomorrow. The pecan one I made today, sadly, burned.

I also made pumpkin bread with chocolate chips in it.

I bought a hat so I can walk in the cold. And black velvet Isaac Mizrahi pants. So now I"m stylin'!

I made this page today. It's pretty simple, but I'm just enjoying messing around with a bigger space than an atc. This is a cool site about altered books.

I was reading Lucie Brock Broido last night, and remembering once when Janine told me, "All I feel like doing is going home and reading Lucie Brock Broido".

If you are reading this I am thankful for you.

My daughter is sitting on the floor as I type this. I think I'm going to see if I can get her to watch "Pride and Prejudice" with me - the Colin Firth version I have on DVD. She was kind of curious about the one that's in theaters now, but I think the Colin Firth one is better.

Yay! She's agreed to watch it. More later.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Art Journal

Last night I started an art journal. I bought one of those basic black Strathmore sketchbooks (with my Michael's craft store 40% off coupon). I covered it with patterned paper and some other stuff, and then covered it with packing tape, which, as Michael reminded me, is a very easy way to laminate something! The cover is shown here!

Then on another page, I stamped my face and eye stamps all over a page, and wrote "Susan Denning" on all the faces and "my book" underneath the eyes.

Today I did this other page, also shown here, which is birds and Venus on top of a music background, and then a music transparency on top of that, attached with brads.

It's fun!

I have no more teaching this week. I think I may actually watch Oprah here in a few minutes. I haven't watched it since Mom was here this summer. It's about all I have energy for right now, although the dogs are hoping a walk happens! Yesterday on our walk there were four mallard ducks swimming in this big puddle that is at the edge of the field. The dogs startled them and they flew away. Also in the puddle - pumpkins. Just a few strays, left over from the pumpkin patch at Halloween. They looked sort of forlorn. Holidays are so fleeting.

And an albino squirrel was spotted yesterday by our far-flung correspondents in Central Oregon!

I am thinking when I go to revise the sonnets I will probably end up abandoning the rhyme scheme. But still fourteen lines. I am liking the whole "fourteen lines" thing.

Laura is at Max's school right now, demonstrating to some grade school kids how to make turkeys out of pinecones. I told her to bring one home.

Max made a turkey in preschool once, out of a flowerpot. I'm going to try to find it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Am Not

... avoiding my papers! It's called a BREAK. So I can still be somewhat lucid in my comments.

Actually, the papers are interesting.

As it's nearing Thanksgiving, I will say that I am thankful that there is a large field near my house, so that even though I live in a 1970's suburb, it still has a pleasant semi-rural feel to it (at least when I'm directly in front of the field) and at this time of year I can still walk at dusk past the field where anywhere from fifty to hundred Canada geese gather, and with a scarf wrapped around my head pretend I am a Russian peasant Sasha, hurrying home through the dark with my dogs. (What are some good Russian names for dogs?)

I'm relatively sure my neighborhood look nothing like Russia - and yes I realize there are probably no Canadian Geese in Russia - but it's amazing what a scarf around one's head can inspire.

And there are the Greater White-Fronted Geese in Russia, and no I did not further delay going back to my papers in order to add this link after I'd written the rest of this posting!

My daughter went to a church overnight with a friend of hers last night. They carved a nativity scene out of SPAM. Is this a Lutheran thing?

My son watched a lot of football this weekend. And when I told him this afternoon, no more football games (at least not until tonight - right now he's watching the Chiefs game), he went outside and talked to himself while holding his football, and then came back inside and read the sports section. Today the Oregonian published the Civil War football game final score for every year since it started. I think Max read every score from every game, because he pointed out a typo to me in one of the years, and also pointed out two years - in the 1930's I believe - when the final score was tied at zero.

Okay I'm going back to the papers.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Saturday Already

Death Cab for Cutie was good. I have been listening to them a lot this week.

I've also been listening to WNYC-FM online. I heard "All Things Considered" at 2:00 p.m. today, three hours earlier then it plays here. But nothing I heard on All Things Considered seemed any more exciting, three hours earlier. A lot of political grandstanding these days about pulling out of Iraq. However, I like it when the radio guy announces the temperature in Central Park.

I have many student papers to grade this weekend - and I can only do them in batches of five or so, and then I have to stop and do something else (like this).

The bad sonnets are getting better. I'm going to pick a few to work on over Christmas break, and turn (hopefully) into not-so-bad sonnets.

I am enjoying Mark Yakich's Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross. And hooray, he will have poems in the next issue of Caffeine Destiny - in February sometime.

The paperwhites I've been forcing are starting to bloom in various locations around the house. I have been trying to keep myself from playing Christmas music, although today I found a photograph I'd taken of a Snoopy ornament on our tree one year. I put it on the refrigerator. Christmas before Thanksgiving is fun.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Jimmy's Talking Flute

I am one hour away from the Gilmore Girls - yes, it's Tuesday! I only watch it because my kids like it - really, that's the only reason. Really.

Tomorrow night I'm going to see Death Cab for Cutie with my sister!

On my NPR Pop Culture podcast they were talking about the DVD releases of Sid and Marty Croft's Saturday morning t.v. shows - like Lidsville and HR Pufnstuff. I don't know if I could stand to watch those shows again (although I did find a funny web site about a short lived "World of Sid and Marty Kroft" theme park, which opened and closed in Georgia in 1976). The NPR story said there were veiled drug references - the smoking mushrooms, the "lid" the PUFnstuff - well it was the '70's, but that seems a bit silly. And they are talking about the possibility of a big screen version of Pufnstuff. No. Just please, no.

If you are under thirty, the previous paragraph will mean nothing to you. Nor the title of tonight's posting.

I know On Beauty was nominated for the Booker Award, but I am skimming the end. I just don't care about any of the characters in it. And there's scenes with professors and students that are just, silly. Conversations unlike anything I've heard between professors and students.

I am, however, enjoying the Bride of Science. Ada hasn't really arrived yet, except for a brief reference to her in the beginning. Right now it's about Byron and Lady Byron and the catastrophe of their wedding.

The bad sonnet of yesterday had a line in it I actually liked.

Tonight after class was over I walked out of the library building and the sky was a deep Maxfield Parrish blue. And I heard geese overhead. The moon followed me all the way home.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

3:00 Sunday

It's 3:00 p.m. on Sunday and I'm not dressed yet! I talked to Janine for over an hour today and then started grading papers and getting ready for classes tomorrow.

Tonight we are going to see Pride and Prejudice, the play, in downtown Portland. First, dinner at Jake's Grill. I am looking forward to it.

I told Janine I missed being in workshop sometimes but I'm not going to join a new one until Zanni returns and Daneen graduates. I would rather work with people who I know - and whose work I know - already. Zanni send me some poems!

Max has been practicing his speech on Alaska for school. I think I know the beginning of it by heart:

Mush, mush! What do you think of when you hear those words? I think of Alaska, home of the midnight daylight.

Or something like that. He delivers it well.

I have a new table in my office - it's six feet long and I no longer have to grade papers on the floor or at the dining room table. Thanks to Michael! I also have a nice big space to work on collages (come on over to the dark side, Zanni - you'll love it!). I am going to make an altered board book over the holidays. Or just a board book, if I can't strip the surface off the kid's board book I have. I bought a copy of "Transparent Art" and it was very inspiring.

Janine is learning a lot. I think we probably won't live in the same town again, but I'm glad to know her.

I am going to write my bad sonnet for the day (it IS teaching me something - I know the rhyme scheme without having to think of it anymore...).

Then get ready for Elizabeth Bennet! (the entire text of Pride and Prejudice can be found here .

Friday, November 11, 2005


I made six ATC's today! I had fun with some embossing - you pour embossing powder onto an image right after you stamp it, while the ink is still wet. Then you pour all the powder off that hasn't stuck to the image. Then, you heat it over the toaster, and the embossing powder melts, and you have a raised, stamped image.

I am starting to want a bigger area to work on, maybe one of those "fat books" I've seen. I'm interested in altered books too. I bought the new issue of Somerset Studio, which was inspiring.

I'm listening to Rosemary Clooney, a CD Michael bought me last year that I haven't listened to much. Michael's playing poker tonight in North Portland. I still don't get what "the blind" is in poker. I told him he looked very intimidating in his all black outfit though!

It's nice to have a day off from teaching, to think about non-teaching things. I need to grade papers this weekend. Friday we discussed David Mamet's essay "The Rake".

Max and I went to the library today - he is enjoying "The Great Brain" series. I checked out a biography of Lord Byron's daughter, Ada Lovelace, called The Bride of Science. Lord Byron's wife did not want Ada to grow up to be a poet like her father, and she was immersed in science and mathematics at a very young age. I can't tell you any more about her because I haven't read much! I think it will be interesting, and something new to think about.

I was listening to podcasts today while I was making my atcs. Laurel Snyder had an interview with Richard Peabody, the editor of Gargoyle. They were talking about blogs, and it was kind of funny. Richard wonders who is reading all these blogs if there are so many of them. I also listened to the NPR Pop Culture podcast. They had a story on the saxophone - the woman said "the saxophone has had a tremendous impact on classical, jazz -" and other types of music. She lost me at classical. The saxophone's impact on classical music? I just don't buy it.

And last but not least, I made butternut squash soup today. It called for leeks and fresh ginger - but I didn't have any fresh ginger so I used a few teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, and I was quite pleased with the results! Kids wouldn't eat it, of course, but still.

I am going to try to write (a sonnet? we'll see) tonight after the kids go to bed ... But right now, Laura wants the computer. And Max is very excited about the Blazers game - right now, they are up by three!

My mother and I laughed on the phone today. That was funny. Is that laundry folded, Mom?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Driving my own car again. It is nice to be reunited with my car's cd player. I have been listening to a lot of Tori Amos lately.

So, my thought is, if people can write a novel in a month - no doubt, a very very bad novel, why not try writing a sonnet a day? If you weren't trying to do it well, I mean. Just trying to write one a day. A rhyme scheme but not necessarily iambic. Would you learn something from it, or would it just be silliness? I wrote one today - and it's truly awful, but that wasn't the point. I was just trying to write within the rhyme scheme of ABBA ABBA CCD CCD. I will write another bad one tomorrow. And see what happens...

I received these cool Shakespeare's women transperencies and mythological goddesses transparencies. I am going to have fun with them Friday!

Classes were fun today. We talked about how writers can convey emotion. I have discovered, however, that many of my students do not like reading David Sedaris. They think he's boring. That cracks me up.

Michael and I are going to see Pride and Prejudice this weekend - the play. I'm looking forward to it.

I've taken a break from the Zadie Smith to read Kira-Kira. My daughter just finished it - I read some of it to her, but she finished it the other night, and told me I should read it. I am enjoying it - it's about two Japanese girls growing up in Georgia in the 1950's.

Mondays and Tuesdays are hectic hectic, then Wednesday rolls around and the week gets a lot easier. Especially when there's no school Friday.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New Dress!

I was so inspired by the lovely Zanni's new dress that I got one too! What do you think?

My car is in the shop, so I've been driving a white Mercedes with a US Navy decal on the back. I feel quite regal, although a little less flexible, behind the wheel of such a classic car. I do think drivers hesitate when they see me coming!

Karen Volkman has some awesome sonnets up at The Boston Review.

There was frost on the ground this morning; the rainwater on top of our hot tub was frozen! My daughter is looking for her gloves.

Yesterday was long, but classes felt somewhat successful. But the most fun I had yesterday was watching Shaun of the Dead, a British spoof on the whole dead coming back as zombies thing. Watching the zombies hobble around London, I was somehow reminded of the rioting by the very much alive French citizens.

No classes Friday - for my kids or me!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


A very wet weekend! My son's team played their last football game of the season, in the pouring rain. Unfortunately, they lost. My daughter's soccer team played their last game as well. It wasn't raining. Unfortunately, they also lost.

I finished planting all the bulbs. Now the only thing left to do is wait for spring.

My daughter and I saw "Elizabethtown" last night. It wasn't as bad as some critics might lead one to believe.

The new Caffeine Destiny is up, with Gillian Conoley, Laura Mullen, Betsy Wheeler, Michael Quattrone, and Scott Malby.

Hey, I found out this weekend I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize!

This posting is very "one sentence per paragraph" - ish. I will no doubt have more to say as the week progresses. If not, I will find someone who does and quote them here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you go trick or treating and acquire a large amount of candy, and if you have a little brother, who also went trick or treating but either a) acquired considerably less candy than you and/or, b) ate most of his candy the morning after Halloween, you will inevitably have some of your candy stolen by aforementioned little brother.

Also, if you claim to have more candy stolen than was actually taken you could end up, after re-distribution, with more candy than you had before, but only if your mother feels sorry for you, and only if your brother is not smart enough to point out to your mother that you are just CLAIMING to have more stolen from you than was actually taken, in an attempt to garner more sympathy and more candy.

And if your house is in dire need of vacuuming and the kitchen table is cluttered with groceries that have been unloaded from the car but not yet properly put away, your mother may be less amused by the situation than she might be otherwise, but if she acknowledges the inevitably of the crime (only to herself, of course, and her devoted readers - to acknowledge it to you and your brother would invite unending rage and a more prolonged ending to the tears that both you and your brother have called upon, you to express your moral outrage at having the candy taken from you that you worked so hard to acquire, coming in from trick or treating to eat a piece of pizza, and then returning out into the cold night to trick or treat some MORE, your devotion to candy being yes, that profound, yes, that entire, and your brother to express equal outrage at being accused of taking much much more than was actually taken, because he only took "like one bag of M&M's") it might provide her with some amusement, two days after Halloween, on a Wednesday that feels very much like it should be a Friday.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Halloween has begun with rain, rain and more rain. It's supposed to end this afternoon - I hope.

After working at the haunted house, I went back last night with my kids, as customers. I think next year we will go to a few more, maybe compare scare tactics. It's fun to be scared when you know it's not real.

Bush's nominee is REALLY scary.

My students have papers due today. I'm wearing my "spooky" Halloween shirt with a ghost on it. $4.99 at K-mart! But I will not be handing out candy. I will hand back research assignments to the students who turned them in on Friday, and that, I think, is treat enough.

I planted iris and crocus yesterday. I still have tulips and daffodils to plant, and then I'm done.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Help Me!

Tonight I worked at Rossi's Farm's Haunted House with my daughter and a friend. I wore a mask and said "help me!". Also spent part of the time being a head without a body. I've never worked at a haunted house before, it was fun. And thankfully my husband came and relieved me for the last hour and a half. Saying "help me!" over and over gets a little tiring.

The indictment has arrived. None of my students seemed too interested.

I messed up the front of my car but it's going to get fixed. My students have a paper to write this weekend and I'm hoping they will rise to the occasion - a bit of a post mid-term slump seems to have descended on some of them.

No papers to grade this weekend! The new Caffeine Destiny is coming along. A birthday party tomorrow, pumpkin carving Sunday. I am reading Doreen Gildroy's new book, Human Love, and forging ahead with Zadie Smith.

A friend today told me he thinks he's going to get out of the adjunct game. Go back into mental health services.

I like teaching, although it can be frustrating at times. But today is Friday!

My final shipment of bulbs arrived. I will plant iris, tulips, crocus and daffodils - soon.

My hair has blonde streaks in it now. I did it myself. I will never do it again.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Gillian was here

The week has gone by so fast, and barely time to blog!

Gillian Conoley read here last night, and she was quite charming. Her new book, Profane Halo is energetic and exciting. Hearing her read made me want to write write write. I am hoping to have her poem and the rest of Caffeine Destiny up any day now!

Too long without talking to Janine. I am going to call her this morning, and tell her how I met the person who has Zanni's old job and told him, "you're the new Zanni!" I'm sure he thought I was a goofball.

I am quite excited about possible indictments. I am trying to contain my enthusiasm. And Harriet has left the building! But somehow, it all seems like noise. There are other more pressing matters that seem to get ignored.

Some of my students are writing papers about an historical event - I think we'll go to the library today. If I don't devote class time to it I'm afraid most of them will do most of their research on the Internet. Which is not always ineffective, but can be inefficient. And I think putting your hands on actual books is an important part of research. It's week six - I have begun the countdown, somewhat prematurely, to the end of the term.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sweet Victory

My son's team won their football game, and my daughter's team won their soccer game. This afternoon the whole family will go watch Portland State's Vikings play football - maybe they can make it a triple crown!

Hey Joshua Corey wrote me! And he made the excellent point that he would have talked more about the poet's work if Poets and Writers had actually said more about the work itself. That's a Phd candidate for you - so fussy about the particulars!

Maybe I should start emailing writers whose blogs are much more widely read than mine, and see if I can get them to respond by subtly attacking them. In this way, I can become a kind of blogger "Professionalist". Hey C. Dale Young, you call that a typeface? Well I guess that's not subtle. And really, a hypothetical example.

I have a letter to the editor in the current issue of Poets and Writers, but they edited it so much that it doesn't really make much sense. The point I was making about the quote I refer to is that we ALL live in the real world - at least last time I checked.

With the exception of my dog Rita. I am pretty sure she spends most of her time in an alternate universe, where dogs are serenaded in Latin, carried everywhere and given big medals to wear around their neck (I think she watches too much HBO).

Iron and Wine was good. Too many extra acts. I"m not a big fan of the saw, except when I need to cut some wood, which is not very often. It was a great surprise to see the lead singer of the Shins on stage though - he joined Mr. Iron and Wine for a few tunes. And I like the t-shirt I bought - it was half the price of my Coldplay t-shirt. Why do I keep buying concert t-shirts, when I don't really wear men's t-shirts with logos on them? Except camping.

Still grading those essays. I talk to my students in my head - like when I'm driving and stuff. I think this is kind of strange, but I bet many teachers do this. I think, "now how will I explain this ..." Except there is no "that sounds stupid!' voice in my head, so I probably do a better job explaining things in my head than I do in real life.

Which is probably true for many people, in many walks of life.

Not true for C. Dale Young though. He rules.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Yes, I should probably be grading papers right now. I will. Soon.

It was nice to have a day off from teaching. I wrote a poem and finished making my cabinet. My office will soon be much more organized.

October is the perfect month for eating apples.

Josh Corey talks about the Poets and Writer's "Poetry Debuts" section in their latest issue - all about poets with first books out this fall. Poets and Writers arrived at my house today. I looked at the first few pictures of the young and recently published, and thought, "why do they put their ages? That's stupid!" Then as I kept reading, and ages like "42" and "43" showed up, I liked the fact their ages were listed. Still, I'm not sure it's relevant.


I appreciated what Corey had to say about careers versus professionalism. To be very reductive, Corey says some poets go in search of tenure before the ink is barely dry on their MFA diploma - or as Corey puts it, the Professionalist is "the poet wholly obsessed with the perks and privileges accorded to his person and his ego", while others are more interested in the career of the work, rather than the career of the self who is making the work. I think I got that right.

I appreciated it, but on the other hand, am not overwhelmingly interested in these distinctions. Because as Corey points out, there is a little of each of the professionalist and the careerist in many poets. So what is he really saying? And why does it take him so long to say it? And why does he choose to spend so much time talking about the way that P&W presents the new writers, rather than talking about the work of the poets themselves? I do think Corey lives in a world where distinctions like "are you a professionalist or a careerist" matter. Does that make him a "Professional" or a "Careerist"? I think I like the way Zanni discusses it better.

And not to get too carried away, but why does someone's work have to have a career? Isn't it enough that we make people have careers - now our poems have to have careers as well? Corey writes: "Properly stated, a poet's career refers not to the career of the person but of the work: in the sense I want to use the word anyone concerned to share their work with others is fostering that work's career".

Can't our poems just relax, hang out in coffeehouses or offices or parks? Do they have to have something as ridiculous as a "career"?

I want to make interactive artist trading cards - ones with pockets and stuff. I want to get the new Caffeine Destiny up too. Gillian Conoley's work will be in it, and she is coming to Portland next week.

First, however, the papers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Worlds Collide

I have used artist trading cards and postcards in my classes this week. I used them as an exercise in coming up with titles, as many of my students have been naming their essays "Essays Number Three" and "My Close Reading Essay". I also had them write descriptive sentences about the paragraphs, using parallel structure as well as assonance and consonance.

And because it's week five, and from here on out, any time you can do something in class that seems like an even halfway legitimate use of time and you haven't done it already a whole bunch, you DO IT.

I took the dogs for a walk tonight. Their stars are gone but we still navigate pretty well in the dark.

Big purchase today: a pine 7-drawer cart, with drawers just the right size for organizing all my art suppplies for my ATCs.

Laurel Snyder has written an interesting bit on The Happy Booker about the reasons for an MFA - ladder, what ladder?

Speaking of MFA students, thank you Nico for responding to my suggestion. I think I was partially mad in just a "kill the messenger" kind of way.

My daughter practices her flute in front of the mirror.

Only one day left to teach this week!

I go now to play chess with my son.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Glow in the Dark

I like how Zanni titles her posting, "The new serious me" and then at the end talks about taking pictures of her cat for

I don't have a cat, but I do think the most fun I had yesterday was watching our dogs glow in the dark. I bought glow in the dark stars for everyone's room, and my daughter put a star on each of the dogs. Right in the middle of their foreheads. It made them very easy to locate in the dark, and it was entertaining as well. It also made them seem like alien leaders of an obscure religious cult. Dog star!

I laughed at Norman Dubie's expense today. Read the "What the Hell is Up with Your Author Photo" column at The Jim Side.

Okay, time to prepare for class some more.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday night

I love how boring the titles are for my postings. I also love how boring the postings themselves are. It's kind of liberating.

Well, I don't mean to sound provincial or puritanical or any of those other bad "p" words, but people were naked in "Bug" last night! The actors, I mean. For like ten minutes! Walking around the fairly intimate stage, naked as the day they were born. I wonder if their parents will be in the audience for any of the performances, and how the actors would feel about that.

It was an interesting experience - the play overall, not just the nudity. I felt it was a little too relentless at times - it seemed to hit only a few notes. But then again the notes it did hit - despair, insanity, desperation - were played well.

Is it possible to make beef stroganoff without the beef broth or the mushrooms, substituting Campbell's cream of mushroom soup? Maybe, but I'm not sure I recommend it. Then again, it wasn't bad!

I think this week should be not as hectic as last, but I could be confusing "feeling relaxed after a three day weekend" with a realistic estimation of what I have to do. But still. I get essays from all my classes tomorrow, but I have next Friday off! I think next Friday is when I will tackle Caffeine Destiny's new issue.

Started a little poem about Psyche today. I like the Psyche myth, and I have a John Waterhouse poster of Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden on my wall.

I was looking at poems of Mark Yakich today, and found this one, How they Existed in the World, on Poetry Daily. I like it and I like his tone.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

It's the Weekend

I have begun reading "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith and I think it's fabulous!

Made this card today. My daughter lost her soccer game, and my son lost his football game. Competitve sports are brutal.

I walked 3 miles today. I'm aiming for 14 minute miles these days.

It's the kind of autumn day when red, golds, and deep browns are everywhere, and dark clouds threaten rain five minutes after the sun has shone brightly. I love it.

Someone thinks if Harriet Mier had a blog, it might run something like this. Pretty funny.

Last night my husband and I drank vouvray and ate cheese, bread and apples for dinner by candlelight while the kids ate pizza downstairs. I think this should be a new Friday night tradition.

Tonight we are going to see a play tonight, "Bug", presented by Artist's Repertory Theatre. The New York Times called the play "obscenely exciting." We'll see!

My hair still has some gray in it but I don't care so much about the gray anymore. I figure, hey I've earned this gray! I did get a weave but the hairdresser seemed kind of unsure of herself, and I didn't know what I wanted either. That combination adds up to barely discernible hair color change.

Tomorrow I'm having brunch with my sister in Southeast Portland. So I believe I can say that so far this weekend I've done a very successful job of avoiding any teaching responsibilities. That seems appropriate, somehow.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

No School Friday!

My pincushion flower plants arrived today and I put them in the ground!

A Thursday night with no school the next day is what I call a very fine Thursday night indeed.

Received a copy of Issue #4 of The Canary in the mail today. Poems by Lisa Jarnot, Joanna Klink, Tod Marshall, Dan Beachy-Quick and many other cool poets. They are published in Eugene. And in another one of those poet coincidences (see Thursday, October 10's posting ), my friend Daneen was talking to me about Laurel Snyder today and how great she is. And she's in this issue of the Canary too! Laurel's blog is here , with lots of links to her poetry.

Nico may lose his phone service (read his October 12 entry) and Zanni's students are offering her drugs! Clearly it's a jungle out there, if you're an MFA student. Should I have a bake sale for Nico? Can't someone in his workshop let him use their phone?

I thought of Zanni today, as I gave my 1:00 class chocolate. It just seemed like the thing to do.

After tomorrow night there will be no more gray in my hair, if the hairdresser person knows what she's doing. More as the situation develops.

I haven't been for a walk - except around the block - since the marathon, and I think I miss it.

I finally finished grading all the essays, which is good - as students in all my classes will be turning in their next essays ... Monday.

Tonight, however, is not Monday.

Tomorrow I am going to make bread and artist trading cards and write little unformed drafts of poems.

And maybe vacuum.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Finished

Well I did it! I walked the Portland Marathon in under 7 hours. My pace was 15:36. I might just do it again next year. Or I might not! I don't have to decide for a while, and I'm glad about that.

Walking over the St. John's bridge was spectacular. I felt pretty good the whole way, which means I could probably do it faster next time - if I trained harder!

The woman who won the Portland Marathon, Yumiko Minato, ran it in 2 hours and 44 minutes. That's a 6:16 pace. Impressive!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

On Beauty

I have decided to read On Beauty . I ordered it today, as a "you finished the marathon!" present to myself. Hopefully I'm correct in my prediction. I haven't read any Zadie Smith, but I listened to an excerpt of it online and it sounded good.

Class went better today - I'm integrating the writing handbook that I hadn't used much yet. We've been reading a lot of essays from the reader, but it helps to have some terms established for talking about things. Some of them came up with some great thesis statements for a close read of a text. Teaching a freshman level class is different than teaching an upper division - you feel much more like "teacher as entertainer". They can be rather passive. But then you have to give them the space to become active, and not feel like you have to rush to fill every yawning silence.

Talked to my friend Janine today, who is a busy MFA student. We talked about writing poems and making manuscripts. She told me about her former teacher, Laurie Lamon, who has a book out, The Fork Without Hunger. I realized after we ended our conversation that I have the book - the publisher sent it to me for Caffeine Destiny! I am thinking about contacting her for a profile. When the time allows.

I"m interested in the quotidian and how it ends up in poetry. This may seem like a simple concept, but I realized the other day it's actually very important to me. I want to explore this more... I don't mean this as just thinking poems about what you have for lunch are interesting. I mean, the way the every day gets approached and used and moved about in a poem. Maybe it's similar in some ways to what happens in a still life painting? Hmm...

My son told me last night he has to write a five paragraph essay about how he eats Oreos. He said it needs an introduction, body, and conclusion. The purpose is to explain how he eats Oreos. He said to me, "but what if I just shove it in my mouth?" I thought that was funny.

It's raining here but it's a nice rain.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Longing for the Epic

This could be another sign of autumn: I want an epic novel to read. But not the Diviners. Something to get up and read a little of in the morning, something to read at night - something to read fifty pages of in one sitting occasionally. Maybe it doesn't even have to be epic.

Maybe this has something to do with all the papers I need to grade this week.

I asked my students today what the writer's purpose was in writing the essay we were discussing. One student said, "oh there really was no purpose, just like that essay we read yesterday". I think I have to stop asking that question, it seems to irritate them. I think tomorrow I will list many different purposes for writing on the board and ask them which one they think applies. I don't think this is making things too easy for them; I think some of them just need some language for talking about some of these things.

I'm taking the dogs for a walk this evening - my last walk before the marathon!

I have just been writing little drafts of poems; they are strange and kind of unformed, but I like them. I decided it's counterproductive to try to get lots of writing done on weeks when I have so many papers to grade. I just end up frustrated.

Cole Swensen's new book is out! And on it's way to me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Little Field of Self Part Two

See! I AM writing again!

I have received some great artist trading cards lately. Saturday I received some from an artist whose work can be found here . And today I received two from Germany!

The fall issue of Caffeine Destiny is almost in place. I hope to have it up in the next few weeks, time permitting.

Here is some Doreen Gildroy, from The Little Field of Self :
The birds, clear
in their little way -
yet not pretending everything, and can
How I love the
odd ends of knowledge.
Better to go lightly along.
Here is a phrase I believe didn't come into existence until recently:
"this may take a few minutes, if you have a large blog".

There is chocolate in this house - I am certain of it. I go now in search of it.

The Little Field of Self

I saw another sign of autumn today - Canada geese flying overhead.

The paper chase has begun - I have sixty essays to read before Monday. Briefly considered other job options today, as I was driving the freeway. Circus performer? Magician at kid's parties? "Signs of autumn" identifier for the masses?

Gertrude Stein quote: "Everyone gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."

I was reading The Little Field of Self again this weekend, after Zanni mentioned it. And yay, she has another book coming out very soon! I love her quiet lines.

I will write more before the day is done! Going to class now, to teach my "revision workshop" to students who feel somewhat hostile towards this whole concept of ... revising.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A light in the moon the only light is on Sunday

Listening to Stan Getz. My husband is playing poker tonight.

The title of my posting is from Gertrude Stein (although it would make a good title for a Stan Getz song, I think). I've been reading about her in 21st Century Modernism: The "New" Poetics by Marjorie Perloff. Marjorie Perloff is a very amiable sort of critic, I think. I don't spend a lot of time with criticism, but I make an exception for Perloff. I believe it was Perloff who also made the comment about how long is the post part of modernism supposed to last? Is everything just POST from here on out? Well maybe she wasn't the first one to ask that, but I liked the way she did it.

And she turned me on to Frank O'Hara, which I will always be grateful for. Anyway, Perloff writes:
Miss Stein once said: Every masterpiece came into the world with a measure of ugliness in it. That ugliness is the sign of the creator's struggle to say a new thing in a new way, for an artist can never repeat yesterday's success.
That's an interesting thing to think about - when something is truly innovative, it probably looks more than a little unattractive, because it's never been seen before. So then aesthetics are shifted around a little, to give the previously unattractive a foot in the door? Or something. I like Stein. I wrote a poem a while back called "A sentence means that there is a future", which is another line of hers. Oh the Stein lines!

I bought a new scanner today and scanned the ATC shown in today's posting - I like the "LIVE" word. I have another ATC with the word "live" in it, maybe I'll do a series.

My son's team lost their football game today. Today it thundered and lightening-ed. I also bought a hair iron today. For straightening my hair. I don't have super curly hair, but the iron makes it lie very very flat.

The colchicum have begun to bloom - yes it happened that fast! My narcissus bulbs have put down roots - that fast - and have been moved to the bookcase. I planted three iris on Friday and some red tulips. I only planted three iris because they were a BONUS from the bulb company - a thanks for ordering gift! I think iris rhizomes look like big articulated insects.

Heard Rick Moody on NPR talking about his new book, which sounds like a bit of a Pynchon mess. I'm not sure if I"m up for it. Which is not to say it sounds bad, but I read an excerpt of it and felt slightly overwhelmed.

Walking ten miles tomorrow. The Portland Marathon is a week from tomorrow!

Getz is playing Moonlight In Vermont.

It's October. Be sure you have a warm coat Janine.

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's Raining

James Dean died today, 50 years ago.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gardens and Imaginative Constructs

The colchicum have arrived! I planted them in the front and back yard, and kept one for inside. They arrive already sprouted, but their stems are very pale. They look sort of alien like right now, but are supposed to bloom pale purple.

Read a little of Stanley Kunitz's The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden today. He writes:
In the beginning, a garden holds infinite possiblities. What sense of its nature, or its kingdom, is it going to convey? It represents a selection, not only of whatever individual plants we consider to be beautiful, but also a synthesis that creates a new kind of beauty, that of a complex and multiple world. What you plant in your garden reflects your own sensibility, your concept of beauty, your sense of form. Every true garden is an imaginative construct, after all.
Have moved out of the Dylan and am now listening to Dolorean . They are labeled by music reviewers as alt-country, which is also sometimes known as "insurgent country". Which is also an imaginative construct.

I like talking to my husband when he gets home from work. And when he brings me truffles on a Thursday, I like that too. Thanks baby!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Obviously Five Believers

Have been listening to a lot of Dylan - it's the PBS influence I suppose. Got so lost in singing along with him in the car this morning that I did what many adjuncts before me have done - almost drove to the wrong school. Figured out what I'd done in time to get off the freeway and turned around, but I was five minutes late to class. I told them why - I'm not sure how wise that was, but I told them.

My students had rough drafts due today and only ONE student didn't turn one in. Props to the students!

My narcissus bulbs are underneath my desk, in a little dark corner. You're supposed to fake them out, make them think it's winter so they put down roots. Singing Christmas carols helps too.

Was excited to find a blog by Lyn Hejinian. Then found a site that says Lyn Hejinian does not have a blog. So now I don't know WHAT to believe!

Lyn Hejinian quote: "The presences that constitute life do so by entering life/ and they do so infinitely"

Bought some cool papers and accoutrements today. Tacos for dinner. Started another poem. Will be making more ATCs tomorrow. And teaching and driving and singing along...