Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Starts Saying Goodbye

Christmas was good at our house! And now, as Max said, everyone in this house has an ipod.

I'm listening to Beyonce right now. Laura and I saw Dreamgirls a few nights ago. It was fun, and Eddie Murphy played a singer that was very James Brown inspired.

Last night Max and I went to see We are Marshall. That was good too, but sad.

I can't believe the year is almost over. There are some poetry books coming out in the new year that I'm looking forward to. I'll list them in a future post - very soon. I've been reading The Book of Questions by Neruda. It's amazing.

I have kale and shallots in my refrigerator! The new Joy of Cooking I got for Christmas inspired me. My old one was falling apart.

Next week I go back to work at Literary Arts, and then winter term begins. I'm teaching online for Marylhurst and "live and in person!" at PSU.

Listening to Beyonce now, yes, but for the past few days I've been listening to a lot of Neko Case.

Today I jumped rope and bought a latte. I'm on vacation!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Little Kiddles

Soon it will be Christmas! My mom is here; we drove around and looked at Christmas lights tonight. Max thinks this is a very novel thing to do and thinks we are the only people that do this. I assured him there are others.

I will not return to work until January 2nd. The new term at Marylhurst and PSU doesn't start until the week after that. I am going to read and write and make collages and clean my office and have fun and do yoga and Tae-bo and watch All My Children and lots of movies and do whatever else I decide to do.

And then it will be 2007.

In 1967 or 1968 my sisters and I all got Kiddles for Christmas. These were little dolls. The ones we got that Christmas fit inside lockets that you could wear.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Week Until Christmas Eve!

Max is keeping me informed of how many days it is until Christmas, with at least daily updates - sometimes several times a day.

I'm keeping a close watch on the Mt. Hood rescue efforts, and I'm hoping for a good outcome.

I wrote some Friday and did some Christmas shopping. It started snowing on the way home from Gresham, which was exciting. Pink Floyd was playing on the radio, and it made for a very atmospheric ride home. Then Christmas music came on and that was good too!

Laura and I are going to a Craft Fair at the Doug Fir today. I made shortbread yesterday. I'm going to try to take a long walk today.

Joan Houlihan's poem on Poetry Daily is good today. The last few days of poems I've enjoyed; sometimes there can be a few weeks when I don't like any of the poems; then there's a rush of good ones. Like Kathyrn Maris's poem from a few days ago. I bought her book after I read that one.

Coffee with Zanni on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to that. There is an exhibit in the Special Collections Room at the Central Library of handprinted cards. I'm going to try to see that this week too.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What Do You Think?

Is it too dark? I kind of like it. I keep messing around with my blog layout. Must be a December thing!

I'm almost done with the Marylhurst grading.

I"m reading the restored version of Ariel. The weather seems to call for it. I like her poems with bees in them.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Christmas!

I think I shouldn't have jumped on the beta blogger bandwagon. I am having problems! And now I can't go back to my other one.

However, I will press on. We got our tree today! It looks very festive in the living room now.

I am grading Marylhurst papers today and trying to put those classes to bed.

Drinks with Scott and Taya at the Cellar and then the Vault last night. That was fun. Anytime you get to drink champagne is fun. I believe that's true!

Wednesday is the Shins! Laura had her band concert Wednesday; she played percussion. She was barefoot because her shoes were too loud.

Max had his practice chess tournament today.

I am going to stop sitting at this computer now. I should plan my 213, but I will have the whole week of Christmas off. So I should plan it before that so I can truly have the week off! Well we'll see about that.

Oh look at this new Dean Young poem on American Poetry Review that begins:

Poetry is an art of beginnings and ends. You want middles, read novels.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Wow what an evening the Book Awards were! I think there were nearly 500 people there. I was very proud to be an Oregonian.

I was pretty happy with the way my Powerpoint came out - and Michael's brillaint font change! Michael also served as the best Powerpoint operator ever.

I could be more articulate, but I'm kind of spent.

I'm taking the dogs out for a walk. It's very cold but it will be good. I have been grading Marylhurst papers today and I need some fresh air!

I decided on textbooks for 213, so the write-in campaign can stop. Ha! I heard from Zanni and that was IT! I have a new scheme to help solve the paper chase in 213 - maybe. We'll see. I love the cyclical nature of the school year.

I have tomorrow off. I'm going to try to write and maybe put up some Christmas decorations.

Today I was pushing my cart around Fred Meyer thinking why do they have all this stuff that everyone's supposed to buy this is so commercial why do they make everyone run around like crazy what an insane holiday.

Then I get to Starbuck's and see Starbuck's Christmas Blend and think, oh good it's time for the Starbuck's Christmas Blend - I must have it! And shortly after I see a Snoopy Christmas ornament at the Hallmark store and think oh I must buy that, I LOVE this time of year!

This is my conflicted relationship with Christmas.

Deck the halls!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Harvard Review

The Harvard Review returned my poems yesterday. I'm just not Ivy League material, I guess. But I did receive a nifty blank Harvard Review postcard and if you're lucky I just may send it to you!

Tomorrow is the Book Awards. Yes indeed.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend

I went shopping with my sisters last night. Bring on the lemondrops! I bought sparkly eye shadow at Macy's and smelled a bunch of perfume at Nordstrom's.

Thanksgiving was fun. I watched White Christmas at Amy's.

I made my own turkey today! So we can have leftovers.

Five days until the Book Awards - the countdown has begun.

The Ducks lost the Civil War game.

It is very cold but not cold enough to snow down here in the "lower elevations" as they refer to us. Max and Laura are still hoping for snow but I think it's doubtful.

I have been grading Marylhurst papers all day and I'm going to take the dogs for a walk now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm Still Here!

Well someone hasn't blogged in a while. I'm getting ready for the book awards!

The second Japanese Garden reading was fun. Marc Acito was great.

I walked three miles today with the dogs and they were so happy.

Has anyone out there read Helen Vendler's Poems, Poets, Poetry and/or used it in a class? I need a textbook for my poetry class next term and I am always searching for a good one. Haven't been satisfied yet with anything I've used.

This is all for now but I'm thinking of each and every one of you.

Or something.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pilot Poetry Is In The House!

I'd like to extend a warm cyberspace welcome to Pilot Poetry and their new online magazine. Dean Gorman and Betsy Wheeler have got it going on!

It's my day off. My house is a mess but I wanted to make a collage and post here before trying to create a little order in the house. What girl wouldn't?

Last night's readings in the Japanese Garden were fabulous. The garden looks really beautiful at night, and the Japanese Pavillon was lit by candelight and really cool. George Aguilar, Sr., Brian Doyle and Kristin Kaye read. Chelsea Cain was our host. It was really great and next Wednesday it all happens again! Marc Acito will host a fiction reading with Laila Lalami, Scott Nadelson and Justin Tussing. Don't miss this!

I get to see Tori this weekend, hooray! Michael and I are taking the kids to the Dixie Chicks tonight!

And the Democrats are back in action! We'll see what they make of things.

Okay, I must vacuum. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bipartisan Cafe

Daneen and I met this morning at the Bipartisan Cafe - a fitting meeting location for this election week! - to talk about our poems. The second time we've done this. We're set to meet again December 10th. I'm glad we're doing this. It's an extra incentive to get poems finished!

Stephen King was fun; tonight we are going to hear Frank Rich. Again I feel compelled to tell you, there will be readings by some Oregon Book Awards finalists in November in the Japanese Garden. The first one is this Wednesday, hosted by Chelsea Cain, with readings by George Aguilar, Brian Doyle and Kristin Kaye. If you live in Portland, come to this lovely reading - in the candlelit Japanese Garden pavillon - this Wednesday at 6:30, and be sure to introduce yourself to me!

It's been raining hard all weekend but I must venture out into it today with the dogs; they want their walks! Laura has been volunteering at the Humane Society and some of those dogs stay for months. She walks them and takes photos of them to show us at home.

Marvin Bell has a new poem in the Fall issue of Caffeine Destiny. I didn't want to wait until the next issue to add it.

Monday, October 30, 2006


We carved our pumpkins this weekend. Well the kids carved them! I took them to Rossi's Haunted House last night. It's suddenly colder outside. Laura's costume has black feathered wings. Max has a very scary mask.

I didn't go see Richard Ford. I didn't go hear anybody! But I'm reading Ford's new book and I'm liking it.

Football season is over, and Laura has one more soccer game.

I'm working on a poem but it's slow. I will be on the radio tonight, briefly, talking about the Oregon Book Awards. And then listening to the finalists read from their books, which I'm really looking forward to!

There will be readings by some Oregon Book Awards finalists in November in the Japanese Garden. These are going to be great; Chelsea Cain and Marc Acito will host. I think it's great people will have a chance to hear some of the finalists read before the Book Awards on December 1st. Tickets for the Book Awards are available at the Literary Arts web site.

There! My blog world and my work world have just collided!

Now back to me - I watched some of the Omen on Saturday night, and a lot of Boris Karloff in Frankenstein on Sunday morning. So I'm in the spirit!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Richard Ford

Well I've thought more about it, and I'm going to go see Richard Ford, I decided. Yes. I didn't know he was going to write a sequel to Independence Day, which was a sequel to the Sportswriter. I think he would be good to see again.

I got an email from Janine, hooray.

We played poker tonight, the kids and Michael and I. Michael won.

I"m going to try to go running BEFORE work this week. Wish me luck. And get some poems written so that Daneen and I will have poems to talk about next weekend.

I want to see the new movie, THE QUEEN. And Laura and I want to see FLICKA.

Max has his costume. He's not Elvis, he's scary mask person with a black robe. I will take pictures.


Nine days until Halloween! I'm taking Max to find a costume today. He wants to be Elvis this year.

Tuesday I think Daneen and I are going to see Barbara Ras read at PSU. But the Poetry Bus is in town, and Richard Ford is reading at Powell's. I like Richard Ford, and I'm looking forward to reading his new novel. I did see him read once many years ago, with Tobias Wolff. But I think I will probably go see Barbara Ras. Although I'd like to hear Joshua Beckman and Christian Hawkey. It's a tough call.

I am grading Marylhurst papers this weekend. I still have those bulbs to plant.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Decemberists

We went to see the Decemberists last night. It was fun but I wanted to hear more songs off their new album, and more of my favorites, like Oceanside, or July July or Red Right Ankle. But they didn't play any of those songs. We still had fun though.

I haven't been doing much stamping or collage-making lately, although I have been getting caught up with the kids' scrapbooks. Last November I was writing sonnets on demand. One of them grew up to be a poem that was accepted for publication. Maybe I should think of something like that again. I was trying to start a sonnet crown. With a twelve line sonnet.

I have tulip, daffodil and crocus bulbs in my garage that I need to plant.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fun Phone Times

Well I was going to call my mom to thank her for being a conference call phone participant today, but I believe it's too late now.

I was practicing making a conference call today at work. I called my mother, and my sister Amy and my brother-in-law Scott. Fun times! We laughed and sang. Well, Scott sang. I wonder if the real one will be as mirthful. I'm not sure.

Well it's my Friday! Max has two games this weekend and Laura is in the Grand Canyon.

Daneen and I saw Laurel Snyder read last night. She was good and Henry Carlile was there so that was cool. I always still expect to see Nico at PSU readings. I have come to accept that I won't see Zanni or Janine anymore when I go to a PSU reading, but somehow I still expect to see Nico, walking in late, or standing in the back, or just being there. Ah well! In spirit, etc.

Nico has new poems on Shampoo.

Calvin Trillin was fun.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Colin Powell

Max is going to meet Colin Powell on Monday! He's excited. He's going with a group of students from his class.

Max has been writing a play. I've been typing up his scenes for him as he finishes them.

Laura leaves for the Grand Canyon next week, and her first plane ride!

I had a good Friday off. It's nearly 4:30 and I have yet to brush my hair! Wrote some poetry, swept my kitchen floor. That's a good day at home for me!

I"m going to read some Calvin Trillin this weekend. We're going to McMinnville to watch the Duck game tomorrow.

We need a new furnace and a new air conditioner, but I"m trying not to get too excited about it. We're getting quotes.

Here's a quote from Calvin Trillin: “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

Friday, September 29, 2006


Well it's been a busy and weird week, but it's Friday.

The Oregon Book Awards finalists will be announced Monday.

I started Pastoralia by George Saunders the other night and I've been enjoying it.

Tomorrow Laura has a soccer game in Sandy. I think Max and Michael might go to the PSU football game tomorrow night. It's the last weekend of September - hard to believe.

Here's a Stafford poem for all of us tonight:
For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot—air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That's the world, and we all live there.

—William Stafford

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Last night we had a little adventure and drove out to Estacada, which we had never driven to before. Michael, Laura, Max and I watched the Estacada football team get stomped on by the Gladstone Gladiators. One of Laura's counselors from Outdoor School is a cheerleader, and Laura wanted to see her cheer. High school football is fun to watch, especially on a crisp fall night. Finding our way back to Portland in the dark was a little confusing, but we made it! I was thinking it would be fun to drive to a different small Oregon town every Friday night to watch football. Or maybe just once a year, pick a different Oregon town. Or maybe just go once to Estacada and then not go anywhere else, but remember how much fun high school football games were when you were in high school, and how they still are fun to watch. And then go to the high school that is actually in your neighborhood, three blocks away, and watch games there.

Max has a football game today, and Laura has a soccer game starting in 40 minutes. Which means I'd better get moving!

Michele mentioned yesterday that Marianne Boruch is coming to PSU for a reading, and maybe even a craft lecture. So last night I ordered In the Blue Pharmacy: Essays on Poetry and Other Transformations by Boruch.

Sunday Daneen and I are getting together to talk about poems. Yes.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's Official

I'm old.

How do I know this, you ask? Well. I was in a store today and I saw the latest issue of Grand, a magazine about being a grandparent. Donny Osmond was on the cover, with his new grandson.

Donny Osmond is a grandparent!

He was a teen idol when I was Laura's age. I used to buy Tiger Beat so I could get pictures of him. Holly and I used to watch the Donny and Marie show on Saturdays.

And now he's a grandparent.

It's official.

Monday, September 11, 2006


We saw WICKED last night at the Keller auditorium. It was great, and we all enjoyed it! It's interesting to take a story that everyone knows and then imagine some other stuff about it (okay so that's not super insightful critical commentary, but it's Monday!) The sets and costumes were really amazing and very green. I like how they made up words. Dancing Through Life!

I saw Daneen and Zanni today (hey look, Zanni, I blogged about it first! But you can give the fashion report). It was great to see them and I hope Zanni returns to the Pacific NW soon. Yes! I think Zanni would make a good Professional Urban Cowgirl. We'd call her P.U.C for short! Then we'd just start calling her Pucky, and about ten years from now we'd forget why, but it wouldn't matter because she would always be our Pucky.

Max's team lost their first football game, but it was close.

Ploughshares has a blog, I discovered today.

Today is September 11.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We Recall 7th Grade

Anyone remember seventh grade? Did you like it? I can't remember if I liked seventh grade. I do remember when our Social Studies teacher read us all of Longfellow's Evangeline, and warned us he might cry at the end and then he kind of did cry.

Thanks to Josh Corey's blog, I found this - she talks to poets about what it was like to have their first book out. The Andrea Baker one was interesting. And Tony Tost didn't know what his book cover would look like until he saw it on Amazon!

Nico emailed me about the poetry bus. It's coming to Portland!

It is too hot I wish it were cooler.

Laura started seventh grade today. Our thoughts are with her.

Michael and I watched Elizabeth last night, the Helen Mirren one. I wonder if they would mind at my new job if I began to speak in the royal we all the time. Or at home; what would my family think?

We believe they would think we were freakin' weird.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Max starts fifth grade today! Laura begins seventh grade tomorrow.

Very sad about Steve Irwin. Laura and Max used to watch Crocodile Hunter all the time.

Last night I couldn't sleep so I started Veronica by Mary Gaitskill. I haven't read her in a while; I'm liking this book. I also read the new Poetry, which had an interesting article by John Barr on the state of poetry in America.

The only first day of school outfit I can remember very well is a dress I wore in Palo Alto - I think it was sixth grade? And the knee socks that went with it.

Summer went fast.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Camping! (Part Two)

Camping at Timothy Lake was fun! Here is the lake!

It's late, and I want to do something besides sit in front of a computer screen. So this is brief, but the lake looks pretty, doesn't it? I had fast food for lunch AND dinner. That kind of a day!

But it was decidedly cooler today, and I loved that.

Okay Zanni, continued ... Book that changed my life? Collected poems of Jorie Graham, Portrait of A Lady (though I'm not sure how), Sometimes a Great Notion, Ashbery's Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror.

Book that made me laugh? Marc Acito's How I Paid for College. Yes indeed.

More soon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


We are leaving for our family camping trip to Timothy Lake tomorrow! We are sort of packed! I can't wait.

Max is on two football teams; the 4th and 5th grade team and the 5th and 6th grade team. He will be playing twice a week, and he is excited. He looks so cute in his football helmet and uniform.

I nominated Janine Oshiro, Laton Carter, and Cecelia Hagen for Best of the Net for their poems in the Spring 2006 Caffeine Destiny.

Laura gets home tonight from a visit to Sisters.

Zanni - on a desert island I think I would want Portrait of a Lady and Gerald Stern and William Stafford and Jorie Graham and Sometimes a Great Notion and YOGA journal, since I'd have lots of time to do Yoga. Am I allowed to say more than one? If I had to pick just one I'd choose some huge anthology. I will respond to the other ones soon.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ricky Bobby

Talladega Nights was funny, sort of. It was funny in many places, and then just kind of slow in other parts. But it was fun to go to a movie with Max, and Saturday morning we kept mentioning lines from the movie and that was fun as well. Shake and Bake! Help Me Tom Cruise!

I was listening to Podcasts today - because looking for interesting podcasts is more amusing than grading papers (and - see above paragraph - I'm all about the fun!) I didn't know Nora Ephron's parents wrote the Desk Set. I learned that from the New York Times Book Review podcast. There is The Billy Collins Animated Poetry Series, with poems read by him with a video to go along with it. I watched "Forgetfullness", which was cool. I found these on I-tunes.

Tonight we are going to make sushi and watch Cache.

Laura left for Sisters today, with her two cousins. The house will be quieter this week.

I found out last night a poem of mine will be in the second print anthology of the Notell Motel people, The Bedside Guide to Notell Motel, due out in January 2007. The link takes you to info about their first one. My poem doesn't mention sex, or motels. No one even kisses in it! I guess that wasn't a requirement, though, and for that I'm most appreciative.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Today there were donuts in the kitchen at work. I know I know - thrilling subject, right? But there's just something so sweet about half of a donut on a plate of donuts. You can just imagine the internal struggle the person went through - I want a donut no I shouldn't have a donut. Okay half. I'll have half. Of course, it's possible the people who cut the donuts in half (by the end of the day there were quite a few of them) have no donut issues at all, and just weren't hungry enough for a whole one, but I doubt it.

I had one. And a little more than a half of another one.

Max is reading Pride and Prejudice. I thought he might not quite get it, but I asked him about it and he seems to be understanding the plot. Mr. Darcy is arrogant, he told me. I read a little of it with him last night.

But just so he doesn't become too high-brow, I'm taking him to see Will Farrell's new movie tomorrow night.

Last night Michael and I watched The Squid and the Whale, with Jeff Daniels. It was good and really sad. It reminded me a bit of The Ice Storm, although it was set in a later time. But there was something about the tone of both movies that seemed similar.

I have many papers to grade, but I'm going to pace myself.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Now He is Ten

Max had a good birthday! His presents included a guitar tuner and tickets to the Who in October - he and Michael are going. His birthday party was Friday and four of his friends spent the night. I think they went to bed by 3:00 a.m.; I know they were up by 7:00.

Christian Hawkey sent me poems for the new Caffeine Destiny, and I'm looking forward to having the new issue online!

Laura bought fake fingernails yesterday at Claire's. She told me it's hard to type with them.

I start my new job tomorrow. I have been trying to organize my office and my closets these past few days.

Last night I started reading "I'll Take You There", a novel by Joyce Carol Oates.

The light has shifted some, and it seems like fall is on its way. But not quite yet!

My sunflowers have all bloomed and are now falling over. I am thinking of trying to dry some of my tomatos - in the oven. Or maybe I'll just freeze them.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Okay, this is not the perfect Seattle collage, but it's a start ...

Seattle was fun! We went to the Seattle Zoo, and Volunteer Park, and to the Space Needle! We all went to the top of the Space Needle. It was a clear day and the view was fabulous. I have always had a very distinct memory of being four or five and having an Orange Julius at the top of the Space Needle with my mom.

Except, as it turns out, that never happened. I don't know where the memory came from .

While in Seattle I also went to Open Books, a bookstore devoted exclusively to poetry. I bought Joshua Beckman's new book, a book by Matthew Zapruder, and a book by Barbara Guest.

Max turns 10 on Friday. He is excited and that is an understatement.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


The summer is going by fast now. I have been reading Marc Acito's How I Paid for College and enjoying it. I was a bit of a "theater person" in high school myself, so as they say, I can relate to it.

I talked to my mom on the phone today, and told her about my new job. Those of you who know me, know what it is. If you don't know, email me and I'll tell you!

Max has guitar lessons today and Laura is at the middle school painting a mural with her Girl Scout troop. She was great at the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls Showcase at the Baghdad Theater last Saturday. My daughter the rock star!

I need to weed in sections of the back yard. The sections where my flowers live. However, I have managed to avoid that for the past two days by making jam, taking advantage of Albertson's killer "going out of business sale" (I now have enough boxes of Rice-a-Roni and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to make it through at least a few weeks of a terrorist attack or other unforeseen "can't leave the house to buy food" event), and grading papers. And sort of folding laundry. But just sort of.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Beach!

Yes, as promised, it's the "I went to the beach this weekend!" blog entry. Because ... I did! Stayed at Amy and Scott's new house in Neskowin. It was lots of fun and I saw sea anemones. The weather was great.

This coming Saturday we are going to Seattle. We're going to the Space Needle and the Zoo, and Open Books. Our hotel has a pool, so I hope it's nice weather.

I haven't been writing much poetry - I never get much writing done in the summer. But Daneen and I are going to start meeting regulary to talk about poems, starting next week. That should be good incentive!

This summer has gone by fast, but it's still summer! It's only August. A new Caffeine Destiny should be up by the end of this month - that's the plan!

I have been reading short stories by William Trevor - and Rolling Stone Magazine!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Run Off

Amy and I ran the Cascade Run-off yesterday - 9.3 miles. I finished, and I didn't walk any of it, so I'm pleased. I was, however, last in my age group and finished before 10 other people. But 9.3 miles is pretty far. I'd like to run a half-marathon next. But not a marathon!

Laura started her Rock and Roll Camp for Girls this morning. Max has a new crew cut, thanks to Michael. It looks good!

This weekend we are going to the beach for the Moore Cup, and next weekend we are going to Seattle!

The term at Washington State is almost over, and I have a few papers to grade.

My sunflowers are blooming. They are already showing back to school ads, but I'm ignoring them. August is still summer, and it's not even August yet!

Zanni is on her way to Squaw Valley, and Janine is driving back to Iowa. I'm here - and it's hot out!

Monday, July 17, 2006


Laura and I went to see Martina Mcbride in concert last night. It was a great concert!

Michael, Laura, Max and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean yesterday. I enjoyed it. I can't remember enough about the first one to compare the two of them.

Yesterday we also went out to breakfast - we woke up and the power was out!

I read Steve Almond's latest short story collection this weekend, The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories. My favorite story was about a boy who hits a kid with a baseball bat - which sounds awful, and it is, but the story was told well. I read My Life in Heavy Metal a few years ago. I know he's written a novel with Julianna Baggott, where they take turns writing letters back and forth - as characters in the novel.

Tomorrow Laura starts a week of Girl Scout camp - it's a day camp, and she's a program assistant this year. Friday night the P.A.s get to spend the night.

I have many green tomatos on the vine!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Prairie Home Companion

Laura and I went to see Prairie Home Companion tonight. It was $4.00 Monday at Cinetopia on Hawthorne. I liked it a lot; I was worried Laura might think it was kind of boring, but she said it was "pretty good." Meryl Streep seemed quite different than her role in Devil Wears Prada. There was a lot of good music in it, and Lily Tomlin and Garrison Keillor. I used to listen to Prairie Home Companion all the time when I lived in Eugene.

Tomorrow we are driving to Mill City to pick up Max and his cousin Alex and bring them back to Portland. It will be fun to see Max again.

Tonight I read Jonathan Franzen's essay on the novel that was published in Harper's in 1996 and everyone talked about. I finally read it! I liked the quote from Don DeLillo that he included in it: "writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Our Far-Flung Correspondents

Today, Tori is in India, Max is in Central Oregon and Holly is in New York City.

Today is my mom's birthday. We went out to Shari's for breakfast this morning - Laura, Elise, Mom and I.

Last night we went to see The Devil Wears Prada. I enjoyed it; Meryl Streep was great. Turns out Michele G. and John were sitting right behind us!

Today we are going to McMinnville to celebrate Mom's birthday. Amy has a temporary houseguest, in the form of a calico kitten.

Happy Birthday Diane.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Michael and I took the kids - Laura very much against her will! - to Superman yesterday. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I think Anthony Lane was right, however - the actor who plays Superman seems like he's doing an imitation of Christopher Reeve playing Superman.

Friday night I went out with Janine, Daneen and Zanni. Janine's in town for most of July - hooray! I thought it was funny we all showed up with black shirts on. We went to Mint, a place in North Portland. I wish Janine and Zanni still lived here, but I think perhaps Zanni might move back - at least to Oregon? - after she graduates. Can't stop thinking about Janine's red shoes - and gold hoop earrings. Maybe I'll write a poem where they make a guest appearance ...

Sending a poetry manuscript to Tupelo Press tomorrow. Daneen lit the fire under me!

Monday, June 26, 2006


The Oregon State Beavers won the College World Series! Michael and Max watched the game.

It has been hot here. Too hot to go running.

But it cooled down tonight around nine - finally. Cool enough to take the dogs for a walk, anyway. The lavender is in bloom in Portland! I noticed it everywhere tonight - and in my own backyard.

I have been reading Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dusk by Joshua Marie Wilkerson and enjoying it very much! And he will have poems in the new Caffeine Destiny, hooray.

The words on the woman in the lower left hand corner that can't be read very well here are:

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;

by John Keats, from On the Grasshopper and the Cricket.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bowl of Lemons!

Okay, so maybe I had to tell you they were lemons before you knew ... But you can tell it's a bowl, right? I drew this today.

I ran six miles this morning. There was a nice breeze, although it's getting very hot. I"m so glad we have air conditioning.

I checked out some books about drawing. I like doing things in the summer I don't usually do. Drawing is fun. I like drawing when I first get up, as the newspaper is really not worth reading these days. I read the celebrity news and the opinion page and then I'm usually done.

Reading Karen Volkman's Spar again, and Megan Johnston's The Waiting. They both are so great - they push so hard on the language, I love that. I wrote a poem on Thursday that I was quite pleased with, and emailed it to some people to say "look what I did!" I'm trying to make the words do a lot of work - calisthentics for the words! And as Janine and I discussed the other day, don't forget the music of the poem! yes!

Max and Laura are going to a birthday party today. Both of their lessons went well yesterday. Max learned two chords. Max's teacher said he would find the music for Behind Blue Eyes by the Who for Max, since that's one of Max's favorite songs. Laura's teacher said yesterday she was a flute player with two sticks of wood in her hands, but she was going to become a drummer! Or something like that - I liked how he said it.

So right now I'm a poet with a pencil. I think I shall probably remain that, but it's fun to try new things.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


It feels like summer is really here now. I took the kids to Target today and they got new swimsuits. Then later they played out in the back in the sprinkler in them. Laura has an orange bikini and Max's suit is also a shade of orange - they looked cute, playing in the sprinkler in the back yard.

This afternoon Michael brought home a snare drum and drum stand and drumsticks for Laura. Her first percussion lesson is tomorrow. Max's guitar lesson is tomorrow too.

I am reading an Anita Brookner novel - I haven't read a book by her in a long time. I read an essay last night about Dare Wright, the woman who wrote the Edith the Lonely Doll books. I didn't know there were like fifteen Edith the Lonely Doll books. I had one when I was a kid. I bought the reprint for Laura a few years ago.

Tonight Laura and I went to Michael's Craft Store and I bought a sketchbook and some pencils. I bought some of those charcoal pencils, the dark ones that you have to peel. I remember my mom had those. I drew some chairs and flowers. It was fun.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

First Week of Summer Vacation

For my kids anyway! They are a bit squirrely but seem to be adjusting to no school. I practiced football throwing and catching with Max last night. I have to get over my first impulse when I see a football heading for me - it doesn't help to duck! Max kept explaining to me that I should have all fingers lined up with the stitching when I throw the ball.

Max has his first guitar lesson on Friday, and Laura has her first percussion lesson Friday as well! She wants to be percussion next year in band, instead of the flute.

I don't know why I started thinking about this today, but I wonder: when did people start rolling their eyes as a facial expression? Did people in the Middle Ages roll their eyes? Not in a "I'm possessed by the devil!" kind of a way, but in a "geez I can't believe you said that!!" or "God you're stupid" manner? I will have to look into this.

I have been listening to Band of Horses a lot lately. They are coming to the Doug Fir on July 3rd and I think Michael and I are going.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

School's Out!

Tomorrow is Max's last day of fourth grade! Today was Laura's last day of sixth grade!!

Max also had a tux fitting today. As in, yes, tuxedo! He's going to be a ringbearer in my father-in-law''s wedding on Saturday. Laura is going to be a candlelighter, with her cousin Sonja.

My poetry students turned in their final projects today. It was fun to read their reflective memos at the beginning of their projects. I can think of things I will do differently next time, but I think some good things happened in that class.

I have been reading some of the Best American Essays 2005 this week. Michael gave it to me for my birthday in January, but I hadn't read many of them until this week. I read an essay about the Peanuts comic strip (and other things) by Jonathan Franzen, and an essay about memory by Ian Frazier. I would like to try to write an essay this summer. I make my students write them all the time - it seems only fair!

The sky was gorgeous tonight. My sweet peas are starting to bloom.

My contributor's copies of Faultline arrived today. I thought my poem looked nice.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Michael and I slept in until 10:30 this morning - we never sleep in that late!

Last night we watched Woody Allen's Match Point, which was good, and started A History of Violence, which was - surprise! - violent, but seems good so far.

Yesterday was the end of the season barbecue for Little League. Max had a lot of fun getting very wet in the dunk tank. Michael and I played in a ball game with other parents against the coaches. Michael was good, I was not so good, but I did actually manage to hit the ball on one of my times at bat. Pretty amazing for me!

Next week is the kid's last week of school. Max's class is going swimming Monday, and I think Tuesday is field day. I can remember field day from when I was in grade school. There's still something exciting about the last week of school!

It's been warm so the flowers are happy. My tomato plants have actual tomatos on them.

I stopped reading Black Swan Green, about thirty pages before it ended. I realized, I just didn't care how it ended. So I stopped. I want to read Antonya Nelson's new collection of short stories. I have been thinking about short stories lately.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


My poetry class at PSU is winding down, my new class at WSU has started! Six students registered, five were in class yesterday. They put us in a computer lab type of classroom, with tables grouped in fives. Each table has a huge monitor on it - it kind of hides their faces! Fine if I was teaching a typing class I suppose ... I can see how it would come in handy for in-class writing, but really, it seems like overkill.

Max is giving a speech today - his last of the year. He practiced it many times last night. He was supposed to write a speech that a patriot would give - as in Revolutionary War patriot. He convinced me! This morning he wore all blue, including his nice dress shoes and a button down shirt. And he brought his wooden sword as a prop. He says Patrick Henry had a sword too!

Sunday Michael and I went to the Art Museum. We saw the new Modern Art wing. I liked the Rothko. Some of it was too modern for me. The renaissance painting from Brecia was cool.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's June!

June has started out rainy, but that's Portland for you!

Hey I won a copy of Joshua Corey's new chapbook. And they say reading blogs is not a lucrative pursuit ...

Today one of my class ends and next week a new one begins! My summer class at WSU has six students.

I would be entirely content to finish Black Swan Green today and drink coffee and do nothing else. One of these days ...

My oriental poppies are blooming! According to folklore, staring into the center of a poppy will make you blind. But I did that yesterday, and so far my vision is fine.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

End of May

Look, I'm an Abstract Expressionist! I made this with stamp pad ink.

It is almost summer. We are on the verge of raspberry season which is my favorite season of the year! I could eat them by the bucket. Big buckets of raspberries, yes.

Do you have to learn to draw before you can be an Abstract Expressionist? Do they make you do charcoal drawings and contour drawings and learn perspective? Or is being an Abstract Expressionist a convenient way to forego all that?

My lavender is just about ready to bloom.

Laura returned from Outdoor School. This summer she will be going to the Rock 'n Roll Camp for Girls.

I rearranged my office this weekend and I'm very pleased with the result. Michael helped me move all the electronic stuff. It looks much better in here. Now there are two bookcases under the window.

I have a small black and white photo of my grandmother, sitting on top of one of the bookcases, taken long before I was born. She's wearing a long mink coat. It's a great photo. And today is her 91st birthday! Happy Birthday Grandma!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Spring Rain

It has been raining a lot this week - and mostly I like rain - but this week I keep thinking of sixth graders at Outdoor School hiking around (or whatever it is they do there) in the rain.

Particularly, my Sixth Grader! Maybe we will get mail from her tomorrow.

I have been reading Kenneth Koch's New Addresses and really liking it. Janine mentioned it to me. Now I want to write address poems. Dear Spring! Dear Rain! Dear Dishes in the Kitchen! Dear Guitar! I love Koch's conversational tone. And of course he was from the New York School - and they are all great (that is my great critical literary insight for today, thanks very much).

Max is going to take guitar lessons. We found a teacher and Max will go a few times and see what he thinks. He's pretty excited about it.

Max wore his WHO t-shirt to school this week; he said kids were asking him THE WHO were. Tragic.

I was feeling tired, but I ran three miles in the rain and now feel much better. Dear Running! Dear Rain!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fall Out Boy

Laura left for Outdoor School today. She'll be back Friday. Yesterday we went shopping at the mall. She told me as we were leaving that she HAD to get a Fall Out Boy t-shirt. So we went to a store that had Fall Out Boy t-shirts, and Green day t-shirts and other bands I've never heard of. We got Max a WHO t-shirt and he was psyched! I like some of those Fall Out Boy songs.

I ran six miles this morning. Amy and I are going to run the Cascade Run off in July, and that's nine hilly miles! So I must prepare for that.

Every day there's new things to see outside. Some lilies that I planted near the bird feeder have come up. The coreopsis is about to bloom. And the roses are going to town; I'm able to have cut roses inside all the time now.

Max's team won their game Saturday. They won't have another game until Friday, because the coach is also at Outdoor School! He is a middle school teacher as well as a Little League coach.

I gave Laura an envelope with a stamp, addressed to her family. And I snuck some fig newtons and a note from me into her suitcase. I hope they don't get rained on and the food is decent.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Michael and Laura went to the father/daughter Girl Scout dance tonight. They both looked pretty cute as they were leaving.

I haven't made a new collage in a while. Maybe tonight?

I ran five miles this morning, then shopped for clothes and did very little teaching-related activities!

Laura leaves for Outdoor School on Sunday. She'll be gone until next Friday. At least she has an address there so I can write to her. It will be quiet around here.

Meetings this week at Washington State University in Vancouver. This fall they will start admitting freshman and I will be teaching in the General Education department and the English department.

Wow, I actually named one of the places I teach - I've outed myself! WSU-Vancouver has a gorgeous campus. I'm sure the freshman will like it!

My iris are blooming and there are even little blossoms on my tomato plants. My sunflower seeds have sprouted. I evicted a peony today. It was kind of in the irises way. Except the peony was here first. Garden wars!

It was fun to hear Daneen and other poets read on Wednesday. It made me miss Janine and Zanni and Nico.

I read this article today in MORE magazine that this woman wrote about deciding not to dye her hair anymore. MORE is written for the over-40 woman for those of you not familiar with it. They showed the before and after pictures, and I do think she looks lots better with her grey hair. But halfway through the article, I started to feel like, geez lady it's just your hair. I mean it just started to seem a little too narcissistic to be so overly worried about the color of one's hair! It became this big reflection and/or metaphor for her personal journey into middle adulthood. Why does everything have to be a big personal journey? The many trips to the colorist to make the growing out look more natural, the comment on her new look from some stranger outside a movie theater that made her feel attractive, etc. etc. I think it also revealed how women are always SO defined by what they look like! And it almost reminded me of articles in SEVENTEEN magazine about how to wear your hair. Except those articles just show a few pictures and then the article is over! This was words and words and words about this woman's hair. I mean, shouldn't we evolve a LITTLE as we age? Or do we just always have the same adolescent concerns that just follow us all through our lives, i.e. How does my hair look?

Okay, end of rant.

It's Friday!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I am not done with my changes

I had a fun Mother's Day. I am now a member of the Portland Art Museum! The whole family is! Michael and the kids gave me a membership for Mother's Day. I can't wait to take advantage of it.

Drove to Corvallis Sunday and saw my mom, briefly! Planted geraniums and other flowers in pots that are now in her courtyard and under her window.

It was unseasonably warm yesterday. The flowers seem to be digging it.

I have lots of meetings this week, and conferences with students! It's sestinas and villanelles this week for my poetry students. Which means, of course, "One Art" and "Do Not Go Gentle" and things like that!

Tomorrow I will go see Daneen and other PSU poets read. I'm looking forward to that.

Stanley Kunitz is gone. He will be missed.

One of my favorite poems of his:
The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Michael and I couldn't decide what movie to see last night - it was either Mission Impossible Three or some other movie...

So we went to see Assassins at Artist Repertory Theatre. The theater there is small and intimate, so it was fun to see a musical in that setting. It's about presidential assassins. The actors who played John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were the strongest, I thought.

Today Zapoura and I went to a faculty roundtable and "facilitated" discussions about teaching writing. It was interesting!

This week I have conferences with my poetry students, and other meetings about writing classes.

But more importantly, a baseball game Tuesday! Max's team won today.

Laura has her final track meet this week, but I may have to miss it due to meetings.

Tomorrow I'm going to see my mom in Corvallis to wish her happy Mother's Day thoughts.

Tonight ... singing! Or my imitation of it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It's Early

I couldn't sleep so I decided to get up! I feel like Zanni. No, if I were Zanni it would be 2:30 a.m. instead of 5:45 ... But Zanni's dream about being pregnant with a sheep reminded me of a dream I had a long time ago - in high school I think - where I had kittens!

I like being up early. The light outside my office window is morning-ous! Or something.

Today in poetry class we are talking more about sonnets. Everyone is supposed to bring their sonnet to class and we will workshop them in class today, instead of doing the usual take-them-home-and-comment-on-them thing. Because Thursday they have a project due!

The Portland Art Museum has a new exhibit, Great Painters in Brescia From the Renaissance to the 18th Century. I want to go!

I am working on a long poem that will take a long time to finish. It's nice to have a longer-ish poem as backdrop to the shorter ones I write. A poetry book I am reading, whose name escapes me and I don't want to get up and find it, has made me think about syntax more. The moving around. of it. Yes, The Waiting by Megan Johnson! I remembered!

I want to read more Frank Bidart.

I'm reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. It's a novel. I'm going to read a lot of novels this summer, I have decided. I'm open to suggestion!

Laura's class is going downtown today on a field trip.

There is nothing more pleasing than the first cup of coffee in the morning. I think no one knows this better than my mother and me. I bet she is up too.