Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dear month of July,

Dear month of July,

I hope you won't mind if I don't consider you "July" so much as "mid-summer": it's a crucial difference, I think you'll agree, since "mid-summer" implies that I still have around half a summer left. Summer is long, in my opinion, especially when you're not nearing the end of it, when it starts to seem short. That's because of a little thing we call "perspective," where things that are up close seem different than things that are far away. Except in this case--in the case of time--things that are up close, for instance "the end of summer" from the perspective of "almost the end of summer," seem very very tiny, whereas things that are far away, such as "the end of summer" from the perspective of "mid-summer," seem a long ways off.

"A long ways off" seems preferable to me, month of July, vis a vis "the end of summer." (And sorry, month of July, for all those quotation marks. If this were oral discourse, I could have done those quotation marks with my "fingers.")

Here is the evidence that it is mid-summer:
  1. A Saturday party that started in the evening while it was still light, still warm, and ended very late, when it was lovely and cool.
  2. Dry heat that felt just like an oven when we were standing on the corner of 3rd South and 2nd East at about six-thirty p.m.
  3. Bike-riding in the evening.
  4. Only the second watermelon of the summer. For real.
  5. First time at the farmer's market.
  6. I have not given a thought to the teaching of composition except for the kind of thought that floats high in the air above my head, like I'm literally thinking in thought balloons.
  7. Iced tea (green + mint) made and ready to drink.
  8. fireworks galore ignited in the street last night (by the firework-happy neighbor).
That's a fair pile-up of evidence. Wait:

    9. lemonade.

See: even more evidence. Month of July, I salute you and hereby dub you "mid-summer." I am looking forward to you. Please last a long, long time.



Friday, June 29, 2012

Illness struck.

Yesterday, after my writing (yep, two hours) I received the following text from my son:


Why, no I had not. So we met up at the theater, and bought the giant bucket o' corn, and also a large soft drink because I wanted a drink, a small one, but he wanted to refill it, and could not in his own mind justify buying a small drink when a large was to be had for one dollar more.
Suffice it to say that I enjoyed the movie, ate too much popcorn and drank too much drink because it could not be refilled, the movie theater had not refilled drinks for years, and when I got home, I felt ill. And later, I felt iller.
This was not good, because I also had to do a little work for a retreat today--I had to make a short presentation. Well, I went to bed at like ten o'clock (are you all :-0 ??) (I was), slept like a person with an ill-feeling popcorn attack, and got up at 6 a.m. to finish that damn presentation. Here's a couple of screenshots for ya.
More blog later, maybe. When I made my "Blogging Every Day in the Year 2012" pledge, I maybe should have included a rider about feeling a little under the weather.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Today, I did some research for a photo essay-ish thing I might be writing. I'll tell you more about it when I'm further along. Maybe. To a great extent, this meant identifying photos to use--I had done some brainstorming and writing already, and identified photographs in my mind...but that's different than locating them in my (you can already predict this) disorderly photo filing system on multiple computers.


But it was all good times, anyway, because I needed to also figure out how to turn on Photo Stream on my iMac, blah blah blah, don't even listen to this part--it all got resolved with only a small chat with the Apple guy and all my computers are now talking to each other, photo-wise, and I did create a new file with photos for the photo essay-ish thing, with titles for the photos and so forth and what not. So that was good.

I also went out into my lush but untidy yard and found that the following was happening, with or without my permission:



So that was good, too.

And also, there was a packet of huckleberries that I bought at Dave's Market in Ashton, sitting in my refrigerator, mutely pleading with me to do something with them, the way huckleberries will, in a packet situation. They were picked somewhere in the surrounding area. Frozen, but local. I kept them in the freezer, and also I kept thinking I would bake a pie up there in the wilderness. But I didn't bake that pie in Idaho. No, I baked that pie in Utah.

Let me just say that I remember picking huckleberries as a child with my parents and grandmother. And I remember eating a huckleberry pie, baked up there in heaven only knows what contraption. If it was the old stove that required wood (it couldn't have been coal, could it?), then all respect to my grandmother. There's a modern range and oven situation up there now, so baking a pie would have been fun but not heroic. Anyway: pie. Huckleberry pie. It took me back.

I used a recipe that I found on 101 Cookbooks--it had a rye crust which gave me fits and was not pretty in the rolling out, let me tell you, the people. It had a serious falling-apart issue, both the top and bottom crusts. The top crust looked like the land in an earthquake zone, after the earthquake. But it was delicious, and the filling had lemon verbena leaves chopped (or pestled, if that's the way you roll) into the sugar, so it had an extra quotient of lemoniness. That was good. We ate it at nine o'clock with vanilla ice cream that my son ran to the store to get.

That's pie, ladies and gents: pie.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Writing report.

What's that? you want to know how the writing's going? Fine, thanks for asking. Here's the time clock I am punching:

Thursday  2 hrs. 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Friday  2 hrs. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturday 2 hrs. 10 a.m.-noon
Sunday: day of rest and driving.
Monday 2 hrs. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Today, Tuesday  2 hrs. 10 a.m.-noon

Yesterday, my first day writing back on the mainland--back in the Lower 48, as it were--was a little ragged. Pretty much everything I wrote I seemed forced and lame and I hated it. HATED IT.

But I stayed at my desk and I wrote for two hours, like I promised myself. I did that Monday writing, as unattractive as it was. And I gave myself research assignments--since I'm not doing internet research during my writing-down-the-words sessions--and I did those last night. Did you know, for instance, that a tombolo is "one or more sandbars or spits that connect an island to the mainland"? I did not know that, but I do now. And this proved relevant in the writing today, happily.

As you might predict, a routine, more or less disciplined, in one area leads one to feel a bit more productive and disciplined in other areas. For example:
  1. I took Bruiser for a walk yesterday morning and this morning. 
  2. I made my bed. I know, small potatoes, but still.
  3. I did some laundry and put some clothes away.
  4. I painted the fingernails on one hand whilst I was thinking, aka writing.
  5. I read a bunch of the book for my book group.
  6. I took popsicles over and hung out with some grandsons.
Yes, it's all productivity and popsicles around here, what with this five-day track record, which I'm sure indicates great things to come, or something like that. And if we're not getting quite enough sleep now that we're down off the mountain, well, that's par for the course. Although I am worried a little bit about this. I'm going to consider getting enough sleep to be job one! as long as I get my writing done!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Short movie review.

Prometheus: take a sexy yet clinical robot; a dead guy as hologram--or is he?; one of the bad cops from Red Riding; Stringer Bell playing a squeeze box; a chilly Charlize Theron; the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as an ass-kicking scientist who can also perform surgery on herself; sundry other disposable characters...and a super-sick, ambisexual, slurpy-looking, squishy, implacable and relentless alien (is there any other kind?) = a jumpy, slightly absurd yet undeniably fun-in-the-summer movie-going extravaganza.

NOTE: my son said, as an advisory before seeing Prometheus, "just tell your brain to ask the questions after the movie's over." Let me just add: scientists--what a wild, wacky bunch!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

May I just say

that it was hot when we drove down the mountain, and then it was hotter. But the historian heroically hooked up the swamp cooler, and life looked better from that moment on.

Here's how I would summarize our Idaho sojourn:

  • we saw lots of new places in and around the Island Park caldera
  • I slept like a champ, most nights, and averaging out the sleep got at least 8 hours every night--sleep worth noting! Huzzah!
  • read 10,000 books, or a lot of them anyway.
  • ate mostly healthy food, and 
  • got my writing groove on.
Now that I am back in my regular house, I am happy to contemplate
  • having the coolness, due to swamp cooleritude
  • eating mostly healthy food, but especially Mexican food--that's healthy, right?
  • reading another 10,000 books
  • sleeping like a champ (I hope I hope I hope I hope)
  • writing two hours every day.
That's right. Two hours. Every day. It is good. You turn off the internet and you write. You pick up something you wrote yesterday or the day before, and add some more to it. You free write something using a topic or prompt or idea you thought of. But the main thing you do is you write words, and you do not do internet "research," which sometimes turns into internet "shopping," as in you buy a book you need because you need to know something. For your poem. NO. You turn the internet OFF and you write words. For two hours, and that is a promise, the people.

After I have written two hours, I plan to watch lots of movies. I consider seeing movies to be part of my purpose in life, which could be considered part of my job. And, therefore, since it is my job to see the movies, you can count on me: I will see them. I will see all the movies.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mighty mighty.

About to close the curtains for the night, I spy a thin crescent moon.

Me: Look at this moon.

Historian: (comes over to look, then goes immediately outside.)

Strains of The Commodores "Brick House" float across the meadow, almost a mile away, from the Angler's Lodge:
She's a brick--house
She's the one, the only one,
who's built like a amazon
We're together everybody knows,
and here's how the story goes
The moon is beautiful, perfectly white in a sky still blue.

Historian: I'm giving those guys a pass, because it's a wedding.
Mighty mighty, just lettin' it all hang out
She's a brick--house

SLC, we are coming home tomorrow. Get your spotted, brindle dogs of superb character ready.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I would need a better camera,

or better words or at least a better lens. But I'll give it a whirl anyway:

Today, we drove up a mountain, which was different than what we thought we were doing. We thought we were driving east where there might, possibly, be . . . wait for it . . . bears. Or, to be more precise, where "it's the kind of country where you'd think there might be bears," as our friend stroke grocer recommended. We talked to him like three different times to straighten out what the directions would be to this mythic bear-possible-land. All of them involved Hwy. 291 and the post office.

Today we bought what surely is the most useless map of all time, of Jefferson and Fremont counties. It futzes around with all sorts of little roads with their little number names, not one of which we saw in actuality. But never mind. We did see a small sign with the number 291 on it, and lo we did follow it, and we did not turn from it. That's because the cashier at the other grocery store where we bought the useless map told us that, yes, he knew about 291, it was an unpaved road, "kind of washboardy," and criss-crossed by all sorts of road shenanigans--"a railroad track, ATV tracks," whatnot--things that might lead a person who doesn't know her way around a backroads mountain to get real good and lost.

Whatever. Our middle name is "Intrepid," so off we went up a mountain. Which we did not know we were going to do.

The guy was right--there was criss-crossery--but it didn't divert us from Hwy. 291, no sir. Every so often, we saw a sign, which kept us on the true path. Once we passed Hwy 292, which was on the map, we started to ascend.

"We're going up a mountain," I said to the historian. Why this should have been surprising, I don't know. But it was.

Ascend, then switchback, then switchback and ascend some more. Then lo:

The people, it blew my mind.

For the life of me I cannot figure out what mountain or ridge we were on top of. When I do find out, I will let you know.

6/23: intel: Here--that curvy folded part--is where we were. Unfortunately, it still has no name:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Good day: the break down.

1. Wake up at 5 a.m. But there are birds singing.
2. Wake up again at 9:30 a.m. Early start, yo.
3. Lay down the law with your bad self: you are writing for two hours today. You are aided in this law-abidingness by the fact that you have set a specific writing task for yourself. And you have read an article in O magazine about setting a contract with yourself. For the writing. Two hours' worth.
4. Write for two hours. Like a boss.
5. Spring up from your writing chair and make yourself lunch.
6. Go on a walk and see all of this:

Yep. That was a pretty good day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Variations on a book.

A few days ago on The Face, a friend commented that she was about to write by clearing a space on the table, reading a few pages from her "Bible" (which for her, that day, was The English Patient), turning off the internet, and writing. I loved this idea. I brought with me to Idaho a bunch of books that could serve the "Bible" role--for me, for a few days, it was Larry Levis's Selected--and I used this method to jumpstart my writing.

It was amazing to me, though, how deeply some of those poems have penetrated my...what, my tropes? images? paradigms? For instance, this:
I know this isn't much.
But I wanted to explain this life to you, even if
I had to become, over the years, someone else to do it.
You have to think of me what you think of me. I had
To live my life, even in its late, florid style.
That's from "My Story in a Late Style of Fire," from Winter Stars. I bought that book before the first meeting of the first workshop I attended, taught by Larry Levis. Evidently, I have been reading this poem for all the years since. It was, actually, shocking to me. I not only love this poem--it, in some sense, has become me. Or I have become it. I guess this happens with every book that, in some way, forms us.

I remember thinking quite clearly at one point in my life that I no longer wanted to keep having the same arguments. In a sense, I wanted to stop reading the same book. This is, of course, not possible, or at least I have not found it to be so. We keep reading the same books that have read us. These books--the ones that form us--are us. We are them. In this sense, we never really leave our old books behind--our old lives, our old ideas and commitments--we are always in them, they are always in us.

Right now, I am wondering if there's even a point to saying, of this phenomenon, this is terrible or this is true or any such judgement. I am wondering, what, in fact, the Bible is--the rotating cast of sacred books, or beautiful books, or searing, or visionary, or transformative books. Can you choose your Bible? or does it in some way always choose you?

My family used to love to play a little game, where we'd name the top five records, or books, or movies, or whatever--the ones you'd take with you to a place where you'd have those and no other. My kids would always joke with me that I acted like it was real--like I'd never be able to revise my list. I always put Leaves of Grass on my list of books, and I did always put the King James Bible. To me, whatever else it was, it was a book of beautiful language, and parts of it mean a great deal to me--words that feed me. Even when I'm choosing, my old book follows me.

If you are of the book--sacred or secular-- then books that choose you--or the ones that you choose--give you the frame for thinking and feeling. I feel I might never stop being able to read through the original books--the original books speaking, always, through every new text. At this point in my life, I'm not sure why I should even try, aside from understanding that mine--my reading, my writing--isn't the only way.

I am asking myself: what is it that my own poems are doing? what news do they have to deliver? what beauty of their own? what voice or beauty that isn't somehow ventriloquizing, quarreling with, revising, contradicting, singing the old books?

Larry Levis again, speaking in a borrowed voice--the voice of Whitman:
Now that I'm required reading in your high schools,
Teenagers call me a fool.
Now what I sang stops breathing.
And yet
It was only when everyone stopped believing in me
That I began to live again--

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


All I could smell were damp clouds and water slipping through the tundra. I could not find what startled the bear. I could not smell the humanness, the incomprehensible scent that sends a full-grown grizzly running like a scared cat. I breathed deeper when the bear was a dot of gold light a mile away[.] ("Bear," The Animal Dialogues, Craig Child)
and this:
Some might claim that this is a book of solitudes. (Becoming Animal, David Abram)
and this:
We'd compete, daring each other to go as far as we could, marking our limits. "We're being chased by wolves, and we have to run," or "Whoever goes farthest's vizier," we said. I was the third-best southgoer in my gang. In our usual spot, there was a Hostnest in fine alien colours tethered by creaking ropes of muscle to a stockade, that in some affectation the Hosts had fashioned like one of our wicker fences. I'd creep up on it while my friends whistled from the crossroads. (Embassytown,  China Mieville)
and this:
I have to step
over the dark threshold
A hall.
The white document gleams.
With so many shadows moving.
Everyone wants to sign it. ("Signatures," The Great Enigma, Tomas Transtromer)
and this:
It isn't that I don't sympathize with the lassitude. I understand it all too well. Creativity demands an ability to be with oneself at one's least attractive, that sometimes it's just easier not to do anything. Writing--I can really only speak to writing here--always, always only starts out as shit: an infant of monstrous aspect; bawling, ugly, terrible, and it stays terrible for a long, long time. Unlike cooking, for example, where largely edible, if raw, ingredients are assembled, cut, heated, and otherwise manipulated into something both digestible and palatable, writing is closer to having to reverse-engineer a meal out of rotten food. ("Isn't It Romantic?" Half Empty, David Rakoff)
Also: writing, eating, sleeping, walking, internetting.

I said good day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Open letter to 20-30 mph winds.

Dear 20-30 mph winds,

I do admire how you started the day with such splendid gusto. I appreciate that you did not falter at the counterintuitive sunniness of the day, not in the morning, not at noon, not at dinnertime. You blew so impressively. You were the kind of wind that makes a person reconsider how she might spend her day.

For instance, 20-30 mph winds, I thought I might write today. I still might, but it's fair of you to point out: only now that you've died down. What is it about you? Sunny + 20-30 mph winds + June = the weather that diverts a soul from its purpose.

Or perhaps writing was never my soul's purpose--is that what you were getting at? I'm not sure why wind, even 20-30 mph wind, would have that kind of power: to interpellate me at the crossroads of intention and act, to seethe and whoosh and gust as if you were yourself the soul, its intentions, and the dust to which both come.

Melodramatic? Sure. So are you, though. So loud. So gusty. So diva-esque. So like a harbinger yet so coy about what is to come.

Is it rain? Snow? A precipitous drop in temperature? or maybe all three? Regardless, you have done your work. We ventured forth at 8 p.m.; the blackbirds clicked at us as we rounded the corner past a sagebrush expanse--maybe you did some damage to their nests. Maybe they were still just a little unnerved, just as we were, by the very force of your bravado. And, 20-30 mph winds, as I look back at how I whiled away the hours today, reading a little of this, crosswording a little bit of that, I am brought, finally, to this point: you've had your way with the day and you were the imperious master. But I hope that tomorrow, you'll move on to some other mountaintop.

Good day,


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Six Sigma of Idaho.

Remember this?

30 Rock Six Sigma from Bob Burtowsky on Vimeo.

Apparently, the real Six Sigma is an actual business thing, that tons of businesses do, that has to do with consistency, as demonstrated by the following graphic, which I totally understand which is why I made this screen capture of it from Wikipedia:

It apparently "seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes." (also quoting Wikipedia. I am pretty sure it is the best source of information for topics like these, especially for blogging purposes.) Six Sigma is also apparently really funny. Tina Fey says so.

Well, in order to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects for your future vacation in Idaho, I offer the following Six Sigmas (I know: the Sigma isn't  plural; moreover, the Sigma aren't things and have nothing to do with teamwork, insight, brutality, male enhancement, handshakery or play hard. But I'm pretending that they do, for blogging purposes) of Idaho:

  • reclining
  • indolence
  • cookie eating
  • book reading improvement
  • snackery
  • sleep hard
(Sorry there's no graph or chart, but my improvement of process outputs (see above) does not allow time for this kind of chart-making frippery.)

I am awarding myself a Black Belt in Six Sigma of Idaho. I think I deserve it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The last post about bears. Probably.

Today, after our epic Yellowstone bear-seeing quest, we stayed close to home--took a little bike ride, admired the river which had, at the time we rode by it, practically no fishermen, read a lot, wrote, made cookie dough (which is currently curing in the refrigerator, since that's apparently what cookie dough needs nowadays), took small naps. You know, like you do.

An old friend from long ago, a writer and a gentleman, tells me on Facebook, where I have been airing my plaintive lament about the bears and how Yellowstone is apparently not letting anyone see them, that he sees bears all the time in the park, and also that bears show themselves only to the pure in heart. And, seriously, there's a part of me that kind of, sort of, believes him.

I probably need to engage in more serious, focused bear-seeking behavior, and not just identify a stretch of road where bears have appeared to other people. Perhaps I need to slow down more, stay still more. Perhaps I need to learn, really, how to look for bears.

When I was a kid, bears just showed up at--literally--your picnic. There's a part of me that thinks I ought to be able to see a bear just by showing up myself. A few years ago, I was in fine mega-fauna spotting form (no bears, but moose). Of late, I appear to have lost my animal-finding ways.

(I may or may not be talking about my inner life here.)

Anyway. I've been thinking about totems, a little bit--the animals that seem to express what we long for in our inner lives. What animal is my totem? Sometimes I think it is a dog, but actually a dog--a certain dog--may be my muse. Can a dog be both a totem and a muse? Maybe. I find that when I see other animals, I see Bruiser in them. For instance, take a look at this seal we saw in Scotland:

There were lots of these seals lounging about on a sunny day at Newburgh beach. Lots and lots of them. Some of them were in the water, coming very close to the edge where my granddaughters, their trouser legs rolled up, were running up to and barely into the water, then running back. This one's eyes remind me of Bruiser's--wary, soulful, apart.

I do not think a bear is my totem animal nor my muse. But bears are an emblem of where I come from, so I would like to see one again--be in the right place, however one defines place--be clear-eyed, patient, still enough--I want my heart to be pure enough for a bear to reveal itself to me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Are the bears all hanging out without me?

Going east through the Lamar Valley:

The historian: What do you think she's looking at? (gesturing at a young woman, wearing blue shorts, standing on a ridge, facing the river)  Maybe a bear.

Me: (deducing from her motionlessness, presumed age, and general unmoved demeanor:) No.

The historian: (drives on. He knows I'm right.)

Me: There should be, like, a universal language of--

The historian: They should just throw up a sign that says--

Me: ...what they're actually seeing. Like--

The historian: "Bear." Or--

Me: "Antelope."

The historian: "Bison."

Me: "More bison." "Just elk."

The historian: --or "scenery."

Me: "Straight up river."

Here are some animals we did see:


"Unspecified Ground Animal, such as Ground Squirrel."

"More Bison."

"I had it on good authority that there might
be bears in and around this locale, but I was
denied. Alas."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bear viewing strategy.

For when we go to Yellowstone tomorrow:

1. Get up. Eat breakfast. Write.
2. Around 11, gas up and go.
3. Linger in a bookstore or two in West Yell.
4. Around noon or one, go to the Park. Drive to Madison, Norris, Canyon, and Tower. This should take an hour and a half-ish, depending upon pauses and picture-taking and whatnot.
5. Drive around leisurely in the Lamar Valley for awhile or several hours.
6. See several bears and probably some wolves also. Antelopery as well.

I am pretty sure this will work.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


A few weeks ago, I told the historian that I wanted to write every day this summer. What with international jetsetting and whatnot, that has not exactly yet "happened." But awhile ago, he asked me if I might want to write when I was up at the cabin, and the answer was


For the last few days, I've been sketching and noting and whatnot--you know, writing. So my head is kind of like this:

That's the famous insect life of the Henry's Fork, right there, the little specks in the middle of the picture. The river is the peaceful flow of things here. The insects are the ideas that have me buzzing.

For instance, there were a ton of things in the countries of Scotland and England that I did not see, if you can believe it. In fact, so many things that I did not even know about them! One day, for instance, (just, you know, while we're for instancing) we went to Newburgh beach, on the North Sea, but with the River Ythan emptying into it. Thus, an estuary. (I have never written about an estuary, or a poem with an estuary in it. Just saying: it could happen.) But as it turns out, there's also a castle in and/or around Newburgh called--wait for it--Knockhall Castle, built in the 16th century by a certain Lord Sinclair, of Newburgh. In the 17th century, clan Udny bought the castle, and basically stayed there with, you know, the ins and outs of Scottish politics and whatnot, until the 18th century, when a fire gutted the place and they moved back to their other castle, Castle Udny. All of which are in Aberdeenshire! Where we were! I ask you.

The other thing: we were dissuaded from my--it must be acknowledged--rather belated enthusiasm to go to visit the moors. The actual moors, where the besotted and the gothic butted into each other with the result of doomed love. "The moors! Why d'you want to go there? You won't see anything because of all the mist!" was the verdict from my son-in-law's Cumbrian stepfather. "The moors! The mist! The moors!" It would all be horrible and stupid. So we went to see Roman stuff instead, which was awesome and amazing. Stirring. Fantastic.

But! The national parks of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Moors: if only we had been able to do everything! Because they also look amazing, if perhaps also having an unfortunate tendency to obscuring mists. There are 13th century ruined abbeys, for instance. And limestone formations. And dales galore, and heather moors. 

These are the things I'm thinking about, head abuzz; but the river, close by, keeps everything steady. So steady that I will write every day. I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Paradise, day 1.

We are here, where time is tricky. For instance, we woke up and got out of the house within fifteen minutes of the time we said we'd leave. We arrived on the doorstep only about a half hour after we thought we'd arrive. So, we made pretty good time, I'd say.

Around five, I took a heavenly nap on the couch beneath the picture window. It seemed infinite. But it was miraculously not too long, not the too long that makes you feel cranky and panicky. (anyone else besides me feel this after the too long nap?)

However, when Software Update announced that I had significant software updates to install, and I clicked the "Sure, Why Not?" button, here's what it told me:

We'll see. (A minute ago, it told me 116 hours.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

What I bought today.

Today I bought

Eggs, oatmeal, and pancake for breakfast (for me, my daughter and my grandson).

A black dress that I will not wear till probably next fall, but which will rock the house at that point in time. I will say no more, except that it was a steal.

New lipstick (red), Eau de Raisin (no, seriously--grape water), and a new super-charged face cream that I am sure will transform my life and hopefully also my face.

Red Berry Patch iced tea and a cookie.

USA Today, for the crossword, and also to read and dislike a brief piece of Lebron James idolatry.

What I didn't buy today:

Orange polka dot silk scarf, also on sale and which I am as of this very moment regretting not buying.

I also mailed an actual letter and returned a library book and talked to several children.

All this activity was in preparation for the epic journey northward to Idaho. I have packed my bag and my other bag and my one other bag (the bags are small). I will post pictures and messages from the other side.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The return.

Today was, a few notes here and there to the contrary, the first time I decided to write. I found a document I call "daily writing," secreted away on my hard drive, opened it, discovered notes--daily notes--from 2009.

Now: this is not discouraging. There are things there I can still use. That's why it's good to take notes. But it is a good reminder of how the dailiness of writing can be a harder to sustain than one would like to acknowledge.

Here are a few highlights:

driving to school heard an interview with Maya Lin—talking about the Vietnam Memorial, and others, the tiny scale of the text, which is, as she said “like bringing a book outdoors and not bringing a billboard outdoors”—you have to get closer to read a book—
 then some monument she has built that deals with disappearing birds—the loon—some significant percentage of vanishing species has to do with vanishing habitat—

and this:

Is my body my habitat? Or does my body need a habitat?  The separation of the two and I can’t tell 
the difference, sometimes, between myself and mybody—who am I? where do I live?  
A. pointing inside her own mouth when I asked, where’s A.?

and this:

thinking about a true thing I read in this Mankell book, Kennedy’s Brain—
she reads the letters her son sent to his dad and feels angry with him, 
for being a person she did not/could not know.

and this:

Saw a cormorant take off.

Saw a little black-headed, yellow-breasted bird flying.

Rain in the afternoon.

At duskiest dusk, bats flying past the big picture window. Seemingly without pattern to their flight.

and today, this:

I want to write about what feels lost to me. What feels unrecoverable. 
Which seems unseemly in poetry now. 

and also this:

the ruins we visited, being excavated bit by bit
or falling to pieces second by second (cannot see it)(can see the excavation happening, 
but cannot see the decay as it happens)

Here we are, summer again. Since Friday, I've cooked meals four different times for four different groups of people--it feels so great to cook in my kitchen. Tonight, family came over (a family that's big enough now, we often do it in two shifts). The light in the evening is sublime, not to be a diva about it. We ate and played outside. There's something that feels almost eternal about evenings like this. Eternal summer; also the time to write every day, daily notes, with poems sometimes to be made out of them. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Megastore recommends.

Brunch. If you have piles of children and grandchildren, and you want to have people over, but you don't want to battle your own tendency to overdo it, culinarily speaking, take my advice and plan a brunch.

Brunch is delicious, but by its very nature--you have to eat it before noon, and probably you are hungry since you have hopefully been sleeping, and therefore not eating, ergo: hungry--you won't plan to make a three-day mole sauce, for example. Instead, you will make french toast, sausages, a lot of fruit, perhaps some potatoes because: carbs go with carbs, yo, and juices galore.

Everyone will love it, and then children will play and cavort in your backyard, which I also recommend:


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