Friday, July 31, 2015

Here are a few things I think I will probably end up writing on an airplane.

--because I have now officially reached the moment when I'm probably not going to get much more done except pack, straighten, and leave:
  • Several proposals 
  • Scripts for a handful of instructional screencasts, to wit:: 
  • 'something about genre-mixing, mixed genre pieces';
  • 'something about genre that *undoes the regime of compliance,* that undoes the notion of genres as closed systems; working toward an open ecology of genre, with adaptability & invention & responsivity as the prized values' [NOTE TO SELF: I'm sure this will be super easy, especially on a plane.];  
  • 'Storytelling aspects of using sources? (the submerged and/or explicit narrative elements of all the genres, and how to address this in terms of composing)' [NOTE TO SELF: ...and the fact that this has been on my list for a year might be indicative of ...something.]
  • a poem for convocation (!)
  • a draft of a poem that I have been planning to write all summer
  • a revision of the Francis Bacon poem
I did get my manuscripts mailed or otherwise sent off today, including one with a 'detailed cover letter addressing my bio, my publication history, and my marketing plan' should my manuscript be accepted by the press in question. 

And I bought a non-essential tee shirt and some essential hair product. I am prepared, people! I have several novels on my Kindle. And a non-functioning iPod, so, you know, that's rad. As you can see, I've been thinking about my carry-ons obsessively, as well as my in-flight productivity. Yes, I said that. I'm as horrified as you are.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A few things I hate.

1. Rejection. I really, really really hate it.
2. Waking up in the morning to find you've been rejected.
3. Forgetting that I shouldn't look at my email first thing in the morning because of the possibility of rejection.
4. The way rejection takes over your day and makes it all about the big echoing NO you heard before you even got out of bed. Before you even drank a glass of water or practically even opened your eyes.

In conclusion: rejection is a stupid day-hogger, shade-thrower, summer-inversion rat bastard of a jerk.

There, I said it.

However, in defense of my day, there were other things that happened (besides being rejected):

1. chat with various kids, both live and digital

2. seeing Spy with my darling aunt Sal, and having it be just as hilarious the second time as the first

3. hearing this song

4. and hearing this song

5. shrimp taco (because I was too rejected to cook)

6. the thought of this:

6. listening to D sing various of the Zelda songs (the Ballad of the Gales? I think?) while he Linked it up and I held the baby

7. doing a really splendid revision of a poem in my manuscript so that I can

8. send it to three presses who are holding open reading periods at the moment.

Talking stuff over with the historian, and then revising that poem is what really helped me turn the corner. Anyway: rejectors, not that I think it was personal or anything--at least not for you--I just want you to know that I improved a poem and therefore you did not win. If you were trying to win. Which, probably you weren't. EVEN SO: rejection is not the boss of me, not today anyway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monday Tuesday Wednesday and the arbitrary cut off.

You know, we had a wedding over the weekend. And loads of family events of every stripe. I mean literally EVERY STRIPE, the people: dinner in the park, swimming, wedding dress shopping, travels to other states and more, I tell you, much much more, with a fabulous and rotating cast of characters. On Tuesday we met the rental guys at the empty indoor soccer venue so they could pick up the chairs tables tablecloths fancy arch. On Monday, I returned a tux. I am washing all the downstairs sheets as we speak.

I only say the above because this week, the week after the wedding, was to be the 'we're getting ready to go to Scotland' week. And it is--it is the 'we're getting ready to go to Scotland' week. I have made a list of what I'm packing:

That's 4 skirts and 8 shirts. I'm pretty sure this is the correct proportions.

I made this list at a strategic planning retreat on Monday. Because Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday had meetings galore. It was epic, for late July, when my ideal July plan included things like making toast and wearing white clothes and, you know, moving from one room to the next and fanning myself.

Even so, despite my being fully meetinged up for one two three days in a row, I decided to make an arbitrary cut off date. Wednesday--that's today, for those of you keeping score--is and was the last day I would accept meeting engagements before our Scotland trip. I would take meetings all the way till 4:30 on Wednesday, and after that no more. Why Wednesday? Well, there are reasons, and I am going to tell them to you:

1. I feel like seeing a movie with my auntie tomorrow.
2. I still need to go to Target. And Sephora.
3. My daughter needs me. SHE NEEDS ME.
4. There are events this weekend!
5. I need to see two movies with my beloved this weekend.
6. What about the sorry state of my study?
7. Washing the sheets.
8. Revise a poem.
9. Come up with an epigraph, maybe, a new one, for my manuscript.
10. Which I am sending out to five places.
11. Other reasons I am not thinking of at the moment but which are equally important as the previous ten.
12. I need to buy Jolly Ranchers and fruit snacks to take to Scotland.
13. Etc.

As you can see, I srsly don't have time to take more meetings. I am going to Scotland with my sneakers, two pairs, and my ballet flats and possibly a sandal! and my pile of black clothes and my two lenses! and my fruit snacks!

I am international. I am vacation preparation. I am at the movies and all about my suitcase and I taking my swimming suit so I can swim in an open air seawater pool. Elsewhere, is where I am. And therefore I just don't have the time, America, for your agendas and followups, your proposals and Google docs and updates. This is the arbitrary cutoff, and it means business.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reasons to go again to Scotland.

wet weather is my soul's weather.
In Scotland, the weather is, currently, rainy. When we arrive next week, though, it is supposed to be
cloudy. Cloudy with partial sun.

this odd-shaped thumb of a country
I love love love.
Scotland is riven with lochs and rivers and crags. Like other wild mountainous places, Scotland cannot be navigated as the crow flies. If we want to drive from Aberdeen to the sea lochs on the west coast, and to the Isle of Skye, we may have to go along the north coast by way of Inverness.

The isles in the west: these are magical words. Hebrides, inner and outer. The Fairy Pools. Portree. The lighthouse at Neist.

causeway at low tide. I want to walk across.
When we're in Scotland, we may go south as well, into the north of England, to visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. You have to watch the tides--you can only go across from the mainland to the island when the tides are out, but you can walk--there's a pilgrim's way.

In Scotland, there are people I love, people I can hardly wait to see. In less than a week we'll board a plane for hours and hours and then we'll be there.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Megastore recommends.

that's the blue I'm talking about.
1. Cool evenings. In the summertime, we look at the weather for the possible hint of a dip in the temperature. Today, it was cooler than you'd expect for late July, and that felicitous condition just got better as the day wore on. I had a date with my friend Jennifer to have dinner downtown. When I got there at 6:30, the patio was humming, and when she arrived a few minutes later, we decided to eat outside. 'I like to be outside when it's nice,' she said, and that's, to me, the quintessence of summer: too hot, and I feel like my brain and also my will to live are melting, but when it's light and lovely and not too hot, it's only heaven. We took a seat outside and proceeded to have a blissful three hour conversation with excellent food and a pretty great soundtrack. At 9:30, we walked around the corner to our cars. The sky was a particularly sublime shade of twilight blue, which I also recommend.

a dramatic reenactment of the excellent fries
we had tonight.
2. French fries. The people, there is perhaps no greater indication of human civilization than cooked food. You might say feats of engineering or art. And you'd be right--those are also indicators of &c &c, but cooked food? Cooked food makes the world a better place for you, the people, and all the people, really. Example: the fried potato. The potato belongs to the humble, maligned carbohydrate tribe, but really, it and its starchy brethren deserve some serious credit for keeping hope, and people, alive. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that french fries are the best. And it's totally acceptable, in my book, to make a little project of eating french fries at this and that fancy restaurant, for the purposes of science, to see which ones are good, and which one are better, and which ones are the best. Let me emphasize: for science. And also because french fried potatoes might remind you of your mom and how she used to make french fries with a deep fat fryer from time to time, and how they were so so so good. EAT FRIES, is what I am trying to tell you are you even listening to me?

like this, but with chocolate creme anglaise. and popcorn.
3. A whimsical dessert. Okay, I've calmed down, even though I am still excited to report that, at my
lovely dinner, we shared a dessert that was both adorable and delicious. It was another fried thing, a doughnut, beignet style, dipped in cinnamon sugar and served with chocolate creme anglaise. Also, caramel popcorn, don't ask my why, except that it was tasty and charming and we ate every last bit of it. What were they thinking when they thought of it? why chocolate creme anglaise and caramel popcorn? I don't know, but after having eaten it, I say why not?

4. Working on a tiny book project. My previous book project has emboldened me to think I can probably do anything. So I would like to announce that today at the Publication Center's Makerpalooza, which I hope will become an annual event, I began my project, which will entail the following:
just google it, and see some examples of the splendor
of this book form. seriously. just do it!

  • a piece of writing that I have recently taken out of my manuscript but which I think still has potential,
  • laid out in InDesign and
  • turned into a photopolymer plate, so that
  • it can be printed on the etching press, to create
  • a letter press effect, and which will be
  • folded by hand using the Turkish Map Fold, which is
  • actually a real thing, and
  • bound in a do-si-do binding (thank you for the idea, Charlotte!), which will be
  • covered with another letter press title page, and titled Variations on a Book.
If I can pull all of this off, grand and splendid possibilities will await us in the Publication Center. Foolhardy optimism, it turns out, is another thing I highly recommend.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I got up at 4:20 this morning to take my daughter to the airport. We were both feeling a little bleary after the big day yesterday, and her whirlwind trip. I hugged and kissed her goodbye at the curb, turned around, and drove back home to get immediately back in bed, whereupon I slept till almost nine.

Shortly after that, the historian drove Supriya's cousin to the airport, and then the house was empty. My son and his family also left Salt Lake this morning--by now, they should almost be home. So it was just us, with only a few remaining errands (returning a tux, meeting the chair-and-table rental people at the venue for the pick-up) and a lot of red and pink roses to remind us of it all.

I made myself some pancakes.

I chatted with my daughter in Scotland.

I made the list of things I need to do this week. This took awhile, since I had to wait for my head to clear to let everything come into focus.

I made some mint lemonade from my mother's recipe (make a simple syrup, 2 c. sugar to 2 1/2 c. water; when the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat, add a cup of mint leaves and stems, and let it steep while the syrup cools. Meanwhile, juice lemons and oranges till you have about a cup of juice, maybe 6 lemons and 2 oranges--I used clementines, so I used more. When the syrup has cooled, strain the syrup and mix the juice in. Use 1/4 c. mint lemonade concentrate to 6 oz. of water, or to taste. Make it icy!).

I cleaned up the kitchen.

I sent a few emails for work. Meanwhile, I drank a glass of mint lemonade. It's nice to have mint lemonade in one's metaphorical pocket--refreshment upon which one can rely.

I wandered the aisles of the grocery store, getting this and that, a few pistachios, some potato chips, a little basil, a little parsley, four peaches.

I collapsed into a nap.

After dinner, the historian and I found ourselves desultorily watching two movies--The Outlaw Josie Wales, which is, we both agree, a very durable movie, bearing pretty much endless rewatchings, and Role Models, with Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse--not a great film by any means, but with a killer fantasy role playing battle scene at the end that nearly redeems its failings and excesses.

At a commercial break, I made myself some toast. Bruiser lay crosswise on the bed, ensuring that the two humans of the household could not both be on the bed, not with any degree of comfort, anyway. We reached the battle scene. As I remembered, it was totally satisfying.

'Shall we?' the historian said, meaning Bruiser and his walk.

So we went. And that was the day after the big day.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I didn't get nearly enough pictures. But what a wonderful day. Some of my favorite moments: buying armloads of flowers at Costco with my son. Seeing my granddaughter dance with my father. Dancing with my parents. The historian's son and two daughters coming. Dancing with grandchildren. The bride dancing in a fantastic train with almost everyone at the party. Dancing in general. The happiness and joy of my children, all of them, and the beautiful grandchildren.

More than I can say, really. My heart is so full. I am in love with my whole family and pretty much I love everyone.
A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Sophia Leasure (@sophialeasure) on

Look Aunt Abbey! I'm having' a party! (photo from Abbey's Insta.)

We made this place sparkle like nobody's bidness.

All the flowers in Costco, pretty much.

Friday, July 24, 2015

And now, an independent assessment of my blog practice.

I spent the day with my daughters, shopping for a wedding dress for the younger. We were driving to our next appointment. I was furtively checking page views on my blog. Then this hilarious conversation, in which my progeny interpellates me about the subjects which move me to write on my blog:

Younger daughter: I hope you blog about this tonight, Mom.

Me: I'm sure I will!

Older daughter, casting a sidelong glance: Mom's like a teenager...always looking at her phone.

Me: (laughs, closes phone with a righteous guilty conscience. Busted.)

Younger daughter, not to be deterred: I'm not around all the time, so I'm not in the blog as often.

Older daughter: Listen, she never writes about me, and I'm the one who's here all the time!

Me: (inarticulate protest--what!?) Hey. Hey! I write...

Older daughter: She'll write about her garden. Work. And a hot day, you'll always write about that.

(a couple hours later: we're talking about the wedding, which is in December. My Scotland daughter will be arriving on the 11th:)

Me: I gotta make sure my grading's done.

Older daughter (who totally has my number): Oh, grading. You'll also always blog about that.

One thing about writing a blog for a really really really really long time: I never want to have experiences just so I can blog about them, but that's a risk you take when you write forever--that your experience starts to assume the dimensions of a potential blog post. That can feel a little cheap, and I don't want the people I hold most dear to feel that way to me. It's a little conundrum, though, because I also like going through this blog to remind me of things I once experienced--so if I haven't blogged about something, that failure is just one more chance that my actual experience will be absent. Maybe this is what Socrates was talking about in the Phaedrus, when he expressed his apprehension that writing would cause a deterioration of memory. Also, I recognize that this is not a real problem. But it does feel worth it to reflect upon it.

Well! never let it be said that the just opinion of my splendid daughters does not matter to me. So: we had a beautiful day, the three of us plus the baby, discussing the merits of this and that dress, and ultimately finding an absolutely beautiful one. It felt so special, that we could do this together. We cried, we laughed, we had a fancy lunch. We drank refreshing beverages from a drive through. My daughter, the bride to be, is radiant and lovely and so happy. My daughter, her older sister, is wise and witty and beautiful. Naomi was as patient as an infant could possibly be.

At the end of the day, we went to a park and ate dinner with a big proportion of the family present--talked about the wedding tomorrow, listened to and watched the kids play.

For today, I will not say a word about my garden. If the day was warm, who had time to notice? (and also I am not working nor am I grading this summer.)

Just being with my beloveds, and that is good enough for this blog.

Today in lurid, shocking detail.

1. I ate breakfast, purchased at Starbucks, while pushing a cart at Target, and thereupon buying stuff.
2. I watered the flowers in the front, pulling many many many spent nicotiana blooms from their receptacles, and plotting fall and next-spring plantings.
3. I drove to Zurchers, and met my daughter and grandchildren, so that we could buy a truly epic amount of paper lanterns, tassel garlands, plastic plates and forks, and other assorted decorative items.
4. I got my nails shellacked. Bright red.
5. I went to Target a second time--a different Target--to get a large container for drinks for the wedding. Bright red.
6. I worked out. Upper body, fyi.
7. I washed the sheets on the downstairs beds. Also the towels in the downstairs bathroom.
8. The historian and I went to the rally to #saveourmurals (#artisnotasign). It was fantastic.

Two epic activists, the historian & Archie Archuleta.

the mural, with musician and artist Alex D.

9. We ate enchiladas and burritos. Si se puede!
10. We came home and watched a weird old movie with Jack Benny and Ray Milland and assorted other oldies.
11. I put sheets back on the beds and reflected on the plundering that has taken place in the downstairs--a lamp taken by the historian for his office, rendering a bedside table lampless! I ask you! Youngest son taking pillows. The nerve! I seethed about this for fifteen minutes. Then,
12. I watched Jerry Maguire, a perennial favorite.
13. We went to pick up my youngest daughter at the airport, who is here for a whirlwind visit, including the wedding of her brother, and wedding dress try ons tomorrow.
14. At 1 a.m., we arrived home to see that Supriya has had her henna done, traditional for brides in her culture. It, and she, are so beautiful.

I can't get over it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Possibly too much fun?

Today, I went in to work for three--I just don't know how to make this any clearer to you: THREE--meetings. For the love of everything holy.

But before that, I woke up and felt sick. Sick from driving across I-80 forth and back, one day after another? Sick from looking at too much beauty in the mountains? Sick from holding a baby and playing with children and laughing with my kids? Sick from watching an owl over a meadow?

In my tiny kingdom of what is fair and what is right, being sick in the summer is not fair or right. I will also add that going to meetings is a gross abuse of governmental power, or something. But then I'm the dummy who said yes.


The good news is, when I came home from my meetings, the sick said to me TAKE A NAP RIGHT NOW. And so I did. This nap was epic and dramatic, because there was a great rain shower, preceded by a consternation of wind, and I woke up just enough to register that it was happening. And then went back to sleep.

Now, the sick is telling me I HAVE A HEADACHE and GO THE HELL TO BED. Which I will, once I report to you that

(a) there are some amazing murals, including portraits of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, in my neighborhood, on the outside walls of Taqueria Azteca de Oro, which
(b) some people, apparently, have complained about to
(c) the city, which has told the restaurant that it needs to take the murals down, or face a $100 a day fine. (You can read more about it here.) However:
(d) at the City Council tonight, when the restaurant owner and the artist spoke, the Council agreed to
(e) hold off on the fines for a month while they work on a better resolution. Meanwhile,
(f) I wrote to my city councilman:
Dear City Councilman [Name]:
I recently heard that the city of West Jordan has received complaints about murals on a local restaurant, Taqueria Azteca de Oro, and that there was an order to the restaurant owner to take them down.
I live just around the corner from this restaurant. These murals are beautiful works of art, and honor American heroes that we should all be proud of. Moreover, they are a meaningful recognition of one of the growing demographics of our community, the many people who live, work, and contribute to our city, our state and our country. 
West Jordan should rethink its approach here. I understand that at the City Council meeting tonight, there was an agreement to slow down and explore possible compromises. This is a step in the right direction. 
I wanted you to hear from me, one of your constituents in your district: I love these murals. They are a great improvement over the derelict and grubby appearance of the business in the past, and made me feel hopeful that the business would thrive. Please do everything you can to make sure that we treat these murals as works of public art, honoring our collective cultural heritage.  
Thanks very much,

He wrote back to me licketysplit:
Dear htms: 
I completely agree with everything you said. I grew up here and have seen the efforts the owner has made to improve the property. I think it's crazy that we have made it this far without code that allows for murals (since they aren't specifically called out the are misclassified in such a way they fall under the sign ordinance that doesn't allow for more than 15% coverage on a wall. The code needs to be revised. 
Staff has given him a 30 day extension right out of the gate and I've already started to work with Council to find ways to retain the mural. I spoke with Miguel (owner) earlier tonight and will keep working with him and staff to find a good resolution. We already have two solid approaches that have been given to Legal to research. I'm hoping for a speedy resolution (speedy by government standards).  
Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. 
Your City Councilman.
The people! This makes me hopeful! I will be walking to the restaurant tomorrow for a vigil, and hoping for a solution that preserves this remarkable work of art.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wedding week.

On Saturday, Mitch and Supriya get married in front of friends and family. This week is a flurry, which I shall not specify, except to say that we were putting together the playlist for the dancing and it includes music from Bollywood movies, Basement Bhangra, and your classic rock hit list. And we wrote a tune for a Buddhist peace song. And I still have to prepare my remarks. But it is going to be great. Is what I am telling myself, and I am right: it is going to be great.

We started the week by going up to the cabin of some of my son Isaac's friends. They have made the most lovely, fanciful and imaginative lives on some property up in some mountains, where there's no water and no improvements except for those they themselves make with their own sweat, ingenuity, and artistry.

It takes about 45 minutes on a dusty, rutted, rocky road, once you leave the freeway. And about two thirds of the way there, we always think, this had better be good. But it always is. This was the first time several of us had ever been there (the historian and I have been twice before). It was wonderful, with time for a little hike, lots of exploring, and a gorgeous sunset that lasted forever. And an owl, that flew over the meadow in a lingering sort of way. And a hawk that woke us up this morning, and when we opened the door, it fanned its feathers, as if preening the air.

And stars, thick and innumerable, when we stepped out on our porch somewhere in the indeterminate hours between falling asleep and getting up for good.

Deacon and Will, looking for wildlife.
The Gypsy Wagon, where the historian and I spent the night.

hike up a little incline.

Daisy the mountain dog.

three high hills.

Curt, dispensing excellent financial advice.

Gwen, taking the full measure of a hiking hat.

the lovely Supriya.

Van, checking his bad self out.

After the hike, yo. (Isaac & Lesley & Van)


At sunset.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Recently, I have been on a quest for leopard print low heel ankle boots (none dare call them 'booties'). I can tell you, the people, that it's not necessarily true that you can find whatever you want on the internet, because sometimes what you want is only made at a price point that is prohibitive (but, just fyi, that phrase is alliterative because poetry) (another P!). And sometimes, what you want--or what you say you want to Google--turns out to be hideous in its current and therefore the only possible iterations.

yours is not to question why, yours is just to keep
looking for them until they manifest themselves in
the universe, at a price that is reasonable for a ridiculous
item such as this.

However: sometimes, if you are true to the quest, which means asking Google the question 'Where are they keeping all the leopard print Chelsea boots????' several times a week, sometimes you get what you want at the ZARA sale.

And then the ankle boots arrive in their spotted glory! Yet, and alas, they seem to have a powerful disinclination to go on your feet.

Universe, WHY? Maybe it's that you are feeling impatient. Maybe, because it's summer and you've been wearing flip flops round the clock, your feet are swollen. Maybe these shoes are not the actual answer to your quest.

But maybe, just maybe, if you set those shoes aside for a day or three, if you put them on in a more patient mood, they will slide right on, and be adorable and kind of sexy AND comfortable, given that you are wearing them with summer clothes and they kind of don't make sense. But still: SCORE.

Also, this:

I told my daughter tonight that I would like her to arrange for a song as compulsively awesome as 'Get Lucky' to be playing on the radio nonstop when we arrive in Scotland in two weeks. (!!!!!)

And this (shared with my by my daughter, retweeting Caitlin Moran's post). I find it very lucky to have been handed this via my daughter and also CM.

And THIS. (so lucky! that they got to meet each other!)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

All around the town.

if my day began, possibly, with me eating just a bit too much buttermilk waffle to make me entirely comfortable, and if, nonetheless, my son and I did a fairly thorough cleaning of the kitchen this morning, and if all of us took the dog for a walk in the cool morning, after the waffles but before the cleaning--

if then we went to take the crutches to my youngest son (he's had enough rough action on his legs--torn ACL, another surgery, etc. that we definitely can call them The Crutches) because of a sprained ankle, and if, at his apartment, the grandsons played 3D Super Mario World (I think that's right) on his enormous television while I fell asleep for 20 minutes, and if then we went to the City Library, where there was a puppet show in the children's library, and the AltPress Fest in the Urban Room, and so plenty of interest for all--

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

and if, then, I went to hear a very long time community activist speak, along with an activist former mayor, at an event the historian helped to organize, and was reminded again of what it means to put one's talk into action,

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

and if from there I went to swim with grandchildren and children in the beautiful evening--
A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

and then came home to read stories and sing songs and sit in the quiet with a quiet, resting dog, but before that, I went out and saw these:

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

--then I am going to call that a very good day indeed.

Short memo from a summer vacation.

Remember to just enjoy it--the five children playing with blocks and hiding and emerging and explaining MineCraft to each other and laughing. It's figuring out what's for dinner in the midst of it. It's meeting at the In-N-Out a half a mile away, and drinking a chocolate shake and sharing the french fries. And reading all The Stupids books before bedtime, and watching an episode of Shaun the Sheep.

It's singing all the songs to two grandsons that you used to sing to your own children.

It's listening to their breathing as it evens and slows.

It's thinking about tomorrow's moments, tomorrow's dinner, tomorrow's swimming expedition. Tomorrow's breakfast and library and lunch.

And when it's time for bed, just fall into it. Just fall into it, and just enjoy it again tomorrow.
A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Festival life.

Every so often, I think about how great it would be to go to a big music festival, like Coachella or Glastonbury. All those artists, so much music! Then I think about the following, pretty much immediately:

  • the horror of public toilets after about fifteen minutes of a megafestival.
  • the terror of the festival-style outfits.
And then I come to grips with the fact that (a) this will never happen in a million years, that (b) I might never have enjoyed this experience, truthfully, not even in my youth, and (c) ....

Well, you go ahead and say it. (the 'O' word.)


But I don't typically like to spend more than about a half a minute going down this line of thinking. As one of my good and wise friends once said to me when I was courting this trope--all the time, saying stuff like well, now that I'm middle-aged--'I just don't see where that's taking you.' And she was right. I'm as old as I am, okay? But that doesn't particularly mean anything, especially re rock-chick daydreams. I saw the shows I saw, okay? And the fact that I don't want to visit a toilet that has seen festival-level usage--well, that's not an old/young thing, it's more a 'never gonna happen, not if I can help it' kind of a thing.

Be this as may be: I went with several children and a wee grandchild to see Death Cab for Cutie at the Twilight Concert Series tonight at Pioneer Park. We missed all but the last song of the tUnE-yArDs set, sad to say, but we heard all of the Death Cab set, and it was great, right down to the last Kenny Loggins cover. (Just kidding--'Highway to the Danger Zone' was the music the producers saw fit to usher us out to.)

We found a patch of grass and sat on it, the baby looking up at and enjoying the sky. 

Observing the festival-style outfits, my daughter noted that it looked like a free people catalog. Yep. Hipster heaven.

But in the end, we went home and would sleep in our own beds, just one concert and no squalor worth mentioning. 

coupla sons

Daughter & Naomi--her first concert!

Dr. Write and I admire Naomi (thanks, Jane D., for this and the above

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Megastore recommends.

compared to ours, this mattress
pad is a bed of thorns. I'm telling you,
it's good.
1. Better bedding. Last week, I bought a new mattress cover. Our old one, which had stood us in good stead, was nonetheless looking a little the worse for wear, and frankly was not doing its part in terms of our sleeping comfort. This new mattress cover was labeled 'luxury' and 'sateen,' and it seemed, therefore, simply by virtue of these two words, to be a step up. I waited until bedding washing day to put it on. The people! It has smoothed out our ride and softened our slumber, and it is fantastic. Better than anything? it was deeply on sale at Target. I cannot tell you what the better bedding item is that will make your sleep infinitely (if also infinitesimally) better, but I urge you to haunt the clearance racks of wherever it is you shop and listen carefully to what the sales goods in the bedding department are telling you. Be a bedding whisperer.

2. A new park. A few days ago, the historian's daughter mentioned a new park in a city across the
somewhere in this plan is a
fantastic playground.
valley. After a little bit of querying, my daughter and son and his wife and a passel of grandchildren headed over there to take it for a spin. It was good, very good, if a little bit on the un-shady side. There were excellent climbing opportunities and a zip line and all manner of play possibility. We played until we couldn't take the sun anymore, and then we tried

it's by the park!
3. A new pizza place. It had thin crusted slices and one of those fancy Coca Cola drink machines where you can get the soda of your dreams (mind is sparkling water with lemonade in it--not too sweet, very refreshing!). We all agreed that there might be better pizza in the world, but it was pretty good. And, as my iPhone told me when we were sweltering (let's admit it) at the park, it was only 700 ft. away. So: convenient!

4. Wowing a grandchild. Today at the park, there was one of those spinning merry-go-rounds, the
little spinning death machines,
in my opinion.
kind that I basically think are accident-machines, since they work on centripetal force. This one was a kinder, gentler version, with cupped sides, to reduce the likelihood that children will fly out when it goes real fast. Or that they will try to hop on in similar circumstances. ANYWAY the grand boys had all hopped in, so I began to spin it around. I broke into a run--and by 'run' I mean, well, I guess 'run,' but, you know, low impact. 'I didn't know Grandma could run,' one grandson said to another. Well, me either, actually, but there you are. I ran that spinning piece of playground equipment around. So I also recommend surprising oneself with physical feats such as a light run while sending the kids on a whirly, fantastic ride.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Today I had to go into work. Sometimes that can be nice in the summertime, just to step into work, talk to my work colleagues, then step tidily out of it and away. It's true that the closer we get to going back to school, the less tidy stepping away feels--today, I could feel my soul working up to list-making, and I was all, Cut it out, soul! Not time for lists yet. Not. Time. But my little list is forming in the back or middle of my mind, even so.

Things got started early-ish around here this morning, I'm afraid, because people (the Historian) woke up at 6:30, and then one of our cars' alarm went off, and then I was all what the hell is going on up in this joint? so I got out of bed to ask this question. Nothing, except early rising and a car alarm, apparently. So I got back in bed. Then Bruiser decided to give his full and vocal attention to the milkman. I lazed around further in bed, and, as a science experiment, tried to go back to sleep. Nothing doing. So I got up.

Last night, I went through my manuscript (the third one, the one that isn't published and which was rejected just yesterday) with an eye for poems that just weren't pulling their weight. Also an eye for reordering things. I pulled a few poems and created a new order (perhaps a New World Order, who can say?). So this morning, I took a printed copy and shuffled the poems around, added a few new poems I wanted to add, took out the sorry slacker poems, so that the order of the manuscript corresponded with the plan I'd made last night.

I went to my meetings, we yakked about mission statements and vision statements &c &c and then I went home.

I decided to read the entire manuscript out loud to myself, to see if the order I had planned actually worked. Oh how I loved doing this, alone in my study, seeing what connections manifested between adjoining poems and within sections, where I had unproductive repetitions, where I could create stronger beginnings and endings and transitions, where I needed to tweak verb tenses, and so on.

I feel a little bit high on it, to be honest.

So rejections be damned: I'm going to send it out and then keep a close eye on it, to see what develops. Manuscripts are alive, I'm feeling, and respond to the touch, and reveal themselves over time.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dear my summer lassitude,

I have a few questions for you.

1. Why do I feel so tired at the beginning of the day, and also at 3:30 in the afternoon?
2. Where has all the watermelon gone?
3. Is it wrong that I basically only want to drink sparkling water? Along with limeade? And maybe sparkling water spiked with limeade?
4. And eat potato chips like they are LITERALLY going out of style?

And also,

5. Why does the poem I have been working on steadily through the summer now seem sort of pointless?
6. And why does this sort-of pointlessness now seem to infect any possible new poems I might briefly consider writing?


7. having worked my way through a whole book series I have already read and reread countless times, as well as a television series that I have viewed and re-viewed countless &c &c, what else is there to do?
8. besides read the Louisiana-based crime novels I am currently reading, I mean?
9. and maybe amuse myself by fake-planning a trip to Morocco?

My summer lassitude, maybe I should just give in to you, and read (or re-read) something trashy out on the porch while drinking sparkling water, ordering travel guides to Marrakech, and then taking a nap.

But not yet. Because, even though a nap was beckoning me hardcore this afternoon, I hoisted myself and my almost-but-not-quite lax form into my sneakers and went to the gym. And then, I came home and made a new recipe for dinner. This dish wasn't everything I hoped it would be, my summer lassitude--it wasn't watermelon, in other words--but it was the little show of personal grit and will that I need to look again at my poem and manuscript, and possibly discover--or manufacture--a point.

We'll see, I guess, but just in case, maybe I better lay in some more limeade, a case of sparkling water, and a big fat watermelon. Nuts for the winter, you know.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Two weeks, bookended by weddings.

Yesterday was my niece's wedding. It was a beautiful affair. It was this beautiful affair for which I baked three cheesecakes (one of them not wedding-worthy). (For your reference, here is the cheesecake table at the wedding:)

This is before the cheesecake-craving hordes descended upon the table, with their knives, obviously.

My son arrived with his family in tow, and they'll be here for two weeks. My daughter from Louisiana will also be in town briefly. At the end of the visit, there will be another wedding, Mitch and Supriya. We'll be gathering our wits and our plans for this event, which should be lovely and moving and altogether great.

Today, several of us went downtown and did a little Temple Squaring:

Lesley & Supriya

meadow on the roof

Mitch's shenanigans, and Supriya being amused by them.

queen Anne's lace & coneflowers

The Boss.


A view of the valley

who knows what these shenanigans are all about?
The day was beautiful and not too hot, because of the breeze. Downtown was nearly deserted at late morning and midday. When we went home and made a little lunch and talked about this and that, we all agreed that a Sunday nap was in order. Sunday naps are indisputably the best naps.


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