Friday, December 21, 2007


Two feet of snow at Alta. A foot or more in the valley. It's like pre-global warming days when we actually had to wear mittens to school and made snowmen and took our sleds sledding. I might even ski on Sunday--like everyone else in the valley.
I'm so sad I have to leave on Thursday for MLA. Why does MLA have to be over break? As far as I can tell, there's not even talk about moving it. Chicago in less than a week. Grim.
Until then, there's Thirty-One's solstice party, Egg's folk's white elephant party, K-J gets in that night, then big family party Sunday, mellow Christmas eve at mom's and a less-than-usual crazy Christmas day. Some might even go skiing!!! On Christmas. We're heathens.
I've already got to see the lovely Dr. Write and Scorpion's Tail. We had delicious tapas at Martine. I hope to see more folks tonight at Solstice. If people trek through the many feet of snow.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What to Read Indeed

Some commenters asked how I decided what to read at the Retirement Center.

I decided to read the "cute" poem about Z being in the NICU. I explained to them that when Z was in the NICU, as hard as that was, we didn't know her very well and the whole thing was so alien that the emotional toll was much less than when, nine months later, she went back to the hospital for RSV and we could tell she was in pain and we all wanted to get out of there and we all weren't sure how things will turn out. So I read the Hagionoma poem about astronauts and NICU's that's in Nimrod. I forgot it was 4 pages long. I also forgot that I talked about my breasts being called "turtle boobs" by my sister and that I was fat and that a seal wanted to mate with me.
And then I read another poem about Z in the future and a boy who wants to, shall we say, deflower her.
My point is--I really didn't read my poems first and I probably should have. But the nice ladies laughed at the turtle boobs comment and didn't seem to outraged at any swearing moments or the losing virginity parts.

But tomorrow, I leave for NYC to read at the Center for the Book Arts with Rigoberto Gonzalez and I'm not sure what to read? I should practice! I should bring all the poems. I should remember to thank the NEA or they might take the grant back. I should download the logo and have it tattooed to my forehead.
I don't want to read only Z poems tomorrow. I think I'll read one about the Ilse Royale twisting itself off from the earth and becoming a planet on its own. And the one about the postman that Fellner loves. And maybe the MRI poem about birds.

I'm very nervous to go because:
  • it's going to snow and my plane will be late.
  • I'm supposed to meet my agent uptown (98th St.) at 11 when my plane gets in at 10.
  • I'm supposed to meet my sisters downtown for lunch at noon.
  • I can't check into the hotel until 3.
  • I have to be dressed, prepped and ready to read by 6.

I did buy a new coat for the trip. It's blue. I can't wait for Saturday when the aforementioned list of bullets has resolved itself.
And then, I can't wait for Friday when we leave for SLC!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Old Folk's Home

I was invited to give a reading at a Retirement center. A woman named Vernis, who read about the NEA back in February, contacted me for a reading in December. I was like, um, yeah, I'll remember a plan a made 10 months in advance. But, I figured, why not? She's probably more organized than I. She'll remind me. And remind me she did. I got several emails telling me where to go, how to get there, and in what manner the chairs would be arranged. It wasn't until the week before that I thought to ask, what time? I assumed normal reading time--6 or 7 or so.
No, no. 2:30.
Thankfully, I didn't have classes to teach that day.
So off to the reading, following her careful directions. There were so many directions, by sheer mass of turns and stops, I thought it would take half an hour to get there.
The retirement center is about a mile from my house.
So I got there at 2 and listened to NPR and wondered what these retirees would think of my weird poems.

I went in. I told them about the NEA. I told them about the state of contemporary poetry (they probably wouldn't argue my semi-studied description). I told them about how the project changed as I worked on it. I decried poetry contests. Then I read my poems.

They said they liked them. Better when I read them than when they read them on the page. Even though the poems were hard, they said, they liked the images. The poems made sense, they said.

They asked hard questions about form and purpose and teaching and reading and their own writing. The one man in the room corrected my pronunciation of hydrocephalus. They wondered about rhyme and line and I wished my students were as invested in poetry.

It was, by far, the best thing I did with, or rather, because of, my NEA.

The organizers, Vernis and her friend Jay, keep emailing me to tell me how much they appreciated the time and my "vibrancy." Once, Jay emailed and I didn't email back until the next morning. Vernis emailed to see if I'd received her email. I promised I did and that I had, finally (12 hours later, with sleeping time in the middle), emailed Jay back.
They keep emailing. It's one of the situations where no one knows when to quit saying thanks. But maybe that's how friends are made.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Margaret Atwood where are you?

Dr. C (whom I get to meet at MLA--a brush with fame it feels like) listed her top ten books to take to a desert island. She chose Atwood's the Robber Bride as one of them, which I don't think I've read. I used to love Atwood. I read everything up to this point: (thanks Wikipedia)

My high school teacher, alarmed that I was reading too much Plath and Sexton, gave me a book of her poems which I read too, though with less enthusiasm.

The other day, I read a review on bookslut about her latest book of poems. She still writes poems? Where did she go? After Cat's Eye, I fell out of love. It was the first time I had been disappointed by a writer. I remember the story beginning so pedestrian, so Anne Tylerish (I don't know if I'm right in my memory...that's just the vague recollection I have). Once I went to college I didn't think of her again.

So she dropped out of my periphery. When she came to do a reading in Salt Lake, I was like, whatever man. Crowds and such. She's too popular, therefore too lame (I guess that was what I felt...again hazy or lazy with the details).

But then, two years ago I read Oryx and Crake. That might be my favorite book of all time. I like books about young boys and apocalypses. Then I read the Blind Assassin. Not my fave, but still, fine. Mythological.

Yesterday, I bought the Robber Bride. If I had my druthers (meaning not having 10 essays to comment on) I'd read it all day.

I wonder, as I write this sort of bullet-pointed post without the bullets, where does Atwood stand on the measuring stick of great writers? In some ways, because she's prolific, she falls into the Updike, Joyce Carol Oates list. Her writing is more akin to John Irving and Tom Robbins--who, are prolific too, I guess. But to me she stands apart--poet and novelist. Not afraid to be political. Willing to let a book fail because of its politics.
I say that I like her very much. Admire her. Maybe the most. And that maybe I didn't go see her in Salt Lake because I want to love her with my singular love and not look at all those other lovers who want to love her singularly too. But next time she comes to a town near me, I'll go. I'll see if I can ask her a lame-free way of asking how she does it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good things

In an attempt to be less complainy, a new list called Good Things. Ala Martha Stewart. Back when she could coin a phrase.

1. Triscuits.
2. Two year olds who say "Bye. Love you." every time they leave or room. Or enter one, for that matter.
3. Husbands who clean up after said child's artistic experiments with "clay" otherwise known as "poop."
4. Other people hosting parties so I can make the cholesterol-busting, stuffed mushrooms.
5. Birthday weeks. Nay, birthday months.
6. Friends who let me go back and forth deciding what to do for said birthday and promise to bring pie no matter what I decide.
7. People who sent cards and emails and presents (including Gordon's Gold because nothing says 23 like Gordon Lightfoot) even though I'm far away and am not good at sending presents myself.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm the lame

I can't even write a blog post that doesn't suggest my suckitude. I keep thinking about the previous post's title with the word "contemporary" in it. Is that even the correct usage? I doubt it. But I don't know. I'm a lame complainer head who doesn't even post on the twitter blog. And I really want to know where the New Adventures of the Old Christine is, but I'm too lame to go find out on the internet.
My kid is not lame. She peeled an orange and then threw the peels away. I would just leave them about like they're some kind of make-shift potpourri.
Perhaps the middle of November will prove to be some kind of lameness turn around.
In general, I feel like apologizing to the planet: Sorry to be so lame.
Edited to add: As if the planet cares how lame I am. See? So lame.

7 new facts about me, the contemporary version.

Thirty-one has retagged me. This could go back and forth for awhile.

1. I didn't want to spend $20 to get my eyebrows waxed at the Aveda salon so I went to a salon right by my house where the haircut was $40 and the brows were $15. They used Loreal products. I have the worst haircut of my life. Also, the Aveda salon doesn't ask for tips. I ended up paying near-by salon $65. And now my hair hurts.
2. Being on this side of a job search also hurts. So many well-qualified people. So only one job.
3. I wonder where my book is. At the Conference of Potentially True Facts, everyone thought I already had a book. Not so much.
4. I'm obsessed with micropreemie (babies born before 28 weeks--usually around 1. 5 lbs) blogs. I call is "research."
5. I check my email about once every ten seconds. I get about 7 emails a day. This is not efficient use of my time nor a good way to answer any questions of longing.
6. It's my birthday on Wednesday.
7. I will be 23.

Monday, November 05, 2007

7 Facts about me

I'm back from the Conference of Suspect Facts. More on that later. For now:

Lisa B Tagged me for this. I'll tag 7 more people for their 7 facts below.

Seven facts about me:

  1. I didn’t eat beans, black, red, white, refried, until I was 27 years old.
  2. I had a hernia operation when I was 8. The hernia was probably caused by carrying my twin sisters around simultaneously. I didn’t want to play favorites.
  3. In the 3rd grade I wanted to win the reflections contest—an elementary school arts contest in every category. I wrote poems (“Ain’t no freedom in this land/for no one” was a featured line. I had just read Roots), I drew a picture of a cat and I made composed my own score by, somewhat randomly, making half and whole and quarternotes on the treble and bass clefs. I won none of the categories.
  4. I had the fuel injectors (twice), my car stereo (five times) stolen from my Jetta in Portland. When I moved back to Salt Lake, my Isuzu Rodeo (leased) was shot up on 9th South and 9th West on Halloween night.
  5. I wore a headband every day of fifth grade.
  6. I am allergic to (cheap) metal. When I wear Levi’s, the cheap metal rivets give me a rash on either side of my belly button.
  7. I have no middle name.
OK: Now these guys are tagged to post 7 facts about themselves and then tag 7 more people in the comment section of those people's blogs:
Kendall Jackson.
Scorpion's Tail.
Xena One and Two.
Strange Polkas.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hosptial Reprise, Reprieve

Anytime Z gets the wheeze going on, Egg and I go back and forth trying to decide whether she needs to go to the hospital. For the most part, we don't really consider going to the doctor because that would be but a detour on the way to the hospital. The doctor's office always freaks out when they listen to Z breathe her darth vadar-y breath. On Monday night, Egg came home from school and went in to check on she-who-had-been-sleeping. She was not sleeping. She was sitting up, coughing and wheezing. She just wasn't getting better. So we hemmed and hawed for about 12 minutes. Finally, we decided to just go. The decision is always hard--she has never again been as sick as she was in Feb of '06 when she had RSV and we were in the hospital for 8 days. To be released from the hospital, her oxygen levels had to stay at 93% or above. That's usually where they hover when she's sick now. At the doctor's office, 93% sends them into a tizzy. At the hospital, they're usually OK with the 93% but worry about the way her lungs retract. They think it could get worse and that she could get worn out. She has been sick for 6 weeks, off and on. We too were getting worried about her getting worn out. So on Monday, not knowing where her oxygen levels stood and having been listening to her cough for days and wheeze off and on that day, we went in.
I packed everything we would need for overnight. Contact case. Waterbottles filled. Books. Magaazines. Toothbrush. Z was pretty excited to go. We never leave the house at 9:30! Go? Car? She started jumping and putting on her coat and saying shoes shoes shoes shoes. Go go go go go. So we went.
We were ushered in, more, we think, because of our solid medical insurance than our deeply illing child, but possibly because anything respiratory freaks everyone out. They looked at us like we were a bit weird for bringing her in. The doctor came in and sat down next to Z and asked us why now. Z kept cocking her head to the side to say hi hi hi. As if to say, don't pay attention to them. I'm out after dark. Let's party. The doctor, fully charmed and off-put by such a sicky being in such a good mood, asked us again, why did you bring her in now?

We said that on the condition of getting the predisone, we would bring her in for any wheezing. They seemed to think that was a bit extreme. Her o-sats stood at 93%, sometimes dipping to 90, sometimes up to 95. We were sure we were in for the night. Or the next 8 days.

But the doctor, whom I love now more than butter, said, let's give her a breathing treatment and then I think that will be that.

We tried not to get our hopes up. We also tried to convince Z not to jump up and down on the bed for fear the tape that held the puls-ox monitor to her toes came off and her sats dipped to zero and someone in some nurse's station recorded it and we were going to be locked in for life.

The Respiratory Therapist came in, gave Z a treatment (alubterol0l). Z let her put a a mask over her face. Everyone was amazed Z was wearing the mask for the treatment rather than just using the blow-by method. Z was amazed they had invented something with stretchy-bands that go around over her head and hold a dinosaur-shaped plastic thing to her face. Or she was quite satisfied at all our amazement. Most kids won't do that, said the RT. Never. Said the doctor. The doctor said she'd go order the steroid meds and be right back to listen to Z and we'd be on our way.

She didn't come right back. Right after the breathing treatment, Z sounded great. But an hour went by and her o-sats dropped back to 93, even 92. Egg and I looked at each other. We're staying, we realized. We stare at the o-sats, holding our own breath. We've spent weeks like this, waiting for the o-sats to stabilize. Waiting for the magic number to hold.

The doctor came back, looked at Z with concern. She ordered another breathing treatment.
She'd be back. With admit papers, we assumed.
Less than an hour later she came back. She listened. She said she was going to get the Attending.
Getting the Attending is never good. It's a consultation--a what-to-do-now? A this-is-a-real-emergency. Sound-the-alarms type of thing.
Beth, the attending came in. .
She looked at Z. She looked at us.

OK, then, she said. She looks good. You guys are out of here.

I do think we may have danced a little.

20 minutes later, we were on our way.
Z was excited to go back in the car. At night. In the dark!

We came home and had a party. Z jumped off the coffee table fifteen times, prompting us to ask her to please, not make us go the ER two times in a night. I had a glass of wine. Egg had a beer.
We had this conversation:

There was a headline on one of the news pages. MSN I think, teasing what is the “least attractive city in the country?” Answer: The City of Brotherly Love.

Me: But they have the best sandwich. I’d rather have a perfect sandwich than be beautiful, wouldn’t you?

Egg: No answer.

Me: I know. You’d rather stay beautiful. That’s the problem with us. Beauty vs. true satisfaction.

Egg: It’s gluttony or vanity.

Me: it’s not gluttony. I just want one, not a hundred (thought I have had two Philly Cheese Steaks in a row before).

Egg: Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s sandwich.

Me: I think you’re mixing your commandments with your deadly sins.

Me: I really want a Philly Cheese Steak now.

We did not rush out for Cheese Steaks. We were in our own beds by one.

It makes going to the hospital seem like it might not be the 5th circle of hell. Maybe only the 4th.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kids Aren't Entirely Impossible

When your kid has been sick with the same cold for three weeks and you call the doctor and ask for prednisone because it’s the only thing that makes it so she doesn’t have to go to the hospital and they give you the prescription with the caveat that if she wheezes once you have to bring her in to his office which you know means they’ll send you to the hospital which is the place where nurses come in every 45 minutes to wake you and the child up so no one sleeps and no one gets better and yet they do little except monitor her where her o-sats never go lower than 95% and you take this as some kind of indication that her wheezing does not automatically indicate not breathing and so with the next cold you wait it out and there is no wheezing (yet) and there is no hospital (please no) and you make Pho Bo for dinner and the butcher at Meijer cut your top round (supposed to be sirloin) thick (you asked for carpaccio-thin) and you go home and put the too-thick meat in a star-anised beef broth ($3.89 an organic box broth\) and you drive home hoping there’s no wheezing (none) and the broth is good but the meat (top round, thick) is tough but your daughter-with-nose-running is drinking the broth and eating the rice noodles and chewing on a basil leaf, asking for another bean sprout makes me think that you maybe have a new date (since your husband is not a Pho zealot) for the Vietnamese restaurant a mere 12 miles away and she wants some of your broth with the four jalapeƱo slices and you give her a sip and she says water water water and then asks for more soupand you are relieved when she runs and jumps and says bean sprout over and over indicating not wheeze just breath, you relax for the first time in 28 days and chew on the jalapeƱos in your soup and let your own nose run and run.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Getting the Cooler Back Out

We had our friend's birthday party at our house. It was 88 degrees on Saturday. On Oct 6th. In the northerly Midwest. So the cooler came back from the basement, was stocked full of beer, and several people came over. I got to hang out with a few I barely knew and am now glad to know.
Also, there was some good cooking this weekend: A recent issue of Gourmet has all kinds of Latin American recipes. We made chicken a la brasa marinated for 24 hours in various spices and soy sauce. Delicious. I'm making zucchini and poblano pepper soup for our neighbor who broke his hip while mountain biking. Not here. In Tennessee. There are no mountains here tall enough to break your hip. Also, Equadoran potato cakes were made but they stuck to the bottom of my pan. I don't have a non-stick pan. Would this have helped? Is this the problem with every potato cake I've ever made? Must I pollute the planet with my teflon needs and bite the bullet and buy a one?
Last night: Chile with Mexican chorizo. I finally learned the difference between chorizo. Spanish chorizo is cured and sliceable and Mexican chorizo is spiced, pork sausage that you have to cook. Our farmer's market sells the latter. I had it for the first time the other night in the chile. 31 and I tried to cook with it before but it turned all greasy and mushy. We tossed it. The kind from the farmer's market was perfectly crumbly and not oily at all. Delicious. I have just enough leftover to make a scrambled egg recipe of chorizo, leftover tortilla chips from the same issue of Gourmet. Tonight? So many more chicken recipes. But, since I have 4 intermediate nonfiction essays, 6 intermediate poems, and 2 capstone papers to read, comment on, and grade, I may not be cooking much. Why do I make my students write so much? If I was a better teacher, they could learn by osmosis. Although I guess reading is a kind of osmosis. But I have to check their reading by reading their writing. Oh the vicious cycles!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Business of writing

This week, some writing got done but it felt more like business than creation. I worked out in my mind a few of the last details of the novel's plot but if details are not on the page, it doesn't really count. I did have one of my characters trade sex for a peak at a patient's records but otherwise, I'm stuck on the denouement. I kind of hate denouements. I think I'd prefer to write a choose your own resolution book. Once I know how it's going to end, I get bored.
Then I spent the early part of the week trying to figure out how to record two poems for the upcoming issue of Drunken Boat. Apparently, Macs have a built in microphone and a built in recording studio (Garage Band! Thanks Craig for the tip). So I finally recorded the poems on Erik's computer.
Then I got an email from Tin House's editor that she liked a piece of mine but that she needed me to revise it. So I got down to business and started revising. I moved the middle to the fore, strengthened some connections, cut a section about imagining being blown up in Wendover. Then, the next day, AGNI's editor mailed me to except the very same piece for their website. AGNI's great but I would have preferred the print version to the online space. So I emailed Tin House and asked them what to do. They said, I'd go with the sure thing since it will still be a couple of weeks over here for us to decide. That's cool, I thought. Thanks for the advice. And so I sent my one piece off to AGNI and will send a new piece to Tin House. Next week? Is that too soon?
Then, I started to write a review of Jenny Boully's new book for The Diagram. And maybe I finished it? I wrote an exegetical epic metaphor to describe the book. It's already over long. I may be done.
And then, I finished Dr. Write's amazing story collection. It is amazingly smart and precise. Next, I'm starting Scorpion Tail's new novel. I cant' wait.
I also went out to campus on a Thursday! to see Jason Breadle talk to A's students. Really nice guy with some really great poems. I'm going to buy his 2nd book from Red Morning Press.
I also sent my (new, NEA-ish) book of poems off to Steve to see what he thinks.
I still need to finish my talk for NonfictionNow but then I can get back to noveling and these much-revision-needed essays. I'll aim for Dr. Write's precision but if I get close to say, only three mistakes per page, I'll be happy. I need a live-in editor.
Also. I must be commenting on students' work and preparing for my capstone class to be observed on the 17th.
Also. M's birthday party tonight at our house. Must go clean. Or at least hide things. Oh, weekend, I hardly knew you.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Putting the Cooler Away

We went camping on Friday night. We tried to go Thursday but about halfway there, it started to rain so we turned around. Of course, the skies cleared up the minute we pulled up to our house but that night, it thunderstormed pretty majorily. Interpid souls that we are (hardly) and with the car still packed (lazy) we headed out Friday afternoon. We drove north and west toward Silver Lake and Lincoln Bridge but the state parks there were pretty small with the sites on top of each other. And, Z didn't fall asleep for her daily nap until we pulled into the campground. What better reason to look for a better spot? So we turned south and drove toward some lake-y campgrounds. We found a great spot at Benton Lake--a bit of sun, a picnic table, a fire pit, a deer flaying hanging-post--all the things you want while camping with a two year-old.
This is our first camping trip since Z was born. How can that be? Well, last summer it was all moving and selling the house. And this was a lot of travel. But it was so great and Z loved it and now that we've got a lay of the camping land around these parts, it won't be such an inertial effort.
I didn't cook a gigantic meal like I like to when we're camping. I once made leg of lamb. For a backpackign trip, I once made and then dehydrated my own stew. This time, we just had brats and onions and kraut--in the end, I was glad Egg insisted we not make anything complicated. And so few dishes!
The temperature got down to like 40 degrees that night but we had plenty of firewood and an extra featherbed (it was roughing it in the least rough way) for Z so we were warm and toasty. The best food news? We found both birch and aspen boletes in the aspen forest and had them with our tuna (bad, awful, ahi from Costco) last night after we got back. They were delicious if a bit sandy.
It should be easier to take these one-night or all day jaunts if I remember that I can run errands and do laundry as soon as we get back. And if I have forest mushrooms to go find. Z is really good at finding mushrooms and particularly good, thank god, at not eating them.
I feel really behind with work (Dr. Write! Scorpion's Tail! Novel!), grading, student blogs, etc. But if I go running now and make some sort of list, I think I won't be in danger of flubbing next week entirely.
Egg has two big tests but then next weekend, maybe we'll try another big activity. Bike ride on the rail trail? I hope so!

Monday, September 24, 2007

What's that ringing sound in my ears

I joke a lot about the fact that the only person who calls us on our home phone is A.M.--and then usually only to plan disk golf with Egg. I IM with my sisters most of the weekend, email everyone else. I don't absolutely hate talking on the phone but it never occurs to me to call anyone just to chat.

And yet, this weekend, I think I spent 14 hours on the phone. 3 to my friend in New York, 2 with my mom, and 9 with my friend in Wyoming. Divide each of those numbers by 2 and the numbers actually reflect reality. I used to talk for hours to two of my friends but we're not that close anymore so my the hours I'm putting in with the handset tucked under my chin have dropped off considerably. My chin is the better for it but not much else.

I hate to call to interrupt people's regularly schedule. And the time difference makes it hard to calculate when might be the best time to call. And Z the McFree is not particularly conducive to phone calling. Maybe now that so many of my friends have kids, none of us use the phone like we used to. And I get frazzled on the phone in ways I don't in person (though I do get frazzled in person--just in different ways). I make up words and laugh in the wrong places and say "cool" way too often. When I was on the job market, I had a phone interview for one job. I made myself dress up in my suit anyone just so I wouldn't fall prey to my own spiral-talking.

But perhaps some of the isolation I'm feeling this fall (I know, it's only really been fall for 2 days), could be alleviated by using the telephone. The electronic media does what it does but there's still something quiet about it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Please to include

On my list of things to do:
Proofread blog posts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The problem with lists

I knocked a few things off the list, added others. Got swamped by advising and teaching stuff and then we all got sick.
Zo has her regular Darth Vadar breath. I don't think even Darth could handle as much albuterol as we nebulized all over her last night. But she seems to have turned a corner. Or is maintaining. Or mainlining the albuterol.
I, however, have lost all hope for the list.
If you need me, you'll find me under the kitchen table, eating Tabbouleh. I'm sure I'll take my computer under there with me. So I won't be out of touch. Just out of range of the onslaught of reviews and conferences.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No way it's all going to happen

I was just reading over at Limon's about how she's not going to get all the things done this semester she needs to. I am panicking about my own semester by blogging. Actually, I'll make this a listing blog so the list and the weight can be palpably felt. And perhaps in order to lift the weight, I'll actually do one or two of these today.

  • Host Grad School Night Sept. 24.
  • Write a review by Oct 15.
  • Read 40 student blogs a week (whoops! What a great idea! Student blogging! 750 words a week! Ack!)
  • Write conference paper for Nonfiction Now.
  • Contact my panelists for Nonfiction Now.
  • Read 7 books for my independent study.
  • Finish novel draft by Sept. 30 (60,000 words yesterday. 10 or 20 more thousand to go.)
  • Compile 3rd year review file.
  • Read apps for new hire.
  • Review affiliate faculty.
  • Finish Hospital poems for contests.
  • Send out old book to contests of finalist last year.
  • Write conference paper for AWP.
  • Revise 14 essays.
  • Buy plane tickets for SLC, NYC, and NYC.
  • Develop course for Spring 2009.
  • Finish kitchen (admittedly, my role is small. I mostly have to by drawer pulls and wine racks but still).
  • Submit funding requests for trips to NYC and NYC.
Actually, now the list doesn't seem so bad. The biggest trouble is the 3rd year review file but I think that's mostly a matter of organization. Which is not my strong point. But perhaps lists like this are a sign of things to come.

Hope I didn't stress you out on a fine Sunday morning. I feel better though.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hispanic Festival

Finally. A good taco. Better than a Salt Lake taco. Here, in GR.
We had a great day. Z's daycare hosted this odd fundraiser where we paid $20 and they watched kids for 4 hours to help pay for new playground equipment. If it was only $5/hour every half day--it would be an ideal amount of school for the Z where maybe I could get some work done without having to say, OK Z, five minutes. Mom's working. And then giving in to play magnet puzzle for twelve minutes.
So we went to the Hispanic Festival, purchased an adorable Equadoran sweater for Z featuring embroidered cacti and llama and I got a sweater full of orange colors.
I drank beer there.
Then, we went to Founders. Which has many a beer and nary a glass of wine. I drank half a glass of beer there.
And then our good friends who make GR a great place to live came over and they had another beer and I returned to my stand-by, wine. We had to escape the onslaught of mosquitoes and so came inside where we were accosted by Z's stuffed animals and Egg's lascivious jokes about portfolios and balance sheets.
Ah, the MBA. Who knew how sexy the MBA could be...

Stymied by Yahoo

Usually, I'm a pretty good Googler. I can find out what translocated genes are and what Rolling Stone cover Britney Spears may have graced and which New Orleansy foods are considered Cajun and which ones Creole.
But two answers the internet has denied me:
1. How do squirrels get inside of walnuts. Is it gravity that breaks the outer husk? Then how do they get into the harder one. I tried throwing it on the ground, stomping on it, even biting it but then the bitterness of the outer husk choked me and my hands turned black from the essential oils and I wonder do squirrels have little bearded nutcrackers in trees or do they just wait for the husks to rot or are their teeth the stuff nutcrackers aspire to be? The internets would not tell me. I googled a bunch of phrases and nothing.
2. Then, last night, while we're watching Children of Men, which I shouldn't watch because I tend toward a dystopic view of the universe and I find all things baby-related extra tear-provoking, Michael Caine's character says Shanti Shanti Shanti when imagining the hopeful Human Project. So I look up Shanti Shanti Shanti which , it turns out, is a common meditation mantra. But what poet says it three times in one of his poems? Gary Snyder? (ETA. TS Eliot. It came to me five minutes after I posted.)
And, although I could find it but I'm too lazy, on Hightouch's blog I used the phrase "bogart" as a verb. Does it mean plain old steal or just sort of take too much space up on? Because the latter is what I meant.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

First Two Weeks in Review

I've been refraining from blogging. Partly because I'm overwhelmed and partly because I feel complainy and I don't want to complain too much here. I'd prefer to list the delicious foods I've eaten of late, but there haven't been too many. I've been too busy.
Egg started MBA school last week so he's gone two nights of the week. I like to cook for Z and her palate is pretty broad for a two year-old but she doesn't act as impressed as I'd like my diners to be. So we eat noodles and pepper for dinner.
My foot. It is hurt. I pulled the outstep but it feels like the skin and the muscle became separateed and whenever I walk, the skin goes one way and the muscle and bone go another. I can't run so I'm grumpy. Even though I run slow. And short distances.
School. It is a long distance and also slow. I hate how I already feel behind. The first week of classes seem to require such tremendous energy--like right now I have to press all the force for the semester into these first weeks. If I do it well, the rest of the semester rolls right along, clicking along, amassing speed and work like any good roller coaster. And the more I teach, the more I know how much energy these first weeks require. Once we get going and I establish a rhythm, I think it will be fine.
Fine, that is, if I don't do anything but teach. I'm getting a bit bogged down in the details and I have a review coming up and assessment and benchmarking and curriculum making and etc. and oh my.
But it seems like it should be a pretty fun semester with some smartly students whose mindsI'm trying to blow by making them read hardcore theory. If my mind doesn't blow first.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vacation Index

5. Number of runs ran in the high-altitude city.
4. Number of hikes hiked in the mountain behind in-laws house.
2. Number of hikes hiked in red dirt land.
1. Number of hike-type hikes hiked following Egg around disc golf course in red dirt land.
4. Number of fancy meals eaten at fancy restaurants. Pork confit, hanger steak, and sushi, cold Blackberry soup, mushroom tart, pablano creme.
1. Number of dinners eaten at Oyster Bar. No longer in the fancy restaurant dept. Good oysters. Overly salty and overly priced King Crab Legs.
1.5 Number of fast food trips taken because the french fries in the high, salty city come with special sauced.
2. Number Barbacoa's salad consumed. (Not enough.)
14. Number of anaheim peppers roasted, chopped, sauteed and eaten for two separate meals.
2. Number of filets consumed at in-law's and sister's.
1. Number of rib-eyes consumed at sister's.
238. Number of tomatoes paired with mozzerella and basil from Mom's boyfriend's garden.
2. Number of delcious squash dishes prepred by Maryland sister.
2. Number of delicious frut tarts baked by same sister.
4. Number of most exquisite racks of lamb made by home-based sister.
8. Number of twice-baked potatoes baked with blue cheese by home-based sister that people are still taking about.
2. Number of injuries sustained by either myself or home-based sister (1 finger cut deeply, 1 leg burned badly).
24. Number of Italian sausages accompanied by onions sauted in creme de cassis and grenadine made by father-in-law.
3. Number of those sausages I ate myself (not in one day!)
1. The ordinal number denoting the time I ate refried beans prepared by someone other than myself.
1,482. Number of glasses of wine consumed. Crawford, Joseph Phelps, Marilyn Merlot, were among the best.
2. Number of restaurants I meant and tried to eat at but didn't (Hong Kong Tea House, Red Iguana).
6. Number of pieces of fried chicken eaten (Yes, all in one day. They were wings though!)
342,095. Number of calories still need to burn off from trip.
9. Number of friends seen for drinks, lunch, or workshop.
3. Number of whom are on my bloglist.
2. Number of sisters seen for drinks, lunch, or dinner (dinner is a lot like workshop in that it involves sitting, talking and often drinking good wine).
2. Number of sister's who are on my bloglist.
528. Number of relatives seen at dinners, reunions, and birthday parties.
10. Number of siblings, mothers, fathers, nieces and nephews that were nearly impossible to say goodbye to.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

must blog-quiz while traveling

Apparently, I'm not in reporting mode; instead, I take the quizzes. A brief update includes: I just ate a bag of spinach and Thirty-one and I are off to Taste of the Nation while my mom and Egg's mom and dad are volunteering. I won't relish any of them bussing my table or pouring me wine they can't, not at all. Or at least, not too much.

Also. This.

You Are The Star

You represent the ultimate in truth and purity.

Insightful and illuminating, you provide guidance for others.

You also demonstrate unselfish, unconditional love.

You posses many spiritual gifts, including the ability to heal.

Your fortune:

Your future is looking brighter by the day.

The near future will be a time of both hope and healing.

Luck is about to come your way, perhaps the best luck you have ever seen.

Life is about to get a lot easier and much better!

Friday, August 03, 2007

How did it know I was short?

You're Prufrock and Other Observations!

by T.S. Eliot

Though you are very short and often overshadowed, your voice is poetic
and lyrical. Dark and brooding, you see the world as a hopeless effort of people trying
to impress other people. Though you make reference to almost everything, you've really
heard enough about Michelangelo. You measure out your life with coffee spoons.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

4:00 am

I woke up at 3. This isn't so great. I even took a Lunesta which I rarely do. But at 3:17, I said the forbidden phrase to myself "I have got to get to sleep." I employed all my I need to go back to sleep strategies--counting slowly to ten, watch a stick tumble down the river, think of the plot of a movie I've seen a million times. Instead, of concentrating, which leads to peacefulness, I kept thinking of what I forgot, to tell the housesitter there's an avocado he should eat, that I should hide anything revealing.
So now, I'm showered and ready. Egg will get up at 5, we'll rouse Zoe at 5:30. The cab will be here at 5:40. And by 10:50 a.m (12:50 our time) we'll be in SLC. And maybe I'll then get to take a nap. And then we have Ryan Adam's concert at the Red Butte Gardens. Oh the miracle, the expesne, the carbon footprint, the lines, the bad seats, the hours of distracting the toddler....
Perhaps it will all go off like a charm.
At least I didn't sleep through my alarm clock.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Short List

This post comes from two places. The first is that one of the bloggers that I link to has a whole category of "shameless self-promotion." I'm not very good a self-promotion but I should probably work on propping up some of the good news that comes my way. Such self-promotion on her part though did make we want to know more about her so there is some danger in revealing one's anonymity by posting specific moments of renown. But in my case, I'm so far from actually anonymous and the good news I found was layered so deep that that being outed didn't worry me too much. The second is that my good friend who lives in CA and I are working on being friends again after a pretty huge falling out and she assured me that publication was just a matter of time. Lots of people say that, but when it comes from someone who now has some distance from you and your would-be successes, it seems somehow more plausible.
Publication-wise, this summer has been somewhat exciting but mostly kind of depressing.
I was short-listed at Graywolf nonfiction contest, Sarabande's novel contest, AWP's nonfiction contest and a few poetry contests. I found out last night that I was short-listed at the Faulkner Contest for the novel. Last year, I was a semi-finalist. This year, bumped up to the short-list of finalists, but still not quite a finalist. That one would be great to win because big books sometimes come from winning--The Three Junes being the most famous.
I've had a couple of poems and essays accepted which is very great. Still, I feel like I'm always a bridesmaid, never a bride at these book contest things. Perhaps my agent will still come through with something but, man is this process slow!

But the good news is that my friend M emailed last night to say a magazine I'd been published in had been favorably reviewed in New Pages and had quoted me. And so I went cruising around the internet to see if there were any other reviews of mags I'd been in and Utne reader had a really nice bit about a recent publication of mine and a magazine/writing group chose an essay from another pub of mine to be their Lit Pick of the Quarter. So. Slow. But good.

Monday, July 16, 2007

At Two

Z turns two today. She is a full-on person now, even if constrained by short sentences and challenged vertically. She knows when it's time to go--puts on her shoes, gets the keys, stands by the door waiting for us to get our shit together. She climbs up into her high-chair when it's time to eat, unless she's preferring at the moment to sit in a regular sized chair. She gets into her car seat herself, and her stroller. In fact, I'm not really sure what I have left to do besides drive the car, push the stroller, push the swing. She even says "please" and "thank you, (which sounds a bit like "Dane Do"), so her social graces are in tact.
Most days we do this: she wakes up by either singing or stating matter-of-factly, mommm-eeeee. We go and bug her dad who is not a morning person, then we go downstairs and eat Frosted Shredded Wheat. She likes a spoon, please. Then a little Sesame Street, either a walk or a run, then play a little, and then somehow lunch is already upon us. She will have berries and peas and grilled cheese, please. Then a nap with a sippy cup (the bottle has been gone for only a week!), then she wakes up at 2 or 3 and real playing begins. It's summer. We're outside most of the time. She gardens, which involves carrying the weeds we've pulled over to the yard waste can, or pours cups of water from one to the other in the swimming pool. She stacks the child-sized plastic chairs we co-opted from the neighbor. She plays Stop and Go (You yell go and she runs. You say stop and she stops. Eventually). Then, it's time for dinner. Maybe we ride our bike over to the store to pick up supplies. Mostly we drive. She likes steak and chicken and salmon and halibut and every protein except barbecued pork. She REALLY likes edamame. She can eat a pound in a bout twelve minutes. She also likes asparagus, onions, carrots, corn, beans, beets (had one for the first time last night), scallions, oregano and basil (the two plants she can eat directly from the yard), broccoli. She's starting to like bread and at restaurants, she has expanded beyond the chicken nugget to include the quesadilla and the pizza. She loves apples. She can eat a whole one. She likes them dried and in juice too.
She likes company. She hands out plates and napkins, takes off her shoes so one of our friends can put them on, she takes chip after chip out of their hand. She gives each of them a hug when we go to leave or she goes to bed.
At school, they say she's smart. They also say/warn that she can take her clothes off (and her diaper--scary. She mostly puts them back on). She plays in the sand and makes mother's and father's day presents.
Lately, she likes girly stuff more than before. She wants me to put her hair in pony tails and she found a doll she carries around. But she still likes to climb and wrestle and play with cars so she seems to maintain a reasonable gender balance. She likes her shoes and her juice although sometimes we give her one when she means the other and she looks at us like we are the least suited people to procreate in the universe. She states it clearly again, Soice. Oh. Suice.
There' s a lot of uh oh and bye and hi but also more complicated constructions like, need napkin, face dirty. She still likes her napkins but she flattens them a little less often. She still makes a pretty mean bed, even when you're often still in it.
Every day, she's the most fun to hang out with. I love that I can spend this much time with her this summer. On days when she sleeps later than I do, I go in and quietly look at her in her crib and send mind-beams of "wake up, wake up" so we have the most fun.
Today, for her birthday, we might go to her first feature-length film. She has a bit of a cold (but she doesn't sound like Darth Vadar!) and bug bites and is getting a new bicycle. And then she won't even need me to drive her around.

Happy Birthday, Bug!

Edited to add: Apparently, she knows all these songs from day care. How do I know? I start singing Ring Around the Rosies or Row Row Row Your Boat or Picking Up My Baby Bumblebee and she automatically (her motions are a bit robotic) spins in a circle or twirls her arms or cups her hands together to hold a bee. She goes only once a week but that's enough to absorb songs and their attendant dances. She has her own world that only intersects with mine when I coincidentally sing a certain song.

Edited again to say: She also says "woah" all the time which is why many of my emails of late begin with that phrase.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More nice things to say

about the place I live.
Lo, though it is 90+ today, it will be the hottest day of the year thus far. No hundred degree temps recorded since 1988. The humidity is a bit troublesome but since it hasn't rained, it doesn't feel too sticky.
And, there is water around here so I don't feel that desperate desert feeling I get in SLC in the summer when the edges of the tree's leaves start to brown and the grass gets crusty even though it's watered seven days a week. I just finished the book "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan which reminded me of all the trouble that goes into trying to garden-up a desert.
There is a little lake here--about a mile away. Zo and I ride around it once a week or so. She likes her bike seat a lot. From our perch we saw a turtle, a beaver and some ducklings. We've been mapping the ducklings progress and they are getting almost grown-up sized.
And, we're off to the big lake this afternoon after Erik finishes tearing down a wall, I write something, and Zo takes a nap. The big lake is as nice as the ocean with waves and super-sandy beaches.
So, this place, this summer, not so bad.
Look forward to more weather updates since pretty much that's all I think about, an obsession Egan's book thoroughly justifies.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Favorite writers

Why is it that my favorite writers from high school/early college were famous for only one book--for instance, Katherine Dunn's Geek Love, Keri Hulme's The Bone People, and Marilynne Robinson, until Gilead, Housekeeping.
Some of it seems to be busy-ness but some of it seems to be satisfaction. Once their book was nomiated or won a huge prize, perhaps that's all the needed to accomplish? Or they knew themselves that the most perfect rendering of their words had been written? Or is it fear of the next book failing?

I guess it's somewhat true for the man-types--Salinger will always be better known for Catcher in the Rye but almost as read is Franny and Zooey or Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters. Who else has read Dunn's Attic or Truck?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My Life as Dictated by Weather

It has been the most beautiful three days of weather in my life. 75 degrees, no humidity. In JULY! I may forgive GR its previous days of below zero temps and above 100% humidity. What I like best about not-too-hot is that I actually do something in the weather. When it's too hot, after 11 a.m., it's hard for me to convince myself it's healthy to exercise. I could die out there. It's safer to stay here, prostrate, with ice water and possibly a fan if someone else could please turn it on.
If I could live in perfect weather, GR would count. The thing about SLC is is that if it's nice but not too hot in the day, then it's freezing at night. And, once it gets hot in SLC, it pretty much stays hot. Here, there are vicissitudes so that even when I panic about the 90 degree heat and humidity, I can hope for days like today.
I'm outside, typing, trying to remember the essay I started in my head last night. I'm also working on a novel. I wish I'd read more of Bloom's Anxiety of Influence but I don't think that's the kind of anxiety I have. The kind I have is that I imagine everyone is reading the exact same research documents and so when they go to read my novel they'll be like, didn't I read that in The Nation or on that one woman's blog. To lift experiences and knowledge from the web at large seems kosher--I don't steal anyone's words, I change the setting and the circumstance, but sometimes I need the detail like the kind of dirt or the date of invention. If there was someone tracing my url's, they'd be like, oh my god that's so obvious. But since no one is (that I know of) the details will still come as a surprise.

ETA: One more thing I was thinking about--writing as jealousy. When I was reading Three Tarts yesterday and one of the bloggers there wrote "curls of cinnamon" I was immediately jealous for that description. The best writing works like that--describes details uniquely but accurately. It wasn't trying too hard, it wasn't too fancy, it was just right on. Since I can't steal it, I want to go try and write something equally as perfect. Usually, this jealousy is a catalyst for more writing. Sometimes, it can be demoralizing as in somebody already said it better, yesterday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lovely wedding, hot return

I promise to complain slightly less about the heat. Actually, without the humidity here, it would be quite nice. But it's like 50% humidity. The weather sits on my chest and won't let me get up. Well, just for this second to blog/complain about the heat and recount the wedding.

P'swedding was so beautiful with the big falls right behind her. Z did a pretty good job of being a flower girl except that she, in true Z fashion, went to clean up the petals after she dropped them. "Ah oh" was the chorus to the song of the falling flower petal. After the petals were cleaned up and 5 zillion pictures were taken of the beautiful newlyweds, there was some dancing, some fine food and some hearty drinking. All hail the destination wedding!

I'm trying to write this afternoon even though it's a hundred degrees out (if you do my math of humid plus temperature plus complaining efforts) BUT the guy painting the house next door is listening to classic rock. Bad Company until the day I die, Watch what you say, you'll be calling me a radical, political, When I'm sixty-four, Mean mean Sawyer, mean mean pride. Plus commercial. And, did I mention we have no AC so if I shut the window I would surely die? I think that yes, yes I did.
At least they're painting the house a color (blue) better than its original beige.

ETA: I could update class rock songs all day. Best day of my life.., was the last heard. but now Fleetwood Mac's Golddust Woman is on and now I can't complain. Except I do want to go download Hole's version.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Great week with mom

We've had tons of fun here with Maestra (that's what my mom wants her grandkids to call her) and her boyfriend Bart. We've been shopping and to the lake and to an arts festival. We've grilled brats and trout and chicken and pork chops--all tasty with their respective sides and sauces. You pair them up: Corn, red cabbage, radish-carrot-snowpea-scallion salad, cous cous, asparagus, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, roasted potatoes, green chile, pine nut butter.
It was a lot of cooking: breakfasts, lunches, and dinners but my mom makes cooking easier because she's always getting the napkins and forks and things together that I always do at the last minute. Then she cleans the whole kitchen. She also did a ton of laundry! Woohoo!
Our friend who is riding his bike from NYC to SLC made it in time last night for Brats and we had local friends over too which made for a lovely party-like evening. Hoorah for summer, and house-guests.
We leave for Niagara Falls tomorrow morning for P's wedding. It should be fabulous, except for, as I mentioned before, the car ride. Onward to Canada! (Did you know Canada is only like 2.5 hours from here? Now if only my passport that I ordered over 4 months ago had arrived......)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thank you for voting

Thanks everybody. I think I have a plan. It involves none of the suggestions I listed but a combination of them and yours. Or, as Lisa B. says, I'll go back to the old title. I couldn't have come up with this idea for a new title without you so very cool and thank and thanks. (I'm taking that post down to preserve what's left of my barely concealed anonymity.)

In other news, my mom's in town. We're having fun. It's kind of hot but I think I've acclimated to the humidity. Plus, it hasn't been nearly as humid as that first hot day here in May. We leave for Niagara Falls for P's wedding! on Thursday. We're driving and we have no idea how we'll fit:
2 of mom's boyfriend's rolly-suitcases.
1 of mom's rolly-suticases
3 of mom's they're-not-really-suitcases-because-they-don't-roll suitcases.
5 of Z's required bags.
Egg and my suitcase that may or may not roll.

Wish us luck!
Happy Father's Day!
Today, we're making for Erik: Green Chile Sauce. His favorite food. We'll put it on corn and potatoes and pork chops. I'll also make him chicken salad. He loves that too. Z made him a present at school and I'm going shopping now for what will be some seriously boring but useful gifts.

Thanks again for all the titular fun. Or titillary fun. Or titling fun though I prefer the double-meaning of the first two....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ala Mode

In the Style of Hightouch, Dr. Write and ErinAlice, I bring a list of the days.

Since the last post, some of us:
  • Bought new kitchen cabinets because one house demolition disaster is not enough.
  • Edited blog to include new links.
  • Rode our bicycles around Reed's Lake.
  • Played disc golf four out of the last nine days.
  • Cleaned out the fridge.
  • Went on the swing four-hundred and seventy-two times.
  • Wrote some number of words of novel.
  • Contemplated getting an MBA.
  • Wrote some number of poems.
  • Watered the new outdoor plants.
  • Read some of the Pynchon.
  • Continued with bed-making propensity, flattening sheets, clothes, napkins.
  • Went downtown to Local's Only Festival.
  • Finished one essay.
  • Made plans for crazy week of housesitting and wine-tasting and going-to-fancy-dinner with friends.
  • Made rib-eye steaks topped with most delicious habenero and red bell pepper vinaigrette (OK, that was last week but it needed mentioning. Best food I ever made).
  • Went downtown to nice restaurant. Like a slightly fancier Red Rock.
  • Started the cleaning process for upcoming visit from the mom.
  • Stayed up past 9:30 every night.
  • Went downtown to arty street.
  • Learned how to count.
  • Made turkey burgers with green chiles, shitake mushrooms, bacon and pepper jack. Best food I ever made.
  • Contemplated giving up on the Pynchon.

And conversation with the Z:
Do you want to swing?
Do you want to go on the slide?
Do you want to go on the swing again?
OK. That's enough. Let's go in.
No. (In the most pleasant of tones. As in no, I'd rather not.)
Come on, we have to go.
No. (Ditto the pleasantries).
Do you want to go to time out?
Out! (Whereby, she walks to the vestibule which has the front door and also a French door. She opens the French door, walks in, closes the French door and waves.)

She has taken our only ammo and turned it into her own good idea. "I do indeed believe I need a break from you people."

Saturday, June 09, 2007


To make up for a Memorial Day faux pas (I bailed on a neighborhood bbq in favor of one at our every-day friend's) Egg and I hosted a dinner party for 7 adults and 7 kids. The 7 kids part was unnerving. As usual, I cooked way too much food that was also perhaps too unusual for a neighborhood-party with kids. I made salmon with raspberry vinaigrette (raspberry jam, white wine vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and a little water), Greek Salad, baba ganoush, hummus (Egg made the Hummus) and this yogurt-cilantro-cardomon-caraway seed concoction that no one liked (I liked it!) And we roasted potatoes on the grill in foil which would have been great, had we not burned the crap out of them.
Our neighbor next door has a great yard for kids and she invited them over to play in her yard--which was OK--but then the party was split in two. The guys over here, drinking beer and the women-folk over there, watching the kids. Later, the guys went over there but I was annoyed at the splitting over the party and the division of labor. But I was happier to be annoyed than if all the kids were running around our small, flowery yard or if they were bored to tears asking to go home. So it really did work out, though the labor had to be divided. I kept running back over here to get appetizers and more wine to take over there and to roll my eyes at the guys. Only Egg had a clue what I was rolling my eyes about. These folks, except my neighbor, have a much more traditional understanding of labor and division than we do which I find difficult to understand. I don't understand how the division develops. At what point did it become clear to them that he would work and she would watch the kids? That she would take the kids to the bathroom? That she would be the one to make sure the hot dogs (I did not force my salmon or weird yogurt on the kids--although I made enough for 27 of them) were eaten? Even were Egg and I to come to that decision, we'd have to argue and pontificate and be stubborn and relent for eight to ten years and by then, Z would already be able to find the bathroom and cook her own hot dogs. That it was assumed that that's how the labor would be divided was fascinating, if also disturbing, to me.
Our next door neighbor is a single mom and she makes more sense to me. One of the kids asked her daughter where her dad was and the daughter said, "I don't have one. It's just me and my mom," in the most confident of manners. Under her breath, my neighbor said, "and if I did have a husband, he'd be inside doing dishes." A dig at the division of labor or a comment on her own cleaning skills, I'm not sure.
And, finally, the woman with three kids asked if we were going to have another baby, which everyone always asks, to which I said, I don't know, one seems so manageable. I hope I didn't imply that they weren't doing a great job managing their kids. They were. I was just commenting that it takes both me and Egg ninety percent of our concentration to manage the Z. More because we prefer Z management to other activities, but still, it is a big job.
All in all, a fun barbecue that left me thinking I could possibly invite near-strangers over again although I felt terrible about the one neighbors we didn't invite who kept looking over from their deck with left-out-itude in their eyes. That sucked and it makes me think it might be too hard to be friends with some neighbors and not others.

Friday, June 01, 2007

hot in the city

Um, it's 84 degrees outside and I think I may be dying of heat exhaustion. Me thinks I've never encountered humidity until this week. To continue the sorrow of the last post, I miss my old house with its old swamp cooler. How cool I was. And how little humidity. Here, we have radiant heat. Radiators. So there's no duct work. So no air conditioning. So I can sit here on my high-horse and save the planet by not using so much energy while I sweat to death. It's a short life-expectancy, up on this high-horse.
In other news, Egg is out of town so it's just Z and me. We went on a bike ride. It was death-defying. Now we're trying to decide what to eat/where to go for dinner. I thought I'd eat a bunch of foods that Egg hates: feta (which I did eat), Pho (but I'm really not quite up to cooking it or seeking out the one Vietnamese restaurant in town) and it turns out, I don't think I actually like chicken drumsticks as much as I thought.
My grill is broken so it's possible we will starve to death even off the high-horse. There's no way I'm roasting chicken legs inside when it's the ridiculous degree of now, 85.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

You can't go home again.

Literally. Not when they tear your house down.
We sold our house in August. The house I lived in for 8 years and Egg lived in for 7. The house we lived in when we met, got married, had Z. The house whose backyard hosted countless parties--the grad school party when the window got broken and my neighbor came over to tell us to keep it down. The late night party when we sat around the chiminea smoking and drinking until almost morning. The front porch where Egg asked me to marry him. The backyard that we made into gardens for tomatoes and chard and peppers.
A year ago at this time, we had just finished remodeling. The kitchen had new cherry cabinets. Granite countertops. Tile blacksplash. Egg, the world's best painter, had just finished painting the hallway. He painted every room in that house. Our bedroom was a strange silver-green that he made with special texturing paint. Z's room was adobe-peach. The basement had a bright purple room, a red room, an amber room. The kitchen was mocha-colored. Egg paints like a crazy person--cutting in a room's ceiling first, then cutting in corners, then painting the walls, painting trim in the most toxic-smelling of oil paints, painting window casements freehand. It takes him forever to paint. I wonder how long it took for the paint to fold and crack as they crushed the drywall.
The house was brick--post WWII regular bungalow with a concrete-tile roof. It was small but with a dry, finished basement, big enough for 4. Egg's mom and my mom grew up in houses that size without the basement with families twice that big. But this house wasn't big enough for the couple and their 3 year-old.
My mom, who encountered the potential buyers last summer while she was watering the plants (we had already moved here), told me the first thing those would-be and eventual buyers did was ask her about the lot size. We should have figured then what they had in mind but I thought addition, not demolition.
All the work that went into that house: Egg, his step-dad, his uncles, my sister, my mom...everyone who helped us weed and rake and paint. All the people who visited: to drink beer in our enormous backyard, to eat dinner at the table in the small dining room off the kitchen or at the island, to watch Z start to crawl on those newly-finished hardwood floors.
Of course I still have all those memories, but now, and I'm sure at least for a while, I'll think about something that happened in that house --the time I couldn't decide which was more wasteful--washing out the yogurt container with the limited water in that drought-ridden state or just throwing the plastic away. In the end, I gave the container to Cleo to lick out, then I recycled it. Cleo, the dog we got while we lived there. Or the compost bucket on the back porch. Or the smoking I did on that back porch and then quit doing on that back porch. The books I read and writing I typed. The dumb fights with Erik and the sex in different rooms. The dinners I made. The goodbye parties hosted for others, then for us--and that memory will be tainted with the recognition of the actual "thing" not being there.
I'm very big on the thing itself.
I still like to drive by the old houses I grew up in. The one by the mortuary. The one by the cemetery. The one by the church. When I'm in Portland, I drive by the apartments I lived in and the house I owned. Just going by reminds me of things I'd forgotten. I won't be driving by our house again because it will not be there. Nothing to jog my memory. Nothing but a gigantic house that dwarfs all the neighbor's regular-sized houses. Nothing but a waste of lumber and tree and paint trucked off to the dump, maybe a salvage yard, if I'm lucky. Nothing but those motes in the air. The dust of the thing itself. Maybe there's enough substance in that dust that I could find the flicker of a memory. I could go over there and rake the grass, toss up some motes, see what that could do to remind me of the house where we brought Z home from the hospital, both times, where Cleo healed from her hip surgery, where the night we met, Egg came over and we read that transvestite Mormon cookbook, where my first friends in grad school Dr. Write and J.P. came over that first semester and drank what was left of my Oregon wine, where my best friend in grad school Steve came over and let me make him cassoulet, where Thirty-one came over during lunch when she was pregnant to take a nap on my couch, where my cats had a cat door in the backdoor that opened into that enormous backyard, where my mom stayed when she moved back to Salt Lake before she left for New York, where my friends slept the days surrounding my and Egg's wedding, where my sister P stayed when she came home from Baltimore, where I experimented with paper and computers and herbs and plants and books and exams and baby-raising.
It was hard leaving that house last August. Now it's like leaving all over again.
Last night, the Jazz played in the Playoffs in Salt Lake. One of the cameras looked like it was stationed right about where our house had been. The view was of the city that we could have seen from our back porch, if you tilted your head one way and leaned over the railing a bit. Egg and I looked at each other and then quickly looked away.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dog fun

In an attempt to do something new, Erik and I bought ticket to a fundraiser for the County Animal Shelter. The fundraiser was held outside and the dogs could all come. At first, I was worried they'd kick us out because of Zoe but it didn't even occur to me to get a babysitter. Of course, if dogs could come, then kids could. But not really. Some people don't like to drink in front of kids and the main draw of the fundraiser was wine and beer and appetizers! Knowing full-well I'd overdo on the wine and under-do the appetizers, Erik and I took Zoe to dinner before hand. I had a scallop appetizer. Erik had steak and bleu cheese salad. Zoe had her ever-favorite chicken fingers. With a pickle. And blueberries. And chips. Happy baby. We'd driven over to the dinner place then Erik drove home to get Cleo and walked back (hence the guilt-free wine drinnking). Then the dog-partying commenced. Zoe was quite welcome. There were as many babies there as dogs I think. Cleo got to nuzzle with a bunch of other dogs her size. Erik and I drank our requisite amount of drink (only two each) and then we walked home. A lovely evening except when Erik lamented the times when I drank Bud Light and therefore was a cheaper date. Indeed, I was cheaper then!

Observation: People in this fine state are different about dogs than they were in SLC. If you're out walking your gigantic german shepherd/husky mix, they'll move their golden retriever to the other side of the street. Some people (lots) (well, more than zero which is the number I ever saw in Utah) muzzle their dogs. In general, there's a lot of leashing and harnessing and anal-retentiveness about the dog. It was nice, then, to see dogs in the out-of-doors, free to consort. Except the one muzzled dog, which just seemed mean. Their were appetizers for the dogs--ice cream, Zen treats (which Cleo did not like) and other biscuits. This poor muzzled husky didn't get a single bite.

Next event--Memorial Day in Chicago? We'll see.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Oh ho ho

You thought my last post was made it "home." Oh no, that was from Baltimore. But we did make it home. Barely. Z was a trooper. Ohio is vast when you don't have a fine friend's home to crash at half-way through. I'm never taking another road with the letters "95" in them and Z might have an issue with car-sickness. Stop and go traffic makes her throw up. Might try dramamine. We have several more driving vacations planned.
Must go to bed now. It's 11:20 (that's 23:20 to P's military fiance) and we've been driving since 9 (that's 9 to him and to the rest of us). I have a teaching portfolio workshop tomorrow. It sounds like one of those very irritating helping-absent-minded-professors projects but apparently I have a third year review next year although I just barely finished my first....the tenure track is a lot like I-695, I-495, and the promising but unfulfiling I-395--confusing, back-tracking and often very much like a parking lot.

Friday, May 04, 2007

We made it!

We arrived happy and intact. All was well on the drive. Ohio was great. Seeing our friends and their kids halfway was lovely. They are the most gracious hosts and have a beautiful house--a resort-like space. They gave up their bedroom for us--the windows looked out onto the woods.
The drive on through West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland was equally gorgeous. What a lovely country--perhaps I'll stay! Now Erik and I have officially driven across the whole of it. Z was amazing Unbelievably good. No crying. No complaining. Lots of fun back-seat-sitting. Not much singing because Egg couldn't like the Pete Seeger I downloaded.
Z was great, perfect, until we hit Baltimore's 695. Stop and go. 10 miles took 40 minutes. Z, who hadn't been out of the car in 3 hours and had eaten a bunch of peanuts, threw up. But we made it to P's and rinsed the carseat off and changed her clothes and much joyous reuniting commenced.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Have Child, Will Travel, Need Advice

We're leaving for Baltimore on Wednesday. The housesitter's coming, the grades are turned in, the car's oil has been changed.
But, oh ye brave souls who have traveled 10 hours in a car with a child, tell me what did you do to make it less of a screamfest? Z is OK in the car, but at 21 months doesn't like to be confined for very long (say over an hour). We're driving to see Margot! in Columbus, which is 5.5 hours and staying over there so we'll have a break on our way eastward. We may or may not try to make it straight back the following Wednesday (11 hours).
We'll take our computers and my video iPod. Any suggesstions for how to make this fun (or at least not painful)?
Thank you in advance for making me feel like this was a good idea.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Went well

Thank you my well-wishers: Lisa B and Dr. Write.

Thirty-one would be proud. I wore very tall shoes.

Some of my favorite writers were there and they said nice props. And even though I dropped my papers, people still said I read beautifully, elegantly.

I'm pretty happy! I love to read (I always forget how much I love it). My students came, my colleagues came, folks from Western came. A fellow-NEA winner from 1995 came. Well-attended indeed.
My neighbors came too! 4 of them. Linda, Cheryl, Beth and her daughter Rose. So it wasn't just poetry-ites. It made me feel like I'm making in-roads and communities.
I read with my non-poetry reading voice which people seemed to love.
Now, if I could only get the paper to stay on the podium....

Big Reading Tonight

I'm reading at the downtown GR public library tonight. Mostly new poems. I have several worries. That I'll read too fast. That the audience will space out. That the poems will make no sense. That I'll wear something ridiculous. I almost decided on an outfit but then realized the shirt for it is the same shirt I wore for the NEA photograph. Perhaps that would be funny.

None of the poems are funny.
People like funny poems.
Ergo, no one will like my reading.

Maybe I can ham it up a bit with the discussion of the shirt.

I'm doomed.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Semester is 98% over

The remaining 2% might kill me but probably not. I'm reading at the Public Library on Thursday night. They paid me real money to read. I love the library. Then, I have revisions to look at (I refuse to call them portfolios). I'm actually looking forward to reading through everyone's work. My two upper-level classes turned out to be amazing. Even the students I thought didn't like the classes turned out to love it. I have many people telling me they'll be taking my intermediate classes and the Capstone in the fall.
I meant to post last week about many things but was too disheartened by the Virginia Tech and the Supreme Court Rulings and then again by the Earth Day Funereal March. But I have sublimated all that business and now want to know everything you know about Roland Barthes Mythologies. This is the book I'm going to use as central to this capstone class. The capstone is supposed to focus on genre--from the memo to the novel. Barthes' Mythologies should work well to describe convention and frame in "Myth Today" and enact it in the specific examples. My favorite thus far is "Steak and Chips" though "Wine and Milk" is a good one too. Ah, the recipe as genre. But I want to keep the conversation focused on more than just pointing to stuff and saying "there's a genre" "there's a convention" "there's a frame around a frame." Any ideas you all have will be absorbed by the blob that is my brain.
Now, I'm off to mark the calendar for days we need housesitting....Most of the summer it seems.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I don't hate Starbuck's with the rabidity of some. Sure they overroast their coffee. Sure they put a number of cooler coffeehouses on warning if not out of business. Sure they're destroying the planet by not shade-growing their coffee. But when I travel, particularly in NYC--they always provided: 1)clean, unlocked bathrooms. 2) a coffee lingo I could learn and repeat "Tall," "skinny," "with room" etc. and 3) OK, I can't think of a third.

I went there today to try to finish this long poem (in Terza Rima!) and first asked for a cup of Fair Trade coffee since my poem is about the end of the world (as usual). They didn't have any brewed but they'd make me a French Pressed cup. Yeah! But then they asked me what size and it seemed like all of western civilization took a nose dive when I said "tall." They said Large, I said Venti and I realized I was no longer in Starbuck land.

I tried to log on to the internets. They were closed. Or rather, a T Mobile Hot Spot connection was available for the low low price of $9.99. For a day pass.

Still, my very very Grande Fair Trade French Pressed coffee was freaking amazing and the only thing to have gotten rid of my three-day old headache. But it was GIGANTIC (large, Venti, whatever). So, I went to the bathroom. What did I find there, insult among insults? A locked bathroom and a sign that said please to ask for key. A key? For a Starbuck's bathroom? Is it worth it then, to humilate oneself for the Starbucks-going rather than the cool coffeehouse because it's non-smoking and has comfy chairs, for them to destroy rainforests to grow coffeebeans, traded unfairly, to pay them for the internet even though I didn't really end up having to since 4 businesses around had open access wireless accounts if they're not going to leave the bathrooms open for everyone!

Democracy is over if we have to pee with a key (see how I've got the rhyming for the Terza Rima in my head?)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

News of the Z

Both Z's grandparents sent her Easter baskets. They sent candy and stuffed bunnies and a tractor. My mom also sent clothes which ended up on the living room floor. She spent all day laying them out flat. Until I sat down by her. She pushed me back and made me lie down. She covered me in the clothes and the rabbits. Then her dad came in the room. He sat down and was forced to lie back and be buried in the system of clothes too. Whenever we tried to get up, much yelling and crying by the Z would ensue.
Eventually, we were bored enough to prevail and tried to ignore her stubborn protestations. We distracted her with asparagus and cous cous.
But this morning, she has not forgotten. For not one second as I've been typing this have I not been tugged towards the floor.
If you need me, I'll be on the rug, trying to drink coffee lying down.
Perhaps she'll bring me a book.

Edited to add: Also, if a rug is folded over on itself by someone walking in the door, the dog and cat rasslin' around, her own tripping on its corner, Egg moving it to vacuum under, she runs over to it, unfolds it, and flattens it. She pats it as if to say, no more of that, you upstart of a rug. Perhaps she has an imminent career in carpet laying, ironing, or, my great-grandmother would like this: bed-making so that you can bounce a quarter off the hospital-cornered sheets.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In which she learns "teach" is a verb

7:30 get up with Z.
8:00 return email to boss re workload.
8:17 look for z's coat because winter has returned.
8:29 find coat.
8:30 take z to school.
9:00 prep for advanced non.
9:45 read student's (late) essay.
10:00 write one page comment on student's (late) (two page) essay.
11:20 eat early lunch.
11:45 drive to campus (half an hour!)
12:15 drive around good parking lot.
12:20 park in bad parking lot.
12:25 re-read CV's of job candidates (late hire).
12:30 faculty meeting to discuss hire. wonder what they said about me last year pre-hire. try not to pass out in amazement that I was ever hired.
1:30 break for coffee with Agamemnon.
1:40 learn more about U's propensities and preferences.
1:50 return to office to discuss with Agamemnon new workshop strategies including "body" workshop wherein one wears a different hat, wakes up at 4 a.m., writes longhand, writes drunk, writes naked, writes wearing other gender's clothes, writes outside just so writer writes.
2:00 interview by colleague re: outreach.
2:30 meet with student re my comments not jibing with classmates comments. explain how I'm right but they have good points too.
2:55 reread poem to teach at 3:00
3:00 quiz students over reading. ignore complaints that i didn't warn them about quiz.
3:10 teach Dean Young poem Colophon.
3:30 corrall students' workshop.
4:00 stop workshop, outline next two week's work.
4:15 return to office, turn in students receipts to get repaid for AWP, email UC Riverside to ask for Reading for Writers syllabus.
4:30 go to early dinner.
4:40 order.
4:45 finish prepping for 6:00 class.
5:30 find student in hallway looking for me. he asks to come hang out in my office.
5:31 talk to student about existential crises.
6:00 discuss David Shield's Remote. say some smart things that i've already forgotten.
7:00 implement new workshop plan. divide students into two groups.
7:05 write exit interview questions for students post-workshop.
7:06 overhear student hear from a grad school.
7:21 continue week-long conversation with student over grad school possibilities.
7:25 meet with exit interviewee #1
7:40 meet with EI #2
7:55 meet iwth EI #3
8:10 meet with EI #4
8:25 meet with EI #5
8:40 meet with EI #6
8:55 leave campus 10 minutes (late).
8:56 realize roads scarier than ever.
8:59 talk to sister re: job. scary phone & drive.
9:05 watch cars slide off freeway. hang up phone.
9:10 watch jeep spin 3 times.
9:15 take off shoes.
9:17 pour glas of wine. (OK, wine first, then shoes)
9:24 blog (please note marker for blog off. On pacific time or possibly hawaii!)
9:39 finish wine (early).
9:40 post blog without proofreading.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Long & Busy (not to be confused with productive) week

I had to go to work on a Friday to hear a job talk. This going to campus on a Friday has happened before but not usually for the whole day. Or the four hours of the day.

For some reason, this semester has been so much less productive writing-wise than last semester even though last semester I taught 4 days a week and had just moved here. I was in a bit of a panic then, and less so now, but I really should have been able to devote Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to writing work. Perhaps April will reveal a new energy and dedication to that vein of the work since after talking to Dean and Chair, the scholarly element of the job is where they would like us to shine.

I suppose I'm less in a writing panic because of the grant but also because I finally found an agent who loves my book. Flat out loves it. So rare. No weird side critiques. No but's or if onlies. She's an angel even if she doesn't sell it. I always write more when I've been rejected, which is sick and means I need to focus on the my failures.

Speaking of which, I sent out my book of poems again. I checked out the book to see if this one poem that I hate is still in there. I think of taking it out all the time but for some reason, don't. I went to check it out. It's title is the problem. "The Intersection of French and German" is so pretentious. But the poem itself isn't bad. It's about belly-buttons. How bad could that be. So I sent the book off with one more period that it had before but otherwise the same as always. The rejection should be in the mail already.

So now my self-doubt has been relegated to teaching. One of my students, late on a Monday night in the parking lot on campus, suggested that I teach poetry via grammar. I thought he had an interesting point. I tried not to be defensive and to hear why he thought that was a successful method--he'd done a lot of reading about workshops and was interesting in teaching soon and in the near future. Still, I thought it a bit of an odd suggestion though possibly workable idea. It did make me think about different possibilities to teach workshop. As I've mentioned before, I've had some good workshop teachers and some mediocre ones but I don't think a perfect model has been demonstrated to me.

I'm trying to shake things up at the end of the semester just to experiment about how to make the students more responsive and responsible to each other. Although I don't know if talking about prepositions is the way to develop a methodology, as my one student suggested, but it may be a manner that would make the workshop less formulaic. So I divided my class in half and will have them workshop more fewer pieces more slowly. After the writer has been thoroughly critiqued, she'll come tell me what her workshoppers thought, what she found helpful, what she still needed help thinking through and how it might affect her revision. This second part might be the trickiest part--taking the student out of the workshop for a small conference and asking her to recapitulate what she heard but I think the students will pay attention differently, which, if nothing else, will be a small sign of success.
The hardest part for me about teaching is logistics--some of my ideas seem great until I put them into play and realize that whoops I forgot to account for the 17 contingencies and the desire for students to know exactly what's going to happen every day for the whole semester. I suppose I will take the risk to shake things up at the expense of the students feeling comfortable. Perhaps it will even work.

Friday, March 23, 2007

All's well

She's A OK. Now I can make inappropriate jokes about how huge her head is. Poor kid. Her head is almost as big as mine. But that is, according to all news MRI, just fine.

Now I have to go lie down. All the stress that has been keeping me upright this week is starting to seep out.

Thank you everyone who waited in worry with us.

Mwah. (that's a kiss from Z).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

No news yet but you know what they say about news

Hi you all who commented and sent your good wishes for the Zoster.
Of course, we know nothing yet but if it was emergent she would have had to stay at the hospital last night. And, we didn't hear anything today--so if it's probably not immediately horrible. A few more days and we'll know more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Spring break came and went way too fast. But now my week is over again and the work I'll do now is less public, if not more intense. I'm teaching two three-hour workshops this semester and it's the best and worst of all worlds. On the one hand, three hours gives us plenty of time to get in the mode of workshopping, to relate our reading to the workshop pieces and to develop a sort of workshop aesthetic. On the other hand, by the end of the 2nd hour, the class starts to lag. I lag. The students get cheeky. Sometimes frustrated with each other. There has to be a way to shake up workshop so it's not all praise and suggestion--although my students are really good at the praise and critique and we're working hard toward making truly creative and helpful suggestions--but this takes so many mental gymnastics--to not only read and comprehend a piece, but to find its signature strengths and its integral flaws and then to imagine how to reinforce those strengths and explore, explode and fix the flaws is more like running 3 miles than running 3 miles is. I am so impressed with my students and their stamina. I'm less impressed with my own until I remind myself that every comment one of them makes I need to: hear and comprehend, find its signature strength and integral flaw and then reinforce its good point and find a way to incorporate its flaw into something constructive. Workshopping the workshop is like hauling up a net of fish, flieting them, cooking them up just right and serving them with an unbroken hollandaise.

On another note: I'm so sad. Z needs an MRI for her ever-large head. I didn't want to blog about it because I don't want anyone to look at her and see how big her head is but what if there is something wrong? Encephalitis? Hydro-encephalitis? What if she needs brain surgery? What if she needs to wear a helmet that re-shapes her head? How do I know how to worry with the right weight? My mom says it never ends, the worry. But an MRI on a 20 month old? Hard to find in my own head about where to hang the balance.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Back from Atlanta

This blog is officially turning into "the complain about weather blog." If you wanted me to say interesting things about other topics, you'll have to email or call me. It's 16 degrees today. Gray. A flake about every five minutes but each flake threatens more. While we were gone, it snowed 18 inches or so. My father-in-law had to shovel every day. His back hurts but he got to go home.
The whole thing just depresses me. I'm not used to being depressed by weather but this is getting a bit suffocating. It adds to the feeling of isolation now that the in-laws have gone home and we've left our friends to go back to their regular homes. Even our friends here are out of town and promising more leave. It's a bit like a hard stone in my chest all the time.

AWP itself was OK. It was different than usual because a) I didn't have to sit at the bookfair table all day every day and b) I had a presentation on Saturday. On the one hand, it was nice to have only one real obligation. On the other, I missed having a place to go and meet strangers and Saturday loomed the whole time. Somewhat like the clouds right now (see how this is weather blogging still?).
I saw many great blog people--Dr W and Lisa B and Strange Polkas and Terrible Mother(although not enough of the last one. Maybe next year). I saw great friends who now live in Texas and do good work making us feel better that we live at least in a city with several nice restaurants. They are much jealous of our tapas here. Tapas eaten in the cold but tapas nonetheless. I saw my great friend Steve whose book came out and who got a tiny sliver of the moon of attention he deserves (See Dr. Write on Steve's book).
(Flake a minute now).
I saw Margot and Felicia and Steve T--friends that are closer now than they ever were in Salt City. I met a couple of people for a few hours that I would like to remember next year--Brian, Liz, Dave, John, Christine (the last two from Texas friends' U).
I saw U of U profs Jackie and Donald and Kate and Paisley and Karen. Got to have a drink with Karen. Got to want more from Donald and Jackie as usual.
And, for the real namedropping, I got to hang out with David Shields and Nick Flynn and Michael Martone and Rebecca Woolf and David Hamilton and Kim Barnes and the guy from Poets and Writers.
And of course folks from Grand U including students who were good and bad alternately but in the end quite fun (although they thought I ditched them for a party. I didn't. I would have but I didn't).
(The snow is falling harder now. A flake a second.)
Thoughts: As usual, I hate the schmoozing and the fakery and the hopelessness of AWP right at first but then by Saturday, I'm steeled against hope and fakes and just kind of like the people and the people watching. Really a generally good group. All 5,000. I like to make summary judgements. Large ones. But still, by the end, itis mostly true. The panel went well--a number of people have emailed me or Margot to tell us it was their favorite panel. That was much niceness. And, considering it was of the last panels, it was still pretty well attended. Yeah! Maybe I'll do it again one day.
OK. Snow falling for real now. Must go hunker down and buck up and batten down the hatches. Or find my gloves. To wear. Indoors. So I can type more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

off, off forth on swing

Can I just quote Hopkinis' Windhover during my panel?
I already use the superbowl as a reference so how much weirder would that be?
I'm SO excited to see High Touch & Dr. Write & Strange Polks and meet Terrible Mother. A convergence of friends. I suppose there ARE other reasons to convene but this is the best one.
I give my panel presentation with Margot Singer and Nick Flynn and David Shields on Saturday. I wish it was on Wednesday so then the rest of the conference would just be relaxing but it's probably for the best I stay somewhat on task.
The best bit is that after this, it's Spring Break at Grand U so I can relax afterwards. What a semester! What a winter!
It's going to be 60 degrees. I'm bringing skirts and a swimmin' suit.
If I can report from there I will.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


1. They (Blogger) made me move to the new blogger. Urg. I hate to be forced to make changes.
2. Erik has a new Mac! I hate new computers but this screen is sweet (I'm typing on it right now). He needed two gigs of RAM to run Final Cut. Two gigs of RAM! I remember when 16 megabytes were great. I mean, I remember when 256 K was normal, but that was never great.
3. Blog world is freaking me out. Bitch PhD wrote some smart and salient post and people went CRAZY on her. She's a brave and well-armored woman. One day, I'll have some chutzpah.
4. Getting excited about AWP
5. Hoping Zoe stays healthy.
6. Erik and I each bought 2 lbs of Tillamook Cheddar at Costco. We already had some cheese. I'm pretty sure there's about 5 lbs of medium cheddar in our house. At least Zoe and her sitters won't starve while we're basking in the rays of Atlanta, GA.
7. I've taken to deleting huge portions of my manuscripts.
8. Started NEA project poems.
9. I'm writing serious comments on my students' workshop poems. I wonder if any prof I had wrote comments at all. I know Eleanor and Melanie did. And Robin wrote a brief paragraph. But others? Not so much.
10. No president's day for us at the Grand U tomorrow. They've rigged the schedule so we can get out by April 19th! The summer cometh.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Me! Sick! I'm never sick. I've been sick since I posted last. A sinus infection. In my nose! Rude. I finally went to the doctor yesterday where I let him prescribe the dreaded anti-biotics. I hate to use antibiotics. Resistant bacteria. Ack!
I do feel a little better as you can tell by my wanton use of exclamation points. But I hate the doctor's office. My blood pressure spikes, I get all pissed about the state of Health care in this country AND I have PTSD from all the times Zoe has been sent to the ER immediately.
But! I did manage to teach my classes and grade and comment and the like so I haven't been completely incapacitated.
Perhaps March will be the month to be productive??? After I finish off these bowling-ball sized pills. 6 a day. For ten days. Die little bacteria. And don't come back with that amoxilcillin can't kill me any more business.
I blame the cold.
And the snow.
And the doctors.
And the bacteria.
I'm off to eat some yogurt where some tiny acidophilus creatures I love can re-line my bacteria-free stomach.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I can barely see the road, the snow is falling so hard. But here, the intrepid midwesterner drags out her intrepid sled, slides down the sidewalk (because they're covered in ice, then snow, then ice, then more snow) and whose parents even slip on the cross-country skis to slide on over to the park that has the one small hill in the area. The hill slopes for only about ten feet but stays slippery all winter because it never thaws). Until last week, temps here were Salt Lake-ish. It felt a bit colder because of the humidity, but 25-30 degrees wasn't too bad. Now though, it's 10 degrees outside with a -14 windchill. Sweet. They say it hasn't been this cold or snowy here for 7-8 years. Another sweet. But except for the shoveling and the hard-to-run on ice bit, the snow it isn't so bad. At least not on a Saturday when we don't have to go anywhere (except Egg who took the dog for a walk in the blizzard). So. February in Michigan. I'll let you know how much snow finally accumulates.