Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Glad to have a gray sky this morning--I hope
that means we're going to get some rain.
It is so very dry here that I really don't
think we'll get to see all those lovely colors
death graces us with and strews around in the fall.
Finally some much needed sleep for me last night.
Had my first major panic attack in over
ten years the other night, even with my
medicine in my system. It takes at least
a week to try and regroup from one.
It was terrifying, as they always are.
I may have to change meds or increase the one
I am taking, but it's worked so well for the last 12 + years
that I hate to do that.
Tried out something new last night--chicken
breasts stuffed with spinach and gruyere cheese.
Defrost a 10 oz box of chopped spinach
Wring until completely dry in a clean kitchen towel.
In a bowl, mix the spinach with 1 cup grated gruyere,
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan, 2 tbps mayo, 1 tsp
crushed red pepper flakes, and a dash of kosher salt.
Blend that well. Pound out the breasts until they are
1/2 inch thick (or just flattened a bit). Put the spinach
mixture in the center of each breast and roll it up.
Secure with toothpicks and then cook in skillet in olive oil
until chicken is lightly browned. Transfer to a backing
pan and cook for 40 minutes or until juices of the chicken
run clear. You don't want to overcook and have dried out
Then I made a white wine sauce ( 1 1/2 cups pinot grigio
or a dry white wine of your choice, 2 cups chicken stock,
1/2 cup heavy cream, and flour to thicken if needed) to pour
over that, some jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.
It was very good.
Tonight, I think I am going to make some balsamic
pork chops, brussels sprouts with cranberries,
and some kind of potatoes.
Still feel drained. Going to lie down and read awhile
and then take Molly for her walk.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
When he told me about the nights
spent sitting on a bluff overlooking
a valley, and how the stars were so close
to you, you felt they were simply part
of who you were, this two weeks
after her death, him crying and begging
to have one more night to sit there
on that bluff in Montana, sit there with his
dark-haired, brown-eyed woman, his feisty
tell you to go-to-hell in a heartbeat woman,
his wife of twenty years soon to be placed
in the ground, I cried too. For losing her,
the one who loved me best, for not knowing
what it would be like to have the stars
become intimate friends, for not knowing how I
would navigate through my dark nights
alone, for not being there when she fell
into the sleep she never woke from, for loving
so much too late, for not telling her
how many times she pissed me off and for
how grateful I was she did: She now eight
years in that cemetery with the stone
he and I chose as he wept, as I became
like marble, like granite, like the rock
I thought I could be for him: He whose
calls I never answer, he who has remarried,
he who spends his days mending the damage
of nature's whims, out there on rooftops,
out there sometimes late at night, where
it seems, I am sure, that the stars remember
him: a young man in love, his wild woman baying.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Through the muggy air it came,
meandering through the sycamore
branches, rising above the maple
and the oak, the sound of a lone bugler
paying his respects, playing
for a man who may have been
someone's father, just as someone
played for my father, at the end
of the service, before they lowered
him into the ground.
Can't write about this today. That's
all I can write.
Molly and I were going through her
obedience training routine at the track when
I heard the bugle, the song. Taps.
It's on the bookmark the funeral home
gave all of us. Dad's face and obit on one
side, the words to Taps on the other.
The cemetery is SSW of the track. There is
a path from the track to the cemetery
which Molly and I take when we decide
we need to walk some hills, or when people
show up at the track and I don't want Molly
all over them. I thought about taking it
today, until I heard the bugle.
Wilco put on an excellent show last night.
This was my youngest son's first concert.
He has the bug now, I can tell you, and I am
glad. What would life be without music?
It is still so difficult for me to drive into
Louisville now. Louisville is a city I've always
loved--so much to do and see. But I can't go there,
can't even be on 65 N without thinking
of that night, the night my father was flown
to the hospital there, the night I drove my mom
and youngest brother there not knowing if Dad
was even still alive or would make it until
we got there, without thinking
of how terrible the whole end of his life was--
the nightmarish and unethical treatment
he received in the hands of those who are
supposed to be healers, the days and nights
of him talking out of his head and pointing
at things that didn't exist, the not knowing day
to day if he was going to make it, and if he made
it, would he ever be the same, the way his
eyes looked--desperate & terrifed but glassed
I just get a knot in my stomach and this feeling
of dread the minute my car gets off the parkway
and heads northbound on 65.
Maybe in time, that won't happen, but there
are some things that never really go away--some
feelings, some bodily reponses to a prior trauma.
So, it was hard, but it was good to go see my brother,
his girlfriend, and their children.
It was good to be back on Bardstown Rd., good to spend
a little time in EarXTacy--a store I once spent hours in.
Bought some Mighty Mighty Bosstones and some Elvis
Costello. Going to see Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan
(together) in Bloomington on the 21st of October.
It was good to be at Slugger Field with my son and his
friend, enjoying the music and the mood.
The Ken Burns series about WWII veterans
starts tomorrow night. I am going to watch it
and hope I can get through it without
getting too emotional.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Molly did well Wednesday at her second lesson.
She acts so much better there than at home!
Purchased a pinch collar for her and we wear
that when practicing. There is a very noticeable
difference in her these last two days.
Now, when I just pull up on her regular collar
and tell her to sit and stay, she's responding.
She didn't even go after Dante last night, which
was pretty amazing. Of course, I have to work with
her daily--at least two 20-30 minutes sessions. I can
only give her a "special" treat when she follows
my Come command (she gets pieces of hot dogs).
After she completes her other routine work--Sit, Stay,
Heel, Down, I can give her a doggie treat, but not a piece
of hot dog. According to the trainers, the Come command
is the most important she will learn so she needs that
special treat with the hope that she will respond quickly
to that command.
Getting ready to take her out and work with her now.
Taking my son and his friend to see Wilco tonight in Louisville.
My eldest (always want to say oldest as eldest doesn't sound
correct but grammatically speaking, it is) brother lives there,
so we're going to stop by his house for dinner before going
to the concert. It's at Louisville Slugger Field, and it looks
like the weather is going to be quite nice for an outdoor venue.
I'm taking a jacket just in case.
Waiting to hear back from my interview. They told me it would
be a week or so before they contact me (they have to run a background
check). I feel confident, but who knows. I can definitely see myself
as a CDW (Court Designated Worker) and hope I get the chance
to prove myself worthy of being in that position.
Time to do some laundry and take Molly out.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I think more of defiling
an abalone shell than I
do my own lungs, make sure
I scrub the pearlescent body
I claim as ashtray, wonder
why I do this, day after day,
why I play music that soothes
and hurts, how I got to this point
where I don't even know how
to discern what is what it is,
right or wrong, good or bad, why
only my left eye closes tight, oh so
tight, nearly every night,
me reaching for the drops to clear
out all the fuzzy stuff I'm not certain
I want to see anyway, why one eye
notices a blur, a flash of memory.
I move forward, turn backward,
start the oven, run the vacuum,
fold a load of laundry, eyes wide
open, mind not entirely closed.
I climb the basement stairs
wondering how this egoism
started: when, who, how.
I am here. An eye work, an ordinary
I rubbing down a chicken breast
with ginger, slathering asparagus
with olive oil, out of the corners
of my drying eyes watching the comings
and goings of the neighbors next door,
across the street, rubbing with fury
now, I am. Rubbing and basting
with everything I have in me, knowing
the night will come for me, and I,
I will pretend I am not afraid,
that I am strong, I am this woman
who watches carefully, who cooks
and doesn't let the chicken burn,
who makes sure the oven is off
before she sleeps, who says, night
after night: I can make it.
We put the puzzle together piece
by piece, loving how one curved
notch fits so sweetly with another.
A yellow smudge becomes
the brush of a broom, and two blue arms
fill in the last of the sky.
We patch together porch swings and autumn
trees, matching gold to gold. We hold
the eyes of deer in our palms, a pair
of brown shoes. We do this as the child
circles her room, impatient
with her blossoming, tired
of the neat house, the made bed,
the good food. We let her brood
as we shuffle through the pieces,
setting each one into place with a satisfied
tap, our backs turned for a few hours
to a world that is crumbling, a sky
that is falling, the pieces
we are required to return to.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
"And then she confessed all her sin, and the executioner struck off her feet with the red shoes; but the shoes danced away with the little feet across the field into the deep forest. "
Hans Christian Andersen
Ahhh, good old fairy tales. So uplifting.
I read a rather interesting book about the
meaning (collective unconscious/Jungian meaning)
of fairy tales by Bruno Bettelheim--The Uses
Of Enchantment, I think it's called.
As a child, I remember thinking how frightening many
of the stories were (the trolls in the Three Billy
Goats Gruff, the witch in Hansel & Gretel,
the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, etc.)
Didn't hear the story of the red shoes when I was
a child. The only Andersen stories I remember
are The Princess And The Pea, The Snow Queen,
The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Clothes,
and The Ugly Duckling.
Here's to red shoes! And weird stories! And great movies!
Had my interview today. I think it went well,
but who knows. They may have met many good
If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Should write a poem about it, this headache,
all these headaches, but my head hurts
too much to do much.
Busy week and a half. Spent last Friday
thru Monday in Lexington. Kept Isaac
for the first time Friday night while
my son and daughter-in-law went out
to dinner. I have to admit it was a bit
scary. He got choked when he taking
his bottle (as babies do) and I was
so scared. I know mine did the same
thing--choked when they were nursing--
I only bottlefed the firstborn as I had no info
about breastfeeding when he was born, but I did
some research and found a breastfeeding support group
before I had my other two and enjoyed every
minute of the experience(well, maybe not every
minute--wasn't fun to wake up with your bed
soaked when baby slept through a feeding), and my
daughter-in-law is nursing too, but she pumps
so others can help out and have that bonding time
with Isaac as well, but it's been a while since I've
had a baby and one forgets these things. Then I worry
about tripping and falling with him (my mother
used to call me grace--I was so clumsy!). He just
seems so fragile, but I know that babies are quite strong.
Overall, things went well, but when I couldn't calm
him down and he started crying so hard that I thought
he was going to stop breathing, things got a bit hairy.
So, I walked outside in the front yard with him and he
got easy, and then about 5 minutes later, his mommy
and daddy got home and he was fine.
This week, my daughter called to say she and a friend
of hers were coming to stay the night and would I please
cook dinner and that she would help me when she got
here, so they came in on Tuesday night.
We invited Jake's mom over as well. I was glad
that she accepted the invite.
We had dinner and then sat outside under
the carport until well after midnight talking, laughing,
She talked a lot about Jake's death, but she also talked
a lot about his life.
There are just no words I have to give her
except I am so sorry, and so I give those,
and I hug her.
On Thursday, my son, daughter-in-law,
and baby Isaac came here to visit. It was
their first trip here. He did very well
on the drive and very well with his
Gramma (me) that night when his mommy
and daddy went to an interview. He also got
to meet two of his great-grandmas, his only
great-grandpa, his Uncle Wes (my baby),
and his second cousin, Elizabeth.
That night, he didn't want to sleep, and
my son came across the hall to my room
with him. He said, Mom, could you just rock
him a bit and then let him stay in here
with you for a little while? He said he and Jess
were so tired and had had so little sleep, and I know
they needed sleep, so I took him and rocked him
and then put him in the bed next to me, like I once
put my others, and he slept until 5:30 that
morning. So his mommy and daddy got about
6 hours of sleep and were most happy, and I had
my sweet grandbaby there next to me all night
making sweet little baby noises. It was more than
worth a night of no sleep, but I am playing catch-up
and have been in bed most of the day.
Reading Those Who Save Us--a story about
the German women of World War II and their
stories of what life was like for them as they witnessed
the atrocities of the concentration camps and the madness
of the SS.
Also reading Mark Strand and James Wright.
The intro about Wright (written by Donald Hall)
is quite interesting. And I have found a number
of poems I've never read to be so worth the price
of the book. Many of the pages in the book are
now dogeared, ready to be returned to again
It's such a beautiful day, but I don't think my head
is going to let me take a walk. Molly will have to wait
for hubby to get home to take her. She started obedience
training last Tuesday and did well that day and the next,
but it's been all downhill since. I am largely to blame
because I haven't had the time to work with her.
Some James Wright (this one I had read before and was
glad to read again):
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Shortly after I watched Rosebud
blaze and then turn to full burn
in the flames, I pinched my hand
on a do-it-all mop I had to use
to clean up puppy piss, and I thought:
Wait a minute and what the hell?
Who gets a moment of fame
and recognition, who is remembered
and for what, how many times did who
scrub a damned toilet, make a bed,
launder the clothes of the beloved,
cook food for the three and twice
as many who may show up, callus
knees in the labor of nurturing
herbs and peonies, sweat buckets
beneath the glaring lights of the birthing
room, bruise and bend and bruise again,
how much did who know what it is
to simply feel alive and be part of the picture
that will never be a picture?
Friday, September 07, 2007
All night, they visit,
these lost ones in their
yellow shirts and blue jeans,
their hemp bracelets and favorite
hats, their hair freshly permed
and glowing like the blue
of the t.v. screen, their earlobes
sporting handmade Navajo jewelry,
their faces the way I remember them,
not like they were before the casket
closed but like they were before
there was a casket to close
them in, their smiles unwavering,
their arms doing any number of things:
filling a laundry basket, holding
a newborn baby, wrapping around
the waist of a lover, reaching to get
a can of soup from the shelf, opening
wide enough to be filled with the pain
of the living.
I wake and look around
the darkened room for some
proof of their existence,
but there is only my husband
asleep beside me, a cat at my feet,
my pounding heart, the arthritic
shadows of the nearly bare
dogwood, the splintered light
of a retreating moon, red numbers
glaring from the bedside table, assaulting
my senses with their truth: 2:45
a.m., the silent phone, that bearer
of such bad news, nestled in its
cradle, the soft light
beaming from beneath
the closed bathroom door,
my son asleep in his room:
me--feet now touching the floor,
pacing the rooms of this old
house, prowling around alone again,
waiting for the dead to come.
That linkage of warnings sent a tremor through June
as if to prepare October in the hardest apples.
One week in late July we held hands
through the bars of his hospital bed. Our sleep
made a canopy over us and it seemed I heard
its durable roaring in the companion sleep
of what must have been our Bedouin god, and now
when the poppy lets go I know it is to lay bare
his thickly seeded black coach
at the pinnacle of dying.
My shaggy ponies heard the shallow snapping of silk
but grazed on down the hillside, their prayer flags
tearing at the void-what we
stared into, its cool flux
of blue and white. How just shaking at flies
they sprinkled the air with the soft unconscious praise
of bells braided into their manes. My life
simplified to "for him" and his thinned like an injection
wearing off so the real gave way to
the more-than-real, each moment's carmine
abundance, furl of reddest petals
lifted from the stalk and no hint of the black
hussar's hat at the center. By then his breathing stopped
so gradually I had to brush lips to know
an ending. Tasting then that plush of scarlet
which is the last of warmth, kissless kiss
he would have given. Mine to extend a lover's right past its radius,
to give and also most needfully, my gallant hussar,
to bend and take.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
A nice slow, soft rain has been falling
all day. I am so happy. It has been so dry
and hot here.
Going to cook tortellini soup tonight.
I vary it every time. This time I am
using chicken and prosciutto tortelloni
in the soup, so I won't be adding any other meat.
Going to saute in olive oil fresh garlic, sliced
(as I love garlic and want more than minced
in my foods), one yellow onion, chopped,
two stalks of celery, finely chopped,
and one sweet potato chopped. After
the garlic and onion become translucent,
I am going to deglaze the pan with some
chicken stock and let that simmer a bit.
Then I am going to add about 8 cups
chicken stock, 10 oz of beef stock,
garbanzo beans, and thyme.
I'll let that cook until the sweet potatoes
get tender and then add fresh kale, thinly
sliced. Just before serving, I'll add the
tortellino and fresh basil, thinly sliced.
About five minutes before I serve it,
I am adding some heavy cream--about
1/2 cup. Lots of healthy things in there
and just a little cream, so it should be good.
I top it with some freshly grated
I am thinking I'll slice the French bread,
brush on some olive oil and then add
some kosher salt and thinly sliced
garlic. I love it when the garlic is added
to the top and you get that burst of fresh,
hot garlic taste.
Good day for soup.
Tomorrow, I am on the road to go see
my grandson. I am going to keep him
tomorrow night while his mom and dad
go out to eat. I can't wait to see him!
Going to stay the weekend and hang out
with a friend Saturday night.
I am stoked about my phone call yesterday.
An interview--finally. Even if I don't get the job,
I am excited about someone giving me an
opportunity, but I really hope I get it.
It's a Court Designated Worker position
and I would be working with juveniles
in trouble. Part-time, but that would work.
Went to Lowe's today to get a new ceiling
fan for my kitchen. I turned the light on
last week and flames shot out of the old
one. Scared the hell outta me. So, I got a
new one, which I was planning to do anyway
to better match the kitchen renovation.
Read some Bishop today. Not sure how much
I like the work, but I appreciate the mind.
She was one sharp cookie.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
It's senior day at Kroger today.
All these little, old people in their
sensible shoes there to get their 10%
I wonder if I'll ever be one
of them. Barring any accident, I wonder
if I have what it takes to stick it out,
day after day, when your body hurts
and you can't think straight about
It makes me smile to see them,
and it makes me sad. I miss my grandmother
and many older people I have lost.
Had Coq au Vin Blanc last night with roasted
asparagus, wild rice, and a boule bread.
Tonight, I am cooking an Italian roast beef
dish. The beef is in the oven now. Rubbed it
with kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, and
crushed thyme. Cut slits in it and packed
whole garlic cloves in them. Then I browned
it in olive oil.
Removed it from the pan and sauteed
onion and peppers in the drippings.
Deglazed the pan with some red wine,
then added some chicken stock and beef
broth. Then sprinkled a package of
Italian dressing mix in it. Added the beef
back and put it in the oven at 300.
Smells good. Going to have a salad,
fettucine with pesto sauce, and more boule.
Can't seem to motivate myself to do much
else, so I am glad I am cooking.
Got my books in the mail and started with
Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems
Also got Mark Strand's Blizzard of One,
James Wright's Above The River: The Complete
Poems, and Charles Simic's The Voice at 3:00 a.m.
Hard for me to concentrate but am enjoying what
I am reading.
Molly knocked my feet out from under me last
Friday. I fell hard onto the asphalt. Good thing
I didn't put my hands down to catch myself--probably
would have broken my wrists. Good thing I have
all that padding on my rear end too. It was one
of those times when you feel thankful you have
some meat on your bones. Cushioned the fall a bit.
As it is, it is getting harder to sleep at night.
My fingers hurt. My left elbow hurts.
My right hip hurts and no matter how I
turn or toss, there is no way
I can sleep that's comforable.
I have little stabbing pains in my left knee
all night long. I feel certain someone has my
voodoo doll out and is sticking me all over
Probably arthritis. Seems to improve when I am
walking, so I am still walking nearly every day.
At least 25 minutes. Sometimes 45 minutes.
Overcast today. I hope we get some rain.
Monday, September 03, 2007
One of my favorite Wilco songs...going to see them at the end of the month...taking my son and his friend...don't know how to describe the way I feel about my son liking them...people I like...music I like...that we both like them...that we are going together...kids grow up so quickly...