Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Goodbye, Old Boy
Dante', March 1998-August 2009
The Remains

I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.

Mark Strand

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We Didn't Bury A Bowl

He didn't have a toy any longer,
and he shared a bowl with the love
of his life, so I could not put that
in the ground with him. So I wrote
him a note, triple-sealed in baggies.

I thanked him for the smiles, laughs,
frustration, worry, and the share
of yuck value he gave me on any given
day, when he was young and the hunt
was the mission. I said I knew he understood
I did not see him there under the carport
in the shade. It was not a place he ever slept.

He was predictable to a fault, I thought,
but chose not to write. I told him I would
need to work hard to forget this day. The
thump beneath the wheels (I did not write
that to him--he knew the feel), the frantic
drive to the vet, my neighbor cradling him
in his arms, his mouth opening wide for air
he could not get. Oh my dear, dear Old Boy.

I have a shepherd's hook in the yard. One which
has not held a plant in some time. I went to
the store today and found a cat wind chime
and hung it from the post, which I took from
its unused and useless place and placed them
both on your grave.

I will miss you.

The scratch at the door, the fights with Molly,
your strange, and oftentimes pained yowl, your love
for me and for every human who came in this house.
And I will take care of your girl, who is missing
you this night, who searches the back door
hoping beyond hope that y0u will lift yourself

off all fours and bring claws to glass--your love call,
your letting us know every day you were still here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Excerpt from Against Elegies

No one was promised a shapely life
ending in a tutelary vision.
No one was promised: if
you're a genuinely irreplaceable
grandmother or editor
you will not need to be replaced.
When I die, the death I face
will more than likely be illogical:
Alzheimer's or a milk truck: the absurd.
The Talmud teaches we become impure
when we die, profane dirt, once the word
that spoke this life in us has been withdrawn,

the letter taken from the envelope.
If we believe the letter will be read,
some curiosity, some hope
come with knowing that we die.
But this was another century
in which we made death humanly obscene:
Soweto El Salvador Kurdistan
Armenia Shatila Baghdad Hanoi
Auschwitz Each one, unique as our lives are,
taints what's left with complicity,
makes everyone living a survivor
who will, or won't, bear witness for the dead.

I can only bear witness for my own
dead and dying, whom I've often failed:
unanswered letters, unattempted phone
calls, against these fictions. A fiction winds
her watch in sunlight, cancer ticking bone
to shards. A fiction looks
at proofs of a too-hastily finished book
that may be published before he goes blind.
The old, who tell good stories, half expect
that what's written in their chromosomes
will come true, that history won't interject
a virus or a siren or a sealed

train to where age is irrelevant.
The old rebbetzen at Ravensbruck
died in the most wrong place, at the wrong time.
What do the young know different?
No partisans are waiting in the woods
to welcome them. Siblings who stayed home
count down doom. Revolution became
a dinner party in a fast-food chain,
a vendetta for an abscessed crime,
a hard-on market for consumer goods.
A living man reads a dead woman's book.
She wrote it; then, he knows, she was turned in.

For every partisan
there are a million gratuitous
deaths from hunger, all-American
mass murders, small wars,
the old diseases and the new.
Who dies well? The priviledge
of asking doesn't have to do with age.
For most of us
no question what our deaths, our lives, mean.
At the end, Catherine will know what she knew,
and James will, and Melvin,
and I, in no one's stories, as we are.

Marilyn Hacker

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

Weariness of Men

My grandmother said when she was young
The grass was so wild and high
You couldn’t see a man on horseback.

In the fields she made out
Three barns,
Dark and blown down from the weather
Like her husbands.

She remembers them in the dark,
Cursing the beasts,
And how they would leave the bed
In the morning,
The dead grass of their eyes
Stacked against her.

Frank Stanford
I woke in the night singing I ain't nothing but tired
tired and bored with myself, so had to post this:

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Fireflies in the Garden

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can't sustain the part.

Robert Frost


Never underestimate the power of the simple things
in life which sustain us and help us keep going when
it seems we can go no longer.

Thank you, Mr. Frost, for your words. Thank you,
little lightmakers, for showing yourselves last night
and for being enough to make the difference.
Firefly Flash

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Earth's Thin Skin

Finally finished Annie Dillard's
For the Time Being. Here's a passage:

Do you suffer what a French paleontologist
called "the distress that makes human wills
founder daily under the crushing number
of living things and stars"? For the world
is as glorious as ever, and exalting, but
for credibility's sake let's start with
the bad news.

An infant is a pucker of the earth's thin
skin; so are we. We arise like budding
yeasts and break off; we forget our
beginnings. A mammal swells and circles
and lays him down. You and I have finished
swelling; our circling periods are playing
out, but we can still leave footprints
in a trail whose end we do not know.

Buddhism notes that it is always a mistake
to think your soul can go it alone.

Monday, April 13, 2009

No More Dodge! I hope that's not true!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sunday, April 05, 2009

This May Be The Way I Do It

Just jump in the line. Can't do the treadmill
gym thing (or I'd rather not). So, this may
be the path. I enjoy dancing and have not let
myself do enough of it over the years. But
I think dancing is the way to go for me.

When I am with my friends, as I was all night
Friday night, I just let loose. These are my
new friends. They are also my coworkers. They
are an inspiration for many avenues I've taken
over the last few months. Complex people
who don't take themselves too seriously.
Complex work environment. We share that.
Outta there, we share ourselves. And what
fun we have. I don't know when I've enjoyed
myself this much in a very long time.

Being the worrier I am, the one who tends
to see the glass half-empty, I have to say
it is hard to give up old habits. But I am
embracing their energy and spirit. And
they seem to be embracing mine. And as we
know nothing more than the moment we are
in (if we are fortunate or attuned enough
to know that), then that is enough for the day.

Friday night, I was the dancing queen. Even
the 20 something or the others were not keeping
up. Much to their delight and amusement!

So, I think I shall try dancing. Often. I hurt
like hell all night Saturday night and am just
now feeling less sore. I am so out of shape!
But even these young women, with small
waists and nicely shaped bodies--these women
who do the Wii fit thing or the DDR thing, were
crashing and burning, but dancing fool Maggie
was "breaking a rug" as B said (she was very
drunk and mixed up breaking down and cutting
a rug). Love B much. She's younger than my
daughter but feels more like friend.

Here's to good friends--old and new. And here's
to Mr Belafonte!

Monday, March 30, 2009

In Memoriam
Nicholas Hughes, 1962-2009

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Wind, A Lake, A Bump

I say to Molly Isn't this fun! Only because
for the first time in weeks the wind that blows
is not a cold wind. I feel it could take me right
up into the air and all my spinning would make
sense, would have something logical it could attach
itself to.

Hmmmm. It was nice, but short-lived. Molly
and I had to come back in at some point, I suppose.

I wondered about the birds when the ice took the trees.
How odd it must have been to have been sitting there
on a branch thinking you had someplace to be in the midst
of rain turning to ice. Only to have your place snap
beneath you. To find yourself lifting your wings and
looking for another place. Only to find it snapping
and breaking beneath you. And then to find there
was no place you felt safe to rest your weary bones
and wings upon. And then, by the next day, the ground
covered with ice which is covered with three feet of snow,
and you don't know where you're gonna get food
and you aren't so sure if you want to go into the trees
again and there's no one throwing out bird seed cause
they're all in shock and trying to figure out when it's going
to be warm again or light again.

And I wondered about the birds.

But, the trees are still here--shattered, but here. And the birds
are still here. And the daffodils are blooming already, despite
the cold

And I really just wanted to talk a bit about my confusion.
But I can't. Because it doesn't really mean much unless
it keeps me imprisoned. I guess. I'm not sure. Or unless
it leads me to some kind of understanding. I guess.

And I have this bump on my upper left shoulder, superficial
kind of thing, that could be a damn pimple, me at 50. Egads.
A pimple on my back? Me at 50? Me at 50 even saying
it may be a pimple. Might as well say I need Depends.
I guess. I don't really. That's part of the confusion.
Which is so ridiculous. My cat with an abcess, my mother-
in-law nearing 90 getting ready to go under the knife
so her back won't hurt so badly and she won't have to depend
on a walker. My sister working 2 to 3 jobs to keep her house.
My niece making dangerous, ridiculous choices. My worries
about family and friends great and not unfounded. And I
am confused and curious about a damn little irritating bump,
rise, growth something or the other on my back?

I smell cat pee. I think the old boy with the possible abcess
did it on the small area of carpet between this room and
my son's. It's overwhelming my nose. I am confused.

He is sick, I think. I guess. I think so many things are guess
work. Like the way I can't cook Coq au vin and not think
of you. The way the herbs go to my head and the wine,
which has not had time to intoxicate me, intoxicates me
nonetheless when I think of you, lifting your fork
to take a bite, there by the river, our quilt spread
out on the ground, lazy loud geese floating around in all
that stagnant pond scum just so they could get a closer look
at the strange people sitting there eating, acting as if there
were no confusing things and nothing to guess about.

I guess that's what they may have been thinking.
I guess they can think.

And then there is the growth, the bump, the unknown.
That thing my fingers can touch and manipulate and
rub, my mind growing just about tired enough of guessing.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chautauquas and Other Things

I'm all for bringing back Chautauquas. But most
of us would find some reason not to go. This from

"What I would like to do is use the time that is coming now to talk about some things that have come to mind. We're in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it's all gone."

Yes, that day-to-day shallowness oftentimes swallows us whole.
For the first time in a very long time, I am actually asking for
some of the shallowness, if shallowness will allow my mind to rest.
I have begun to enter a bit of a manic cycle. It's been years since
I felt this way. I was so glad when the mania was gone. But then,
there was trade-off, as there often is. Mania for apathy, inability
to articulate, extreme exhaustion, no excitement over words, music,
art, endeavors, accomplishments, living. You go from heart pounding
crazy in your chest and racing thoughts, writing like crazy, going
to concerts, going to writing groups and workshops, living on the
edge and doing things you can't believe you're doing to almost flat-lining
and experiencing a brain which has gone to mush.


Spent most of the day doing laundry, reading, trying to watch tv.
All I really wanted to do was get warm and rest, but I have been
unable to do either. It is bitter cold outside with gusty winds.
We had strong winds again Wednesday night which knocked out
our power for about 3 hours. I was terrified that we were going
to enter the black zone again, but we managed to get the power
back on before the basement flooded again. The rain was pouring
hard and the wind gusting 60 mph and higher.

On Tuesday of this week, which seems so much a blur to me now,
my husband called me from his shop and said he had just called
an ambulance and it was on the way to get him. He said I don't
know what's wrong with me, but something happened. He sounded
far away and as if he were struggling to find words. Four hours later,
after a cat scan, an EKG, numerous blood tests for cardiac enzymes,
metabolic readings, etc. , the conclusion is that what happened to him
possibly can't be explained. Possibly inner ear coupled with orthostatic
hypertension. He explained to me what happened to him. It sounded
like a stroke to me, but nothing on the scan. He is better today,
and has been since that day. No weakness now and no dizziness. He
is on Antivert, steroids, and Cozaar. He has promised to put down
the salt shaker, try not to be so high strung (definite Type A personality),
and to cut down his smoking. He hasn't agreed to completely stop, but
I think he wants to. He is an amazing man who does not complain, does
not miss work (is a workaholic), and who seems unafraid of most everything.
He was terrified that day. It was terrifying to see him that way.


Dinner last night was tasty and healthy. I made chicken
tortellini soup. It had diced sweet potatoes, celery, onion, garlic,
and red & green peppers all sauteed in extra virgin olive oil.
I added to that kosher salt, cracked black pepper, fresh thyme,
chopped flat leaf parsley, and oregano. As soon as the veggies
started to soften, I added vegetable stock, chicken stock,
garbanzo beans, corn, and shredded rotisserie chicken.
I let that cook about 30 minutes and then added ribboned
kale. As soon as that wilted, I dropped in a package of whole
wheat three-cheese tortellini. I served it with grated parmigiano
reggiano and Italian crusty bread.

I went through the cabinets today and thought I'd try to just
build a meal around something I found, so I have come up with
Green Peppercorn steak with mango chutney sauce over
basmati rice. I'll have some steamed broccoli with it.

Then some chicken parmigiana over linguini with asparagus
bundles. Then some sea scallops with vermouth and artichoke
hearts. I haven't cooked with vermouth so am not sure what
would be a good kind. I need a good dry vermouth. Cinzano,
Noilly Pratt? Don't know. I need brandy for the peppercorn
steak, and I don't cook with it either, so, I don't know a good
one to try. Korbel VSOP, St. Remy VSOP Napoleon, Monarch VS?
Don't know. I don't about brandy and vermouth. Wines I know
a little about.

How's all this for shallow? Quite enough for me for this day.
Time for a glass of syrah to warm me up, I hope.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Eliza Griswold

I woke to a voice within the room. perhaps.
The room itself: "You're wasting this life
expecting disappointment."
I packed my bag in the night
and peered in its leather belly
to count the essentials.
Nothing is essential.
To the east, the flood has begun.
Men call to each other on the water
for the comfort of voices.
Love surprises us.
It ends.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Coke At Night
Mose Tolliver

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Movies and Such

Went to see The Reader today. I have to agree
with this assessment by Ron Rosenbaum:

"so much is made of the deep, deep exculpatory shame of illiteracy—despite the fact that burning 300 people to death doesn't require reading skills—that some worshipful accounts of the novel (by those who buy into its ludicrous premise, perhaps because it's been declared "classic" and "profound") actually seem to affirm that illiteracy is something more to be ashamed of than participating in mass murder... Lack of reading skills is more disgraceful than listening in bovine silence to the screams of 300 people as they are burned to death behind the locked doors of a church you're guarding to prevent them from escaping the flames. Which is what Hanna did, although, of course, it's not shown in the film."[19]

Kate Winslet tries so hard to make it look like she's intense.
And that's just that. You know she's acting. I don't want
to be thinking how an actor is acting--I want to think they
are the character. It seems to me the primary purpose
in choosing Ms. Winslet for the role was to give her an opportunity
to go around naked in quite a bit of the film.

So, a thumbs down from me for the film, and though Mr Rosenbaum
didn't think much of the novel, I have heard others say they thought
it was quite good.

A friend brought Religulous over the other night. It
was very funny. I am not sure it was supposed
to be very funny all of the time, but I thought it was.
I've never watched Bill Maher, but he strikes me as
rather Michael Mooreish. Rotten Tomatoes rated
it at 71%. It did inspire some conversation, and I certainly
got a few good laughs out of it.

Things are still strange. It takes time to process all of
the emotions surrounding weeks of your life devoted
to staying warm, getting food, living with your mom,
etc. There were things she said during that time
that she has never told me about. I can't go there
with those things yet. I am too vulnerable. Too in need
of good sleep and recovery time. But I'll not forget
what she said, how she said what she said, her
tone of voice, her body language.

It snowed earlier, but now it has stopped and I can see
the beginnings of a sunset through my back windows.
It looks lovely out there. Just enough snow to cover
the grass.

Time to go cook. Tonight's dish:

Roasted Pork with Oranges and Prunes

Marinate a 1 lb. pork tenderloin in apple cider
vinegar, olive oil, and cumin for about 30 min.
Cook the tenderloin in a cast iron skillet until
browned on both sides (about 10 minutes).
Put in a 400 degree oven until pork is done
(about 20-30 minutes).

Put 3/4 cup chopped, pitted prunes in a
medium bowl with 1/4 cup hot water
and let stand for 5 minutes. Add two
peeled and chopped oranges to the bowl.

Remove pork from pan and place on plate
to rest for 10 minutes or so. Add prunes
and oranges to the skillet and scrape up
any browned bits. Slice pork and top with
fruits. Serve with rice or couscous with slivered almonds.

(From Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thinking About Frances

It wasn't right that they took part
of you out and left you with so little
of yourself. Your beautiful body and slow
smile remained, but that fight--oh that
fight--was stripped down from full
fledged incineration to smoldering
ashes. Why I would think I would take
them up on an opportunity to remove
a lobe here, snip an axon there, leave
the synaptic nerves shaking their
shaky little vessels so I could sleep
for a night eludes me. But I think about
that, tonight, nearing 24 hours with
no sleep, pouring a fourth glass of wine,
my chicken in mushroom sauce with fresh
asparagus an afterthought. Oh, Frances,
you did not ask for that, and I realize
as I think about you, the limitations
of science, of intuition, of living life
on the edge. All inhibitions
hushed, the life force flowing through
the veins as you grabbed and moaned
and cried--all of who you taken
in that room, sun streaming through the bars
of the windows, not one spark of light
remaining in the vacant storefront of memory.

Frances Farmer, 1913-1970

Racing Thoughts

So here is how it goes tonight:

I do not like the night, Sam.
I do not like it, Sam I am.

I do not like the cold wind that blows.
I do not like when my toes are cold.

I wonder how I got where I am.
I wonder so, Sam I am.

I do not like these thoughts unleashed.
I would much rather be at the beach.

I do not know why I took this path.
I do not know how to fix a latch.

I do not like the wind that blows.
It makes my ears hurt and my nose.

I love you, Sam I am, for those times
you make me think of rhymes.

I so much love new friends and food.
I so much love what I know is good.

I so much want to rest my head
down on the pillow in my bed.

I so much hope my nose won't bleed.
I hear so much advice I really should heed.

I think I like just where I am;
I think I do, Sam I am.

I so much think you know me best,
you old wise soul who does not test.

I am so gone, dear Sam I am.
I would like a grilled cheese with ham.

I am so gone, sweet Sam I am. Gone
with nothing left but this plaintive song.

But, before I leave you, Sam, my man, I must say
how cold am I. I think that soon I shall go lay

my body down deep in the covers,
and let go, Dear Sam, those lying lovers!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Sleep Required

Had a large time at the wine tasting, and so
did my friends. I don't know when I've laughed
so hard. My sides still hurt. I am glad I know
these women, and I am grateful for just letting
life happen for a change. Not asking why. Just
going with it. We had such a great time, but we
have agreed that what happened in New Harmony
stays in New Harmony!

I've been to New Harmony several times. I can't think
of a time that I've been there when I didn't feel guilt
on the way there or guilt on the way home for a variety
of reasons. This was the first guilt-free trip. I also didn't
freak driving over the bridges. I am hopeful that I am

Now, I just feel sleepy. We got home around 3. Then I
went to see my grandson. He had been in FL for 10 days
to get out of this freezing cold, powerless town. It was
so good to hug his sweet little body and to see that smile
that never fails to melt his GiGi's heart. We had a good
time visiting but then GiGi's late night was catching up
with her, so she had to get her arse home. From the time
I got home until the time I turned the lights out, I was
pretty much in the bed. I tried sleeping, but have a hard
time sleeping during the day, so I read. Still rereading
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mainteance. I confess
to only half-hearted reading time. Though I am adjusting
to my new position, I still find myself rather exhausted
at the end of the work day and pretty much useless
and resistant to wanting to take in anything more for
the day than perhaps an episode of Home & Garden TV
or Biography. Though the work is draining, I like very
much what I am doing.

That being said, I am looking for some book suggestions.
Son is reading another Cormac McCarthy--All the Pretty Horses.
I think I'll read that when he finishes it. I think I may order
Ekateringburg: The Last Days of The Romanovs.
It looks interesting.

Some sunshine today. I am shooting for a Molly walk.
Must start walking. Must start taking care of me--
taking care of her. She's only getting her evening
walk with hubby.

But for now, the bed is calling me back. I have a bad
case of the sleepies, which is ok in my book. I just feel
relaxed, and it's such a rare thing my body is willing
to give into it and let it have its way with me.
Uncle Sam
Howard Finster

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Can Understand

I could never be bulimic, but I understand
the need to binge and purge. Emotions run
that way. Let me just down all of this shit
and then puke it up and be done with it.

I've been doing that tonight in my own way.
No food involved. A burning of letters, a trashing
of emails, a tossing into the garbage can the last
remnants of a time best lost to time.

Yesterday, we had tornado warnings all day. 60
mph winds, power out again to people who had just
recently got it back, shingles off roofs, limbs falling
on cars. It was wicked.

But I woke around 5 to a waning moon. Still full
to the naked eye. It shone through the bare branches
and through my naked windows, it cast its light upon my
open eyes and I was grateful. I was at peace.

Though I am tired, I am not alone at all. There are
so many tired, hurting, cold and hungry people here.
I don't know how many are still without power.

My son ate one of those MRE meals when he was staying
all night at the shelter his church had established after
they finally got power back. Those of us who had a radio
found out (three or four days later) that those meals had
peanut butter crackers in them. Peanut butter crackers
that should not have been in them as they had been recalled
several weeks ago. My son spent part of the day in the Care
Center having IV fluids pumped into his body. Could be
salmonella, but could be a virus. More testing required.
He was sleeping when I talked to his wife earlier.

I am thinking of the irony and not appreciating it at all.
Make it through -7, no heat, little food, no lights--only
to eat some GD peanut butter crackers that should not
have been distributed.

Life is slowly getting back to normal--whatever normal is.
I suppose it's the going to work, taking a shower, being able
to cook, having heat, driving a car, talking on the phone.
I suppose that's part of normal.

I look forward to this weekend. I finally have some coworkers
who like to go to wine tastings. We are going to New Harmony, IN
tomorrow for a wine tasting. We'll stay the night at the New Harmony
Inn, do the tasting, go to the Yellow Tavern, come back to the room,
put some music on and dance our uninhibited asses off.

Here's to life going on and on and on.

And to the fact that we are all in one piece, and relatively
healthy and still wanting to be a part of the whole mess.

Monday, February 09, 2009


To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

Donald Hall

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Crazy dream night

I spent a long time typing out my dreams from last night
and lost the post. Don't have the energy to retype the dreams,
but I will go look at these creatures who appeared and try
to see what they mean as totem:

bears (in more than one dream), spiders (in more than one dream),
a wolf, an eagle, moths, worms, crickets.

Damn, I needed to print that post. My father was in two of the dreams.
I was killed in one of them but rewound the scene to be sure I didn't
die. The world was covered in snow. All the buildings made of snow.
There was a telephone and a ruse. A spiderweb and a dream catcher.
A strange game with spiders puncturing your flesh if you made a mistake.

Oh well, maybe I'm not supposed to remember these dreams.


What does the spider archetype mean in dreams? According to, dreams about spiders mean that, "The spider is usually symbolic of an unkind and sneaky individual. Are you the spider building a web, or are you being dragged into one? A spider's web represent[s] entanglement and the general complexities of life. Depending on the details of the dream, it could also be symbolic of a smothering individual in your daily life." In my own spider dreams, I don't find this to be the case. Usually, they are more consistent with Carl Jung's interpretation (also from, "a symbol of wholeness due to its circular shape. He called circular symbols 'mandalas' and said that they had valuable meaning for the dreamer. The spider and his web may be calling for an integration of the dream[er]'s personality leading to greater self-awareness and resulting in feelings of completeness. Therefore, the spider and his web may be considered profound and spiritual dream symbols which call for greater self-understanding and encourage us to derive meaning and satisfaction from the intricate framework and interplay of life." Spiders, to me, have represented a deepening of a sense of connection to the world, a physical and psychological symbol of the "string theory" of quantum mechanics. Everything is, in some way, connected.

Pink Trees
George Colin

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Nothing to figure out, really, and no surprises. I'm just tired and it's way after the fact now and doesn't matter that much anyhow but I guess it does or I wouldn't say anything about it or write anything about it

She asks me where the coffee mugs
are--this the third day of the power
outage. I say The cabinet above the
microwave but I think Why is it that
you don't know? The next morning,
she asks if the "brown" cat can go out,
and I say, You mean Dante ?, and she
says, with her strange accent, OOOh,
of course, Dante. She didn't even know
his f***ing name. I've had him almost 11
years. And I am thinking again how odd.

How odd. How insignificant. How terribly

But I'm too cold to think too long or hard
at that point. And I'm too tired of being in the dark
and stuck in this house.

And I realize it all matters more than I can
let it matter.

At some point during the week, as we all
sit huddled in one room with a propane
heater going, playing Texas Holdum (sp?),
she mentions by name the brothers and sister's
cats and dogs and lots of other minutiea
which starts becoming what it's been all along
which has always seemed to be monumental
in so many ways.

Not in some linear fashion did she throw these
things out, mind you--just
in the course of a long night's conversation.

I remind her the next morning, when she
asks once again if the brown cat can go
out, that yes, indeed he can and he has
been going out for almost 11 years
and his name is Dante and the mugs
are above the microwave.


No alzheimer's or dementia here--selective

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My father's ice skates

It's been a long, long 10 days.
My mother is still without power,
and to compound things, when I went
by her house to see whether the power
had come back on, I heard a noise inside.

I'm not even sure why I went back by there--
I had already been today. It was dark. On her
street, the lights were on in most of the houses,
but not hers. I opened the door and lifted
the light switch, but nothing came on. Then I noticed
a sound--like white noise or a fan--something running.

So, I walked into the dark house and walked toward
the sound only to discover I could not see well enough
to know what it was. So, I left.

My brother called and I told him. He went to the house.
He called and said that the water line had burst and what
I was hearing was watering hitting beneath the floors.

So, he and his girlfriend's father turned the water off.

Now, no power, no water, but the rest of her neighborhood
has both.

I know she's ready to go home, and I know I am at my limit.

And then she says to me, after I tell her I heard a noise
at her house and before my brother went over there,
that in the room I heard the noise, beneath the desk
were my father's ice skates and marbles and some other
things he had when he was a child. And she said I want
you to take those.

And I could not give her anything. And I could not look
at her. And I kept working on the meal. And I would not
turn around and face her. But as I cut the onion up
I managed to say I didn't know Dad ice skated. I've
never seen his skates. And I would like very much
to have the skates and marbles.

And I was most grateful I was cutting an onion.
And the tears really were from the onion and not
the skates or marbles or the days and days of close
proximity and not the exhaustion and not the worry.

Just the onion.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Answer: Must contain literary
references and lots of metaphor.
Must be clever and contain strategically
broken lines. Must mention
absent mothers and/or drunk
and absent fathers without really talking
about absent mothers and/or drunk and absent
mothers or fathers. Must stray
from straight talk. Must be bowled
over by the grand pooh-poohs. Would
be nice if it likened the self to a natural
element. Must be tercets or quatrains
or couplets (which are particularly
pleasing when sex is involved). Must
not sound sycophantic--i.e., don't
reference wheelbarrows or plums
or how nothing has such small hands
or a crab scuttling--must pay attention
to sonics (no nonsonically inclined posts
allowed). Must be devoid of feeling
(i.e.--no I's) but filled with feeling
which does not include I's. Must not
be about snotty-nosed kids across
the street or dead neighbors or ravaged
trees or changing a light bulb. Can be
about the sirens and soothsayers
and war gods and temples crumbling
to the ground. Can be filled with all
the right sonically pleasing, rhythmically
stroking, killer line break, enjambment
loaded, artfully studied scenester
elements. Can arouse slightly centers
set for arousal. Can refute and rebuke
and puke and spoof (albeit rather ineffectively)
all the reader knows. Can be lauded
as the best thing since heat. Can elicit
lovers and strangers and familiars.
Can ask without asking and tell without
telling. Cannot (let me say this again)
cannot be about the home town grill
keeping the fires burning or the neighbor
warming up Jambalaya on the grill
or the trips to the toilet in the dark
and cold, or the cats accepting the dog
on their longest night alone together
or shit like surviving unless there's some
clever way to share the story, like maybe
how your mom drank so much beer
the first night she thought she was back
home, your dad beside her in the bed
they never shared, his arms holding
her so tightly she feared they may crush
her in her sleep, fitful as it was in the
up to 20 degree outside sleeping bag,
which is not really clever at all, but true.
And sad--oh you must must must
resist ever telling in the quest you decide
is worth abandoning--sad cannot, absolutely not
be included--no matter the fact that your fingers
have become too cold to write another word,
and all the candles are on their way out.
Question: What is a poem?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


They will kill a man in Tennessee.

I wish my daughter had chosen another
profession. I wish she did not have to
be standing outside the gates fighting
for his life.

But she will be, and I know she must be.
And I cried with her and I said pray

and she did not have to say anything
though I know she was thinking

and so then I said do what you must
but don't let yourself be alone.

Oh my daughter, I can't know what it is
to walk in your shoes. I can't know what
it is to be the family of the accused or
the family of the victim. I can't know

so many things in my life, but I know this:
the tears flow for you, for him, for his family,
for the family who lost a loved one, for the
executioners, for the cold hard truth

which may be true and may not.

To have heat, to remember warmth.
To have someone and to have no one.

To listen and know when to stop listening.
To have conversation unforced.

To eat a meal you cook. To accept
the meal offered. To know what it is

to feel alone when you are not alone.
To drag the dead to the front of the house

in the balmy 60 degree weather. To mourn
the loss and have the strength to continue

the work. To let go the losses so irrelevant
and embrace the new. To up the ante

15 pennies to make sure you can't lose
if you make the choice. To surrender

the heart to the dark places it has yearned
to go but not been free to do so. To open

the heart to the filtered light. To lay
the body down at night in complete

and utter exhaustion and to not expect
anything more than perhaps waking up.

Monday, February 02, 2009

On Happiness

"I'd rather have one phenomenal year
than 90 mediocre ones. When you are really
living, it really doesn't matter how long
you're here."
Kris Carr

That statement from an article in Psychology
Today. Kris is living with cancer. Kris changed
many things in her life after her diagnosis.
She changed jobs, towns, her diet, her outlook
on life.

I think the message is one we all need to heed.
That being said, I think it is hard for those of us
trapped in a mentality. It's hard to change
how you've been and lived your whole life.
I applaud her and hope some day I will get that
message and that it won't take cancer or a terminal
illness for me to do that.


I took Molly out to the bathroom a few minutes ago.
The sky is clear, the air frigid. I thought to myself
how beautiful to see the Big Dipper and all the other
stars lighting the night. And then I thought if I was
one of those people in this town still living in the dark,
I'm not so sure I would appreciate the beauty. I had
the luxury of coming back into the warm house.
I had the luxury of being warm when I walked outside
to take Molly to do her stuff. If I was still in darkness
and cold, I don't know that the night would have been
so lovely.

There seems to be no middle ground.

We have what we have and know what we know
and when what we know is no longer a language
we can speak or a face we can recognize or a taste
familiar, we are thrust into a zone which tends to
dominate all of the levels of being we consider


Tomorrow we canvas the shelters. We ask questions.
We help in the small way we can. I can think about
that now that I am warm and full and have a familiar
place to sleep in.

I don't know how useful I would have been last week.

I am grateful for those who have been doing what they
have been doing for a week now.

I don't think there is one person in this community who
has not been affected by this.

Daylight comes. Cars drive by. Those in cold places with
no water know that others are taking their showers
and eating a hot breakfast and going on with life. But
they aren't fixated on that. Fixation is on surviving
another day.

This isn't Montanta or Wyoming or Siberia. This is a small
town in Western Kentucky. A place you would not know
much about unless you knew someone who lived here.
It is a place not so isolated as it is nondescript.

But we are here, and all around there is need.


The First Night

We sat around Mr. Heater,
me worrying about propane
fumes, trying to find the carbon

monoxide alarm I had removed
from the hallway weeks ago, a fresh
coat of paint going up, all pictures

and necessities stuck in closets
or packed away. The cold had not
yet settled into my brain. Naiveté

sang its allegros, lifted its childlike
soprano into the unheated room.
A moment's joy rested on my

shoulders and sat there as uneasy
as a first time root canal candidate
as I lifted it from beneath the bed,

dog and cat hair claiming it. The wall
neither rejoiced nor rejected
the newest encroachment; the occupants

of the bed and floor quite unaffected
by its presence. But I, the doer of deeds
and the worst of worriers, could only

lie there in the darkness and pray
to the off-white circular god, unseen
and unheard, hanging there like a martyr

in the midst of my most defining moment
Back to work

My clinic is still not open--don't know
when it will be, so I will be working
at the main clinic today. Not sure what
we are doing today but think we are
going to have a First Responders training.
Crisis is supposed to go out with First
Responders, but I don't have my certification

Yesterday's paper confirms one weather-related
death. It stated that an 84 yr old gentleman
was found dead, hugging his hot water heater.

Hugging up against his hot water heater.

The last little bit of warmth not enough.

Cause of death presumed to be hypothermia.

It was about 13 the first night we were without power.
18 or so the next night. Then it gradually warmed
to 22 and finally around 38 or so. The nights were
long and cold.

More troubles this morning. I went to the basement
to do some laundry. My son was upstairs taking a shower.
I noticed water pouring from two pipes. Oh, on it goes.
It's fixable, though. It's fixable.

I can't reach my hubby. He went to his shop today
but he must not have power. No phone service either.
I just wonder what the government will do for all the lost
wages. He's never asked fo anything, but every day he's
been unable to work is a day without money and a day
which gets us closer to the day bills are due.

We, like everyone in this county, lost about 60%
of our trees. Beautiful old dogwoods, strong oaks,
my magnolia looks a wreck but I think she'll make it.

It looks like we've been bombed. Much more damage
from this ice storm than the F4 tornado we had.

Damn, I wish I knew how to get started on repairing
the pipes. Another thing I am going to learn how to
do. I have learned how to be very resourceful through
all of this. I think most of us have learned we must
never forget how to take care of basic needs. Preserving
food, creating heat, keeping basic supplies.

All was not gloom and doom, though. We just sat around
at night talking, playing cards by candlelight, cooking
on the neighbor's propane grill. I don't know what
we would have done without our neighbors. They
are fantastic, amazing people.

My mother's been with us since Tuesday. I am glad
she had somewhere to go. I am also taxed to the max,
but I am hanging in here.

I seriously think Molly has some PTSD. She is so jumpy.
She started the night the limbs started breaking and falling
to the ground. Now, when I take her out back, she stands
there and looks at the devastation, knowing something's
wrong with the picture. The cats want to stay on my bed
all of the time now. They stayed huddled next to us at night,
my mom on a pallet on the floor. My youngest son on
another pallet. Molly in her crate with a comforter draped
over it.

Yesterday it was 64 outside. The only clue that anything
went awry here were the downed trees and snapped
power lines.

Time to go. Time to get back to work. I am grateful to
be going back to work.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

To be forgotten

I know a bit about how the Katrina folks felt.

We have been without power since Tuesday morning.
As a matter of fact, the power went out about 5 minutes
after I typed in my last post.

No one expected this. And apparently no one (out there)
seems to know the severity of this county's situation.
This county and the four surrounding counties
all without power until yesterday.

Ours came on at 11 or so last night.

On Wednesday, the mayor ordered an emergency evacuation
for anyone who could evacuate. But that was a tricky
situation. You could not get gas, kerosene, propane,
food--nothing at all for days. We were fortunate that
we had gas in our vehicles. We drove to Clarksville, TN
to try to find a generator but were told there were none
to be found anywhere closer than AL. We couldn't even
find an oil lamp or a cooking stove.

On Thursday, our neighbor drove to Terre Haute, IN
and bought two generators. We bought one from him.
So, on Friday morning, we had some power in the house,
but the generator was not compatible with our heating
system. It did pump out the two feet of water that had
risen in our basement and it kept the fridge going and
the microwave and a small electric heater and a few lights.

We had been told it could be up to four weeks before
we had power again. And it is likely that the outlying
areas in the county will be without power that long.
I am only a few blocks from downtown--the city
center--so I hoped we would get ours sooner than
the predictions.

It feels strange to be connected again. We've all been
in survival mode all week. Just trying to keep warm and
keep food in our bodies.

It's odd, too, to become connected once again and find you
haven't been missed. Odd indeed. This whole experience
has much to say to me about my life, who I am important
to, and what is important to me.

It's hard to say what was most missed. Had we not had
a small propane camping heater which kept the room
we stayed in around 40, I would say the heat. But you don't
know how much you miss the light until the night comes
and blackness is all around and there are no trains
running and the only sound is the occasional passing
on the road of an emergency vehicle.

I feel humbled. I feel happy to be alive. I feel strange.

I am looking at the wreck that was my backyard. It looks
like a war zone out there. But we have out house. I don't
know how many burned down in town. We had no radio and no
paper until yesterday.

Yes, I feel we were forgotten. We were all saying
Where's FEMA, where's the National Guard, where
are supplies? But nothing was happening, or it was
and we just didn't know. That remains to be seen.

And, yes, I was forgotten, but that doesn't seem so
important either.

More to come.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Ice Cometh

Woke in the darkness to the sound
of limbs crashing, their branches heavily laden
with ice. It was eerie to wake in the darkness
(it was about 5 am and the power was out),
to hear the crashing, and then to keep seeing
the sky to the southwest light up in brilliant
yelllows and oranges as transformers all
over town were blowing up. Fire engines
were screaming through the streets,
but other than that was just the quiet
until another limb came crashing to the ground.

One of the limbs from my dogwood tree next
to my bedroom is lying across the neighbor's power
line. Precariously hanging there. If things continue
to worsen, as they are predicted to, we'll get another
round of ice, drop into the 20s, and then maybe
some snow.

It's absolutely lovely to look at. I'd take pictures but
I'm half afraid to walk out for fear one of the power lines
will snap.

Work called and basically told us to come at our own
risk. The clinic will be open, but if we feel it's unsafe
to get there, then we reserve the right to not go.
I don't live far, and the roads don't appear to be that
bad, but in all likelihood, the clinic is without power.
My cable is out, so I viewed one of the Evansville news
stations to get the latest updates and they pretty
much confirmed what I thought--massive power outages.
We're fortunate that we still have power. So, I best
shower and do all those things before it goes out.

For any reader who's read The Road, the sound of
those trees crashing in the darkness reminded me
of that part of the book. It's so dark on the earth at night
that you can see no better with your eyes open than you
can with them closed. The characters literally
move about with an outstretched hand as they try to find
their way to a safe area. The only darkness I have ever
known, which sounds close to what McCarthy describes,
is the darkness inside a cave when the tour guide extinguishes
all the lights. Creepy. Creepy listening to those big, old
limbs falling with a thud onto the ground below.

I was on call Sunday, and then my coworker, who lives
in another county, called me last night and asked if I
could take her on call in this county. I had to go to our
hospital to do an assessment. I was in the middle of that
assessment, when I was paged to do another one at the
hospital. To make a long story short , I didn't get home
until 11. By that time, the roads were getting treacherous.
I just gripped the steering wheel and my teeth and prayed
all the way home. I HATE driving in winter weather--
particularly on ice. There's not a whole helluva lot you can
do to control anything on ice. But I made it home safely.

I think I'll go back to bed for a little while and then try to
get to the clinic around 11 or so. I need to enter data
on my assessments and do a few other things.

I think it's a good potato soup night. Soup and salad.
Sounds healthy and enticing. Uh-oh--there goes another
limb. That was a loud thud!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Though it's in the twenties this morning
(a heat wave for sure), I cannot get warm.
This cold has settled in my bones once again.
Me. The one who hates the heat and loves it
when the nights turn cooler and fall approaches.

But I have my limits. 3 degrees with a wind chill
of -10 is nearing my limit. We were in the deep
freeze for several days this past week. I don't think
my heat has shut off once since Wednesday when
the temps nosedived.

And the gray mornings make it so difficult to get
up and do anything. And the thought of taking
a walk outside or doing anything outside is not
very appealing.

So, I sit here in the cold computer room and type.
I need to go put on another pair of socks. Maybe
some long underwear. Of course, it would help
if I would get off my bum and start doing the things
that need to be done, but I just want to lie in bed
and read today.

Just finished The Road this morning. I don't think I
can handle the movie. I don't think I could see those
images on the big screen and ever be the same.
They've etched themselves rather clearly in my brain
from just the reading. But, I recommend the book.

Even when you, as reader, continue to ask What's
the point? you never believe there is no point. Or
you ask yourself What's the point in having a point?
Does everything have to have a point? How about
everything just is and that's that. How about that?
And then you find something again that makes you
ask Why? How? How long? And you can only nod
your head in understanding as you recognize
why the book moves you, takes you along, compels
you to keep reading. It's a no-brainer why it frightens
you. So, when it hits the big screen, it's doubtful I'll
be in the audience.

Ok...gotta type in this recipe. This was one of the best
soups I've ever eaten. Cooked it Tuesday night.

Tuscan Bean Soup

1 14 oz. can kidney beans
1 14 oz. can cannellini beans
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans
1 14 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 qts chicken stock
1/2 lb pancetta, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-5 gloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig oregano
1 fresh bay leaf (can use dry)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 heads kale, cut into bite size pieces
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper

Heat the olive oil over med heat. Add pancetta
and cook until slightly crispy. Add onion, carrots,
celery, and garlic and saute for 5-8 minutes or
until onion gets translucent. Season with salt and
pepper. Add tomatoes, beans, & stock. Tie herbs
with kitchen twine and add to the pot. Cook for
15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kale
and cook another 15-20 minutes more. Serve
with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano and crusty
bread (I had rosemary olive oil bread).

I also added some sweet italian sausage. I cooked
two pieces, and the sliced them up into small
pieces and added them when I added the beans
and stock. They added a nice touch with their
sweet basil flavor.

For dessert: Ghirardelli dark chocolates crumbled
over pound cake with an amaretto sauce poured
over and topped with sliced almonds.

I love my Ghirardelli dark chocolates. And people
know. I think I got about 10 boxes of them for Christmas!
Good thing about it is that you don't need much
to satisfy that craving. One little block with some
milk or port and I'm just fine.

My to do list today:

1. Take the tree apart, box it up, and haul it down
to the basement (yes, my tree is still in the livingroom!)

2. Put away all of the ornaments, lights, and decorations
(these are already boxed up and ready to put away,
thanks to the help of my dear friend, Barbara, who came
one night to help me undecorate the tree!)

3. Laundry

4. Bathrooms

5. Try to make some sense out of the chaos that is
my music collection. We got Lauren an iPod
for Christmas, and she's been burning many of
the CDs but she hasn't put them away. Her pile
was just added to the pile that's been growing
for over a year now. CDs without cases, cases
with CDs that haven't been seen or heard in some
time, etc.

6. The sun is out now, so take a walk with Molly
later this afternoon.

7. ?

Always so much to do, but I don't get too bothered
about things if they don't get done. Perhaps I should
get more bothered as I would probably get more done
and be healthy busy.

I bracketed certain passages in The Road as I read along.
Unlike some books, those passages may not make much
sense without the whole or some idea of the whole, but
this one spoke to me:

"Where you've nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them."

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Pines

My brother visited Google Earth one
day last week, found a picture of the house
we lived in as children, and emailed it to

I scrutinized it carefully for several minutes
and sent him an email back telling him how
nothing about the house looked familiar.

It is only when I revisited the shot a few days
later that I noticed them there, just as they
have always been in my memory. The row
of pines which border the back lot and serve
as a boundary between backyards.

The pines. I was so busy looking at every
aspect of the house--the curved walkway
(I don't recall the walkway curving to the
front door or even a walkway, though it
must have been there--my brother remembers
it), and the carport Mom and Dad turned into a
family room is so much a part of the house
that one cannot tell in the picture that there
was ever a carport there and I cannot tell
that it's the same room they created--the windows
aren't right--the distance from windows to ground
beneath seems much closer together than it does
in memory--the memory of climbing out of those
windows in the late night--pale moon over the pines
out front, the smell of the ocean filling my senses--
thinking I was so cool. My mother and father searching
for me later, my ass getting literally beaten over and over--

no the window wasn't where it is now. And then
there is the portico at the front door, which I know
cannot have been there then. And I realize could
have been constructed after leaving, though my
brother says he remembers that, too.

But the pines. They are there. That large one, which
sits directly in the middle of the row of pines bordering
the lot, that's the one I fell from at age 9 when I wanted
the boys to know there was nothing they could do that
I could not do better. I learned a lesson in humility
that day, but I did not abandon my belief that I could
one-up them any day.

I climbed so high I could see houses blocks and blocks
away. I could even see to the boulevard--a distance
I would guess to be somewhere in the vicinity of 1/2
mile or so. The boulevard which was our boundary.
We were not permitted to cross it, so there was always
an allure with the boulevard.

And I was up there scrutinizing the boulevard when
I heard a snap, and that was that.

I didn't so much fall as slide down through the myriad
branches and dappled light to the lowest branch on the
tree. At that point, I fell the 6-8 feet to the ground.

I was scratched and bleeding, but my pride was the only
real injury that day. Of course, once my mom cleaned
up the blood and ranted about how I could've killed
myself, and by god how she'd kill me if I ever pulled such
a stunt again, I walked outside proudly displaying my
"war" wounds.

Though they tried hard to hide their approval of my
daring stunt, I could see it in their eyes.

I was one of them, and would continue to be for several more

Yes, brother, something about the house looks familiar,
and that makes me smile this day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Three Dancers
Pablo Picasso, 1925

Monday, January 12, 2009


For at least 2 hours, I heard him, howling
every so often in my backyard, my side yard,
beneath the carport. Molly got a bit agitated
when she heard him. We were here, in the back
room. I was checking email and she was checking
me out. He had been howling for some time at that
point, and Molly was at her breaking point.

I left her inside and went out back to see what all the noise
was about. And there he was, nose to the ground,
moving at a slow speed--not a walk and not a run--
an in between. He was hoping his nose would tell
him how to find home. I called to him, but he never
lifted his head. He just kept about his business, nose
to the ground, every 15 seconds or so lifting his nose
and head enough to howl again.

And I felt so sad. I wanted to say: You're a very resourceful
sort. You don't let things like people calling you interrupt
your mission. You've got a nose for things and a mission.
You'll do it. You'll do it, by god, you'll do it. But he just
kept coming back. Gone for 10 minutes or so down
the street, his howls still reaching my ears. And then back
again, nose to the ground, intently and passionately and
disturbingly focused on home or something familiar.

I know, I know. I said those words out loud. To the clouds
above. To the sounds of his howls. To the bare branches
above. To the cold night air. I know. I know what it
is to want to make your sound. To feel lost but undeterred.
To make yourself be heard. To ignore the willing voices
and hands and offers. I know what it is to not know
where it is home is. I know. I know. Come to me.

Now, he is gone. Molly is quiet. The house is quiet.

There is no more howling here around this house.

And I want to believe it is because he found it--home.
Or them--people who love him. Or somewhere to bed
down for the night. Somewhere not so warm but
protected. Somewhere he can rest his tired body,
his aching throat. Somewhere he can call home
for the night, even if all of the amenities are missing
and there is no one there to love him. Just his own
love of self and his own need to survive and his own
moment of reckoning so clear and forgiving.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Ok...brings back thoughts.

But everyone has their own 18 thing.
I was married. And there is a story,
but I have grown weary of talking about it.

I got home about 6 this evening. My son's 18th
birthday. Cannot believe 18 years have come
and gone. I visited a friend over the weekend.
Left Friday after work and drove about 200
miles in the dark, but the moon was nearly
full (to the naked eye full) and the night was lovely,
so my heart was not troubled.

Bought my son The Road (Cormac McCarthy),
a collection of Hemingway short stories, and Pale
(Nabokov). Found some decent wines,
ate some good food, watched some no-brainer
movies, and slept. Was a good way to spend
a weekend.

Now, I think I shall take a bathroom break, eat
some of the delicious cake my friend baked for
my son, and lie down and read.

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans"

Happy birthday to you, my beautiful son.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Of Time and the River

The title for this post is the name of one of my favorite Thomas
Wolfe books. I trired to reread him recently but didn't get far,
and I'm not sure why. Maybe Thomas will only remain in that
long ago place he resided in when first I discovered him.
Have been thinking a lot about my dad. Last night before bed.
In the middle of the night when I woke up and could not go back
to sleep. Does this great missing ever stop? There are days
in which I have to ask myself if I've thought about him that
day. If I had not up until that point, I certainly was at that point.
Even though I rarely went to see him, I knew what he felt and how
he felt. It was a tacit understanding. No need to explain or reason.
I just miss my dad and know I always will.
My daughter gave me some more Joan Didion for Christmas.
I am reading Slouching Toward Bethlehem. I want to reread
The Year of Magical Thinking. Sometimes I think I am still
in that year. The damage done from 2 deeply disturbing life-
changing events has taken its toll on me. I lost my dad and
6 months later, I lost my job. In between, I received a very
disturbing letter. And within a year of dad's death, two of my
good friends died. I wonder if I'll ever feel right again.
This quote from Joan Didion:

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest,
remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself,
shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes
it in his own image.”

I once picnicked on the banks of the Wabash. I brought
flowers with me, and after eating, threw the flowers
into the Wabash in memory of my father. I watched them
until they floated away out of sight, beneath the bridge
in the picture above. I took pictures that day, and one day,
when my scanner cooperates, I'll post one. Oddly enough,
as I tossed the flowers out, a little at a time, one bouquet
stood straight up in the mud. It landed perfectly, and the stems
found themselves right at home.
They are long gone now. Like so many people I have known.
But nothing will take the memory from me.
At least, I hope nothing will.

I'll take them when most won't.

They're kinda my style.

This morning it's a spinach and roasted tomato fritatta.

Made an ass-kicking good salad last
night (my thanks, once again, to RR), and
I had quite a bit left, so I thought, why not
a fritatta?

Salad recipe:

6 plum tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
olive oil
kosher salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
blue cheese crumbles
1 lemon

Heat the pine nuts in a small skillet over
med. to med. high heat until lightly browned.
Remove from heat (be sure to stir frequently).

Put tomatoes on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle
with olive oil, then add thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic.
Coat the tomatoes evenly. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Remove tomatoes from oven and coarsely chop. Put them
in a large salad bowl. Add spinach to the bowl and allow
the hot tomatoes to let it wilt a little. Then add olive oil,
the juice of one lemon, pine nuts, salt, and pepper.
Toss to combine. Add the blue cheese crumbles.

Not only does it taste great, it looks beautiful. You know
you eat with your eyes first.

So, for the fritatta, just heat some of the spinach salad
in an oven-proof skillet, pour eggs over the mixture,
bake about 15 minutes. Very yum.

Ok. I took way too much time this morning on breakfast.
It's now 8:08. I have not washed my face or gotten ready
in any way. Gotta do it. Tired and would like to sleep
today, but gotta keep moving.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In the middle of the journey of our life
I came to myself within a dark wood
where the straight way was lost.


Yes, Loreena, how fragile is the heart. Feeling that
fragility this day.

Dante's Prayer

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me

Loreena McKennitt

It's not time that limits what I can and can't
do--it's life and choice which dictates much of it.

For example, I work from 8:30-5. That's the
way it is. So, my time is tied up with work
during those hours, as is my life. Many days,
I work later than 5 to get the things done I could
not get done before 5. You see, the on call person
comes on at 5, so if I get a crisis at 5 pm, and I am
still in the building, the call goes to on call. If I get
a crisis at 4:50, it's mine. Meaning, I could be
there another 45 min to an hour. Just depends.

So, by the time I get home, which is usually about
5:15-5:30, bring my things in the house, turn
some lights on (Wes goes to work around 4 many days
and leaves the house dark), take Molly out for her
bathroom time, check the mail and the answering
machine, it's after 6. Then it's time to start dinner,
clean up the mess I didn't clean the night before,
throw a load of clothes in the laundry, return calls.

By the time I do all of that, it's 7 or later, and I'm a
really tired girl by then. So, it's make a drink or
pour some wine time and unwind time and watch
terrible news time or dog training shows or home
remodeling shows or Modern Marvels or Biography.

By then, the drink has gone to the body and the mind,
and I feel too relaxed to get up and do anything else.

But I do, sometimes, with my time, with my life.

Getting here to write has become more and more a morning
thing, but then I end up running late for work. I have 40
minutes left, and I have not washed my face, dressed, put
on make up, etc. Good thing I only live about 2 miles
from my office.

I really like what I am doing. I like knowing there is a
program for people in crisis--a program that works
quite well. I like my coworkers. I can't think of any
place I've ever worked where I've felt more welcome
from the get go. For example, tonight after work, several
of us are going out for drinks and a bite to eat. They will
eat, but Wes is home tonight, and I have meal I plan to
cook, but they invited me and I'll go hang out for a little
while. We've already gone out together three or four
times since I started working there.

I like the fact that we all give each other space and don't
take it personally when one of us is really taciturn, terse, short,
and sometimes rude to the other. The work we do is very
high stress, and sometimes it gets to you. But then we have
our moments of just sitting around together in my office
(I share an office with 2 people) and telling jokes or small
talking and laughing about something one of us did or said.

These folks are some of the most giving, caring people I've
ever known.

All of that being said, I am still keeping my options open. Times
are hard, and we all received a letter the other day from the main
office (a 5 page letter) outlining the measures which must be
taken to keep the business afloat. Hard, hard times. Potential
problems with Medicaid, more and more people needing
services who do not have the money to pay for them, more and
more cuts (no salary increase, may have to pay more for insurance,
etc.) We'll see how things go.


Crazy dreams last night and the night before. The night
before, one of my dreams could have been an episode
of Land of the Giants. There was this gigantic rooster,
which was sitting in some hay. I was probably 6 inches tall,
if that, and the rooster probably 3-4 feet. I remember
being afraid that it would notice me and try to eat me.
But I was fascinated with its colors. Its sides were the
colors of the rainbow, and its face was cobalt. I watched
in amazement as it scratched itself. Then I noticed men
all around with guns in their hands. Some were men no taller
than me, and some were gargantuan. I thought they were
coming to shoot me.

Last night could have been something written for The
Twilight Zone. It spooked me, and I woke shaking.

Time to go wash my face and all that good stuff.

Thought for today:

"I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.”

Annie Dillard

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Broken Column
Frida Kahlo, 1944

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Today, the sun's rays don't reach my little
corner of the earth. We are grey and wet,
nearly every light in the house on. My daughter
works on her Power Point slides in preparation
for her debut as teacher--Introduction to Social
Work. I don't know how she has the energy level
to do all the things she does. She's working on her
LCSW, working full time as supervisor of children's
services at a domestic violence shelter, playing with
the band on occasion, renovating a house with her
boyfriend, chairing committees, attending meetings,
having fun, etc.

The rain just started falling, which may mean our
best laid plans will fall, too, in tandem with the drops.


That was the plan for noon or so. And we may still
do that if it stops soon.

I am going to keep Isaac while my son and his wife
go to lunch and a movie. Then tonight, hubby and I
are going to a friend's. Daughter and boyfriend are going
to be painting the hall. I'm excited about it and hope
the colors I chose work well. I chose a color called thyme
green for the bottom part of the wall, and another color
(can't recall the name--a lighter green) for the upper
part. My hallway is rather long and wide (about 18x6).
It has lovely wide baseboards, crown molding, and oranate
chair rail with a beaded pattern. Going to leave the woodwork
white, but I am going to put a very pale green on the ceiling.

We'll see how it works out.

Going to go read some more Annie Dillard--Living by Fiction.
Interesting read thus far.

I like the poem below. I like the language, the premise, the
visuals, the connotations. So, I'll share it.

Finding a Bible in an Abandoned Cabin

Under dust plush as a moth's wing,
the book's leather cover still darkly shown,
and everywhere else but this spot was sodden
beneath the roof's unraveling shingles.
There was that back-of-the-neck lick of chill
and then, from my index finger, the book

opened like a blasted bird. In its box
of familiar and miraculous inks,
a construction of filaments and dust,
thoroughfares of worms, and a silage
of silverfish husks: in the autumn light,
eight hundred pages of perfect wordless lace.

Robert Wrigley