Saturday, November 28, 2009

Joke of the Day

A Little girl received a bottle of perfume and a beautiful new watch for the holidays.
She was thrilled with these gifts and wanted to tell everyone. Her mother warned her:

"Do not boast about your gifts. Some children didn't receive gifts as nice as these,
and you don't want to hurt their feelings."

The little girl nodded her head, and went off to school.

When she arrived at school, everyone was buzzing about their gifts. The little girl wanted to share her good news too, but remembered what her mother had told her.

So, thinking twice, she told her friends:
"If you smell something or hear something, it's probably me."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Leftovers . . .

Greetings Thanksgiving Survivors! Is the big meal fog lifting yet? We actually had one of the best thanksgivings to date. Small crowd this year, 10 people , family and friends-- two were from other countries (Great Britain and Germany) who have never experienced an American Thanksgiving!
The prep work was quite gentle, because we started a day earlier than usual, and I'm sure having outsider company kept us in good spirits. Although, I did think there was a conspiracy around the jello mold, which I made to honor my mother. I accused Peter of getting rid of my Tupperware mold, which he has attempted to do, several times, and I have found it in a "to go" box and secretly fished it out.
Okay, so I'm up at predawn, getting my pies made before tackling the rest of the meal, which is a lot of peeling, slicing, dicing, twirling-- all the while listening to Adult Alternative music. Spent over 25 minutes trying to find the Jello mold. No where. So using my lost memory strategy, I thought I would carry on and while doing something else it will turn up-- just like my a ha! now I remember, it was tra-la-la. So in the not hunting, I let it leak in my nicest voice that I was suspicious about the Jello mold's whereabouts. Peter found the Jello mold after an hour of searching hi and low . . .This discovery, mind you, comes after I put in it my mom's tin mold which is really hard to unmold . . . So everything is going well. We're actually remembering everything that needs to be set on the serving table. And, then come the the task of releasing the Jello. I stopped up the sink with hot water, and Peter comes by and releases the water, while I'm getting the mold out of the fridge. Mold in hand, I go over to the sink and see that the sink is
reassembled with its rack and stuff-- no longer full of hot water, just 30 seconds earlier. We're fast around here-- all those early years of working in Food-- I'm sure it's a valuable skill set, but I digress. I literally popped my eyes out of my head, and spoke in my gruff sailor's voice, Where's my hot water!!!! In his efficiency, he did something to the stopper and I couldn't get it to work properly-- I was fit to be tied. This wasn't suppose to happen like this. Needless to say, he did it, but left it in the hot bath for a full minute and it melted to soup stage. He said, what do you think, should I flip it onto the plate, and I said, No, put it back in the fridge. It needs to reset.
We didn't have the Jello, which was okay. And Peter moaned, You can't hold this against me for a whole year, and I promised I wouldn't. The rest of dinner was one of our best ever. Oh yea, and Sarah, friend from England, kept saying, Should I be hearing this? in her lovely British accent. And I said, Well you've been here for more than three days, so "you're company" has worn off. Next time, she said, I'll make sure to come in at the last minute and just have the delicious dinner. Too funny. But there is a lesson here, and it's about spite.

If the Jello saga wasn't enough, there yet another behind the scenes story.

I like to work to music, Peter switched the station to the Blues because The Alternative Rock was starting to get to him. Unfortunately, after a half hour, listening to the Blues does me in. So I said, Can we change this to something else? I'm getting uptight. He agreed and we decided on Soundscape, which was playing this eerie flute music,which sounded like a Bad Lands track. While listening, I said this sounds like Native American Revenge Music. It sounded like a curse on Thanksgiving, and doesn't Peter cut his finger while prepping the veggie tray and didn't I break a shaker of salt. Quick, change the station-- straight to Classical. Things settled down after that. It was very weird.

Then company came and we were ready. Ready as we'll ever be.


Today, I'm planning on doing some work. I literally have a bag full of student papers. The end of the semester always moves like a train with a full head of steam-- unforgiving. So my plan is to chip away at this for the next three days. Viola! work done.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rewinding the whirlwind

I need to catch up here, so this will be a snippet post, a bit here and a bit there . . .

Winter Wheat

Perfect driving weather. Enjoyed the sessions I attended very much. In particular, The Curious Poem, Writing from the Wunderkammer led by Kathryn Neumberger.

I enjoyed her presentation-- rich in triggering many responses by witnessing her collectibles. She offered us poems by Moore(Lyric) and Carson (Lyric-Narrative). Would have enjoyed hearing some of her work too.

Exploding a Kernel
led by Brad Felver. OMG! WTF! What Will Happen Next? Creating Tension
in Short Fiction led by David McClure
. Both of these generated new flash fictions.

Came home with several new poems and flash fictions. Peter too. He wrote some wonderful
fictions. So it was a terrific getaway and as Winter Wheat promises-- a field sown with enough starts to keep us writing through the long winter. Looking forward to spending more time on
the writing prompts.


My knee hurts. I don't know what I did to it. It feels like a "trick" knee. I had a "trick" thumb a couple of years ago and cured it during my marathon knitting sessions.

I keep stretching it out and that seems to work for a bit. But it feels very funky.

This past week I put miles on my new Keds. I had a Wednesday of Forgetfulness. Had the long list of things to do in my brain, and I kept forgetting to take it ALL with me. So I march back and forth on campus on Wednesday, from building to building to building. Going back to the office (twice) to pick up paperwork I left behind. It was definitely squirrel activity. I wonder if I hurt my knee in all this marching around?

Today, another busy day. I will be back soon.

Reading: Sunday November 22, 2009 at 12:30 p.m. at Lift Bridge Books

If you're in my area . . .

On Sunday, November 22, 2009 beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Lift Bridge Books in Brockport NY

I will be reading with Karla Linn Merrifield to celebrate her newest chapbook from Foothills Publishing: Etowah River Psalms

Karla’s poetry has appeared publications such as CALYX, Earth’s Daughters, Off the Coast, Negative Capability, Paper Street and Blueline; on line in The Centrifugal Eye and Elegant Thorn Review, and in several anthologies. She edited THE DIRE ELEGIES: 59 Poets on Endangered Species of North America, from FootHills Publishing; followed by her own collection, Godwit: Poems of Canada, which was recently chosen for the
University of Rochester's Andrew Eiseman Writers Award.

She is the author of the chapbook Dawn of Migration and Other Audubon Dreams from RochesterInk Publications and is poetry editor of Sea Stories (, the literary-artistic journal of he Blue Ocean Institute.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Winter Wheat 2009

Will be presenting a workshop on Saturday, November 14, 209. This is my third year attending Winter Wheat. Every year I have felt energized after the weekend sessions. I love the way it's set up. Readings, workshops, book fair-- lively and friendly faculty and attendees. Looking forward to this year's sessions, because I'm having an extremely busy semester, and as the song says, "I gotta get out of this place."

What I love about Winter Wheat :

I love the drive there and watching the curve of the landscape along the Great Lakes.
I love the Great Lakes.
I love Bowling Green, Ohio.
I love having a whole weekend to write and think and listen.

I love coming back to my old stuffy stuff and having a new perspective.

Let's face it, I love road trips.

Winter Wheat 2009

Inspiration ... Find it here!
Winter Wheat
The Mid-American Review Festival of Writing

12-14 November 2009 Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio

Sessions will be offered for beginners--those who are curious about getting started with writing--through professionals, who can get help in areas like polishing their finished work or marketing their manuscripts. There is something for every writer at Winter Wheat.

Winter Wheat 2009
Featured Readers

Pamela Painter
Pamela Painter's first collection of stories, Getting to Know the Weather, won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. Her second collection of stories is titled The Long and Short of It. Painter is also the co-author, with Anne Bernays, of the widely-used textbook What If? Fiction Exercises for Fiction Writers. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Kenyon Review, North American Review, Ploughshares, and Epoch.

Bruce Cohen

Bruce Cohen was born in the Bronx, New York and earned both a B.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Arizona. He has two books of poetry forthcoming, Swerve (Black Lawrence Press) and Disloyal Yo-Yo (Dream Horse Press), winner of the 2007 Orphic Prize. His poems have appeared in various literary publications including The Georgia Review, The Harvard Review, The Indiana Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, and others. A recent recipient of an individual artist grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts & Tourism, he lives in Coventry, Connecticut with his wife and three sons.

Khaled Mattawa

Khaled Mattawa is the author of four books of poetry, Tocqueville (New Issues Press, forthcoming 2010), Amorisco (Ausable Press, 2008), Zodiac of Echoes (Ausable Press, 2003) and Ismailia Eclipse (Sheep Meadow Press, 1996). Mattawa has been awarded the PEN award for literary translation, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Alfred Hodder fellowship from Princeton University, an NEA translation grant, and three Pushcart prizes. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Antioch Review, Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies.

James Braziel

James Braziel is the author of the Bantam novels Birmingham, 35 Miles and Snakeskin Road. Weathervane, a chapbook of his poetry was published by Finishing Line Press. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Berkeley Fiction Review, Chattahoochee Review, Hayden¹s Ferry Review, and Clackamas Literary Review, among other journals. He has also been the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts and twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Alan Michael Parker

Alan Michael Parker is the author of five collections of poems, Days Like Prose, The Vandals, Love Song with Motor Vehicles, A Peal of Sonnets, and Elephants & Butterflies (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2008), as well as a novel, Cry Uncle. He is editor of The Imaginary Poets, and co-editor of two other volumes. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Kenyon Review.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Reaction to the world-at -large news

The news has been full of heartache. I've been agitated about so many things. It began a couple of weeks ago, when I discovered the news about the women in Guinea who were brutally attacked by the soldiers. I had read the first report in NY Times article; then heard an interview on NPR. I talked about this incident a lot. Then, last week, the news of the teenager in Richmond, CA gang raped for 2.5 hours. And most recently, the shootings at Ft. Hood. All have set my teeth on edge, but the first two incidents really rocked me. Fully aware that rape has been occurring for centuries and understanding that it's not a sexual act but a violent act-- an act set to destroy the carriage of creation, I can't shake my anger about the events. When women are violated with objects, guns, bottles, and so on-- the act is clearly intended to destroy them. Imagine the implications after the attack in Guinea. The women are Muslim. The incident of rape violates their being, affects their lives-- culturally and religiously. They can't go back to their families-- their integrity has been ruined. Same with the young woman in Richmond, CA. How does that happen? A crowd watches for 2.5 hours and does not intervene in the first 30 seconds? The last incident, coming on the heels of these other stories, has left me numb. I'm still trying to understand whether the man was emotionally distressed or deliberate. There were some curious remarks in last night's news, not sure if they're accurate-- said that he cried out: God is great. How does one interpret that line?

The world at large distresses me.

I try to live my life with kindness. This doesn't mean that I don't have bouts of anger, disappointment, frustration-- I do, but I try to give good attention, person to person, and by doing so, I believe they will pass it. It seems to be a very small act, but I think it can gain momentum. I have seen it build in classroom communities, in the groups and organizations I'm affiliated with, in my own family. Bad energy begets bad energy. It can turn into a fog.
I try to stay away from bad energy.

Needless to say, the news made me want to take a frying pan and hit everyone of those violators over the head. I literally made it a cartoon in my head-- me ka-bonging the bad guys. I don't know if the fantasy helped me. I think about the women suffering, about the families suffering.
My head and heart hurts.

The end.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time: The extra hour to do so much catching up. I've always welcomed the "fall back" hour. So this is it, truly the end of autumn. This morning's sun is splashing everywhere. I love the way light fills up the trees, especially our sugar maples with bright yellow leaves. I have been working on a sequence of poems. With the lead poem giving me instruction with each revision.

We've been making large pots of applesauce all weekend. Putting up pints and quarts. Going to give some away. I love the way the pot lids burble in the making, the whisper of steam. We have an exception apple corer, which peels the apple and cores it; then slices rings perfectly.
Seeing all the jars and containers lined up on the counter makes me feel rich. I love sharing it with people who get a lot of pleasure out of it.

Planning a meal on wheels today, taking dinner to my oldest son's family. I've been wanting to see the children, but their schedule is so busy. I had hoped that they would have time to come visit and pick apples and go for a tractor ride, but they participate in ice hockey and have games
all weekend long. Too bad, it's a perfect day to come to the farm. Bright blue skies and sun, especially pleasant after a day of rain. So we're going there, which is 45 minutes away. This should be a whirlwind visit, but fun.

Yesterday, or maybe two days ago, I shared my shower with a blond spider, I saw it hanging on its silk, dangling from the shower ceiling, when I turn my back to the spray of warm water. At first, I was startled because it was suspended at eye level, but I didn't flail or freak, rather watched the spider yo-yo in front of me. Whenever it touched the ceiling, its body glowed, like a firefly's luminescence-- greenish-yellow-- emitting a little spark. Who knew? I would have been really startled if it had landed on my shoulder while I had my back to its descent. Not sure how I would feel about an unexpected spider massage.

That's all for now.