Thursday, December 25, 2008

Seaweed salad circuit breaker smile


Happy Merry Everyday--oh, yeah, Christmas, too!

I've had a lovely Christmas so far. I talked to my parents in Montana & confirmed that Zach had indeed surprise arrived last night, with cousins in tow. (He picked them up on the way.) Drew a bunch of pictures (see one of them above) while a friend read to me from the words of (translated directly from the Aramaic) Yeshua/Jesus. Ate breakfast. Did some more cleaning to prepare for Nick & Chloe's arrival tomorrow. Discovered that a vacuum cleaner overloads the apartment's wimpy circuit breaker. Finished by sweeping instead (after the breaker was successfully (hurray!) reset). Walked downtown, where most everything (as expected) was closed. The park where the local homeless folk hang out was thriving. I was told by one gentleman, after he wished me Merry Christmas & I returned the favor, that mine was the prettiest smile he'd seen all day, so I gave him another. Then, after I'd decided to take a slightly different route than usual home, I discovered that a sushi restaurant was open so I had seaweed salad & eel avocado roll & Japanese beer. Delicious. You've got to love chopsticks Christmas day. & now I am back home, (e)talking to you. Did I mention it was so warm I wore a blazer & skirt & beret? We have had quite the temperature swings, from 70 degrees to 17 a few days later. (Did I mention my apartment has no insulation? I am so glad for the shrink & seal window film.)

May you find peace & prosperity & joy & love within your heart this day--& every day, by the way.

Blog alternative:
161. Give someone the prettiest smile they've seen all day--or at least a finalist.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Darius the Persian learns PowerPoint

Alpha Beta Delta Theta Phi Machine:
There4 & BCause

11 December.

If we skip one 1, we can pretend it is the first & I am blogaciously efficient. But 11 is a nice number. One of my favorites.

This morning we have rain & around 60 degrees, the same as yesterday. I hope the pattern holds, for it was dry in the afternoon & I would like to do laundry today. I am almost out of socks & do not want to resort to what a friend used to call "doing laundry at Target." But I don't want to lug my laundry outside & down the basement steps & then back, having had the rain undry the top layer...

In front of me I have a couple of textbooks. Textbooks! I'm so excited. I just signed up for a bunch of continuing education classes at ABTech. Spanish I & Wine Appreciation & Intro to Screenwriting & several 1-day-intensives: Flash & Powerpoint & Photoshop. Combine this with all my Teaching Company video courses & I'm one educated puppy! I shall keep you posted. The ABTech classes don't start until January & February.

I'm sure there are bunches of things that floated through my brain on my way to December 11th, that I was planning to tell you, but you shall just have to tell yourself bunches of things instead. What's floating through your brain right now? If it's not a thing you would want to put in there, replace it with something more fun or interesting or enlightening or comforting or joyous or peaceful or (you get the drift).

So now I am planning to peruse my textbooks & draw on placemats & such. Be a great day.

Blog alternative:
160. Learn something or at least plan to. Sign up for a class or read a book or just go to Wikipedia & look up a subject you are curious about. Perhaps Darius the Persian or Chaos Theory or Athena's mother.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pistachios, picture & perfect

The face of peace
(for Helen, who told me
she likes the blogs with the pictures best!)

Happy Appreciation Day!

By which--if you've been reading my blog for more than 5 minutes you will know--I mean: Happy every singular day.

I had a walk in the woods & a picnic by a lake. Pulled pork sandwiches, pistachios (pre-shelled), chocolate, bottles of water. I did bring a little screwtop bottle of chardonnay, but we decided to wait on that. The temperature was perfection itself--around 60, clear, still.

& now I am going to play cards & eat apple pie & vanilla ice cream, so hasta la tomorrow--or some today after that.


Blog alternative:
159. Plan a picnic, even if weather dictates you do it on the floor of the living room.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baristas forever

An old man leaves a coffee shop. The barista calls out, "Jim? You leaving?" & he raises his cup in salute as he keeps walking. When he came in, she talked about how they were all filled up & his usual table wasn't available. He expressed a little distress that he'd forgot to bring something in for her & she said, "Don't worry about it. You'll be here tomorrow." She told him about a show she'd recently watched, about the worst plane crash ever. (Apparently he's got a fascination for disasters.) He's in some stage or other of disconnecting from this life, but this coffee shop, this barista, are a point of connection. Hurray for him. Hurray for her. Baristas forever!

Zach's friend didn't hear back from the Knoxville car guy, so that ebay deal is a no-deal. I will be content with connecting with Zach by phone & email & warm fuzzy thoughts for the nonce. It's a good thing I didn't go see Nick; he & his Skritter dudes spent about 1 hour NOT working during the period I would have been there. (The content of the non-working hour? Guitar Hero.)

I have a playdate with a new friend (she's a publisher I met at the Mark Strand reading) today at 4:03. Will be fun to talk with her about art & words & creativity in general.

Last night I watched Patch Adams which is based on the true story of one of the first doctors to really use humor & laughter as major components of healing. (You can check out the continuing real life exploits out at if you wish.) It was partly filmed in Asheville! Very uplifting. Gesundheit!

I'm refining my mission statement. Currently it is:

To be an actively contagious example of
joy & peace & creativity.

I'll probably come up with an even better statement soon, but why wait for even better?

Blog alternative:
158. Refine your mission statement.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Puerto Rico quantum fizzikal crockpot refrigerator art

I've been spoiled by organic free-range wifi, & the pesky little devils have been avoiding my apartment. I see their tracks, & their ghosts, but they don't let me me load up. Oh well. It gets me out to coffee shops a bit more often.

Why does it take wifi? Because my apartment is so lovely & increasingly-well-ordered. You should see my bathroom! (That is entirely rhetorical, of course. I am NOT inviting you to see my bathroom, just to imagine a room that has been reinvigorated with cleanliness & simplicity.)

So, it's been a nice satisfying length of time since I posted, while I have been doing & being all kinds of wonderfulfun. Here is a short list. (incomplete & without much detail...)

My uncle came to visit while he was at Knoxville (a mere 2 hours away) in training for his new job. Hurray for the fall of the golden handcuffs. He & I had many hours of congenial talking--which is unusual, given that most of the time when we see each other there are numerous relatives who are talkier than he is, so he is content to put in the occasional word. We drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway & saw the splendor of the autumn leaves, which were a full month later than usual, which I claimed was for his benefit, which then spawned a long conversation on quantum physics & the holographic universe (how many uncles (or nieces, for that matter!) would be all up to speed on current cosmology & quantum reality & such?) & we stood & watched a skateboarding competition at the skate park a few blocks from my apartment & saw part of the Shriner's parade (grown men in funny hats doing high speed formations in itty bitty semi trucks, for example) & listened to bluegrass at Jack of the Wood & had brunch with one of my good friends & just generally enjoyed ourselves. Thanks for the visit, Paul.

Two students from Puerto Rico did a project on "egg horror poem" & wrote me for background info. I was honored they chose my poem & they were honored I wrote back to them & it was a total honor & appreciation fest! (Hi Jennifer & Carlos!) They even sent me a photo of their project, which was fun to see.

I almost drove to Ohio to give Nick & his compadres my old Edenpure heater (I being in possession of a new one) but then they got more travel plans--another language conference, if I am remembering correctly, & ANOTHER grant (yay them!) to help take advantage of such opportunities--so I decided to just send them the heater & drive up to visit another time.

Oh, & I might get to visit Zach if he comes down to my vicinity to help one of his friends buy a car from ebay & drive it back to Minnesota.

More persons (okay, at least one more person (hi Chloe!)) did a 75(ish) things I appreciate list.

I read the current North Carolina Woman magazine which had a guest editorial from Christine Kane's blog (the September 22nd 2008 entry from the archives, if you're so moved to check it out at entitled "How to Stop a Recession in Its Tracks" which was very lovely & inspiring.

My sister sent me refrigerator art! Done by her own talented hands. Yay. (She sent this to me because I sent her some watercolor pencils & required refrigerator art as a consequence of said action. Then I had to bug her to get the finished product, but it finally came, with the most wonderfully calligraphed envelope. My address has never looked so pretty.) One of the artworks was a little sticky note drawing of a crockpot. (My niece was doing a poem about the crockpot (my other niece did a coffee pot back when it was her turn) for a poem about kitchen appliances assignment.)

This totally inspired me & I went out & bought a crockpot at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (I was going to go comparison-shopping & peruse Target first, but I made the mistake of going out on Saturday afternoon & I was HORRIFIED by the weekend shopping traffic. B, B & Beyond's turn-off was first, so there I went & there I stayed. I had coupons, anyway.) I told the guy who was helping me--crockpot being only one of the things on my list to acquire--that I'd last owned one when it was a pot that sat on a little hot plate thingy & he said, "What, before the industrial revolution?" I said pretty much & admitted that it was 1980. He said, "Well, I was born then." I guessed that he had been 3 then, & he said no, he was 2. Anyway, he was helpful, although he cringed when I brought a "professional" cake pan over to him & asked if he had any "non-professional" ones because I didn't care too much about the quality. He said, "Well, you should!" (This is not a case of my favorite punctuating; I could hear the exclamation point.) Then, when I was getting a baster--recently I cooked cornish game hens & was dismayed to discover I could not baste because I had no baster--he whisked the one out of my hand & said, "No, not that one." (I could hear the italics.) He pointed me to one that had an injection needle & this cute little sprinkling head that would each screw on. Very cute. I love basting things.

Blog alternative(s)(because I'm so excited I can't choose just one):
154. Write a poem about a kitchen appliance.
155. Crockpot (or baste!) something.
156. Send someone art supplies & require refrigerator art in return.
157. Send someone refrigerator art.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hatshepsut black licorice aluminum foil

shining heart & new omega

my friend Cathy (Yaypigeons) did an exercise from my blog on her blog & then someone else (Wingcolor) picked it up from her & I decided to be reinfected, so here goes with 75 things I appreciate.

the phrase zippy skippy. lemonade. voting. the moon. chaos theory. Alex Grey. gold coins. elves. bamboo dish racks. spray roses. multiples of 13. aluminum foil. my organic cotton bedspread. collaging. the Minneapolis Institute of Art. my postcard collection, haphazardly stuck to my wall. pueblos. soy sauce. shamanic acupuncture. scissors. well-designed storage. refrigerator magnets. shrink & seal window insulating kits. the persistence of vision. Henry David Thoreau. stained glass. poetry. re-inventing the wheel. geranium-scented dish soap. relaxation. Mesopotamia. feta cheese. skateboarders. my Edenpure heater. Hatshepsut. umbrellas. horses. volcanoes. forensic pathology. conversations with my sons. Australia. grapefruit with greek yogurt & salt. cumulonimbus clouds. the Teaching Company. bridges. carabiners. Duluth. oatmeal pancakes with butter & syrup. street musicians. colored markers. wine. the peace sign. clean laundry. the smell of fresh cut grass, I mean, wood, I mean alfalfa--heck, all three. pattern recognition. the Law of Attraction. flirting with babies I don't know. cuddling in bed after daylight savings time switches back to standard. comfortable shoes. tropical fish. etymology. visiting with relatives. learning a new whatever. cork floors. black licorice. Malcolm Gladwell. the crab nebula.

Blog alternative:
153. List 75 (or so) MORE things you appreciate. (If you did it before, consult your other list. Don't repeat.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mr. Rye for dogcatcher

& now, in honor of the upcoming election...

I don't want you to
agree with me--

I want you to agree
with YOU

you the whole you & nothing but the you
you the expanded version
you squared
you plus
you unabridged
you the director's cut
true blue you
you undiluted
you unadulterated
100% free range organic you
super you
you on steroids
ultimate you
you you you

& I guess all you have to do--all any of us have to do--is figure out who we are & what's likely to agree with us...

Blog alternative--
but first
I just talked to a friend who reads my blogs but missed out on the genesis & explanation of the Blog alternative. So (Hi Ken) here it is: back on April 18th of ought-something, shortly after I'd begun the blog, I did a little anti-bloggy post, explaining that I didn't really believe in either the writing or reading of blogs, but of living ones life. I listed 25 (I believe) things one might do rather than web anythinging & have continued giving suggestions. The true perversity of this is that one must read my blog to get my suggestions, so I suggest one come up with ones own suggestions instead. But, here goes, today's suggestion, the
Blog alternative:
152. Sit somewhere in public--a coffee shop, the library, a bank lobby--& draw a cartoon (stick figures rock, & anyone can do them) for the election. Focus on YOUR candidate & what YOU want to see happen when he/she/it is elected. Any election: presidential or school board, commissioner of agriculture or dog catcher. (Are dog catchers elected or appointed?)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Placebo Side Effects

I have rekindled my romance with words.

For the last couple days I've been rather maniacally poeting. Got up in the middle of the night to write a poem about gravity. (Don't laugh, it's not my first poem about gravity...) Plus I just read Immersed in Verse by (Asheville local & kick-ass-poet/performer) Allan Wolf, which is a book for young (hey, I'm only version 4.9) poets. & today I just bought & read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, which absolutely truly rocks. Plus it has pictures.

(So don't worry, pictures, I haven't given up my romance with you.)


I feel very happy. Happy as a white scarf that used to live on Elvis's sweaty neck & now is the most treasured possession of a 73-year-old named Betty-Sue who keeps it in a shadow-box on her bedroom wall (until she has to sell it on e-bay to pay the nursing home rent).

Giddy. Giggly. Galumphing. If I was Eeyore, my useful pot to put things in would be filled with favorite words. & colors.

This blog is sponsored by my friend Cathy's favorite words: umbrella & parapluie. She is participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which starts today. I call her novelista. I ain't gonna do it, but I have written half a dozen poems in the last 17 hours. Some of them illustrated. (Or, since the illustrations came first, I should perhaps say the pictures were poeticized.)

I did not dress up for Halloween. I didn't even buy any candy. So I made sure the porch light was off so no children/large old children would be disappointed when I tried to give them a teabag instead. (No, really, it's lapsang souchong, my favorite--just add hot water.)

Watched The Running Man, which held up very well for being a 21-year-old science fiction movie. Almost eerie, with the stuff about "patriots." Plus Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger & former-governor Jesse Ventura were both in it. Funny.

To totally change the subject: a friend of mine saw an article in the paper the other day about more & more doctors prescribing placebos for their patients. Fewer side effects, just as effective. Wouldn't it be cool if a doc prescribed a sugar pill & said, "Now, this is going to have side effects. You're going to be more relaxed & mellowed out, with increased sensitivity to media, so I recommend staying home & meditating. No newspapers. No television. No talk radio. Pay attention to your own breathing. Be sensitive to your soul's needs. Say no to anything you don't want to do. If you aren't better in a week, take another dose."

Blog alternative:
151. Make up a placebo & a lovely list of side effects. I recommend a tiny square of cheese--some kind that folds easily. Place a smudge of peanut butter in the center & fold. Place the little triangle on the center of your tongue & close your eyes & just let it sit there for at least 15 seconds before you chew it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pwobly a waccoon

A couple unconnected things. First, a weather report from Montana. Last weekend my parents (Nye) & my sister & brother-in-law (Red Lodge) had between 30 & 40 inches of snow. Yeesh. My sister & brother-in-law at Hysham had 125 acres of hay cut, with oh, only 8 inches or so of snow. I haven't checked with them to see if things melted off & dried up enough to actually bale it...

Plus I had a fun experience in a grocery store a few days ago. My purchases included a bottle of wine & I got carded! It took me a moment to register what was happening, because the clerk sounded as if she was saying "Ah day." (That's southern for I.D.) I happily whipped out my driver's license, which shows that I am 49&1/2.

The weather here? Cloudy. Sporadic drizzle. Turning leaves. In other words, perfect.

Blog alternative:
150. Reread a favorite childhood book. (For me, today, that was Rascal, by Sterling North. A lovely book. Plus, since the title character is a raccoon, it reminds me a family story, my niece Heidi, when she was very young, was riding up to Nye with my parents. Whenever they passed roadkill, even if it was a deer, she would nod sagely & say "Pwably a waccoon.")

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tell me a story--& make it a good one


I don't think I've really talked to you since my return from the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. Having too much fun! It's funny, my friend Cathy (see her blog at Yaypigeons) worries that people will worry if she doesn't post much. I, on the very other hand, worry that you'll worry if I'm posting a lot. What's the matter? you will think. She must not be having enough fun. Grin. Well, October's been a blast, & I have a paucity of posts to prove it. (Say the end of that sentence 3 time fast--I dare ya.)

The festival was great. The weather, the drive, the hotel (does anyone else think Red Roof Inn has a GREAT designer?), the storytellers, the Omigosh food! There's a restaurant on historic Main Street in Jonesborough (The Bistro? that might be the name...) that had the bestest breakfast ever. The owner is the chef & he knows what he's doing. To give you a clue--even the honeydew melon (that typically honey-don't hard tasteless pale green stuff) was sweet & succulent. Sheesh. I had the seafood frittata & my friend had the low country breakfast, which was eggs & grits & shrimp & fried green tomatoes. Also the coffee was great--after liberal application of cream.

Jonesborough was very interesting, historically, as well. It was the first place abolitionist publications were printed & was briefly one of the 3 capitols of the State of Franklin, a tiny bit of North Carolina that broke away & then, after unsuccessfully petitioning for admission to the union, became part of Tennessee instead.

I'll end with a quote from Kevin Kling. Should you ever get a chance to hear him speak, avail yourself of it. (He's from Minnesota, & you know they've got great people there. Grin.) He was born with a handicapped arm & in 2000 had a motorcycle accident that cost him the use of his other arm, so now the little arm is the "good" one. His quote: "There's the trip you plan, & the trip you take. Sooner or later you must give in to the journey."

Blog alternative:
149. Tell the story of your today exactly as you would like it to be. If there are "realities" that are getting in the way of your living the life you would like it to be, don't let them get in the way of the story.

Monday, October 6, 2008

News flash: The future passed before us

Blog alternative:
148. Do something backwards. Eat dessert first, for example. Or write "The End" & start your story from there.

Goodbye. It's been lovely talking with you. E-see you soon.

They say life is lived forward & understood backwards. A friend of mine says, if you want to predict the future, invent it.

Time to put the laundry away & sundry & various otherthings, so


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Helvetica on my Mind

Habit of Thought
House in Order

I wanted to post this in Helvetica, in honor of the documentary of that name that I just saw, but alas, Helvetica is not an option. I could use Arial, Helvetica's cousin, but that's not close enough.

However--& I find this exciting--the guy who designed Georgia was in the documentary & Georgia is my font of choice for this blog. How cool to meet (in the most distant of ways) the designer. Anyway, if you're into typeface or design or societal impacts of media or quirky people, you may want to see Helvetica.

Another fun watch was Kenny, an Australian flick about porta-potties. But it is so much more... Also seen: the strangely wonderful Lars & the Real Girl. Would you elect a life-sized doll to the school board?

After several years of not having or using a calendar, I bought one today, a little moleskine monthly organizer/notebook for 2009. I have the feeling I am going to be scheduling a few more activities. Author in the school visits. Science fiction conventions. Deadlines for furniture design contests. International story-telling festivals. (Because I'm going to the one in Jonesboro, Tennessee, this weekend!)

Blog alternative:
147. Write down 3 strange & wonderful things you might enter in a future calendar. Trip to (my favorite moon) Titan. Paint mural on back of garage. Lunch with the Dalai Lama.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pablo Neruda & I


You've been elected to the government!

I received something exciting--& HEAVY--in an envelope the other day.

McDougal Littell's 9th grade Literature textbook.

Why? you might ask. No, I am not back in the 9th grade. (thank whomever!)

On page 703 is my photograph--right beneath one of Pablo Neruda!--& on pages 710 & 711 is "egg horror poem." I am so excited, my brain is scrambled. (ah, the horror, say the eggs.)


I think I'll see if some classrooms want to have me do some author-in-the-schools presentations. Should be fun.

Blog alternative:
146. Education means to draw forth. The thing we currently call "education" would be more properly termed schooling or training. Draw something essential from yourself. From a child. From a lover. From a friend. From a stranger. Don't "pour in" something from outside. Draw forth.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Eating coleslaw with my fingers

Gas in Asheville isn't expensive--it's unavailable. At least yesterday. (I'm lying, I heard reports of at least one station open, with long lines at the pumps, but that wasn't my experience, so I'll just say what I saw: plastic or paper bags on ALL the pump handles of the 5 gas stations I drove through or past.)

I have suggestions on how to deal with this, & global warming, & teenage pregnancy:

1. Eat coleslaw with your fingers.
2. Purchase & use art supplies (see coleslaw in the previous line for an example) even if--especially if--you don't think of yourself as an artist.
3. Take a long bath or luxurious shower. Don't just shampoo--give yourself a scalp massage. Worship your body with soap & water. (Plus you just might need a good washing up after suggestions 1 & 2.)

I am really not joking. The things one might do to directly combat diminished gas supplies caused by a hurricane & anything that starts with "global" & anything that starts with "teenage" are likely to be miniscule, a drop in the Mediterranean Sea, & also extremely likely to make you feel inadequate because you can't solve the problem and/or pissed off because you are made to believe you ought to (whether you actually do or not) park your Rambo 9000 that gets 7 mpg/highway or give condoms to kids that you think ought to keep it in their (or at least out of her) pants or quit taking long baths & luxurious showers.

What do my three suggestions do for the environment & global & moral climates? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. I don't care. What I care is what they do for you. Make you feel creative. Make you feel cherished. Make you feel bold, daring, childish.

Please do NOT knock these until you have tried them. All of them. It needn't be specifically coleslaw, of course. Mashed potatoes will do as well--even better with lots of gravy. I picked coleslaw because I had some the other night, with barbecued ribs & sauteed vegetables. Now, it's perfectly common--even de rigeur--to eat ribs with ones fingers. Coleslaw? Not so much. It's not that I didn't have a fork. There was one on the table beside my plate, courtesy of my dining companion, who was NOT eating coleslaw with his fingers. (But I will not hold that against him. Grin.) It was a whim, a barbarian child whim, which caused great pleasure on the execution of impulse. So I continued, fingers dripping white stuff (what is that white stuff anyway?) & a big silly grin on my already-barbecue-stained face.

So what.

Who's more effective? More likely to come up with big ideas & creative solutions & have fun doing it--or at least to enjoy life to the max no matter what's happening?

Someone who's smiling, messy-fingered, creative-brained, no-limiting-factors-need-apply?
Or someone who's fearful, whiny, rigid, I-can't-do-that-&-I-doubt-if-anyone-else-can?

I have my opinion; I'll let you have yours.

I just read the BEST book, which was recommended by my brilliant son Nick, he of Skritter fame.

(Another best book, you sigh. But you know Superlative is my middle name. (Oh, & also Parenthetical.))

This one is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by brothers Chip & Dan Heath. This book rocks, expanding the concept of the sticky idea first introduced in one of my other best books, The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell.)

(Oh, & Dan Heath lives in Raleigh, a mere few hours away. I think I'll invite him to lunch. Ribs & coleslaw, perhaps. After I can buy gas again...)

Blog alternative:
145. Eat coleslaw with your fingers. Bonus if you use that white stuff to draw on the (I hope it's plastic) tablecloth.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Disappoint Olaf

evolution of each & every femtosecond:
to love
to awareness & preference
to flower & fruit
My parents' 50th was a splendid celebration. Get 200+ of your dearest & best together & you get--well, tired. Many other things as well, but by the end of it you're ready for a nap. Or hibernation, at least for a few days.

At the beautiful gathering, one dear friend, Olaf, who we used to buy potatoes from (hundreds of pounds of potatoes, for us & our friends & relatives--we'd go to Big Timber in the pickup & hang out with Olaf & Gladys & their kids & then drive home with the pickup bed loaded with burlap sacks, each containing 100 pounds of potatoes. & who was lying in the back of the pickup, on top of those lumpy sacks, barely fitting between the spuds & the topper? me, & my sisters. & then we had to peel them & sprout them... at least we got to eat them. mashed. fried. boiled & smushed with a fork & covered with butter & salt. baked. mmm. oh yeah, I was telling a story that wasn't about potatoes, but rather about being true to ones self. & so I return to it) one dear friend, Olaf, invited my folks & my uncle Bud to come over to Big Timber the following Friday, a mere 5 days from the spectacular gathering that was occurring at that moment. Olaf had a busload of 45 Norwegians coming & there was to be a party & he'd dearly love it if Mom & Dad & Uncle Bud would attend.

Now my parents have nothing against Norwegians (if they did, they wouldn't be nearly as fond of themselves & their children as they are, for we are all lousy with Norsky genes) but you could hear the sighs as they spoke of this possibility. The weekend before the anniversary they had hosted their annual corn party, for the seed corn customers. Now the anniversary, which lasted for some 7 hours, & of course there were post-party-parties & visiting & dear friends from out of town sticking around for a few days yet, & this daughter from North Carolina hanging out for another week-&-a-half. & yet--

& yet, they were seriously considering going off to see the Norwegians. "Olaf would be disappointed," they said. I got all mouthy & eldest-child-ish on them. "So. If you don't go, Olaf will be disappointed. If you do go, you will be disappointed. If somebody has to be disappointed, I vote Olaf!" I don't know whether my plea for selfishness tipped the scales or not, but they did indeed call the next morning & talk to Uncle Bud, who was kinda sorta feeling the same way, & then let Olaf know that they would let him welcome the Norwegians without them. Yee-haw! This is big for my parents. They frequently try to be all things to all people & that can be a bit tiring. So, congratulations, dear Mom, dear Dad. I'm proud of you. Way to look out for your own best interests.

Blog alternative:
144. Disappoint Olaf. Well, not specifically Olaf, but someone who would like you to do something that you would just as soon not do.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Appreciation: an individualized 75-step program

self portrait as intersection
of therefore & because
pulled pork. brown paper with white pencils & graphite. a little coffee in my cream. peacock feathers. cosmic energy flowing through my awareness. cobalt blue glass. sticky notes. angels. new metallic pencils. hot stone massage. the Eye of Horus. a picture of my grandmother & I when I was a fat little baby in the secret garden. philosophy. physics. glass block. waterfalls. fast cars with 5-point racing harnesses. tea pots. sesame kale. daisies. vinegar. long bath in a clawfoot tub with sudoku. wisdom. ancient egypt. things with wings. chocolate buttermilk cake. light switches. independence. folding bookshelves. college. playing cards with my parents. internet startup companies. walking. the change of the seasons. lambswool slippers with leather soles. the sun. symbology. ink. exuberant neighbors. poetry. my body. placemats. community ed classes. empty lots with shared driveways. miniblinds. roses. magic. peanut butter. naps. cell phones. opportunity knocking knocking knocking. ideas. fountains. spacetime. flush toilets. shadows & reflections. heartmind. wine. evolution. femtoseconds. leapfrog. magazines. quantum superposition. fried chicken thighs. eyes. re-realization. round tables. sex. peace. spiral anythings. inventing. silver linings. the kitchen sink.

Blog alternative:
143. write down 75 things you appreciate

Friday, September 12, 2008

Half-price manicure

I have returned!

I Minnesota'd briefly & North Dakota'd even more briefly, especially since I was riding with race car boy. (We only got up to 125 mph for a little while, but there were long stretches at 90, 100, 110...) (btw, it was a blast, & I'm even more excited by my son's potential racing career.)

My parents' 50th anniversary party was a tremendous success, enjoyed by all & sundry. We didn't succeed in getting everyone to sign the guest book, so we're only estimating that there were 200 people there. Maybe more. Probably not less.

Besides the party, I helped freeze corn & make pickles--the cutest baby dills you have EVER seen in your whole life--& ate bunches of great food, including steak & burgers & salmon my daddy caught in Alaska earlier this year.

Mostly though, I played cards. Pinochle. Casino. A little cribbage--one game to be exact, with my dad, & I won. This is an unusual occurence for persons playing cribbage with my dad, so I instantly retired at the height of my career. Grin. & then there were endless games of Pitch. Pitch is a really excellent 3-handed game, unlike Pinochle, which is a mean, nasty, ganging-up sort of 3-handed game, so Mom & Dad & I played game after game of it. We didn't keep track of who won how many, but each of us had great winning streaks & not-so-great losing streaks. It was a blast.

I got to see my sisters & brother, & their families. Both of my kids came, one with a girlfriend in tow (hi Chloe!), & dozens of other relatives.

I'll end this with a story of one of my cousins. If you don't like blood, skip right to the blog alternative. She was in the process of building a shelf with her husband & there was a staple in the end of the last board they cut & that made the board twist & she cut off three fingers of her right hand at the knuckle. Yep, she's right-handed. (Although perhaps less so than she used to be...)

I don't tell this story merely to titillate you with blood & gore, but to illustrate a fabulous spirit. She's planning on continuing to have a marvelous life & learning to operate so she can do everything she needs & wants to do. The day she cut off her fingers she joked that perhaps she'd get half-off on manicures, for that hand at least. I don't know if this impresses you, but it does me. I will guarantee that her healing process will be astonishing.

Blog alternative:
142. Appreciate your fingers & all they do for you. Give yourself a little hand massage. A manicure? Maybe, like my parents' pastor, you're already missing one. (A similar accident to my cousin's.) You know what he does? (A similar magnificent spirit.) He holds up that hand & says, "Give me four!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde & King Tut walk into a bar...

Self Portrait as Sailboat & Sky

Yes, the above image means the camera is still AWOL. Oh well.

I just had a treatment from my acupuncturist--I was her first client after her return from a shamanic retreat in Peru. I'm sure I got some extra-great energy because of that. Now she's got the nervous system tuned up to the level that it will help the massages be even more effective. One more massage & a haircut & then it's off to the north.

I'm mostly packed. How long does it take if you're just taking a backpack & a toiletries bag? Well, as Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde or King Tut--I think it was one of those guys--put it. "I'd have written a shorter letter but I didn't have time." When you're packing that lightly, everything must be carefully chosen.

Today we have rain. Yay. A gentle soaker. Sounds fabulous, falling on the roofs & trees & streets. Punches up the colors. Feels soft & cleansing on the skin & hair. (Yes, that means I didn't have an umbrella in the car when I went to get my mail & have lunch downtown after acupuncture. Also it means that I didn't have any change & had to park several blocks away from the restaurant where there was a space without a meter. Which was great, because it was a gentle rain & I'm not QUITE sweet enough to melt. Grin.)

Okay, so time to finish packing & straighten things up & maybe paint some more & order a course or two from The Teaching Company. (I'm thinking My Favorite Universe & Consciousness & Its Implications. The ancient Egypt one is REALLY long & I'm not quite desiring that level of detail at this point. (48 lectures!))

So, if you are among those whom I will see in Minnesota & Montana, see you soon. If not, well, um, Bye.

Blog alternative:
141. The universe is 13.7 billion years old, according to the current best estimate. I like to think of it--let's say her, just to personalize things a bit (& make the end of this sentence less awkward)--as a teenager, so close to 14 she fudges a little. So think about the universe as a young teenager. Think how well she's doing, how much she's learning, how much lovely life is ahead of her, how glad you are that she exists, pimples & gawk & all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fonting at the mouth--we think she's rabid!

House in Order

I was going to give you a photograph of a painting, but I can't find my camera. Let's hope it's temporary. Not that I don't need a new camera, but the old Olympus would be a great back-up, & it has a big ole memory card in it... Hence, another little quick paint program drawing for you.

So, yes, I have been painting, which is great fun. Can't show you unless you happen to be in Asheville, or I find my camera. (If you're psychic & you see where it is, could you email me & let me know?)

On the mental front--& yes, I know, Cathy, you think 24 lectures on quantum cosmology qualifies as mental--I finished the dark matter, dark energy lectures. (Have already written a poem about string theory as somewhat of a slut.)

Plus lots of other stuff, most notably

"Going Back in Time"

(you'll have to imagine the purple part crossed out
(overstricken?) leaving only "in")

has been published!

Check out the Oct/Nov All-Star Anniversary Issue! of
Fantasy & Science Fiction

I know, fonting at the mouth, but this is exciting. I've already received fan (e)mail. (Hi, Jeremiah.) I love quantum physics. (In a dreamy-eyed groupie sort of way, rather than a fervent, in-the-trenches, do-the-math sort of way.)

Oh, & my massage therapist surprised me last week by saying, "Well, I think I've got you finished off in an hour & a half. You're so much better." This week he dug deeper in other tissues, but all the while complimenting me & my musckles on our progress. I am SO much better. Still more flexibility on its way. I have one more massage before I take off for a couple weeks in Montana. Will my relatives recognize me as a puddle of goo? More important is the fact that I am indeed beginning to recognize myself that way.

I'm not taking my computer to Montana. You should see how I'm planning to pack: 1 backpack (of the sort that students haul books around in, not the sort that will take you into the wilderness with pouches of dehydrated food & a sleeping bag) & 1 toiletries bag that is big enough to hold a journal in its largest pouch. That's for 2 weeks! I'll always be places I can do laundry & should I need a winter jacket--not likely but still not out of the question for Montana at the end of August--I have plenty of relatives who would lend me one. Anyway, I may or may not (with an accent on may not) post much while I'm out there. (& you ask me politely why I am telling you this, since I've been not posting much here. Grin. Guilty. The numbers don't lie. Just think how much fun I've been having while I've not been writing about it!)

Blog alternative:
140. Consider time travel. When would you go back to & why? Think about how it might make now different. Would you still go? What if you could just go back & observe something, invisibly?

Monday, August 11, 2008

A watched scarf never doubleboils

Heart Flower

Happy August 11th.

I've been doing fun things like watching Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe. Much more intense & brain-stretching than the The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty & Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas. (Which I also really enjoyed.) I'm getting up to speed, kinda sorta, on current cosmology. Very interesting. I haven't broken out the Greek mythology one yet--6 more physics lectures to go first--& I'm already planning to order one on ancient Egypt. So, let this be a warning to you. The Teaching Company is delightfully dangerous!

I also did some silk painting, a little 11x11 scarf, with my new scroll frame & the black gutta (that's the stuff that keeps the dye contained in the area you choose it to be contained in--providing you've put it on correctly. Sadly, it is all too easy to let pink bleed into yellow & blue, as I discovered on the scarf. I'm sure I'll get better.) So, I have a big pot of scarves cooking on the stove right now in the double boiler. Not only hadn't I done any more silk painting since my class, but I hadn't "cured" the ones I did then. I hope this works well.

My plans for Montana are set. I'm going to fly to Minneapolis, visit with friends there (gotta arrange that--if you are a Twin Cities friend & you are reading this, get ahold of me, pretty please) & have Zach pick me up in his racy car & drive to Montana with him. He tells me I won't like it, since it's loud & uncomfortable, but I'm willing to put up with that for some concerted hours with my car boy. Then, after my parents' 50th (happy!) anniversary & my dad's birthday, I'll fly back to Asheville from Billings. & all on frequent flier miles. Yay me. Plus Nick & his girlfriend are going to fly out there as well. Should be a fabulific time.

We've had some hot days here, but we're in the middle of a beautiful spate of cooler ones. Hark, doth Autumn approach?

I've talked about the weather now, so all I need now are religion, politics & sports. Oh, & my health--which is better than everbefore, I believe. Okay, politics: I'm excited about the upcoming election. I have my preferences, but I truly believe all is well & what we've just been through & continue to go through are setting the stage for a powerful new reality. Spirituality: I am more purely-centered than I've ever been. Sports--okay, you've got me there. Hmmm. Sports. Sports. Oh, yeah, Tiger Woods won something or other, didn't he? If walking is a sport, I had a nice one the other day in Flat Rock, where Carl Sandburg lived.

Blog alternative:
139. Look at some partially-finished artsy project. Do you want to finish it? Go ahead. Or at least set it up to finish. Assemble the tools/ingredients & make a list of the next steps. Do you NOT want to finish it? Give it to someone who might. Or set it out on your step or on a park bench for a random stranger to find. Or throw it away.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Woman adopts abandoned bunk bed ladder

I have been thinking of you. & of blogging. I mentally blog quite a bit, thinking of topics & bits & phrases. Most of the time, I then go happily on, doing the thing I'd thought of telling you about, or its pleasant equivalent, as the ether remains unscathed (or unrewarded, if you prefer) by my telling.


Part of it is about flow. There's a certain amount of stoppingness & startingness in firing up the computer & popping out of the here-osphere (or there-osphere) & into the blogosphere. Part of it is that I've gotten into more & more pleasure with just being & doing--meditating, drawing or painting, umm--you're way ahead of me--"Well, isn't writing a form of doing? How about drawing a little picture on your tablet pc or taking a photo of one of your journal pages? That's a form of doing."

Ooops. Trueness. Hmmm. Might have to think about this for awhile. (Yet another form of doing. Grin.)

So I don't necessarily promise to blog more often, but I might.

Here are a few of the bits that made it into the imaginary blog.

New furniture & wealth of Gigi's:

Dear Gigi,

I just unearthed your book from a pile that had eaten it & read it Tuesday night. (with extreme pleasure, btw. god, what a voice!)

[btw, should you be interested in reading Gigi Amateau's novel, it is called Claiming Georgia Tate.]

Then, on Wednesday, my friend (& executive assistant) Elizabeth & I went out for lunch. She wanted Thai food, so after eating I suggested we stop in at this furniture place going out of business in the same complex as the restaurant. Greatfinds! She bought a sofa & I bought a little storage ottoman & something (possibly a TV stand?) that will hold a billion art supplies/drawings/etc. that I can set another little art supply holder on top of. Very cool. Very inexpensive. Then the tough furniture guys loaded my things into Elizabeth's short-bed truck & we drove them to my apartment. She was all ready to help me carry them up the stairs, but I took an experimental heft of the art thingy (that's a technicalterm) & decided it was beyond my muscular capabilities at the moment. As we were contemplating the large white heavy thing, a nicely-dressed (blouse & skirt) youngish woman (older than Elizabeth, younger than me) was walking past & Elizabeth asked if she could help us carry this up the stairs. She hesitated briefly & agreed. Then she & Elizabeth, without my assistance, got it out of the truck, up a bunch of outside stairs & up the flight & a bit (with a right angle turn!) stairs into my apartment & set it down in the art studio. I helped set it down, all the while thanking them profusely. She introduced herself as Gigi! Okay, I thought, this definitely means I need to get ahold of Gigi, posthaste! The other Gigi took off & I ran after her & gave her a yellow rose & a peach & then Elizabeth & I completely revamped my apartment, in 3 hours, & I took a bath & --

Enough of my letter to Gigi. I love my new furniture. Went back & bought 2 dresser-type mirrors (originally $98 & $88) for a total of $38. (I set one of the mirrors on my drafting table so I can do self portraits.) Oh, & I also purchased a bunk bed ladder.

What? I heare you asking. (That's not a typo, I have combined hear & here to indicate that I am imagining that you are here, & I am hearing you.) A bunk bed ladder? Has she lost her mind?

But it was so cute & so lonely, with no bunk beds in sight & I couldn't just leave it there. Surely I could do something with it! & indeed I have: I leaned it up against the ends of the bookshelves that Elizabeth & I back-to-backed in the living room (which made a very nice little nook for the hunter green damask chaise lounge from Home Decorator's Collection that I assembled myself) & I let it hold books & magazines for me, so I don't lose my page. Some of you may think a piece of paper would do the job (hmm, perhaps I shall invent a special piece of paper for that, call it a hmm, yes, a bookmark--no, that would put my baby bunk bed ladder out of a job) but I disagree. (Please ignore the previous parenthetical!)

I am newly returned from another store that is going out of business, having carried back with me
a little bin thingy & a twirly deal (more technicalterms) that will hold greeting cards & a couple packets of (wholesale-priced) blank greeting cards, with envelopes. Oh, & also a needlework scroll frame.

Hastily, before Cathy & others who know me well call the guys with straitjackets to haul me away (I'm pretty much allergic to even sewing on a button & the idea of cross-stitch is less appealing than cilantro) I will say that it is for silk painting! Not sure how well it will work to do a scarf in bits & pieces, as I let it dry & then roll the next section into the working space, but I am willing to give it a try. I haven't painted a single piece of silk since my class last whenever & I might be more likely to if it didn't involve taking up a giant table with a large wooden frame.

Okay, so that's the (bloated) blog for the day. Now, what you've been waiting for, the

Blog alternative:

138. Adopt a bunk bed ladder. Or at least adapt some something-or-other to a new use.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Overplanner's Anonymouse (Quick, get a trap!)

She had a nose for roses,
& a knack for good weather
inside & out.

Fortunately, the dryer wasn't working too efficiently, so I took a walk around a couple blocks & called my sons & drew the above picture & started this blog. Lucky me. (I am hoping the dryer--on another setting--gets its act together.)

I had me another massage today--goodness, can that guy find the spots that need finding. Yikes! Very therapeutic. Grin. (Back when I was in massage school, we used to call the superficial, feels-good-but-isn't-really-doing-anything sort of massage a fluff n' buff. This was not a fluff n' buff.)

I am looking forward to the day when Brett says, "Wow, you're really relaxed all over. Come back next month." In preparation for this, I have scheduled another therapeutic massage next week, am planning on some more daily stretching &--perhaps most importantly--I had the revelation that one of the the sources of my muscular rigidity was based on an old thought habit. Increasingly, I've been letting go of it, without knowing exactly what I was doing. Now I've figured it out--aha!--& I can be even more effective.

So, you want to know what"it" is, do you? Of course you do. (& if you don't, just skip down to the bottom for the Blog alternative.)

It: I have been, for as long as I can remember, one of those people who has lots of rules or programs or plans for how things do--or should--or will--work. Like planning out a conversation in advance: I'll tell her this & then that & she'll probably be like this & then, blah blah blah. That sort of thing. For someone who will set off into the wild blue of a novel based on a sentence or an image, having an outline for a future conversation is rather preposterous, but there it is, or rather, WAS.

If I am the marvelous being that I know I am, made of light & love & all that, well, that ought to be good enough to handle pretty much any situation, without advance planning. So, when I find myself doing that sort of thing, I just breathe & relax & let it go. I'm doing fairly well. Not perfect, but 40 years or so of a habit (I know I started this sometime in grade school) doesn't have to exit all spit spot spiffy. At least I've given it notice.

More to tell you, but I'd better check on the clothes.

Blog alternative:
137. Ask yourself if you overplan. Plan to do less of it. (Grin.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Palermo Ashiatsu & other unlikely wordpairs

Self Portrait as Peace Leaf


How many times a day do you use (or even think of) that word?

If you are like me, not many.

However, today, here at the coffee shop, I ordered a grilled panini sandwich by the name of Palermo & then--as coolness would have it--I opened up wikipedia (the source of all (or nearly anyway) things cool, according to the gospel of (my son) Nick) & discovered

July 15: Festino of Saint Rosalia in Palermo, Italy

Well, I think it's cool! (& it's my blog so I declare it so. Nyaa, nyaa, nyaa.)

I had a massage again (from Brett Rodgers, iffen you live in or around Asheville or plan to visit here) & it was amazing. My first experience with Ashiatsu (massage using the feet) but NOT my last. In fact, I realize I neglected to make my next appointment, which I shall remedy soon.

I'm going to go home & get some stuff done. Hope your day is all spiffykeenarino, even if you didn't get a truly marvelous massage.

Blog alternative:
136. Get a massage. Really. Or at least schedule one. Or at least daydream about one. (& then schedule it!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy Birthing Day

somebody's pick-up with birthday balloons

The above image is because today is my ex-husband's birthday, so I will dedicate this blog post to him & wish him a happy day. I'm sure his sweetie is helping him celebrate in fine fashion. Greetings to both of you.

&, for the rest of you, who aren't having birthdays today, I wish you something even better:

Happy Birthing Day!

What are you creating in your life this moment? If it thrills & chills you, hallelujah. Keep at it. If it bores & snores you, hallelujah--you've got a clue that there's something else better wishing to be born. If it's smacking you upside the head--well, move. Grin.

The idea that boredom can be a powerful creative tool is something I just read (& now am re-reading) in a GREAT book I bought at Page After Page in Elizabeth City. Your Highest Potential: The New Psychology of Understanding and Working with Self, by Annette Colby, Ph.D. This is an omigosh! book. I read it--underlining all the way--& then I started in at the beginning again. Very useful. Thank you, dear Dr. Colby. Happy Birthing Day to you, too.

Back to the thoughts I was rustling around last post, about the way television shows get stuck in your (or at least MY) mind.

Think of it this way. You get your first house/apartment. You have no furniture, or not much, & people give you all sorts of crap--I mean wonderful things--they no longer want in their spaces. You're grateful, but after a while you decide the pink-striped puffy chair & Grandpa's old plaid recliner with the broken recliny-handle-thingy & the X & the Z & perhaps even the Y are not things you would actually choose for yourself. So you set them out on the street corner or take them to Goodwill or foist them off on--I mean gift them to--someone with more floor space than bank account. & then you furnish your home according to your own desires.

I am attempting to do that with my mind, choosing the furniture, rather than sticking with everything everyone ever gave me--with all the commercials thrown in for (yeah, right) free. I want my mind to be a place I love to hang around in, a place that feels like a well-designed (or at least a ME-designed) home. So, if anyone wants a very-slightly-used (nearly-new, really) set of Californicators, or even some old, moldy Brady Bunchers, feel free. I'm setting them out on some street corner--& trying not to imagine what they'll do to each other. Grin.

Time for me to go now. I had a really super great massage today, with lots of stretching movements & I'm going to try to capitalize on the flexibility factor by doing some stretching myself.

Blog alternative:
135. Redecorate your mind. Or at least decide if you want to. (It could be as simple as freshening up the paint, maybe adding a skylight. Or you might need to take out some walls & haul away a few truckloads of old beliefs you didn't even remember you still had.) (But you might want to read Annette Colby's book first; she's got lots of good ideas for the process.) (& tell her I sent you!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Taoist Californi--get out of my microcosmic orbit!

So I was lying there meditating, breathing in the microcosmic orbit fashion & I found myself thinking of the situations (interestingly messy) & characters (neurotic but charming, mostly) from a cable show called Californication. In spite of the very witty writing, I am not recommending this show--& not just because of the sex & language. (Those don't bother me.) No, the reason I don't recommend it is because--well, because it's television. Episodic. Intentionally contagious. Unlike a movie, which (unless it's part of a trilogy, & the others better be in the can!) needs some sort of story line closure, TV series thrive & survive on teasing, dancing around an issue without resolving it, trotting out a new subplot or leaving a main character in a compromising or dangerous or somesuch scenario.

I know. It's my fault. I'm the one that watched the dvd of the first season of the show. I haven't had television since May of 2003. I've had combinations: cable but no (by choice) television in my first apartment, currently a flat screen & dvd player but no cable. I even like television. I had 5 favorite shows when I moved out & quit televisioning. (Crossing Jordan, CSI (the original), ER, West Wing & Enterprise (not that it's my favorite Star Trek, but it was the flavor available at the time.)) But I find television gets stuck in ones head. It's like purposefully exposing yourself to one of those songs that--quick, think of something else. Whew. Narrow escape.

So I'm for sticking with movies. (Although I did watch several episodes of World Poker Tour the Saturday night I was in Elizabeth City. Those aren't cliffhangers.) I like my mind to be at least partly capable of sustaining thoughts of my choosing--or no thoughts at all.

My 3rd post for the month! I feel like such an over-achiever. That's the big benefit of slacking off so much during the first half of the year. July 6th & I'm already halfway to my previous monthly record.

Blog alternative:
134. Pick something you never--or rarely--do & set a new record. Rearranging the silverware drawer for example. (I just switched the spoons with the forks. Probably mess me all up. Or it could really activate my corpus callosum.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Declaration of Co -- I mean INdependence

Little flag. Nick's toes.

Happy 5th of July.

Today is the real holiday, the day after all the fireworks, when the kid who has just moved out takes a deep breath & realizes that mom & dad (or mama country) are not paying the bills any more. So, happy independence, y'all, dear sovereign beings!

I'm doing bits & pieces of things. A bit of laundry. A bit of straightening. A bit of reading. & so on.

That means just a bit of blogging, so


Blog alternative:
133. Write a declaration of independence, from a person, a habit, a no-longer-useful/desirable/whateverish possession.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ocean umbrella chick turns pink anyway

I know--
it's July.
Happy July, everyone.

Um, yeah, June wasn't a real good blogging month, was it? It was a good living month for me, & I hope it was for you as well. (If you died in June, write & tell me right away & I will hope it was a good dying month for you.)

Anyway, back to July.

I got a bit of pink on me from a (tax-deductible!) trip to the beach. No, the government hasn't assigned me a job of Nag's Head beachcomber, but I did travel to Elizabeth City for a literary festival at the Page After Page bookstore & Nag's Head was but a skippety-hop away. If you were at the beach on Sunday the 29th of (nearly) blogless June, I was the one walking in the ocean holding an umbrella between the sun & my 5/8s Norwegian body. (The other 3/8s is German & Scottish, almost as well-known for lack-of-tanning abilities as the Norwegians.) I wasn't as persistent with the umbrella as I should have been, but I didn't burn badly. It was HOT, though. I enjoyed dipping into mama ocean, but it was real good to get back to the mountains.

Met some lovely writers at the literary festival. Signed a few books. Had a great deal of fun. Got that beach fix. Appreciate the cool mountains even more. The real estate prices in Greenville, South Carolina, are a lot better than they are here in Asheville, but it would have to be one heckuva house to persuade me the 10-degree increase in temperature was worth it.

Cool number report coming up, so if you don't get all excited over the universe bestowing lovely coinkydental numbers, go ahead & skip to the blog alternative.

The number of my hotel room the first night was 429. (I know, wussy girl--Montana would be ashamed of me--but I didn't leave until after 5 p.m.)
I pumped $22.27 worth of gas the next morning.
My hotel room in Elizabeth City was 227--& the internet access code was 0429.
Fun, huh!

Okay, so I'm rambling. Someday I'll learn to blog again. Then you'll be sorry. (Unless, as I fervently suggest, you spend your time off fishing or writing poetry or racing cars or some other worthy pursuit rather than reading blabbering blogs.)

& to practice,
my suggestion, the
Blog alternative:

132. Make someone a birthday card--especially if it's nowhere near their birthday--& send it, proudly proclaiming you're several months early.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

HOT car & blue chalk dust

Have you ever been in a restaurant with a 40-page menu?

So many choices you can't decide.

Although this seems like a non sequitur--not to mention a really abrupt way to begin a conversation with someone you haven't spoken to in a long time--I promise it is going somewhere.

Oh, & by the way, Hi!

So much has happened since Tuesday May 20th that I don't know where to begin. A long laundry-listy chronology is out of the question. You'd be bored & I'd hate it. (Aside from the fact that I just experienced the stuff as it was happening & didn't file it--or, if I did, I can't remember what I filed it under...)

So, a few random bits, like the fact that I ate 2 cans of Pringles on the North- & Westward legs of the trip & decided to be "healthier" on the hypotenuse. Hah. I bought ham & cheese & carrots & put them in this little blue zippy cooler thing with a plastic bag of ice, which turned into water way too fast. I successfully kept the stuff cold but it was a pain in the (insert body part here) so at a gas station in some-state-or-other I dumped the ice (I mean water) out of the (now-leaking) plastic bag (only spilling some of it on my shirt) & strode over to an old beater inhabited by a couple of 20-yearish guys & said, "You want this?" & they saw a (to them) oldish woman with water spilled on her shirt & said, "Yeah, thanks, cool." So I went in & bought one of those little halfish Pringles cans & traveled merrily on my way.

Oh, & the first day I only traveled 233 miles because I left Rochester very late & then the second day (since I'd only traveled 233 miles, the hypotenuse took 3 days) Motel 6 put me in--spooky Twilight Zone music here--room 233. Cool, huh.

So I'm home & I didn't even get to the Twin Cities because by the time I saw people in Rochester I knew if I saw one more person I would pop & that wouldn't be cool. It was the shorter of my 2 planned road trips this year, being only 2742 miles, with the western edge being Minnesota. At the end of August, when my folks celebrate their 50th (happy! truly!) anniversary (is that cool or what?) I was planning to drive there, possible stopping at Minnesota on the way--& maybe Ohio as well--& then shoot down to Phoenix & over to San Francisco & then high-tail it on home, but I have learned from this trip.

Things I have learned from this trip:
1) One destination at a time. By the time the 3rd place rolls around, all I can think about is, I wanna go home!
2) Time away from home is--well, not money, but something. Right now, the idea of the 6-week road trip (like the one I took in 2005 during my address-less period) is NOT fun. I'd rather do a wham-bam-thank-you--err--folks so I enjoy everybody & they (I hope) enjoy me.
3) Gas is--get ready for this--expensive. I'll be able to fly everywhere I want, if I judiciously pick tickets & airlines & use a few frequent flier miles & still save money. (I know, I'm a slow learner. I could have predicted that before THIS road trip.)

So, to those of you whose paths I did not cross during this trip, though I was less than 200 miles away, I don't exactly apologize, but I do look forward to seeing you when I'm not over-socialized & over-traveled & pining for the hills of (now) home. I'll fly out & see you sometime or--hey, the sky goes both ways--you can come see me!

I did have a really good time visiting with people in Ohio & Minnesota. The graduation was really cool & Nick's name was all over the program (one of the 9 "highest honors" grads out of 660 or so) & Zach & I had some lovely visits & he drove me insanely fast on a local highway where fortunately there were no cops (man that kid can DRIVE) & all is well with all & even sundry. (So I heard--I didn't visit sundry. Grin.)

So, those are a few items from the rich & varied & lengthy menu that was the last 26 days. I need a haircut. I got new tires, courtesy of Zach. Haircut is on Tuesday. My little car got hailed on in Minnesota. It's still fabulous.

In case you were wondering, the photo is from a secret art mission that I was fortunate enough to help with. Most of the stencils we did on horizontal surfaces, which worked very well, but Becca decided we needed to do a couple on walls & here is one result. Becca was right, the Mudd Library DID need a rainy guy, but Nick & I--because we held the stencil against the concrete while Becca rolled the chalk dust on--were completely covered with blue chalk. It was fabulous. But secret, of course, so don't tell anyone.

Blog alternative:
131. Buy yourself flowers & arrange them--if only haphazardly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Key to a vacation with sweet tea & thunderstorm

This is Nick, on his raft, the crowning achievement of his summer job at Virginia Tech this summer (I'm sure his job was great, too, but I think the raft is way coooool.)

I thought I'd put a picture of Nick, in honor of his upcoming graduation.

You might expect me to be packing or doing laundry buying le pens or something like that today. I expected that of myself--until I locked myself out of my apartment & my car. So here I am in a coffee shop (fortunately I had my computer & journal with me) waiting to hear back (fortunately I had my phone) from a friend who has a key to my apartment (fortunately). So I'm enjoying myself & some sweet tea (fortunately I had $ with me) while I wait. Oh, & did I mention we have a thunderstorm brewing?

I was (fortunately) iffy on whether I wanted to do the laundry today or tomorrow, so I'm not stressing out about not doing it today. If I was scattered enough to lock the door without checking to see if I had my keys, then clearly I just needed to chill for a while anyway.

Blog alternative:
130. Pretend you locked yourself out & take a mini-vacation. After you've sufficiently chilled, you can pretend to find your keys--Oh look! There they are, in my pocket!--& head for home.

Monday, May 12, 2008


pink petal drift

I stepped squarely into a dilemma after posting last time. Cathy tried to warn me (see her blog at Yaypigeons if you want more consistent grammar than you've found here) but by the time I'd checked my email my possessions had all paired up & I had twice as many to pare down. It was a veritable dominos effect--add that innocent "s" & suddenly your place is full of pizza boxes!

I do know the difference between pair & pare, as I'm sure most of you do as well. But the homophones are out to get us. Admit it--even you occasionally put it's in its place. I know I do. It's saddest when I'm using a pen, all those little scribbled out apostrophes...

We've got us a cool & windy day here in the North Carolina mountains. Makes me feel right at home, little wind-blown Nye-Montana-grown chick that I am. I've got to get out into it & let the wind style my hair for me. (I know you've been wondering how I get that "do." If it's not windy, you can open the driver's side window on the car &--as we used to say when we were kids--spin a wheel & gas it.)

So, mind your pares & pairs & give each it its due diligence & beware of contracting apostrophitis. It's time for this bit of it to get going. Hasta la deja vu, y'all.

Blog alternative:
129. Say "No" to someone who wants you to do something that you don't want to do. If it ain't good for you, it ain't good to do. (The added bonus for this is when you say "Yes" you'll know you really mean it.) (& yes I know there should be a few more commas in this paragraph but I didn't feel like putting them in.) (,,, Here are a few in case you'd like to insert them yourself.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

If you build a better tissue box...

Girl Goddess with Fig Leaf
(a symbol of growth, not shame)

One of my (many) fun & creative things to do is buy Target tissue--those beautiful blank sides just beg to be drawn on with permanent markers of some sort, Sharpies or their equivalents. Here's one of my latest ones. As you can see, it doesn't have to be perfect. Sincere or inspired will do. Grin.

New news:
The Vicki Genfan Mother's Day video is out, & the photo of my mom & I is prominently featured at the very very very end, after the music stops. (We're the backdrop for the credits.) Take a look.

I have just finished laundry. Sat & meditated at the laundromat. I know, you might be thinking laundromat meditation goes together about as well as beer & ice cream (a la (mode) yesterday) but don't knock it until you try it. The sounds of dryers. Your clothes, or someone else's spinning hypnotically behind glass.

Some times there are loud conversations, but I'm pretty good at tuning things out. There was a little girl there today who was at times quite loud, saying da da da da da & then turning it into her own version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star--with some tuneful modifications & tons of personality. It was definitely her own arrangement.

She was definitely her own arrangement, which is delightful. She ran around & climbed on things in her little pink plastic shoes--the kind that are so popular right now, which I don't care for much myself, being reminded of brightly colored hippo heads. Hippo heads are cute on hippos, but I don't want them at the bottom of my legs. Still, in little girl size, they're not so bad.

Okay, on to the rest of my iced tea & the rest of my day. Gotta do a little straightening up at home & put this nice clean laundry away. Maybe I'll try to pair down my possessions a bit more in the expectation that there will be that much less to move when I do acquire real estate.

Blog alternative:
128. Build your own tissue box. I like permanent markers, but you can print out photos & glue them on or collage pictures from magazines. If you want to be more literary, you can write poetry or 4 really short stories on the sides. Or begin a novel. (Shari blew her nose, again. The honk reminded her of the lighthouse back home. Her eyes teared up. "Stop it," she commanded herself, a very sore-throat croaking command. No sense adding nostalgia to rhinovinus. Her red nose would never survive...Okay, so you can have this novel beginning if you want, as I can tell that I am not going to use it.) (I won't feel the slightest bit bad if you decline.)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Maple buttercream icing with smoked sea salt

Poets Ascending
Crag Cave, Ireland
September 2005

I started this a few days ago (went as far as choosing a picture) & got busy. Been looking at houses. Greenville is pretty cool, with MUCH lower prices. Of course, it may not be as cool as its more mountainous sister, Asheville, especially in the summer. So we'll see if I turn into a more southern southern girl. (Greenville is in SOUTH Carolina.) I did look at a church here in Asheville, for sale as residential, but it would take a LOT of dollars to convert it into livability. I looked at several houses today as well, some with mold/mildew, so I'm scheduled for a BATH as soon as I get home. (This blog post is being brought to you by CAPITAL letters.)

I'm at the chocolate lounge right now, so I will not linger at the keyboard. I have a piece of cake with maple buttercream icing waiting for me, dusted with smoked sea salt. Plus I just had a--it was delicious, so don't gross out--beer float.

With me being busy choosing not to blog, I am hoping that you are being busy doing whatever it is you're doing & are not too upset that I haven't blogged.

Okay, so I'm out of here.

Ummm, Blog alternative:
127. Combine 2 foods and/or beverages that don't seem to go together. (I recommend an interesting beer & vanilla ice cream.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Love Triangle: Me, Me & Whomever

This is me at Modigliani's grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris (October 2005). It was taken by a journalist from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who had lived in Paris for 13 years at that point (& abroad for 25). I just happened across him (hah! like we believe in that!) & we shared some good conversation & a couple meals. I even wrote him a poem, about learning to speak other languages--he taught himself 4, beginning in 4th grade, with the Berlitz Self Teacher series. So, bonjour to Rick in Paris.

I just received a message from my dear new cello friend in Arizona, bemoaning the fact that it has been a long while (nigh onto a month!) since he wrote me. He's been very busy--

check out the new videoblog:

& the computer has been commandeered by his father & brother doing taxes & blog stuff

--& he was feeling sad that we'd had this hiatus. I assured him there was no scarcity in the supply of Laurel or good energy or anything he needs. I think it's important for us to spend as little time as possible missing people.

I know, this flies in the face of most theories of friendship & connection, but I'm pretty darn sure that the better each of us connects with our own inner being & the more love we lavish on that relationship, the more we will have to share with others, without that feeling of guilt for not having called or written or whatever. When we do connect then, it will be with a sense of pure unadulterated joy. Love thy neighbor as thyself--well, the more you love yourself, the more you can love your neighbor. Who's the most important in the love triangle of you, your inner being & any other person? (I'm hoping any other person is a distant third. After all, you & your inner being are the only ones you can count on being around 24/7/365.) Be assured that I do love you--almost as much as I love me. & whoo, you know that's a whole lot. Grin.

Blog alternative:
126. Make a date with your inner being. Make sure to take into account those inner preferences. Art museum? Rodeo? Hot dog stand? Tanning salon? Buddhist retreat?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

To angels, bees, snowmen, race cars, plastic...

Happy Birthday to ME
& the Earth.
To daisies, roses, shooting stars, stars in general & the sun in particular. To butterflies, quantum physics, sudoku, blank pages, geometry, clouds. To photosynthesis, cotton dresses, le Pens, organic sweet baby pecan tarts, cockroaches, purple shoe laces, digital cameras, shadows, everything that shows us what we would prefer, bridges, mail. To writers, editors, & agents. To tea, candles, sex, Leonardo da Vinci, helicopters. To punctuation (even poorly-used). To lemonade, messy hair, mountains, hot air balloons, rainbows, cell phones, architects, hunger, the cello. To chocolate, dancing, Thoreau, making mistakes. To spring, chickens, opinions, windows, the word residue, massages, blue. To laptop computers, sandwiches, walking, babies, noisy motorcycles, full moons. To butter, debates, thunderstorms, sidewalk chalk, nitrous oxide, chaos theory, cartooning. To Marines, light bulbs, jade, spinach, philosophy, cream. To beginning to know who you are. To the journey. To you.

Blog alternative:
125. Make a list of things. Things you like & things you thought about while you were thinking about things you like. & add a butterfly.