Monday, February 28, 2011

My Memory Palace

My Memory Palace
The ancients found remembering was simple
if they built in memory a place to stash
each name or fact. I have no need
of this old tactic. The building rose itself,
no mere mnemonic, without my effort
or my will, needing no intention on my part
to make it stand, secluded, a palace
or a prison on a street not quite the one I knew.

For years, I wore the windows watching out,
aspiring to the world beyond this
faded square of sky, though
sometimes it might hint at nascent
drama: coiled green hose a lurking
mamba. And there, the borders
of a country yet to be discovered:
the spot I scratched into the wallpaper
beside my bed, hoping if I made it
big enough I could climb in, like
the children in the books I read,
entering another world.

The clothes hang still, waiting forever
to be worn. And there, my mother’s vanity,
where I would sit and gaze into the glass
trying on her earrings and her pearls, her
broad-shouldered jackets, inspecting
photographs of relatives I’d never meet,

all this spreads before me, each room
multiplied in memory, a sheaf of dining rooms;
the living room in all its incarnations.
Here, the French provincial sideboard, gift
of a wealthy relative, rules the room;
and now, eclipsed--an avalanche of envelopes
encroaches. And now the roaches
and the rats, the bags of trash I helped to clear away.

No people walk these rooms; no conversations
can be heard. Harsh words and gentle ones
do not endure. Only the doors and windows
where I walk in dream and reverie
fan out like drafts, an intricate origami I could
never fathom. Now that these walls
are someone else’s legacy, I can never leave.

Ultimate Nightmare

A couple of nights ago, I had one of those awful anxiety dreams. This time, I dreamed my mother came back to life. I found her sitting in the car, waiting for me to take her somewhere. She didn't remember anything (naturally), and was in better shape physically and probably mentally than when she died.
I didn't know what to do, since as far as social security went, she was dead, and I had spent the money earmarked for her care after my dad died. I was so worried about what to do that it overwhelmed me, though I was glad to have her back. I just didn't know what to do with her.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Witholding the Poem

I am tempted to put up that new poem today, but I am holding onto it a few days more, till I am sure it is ready for prime time.
I'm going to go get bureaus today, or at least to order that they be delivered to the house when the floors are ready. Today the downstairs is being acid-washed. Tomorrow it will be sealed, I think, or the guys will start tearing out the carpet and upstairs flooring. Maybe they will do the sealing last, painting themselves out the door? I don't know.

A Slow Business

The work on our house, at least the work originally planned, should be finished before next weekend. Then we can buy and move in the furniture, but we won't be ready to move in yet because there is so much from the old place to move and so much to do there to ready it for the final inspection.
I harbor no illusions. There is no way we are going to get back our security deposit, particularly because it is not true, I have learned, that carpets in a rental unit must be replaced every 10 years and that the place must be painted regularly. We will end up having to finance that because without a doubt, this place is not in good shape.
Of course, the fact that the landlady would not maintain it doesn't help. It is, after all, mostly her responsibility to do so.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Poem at Last

Finally, after a protracted dry period, I am working on a fairly lengthy poem inspired by an article in the New York Times Magazine last Sunday about Memory Palaces and how to remember the unmemorable as well as the memorable.
It wasn't one of those poems that came half completed into my mind, as sometimes happens because my helpful muse shoves a bag into my hand with the all the pieces ready to go, ever motherly. No. This time, because I had spurned her so long, I had to search for it, dig a little in the hard earth of words that didn't want to be formed.
It isn't finished yet, and I'll resist the impulse to put it up anyway, probably not for long.
Today I slept late and spent a leisurely hour or two writing the lines that, almost like the place they memorialize, etched themselves into my mind all night long, between the dreams.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Friday is one of my favorite days. Certainly this must be because it is a non-teaching day, a day I can go to yoga class, grade papers, catch up on all the work and life I have had to put aside during the week, and perhaps even go to synagogue in the evening if I am not too exhausted from doing the rest of the things I put off all week. Today I have an appointment at the house, and will see the progress on the lighting fixtures, the shower door, etc. that will make it seem as if we are somewhat closer to moving in.
Meanwhile, the bed has arrived at the store, though we cannot have it delivered till the floor is done, some time in the middle of this coming week. Then, next weekend, I can get the furniture. This is what I have been looking forward to since the beginning!
I have no idea what I will find, and that is the fun part.
Today I will also go to Borders' closing. It is too bad the store is shutting down, though there are plenty more branches in the area, but I will reap what I can from this occasion. I have been wanting to buy Claire Dederer's yoga memoir, Poser, and if I find it congenial, perhaps will contact her publisher with a query about my yoga manuscript. But I hope that Nina feels well enough soon to finish the book's illustrations, so I have something genuine to show them.
More papers come in on Monday, and drafts on Tuesday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Third Part of Interview is up

Marly has posted the third and final (I think) part of the interview with me on her blog. Please go and have a look at it, if only to check out her blog in general!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Despite the rains recently, my life doesn't seem very moist to me right now. I am working double-time, with the extra class and running back and forth to the house, and now that I am grading papers, it seems that I am working constantly. I long to throw it all up in the air for a while and frolic. But I can't. There's too much to do!
If I indeed end up not teaching the summer class that I initially signed up for this summer, thinking it was to be the usual short semester (generally the summer classes are 6 weeks long, which is insane, but at least short), that will probably be a good thing. I need rest. I need to think and write unencumbered for a little while. Teaching is good, and to a certain extent, nurturing, but after a while, one needs to recharge.
Perhaps I should seek out an open mic and try to read publicly again? But when? Between teaching, grading, planning, and doing stuff for the house, there isn't going to be any time for a while. I just need to soldier through this, and I'll come out better off on the other side.

2nd part of the interview on the Palace

If anyone but Marly is out there, reading this blog, I invite you to go read Marly's interview with me on her blog, The Palace at 2 AM, at
Yesterday she put up one about my yoga poems; today it's about me growing up in Philadelphia and my favorite restaurants. Each post has one of my poems in it and photos.

Work on All Fronts Continues

Work at the house and beyond continues. The handyman, Dan, who truly is the most gifted person with things mechanical I have ever met, has installed the washer and dryer, which couldn't be installed initially because the old washer was corroded into the pipe! Now the floor guys will begin washing, sealing, and ripping out assorted flooring and carpeting. That is the biggest job in the house up to now. I hope there are no more ugly surprises!
Beyond, the first set of papers, blessedly small, has come in. It is not great so far. However, we will be moving on to the 2nd assignment, an in class essay applying Foucault's concept of the Panopticon to Clockwork Orange's Ludovico experiment or a true and actual experiment, the Stanford Prison Experiment. Interesting that all these texts originate in the same general period of the 70s, my heyday. It seems that was the golden age for investigations into punishment and the like.
It is always a relief to move on from one assignment to another, but there's a bit of an awkward phase in making the transition.
I hope to go get the light fixtures with the handyman this morning before I have to teach this afternoon. I'll be skipping yoga to get it done, but I managed to get in some practice beforehand.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview in the Palace

Marly has interviewed me. Being blabby, I gave her more than enough material to last a week! She asked such good questions, and I always love a good yack.
Go and visit, at the following URL:

Must run off now to hold office hours, though I do not expect any students to show up. Maybe they will surprise me?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why did I call that post Eels?

I don't eat eel; old habits die hard, I guess. But I started out to write that post about a story I heard on PBS yesterday. It was about the eel, as a culinary staple of some countries, while others worship or venerate the eel and will not eat it.
One culture, the commentator said, does eat and venerate the eel: the Maoris. They regard the eel as a spiritual guide, since eels are mysterious. Some species live up to a hundred and some years, they grow to enormous size, they have no gender until they grow to maturity in freshwater and move to salt water. And the Maori believe that some out of the eels they collect to eat are special. They behave or look different from the rest, crying like babies, or barking, some report. If one makes the mistake of eating those eels that cry or bark, that person or someone dear to him will die. The commentator reported the case of one enterprising fellow who imported eels, and sent one that cried to be slaughtered and sold. He dreamed he was being pursued by an army of eels that beat him on the chest. The man had a massive heart attack and died.
I can only hope that PBS is not eliminated entirely by the newest cuts to the national budget. What would I do without it? It brings so much of the world to me that I would not know without it.


I went to Sushilishis again last night, being the recipient of a coupon that offered me a special not to be missed. It was $2.00 a plate for whatever we ordered, so we ordered the most expensive plates, normally up to $4.00, composed of rice roles with salmon and sauces of all kinds, an extraordinary roll made out of tofu skin with a tempura shrimp balanced atop it, crispy rice topped with spicy tuna... wonderful things. We ate till we were ready to bust.
When I first ate at this restaurant, I thought it was a mere gimmick... It is one of those places with the revolving belt of sushi winding its way through the tables. One waits patiently for her favorites to wend their way through the place, hoping no one will notice them until they arrive safely within reach of the waiting diner, chopsticks held up in anticipation to snatch the plate off the conveyer belt. But not only does this place have a conveyer belt (one of three or so in the immediate area that have this feature), but it also gives silly names to the rolls, and works changes on them that could be offensive to traditional sushi fanatics, but after tasting the Blizzard or the Sushilicalifragilistic, no one could be upset. There is so clearly an intelligence at work here, planning these dishes. These are real food, even if they work changes on the traditional sushi rolls people know and love.
Last night, R and I sat next to a Japanese couple who clearly preferred the sashimi and roe to the fancy newfangled rolls. But seeing our eyes roll back in our heads when we tasted some of them, they asked us to describe what they were like, and they tried one. They didn't repeat the experiment, but by their expressions, I gauge that they were not disgusted or displeased, and that they understood the appeal.

A Bit Unreal

Furnishing and fixing up this house in such a short amount of time feels strange and rather unreal. Rather than luxuriating with catalogs and leisurely tripping through consignment stores, I am forced to haggle with contractors in the morning and make enormous purchases of appliances in the afternoon, as I did today. I met with the floor guys about what tile to put down upstairs and then went and bought a washer and dryer after yoga. I think I did pretty well, and made use of the bit of research I did online to get what seems to me a good deal (or will be once I get the rebates), but there is still a ton of stuff, notably the furniture, which will be the most fun, to buy.
I glanced briefly at flat screen TVs, but we will wait till we are in the house to buy one of those, I think. Furniture comes first, and housewares.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Last Night At Synagogue

Last night the theme of the service was nominally the future of the Mid East in the wake of all these upheavals. The speaker was an Israeli professor from UCI's political science department. Our guests were children and their religious school teachers from a synagogue in Long Beach, visitors to the area for a bar mitzvah scheduled for today, and the Pacific Institute, an organization of Turkish Muslims who have become something of a sister organization to my synagogue, visiting us periodically for food, discussion, and fellowship.
The singing went very well, despite the fact that it was pouring outside, so that even deaf me could hear the rattling and banging on the roof of the synagogue, a friendly enough sound, since were were relatively warm and safe inside. We sang two pieces and accompanied the cantor on several others, and despite these being new and the group being much depleted, we received praise for our efforts.
However, the speaker was difficult to hear. He had a heavy accent and didn't speak into the mic. Of course, I didn't wear my hearing aids, and this was my failure and fault. Also, his efforts at using technology mostly failed. The You Tube interviews he had chosen to be part of the discussion wouldn't load or were so soft in volume that no one (especially me) could hear them. As far as I could see and hear from his Powerpoint, he didn't have much to offer, stretching a 5 minute segment of dry historical fact into perhaps 40 minutes. Many snoozed. And I wondered how our Turkish guests felt about the whole thing.
After this, they (the guests) showed a brief, 5 minute film, beautifully produced and narrated, about the Turkish dessert they had brought to share with us, Asure. I post a picture here. It is a food made to celebrate Noah's ark and the saving of all living things on earth on that occasion, and is eaten every year about this time. It is absolutely delicious. I encourage you to look up a recipe and try making it.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I am feeling much better than yesterday when I was strained to the max by my difficult week of house and work. I felt overwhelmed by the strain of running hither and yon, grading drafts, and dealing with hysterical students who were strangely surprised by the necessity of working harder in a class they thought they had sized up as an easy A.
I couldn't meet with most of them. There was no time and no place for it. And there were miles to go before I slept, figuratively and literally speaking. And I didn't sleep much, particularly because J.'s tire blew out in the middle of the night, scaring him and demolishing the tire, of course. R got up and they had a male bonding moment over a jack and a spare, and J learned about the wonders of President's Day tire sales and Jiffy Lube, things all males must learn at some time or another.
But today after yoga, Liz and I went on a hunt for house stuff. We started at lunch--Sushilishus, and worthy of its own post, when I have a little more time. Then on to Lowes to look at flooring, light fixtures, and washer/dryers. We had a productive look, and I took down a lot of information, putting it to use immediately by calling the floor guy and telling him to bring some samples with him when we meet on Monday afternoon.
And I drooled over a beautiful lamp that I'm not going to buy. It was lovely, but it was almost $300., and fragile, something cats could definitely overturn and break.
That's not the sort of thing I should be spending this money on, though it was nice to look at it.
Now I'm going to go sing in a concert at synagogue.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I am a very direct person. I don't like to tiptoe around things that need to be said. So today when I gave back the drafts, after emailing all the students with a copy of the comments I made about each draft, lots of students didn't show up.
As far as I'm concerned, I'd want to know from a teacher what she thought of my work, so I could revise it or develop it to realize what I had envisioned in the first place. But these students are so used to receiving instant A for breathing that they are traumatized. It is too bad, because actually, as I read the drafts, there were many papers with lots of great potential.
I felt rather like a gardener facing an empty plot of rich soil, there for me to develop and sow with seed. I told them all this, and that they should not take it personally, but I know that is going to be hard for some of them, especially the ones I felt blew off the assignment. I was rather hard on them, the ones who gave me one page that didn't address the prompt, after all this time discussing and working toward the draft.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I have drafts right now from the classes. The Tues/Thurs ones, which I got yesterday, aren't too great. The students forgot everything they learned doing the bits and pieces I assigned leading up to the paper. And getting them back tomorrow will be hard.
I meet with the handyman (Dan) again this morning to go through the house one more time. I'd love to tell him to put new tile in the kitchen, but there's little point to that. I can't afford to get a new stove and rip out the cabinets now. More storage needs to be there, and that will be a major project too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Overwhelmed With Repairs

When we chose this house, we assumed that there were certain small jobs (in addition to a few big ones) that needed to be done. One of these was having the tile floor professionally cleaned and re-sealed. I was told by a friend with some knowledge of this process that it would cost at least $250., so was ready for an estimate in that general range. However, I got a $900. estimate for this job, which completely flummoxed me. Given the number of other, larger, and more crucial jobs (plumbing, electrical, etc.) that need to be done and the number of major purchases I must make (washer/dryer, air conditioner, flat screen t.v.) this is impossible. I'm not sure what to do at this point.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beautiful Day

I wish I was good at taking pictures, which I am not. Today, the sky permitted me to see as I so rarely do what the earth looks like from space, a swirling blue globe. The clouds were so various, so marbled with blue, like a piece of aged cheese (I hate cheese though, so it's a bad comparison). The air was balmy, telling me that spring is here, if I hadn't already guessed that from the strawberries and asparagus on sale in the markets. The flowers are starting to bloom on the fruit trees.

Stuff is Catching Up To Me

There is so much to do before we move in, and so little time. And yesterday, I got a scolding letter (the first, actually) from Cal State telling me I must!! take a safety class up on the main campus before yesterday or the day before, in peril of my employment! And the campus is over an hour in each direction away because I don't drive freeways. And the drafts are due in this week. Then the final papers. And then the challenge, especially for some of those students over at CSU--the Foucault piece. And the furniture and utilities and washers and and and. How will I get all of this done? I have to keep my eye on the next thing and that thing only. A trick.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wild Dreams and Sleep

Last night I didn't make it to synagogue as I had hoped to. There was an early service that caught me unawares after my late afternoon of bed-buying. So I stayed home and graded papers, then watched Monk. Though it is entirely formulaic, I like the conceit of the detective with OCD and Tourette Syndrome, a la Motherless Brooklyn, and love Tony Shaloub in the part of the detective.
But sleep came quickly and I quickly fell into a rollercoaster of dreams. One striking image I recall is wandering up and down a hillside packed with people that rather resembled the Great Wall of China. It was standing in for San Francisco, but contained elements of Mt. Fuji as well, with cherry trees covered with pink blossoms beside the road. It was snowing gently, also anomalous. I was lost, and instead of a cellphone, I held in my hand the useless receiver of a cordless land line phone.
I wish I could go out today and get more furniture, but there is work to be done inside the house. It will have to wait.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Being Interviewed

Marly has sent me a slew of intriguing questions, and since I love to gab and gab and tell stories on and about myself and people I know, I have been rolling in it like an old dog out in the field.
When she puts up the interview I will supply a link so that those who visit this page can visit hers as well. It will be a good discovery for you, since she frequently posts wonderful things, including her own poems and others' as well, and news of her many triumphs and publications.
Thank you Marly!
Meanwhile, today I just couldn't wait anymore. Liz and I went to a furniture store I discovered online (but the store is brick and mortar and quite nearby the new place) and I ordered the most wonderful bed! She took a picture with her cell phone, so I will post it as soon as she sends it to me.
It is queen size, has storage drawers, and a lovely cherry finish, made of sustainable wood. It's contemporary style, with striking drawer pulls, and I think it has a book shelf headboard.I'm not sure because it was in a catalog, and I don't know if that will actually come with it. The matching nightstand in the picture didn't. The price was really good; I thought this place sells furniture that has been in model homes, but perhaps not because the clerk said it would come packaged and has never been touched. So I don't know why it was so cheap. He threw in the mattress for free.
People online rave about this store. Now I see why.

The Keys to the Place

Last night I went down to the real estate guy Chris's office and picked up our keys. We still don't have the pool and mail key and don't know where the mailbox is. He's working on that for us. I am grateful to all the friends who helped us to fulfill this dream, and I think every day of my parents, who made it possible. I know my dad wanted us to have a house, and I think he would approve of this one. We got a good price--after the money we were credited for repairs, $299,000. I am happy with the place, and think that it is certainly the best in all ways that we could have done right now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


The house closed! We celebrated last night with a lovely dinner at Zov's Bistro and Bakery. This is an Armenian restaurant, but it also serves comfort food, and the bakery is eye-popping. Everything is really wonderful, if a little pricey. I had a roasted lamb sandwich and fruit salad along with a cup of golden lentil soup with a hint of cumin. The bread had texture and did not surrender to the moistness of the meat. Lovely.
Richard had his favorite meatloaf. I am not a good maker of meatloaf, so it was his opportunity to sample Zov's version, which he says was the best he ever had. It was served with a cloak of shitake mushroom sauce and a side of lovely glazed green beans and mashed potatoes. The menu claimed that feta played a part in this blend somewhere.
Our realtor, Chris, had an ethereal pasta with calimari and shrimp in cream sauce. I know. None of this sounds Armenian, except the soup. But it was great! I would gladly go back again sometime to celebrate all over again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Final Step

Yesterday, I wired the down payment for the house to the proper place, and we're a go. This afternoon, I hope, we can go do a final walk through in the house, though it is just a formality. We already got money for repairs and a new air conditioner from the former owner, and we know what we've got to do. It will be an opportunity for me to pick the realtor's brain about people to do the plumbing and the electrical work and to ask who I should call to clean the tile floor downstairs, etc. Maybe this afternoon I'll go look at the bed, though we won't be ready to buy it for a while. I think I know where to get it, at a model furniture store in Irvine. I checked out the line of beds they were advertising online, and I like them. If they really are 40-60% off at this place, they're within our budget, so I feel good about the prospect. I want a storage bed, with drawers, not only because the room is small and this might take the place of a linen closet, but because it will keep the cats from destroying the mattress as they have in the past. Storage beds of the ilk I prefer are rather pricey, but this seems like a good option.
Meanwhile, my students in all three classes are coming along. I feel concerned about the sleepers. I have several of them. But I will approach them today and tomorrow and make it clear that they'll feel the results of this habit in their grades. If they want to shape up, they can do it. If they want to ship out, they can be my guest. Perhaps this is befitting of a practitioner of "the yoga of cruelty," as Shannon, the director of the synagogue choir, called Iyengar yoga.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Day We've Been Waiting For

Yesterday, I was having my doubts whether the loan for the house was going to come through. There seemed to be more and more hoops to jump through, and it seemed as though all the same information that had been collected before was being demanded again. But just as I was starting to think we would have to forget the idea of buying this house or perhaps any, the escrow person came yesterday and told us it would all be over by the weekend. She hopes to close on Thursday! Today, between one class and the other, I have to go and arrange for money to be wired so we can get the down payment in.
Then all that stuff we have to do with the house--the new appliances, tearing out the upstairs floor and carpets, the new fixtures and closets, the furniture, all of that will be upon me, and somehow I will have to figure out when and how I will manage all of it.
As R. points out, we have lots of time. He hadn't told the landlady we were leaving yet, and the last month is paid for, so we can take our time moving out. Even if we don't get the security deposit back, and I doubt we will, we're pretty well taken care of here, and can do everything that needs to be done at the new place.
I had imagined that closing would be a big party, all of us who have only exchanged phone calls and emails and faxes at a table, signing the last papers and doing all the last minute business. But apparently, there is no need for that in this state. It's all going to be done but the work we need to do on the house and the shopping for stuff like furniture.
Don't get me wrong: I love shopping, and I've thought about this for a long time, but it's a lot all at once, and the papers are coming due. Everything seems to happen that way in my life. Nothing, nothing, and then all of a sudden, it's all upon me, like a springing beast. But afterwards, it will all be worth it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Better, but More Recuperation Time Needed

R. was well enough to watch the football game yesterday afternoon, though in poor temper, his jones for coffee as bad as the urinary infection pain. He had to stop the coffee for the moment, and probably will try to make it permanent.
He isn't going in today; last night was pretty bad, yet again.
Over the weekend I read Anne Rice's new book, Of Love and Evil--a real page-turner! And I went to see the Mexican film, Biutiful, with Javier Bardon. It was a lovely nuanced performance in a film full of tragedy. The main character is dying of prostate cancer that metastasized, which scared me to death because I suspect R. has something going on with his prostate. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but he has promised me to go to the doctor and ask to be referred to a urologist when he's well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Another Tough Night

Yesterday afternoon, R's pain grew so bad that I implored him to let me take him to the Urgent Care in our system (St. Joseph's Heritage). He was finally willing, and I packed a bag with clothes just in case he had to be hospitalized. All the times I did this for my dad and mom had taught me to be prepared.
There was a full waiting room full of unhappy looking people in the waning afternoon light. We were lucky: the Urgent Care was only open until 5:30 and it was already about 3:45. We waited an hour, and then two. As the sun set in a spectacular pink sky, R. pointed out that the place would be closing in 10 minutes; we wondered whether that meant they would throw us out untended to, but it turned out only to mean that no new patients would be admitted after that time. As it was, we were the absolute last people out the door, prescriptions for painkiller and antibiotic in hand for the bladder/urinary infection R had.
Then we had another problem: finding a 24 hour pharmacy. One of the other patients told us there were a few in the other direction, but since I don't drive on freeways and have a pretty poor sense of direction at best, I didn't want to go off looking for them, with R in pain and having to go to the bathroom every five minutes, a process that caused an incredible amount of pain and anxiety.
So we headed back to Irvine. There was a lot of traffic on Chapman ave., too much to stop at every pharmacy that presented itself along the way. Meanwhile, I was getting really hungry, which magnified all the difficulty. We went to three, then four pharmacies, but none were open for prescriptions. Finally, we just went home and looked in the phone book. I ate a rotisserie chicken I had picked up at the last place, and headed off to stand in line with other people at the only 24 hour pharmacy in Irvine.
If the people in the waiting room, sick and uncomfortable, had looked unhappy, the crowd here looked even more miserable. Some had been waiting for 2 1/2 hours or more. The situation could have been dreamed up by central casting and a t.v. writing with a penchant for exaggeration. An orthodox Jew, perhaps from the Chabad down the street, talked non-stop on the cell phone as he waited for his prescriptions, his tzit tzit, the tassels dangling at his waistline, swung jauntily. An exhausted woman with heavy circles under her eyes like a prize fighter told me she had come directly here from taking her daughter to the hospital, and it had been 2 1/2 hours so far. Finally, she gave up, taking one of the prescriptions, an antibiotic, and leaving the rest till tomorrow. Another woman, esconced in one of the few chairs, confided that her sick husband had been waiting out in the car for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Every few minutes, he called her on the cell phone for a progress report. There were only about 5 chairs, though at least 10 people leaned wearily against the counter. The line stretched half-way through the store, while behind the counter, the lone pharmacist, unbelievably a one-armed man, filled prescriptions at a rapid clip. Actually, he was quite nimble, much better than most people would have been with two arms, yet given that this was the only game in town and the stakes were so high, it seemed ridiculous at best to pin all our hopes on this one man with his one arm. But after at least three trips to the counter in the long line, the pharmacist finally came through, and I left with the prescriptions I came for.
Despite the pain pills, it was a very tough night. I don't know how R will go to work tomorrow, if tonight is as bad, how he will calmly do his work when every trip to the bathroom, and there will be many, is as agonizing as the ones I've witnessed thus far have been. Yet I know that he cannot really take off.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quiet Saturday Morning

I heard it would be summery today, perhaps 85 degrees! We'll see. Richard seems a little better. He is not groaning quite so much. After sleeping most of yesterday and most of last night, he is beginning to return to the land of the living.
We got some loan papers--not all of them, but some. I need him to sign them. Yesterday he was totally unable to do that.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Poor R

After I got home from yoga and the hairdresser, I saw that R was still in bed, deathly ill with some noxious bug. He always has a hard time with illnesses like this. Luckily, they are extremely rare for him. I hope he gets over it soon.

Hooray! The weekend!

At the end of my week, I am so happy to see Friday waiting for me, like a faithful friend. I will take my time over a bit of breakfast and go to yoga class. Perhaps the hair dresser will cut and color my unruly mop. And I will plan the upcoming week of classes.
I feel like a woman of leisure, with even time to ponder the furniture and other stuff I would like for our new place. However, I still don't know exactly when we will close. We have not received the loan papers and haven't got an exact date, so I won't actually be able to go buy the washing machine, toilet, air conditioner, etc. But I expect it to be soon. I don't anticipate any roadblocks. Still, what do I know?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Finishing Line

Good news! Richard's 2009 taxes were processed by the IRS, and so we're ready to move toward closing the new house! Then I'll be caught up in a huge rush of shopping for furniture, tv, appliances, people to fix various things in the house. Just one of those things is enough for me to tolerate. I'll have to hang on tight and enjoy what I can in what is no doubt a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It's cold here, windy and wintry, at least for Southern California, but whenever I think about how the rest of the country is faring with that big mean old snowstorm, I feel that we are so spoiled here. Imagine how my cousin in Chicago would feel if she were here? It wouldn't seem so cold to her that she needed to bundle up, as I do, in a big winter coat and gloves! She'd exclaim at how balmy it was for February. It all depends on context, doesn't it?


Yesterday at CSU I tried to teach my class, which after all, is only an hour and 15 minutes long. First, I could not get the technology to cooperate. Then someone came in and said he was from (some unidentifiable acronym) and needed to make a rather long announcement to the students. He was a student himself, with a farmer in the Dell beard and scruffy face whiskers, wearing an absurd tee-shirt. I yielded the class to him, and listened as he reeled off an entire year's worth of social calendar events and yes, a scholarship, designed to tempt the students, all majors in a program for teachers in training, to take over the leadership positions in the organization of student government targeting people in this rather large major.
Meanwhile, I was wondering how I was going to get anything done, when I'd finally get to the part when they were ready to write this paper. Especially since some of the students seemed incredulous that I was really going to ask them to do this difficult work, which after all, the students at the community college level have been doing for years, while these are juniors in college at a university.
Finally, I got to teach for a while, until someone else, the guy from technology, who had come to fix the problems I was having putting links up for my students on Blackboard, interrupted again. And too soon, the class was over, and I'd gotten almost nothing done. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fingers Crossed

I am sending my full manuscript of poems off to Prarie Schooner's contest today. Though I know that winning one of these contests is rather like winning the lottery,
I have hopes that perhaps I will be lucky. Just in case, I have made three other copies, and in a month or so, when more of the big contests come along, I will enter them as well.
I could wish that publication of poetry was easier, that I could simply send them to a publisher without paying a fee, but that is more and more unlikely in the budget catastrophe everyone is facing.
I missed the Governor's speech last night, but I am sure that there will be more cuts here, some of which may have scary results for higher education, among other things.
In the short term, and perhaps the long, things will be tough for a while.