Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Good News!

Karen Kelsay, at White Violet Press, says that my book will be out by February! My cousin Nina just finished the last of the drawings today. I will be meeting with John Genesta, the photographer who is doing the cover, sometime next week. We were supposed to meet today, but it didn't work out. Maybe by this time next week, the book will be well and truly finished. It is being set up right now to print! Isn't that amazing?

Monday, November 28, 2011

About the Book

I am moving forward on the chapbook. My cousin is too! She is fixing up some glitches in a few of the drawings and doing the last three drawings for the book. One is a bit of a problem, the one that I would have thought would be the easiest, savasana! I guess that it's hard to relax, perhaps harder than doing elaborate poses, and so it's hard to draw relaxation too. At least that is how it is turning out.
This Weds. I will go see John Genesta in Laguna Beach and get the photograph for the cover of the book done. Then I should perhaps get a microphone and get started on the trailer and the page for the book, on Red Room. It's a bit scary, but I need to move forward.
Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the stove top part to come in, fixing everything in the toaster oven, big oven, or microwave. It's warm, so I can make a salad, or I can put stuff in the crockpot I guess. I didn't realize how much I realized on the stove top! I wish I had an electric skillet! My mother in law offered me hers, and I guess I should have taken it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Qarrtsiluni Publication!

Dave Bonta and his team at Qarrtsiluni have accepted another poem, "The Hive: A Parody, After Emily Dickinson," for their upcoming Imitation issue. I am happy about that! It's been a couple of months since I had a poem taken at a journal. Let's hope this will be the beginning of a run! I've got lots out right now.
Looking forward to seeing the issue!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

It's Thanksgiving. There are lots of things to prepare for supper this afternoon, like the slow-rising pumpkin thyme rolls that have been rising all night in the fridge. They sort of looked like they might explode the container! Then there's the wild mushroom stuffing with chestnuts and chive biscuits. I made the chive biscuits for the stuffing (tasty!), but the stove top went out and will take up to a week to replace a part! $500., nearly... scary. We are told that this is a good stove though, a Kenmore commercial oven of uncertain date, in otherwise good repair. I made a French apple tart on flaky pastry (frozen) glazed with apricot jam (pretty), and with those three items, there's my contribution to the meal, which will take place here, using our good china and silver, if I can get Jeremy to clean it.
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Last Night's Thanksgiving Service

Our choir sang with the Irvine Unified Church of Christ's choir in the annual Thanksgiving Service last night. Two difficult but beautiful pieces, which I didn't have as firm a grasp on as I wish I had. I can't read music, or at least in the past I didn't have luck learning to do it. It is probably time to try again.
Our choir, while feisty and capable of surprising effort, has been flagging this past year. People are going away much more frequently on vacation and not showing up for practice, leaving early, coming late. If I were the choir director, I would be angry. I don't think Shannon is angry, but perhaps resigned to the impossibility of making us as good as we could be if we are not there, either physically or psychologically or both. It doesn't help that she has lost her job, like several of us in the choir and in the community at large.
All the same, the service was lovely, though a bit earnest. I love IUCC. They are such good people, whose hearts are all in the right place, but I find them just a bit politically correct, forced. Still, I'd much rather have affirmations of good values than iterations of bad or indifferent ones clothed in subtle language.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Too Bad, But Life Goes On

The photographer was not interested in pursuing a collaboration, which is a shame. I could have written a nice little series that probably would have brought his photos out into the public eye. Maybe that is just what he does not want.
As I have learned working on the yoga poems, collaborations can be ticklish things because one has to consider not only herself but the other person's schedule, priorities, desires, etc. And we have still to work on the app. Haven't heard anything about that in a while. I am not certain it is going to work out because I am much fussier about the way the thing is presented than that guy was ready for.
It's on to the next thing, I guess!

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Idea

I had a new idea today--another day, another idea, I guess. I want to speak to Neil Fricke about doing another chapbook of poems about his photos. I already wrote one, in response to a Switchback prompt of the month, "Nobody Ever Knows Anything For a Fact." I didn't post that photo though. I'll leave it as a surprise, for when and if it gets accepted. I think they'll turn these around pretty quickly because it is a monthly sort of thing.
I am feeling more full of things to be thankful for than for a long time. If I had been working, I wouldn't be writing these poems, right? Here's something to remember at Thanksgiving time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Hike That Didn't Happen

Rain was forecast for today. In fact, it was supposed to be 100% chance, with thunder and lightning. Therefore, I was very skeptical about my chances of going on the hike this morning at the Buddhist Monastery near Cooke's Corner in Trabuco Canyon. I don't have rain gear suitable for such a hike, and truthfully, I cannot think of anything more miserable than trudging up steep hills in the rain and cold. I am just not that fixated on hiking. I go on hikes to enjoy the beautiful trees and other flora and fauna, conversation with new acquaintances, and the warm sun on my back.
So when I got up at 5:45 AM this morning and read an online forecast, I decided to cancel my reservation for this morning's hike, especially when I saw the street outside was slick with rain that had fallen sometime during the night. It wasn't raining then, but since the sun had not yet risen, I didn't know whether it would.
An hour and a half later, the sun was out, the sky blue, and though it was cool and breezy, it looked like delightful hiking weather. That didn't last, but the hike went on, and it didn't rain till it was over. It's raining right now in fact. No thunder and lightning yet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Problems with New Blogger Format

I am trying out the new blogger format, and the truth is that I don't know how to get back to the former one. I cannot find my dashboard and see no way to send the comments and questions I am trying to post. Anyone with some suggestions and answers about this, please email me at Thanks.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hike This Morning!

This morning very early I got up in the foggy still dark to go on a hike. I met Liz at the yoga studio parking lot, and we headed off to Wood Canyon for my first Intermediate hike!
It was a beautiful day for hiking, nice and cool, and I was ready for it to heat up, with a shirt under my sweater and lots of water, snacks too. But although I took off the sweater and drank plenty water through the tube of my hydration pack, I never touched the snacks. Most of the time I was trudging uphill, and in no mood to eat.
It was a lovely place, very fragrant, and with wonderful overlooks where I could admire the layers of soft grey green hills. With the fog, it reminded me of my walks in Floyd, with the small, rounded and toothless hills visible from he side of the trail.
Mostly in this part of CA, the hills are quite bald and brown for most of the year, like old men, their faces furrowed with lines. But generally, when it rains down here, one can see that the mountains furthest away wear a cap of snow. I like it best when it's warm and sunny down here in the foothills, but cold and snowy up in the mountains. It is an amazing sight.
I can see why this was an intermediate hike, as the hill was quite steep in places and went on and on for quite a while, but truthfully, it wasn't as bad as the first hike I went on, which had been rated an Advanced Beginner. This one was specially designed to move people along from beginner to intermediate, and though I am a bit slow in comparison to Liz and other true intermediate hikers, I was generally okay. I want to do this again, a few times, before trying other intermediate hikes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The neighborhood Thanksgiving is now on again! Our neighbor Eric will cook the turkey, if we all chip in and pay for it. I will make a lot of other things, like mashed potatoes (though they aren't my personal favorite), cranberry orange relish, rolls (from scratch), and apple tart for dessert. Someone else will have to make the gravy, the side dishes, and another pie. But our neighbor George can cook very well, so I'm sure that's in good hands.
I want to make a low fat potato recipe because the idea of pouring in all that heavy cream and butter horrifies me, given R's cholesterol tendencies, and my own. Jeremy's probably as well.
So everyone wins. I won't have to cook the bird. Not all the cooking is my responsibility, and there will be lots of guys watching football and playing pool. Most of the leftovers won't end up in our fridge (Richard's worst nightmare) either.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holiday Angst

I am a very sociable person. I like being with people, getting to know them, chatting, and eating with them. However, my family isn't like me in that way.
My son and my husband would rather stay home watching games on television, talking about sports. My husband would rather be at the range, hitting balls, or in the garage, poking balls into holes on the pool table. (But isn't this what groups of men generally end up doing together, even when large families gather?)
Though on most days I go to yoga class or on hikes, holidays are meant to be spent with family, eating and talking. But my family just views them as a chore, while I, without siblings or close-by relations, long to cook with a group of chatting and laughing friends or family, and to eat what we cooked together, talking about old times and times to come.
So I end up forcing my family to eat what I have grudgingly cooked. No one has a good time. All holidays at my house seem to end up like this, especially Thanksgiving.
I guess I could insist we go out to eat. That might be a compromise. We've done it before. Too bad, because leftovers on Thanksgiving are a GOOD thing, even my family acknowledges that. Cold stuffing for breakfast is a delight not to be missed, as I'm sure some of you would agree.
Relationships are tough. Holidays are tougher. And this is just the start of the holiday season.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rain Rain

It doesn't rain much for most of the year in these parts. However, winter can be a rainy time, and this winter is turning out to be particularly so.
One thing about the rain here is that it can cause a lot of havoc because the streets don't drain well, and cars tend to slip around on them when it rains. Sometimes there are also flash floods.
I was once stuck in such a flood when making my way across the street to the market across the street from our apartment (several places ago). Then I heard it: the sound of a rushing flood of water, carrying cars, trees, dead animals, and a couple of people, swimming for their lives. I can't swim, and I was stuck in the middle of the street yelling for help. Finally, a big SUV going by me opened the door and let me in. Lucky for me, it was a decent person, who took me home. But there were people on the other side of the street who wanted me to jump in, even though I probably would have been swept away and drowned. Encouraging, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Think First, Act Later

In real life, as opposed to virtual life, I am generally pretty cautious, to the point where many people have ranked me out for it, saying, "You think too much!" I guess this is an expected sort of failing for a person like me, who lives so much in her head.
But when I sit at the computer, I become a totally different kind of person, recklessly punching buttons left and right. That is how my computers have become so messed up over the past years. In fact, I recently had to have the whole operating system replaced and all the files straightened out and cleaned of junk.
It's kind of like my closets, come to think of it, or the fact that I can't seem to dump random pieces of mail that I might need for something someday.
Now I'm trying to figure out how to change the size of the illustrations in my yoga manuscript. Nina has done most of them now, but Karen, the publisher, doesn't have a number of them. However, when I pasted them into the manuscript, several of them became enormous, and I can't seem to figure out how to resize them, and can't find relevant instructions online for Word 2007. 2007 is new to me; I guess I'll get used to it. And yes, I know, that's already antiquated. I'm a few years behind the curve.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Possibility

For perhaps a year, Richard has been encouraging me to apply for a fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Richard went twice (as many times as it is possible to apply), in 1976, when we first got married, and in 1990, when Jeremy was not quite one year old.
Artists and writers in this program must live in a converted chicken coop in Provincetown, MA, on the beautiful tip of Cape Cod for 7 months (fall, winter, and spring). They get a small stipend and free rent, and the freedom to work on whatever artistic endeavors they wish.
The major criterion of the program is the quality of the work, and the idea that this should be an "emerging" artist/writer. Richard argues that despite my age, I really fit that criterion since I am only now really beginning to publish and do serious work on my writing career, having spent the rest of my life teaching and taking care of other people (the fate of most women).
I can certainly write very happily right where I am, in my wonderful new house on the cusp of the Southern California hills,as well as going to yoga class and synagogue, but, once unemployment dries up, I would not be able to collect a stipend for doing this. So he imagines that we would leave the house to Jeremy and a couple of trustworthy friends of his we would lease it to, with Jeremy here to keep an eye on things, and go live in the wintry dunes for nearly a year.
I don't know about this. I know Richard would heartily enjoy this. And it might be a big boost for my writing since I could do readings in Boston and probably New York and would enjoy going to many readings and art openings, etc. But on the other hand,
would it necessarily do anything for me that staying right here and continuing to write and possibly applying for an NEA grant of another type wouldn't? And doesn't Jeremy still need our help, particularly since he is going to transfer to a 4 year school next year? I have my doubts about that.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jet Lagged, and I didn't even go anywhere!

I'm still getting used to the time, as I'm sure you are too. I woke up this morning at about 1, and had a terrible time getting back to sleep. After about 3:30, I gave up, though I laid there until 5 before I got up.
I am supposed to go to choir practice, but I'm way too tired now!
I guess that besides the time change, I was thinking about my interview. I had been told the entire staff would be there to fire questions at me, which seemed a bit much for an adjunct position, but it didn't turn out that way.
The dean was a warm person, easy to talk to, and she enjoyed my presentation. The thumb drive I downloaded the poems I was going to talk about didn't work (it was empty, though at home it had said it wasn't), but luckily, I brought hard copies, since I didn't know whether I'd have access to a computer.I think it worked out well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Facebook Wonders

By the time one reaches my age, she has met lots of people and forgotten or half forgotten most. On Facebook, I have been running into some of these people.
A friend of mine from Philly sent a pic of high school reunion. I was so miserable in high school I never ever wanted to go back, and haven't. But the picture she sent was pretty cool. One of the people was a good friend from early elementary school I had lost track of. One was a neighbor from across the street who, along with her sister, was a sort of enemy for much of my youth, but all that is behind us. One was a poet I met in P-town, but couldn't remember whether it was the first time we were there or the second.
I'm in touch with all of them now!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Interview on Verses In Motion

This afternoon I had my 15 minutes of quasi-fame being interviewed on Blog Radio's Verses In Motion show, where the gracious Laura Mercutio gave me the opportunity to monopolize a few minutes of precious airtime talking about yoga, reading poems, and inviting listeners to this blog.
Once I start to talk, it is hard to stop. Having so many years of free airtime in the classroom, I can wax quite prolix, but I hope that my segment was interesting and most of all, that people appreciated the two poems from Balance that I read.
I have been doing a lot of writing lately, and now have two new poems to shop around. As soon as one gets published, I will put the link here. I guess I better get cracking! I miss putting up fresh, unpublished work, but many journals will not republish them, once they have lost their print virginity on a blog. So many little rules one has to learn in this poetry biz!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I am looking forward to my two interviews, coming up this week. On Saturday, I will be interviewed on Verses in Motion, on blog radio, at 2:40 PST (5:40 EST). I will read a couple of poems from the yoga book and talk about when and where they will eventually be available, and as for the rest of the twenty minutes, I'm not sure what the host will ask me. Here's the link again:Here's a link:
Here's the radio website:
If you aren't able to tune in at the time to hear the interview live, it will be archived on the site.
On Monday I have a job interview for a teaching position the nature of which I know very little at the moment. I guess I'll find out soon though. I'm not even sure at this moment what I will wear.
This weekend I have scheduled TWO hikes in a row--Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Let's hope I don't fall in a hole so I am home in plenty of time to call in for the radio show.