Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year


I'm headed to the bash at the Shangri-La this evening--the neighbours have an extra ticket, so off I go. I'll still miss Mark and you all in DC : ( but at least I can miss you all in a lavish environment! I'll be ringing in the new year ahead of you, at 3pm this afternoon EST. Time to get dressed.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Long Catch Up Post 1 of 2

I never did go camping, but I've been on several interesting day trips. On the 29th I'd more or less recovered, but Mary, Dad and my sisters were still quite sick. So I headed to the coast with Mary's friend and her husband and their son . We went to a cove just past the Omani Dive center that seem to cater more to locals and non-European tourists.

Mary's friend studied hotel management and has been living/working in this part of the world for some time, so her Arabic is quite good and we were able to bargain for a boat. I understand most of the very basic elements of conversation here--greetings and goodbyes, as well as transactions involving numbers--but I'm not speaking with confidence. At any rate, two fellows took us out on a very basic motorboat. The older man in the dishdashi was clearly in charge, and the younger Inidan (but still Arabic-speaking) man in cut off pants and a t-shirt was his protege, and did the leg work.

They took us snorkling, and then left us on a deserted beach for a few hours before taking us home. The coral here isn't as spectacular as it is elsewhere, but the other marine life is fabulous. The coastine is very dramatic, all mountains and cliffs, with strangely shaped rock formations and islands, and small, secluded little beaches.

I saw loads of fish, including a scorpion fish, and swam through schools of flat, yellow fish with purple stripes. I also saw a decent sized turtle--not as big as they can get, but she (the younger man insisted it was a she and not a he) was quite large.

Once on the beach, I saw several herons of various sorts up close, as well as other shorebirds. The fish were jumping--every so often thirty or fourty fish would jump out of the water and skip across it on their tails--and the birds were having a great time catching them both in and out of the water. There were also loads of baby rays--not sting rays, but some other kind of ray--as well as these strange, flat silver fish that kept riding the waves, beaching themsevles in the sand, flipping around, and then going out with the next wave. Four of five sharks were swimming about 4 meters offshore, feeding on the fish and the rays. You'd see their fins pop up and then suddenly increase speed when they went in for an attack. They were fairly small sharks, just over a meter long, and not the sort that eat people. Nicole's husband waded into the water to watch them. Still, I watched them from a distance.

The beach is quite close to Yiti Beach, but separated from it by a lagoon which cannot be crossed safely in even in a 4 X 4. The government is building a road, and there are plans for development, so it's not likely to stay quiet for long. There were thousands of button shells all over the beach, and I spent an hour picking through them. I found several cowry shells, which made me nostalgic in the very best way for beach combing in PNG.

That evening I went to a party at a house out near the British Consul, again with the same friends of Mary. I talked with several expats, mostly English, a few British merchant marines, as well as other folks who work for the same tour company as Mary's friend. Want to learn Maldivian?--join the British merchant marine. Things I learned:
  1. Motorcycling is quite popular among the expats of Muscat
  2. The customs at the border between Oman and the UAE is lax--immigration and customs are miles and miles apart on the road. There are also roads between here and UAE that bipass immigration and customs completely.
  3. There are villages up in the mountains that do not use clocks (not suprising but interesting)
  4. The hours of the British School are shorter than the hours of the American International School, and they do not offer after school activities or encourage parental involvment.
  5. The American Women's Club here is considered boring by some.
  6. Several expat women here make jewlery.
  7. The people who really like it here do not like cities, in general.
  8. Most of the large houses that expats live in are paid for or owned by their client--again, not surprising.

After about 12:30, a some of the Scottish folks pulled out some insturments--guitar, bohdrum, bouzouki, and yes, bagpipes. They had a tin whistle that I tried to play, but it was bent. At 2:30 we hauled ourselves away from singing and went home. I had fun, but I don't need to go to another expat party for a while. Except for this evening, perhaps.

Yiti Beach

Friday, December 29, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

There's a US Navy boat in port. A destroyer or something.

Woke up from my drug-induced sleep to the very early Adhan (أَذَان). I don't hear it during the day because of the traffic from the highway, but at around 4:30 am it was clear through the open windows. The sunsets over the fig trees are lovely, even though the highway is ugly.

The camping trip was postponed a night, but that's just as well, since I'm still not 100%. Another night of sleep like last night and I'll be well enough to go. I would have gone this evening, but it probably would have been a bad idea.

I don't know what my body is reacting to. If it were my normal allergies, Id be havine asthmatic symptoms, but I'm not, at least not more than usual. My aunt is allergic to nearly everything. This worries me.

Muscat is busy preparing for Eid. Mary and I went grocery shopping at by far the largest supermarket I have ever been in, and it was filled with Muslim couples loading up on food and gifts. I also bought some mangosteens (I've blogged about mangosteens before) and some spices--a mix of something, and dried hibiscus flowers. I love how spices are sold in bulk, and touching, smelling, and tasting is encouraged.

The traffic here isn't as bad as it is in SoCal, but it will be in 10 years, if not before. Muscat hasn't exactly embraced public transporation. There is even less of it here than in north county--I am suprised by this.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

9:30=time for bed

It looked like it was going to rain today--dark clouds over the mountains and haze right here at the coast--but it didn't. I'm glad. Muscat floods easily.

I'm feeling better, although my face still looks like I've been attacked by red ants (ok, probably not that bad, but that's how I feel like it looks). Both Dad and Mary are quite sick.

We all slept in this morning, and I went up to the roof to birdwatch. I did see several different kinds, but will have to write up my notes tomorrow.

Muhammad the plumber was here off and on for most of the day. I've now seen him a few times, and so he greated me this morning in the kitchen while I was having coffee and eating Weetabix.

"Good morning, Madam," he said.

"Good morning, Mr. Muhammad." In Arabic, the titles are used with first names.

"Insha'Allah (إن شاء الله) I will fix the water completely today" he said.

"Maybe there's a djinn in the house," I suggested. He looked disturbed and so I waved my hands dismissively and said, "No, no. Insha'Allah (إن شاء الله) you will fix the problem."

The water worked, then it didn't, then they took the heater away completely to replace it (Michelle's idea all along). Then the water pressure went all weird and we had no water because the house next door has about 10 people in it right now, four of which were showering at the same time. And now we have it again. We considered just checking into a hotel, but all the rooms are booked up--lots of people vacationing here from the UAE, etc, and also Europe.

At around 3 my sisters and I went iceskating with a few of their friends from school. Apart from us (and the parents), there were two Omani young men on the ice--both in jeans and t shirts, a young Indian boy who skated at high speed, and a middle-aged man in a dishdashi. One of the parents had brought a tape of Christmas songs to play. "O Holy Night" was interrupted by the Adhan (أَذَان) being broadcast into the rink. I love the way the call to prayer sounds, but this was the first time I'd heard it in an ice-skating rink.

Sarah and I hung out together for a few hours before dinner while Michelle & Allison went to a movie with their friend. Sarah and I had hot chocolate and cookies from the huge Marks & Spencer tin sitting on top of the fridge. After that, we played with paper dolls, built a "temple" out of Jenga blocks. She showed me her sticker collection & box collection, then her ballet routine and all the things she learned in gymnastics. She is working on a pretty good hand stand, so I showed her my current version of pincha mayurasana.

If I continue to feel well tomorrow, I may go for an overnight camping trip in the desert with some of Mary's friends.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas & Christmas Update

Well, the hot water heater exploded for the third time this week, so there's no water again and the kitchen is flooded. We were having dinner at the neighbours, and Mary was actually telling the story of how it blew up the first time and she fell and hit her head, when Sarah came into the dining room and said "it happened again." Dad turned off the water, electricity and gas while Mary and I tried to get as much stuff out of the dark, steamy kitchen as possible. So, no hot water, etc. We've turned the electricity back on, but no water again.

The houses in this little enclave are ostentatious on the outside, but put together rather slapdash. Who the hell runs hot water through unlined PVC pipes?

I continue to have hives all over my face. I feeling telling everyone I meet "Actually, my face isn't usually red, blotchy and swolen." Allison remains the only non-sick person in the family, although Michelle seems more or less recovered and Sarah may also be on the mend. Dad, Mary and I are at various stages of a bug that starts with a congested head and then m oves into a sore throat and finally a congested cough. I haven't been sick in ages--so I suppose this is just my once every 3 years moment of being really sick. It's bad timing. But, Mary is a nurse, and I can get to a doctor easily and get prescription drugs for a lot less than I can back in California. So maybe it's not bad timing after all.

I plan to spend most of tomorrow reading my history of the Arab world & drinking tea with calamine lotion all over my face and neck. If I'm feeling really good I'll check out one of the parks in Muscat which is supposed to be a good place to birdwatch. The goal is for all of us to get better as quickly as possible so that we can go back to having fun, and so I can go adventuring. Dad gave me a guide to the birds of Oman, so I may simply sit on the balcony (again, drinking tea with calamine lotion all over my face and neck) and try to identify every bird that comes into the yard.

~


This is Dad and Winston on Azabia beach, Christmas Eve. Azabia beach is just down the road from where they live. Very big, flat, and empty.

All of us are sick, but we've had a good Christmas so far, and in a few hours we'll go over to the neighbours to eat. They put the turkeys (which were "slaughtered by hand with a knife as per Islamic rites") on the BBQ. I've never had turkey this way, but it should be good.

Allison says: "Even though it is Christmas in Oman, it is very hot! (Singing & dancing) I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's been a low key day. We're all getting ready for Christmas tomorrow, and recovering from the past few days of activity.

In Oman, expatriates and some non-Muslims can get a kind of passport that allows you to buy alchohol. The stores are very nondiscript buildings with no windows and secured doors. The one we went to was called "Asian and African Import Export Store." The words "Alter Ego" were written on the counter by the cash register. The fellow behind the desk recognized Dad's car (which he could see drive up because of a hidden camera) and already had a case of Tiger beer waiting for him. We also bought wine and champagne, etc for Christmas dinner.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I arrived. The trip was long but fairly easy. I made my connection in London, but my luggage didn't--hopefully it will be on the British Airways flight this evening. Amazingly, someone spilled something with me on every leg of the trip. Water, coffee, tea, red wine, in that order.

Muscat, what I've seen of it, is spread out--it actually reminds me of southern California to a certain extent. The new housing developments are basically suburbs, a golf course is planed, etc. The coast line is lovely and goes on for miles. Starfish. Colored rocks. Boys playing soccer. It's greener than I expected--they must be doing some serious irrigation and landscaping. Dry craggy mountains just beyond the city.

The hot water heater exploded shortly before I arrived, and Mary has a concussion from slipping and falling to get away from the falling heater and the exploding, scalding hot water. I was sorry to not be able to shower, but also kind of nostalgic--I've lived in many places overseas with exploding hot water heaters, no water, or both.

I also have hives all over my face! Hives aren't unusual for me, but I haven't had them in ages, and I haven't had them on my face in ages. I met the neighbours with a layer of white anti-itch cream smeared all over my face to help prevent me from tearing off several layers of skin. It sounds even better than it feels.

There are other, more interesting things to say. But I've really only been awake for 10 hours since I arrived. Taking notes. There's a coffee shop behind the house, between the gas station and the highway. I can't really go, but I can watch the patrons sit outside from one of the windows in the house. They drink coffee and watch either soccer or bellydancing projected onto an outside wall. Tomorrow I'm headed down the coast for the day. I have not spell checked this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wow, what is better than airline customer service? Almost everything.

Today we took Lester to the vet to be boarded. I spent a half hour arranging is cage with familiar toys and perches so he'd be comfortable. He's in a nice, sunny room with other smaller parrots, so he'll have plenty of company.

I will get up at 4:30 tomorrow, take a train at 5:27 down to San Diego, and get on an 8:30 flight. By late Wednesday morning on the east coast I'll be in Muscat.

I called the bank to let them know I'll be traveling so they don't put a block on my check card. I told the woman, "I'm going to be in London, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates," and she said "oh, so you're going basically everywhere in Europe." Way to go, Bank of America!

Time for a run.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hooray etc

Yay! I just finished all my grading--I one class had final projects due last night at 11:59 pm last night (that deadline was not my decision, by the way), and so I spent today grading. Yay! Mark did our laundry, so now I actually have some clean clothes to pack. Yay!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Important Questions

Will my manicure last until I get to Oman?

Will I have to stay in London overnight because I only have 1.5 hours in Heathrow which is tight for an international connection and I don't have to collect my luggage but I will have to check in again because my ticket to London is on United and I fly BA from London to Oman? I've already written a poem based on spending too much time in Heathrow. Last time it was 48 hours. I didn't have any money so I couldn't go into the city. This time I have almost no money, so maybe if I get stuck I won't have to stay at the airport.

Should I make a gratin to go with the ham?

Should I make another batch of ginger cookies.

Will I make it to yoga on Sunday, or will I be still grading?

Will I have time to go to Boots when I'm at the airport in London? Perhaps that will be the only good thing about an extra long layover.

Will I finish editing the 15 articles about snow sports before I return from Oman?

Will I finish the prose project I'm working on that can only be finished in an airport?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

1-10

1. The women on weather channel have over-plucked eyebrows.
2. Making yourself a character who talks to your other characters is fun, but not innovative.
3. Also, pink and red-toned eye shadow doesn't really look good on anyone. Pearly pink is lovely, but anything darker is terrible.
4. I can relate to my students who have read Kurt Vonnegut and want to put themselves into their stories in sophomoric, obvious ways; but I can't relate to my students with children.
5. Ever since I 5th grade, when kissing suddenly seemed more serious, I have been hyper aware of the fact that women get pregnant, and men don't, and that pregnancy is problematically more serious for women than men.
6. My right tricep is very sore. Why? Do I favor it when trying to come up out of back bends?
7. I own almost no t-shirts that aren't sloppy. Mary says that wearing t-shirts is the norm for foreigners in Oman, but I don't really have any t-shirts. I have big, burlap bag-like t-shirts that I sleep in, and tight slutty t-shirts I haven't worn since college and can't believe I ever wore, but nothing that is short-sleeved, nice and modest. Actually. I have three. Three short-sleeved shirts that will work. So I will bring them.
8. I clipped Lester's wing feathers yesterday.
9. Dear people, there are lots of things to do other than get married and have children. Dear friends who live in fairly urban or academic places who think "yeah, of course," you are unprepared for what our country is like.
10. Who among you is able to plan even the most basic of events?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I redeemed part of a gift certificate and got a manicure and a pedicure this morning. It was nice.

Mail:

The Arabs: A Short History, by Philip K. Hitti
A pair of Irish dancing shoes and corresponding championship length socks for Sarah

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hazy

There are so many small presses and small small presses and micro presses and presses that used to not publish interesting work that now sometimes do publish interesting work, sort of, and this has something to do with Fence and Verse/Wave, and has something not do do with this, and it has something to do with who is teaching at MFA programs and where, and the fact that some Language poets are kind of respectable even to folks who despise Language poetry, and that some "Post" Language people have jobs and are kind of respectable and even are interested in lyric. It has something to do with the fact that in poetry land even the Language, Post Language and Post Post Language poets are talking and writing about things other than 9/11. And something to do with blogs. And something to do with style.

It could also be that I am old and over worked. For example, untangling the connections between poets and people and new presses and magazines seems as daunting a task as going to Ikea.

Also, I only listen to 90s music and Sonic Youth.

I have a t-shirt with Creeley on it. If I were really stylish. I'd have just written, "I have a t-shirt with Bob on it." I cut off the collar and wear it to the beach where I read trashy sci-fi and fantasy novels. Also, I like to wear it to the beach at sunset, where I look out over the ocean and think about my greatness and how everything on earth is interconnected.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I need to clip Lester's wing feathers. He thinks he's a big bad bird, which he is, but I don't want my big bad bird flying out the window and being carried miles by the Pacific breeze.

Send me your address if you're going to be somewhere other than where you are over the holidays. We all know that I don't ever send any mail, and certainly not correspondence...which will make it all the more surprising if I do, you know, send postcards.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm not going to grade one more student essay. I'm going to go have a drink.

I said I was going to grade one more student essay, but instead I'm blogging.

Mark and I are going out to dinner with some friends this evening at the Armenian restaurant. I've never been, so I'm excited.

I worked on Urdhva Dhanurasana today, and came up to standing by using my hands at the wall to come up--another first. I'm going to try and lug my mat with me to Oman, we'll see. I haven't been able to find any studios in Muscat.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I got into Pincha Mayurasana without props today and stayed there. Yes, I was near the wall--but no block and no strap. I probably balanced for all of about five seconds before having to put my foot back on the wall, but I could imagine what it might be like to stay up there a while.

I like inversions. I'm not afraid of being upside down. A weak back and tight shoulders used to limit me in Pincha Mayurasana, and my elbows used to splay outward without a strap buckled and looped over my arms. Not today.

I'm a long way from being able to put my feet on my head, though.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I think I may have shocked some of my various employers by telling them that I'm going to be in Oman for several weeks over the holidays. I wouldn't have mentioned it at all, except that it's a reasonable explanation for saying that I won't have access to email everyday.

According to Mary, my sisters have already decided on several activities. Sarah and Michelle have concluded that since I am "younger than Mom and Dad," I will be more energetic. However, Allison has cautioned them that I'll also need "quiet time, rest and space."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No more articles about snow sports.

Of weather and clothing in Oman my stepmother says:
The mornings and evenings are a little cooler right now, the afternoon is still hot...90's. I sometimes wear a cardigan in the evening, and even wear jeans through out the day. The dress code is fairly relaxed for foreigners as we don't wear the abyaa. I still wear long skirts, pants, and shirts with sleeves. You'll also get away with wearing capri pants while out and about. We only wear shorts at home, at the american club and on the beach, (where bikinis and reg bathers are also OK. )

~

I do NOT want to finish this article about snowkiting. Or the next article about ski bobbing--also known as ski biking or snow biking.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lester woke up this morning in a good mood

That means he slept in and, when he did get up, he went right to singing. This is not how I wake up, obviously.

~

I made ginger cookies. They are possibly the best looking and tasting cookies I have ever made. I put cocoa powder in them because I use it in my gingerbread and decided it would be good in the cookies, too. Of course, I don't know what the cookies would have tasted like without the cocoa.

Mark and I have been grading. I have been writing articles about snow sports. I have also edited some things.

I think the hardest thing to get students to do is be specific. 8 out of every 10 comments I make in class and on student papers have to do with the need to be specific--whether that means supporting arguments and ideas with evidence from texts, making characters less generic by giving readers information relevant to both character and the context of the story, or asking them to consider mood, tone, & connotation in their poems.

~

Christmas shopping for my sisters (or "the Herd," as Dad calls them) was stressful, even though I did it online. My gifts to them are fairly boring in terms of initial wow value. I've ordered three books:
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster (for Michelle)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg (for Allison)
  • Wonderful O, by James Thurber (for Sarah
And then they're each going to get something small. Michelle is getting a pair of fold-up binoculars, Allison is getting a pink shirt that says "I love dogs" (except "love" is a heart and "dog" is a picture of a dog), & Sarah is getting a bunch of Hello Kitty stuff.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Packing Ideas / Popup Books Again

I may dig out my old salwar chemise / punjabi suit. It's light, packable, and modest.

I dreamed that I built the gigantic pop-up book I've been talking about for years. I hadn't worked out all the technical elements though. At one point, I kept trying to walk through a door in one of the pages, and the arch of the (very blue) door kept melting on me. In the dream I wasn't frustrated, just puzzled.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Denver Post / Social Discipline / Manuscript / Hash Browns

The Denver Post news article interviewed my parents about their experiences in Iran in 1978 and 79 and about being Baha'is. I find my dad's discussion of "social discipline" odd and interesting. There's a scan of the full article on flickr.

~

I'm going to put together a book manuscript next year and send it to people who are willing and able to comment on it. I don't write book-length manuscripts--more like interrelated 30-40 page chunks. I'm having trouble putting something together because my tendency is to focus on similarities between my various projects as opposed to differences. So. I will focus on differences.

~

I'm increasingly convinced that hash browns can actually be good--that they don't have to be gluey, semi-frozen bits of stuff that only vaguely resemble potatoes. The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe (yes, it has the extra e, but we go anyway) makes excellent hash browns. They are super crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I suppose their hash browns are like a thin, oddly shaped latke. They're good.


In San Diego and its environs, "scrambles" are common items on all breakfast and brunch menus. Not so in DC. They're like omelets, except more homey--they require little skills and no specialized pans. They are good with hash browns.

Friday, December 01, 2006

And so on


Do I like Fleetwood Mac?
Do I identify with the rock hyrax?
Is Peter Matthiessen's At Play in the Fields of the Lord one of my favorite books?
Would I like Jean le Carre if I'd ever read any of it?
How did I come to live with Lester the green parrotlet?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I dare you to name me a good jazz flutist who isn't really a saxaphone player

It's me and Lester against the world.

However, the only real justification for this feeling I have is that dinner this evening was tasty, but monochromatic.

Work is bearable--far better than it's ever been--but still too much and overwhelming and draining. I resent it.

One more week of the semester to go. Then I can be glad the work is finished and get right down to being sad that I'm not teaching in the spring.

I also realized that I'm slightly nervous--mostly in a good way--about my trip to Oman. I've been having weird desert dreams. In going to Oman, I'm worried that I'm only traveling from one suburban, isolated place to another.

I haven't been in an expatriate compound in several years. I wonder if I'll feel alienated in the same way or in a different way.

March 9, 1979 Denver Post

While editing and grading papers at the Yoga Center today, I scanned oodles of pictures in an overdue and rushed attempt to make copies of baby and childhood photos for my Dad before I head to Oman. I worked on photos and images from my first scrapbook today--a careful, amazing scrapbook mom made for me for my 6th birthday.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I have decided

that Mark and I have decided to move into a restored cave house in central Turkey and live lives of contemplation and so on. Or else we will move to a large villa on the Aegean and you can all come over and go swimming.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I stayed above a KFC


I scanned some pictures today, mostly for my Dad. His birthday is New Year's Day, and I'm trying to make copies of baby pictures as well as stuff from high school and college. The pictures from Singapore and Malaysia make me long for, well, being on vacation and not worrying about school, jobs, family, or money. Being happy and relaxed is healthy, clearly.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Q: What songs does Lester Sing?


A: "Lester Peeps Out," and more recently, "Lester Sleeps In."

Ra Ra Ra The Corcoran College of Art + Design

-Dare to be brave-
Come out and see them
Free @ 7 p.m.Wednesday Nov. 29th
Transformer Gallery
1404 P. Street, NW

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Listening to the Psychedelic Furs Talk Talk Talk, "No Tears," etc. Love that song.

We don't talk about the rain in San Diego enough. It rains here, people. It rains. We tried to go to the mountains but couldn't because it was raining.

~

I'm not into obscure words as titles.

I've done it myself. I have a poem called "A Ukase." But the poem explains the word, and I'd never title a book "A Ukase."

I'm not into French words as titles. Maybe if you as author have some connection to the French language beyond having read some French theory, but even then I think it's dubious.

Just watched "Kiss me Deadly." The government seems to think that information isn't relevant to context and vice versa. So things blow up.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Went to yoga this morning--I've felt like a noodle all week. This happens every so often. I become just strong enough to start pushing it a bit more, and then I do and get sore. This week it's my back and shoulders. Yesterday, my teacher said something about how open my upper back and shoulders are. Huh? When did that happen? I thought my shoulders were hunched up around my ears.

Mark and I are headed to a friend's house to celebrate today. I did most of my cooking yesterday evening: a pear pie, a cassoulet w/butternut squash, pancetta, roasted garlic, and some other things--it's cooking now & smells good, and then some cornbread that splits the difference between dryer, intense corn tasting southern cornbread and sweet, cake-like northern cornbread.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I got books in the mail to review. I will review them. But it is Thanksgiving week, so I am thinking about cooking and food, not poetry.

Actually, I am thinking about poetry, just not blogging about it.

I wore my koala apron from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to cook dinner this evening. Who knew that broccoli stalks could taste so good. They can actually be caramelized if sliced thin and sauted in olive oil. It's all very exciting. No more buying broccoli caps for me.

I am planning to cook many things this weekend, but I don't know what to cook when. For whom.

I'd really like to attempt making Pommes Anna again. It always tastes fabulous. Pommes Anna is basically a big "cake" make out of layered potato slices and lots of butter that's very crisp on the outside but meltingly tender inside. (Obviously, it's not really a good idea to eat this dish very often given all the butter in it and never never use russet potatoes because they are too mushy).

However, whenever I make it, some potatoes always stick to the bottom cast iron pan. Given that part of the point of this dish is how fabulous it looks, I find this rather distressing. Parchment paper on the bottom, maybe?

Monday, November 20, 2006

After seeing lots of "adopt a bunny" signs as well actual bunnies at the vet on Saturday, I did some research about rabbits as pets. I'm a big fan of rabbits (I admit that last month I bought three Peter Rabbit china mugs, kind of like the old ones I had when I was little) but I'd never though of them as making good pets. After doing some research, though, it's clear that I just didn't understand rabbit social patterns.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lester survived the trip to the vet / In the mail / what to bake for Thanksgiving

He weights 28 grams, which makes him huge for his breed. The staff kept calling him a "big boy," which is true, but also ridiculous, because compared to the macaws hanging out in the waiting room he was, of course, very small. I like the vet quite a bit--he knows the vet out in Fairfax who treated Lester when he was sick last fall, and he also keeps parrotletes at home, so he respects Lester and his kind, even though parrotletes aren't big and showy. At any rate, I feel relaxed about having him board at this place while Mark and I are gone over the holidays.

I got several things in the mail from Dusie, including Tom Orange's chapbook. At first glance I thought, "wow, lyric!"

Mark and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with some friends. I'm probably going to bring a dessert. Something involving pears. A pear upside down cake. Pear pie. Pear tarte.

Also. Note the compelling life stories of the pandas at the San Diego zoo.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Taking Lester to the vet this morning in San Diego. He likes being in the car, but not at the vet. No one likes being in hospitals, so this isn't surprising.

I've noticed that avian medicine is very open to alternative medicine in general--when Lester was sick last fall, Dr. Masood prescribed him a short course of antibiotics, but also echinacea, apple cider vinegar and basically just lots of food, warmth, and bed rest.

Lester's not sick, just going in for a yearly check up, and to make sure he's healthy before we board him in December.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Met with six students today. I'm glad they seem to be excited and interested in their final projects.

Wrote article about alternatives to Christmas trees--ones that don't involve chopping down trees. I like evergreen potted vines. Depending on what kind of trellis you build, you can have them grow into traditional Christmas tree pyramid shape, or something else.

Got a copy of Steph Rioux' low button magic V. I think I'll write something about it later.

Jerome Rothenberg is reading this evening at CSUSM.

My dad's laptop arrived today. I will lug it through no less than 5 airports to Oman in December.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

When you were 8

what did you love?

I loved My Little Pony. But I don't want to get them plastic toys (Ok, I already picked up a bunch of Hello Kitty stuff for Sarah--but Hello Kitty is timeless!)

I've got a list of possible gift ideas for my sisters from Dad & Mary, but I'd still like to brainstorm more. And it's got to fit easily in my luggage. Books, music, videos are all obvious choices.

Help. More ideas?
I typed up more poems and a rather odd piece of prose.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

We watched "Cotton Comes to Harlem" on Saturday night--the first time I'd ever seen it. (Note: I have seen almost no movies. Don't ever ask me "Have you seen xxxx." I mean, you can ask me, but I probably haven't seen it). I laughted and laughed. Lester has also learned to make a laughing sound when we laugh--it sort of sounds like my highest-pitched, most squeaky laugh!

We slept and worked and exercised this weekend. I haven't had a regular yoga practice in weeks, and so was rather sore after a fairly standard mixed-level class on Friday. The place where my hamstring attaches to my hip etc continues to be sore, class or no. Too much sitting.

If I were going to be anywhere near the east coast next weekend, I'd go to the Festival of Contemporary Japanese Women Poets in New York. I'm excited about the bilingual book of translations from Litmus Press: Four from Japan. I like facing page translations. Even though I do not speak Japanese--I studied it for four weeks one summer in Singapore but can only remember how to say "I am a lawyer from ABC Television"--I will stare at the kanji!

I'm writing articles about home made holiday gifts. I like the idea of candied oranges with some kind of chocolate dipping sauce, but it doesn't sound very practical for something that has to be mailed. I'm going to be hauling all kinds of holiday gifts and other things off to Oman. Because of my weird ticket, I'm going to have to pick up my backs and recheck them at Heathrow. I'm not looking forward to it. But I am looking forward to wandering around the airport afterwards, and going to Boots. I'm looking forward to the drugstores in Oman, too. One of my favorite non-obvously touristy things to do in foreign countries is go to drugstores.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I've started making something for the Haptic Anthology because 1) making things is fun 2) I want to contribute and I got my box yesterday and 3) making poems that aren't mostly about words helps me make better poems that are mostly about words. "About" isn't really the right preposition, but nevermind.



I've been thinking about a conversation I had in Chinese with a woman at a bookstore in Chinatown, SF last weekend. I remember the conversation and what she said and what I said, but I do not remember the words, and there's no way I could write it out. While we were talking I remember feeling the same way--that I knew exactly what she was saying without really recognizing individual words. Of course, I remember the words she used that I didn't understand, because I'd stop and ask, " blablabla 是 什麼?"

Last night, I had the first dream with other people in it that I've had in about two months. At least that I can remember. I should have written it down this morning. All I remember is that I stepped into a pool of mud and fall foliage, and Larry Malm, a highschool classmate, kind of dove in and lifted me out of it. I wasn't really worried about being in the mud, nor was I especially surprised that Larry hauled me out. Then, Larry introduced me to his girlfriend and she pointed to a television and said, "we won! we won!"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Today I impressed students with my knowledge of sloths

Breakfast at Tartine was worth the line:


I'm wearing blue today. A blue shirt that is really a yoga shirt with an absurdly low v-neck. Because I am teaching today, I am wearing a black tank top under it. And then I am wearing a shortsleeved deep blue silk jacket from China with flowers on it. I am blue and layered.

Also, the thing around my nalgene bottle to keep the water (today, it's actually iced mint, green, and blood-orange tea) cold is also blue.

I can't remember what time anything is today. I've forgotten the times of regular apointments and meetings that have been going on, at the same time on the same days of the week, for at least two months. I'm writing articles about camping equipment for a website and thinking about how Mark and I should go camping.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We're winning back the lowliest branch of government. Lester is attacking the keys.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Well, I'm being the kind of writer that always frustrates me when I'm an editor, the writer who takes unbearably long to send work and reply to emails and letters. I like to write and publish. I like to recieve mail. I even like to write letters, but there's barely been time for sitting and breathing. During October, this was half because of work and half because of poetry and half because travel. In November, it's all about work.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Things purchased today:

orange flower honey
dried lavender
tea
dumplings
dried sweet potatoes
dried mushrooms
a Chinese-English book of "101 American Customs"
a book of Chinese fables, made for foreigners like me who've forgotten their hanzi

Friday, November 03, 2006

If I were a poet

I am in SF. Actually Berkeley, visiting family. If I were I were a poet, where would I go this weekend? What are all the cool kids doing this weekend?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I've at last uploaded the pictures from the CalArts / Redcat / Impunities conference and put them into a set. If you're one of my flickr contacts, you can add tags, so please do. I don't think I'll have the chance to lable all the photos until next week, but at least they're no longer sitting on my camera.

Mark is reading at UCSD this evening in the New Writing Series.

Book Release Party for Omnidawn Press
Wednesday, Nov 1, 4:30 pm Visual Arts Performance Space

Contributors will read from ParaSpheres: Extending Beyond the Spheres of Literary and Genre Fiction, an anthology of Fabulist and New Wave Fabulist Fiction. ParaSpheres, which explores the porous boundary between mainstream literary fiction and the genres of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, has already gathered excellent reviews.

Featured contributors include:
  • L. Timmel Duchamp, the author of Love's Body, Dancing in Time and The Red Rose Rages.
  • William Luvaas, the author of The Seductions of Natalie Bach and "The Firewood War."Carol Schwalberg, whose short stories have appeared in Wordplay, Woman, Ita, and Fair Lady.
  • Noelle Sickels, who has published two historical novels, Walking West and The Shopkeeper's Wife.
  • Mark Wallace, the author of Nothing Happened and Besides I Wasn't There and Sonnets of a Penny-A-Liner.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Meet Arnold

Over at bathybius. Lester and I watched this video together. He peeped a bit and then began to preen.

Arnold and Lester are very different birds. However, they do share some similarities. I would argue that most, if not all of the attacks in this video are fake attacks, but sometimes it's hard to tell the fake from the real. Also, note how Arnold becomes fat and plump at the end of the video. Lester also tends to become fat and plump after a hyper period of intense vocalization.

It's Halloween & What happened at the Redcat / Impunities conference

It's Halloween, and I am alone in the yoga studio writing about the history of the gaming industry. Someone came in and tried to sell me some vitamin gel packs. I'm skeptical. People have called who want to "partner" with us. Last week someone came in asking a bunch of questions like "do yogis smoke pot?" And all this as I'm reading about the heady days of the arcade video game boom of the 1970s.

But it's Halloween. Mark and I are going to do laundry this evening and watch horror movies. And I'm going to dig the plastic skeleton out of the closet when I get home in time for trick-or-treaters who may or may not come.

I scanned my notes from the CalArts conference. The rest are up on flickr.

Monday, October 30, 2006

too much / to do


According to Squamatologist, the flowers in this picture (taken in early April while walking in the Daly Ranch) are

"Buckthorn (Ceanothus sp.; "Family" Rhamnaceae). It is informally called California Lilac but it's not related to real Lilac. It is commonly found in the Chaparral habitats of California. Native Americans used the flowers as soap. The flowers smell sweet like honey (and are a favorite of bees of all kinds for making just that). An individual inflorescence (bunch of flowers) has a faint fragrance but these large shrubs have so many inflorescences and the shrubs are so abundant, that when they are in bloom, the foothills of southern California are filled with an undescribably pleasant and intoxicating aroma."

They did smell georgeous. Thanks for clearing that up!

~

A timeline of Oman history. Woo hoo!

~

This is nearly the very very last site I needed to find. And you can order samples of just about everything. I'm scouting for a bettery spicy citrus fragrance.

I am writing articles about the health effects of video games.

I remember going shopping in 8th grade with a friend and her parents. The friend was looking for a fancy dress to wear to some formal event-I can't remember what. Anyway, there was a georgeous green and blue sequined tank dress. We both tried it on, but it was way over budget and probably ridiculous.

Models dressed up as "rock stars" look stupid.

I need a hair cut.

Bath and Body Works has a limited edition series of Hello Kitty accesories and cosmetics. The lip gloss with a little Hello Kitty charm is cute, but I like my lip gloss to have SPF.

My coffee maker is nearly dead. It still makes coffee, but the last three or four cups of water do not drain through and instead just sit in the filter. I hope it breaks soon so that I can get a coffee press. Hooray for multi-tasking appliances!

I ordered rosewater to make nan-e badami. If I had roses I would make rosewater, but I don't.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Long beach is less than an hour and a half away, as long as we go in the middle of the day. Three days of work that will feel like seven, and then I'm off to San Francisco.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I made spiced biscotti. This was my first biscotti attempt, and it was really very easy. I think I'll be making a lot of biscotti from now through New Years. They keep for almost a month and so are good for gifts and sending in the mail. I also made some healthy breakfast muffin things--they're like a cross between a muffin and a cookie--whole wheat flour, wheat germ, ground flaxseeds, figs, almonds, and some other stuff to make it all stick together and not taste like dry wheat germ. They are good with coffee or tea in the morning and nice after a run.

Mark and I are headed up Long Beach this evening. Come say hello:

Please join us for the 4th installment of the house reading series LONG BEACH NOTEBOOK on Saturday, October 28th at 8:00 pm to hear the work of poets Glenn Bach, K. Lorraine Graham, Joseph Mosconi, and Mark Wallace.

***

Glenn Bach's current project, Atlas Peripatetic, is a long sequence inspired by the sounds on his morning walk. Excerpts have recently appeared in such journals as Dusie, foam:e, Jubilat, and mprsnd. In addition to his work as a poet, Bach is active as a visual/sound artist and curator.

K. Lorraine Graham is the author of the chapbooks Large Waves to Large Obstacles (Take Home Project), See it Everywhere (Big Game), Terminal Humming (Slack Buddha), and Dear [Blank] I Believe in Other Worlds (Phylum). Moving Walkways, a limited edition chapdisk, is forthcoming from Narrowhouse Recordings this winter. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Foursquare, ~*~W_O_M_B~*~, and New Messes.

Joseph Mosconi is a writer, linguist and lexicographer based in Los Angeles. His work can be found in Public Speaking, a limited edition artist book published by Clockshop; issue 10 of Greetings: A Magazine of the Sound Arts; New Yipes Reader no. 12; occasionally on his blog, Harlequin Knights; and in the liner notes to the Other Cinema DVD release Golden Digest by video techno-terrorists Animal Charm.

Mark Wallace is the author of a number of books and chapbooks of poetry, including Nothing Happened and Besides I Wasn't There and Sonnets of a Penny-A-Liner. Temporary Worker Rides A Subway won the 2002 Gertrude Stein Poetry Award and was published by Green Integer Books. He is the author of a multi-genre work, Haze, and a novel, Dead Carnival. His critical articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, and along with Steven Marks, he edited Telling It Slant: Avant Garde Poetics of the 1990s (University of Alabama Press) a collection of 26 essays by different writers on the subject of contemporary avant garde poetry and poetics. With Juliana Spahr, Kristin Prevallet, and Pam Rehm he edited A Poetics of Criticism, a collection of poetry essays in non-standard formats published (Leave Books). He is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at California State University San Marcos.

***

Long Beach Notebook is held at the home/offices of Palm Press: 143 Ravenna Drive, Long Beach, CA 90803. This event is free. Please bring food/drink to share. Use your favorite online search engine for best directions or call: (562)434-0789.

We hope to see you there!
Palm Press
http://www.palmpress.org/

Friday, October 27, 2006

my spelling

No baking yet. Later today or tomorrow am. Linh Dinh read at UCSD on Wednesday and at CSUSM last night, so I am schlumping about this morning, recovering from the week for a few hours until it's time to take Linh to the train station and get ready to go up to Long Beach tomorrow.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pictures / Impunities Report

I forgot the notebook which has the doodles and so I couldn't scan them. Y'all will have to wait until Wednesday. One picture contains a shaggy unicorn.

What should I bake?

I'm taking a break from writing articles about liver cancer and kidney stones. Browsing cookie recipes because I've promised to bake and mail cookies, and also because the announcement for the reading this Saturday in the Long Beach Notebook series says "bring food or drink to share." My food processor is dead, so nothing that requires grinding nuts. Some possibilities:
  • gingerbread with or without blueberries
  • shortbread--could be flavored with either ginger or nutmeg
  • molasses cookies
  • a basic coffeecake with streusel topping
  • some kind of biscotti. I have a recipe for banana-pecan biscotti, sounds weird but it's good.
I've been looking for an excuse to make nan-e badami, cookies made of almond flour flavored with cardamom and rose water, but they're more of a springtime thing, so maybe not. And I don't have any rose water handy and not much time to make it to the grocery store. Ok, so I won't make them this week, but soon.

Class

The class is tired.

I prefer

hummus with a creamy texture.

Lester

Is well and needs his wings clipped. He scolded me a bit yesterday evening, but this morning he'd mellowed and was happy to sit on my shoulder while I wrote articles about nasty, painfull diseases.

Yoga

I haven't been devoting much time to my practice, so we'll see how tomorrow goes.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I'm in the midst of posting the rest of my pictures from Impunities to flickr. There are a few up, but they don't all have captions yet. This one is from Matias Viegener's talk on Friday. I drew doodles, of course, and will post scans tomorrow.

We had lots of fun, and I was glad to meet the folks at Cal Arts, and to hear many writers/performers I've never heard before--Sesshu Foster, Bhanu Kapil, Christine Wertheim, Chris Abani, Joni Jones among many others. And to meet people I've corresponded with but never met.

Many Happy Returns at High Energy Constructs was cool and interesting. As I said, more tomorrow. I'm too happy, well-fed, and brain-saturated (rather, my brain is saturated, I am not saturated with brain) to blog.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tinysides came in the mail today, and also Tao Lin's book--all good reading. Packed for Impunities--Mark and I head up to LA on Friday morning. I also booked Lester's annual vet checkup and made a reservation to board him when I'm in Oman and Mark is in DC in December and January.

I'm worried about leaving him for so long, but we're boarding him at a place that specializes in birds. All the birds are tested to make sure they're healthy before they come in. Lester will be in a room with other small parrots, and he'll get a healthy mix of veggies, fruits, legumes, and seeds to eat every day. The animal friends we live with may like living with us (however it is that individual animals may experience liking), but they don't usually live with us because they have chosen to do so. It's important to do right by them.

We talked about sound and rhythm in the creative writing class today. No one freaked out about my no end rhymes rule for the assignment. We listened to Gertrude Stein, Christian Bok, & Edwin Torres, and read Ted Berrigan and Bernadette Mayer outloud.

The Gilmore Girls irks me. Veronica Mars, at least, has sex. Less drawn out anguished hemming and hawing and fantasizing about all the possibilities.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How women and men interact is important. And I don't mean that feminist theory is important--even though it is. I mean that the ways actual people treat each other matters, and that how women and men treat each other is an interesting thing to write about and make art about. This is very obvious.

I was subtly accused in class the other day of only being able to remember the men's names. I freaked out for a moment because I thought it was true, but this morning I realized that I also learned the names of many of the women quickly--the ones who spoke a lot during the first few weeks of class. If you spoke a lot during the first several weeks of class, or came to my office, then I learned your name quickly. But I am very very bad with names. And dates. And numbers. I have to write everything down. I usually need a combined visual and aural queue to remember something. Repetition and memorization rarely work for me. I need something to associate whatever I'm trying to remember with. Speech. Gesture. Something. But now I'll remember.

The class is going very well. I already know what I will do differently if I get to teach it again in this context, but overall I'm very pleased. The class is an intelligent group of students who get along well with each other and pay attention.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm still a young man, you know. I've got prospects!

I woke up with this line in my head. I haven't seen Ladyhawke (1985) in ages. I know the musical score is cheesy, but when I first saw it I was 8 or 9, and it didn't really bother me.

~

Amber Plaid Dress
Angora Dress
Basketweave Dress
Basketweave Tunic
Bella Dress
Button Front Fall Dress
Bowtie Capsleeve Dress
Bowtie Tube Dress
Braided Halter Dress
Breathtaking Metallic Dress
Bridget Spaghetti Dress
Chain Link Dress
Cheetah Halter Dress
Cheetah Halter Dress
Cheetah Halter Dress
Cheetah Halter Dress
Chiffon Spaghetti Dress
Chitraka Halter Dress
Chitraka Spaghetti Dress
Classic Turtleneck Sweater
Classy Tube Dress
Corduroy Shirt Dress
Corduroy Shirt Dress
Corduroy Shirt Dress
Cotton Shirt Dress
Cotton Spaghetti Dress
Cotton Wrap Dress
Cowl Neck Halter Dress
Crinkled Empire Dress
Crinkled V Neck Tunic
Crossover Dress w/ Belt
Crossover Jersey Dress
Crossover Polka Dot Dress
Crossover V Neck Dress
Dotted Swiss Halter
Double Breasted Coat
Embroidered Cotton Dress
Embroidered Satin Tube
Embroidered Spaghetti Dress
Embroidered Tube Dress
Exotic Floral Dress
Eyelet Halter Dress
Eyelet Shirt Dress
Fantasy Floral Dress
Floral Fantasy Halter Dress
Floral Halter Dress
Floral Jersey Dress
Floral Jersey Dress
Floral Jersey Dress
Floral Jersey Dress
Floral Jersey Dress
Floral Print Jersey Tunic
Floral Spaghetti Dress
Floral Tube Dress
Floral Wrap Dress
Floret Spaghetti Dress
Florrem Jersey Dress
Flower Patch Dress
Geometric Jersey Dress
Glamorous V Neck Dress
Glitzy Metallic Dress
Goddess Satin Dress
Houndstooth Tube Dress
Iridescent Taffeta Babydoll
Jersey Dress
Jersey Spaghetti Dress
Jersey Tube Dress
Lace Empire Cami Dress
Lace Polka Dot Tube
Lace Spaghetti Dress
Leaflet Halter Dress
Leaflet Tube Dress
Lined Lace Shirt Dress
Long Length Spaghetti Dress
LS Stunning Dress
Lynx Shirt Dress
Manchu Mandarin Dress
Mandarin Satin Dress
Mary Tube Dress
Metallic Striped Tunic
Perfect Polka Dot Dress
Perri Plaid Dress
Pinstripe Shirt Dress
Pinstripe Tube Dress
Plaid Babydoll Dress
Plaid Bowtie Dress
Plaid Dress
Plaid Empire Dress
Plaid Satin Dress
Plaid Sheath Dress
Plaid Shirt Dress
Plaid Spaghetti Dress
Plaid Tube Dress
Plaid Tube Dress
Plaid Tube Dress
Plaid Tube Dress
Pleated Plaid Dress
Pleated Shirt Dress
Pleated Shirt Dress
Pleated Shirt Dress
Pleated Woven Tunic
Polka Dot Dress Ensemble
Polka Dot Empire Dress
Polka Dot Empire Dress
Polka Dot Jersey Dress
Polka Dot Jersey Dress
Polka Dot Shirt Dress
Polka Dot V Neck Dress
Red Shirt Dress
Retro Jersey Dress
Retro Jersey Dress
Retro Jersey Dress
Retro Jersey Dress
Retro Satin Dress
Retro Satin Dress
Roxanne Jersey Dress
Royal halter dress
Ruched Jersey Dress
Ruched Tube Dress
Ruched Tunic Top
Ruched Woven Dress
Ruffled Jersey Dress
Ruffled Shirt Dress
Safari Shirt Dress
Sateen Sleeveless Dress
Sateen Spaghetti Dress
Satin Empire Dress
Satin Floral Dress
Satin Floral Halter Dress
Satin Floral Spaghetti Dress
Satin Halter Dress
Satin Mandarin Dress
Satin Polka Dot Dress
Satin Polka Dot Dress
Satin Safari Dress
Satin Shirt Dress
Satin Shirt Dress
Satin Spaghetti Dress
Satin Spaghetti Dress
Screen Print Dress
Sensational satin dress
Sensual Satin Dress
Serpentina Halter Dress
Shirred Empire Dress
Shirt Dress w/ Belt
Silk Babydoll Dress
Silk Spaghetti Dress
Sizzlin' Tube Dress
Skirt w/ Suspenders
Spaghetti Shirt Dress
SS Eyelet Dress
SS Woven Shirt Dress
Striped Halter Dress
Striped Keyhole Dress
Striped Rainbow Dress
Striped Shirt Dress
Striped Shirt Dress
Tartan Tube Dress
Tartan Woven Dress
Tatum Satin Dress
Tiered Spaghetti Dress
Twisted Empire Dress
Unique Jersey Dress with Button Detail
Vala Chiffon Dress
Voile Evening Dress
Voile Safari Halter Dress
Voile Spaghetti Dress
Waist Tab Dress
Woven Coat
Woven Empire Dress
Woven Eyelet Dress
Woven Floral Dress
Woven Floral Dress
Woven Floral Dress
Woven Halter Dress
Woven Shirt Dress
Woven Shirt Dress
Woven Shirt Dress
Woven Shirt Dress
Woven Shirt Dress
Woven Shirt Dress
Woven Shirt Dres
Woven Spaghetti Dress
Woven Sweetheart Dress
Woven Tube Dress
Extreme commuting.

Dear greater San Diego, please ride the train.

Then you can read the news and drink your coffee before work. Then maybe the train will extend service. Then maybe we could go into the city on Friday and Saturday night and not have to drive home. And you could have less stupid accidents.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It is Sunday

So I listened to Mahalia Jackson Live at Newport 1958 and watched The Last Wave and cooked sea bass and wrote.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Giant mutant rabbits terrorize the southwest!!


"They were born in that tragic moment when science made its great mistake... now from behind the shroud of night they come, a scuttling, shambling horde of creatures destroying all in their path. "

I am searching for a copy of Night of the Lepus (1972), a movie based on Russell Braddon's novel, Year of the Angry Rabbit. The movie has just been rereleased on DVD.

I like October, even in southern California.

The back of my eyes and the front of my brain hurt. I mean this not figuratively.

I got a flu shot today.

~

Every few weeks I have a yoga class that makes me feel like even standing is difficult. This is a yoga cliche, but today it is true. I am getting more flexible, however.

I'm writing a reminder to myself to say that I want to blog about recent readings.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The reading was interesting. I want to say something about chewy stylized language in fiction and what that might to pace. This is all very general.

I wrote several articles today about alcoholism and teenage drug addiction. Not my usual topics.

I've had unusually hyper dreams. Even for me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tinysides and Lost Posts


Merde. I just lost a whole post about red tailed hawks, how the Detroit Tigers pitcher (Nate Robinson, I think) looks like an alterna guy, the relationship between family values and travel, upcoming readings at UCSD, CSUSM, and the REDCAT Impunities conference, and how the Black Cat in the Green Grass might be named Shaq.

For now though, I'll just tell you that I'm in good company in the latest series of Tinysides over at Big Game Books!

Monday, October 09, 2006

I typed up some poems. The linebreaks etc got messed up in the post, but these are rough drafts of course. These sound, to me, like a continuation of Terminal Humming. At least tonally, but it's too soon to tell.

We had a good weekend hanging out with Dan.

I tried to tell him about the okapi, but couldn't remember the word "okapi."

There was a late night conversation comparing Art Pepper and Paul Desmond. In general prefer Art Pepper's solos to those of Paul Desmond, but the Dave Brubeck Quartet is often better than the band behind Art Pepper. All of this is my true and honest opinion. Mark and Dan said many other things about this, but I fell asleep in the chair with Lester on my finger. I was not like Mina Loy in "Café du Néant" when I did this.

We went to a dumb beach bar and there was a live band with three girl singers who danced choreography similar to Billy Blanks' Tae-bo. They're famous in China. On their website, they're described as an "alternative pop" band, but they were just playing covers at the bar. Too bad. Scott Stephens, the founder, used to be a roller derby champ.

There was an elderly woman at the bar wearing a silver dress. Or was it a rain coat? Or a shirt dress? Was it silver, or silver with little umbrellas on it? It was super.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I'm not feeling angry today. But I'm not at ease, either.

I've never written a long poem in the traditions of H.D., Pound, Olson, Waldman, Duplessis, or any others. But I'm still reading Iovis.

Out of everything I've read in the past three years, the work that has been the most helpful and intriguing in terms of my own writing has been fiction.

I sound like a broken record, but anything by Jane Bowles, Jean Rhys, or Djuna Barnes is so good it makes my hair stand on end. I'd add Mary Butts, Colette, and Laura Riding's stories to that, and Alejo Carpentier, Peter Matthiessen, and Paul Bowles. And Cydney Chadwick's Flesh and Bone, and any fiction by Susan Smith Nash but especially To the Uzbekistani Solder Who Would Not Save My Life. Dodie Bellamy and KathyAcker are obviously in my list (or on it). I respect Burroughs but can't read him because I'm never prepared for how much he hates me.

Maybe I'm reading fiction because I want my poems to think in terms social interaction and interpersonal psychology and fiction helps me do this. I'm not concerned with history. I mean that I don't begin with history and go towards human interaction, I try to do the opposite. In terms of form, working with both prose and poetry isn't really very new. So, so, so, well, I'll figure out what to do about that when I back into editing mode.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

5 things feminism has done for me

A belated response to Jessica's tag.

1. Feminism gave me a framework for understanding the relationship between the social world--work, school, parties--and the psychological. I was a reluctant Feminist because I didn't want to belive that people weren't treated equal regardless of their gender (or race, age, class...). I grew up in a context marked by a combination of social conservativism as well as a distinct attempt to repudiate it.

In general, I did what I wanted. Which often meant pleasing people, something I learned to do early on and was rewarded for (being a girl and all). But I also had a substantial amount of independence. In 5th grade I ran around the woods all day long with my friend, barefoot because we wanted to be like "Indians." Except that it was November and hunting season in Maine, and we were wandering around 30 acres of unposted woods. Every so often we'd yell "don't shoot me I'm human."

But back to Feminism. I was confident, independent and tough, but not really aware of the kinds of dangers I faced as a young woman. Feminism gave me a framework for understanding and preventing agression and violence, and helped me see how these things are not the same as being confident and assertive.

2. Um. Everything else comes under #1. Feminism hasn't made me feel safe, but it's helped me be less insane.

3. Feminism reminds me that gender can be performative and fun--not a burden.

4. Feminist psychoanalysists like Jessica Benjamin and Nancy Choodrow for elaborating a theory of subjectivity based on relationships between subjects, not just subjects and objects, where meaning and subjectivity are the result of people simultaneouly imagining each other and coming to terms with the difference between what they imagine and what actually happens.

5. Feminism kept me from marrying someone I didn't really want to marry and moving to Virginia, a place I didn't really want to live. It gave me the confidence to spend time with people I love and the guts to be a writer.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Drinking wine.

I really enjoyed Ian's account of the BBQ he ate on a trip south. Mmm.

Dan is coming to visit this weekend.

Lots on my mind, nothing I can write about.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mark said something really interesting last night and I was going to blog about it but of course I don't remember. Now, the only things I think about are the fact that I have a nasty blister on my heel, that I have to fold my laundry, that Veronica Mars is on tonight, and that I am in fact reading Iovis and also Lisa Robertson's Debbie: an Epic which I am supposed to already have read and that I have been sneezing a lot recently. Oh and also that the creative writing class I'm teaching begins poetry tomorrow (do wish me luck). We'll start with a conversation about poetry and their experiences with it.

Lorraine's early experiences with poetry:

Songs-By 2nd grade I was a fan of Simon and Garfunkle's song "I am a rock."

Singsong chants-"Sitting in a rocker eating betty crocker watching the clock go tick tock tick tock bannana rock..." etc

Prayer-this is certainly where I became aware of metaphor in written language before I knew it was metaphor, and Baha'i prayers draw on the religious and poetic tradition of Islam and in particular Persian sufis. I didn't learn my biblical metaphors until my college western humanities course.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I wrote a poem that includes a camel that bites people.

~

Things middle aged and old men say to me while I'm running:

"hurry up" and all it's variations ("go faster," "speed up," etc)
"are we there yet?" (no, we are not)
"can't make up your mind, can you" (when I zig to avoid someone who does not correspondingly zag but also ziggs. Or the opposite of that. The person who makes this comment is usually not involved in the zig or the zag, but is instead a third party)

All of these things aggrivate me, and they are never said by other runners. Usually

~

I want a pair of suede, round-toe, slingback platforms in nude beige. Not white. Not beige. Not tan or brown.

Also, I'd like to be the captain of a mail boat.

And I'd like to know why it is so difficult to get reasonable passage on cargo ships these days.

~

Today's ailments include excessive sleepiness itchy eyes due to careless application of green eyeliner.

Today's enjoyments include eating lunch outside with Mark, splitting my creative writing class into groups to work on storyboards, and eating breakfast with Lester (quinoa with blueberries, yogurt, a few slivered almonds and a little candied ginger. Lester is still wary of the blueberries)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'm still compiling weird experiences with fruit. But send me your fantasies about death and/or the wilderness, too

Xinjian would be a good place to die alone in the wilderness. Death by thirst would really suck.

Let me be clear, I'm not interested in death, only fantasies about death.

Still trying to read Anne Waldman's Iovis because I'm interested in a Feminist poetic project which is an investigation of the poet's relationship to forefathers.

But I don't have the brain for it now. Where is my brain? Ou est ma brain?

In Chinese the word for computer is "electric brain."

Languages to learn:

Arabic
Russian
German
Pharsi

Though I should brush up on my Chinese. Editing the text for my chapbook for take home project was super difficult. And all my classical Chinese is self-taught.

I'm attempting a bit of Arabic in preparation for my trip to Oman this winter to visit my dad, stepmum and little sisters. I joined an Oman-based Islamic women's listserv and have had several fascinating discussions about feminism, food, hospitality, and Islam. It's Ramadan, so the conversation is well timed.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Eggplant hooray

I am making bread and marinated tofu (to grill), and eggplant and some other stuff for a few friends coming over this evening. I'm bravely attempting a vegetarian menu. And I'm on an eggplant kick. I bought some chili peppers at the farmers market that the farmer guy said were, I think "shushito" peppers. Japanese, and not hot. Except for the seeds.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Overheard today

A guy at a pay phone, 7:50 am: "Hi honey, yeah (something something I can't hear because it's 7:50 in the morning and I don't want it to seem obvious that I am standing on the steps behind a guy on a pay phone listening to him as I drink my coffee) "I talked to the parole officer and he said (something something) yeah, so I might not be homeless..." guy on the phone turns around and I continue up the steps.

This evening. After the one man who is in the yoga class leaves when he finds out that the regular teacher is not teaching this evening, the yoga teacher says something like she hopes she didn't make him uncomfortable (she didn't, I know this guy from working the desk and he just only likes to take class with this one particular yoga teacher and no others ever) and that (something something something I can't here because I'm in the back of the room trying to relax before class starts and it feels like someone has poured concrete into my hip sockets) she's not a "man hater" (she's not) but then she says, "well, there are plenty of women haters, too, you know." My head snaps up and I make an embarassing kind of guffaw sound which I stiffle as a giggle and say "yes."

Am I really going to listen to Tricky and Massive Attack all weekend?

No. And it's not the weekend yet, anyway. I will clean and work and hike and buy a shoe rack and put shoes on it and finish a really basic design project and grill tofu. I'm also going to check out the "Phillipino deli and movie rentals" place. I don't want to get my hopes up too much about it.

Our apartment smells like flowers, food, charchol, bird, and cleaning products.

there are animal toys in Lester's cage and on top of it and underneath it
there is art on the wall
there are no ashtrays
there are a lot of books
there are only candles in the bathroom
there are no childrens toys or furniture
there are no wall clocks--anything that ticks must be hidden
there are CD collections and my collection of, um, action figures (kind of hidden in my office)
there is no real entertainment center, though we have a large TV
There are sometimes flowers, no other plants. Oh, a basil plant on the porch.
There is food in the kitchen.
There is no gardening equipment.
There are various things to drink.
There are no guns or gun racks.
There are no holiday decorations right now, but soon it will be time for the small rubber skeleton
There are magnets and pictures on the fridge of my family and bunnies and of Poe
There are nicknacks on my shelves, near my, um, action figures
There is no mailbox
The only mirrors are in the bathrooms
There are several musical insturments, flutes of various sorts, a guitar, an erhu, and a double reeded thing that is hard to play.
There are pain killers and allergy pills in several drawers in the kitchen and in the bathrooms
There are photographs on the fridge and in boxes and some framed
There are no religious pictures about, but if you looked you'd see my religious books section on the shelves
I have a very very old small Persian carpet in the bedroom that used to be in my mom's bedroom and it is nice to stand on in the morning.
There are no signs inside or outside.
There are no special features to the apartment. There is a balcony.
We have a bat, two gloves and a softball. Also a frisbee. Our running shoes are on the balcony and they are really dusy
We don't have a stereo now only a boom box
We have a bag of tools under the sink but no powertools
There is a jar of flaxseed oil pills and a jar of multivitamins in the kitchen.
There is no welcome mat in our apartment.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Jean Cocteau's 1946 La Belle et la Bête is so very tragic.

Wait, no it's not.

I was expecting everyone to die.

And yes, the tableaux are beautiful.

Monday, September 25, 2006

This picture is getting a lot of views on my flicker account, even though it's untagged. I took it in Brisbane, December 2003. Somewhere near Chinatown, I think.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

reading a book about reading people

watch out, I'm going to be paying even more attention than usual to your body language. Also reading Salome's You Alone are Real to me and wanting to reread Rilke, who I loved in high school.

Thinking about the huge, stage-sized pop-up book/installation piece I keep wanting to build. I need a workshop. And tools.

Mark and I went hiking in the Elfin Forest. It's not very forest-like, but it is forest-like for southern California. At the bottom of the mountain was a stream with running water! We hiked up and up a bit until it looked like this:


And there was a reservoir and a dam, of course:



I think that I am at last going to San Francisco to visit el frere, sister-in-law, and baby nephew. Early november.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The bestest / ailments

Made a chicken tagine kind of thing this evening. It was good. Happy with all the dried peppers I bought. So is Lester.

I like:

dates (the fruit)
Jean Rhys, Mina Loy, Djuna Barnes, Jane Bowles
hiking
parrots
bars
sombreros--really I like all hats
ESL textbooks from the 1970s

Ailments:

shoulders, hips, etc
need good readings and recordings of them
not enough/too many parties
dull cutlery
blooming eucalyptus (smells good, makes me sneeze)
lack of independent wealth

Friday, September 22, 2006

things that are obvious

  • Liberal politics doesn't always/often equal interesting aesthetics.
  • I love Lester the little green bird.
  • When the weather gets colder, people are more likely to close the windows.
  • I like cheese. All kinds.
  • Feminism--i.e.we feminists--need(s) to think about relationships among women as much as our relationsip to men.
  • It is harder to wake up in the morning than to be up at night.
  • I like perfume. Multi-layered heavy fragrances are my favorite. Jasmine. Blood orange.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Today's Ailments / Things I Learned Today

Today's Ailments are mostly sitting-related ailments. Sitting is bad for you.
  • sore upper back and shoulders
  • sore left hip
  • sore left hamstring
  • sore left thumb
  • dry skin
  • chapped lips

Things I Learned Today

  • Lester has at last mastered the "whole lotta love" whistle, but he likes to whistle it fast. Teaching him to whistle "whole lotta love" was my idea
  • I don't believe that ailments are a gift to help us remember to be present
  • I know where my yarn is, but now I need to buy the correct knitting needles
  • Sometimes my turkey burgers stay together, and sometimes they are more messy. Why is this?
  • I found my book "American Cultural Encounters," an old ESL conversation book from the early 1980s. Quote "A fast, 'How are you?' is not meant as an insult. Americans use this question more as a greeting than as an inquiry about your health."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Today I learned

  • My chili powder isn't very hot
  • I need to buy more hot peppers whenI go grocery shopping--enough to last until Friday instead of only Wednesday
  • That point of view may be beginning fiction writers' least favorite technical topic
  • That I really dislike putting things away, but am at last developing certain habits through forced repetition and willpower: I must unpack my bag right when I get home. I must put my clothes away every other day (every day prooved to be too much). I like it when things are neat.
  • Conquering the mess that is my desk is going to take longer, but the putting away things experiment prooves it can be done!
  • That I dislike wall-to-wall carpeting even more than I did before, because it has to be cleaned. I knew this before, but I didn't know about how complicated the process is. Steaming. Dry. The chemicals involved. Like, we're going to have to spend money pay someone to clean nasty, ugly carpet, and I'm going to have to take Lester out of the house (to the Yoga Center?!) while they do it because of the weird chemicals they will use. I like carpet. If it is Persian or something that is actually meant to do something other than cover up the cheap, shitty flooring that someone put down when they decided to build a bunch of crappy buildings to rent to people.
  • Um...
  • I realized that Lester is avoiding one of his perches. I'm not sure why.
  • I don't know how to make very many vegetarian main dishes that are actually satisfying.
  • I discovered that I actually remember something of the 2 semesters of hard core statistics I took as an undergraduate. I am doing some editorial and design work for an educational/public health consulting company, and understanding statistics is actually useful.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How are your eyeballs today?

Talking about point of view in the fiction component of my creative writing class. Form, content, etc.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My eyeballs have fallen out and onto the screen


with much editing and tutoring and manipulating of little bits of color.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Since there's been discussion of marriage and weddings on this blog as of late, I've decided to try and remember all the weddings I've been to. Not very many. Only one of them included a Christian--in this case Protestant of some sort--ceremony. So for now there's no analysis, I'm just attempting to get some of the details down.

1. A late 80s wedding in New England. New Hampshire, maybe. I was a junior bridesmaid and wore a peach satin dress with puffy sleeves. The most traditional wedding I've ever been to. I don't remember the ceremony, but I remember that there was a big after party in some kind of a conference center, and also a band. And champagne toasts. They divorced after a few years--the husband came out.

2. Mom and Charlie's wedding in Brooksville, Maine--they had a beautiful wedding at a B&B owned by two women who lived there with cows and sheep. I remember the sheep running up and down the hill going "mmmaaa maaa." But the ceremony was outside down by the water. They had very simple Baha'i vows, but they made the ceremony very personalized--at one point they read excerpts of letters they'd written to each other.

3. My brother and Erin's wedding. Also a personalized ceremony with Baha'i vows. Inside, but in a room with windows overlooking the water. Really, my Mom's and my Brother's weddings were beautiful. They were not traditional bashes, but ceremonies that were meaningful to those involved.

4. Mark and I went up to Maine to my highschool friend Kim's wedding. They held the wedding at Circle Farm (which no longer communal though). We all partied and danced around a bonfire the night before the wedding. My friend went home with one of the bridesmaids, and much of the wedding party was hung over for the actual ceremony. It was all very fun and very happy--I don't remember the actual vows, but I remember that they incorporated poems and other elements into the ceremony. And that it was kind of rainy on the morning of the wedding, but that the sun came out by the end of the wedding. And all of the bridesmaids wore black dresses and floral garlands!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Weekly Lester



Lester sleep facts:

  • Lester sleeps until 10:30 sometimes, so he can stay up late with us.
  • He often sleeps in a swing, but if it's colder or he is molting, he sleeps near a heating pad that I put near the side of his cage on low.
  • When Lester wants to get up, he peeps until either Mark or I uncover his cage.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

That stuff about Manchego and marriage: I mean it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I like to eat Manchego cheese and sing "Dulcinea"

Actually, it's not "Dulcinea" I like to sing but "Man of La Mancha" ("I am I, Don Quixote..." etc." The rousing chorus reminds me of the one year I lived in Gaithersburg, Maryland and played in the band. We never actually played a medley of Man of La Mancha songs, but we might as well have.

I tried to write a poem this afternoon but couldn't because I was sitting near a table of young women who were talking about their husbands and the fiber content of various cereals. Did you all know that Honeycomb is now made with whole wheat?! Wow!

I'm not against fiber, or breakfast cereal, or Honeycomb. I am against whatever combination of factors encourages people to marry, have babies, and divorce all before they even reach their late 20s.

My advice to my little sisters: move to a state that has good public universities, establish residency, and go to a state school. Unless an ivy league gives you a scholarship. Don't have children before age 25. Maybe, maybe, you can get married before you are 25, but I'll have to look at the specifics of each situation. If you want to enter into romantic relationships of various sorts, go for it. But please do not legalize them. Instead, devote your free time to art, better heath care, public transportation, the enviroment, and world peace.

So now that I've said this, you will want to do the opposite of what I've suggested. Thank goodness you live in Oman and are 7 years old.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rock Book, Sand Book / More favorite Childhood Books

Mark displays Rock Book and Sand Book by William R. Howe, as well as Tealight Ballet, by William R. Howe and L.A. Phillips (Lisa Howe) proudly on a shelf in his office:

Rock Book and Sand Book always cheer me up. I've not read/performed all of Tealight Ballet. I'm not brave enough to set my hair on fire, but I did dance around waving the shiny pencil with the glitter pink dinosaur on the end. Then I wrote stuff with the pencil. I probably still have the dinosaur somewhere. Mark's copy of Tealight Ballet is in near mint condition.

More favorite childhood books:

The Thirteen Clocks, by James Thurber
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster (and with Jules Feiffer illustrations)