Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thanks to everyone who's weighed in with their thoughts about titles.

I've been having animal and travel dreams recently. For example:

I have two bicycles. Somehow, I’m riding one and pushing the other along. Everyone on the street in Paris is drinking cava and speaking Catalan. There are also gorillas lined up by the cafes. They’re neither aggressive nor benign, just part of the cityscape. I’m frustrated—all the tickets to London are too expensive. Then I’m weeping with joy because some Parisian cuts me a work-study deal. I can fly for only $250 from California if I serve food and drinks during the flight. I don’t have a real seat, exactly. My seat is a complicated series of pads and straps that supposedly fit together and attach to the wall. A young man is lying on his back with his legs up the wall, and he’s taking up space where I’m supposed to sit. There are nails on the floor, too, and being comfortable is impossible. But at least I’m going to London.

Experimenting again with structure/form/constraint in writing (and in attempting to organize my life). I'm bored with my emotions.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Which do you prefer

Ok. Most of you know that Take Home Project is publishing my chapbook of loosely procedural Chinese translations. I think I've already decided on the title, but we'll do a little poll. Rod, if you're reading this, you have to give your opinion, because you are good at this kind of thing.

  • lunar fantasies (very MFA like. But then, the piece does have the moon in it. A lot.)
  • large waves to large obstacles
  • Peculiar eccentric music
  • retold and told
  • So to tomorrow we go? (I like this the best, but it also sounds like a classic Lorraine title. Whatever a classic Lorraine title is)
  • Jade and Jade Pieces (there is also a lot of Jade in the poem)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

listening to Andrew Hill's Lift Every Voice

Today I slept in a bit and then worked and then went to yoga. Then I designed some designs and then did laundry and then worked and then made red snapper with a kind of Indian, yogurt-based marinade. Then I did my required assignments for my online teaching training course. And then I read and made lecture/discussion notes for class tomorrow. We are talking about detail. Why writing "I felt sad" isn't really the only way or the best way to convey to a reader that you felt sad. People feel sad in different ways, do different things when they're sad.

Attempting to plan a trip to San Francisco.

Lester is developing a taste for broccoli, at last. He prefers seeds, grains, and legumes, but really likes broccoli if I feed it to him.

Unpacked my Collected Lorine Niedecker.

Wrote some poems.

Monday, August 28, 2006

One must never let the influence of evil demons gain control of the brush

Demon schmemon.

Back to reading some of the Merce Cunningham critical biography. I'm still pleased with it. My major criticism is very obvious and boring--his analysis of Martha Graham and most of earth/body art doesn't really mention feminism or talk about gender enough.

I wrote a poem. It goes under the category of tired poems. It is called "I prefer people"

I don't care.
We're getting bored and stupid.

Actually, this is normal.
Let's write a break-up book together.

Please believe me when
I say I believe you hate your job.

First day teaching went fine. My books weren't in the bookstore, but never mind. The class is so very large for a creative writing workshop--25 students. Whew!

I've also begun training so that I can eventually teach courses at the Art Institute Online. Since moving, I've become increasingly amenible to interacting in online environments, but it's going to take some getting used to, certainly.

I've recently heard from two friends from highschool. One of them mentioned his parents just moved to Canada. I say hooray for moving to Canada. I could certainly be a recluse here and write nature poetry. It's not to late to farm, etc.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

quick! guess why I'm... bla bla bla

No. Don't guess.

The semester at Cal State San Marcos begins tomorrow. I'm teaching one creative writing class. And I also being my online training to work at the Art Institute Online.

More things that are true:
  • Summer's almost over
  • I've lived here for 8 months
  • My hair is blonde
  • I have a farmer's tan
  • I have a slight overbite
  • I'm Comanche enough (by blood only) that I could register for tribal affiliation
  • I unpacked more clothes and threw away at least pairs of knickers!
  • I'm reading a book about Ermengard of Narbonne

Friday, August 25, 2006

Jessica's book, Organic Furniture Cellar, arrived yesterday. I've seen parts of this text prior to getting the actual book in the mail. I knew it would be good. And I looked at proofs of the cover. But to see the book in person, err, in book...well, it looks fabulous. It's beautiful work, and I'm excited to look at it in detail. It's obvious that Jessica is one of my dear friends, so perhaps I am biased, but one reason she is my friend is because I respect her. And one reason I respect her is because she makes beautiful poetry and has a sharp, creative, critical, generous mind.

I unpacked the rest of my books today, and alphabatized them and put them on shelves. I have never alphabatized my books before, so it's a big deal. I've divided my books up into poetry, fiction and (creative) creative nonfiction, and everything else (theory, history, art, dance, reference books. I have a whole shelf of Chinese language books. So proud!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Kappa / Wretchedness / Etc

Felt wretched today. Thank goodness we moved furniture yesterday. The 302 bus is now full of students going to MiraCosta. We always get to chatting at the bus stop. I've mentioned the extra inclination towards small talk around here. "You look young to be a teacher." I always say, "Yes, I'm very young." or "No. I'm old."

Yesterday several of my students kept talking about "kappa." They would say "kappa" and giggle. Or they'd sing a song about kappa. When we played games we had Team Howdy and Team Kappa. One student looked up kappa in her dictionary and it said, "imp." Anyway, I've done some kappa research. Rather, I looked it up on wikipedia. Favorite kappa fact: cucumbers are the kappa's second favorite food, after human children.

I want my students to teach me the Japanese song tomorrow (the last day of class), but I don't know how realistic that is. Know any songs about kappa, François?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Please note my sarcasm in relevant places

Moved furniture into the apt. today. Four (more) bookshelves, two little bookshelves/table things, a wood filing cabinet and two dressers--one for me and one for Mark. We had to rent a van from Uhaul to do this. It sucked, but I am happy to have space to unpack. I can now actually envision a clutter free office! I also admit to loving my dresser. It's a large, heavy piece of 1940s furniture that I could describe better but won't now. I'll post a picture on flicker.

Inspite of my love for my dresser, I don't know why anyone has furniture. It is big and unwieldy. It makes it difficult to leave the country. Oh, the conflict.

We also went to Home Depot today. In Home Depot, they currently play a mix of mainstream rock from the 90s. This means that I am exactly in their target audience. I sang along to Toad the Wet Sprocket while I looked for a screen door. This was a low point. I also had to avoid a conversation with an old lady who wanted to tell me all about her big house and how she lived there alone. Truely, I was kind of impressed. But really I just wanted to get my screen door and then get back to denying that I'm a part of any kind of market demographic. Now that I'm a white girl in the suburbs, I long even more for isolation and privacy.

I was speaking with a woman the other day--I'd just met her and was trying to be friendly. To more or less everyting she said, I said, "ooh, interesting" or "cool!" or "that's impressive." Eventually, we got to talking about Mexico City. Mexico City is one of my favorite places in the world. And she said "Oh, so you lived in Mexico City! Did you find it dirty and crowded and without private space?" And I said, "Well, I mostly grew up in either very urban places or very rural ones. Mexico City is huge and smelly, but I'm very comfortable there." Scheesh. I could have gone on to talk about how weird I think the suburbs are, but I was polite.

Riding the bus is such a relief! There are people on the bus who are not white! Yay!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Hershels, the resturant I loved, is closed. They had an omelet called “Lorraine’s Mile High” with ham, bell peppers, tomatoes and cheddar cheese inside and, frankly, the best homefries I have ever had. I have mentioned the pastrami sandwiches there several times.

So, it's closed. Moreover, it appears that the owner left in the middle of the night, more or less, and hasn't paid the staff. So much for mom and pop.


heirloom tomatoes
afternoon nap

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dirt path by the train tracks / adventures on the bus

There is a dirt path that runs along the train tracks. I figured that out a few days ago and nowI ride along it whenever possible. It's very quaint and potentially dangerous, but probably mostly the action is the sort that high-school kids drinking miller at night might get into.

The park or path by the stream, river, lagoon, lake, or quarry (the beach is too wholesome and public) is another version of the dirt path by the train tracks. In certain parts of the country, the sand pit also serves the same function.

The bus driver kicked a woman off the bus today. I've seen this woman on the bus many times before. She's in her 30s and probably homeless and certainly ill. She carrys a plastic bag full of shredded newspaper and wears green sweatpants, a bright yellow parka, and slippers. This morning she dropped her money on the floor of the bus and I noticed she was carrying several hundred dollars--I saw three hundred-dollar bills and several twenties. Then, she sat down towards the back of the bus and mumbled to herself for a while, as she always does. Another woman was listening to music, but the music was loud enough that it was easily heard through her headphones.

Eventually, the woman in the green sweatpants walked up to the woman and said, "Please turn down your music. You are not allowed to have a radio."

The bus driver said, "she can listen to music with headphones, as long as it doesn't bother the other passengers."

The woman in the green sweatpants said, "It doesn't specify that she can use headphones. The sign says "no radios."

The driver said, "She can use headphones as long as it doesn't bother the other passengers."

And the woman in the green sweatpants yelled, "well, it's bothering me, and it's bothering my son, that's who it's bothering!"

The woman in the green sweatpants was standing, the woman with the headphones had turned off her music and was looking out the window, pretending that nothing was happening. The bus driver stopped the bus and said, "sit down!"

The woman in the green sweatpants yelled, "it isn't 'sit down,' it's 'take a seat!'"

"The next stop is your last one, maam," said the driver.

"It isn't maam, it's miss! it isn't 'sit down,' it's 'take a seat!'" the woman yelled back.

The driver used her radio to call the police. At the next stop--Miracosta College--I got off with the woman in the green sweatpants. There was already a police car there. The bus driver didn't stop or talk to the police, but continued on her route.

The police--also a woman--got out of her car and said, "Hi Patty. Take a seat and wait here for the next bus."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Watched "Murder, my sweet."

A busy week ahead. Preparing for the fall semester. Teaching. Typesetting. Writing ad copy. Picking up the furniture we bought over the weekend at the estate houses in Oceanside.

I'm starting a new writing project. But it's too new to know what it's about.

Knee is better. I practiced yoga today and managed a fairly sucessful bird of paradise. My hips are even less flexible than before since I started bike riding.

In yoga there's a rhetoric of women being more flexible than men, which I suppose is often true. But we're supposed to have, ahem, flexible hips. I am not flexible. My hips are not flexible. Perhaps my body refuses flexibility because I'm so f-ing congenial and easygoing in the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saw a woman today in the parking lot

who looked like one of my former coworkers. This particular former coworker was crazy. The first time I met her, I had to get out of her car in the middle of rush hour traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue. She was saying something about art and a relationship she'd had with someone that handn't gone well. We were on our way to a reading. Midsentence, I opened the door and said, "I have to leave." Later in the evening, she forgot where she'd parked her car and then tried to pick a fight with me. We'd only just met. So I saw this woman who looked like her in the parking lot and instinctively ducked.

It's obvious that one reason why I dwel on these encounters with hostile middle-aged women is that I worry about being a hostile middle aged woman.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Made chicken kabobs marinated in yogurt and ginger, coriander, paprika, cumin, cardamom, tumeric, saffron threads, cinnamon, cloves, and minced garlic. Yum! But I need to buy ground coriander and cardamom. My crushing methods worked well enough, but they were time consuming. And we had raita and pita bread on the side. Yum yum yum. And grilled peaches, of course. Which I wish to eat every day.

I gave Lester the extra jalapeno pepper and tomato that I didn't use for the raita (in addition to his rightful share of chicken, veggies, and raita). When I give Lester food, he attacks it, but in the course of attacking it, usually discovers that it tastes good, and then eats it.

I did manage to bike to work today. My knee is still tender, but biking is actually easier than walking.

My students today were jet-lagged. They arrived here from Japan only two days ago. They're so young 12-17. The lone boy in a class of nine is especially quiet, but he dresses very punk.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My first biking accident

did not occur when I was actually on my bike. As I was pulling out the bike rack on the front of the bus, the rack somehow came loose and slammed down on my knee. I did manage to bike home after getting off the bus, but my knee is now fabulously swolen. I was hoping it would only be black and blue.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

edge of the country

I begin one last whirlwind week of ESOL teaching tomorrow, again to a group of Japanese students. Although I'll have to get up at 6 am for a while, it will be a nice change of pace. Typesetting all the time makes me crazy, and I'll get to ride my bike every day again.

I'm going to teach a creative writing class at Cal State San Marcos this fall. But I need to update my syllabi. Much of what worked at the Corcoran is not going to work in a workshop class with 25 students with wide-ranging backgrounds. I miss teaching though, and I'm looking forward to it.

Today I bought tomatoes, blackberries, peaches, cilantro, and squash at the farmers market. And tamales for dinner. The farmers market seems like it's one of the few places in Carlsbad where it's ok to speak Spanish.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

I didn't make peach pies, I made two peach and blueberry tartes

As some of you know, I've been writing a long list poem of potential jobs/ways of being employed. Anyone who has anything they think I should include, well, tell me. I have already included office automator and demolition expert, so no need to bring those possibilities to my attention.

The Howes came and went with much fanfare and an inflatable duck:

Bill even configured our wireless network this morning. I'd gotten most of the way there, but then got it into my head that I wanted everything MAC encrypted, which really wasn't necessary. But anyway, our network is secure, etc. It still doesn't work though, but not because of Bill. It's too complicated and boring to go into here, but I think that the router itself is faulty. Yay.

I think we should all relocate to Panama. That is, if we can't manage to relocate to Berlin, Bulgaria, Istambul, Mozambique, or Tanzania. Panama has mountains and beaches. A former coworker was shot in the leg while working in Panama, but that was more than 10 years ago. Woo hoo.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

We cleaned

in honor of Bill Howe and Lisa Phillips and Bill Howe's mom, who are arriving sometime this afternoon.

The beach party was fun! We made, ahem, smores. At least half of the people associated with the studio are from back east. I mean that they're new to California within the last 2-7 years. Of course, almost everyone was new to California as recently as 50 years ago. Perhaps this helps explain the tendency to mythologize instead of historicize, as Mark suggested last night.

I also just finished clipping Lester's wingfeathers. Both Lester and I detest this process, but it's for his safety. Usually, parrots become lost very quicky if they get outside. And because he's a small, light parrot, a bit of Pacific ocean wind could carry him a long way in only a few minutes. I always wrap him in his little baby blanket to clip his feathers, which makes him very mellow. And then he gets treats afterwards.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mark notices animals / Bonfires

Mark always sees the animals first. He saw the Hawk first. He noticed the Black Cat in the Green Grass first, the red-headed house finch, and the dove that lives alone in the tree outside our window.

Going to a party with the yogis at Moonlight State Beach. There will be a bonfire. This reminds me of two other bonfires:

1. At my friend Kim's wedding. I knew Kim in highschool, and Mark and I drove up to Maine the first summer we were together to go to her wedding, which was on the land of an old communal farm. At this wedding, I realized I really hadn't been to many "traditional" weddings. There was a huge party the night before, we all danced around a huge bonfire, and then had the wedding the next morning, very hung over.

2. My 5th grade class celebrated Guy Fawkes night (November 5) by having a bonfire, again on the same land on which my friend's wedding took place. And then we burned a scarecrow that we'd made. Supposedly we were going to enter it into the local scarecrow competition but we didn't, so we burned him on top of the fire. We did not sing Guy Fox songs, though. For example:

Guy Fawkes, Guy.
Hit him in the eye,
Hang him on a lamp-post
And leave him there to die.
Umbrella down the cellar
There I saw a naked fella
Burn his body, save his soul
Please give me a lump of coal;
If a lump of coal won't do
ease give me a halfpenny,
Then up and down the Drapery
Round and round the Market Square,
Till I get to Marefair,
Where i'll spend my ha'penny,
Guy Fawkes, Guy

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blackberries probably don't grill very well

The hawk we keep seeing is, according to Pete the Building Manager, a Cooper's Hawk. Mark and I saw it up close while it sat in a tree about twenty feet away from the window by his desk. I'm sure Pete is correct. It looked like this:

It was way cool.

But seeing the hawk has prompted me to finally order wing clipping scissors for Lester, who now flies around the house with speed and agility. Not that he flies outside. But still.


According to (which is not nearly as accurate as the national weather service), it is 73 F at this very moment in DC and Vladivostok!


It probably won't happen this weekend, but I have plans to make a peach and blackberry pie. In the meantime, I will just continue to grill peaches.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Yippy Skippy

Listening to Pavement. I say "screw the pseudo surfer dudes' pseudo reggae" as if I am an expert on surfer dudes and the music they may or may not prefer. Really I just mean some of my neighbours.

The Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB) is threatening to ruin Papua New Guinea’s entire crop of cocoa! While this won't mess with the international cocoa supply, it is certainly bad news for local farmers in PNG. As if anyone in PNG needs any more bad news.

No one needs bad news, of course.

I got a postcard from Kaplan, who writes to say that he has photocopied many many Creeley letters. Way to go, Kaplan!

Bill Howe and Lisa Howe and Bill's mom are coming to visit this weekend!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lester prefers Lafeber's spicy southwestern nutriberries

I rode my bike a lot today. I rode it to meet a client at the coffee shop. I wore a skirt.

Today in the drugstore an old man asked me "Vous-ete une femme de la nuit?"

I said, "I'm not your man, dude." He seemed perplexed and lost.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Listening to the George Mgrdichian Ensemble. Mark and I just developed seven rolls of film--all from 2005--and looked at our pictures from 2004, including pictures from our trip to Canada. I'm always shocked by how beautiful the pictures of the St. Lawrence river are, how the colors are all vivid and the light looks a bit like autumn light, even in July. It's odd to remember being in places that I'm unlikely to ever be in again. Miramichi--I'm never going to be in Miramichi ever again.

In the 2005 pictures, I have bangs. It was a fad. I looked cute with bangs, but it did make me look, I think, too girlish. I'm not very punk, even at my most punky--I'm not a good indie waif. I had this idea that I'd have heavy, Brigitte Bardot bangs and wavy hair that could also be tamed a bit by a large black hairband.

I began to organize my desk today. I am not allowed to create piles of stuff that I don't know what to do with. I must 1) throw out the paper 2) file it 3) take action. The idea is that I will do this on a regular basis. I want a work environment that is beautiful and conducive to creativity, poise and energy. Slowly slowly.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I left strange big moon on the bus

Went to the beach this afternoon after a morning of, uh, shopping. Grocery shopping. Target. Home Depot. Toys, food and vitamins for Lester. We want to buy a screen door but it won't fit in our car. The only downside of driving something that gets good cas mileage is that nothing fits in it.

This past week I drove one of my boss' cars. A mercury something-or-other. I listened to NPR to and from work, and also 70s psychic oblivion music ("I'm not talkin' 'bout movin' in..." and "oh, oh, Mexico..." etc) I enjoy bike riding more, but somehow felt a sense of cultural belonging. How fabulous it isto be riding a bike around a lagoon and watching the herons and the plovers. And the ducks swimming in the nasty nasty water.

So yes. Went to the beach, played in the huge waves and returned home with a lot of sand in my suit. I'm starting to understand the appeal of surfing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A hawk's been hanging around all day--Mark's seen it more than me. I but I just heard it chasing something. Three birds in the sky, all of them vocalizing. A bird making noise is always a healthy bird. So a bird escaping from predators will often "sing." It's like saying, "I have so much energy I can sing even while you are chasing me."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How was your day? / Today's Ailments / Lorraine's International Real Estate Report

I worked 14 hours, and not on my "own work." But that was ok. I parked the car (actually, my boss' car) on the street by our complex because the lot was full, and then proceeded to step right in a pile of dog shit.


Today's Ailments:

My right hand / wrist /elbow / shoulder are killing from the computer work. When I think about it too much, I worry that I won't be able to type by the time I'm in my 50s.


Everyone move to Berlin, or at least by a condo there.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yoga talk

In class yesterday, went from Salamba Sirsasana back into a variation of Urdhva Dhanurasana (with headstand A arms) and then back to Urdhva Dhanurasana. I did have someone spotting me, but it wasn't so scary.

We also went from Bakasana to headstand A and back to Bakasana. Coming back down into Bakasana is hard, I sort of just brought my knees toward my chest and rocked out of it. But still, I was shocked that I could do any of it.

In contrast, I couldn't do pincha at all, which I can sometimes do.