Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Things I like about San Diego north county, or whatever the folks around here call it (the place I live)
The air: it is usually dry and smells very very good. Floral, green, or salty. I'm so close to the ocean that it's usually a combination of all these things. I'm still taking allergy medicine like crazy, but I haven't needed my inhaler much.
The birds: I love them all. The quails, the hawks, the herons, the doves, the common house finches, the unidentified small ones who peck at my window, all the shore birds--plovers and terns in all their variety...
The ocean: It's the Pacific. There's no bay, so it just comes at the beach in full force. I feel comforted knowing that when I watch the sun go down it's headed to Asia.
The geography: ok. The suburbs suck. Totally. I hate them. BUT--once you drive inland past Escondidio (and even in Escondido a bit) you're in rolling hills, and then the desert. And pine forests. Where it can snow. It's weird. Even though we haven't been (and I mentioned this before) knowing Mexico is close by is also a comfort, as is the fact that I'm sharing an ocean with Asia, and PNG, and gizo.
The sky is also quite clear here. I mean the night sky. Not like Maine, but still pretty fabulous.
Taco stands and Donut shops!
In 6th grade I had two pairs of striped jeans, one pink, one red. They had fairly high rises--not high like 70s, but not low low low like every single pair of jeans today. I loved them! I wore them with my pink converse high tops, a dark pink turtleneck with a ballet t-shirt (always with the neck cut off) layered over it.
I also had a pair of dark pink capris that I wore with an oversize sweatshirt and checkered vans. And I had a light pink sweatshirt with two bunnies on it that I really loved.
In 6th (or 7th?) grade I went to London and saw punks, and pink hair and all sorts of stuff I'd never seen before. I didn't become punk, of course, but I started weiring crazy tights--stripes were my favorite--under cuttoff jean shorts or sometimes with mini skirts.
My stepmother was the first person I knew who wore big boots and Levis, so I followed suit. Her boots were way to big for me, but I'd steal them and then wear them to school (with my stripped tights and miniskirts).
Anything with frogs on it: A t-shirt I bought in Quebec that said "CROC, Le magasin qu'on rit" (did I spell "magasin" correctly? I don't think so).
Highschool saw me more in a hippy/grunge phase, espeically when I lived in Maine. Boots, flannel, jeans, corduroy, cut offs, t-shirts, polyester skirts and dresses from the dollar a bag thrift store (oh, bless that place)! A pair of green doc martins that I still own. Army pants.
Lots and lots of floral dresses--a trend that began in middle-school. I wore floral to just about every concert and music competition I attended. Flutists were floral prints. Even now. It's a law.
I also wore shirts and ties, especially bowties--my dad wore them so I'd borrow his. I had a pair of what I called "English buckle shoes" that I wore all the time. A real vintage tuxedo jacket that I still have which is way way way to big for me. A top hat. All kinds of hats, really, but bowlers were my favorite. I collected them. They are all in storage at my uncles, waiting to return to me. Basically I liked to dress in drag. (I mean, have you all seen that picture of Colette dressed in a sailor suit? It's way hot)
I also wore my hair in a bun (ballerina thing), and then I'd wrap all sorts of scarves around the bun to make it look huge and let some off the scaves trail down my back.
I still wear lots of scarves, and suit jackets, though not so boxy. Still like boots, and interesting tights, though now I go for the more fishnet/embellished ones. Still wear floral. I've just accepted it as part of my destiny. Still cut the necks off my t-shirts. Still wear army pants. Navy ones with the buttons in the front and high waist.
I don't wear those big bunchy socks anymore. And I don't cuff/roll up my jeans--though I stopped doing that when Gap came out with "Ankle lenght" jeans and I went to New York and saw that no one there cuffed their jeans. As a rule, my clothes are less baggy.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
"The primary health concern for a person exposed to fumes released from nonstick cookware is called polymer fume fever. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold or flu, including coughing, difficulty breathing, and headaches, and they generally disappear after a couple of days. Cases of polymer fume fever have been well documented among people who work in plants that manufacture fluoropolymers--the name for the compounds, consisting largely of carbon and fluorine, used to make nonstick coatings. Polymer fume fever has been more difficult to document among home cooks."
So, on my birthday list (which is, as my father has told me, ridiculously long) is:
A cast iron dutch oven and muffin pan (seasoned cast-iron is almost as non-stick as nasty Teflon)
I also want a good hand/immersion blender. My food processor is small and beat up and can't even handle making pesto at this point. I tried yesterday.
Where I've been etc.
I've been to several small island nations in Australiasia.
Africa is a major gap for me. I was alive in Iran, but not born. And I'm going to Oman this winter, but haven't yet been. I've only been to the airport in Japan. Africa and South America are major, major gaps. Mark and I are going to retire in Tanzania.
Monday, May 29, 2006
It's also Memorial Day weekend. Many a young hooligan is out and about, and many pre teen girls dressed in awkwardly sexy outfits. Yikes.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I took my dinner to the beach--salmon and broccoli (or poached salmon and pan fried broccoli with other yummy stuff)--to watch the sun set, something I haven't actually done since I arrived. It gets so cold here, still, when the sun gets low in the sky. I ate my dinner and started to write a parody nature poem but had to stop because there were dolphins playing in the waves. They were riding them in more or less the same way surfers do.
This filled me with joy and longing and so I couldn't write my horrific poem. I just had to watch them and the sunset and the pelicans diving for fish and drink wine out of my travel coffee mug (no glass etc allowed on the beach) and long.
I suppose I've always been a big fan of longing, though. So maybe I shouldn't be so worried. My whole prose fiction poem thing "it does not go back" is an indulgence in and critique of lyric longing.
This is, perhaps, why I find it so difficult to resist Stinky the cat. He is so very needy. He longs. He is tragic. He longs to be inside someone's house, eating tuna. I nearly bought him a little outdoor cat bed/shelter to put on our balcony, and then decided against it.
Lester longs, but he never longs for long!
Thursday, May 25, 2006
So much for summer weather. We're back down in the 60s. I've been noodling with the colors in a logo all morning, and I cleaned up the living room. Obviously, I am fussy today.
I did manage to get into Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) today. In contrast to my rants about inflexibility, I think my main difficulty in Ardha Chandrasana is actually strength in the standing leg (and yes, maintaining internal rotation with the thigh).
Apologies to my non yogi readers!
Um, ok. Poetry stuff: I'm still writing energetic, loose, and sometimes sloppy prose. I've also been collecting all of the fallen flowers, blossoms and petals that I see on the street. I already have a large and haphazard collection of pressed flowers, I keep meaning to do something with them. But I need to use something other than the flowers, which are a little two sweet for me on their own.
Um, poems. Prose. Still working on the "textural" poems. Still writing stories.
Stinky is outside again, meowing. Lester is peeping. All these persons about!
My yoga teacher yesterday told me that I radiate a lot of masculine energy. I tend to use too much muscular force and turn outward instead of balancing it with, um, soft supple inward movement. So, regardless of whether or not I agree with her and Anusara yoga's assessment of these particular ways of approaching movement as either masculine or feminine, she was right about my lack of inward rotation and my muscular approach to action.
But it's at least partly because I was a ballerina. Until I studied modern, none of my dance teachers ever said much about alignment beyond "don't stick your butt out" and "suck in your stomach."
Oh, I take that back. Once, when I was learning a pas de deux, my teacher, Lucy, told me to think of my hips as my center of movement when approaching a series of small forward sautes in arabesque. That same teacher would occasionally throw in some internal rotation and also "6th position," which was just feet parallel with toes touching. She also had us learn a combination in 5/4 time once.
My favorite thing about modern dance is not always having to dance on one's feet.
Sadly, few things make me more energetically grumpy than discussions about employment, especially this time of year, when my friends in academia are all beginning their summers and musing about getting jobs while I am still...doing...the same...thing. So, as I said, I'm grumpy.
The idea that academics have more time off is pretty much a myth, I know. They work your ass off all year, tell you to publish a lot, but don't really allow you the time to write the stuff you're supposed to publish. Mark has administrative work coming out his ears, especially now that classes are over.
Like Francois, I think what I miss most about academia isn't studying, but just the rhythm of the year. The idea that something vaguely different happnens every three or four months.
I'm not against office jobs. Ok, I am, but mostly I'm against them for ME. Offices make me crazy. Gradschool made me crazy. I am grumpy about all forms of employment, especially whatever kind I am currently in.
To turn my comments into something more productive than my grumpy personal rant: I think that the struggle to actually make art and participate in artistic communities in the face of real economic necessity is, well, very difficult. Duh.
When I'm feeling less grumpy and more optimistic, I remember that one of the things that gave me the courage to try and be a writer was meeting other writers who were making a living in various ways (offices, bookstores, nonprofits, government, adjuncting, academia, freelancing, techies, carpenters...) and still being, primarily, writers.
Obviously, there are tolerable, even good things about most kinds of employment situations, and obviously, there are crummy things about all of them.
Uh, what I mean is that they all suck in various ways, but that each person needs to try and find the particular kind of crummy-ness that they prefer, and then go for it.
My current experiment into doing mostly freelancing work combined with some teaching is not going too badly. It might be the most tolerable employment life I've ever experienced. How exciting!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Lester and I have returned from an early evening walk to the ocean. He did quite well, and bravely peeped at the pelicans and beach squirrels while eating millet. It felt a bit like summer today. Warm enough to sit outside even as the sun goes down. I've been freezing since I arrived, so I'm glad to learn that it actually does get warm and sunny here, as they claim. A few days ago, I updated my list of publications, readings, performances, and other poetry stuff. It is a long list. I am encouraged.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Me and Lester (Lester and I) have had a fabulous Tuesday night. A little wine, a little leftover pizza, and Bride & Prejudice.
Lester's been a testy bird all day, in spite of his singing and spending lunchtime in the sunshine on the balcony--he's been especially bite-ey. Usually he just uses his beak to say "don't pet me there" or "I want to go back to my cage (palace)," but today he actually chomped on my finger when I was offering him an almond! Really, it was ridiculous. He loves almonds! I put him back in his cage and played ragas, which he seemed to enjoy. He's a bit more mellow this evening, though.
I took a slightly less advanced yoga class this evening. The teacher of this evening's class practiced next to me during the class I took on Saturday that made me so sore. No wonder. I don't have the flexibility and the strength of an advanced student...Especially the flexibility (and I know that there isn't supposed to be an "advanced" in yoga), but I can never get warm in the beginning classes. I need a practice that's super vigorous so that I can get warm, but also focused on alignment.
I get that my muscles will never really extend unless I work them in the correct way, but I admit I'm frustrated. Why am I so very tense? It is not because I'm uptight. I've known several uptight but physically flexible people.
In many ways I belong in a beginner class because I still can't even put my hands flat on the floor in Uttanasana (standing forward bend. Kind of like touching your toes). But I have strength and awareness beyond the limitations of my flexibility--I can feel what is wrong with my alignment, but my shoulders or my hips won't budge.
I'm especially frustrated today. My teachers look at me before class and frequently say, "Oh, I can see you're a dancer." Standing, I look like a dancer, or someone who used to be. I have good posture, and my feet are almost always involuntarily turned out. Then, that they often, I think, assume that I'm still super flexible. I'm not!
Even when I was little, I wasn't. Blech.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
2. Mark called Tom but Tom wasn't there. Jessica was, so we talked.
3. There's nothing better than a strange, unknown and unidentifiable naked man running towards you in the early afternoon!
4. I'm taking my first intermediate/advanced yoga class (since arriving here in SoCal) tomorrow. Expect me to blog about being sore.
5. Mark leaves for the east coast soon. Expect him to be reading at a venue near you in the next few weeks.
6. I've recieved several Dusie chapbooks in the mail! This makes me happy. I'm not finished putting mine together. As usual, I owe a lot of people mail.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
-- When I realized I would have to stay at Georgetown a whole semester longer than I needed/wanted to.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
-- Not having the option to sleep in. On days I don't have to work, the promise of a walk, or run, or brunch, or time to write, or donuts.
What became of your childhood dreams?
-- I wanted to be a writer and travel the world. I'm not doing too badly.
What sets you apart from from everyone else?
-- Probably not that much. I'm multi talented and attractive, but so are a lot of people. I'm not insane.
What is missing from your life?
-- Not that much. There are a lot of things I want, though, but that's not the same thing as something missing.
Do you think that everyone can be an artist?
-- There are a lot of talented people, but that doesn't mean they'll have the desire and the means to be an artist.
Where do you come from?
-- I used to have a lot of trouble with this question. I grew up overseas and in Maine, and I lived in Washington, DC off and on for 9 years. I don't feel from anywhere, but I do feel a strong connection to certain places: Washington, DC, China, Malaysia, Iran, and Maine are the most important.
Do you find your lot an enviable one?
What have you given up?
-- Not much. There are several contradictions I can't resolve, though. For example, I'd like to travel more but I don't like being away from those I love. I'm working on combining the two.
What do you do with your money?
-- Pay off debt. If there's anything after that, I try to save (this is a habit I'm learning). I buy books and music, and stuff to make things. Travel. Go out to eat or get food to cook. Clothing. Perfume.
What household task gives you the most trouble?
-- All of them except cooking. I'm not very neat. I like things to be neat, but I must not care that much, since cleaning is always low on my list of priorities.
What are your favorite pleasures?
-- I have a lot of them: Friday night dinner with Mark, scratching Lester's head, Yoga, dancing, hiking, cooking, eating brunch, swimming, bathing, music, washing the dishes while Lester sits on my shoulder and sings, travelling, intense conversation.
What would you like to receive for your birthday?
-- I always want a lot of things. I'd like some camping equipment and a new day pack. My birthday is June 11.
Cite three living artists whom you detest.
-- Mmm. I don't really detest any. There are a lot of artists who are jerks and produce crappy work, but that's true in any social or professional context.
What do you stick up for?
-- Birds. Public transportation. Psychoanalysis. Physical and emotional safety (and the need to always be thinking about them, questioning them, reevaluating them, trying to understand them)
What are you capable of refusing?
-- A lot, depending on the situation. I have trouble refusing 1) an opportunity to travel and 2) the chance to see a loved one. These two things are either directly connected or directly opposed. Ugh.
What is the most fragile part of your body?
-- My skin, literally. The rest of me is super tough.
What has love made you capable of doing?
-- Making art a priority. Not hating everyone. Feeling more ok about being alienated, if that's possible.
What do other people reproach you for?
-- Being happy. Having something to do after work. Not being married. Being messy.
What does art do for you?
-- helps me understand and explore the world
Write your epitaph.
-- I don't really care about this. Epitaphs are for the people still living. So whoever outlives me and wants an epitaph for me should write or choose one they like.
In what form would you like to return?
-- I don't want to return.
I recently learned that another word for skin is "tegument," although I guess the meaning is closer to "site of the sense of touch," which is kind of interesting.
The Senate approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Ugh.
I think one day marriage will actually be a legal requirement for all couples, though. Rather, I think that this is more likely in the US than, say, detatching all the civil and financial benefits that go along with marriage from the institution itself. People refer to Mark as my husband, even though I've never introduced him that way, refer to him as my boyfriend or "partner," and I don't wear a ring. Sometimes San Diego seems pre-feminist. Actually, not just sometimes.
I suppose that even I sentimentalize the notion of family. Of course. It's just that marriage and children aren't at the heart of my sentimentalizing. I suppose I'd just mother my friends and parrots. Mark and I would have lots of parties and write a lot. One of my favorite dreams is basically about this: I'm in a large barn that is decorated for some kind of a party. I'm wearing a lovely sequined cocktail dress. But here's the key element: there are several large, gentle, purple hippos in the barn, walking around and "talking" to each other, or communicating. People float in and out and mingle with the hippos, who are loved and admired for their lovely hue, intelligence, and gentle natures. It's a very happy dream.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
"You have been blacklisted! This is not because of the frequency of the pings, but due to the possible objectionable/non genuine nature of the blog. Please understand that this is an automated process. If you believe this is an error, please quickly post on the forum or drop me a mail to get it resolved"
What gives? My blog is not objectionable, and it's obviously genuine:
And Proof that Mark's not the kind of guy to keep a lady from her pie!
I wasn't prepared for how green it is going inland from Oceanside past Escondido to Ramona and then up into the mountains and to Julian. It's this beautiful, relatively lush little ecosystem. It reminded me of the mountains in southern Spain--green, but also dry and rocky.
And it was sunny! The weather here in San Diego sucks during May and June. It was 88 with a cool breeze. After a hike and lunch, Mark and I visited the old cemetary in Julian, on a hill above town. There was a nice bench under a grove of oak trees, so we sat down and fell asleep...
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
California is cold and there's no good TV. If there's no sun and the TV is bad, does California really have a reason to exist?
I dreamed I was studying labanotation and had to teach a group of young ladies how to dance Martha Graham's Errand into the Maze. When I took them to the rehersal space, it was a souk and the song "Footloose" was playing. I forgot about teaching them and began to look obsessively for almond croissants and star sapphires.
Libya is the place to go now! No one believes me about Mozambique, possibly because I don't really know anything about it.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I guess that if I had to choose either Carl Jung or Carl Marx, I would chosen Marx. But in, say the 1950s, I'm not so sure.
But like, I don't really want to run away. I want to be, uh, very wealthy. And then I would by this and this and this. And then I'd make a nature reserve and uh, I don't know what would happen with the rest of it.
It's spring. I feel isolated and want to run away. Spending even more time than usual researching new kinds of facial lotion. I'm ingesting more news remembering old news and lines from old poems I've been editing. Again. For example:
strippers in every state. flew away from red lake on crows wings, shooks thief stripping wild life management areas, stripping staples at the bal club where everyone everywhere is exposed to nuclear fallout. regardless of stripping, the blue earth blue with frost at Ie centre of what? of saints, of liberal men with shaved heads, of slightly more funding for the arts. le lac qui parle talks application talk, embarrassing babbit on the vermilion iron range, over boundary waters, upsala sedan, silica zim, wigs on landlocked beaches. did the water evaporate? are there many sewage ponds? was nimrod good or evil?
The Sierra Club sent me animal postcards. This makes me want to weep. A lot of good I'm doing around here working and paying of my debt. Blech.
The manager of our building complex predicts it will be a warm summer. It better be. It's been colder here than in DC.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Sunday, May 07, 2006
"...you don't have to be a semiotician to realize that a body minus clothing is still a product of its cultural conditioning. (Even naked, we continue to move in ways that are dictated by the clothes we've just discarded"
"In 1968, The Living Theater toured the United States with its most utopian work, Paradise Now, featuring 'the rite of universal intercourse,' in which the audience was invited to join the performers in an extended group-grope." (39)
Thinking about this relative to the Oulipo conference in LA last fall. Perhaps this is obvious, but Oulipo vs. body-centered performance art is similar to Cunningham vs. Graham. Or Rauschenberg vs. Pollock. Objects vs. subjects? Not quite. Frustration with representation. Sure. Object versus abstract? Form vs. (psychological/emotional) content.
Ah, stupid binaries.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
can't access gmail. I went to yoga. Lester is all a-peep and so are the house finches. A guy on his cellphone is having a conversation about divorce and the need to have a new address. I am copyediting and it blows. I like typsetting better.
Jaques Roubaud says: I checked / and have no reason to think / it was otherwise / elsewhere
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
There are many kinds of Robins. The most common is the American Robin. But there are Flame Robins and Rose Robins in Australia and Tasmania, and many other kinds of Robin in Mexico and South America--the White-throated Robin, the Clay-colored Robin, and the Rufous-backed Robin.
A Juvenile male American Robin has has a pale, spotted breast. Or, more precisely, "a pale rufous breast flecked with dark spots, and white lower belly and undertail coverts. Head is dark gray, white throat is streaked with black."
Whatbird.com is a good site for identifying birds.
I like birds.