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)

Monday, September 11, 2006

I know what day today is / You already know that I used to play D&D, right?

That is from here. Thanks to Susana for posting it.

I know today is September 11th, even though the date on this blog says something else because I've set it to a time zone somewhere in the Indian Ocean. I am also refusing to write about where I was and what I was doing when the airplanes struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I'm not saying I don't care, or that I didn't grieve, or that I approve of the wars. But I feel manipulated by collective remembrence. So I'll write about it later. Maybe.

On to movies, young adult novels, and censorship!

Phillip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, is being made into a series of movies. This is old news, but new to me. I'm shocked to be so excited about this! But I'm not happy that the movies will remove all their refrences to G-d. The battle within a church and weird experiments on children to remove something akin to original sin are the plot of the books. How are they going to write a screenplay and leave this out. Oh, I'm depressed. The movies are going to make no narrative sense. They will suck. Sigh. But in terms of complicated fantasty/scifi books for mature young adults, this trilogy is right up there with Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea. I love Lord of the Rings and The Cronicles of Narnia, but Earthsea and His Dark Materials are much darker and more horrifying.

And why doesn't someone make a movie based on Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain.
Or Garth Nix' Abhorsen Trilogy?

I got stung by a jellyfish yesterday

I don't say "a jellyfish stung me," because I think the jellyfish was dead, and I think it was only a tentacle sort of buried in the sand. My toe swelled up really big. Other than that, Mark and I had a very nice walk on the beach.

I want to go hear Imogen Heap, but I don't want to drive all the way to LA to do it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fruit, font, Classical Chinese, Shorebirds

I edited Large Waves to Large Obstacles today, and discovered that some of the Chinese characters from the original poems are missing. Where did they go? I haven't thought about classical Chinese in ages. It's different from contemporary Mandarin. It is difficult. Both Mandarin and classical Chinese are difficult. But I've fixed the problem, and all the words are back in the manuscript.

And I fixed our wireless network. Again. But it seems to be working.

So, my brain is full of classical Chinese, fonts, and networking issues. Other than that I am content free. This concerns me. I mean it worries me.

Also, Mark and I took a walk along the beach. Plovers. Terns. Various gulls. I love the shorebirds. They lack the glamour of other types of birds, but they're so tough and energetic. Shorebirds can soothe and/or increase homesickness on every seashore everywhere in the world.

Another fruit memory: G-, my second-grade friend's mean and violent older brother--he once chased us through the woods with a machete--was babysitting me and his little sister. He was only a year older, and a total asshole. But fine. So me and G- had a grape eating contest to see who could fit the most grapes in their mouth at one time. I think I suggested it. I won, and G-spit all his grapes out all over the kitchen, and then chased me all over the back yard. I climbed up a pine tree to get away from him. He could have climbed up after me, but didn't.

Saturday, September 09, 2006



Yesterday we found an old tape with the following on it

1. A PBS special about bower birds
2. A PBS special about the history of Silver Spring
3. A PBS Jim Croche special

At first we didn't know who the tape belonged to. But then we decided it probably the belongs to Mark.

The special about the bower birds was super cool.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ethnography is not objective, obviously

The Black Cat in the Green Grass and Stinky meet:

I go outside to avoid grading and play with the cats:


But in the end I come home to Lester:


Thursday, September 07, 2006

I live near Legoland

We listened to one Led Zepplin song on the ride back from San Diego this evening. I enjoyed it, but had flashbacks to watching Led Zepplin videos with a boyfriend my freshman year. I found it very boring--watching the videos with the then boyfriend, not listening to them on our ride home. Over the top rock music is helpful on the highway. But as I mused about the x-boyfriend and the terrible trip I took home with him to his family and friends in New Jersey, I realized I had no memory of taking any pills of any sort this week at all. I don't remember most things I do, and I often misremember things, or simply make things up. I've been talking about detail to my creative writing classes, how images and objects and sensorial information often lead directly to memories and stories. In this case, the memory lead me to the detail. The very boring detail.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh I'm bored bored bored

Truth: boring
Binaries: boring
Reversing binaries: boring
Reversing hierarchies: boring and possibly not very effective
Cultural critique: boring but necessary
Handwringing: boring

1. I don't believe most of poetry and literature can have a measurable effect on politics, power, or violence.
2. I admit that I'm very interested in intangible effects, and admit that sometimes there are tangible ones, but that is not why I make poems.
3. I make poems for individual readers, not groups or nations or countries. Rather, I make poems for groups of individuals.
4. I'd like people other than my friends and would be friends to read my work, and I must constantly try to find new ways of doing this, but I'm super happy that my friends and would be friends read my work.
5. I admit that I wish I were independently wealthy.
6. I enjoy parties, teaching & exercise. Also, I like makeup and cosmetics.
7. I like poems to be investigations.
8. Love joy death sadness are still good topics for a poem.
9. I like to travel.
10. The idea of the lone romantic poet making it in the world alone against the world bores me. I could make a far-fetched but relevant argument connecting that idea to a US suburban love of privacy.
11. I like to go away and then write poems about the people I've left and hence better understand lyric.
12. It is impossible to completely know what another person is feeling, but I wish to make intelligent guesses and imagine it endlessly.
13. I like teaching. I think it's possible to teach people how to approach a poem. I prefer to use "difficult" work to do this, because difficult work calls more attention to the fact that it's something that was made. Once we can think about how something is made, we can think about ways of reading it. This doesn't always work.
14. I worry that I don't read enough contemporary poetry now. I used to get a lot of my new poetry through readings. I like readings. I remember things better if I hear them. I need to download more poetry and listen to it.
15. I am researching date farming.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today is the most Monday Monday of the year, even though it is Tuesday.

Monday, September 04, 2006

This weekend I made

Ajlouk Qura'a (Mashed-Zucchini Salad)
Baba Ghanoush
Hummus (with edamame--it was green, but it was good)
Borani Esfanaj (Persian Spinach and Yogurt Dip)
Tabbouleh (with Quinoa)
Fatoush salad
Rosemary-Scented Flatbread with Black Grapes
Gingerbread with blueberries--something my aunt used to make. Except I used butter instead of vegetable shortning and half milk half buttermilk instead of all buttermilk.
I'm still collecting non-sexual stories involving fruit. For example. Kevin Killian says that he ran over a bag in a parking lot. At first, he was worried that it was a baby, but it turned out to be a pineapple. Most of you have heard my story about the time I had a tastey hami melon thrown at me on the street in Beijing. Stuff like that. Anything? Anybody?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

When did I become cool?

A review of my Dusie chapbook, thanks to Jon Leon. Yay!

I went swiming after my run this morning.

Lester bathed in his bird dish after I changed the water.

We're having a Labor Day party.

An excuse to make food and clean house.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bird nerd alert / more about Lester's habits

Larger parrots often learn to use utensils while eating--or at least a spoon. They're naturally curious because they see other members of their flock (humans) using them, so they want to use them too. Maybe I should get Lester a minature spoon he could learn to use while eating his yogurt.

I recently got a book on Parrotlets to see if it might have any more information about how Lester's wild cousins behave. Pacific Parrotlets spend a lot of time on the ground, bathing in wet grass or eating insects and seeds, but they also like the forest. But not necessarily super dense rainforest.

Apparantly, they don't often bathe in water either. Instead, they prefer to bathe in wet grass. So Lester's love of bathing in his water dish is something he learned from the other parrotlets at the aviary where he was born. And those parrotlets developed it as a result of about six generations of domestication.

But I did buy a little wheatgrass growing kit. So maybe I'll grow it and put some in Lester's cage. After he gets over the attack phase, he might like it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lester likes dried chili peppers

He also used his foot to hold on to a chili pepper while he ate it. This is something I've seen larger sized birds do, but it's new for him.

This is how Lester approaches new food:

1. He attacks it and shrieks
2. Eventually, he pays attention to how it tastes
3. If he likes it, he eats more
4. When he is done, he chirps and attackes his silver bucket
5. Then he stands on one foot and gets puffy and happy.