Thursday, January 31, 2008

Measuring "ahh"

The commercial promises 365 days of ahh, but how do you measure ahh?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are we enjoying our task

For the most part, we are.

And I typed up and revised the first part of a new manuscript I'm working on this afternoon. That felt good.

And I felt nearly normal during yoga class this evening. Even during inversions.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rain (Shel Silverstein)

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I sleep very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand,
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said—
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I am downloading a PDF version of Fun With Grammar.

It's raining about as hard as I've ever seen it rain here.

I am writing an exam for my ESL students.

My voice is still 70% gone.

But...there is hope! The "Parrots in the Land of Oz" Nature special is on tonight--I've been waiting for this for quite some time. My little sisters in Adelaide sent an email about how they feed the parrots in the park near their house...


I have a good recipe for a grown-up version or Rice Crispies treats, one that involves almonds and dulce de leche.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I am wearing slippers

And they are warm. Slippers are useful, even in San Diego. My voice is half-back, and after teaching all-day yesterday with no voice and a sensation similar to having a golf ball stuck in my throat, I feel significantly better today.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I have no voice

Well, maybe I have like 15% voice. Teaching tomorrow is going to be "interesting."

Mark and I ate at Terri Cafe in Oceanside for lunch, and the shoyu ramen was quite good. All their noodles are made nearby. Yum.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Etc.

Continuous sore throat and messed-up sinuses. Lots and lots of ginger lemon tea.

A mostly good ESL class, which is good.

More flexible and complicated offers from yesterday's interview-a six-month contract? A three-day work week? I'm asking for details, details.

Numerous design and typesetting deadlines today. Some mine, mostly other people's.

Jerome Rothenberg and Steve Willard at UCSD this afternoon. Will Mark and I get out of our offices in time? What interesting/strange/shocking/boring problem will prevent us (or, hopefully, only nearly prevent us) from going?

Showers. Rain. Inevitable accidents. Rainy rides in the, er, rain.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Everything at once!

I started teaching another ESL class today--they're more advanced beginner level. I haven't taught a lower-level class in a while, so I was nervous. But I'm glad to have this class. They are friendly and motivated. They know they need to work on their skills, they're not yet resentful of the fact that they have to work on their skills. Plus, my tendency to pantomime and use really exaggerated body language to explain vocabulary is actually necessary and even appreciated.

Today the wireless router got all weird. All the security settings that Bill Howe helped me set up and which I actually managed to maintain went away, and the network defaulted back to being called "Linksys" and having no security settings. I can't access the router IP to change the settings. I reset the router and somehow changed the network name and made a WPA Key--but I did that all through the software interface program thing on my computer, not by going in and changing the settings manually. I still can't access the settings manually. In theory, when I reset the router, the password should have defaulted to "admin," but it didn't. And the old password I used doesn't work. And now that the network has a new name, I have no idea how to change things manually. But it is encrypted, and working. I guess that's good, but I am uneasy.

Today I decided that I have to turn down an almost formal (they want to check my references) full-time job offer with a salary that is kind of shocking (in a good way). I felt a little sick about it all riding home, but I just can't do it: I make a living, pay my bills, eliminate debt, save, and travel with my freelance work and teaching. I'm not getting rich, but I don't feel insane about my work, and I have a flexibility that could never be matched with a full-time job. I can go to yoga in the middle of the morning or afternoon. I'd have to use all my vacation time to visit my family or travel for poetry and art things, and I don't really want to have to do that. I don't want to have to explain to my boss why it is essential that I leave work at 3:00 pm so that I can make it to a 4:30 reading. I want to work like crazy, but work the late hours at home, with Mark around and Lester on my lap and jazz music playing. And mostly what I want is to have work interfere as little as possible with writing and art. So, no to the full-time job.

I did have a very nice bike ride cursing down Palomar Airport road and along the 101 though, just before sunset. (And riding down Palomar Airport road after dark would be nearly suicidal, especially where it crosses the 5). It was one of those "oh, it is very beautiful here" moments. It isn't always beautiful here, but it was this afternoon.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

No one drove into the lagoon.

I'm listening to (but not watching) Chris Pusateri read ("If Martians exist, then so do presidents," he just said) over at the Continental Review. I'm learning to enjoy all of this recorded poetry--just please, If you ever have a party, and I ever come, please don't play poetry on your stereo or whatever slick or crappy sound system you have (and also, don't play any avant garde jazz). I love poetry and avant garde jazz, but if you play either at a party, well, it's about the same thing as just telling your partygoers to go away and party somewhere else. Now I know that some of you "partygoers" would rather party alone, and that's ok with me--just stay away from my parties.

Anyway. Thank you Continental Review. I like to listen to poetry. Alone. When I'm not at a party.

The Chargers didn't win. No one drove into the lagoon.

I made pizza for dinner. The last time I made pizza, I forgot that I actually own a rolling pin, so rolling out the crust was difficult--the resulting pizza was tasty, but the crust was uneven and doughy in places. Tonight, I remembered that I own a rolling pin, so I rolled out the dough--the pizza crust was even, slightly crunchy, and uniformly cooked.

I have complicated feelings about most PBS adaptations of Jane Austen novels (and complicated feelings about the novels (marriage, wealthy, wealthy men)), but I am going to watch the PBS adaptation of Northanger Abbey this evening.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I kept thinking (in a smarmy, mean, unyogic way) of Charles Bernstein's poem, "Thank You for Saying Thank You."

I don't enjoy working with partners in a yoga class. I know, I know there are some things you need a partner for, and it's good to learn to trust and support other people. I guess. However, when I am upside down, I'd rather be left to my own devices. If I'm going to fall, I'd rather fall sideways and land on my feet instead of A) falling over backwards into a deranged back bend to avoid kicking my partner or B) just falling on my partner. I rarely feel supported by a yoga partner. Instead, I feel like I have to support them, which is most vexing when one is supposed to be the recipient of support. This is why I'm not a big fan of support.

Or maybe it's just that I'm not good at moving in and out of "teaching" mode quickly. When I'm at yoga, I need to focus very precisely on what I am physically doing. I don't want to help someone else understand that, for example, they should hold my hips or my feet when spotting me in an inversion, not my knees (ouch!). Giving directions while upside down and everyone in the room is also talking is impossible--you have to yell just so that your poor partner can hear what you are saying.

When I'm not in a kind, teacherly mode, I'm not a very good partner because I'm timid. I don't really want to touch someone else, and I don't want to be responsible when they get injured, or when their rotator cuff tears. Many people will simply not tell you if you are doing something that makes them uncomfortable, so I probably sound overly paranoid when I say "how does this feel? Are you feeling any pain in your lower back?" etc every five seconds.

Of course, receiving a really good assist is fabulous. A good assist can help you open up your muscles, or gain a deeper, more embodied sense of alignment. Giving an assist correctly can also do the same thing. But first you have to get through the interpersonal weirdness of assisting someone (or being assisted) in the first place.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I want a writing MFA I don't want one

Having an MFA would do almost nothing for my publication possibilities, but it would help me get adjunct work. Wow, that's motivating!

I'm feeling arrogant and impatient: I'm a really good writer. I'm a really good teacher, I can help you learn grammar and writing and theory, I'm extremely intelligent and totally cute--and my social skills are top notch. Plus, I can do a really solid handstand. I am sure I will have a book out in the next year or so. Most writers I respect, even ones with MFAs, say MFAs aren't necessary (or they say that everyone needs a PhD now). Necessary for what? Apparently, an MFA is necessary for adjunct work. Blech.

I am considering, again, doing an MFA in art. Not writing. I don't want to be anyones academic superstar, I want to be able to make a living and not go crazy. I am feeling impatient about my writing and professional careers because, I suppose, they are actually going quite well. So I want them to be even better. Now.

The new year has begun for real! The holidays are over! All worries that I have not worried for weeks are beginning to return!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Made This

I like the fact that the man thing in it has no head.

Drollery Thing

Monday, January 14, 2008

My neck hurts. Again. Etc.

I was productive today. Yoga. Work. Grading. Walk in the sun. Reading in the sun with Mark.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We went bird watching

And then we took Lester to the park by the lagoon to read. There is a significant echo off a building just west of the little park--Lester was at first frightened and then excited by how the echo made his calls seem twice as loud and twice as long.

Friday, January 11, 2008

My North County

is nice in the winter. I am glad that I do not have to take all the asthma and allergy medication I used to have to take (ooo, a many modaled sentence).

The interview went quite well. It looks like I'll get to work on a small initial project, and then we'll see how it goes. The people at the firm are from New York. In a professional context, I do find it much easier to communicate with people from back east. I appreciate the directness.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cross your fingers for me.

I have a meeting tomorrow for a possible design freelance job.

I am thinking more than usual about what to wear to this meeting.

And, of course, I'm biking to the meeting, so that makes it even more challenging.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Recipe Radar

Some kind of a Spanish-style fish soup with white beans and saffron. I've seen lots of recipes that use clams, but I can't eat shellfish, so maybe I'll make it with halibut or monkfish.

I have two more whole trouts in the freezer courtesy of our neighbor. Anyone have a favorite way to prepare trout? I'm getting bored with my various fish preparations.

A lentil and sausage soup. I make a version of this a few times every winter. I saw one recipe that calls for fennel, which could be interesting.

A very basic but tasty brunch recipe: baked eggs with potatoes and chorizo. Mmm.

Winter greens: I tend to make some version of braised greens (maybe with beans and prosciutto, or a more middle-eastern version with chickpeas, or a spicy version with sausage). Does any one have any favorite winter green dishes/recipes?

Something with eggplants. Eggplants are good in the winter.

I'm a bit sick of winter squash for the moment, so I'm taking a break.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm writing poems, so that must mean I am interested in things.

I'm doing the last edits on my submission to the Press literary conference at Evergreen coming up in May, which promises to be a yee haw time.

I received a tagine in the mail today. Thank you.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It's Raining!

We're all slowly adjusting to being back at home. Lester has a lot of pin feathers, and it's too cold to give him a bath, which means he's been getting extra head scratches and preening--not that he minds.

Beyond cooking, food, and fluffing around, there's not much happening, and that's fine with me. I'm working up to a post on Jennifer Moxley's The Middle Room and perhaps a paragraph on Lester and post-structural Wittgenstein.

And also how many designs from McSweeney's were featured in the recent Print magazine annual.

And also about how Peter Gizzi is the new poetry editor for The Nation, which most of you probably already know.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I'll have to start working again on Monday, but until then I have a few days to mellow out and prepare for, well, Monday.

I'm back in SoCal with Mark and Lester.

We're feeling well enough, but not super well, so I decided to make chicken soup--quite the project as it turns out. I made stock from scratch with sauted onions, leek, and hacked up pieces of chicken--bones and skin, too--braised and then simmered in water with bay leaves and salt. This is the most hands on stock I've ever made, but the cooking time was only 40 minutes (20 braising and 20 simmering). I put the chicken breasts in with the water, and they were perfectly finished at the same time as the stock. This was nice, because I just cooled and shredded them and then added them to the soup at the end. After that, the rest was easy--potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc. I also added some savory, because I have it, and fresh ginger, because ginger is good for every kind of illness. The end result was very good.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The working title for this part is called "The History of Aunt Ug."

Here's a section from the now epic collage/flarf story my sisters and I have been writing.

Ah ha! Nancy returned to her chicken-belly convertible. He felt tired and worn out, small and pathetic. When she was born, my mom couldn't say Margaret, so she called her Ug and the name stuck. We're supposed to turn our money over to the earthly beings who makes spiritual communication over their cellphones at the play station to make the pieces fit right. When Ug buys a bag of cookies, she licks every one so that nobody else will want them. My guess is she's here with Mr. Motto again for some more chicken and turkey dressing--my, he sure likes chicken. The cage was wheeled through one--a wide columned hallway that lead into a small room. Sometimes it gets noisy and Ug starts a quiet contest. Three branch ranch, three branch ranch, with a little bit of chicken dressing on the side, Mr. Johnson said. Do you know your identity is not in them. Be quiet. It's a quiet contest, starting now. Oopsy daisies, the tea is ready. Shh, said Nancy, I think the prowler is outside the window. Only shouting seemed to keep it from overwhelming him.