Thursday, May 31, 2012

How the Partridges Get Out of Their Tight Place

I sat in the playground today and finished I Think I Love You which included, in the appendix, a frank interview the author, Allison Pearson, did with David Cassidy in 2004.  Inthe interview he talks about how soul crushing being a teen idol was and how much the record companies ripped him off, among other things. 

So it should suprise no one that the novel sent me down a YouTube hole tonight.  I've been watching clips from episodes of The Partridge Family mostly and showing them to S.  I watched the show with great intensity when it originally aired on Friday nights in the early '70s, and was a huge fan of David's like Pearson was and like Pearson's characters in her novel were.  I remember writing him a fan letter and sending it to some official fan club in 1972, and how thrilling the whole experience of loving David in a very nascent way was.

Anyway, it's about the only thing I can do with a lowish level migraine.  I have an ace bandage wrapped around my head.  Note that the hippie girl in this episode is Meredith Baxter who became Meredith Baxter Birney.  

left my heart in emerald city

my office when in seattle
cecily at gasworks park with tiny flower
moses at gasworks being a spaz

cecy bought geek girl glasses here & mo a water rocket
i spent most of the '90's in seattle.  it's a place where i experienced a rebirth of sorts--a place where, at the time, all things seemed possible.  the place where i first wrote for stage, first performed (i mean, the first time i performed not in a black orchestra dress.)  where i first sang hildegard, taught writing, & swam in a lake.  (the first lake i swam in seattle was lake union with c., e. and i. , and with writer/painter/ musician brian k., julie's and my common friend from byu, and c's friend from his freshman year in college, who was our guide to all things seattle when we first moved here.)

eva and ingrid were 3 and 1 when we moved to seattle from oakland.

it was a pretty weird and cool time.  above all, i met some people here who changed my life, who i'm still friends with, and who are some of the most true artists in the world, i believe, with some of the  truest hearts.  it's only now that i realize how much more important that is than all the stupid stuff i used to care too much about.

here's a run-down on today:

1)  top pot donuts--chocolate sandcastle, pink feather boa, pink rainbow, bavarian creme, valley girl lemon, & chocolate sprinkle.  ovaltine for the kids.  last summer i graded portfolios for several days in a row at top pot, for a total of about 12 hours.  thanks top pot!

2) archie mcphee--only store of it's kind, you can buy a "girl's skull" (a skull covered in pink flocking), a game called "bacon vs. tofu", a giant inflatable birthday cake, almost anything in the form of a plastic miniature, wigs, mustaches, whoopee cushions, etc.

3) lunch at julia's in wallingford with marni and c.

4) c. took moses and cecily to gasworks and the troll while i napped.

5) grocery shopping.  lula made bruschetta and we ate ben and jerry's greek yogurt ice cream.

6) attended nephew thomas' big band concert at university of washington.  as only a freshman, he's one of their top drummers.  kid's a genius.  i was blown away.  his father is a genius of the drums as well, and his grandfather, but it was really fun to hear him play out.  he never glanced at his music and, in case you don't know, in big band, the drums are the main thing, keeping the whole band together. so, yeah.  we were all ├╝ber proud.

legwear:  thick grey.  it's coooold and rainy here.

inspiration:  julie's list today.  i loved it.

looking forward:  reading another chapter in isabel fonseca's bury me standing: the gypsies and their journey before bed tonight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Out in the World

At McNally Jackson, new mag, new notebook
  1. I have one story out at three different places right now.  Compared to Lara, that's like saying I have no stories in no places, but compared to my year ago today, this is huge.
  2. It's nice to have stories out--to be in the place where you are still waiting to hear.
  3. I applied for a job today.
  4. I now have three cvs out in the world.
  5. I went to the dentist.  
  6. I have laundry in the building laundry room although it's 11:00 pm and there is an after 10:00 pm laundry ban.  
  7. I'm almost done with the 5th-grade yearbook.
Looking forward to:  Lara's posts from Seattle
Legwear:  None, although I went into the store our last guest blogger mentioned last Monday.
Inspiration:  Other people's notebooks

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dreams of Rosemary Ice Cream and Jackie Wilson

On Memorial Day, it was so hot and hazy that I turned around halfway to Tompkins Square Park (my body slung with bags of books and a blanket) and went back to the apartment.  I had actually started to wheeze, the air quality seemed so bad.

Instead I gathered up who ever was home, and headed out to a local dessert joint that had their air conditioning blasting (which I'm usually against for eco reasons) plus an "Otis Redding" Pandora station blasting, which was amazing.  What you see on that their table is the most potent rosemary ice cream paired with a giant chocolate chip cookie.

Sigh.  Still channeling that experience, as I sit in my sweaty apartment, dishes stacked around me, kids with homework to do.

Jackie Wilson was one of the artists that came up on Pandora when we were there:

road trip to the emerald city

lula & cousin mimi at carkeek park, may 2012
we're leaving this morning for seattle, where lula is already having the time of her life with her cousins the campbell's.  i'm posting this poem from my first published poetry collection.  this is the poem my mom always wants me to read if she's in the audience for the reading, and also, here's a link to a reading of it i did on the radio in april.  lula is being kindly cared for by her aunt marni, mentioned in the poem, at this very moment.

Ingrid, over her Tidepool
July 2007, Carkeek Park

The water is near
and it is almost time to leave.

The train from Vancouver
moves along the coastline.

    (moves along between the pines of Takesago
    and the Puget Sound)

Ingrid brushes the smallest anemone
With her first finger and watches it close.

Today is the last day of July--
the first day we remember
summer will leave us.

The summer and the body and the earth
are alike in that way, in the way they change.

    (not even the pines of Takesago
    can be my long-standing companions)

In the kitchen this morning,
the big kids washed dishes
and listened to the Beach Boys,
the same thing I did with my parents’
Beach Boys album when I was 15,
doing my chores, wondering if
other people’s summers
were better than mine.

Lula and Marni
go for a walk,
and leave me with
the bucket, in case
I see more sandcrabs.

“The body is made of mostly water,” Marni tells Lula.

“The earth is made of mostly water,” she says,

“therefore,” she says, “the earth and the body are alike,” she says,

“and they both have little plants and animals living in them,

    (in or on, in or on, in or on)

Like Horton Hears a Who,” she says. 

The aunt
and her niece walk down the beach and leave me
watching the bucket.

    (not even the pines of Takesago
    can be my long-standing companions.
    who, then, will I make my true friend )

Now I know
there is no other,
better summer.

the train passes

the kitchen is clean

summer will end

and I will feed my soul

on daffodils

        a picture

legwear:  grey comfort leggings

inspiration: green, green, green, water, water, water

looking forward: to seeing ingrid again (finally!) tonight

Monday, May 28, 2012

Meet Attorney/Blogger/NYC Restaurant Lover, Carol Dyer!

Carol at the Cathedral of Incarnation in Granada, Spain
Carol Dyer is the person assigned to "check in on me" in my church community and I couldn't be happier.  I'm just getting to know her, but her super radness was/is readily apparent.  Carol is an attorney "who lives between Gramercy Park and the East Village" is on the tail end (SADLY!) of a four-year stint here in the city.  She speaks Thai, has an awesome blog (if you wonder what to do, eat, and see in NYC, you should check it out), and has stellar restaurant recommendations:  Gramercy Tavern, Redfarm, and Momofuku Ssam, among them. She recently took me to lunch at The Green Table and looked on appreciatively as I devoured a rhubarb tart.

Carol answers our four questions as follows:  

1. Are you in a tight place? If so, what are you trying to do about it?

I've recently had a few unpleasant experiences on the subway, the opera and the street where very aggressive New Yorkers let me know how they feel in situations where I don't feel like they were provoked.  I feel like the negative attitudes of people around me are creating a tight and toxic environment that I don't want to be in any longer.  My goal is to not react to their negativity and to do everything I can with kindness.  This is really difficult but I'm tired of feeling bad about an unprovoked confrontation.

2. What do you want to get done this year?

I want to see as much of New York as possible and then move to DC with grace.  In my head and in my heart, I'm kicking and screaming the entire way but I don't want the negative attitude to weigh me down.

3. What inspires you?

People who love what they do which is often obvious through their product whether it be a piece of art, a baked good, a well written article, or a wise remark.

4. What's your favorite legwear?

I love any and all tights from Wolford.  I can wear a pair for years and they bring so much style to a pencil skirt.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorializing on Memorial Day

My dad is buried here in the National Memorial Cemetary in Arizona.  I left Arizona before the headstone arrived.  

Dad got to be buried here because he was in the Air Force for two years of the Korean War.  He saw no action and was mostly bored in the military, as I said in my post right after he died.

This is an auspicious weekend, as it was during Memorial Day weekend 2011 that my dad suffered his stroked which was the beginning of the end for him. 

Back from Rhode Island.  I'm going to take a walk.  

weird a.d.h.d. reading list

my hand and eva's hand after mother's day manicures in nyc.  today we'll be cooking sunday dinner together.
i don't know if i can be officially diagnosed based on this list, but here's a (partial, mind you) list of what i read this morning:

1)   about the recent massacre in syria, front page on the nyt.
2)   the script for episode 4 of the pilot season of house.
3)   the last three poems in the kabir book that eva gave me, plus the end notes.
4)   front page article about afghan opium trade in sunday nyt.
5)   this article on passing by rilla askew from world literature today.
6)   my own two poems, written last week.  made a few revisions, too.
7)   checked in with dooce blog to see if i still hate it.  it's still pretty good and i still kind of hate it.
8)   wikipedia entry on area 51. turns out i'd already read it. . . .
9)   the salt river-maricopa pima website.
10)  get off my internets blog.
11)  regan's blob (nothing new up today :().
12)  excerpts from susan howe's the midnight.
13)  several recipes for tres leches cake.
14)  the article about ann romney's relationship with her dressage coach (wtf, nyt, is up with your continuing unexamined relationship with race, class, and gender--why this article is on the front page eludes me.  next to the one about the murders of 32 syrian children.)
15) article by jennifer nix on poetry and illness from poetry foundation.

legwear:  black tights.  it's freezing outside.

inspiration: so many words, and journalists who risk their lives, poets who lay them bare.

looking forward to: sunday dinner with friends and family.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Reading

Right now I am in a small, but notable New England city (the setting for much of Jeffrey Eugenides novel, The Marriage Plot) on a family visit, which sounds like fun . . .

. . . yet, I've spent almost the entire day sitting in front of my relative's glorious desktop putting together the 5th-grade yearbook on, a service I've never used, and have now discovered that the book is not web-based--I must transfer it over to my unglorious computer in New York in order to keep working on it.

Computer issues can be so anxiety inducing.

But does all of this really matter?

I wish they didn't.

My new online class starts on Tuesday.

I feel like there are a lot of unknowns this summer, and I'm trying to figure out a way to live in the unknown and be fine with it.

Reading:  a quintessential summer read, Allison Pearson's novel, set in 1974, about a 13-year-old Welsh who has a David Cassidy obsession and the disgruntled ersatz journalist who pens the David Cassidy notes for a London-based fanzine.  I actually ordered this for one of my library's (the one that collects leisure reading) and I hope I won't be the only user to check it out!

Legwear:  Humidity wear, bare

Looking forward to:  Publishing the 5th-grade yearbook and handing it out at graduation.

Looking forward to:  More summer reading

mothering in a tight place, t.v. writing, & vintage brunch time

1965 vintage barbie brunch time outfit= so many wonderful things:  barbies, vintage dresses, cooking & brunch.  and orange heels.
today i had brunch with some fabulous ladies (and one rad dude), cousins of my mother, my aunt bonnie, and my grandma beth.

my mom's cousin c. is legendary in my family, though i didn't meet her until my wedding day (almost 23 years ago).  my mother talked about how glamorous she always was,  how smart.  aunt bonnie told about the breathtaking figure she cut whilst lounging in a 50's rosemary reed black bathing suit by the family-run homestead resort pool.  she was a pioneer in television writing, around the time when television was just beginning, and she was one of the first female television writers.  she wrote for the walton's and falcon crest, most notably.  she also (simultaneously)  spawned and raised up five insanely successful children, including computer programmers, musicians, a deejay with a star on the hollywood walk of fame (and the longest running morning talk show in radio history), and a show runner.  i'm sure they also do other things that i don't even know about.  one of the characteristics of that family is that each of them can do more than one thing at a professional level.

so c. and i had a chance to talk (i fear i hogged her attention) at a brunch for her ??th birthday at the homestead in midway today.  (she lives in santa fe, but was in town for the holiday weekend).  so how do you do it all, she asked me.  i almost choked.  it was the secret i had hoped to pry from her today.  i guess i do a lot of things rather poorly, i said. i suppose i try to be consistent on a few things and let everything else go.  just be barely good enough.  she came back with, well, i suppose i was a bad mother because i was very ambitious.

i love to hear a woman unashamedly and unabashadly admit her ambition.  when she said that, i realized i've almost never heard a woman utter those words.

we talked about whether or not a happy, self-actualized, ambitious mother could be equal to the more attentive, devoted types of mothers.

well, my kids saw me writing on the dining room table, she said, so i think that was good.

sadly falcon crest was thought to be too sexy for teen viewing in my home growing up.  but now i can & will watch as many episodes as i want!!!!!!!
this is one of those questions with no single answer.  what makes a good mother?  i suppose, whatever kind of mother you are, you sure as hell shouldn't feel guilty about it.

i mean, it's a complicated endeavor and it has to take so many forms given the variety of mothers and children, the variety of abodes, cooking methods, birthing methods, safety, and medical care, levels of education and opportunity and freedom available to mothers and children around the world and throughout history. i tend to bristle at any pronouncement on best practices for motherhood, though i do feel as if i've arrived at a decent, certainly not perfect, mothering practice for myself and my children.

(they can tell you their side of the story.)

that's mine.  and i hope to get a lot more out of cousin c. some day.

(in fact, i plan to beg her for a GITP interview some day soon.)

i'm grateful for a chance to know these people, and for the kind attention they've paid me and my family.  

a barbie installation in anselm spring's boulder, ut. garden.  i heart barbie in all her incarnations.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hello, Sailor!

Well, I'm sitting here, Lara, trying to find a Fleet Week video on YouTube to entertain you with as you make your way down your weekend list.

I saw the first Fleet Week ships coming up the Hudson on Wednesday morning from my workplace perch, and I started to see sailors cavorting around town in their old school uniforms--blinding white and startling against the city's grit--as early as Friday.

I even tried to find a clip from the Fleet Week Sex and the City episode.  So far, everything's been removed by YouTube.

I'm so meh about the military, that I can't believe I get this into it.

Look, at this clip from On the Town where "embedding" has been disabled.  Wha?

But Fleet Week is the only thing I want to post about!  I hope you don't mind.

as threatened

me at 7--same age as moses, who graduated from 1st grade today.  nestled amongst splendiferous 70's shag carpet.
in my facebook chat with julie today (after the kids' last day of school dance festival that i've been attending for 10 years--only 5 years left to go), i told her i was just gonna post my overly-long to-do list stuff, stuff that needs to get done by monday evening.

why do i persist in unrealistic expectations?  in constant set-ups for failure and disappointment?

(one possible answer:  i'm an adrenaline junkie and this helps increase the flow. . . .)

1) get cecily's ballet stuff purchased and tuition paid
2) laundry (tonz of it--which means about 8 loads)
3) yoga, even with frustratingly bum shoulder
4) pack lula for girlz camp and drop her stuff off at leader's house (she's in seattle and we won't return until late the night before)
5) write poem
6) pack for seattle
7) online class stuff
8) finish boulder book for walden
9) applications for pataphysics workshops (this means writing 10 pp. of a new play, that's currently sloshing around in brain, revising my c.v., and writing cover letters for each workshop. one is for playwriting and one for t.v. writing.)
10) figure out how to do spanish language requirement for ph.d requirement this summer
11)  date night
12)  lunch at homestead tomorrow for claire's 80-something?  (could that be?) birthday
13) today's blog post
14) make sure lula got her flight credit from southwest
15) i know there's more!

sorry to bore with the minutiae, but sometimes thats all there is.  what minutiae consumed you today?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

seven hungers

eva tired from finals, lara tired from red-eye:
the colors of the ethiopian platter perked us up, though

more graduation pics:  dinner at awash on 107th and amsterdam--one of eva's now former haunts.

when i'm having a hard time organizing my unstructured work time it's usually because my poetic practice is not in play.  after a couple of months of letting the practice lapse, i realized today that it was making the rest of my life not--


isn't it scary to come back after a period of absence? i always think this time i won't be able to.

this morning,

just as i was thinking

this time i won't be able to,

i came across this compelling prompt from brenda miller.

i thought: yeah,

but this time

is different--this time

i won't be able to. 

then poetry blessed me.

& i felt whole and good again,

and was even happy with what came from my hand today.

ususally i don't put my poems on the blog in case someone wants to publish it down the road.

today i feel like:

eff down the road.

right now is more important.

so:  here it is:

taken down for now whilst under consideration for publication. . . .

legwear: bare

inspiration: getting my practice back on

looking forward:  to watchng t.v. tonight

Rhubarb Tart for Posterity

Lunch at the Green Table in Chelsea
Ugh.  My camera phone takes awful photos sometimes.

This photo is of a (in season now!) rhubarb tart with rosemary ice cream and pistachios that I was blown away by when it was set in front of me today at lunch.  (I was treated to this by this Monday's guest blogger--stay tuned for her!)

Here's a better photo of same tart, although you see mine did not come with a flower, but you can see the variegated colors of the rhubarb:  this is what what was so stunning to me!  I gasped audibly when I saw it.

I never photograph food in public.  Some restaurants here are banning people from doing so, asserting it ruins the ambiance of their small places, but I did not want to forget this tart.  When the server appeared to take my plate away, noticing how clean it was--because I'd practically picked up my plate and licked it--I blurted, "How can I have this experience again?"  The tart had flummoxed me, loosened my inhibitions, made me emotional and joyful.

I hadn't been so overcome by the taste of food in a long while.  (And on my way home, Lara sent me a new poem she wrote related to this very thing.)

This lunch was the highlight of an anxious rainy day I was a little underdressed for.  The tart made me feel like everything had been perfect after all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

detritus, hand-sewn, interference, & the lyric

celebrating for a brief moment a brief accomplishment

today i completed the final draft of my exam lists.  see that smile above?  yeah.  that's how happy i am about it.

tomorrow, as i begin to read bataille, re-read foucault for the hundreth time, i may be weeping* .  but for today, a hurdle was crossed.  

i have a few months to go before i start serious study, but couldn't help but read one text today i was really curious about, from dickinson's misery by virgina jackson:

Suppose you are sorting through the effects of a woman who has just died and you find in her bedroom a locked wooden box. You open the box and discover hundreds of folded sheets of stationery stitched together with string. Other papers in the bureau drawer are loose, or torn into small pieces, occasionally pinned together; there is writing on a guarantee issued by the German Student Lamp Co., on memo paper advertising THE HOME INSURANCE CO. NEW YORK (“Cash Assets, over SIX MILLION DOLLARS”), on many split-open envelopes, on a single strip three-quarters of an inch wide by twenty-one inches long, on thin bits of butcher paper, on a page inscribed “Specimen of Penmanship” (which is then crossed out) (fig. 1). There is writing clustered around a three-cent postage stamp of a steam engine turned on its side, which secures two magazine clippings bearing the names “GEORGE SAND” and “Mauprat.” Suppose that you recognize the twined pages as sets of poems; you decide that the other pages may contain poems as well. Now you wish you had kept the bundles of letters you burned upon the poet’s (for it was a poet’s) death. What remains, you decide, must be published.

Let this exercise in supposing stand as some indication of what now, more than a century after the scene in which you have just been asked to place yourself, can and cannot be imagined about reading Emily Dickinson. What we cannot do is to return to a moment before Dickinson’s work became literature, to discover within the everyday remnants of a literate life the destiny of print. Yet we are still faced with discerning, within the mass of print that has issued from that moment, what it was that Dickinson wrote.

i love the idea of dickinson being, not a writer of books, but a creator of zines, or of the art of the trunk, collecting images and words and detritus and saving it in something bigger than a book, because a book is too tame, too trim, too regular, too hermetic,  to contain her.  so what was it she was writing, and how did the world, that never wrote back to her, come to constrain her corpus of words into the thing we call literature?

this trunk of hers,  flotsam & jetsam, scraps and threads and dried petals, begins to touch the reason i'm obsessed with dickinson ( i and a bunch of other nerdy fuddy-duddies.)

legwear:  black lace leggings

inspiration:  a trunk full of hand-sewn, hand-written chapbooks

looking forward:  seeing a lot of water next week in seattle

*here's what natanya ann pulley, one of our fabulous guest bloggers, wrote on facebook today about studying for her exams:

My method is to just try everything. It's chaotic (I want to say disaster but will try not to judge). I have notes in six different programs. My books go from extreme post-it noting to color coded tabs to highlighted and underlined sections.... I read in the morning, afternoon, evening, night, really really late night. I've scheduled by theme, by taste, by chronology, by whim, by goal. It's messy. I suppose that is my way, but it's going on for over a year now. Usually I try different methods, but the deadline on a project is sooner and so I don't see so much switching, swapping and lolly-gagging. You know, my therapist told me that part of the process is the emotional process. Like it's built in the marathon of it all. And to appreciate that side of it. I told her no. (I'm a fabulous patient). I said I wanted it task-oriented and rather robotic. Bah ha ha. Anyway, she's right. It's about pacing emotionally as well as mentally and physically (at least for me). And spiritually (I would argue). But anyway. Right now, it's like book/note-taking/study session bombs have dropped in every room in our house (well, our bedroom, my den, the kitchen table and the front reading room and throughout my brain). Four months to go ...

A Life Wasted in Cafes: My Rapid Review of Ostcafe in the East Village

I spend most of my time away from work and home in cafes, since I discovered them in the mid-'80s.  I get the most work done in them.  They are my second living rooms (since I've never in my life lived in a space with a big living room).  They are the sites of my highest levels of productivity.  I know that's the worst sentence ever, but it's true!   I've always chosen places to live for their proximity to cafes.  In other words, I have to be able to walk to one.  Even when I lived in Utah, this was a central criterion for signing a lease.  Just sayin', it is one of the weird and potentially difficult things about me, but also one of the potentially fun things, too!

This photo was taken at Ostcafe on Monday:

Ost Pros:

Coffee:  Black Cat. I always order the green tea, which comes in a generous cup with saucer.
Look and feel:  Great ambience, a wall of windows and super high ceilings.
Outlets:  Plenty
Internet:  One hour log-in with purchase.  Good for getting non-internet work done.
Seating:  Ample and cute!
Friends:  Always saying hello to someone.  Has a real neighborhood feel.
Bathroom:  Good!
Fashion and legwear:  Often fun!

Ost Cons:

Internet:  The one-hour log-in can feel quite prohibitive for getting internet-based work done.
Eats:  Nothing baked on the premise and nothing to eat during the day but croissants and pastries, although everything's imported from Balthazar Bakery.
Friends:   Sometimes too many and that's distracting!

On an non-Ost note, this is the second day of my youngest kid's big field trip to Washington DC.  It supplements their yearlong study of American government and manifest destiny.  I'm so excited for my kid, I can hardly stand it, living vicariously through her.  Tonight, she and her classmates take a cruise on the Potomac River!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Looking Forward To: BookExpo America

One of my favorite things about Lara's posts is the "Looking forward to" section at the bottom.  It's not always there, but it's there enough to make me wonder why I don't put more things to look forward to on this blog.  Because you can't take those "looking forward to" things for granted.

All night I can't stop thinking about the annual BookExpo which I will be attending here for three days in two weeks.  I've started to look up who's going to be there, advanced readers' copies in tow.  This is what I know so far:

  • (One of my fave fiction wrters) Sherman Alexie's showing up with a collection of new and old stories (even though I kind of hate when writers and recording artists do this)
  • Neil Young (yes, THAT Neil) will be there with a book (is this weird or not?  I can't decide),
  • David Bowie's ex Angie's going to be there with a tell-all.  
  • Also, children's/YA lit super celeb Lois Lowry.  
  • But I'm most looking forward to the appearance of a local classic rock dj Carol Miller. 
She is married to the brother of A's old drummer and she was at our wedding.  More important than that, however, is that she has one of my dream jobs, and she had it during FM radio's heyday.  You can read it about her book at the bottom.

Looking forward to:  the eclectic nature of the BookExpo.  It's this wonderfully monstrous catch-all for the high brow and low brow--from lit fiction to self-published crime fiction, from poetry (I met Kay Ryan there last year) to rock memoir (I shamelessly had my photo taken with the author of this book last year), I find the whole thing kind of thrilling.

On that note, I love that Lara and E went to the movie they went to tonight.

Carol Miller's Up All Night:

Growing up in a traditional, intellectual ethnic Jewish household in Queens, New York, Carol Miller was supposed to be a doctor or, at the very least, a lawyer. But hearing a doo-wop trio in the alley under her window changed the direction of her life: she fell in love with popular music. During the late 60s, as the rock explosion and rebellion hit American colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania where she was a biology student, Carol joined the underground airwaves of progressive rock radio. Carol pursued radio with the dogged intensity and ambition that made her an exceptional student. But mysterious symptoms that she developed as a young woman seemed to grow more intense and painful by the year. She and her family were haunted by an unnamed and never discussed illness that claimed most of her relatives long before old age. Carol knew that she might be as cursed as her elders and it drove her to make the most of what she always feared might be a short life. She landed increasingly high profile jobs in Philadelphia and New York, eventually rising to the top to work alongside Scott Muni, Cousin Brucie, and other legendary personalities she admired growing up. As one of the nation's top DJs, Carol introduced the music of Bruce Springsteen to New York radio, was on a first name basis with Sir Paul McCartney, shared vitamins with Lily Tomlin, and dated Steven Tyler. She changed the business itself, creating an on-air approach that has been imitated and adapted by stations nationwide.

give her some

worked on revising my exam lists today (item number one on my utterly ridiculous list).  it took three hours, rather than the projected one hour.  but i ran into this poet, who i don't know well but who's on my list.

my lists are organized around gender, performativity, and experimentation.  every text on the list has to be relevant to at least two of the three themes or it gets cut. 

i'm particularly interested in performance and poetry, one of the reasons eva gave me the poems of kabir sung. 

what happens when the importance of sound in poetry recedes, gives ground to the written word?

what's the relationship between the way the poem looks and the way the poem sounds?

what are the advantages of an orally conveyed poem over a poem conveyed on the page?

since some of my work resides in the sound category, particularly with lalage*, this area of the exams is personal and important.  also something that comes more and more to the foreground in the work i want to do in the future.

(i forgot to put on my summer to-do list:  get you tube channel)

i look forward to learning more about morris, and to this aspect of my exam lists in general.  here's the text of tracie morris' piece:

She's the one. Give her some. Under fire. Smoking
gun. Of which songs
are sung, raps are spun, bells are rung, rocked, pistols
cocked, unwanted
advances blocked, well stacked she's jock. It's all about
you girl. You go
on. Don't you dare stop.

*lalage performs next week in seattle on the wayward music series: 

Thursday 31 May 2012
8 pm
Chapel Performance Space
4th Floor of the Good Shepherd Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle (at 50th, Wallingford)
$5 - $15 suggested donation

legwear:  none

inspiration:  poetry in the air rather than on the page

looking forward:  what to expect when you're expecting with eva tonight/ingrid's return

Monday, May 21, 2012

newly minted: guest bloggers eva & anna

introducing newly minted graduates eva snow asplund and anna kate gedal, barnard college, columbia, class of 2012.

did i mention i was at their graduation last week?  i may have forgotten to mention that.

both looking for jobs/internships:  anna in museum education or historical archives (she did an internship designing historical tours in boston last summer) and eva in computer science/non-governmental organization in india (speaks hindustani).

you know, just in case you know of someone looking for a super smart super rad recent grad.

sophomore year

Are you in a tight place? If so, what are you trying to do about it?

A:  As a recent grad, I can say with certainty that I’m in a really tight place.  The job market is tough, especially for a lady trying to break into the museum world.  I am cursed with a passion for early American history!  I also can’t decide whether to live Utah or DC, West Coast or East Coast.  But don’t worry about me too much, I’m doing a lot about it these big decisions.  I’ve been compulsively applying to jobs and getting in touch with all sorts of people.  Sometimes the hunt is exhilarating, but at other times devastating.  This summer, I’ve also promised myself to re-learn the art of relaxing.  I plan on attempting to restore my soul through gardening, positive affirmations, and lots of napping in the sun.  

E:  Every congratulations, and every bit of advice I’ve received on graduating has been prefaced explicitly, or uttered with the subtext of, “In this economy…”  A week before classes ended, myself and all of my classmates who were unlucky enough to have to take out loans for our college education filed down to the basement of the student center to sign the papers assuring our lenders that we would not change our names or identities, or flee the country, without first notifying them in writing.  Where once there were the kindly advisers and administration sitting in the offices of ivy-covered Milbank Hall, now there is a faceless corporate body and things called “credit score” and “capitalized interest” directing my life.  It’s difficult not to feel resentful.  I’ve considered faking my own death and fleeing the country, but I think in the end what I’ll end up doing about it is approximately what I did to get here in the first place—complaining a lot, failing to process the meaning of numbers above 3 digits, and remembering occasionally to be grateful for the opportunities I continue to have, stress-inducing though they may be.


What do you want to get done this year?

A:  This year I want to be first and foremost happy with my myself and my life.  I have spent the past twenty-two years being overly self-critical.  I think it’s time for me to be more zen about everything and more devoted to spontaneous fun in the form of road trips and horchatas. This year, I want to land a job (that doesn’t actively destroy the world and one that I could actually be content doing), practice my beautiful saxophone again, smile more often, restart shooting with my manual camera, as well as work on some mixed media projects.   

E:  At the beginning of last week I attended my own graduation—jam packed on the lawn of Columbia University campus—and at the end I attended the graduation of the kids who started at my high school the year I left—a tiny ceremony in a reception hall in the mountains.  At my graduation I said goodbye to a lot of dear friends, and at Walden’s I said hello again.  It was a jolting and inspiring reminder, settling into the back row with two people who were among my closest friends 4 years ago, that we had each managed to create full and independent lives apart without losing the ability to launch headlong into the heartfelt gossip and teasing that filled up our lunch and after school hours in high school.  In the next year I want to complete the transformation from college me to whatever’s next without forgetting the best 90s and early 2000s music videos, outrageous stories and obnoxious inside jokes that kept us together on weekend nights for the last 4 years.

senior year--spring break in utah
What inspires you?

A:  Right now, I feel inspired by the beautiful weather outside my brother’s window in Brooklyn.  I’m living amongst the trees.  I also feel inspired by the love I felt from my friends and family over this past week.  Personally, I struggle with times of immense change and find that the only redeeming quality of these overwhelming moments is hearing that other people have faith in me and my abilities.  I am also inspired by less profound things including my fav wedges from Provo’s Target (I think I’ve finally mastered the art of walking gracefully in wedges), by knowing that everyone I love is just a phone call away, and by the new red lipstick I bought yesterday as a treat for completing my first official job interview (pray for me!).  Above all, I’m inspired by the fact that I can move anywhere and do just about anything with my life this year.

E:  Britney Spears, and her music.  I’ve been a fan since I was seven and memorized every word to Dear Diary.  That’s almost 15 years that I’ve been making my way through life inspired by her wisdom and shamelessness.  I’ve always identified with her unabashed trashiness, the hint of narcissism in her lyrics, her weight fluctuations, and public meltdowns.  Unlike her beautiful blond colleagues, Britney never seems to get noticed in gossip magazines for the elegant way in which she is sporting her “baby bump,” or up-do, or semi-famous boy toy.  And yet, post-meltdown, her songs have progressed from regretful of her privileged but lonely place in the world (Lucky, Oops I Did It Again) to actively inviting and enjoying the voyeuristic gaze of the paparazzi, and of America.

junior year--halloween--dressed as salt n' pepa

What is your favorite leg wear?

A: I am pointedly anti-pants.  I don’t like the way they look or feel, so I find myself wearing lots of tights.  In these past few years, I believe I’ve become quite the connoisseur of this alt form of leg wear.  I’m fearful of colorful tights or ones with wild prints, although I admire all who bravely sport them.  Personally, I’m all about the black, lacey, flowery tight.  It works for all occasions and just about all outfits.  I will continue to wear them or long skirts until my legs get a solid base coat of bronze.

E:  I like a good pair of tights as much as the next girl, and I’m definitely enjoying the fur coat I’ve been sporting since the inauguration of finals season, but my very favorite leg wear would have to be either my house pants--over-sized mom jeans with paint splattered all over the thighs--which, truth be told, I sometimes also wear out of the house, or borrowed sweat pants.  Somehow the ones I buy never fit quite right, but my friends seem to have a knack for picking them out, and I have a knack for innocently borrowing them and forgetting to return them for a couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looking Backward

This photo was taken last week.  I did not have my computer, but I so badly wanted to write that I was relieved I had packed a little notebook and pen in my massive bag that my phone and wallet hide in.

I snapped this photo while writing because the woman with her back to me so reminded me of a Gerhard Richter, although it probably doesn't remind you of a Gerhard Richter.  This is the painting I was thinking of:
I've been spending the evening looking backward.  I randomly pulled a fat folder out of a drawer.  The drawer is a mess and the folder was bursting at the seams with fliers for punk rock shows and BYU parties, stories I wrote while sitting on the floor of my studio apartment in San Francisco just after graduating from BYU, papers I wrote during my MFA program at the U of U,  and syllabi for classes I taught while a graduate student there.  Can I just say this?  I was a great teacher, maybe not the smartest of my colleagues, but I put together really interesting classes that were hard but fun and--I'd like to think--transformative.  I hate when people brag and self-aggrandize; humility and modesty fits me a lot better, but I looked over these papers and felt so sad that I got out of this "lane," that I spent huge chunks of my life forgetting who I was supposed to be.

I don't know what I should do with this now--put the folder back in the drawer, I guess, but never forget that it's there.

an utterly ridiculous list

the prada heels julie picked up at her kids' school's rummage sale.  all the women at my house have tried to wear them.  
here's what i intend to do this summer, even though i realize it's probably not  possible at all:

1.  send final draft of ph.d exam lists to committee chair. ( 1 hour)

2.  finish stage play. (40 hours)

3.  revise & submit second collection of poems, the gentian weaves her fringes. (8 hours)

4.  finish spanish language requirement for ph.d. (40 hours)

5.  finish new screen play. (40 hours)

6.  revise & submit paper on gertrude stein's miss furr and miss skeene. (20 hours)

7.  finish chaucer paper. (20 hours)

8.  finish poetics paper & allan grossman paper.(20 hours)

9.  go swimming. (2 hours)

10.  write episodes for new t.v. series,  l. m. l. (40 hours)

all i need to do is find 231 hours this summer to work on these projects. . . . i get more carried away with resolutions at the beginning of summer than at any other time of the year. 

somebody stop me.

to balance out frenetic mental activity, i'm reading and LOVING the book of meditative kabir poems eva gave me with a cd of kumar gandharva's singing of the poems. 

here's a fragment from a poem that really struck me today:

Like the musk deer*
who holds in his centre
enchanting aroma
but wanders all over
searching like a fool,
he sees his own mind
and comes to rest.
Where does the beautiful fragrance reside?
Between upbreath and downbreath,
concentration, rapturous form,
no description.
Kabir says, listen, seeker, friend,
self turns, merges 
with self. 

*translator linda hess' note:  "The musk deer is a common metaphor for the seeker who chases madly in search of a beautiful fragrance, not realizing it is located within herself."

legwear:  post church yoga napping pants

inspiration:  the beautiful fragrance within

looking forward to:  sunday dinner on the patio with the family

date night, shokunin, practicing

highline breakfast date in nyc
never complain about your work, jiro, the greatest shokunin in the world, says at the beginning of jiro dreams of sushi, the film i've been dying to see, that we finally caught tonight at the broadway for date night.

it was a great film, and like all good documentaries, had a sub-text that transcended the subject of the film.  it was not really about sushi, but rather about devotion and fatherhood.

i wish i'd understood so long ago what joy devotion to work, whatever it is, can bring.  of course, i've never had to do the horrid work, or forced work, that many oppressed in the world have done/are doing, so i can't speak to that, but even in the days of low-level restaurant work, working as a housekeeper, nanny, temp worker, receptionist, etc., there were moments of joy in doing something well.

i could have had more of them if i'd been present with the work.  it took me a long time to learn how to be present with all of my work, and i'm still practicing it. 

how liberating it is! 

to take the focus off of outcomes and external rewards and learn to be so happy with simply doing the task at hand.

in the season of advice to new graduates, tonight i realized that would be mine, echoing jiro:  never complain about your work.

i include a picture of lula below with the breakfast she made and set for us on the patio:  blue corn pancakes with homemade buttermilk syrup, yogurt/berry parfaits, hazelnut milk, and a little dish of jacques torres chocolates we brought back from nyc.

i've bragged about her cooking before, but it really is true. she has a palate and the obsessive attention to detail of a great chef.

saturday brunch on beautiful late spring morning, prepared by my own little budding shokunin

also, these issa haiku, translated by robert haas, little perfect gems, reminded me of jiro's beautiful sushi gems:  discrete, perfect, simple, and pure.

Selected Haiku by Issa

translated by Robert Haas

    Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house

    New Year’s Day—
everything is in blossom!
    I feel about average.

    The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
    with children.

    Goes out,   
comes back—
    the love life of a cat.

    Mosquito at my ear—
does he think   
    I’m deaf?   

    Under the evening moon
the snail
    is stripped to the waist.

    Even with insects—
some can sing,
   some can’t.   

    All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
   killing mosquitoes.

    Napped half the day;
no one   
    punished me!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Isadora Duncan: Patron Saint of GITP

After work, I rushed like the wind back down to my neighborhood to catch the tail end of the annual Dance Parade--a real parade of a slew of local dance groups, which culminated in Tompkins Square Park.  I pulled up on my bike as a company of young woman performed something by Isadora Duncan on the central stage.  They pranced barefoot in filmy costumes, smiling with glee.  I remembered, while watching, that Isadora was the first choreographer/dancer to make a sharp break from the angular restrictions of ballet, and that for Isadora, the torso--rigid in ballet--comes to the fore.  (Interesting, right?--please correct me if I'm off.)

So, since the governing metaphor of this blog is coming out of tight places, it follows that Isadora Duncan would be another patron saint of this blog.  Too pat?  I don't care.  It's fun to collect patron saints.

It made me wonder what I could get from Isadora, how she could inspire my own movements and the directions I take my life this year.  Still thinking.

Anyway, I wandered around the park, trying to catch the last shreds of the Dance Parade.  You can see some of it here.

Seeing today's event also reminded me how important it is to move, not just for practical purposes, but for sheer celebration of having a body that works.

walden 2012

just returned from the walden 2012 graduation & it was lovely.

congratulations to nate and his family
here's a pic of me with nate, a student i've worked closely with over the years who i'm especially proud of because he'll be attending my alma mater, sarah lawrence college.  he's lucky to get to go there, and they're lucky to get him.  he's very talented.

nate wore his classic india sandals, eli his classic bare feet
another student, sofia, who has studied with me for four years, skyped in from china.  she was the class valedictorian, and her mom read her speech for her.  she's been gone all semester, and we've missed her so much.

this class contained a lot of muscians.  guitars lined the stage as quite a few students performed singer/songwriter material, a couple of original numbers and a couple of covers.

the graduation was held in the sundance redford conference center, and we ate baked goods from their restaurant.

i'm so proud of these students.  this was a group of programmers, woodworkers, photographers, bakers, writers, musicians, glass blowers, dancers, visual artists, chefs, engineers & scholars.  also, like all walden students, they are world citizens who have a global understanding that will influence everyone around them for years to come.  i'm super impressed with how they turned out, and can't wait to see what the next four years holds for them.

now i'm all ceremony'd out.  so good night all.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Optimism and Bravado

It makes no sense that I've uploaded this photo, because you can't tell what it is at all.  What it is is a middle-aged man in a '70s shirt belting '70s tunes to recorded instrumentals on the corner of Driggs and North 7th St in Brooklyn.  He had a microphone and a Tom Jones' voice with Tom Jones' bravado.  He was amplified and loud.  His voice carried deep into the subway.  I emerged into it.

He performed right in front of the Brooklyn location of Crif Dogs where I had a vegetarian hot dog sold to me by a Betty Page-inspired cashier.

Other than that, my day consisted of working and fretting about the fact that my current work is semester-based and the semester is coming to a close.

I now have to brainstorm for summer work, or just find a full-time job.  I am looking!  Trying to gather optimism and bravado, just like the busking vocalist in the polyester shirt.

As for summer work, I'm looking for something not too ego battering.  Is that too much to ask?

Where are you working this summer?

i heart my bed

i've always been pretty wimpy, but it's getting worse.  so tied to my little routines and my bed.  don't know how people who travel frequently keep it together.

tonight at the airport, we had the first full meal sitting at a table in four days.  c. really wanted sushi, and i just wanted something warm and comforting, so i ordered a burger (who orders a burger at a sushi place?)  but it was kind of special--topped with shisitso pepper aioli AND get this:

a tempura battered slice of bacon.


yes, tempura bacon is a thing.

so we moved eva out of her dorm today, mailed off her books, vinyl l.p.'s (we're vinyl snobs around here)  and her record player that c. got her for a high school graduation present.  (it was a good one.  c. is the best present giver.)

it was quite grueling.  then to jfk with 9 bags between us (c.'s gigging equipment and eva's stuff from the last four years.)

ingrid left for port authority to visit a school chum in new jersey, and eva and her best friend said a tearful good-bye on amsterdam and 120th.  they became best buddies freshman year and have remained so.

maybe they'll still be tight, like me and julie, in 20 plus years.  i hope so.  those kinds of friends are the best.

cab ride was eventful.  an accident on the tri-borough expressway put us in a cab ride that lasted at least 90 minutes.  and we were jammed in with all the luggage.

interestingly, though, our pakistani driver and eva conversed in urdu and he gave her a cd of his favorite poet.  we had a long discussion about poetry and biryani, politics in pakistan, and how hard things are in pakistan.

new resolves forthcoming based on this discussion.

home in wonderful, wonderful bed.

practically sleep-bloggin' right now.


Thursday, May 17, 2012


This is the first time I'd seen Lara and Christian's duo, Lalage

Lara, where are you?

Come back!

Lara's in the air and I miss her already.  Lara's trip was packed tight but I managed to show up and tag along here and there, which was such a treat for me.  (The highlight for me?  Walking the High Line with Lara on Friday night, the rising up city luminous.)

I rarely get to Utah; she rarely gets to New York.

We will once again meet only on the blog.  

Lalage fans
Lalage played with veteran experimental musicians, Andrew Drury and Dafna Naphtali (who happens to be a parent at my kid's school!).