Monday, February 24, 2014

Practice: Habit Forming

I know my posts have become super boring when the only thing I can think to write about is that our one toilet was clogged last night and into this morning and last night, my family used the bathroom at the synagogue on the block before turning in, and this morning, I took a kid to a corner diner and bought way too many bad pastries so she could use their bathroom.

I don't want to tell you how I got through it. I don't know how squatter loving my readers are. Throughout my life I've done things that people around me find gross.

Sometimes I think I should have been some kind of performance artist, if I'd had any ideas for that.

Meditation: 7 minutes
Ukelele: Didn't even touch it.

Listened to: Beethoven's 8th. It's the 200th anniversary of its debut. A symphony only 28 minutes long is my kind of symphony.

It's also the 35th anniversary of Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.

where to eat & drink: awp seattle 2014

cheers!  don't forget to nourish yourself at awp!

seattle is one of the great food cities in america.  i'm very partial to the northwest palate--the fish, the berries, the mushrooms.  

so if you're into food, awp this year is gonna rock you.

i've included some things for those on the vending machine budget (adjuncts, grad students, folks with poetry degrees and 200 k in student loan debt) and some things for those of you with a fancy schmancy per diem from your department or maybe a little trust fund.  

or maybe you're like me and you'll eat a great meal instead of paying your light bill.


shannon borg doing her homework so you don't have to.

since i no longer live in seattle (TRAGICALLY!), i only get to eat there a couple of times a year.  i enlisted two fabulous foodie friends to add to my list of favorites: food writer and poet shannon borg, and cook, foodie, artist, & nerd john seuferling.  

shannon is poet, wine critic, and food writer. she has a ph.d from houston in poetry, and a new book on bio-dynamic wines: green vine:  a guide to west coast sustainable, orgainic, bio-dynamic wines.  i'd start with shannon's website to get a jump on seattle souvenirs.  she's published some fantanstic seattle-centric books--i'd recommend every one of them.  

and i'd do whatever shannon says.

cooking in seattle:  cucumber soup topped with dungeness crab salad.  sustainable fish recipe from good fish.

(also, shannon was one of my favorite guest bloggers ever here on GITP.)


1) the first thing shannon, john, and i agree on immediately is the walrus and the carpenter in ballard (ballard is the place for great restaurants in seattle these days. the james beard awards committee must be camping out there.)  i celebrated my 21st wedding anniversary there a few years ago.  shannon says: "go early.  get there by 5 and sit at the bar."  


i think if i could pick only one place to go whilst in seattle, it would be the walrus and the carpenter.

2) joule in wallingford for korean fusion.  this place has some of the most interesting food in seattle.  tourism bonus (make that bonii):  you can walk a few steps to molly moon's ice cream for dessert, stop in at archie mcphee's for souvenirs for kids or the emotionally stunted loved ones in your life, then stop by the fremont troll for a photo op.  i never, ever go to seattle with out saying 'hi' to the troll.  it's bad luck. you have to go give him his due.

3) if you're on the vending machine budget, you can do all of the above listed, but substitute joule with dick's drive in.  this place is iconic.  cheap as dirt, but they don't treat their employees like dirt, in fact, they contribute to the education funds of their employees.  their fries are the best--fresh, hand-cut potatoes, and never-frozen beef patties & "hand whipped milk shakes made with real table milk."  we've had many a discussion about the epithet "table milk." dick's has a tiny menu, so it's not overwhelming, and meals are served in card board boxes. you get a full meal, including a chocolate shake made with real table milk, for under five bucks.  

souvenir alert:  a blue & orange  t-shirt from dicks is great for a teen or a 35 year-old grad student.  dick's is open until 2 a.m. and you can also check out the capitol hill location if you're out on the town for a reading, dancing, or bar hopping.

cooking in seattle:  copper river salmon.

4) tamarind tree. provincial vietnamese food in the international district (known as the i.d. to locals). tamarind tree is really special.  unlike most i.d. restaurants, the atmosphere is terrific, but you MUST sit on the patio by the waterfall cut into the side of the hill.  you'll be warm--they provide throws and heaters.  so MAKE SURE you sit outside.  there's something about the sensorial juxtapositions of the seattle chill & the spicy food, the drizzle and cloud cover while wrapped in a throw next to the table heaters, the beautiful restaurant in the ugly strip mall,etc.  tamarind tree has lovely, lovely service, unique flavors, and water fall music that makes the whole dining experience greater than the sum of it's parts.   this sensorial juxtaposition is also something i love about vietnamese food: the sweet and the spicy, the hot and cold foods together in one dish, the cooked and the raw, if you will.  tamarind tree's menu is "provincial vietnamese," and is different from any pho joint or banh mi shop (both of which i love, but this is not what you'll be getting at tamarind tree). i dream about their butterflied prawns on grilled sugar cane.  

tamarind tree is very reasonably priced.  you could skip two vending machine meals and eat at tamarind tree.  it's about a 15 minute walk from downtown, and you can do a little tourism on your way to dinner.  uwajimaya is one of my all-time favorite markets in the world, and i usually get my kids' souvenirs in their gift section.  

another i.d. possibility is to find a place that serves hand-shaved noodles.  restaurants abound in the i.d., and they're mostly on the inexpensive side. lots of good and lots of bad food there.  i don't have the inside scoop, so maybe some seattle-ites will chime in here.  

tip:  never eat at a corner restaurant or a really big restaurant with a buffet in the i.d..  those are two sure signs of a tourist trap.

5)  the pink door.  shannon says: I still love the pasta at the Pink Door. Jazz almost every night. Sit in the bar area And for a fun and cheap glass of wine, go to The White Horse, no website, no facebook page - no sign! Just a White Horse, hanging in Post Alley, a few doors down from Kells.

you're also close to pike place market, which is one of those tourist places that you might think is just for tourists, but you'd be wrong.  i can spend days wandering the bowels of pike place market--the curio shops, the vintage places, the hand made, the locavore, the bizarre, places you can't believe still exist.

6) SUSHI WHORE!  so mashiko is seattle's first fully sustainable sushi bar.  i gave up sushi because of the sustainability issue about five years ago, so this place is a god-send.  the sushi whore is a genius.  sustainable sushi takes some getting used to.  you can't eat the big, high fat fish that give sushi it's transcendent mouth feel and carries so much flavor.  sustainable sushi has a leaner, more mineral-y flavor.  almost oyster-like.  the dishes here are innovative and work with the fish in a different way.  i still crave the bay shrimp and shiso salad i had years ago.  the after taste lingers.

bonus:  mashiko is in west seattle.  a walk on alki beach to view the seattle skyline is a beautiful thing. a drive around west seattle gives you great views, and you might catch some sea otters eating their own dinner, too.  easy street records is a block from mashiko if you want to bring some vinyl home to your beloved(s).  or just chat with the employees.  last time i was there, i got a great list of doom metal to check out, and you can put on a pair of head phones and listen to a few tracks while waiting for your table.

if you're in love with an activist foodie, good fish: sustainable seafood recipes from the pacific northwest would be a great seattle souvenir.  the recipes for scallop carpaccio and scallops with carrot puree are two of my favorites.

7)  lark is a beautiful (and pricey) locavore restaurant on capitol hill.  artisinal, foraged, impeccably sourced--everything you'd expect from a great seattle restaurant.  great place for an intimate meal--slower, luxurious, quiet enough for an in-depth conversation. 

8) ivar's:  like the troll, we try to always get our fish n' chips fix at ivar's whenever in seattle.  living in the desert, we never, ever get enough fish.  i like their lake union location--sitting on the deck watching the boats, if weather permits.  the cup hot of clam juice for a quarter will warm your chilled bones.  i've only eaten at the full-service restaurant once, and i would recommend sticking to the walk-up for a greasy bag of fish and chips doused in malt vinegar.  

in case you didn't figure it out, ivar's is a great choice for those of us on the vending machine budget.

9) i don't even remember the food here, but one time my family doctor prescribed a saturday morning ferry ride and breakfast at the streamliner diner on bainbridge island.  the ferry's downtown, and while the food won't be james beard quality, it will be good and comforting, and the ferry ride is stunning.  

10) there's an embarrassment of riches when it comes to dining in seattle, so i'll just make number ten my wrap-up of recommendations from shannon and john, mostly places i haven't been yet, but these two have impeccable taste.  there's no way they'll steer you wrong.  i'll start with shannon's recommendations for wine and coffee bars, since that's her area of expertise:  

Check out Vif Coffee and Wine Bar - they carry grower champagnes, natural and biodynamic wines. & cafe presse:  your french bar on capitol hill: On Capitol Hill, I like CafĂ© Presse - great food!

john's wisdom: 

Not all of these are new but certainly worth a look and a taste. These run the gambit of fancy, cheap, casual not cheap. Revel Ba Bar Sitka and Spruce Meanders IL Corvo Burgundian The Walrus and the Carpenter Joule The Whale Wins Little Uncle Staple and Fancy Radiator Whiskey Essex Bakery Nouveau Delancey Alterra Mamnoon Thai Curry Simple

p.s from shannon, if you want to spend time in bars:

You guys will be downtown, so you could also hit Thierry Rautureau's new place Loulay, which looks great, and I always trust Thierry's instincts, although I haven't been there yet. For bars, don't miss the icons: ZigZag, where Murray Stenson used to work (google him!) and now has gone back to his roots, I believe, at Il Bistro, right under the Pike Place Market sign - where he taught me (and many others) everything we know about whisky ('m talkin' 1992 here). Across the street in Pike Place is Can Can, which has a dark bar where you can look up through the sidewalk - those little purple glass squares of light above you as the burlesque girls and boys do their gorgeous thing! Old schoolin' it here. Wish I was there - hopefully I can breeze through!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

birthday dinner season

meyer lemon tart.  georgia buchert made the stunning crown for me, and it's become our birthday crown.
we have eleven family birthdays in january, february and march. 

what are you people gettin' up to in april, may and june?

birthday dinner season is in full swing at my house.  today was cecily's family birthday dinner.  i'm always really curious about what my people will ask me to cook for their birthdays--i finally get to know how they really feel about certain dishes.

some of them have predictable favorites:  moses always wants spaghetti and meatballs.  christian always wants a classic chocolate cake with no frosting.  eva frequently requests beef stroganoff. 

catsup chicken, broccoli with daddy's dipping sauce.  i bought a cheaper rice this week to see if it really made a big difference.  it did :(.  have been spoiled by a much more delicious rice.

cecily surprised me by asking for something new this year: two family staples::  the meyer lemon tart from alice waters' & lindsay remolif shere's chez panisse dessert cookbook (a classic cookbook you might add to your collection if you're into that kind of thing,) & mark bittman's  minimalist ketchup chicken from the new york times, a fantastic, garlick-y comfort food i discovered a few years ago that is very popular chez exoskeleto.

(a note on the tart:  meyer lemons are sweeter than eureka lemons.  i use the two meyer lemons called for in the recipe PLUS one fairly large eureka lemon.  i always want less sweet, more tart, and more lemon flavor in lemon desserts.  i need to continue working on making this tart a little tarter, but this alteration is a step in the right direction.) 

what do you want for your birthday dinner?

i want chicken under a brick, lula's curry fries, and the tart cockaigne from the joy of cooking.  

my birthday's in july, so heads up!

Practice: Just Food. No Big Deal.

Chef Gerardo Gonzales had just made a sauce verte with that mortar and pestle.
I've been going to this cafe in my neighborhood almost every day. Sometimes I just get a drink or pastry. Lately, I've been wanting to try out everything on the cafe's new food menu. This chef here above, twice in a row, has augmented whatever I order with a salad on the house: once jicama, once kale (with chopped peanuts).

His food is brilliant. He's completely sweet and unpretentious, a graduate of Culinary Arts Academy in Napa, CA. He built a highly revered restaurant's brunch menu and put in their garden. His menu at this cafe is grain and veg heavy because, he said, after putting in the garden, he had such a respect for vegetables. 

Anyway, it's one of the bright spots in a cold winter where there's not been a lot of movement in my life. No huge breakthroughs. I still haven't taken to the uke. One thing is that I look forward to my meditation practice. I googled up a meditation timer with lovely chiming bells. The whole six, now seven minutes has become my way of praying. So different than the way I was taught my whole life.

One other thing, I'm trying to feel gratitude for getting older. After hearing about some recent cancer battles/health issues, I'm realizing what a privilege it is--aging, just like Yoko said.
Kale salad on the house

Today's lost bread frittata with guac. He asked me if I liked a lot of garlic. I said, yes.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Practice: On Not Practicing and Fashion Posting Again!

Seen in the Strand. I'm pretty sure she was Russion. Just had that vibe. Too much Olympics?
I decided to see what it felt like not to practice for a few days and to not even check in about not practicing. No blogging. And it did not feel good.

It felt blah.

And it reminded of the British author Zadie Smith saying that she writes so as not to sleepwalk through life. So, yeah. That.

I don't want to do the bare minimum. Although great swaths of my life--if you take a look at my current resume--have been just that: getting by, getting through. Doing what needs to be done and then climbing into bed. (I mean that literally--my bed really does have to be climbed into.)

I realized today that ten years ago this month, that I posted my first ever blog post on my writermama blog that began as a "mommy blog." It was fine. No images for a long time. I complained a lot about the fact my two year old slept later, napped later, went to bed later than all the other two year olds. I tried to make mothers feel better about their own lives in comparison. I had a two year old and a five year old and was trying to freelance and figure out how to make money while being a full-time caregiver. I had stopped writing fiction. Wasn't inspired. I took my kids all over the city. All my creative energy was funneled into making their time here awesome. And now they don't even remember it.

But I don't regret that. What I do regret I'll save for another post.

Friday, February 21, 2014

a thinning of the veil: 11 things for 11 years


every february 21, i think about how i woke up leaking fluid on the 21st of february 2003. and how, when i called my perinatalogist he said, "get in the car. you're having a baby today." and how i took a shower, packed my bag and hopped in the car with christian & with one last thing to take care of: her name.  

I had a list saved on christian's palm pilot of a hundred names. i poured over it: when church was boring, when we were driving anywhere, when someone asked me about our naming plan.  i fretted. 

each name had qualities i liked, but not one of them sung to me.

(i even considered "diamanda," after diamanda galas.  who is rad.  and so is her name.)

and how i called my mom to tell her the delivery was imminent, and how christian said, while i was talking to my mom, while we were on the slushy late-winter i-15 "how about cecily anna?*"

and so i said to my mom, "christian says: how about cecily anna."

and how my mom said, "that name is so beautiful and perfect it almost makes me cry."

and how i could tell by her voice that she wasn't almost crying, but was actually crying.

and how all our emotions were just tender to the touch and so right there.  and how this delivery, we knew, was going to be emotional and piercing and uncertain, and how it felt, as we say in the mormon tradition, that the veil was thin.

it's hard to explain what that means, the thinning of the veil. basically it's something like close to death, but more than that. close to a knowledge of the other side, to those who have come before, and gone.  and to those spirits who are yet to come.

close to a kind of knowledge that you can almost, but never quite, grasp here in this earthly realm, as my people say.

it means that you are inhabiting a space that is not quite life and not quite death.  and it's mostly ineffable, and what i can tell you about it is this:  it's both scary and peaceful, both sad and joyful, both hopeful and despairing.

something important here is the bothness, the in between.  not opposing or contradictory states of being, but simultaneous.

i remember exactly how i felt then, so close to almost seeing through the veil, almost touching the other side, and i haven't felt this way before or since.  i can't tell you in words with anything close to exactness what i felt then, only that i did.


how hard it is to find the words to say how much i adore cecily! how special she is. (one of her nicknames is special. and & also sesame, & cee, & specialty. . . .)

and here are 11 things i love about her:

1)  her smile.  i think everyone who knows her agrees it's remarkable.  grandpa noel calls it a mona lisa smile.

2) her caramel-colored hair.  i love braiding and twisting and brushing it each morning, and i'm honored that she entrusts it to me.

3) her writing.  she tells the most fascinating stories.

4) her humor.  a lot of her stories come with illustrations, and every line of her drawings vibrates with character, humor, and wisdom.

5) the way she enjoys life.  she's so fun to hang out with, to do exciting things with, or to do nothing at all with.

6) her outfits.  i'm excited each and every morning to see what she'll wear to breakfast.

7) her fashion blog,

8) her sensitivity.  she always tries super hard to never hurt anyone's feelings.

9) her taste.  she has fantastic taste in music, movies, books, clothes, and food.

10) her run.  sounds weird, but she looks really cute running.  her run exudes great joy.

11) her affection.  she loves to hug, kiss, and cuddle.  she has silky cheeks and tiny soft hands.

* cecily came from our love of oscar wilde's play the importance of being earnest, from the character miss cecily cardew.  i also love that cecilia is the patron saint of music, and i love the sibilance of her name, the three syllables, the femininity of it, the lilt and the look.  i love the name a lot.

*anna  connects to my mother's middle name ann, and one of the most beautiful people i know, anna vinten-johansen burdak, a gorgeous singer who inspired us to write the first opera we had ever attempted, a girl's body at crepescule. she performed the lead, and was a co-founder of seattle experimental opera, more than twenty years ago.  she and i have recently begun a new project together.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Practice: You'd Be Better Off Reading Lara's Recent Post Today

 Jicama salad, "Falafel Taco" on house made Masa pita, and fresh cucumber juice/ tarragon seltzer
The super sweet and gifted chef. He gave me a taste of his peanut brittle for the jicama salad.

First of all, I'm lucky Lara lets me blog with her. She kicks my butt every time she blogs her. I freely admit.

All I was gonna talk about was working on a story at my now favorite coffee shop. Photos from it here. They not only have coffee and my favorite brown rice tea, but they just recently installed a kitchen from which this chef (above on the right) is working these mini miracles.

I've eaten in award-winning restaurants with celeb chefs and this guy's food is as good or better. Plus, it's cheap. I recommend. If you come to NYC, ask me where.

Photo at the bottom is a performance artist not to far from the cafe. All the above photos are photos of health. This artist, Kathleen Ching, will try and take on your pain for six hours a day from a hospital bed wheeled into a gallery.

I guess that's it. Gotta practice my dumb instrument now.
My photo of the jicama salad the chef plopped in front of me for free today.
Kathleen Ching at Cuchifritos Gallery

re-engergized parenting: practicing deliberateness

salt lake temple east doors

as the mother of a brood, spread out over a lot of years, i'm worried about parental burn-out.

i'm such a different mother to moses and cecily than i was to eva and ingrid.  for instance, we didn't own a t.v. when eva and ingrid were little.  and there was no internet, really, unless you count dial-up.  this means they spent the majority of their free time reading and in imaginative play.

also, they spent most of their elementary years in oakland and seattle, whereas mo and cec were born and raised in utah.

the east doors of the temple have never been opened.  they will only be opened by jesus during the second coming.

on monday, we took the kids on an outing to salt lake city, and it hit me how few outings we've done with the littles as compared with the number of cool things we used to do with the bigs.  in seattle, we had a zoo pass, we went to carkeek almost weekly, and lake washington on walks and bike rides almost daily.  we went to concerts and events, museums and parties, plays, lessons, the science center, the children's museum, and the aquarium.

now we simply spend too much time indoors, too much time with individual screens.

the view from the joseph smith building, tenth floor. this is a must-see if you're touristing in salt lake.

i'm older now.  i have less energy, and more demands on my time, so i have to be deliberate. i have to practice to keep my quality of parenting up.  being tired has it's upside, however.  i'm mellower, i don't try to micro-manage my younger kids like i did with the older ones, i'm not as critical, i enjoy the kids more and worry less, and i have a good sense of what's important and what's not.

keep start quit (ksq) is a mid-semester evaluation i sometimes do with my students if i think a class isn't going as well as it could be.  it helps me figure out what the problems are.  so here's my attempt at a mid-life parenting evaluation:


--having family dinner every night

--teaching the kids to cook
--kids' daily checklists
--one on one dates with the kids
--family home evening
--reading out loud together
--playing the favorites game
--date night for parents


--turning off the internet for a few hours a day

--attending international cinema at byu together
--planning holidays and vacations more carefully--prioritizing this
--a family mission statment
--involving the kids more in problem solving
--group reading time (we all read our own books together)
--more day trips


--lazy or thoughtless parenting

--too much screen time
--spending time and money on anything that doesn't fit with our family's values
--being distracted during family time

moses loved the austrian-made hand-crafted furniture in the joseph smith building

mission statement

i know it's gross and corporate-y, but i like the idea of having a firm vision in mind of my purpose in this life, and what i want to seed in my children before they leave my home.  i'll try to come up with a better title for this than 'mission statement' (candland asplund family articles?  statement of purpose?) but in the mean time, here's what i want to start with:

Our family cultivates and values curiosity.

dear readers, i want to know your thoughts on rejuvenating yourself when you start to get parental burn out (when i do this, my kids moan and say, "mom's doing her new-leaf-ish thing again.")

i'm also curious about words, phrases, etc. that you would put into a family mission statement.

Practice: I Blogged Because I Couldn't Stand Not To

Oh, winter. Woke to four inches of snow this morning.

But on the subway, saw this.

My first fashion post in a long time.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Practice: Pause

Seen on the way home from the dentist's office
I think I'm finally tired of winter.  My right snow boot is developing a hole near my smallest toe. They are encrusted with salt and gunk. I tried to sponge them off tonight. My area is experiencing a snow boot shortage.

I'm glad we have a lot of snow (which will mean water)--esp in light of the CA drought--but I'm tired of being so cold.

It makes me tired.

Do you live where it's cold?

Spent most of this afternoon at the dentist--waited and waited to be seen. No cavities! (Is this because I do a coconut oil gargle everyday? I hope so.)

I did not practice yesterday. Or blog. will practice now.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Practice: I'm Practicing!

Look at these enthusiastic NYU boys put together an almost perfect, classic snowperson in an illegal place! Gandhi could use some of the snowperson's bulk.  Or no?

Maybe Gandhi is just fine with the body he is.

I played the ukelele again tonight and I suck. I suck at meditating, too. Well, that's why I have to practice.

If you are in NYC, go see the graffiti show at the Museum of City of New York. It's one of the "pay what you want" museums in town. There's a Gilded Age show there, too--a look at 1870s NYC, a previous era of income inequality and grotesque Wolf of Wall St wealth flaunting. It was good to see that exhibit right before the graffiti show, full to bursting with exuberant, marginalized street artists.

I mean we saw their SKETCH BOOKS! Those kids PLANNED their graffiti before going to the wall with a spray can. Did you know?

(Second reference of "marginalized" on this blog this week. I guess those are my people.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Practice: Slacking! Help!

I'm like this guy.

Too much the observer with my own practice today. Btw, I've very fascinated by these pianos played by computer. Me and this guy--we love them.

I went back to that Machine Music thing today. The only girl there. So people wanted to volunteer stuff.

Outside, the streets/sidewalks rivers of slush.


heart dress, heart earrings.

valentine outfit

i'm a valentine's day grinch.  in the tradition of julie, i'm practicing a more positive attitude about this dreaded holiday and embracing hearts.  

i gave cecily these earrings for valentine's day this morning, then immediately borrowed them.  

sorry, cecily.

kork-ease mary janes.  i didn't check the heel height when i ordered them online.  i'm a giantess in these heels.

if there's one thing i can't get enough of in a shoe it's a) red and b) mary janes. i have to stop myself from buying more red and more mary janes, trying to diversify my footwear.  

my tights are looking the worse for wear, but i don't want to invest in new ones at season's end.  

valentine recipe

molten lava cake.

i know this cake is a cliche, but i make it almost every year.  it's so easy and, if you're a human being, you'll love it.  i used paula deen's recipe, minus the orange liquer because i'm not a fan of orange and chocolate together.  i also added a pinch of salt.  

i always add an extra pinch of salt to every dessert. try it!

valentine date

george bernard shaw's pygmalion at provo's echo theatre.

pygmalion at the new community theatre in provo, the echo theatre.  my first show at the echo.  can't wait to check it out. 

and i've never seen a production of pygmalion before.  

valentine poem

tons of love poems at the poetry foundation.  if you want to get your feet wet with poetry, their website is the perfect place to explore.

I was looking for your hair,
black as old lava on an island   
of white coral. I dreamed it   
deserted you and came for me,   
wrapped me in its funeral ribbons   
and tied me a bow of salt.

Here’s where I put my demise:   
desiring fire in a web of tide,   
marrying the smell of wet ashes   
to the sweet desert of your slate.
My intelligent mammal, male
of my species, twin sun to a world   
not of my making, you reduce me   
to the syrup of the moon, you boil   
my bones in the absence of hands.

Where is your skin, parting me?
Where is the cowlick under your kiss   
teasing into purple valleys? Where   
are your wings, the imaginary tail
and its exercise? Where would I breed   
you? In the neck of my secret heart   
where you’ll go to the warmth of me   
biting into that bread where crumbs crack   
and scatter and feed us our souls;

if only you were a stone I could   
throw, if only I could have you.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Practice: Noticing the Marginalized Practicing Marginalized Modes

I bought some poems from this guy, who's been set up--all spread out--on the B'way/Lafayette subway platform for awhile. His name is Donald Green and he's giving me some info about himself in the photo above.

I need to read the stapled book I bought from him more carefully. The streets were terrible above ground--monster storm--and everyone was ignoring Donald Green. At first, I fished a dollar out of my wallet, which he put on a piece of wood. Eventually, the dollar blew off and I ran down the stairs to chase it. Pinned it with my umbrella and brought it back to him. Then I gave him some more money, which compelled him to fish around among his things for a stapled book.

I should have seen what else Donald Green needed right then. He was worried in the act of standing there that I'd caught his cold.

10 things from lara

last year's lace leggings & shoes, this year's favorite dress

1) i miss blogging with julie, but have had a hard time knowing how to pick it up again.

2) i own mostly black tights this winter.

laundry day--tights for five girls

3) in case you haven't heard, you may now address me as "dr. candland."

laura ricks made this beautiful, delicious chocolate ribbon cake for me after i finished my doctorate in december in literature & creative writing (poetry).

4) my favorite foods right now are: canned pears with cottage cheese, cinnamon toast, pero mochas, sushi rice topped with cheese: all supremely unsophisticated, requiring little to no prep, and sublimely simple.

5) my favorite morning activity right now is trying out every single hair-do on the uniqlo website on beautiful cecily.

one of the plethora of hair styles i've been trying out on my barbie-head cecily

6) lula is officially a better cook than i.

lula's spudnuts:  maple, green tea, coconut glzes with butterfinger, jimmies and coconut toppings

7) like julie, i'm practicing right now--practicing living my life more fully & in the present, even though my future is in flux at the moment.  (& then--one's future is always in flux, no?  whether one knows it or not, no?)

8) i want to learn to speak french and spanish fluently.  am i too old?

9) i'm reading middlemarch,  mary ruefle's madness, rack, and honey,  c.d. wright's steal away, and i finished john green's the fault in the stars  last night.

the wonderful, beautiful, mary lynn cutler sent this gorgeous thing to me a few days after i had an online melt down in front of her.  thanks, girl!

10) writing poetry every day again, and its finally starting to feel good again.  it's all about the practice, baby!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Practice: Thinking About It at 11:15 pm

Pretty good day off--worked on my collection, then saw (like last Wed with the marathon Burroughs) some art--a machine music fest.

Two pieces:

Chihuahua: "Fifteen composers with 50 compositions sequenced and synchonized (on self-playing pianos) with the barking of the dog."

Wind Chimes: "For the modern garden or balcony, these soft fabric wind chimes make no sound, but send their musical chime info over MIDI to any convenient Moog, Casio, or Dislavier. Please blow or stroke them gently to hear their chimes, and untangle them if they get snarled."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Practice: Checking In on All That

I'm blogging now and quickly. From work.

Because by the time I bike home, I won't be able to muster it.

But last night, before I slept, I uked. (Not puked.) I meditated. Fidgeting. But still.

The cold keeps on.

I'm reading George Saunders' collection Tenth of Dec.

February is unspooling too fast.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Practice: How can I practice when this?

New Balance for all!
Look at me! I ended up at New York Fashion Week at a menswear show. Completely randomly and out of the blue.

Mexican designer. Cool scene. I was wearing my librarian clothes. Luckily, no one was looking at me.

Now I must practice.

Add caption

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Practice: I Took a Short Vacation from Practicing to Engage in Long Conversations with an Old Friend

None of the people in this photo are my friend or me. 
I ate two days in a row in the same restaurant in western MA down the street from Smith College. See how nice the server above looks? You can order one buckwheat ginger pancake on the side (with your real maple syrup)--if you want sweet with your savory, that is.

You can walk right in that restaurant and help yourself to coffee and locally sourced milk and cream while waiting to be seated.  Then you can come back and get more coffee. And more.

I took a bus back through some of the formerly grand cities in New England, like Hartford, CT, which was once one of the riches cities in the US and is now one of the poorest.  (The Mark Twain house and Harriet Beecher Stowe house is there--all according to Wikipedia on my phone.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Practice: Practicing While Yawning

Well, this is the photo of the day--the first photo of fashion week.  Deal with it.

I stood in a restaurant bathroom tonight and thought, "I'm looking forward to meditating."


Feeling a bit stressed.  Getting on a bus tomorrow to visit a friend.  Speaking of NY Fashion Week, what do I wear to a liberal collegiate lesbian-oriented enclave? 

My winter boots are caked with street salt. 

Also, I miss blogging with Lara.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Practice: "blue heavy metal boys"

 Weber ten hours into his 24-hour Burroughs reading
This morning, I travelled via bus through an ice storm from a PTA exec board meeting right to a gallery where a performance artist (?) was nearly halfway through a 24-hour Wm S. Burroughs 100th birthday tribute reading. Essentially in the space of about 30 minutes, I went from hearing language like "testing" and "fundraising" and "budget cuts," to language like "carbonic" and "penis" and "phosphorescence," "rectal mucus" and "heavy metal" (!!!) Burroughs as palate cleanser.  Something art should do from time to time.


I sat and listened to Weber read from The Soft Machine (the second of Burrough's '60s-era cut-up novels on a day that began with Nova Express), and I stood and photographed him reading for two hours in many different positions, then left to write my own stuff--ramming my tumescent knee right into a cafe table leg--ate a really good salad from a different coffee shop that now has food, checked on sick offspring, then made my way through deep puddles of slush back to the gallery where Weber was well into The Ticket That Exploded.  I sat for the end of that. Did not want to leave. I guess the gallery had become kind of sacred.  More Ginsberg than Burroughs? I don't care. Burroughs probably wouldn't appreciate the sentiment, but I'm sentimental like that.

Signed first editions. Go ahead! Touch. The reader's on break!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Practice: Even Though Not One Person Wants Me To, Not Even Me

Stopped on my way home from bike commuting to take this.  Like got off my bike and dug through my bag for my phone.

About to play the uke.  Serious.  If only to bang out one note.

Tues is a super long, long day for me.

Plus, my thumb hurts.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Practice: Tight Places

Tonight I thought about the original intention of this blog as I was trying to find a space for my little practices. Tight places, mostly mental--emotional, and often very physical, like tonight when I both meditated and practiced my instrument in the tiny apartment's one bathroom that four people share.  Kind of college dorm like, I suppose.

On a Chromebook right now--not mine--can't put up a photo.

I feel the squeeze of jobs and obligations. Trying to be grateful for everything, like the snow storm today.

Meditation: 4 minutes (with mantra!)
Uku practice:  10 minutes. "Amazing Grace"

This practice seems rather random.  But very important to me right now.  And it feels good to do it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Practice: Practice!

As of 11:54 pm, I still haven't meditated, which I will do in a sec!

Nor touched the ukelele.

Blaming it on the Superbowl and Marc Ribot.

More later.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Practice: Ukelele Every Day (Also, Sitting Med, Yo)

Sure, she's thin, but she did ask about the red velvet cake, which shows a healthy appreciation for food, no?
Another fashion photo op!  Yeah!  They've felt rare, lately.  This one was in the grocery store. Many of the young models shop here in fake fur.  Her boots--which I also photographed--were super short motorcycle boots.  Those leggings are pleather.

Worked today.  AGAIN.  But granted I have a nice job.  I'm not a coal miner.  I'm pretty lucky about some things right now.  Not taking it for granted.

So February's theme is practice.  I read recently--confirmed by a yogi on Fb--that it takes around 90 days to develop a habit.  So for the next 90 days, I pledge to play the uke everyday for at least ten minutes, maybe more.  Also, to sit and meditate for three to start.  Since I'm completely, utterly exhausted it will be five on uke.  Three in med.  Baby steps.

What's going on with you this month?

Who reads this?  I'm not promoting it at all and have been enjoying writing without marketing.