Saturday, January 6, 2018

Baby Shampoo

Today I washed my hair with baby shampoo. It's my husband's shampoo, as he has baby-fine hair, and I used it 1) to empty & recycle the bottle and 2) to smell and feel again that baby-fine feeling of washing my babies' heads. My grown-up babies have gone back to their grown-up lives after a lovely holiday visit, and I miss them. As Kim Kishbaugh puts it in her blog entry about her adult son leaving after the holiday, I am bereft.

I am also busy, working and directing a play, and that is helping me through. But today is a day of rest, in which I am doing heaps and heaps of laundry and changing the sheets on all the beds. (But not taking down the Christmas tree.)

Over the break, I read a few books, including The Awkward Age, by Francesa Segal. It's about a second relationship for two people in midlife, parents of teenage children from their first marriages. The kids are at "the awkward age" and the complications put quite a strain on the adults' relationship, not to mention making the teenagers' own lives full of, well, angst. I know I had an awkward age as a teen and plenty of angst, but, as parents, we did not encounter any trouble from our teenage children, who got through adolescence with quite a bit of grace! We all got lucky there.

Francesca Segal also wrote The Innocents, a re-telling of sorts of The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, something my book group read and I enjoyed. It made me re-read the Wharton novel and long to re-see the movie. Reading provides me with comfort when I am bereft, or anticipating my grief, as well the downtime I need as an introvert during the socializing of the holidays. This year I was reading as my family played Parcheesi. There I sat in the same room, cuddled in a blanket, watching and listening to them play as I read my novel. Parcheesi crams my math-challenged head with numbers and counting. I was probably closer to my kids and husband reading than I would have been playing, stressed out, rubbing my forehead, madly counting. It was a quiet bliss.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Pops for Champagne

Today I encountered a coincidence, so, of course, it is a Random Coinciday in the blog. And also Slattern Day, as I don't intend to do (any more) work. Earlier this morning, I was posting a set of 3 related Music for Music columns at Escape Into Life for our new(ish) columnist, Dan Ursini (also a musician and playwright). This involved embedding YouTube videos and finding cool images.

Here are the 3 posts:

Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio 
Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio, Part 2
Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio, Part 3

Yes, a trio of posts about a trio! But that's not the coincidence! The coincidence is that Pops for Champagne, a champagne bar, popped into my mind, maybe because it is almost New Year's Eve, which involved champagne, and when I dropped into their website, I discovered that their live jazz house band is The Joe Policastro Trio! Who gnu? (Plenty of people knew, just not me. Nor did I know that Pops for Champagne had moved to State Street. I thought my brain had melted when I saw that address on the website, but another website told me the place had moved. Thank you, Internet, for providing information and not melting my brain. But wait, the Internet can melt one's brain...Stop talking now....) Anyhoo, Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

White Christmas

Remember this scene from the film White Christmas? They're on their way to Vermont on the train and sing a song about snow, which is exactly what's not happening this year in Vermont? Then there's the mini-miracle of actual snow on Christmas? We're having actual snow on Christmas Eve, and it looks like it will stick, so "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"

My kids are here, safe and sound, my sister and her husband are on the way, from Nashville, where they saw their son and daughter-in-law in The Nutcracker. My niece will be on her way via train (perhaps singing "Snow," or at least looking at it out the window), and we look forward to a warm and wonderful time together, talking, playing games, eating yummy treats. I wish a great time to all of you, too.

While I wait for the gathering, I am 1) remembering Baklava for Breakfast, which could happen again, given the arrival of Mid-East Pastry this week (thank you, Basel!) and 2) tallying up the year:

I read 80 books, all noted in my yellow book journal that looks like the socks in Baklava for Breakfast. These included novels, books of poetry, short story and essay collections, and nonfiction.

Far behind in the 100 Rejections project, I sent out 26 submissions, had 8 acceptances or publications so far, 15 rejections, and 3 2017 submissions pending. (I think there are some pending from previous years, too, but I did not open all the folders....) I don't mind the rejections, as there are many reasons for that, but I do mind never hearing a response from some contests and journals. Sigh...  But that's a small peeve. And I prefer joy! 26 is far from 100 submissions, so I am vaguely peeved with me. Likewise, I forgive myself and go for the glee of the season instead. And I have 2 chapbooks coming out in 2018, so that'll be a lot of poems at once!

In the meantime, enjoy "Snow" from White Christmas on YouTube!


Sunday, November 12, 2017

I Dunno

I am reading Idaho, by Emily Ruskovich, and my heart keeps clenching and cracking open. I am reading a large print edition, as that's all the library had, and it's a good read. I await my new trifocals from the eye doctor. Sigh....

Meanwhile, good poetry news: Poetry East took 4 poems for the spring, and Red Bird Chapbooks accepted Spiritual Midwifery, a book of poems somehow about the birth of humans and the birth of the spirit, several in response to religious paintings. I'm very pleased because Red Bird published an earlier chapbook of mine, ABCs of Women's Work, and this press is so impressive and easy to work with. I admire the work of the editors and the work of their poets!

Plus. I feel deeply calm (despite the crud going on in our country). Perhaps it is because I resumed A.M. Yoga by Rodney Yee, at any time of day I'm free. Perhaps it is because there is early morning light again for a while, anyway, even as we approach the dark of winter.... I dunno.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy, Happy Valley

I'm glad I read Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance, a bestselling memoir I borrowed this summer and finally read this fall, in order to return it, reducing my stack of borrowed books. It helped me understand "hillbilly" thinking, and I wouldn't use that term except that Vance does, boldly, to identify the culture he grew up in. In fact, the way Vance talks about financial decisions in his community of origin ties right in with the behavioral economics I have been learning about, summarized here, in the press release related to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, awarded to Richard H. Thaler of the University of Chicago. We don't always do what's best for us in the bigger picture, or what's rational, and Thaler has helped economists see and accept that psychology plays a big part in financial decisions, which affects the larger economy in often unpredictable ways...

Right now I am reading Paterno, by Joe Posnanski, about Joe Paterno, beloved and hated longtime football coach at Penn State in State College, PA, known as "Happy Valley" until that nickname didn't seem to describe a community wracked and ruined by the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, which caused the ouster, too, of Coach Paterno. I started toward the end of the book, to gain insight on that aspect of Paterno's career, and now I have started over at the beginning, interested in learning more about him and about football and coaching styles. This is all part of my research for directing For the Loyal this winter, a play Lee Blessing wrote in response to the Sandusky situation at Penn State. In a way, the play is indeed "for the loyal," so they can consider how their loyalty affects everyone else; it is also for everyone else, so we can ask ourselves, "What should be done? What should we do? What can be done? What is the right thing to do?" Looking back, Paterno wished he had done more. Paterno presents us with the dilemma, as did the press at the time, of legal responsibility versus moral responsibility. What should we do?!