Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Local Shopping, Scooping, or Scoping

Today I walked into town to mail the Pushcart Prize nominations for Escape Into Life. Postmark deadline is December 1st, but I wanted them officially in the mail before posting at the website. So off they go!

I also got some Santa Stamps.

While I was there, I did a little more local shopping and saw some local scooping. Yes, Mike Mulligan was there with Mary Anne the steam shovel, digging up more of beautiful Uptown Normal. But "three-bank corner" is pretty well in place, and, as I recall, another hole is soon to be filled with something. Meanwhile, the trees are lit on the traffic circle, and the town has a holiday feel!

I also did some local scoping at the fabulous Garlic Press, a kitchenware, food, and gift shop with wonderful gadgets and pretties and yummies. Yes, I bought some things that, of course, I cannot announce here. But I also 1) put ideas in my own head and 2) got excited about the after-Christmas sales (where I got some of this year's stocking stuffers last year!)  Which..uh oh...

Yep, I came home and found them in the closet! Because, you know, some years I don't...until Christmas Future...becomes Christmas Past...or vice versa. Ack! Head stuck in a time loop!

The holiday lights and mood remind me that snow must come soon. I hope Katy is ready!

Tonight's full moon and penumbral eclipse beckon and have me a bit moody. Oh, that's right.  That's me all the time. Moody me.

Did I mention that when I got to a certain point in the last chapter of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, I sobbed for the whole rest of the way? This happens every time I read it.

Yes, it's a children's book, like the others you see here, favorites from childhood. And, yes, we are reading it, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson, for the December meeting of my book group, because we wanted something short that wouldn't get in the way of our eating.

Wait. Didn't I say something about the moon?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Butter, Taj Mahal

It's true that I melted a stick of butter this evening, and baked a corn casserole. My daughter had requested this, and that I follow the real recipe, not the one I made up last time, without all that butter and sour cream, more like cornbread with corn in it. The butter recipe is better.

But butter was also on my mind because of WGLT's Poetry Radio, which paired two of my very short poems from Nocturnes--"In the style of a Japanese courtesan" and "Almost Winter"--with the song "Butter" from The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal, a bluesy album.

These poems aired on Thanksgiving, a buttery day, just my kind of Random Coinciday, but you can also hear them as a podcast if you like.

Little did I remember that there is a movie called Butter, about butter carving, but now I feel I must see it someday. It has Jennifer Garner in it and Alicia Silverstone. And butter!

And Hugh Jackman.

Hugh Jackman.

And little did I know, not having been there at all, let alone in the right light, that the actual Taj Mahal is known for turning yellow.

It could be carved from butter.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the stick of butter (by Steve Karg) and the Taj Mahal! Thanks to Bruce Bergethon at WGLT for taping and airing the poems. Thanks to IMDb for the movie poster. Thanks to Taj Mahal for the smooth music. And thanks to Hugh Jackman.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Half the Perfect Moon

Imaginary playlist:

"Half the Perfect World," by Leonard Cohen, sung by Madeleine Peyroux

"I Wish I Were in Love Again," sung by Ella Fitzgerald (because it is stuck in my head) after hearing some Otterbein students sing this song for their Showcase production (what they will take to show agents and casting agents after they graduate)!

"How High the Moon" high is it?

Beautiful half moon today (yes, just hanging there) and tonight, bright and clear, when I took strawberry hulls out to the compost bin. Global warming (I fear) has sort of re-started the garden.

And I am only half here, still catching up on things at home after a week in Ohio...and thus a little sugary (cupcakes, pumpkin bread) and scatterbrained. I walked into town on this beautiful warm day to do a little early, and local, holiday shopping. Well, not early for you organized people, but early for me. And definitely local.

Handy how-to-hull-a-strawberry guide.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Walk Like an Egyptian

I'm baaack....

Imaginary sound-track:

"Walk Like an Egyptian," The Bangles

"My City Was Gone," Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders**

I went back to Ohio, but my city wasn't gone. Columbus.* It had gotten bigger. I lived and worked there, as an encyclopedia editor, right after college.

*I think Chrissie*** Hynde, songwriter, was referring to Akron, another of my Ohio cities (grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles)! **AKA "The Ohio Song"

On this current visit, most of my time was spent on or near the Otterbein campus, in Westerville, Ohio, or downtown on Main Street at Columbus Dance Theatre working on a dance theatre production of Cleopatra, with text from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, new music, and new choreography, which I got to see spring to life from the words and music and mind of choreographer Tim Veach. My sister is playing Cleopatra, and I'm lucky enough to be involved as a coach for the actors.

While I was there, I got to meet Hannah Stephenson, a poet I'd only met online as The Storialist and as a featured poet at Escape Into Life. What fun to have an in-person conversation!

Above: The Death of Cleopatra, Reginald Arthur (1892). Public domain. Look at that amazing toe cramp in her foot. The asps will be played by child dancers!
The Death of Cleopatra, Guido Cagnacci (1659). Also public domain. Nice crown.

***Random coincidink: I call my sister, the fabulous Christina M. Kirk, Chrissy. (Unlike these painted Cleopatras, she won't be showing her boobies, and I hope she doesn't get a toe cramp.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I may not post for a little while, due to some all-consuming work, so here's a picture of mini-me in the meantime. I'll be back, but I can't guarantee to be more grown up when I return.

I had a fabulous Slattern Day. Beautiful sunny, warm fall day. I walked by a piano in a driveway (garage sale) and many autumn leaves. I cut back the balsam in the garden and found the maroon mum and yellow roses still wildly blooming.

I was a friend of the arts at a Friends of the Arts event this evening: improv comedy + dessert for dinner + red wine + fabulous conversation + cake pops to bring home to our daughter. Now my husband is picking out a tune on the piano. Obama is still President. What could be better?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Two Women Talking

I’ve been reading The Logic of Opposites, by Alane Rollings. She was a favorite of Chris Al-Aswad at Escape Into Life

(Here she is there.)

Excerpts from this book

From “Spiraling Upward”:

            I’m no intellectual, but I think a lot.
Love gets me started.  I turn it around and around in my brain
as if it’s meant to embrace everything.

From “Positions of Strength, a poem that has for an epigraph the Chinese proverb, If you have to be a human being, don’t be a woman. This stanza incorporates the proverb:

            If you have to be a human being, don’t be a woman.
Your happiness and even your grief will depend on others
in whom you’ll see things that may not be there.
Your self-possession will keep changing hands;
your endless battles—against, dirt, friction, sobs like fists in your throat,
and spells of adoring sickness—will be yours alone.

I admire the simplicity of statement here, side by side with wit.  As the title suggests, this is a book of opposites, paired poems looking at two sides of things: peace/disorder, illogic/logic, outside/inside, escape/return. They are longish poems, pursuing their topics thoroughly, with richness and subtlety, each one often containing the seed of its opposite. 

But I must return to those women in “Positions of Strength,” noting the wonderful calm title:

A couple of women talk to the fire, ask why it dies, ask why men
embrace them, erase them, use them to get born or get a leg up to heaven,
leaving them behind, Bodhisattvas at the gate,
and in the rain and cold of interiors that no man knows.
            There are no sexual mutilations here, no bride burnings.
Just two women talking.
Just one woman, really, with nothing left
but that she can still blush, fall in love, extend herself to anything
as if it were as sentient and complex as she.
            Nothing left but that when the columbine opens wide
and the trees seem female, she can cry for them.
For the delicate evergreens, and for the chestnut tree as it pulls itself to leaf again.
For any man, for each hour, for every brick and creature,
and for the dust that will be back every other day
on the street paved with oyster shells, in the faded yellow house
where a woman’s glad to say
how much she had that she could give away.

Thanks to JJ Harrison and Peter Ruhr and Wikipedia for the columbine. Thanks to Alane Rollings and all the strong women who have so much to give away.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is that Walt Whitman on a Seahorse?

I am much relieved this morning that nothing changed overnight re: election results. Congratulations to President Obama for being re-elected, and may we have a good "four more years"! Thanks to Mitt Romney for a brief, dignified concession speech. Best wishes to all, and thanks to everyone who voted. Everyone. Voting is good.

I think most of the world is relieved by the results of this election in the USA, too. And here is a fun "real time" account of it all by an American in France: from Two Beans or Not Two Beans. Next time, I, too, will get hold of some "alcoholic chocolates."

The new poetry feature is up at Escape Into Life: Lauren Camp, with fabulous art by Andrea D'Aquino. Is that Walt Whitman on a seahorse? AKA Seahorse + Existential Cowboy.

Tonight is book group. We'll discuss The Innocents, by Francesca Segal, a sort of re-seeing of The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, as if it took place in a contemporary London Jewish community. I look forward to the discussion, and I really want to watch the movie again--based on The Age of Innocence--as I think that was one of those book-to-film movies I saw first, sending me to read the novel, and sending me on an Edith Wharton binge. Or maybe it was the other way around, as I didn't see it on the big screen.... My mind is more and more like a big (window) screen, resembling a large wire sieve.

I've been mulling over various movies and movie-book treatments lately. Every year I try to see To Kill a Mockingbird on or near Halloween (because of the ham costume, the school pageant on Halloween), and it's hitting movie theatres again on November 15, if you want the big (movie) screen experience.

I watched Meet John Doe because of the current election season and to ponder things for a recent talk in church, called "The Mop and the Microphone," posted here. Cloud Atlas also worked its way into that.

And that's enough for this Random Coinciday Poetry Someday Hump of the Week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Already Drinking Wine

Yes, it's true. It's 4:17 p.m. and I've already started drinking wine. I believe this is an Election Day tradition, yes? Vote, and go drink. Or vice versa.

Today, the election worker who signed me in said, "I remember you from the cemetery walk. The last time I saw you, you were dead." This was a delightful dead voter joke, and I was glad nobody prevented me from voting, nor carted me back to the cemetery!!

I promise I was alive. And only voted once.

It's red wine, so it is good for my heart, right? Still, I am nervous and scared, troubled by rumors of election-machine tampering, and so on. That kind of thing will ruin us as a country for sure, if it's going on. Again.

My polling station did make a point of saying, "No cell phones." Was this: 1) a courtesy? 2) to prevent interference with electronic voting?* 3) to prevent photos or videos [evidence!] of vote tampering?

I hate to be a cynic (but I am) or a conspiracy theorist (not yet!), but....yeesh!

*I chose a paper ballot. But it still goes into a machine for tallying....

Monday, November 5, 2012


...transparency, and other good stuff.

Some days I have to remind myself that my fragility (vulnerability, sensitivity, excruciating shyness, etc.) is a gift. Other days, I find this--Greta oto, the glasswinged butterfly!--and I'm OK.

I'm excited, and scared, about Election Day tomorrow. I'll vote before exercise class, unless there's a crazy long line or something; in that event, I'll vote after. Some locals I want to vote for are not on my ballot, so I supported them in other ways, but the President will be!

My parents voted early, as did a lot of other people I know, but I do love voting on Election Day!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

London Assurance

I had completely forgotten about this production of London Assurance at Kenyon College, but a college friend, Mark Belden, later an acting colleague in Chicago, posted it on Facebook. It's weird to forget stuff you did and who you used to be! But it's all coming back, thanks to those yellow sleeves! I look kind of like a Disney princess. But I wasn't.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Medusa Head Squid

Here's an adorable, scary-looking squid that reminds me of a starfish, Medusa, and a character who is a mouth-piece for the author. All in one!

It's a Random Coinciday here in my house and here in the blog. What I should be doing:

--cleaning up
--flossing my teeth
--folding the laundry
--more cleaning up

I went without my wedding ring for most of October. I was playing Georgina Trotter, an unmarried woman, in two events and put my ring in my jewelry box for safekeeping. My finger felt naked at times; at other times, like after the second event, when it had all gone on too long, I forgot all about it. Until I listened to the song, "Dance Me to the End of Love," by Leonard Cohen but, this time, sung by Madeleine Peyroux on the Careless Love CD.  "Touch me with your naked hand, touch me with your glove / Dance me to the end of love..."

My finger is clothed again, my heart not stone.