Thursday, February 28, 2013


I live a pretty quiet life. And I read a lot. Right now I am reading The Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa, as part of a research project and because I kept hearing good things about it, namely from poet Sarah J. Sloat, at her beautiful, quiet blog, the rain in my purse.

Yesterday I wrote about the meditative silence of an art piece in Chicago, a soundscape called Prairie. Today I write about "disquiet," or an unsettled, anxious feeling, a lack of peace. But I feel perfectly at peace reading Pessoa, whose narrator goes back and forth between tenderness for his everyday life and the uneasy sense of its utter meaninglessness.

"I feel love for all of this, perhaps because I have nothing else to love or perhaps too, because even though nothing truly merits the love of any soul, if, out of sentiment, we must give it, I might just as well lavish it on the smallness of an inkwell as on the grand indifference of the stars."

Recently, I came to the disquieting conclusion that I trust the indifferent universe more than I trust most individuals. The universe makes no promises to me, suggests nothing but indifference. Individuals, on the other hand,...

And speaking of inkwells and Sarah J. Sloat, she has a new chapbook out, Inksuite, from dancing girl press, cover art by Emmanuel Polanco. Poems about typefaces and books and reading.

So this is a day of book covers. My son saw The Book of Disquiet sitting (quietly) on my desk and wanted to read it, based on its cover.  The butterflies and swirlies are silver, shiny. The gray and black are matte. Ah, shiny vs lackluster. It fits.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Poet and Prairie Girl in the City

When I was in Chicago in mid-February for From Motion to Stillness, an art exhibit opening & release reading for Poets and Artists Magazine, held at Zhou B Art Center, I also had the good fortune to attend Prairie, an art installation soundscape by Shawn Decker, at the Chicago Cultural Center, the next day!!

The Cultural Center is a wonderful institution, with lots of free programming, beautiful art, and activities for all ages and abilities.  It also shows how truly multicultural Chicago is. "My kind of town, Chicago is..." (Now you've got that song in your head!) (And so do I.)

Anyhoo, here is my account of the experience in an EIL Blog post at Escape Into Life. "Poetry in (Eco) Motion." I was lucky enough to be there when one of the companion events was happening, too, a short ballet: On the Prairie: Elemental, by the Elements Contemporary Ballet company. Talent, grace, silence. The only sounds, in addition to clicking and whirring of the exhibit, were the padding and running of feet, breathing, and sometimes the dancers' hands slapping their bodies.

And here's poet and artist Alice George walking through the Prairie created by her husband!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Slush Fun

Well, I didn't have too much fun in the slush this morning, but it was indeed way more fun to push slush off the windshield than to scrape ice off the windshield. I'm sure that's yet to come! In the meantime, please enjoy these swim babies!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Granola Keyboard

As I was untidily eating my late breakfast in front of the computer today, I flicked a bit of granola onto my keyboard.

Result: Slattern Day meets Random Coinciday in the blog, and I Google "granola keyboard" to discover 1) two new blogs 2) a chocolate keyboard.

The chocolate keyboard, which would have been a perfect Valentine's Day gift for me, or birthday gift, or Edna St. Vincent Millay birthday gift yesterday, or Slattern Day or Random Coinciday gift, for that matter, exists only in our dreams (and this image, at Serious Eats and Gizmodo.) But somebody should actually make this, right? Because I would actually eat it.

The blogs I discovered are these:

1) Two Moms, a Little Time, and a Keyboard. Where you can find a recipe for cranberry granola bars and see entrepreneurial moms at work.

2) Granola 2 Glam. Where you can find a sneak peak, pix, and instructions for making a fabulous Happy Keyboard with washi tape, whatever that is.

Just found out. Washi tape is decorative semi-transparent Japanese masking tape. Much prettier and more delicate than duct tape, but just as useful!

You can buy some here, at Cute Tape ("where cuteness sticks") or on Etsy. While the bloggers above actually make $$ off advertisements, here I am giving free advertisement and linking you to my random finds. It's a different way of life, I admit. Sigh...

And why, I ask you, are there no actual pictures of granola in this blog post?!

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Margarita for Millay

Today is Edna St. Vincent Millay's birthday! And Edward Gorey's birthday! And National Margarita Day in the USA! So let's celebrate!

If only I had remembered to get some margarita makings when I was at the grocery store yesterday, stocking up on milk and bread and eggs, thanks to the predicted thunder snow, two feet of it by some exaggerations! More like two inches, and I shoveled all of them off the driveway and sidewalks this morning in the pre-dawn, dawn, and actual morning, a fine workout (skipped Stretch & Tone class, as I had stretched and toned and sweated already!)

Anyhoo, here's a margarita for Vincent, seen here in the famous Carl Van Vechten portrait (above) and at Vassar with magnolia blossoms (northern-style magnolias). And one for you, too. A margarita. Or a magnolia blossom. Whichever you prefer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You Say It's My Birthday

Background music in my head: "Birthday" by The Beatles.

Oh, I clicked the play button, so it's not just in my head anymore. Ah, followed by, "Yes, I'm lonely, gonna die, if I ain't dead already," etc. So it's not just my birthday, other people's birthdays (Ansel Adams, etc.), and the Hump of the Week, it's also a Random Coinciday (as usual) in the blog, and I am going to direct you, on my birthday, in circle-of-life mode (oh, god, now Lion King music is playing in my head), to "Death Sentences" at Escape Into Life, some random sentences from the journal of Chris Al-Aswad, who was obsessed with death, probably had a death wish, and did, in fact, die young.

That won't happen to me.

I am officially past middle age, I'm pretty sure, and already offered the senior discount at volleyball games, movie theatres, and the Goodwill store. Sigh... I think it's because I don't dye (ha ha, get it?!) my hair.

Anyhoo, it's a sad but beautiful feature, with art by Sergio Lopez. Ivory Fashion above, Anastasia right here, and Perle D'ore below.

I want her hair. And, yes, I think it's time to cut my long, long hair. We'll see.

I do love my birthday, however old I get, and however many candles I avoid blowing out. It's very fun to be on Facebook for a birthday--a jillion greetings! And nice to have plenty of wine and leftover discount Valentine chocolate in the house. And flowers by way of these beautiful paintings.

OK, off to work now, because my wacky self-inflicted Montessori-style work schedule does not let up just because it's my birthday. But I am glad and grateful to have a flexible schedule. Yippee!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Minnie Cardshower

Tomorrow is my actual birthday, but today I received 7 birthday cards in the mail, all from someone named Minnie Cardshower. Ahem. This someone, who numbered the cards, so I might open them in the order sent, was my mother.

You may recall that in January, on the occasion of my mother's 80th birthday, I had arranged a card shower for her! This was a sweet "payback." The first 6 cards made me giggle--all sorts of hilarity--and the 7th made me cry.

Possibly they were meant to arrive day-by-day in the mail, but, thanks to the Presidents Day holiday and a change in the local USPS distribution center, they all came today. I am tickled. And teary-eyed.

Thanks, Mom. And, of course, Dad! (But it was Mom's handwriting. Etc.) And thanks to my daughter, soon to break my eggshell heart by leaving the nest for college, for the roses.

Monday, February 18, 2013


We've been on some college visits for my daughter, and, on two recent visits, it rained. Today started out sunny, but while we were in presentations the sky darkened, the wind picked up, and, though we were merely drizzled upon when we went out, it poured as we were leaving.

On another trip, it poured the whole day. The campus admissions office provided umbrellas! I remember that I picked my college even though it was overcast and very gloomy the day I visited. I figure if you can love a place in the rain, you'll probably love it in the sunshine! So on this Blue Monday, as I ponder empty nesting, I wish my daughter well as she ponders her upcoming decisions.

And I wish these travelers well, surprised by sudden rain. Thanks, Hiroshige! And thanks, Juni from Kyoto, Japan, for the contemporary rain. It's all the same rain, isn't it?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Myna Birds

Happy Sunday! I am celebrating with myna birds, poetry, and fishnets for Jesus. Yes, my poem "Fishnets for Jesus," composed for my "Jesus-loving friend on Facebook," Paulette Beete, and posted there (at Facebook, as a Note), has been published in the whimsical and provocative online magazine Thirteen Myna Birds, the brainchild of Juliet Cook! I am tickled (by an imaginary pink feather boa!)

Thirteen Myna Birds posts 13 poems at a time, with submissions on a rolling basis (see guidelines on the right by scrolling down at the site), and when the new poems go up, the others are "etherized."

In my Random Coinciday of a life, I came across Juliet Cook by way of her chapbook Thirteen Designer Vaginas, which I reviewed for Fiddler Crab, all of it happening as I was discovering Hyacinth Girl Press, to which I had sent my own chapbook manuscript, Nocturnes. Sometimes the strands of my life are like a long braid down my back.

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy the wonderful variety of poems in this issue, which also provides donuts (spattered with blood), and maybe you'll seek out the jewelled vaginas, as well.

In other poetry-related news, the PoetsArtists From Motion to Stillness art exhibit opening & poetry reading was a wild, well-attended success! The Zhou B Art Center on 35th St. in Chicago--not far from White Sox Park!--is a great place.

And on Valentine's Day, my poem "Love/Songs" aired on Poetry Radio on WGLT, and you can hear it any time as a podcast. Many thanks to GLT and program producer and hosts Bruce Bergethon, Bill Morgan, and Kirstin Hotelling Zona.

Thanks, too, to the wonderful Wikipedia for the myna birds you see here! Particularly to Jcwf at nl.wikipedia for the white Bali myna, and to dead-and-public-domained Koryusai for the woodblock print of a black myna. It's a good reminder that someday I'll be dead and public domained, too. I can only hope I write some poems worth repeating, by humans or myna birds.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Heart of Flowers

Happy Valentine's Day. My husband called me his "one and only" and "his treasure" and I gave him a poetry collage (new poem created from lines of other poems snipped from books, a way of recycling old books) in a picture frame (also recycled).

Tomorrow, discount chocolate!!

Also tomorrow, I'll reading for POETSArtists Magazine, From Motion to Stillness issue, at Zhou B Art Center in Chicago.  Exhibit opening, 7-10, poetry reading, 7:30. If you are a Chicago person, I hope you can come. Ack! What'll I wear?!

And here's the Men in Love feature at Escape Into Life, for Thor's Day in the blog!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cream Puffs

Just so you know, we celebrated Fat Tuesday with gigantic cream puffs topped with chocolate ganache.

Also, "cream puff" is slang for a wimp or weakling and also for a used car in very good condition.

I am not suggesting anything other than oh-my-god-those-cream-puffs-were-good in titling this Random Coinciday blog post "Cream Puffs" and coupling it with the announcement of the new poetry feature over at Escape Into Life.

It's an early Valentine, a mini-anthology called Men in Love! With art by a woman, whose name, wonderfully, is Joan Proudman. When synchronicity like this happens, I am in my element. It is called bliss. Her name, her paintings, the way they lined up with the men's poems and the holiday. Sigh...! Bliss.

For instance, the one above is called Magic Pony. The pony is surrounded by a perfect storm of valentine hearts. "Love Hurtz," reads the banner. "Rent a Pony."

Of course, I also love the man riding a heart flown by winged time. It's so right, in so many ways. And there is even a painting called Wedding Party to go with Lee Rossi's epithalamion about ex-boyfriends at a wedding!

But if you want pictures of yummy cream puffs, aka profiterole, go here and thank Wikipedia! Back at EIL, be sure to click each poet's name to see his solo feature and Joan Proudman's name to see more of her art!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lemon Berry Shandy

I found a six-pack of Leinenkugel’s Lemon Berry Shandy on sale for $3. I am math challenged, but I am pretty sure that’s 50 cents a beer. I am drinking one. This is part of the current cheering-myself-up project. Yes, it’s a Blue Monday.

So far it is working:

1) The sun came out. I did not know drinking beer could do that!

2) Mardi Gras is tomorrow. Yes, beer drinking causes linear time. Blue Monday will be followed by Fat Tuesday, not only in the blog but in the religious/drinking calendar of many people.

3) I solved my printer cartridge problem. Shandy, you’re sure dandy!

4) The Pope resigned. I think I know what he’s giving up for Lent, and it’s not shandy!

Really,* I know beer did not cause any of these things to happen. But sometimes I find life a tad confusing and technology more than a tad. For instance, yesterday, my poems were looking weak, very weak, when I printed them out. I’m talking ink here, not artistry or meaning or craft, because, you know, that would be devastating and require another beer.


So I changed the black inkjet printer cartridge. No help. The poems looked just as faint as before. Must be a dud cartridge, I thought, resorting to logic.**  So I tried again—opened another box, tried another brand (as in Office Depot brand) new (as in recycled reconstructed) printer cartridge, just like before. I know someone will say that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, but that is not supposed to apply to printer cartridges you just took out of the box. Am I right? 

(See logic, above. And crippling self doubt, below.)

**True, it might have been quantum physics rearranging reality via crippling self doubt.

Anyhoo, I have learned from experience (and Scarlett O'Hara) to set any technology problems aside for a day and to solve them the next morning. [Pause to explain that I did not have beer for breakfast. We are in a flashback back-story part of this blog narrative.] [Also, I know full well that Scarlett O'Hara did not avail herself of printer cartridges, recycled or not. But on with my shandy tale!]

So today, Blue Monday, I took all of my old and new printer cartridges back to Office Depot to recycle them and get some new ones, with the wacko color printouts proving the absence or weakness of colors in the cartridges, and the great guy there was very honest and said the reconstructed cartridges only work 50% of the time and to stick with the brand name cartridges, here meaning Hewlett Packard.

So I did. This would have been pretty annoying except for the joy of 1) honesty in commerce and 2) full refund applied to the new purchase!

I celebrated with a) very strong, dark poems b) very light, refreshing citrus and berry beer!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Evolution Sunday

It's Evolution Sunday, and I'm glad to go to a church that celebrates it. By "it" I mean both evolution and Evolution Sunday. It's the Sunday that falls closest to Charles Darwin's birthday, February 12, also Abraham  Lincoln's birthday (same day, same year)! So today we had a wonderful reflection, and slide show, on how the hand is like the wing, etc., plus dinosaurs.

The dinosaur above is made of balloons.

It was interesting to hear our presenter, Tasha Dunn, say, "Birds are dinosaurs," as if it were what we had always known, even while acknowledging that we've only known that for about 20 years. That is, she's younger than I am, getting her graduate degree during the time of this new knowledge and teaching students growing up inside a certain worldview. I grew up inside a previous worldview but in a century that similarly privileged scientific knowledge as the truth (even when it changes). It's an interesting tension.

Meanwhile, the new interview in The Sun magazine, with biologist Rupert Sheldrake, warns about science becoming too dogmatic!

But I don't think we'll get too dogmatic in our under-standing, thanks to Tasha's fine musical-comedy take on her topic, today titled, "Elongated Fingers That Turn Into Wings--These Are a Few of My Favorite Things." And, as I understand it, though I might not be able to spell it, Tasha and her partner may have written new lyrics to another Julie Andrews song, newly titled, "Supraacetabularybipedalicmotion."

Which is, I think, how we humans walk.

Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the picture of Julie Andrews singing to a dinosaur.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Princess Bride Wedding Dress

This is pretty cool, right? Posted by Changing Hands Bookstore, and who doesn't love a socially responsible bookstore? Or a wedding dress made out of pages from The Princess Bride? I've suggested to my niece Maggie that she get married in it, just not right away.

But, speaking of weddings--don't panic, anybody!--I am feeling joyful after some gray, gloominess in the environment. It's still gray and gloomy out there, but I guess I changed my inner environment. Yay!

And speaking of pages from books, check out more of the Next Big Thing over at Karen J. Weyant's blog, The Scrapper Poet. She talks about her next big thing and links to some others.

And please send healing thoughts to blogger Paulette Beete, who is recovering from surgery and has lined up guest bloggers so she can rest. I'm one of them, talking about friendship, letters, and Emily Dickinson.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hump of the Week

It's the Hump of the Week in the blog, and I had a Blue Monday yesterday (which was actually Tuesday) and haven't had the time or inclination to post here lately--busy, moody--so this is indeed a week to get past the hump of.

I'm getting over the hump with the help of edgy love poems by J. Bradley, the new featured poet at Escape Into Life today. Yes, it's February, the month of love, or lurv, as we sometimes like to call it in my house, and I'll be celebrating all month. The Valentine's tree is still up. (Hey, lots of people still have their trees up and Christmas lights still trimming their houses. What's up with that? Have I started a local trend?)

The fabulous, quirky art there (at EIL) and here (hump day in the blog) is by Joe Sinness.

These guys look a lot like how I feel. (If I were a man with five-o'clock shadow.)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Reviewing the Situation

Imaginary soundtrack: Fagin from the musical comedy Oliver, singing "I've been reviewing the situation..."

Actually, I've been reviewing books of poetry. Here's my review of Patricia Clark's Sunday Rising at Escape Into Life. (One of my joys as poetry editor is keeping up, if I can, with the books and accomplishments of the EIL poets.) The art here (and there) is by Philip Govedare, an EIL artist.

Over at Prick of the Spindle, I am The Poetry Cheerleader, and my review of Everything Reminds Me of Me, by Howie Good, just went up.* He happens to be an EIL poet, too, from before my time as poetry editor there. So it's a Random Coinciday, as well as a Poetry Someday in the blog. Not to mention a Slattern Day, as it's Saturday, and I am very untidy looking.

Speaking of looking untidy, see yesterday's post. (That's me, looking untidy and glassily reflective, and that's my sister, looking crazed.) And, speaking of reviewing the situation, the scarf that was lost has been found.

*The world was about to end when I was reading his book, but it resumed. Just as I have resumed wearing a scarf around the house and doing relentless laundry and dishwashing on a Slattern Day with everyone home for the weekend, having suddenly decided not to drive to Muncie, Indiana for a college visit.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Have You Seen This Scarf?

It's so darn cold that I am wearing a scarf around my neck around the house. But not this one. I can't find it.  I wore it yesterday. I wore it to exercise class, to the bank and library, and to my mother's house where I got to look at all the cards she got for her 80th birthday!

Possibly my scarf was kidnapped by the crazy woman in red standing next to me with yellow eyes in this picture. (But I think she's still in Ohio, where she lives. As I recall, this is a cell phone picture. Hence, the fuzziness and my white hair.)

At the moment, I am indeed (again) wearing this particular white sweater, but a multicolored horizontally-striped scarf that belongs to my daughter, who won't miss it because she did not wear it to school. (I hope she wore a hat and gloves, because it is darn cold out there, so cold I missed exercise class today, because I did not want to stand out there scraping my car without a scarf.)

I am hoping I left my scarf at my mother's house. Those cards were wonderful, people! Hilarious, sweet. One was a towering birthday cake that played "Celebrate!" scaring me silly. Beautiful home made, handmade, art cards.  Funny and gorgeous store bought cards. And, of course, the cards that come in the mail, free, from organizations wanting a donation. (I sent one of those. So did my husband. We have to get them out of the house.) Sometimes I send a donation. Somebody sent my mom five bucks!

Anyway, let me know if you see my scarf!

Or should I say, "Keep an eye out for my scarf!"