Sunday, June 30, 2013

Make Way for Ducklings

This just happened, on my way home from visiting Dad at the house. I was driving back south on Linden Street Road, and a mother duck and her duckling emerged (from the ditch by the trailer park). I brake for ducklings. So do a lot of people!

This is the statue in Boston's Public Garden.

This is the book by Robert McCloskey. The cover illustration is copyrighted.

My dad is fine.  The ducklings and their mother are fine. My mom is fine, too. I think we're all tired and relieved.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Busting Out

Background music:
"June is Bustin' Out All Over" from Carousel.

Blooming now:
Prairie Blue Eyes

Still blooming:
Day lilies (orange), blue and lavender spiderwort, golden columbine (on its last spindly legs), bright blue mountain bluet, and plenty of dianthus--in pink, white, hot pink, and peppermint striped.

My dad busted out of the hospital on Friday! Wooee. He came home on a perfect summer day. Blue sky, puffy white clouds, voluminous breeze. He ate a good lunch (non-hospital food), napped on the couch, and sat outside in a lawn chair gazing at the corn, the sky, the grass, and the not-lost vegetable garden. (Weeding, I found the carrots! Tiny.  And nearly ready-to-eat green peppers.)

Today he is having (right now!) his first home care visit from a nurse, and home care physical therapy will start next week. Thanks for all your good wishes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Three Hour Tour

Background music: the theme from Gilligan's Island.

Foreground music: computer fan.

Sense of humor: intact.

I refer to my dad's sense of humor, as he recovers from surgery and considers la vita nuova, meaning "the new life" in the Transitional Care Unit (rehabilitation, physical therapy, and self care at the hospital facility) and living on the first floor of the farmhouse for a while once he gets home. He went to the ER on June 15, and it's been a bit more than a "three hour tour."

Jaunty sailing music.

The art above (called Three Hour Tour) is by Brian Taylor, who also, clearly, has a sense of humor. And coincidentally shares a last name with Keith Taylor, the poet up at Escape Into Life today.

Brian Taylor creates three-dimensional books, displayed open in shadow boxes. His photography and art adorns the other pages, too, which are now never to be seen again, part of the old life, so to speak, yet still evoked by the open pages. The one with the TV in the road is called The West, Then and Now.

The one below: Lake, Boy, Indian.

Poet Keith Taylor also has a doubleness in his poems--myth & memory, forgotten and remembered names, terror and secret joy, blind and seeing. Please take a look!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rumble of Summer

I wake with the birds regularly in summer, but this morning there was also the rumble of thunder and a flicker of lightning in the eastern sky, so no lap swimming, making it a Blue Monday in the blog.

But the good news is that my dad came through leg surgery very well and the pain is gone! Whew! No doubt there will be new pains related to physical therapy and getting up on his feet again, but he's ready to get going and out of that hospital room! So, joy! My sister's here in town and at the hospital now, and I'll go visit again soon. My mom's back at her volunteer post at the reception desk at the history museum, so it's a regular "return to normalcy" in Bloomington-Normal, IL.

Meanwhile, there's a cloud of black birds in this book review of Dana Guthrie Martin's chapbook (in the space where i was) over at Prick of the Spindle. Beautiful, scary cover art by Naima Underwood for this Hyacinth Girl Press book!

Ah, it's also a Random Coinciday, I see. That girl is wrapped in bandages as tight as the bandages on my dad's leg! Also, in the same issue of Prick of the Spindle is one of my Cassandra poems, one that mixes baseball imagery with breakfast and mythological wackiness + back to normalcy. Plus two poems by the same Dana Guthrie Martin! And white wings in a poem by Sarah J. Sloat about a collapsing clementine.

Thanks to Wikipedia/Wikimedia for the two Furies (with very bandagey boots).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Off the Hook

Thanks to all of you who keep sending good wishes our way while my dad's in the hospital. Keep 'em coming, as he's having some surgery today. I've been on the phone a lot lately, though usually it's a cell phone, and now I carry a charger around with me, too, and I'm getting good use out of a "Phoney Pocket" made by Betty Toland. I do also have a rotary phone like this one, black not red, but it's not off the hook. This just represents the bit of disconnect I feel between my head and my ability to recall the day of the week.

Here in the blog, though, it's Slattern Day, and I have an untidy poem up at WGLT's Poetry Radio. Yes, it's called "Off the Hook," and it's about this kind of hook. As usual, in my origami brain, a source of disconnect has led to a kind of re-connect, and the poem is sort of word play wrapped in a fighting song. Brilliant WGLT producer Bruce Bergethon helped me see that by attaching music by Charnett Moffett: "Haitian Fight Song" from The Bridge: Solo Bass Works. I love this mad, mad world and its constant connections, though, lately, my origami brain feels a little squashed, like a wad of the newspaper funnies, in color, crunched when somebody sat on it.

In my anchoring search for Random Coinciday images, I was pleased to discover, via red phone, the blog of children's writer, poet, and book lover Martha Calderaro. And also Ninja star coat hooks, by Thinkgeek; my son would like these.

In addition, these paint brush coat hooks would hang well on the wall of our home (the home of an artist/carpenter), and we have the stiff brushes to prove it. (One, oddly, is in the freezer.)

These are created by Dominic Wilcox at Variations on Normal, a pretty irresistible name for this Normal (IL) woman. I hope it's OK to show you his work and link to his site. You can also find him here!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day Lilies

They've begun. The relentless day lilies. I thought it was the first day of summer, because the first one opened, but some calendars tell me that's on Friday...with a full moon on Sunday. It's all fine by me. Weary, though. Distracted. But I'll start again tomorrow. Lap swimming!

Each thing contains its opposite, doesn't it.

My dad is having three-dimensional dreams.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Found Our Way Out

OK, well, despite being lost in the labyrinthine hospital yesterday, my mom and I found our way out. And so did my dad! (Sort of.) He's being moved to the rehabilitation wing, where they will make him move his limbs till he can get around better and go home. He is quite chipper today, though some crankiness and discouragement are quite understandable when your active lifestyle is, er, clogged by blood clots.

There are many Exit signs in the hospital, but, in my recent experience, none of them led to exits I recognized as being also the entrance I'd used coming in. It was a bit like being in a Kafka novel or a play by Jean-Paul Sartre. Yesterday, attempting to exit by way of the elevator I'd come up on, I noticed a wall sign that had not been there the day before.  ("Twilight Zone" music.) It clearly showed patient room numbers that included my dad's room number! When I'd come up, for two consecutive days, the only signs showed other room numbers, not those on my dad's hallway. (Minotaur music.) The suddenly-appearing sign had a different font size and a satiny finish, and I thought, "Gee, that's probably something about expectations and perception, etc., blah blah blah." (Really. I say that kind of stuff in my head. And sometimes out loud.)

Finally, today, I tied a string to the front door and unrolled it as I went, made easier by all the automatic doors in a hospital. It was tricky going up the elevator, but it's elastic string...

Those are actors in Sartre's play, laughing at my silly myth. Anyhoo, I learned that I'd been using a staff-only elevator on my way back, and needed to pass that in order to find the regular elevator and retrace my steps without the aid of mythical elastic string. "Gee, it's nice not to be going bonkers while my dad's in the hospital and both he and my mom could use a little practical help!" (Sometimes my brain gets stuck in a feedback loop or an origami fold.)

Thanks for all the good vibes.  Evidently, they worked!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lost in Space

Thanks for the good vibes, everybody. My dad had some surgery this morning, and is doing fine, resting, and will no doubt be a good candidate for a quick recovery via physical therapy. His blood clots and baker's cyst are still there, but now he's got a filter that will keep any floating debris from colliding with his heart. So that's good.

Every time I go in the hospital, I find his room, Room 241, just fine. Or eventually. It's getting out of the hospital that's the problem. I can't seem to retrace my steps. Or I retrace my mistaken steps many times.

True, there's been renovation and new construction. And, yes, some of the staff don't even know how to get from here to there due to the changes. But they all seem to be able to get out!

And, though lost in the hospital, I always get out. With help.

Meanwhile, I remain a little lost in the space of my head. Today I got maybe two things done, besides lap swimming and visiting my dad and mom. Maybe three. But with a lot of retracing my mental steps.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Needed: Good Vibes

Hey, I need some good vibes for my dad who has a blood clot in his leg. He is doing all the right stuff about it: taking it easy, elevating the leg, giving himself shots (er, medication), and going to the doctor. Please send some good vibes to my mom, too, who is doing all this with him.

The Cranky Doodle Day part of this post is that he was supposed to leave Saturday for Gambier, Ohio, to attend the Kenyon Playwrights Conference and this looks less and less likely, alas. And darn it.

He also couldn't attend last night's History Makers Gala at ISU's Brown Ballroom, a lovely event created by the McLean County Museum of History to 1) honor local people who are making history by living their lives! 2) have a cool way to hold their annual meeting! With food and wine!

My dad wrote the script for this event last year, and I wrote it this year. He was part of the initial planning and is responsible for the bells!--but was too busy with directing Middletown at Heartland Theatre to do this year's script. It was great fun and a privilege to be involved this year. Rhys Lovell did a wonderful job directing spirited actors who brought people from the past back to honor people in the present. Yay to all of this, and here's an account, with pix, from The Pantagraph.

Also, please send some good vibes to The Bloggess.  Because wine.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Going Back Outside, Probably to Sit in a Chair...

..and read or write or dream... because I can! It's summer, and I work at home, and it's not storming yet, and I still need to comb the tangles out of my hair from my morning swim...

Here's the new poetry feature, Francine Ringold, longtime editor of Nimrod, up at Escape Into Life. There's a dog named Pete in it, plus this fantastic photography by EIL artist Diana Lemieux.

I'm imagining that the woman in the chair resembles Francine Leffler Ringold when she was younger--she was a performer and had a one-woman show about dancer Isadora Duncan. Check out her author photo & compare eyebrows.

If so, it's a Random Coinciday in the blog!

I love my life in a small town. The mail carrier just rang the doorbell to say I needed to add 20 cents to an envelope (daughter sending a thank you note with graduation photos in it), so I did, and all is well. Oddly, he was smoking a brown cigarette or a tiny cigar. You don't see that much these days.

Off I go into my ragged dreaming...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Babies Born

Today is my son's birthday, and the house wren eggs have hatched in their nest deep in a bucket. This is Audubon's picture of house wrens nesting in a hat.

My son was here for the weekend, and we confirmed the birth of the babies, which we had assumed from the mother's busy hopping along the rain gutter with various juicy bugs in her mouth, ready to regurgitate, by peeking at them in the shed and seeing two baby beaks exhaustedly resting on the rim of the nest.

Later, putting away a garden tool, one was still (or again) in the beak-on-the-rim position for sleeping, and another had leaned back, beak wide open, dreaming of regurgitated bugs. Or so I imagined.

We think there are more babies, obscured by the general cloudlike mass of gray down.

Daughter heads off to college later this summer.

Soon, I'll be an empty nester.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Co-inka Dink

Imaginary background music: "Inka Dinka Doo" as sung by Jimmy Durante. Actual background music here, or video here!

And a tip of the hat to Wikipedia for this public domain image of Jimmy Durante, a favorite singer, actor, narrator from my childhood. Snippets of "Inka Dinka Doo," particularly "inka dinka dink," are permanently folded into my origami brain!

I met with a poet pal yesterday to plan a future reading, and she'd just been to a family reunion in New Orleans with a nephew who'd just graduated from high school, here, and was talking about a poet who'd read at graduation, and was actually quoting phrases from the poem! That poet was me. Co-inka dink #1!

My daughter wandered into the kitchen for breakfast, and, not only does she know this nephew, she just helped him get a job at the restaurant where she works! Co-inka dink #2!

As our meeting progressed, my poet pal called to confirm with another poet who'll be involved in the reading. She said a friend of hers has a grandson who just graduated here and was enthusiastic about a poet who'd read at graduation. Co-ink #Mee!

I think this may be the biggest moment of my literary career.

Speaking of sweet co-inka dinks, yesterday I posted a review of Inksuite, by Sarah J. Sloat, over at Escape Into Life. I love her work--smart, short, often funny poems, and also beautiful, heart-punching poems with indelible images--and this chapbook from dancing girl press is unified in being about typeface and printed matter. Check it out. Or, better yet, buy it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back in the Swim of Things

OK, this is happen-ing! The red grape spider-wort is starting to open. The Ohio blue and lavender blue are already abundant. It's a blue-sky day, one of two in the forecast before the storms return. The furnace came on again last night, but I went to the pool anyway for the first day of outdoor lap swimming. Yay!

And now, because I briefly can, I am going back outside to read and write, and maybe weed, but ...nope. The gardening tools and gloves are in the shed where the house wren stares back at me like a miniature Grumpy Cat from the nest she built in her favorite bucket. She's sitting on 6 eggs.

A couple of them might belong to a brown-headed cowbird, but she's keeping them warm.

And this is still happening!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Synchronicity/Public Transportation

Yesterday I rode in a horse-drawn carriage. This horse, this carriage (news video). I was in beautiful downtown Bloomington, Illinois, and the news video is in beautiful Uptown Normal, Illinois. The horse is Randy; the driver is Zack Hileman. Very pleasant, and I got to wave at people!

On May 16, I was blogging about the WGLT Good To Go Commuter Challenge. My church participated, and we won our division! We logged a lot of miles on bike, foot, bus, and carpool! Little did I know that on that same day, May 16, my poem "The Human Community," about public transportation, and sort of about being glass, transparent, a window, a floaty thing, mentioned in the blog post, was actually airing on WGLT Poety Radio! Thanks to those who read it and liked it. This is a place you can hear it, too. (And now I've updated the older blog post to reflect the synchronicity!)

Many thanks again to Glass: A Journal of Poetry for publishing the poem last year, and again to Mogens Engelund for the Swedish window with a glassblower's mark. Many thanks to the glasswinged butterfly for existing in the world.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Trotter Fountain

Here I am, as Georgina Trotter, at the 102nd anniversary event for the Trotter Fountain, a sculpture by Lorado Taft. What a delight. The weather held, I arrived by horse and carriage (Zach, driver, and Randy, horse), and I learned so much about area history, the Trotter family, and world-class sculptor Lorado Taft--in various speeches by Trotter Fountain supporters, Bill Kemp (librarian at the McLean County Museum of History), and Mel Theobald (artist and art historian). Great turnout, too, with children playing in the park just as Lorado Taft (like me, back from the dead), spoke of wanting children to play in the park near the fountain!

Many thanks to Barb Micetic Lancaster, a Trotter descendant, for asking me to perform, to Judy Brown for getting me in my petticoat, and to Dana Colcleasure for this fun photograph. I sort of look like I'm floating!