Saturday, February 27, 2016


I have failed to see many (most?) of the Oscar-nominated movies this year, alas, in time for the Academy Awards. But 1) I have seen The Martian (surprisingly upbeat!) 2) last night we saw Spotlight, as it's out on DVD (devastating, wonderful!) 3) I did see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is nominated for film editing, and  4) I read Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin, and will seek out the movie when I can.

Likewise, I will seek out the books for the other movies based on books, and I suppose this was part of my delay, wanting to read the book first!

Both kids highly recommended The Revenant, and it is still here in town, so, who knows? Maybe we will see it tonight!

Likewise, I could still see some of the other movies if I can find the DVD at the library later today, but...I might not. (As staff, I often feel guilty checking out the newest movies--like Straight Outta Compton--until patrons have had a chance. But that didn't stop me with Spotlight, since there were multiple copies left at closing time!) I have seen Cinderella, nominated for costume design. Yes! Fabulous gowns, and, yes, I might watch the Oscars, especially the red-carpet pre-show, primarily for the gowns.

As it's Slattern Day in the blog, I'm not planning to wash anything but my hair, but I do want to comment on my untidy mind. More than once in the last week, I have signed onto the Internet intending to do one thing, then checked social media, attended to email duties, etc., and forgotten to do the one thing before signing out...and having to sign back on to fulfill my duty or intention. Sigh...

Sometimes I write my blog that way, too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


One bean leads to another... (See: Beanspiration). On Monday a friend came to visit, and I served some naan with olive oil and spices as we chatted and drank wine. The dinner hour approached, my husband was due home from volleyball practice, and I invited our friend to dinner and started cooking it. Zatarain's red beans and rice from a box, simple, but with a bit of a New Orleans kick.

As we began to eat, our friend said, "You have served me the traditional meal I would eat during my Nineveh fasting."

What?! I love when that happens. Red beans and rice--no meat--would be appropriate at the end of his Nineveh fasting period. The Fast of Ninevah honors Jonah's 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the whale and a later fast celebrating the end of a plague.

The prediction was for rain or snow. We got snow. I still want rain.

I am re-reading Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed, for book group. Today I re-read the letter from "Helpless Mom" and Strayed's reply in a section called Ten Angry Boys. Suddenly they were doing "rain," a group-in-a-circle activity involving creating a thunderstorm with body sounds. That was the activity I taught my Young at Heartland group, a community of senior actors. We loved it, and so did these ten angry boys and their families! I remember when I first taught it, I said I had read about it in a book. This book. But I had forgotten which book till today!

Cheryl Strayed is so very wise and compassionate. She says "[t]hat we must help ourselves. That after destiny has delivered what it delivers, we are responsible for our lives."

The sky delivered snow. Time to shovel it. Destiny keeps delivering tiny beautiful things*--thank you!--on Random Coincidays!

*like a former student's new baby named Rain!

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Today when I began to reply to a text message from my mother, my cell phone offered me the word "Beanspiration" as what I probably wanted next. Uh, I did not. So add that to the list of things I do not understand.

Evidently "beanspiration" might be a thing, at Twitter and Pinterest, places I am often afraid to click on. Or via blogs about beans as 1) healthy or 2) exploding.

We are a (Cuban) rice & beans household, so I know a bit about exploding beans.

Beanspiration might be a contraction of "Be an inspiration." We have a poetry reading at the public library tonight--love poems & Shakespeare's sonnets. I hope it will be an inspiration not involving any exploding beans.

Beanwhile, over at Escape Into Life, there's an inspiring set of illustrations--sisterhood & cats!--by artist Manuja Waldia, who will provide the illustrations for book covers of new editions of Shakespeare's plays!

Thank you to EIL Artist Watch editor Maureen Doallas, who has permission to show the Othello cover and who tells us more about Waldia and the Shakespeare covers in her blog.

And thank you to Mr. Bean for being a true Beanspiration!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sweet Tooth

I've been reading some Ian McEwan novels simultaneously* and finished one today, Sweet Tooth, rather appropriately on chocolatey Valentine's Day. (I no longer take valentine chocolate for granted, though, after listening to an NPR story about Askinosie Chocolate.) Sweet Tooth is a spy novel, sort of, and not about chocolate at all.

(I'm also reading On Chesil Beach.)

I was wanting to read Atonement, having seen the movie again recently, but the library only has the audiobook,** Oddly enough, Sweet Tooth relates to two other movies I've seen recently--the wacky Spy, with Melissa McCarthy "running" her spy, Jude Law (and I wouldn't have known what "spy running" was in this novel if I hadn't seen that comic film) and The Man Who Never Was, based on a true story (and a book).

When I encountered the story of a body washed up on a beach in Sweet Tooth, I thought, "Whoa! The Man Who Never Was!" (And, really, I think my mind nearly linked it the way I have linked the title to the IMDb entry, because I sort of dream electronically now. It's scary. I was updating my daughter's FAFSA in my dreams last night, I think....). And Ian McEwan was indeed referencing that case!

OK, there are way too many random coincidii for my brain to handle today: all the Ian/Ewen/McEwan similarity, the sweet toothiness, even the beaches.***

*Because I need a book-in-progress for breaks at work and at home!

**And that doesn't work for those breaks.

***I have never seen Beaches. But now I might have to, since IMDb tells me that Spaulding Gray was in it, a man who most wonderfully was.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day, chocolate or no.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Today I got a rejection from a journal to which I had not submitted. That was a first. To confuse things more, the rejection came in a self-addressed stamped envelope, clearly in my own handwriting. Well, I had submitted to this journal back in the fall of 2013. A poem was accepted and then published in the fall/winter of 2014. We are now in the winter, not of our discontent, no, I am content...but we are in the winter, and it's 2016. I think what happened was that the acceptance came via email and our further conversation was also electronic and somebody just found my SASE and sent it back with a rejection slip in it. Sigh.... My life, in a nutshell!

Another first! My husband, a visual artist, and I, a poet, will have work in the same journal. The proof came, yes, electronically, today! I saw his work and mine. Mine looked fine; he'll need to converse with the editors about his titles. I'll tell you more when it's out. Looks like a great issue! Thanks to Jonathan Koch, an artist to whom I am not married, for the nutshell. Walnut, a painting I own!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Invisibility of Women

Speaking of the invisibility of women, as I was on Saturday in the blog, here is a wonderful NPR story I heard this morning about an art exhibit in L.A., portraits, by Rebecca Campbell, of fellow women artists, to keep them from "becoming invisible." You can read or listen to the Susan Stamberg story at the NPR website, seeing some of the portraits. And here's more about it at the gallery itself, LA Louver.

In celebrating my own invisibility via book cover, I am not celebrating the invisibility of women. I see women.* And I hope the poems help readers see women, too, the way the portraits do in this exhibit. There's even invisible critique of the "male gaze" in these poems, several of them ekphrastic, responding to paintings of women by men. Women at work, all kinds of work, work some people don't even see as work. But it is.

Happy February. Watch out for your shadow tomorrow. If you have a shadow, you're not invisible!**

*As in "I see dead people."

**And if you're reading this, you're probably not a groundhog.

Thanks to Cephas & Wikimedia for the groundhog/woodchuck.