Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm working on a poem about a bird nest, and found this stunning photo and text in the Wikipedia entry "Bird Nest":

"Like many small birds, the Purple-crowned Fairy uses considerable amount of spider silk in its cup nest."

Spider silk!
Ruby-crowned Fairy!
It's a found-poem-fragment!

Botox Ha!

Three times today at work, I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks. Once it was so bad that I had to lay my head down on the table. My stomach hurt. Bad! I tell you!

A NYTimes op-ed piece makes the case for getting botox injections so that your frown muscles cease to function. Apparently, in a study of 74 people, this caused an easing of depression. Kinda turns the case for therapy-to-feel-better on its head. Instead, it's do a happy dance first, feel better second.

Now, if this was the case, I'd never get depressed, because this laughing-until-crying 3x in a day is not unusual for me. Or maybe, if I stopped laughing-until-crying 3x a day, things would get really bad. Maybe this is my version of a control group of one.

Anyway, I would have it no other way, except maybe to bump up my numbers to, oh, 6x a day. Wouldn't want to rush into anything, though. God help us if there's too much laughing.

I'm going away for the weekend with three of my sisters, and I'm actually worried I'm going to laugh too much. We're bringing the game Balderdash, where you make up definitions for odd words and then vote on which one you think is the right definition. Last time we did this on a weekend getaway (about fifteen years ago), my stomach muscles ached for days after.

This is what made me laugh last night (and they sound more than just a little bit like Donald Duck):

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blog Post

One of my sisters complained this week re: my dearth of blog posts, of late. She said I needed some drama, something to write about.

I will say that the past three-month period has been, by far, the most calm period of the past fifteen years. A little weird to settle in-to, but I'm likin' it. Don't need no drama. (Although a little spice would suffice, say, maybe a quarter teaspoon or so.)

But here we are, another spring, another year of ripping the bindweed from the garden. My son and I filled the giant yard waste bin this morning, trimmings from the apple tree mostly, the tree that produces about a half dozen maggoty fruits. I think I like it better for its accumulation of lichen than anything else, and the birds that roost in its branches. Oh, and the short-lived blossoms. And the shade it provides for my kitty graveyard.

There's a hazelnut tree, a volunteer from, I'm guessing, a nut buried by a squirrel. The squirrels also harvest all the nuts. Alas, a the meager yield from my two-tree orchard.

I wish there were still surprises to be found in my garden, but I think those days are past. Once I found two Spanish coins while digging, and they were worth about two cents. Snails are recent migrants, and because their shells are so beguiling, I can forgive their slugginess.

But every plant, every weed has been seen before. Is this what happens when we age? I like to keep parts of my garden a little feral, so as to invite the unexpected. Maybe I need to tunnel into the ivy-rose bramble beneath the fir tree, where the cats hide. Maybe that's where I'll find something worth unearthing, some rusty hinge or remnant of fence that quietly tells its story.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


It's really just a rearrangement of dirt: mopping. Before I mop there are spots and clumps of lord-knows-what on the tiles, and after I mop, it's all spread out evenly.

This is what I think when I mop the kitchen floor.

Other notable events:

1. the quince is blooming

(Should really be "another notable event", but I'm optimistic that there will be more, and I'll come back and add #2.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Praise to the Light

I really can claim no complaining rights when it comes to winter here, considering our more moderate climate, but this winter laid me low, pushed me under the rug, had me gut-punched with what seemed like interminable darkness. On and on.

We are creatures of the light.

And all of a right-now-sudden there's a whole lot of bursting open going on, ornamental cherries and grape hyacinths and daffodils and today I even saw a plum tree fully enlaced in white blossoms, so right out there and in-my-face that at first I thought it was just an overgrowth of lichen on an old tree. And suddenly also there is a scent in the air other than the steel-trap-shut scent of winter.

There's a sweetness, by god.

Painting, this morning, and suddenly, E., a young women who works for us, spontaneously burst out into laughter that went on and on. When I asked her what was so funny, she said, "not funny, but beautiful....  Look at these colors on these leaves! They're beautiful!"

And yes they were. A green with undertones of black to bring depth to the surface of the glass, then an overlay of maroon-bronze, feathered out from the tips. E. is still learning the nuances of this particular painting process, and she gets it — I mean she really gets it, like no one else I've taught.
She understands the subtleties, and how the lightest touch with the brush will alter dramatically the overall effect. It's thrilling to experience her process, how it is opening up to her, and how she rises to the challenge of it. And then today, when she vocalized her utter sense of joy with a full-on laugh.

Walking home tonight — in sunlight! — I counted on my fingers the months ahead of post-5pm daylight. Eight months! Count 'em — eight! To the naysayers re: DST, I say: BAH! I say bring it on. I sing hallelujah and praise to the light.

And there was a moment this morning, when I was walking outside between house/factory and studio, when the day was just emerging from the mist, and sunlight was breaking through from the east, and it seemed as if all of winter was being burned away in anticipation of Official Spring, still ten days hence. The air had a sound, a flat thud of a sound, minus depth or echo, and the light seemed to carry in its photons its own warm fragrance. A synaesthetic moment, to be sure.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winter's Retreat

The sun came out this morning, flaring between gusty rain squalls and, being creatures drawn to light and the drama it creates with color & landscape, all three of us at work rushed to the window to behold what few moments the universe was granting us free of downpour. The year has made that subtle shift away from winter here on this continent's edge, and we who huddle too much in the shadows of mountains and evergreens, awash in infinite gravelly shades of grey — we live for moments like these, where the new greens of the grass appear illuminated, as does the thick coating of moss on the trees.

A. said: I bought [glass] color rods yesterday for my new project, two shades of green, one like the grass and the other like the moss.

And then, just as quickly, the rain blew back in, and we returned to our tasks, that luscious green existing, at that moment, only in a tube of paint. I rustled around for it in the paint box, my brain humming with possibilities.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hangin' with the Tribe

I've been walking around in a funk/pout/sulk all week because the AWP Writer's Conference was in Seattle and I wouldn't be going, all economic things considered. I mean, a serious sulk — I could hardly stand to be with me. I mean, what am I, a two year old? (Well, um.....)


I did go to the AWP Bookfair today, open to the public FOR FREE. Damn it was good. I milled around amidst thousands of people who, like me, treasure the almighty written word above almost everything else. It was like a club meeting of the one club where I'd be a member, except I'd got there at the very end of the meeting, but it was okay because everyone was in high spirits and there was table after table (800+ tables) of letter-press books and poetry mags and just plain people who love the whole shebang as much as I do.

Glory be.

Apart from feeling like I'd missed most of the show, I'm so very glad I went. Saw lots of people I know, made a bunch of new connections, and just plain was in awe of some of the work I saw: hand-crafted books with amazing art and, well, some damn fine writing.

Good stuff on a Seattle grey day.