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Showing posts from December, 2012

Welcome 13

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I met David 24 years ago tonight. We have spent every New Year's Eve since in each other's company, even when we lived in different cities and were in relationships with other people (which was all a long, long time ago, as I have lived here in this very same house in Cleveland Heights for almost 18 years).

Funny. All of this still amazes me.

Tonight we spent our evening with friends we have found through kids and school - a sentence that would not have made sense to me the night we met. Second time in a month I have played Apples to Apples with a room full of tipsy adults.

Reading:
no

Writing:
no

Dinner:
Lasagne three ways, by Beth

Soundtrack:
Pop, new and old

Random thing:
The night David and I met, my hair was blue and so were my Dunhills.

Fly home

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Day of homecoming. I am impressed and gladdened with how happy to be home ZandO are. They are giddy with it. And yet also sorry to have their week at MP's over. It is nice when the thing you are leaving and the thing you are arriving at are both things you love.

David and I celebrated with Dr. Who, Knob Creek rye old fashioneds, and folding laundry. We really know how to live it up around here.

Reading:
None yet

Writing:
ditto

Dinner:
Simple Spiced Black Beans (an old standby from the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook), yellow rice from a box and frozen "farmer's market blend" (broccoli, green and wax beans, red peppers, and yellow and orange carrots). Feels good to cook, even simply.

Soundtrack:
Bluegrass and old timey music on WOUB for a suprisingly long part of the journey home.

Random thing:
It was a 7 hawk drive home. Two in flight and the others puffed up grandly in the cold. (It was a 6 hawk drive going down last week.) I watch for hawks on car trips, and I have …

More than one kind of ghost

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Yesterday I woke in the morning to find the power had gone out and the trees were all frosted with heavy white snow.



We spent the morning by candlelight in front of the fire. D & O even hauled out the Harley Davidson Monopoly game. Then after getting the kids new snow boots (needed but procrastinated about at home in the unseasonably warm autumn), we went out to my sister's boyfriend's family compound - 200+ acres of woods and ponds and rolling hills near Albany - for snowball fights and meeting horses and a hayride and a bonfire and cocoa by the wood stove. Adrienne and I made a snowman too, but didn't get around to giving him a face.

Needless to say, it wasn't much of a writing day, but I did read quite a bit.

Reading:
Finally, I finished the Lurie book of short stories. I liked many of these stories, and I found them technically interesting (which was a big part of why I wanted to read this book -- to examine how she introduces ghosts into her essentially realis…

Why are you interested in ceramics now?

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Sitting in a certain hospitable coffeehouse this afternoon, I couldn't help eavesdropping Harriet the Spy-like on the threesome of artists sitting at the table over my right shoulder. After chitchatting for an hour about upcoming travel and past residencies in various European countries, and the threats of said places to car mirrors and introverted personalities, and discussing the layouts of gallery shows and other people's little studios, they finally got to the heart of things.


The guy (a painter, I believe) was discussing his new project and explaining how he could only work on it at certain times because he didn't want to be observed making decisions by grad students. The female ceramicist with the plummy accent countered with a question about this new project. "Why? I mean, why are you interested in ceramics? Now?" He did not have anything very coherent for an answer, so she continued to explain how she had actually be "rather offended, really" wh…

All Hail the Goblin King

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Today is the day when vacation begins to feel surreal. The hype of the holiday is over and we are all just here, out of routine. Picked my mom up from the dentist, made clay figures with O, went to see The Hobbit. Fretted about things in real life, but tried to keep it to a minimum since there is nothing to be done from here. Was still watching The Hobbit. Ha Ha. It was fun cuddling up with Z and trading whispered remarks and funny faces. My favorite part of the movie was the goblin king. And, in fact, the clay figure I made earlier, sort of resembled him. 
And, OK, fine, I was excited when Smaug's eye opened and was ready to keep watching, but 3 movies? Really? And 3 movies shot under labor dispute, prompting the NZ government to declare film production workers can not organize? Not shiny, Peter Jackson. Shiny thing fail. And someday, when I have nothing better to do, I would like to find out how Jackson convinced anyone to green light LotR.
Reading: 
Still, with the Lurie.

Writin…

Under 20, dammit

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This exercise in blarg-- blerg-- uh, blogging is enjoyable, but I think I have been breaking my 20-minute rule rather regularly. So, the challenge now is to keep it under 20. And, somehow, it took me 2 minutes to write that first sentence. No wonder it is taking me so long to write the tome of tomorrow ... that's my official new name for it. Tome of Tomorrow, or ToT for short. No more of this BiP or E(ndless)BiP or what have you.

Reading:
Continuing on with the Lurie. Looking forward to beginning something new tomorrow.
Also, the writing letters chapter from Bird by Bird

Writing:
Muchly, at the hospitable Donkey.

Dinner:
O and I made a nice succotash with shallots and a splash of half and half to perk up the frozen limas and corn. My mom made a second night of Yorkshire pudding, because she could. If you have bothered to render suet, you might as well make a Yorkshire pudding. That's our family motto. Along with leftover beef and gravy from Christmas dinner.

Soundtrack:
Johnny Ca…

of spoon rings and speculoos

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Christmas eve and day were both remarkably lovely. There have been times in my life when I have been trapped by depression and self-consciousness about my inability to rise above it, and that functioned like a stiff, painful body cage of sorts, keeping me always uncomfortably at a remove from the celebration. One of the things I am most thankful for is that those times are past. I am present and available to this place and time, these people and all their quirks, opinions, and great love.

And I also got fantastic gifts from all quarters. I think my favorite is the spoon ring with a T monogram, given to me by Z, who stood over me with much delightful anticipation as I opened it. And that's saying something, because I also got a new laptop (desperately needed, as I have been working on a tiny netbook with 2/3 of a working screen for far, far too long. Imagine typing inside of a kindergartner's cubby.)

Reading:
I got to sit by the fire with a toddy and read Women and Ghosts, just…

A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves

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Breakfast with Jelly and Kosh, Z's final indoor soccer game of session (they went down fighting), drive to Athens listening to Patrick's Stewart's Christmas Carol, arrival and first night of merriment. O and Grumpa Chris (aka Detroit) built battery-powered electro-magnets and played pool while listening to Lou Reed (which O declared "good pool playing music") in the garage. Z worked on her powerpoint about her year. Wine and good food and cheesy Christmas movie. In bed by 10. Party on.

Gave a georgous new(ish) book on the Kokoon Club to J&K. They gave us a bottle of Knob Creek rye. All good.


What is the Kookon Club, you ask? "At times shocking, fun and outrageous, a group of local artists who formed the Kokoon Klub [sic] and started hosting Bal Masques in 1911 did more than bring out vice squads or orders from Cleveland mayors to cancel one of the hottest events in the city. They introduced modern art to Cleveland." (Read whole article here.)

Reading…

Two-two-two Days in One ...

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Today was all about the preparations for a week at Wolf Manor - finishing up shopping (thank you Loganberry, where I found the perfect things for all the malingering oddballs on my list), finishing up work, or at least packaging it so that it can be finished remotely, cleaning house, packing, planning for Christmas dinner dessert (leaning towards a pear and almond pudding).

Yesterday was work and play and an evening with the "yogamomz" - women and their families I have known since I was pregnant with Z. My sisters for whom I am so thankful. It was a (not the) end of the world party. We all wore the same goofy plastic necklaces. We drank beer and ate Julie's incredibly good venison pie. Karl played "11:59" for me at 11:59.



Reading: 
Huh.

Writing:
Yesterday morning, some energizing stuff. Today, nothing.

Dinner:
Yesterday homemade venison pie. (I sadly never had any of Karl's chili)  Tonight pepperoni, mushroom, olive, broccoli pizza from Whole Foods.

 Soundtrack…

Damsel in Distress

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So I bought David something large, heavy, and unwieldy for Christmas. (There is a joke in there, I'm sure. I will pause now while you formulate your own version ... ) It was delivered yesterday while I was out. The UPS guy(s) left it behind the house. When ZandO and I got home it was raining hard and threatening snow. I did not think that David's new object should be left out in the rain. Moving an object 3/4 your own height and twice your width that weighs 98 lbs (I just looked it up. That's how much it weighs.), in the cold wind and rain, is no small feat. I managed to get it into the side door, so it was out of the rain, but I couldn't get it up the stairs into the kitchen, so I couldn't close the door, which meant I couldn't leave to take ZandO to music lessons.

I sat down and literally put my head in my hands. I had that deep existential gut exhaustion that makes you feel like crying (and also signals a need to return to a regular workout schedule), and I…

Ba Ba Ba-Bamp!

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On the way to the botanical gardens, I was listening to 87.7 FM, this new and (to me) mysterious Cleveland radio station that has cropped up recently to please the Gen-X listener. It is like an oldies station for my people, which is disturbing if you give yourself any time to think about it. [If you know anything about this station, please tell me about it. I find it so odd.]
"I Wanna Be Sedated" came on and I sang along with the radio turned up while the kids played with the Kindle in the backseat, and I was struck by the open joy of Joey Ramone's voice on that track, and I thought for the millionth time about how Joey Ramone is a beautiful chip of the divine, all dressed up in ripped jeans and black leather.

I first saw the Ramones at Mem Aud in Athens in 1985, when I was 14. I was in the pit or perched on the back of the front row of seats. I had black hair. Here is what somebody said in an article about Mem Aud:
"As one of the auditorium's cadre of student u…

Punk Rock Supergroup

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Long day, brief blog.

Kim's last day at work and I hire her replacement. #circleoflife

Made my daughter cry when I yelled at her for locking the bathroom door on her brother.

Found out I had had 2500 postcards printed with the wrong year on them.

But over all, not a bad day.

Reading: 
Women and Ghosts by Allison Lurie. Feeling a great affinity for her right now

Writing: 
Some good non-manuscript writing this morning. A bit of manuscript writing after this, before succumbing

Dinner: 
(lunch was at the Greenhouse Tavern, and was divine, as expected. Not, however, a big fan of the mucilaginous "60 minute egg.")

Kraft mac-n-cheese and salty roasted cauliflower, after Z's science fair exhibition, whilst David gamboled at his company holiday party.

Soundtrack: 
I am officially sick of Christmas music, awkward as I live with such dorky carolphiles.

On the other hand, Karl issued a challenge for an end of the world playlist for a party on the 21st. That's fun. "11:59"…

typing in my sleep

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Received an email from the kids' pediatrician's office today, about dealing with tragedy. It was lengthy and thoughtful and included an extended meditation on "a beautiful Jewish tradition to thank God for the 'little miracles that happen each day'."

God or no god, I tend to think this is a worthwhile practice. It is the underlying rationale behind this blog - if I can record the shiny bits, at least some of them, then I know i am pausing to see the world, tiny bit by tiny bit.

So this blog becomes both a study in gratitude and a kind of awareness meditation. 



Reading:
Starting Carry the One by Carol Anshaw or Nalo Hopkinson's The New Moon's Arms, or Alix Kates Shulman's Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen or Women and Ghosts, about ... haunted women! -- by Alison Lurie ( a short story collection.)
Writing: Ordered the power cord from A-zon. Got some riffing on a major character done, hoping it will help me push on in the revision.

Dinner:   Used last week'…

If I had a file cabinet, I'd file in the morning ...

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Z told me tonight that she wishes she had her own filing cabinet, so she could file all her school papers and artwork. Then at the end of each year she would clean it out and start over. I asked her, hypothetically, if she would file her math papers chronologically or topically. She thought she would do it topically (multiplication, division, fractions, etc.) and went so far as to say that she would also have a miscellaneous file for papers that "put a whole bunch of stuff together," like the practice sheets for the state tests.
I told her I thought this was an admirable plan, and I wish someone had taught me the value of filing when I was younger. The weirdest part of this story is that I was totally serious about that.

Reading:
Again, for writers group. I realize I am dragging my heels about committing to a new book. This is unfortunate as I have a lot of books I want to read. Will pick one and take it to bed with me. 
Writing: Did I mention the power cord for my laptop sh…

What do we do?

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They published the names of the victims in Newtown this evening. The 20 children killed were all 6 and 7 years old. I have a 7 year old. I send him to school every day and think about him all day long. My first son was stillborn. I can't even begin to imagine the crush depths of grief those parents are feeling, and the lifelong scars the other children in that school will bear. And yet ... there are places in this country where gun violence, though not massive like this, is routine. There are places around the world where, right now, children are suffering terribly. There is too much hurt. What do we do? 


Reading:
for writers group
Writing: no, and my power cord for my laptop shorted out

Dinner:
Kim and I created on of the best meals I have ever cooked.
Fabulous polenta (made with coarse cornmeal, almond milk, water, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, and olive oil) spread in a pan to set and then layered with roasted grapes tomatoes, roasted peruvian potatoes, roasted blue oyster mushroo…

no words

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There were some shiny things today, but they all were damped by the news from Newtown.


Holding hope in my heart that the people there can someday find some healing, and that we as a culture can figure out how to make this madness stop.


Put a bow on it

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The elves suggest that you might like to make your own wrapping paper, with rubber stamps or paint or even collage. 
But also this: MAKE YOUR OWN BOWS WITH MAGAZINE PAGES:  http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2009/10/make-gift-bow-from-magazine-page.html
You're welcome. 


Reading:
Not much -- the chapter on making phone calls in Bird by Bird, (because it was next, not because the chapter spoke to me) which was funny to me as I loathe the telephone. And a tiny bit more of Calvin Trillin's essay on Oaxaca in the recent food issue of the New Yorker. I think I will start something new before I fall asleep. Not sure what yet.
Writing: Mostly manuscript organization -- I discovered things I forgot I had written! And relocated things I didn't know I had lost. Also, some revision in bold new territory.

Dinner: Leftover brisket "bolognese" over penne with aged gouda in lieu of parm. (awesome!), and a green salad.

Soundtrack: Brubeck Quartet and related items -- and in the afterno…

North Pole Postage

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I walked into the Lee Rd. library this afternoon, where they have all manner of Tolkein displays in honor of the new Hobbit movie, and saw on the shelf at the top of the stairs Tolkein's Father Christmas Letters. Have you ever seen this? It is freaking amazing. Yearly, Tolkein would write a long letter to his children from Father Christmas, complete with beautiful illustrations, including hand-drawn postage stamps from the North Pole.


I scooped it up and paged through it and cried, sitting there at the little computer desk by the window. Overwhelmed with the intricate, superfluous beauty of it, with the tenderness and love contained in that effort, with the sense of persistent wonder maintained, even as WWII invades the frame of the fantasy.

And I was made so glad about the little ritual we have in our house. I acquired a Santa Mailbox when Z was a toddler, because I couldn't find an advent calender in the bookstore on Nov. 30. The first year, all we had to do was deposit a pr…

It's ALIVE!!!

"by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs." -- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Chapter 5

I was foiled last year, a whole year ago, trying to write a post about my experience seeing Cabaret and a variety of ruminations I had about my younger self, feminism, life, and Sally Bowles. It got all tangled up and I could never get it to say what I wanted it to, and it killed my already frail blogger self.

That post on Sally Bowles was really not appropriate for a blog. It would have made a nice ruminative essay for some kind of schmancy boheme mag.

The whole point of this place here is not to be a solipsistic schmancy boheme mag in miniature. As the title suggests the whole point is for it to be a solipsistic collection of things that catch my fancy. Quick bits of shiny.

I will take a cue from The David, King of All Blogs, and will incorporate some basic guidelines and temp…