Thursday, April 30, 2009

What to Do

When someone disappears half a world away, what can we do? My friend Craig is missing, and besides sending emails, calling people who can do something, what can I do? I know my anxiety and sadness is not productive, but still...
So please, keep Craig in your thoughts.
Here are some of his poems.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Hightouch's post has inspired me to write about songs that I love, songs from childhood, songs that bring me to tears, or nearly, songs that I wish I could play on the guitar and sing along, if only alone, in my bedroom.
But before I get to my list, I have to say that I wish I had my father's old Ford pickup (greenish), with its AM radio, buttons that you could actually push in and sometimes they would get stuck in. And this radio played only real country music (not that shitty pop that tries to pass for country now). You know what I mean: Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams.
Okay, so here's my list.
  1. Charlie Rich "The Most Beautiful Girl": This is the first 45 I ever bought. I must have been 5 or 6. I loved Charlie Rich.
  2. "Tennessee Waltz": I think the version we had was by Andy Williams. I can't verify that. But here's a great version by Patsy Cline.
  3. Kris Kristofferson, "Me and Bobby McGee": This is the only version I knew until I was in my 20s. Seriously. "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." This the way I remember him. He wrote this song. He's my hero.
  4. Willie Nelson, "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys"
  5. John Denver, "Rocky Mountain High" (Also his "Eclipse" is one of my favorites)
  6. John Prine, "Paradise"
  7. Bonnie Raitt and John Prine, "Angel from Montgomery"
  8. Johnny Cash, "Hurt"
I'm sure there are others, but I have miles to go before I sleep. Miles!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Snow Run

Though I saw blue sky this morning, and see blue sky now, in between there were clouds, a haircut, and a run in the rain/freezing rain/snow. I chose the least optimal time, but there you have it. Sometimes you just have to go for a run because you can. Sylvia and I took her dog Reno and went for it. We were barely out the door when it started raining. Then later it became freezing rain/snow. But if you are already out in it, you just have to buck up and keep running. It was fine. Really.
But it just reminded me that sometimes it's just getting your ass out the door. Once you're out, it really doesn't matter. Sun, rain, snow. You're running. Just keep running.
I'm looking forward to sitting in the hot pools tomorrow and eating Thai food and watching cable.
Did I mention I made myself a delicious breakfast? It was a spinach-Greek scramble. And it was so good. I recommend it (1 whole egg + 2 egg whites, spinach, half a tomato, some orange pepper, reduced fat feta). I also ate a WW english muffin.
Hey, I'm going to England. Do you think I can get an English muffin there? Let's hope.
That's all I have to report. I had a lovely day at home. I drank sufficient amounts of coffee. I took Gus to the dog park. All around, a banner day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Eve Sedgwick

A touching obituary here.
I realize that I've entered that time in my life when influential thinkers, writers, artists begin to die. I enjoyed reading her theoretical and critical writing. I feel I should return to her essay about Our Mutual Friend or at least Austen.
Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On Being Overtaxed: Literally

I've over committed myself lately. Saying I would do a book review (done!) of a book I hadn't read (but now have, obviously). Doing multiple proposals for various things (not done). Taxes (done!) after which we owed more than I can mentally deal with but we paid it, so it's over. Thinking about and planning the overseas trip, which also means emailing with students, and meeting with them. Conferencing with students (why??). Reading "Hamlet."
Some of it is wonderful and delightful: reading How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read for my book club. While the title sounds light and parodic, it turns out to be a really entertaining read, as well as good lit crit.
This weekend we are going to Idaho, so that should be lovely.
Okay, so now I said I would make turkey fricassee from the leftovers from Sunday's turkey. And I need to go to yoga, because my hips hurt, my neck hurts, oh, etc.
So off I go, to make some kind of concoction.
I also need to see a movie. Don't I?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In Which I Quits The Idol

I just can't summon up the energy to care about American Idol anymore. I know. You're asking yourself, how can this be? Even Simon irritates me. Adam may be the most overrated contestant since Danny Gokey since David Archuleta.
This is one of those times when only the word blurgh will do.
My prediction: Adam will win in the biggest yawnfest since Taylor and Katherine. Who should win? Probably Allison. I do still love Matt, and I do like Kris, but I can't sit through the rest of the insufferable performances, critiques, discussions and faux fighting between Simon and Paula just to get to one good performance.
Oh, how I long for the days of David Cook, Daughtry, anyone, really, but the jokers we are now being subject to. Something tells me I'm not the only one who has given up, is giving up, will give up.
Suck it, Idol!

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Middlebrow turned me on to this post, and this blog in general, over at the NY Times. It's about drinking, though at least one contributor is a recovering alcoholic. What kills me is the people who leave comments about how the blog is contributing to alcoholism, or about all the negative things that drinking brings into people's lives. Why are they reading a blog about drinking in the first place?
But this particular post took me back to the good ole days in Bellingham, where I once ran into a friend on campus. She was done with school, I was just a post-Bac, taking classes and working, still figuring out what the hell I was doing with my life. We headed down to the 3-B tavern, got a pitcher, slid into a booth and proceeded to kill the rest of the afternoon and probably most of the evening without moving, except to get more pitchers. The great thing about the 'ham, a college town of the best sort, is that, as we sat there, the bar filled with our friends, who would join us for a round and then drift off, only to be replaced by more friends.
Once, I left a greeting on my answering machine that began, "I've become one of those women who drinks alone, who sits at the bar and has just one, while the bar fills..." It was during a phase of my life when I left poems instead of traditional greetings. Once I got a message that just said, "Cool." I don't even know who that was. But once, a guy with the same name as Middlebrow (not an uncommon name), called me and heard that message. I wasn't home, obviously, so he just went down to the 3B and there I was. Of course!
Now that I'm past 40, with a real job and a kid, there are no opportunities for afternoon drinking or, at least, they are significantly different. Now, we have drinks in the front yard while Son rides his bike up and down the sidewalk. Now, we make vodka tonics and drink in the front yard with the neighbors, while the kids entertain themselves. We stop drinking at 9 or 10, or at least move it inside. We drink while we watch TV or movies. While we grade student papers. We try to mute the pain of inferior prose with beer and wine.
But we don't get to go into a dark bar on a perfectly fine afternoon for no other reason than we want to have beer, lots of it, and just talk, hang out, people watch, discuss, interact with each other. Afternoon drinking, long hours dedicated to nothing but beer and conversation, is a thing of the past.
I look back on those afternoons with nostalgia.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Nicholas Hughes

This is a touching column about the legacy of suicide, of Plath and Sexton. I taught both these poets recently, and it's hard to get away from talking about their deaths as a way into their poetry. But it's also hard to ignore, as a mother, their impact on their children.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I'll probably be posting more over at Poem A Day this month, so don't think I'm neglecting you. I will sometimes post other funny things here, like a link to this short essay that I find familiar and lovely.

And speaking of drinking, I'm contemplating my choices for this evening. Beer? Wine? Oh, what shall it be?