Thursday, May 07, 2015

Part Dos de MPS

I doubt any of the three people who read my blog still remember how I said I would tell about the dining part of the evening, but since I said I would and since I am mostly done grading (damn you, 2 stragglers!), and I am avoiding real life/cleaning my house, no time like the present for completing way past due writing assignments!

So....after getting to take our informal tour of the Guthrie, Hightouch and I hailed a cab to take us to a trendy little Farm to Table restaurant...The Bachelor Farmer. Apparently we were able to get a table because our reservation was for the exact moment it opened! So when we tried the (locked) door, a cute young man popped his head out and said we could wait at the "little bar" downstairs and gave us somewhat ambiguous directions.

There was a burly young man in a huge sweatshirt waiting near a fence who wanted to see our ID. "Sure," I said, laughing. He said, "You're going to want the purple door." What kind of direction is that? We approached the back of the building which looked more like an industrial facility than a cute little bar. There was only one door, so we opened it. At the end of a hallway there was, in fact, a purple door. We went in! Cute bar! Dimly lit with round booths. I want to say there was a jazzy burst of trumpet to let us know we had truly found the speak easy...but....

It was so dimly lit we had to use the candles to read the menu. I had a Presbyterian because, why not? It had whiskey. Say no more. Our drinks were lovely, with big square cocktail-hipster ice cubes. We told our waiter we had reservations up stairs so he settled the tab and then gave us some more vague directions, something like "you want the first door past the sign." Okay, we get it. Speak Easy. Secret. Vague. Yeah.

The Bachelor Farmer was just as charming as its name sounds. The wallpaper was blue and Nordic seeming, in a warm way. Hightouch made me laugh by reading to me from the menu: "Parsnips baked under a brick." I can't explain that one.
In any case, the highlight of the meal was the toast course, which involved toast, of course, and farmhouse cheese, onion-bacon jam, mushroom pate, and toasted seeds. Say what you will, but toasted seeds are the thing. Coming soon! Everything was delicious, but the toast course is what we will remember.

We decided that we always have fun when we travel because we are Aspirational Eaters. Pretty soon we are going to write a manifesto.

So that catches you up to about a month ago.

I'm exhausted.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Last Day of PoMo

I fell woefully behind on NaPoWriMo, but I had to write a poem today, for the last day. I was thinking a sonnet, but then this one turned...I don't know, political? Inspired by listening to the radio on the way home and having some theory thoughts about all the violence we're experiencing, and then hearing a man talk about the long history of race riots in the US.
In any case, here's my sonnet. It's pretty bad, I won't lie, but maybe I can fix it.

Sonnet for the End Times

every generation seems doomed to repeat the same problem

Today they riot in Chicago and New York and Baltimore.
Before that, Ferguson, and Brooklyn and L.A.
Since America has been a country we’ve been at war
with ourselves. Or let me be honest: they,
the whites, we have been at war with black men. Four score,
a hundred years, a century, more. In 1919, play-
ing at Lake Michigan, a young black boy crossed a line, bore
the weight of ensuing riots on his thin corpse. Today
this same black boy wears a hoodie, does not answer, Sir,
does not defer, physically, to the Law. They will say
he was armed, he attacked, that’s what Police are for.
They shoot; we riot; played by the game.

Tell me, Fire, who burns in the flame?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Minneapolis, MN

I do not know quite what to say about Minneapolis, except that, in my 48 hours here it has already been a city of extremes. Extremes of weather, extremes of energy levels, extremes of hunger and satiation, extremes of quality and quantity.

Yesterday, it snowed on me, and Hightouchmegastore as we were trying to find a restaurant despite Google maps. We did find it, but while we were walking there, we got snowed on. Sometimes it was hard pellets of water that felt more like angry BBs. Sometimes they were liked the triangles cut out of tissue paper snowflakes. But, in all these times, it was always cold, cold, cold. Honestly it was probably less than half-a-mile of cold & snow. But still. It is April. And we were on our way to have sangria! Which seems like it requires sunshine, etc.

But the bar, once we got there, was great. The sangria was great. A kind man who was just leaving gave us one seat. He was ridiculously handsome and he was carrying a kitchen store bag that had a cutting board in it. He was the gay friend in the Minneapolis sit-com version of my life.

At the bar, we had the delicious sangria, and chips and salsa and a delicious tamale. So delicious!

At the keynote address, first the mayor of Minneapolis came out and read us a poem. What mayor does that? Then she told us about how much she loves poetry and she told us to spend all our money in Minneapolis. (I'm doing my best!)
Then a writer who is, admittedly, not my favorite, gave a lovely keynote address. It was lovely, if a tad too long.
After that, the Utah friends came back to the hotel bar for some more snacks. This brings me to Sam.
Sam is, without a doubt, our favorite person in Minneapolis, although today some other people gave him a run for his money.
Sam is our waiter in the hotel bar and restaurant. "Hotel bar and restaurant" conjures images of limp lettuce and watery martinis, but this bar is of the HNL. (Hole Nother Level). This hotel restaurant has the most delicious Brussells Sprouts salad in existence. Also, it turns out, they have a dessert which features pancakes and bananas that is crazy delicious.
But Sam is the distilled essence of Minnesota. He has the accent. He is stocky in that charmingly adorable Midwestern way. The way he says "Happy Hour" can only be pronounced in Minnesota. He is one of the reasons we want to eat all our meals in the hotel bar. The other reason is the Brussells Sprouts salad.
He was our waiter the first night, when, exhausted, we plopped in the hotel restaurant for dinner (after arriving around dinner time).  He was our waiter last night after the keynote. He said, "I'll be here all week," when we left last night.

Today when I got up, I was all cocky and happy. "At least it's not raining!" I exclaimed. Let me preface this by saying I did not sleep well on Tuesday night, I did not sleep well on Wednesday, okay. But last night, I actually got some sleep! So this morning, I was all feeling good. So, yes, it was not raining. But when we emerged into the gray, Minneapolis morning, it was in fact snowing. So, okay, no biggie.
We had heard the legened of Caribou Coffee, so we walked there. A scattered riot of people stood near the espresso machine. Chaos! But we quickly figured out that they had ordered and were just waiting. coffee, when I got it, was strong and delicious, so I forgave CC for their understaffed chaotic whatever that was.

I went to a good panel on Experimental Writing.  And then a discussion about Creative Writing programs in Two Year Colleges. Got lost in the Bookfair. Wandered. Bought analog text items. Etc.

THEN, dear reader, I walked with HighTouch to the Center for Book Arts. Amazing! Delightful! Inspiring! Yet another opportunity to spend my money in Minneapolis! The kind cashier, quickly ingratiating herself onto my "Favorite People" list, told me that the round blue building was the Guthrie Theater and that we could walk out on their balcony (the Endless Bridge).
So we walked through Gold Medal (flour) Park while our friend Karin, who had gone on the tour of the old factory, told us about explosive flour! And flour that blocks the river!
Then we got directions for how to get to the Endless Bridge from the nice conceirge who told us that if we hadn't been, we should go to the 9th floor, and that "we were in for quite a treat."
The Endless Bridge reaches out from the building so that one can see the Mississippi River and all the other amazing things there (a railroad bridge that is now pedestrians only), the park, trails, etc.
On the 9th floor, the "treat" was yet a still more astounding view of the park and the river and the flour factory, etc.

What happened next is even more amazing & hilarious & Minneapolis-love inducing but it is So! Late! here in MSP that I will have to delay in telling you about the Speakeasy and the Farm to Table dining until tomorrow.


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Short Letters

I stole this idea from my favorite people, Hightouchmegastore and Nikwalk.

Letter 1

Dear Google Maps,
Because your name starts with "Google" I'm all "yes, I can trust this map in primary colors" and "yes, even when it takes me on a round about route, that's fine, okay, I can dig that." But today, TODAY, GM, you had us walking outside in the snowflakes made of little shredded tissues of ice, and we were wandering saying, Where is this restaurant which GM says is right here, on the very spot where we stand?
Well, it wasn't there, but instead about two blocks away. Two blocks in the wet snowy cold. But, LO!, when we got there, there was sangria! and chips! and salsa! and then, eventually, a tamale!
So even your fawning ineptitude could not take the shine off what was, indeed, a very Happy Hour.

Letter 2

Dear Minneapolis,
Should Have Worn My Coat

Letter 3

Dear Conference,
I know that when I was younger, say, in graduate school, that 8:30 seemed like a perfectly reasonable time for an event to start. But now, now that I am older and, yes, wiser, I want all the things to start one after the other so that they will be over sooner and so that I can go back to my room and put on my pajamas.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Zip Ode

I heard this awesome story on NPR this morning, and seeing as how I needed to write a poem today it struck me as the perfect assignment for a Monday!!

The upshot is that you write an ode to where you live based on your zip code.
So, here's mine!

Sugar House, where is the sugar beet factory
for which you are

Razed, replaced now by restaurants. 

I like that a zero can be a blank line, and tried to explain the absence in the poem itself. Also, it's a short poem. I love short poems during poetry month! 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Being Behind

I think as a teacher and a writer and a parent one gets quite comfortable with being behind on things, such as housework and grading.
I am dismayed, however, that by Day 5 of Write a Poem a Day I was already behind! However I caught up.
The problem was, I was too ambitious with poem 3, so I got tripped up....but I chose to write short and easy poems for 4 & 5 and thus was able to go back and finish 3, trying to just finish it and not make it awesome.
I love the assignment part of NaPoWrMo. It's pretty fun and once in a (great) while I come up with something I like. But even without that, I learn something. (Like what a Golden Shovel is. I wrote one last year and it's the form that tripped me up on Day 3! Lesson learned! Don't be so ambitious on Day 3! Listen to William Stafford: Lower your standards!)
In any case, Easter is going quite well so far, because I prepped the lamb last night so all I had to do was pop it in the oven (popped!). Then cut up potatoes and make some herb salt (too easy!).
Then later I will make some salad which is pretty easy, though not as easy as EASY. In any case, pretty easy.
Also, Son is back in the fold and though we are back (less than 24 hours!!) to our disagreements about the computer, I also took Son swimming this morning, which makes my heart swell, just a little. I had a heart to heart with him, in the pool, about the fate that is his a la genetics: whatever sport he chooses he will be good at it. So just choose already! He is smart so, of course, he wants to debate with me about the value of teamwork and working the body, etc., versus the mind. I am willing to engage in such debates, but ultimately I will make him do some kind of physical activity.
Well, this catches me up on one thing: blogging!
If you want to read my poems and also Hightouch's poems, they are at our old and now New Again! blog, the Poem a Day. (see blog roll on the right).
Peace Out, Tulips!

Thursday, April 02, 2015


As a result of many conversations today (about Hawaii, about Ireland, about Scotland, etc.), I now am in the thick of Wanderlust. But LO it is still many weeks until the end of the semester and even more weeks until we go to Hawaii. Alas!

(I am about to punch the internet in the throat because I've been looking for a story I think I saw on line only I can't remember where. Oh! The agony!)

In any case, there is this guy who walks from his home, in England I believe, and he sleeps outside much of the time and he thinks we all should do that as well.
I'm pretty sure he wrote a book and if I knew who he was or what the book was, I would tell you. In any case, I think I will do something of this nature this summer, try to take Son camping close to home, or perhaps in our backyard?

I must go now, so no pieces of technology lose their lives.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Mid-day Oasis + Poem One in PoemADay Project

Now that I am at La Barba (Charming Beard inside Finca, downtown SLC) I've decided that I should start a thing which is basically to go out to fancy restaurants at a Non-Standard Time (NST) in order to eat Whatever the Hell I Want (WHIW) and Drink in the Afternoon (DIA).
Today, sadly, I am merely drinking delicious coffee and eating a Way Too Small Complementary Cookie (WTSCC). I have Grading To Do (GTD) which I am Consciously Avoiding via Coffee Addiction (CACA).
But I wanted you to know that I have a Project, which is this NSTWHIW project and that if you'd like to join me, that Can Be Arranged (CBA). Perhaps this will be my Summer Project (SP) not to be confused with my Summer Writing Project (SWP) or my Vacation at Home (VaH) project.

In other news, I started my (really bad) Poem a Day project, which I will post here and other places for your edification. The prompt today was to write a poem based on a joke. I give you....

Cat on the Roof

My favorite joke ends with the line, “Mom is up on the roof.”
Earlier, a man asks his brother how to tell a friend that his cat
died. “Break it gently,” he says, advice which tells us how to do
so many things: dump a lover, crack an egg, tell a student that
he’s failing. But there aren’t enough roofs for all the tragedies
that befall us, all the ways the universe thwarts what we want,
substituting instead  what fate ordains should be.  
Meanwhile, back in the joke, the brothers still can’t
deal with death. No surprise that my favorite joke has a death
wish: I’m obsessed with it. Daily, fear of death stalks me,
a stealthy cat, pouncing with claws out, or tamely rubbing against
me. In the mundane acts of life, we’re assaulted by profundity.
The punch line is: all of us will die. The joke, in this regard, is true.
The trick is how to get the body off the roof.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Malaise, Part II

Today my malaise is lessened, perhaps by the friends (real, actual friends, not those FB types!) who express concern about my general state.
It could be, also, that Wednesday malaise is always and forever a lesser malaise than Monday.
Or, could it be, the sunshine? The snow visible on the mountains?
Or still yet, could it be that from Wednesday one can see, shimmering mirage-like in the distance, Friday? And beyond that, the dry expanse of something known as the weekend which, surely, will contain an opportunity for recovery? Recovery, one hopes, from this general malaise.
Also, it should be said, the enormous amount of grading can not be insignificant in this general, overall malaise-type feeling.
One should also, perhaps, not sit, mooning over photographs of a younger, leaner self with a younger, more squishable Son while drinking coffee that is, admittedly, good and perhaps a cure for morning variety malaise. The photographs do no good! They cause regret! Put them away!! (but look first, again, at the general adorableness of the Son. Observe it, as well, in his actual self, silently eating cereal in the kitchen).
I feel, again and ever, like Alfie the child in "Annie Hall."
"What's the use?" he laments. "The universe is expanding."
Indeed, Alfie. Indeed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Understanding My Malaise

How do you know if your malaise is a general malaise or if it is a specific malaise? This sounds like a quiz I should be constructing/taking on BuzzFeed.
But in the absence of this amazing quiz that will solve all my problems, I am instead staring out into the distance, developing a hierarchy of tea and sadness, and also listening to songs on YouTube while "grading" (read: pretending to grade while wasting time).
In any case, during the throes of my malaise yesterday, which might have been just Post-Spring Break/Monday Malaise I deactivated my Facebook account.
Why? Why, you may ask??
Well, there are many reasons, number one of which is that it is my number one time suck. The result, today at least is that I *did* in fact grade perhaps a few more papers, but also I found other ways to waste time. WIN for me!
Also, lately, FB has made me feel bad. Not like, oh, look at that cute puppy, I wish I could adopt him but I can't. Sad face.
But bad like, why X instead of Y (about the general nature of the universe), also why doesn't Z like Q or me? Or why does W keep posting about guns?
Like BAD BAD, as in, is the nature of the universe evil? Am I stupid for feeling left out? (so maybe it's just severe narcissism I'm suffering from??)
In general, these were the minority of the FB posts, but also I have like 10 million friends I don't know and the idea of trying to figure out who to delete and is that bad for my writing career... (answer: who cares!!).
Anyway, that is why I find myself blogging, which I think is a GOOD thing, so I'll just keep blogging over here in my corner by myself while the rest of you loll on the beach and have cocktails together. I'm hoping I'm get some actual THINGS done (besides FB posts I mean...)

*the end*

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Misconceptions about the Syllabus

Because I have one more class schedule to put together, I have become very adept at finding things to do instead.
For example: work out and then make a delicious fritatta. Also: attend Son's Lego competition, make a salad, go to Lego after-party. Then: make tea.
So, now I have stolen a blog idea from HTMS's blog, by looking up blog topics on HubSpot.

Here's one:  Misconceptions about the Syllabus (go!)

  1. The damn things write themselves. Truth is: they don't!
  2. Students read them. (Wait! I can't stop laughing! Oh! Ouch! My laughing muscles!)
  3. What they say has a one to one correspondence with reality. For about ten minutes, yes! After that, the text to reality ratio diminishes in direct proportion with the amount of time that has elapsed since it was constructed.
  4. What it says matters. (Again! The laughing muscles! So sore!)
  5. When you write "Don't use your cellphone, idiot!" or words to this affect, students actually take these to mean "Hey, put your cellphone away and pay attention!" No. What they perceive instead is an emoticon of a smiley-winkey face with a voice like Homer Simpson that is saying "Cell phones!" 
  6. I care about them.
  7. You care about them.
  8. Students care about them. 
  9. People in the future care about them. (They are too busy driving their solar powered hover crafts to worry about your stupid class!)
  10. They are the fuel of the academic fire. (If you mean the compost that becomes the fuel, then yes).
Well, I hope this blog post has illuminated the mysterious world of syllabi for you all. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

To Do = So Much

I have so much to do that I can not possibly blog, yet here I am, because, people (see? I'm quoting HTMS), the pressure is ON. But one should always look in the mirror and tell oneself, "I cannot possibly keep up with THOSE people, so I will just shuffle on my humble little way."
And then everyone says, "Oh no, little you, we like you!" Which they do, thank god, otherwise they would not put up with my generally pitiful ways.
That aside, (ahem!), so. much. to. do.
And yet...I find myself looking at the internet and the craniumtext and the other things that exist only to make you sad about your productivity/self/lack of more and cuter dogs.
Okay people, it is TRUE that I have a manuscript. It is also TRUE that I do not have an agent, nor do I have any requests from agents, nor do I have any time to whore myself out to agents (right now), but rest assured I will be whoring shortly. I do not have a sabbatical or a grant or a bundle of money left to me by some philanthropist. Nor do I have a summer home or a lean to or a shack that wants nothing more than for me to sit in it and write.
So Boo Hoo!
I have a dining room table and some raw pepper slices and a To Do list that reads like the Grinch's list of all the different ways Christmas came in spite of his having a too-small heart and a soul made of garlic.
You know, we all have a lot to do, I just happen to be the person who quite possibly is the best at complaining about it.
You're welcome!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

My Dog: Myself

You should feel sorry for me.
I have spent most of the past two mornings trapped in a room looking at information that (pretty much) I didn't understand.
Mercifully, I was released early today.
This is a long introduction to the real heart of this anecdote, which is that I took my dog for a walk.
The minute it became clear that a walk was in his near future, my dog started doing his excited tic, which is that he scratches his neck just near his collar, which causes his metal licences to ring like little bells.
While walking my dog on a trail near Red Butte Garden I began to ponder how dogs are like their owners and vice versa.
One way in which I am like my dog is that we both dislike being trapped indoors all day. With the recent cold weather, I have been a terrible dog owner. One day I didn't even leave the house; therefore my dog did not leave the house. We both get a little stir crazy. I think my response to this was to drink more hard cider and eat more cookies. My dog's response was to form a very intimate relationship with his new Christmas toy.
In any case, I was thinking a lot about this as I watched my dog zip around like he was a puppy. For the record, he is not a puppy. Everyone asks, "How old is your dog?" and then they make that shocked, drop jaw face when I tell them he is 10.
But now he is lying on his bed, responding very slowly when I whisper his name. He seems....I don't know...tired?
I am also tired. See? We have so much in common!
Other things we have in common: our fur is all one color; we are getting gray whiskers on our chins and paws; we like chicken jerky and raw vegetables. One of us likes to eat grass and the other does not. We both like muffins with chocolate chips in them. We both prefer to snuggle with other humans, rather than alone. Neither of us likes it when I do yoga in the living room. We both think it is too cold, yet we both like to swim in fresh water. One of us does so in the winter, despite the fact that the other has told the one it is a bad idea.

P.S. One sometimes meets other interesting dog owners with which one has in common one thing: Dog ownership. Why, interesting dog owner, did you assume because I thought your standard poodles were cute that I would also agree with your views on Obamacare? Those are two non-intersecting circles.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Okay. The pressure is on.
Both Middlebrow and Hightouchmegastore are committed to this whole blogging thing in 2015.
So I am on board.
However, I have nothing intelligent to say because I am tired and somewhat hungry.
Will someone bring me some soup?
But hey, I'll blog more. Just don't assume it is always going to be interesting.