Monday, May 31, 2010

"the water is wide / I can't cross o'er"

This week I wasn't sure I was making conversation as much as hoping the words coming out of my mouth would make sense in whatever train of dialogue we were on...I am tired...ready for this quarter to be over. Right now. I want to sleep for a week. BUT I got a letter in the mail from Becs and it was perfect! And then we skyped this weekend, which was even perfect-ter. Whoever invented skype is going to heaven. If I were in charge.

I was also reminded of this poem I can't remember, where the poet says to not write, because it's worse, after getting a letter, because you are reminded of how much you love the letter writer, and miss them, and want to be with them. And it's true. I love getting letters, but they just make me want to be wherever the writer is at.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

oops, wait i forgot about librarians doing gaga.

I know these people. They are pretty fantastic out of the video too, so it's really not surprising how great they are IN it. And I hear they got onto King 5 news.

studying til the eyes bleed

wow, my eyes are tired of computer screens.

gretzky needs take a break for a bit so I can work on what I'm supposed to be working on.

tune in later.

Friday, May 28, 2010

the indexer in love

i've been doing a project about poetry for teens, and I am in love with it again. I mean, I've always been in love with it, but these poems are amazing.

This one is adorably sweet, and I love it:

The Indexer in Love

by Gray Emerson, from the Time You Let Me In collection.

Answer to My Prayers, 8

- See also

Board Games (That I Let You Win), 122-124

Dancing, 42-44

- On the Ends of Your Eyelashes, 27

Eyelashes, 18-19

- See also

Hair, 83-85

- That You Complimented, 86

- That You Wrote a Poem About, 87

- That You Wrung Your Fingers Through, 88

Index, Index

- See also


- Never Given, 23-29

- Stolen/Ransomed/Returned, 81-85

Love, 99-100

- Not at First Sight, 10

Peculiarities (of You)

- Biting at Your Cuticles, 50

- Silent Sneezes, 113

- Words Used Out of Context, 103-105

Things, List of

- I Want to Do to You, Appendix A

- I Want to Do with You, Appendix B


- In Line With You, 131

- See also


- Answer to My Prayers, 1

- Index You (Unable to), 1

- Waiting for You, 1

Thursday, May 27, 2010

poetry crush

some of you might know I have a poetry crush on Matt Gano, a local Seattle poet.

In fact, THE top MOST AWKWARD moment of my life was when I told him this. I was at an event he was emceeing last year and the first thing I said when I met him was - "Hi Matt. I have a poetry crush on you." I don't know where that filter went, the one that usually stops us from saying things that make us sound like crazy people. My filter got broke for just a minute that night.

Poor Matt. He didn't realize I was just a harmless poetry admirer and backed away. I'm sure he was thinking, this lady's crazy. I hope someday I can reverse the damage, but you know, in situations like this, it's hard to convince people you're actually normal and were briefly star struck and an alien took over your body for a second.

But regardless of whether or not he thinks I'm crazy, he's got a great poem about the truth, and since we're telling it this year, here it is:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"you and homework, you're tight" - Klein

Let me just state for the record I love school. For real. It's fun, challenging, and I'm learning a tooooooooooooooooooon. And I like it, generally.

But the thing I HATE about school is that I would always rather put people before anything else, and the sad truth is that #$%^#%$&$% presentations wait for no one. So I find myself saying the lamest things in the world, like "I have to go write a paper" or "I can't do that, I have to read."

Which are true statements, but let's be honest, right up there with "I have to wash my hair" excuses. Except mine are more true than that.

Thankfully I have friends like Klein, who keep it real and keep me laughing when I say I can't hang out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Wanna do parallel activities?" - Ringo

To address the melancholy Monday sitch, I went to Ringo's for dinner, which was AMAZING:

1) Sweet Potato Enchiladas: Mash a few sweet potatoes with cumin, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, etc. Add black beans, corn and a little pepperjack. Add a teensy bit of sour cream to green chile enchilada sauce. Pour some sauce in bottom of pan. Put sweet potato mixture into tortillas, roll up, and put rest of sauce on top, sprinkle some cheese on top. Bake for around 1/2 hour. YUM.

2) Whatever's-in-the-fridge-Salad: Cut up red pepper, avocado, 1/2 cucumber and some red cabbage. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar and a dash of olive oil. Mix. YUM.

3) Fossil Fuel Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. YUM.

Then we decided to do "parallel activities" - which apparently means to be in the same room with someone but be working on different things - until 9, at which point my reward for finishing my power point presentation and handouts would be to watch the first episode of the Bachelorette. I finished my power point and Ringo e-mailed.

And then, at 9, we started watching the Bachelorette, and I texted with my boss throughout. It's entirely her fault I ever watched the Bachelor.

I did not watch the entire show because I would have cringed about having those 2 hours of my life gone forever, but here is what I noticed:

1) Ali got botox. It inhibited her ability to talk. AND made her lips look weird.
2) Ali couldn't walk in her dress. Not my idea of a good time.
3) 25 guys, 1 girl, alcohol, and Chris Harrison in a room, something's guaranteed to go wrong. WEIRD dynamics, peeps.

Favorite quotes:

1) "I need someone to go ice fishing with." - Kyle. Ah, Kyle, you know just what to say to warm any girl's heart.*

2) "You can't go wrong with a broken leg." - Weatherman Jonathan, commenting on another contestant's broken leg. a broken leg inspires sympathy and thus ensures a rose? Jonathan needs to lighten up just a bit.

*For the record, I'd go ice fishing once to see what it was like. But gotta be honest, doubt I'd go for days on end, hours at a time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

listen/ with the night falling we are saying thank you

- w.s. merwin, thanks

This might be my melancholy spring moment. ooh, and on monday, too. Maybe i'll do melancholoy mondays. i mean, seriously, who loves mondays?

i was thinking about this merwin poem because over the past few months I've been re-watching the Wire. The first time I watched the show, I raced to get through it, eager to see the rest of the story. This time, I was savoring it, like those books that are so good you can only read 4 or 5 pages at once so that it lasts as long as you can draw it out. And also I was cramming it in between writing papers on ILS systems and reading about information literacy and making presentations about poetry. I know, my life is sooooo hard.

This time, I wanted to catch the expression on Omar's face when he testifies against Bird, and the way Jimmy self destructs, almost totally imploding. And how Bubs can't really believe he's alive, and the sheer beauty of his survival - he is one of the most lovely characters I've ever met, in a tv series or novel. How Greggs comes to terms with herself, easily missed among the loudness of the men around her. And mostly I'm now head-over-absolutely-heels-in-love with Carver. Over the course of five seasons, he becomes a grown up. For real.

So I was re-watching the Wire, and then also reading Marina Budhos' Ask Me No Questions, and also Marc Aronson's Race: a History Beyond Black and White. Ask Me No Questions is a novel of two undocumented sisters worrying about being deported, holding their family together. Race is non-fiction, and mostly what it sounds like.

I got to skype with these two authors in one of my classes this quarter, and Marc said something about tragedy - how our culture doesn't like to acknowledge tragedy, that we want to give teens a sugar-coated version of events in hopes that they won't re-create the mess we continue to make of things. But the irony is that only telling the truth about the mess is what gets it cleaned up.

I've been thinking about that a lot, since truth is the word of the year, and wondering how telling the truth plays out in different situations...And this poem keeps coming back to me - I think what I've loved about it since I first read it 6 years ago is that acknowledgement piece - just that there is much to be sad about here. And in the midst of that great sadness, there is also great beauty, and in saying thank you we are noticing the beauty around us. I think that's one reason I loved the Wire so much - It was Shakespearean tragedy at its best, with characters we can see the brilliance in even as we decry their wretched choices. Last night at church we sang about how all we have to offer are thankful hearts. That's the truest piece of religion that I know.

Here's the full text of that poem:

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Fuck Tris. I would give body parts to have a guy write something like that for me. My kidney? Oh, both of them? Here Nick, they're yours."

- Norah, in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Oh, the drama. This is one of my favorite YA books lately - zippy, snappy dialogue and story that perfectly captures the heady craziness of falling in love unexpectedly. Told in alternating viewpoint chapters from both Nick and Norah's perspective. Sweet little story for a study break.

Favorite Quotes:

"Is this what happens on dates? You kiss before you've met, then talk about why your previous relationship failed? I'm stumped." - Norah, p. 53

Me too, Norah. Dates are weird.

"Look," she says..."I know you probably think I'm a horrid bitch from the planet Schizophrenia, but I'm honestly not trying to mess with your head. I'm just messing with my own head and seem to have dragged you along for the ride. I think you're nice to me and that scares the fuck out of me. Because when a guy's a jerk or an asshole, it's easier because you know exactly where you stand. Since trust isn't an option, you don't have to get all freaked out about maybe having to trust him. Right now I am thinking about ten things at the same time, and at least four of those things have to do with you. If you want to leave right now and drive home...I wouldn't blame you in the least. But what I'm trying to say is that if you did that I'd be sorry." - to Nick, p.63

I'm pretty sure my liking this book confirms I'm a sucker for romance. Who knew?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

best thai place in the pacific northwest is right here in river city

okay, it's not in river city, but it is near that godawful monstrosity known as Southcenter mall. oh, wait, it's now westfield shopping center. Sorry. Well, Bai Tong is conveniently located next to Toys'r'us. (Did I even spell that right?)

I know, I know, the mall, but for real, this is the BEST Thai place I've ever been to. Food Porn Blogger Jason Sheehan agrees. Yum.

Friday, May 21, 2010

grecian hair g-chats


Man on the bus this morning: "Your hair has a lot of body. Are you from Greece?"

patient quote of the day: "Did you change your hair? It looks good. You look less like a little old lady and more like a teenager." 74 year old man who can't speak a whole sentence without going into a coughing fit. Also, he invited me to go camping with him. Um, no thanks.

gr has a tendency to be too informal when she is with her peers and supervisors: this is one of her greatest strengths and greatest areas for improvement. Her ability to say what was on her mind certainly helped us in numerous situations; at the same time, her lack of a filter with peers and supervisors sometimes created uncomfortable situations.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

"ooh, I can have some orange herbal tea. that's thrilling." - Mom

Mom is on a sugar fast and I am attempting to be supportive by also not eating sugar. But H offered me a red vine at work the other day and I wasn't even paying attention and ate it. Oops.

I don't really mind giving up candy things because I don't really eat candy. And even other carbohydrat-ey things aren't too bad, I don't really miss them.

But chocolate? I want chocolate. Right now. Any kind would do.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

" I wanted all my food to come from places I would enjoy visiting." - Nicolette Hahn Niman

If you don't have time or inclination to read Animal Vegetable Miracle, The Omnivore's Dilemma, or Eating Animals, this blog post by Niman is a nicely condensed guide about why you might want to think more about what you eat.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

if you missed mother's day

go to epic change and check out to mama with love. Mama Lucy is amazing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

Bring on the revolution peeps, because 2010 is the year of truth.

I guess I forgot to mention this one in January. Becks reminded me and I think I ignored her.

But following courage (2007), imagination (2008), and love (2009) proved a sort of challenging task, until situations arose which made it clear that truth-telling became more important than anything else. Even love, because it seems to me that truth-telling is a form of love. Or maybe love is telling the truth about people. I mean, Shakespeare did say "Love is all truth." (Venus and Adonis.) Probably this is like the chicken and the egg argument and I won't really get anywhere with it. In any event, just so we're all aware, 2010's word of the year is truth.

The reason I picked truth isn't because I've got a lying problem. And it's not about the little things, you know, like telling your grandmother her chicken salad is the best you've ever tasted, I'm not talking about those kinds of things.

I'm talking about the messes. You know, the kind of mess we humans get ourselves into all of the time. Sticky, gummy, gross. Hurt feelings, untrusting-ness, suspicions, accusations, and all that good stuff flying around.

Last year I learned about such a mess. People I love had been lying. To themselves, to each other, to their friends. The specifics of the situation don't really matter, but the outcome of it does. It's not totally finished, of course, because humans take a long time to clean up stuff, and some things take a good looooooooooooong while.

My general feeling about such messes is that they are WAY EASIER to clean up when folks come clean and are honest about them. You know, the truth will set you free and all that jazz. But I am learning not everyone feels that way. And in regards to that particular mess, not everyone feels that way. Some people would like to stay hiding out. Covered up. Pretending things are just fine. And I was so startled at how stark a difference the approach is - tell the truth vs. hiding out - that the word truth came down and settled on my shoulder and that was that: 2010 was going to be the year of truth.

In the midst of trying to be a good friend, I'm learning that speaking truth is important - in this case, telling someone I love them no matter what. And also that I'm not going to go along and pretend everything is fine just because that's what they think they want.

I'm also learning this is difficult stuff. I am making mistakes with it, because I am the most impatient person I know and I want it to be fixed right away. This is unrealistic, I know. I want it anyway. But it's a delicate thing, telling someone you love them, then not agreeing with the choices they make, and then figuring out how to still be their friend when they don't do what you hope for. It's not like every time you see them you can say, hey, by the way, I don't like what you're doing here. They know how you feel already. You don't have to tell them five times.

I guess the biggest thing I am learning is that we see the people we love with a kind of vision they don't always see themselves with. Usually that's good - we can see their full potential, the beauty they bring to the world and their place in it, a place that no one else can quite take.

I think telling the truth involves holding a mirror up to that vision, so that people can see themselves in it, and claim it for themselves.

And I think holding mirrors up is hard. But also revolutionary - truth telling results in radical change, peeps.

So revolutionize this year. Tell the truth.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"What's in that pot?" - Mom

"The first dead basil." - Me

"The first?" - Mom

"The second one's on the windowsill." - Me

I have successfully killed two basil plants so far this spring. The first, by putting it outside and letting it get pounded in rain. Not a good plan. The second, by leaving it inside in a non sunny spot. Also not a good plan. But Mom's attempting to revive it.

I planted some lettuce this week. And beets. And rosemary. And I nailed some wire to a board so the beans can grow up it. And I transferred the little tiny sprouts that will become butternut squash and carrots into bigger containers, where I am crossing my fingers that they will be happy until it is the very end of May and I put them into the real garden.

The dogs helped by keeping an eye out for things.

I got out to the garden and wished for a radio, but then I started listening, and there was a pretty good soundtrack going on. The lilacs and roses are happy to have vegetables growing nearby, and the sage is glad to not be the only herb running amok.

I was considering the spacing of things - you know, how much room does the broccoli actually need to stretch its roots out and grow sort of considering, and also which plants will help each other out, and which plants don't want to be near each other - and thinking also about how considering such things with people can be helpful too. Some people help each other grow, and others don't. And some people give us lots of space to be ourselves, and we love them for it, and others crowd us out and it's kind of cramped being around them.

I feel like I am going to learn things from this whole gardening business.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

one day all children....

in this country will have the opportunity to receive an excellent education...

- Teach for America

Since it was featured in the Waiting for Superman preview I posted yesterday, I figured if you haven't been paying attention to world events like the olympics and somehow missed this song, you should really notice it:

Friday, May 14, 2010

my friend emily teaches at one of the schools featured

in this preview for Waiting for Superman. Via evs, who wrote "teared up in my cubicle while watching." Not gonna lie, it made me cry, too. And it's only the preview.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

my favorite is the last line:

Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand, by e.e. cummings     


Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"I see your true colors..."

Also on the playlist this week is the Glee 2 soundtrack.

LOVE it. Let's have a musical.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"this ain't no place for the weary kind." - ryan bingham

Um, I think I like country music.***

Did I just say that out loud?

Yeah, I do.

I've been listening to the soundtrack from Crazy Heart this week and LOVE it.

All of it.

***Not pop country crap that's played on radio stations. I mean like old folksy stuff.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"It's not a mood if he's always in it." - Death at a Funeral

I have found that during grad school my ability to sit through and enjoy artsy, thought-provoking things has gone WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY down. As has my patience with annoying people, and my ability to stop crying at inopportune moments. For real, I think I've cried as much this year about stupid things as I did when teaching in Baltimore my first year, when I cried about things that actually mattered.

So I'm all about the mindless comedy these days. This one was funny. Not mind bogglingly life-changing or awe inspiring, just laugh provoking.
Which right now is pretty fantastic.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"We analyzed records of deer and elk carcasses removed from Washington State highways between 2000-2004.."

- from An Analysis of Deer and Elk-Vehicle Collision Sites along State Highways in Washington State, Washington State, 2008.

Last weekend K8 was driving home to Wenatchee when she swerved to avoid four deer crossing the road.

The car is totaled, but she's totally fine. Which is good.

I went to Wenatchee to visit her, and I was sort of - okay, really -freaking out about deer every 2 seconds. Especially because they post these damn deer crossing signs every two miles that are neon yellow and say, Deer, Next 4 miles.

I don't understand why they keep posting the damn signs every 2 miles if they're telling you it's for the next 4.

It's probably to give panic-prone people like myself panic attacks every 2 miles.

I didn't want to pay for comprehensive/collision, but I am reconsidering my options if I want to drive back to Wenatchee again....

And just in case you're not freaking out about deer, check out that WSDOT report. It's pretty terrifying.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

gardens, gardens, gardens

I am trying to grow a garden. I am seeding, watering, and hoping to see sprouts. I am worrying about too much rain. And not enough.

So here's a poem for gardens from Amy King:

Digging Potatoes, Sebago Maine

Summer squash and snap-beans gushed
all August, tomatoes in a steady splutter

through September. But by October's
last straggling days, almost everything

in the garden was stripped, picked,
decayed. A few dawdlers:

some forgotten carrots, ornate
with worm-trail tracery, parsley parched

a patchy faded beige. The dead leaves
of potato plants, defeated and panting,

their shriveled dingy tongues
crumbling into the mud.
You have to guess where. The leaves migrate to trick you. Pretend you're sure, thrust the trowel straight in, hear the steel strike stone, hear the song of their collision—this land is littered with granite. Your blade emerges with a mob of them, tawny freckled knobs, an earthworm curling over one like a tentacle. I always want to clean them with my tongue, to taste in this dark mud, in its sparkled scatter of mica and stone chips, its soft genealogy of birch bark and fiddleheads, something
that means place, that says here,
with all its crags and sticky pines,

its silent stubborn brambles. This
is my wine tasting. It's there,

in the potatoes: a sharp slice with a different blade
imparts a little milky blood, and I can almost

smell it. Ferns furling. Barns rotting.
Even after baking, I can almost taste the grit.