Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the momeraths outgrabe."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Missing Town by, Myself

Shadows play across the late kaleidoscope of mid-day. I draw the thin, white curtain over the watery glass window that sits almost ajar in its wooden frame. Now there are two, two children at war. I cry with shame. What does our community offer but sending children off to war. In the shadows of my milky tea, I feel a mother’s pain. My boys are two and not yet four. What kind of war will carve out their futures? What battle will the world bestow on them, to make them men? We are a small community, no more than a thousand. Factory workers live and work here in the paper factory with its tall cylinders pointing like rocket launchers towards the sky. This is it, the paper factory and taverns. It is over two hundred miles to the nearest city. We are almost all poor. We tell our children to grow up and become more. Make your fortunes, grow bigger than us, get your education. Then along comes a war. The GI bill looks appealing to young men and women brought up by rough hands and too much beer.

I think of our life here. My husband is a teacher, a pacifist by nature and position. Shadows fall across the rough floor boards in my kitchen. The faint last glimmers of sun, steel themselves slowly into the gray sky. Soon the afternoon is dark and ghostly.

My husband arrives home shortly after 4:00pm. His pallor is stony. The Jenkins’ have lost another child. Now one son is dead and the daughter is MIA. I stir the bubbling stew. Slowly, methodically as my mind churns blood red. It is the image of anger. Nothing can erase the band of death, the wounded in a small town like ours, a wheelchair at age 23, legs missing at 20, dead at 19. The news tells us it is not that bad. The news tells us that it is not that bleak. The news does not live here.

This morning there were two, now there is one, only one child from this town still in the war. Will they survive the death trod march? The odds are not good.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Book Recommendation of the Month

This book is laugh-out-loud funny. I got many useful tips for managing life from reading this book including the following:

1) Practical advice for how to upgrade to first class when travelling with your father

2) What to do when well-meaning friends insist on sending you pictures of their pets that you really don't care to see

3) How to be prepared when you are stranded at an eatery that only serves beer and wine

4) The etiquette of re-gifting with friends

...and much, much more. So for a great light read that keeps you laughing, I would recommend this book.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Favorite Pictures


Parents these days really need to get a grip. Where have all of the normal parents gone? By normal I mean the ones that aren't so immersed in the lives of their children that they no longer have an individual identity. This seems to be especially true for mothers. I am not against staying home with your kids and I am not against going back to work full-time or part-time. I think that the mommy wars are a media invented frenzy designed solely to sell more publications. Whatever you decide to do in terms of your own employment, try to let your kids figure some things out for themselves. Frequently I am exposed to mothers who proudly proclaim, "I am home with him/her full time and they are an only child." They say this as if this is a good thing, to be home and constantly involved with your child when the child is four or five years old. Don't get me wrong, I have struggled with urges to control all aspects of my children's destiny as much as any other parent. The difference is that I think I am at least aware of this and try to control it.

I see mothers with children that are nine and ten years of age at school drop off every morning. They pull up into the drop off lane, get out of the car, open the door for their older child, help them out of the car, make sure that the coat is buttoned and that the child has their band instrument and backpack, and kiss them goodbye before waltzing slowly back to the driver's side looking all the while to make sure that their baby makes it safely across the 500 yards that they have to cross in order to get into the school building. This is really ridiculous. I know parents who cannot commit themselves to anything further than 10 minutes away from their child's school in case the child needs them during the day. I always have to wonder why these parents aren't home schooling. That way, their child would never have to leave home during the day and they wouldn't be stressed about not being immediately available.

It perplexes me, these parents who don't want to let go, think that their children can't make it on their own at school, or need constant parental guidance yet they don't willingly take on the job of their child's education at home. It would make more sense if they just did it themselves rather than parading their doubts and worries in front of the rest of us. Maybe some people just like to be a...Martyr.

In praise of parents who want to have their own identity and who actually enjoy having time away from their kids, I would like to recommend my very favorite parenting book, "The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting," by Christine Mellor.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Loveliest of Trees by, A.E. Housman, 1859-1936

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Novella by, Adrienne Rich 1962

Two people in a room, speaking harshly.
One gets up, goes out to walk
(That is the man)
The other goes into the next room
and washes the dishes, cracking one.
(That is the woman)
It gets dark outside.
The children quarrel in the attic.
She has no blood left in her heart.
The man comes back to a dark house.
The only light is in the attic.
He has forgotten his key.
He rings at his own door.
and hears sobbing on the stairs.
The lights go on in the house.
The door closes behind him.
Outside, separate as minds
the stars too come alight.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Favorite Pictures

Diamond Locked by, Myself

She saw the sun glint, multi-colored hue glance from the diamond on the third finger of her left hand. The diamond glint upon her hand, brought by the gallant knight, feeding dreams that seemed unending. It was the glint before the knot that cinched their lives together in never-never land, far away from the trials of today. The knot firmly tied her to a web spun of love, lies, and lessons in survival. It was all so tempting. The two shall become one and never again meet eye to eye, crawling forever through the ties that bind to romance sweet. She winces at the sparkling glint, looking at it again and again and from this angle, it slices her heart in two. The years go by, the diamond glitters strongly in the sun. It masks melted hearts, angry words, and egocentric dreams of "together." On a still and quiet morning-mist-lingering-dawn-dew, she catches the glint more weakly in the cave of the morning sunlight. Slowly, she removes it from her finger. It is something so longingly precious that she kisses it "goodbye." She moves calmly and solitarily towards the awakening shadows. The day, the year, the life she will embrace no longer plural.

It isn't easy being free. the security of loves warm blanket no longer shrouds her at night. The living is meaner. She hadn't thought about the children. In a cramped studio over the hair salon on the corner, she cannot help but smile. The children don't like to see her here. It ruins their pride of what a mother should be. She is going back to work, teaching just a few blocks from home. It is a rough place, a school that she would never want for her own children. They stay, safe within the suburban haven fielding daily questions about her abandonment of them. Why is it so terrible whan a mother does this? It is not predictable behavior. Society expects the leaving to come from men. Her husband won't speak, he has no words for her.

Where did it all go wrong? How does the unraveling come? It all starts out so punch white and sure. There must be a beginning to this near disaterous end. She couldn't tell you. Daily she sheds a piece of the sticky web. At this rate the ten year web will quickly unravel. There are those who tell her that she is brave. She has yet to feel it, brave that is. Free for certain, how did she ever let herself get so trapped? Is seems to be the human condition. It would be unfair to say that there were no good times. The birth of the children she would never trade. When they met, her and her husband, they got on well. Same interests, same level of enducation, same general hopes for the future. Somewhere along the line they both got stuck in the hardness and boredom of day-to-day living and they lost any room that they once had for one another.

In this new space, she felt her heart coming back, stong and vibrant. Being alone is not so bad. Living as a couple is sorely overrated. She went out on her own and re-learned the city. She had grown up in the city, moving back was like coming home. Maybe it started to come apart then, she was never meant to be a suburban girl. She looked at the now empty third finger on her left hand. It could be a good idea, marriage. In theory it seemed ideal, maybe too lofty to be perpetuated by the fallible human race. Sometimes she missed the glint on her hand, but she didn't miss the perpetual failure of trying to make it work. Never being on the same page together, he was either one chapter behind or she was one chapter ahead, the nagging annoyance of unsolvable habits that she could never resolve. No, this way was more dangerous and ultimately more lonely. The fear of risk, the risk of being alone had held her back for so long. It held her back until she awoke one morning and realized that although she was married, she was still very alone. This aloneness and ability to tolerate it and learn from it would give her the strength that she needed to face her life ahead.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman That's me.
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please
And to a man The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say It's the fire in my eyes And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman That's me.
Men themselves have wondered What they see in me
They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery.
When I try to show them They say they still can't see.
I say It's in the arch of my back The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman That's me.
Now you understand Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing It ought to make you proud.
I say It's in the click of my heels The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman That's me.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Word about Shopping...

I really hate it. Today, for example, I had thirty minutes (typical for me) to find a black sweater. Challenging to do at this time of year for sure, but I was expecting a good sale. I was able to dodge in and out of about four stores in my alloted time. No black sweaters anywhere, not even on the sale racks. I tried on a few things that were close to my goal (coming close to my goal and compromise is something that I often have to do when I go shopping for myself). I must have been delusional to think that anything would actually be in my size. I tried on my size and everytime it was too tight and tiny in the same area ( I won't call is a problem area, because I think the sizing and not the way women are built is what constitutes the "problem"). So, I moved up a size and found myself swimming in the garmet. Apparantly in womens fashion moving up a size in clothing for the top half of the body involves lengthing the arms to gorilla size and making the shoulders wide enough for football pads to fit underneath. In fact I am not sure what governs sizing in womens clothing? It is a question that I often ask myself as my true size doesn't seem to exist in type of clothing. I see clothes that I would like, they are usually housed in stores where the sizing is more proportional to a Polly Pocket or a Barbie than a woman. I don't want to be a fashion maven, I just want jeans that fit, blouses that button (and stay buttoned) where they should, and waist sizes that are proportional to the thigh and butt sizes of what I would say is a typical woman.

I do have to say that Target has been the best place that I have found so far in terms of fit and price for women's clothing. The only problem being quality over the long term (clothes are usually good for about a season). Instead of spending money on a sweater today, I came home and downloaded a new album onto my ipod. That was much more satisfying.

Jane Porter Book Signing

Last night I went to a post book signing gathering at Oobas for Jane Porter. She is promoting her newest book, Mrs. Perfect. Jane is a local writer and writes fun, light, romantic, and somewhat humorous fiction for women. I am always taken aback when reading her books because many of the places and people are so familiar to me. Being from the West Coast, I am used to reading books that take place in bigger areas, usually back East or L.A. Southern California is not the same "West Coast" as the Pacific Northerwest, but I can save that comparison for a later blog entry. Check out Jane's website at http://www.janeporter.com/.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mitten, by Myself

February 2006


Day unfolds
Enveloping the traveling bodies

Black, metal frame
Wobbles gracefully
Spokes spin

The front wicker basket
Brushes the chrome handlebars
Empty and light as air
Frosty rings the metal bell

Small child
Takes the seat behind
Bobbing, blonde hair
Clad in blue
Crisp is the morning air

The mitten falls
Like a fluttering leaf
The frost-bitten, earth
Opens her bitter mouth
To swallow the
Smoky blue puffs of yarn

The red-faced child giggles
“Uh-oh mitten gone!”

Time to pedal back
The new found hurry
Punctuates the morning calm
With an icy fury

Faster, faster, faster
Black frame clanging
Child grows suddenly small
Then out of sight

The white breeze rushes
In like
A January curtain
To close on the stillness
Of the newfound day

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.

God's lioness,
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees!-The furrow

Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,

Berries cast dark

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Something else

Hauls me through air-
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels

Godiva, I unpeel-
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child's cry

Melts in the wall.
And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.