Monday, November 20, 2006

The Darndest Things

Being a single non-parent, I love talking to parents on the phone. I hear phrases I would never hear otherwise, especially while a child is under going potty training.

Maria: Sloane! Did you just pee on the floor? You're sticky!
Sloane: No mama.

Aileen: Iris! Do not drink out of the toilet!

Maria: Sloane! Quit throwing the clean laundry in the air. Put the clothes down. I mean it. Now!
and in the next breath: Austin get down. You are not allowed to climb to the top of couch and jump off.

Aileen: I've got to go. Iris has to go to the bathroom and if I am not there it could get messy.

Most of the time the next sentence I hear is an apology from the parent saying he/she has to hang up. I am usually laughing too hard to reply, "Just put the receiver down. I'll hold. I need the laugh." I love listening to the potty training years most of all.

I was looking forward to hearing some of these parent - kid exchanges in person. The last of my miles were expiring at the end of the December. I HAD to use them, and I did, last weekend. I went back to Atlanta! Turns out, these exchanges only happen on the phone.

My other goal for this trip was to complete my holiday shopping for the kids. Having completed the mission early Saturday, the kids, Maria, and I went to see Happy Feet. We left the theater with both kids tapping their feet through the movie parking lot, in Borders, and up the walkway at their house. Needless to say; great movie.

Go Mumbles! You are my new hero.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Doo Doo

I got nothing this week to post except for the love of a dictionary. It's a slow week creatively.

This week's Poetry Thursday is to create a poem out of obvious lies; the sky waxes green when the moon rises. I would have thought creating obvious lies would have sent my juices soaring. Oh well.

On the way to work, I thought about no longer valid pop references such as Alex P. Keaton and the eternalness of other references like Spicoli. Sometimes I feel old.

A friend once advised such thoughts, like feeling old, were poisonous and my thinking those thoughts were a contradiction. Maybe he thought those thoughts were a contradiction because I had only just showed him the saliva chewed crackers in my mouth.

Hey, doesn't everyone like a little seefood?
Poetry Thursday Poems to read this week:
Square Traveler

Actually just hit the comments section. All the entries this week are excellent.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


After having a conversation about writing with Tiff, I realized I had not seen my dictionary in awhile. I think I left one of my favorite writing tools at a former job. And while the internet dictionary suffices, it does not produce the same neurotic fix I need from holding the definitive grail.

I have a need with a bound dictionary around to look up words I know, peruse for words I don't, and investigate synonyms of words in the same alphabetical region. I have to come to believe only a hard copy of the dictionary can allay my word neurosis.

Yesterday, I left at lunch for the bookstore with the sole intention of picking up said dictionary and forgoing offers of lunch in the cafe. Once at Borders, I headed straight to the reference section, ignoring all the scrumptious temptations on display. Normally I am a Webster girl, but yesterday, I picked up the Oxford American Dictionary and Thesaurus. More than 200,000 definitions and 300,000 synonyms. How could I pass it up?

True, I could have purchased a bigger, badder dictionary, but I have a small desk at home. Having a colossal version wouldn't be practical.

Once back at work, I endured much teasing about my neurosis from coworkers:

"A dictionary! How exciting!"
"You know Michelle there is this thing called the internet. I hear they have a dictionary."

Yeah, well, no snubs to, but I need the feel of pages in my hand. I feel better. How could I go without for so long?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Artists Date - Poetry Thursday

For Poetry Thursday, the assignment was to take ourselves on an artist date as described by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way. The date to take yourself someplace and let your artist self take over. On this date, we needed to take a poetry snapshot of where the date happened.

On my date, I took myself to a Barnes and Noble located in an outdoor mall where music plays for the patrons walking outside. While sitting drinking my chai, I had a hard time describing the place as poetry. I began asking myself questions to induce an answer. What do I love about being in this Barnes and Noble? Why do I come here to write?

Here is what I came up with:


Smell of autumn on my fingers is fading
Dragging me into hibernation
Moving me to ignore the world
until the sun can yet wake me again

The sun finds my mind
Illuminating my curiosity with Books
Old wisdom and young idealists
Bound in the pages, calling for a read

Winter is coming
The season is not a place holder
tiding you over til love breaks forth
In the season of birth, Spring

Music energizes my body
Move girl, move
This world is not for the sleepy
Find your rhythm and move

Find the words and the movement
The places calling for your attention
Enjoy them all the more
Reliving the experience in writing

If you haven't read The Artist's Way, I suggest it; a great book to jump start creative expression. I bought the book many years ago as a book on tape with a supplement that contained chapter exercises. I am going to dig the book up again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Last Night

As I was driving home, I stared at the full moon rising over the eastern sky and contemplated the coming Winter, ballot questions, and football.

Since moving to the Boston area, I realized I have learned more about football than I have ever wanted. Why? Boston is a sports lovers' paradise. This town is drenched in sports tradition. You can't help but learn about hockey, football, basketball, and, my own life love, baseball at a college, high school, and primary school level. Sports is every where.

I was surprised to learn I admire Peyton Manning; one of the few quarterbacks in the NFL who can call his own plays- not something Brady does. I would never know the man's name if the Pats did not have a pre-game and post game in-depth analysis every week. (On Sunday, the Pats lost to the Colts, Manning's team, 27-20.)

The ballot questions for today's election?
Question 1: Should stores that sell food to be eaten elsewhere be allowed to sell wine? (Right now only liquor stores can sell any alcohol which will be consumed elsewhere.)

Question one has sparked much controversy and way too many ad campaigns for and against. What surprises me is neither side has offered up one fact or semi-truth to support their case.

My question, aside from my opinion, remained unanswered from the pundits: What are the socio-economic repercussions from answering yes or no?

Anyhow the moon was my solace and winter inevitable.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Favorite Verses

Poetry Thursday's assignment this week is to put forth favorite verses.
My hero Walt Whitman wrote many I love:

Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine
From the first poem, One's Self I Sing, in Leaves of Grass

One's Self pulled me into Leaves of Grass. I remember traveling in my twenties with no particular purpose other than the journey. Walt calls those travels back for me.

Many songs also take me back in time to journeys of my life. Some physical. Some philosophical.

Four of us traveled to see my friend Aileen graduate from University of Colorado at Boulder. On the way we stopped to see the Grand Canyon and Vegas. I was the night driver. My experience is limited by moonlight in many cases. However, I made up lyrics to I Wanna Be Sedated while traveling along I70. Sang them while everyone else was asleep. (I am an only child. I know how to keep myself entertained.)

I have been listening to Elvis lately; Costello that is. Oliver's Army sticks with me more and more.

My mind goes sleep walking
While I am putting the world to right

For some reason I combine this verse with a Ramones' verse from Do you remember Rock n Roll Radio?

It's the end of the 70s
It's the end of the century

In my head I end up with:

My mind goes sleep walking
While I am putting the world to right

It's the end of the 70s
It's the end of the century

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Run

Wordsmiths Unlimited puts forth a challenge each month to write a story based on a picture. (My challenge is to get the picture to post. I'll fight with Blogger later.) Go check the incredible stories posted this month.

The Run

"No, you run through first."

"But I thought of this place."

"Yeah, means you go first."

"We'll go together."

"Yeah, ok."

Even though we had an agreement and counted to three, I ran first; full out. My legs extended as far they could go, as quickly as they could go. I ran to the end of the chapel and ducked through the doorway. I turned to see Sam midway through the building. His legs, shorter than mine, were moving at a slower pace.

Seeing him behind me, I pushed through the small opening between the double doors leading back out to the open field. I laid down on the broken steps outside. Part of the field was encroaching on the steps, pushing up through the broken stones. From the where I lay between the top step and the next step down, the field stretched before me, then the trees an acre or so beyond, and peaking through the trees was the sun.

The old church was enclosed by natural boundaries. A river was at the left. The field and forest started at the right and merged at front. From the back, where we came was a trail through a wood leading back to our houses.

All the kids came here to play. The fields were overgrown and uncared for like the church. What lay beyond the trees was Indian country. Our folks promised any child a sound lashing who ventured into the forest.

Sam emerged a second later. I expected him to lie next to me, but he didn't. I could feel Sam standing behind me and hear his breathing, labored. I turned to look at him. Sam's face was pale and sweaty.

"Are you ok?"

No answer.

I stood up and moved Sam into a sitting position. Studying his face I realized Sam was afraid. Sam was never afraid and seeing him so, I felt the beginning of fear creep up my spine.

I tried to ask him questions about what he saw, but Sam wouldn't answer. His face grew paler even though his breathing became less shallow. Then I saw it, a small claw sticking out from the back of his head. Sam's thick hair covered much of the claw which could have been the reason I didn't see it at first. In honesty, I was too afraid to do much of survey of Sam. My attention was focused on the chapel. I expected something to come out to explain the fear before my eyes.

I knew now I needed to get Sam home, but doing so meant going back into the chapel. I tried to be logical. I played here a thousand times. All the kids did. The fear had gripped my spine now and no amount of reasoning would shake it.

I grabbed Sam's hand and pulled him up gathering what little courage I could. I didn't tell Sam what we were going to do but I knew he knew anyway. The run was only thirty feet. Should not take us more than a minute.

We held hands fast, took a breath, and ran, right into a flurry of black wings.