Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cleaning House

I had to laugh.....a friend dropped by and commented on how clean my house always is.

It's a ruse. I haven't run a vacuum cleaner or dusted in weeks and I can point out the cobwebs to prove it.

However, I do practice two "rules" that Grandma Priscilla taught me to make it seem as if I spend my days chasing dust bunnies and buffing the kitchen floor.

The first rule is that everything has a place and stays in its place. When I'm done with the scissors, I put them back; thankfully, I have a fully trained husband who follows this rule, too. We both would rather spend our time cuddling rather than searching for the scissors, so this practice works for both of us. It just makes life so much easier.

And the second rule is that I always make my bed in the morning and I do dishes at least once a day. With the bed made and dishes in the dish rack (even if more are waiting in the sink to be washed), it APPEARS as if I have my act together. Less than half an hour a day for the illusion of a clean house......can't beat that.

Friday, January 30, 2009


The son's court date did not go completely as hoped but he gets another chance on February 11th.

The lump does not appear to be a major problem......waiting to see the surgeon so it can be taken out. In the meantime, I am enjoying the relief from pain. Not sure what I'm taking, but it's working. I'm told I danced my way to bed last night singing a chorus or two of "Macho Man".

Gee, I thought I had better taste in music than that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's Going On?

Another change in the blog?

I have a theory that when life seems out of control a woman can always do something to her hair.

And I can't make it to the hairdresser.

Care to Sit a Spell?

I've been helping my poet friend select some photographs she took on a recent trip to Turkey to display at an exhibit she's hoping to do in the spring. This one intrigues me....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Waiting Game

There are many things I am not any good at: can't paint, don't play an instrument, can't dance, and never expect me to know what direction I'm traveling in. Most of all, I do not know the meaning of patience.

Today I am awaiting two phone calls.

One will be from my doctor telling me the results of the MRI done on the lump on my arm yesterday. I really don't expect him to call until tomorrow. And if I read the looks on the faces of the technicians who helped me yesterday, I already think I know what the doctor will be saying. I just want him to finally do something to help ease this pain I've been living with.

The other call, which I do expect any minute now, will be either from my son or from the woman who has been his girlfriend for the past five years. If the call comes from Kate, then the judge did not find in my son's favor and he must complete his nine-month sentence (scroll down if you want the details on this). If it's from my son, he's out.....but will have to deal with the end of a five-year relationship with Kate and starting over again, who knows where.

So, I'm pacing. I can't seem to stay at my desk and edit my novel, or work on selecting poems for a submission with a deadline that's a couple of weeks away or work on posters I need to get done to sell our book at some readings we have scheduled for February. Can't knit because the pain in my arm is almost unbearable.....thankfully, I can type one-handed. All I can do is cuddle on the couch with Rupert and try to be patient, waiting for the phone to ring. Kind of feels like I'm back in high school, waiting for that boy to call. Damn. I thought those awful days were long over.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beautiful Despair

When I stopped working, I stopped buying CDs. I borrow from the library. On my last trip I grabbed a Rodney Crowell CD called "The Outsider" and I am loving it: it's political and lyrical and I highly recommend it. Especially the song "Beautiful Despair". It can't be said any better than the opening line:

"Beautiful despair is hearing Dylan when you're drunk at 3 a.m.
Knowing that the chances are no matter what you'll never write like him"

Monday, January 26, 2009


Yup. That's still the title of the 9/11 novel I'm writing. Yup. It's finished. I'm editing it. And, yup, I've used complete sentences and good grammar and all. That's not what this post is about. It's one of those health updates that I dread doing.

There's this lump. Since I don't do anything in a normal way, it's not in a breast or anywhere they usually pop up. It's between my shoulder and elbow, on my left arm. It's now the size of a hard boiled egg, and it hurts like the bee-jeezies. At first I imagined I'd been knitting too much getting ready for Plowshares, and how could I go to my good doctor and say I'd sprained a muscle from knitting too much? My doc is very patient with me, but he also has no problem laughing at me either. He didn't laugh when he felt this lump. He poked and prodded and said something about "tentacles" (I'm sure he didn't say "testicles") and scheduled an MRI.

MRI is Tuesday.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hallelujah! Mark Zane at Sparkytown!

Mark Zane did NOT disappoint us at Sparkytown's last night! He made good on his promise to play his new song, "Maybe" and many songs off his new CD "American Hunger". His keen observations of the state of the world are reflected in his lyrics. He makes you laugh, shake your head, tear up, but -- most importantly -- he demands your attention and you can't stop thinking about his songs long after he's put his guitar down. As a poet, I'm always in awe of songwriters who can pull off the tough he does in his song "Ruby" where he manages an end rhyme for "erection" that works.

There's always a highlight or two in a live performance and one of them for me came when Mark announced he'd do a cover of the Leonard Cohen anthem "Hallelujah". (It's on the playlist I shared a few posts of my absolute favorites from the father of song.) I was initially excited, then wondered if I could stand to hear another performer butcher what I consider to be one of the finest songs -- both lyrics and melody. I had once been excited to hear Willie Nelson's version and then cringed, although I have grown to like it a little more.

But Mark nailed it - and it wasn't just because some others from the audience sang a soft harmony. His voice is powerful and his guitar playing strong; his bass player was excellent. Mark's performance of "Hallelujah" was bone chilling and delicious, creating the magic a musician weave only when he understands a song completely.

Even though I've been listening to Mark's CD as I do dishes or cook dinner, after hearing him perform these songs, they take on new meaning. It's difficult to pick a favorite. I thought it was "Bethlehem" but this morning it might be "Man Under the Bridge". Then again it may be the other song that touched me last night, Mark's song about a fallen soldier in Iraq, "Going Home". This is the song that has stayed with me, keeping me company this morning.

We had a great time. Sparky, thanks for opening up your restaurant to music for the 'hood. Mark, thanks for sharing your music with us.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yeah Oscar!

Richard Jenkins won an Oscar nomination for Best Actor! That's almost as good as the change in the White House for me!

OK, you've forgotten my raving about him in a post about a hundred posts ago when I asked you all to watch the movie "The Visitor" which still holds its spot as my favorite movie. It sums up immigration issues. And Richard Jenkins DESERVES an Oscar...although in my wildest dreams I never imagined his name ever appearing on a ballot because this isn't the type of movie that is usually acknowledged. His performance is understated and masterful. And he physically and emotionally reminds me of my father, in every moment of this film. The ending will stay with you.

I once again urge you to watch this movie and I dare you not to be moved by Richard Jenkin's performance.

Congratulations to you, Mr. Jenkins. I shouted out loud when I read the list of nominees and then cried tears of joy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Come on Down to Sparkytown....hear Mark Zane

Not only does Sparky serve the best lunch around the neighborhood at her restaurant at the corner of Burnet and Catherine, always welcoming our writing group with a smile and hugs, she's now open for dinner on the weekends with live music!

You'll certainly be treated to a delightful dinner and a musician who'll you be sure to tell folks "I heard him when" if you drop by this Saturday night to hear Mark Zane play from his latest CD, "American Hunger". You will not be disappointed.

Check him out at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's A New Day

Wow....can it get any better?

A new President who's a writer?

A new President who speaks in complete sentences?

A new President who believes that peace and unity is a possibility?

Can't shake the feeling that I've been shaken awake from a long, miserable night's sleep and -- guess what? -- the sun is indeed shining.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Music in My Head...

Snippets of songs are playing in my head...

"the sun will come out....tomorrow" winter blahs or inauguration hopes or both

"this is the last dance" I hope Laura has George all packed

"don't stop thinking about tomorrow" dreams of inaugurations past

"one more night, the stars are shining bright" I hope Laura has George all packed

"this land is your land, this land is my land" diversity here we come

"take the last train to Clarksville" I hope Laura has George all packed

and then there's a chorus of Mark Zane's "Maybe" playing in there, too....

I'm going to think on the positive side today: Maybe it will work out this time. Maybe.

and hey, local can hear Mark play his tune, "Maybe" at Sparkytown this Friday night, January 24th, at 7:30 PM. Come on down. Promise you, it will be a good time. His lyrics will speak to you, and he can play a pretty mean guitar, too. Check him out on My Space!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Should Be There With Her

For the first time in my life, I wish I could drive a car. I'd be there by now. With my friend. I'd have left early this morning. She's in a dark place. I should be there with her.

I know there's nothing I can really do. We like to think we hold miracle cures in our back pockets to take away the pain of our loved ones, but we really don't.

Still, I would sit in a dark room with her and just be there. In case she wanted a grilled cheese sandwich. Or a glass of pineapple juice. Or someone not to talk to. Maybe she'd want someone to lower the shade or get another blanket or find the book she'd been reading. Perhaps she'd want to listen to Eva Cassady or Joni Mitchell or we could laugh ourselves silly over something stupid. Maybe we'd have one of those good, old fashioned crying spells that leave us breathless but refreshed somehow. Or maybe not. Maybe I'd just sit there. Still as a button. But I'd be there. And I think we'd both feel better. Somehow.

I keep going back to the lyrics of that Bruce Cockburn song......even the best map cannot guide us/we can't see what's round the bend/sometimes the road leads to dark places/sometimes the darkness is our friend.....

I hope it's enough that she knows I wish more than anything that I could be there with her.

Friday, January 16, 2009

So Long, Farewell......

OK, you knew I'd have to say something....

I didn't even know Bush would be giving a farewell speech....I mean, really, haven't we suffered enough? I wanted to watch Gil Grissom leave the CSI series, one of the few things I sometimes watch on television (or rather, one of the few things I knit to while hubby watches on tv)...and then there George was, patting himself on the back...well, his arms aren't really that long.

Honestly, I had to leave the room and make nachos. I couldn't watch it. And I realized that I didn't have to watch it. He enraged me early into it by trying to remind everyone how we all "liked" him after 9/ dare he?

I am so hopeful that I no longer need to be embarrassed by the words and actions of my country's leader in four more days.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The sun is shining here today. I went out on the back porch and broke away some ice without a coat on, even though it's only about thirty degrees. I could almost feel the warmth of the sun for a moment.

I miss that. I've been ill since November. And cold. Bone cold. I almost miss the hot flashes of menopause this winter. At least then I still could feel my toes most days when I still had hot flashes.

I am even more tired of complaining about the cold and snow than I am looking at it and walking in it and putting my boots, coat, gloves, hat and scarf on just to take Rupert out to pee, a chore that takes fifteen minutes now.

My body is rebelling more than usual this winter. But today, as the sun shines down, it suddenly remembers summer and counts the days -- 110 -- until we can open up the camper. Maybe my toes will have thawed out by then.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I was so intrigued when my friend Denise listed her IPod play list on her blog, I've decided to share what I listen to as I write:

Stormy Weather - Joni Mithchell
Round Here - Counting Crows
The Shelter of Storms - Mary Chapin Carpenter
The Night I Painted the Sky - Jimmy Buffet
Beachcombing - Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris
And It Stoned Me - Van Morrison
The Bridal Train - The Waifs
Pacing the Cage - Bruce Cockburn
Feels Like Rain - John Hiatt
Song About Forgiveness - Allegra Barley
A Song for Jeffrey - Jethro Tull
Beyond the Horizon - Bob Dylan
Just a Song Before I Go - Crosby, Still & Nash
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
This Old Guitar - Neil Young
On Every Street - Dire Straits
Angel - Sarah McLachlan
Shame on the Moon - Rodney Crowell
Kathy's Song - Simon and Garfunkel
Only Heart - John Mayer
My Ride's Here - Bruce Springstein
The French Inhaler - Warren Zevon
The Wind - Billy Bob Thornton

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


That's the new word for me.

I was going to begin a new year of blogging with the title "The Slump" and begin by listing all the reasons I haven't been writing and the things that have gone horribly wrong since my last entry.

But last night at the Songwriters Group at Sparkytown, Mark Zane started the night out with a song-in-progress called "Maybe". As I've written here before, there's always one song each month that speaks loudly to me and surprises me. This was the song. No other song of the evening came close. Mark's message was along the line of "maybe we can get it right this time", something so many of us are thinking after the election, and then he included an extremely sarcastic "yeah" in one of his verses, as if to remind us that we're all human and extremely capable of screwing up even the best of situations. He nailed it, I think. The best we can ever hope for is "Maybe."

Somehow, this brought me out of my annual "stuck inside of Syracuse with the Key West blues again" (sorry, Bob) when the dysfunction in my family rages to its finest moments and none of the pieces of the puzzles of my life stay off the floor. It's all a "maybe". Maybe this relationship will work out. Maybe this kid will find the right path. Maybe this job will be the satisfying one. Maybe this agent will like my work. Maybe this time the dog will poop. Maybe this time I'll sleep through the night. Maybe this drug will stop the seizures.

Yeah. Maybe. Maybe not. But we'll never know if we don't at least try, will we?

I think Mark Zane's song has a message for us. Maybe he'll keep working on it and we'll all be humming the chorus as we do our chores someday in the future. Maybe. I hope so.