Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Proposals
by Cecilia Woloch



Mistaking me for someone else, he asked me to marry him. This has
happened more than once. The first time, I was eighteen and the boy had
a diamond ring in a box. It was the Fourth of July, it was dark, he said, Happy
Independence Day. Of course, the ring was too large and slipped right off
my finger into the grass. (It belonged to someone else: the woman he
married, eventually.) And when I was twenty-one, that redhead, sloe-eyed
and slinking out of his grief, said he'd imagined I'd be his wife. But he was
mistaken. It wasn't me. Then a drunk who drove too fast, who threw the
proposal over his shoulder like some glittering, tattered scarf. I staggered
out of his car, saying, No thanks, No thanks, No thanks. And the man over
eggs one morning, in the midst of an argument, saying he planned to wait
for spring to ask for my hand, then he never asked. (So of course, I married
that one for a while; spent years convincing him I was not his cup of coffee,
not his girl.) And in Prague, on a bridge called the Karlův Most, a stranger,
a refugee, who mistook the way I stared at the river for thinking of suicide.
Who mistook my American passport for his ticket out of there. And
others-the man whose children grabbed the food off my plate, called me
her; the man in Chartres Cathedral humming the wedding march into my
ear. And tonight, at dinner with friends, happy, discussing their wedding
plans, a man I've known for a couple of hours turning to ask me to marry
him. I don't know who they think I am. Do I look like a bride in these rags
of wind? Do I look like the angel of home and hearth with this strange green
fire in my hands?

Monday, December 29, 2008

You Made Crusty Bread Roll...

by Gary Johnson



You made crusty bread rolls filled with chunks of brie
And minced garlic and drizzled with olive oil
And baked them until the brie was bubbly
And we ate them thoughtfully, our legs coiled
Together under the table And then salmon with dill
And lemon and whole-wheat cous cous
Baked with garlic and fresh ginger, and a hill
Of green beans and carrots roasted with honey and tofu.
it was beautiful, the candles and linens and silver,
The winter sun setting on our snowy street,
Me with my hand on your leg, you, my lover,
In your jeans and green T-shirt and beautiful feet.
How simple life is. We buy a fish. We are fed.
We sit close to each other, we talk and then we go to bed.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Snow

by Pamela Porter



That last day of the year
we hung upside down
on the world, air hot
as exhaust from the black
taxis of Buenos Aires,
and while roses in Parque Rosedal
opened their fragrant mouths
like a Palestrina choir,
the two of you ran to the window
calling, "Snow!"
From the windows
of all the office towers,
workers tossed the year's
papers into the open air,
faces serious as ice.
December's memos, the first
flakes, floated on the bitter wind;
windshield wipers plowed the drifts
of November's announcements.
October fell, with the date and hour
of a funeral, then September,
August, the grey decisions
of July, a list
of those to let go, jealous tangos
of June and May set free
into the azure sky.
We walked the Avenida
in that bright disorder,
the neatly tied loose ends
flung open, the hoary
edges of graphs
flaming in the sun.

Saturday, December 27, 2008



Spent the holidays in Neurodramaville, and "Hey!! Nobody died!!"
Good days indeed. Boring as hell, but we set the bar low on wanting No Drama Today days.

Another Saturday in CinCity

The Marsh in Winter
by Timothy Walsh


If you stand and listen,
you will hear the voice.
Reeds sharp as rapiers rasp the wind.
Frost creaks in the trees.
Sunlight, ice-bright, falls from the sky.
Scattered cedars and junipers loom like shadows.
Sheathed in ice, a willow droops heavily
Across the path.
Driven snow packs the creviced bark of cottonwoods.
Once-hidden bird nests now plainly marked
by a white cap of snow...

Out on the marsh, blue water shows through shifting ice.
Tall brown reeds, slim as dancers, bend in the breeze.
A hundred thousand cattails, each one lit
by the low-angled light of a westering sun,
each brown seed head blazing
like the head of a saint.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On This Holy Night

Sacred spaces surround us everywhere--from stables
to coffee houses,
prison cots to sick beds,
even ordinary living rooms.






video

Christmas Eve

Have a few minutes before I need to start wrapping and cooking again this morning. Hubby is at work for 12 hours, Grrrrls are over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house, and I have a few hours unencumbered to finish wrapping gifts, walk the dog, clear off the dining room table, find where I've hidden the stocking stuffers, cook up a little Fazzoletti coi Funghi (Little Handkerchiefs with Portobello Mushrooms), attend the evening mass (Sister MaryMartha), and drink bucketfuls of coffee. I'll be spending the next two days with my other loved ones in Neurodramaville so our little family at home will share Christmas wishes this evening. Hopefully before 9pm so I can load up on the beauty rest:>)

Wishing all of you and your loved ones much love and joy. Enjoy.




"...Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed.

Looking through my bedroom window, out onto the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steadily falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept."


please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"...Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs where the gas meter ticked. And I remembered that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house...'

please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Monday, December 22, 2008



"...For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all their buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the side board and had some elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush.

I would blow up balloons to see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on the seaward hill, to call on Jim and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge deep footprints on the hidden pavements."


please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's Actually Important About the Holiday Season

I'm wrapping presents today--when I'm not drinking another cuppa coffee or looking out the window or reading a very important blog posting. Stopped by Writerquake and found out my preppy name which is always handy information and found this lovely little test, the Little Black Dress Test. Self knowledge is always a good thing. At least that's what Kiki and Corkie say...




Your Little Black Dress Says You're Quirky

You are lively and outgoing. You are naturally friendly.
You enjoy meeting new people and making new connections.

Your style is whimsical and unique. You're good at putting together interesting outfits.

If you were a shoe, you would be: High heeled boots

Dear Santa, just in case--

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cardinals by John L. Stanizzi


I had seen them in the tree,
and heard they mate for life,
so I hung a bird feeder
and waited.
By the third day,
sparrows and purple finches
hovered and jockeyed
like a swarm of bees
fighting over one flower.
So I hung another feeder,
but the squabbling continued
and the seed spilled
like a shower
of tiny meteors
onto the ground
where starlings
had congregated,
and blue jays,
annoyed at the world,
disrupted everyone
except the mourning doves,
who ambled around
like plump old women
poking for the firmest
head of lettuce.

Then early one evening
they came,
the only ones—
she stood
on the periphery
of the small galaxy of seed;
he hopped
among the nuggets,
calmly chose
one seed at a time,
carried it to her,
placed it in her beak;
she, head tilted,
accepted it.
Then they fluffed,
hopped together,
did it all over again.

And filled with love,
I phoned to tell you,
over and over,
about each time
he celebrated
being there,
all alone,
with her.


please note: photo by Tom Merigan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Share The Love


The Conjugation of the Paramecium
by Muriel Rukeyser

This has nothing
to do with
propagating

The species
is continued
as so many are
(among the smaller creatures)
by fission

(and this species
is very small
next in order to
the amoeba, the beginning one)

The paramecium
achieves, then,
immortality
by dividing

But when
the paramecium
desires renewal
strength another joy
this is what
the paramecium does:

The paramecium
lies down beside
another paramecium

Slowly inexplicably
the exchange
takes place
in which
some bits
of the nucleus of each
are exchanged

for some bits
of the nucleus
of the other

This is called
the conjugation of the paramecium.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something About the Wind by Sidney Hall, Jr.


There's something about the wind coming off
the ocean, the waves washing the rocks

that makes a person who is quickly annoyed
by cigarette smoke and men
putting nails into roofs

forgetful and unconcerned.

If you are easily disturbed
you need to get an ocean.


please note: photo by Ron Karpel

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Older I Get, the Older I Get.

This business of getting older and doing so with some grace is a tricky little duck. No sense going on about the looks and body department. That infrastructure is crumbling as I write and girders must be hoisted.



However, dancing...that has been a bit of a bittersweet surprise. The Hubby and I met while dancing along the steamy waterbanks of this beautiful river city when the humidity was high and the moon was full and we were seventeen years younger. Doesn't seem like so many and it really has flown by, but our muscle memory must have a short memory and our fast twitch muscles have quite forgotten how to twitch. We went to the swing dance on Madison Avenue Thursday night and met the new generation; the ones we compete against for floor space.

video

What's a woman of a certain age to do? The white ankle top socks are simply not a good look for me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hot Diggitty Damn

video


please note: video found at A Time To Dance. Thank you, Maria.

Another Saturday in CinCity

Piano
by Patrick Phillips



Touched by your goodness, I am like
that grand piano we found one night on Willoughby
that someone had smashed and somehow
heaved through an open window.

And you might think by this I mean I'm broken
or abandoned, or unloved. Truth is, I don't
know exactly what I am, any more
than the wreckage in the alley knows
it's a piano, filling with trash and yellow leaves.

Maybe I'm all that's left of what I was.
But touching me, I know, you are the good
breeze blowing across its rusted strings.

What would you call that feeling when the wood,
even with its cracked harp, starts to sing?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cuppa Kindness..."Please, Sir, Could I Have More?"


This is a season when FoodBanks across the country are asking for help and donations. I'm sure your local one is, I know our FreeStore is, and our neighbors to the northeast have also been hard hit. Cups of Kindness is offering beautiful artwork and pottery with monies going to the Foodbank of the Akron/Canton area. Rather risky items for the herd of hippos living in this household, but I see several things that look perfect for the aunties and grannies in the family. Take a look when you have time.

"When the Moon is in the Seventh House..."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Latex. It's a Good Thing.


Two things here--one is that HoneyHaired Grrrl and I went to the the production of Rent put on by her high school. Rent is the La Boheme of a New York artiste community in the early 80's. HIV is the death sentence carried by the young, attractive, vocally blessed characters we meet; the modern day equivalent of tuberculosis/consumption/the white death in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I doubted that these kids in this midwestern auditorium really understood the bone-chilling fear and hysteria that accompanied a positive ELISA/Western Blot test 25 years ago.



Which brings me to the second thing. HIV infection has a longer survival rate in the United States than Diabetes Mellitus. This to me is miraculous. I remember the early eighties when AIDS patients were admitted to the ICU for the comfort care(read this as respiratory therapy and narcotics)we could provide. We didn't put those young men--they were all heartbreakingly young and they were all men--on ventilators. We had no medical therapies to provide. We had nothing but treatments to ease the struggle of breathing and medication for pain.

I was reminded of those days when I was driving HoneyHaired to the orthodontist and I heard Robert Gallo, one of the gurus of AIDS talking on NPR this afternoon and discussing his Op Ed piece in the Washington Post(linked to in his highlighted name). We've come a long way in 25 years and President George W. Bush is a part of that I was surprised to hear, but thankful.

Here's hoping to a new campaign to educate our young and old, apparently the "geriatric" population is a fast rising and overlooked population for new diagnoses of HIV infection. The Viagra Generation. Perhaps it could become a new Martha Stewart-style mantra, "Latex. It's a good thing."

please note, photos: Rent, AZT, AIDS quilt in Washington,D.C. in 1997

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Watch..."


The Guest House
by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


please note: poem gleefully stolen from Blissful Bohemian. Thanks Annie.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ha! Another Saturday in CinCity



Trees are being lighted and the preparations begin.





"In goes my hand into that wool-white-bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the day of Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes."










please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Friday, November 28, 2008

and the season begins...




"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands into the snow and bring out whatever I can find."



please note: photo by Estonia Tallinn, A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving


"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." Eckhart, Meister



please note: photo from a very interesting blog, Arch At Rang. Try it, you'll like it:>)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks Giving To All


Optimism
by Jane Hirshfield

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs--all this resinous, unretractable earth.




I'm about ready to swab the inside of a turkey with orange rinds and coat the rest with butter before turning on the oven to 360 degrees, waiting for the smells of Thanksgiving to fill the air of the kitchen down the steps to the front hallway.
CollegeGrrrl will be home this evening. HoneyHaired Grrrl is off school and Hubby is working a four hour shift this morning. Someone will root through the attic and dust off one board game or another--Clue, Battleship, Barbie Dating Game for a little rough and tumble before we eat. The boxer already sprawls unmoveable on the floor in front of the stove not willing to miss the chance of a dropped bit of goodness into his baggy jowls. I am filled to the brim with happiness for the chance to have all my little birds home. Many blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cannot Fathom Why This Wasn't The Cornerstone Of The Obama Campaign

If Hiliary becomes the next Secretary of State will we be seeing a lot more of this slice of mancake?? Good times are here again.

"You've Known That Hollow Sound of Your Own Steps in Flight..."


RUN
by Ann Patchett

"...a spectacular autumn book: moody and thoughtful, gentle in its handling of weighty topics, and quietly suspenseful."--Holly Silva, The St Louis Post-Dispatch


Quintessential Sentence: "Anger and sadness and a sense of injustice that was bigger than any one thing that had happened stoked an enormous fire in her chest and that fire kept her heart vibrant and hot and alive, a beautiful, infallible machine."

Favorite word: Enneacanthus obesus



Full Disclosure: Ann Patchett could write out a grocery list and I would love it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yawn...Another Saturday in CinCity...


Runways Café II
by Marilyn Hacker

For once, I hardly noticed what I ate
(salmon and broccoli and Saint-Véran).
My elbow twitched like jumping beans; sweat ran
into my shirtsleeves. Could I concentrate
on anything but your leg against mine
under the table? It was difficult,
but I impersonated an adult
looking at you, and knocking back the wine.
Now that we both want to know what we want,
now that we both want to know what we know,
it still behooves us to know what to do:
be circumspect, be generous, be brave,
be honest, be together, and behave.
At least I didn't get white sauce down my front.


please note: art by Johann Gotthardt

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wounds Heal


Survival by Sri Chinmoy

I am not dreaming
Of a hope-victory-life.
I am just dreaming
Of a hope-survival-life.

One of our patients returned to our unit today to say hello, unrecognizable in her own clothes and walking without assistance. Her father could not stop smiling. She looked a little befuddled at all the fuss. She remembers nothing of her 8 day stay and that's just fine. She may be able to go back to school in the spring. She may need to stay out the year. Either way, she has a future waiting for her and we could not be happier as we send her towards it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Got Christmas??


Okay, enough already...the first snow has fallen, to be followed by more flurries. Christmas music jangles from the radio. I get it. Summer is really over and the holidays are pouring out of their cars and scampering up the front steps.

So..are you sending Christmas cards this year?
You wanna send one to the address below?

From the front lines to the home front, the American Red Cross provides our military men and women with the care and assistance they need. This holiday season the Red Cross is partnering with Pitney Bowes for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.

For the second year, holiday cards are being collected to distribute to American service members, veterans and service families in the United States and those deployed around the world. Pitney Bowes is generously donating technology, resources and postage to make this holiday card program possible.

The goal is to collect and distribute one million holiday cards to spread the spirit of the season--that would be Holiday Cheer, you Scrooges-- and give thanks a million brave individuals and families.

Please send cards to this address, guidelines available in the Red Cross website highlighted below:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456


For more information and important guidelines, check out:
Holiday Mail for Heroes-

(borrowed from ConcordPastor--thanks for the heads up)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where I Am With You by Ryan Vine


Waking from a nap,
we stand at the window
watching dark clouds crawl
across the sky, whip
state-sized wisps
down and out and up.

Lights come on early,
and people below
on the street scurry
and bumble about
My arm around you, you say—
Let it rain, let it pour.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's Only November, Folks

First Christmas song heard on the radio--Wednesday, November 12.
First dusting of snow in CinCity--Sunday, November 16.
What about Thanksgiving??
Good grief...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

For Bartleby by Malena Morling




Tonight I wonder where the man is
who used to stand just inside the doors
of the Lexington Avenue entrance to Grand Central Station.

The full moon is rising. Around the earth, meteors move
through space. Every day for over a year
I walked by him early in the morning

and at the end of the day he still
stood in the same position, arms down
his sides, looking straight ahead

at thousands of people walking
without colliding in all directions at once,
everybody trying to get to a different place.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Following the Road by Larry Smith


I have left my wife at the airport,
flying out to help our daughter
whose baby will not eat.
And I am driving on to Kent
to hear some poets read tonight.

I don't know what to do with myself
when she leaves me like this.
An old friend has decided to
end our friendship. Another
is breaking it off with his wife.

I don't know what to say
to any of this-Life's hard.
And I say it aloud to myself,
Living is hard, and drive further
into the darkness, my headlights
only going so far.

I sense my own tense breath, this fear
we call stress, making it something else,
hiding from all that is real.

As I glide past Twin Lakes,
flat bodies of water under stars,
I hold the wheel gently, slowing my
body to the road, and know again that
this is just living, not a trauma
nor dying, but a lingering pain
reminding us that we are alive.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LESSONS by Pat Schneider


I have learned
that life goes on,
or doesn't.
That days are measured out
in tiny increments
as a woman in a kitchen
measures teaspoons
of cinnamon, vanilla,
or half a cup of sugar
into a bowl.

I have learned
that moments are as precious as nutmeg,
and it has occurred to me
that busy interruptions
are like tiny grain moths,
or mice.
They nibble, pee, and poop,
or make their little worms and webs
until you have to throw out the good stuff
with the bad.

It took two deaths
and coming close myself
for me to learn
that there is not an infinite supply
of good things in the pantry.

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 11,



"...a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."



In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated the triumph of ending the old world order. After four years of bitter and devastating war, a peace treaty was signed and hope for diplomatic resolutions reigned.



The "war to end all wars" was now over.






Except for the ones that soon followed.





This is a deeply heartfelt thanks for the many peaces that have been fought for and a prayer for those still slightly out of reach.