Tuesday, December 26, 2006


My flash Golden Years is up at Salome this week.

Friday, December 22, 2006


The Yarn Harlot is at it again, this time spurring us all to dig into our pockets and give whatever we can to Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian group that works tirelessly to bring medical aid to those in need all over the world.

As I get older, I realize how ephemeral 'stuff' is - books, movies, gadgets, toys. True, lasting satisfaction comes from touching the lives of others in positive ways. I like to get 'stuff' as much as the next person. I like to give even more.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

I am

of two daughters
two sparklers popping bright and loud
two semi-colons connecting past and future
two examples of X + Y = all the stars of the universe
and a ponytail bouncing like laughter uncoiled

with words flailing mustard and carbonic acid
rhythm-seeking missiles squirming in my pockets
all the flavors of chocolate on my tongue
as I stand at the bookstore checkout with 2 volumes of haiku
and a magazine of free verse, declaring myself to the cashier
like a traveler coming through Customs

wife, sister, daughter, friend
I am what you choose to call me, what I choose to call myself
though sometimes I imagine I an outside these arms, these legs,
these mysterious stretches of skin marked with the scars of 40 years.
I am one small container for a soul, one huge heart echoing yours
and yours


weak sometimes
sometimes strong
fond of folly and small orange kittens
quiet except when I'm loud
exploring the continuum of boredom
expanding the meanings of busy

I am the smile in the dark.
What are you?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

At least I've been knitting

Virtually no time for writing right now, between sick kids, husband with back pain, and my own battle against the monthly migraine. I haven't mentioned it much here, but my daughter Emma is 'gifted' and skipped kindergarten last year. She's six and in Second Grade now, and while she's doing great academically (if anything, she's bored because the work is still too easy for her), there have been some social issues. It's hard to believe, but she's already being identified as 'different' by the other kids and left out a lot. As a parent, it's a huge challenge for me to find the right mix for her, and I'm finding that it requires a great deal of time and focus. Consequently, writing has had to fall by the wayside these last few weeks. But there has been knitting, which has helped me stay sane through it all.

I finally finished those Socktoberfest socks –

Dennis' pair in Blue Brick Wall:

My Baby Cable Rib pair in Siren Song:

And I've even managed a little bit of felting for the Get Felted! knitalong at Romancing the Yarn:

The girls love them, and it makes me feel great to see them so happy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


One more publication!

My poem Seven Reasons We Never Met for Drinks at the Sand Dollar Lounge is up at juked now.

This one came out of my sixth round of 30/30 and is precisely why I love doing 30 poems in 30 days. I would never have been able to let myself write something like this under normal circumstances. I may have to jump back into the madness soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Recent Publications

I know I included a link to this in a previous post, but it was only a brief mention and I'm so proud to be included in the current issue of The Pedestal Magazine that I can't help putting it up again. Besides, The Corps of Discovery Licks Its Salty Lips is one of my personal favorites of all the poems I've written. Arlene Ang served as guest editor of the issue and did a fantastic job - she chose an outstanding variety of delightful and engaging poems. Check them all out!

The Fall issue of Tipton Poetry Journal includes my poem summer and winter. My copy arrived in the mail last week and it is a lovely journal. Arlene Ang, Cheryl Chambers, and Jason Fraley also have poems in this issue.

I'm also very pleased to be included in the newest issue of poetry over at Literary Mama. Check out my poem At Bedtime as well as all the other fine poems exploring the amazing journey of motherhood.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Whatever Happened to Personal Responsibility?

Humiliated Frat Boys Sue 'Borat'

"The film "made plaintiffs the object of ridicule, humiliation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress, loss of reputation, goodwill and standing in the community," the lawsuit said."

Um, didn't they do that to themselves by getting drunk and making sexist and racist comments?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Read This!

Looking for something great to read?

Check out Theresa Boyar's stunning story Waxing Razal, the third runner-up in Storyglossia's Fiction Contest. Don't miss Katrina Denza's engrossing first-runner up story Snake Dreams while you're there.

You can find Theresa's lovely poem Saints in Her Backyard up this week at Salome, and her story Selling it to Mrs. Foster at juked.

Also at juked, don't miss Arlene Ang's Typo and Claudia Smith's story Possom.

Happy reading!

Friday, November 03, 2006

In the Quiet

It's morning, but not early, and I should be out of bed. Emma is off to school already. Dennis drove her in because today is pajama day and it's just a bit too cold and rainy to be standing out waiting for the bus in PJs. Plus, it's a treat for them both to do something special like that. Pajama day is a reward to all the kids in the school for earning positive behavior 'gotchas'. When a teacher, administrator, or bus driver sees a kid doing something respectful, safe, or responsible, they reinforce the behavior by handing out a slip of paper that counts toward rewards and prizes. It seems pretty effective, and I like that the emphasis is on what kids are doing right, not what they are doing wrong.

So anyway, Kate is still asleep and I'm sitting in my bed in the dark with the shades still down, listening to my own thoughts uninterrupted for once. I finished my 7th round of 30 poems in 30 days on Tuesday and am making myself take a break for several days before starting another round. Maybe I'll wait even longer, but I doubt it. Already I feel the itch to write. It's become second nature now, as regular and necessary as breathing. I find the beginnings of poems, the seeds of new ideas, in everything I do and see. But for now I'm just making little notes and concentrating on revising poems that are already written, submitting work that is ready to go out into the world, and finishing up stories that never quite made it to the final draft.

And I'm thinking about the Christmas knitting I have planned. The yarn is picked out, bought, and wound into lovely balls, but I haven't decided which patterns I'm using for my dad and brother yet. I've already started my mom's present, but it requires concentration, so progress is slow. In the meantime, I'm about halfway through Dennis' second sock and I just finished the third teacup and saucer for the tea set I'm knitting for Emma and Kate. That leaves one more teacup and saucer (the pattern only calls for two of each, but then how would our whole family be able to enjoy the tea parties?!), the teapot, sugar bowl, and creamer. They're pretty quick to knit, but since it's going to be a surprise, I can only work on them when the girls aren't around, and you can imagine how often (not!) that happens. I also joined the Get Felted! knitalong and contest over at Romancing the Yarn and have been eyeing my stash to see what I can felt. I have some lovely tweedy yarn I got last year to make Fuzzy Feet with, so that's one project. I'm also hoping to make the felted mancala board that's been lurking at the bottom of my project list for months.

I've been reading Neruda's Odes to Common Things, which I got with part of my recent poetry prize, and I'm really enjoying it. There is an economy and simplicity of words to these poems that belies the depth of their scope and insight. Other things I've read lately include Poetry International, Fence, and a wonderful memoir I picked up in Baker City, Oregon over the summer called I Only Dress the Wounds: Notes of a Country Doctor by Ted Merrill. It is one of the best books I've ever read. By turns funny, profound, heartbreaking, disturbing, and always life-affirming.

Sitting here in the quiet, I'm struck by how much I've accomplished lately. Not big things. Not, for the most part, measurable things. There's been no changing the world here. Or maybe there has. I've focused on my family even more recently, trying to make sure the girls get my time and attention when they need it. I think it shows. Emma is doing great in school and loves being a Brownie Girl Scout. Kate adores preschool and gets more joy out of swimming lessons than ought to be allowed by law. We've been doing some 'family fun' things - reading together, swimming at the pool, taking walks, doing art projects - that is bringing us all closer together. Maybe our little corner of the world IS better. Maybe that's enough.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween

It's Halloween! It's Halloween!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can't be seen
On any other night.

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls,
Grinning goblins fighting duels,
Werewolves rising from their tombs,
Witches on their magic brooms.

In masks and gowns
We haunt the street
And knock on doors
For trick or treat.

Tonight we are
The king and queen,
For oh tonight
It's Halloween!

– Jack Prelutsky

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Adroitly Placed Word

I'm thrilled to announce that my poem Taphonomy won John Vick's Adroitly Placed Word Award. Many thanks to John for promoting poetry as a spoken form and for supporting poets with this prize! If you haven't already checked out his site, take a few minutes to read and listen to some of the fine poetry there.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good Things

I've noticed a surge of gratitude among bloggers I regularly read lately.

Michaela Gabriel had a blast at the Vienna Lit Festival and is overflowing with creativity. Her happiness with life is contagious.

Patry Francis celebrated 25 years since meeting her husband by going back to the spot of their first date. She often documents the details that give life texture and joy, whether it's by collecting acorns to compare and describe or by drawing connections between the people she encounters and ourselves.

Deborah Ager finds pleasure in motherhood, whether moving at full speed or stopping to cement a moment of family life. She also treasures time alone, even in the smallest increments, and draws inspiration from the rhythm of life around her.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, has shared the joy of her recent wedding as well as the deep sense of satisfaction that comes from hard work after finally completing her wedding shawl. Her labor of love demonstrates the sheer exhiliration of creating something with your own two hands.


I'm thankful for clear Autumn days that give me the chance to stock up on sunshine before the long Oregon winter begins.

I'm glad I took Emma swimming today and shared what she called "the most fun ever!", as well as the chance to snuggle with Kate this morning when I invited her to crawl into bed with me after her early morning potty trip.

I have yarn and knitting needles, and that always makes me happy.

I love it when the kids are in bed, the dishes are washed, the laundry is in the dryer, and the day sloughs away so it's just me and Dennis sitting down, being together.

And yes, I'm ecstatic about writing. I'm almost finished with my 7th round of 30 poems in 30 days and it feels great. I have a poem up in the new issue of The Pedestal Magazine and I couldn't be more thrilled because it's one of my personal favorites. I hope you'll read it if you get a chance.

Those are just a few of the things I'm thankful for. What about you?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sock Update

Sock progress has been slow but is starting to pick up. My mom was here visiting last week and I barely touched the needles the whole time. The weekend saw some good knit time in front of the TV, though. One of our local stores has DVDs on sale and we got the first 4 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for $16.99 each. It's perfect for knitting, plus if I use wood needles, I have a stake at the ready, just in case.

I stayed up way too late last night finishing up the first of my husband's socks:

I was terrified while knitting that the foot was way too huge, but it fits him just right! And I'm happy to report that Blue Moon was able to supply me with another skein of Blue Brick Wall, so he'll actually have a pair if I ever get the second one knit.

I also started a pair of socks for myself, with Socks that Rock in "Siren Song:"

I had originally planned to try toe-up with this yarn, but wasn't happy with the results so I ripped it out and started over. Now I'm using the Baby Cable Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks and I'm really pleased with it.

Finally, in other sockish news, I received my prize from Romancing the Yarn's Sock Hop Contest yesterday!

This is Sock! by Lisa Souza in the Earth Birth colorway, and it is gorgeous. I am totally loving the colors in this yarn!
I'm contemplating the best pattern to use for it: simple stockinette, ribbing, lace? I'd love to hear suggestions from other knitters.

In the meantime, sock on!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Autumnal Exposé

It's colder this morning than it has been,
the moon sliding like ice high in the sky
and the breeze catching at my exposed ankles
with the nip nip nip of tiny kittens
too weak to harm, too curious to
stop chasing the leaves that have fallen.
It's cold enough to hint whispers
into the air with every breath
but like the neighbor's secrets
they turn to vapor in the sunlight
and float away unspoken.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Bella the Cat

Bella the cat likes to sleep. In summer she curls into the cool embrace of the sink in the guest bathroom. Since Orit hardly ever has company, Bella can remain undisturbed in the basin for hours, until the sun goes down and the house starts to shed its heat. Then she comes forth, slowly stretching her limbs to shake out the drowsies before walking to the bowl of food beneath the kitchen table. Bella never runs, no matter how hungry she is.

Routines change in the fall, when sunlight slants farther into the house through the front window. Bella abandons her reclusive summer retreat for the sun-warmed wood floor of the front entry. She likes to extend a lazy paw toward the hem of Orit’s skirt each morning, pretending to delay her. They both know it’s a game. Orit stamps her foot and exclaims in surprise anyway. Sometimes she even drops her books and kneels next to Bella, proffering coos and cheek rubs in contrition for leaving.

Bella doesn’t mind when the days turn colder, except for Thursday afternoons when Orit does her grocery shopping. The wind bites at her every time Orit opens the door to bring in another bag, so Bella scampers away to the warm spot on the desk behind the computer. Departmental parties are Bella’s favorite part of winter, though it takes her a while to get used to the noise and smell of strangers drifting through the house. Most of Orit’s students like cats. Bella makes sure to change the minds of those who don’t.

When Orit brings Geoffrey home for winter break, Bella sniffs the corners of his suitcase and licks the green residue from his toothbrush. He always pets Bella when he visits, with long smooth strokes from the top of her head to the tip of her tail. But those are usually short visits – on weekend mornings while Orit is getting her coat, or in the evening while he waits for Orit to serve dinner at the formal dining table. Geoffrey’s never stayed so long before.

When the trees begin to bud, Bella spends hours motionless on the back of the armchair, crouched low as she watches every returning bird that flits into the backyard. A cracking sound emanates from her throat and her tail twitches with the coiled energy of her leonine ancestry. Later, Orit scolds her away from the long white web that dangles in the closet, but not before Bella has examined the large tennis shoes and Oxfords that now rest beside Orit’s high heels and pumps. They smell of strangers, human and feline.

Spring cleaning chases Bella from room to room, her feet leaving a trail of small circles across newly vacuumed carpet. Geoffrey carries box after box into the house, slipping cat treats from his pocket to her as he comes and goes. He tells her about falling in love, lets her lick the stranger’s odor from his hands, and repeats the name Kasparov. Bella loves to snuggle into her warm bed after Orit pulls it from the dryer. Now there are two beds instead of one.

Bella the cat likes to sleep. It’s harder this summer, with so many little ones stumbling underfoot, always scratching for a teat. She looks wistfully at the empty sink above her before grabbing the last kitten by the scruff of the neck. She carries it to join the others in a squirmy, insistent mass while Kasparov patrols the hall, sometimes stopping in the doorway to scent his family. Bella watches him pass, his arrogant tail high in the air, his footsteps softly annoying in their free wandering. Then she jumps into the bathtub with a grunt, shoves her wriggling children aside, and stretches out for a long, cool nap.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Originally uploaded by plip1.
October isn't just for socks. It's also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I just had my first mammogram. Have you had yours?

Monday, October 02, 2006


October is here and it's all about the socks.

Lolly is hosting Socktoberfest, a monthlong celebration of socks. There are no requirements or rules, just a chance to get together, talk about knitting socks, encourage others in their sock projects, and share photos of socks in all stages of progress.

Over at Romancing the Yarn it's not too late to join in the Sock Hop and knit a pair for yourself or maybe that cold-footed fella in your life. Check in daily for updates, tips, and photos of men desperate for a good pair of handknit socks. Those who signed up before October 1 were entered in the Sock Hop Contest and I was excited to find out yesterday that I'm one of the winners! I'll post a picture of my prize when it arrives.

This month, I hope to finish the pair of socks I've been working on for Dennis. I'm now on the fourth attempt because I can't for the life of me seem to get the size right. I'm using Socks that Rock in the Blue Brick colorway and working a 2x2 rib down to the heel.

For myself, I'd like to try knitting a pair toe-up. I have a smallish skein of Socks that Rock Siren Song and it would be hard to know how long to make the leg if I started from the cuff down. I also have extremely wide feet and I suspect that going toe-up would allow me to create a better fit.

Then of course there's the Lorna's Laces in Lorikeet that I've promised for Emma, the Socks that Rock in Celestine that I just got at the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival a week ago along with the Cedar Creek socks pattern, and a whole ton of sock yarns just waiting to be used. And let's not forget my prize from the Sock Hop Contest - I'll probably cast it on as soon as it arrives.

Yep, it looks like it's going to be a great month for socks. Here's to Socktober!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Be Your Own Picasso

Feeling creative? Mr. Picasso Head lets you play artist with a blank canvas, vivid colors, and Picasso forms.

Check out mine and make your own.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Emma News

Today is the final day of Emma's fundraiser for school. So far, she's done pretty good even though my mom, one of her aunts, and Dennis and I are the only ones who've bought anything (we bought a lot!). This fundraiser is specifically to help the school purchase new computers and software.

Today is also Emma's first day of Girl Scouts and she couldn't be more excited. Even though I was never a Girl Scout (way too shy), I'm delighted that Emma is interested in it. I think it's going to be great for her!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

School Update and Fundraiser

Emma is really having a great time in Second Grade. We saw the principal at the back to school picnic and she remarked on how great Emma is doing so far. We just found out last week that Emma's class is having a student teacher this year. She'll be in the classroom, helping the regular teacher, for three days a week this fall, and then next spring she'll take over teaching full time under supervision of the regular teacher. I'm delighted, since this basically means that Emma's class has two teachers.

Last Friday Emma also came home with a fundraising packet. School has barely started and already they're putting the kids to work raising money! Of course, these days the onus falls on the parents because the kids aren't supposed to go door-to-door to sell stuff to strangers. Feel free to click the link above and take a look at what they're offering. The money goes directly to Emma's school and this year they're using it to buy computers and other technology. Thanks!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Fruit Loop

Yesterday we drove up to Hood River and took the Fruit Loop, which is a scenic 35-mile drive through orchards, forests, and farmlands. There were stunning views of Mt. Hood, lush rolling hills covered with apple and pear orchards, fields of lavender, and curious alpacas. There are 31 farms with fruits stands, country stores or wineries on the route - too many to stop at all, but we found a few favorites.

Rasmussen Farms was huge, with a big field of giant sunflowers, a large pumpkin patch, and a barn full of produce to buy. They had tons of pears and apples, as well as tomatoes, onions, green beans, and other good things. We bought Anjou pears for pie making.

Hood River Lavender Farms was a delight, even though this is not the main season for lavender. They have a still for distilling essential lavender oil as well as a tiny little gift shop where I bought some lavender lotion. You can also cut your own lavender to take home!

My favorite stop of the day was Foothills Yarn & Fiber. It's located at Cascade Alpacas farm and the girls had a blast looking at the alpacas and feeding them (though neither one was brave enough to feed them on her own - both girls put their hands under mine as I held the food). The yarn shop is very big and has a substantial selection of yarn, including the greatest variety of alpaca yarns I've ever seen. I bought some lovely Misti Alpaca Lace as well as two skeins of Foothills' own alpaca yarn, which comes with the name of the alpaca it's from on the label. I can't wait to knit something with it!

We also stopped at Pearl's Place, Smiley's Red Barn, Draper's Farm, and Country Girl Fruit Farm, loading up on apples for applesauce and pies, dried apples with honey and cinnamon (yum!), dried pears, berry honey, and a few other delicious odds and ends. From time to time the clouds opened up and offered a glorious view of Mt. Hood, radiant with new snow from the past few days. Emma and Kate had a great time despite spending so many hours riding, and we're all wondering when we'll go again.

Friday, September 15, 2006

a poem and an acceptance

Strong Verse is featuring another one of my poems this week: He Speaks Stars.

And I'm thrilled to report that I heard from Kalliope last week with an acceptance of my flash "Sugar Blues" for the Spring 2007 issue. Coming almost 18 months after I submitted the piece, this was quite a surprise. I guess it pays to be patient!

Although I've been sick and haven't had the energy to work on submissions, I have a ton of stuff ready to go out, including both fiction and poetry. With any luck, I'll have more acceptances to report in the future.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Not socks

Ugh, I've got an end of summer cold and it's the pits! It's slowed me down, but hasn't stopped me. I'm up to day 12 of my sixth round of 30 poems in 30 days. Some days I feel like I'm just phoning it in, other days I catch a little inspiration and find myself someplace unexpected. Those are the days that make it all worthwhile.

And despite the fact that I have socks on needles for Dennis and Emma both, as well as a multitude of yarns lined up for my own socky enjoyment, I am not knitting socks. Instead I'm doing this:

The pattern came from a knitting booklet I discovered at my mom's house over the summer, from the early 70s. You can tell it's from then because even though the pattern is printed in black and white, it unequivocally calls this an orange fashion doll dress. Orange! Anyone want a little green shag carpeting to go with that?

I think it came out quite nicely. The ruffles are created by dropping stitches and letting them ravel down to the hem. The capelet is unattached, so the dress can be worn with or without it:

I also made two of these outfits, one in blue for Emma's doll and one in purple for Kate's:

All of this Barbie knitting was prompted when I was cleaning out Emma's closet and found a top my grandmother had knit for my doll back in the late 60s. I took a look at it and decided I would try to replicate it. Here's the original and my version side by side:

I love these projects because they provide nearly instant gratification, not to mention the girls get so excited and enjoy them so much. Now if I could just get rid of this cold, imagine what I could do...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


My friend Harriet and I went down to the Powell's Home & Garden store in Portland this evening to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) speak. She was every bit as hilarious in person as she is on her blog.

Harriet and I got there just in time to snag a couple of seats before the place rapidly filled to standing room only and beyond. I can't imagine why they didn't have this event at the main Powell's or some other larger venue because it was crazy packing so many people into such a small space. As the Yarn Harlot would say, the muggles just don't get it.

The knitting vibe was tremendous. What a kick to see so many people in one place happily knitting along! Everyone was turning to look at what their neighbors were knitting or check out their yarn. Harriet wore a lovely top she knit for herself this past summer and I wore a pair of knitted socks.

We had a great time, despite the fact that the Powell's people wouldn't let Stephanie take any questions from the audience because the store was CLOSING AT NINE and they were trying to get everyone lined up for the book signing. Once again, I ask, what were they thinking?

No matter. The Harlot triumphed over all with a fantastically funny talk. If you get the chance to see her in person, don't miss it!

P.S. I'm the one on the left in the photo

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First day of school and six things

It's the first day of school! Emma is officially a Second Grader and she is soooo excited. I don't know how she's going to manage her backpack, it's so loaded with school supplies, but she insists on riding the bus rather than having me take her. Kate starts preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays next week. It's going to be awfully quiet around here.

Michi has tagged me to reveal six things you may not have known about me

1. When I was 11 my family hiked into the Grand Canyon on the North Kaibab Trail. It was 14 miles from the rim to the Bright Angel Campground on the river where we spent the night. We made the trip down in one long grueling day and were too tired to eat after we set up camp. The trip back up took two days, which was still hard but not quite as crazy. I distinctly remember the taste of cool spring water from the metal canteens we carried as the best drink I've ever had.

2. I have never had a broken bone.

3. In college I sometimes skipped class to take a drive in the country, visit the mountains or desert, or go hiking in a local park. I've even lured my husband away from work a few times to play hooky with me. I don't regret it.

4. I was born on Mother's Day.

5. I hate snakes. One summer I worked on an archaeological survey of the Gila River Indian Community, walking from pre-dawn to early afternoon through desert scrub and farmland. There had been unusually heavy rains that spring which caused major flooding of the Gila River and washed tons of rattlesnakes downstream from the mountains. We encountered anywhere from 6 to more than 20 rattlers per day, often coiled up in the sun right where we were walking. I once looked down just in time to step over a snake in my path. It never moved, but I sure beat it out of there.

6. When I meet Dennis at field school it was love at first sight, but I thought he was quite older than me and he thought I was much younger than him. We're the same age.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

sock yarn stash

Among many other fun things this summer, I've been shopping for sock yarn everywhere we go.

Socks that Rock! I've been dying to try this yarn for a while, and now I've finally got some. From front to back, these are Siren Song, Blue Brick Wall, and Prism. I've just started a pair of socks for my husband with the Blue Brick Wall and it is wonderful! Easy to knit with and fabulous stitch definition.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Vera colorway. This makes me think of Fall, which is my favorite season. Hopefully, I'll make myself a pair of socks with it before Fall has come and gone. Lorna's Laces is a dream to knit with because it's so smooth and soft.

These are some yarns I got during our vacation in Boise back in July. The yellow and blue are Louet Gems Baby Pearl, which I hadn't seen before. The yellow is for me, the blue for Emma and Kate. I'm hoping there's enough for ankle socks for the three of us. The orange is On Line Supersocke and I'm thinking it will make a nice pair of sunny socks to get me through the long grey Oregon winter.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And one more...

My poem "Oregon Morning" is featured at Strong Verse this week.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I now have four poems up at The Adroitly Placed Word, including audio for three of them. That's right, you can hear me reading my work out loud (no laughing please).

I also have two flashes in the current issue of Staccato, a print mag out of Athens, Georgia.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dog Days

Dog Days

The day we went fishing was a good day.
Poles in hands, hats on heads, no shoes
to slow us down. We dropped our lines
into the water where shade fell
like cool air from an icehouse
and let the cicadas do the talking for us.
Our mothers knew better than to wait supper;
we knew better than to come home too long after dark
without fish for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Photo: Boys fishing in a bayou, taken by Mary Post Wolcott, June 1940.
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Finished Objects

What have I been knitting lately?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Long Stone's Journey into Day

My apologies to all my blogging friends who I haven't visited (or at leasted commented at) in a while. I had a kidney infection last week, along with chronic mid-level pain from a kidney stone. This Sunday, the pain become very suddenly acute, resulting in a trip to the ER.

5 1/2 hours, 1 IV, 1 CT scan, 1 X-ray, and an unknown quantity of painkillers later, I came home. I've had a lot of stones and this was right up there with the worst pain I've ever experienced. Conversely, the painkiller they gave me was the most ineffectual one I've ever had. And to top it off, they just kept giving me more and more of it instead of switching to something else.

The scans showed a 4 mm stone and not a darn thing they could do about it except manage the pain (which they weren't doing), so I decided to come on home where at least I could lay in agony in my own bed. The stone finally passed around midnight after one last brief hurrah of excruciating pain.

I'm still fairly knocked back by the whole ordeal. I feel as if I've been beaten up from the inside out. It took most of the day yesterday to emerge from the narcotic haze they'd put me in at the hospital while failing to make me 'comfortable'. I feel clear-headed today, but sore as hell and completely wrung out. I have no interest in writing, only a smallish interest in knitting, and an overwhelming urge to lay down and sleep, sleep, sleep.

I did take a picture of the boulder, but I'm not posting it because that would probably drive away the couple of people who still read my blog. Use your imaginations. Four millimeters is a decent size for something moving through a very, very tiny tube.

Back with knitting news and pics soon...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dreaming at Midnight

Originally uploaded by Pumpkin Chief.

Midnight (tanka)

Mournful moment when
night becomes day becomes night
again as we stir
in our sleep dreaming the world
into reality’s guise

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Randomness and (mostly) good news

Just when I needed it most, I got an acceptance. And not only that, but the piece was instantly published. You can read my flash Love is the Firmest Foundation, a flash told in four micros, at edifice Wrecked now.

My August flashathon has begun and it's off to a good start. Lots of participants and I even managed to write something today. Hooray!

The not-so-good news is that I'm still dealing with the kidney stone(s) as well as a probably kidney infection. But I've seen my doctor and got some meds, so hopefully this will all pass soon.

I've gotten a decent amount of knitting in while I've been sick. It helps to have something other than the pain to focus on. Emma's mermaid outfit is getting close to completion, and a surprise I'm working on for the girls is coming along slowly but surely. I finished my mom's socks and am making a couple of dishcloths to send along with them. I'll post pics when everything is done.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Wine for One
Originally uploaded by The Watercolor Guy.

I want to write. Words and stories are welling up inside me, but there's just no opportunity to set them down right now and I'm extremely frustrated.

Dennis is in Chicago for four days attending his grandmother's memorial service and catching up with cousins he hasn't seen in years. I'm on my own with the girls.

I have a kidney stone the size of New Hampshire that is making me feel incredibly awful. I can't really take my painkillers because they make me loopy and there's no one else here to watch Emma and Kate.

Kate is in this phase where she cries at the drop of a hat, for nothing that anyone else would even think about crying over: because there are two tiny sparkly pink pieces of glitter on her stepstool, because the stuffed animal she wants is 8 inches away at the foot of the bed, because her book isn't in the right stack on the shelf.

I've gotten a dozen rejections since getting home from vacation. My writing stinks (I know this is not true, but it feels that way at this particular moment).

I'm grouchy from the incessant pain and can't even stand myself. Poor Emma and Kate are stuck with me.

I miss my parents and being on vacation. I miss Dennis. I miss feeling like a normal human being (did I mention the stone?).

And yes, I would love some cheese to go with my whine...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Kate and Emma hamming it up at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City, Oregon. The tops were knit in Mission Falls 1824 cotton from the Minnowknits Sugar N Spice pattern. They each got to pick their own colors. Now they want more, including 'bumblebee' shirts in charcoal grey and yellow.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Strong Verse

My poem In Dreams He Purrs is currently the featured poem at Strong Verse.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


We're home! After two days on the road, temperatures over 100, and a night in a hotel filled to capacity with Little League players during a loss of electricity (and AC), we're finally back in our own house. The process of adjusting back to normal life has begun...

Saturday, July 15, 2006


This morning, I'm coming to you from the historic 1889 Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City, Oregon. It took us about 6 1/2 hours to drive here from Hillsboro yesterday. We'll be visiting the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center this morning, which includes a fabulous museum and a chance to see real ruts in the ground from the covered wagons that came across on the Oregon Trail. After that, it's off to Idaho and my parents' house. More later in the week if I get a chance, but in the meantime, hope you're all having a fantastic summer.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Tale of Two Socks

I've been knitting socks.

I started a pair of Grumperina's famous Jaywalkers for myself, using some lovely Lorna's Laces shepherd sock yarn that I've been dying to try. It looked wonderful:

Then I found some Opal prisma yarn that I thought would be perfect for my mom, so I started a pair of stockinette socks to take as a surprise when we go on vacation to her house (this FRIDAY!!). I set the Jaywalkers aside to work on my mom's socks. The good news is, the first one is finished:

The bad news is, when I went to do a couple of rounds on the Jaywalkers last night, I discovered 2 dropped stitches, right where the double decrease occurs in the pattern. I know it was NOT like that when I put it down a week ago, so I can only assume that a small band of trolls infiltrated my work area when I was out shopping at my LYS and mucked with my knitting. Or possibly the LL didn't like the thought that I was scoping out other yarns and decided to mess with my head a little. In any case, despite my best efforts, a lot of concentration, and several curse words, I failed to fix the problem and actually made it worse. I then tried to rip back a few rows past it and start over there, but couldn't get those teeny tiny stitches back on the needles, so I finally gave up and frogged the whole thing.

RIP Jaywalkers.

(Not to worry, I'm taking the yarn and pattern with me on vacation - the Jaywalkers WILL live again)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Summer Days

Yesterday, I took the girls to OMSI. It was a clear, sunny day, so as we crossed the Willamette River, we were treated to views like this of Mt. Hood:

Mt. Hood
Originally uploaded by Cartographer.

and Mt. St. Helens:

Mt. St. Helens
Originally uploaded by Cartographer.

The only disappoint for Emma and Kate was that neither volcano was erupting at that moment!

We had a great time at OMSI learning about sound and how we hear, searching through owl pellets for tiny rodent bones (which we got to bring home!), and seeing strange creatures like the axolotl, an amphibian that retains its larval stage throughout its life and displays an incredible ability to regenerate.

It was blissfully quiet at the museum, so the girls had ample opportunity to play in the science playground without waiting for turns in the sandbox or the water area. On the way out, we stopped by the store where Kate picked a school set of 2 pencils, pencil sharpener, and ruler all decorated with dinosaurs and stored in their own little box. Emma got a set of shark tattoos (temporary) and 'body bits' which are little rubbery nose, ear, hand, and foot that have a somewhat sticky surface and can stretch or cling to walls, windows, etc. I even got in on the action by making a quick stop at the Yarn Garden and picking up a couple of skeins of Tahki cotton.

We came home, had lunch, relaxed and played with our new toys, and then met Dennis at Pizza Roma for dinner. It was a good day. I hope everyone else is having such a lovely summer!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Summer Poem

Originally uploaded by Digital Trav.

stilt tracks in shore mud
as clear as handwritten words
summer’s bird poem

Saturday, July 01, 2006


That's the sound of me, decompressing. I spent the entire afternoon at the spa today, getting blonde highlights and a cut, followed by a full hour of massage. Ahhhhh.

Other reasons I'm feeling more relaxed right now than I have in ages:
– I finished my 5th round of 30 poems in 30 days
– We've filled 8 bags of clothes/toys/miscellaneous items to give to Goodwill
– I cleared my files and shredded 4 grocery bags' worth of papers we no longer need
– I can actually see the surface of my writing desk
– It's a four-day weekend!!
– Kate is FINALLY potty-trained
– In precisely two weeks, we will be on vacation

Tomorrow, I will sleep in, take a walk with my girls, and enjoy whatever the day brings. I hope it brings something good for all of you!

Monday, June 26, 2006

My magical gals

Arlene Ang is a wonderful poet and lovely person who also happens to be quite talented at manipulating photos. She recently created these magical portraits of Emma and Kate:

Check out her blog for other adorable kid pics as well as links to many of her poems published online.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Steve McQueen and The Underrated Poetry of Taxidermy

Recently, Sarah offered a Pop Quiz on her blog.
Which celebrity did the results say I am? –
Steve McQueen, who said, "I don't believe in that phony hero stuff."

If you're a poet, or just looking to have some fun, check out the Poem Title Generator on Michaela Gabriel's blog. Here's a poem (rough draft) I wrote based on the title the PTG (reluctantly) spit out for me:

The Taxidermist’s Guide to Alpine Fauna, Part I

See how the ibex stands above us on the boulders,
how the muscles of its flank flex against the steep slope?
(Not even the rocks are real.)

Listen for the (pre-recorded) call of the heron, the spoonbill, the scooper
down at the water’s edge, where the blue (plexiglass) lake
never wrinkles with the wind.

Marmots are inquisitive sunbathers
waiting for the trail to clear, for crumbs to fall.
(Tell the kids it’s okay to touch; these won’t bite.)

The chamois is my pride – note the tension in legs
wound tight as springs, the nose tilted against the breeze.
See the big (glass eyes) brimming with tears, the mouthful of grass.

And over here in this corner of my world is the forest in winter,
complete with snow fleas at your feet and no fear of frostbite.
Lifelike, aren’t they? (Better than the real thing, if you ask me.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Strong Verse

My poem A Night in Zion is currently the featured poem at Strong Verse.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Poem

Greetings from the Blogosphere

Hey, kids!

It's coming along swimmingly
after all these years of diligent study
before, during, and after
reflections on fresh pineapple.
I rather like to think I'm improving.
Reasons? There are two.
Absence makes the heart grow drunker,
and dreaming of what I could knit
I should say something, I think.

(Now can I have a puppy?)

- created using lines from the following blogs (in order of appearance) that I read regularly:

Dave Clapper
Patry Francis
Michaela Gabriel
Myfanwy Collins
Arlene Ang
Amanda Auchter
Knit and Tonic
Nathan McClain
Yarn Harlot

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What's New?

Why, Issue Four of NOÖ Journal, that's what. Check it out. There are some wonderful stories and poems. Don't forget to leave comments and let the writers know you liked their work!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Groovy Couture

I've had the worst cold this past week - terrible cough and so weak I couldn't even stand up and cross the room. It's finally fading and I thought I'd catch you up on my latest knitting adventure. I'm designing an entire wardrobe of clothes for my daughters' Groovy Girls (and mine now, since Dennis bought me a very cute one to cheer me up while I was sick. Yes, he IS the best!).

This particular ensemble is a one-of-a-kind creation since I pulled the yarn from my stash and used every last bit. The ball band was long gone, so I have no idea what this stuff was, but I do know it was some sort of novelty yarn one of the girls picked out last year when I first started knitting.

I made it in two pieces - a lace skirt with elastic waistband and a simple tube top with i-cord tie. I have some basic white yarn with a touch of silver sparkly thread that I think will make a nice capelet to go with this, and then Angelique will be ready for the ball!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


The new issue of Flashquake is live, guest edited by yours truly. It was a pleasure and a privilege reading the submissions for this one. Check out all the wonderful essays, stories, and poems. There's even an Editorial with more about my experience as guest editor.

Tilt also has a new issue up, including my poem You Will Attend.

Over at Mad Hatters' Review, I'm pleased to announce that my poem Conjoined was the grand prize winner in this issue's Dangerous Alice contest.

And this just in - the new site for edifice WRECKED is finally up and running. Check it out and you can read my poem Family History, Part I while you're there.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

We Have Fairies!

I finally finished both Bluebell fairy dress-up outfits from StudioKnits for Emma and Kate. Whew, that was a lot of garter stitch! It got a bit tiresome toward the end, especially on Emma's, but it was a simple knit.

Emma is crazy about hers and even wore it out to the store the other night. Kate seems to like hers, but she isn't into dressing up at the moment, and she positively refuses to pose. I also have the pattern and yarn for the Rose fairy outfit, but it will have to wait.

At the moment, I'm working on an endless pair of socks for Dennis out of Cascade Fixation and Clapotis for myself with a gorgeous hand-painted yarn from Blue Moon in blue-grey.

I'm also designing an entire wardrobe for my daughters' Groovy Girls and am very pleased with the results so far. I'll post pictures and maybe even share a couple of the patterns one of these days.

In the meantime, I'm off tomorrow afternoon for the coast, where I'll be sharing a house on the beach with several other writers. Writing, knitting, walking the beach...I'm feeling relaxed just thinking about it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An Audubon Poem

J.J. Audubon Observes a Different Kind of Bird

This interesting species
is really a beautiful creature
I have met in spring
when travelling.

She swims repose,
gradually rounding
and descending,
flying the water-courses
in placid passage
to alight on the dear spot
of pleasant labour.

I have adopted
the singular regularity
of listening and echoing
her smallest appetite –
a strong shiver,
a wing swiftness,
the active transit
of a dusky voyage.

– Found poem created from words and phrases
from John James Audubon, Birds of America, 1840

Monday, May 22, 2006

He Did It!

Dennis did it - he rode his bicycle 105 miles from Beaverton to Pacific City on Saturday! The ride was uneventful for Dennis and his partner Matt. No flat tires, no mechanical problems, no wrecks.

They rolled into the finish at about 4:20 and we were so excited, all I managed was a single blurry photo:

Here's the stats:
Miles: 105.40 from the Beaverton Transit Center to Pacific City
Total time, including stops: 10:03:06
Total time, excluding stops: 8:26:59
Average Speed: 14.3 mph
Total ft ascended: 3488
Total ft descended: 3543
Weather: Despite the forecast of rain, it was beautiful and sunny.
Best things about the ride: beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, completed it!
Worst thing on the ride: The bee that landed in Matt's helmet and stung him

Many thanks to those who read my previous entry and made a donation!!

We are all very proud of Dennis and his amazing achievement!