Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prick of the Spindle

I have two poems now live in Prick of the Spindle:

Picking Through the Rubble at Midnight

And speaking of spindles, I still can't believe what my parents got me for Christmas: a Kromski Sonata spinning wheel!!! It's gorgeous and it folds up surprisingly small into its own carrying bag. I haven't used it yet, partly because I have no idea what I'm doing, but mostly because I've been really sick the last few days.

In other news, I've almost finished my 20th round of 30 poems in 30 days, all our beautiful snow has melted away, and I've eaten enough cookies to choke an elephant. I think I'll go have another...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Heights

So, that good news I was talking about?

Ballard Street Poetry Journal has nominated my poem "When Bonnie and Clyde Were Gunned Down" for the Pushcart Prize.

You can also read Ms. McGee Hits the Heights in the new issue of The Orange Room Review. And keep your eye on that Orange Room - I've got poems coming in the next two issues as well.

Monday, December 01, 2008

In Other News

First off, let me just say that I love my NaNo novel. I'm not showing it to anyone anytime soon, and I absolutely loathe the temporary title I gave it, but for a story written entirely in the span of 24 days, I'm very happy with it.

Thanksgiving was great. The following three days were even greater. We went to Seattle, spent lots of happy time at the Museum of Flight (we're a family of airplane fanatics), and then on Saturday we went to the Pacific Science Center to see Lucy, the very famous Australopithecus afarensis fossil. 
WOW. It was every bit as breathtaking as I imagined.

This being December 1, I started my 20th round of 30 poems in 30 days today. Looks like Lucy will be dominating the first few poems, at least. Maybe I've found my muse at last?

I'll try to get some photos up soon, but we all know how bad I am at that. It always seems to fall to the bottom of the pile of things to do.

But you'll definitely want to stay tuned - I have some good news to share...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Politics & Poetry

I know we're all ready to vote and be done with it, but until then, you can check out the poetry of politics over at Poetry Friends. Today you'll find me wondering why "On Becoming President, She Never Answers the Phone."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flashes and Poems and Novels, Oh My

The September Flashathon was quite successful and a lot of fun. I wrote 17 new flashes, which is probably more than I've written in the past two years combined. Some of them are already out there seeking homes.

Today I finished my 19th round of 30 poems in 30 days!

1. This Life
2. Disclosure of Heaven
3. The Way to Take Paris
4. Reaching Montmorency
5. Thirst
6. The Impermanence of Furniture
7. Harbinger
8. Osteoporosis
9. Twilight at Farington Manor
10. Lessons in Faith
11. Momentary Hypnosis
12. To the Penguin Third from the Left
13. Night at the Opera
14. The Ranch Hands Take Another Gate
15. Concordance
16. We Were Determined
17. Lookout on Perdition Ridge
18. Balloon Man
19. Serenade to Horsetail Falls
20. When Your Last Name is Capulet
21. On Becoming President, She Never Answers the Phone
22. haiku
23. Nearly Halloween Night
24. It Takes the Moon for This
25. An Extravagance
26. They Were Delicious
27. Ascent of the Last Passenger Pigeon
28. Posing the Dead
29. The Art of Burning
30. Odysseus in the Act of Leaving

I'll go back in December for round 20, but November is all about the novel. That's right, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Care to join me?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Maryhill and Stonehenge in the Gorge

Last month we took up a trip up the Columbia River Gorge to visit Maryhill Museum of Art and see the Andy Warhol collection currently on exhibit.

An absolutely gorgeous early Fall day in the Gorge.

Stonehenge seems oddly appropriate here. A full-scale replica built to commemorate the local men who died in WWI.

Art inspires more art. The girls were quite taken with the museum's collection of furniture and objects from Queen Marie of Roumania. I loved the Andy Warhol pieces, particularly a series of Western themed paintings he created near the end of his life. We all got a huge kick out of the sculpture garden outside, trying to figure out what various pieces meant to us as well as what the artist intended.

There was a whole room for kids to play, read, and create in. Princesses seemed to be the theme of the day.

Kate and her masterpiece.

Emma and her masterpiece.

Monday, October 13, 2008

damselfly press

Yep, that's me losing sleep in the new issue of damselfly.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Autumn Sky Poetry

Isn't this a beautiful zine? It's always a pleasure to read. Now it's a pleasure to be included: Autumnal Exposé

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Election Day

Fall comes on and this is how the apple rots. On the limb or on the ground, in the bottom of the barrel. Rolling forgotten in the back of the farmer’s pickup like a BB under the skin. It puckers, contracts, shrivels into something smaller and softer than it should be. An old woman’s wrinkled face, too toothless to speak clearly. Or marrow seeping from a crushed bone. A harbinger of pulp. A temporary stain. Fall comes on and this is how the apple rots, leaving behind its seed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've been tagged by John and Nicole to disclose six unspectacular things about myself. And here they are!

1. I can wiggle my ears.
2. My favorite activity is sleeping.
3. I don’t own a single pair of dress shoes.
4. I can knit anywhere, anytime.
5. My first job was at a Coors distributor.
6. I’ve been known to eat turkey sandwiches for lunch every single day, for months at a time.

Terms & conditions!
1. link the person who tagged you: John, Nicole
2. mention the rules on your blog: (these are them)
3. list 6 unspectacular things about you: (see above)
4. tag 6 other bloggers by linking them (but I’m only doing 4 because nearly everyone I know has already been tagged): Cheryl, Bev, Theresa, Jayne

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wondering where I've been? Look In The Mist where you'll find me heading "Homeward" (click Ann Walters) or check In the Kitchen at Literary Mama.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Emprise Review

I have two poems in this month's issue of the Emprise Review. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day

Can you believe it's the first day of school already? I want summer to go on and on! It was way too short.

We've been busy, which may be why it flew by so fast. Zoo Camp for both girls. Preschool camps for Kate. Art camp and Lego Physics for Emma. Tin House for me and Idaho for the whole family. We also managed trips to the beach, the state fair, and of course days at home doing nothing.

Emma and Kate are going to a new school this year. A brand-new, just built school, within a mile of our house. We loved Emma's old school - it was literally old (at least 60 years) and was out in the countryside, next to cow pastures and open farmland. But it was also pretty far from our house. The old school had some great teachers (and a couple of not-so-great) and lots of fantastic programs in place. The new school has teacher hand-picked by the principal from every school in the district. There's a sense of excitement and energy that is really wonderful.

Kate will be starting Kindergarten on Thursday. Today she has a 30 minute meeting with her teacher, to learn about the classroom and see what it's all about. She's so excited she's about to burst. She'll go for about 3 hours in the morning every day.

Emma has been placed in a classroom of mixed 4th and 5th graders. I have always thought she would do well in a mixed-age class and I'm thrilled that this school actually took my suggestion seriously. She's thrilled to be starting school as well.

This year I'm starting a Daisy Girl Scout troop for Kate. She has spent a lot of time with Emma's troop and can't wait to be a scout herself. Emma will be working on a Bronze Award with her troop, which will require a lot of work. I think it will be a great experience for her.

I'm sad the summer is coming to an end, but Fall IS my favorite season. I look ahead and I see a whole world of possibility ahead of us.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where Have I Been?

I know I disappeared from the blog for a while. Hey, it's summer! We've been having tons of fun at the beach, in Idaho, at art camp and water fun camp and just hanging around the house watching Olympics. I can't believe it's almost over. I want more!! I feel like a kid faced with the impending doom of school. These couple of months have just flown by too fast.

Tonight, though, I'm off to Powell's to hear Kathy Fish and Claudia Smith read from their flash collections published this spring in "A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness." I'm thrilled to meet Kathy in person after knowing her online for several years. She's a phenomenal writer (as is Claudia) and has encouraged me from the very beginning of my writing career.

I hope you are all having a fantastic summer!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ten Things I Learned at Tin House

1. Writers get even less sun than math nerds.

2. A reader can find meaning in any poem.

3. A poem can mean something different to each reader.

4. Reed College has its own nuclear reactor.

5. The f-bomb is de rigeur at public readings.

6. Poets are the Rodney Dangerfields of the writing world: we get no respect, no respect at all.

7. Mosquitos are fond of outdoor readings next to stagnant ponds at night.

8. Jugglers have more fun.

9. There's no substitute for a good story.

10. Writers don't drink nearly as much as archaeologists.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poetry International

My poem "Walking with the Ghost of John Muir" can be found in Poetry International 12!

I never received my contributor's copy (possibly because I have the most clueless mailman on the planet) but I managed to find one here in Idaho. It looks great!

This annual is always stuffed with interesting poetry, particularly the translation section. If you get a chance, grab yourself a copy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

After Tin House

It's been a long but incredibly valuable week. Now I want to just sit back and let it all sink in.

In the middle of all the Tin House hubbub, I managed to finish round 18 of 30 poems in 30 days. The latest titles:
1. Cage
2. Wanderlust
3. Landlocked
4. Open Letter to a Secret Admirer
5. The Death of the Blues
6. Death Smiles that Way
7. Ode to a Warbird
8. The Last Bee Buzzes
9. Learning about Mt. St. Helens and Other Things
10. At the Urgent Care Clinic
11. You Could Never
12. Domo Arigato
13. Cafeteria Tale
14. Postcard from a Distant Lighthouse
15. Saturday Night at the Bijou
16. Embers
17. Where the Heart Is
18. The Audacious Turnlow Brown
19. the nautilus swims (haiku co-written with Kate)
20. Lady Liberty
21. The Way Mark Twain Puts It
22. A Pioneer Mother Holds On
23. Dr. Pangloss Takes the Latest Online Quiz
24. Invitation
25. This Visual Echo
26. A Little Wickedness
27. Creation Myth
28. Skeletons of Centuries
29. On the Barlow Road
30. When Things Go On Too Long

I've also had recent acceptances from Literary Mama, Review Americana (already online), and the anthology "In the Telling."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More from Tin House

Yesterday was the halfway point of Tin House; only three more days to go.

Wow, what an amazing experience this has been! I'm learning so much in the workshop that my brain is starting to feel like it's on overload, like one of those machines in a movie that is made to rev higher and faster until it explodes. It's a constant whirr of thought and excitement.

I feel like my poetry toolbox is being stuffed full of new tools. I can't wait to use them all. The flip side, of course, is that there's very little time to try out all these new ideas and techniques for writing and revision. We workshop until lunch, there are seminars in the afternoon, dinner and socializing, and then readings at night, so that by the time I drive home and stumble inside, it's already 10:00 or later. And then there's still the next day to prepare for.

I don't always stay all day, though. I sometimes skip the seminars, go home for a while, then come back for the readings. Sometimes attend the seminars then go home and skip the readings. I'm lucky that I have that option, I think. Just being around so many writers, all talking about their craft, their passion, is intense.

The readings have been incredible. Steve Almond. Aimee Bender. Mary Jo Bang. Anthony Doerr. People whose work is fresh and engaging and irresistibly seductive. I've bought a lot of books. I'll probably buy more.

And it's been a weird week, because at the same time as all of the above, my dryer isn't putting out heat, my A/C isn't putting out cold air, and my kids are far away. The world is a disjointed place, recognizable and yet foreign. I'm looking forward to a respite next week. Vacation. The girls, and a lot of doing nothing at all.

But for the next three days I will continue to read and write, to scribble my notes and listen carefully, and look at this wondrous world, familiar but new.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dr. Horrible is here!

Tin House Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of Tin House and it was blazingly hot. We registered (which meant forking over the rest of the payment), had a brief meeting with our workshop groups, and then there was a reception and the first authors' reading.

Reed has a lovely little campus with gorgeous lawns, wonderful old brick buildings, and enormous trees. But boy, I wish they had some A/C in their classrooms! I practically passed out from the heat while we were introducing ourselves and meeting the instructor. My group spent most of the reception together so we had a chance to talk and get to know each other a little bit. It's great having a whole group that shares the same passion and perspective.

The readings were the highlight of the day. Peter Rock, Eileen Myles, and Dorothy Alison. WOW. They were all amazing, but I have to say, Dorothy blew me away. She was riveting, funny, poignant, and powerful.

I left right after the readings, worn out from too much heat and sun. It wasn't much better when I got home, as our A/C is on the fritz and not working right at all. Here's hoping that today is a little cooler!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tin House

One week until Tin House begins! Is anyone else going? I'm attending the poetry workshop with Mary Jo Bang. This will be my first writing workshop and I'm really looking forward to it, though also feeling a little nervous about meeting so many new people.

Emma and Kate are going to stay with my parents in Idaho for the week and they are so excited they can hardly stand it. It'll be their first time away from home without us. I don't know if I can take a whole week without my girls!

In other exciting literary news, it looks like I'll be participating in at least one (maybe more) book signing for Ruins Terra, which includes my story "Rising Tide," this summer. I'll post dates and locations when I have them...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Two Poems

I have two poems in the new issue of Review Americana, just in time for Independence Day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Father's Day

P-51 Mustang "Betty Jane"

B-24 Liberator "Witchcraft"

B-25 Mitchell "Tondelayo"

After we walked around and looked at all the beautiful old planes, we came back to our favorite:

Who's on board as the engines come to life one by one?
Dennis, of course!
B-17 Flying Fortress "Nine O Nine"

His big Father's Day present from us was a ride in the B-17 and he loved it. He was allowed to move around inside the plane during the flight and see the various positions, including sticking his camera out the open top panel and standing up in the top turret.

It was a Father's Day we'll all remember.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Two days in to my 18th round of 30/30 and I went to my regular doctor today about my sprained wrist.

Turns out it's a sprained thumb and I'm not to use it. At all. We're looking at probably three more weeks of healing time. Of course, it's my left hand and I'm left-handed.

Anything grippy - writing, combing girls' long hair, cooking, knitting, and a thousand other things I do daily, is painful, difficult, and not to be attempted.

Luckily, I've always used the computer mouse with my right hand, so that's okay. Typing isn't great, but I'm thinking I can probably handle a few lines of poetry a day (don't tell the doc, though). Housework is out (no crying there). So is yard work (I rarely do that anyway), painting masterpiece landscapes (it could happen), and playing the piano (that one really does make me sad).

The splint is on, the ibuprofen is ready, and I can't imagine what I'm going to do with idle hands for the next three weeks.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Not Knitting

Or rollerblading, either. Whoops.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Disappointment is not an emotion I expected to feel today.

It's the last day of preschool for Kate, who moves on to Kindergarten next fall. While I think the whole 'graduation' from preschool thing is pretty goofy, there's no denying that it's a big milestone. And I was looking forward to seeing her stand up there with all her friends for one last time, singing songs and celebrating the end of her first school experience. Then there would be cake and cookies and lots of hugs for the teachers who've been part of her life for two years now. I expected to feel proud, excited, and maybe even a little wistful. But we're not having any of that.

Kate has strep throat.

Forget the celebration. We've got a sick little girl stuck on the couch watching cartoons and feeling horrible. The truth is, she doesn't seem to mind missing graduation much. I think to her it's just another weird event. For me, it's an ending that will never come again, the last time I'll have a preschooler. And instead of marking the moment with ceremony and photos, it's just sort of slipping away. So even though I do feel all those swirling emotions when I think about it, mostly I feel disappointed.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


I really can't help myself. I get such a kick out of knitting up little outfits for the Groovy Girls!

This one was entirely improvised from start to finish. First I picked the stitch pattern for the skirt and started knitting.

Then I thought about how the dress would fit, what type of closure it would have, and whether it would have sleeves. This bright orange and yellow seemed so summery that I decided to make it a strapless sundress. The ribbon lacing was a brainstorm I had just as I finished knitting and I think it worked out really well.

Finally, after all the schizophrenic weather we've had around here this spring - sunny and hot one day then grey, cold, and raining the next - I thought maybe a little shrug was called for. I'm so pleased with the result, since it was entirely made up as I went along and I had no idea whether it would actually work or not.

Another Groovy outfit has just come off the needles and is only awaiting a velcro fastener before making its debut. And no, neither of these is the project that I'm sick and tired of, but it will be appearing here soon, I promise.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I've Had It

...with lit mags that vanish into thin air and never let anyone know, especially submitters

...with kidney stones

... with the incessant sound of leaf-blowers moving stuff from one place to another without cleaning anything up

... with the neighborhood cat that keeps trying to catch birds at my feeder

... with my current knitting project (but I'll finish it anyway, and then post photos)

... with the rain

... with phone calls from politicians

... with this funk I've been in

What are you fed up with?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Print

I'm delighted to have my poem "1942 and We Tapped" included in the second issue of Fifth Wednesday Journal.

Fellow ITWS poet Jason Fraley also has a poem in this issue.

This is a fantastic new magazine stuffed with enough stories, poems, and nonfiction to suit every taste, as well as visually satisfying black and white photos. You can find this review of the first issue at New Pages.

My poem "Dr. Zhoudou's Cabinet of Hypnosis and Broken Hearts" can be found in the new issue (Volume 9) of Cider Press Review.

Sarah Sloat, another ITWS poet, is also represented.

You may remember that I reviewed Quinn Rennerfeldt's poem "Mona Lisa" from Cider Press Review Volume 8 for Kelly Spitzer's ABC Showcase last summer. Cider Press is one of my favorite poetry magazines and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

Finally, I'm absolutely ecstatic to have two poems in the latest issue of Poet Lore: "Paper Birds" and "Postcard from Shambhala." This is my second appearance in Poet Lore, a journal that I feel embodies everything great about poetry.

I'm joined in this issue by yet another ITWS poet, Nathan McClain, who was also included in the same previous issue of Poet Lore as myself. We seem to be following one another, which suits me just fine as he is an oustanding poet and I'm honored to be in such great company.

Probably everyone reading my blog already knows this, but just in case there are any new readers, let me point out again that my work is published under the pen-name Ann Walters. There's a lot of great stories and poems in these journals. If you can get your hands on a copy, I hope you'll give each one a read!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thirty-Thirty Poetry

For those of you keeping score, this is round 17 of writing thirty poems in thirty days. I'm sure I'll get to 20 before the end of this year, but for now I'm taking a much-needed break. Here's those titles:

1. He Said, She Said
2. The Day the Roadside Bomb Exploded
3. Stone Walls
4. A Pale Thought
5. JayJay Writes a Letter to God
6. i am always in love
7. When the Letter Came
8. mea culpa
9. God Gives JayJay an Answer
10. Windowsill and Still Life
11. Carnival
12. Everyone
13. Bee
14. Sonnenizio on a line from Bates
15. Buffalo Gals
16. Fly Away
17. Howl
18. Witness
19. Dreadful Truth
20. This is Pain
21. On the Last Day of School, 1958
22. The secret compartment of joy
23. And the Devil of Dust Spins On
24. A Long Line of Tanks
25. Baby I Would
26. Wind Song at Pueblo Bonito
27. Sonnenizio on a line from Millay
28. Lemons
29. Letter from Camp
30. haiku

Thursday, May 15, 2008


As I mentioned in a previous post, the last few months have been very stressful. That particular stress is now gone, but it's no less crazy here. Two weeks ago we had Emma's birthday squeezed smack into the middle of a lot of other activities. I was in major pain from a kidney stone, but toughed it out so we wouldn't be in the ER on her birthday, finally passing it late that night. It was the second largest stone I've ever passed.

Last week was my birthday, again squeezed into a rather tight schedule that included Kindergarten Open House for Kate and Girl Scout Camp for Emma and I on the weekend. We left for camp on Friday after school and got back Sunday afternoon. I have no idea why they would schedule camp on Mother's Day weekend. It basically meant having no Mother's Day since I was too tired to do anything after we got home. Camp itself was a blast, though, and I'd go again in a second despite the lack of sleep, the sporadic crankiness of adults and kids, and the sheer exhaustion.

This week, I just feel worn out. Months of stress and weeks of nonstop activity have left me feeling like I need to recharge in a huge way. I feel like a piece of wood that's been whittled at and whittled at until it's in danger of disappearing altogether. On Monday I finished my 17th round of 30 poems in 30 days and I don't plan on going back immediately this time. I need a break. The problem is, I'm not sure how a stay at home mom of two young kids gets the kind of break I need. However, the sun is shining and we're having very hot weather today and tomorrow, so maybe a little relaxing in the sun will help...

And on a more cheerful note, I do have some nifty new knitting to show you, new publications to share, and my title list for round 17 of 30/30, all coming soon.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008


My flash The Voice of Love is now live at Wigleaf.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Today was the big District spelling bee, and wow, was it ever exciting!

Emma was in Division I (grades 1-5), which went first. They sat at big tables in front of the audience and had to write down 30 different words. They were given approximately 10 seconds per word.

After that first round, they announced that a tie breaker was needed between five of the kids. I nearly fell off my chair when they called Emma as one of the five! They were given five words and their papers were checked right there and then, leading to a second tie breaker between, you guessed it, Emma and another girl. Thank goodness there weren't any more tie breakers because I'm not sure I would have survived. Emma, on the other hand, wasn't nervous at all. I think to her, it's just fun to go and spell words.

The result: Emma won 3rd place in her division and got the very cool little trophy you see above! The audience let out a collective gasp when they announced that she's only in Third Grade and I think everyone was excited to see her do well. Her teacher was there to encourage her and give her a sense of security, and the principal from her school was there, too.

Way to go, Emma, we're proud of you!

By the way, if you look closely at the trophy picture, you'll see that it says Division II, grades 6-8. They messed up the plaques on the trophies and are going to get new ones for all the kids.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Addiction can be a good thing

when it involves writing poems! Yep, another 30 has gone by. Here's the titles from Round 16:

1. From the Windshield of a Rusty Truck
2. And the Trees are Beginning to Bud
3. White Flag
4. Hirsute
5. A Tiger's Hand
6. Fort Union
7. A Stink Like Rotten Eggs
8. An Easter Confession
9. Refraction
10. Featherweight
11. A Cowgirl's First Kiss
12. One Minute, Please
13. Pétit
14. Cape Foulweather
15. Like a Lion
16. How to Identify Human Bone in the Field
17. What Does the Wife Imagine (cento)
18. Residual
19. A Billboard for Soap
20. If Barbie were a dress shop girl
21. Vignette
22. Siren
23. Seventy-Six Hours after the Funeral
24. An End to Sunlight
25. Spring Has Come
26. Forgetting to Say Goodbye
27. Vim
28. All the Things We Might Have Said
29. shine a light, little moon
30. a reason for children

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Put a poem in your pocket

and share it with the world. As part of National Poetry Month, today is poem in your pocket day. Carry a copy of your favorite poem and share it with others.

This one has been a favorite of mine since I was at least 5 or 6 years old:

Table Manners - I

The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives,
They spill their broth on the tablecloth -
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!

The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew,
And that is why I'm glad that I
Am not a Goop – are you?

By Gelett Burgess, published in Goops and How to Be Them: A Manual of Manners for Polite Children. This book was originally published in 1900 and I absolutely loved it as a child. At one point, I had every single poem memorized.

Not only are the poems great, but the illustrations are utterly charming as well:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Letting It Out

I haven't mentioned it here on the blog, but the past six months have been incredibly stressful here. In mid-October my husband found out at work that his entire group was being outsourced to another country. Every single one of them was going to be laid off because their jobs were being given to people in Costa Rica who would work for much less. This is not unusual. It's happening all over our country. I think it's a travesty. No wonder our economy is tanking.

In any case, we were suddenly left with impending unemployment hanging over our heads. At least it wasn't immediately impending - the layoff wasn't going to take effect until June. Still, to announce this shortly before Thanksgiving and Christmas was pretty lousy. We've been living with a lot of uncertainty since then, not knowing where we'd be living, if we'd have an income. I'm not a big fan of change. I like a good routine. I like the familiar.

We considered moving to Idaho where my folks live and Dennis even went so far as to attend a job fair there. He had calls from at least a couple of companies afterward, but nothing real materialized. And he talked to people he knows, putting out feelers for potential jobs, trying to get a heads up on anything that might be coming along. At his current company, his status was called 're-deployment' which means he was losing his position but could try to find another elsewhere within the company. It sounds oddly military, doesn't it?

Some of you will remember when I wrote about Dennis going to Costa Rica for two weeks back in February. He was training his own replacement. Don't even get me started on that. It was supposedly a great thing, created by management to extend his group's employment. Whatever. Recently he also had his year-end performance review. It went incredibly well. He was given a promotion and a quite sizable raise. Just in time to be laid off!

In the past few weeks, he's had several interviews for jobs within the company, but even though he kept ending up among the top choices, he was never picked for an offer. This past week, he had two more. One of them called and asked if he could interview immediately. They met on Thursday and by the end of the work day, he'd been offered the job. He accepted it on Friday.

The suddenness, the sense of relief, the weight lifting from our shoulders, has been overwhelming. Now we can relax, knowing we won't have to move. We won't have to try to sell our house in an impossible real estate market. Our kids can stay near their friends and near all the things we love about this place.

I realized on Thursday night after the offer came that I had been holding my breath for the past six months. It feels great to finally let it out.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Latest Arrivals

The new issue of Quarter After Eight includes my flash "Witch." This is a beautiful (and quite thick) annual devoted to short prose writing, with a particular emphasis on work that treads the middle ground between flash and prose poetry.

Cadenza is a slim magazine from the UK that features plenty of high quality writing. Poetry editor Bill Conelly has put together a fantastic selection of poems under the heading Bard Attitude and I'm delighted to have my own poem "The 13th Rosicrucian Poem for Love and Hope is Just Another Pickup Line" included.

If you get the chance to pick up either of these magazines, I encourage you to give them a try.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


We just found out this week that Emma won the school spelling bee for grades 1-5!

She beat out two fifth graders in the final round.

Later this month she'll get to compete against the winners from all the other schools in the district.

We're not surprised - last year, in 2nd grade, Emma's teacher resorted to spelling lists for high schoolers and finally gave up even trying to find words to challenge her.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Self Storage

A couple of weeks ago, Kelly Spitzer interviewed Gayle Brandeis, author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write, Dictionary Poems, and The Book of Dead Birds. If you haven't already read it, go now - it's a great interview that will inspire and encourage all writers. As part of the interview, Kelly and Gayle offered readers a chance to win a signed copy of Gayle's latest novel Self Storage by leaving their own story about self storage in the comments. I'm pleased and very surprised (there were some amazing entries) to say that I was the winner! You can read my story "For Safekeeping" below. Thanks to both Kelly and Gayle!

For Safekeeping

The thumbs were the first to go. Her mother’s largest thimble served as casket for both and at the age of five Salida put away her babyhood. Later, she would also sacrifice her lush eyebrows and that beautiful nose of flesh and gristle to the whispers of her classmates. They went in the dustbin after school. When her father burned the trash on Sunday, Salida watched her brows rise on the smoke, tumbling together like castanets thrown into the sky.

The priest claimed her breasts with his awkward insistence on purity. As she packed them in salt and brown paper, Salida wondered how the Virgin had ever suckled an infant. The mole under her lower lip, her long black hair that reflected light like a spider’s eyes. Even the secret dimple on her back where Pedro used to place his thumb. One by one, Salida surrendered pieces of herself. She swept them onto the porch, watching them fly into the night like dust returning to the stars. She filled glass jars and small spaces under the floor boards. She wrapped them in scarves behind the socks.

Salida’s granddaughter found the first fragment. It was a strip of slender wrist wrapped in silver wire. Salida flashed it like a dancer flaunting her grace. She had thought such things were lost. She had forgotten herself. Soon more pieces were uncovered: an earlobe, pierced and hung with a dangling loop. Hands and calves. A smiling mouth. Thumbs. Salida had found herself.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rose Fairy Dress-Up

I've been working on these outfits for almost three months. They weren't difficult, just time consuming. The skirts are pretty cool, with all those petals, and the girls don't know it yet, but I'm going to make matching outfits for their American Girl dolls.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What's Up?

Well, it's Spring Break, that's what. We went to the coast for three days and had a blast, despite cold weather, wind, and rain. We stayed right on the beach in Newport, wandered around the Bayfront, and visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium where we got up close and personal with jellyfish, sharks, and a rather large octopus. The girls wanted to move to Newport and live there forever. I'll put up some pictures from the trip as soon as I get them organized.

In other news, the top secret Easter knitting project was finished just minutes before midnight on Saturday. I never imagined it would take so long (try two and a half months), but the girls seem pleased, so I'm happy. Keep an eye out for pictures of that, as well.

The past 24 hours have seen rain, snow, sunshine, moderate to heavy wind, hail, and bitter cold. The word schizophrenia springs to mind. I think March may have some issues. Counseling might be in order.

I'm almost halfway through my 16th round of 30 poems in 30 days and plan to keep going all the way through April, which is after all, National Poetry Month.

We're soaking up the last day of Spring Break and doing absolutely nothing today. Bliss.

What are you up to?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Well, at least it's handknit

Aren't these slippers beautiful? They were hand knit by a farmer's wife in Albania. Every year the community club (think PTA) at my daughter's school holds an auction to raise money for the school. I won these little beauties for just $8! Apparently I'm the only person there who appreciates knitting as a fine art. I'm thinking of having these framed and hanging them on the wall, they're so nice.

My own secret knitting project continues apace. Progress is being made, but this week has been kind of slow. Last night was a special reward dinner for my husband and several of his coworkers, plus their wives, at Ruth's Chris Steak House. It's hard to knit while you're stuffing your face. The food was good, but boy was it ever BIG. I had triple chocolate molten cake for dessert and I think I died and went to chocolate heaven. Yummmmmmm.