Monday, June 30, 2014

Sally Field

I find that’s one of the great things about acting—you have the opportunity to stand in somebody else’s shoes, whether it’s someone with mental health problems or someone who lives and works in a small town. Each character faces a dilemma in her life, and as an actor you’re able to step into that character’s skin, look through her eyes. You leave transformed, a different person, because once you live a little bit of someone’s life, it changes you.
-Sally Field

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stray and Abandoned Computers

All of my computers have been cast offs, and hand me downs, and trash pickins. The latest one a beautiful Mac, (1998) was inherited from from URI's Music Library, a few years ago. Today it has finally bit the dust. We are hunting for cast offs from Bill's school. Stay tuned. Donations accepted. Looking for a non portable simple desk top. Nothing fancy.

Kids on my Corner

Last summer the kids on the corner gave out free manicures and pedicures, with their illustrated poems. They came and told me a police man stopped to have his nails painted! They were so ecstatic and so were their parents. They talked about it all week. These kids have since moved a few blocks away and I see them when I'm out walking Lily. Maybe we can get something going again this summer with fresh tortilla-making hand-cranked ice-cream, and writing and illustrating poems. And drawing with sidewalk-chalk too.

Free Mending Library Creates Community

Love this!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Magritte Summer Sky

I woke at three thirty and now at 4:30 I'm looking out and I see a Magritte Summer sky.

Friday, June 27, 2014

2 Small Bits

Hypo-Mania Vest

Years ago I stayed with friends in CT on my trip home from a pavement pounding portfolio day in NYC. I was so hopped up I couldn't sleep. At 3 in the morning I started cleaning their kitchen stove and counters and microwave. I threw my black vest in with my 2 canvas bags and washed them in their basement washing machine.
The result was my favorite black linen vest got ripped and raggedy. I was devastated and embarrassed. What was I thinking?

I continued to wear it, looking like a character from Oliver Twist. Wearing it was punishment. If I kept my right arm down, or hid it with my dog walking shoulder bag, I could hide the major raggedy seam. it was awkward because I am left-handed and prefer to wear my bag on the left side. I was always reminded. I was still my favorite vest, and I wore it this way for 15 years.
Yesterday I opened up my sewing machine and hemmed the raggedy seam. It still has wonky spots but it is still a great vest. Now I wear it as a reminder of how bad I can get in hypo-mania.

Chief's Bathtub

Years ago we rented a fabulous apartment on Grand Street up on the hill off Park Avenue. We never tired of the view of the City hills houses and waterfall. When I washed the dishes or got dressed in the morning I gravitated towards the view. We had a fireplace too! The bathroom was also spectacular. It was a real room, a black and white 1920's tiled room with a built in tub. My husband made beer in the tub. I took baths in it with my two 80 pound dogs resting nearby. We had been told the Police Chief lived there years ago. When sudsing I always imagined the Chief of Police taking a bath in my tub.

Uncle Peter

My Uncle Peter Loeser was my step father Tony Gargagliano's best friend. He was born in Holland. He introduced Tony to my mother Sonia, after both of their first marriages broke up. He also knew and worked with my bio dad, Tom Lisker. They were all Madison Ave advertising art people in the 50's and 60's.

When I was seven my mother dragged me into the kitchen to say "Uncle Peter has had a few drinks, he's telling stories about how he escaped the Nazis. Don't ever ask him about this."
Of course I wanted to ask him. When I was 21, out on my own, I wrote a four page hand-written letter to him when he lived in Santa Monica California. I asked him about his life and told him about mine. I told him why and how I escaped my family, particularly my mother, and what I thought my mother was doing to me because of HER childhood.

18 years ago Uncle Peter was asked to write his war story for Steven Spielburg who was collecting Holocaust survivor stories. I have a copy and it's AMAZING! He escaped the Nazis 6 times. One time, a crowd of hundreds were rounded up in a theater. He walked out, acting like an everyday German going to work. He hid in ceilings. He fell in the firing squad, feigning death. He lived with a family, hidden between two floors, never being outside for a few years. He knew to avoid the two creaky stairs when entering their apartment to use their bathroom. He got really good at morphing.

I think of this because when I photograph I am taking Uncle Peter's advice on how to be invisible. "People never look up!" This is one of the many ways he was invisible to the Nazis. He was a natural actor--in order to walk out of a round up he had to be confident, and have German posture. Be an actor! And it worked.

Uncle Peter was surrounded by glamorous women fashion models who were ranked on description cards - "Legs Excellent, Eyes Blue" - yet he had an early life of adventure, espionage, and tragedy. He gave his photography portfolio to my half-brother Peter, his namesake, and Peter loaned it to the art directors of MADMEN to get the details right. He died 2 years ago at age 90, a bachelor.

Cheap Travel

I listen to radio classique 24/7 hoping I will become fluent in French.

Le Journal du Classique

A 13h, Laure Mézan reçoit Seiji Ozawa, chef d'orchestre et fondateur de l'Académie de Musique Seiji Ozawa.

Listen here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I learned from my 98 year old friend Anita Long, that there was a famous bar at my corner years ago. I can still smell it I tell her. On hot humid days the old urine wafts up from the cement sidewalk in the alley under my window. I have tried everything to bleach it out. Now I laugh.

In Summer I can't walk through any neighborhood where the garbage truck has left the trail of leaking garbage 'soup' without gagging. My husband laughs at me "Just block your nose!" He says.

Any molecule of cat urine sets me off too. It might as well be radioactive waste. Yet, I love to sniff my cats scented whisker pouches, my dogs fur after sitting near a wood stove. I love to sniff my pillow. I love the scent of moth balls, and cedar chests, fresh coffee, black blueberry tea, and my husband's neck when he is grilling meat over the hardwood charcoal. I love the scent of baking bread. I love the smell of the fertilizer aisle in the hardware store, and new shoes. I loathe the scent of cologne and perfume unless it is diluted. I love the scent of a freshly lit match at the beach. Or the fresh scent of newly blown out birthday candles and cap guns. I love the scent of bleach at the butcher shop at clean up time.

I love the scent of paper leather bound books. I love the scent of seaweed and salt water. I love scent of vinyl seats in a NYC taxi cab. I love the machine oil scent of subway tracks in winter. As a child I loved the scent of my fathers face when coming home from the train station in winter. He smelled like newspapers and cold air. I loved my mother's Ma Griffe perfume when she had been out to dinner. I loved the scent of bath oil. I love the scent of dog breath and a baby's scalp. I love the scent of cardboard.

I love the scent of Murphy's Oil Soap and imitation green apple scented dish detergent.

I love the scent of ceramic studios, oil painting studios, wood shops, and glass blowing furnaces.

Most of all I love the scent of pens and paper. Love the smell of my dashboard of my old blue Volkswagen super beetle that I learned to drive on. I was told horsehair was responsible for the distinctive scent. I do love the smell of hay and horses.

I love the smell of tractor tires and the hot metal seat, baked in the sun.

Neighborhoods used to be filled with common scents; making home made pickles, boiling cabbage, baking beans and pies muffins and roasts on weekends and Italian bakeries.

My friend told me his puppies paws smelled like corn chips. it was true.
Summer in New York, Season of Smell

from Jon Frankel:Smell is very important, yes. And I have done a lot of thinking about how urban dwellers navigate their environment using smell, as of course all people do. If you put a manhattanite down in the rain forest, or the Australian outback, they’d be lost. But on the streets of manhattan, with the eyes closed, you can tell the difference between an Italian bakery and a bagel bakery, between pizza and egg rolls, between dry cleaners and street sweepers, garbage and shit, a fish store and a produce stand, a newsstand and a bookstore. Sometimes it’s human urine that reeks on a hot night, but it’s also dog urine which stains the curbs, hydrant, light poles. If there are feral cats, it’s a different smell. And then there are the smells of steam radiators, roaches and mice. Of chlorine bleach, ammonia and lemon cleaner. Once, walking in the hall at the library, a young woman walked by, very beautiful but very young, and she smelled like bubblegum and perfume! How enticing, how mixed the signal…

A guy I worked with told me he had a reaction to medication after his appendectimy. He said his food smelled and tasted like plastic so he couldn't eat. I always imagine that's what is in those weight loss drops.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I finally Understand

Stephen King — 'Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around.'

Inspiring Mr. Addo

Mr. Addo, who honed his muscles using a mango tree as a pull-up bar and concrete blocks for dumbbells, is a two-time former winner of the Mr. Ghana bodybuilding championship.

Mr. Addo, too, says the seniors energize him. Raised within the Ashanti tribe, Mr. Addo was always taught that improving the lives of one’s elders is of the highest virtue. “They remind me of my grandmothers and aunties back home,” he said.


Friday, June 20, 2014

I Love Faith Shearin

This poem was featured on Writer's Almanac today and I sent it to a bunch of people.

Spelling Bee

by Faith Shearin

In the spelling bee my daughter wore a good
brown dress and kept her hands folded.
There were twelve children speaking

into a microphone that was taller than
they were. Each time it was her turn
I could barely look. It wasn't that I wanted

her to win but I hoped she would be
happy with herself. The words were too hard
for me; I would have missed chemical,

thermos, and dessert. Each time she spelled
one correctly my heart became a bird.
She once fluttered so restlessly beneath

my skin and, on the morning of her arrival,
her little red hands held nothing.
Her life since has been a surprise: she can

sew; she can draw; she can read. She hates
raisins but loves science. All the parents
must feel this, watching from the cheap

folding chairs. Somewhere inside them
love took shape and now
it stands at the microphone, spelling.

"Spelling Bee" by Faith Shearin from Moving the Piano.
© Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011

Annabella Gloria Philomena Sciorra

Fabulous actress!

La Mamá Grande

BARCELONA — Carmen Balcells was never just a literary agent. Nicknamed La Mamá Grande, after a story by Gabriel García Márquez, she served as a confidante and coach, someone who paid her writers’ dentist bills and deftly resolved their domestic problems while promoting the greatest Latin American and Spanish authors across the globe, including Mr. García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and many more.

Ms. Balcells’s parties are legendary. Once, she hosted a dinner for the Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes and his wife. When their plane was delayed for hours, she had the dinner served, then had the entire table cleared and set again so that when the couple finally arrived it appeared as if the party was just starting.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Classic Bistro

The owner, Michel Bosshard, 77, covers his big belly with a white chef’s apron and always wears a red bow tie. He welcomes his guests with slices of a fat, garlicky, cured sausage that he cuts with a large knife and serves with a pleasant, bubbly white wine from the Loire.

“You have to drink it without making a face because it’s a gift I offer you,” he said.


Barn Owls

I woke up at 2:30 AM and watched barn owl on a live web cam in Texas.

Ghostly pale and strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss.

View here

Cheers to Amy Bloom

I love Amy Bloom's writing. She is featured on Writer's Almanac today:

It's the birthday of writer Amy Bloom born in New York City (1953). She worked with pregnant teenagers and autistic kids, and she said, "I realized that I didn't find other people's problems as boring as many people seem to." So she decided to make a living from it. First she worked as a psychotherapist, but she found herself wanting to write, and she began writing short stories. Her first collection, Come to Me (1993), got great reviews and was nominated for a National Book Award. She continued to write, and her books include Love Invents Us (1997), Away (2007), and Where the God of Love Hangs Out (2009). Her novel Lucky Us will be published next month.

She said: "There are no general stories. One doesn't hear general stories as a therapist. One hears unbelievably specific, intimate, detailed stories. There is no big picture. There is only this particular moment in this particular life."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics

A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion

by Robert E. Bartholomew McFarland

"For a two week period in 1956, residents in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan, lived in fear that they would be the next victims of a crazed villain who was prowling the streets and slashing people at random with a razor or similar weapon. At least 21 victims were reported during this period, mostly women and children of low income and education." A thorough investigation revealed however, that: "five slashings were innocent false reports, seven were self-inflicted cuts, eight were due to cuts rather than razors, and one was complete fantasy." This is one example of many cases of what has traditionally been called "mass hysteria" that are examined in this comprehensive study of human beings' fear of the unknown. Beginning with a concise history of mass hysteria and social delusions, the author differentiates between the two and investigates mass hysteria in closed settings such as work and school, and mass hysteria in communities with incidents such as gassings, Pokemon illnesses in Japan, and medieval dance crazes. Also examined are collective delusions, with information on five major types: immediate threat, symbolic scare, mass wish fulfillment, urban legends and mass panics. The book ends with a discussion of major issues in the area of mass hysteria and a look toward the future of this intriguing subject.

Pride and Respect

The streets of Woonsocket are now as clean as cities in Switzerland! Mayor Lisa knows how important it is. Her motto on the license plates is Pride and Respect. I have been so inspired and impressed with the clean streets that if I see a piece of trash it stands out and I feel compelled to pick it up. Hurray Woonsocket!

Amazing Article


Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962 was an outbreak of mass hysteria – or mass psychogenic illness (MPI) – rumored to have occurred in or near the village of Kashasha on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) near the border of Kenya.

The laughter epidemic began on January 30, 1962, at a mission-run boarding school for girls in Kashasha. The laughter started with three girls and spread haphazardly throughout the school, affecting 95 of the 159 pupils, aged 12–18.[2][3] Symptoms lasted from a few hours to 16 days in those affected. The teaching staff were not affected but reported that students were unable to concentrate on their lessons. The school was forced to close down on March 18, 1962.

After the school was closed and the students were sent home, the epidemic spread to Nshamba, a village that was home to several of the girls.[4] In April and May, 217 people had laughing attacks in the village, most of them being school children and young adults. The Kashasha school was reopened on May 21, only to be closed again at the end of June. In June, the laughing epidemic spread to Ramashenye girls’ middle school, near Bukoba, affecting 48 girls.

The school from which the epidemic sprang was sued; the children and parents transmitted it to the surrounding area. Other schools, Kashasha itself, and another village, comprising thousands of people, were all affected to some degree. Six to eighteen months after it started, the phenomenon died off. The following symptoms were reported on an equally massive scale as the reports of the laughter itself: pain, fainting, flatulence, respiratory problems, rashes, attacks of crying, and random screaming. In total 14 schools were shut down and 1000 people were affected.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Time Dogs

One day years ago we were out walking and a boy asked us if Ruby and Lucy our Labrador and coonhound, were time dogs. What's a time dog we wondered until we realized that he meant a watch dog.

Dancing Plague of 1518

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Engraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the plague. Work based on original drawing by Peter Brueghel, who supposedly witnessed a subsequent outbreak in 1564 in Flanders

The Dancing Plague (or Dance Epidemic) of 1518 was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (then part of the Holy Roman Empire) in July 1518. Numerous people took to dancing for days without rest, and, over the period of about one month, some of those affected died of heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.

The outbreak began in July 1518, when a woman, Frau Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg. This lasted somewhere between four to six days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers. Some of these people eventually died from heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.

Historical documents, including "physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council" are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why these people danced, some even to their deaths.

As the dancing plague worsened, concerned nobles sought the advice of local physicians, who ruled out astrological and supernatural causes, instead announcing that the plague was a "natural disease" caused by "hot blood." However, instead of prescribing bleeding, authorities encouraged more dancing, in part by opening two guildhalls and a grain market, and even constructing a wooden stage. The authorities did this because they believed that the dancers would recover only if they danced continuously night and day. To increase the effectiveness of the cure, authorities even paid for musicians to keep the afflicted moving. Some of the dancers were taken to a shrine, where they sought a cure for their affliction.

Historian John Waller stated that a marathon runner could not have lasted the intense workout that the men and women died from hundreds of years ago.

Dalai Lama's Instructions for Life

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s:
- Respect for self,
- Respect for others and
- Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Clean Streets

I love Woonsocket!

The streets are very clean these days. So when I see one piece of trash it sticks out and I feel compelled to pick it up!

I have filled 4 bags this week: Social Street and Rathbun Street Clinton Street East School Street Hazel Street Elbow Street Saint Germain Manor.

The best part is seeing people get inspired to do the same thing!

Our Mothers: Maternal Mental Illness

Postpartum depression isn’t always postpartum. It isn’t even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought.

Scientists say new findings contradict the longstanding view that symptoms begin only within a few weeks after childbirth. In fact, depression often begins during pregnancy, researchers say, and can develop any time in the first year after a baby is born.

Recent studies also show that the range of disorders women face is wider than previously thought. In the year after giving birth, studies suggest, at least one in eight and as many as one in five women develop symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or a combination. In addition, predicting who might develop these illnesses is difficult, scientists say. While studies are revealing clues as to who is most vulnerable, there are often cases that appear to come out of nowhere.

Mental Illness

Thinking about the suicides of friends of mine.
The real issue, is mental illness.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Issa Sunday

the man pulling radishes
points the way
with a radish

- Issa

don't swat that fly
it wrings its hands
it wrings its feet

- Issa

scarecrow -
his back to you
any way you look at him

- Shiki

changing leaves
in time
with the traffic lights

- Sophia Frentz

garage sale -
in the dressing-table mirror
a stranger's face

- John O'Connor


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Carl Jung

Jung had several spontaneous visions when he was recovering from a heart attack when he was 69. All of his visions are described in detail in his book Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Sick Bed Visions (1944)

"It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents. Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India. My field of vision did not include the whole earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light...the sight of earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen...

Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.

An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench...I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside...was the gate to the temple. As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me---an extremely painful process. Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history, and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. I am this bundle of what has been, and what has been accomplished.

This experience gave me a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness."

Over the next few weeks, Jung would feel gloomy by day, sleep the early evening to midnight and then awaken to a feeling of ecstasy. "It was as if I were in an ecstasy. I felt as though I were floating in space, as though I were safe in the womb of the universe---in a tremendous void, but filled with the highest possible feeling of happiness. Everything around me seemed enchanted...Night after night I floated in a state of purest bliss, thronged round with images of all creation."

During this time, Jung has visions of several images of "mystical marriage." Mystical marriage is a complex concept that has been expressed in the writings and artwork of alchemy, kabbala, Gnosticism, and some major religions. The marriage occurs when two powers, such as the Chinese yin (the feminine) and yang (the masculine) are brought into harmony; in this case to form the Tao. Since yin and yang represent many different attitudes and ways of comporting ourselves in the world, a marriage indicates that we have the power to be in balance with these two powerful forces. We are the "whole" person, not limited to one side of the coin but instead enlightened enough to be able to employ whatever attitude or behavior is appropriate in the moment. To Jung and Jungians, this was a vision of tremendous importance and of a high achievement.

(For a full retelling of these visions, see chapter 10 of Jung's, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.)


Friday, June 13, 2014

Magic Words

There are people who you may never meet, but still have a profound effect on you. There are people who can reach through time and space to touch you, and change you forever, sometimes only with words. Sometimes especially with words.
-Rajan Khanna

The Haven Foundation

The Haven Foundation gives financial assistance to provide temporary support needed to safeguard and sustain the careers of established freelance artists, writers and other members of the arts and art production communities who have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe. Grants are awarded and renewed at the discretion of the Haven Foundation Board.

To make a donation to The Haven Foundation, please send a check to:

The Haven Foundation
P.O. Box 128
Brewer, Maine 04412 USA

Sky Dream

When I was 12 I decided I would like to be cremated and mixed into cerulean blue pigment and painted into the sky.

All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.
- Richard Brautigan

Thursday, June 12, 2014


A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow.
― Djuna Barnes

I talk too much because I have been made so miserable by what you are keeping hushed.
― Djuna Barnes, Nightwood

A man's sorrow runs uphill; true it is difficult for him to bear, but it is also difficult for him to keep.
― Djuna Barnes, Nightwood

The unendurable is the beginning of the curve of joy.
― Djuna Barnes, Nightwood

Her heavy peasant face was fringed by a bang of red hair like a woolen table-spread, a color at once strange and attractive, an obstinate color, a color that seemed to make Lena feel something alien and bad-tempered had settled over her forehead...
― Djuna Barnes

Key Spy

Back when we first moved in 20 years ago, my friend Merrill and her seven year old son Adam came to visit from Arizona. It was a hot summer night in August. I went up to put fans in the windows and get them tucked into twin beds in the guest room. Bill was closing up when he heard a commotion out front so he went to investigate closing the foyer door behind him to remain invisible. I fell asleep. I woke at 1:30AM and Bill wasn't beside me. I woke again at 4AM and he still wasn't here. I walked into the guest room and my friend Merrill bolted upright and said "What's wrong?" Bill is not here, I'm scared. It's not like him. So we locked arms and went room to room looking for Bill in our big old house. When we entered the living room we heard a small voice."Help me, Help me" It was Bill, he was locked in the foyer in his boxers. He had been there all night, jumping up and down ringing the floor-switch doorbell, and alternately trying to sleep on the tiny green cushioned window seat. "Why didn't you climb the fire escape? I asked.
"I was afraid of scaring our guests, and I was in my boxers." He said.
We couldn't hear a thing with the window fans blowing.
This story still cracks me up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Morning Musings


I saw the pink dawn this morning and got up and made blueberry pancakes. The only way to have peace and quiet around here is to wake super early, beat the rush on noise. . . .
Don't get me wrong I like noise but it has to be the kind you can screen out. My husband grew up in a huge family in a small house I grew up in a huge house in a small family. This might be why I can't tolerate other peoples noises and he can tolerate just about anything. The problem is I like people even more than he does, and I actually need them but I wish they would be quieter. I wish they would be considerate. He thinks its futile. I like music too but I don't place my speakers at top volume on my porch facing another apartment house. I have a tiny little radio that hums classical music mixed with static due to the bad reception. I still listen. I screen out the static. I also don't mind the sound of traffic, sirens, garbage trucks. But I hate when people blast their bass canons and my house shakes. That's when I fantasize taking pop shots. I bet I'd be really good at it. Or maybe as my pal Troy suggested, hitting them with a laser scrambling device that would fry their electric power. Instead I take a walk to calm my nerves or I phone the lady police dispatcher Flynn and say could you please ask the police to come by and tell the folks at 134, third floor left to lower the bass. My windowpanes are vibrating. I'm sure Flynn knows my voice by now.

The boy next door has his bedroom window 2 feet from my kitchen sink. I try to be considerate and shut the window when my husband and I are talking especially at 4AM. The boy I discovered is a vampire. A sweet handsome vampire but a vampire nonetheless. The other night when I couldn't sleep I came down to make a cup of tea and his bedroom was all lit up. It was 3:30 AM on a Monday. After I was done making tea I turned the light back off and scurried out with my tea. I was a vampire in high school too.

Strawberry Moon Pie

Yes, it's my name. Strawberry. My middle name is Moon. My pal Josie calls me pie but I'll get to that. My boyfriend calls me wild. I am a read-headed left-handed freak. A special freak my father says trying to comfort me. A freak show, my brother says because I don't like sweets. I think he's a freak because he would eat Gummy Bears and green monster cupcake frosting as dinner. My idea of a great dinner is pancakes but nobody listens to me. Lately all I want to do is shut the door to my room and stay inside and read about dolphins. I hate Spring and all of the birthday parties slumber parties and pool parties like everyone is suddenly happy and nice wearing pink and kelly green. Where were they all winter when the real nice weather existed? Last Sunday I made a terrarium out of a mayonnaise jar and I found some moss and what looked to me like baby trees to put inside. Pine trees for an ant. My parents got divorced and they pretend its nothing because they are still friends and dad lives nearby. Honestly that just makes it worse. I think most of what adults do makes things worse, don't you?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

This Quote is taped over my Desk

When at last I wrote my first words on the page, I felt an island rising beneath my feet like the back of a whale. As more and more words emerged, I could finally rest: I had a place to stand for the first time in my life. The island grew, with each page, inhabited by people I knew and mapped with the life I lived.
- Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Working in the Dark; Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio

Mr. Brown

When I was in second grade my mother took me to a psychologist named Mr. Brown to see if her divorce was what was upsetting me in school. I had to go every week. I sat in the room and looked around. There was a wall of books. This doctor didn't have toys, he was an adult psychologist but there was this huge wall of books. Each week I would sit and stare at the books and tell him which book he moved to which spot from the previous week.

Tolstoy's Toes

On this day in 1881, Leo Tolstoy set off on a pilgrimage to the Optina-Pustyn monastery.

He was 52 years old, and his two greatest novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), were behind him. He had found himself in a crisis—he was famous, had a family and land and money, but it all seemed empty. He was unable to write, had trouble sleeping, contemplated suicide. He read the great philosophers, but found holes in all of their arguments. He was amazed that the majority of ordinary Russians managed to keep themselves going every day, and he finally decided that it must be their faith. From there, it was a short time until Tolstoy took a walk in the woods and found God. He wrote: "At the thought of God, happy waves of life welled up inside me. Everything came alive, took on meaning. The moment I thought I knew God, I lived. But the moment I forgot him, the moment I stopped believing, I also stopped living."

His wife Sophia was not so thrilled with his conversion. He renounced meat, sex, alcohol, fiction, tobacco, and the temptations of a family. He dressed like a peasant. He wanted to give all of his money away, but Sophia wanted to live what she considered a normal life, not to mention raise their 10 children.

Tolstoy made his first visit to Optina-Pustyn in 1877, a visit in which he apparently exhausted the chief starets—or community elder—with his questions. On this day in 1881 he set off on a second visit, and this time he decided that to be more like the common people, he would walk all the way there, dressed in his peasant coat and wearing shoes made out of bark. He was pleased with his spiritual guidance, but he wasn't used to walking in bark shoes, so by the time he made it to Optina his feet were so covered in blisters that he had to take the train back home.

-Writer's Almanac

Strawberry Moon

Yesterday when I was out walking Lily I saw two legs hanging off a big green dumpster. I couldn't tell what I was looking at until the legs became animated revealing a torso. It was Ray in his airplane pajamas scouting for treasures. "I'm being an environmentalist" he said, placing his third Hires root beer can on the sidewalk. He had a white 13 gallon bag of household trash in his hand and was eying the gallon milk jug inside to add to his collection of recyclables. I adore Ray.

Charlie Hoffack Detective Artist

Hoffacker said his detective job typically begins at 2 a.m. with a call about a shooting. He rushes to the scene and sizes up the loss of another young man’s life. Then he begins gathering witnesses, video recordings when possible, telephone tips -- anything to eventually put together the pieces to solve the crime. He gives family members whatever news there is to give. Stress comes with the territory.

His release, he said, is art. When he gets home from work, he paints until it’s time to sleep. When he gets up, he paints until it’s time to head out again.

“You can focus on it,” he said of painting, “it really takes me away.”

There tends to be a lot of depression among police officers, he said. Everyone tries to find some way to decompress. Art, he said, “has helped me be more healthy.”

Hoffacker credits his love of art to Delgado Community College instructors Holis Hannan and Dan Tague. Three years ago, he began taking classes at Delgado related to his career as a cop. But elective classes were also required. So he signed up for a beginners painting course and discovered an unknown passion. His teachers became great mentors, he said. Among other things, they helped him see beyond landscape painting into conceptualism – the sort of art where ideas are as important as images.

Dumpster Diving Pool

FANTASY: I want to make this dumpster diving pool, or a bunch of them for the neighborhood along with outdoor ovens!


Sunday, June 08, 2014


Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Monday, June 02, 2014


I dreamed about a hat made of jacquard fabric that had four large faces above the brim. The hat was designed so you could pick which face to display forward. The hat was for actress Frances O'Connor starring as Rose Selfridge in the PBS drama Mr. Selfridge.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Always do what you are afraid to do.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson