All I Wanted To Do Was Change This - Jackie Davis-Martin

“Look. All I wanted to do was change this life I was leading.” Even to Mimosa, who was used to making excuses, the line sounded overwrought.

Daisy, her friend of ten or more years, lit a cigarette. Another. This was back in say, 1985, when people smoked. It was what they did. It was hard to explain. “All,” Daisy repeated.

Mimosa knew she would. She herself would have said “All.” So she did, she said it too. “All. I know: all.” She poured herself and her friend more coffee from the plastic carafe on the table. They came here after school on Fridays because of the carafe, of the waitress not bothering them with refills. “You remember.”

“I’m trying,” Daisy said. Daisy had a sweet face, round with blue eyes. She was thirty-one years old, as was Mimosa. In ten years Daisy with her pinkish soft skin would melt into looking sixty, but she didn’t know that yet and so was content with smoking cigarettes and living with her husband.

“You even told me.”

“Told you? Since when did I have that much influence?” Daisy laughed. A passer-by would have said she looked happy or at least pleased. No one passed the women in the booth, though. The diner was fairly empty at 3:30 in the afternoon. “All I said was Shit or Get off the Pot.”

“God, don’t say that again.” Mimosa pushed her features—not as cute as Daisy’s—into an expression that suggested a foul odor had just descended. “I hate that saying.”

Daisy shrugged and blew a stream of smoke diagonally toward the window, which faced a roundabout. This was in New Jersey where they called them traffic circles, and they too disappeared with the cigarettes although there was probably no connection. “The British called these roundabouts,” she observed.

Mimosa said nothing.

“What will you do?” Daisy addressed her question to the window.

“Can I stay with you tonight? With you and Rich?”

“No!” Daisy said. “What on earth would be the point of that?”

“Somewhere to go.”

“What will you do in the larger sense?”

Mimosa reached for a cigarette and her Bic. Her hand shook. “I should stop drinking so much coffee. I’m putting in for a transfer. The other high school, I hope. I mean, I hope it’s not the middle school. I don’t know whether I could do that.”

“And Dr. Alberts?”

“Doctor. That’s funny. I played doctor. Dr. Bob Alberts remains principal.”

“He’s not even attractive,” Daisy said. “And you didn’t even tell me.” She widened her eyes in a brief flash at her friend to indicate the indignity of the secret.

“Why get you involved? Life with Louie was just too boring—I needed to do something.”

“I remember. You’ve been complaining for three years.”

Mimosa glared in turn. “And you’re all happy and everything?”

Of course they both knew that wasn’t true.

“Happy enough,” Daisy said. “I guess.”

“Not to change things,” Mimosa added. “A whole life.” She let one cigarette with the glowing ash of the last. “I’ve never done that,” she said. “It makes me feel decadent.”

“As though you need that,” Daisy said.

All I Wanted To Do Was Change This - E. D. James

All I wanted to do was change a light bulb. Simple. Done it a million times. It would be a little break from dealing with all the problems I have in my life. Problems that stem, by and large, from my lack of discipline and character. So, in a small way, changing that light bulb would be a new beginning too. A small step on the road to respectability. A signal to my family and friends that I was throwing off the demons that had haunted me for most of the past year and reemerging as the productive member of society that they all knew I could be.

I got my buddy Eric to lend me his old Ford F150 pickup that has the rack over the bed and I drove over to Benny’s painting shop and borrowed a sturdy two story telescoping ladder and stopped at Brownies Hardware on the old Main Street and picked up two bulbs, just in case. I wanted to get this thing done as efficiently as possible. Then I headed out to the old neighborhood.

It wasn’t the same out there anymore. Six years ago when we moved in everything was new and booming and everybody was full of energy and hope. We all were drawn to this new suburb by the big houses and the new streets and the big new shopping center with the Target and Best Buy and Home Depot. Prices were going up, up, up and we all bought and put in our lawns and then all of a sudden one of the houses down the street sold because the husband got transferred to another job and we had a bunch of equity and the mortgage broker was calling saying he had a great adjustable loan and we could take out some cash and get a new car and put in a swimming pool and it seemed like it would just get better forever.

Our house was so beautiful. You should have seen the way Meg looked at me when I drover her up to it the first time. We both grew up in the old part of town. Our parents houses were nice, tidy, but small and nothing special. We knew from our first date that we were going to work hard together and get to a better place. She got a job with one of the developers in town as a bookkeeper and my landscaping business started to take off and all of sudden we were getting somewhere. And when we stood on the sidewalk and looked up at that two story neoclassical front porch and the beautiful detailing around the windows, well, I could just tell that every fiber of her being felt fulfilled.

Those first years were great. The neighbors kids and ours were all young and we had big barbeques and parties and helped each other with different projects. I was pretty popular because of with my landscaping business I had a lot of the tools that people needed and I was happy to lend them out on weekends and give folks advice about this and that. I started drinking wine coolers on hot summer afternoons when my body felt a little tired from all the physical labor. Then some of our friends got into wines in serious ways and we had tasting parties and sampled expensive wines and learned all the terms that the connoisseurs knew like “fruit forward” and “strong finish”. Course, the wines that I liked best were “hot”, meaning they had a high alcohol content.

Things kept getting better and better and I put on a few crews and stopped doing any fieldwork. I started marketing. Taking the property managers out to lunch to get the business for the big new office complexes, and housing tracts, and shopping centers that were going up all over. It smoothed things over to have some wine or drink and lunch and some of the guys liked to sneak out in the afternoon and head out to the topless bar over on old Highway 99 and have a few before going home. It was all just business.

Then, one of the guys in that crowd had a big idea. It seems the golf courses that they were building couldn’t keep up with all the tree moving and planting that needed to go on and there was a big machine that could, in one fell swoop, cut a huge hole that preserved the roots, pick an old tree up and move it over in nothing flat. Not cheap. Couple a hundred grand. But that baby would pay off in no time and then the money would pour in the door. That machine caught a hold of me. A whole new business. It would take me to new levels. So I begged, borrowed and scraped everything I could to get that beast. Ran the mortgage on the house right up to the top, found a mortgage broker who had an appraiser that would give him whatever number he needed.

It started off sweet. That first day out there watching that machine do it’s thing was a blast. We popped a few bottles of champagne and went on from there. Then the crash came.

It had been months since I’d been in the neighborhood. The first thing I saw as I turned in at the entrance was that the landscaping along the sound wall was no longer being maintained. About every third house I passed had grass growing three foot tall out front and a for sale sign that barely stuck up high enough to be seen. Our house was the same. The windows were dirty. I could only imagine what the pool looked like. I turned off the truck and just sat there for a minute listening to the heat tick off the muffler. The images of that last night before the sheriff came to move our stuff out onto the street came flashing through my mind no matter how hard I tried to control them. The rage and the anger that boiled up in me over having my dreams taken away from me, the grief in Megs eyes when I told her we were going to lose it, and the disbelief in my kids voices when I told them we were moving in with mom and dad. And then the release that came from flinging that empty Bombay bottle up at that beautiful neoclassical porch and the sound of the light bulb shattering as everything went dark.

Then I pulled the door handle and stepped onto the street and pulled the ladder off the rack and dragged it down and headed off towards the porch with the bag of lightbulbs in my hand. And started over.

All I Wanted To Do Was Change This - Rebecca Link

All I wanted to do is change the momentum. I wanted to change how fast things would move. The anticipation grips me and causes me frustration. I wish I would know the outcome now and would not have to wait. The torment of not knowing makes me crazy. The waiting seems to go on forever. I analyze everything looking back and reevaluating every moment hoping to anticipate the future. I look deep inside feeling intuitive about the future but I find nothing.

Things start to move and start to move quickly. I am ready and it is a rush. I like it and it feels good. Answers. It’s happening not like I expected but maybe better. I like the momentum once things fall into place. I love the ride.

It Didn't Seem Like Much at the Time - Shonna Anderson

It didn't seem like much at the time, but I probably should have known that it meant it was the beginning of the end. I had always heard about women receiving the dreaded scarf and gloves set at Christmas and how it was one of the most unpersonal presents one can receive. At least someone cared enough to get a present, but didn’t care enough to think that hard about it. Walk into any store at Christmas time and there they are within easy reach of any man who can’t be bothered to actually think about what to get his girlfriend or wife at Christmas. These thoughts went through my mind at Christmas as I opened the shiny, silver box that he was so excited to give me. “This is it?” I thought to myself. “A Scarf and gloves?” Then I felt bad about my initial reaction as he explained that the gloves were because my hands were always cold and he wanted me to be warm when we held hands and how he had to order the scarf specially because he wanted the green because of how it brought out my eyes. Yes, he painted a pretty picture, but the reality was that they were still a pair of gloves and a scarf, and I should have known it was the beginning of the end.

It Didn't Seem Like Much at the Time - Maria Robinson

It was his shoes that attracted her. Sean wore brown suede brogues,with Khaki pants and a purple oxford shirt to the gallery opening in Soho where Martha was working as an assistant curator. The shoes said: I'm English, I'm eccentric, I'm savvy, I'm a dandy, I'm on the make.

Martha was dressed in the tight black, yet assymetrical uniform of art mavens, long coltish legs in Black suede high heels. Her shoes said" I'm art establishment", I can stand in these for hours and do deals, there's a personal trainer in my background and I come from money.

Within three months, the two were standing in the same shoes at their wedding in London. A bright affair at a Universalist hall followed by cocktails and DJ in Chelsea.

This Is What Happened After - Judy Albietz

“Whattsup? Why are you looking at me that way, like you just saw a ghost?” asked Josh as he re-snapped his helmet and reached forward to pick up his paddle.

“I don’t know … I just feel like things are a little off, like all these familiar surroundings are somehow different, just a little bit, kinda how you feel when you come home after being away on vacation. Oh, forget it,” she said, digging in her paddle to go back upstream into the rapids. Then Lily sensed it again—the strangeness around her. She stopped moving to look around. Nothing had changed. The trees were still turning orange and brown. High cliffs still loomed over the river and brownish-grayish rocks were still exposed at this water level. But prickles were running up and down her spine and goose bumps had started to form on her bare arms. Something has happened but I can’t remember what … like I’ve been interrupted in the middle of a sentence and now can’t remember what I wanted to say.

“Hey, Lily. You okay? You look pale. Maybe you’re hungry.”

“Oh Josh, it’s not always about food. Be serious; I’m freaking out here.”

“Okay, but just for the record, I think we both need a snack.”

“Josh, you’re so frustrating. You’re not even listening to me. I think I’ve forgotten something … something important … about where I’ve been,” Lily said.

“You haven’t been anywhere but here, right here with me on the river the whole morning. You haven’t been anywhere else. I can guarantee it. Hey, maybe you hit your head on a rock on that last roll.”

“No, I didn’t hit my head,” Lily snapped.

This Is What Happened After - Linda Kunnath

This is what happened after I finally told my Mother off, after 33 years of letting her bully and criticize and hammer away at me for not listening to her, for not taking her seriously, for not calling her, for not being what she couldn’t be herself and causing her to fail all over again. The day she came in, upset that her car had stalled on her and upset when she found out she had a leak in the gas pipe and she described her ordeal word by word, and sentence by sentence, as if the world itself was caving in and not just her gas pipe. I listened to her calmly, working my hand holding a dishrag across the kitchen’s red glossy ceramic tile counter and said, “Well, I guess you will have to take the car into a mechanic tomorrow.”

With that her face turned beet red and she stammered and sputtered out obscenities at me. How could I be so callous, so insensitive to not understand all she had gone through? Why was I acting so arrogantly? Why was I speaking to her in that tone of voice? Who did I think I was anyway? With that, I had had enough and I shouted at her to stop swearing at me and, since she was now staying at my house, I pointed at the guest room and commanded her to go to her room and to go now!

The tide had shifted and she was on my turf now and I had shifted too, mouthing words I could not know were inside of me. I then took the dirty rag, threw it into the metal sink and walked out of the room and went and sat down in the living room.

Moments later I could hear her whistling softly and sensing her presence, Iooked over my shoulder to see she was sitting in the dining room, leafing though a magazine. She sat as calmly as if she were in the lobby of a dentists office, waiting for me as a little girl, while I was getting a cavity filled. She titled her head looking at the glossy colored photos of Jacqueline Kennedy, remarking upon how beautiful she was and did I know that it was Jackie Kennedy who first created the rose garden at the White House?

This Is What Happened After - Kate Bueler

This is what happened after I decided I was old enough to start looking for rings. Rings on the ring finger, on the ring finger that meant more than the it doesn’t fit on any other finger, no the married type of ring. This is what happened after I saw his ring on his finger, his finger, after a night of dancing and drinking I hadn’t looked, looked because I never looked because no one around my age was married. Not in this city. Not in New York. Maybe somewhere else but not here. So after I saw the ring on his finger as we sat in the back of the cab, the cab traveling too fast for how many drinks I have had, the jerky back and forth that only an urban cabbie can get away with. This is what happened after I saw the ring on the man who I thought was sitting to close. I said pull this cab over. Pull this cab over here, now. What is going on? He exclaimed. You are married. I know. Well you should act like it. I didn’t hide my ring. Okay but you didn’t act like you were married. Slamming the door shut.

I just was too naïve too look because unlike some women I respect the ring. I respect the ring. This is what happened after I had to start looking because I didn’t ever want to be in the back of the cab with a married man again unless he was my friend, or my father, or someone who I had no romantic attachment to. How bold I thought to not only flirt,but dance, but buy drinks, but mostly the getting into the cab together, the cab together- the destination was not determined. Not determined- TBD it would seem.

So now I look for rings, but don’t want to do it in obvious way subtly of course. Because the bottom line for me is not dating, but I like to know what I am dealing with up front. I kind of sort of want want people to wear signs: like just out of relationship, I cheat, I snort cocaine or drink too much, I don’t shower, I only know how to cook mac and cheese, I hate my mother, I am selfish, I don’t know what a clitoris is, You will have amazing sex with me but that is it. I wish there were invisible post its that only I could see. See. So I can stay away from the projects. Stay away from those so set in their ways, their ways that there is no place for me. Place for me in their heart, in their lives.

I am done with projects. My only project should be myself. I am starting to realize my own projection of being helpful and stable only attracts men with post its all over their body. Each one begins to appear, one by one and then I have decide the in and out. It always happens when I am sucked in, when I am invested. This is what happened after I decided I no longer wanted to wanted to give everything a chance as not miss the one. The opportunity. This is what happened after I looked for rings, I look for rings but the kicker is they don’t always wear rings, do they, do they? They most definitely don’t wear post its- not the kind I need to know about- need to know about. I need post-its that are visible to my eyes before my heart has blinded from my sight to see.

Some Stories Demand to Be Told - Anne Wright

Some stories demand to be told. I have been keeping this to myself for a long time, thinking that I’d forget what happened. But every so often, a song or the smell of an old man’s aftershave reminds me that the memory is still inside me, and won’t go away.

I was young and had found a man, though now I know that he had found me. He was a painter with a desire to paint me. He’d arrange a setting, a large cloth like a bedspread draped on a couch, and put some pillows there, a vase of flowers here and sketch me. I’d lie there, feeling his eyes on me, the center of his attention for hours. The light slanting in through the window cast the shadow of his chair, and it would crawl along the floor, and a breeze would lift the sheer curtains, then suck them out.

I Still Don't Know How To Tell You This - Melody Cryns

I still don’t know how to tell you this – but all the inheritance money from my Grandma is gone and I really don’t know for sure if the book really will be published. You know how much I love each and every one of you kids. But as I sit here listening to John Lennon croon “Imagine” I think of a world in which none of us ever had to struggle, a world in which I didn’t have to work all the time and leave you guys at home alone so much left to your own devices. If I’m going to have any life regrets, it’s going to be that I wasn’t there for you as much as I wanted to be, as much as I dreamed to be – no matter how hard I tried to think of things.

I know I kept telling all four of you that when I get the book out, then we won’t struggle anymore – then it was “when we move back down to San Francisco, everything will be okay.” I kept thinking it would be, really I did. But I thought if I could just keep hope alive for all of us, then we could keep afloat even after Grandma died suddenly back in 1997. We moved back down here to California on a shoestring and a prayer, literally. It’s been that way every single time. I know that I pretended that it wasn’t like that – I don’t know if that was good or bad, it was just the best that I could do at the time.

So yes, I still don’t know how to tell you how much I really love you, more than anyone else I’ll probably ever love in this lifetime, but I’m afraid I have nothing to leave you if something happens to me – there is no money in the bank, no hidden funds, just a small life insurance policy through my workplace and of course you’re the beneficiaries, and a bunch of books, a couple of guitars.

But just know that you should never give up hope – that life is filled with hopes and dreams and anything still is possible – and even though the book never got published and I ended up spending my Grandma’s inheritance money on stuff we needed and one hell of a nice Christmas in 1999, always live life to its fullest.

Just this past weekend, we were up in Virginia City – I had pretty much run out of money because I didn’t expect to have to buy those tires and I thought you, Melissa, would be able to pay me back that money from your unemployment check. I know it’s not your fault the unemployment check didn’t arrive because you didn’t check one certain box and we were kind of stuck up in Virginia City – yet not stuck.

And that’s when I realized that maybe the people who live in Virginia City have it right, and the rest of the world could really learn from those people. Everyone I talked to who lives in a world that’s like going back in time 150 years,

Some Stories Demand to Be Told - Jennifer Baljko

“That’s the way it was, and sometimes, some stories demand to be told,” said the old lady with the bouffant hairdo that was popular back in the 1960s. Her eyes danced with a memory only she could remember.

“I have one of those stories. I should tell you about it. You know, when I was a bit older than you, I started my own company – I imported cigars and champagnes,” she added. The old lady nodded her head and clucked the roof of her toothless mouth with her tongue while she waited for a reply.

“Well, I’d love to hear your story, but I think that’s my bus coming,” the girl with headphones said. She pulled her backpack off the bench and stood up, inching closer to the curb.

“Oh, that’s my bus, too. I’ve been taking this same bus for 50 years. Can you imagine that? 50 years. I hope Ed’s driving today. He’s such a sweet man,” the old lady said.

The girl nodded and smiled a fake smile. She wished she could just sit at a bus stop without all the local crazies bugging her. They always spotted her, wanted to talk to her.

The old woman gave the girl one last glance. How nice it would be to talk her – to talk to anyone, she thought. If only someone would listen. She really did have a great story to tell.

Some Stories Demand to Be Told - Karen Oliver

Some stories demand to be told and some stories never will be. Everyone wants to read the exciting, dramatic story, spotlights shining. Most of the heroic stories are subtle though and it takes a great storyteller to show them off. Take the story of Dick, for instance. Ninety years old and finally living in sin with the woman he fell in love with in his teens. He comes to breakfast at her house in the morning wearing his tuxedo pants with the suspenders hanging at his side and a grin on his face. For a few years they live together but he becomes more and more feeble until he fell and broke his hip. Nursing home, cannot walk, probable pneumonia, the common scenario. His girlfriend, Mary, says that he doesn’t want to come home. He needs the security of the staff at the hospital.

Visiting him is sad. It is obvious that the number of physical things going on can only be reversed with a lot of effort that no one, including Dick, wants to exert. There was a moment though, when he talks about Mary. He pauses, looks away and very clearly says, “She is a wonderful woman” in the softest voice. That’s when I see the heroism. He does want to go home but will not, for her sake.

Some Stories Demand to Be Told - Judy Radin

Some stories demand to be told. For example, there were two sisters, Susan and Joanna, who were so entangled in rivalry and resentment, drummed into them by their misguided parents, that when one of the sisters got sick, really sick, the other one was so jealous, so threatened, so terrified that she would somehow lose something, that she set out to discredit her sick sister and sabotage her treatment.

Susan’s first strategy was to convince her parents that Joanna was faking her illness. Joanna’s condition had been undiagnosed for almost ten years. Year after year doctors said they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. So when Susan suggested that Joanna’s swollen joints and muscular pain were attention-getting ploys, planned and premeditated with one objective: to extort attention and financial help from her gullible family, her mother began to believe it. She preferred to believe the lie than think her daughter was actually sick.

But then Joanna was diagnosed with lupus, a real disease, and doctors said there was no cure. That’s when Susan tried to convince her parents that Joanna would be better off fighting the disease on her own, that it would help her grow up faster, make her a better human being, if she learned to rely on her own resources rather than depend on help or support from the family.

“You’re not doing her any favors by paying her medical bills,” Susan frequently said.

“Don’t coddle her,” was another favorite line.

“She’ll never be a responsible adult if you’re always there to help her.”

Her mother was torn. A part of her agreed with Susan. Maybe she was right that Joanna has to figure out how to live a normal life and the sooner she learns to cope with lupus on her own the better off she will be. But Joanna’s father saw things differently. There was no way he was going to abandon his sick child.

That’s when Susan brought out the big guns. She told her parents that she was worried they wouldn’t have time for their new grandchild, when they are so preoccupied with Joanna’s health. So for the baby’s sake, to protect him from rejection, Susan was going to have to limit their visits. Threatening to withhold their grandchild almost worked. They couldn’t risk missing out on their only grandchild. So they swore they would cherish and adore Susan’s child above all others. They still helped Joanna with her medical bills, but they backed off. There were fewer visits and phone calls, and they tried to remember not to mention Joanna too much in Susan’s presence.

But then Joanna got really sick. The joint pain gave way to falling platelets. Lupus was now attacking her blood, making it much more serious and complicated than when it was mostly joint pain. By now the baby was a year old and everyone was gathered for his birthday. Joanna was on the couch unable to move. She had aches and pains throughout her body, and all of her joints were red and swollen. Earlier that day she began spiking a fever and by late afternoon it was up to 104. Her mother called Joanna’s rheumatologist. Dr. Konrad said Joanna could die if she didn’t get to the hospital quickly. Her mother ran around the house in a panic. Her father went out to the garage to make a bed in the backseat of his car for the long drive to University Hospital. Susan scowled and fretted. She said Joanna was ruining the birthday party, that she should find her own way to the hospital, like a responsible adult.

Some Stories Demand to Be Told - Nancy Cech

Some stories demand to be told. These are the stories that sit beneath the surface making everything seem artificial and strained until you let them spill out. Or maybe it’s more like an eruption. One that can catch you off guard if you not alert. Be careful of the potential damage of these stories. In my own life there have been a few of these stories, but probably none more like a volcano than the one that sparked my need, my obsession with hearing the story of my now ex’s first affair. Well at least the one that he admits to being his first.

It all started to seep out after a family trip to Yosemite. We were there with a large group from my son’s school, including the family of the woman he was becoming too friendly with. I didn’t know about the under current then, her husband did though. I was the only one in the dark. I did know something was wrong, it had been for years. But it was different. When we got back from the trip I suggested that we go to couples therapy and give it a year. If we didn’t turn it around by the next February we’d call it quits. We both agreed and made an appointment with a counselor. I was feeling restless, like something was going on that I couldn’t trust. So I started searching the computer. The first time in 25 years that I didn’t feel I could trust the surface, so I dug. I’m not proud of myself. I am actually ashamed, but when trust starts to crack it splinters all the way down to the core. The emails were telling. Details of their trysts. Plans to meet up. Erotic whispers in the morning before the day starts and last thing at night. Plans to bring the families together for a group vacation in Hawaii, where she could watch his skin tan and he could enjoy her in her bikini instead of having to be limited to a photo. Him watching her during her pilates class. Peering through the window, fantasizing about the reformer and what they could do with the foot straps. These emails went on and on and had been for months. I read them all. I reread them. I printed out the “best”. I searched the sent files, I recovered deleted files. I read visa bills for clues, and phone bills. I armed myself with all the information I could collect and then I confronted him. And demanded that the story be told.

Masters in Art, or Master of Art?

Our dear Stephanie got into Reinhardt! She's getting her masters in art, so she can teach. We're all very, very proud of her!!!!

Twins, Again!

I'm pretty sure if they could talk they would say "Lady, get the camera out of our faces!"

The Miracle Worker

Let me tell you about my new BFF. His name is Joey and he works at the Sisley counter at Saks in NYC.

I met Joey last weekend when my childhood friends and I had a girls' weekend in the Big Apple. We had a few margaritas, and then decided to hit Saks for a little shopping.

As I stood at the Chanel counter buying my very first Chanel lipstick. (In a gorgeous shade called Cashmere) I noticed my friend Jennifer sitting in Joey's magic chair. As I approached to watch, Joey looked me in the eye and said, "YOU'RE next." I was mesmerized, as were the rest of my friends. One by one, we put our faces at the mercy of the world's greatest cosmetics salesman.

Joey had an interesting sales approach, a combination of humiliation and love.

He took one look at one of my friends and exclaimed, "Oh my, just LOOK at those eyebrows!! Who are you? Captain Morgan? And look at your shoes!! Are you going for a pirate look?" Ouch. Humiliating, but somehow he pulled it off. He then ran over to the Chanel counter and borrowed a pair of small scissors, which he used to trim my friend's eyebrows into the most flattering arch I've ever seen. He was an artist.

Joey's secret weapons? Eye cream, black eyeliner and eyebrow pencil. The transformation on all of us was stunning.

After the makeovers, we each marched over to the register to purchase our new life changing potions. Can you say sticker shock?? Holy hell. Do you know what Sisley cosmetics cost? I was FLOORED. I'm not even going to tell you. You can look it up if you want, I can't even type it.

As we walked out, Joey asked us to pose for a photo reminiscent of "Charlie's Angels." He then proceeded to invite us to join hem and his honey at Gay Night at Hiro Ballroom. The idea of sitting around with Joey's friends while they critiqued our hair and shoes sounded tempting, but we politely declined.

The good news is, 10 days have passed since my purchase and this stuff is a amazing. Especially the eye cream, I've never used such an incredible eye cream. Words can't describe how good it is. Truly. When I work my eye cream, eyeliner, and brow pencil, it's HOT. (If I do say so myself.)

If you're ever in NY stop by Saks and meet Joey. Make sure you bring your credit card and all your self esteem. After all, Joey works on commission, and he's good, very good, at what he does.

You might even consider taking out a second mortgage on your house.

Trust me.

It will be worth it.

I love these ladies. We've been friends for over 30 years!

..This kinda reminds me of someone... this is like, a hundred times played in my PC & my phone, since a year ago. And this is the 14th, today. Yea... the video that reminds me of someone. Most favorite video so far.

Stairway to Heaven!

Kerry has holidays this week. Which means our stairs will finally get covered in hardwood. We had so much left over from the upstairs that we decided to do the stairs. The brown blob in the lower right corner is Linus's head. Kerry is removing each and every riser and replacing them with new ones. The dust of 38 yrs. is under those stairs and in my nose.
Kerry's got a bloody scratch on his head from trail work yesterday. I don't think he had a hat on. He might want to start doing that when he's doing trail work. I think it was a stick.
Both dogs were very interested in what Kerry was doing. The lighting is totally funky in these pictures.
Linus pouted because he was stuck at the top of the stairs. See that spot on the door with the paint removed, that's from Sally. She jumps up on the door and scratches it when we come home. My dad got her started, he sticks dog treats in the mail slot. One time he stuck his finger in and some dog bit it.
You can't tell from the pictures, but Kerry had some colourful words today. He swung the hammer and the claw part hit him in the shin, right next to his big ding from bike riding. He bled a lot. He was wise not to show me until after and even then it was soaking through the bandaid and I couldn't look.

Love this one. Oh, woe is Linus.

After this, the dogs were allowed dowstairs while Kerry pulled off the middle stairs. Then he went upstairs and we were stuck downstairs. And Sally decided to try to climb up and as she tentatively used her front paws to step on the framing, her back paws couldn't fit and she slipped through the staircase into the great beyond. Luckily it was only a few feet off the ground and not the top stairs. She landed on all fours and walked out the door and back again like nothing happened. I gave her a quick once over and Kerry replaced the wood and she ran up the stairs as fast as she could.
I'm hoping tomorrow means painting the back boards white. We're replacing the trim too and I figured why not paint the walls while we are at it. Kerry doesn't want to, the walls are about 16 feet high. But I'm totally going to push for it. I just have to pick a colour. I'm leaning towards greyish, but the flooring will be reddish and I don't like that together. I also like a nice spring green, but it might just be because it's spring. This will be the colour people will see when they come in the door. Right now it's tan, Martha Stewart's Mesa or something like that. But not her paint, just the colour.
Any colour ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to brighten it up.

Stuff and Things

Lots of stuff has been happening. Hence I haven't been very good at updating this blog...but it probably means I have a life...right?

Well and truly back from NZ, life has been a whiz consisting of four days of uni per week, four days of work per week, and still trying to fit in 10–15 hours of cycling in.

We had a "Beers in the Woods" night ride (which is about as complex as it seems), and I raced a dirt crit.

Other than that, just riding a mixture of long k's and shorter rides crammed between work and uni commitments.

I am excited about the upcoming races though...mmm...methinks I need to update the Cyclinic blog as well...eep!

Stuck on Repeat

Crystal Castles - Baptism

I'm so glad this album leaked last week, it's exactly what I needed to get through exams week.

Knee Slappin' funny to a photographer

If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph him...
What f-stop would you use?

Roller Derby and other things

I had the opportunity to shoot at today's roller derby practice in Prospera Place. It gave me a change to shoot in crappy lighting. I'm always up for practice.
I love watching these girls! Some of them are moms, some are younger, some are older, some are athletic, some are trying to be, but all of them are tough. The hit the ground, they get back up, there's no crying.
Now if it were fall and I'd be done for. But first you'd have to get me up right in skates.

A 5, 6, 7, 8!

A quartet of young sheng from Puerhshop on the menu this domestic morning, representing years 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. 3 of these were rather disappointing, and one I really liked.

05 06 07 08 young sheng - all four

Clockwise from top right:

1. 2008 Red Army "Banmu" Cake ($16.95/cake)
2. 2007 Gujun Factory "Bulang Spring Buds Cake" ($14/cake)
3. 2006 Changtai Factory "339" Cake ($19.99/cake)
4. 2005 Nanjian Phoenix Tuo ($12.90/250g tuo)

2008 Red Army "Banmu" Cake
Of the 4, this cake disappointed me most. It tastes buttery like mao xie oolong, but with a bitter melon type bitterness that had me wondering if the bamboo charcoal in my kettle had gone rancid. The bitter bite remained after elminating any cross-contamination factors (I tasted my water, brushed my teeth dry, and swirled and spit out some fresh olive oil). The leaves look ok, not entirely whole and no suspect color. The tea brews a nice yellow, too. But with few flavors and this bitterness, I have nothing pleasant to say about this tea.

2007 Gujun Factory "Bulang Spring Buds" Cake
This tea had a nice minty aroma and tasted like chocolate/carob and sweet in the first 2 infusions. It was boring by the 3rd infusion, tasting like little. I had to stress the tea with long infusions to get any flavor, and it did have some bitterness and astringency when pushed, but not much mouthfeel or aftertaste. The leaf quality was surprisingly poor upon examination, its broken leaves looking a step above tuocha grade material. Better than the Red Army cake, but still nothing I'd purchase.

2006 Changtai Factory "339" Cake
Changtai has never been a favorite factory of mine. While some of their sheng cakes have been good and their cooked tea rich and smooth, I have not had a stellar sheng pu'er production by them. The flavor of the 339 cake is subdued and easy. The interest is in the mouthfeel, which extends into the throat and causes a cooling sensation on my lips. But with a sour aftertaste and a flavor that reminds me too much of green dancong oolong in later infusions, this tea perplexed me. When stressed, it yielded an appreciable thickness and astringency with a musky aftertaste. It could be good with more age, perhaps blended into something stronger, like our next contender.

2005 Nanjian Phoenix Tuo
This was my favorite of the four. Despite an orange liquor (5 years age doing this, or ?), the flavor and bitterness taste like traditional big factory sheng, in a dependable and comforting way: punchy, floral, bitter, and a tad smoky, I think this tuo's flavor will go somewhere with more age. I lament at its dry storage and am curious how one of these aged in Guangzhou might taste. I was glad to end this tasting on a high note and might grab one of these for future aging.

Birthday Boy

We like the same things! I love this!!!
This sweet kid just celebrated his 2nd birthday. All he wanted for his birthday was CAKE.

Old School

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I love the look of vintage Cadillacs. As school is winding down for me and I get closer to moving to Cambridge, I just want to take a long road trip in a pretty vintage convertible. Wouldn't that be a perfect way to start summer?

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I'm a baaaad mom.
I told Shaun I would make his favourite dinner tonight, lasagne. And then promptly forgot. I did my running around and came home and asked Emily what she wanted for dinner. Pizza. So I made pizza. We ate dinner. Shaun came home for dinner. "That's not lasagne!" He was pretty choked. Not only did I not make lasagne, but I forgot he was going to be home for dinner. I made him Lipton Creamy Bacon Carbonara instead. I did not make up for my bad momminess.

Love and Lust - Anne Wright

John liked to write poetry. He said it was his sensitive side, expressing itself, but I thought they were crappy and sappy, just random words he wrote down. It made me feel very uncomfortable when he got in one of his moods, near tears, and made me sit and listen to him read.

One day we were out on the sailboat, becalmed on a glassy surface of the harbor. I was glad I remembered to bring the oar because it was one of those days that was going to go wrong. I hated to struggle with that oar. Sailing was supposed to be free, taking advantage of the breeze. I noticed that John had brought his little red leather journal and was scribbling, intent on his sensitive side because this notebook was the one he used when he got that way.

We were at opposite ends of the boat, me on the bow, pretending to take a nap, and John with the tiller and nothing to do but write. I heard him stumble over a rope, making his way to me. I pressed my hand to my face, hoping he wouldn’t want to disturb me. But he sat next to me and whispered, “Jill, I have something for you.” I didn’t react. Oh, God, was he going to make me listen to another poem?

He must have thought I was asleep because he started reading, in a quiet, tremulous voice, filled with feeling, “My love, watery waves rippling,” moving the sounds slowly up, “deep glossy liquid lust heightens my senses,” then pausing for effect, then lowering, quickly spewing out, “I thrust me being into you, your mind, your body, and come, hard,” and I slowly move my jacket collar up around my mouth to keep him from seeing me try not to laugh out loud, he ends with, “lying limp in your arms.”

Love and Lust - Shonna Anderson

Love and lust. How she would like to experience either one of them these days, to feel those emotions again. Sometimes she wonders if she’ll ever feel them again. She just feels so numb sometimes. Or if not numb, a permeating sense of sadness. Both seem to be the polar opposites of love or lust. Lust and love make you feel so alive, she thinks to herself. They color everything a shade more vibrant than they normally would seem. Sounds seem to come alive, memories are burned into the mind a bit deeper. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard when love is taken away, why everything feels so grey and lifeless. She remembers being at the beach one foggy day in the summer when it was so cold and grey, but remembers that it’s not how she saw it then. She was with her beloved and in that moment the greys of the clouds were so varied, like the colors of the rainbow. The sand was a beautiful shade of tan. Everywhere she looked things seemed alive and beautiful. She thinks about it now and those colors, that beauty is no where to be found. Where did it go and will it ever come back? Will love one day bloom again and will the life come back into her eyes and color everything a more brilliant shade again? Oh how she hopes so, oh how she hopes so.

Lust - Karen Oliver

Don’t even think of making me write about lust. I am a good Catholic girl at heart and that whole part of my life is private and never discussed openly. I think it is a mortal sin just to think about lust.

Is it lust when you just know you are going to go home with that man? I was at a party, balmy Florida evening, a summer dresses and flip-flops night. Sweet drinks in tall glasses and casual easy laughter. When he walked in, I looked up and saw him enter across the room. He looked great to me and everything slowed down for a tiny moment. There was a look and a pause and we both knew that we would go home together that night. I wanted him and I was sure he wanted me. We didn’t even talk at the party much or hang out together. That was part of the seduction. Hours later, at the end of the night, he just walked up to me and waited and I got my shawl and we left together, making out in the car in the parking lot on the way to his house.

That is way too private a story to tell.

Love or Lust - Linda Kunnath

Was it love or lust? The way he looked at her, and laughed at her precocious ways was endearing. He himself had his mother’s crooked smile and had succumbed to the gentleness of women long ago, calling his mother daily, even at 40, and checking to see if she was okay. Was her foot healing after the surgery? Could she send him her stuffed grape leaf recipe? Would she be coming out anytime soon? Women for him were like flowers in a field that needed tending to and so when she stood on a chair in the middle of the room and flapped her arms, explaining how she had tried to shoe the dog, who she was deathly terrified of, away - he smiled, enjoying her spontaneous improvisation. She was from India and afraid of all dogs, but her hair was so long and black and shiny and her eyes so brown and beautiful against their sharp white contrast that when she went on to describe the dog, a big yellow lab, who was wagging his tail, while holding a soggy tennis ball in his mouth, when she was trying to shoe him away, he still laughed, caught up in lust, like clouds in the room he couldn’t see through.

Love and/or Lust - Judy Radin

Her mother told her she’d have lots of boyfriends. “They’ll be beating down your door,” she said. But that didn’t exactly happen. In college Joanna wasn’t what you’d call popular. She wasn’t exactly unpopular, but when she did have a male admirer he never treated her like she was special. He’d buy her drinks, maybe a meal or two, and as much pot as she wanted. But there was always a line drawn. “This isn’t a date,” Jack once said. “I like you but I don’t love you,” David said. “There’s someone else,” Justin said.

It didn’t matter who the guy was. When it came to being Joanna’s boyfriend there were never any takers. They just wanted to have sex with her. They thought she was pretty. They thought she was fun. They thought she was sexy. But boyfriend? No way.

Joanna pretended it was that way with everyone. It was the seventies. Everyone was having sex with everyone else. It didn’t mean anything. It was just sex. Love had nothing to do with it. But somewhere deep inside she knew the truth. She couldn’t help noticing that the guys Diana hooked up with became her boyfriends. Same was true for Melanie and Joyce and Donna. They weren’t prettier than Joanna, or smarter. But for some reason they all had boyfriends. For them it definitely was more than sex. Joanna didn’t understand what was wrong with her. But she knew there was something

Sleeping/Thunder - Nancy Cech

I’ve been a little nervous that I’m slipping into “crazy dog lady” status. I make fun of it, that I’m one shy of a kennel’s license, but there are days that it does make me worry ,just a little bit. I find myself smiling and nodding at the dogs I pass on the street and then sometimes have to remember to acknowledge the owners. And here’s the big confession, today as I was walking back to work from the dentist I slipped into fantasyland as I often do, but instead of dreaming of a trip to Italy or sunbathing in the warm rays of the Caribbean sun, I started to think about what if my dogs could text. That’s right. What would it be like if my dogs could text.

If my black lab Rookie were a human she’d be a surfer girl. Labs are the easiest going dogs on the planet. They are always happy and nothing is ever complicated. They are the boy and girl scouts of the dog world, they’d be a part of Up with People and they’d likely collect beanie babies. The “Life is Good” motto would be on every piece of clothing that they’d own. Rookie is strong and direct. Straight forward and honest. Her interests involve water sports and ball. She loves to eat and even though she’s over 50lbs she can curl up to the size of small dog when she wants to sit in you lap. Here’s how the day would go with her.

8:00am: “Mom, Where did you leave the leftovers?”

5:00pm: “Mom, you were planning on cleaning the carpets this weekend right. It’s no big deal but I threw up that bag of treats you left out for me. Hey next time could you please make it easier to get to? I had to climb up on the kitchen table and then chew my way through the cabinet lock. I know you didn’t mean anything by it, but it took me forever. We’re going to the park tonight right? See ya.”

My yellow lab Haley, well she’s a stereotypical dumb blonde. Haley is sweet and beautiful. Wants nothing but to smile. My son has said if Haley was really his sister she’d be riding the short bus to school. Well Haley wouldn’t even attempt to text, it would be too complicated. Instead I’d get a voicemail.

9:00am “Hi. Is this on? How do you work this? Hi. This is Haley. Can you hear me? Hi. Are you sure this is on? Hi. I’m Haley. Who’s this? Rookie? How do you work this? Bye.”

9:03am “Uh is this on? Hi. Do you know where we left the toy box? I was looking for my stuffy. Oh never mind, there it is where it always is. Someone must have just brought it back. Bye.”

Yep. Short and sweet. But my French Bulldog Rocky, well he’d text me all day every day.

8:05am “Maman, Alo Maman. Are you thinking of me? I am thinking of you. I know you are thinking of me. I need to go on patrol. I will report back”

8:30am “Maman. Do not be angry with me. I ran across a dried poop on patrol this morning and couldn’t resist. I had une petite snack. I could not help myself. You know me. It is so hard to say no. I love you Mamam.”

8:35am “Alo. I miss u. I need to go on patrol again.”

9:00am “Maman, I do not know about these other dogs that live here with us. A leaf fluttered on to the deck and they slept right through it. I screamed at the top of my lungs to alert the neighbors and no one did anything. Why are these dogs here? They never help. They are useless. I need a nap. I wlll check in soon. Much love. Yours forever, Rocky”

10:30am “Maman. When are you coming home? I need you to pet that special place on my forehead. I pine for your touch. No one else knows that magic spot. Right between my eyes above my nose. I am thinking of you now There is no one else in the world I love more than you. I wait for you anxiously.”

1:00pm “Maman, I fell asleep on your pillow. I sleep in your bed imagining you are here with me. I left as much hair as I could, wanting to make sure I am always with you.”

2:00pm “Alo. That cat came back today. I know you told me that was our cat and I should leave it alone. But I do not believe you. It is an alien that wants to take over our lives. I will protect us all and chase away that cat.”

2:10pm: “I was triumphant. The cat has fled. Such nasty creatures. You can thank me tonight”

3:00pm “The black dog you call Rookie jumped on the kitchen table and got your pack.The one we take to the park that is filled with treats for me. She ate all the lamb nuggets and would not share no matter how many times I asked. She is a bad dog. You need to punish her”

4:30pm “Mamam. I think the clock is broken. Time stands still. You are not home. I love you desperately and miss you so.”

5:30: When I enter the door I am met by the greeting committee. Tails are wagging. Bodies are shaking with glee. Rookie brings me a stuffy; Haley leans up against my legs. But Rocky. Rocky fills the room with joy. The smile on his face is as wide as his entire body. He leaps and spins the air. After he knows I am pleased with his performance he leans in and whispers in my ear...”Maman, when is dinner?”

Love and/or Lust - Melody Cryns

On Friday, I’m headed east for Reno, Nevada and Virginia City. The weather is supposed to be perfect – sunny and cool. When I planned this trip at least a couple of months ago, I had a plan in mind. I’d go to the nice little one-day writer’s conference at TMCC – it’s a very inexpensive one filled with information and down-to-earth people and it’s one of my favorite small writer’s conferences. At one time Floyd Salas, my teacher, friend and mentor taught there.

But that wasn’t all I had in mind as I made my plans. I’d been talking to my big baritone-voiced, blue eyed guy Mike Halloran, and we were trying to figure out how we could make our get aways. He said he wished I’d invited him to the Claremont on New Year’s Eve with the Sun Kings because he would have gotten a room for the night and I would not have had to listen to that hippie guy rant and rave about how superficial it was for people to want to spend their money to rent a room for a night at a place like the Claremont Hotel, or any hotel for that matter. But it didn’t happen. Instead, I’d called Mike Halloran right after midnight when the Sun Kings sang Hey Jude with everyone, to wish him a happy new year. I could barely hear him on the cell phone and hippie guy had already left me alone there.

So, I’d planned this trip to Reno, a getaway for the weekend for me and Mike Halloran. He’d drive us up there in his nifty, quiet Prius because I was sure he’d be more comfortable doing that and besides, being a passenger in my car might not be so comfortable for this 6 foot 4 inch guy who had a stroke just a year ago. I’d reserve a nice room at Johnny Ascwaga’s Nugget in Sparks, my favorite place to stay at Reno – it’s actually located in Sparks. The tower rooms are incredibly luxurious and fun with the soft sheets, plush carpets and comfy furniture, so that we could sit and talk or lie in bed or do whatever we wanted. We would sleep together in a king-size bed, kiss, touch and hold each other all night long – make each other feel good in our own unique way. Although things don’t happen in the normal way with Mike, they do happen…and we’re both happy and satisfied in the end, and that’s what matters.

Mike doesn’t sleep through the night well, but that would be okay. He could get up and sit on the plush couch and watch TV if he wanted to. Then he’d lay back down and hold me…and I’d feel his warmth and his gentleness…

We’d have an amazing weekend together at the hotel and then on Sunday afternoon, we’d make the drive to Virginia City and stay at one of the old hotels there on Sunday night because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do – what a romantic time we’d have at one of the old hotels. Mike has trouble walking too far, but that would be okay. We’d get to the Mark Twain Book Store, and he’d love that – we’d spend at least a couple of hours looking over old books and we’d eat at the saloons that transported us back to a different place and time. We’d stay in one of the rooms that’s known to be haunted – and it will be dark, quiet, peaceful and incredibly lustful in that room.

The weekend would end with both of us knowing we had to go back to our regular lives, but hanging on to those precious memories…

But, in reality, Mike Halloran had to turn me down for this weekend. He’s going on a business trip to Los Angeles next week and just can’t leave for an entire weekend. “We’ll spend the weekend together when the stars are aligned properly,” he said to be, sort of jokingly, sort of not.

I felt disappointment and sadness, but I didn’t want him to know.

“It’s okay,” I said to him, as if it didn’t matter.

So now I’m taking my daughter Megan and her boyfriend Josh to Reno and to Virginia City. We’ll probably stay with my son’s friends for a couple of nights before heading off to Virginia City on Sunday to stay in that old hotel for the night. I know that Megan and Josh will love Virginia City – with its old buildings and wooden plank for a sidewalk, taking one back at least 150 years, when Mark Twain lived there and wrote for the local newspaper.

So things didn’t work out exactly as I’d planned them…it’s the story of my life.

Sleeping/Thunder - Jackie Davis Martin

I can’t live!
If living is without you.
I can’t live,
I can’t give anymore.

The song was caught in Charlotte’s head even as the alarm clock interrupted her sleeping. She’d tried to sing it to Glenn yesterday, although neither could recreate melodies well. Carry a tune, people said. That would be an odd phrase to translate if one were learning English.

Charlotte had been carrying the tune in another sense for a week. What’s up with that? a modern voice said, a current, cute voice. She liked the question, but felt silly saying it, could say it only lightly, guying herself.

“I know the song,” Glenn said. “I just can’t think of it.”

The response was typical of Glenn lately. He seldom answered “yes” or “no,” but hedged with “I’m not sure,” or “maybe” or “I forget.”

“I heard it in Walgreen’s the other day,” Charlotte said, placing an omelet in front of him, pouring milk on her shredded wheat. She slid into her chair. “I thought it was an old song.”

“I think it is. Somebody else recorded it though. I don’t know.”

What she didn’t mention is that she had stood in the store, between the wall of cosmetics and the one of deodorants, almost stricken with the song enveloping her from the speakers somewhere in the ceilings. It’s yearning was palpable: I can’t live! And the phrase built on itself, like the musical refrain of Bolero.

It was absurd to have the song thundering in her head as she reached for cleanser under the sink, as she pulled out from in front of her house to drive to a routine doctor’s appointment, to have the refrain following her around. Even when she and Glenn watched American Idol, which she’d never tell her friends or students she actually did, the Elvis songs and combos and routines and high notes didn’t erase the supplication in her head. Charlotte had to concede to her age when it got to be nine o’clock in the evening; television was a respite then, but she liked stories, films, films of angst and dysfunctional families in particular. She found such stories engaging and reassuring, which, she realized, didn’t recommend her much in the way of well-adjustedness (What’s up with that?) and pretended to go along with American Idol for Glenn’s sake. He loved the idea of young people improving and making it against odds. Sometimes she’d see him wipe the back of his wrist across his eyes, lifting his glasses with the other hand, when one of his favorites did really well.

But afterward, after the news even, was the inner-song: I can’t live if living is without you.

One of Charlotte’s friends had been widowed, as had her sister. The word carried a sort of dignity to it; it was a term of suffering, of endurance. Still, it made them single women among other single women, not widowed, not ever paired, and there were seemingly too many of them already. Another friend’s husband was quite ill and she covered bravely for his weakness when he would sink into the chair at a dinner table and announce, “That’ s it. I’m off to bed.”

The song had to be reaching into something that was going on. When Glenn said “I don’t know” too many times, or “What? I can’t hear you?” or launched into an explanation where he couldn’t find the words he once found so readily and wittily, or when he stood in her light or asked what she wanted to do when it was clear she was already doing something,, she thought, I can probably live without him. Most of the times, though, she was glad for his company and his presence.

I can’t live!
If living is without you!

Maybe it had to do with the story she was writing. Her character, Virginia, could certainly live without Henry, so she had to realize that. She had to realize that there would be other Henrys out there and the only way she’d find them would be to leave her sexless husband, Stewart. But Charlotte had written Virginia into an ignominious scrape and had to figure a way to get her out of it. It was hard. She couldn’t give any more!

Locked Outside or Prompt Rebellion - Donna Shomer

Friday night
The LA Phil – Adés conducting his own stuff and
Respighi was also involved – that Feste Romane
Respighi is so clever and perky
But I liked Adés’ energetically mournful violin concerto
Adés- the thin man in black
His slender violinist friend dressed as the White Knight
Angular men for angular music.
Saturday night
– Entartete Kunst – ‘recovered’ – or maybe ‘rescued’
or maybe ‘not rescued’
What can we call them – holocaust victims that could have
changed the face of art of life of whatever the hell
but death.
Anyway this was Franz Schreker’s opera
The Stigmatized (Dei Gezeichneten)
An American Premiere
Voices, such strong voices
That cannot finish their own development.
Sunday night
Hollywood Hills
A screening of ‘Hotel du Love’ – narrated by the producer.
A major fabulous flop from ‘the 90’s’
My unabashedly favorite line: “Listen to the penis!”
No, really.
Tuesday night
Disney Hall
La Commedia – American Premiere
(again, but this time not so desperately out of step)
Composer: Louis Andriessen
He always liked the ladies – he felt me up a bit
Way beck when he coached us on his flute sonata.
I go backstage – and Louis is old, Reinbert is old
maybe I am old but we all recognize one another.
Anyway, La Commedia has text and song
And there are too many favorite lines and bad translations
to make a truly informed choice
But I did like: “I am sending some of my men out there
to see if anyone is taking the air”
A Dante mis-translation for sure.

Locked Outside - Jennifer Baljko

I guess it may have played out like a movie, or a scene from The Sopranos. I imagine they stalked Tony, waited outside in their fancy cars while he locked up the pizzeria one night. I’m sure they took him out back, threw him up against the wall in a dark alley, roughed him with bats or pipes, threatened to come back in a couple of days. I’m pretty certain Tony was pissing his pants when they pushed him to his knees and shot him a couple of times in the back of his head. Tony was opening a bunch of pizzerias around the county. Some people in my neighborhood speculated that his sudden wealth had nothing to do with selling great pizza. Not for nothing, most folks in my neighborhood, including myself, thought his pizza was crap. I was too young to understand what kind of mess Tony stepped in. I only caught only snatches of the scuttlebutt spinning around the porches of the local gossipmongers. But, I always wondered what really happened. If wonder if I know what I think I know, or if it was just a story I strung together in my own head.

Concrete - Darcy Vebber

Outside the back door was a path of seven broken pieces of concrete, set in the damp weedy hillside, leading nowhere. A dedicated explorer might have been able to continue from the last stone down the hill to Hollywood Boulevard but it would have meant climbing wire topped fences and negotiating rubbish filled ditches. Lisa kept the door to the path and the little wild yard it led to double locked.

Almost the first thing Sam did when he arrived was to open it. He had gotten up from the kitchen table, while she was explaining to him about her job, and worked the double bolt until it unlatched. "There."

She looked up from her coffee, confused.

"I took a class in anthropology -- well, I took most of a class anyway - about what happened to the Indians -- the smallpox, the food, all that -- " He stood in the doorway, looking out at the broken path, the tangle of brush and the trees that marked the edge of the apartment building's property. He was so tall, his arms and legs so long that when he stretched he filled the doorway and touched the ceiling above it. "But the thing I most remember is that they didn't have back doors to their houses. No escape." He put his hands in the pockets of his baggy jeans and sauntered back to the table. "If the bad guys come to your front door, you need a way out, right?"

She looked up at him. It seemed as if he was flirting with her and for a moment, she understood he was thinking of himself as possibly a bad guy. She smiled.

He took one hand from its pocket and touched the top of her head. "So."

She felt her breath catch and her heart race. What did it mean? She was no more sure than she had ever been about the meaning of his touch or his words. He never came right out and said anything to her. She thought it was because feelings were so hard to put into words. She thought he was afraid of the words. She leaned her head against his palm. She tried, "I missed you."

He sighed, a big, deep sigh that filled his skinny chest, expanded his ribs under his t-shirt. "Well, I'm here now."

She stood up and put her arms around him. When she raised her face, he kissed her but the kiss was not as tender as the hand on her head had been. Instead, it seemed somehow dutiful, as if he were following directions. When it ended, she rested her head against his chest and listened to his heart beat. Here. In her apartment, at her table, in her bed. The exact thing she had prayed for. Here. It wasn't that she thought he wanted to pull away or even to escape out that door. It was, as she had explained to Helen, something stranger than that. When he put his arms around her, he always seemed sad. As if they were greeting each other at some sad but necessary gathering.

Locked Outside - E. D. James

The low, wet, grey fog clung to the hillside above the house. He glanced around again wondering if any of his neighbors had spotted him. Then he wondered which of them would be least offended if he rang their doorbell and asked if he could come inside while he figured out what to do. Five a.m. was not an hour he generally made house calls. The cold was starting the seep pretty deeply into his skin and the need to come up with a solution was becoming a necessity. It was tough with his brain feeling like a lump of clay. That last glass of port was probably not his finest idea. Neither was the thought that heading outside in his underwear to fetch the paper would set him straight. Before the fog breeze had swung the door shut behind him it had seemed like a fine plan. The cool damp morning air felt great on his skin after a night sweating out the alcohol he’d imbibed. The dinner party was fun but it was always a bit uncomfortable being with Ron and Nancy, seeing as how he and Nancy had been married for twenty years and raised two children together and would probably still be together if she hadn’t snooped through his email and found his correspondences with the various young women he’d befriended. Befriended might be stretching it a bit. None of them kept him company now. Nancy had landed back on her feet quickly. She and Ron had been lovers before her marriage and had apparently maintained a friendship. It was his turn to “maintain the friendship” in the modern adult way that is the fashion in San Francisco. He tended to drink just a bit too much when he had to put that friendship into practice. Now he was locked out of his house at five in the morning hung over and in the new Calvin Klein prostrech underwear that weren’t much more than a ball bag that he thought made his cock look bigger that he’d worn the night before just in case young Alice was at the dinner and serious about the flirting they’d done at the last dinner party at Ron and Nancy’s. No Alice. No key. Five a.m.

Karmic paybacks are hell.

Locked - Maria Robinson

Chris arrived at the maternity ward in Desert Medical Women's and Children's hospital. Security was very tight and Chris was locked between an electronic door until Maddy cleared his entry.

The baby was in the newborn nursery, while Maddy, at 45 was recovering from a marathon rush into Ceasarian-style motherhood. The baby pulled out of her stomach was a pink cherub with golden hair, Chris's coloring. Maddy's olive complexion and tar-colored hair, had been wiped away by the gene goddess from her child's visage.

The charge nurse buzzed Chris in and immediately placed on ID wristband on him: Baby#39, Mother: Maddy. Father: Chris. Leading him towards the glass window overlooked the nursery, he finally saw her. Snuggled in her crib and the baby nurse swaddled her and smoothed her animal printed cap on her head.

"She's a rose," the nurse said. Chris's heart leapt and he asked how soon would he be able to hold her.

Locked - Judy Albietz

Sarah usually locked the front door when she was the only one home. Jake had left early for Sacramento to visit his 89-year-old mother. Sarah was working in her home office in the back of her house, her two dogs sleeping at her feet. Later, looking back on it, she remembered the reason she had left the door unlocked. Her friend Claudia had forced Sarah to agree to a five mile walk that day in the Berkeley hills and she was coming over at 10:00. Claudia’s legs may be short but she was hard to keep up with. Not what you would call shy, Claudia would just let herself in.

Turned out the puppy, Lucy, was the first to hear the front outside gate squeak open and close. Funny, Claudia usually used the side gate. But it must be Claudia since Sarah wasn’t expecting anyone else or any deliveries that day. The little dog took off for the front door with her usual yapping. The big sweet old dog, Sam, reluctantly gave up his nap to follow her down the long hall to the dining room and front door. He also gave a couple of welcoming barks. Glancing at her laptop’s digital clock, Sarah laughed. Celia was 15 minutes early. She did that sometimes. Just to drive Sarah crazy—because Sarah was always 15 minutes late to everything.

Grabbing her ancient brown hooded sweater, Sarah headed to the front of the house. Halfway down the hall, she heard Sam’s deep-throated growling. She froze. His growls became louder at the sound of footsteps on the front porch. Lucy, also trying to growl, stood ready to pounce from the chair next to the hall closet. Then the doorbell rang—Claudia never rang the bell before trying the door. Now both dogs were barking like crazy. With his back hair on end, the big dog filled the entryway with his 100 pounds. Still back in the hall, Sarah craned her neck forward to look outside through one of the open windows. A tall large shape stood on the front porch—obviously not her petite friend.

The handle on the front door started to turn. Sarah held her breath. The next sound she heard was the side gate crashing open and Claudia’s voice shouting, ”What the hell are you doing there? Do you have any idea what kind of killer dogs are on the other side of that door?” Then Sarah watched Claudia running after someone twice her size as she chased him out the front gate.

Locked - Rebecca Link

I thought staying with a family in Perm, Russia would be safer than being on our own in a hotel. One of the things asked of us was to take Pavol our interpreter’s brother, to the bank. My husband would exchange crisp one hundred dollar bills for Russian currency. Russian citizens were not allowed to have American money. Therefore all the couples coming to adopt children would take turns going to the bank and exchanging money.

My husband left with Pavol early in the morning to exchange money, and while they were gone there was a knock at the door. The family let in two men that had wires, hardware, and a camera. They walked in and out of rooms looking at the doorframes and windows as if they were inspecting the level of security of the apartment. While they installed a camera over the front door and additional locks I sat on my bed and watched. The men never acknowledged me. I asked one of the daughters who could speak a little English what the men were doing. She told me the Russian Mafia is aware many foreign families stay at their apartment while waiting to adopt children from the orphanage. These families usually carry a great deal of American money, so her parents thought it would be wise to increase security for our safety.


My friend, Yolanda, stopped by today to make me a watermark for my photos. I wanted something very simple and that's exactly what she did for me. I love it.
This is one of baby K's outtakes. I love it, too.

Going for Broke - Elizabeth Weld Nolan

She leaned into the stinging hairs of Diamond’s mane, her body high over the saddle, feet thrust deep in the short stirrups, reins shortened to keep touch with the mare’s mouth, her hands moving in the exact rhythm of the flexing neck. They bore down on the last of the pack, a black flinging his legs, came even with three more, their ears back and necks straining.

She didn’t use her spurs or her quirt, just her voice. ``Come on babe letit loose letit go stretchit out we can catch ‘em you got the goods you’re the top you’re the best keepit going that’s my girl.’’ The mare kept her ears back as the murmur propelled her forward, her slender legs flashing, the muscles under the red gold coat bunching and releasing. They came beside the middle of the pack on the outside rail. ``You’ve got it you’ve got the heart first this white one now the gray forget the stumble you’re on the path we’re gettingit keepit going girl keepit going.’’ They rounded on the outside racing beside the lead two, another black and the bay hugging the inside rail ready to take the lead.

She guided the mare gently closer to the black on her left and let the reins out so the mare had to stretch her neck to keep contact. ``NOW YOU GO HERE YOU ARE DON’T HOLD BACK THAT’S MY GIRL GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO.’’ The mare spurted forward, cut the black off, pulled beside the bay at railside and threw herself into longer and longer strides until she looked smaller than the tall horse she was, until she looked pasted into the dirt of the track like a tree hurled by the wind until she passed the bay and passed the stands and ran through the finish line first and ran and ran until she was halfway around the track on the other side before the girl could pull her up and ease her into a trot and a jog and then a bouncing walk. The mare shook her head against the containment of the reins. She wanted to do it again. She was born to run. They were born to run.

2 babies Iin a week

3 if you count baby bear.We tried so hard to get baby K in the sling, but it just wasn't meant to be. I'm going to have to research a bit more.
Baby and his big brother. I like this one because L looks like he's contemplating. It was full sun which I know is not the best but I wanted them on the front steps.
As much as we tried we couldn't get him to hold his head up, he was so relaxed that his head kept rolling over. And he pooped on my blanket. Good thing everything is machine washable.
I'm going to have to find another bowl. This one is going to get over done. This is the top of his change table, love it.

Eggs - Camilla Basham

A lot can be learned
by wiping the sleep
from our eyes
and really observing breakfast.

On occasion
it can provide insight
into relationships.

Case in point:
the difference between
involvement and commitment

unfolds within an eggs and ham omelette:

the chicken was involved;
the pig was committed.

Dirty Laudry - Rebecca Link

All I know is after settling out of court I am not allowed to say anything negative about the people who were involved. For instance, if one of the people did drugs and drank alcohol in a public place and made out with a man who was not her husband, I could not tell you that. I also could not tell you she was a liar and very fat. I couldn’t say she waddled when she walked and if her husband had any sense what so ever he should be out of there!

The last thing I would not tell you is she even left her kids for this bum and got a tattoo on her arm with his name on it that she later had to have removed because even the bum was smart enough to get away from her. The only good thing I could say is cows look beautiful standing next to her! MOO!

Eggs - Donna Shomer

Fertility but mourning
sacrifice but kindness
eternity but closeness
Encased in white

Eggs - Maria Robinson

The lone egg from her 45 year old ovaries along with Chris's 30 year old energetic sperm had created Maddy's miracle baby. Still unamed, swaddled in rose colored blankets, Baby of Mama Yoga Teacher and Major Piece of Work, lay snoozing in Maddy's arms. Still unknown by her father, Baby of Young virile hunk Has Not found Path in Life and Last Chance Older East Coast Woman moved to Santa Fe stirred gently, clenching her fists and drifted off again.

Eggs - Nancy Cech

I’ve joined another family. Mine didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would so I just got myself adopted into Kristin’s brood. And so here I sit on Easter Sunday, living out someone else’s traditions. I’m carefully crafting ukrainian easter eggs, eating someone’s homemade zucchini bread and waiting for the cascarones and the annual retelling of the story when Victoria couldn’t get the egg to break on Stephano’s head. Cascarones, in case you didn’t know, are special confetti-filled eggs that are dyed to look like regular Easter eggs, but are blown out and filled with confetti and glitter. Breaking them on a child’s head at Easter is meant to bring good luck and another year of healthy growing spurts. This is a tradition that has been going on in Kristin’s house for years, at least 15 of them as her son marks the calendar. But one year when the boys were about 2 or so, a little too young to break the eggs themselves, her best friend Victoria tried to smash an egg on top of her own son Stephano’s head. But the egg didn’t break on the first tap, nor the second or the third. Victoria was determined and kept at it, blinded by the fact that she was whacking her son with an egg that wouldn’t break. She was focused and steadfast in her quest to have that egg break and shower her toddler with confetti. Stephano pulled away with fear in his eyes and started to cower, cover his head. He is almost at the point of tears when finally the egg breaks and the little slips of paper float down his shirt. The next year the cascarones come out and Stephano runs out of the room covering his head.

My own family traditions involved an Easter egg hunt at my girlfriend Kitty’s house in Montara. Every year some grouping of families would show up with exceptional dishes for a sumptuous potluck and toddlers eager to hunt through the tall grasses for candy and toys. We were like a group of tumbleweeds looking for tradition. The first year I brought Kerwin I didn’t give him a basket for his treasures. He’d go from one chocolate egg to the next carrying as much candy as he could, but he was often faced with the dilemma of having to put something down in order to pick up another egg. That was the year he learned how to use his pockets. The next year he wanted a basket.

We all love that story of the cascarones, and tell it even though Victoria and Stephano can’t join us and are now living in Rome. That family is now battling back death as the dad faces chemo for prostrate cancer. My only family is scattered, my son at a sleepover that goes on through the entire weekend, an ex that is probably sleeping somewhere with someone, sisters miles away. And so I sit and am grateful the ebb and flow of what family really means. We may all start from one biological egg, we may incubate and take shape with the help of our mothers, but our nests tend to change shape as we need them to fit our way of life at the time.

Eggs - Judy Alibietz

My mom she was really big on breakfast. Throughout my childhood, the first thing I heard in the morning was Mom hollering up the stairs to make sure I was awake. Sound traveled well in that house. The pillow over my head did nothing to shut out her next question, “How do you want your eggs?”

I always gave the same answer, “I’m not hungry,” as I buried myself back into the comforter. But I had to go to school, so I opened my eyes, squinting at the cheerful walls in my room. They were covered with orange-flowered wallpaper. By the way, not my choice. I wanted the wallpaper with blue flowers. The frilly curtains on my eastern window were bright with the rising sun.

Climbing out of bed, I heard the next installment ringing throughout the house, “Do you want fried or scrambled?”

After a suitable pause to reflect my spirit of independence, I calmly produced my answer, “I’m not eating breakfast.”

Without missing a beat, Mom asked, “Scrambled wet or dry?”

I didn’t reply as I got dressed. Ready to go, I moseyed down the stairs and was hit with the sweet odors of breakfast. Silently walking into the kitchen, I sat down at the breakfast table. Mom didn’t say a word as I wolfed down scrambled eggs, fresh orange juice, and toast with jelly. Blood sugar re-charged, I found myself skipping out the back door as I heard, “Have a good day at school.”

The next morning would dawn very much the same. My mom yelled up the stairs to wake me up. When I opened my eyes, I was greeted with the same orange flowers. The sun hadn’t moved much and still shone through the window with optimism. Through the pillow, I heard Mom asking, “How do you want your eggs? I replied, “I’m not hungry.”

My mom was born on April 5, 1910. She would have been 100 years old today.

Eggs - Linda Kunnath

They were lined up like eggs in a carton. Two identical rows of six Japanese boys dressed in their matching school uniforms of shorts with suspenders, white shirts knee socks and tennis shoes. Some of their knees were marbled red and blue, it was so cold, with the winter snow, falling in mild drifts and clouding the lens of the camera. The little boy, Kiko, stared at the camera, his black eyes filled with the anticipation of getting the class photo done with, and running inside to the warmth of the school house and origami and collage and drawing and dancing, he’d been promised by Nieko, his teacher. But as soon as he heard the click of the camera and turned to run inside he heard something else – a low droning of something in the sky, coming from somewhere far away, but growing closer and louder until the sound was so loud that he could barely hear his teacher yelling and then screaming, ‘Children, children..,,,run…run…run inside. The boys scrambled at once, like a herd running in unison, their bodies so close to each other that he could barely breathe. Smaller than the other children he caught his foot on a branch sticking out of the icy ground and slid, scrapping his thigh against the branch – blood oozing everywhere like gooey white and yolks from just cracked eggs.

Eggs - Jennifer Baljko

I spent Easter Monday – el Dia de la Mona, as it’s known here in Catalonia – in a semi-rural part of the Penedès region. The festival long ago started as the day when godparents gave their godchildren a special round cake surrounded with hard-boil eggs, the total number of eggs amounting to the godchild’s age. These days, the tradition has morphed more into a gathering of friends and a grand excuse to barbeque lamb chops and all sorts of sausages. Of course, there’s still a cake but the hard-boiled eggs, thankfully, have evolved into a giant chocolate egg, or some other elaborate chocolate concoction, much like what’s typical this time of year in the U.S.

While all that was fun, the highlight was the education I got from spending the day on a half-farm, half-weekend-getaway house out in the country. The guy who “owns” this makeshift sort-of squatter’s plot, the brother of a friend of a friend, shared a wealth of information I’ll never use again, but that I’ll likely treasure for the foreseeable future. He told us in half-Catalan and half in heavily-accented Andalusian-style Castillian Spanish, that in order for a male kiwi tree to bear fruit, there must be at least two female kiwi trees nearby to help with, what I guess the English word would be, pollination. And who knew kiwis could even grow in the Mediterranean? I thought they only grew in New Zealand… Goes to show what I know. Here’s sort of another fascinating but probably gross tidbit, did you know that when a chicken has trouble passing an egg, if you rub a little bit of olive oil in her “passageway,” the egg will slip right out? You didn’t know? Me neither. Then, he showed us the mini-rabbit farm where he raises and slaughters a few dozen rabbits that eventually are sold to the local butcher and end up in someone’s roasting pan in the oven. In their prime, which usually last about 10 months, female rabbits can birth 12-14 bunnies at a time. To boot, they can do this every 30 days!!!!! Over a few months the number of bunnies they spit out declines, but still can you imagine mama rabbit’s experience?!? Good grief!

I won’t go into much detail about watching the guy and his brother slitting the throat of one of the cute furry animals and skinning him right there behind the house. You probably don’t need to know what the sound of bunny death sounded like either, nor do I want to write about it here. I will share this last gem with you – rabbit blood and rabbit liver can be fried up for a tasty treat. I’m pretty certain you’ll never see a spoonful of bunny blood passing my lips, but I pass along the info in case one day you have the opportunity to try it.

Tutu x2

I have wanted to make a tutu for a photography prop for awhile. Finding the tulle at 1/2 price was enough incentive for me to buy yards and yards of it to make 2 tutus today. Poor baby bear had to model them for me.