Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Lite

I haven't done a Thursday Thirteen in too long, so instead I'm borrowing the concept on this Labor Day weekend.
1. Now that I'm back to work, I love long weekends. JB and I went to the paint store today to paint the old metal baker's rack I got at the weekly auction a Cuban blue and the three outside stoops a dark sand color. These "chores" have been waiting for me for quite some time and just maybe they'll be done by the time Monday rolls around.
2. Finally, I'm off carbs and sugar until I look svelte.
3. On a related note, I'm reluctantly nourishing myself with uncharacteristically large portions of patience.
4. Planning for JB's October 4th Art Fair has begun. About a dozen of our friends and neighbors will be making and selling their art in our side yard. Then we'll adjourn to the back yard for a cook-out. Then we'll do brunch the following morning.
5. My contribution to the Art Fair will be photo cards--some shots from Italy, some from Provincetown, some from up the street. I'll also do a few tarot card readings as Madame kj.
6. The story of Alex and Lily has now been reviewed by an independent editor and two people I trust to be straight with me. I'll be making the final edits and getting it ready for page layout and then printing. Maybe it will be in book form by Thanksgiving...
7. BUT I don't have a title. I was close to choosing "Honey Girl", thanks to Melissa, but I'm not settled on it. The story is simply about light and love. Please please please I will welcome your suggestions.
8. Ms. Stella, who spent her first year with us hiding and recoiling at being touched, has begun her third year wagging her tail and bouncing around. What an incredible transformation love allows. When you are truly loved, you can be safe.
9. And when you are safe, you can take risks.
10. And when you take risks, you open yourself up to newness.
11. I can't believe I live in farm country. My kitchen counter is filled with fresh tomatoes and eggplant and green beans, green peppers, and summer squash. Even a just-picked cantaloupe.
12. The American presidential race is unprecedented and fascinating already. For the first time a black man, and now a woman. Whoever wins, I hope for healing from the past eight years.
13. One thing about the blogs: you can bluff your way through feeling pretty good when you really feel pretty bad. This is a problem with being a writer also. Still, it's hard to be this when you're really that.
Have a good weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sky Watch Friday: New England

I have a really good friend who loves autumn. It is my pleasure to give her a glimpse of what's to come. The leaves won't change color and and the sky won't look this crisp for another month or so, but here in New England it doesn't get much better than fall foliage.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two Roads

The Road not Taken
Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference.
Sometimes you have to be brave. And in the choosing and the doing and the forging ahead, accept that what will be is what should be....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Not much to say about this poem except it's the result of a string of days changing one word and then another. Not one line rhymed when I started, but I have begun to face a reckless truth: I'm a rhyme addict. I love to rhyme. Most of the time. Symbols and chimes. Oh, don't get me started.


When I was pretty young, I would listen over and over to Roy Orbison's "Love Hurts" and cry every time. This poem is perhaps is my version of the same.

Hope's buried

in the sound

absent space

gone underground

Wild wanton

reckless time

hanging laundry

on the line

Dripping intentions

faulty signs

hurricane hearts

chiseled too fine

prayer and effort

held too tight

No harm done

not tonight

no blame

no wishes

no right or wrong

no shared secrets


Love's too hard

Devotion too brief

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blog Awards

I haven't dispensed blog awards in quite a while. When I came across this one, I knew it was time to acknowledge and thank certain people whose blogs I look forward to, learn from, chuckle at, and over all appreciate.
Trumpets Please!! The Perfect Blend of Friendship Award goes to:
Melissa: All summer I've followed the adventures of you and the girls, from face paints to gurgling streams. And in between I've seen the birth of your novel, your photos of home, your honest and earnest efforts to be yourself and nobody else.
Human Being: Your blog is new to me. I read your poetry and the comments you leave on my blog and I know you are a gentle spiritual woman, one I would be honored to have on my side.
Carla: Your artwork! Your new website! Your willingness to be my friend.
Anon: I'm hooked. Every day I visit your blog and marvel yet again at how you managed those incredible photos. I will never see, know or love birds without thinking of you. And your witty anonymous humor. Your blog is educational and wacky--my favorite combination.
Val: Your work inspires and delights. I love how your love of art washes over you so naturally and fully. And I am always honored that you visit me.
Citizen (CS to me): Reading your blog is like catching up on the comings and goings of a friend. I love following the adventures of your house, your yard, your kids, your meals, and now your heartstrings.
Kay (Chief to me): Given the quality of your writing, your encouragement of my writing has meant so much. I love reading about your travels and family.
Debra Kay: Thank you for your willingness to be confused and your bravery in trying to figure it out. And thank you for reading every word of my book.
Miladysa: While I love your visits and your way with words, I most love seeing the lifelong friendship you and Melissa have forged. You both deserve each other.
Hildegarde: I've seen your artistic talent expand right before my eyes. And I dare to imagine meeting you and Wieneke over tea and apple pie one day.
Wieneke: You faithfully leave the most wonderful common sense comments on my blog, even when I take forever to visit you back. Ditto on the tea and apple pie.
Pieterbie: Sometimes I read your comments and you feel like family.
Baino: I'm just catching on to your humor and irreverence and I'm enjoying both!
Jessie & Ruby: My blessings follow your success. I like that.
Singleton: How many times I've been sad or worse and there are your butterfly words helping me up, giving me wings.
Ces: What can I say? I love your paintings, I love your illustrations, I love your photos, I love your stories, I love you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sky Watch Friday: Savannah Georgia

Traveling from from the Carolinas to the sweet southern city of Savannah,
the day was crisp and the sky was active.
I told JB if I ever needed to start from scratch,
re-invent myself, forget the past, begin again,
I just might head to Savannah.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hollywood Squares

It was on television a long time ago. My favorite comedian Paul Lynde would scrunch up his face and eyes and, looking like the choir boy he wasn't, say outrageous things that often went over the head of my young and innocent mind but I loved the guy. Here are some of the questions and answers from Hollywood Squares.
Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions:
Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.
Q.If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.
Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?
A. Rose Marie: No; wait until morning.
Q. What are 'Do It,' 'I Can Help,' and 'I Can't Get Enough'?
A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.
Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.
Q.Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.
Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?
A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.
Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?
A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.
Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?
A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?
Q.If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.
Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
A. Paul Lynde: Point and laugh.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Yard

My father planted dahlias every year. Which is to say he planted the bulbs in late Spring and dug them up in late Fall. They wintered in a paper bag down the cellar, where it was sufficiently cool for their liking but not enough to freeze them dead. Every so often they needed a little water sprinkled on them, until it was late Spring and the process began again.
Just before my father died, he asked me to take care of his dahlias. At the time they were in their paper bags, tucked away in my father's "room", an unheated cement cellar where he displayed on every wall all the artwork my brother and I had ever done, plus one framed love poem he wrote to my mother when he was stationed in Japan during World War II.
I put some effort into caring for my father's dahlias, but not enough. They shriveled first, and then they died. I've asked for forgiveness, and I'm pretty sure I've been excused for my pre-occupation with other matters. Besides, I wasn't much of a gardener at the time. I was sorry that they died, but sorry only gets you so far. They died anyway.
This Spring I bought four dahlia bulbs and planted them in my garden. The result has been beautiful. These are not flowers that need company. One single dahlia is knock-down gorgeous.
all by itself.
If you've noticed that these flowers do not look like they are blooming in the garden, it's because they've been cut and placed in our little water garden just outside the kitchen door.

The whole thing feels calm and peaceful. And I imagine my Father looking down with approval.
JB and I have not tended to the yard and garden this summer. We spent four or five weekends and one long week in Provincetown and in the meantime the yard's pregnant weeds definitely gave birth. We are just pulling ourselves out.
Still, we've somehow managed to create a sweet place in the back yard, including JB's Magic Cottage. She just steps outside the back door and creates art.
And for the first time this summer we've had friends over for dinner: shrimp, scallops, chicken and roasted vegetables all cooked on the grill, and tomatoes and basil from my garden off the driveway.
I haven't found my way to the hammock yet, but when I look up and see one of the four or five majestic trees that surround our house, the first thing I feel is appreciation. Then I think of my friend Ces, often wishing she could see this or that tree for herself.
And whenever I walk around my yard, and marvel at the flowers and shrubs and flowering trees JB and have planted in the three seasons we've been here, I think of my Dad. Even though I killed his dahlias, I'm pretty sure he's helping me out anyway.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Anatomy of a Novel

It's not really a novel. It doesn't have enough words. I didn't know that at the time and I'm just as glad I didn't. Because I wrote it as a novel and I'm publishing it as a novel. Because according to me-the-author-who-should-know, it is a novel.
Things are moving. I've sent the story of Alex and Lily to one editor and two friends. I've incorporated their feedback, added several new chapters, and just tonight finished a second draft.
I've gotten a price from the printer for a per copy bound book with color cover and book quality paper.
I've thought about how and where I will market it, including readings in several major U. S. cities.
I've zoned out writing and rewriting and reading and rereading this book. It is an act of love.
I don't know where my confidence is coming from. Maybe it isn't even confidence, but something is pushing me forward. And for that I'm very glad.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sky Watch Friday: The Skies of Italy

If you haven't been, put Italy on your travel list.

This is the Almalfi Coast. However, be forewarned:

the food is even better than the scenery.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Keep It Simple

You notice the simplicity right away. You see the little clothesline just outside your door, the two bedrooms, kitchen, and living room, and then you see beyond. From just outside your door your eye takes in the spectacular expanse of Cape Cod Bay. Its sometimes thunderous waves take your breath away and other times treat you to flashes of glimmering lights you’d swear were magical fireflies.
The Flower Cottage is larger than you would imagine, but at first it doesn’t feel that way. There is room here for barely more than necessities, cooking utensils and coffee cups and matches and umbrellas, perhaps a few coveted luxuries: a special book, a favorite candle, watercolor paints and brushes, a dusty bicycle. You unpack and settle into the Flower Cottage with what feels like unlimited time and an equal willingness to withdraw and indulge: lazy strolls on Commercial Street in Provincetown, an ocean clambake at sunset, books to read, bobbing in the icy waves of the Atlantic Ocean when the temperature is 96 degrees and humidity hovers not far beyond.
You savor all of this, even and especially, the daily ritual of hanging your bathing suit and towels on that clothesline. It may take you a few days, but you are reminded and reassured that life can be this good, and this simple. The fresh scent of clothes drying in the sun comforts you in an unexplainable way.
Note: The photo is one of dozens of Day's cottages along Route 6A in Truro, Massachusetts, each named after a flower. The text is from a rough draft of my book on happiness, "Keep It Simple" being the first of ten principles that make life better.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Provincetown Finale

. I can't have you thinking the town is all beach and sky and sand dunes. After all, this is a tourist town. Sometimes Commercial Street is so crowded, it feels like a stadium. But veer off one block in any direction and you are walking past weathered shingles and cared-for gardens. The following few pictures are nothing special, just a couple of steps away from me and the sea.

She is hidden in an alley, to the right of the entrance to a gay men's club. She's not more than three or four feet long and I don't know her story or how she got there, but when you discover her for the first time, it's pretty cool.

Here's the view as jb and I order and devoured three trays of lightly crusted tuna sushi. I have at least four favorite restaurants in Provincetown and this is one of them.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation: by kj and jb.
,jb, sat at this little desk and designed and decoupaged planters.
I, kj, stretched out in the far corner of the couch and edited the story of Alex and Lily.
We, jb and kj, then went to the beach and ate almost every single meal out.

And when it was over, we packed our suitcases with the sand and the sea...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Word about Love

If you look at a map of the United States, and you look at the region of New England, and then the state of Massachusetts, you will easily notice the "boot" shaped piece of land on the east side, surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. The very tip of the Massachusetts boot is where I stood to take these photos. This is the very spot where the Pilgrims landed in 1620. And this is the spot where the town of Provincetown built a memorial garden. Look no further if you'd like a taste of the flavor of the town and its people. There are hundreds of the plaques: here are a few.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Internal Update

I could care.
And I do.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sky Watch Friday a Day Late

It's a mish-mash,

but it just goes to prove

the earth's canope is beautiful

no matter where you go.