Sunday, August 31, 2008

Starved Rock - Again

French Canyon, Starved Rock State Park, Il.

Great egret, Illinois River, east of Starved Rock.

Gene and I ended up the trip with a brief stay at Starved Rock. If you haven't been there, go! There are miles and miles of trails through the limestone canyons and an incredible array of wildlife. According to the DNR:
"Red fox, beaver, Canada goose, tundra swan, bufflehead and other migratory waterfowl, double-crested cormorant, great egret, wild turkey, osprey, bald eagle, white pelican, herring gull, belted kingfisher, yellow-bellied sapsucker, cedar waxwing, softshell turtle, gar."
I want to go this winter, when the eagles come down from Canada to feed on the fish below the Illinois River dam there. Gene's been coming here for four years to work, bringing me along to hike. I missed one trip because of finals! No more!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Czech National Cemetery

Certainly I sought out a cemetery.

This tree was very fragrant, but I don't know what it is.

A large hawk was circling over head while
the mourning dove was pretending to be a statuary.

There was a fence running down the middle of the cemetery, with a padlocked gate.
Towards the rear of the cemetery there was access to this other place.
It was situated on the top of a hill. I climbed the hill to see what gives.
What gives was the Eben Israel Cemetery.

I found the stones fascinating.

Vistors add stones to the mound to show we are never finished
building a monument to the deceased.


I loved this. I want one. Not now. Later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Kind of Jerk?

Q Let me read that back. Can we agree that psychogenic myoclonic jerks are characterized by inconsistent movement or movement that changes location with respect to the jerks?


It's raining and we're in Cedar Rapids. The thunder is fabulous. And I feel much better and the proofing work is amusing today.

If you're not taking a DDL class, step away from the computer and go out and buy The Snow Watcher by Chase Twichell (or go to Amazon.) Or maybe I'll let you borrow my copy. Maybe.

It's been an odd week. Tom & Mary are stuck at our house in the U.P. with Tom's car in the shop. Fortunately, they have bikes. Unfortunately, a wounded wolf was wandering around Fulton Location and curtailed a few of their outings.

The corn in Iowa is sentient. I saw a sign yesterday in a field. The corn wants you to vote for Johnson for sheriff. It's a little creepy. I prefer the wounded wolf, truth be told.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Short Cake?

The Finlander, waiting on the bench
outside the city hall/police station,
Strawberry Point, Iowa.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Out and About

Potato Creek sunset.

Love Park rose with beetles.

I hope everyone had a great first day of school. I'll admit it, I miss it! I'm off traveling with the Finlander. Unfortunately, he passed on to me his stomach flu. Fortunately, my version is milder than his was. I would like, however, to be laying in my own bed instead of blogging from the coffee shop, waiting for him to finish his work day! Traveling beggars can't be choosers, though.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This just in: jmww has accepted "And What of the Moss" for its fall issue!

Now, back to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood (Only Sound)

Haven't posted music in a long time. Fleet Foxes will be in Grand Rapids in Oct.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jury Voir Dire

THE COURT: Have you or a family member been the victim of a crime? Perhaps you or your family had to summon the police for assistance.
(Jurors indicate.)
THE COURT: All right. What happened?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: A shooting. I shot at a member of the Ku Klux Klan in my living room. We've got our house fire bombed over it like a month after that.
THE COURT: Would that in any way affect your ability to be fair and impartial in this case?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: Yeah, because I'm not much on the judicial systems.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I have my own beliefs and I just kind of ...
My wife and I both were -- she was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and I was charged with aggravated assault and the charges, in 30 days, were dismissed.
THE COURT: Okay. Can you set those aside?


And he doesn't even live/teach in Texas...

Love Song: I And Thou

Alan Dugan

Nothing is plumb, level, or square:
000the studs are bowed, the joists
are shaky by nature, no piece fits
000any other piece without a gap
or pinch, and bent nails
000dance all over the surfacing
like maggots. By Christ
000I am no carpenter. I built
the roof for myself, the floors
000for myself, and got
hung up in it myself. I
000danced with a purple thumb
at this housewarming, drunk
000with my prime whiskey: rage.
Oh, I spat rage's nails
000into the frame-up of my work:
it held. It settled plumb,
000level, solid, square and true
for that great moment. Then
000it screamed and went on through,
skewing as wrong the other way.
000God damned it. This is hell,
but I planned it, I sawed it,
000I nailed it, and I
will live in it until it kills me.
000I can nail my left palm
to the left-hand crosspiece but
000I can't do everything myself.
I need a hand to nail the right,
000a help, a love, a you, a wife.

(Poems Seven, Seven Stories Press, 2001.)


The good stuff.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Canto II

Ezra Pound

(Just a snippet, though)

Fish-scales on the oarsmen.
0000000And I worship.
I have seen what I have seen.
0000000When they brought the boy I said:
"He has a god in him,
0000000though I do not know which god."

(The Cantos of Ezra Pound, A New Directions Book, Fourteenth Printing, 1998.)


Of course I like it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


by Rick Lyon

Getting older, you get over things quicker.
Maybe it's just because there's more to get over,
always more, so you do.
You had better, you could say, just to keep up.
Pretty soon, you're wondering what the problem was,
wondering less and less.
It's a lot like watching the seasons have their way with the pasture.
Nothing much but rock and mud for a good long while,
then the guaranteed green, the horses,
and some morning, this morning, it's all awash with yellow flowers.
That's what breaks your heart now.
They'll bury the old horse tomorrow,
and lots else, elsewhere.
You're a little amazed you're still here, really, and that's good.
That what you think about, some nights, if you're lucky--
that you're just there, like those flowers,
and just there's good enough.

(BOA Editions Limited, Brockport, NY, 1994)


Trying to find the poetic voices that help me write. This guy makes the cut.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There's Still Time

The last first day of high school for Jojo arrived today. Somehow or another, the Finlander has managed to be out of town for 16 years running, two kids' entire school careers, on the first day of school. He should compete in the avoiding-the-first-day-of-school olympics. He always calls, however, to give some good, last-minute advice to the kids, typically three minutes before they should be leaving.

"Don't get in any fights."

"If you do get in a fight, kick their ass."

"Don't go to the principal's office."

"Hide the body."

"Wear deodorant."

Jojo has done well. She has avoided fights, the principal's office. Tom only had to go there once, for clobbering a guy who de-pantsed him on the track field. He didn't have time to hide the body, his or the de-pants-er's. Since there were extenuating circumstances, he got off without even a warning. I believe he remembered to wear deodorant.

We haven't given up on Jojo, though. She still has a year to clobber somebody. She's taking four classes at Penn and three from IU High School. I suppose if she doesn't get sent to the principal's office at Penn I can let her smack Tom for just cause at home while she's working on her IU stuff. I'll call her into my mock-principal's office and then let her off easy. I mean, even I got to go to the principal's office once.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Well Of Course

Q. Have you ever been a plaintiff in a lawsuit other than this one?
A. Dow Corning.
Q. For the breast implants?
A. Yes.
Q. How about anything else?
A. You mean where I would sue someone?
Q. Yes.
A. No, the only thing I remember is -- and I don't think that is a suit -- is Workers' Compensation for the neck.
Q. Tell me what you did with your neck.
A. Just seeing a lot of therapists and doctors, that's it.
Q. But tell me what happened. You injured it?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. On the job?
A. (Nods head.)
Q. Yes?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. And what were you doing? Where were you working?
A. At Hooters.


Across the street from my house
Monday a.m.

Monday p.m.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


My old friend Ron fell off his cottage roof on Wednesday. The universal first response to this event has been, "Well, yes." Ron LIVES. Every doggone day.

After a hard landing, it took him a little bit of time to regain consciousness and talk. Always the optimist, when he came to he said, "Don't call the ambulance."

So now he's in ICU up at Memorial. Several broken ribs, broken collarbone, crushed vertebrae. The surgeons fused his spine back together yesterday. He'll be wearing a turtle suit for awhile. He'll have to put off finishing his RN degree for a year.

I would send flowers, but I know his preference would be a bottle of Scotch.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Perseids Meteor Shower

It's that time again. Check out the best times, et cetera, here.

But darker is better. Back in the day, when things weren't so illuminated, we really could see. Oh, wouldn't it be nice to live in a black hole.

Where I live, however, is closer to here. I plan on heading south, towards the green, either Tuesday or Wednesday night.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

They're Off

I always regretted not doing a major bike trip when I was younger, say 200 miles or more. Okay, that's not major, but I didn't even do that. Tom & friends are off to bike down to Potato Creek to camp for the night then turn around and bike back tomorrow afternoon. I've missed my chance, I think, because my knees ache just thinking about it. I'll stick to hiking.

Spencer & Tom

Brian, Tom, Spencer & Neil, along with my shadow.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Summer is flying by! Let's try this:

Workshop (or just come and drink beer)

Tuesday, August 5th, 7:30 p.m., The Oaken Bucket.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Redwoods & Planes

Despite my best intentions, I'm setting foot in a couple of airports again. I couldn't even keep that vow for a year!

Jojo has fallen in love with a college in California, a place called Humboldt in a town called Arcata. It's far to the north, next to the redwoods and the ocean.

Since I'm a tree girl, I can't argue with the redwoods. One of my friends told me they are spiritual and wise and they will change our lives. I don't doubt it. Brace yourself. Large tree poetry will be forthcoming! Maybe some of their wiseness will rub off on me. Or maybe my skin will start looking more bark-like...

I'm not sure about the ocean thing. I've always been a Lake Superior fan. Who needs all that salt, anyway?

It's a little heart crushing to think of Jo that far away. Here we go again, huh? I'll try not to whine as much as I did when Tom left for college, but I'm not making any promises. Look how it went when I said I'd never fly again!