Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast

My friend Joan sent her kids off to college and is now living on the island of Cypress with her husband for the next five years. If you're going to have a mid-life crisis, that's the way to go! She is very encouraging to me as I plan my own mid-life crisis! Hah! She and her husband have no car, so they bike everywhere. She's looking fabulous. She brought some of the above treats for us yesterday to even out the Thanksgiving feast. Oh, my aching hat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shades of Arlo Guthrie

Q. Did you have to undergo any type of course or program or training as a result of the DUI that you received in 1991?
A. '91? No, I didn't have a DUI in '91.
Q. Excuse me, in 2001.
A. No. Community service.
Q. Okay. But the community service didn't address the effects of drinking and driving?
A. No.
Q. It didn't address drinking and driving at all?
A. It addressed picking up garbage.

Pre-Thanksgiving Dugan

No, this has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, except that today is Thanksgiving Eve. I wanted to say, though, that if you're not reading Alan Dugan, you should be. This is why I read poetry, why I slog through tons of crappy verse, on the off chance of finding, well, a Dugan.

So enjoy while I go cook. And happy turkey basting to you all!

In The Forest

it was warm and cold,
cold from the damps because
it all took place in the trees.
When it rained it rained
and when the rain stopped
the trees rained in the wind
and when the trees stopped
it rained. So it went.

Once it was huddling, once
it was sitting apart, once
it was bleeding in time.
We ate and we drank
and we slept and we
did something else
we should not talk about.
Was it love? It was all
supposed to be love.

My it was dark
at night. Whoever it was
who planned that place
forgot the lighting
although some claim to see.

(Alan Dugan, Poems Seven, Seven Stories Press, 2002.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008


I've been saving this one for a crappy weather day like today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Teeth of My Existence are Buried in the Wall



The November issue of Stirring is up, with poetry by Karen Terrey. Charmi Keranen, Doug Draime, Darren C. Demaree, Christine Potter and Patricia Smith, and fiction by D. Elliot Wedge. Guest edited by Abrielle Willis.

And the cover is too cool!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


While I was making it home safe and sound,
Gene was heading out to the Alaskan Bush.
Stop it. It's not like it sounds.

Just read a Jonathan Franzen essay on the U.S. Postal system.
I'm going to guess Tuntutuliak doesn't suffer
from the same problems as, say, Chicago might.

This is how you get there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Moose Dirt

It was like seeing Big Foot -- a little blurry -- but much slower.
I was careful to follow the directions posted on every park info board.
"Always respect a moose's personal space."
We saw two moose, just grazing like cattle inside Kincaid Park.
Now my life is complete.

Winter is Winter

Alaska is beautiful and we're missing home. Winter is winter, no matter how you parse it, and I'm just not a winter woman. But I'm vowing to come back when the weather is more my style.

The other really hard adjustment for me has been the four-hour time difference. I've been up at 3:00 a.m. every morning and crashing by 7:00 p.m.

Fun things, though:

Anchorage has Paris beat hands down as the city for dogs. There are friendly dogs everywhere in this dog friendly town.

Along those same lines, Anchorage has fabulous parks with miles and miles of paved and lit trails. Everyone is out with their dogs. We saw a fox carrying his dinner last night at Kincaid Park -- something small and white-- which is also a tramping place for the moose who have eluded us. This is probably for the best. My life will be complete once I've seen a moose in the wild, so I pretty much expect to be struck dead when that happens.

Home tomorrow. Woo-hoo.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hiking Flattop Mountain Trail

The view.


Dr. Judy Whitcomb with Rufus & Polly.

Thank goodness we ran into this wonderful lady.
We were on the verge of turning the wrong way.
She invited us to hike with her and Rufus and Polly.

Judy has lived in Alaska since the '80s.
She hikes the Flattop Mountain Trail every Sunday morning around 9:00.


At the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, where they have a large sea animal rehab center
along side some of the coolest displays. I spent a good deal of time with my hands inside a touch tank, feeling sea stars, urchins and anenomes. I love it, love it, love it!

This Stellar sea lion is in for rehab.

Gene's comment:
"Charmi can always find someone to talk to."
I wish I could live more lifetimes.

Harbor seal, showing us his moves.

Our second stop was another animal rehab place,
the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
"What are you in for, buddy?"
He wasn't talking.

More elk, of course.

Musk ox. They've been domesticated to save them from extinction.
You know if I lived in Alaska what I'd have in my backyard.

Black-tailed deer.

It's gorgeous here, but Gene hasn't convinced me. There are not enough saunas in Alaska to keep my bones happy. He isn't deterred, however. While I'm blogging he's reading the Homes and Land magazine. Hah!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Highway 1


Magpie enjoys pumpkin sans pie.


No, not yet, but I'm hopeful.
Yes, that's an ice fisherman out there.

The workweek is almost over. Gene's been training a guy all week to take over the Alaska region and reminding me almost hourly that this could have been the two of us moving up here. When the job came open earlier this year I said, Hell, no. Or words to that effect. Well, actually I said something more along the lines of, That's fabulous, dear, I'll see you in the summer. Be sure and write. I would never stand in the way of a man's dreams.
I'm sure I've read a short story recently along similar lines. I can't remember what is was, though. Anyway. he interpreted that dialogue as, Hell, no. The wife-husband language is a very subtle one, full of nuance.
But now he has me up here, feeding me halibut for dinner, hot cocoa before bed, promising me long winter hikes with moose. Good thing the job is already filled. I'm such a sucker for a moose.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

First Looks - Cedar Waxwings & Magpies

I made it to Alaska safe and sound, but I'm not going to get to see too much until this weekend. Gene is working, I'm working...

But I did walk around the parking lot. I didn't bring my bird book, but I believe the trees are full of cedar waxwings. They're as numerous here as the cardinals I have on my bird feeder at home.

I also saw a magpie, but my gloved hands (cold, cold, cold) weren't quick enough to get a good picture of it. It had fun getting me to chase it around, though. Maybe tomorrow I can sneak up on it. I've never seen a magpie at home, that I can recall.

After I spent some time chasing the birds I turned around and realized I had my back to some wonderful snow-capped mountains. I'm always looking the wrong way.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tonight's Forecast

Wednesday Night...Mostly cloudy. Patchy fog after midnight. Lows 10 to 20 above. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph.

I have one more trip in my back pocket, then I'm going to settle my butt down for the winter. Gene's working in Alaska for a couple weeks, so I'm heading north to join him and see if I can't find a moose. I've heard that they sometimes walk through downtown Anchorage. If I see a moose in town, does this count as seeing a moose in the wild? Maybe this is just an urban moose encounter. I don't know.

I'm not happy with the weather forecast, though. It's not good when a place has to specify if the lows are above or below. I don't like their tone.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My God Will She Ever Stop Posting Pics

You're just going to have to endure this until I can get back in poetry mode.
You can thank your lucky stars you don't have to live with me.
It's torturous, by all accounts.
I seem to run into elk a lot when I'm out of Indiana.
I like elk.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I have been extremely delinquent lately in keeping up with the woo-hoos. No excuse. I'm a bad den mother. But here we go, congrats all around to:

Neil and Chad, who both have poems forthcoming at Black Book Press Mag.

Naoko, with a poem forthcoming at Chiron Review.

Talia, with poems up at Switchback and Womb.

If I forgot someone, let me know. I'm a little scattered lately.