Monday, July 31, 2006

No News Is

The problem with things going well is that it feels like there's no news to report. Which I'm sure indicates something about my personality and my issues with my mother.

Yesterday was perfect and that's all there is to it:

I woke up slightly sleep-deprived but for all the best reasons, and just ecstatic that the soul-crushing humidity had passed. I had a very productive morning cleaning the house and doing laundry, which meant that I could feel free to enjoy the rest of the day with no guilt about what I should be doing (except homework, of course, which I should always be doing but am not.)

Then my daughter, her little friend, and I spent a delicious couple of hours out at the Winter Cache farm in Cumberland (where we grow winter storage vegetables--squash, carrots, onions, potatoes, kolrahbi, kale, cabbage, beets--that are kept in a root cellar here in the city and then are distributed for free to participants throughout the winter). I got a huge bunch of kale that I am going to blanch and freeze this evening, and which will be thoroughly enjoyed in January. I also got that distinctive sunburn on my lower back that comes from weeding--where your shirt pulls up above your pants when you bend over--and I learned how to use a scuffle hoe. Which is more fun than humans should be having, really. Weeding is indescribably satisfying.

I picked up my girlfriend K at her job and, after an unintentional nap on the couch, we cooked an incredible supper of grilled chicken with homemade barbecue sauce, boiled new potatoes that I tossed with a fruity olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and cabbage stir-fried with garlic, onions, and tamari. There were also sliced fresh tomatoes, and then cherries for dessert. My daughter decided to be our waitress, and wanted us to pretend to be "snobby rich people eaters," which we did, with glee.

We made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go watch The Karate Kid, which was showing on the roof of a parking garage downtown, and sprawled on a sleeping bag in a cozy pigpile on the still-warm pavement there to see the movie.

Besides the perfection of the day, things are just going well in general. I'm heart-over-sense in love with K, and have just one month left of full-time work. I got child support (!!!) this week for the first time in a year, and I won a gift certificate to a local bike shop, with which I'm going to buy one of those things that attach to the back that your kid can ride on.

Joy, joy, joy.

Friday, July 28, 2006

And the Sagging Leather

OK, not to harp too much on this same topic, but this Poison show is in honor of their 20th Anniversary Tour. Um. How old is Brett Michaels anyway? (And how old does that make me? I know, Brett... every rose has it's thorn. Oh, I know.)

More importantly, are these guys going to be touring into their sixties? Will they be the Rolling Stones of our generation (minus the talent and groundbreaking music)? And will Bobby Dall throw out his back again onstage?

I checked out their website, and the pictures there are suspiciously small and can't be viewed larger. Hmm.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Breaking News

Holy crap!  Poison and Cinderella are playing at the Tweeter Center on August 5.  I might just have to dig out my hairspray and curling iron and shitty car and haul myself down there.
Dude!  Rock block! 
OK, as you were.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I just found out that Carolyn Chute will be teaching at the winter MFA residency.  Which makes me very excited, since she is one of my very favorite writers.  The Beans of Egypt, Maine was one of the first books I read that had people like I knew in it, and every time I go back to it I find something else to admire.  There's a "complete" version out there that I haven't read yet but I'm excited to--I'm curious to see how she revised it.
Of course, I also loved Merry Men (haven't gotten to Snowman yet).  Plus her thoughts about activism and the state of the world.  She's a very interesting woman, and I so admire her unwillingness to compromise. 

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Job

OK, so about the job. And being done with it.

I've been in grad school since January, spending (allegedly) 25 hours a week on that, plus 35 hours a week of work, plus being a single mom. Somehow that all worked fine until late spring, when my gears started popping out and no amount of coffee could make me go any more.

I had a bit of a crisis, trying to figure out the purpose of life and human existence on the world. Then I realized that I was just tired. (And how typical of my coping skills that, when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I decide to take on something bigger, so that I can have no way to succeed.)

I decided that either the job needed to go, or school did (since clearly the parenting piece is immovable). That prompted another crisis, during which I decided I needed to move. When I settled down, I decided that it has to be the job, and that I'm staying in this apartment for the time being. Maybe.

It's taken me six months and a lot of planning, but I finally decided that it's time, so I gave my notice at work, my last day being September 1.

But how are you going to live? you ask, your brow wrinkled in concern.

Pshaw, I answer. I shrug at such concerns!** I may be getting a roommate. I'll be working part time, and I have a workstudy job. Plus sucking at the government teat so that that I can be a better mom and better person.

Now it's just a matter of waiting. I've never been unemployed; I've been working full time pretty much since I turned 18--minus seven weeks to give birth and take care of a newborn, and one semester at college when I was living off an insurance settlement (three broken toes & a near death experience = $4,000. really).

So I'm looking forward to having time to actually parent--I'll be meeting my daughter right off the bus from school! We'll have six whole hours a day together! Which is a huge improvement over the skimpy three we get now, half of which is taken up with supper.

And how secure is a job anyway? They could fire me at any time, or cut my position due to budgetary issues, or figure out how much time I spend blogging instead of filing.
Truly, this is one of the scariest things I've ever done, but I just want to push, and see how far I can go. Can I live without working full time? What will happen?

Guess we'll see.

**That's a joke. Actually, thinking about it makes me want to pee my pants so I just try not to think about it.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Inspired by J, I'll share with you my first bad tourist--a.k.a. conelicker**--experience of the season.  Besides the eternal wandering into traffic and bad driving and speedos that we all know and love.
It was the last day of my grad school residency, and many of my schoolmates met at a lobster shack in Harpswell to eat some of that delicious crustacean.   The seating at this place was picnic-table-on-the-dock style, with buckets on the table to throw our discarded shells and piles of that tomalley into.  It was a gorgeous day, hot as hell, but the beer was cold in a cooler on the floor.  The food was good, but lobster eatin' is a frickin expensive habit, and it hurt more than a little to pry that $50 out of my lean, lean wallet. 
So me, post-bill-paying, standing on the dock near the picnic tables with several of my goodbuddies from school (where we had moved so that our picnic table seats would be free for other seafood lovers).  Behind us, a middle aged white guy (MAWG) and his wife, whose recreational polo shirts looked brand spanking new, wearing those stupid lobster bibs and dripping butter down their chins. 
MAWG stands up and comes over to us, plastic lobster bib a-flappin.
MAWG:  Excuse me.  EXCUSE ME!  (we were a little loud.)
We all turn around.
MAWG: Did you know that you're blocking our view?  Could you move?
Me: WTF?  I just paid fifty bucks for a couple of steamed bottom-sucking scavengers at this very restaurant, and I'm not going to see these folks here for six months, so stick it you know where, conelicker.  (and then I kicked him in the shins.)
Actually, I didn't really say anything, though I did seriously think about kicking him in the shins.  But I did defiantly not move and continued blocking their view.  Because I paid for it too, no?  And, no expensive haircut or flat accent gives you more right to the view than me. 

**A word about the term "conelicker."  If you've been in Portland for the summer you know exactly what I mean; I believe it was coined by my friend Monique, who used it to describe those sunburned folks who wander through Old Port traffic dazedly licking their enormous ice cream cones and carrying big shopping bags.  But I have since expanded its usage to include all tourists, since they are all, potentially, conelickers.  I have occasionally been a conelicker myself in other places (Bar Harbor, P-town).

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It's almost that time... Burdock Gathering (August 8-15) in Starks.
There's not a whole lot more to say.
Well, OK, how about: Free.  Campfire.  Storytelling.  Circus Parade.  Free.  Music.  Naked River Swimming.  Excellent Food.  Skillshares.  Free.  Workshops.  Discussions.  Community.
Go, go, go.

Video Killed the...

It's official... today is my first day as correspondent on the WMPG's Lesbian Radio show.  I'll be on today between 1 and 1:30, and every third Wednesday thereafter. 
Today I'm going to read my open letter to my loudsex neighbors and chat with the hostess a little bit, I think.  I have to admit, it makes me FRICKIN NERVOUS. 
Tune in and see if I crash and burn.  That's 90.9 for folks in Portland, and you can stream it online at if you've got nothin else better to do.

Monday, July 17, 2006

To Anyone

Pronounce this word:
Now tell me what you just said.

No Segue

The headlines of my life this week would read like this:
Stars in Eyes Obscuring Vision, Causing Fenderbenders
Injury by Lobster Shell Minor, Sunburned Crustacean Eater Reports
Two Glasses Too Many: Exclusive Sangria Expose
Employment Security Not Enough Anymore
Showers Optional: My Experience in the Coffin Dorm
Well, back to real life, with almost no transition time.  I should have taken the day off from work today; I am happily exhausted, slightly sunburned, and unwilling to sit here at my work computer and focus on data entry (case in point).
The residency was, of course, not at all as bad as I'd feared.  I did manage to have a good time, and learn a hell of a lot.  In addition to breathing, eating, drinking (especially drinking) writing, I did some other stuff too:
Drank some sangria, learned how to "rock block" (demonstrations available upon request), woke up at 3am to drink warm Bud Light and watch the constellations move, ate lobstah, did not check my email for a whole week, got a beautiful letter from my friend in India (but no paper from Ireland yet, hint hint), burned three tanks of gas driving Portland-Freeport-Brunswick-Freeport-Portland every other day, hung out and smoked butts in the garage with the bad kids.
Between the twice-a-year residencies, we Stonecoast MFA students spend the rest of the time working one on one with a mentor.  I'll be working with Lewis Robinson this semester, which should be fabulous.
Also, I quit my day job.  More on that later.

Friday, July 07, 2006


As of 3 PM today I will be beginning my second 10-day residency at the Stonecoast MFA program.  Over the past month I've been reading in preparation for the seminars I'll be attending, and also reading and commenting on my classmates' manuscripts (and writhing with mortification over the mistakes in the manuscripts I sent in).
I wish I could be more excited about this.  I'm commuting again this time, but there is extra driving because the evening events will be held in Brunswick--and the thought of driving home from Brunswick at midnight four nights in a row is really making me wish I'd dropped the $750 for a dorm room at Bowdoin.  Which I would have done, except that I don't have it.  And I don't have money to go out to eat or drink with the other students, so I'm not anticipating as much fun or liver damage as I experienced in January.  This is not a program for the poverty-stricken, folks.

Although perhaps that is just assumed when I say "Masters in Fine Arts." 
Also, there are about a thousand million billion things I'd rather be doing this week with my vacation time from work, like: swimming, eating popsicles, riding my bike, giving backrubs, getting sunburned, eating lobster (ha ha. just kidding), playing shipwrecked, kissing, making beer, playing guitar...
Ah well... I'll update as I can this week.  I'm sure it'll be more fun than I'm thinking about now.  It pretty much has to be.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another Reason to Avoid Communications 101 Classes

A few years ago, I took an Interpersonal Communications class to fulfill some kind of requirement for my undergrad degree.  It was a traumatic class for several reasons, including the fact that we were in the middle of a unit on Death and Dying when my grandmother passed away, and suddenly I became a case study for the whole class. Fresh grief does not lend itself to clumsy group analysis, FYI.
But also, in this class, we learned that romantic relationships follow a predictable arc of behavior.  I don't remember exactly how it went, but I do remember that it began with people finding all similarities between them, and it ended with people finding all the differences between them.
Which is great.  Except that it kind of ruined falling in love for me.  You know that phase--that one where you and your new lover look at each other with stars in your eyes and say, "holy crap, you like water too?  I love water.  Water's the best!  Can you believe that we, two water-loving people, found each other in this huge world?" And then you decide that you have so freakin much in common you better spend every single hour together?  You know that one?  It's really fun.
But since that class, all I can see is the arc.  I'm on the upslope, I tell myself.  There will be a downslope.  This is what people do. 
And suddenly you can see the strings holding it all up, and the guy dressed all in black lurking in the shadows, waiting to change the set for the next act, and it's a little less magical.
Just a little, though.  For the record, I really do like water, and so does she.  And it's still wicked fun.  And I've still kinda got those stars in my eyes.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Several Pieces of Good News that are Mostly Unrelated to the Upcoming Holiday that Glorifies War

1. My letter to the editor was published in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram (dunno how long that link is good for, sorry).
2.  I'm Seeing Someone.  I don't even think we share any exes.
3. I have been invited to be a monthly lesbian radio correspondent on our local college radio station.  I'll be talking with the producer about details this week and you know I won't be able to shut up about it once I know more. Being a lesbian radio correspondent makes me feel like I should get a fedora, but I'm not sure why that is. 
4. I picked 6 quarts of strawberries this weekend, while eating roughly half that many in the field where we picked them.  Tonight: making jam with one of my favorite people in the entire universe while listening to a song about strawberry jam.
5. I don't have to work tomorrow, so I'm going to go to a kid-friendly queer BBQ and then elbow strangers for a piece of the Hill from which to watch the big loud sparkly lights. 


Blog Archive