Poetry Thursday

Eyes Fastened with Pins

How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
Ironing death’s laundry.
The beautiful daughters
Setting death’s supper table.
The neighbors playing
Pinochle in the backyard
Or just sitting on the steps
Drinking beer. Death,
Meanwhile, in a strange
Part of town looking for
Someone with a bad cough,
But the address is somehow wrong,
Even death can’t figure it out
Among all the locked doors ...
And the rain beginning to fall.
Long windy night ahead.
Death with not even a newspaper
To cover his head, not even
A dime to call the one pining away,
Undressing slowly, sleepily,
And stretching naked
On death’s side of the bed.

-Charles Simic


One last update

I found a website.

Dessert Crepe Update

Okay, here's the list:

Nutella with strawberries
Lemon curd with blueberry sauce
Vanilla cream with strawberries
Chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce
Mixed berries with dark chocolate sauce

They were even better than they sound.

I meant to take pictures of both the chicken one and the dessert ones. But I didn't. Instead, I gobbled. I'm going to have to up my gym attendance.


Okay, this is for anyone who lives in Austin. Wait, if you don't live in Austin, you should visit IMMEDIATELY.

I have found the best food in the universe. You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? Well, you're wrong. It is called Flip Happy. It is two women selling crepes out of an airstream trailer on South Lamar behind the Floribunda store (Don't Panic, It's Organic!). The woman running the place only takes cash. She says she'll take a personal check if it's your first visit. For $5.50, I got a huge, homeade crepe with roasted chicken, carmelized onions, and goat cheese. Words do not exist to describe the taste. Four of us got the same thing, and a collective moan was heard throughout the building as we took our first bites. I'm telling you, I've been to Paris and eaten crepes there. These are better.

People, get in on this before it gets big. This can't stay a secret for long (especially with me blabbing to anyone who will listen). Right now, they are only open from 11-2:30 on weekdays and 5-9:30 on Friday nights. So plan your trip carefully. If you leave now, you might still make it for lunch.

Five dessert crepes are downstairs in the catering kitchen right now waiting for my birthday celebration. Updates are coming.


Okay, so I just spilled a cup of tea into my keyboard. Again. This is not a good start.

Anyway, B gave me a Roomba (!) for my birthday! It is an excellent floor cleaner (very important with hardwood floors, two dogs, and a fluffy devil-cat), it is cute, and it plays a little victory song for itself when it finishes cleaning and returns home to recharge. But most importantly, it make an incredible dog toy. Monster thought it was alive and followed it around sniffing its butt. He was rather bewildered when it wouldn't greet him. Finally, it hit a wall, turned around, and came at him. He skittered wildly on the floor and took off running and ran into a wall. He spend the rest of the evening alternately chasing it barking, and running away in terror.

And I haven't even tried the remote control yet.



I don't know how to use my camera. I can take pictures, but I have no idea how to focus, or how to use all the features. This has been bothering me more and more lately, as I want to take closeups of bugs and flowers. So I am planning on reading the manual this week. If I don't post at least one good closeup by next Monday, someone send me a nasty email please.


That's a baby katydid, btw. It would be a lot cuter if you could see his huge hind legs and his funny striped antennae.


Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to me. It's not actually my birthday, but it is my birthday week so that's close enough to buy myself a present.

My old iPod was starting to get flaky, and it was starting to feel bulky at the gym. I can't get over how tiny it is! And shiny! And un-dented (so far)!


Dogs love

Going for walks...


Coolest. Website. Ever.


I can't turn around lately

without hearing something else idiotic.

This on NPR, on a story about dropping Pluto as a planet

"No planet is capable of indicating absolutely that a person won't get married. All a planet can do is indicate what a person has to do in order to get married."

Just don't warm the water in the microwave

Seen on Snopes:

Drinking Cold water after meal = Cancer!

For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you.

It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion.

Once this "sludge" reacted with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine.

Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.

Poetry Thursday: last one for awhile - promise!

last Louise Gluck poem, I mean, not last Poetry Thursday.


The virtuous girl wakes in the arms of her husband,
the same arms in which, all summer, she moved
restlessly, under the pear trees:
it is pleasant to wake like this,
with the sun rising, to see the wedding dress
draped over the back of a chair,
and on the heavy bureau, a man's shirt, neatly folded;
to be restored by these
to a thousand images, to the church itself, the autumn sunlight
streaming through the colored windows, through
the figure of the Blessed Virgin, and underneath,
Amelia holding the fiery bridal flowers -
As for her mother's tears: ridiculous, and yet
mothers weep at their daughters' weddings,
everyone knows that, though
for whose youth one cannot say.
At the great feast there is always the outsider, the stranger to joy
and the point is how different they are, she and her mother.
Never has she been further from sadness
than she is now. She feels no call to weep,
but neither does she know
the meaning of that word, youth.

-Louise Gluck



Today, I volunteered with my team at an event to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Various business people around town were 'arrested' in a limo, put in 'jail' at Eddie V's, and then had to raise 'bail.' I believe close to $100k had been raised when we left at 2:00 for a late lunch. A lot of networking went on during the event. Anyone want to guess how many realtors managed to give me their card? Hint: a lot.



It really bothers me that so many people will fall for emails like this without stopping to question them at all.

Let me quote my favorite part:

"The problem with microwaved anything is not the radiation people used to worry about, It's how it corrupts the DNA in the food so the body can not recognize it. So the body wraps it in fat cells to protect itself from the dead food or it eliminates it fast."

Rabid wolf spiders are fast

which probably explains why I can only catch dead or maimed ones. I found this guy while I was mowing the lawn. I almost stepped on him and he tried to scramble onto my shoe.

As you can see, he appears to be missing two legs. After our photo session I let him go under our front steps, where he should be able to catch lots of bugs without moving too much, and where he isn't in danger from lawn mowers.


Dogs like apples

That is one ugly, red floor. I have 18 boxes of slate tile sitting in the garage (probably full of spiders!), but I just haven't gotten around to starting that project, despite my love of power tools and crowbars.

RIP big scary spider and little baby spider

I found a big rabid wolf spider in my garage. A rabid wolf spider looks different than a regular wolf spider, but it isn't dangerous. It just has a bad-ass name. It would have been cooler if the one in my garage had been alive, but at least it was nicely dried out, thanks to the recent lack of rain. Then, this morning, there was a tiny spider on my hand while I was in the shower. I instinctively shook it off, and it landed in the water. I tried to save it, but it drowned. It was a baby rabid wolf spider. But I doubt there was only one baby spider around, so I am happy to know that they are living in and around my house. (I don't think B feels the same way)

My mom always said that spiders in the house are good luck.


Today so far

1. I recently bought a bunch of cheap nose studs with different colored gems. This morning, after I finished putting in the red one, the jewel-part fell out. So I thought I would superglue it back in. I put a drop of superglue on the base (which was still in my nose) and then put the jewel in with my index finger and held it there for a second. When I tried to move my finger, I realized that I had glued both my finger, and my nose ring to my nose. I managed to free myself, but I'm feeling kind of dumb.

2. A colony of katydid nymphs has set up house on my marijuana-hibiscus. At first, I was completely charmed, because they're cute and I like most insects. But then I realized that my huge, impressive blooms were starting to look rather holey. Oh yeah, and in case you don't know about it already, this site is my absolute favorite. Especially check out the scorpion page for some truly nightmare-inducing photos. Or just google "Mexican tailless whip scorpion." Even the name makes me twitchy.

3. On my way to work this morning, I was sitting at a red light, singing along with my iPod, when I looked up and saw a CapMetro bus driver in the next lane leaning all the way out his window and waving frantically at me with a big grin. I waved back and he started making "roll down your window" motions at me. I did so, thinking there was something wrong, and he said "Hi!" I said "hi" back and he seemed satisfied and drove off.


I forgot I had these...

Thanks, B! I went to add more paperclips to my paperclip bowl and found them and thought to myself "oh yeah, I'm a superhero! I forgot!"

Poetry Thursday - not the usual!

I found this on Slate, of all places.

Removed at the Moment of Perfection

The earth has moved forward, in a sense, or does it merely turn

against itself? The trees have moved forward, putting forth
leaves, shade. But I have not moved forward though I was surely

moved. At the St. Regis Hotel, the butlers change fresh roses

that need no changing, butlers who are paid to notice the most
infinitesimal, the almost unseen, the earth turning towards

its own demise, too far off to be seen, myself all along hoping

for a longer winter to burrow in for just a few more months
instead of turning forty here in this world that you have left me

but the weather asks us to emerge, face the present conditions

we'd never have imagined, not to the dream of love returned
but of love withheld and its unsettling tensions as the earth

turns, no matter where we turn, the tension in the simultaneous

seasons moving across the face of the earth, in all the leaves
that will lose their shimmer, given time, while I wait inside

the unseen decay of a hotel room filled with a scent that lingers.

-Timothy Liu


Update, Part Two

So Chloe took the news better than I thought she would. She has been known to burst out crying for no reason whatsoever, so I was expecting some drama, but she was very calm. She asked why he died, was there any chance I could have died, and how big he was. She suggested that maybe I should adopt a baby so that I wouldn't be in any danger, so I had to reiterate several times that I wasn't in any danger. She wanted to know why we didn't name him, and I think my reasoning was a little abstract for her. She asked if she could call him Leo (I told her she could, although that wasn't his name). She seemed a little bewildered, and I think she'll probably have a lot more questions by next week. But I feel a lot better now that the worst is done.

So here is my joke:

Why is the tooth fairy so smart?

Because she has lots of wisdom teeth!

Ok, I know, not very funny. But it's really hard to find jokes about wisdom teeth.

Update, Part One

Yup, I'm getting my wisdom teeth out. September 15th is the big day. Luckily, I only have two because the bottom ones just never formed. However, I'm still not happy. It feels like I'm in some kind of medical office every other day lately. I know I'm grumpy, but I don't like doctors and I don't like dentists, and I'm tired of dealing with the medical profession, and I don't like people yanking things out of my head when they are securely attached. So there.

I will probably see Chloe today for The Conversation, so maybe I'll post an Update, Part Two later.

And since I'm so crabby, I'll post a joke to go along with it. Just as soon as I think of one.


But wait, it's only Tuesday!


A man and a woman lie on a white bed.
It is morning. I think
Soon they will waken.
On the bedside table is a vase
of lilies; sunlight
pools in their throats.
I watch him turn to her
as though to speak her name
but silently, deep in her mouth--
At the window ledge,
once, twice,
a bird calls.
And then she stirs; her body
fills with his breath.

I open my eyes; you are watching me.
Almost over this room
the sun is gliding.
Look at your face, you say,
holding your own close to me
to make a mirror.
How calm you are. And the burning wheel
passes gently over us.

Louise Gluck

This doesn't really fit with my mood right now, but I liked it and was afraid I would forget to post it if I waited until Thursday. Anyway, it's not like I am going to run out of Lousie Gluck poems to post. The good news, however, is that I am almost finished with her fourth book of poetry, and I'm planning to take a break and read some other poets after that.

I'm feeling very prickly today, like all of my porcupine spines are out. That is especially bad today because I have a consultation with an oral surgeon this afternoon about getting my wisdom teeth taken out, and I already have a long history of altercations with those in the dental profession. I am not very patient with people who stick sharp objects in my mouth. Also, tomorrow I will see Chloe for the first time since school let out. She doesn't know what happened to the baby, and I am still getting drawings from her in which an arrow pointing at my stomach is prominently labeled BABY. I am dreading the conversation we will have, and all the questions I will have to answer. It's already a very difficult subject for me, and nine year olds aren't generally known for their tact and conversation skills.

Okay, now I'm rambling. Back to work.



This beautiful spider has been living in a friend's oak tree. She has already laid one enormous egg sac and is reportedly getting ready to lay another.

We had an argiope living at our old apartment, but I haven't seen any at our new house which makes me sad. However, I think I might have seen two caterpillar hunter larva on one of our crape myrtles, so that is some consolation. I'm tired of only having nasty bugs like scorpions and ants around.


Saucha and a toothbrush?

Saucha: cleanliness of body, mind, environment and action. I'm working on it in small ways. This is the cleanest my cube has been since the day I moved in. I know it's still cluttered, but at least there are no longer any towering stacks of tea-stained papers and file folders.

Toothbrush: a souvenir from the Harry and The Potters show I had to miss last night. In case you can't read the text (click on the picture for a closer look), it says "Harry & The Potters Fight Evil & Tooth Decay!" I also have two t-shirts from a show last year - one says "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock" and the other says "Save Ginny Weasly" with an outline of the basilisk. God, someone help me before I drown in my own nerdiness.


Update on breaking news

Kales from Australia has helpfully cleared up the matter of dish rinsing and expanded the scope to include Australia too. I would like to think that rinsing dishes is a world-wide norm, but it seems I may be wrong.

Poetry Thursday - a glut of gluck

Flowering Plum

In spring from the black branches of the flowering plum tree
the woodthrush issues its routine
message of survival. Where does such happiness come from
as the neighbors' daughter reads into that singing,
and matches? All afternoon she sits
in the partial shade of the plum tree, as the mild wind
floods her immaculate lap with blossoms, greenish white
and white, leaving no mark, unlike
the fruit that will inscribe
unraveling dark stains in heavier winds, in summer.

Louise Gluck

I guess I did something right

When I put all the new plants in my flower bed, they all went into shock a little. Most of them recovered within a week or so. My plumbago, however, immediately dropped all of its flowers and got wilty. Large parts of it turned black. I thought it was going to die, but it just kept hanging on and looking all scraggly. Finally, a single little cluster of flowers bloomed way in the back. I was so proud that I showed B about fifty times and posted a picture of it here. I guess that was a test bloom. The plant then decided it was in an okay place and busted out overnight. Now, it's hard to notice any of the other flowers because there is so much blue everywhere.

I still can't believe that I can get so happy and excited over a plant.


Boot camp yoga

Yesterday, I had a brilliant thought: "hey, I've been doing yoga for four whole weeks now. I should try an intermediate hatha flow class!"

While doing my down dog, the instructor 'adjusted' my hips up about six inches. I tried to explain nicely to her that my body did not go that direction, but all that came out was a little squeak.

Later, while I was in a pathetic imitation of a reverse half-moon, she came over and observed my wildly shaking leg and commented that I was not breathing correctly. Honestly, I thought I was doing good to be breathing at all.
Finally, it was time to do shoulder stands. I was relieved, because I'm good at that one. But to make sure my elbows didn't splay out to the side, she tied them together. Yes, you heard that right. I was tied upside down during my yoga class. For like ten minutes. I swear.
When it was time to go, I namaste'd her like I was supposed to.

But the divine in me was not bowing to the divine in her. The divine in me was whimpering on the floor in fetal position.

All last night, I felt like a doll who had all of it's joints pulled out of their sockets and were dangling by strings. I felt like I had to be careful when I walked, lest my leg accidentally spin around 360 degrees. Today, to use the proper yoga words, I am very aware of my muscles.


Devil cat surrounded by light

This is approximately 10 seconds before she propelled herself off the bookshelf with her claws out and aimed for my jugular.

Breaking news

I just read the people in the UK do not rinse the soap off of their dishes after washing them. They just let the soap dry right on.

I have not been able to verify this fact independently. I asked someone I know currently living in the UK, and someone else who has lived there in the past, but both are/were expats, not actual British people, so they were not familiar with this custom. Does anyone know anything about this? Google provided tantalizing hints, but no definitive information.

I don't know why I am so fascinated by this.



When B and I moved into our last apartment a few years ago, we were not aware that it was infested by scorpions. But we found out soon enough. Since then, I have had a morbid fascination with them. I even kept two in a cage for about a year, and fed them crickets (our friends' young son liked to watch the 'lobsters' eating). People who did not have scorpion infestations would look at Big Stu and Little Stu and say "Those aren't very big." To which I would reply that it wasn't so easy to be brave when they were coming at you over the carpet with their tails waving around looking for something to sting.

Our new house was not infested with scorpions, I thought. Yesterday, I was sitting in my office playing on my computer. I have a subwoofer under the desk that I had stacked some papers and books on. I reached down and pulled a book out of the stack and something fell down and skittered across my foot. It was a scorpion.

I yelled at B, who came quickly, but we were out of practice. It took us awhile to find the special scorpion spray (regular bug spray doesn't even faze them), and we never did find the special scorpion spaghetti tongs. Finally, B managed to cut him into a few pieces with some scissors. But I am back to wearing shoes at all times in the house, and never touching anything you can't see.

There are many creatures that I am willing to share my habitat with, including wasps, spiders, and beetles. But scorpions give me nightmares.


Another margarita

I've never been one to drink much. I don't think I've ever finished a beer in my entire life. So maybe that helps to explain why a 6 oz margarita at Vivo, sipped at over a three hour period, and which I didn't even finish, got me a little buzzed. Or it could also be that Vivo's ratio of tequila to other ingredients is alarmingly high. In any case, a prickly pear margarita, in beautiful surroundings, drunk with friends makes for a nice evening. Imagine a patio filled with so many plants and waterfalls that it feels like a garden. Now imagine a waiter who didn't mind us taking up his table for three hours while only ordering two appetizers for six people and a lot of drinks. What a wonderful restaurant! They even give all the women roses on their way out. I think I have a new favorite hang-out.


Poetry Thursday - now with pictures!


This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?

I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it,—
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.

-Theodore Roethke



If you're in the Austin area and hungry for some good, reasonably priced mexican food, don't go the Tres Amigos. However, if you just want a really good pomegranate margarita (yum, antioxidents!), give it a try. The location on 360 also has a neat patio where they put out tortillas for the birds and squirrels.

If I have convinced you that Louise Gluck is a wonderful poet, great. But don't buy her first book of poems, Firstborn, published in 1968. It's awful. The best poem in it so far is Nurse's Song (below), and I'm not all that impressed with it.

Nurse's Song

As though I'’m fooled. That lacy body managed to forget
that I have eyes, ears; dares to spring her boyfriend on the child.
This afternoon she told me, ‘Dress the baby in his crochet
dress,’ and smiled. Just that. Just smiled,
going. She is never here. O innocence, your bassinet
is clogged with gossip, she'’s a sinking ship,
your mother. Wouldn't spoil her breasts.
I hear your deaf-numb papa fussing for his tea. Sleep, sleep,
my angel, nestled with your orange bear.
Scream when her lover pats your hair.

-Louise Gluck