Friday, September 30, 2011

September 30

Right now everything having to do with my work is good. Worries about the direction my style and subject matter are taking only sing of the proof that I am actually thinking about poems again. 50-odd drafts only speak to so many hours spent happy or at least vitally agitated at my desk. Criticisms mean that words have gone out from me. Everything to do with my work is good.


Something I am listening to while revising poems this evening. Isn't she lovely?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

following in the footsteps of The Noisy Plume

mint tea

Today I feel:

- hung to dry
- rusty on the violin, but this is only because I actually practiced
- cold, with a headache
- hemmed in by new spiderwebs in all the windows
- reluctant to go out
- domestic/eager to bake an apple pie with a few from the 30-pound box of apples which was unexpectedly delivered to me on Monday by a regular (a beekeeper) at the cafe and which I carried 2 miles home without bruising a single one
- like a giantess, filling my house, but lovely nonetheless
- hopelessly un-genius
- hopeful for the products of hard work
- caught in overlapping birth-and-death cycles, none of them at the same point
- disappointed in myself
- glad for Winter coming, for Christmas tea and oatmeal sweaters, but also afraid
- like my jeans fit
- in love with Quince and Co.'s patterns and wool, planning
- icy and Scandinavian
- collegiate
- tired and hungry, but not lethargic
- loved more than I've earned
- very quiet

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time to

quit being an urchin
buckle down
be a lady
drink coffee
stay up late
get good posture
attend every class
bite my tongue
take notes
take photographs
take responsibility
straighten my hair
memorize poems
taste wine
wear a dress
lose more weight
finish the book
develop some penmanship
shave my legs
save my money
study math
assert myself
make a list
cross it off

Saturday, September 17, 2011

After a year of bare MDF,

our book cubes are finally coming to completion. The Mayan blue one is actually complete, while the white one is just primed. I thought I'd show you anyway, since it will only be white paint going over the white primer.

Tim and I started these just before Christmas 2009. During the summer of 2008, I had drawn up in my journal (alongside notes for a unit on optics, math problems, and sketches of plants) some conceptual plans for free-standing book cupboards. I had finally, shyly showed them to Tim (he insisted), and it was quickly decided that, for a Christmas present, he would help me to tweak the design and make the plans concrete. It turned out that tweaking the design was quite, quite important (in the interest of the units not collapsing, Tim suggested we add a middle wall); nevertheless, the cubes look very much as I imagined them.

It was a long process. I had never done any woodworking to speak of, had never measured wood or particle board, had never taken kerf into account, had never tried to build something with anyone else. Nearly every time we went down to the basement to work on them, I panicked, become spiteful and defensive, assumed that Tim was condescending to me or was impatient with my lack of competence. It took months to finish two (we still have a third in progress), and then another year before I asked for help again, this time in finishing the edges so that I could sand and paint.

Now they are almost finished. In this joint project I seem to have more staying power than I do in my solo work. It astonishes me that Tim gives up on me less easily than I give up on myself. And his skill astonishes me.

(The realization of my ambitions with his help astonishes me.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

September 16

... and I am listening to Bruce Cockburn's Christmas album while making applesauce. It has begun.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Cake

This is my Oma's recipe.

She always grates her zucchini. My Mum makes the cake cheap, with margarine.

We use up our gargantuan zucchinis this way. The ones Opas and neighborly neighbors press on us. The homesteader in them wants to grow and eat these giants - never mind that they don't taste good past six inches, and spoil quiches and stir-frys at every opportunity. The sheer bulk.

(The homesteader in me wants to make them into something gourmet, and unrecognizable above all. A kind of vegetal mock duck.)

It is always delicious. The first time I tried to serve it to Tim, he was dubious. No longer.

Cream together

1/2 cup butter
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


2 eggs
1/2 cup soured milk

Stir in together

2 and 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


2 cups pureed zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips

Bake in a greased 9 x 12-inch pan, or cupcake tins, at 350 degrees F, until a fork comes out clean (40-50 minutes for cake, 15-30 minutes for cupcakes)

Friday, September 9, 2011

journal excerpts: autumn ideals and Francesca the violin

Friday, August 26, 2011

I am eager to be back home, making plans and working on things again. One thing to start on right away is a September goals list, as well as a more general goals list for the Fall semester. I want to be careful, though, to make a realistically-accomplishable list--somewhat like the one I made before I left for Africa, though more long-term and in some ways, less concrete.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

For lack of a better beginning, my year of personal work starts tomorrow with the first of a new regular (weekday, opening) shift at Transcend. My class on cyborgs and post-humanism starts on Wednesday. Five full days a week are my own . . . A self-imposed structure will be crucial. I hope my plans are feasible. Every day (or most days) I'd like to spend a few minutes tidying the apartment, complete a set of exercises (arms, legs, or core, depending on the day), practice violin for at least 30 minutes, sit down to write something (with a plan to "finish" three "pieces" a week), go for a walk or bike ride, and read a good deal. I'll continue working through my uncompleted summer reading list into October at least, I suspect. Also, for fun (and decided after a conversation with Amelia today), I'll try to brush up on my left-hand printing. This notebook will likely soon become almost illegible.

September Goals:

- lose three pounds
- finish GEB, Dr. Zhivago, Godel's Proof, and The Selfish Gene
- fill this notebook
- send off three new poems to at least one magazine
- continue growing out hair
- pay off last 40 dollars of student loan
- save 100 dollars, in cash, for frivolity (tips)
- finish Justina's sweater

Friday, September 9, 2011

I am working on the G-major, -melodic minor, and -harmonic minor scales. A Wohlfahrt study (No. 31). Gavotte en Rondeau by J.S.B., and maybe soon, the first movement of Vivaldi's Concerto in A Minor.

Tim is happy to see me play.

Friday, September 2, 2011

my hair turned a corner along with the weather

Last time I had long hair, I was fourteen. I cut it to feel less like a crone. Now I am twenty, and growing it out for the opposite reason.