Monday, April 27, 2009

blocks or fuel

A friend has a new blog, "The Practical Gallery." She recently posted about "Unblocking the Block." Timely for me, as I'm finding myself blocked by busy-ness. Not new, but the "new" is that it is not all necessarily work: dragon boats, working out at the gym or outside or with the trainer, working, teaching, theater ... writing: new stories and poems, reworking the nano novel and finishing the incomplete one before that.

Read Jenn's thoughts over at The Practical Gallery and share your own on creativity and fueling the fire.

For me, I'm wondering if my perceived blocks are just that or are actually fuel for the creative fire out of which will spring new beings to delight and provoke new thoughts.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

standing at a crossroads

The launch party and reading of Alltopia antholozine went very well tonight. There was a great turnout at The Press Club of writers, artists and supporters. The publication looks great and the event was well organized. I was a little nervous, but not too much; just the right amount to keep me sharp and not too much to lose my voice or crack my rhythm. There was a great response to my reading of my poem - and I felt confident and like I did well, which feedback from friends afterwards confirmed. Ahhh. I'd like to do that more.

This morning my workout buddy and I participated in the Discovery Walk in Vancouver, WA - just across the river. We planned on doing the 10k, but her knee was sore so we only did the 5k. Look at me! "Only" did the 5k - and we both felt like we'd just gone for a little stroll. Not too long ago, that would have been plenty - but today, though it was fine to shorten the route due to her knee and other things I had to do, it felt like we were just warming up! Good for us.

After the walk, we looked around and the tables of information and clubs and gear. I was drawn to a table about a 132-mile relay walk in Central Oregon in August, Cascade Lakes Relay. Twelve member teams. Qualification is made by the team average rather than individuals; meaning there could be someone who does 3.3 mph and someone who does 4.2 and the team could still get in because the average is within limits. I talked to the guy for quite a while. In my head I was thinking, "I could do that." Maybe some of the Miss Fit Dragons or other Miss Fit Adventure members would want to do it. I don't know at this point - but the idea peaked my interest. Amazing. Me; considering participating in (a) another TEAM event and (b) a long distance walking event (although the individual legs are 2 to 8 miles). Crazy idea? I don't know. What I do know is that I will be talking to someone I know who has a small RV about that possibility and others who have done the Hood to Coast or similar events about their experiences and the pros and cons. This is the second year for this event; last year they had eight teams and this year hope to get twenty; they do have a running route, as well.

And I am behind nearly a week on the writing assignments for my online writing workshop and I am a week behind on the feedback. Yikes. I will get caught up. Somehow. Soon, I hope.

Now, if only I could get paid for some of this other stuff so I can cut out a few work hours....


Friday, April 24, 2009

my first kayaking trip: part of the story

I met with the other interpreter for the show I'm doing this week and she asked me: "So how was your kayak trip last Saturday?" And I realized I hadn't told her the story, yet. When I was done, she said something like, so what is it with you and trying to leaving me hanging with shows?

A couple or so years ago we were interpreting a show and I was scheduled for an all-day job locally. That job canceled but there was another one available in Southern Oregon. Per the policy of the hiring agency, I had to either take that job or forfeit all pay, despite it being a last-minute cancellation. I explained my dilemma of interpreting a play that night and that I couldn't make the drive down to the job and back in time for the play (it was about five hours each way). The agency decided to fly me down for the job, with a rental car provided, and I would be back in plenty of time.

Plenty of time if I didn't miss the plane. More accurately, if the plane didn't leave 5 minutes early. Who's ever heard of a plane leaving early!? But it did while I was dropping off the rental car. I spent the next couple of hours on the phone with the agency, with this same other interpreter, with friends, trying to get this all arranged. There was only one other flight from the very small airport up to Portland that day and it would only leave me with something like 30 minutes to get to the theater. I generally arrive an hour or ninety minutes before a play to get ready and centered before we begin. I also had the opening character of the play, which was an old man talking to a dead stuffed goat. It turned out because a friend agreed to pick me up at the airport and drive me to the theater and drop me at the door (he's a speedy driver and I knew he could do it). I arrived about five minutes before the beginning of the play.

So this time I, well, suppose, I could have drowned or been injured and unable to interpret for a while.

Back to the kayak experience. I sent an email to my partner's step-father after the kayaking trip. He is a very experienced paddler and guide, on whitewater, rivers, sea kayaking, rafting, and so on. I told him earlier that I was getting into kayaking and wasn't that something! So I wanted to share my first adventure with him. Below is what I sent him. He was concerned, which is very sweet, by what happened. But after I told him what the leader did, how she prepped me, and how the situation was handled, he said everything was done right (he thought I should have started on something easier, but I'm fine about where we were).

My email:
I went on my first whitewater kayaking adventure on Saturday and it was, well, an adventure! I purchased a Sevylor Tahiti professional self-bailer. I think it was not the right boat for me and that was a factor in what happened.

We were at Crabtree Creek, which is listed as a class 1 to -2. It is considered good at 600 and it was running somewhere between 596-611 earlier that day. ...

I had fun - but ended up in the creek three times; two I tipped over and one was just an "oops" getting back into the boat near the end of the trip - just leaned over backwards too far going butt first into the boat, just after the person helping me said "now don't go leaning back too far and falling in" - I was only in the water probably less than 30 seconds and we were really near the shore - that one not a big deal.

The first was just a few minutes out; I considered just going back to the car to wait - but decided to hang in there. It was scary, but someone I was with got the boat, someone else got me - I was probably in the water 3 minutes or so. I switched boats with someone who was using an inflatable canoe, double-seater, after that - it was definitely more stable and I did okay - no spilling over. A while later the leader of our group asked if I wanted to try my kayak again and I said yes. Ooops. A little while after that there was what felt to me like a sharp s-curve and there was a debris snag at the coming out final curve. I know some of it was I was not in the right place coming into the curve and to get out of it... and probably wasn't paddling strong enough and all of that -- but I collided with the snag and got trapped and my kayak tipped and I went in - again. The water was much swifter and current stronger -- now that one was very scary. The leader of the group told me to let go and I trust her completely, so I did. I won't bore you with the details 'cuz I know you know the stories. I was definitely in the water longer (maybe 6 - 7 minutes), obviously someone did get to me. The leader tried to get my kayak (which was dangerous for her to try), but couldn't - it was bent nearly in half by the current and stuck good in the debris. Luckily she did manage to get my "dry" bag (not a good one; hence the quotes!) which had my keys in it (lesson learned: keep keys in PFD).

So - I lost my kayak on the first trip out. But I'd already been planning to get a different one, although was hoping to get something back by selling that one. It really wasn't a good one for me at this point. But I'm not complaining - I'm still here, my Blackberry got wet and is history but I had insurance on it and my replacement will arrive tomorrow; I only have one bruise.

So -- I'm looking around at other options. I still want an inflatable. The leader said a hard shell one would have probably cracked and I could have been injured on that same snag. And hauling around the inflatable is definitely easier. I will probably also get different paddle; the one I bought (at the recommendation of where I got the kayak) is a little too feathered for me right now and not enough pull.

I will go out again. I am already scheduled for a lesson and little low-level trip out of Ridgefield on mid-May. I will probably just use one of their kayaks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

climbing back on the, er, dragon

me? afraid?
no way! three days after the kayak trip and here I am going back out on the water with the team.

and what a beautiful night it was!
...thank you dragon spirits for safe passage...
and, yes, I still owe my readers the story of the lost kayak and drowned blackberry.
photograph thanks to
Karen Robida

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

one more lost, one more found

In my mythical lesson kayak trip on Saturday, two additional items:
- lost - my Blackberry
-found- perspective

Monday, April 20, 2009

water, water, everywhere

The story of my first whitewater kayaking trip definitely deserves a little more space and thought than I have time to write now. So just a teaser of what's to come *smile.

Lost: my new kayak, fear of falling in (well, not totally), maybe my pretty new digital camera, my self-image of being a non-risk taker (okay, so there are shreds of that left, but definitely shreds), all thoughts of going kayaking alone (except maybe in a still water pond or lake - maybe).

Found: a bond between the group of people with me, trusting what felt like my life to the experience of another person, physical awareness and joy, and more.

It was a good day with several events, not all including dumps in the water.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"climb on board, ladies"

loading onto the boat. it was a beautiful night on the river!

thank you to my teammate for the photo...

Friday, April 17, 2009

"what else do I need, coach?"

-water resistant or waterproof pants
-a larger dry bag to stow the layers as they come off
-small bungee cord(s) to secure the bag and stuff to the kayak
-my water bottle seems to be fine, even have a clip already!
-a whistle (in case I fall in - easier to follow a loud whistle; can't hear a voice over the water sometimes)
-food suitable to the activity (that one was not in her answer, but something I have to do today)
-I've also decided I want to get a little dry camera bag

So, darn, I have to make a trip to REI! (Although I may need to go elsewhere for the pants.)

Photograph from

Thursday, April 16, 2009

world of work and water

This is one of those intense activity times. Days slip by and I realize I haven't posted. Or I started a post and didn't finish it and it now seems irrelevant. Or I wonder what I meant by some cryptic message to myself that I left so I'd remember to do or say or type "X," whatever that may be.

For the most part, the activity right now is good and it is keeping me busy. No complaints. Just noticing.

Dragon boat practice is going really well. We did our warm-up exercises, had a shortened practice on the water, and then went to an alumni MissFit Dragons paddler's home near the dock to have pizza and watch the video of Tuesday's practice. For the large number of rookies on the team and this early on the actual boats, not bad. I am loving the dragon boats. We had our first mock race on Tuesday, as well, (just against ourselves) and that felt great. It was good to get a feel of the route and a sense of what that will be. The races are across the river, not up and down it as we all are practicing. We are allowed to do some of these mock races, even against other teams, within specific guidelines. Right now we're just doing it with ourselves. (That's me standing in the back, not falling in!)

Which has led me another new but related activity: kayaking. I have purchased my first kayak. The dragon boat captain and my trainer, Nikki, convinced me that inflatables were actually safer because they bounce off the rocks rather than hard sided ones which can crack. Okay; I'll take that. So I bought a Sevylor Tahiti self-bailer (!!) and a paddle and a dual-action pump. And a patch kit. I will be going out on my first trip on a level 1 "whitewater," which seems to mean it's slow moving and not really much if any "white" about it. Yay. It's predicted to be 70-75 on Saturday. Nikki is watching the levels, right now it may be iffy as to whether we can do it; the water is perfect right now, but dropping 100 feet per day. Apparently we need a little rain or some snow melt-off or we might not be able to make that run.

The first kayak trip which was scheduled is mid-May. The one this weekend was a last minute wouldn't it be fun kind of deal. So the mid-May one is a lesson and a kayak trip on a level 2.5. Still safe and not too much, I'm told. Still, "it would be a good idea to have a helmet" I was told. So I've added to my growing stash of outdoor water sport equipment and bought a Pro-Tec B2 Wake helmet in Gloss Punk Pink. Huh. I wonder what else I need?

On Tuesday one of the long time dragon boaters and frequenter of many Miss Fit Adventures asked if I'd blown up my kayak yet to make sure there were not leaks. While that makes perfect sense - I hadn't thought of it. I just assumed, since it was new, that all would be well. I inflated it Tuesday night and left it in a room where the cats don't go. I checked it yesterday and all was still well and I didn't hear any hissing. So I deflated it and folded it up, but there is no way I can shove it back in to the bag it came in. So, from an overhead conversation on Tuesday, I know I need to search out a bag to carry and store it in, especially when it will be wet and I need to drive it back home in my car! Oh, the things one has to think of *smile.

On top of my watery adventures, I am into the second week of my second Lit Star Training class with Ariel Gore. I have another assignment due tomorrow, which isn't done and from which I am procrastinating by writing this blog! Oh well, I will get it done and turned in.

Also on the writing front, I am involved in the layout group for an anthology of quick writes from the winter session of the Lit Star Training. I have been helping with some of the other planning. This has been an intensive project for a few weeks, but it feels like it is coming together well. Christi stepped up to be the lead for the layout and is doing a marvelous job; we call her our Layout Queen Bee. And I have named Jenny F our Resource Queen for her speedy and very helpful research on a couple different publishing options we were looking at. Lesia did some marvelous in-depth work earlier on about a couple of the primary places; Jenny found some great side by side comparisons of features and other information presented in a concise and easily accessible way. This will be a nice little square book of prompts and writings.

I am also excited and nervous about the upcoming reading and launch of the Alltopia antholozine on April 25th. I've written about that before - and it is almost here.

For the work front. Things are still going well and I'm pleased. A couple of long-term situations are coming to an end. I am doing VRS part-time, which provides a foundation that allows me to be a little less stressed about the freelance work I'm continuing to do. I am also teaching one internship course at Portland Community College this term. So I have enough work right now and I am grateful. I do have to get my basic powerpoint slides done for the summer program by the 25th (yes, I will be returning to Greeley, the land of cattle and beef - see July '08 posts for more information).

Oh - and I am just starting preparation to interpret "Frost/Nixon" on April 30th. I have already read the script and done some preliminary work; I will be seeing it for the first time tomorrow night.

And, speaking of night, it is time to sign off and get some sleep.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

politics: Change Congress Donor Strike

From the Lessig Blog:

The donor strike continues at Change Congress (no money to any representative who doesn't commit to citizen funded elections).

Here's a simple (and it's FREE!) link to send back to anyone asking you for money:


Share freely.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Who borrowed it from an article from Funk & Wagnalls® New Encyclopedia. © 2005 World Almanac Education Group, A WRC Media Company

Easter, a Christian festival, embodies many pre-Christian traditions. The origin of its name is unknown. Scholars, however, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe it probably comes from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.

Such festivals, and the stories and legends that explain their origin, were common in ancient religions. A Greek legend tells of the return of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth, from the underworld to the light of day; her return symbolized to the ancient Greeks the resurrection of life in the spring after the desolation of winter. Many ancient peoples shared similar legends. The Phrygians believed that their omnipotent deity went to sleep at the time of the winter solstice, and they performed ceremonies with music and dancing at the spring equinox to awaken him.

The Christian festival of Easter probably embodies a number of converging traditions; most scholars emphasize the original relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name for Easter. The early Christians, many of whom were of Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and regarded Easter as a new feature of the Passover festival, a commemoration of the advent of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Monday, April 13th (as far as I can tell so far) is Drop Everything And Read day. (From the Beverly Cleary Ramona books.) I am searching for local activities and haven't found any so far. There are probably things happening in schools -- but so far nothings else.

If you know of something, drop me a note!

There is a link to a fellow writer's workplace's schedule for Monday to celebrate the day Open Books DEAR day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

where is this heading?

I'm having fun making the sight and sound collages. I've started a new blog to post these little films and the ideas are flooding me faster than I can even jot them down. I will continue to periodically put them up here, but you might want to check out some of the other things I'm doing. I'm considering asking friends to let me link to some of their films, as well.

There's only one new one up on the other site right now, but if you want to take a look, you can find it at Dashboard Buddha Films .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

sight and sound collage #1

dashboard buddha films on the move, #1's 1:30 AM. do you know where your buddha is?...

(Music snippet from "Violently Happy"
by Bjork on her album, Debut.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

I have a new toy

A simple, small digital camera that I can carry with me.

My partner's digital camera wasn't working, so she took it in to a camera shop. It was still under warranty and the problem did fall within covered issues. The person at the store said sometimes that particular problem can't be repaired so she bought a new digital camera to use while she was without one. She needs a camera to record her works in progress, works of her students, and so on.

Hers was repaired, though, and I got the relatively new cast-off.

I'm working on some projects and will be posting some of the results here. One thing I'm doing are some sight and sound collages. I'm also building up my own photo library so I can use more of my own images. Or just shoot 'em as I need 'em!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

sometimes I shouldn't read the headlines...

...or maybe the point is that I shouldn't follow the links...

So, today, I was cleaning up the spam mail in my work email account. I always check it because once in a very great while the Gmail spam checker puts a request for my services in there where it shouldn't be and lets something slip through to my inbox which is obviously a scam to get thousands of dollars or let me make whooppee all night long. No comment.

Back to the point of this "are you kidding me?!?!" post.

I was checking my spam before deleting forever (or at least until the next time some other bot sends it my way). Right there at the top of the email list window pane was the following:

French Fry Spam Casserole - Bake 30-40 minutes

I thought, this has to be a joke, right?, so I clicked the link. I don't know why someone thinks I would like spam, except that Gmail calls it the spam filter so some crazy "what does the user like" rubric has decided that I want to know how to prepare the mystery meat called Spam. Ugh!

Apparently someone has actually concocted a recipe for the above said meal. Looks like a flashback to the meals of my childhood. Anyone who has read some of my recent writings has seen examples which might have included an ingredient or two from this list.

Speaking of which, my poem titled "Spanish Rice and Party Mix," which is being published in the upcoming "Home" issue of Alltopia, includes foods of the past. (Check back a couple days in my posts for the antholozine launch and reading party announcement.)

In case you're curious, below is the recipe. Personally, I do not recommend trying it at home! Up to you, though. It could still be a joke, though; I can't imagine ....
Categories: Main dish
Yield: 8 servings

1 pk Frozen french fry potatoes,
-thawed (20 oz)
2 c Shredded Cheddar cheese
2 c Sour cream
1 cn Condensed cream of chicken
-soup (10 3/4 oz)
1 cn SPAM Luncheon Meat, cubed
-(12 oz)
1/2 c Chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c Chopped green onion
1/2 c Finely crushed corn flakes

Heat oven to 350'F. In large bowl, combine potatoes, cheese, sour
cream, and soup. Stir in SPAM, bell pepper, and green onion. Spoon
into 13x9″ baking dish. Sprinkle with crushed flakes. Bake 30-40
minutes or until thoroughly heated.
ps: in case you're curious, Spam does indeed come in many flavors. But I don't know if they have a veggie or vegan version yet. Shudder. If you want to see a picture of a wall of Spam varieties, you can view it at Nullvariable.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

call for submissions

Have a short memoir piece lying about or want to write up a piece of flash fiction ... related to haircuts? Go to Ariel Gore's website to read more about her call for submissions by clicking on this link to her post, Get a haircut. (Deadline 4/13)

graphic above from Brainstormers!

politics: Iowa to allow same-sex marriage

From CNN:

"The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a state law Friday that banned same-sex marriage.

Iowa becomes the third state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, after Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Friday's decision upheld a 2007 ruling by a lower court that Iowa's 1998 law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples went against the state's constitution. It becomes effective in 21 days.

"This is a great day for civil rights in Iowa," said attorney Dennis Johnson, a co-counsel with Lambda Legal, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of six same-sex couples seeking to marry in Iowa. "Go get married. Live happily ever after," he said at a news conference where there was loud clapping among plaintiffs."

Click here to skip on over to the CNN website to read the rest of the article.

Friday, April 3, 2009

event: Alltopia Antholozine's launch and reading

from, Lara, the founder of Alltopia:

It's my great pleasure to announce the first public performance of Alltopia Antholozine's contributors. May it be the first of many! Our Spring issue, "Home," is currently in the capable and creative hands of our publisher, Eberhardt Press , and will be reader-ready in about a week. We will be celebrating the release of this issue at The Press Club, located in SE Portland, on April 25th.

Saturday, April 25 - 6:00 PM until 7:30 or so...

The Press Club - 2621 SE Clinton St.
(503) 233-5656; they have a full bar, plus a great menu (think: crepes, bistro sandwiches, etc.) and an extensive selection of wines, but are also an all-ages venue.

The Spring issue - Home - will be available for purchase at the reading for $8 / copy. It will also be available at a few local purveyors of quality independent publications. Check our website for details, soon.

One of my poems is being published by the 'zine and I am planning on being there to read on the 25th.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

gocco a go-go

My Gocco arrived a couple days ago. A few days before that, the extra bulbs, inks, screens that I ordered also arrived. And I just received an email that I will be able to get some private tutoring in how to use the machine. I've put that lesson off until May, when there will be two plays out of the way and my schedule is a little easier to plan.

Yay. I'm so excited! One thing I want to do with it is make a zine. And the content of the zine, you ask? I don't know yet. But I've been thinking about the Goccos for a while, looking at them. Wanting one. But not sure I had the time to play with it and do something more. Then they stopped making them and the Ebay and Etsy prices went sky high, so the should I or shouldn't I debate stepped up to another level.

But while we were at the coast a couple weeks ago, I was looking around and found one on Craigslist from another area. The price was reasonable (still more than double what I could have bought one for a year ago - but half of what I've been seeing them sell for on Ebay), so I bought it.

I'm happy and looking forward to adding a new creative adventure to my growing list.