Sep 15, 2016

Short Person's Lament

I have a request: if you are tall, and by tall I mean six foot or so, please don't sit in the front when attending a play, concert, reading, or, for that matter, any event. A calf-roping seminar at the corral? Lean on a post a bit farther away. A Ronco Veg-O-Matic™ demonstration? Pony up on a stool near the back. A tattooing seminar? Okay, maybe you need to get the details on that one. But don't stand in the front at the packed concert! You have choices! 

You can still see no matter where you stand. You can watch the guitar player pick or strum or the lead singer dramatically collapse on his 22-year-old, futurely arthritic, knees.You'd get a look at Hamlet pacing the boards, holding Yorick's skull in hand, no matter where you sat. If you could get tickets, you'd actually see Javier Muñoz as Hamilton.

But me? At five foot four? What I see is how well you wash your neck. I can tell the age of your shirt by how frayed the collar is and I know before your mother does if you’re using an effective stain remover. Of course, if you're bobbing your head to the music, I see the band as though they’re in a flipbook or have turned on a strobe light and transported us all back to 1969. Head down—band visible, head up—your hair. Head down—band visible, head up—your hair again.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, spring for some courtside seats at a basketball game, the seats right behind the team. Maybe the Cavaliers (Channing Frye, 6’11”, Kevin Love, 6’ 10”) or the Heat (Chris Bosh, 6’11”). That game is what life is like for height-challenged people every day. We’re all like the little kid who can’t see over the table, who keeps jumping up and asking, “What’s going on? No, really, what's going on?”

Here’s a thought—what if tickets were sold by the purchaser’s height? You might actually get a discount because you’re in the back.

And actually, in the first paragraph, I lied.  By tall, I don’t mean six foot or so, I mean taller than me. 


Sep 18, 2014


Hello readers,

I have been asked by my friend Amy Miller to participate in something called “My Writing Process Blog Tour,” or as I will now refer to it, MWPBT, because that rolls off the tongue. MWPBT has been making its way around the blogging world for some time now.  It’s a slo-mo relay race of blogger after blogger navel-gazing, writing about it, and handing off the navel-gazing baton to the next blogger. I am supposed to answer four questions about my (finger quotes) writing process. My last post was on July 21; what kind of process could I possibly have?  But Amy has faith in me and I have faith in Amy. She, unlike yours truly, has fully formed thoughts in her brain, and her blog has actual serious writing. 

Here I go with the four questions.

What am I working on? Many of you don’t know that besides the blog, I write poetry. And I must say that if this blog was all I ever wrote, that would be a sad state of affairs. (See above: last post July 21.)  I have a poetry manuscript that has been going door to door on the publication circuit, trying its darnedest to look cute and forlorn and like it needs a good home. So far about thirty publishers (who looked like such nice people!) held it at arm’s length like it had fleas and tossed it out the door. Two or three said it had nice eyes and one declared it a finalist, so I try to have hope, but I am starting to think that origami may be a better use of the paper. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Oh, I’ve got this one! This is easy: because I’m me! Picture a toddler on top of a picnic table, hands on hips.  No one else has my sense of humor, makes the same spelling and usage mistakes over and over again, has the same take on this odd, wonderful, wacky, pathetic world we live in. Blog or poetry, it’s all me, all the time.  Me, me, me.  Me.

Why do I write what I do and how does my writing process work?  (Did you see what I did there…rolled two questions into one?) In the blog, I write what I do because I’m pissed off. Like today, I am out of town with my husband, staying in a bed and breakfast.  The photos on the web looked so lovely.  The rooms were spacious and modern and well lit, the beds huge.  Well, I’d like to stay at that bed and breakfast, because our room is small and dark and the faucet in the tub drips.  And did you know that queen size beds are only sixty inches wide? I obviously did not, because my husband and I are now sharing what is only enough room for me and a newt and he’s much bigger than a newt.

At home we have a bed the size of Kansas, big enough for me to sleep on my stomach with my knee sticking out in his direction and there is still room for the body pillow I must have.  Do you hear me?  I need it! I can’t sleep without it, despite the fact that I abandon it as soon as I fall asleep. And the fact that it’s the equivalent of a third human in the bed doesn’t matter at all because we’re talking Kansas.  There’s room for everyone.  But this morning, not believing that the B and B’s inadequate bed-like structure could possibly be a queen, I Googled bed sizes and, in fact, queens are a mere sixty inches wide. I laid sideways to measure, using my 64-inch body, since I don’t carry a tape measure with me. Toes at one side, nose at the other.  Yep, it’s a queen. Never again.

And, if we’re talking about my poetry process, well, that’s much more mysterious, and organic, and a bit magical, as poetry tends to be.  Who knows where that stuff comes from?  I don’t.

Now I pass the baton to…Jennifer Swanton Brown.  Jennifer Swanton Brown published her first poem in the Palo Alto Times when she was in the fifth grade. She has degrees in Linguistics and Nursing, and completed her Master of Liberal Arts at Stanford University in 2012, with a thesis on the domestic poetry of Eavan Boland. Jennifer has been a poet/teacher with California Poets in the Schools since 2001 and joined their Board of Directors in March 2013. Her poems have been published in multiple local journals, including The Sand Hill Review, Caesura and The DQM Review. In October 2013, Jennifer became the second Poet Laureate of the City of Cupertino. You can follow her Poem-A-Day project "A Lane of Yellow" and other Cupertino Poet Laureate news at Jennifer also manages regulatory education for clinical researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.  Her personal blog is "A Twirly Life"

Jul 21, 2014

Take 'Em Inside

Last night our neighbor's dogs barked for over an hour.  Over an hour?  Yes, a very long, loud hour. I'm sure these neighbors weren't home or they would have brought their beloved Rex and Fifi inside after fifteen minutes or so.  I would say 'after a minute or so' but my recent experience with local dog owners is they can easily sit out fifteen minutes without deciding to take the long walk over to the screen door and let the little canines inside.  No, they can wait out a whole lot of noise.  And, of course, that means the rest of us are waiting out the noise, too.

Last night's offenders clearly weren't home.  They were on an outing that kept them away from the house for a long time; and they'd decided to leave the four-legged guys outside so they wouldn't poop in the house or chew the arms off the sofa.  Concerned about their belongings, these dog/homeowners thought they'd throw the pooches in the back yard and head out on their trip. I picture these folks at a friend's house, sitting on the deck, enjoying margaritas and fajitas, laughing and happily forgetting all their worldly woes.  Good for them. 

But I have a plea to make.  PLEASE don't do that.  Please don't blithely drive away, forgetting what you've left behind. Please don't make your dogs my problem. Because even if you just drive to Trader Joe's to buy some guacamole and Two Buck Chuck; even if you just hop in the car to pick up your children from school; even if you just drop off the dry cleaning; it's going to take at least fifteen minutes.  And fifteen minutes of your dogs barking is a really long time when I'm trying to read, write, watch TV, enjoy my patio, work, talk on the phone, chat with my husband, host book club, throw a party, take a bath, sleep, or maybe think.

I work from home.  I love my home.  My husband loves our home.  But our home with a barking, whining, howling, baying soundtrack is a whole lot less enjoyable.