zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
Some months, the spreadsheets and social commitments and sundry other obligations outstrip one's ability to answer the call of laundry and le laver la vaisselle. One resorts to the strapless stick-ons and thanks Providence for the quick-sale Anaheim peppers staying fresh for several weeks, plodding on and picking one's way through mud and cement slicks...


I am not thrilled about PDF-wrangling and number-crunching cutting into time for sleeping. It'll likely hoover up swimming and dancing and socializing time as well, and I might be kicking myself right now for choosing to spend most of Saturday away from my laptop. But part of that day was spent riding around Lewis State Forest on a quarter horse named Question Mark, with a shepherd mix named Zeba happily galloping along, with the sky bright blue above pines and saplings and sprinklers, and then there were turnip cakes and bubble tea back in Nashville, and then I scraped and snipped and lugged and tugged thises and thatses around the yard, and that was a pleasure too.


Carpe Diem

Apr. 5th, 2015 07:07 am
zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
The temperature dropped last night, but the peppers, radishes, lettuce, and poppies seemed to have survived. The yards are full of violets and I'm especially enjoying the yellow tulips. As I drove along Woodland Street yesterday afternoon, I glimpsed a group of young women walking toward Five Points; they had paused in front of a house with phlox spilling over the front border, and one of them kept bending down toward the flowers.

A horse named Carpe Diem (bred by Coffee Pot Stable) won the Blue Glass Stakes yesterday, and is a favorite for the Kentucky Derby. (Not the same Danish gelding sired by Richard of York, or the US gelding sired by Grand Slam, or the British mare sired by Good Times, or the Brazilian mare sired by Ski Champ.) If I make any straight bets on the Derby, though, odds are I'll choose an underdog -- perhaps the other likely Pletcher entry, Materiality.

In the meantime, there are horsies everywhere. Including at Scout's Barbershop:

zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
Seen on a wall of Nashville's Belcourt Theatre a couple of weeks ago:
graffiti horse

Seen in Chungliang Al Huang's Quantum Soup (Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 1991):

It is reassuring to realize that Confucius had only begun to appreciate the true value of the I Ching after reaching the ripe age of seventy. What is our hurry? The yarrow is not talking us.

[Incidentally, I have owned this book since 1996 or so and am finally, slowly making my way into it. Through it? That remains to be seen. There is hope.]

Yard update: hollyhock seedlings are visible, a bit earlier than anticipated. Still too early for the primroses and yes, yarrow.
zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
The Monzante Memorial Fundraising Challenge: a number of teams (headed by various handicappers and other racing fans) are raising $$ in memory of Monzante, a horse who died at a Louisiana track last week. Some teams are offering rewards such as free picks or cookies.

* * *

Thanks to the current clutch of work, I've been paying scant attention to the ponies, but I've had this passage from Niki de St Phalle's Harry and Me on my "to share" stack for some time. This takes place around 1950:

When I rejoined Harry at Harvard, he and my brother John (who was also studying there) would go out very early in the morning to the racetrack where they were working as hot walkers. That is to say, they would walk the horses through a routine to cool them down after their morning runs. Harry enjoyed this very much. he was earning a bit of extra money while learning all about the racetrack from my brother, which fascinated him. John had quickly become quite an expert on the topic. His enthusiasm for horse racing was so great that it was difficult to walk into his room, which was brimming over with countless stacks of the Morning Telegraph, John's favorite paper for tracking the odds on the horses.

At some point John felt it necessary to take on yet another job ... with an airline, which I believe was to earn the extra money he needed to finance his obsession with the track. Despite the excessive amount of time John spent on "the horses," John did manage to do very well on his studies. Nonetheless, Harvard's administrators eventually cottoned on to the fact that he was only showing up for his classes to take the exams. They chose to suspend John from Harvard for a year -- in spite of his outstanding academic performance.


Jun. 14th, 2013 10:03 am
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Two days ago, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I had copyediting and lettering targets I'd planned to meet, but I also had a headache, and I haven't gotten past the "eek!" part of the current calligraphy thing, so scrubbing the tub and sanitizing pots and making a new batch of basil toner seemed way, way easier than putting pencil to paper.

Yesterday, I started copyediting after breakfast and worked flat through lunchtime (which almost never happens, because I loooooooove food and get very, very cranky when I'm running on fumes) and didn't stop until 2:45 pm, when I yelped, "Eek!" and rushed out the door to meet my hiking partner. (There are times when I curse pre-scheduled exercise because it disrupts my grooves, but we saw two fawns at the lake, and the ridge that always kicks my ass does seem to be getting slightly easier to climb.)

I worry about losing touch with people. I worry about people dying before I make time to bake the pie and find my crocheting to take over for a long catch-up chat. I worry about not getting around to planting the seeds I bought this year, or the ones I've put in the "plant later" tray because it's already too hot. I worry about the energy evaporating from the sketches of poems I don't have time to amplify or revise right now. I worry that when I finally throw out the bags of tomato seeds my mother tried to preserve -- I tested a few this spring, and nothing came up -- I'll wish I had them on hand a week later when the poem about Rorschach seed patterns on scraps of Bounty finally gels (I could take pictures -- I will take pictures -- but they aren't going to retain the layers or up-closeness of the actual thing. I could keep just one. I could work on the dang poem after all if I'm gonna think aloud about it this much).

I fret about how everything, but everything, expands into a million marigold petals when I touch it. I want to scrape at the scale on my bathroom faucet with a toothpick, and to paint my living room myself, and to redo every inch of my yard. I plan to find the pillow for the cover that's been made out of my wedding dress, and the upholsterer I'd hoped to ask about recovering my dining room chairs has gone out of business. I resent work for taking time away from studying. I am breathless whenever I spend an hour studying, awed at how much more there will always be to learn. I get deep into a manuscript and it reminds me of how much I actually already know, just from the years I've put in and how they've developed that editorial "sixth sense" that tells me when a name is probably misspelled or that something on page 38 isn't in sync with what the author says on page 83, as well as being hyper-conscious of all the little cues and nuances that separate a professionally designed book from a document assembled by an amateur. (Nothing against amateur efforts, mind--as long as the professionals are getting their due.) I miss learning new music, but not enough to rejoin my old ensembles or start the trio I sometimes dream about pulling together.

I am delighted by Cathy Yardley's review of my book. I'm singing along with madrigals in the car to de-rust my voice (I'm leading hymns at the early service this Sunday). I found a Spanish-language copy of Isabel Allende's Zorro at a used bookstore, and gave it to a GA delegate in my congregation to take to Louisville for the library to be established there. I saw that the bookstore had copies of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in both the Reading List and Agriculture sections, and that some of the copies in the Ag section were slightly cheaper, which was intel my hiking partner (and mom of a schoolkid) found useful when she went shopping there a few days later. My E player in fantasy tennis (the delightfully sassy Donna Vekic) has made a surprising run to the semifinals in Birmingham (UK), and I'm still alive in Survival at the Shore (horseracing predictions) -- ranked 1118th, true (my second-best day got negated by a cyberglitch, woe), but I haven't let myself dive deep into researching the ponies, so I'm fine with merely swimming along. Go Chocolate Drops! Go Zealous on the Run! Go Toute Allure! I'm amused by this interview of Charleston chef Robert Stehling, happy to hear reports that Husk Nashville is living up to the hype, and, in the bath, reading a 1996 Baedeker guide to Canada that used to live on the shelves of the Charlotte public library.

(And now it's been more than fifteen minutes since I applied sunscreen, and I've been asked to deliver a shirt and a gallon of water to my favorite motorcycle repair shop. Time to move from inventory to service! :-) )
zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
A couple of days ago, I went looking for photos of some of the Bikram postures, and came across a nifty guide (illustrated with colorful stick figures) produced by a NY studio.

(When I manage standing bow, it feels pretty cool. Then there's me getting water up my nose when I tried to sneak in a sip during savasana...)

I am taking a break from it today, though, because my body and brain both need a timeout -- a couple of old injuries have flared up, and I need a day where I don't have to be anywhere by x o'clock. (It's not really a day off -- I'm planning to divide 8-10 hours between lettering and copyediting -- but not having to stop to get myself ready to go somewhere else will make a difference. I'm such a housecat.)

Yesterday afternoon, I went to Rita Frizzell's memorial service. It included humor and drama and tears and quite a bit of music, including Sarah Dan Jones's "Meditation on Breathing" ("When I breathe in, I'll breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I'll breathe out love"). The humor included Dawn Thornton referring to herself as "Buddish" (referring to her sort-of practice of meditation); the drama included a theatre director reading aloud passages from Hamlet and coming up with a new collective noun ("an incandescence of Ritas") to encompass the different facets of she-who-was-called-Rita. There was chanting from the Tibetan Book of the Dead; there was a colorful portrait of an eight-limbed goddess hanging behind the pulpit. There was a reference to "Tibetan Buddhism's glass ceiling for women" (one of the situations leading Rita to Unitarian Universalism) but also glowing descriptions of the Friday night sangha she led, which will be continued by another member of FUUN.

The closing song was a group rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," a song Rita's mother had sung many times to her. We sang through it three times, twice with the words ("Please don't take my sunshine away...") and once simply humming. Afterward, at least two people said to me, "The humming, that's what got me." Music is such a physical act.

After the reception, I hopped into a friend's car and she steered it downtown toward sushi. Sarge talked about her plans to make blackberry wine; B. and I chatted about our connections to Texas. There was a lot of laughing with and at each other, including me at S. when she declared "I'm too old to be butch" (when B. declined her offer to pump gas) and both S. and B. at me when I waxed enthusiastic about fantasy tennis and horse handicapping. ("Look, I'm a nerd. Therefore I have nerd hobbies." "We're glad you know that.")

Speaking of which: Thanks to an $7K bet on Oxbow and a $10K bet on Mylute, I am currently leading the Smarty Jones Stakes (a Triple Crown predictions contest) over at TalkAboutTennis.com. My penchant for humoring my hunches seldom pays out two races in a row, however; moreover, I've noticed that it's always a longshot I don't pick that ends up second. Still, for the moment, peppermints all around! ;-)
zirconium: Spicer Cub (daft horse) during Pimlico (spicer cub at Pimlico)
I have seen my alter ego, and it is a horse named Spicer Cub:

In the words of his trainer, Mary Eppler, "Obviously the horse has a little bit of quirkiness to him."

My sweetie is running the half-marathon in the rain. I'm in the thick of steering assorted projects across the finish line. A couple that are up:

  • Online, in the current issue (#8) of Eye to the Telescope, my poem "With Light-Years Come Heaviness."

  • In print, in the current issue of Star*Line, my sonnet "The Bed I Haven't Made" (with many, many thanks to F.J. Bergmann for helping me solve its metrical issues).

  • I don't have my copies in hand yet, but I'm newly excited about Underplay/Overdone after seeing photos of a finished book at Medusa's Laugh.

    Forthcoming: poems in Inkscrawl, Dreams and Nightmares, UU World, and Lifting the Sky.

    (How funny the brain is: earlier this week I was feeling soooo woebegone about how little I have to show for all my hamster-wheeling. Now, of course, looking at this list, I'm like, "Not bad. ... Now go finish some more!")

    There's been some time with friends as well (yay!). Last weekend, I went with a group to Keeneland, where I wore my wedding hat and St. Armands (ridden by Rosie Napravnik, who will be featured on 60 Minutes tomorrow) won for me a bit of mad money (which I promptly lost on near-miss superfectas, but that's gambling for you). Tuesday, I spent some time with H & N, which included looking both at 16-year-old pictures of H's 75th birthday celebration and N's favorite anatomy book. Wednesday, I scarfed down a bunch of Joanne's fries at Dino's as we waited for Poetry Sucks to get going. (Being allergic to cigarette smoke, one hour there was all I could manage, but that was long enough to catch Chet Weise reading Thomas Sayers Ellis's All Their Stanzas Look Alike and Josh "The Duke" Gillis's found poems. The latter featured lines from Craigslist's Missed Connections, and thus were introduced with titles such as "Why I Bartend and Love It" [which got a loud "a-HEM" from Rick, opening PBR after PBR] and "Our Daughters Are on the Same Soccer Team").


    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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