U is for: Unplanned, Upsetting the Apple Cart, Unexpected

I had plans for tonight, a treat. I dressed up, did my hair, was ready for a little showy fun.

But no. Work had other plans, plans that required me to stay at my desk late, later, latest. And then this storm, reminder of the dreary turn of my events, the washing out of what should have been a fun evening. Sigh.

Night Storm

And the sky cries rain
pours it down in waves, in sheets,
looking like my mood
this grey and ugly Tuesday.
And my plans are smashed
I am sour and prickly,
wishing myself done —
away from anywhere here.
Not as bad as that —
not really. The sound of rain
sings on my windows,
Makes me remember
AC singing Nora Jones
under his tin roof
his laughter making me smile.
Makes me remember
red pants, their dye running down
turning my sneakers
from cream white to fuchsia pink
bringing more laughter.
Good to recall other storms,
changes in old plans,
that the storm isn’t to blame.
Good to remember
these other moments, laughter,
Good to remember myself,
sitting quiet, listening.


A chōka is a Japanese form poem with a specific syllable count per line. The shortest form of chōka  is: 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 7. The 5- and 7-syllable lines can repeat as many times as needed. The poem’s end is signaled by the extra 7-syllable line. The final five lines can be used to summarize the body of the poem.


N is for: Not today, Not in the mood, Not

Tonight I am cranky. Tired and cranky. The day started mostly well. But bad news has a way of forcing any glimmer of hope and happiness to gutter and fade. This will pass. I know it will. But for now, all I want to say is, No.

No. No. No. No. No.

And also: Damn it.


Mixing of cultures
dipping toes in the water
Learning who we are,
learning how we are alike
past the differences
that poke at us, cloud our view
We have now, just now
to listen with eyes open.
We have only now —
this half-spent moment, this breath.
to listen, finally hear.

I keep trying to poke at different things with these chōka . I’m too fussy right now to have a real opinion about this one. It doesn’t do what I wanted it to, but it’s done, and that’s got to be enough of a point for tonight.


A chōka is a Japanese form poem with a specific syllable count per line. The shortest form of chōka  is: 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 7. The 5- and 7-syllable lines can repeat as many times as needed. The poem’s end is signaled by the extra 7-syllable line. The final five lines can be used to summarize the body of the poem.

Where are my sorts? (SOLSC 1)

In a change from the usual, I was in a pretty lousy mood all day today.  Wanting to shake my head, turn my back and ignore, ignore, ignore … everything and everyone.  I was, as the title of this post hints at, out of sorts (whatever that meant when it was first coined).

P1040667  This isn’t helpful when you have a full day of work and need to be at least a little bit sociable. (And yes, I am now this ridiculous and will be illustrating myself whenever the moment strikes.)

Sour, sour, sour … and then I took the bus home.  Sitting across from me was a very tired-looking young mom.  She was cute and had a gorgeous afro with a flat-twisted band across the front.  She was riding with her super-adorable son who was maybe six or seven years old.  The dialogue starts with him:

– Sometimes I love your smile.

– (smiles) Only sometimes?

– Well, sometimes I love your hair.

– Only sometimes?

– (thinks) … I love a lot of things with you.

– (smiles, tries not to laugh) But only sometimes.

– I go one at a time.

– (nods) You know, you can love a lot of things all at the same time.

– (surprised) The same time?

– Like me: I love your eyes and your nose and your smile and your laugh and your hands … you see?  All at the same time.

– (thinks) … But you don’t say all of that.

– No, I just say, “I love you.”

– (thinks … then nods) That’s easier.

Funk dissolved.  The world has righted itself.

I love a lot of things at one time, too.  Right now, I’m loving that it’s March and time for Ruth and Stacey’s 6th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!! That’s right, the event that made me a blogger, the event that has grown dramatically every year, the event that’s so big it now has an administrative staff!  Jump in and tell some stories!  Stories (as this post shows) about anything.  Jump in: what do you love all at once?


I’m asking again: How long?

Last week, thirty-eight members of my state senate joined the ranks of cowardly, bigoted, ignorant, fearful homophobes all around the country by defeating a measure to approve same-sex marriage.

I want someone to explain it in words I can understand, someone intelligent and articulate to help me make it make sense.

What’s the danger, people?  What is it you fear?

No, really.  I want to understand.  I want to.

I read all about it, including this article in the NYTimes. And let me just be clear, this explanation doesn’t cut it:

“Certainly this is an emotional issue and an important issue for many New Yorkers,” said Senator Tom Libous, the deputy Republican leader. “I just don’t think the majority care too much about it at this time because they’re out of work, they want to see the state reduce spending, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. And I don’t mean to sound callous, but that’s true.”

Let me just be sure I’ve understood his point.  Because some people have problems (out of work and struggling to pay the bills, my state government is in a mess … ) it’s ok for other people to be denied a right that I take for granted?  Because, following Libous’ logic, our legislature can’t walk and chew gum, same sex couples just need to sit down and shut up?  Oh, well, now that it’s been explained and all.  That’s really Libous’ answer?  That’s how he justifies his ‘nay’ vote?  Please.  He’s almost as ridiculous with his complete sentences as Senator Diaz is with his inarticulate fumbling.

One bit of data from the vote pleased me.  Again from the Times:

Support was heaviest among members from New York City and Westchester County and among the Senate’s 10 black members. Seven of the Senate’s 10 women voted for it.

I’m not surprised that the NYC members were in favor.  But I’m thrilled to see the black senators holding up the “aye” banner.  Think I’ll send each of them (and the other “yes” voters for that matter) a little thank you note, encourage them to start working on their colleagues so this vote goes the way it needs to next time around.

But that bright light isn’t enough.  In the end, I’m disgusted. Can’t lie about it.  The defeat of this bill saddens, angers and offends the crap out of me.

Blogrolling for Dollars

So I finally have to say it: I can’t stand the use of ‘scrapbook’ as a verb. There are clubs and magazines and conventions … and that’s all fine, but couldn’t we have had all of that without having the new and annoying verb? Couldn’t we have the excellent tools, caddies, papers and books, the aisles-o-fun in Michael’s and Pearl Paint without having to grab up a perfectly good noun and bludgeon it into service as a verb?

(My sister will be laughing right now.)

Please don’t think I’m against the making of scrapbooks. I love scrapbooks. Truly. I labored long and hard on the book I made for my niece’s first birthday, and it remains one of the gifts of which I am most proud in my gift-giving life. I am fascinated by all the new, digital possibilities. My Blurb books (the private ones more than the public ones) are scrapbooks. I’ve been playing with Smilebox since learning about it on Stacey’s site a couple of months ago. And I love seeing the extraordinarily beautiful things other people make; I see their books and pages and I’m blown away. (I mean, look at Pam’s beautiful work.) It’s not the product I’m opposed to. It’s the noun-for-verb penchant that drives me crazy.

A couple of years ago I heard Iyanla Vanzant on Oprah telling some poor woman, “You’re languaging yourself into that situation.” (The bold is Iyanla’s; the italics are mine.) What on earth is that? Languaging yourself? Please. No, make that PUH-leeeeze. And throw in a solid, “Gag me,” for good measure.

And then there’s friending. Friending? Is it just me, or does it sound almost like an act of aggression? Wrestling someone into friendship whether they like it or not? Making a friend, being a friend … these things make sense to me. And then there is the entirely serviceable, already-available verb: befriend. Oh, yes, of course it’s old-fashioned. No one says ‘befriend’ anymore. True enough. Well, no one but me.

It’s everywhere. People seem to think it’s clever or fun or down with the modern culture or some such not-clever, not-fun thing. Can you all please lean in close to the screen and listen closely: STOP IT! STOP IT THIS INSTANT!! Ok, you can sit back now.

Am I really this much of a jerk? Yeah, probably. But mostly what I am is a nut about English. I love English. Really, truly, we-should-be-carving-our-initials- in-a-tree crazy about English. That’s why I use words that make pretty much everyone around me make fun of me at least a little (‘sundries,’ anyone? ‘vagaries,’ perhaps? … the other day I even described something as being ‘down at heel’ for heavens sake!). And that’s why I get all stupid about things like ‘languaging’ (I would take ‘scrapbooking’ over Iyanla’s creation any day of the week!).

I know, I know: language is fluid, ever growing and changing. Of course. It’s one of the things I love about language … you know, as long as it grows and changes in ways I like and approve of (ok, I really am a jerk). I do like the fact that words are getting added to our lexicon on a regular basis (uh … like ‘blog,’ for instance). I like seeing the way we try to work our way around the usable, appropriate descriptors of things (‘significant other’ to ‘life partner’ to ‘partner’).

As soon as Fox stops laughing at me, she will be composing her response to this post, in which she outs me as being guilty of this hideous crime my own self. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I will beat her to the punch: Yes, yes it’s true. A couple of months ago I wrote her an email that began, “I blogrolled you today.” Nevermind that it actually sounds just a little bit nasty. It’s just wrong. Oh, what’s become of me? Mopsy says I talk as if I’ve stepped out of an Austen novel. Not with sweet nothings like blogrolled tripping off my tongue, I don’t.

Isn’t this always the way? The things I fault in others are simply reflections of my own behavior. [sigh]