Thursday, March 30, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Tension
Lisa Otter

Tension was the seventh passenger

on the six-seater plane.

There she was with her hands on her hips,

standing ready to board.

Her threadlike lips pursed into a thin callous smile.

All the while she stood there,

she tossed her thick ominous hair behind her shoulders,

and took a deep dark drag off her cigarette.

Nobody invited her.

Nobody wanted her there.

Yet, she forced herself onto the Skyhawk.

An unwanted party guest,

she sat haughtily in her seat,

ready for take-off with her belt fastened securely and

her legs crossed seductively.

Positively beaming...

Pressing herself on us like a humid night in Charleston.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Published Again (Not Me)

~~~~
My 14 year old son "H" walked in from school today with the mail in his hands.

"Hi honey. How was school?" I ask.

"Great. Really great."

"Do you have any homework?"

"No not much. But guess what I've been published again."

"Again?"

"Yes, here look." he says handing me a copy of the magazine with his latest article. One about James Earle Fraser that he researched and wrote a few months ago.

"H this is great. Wow! Hon' I'm so proud of you!"

This is becoming something of a habit for him. His second article in less than two months. On one hand I'm proud. All my hours spent typing and writing must have made an impression. And the writing and typing lessons I insisted on when he was nine certainly have aided him in his ability. When he was nine he thought his first draft was his final draft. Now he edits my writing telling me to delete unneeded adjectives.

I must admit though, I'm a bit jealous. The article I submitted to the paper hasn't been considered yet. The editor told me to re-send it, said he misplaced it. So off I go to resubmit my writing, hopeful that the little local paper will find it worthy. In the meantime, I'm putting on my sunglasses and relishing in the talents of my 14 year old son. Proud to say, "Yep, that's my boy!"

Friday, March 24, 2006

Home Away From Home

"L" is back in school today! She is still not 100%, but she's getting there.

Desperate for some Lisa-time I rushed off to have a manicure. Nice! Nice to have someone take care of me for a change. Plus it was practically a necessity as we have this swank dinner party to attend this evening and my hands looked like they had been through a meat grinder.

Afterwards I found myself in downtown Waxhaw, which is always such a delightful place to be. A new eatery called Southsiders has opened up since my last trip and I just had to pay a visit.

And oh boy was it good!

The menu bragged of a Chicago-Style hotdog. I was skeptical. I always am. Living here in the south has been a culinary cultural eye-opener for me. Sweet tea and what is referred to as "barbecue" down here are definitely acquired tastes. It is a similar experience as one I've had with beer. I'm still waiting to acquire a taste for that even though my brothers assured me I would. That was back in 1978.

After hearing the owner's South-West-Side-of-Chicago accent I knew I was in for a treat. Not only did the dawg come nestled in a poppy seed bun, but she put celery salt, cucumbers, mustard, fresh tomatoes, onions and sport peppers on top! Ketchup was not even suggested. Amen!

I noticed a few customers suspiciously eyeing me as I raised the red plastic basket to my nose and took in a deep breath. I was home! The owner, Patty, stood behind the counter holding her breath. Later, she told me she thought I was the health inspector because I was asking so many questions. I take my hotdogs very seriously.

Sitting down, I closed my eyes and took in another deep breath. When I opened them there was the Mayor himself starring back at me. I'm talking Da' Mayor. Richie Senior. It was a Saint Patrick's Day Parade photo. To the left of me was picture that brought a smile quickly to my lips. It was a shot of frenzied traders in the corn pit at the Chicago Board of Trade. Next, I noticed the golden gloves hanging on the wall. Another wave of home rushed over me. But what got me the most was the 16" softball placed just above the door frame. A 16" softball right in the middle of Waxhaw. Amazing!

The hotdog was perfect. As I sat there eating, I listened to three local men thick with their "Y'alls" and "Yes Ma'ams" talking about local politics and guzzling down their sweet teas. I smiled. I was home.

A little slice of home is sometimes just enough.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Maureen Ryan Griffin is my writing teacher and friend.
She is like a ray of sunshine.
I share with you her poem entitled,
For Mother, As I Sort Through This Old Box Of Clothes Saved For A Granddaughter.
I selected this poem because my daughter has been very sick lately and Maureen's poem puts into such tender words the feelings of my heart. It comes from her book This Scatter of Blossoms.

For Mother, As I Sort Through This Old Box Of Clothes Saved For A Granddaughter

I remember sitting in the tub,
you washing my hair, a halo,
around your head where light

met the steam. I was telling you
how much I loved being eight
that I wanted to be eight forever.

And then I was nine and so happy
to be nine I wanted that age
to last forever too, then ten,

the years clicking by like Hail Marys
on your rosary beads till I would want
nothing more than to leave you.

But that year, my eighth, you bought me
this candy-stripped pink and white dress
with a whale on it.

I remember wanting to cry
when I tried it on the next summer
and it no longer fit.

Though I didn't tell you,
you came home one day carrying
the identical dress, stripped in blue,

in the next larger size. Proving
something about love I've never
found words to thank you for.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Boo to Tummy Aches ~ "L" is still sick

It has been a rough stretch.
We thought "L" was getting better and then last night she took a turn for the worse. Several calls to the GI Doc and suddenly we were headed into the hospital for the endoscopy today! The good news is the Doc says everything looks normal. He took a few samples for biopsy. We will have the results in a week. In the meantime she still is in a lot of pain, tears, etc...

Anyone that knows "L" knows she's been barely sick her entire 8 1/2 years on the planet. This illness is totally out of her character and her mom (me) and dad are very worried.

The Artist Way has fallen off to the side for now. James McBride, the author of The Color of Water brought his jazz band to the CPCC campus tonight for the 14th Annual Literary Festival. This was to be my artist's date. (Un)fortunately, sometimes mother's duties are more pressing than A.D.s. Hopefully I will be able to sneak out later this week and catch some of it. Charlotte is so blessed to have this annual festival!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Artist Dates

One of the things that Julia Cameron has given me is permission to go on Artist's Dates. Deprived from this activity for so long I have more than embraced this experience. My latest dates have been varied as well as awesome. Here's a recap of a few of the more memorable ones:

Went to a Bead show. Beautiful colors, so stimulating!

Took a faux Mokume-Gane class with Barbara McGuire. An educational experience to take a class from one of the Queens of polymer clay. And such a down to earth lady.

Saw Bonnie Riatt in concert. She is one of the best female guitar players. Period. Her encore was John Prine's ~ Angel From Montgomery. It took my breath away to hear this song live. Sigh.

Went to a poetry reading at Barnes and Noble (and bravely read a piece of my writing).

I mentioned earlier about Maureen Ryan Griffin's book Spinning Words Into Gold, but the part I didn't mention was she selected two of my pieces to be in her book. Small as it is I can now say "I'm published". At her book signing she asked me to read "Driven To Distraction". Two readings in one week, I'm on a role!

After all these years of being Mom, Wife, Laundress, Nurse, Cook, Chief Bottle Washer, etc... it feels a little decadent to be taking myself out on these dates. But it is so worth it and so am I!

"L" seems a bit better today. Hoo-rah! She's still not 100%, but also not at the scary level she was earlier this week. Thanks to all of you that sent wishes, thoughts, prayers, etc... I have learned there is no worry heavier than a mother's worry.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My Daughter "L" is Ill

Hello! Up to my ears in Jell-O. :-(

I've had such an intense week. My daughter (she's 8) has been very ill. This week we've been to the pediatrician and the pediatric GI. She is scheduled for a procedure next Thursday. That seems like years from now because she is in SO much pain.

None of my fabulous maternal tricks are working.

It is wearing me out. She is calling out every 10 minutes in such slicing pain that is unnerving. Am I bad mother? Should I be doing more? Do I need to stand outside of the doctor's office ranting and raving until someone, anyone helps us?

Daily calls to the doctors' nurses are typical, as are their replies to try Zantac, a heating pad, propping her up at a new angle, etc... Nothing, NOTHING seems to be working. If she doesn't get better soon I think we will be headed to the ER. At least there I will get some sort of services.

Please tell me something...give me a magic answer. Let me know the one most obvious thing I've been over looking. I will be forever grateful for your wisdom.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sunday's Artists Date

Spinning Words Into Gold
is here.......

Yesterday I went to Maureen Ryan Griffin's book signing and reading of her new book Spinning Words Into Gold. Check out this hands-on-guide of the who, why, when, where and what of writing. It is available for $21.95 published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company, Charlotte, NC.

Maureen has been my writing teacher since I moved to Charlotte. Her approach to writing is fun, her passion is contagious and I 100% recommend any of her classes or workshops. Check her out! She is a poet and a scholar. And you can't help but love her!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Creativity Totem




















Meet Lutra the Playful Otter.

Imagine my surprise when Cameron asks us to find our own creativity totem. Why I've had Lutra for years now. She was a gift from my sister Meg. She really is my mascot! She is very much a reflection of my own life. She has been broken and glued twice, carries purple, green and blue feathers, sports a beret (Jenny's beret), and wear a mauve scarf. She has a place of honor on my art studio shelf and oversees all of my projects.

I painted her nose gold because like her I have an amazing sense of smell. It is the strongest of my senses. My brother calls me the "super-sniffer". Which leads me to wonder about other people's senses. Do you have a sense that is amazingly more acute? Tell me about it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Time for Collage















My Salute to Father Time!

Sometimes the concept of time really freaks me out. We humans have it down to the nano-second don't we? I've watched too many clocks waiting for the moment to pass. I've also wondered where has the time gone?
Time is a puzzle.
Time is precious.
Think about all of the funny little cliches you know about time. Share one with me.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Checking In (recap of week 8)

Morning Pages: 7/7. Now suddenly feeling resistance about reading them. Ironic huh?

Artist Date: Daughter was sick both Thursday and Friday so missed the opportunity to go out on an A.D. However I did finish painting my rooster. Picture to follow soon.

Synchronicities: Slow week in synchronicity land, nothing major.

Other: Naming my dream: To be a published writer.
Action: Today (3/6) I submitted an essay I wrote to a local paper.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Attention Lawyers

There is nothing thin about Thin Mints. Nothing! I am going to sue someone. But Who? Maybe the clown that ordered a case, yes an entire case of Thin Mints! She should definitely be held responsible. Or maybe that cute little Brownie that lives upstairs and peddled them in the first place. She is like a dealer. She arrives innocent at the door with her sweet smile and piles of cheerfully boxed cookies. And then asks for a check or cash. Shaking I run for my wallet.

Opening up a sleeve only leads to that sleeves entire consumption in a solo attack of the cellophane wrapper. Then another sleeve starts hollering my name. Screaming, "Eat me. Eat me.", over and over until I can't stand it any more. I give in like a lover weak in the knees. Lusting after another Thin Mint. A little chocolate drool forms in the corner of my mouth. I am a pathetic addict.

IMPORTANT message to Otter: Back Away from the Thin Mints. Put down that sleeve. Good, now back up nice and slow. Yes, that's it. Slow. Good. Don't even think about grabbing that sleeve and stuffing it in your mouth. Take it easy now. Want a drink of water? No more Thin Mints. Good. Just step away.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A New Look for In Otter Space

Let's face it, Winter is over.
Goodbye Winter, goodbye.

In Otter Space is sporting a new look for the Spring.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Go Now and Be Otters in the Universe

Out in the street
a dollar is a dollar
and a man is a man

but we, knowing we are
emissaries

sent out by our enormous
selves
into this dream

commend the otters,
playful, smart and sweet

who prefer
life
to objectivity.

-Suzanne Gordon


In honor of Greenish Lady
and her poetry Thursday...
I dug this Otter poem out.
It was published in Rolling Stone sometime in 1977. (ish?)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

How Does Anyone Function Here???

My Fat Tuesday Revealed

This is what a mess my art studio was on
Fat Tuesday (hence my lentienal commitment)

I'd say by the looks of it the place looks pretty darn fat.........

YIKES, embarrassingly messy.