Monday, July 31, 2006

More Trouble with Bird Feeders

So . . . I spread some seed on the ground as David had suggested. However, it seems the deer also like the stuff. I caught two just now eating it all up! I gave 'em a good scare. Hopefully they don't mess with the feeders.

Oh, and I wrote my imitation poem. So far I'm on task.

The Poetry Challenge

Slowly my Summer is slipping away. I just turned in my course descriptions for the Fall and I'm feeling the pressure to get stuff done. So I've given myself a "Poetry Challenge" for the month of August. The "Poetry Challenge" is simple. I need to write a poem or a fraction of a poem each day, and I'm not counting revision.

Writing everyday is something that's hard for me. It's not my normal process, but it's something I often encourage my students to do. I also remember getting fed this message from my teachers/mentors. I remember writing everyday in graduate school, but I had oodles of time back then. So now the circumstances are different . . . a bit more challenging. On top of feeling the pressure to remain gainfully employed (publish or perish!), I have the privilege of being married and also have the privilege of being a new homeowner (I had no idea it was this much work).

For starters, I'm going to write an imitative poem. My poem homage will be based on a poem by Alberto Rios entitled "Rabbits and Fire" from his book, The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body.

Feel free to join in.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why oh why . . .

don't the birds eat from our bird feeders??!

I mean, we've got the goods! We've got two big big feeders and a bird bath. C'mon now! I know they're out there. They keep flying into our windows.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Behold Summer

For I have eaten cereal at 4:30AM.
For I have not shaved my face for three days.
For I have given myself to leisure and the watching of many hours of Court TV.
For I have punctuated a bird feeder with Hosta.
For I have hacked a felled Western Cedar in two with an axe.
For I have kissed the neighbor's puppy, Sophia.
For I have planted zinnias and astra.
For I have handled mice poison and lived.
For I have exercised my dog on someone else's property
only to clean up after him (since I am a good neighbor).
For I have gone to my new post office multiple times with change-of-address forms.
For I have made the post master repent.
For I have joined a new gym and have yet to see "the new you."
For I have been approached by a former student at Home Depot
and asked to write a poem.
For I have read poetry well into the morning.
For I have triumphed over the grasses with my weeder.
For I have mowed two acreas of lawn in two hours.
For I have painted for seven days straight and have survived sciatica.
For I will lay on tennis balls to press against my lower back.
For Jake will seize the tennis balls and bury them in the yard.
For I have seen the holes in the yard and have made amends.
For I have surveyed the check book and am full of woe.
For I have eaten cereal for dinner.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It comes back eventually . . .

The poetry bug, that is. It's bitten me. I've been working on poems all morning and I'm excited about the thing I'm working on now. Yes, the poems will need to be revised, but for now I have a stronger sense of scope, scale, density. What's helped is the fact that some of the house chores have slowed down.

Rick Barot asked me in June whether I was planning on revisiting some of the characters in Names Above Houses. For several years, my answer had been no, but recently I had been thinking about returning to my Tiresias-like character, Manong Jose. I looked at childhood in that book and he wondered whether I was going to explore adolescence. I told him that I would, but as I've been writing, I'm seeing something else . . . It's funny how my mind revises all my best laid plans. Still, Manong Jose may pop up. There just hasn't been a situation for him yet. I do know that if he were to creep back in, he wouldn't be called "Manong." How's that for a hint?

The other question that came up is whether or not I plan on returning to the prose-poem form. To tell you the truth, it's hard to get out of writing that form once you start, and I think revisiting the form may prove hazardous to my lineation. I spent six years un-writing prose poems with Furious Lullaby.

Time will tell.

Poetry kept me up last night

Woke up around 4AM this morning after having gone to bed at midnight. I've been thinking about this new manuscript a lot and I think I happened upon a better point of entry. I enjoyed writing the abecedarian pieces, but I never felt like there was anything at stake in them. I may come back to them later, but for now I've got something on my brain. So, I wandered around the house a bit at 4AM, not putting pen to paper, just thinking.

Strangely, I've been listening to the Smithsonian Folkways American Music collection and I came up with some ideas.

. . .

Know anything about Murder Ballads?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


They say that children who take up an instrument at a young age are taught discipline. I had piano lessons when I was a young boy and I quit in the sixth grade. I never practiced. Never.

So here I am blogging instead of writing poems. To be frank, at the moment I'd rather weed a whole forest than write right now. I'm trying, though. So far, twoish poems, both of which are not very good. My editor brain needs to shut up.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Creature Comforts

I have joined a gym. I have been the member of a gym since grad-school. For the past month and a half, I haven't had a chance to workout, but now I'm back at it. I'm sore as hell. I started going on Friday. I couldn't walk on Saturday. Really. I couldn't walk. I'm in pain as I write this.

There's something calming about being in a gym. Folks wonder why I don't go to the gym at school, but I don't feel . . . safe at a school gym. I remember when I was teaching at ASU and I was using the gym there, I had one of my students walk up to me while I was running on a treadmill and ask me about an assignment. There's nothing more unnerving that not being able to separate work from life.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .

I haven't continued my alphabetical musings yet. I've been a wee bit distracted. I hope to continue this week. If you haven't guessed, I'm back from Atlanta. It's good to be home.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Still in Georgia . . .

We're still in Georgia, but we're heading back to Maple Falls tomorrow. Anyway, some of you have been asking about the decorating we've been doing to our house back in Washington. While I'm hooked up to a high-speed pipe, I'll post as many photos as I can.

Meredith's Office/Guest Bedroom

Meredith's Office/Guest Bedroom
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
This is Meredith's office which is also a guest bedroom.

Guest Bedroom

Guest Bedroom
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Right now we have bunk beds in the room to save some space. My old computer desk is to the bottom left. We'll probably get rid of that desk and change the bunk bed to two twin beds.

TV Room

TV Room
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
The room's a bit of a mess, so apologies.


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
We haven't figured out what to do with this space. The sliding glass door leads to our grill. Hanging from the window is a piece of art by Carolynne Whitefeather and on the table is a statuette that Meredith bought.

Dining Room

Dining Room
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
We need a few more chairs, but this is our current dining room and dining room table.

Refurbished Wet Bar

Refurbished Wet Bar
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Meredith tore down the accordian doors that used to be to the right side of the bar. We plan on painting over the mirrors to the left of the bar. They're kind of cheesy-looking . . . gold frosted and whatnot.

Painted Kitchen

Painted Kitchen
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
The cabinet doors used to have formica sheets on the front. Meredith and I peeled those off, removed the adhesive with a solvent, scrubbed off the residue, and painted each individual cabinet door with multiple coats of primer and paint.

Painted Den

Painted Den
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
The den took us three coats of primer and one coat of flat latex paint to cover. We left the ceilings as they were.


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
We've been painting. My mother painted this room. She did a great job, didn't she?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

South Carolina

It's hot here. Meredith, myself, and Meredith's mother are visiting Meredith's Grandma who's 99 years old. She's got quite a memory. Anyway, there's not much to report. I'm just stopping in to say hello.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

It's hard . . .

. . . to enjoy a bad movie, especially when a mob of teens are heckling throughout the whole movie and especially when they're throwing trash. This was the case at our viewing of Nacho Libre. I can't recommend this movie, though I had hopes because it was directed by the same guy who directed Napoleon Dynamite.

Other than that, I just finished reading Fast Food Nation. I am fully grossed out now.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Here in Atlanta

So far, we've eaten out almost every night. I'm kinda burned out on yuppie food, but . . . what are you going to do? (Truth is, Meredith's mother's not home and no one else feels like cooking). Meredith's sis came yesterday and we've been watching a lot of satellite TV. Currently, I'm blogging while Mere watches Dr. Phil. The theme: Spousal Ultimatums.

Reading Eric Gansworth's poetry collection at the moment, "Nickle Eclipse/Iroquois Moon." I've been assigned the task of writing a critique/review of his work. If you ask me, he's a writer who definitely needs recognition. Not only that, he's a great guy who's got great taste in music.

Monday, July 03, 2006

So far in my abcedarian jottings . . .

I've got Abaca, Aswang, Balisong, Balita, Kabila, Kutsilyo, and Kuya . . .

Aside from having the poems linked alphabetically in Tagalog, I don't have any narrative threads fleshed out. They're still very raw, which is okay. It's sort of hard coming back to the writing desk after a bit of a hiatus.

In other news, Meredith and I will be hitting the road. We're heading to HOTlanta to visit her folks. While we're there, hopefully we'll bump into her sis. Maybe I can get her to make me a belt buckle to go with my cowboy boots.

I've got a few things I want to check out while I'm in Atlanta. Last time I was there, I had some food from The Varsity. Yum yum! Intestinal grenades are tasty.

We also saw the World of Coca-Cola and Underground Atlanta. I never did get to sample the Coca-Cola flavors . . . maybe I'll do that this time.

Anyway, if anyone's in the ATL, give me a holler! I'll be checking e-mails etc. while I'm on the road.