Thursday, November 30, 2006


After coming back to the house from running the dog, I was getting ready to head back into town to work out. I heard water running, sounding like a faucet was on inside the house. I wandered around, trying to locate the source of the noise. Still no luck. Finally I went down to the basement. As soon as I walked in, I stepped in a puddle of water. Almost the entire basement was covered in a half an inch of water. And it was still spewing forth from behind a wall in the corner. I quickly ran upstairs and shut off the water to the entire house. Luckily, I ran into one of my neighbors as I was taking out the garbage. She told her husband what had happened. Her husband told another neighbor what had happened. Pretty soon, the whole neighborhood was in my basement, fixing the problem. They pulled back the boards, removed some insulation, and voila. A copper pipe that fed a faucet outisde had iced over, blowing the pipe. I'm ignorant about all things house-related, but I'm quickly learning (it helps that neighbor #2 is a contractor/architect and the man who built the house I'm living in now). I had to rush away to pick up Mere from school, since the roads are horrible and the Honda she usually drives doesn't have four-wheel drive. Anyway, when I got back home after picking her up, the pipe was capped. The leak was stopped. The water was back on.

My neighbors rock. That's all I can say.


As far as the roads are concerned, when I went back to Bellingham to pick up Mere, I had one incident where I was in my lane, and the ice in my lane had formed an icy rut, like a skateboarding ramp. I found my car's tires rocking from one side to the other because the roads were so choppy. Soon, I found that my car's tires had been ejected, sending my car veering into the other lane towards on-coming traffic. Luckily, we were all travelling very slowly and the cars in the other lane were about thirty-yards away. That gave me enough time to get back into my lane. My heart was in my ears after that.


I bought an XBox 360. I'm never writing poetry again.

Actually, the truth is, I haven't had time to play it all that much. Mere's happy because it frees up the TV so she can watch her homeowner porn.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Word on the Street

. . . is that my second book got picked up. I found out about its acceptance in September, but I didn't have anything to show for it. I've been mum about it until the contract rolled in, but it was SO hard keeping it a secret. I received the contract this morning and I fully intend to sign the contract, of course.

The title of the book is Furious Lullaby, and it's slated for release in Fall 07 with the Crab Orchard Poetry Series run by Southern Illinois University Press.

All I can say is, finally and thank god. I've been working on the book since 1998. It's an uplifting feeling, to be out from under the weight of that manuscript. After the copy editing, I'll feel like I can fully devote my time to this new collection of pieces I started on this summer.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jake's HUGE Paw

Jake's HUGE Paw
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
As you can see, Jake is quite large. Don't mess with us.

The Root of the Problem

The Root of the Problem
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Here's the under-side of one of our felled Hemlocks. The thing's about thirty inches in diameter (not girth). My chainsaw couldn't get around it. Anyway, the tree was about seventy-feet tall. Good thing it fell away from the house.

Fourteen Inches of Snow

Fourteen Inches of Snow
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Western Washington University cancelled Monday classes because of all this.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our Turkeyday Antics

They were rather sad antics. We didn't have a big sit-down meal. Rather, we had lentil soup and cornbread muffins. All the while I was slupping my soup, I was dreaming of mashed potatos, sliced turkey breast, and stuffing. I watched a wee bit of football, but for the most part I worked on school stuff. We couldn't have gone to Oregon to visit my folks, anyway. For one, we're broke. For two, the passes over the Cascades were snowy and I don't own any chains. We had way too much work to do, anyway.


I've been hunkering down writing criticism. Oh, it's so hard. And I've got a deadline! Egad. So far . . . six pages. Four to go, and no sign of an end in sight.

I've been comparing a book to a gallery exhibition of Picasso's "Las Meninas" study in his museum in Barcelona. Wish me luck.


Our roof leaks. The roof's still under warranty (10 year warranty), but it seems the roofers who installed the thing the first time have been making appointments they haven't honored, dodging calls, and complaining about the distance to our house. What's apparent is that they don't want to honor their warranty. So Meredith's written a very eloquent letter, consulted with the Better Business Bureau, and is fully prepared to take these roofers to small claims court.


I've also been taking the necessary time off from work during this holiday to chainsaw through some of the trees we lost in the windstorms of last week. Most of the trails are cleared (just buzzed through the middle of some trunks for a path), but the eyesore in the front yard's still there. (I promise you'll see pictures, I just can't find my camera charger).


Round 2 of the doctor stuff begins in December. I'm bracing myself. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. At least I won't be missing classes.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Elipses . . .

I just skimmed the titles of my posts. I use " . . ." too much in my poetry, in my speech, and in my blogs . . .

Hmmmmm . . .

. . .


Saw Casino Royale yesterday. I thought 1) I want to be tough like Daniel Craig 2) at times he sounded Sean Conneryish 3) he's a better Bond than Pierce Brosnan or Roger Moore. I do think there are pacing problems with the film, but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the film and I liked the fact that there wasn't so much gadgetry or camp.


I've got three more weeks until the Fall quarter is over. WOOSH! And I still have to write letters of recommendation, review a book, work on my own stuff. Man oh man oh man.


Finally, I stepped into Kmart to see if they had any PS3s. They did not. Which is a good thing. I REALLY need to buckle down and work.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I want to cry . . .

I stood in my front yard with a newly purchased chainsaw and surveyed the damage. There are far too many trees we lost in the wind storm. All told, I found 14 fallen pines on our property. They've also fallen in bad spots . . . over the trails we spent weeks trimming back. I started pruning back some tree limbs, but after awhile I realized I didn't have the time nor the strength to clear back as much as I want. It's only been three weeks since my surgery, so I figured I had better not push it. Maybe I'll have a little more strength during the Thanksgiving vacation.

Driving to Bellingham today, a couple of the side roads had road closure signs. I also saw a big tree leaning over highway 542.


Albert Goldbarth is reading at WWU tonight.


Ski season starts today for Mt. Baker. I expect our road will get very crowded soon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And Speaking of Trees . . .

I drove home in the dark. There was debris from tree limbs everywhere. Whatcom County has been drilled by 60mph winds. When I got home, two 70 foot pines had toppled over in our front yard. Luckily they didn't hit the house. I'm now eyeing the two pine trees near our deck. They're about 30 feet tall, but they're still a hazard. When I chop the felled trees down tomorrow, I may whack back the two shade-giving trees in the back. Photos to come.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One Tree

I bought a Japanese Maple today. It's a sad-looking tree. 'bout half of its leaves are crinkled up fists. The other half's on the ground. The woman at the tree store assured me that it'll survive our zone 6 winters. I have my doubts. Anyway, I picked this tree because of its color. We're already saturated in greens. I'll have to find a nice sun/shady place in our wilderness. It'll be a minor improvement to our landscaping. As I mentioned before, the previous owners of the house maintained the house well, they just were crappy with the outdoor bits.

I may buy a dogwood or two later. They were on sale, but they also looked pretty sad, since all of their leaves were gone. There were a couple of nice cherry trees I'll be considering as well.


I'm not writing right now, which is okay. I've been doing a lot of reading and grading, so the poems have taken a back seat. Plus all the medical crap that I went through and am going through has affected my routine. I probably won't get around to being a productive writer until February. I need another summer.


I'm going to try my hand at some colonies this year. I didn't apply last year 'cause I know 1) I'd be broke, 2) I'd be moving into a new house. I'm not sure if I have the temperment for a colony, though. I may wind up mowing their lawns or maintaining their gardens. THIS poet cannot idle.


Tonight, I'm going to Village Books to hear my colleagues Bruce Beasley and Suzanne Paola, read to support Long Journey: Contemporary Northwest Poets. Should be fun.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Finishing Touches

I spread out my manuscript on the floor this morning and re-ordered the darn thing for what appears to be the tenth time. I pretty much kept the second section the same, but I distributed poems from the third section between the first and third sections. I also yanked four poems from the manuscript because I was repeating myself. Originally, I stuck all my aubades there and several folks suggested moving them. Stubbornly, I had kept them there through this latest round of submissions. However, performing that little visual exercise I realized a difficult thing: even though many of those aubades are my best poems, they're not great for the manuscript. They're just so off, tonally, and to concentrate them at the end like that really weighted the manuscript down.

I figured that structure was a function of my not having a series of "devil" poems that I had recently written. Now that I've written those pieces, there's more of a tonal balance.

Also, words I'm no longer allowed to use: birds, song, moon, stars, heart, ghosts, breath/breathe/breathing. I fall in love with sounds and find myself using them over and over again, even though they're clearly abstract.


There's snow on Slide Mountain. Outside our kitchen window, it looks like a sugar-dusted scone.


I'm trying to talk myself out of wanting a Playstation 3. If I had a console gaming machine, I'd stop writing poetry.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Is it bad . . .

to be smiling in your author photo? Meredith doesn't like my new author photo, even though she took the picture. . . Hmmmm.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Some News

Rumsfeld Resigns.

Rumor is that Lieberman may be appointed to take his place.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Moving Archipelago Satellite Readings

Sorry I didn't post this sooner, but there are/were some great events taking place in New York. Do check 'em out:

Moving Archipelago:
A Century of Writing Filipino America

Satellite Readings::: New York City
(November 5, 9, 16, 2006)

Sunday, November 5th, Open Bar 4-5, Reading 5pm
Featuring: Bino A. Realuyo, Lisa Chen & Purvi Shah
(sponsored by Kundiman & Verlaine)

110 Rivington St. between Ludlow & Essex (212) 614-2494.
Subway F to Delancey or V to 2nd Ave
$5 includes Open Bar 4-5 pm,

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006 , 6:00pm
Featuring: Luis Cabalquinto, Leslieann Hobayan, Joseph O. Legaspi, Ricco Siasoco, Dionisio Velasco and R.A. Villanueva

Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia St., NYC

$6 (includes 1 house drink)

Thursday, November 16th, 7pm
Featuring: Gina Apostol, Sarah Gambito, Lisa Ascalon, and Tai Yo. Hosted by Luis H. Francia.

Asian American Writers Workshop
16 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor
btwn Broadway & 5th Avenue
$5 suggested donation

Saturday, November 04, 2006


At the UW reading, someone from the audience asked me about the characters in poems. I don't feel I gave him a suitable answer to his query. For the life of me, I don't remember the exactly what his question was, but I do remember that it had to do with that juncture in the writing process when you know you need to stop. It blossomed into the "why poetry and why not short story" question.

Here's the thing about character in my poems . . . I never try to resolve their crisis. It would be a difficult thing to do, especially in a single poem. Also, I never feel it's my aim to attempt to resolve a character's crisis at any moment of the poem. Rather, I'm more interested in the context of the crisis and what that context implies about the world of the character.

The other thing about characters in my poems, if there's a 1st person narrator, that narrator is rarely the focus of the poem. Often, the 1st person narrator is describing someone else. I think this is mostly because I don't trust my characters to do an honest job of describing themselves.

Finally, I don't think I have the patience to sustain a scene as a writer, nor do I have the patience to meet the demands of the revision process in fiction. I'd spend far too much time editing one sentence. I use character in poems because 1) I like masks, 2) taking on another POV allows me to toy with perspective 3) both of those things allow me to lie far more than my Catholic guilt would normally allow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rainy-day Reading

Many thanks to Jennifer, Jeannine, and Peter for coming to the reading yesterday. It was great to hear Rigoberto and Rick, two writers I greatly admire. Rigo read his "Tiara" of sonnets, and Rick read his wonderful "Abe Lincoln" poem.

Before the reading, I visited Open Books. It was my first time there, and I'm in love. I wanted to buy everything in the store, I swear.

I wish I could've stayed around longer. Sometimes I regret living so far from Seattle. On the way back, however, I realized why I moved to the country in the first place. Traffic was SNARLED. I left Seattle around 6:00PM and didn't get home until 9ish. Zounds.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Shout out to all of you who've been sending e-mails. Much thanks. I'm feeling much better. The surgeon even told me I could start exercising again (I won't be heading to the gym for awhile, since I'm far too vain).

Anyway, a little love goes a long way and I totally appreciate it.


As you see in one of the posts below, I'll be driving down to Seattle for a reading at UW. I hope to see some of you there. Before that, I'll be taking a detour and visiting Open Books for the first time ever. I've heard so much about it, and I'm totally excited.


I went on a horror movie binge this week. I watched The Exorcist, House of 1000 Corpses, and Hellraiser. I think I've gotten more sophisticated as a viewer. They didn't scare me one bit.


We have a large cache of reserve Halloween candies. No trick-or-treaters this year. :-(