C, aka Son 2, is now in Kindergarten.  He is terrified about the lock down drill the school is doing today.  M, aka Son 1, tries to reassure him, but it doesn’t help.

I wish….upon a star…

…for peace.

I recently posted the info below in a comment to an article on “saving money”.  It was a well-intentioned article, but like many such articles, was not useful to anyone struggling to get by (as in, struggling to be able to eat and have a roof).  There are things I know that I tend to assume are common knowledge, but…may they aren’t.  So, I am sharing the comment in hopes of helping…anyone (sorry for the funky paragraph breaks; I can’t seem to get spaces to insert at will).

     If you are struggling for food and shelter, it’s tough, and these kinds of articles don’t help. Part of the problem with money-saving advice is that it rarely comes from folks that have struggled to simply survive.
     When I was living off one meal a day and struggling to pay rent, I looked for fun, free entertainment (art openings, concerts in the park, free days at the zoo or museum, festivals where you can people watch and hear music). Some of these are good with kids too – and with kids, you can usually add local (free) splash parks, playgrounds, and library story times. That helps with savings, because you don’t have to spend money to have fun. Walks and hikes are also good. Of course, you have to remember to pack your own food for many of these – pb&j is fine, popcorn is a good go-to snack you can pack, and rice and beans go a long way at home.
     Cook the rice and beans and keep them separate and you can make them into a variety of meals each night for a week with a few ingredients added (add chicken or other veggies) – just mix it up each night, and sauté the cooked rice and beans with new ingredients, and it won’t feel like you are eating the same thing over and over.
     For the popcorn, if you have a microwave and a sizable microwave-able bowl, you can make regular popcorn with 1/3 to 1/3 cups of kernels plus enough vegetable oil to cover, cover with a dish cloth, and pop for 3 to 4 minutes (listening). Popcorn and a movie on TV can be fun. If you have a TV and Netflix, you have a ton of choices for movies streaming.  If you meet a friend “out”, meet them somewhere you can have one cup of coffee (cheap) – don’t meet them for a meal.

     If you have any way to grow food (even indoors in a pot), that can help. If you have kids, they get a huge kick out of growing food. You won’t be able to grow enough to feed everyone, but you’ll save a few $, and it will be fun.
     If you can make the time to pick through things, definitely get your work clothes at the thrift store. Goodwill and ARC have dressing rooms, so you don’t have to risk that spending $5 to $30 on a bunch of clothes that only kinda fit.
     For the literal saving of money, start a change jar – just a little one, like a used jelly jar. When it’s full, take to the bank and put it in your savings. Or if you feel weird doing that you can use a change machine (lie Coin Star) at the grocer and either apply those $ your groceries or get cash. The downside of that, is that it takes a small fee. If you can join a Credit Union, do so – fees are lower and your money is safer. With either a bank or CU, make sure you have a savings account (with most CUs, you need $5 to $50 to start one). Put $1/pay check in savings. When you feel safe doing so, bump it up to $5, then $10…and so on.
     If you are crafty or need kids’ activities, don’t be afraid to use the insides of cereal boxes for drawing, or scrap wood to paint on. There’s a shocking amount of things you can do with what people throw away or with rocks and pinecones. Flour, glue, water, and salt are also handy. Since you are on the internet, you can find tons of ideas for this – modify the ideas to work with what you have on hand (added aside:  I will post some of my Mom’s simple crafty free/cheap things here occasionally from now on; I learned a lot about crafting on the cheap from her!)
Don’t give up.
     I hope some of that helps. I am doing much better now thanks to many things, including my friends, but I got pretty good at looking like I was living the kind of life that one needs to be considered for many jobs while actually being dirt poor (most people don’t even know that they fit some middle-class mold that helps them get hired, but once you’ve poor, it’s obvious). GOOD LUCK!”

Originally posted on The Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet:

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.23.42 PM

Sunday, September 14 
12 PM – 1 PM

Klyde Warren Park
The Dallas Morning News Reading & Games Room
2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas, TX

For more information, visit http://www.klydewarrenpark.org

View original

Ode to a Bean

for Dan and Dan of Fojo Beans


I found a poem in a cup.

It was hot, I drank it up.

When the poem was smooth and brown,

it was good.

I drank it down.

When the poem was hot and black,

it called to me.

I threw it back.

When the poem was sweet and mild,

I held it gently, like a child.

The poem flowed – gentle, quiet -

moving moments, day from night.

It warmed me and it woke me up.

I found a poem in a cup.




Last night, Son 3 (my 4-year-old) crawled into bed with me and Darth…just like most every night. An hour or so later, I felt Son 2 (now 6) crawling into bed. I grunted and sat up.  No one was there. Seconds later, Son 2 called out, “Mommy, I’m scared.” I stumbled to his room, climbed the ladder to his bed and curled up with him, confused. That’s when I heard Son 1 (10) walking around the room. I sat up.  No one was there.  Seconds later, the dog’s paws click-clicked across the floor.  I did not sit up.  She began to whine.  “Go back to sleep,” I said…and she whined. “Go back to sleep,” I said again, and she whined. The third time, she lay down, sighing, and I lay awake, unable to go back to sleep. I sat up, looked, and the dog was there.

“Do you want to get up?” I asked Son 2. He’s the only morning person in the house; he was game. We climbed out of bed  and the dog herded us down the hall.  The dog is a Golden Retriever (not a herder). Weird.  But she’s old and I figured she needed to pee. Nope.  She had no interest in going outside. So, as Son 2 curled up with a blanket on the couch in our den (which we call “the Sharing Room”), I put on the coffee. I checked on Son 1, who was breathing peacefully.  I checked on Son 3, who having removed his pajamas sometime in the night, was naked, curled up behind Darth. I pulled the cover over him, and rejoined Son 2 to watch the sun rise.

Later, the 5 of us went to Korean School, and then I met my old friend, Joe Flood, who is on a road trip, in Golden for lunch. You should totally check out Joe’s books, though thus far, he has not covered the subject of creepy morning noises.


Wow – this sounds interesting. I don’t usually read horror, but I am intrigued. What do you think?

Originally posted on Whatever:

You’ve heard the nursery rhyme, but do you know the real story behind Lizze Borden? Does anybody? This is the jumping off point for Cherie Priest and her novel Maplecroft, which follows the infamous Borden after the real-life events that made her notorious. Do you dare follow?


Like countless others in the last hundred years, I first heard the name “Lizzie Borden” via the jump-rope rhyme. Everyone knows it: Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her father forty whacks… And so forth. Whether or not she ever killed anyone is still up for grabs; she was acquitted of all charges in 1893, but that’s never stopped anyone from speculating about her parents’ murders – and once you’re canonized on the school playground, your legacy is pretty much set.

So what really happened? God only knows. Either she got away with murder, or she was falsely accused…

View original 645 more words

A friend asked if she could buy a painting from me, asked me to paint her a picture – an image from nature, abstracted, but representational.  A sort of abstract representationalism has long been my default style (since my education is in music and the sciences, I have no idea if that’s an actual style or if I made it up).  I was excited to give this a go.  It had been a long time since I painted….much of anything.  I did a lovely watercolor of R2D2 for my oldest son’s 6th birthday, and even that was 4 years past. I painted a beloved companion for a cousin’s then fiancé, now husband. I goofed off a bit to try to make a decent cover for my novella (I am not a book cover artist), and tried to do something with my old work.  As much as these things brought me joy, they didn’t bring me the ecstatic centering peace of “painting” that I rediscovered when I started this wide open commission.

The paintings I’ve since completed were inspired by Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park in Caddo Parish, Louisiana and Moundville Archeological Park in Moundville, Alabama.  These were places I visited with my husband and sons this summer, amazing places, on our-annual cross-country trek to see my Mom and (extended)family.  Colorado is breath-taking, but like many people, I find places unlike the beauty right in front of me are more likely to trigger inspiration.  So, I painted two paintings, one each, inspired by these lovely and fascinating places. They were meant to be companion pieces. Images of pathways, in nature and in life.  But they are not companions.  They refused.  Louisiana was exuberant and wild.  Even an ancient archeological site in Alabama was well-groomed and stately.  These paintings are stretching to even be friends.

The image my mind made when I talked to my friend is still in there – pushing to get out. This is a wonderful feeling, one I’ve not felt in years. I will paint that image. First I have to find the right place in the real world to work from. It might be in my backyard.  But it might not. And so, I am not just compelled to paint but to walk through the trees.  What wonderful feelings.

I am not sure what I think of the paintings I’ve completed, but I am happy to have completed them. I don’t know if my friend will want these, but I am happy to find out. I don’t know how I am going to squeeze this back into my life, but I know I will.  I am also interested in how this will play out stylistically and in what I paint. I always best enjoyed painting people and could not “feel” landscapes. Now that I am older, I can feel the landscapes…and I think I will “feel” the people more deeply. How exciting to find out.

Sadly, there’s not a decent camera in my house, excepting a manual Pentax made in 1983, so these photos are not true to colors or texture…but if I’m going to share my thoughts, I ought to share images too.  What places or ideas inspire you? If you have stopped doing something you love because “life” got in the way, what would it take for you to find your way back home?


DSC07311 DSC07309

Originally posted on Poor as Folk:

via Rice Bucket Challenge: Put Rice In Bucket, Do Not Pour Over Head : Goats and Soda : NPR.

More than a million people worldwide have poured buckets of ice water over their heads as part of a fund-raising campaign for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

But when word of the challenge made its way to India, where more than 100 million peoplelack access to clean drinking water, locals weren’t exactly eager to drench themselves with the scarce supply.

And so, a spinoff was born.

Manju Kalanidhi, a 38-year-old journalist from Hyderabad who reports on the global rice market, put her own twist on the challenge. She calls her version the Rice Bucket Challenge, but don’t worry, no grains of rice went to waste.

Instead, they went to the hungry.

“I personally think the [Ice Bucket Challenge] is ideal for the American demographic,” she says. “But in…

View original 397 more words

Originally posted on Whatever:

So, in the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide, Henry Rollins wrote a piece in LA Weekly called “Fuck Suicide,” in which he basically engages in a bit of “tough love” victim-blaming. This caused the world to drop on Henry Rollins’ head (here’s a fairly representative sample). Henry Rollins, to his credit, has offered up a reasonably decent apology, and plans to follow up in the same forum where the original piece ran. So that’s good, so far. Apologies are hard and hard to do well, and I think he hits the basics (and for those who don’t know, here are what I think are the basics).

A number of years ago a girl who I knew in high school committed suicide in college, in a way that at the time I thought was astoundingly dramatic. For years, when I thought of her at all, I was kind of…

View original 367 more words


The best reason ever for diversity in fiction, because…that’s what reality looks like.

Originally posted on Whatever:

Authors go into their books with what they intend to put on the page. But there are also the things that they put in there that take them by surprise — and sometimes those things add a new level to the work. Mary Weber talks about one of these things in Storm Siren — and how it got into the book in the first place.


My big idea didn’t start out as big. In fact, I didn’t realize it was even an “idea” until a friend gave me feedback that went something like: “I love your focus on diversity. It’s cool you incorporated other races and special-needs characters into the book. What made you decide to do that?”

“Huh?” I frowned. She clearly didn’t understand. The big idea was supposed to be female empowerment. You know – slave girl with superpowers discovers her worth isn’t in her status…

View original 444 more words

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

Join 500 other followers



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 500 other followers

%d bloggers like this: