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“Talkin To God” Flowmentalz (Def Poetry)

October 15th, 2009

(thanks, Rob I., for the link.)

QOTD: Victor Hugo

October 14th, 2009

“The first symptom of love in a young man is shyness; the first symptom in a woman, it’s boldness.” — Victor Hugo, poet, novelist and dramatist (1802-1885)

what I’m reading this week: War Dances, Destroy All Cars, the Sisters Mortland

October 14th, 2009

Now reading:

Not reviewing these, too in awe of the authors and the words.

All three excellent books.



what to do/flu

October 14th, 2009

From Flu.gov:

If your child has any of these signs, seek emergency medical care right

* fast breathing or trouble breathing
* bluish or gray skin color
* not drinking enough fluids
* severe or persistent vomiting
* not urinating or no tears when crying
* not waking up or not interacting
* being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

my little girl is down for the count

October 13th, 2009

WTF? (“why the face?”) (what, you didn’t know that’s what it stands for?) Kid still sick, fever, coughing, asthma. and 2 kids in her class w/ swine flu. allegedly. (confirmed.) Doc’s office says Send her to school! I’m listening to her brilliant teacher and our equally gifted school secretary and keeping her home, thanks.

That is the lousiest advice the doc has ever given me!

Edited at 8:20 p.m. to say — yeah, big surprise. I’ve had a sore throat for a week or longer, now comes the fever. I’ve got whatever Wacky Girl has. My little sweetie is having to use her nebulizer — asthma is kicking our asses again. Fever is coming down with tylenol, but she just is exhausted. Still cannot believe that the “advice nurse” at the clinic told me, “Mom. Mom!” (may I interrupt to say, I’m not your mama, mama. People I gave birth to may call me mom. No one else.) “100 is not a fever, that’s normal. Even 101, 102. It’s when you get to 104.4…” (again, WTF?) “…that’s when there is a problem.”

Funny, see. Because the best advice I’ve ever received on kids and fevers (anyone and fevers, but especially kids, because they’re just so little) was from the same clinic. They told me that it doesn’t matter, so much, what the fever is — it’s how they’re acting that you should be concerned with.

THIS IS NOT HEALTH ADVICE FROM WM. I am no medical professional. Disclaimer: Sorry, I really am just guessing my way through life, asthma, our checking account…

So. If you have a child who has a 103 degree temp, but they’re keeping down food and liquids, they’re racing around the house, eh, you’re probably fine. (Call the doc anyway. They usually have some good tips on keeping hydrated. Because the fevers do sap you that way, as you probably already guessed.) However, if you have a kid whose fever is low — 100, 101 — you have a problem if they’re limp, listless, and/or have that grayish look (with us, it’s blue around mouth and under eyes, from lack of oxygen because of frickin’ asthma).

(Blue. Yes. It’s just so la-la-la over here, when cold n flu season sets in. And yes, we do get the high fevers, unfortunately, as you long-time readers might remember.) The asthma? The pneumonia? We’ve been dealing with that since she was one. The high fevers, with our boy? His entire life.

This is how I, myself, mommy of the year, diagnosed my then-3-year-old with double pneumonia: She had been kind of run down, was running a low-grade fever, was running slowly around the house. Sort of a jog. Not tearing around, like usual.

“I’m going to take a little rest.”

She snuggled down on the couch. Didn’t sleep, just rested, like she said she was going to, for about 15 minutes. Up and jogging again. I just knew. Took her to the doctor, who listened to her lungs. The one sounded a little “rattly”; the other was fine. I just gave her a look. And then insisted on a chest x-ray. Me, the girl who is anti-x-ray.

Both lungs, pneumonia.

The doctor, pointing out the patches, “See, that’s odd. It seems to be worse in the one lung and I didn’t even hear anything on that side.”

I wish my daughter hadn’t inherited the faulty-lung gene from my side of the family.

love you, wacky girl. get well soon.


Highlights of This Year’s Wordstock, by Wacky Mommy

October 11th, 2009

1) Finally going. Every year I’m going to go to Wordstock; every year I miss it.

2) Sexiest poets: Matthew Dickman and Derrick Brown. (No sign of Matthew’s brother, Michael, who is equally sexy.) (He is away at school I believe.) (Not that I’m stalking them.)

3) You should probably know that Matthew was wearing a Portland Review T-shirt and this thrilled me because that is my old magazine. I edited it in college.

4) Another highlight: talking with the current editor of the Portland Review, who was sweet and adorable.

5) Seeing Sherman Alexie TWICE. Once last night at Live Wire, and then again this afternoon. He is so good. So funny. So sharp. Also sexy.

6) Hearing Matthew Holm (of Babymouse! fame) speak. He writes the series with his sister, Jennifer. More sexy siblings! One of the vendors had a button on that said, “Reading is sexy.” She is so right. Writing books is sexy, too.

7) Learning how to make little books at the kids’ stage. Not sexy, but fun.

8) Buying little books at the Little Otsu table. I’m really into little books, it’s been an obsession for a few months now.

9) Drinking a lot of coffee.

10) Buying too many books. Nabbing many free books (graphic novels, a cookbook, copies of “Beloved” and “Smilla’s Sense of Snow,” AND Sherman Alexie’s new book, “War Dances,” which was included in the price of admission to his talk. Also it was autographed, thank you.) (Autographed.) (Yes, I had fun this weekend, such a good little book geek.)

11) PRIZES! (to bring to my students and my own kids.) Bookmarks, candy, stickers, tattoos, pencils, more bookmarks, so. many. goodies.

12) Running into friends, old and new.

13) Blake Nelson, Blake Nelson, Blake Nelson and his lovely, charming mother. Both sexy!

14) It didn’t rain.

15) I had so much fun.

The End

dear universe

October 8th, 2009


do you remember when we had time for one another?

yeah, me too.

— wm

ps — happy weekend, everybody. It’s Wordstock here, it’s 3 days off from school, it’s ice cream and Italian food and running into my sister, her red-headed fiance and their friends at dinner. that’s alright. (no, we did not run into the Mayor.) (You will be pleased to note that the service at PIZZA FINO in beautiful downtown NORTH PORTLAND KENTON was the WORST IT’S EVER BEEN IN OUR LIVES.) (No, worse than that, even. I kid you not. It’s a tragedy. It is an urban tragedy how bad the service is, YET WE CONTINUE TO DINE THERE. Why? I have no idea.)

(The best rock and roll song ever.)

Sunday Evening Book Review: “Zero is the Leaves on the Tree,” “The Big Sibling Book: A Journal,” “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vols. 1 & 2”

October 4th, 2009

Reviewed today:

Really great books tonight. None of them match up with each other, so much, but that’s okay by me, if it’s okay by you? OK!

The new picture book “Zero is the Leaves on the Tree,” was written by Betsy Franco, with illustrations by Shino Arihara (Tricycle Press, 2009, $15.99). The book begins:

“Zero is…
the shape of an egg.
Zero is a number.”

The book goes on to illustrate zero, with colorful, almost old-fashioned art and lilting words. (“…the balls in the bin at recess time,” “…the bikes in the bike rack on the last day of school,” “…the ripples in the pool before the first swimmer jumps in.”) I can see why the littles like number books so much — they provide the reader with a sense of rhythm and order. Nice.

We all know that things sometimes get very much out of rhythm when a new baby arrives. Especially if you’re an older sibling who feels left out. Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s blank journal, “The Big Sibling Book: A Journal” (Potter Style, 2009, $16.99, pages) is aimed at those siblings, and will be a keepsake for the babies, once they’re older. How about… 1) stickers 2) lots of room for photos 3) funny, funny writing “prompts,” including “If you could ask your little brother or sister anything — and he or she could talk back — what would you ask? I am fond of journals and scrapbooks, and they don’t intimidate me (hello, I write and like to make collages) but I know that a lot of people freeze up when “expected” to fill a book. (Even if that “expectation” is coming from within, and is not required by law or anything, for pete’s sake.) This is a nice format, nice layout, and cries out to be scribbled on, filled in and stickered. Same author also published “The Belly Book: A Nine-Month Journal for You and Your Growing Belly” and “Your Birthday Book: A Keepsake Journal.”

One of the most precious things I found after we lost Dear Granny was a puffy pink “This Is My Life” journal that honestly was not her style at all. Not one bit. I opened it expecting to find blank pages. (As an artist friend of mine told me, when she changed the styles of blank books she was creating, “They were just too precious. People weren’t writing in them.” Once she made them shaggier, and not as fancy, then people started scribbling.) Dear Granny had written not just one or two pages, but page after page. Books like this can really mean a lot to someone else, later on. Maybe even to you. (Smiles.)

Now on to cooking. Did I ever tell you that I hate a vegetarian lifestyle? Hate. I tell my kids, That is such a strong word, do you really hate it? Or just dislike it?

I hate that I am a lazy vegetarian cook, let’s say that. And I happen to be a woman who is married to a vegetarian man and we are parents to two vegetarian children. I refuse to do vegetable croquettes with a variety of dipping sauces, a selection of salads, beans on the side for protein, limit the cheese but don’t get all crazy vegan and… It is not my thing, I’m sorry. If I did go to all that trouble, the kids wouldn’t eat it. They live on mac and cheese, peanut butter and… air. Luft und liebe. That’s right — love and air. Steve would be happy, but I wouldn’t be. I have struggled with this whole thing for years, as those of you who are regular readers know good and well.

Here is how things typically go when I cook.

Remember my son’s infamous quote? “You are the kind of bad mommy who never cooks for her kids”??? Which he said to me at the exact moment I was midway through cooking him a delicious homemade meal? (To his credit, he also told me another time, “You are a goody-good Mommy, I love you!”) Freakin’ kids, what are you gonna do, y’know?

It’s a little ridiculous. We Americans are the fattest people in the fattest nation on Earth, and I’m sweating this? (I don’t really know if we are the fattest people on Earth, I’m just making things up now.)

My point (and I do have one) is that today I decided to cook for me. Just me. I made a delicious pot roast with cipollini onions, baby carrots, potatoes, red wine, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. I’ve decide that if I want to retain what small amount of sanity I have left, I must do this occasionally.


It. Was. Delicious. And I didn’t have to share with anyone. Steve made homemade pesto last week, and the kids gobbled that up with spaghetti. What did Steve eat? Hmm. I think he had a shot of vodka. Poor thing. Maybe I should fix him a Pop-Tart or something?

Thank you, Julia Child, for inspiring me, you Amazon temptress. I bought volumes 1 & 2 of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and I am in heaven. (There are vegetable, egg, cheese, bread and DESSERT items for my family, do not worry they will not waste away.) Really wonderful cookbooks. I can’t wait until they’re splattered with sauce stains and chocolate smudges. Ahhh…

Happy Sunday, y’all. BON APPETIT!

— wm


October 4th, 2009

* we would make waffles for the kids. if we had any milk or eggs in the house, that is.

* note to self: grocery shop at least once a week.

* The Beverly Cleary Tour yesterday was bananas.

* at our house we don’t say “it’s a dangerous cycle” we say “it’s a dangerous psycho.” same thing.

happy Sunday, y’all.

— wm

the clash rocks. still. after all these years.

October 1st, 2009

and, of course…

Rock the Casbah

I once heard the Clash described as the band “fronted by this skinny guy who looked like he was going to lose his mind if you didn’t let him sing.” Or something like that. Anyway, I thought that summed it up nicely.

— wm

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