Gratitude journal

What I’m thankful for

WP_20160507_003 (322x500)Last night, my daughter and I headed over to Hugo House. The building isn’t closing just yet, and the house as a creative community will live on in a temporary location, but this was the official celebration good-bye gathering.

We wrote on the walls, we read what others wrote. We watched David Lasky drawing. I added exclamation points underneath the Viva ZAPP that someone else had scrawled. I wrote in the Winslow room, where I had taken many classes and taught a couple, where I found a publisher at an event called “Finding Your Publisher in the 21st Century.”

I stood in the theater where I had performed my own choreography when the house was New City Theater. I couldn’t get into the kitchen, which had been the dressing room in those days.

I saw some friends and missed many others. Walking through the narrow and very crowded hallways, leaning on the railing down the steep stairs, I came close to crying.

I’m not a good picture taker, but I wanted at least one of the house, and my daughter insisted that I should be in it. Thank you, old house with your ghosts, for being my creative home for so many years. The end of one era means the beginning of the next, and I’m grateful that the heart of Hugo House—its students, its teachers, its community—will keep beating.

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I was thankful to spend yesterday with family. I didn’t get to text or talk with my middle kid, but I found out later that both my daughter and my dad did. We had a kind-of surprise visit from our oldest son and his fiancée (it’s always good to have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge). Then it was dinner with my husband, daughter, parents, and my sister and sister-in-law, who hosted. All we needed to bring were wines and the homemade dinner rolls.

It’s been an eventful fall, starting with a knee injury on Labor Day. Thus, rounds of physical therapy appointments. I’m thankful for P.T. and for walking. At the same time, I was participating in a poem-a-day challenge and signed up for two classes at Hugo House.

At the end of September, it was the LiTFUSE poetry workshop–one of my favorite annual events, for which I’m deeply thankful. This year included master classes with Chad Sweeney and Ellen Bass, plus classes with Elizabeth Austen. But the afternoon before, in my last-minute packing, I caught my cat eating part of a flip-flop–the disposable kind from the nail salon. That shall be known as the most expensive pedicure ever. I confiscated the slippers and tossed them, hoping the damage hadn’t been done.

We spent October hoping that any foreign material would work its way through the cat’s GI tract on its own. Harvest came and went. Halloween came and went. By the beginning of November, it was time for kitty surgery–and six vet visits in six days. I asked if I could pay in wine, but no go.

To recoup some of the vet bills, I’ll be working at the winery on Sundays throughout the holidays. I figure that to approach breaking even, I need to sell 25-30 cases of wine (that’s a lot of wine) or 1300 copies of In Both Hands (that’s really a lot of poetry). And for the folks from Office days, I’ll have the pamphlets of prose poems about the content management system that shall not be named (for the curious, they involve wolves, vodka, and one and zero fish).

If you want to take a break from the rest of the holidays, stop by: Cloudlift Cellars, 312 S Lucile St, Seattle.

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cover of a steady longing for flight

I know that the press started more than 20 years ago–but tonight in 1995 was the reading for their first chapbook award. I was honored to share the stage with James Bertolino, Judith Skillman, and Ted McMahon. Honored and nervous!

Twenty years! Our oldest son was in high school. Our two younger kids hadn’t even started school.

Many thanks to the founding members of the press, especially Peter Pereira and T. Clear. And many thanks to Kathleen Flenniken and all the other fine folks who have kept this press going and growing for two decades.

Cheers to you!

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The ornamental plums blossoms slowly give way to their leaves–for now a mottled mess of pink and dark red. The cherries won’t last much longer–but for now I treasure the clouds of blooms that float against the sky.

And today that sky was oh so blue and glorious–a perfect day for late Christmas! Today our family from Oregon was in town, and we gathered at my sister-in-law’s for a delicious brunch. So good to see everyone!. And we finally gave our niece her presents.

Then a family walk through Lincoln Park, a chance to wander and talk and soak up the sun. All that water, and the ferry crossing. All that time together. I’m very thankful.

I’m thankful for the Bloodmobile, which reaches even the wilds of Bothell.

I’m thankful for the wilds of Bothell, the creek and refuge just one parking lot away.

I’m thankful to live in a city where we have the Arts & Lectures poetry series. And this week, I’m especially thankful to hear J.W. Marshall and Christine Deavel read there. Even more, I’m thankful for their store, Open Books, and for the example they live for all of us.

I’m thankful for the neighbors’ star magnolia, which brightens these early spring days and might have brought me a poem.

Thank you. Open the door. Open my heart.

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New job! Learning new things! Contributing!


Light traffic coming home on Friday afternoon.

Some insights on the manuscript with which I’ve recently struggled. (Now I just need to explore those insights.)

Family day! Brunch with my dad, husband, and daughter. Dinner with the whole extended family (daughter’s early 21st birthday celebration; 14 people). We all were fed, company + cake. Thanks to my daughter for her help, and thanks to everyone who helped with the dishes.

A fun afternoon with sun and poetry: Martha Silano’s reading of her new book Reckless Lovely–so good to hear the poems out loud in person–and a chance to hang out with friends later.

Eggplant parm made by Tom.

All in all, a fabulous week. Keep the door open. Open my heart.

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