Friday, December 31, 2010

Broken Wing

Last day of the year
Just two hours on the mountain
Our lad breaks his arm

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Aloe in Bloom, and Everything Else

Today I feel like I don't have an original bone in my body, and am having a hard time writing an actual poem. But I went for a run earlier and as I passed this patch of brilliant red aloe flowers, I was overcome with gratefulness for some of the things I just don't think about very often. My prayer of thanks isn't very creative, but it's from the heart.

Thank you for aloe in bloom.
Thank you for eyesight that needs only the slightest correction.
Thank you for legs that can walk and run,
and arms that can swim, paddle,
carry groceries and hug my sons.
Thank you for the year ending
and the one about to begin.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Remembering Tim

When I remember you, Tim,

it's through the filter of your brother's stories--

my favorite memories of you

have become the stories he told me.

You policing the sugar he put on his cereal

while he taunted you, tipping just a bit more off the spoon;

your careful, complete assembly of model airplanes

while his, half-finished, were set on fire and thrown off the dock.

The rivalry and love that can probably only be understood

by two brothers born eighteen months apart.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Too Soon

Come on. Isn't it too soon
for that Valentine's day candy display?

Monday, December 27, 2010


The walls start to go all coppery
pink and someone shouts,
Hey, go outside and look at the sunset,
so we hurry out onto the deck and--oh!
It never gets old.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fresh Air

Kids, get your racquets
and let's hit some tennis balls.
Food coma begone!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I Do

for David

Do you remember
the night we stayed up late
and painted the kitchen
drinking peppermint martinis
if I remember correctly
were pretty much just vodka
and a candy cane)
and singing Christmas carols along with Ella Fitzgerald
and the Choir of King's College
while our baby boys slept upstairs?
I do.
I love you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

A walk outside, gifts
to wrap. Candles, lessons and
carols. Aquavit!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

After the Storm

There's a break in the rain

so we start mopping up.

Looking at swollen wood and damp drywall

and peeling paint.

Every towel in the house is soaking wet

or being washed and dried

so it can be soaking wet again.

But with every heavy load

of laundry I carry upstairs

my heart feels lighter.

It's a load that I can carry.

My back is strong.

There's blue sky on the horizon,

and it's almost Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Great Christmas Flood of 2010

While making coffee,
I hear drip, drip, drip. Oh no!
The pantry's flooded.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When Parents Text

My brother Geoff sent me a link to the most hilarious web site, It's hysterical! I don't think my texts to my kids are all that funny; I clearly need to put more effort into using emoticons and being goofy and overbearing (though they might disagree). But I do find some of their texts pretty darn humorous. My youngest has a way of trying to negotiate with me about his curfew and sleepovers with his friends (even when he's grounded) that is both exasperating and dear. In the manner of, I have titled Willem's text, and I'm calling it a found poem:

Hope Springs Eternal

Hi mom
Im just checking in im at Myles house
He invited me to sleep ovr and i said i couldn't is that ok

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sugar Rush!

Christmas baking with
the nieces: little cookies
and lots of frosting!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fourth Sunday of Advent

A found poem, from Psalm 80:

restore us, show us
the light of your countenance,
and we shall be saved

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Namaste and the Holidays

Does today's yoga
cancel out last night's egg nog?
I really hope so....

Friday, December 17, 2010

iPods and Eggnog

School's out for Christmas,
the boys curled up by the fire with
iPods and books.

Eggnog, anyone?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuna Casserole

Mom, can you make some food
for my Spanish class party?

Sure, what did the teacher ask you to bring?

A tuna casserole.

?!? Why a tuna casserole? People haven't been eating that since the 1950's!
And also, don't you want Mexican food, like enchiladas?

(patiently, as if I should already know this) No, mom. The girls in the class are bringing Mexican food. Senor Ortiz asked me to bring a tuna casserole.

Um, ok. But are you sure that's what he said?


Ok then.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wheels in Motion

Tonight I took Willem to a screening of Wheels4Life: The Film, which documents the work that Hans Rey's foundation is doing in Tanzania to bring bicycles to people who desperately need transportation in order to work, get to school, or get medical care. Hans is a world-famous mountain biking champion and local legend; he is to trials riding what Tony Hawk is to skateboarding--the original and best, a godfather of sorts. The film was incredibly moving; I was blown away by the difference Hans and his wife Carmen are making in the world. Willem was too, and said so.

The screening and after-party was hosted by our friend Andrew Herrick's company, Crank Brothers (they make high-end, design-y bike components) and was open to the community. So, in essence, Crank Brothers opened their doors and turned their annual holiday party into a raucous, festive fundraiser for a very worthy cause. How great is that?! I found out later that something like $19,000 was raised, all of which will go toward Wheels4Life projects in India and Africa.

I love living in Laguna for many reasons. But I think what I love the most about it is the many creative, talented people here who use their power for good. My heart is full.

raffles, live auction
raucous fun for a good cause
love is in the house

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I know there's rain in the forecast, but until then I'm loving the mild, sunny days we're having.

Laguna winter:
flip-flops all day, a sweater
when the sun goes down.

Monday, December 13, 2010

St. Lucy

It's a quiet winter day here in Laguna beach, and I feel like I don't have much to write about. Looking for inspiration, I looked through a few of the books on my desk and checked email. Aha. The "saint of the day" email I subscribe to informed me that December 13 is the feast day of St. Lucy, also know as St. Lucia. Not a lot is known about her, except that she was a young woman trying to live a life of virtue in pagan Sicily during the Diocletian persecution. She pledged her virginity to God, and was "outed" as a Christian by a disappointed suitor when she refused to marry him and gave her dowry to the poor. Subsequently, she was executed in 304 A.D. She is known as the patron saint of the blind on account of the grotesque manner in which she was martyred, which I don't really want to go into here because it makes me queasy.

Lucy, Lucia, Lux:
The girl who said,
You cannot bend my will to your purpose.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


David is in Hawaii, his last business trip of the year (thanks be to God!) He emailed me this picture of a turtle who looks like such an absolute sad sack that it made me laugh. But come to think of it, I'm feeling about the way this turtle looks--kind of beached and depleted. I've been struggling with my commitment to write every day and have gotten behind and am trying to catch up. I don't feel very Christmasy and the poetry is just not coming.

Help, I'm stuck!
Can someone give me
a shove toward the water?

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I love all the Christmas fixings, but sometimes the list of stuff that I'm "supposed to" do by December 25 kind of bums me out. I'm not feeling very festive or jolly...yet.

Christmas cards--order.
Christmas tree--get, decorate.
Christmas spirit--need.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Antique Antlers and Airport Security

When you carry on
the deer antlers you bought in
an antique store in
Hanoi (carefully wrapped, of
course), be prepared for
some strange looks as they pass through
the x-ray machine.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to Cross the Street in Hanoi:

Carefully, but confidently.
Step into the roadway.
Walk with purpose and conviction
and pray without ceasing.
Do not stop or you will be hit.
Keep moving, as motorbikes and cars
flow around you like water,
until you reach your destination.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bamboo Bar

I wish I could take
the Bamboo Bar home with me,
wicker, wool and all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Uncle Ho's Mausoleum

in a chilly crypt,
the old man lies in state, like
pheasant under glass

Monday, December 6, 2010


Apsara: spirit
of clouds, goddess of water,
celestial maiden.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Siem Reap, Cambodia

I step off the plane
and smell jasmine rice.
Lily pads float in a pond
near the baggage claim.
Even the idling tour buses
in the airport parking lot
can't eclipse
the resonant buzz of cicadas
and the scent of crushed leaves.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jet Lag

Let me backtrack a moment here, since I just jumped right into Vietnam without any explanation. David and I are in Hanoi for Japan Diamond Forum, an event for Amway Japan's top distributors who will be launching XS Energy in that market in the spring of next year. He's meeting with distributors and corporate people, speaking at a gala dinner event, and hosting a few XS cocktail receptions (I'm hearing murmurings about a hot new drink called the Osaka Slammer--stay tuned).

I didn't really know what to expect in coming here. Like most Americans, I suppose, when I think of Vietnam, I think of the war, and its tragic effects on both our countries. Also, I recall images from the gorgeous film "Indochine," which depicts the end of the French colonial era here. So I was curious to see this place for myself. And: wow! Though I've only been here a day, I get the sense that Hanoi is an energetic, vibrant city full of thousands upon thousands of motorbikes (more on that later) and entrepreneurs--almost everyone is selling something, whether bread off the back of a bike, flowers from carts, or food, just out on the sidewalk. Not what I expected from a communist country. And the food itself--just wonderful. What a place.

But this afternoon I was hit by such a wave of jet lag that I felt really strange, and was almost too tired to take a nap, if that makes any sense at all.

With my eyes open
I see stars, and blink a lot
but when I close them,
it's worse. I try to sleep but
things rush at me from
behind closed eyelids.
A moped tire becomes a
crescent moon that starts
to spin, and turns into a
ferris wheel from my childhood.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Morning, Vietnam!

A perfect breakfast:
Savory pho, strong coffee
and--oh! French pastries!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

4 AM

the thing I dislike
most about going to the
airport isn't just
the getting up; it's that I'm
so nervous about
not getting up and missing
my flight that I can't
actually fall asleep
in the first place (yawn)

Hanoi, here i come

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


And, speaking of mementos:

I ask my son
what he might like me to get for him
in Vietnam.
"A monkey would be nice,"
he says, and then hugs me,
lifting me off my feet.

Monday, November 29, 2010


The laundry basket
overflows. Swim trunks heading
toward mildew; sweaty,
clay-stained tennis clothes. On all,
the smell of bug spray.
Memories, and their smudgy,
pungent proof.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The End of the Holiday

Rush to the airport.

Suburbans in a dust cloud,

surfboards on the roof.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh, Mexico

When in Mexico,
you go slow.
What began as a run on the beach
ends as a stroll, as I squint into the sun
to admire the motion of a fisherman
throwing his nets
again and again
into the sea.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I itch.
My ankles and feet have been mauled
by tiny flying vampires;
when did this happen?
Drat the mosquitos!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Mexico

The air, sand and ocean are warm

and the beach nearly deserted.

The water laps gently at

a family of waders--

a mother, father, grandmother,

and three little boys in their underwear.

At a plastic table under a brightly colored umbrella,

seviche and micheladas are served.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cihuatlan Tennis Club

At the end of a dusty, potholed road
in a Mexican village
is a secret garden.
Walk through the rusty gate
past the worn-out tree swing
and there it is: Cihuatlan Tennis Club.
Spongy red clay underfoot;
hibiscus blooming courtside.
The drone of cicadas
and the mewing of a few
of the litter of kittens that live
at the house next door.
Beyond the fence,
coconut palms and banana trees.
The air is soft and heavy;
the sound of the ball muffled
and the speed at which it bounces
a bit slower
like time itself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Manzanillo Bound

Glennco vacations:
a plane full of Lagunans,
Manzanillo bound

Monday, November 22, 2010

Break with Tradition

Packing my bags
and pondering
Thanksgiving in Mexico:
turkey enchiladas?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Before All Things

Today is the last Sunday after Pentecost, and the last Sunday of the liturgical year, celebrated in many Christian denominations as the Feast of Christ the King. Next stop: Advent. I'm feeling stuck and had a hard time coming up with a poem, so here's a "found" poem from today's lectionary. It's from a passage in Colossians 1; I just played around with the form.

The heart-and-cross image above is the insignia of the Vendean insurgents, a group of believers who fought against the suppression of the Church during the French Revolution. I love the internet for finding quirky facts and images like this!




before all things


in him

Saturday, November 20, 2010

127 Hours

David and I took the boys to see the movie "127 Hours" tonight. It's based on the true story of Aron Ralston, the young man who was out hiking alone in a remote part of Utah, became trapped when a boulder fell and crushed his arm, and had to amputate his lower arm to save himself. For such dire and gory subject matter, it's a remarkably life-affirming and even funny movie. (The filmmaker, Danny Boyle, who also made "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trainspotting" some years ago, clearly has a gift for finding light in the darkness.)

"127 Hours" was incredibly hard to watch yet absolutely gripping. It wasn't an eat-popcorn-and-kick-back-in-your-seat kind of movie. It's the kind of movie that makes you consider the most powerful drive we have--the survival instinct--and wonder what you would do in that situation.

Could I do that?

Would I do that?

Am I made of the same stuff,

or something different?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bon bons, Babes and Le Ballon Rouge

I almost fell out of my chair

when my 13-year-old informed me

that he was attending the French Film Festival

at Thurston Middle School.

My son? A Francophile? Formidable!

When did this happen?!

Alas, I quickly figured out

that the reason for his sudden interest

in French cinema

was food and girls,

in that order

(at this point anyway).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh, Orthodontia

His retainer's gone

missing again. The first one

was left in Spain last summer.

Its replacement, last

seen by the sink, seems to have

"disappeared." Will the

third time be the charm?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Home(land) Security

home security system:
as much for keeping people in
as keeping people out
(when you have teenagers)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I love
the hum of home
homemade granola
and everyone home for dinner

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Calendar

I just looked at the calendar.
It's Monday again
and practically Thanksgiving
and therefore almost
Is that even possible?

Sunday, November 14, 2010


These piles of paper
threaten to bury my desk.
Time to de-clutter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quiet Saturday Night

Something in me loves
a quiet Saturday night
at home by the fire

Friday, November 12, 2010


Like all mothers, I suppose, I love it when my boys get along, and it distresses me when they fight--especially when it starts to get physical. I cherish those times when they chatter and carry on like best friends. When I dropped them off early this morning to surf at Salt Creek, they were doing just that. I happened to get a picture of it.

quick, take a picture:
the trash talking has stopped and
the brotherly love
has kicked in--oh joy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I was sitting in the car today waiting to pick up Schuyler from the high school, and I turned on the radio. The first thing I heard was Johnny Cash singing "Hurt", originally written and recorded by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. I've heard it before but had never really listened to it. Johnny Cash's rendition is so beautiful--mournful yet stoic at the same time, if that makes any sense.

Here are some of the final verses:

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

When I got home, I pulled up the video on youTube and watched it. Oh--my heart. It's effectively a contemporary psalm in music and images, and it made me cry.

A broken king in

black, hat in his hand, a man

after God's own heart

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Regular Things

Doctor's appointments,
driving lessons and homework.
Just regular things.
(for which I'm thankful)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jeannie

Jeannie, my sister,
you sparkle and shine! You bring
love and joy to all
that you do. Mother of three,
you are my four-years-
younger hero. I love you,
and happy birthday!

Monday, November 8, 2010


I almost walked right by it,
this perfect burst
of concentrated green.
Monochromatic, yet not.
No two leaves exactly alike.
Thank God for pockets
of verdant, fleeting beauty.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Karate Whiplash

My neck is so sore.
It hurts to breathe. Could it be
karate whiplash?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Brown Belt

Even more than the belt itself

I'm proud of having learned this:

If you make a mistake,

correct it quickly

and keep going.

Better to do the needful imperfectly

than to not do it at all,

or to call attention to your mistake.

And now

off to bed--

sore, exhausted

and content.

Friday, November 5, 2010


It's the day before.
I've got karate on my mind
and butterflies in my stomach.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Indian Summer

Our Indian summer continues...

Another hot, crackly day
and the house is an oven.
We suspend homework
for a few hours
and call off dinner
for time being
and race down to the beach.
The water is cool and refreshing
and we catch wave after low-tide, lazy wave
until the sun slides into the sea.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Glass

gold November glass

one more wave, then another

the sun flares, then fades

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rest in Peace, Andy

Today was strange--midterm elections, of course, and then I found out that Andy Irons had died. It's a shock. I didn't know him personally, but he was a friend of some of my friends, and such a famous, gifted athlete that the entire surfing community is grieving. He reportedly had dengue fever but there was also talk of accidental drug overdose. I don't know what the medical examiner will find, but in any case, my heart goes out to his family and his wife. It's a tragedy.

a hot, windless day

voters are nervous, edgy

a champion is dead

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day

a great multitude

here, and on the other side

communion of saints

Sunday, October 31, 2010


We are family.

A skinny baby in a diaper and knee socks,

and Mike the Situation

from Jersey Shore.

Hall, of Hall and Oates,

and a Jetsons-era space girl

(that's me.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Substitute Teacher

It's a dry, crackly, Santa Ana-winds kind of day,
the day before Halloween.
Even though I throw down my yoga mat
in its customary spot
and see the usual people,
it feels like anything could happen.

Enter the substitute.
This instructor isn't tiny and sinewy
like the others. She's tall and full-hipped;
broad-shouldered and smooth-bodied,
like a swimmer.
She's got braids on top of her head
and mushroom tattoos snaking around her ankles
and, smiling like a mild-mannered Viking milkmaid,
tells us that we will be doing one hundred pushups.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bad Dream

I wake from a bad dream

half-mumbling, half-shouting

"Get away."

The intruder dissipates in the morning light

but the heaviness and dread

last all day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Middle School Blues II

The title of a book by Ana Homayoun on helping boys succeed in school, which encapsulates my life at the moment, and which I am claiming as a found poem:

That crumpled paper was due last week

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

David Sedaris, Live at Chapman University

David Sedaris,
you are funny, profane, deep. And
you tell a good joke.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Day

I knew the day would come
that I have to write a poem
about not being able to write a poem.
And here it is.
I'm stuck, wrung out,
plumb out of ideas.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I took this picture of Willem a few days ago when I was picking him up from surfing at Salt Creek. I love this skinny-yet-buff, growing-before-my-very-eyes phase he's in. It was the same with Schuyler, before he got all tall and manly-looking, which I'm still trying to get used to. At about this age, they look stretched and hungry all the time. Willem is so darn cute, and growing up so fast, I just want to hug him and feed him. (I hope he doesn't read this. He'll be so annoyed.)

Surf, shower, breakfast
school. Snacks, homework and more snacks.
Dinner, dessert, snacks.