Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Family Vacation

Today we flew from LA to Washington, D.C., where we're spending the night before leaving for Europe tomorrow. I thought I would do all kinds of inspired writing on the plane but instead I listened to music and watched one of the in-flight movies, which was "Family Vacation." Vintage Chevy Chase never fails to crack me up. As silly as it is, the movie got me thinking about the way the best family vacations--or the most memorable ones, anyway--have elements of fun and adventure with a little bit of disaster (or narrowly escaped disaster) thrown in. I'm sure this trip will include all of the above.

The family trip:

bonding, bickering, rushing

to catch planes and trains.

Wonder! New sights, sounds and smells.


magic. Dehydration (and

sometimes diarrhea). But

mostly love...and the stories.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not a Poet

Who am I kidding? I don't even know what to try to write about today.

Today I'm not a poet.

I'm a tired mom in sweatpants

getting stuff done.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The List

I'm really looking forward to our family vacation in Europe--we're heading to the Netherlands for a boat trip through Friesland with the Greydanus tribe, and then to San Sebastian, Spain. But preparing for a family trip always feels to me a bit like climbing a mountain (mainly made of laundry). I keep checking things off the list but then adding more--not that I'm complaining!

Dog food, cat food. Bills.
Prescriptions. Clean out the fridge.
The list keeps growing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Court Time

Tennis with my kids,
who are tired and cross today
from too many late
nights and sleepovers, feels lke
mild torture or the start of
a bad headache. God help us!
This is supposed to be fun.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Graduate

Earlier today I attended a brunch in honor of Morea Arthur, the daughter of our good friends Gary and Lisa Arthur. Mo, who just graduated from Laguna Beach High School, has been a much-loved babysitter and math tutor for my boys during the years that we have known her. She is a gifted, lovely young woman and I wish her every good thing as she heads off to college! I took this picture when Mo, with her sisters and dad, performed a few songs on her new sound system, which was a graduation present.

friends gather to toast
Morea: math whiz, songbird,

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Sleep-in

nine in the morning
a houseful of sleeping boys
school's out for summer

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day's End

as I travel north
the fiery setting sun
is quenched by the sea

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Cusp

One son is done with finals,

the other just a day away.

The sky is cloudy

half the day,

then hesitantly sunny for the rest.

The calendar says that summer's here

but I haven't seen her yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vasco's Homecoming

Vasco Fitzmaurice

Mark David Possley: welcome

home, this time for keeps!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Finals Week

One boy
is having trouble
putting away the novel
he's been reading
and then wonders aloud,
should he buy a Dutch phrase book
so he can meet girls
while we're in the Netherlands
this summer?

the other boy
has a textbook open on his desk
but is also wearing headphones
and dancing in his chair
and messing with the speakers.

Don't you people have finals
tomorrow? I say.
Exams, heard of them?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I feel bad that David has to spend today flying to Tokyo. The boys and I would much rather have him here with us. But Japan needs XS and I appreciate that he's willing to bring it to them! So: go, Dad, go! Our father's day festivities were short but sweet--we shoved some coffee and cards and a present at him and then he headed to the airport.

Happy Father's day!
Here are your hugs, cards and gift.
Now don't miss your plane.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grand Theft

An almost perfect
Saturday: Family. Beach.
Glassy little waves
under an almost summer
sun. But in my rush
to enjoy all those good things
I left the garage
door open, and the skateboards
got stolen. Paradise lost.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Learner's Permit

With all due respect to Schuyler--a smart, wonderful kid who will be an excellent driver one day soon--it's absolutely terrifying the first few times your kid gets behind the wheel and you're in the front passenger seat.

a white-knuckle ride
a sweaty-palmed test of faith
my son is driving

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Game 7

I got way too into the NBA finals this year. I dove headfirst into the long-standing rivalry between Boston and LA, and frankly all that trash-talking has been exhausting! Next year I've got to take a more zen-like approach to the whole thing. I know it's just basketball, but I couldn't help but frame the series in my mind as a war of cultures. Here's the thing: I love the quirky, personable southern California beach town where I live, but--as you may have surmised by now--I'm just not a fan of LA, that big sprawling metropolis 50 miles or so up the highway. It's the name-droppers. The self-important entertainment industry people. The limousine liberals. That insufferable Jack Nicholson! I realize there are many good things and good people in LA too. But somehow I took my favorite team's loss tonight in game 7 kind of personally; it felt to me like the world of tabloids and celebrities and movie special effects had won the day. Until next year...

In the epic battle of
the Celtics
the Lakers

Sam Adams and Paul Revere
traffic and the Kardashian sisters

the Harvard Law Review
Us Weekly magazine

Us Weekly
has prevailed
(but just for now)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The kids are counting
down: just nine more days of school.
I'm counting too, and
can't wait until my last day
as the homework cop.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Ugly Game

Total disaster.
Celtics barely show up, lose
by twenty-two points.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crow Pose

one moment I'm balanced


in the crow pose,

the next I've toppled

face-down, splat, on the mat

and am experiencing

the reality

that the human head weighs

about 12 pounds,

give or take a few

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sports Mania Sunday

Tennis with the tribe,
hoops and World Cup soccer on
TV: exhausting!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Everything Including the Kitchen Sink

With apologies to (the late, great) e.e. cummings, (some of) whose words I have borrowed below:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for my reunion with my kitchen sink
and newly repaired counter top
for World Cup soccer in HD
and for friends who offered to pick up
my youngest son from that Bar Mitzvah party
that ends oh-so-late
so I can go to bed

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sweet Seventeen

David and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary today. He is simply the best.

Seventeen years on
I love you even more than
the day we walked out
of that white steepled church and
into the sunset.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

F*@#in Chowdah Sparky!

Today's poem is dedicated to Andrew Herrick, a good friend, Massachusetts native, and fellow Celtics fan.

A good day. Some work,

some play. Oh--and a ball game:

Boston beats L.A.!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I consider myself a novice when it comes to yoga, and I wouldn't really say that I have a regular "practice." I've gone to Bikram classes in the past, and lately have started going to Geo's power yoga when I can. Today I tried a Vinyasa flow class and loved it.

Vinyasa: the flow
between postures. The journey,
not just the end, counts.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Everything But the Kitchen Sink 2

Did I mention that I don't have a sink this week and therefore can't cook? My kids are in heaven with all this takeout food, but even after a couple days of this I feel like my sodium intake is through the roof...

Thai food from Thai Bros.

Frozen pizza, Z Pizza,

and Gina's Pizza.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

It's been said that a good man is hard to find. A good general contractor is even harder to find. I will refrain from ranting and raving here, but suffice it to say that we've got a problem with water seepage under our nearly new countertops and the responsible party is not taking responsibility. I realize that, in the scheme of things, this is not a terrible hardship. But significant repairs have to be done, I won't have a working kitchen sink for a week, and it's a bit of a pain. However, I'd like to give a shout-out to Frank Smart of Metalworks, whose work was not at fault here but who stepped in to help us anyway. Also, thanks to Steve Howard, our neighbor and a masonry contractor, who walked across the street several times to help me diagnose the problem and sort it all out. I don't really know how to turn this situation into poetry but I'll try:

Not my fault, Mrs. Sarah,
says the plumber,
examining the growing split
between steel counter top and sink.

The contractor chews his gum,
wrings his hands,
and throws the cabinet guy under the bus.

This is all vehrry...Meckey Mouse,
the metal fabricator says in his Scottish brogue,
referring to the plumbing seals
and waving his hands in the general direction
of the sink.
But I'll help yeh, he says,
and he does.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Heart Boston

Some years ago, my friend Jennifer Anderson—the inspiration behind my daily poetry blog—gave me a set of beautiful cards that she had made and painted by hand, featuring verse from The Pillow Book of Sei Shõnagon. In her “pillow book”—or diary—the poet Sei Shõnagon recorded 185 observations of life in the Royal Japanese court during the last decade of the 10th century. These short poems, with titles like “Splendid Things” and “Things that Make One’s Heart Beat Faster,” are lovely, vivid snapshots of a real person’s life in a specific time and place. They remind me to “listen to my life” more closely, and to record memories of the places and the people who mean the most to me.

To that end, and since we’re in the middle of the NBA finals (which is, as most of you know, a contest between the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics), I’ve been thinking a lot about the wonderful years my family spent living in the Boston area—during some of my college years and for many more after that. I now live in Laker territory, but will forever be a fan of all things Boston, including the Celtics. Here is my “pillow book” poem, a few memories of one of my favorite places:

The golden dome of the State House

seen through the car window on a rainy day.

Roasted pralines.

The cool museum interior on an August afternoon.

Girls in white, stepping out of the shadows,

in a Sargent portrait.

A perfect oyster that tastes like the sea.

Incense and song rising to the high, arched ceiling

of a brick church on Christmas Eve.

Packed pews; a spirited passing of the peace.

Bells ringing out in the cold, clear midnight air.

A snowy, collar-turned-up trudge

from an office tower at the end of the day.

A breathless sprint through North Station to catch the last train,

then the warmth and light of home.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Food, Love, Birthdays

Today was one of those sleepy, overcast June days that we know so well this time of year in Laguna. The beach didn’t look all that enticing on account of the marine layer. But later in the evening my tribe gathered for a fun, festive dinner at Casa Cassill to celebrate Tatum’s 12th birthday and Tyler’s 15th. After that, David and I dropped in on David Burchi’s 41st. It was a June birthday trifecta. The day started out kind of blah and ended with a bang. It would have been a crime to not indulge in pizza and homemade cupcakes and some good wine. So I did, and it was very good!

In the spirit of food, love and birthdays, a few favorite quotes and of course a little poetry:

You better cut the pizza into four slices, because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.

—Yogi Berra

Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake.

—M.F.K. Fisher

kids, big and little

cupcakes and birthday candles

June gloom disappears

Friday, June 4, 2010

Team Banquet

Tennis team banquet
on the lawn. The lads tease and
applaud each other
and wolf down huge plates of food.
I am struck by how
happy my son and all the
boys look, and this in
turn makes my heart glad.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I went to dinner and a movie tonight with a few friends and, driving home, I was thinking about the many wonderful women in my life. I love my girlfriends. Some I've known for a long time (like, since the first day of college!), and some are newer friends. Some live far away (in Italy, for example), and some I get to see almost every day. But one thing that I've noticed that my dear friends have in common is they are women who are thoughtful and intelligent...and fun. They can speak with authority about business or philosophy or the peace process in the Middle East; but once in awhile, they switch over to the universal language of women: shoes.

It drives me crazy when women think that they need to shun all notions of beauty and fashion to be taken seriously. That's no fun. It also drives me crazy when women spend all their time focused on clothes, shoes, and their outward appearance. That's just dumb! The women I admire--my friends--manage to care for their families, and do amazing stuff like writing books and being engineers and making paintings, whilst also rocking the Pradas from time to time. Here's to you, ladies!

Dinner with girlfriends.
A silly movie, short on
plot, long on fashion.
An entire box of Red Hots!
I drive home smiling.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Unjaundiced Eye

This week I'm struggling with--not boredom, per se--but a sense of dullness, I guess. I've got so much to be thankful for but have a sense of being spiritually drained. It's time to read, and time to pray to see things in a new way. St. Fred has some wise words on the subject of boredom, which he says is the most deadly of the seven deadly sins:

To be bored is to turn down cold whatever life happens to be offering you at the moment. It is to cast a jaundiced eye at life in general including most of all your own life. You feel nothing is worth getting excited about because you are yourself not worth getting excited about.

To be bored is a way of making the least of things you often have a sneaking suspicion you need the most.

To be bored to death is a form of suicide.

--Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life
My prayer:

God help me to see
hear and taste my life anew
today, every day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Familiar and the New

It's been a slow Tuesday. The kids are back in school after the Memorial Day holiday, and I've been catching up on work and home projects that I neglected over the weekend. I don't have anything exciting to share. But earlier today, when I was doing errands, I parked my car in the old Pottery Shack lot on Glenneyre Street and noticed a plant covered with these spectacular little flowers--that I've never seen before--just inches from my bumper.

dear God I thank you
for familiar things and those
seen for the first time