Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nothing, but Everthing

Nothing much happened today.
Oh: except that I walked out
onto the deck
at 6:54 PM
and saw

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pink Hippos, Etc.

I was trying to find some information about a particular non-toxic cleaning product on the National Geographic web site and was barraged with bizarre news headlines--whoa! A found poem, of sorts:

Pink Hippo Spotted in Kenya

Genetically Modified Canola Has Legs, Study Says

Oregano Moves Cows Toward Climate Neutral

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Great Gatsby, Revisited as Audiobook

At the kitchen counter

chopping vegetables

doing dishes

and looking out at the old avocado farm

across the canyon


in the car

driving up and down

Pacific Coast Highway

to appointments


and the store

I revisited

the careless people

the truthful

the hopeful

and the jaded

the glittering parties

the end of summer

and the rain

the green light at the end of the dock


boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer, Rewound

Hot sand.
A cooling high tide.
The glint and shimmer of the low-hanging sun
on windless waves.
Summer, rewound.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


It's hot in the house
It's hot on the deck
It's hot at the beach
but the ocean is
cool and delicious

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banzai Bowls

So this is my second Banzai Bowl today.
Yeah? Is it good? Can I have a taste?
Yeah, and the girl who works there is good-looking.
Oh really?

Friday, September 24, 2010


Coffee with my dad.

Birthday lunch for a girlfriend.

Dinner with my boys.

I am blessed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

High School Life II

Wow... sitting in the classrooms and meeting Schuyler's teachers at Back to School night earlier this evening literally made me want to go back to school! He's got some really interesting classes and some excellent teachers.

Honors English Lit
Spanish, Chemistry...
Something in me loves
a classroom...can I go back?!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

High School Life

David and I attended a parents' meeting tonight for Schuyler's high school surf team. I looked around me and realized--once again--that these Laguna Beach High School kids have it pretty good.

A Mac on each desk...
surfing for P.E. credit...
high school life is grand

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Mom Nose

Sometimes I wish I didn't have such a "mom nose." You would think that years of exposure to the noxious fumes that children produce would result in a dulling of the senses; a higher tolerance, so to speak. But no. I'm not saying that I'm a master of wine or anything, but I can smell a poopy diaper, slightly mildewed swim trunks, or underwear that's been worn three days in a row from a mile away. Sometimes this superpower is kind of a burden, to be honest. Like today.

Why does my toothbrush
suddenly taste like suntan lotion?
And why does the Kleenex box
smell like kettle corn?
Why this bionic sense of taste and smell?
I'm beginning to feel like a dog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jean-Paul's Return

This post contains nudity and a lewd Frenchman. But his coffee is still the best.

The Frenchman is back
from his Paris vacation;
the locals rejoice.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Dad's griddle breakfast:
Blueberry pancakes, bacon
and eggs--perfection.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

98 Pounds

He stands,
surf trunks sagging below his
skinny teenage hips,
and stretches his long arms
above and behind his head.
"I'm going to eat a Tiger's Milk bar
and then go weigh myself."

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Good Gardener

The good gardener
has been here today
pruning and watering
and he left a
fragrant little jumble
of gardenia and plumeria
on the doorstep

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Appointment that Got Away

Note to self:
It's not enough to
keep a calendar; one must
also look at it.
Shoot shoot shoot.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Family dinners.
Crisp nights and early bedtimes.
I love the school year!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Ever since I started this daily poetry blog, I tend to get a little nervous when I have one of those days in which not much seems to happen. What's remarkable about today, I wonder, and what the heck am I going to write about? Then I remember that I should take a step back and be grateful for uneventful days, and for the mere fact that I live and move and have my being. St. Fred says, with regard to the idea of "today":

It is a moment of light surrounded on all sides by darkness and oblivion. In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another just like it and there will never be another just like it again. It is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious it is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.

Ah--today! This makes me want to send up one of those "thank you thank you thank you" prayers that Anne Lamott talks about. I came up with a quick list of some of the things that make today wonderful:

The hum of the dryer, the call of crows.

My laundry room wallpaper, all lotuses and silvery leaves.

My children circa 2006,
smiling out at me
from a picture frame on my desk

my children now, lanky
and always foraging for food.

My husband, a virtuoso at almost everything
and fun and funny too.

Yes, even the cat hair
on my keyboard.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Plein Air

a woman in a broad-brimmed straw hat
gray hair tied back
looks out at the ocean
then lightly quickly
brushes paint on a canvas
daubing at Main Beach
defining the reef at Brooks Street
giving shape to headlands further south

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reading Before Bed

This is what I'm doing most nights with Willem. We're currently reading The Kite Runner, which has some content that many would deem unsuitable for a 13-year-old. But it's a wonderful story, and I've decided that if he's watched "Family Guy" he can read about love, betrayal, violence, and ultimately redemption in Afghanistan. Sometimes I have him read aloud, but usually I read to him until he falls asleep. I love this time with him.

A mother and son.
She reads. He listens, eyes closed
then drifts into sleep.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11

I haven't really, truly reflected on 9/11 in quite some time, even though it has become a part of my--our--frame of reference. Today I thought about it again--where I was, what I was doing, the unfolding, unbelievable horror of it. We were living in Bellevue, Washington at the time. I will never, never forget that day.

A cloudless blue sky
goes silent.
I look out my window
at Lake Washington,
glassy and calm,
reflecting leaves just beginning
to turn colors.
Beyond that lies the tree-lined ridge
of Mercer Island,
above which no planes fly today.
Far away, on another island,
towers of steel and glass
and the people in them
are consumed by fire
and turned to dust.
The ground under our feet
has given way;
all of creation has become
a glossy, autumnal crypt.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Green Camaro

I got a kick out of the picture and corresponding caption David sent me today from Atlanta. If anyone can get away with driving around in a car that's a bit of a spectacle, it's my husband. He looks stylish and handsome in statement pieces like plaid party pants, ascots, and white Prada loafers (no kidding, he has 'em)--things that would make most men look ridiculous. He's sartorially gifted, that man is.

A green Camaro
with black stripes! In David's words:
"Low profile rental."

Thursday, September 9, 2010


green, red, soft, spiky
medicinal, beautiful
leaves that wound and heal

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love all the Children

Tonight I heard a talk by Bill McDonough, noted architect and co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. My head is spinning (in a good way). His design philosophy and approach to environmental stewardship is so inspiring and creative, unlike most of the stuff that comes out of the mainstream environmental movement, which just makes me want to throw up my hands and give up. He talks about using human creativity via design in order to actually do good, not just do less bad. You have to read the book.

A found poem that comes from the main idea of his talk (and how convenient that it fits into haiku form!):

Love all the children
of all species for all time:
Cradle to Cradle

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Too Cool for School

It's the first day of school
but we've done this before.
In fact, we're too cool
for school.
Backpack, check.
Lunch money, check.
8th-grade attitude, check.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Letdown

This has been the strangest Labor Day weekend ever. I did a lot of reading by the fire, which is great, but not really what you want to be doing on the last real weekend of summer. Normally, Labor Day weekend in Laguna is a three-day beach-a-palooza, with just about every man, woman and child in town out on a surfboard somewhere between Brooks Street and Thalia, in almost 70-degree water. But the weather just isn't cooperating and David has declared it "the summer that never was." Oh well...I guess there's always next year.

Near-empty beaches
Disoriented locals
Labor Day letdown

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Holding Down the Couch

don't disturb mommy
she's reading the Sunday Times
holding down the couch

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nice Vice

Tequila, lime juice,
Cointreau. Rocks and extra salt.
My Friday night vice:
one perfect margarita.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Green Day, Starry Night

I don't make it to many live music shows these days, being a mom pushing 40 who likes her beauty sleep and all. But when my super-cool, well-connected friends Dan and Jenna Adler practically hand me prime tickets and say, "Do you want to go?", I go! So last night I took the boys to the Green Day concert in Chula Vista (south of San Diego but not quite to Mexico). The venue was an outdoor amphitheater and it was a clear, beautiful summer night. And what a show. I know this phrase gets overused, but I don't know how else to say it: I was blown away.

I have always liked Green Day's music and their their gritty, Bay Area-roots story. And, though I might not share all the views expressed in their songs, I love that Billie Joe Armstrong consistently takes on and grapples with real life--politics, religion, culture, relationships--in an intelligent, often poetic way. But I had never seen Green Day perform live--and this is where the blown away part comes in. Their musicianship and sheer passion made for an electrifying show. I know that live concerts are supposed to be that way, but they aren't always, so I don't take it for granted.

A punk band may not take this as a compliment (they'd probably rather I said that they were obnoxious and rude), but Green Day were total professionals, without sacrificing any of the raw energy and rebelliousness that defines punk. Trust me, there were plenty of f-bombs, loud explosions, and awesome pyrotechnics--they haven't lost their edge. But there was none of the jaded, I don't know what city I'm in or what day it is attitude that you sometimes get from touring musicians who have made it big. There was no posing or trying to look cool--they worked. They sweated (there was real fire on that stage!) They brought so much heart and authenticity to the show that I felt honored, and respected, in being there. Again, probably not what a rock band wants to hear from a soccer mom, but there you have it.

two generations
punk, passion, pyrotechnics
Green Day, starry night

Thursday, September 2, 2010


A bird beats its wings
against the glass, then
flies up and over it, free.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mother Superior

My mother, Delianne Greydanus Koops, is 63 today, if I have done the math correctly. So in her honor, I decided to make a list of some of her unofficial "rules." Some of you will argue that this is not really a poem, and maybe you're right. But I was thinking about my mom, and the atmosphere of love and warmth and celebration that she brought to our home, and some of those funny "mom" things I remember her saying, and this just felt right. I noticed that when I started tapping my memories and writing things down, so many of them have to do with food and sitting around the table together. One of my mother's greatest talents is the gift of hospitality. I still want to be like her when I grow up. Happy birthday, Mom!

Rules I learned from my mother:

1. Always invite the stranger in--there's always enough room at the table for a few more teenagers, MIT graduate students, Sudanese refugees, difficult (or easygoing) relatives, lonely co-workers, or elderly neighbors. Always.

2. No fake food! Insist on real butter, good coffee, fresh bread.

3. Leftover blackberry pie is a perfectly good breakfast food.

4. Stand up straight; you'll look better and feel better too.

5. If you're not hungry enough to eat an apple or some carrot sticks, you're probably not hungry.

6. Hang up your clothes! (I'm still working on this one)

7. To breastfeeding mothers: Quit worrying about everything. Sit down, put your feet up, and have a beer. It's good for you and good for the baby.

8. Celebrate life's milestones, big and small. Not just birthdays and anniversaries, but Fridays, report card days (even if the report cards aren't perfect), rainy days, etc.

9. A brisk walk cures (almost) all.

10. Even a simple meal, when served and eaten with love, can be a feast.