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