Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fifteen and (not really) counting

I stopped at the post office this morning on our way out of town--a quick trip to Harrisburg to find Choe's Asian Market, recommended by Paula H. The box was crammed with colorful envelopes, which puzzled me for a moment, then: aha. Mom. Fifteen birthday cards. I glanced over at the counter, where V was shaking her head: I processed those, she said, and I kept thinking--
     What makes him so special? I offered. She laughed. I told her next week was my 50th and that there might be another 35 cards coming in. My mother really should have bought stock in Hallmark in the Sixties.
     Opening the cards at my desk after we got home and reading the little notes was an exercise in memory and forgetting: Remember the chestnut tree? Remember when you painted the fence and thought you'd never get done? I brought you cold drinks . . . I do remember the fence (split rail, and I painted it a dark, dark gray, and had to cut down an enormous forsythia bush) but I didn't remember the other part. How spotty is memory. Or maybe just mine?
     Bright envelopes: blues, yellows, some greens. Little stickers of dogs, cats, butterflies. One with a row of baby ducks, which triggers the memory of getting six tiny ducklings as a birthday surprise for her, and trying to keep them hidden in my bedroom closet for a whole day: six peeping birds in a cardboard box. Another story, but the look of utter joy on her face when we dumped them onto the living room carpet. . . And of course I will save the cards in the same box where I keep all her letters, but I keep looking at the envelopes: What can I make of these?
     --A quilt, of course. Of sorts. A paper quilt. Ohio Star? Too complicated?

And by the way, the trip to Choe's was a great success. We bought oodles of noodles, mung beans, hot pepper paste, a huge jar of kimchi . . . Then we tracked down a Vietnamese shop and got more goodies, including fresh gai lon and a big bag of the cutest little baby bok choy--I mean I wanted to kiss them, they looked that cute. Why does baby bok choy affect me the way most people respond to actual babies? Why ask why? We're eating well this weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Okay, I admit I'm all thumbs when it comes to setting up anything on the Internet. But the new Seven Kitchens site over at Word Press was going along so well--so well that I thought installing those little Paypal "Buy Now" buttons would be a snap. They were a snap to install on Blogger. But even though I can see the HTML code pasted correctly on my Word Press pages, I don't see the button when I switch to view the saved page in regular ("visual") mode.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Maybe they are only visible once the site is publicly searchable? --That doesn't make sense, because I want to get everything loaded before it goes public.

I'm flummoxed. I'm walking away from it for a little while. Ah, gardening: something I'm really good at.

Up too late again

Dear 3 AM: WTF?

I mean, yes, I can always find something to do (two new chapbooks launched the same week, am I that crazy?) but I am not, I repeat not, a night owl.

We've got to stop meeting like this. I'd rather see you in my dreams.

Yes, two chapbooks: To the Refrigerator Gods by Terry Kirts came out on Monday--#8 in the Editor's Series, and on Wednesday (today) (though it's already Thursday), Guillermo Castro's Cry Me a Lorca came out--#4 in the limited-edition Summer Kitchen Series. I've been up late putting together a big batch of copies and cheating on my Red Sox by half-watching the Mets' lackluster effort to avoid being swept by the Diamondbacks. I gave up in the 12th inning: don't know, don't care.

I've spent hours every day this week typing in book & author data for Seven Kitchens' new online home. Yeah, we're jumping over to Word Press on August 1st, ready or not. I think we'll be ready. All the book pages are loaded. I need to add Paypal links (which should be easy, having just done this last week on the Blogger site) and move all the author updates to new subpages. That'll take about a week. Then a few days to let our authors preview the site and hit me back with any fixes that need attending to. Then we launch!

I should have a party. Or even better, a sale. But I wanted to have a sale this fall on our three-year anniversary, if I can figure out exactly when that is.

Slowly cutting through the pile of papers and files on my desk. There were two piles; now there's only one, and I made a good dent in it today. Progress! I want to make room for my old printer here on the desk beside the laser printer: I need it for color scanning and for printing drafts.

Harvested the first good handful of tomatoes today. We've been eating the yellow pears as they ripen, one at a time. These are thumb-sized, red tomatoes, I can't remember the name. And the yard-long beans, which I planted way too early in May, have suddenly come alive after languishing beneath the peas for months: tendrils snaking everywhere, and even a couple of flowers, though they were surprisingly dull--I was expecting more yellow or pink or even cream-colored blossoms, but these were a drab dirty-dishrag off-off-white. If I were a bee I wouldn't even stop to investigate.

There's a birthday with my name on it, and I can almost hear it slouching towards Lewisburg: the Big One. The half-century mark. I don't know what fifty is supposed to feel like, but I do admit that as I edge daily closer to this milestone, my ability to accommodate it as a tangible aspect of my reality, my identity, sheers off increasingly into disbelief.

Aaaand then I look into the bathroom mirror. No need to pinch me; I know this one is real.

Friday, July 02, 2010

New venue for reviews of poetry and nonfiction

Palmer Hall has launched a new online venue for reviewing poetry and nonfiction: The Yanaguana Literary Review. You can find it here.
. . .

Turned in my keys and ID today at Lyco. They asked for my parking decal as well. (Sure, no problem.) The only surprise was that there's no way to store & retrieve three years of e-mail, unless I go back in, have someone unlock my old office, and painstakingly forward each e-mail to myself. Umm, I could have used that information a few weeks ago; at least I'd have had time to forward some of the important stuff.

Other than that glitch, a very satisfactory three-year gig. I will miss it.
. . .