Random quote of the day:

“A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not returns.”

—Jewish proverb

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Four white egrets dive
in rainy air just above
the startled cars, a
chase and loop close to doom. Do
they dance—or are they fighting?



*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

The hawk rides thermals
above the wetland–glad he’s
left my bird feeder.




*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Shadow of wings fly
the sun path from the window.
Outside, crows caw, gulls
pipe, finches chitter while all
gather at my bird feeder.



*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

The hawk
must also eat
but seeing bloody feathers
drifting down to earth rips up
my heart.




*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

16 May
Man, are there a lot of people who are terrified of mature women. If they can’t be sexualized in a cliché way they must be mocked & crushed.

 Mature women: 

16 May
And in other news, Jon Hamm’s camo wad still has the most clicks on my Bitmarks. Although “Kindness” by Naomi Shahib Nye is a close second.

Camo Wad is the name of my next band. That or Ironic Sexualization.

20 May
Ricky Gervais says, “Atheism is a belief system, like ‘OFF’ is a TV Channel.” That’s because he confuses his belief system with fact. He can’t disprove God any more than believers can prove God. When it gets to the point of foaming at the mouth, as it does with Mr. G, then we’re dealing with emotion, not rationality. Emotion is the core of a belief system.

20 May
I try to pretend things aren’t hard on me in order to save Mom from feeling bad, but some days, I’m so tired and it’s so hard the mask slips. And I always feel so much worse when she gets a glimpse and feels bad. Guilt is my constant companion. Not a boon companion, either. Not trying for sainthood, just trying to be humane as much as possible. It’s really hard.

22 May
My friend, M., wonders if insurance companies have special classes for their workers on making well-crafted “mistakes” that delay payouts. I certainly believe JOHN HANCOCK LIFE INSURANCE OF THE BUNGLING IDJITS do. I am informed that this scenario was a plot element in The Rainmaker by John Grisham. Which only tells me there are many people who have had my experiences with insurance companies, alas.

26 May
Life is good. Bird is sitting on my shoulder and hasn’t pooped yet. This will probably change soon.

26 May
“We do not decide to believe or actively change our minds.” —Dennis Gaffin, Running With the Fairies

28 May
Our neighbors in the back have chickens. I find their “bwoks” and “cluck-cluck” oddly soothing. Of course, there’s no rooster.

29 May
Pope Francis: Even atheists can go to Heaven if they do good.

30 May
Just found in Australia—giant, florescent pink slugs:   If you wrote this in a fantasy, people would laugh at you.

31 May
Greenies Pill Pockets saved my life. I have to give Min pills twice a day but she thinks it’s a treat!

31 May
Celebrity gossip makes me so damned weary. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

31 May
In case you missed this Awesome Thing from CC Finlay: “My son sent me this comic about old super-heroes. Read it all the way to the end.” 

2 Jun
I had the weirdest dream about the Magic Castle last night. Instead of being in a large Victorian Mansion it had been Disneyfied into a theme park, so instead of being able to enjoy an intimate exposure to magic and magicians, and those lovely bars, you were lost in cavernous spaces and large groups of people. I got separated from the people I was with and couldn’t contact them because the Magic Castle staff wouldn’t allow cell phones. I spent all my time searching for my companions and feeling left out instead of enjoying the show. 🙁

3 Jun
I wish Google Images had a -no -crappy -pastel -art setting.

3 Jun
Feeling extra glad this week that I didn’t get involved with Game of Thrones.

4 Jun
Another intense dream last night, a thriller: chases, betrayals, assassinations. The details are fuzzy or I might try to write it. Eh. Who am I kidding? Although at least two of my seven completed novels started their lives as dreams. Back when I was still a real writer.

4 Jun
Is it just me or does the Miami Heat’s logo look like a flaming butternut squash?

4 Jun
Reviewing a very old ms. I realized I’d used my least favorite cliché line in all of writerdom: a character not realizing they’d been holding their breath. Curse those double realizations!

5 Jun
Be careful who you diss because you might end up working for them. God help me. I don’t need this crap on top of everything else.

5 Jun
Sequestration sucks, and nobody’s doing anything about it. Everyone says, “It doesn’t affect me. Why should I care?” You know what? It will roll around to you eventually. We need to insist our Congresspersons get off their butts and do something.

5 Jun
I got this from someone on Twitter but can’t remember who. You literally are the stories you tell: 

6 Jun
Never say never. Unless, of course, it’s to say “Never say never.”

7 Jun
In the waiting room while Mom has a routine outpatient procedure. Routine, nothing to worry about, but I still do. She came through just fine. We were home by one.

7 Jun
I picked the right day not to go to work. In Santa Monica. SM College is an alma mater of mine.

11 Jun
Weird: is that memory fragment something I saw on TV or something I dreamed?

19 Jun
Things you have to be really old to remember:

“Calgon, take me away.”
Bubble Up
One Step Beyond
Carbon paper and mimeograph machines

21 Jun
I once circled a scene for three months. I couldn’t figure out why I was stuck until I admitted I didn’t want to do what had to be done: break my protagonist’s heart. Once I admitted that to myself, it came unstuck. Still not fun to write, but at least the story progressed forward. It doesn’t take me nearly as long as three months anymore. I assume. Once I write again.

21 Jun
C: Why do people act so damned weird?

Me: Because they lose track of the fact that life is short and our time here is very limited.

21 Jun
I’ve been researching retirement options that last few weeks. They are: slim, none, and hahahaha.

11 Sep
Vegetarians sure do spend a lot of time concocting meat substitutes. That isn’t a judgment, just an ironic observation.

12 Sep
It’s amazing how much our sugar bill goes up this time of year as the hummingbirds get ready to migrate south and tank up on our feeders.

13 Sep
Editing. After all the years and the disappointments, I still hope. I don’t know if that’s my folly or my strength. Why can’t it be both? I suppose it can.

Side note: HUGE congratulations to my friend, Elizabeth Hull (darkspires), who after many years and many disappointments just sold her novel, Darkspire Reaches, to Holland House.

13 Sep
A little wild finch landed on the table next to me and looked up expecting a snack. I felt guilty. Meanwhile, the old asshole at the next table is throwing water at them.

14 Sep
You know, I don’t use ellipses enough in my…writing.

16 Sep
Day 3.5 of Crud on Earth and I’m watching UFOs Over Earth. Perfect crud-brain viewing. At least the record breaking heatwave has temporarily abated. Fans and head colds are not a happy combination.

18 Sep
Somewhere a Romney sings but not for me.

I have too many show tunes in my head. I blame it on MGM, Gene Kelly, and Donald O’Connor.

18 Sep
Now my mother has this damned cold. She’s sick as a dog. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

19 Sep
Lindsay Lohan is looking about 40 these days—and that’s in her glamour shots. What the partying life does for you.

20 Sep
The space shuttle is supposed to fly over Santa Monica pier, quite near our building at work, on its farewell tour of L.A. tomorrow. We’re hoping the west side of our building doesn’t sink as everyone rushes to that side, or the balconies don’t collapse.

20 Sep
Last Monday, the 17th, was “Respect for the Aged Day.” Which is ironic, considering at least one phone conversation I had.

21 Sep
The Endeavour fly over anticipation here at work is very high. We expect it to buzz right by the building when it passes Santa Monica Pier.

21 Sep
AWESOME! Endeavour flew by Santa Monica Pier about 1 minute ago! So close! And apparently I don’t know how to take pictures of space shuttles with a cell phone. 🙁 My work compadres are sharing their photos, though, so it’s all cool. 🙂 Some of the talented photographers here got great close ups and even a really awesome movie.

24 Sep
Rule of thumb: any 365 calendar or book that describes itself as “hilarious” probably isn’t.

26 Sep
The view of the Shuttle Endeavour from my ‘hood. I live about 5 blocks due west of here (the direction shuttle is flying).

27 Sep
It’s amazing to me how otherwise smart people think you can be infected by the same cold/virus twice. Not how the immune system works.

29 Sep
Being alone with Caregiving 101 is the worst thing. No one can help me, really.

30 Sep
My neighbor brought over a surprise belated birthday cake and champagne! It was very sweet of them. And great cake. Steve is a great baker.

1 Oct
A literal wall of fog: coming down from the Playa del Rey bluffs this morning the L.A. Basin was completely covered in fog, only the very tips of the tallest mountains in the Santa Monica range showing. Down in the basin, driving through the Marina, the trees were shadows behind rice paper walls until I came within twenty feet of them and they emerged, soft-edged. It’s supposed to burn off and bring record heat in its wake.

21 Aug
I never thought I’d be this person. Life catches you unawares. I’ve spent a week battling with unmovable insurance companies and uninterested doctors. I need a flamethrower.  Now I’ve released a breath I didn’t know I was holding. And if you know how much I hate that cliché phrase, you know that’s something. The doctor finally faxed what she was supposed to. Now we do battle with the insurance again in the a.m. Progress.

22 Aug
The main goal of medical insurance companies seems to be to exhaust you so you give up and stop bothering them.

26 Aug
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between making excuses for not doing something and facing the reality of the situation.

31 Aug
Never disappoint an old lady. She’ll not only rave like any disappointed child, she will tell you everything you’ve done wrong since birth.

2 Sep
After using red food coloring to mix four batches of hummingbird juice for our four feeders I now possess a Red Right Hand. This time of year we get them in epic numbers. “I’ve never seen so many hummingbirds!” people are wont to say. Every bird within a mile knows where the best juice is concocted.

2 Sep
The Nag Hammer may be a blunt instrument but that just makes it effective at chipping away resistance.

4 Sep
I am letting my puppy starve. That’s the message from last night’s dreaming.  As I do not have a puppy, I think this one was a Jungian puppy.

4 Sep
The Krusty the Clown bird is out in the tree again this morning. It’s a migrating bird that’s been hanging around the feeders for the past couple of weeks. Looks like a giant mourning dove with long fan-shaped tail, but as lovely as it looks it makes the strangest call. You know that noise Krusty makes when he’s upset or caught doing something he shouldn’t? Take that sound, raise the pitch a couple of notches, and you’ve got a fair approximation of this bird’s call.

4 Sep
The Krusty the Clown bird is identified: the Eurasian Collared Dove. To listen click here then click on “3.3 harsh calls.”

4 Sep
Michelle Obama is a rock star.

6 Sep
Yesterday while listening to a John Cage tribute on NPR I stopped my car at a light.  A fountain hissed and burbled on one side, the hum of a healthy engine droned on the other, and Cage’s “prepared piano” music played in the middle. “He’s right,” I thought.  “Music is everywhere around us.”

7 Sep
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

7 Sep
So much can’t in my vocabulary these days. But hopefully no cant.

8 Sep
Every day on the way to and from work I pass a section of land near the wetlands that has been stripped of the wild marguerites which perennially bloom there in the spring, then leave behind a wildwood tangle. Someone has done a couple of plantings here and there in the bare earth as if hoping something more acceptable will grow. These plantings have refused to spread out for some time now. One clump at first looked like white lilies as I sped by at 50 mph but I finally realized they were white morning glories. Lilies would have been appropriate. Surrounded by dirt, the patch had been planted in a bunch that resembled in shape and size the grave of a child.

Still morbid after all these years, folks.

8 Sep
There’s a million wild finches, sparrows, and the like singing their hearts out in the tree next door. Every evening at this time.

8 Sep
I have discovered something wonderful: Von’s market home delivery. Surprisingly affordable, but more important it saves me pain and exhaustion.

18 Jul
A peregrine falcon has been hunting the bird feeder the last three days. I knew he was around because the little bitty birds don’t eat all the food in the bird feeder by the end of the day. This morning I saw him—actually walking on the ground around my car parked in the driveway. Some little critters must have scurried under to hide. I don’t begrudge the falcon doing what he has to do to survive, but I’m always glad when the little bits manage to elude him. Still, he was gorgeous. When I looked outside to call, “Mr. Peregrine, what are you doing?” he gave me such a look. “What the hell do you think I’m doing dork?” Regal falcons really know how to put you in your place. And he was a different one from last year. That one was light-headed, this guy had a dark brown head. Beautiful, beautiful creature.

16 Jul
“About 4000 Klimt drawings survive, and an indeterminate number more were clawed and peed upon by the cats that roamed his studio.”

Wait, did Klimt live at my house? Ah, the ironic fate of the artist! Who has cats.

15 Jul
Whenever I hear Morgan Freeman narrate Through the Wormhole it’s like listening to God explain the cosmos.

13 Jul
Mustard is a very persistent condiment, kind of like the Troll of the food world. Just sayin’.

12 Jul
A motorcycle cop stepped into traffic on Lincoln Blvd. hill near Jefferson, where the presidents meet. He let three tonier cars pass but flagged down the ancient Toyota covered in Bondo. Economical profiling? This didn’t strike me as a very safe way to do a traffic stop. I eyed him suspiciously as I passed to see if he was a fake cop.

12 Jul
A Ferris wheel and Tilt-a-Whirl in the middle of Windward Avenue this morning, and other carnival rides arrayed around Venice Circle.

11 Jul
I liked Crones Don’t Whine but I’ve had to stop reading it because I’ve decided to embrace my Inner Whiner. As well as my Inner Martyr, my Inner Bitter Old Hag, my Inner Depressive and my Inner Constant Complainer.

Because as Jane Wagner said, “I personally think we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”

9 Jul
My mind is on fire with a new-old idea but what can I do with it in this world of No Damned Time?

9 Jul
I should write a book about remembering the good and letting go of the bad. I’ll call it Remember This, Not That.

6 Jul
That supporting actress who was on that show that I can’t remember the name of…I ran into her twice in three days.

Hot off the presses, and prompted (as many things are) by a conversation with asakiyume and with bogwitch64.


What dreams does the captive bird know?
Is it of flying in vast, swooping clouds
of bird bodies, or soaring solo through forests,
playing the leaves like xylophone keys,
singing along with the notes?

Does she know she is a bird, or does
captivity define her as human-not-human?
Does she squander her days playing
with the baubles provided by her keepers,
or do they bring her real joy, a settled peace?

Or a peace with a ribbon of black threaded
through the chattering whiteness of her hours,
a ribbon that ruffles with the slightest breeze,
pulling, tugging, longing to burst all the doors,
break through the windows, touch the blue-grey sky,
and once and for all sail away on the wind?

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