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Archive for April, 2009


No bunnies in the garden, Easter bunny statue
after a visit by the ghost, April 2009, photo ©
2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



On Easter Sunday night, the night Patty came over with my ugly rabbit in tow, the ghost was active. We sat in the great room, exhausted but satisfied. The party had been a success. The house was clean (we vacuumed up edible Easter basket grass from all corners of the playroom), ham was in the fridge, the dishes done. Patty, Jim, and I stared at my ugly Easter bunny — Patty found it at Marshall’s — and laughed. It stood two feet tall on hind legs. Other than the basket it carried in its paws, the rabbit was meant to be realistic, not a cartoon bunny. It was painted khaki tan.

When the gate outside the window snapped closed, Jim glanced my way. “What?” I said, knowing exactly why he looked at me. He told Patty that it was the ghost. Like Jim, Patty has a sixth sense. Jim told her that the ghost was matriarchal, that she had been a gardener and wanted the place to be looked after.

Patty looked out into the darkness. It was late. She got up to leave. I walked her to the front door as Jim took my ugly bunny out to the back patio.


The first year we lived here the ghost was most active in the master bathroom. She flushed the toilet at random, sometimes several times a night. One time she bumped me as I leaned over the sink brushing my teeth. Jim had also felt her presence, even seen her—not her face but the old-fashioned fabric of her dress—in the laundry room. I pictured her to be matronly, gray hair in a bun, benevolent but stern like an elderly woman in a Mary Cassatt painting.

But lately she’s been out by the side gate, along a brick path leading from the front porch to the rose garden in the back. That’s where the greenhouse is, too. Jim is convinced she wants to see us using the greenhouse. He thinks my recent project revitalizing the rose garden is especially making her happy.

It is a sweet spot. An old apple tree anchors it, hanging like a weeping willow over the large plot. In the dirt are the graves of two dogs, an entire sprinkler system that no longer works, and several round stepping stones that were (until we uncovered them) buried under debris. The only living remnants of a thriving garden, besides the apple tree, are the several rose bushes, one taller than me by a couple of feet. I’ve told Jim, “Someone once loved this space.”

It must have been lush at one time.




Easter bunny in front of the garden, April 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved




Day after Easter we wake to rain. It’s come down all night, gentle but steady. I stay in bed; I worked hard getting ready for the party, getting ready for spring, getting that special garden into shape for the first round of perennials I planned to plant there soon. Em runs into the bedroom.

“Mom, did you paint the rabbit?”

I’m not sure if I heard her right and if I did, what in the world was she talking about?

“What?”

“Did you paint the rabbit??”

Paint the rabbit? I turn it over in my head. What rabbit?

Jim comes in behind Em. “Roma, the rabbit has green splotches on it.”

Green splotches!?

I get up, trudge to the windows looking out over the wet patio. There the ugly rabbit stands on hind legs. He is khaki tan, yes, but now he has big army green splotches all over him.

“Were they there before?” Jim asks, mostly to the universe. We wrack our brains. I don’t remember them. Em doesn’t remember them.

I call Patty. “Patty, our rabbit has green spots. Big green spots. Did it have green spots last night?”

“No,” she says, laughing.

“Are you sure?”

“I drove around with that rabbit in the back seat for weeks; of course I’m sure. It did not have green spots!”

We develop our theories: water-activated paint, all of us were just too tired to see the splotches, or the ghost has a sense of humor.


Two weekends have passed since Easter. I’ve managed to get more than 40 plants into the flower garden. Two mums, four hollyhocks, three clumps of daisy. I planted the Easter lillies we got as gifts for hosting the Easter celebration. Under the rose bushes I put leafy coral bells, the color of ruddy cheeks, as ground cover.

A patch of columbines sit in the shade of the apple tree, penstemons in full sun, flowering woodruff, soapwort, salvia, coleus for the exotic red-green foliage, evening primrose, Icelandic poppies, a bleeding heart bush. Near the brilliant violet of a plant whose name I’ve forgotten, I seed small marigolds. I can just imagine the bright orange-yellow against the purple in summer. Because I know Jim loves herbs, I plant a large oregano in the corner closest to the back door, and I leave room for the chives he bought at Grower’s Market.

Jim remarks that she’s happy to see the garden take shape. I have noticed less of her. The last time I felt her presence was one morning early in the week after Easter; I went outside, not a breeze in the air, and the gate swung slowly closed. It dawns on me that I had been schooling our pug, Sony, to use the garden as her potty area. Nowadays my refrain to Sony is, “Out of the garden, out of the garden.”

The ghost is happy.

Jim is comfortable with her presence; me, less so. I don’t much like the idea of just letting a ghost be. At one point I suggested that we invite a friend of a friend, a ghost whisperer, to come and at least make contact with her, see why she’s here. Jim looked at me askew. “You’re not going to pay for him to do it, are you?” I know what he was thinking: I know why she’s here.

And the truth of the matter is that I trust his instincts. I can sense that she’s found some peace of late. Or maybe it’s me, finally digging my hands into the earth, taking the patch of land into my care. A few days ago I moved one of the mums from the spot I first planted it. Too crowded into the rose bushes and the flowering woodruff at their base. I planted it in a roomier spot, in full sun.

Mums are an old-fashioned plant, hardy like dahlias and zinnias, a flower I associate with ancestors from a long-ago past. I have a feeling she likes them.





Image, I noticed the image of a face in this photo that Jim took of an ice crack over a hole, photo © 2007-2009 by Jim, all rights reserved   Image, I noticed the image of a face in this photo that Jim took of an ice crack over a hole, photo © 2007-2009 by Jim, all rights reserved
Image, I noticed the image of a face in this photo that Jim took of an ice crack over a hole, photo © 2007-2009 by Jim. All rights reserved.




Postscript: I wrote this as a Writing Practice (later edited) Monday night on the plane ride from Albuquerque to Portland. I was looking through pictures stored on my computer when I noticed the above photo that Jim took two winters ago. It is a shot of an ice crack over a hole. Suddenly the image of a face jumped out at me. It’s a benevolent face, like a young Madonna or the Christ child.

I marveled at Jim’s gift, how he can commune with hummingbirds (they’re back, by the way; just showed up this week) and the ghost of a former matron of the house. Patty says Jim is an innocent, that he has a clear channel to things the rest of us don’t.

This photo made me realize that the ghost is OK. As Jim said when I brought up the notion of inviting over the guy who talks to ghosts, “Not everything has to change. Some things are fine just the way they are.”

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By Teri Blair


St. Paul's Icelandic Lutheran Church, March 2009, photo © 2009 by Teri Blair, all rights reserved

St. Paul’s Icelandic Lutheran Church, Minneota, Minnesota, where the services for Minnesota writer Bill Holm were held, March 2009, photo © 2009 by Teri Blair. All rights reserved.




Early on a Sunday morning in March, I drove three hours to attend the funeral of writer Bill Holm. Since that day, I’ve wanted to write about it. But I keep getting stuck. I pace. I try again. The paper is crumpled and thrown in the trash.

What’s wrong? I’m trying to make my writing as grand as Bill was, or as eloquent as I think he deserves. When I stop writing and try to do the dishes instead, I consider what Natalie Goldberg would tell me to do. She’d say, Just tell the story. The story is enough.




height="225"

The First Settlement, sign outside the St. Paul’s
Icelandic Lutheran Church, March 2009, photo
© 2009 by Teri Blair. All rights reserved.





Bill was born on a Minnesota prairie farm, educated at the local public school, and grew to be six-and-a-half feet tall. He had a huge shock of red hair that turned white with age, ruddy cheeks, and a beautiful, booming voice. He left Minnesota after college to live around the world, but by the time he was 40 he had returned to his hometown, to his roots. He taught English and poetry for 27 years at Southwest State, and proceeded to publish 16 books. He bought a house in Iceland, and split his time between Minneota, Minnesota and a cottage near the Arctic Circle. He was bold and certain and convicted. He was funny and irreverent and warm.

I heard Bill speak a year before he died. He was reading from The Window of Brimnes at the Minneapolis Public Library. He was three weeks shy of retirement, and could barely contain his excitement for the next phase of life. No one in the audience could have guessed his new life would only last a year. When Minnesota Public Radio announced he had died after collapsing at the airport, I was crushed. Bill couldn’t be dead. I had just seen him. And he was just starting his new life, remember?

I knew I would go to his funeral. It was obvious. I now consider that I may have ignored that quiet voice telling me to go. I’ve done that before, argued myself out of following my instincts. But this time I didn’t.


Minnesota River, March 2009, photo © 2009 by Teri Blair, all rights reservedI packed a lunch the night before, and got on the road the next morning before daylight. The funeral was at St. Paul’s Icelandic Lutheran Church, built in 1895 by immigrants. Because I knew there wouldn’t be much room in the small church, I got there two hours early. After securing a space in the back pew with my coat and bag, I went to the front to look at the floral arrangements. The flowers had come from around the globe, from everyone. An open copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was in the bouquet from his wife. When I returned to my seat, another early-arriver walked in. Poet Laureate & Pulitzer Prize winner Ted Kooser. When I saw him, I knew what the day was going to be like.

One by one they began to arrive, the gray-haired authors. Many of them I knew, and some I only recognized from book jackets but couldn’t place their names. Ten of them were pallbearers. I was awed. Humbled. I’d watch them approach each other, hug, and weep together over losing their friend. Not competitive. Tender. Attached to each other. I was in the company of greatness, and I knew it. They were steady. Present. The media wasn’t allowed into the church, and there was a hush of holiness. We gathered, and honored, and were still.

The funeral service was a full two hours long. In addition to writing, Bill was an accomplished pianist. There were Bach piano solos and Joplin’s ragtime. An octet from the college sang Precious Lord Take My Hand. Bill’s poetry and essays were read. The preacher made us all laugh when he told how Bill sat in the choir loft during sermons and read the newspaper. Though he didn’t agree with all the theology of Lutherans, he valued his roots in that little church.

When the service was over, Bill’s wife was led out first. A tall woman who looked sad and grounded and strong and peaceful. The author-pallbearers followed her out. Some of them held hands, and they stood very close to each other. I wanted time to move slower, to be with them longer in that small place.




Minneota's library, the librarians would call Bill Holm, and he'd walk there to sign books for the tourists, March 2009, photo © 2009 by Teri Blair, all rights reserved

Minneota’s Library, the librarians would call Bill Holm,
and he’d walk there to sign books for the tourists, March
2009, photo © 2009 by Teri Blair. All rights reserved.

 

 

After ham sandwiches at the American Legion, I found the farm where Bill had been raised. On a deeply secluded road, the old farmstead sat on top of a hill. I got out of my car and looked at the beautiful rolling hills that Bill grew up on. I imagined the hundreds of times he walked down the same long driveway where I stood to wait for the school bus. I drove to the Icelandic cemetery and looked at the graves of his parents, imagining some of his ashes would soon be inurned there, too. I drove home slowly, filled with all I had seen.

Bill would appreciate me going to his funeral, but he wouldn’t want me to stay sentimental too long. He’d expect me to get on with it. Get on with it, now, he’d say. Be alive.




Westerheim Icelandic Cemetery, March 2009, photo © 2009 by Teri Blair, all rights reserved

Westerheim Icelandic Cemetery, March 2009,
photo © 2009 by Teri Blair. All rights reserved.





 
___________________________________________

 

Letting Go of What Cannot Be Held Back

by Bill Holm


Let go of the dead now.
The rope in the water,
The cleat on the cliff,
Do them no good anymore.
Let them fall, sink, go away,
Become invisible as they tried
So hard to do in their own dying.
We needed to bother them
With what we called help.
We were the needy ones.
The dying do their own work with
Tidiness, just the right speed,
Sometimes even a little
Satisfaction. So quiet down.
Let them go. Practice
Your own song. Now.

 

___________________________________________

Poem copyright (c)2004 by Bill Holm, from his most recent book of poems “Playing the Black Piano,” Milkweed Editions, 2004.




 

Poet Bill Holm, 1943-2009, from the program for his Memorial Service in Minneota, Minnesota, original photograph by Brian Peterson, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Poet Bill Holm, 1943-2009, Memorial program photograph by QuoinMonkey, original photograph of Bill Holm © 2009 by Brian Peterson.

About Teri Blair:  Teri Blair is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis and founder of the Poetry & Meditation Group of which QuoinMonkey fondly and frequently writes. (See Postcard From Billy Collins — Kicking Off National Poetry Month for the latest post on that group and Teri’s piece titled Desire And A Library Card — The Only Tools Necessary To Start A Poetry Group for a step-by-step on how to start your own.)

Teri is an active and valued member of the red Ravine community. Her other posts include A 40-Year Love Affair, about Bill Irvine’s passion for the Parkway, a landmark theater in Minneapolis that closed in 2008; and 40 Days, 8 Flags, And 1 Mennonite Choir and Thornton Wilder & Bridges, both prompted by the August 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis. Teri was also one of our first guest writers, with the piece Continue Under All Circumstances.

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Bobs Scalloped Oysters, Kansas City, Missouri, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Bob’s Scalloped Oysters, dinner at a writing retreat in Kansas City, Missouri, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

Last weekend I was in Kansas City, Missouri for a short writing retreat with three other Midwest writers. We did Writing Practice, slow walked, sat in silence, and recalibrated our project goals for the next 6 months. There were a couple of breakthroughs and much clarity. I met two of these writers at the last year-long Intensive we attended with Natalie in Taos. We try to meet every 6 months, check in on our goals every two weeks. No one should have to do this alone.

I also met ybonesy at a Taos writing retreat and we are still going strong. We created red Ravine because we didn’t want writers and artists to feel like they had to do this alone. We wanted a supportive place people could visit 24/7. We didn’t want to be tossed away. I feel grateful for the online community, and for close writing and artists friends, and try to cultivate those relationships. I encourage writers to connect any way they can.

It wasn’t all serious over last weekend though. We laughed a lot. And Bob gave us a whirlwind tour of beautiful Kansas City, Missouri. He called it “the nickel tour” but I think it was priceless. I loved the fountains, the art museums, the sycamores and the blooming redbuds. We stood by the Missouri River, drove past hundreds of limestone houses (including Hemingway’s), and ate 50 pounds of Kansas City barbecue. The Spring weather was perfect; everything was in bloom.

For dinner one night, Bob cooked Hamburger Splatter and baked his Aunt Annie’s Scalloped Oysters, made famous in his March post on red Ravine. If you love oysters, Aunt Annie’s are to die for! Gratitude to Bob for putting up with all of us in Kansas City (it’s a great place to write). Gratitude to ybonesy for holding down the fort on red Ravine. Gratitude to Liz for taking care of Chaco while I was gone. Look for more of Kansas City in upcoming posts.

 

Aunt Annie’s Scalloped Oysters, Kansas City, Missouri, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Dish Up The Scalloped Oysters, Kansas City, Missouri, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Writers' Feet, Kansas City, Missouri, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

 

Dish Up The Scalloped Oysters!, Aunt Annie’s Scalloped Oysters, Writers’ Feet, April writing retreat in Kansas City, Missouri, April 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

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Goodbye Teeth, Em's tooth almost fully dissolved after almost 48 hours soaking in a bath of Pepsi soda (one can), photo 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved

Goodbye Teeth, What’s left of Em’s tooth after 48 hours soaking in a Pepsi soda (one can), photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




This has been a rough week as far as Em’s concerned. First we had to tell her that there is no tooth fairy and that, in fact, we had in our possession all the teeth she ever contributed to the making of new stars in the sky (that’s what tooth fairies do with teeth, you know). Second, she had to take two of those teeth and set up a science fair project to look at the Big Question: Which will dissolve a tooth faster — Mtn Dew or Pepsi? And third, she had to watch before her very own eyes as one of her teeth dissolved within two days in a can of Pepsi (something she used to be supremely fond of drinking whenever we let her).

(She also had to get her teeth cleaned last week, but the dentist and his staff were so excited about her science experiment — the doc predicted that Pepsi would dissolve the teeth faster than Mtn Dew — that they paid her oodles of attention and gave her extra stuff from the goody chest.)



Em started with two almost equal-sized teeth of hers that she had to get pulled a few years ago due to crowding (not because of tooth decay)

Em started with two almost equal-sized teeth of hers that she had to get pulled a few years ago due to crowding (not because of tooth decay).

 

The Pepsi tooth after the first or second check, still pretty much intact.

The Pepsi tooth after the first or second check, still pretty much intact.

 

The Pepsi tooth after about half a day of soaking.

The Pepsi tooth after about half a day of soaking.

 

The Pepsi tooth cracked and broke after about 24 hours of soaking, photo © 2009 by Em, all rights reserved

The Pepsi tooth cracked and broke into two pieces after about 24 hours of soaking.




So, I’m giving up my occasional Pepsi or Coke, plus every other carbonated drink, for that matter. (Shoot, I was just starting to like Arizona Iced Teas!) I hate to be such a goodie-two-shoes, but that little floating string of a tooth, the one that resembles goldfish poop…well…it’s grossing me out more than you can imagine. (It grossed out Em so much that she didn’t even take a photo of it to include on her science fair project board.)

Jim says that during this week’s Science Fair, all the parents will be dragging their kids over to see Em’s project and all the kids are going to glare at Em for doing it.

I don’t know. I don’t think it will have much an effect on anyone’s drinking habits. Now, if we printed a few wallet-sized prints of that stringy tooth, that might make a person think twice before drinking a soda.

How ’bout you? Still gonna pop the top?




___________________________________________________________________

Postscript: Over a week after the Pepsi tooth dissolved, the Mtn Dew tooth was still intact. We finally threw it out but took this last photo for posterity.

I guess the moral of the science project is: If you must drink a soda, go for Mtn Dew instead of Pepsi. Less wear and tear on the teeth. :)  (Wish I had a smiley face icon with a missing tooth.)



Mtn Dew tooth, Ems tooth after almost two weeks soaking in a can of Mtn Dew, still going strong.

Mtn Dew tooth, Em's tooth after almost two weeks soaking in a can of Mtn Dew, still going strong.

 


-related to post Less Than 1 Calorie Per Bottle

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 chicks-1
ZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


chicks-2
Zzzzzz…. Ah, corn, cookies, mashed potatoes


chicks-3
Harumph…. Huh? Who’s there? Wait, where am I?


chicks-4
Wha? I was just dreaming…creamed corn


chicks-5
Oh my, what a big eye you have


chicks-6
Are you my mom???




Postscript: Six poults hatch from among the couple of dozen eggs the mama turkey lays on. Turkeys are big and clumsy, and the mama squashes her babies by accident, killing four.

Jim and the girls snap into action. There are only two poults left, one injured, the other tangled in the octagon of a chickenwire fence. Jim cuts out the trapped baby.

Both are just a few days old but already they eat and drink. Like most babies they sleep a lot. An old photography light/heat lamp simulates (as much as possible) the warmth of Mama’s downy feathers.

Jim says we’re nurturing the next generation of turkeys. Every day until all the eggs hatch he’ll be out there watching for the next set of poults.





Turkeys on red Ravine

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River Painting, dusk along the Mississippi River, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

River Painting, drive-by shooting of dusk along the Mississippi River after a walk with two Midwest writers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

Last week I finished reading writer Patricia Hampl’s memoir The Florist’s Daughter. It is set in her hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. The landmarks are familiar to me, and I identify with her descriptions of “middledom” — the ordered streets, the litterless greenways and lakes, the pressure to conform that naturally seeps into the psyche when one lives in the Midwest.

But I was telling a friend, after 25 years of living in the Twin Cities (and I do love it here), I am still a transplant. My roots are steeped in memories of Southern dialect, and the writing and letters of writers like Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker, and Carson McCullers. I feel an intense connection to the land and culture in the South. The years in Georgia (birth to 12), less than half the time I have lived in Minnesota, shaped me.

I am from the Midwest but not of it.

 

The Midwest. The flyover, where even the towns have fled to the margins, groceries warehoused in Wal-Marts hugging the freeways, the red barns of family farms sagging, dismantled and sold as “distressed” wood for McMansion kitchens, the feedlots of agribusiness crouched low to the prairie ground. Of all the American regions, the Midwest remains the most imaginary, ahistorical but fiercely emblematic. It’s Nowheresville. But it’s also the Heartland. That weight again: the innocent middle. Though it isn’t innocent. It’s where the American imagination has decided to archive innocence.

   -excerpt from The Florist’s Daughter, by Patricia Hampl

 

Patrician Hampl is a poet and a writer. She has written four memoirs and two collections of poetry. And maybe because it’s National Poetry Month, I was drawn to the way she weaves poetry into memoir when describing the differences in her relationship with her mother and father. One wanted her to be a poet; the other, a writer:

 
He could accept the notion of my being “a poet” better than my mother’s idea that I was “a writer.” Poets are innocents, they belong to the ether and the earth. They don’t narrow their eyes and tell tales as “writers” do, proving in their mean-spirited way that the earthlings are filled with greed and envy, that the world is a spiral of small-minded gestures. Poets, at least, don’t tell tales on other people. They celebrate beauty. They make much of the little. Flowers, birds, the names of things are important to them. So being a poet was all right, though hopeless.

There was, even in “tragic” poetry, a note of optimism, of hope, the lyric lilt of meaning and significance. And he was determined to be cheerful all his life.

 

___________________________________________

 

But for the most part he was silent, absolutely without affect. Finally let down his guard. I would chatter, ask him things, I got nothing—nothing—back. He just sat there, staring. Natter, natter, natter, my voice doing all the cheerfulness, his voice fallen silent as the midsummer fronds of wild rice made low hissing sounds in the wind. His real being, bleached to virtual absence by sun and water, descended to the soundless fish world where you didn’t need to say a thing.

Something about silence, something of silence was at the resistant core of poetry. Silence had to do with honesty. Just sit in the boat and stare at the lake’s troubled surface. No opinions, no judgments. No Leo the Lion—she almost never went out in the boat.

   -excerpts from The Florist’s Daughter by Patricia Hampl
 

♦       ♦       ♦       ♦       ♦

 

A few days ago, a Bill Holm poem rolled into my inbox; it was sent by Ted Kooser on behalf of American Life in Poetry. Two more Midwest poets. We had been speaking of Bill Holm in the comments on several posts after he died unexpectedly a few months ago. He spent much of his time near his roots in Iceland, and I got to thinking, what is a regional writer?

What if you were born and spent your formative years in Virginia, your teenage and college years in Nebraska, then moved to Pittsburgh and New York like Willa Cather. Or were born and raised in Iowa but lived most of your adult life in Nebraska like Ted Kooser. Where are you from? What if you lived in Georgia as a child, Pennsylvania as a teenager, Montana in your twenties, and Minnesota for the rest of your life. Are you a Midwest, Northeast, or Southern writer?

Is it personal preference? The place you were born and raised. The town where you spent most of your life. Do you choose the place. Or does the place choose you? When have you lived in a place long enough to say “I’m from….” When can you call a place “home?”

 

___________________________________________

 

American Life in Poetry: Column 213

By Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

 

Bill Holm, one of the most intelligent and engaging writers of our northern plains, died on February 25th. He will be greatly missed. He and I were of the same generation and we shared the same sense of wonder, amusement, and skepticism about the course of technology. I don’t yet own an Earbud, but I won’t need to, now that we have Bill’s poem.

 

Earbud

Earbud–a tiny marble sheathed in foam
to wear like an interior earring so you
can enjoy private noises wherever you go,
protected from any sudden silence.
Only check your batteries, then copy
a thousand secret songs and stories
on the tiny pod you carry in your pocket.
You are safe now from other noises made
by other people, other machines, by chance,
noises you have not chosen as your own.
To get your attention, I touch your arm
to show you the tornado or the polar bear.
Sometimes I catch you humming or talking to the air
as if to a shrunken lover waiting in your ear.

 

___________________________________________

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2008 by Bill Holm, whose most recent book of poems is “Playing the Black Piano,” Milkweed Editions, 2004. Poem reprinted by permission of Bill Holm. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.



 
-posted on red Ravine from the Midwest, salt of the Earth country, on April 22nd, Earth Day, 2009

-related to posts:  Got Poetry? (National Poem In Your Pocket Day)Book Talk – Do You Let Yourself Read?, Desire And A Library Card — The Only Tools Necessary To Start A Poetry Group, WRITING TOPIC – A PLACE TO STAND

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Flower Power Filing, who says filing needs to be dull?, photo 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved

I feel a bit disingenuous.

QM asked me in this post where I got the idea to use spray paints on my Flower Power painting. I told her it was a fun medium to use.

What I didn’t tell her was that I use spray paint all the time, on odd pieces of furniture.

My first was to change a file cabinet from the bland creme-color it came in to a blazin’ fire-engine red. Ah, how happy that made me!

Another time, when my paper effluvia outgrew my red-hot storage unit, I bought another lifeless four-drawer metal cabinet, this time tan, and began experimenting with different spray paints.

First I painted it day-glo orange, but it looked vaguely like a clementine, which, if you know file cabinets, just didn’t cut the mustard. I added day-glo pink, and still, something was missing.

Then I got the idea to plaster flower power stickers all over it and paint it a sort of olive green. Wa-la! A filing masterpiece. Now I smile every time I deposit yet another cell phone or credit card bill away to never be seen again.

(Who said filing is dull? Probably the same person who said ideas are fresh.) 

I see my  flower power cabinet every day — it sits in my writing room — and I guess it’s affected me. In more ways that I can imagine.


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Flower Power, second in a series, gouache and spray paint on gessoed canvas, image and painting © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.











 

Mr. President:
Yes you can. Give peace a chance.
My message to you.













-related to posts This, That & The Other, The Making Of A Painting Painter, and haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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Photo by: Justine Ungaro

Lisa Loeb, Photo by: Justine Ungaro

 

On Wednesday, February 11, QuoinMonkey and ybonesy interviewed singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb. It was shortly after the end of her whirlwind tour of the U.S. and Japan following the June 2008 release of her second CD of Children’s Music, Camp Lisa

The CD follows Loeb’s early 2008 reissue of The Purple Tape, an acoustic, ten-song demo she self-released as a cassette in 1992. Proceeds from “Camp Lisa” benefit a foundation Lisa created to send underprivileged children to summer camp.

The New York Times had recently announced Lisa’s January 2009 wedding at Brasserie 8 ½, a restaurant in New York, when QM and ybonesy spoke with her from her New York City home. They talked about marriage and culinary loves, Loeb’s life as a singer-songwriter, practices that sustain her, the work of writing, and tips for those who dream of making it big.

 

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Interview with Lisa Loeb, February 11, 2009, red Ravine

 

red Ravine: In our research to prepare for this interview, we couldn’t help but notice that you seem to love food. Some of your children’s songs are about food, like the “Peanut Butter & Jelly” song from Camp Lisa (which is one of our faves) plus you’ve done the Food Network. Also in the New York Times article about your marriage, we were struck by how acute your senses are when you describe food. Is food a passion of yours?

 

Lisa Loeb: Yes, it’s a thing that I love. Growing up, like a lot of other girls, I was concerned about my weight. I was a dancer, and I loved food. We had to eat in the cafeteria every day at school, and it was sort of a game to find out what they were serving for lunch. But by the time I was a teenager, I went to an all-girls school, and since we wore uniforms, we were especially aware of our bodies and the differences between our bodies. Uniforms are meant to make us seem more uniform, but when everyone’s wearing the same thing, you pay more attention to other bodies. You would notice that you were eating the delicious cornbread muffins or the huge pieces of pie or the doughnuts in between classes in the morning, and it was a struggle between enjoying all this food versus getting larger and larger.

Between my sophomore and junior years, I went to Spain to live there with a family. Every day a younger brother in the Spanish family would run and get me a huge pastry because he realized that I liked it. And at night, we’d eat hotdogs and go out drinking all the time and eat potato chips and all these great Spanish tapas before they were fashionable in the United States. I came home a lot heavier. And it was scary.

It was fun to eat all that stuff but it was not that fun to come home heavier. So then I tried all the different diets that everybody tries. By the time I got to college, I started getting interested in nutrition to figure out how to enjoy food but eat in a balanced way. My best nutritionists were the people who said, “Eat whatever you want when you are hungry, but stop when you’re full. And pay attention to nutrition when you can.”

 

red Ravine: I (QuoinMonkey) met you a few years ago in a writing workshop with author Natalie Goldberg. It was one of Natalie’s weeklong silent retreats where we sat and meditated and slow walked and did Writing Practice. What prompted you, a successful singer and songwriter, to take a writing workshop and what did you learn from the silent writing retreat?

 

Lisa: I’ve always been a fan of Natalie Goldberg. Her writing exercises and general attitude about writing have helped me in my process of writing. At my all-girls school, although they taught me a lot about writing — how to write correctly and how to communicate, read, and pick apart text in English and Spanish — they didn’t always emphasize our own thoughts and having our own opinions. Especially as we got older, they didn’t put as much value on personal opinion as they did on structure, format, and grammar.

With Natalie, she emphasizes just writing. You know, just writing for yourself. That’s something that I think is important as an artist because as humans, all we have different from each other is our point of view, and so it’s important as an artist to bring that out. That’s what she does.

I thought if I could take a workshop with her, that would be amazing. Also, in my life often there’s more time spent on the business side of things than on the writing side of things, and for me structure is very helpful. So to be in a place where the goal was to write for a week was something that I looked forward to.

I’d done something like that for music, where I went to music summer school a long time ago, before I was a professional musician, at Berkeley Music School. And I got to practice. Even when I was a kid, I was pretty distracted; I practiced some but I did a lot of other things in my life. And for once, I wanted to be that person who just got in the practice room and practiced, practiced, practiced.

This was like that for writing, in a silent retreat especially, because I’m around a lot of people all the time, touring in every state, always communicating with people. It was a great opportunity to simplify and be silent. I do spend time alone, not talking to people, when I’m not working. But that was an opportunity to focus, of course, with the great guidance of Natalie and also in the company of people — people at all different levels of writing. I learn a lot from just starting from the beginning. Natalie calls it “Beginner’s Mind.” And sometimes when you are writing with people who are beginners, you remember to take the pressure off of writing, which adds more freedom for better writing and more writing.

 

red Ravine: Most of us who aspire to integrate Writing Practice into our lives struggle at different times to make it a day-to-day practice. How about you? Do you write or play music every day?

 

Lisa: I don’t. Not at all. I’ve gone through phases where I do write — I use things like a month-long tour or a trip to the beach for a week-and-a-half, or there’s a thing in the Jewish tradition called Counting the Omer. When structures like that come up, I’ll take advantage of them and say, “Okay, now I’m going to write every day for this period of time.” Or there’s a Toni Morrison book where it’s day-by-day, a short-chaptered book where she talks about different things in each chapter (maybe it’s called Love). So I decided I was going to do a page-long chapter each day and write something based on a word that she mentioned in her book.

Sometimes I have to create a little game to create structure for myself. Other times, when I know I need to finish, I start. It’s almost like an athlete warming up and getting ready to do a marathon. I just realize I can’t do it overnight, it’s a process.

But yeah, it’s hard. I don’t always write every day. Sometimes when I write every day it gets too easy in a way. Like I am not saying anything and I’m not focusing well. So sometimes I need to take a break from it, too.

 

red Ravine: Do you have other practices that ground you and sustain you?

 

Lisa: I do. I work out five days a week at least, walking whether it’s on a treadmill or outside, doing strength training. Some people do yoga; I do strength training. And then also when I’m in Los Angeles, I go to synagogue on Saturday ’cause I have a cool rabbi that I like.

 

red Ravine: And any other things you do to keep going when you’re feeling down or insecure?

 

Lisa: I have my friends. That’s important to me, spending time with friends. And going outside and taking a walk. Or writing. You know, writing is something I definitely rely on for that. It’s a little weird, too, because I associate writing with my professional life so sometimes I have to remember to step back and write to write, even if it means being like Jack Nicholson in the movie The Shining and writing the same thing over and over.

I do use writing as a tool. It helps that little switch in my brain which I try to avoid or at least let it pass, which is like, Oooh, I wonder if I could do a different song. Or, I wonder if I could do something else where I write. It’s the equivalent of when you’re working out or taking a walk because you want to and it feels good, then getting that little thought in the back of your head, saying, Oooh, I wonder if I’m going to lose any weight by doing this or walk off that piece of pie from last night.

I don’t like associating working out and losing weight. I like associating working out with breathing. It’s the same thing I have with writing – in order for it to actually work properly and be integrated into my life in a balanced way, it has to be what it is.

 

red Ravine: You came into success very early in your career as a musical artist. How did that affect your life and your creative work?

 

Lisa: It gave me a lot of freedom to have success early on. The financial freedom — in my family growing up, having a job was something that we valued, being able to support yourself. So that took a load off my mind. And it gave me freedom to have less worry. I worry a lot in my life. You know, the Jewish worry and guilt, a certain amount of being neurotic.

It gave me freedom, although in the end, I think other people can’t make you feel like you are successful. It comes with a certain amount of self-confidence and self-esteem. But I think that having other people acknowledge what I’m doing gave me more confidence and made me feel like I was more free to continue to make music. Which is very powerful. Because not knowing if what you’re doing is worth anything can be very frustrating.

And I know that even after being a professional musician, that feeling never goes away. That feeling’s always there. Like, Oh gosh, I wonder if this is worth anything, why am I doing this, it’s a selfish thing, I should do something where I help other people… All these things. I love hearing from somebody saying, “That thing that you wrote helped me through this period of my life.” It’s a weird balance of feeling secure within myself, but also as a performer and a writer having that respect from an audience.

 

Also, I want to go back to one other question you asked me [regarding] when you’re in a state of depression or insecurity. I got a lot of great tools from my rabbi in Los Angeles. He’s of a Hasidic philosophy similar to cognitive therapy, where you’re able to look at your actions and thoughts in a different light and turn things around.

He mentioned a time where he was giving a lecture in front of people — he gives a lot of lectures and teaches classes — and he thought, Everyone is so bored, they don’t want to listen to me, I’m doing a terrible job. I think someone might have yawned in the front row. And then he thought through it again using the cognitive therapy and Hasidic philosophy and said, Well, people like coming to my classes so I must be doing something right. The classes I give, even when they’re bad are usually pretty good, and so I guess I’m doing a pretty good job. That’s a simplification, but he’s saying that [we all have access to] those kind of tools.

I want to feel good with when I just sit at the subway station for two minutes waiting for the train and write something there. It doesn’t have to be a magical place, but I have to sit down and write. It can be anywhere. It can be on a napkin in a restaurant. It doesn’t have to lead to a great song. That’s not the best example, but thinking through things in a realistic way helps ground me as well.

 

red Ravine: It sounds like a practical tool for dealing with Monkey Mind.

 

Lisa: Oh, it is. It really is. It’s that Natalie Goldberg thing I learned, we all learned, that you just sit down and write. Things don’t happen overnight. Sometimes they do, but you can’t rely on that. You can rely on just sitting and writing as part of a bunch of small steps that take you some place — maybe, maybe not.

 

red Ravine: We were talking about your success that came early on and we’re curious, too, how your goals have changed. Have your goals as an artist changed as you’ve gotten older?

 

Lisa: I think my goals continue to be pretty much the same since I was younger – which is to continue to try to write better. And also to try to enjoy the process more.

I’ve written songs since I was a kid but especially when I started writing lyrics when I was 13, 14, it’s become more complicated. And it’s always been a hard process. I continue to become more forgiving of myself and more accepting of the process. What it is for me doesn’t have to be what it is for other people.

I want to be a better songwriter. I guess I might have had more business-oriented goals when I was starting out, to get a record contract, to get paid to do things, and I guess I still have those goals. It’s great if you can get paid for your work, which is rarer these days, especially with people trading music.

Also there are meta-goals. One of them is to continue to keep my eyes open for other things I want to do that aren’t writing, that aren’t making songs. And that’s okay to do other things well.

But as a writer, you need to be comfortable with the process. And just keep doing it. It’s hard. I told Natalie…I ate lunch with her one day on the way through New Mexico and I was telling her, “There are these projects I want to develop, and maybe I want to be a psychologist or a nutritionist, and maybe I should teach, but I have these songs I’m supposed to write but I don’t want to, so I think I’m just going to hang out.” 

And she said, “You just need to sit that…I don’t know how better to say it…you just need to sit that motherfucker down and write.” (laughter from all). She’s like, “People say that all the time, ‘I never want to write, I don’t want to do it…’.” And I was like, Ahhhh…go do your homework! I hate doing my homework, I don’t want to do it. And the thing is, if you do it little by little, it’ll get done.

 

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Lisa Loeb 2008 Release, "Camp Lisa", Illustration by: Esme Shapiro, 15, a student at LA County High School for the Arts and summer camp fan.    Lisa Loeb 2008 2-CD Reissue "The Purple Tape"   Lisa Loeb 2008 Release, "Camp Lisa", Illustration by: Esme Shapiro, 15, a student at LA County High School for the Arts and summer camp fan.

 

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red Ravine: You were in Albuquerque last year and my (ybonesy’s) date to your concert was my nine-year-old daughter, which turned out to be great. Afterwards we bought the CD Catch the Moon and my daughter listens to it all the time; in fact, it’s sitting on the kitchen table for her to load on to her iPod along with your hits. You’ve gotten into children’s music and you found a generous way to pay it forward with the proceeds from Camp Lisa and sending kids to camp through your Camp Lisa Foundation. What inspired you to write and sing music for children?

 

Lisa: It was something I wanted to do ever since I was a kid. I listened to music for children. In my day it was Free To Be You and Me; it was Really Rosy, which was a Carole King record. A lot of music they had on Sesame Street and The Electric Company, created by real musicians of the time — the early 70’s — sounded like real music.

I had an opportunity to do a record that was different from my regular grown-up records and I chose to do a kids’ record. My friend Liz Mitchell produced it. Since she’d made a lot of kids’ records, it sounded in the vein I wanted. Actually, she was the one who gave me my first Natalie Goldberg book. She was my singing partner in my band for years and years.

When it came time for me to do another kids’ record, I was going through a moment where I was like, What am I doing? I was trying to write a regular grown-up album and I was writing dark things and spending a lot of time by myself writing. It wasn’t fun. And I remembered that it had been really fun writing songs with friends of mine in Los Angeles, and I thought, Why does it have to be a treacherous horrible experience? I should take a break and do something that reminds me that it’s fun and easy to write songs and express ourselves.

So I got back together with my friends Dan [Petty] and Michelle Lewis, who lived down the street basically, and we started making a summer camp record and it was really fun! And it felt like, wow, I’m a working songwriter, I go to work with them each day and we write songs. And we make up melodies and it’s very exciting and fun; it doesn’t have to be a painful experience to be artistic.

Through that process, I was questioning, Why am I doing music at all? I want to try to do something else to help other people. Then I realized, Oh, wait a minute, maybe I can use what we’re doing to help other people. And I realized that summer camp, of course, [we] could actually send kids to summer camp and also to be able to meet the kids. It all came together — a goal for having a kids’ record; a goal to be more responsible in the community; and a songwriter wanting to engage in a more fun way that would inform my regular, grown-up songwriting.

Also, writing kids’ songs, you have more of a story where you’re trying to say something that people can understand easily, and I think that’s a good tool for me to bring to my grown-up writing. Also when I play kids’ concerts, I realize that some of the more simple songs where I’m writing a tra-la-la-la-la or a chant or repetitive part is a fun thing to play in front of people. Grown ups and kids enjoy it and it makes me realize that sometimes in songwriting it’s not how many words can you put in there, how clever you can be, it’s really just going from your heart, the melodies and the words that just come out. Which is hard to trust. You feel you need to write the most complicated music, but that’s not what songwriting is about.

 

red Ravine: Who are your favorite songwriters today? What songs do you like to hear?

 

Lisa: I have a lot of songs I love; they don’t even focus on the lyrics that much, just the feelings of the songs. I love Led Zeppelin, especially Led Zeppelin IV and the Over the Hills and Far Away album. I love David Bowie music and often I don’t know what he’s talking about but (laughter) there’s just a certain attitude and coolness in his songs. Songwriters? More recently I’ve enjoyed Death Cab for Cutie. Oh gosh there’s so much music that I love. Lyle Lovett is great. Prince. 

A lot of things are abstract and it’s just the way it feels, the music and the lyrics and the feeling of it altogether hits me. It’s funny because it’s not how I feel when I’m writing music. It reminds me that it’s okay to play around with words and feelings and if it means something to me that’s fine; it doesn’t have to be so direct. It’s a constant balance, like I said with the kids’ music, where you’re trying to say something more directly, and the kind of music which I enjoy listening to, which often is more abstract and about the feeling and the production of the songs.

 

red Ravine: When you were in Albuquerque you mentioned that you were attending a Goldberg writing retreat with your mother. What was it like to do Writing Practice with your mom?

 

Lisa: We didn’t actually do a lot of practice together. It was a little frustrating.

What I loved was that my mother hasn’t done a lot of things where she goes away and meets other people. She loves people and talking to people and meeting people, and I thought that social aspect would be interesting for her. Because on my first writing weekend with Natalie, it was a speaking retreat where you got to actually sit at breakfast and talk to people.

And I thought secretly she would get to do some writing. She also went to the same high school I went to and grew up in a time when grammar was much more important than the fact that maybe saying something that’s not grammatically correct might allow you to express yourself better. So I wanted her to experience it for herself. I think that was the first time she was encouraged in that way. It was cool to see her go through that and go home and tell her friends about it.

But we actually didn’t do as much Writing Practice together as I expected. And that was actually a lesson to me, too. If I’m not working, if I’m not writing, I always feel like I’m never writing enough. No matter what it is, it’s just not enough. And I sort of beat myself up over it. I was trying to let myself not have to be a person who has to be writing all the time. And let that be okay. And that was really hard, but that was an interesting turn the other direction.

 

red Ravine: We noticed you studied comparative literature at Brown and we’re curious, how did (does) that play into your songwriting?

 

Lisa: It doesn’t very much at all. When I went to Brown, I picked something that was close to what I thought I liked when I was in high school. One of my favorite classes was Spanish because not only did we get to learn a whole different language and communicate with a whole new group of people, but in Spanish class, we also got to study visual art, film, poetry, geography, food, social customs. You name it, we studied it, but in Spanish.

We learned to take apart poems, and there was great Spanish-language literature, which is some of the best literature in the world. High school, middle, and elementary school education actually played more into my writing than my college experience.

Really college was just what I studied on paper, and in retrospect, I would go back and do something else. But it gave me the freedom to spend most of my time in the recording studio, in the music department and the theater department doing plays, writing music, playing shows. It gave me this kind of thing I could tell my parents I was doing that sounded reasonable while I was actually spending most of my time doing these other things.

It was also like a long lesson in learning that I really need to go with my heart and not do what I’m supposed to be doing. In retrospect, I should have been studying theater or art or music or psychology or just something else. I mean, I don’t think reading Ulysses three times really did anything (which was a painful experience). Experimental things can be boring or they can be interesting. It didn’t take me any further into literature; it was more about theory, but it didn’t inform my writing.

 

red Ravine: What are some of your favorite authors and books?

 

Lisa: I love Isabel Allende, pretty much all her books. I love magical realism. You know where she tells a story that feels like it’s actually happening but within it, just like Gabriel García Márquez, they use these great images and things happening that are magical and you get the feeling that those things could actually be someone’s real experience, even though it might include flying or crazy dreams or people floating through rooms or water pouring out of walls, or whatever it is.

I love the short stories of Roald Dahl. The collection I love the most is Kiss Kiss. And that’s kind of Twilight Zoney using tales that are very bizarre but you can imagine them actually happening. I love J. D. Salinger all the way around. Again, I love his short stories. He takes things that are very mundane and very deep and there’s this beauty and melancholy in the books that I love. Those are some of my favorite authors.

 

red Ravine: What projects are you working on now?

 

Lisa: None writing wise. I’m working on developing an eyewear line that will be out later this year. I’m very involved in the design, involved in the marketing, that side of the company, so that will be out later in the year. I’m also working on a collection of more kids songs for a couple of kids books that should be out in 2010, which will be more like lyrics for singalong songs, some crafts and some recipes. It will be fun for kids.

And I’m trying to finish up some songs for a grown-up record. After my wedding, I returned to listening to some of the songs I was in the process of finishing and I’m actually realizing that I’m closer to finishing an album than I thought I was. Little by little, you know.

 

red Ravine: Wow, eyewear? Because every time we see a photo of you we always just think your glasses are fabulous. How did that come about?

 

Lisa: Thank you. Well, I’ve always worn glasses and ever since I was in high school people would recognize me for my glasses. And I love glasses, especially ones that have a little bit of a lift on the corners — some people say cat-eyes, but they’re not quite cat-eye glasses. Anyway, I love them and I was looking for a perfect pair and people have always asked where they could get my glasses. Finally, we were able to connect with a company that wants to manufacture them and work with us to put them out. Selfishly, I’ll pick up a couple of pair of glasses that I really like!

No matter where I am, I always look for glasses, and it’s hard to find them. You know when you wear them on your face every day? So I wanted selfishly to have my own but I also wanted to share my glasses with other people who are always asking about them.

 

red Ravine: I (ybonesy) will look for them because I always want a lift at the corner, too. Some faces just need that. Do you have any plans to take any other kinds of workshops or attend another Natalie Goldberg retreat?

 

Lisa: I would love to do that. I meant to do it for my 40th birthday but we couldn’t quite get it together and Natalie’s mother passed away kind of close to it. I was thinking, in lieu of a bachelorette party for my wedding, it would be great to put together a workshop of my friends, a writing workshop with people I get together and write with anyway.

Right now my schedule’s a little tight because I’m moving back to Los Angeles and there are non-business priorities that [make it] hard to take even three or four days and go write. For me, and I know for a lot of other people, that structure makes all the difference in the world. And sometimes it takes going away to a seminar to remember that. Even though you can just sit and put your timer on for 10 minutes on your cell phone and write, sometimes it takes a weekend trip to remember that.

Also, something I forget –you’re supposed to read this stuff to other people. You don’t have to write all day for this to work. Natalie always says you need to write less. You need to sit down and write, but you don’t need to write five hours a day, that’s too much, you can’t do it. So I think it’s a great environment for me and I know it impacts a lot of other people as well.

 

red Ravine: You just got married a few weeks ago, so we wanted to know how is married life treating you, and what is a fluffernutter? (laughs)

 

Lisa: (laughs) A fluffernutter is marshmallow crème and I think we got it on white bread. Often we all go back to wheat bread, but for purposes of the fluffernutter sandwich, it was this homemade white bread with peanut butter and with marshmallow fluff. I can’t believe how good it is; it’s a crazy thing. And the texture when you bite into the sandwich, you know it creates that seam when you bite into that white bread sandwich. And it’s just like a pillow of joy (all laugh). It’s sweet and salty and fluffy packed in between these two cottony sheets. It’s delicious! 

And married life is good, it’s really great. We’re at the beginning of this adventure. I love my husband and I look forward to continuing to get to know him and we just have a really good time together, no matter what. We’re a good support system for each other. We both have the same values. He’s not a musician professionally, but he likes to play music in the house, and again that reminds me that creatively, it doesn’t have to be for work.

Sometimes when you just do things for fun, it might lead to something you can use for work. For me, that’s an important reminder not to always be geared toward work. We have a good time and music is part of his work so we both have a lot of opportunities to do music and talk about it and do fun things and meet interesting people. And it’s good to have a team; though you were a team before, it’s a different team when you’re married. So yeah, it’s all good.

 

red Ravine: I’m going to try to get both these questions in, one has to do with the fact that you were recently on stage with Sarah Silverman who strikes us as someone who takes so many risks with her art. And you’ve ventured into many different creative areas with songwriting, TV, and voiceover work. What was it like to work with Sarah and how important is risk-taking in creative work?

 

Lisa: It was great to work with her. I think she’s clever and fun and she’s really nice. And I feel like risk-taking is important but again, that’s relative. For some people it might mean writing a song from the first person instead of third person. Or it might mean setting a guitar on fire on stage. Or not writing might be risk-taking. Like I said, it was scary for me to be in a writing seminar and not be writing a whole lot. But to not be following the rules is a huge risk for me; I always follow the rules.

 

red Ravine: Our last question: What advice do you have for our readers who dream of making it big with their writing and becoming well-known?

 

Lisa: Two things. One is continue to write and to do your own thing. Don’t try to copy other people; the main thing you have to offer that is different from other people is yourself and your own point of view. But, at the same time, to make it you need to be a business person or find a person who can help you with the business side of things. That might mean doing it yourself, getting copies of your book out there, reading it live, being a musician live, or doing something on YouTube. Because part of it is doing the work, and then part of it is getting it out there with an audience.

But first, decide what your goals are. If it’s to be famous, hire a publicist and do some whacky things and get famous. If it’s to be read by a lot of people, start somewhere. Do it yourself. But don’t wait around for someone to do it for you. It’s not going to happen miraculously.

 

red Ravine: Thank you Lisa, really wonderful interview. We appreciate your time, and we’ll be watching for those eyeglasses!

 

Lisa: Thank you. I appreciate the questions.

 

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Lisa Loeb, Photo by: Andrew Eccles

Lisa Loeb, Photo by: Andrew Eccles

About Lisa Loeb:  Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb started her career with the platinum selling No. 1 hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the film Reality Bites. To this day, she is still the only artist to have a No. 1 single while not signed to a recording contract. Loeb parlayed that early success into a multi-dimensional career encompassing music, film, television, voice-over work, and children’s recordings.

Her six acclaimed studio CDs include the Gold-selling Tails and its follow-up, the Grammy-nominated, Gold-selling Firecracker. Her complete catalogue includes The Very Best of Lisa Loeb (2006), and two children’s CDs, the award-winning Catch the Moon (2006) and Camp Lisa (2008) with guests Jill Sobule, Lee Sklar, Maia Sharp and funnyman/banjo player Steve Martin. In conjunction with the release of the Camp Lisa CD, Loeb launched the Camp Lisa Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds to help send underprivileged kids to summer camp through its partnership with S.C.O.P.E. (Summer Camp Opportunities Provide an Edge, Inc.).

In addition to her music, Lisa has also starred in two television series, Dweezil and Lisa, a weekly culinary adventure for the Food Network, and #1 Single, a dating show on E! Network. Look for the Lisa Loeb eyewear line to hit the stores in 2009.

 

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This.


Wistful for Wisteria, our wisteria vine about this time last year, right before a freeze zapped it, photo © 2008-2009 by ybonesy, all rights reservedThis is our wisteria vine just about this time last year, right before a hard freeze zapped the blooms.

We’re hopeful that we’ll see the wisteria go wild this spring, yet the vine’s tender young buds already froze once, last month, and a second set is barely sprouting anew.

This is the time of year when I can’t wait for the weather to make up its mind and choose warm over cold, calm over windy. It’s the time of year when I go crazy wanting to fast-track nature. I’m tired of the color brown and the dull tan of cottonwood leaves and old pine needles. I long to see sumptuous greens and every hue of purple imaginable.

I plant pansies in pots and spend too much money at the nursery. I tempt nature by pulling the geraniums out of the greenhouse, and the jade plant, too. Then nature pulls a punch, with a day of rain that almost turns to snow. And right when I think I’ve once again underestimated how cool these desert mountains of the Rio Grande Valley can be, the sun comes out and a rainbow, too.



 




That.


Spared, a Virgin Mary statue that my aunt Olivia painted for me, barely missed being crushwed when a tree branch broke from a storm, photo 2008-2009 by ybonesy, all rights reservedApril is a windy month in Albuquerque. You can sweep the elm seeds from the porch and in an hour open the front door to an entire elm seed colony waiting to swirl on in and see the place.

But I like April anyway. Good people are born in April. My youngest daughter. My sister. One friend I’ve known since junior high school and another I’ve known since our first job out of graduate school.

And there’s our friend and fellow writer/blogger/traveler “lil,” who recently celebrated a birthday and received an amazing poem from her husband, which she posted on C. Little, no less. Check it out.

Happy birthday to those all you Aries and happy blowy days to the rest of you!




The other.


       

    




Obama Peace, gouache on 12×12 canvas, painting © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved. (Trying to figure out if it’s finished.)

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easter eggs (two), eggs my niece and her three sons (tie)dyed for Easter, April 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.











five color tablets
add vinegar and water
wa-la, egg-citement!














 
 

easter eggs series, (tie)dyed eggs by my niece and her sons, doodled eggs by my daughters and me, April 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.







-Related to posts Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat and The Thing About Easter.

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Pulling A Rabbit Out Of A Hat, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Pulling A Rabbit Out Of A Hat, drawing by writer Ann Patchett, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


I was watching WCCO’s Good Question: What’s With The Easter Bunny? when it dawned on me that I had this old snapshot of a drawing by Ann Patchett on the front page of The Magician’s Assistant. The night we saw her at the Fitzgerald Theater, she smiled when I handed her the book — “I don’t get a chance to draw these much anymore,” she said, and from her pen flew this big-eared bunny poking out of a hat.

According to Darcy Pohland who covered last night’s Good Question (watch the video for some fun footage from kids on the subject), the Easter Bunny has ancient roots:

It’s part of a pagan tradition that started in Germany as part of a spring celebration. It honored Eastre (also Ēostre or Ôstarâ), the Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn and spring; a fertility goddess who brought the end of winter.

One version of the bunny legend comes when she comes late one spring and finds a bird with wings frozen to the ground. She turns it into a snow hare with the ability to lay eggs in rainbow colors one day a year.

Snow hares with the ability to lay eggs in rainbow colors — you have to love that. I’m fond of the Snowshoe Hare because it’s directly related to one of my Totem Animals, the Lynx. They do a 7-year dance together and the Lynx’s ability to survive depends on the Snowshoe Hare’s abundant life and death cycle.

On this 53 degree Saturday in Minnesota, I’m longing for the end of Winter. Which means I’m jumping up and down for Eastre, the Goddess of Dawn and Spring. If you celebrate Easter, I hope you look glorious in your bonnet. Looks like tomorrow will be a good day for hunting those eggs. Or learning to pull a rabbit out of a hat.


Rocky:  And now….
Bullwinkle:  Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.
Rocky:  But that trick never works.
Bullwinkle:  But this time for sure. Presto! [pause] Well I’m getting close.
Rocky:  And now its time for another special feature.

-Rocky & Bullwinkle Sound Clips



Ann Patchetts Bunny, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Ann Patchetts Bunny, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Ann Patchetts Bunny, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Ann Patchett’s Bunny, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, April 11th, 2009

-related to posts:

Ann Patchett – On Truth, Beauty, & The Adventures Of “Opera Girl”
Which Came First, The Grasshopper Or The Egg?
The Ant & The Grasshopper – Ann Patchett & Lucy Grealy
Book Talk – Do You Let Yourself Read?
My Totem Animal

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Pink Toenails, my feet and toes after I painted my toenails a frosty pink, Denver, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Toes and feet are odd things. Some people adorn them; others adore them.

Sometimes we joke about them. Did you hear about the guy who was born with two left feet? He went out the other day to buy himself some flip flips.

We rhapsodize about them. The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art. (Leonardo da Vinci)

We wiggle them and dance with them. Sometimes we’d rather not think about them. They literally carry all our weight.




Footprint by Mark A. Hicks, © 1998 Mark A. Hicks, clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com (with permission from the Discovery School website) Footprint by Mark A. Hicks, © 1998 Mark A. Hicks, clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com (with permission from the Discovery School website)





My dad has narrow feet and Mom’s are fat with short round toes. We women in the family paint our toenails and sometimes treat ourselves to pedicures. (I like doing my own. One month I’ll go midnight blue, another month frosty rose. Toenails are the body’s canvas, a place to capture a mood, be rebellious. My version of a tattoo.)

I get cold feet in winter and go barefoot around the house all year long. The heels of my feet are in need of help, which I’ll tend to once sandal-wearing season is fully upon us.

What about you? Do you take care of your feet or do you neglect them? Have you ever been caught flat-footed?

Do you tap your feet?

Have you ever fallen down and got back on your feet again? 

Do you toe the line or go toe-to-toe? And if given a choice, what color would you paint your toenails?

These and many more questions are yours to answer if you step up to the plate and do a Writing Practice on the topic of Feet & Toes. Write these words at the top of your page: Everything I know about feet and toes… and start writing. Fifteen minutes, no crossing out, no stopping to think. Just write.

Put your best foot forward. We won’t hold your feet to the fire, and we won’t hang you by the toenails if you don’t do it. But go ahead and get your feet wet. Take a walk on the wild side. One foot in front of the other. A step in the right direction. Foot loose and fancy free.

Shake a leg. Break a leg.

Now step on it. Go.




my left foot, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved  my left foot, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved  my left foot, March 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved





Something’s afoot…

  • The foot is split into three main areas: the forefoot, the mid foot and the hind foot.
  • The foot contains over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons, 26 bones (14 in the toes alone!) and around 33 joints.
  • A pair of feet contains about a quarter of a million sweat glands, which explains foot odor.
  • On average, humans will take enough steps in their lifetime to walk around the globe four times. Each day the average person will take 10,000 steps.
  • When we run, the pressure exerted on our feet can exceed four times our body weight.
  • Feet change in shape and size during our lifetimes. Feet can grow up to one size as people age and the structures within the foot relax and spread.
  • Purchase new shoes in the afternoon, when feet are at their biggest.
  • The largest feet in the world belong to a Mr. Matthew McGrory, whose feet are size 28½ (US). The 7ft-4in Florida resident has to fork out $22,745 for a pair of shoes to fit his feet.
  • The Achilles tendon, located in the heel of the foot, was named after one of the most famous mythical characters from Ovid’s Illiad. In an attempt to immortalize her son, Thetis (Achilles’ Mother) dipped Achilles into the River Styx, holding him by his ankle. His ankle became the only part of his body capable of sustaining a mortal wound. This is why the strongest tendon in the foot got the name of Achilles tendon.
  • In China during the early tenth century, foot binding was seen as a sign of beauty and was practiced by all social classes. At about age five and onward, girls’ toes were tightly wrapped in cloth, breaking the bones and curling the foot under. After a number of years, the front and back of the foot would be forced together to give the impression of small dainty feet. Prospective mothers-in-law would inspect the feet to see whether a girl was suitable to marry her son.



Feet on red Ravine

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Postcard From Billy Collins, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In February, we read the work of Billy Collins in our monthly Poetry & Meditation Group. Though he was the United States Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003, I had not been introduced to his body of work (with the exception of his popular poem about mothers and sons, “The Lanyard“). But after reading “Japan” and “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July” out loud, and listening in silence while others read his poetry, I became a big fan. 

As is our custom, at the end of the night, the founder of our Poetry Group passed around a card for us to sign, a token of our gratitude to the poet. Each month, she addresses, seals and stamps the envelope, then mails our card off to the poet the next day. We don’t have expectations; it’s enough to share their poetry.

But once in a while, the Universe responds in kind. When we arrived at the March Poetry & Meditation Group, here is what we found:


___________________________________________


Liu Yung By Billy Collins, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


To the Teri Blair Meditation & Poetry Group!


Liu Yung

This poet of the Sung dynasty is so miserable.
The wind sighs around the trees,
a single swan passes overhead,
and he is alone on the water in his skiff.

If only he appreciated life
in eleventh-century China as much as I do —
no loud cartoons on television,
no music from the ice cream truck,

just the calls of elated birds
and the steady flow of the water clock.


Billy Collins


Poem reprinted with permission of the author,
Copyright 2006 Billy Collins.


___________________________________________


Billy Collins describes poetry as “the only surviving history we have of human emotion.” We were thrilled and honored to hear from him. And it seems like a great way to kick off National Poetry Month on red Ravine. I am continually surprised by the generosity of famous writers to give back to those of us who find ourselves at humble beginnings. Maybe it’s a lesson to pay attention to — that no matter our status, we are all at the beginning. Every poem, short story, essay, and blog post takes us back to Beginner’s Mind.


National Poetry Month at The Academy of American Poets

We hope you will join in the celebration during National Poetry Month. It was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets and is a month-long national celebration of poetry.

According to poets.org, the concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media — to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. The hope is to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.


The goals of National Poetry Month are to:

  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry


On April 16th our Poetry & Meditation Group will be reading the poems of Yusef Komunyakaa. Maybe you’ll want to start your own poetry group. Or purchase “Ballistics,” the latest from Billy Collins. Poem In Your Pocket Day is coming up on April 30th. And here are 30 more ways to honor poets and poems. Whatever you choose to do, celebrate poetry!


To The Teri Blair Meditation & Poetry Group, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  USA 42 --- ALASKA, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  To The Teri Blair Meditation & Poetry Group, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

-related posts and links: NPR: Reading List & Interview with Billy Collins, Got Poetry? (National Poem In Your Pocket Day), Billy Collins Reads “The Lanyard” on YouTube , PBS Online NewsHour: Billy Collins Interview, December 10th, 2001 – the week following his inaugural reading at the Library of Congress after becoming U.S. Poet Laureate, Poetry 180 — a poem a day for american high schools

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poppy-dog

Poppy, brick found in our flower bed, April 2009,
photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




From a comment this morning, QM writes:

I am heading over to two of our friends’ house to be there when they put their cat Kaia down. She’s been under the weather for a few months. And after the last trip to the vet last week, they have made the hard decision that it’s time. Kaia, bless her heart, is just tired. They think she may have cancer and she can’t be operated on because she’s too frail and has a weak heart.

We stopped by to visit them last night and spend a little time with Kaia. They got her as a kitten (her sister was Emigre, there were two of them) in about 1992 so I think that makes her about 17 years old. Send prayers this morning as it’s the last day that Kaia will roam the Earth in bodily form. Something about the unconditional love that pets give to humans always makes it so sad to let them go.



I only knew Kaia from QM’s writing; QM and Liz often cared for the cat when their friends were out of town. And QM and Liz not too long ago had to contemplate similar decisions when their cat Chaco became seriously ill. Fortunately, Chaco had a near-miraculous recovery.

Jim and I had to put our dog Roger down after he got cancer and the tumors affected his breathing. A good friend who happens to be a vet came and euthanized Roger out in the grass one mild fall morning while Jim and I held him. Later, Jim said he would never go through that heartache again, and when Rudy died not long after, we were able to let him die naturally with all four of us surrounding him. (I incorporated that experience into a short story, which I included in a blog post in 2007, when QM’s Mr. Stripeypants got seriously ill. Fortunately, Pants also recovered.)

It’s rare, I think, that natural causes finally take a pet’s life. Often the sufferring becomes unbearable, and the humane thing to do is to help move them from the physical world onto the other side.

QM and Liz are by their nature compassionate and emphathetic people. That’s why, I’m certain, they were asked to be with their friends while they put Kaia to sleep.

But not everyone knows how to deal with the death of a friend’s pet. I know that even having gone through my own pets’ deaths, I can find myself at a loss for the right words or deeds that might help ease the pain.



Poppy, detail of the grave marker (colorized), image ©  2009 by ybonesy, all rights reservedPoppy, detail of the grave marker (colorized), image ©  2009 by ybonesy, all rights reservedPoppy, detail of the grave marker (colorized), image ©  2009 by ybonesy, all rights reserved




Larry Kaufman, a pet loss counselor, offers this advice to people who want to support those who are mourning the loss of a pet:

  • Take the distressing experience of the mourner seriously. Listen and speak with empathy, understanding, support, sensitivity, and compassion.
  • Ask the mourner about the circumstances of the pet’s death.
  • Encourage the mourner to talk about the pet, to tell stories of the pet’s life in the family. 
  • Don’t ask if the mourner is planning to get another pet or suggest where such a pet might be bought.
  • Avoid the use of clichés such as telling the mourner that time heals all wounds, or reassuring them that they will soon “get over it.”
  • Send a condolence card specifically made for pet loss.
  • Remember dates that are important to the bereaved pet owner, like the date of the pet’s death. Consider sending a follow-up note, e-mail, or card, or making a telephone in remembrance of the day.
  • Send a donation in honor of the deceased pet to an animal-related organization (such as a humane society, animal shelter, or one devoted to improving the health of animals through medical research).
  • After a few weeks or months, follow up by asking how the bereaved individual is doing. (Use the pet’s name and correct gender.)
  • Don’t assume that you know how the mourner might be feeling and reacting. The mourning process can be multi-layered and complex. Everyone is unique, with her/his own needs and preferences. Good judgment is essential in dealing with people in such a vulnerable state.



Just as my prayers go to Kaia, my thoughts go out to you, QM and Liz. You are special people and the dearest of friends.

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Baby quenches her thirst (one), Baby the Bullsnake drinks her fill of water on a warm spring morning, April 2009, photo © 2009 by Jim. All rights reserved.




The other morning Baby the Bullsnake was lying in her empty water dish, breathing hard as if she were panting. (Do snakes pant?) I’d gone into the potting shed to water the geraniums, and as much as I wanted to open her cage and relieve her thirst, I was afraid she’d moved suddenly and send me fleeing from the shed, screaming. So I did what any sane person would do; I called Jim.

Psst…have you ever seen a snake drink?

A snake walks into into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender tells the snake he can’t serve it. “Why not?” asks the snake. “Because you can’t hold your liquor.”



Jim poured the water into her dish while Baby was in it. I expected her to jerk forward and come slithering out. But she lay there, letting the water swirl all around. She got to the task of drinking right away, floating in the water like an alligator, eyes and nostrils above the surface, mouth below. Then she appeared to inhale deeply, breathing the water in as if parched.


  




Speaking of water, Jim irrigated earlier in the week and ever since a hundred or so Mallard ducks have been frollicking in the field. They really do look like those shooting range carnival games where the little duck swims back and forth, back and forth. These Mallards swim along the channeled grooves dug into the field for the purpose of irrigation.

They’re fun to watch. They dip their heads underwater and shake vigorously. Jim says they’re pulling up the grass to eat. That’s why property owners chase them away, he tells me. I ask him why he doesn’t mind having them. Because they’re part of nature, he says.

A duck walks into a pharmacy and asks for Chapstick. The cashier says, “Cash or credit card.” “Just put it on my bill,” the duck replies.




Ducks in the field (one), pairs of Mallard ducks frollicking in the field after irrigation day, April 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Ducks in the field (two), you can just make out Mike and Mallary Malloy to the left of the Ortegas, April 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





-related to posts Baby Wakes From Her Nap, Who Said Snakes Aren’t Cute?, snake awake haiku, and sticks for legs and arms.

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Less Than 1 Calorie Per Bottle, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Less Than 1 Calorie Per Bottle, outside the Birchwood Cafe, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I had planned a post on writing for this sunny Friday afternoon. But the day felt like Summer, and I ran out of steam. So with fans blazing across the studio, and windows still open at 9pm, I’ve opted for something simpler.

I was running back through the photographic archives when this little gem of a bench caught my attention. It reminds me of days gone by, times when we ran slip sliding through the sprinkler, guzzled soft drinks, drank gallons of Kool-Aid, and even flavored garden hose water — anything to keep the sweltering Southern heat at bay.

Drink Clicquot Club, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, all photos © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Did you have a favorite childhood soft drink? You can’t be from Georgia and not love Coca-Cola (I’m a big Coke Zero fan). My other favorite was RC Cola (Royal Crown). In 1905, Claude Hatcher, a young graduate pharmacist from Columbus, Georgia, began creating soft drinks in the basement of his family’s wholesale grocery business. RC Cola was born (I used to love their jingles).

Diet Rite (an RC product) came along in 1958 and was the first diet soda ever to be sold (in limited quantities). In 1962, Diet Rite Cola was introduced nationwide and rose to #4 in 18 months. Thus began America’s love affair with the diet soft drink.

Izzys At The Birchwod, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The weathered bench in the photograph that boasts “Diet-Rite — Less Than 1 Calorie Per Bottle” is outside the Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis. Remember cyclamate and saccharin (my grandmother used to sweeten her coffee with it)? Well, all that’s changed; Diet Rite is now sweetened with 21st Century low-cal Splenda.


Diet-Rite and RC Cola, along with Coca-Cola, remind me of my childhood in Georgia. We used to drop Planters Peanuts into a frosty blue-green bottle of Co-Cola (Southern dialect shortens the word) from the metal vending machine at my Granddaddy’s shop. Forget the can; you haven’t tasted cola until you’ve taken a long cold swig from a glass bottle. I still buy them once in a while during seasonal appearances on the grocery store shelf.

Orange Crush, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


So what’s your favorite summer soft drink memory? Shasta, Bubba Cola, RC, Pepsi, Cherry Coke, Clicquot Club, Schweppe’s, Fanta, Dr Pepper, Orange Crush? Or maybe your parents didn’t let you drink soda. What was their replacement (or their “no sugar” bribe)?


Oh, by the way, (here comes the healthy part of this post) you won’t want to miss the food at the Birchwood, a cool cafe with great ice cream and a wide range of natural and organic foods. The Birchwood was established in 1926 by the Bursch family; the cafe was originally a dairy. It’s not quite Summer yet, but I bet the tables outside the Birchwood were hopping with Good Real Food (and a few natural colas) on this shiny April day!


Good Real Food, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      Good Real Food, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      Good Real Food, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, photo © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Good Real Food, Izzy’s At The Birchwood, Orange Crush, Drink Clicquot Club, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, all photos © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Friday, April 3rd, 2008

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