Meet Princess Tiger Lily

This beautiful Bengal Mix cat needs help. A very smart cat, she showed up on the doorstep of one of the biggest cat lovers I know on the cold rainy night last week and we decided we needed to help her any way we can.  Unfortunately neither one of us are in a position to add a third cat to our little feline/human ecosystems right now, so we are looking for some help.

We’re calling her Princess Tiger Lily and doing our best to help find her at least find a foster home,  preferably someone who is good with helping cats transition from street to indoors. She might need to be spayed. She’s healthy. We’ve run blood tests and are having her vaccinnated. We’re taking her back to the vet as soon as we can. She is affectionate and confident. We think she must have been someone’s cat once, as she is definitely not feral. At the very least she certainly needs some love and attention to remind her that it’s good to be an inside cat.

She has beautiful penetrating green eyes and a very loud scratchy meow that she seems to be using  A LOT right now, especially in the wee hours of the morning. We can’t tell for sure why. The vet originally said she was spayed but she is behaving as though she is in heat. This is the main reason we need some help. We can get her spayed if need be, but not while she is in heat obviously.


A wonderful friend took her in for a couple of days, she settled right in after a bit of exlporing the room and was totally fine being stared at and petted by six humans.

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She is affectionate and loves being petted. Her fur is very soft and downy. She has a few mats and is underweight, and has obviously been on the streets for a bit. We can’t bear to put her back there.


I just love this cool ink blot pattern on the back of her head!


She gets this very zen expression when she is petted.


But she is also quite an explorer! Tried to climb into cupboards at the vet office.


Can you help us help this sweet lady?

I figure, there is only so much any cat and animal lover can do in any moment. There are only so many animals we can each take in and give them the quality food and health care they deserve. But, when one shows up on your doorstep, how do you turn it away?

You don’t. You can’t. You do your best and you cry for help when you need it. And that’s what we’re doing now. Thanks for reading.

Please forward to anyone you think might be able to help.




The Sunflower, and Other Musings

I’m not one to subscribe to the idea that everything happens for a reason, or that there is some pre-ordained plan that the universe or God or what have you has set in motion.

I think it’s pretty clear that we are here imbued with free will, which supersedes the idea that no matter what our choices, we are rooted in and routed through a pre-set path of experiences.

I believe what we do have, is a beautiful and profound ability to walk through the experiences, the joys and the pain of this life and to absorb them and react to them in ways that help us evolve spiritually. To identify patterns and shapes and ideas that inspire more empathy for others, more understanding of ourselves and more ownership of our responsibility to one another.

While I believe in karmic responsibility, I don’t believe, for example, that the struggles my little Bean is having are a result or punishment for the mistakes I’ve made in the past, or the karmic debt I most certainly owe for them. I don’t believe in a state of being that would exact retribution for my flaws and mistakes from such a pure shiny soul.

I think my struggle here is to understand the things about which I feel guilty and how I choose to forgive myself for them. That is somewhat painful work that needs to be done within me, and this situation has inspired much of that for me.

I also believe that God, whatever he or she may really be, is probably more benign and beautifully detached from the individual nuances of every sentient life than organized religion would have us consider, because whatever God is, he or she or it is something with a greater and more perfect understanding of free will and all its ramifications–it’s atrocities as well as its possibilities for greatness.

I also believe that a day will come for all of us, when our spirits will outgrow the physical matter that confines them. One day for all of us, these bodies we enjoy, will no longer have the strength or capacity to animate our souls. And frankly, I believe our souls will one day have better and bigger things to do than to cling desperately to a configuration of cells and tissue, however much we have grown attached to them and grateful for them.

I’ve come to this belief system mostly by viewing it up close. First, when I said goodbye to my sweet brother, who at 20 years old, decided one day that his spirit had much better things to do than to stay in a body that tried very hard for a very long time to tether him to this world. He was very calm the day he died. He was very accepting of it, and was ready to stop struggling for physical form. We were all with him, he was surrounded by love. We said goodbye.

We’re attached to the physical presence of those we love because that is the means by which we first get to experience their spirit and soul. But it is not the only means. I haven’t seen or touched my brother in 15 years and I never will again with these eyes or hands. But I still love him as deeply and literally as if he were sitting right next to me.

A few years ago, I lost a close friend. The first female friend I made in California, she was my neighbor, my sister; a wonderful mother, a prolific gardener and a profoundly empathetic human who taught me so much by example about how I want to walk through this life.

She died at home, surrounded by love and friends and family. She was not calm and did struggle. While the last few days and weeks leading up to her death, she took steps toward accepting it, I absolutely respect her desire to battle to the last possible moment. Her three young sons were with her and I know how hard it was for her to leave them.

A week or so after she died, I was visiting and hanging out with the boys. Her two-year-old son crawled into my lap to read a book, but first looked up at me and said: “Where’s my mom?”

Of course I had no answer. I don’t know for sure where she is. But I do know she was here, and like my brother before her, she left her mark on many many people.

A week or so before she died, I was visiting and lay in bed with her talking. She was drifting off into sleep after a massage from her sister and a potent painkiller. The room smelled of lavender oil and clean sheets.

We talked a lot about a lot of things in those last few weeks, my experience with my brother, my thoughts about what might come next for us all. At the time I was a little more skeptical about things like faith, especially the ways in which my own sense of spirituality did not conform or overlap with traditional religious beliefs about the afterlife.

This is something she had been pondering and exploring as her cancer progressed. It brought her peace.

She whispered to me:, softly, near to sleep “I know you don’t believe, don’t know what to believe. But I want you to know, when I am gone, I will show you….I will do something…..put some color in the sky…something.”

I kissed her forehead and said: “I would like that very much.

She died in June, just before her 40th birthday. As had been my ritual since meeting her and her family, I spent fourth of july with them in Huntington Beach.

As I approached her yard that day, I was accosted by her garden. It seemed every blossom she had recently touched, every seed she had every lovingly tended had decided to burst into its most perfect and vibrant possibility. Lining the front gate were her sunflowers, standing sentry like an soldiers of welcome and beauty.
As I got closer and reached for the gate to open it, marveling at the sight, a breeze lifted the sunflower nearest me, and it turned to look directly at me with the brightest, biggest most glorious face I have ever seen in a sunflower not in a picture or for sale in a store.

It took my breath away. I was speechless.

I looked at her husband who was standing in the yard smiling and said: “Whoah, this garden.”

“I know, right?” he replied. “It’s Dani.”

I’ve never forgotten that moment. I call it up often actually.

I think part of our job here is to figure out how to share so much of ourselves while we can that there is something of us left around for our loved ones to encounter when we’re inevitably gone.

I feel like animals have an innate ability to do this. For the most part, they don’t withhold themselves from us. The more open we are to them, the more they will meet us in that shared space of connection, and the more of them we will have in our hearts when they leave us behind.

I am grateful for having learned more about this of late. I cherish every moment of this experience, including the pain, it comes with it’s own sort of inherent cleansing power.

Why I Sew

A couple of things happening at my work this week have got me thinking about the creative impulse—why we do the things we do whether you consider yourself an artist or an amateur or a dabbler or a thinker. What compels us? What propels us? And where does the “thinking about why” come into the process?

It also brings to mind one of my favorite things to write about: death. The following is a re-working of a post I did on my old website which no longer exists. I ran across it cleaning out some files and am sprucing it up for a re-post, because it’s popped into my mind several times this week.

I like to think about and write about death, but it’s not morbid, really, I promise. It’s just something I think about a lot because like most people, I’ve been affected by it and, like all people, it’s something that will happen to me someday.

I mean, let’s be blunt. We are all going to die. Some of us too soon. And many of us have already or will have to say goodbye to people in our lives far sooner than we would like.

Contrary to our vampire-obsessed popular culture would have us believe, there’s no such thing as immortality, at least, not in a literal sense.

But, maybe in a creative sense…maybe there’s a little immortality to be had here.

Every time I go home to visit my sister I have a little ritual. At some point during the visit I will find myself alone in my niece’s room (well sometimes she is there with me, but I don’t think she really knows what I am doing) and I start to dig through the oh-so-pink pile of pillows and stuffed animals that keep company on her bed.

Somewhere in there in this pile of dolls and stuffed animals is a little red-and-white patchwork pillow. My brother made it in high school Home Ec class. The batting is all lumpy from age and too many washings and it is a tiny little thing…the size of an American Girl doll’s head maybe. (It often gets used for that purpose these days.)

I like to hold that pillow and examine it…touch the fabric and the stitching and think about my brother’s hands cutting and manipulating the material. I can see the spots where he had to tie off the thread and start anew.

Sadly, the reasoning behind his choice to use black thread on a red and white pillow went to the grave with him.

I like to look at those stitches every chance I get and I revel in the memory that he was, in fact, once here among us, once with hands to make things. I picture his knobby hands drawing the needle through the fabric in those awkward, uneven loops and I feel close to him.

The night he died I lay in his closet and buried my head in a pile of his dirty clothes. I remember wanting to soak in the smell of him for as long as I could…that oddly metallic smell of blood and salt and mucous that was so earthy and unique to my fatally sick brother. I remember thinking that very soon the smell of him would be gone forever, to fade from a physical sensation into a nostalgic memory. I clung to his smell because it let me cling to him.

I feel like that’s the way grief goes. At first, it’s so painful and yet you relish the pain, because you know that once the pain fades a bit, it also means that it has been that much longer since you have drunk in the smell of your loved one. The less pain you feel, the longer it’s been since you’ve seen their face, heard their laughter, spoken to them, held them, touched them, essentially had them.

I stayed there in his closet so long that my sister and brother and brother-in-law wound up joining me there. We sorted through some of his things, cried, talked about him and discovered a journal he had been secretly keeping for the last year or so of his life.

The first pages of it were letters to each of us. I haven’t read mine in a long time…It’s too much….but I do grab onto that little pillow every chance I get.

My dear and wonderful friend Danielle, about a year and a half into intensive chemotherapy for liver cancer, decided to take up knitting.

I remember visiting her one winter day and found her in the front yard knitting. Her carefully tended garden lay mostly fallow around her and she had decided that, for the cold months,  a new hobby was in order and this one could be done during her hated chemo treatments.

Every time I visited her after that, she had some kind of a knitting project going. One visit, I brought her a big tote bag to store her growing cache of skeins of yarn and needles of all sizes. Months later, she showed me a ball of mottled purple, brown and grey and told me she had specially picked it out for me. She wanted to make me a scarf….

But first, she said, she wanted to finish the soft yellow blanket she was knitting for her sons.

She never finished that blanket.

I remember the night it did get finished though. I was laying in her bed, lying in the spot where she had died the night before, on a mild June evening shortly before her 40th birthday.

There was a confluence of women in the room….what I would call Danielle’s army. Her sister, aunts, niece, cousins and a couple of very close friends were there, gathered around the bed in which she died. I don’t remember where her three young sons were at that moment. I don’t recall where her husband was. I just remember laying in a spot that smelled of the lavender oil Dani’s sister had rubbed on her as she lay dying there the night before. I lay there and soaked it in, talking about her, about the impending funeral, about life and loss with all those women who had come together simply because we loved the same person for a time. I haven’t seen most of them in several years now.

One of those friends sat in Danielle’s rocking chair in the corner, stroking a finished yellow blanket on her lap.

“Oh! you finished it” I said.

“Yes,” she said. “I wanted the boys to have it. I wanted them to have their mom blanket.”

A few months later, I got a package in the mail from Danielle’s aunt Melinda. She had taken the yarn Danielle had earmarked for me and made the scarf that Dani had intended to make me, but had never gotten around to.

Along with it came a note: “I know Danielle wanted to make something for you. I was with her when she bought this. I thought I would knit it up for you. It makes me feel close to her.”

I treasure that scarf like I treasure that pillow my brother made in Home Ec class so long ago.

Shortly after I got that scarf in the mail I became rather melodramatically obsessed with the idea that I also wanted to leave something like it behind for the people I love and who have loved me.

I bought a sewing machine.

I sew.

In a way, I sew for the same reason I hold that pillow and that scarf. I want the people in my life now to not only remember me when I am gone, but remember that I loved them so much that I thought of them and created things especially for them. And sewing things for people I love makes me happy, even when it makes me crazy, destroys my apartment or when a million little mishaps frustrate and confuse me. There is almost always a moment in which I want to give up on the whole thing (sometimes I do) or I just start hating everything about it (most of the time I find the love again).

And I hope that the people who have gotten my oh-so-delicately (and sometimes pointedly) flawed gifts feel the love that’s woven into them.

I want them to look at all my awkward stitching and design flaws and remember that once upon a time I had real hands and real arms and a living mind that thought of them and cared about them. I think it’s the only immortality I am likely to be allowed.

Part of that pile on my niece’s bed includes a blanket I made for her. It was an early attempt and is falling apart in places and someday she will have to put it away or it may disintegrate all together. But for now she sleeps with it every night and every time I tuck her in with it I imagine a day (hopefully) far in the future, when she’s a grown woman and I am gone from this life.

I picture her holding that blanket, examining the stitches…touching the fabric that I spent so much time handling and positioning and hopefully she’ll think about how very much I loved her. Hopefully she’ll feel very close to me. If so, I feel like a part of me might be just a little bit alive again in that moment.

At least that’s part of how I feel when I look at my brother’s pillow.

I handle that pillow and remember how much I loved him and how much he changed me. And every time I think of him, I think of my friend Dani too. Because they both changed me. And they both left too soon.

I am a different person than I might have been without either one of these people in my life.

For one thing, I sew.

It all depends…

I love my job, but it can be equal parts creatively inspiring and creatively taxing.

I spend a lot of time every day reading about, learning about, seeking to understand and appreciate art and artists so I can spend the rest of my day writing about, talking about and prosylytizing their craft and what it brings to our community.

This is a worthy endeavor, I feel and I feel lucky to be able to do it.

But, sometimes, I feel like there isn’t enough left for me at the end of the day. I feel like my yoga practice is what gets me through the day, my asana practice is what helps me wring out the day, but some days, my own artistic practice suffers, especially my personal writing.

If you’ve ever considered yourself to be a writer or aspired to be one, you probably have, like me, read all the books and blogs and advice from your betters who tell you the most important thing to do is to simply write. The most recent thing I read had some advice from someone famous, can’t remember who now, but he said it’s better to start writing, write for a while and then quit before you finish, that it’s much easier to pick up on something that’s still juicy the next day instead of plowing through the night before and exhausting your reserves.

Anyway, these well-meaning advice givers also suggest giving yourself a daily word count, one that’s not too daunting, and see what takes shape.

SO, I’ve decided that I am giving myself at least 200 words a day. And now even as I type that I have already accomplished and exceeded that by 90, now 93 words. Still, to make it even a tiny bit interesting, I’ll go on for a bit with an anecdote from my day.

I stopped at Whole Foods on the way to work this morning, as I was trying to fight off a certain amount of panic, given that I only realized after I woke up that I had left my computer at my boyfriend’s house, and in the computer bag (hopefully) was also the charger for my iPad. Deprived of both of these devices, I’m not able to accomplish this little side gig I have that is helping keep me financially afloat. That coupled with the day and week ahead meant it was time to replenish my portable spa, which of course consists simply of a vial of Lavender oil that I don’t like to ever be without. While standing in line, where I of course succumbed to the purchase of two new lip balms, I flashed on the fact that I had a prescription waiting for me for pick up. I had gotten the text from Rite Aid a couple of days ago and have learned from experience that they will re-file that stuff if you don’t go pick it up in a timely fashion and you’ll have to call and get on a whole new refill cycle.

Anyway, eager to get to work, I almost talked myself out of making one more stop, but a super-convenient parking spot with time left on the meter decided the moment. Doused myself in a bit of lavender oil and headed inside where I found myself third in line for the pharmacist, behind a jovial flu-shot purchaser and a teeny tiny little old lady, who turned back and smiled at me benevolently before taking her spot at the counter.

I knew the minute she did that, that she was going to take forever. And here’s where I know I have grown as a person (or maybe it’s the lavender oil), because I absolutely didn’t care.

A mountain of work and stressful meeting were awaiting me, but I was perfectly content right where I was, just happy to watch this moment unfold however it would. Work will still be there. It will ALWAYS be there, and even if I could have snatched back the extra 10 minutes this tiny little lady was surely about to cost me, it wouldn’t have a profound effect on the progress of what I knew to be ahead.

I watched her as she hauled her little personal shopping cart, which held just one item, an economy-sized package of Depends, up to the counter. It made me smile. I mean, that’s a shitload of Depends. The package was almost as tall as she was. I wondered how long that will last her.

The two pharmacists on hand, one of whom was administering the aforementioned flu shot over in the corner, were both perky and the girl at the counter was exceptionally patient and kind as the lady wheeled up her cart of Depends, propped her purse on the counter and sighed:


The gal behind the counter listened to her for a bit as the woman described her ailment and prescription, politely and patiently interrupting to ask:

“What’s your last name? That’s how we file the prescription”

The woman told her and off she went to look. But of course, no prescription was to be found in the sea of dangling plastic baggies.

I amused myself by looking at the assortment of pill cases on the endcap next to me, tempted to walk over and peruse the cheap sunglass selection nearby, but reluctant to give up the precious ground I was earning with every passing second, and also painfully aware of the lack of line-purchasing willpower I had already exhibited at my first stop of the morning.

The pharmacist came back and pleasantly told the woman that her RX had been called into and filled at the Beverly Hills location. She glanced over at me with an apologetic smile.

The elderly lady barely had time to get flustered before the pharmacist offered to look and see if this location had it in stock and she could try and fill it immediately.

“Oh that would be wonderful,” the tiny elder said “Ten grams. Remember, Ten Grams”

“Yes, yes” replied the pharmacist as she walked away to look.

At this, the little old lady turned to look at me and said:

“Oh no, now I am holding up this young lady”

To which I demurred and said “Oh no, you’re just fine” (If she’d thrown in “pretty” I probably would have offered to pay for her transaction).

A few minutes later, the pharmacist returned with the small bottle, pointing out how she had replaced the child-proof cap to one more easily removed.

Our little friend tested it out and proclaimed herself delighted.

Then came time to pay and such. If I overlistened correctly, she marked her birthdate at 1931, which hell yeah little gal! You go with your Depend-gathering, independent pharmacy pickup, you almost even made it to the right location, just a few miles off!

There was some confusion. She was all excited to sign the release for the prescription, grasping the little pen. The pharmacist had to explain several times that that part came after the payment part.

She gave a delightful little laugh at herself about her confusion.

The payment part was its own little dance of the lady, who paid with cash. In exact change. But couldn’t remember the amount of the change part. That took three tries to get right.

Anyway, she finished up, walked by me with a nod and a sweetly satisfied smile, pushing her cartful of Depends. I swooped in and got my own package and was on my way.

And I chuckled all the way to work about it. Being that old kind of seems like being on drugs all the time.

Like, you have a great sense of the framework of what should be happening and when and how, but the details are blurry and out of sequence. You can’t hear that well and you might be miles from where you intended to go.

And, finalizing a simple transaction can give you an amazing sense of accomplishment for the day.

Then, you get to pee in your pants.

I can dig it.

(200 words for me Day One: Tuesday Oct. 8)

Rambling thoughts (a.k.a. I should be doing laundry)…

You are alive.

If you are reading this, you are alive.

And, as is the nature of existence, you had no say in the manner of your birth.

You were not consulted in the matter of who your parents would be, what nationality or country would be your home, what your genetic predisposition to intelligence or otherwise would be, or what your genetic predisposition to illness or otherwise would be.

And, perhaps you imagine that somewhere, sometime, someway before you came to be in this body you actually did have some say in the matter. Perhaps that’s so. But if it’s so, the rationale, the deliberation has not been granted to you to recall, to incorporate into your consciousness, so what real role can that potential predestinational imagining play with regard to your awareness of self, your concious decision-making process?

And so, you simply are, as you are.

And one day, it is more than likely, you will also have no say in the manner of your death.

For most of us, I think it will come sooner than our preparedness for it.

But hopefully  just in time for our acceptance of it.

And you will die.

And so will I.

And so, in between, what do we do?

Between these two moments of birth and death is life. Is being alive.

We have needs to fulfill if we want to remain alive. We must eat, we must breathe so we must must occupy ourselves with trades that allow us to remain fed and healthy.

We have desires to fulfill as beings with an evolved cerebral cortex and so we pursue dreams of intelligence, of inspiration…we seek to create and experience art and ideas and material things, which add texture and color and context to this impermanent state of aliveness.

We are, I believe souls, in bodies, rather than bodies that have souls. We are made up of spiritual stuff as much as we are physiological stuff. And that spiritual stuff is made of love.

And so we love.

We live. We dream. We love.

In short,

We are.

I am.

And we try. We try to make sense of our state, our place in this world, how the world that surrounds affects us and how we inhabit it and how we make those three things happen for as long as we possibly can.

Where you were born, the state of the world, your luck perhaps, like mine, in being born in a free country, in a time period where women’s rights had evolved, has little to do with your own choice. I often wonder about those who are born, who live and who die elsewhere. Those who face struggles and pain and disasters I will never encounter.

Who I cannot ever fully understand and yet who I cannot fully live without.
Who I can never forget.

They try.

We try.

Is there purpose to it all? If you think so, there is.

Does that mean anything? If you think so, it does.

I try.

Procrastination and Relations

Welp, so far so mixed. I re-launched this blog with every intention of NOT ignoring it, like I have so many other times in my personal-writing past.

I promise, I have thought about writing something pretty much every day since the last entry (I owe a couple of people some poems per my last entry in May, I will stop being lazy and actually do it), but of course, as you can see, alas, thoughts do not always result in actions (which I guess is good news for those moments of internalized road rage).

However, I am proud to report that in the intervening weeks, I have kept up admirably on my weekly work blog (which, if you are so inclined, you can read here), with the exception of last week’s entry, which is obviously late and which I am working on today (of course after I get done procrastinating over by writing this…sigh…this is what it’s like in my brain). I realized this weekend that most of my family members and probably some of my friends really have no idea what I do for a living…so if you’re ever wondering, check that out.

I’ve also had a wonderful burst of creative energy in lots of other non-writing ways. I’ll post a gallery of some stuff I’ve created over the last few quiet months.

Meanwhile, I just spent a fun weekend with my family and wanted to get a few thoughts down before they too skitter out of my flighty response time.

I flew home to Phoenix Friday morning. My sister picked me up, we made a supply run, picked up her children from their respective schools and then headed up Heber-Overgaard where my grandparents spend their summers out of the Phoenix heat.

The occasion? My grandfather’s 90th birthday. Woot. Last week, my sister and I were debating on what to get him. It’s really hard to buy for my grandparents. In general their needs are few, their lifestyle is minimalist and their living spaces are small. We figured our collective presence was probably the best gift we could offer. But my grandpa solved the problem of making a material gesture himself by enlisting my brother-in-law in finding a good price on some new tires for his quad which he still rides as often as possible.  That’s right. He rides a quad. Off road. Through the forest. At 90. Pretty much every day that’s not raining.

We all chipped in and got the tires for his birthday. What an awesome thing it is to be able to give your 90-year-old grandpa a gift like that!

He seemed delighted with the tires, once he finally noticed they were there. They were sitting in the living room of the cabin we rented, bow perched atop, but neither he nor my grandma noticed they were there, which was fine. But as we sat there chatting, talk turned to his current tire situation and how he couldn’t ride until he got new ones.

My brother in law and I exchanged bemused glances as my grandparents prattled on about grandpa’s current lack of riding ability, exhibiting an apparent complete lack of awareness that the 4-foot-high stack of solid rubber situated right next to the couch they were sitting on might provide a solution to said problem.

We laughed and called everyone in, pointed out the gift and presented him with his card.

Of course we had forgotten to buy a card, but my resourceful little niece had packed colored pencils and paper and we whipped up a homemade note that everyone could sign.

I wrote: “Thanks for the awesome genes.”

After reading it, he said to me : “You know Jess, if you play your cards right, you could have a 90th birthday too!”

To which I replied: “That’s the plan, grandpa!”

He said: “You know, the operative word there, is ‘play.’”

I couldn’t agree more. And if he’s correct, I’m right on track.

Speaking of playing, it’s always fun playing with my niece and nephew. Jayden (nearly 11) is getting older and wittier every day so playtime involves a lot of banter.

Here’s another favorite moment from the weekend.

My sister, Jayden and I hit the local bakery for fresh donuts on Saturday morning. I don’t like sugary foods much at all and especially not in the morning, but it sure smelled cheery and my niece was thrilled to help select a bounty of donuty delights to share with the family.

We had a few other stops to make before returning to the cabin, but my niece tried to divert the plan to drop off the donuts first.

Me: “No we’re gonna do everything all at once and then head back.”

Jayden (semi-snarkily): “Well I just thought we might want to get the donuts to the people while they’re hot and fresh.”

Me (very snarkily): “YOU’RE hot and fresh, little dork.”

Jayden (incredibly snarkiliy): “Yeah, well, so are my toots.”


(And yes, my family’s never been exactly shy about bodily excretions, though I don’t see how anyone’s family can be shy about it when there are tiny humans around who need butt-wiping and aren’t shy about demanding it. Oh, while we’re at it, I discovered this weekend that my crazy nephew recently got to fulfill a lifelong (he’s 5) scatological dream. TMI indeed).

Anyway, “hot and fresh” quickly became a new catchphrase.

Another favorite moment of wit belongs to me…mostly because it really cracked my sister-in-law up, and I love it when people laugh at my jokes. She and my brother are (admittedly lazily) trying to have a baby.

My brother-in-law had grilled up a bunch of different meat for a giant family dinner. My bro made up a plate for himself and his wife. Congratulations on the cook of the tri-tip/NY steak/chicken etc were bandied about toward my brother in law as we ate.

At one point, my sister in law asked her husband: “What’s the difference between my meat and your meat?”

I couldn’t resist a quip: “No wonder you’re not pregnant.”

What can I say? I crack my shit up.

It was a fun weekend. I am very glad I went. And yet, I am very, very happy to be home. Something about Arizona makes me a bit melancholy and fairly lethargic. Probably partially the heat and partially the amounts of food we all seem to eat when we’re together, so it’s always nice to leave, even though I miss all these crazy faces when we’re not together.

Perpetuating Poetry

I love writing what I call “spontaneous poems.” Meaning, I love to write a little poem in a moment or for or about a person. I don’t edit them much, or at all, just kind of let them live however they come out. They might be OK, they might be crap. They might even be quite lovely. It doesn’t matter much, just that they are.


You can see a couple of old examples on an earlier post in this blog. I remember one night a few years ago hanging out with some girlfriends, writing a few little ditties on the spot for each of them.  It was fun. One Valentine’s Day I wrote a Haiku for everyone in my family and sent them a little card.

Basically, I’m not a serious poet, but it’s fun and I’d like to do some more of it this summer, but could use a little help/inspiration!

We’ve been doing this poetry thing at work all year. Poetry contests, events with poets (more on erasure after I finally finish the book I am working on), we created a crowdsourced Tumblr all about poetry.

For our final spoken word event of the season, David Sedaris, we had a live “poetry bureau on site.” A dozen student writers banged out spontaneous poetry based on a few simple prompts that the perfect strangers filled out.

It was a lot of fun. Granted, I know that some people wouldn’t put the words “fun” and “poetry writing” or “poetry reading” in the same sentence. But, if you’re reading this, you’re in my world baby….and that shit’s fun to me.

The student writers were very clever and seemed to be having a blast. The writees eagerly awaited their personal poem to come hot off the old-school typewriter press.  (They seriously used typewriters, it looked cool).

Anyway, I’d like to volunteer to be a poet in YOUR life and institute my own little virtual poetry bureau.

Send me an email: jessicaelizabethwolf  (at) gmail (dot) com. (Or fill them out into the contact form here)

Include answers to the following questions.

  • Favorite Color:
  • Favorite Word:
  • I wish:
  • I’m hungry for:
  • I love:

At some point (I won’t promise absolute immediacy, but I WILL get to it) you’ll get a lovely little poetic surprise in your inbox from yours truly.

And yes, I did requisition not one but TWO poems from our intrepid typewriting poets.

Here they are below.


poem2 poem1