17 December 2011

December means BREAK! So BRAKE!

Wow, I've been off the blog world for some time!  My first quarter back to university after a long summer break was exhausting!

Though I missed being on here, I spent a lot of my time away writing new pieces for two different manuscripts I'm working on, as well as just the regular student/work routine.

There were plenty of other distractions along the way:

1. A Lykke Li Concert at Fox Theater! AMAZING!

2. The man-candy grew out his facial hair to celebrate Movember.
November was also NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
so to bastardize both month-long celebrations I shaved regularly
AND wrote a poem a day with several of my poetic colleagues.
Nothing bonds people together more than the accountability to creation
and the softness of smooth legs.

3. A new addition to the family! Mordecai!


4.  Don't be fooled by his sweet face--he is a destruction machine.                                           Exhibit A:


                                                  5. SNOW!

 6. A BEAR visiting our house! (My footprint is on the left!)

7. A 4.0 gpa to jumpstart my holiday vacation!

Time to rest and celebrate with a Sam Adams Winter Lager?

29 September 2011

Dear Mssrs. Jack White, Elvis Costello, Beck and members of Phish,

I would like to cordially extend an invitation to  my husband’s milestone birthday bash on Saturday, October 1, 2011 at our home in beautiful Big Bear.  His name is Brian Hood and we have, accordingly, named his party “Hoodstock” (though the guest list is around 30 people, we’re into that whole “quality” over “quantity” thing).  I ask because he is a BIG fan of each of you, and has introduced much of your music into his classroom (where he teaches high school English).  You are not required/expected to play music, just hang out and bullshit, sign a few beer bottles perhaps.  Most of our guests will be other nerdy teachers and the like, so no threatening groupies will not be here.

I would love it if his birthday was made special by a surprise guest appearance by each of you.  We actually sent invites to each of you to our wedding in 2008, but we were given rejections.  We appreciated that you at least RSVP’ed.  However, and unlike the wedding, this has nothing to do with me (well maybe a little bit since I do enjoy each of your music as well) and he would be so surprised and THRILLED if you showed up and hung out. (Ignore the dangling prepositions.) 

A little bit about Brian:  He works so hard to provide a comfortable home filled with love every day.  We are going on our 3rd year of marriage and I have never met anyone so funny, mellow, and intelligent, not to mention he SPEAKS MY LANGUAGE.  Which is an amazing feat for *any* man to do.  Plus, he’s pretty fucking hot, too. (Which probably has no bearing on your RSVP.)

Please let me know if you are able to make it. And if you can, let me know if you are allergic to dogs.  We have two incredibly goofy dogs (Kona & Juno) that would like to make your acquaintance, but can hang out elsewhere if it’s a problem (I hope it’s not since they want to party too).

Love and Light,

P.S. A favorite photo of us on our wedding day:

28 September 2011

Wishlist Wednesday

In light of a local suicide of a young art teacher in my community, my wishlist is

that we never stop talking and loving one another and ourselves,

that silence and repression are NEVER options,

and that in doing just those very things, perhaps a life might live another day, and we will have actualized what humanity truly means.

Love and Light,


23 September 2011

Happy Birthday, Autumn!

I celebrate you by drinking Sam Adams Octoberfest and wearing  olive colored clogs.

22 September 2011

Farewell, Summer

I have been fighting a nasty sinus infection for the past two weeks.  By fighting it, I of course mean that I did NOT go to the doctor and did NOT take antibiotics and did NOT take anything to subdue my symptoms, but merely whined about feeling horrible the entire time.  However, I do feel myself back on the mend, which I think I can thank a night of too much wine with a good friend of mine (I love you Liz! Thanks!!).  My husband has this theory that coffee is a cure all. I almost agree; a good bottle of wine can often do the trick.

I start classes today for my last year of my MFA program (so bittersweet!).  It's a curious thing: before school let out for summer I swore aloud to a group of my peers and mentors that I would have a sketchy draft of my thesis and an overambitious draft my entire manuscript composed.

Now, since today is day ONE, I feel like a fraud.  *insert frowny face*

Sure, I wrote over the summer but nowhere NEAR how I imagined months ago my manuscript might look. And instead of a sketchy draft of my thesis where I get to spend pages of ad nauseum self-reflection and analysis on my own creative processes, I have piles of half-read research.  Cool.

But on a good note, this summer was a rediscovery some hobbies (blogging and journaling;  in an youthful eager and self-indulgent sort of way) and found some new ones (like photo editing).  And I'm not sure if it's a "milestone" age thing (since I'm hitting a big birthday within the next 365 days) but I am more aware of my enjoying my life, my mind and my body.  The latter might be the biggest discovery this has been my biggest trip up in life which then sets a domino effect on the rest of those things (mind, heart, situation, life).  Do you notice that when your body feels good, the rest will follow?  And that when you let go, stop worrying, everything else becomes more fluid?  I've hated my body for so long, for so many reasons and I finally somewhere in the last year stopped fighting it.  It has its quirks and weirdnesses but it is resilient and beautiful nonetheless (which I both do and don't mean in a superficial sort of way---after all is it really superficial to enjoy one's self???).

What are your thoughts on the connections of the heart-mind-body-community-world?  And how do they factor in to your own self-perceptions?

Enjoy a photo of my sky as it appeared this summer.  Colors have not been touched up. In fact, they are less vivid than the actual experience.

28 August 2011

One of THOSE Days

After a horrible night's sleep thinking and crying about my missing dog (it's been almost three weeks and I can't stop hoping) today is one of those days I just want to lay on the couch and watch videos.  But since I have to work, I'll just post a video of what I *would* be watching.  I bring to you, Salad Fingers.

11 August 2011

Kimchi, PLEASE Come Home

Two days ago my min-pin Kimchi turned up missing.  No one in the neighborhood saw her running around--it's as if she disappeared in thin air. Last time she went missing for a long while, she was hit by a car and had a fractured pelvis.  But that "long while" was a mere couple hours. It's now been a couple days. I am completely torn up about this; she is, in essence, my little girl.  I have posted flyers, made tons of phone calls, am on lost/found lists, scoured the area endlessly.  If anyone knows anything, please let me know. I need her home.

31 July 2011

Rainy Day Facts

        A $75 shirt will collect lint just as easily as a $10 one.

        A $10 vintage blouse with a peter pan collar WILL look fabulous when paired with milk maid braids.
        See Exhibit 1 below.

28 July 2011

Alice in Cyberspace

Alice In Wonderland is one of my favorite stories of all time.  I stumbled upon this site which has the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel free to the public as a downloadable zip! We're expecting some thunderstorms (thus, potential power outages) so I think I'll print out a few pages and pull out my old crayola box.  There's something about rainy weather that makes me feel like a kid...

What were some of your favorite things to do as a child during a power outage?

27 July 2011

Body Odor & Dirty Hands

For lack of a better photo, I'm attaching the same one as on my Facebook.  Gretchen Jones bangs and sideburns with a Megan Massacre side shave.       Ta-da....

And speaking of Gretchen Jones,  have you seen her Fall/Winter collection?  I'm dying just a little; I love each piece. In particular, I would like to eat this skirt!

Today, my partner and I changed the speedometer in our stepdaughter's car ALL BY OURSELVES.  I just gained some serious man-cred (especially since I forgot the deodorant and smell rather ripe right now).   With the help of a how-to search online,  it was actually very easy, minus snapping in the actual speedometer.  That took FOREVER.  But my skinny hands and B's long fingers eventually conquered that mess.  Ta-da.....

Before:                                                                                                         After:

I think I earned some Sam Adams Summer Ale.  It's too late for deodorant.

19 July 2011

An Elephant Never Forgets

No one ever told me that the last quarter of the first year of grad school is hell.  Entirely fulfilling, yes, but a wickedly draining time.  In short, it has taken me two months to decompress.  Since school was also out for everyone else, I have not been subbing.  So I fell into the rabbit hole of the couch cushions, SKIMMING over online research, Facebooking, wishlisting item after item on sites like Modcloth and Ruche, all while watching Ghost Whisperer reruns. (The latter of these has been informing my research, both on my thesis and on my wish-lists.)

In the best and latest of news, I met with my first reader on the initial portion of my thesis. He basically confirmed my greatest fears about my writing---that I must be both lawyer and defendant and THUS REALLY LEARN MY CRAFT.  Not just wing it and sing it.  Ok, this might be my interpretation of what he was really saying, but I get that creeping fraudulent feeling far too frequently (say that five times fast).

In other fun news:

Normally, I don't buy AND wear an outfit right off the mannequin/model, but I really couldn't help it with this blouse and skirt from the Bar III brand at Macy's:

The top is actually more of a long tunic and is patterned with tiny orange elephants.  The skirt is much shorter on the model and actually runs a bit big.  Of course, she is probably 5'11 and the ensemble is most likely clothes-pinned around her waist, but I still LOVED this outfit and am pleased with my parings (third-ings? fourth-ings?) of nude peep-toe wedges,  obligatory old cardigan (to hide that rascally tattoo), rose earrings, and Alice In Wonderland necklace.

Who do you think wore it best?


Ok, just kidding. 
You really don't have to answer that.

P.S.  Sorry for the grimy camera-phone pic in a dirty mirror, but I was in a rush to snag a quick photo.

P.P.S.  It is a magical coincidence that I slightly resemble the model.   Otherwise I should be deeply flattered.

31 March 2011

Spring Break and Super-Femme Frills

Of course, I *would* let an entire month fly by and not post until the final hours on the final day of the month.  This month has been a whirlwind what with the last few weeks of a hectic quarter, and the incredible and disastrous events of the world at large.  Japan and Libya have both been on my mind as well as those around me and it seems many of us can think of nothing else. Morale everywhere has been so low--everyone feels so strong an empathy and wishes there was more we can do individually.

In fact, I think that is why using my spring break to spring clean has been one of the best distractions yet; it is something that inevitably must be done and requires so little and yet so much attention from otherwise throwing myself back into melancholy.  From our storage shed to our closets to the kids' rooms to our furniture even, it has been pretty much a week-long process.  It's Thursday night and still ongoing--but, it feels SO GOOD.  Minus the part where I spilled a jar of chopped jalapenos all over the kitchen floor.  Here is an artist's rendition:

It hasn't been all work though--I did afford myself some time to play a bit and make this necklace:

I have a few other necklaces started that will hopefully be completed before the upcoming quarter (otherwise they'll sit until summer).  And in a Costco expedition I acquired an awesome movie collection to entertain when I do finally take a jewelry break:

I might also have bought these sexy, yet so mountain-y olive green ankle-high boots:

They're even more awesome in person.  Wearing these make me feel like I'm as awesome as this guy.

Sorry to anyone bored to death by the superfemme post. But what can possibly be better than wearing awesome boots while making jewelry and watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice in a thoroughly scrubbed and organized home?   Nothing.  I dare you to think of something.  See you can't.

26 February 2011

An open letter to my husband_

Dear Husband:

This is an open letter DEMANDING you purchase a snow-blower for our anniversary THIS YEAR.

Remember how once I asked why we didn’t own one and you said it was wasteful because it doesn’t really snow enough to really get our investment’s worth?!

I’d like to bring forth the following evidence from the repressed (note: NOT suppressed) memories of our marriage life together:

REMEMBER three years ago when we had that ginormous dumping of snow and I MISSED FINALS and had to take them from home (good thing the internet didn’t falter out) and you SWORE that was a FREAK storm and never really happened before? 

REMEMBER when you told me that years had passed that required little or no shoveling during the winter months?

REMEMBER that I have already shoveled on TWO OTHER OCCASSIONS (now THREE counting today) this winter alone?

REMEMBER that I have a bad knee and must therefore use my back while shoveling?

REMEMBER the evil snowy time when Juno was cut by the snow demons and had to be rushed to VCA and almost side-swiped the van and the snow laughed?

REMEMBER the evil snowy time BUDDY (RIP) was stolen and probably eaten by the same snow demons and we never saw him again and I cried and I still do sometimes and the snow laughed?

While I shoveled the driveway (the first time) today, the neighbor across the street (that sort of looks a little like John Shank) was out with his snow blower.  As I grunted, sweated, and gritted my teeth (I think I have lockjaw now) he casually pushed his little contraption around.  My hands are shaky and calloused and his are probably baby-soft and tender, like pats of butter melting on top of a hot potato.  While I lifted icy chunks bigger than my head, our neighbor’s little machine gnawed on them and spit them out into neat little piles along the side of his driveway. He fluidly waved with a free hand and all I could do was nod my head at him because my hands were stuck in a vice like grip on the shovel handle.  I craved a break, a drink of water, a crust of bread, but I had to press on.  Meanwhile, our neighbor pushed his snow-blower around while sipping a cup of tea. 

A cup of fucking tea, Brian.  Come on.  Isn’t that very reason ALONE to get a snowblower?

I feel cheated and lied too.  You seduced me, an unassuming desert rat flatlander with Carribbean-blood and an affinity for all things warm, with your whimsical tales of snowless winters and sunny skies.  Not just you either, all your mountain friends are guilty too.  No one pulled me aside  before the wedding and said, “Hey Connie, you might want to rethink this.  Brian hasn’t been honest with you about Big Bear.  It’s a snowy hell.  It’s a torrent of evil powder and will wither your soul away into Satan’s icy nether regions.”  No one wrote anything like that on our guest book—but perhaps I should have seen it coming since our guest book was a TOBAGGON.

This is not a separation letter, but unless you want me to spend 5-6 months of the year sleeping in the Pacific Review/Ghost Town office at CSUSB, I am DEMANDING payment in full of a new/used snow-blower/mini-snow plow/snow-stabbing machine.  And don’t try to bribe me off this matter with a new dog.  Unless it is an Afghan. Or a Greyhound. Or a Pomeranian.  Or any dog that can walk on its hind legs and has thumbs and can therefore hold and USE a shovel and help me get rid of all this damn snow.

I hope you are having a good day at work.

Love always,


P.S. Unless this is all just a passive-aggressive weight comment and you think I am fat and can use the exercise and that is why I do much of the shoveling….  That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?  Well too bad.  It’s so COLD here that I need the extra fat to keep warm and stave off frost-bite, especially while I'm out there shoveling long hours in the windy cold air, the very breath from the snow demons laughter.  Which brings me back to the point of this letter.

12 January 2011

Let Me Illuminate You, Reviewers...

Upon finishing Shane Jones' ever-so-surreal novel, Light Boxes, I was surprised it was so poorly reviewed.  I'm glad I was not dissuaded by these reviews when I started reading.  In fact, after finishing the novel, I let out a post-orgasmic sigh.  This is not to say that this work is pornographic (not in the least!), but it is such a sexy piece and I was sad to see its end (and thus went online to suss out more of his work).  Jones uses visceral and brightly layered images which transport the reader into an almost lucid dream-like meditative state.

What caught my attention most was the structuring of the "chapters" in creating voice among his assembly cast of characters.  Jones uses font sizing, breaks in pagination, bolded first lines simulating chapters, and negative space to introduce each character, rather than relying solely on dialect, tone and circumstance.  In fact, other than Caldor Clemens' speech, the characters (the children, Professor, February, et al) all use the same distancing voice and melancholic tone.  Before accusing Jones of being incapable of writing a varied voice, recall that February has reigned and raged over this town for several hundred days.  These morose voices are affected, or rather influenced, by the weighted umbrella of February's depressive state.

Perhaps its description as a novel leads reviewers to approach it rigidly, dogmatically. 'Light Boxes' reads  more as poetry than prose, or at least poetic prose.  I'm soothed by its lush description and (not always so subtle) lyricality.  I'm happy to have ignored the analytical droids feigning literary know-how.  And for the record, I have now decided to devote one of my limbs to some aspect of kite tattoos, kids twisting the heads of flightless owls, and a woman who smells of honey and smoke.

10 January 2011

I want to be bendy (again)

Last June I told myself it was time to really push my workout.  No matter what weight or size I've ever been, my thighs and booty have always lacked real muscle definition.  So I decided that doing twice as much twice as often would be the key.  I piled on the lunges, leg extensions, leg curls, step-ups on the ottoman, miles on the treadmill. 

Not even 2.5 weeks later, I couldn't walk up our stairs.

In fact, I couldn't fully bend nor fully straighten my left leg.  It was perpetually angled as if I was some show-pony prancing about.  To walk upstairs looked as if I were performing the marriage walk, only I had the banister to propel me up each step.

After 4 weeks of this, I finally went to my family doctor who then informed me that I had to make several appointments for the next 8 weeks with him before I could get an X-ray or see a physical therapist.  He said it was because of my insurance--an HMO (which we all know stands for Hesitant Medical Options).

After unnecessary appointments with a doctor who prescribes penicillin or naproxyn for everything (and also told me that I should be pregnant before seeking an ob/gyn should I ever want to have a child), I finally received authorization for an X-ray which came out clear and an MRI which showed inflammation behind the kneecap.  Two weeks after that, I was authorized for physical therapy.  Yay! But  I was only authorized for 6 sessions to be completed by mid-December, so they gave me a list of at-home exercises to work the muscles they believed were weakened and caused a tracking issue which created the inflammation and the knee pain.


It's January now.  It's been over 6 months since I have run on my treadmill and just as long since I have done yoga.  And I can feel its taxing grip on me.

I miss how yoga encouraged me to breathe easily, sleep soundfully (apparently I just made up that word), stop the mind clutter and simply examine.   But I still can't bend my knee enough to relax myself in child's pose.  I was once stable enough to perform standing balancing poses (my favorites) and these have been forsaken by my efforts to develop thighs with which I could juice oranges.

I think this summer's goal will not be showing off my chiseled flanks, but how gorgeous my knees look when sitting cross-legged or bent in child's pose.  You all will be jealous.

07 January 2011

Dear Mssrs. Subcontractors behind my house:

Hey, what was that really cool tool you used this morning?  You know, the  banging one with the rivety sounds that I thought was a gun, until I thought to myself that no one could possibly own an automatic machine gun in the mountains.  Maybe I didn't really hear it or it was just a little doe passing through my backyard.

And what is that awesome whirring I hear now?  The one that sounds like a screaming air compressor waiting to be used, or a generator shouting, "Hey!  I'm a loud machine!  Listen to me!  I am of purpose to this house!  And I am loud!  Isn't that great!?"

I wanted to say thank you for the eclectic music mix.  I thought I had heard enough Britney Spears and Pearl Jam in the 90s, but when you guys sing along, its like I FOUND GOD.  And I think the sun shone into my windowblinds at the exact moment one of you announced that it was break time and that you would be right back after you pooped.  I am so happy to hear that you are regular.

Keep up the good work,


Free Books?! It's like Christmas all over again!

Because of expired U.S. copyrights, over 30,000 e-books have been made free and accessible at Project Gutenberg.  The e-books are available in a variety of formats (HTML, simple text, etc) for computers and other portable computing devices.

Follow the link to access Project Gutenberg.  Happy reading!


New Year's Resolution:

Start a Blog.